Diasia / Chloaia: A Festival Honoring Zeus and Demeter
by Zoe Mc.

Notes and packing list are at the end of ritual.

The Pompe, or Procession

The Incense is lit, then, in the order dictated by the order of the Sacra, as listed above, the People are lead by the Priest or Priestess to the Temenos, or Sacred Precinct, containing the altar.

At the entrance to the Temenos, each person is sprinkled with pure spring water (note 1) then moves in a counterclockwise direction to form a circle around the bomos/altar.

After the khernips, everyone remains silent until the Priest or Priestess cries out:

“Hekas, o hekas, este bebeloi!”

The People Reply: “Let All That Is Profane Be Far From Here!”

The Lighting

The Priestess cries out:

“Paresmen time, sonta tas theas kai tous theous.”

The People Reply: “We Are Here To Honor the Gods and Goddesses.”

The Priestess then lights the fire on the altar, which should have been laid out beforehand.

The Scattering

Katie walks the barley counterclockwise and each person takes some and tosses it upon the altar. The remaining barley is placed nearby.

“with this scattering, we are joined as community”

The Mixing

The Libation Bearers move to either side of the Priest or Priestess and the Wine and Water is mixed.

The Priest or Priestess says:

“Theasthe ta hudata biou.”

The People Reply:

“Behold the Waters of Life.”

The First Libation

The Priestess says:

“Hestia, Thine is always the first and the last.”

Some of the water/wine in the cup is poured out on the altar fire, then the cup is passed around counterclockwise, each person taking a sip in offering to Hestia, or touching a drop to his or her forhead in offering, and repeating the above formula of offering to Hestia. The Priestess takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.

As it’s being passed around… (note 4 for source of prayer)

Goddess of hearth and temple fire,
Of the spiritual center of our world,
And of all sacred places.
Hestia, beloved Goddess of the spiritual flame,
Come be honored at this place.
Bring to us the peace and sureness
Of that place which is home and hearth.
Please bring your purity and beauty to us,
As we honor you
Who are the center of the spiritual flame.


The Priestess cries out:

“Koimeson stoma!”

The People Reply:
“We will be silent!”

(The People then maintain silence through the Hymn. Note 5 has the source.)

Of generous Demeter we shall sing,
she who watches over seeds
Demeter Chloaia, Verdant One,
When the first green leaf of the daffodil
Rose from the damp soil,
There was the sweet whisper of your return.
As, beneath the cool shadows of the clouds
You labored
So that beauty returned to Earth.
For months now, the hillsides and meadowlands appeared
Dressed in emerald green,
As you the verdant Goddess reigned,
Jeweled in larkspur, lupine,
And golden orange poppies.
The spirits of the running stream,
The redwood and the eucalyptus,
All rejoice in the glory of the season,
For under the sea-blue skies
Your song resounds across the land.
The lush green stands of wheat and barley
Bend and sway in the winds,
And it is you Chloaia,
In your Dance of Creation.
The golden grasses of our hills,
Tell us harvest time is near.
To you
We offer gifts of the heart
Of love, beauty, and reverence,
O grant us the season’s bright benedictions
As we honor the Great Mother of the land.

The Second Libation

The Libation Bearer fills the cup with milk. The Priestess offers up the cup and says:

“Hear, Oh Demeter,
First Mate of Father Zeus,
Goddess of the Barley and the Wheat:
You Who preside over the growing of all crops,
You in Whose care is all that lives upon Gaea, the Earth;
without Whom the seed does not sprout
nor the blossom blow nor the fruit mature and fall from the tree.
Mother Who brings forth, and Mother Who defends;
Mother Who Destroys if aught assault Her Offspring;
You before Whom the very throne of Olympus must give homage, lest we poor mortals utterly fail and fall.
Goddess of the Biosphere: we call upon You with whatever name it pleases You to be called! If ever we have made offering to You, or honored You in word or deed, grant us that sustenance without which mortal life cannot go on.”

The Priestess pours some of the Milk on the altar, then passes the cup counterclockwise. When the libation returns to the Priestess she takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.

Offerings of flowers to Demeter can be made at this time. Each one who is making an offering may say, as it is offered:

“Lambane kai heydou anathema mou,” or simply: “Accept and Delight in my Offering.”

Each one may also add any particulars he or she feels necessary, such as requests or thanksgivings.

