Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dark of the Moon, New Beginnings

Here's this month's Hecate's Deipnon.

Fish, eggs, cheese, onions, and honey. The marigolds are traditional flowers for the upcoming Dia De Los Muertos, as their scent is said to attract the dead back across the veil. (The Goddess may have grown up on wine and ouzo, but, here in Virginia, she prefers rum, as do many of the Spirits of this place). It's traditional to leave this meal for the Goddess at a spot where three roads meet, but I place it for a few minutes on the stone altar in my woodland garden and then on the garden ground. It's always gone in the morning.

"Deipnon" means "meal," but a meal with religions connotations.

In the Homeric Age it was usual to sit at table; and this custom, we are told, was kept up in historical times by the Cretans. Each guest had generally his own table, and an equal share of food was placed before each (hence δαὶς ἐΐση), except when a specially distinguished guest was honoured by getting a larger portion ( Il.vii. 321). What strikes us as peculiar in the Homeric dinners is their religious character. They partake more or less of the nature of a sacrifice, beginning with an offering of part of the meat to the gods, and both beginning and ending with a libation of wine; while the terms for slaughtering animals for a meal (ἱερεύειν, θύειν) and for the slaughtered animals (ἱερήϊα) are borrowed from the language of religious ceremony.

More here.

Some say that you should leave Hecate's Deipnon on a plate that you don't intend to reclaim, but I use this plate each month and use it, as well, on Samhein at the supper for the ancestors. Leaving the plate behind may be related to the connection between Hecate's Deipnon and feeding the poor.

While the offerings were intended for Hekate, they also became a source of food for the poor, as we can see in a play by Aristophanes where Plutus says to Poverty:

"Ask Hecate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served."

This idea has [also] been used . . . in a manner both contemporary and true to tradition:

"I do a food offering for Hecate, which doesn't actually go to Hecate. It goes to the poor. Where I live, there's a food drive for local poor families every Friday, right at the entrance of a big grocery store. I buy some dry food items there, and offer them as 'Hecate's Supper.' The girl scouts always chant 'For Hekate' with me when I drop the food into their collection cart. "

More here.

Hecate has many titles: Endoia (of the wayside), Kleidophorous (key-bearing), Kourotrophos (nurse of children), Soteira (savior), Trivia (from where three roads meet), and, one of my favorites: Khrusosandalaimopotikhthonia (golden-sandalled, Queen-of-the-Underworld who feeds upon blood). Homer called her "bright-coiffed." She is many things to me, but, most of all, she is the one who spoke up and helped Demeter find her raped and abducted daughter when everyone else was trying to be politic. Her allegiance was to women and not with the patriarchy. Hail Hecate! May every Dark Moon, until the end of time, find Daughters of the Earth preparing your Deipnon. May you be happy with our offerings.

A Witch's Daily has lots more wonderful information.

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