I made it just a little over ten months without posting this prayer. The last time was for the people in Nice. I could have posted it for the people killed in the London Bridge attack, but London handled itself so well in the wake of the London Bridge attack that I sufficed with another type of post. I could have posted it much more often inbetween; since Nice, at least 12.145 people have lost their lives in terrorist attacks (617 in the second part of July, 1230 in August, 876 in September, 2151 in October, 1667 in November, 940 in December, 912 in January, 767 in February, 1436 in March, 817 in April, and 732 so far in May). Some with the highest death counts (50+):

23/7/16 Suicide bombing in Kabul, Afganistan: 80 dead (230 wounded)
27/7/16 Suicide bombing in Qamishli, Syria: 57dead (140 wounded)
6/8/16 Shooting, kidnapping and execution by IS in Hawija, Iraq: 100+ dead (over 3000 kidnapped)
8/8/2016 Shooting and suicide bombing in Quetta, Pakistan: 93 dead (130+ wounded)
14/8/16 Melee massacre in Beni City, Democratic Republic of the Congo: 101 dead
15/8/16 Suicide bombing on a bus in Idlib, Syria: 50 dead
20/8/16 Suicide bombing at a wedding ceremony in Gaziantep, Turkey by a twelve year old boy: 54 dead (66 wounded)
29/8/2016 Bombing at a military facility in Aden, Yemen: 71 dead
5/9/2016 String of connected car bombingsin Tartus, Homs, Damascus and Hasakah, Syria: 70 dead
5/9/2016 Suicide bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan: 58 dead (109 wounded)
25/9/2016 Execution of captured Iraqi civilians by IS in Iraq: 100+ dead
14/10/2016 Executions of rebels by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 58 dead
15/10/16 Suicide bombing and shooting in Baghdad, Iraq: 53 dead (44 wounded)
21-22/10/16 Spree of shootings and suicide bombings in Kirkuk, Iraq: 80 dead (133 wounded)
24/10/16 Hostage taking, shooting, and suicide bombing at a police training center in Quetta, Pakistan: 62 dead (117 wounded)
25/10/16 Executions and shooting by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 135 dead
26/10/16 Execution of former members of the Iraqi security forces by IS: 232 dead
29/10/16 Execution of civilians by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 122 dead
31/10/16 Execution of civilians by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 350+ dead
2/11/16 Execution and shooting by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 52 dead
8/11/16 Execution of civilians by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 300+ dead
11/11/16 Execution of civilians by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 113 dead
12/11/16 Suicide bombing in the Shah Noorani Shrine in Balochistan, Pakistan: 55 dead (102 wounded)
12/11/16 Execution of civilians by IS in Mosul, Iraq: 60 dead
20/11/16 Sabotage of a train by IS in Pukhrayan, India: 150 dead (150+ wounded)
24/11/16 Suicide truck bombing in Hillah, Iraq: 125 dead (95 wounded)
9/12/16 Suicide bombings in Madagali, Nigeria: 57 dead (177 wounded)
10/12/16 Suicide bombing on soldiers in Aden, Yemen: 50+ dead (70+ wounded)
18/12/16 Suicide bombing on soldiers in Aden, Yemen: 52 dead (63 wounded)

2/1/17 Series of suicide car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq: 56 dead (122 wounded)
7/1/17 Car bombing at a marketplace in Azaz, Syria: 60 dead (50 wounded)
18/1/17 Five suicide bombings near a NATO army base in Gao, Mali: 77 dead (115 wounded)
27/1/17 Al-Shabaab militants attack remote AMISOM base killing Kenyan troops in Kulbiyow, Somalia: 66 dead (70 wounded)
16/2/17 Car bombing at a car dealership in Baghdad, Iraq: 59 dead (66 wounded)
16/2/17 Suicide bombing at a shrine by IS in Sehwan, Pakistan: 88 dead (250+ wounded)
24/2/17 Car bombing by IS in Sosyan, Syria: 61 dead (100+ wounded)
8/3/17 Suicide bombing and shootings at a military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan: 100+ dead (63 wounded)
11/3/17 Car bombing and suicide bombing on Shia pilgrims in Damascus, Syria: 74 dead (120+ wounded)
15/4/17 Suicide car bombing in Aleppo, Syria: 126 dead (100+ wounded)
21/4/17 Shooting attack of a military base by Taliban n the Balkh Province, Afghanistan: 256 dead (160+ wounded)
18/5/17 Shootings of civilians by IS in Hama Governorate, Syria: 52 dead (100 wounded)
20/5/17 Shooting of soldiers and civilians by Misrata militants in the Wadi al Shatii District, Libya: 141 dead (100+ wounded)

