ÆPSIA - ΠΥΑΝΈΨΙΑ
The Pyanæpsia (Pyanepsia; Gr. Πυανέψια, ΠΥΑΝΈΨΙΑ) or Pyanopsia (Gr. Πυανόψια, ΠΥΑΝΌΨΙΑ) is a great holiday of Apollohn (Apollo; Gr. Apollon: Ἀπόλλων, ἈΠΌΛΛΩΝ), a major festival of all Hellenismos that is practiced by many contemporary worshipers. It was held in ancient Athens on the seventh of Pyanæpsiohn (Pyanepsion; Gr. Πυανεψιών, ΠΥΑΝΕΨΙΏΝ), in the month of October. The name of the festival is derived from pyanos (Gr. πύανος, ΠΎΑΝΟΣ) meaning “bean” + æpsein (epsein; Gr. ἕψειν, ἝΨΕΙΝ) meaning “to cook by boiling.”
The Pyanæpsia is usually thought of as an Athenian festival honoring a great hero of the city. There had been a curse on Athens which required that a sacrifice of seven young men and virgins be sent to Kriti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη) every nine years to be placed in a labyrinth and ultimately devoured by the Minohtafros (Minotaur; Gr. Μῑνώταυρος, ΜῙΝΏΤΑΥΡΟΣ; etymology: Μίνως + ταύρος, i.e. “the bull of Minos”), a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull.  The hero Thisefs (Theseus; Gr. Θησεύς) volunteered to make an attempt to slay the beast.  With the help of King Minohs' (Minos; Gr. Μίνως, ΜΊΝΩΣ) daughter Ariathni (Ariadne; Gr. Αριάδνη, ΑΡΙΆΔΝΗ) and Daithalos (Daedalus; Gr. Δαίδαλος, ΔΑΊΔΑΛΟΣ), the creator of the labyrinth, Thisefs entered it using a string to find his way out, and then slew the Minohtafros.  When he returned to Athens, after killing the Minohtafros, Thisefs forgot to raise the symbol for his father, the white sails on his ship, accidentally leaving the black sails in place. His father, Aigefs (Ægeus, Gr. Αἰγεύς), assumed that Thisefs was dead, so he killed himself. 
After the burial of Aigefs, Thisefs paid homage to Apollohn on the seventh day of Pyanæpsiohn  for the safe return of his entourage and his great victory over the Minohtafros. The men made a dish of pyamos, broad beans or fava beans, and vegetables, of which they ate, offering some to the God.  The men also carried the Eiræsiohni (Eiresione; Gr. Εἰρεσιώνη, ΕΙΡΕΣΙΏΝΗ) in procession "to signify that scarcity and barrenness was ceased..."  There are some who believe the ceremony of the Eiræsiohni is in memory of the Irakleithai (Heracleidae = the descendants of Iraklis [Herakles]; Gr. Ἡρακλεῖδαι, ἩΡΑΚΛΕΙΔΑΙ), who were honored with such a festivity.  Although the Eiræsiohni is associated with the city of Athens, there is evidence that similar festivals with the Eiræsiohni were performed in various places throughout ancient Ællas (Hellas = Greece; Gr. Ἑλλάς, ἙΛΛΆΣ).
The Meaning of the Eiresione and Its Use in the Pyanepsia
There is Mystical meaning to the journey of Thisefs to Crete. The Minohtafros represents the power of Nous (Gr. νοῦς, ΝΟΥΣ), the mind of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς, ΖΕΎΣ).  Thisefs conquered the powers of Nous and achieved deification. The Minohtafros is represented in the feast by the Eiræsiohni, a branch of olive. If you do not have an olive-tree available, a branch of oak (sacred to Zefs), a branch of laurel (sacred to Apollo and all the Gods. Laurel leaves will dry out but keep), or a branch of any tree (representative of the Ethereal Vehicle of the Soul), all are appropriate. The Eiræsiohni represents the cortex (the outer shell) of the Orphic Egg. It is Nous, the mind of Zefs, wisdom itself. It is symbolic of the enlightened mind.
