Three thought forms about the Demetrian Wheel in one

October 6, 2008

Thought Form One

An interesting tidbit from a website that goes over all the festivals we know of that the Greeks in and around Athens did – including Demeter’s of stuff….

“The heat of the summer is past its peak and the harvest is nearing completion. This is the month of Hekatombaion (nominally mid-July to mid-August), which began the Athenian year. (Although other parts of Greece began their year at different times – this calendar follows the Lakonian practice of beginning at approximately the Autumn Equinox with the month Boedromion.)”

Heat of summer is past huh? Not likely in Northern CA. We are only now heading into that concept, and in point of fact we will get a heat wave most years at the mid to end of October… but the harvest being over – yup… that’s now. So yes, I was right to move the calendar to fit the location.

Oh… and in a lovely little tidbitness… Jennifer Reif moved The Lesser Mysteries herself. All the references I have found place them in early Anthesterion which means January or February for us Georgian calendar folks, so the precedent has already been set to rearrange to make the material fit the needs. – ok, I did know that, but its always nice to have data that I can point to!

oh… source material – this site which gives this explanation about where all the data is coming from…

The following descriptions of the festivals are a slightly edited version of Seasonal Festivals of the Greeks and Romans, a series of articles by Apollonius Sophistes, reprinted here with his very kind permission. For the full text, which includes references and a large number of Roman festivals not included here, along with much other valuable information such as the article Neoclassical Celebratory Sacrifice, please visit The Omphalos.

and because I am like this… I went digging to learn more about the author of the website and information that I found so usuful…  Apollonius Sophistes is/was…

John “Apollonius” Opsopaus (1950-) Apollonius has practiced Magick and Divination since the 1960s, and his fiction (hymns, poetry, and prose) and nonfiction (rituals, translations, divination systems, essays) have been published in various Magickal and Neopagan magazines (over 30 publications). Also, based on years of research, he has designed the Pythagorean Tarot and has written the comprehensive Guide to the Pythagorean Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001). He frequently presents workshops on Hellenic Magick and Neopaganism, Pythagoreanism, Theurgy, Divination, etc. In the early 1990s Dr. Opsopaus founded the Omphalos (, a networking organization for Graeco-Roman Neopagans, and his Biblioteca Arcana website ( has won numerous awards and is featured in several Internet guides. Opsopaus is a member of CAW (Coordinator, Scholars Guild), Hellenion, ADF, PEN, etc. He is listed under “Who’s Who in the Wiccan Community” in Gerina Dunwich’s Wicca Source Book (Citadel, 1996). As a faculty member of the Grey School of Wizardry, Apollonius is: Dean, Dept. of Ceremonial Magick; Dean, Dept. of Mathemagicks; and Professor of Ceremonial Magick, Lore, Mathemagicks, Divination, Alchemy, Dark Arts.

Thought Form Two:

Looking over the list of festivals, I realized that people have been picking and choosing what festivals in addition to the Lesser and Greater Mysteries they wanted to celebrate as the Demetrian Wheel of the year. Cool! Which means, I want to poke at other rituals/festivals to add or subtract for “my” wheel. Like oh… I dont know… how about the festival in honor of Poseidon – who gets honored as Demeter’s Lover/Partner/Husband and father of at least one of her children? yeah, soooo adding that one into the list. And there is a very important one to Athene where you clean the statue and make new robes for her… I think that might be important too – since there isn’t a specific date listed for Demeter’s statue to be cleaned and all that jazz.

Thought Form Three:

And the kicker to change my world and lock the pieces into place!

“Barley can be grown in spring or winter, and tends to create the best results when planted early in the season. For winter barley, October is the best time to plant. For spring barley, plant in January. Barley grows best in cool ground–ideal temperatures hover right around freezing. Arrange the seeds so you have about 20-25 barley plants per square foot of space.”

duh. of course everything in her calendar cycles around frakkin October and January… its cycling around the damn Barley – not the veggies or the fruits… but her grain – her main symbol… Barley.

bugger me for an over thinking prat.

Spring planting for Barley in January would correspond to the Lesser Mysteries while October planting would correspond to the Greater Mysteries.

right. back to the way that they did it because it worked. feh.

yes ma’am.


2 Responses to “Three thought forms about the Demetrian Wheel in one”

  1. zoe said

    You might want to give the Jennifer Reif book a much closer look. I went and pulled all her sources, and they were dense pains in the !@##$%. For example ” A Sacred Calendar of Eleusis” by Sterling Dow; Robert F. Healey is a couple of archelogists, and all of the Greek is in the Greek alphabet. I had to have a friend prounce the words, as I am dependant on the latin transliterations. (you can score the book on ILL via the World Cat, I live in San Jose and got it out of the San Jose State library.)
    So for the village of Eleusis, the calendar was in stone. It’s available for modern scholars to take plaster copies of and debate what sacrifice was for what festival, etc. Reif doesn’t have to move any calendar dates. The dates she gives on page 77 are fine. And bluntly – the months swing so much compared to the solar calendar that for vauge dates like the lesser mysteries, each colony can do what works for them.
    “The Attic Festivals of Demeter and Their Relation to the Agricultural Year” By Allaire Chandor is still the go-to book all the scholars cite. Again, pre-ploughing right now, sowing is your call dependant on local moisture. Just get it done before the solstice, or you will need rain to the top of an ox’s hoove to grow the grain. (Geoponica recommends something like that). Thus the Roman’s try to have sowning DONE by Saturnelia.

    Anyhoo…. it was 90 last weekend. I agree that article must have been written by someone in Canada, not someone living in a Med climate, growning grapes etc.

  2. Oh I am not putting Reif’s Book down… though I admit I was grumpy in general at the time I was working through this set of thought forms. Perhaps a better way to say that thought form would be that she ‘choose’ the later spring date the calendar assignments can swing to and I am choosing the earlier. Does that make sense?

    One of the blessings for me, of this period of research, was that it helped get me out of “one true way” thinking. I am not generally prone to it, but in this case with access to academic work, theoretical writing and then Reif’s as the only book I have seen to date to give a concrete vision of a contemporary Demetrian spiritual practice… well… I got a little locked into thinking “it must be this way!” and while I respect her work and her efforts to create suck a process… I need to find my own way… even if it leads me awfully close to where she went 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by! (and for the hint on where to get ” A Sacred Calendar of Eleusis” – that’s been making me nuts!)


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