I was still awake two nights ago when news of the Manchester Arena bombing begun trickling in. I can't imagine you missed it, but at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande a bomb went off, killing 22 people and injuring 59. A lone male was reported to have carried out the attack, thought to have been a suicide bombing using an improvised explosive device, with the perpetrator "deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately", according to Prime Minister Theresa May. Police were called to the scene of the bombing at 22:33 local time, along with medical personnel. IS later claimed responsibility for the attack, and investigators are trying to determine if this was a lone wolf terror attack.

In case you don't know Ariana Grande, let me drive it home to you that the crowd consisted mostly of kids between the ages of, say, eight and eighteen, along with their parents and a select gathering of more mature fans. So far, the youngest identified deadly victim was eight. Eight. Some 23 years old asshole sat through the whole of an Ariana Grande concert, got up, walked to the exit along with hordes of (mostly) girls having the best night of their lives and pressed a Gods damned button because somehow that is a normal thing to do now.

It kills me, thinking of this.

It kills me thinking of the trauma the young people who survived will carry for the rest of their lives. I can't even imagine what Ariana herself is going through right now. She walked off stage and a few minutes later: boom! Death. Chaos. She went on Twitter and apologized. She apologized for the actions of an angry, impressionable, very dead teenager who felt the need to take 22 people into death with him. She's debating ending her career.

That kills me too.

I've just spent the better part of two hours tallying the numbers on how many people fell victim to the hate, and anger, and fear of humanity. Let me go back to that list you may or may not have read. A twelve year old boy blew himself up at a wedding. In the span of two weeks, IS members shot over 1500 people in the head in Mosul. 3000 people were kidnapped. They will be raped, mutilated, indoctrinated and either put in the line of battle as cannon fodder or killed once they outlive their 'usefulness'. If I could, I would post the image of every single one of the 12.145 people who lost their lives in the name of hate these past 10 months.

We don't know all the names of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombings yet, but we know a few, and I will update the list as more names become public. Memorize them. Let them be remembered forever. May they live on in true Hellenic tradition. Don't apologize, get angry. Be aware. Pray. Refuse to be afraid. Read through that list up there and visualize every number of people. Those people should be alive today--as should the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing be.

Georgina Callander (18 years old)

Saffie Rose Roussos (8 years old)

John Atkinson (26 years old)

Olivia Campbell (15 years old)

I knew Georgina a little, from internet circles we both frequented. We talked a little a few years ago, were mutual on social media. I didn't know her real name, but others in those circles did and connected the dots. And now she's dead. I didn't cry more for her than for any of the others, but I most certainly cried for her. She was sweet, and loving, and bubbly. She will be missed.

We don't get a reprieve from these attacks. The 23rd already saw the Marawi clash in the Philippines. Residents of Marawi reported the presence of and armed group within their locale and after the AFP verified the information, the military responded. Firefights between government forces and militants began. Maute group fighters occupied the Amai Pakpak Hospital and ordered the PhilHealth employees out of the facility. The fighters allegedly replaced the Philippine flag hoisted in the hospital with the Black Standard used by the Islamic State group. The 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Ranao was attacked by at least 500 Maute group militants. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following the clash. Two soldiers were killed and one police officer. Casualties 12.143, 12.144, and 12.145. Eight soldiers were wounded.

