This November and December, 2017, is the first time I will be trying to observe every single ritual that I have added into my personalised Men Kata Theion, or Sacred Month.
The 24th day is for Melinoe, daughter of Persephone and Zeus. As the Goddess of nightmares, day 24 is a good fit for Her, because according to Works and Days, the 24th gets worse towards evening. The 24th, this lunar month, begins on the evening of the 12th of December, and continues through the day of the 13th.
Melinoe is the daughter of Persephone and Zeus, and very little is known about Her. According to the Orphic hymns though, the conception of Melinoe happened through trickery. Zeus disguised Himself as Hades to lay with Persephone. Because of this She is described as being both of Zeus and Hades, and this is why She is half white coloured and half black coloured, representing Her chthonic and ouranic origins. In some versions of Her myths, Her colouring is because Hades flays Her out of anger of who Her father is. When seen She sometimes appears to shift between a shadowy figure, a full figure and a shining figure.
Melinoe is considered by some to be an aspect of Hekate, as like Hekate, She leads the host of the dead in the night. In Her nightly wanderings She strikes fear into all men. This is perhaps why She is also seen as a Goddess of nightmares and madness. She also presided over propitiations offered to the dead.
We begin with the usual Hellenic ritual forms, preparation, procession and cleansing with Khernips. This is followed by the lighting of a ritual fire or candle/s, and the tossing of barley if you happen to do that. Then we call on the Gods to attend the ritual. Our first hymn and libation are to Hestia, then we offer a hymn and libation to Melinoe, followed with offerings and incense. We end with another libation to Hestia.
I call on the Gods of the Hellenes,
Deathless Ones, most glorious,
Chthonic, Oceanic, Ouranic,
Protogenoi, Titanic and Olympian.
Attend this rite and bear witness
Hail to Hestia, First and Last
Hearth Keeper, Guardian of the Home,
Accept this our first libation. Pour libation.
I call on the daughter of Persephone, Chthonic Melinoe,
Goddess of the underworld, who men don’t want to know,
Mistress of two worlds, limbs both black and white,
Seen in full, then shadowy, then shining bright with light,
Wandering the world nightly, leading the deathly host,
Followed by a horde of many an underworld ghost,
Lady of madness, bringing nightmares in the night,
Filling the hearts of men with fear, with every glancing sight,
Saffron robed Goddess, attend this propitiatory rite,
Accept this offering, protect us from any angry wight.
Pour libation. Light incense. Say any prayers you have, and give any offerings.
Glory to the Theoi, I offer my thanks to you. Pour libation.
And to Hestia, first and last. Pour libation.
This is a chthonic ritual, which means it should be holocaust and all food and drink prepared for the rite should be offered to the Gods and not eaten or drunk by humans. Spend some time in after ritual practice, for Melinoe I would suggest staying indoors, maybe looking at photos of your dead or making offerings to the dead. Meditation is probably a good idea as well.
My 24th Day Ritual
This is the first fully chthonic ritual I have done for the month, and the rest of the month will all be chthonic as well. I am glad because I am far more at ease with chthonic rituals, I am more used to not eating or drinking during a ritual. This is also the first time I have done a ritual to Melinoe alone – usually She is part of my Hekate rituals. It was interesting, but not too much different than many of my Hekate rituals are so nothing surprising either. So, despite the fact this is a dark ritual to a kind of scary Goddess, it was also a comforting and comfortable one.