Call for Submissions – Devotional for Flora

Neve Antheus is putting together a devotional for Flora.  As far as I can tell, there is no web page to learn more, but you can e-mail Neve with submissions and questions at neveantheus@yahoo.com.  In addition to Flora, Neve is also looking for submissions for and about heroes and divine figures who have been transformed into flowers.  I’ll write a post soon detailing some of these figures who have been involved with Apollon to give you some ideas that you might want to use for this devotional and/or He Who Rules With Honey.  The deadline for the Flora devotional is April 28th, so get to work!

Hi Friends! I wanted to write to invite you to participate in a new collective project: a yet to be titled anthology honoring the Floral Deities, spirits, and Flower Heroes. This project began when I was called to write devotionally for Flora, and to explore Her historical cult and work to revive it in the present. Since then, the concept for the book has expanded to be an exploration of the interweaving relationships between the floral Deities, Heroes apotheosized as Flowers, individual plant spirits, and ourselves (with particular attention paid to the retinue of entities worshiped in modern expressions of Bacchic Orphic religion).

After years of working as a florist, and eventually coming to know the Deities who work through flowers, I’ve come to recognize flowers as a subtle yet incredibly powerful way that ancient polytheistic and animistic relationships survive into the present. Flowers are wholly irrational within a mechanistic, materialist worldview, and yet they remain so important to so many of us. By their magic we express our desires, show our love, and seal our relationships. We give them as powerful healing tools to the sick and sorrowful. We offer them selflessly to our dead. We have used them as a dense and complicated system of secret language. Some of us have even learned to speak with them directly. They are allies, medicines, oracles, memorials, sacrifices, and expressions of the divinities enmeshed in our world.

Sannion recently wrote that, “We affirm the existence of a multitude of divinities including Gods, Daimones, Nature Spirits, Cosmic Forces, Divinized mortals, Heroes, the Dead and an assortment of other beings of varying power and importance. We further affirm that these entities exist within a complex network of relationships both with each other and with us, and that these relationships are strongly reciprocal.” My intention is for this anthology to be a contribution toward that affirmation; an exploration of the relational dimension of our worship, the relations between these entities, and how we might work plant magic as a way to build those relationships.

I’d be particularly excited if anyone from this community felt enthusiastic about participating in shaping or contributing to this project. I would love to see contributions that explore any of the Floral Entities, especially focusing on the stories of and devotional writing for Dionysos Antheus, Flora, Chloris and other Nymphs, Aphrodite Antheia, Ariadne, Apotheosized Flower Heroes, Persephone, Hekate, Orpheus. I would also welcome submissions about the practical working of plant magic, flower essences, secret flower languages, as well as analysis of ancient flower festivals and rites from a polytheist perspective. Tentatively, I would love to have submissions by the start of Floralia, (April 28th). If you’re interested in contributing or participating, please let me know!

“I was about to inquire why these shows had greater lewdness and more permissive play, but it came to me that this deity is no prig: the gifts of the goddess frame our pleasures. Drinkers encircle their brows with plaited crowns, burnished tables hide under rose showers. Tipsy guests dance with linden wreaths in their hair, as wine coaxes indiscretion and skill. Tipsy lovers serenade a pretty girl’s hard door, while delicate chains dress their scented hair. No business is conducted with garlanded brows, no one scarfed with flowers drinks pure water. While no one mixed you, Achelous, with the grape, gathering roses lacked all attraction. Bacchus loves flowers. Bacchus’ pleasure in the wreath can be known from Ariadne’s star. Light theatre suits her. Do not, believe me, do not rank her with the tragic-booted goddesses. Indeed the reason why a crowd of whores packs these shows is not difficult to find. She is neither one of the glum set nor a snob; she wants her rites open to the plebs, and warns us to use life’s beauty as it blooms.” – Ovid, Fasti

Advertisements

Hesiod’s Works and Days – The Divination Edition!

A couple of years ago, I learned the Homeric Oracle.  Less than a month after that, I reread Hesiod’s Works and Days.  It struck me then that that work would probably also make a very good, yet very similar, divination system.  I never went through the work required to actually put it together, though, until today.  Please give it a try and tell me how successfully it works for you.