This is our world, and we don't hear about its horrors enough. If we did, we would act. So seek out this information, mourn the dead and take a stand against this cancer manifesting in our society. Pray, if nothing else, then for the victims.

"May Hermes Psychopompos carry the souls of the dead safely cross the river Styx.
May Hekate, as Kourotrophos, light their way.
May Hades accept them favourably, and may the judges judge them fairly.
May Asklēpiós tend to the wounds of the injured.
May Ares instill in them the passion of life, and the strength of a thousand warriors.
May Hypnos sooth their weary minds, and cloud them in sleep.
May Dionysos calm their terror.
May They offer the same to emergency personnel and passers-by who were witnesses.
May Dikē who weeps at the injustice done upon all touched by this tragedy, clutch the strong thigh of Zeus the All-wise, and beg of Him the severest of punishments.
May All-Mighty Zeus send winged Nemesis to administer swift judgement.
May Her judgement take from the guilty parties an equal or greater price than their victims have had to pay.
May Hēlios the All-seeing whisper truth to law enforcement, and guide the investigation swiftly towards those who conceived of this terrible crime.
May wise Athena led Her aid to them.
May Zeus the All-mighty bless those who ran not from the area, but towards it, in an attempt to offer aid to those wounded or dead.
May He look favourably upon those who ran away as well, as the will to live is at the core of every mortal's life.
To all Theoi: a last plea. To protect those whom the media will persecute, but are innocent of the crime.
To protect the innocent scapegoat from the actions of a species in the grips of fear and revenge."
On the 29th of May, which converts to the third of the month of Skiraphorion, two festivals were held, one in Athens and one in Erkhia. The first was the Arrephoria and, as I will explain later, was not a public festival. As such, we will not celebrate it as such. It is, however, a festival of Athena Polias who was also honoured at Erkhia on this day, along with the Kourotrophos, Aglaurus, Pandrosos, Zeus Polieus, and Poseidon. Will you join us at 10 am EDT on 29 May?

Let's start with some background on the Arrephoria festival, as it seems to have influenced the sacrifice at Erkhia. The Arrephoria festival wasn't a state festival; young girls in the service performed a ritual for Athena Polias as a public service, but beyond those girls, their mentors, and perhaps their parents, no one was very concerned with it. As with most secret rites, I'm sure people knew a rite was being held, but knew it was not their business to interfere. As long as the rite was performed, all would be well for them. The girls who were selected for the honour of tending for Athena were in service of Athena Polias for an entire year and were called 'Arrephoros' (Ἀρρήφορος), Arrephoroi as a group, consisting of four members.

The Arrephoroi were always girls between the age of seven and eleven, although seven and ten seem to be the ages that are mentioned most often. They were selected from the wealthy and powerful families of Athens, as those families were considered to be especially blessed. Excavations on the Acropolis have led to the discovery of their quarters, and even their playground. It seems even mini-priestesses can't be priestesses all the time. The young girls seem to have favored ball games and were lodged near the Erechtheion in an area which was the main inhabited area on the Acropolis in Mycenaean times.

The Arrephoroi had three important tasks to perform in their term. One of the tasks the young girls assisted in was the creation of the peplos for Athena Polias, which was presented to Her during the Panathenaia. Secondly, they were almost solely in charge of grounding the meal for the honey cakes which were placed upon the altar of Athena during religious ceremonies. As a special part of their service, they performed the Arrephoria. During the Arrephoria, the priestess of Athena Polias gave the young arrephoroi sealed baskets to carry to a nearby cave. Here, the girls were supposed to enter, walk the corridor, set down their baskets at the end and pick up ones which have stood there for a year. When they returned with the baskets, it signaled the end of their year of service and they were dismissed. They were replaced with new girls who would serve the Theia.

It seems the Arrephoria ritual has ties to the ancient Athenian myth of Erichthonios (Ἐριχθόνιος), child of Hēphaistos and Athena, through Gaea, who was half man, half snake, and left in a basket by Athena, to be cared for by three of Her young attendants at the Acropolis, with clear instructions not to open the basket. They did, of course, and were scared so by the sight of either a snake in the basket, or Erichthonios' deformities, they cast themselves off of the Acropolis in terror. Yet, despite his deformities, Erichthonios became king of Athens and ruled it long and well. Myth tells us it was Erichthonios who founded the Panathenaiac Festival in the honour of Athena.

