Thanks to this year’s alignment of lunar and solar calendars, the festivals and commemorations are coming hard and fast.
According to the traditional Athenian lunar calendar, the two-day festival of the Thargelia begins tonight at sundown. This is a time for purification (and historically, for exiling scapegoats from the city!), which coincides with the traditional dates of the birthdays of Artemis and Apollon on the first and second days, respectively. Kaye at Kallisti offers an excellent template for a ritual, integrating a wonderful collection of ancient and modern hymans.
These same two days are also the traditional birthdays of Socrates and Plato. We celebrate the birth of Socrates, the midwife of souls, on the same day as Artemis. The next day is traditionally both the birthday and the deathday of Plato. Perfect Pythagorean that he was, Plato left this world on his 81st birthday: 81 is three squared, squared again. In years past, I’ve written some poetry both for Socrates’ nativity, and for Plato’s.
May our celebrations be blessed!
Hail Artemis, Apollon, and Leto! May you look kindly on us and bless us! May we be purified, and grow in piety!
Hail Socrates and Plato! May we follow worthily in your footsteps, ever advancing toward wisdom!