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

Festival of Skiraphoria

June 27

The Skiraphoria (also known as the Skira) occurs at the time of the cutting and threshing of the grain. The Priestess of Athena, the Priest of Poseidon and the Priest of Helios go to the Skiron, a place sacred to Demeter, Kore, Athena Skiras and Poseidon Pater, for here Athens and Eleusis were reconciled. Athena and Poseidon represent city life, and Demeter and Kore represent agriculture; Helios witnesses Their oaths (as He witnessed the abduction of Kore). The Skiron is where, according to tradition, the first sowing took place. A large, white canopy (called the skiron) is carried over the priests’ and priestesses’ heads during the procession.

The Skiraphoria is celebrated mainly by women (as men dominate the City Dionysia). To bring fertility, they abstain from intercourse on this day, and to this end they eat garlic to keep the men away. They also throw offerings into the megara—sacred caves of Demeter: cakes shaped like snakes, phalluses and sucking pigs. (These become the Thesmoi—things laid down—that are removed in the Thesmophoria) This ceremony recalls the swineherd Eubouleus who was swallowed up with his pigs when Persephone was abducted into the underworld by Hades.

The men have a race in which they carry vine-branches from the sanctuary of Dionysos to the temple of Athena Skiras. The winner is given the Pentaploa (Fivefold Cup), containing wine, honey, cheese, some corn and olive oil. He alone is allowed to share this drink with the Goddess, to whom a libation is poured so that She will bless these fruits of the season.