Second Saturday in January
On the second Saturday of each month members of Hellenion pour a libation to one of the Olympians on the same day, from wherever they may be, with whomever may join them, around the world. In this way, whatever else we do to celebrate Hellenic occasions, we are united in doing the same action on the same day. In January, we honor Hera.
Hera Ήρα is the Queen of Heaven, of Gods and men both, ruling in Olympos beside Zeus, her brother and husband. She is to be honored no less than Zeus. Her sacred marriage (hieros gamos) to Zeus is reflected in the name of the month of Gamelion. In the myths, this marriage is fraught with crises; however these permit the marriage vows to be renewed and fulfilled again and again. This is reflected in various festivals to Hera outside Athens. (Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, 1977, pp131-135).
The Homeric Hymn to Hera (12) says:
I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bare.
Queen of the immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty,
she is the sister and the wife of loud-thundering Zeus
the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympos
reverence and honor even as Zeus who delights in thunder.
(translation: Hugh Evelyn-White, Loeb editions #57, 1914, ed1936)
Although often annoyed by her husband’s indiscretions, Hera herself always remains faithful to her marriage vows. For us, although commitment to others is difficult and often suffers reverses and challenges—evil continually contends with good, as Hesiod writes in The Theogony (line 609)—it can be renewed and strengthened at every setback. This libation and month are a perfect time to reflect on your commitments and relationships—romantic or not.
Common Offerings –
incense (frankincense, myrrh, aromatic herbs),
Further Reading & Sources
Drew Campbell, Old Stones, New Temples