Oaths to the Virgins

[I’m back from another Silent Hekatombaiôn.]

This year is proving to be a year of change in direction for me. Since I’m turning 3 decades next year, I guess my brain is steering me to make significant turns in my lifestyle and worldview to prepare me for the big 30.

Which is why, this year, I made two big oaths to Artemis and Athêna. My oath to the latter is actually a renewal, but the one to Artemis is fairly new.

Now, Artemis and I aren’t the closest: She loves the wild places, but I’m often nowhere close to the wilderness. But, once in a while, I get a call to honour her like I’m supposed to–and maybe I am.

So, about four moons ago, two members of our small community swore oaths to the Virgin Huntress to abstain from unhealthy habits and to chase these goals fiercely “as a hound upon its prey”. We did this, of course, on the feast day of Mounikhia (explained briefly below).

The Mounichia or Mounikhia was an ancient Greek festival held on the 16th (full moon time) of the month Mounichion (spring) in the honor of Artemis Mounichia. The surname of the goddess come from the hill of Munichia, where stood an Artemis’ temple, close to Piraeus and to the site of the battle of Salamis. The festival was instituted to commemorate the victory of the Greek fleet over the Persians at Salamis. Cakes adorned all round with burning candles were offered to the goddess. Young girls were dressed up as bears, as for the Brauronia.

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The moon rose beautifully that night over the clear heavens, our freshly baked birthday bread, and some aptly named beer I encountered in the grocery that day: ‘Bear Beer’. Happy Brauronia!

But to be honest, I’ve been slacking on this particular oath a bit these past few months. I haven’t been working out as often as I’d like, but at the very least, I’ve been able to stay away from candy and junk food consistently. Woohoo?

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Two and a half moons later, it was Athêna’s turn on the Panathênaia. We had actually made oaths to her the previous year and wanted to present our accomplishments to her, along with our new oaths to further what we had started. It was a good year of learning and we look forward to another one. Hail, Saviour of cities!

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I look forward to the fulfillment of these two oaths and face my 30th year on this planet without shame. Hail to you, Athêna and Artemis, most chaste daughters of Zeus! Grant us victory!


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