polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: birth

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

“Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies. For these are days which come from Zeus the all-wise, when men discern aright. To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the seventh — on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold — each is a holy day. The eighth and the ninth, two days at least of the waxing month, are specially good for the works of man. Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One, gathers her pile. On that day woman should set up her loom and get forward with her work. Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants. The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable for a girl either to be born at all or to be married. Nor is the first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote. It is favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse. On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loud- bellowing bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth. On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man should be born. Such an one is very sound-witted. The tenth is favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day of the mid-month. On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of the hand. But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it is a day very fraught with fate. On the fourth of the month bring home your bride, but choose the omens which are best for this business. Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horcus whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn. Look about you very carefully and throw out Demeter’s holy grain upon the well-rolled threshing floor on the seventh of the mid-month. Let the woodman cut beams for house building and plenty of ships’ timbers, such as are suitable for ships. On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships. The ninth of the mid-month improves towards evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men. It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male and a female: it is never an wholly evil day. Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call it by its right name. On the fourth day open a jar. The fourth of the mid-month is a day holy above all. And again, few men know that the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning: towards evening it is less good. These days are a great blessing to men on earth; but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing. Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature. Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother. That man is happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens of birds and avoids transgressions.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

Horace, Odes 3.22

“Virgin who guards the mountains and the woods, who when thrice invoked give ear to young women in labour and rescue them from death, three-formed goddess, let the pine that overhangs my villa be yours, so that at the end of every year I may joyfully present it with the blood of a young boar practising its sidelong slash.” – Horace, Odes 3.22

Celsus, Alethes Logos

“If in obedience to the traditions of their fathers they abstain from such victims, they must also abstain from all animal food, in accordance with the opinions of Pythagoras, who thus showed his respect for the soul and its bodily organs. But if, as they say, they abstain that they may not eat along with daimones, I admire their wisdom, in having at length discovered, that whenever they eat they eat with daimones, although they only refuse to do so when they are looking upon a slain victim; for when they eat bread, or drink wine, or taste fruits, do they not receive these things, as well as the water they drink and the air they breathe, from certain daimones, to whom have been assigned these different provinces of nature?

“We must either not live, and indeed not come into this life at all, or we must do so on condition that we give thanks and first-fruits and prayers to daimones, who have been set over the things of this world: and that we must do as long as we live, that they may prove good and kind.

“They must make their choice between two alternatives. If they refuse to render due service to the gods, and to respect those who are set over this service, let them not come to manhood, or marry wives, or have children, or indeed take any share in the affairs of life; but let them depart hence with all speed, and leave no posterity behind them, that such a race may become extinct from the face of the earth. Or, on the other hand, if they will take wives, and bring up children, and taste of the fruits of the earth, and partake of all the blessings of life, and bear its appointed sorrows (for nature herself hath allotted sorrows to all men; for sorrows must exist, and earth is the only place for them), then must they discharge the duties of life until they are released from its bonds, and render due honour to those beings who control the affairs of this life, if they would not show themselves ungrateful to them. For it would be unjust in them, after receiving the good things which they dispense, to pay them no tribute in return.” – Celsus, Alethes Logos

LSCG Suppl. 115

“If a bride comes to the dormitory, she must sacrifice as a penalty to Artemis. She must not share a roof with her husband and must not be polluted; she must purify the temple of Artemis and as a penalty sacrifice a full-grown victim, and then she should go to the dormitory. If she pollutes involuntarily, she must purify the temple.

“A bride must make a ceremonial visit to the bride-room at the temple of Artemis at the festival of Artemis, whenver she wishes, but the sooner the better. If she does not make her ceremonial visit, she must make the regular sacrifice to Artemis at the festival of Artemis as one who has made no visit, and she must purify the temple and sacrifice a victim as a penalty.

“A pregnant woman shall make a ceremonial visit before birth to the bride-room in the precinct of Artemis and give the Bear priestess feet and head and skin of the sacrifice. If she does not make a ceremonial visit before giving birth she must make visit afterwards with a full-grown victim. If she makes a ceremonial visit to the temple she must observe ritual purity on the seventh, eighth, and ninth day, and if she does not make a visit, she must perform the rites on these days. If she is polluted, she must purify herself and the temple and sacrifice a full-grown victim as penalty.

“If a woman miscarries, if the foetus is fully formed, they are polluted as if by a death; if it is not fully formed, the household is polluted as if from childbirth.” – LSCG Suppl. 115

Dittenberger, Sylloge3, 985

“Good Fortune! They were written for the health and common welfare and the noblest thought, the commandments given to Dionysius [by Zeus], granting access in sleep to his own house both to free men and women, and to household slaves. For here are the altars of Zeus Eumenes, Hestia who is seated beside him, and the other Savior Gods: Eudaimonia, Plutus, Arete, Hygiaea, Tyche Agathe, Agathos Daimon, Mneme, Charities, Nike.