You’ll need three six-sided dice.  Throw the set and write down the number that is made from the three dice from left to right.  Do this two or three times more.  Each of those numbers that you wrote down will correspond to a line on the chart below.  When you put those three or four lines together, that will be the response to your question.  If you need clarification, I’ve found that you should really only try for one more number (line).  If you get the same line twice, don’t throw for any more numbers.  Stop there; that’s it.  ok, ready?  Here we go!

1-1-1: or just a few years older.  This is the time for marriage.

1-1-2: Men born in the fullness of the great twentieth day

1-1-3: if people judge their true nature and live by it:

1-1-4: the ills of the fourth day when the month waxes and wanes;

1-1-5: Riches and flocks of sheep go to those who work.

1-1-6: Then potters eye one another’s success, and craftsmen too;

1-2-1: and lived in peace and abundance as lords of their lands,

1-2-2: for its house lies near and the path to it is smooth.

1-2-3: and pray as you look upon the stream before you cross.

1-2-4: your shambling curved-horn oxen, your sharp-toothed dog.

1-2-5: But I do not believe yet that Zeus’s wisdom will allow this.

1-2-6: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.

1-3-1: fools do not go even so far; yet, a hundred pieces of wood

1-3-2: they are second but, still, greatly honored.

1-3-3: they dwell under the ground and are called blessed mortals-

1-3-4: sailed on ships, pressed by the need for a better life.

1-3-5: ever watching birds of omen, ever shunning transgression.

1-3-6: his house.  Yes, such fortunes do not last long.

1-4-1: the handle and the whip comes down hard.

1-4-2: to last a whole year with no more work.

1-4-3: Drink all you want when your jar is full or almost empty;

1-4-4: when men’s minds are tricked by the greed for profit,

1-4-5: each year, pay heed to her cry.

1-4-6: The rest wander among men as numberless sorrows,

1-5-1: when Thracian gusts whip thick clouds to frenzy.

1-5-2: Children will not resemble their fathers,

1-5-3: But when the earth covered this race, too,

1-5-4: Men whose justice is straight know neither hunger nor ruin,

1-5-5: When the cold season comes stitch together skins

1-5-6: Start reaping when the Pleiades rise, daughters of Atlas,

1-6-1: and no horror matches a bad one, a glutton

1-6-2: each of Demeter’s gifts in the right season.”

1-6-3: nameless.  Black death claimed them for all their fierceness,

1-6-4: When you eat and bathe do not use vessels

1-6-5: Do not start your sowing on the thirteenth day

1-6-6: or through foolishness to wrong someone’s orphaned children,

2-1-1: early risers harvest fields laden with grain.

2-1-2: it is the sturdiest kind for your oxen when they plow

2-1-3: But I do not believe yet that Zeus’s wisdom will allow this.

2-1-4: Yes, joy will be yours when you draw on your stored supplies,

2-1-5: Let there be order and measure in your own work

2-1-6: who rushes with zeal to plow and plant

2-2-1: and there will be no affection between guest and host

2-2-2: will go to Olympos from the broad-pathed earth

2-2-3: Hear and see, O Zeus!  Let your decrees be straight and fair!

2-2-4: his house.  Yes, such fortunes do not last long.

2-2-5: with ease strengthens the crooked and shrivels the insolent.

2-2-6: and your hardy mules.  And keep in your mind

2-3-1: for its house lies near and the path to it is smooth.

2-3-2: When the cold season comes stitch together skins

2-3-3: and waste time in aimlessness.  Work prospers with care;

2-3-4: then may Zeus send rain three days later,

2-3-5: guard against this day, which can break your heart.

2-3-6: Marry a virgin so you can teach her right from wrong.

2-4-1: When -Zeus willing- counting from the winter solstice

2-4-2: A man should not sleek his body with a woman’s bathwater

2-4-3: early risers harvest fields laden with grain.

2-4-4: The gods keep livelihood hidden from men.

2-4-5: by the man in whose house the season’s plentiful harvest,

2-4-6: Aegis-bearing Zeus has a design for each occasion,

2-5-1: wear a tight-fitting cap to keep your ears dry.

2-5-2: men can sail with safety, for then a ship

2-5-3: and mighty arms grew from the shoulders of their sturdy bodies.

2-5-4: The gods of Olympos made a second race

2-5-5: and dreadful the outcome if you overload your wagon

2-5-6: Bronze were their weapons, bronze their homes

2-6-1: of the man who knows justice and proclaims it before the public.

2-6-2: Again, few men know that after the twentieth of the month

2-6-3: and, worse yet, pays no heed to the words of others.

