July 19th celebrated the Adonia, in honor of Adonis, whose name means “my lord.” Around 1000 B.C., Adonis replaced the earlier Greek vegetation Gods and was then espoused to the beautiful Aphrodite. It was on this day in ancient times that their marriage was celebrated with great jubilation and revelry.
Adonis was born from a tree into which his mother had been transformed. He was put into a box and given to Persephone, the Goddess of the Underworld, who agreed not to open the box. But she did open the box, and then would not let Adonis return to the earth. A conflict ensued, and Zeus finally stepped in to rectify the situation by proclaiming that Adonis would spend half of the year in the Underworld and the other half on the earthly plane.
Calendar of the Sun
Day of Adonis
Colors: Red, dark red, burgundy – colors of blood
Altar: Upon a dark red cloth place a chalice of red wine, two red candles, a knife, a bowl of ashes, a wreath of some greenery that has been collected and forced to bud, and a pot of flower bulbs that have been forced to bloom.
Offering: Make some sacrifice for the good of others.
Daily Meal: Red wine. Vegetarian.
Invocation to Adonis
O Beautiful one at the height of your glory
Lover of Aphrodite
Cherished by all who see you
Destined to rise and destined to fall
Sacrificed youth who gives up life
That we all may live in turn,
You are every flower that is cut,
You are every green plant that is gathered,
You are every trembling leaf
We place in our mouths.
You make us remember
That all life feeds on all life
That there is nothing that will sustain us
That did not once breathe.
Hail Adonis, You whose blood
Is spilled in the fields
While the Lady mourns you
And we praise you with our tears.
(Let two who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forth, one with the bowl of ashes and one with the chalice of red wine. The first marks each person’s forehead with ashes, saying, “Adonis is dead,” and as it is done, they should think of some great loss that will never live again, and weep, and mourn. The second gives them a sip of the wine, and says, “Yet there is still joy in life.” The rest of the wine is poured out as a libation for Adonis, and the rite ends with a chant of “Death has passed and Life still has her joy.”)
[Pagan Book of Hours]
The Wicca Book of Days for July 19
The Adonia, a festival dedicated to Adonis was once celebrated today in parts of Greece. One story tells that this handsome youth was much loved by Aphrodite (Venus in Rome), and that when he was killed by the jealous Ares (Mars), the grief-stricken Goddess of Love persuaded Persephone (Proserpina), Queen of the Underworld, to let him spend a third of the year with her. His reappearance on Earth was feted to Spring, while women mourned his return to the underworld at the end of Summer, during the Adonia
An ancient Greek myth relates that an Adonis’s blood soaked into the ground, anemones or windflowers, sprung up. Either pick some anemones today, or do as women once did during the Adonia, and plant such quick growing, but short lived, herbs as fennel and basil in pots to create “gardens of Adonis.”
Deity of the Day for February 23
Adonis (Phoenician “lord”), in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions. Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, “lord”, which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old Testament. Syrian Adonis is closely related to the Cypriot Gauas or Aos, to Egyptian Osiris, to the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, to the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation. His religion belonged to women: the dying of Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, about 600 BCE, as revealed in a fragment of Sappho’s surviving poetry.
Adonis is one of the most complex figures in classical times. He has had multiple roles, and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype. Adonis is often referred to as the mortal god of Beauty.