Karneia and Kourotrophia

Occurring on the same day, the full moon of Metageitnion/Karneia, is host to two festivals with a surprisingly related theme: the resring of young into maturity (for harvest). It can certainly be said that before going to a completely solar calendar that the Roman Nemoralia also fits this religious pattern.  I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the festival of Artemis held by women nursing boy infants didn’t also fall at thus time, although Pausanias doesn’t give a date reference for it.

As we know, the mythic root for the Karneia involves A pollon caring for his infant half brother with the aid of hid mother, Leto, in rearing the boy Karneia for whom A pollon takes his epithet. I think that thus myth is where Jane Harrison gets tragically confused insisting that Apollon Karneios (the god Apollon which is common to all Dorics) is not Apollon but a local deity resembling Dionysos. As Karneia vases from Tarentum shows Dionysos on the reverse, and the joint vineyard/herding nature of the festival preparing for the harvests, I have no doubt yhe younger Karneios is a variation of Dionysos. **Karneia as the root refers to the heart which would be loaded in symbolism in the relationship of the two gods**

At the same time we have his description from the Archive temple as bearing herding staff and pine cone. Where the latter may bring a Dionysos connection for some (which may be pertinent on a level) it is also a barometer in nature that this god of winds, like Diana at the Nemoralia, is likewise praised and petitioned for keeping back the descent of Autumn storms before harvest concludes. This then keeps the weather dry and sunny. This aid to crops can also be acknowledged at Messene where he was honored in the sanctuary and grove of Demeter and Persephone as Apollon Karneios.

Given what I pointed above regarding the festival of the nurse Artemis, while I acknowledge Hekate and Ge as a Kourotrophs in my offerings, I foremost give offering to Artemis Kourotroph. Therefore my fedtivals are fluidly combined, starting with Karneia and concluding with offerings for Kourotrophia at my shrine. It is truly beautiful, fluid and organic thing! And there Dionysos the infant reared to the bull of sacrifice in the nect coming month….hail Apollon Karneios and Artemis Kourotroph!

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