2-6-4: when nights and days are no longer unequal

2-6-5: except when I went to Euboea from Aulis, where once

2-6-6: because glory and excellence follow riches.

3-1-1: Sons and daughters will be quick to offend their aging parents

3-1-2: Sow fallow land when the soil is still loose;

3-1-3: and mighty arms grew from the shoulders of their sturdy bodies.

3-1-4: Otherwise a day’s labor could bring a man enough

3-1-5: draw the gift of joyous Dionysos into your vats.

3-1-6: The Oath Demon follows the trail of crooked decrees;

3-2-1: that are crooked and then swear that they are fair.

3-2-2: If a man crosses a river with unwashed hands and impure heart,

3-2-3: and, well-stocked, reach spring as it blossoms white,

3-2-4: Bad words flung at others bounce back with double strength.

3-2-5: Ruin trails dishonest profit; keep away from it.

3-2-6: Sons and daughters will be quick to offend their aging parents.

3-3-1: who do not have enough and yet gossip in idleness.

3-3-2: When the crane flies high above in the clouds

3-3-3: that feed on the bees’ labor in wasteful sloth.

3-3-4: Let those who drink never place the serving cup

3-3-5: This way each thing will grow in season, and need will not

3-3-6: do not let malicious Strife curb your zeal for work

3-4-1: A forty-year-old farmhand should follow your oxen

3-4-2: you can choose to have evil, and heaps of it, too,

3-4-3: his offspring will sink and slowly vanish,

3-4-4: cut off the dry from the green of your five-branch

3-4-5: of wanton wrongdoers who plot deeds of harshness.

3-4-6: many high-crested oaks and sturdy firs

3-5-1: by his magnanimous sons.  And I claim that there

3-5-2: with them to keep the rain off; and on your head

3-5-3: or does it against the sturdy wall of some yard.

3-5-4: then wood cut with the ax from trees that shed their leaves

3-5-5: such as goddesses have and the shape of a lovely maiden;

3-5-6: if the lord of Olympos himself grants success in the end,

3-6-1: Do not allow yourself to mock baneful poverty

3-6-2: in this trial; they know neither how the half is greater

3-6-3: Then he ordered widely acclaimed Hephaistos to mix earth with water

3-6-4: Run faster than this wind; finish work and head for home,

3-6-5: stole it back for man from Zeus, who delights in thunder.

3-6-6: the Achaeans weathered a grim storm and then with a great host

4-1-1: Five years past puberty makes a woman a suitable bride.

4-1-2: Store up the tackle compactly inside your house

4-1-3: The people of this earth profit greatly from these days.

4-1-4: If a man by might of hand seizes great wealth,

4-1-5: Earlier, human tribes lived on this earth

4-1-6: you grabbed and carried away as a fat bribe

4-2-1: But the immortals decreed that man must sweat

4-2-2: and shall give no more.  Work, foolish Perses,

4-2-3: Justice howls when she is dragged about by bribe-devouring men

4-2-4: Now when the father finished his grand and wily scheme

4-2-5: Weeping and clothed in mist, she follows through the cities

4-2-6: and soak your body and clothes until you are dripping wet.

4-3-1: even a stalwart man and age him before his time.

4-3-2: in a windy, well-rounded threshing floor

4-3-3: with consummate skill.  Treasure this thought in your heart:

4-3-4: And if a friend is first to displease you by word or deed,

4-3-5: it is best to prune your vines before her arrival.

4-3-6: and thus break the axle and see your load destroyed.

4-4-1: to the delight of mortals throughout the wide earth,

4-4-2: Your face should mirror what is in your mind.

4-4-3: against insolent crime.  Only fools need suffer to learn.

4-4-4: be gracious.  Only scoundrels change their friends.

4-4-5: the gods bear a grudge and bring pains upon him later.

4-4-6: The eye of Zeus sees all, notices all;

4-5-1: Here are the days that come from Zeus the counselor,

4-5-2: Fleecy sheep are weighed down with wool,

4-5-3: it is best to prune your vines before her arrival.

4-5-4: If a man as a witness knowingly swears a false oath

4-5-5: Only Hope stayed under the rim of the jar

4-5-6: and divine will grant her a share of honor.

4-6-1: But rush home as soon as you can;

4-6-2: Then horned and hornless lodgers of the forest,

4-6-3: Do not postpone for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow;

4-6-4: If you do so, do not be the first to do wrong

4-6-5: cruel for men and cruel for sheep.

