Hellenic Calendar. More like 6 concentric circles, half finished color coding, and crying.
This may be a dramatic text message, but it’s more than fair for how I feel in relation to a calendar of modern Hellenic worship. In fact, since I started this post months ago and saved it in my drafts, I’ve taken even more pages on pages of notes on a variety of different ancient festival, lunar, and “zodiacal” solar calendars with as much (if not more) frustration.
On the one hand, a calendar does exist, and has been explained and expounded on by countless people. The most often used version I see is this one from Hellenion, and they put out a new calendar every year. For those who like this calendar, ancient in source complete with traditional rituals for some of the holidays, it’s a great option. But this is, at its heart, the Athenian calendar.
I worship and revere all of the gods of my pantheon, don’t get me wrong, but there are some of the Theoi I share no personal connection with and, aside from paying Them Their due honor as Theoi, don’t really interact with in my life. These include gods like Dionysos and Athene. These gods are featured largely in the Athenian calendar, and for good reasons. These were the gods of the Athenians. But several of the gods of my own are missing, most notably Hermes.
I also live in a very particular climate here in Southern California. While it is actually pretty Mediterranean and comparable to Greece in many ways, it is of course not the same as ancient Athens, and many agricultural and seasonal holidays simply don’t match up with how I would like to celebrate them. For the summer solstice, I need to honor Helios, as He’s just so important to me. At the time the rest of the world around me is celebrating Thanksgiving, I would like to organize my honoring of Hestia of the Home. I’ve been celebrating Halloween as The Unseen Day to honor the Kthonoi and my ancestors for two years now, and jokingly calling Christmas/Solstice “Zeusmas” for even longer. May Day will be my day to fill our new studio apartment with flowers in honor of the Queen, Hera Antheia. In short, I want to celebrate my holidays in ways that make sense to me in my life. I see the Theoi everywhere, and want my worship of Them to reflect this modern lens through which I see Them.
My modern lens still has an ancient tint, helping relieve some of my guilt, because of my chosen Classics Major and hobby of researching my religion. Due to this and my wish to keep true to the context of my religion, the rituals I construct for these “personal holidays” are fairly traditional in nature. For some, such as the Theogamia, I even keep the Athenian date, because that one makes sense to me. But in a community sometimes obsessed with its own legitimacy, it can be unacceptable to say “yeah, I’m honoring Haides and Persephone and Hekate and Hermes Psycopompos and my Beloved Dead on Halloween” because it isn’t traditional, or worse, somehow culturally appropriative of the existing traditions that make up our western Halloween. I don’t want to offend anyone, modern or ancient, human or theos, or worship in a way somehow displeasing to my gods. I simply wish to, as I learn from observing my beloved Queen, exercise my own sovereignty.
Ω Your Hostess