Monday, April 26, 2010


The festival of Mounukhia is concurrent with Beltane this year (May 1, Mounkhion 16, near the full moon) and I will be up to my knees in mud at a pagan festival, so I thought I'd go ahead and share some information about Mounukhia a few days early.

The Mounukhia festival honors Artemis as her titles Potnia Theron (the Mistress of Beasts) and Artemis Fosforos (Artemis the Light-Bringer). It begins with a pompe in which the people carry round cakes in which small torches, or dadia, are stuck. These cakes are called amphiphontes (round-shining). They are offered to Artemis in thanks for the lives of beasts that were killed during the hunt, and for the light of the moon. Cupcakes studded with birthday candles make a simple and thoughtful substitute.
Mousa, sing of Artemis, sister of Hekatos (the far-shooter), Parthenos Iokheaira (the virgin who delights in arrows), who was fostered with Apollon. She waters her horses from Meles [a river in Lydia] deep in reeds, and swifty drives her all-golden chariot through Smyrna to vine-clad Klaros where Apollon Argyrotoxos (god of the silver bow), sits waiting for Hekatebolon Iokheaira (far-shooting delighter in arrows).
And so hail to you, Artemis, in my song and to all goddesses as well. Of you first I sing and with you I begin; now that I have begun with you, I will turn to another song.

~Homeric Hymn 9 to Artemis (trans. Evelyn-White)
Have a joyous Mounukhia!

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