I do not celebrate the Deipnon exactly when most of my co-religionists do, which was last night. This is due to my stubborn insistence to hold onto this one last remaining vestige of the modern calendar in my practice. When I began this path and learned about monthly observances, I began them on the first of each standard month. That convenience was necessary for me to advance in my practice at all, but eventually I started paying attention to the phase of the moon instead. (I still wouldn’t be able to tell you the ancient Athenian name for the current month if my life depended upon it, at least without my smart phone.) I have yet to adapt to starting days at sundown rather than midnight, which is why I celebrated the Deipnon today.
Most months, I get together some appropriate foodstuffs to offer Hekate, and then I prepare chocolate chip cookies for Noumenia. This month the timing worked out that I was due to make favorite snack, one which I only prepare during the last week of the year: special snack, we called it in my childhood; a slightly modified recipe of Chex mix. Since the recipe was handed down to me by my late father, and it includes essence of onions which are fairly common in offerings to Hekate, I opted to make it the offering instead.
Incense plays a cyclical role in my devotions. I add the appropriate incense to my mortar and pestle before I begin, but there’s always a little left over from the last set of offerings. I have been offering a particular Yule blend since Kheimenia, for example, adding a bit more frankincense each morning since I’ve been giving that to Hestia. For the Deipnon I offer Hekate benzoin, and Poseidon gets myrrh on Thursdays, meaning it’s a heady mix right now. Despite the snow, I prefer to make particular devotions outside, and the scent hangs in the heavy, most, cold air like a fog bank on a mission.
Since I got a new book recently, I selected a hymn from that to read aloud; I have not yet written a hymn to Hekate, but I know that I must. Yes, I’m stalling. Yes, it will be worth it when I’ve written my grand litany.
I may be later than most, and perhaps my offerings are not entirely traditional, but I’d like to think that the stereotypical ancient Athenian would recognize what I was doing, and why. Perhaps the incense would smell vaguely familiar, or the fact that I poured an entire cup of unmixed wine onto the ground would strike a cord. Even if that Athenian would not have recognized it, however, I am confident that Hekate knew exactly what I was doing, and why.
Deipnon is also a time for ancestor veneration, which including reading a portion of A Litany for the Many Dead as well as burning another incense blend entirely, lighting a candle, giving them water, and spirits, and tobacco. then, after they indicated that they were not entirely satisfied, I gave them more incense.
Ancestors. They tell you what they want.