Ecclesia Ordinis Caelestis Templum Olympicus/Celestial Order and Temple of Olympus


October 25

(Greek) Ancient: 11–13 Puanepsion.
The Thesmophoria is a celebration of Sporetos (Seed-time), the autumn sowing, dedicated to Demeter and restricted to women. (This is unusual in the Greek world for, although Gods often had Priests and Goddesses Priestesses, the festivals were usually open to both men and women. Cf. the Festival for Bona Dea, c. Dec. 3.) Although the ceremony is a women’s mystery, this much may be said.

The Thesmophoria proper is preceded by two days (i.e. on 9 Puanepsion, c. Oct. 24) by the Stenia, 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 (see the Homeric Hymn to Demeter). This may also be when the Thesmoi (Things Laid Down) are placed into the caverns at the sanctuary of Demeter; they include dough models of snakes and male genitalia and pork from sacrificed piglets, all fertility symbols (pigs because of their fecundity); in this way the womb of The Mother is fertilized; they will be removed in the Thesmophoria proper. (Others say that the Thesmoi are deposited in the Skiraphoria, c. June 27.)