4-6-6: And I will speak to Perses the naked truth:

5-1-1: Weeping and clothed in mist, she follows through the cities

5-1-2: then easily the gods blot out such a man and reduce

5-1-3: then hire an unmarried worker and look for a female servant

5-1-4: then the swallow, shrill-voiced daughter of Pandion,

5-1-5: But here is some consolation for the man who plows late;

5-1-6: sometimes it comes as evening rain and sometimes as wind

5-2-1: but the woman with her hands removed the great lid of the jar

5-2-2: she bathes her soft skin well and rubs it down

5-2-3: so that you win their favor for your affairs,

5-2-4: benign protectors of mortals that drive harm away

5-2-5: by the man in whose house the season’s plentiful harvest,

5-2-6: For ten-palm wagons cut fellies no longer than three spans;

5-3-1: and, well-stocked, reach spring as it blossoms white,

5-3-2: these blissful heroes for whom three times a year

5-3-3: but does not blow through to a maiden’s tender skin,

5-3-4: but men take it up because their minds are foolish.

5-3-5: if the lord of Olympos himself grants success in the end,

5-3-6: Have plenty of this and then incite brawls and strife

5-4-1: in the gloomy haunts, where his fireless house lies;

5-4-2: and I ask you not to let my advice go unheeded.

5-4-3: Home is safer; what lies out of doors is harmed.

5-4-4: The gods’ herald then gave her voice and called this woman

5-4-5: with white cloaks and, leaving men behind,

5-4-6: and let a young slave follow you with a mattock

5-5-1: and who lie and coax and are fond of secret whispers.

5-5-2: will give them rest as they waste away with toil

5-5-3: Men and gods have a common descent,

5-5-4: But here is some consolation for the man who plows late;

5-5-5: and they became holy spirits that haunt it,

5-5-6: And if a man chances on victims burning in sacrifice,

5-6-1: The same day can be a mother now, a stepmother later.

5-6-2: The gods’ herald then gave her voice and called this woman

5-6-3: than the whole, nor how asphodel and mallow nurture,

5-6-4: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.

5-6-5: the dawn’s arrival sends many men on their way

5-6-6: though I am no expert on navigation and ships,

6-1-1: The chief sacred days are the first, the fourth, and the seventh;

6-1-2: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.

6-1-3: and the heat sears their skin.  Then, ah then,

6-1-4: Find ways to pay your debts and escape hunger.

6-1-5: Again, few men know that after the twentieth of the month,

6-1-6: as they rove the whole earth, clothed in mist.

6-2-1: a rich and plentiful harvest.  They knew no constraint

6-2-2: so that in the grip of an evil winter’s needy impasse

6-2-3: He hid fire.  But Prometheus, noble son of Iapetos,

6-2-4: others over the great gulf of the sea in ships

6-2-5: and makes the sea stormy and too rough for sailing.

6-2-6: or into springs, but always avoid this.

6-3-1: Though kings are wise, I will tell them a fable:

6-3-2: and whenever men mistreat her through false charges

6-3-3: Then you could hang your oar over the smoke of your fireplace

6-3-4: and golden Aphrodite should pour grace round the maiden’s head,

6-3-5: and the son of Kronos, who dwells on ethereal heights,

6-3-6: A sleeplike death subdued them, and every good thing was theirs;

6-4-1: then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea

6-4-2: Home is safer; what lies out of doors is harmed.

6-4-3: and thus break the axle and thus see your load destroyed.

6-4-4: for such wrongdoing harms the poor, and even the noble

6-4-5: and he was not fleeing from great riches and comforts

6-4-6: wear a tight-fitting cap to keep your ears dry.

6-5-1: sits on trees and pours down shrill song

6-5-2: and husband his homestead.  One neighbor envies another

6-5-3: A man should not sleek his body with a woman’s bathwater,

6-5-4: rich in flocks and dear to the blessed gods.

6-5-5: Heed the vengeance of the blessed immortals

6-5-6: If you work, you will be dearer to immortals

6-6-1: Zeus sends the days; observe them in due measure

6-6-2: sixty days have passed, then the star Arcturus

6-6-3: with longing for what one lacks.  Do think of all this.

6-6-4: Then you must feed well the curved-horned oxen you keep in your barn.

6-6-5: and he spoke to her these lordly words:

6-6-6: few will admire what you bring home in a basket.

