Rite of PharmakosConducted at the seashore, or on the banks of running water that will carry away the ashes, ultimately to the sea. Otherwise, the burning of Pharmakos should occur in such as way that the next day the ashes can be gathered and transported to the seashore or a great river.
It must not take place in a temenos-holy precinct, as it involves all the impurities of which we wish to dispose.
At the end of this rite it is appropriate for a special khernips, or handwashing, before any other thing is set to be done. Having touched an impure thing, the Pharmakos, one would not wish to handle any sacred thing until purified.
At Athens-Pharmakos was a real human being, or sometimes two:
a man and a woman,
condemned to death and chosen for their ugliness.
In other Cities of People there is a simalacrum of two Pharmakoi,
a male and a female effigy,
in difficult years,
a Unisex Pharmakos made up the lack of the City of People.
Pharmakos was crafted with combustible straw and adorned with a necklace of figs:
white figs representing the male,
black figs representing the female.
Unisex Pharmakos donned both strings of figs woven together.
Pharmakos was then led all around the City of People standing in a circle, facing outward.
Pharmakos is carried around clockwise outside the circle of the City of People,
as each person 'puts upon' Pharmakos all those things which he or she considers bad,
which she or he wants out of his or her life, and out of the life of the Tribe.
This 'putting upon' may occur in many ways.
The thing to be disposed of may be written down with the paper then shoved into the body of Pharmakos,
it may be addressed in words to Pharmakos, either silently or out loud.
This is a rite in which the emotions of anger or hatred are perfectly appropriate,
because this is the time for being rid of them.
Rage directed at Pharmakos, as the personification of all the bad things in life, is rage to be exorcised.
Hitting and spitting on Pharmakos is to be expected by all.
As Pharmakos has completely been led throughout the vulgar multitude visibly abused, it is then strangled and burned.
It's sole purpose is to rid the City of People of primitive and barbaric realities of their lives,
to prevent those things from doing damage during the rest of the year.
When a society provides no real and personal release of the pressures,
which it puts upon its constituents,
there will be explosions,
and the toll will be terrible.