The basic ritual outline comes from the one provided by Kyrene at Temenos Theon. The reconstruction of the ritual comes from many different sources, including John Bell’s New Pantheon. See theNeokoroi page on the Eumenides for a full source list.
If you believe that you have significant ritual impurity, it is very important to perform a purification ritual before sacrificing to the Eumenides.
- Towel (for drying hands)
- Flowers (fake or real for decorating the participants)
- Honey/water mixture (or honey/wine mixture)
- Honey Cakes
- Hestia candle/fire
>From Bell’s New Pantheon
EUMENIDEIA, a Grecian festival, observed once a year by the Athenians in honor of the Eumenides, or Furies. […] At this annual festival pregnant ewes, cakes made by the most eminent young men, and a libation of honey and wine, were offered in sacrifice to these infernal goddesses, the worshippers being decked with flowers. At Athens none were admitted to these solemnities but free-born citizens of known virtue and integrity, for such alone could be acceptable to these dieites, whose peculiar office it was to punish all kinds of wickedness.
SACRED HONEY CAKES
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- Sesame seeds
- Oil (for frying)
Mix the flour and water. They should have the consistency of pancake batter. Put a small amount of oil in a pan, stove set to medium-high. Pour in a small amount of the flour/water mixture. Flip when the top of the cake begins to firm or the bottom is golden brown. Repeat until batter is used. Sprinkle the cakes with sesame seeds and drizzle lightly with the honey.
Hestia, First and Last
Purify yourself with khernips. Before beginning the celebration, light Hestia’s candle and say a hymn to her. Homeric Hymns #24 and #29, or the Orphic Hymn to Hestia (#84 in the Athanassakis translation).
Purify the Ritual Space
Sprinkle khernips over the shrine, altar, etc. Any other participants should wash their hands with the khernips, drying them with a towel.
Offering of Barley
Offer a small amount of barley to the Gods in preparation for the sacrifice.
Invocation of the Eumenides/Hymnodia
Orphic Hymn #69
Hear, Tisiphone, Allekto, and noble Megaira,
August goddesses whose Bacchic cries resound.
Nocturnal and clandestine, you have your house deep down in a dark cave,
By the sacred waters of the Styx.
Men’s unholy designs incur your anger.
Rabid and arrogant, you howl over Necessity’s dictates, and, clad in animal skins,
By your power you bring the deep pains of retribution.
Your realm is in Hades, O dreaded maidens with the thousand faces,
Phantoms airy, invisible and swift as thought.
Neither the speedy flames of the sun or the moon,
Nor the radiance of wisdom and virtue,
Nor even the joy in bold enterprise as in the sleekness of fair youth,
Can rouse life’s delights without your aid.
Upon the countless races of all men you gaze with Dike’s eye, ever occupied with justice.
O snake-haired, many-shaped goddesses of Fate,
Change my thoughts of life into gentle and soft ones.
Passage from the Derveni Papyrus (trans. Janko)
An incantation by the magoi can dislodge daimons that become a hindrance: daimons that are a hindrance are vengeful souls. For this reason the magoi perform the sacrifice, as if they are paying a blood-price. Onto the offerings they make libations of water and milk, with both o f which they also make the drink-offerings. They sacrifice cakes that are countless and many-humped, because the souls too are countless. Initiates make a first sacrifice to the Eumenides in the same way as magoi do; for the Eumenides are souls.
Orphic Hymn #70
Hear me, renowned Eumenides, and be gracious.
Pure daughters of the great, chthonic Zeus,
And of lovely, fair-tressed maiden, Persephone.
You keep a watch over the lives of impious mortals,
And, in charge of Necessity, you punish the unjust.
Black-skinned queens, your eyes flash forth awesome and flesh-eating darts of light.
Everlasting, of visage repugnant and frightful, sovereign,
Paralyzing the limbs with madness, hideous, nocturnal, fateful,
Snake-haired and terrible maidens of the night,
It is you I summon to bring me holiness of mind.
Statement of Purpose
Ritually declare your intentions to honor the Eumenides on their sacred day. State your concerns about the departed and offer prayers as needed.
Offer the sacred cakes covered with honey to Hestia, the Eumenides, and again to Hestia. Pour the honey/wine-or-water mixture over the cakes.
Make a libation of milk (Hestia-Eumenides-Hestia) in closing.
Thank the Gods
Thank the Eumenides and Hestia in whichever way you are accustomed to thanking the Gods at the close of a ritual.