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This is a ritual in honour of the goddess Aphrodite. It was held in Athens on the 4th of Hekatombaion (June/July) and involved washing the statues of Aphrodite and Peitho (Persuasion). The temple was also anointed with dove's blood, the bird being sacred to the goddess. This is a modern interpretation of that festival. It can easily be adapted for solitary use.

Aphrodisia Festival

You will need:

  • Sacred knife/athame
  • Image of Aphrodite
  • Image of Apollon
  • Bowl of khernips (pure water)
  • Bowl of barley
  • Bowl of salt water
  • Cloth
  • Rose oil
  • White Hestia candle
  • Blue Aphrodite candle anointed with rose oil
  • Small blue votive candle
  • Offerings of red roses, strawberries and chocolates
  • Libation wine
  • Libation bowl


    All participants are to wash themselves before the rite and dress in clean clothes.


    The participants process to the altar carrying the offerings. When the altar is reached, the priest/ess lights the white candle of Hestia while reciting the following hymn:

    Hestia, you who tend the holy house
    Of the far-shooting Lord, Apollon, at goodly Pytho,
    With soft oil ever-dripping from your locks.
    Come now into this house, come
    Having one mind with Zeus the all-wise
    And withal bestow grace upon my song

    The priest/ess dips the sacred knife into the khernips and sprinkles it around the altar while reciting:

    Oh Great Lord Apollon the Purifier! Let your waters cleanse
    And consecrate this sacred space, making it pure and free
    Let all that is profane be far from here!

    Priest/ess says:

    We come now before Aphrodite
    To sing her praises and to be merry
    To be thankful for her gifts that she has brought us
    And to honour her with joy, prayers and libations!

    The Priest/ess lights the blue Aphrodite candle and says:

    Heavenly, smiling Aphrodite, praised in many hymns,
    Sea-born, revered goddess of generation, you like the night-long revel,
    And you couple lovers at night, O scheming mother of Necessity.
    Everything comes from you; you have yoked the world and you control all three realms.
    You give birth to all, to everything in heaven, upon fruitful earth,
    And in the depths of the sea, O venerable companion of Bacchos.
    You delight in festivities, O bride-like mother of the Erotes,
    O persuasion whose joy is in the bed of love, secretive giver of grace,
    Visible and invisible, lovely-tressed daughter of a noble father.
    Bridal feast companion of the gods, sceptered she-wolf,
    Beloved and man-loving giver of birth and of life,
    With your maddening love-charms you yoke mortals,
    And the many races of beasts to unbridled passion.
    Come, O goddess born in Cyprus, whether you are on Olympos, O queen,
    Exulting in the beauty of your face, or you wander in Syria, country of fine frankincense,
    Or, yet, driving your golden chariot in the plain,
    You lord it over Egypt's fertile river bed.
    Come, whether you ride your swan-drawn chariot over the sea's billows,
    Joying in the creatures of the deep as they dance in circles,
    Or you delight in the company of the dark-faced nymphs on land,
    As light-footed, they frisk over the sandy beaches.
    Come, lady, even if you are in Cyprus that cherishes you,
    Where fair maidens and chaste nymphs throughout the year sing of you,
    O blessed one, and of immortal, pure Adonis.
    Come O beautiful and comely goddess.
    I summon you with holy words and pious soul.


    The following prayers are read while the image of Aphrodite is washed in the salt water, dried and anointed with the rose oil:

    Muses, tell us the deeds of golden Aphrodite Kypria, who stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the tribes of mortal men and birds that fly in air and all the many creatures that the dry land rears, and all the sea: all these love the deeds of rich-crowned Kythereia.

    Aphrodite, gold-crowned and beautiful, whose dominion is the walled cities of all sea-set Cyprus. There the moist breath of Zephyros the western wind wafted her over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-clad Seasons welcomed her joyously.

    She gives kindly gifts to men: smiles are ever on her lovely face, and lovely is the brightness that plays over it. Hail, sweetly-winning, coy-eyed goddess! Queen of well built Salamis and sea-girt Cyprus; grant us a cheerful song.

    The priest/ess unsheathes the sacred knife, points to the offerings and says:

    Immortal Goddess,
    We bring you gifts!
    See these things!
    And partake of them!

    Priest/ess scatters barley on the altar and lights the blue votive candle, the participants place their offerings on the altar.

    The priest/ess fills the libation cup with the libation wine, takes a drink, offers the cup around for the participants to take a drink, and then pours the rest into the main offering bowl. S/he does this six times, speaking the following things in order for each one, the participants also repeat these lines after they have drunk:

    With you, Lady Hestia, I share the first!
    With you, Immortal ones of Olympos, I share the second!
    With you, *(xxx) My patrons, I share the third!
    With you, Immortal ones of Gaia, I share the fourth!
    With you, Loving Ancestors and those who have departed, I share the fifth!
    With you, Lady Hestia, first and last, I share the last!


    Let us rejoice in the company of the gods!


    Let us rejoice! Khairete!

    Extinguish the white Hestia candle and the blue Aphrodite candle, but leave the votive candle to burn out entirely. Keep the blue Aphrodite candle exclusively for any future Aphrodite rites or for personal prayers to the goddess. It would now be suitable to enjoy a meal of any of the following with the goddess; fish (especially white fish or shellfish), wood pigeon, poussin, feta, figs, strawberries, honey, chocolates and wine. Serve a separate portion for Aphrodite and pour her a glass of wine. If you have a willing romantic partner (or even more than one) then this festival would be an excellent time to safely explore your sexuality together. If not you can ask Aphrodite to help you in that regard, or you can explore your own sexuality alone. Aphrodite governs all forms of love, including same-sex and transgendered. As long as it comes from a place of mutual love and pleasure it is sanctified by the goddess.

    *(xxx) Insert the names of your personal patrons here. If you have no patron gods then insert Aphrodite's name instead.

Added to on Jul 24, 2012
Last edited on Dec 22, 2014
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