ELAPHEBOLIA - ÆLAPHIVÓLIA - ΕΛΑΦΗΒΟΛΙΑ
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Ælaphivólia (Elaphebolia, Έλαφηβόλια)

The Ælaphivólia is a festival of Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις). It was held at Athens and other areas of Greece and observed in the ninth month of the Attic calendar, Ælaphivolióhn (Elaphebolion, Ἑλαφηβολιών). It is presumed that the celebration took place on the 6th day, as the 6th of every month was given to the Goddess. The entire month was named after the holiday, which was dedicated to Ártæmis Ælaphiaia (Elaphiaia, Ἐλαφιαία). The festival lost prominence as the city of Athens grew, and the deer, associated with Ártæmis, were driven further away from the city. There were two other factors which also contributed to its diminishing role: the addition of a day honoring Asklipiós (Asclepius, Ἀσκληπιός) on the 8th of the Attic month, and the rise and importance of the City Dionýsia (Διονύσια), beginning on the 9th.

During the festival, stags were sacrificed to the Goddess. As the deer fled the human activity of the city, distant hunting expeditions were reserved for the rich, who could afford them; those of more modest means made food-offerings to the Goddess. Cakes or candies made of honey, sesame seed, and flour, shaped in the form of a deer, were offered to Ártæmis. They were called ǽlaphi (elaphoi, ἔλαφοι, plural of ἔλαφος). The word ἔλαφος simply means “deer.”

The ancient festival is associated with an epithet of Ártæmis, Ἐλαφιαία, an appellation which means “of the deer,” but the name of the holiday, Έλαφηβόλια, refers to deer-hunting, as she is the Goddess of the hunt. What or who is symbolized by such prey?
The deer is a token of the fine vehicle of the soul, or the soul itself. Deer have horns, emblematic of the soul’s ability to communicate with the surrounding aithír (αἰθήρ). Ártæmis uses her dogs, the ἀγαθαί δαίμονες, to hunt out the beautiful souls who are capable of progression. Another name for a huntress is kynagós (cynagos, κυναγός), the etymology of which is ἄγω “I lead” + κύων “dog.” She shoots her arrows into the souls, giving them energy to push them forward, even to deification.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek         

 

Transliteration of Ancient Greek         

 

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