Over the last few years my calendar has included a large majority of festivals throughout the year devoted to the mystic program spanning throughout Hellas and into Italy without a regional bias. Don’t get me wrong, it intersects a lot with many gods, particularly Dionysos, but the focus on Apollon throughout the year is unmistakable. Even if it is divided into two distinct seasons of the year, that of Apollon the Helper and Shining one (to be brief) during his customary and traditional festivals during the summer half of the year between the spring and autumnal equinoxes, and that of the winter half of the year, the wolf season in which we honor that afar one Hyperboreios, Apollon Lykeios the lord of the wolflight before dawn…the season of Apollon as hunter rather than pastoral shepherd. Of course there are a number of festivities even during this time from his procession of light at his departure: the Pyanepsia in which thanks is given to the god for the bounty which he has provided as sustainer and protector of herds and crops and therefore as an oathfulfilling festival, a promissory festival of a successful conclusion of the reaping of harvests. A new festival that I have been doing for a number of years is a midwinter festival of lights which I would love to feature a bonfire lit for the god during this darkest time of the year. I have spoken to of the late winter winds of the wolfish one, and likewise his Theban birth during the later part of winter/early spring when lambs are often dropped.
There are so many festivals and occasions that it seems like a whirlwind as various deities, heroes, children and lovers of the god is involved (for instance in the summer is a modern festival of the Marriage of Kyrene as well as the traditional Hyakinthia). It slows down a bit in the winter with some deeper more personal-focused rites (such as the modern Consumption of Cassandra in October) but the summer is quite full given how many traditional festivals he had throughout the year. So I am thinking an outline will be presented in a blog post here and I will go into more depth of the Apollon Mystic program in a booklet (or perhaps a pair of booklets.. one for the summer year and one for the winter half of the year). It is something I am pretty excited to share because I have been keeping it pretty close to my chest for a while as a private kind of thing but I have felt inspired to start sharing it for others who may be inclined to participate in their own devotion to Apollon.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that as important of a relationship Apollon had, particularly in his later cult, with the sun, the majority of his festivals actually have very little to do with the sun directly with indirect reference in the Stepteria and the Hyakinthia. Most of his festival have a strong agrarian nature to them, so this should be not be a surprising thing to see in his mystic program with some allusions to the sun and moon. It will also make apparent the strong overlap that will be seen in the presence of Dionysos whom Apollon has really pushed me into honoring more thoroughly as there is no getting around it anyway without how present his brother is.
Festivals aside, I can’t emphasize enough how important his cultic role is on a domestic level because it ties into this mystic program as a god of boundaries and therefore orderer of the passage of things from seasons to time, movement of souls etc. So an upright Agyieus monument is highly encourage to give daily worship at even more so than his statue, as the most profound image of Apollon the gatekeeper and boundary god. I think I may sit down and write a brief simple devotion that can be utilized there. As I am finishing my booklet on his domestic worship up I will include it there in the section for practical domestic worship, but will also post the brief devotional here as well for use by anyone who wishes to do so. This is the heart of the Apollon mystic program.
I am uncertain how far I will take this publically, but I feel particularly inspired to put something out there, so I will 🙂