by Melissa

(12 Boedromion) This festival, at which the Athenians celebrated democracy, included sacrifices to Zeus Agoraios, Athena Agoraia and to the Goddess Themis.  Images of Zeus and Athena were paraded in the agora, the lower city below the Acropolis (high city). Themis, one of the Titans, is “goddess of divine law–the primal, unwritten laws governing human conduct which were first established by the gods of heaven. She was believed to have issued these edicts to mankind through the great oracle of Delphoi over which she presided alongside the god Apollon” (  Clearly, the establishment of democracy in Athens was seen as a divine gift of Themis, especially, as well as Zeus (her father) and Athena. Today: This is an opportunity to honor Themis and Zeus and Athena with libations and incense and other offerings.  The Orphic Hymn 79 to Themis is particularly relevant as is Orphic Hymn 37, to the Titans. It would also be appropriate to give thanks for the political freedoms and rights we enjoy today.

Given that Demokratia honored deities “of the market place” (agora), the following fragment may be recited:

“Send Eirene (Peace) with her prosperity to men! And in the market let him set Themis up, requiter of good deeds : and, beside her, Dike (Justice), who leaps up like a tiger at once in anger at the deeds of men upon whom she looks–even them who provoke the gods and turn their commandments aside [i.e. the themistai or divine laws], and such as treat their feeble parents with arrogance, scorning the counsel of the living and the dead; or sin against the hospitable feast and the table of Zeus.”

— Euphorion of Chalcis, Fragments (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 121 (2b)) (Greek Epic C3rd B.C.) (as given on

Parke, H.W., Festivals of the Athenians, 1977, London. pagan calendar