It seems that there was a certain fertility aspect to the rite, not for humans, but for the olive tree. The rite was most likely performed when the first dew settled on the sacred olive tree on top of the Acropolis--very near where the girls were housed--or when dew was about to settle onto it. In climates as dry as Hellas, dew was needed to produce rich fruit. The months following Skiraphorion are crucial to the olive crop and in ancient times, olive trees--and Athena's sacred olive tree--were vital to the survival of Athens. Olive oil was a main export product, it was used in nearly everything, from cooking to sacred rites, and Athena's olive tree atop the Acropolis had been her gift to the city, which led to her patronage over the city, instead of that of Poseidon. It is said that the sacred olive oil gifted as a reward for winning the Panathenaia te megala was harvested from that very tree. Its survival, and the bearing of good fruit, were therefor essential.

The Arrephoria was performed to appease Athena and to assure the best possible (divine) conditions for the sacred olive tree of Athena on the Acropolis--and, by proxy, all olive trees--to grow and bear fruit. These young girls performed a vital part of this rite to make up for the failings of Herse and Aglauros. For much more information about the Arrephoria, please see here.

So why did the ancient Erkhians sacrifice to this marry band of Theoi on this day? They are all linked to the city's well-being and the circumstances that led to the creation of the Arrephoria festival. Athena Polias is regarded as Protector of the City (of Athens). She had a sactuary on the north side of the Acropolis, the Erechtheion. Built between 421 and 406, the Erechtheion was associated with some of the most ancient and holy relics of the Athenians: the Palladion, which was a xoanon--an aniconic cult-statue--of Athena Polias, the marks of Poseidon's trident and the salt water well that resulted from Poseidon's strike, the sacred olive tree that sprouted when Athena struck the rock with her spear in her successful rivalry with Poseidon for the city, the supposed burial places of the mythical kings Cecrops and Erechtheus, the sacred precincts of Cecrops' three daughters and those of the tribal heroes Pandion and Boutes.

The sisters entrusted with the care for Erichthonios, hidden away in a basket, were Aglauros and her sister Pandrosos. For their roles in the Arrephoria rites, they seem to have been regarded as fertility deities in Athens. Aglauros had a sanctuary on the Acropolis in which young men of military age swore an oath to her as well as to Zeus and to other deities. Herse, sometimes regarded as a third sister, has no mention in the accounts of the Arrephoria and was not honoured at Erkhia.

Athena Polias and Poseidon were included because of the founding mythology surrounding Athens and Zeus Polieus was another powerful protector of the city. His inclusion might not be intirely linked to myths and practices surrounding Erichthonios, but His inclusion makes sense.

The Kourotrophos (κουροτρόφος, child nurturer) are (mostly) female deities who watched over growing children--and especially boys. Gaea, Artemis, and Hekate come to mind but Aglauros and Pandrossos were also considered Kouroptrophoi. Specific offerings to Them are known from the demos Erkhia but duplicate similar offerings on the Acropolis of Athens. Especially at Erkhia, it varied per sacrifice which Kourotrophos was/were sacrificed to. In this sacrifice They were honoured for the fertility aspect of Erichthonios being born from Athena as well as Gaea and the desired fertility of olive trees so we know at least Gaea, Aglauros and Pandrosos were honoured.

The Kourotrophos received a pig, Athena Polias a sheep, Aglouros received a sheep as well, but the remains of which were not to be removed from the bomos, which was equally true for the sheep Zeus Polieus received. Poseidon and Pandrosos also received sheep. All animals were the gender of the deity in question.

