Calendar of the Moon
12 Gort/Puanepsion

Thesmophoria Day II: Nesteia

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown place a clay vase of dried, dead weeds, a wooden bowl of ashes, a torn net, a rusted blade, a clock that ticks, a cup of rainwater, and many scattered dead leaves.
Offerings: Mourn something lost.
Daily Meal: Fasting, from after Dysis the night before to Dysis tonight.

Nesteia Invocation

(During this invocation, all sit on the floor around the altar save for the officiant. They may weep, but not so loud that it drowns out the reading.)

We are the dust of the road,
The dust beneath our feet.
Our bellies are empty and so are our souls.
Loss eats at us, loss and waste.
We name those things that we have lost,
That the world has lost, to its detriment.
We name them as our litany of sorrow.
Name them now, that we may all mourn together!

(One brings the cup of rainwater around to each person, that they may speak of their losses, and those of the world, to everyone. After each has spoken, all say, "May all the world mourn together.")

As Demeter wandered the road, mourning her daughter,
We walk through famine and death,
And nothing nourishes the holes in our souls
Save the touch of the Gods,
And the Gods too know how to mourn.
We shall weep with them, we shall vigil with them,
We shall let them know that their sorrows, too,
Are not forgotten. Speak of them, then,
And tell their stories, that we may know them!

(The cup of water is passed round again, and this time folk tell stories of the Gods and their mourning and losses, starting with Demeter, and hail them. All respond: "And all the world mourns together." Then ashes are placed on the heads of each, and there is silence except for cries and weeping, and vigil together until Akte, when work should be done in silence save for necessary speech.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]