This November, 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 15th day, approximately, is the Full Moon and is for Selene, Artemis and Hekate (and other lunar deities you may like to add in there). Because the lunar month changes between 28-30 days in length, the full moon doesn’t always fall on the 15th – this complicates the monthly count a little bit, but I count the literal full moon as the 15th whatever day it falls on otherwise. This month it happens to actually be the 15th day, and it falls on the night of the 3rd of December and continues through the day of the 4th.
Selene, Hekate and Artemis
Selene is the Titan Goddess of the moon and like Helios is seen as the literal sun, Selene is seen as the literal moon – though They both also have other forms, and in some traditions are not the literal manifestations of these heavenly bodies. When shown in humanoid form, the moon is shown as a crescent on Her crown or as the fold of Her raised and shining cloak.
She is the mother of many, including the Horai the Goddesses of the four seasons, Pandeia Goddess of the full moon, the Nemean Lion and Narcissus whom She bore by Endymion. She is also mother of the 50 Menai, who are the Goddesses of the 50 lunar months of each Olympiad (4 year period).
Selene has a bit of a gleeful vengeful side to Her, as evidenced by Her happiness when She saw that Medea was forlorn over Her lost love. Selene seemingly does not enjoy being drawn down by mortal witches. Her wrath is shown when She causes the death of Ampelos, who foolishly compared himself to Her. It is said that the dark patches on the moon were created during the war with the giants, when one attacked Selene and his horns gouged deep scars into Her own crescent horns. She is also named a Goddess of childbirth, as it is believed that only did She have easy births, but women who labour on the full moon have an easier birth too.
Hekate and Artemis share so many aspects that it is easier in this shared ritual post to discuss Them together. They are both of course lunar deities, but They are not in any way manifestations or personifications of the moon as Selene is. Their relationship to the moon is usually in reference to Their conflation with Selene (ie. They are all the same Goddess, or merge to create a two or threefold lunar Goddess). This was most often cited during the Roman period, but there are some references in early Greek literature as well – namely any story involving Medea. Hekate is also connected to the dark moon through the Deipnon of course.
Both of Them are hunters, and are followed by hounds, owls are sacred to Them (and one assumes all animals that are hunters, especially night time hunters). This connects Them both to the night and the moon as well, which is of course of help to Them during the hunt. Hekate is a night Goddess Herself, as the daughter of the starry night (sometimes said to be daughter of Nyx Herself), Goddess of witchcraft and Goddess of the underworld.
Though there is not a huge amount of reference to Artemis and Hekate being lunar deities, They are referenced enough that is not something we can ignore. The Triplicate of Selene-Artemis-Hekate (which is not the same as the maiden-mother-crone Triple Goddess) is worth honouring at the least.
Full Moon Ritual
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 follow with a hymn and libation to each of the three Goddesses, and end with another libation to Hestia.
A good libation for Selene is milk, as it said that the place where She lay with Endymion holds a spring full of milk (or some milk looking liquid). The same libation can be made to Hekate and Artemis as well. Offerings can include the usual cakes and breads, honey cakes/cookies in the shape of a bull or bull horns/crescent would be perfect! An offering of honey is also good. Incense, I personally like to use eucalyptus for this ritual, because of its lunar properties.
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.
To Selene, shining Goddess, bright moon in the sky,
Bull horned queen, riding long-maned horses far and high,
Hail mother of Narcissus, lover of Endymion sleeping,
She who favours the forlorn women, heartbroken weeping,
Mother of the seasons, of the lunar months and of dew,
Come to us this full moon night, this sweet libation is for you. Pour libation.
Hail to Hekate, Titan Goddess of the night,
Hail to Artemis, virgin Goddess of the wild
Both of the moon, shining in the sky so bright,
Of childbirth, protectors of mother and child,
Huntresses bold, running with arrow and quiver,
With horns blaring, and the baying of your hound,
A sound that echoes, and causes men to shiver,
In the dark and shadows, the moons light abound.
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.
Drink whatever remains of the libation offering (if it is potable) and eat what is left of the offerings, it’s good to share a meal or drink with the Gods. Spend some time in after ritual practice, being the full moon and a ritual dedicated to moon deities, it is probably best to spend a little time this night on divination or meditation.
My Full Moon
I have never done this ritual before. I have done rituals to each of these Goddesses before, and Hekate and Selene on the full moon and the Noumenia – but never all three of Them together. It was an interesting one, and I felt the need to make sure I placed a touch more emphasis on Selene than Hekate and Artemis. Selene is the moon, and as such She should have the bulk of the full moon ritual. This is why I chose to have a hymn to Selene alone, and a shared hymn for Artemis and Hekate (plus the fact They share so many aspects, mixing Their hymn together made a lot of sense).