 

This system was created under the supervision of Apollon.  I am aware that there are repeated lines, and a few really choice lines were not used.  Alas, it wasn’t up to me.  The translation that I used is by Apostolos N. Athanassakis.

 

Apollon Deiradiotes

Deiradiotes has been translated as of the ridge, but is Apollo actually a god of this type of landform?  If I imagine standing on the edge of a cliff with only the winds pushing me back to safety, I imagine that I’d certainly feel His presence there.  However, if you imagine that the winds are an orchestra, He is their conductor.  So, is it the ridge or the winds, or both?

This particular epithet comes from his cult at a site in Argos, which was located above the lower city on a ridge.  There are a few interesting items to note about this cult.  The temple did house an oracle.  The priestess who served as the oracle there was a chaste woman who drank the blood of a sacrificed ram once a month.  It was this drink that served as her communion with Apollon.  As at many oracular sites, there were male priests who then interpreted her oracle for the questioners.

There was also an interesting form of divination in use there that I would like to learn more about.  It was a binary system that used vials of water, and the binary answers were received based on whether the object placed in the vial floated or sank in the water.  Unfortunately, I’ve yet been able to find a source that can tell me what that object was.  I’m not sure what I can think of that would only sometimes float, but I do think it’s fascinating.

For more information about the cult of Apollo Deiradiotes, you can read an article published in 1978 by Johns Hopkins University Press in the Transactions of the American Philological Association.  It was written by Edward Kadletz of the University of Washington and is entitled The Cult of Apollo Deiradiotes.

Δάφνη

Apollon has at least two epithets that concern the bay laurel.  One is Daphneios, which is oft translated as He to Whom the Laurel is Sacred or even just as laurel itself.  The other is Daphnephoros, which I would translate (and I’m not a Greek speaker, just a language lover) as laurel-bearer, but I’ve frequently seen translations such as Carrier of the Bay BranchesHe Who Carries the Laurel, and He Who Carries the Branches of Laurel.  The different translations are all quite similar in that the meaning is the same, but the word choices are different.

IMG_1053
The bay laurel that I’ve been growing for two years.  

The story of Apollon and Daphne explains why the bay laurel is sacred to Apollon.  The story can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  (Quotes are from Classical Mythology, 7th Ed. by Morford & Lenardon, p. 236-238)

In summary, Apollon became enamored with Daphne (daughter of Peneos) due to the powers of Eros.  Apollon had been filled with pride over his victory over Python at Delphi, and when he saw Eros with his bow, he taunted and patronized him.  “What business of yours are brave men’s arms, young fellow?  The bow suits my shoulder; I can take unerring aim at wild animals or at my enemies.  I it was who laid low proud Python, though he stretched over wide acres of ground, with uncounted arrows.  You should be content with kindling the fires of love in some mortal with your torch; do not try to share my glory!”  In reply, Eros said, “Although your arrows pierce every target, Apollo, mine will pierce you.  Just as all animals yield to you, so your glory is inferior to mine.”  Eros then drew and shot two different arrows; he shot a leaden arrow, which repels love, into Daphne, and he shot a golden arrow, which kindles love, into Apollon.  Immediately, Apollon ran after Daphne who in turn ran away from him.  Daphne had been a companion of Artemis, and her father had acquiesced to her desire to remain a virgin in the forest just as Zeus had granted this favor to Artemis.  As Apollon’s heart burned with love for Daphne, his own oracle was influenced by this passion, and he pursued her with the mislead hope that he would marry her.  They ran and he called out to her and she refused him at each turn.  He felt that their chase was like that of hunter and prey, of two enemies, which he could not understand as he chased her in love not in enmity.  He called caution to her, he did not want her to injure herself during their chase.  He called to her that if she would just run more slowly so as not to be hurt, he would chase more slowly as well.  During their chase, he thought that perhaps she did not know who he was, that perhaps she was running away because she thought him a mere mortal, a peasant boy who was beneath her.  He called out to her his own praises as he ran after her, trying to convince her to stop running with his words.  Eventually, Daphne was sapped of strength, and she called on her father for help, “Help me, Father!  If a river has power; change me and destroy my beauty which has proved too attractive!”  As she finished speaking, her limbs grew leaden as the arrow which had pierced her heart.  Bark began to spread over her body, and her hair turned into leaves.  Her arms became branches, and her feet turned to roots that sank into the earth.  Eros’s arrow does not depend on beauty or form.  Even as a tree, Apollon still loved her.  When he touched the tree, he still felt her heart beating beneath the bark.  He circled her branches with his arms and embraced her.  He kissed her bark with his lips.  He then said to her, “Since you cannot be my wife, you shall be my tree.  Always you shall wreathe my hair, my lyre, my quiver…and as my young locks have never been shorn, so may you forever be honored with green leaves!”  Daphne then nodded and accepted her fate.