When all offerings have been made, the Priestess says:

“Lambane kai heydou anathemata heymown.”

Response: “Accept and Delight in Our Offerings.”


The Priestess cries out:

“Koimeson stoma!”

The People Reply:

“We will be silent!”

(The People then maintain silence through the Hymn)

Great Zeus, Son of Kronos,
Most High, Father of Gods and Men,
Protector of Strangers, Good Counselor
Hear my prayer, and bestow your blessings

Zeus Kataibates, Cloud Gatherer,
You descended upon Danae as a shower of golden rain.
Rain now upon your parched children, Ombrios,
Water more precious than gold.

Our dry lips praise you, Great Zeus,
In hope of this blessed moisture.

The Libation Bearers again mix water and wine. The Priest offers up the cup and says:

“Zeus, this Libation is for You”

Cup is passed, etc.

The Sacrifice/Offerings

The Sacred Victims of bread are brought forward to the fire.

The Sacral Feast

Everybody eats.

In making Sacrifice and in the exercises of the Agon we have called upon the Deity to join us. When the Agon is done, the Sacral Feast is set and everyone eats. This can be something as simple as bread and milk, or as elaborate as a many course banquet. For Demeter, the Bounty of the Harvest should figure prominently in the Feasting. The important thing to remember is that this is a communion not only between mortal and Deity but between the mortals who share the feast as well. We are all joined in communion, in community, by the sharing of the Sacral Feast.

The Libation of Thanks

The Libation Bearer pours milk again. The Priestess leads the people in giving thanks to the Goddess, letting individuals speak at will. Then the Priestess offers up the cup, saying:

“Demeter Charin echomen soi.”

Some of the milk in the cup is poured out on the altar, then the cup is passed around counterclockwise, each person taking a sip in offering to Demeter, or touching a drop to his or her forehead in offering, and saying:

“Demeter, Hilathi!” (Demeter Be Propitious!)


“Demeter, Sponde!” or simply “Demeter, we thank You.”

The Libation Bearer pours wine again…..

“Zeus, Hilathi!” (Zeus Be Propitious!)


“Zeus, Sponde!” or simply “Zeus, we thank You.”

The Final Libation

The Libation Bearer pours wine one final time. The Final Libation is offered to Hestia, with the words:

“Hestia, Thine is always the first and the last.”

It is offered in the same manner as the first, but when the Priestess pours out the last of it upon the altar, she cries out:

“Houtos heksoi!”

The Response is:

“Houtos heksoi,” or simply: ” So Be It!”

This is the End of the Ritual.

History geek footnotes:

Note 1 – We are trying out sprinkling with pure spring water, as per page 45 of Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space: The Ancient Greek Experience by Susan Guettel Cole. Since the gods inhabited space in the human realm, special care had to be taken to preserve the purity of sacred space. Special basins called perirrhanteria containing water from pure springs were placed at the entrance of many sacred precincts. When this water was sprinkled around those about to enter the sacred space, the ritual “demonstrated purity by an allopathic process that employed pure water to expel any trace of pollution” (45).

Note 2 – much of this ritual was borrowed from the Thiasos Olympikos website, and as always I owe many thanks to Pyrokanthos who has taught me much. And I have always enjoyed his hospitality in ritual.

Note 3 – poem by Nels Lindberg found https://www.hellenion.org/lindbergn/toZeus.html

Note 4 – Hestia prayer is s a modification of the one found in “Mysteries of Demeter” by Jennifer Reif.

Note 5 – Hymn to Demeter is s a modification of the one found in “Mysteries of Demeter” by Jennifer Reif. Plants were changed to our local flora, past tense used as we are at the end of our green period, some lines were dropped, and a traditional beginning tacked on.

Packing list

Perirrhanteria – large bowl to hold spring water for sprinkling
Bottled spring water (lots)
Spring of laurel for sprinkling
Portable Hestia
Glass for milk
Glass for wine
Krater for mixing water/wine
In the ice chest: milk
image of the gods
flowers from the garden

performed 5/26/2007
Tilden Park Berkeley, CA
Yvonne, Elan, Katie, and Zoe
(and publicly announced on NorCal list)


Brown rice based couscous salad (mint and cucumber)
Hummus and veggies
Lemon rosemary pork
Animal cookies (the kind with the white and pink frosting) were used for the animal shaped cakes.

Copyright © 2007, by Zoe Mc.