“To him Zeus gave commandments: To observe the purifications and cleansing rites, and offer the sacrifices in accordance with ancestral rites and as now practiced. Those who enter this house [i.e. temple], both men and women, both bond and free, are to take oath before all the gods that, conscious of no guile toward man or woman, they will not [administer] an evil drug to men, nor will they learn or practice wicked charms, nor [give] any philter, or any abortive or contraceptive drug, nor [commit] robbery or murder, either carrying it out themselves or advising another or acting as witness [for his defence], nor overlook complacently those who rob [or withold – i.e. offerings] in this house; and if anyone shall do any of these things or advise them, they will not consent or pass over it in silence, but will bring it out into the open and see that [the crime] is punished.

“A man [is not to take] another woman in addition to his own wife, either a free woman or a slave who has a husband, nor is he to corrupt either a child [boy] or a virgin, nor is he to counsel another [to do so]; but if he should witness anyone [doing this], he must not hide it or keep silent about it. Woman and man [alike], whoever does any of the things above written, let them not enter this house. For the gods who dwell here are mighty and watch over these things and will not hold back [punishment] from those who transgress [their] commandments. A free woman is to be pure and is not to know bed or intercourse with any other man except her own [husband]. If she does know it, she shall not be pure [as before], but is defiled and full of corruption within her family [i.e. she has corrupted the family line] and is unworthy to worship this god for whom these rites were established, or to offer sacrifices, or to …. [about twelve lines are missing] to stumble upon or to see the mysteries observed. If anyone does any of these things with which the commandments here copied have to do, terrible curses from the gods will come upon those who disregard them. For god does not by any means will that these things should come to pass, nor does he desire it, but to obey [i.e. God wills that men should obey the commandments, and not be punished for disobedience.]

“To those who obey, the gods will be gracious and will always be giving them everything good, such as the gods are wont to give to men whom they love. But if any transgress, they will hate such persons and will lay upon them great penalties.

“These commandments were placed here by Agdistis, the most holy Guardian and Mistress of this house, that she might show her good will [or intensions] to men and women, bond and free, so that they might follow the [rules] written here and take part in the sacrifices which [are offered] month by month and year by year, even those, both mmen and women, who believe within themselves [i.e. are faithful to] this writing in which the commandments of god are written, so that those who follow the commandments may become known openly, and also those who do not.

“O Zeus the Savior, graciously and favorably accept this account and …. [about eighteen lines are missing] provide a good requital, health, safety, peace, security by land and sea …. [about twenty-one lines are missing] likewise.” – Dittenberger, Sylloge3, 985

Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 939, 2-9, (S3, 999)

“It is not permitted to enter the temple of the Lady Goddess with any object of gold on one’s person, unless it is intended for an offering; or to wear purple or bright colored or black garments, or shoes, or a finger ring. But if one enters wearing any forbidden object, it must be dedicated to the temple. Women are not to have their hair bound up, and men must enter with bared heads. No flowers are to be brought in at the mysteries; no pregnant women or nursing mothers are to have any part. If anyone wishes to make an offering, let it be of olive, myrtle, honey, grains of barley clean from weeds, a picture, a white poppy, lamps, incense, myrrh, spice. But if anyone wishes to offer the Lady Goddess sacrificial animals, they must be female and white ….” – Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 939, 2-9, (S3, 999)

Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft Vol X, p. 402, ll. 22-27

“The priestess must be pure from the following: She must in no wise come in contact with anything filthy; she must not participate in a hero meal; she must not touch a grave; she must not enter a house where a woman has given birth to a child, whether a live birth or a still one, during the preceding three days; nor during the three days following a burial shall she enter the house in which someone has died; and she must not eat carrion.” – Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft Vol X, p. 402, ll. 22-27

Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 566, 2-9, (S3, 982)

“Whoever wishes to visit the temple of the goddess [Athene Nikephoros], whether a resident of the city or anyone else, must refrain from intercourse with his wife (or husband) that day, from intercourse with another than his wife (or husband) for the preceding two days, and must complete the required lustrations. The same prohibition applies to contact with the dead and with the delivery of a woman in childbirth. But if he has come from funeral rites or from the burial, he shall purify [sprinkle] himself and enter by the door where the holy water stoups are, and he shall be clean that same day.” – Dittenberger, Sylloge2, 566, 2-9, (S3, 982)