Hekate’s Deipnon – an Overview

Hello all! Today I’m going to be talking about Hekate’s Deipnon, and how to celebrate it. I’ll include both historical practices, and modern inventions for our changing times!

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If you’re looking for general information on the Goddess Hekate and how to worship her, check out my blog post here!

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☆.。.:* What is it? *:.。.☆

Hekate’s Deipnon (also known as Hekate’s Supper) is a once monthly Hellenic festival/ritual honoring the Goddess Hekate and the spirits that follow her. This festival is a traditional way to end the month, and leave behind that which you do not wish to bring forward with you.

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There are a few key components to properly celebrating this festival, which I’ll outline below. Not all of them are necessary every month, but are good to go over regardless.

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☆.。.:* When is it? *:.。.☆

The Deipnon should be celebrated on the new moon, and is the first of three festivals to end the Hellenic month (and bring in the next). The other two, Noumenia and Agathós Daímōn, will be covered in later posts.

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Now, you’d think that the timing for Hekate’s Deipnon would be easy to figure out, right? If you’re going by our modern understanding of days, the Deipnon should fall whenever you look up at the sky at night and see no moon.

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Unfortunately, the Ancient Greeks had a slightly different understanding of time than we do. For them, new days would begin at sundown. In this manner, the night would actually occur before the day, instead of the other way around. This means that the Deipnon starts at the sundown a new moon is set to occur, and ends at the sundown of the next day.

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I use this moon calendar app to keep track of this, though there are plenty of others that I’m sure work just fine. You can also buy physical calendars with moon phases on them if you’re so inclined. Either way, tracking the moon phases is fairly instrumental to observing these festivals. There’s nothing worse than being caught unprepared on the Deipnon (speaking from experience).

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☆.。.:* Cleaning *:.。.☆

Before anything really begins, you’re going to want to do a cleaning of your space. If we’re going by the Hellenic understanding of the days, this would most likely be the day before the Deipnon. Whether you’re cleaning your house or just a single room depends on your living situation, but either way you’ll want to give particular attention to your altar.

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Collect all the (biodegradable) trash bits in a container somewhere. These will be part of your ritual offerings later. If you sweep, collect the dirt you pick up here. Traditionally, you should also be collecting offering leftovers throughout the month for this same purpose. For me, that usually equates to burnt matches and incense ashes. However, it could be any number of things.

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☆.。.:* The Supper *:.。.☆

With nightfall comes the time for the actual food part of Hekate’s Supper. The meal in question is to be put together and served at a crossroads for Hekate and the dead. When you bring your food, you’ll also want to bring whatever droppings you’ve collected from your cleaning, as this is where they’ll be offered.

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At the crossroads, some people like to recite an Orphic hymn to Hekate, or some other historical praise for the Goddess. Some such writings can be found here.  Others prefer to recite their own prayers, or say nothing at all. I haven’t seen anything that says a prayer is necessary here, but I personally find it nice.

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After any prayers or hymns have been recited, it’s time to offer what you have brought. Some traditional offerings include: garlic, eggs, fish, leeks, onions, and breads or cake.

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It is important to note that (traditionally) you should not take back the plate that you have offered the food on. For this reason, some people offer it on large leaves such as banana leaves, or don’t bring plates at all. A tree stump or large rock might be a nice substitute for a plate, as it can remain there month after month.

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Once your offerings are done, you should turn and leave the crossroads without looking back. If you look back, it is said that you may catch one of the spirits eating and incur bad luck from them, acquire bad luck in general, or anger the Goddess Hekate.

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☆.。.:* Modern Substitutions *:.。.☆

Instead of leaving food out each month, some modern Hellenic polytheists prefer to donate to a local food drive or soup kitchen. This is because of a quote in the comic play ‘Plutus’ by Aristophanes.

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The quote reads as follows:

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◤                                                        ◥

“Ask Hekate 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.”

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It is important to note that we cannot be sure if this quote means that Hekate pities the poor that eat the Deipnon offerings, or if it is meant to emphasize the direness of their situation by alluding to anger they may have incurred from the Goddess. Since we cannot be positive either way, the interpretation is really up to the individual to decide.

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☆.。.:* Excessive Miasma *:.。.☆

The Deipnon is also a time for ritual purification. In Ancient Greece, this is when a particular ritual would be carried out to rid a household of excessive miasma. I am outlining this here, as well as some modern interpretations with the expectation that none of you will attempt the historical process. For more information on miasma and what it entails, please check out my blog on Khernips.

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Historically, the Ancient Greeks would bring a (preferably black) dog or puppy into their household before the Deipnon. Every one of the family would then pet the dog as a way to transfer their miasma to it. Finally, the dog would be sacrificed on the Deipnon as a way to rid the household of miasma. As black dogs are sacred to Hekate, this would also serve as a form of offering. This ritual most likely didn’t occur every month, and was reserved for rare times in which the family had incurred an excessive amount of miasma.

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As a modern interpretation, some Hellenic polytheists will use fake dogs for this ritual. These could be made out of ceramic, wax, or even be stuffed animals. That said, this is not a part of the Deipnon that is by any means necessary, and many choose not to practice it at all.

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☆.。.:* The Day *:.。.☆

The day of the Deipnon is fairly relaxed. During this time, you might do some more cleaning and prepare for Noumenia the following day. This is a good time to tie up loose ends from the month, and finish paying bills. You might also choose this time to schedule appointments and plan days for the upcoming month. Finally, this is also when many Hellenic Polytheists choose to empty their Kathiskos.

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☆.。.:* References *:.。.☆

● Patheos – Observing Hekate’s Deipnon

● Baring The Aegis – Deipnon Noumenia And Agathos Daimon

● Witchipedia – Hekate’s Deipnon

● Theoi – Hekate Goddess Of

One thought on “Hekate’s Deipnon – an Overview

  1. Pingback: Hekate – an Overview – mothspeaks

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