We hope you will join us for this sacrifice on 29 May at 10 am EDT. You can find the ritual here and join the community page here.
new genomic study on southern Mediterranean reveals a genetic continuity across geographic and national borders. The study--coordinated by the Human Biodiversity and Population Genomics group at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BiGeA) of the University of Bologna and funded by the National Geographic Society--describes the genetic fingerprints of the Mediterranean people with high-density genomic markers and a wide sample of modern populations from Sicily and Southern Italy.  Their genetic profiles were analyzed to reconstruct the combination of ancestry components and the demographic history of the region. The study is published in Scientific Reports.

As one would expect, populations inhabiting the southeastern shores of Europe are the result of a complex, multi-layered history. One of these layers corresponds to a shared genetic background, extending from Sicily to Cyprus and involving Crete, the Aegean islands and Anatolia. Stefania Sarno, researcher from the University of Bologna and lead author of the study said:

"This shared Mediterranean ancestry possibly traces back to prehistoric times, as the result of multiple migration waves, with peaks during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age."

Apparently, the ancient Greek expansions (during the Magna Graecia foundation) were only one of the last events in a long history of East-West movements, where the Mediterranean Sea served as a preferential crossroads for the circulation of genes and cultures.

One of the most intriguing layers hidden in the Mediterranean genetic landscape involves an important Bronze Age contribution from a Caucasus (or Caucasus-like) source, accompanied by the virtual absence of the typical "Pontic-Caspian" genetic component from the Asian steppe.

The latter is a very characteristic genetic signal well represented in North-Central and Eastern Europe, which previous studies associated with the introduction of Indo-European languages to the continent. Chiara Barbieri from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena adds:

"These new genomic results from the Mediterranean open a new chapter for the study of the prehistoric movements behind the diffusion of the most represented language family in Europe. The spread of these languages in the Southern regions, where Indo-European languages like Italian, Greek and Albanian are spoken nowadays, cannot be explained with the major contribution from the steppe alone."

The current genetic study also focuses on more recent historical layers that contributed to the present-day genetic makeup of the populations sampled, in particular in the cases of long-standing, non-Italian-speaking communities in Italy.

For example, mainland Greece and Albania seem to have acquired additional genetic contributions during historic times, most likely related to the Slavic migrations in the Balkans. This recent Balkan genetic ancestry is still evident in some ethno-linguistic minorities of Sicily and Southern Italy, such as the Albanian-speaking Arbereshe. The Arbreshe migrated from Albania to Italy at the end of the Middle Ages and experienced geographic and cultural isolation, which played a part in their distinctive genetic composition.

A different case study is that of Greek-speaking communities from Southern Italy. The genetic features of these groups are compatible with the antiquity of their settlement and with a high cultural permeability with neighboring populations, combined with drift and effects of geographic isolation, as in the case of Calabrian Greeks. Alessio Boattini, geneticist and anthropologist from the University of Bologna says:

"The study of linguistic and cultural isolates in Italy proved to be important to understand our history and our demography. The cases of the Albanian- and Greek-speaking communities of Southern Italy help to shed light into the formation of these cultural and linguistic identities."

Davide Pettener, professor of Anthropology from the University of Bologna adds:

"Overall, the study illustrates how both genetic and cultural viewpoints can inform our knowledge of the complex dynamics behind the formation of our Mediterranean heritage, especially in contexts of extensive -- both geographically and temporally -- admixture."

Prof. Donata Luiselli, who co-led the project, concludes:

"These results will be further developed in future studies integrating data from other disciplines, in particular linguistics, archaeology and palaeogenomics, with the study of ancient DNA from archaeological remains."
A bronze stud from the late fourth century or early fifth century B.C., part of a temporary exhibition at the Pompeii archaeological park in southern Italy, has been stolen. It was one of four surviving studs from a gate which were recovered in Torre Satriano, another archaeological site. All four were on display in the "Pompeii and the Greeks" exhibition, running until Oct. 31.

The missing stud, whose disappearance was noted late Wednesday, was insured for 300 euros ($335), the Pompeii archaeological park said in a statement. Pompeii director Massimo Osanna said:

"Even if it was not a priceless piece, [the theft] is an affront to the Pompeii site and to Italian cultural heritage, and it personally affects me since it comes from an area whose excavation I had personally led."

