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


October 28

(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.

3rd Day: Kalligeneia (Fair Offspring)
Nightfall brings the official beginning of the third day, and there is a torch-light ceremony, for Demeter sought Persephone by torch light. Some say that this is when the Thesmoi are removed from the earth by Priestesses called Antletriai (Bailers), of whom three day’s ritual purity (including sexual abstinence) is required. While women clap to scare away the sacred snakes that guard the caverns, the Antletriai go down into the caves, collect the Thesmoi in buckets, and place the putrefying matter on the altars of Demeter and Persephone. Later this “compost” is removed from the altars and mixed with the grain to be sown the following month (i.e., late Nov. to early Dec.). In this rite we truly see the role of the cycle of life and death in the fertilization of the Earth.

The fast is ended and the rest of the day is spent in joyous celebration of the gift of beautiful children, until the women break camp and return home. [NFR 24; PFA 82–8; SFA 18–22]