Eiræsiohni has two possible derivations. It may be from the verb, “I ask” or “I say” (æroh; Gr. ἐρῶ), denoting a supplication to Apollo. It may also derive from a word meaning “wool” (ærion, Gr. ἔριον), as the Eiræsiohni should be decorated with pieces of wool, deep red (porphyra) and white. The deep red wool symbolizes the cosmogonic fire; the white symbolizes the upper levels of deification. White is also the color associated with Apollo. In addition to pieces of wool, you may decorate the Eiræsiohni with figs, cookies, small bags of beans, honeycombs, tiny jars of honey or olive oil or wine, candy. If you cut a large Eiræsiohni, you may mount it vertically and keep it for a couple weeks in a place of honor in your home, after which you would mount it above the entry-door of your home as a protection. In times of great trouble, parts of the Eiræsiohni may be burnt as an offering to Apollo. The Eiræsiohni remains above the door for a year, until the next Pyanæpsia, where (ideally) it would be burned on a fire or placed outside where you make offerings, and replaced with the new Eiræsiohni
In ancient times, the Eiræsiohni was carried to the temple by children who had both parents still alive. The children also brought Eiræsiohni to private homes in hopes of getting presents. Along with the procession of the Eiræsiohni, a song was sung:
Pyanæpsia Hearty Bean Stew
In remembrance of the pyamos stew made by victorious Thisefs and his men, it is traditional to make a bean stew for Pyanæpsia. There are various recipes circulating around; here follows that used by the author.
This recipe includes chick-peas. They have a texture something like cooked peanuts. If you do not care for that, substitute a softer bean or simply eliminate them. Garum is a tricky ingredient; if you have not created successful dishes with the garum you use, I suggest trying something different. I make garum from a high quality oriental fish sauce and add lots of dried oregano and rosemary, then let it sit for a month or two (if you age it for over a year, the sauce becomes much more mellow). Or eliminate it altogether and just adjust the salt. This recipe makes enough for about four people, with the addition of some other dishes.
Fill a 2-cup measure with 1/3 each lentils, white chick-peas, and fava beans (or similar). Cover with water overnight and rinse thoroughly. Put all this in a large pot and add water to about an inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and then lower the flame to a simmer.
In the meanwhile, sauté two onions until caramelized somewhat. Add these to the beans.
Add a few carrots cut into pieces.
Add two fresh cloves of minced garlic.
Add about a half-cup chopped parsley.
Add some oregano and rosemary, salt, and black pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon garum, no more. (optional)
Add a teaspoon each of dried shallot and dried parsnips. (optional)
Add about a ½ cup of good olive oil.
Add about three bay leaves.
Simmer an hour or two; adjust salt level and other spices.
The Pyanæpsia Ritual
As with any ritual, it is most important that you put aside all hateful feelings, as best you can, and make your heart completely well-meaning…as an offering to the God and for our own good as well. It is not permitted to publish the details of Orphic ritual in a public place. If you have a sincere desire to learn more about this, please state your interest in a letter to: Inquire.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Festivals of Apollo:
 "Androgeus having been treacherously murdered in the confines of Attica, not only Minos, his father, put the Athenians to extreme distress by a perpetual war, but the Gods also laid waste their country; both famine and pestilence lay heavy upon them, and even their rivers were dried up. Being told by the oracle that, if they appeased and reconciled Minos, the anger of the Gods would cease and they should enjoy rest from the miseries they laboured under, they sent heralds, and with much supplication were at least reconciled, entering into an agreement to send to Crete every nine years a tribute of seven young men and as many virgins, as most writers agree in stating; and the most poetical story adds, that the Minotaur destroyed them, or that, wandering in the labyringth, and finding no possible means of getting out, they miserably ended their lives there; and that this Minotaur was (as Euripides hath it)--
A mingled form where two strange shapes combined,
And different natures, bull and man, were joined."
