Thargelia Ritual

by Timotheos


The evening prior to the ritual, the kolossoi, or farmakoi is made using whatever materials are available. The doll is consecrated and “ensouled” for the purposes of purification. The Temple is swept and the icon of Apollon is washed if necessary. A purification ritual is performed by the Hiereus and Hiereia of Apollon to clear the space and prepare it for ritual.

The following day, the participants bring with them a small slip of paper on which they have written something that they wish to be rid of or simply the word miasma as well as an offering for the second part of the rite. Several Eye Talismans are made to be blessed for purification and then taken home after the ritual. A few minutes before the procession, the Hiereus and Hiereia of Hestia enters the temnos and lights the Sacred Fire.

Hestia, you who tend the sacred dwelling
Of the far-shooting lord, Apollon, at holy Pytho,
From your tresses flowing oil ever drips down.
Come to this house, come in gentle spirit,
With resourceful Zeus and grant grace to our song!
(Homeric Hymn #24 to Hestia)


The participants, lead by the Hiereus and Hiereia of Apollon process to the outside of the temnos, where a small shrine to Apollon Apotropaios, adorned with a bowl of khernips, the kolossoi/pharmakos and an empty, fire-proof bowl have been prepared for the Rite of the Pharmakos.



Hiereus lifts the lustral water up to the statue of Apollon.

Hiereus: Oh great Apollon who makes all things pure! Let these waters cleanse and consecrate this sacred space, making it free of all that is profane!

Hiereus takes a sage bundle or incense stick, lights it from the already blessed candle, and puts it into the water, saying:

Hiereus: Kherniptomai! Let this water be purified by the sacred fire!
Hiereus: `ekas, `ekas, ‘este bebeloi! Let the profane ones depart!

Hiereia circumambulates 3x’s around the altar, sprinkles it, the offerings, and the people with khernips (lustral water). As the Hiereia sprinkles the water, she says:

Hiereia: o theoi genoisthe apotropoi kakon! O gods, turn away evils!

The bowl is set away from the altar outside of the room, as it now ritually impure. The used water should be poured directly onto the earth outside the temenos after the ritual.

Thargelia altar. By Gitana.


Most Holy Apollon,
We place before You
That which is impure in our lives
We ask that you take these things
From us and make us free
Of miasma and strife!

The empty bowl is passed around and the participants, one by one, place their slips of paper into the empty bowl, saying: become our offscourings!

The Hiereus and Hiereia light the match from the sacred fire.

Hiereus and Hiereia: With this Fire, they are taken!

Hiereus and Hiereia set the paper ablaze, when there is nothing but ashes left, the ashes are poured into a sack, which is hung around the neck of the Kolossoi.


A bottle of wine is poured into a jug and placed on the altar. The Hiereus and Hiereia both give blessings upon it and thanks. The jug is passed around and all pour libations to the god with the call “Sponde Apollon! Thank you for your kindness, Averter of Evils!” and spontaneous prayers/thanks/supplication to the god. Then they sip from the libation bowl. Afterwards, the bowl is placed upon the shrine. All process away with the pharmakos, which is taken outside and later bound and buried by the Hiereus and Hiereia of Apollon.

Khairete! I rejoice!