The room where the theft took place is monitored by custodians during the day and by security cameras at night. Police were called in to investigate, and the exhibition was closed to the public to ease their work. The rest of Pompeii remains open. Osanna said Thursday that the stud's removal from beneath an acrylic panel would have taken time to avoid detection by on-site security. Officials think it was taken during public visiting hours, and police are reviewing video surveillance. The area has been closed to visitors.

The site, long associated with neglect and building collapses, is Italy's most popular tourist site after the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, and is undergoing extensive restorations funded by the European Union.

Pompeii was a prosperous ancient Roman city destroyed by a 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which killed thousands of people. Ruins have survived to this day after being covered for centuries by thick layers of volcanic ash.

It's not exactly Greek, this news, but I am putting it up here because this pisses me off to no end. How dare you go into a museum--or anywhere!--and take something that doesn't belong to you. Something that should be available to all to see. that's history. It belongs to everyone. May Nemesis take swift and just action!
A little over a week or so ago, I posted a description of categories of minor planets and minor planets named from Hellenic mythology. I love things like that. I love knowing how far Hellenic mythology and the Gods still reach. Today, I want to present you with a new list, this time of the Hellenic influence on the names of chemical elements--either through mythology or simply through language.

Argon (Ar) From the Greek word "argos" which means idle or lazy. Argon is one of the laziest, least reactive elements of all. There are also many mythological figures named "Argos", but those are not whom the element was named after.

Bromine (Br) - From the Greek word "bromos" which means stench. Bromine has an unpleasant smell.

Chlorine (Cl) From the Greek word "chloros" which means green. Chlorine is a green gas.

Helium (He) - Named after the God Helios. In 1868, during an eclipse of the Sun, scientists observed a spectral line caused by an unknown element. They named the element Helium. Twenty seven years later, in 1895, the element was discovered on Earth.

Hydrogen (H) - From the Greek words "hydro" and "genes" which mean water and forming. When hydrogen burns in the air, it forms water.

Iodine (I) - From the Greek word "iodos" which means violet. Iodine is a grey solid at room temperature. It gives off a violet colored vapor when warmed.

Niobium (Nb) - It is a soft, grey, ductile transition metal, which is often found in the pyrochlore mineral, the main commercial source for niobium, and columbite. Its name comes from Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, the namesake of tantalum (see below). The name reflects the great similarity between the two elements in their physical and chemical properties, making them difficult to distinguish.

Oxygen (O) - From the Greek words "oxy" and "genes" meaning acid forming. Most non-metals burn in oxygen to form acids eg. sulphur.

Phosphorous (P) - From the Greek word "phosphorus" which means "light bearing". It was also the ancient name for the planet Venus, usually the brightest "star" in the night sky. Phosphorous glows in the dark and catches fire in the air to give a bright flame.

Tantalum (Ta) - Named after King Tantalos. It was discovered in 1802 and great difficulties were encountered in dissolving its oxide in acid to form salts, which is most likely how it got its name--King Tantalos was imprisoned in Tartaros for serving the son he murdered to the Gods when They came to dinner. Tantalos' punishment for his actions was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any.

Titanium (Ti) - Named after Titans, members of the second generation of divine beings, descending from the primordial deities and preceding the Olympian deities. They are giant deities of incredible strength. Titanium is an extremely strong metal which resists attack by acids.
The 25th of the month of Thargelion marks the day of the Plynteria festival. This minor festival was held solely in Athens and surrounding areas and was in honor of Athena Polias, protector of the city. It was considered an auspicious day by the ancient Athenians because on this day, they did not have the protection of Athena. Around the time of the Pynteria the Kallunteria also took place, a festival during which the temple of Athena was cleaned thoroughly and Her sacred fires relit. Elaion will organize PAT rituals for both celebrationss and invites you to join us on 22 May and 24. Note! The Plynteria is a nighttime festival and thus not at the usual 10 am EDT.

