My version of a Demetrian Wheel of the Year

October 6, 2008

So after much digging and not a little bit of hair pulling, I have a schedule of festivals that makes sense to me. Whether this works for anyone else? That is not up to me… feel free to play with it and see what works for you. I will keep posting notes as the year progresses.

Demetrian Wheel of the Year – a Version by Catherine Pennington

Two notes:

a. please be aware that I have bolded the date line for the date I am going to use in my cycle but I have also included the other author’s info underneath even when the dates clash, so that I have a record of what both authors (Reif and Apollonius) think.

b. I have not included all the notes about each date or festival here… those are listed in the first two posts. this is just about the dates in the cycle and enough info to remind me/us what the frakk its all about.

The Calendar:

Proerosia — 5th October

This is a festival for Demeter’s blessings in preparation for the ploughing and sowing at the beginning of the agricultural season (proerosia = things before the time of tillage)

October 7 Rites of Proerosia Preplowing rites. Blessings and magic for to

prepare the sacred field

Stenia — 9th October

a nocturnal women’s festival for Demeter and Persephone in preparation for the Thesmophoria. The women engage in Aiskhrologia (foul language, abuse), hurling insults at one another to commemorate the way in which Iambe made the grieving Demeter laugh.

October 15 Stenia Festival

Bawdy humor, sacred sexuality. Barren

Thesmophoria — 11th-13th October

The Thesmophoria is a celebration of Sporetos (Seed-time), the autumn sowing, dedicated to Demeter and restricted to women.

1st Day: Anodos (Ascent) — 11th October

During the Thesmophoria proper the women camp for three days in the Thesmophorion, the hillside sanctuary of Demeter Thesmophoros.

October 22 Thesmophoria Proper

Celebration of Demeter’s sacred laws. Remembering our divinity.

2nd Day: Nesteia (Fast) — 12th October

On the second day the women sit on the ground and abstain from all solid food in humility and sympathy for Demeter’s mourning (when she also refused a chair), but also to transfer their strength to the soil.

3rd Day: Kalligeneia (Fair Offspring) — 13th October

Nightfall brings the official beginning of the third day, and there is a torch-light ceremony, for Demeter sought Persephone by torch light.

October 23Rites of Nestia & Kalligenia

N = The Sadness. Persephone leaves Plouton/Hades and the underworld.

K = The Rejoicing. Ascent of the Maiden. Reunion of Demeter & Kore. Planting.

Poseidea — 8th December

The month of Poseideon was dedicated to Poseidon and the eighth day was especially sacred to him.

Festival of Haloa – January 10

Celebration of new green growth in both cultivated field and wild nature.

Haloa — 26th December

Most likely the Haloa is a celebration of the pruning of the vines and the tasting of the wine after its first fermentation, or it may be to encourage the growth of corn from the seed. It is named after the halos (the circular threshing-floor) and is in honor of Demeter and Dionysos.

Lesser Mysteries of Eleusis January /February

Initiation in the Lesser Mysteries is a prerequisite to initiation in the Greater (Eleusinian) Mysteries; they accomplish the preliminary purification of the Mystos (Initiate). These secret rites belong to Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, and the oldest of the Rhea-Demeter-Kore triad, but no more can be said about them.

April 12 The Lesser Mysteries

Ceremony of the whole festival cycle. Purification. Consecration to Demeter.

March 1 Festival of Chloaia

Festival of flowers, of Verdant Demeter and Kore, and of the green earth.

Anthesteria — 11th-13th Jan / Feb

This is the “Festival of Flowers,” when the first shoots of blossom appear, and is one of the oldest Greek festivals, dating back to the second millennium BCE; it was also called the Older Dionysia. At this time the vines are pruned again and the second fermentation of the wine is complete; it is now ready for drinking, and so this festival complements the Oskhophoria, which celebrates the vintage.

Plynteria — 25th Thargelion April / May

This is the festival for washing (plynteria hiera) the ancient statue [of Athena]

Skirophoria — 12th May / June

The Skirophoria (also known as the Skira) occurs at the time of the cutting and threshing of the grain. The Skiron is where, according to tradition, the first sowing took place.

June 7 Kalamaia

the Threshing. Freeing the seed grain from the chaff, honoring Triptolemos.

June 28 Skira Festival

The Maiden’s descent. In love, Plouton and Persephone unite. The grain is stored. The fallow period begins and in the following months, Demeter becomes the Crone.

Great Mysteries of Eleusis — 15th-21 August / September

In origin the Great (Eleusinian) Mysteries were a festival for the autumn sowing. They are, of course, mysteries, so some things about them remain concealed, in particular, the contents of the Sacred Kistai (boxes) and the actual initiation of the Mystai (Initiates). Anyone can be initiated, regardless of age or sex.

The festival is conducted by the Arkhon Basileus and four assistants. Two of these, the Hierophantes and Dadoukhos (Torch Bearer), wear the ependytes (a long-sleeved tunic ornamented at the hem and shoulders), headband and Thrakian knee-boots; they carry one or two long torches. Further, there are Mystagogoi (Initiate Guides), who guide individual postulants, often their friends, through the initiation.


4 Responses to “My version of a Demetrian Wheel of the Year”

  1. Inês said

    I don’t have a Wheel just for Demeter, but I’ve been celebrating the goddess um Spring Equinox (here it occurs in September) and in February – harvest time in my country. It’s working very well.

    I worship Demeter for two years now and I’m very happy to read your blog and see a lot of things in common with my own pratices.

  2. Cat Tourville said

    Your wheel of the year looks almost word for word what is written on page 77 of Mysteries of Demeter – Rebirth of the Pagan Way by Jennifer Reif. You might want to give her credit.

    • Jennifer Reif said

      I wrote the book, “Mysteries of Demeter.”
      The “author” of this blog entry is not the author
      of most of the above. I am. Tell tale signs,
      such as using the phrases Demetrian
      Paganism and Demetrian Wheel of the Year
      were my inventions. Calling Nestia, “the
      sadness” and Kalligenia, “the rejoicing” were
      my words from my book. Sources for much of
      these yearly holy days come “The Attic Festivals of Demer of Demeter and Their Relation to the Agricultural
      Year: by Allair Chandor Brumfield, and “A Sacred
      Calendar of Eleusis,” by Dow and Healy, and many
      more sources.

      Ten years of my life went into
      writing this book, including three seasons of
      planting and harvesting grain. For the author of this
      blog to say that she wrote this is against
      my Library of Congress copyright. I am
      just considering now whether or not to tell
      my publisher.

      • Jennifer – My apologies I had referenced you in the earlier post: and apparently * completely* spaced on carrying that reference over to the follow up post. I am very sorry. Your book is what got me thinking about the wheel and its aspects as well as so other elements of how I think about Demeter, I refer people to it on a regular basis. It is a wonderful addition to any magical library and a great source book for work on Demeter.

        … This blog actually needs to get taken down because I’ve moved everything over to my site – but I will make the up dates to the pages over there momentarily.


        (lacking in all the old codes to this blog so I’m sigining in as a guest)

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