The Noumenia (noo-MEH-nee-a) Ritual

Ritual Outline and Notes
Gather together all the items you will be using in the ritual. These will include (but are not limited to) the following: water, candles, matches or lighter, incense, wine, offerings, script, poetry or hymns, music. You may also want to include food, barley, objects of worship such as statuettes or stones, an altar cloth or covering, etc. The items you will use are limited only by your imagination and what you can carry.

Pomp (Procession)
If you are celebrating with a group of people, then those who are leading the ritual should lead the procession to the temple or temenos. For those of us with less grand temples, the procession might only mean walking from one room to another. The movement is important, though, as it denotes a change from profane to sacred space.

Purification of the Sacred Space
Water is usually used to purify those attending and those leading, as well as to mark out the sacred precinct. This is called khernips and the water traditionally was pure and from a sacred spring or special source. It was kept in a special vessel, the perieranteria. Some people substitute bottled spring water. At a temple, this container is kept outside the sacred precinct so that those approaching can purify themselves prior to entering the sacred space. For an individual, it is acceptable to pour the water over the hands, washing them before entering the ritual area. The remaining water would then be used to sprinkle the edges of your sacred precinct and the altar.

Ritual Lighting of Sacred Fire
Originally this flame was taken from the Public Hearth of the Polis, sacred to Hestia. For those who have an altar to Hestia in their homes, it would be appropriate to light the ritual flame from that flame, and then carry it during the Pomp to light the candle or bonfire for your ritual. Some people like to use a candle or an oil lamp.

Tossing of Barley
A special ritual basket (called a kanoun) is brought to the sacred precinct or altar and is filled with barley groats. This barley is used to scatter around the ritual space, including the altar, in order to further purify it and show that it is sacred space dedicated to the gods. Historically, if a blood sacrifice were being offered the knife would be concealed in this basket.

Preliminary Invocation
We first call to the gods to hear and attend our ritual. You may use the following invocation or write your own.

O Athanatoi (Deathless Ones),
Gods of Starry Heaven,
Broad Earth,
And the Great Below,

Xairete, Theoi!

Hear, and attend.
Bless us with your presence,
as we would honor you.

Libations (spondai)
The first libation is to Hestia as it is traditional to offer Hestia the first and last portion of any offering. There is question as to whether this is truly something that the ancient Greeks did, but it has entered into the modern ritual very firmly. Generally, the libations should mention the gods who preside over the Noumenia, including Apollo Noumenios, Selene (Moon), and Agathos Daimon (good divinity). There is often then a common libation for all the gods. You may use the libation text below, or substitute your own.

Receive these libations, and rejoice,
for your joy is ours this night.
Goddess of the Hearth,
Keeper of the Sacred Flame,
Guardian of the Home,
For you we pour out the first portion,
as yours is the first and the last.

(pour a portion of wine or other liquid offering into the libation bowl)

Be well disposed.

For the gods of the Noumenia,
I pour out the next shares,
For it is under your auspices we gather tonight.
For Apollo Neomenios,
Lord Apollo,
Phoibos, golden-lyred,
Shining Leto’s glorious son,

(pour libation)

Be well disposed.

For Selene,
Brilliant, crescent-crowned,
Lamp bearer, who courses among the stars,

(pour libation)

Be well disposed.
For the Agathos Daimon,
Winged serpent,
god of good fortune,br> beloved of Tyche, kindly one,

(pour libation)

Be well disposed.

And for All the Blessed gods,
Resplendent, Beautiful, Immortal,
I pour now
An equal measure
Of sweet wine/water.

(pour libation)

Be well disposed.

Reading of Orphic Hymn

Neokoroi section:

O, Makares, (Blessed Ones)
As the moon in its cycle is timeless,
Waxing and waning,
It ever returns,
So we, the Neokoroi,
Return each month
At the time of the New Moon
In the timeless act of worship
Echoing with our prayers and our offerings,
The moon’s ageless promise of renewal and return
This night,
Beneath the new crescent moon,
We gather
To reinstitute your worship,
To reforge the sacred bond of xaris,
And to renew the hope with which the gods bless humankind.

Elthete (Come) Theoi (gods),
Bless us with your presence,
And partake of what we offer,
In reverence of you.


At this point, individual worshipers would bring forward any offerings they have for the gods. The list below is a suggestion which can and should be changed to meet the needs of the ritual.

We offer pure water,
And sweet wine
Fruits of the earth and fragrant incense, cakes of grain and honey,
Bright flowers, and a hymn of praise,
As sustenance for your hearts.
And with our prayers
We entreat you:
Watch over us and sustain us.
Look kindly on our efforts,
For it is through you we receive all blessings.

Personal prayers, songs or other events may be added here.

Final Libations / Last Libation for Hestia:

O Theoi (Gods),
We offer thanks to you.

(pour libation to all the gods into libation bowl)

And for Hestia, as yours is always the first and last.

(pour libation to Hestia into libation bowl).



The Orphic Hymn to All the Gods
Kind Zeus and Gaia,
heavenly and pure flames of the Sun,
sacred light of the Moon,
and all the Stars;
Poseidon, too, dark-maned holder of the earth,
pure Persephone
and Demeter of the splendid fruit,
Artemis, the arrow-pouring maiden,
and you, kindly Phoibos,
who dwell on the sacred ground of Delphoi.
And Dionysos,
the dancer, whose honors among the blessed gods are the highest.
Strong-spirited Ares,
holy and mighty Hephaistos,
and the goddess foam-born to whose lot fell sublime gifts,
and you, divinity excellent, who are king of the Underworld.
I call upon Hebe,
and Eileithyia,
and the noble ardor of Herakles,
the great blessings of justice and piety,
the glorious Nymphs and Pan the greatest,
and upon Hera, buxom wife of aegis-bearing Zeus.
I also call upon lovely Mnemosyne
and the holy Muses, all nine,
as well as upon the Graces, the Seasons, and the Year,
fair-tressed Leto,
divine and revered Dione,
the armed Kouretes, the Korybantes, the Kabeiroi,
great Saviors, Zeus’ ageless scions,
the Idaian gods,
and upon Hermes, messenger and herald of those in heaven;
upon Themis, too, diviner of men I call,
and on Night, oldest of all,
and light-bringing Day;
then upon Faith, and Dike,
blameless Thesmodoteira,
Rhea, Kronos,
dark-veiled Tethys,
the great Okeanos together with his daughters,
the might preeminent of Atlas and Aion,
Chronos the ever-flowing,
the splendid water of the Styx,
all these gentle gods,
and also Pronoia,
and the holy Daimon
as well as the one baneful to mortals;
then upon divinities dwelling in heaven, air, water,
on earth, under the earth, and in the fiery element.
Ino, Leukothee, Palaimon giver of bliss,
sweet-speaking Nike,
queenly Adresteia,
the great king Asklepios who grants soothing,
the battle-stirring maiden Pallas,
all the Winds,
Thunder, and the parts of the four-pillared Cosmos.
And I invoke the Mother of the immortals, Attis and Men,
and the goddess Ouranie,
immortal and holy Adonis,
Beginning and End, too,
which to all is most important,
and ask them to come in a spirit of joyous mercy
to this holy rite and libation of reverence.

For those interested in the full text of the Orphic Hymns, they can be found on There are actually 87 hymns to the various gods, and they are quite beautiful.