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THE POSEIDÆA: Historical background

Poseidæóhn (Ποσειδεών) in the Attic calendar is an entire month dedicated to Poseidóhn (Ποσειδῶν). It occurs in early winter, beginning mid-December and extending into January. The name for this month is found frequently outside of Attica, occupying the same place in calendars of various Greek city-states. During his month, there were festivals of Poseidóhn throughout the Greek world.

When we think of brumal festivals, we think of Diónysos (Διόνυσος), but many were the festivals in honor of Poseidóhn as well. In numerous cities of Greece, the God was honored at the beginning of, and during winter. It may seem strange that there would be festivals for a sea-God in winter, because this was the least favorable and least likely time for Greeks to sail. Perhaps there is an additional reason why he was honored at this time of year.

While Poseidóhn has dominion over the sea, he also has authority over the fresh waters, and he is coupled with Dimítir (Demeter, Δημήτηρ), who is associated with agriculture, and the fields saturated by his waters. His agricultural role can be seen in his inclusion in the Alóa (Haloa, Ἁλῶα), a winter celebration at Ælefsís (Eleusis, Ἐλευσίς). The Alóa festival was for Dimítir and Diónysos, but it also included a procession in honor of Poseidóhn. The Alóa was held on the 26th of Poseidæóhn. The name of the festival is derived from ἅλως, which means “threshing-floor.”

Little is known of the Athenian Poseidæa (Ποσείδεα) festival. The actual day it was celebrated is not known. Some scholars think it was observed on the winter solstice; this seems unlikely because it would interfere with the celebrations for the Sun. There is an inscription (IG221367) prescribing a sacrificial cake to Poseidóhn on the eighth of the Attic month. Since Poseidæóhn is his month, it is a likely date (every eighth day of the Attic calendar was given to him in any case).

All the wintry festivals for Poseidóhn were marked with great festivity and licence. They were associated with agrarian fertility. In some places they made great bonfires.



Perform the ritual on the eighth of the Attic month of Poseidæóhn.

In addition to the agálmata (statues, αγάλματαof Dimítir and Poseidóhn, place on the altar little statues of a bull, a horse, and a chariot.

Fill a suitable vessel with water. At the offering section of the ritual, libate the water and sprinkle some on your head.

Make an offering of a loaf of bread cut into twelve pieces, one of which is placed on the altar during the offering section. In ancient times there would be twelve loaves, which would be appropriate if there are many people. If you have a Greek market in your city, use tsourǽki (tsoureki, τσουρέκι). Alternately, you could make your own from recipes on the internet. It is used for Easter, but in reality, it is a traditional holiday bread suitable for any celebration.

After the ritual, have a nice meal and make merry with good friends and wine. Enjoy the rest of the tsourǽki. In Homeric times and later, they sacrificed bulls to Poseidóhn, so you could make a nice beef roast to symbolize that, or, if you are vegetarian, cakes and cookies shaped like bulls or horses.

Please note: In the Orphic tradition we do not publish rituals. For more information, please write inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com.

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic 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, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 




, 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.

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.

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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