Plutarch, in his 'Life of Alkibiades' describes the Plynteria festival beautifully:

"But while Alcibiades was thus prospering brilliantly, some were nevertheless disturbed at the particular season of his return. For he had put into harbour on the very day when the Plynteria of the goddess Athene were being celebrated. The Praxiergidae celebrate these rites on the twenty-fifth day of Thargelion, in strict secrecy, removing the robes of the goddess and covering up her images. Wherefore the Athenians regard this day as the unluckiest of all days for business of any sort. The goddess, therefore, did not appear to welcome Alcibiades with kindly favour and good will, but rather to veil herself from him and repel him. However, all things fell out as he wished, and one hundred triremes were manned for service, with which he was minded to sail off again; but a great and laudable ambition took possession of him and detained him there until the Eleusinian mysteries." [34.1]

During the Plynteria, the wooden statue of Athena was disrobed of the Peplos that she received during the Panathenaia by Her priestesses, veiled, and then taken down to the sea for a wash. Veiling a Theos' image from head to toe was considered apophras, unlucky, as it removed Their presence.

The women who removed the robe and jewelry from the ancient wooden image and then veiled her, were part of an Athenian family traditionally entrusted with this task. They were called the Praxiergidai. The procession to the sea, several miles away, was a city-affair. As all other sanctuaries and temples in Athens remained closed on this day, it's likely many attended.

In front of the procession was a single woman, carrying a basket of fig pastries (known as 'hegeteria'), for the fig was believed to be the first cultivated food, and was--like the sea water--a purifier. Mounted young men, known as 'epheboi' escorted the statue deep into the water before coming back to shore. Thee, it was bathed by two girls, the bathers (loutrides). A single priestess was most likely in charge of washing the peplos of the Goddess. her title has not survived. In the evening, a torch-lid procession brought the statue back to Her temple and she was redressed by the Praxiergidai. The statue may have remained veiled for the remainder of the day.

There is another, smaller, festival connected to the Plynteria: the Kallunteria, which was celebrated somewhere in the vicinity of the Plynthria. During this festival, the temple of Athena was swept out--the name of the festival means 'sweeping out' or 'to beautify by sweeping'--and cleaned thoroughly, so that the washed statue would have a clean home to return to. The lamp of Her eternal flame was also refilled and relit by the priestesses on this day. The lamp was a golden vessel, created in the late fifth century by Kallimakhos, and was big enough to hold enough oil to burn day and night for the whole year. It's therefor logical to assume that the festival was held on a day close to the twenty-fifth, possibly the twenty-fourth or twenty-sixth. Ancient sources state that the festival must have taken place after the Bendideia. From Proklos' 'Timaeus of Plato':

"For they say, that the Bendideia were celebrated in the Piraeus on the twentieth day of [Thargelion], but that the festival sacred to Minerva followed these."

Mikalson, in his 'The sacred and civil calendar of the Athenian year', gives the 24th as the date but stresses that the 24th is merely a estimation, and we, in fact, do not know when the festival was held. He assumes it could even have taken place after the Plynteria, and places the Kallunteria between the 24th and the 28th of the month, with the exception of the 25th, as that was the date of the Plyneria. Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood in 'Athenian Myths and Festivals' sets the date as the 27th with a somewhat unshakable certaintly. We have accepted the 27th as the possible date of the Kallunteria festival for our PAT ritual although we again stress that the date of the Kallunteria is unknown.

The rituals for the event can be found here for the Plynteria and here for the Kallunteria, and you can join the community page here.
With only the barest of margins, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has become Pandora's Kharis' Thargelion 2017 cause.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, they are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.

NAMI relies on gifts and contributions to support their work. They educate, advocate, listen to sufferers through the toll-free NAMI HelpLine, and lead awareness campaigns through public awareness events and activities, including Mental Illness Awareness Week and NAMIWalks, successfully fight stigma and encourage understanding. All in order to make sure America understands how important mental health is.

The deadline to donate is May 26th, 2017. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the website or by donating directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!