XI. Festivals, days, and times sacred to Poseidon.
I’m not diving into research for this. This topic not a sore spot any longer, but for a number of years it was. We know that ‘Poseidea’ was celebrated in a number of places, most roughly around the time of the winter solstice (for those of you with access to Jstor, there’s even an article about this, or you can purchase it here). Anyone who has thumbed through H.W. Parke’s Festivals of the Athenians will have noticed that a lot of the festivals survived in name only, and at least with regards to Poseidea at Athens, this is true. We know the festival happened, because the month name has survived, but we don’t know exactly what the festival entailed. (This isn’t true for all of them; we do know that chariot races and mock sacrifices were held during Poseidea in Mantinea — which, I don’t know about you, but, not really something I’m looking to reviving). Poseidon was also honored during other festivals, such as Athen’s Skirophoria, but with a lot of these it’s more the case of wanting to cover the bases rather than the festival being about Him.
There’s also the tradition, again in the Athenian calendar, of honoring Poseidon on the 8th of the month. I’ve been known to grumble about Others having specific days, and Poseidon having to share His with Theseus. What the heck? Why can’t He have His OWN day?
I have, at various times in my life, adopted this practice and set it down. I’ve adopted the Athenian calendar (modified to my location rather than based upon the moon phases of Athens, because I do not live in Athens) at times, and set it down at times. The sole reason why I’m drawn to staying aware of it at all is because of the months that bear His name — months, because their leap year month bore His name as well.
So, that’s history. What about today?
Once again, I can only speak to my experience, my calendar, etc. I’ve written about this is more detail before, but to recap: I was not the least bit happy with this dearth of Poseidon festivals to celebrate. I wanted plenty of opportunity to praise Him throughout the year. I wanted my festival year, my Wheel of the Year, to reflect my devotion to Him. I didn’t want to “fit Him in” to extant holidays. I tried, and sometimes the fit was a good fit (He’s always been interested in being a part of our Yule celebration, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to stop fighting this) but sometimes it was unsatisfying.
Festivals, Rituals, and Days of Obligation I observe in honor of Poseidon:
Early January is when, if the vegetation dies back at all (generally it does not) things start growing again. I use the first bit of new growth to gauge when I’ll honor Poseidon Phytalmeos. While the myth recounting this story of His focuses on the freeing of food crops from brine (He was angry), I use this as a way to tap into Poseidon’s more greenman influences and remind myself that walking with Him means not being so human-centered. In my experience, He is a student of Ge’s mysteries, and as such, the regeneration of the plant world matters to Him, and thus to me, and this is what I’m marking. (If I start vegetable gardening again, I may move this, but currently that’s not in the cards, so here it stays).
Our Anniversary falls in February — February 9th or 8 Anthesterion, depending on that calendar I’m marking it by, and yes, I decide based on whichever one happens to work with what we may have going on that particular year. For this, there is generally wine, offerings of sweets, sometimes a whole meal cooked with portions offered to Him and the rest shared with the household. Meditation and making sure to spend time with Him, with the focus being on our relationship, is the mos important aspect of this day.
My festival honoring Poseidon Hippios is held in April. I aim for the 8th of the month, in a nod toward tradition, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. I honor Poseidon, Pegasos, and Sleipnir during this festival, with offerings of oats, apples, carrots, and sugar cubes. Because healing is such a big part of my path with Poseidon, there is some time set aside to offer Reiki to the various equines in the world, wild, feral, and tame. When finances allow, donations to equine-focused charities are given.
We hold a small ritual in June, honoring Frigga and Poseidon, centered around sheep and other fiber-bearing animals, which is part of our outing to our local wool and fiber festival. May seem like an odd combination, but the story of Poseidon being hidden within a flock of lambs has really stayed with me, and who doesn’t like sheep?
Vigil for the Bulls just wrapped up yesterday, running July 6th-14th. This is less festival and more holy days of obligation. The amount of ritual that is involved with this varies from year to year. For example, this year was more energy work and less ritual trappings. There have been years when it’s been accompanied with formal ritual. I let Him guide it, pretty much. Bare minimum, there is incense, prayers, and libations.
Poseidon of the Ponds falls in August, at the height of our dry season. This involves a trip out to one of our watery places, and consists of offerings of fresh water to the land spirits and Poseidon. (This is a bit reminiscent of Neptunalia, it would seem, though I only learned about that a few years ago.)
Poseidon Salisbureos is my horrible attempt to Hellenize the name of the place I met Poseidon (Salisbury Beach in Mass.) mostly because Poseidon of Salisbury does not so much as roll as stumble off the tongue. It’s also the anniversary of our original meeting, during the full moon in August. This is the newest addition to my calendar; I only started marking it last year, and I’m thinking Selene’s going to piggy-back on this one, too. Heck, it may be that this becomes a Poseidon, Hekate, Ge, and Selene festival.
I honor Poseidon, Maker of the Rains, during the first rains that end our dry season. As such, this is an impromptu, and spontaneous festival, and thus generally pretty basic. Libations, and a whole lot of dancing around in the rain.
Poseidea which in our house is one part of our Yuletide festivals.
These are by far not the only festivals we mark, and starting in September, running through to Yuletide, we are awash in days that center around Hunt Season, of which Poseidon is a part. Poseidon is always honored during our celebration for Ewemeolc on February 2nd.
The moon phases are also a big part of my calendar, though these are more “Work” days, when Reiki is offered with/through Him, rather than festivals held in His honor.