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Noumenia

(This page is a work in progress.  Cara is the primary author and editor)

The Noumenia is the first day of the visible New Moon and is held in honor of Selene, Apollon Noumenios, Hestia and the other household Gods*.  The Noumenia is also considered the second day in a three day household celebration held each lunar month - Hekate's Deipnon is on the last day before the first slice of visible moon and is the last day in a lunar month, then the Noumenia which marks the first day in a lunar month, followed by the Agathos Daimon (Good Spirits) on the second day of the Lunar month.

The Noumenia is a celebration of the start of a new month and seeks blessings for the household.   Offerings such as incense or honey cakes are made to Selene, Apollon, Hestia, and your household Gods at your family altar.  A recipe for Honey cake is found on the Hellenion members site.

For example, the routine some members follows to celebrate the Noumenia is:


Decorate their home with fresh flowers, evergreen branches, or other seasonal decorations.
Serve a big family meal and eat it at the dining room table.
Create a list of family goals or projects to get done or start within the next lunar month.
Bake a special dessert that you only make on this day - such as Honey Cake.
Replace the ingredients in the Kathiskos** with fresh water, oil, and fruit, and bits of food.

Shown in Photo:  Vase of flowers, fresh Kathiskos with jade Zeus Ktesios figurine, list of family goals for the month, and a potted olive tree where the contents of the jar are disposed of each Deipnon.


*  Traditionally, the household Gods consist of Hestia, Zeus, Hermes, Hekate,  Apollon Ageieus, your family's Agathos Diamons and can include any ancestors you honor.  However, households are not limited to those Gods and many Hellenic Polytheists do honor more Gods at their family altar.    For more information on the basics of household worship please see http://www.labrys.gr/index.php?l=householdworship

** Directions for Making a Kathiskos in honour of Zeus Ktesios

Additional information:

Hellenic worship makes notice of the New Moon, because it marks the beginning of the month, rather than the more obvious full moon, although many Hellenic festivals are held during or near the time of the full moon.  Adkins and Adkins say: “The first day of the month was new moon day (noumēnia), recognized as a holy day throughout the Greek world.  It was so holy that at Athens, no other festival ever took place that day.  It was celebrated by a public ritual on the Acropolis and by private offerings of frankincense to statues of the gods” (Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece, p. 351).  Herodotus says that, in Sparta, meat, barley meal and wine were distributed to the citizens by the Kings on the Noumenia (Herodotus, 6.57).

What might modern worshipers do to commemorate this important day?  Like the ancient Athenians, you can burn frankincense and read the Orphic and Homeric hymns to Selēnē.  The thin crescent moon, the mēniskos, is often depicted in religious art and suggests the horns of consecration.  In the Orphic Hymn to Selene, She is said to be “bull horned” (taurokeros). 

Orphic Hymn 9 to Selene says that she “Delights in stillness and in the kindly, auspicious night.”  Also, many of the Orphic hymns, and this one especially, reminds us that the arrival and passage of each new month is a reflection of the cycle of lives, with birth following the period of dark death.  So as She is “a sure token and a sign to mortal men” (Homeric Hymn to Selene), so we can trust in the cycle of rebirth and renewal.


Noumenia

I have seen the moon
thin curved glow
hovering on delicate breeze
divine above the pink horizon
gentle horns pointing
toward tomorrow
We are all re-born now
owning no past
Yesterday is cleansed
complete
Greetings to you,
Goddess!
Guide us around
the next cycle of life
until we meet again
May we use it wisely

prayer by Melissa Feb 2011
in honor of the Noumenia of Anthesterion

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