Perhaps due to the intense spirit of Daphne, the bay laurel is said to be a plant full of fire.  Either because of this or because it is sacred to Apollon, who is the Averter of Evil, it is said to repel bad (evil?  negative?) daemons.

It has long been a symbol of victory with laurel crowning the victors at the Pythian Games and at musical contests.

Bay laurel leaves are frequently (though not required) used to make khernips.  I’m of a type that does not like to jump on the bandwagon for anything, so I’ve tried other methods, but eventually I did start doing what I expect most people do – extinguishing a burning dried bay leaf in water.

 

 

For love or profit?

It has recently been brought to my attention that some people are wondering about where the money earned from the sale of He Who Rules with Honey will go.

The truth is, I’m not entirely sure, but it won’t be my pocket.

For now, I’ve been mainly concerned with accumulating material – through my own writing and the submissions of all of you fine people.  I don’t want this book to be a vanity project – ie. I don’t want the book to contain mostly my work.  I just want to fill in gaps.

Step two will be constructing the book.  I’ll admit that my imagination has started skipping ahead to step two.  I keep imagining how things will look, the order that things will be in, where art will go, and the list goes on.

Step three is actual production.  I was informed after I decided to do this that the monetary cost of such an adventure is a bit more than I had thought.  The first revenue from sales of the book will need to cover the excess of what I can afford.  After that, I’m open.

I’m not sure that I want to say that all proceeds will go to x charity because there are many worthwhile charities.  The charities that I currently support through other means are Kiva and Doctors Without Borders, so these are likely contenders.  If contributors want to include the name of a charity that they are partial to with their submission, it would be very nice to just be able to cycle through a list of all of the charities that our contributors want to support.  Actually, I think I like that idea the best – off to edit the CfS once again!

 

A birthday (or three)

Today is one of my birthdays.  I’ve never celebrated it, yet I am some years aware of its passing.  I am ethnically Jewish (half), and today is Shevat 24 – my birthday.  What this means varies from person and practice to person and practice.  Traditionally, birthdays were not very important to Jews – why celebrate the beginning of your life before you’ve actually done anything worth celebrating?  Traditionally, dates of death were far more important as they represent the culmination of all one has achieved.  However, in some traditions, people now believe that on your birthday, you are awash in the special energy that that god (for lack of a name) invested in creating you, so you are especially endowed with the ability to bless others.

My secular birthday is near the middle of February.  Its passing will be marked, and people who can’t see me on the actual day will make some effort to see or talk to me before or after.  I will receive gifts and cards and be taken out to dinner.  I don’t feel the huge shifting of my life that some people feel around their birthdays, but we are not all the same, and we don’t all feel the same things.  That’s ok.  I will grow older.  I will evaluate my life and what I’m doing whether I want to or not.

My birthday in a Hellenic context is Anthesterion 24, which is March 3rd this year.  I admit to a little confusion as to why my birthday is exactly a month off from the Jewish calendar when they are both lunar calendars, and while it could be an error in my calculation (I only do the calculations for the Hellenic calendar myself), it could also have to do with the insertion of months that both the Jewish and Hellenic calendars have in order to keep the months somewhat in the correct seasons.

The folks over at Huffington Post think that we owe our tradition of birthday cakes with candles to Hellenic custom.  While it is true that round cakes lit with candles are a traditional offering to Artemis, I don’t really know if that has any connection to our birthday cakes.  In my mind, the connection that I can see is that it might be a way of thanking Artemis for the protection a girl-child has received for another year.    For those who are parents to daughters, this brings to mind a beautiful ritual for your daughter every year of her childhood.  After blowing out her candles, she can bring a piece of her cake to Artemis’s shrine as an offering of gratitude before commencing with the rest of her birthday celebration.  Alternatively, the cake could be cut, and the piece for Artemis could contain a lit candle, which could burn down on Artemis’s shrine while the birthday celebration continues.