(Ploutarkhos [Plutarch] Lives; Theseus XV; trans. John Dryden, 1683; found here in the 1992 Modern Library Edition, Random House, New York NY USA, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Plutarch Vol. I, p. 8)
"The land of the Cretans and especially that by the river Tethris was ravaged by a bull. It would seem that in the days of old the beasts were much more formidable to men, for example the Nemean lion, the lion of Parnassus, the serpents in many parts of Greece, and the boars of Calydon, Erymanthus and Crommyon in the land of Corinth, so that it was said that some were sent up by the earth, that others were sacred to the Gods, while others had been let loose to punish mankind. And so the Cretans say that this bull was sent by Poseidon to their land because, although Minos was lord of the Greek Sea, he did not worship Poseidon more than any other God. They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Heracles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the Isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Minos sailed against Athens with a fleet, not believing that the Athenians were innocent of the death of Androgeos, and sorely harassed them until it was agreed that he should take seven maidens and seven boys for the Minotaur that was said to dwell in the Labyrinth at Cnossus. But the bull at Marathon Theseus is said to have driven afterwards to the Acropolis and to have sacrificed to the Goddess; the offering commemorating this deed was dedicated by the parish of Marathon." (Pafsanias [Pausanias] Description of Greece, I Attica: XXVII:9; trans. W.H.S. Jones, 1918; found in the 1959 William Heinemann [London England] - Harvard Univ. Press [Cambridge MA USA], Vol. I, pp. 143-145)
 "Now, when the time of the third tribute was come, and the fathers who had any young men for their sons were to proceed by lot to the choice of those that were to be sent, there arose fresh discontents and accusations against Ægeus among the people, who were full of grief and indignation that he who was the cause of all their miseries was the only person exempt from the punishment; adopting and settling his kingdom upon a bastard and foreign son (ed. Theseus), he took no thought, they said, of their destitution and loss, not of bastards, but lawful children. These things sensibly affected Theseus, who, thinking it but just not to disregard, but rather partake of, the sufferings of his fellow-citizens, offered himself for one without and lot." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XVII, p. 9)
 "When he arrived at Crete, as most of the ancient historians as well as poets tell us, having a clue of thread given him by Ariadne, who had fallen in love with him, and being instructed by her how to use it so as to conduct him through the windings of the labyrinth, he escaped out of it and slew the Minotaur, and sailed back,..." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XIX.1, p. 10)
 "When they were come near the coast of Attica, so great was the joy for the happy success of their voyage, that neither Theseus himself nor the pilot remembered to hang out the sail which should have been the token of their safety to Ægeus, who, in despair at the sight, threw himself headlong from a rock, and perished in the sea." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XXII p. 13)
"On the right of the gateway (ed. to the Akropolis of Athens) is a temple of Wingless Victory. From this point the sea is visible, and here it was that, according to legend, Aegeus threw himself down to his death. For the ship that carried the young people to Crete began her voyage with black sails; but Theseus, who was sailing on an adventure against the bull of Minos, as it is called, had told his father beforehand that he would use white sails if he should sail back victorious over the bull. But the loss of Ariadne made him forget the signal. Then Aegeus, when from this eminence he saw the vessel borne by black sails, thinking that his son was dead, threw himself down to destruction. There is at Athens a sanctuary dedicated to him, called the hero-shrine of Aegeus." (Ibid. Jones, Pausanias I Attica: XXII:4-5; p. 111)
 "Theseus, after the funeral of this father, paid his vows to Apollo the seventh day of Pyanepsion; for on that day the youth that returned with him safe from Crete made their entry into the city." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XXII.4, p. 13)
 "They say, also, that the custom of boiling pulse at this feast is derived from hence; because the young men that escaped put all that was left of their provision together, and, boiling it in one common pot, feasted themselves with it, and ate it all up together." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XXII.4, p. 13)
 "Hence, also, they carry in procession an olive branch bound about with wool (such as they then made use of in their supplications), which they call Eiresione, crowned with all sorts of fruits, to signify that scarcity and barrenness was ceased..." (Ibid. Dryden, Plutarch Theseus XXII.5, p. 13)
Lewis Richard Farnell's opinion:
 "Although some hold opinion that this ceremony is retained in memory of the Heraclidæ, who were thus entertained (ed. with the Eiresione) and brought up by the Athenians. But most are of the opinion which we have given above. (ed. that the Athenians used the Eiresione in honor of Theseus' destroying the Minotaur)" (Plutarch XXII.5, p.13) When Herakles died, his children fled from the tyrant Eurystheus, approaching Athens as suppliants bearing boughs of trees. Lewis Richard Farnell states that the Pyanepsia was "a thanksgiving service and a consecration of the later fruits and cereals to the harvest-god." (Ibid. Farnell Vol. IV, p. 286)
 Pasipha-i (Pasiphaë; Gr. Πασιφάη, ΠΑΣΙΦΆΗ), the daughter of Ælios (Gr. Ἥλιος, ἭΛΙΟΣ), whose name means “wide-shining,” is the mother of the Minohtafros (Minotaur), who is also called Astæriohn (Asterion; Gr. Ἀστερίων, ἈΣΤΕΡΊΩΝ), “full of stars.”
The father was a bull sent by either Poseithohn (Poseidon) or Zefs (Zeus) (Lactantius Placidus, on Statius, Theb. V. 43). The bull represents the influence of Zefs. The Minohtafros is represented in iconography as having a human body with the head of a bull. The Minohtafros lives in the Labyrinth of Daidalos.
Ariathni (Ariadne; Gr. Ἀριάδνη) is the daughter of Pasipha-i (Pasiphaë) and the consort of Dionysos. She dances in the Labyrinth of Daithalos (Daedalus), the dwelling of the Minohtafros (Minotaur).
Thisefs “kills” the Minohtafros, achieving deification.
 Plutarch XXII.5, p. 13.
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