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Adapting practice to military

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue May 28, 2013 2:21 am

I'm currently enlisted in the U.S. Navy delayed entry program, and I ship for boot camp this August. After camp and school, I'm contracted for four years of active duty.

This raises a problem for me. Much of the standard ritual practice is a no-go in the Navy. No incense or candles, for instance, at least while at sea. When I'm on a shore rotation, it'll be a bit easier to follow proper format, but while I'm on a ship for extended periods, adaptations will be required.

How do you suppose I, and other military Olympianists, go about adapting this? Hestia's flame can't be kept on a ship, its likely a fire hazard. Incense won't fly, either. The best alternative I can think of is making a formal sacrifice before time out at sea with a promise for another formal sacrifice upon return, and the interim rituals being adapted to focus around a devotional I created that centers around a prayer bead adaptation I made which can be adapted to a hymnodic calendar, as well as the usual libation. But I doubt I can burn anything on a ship without having an officer on my case xD

What do you think? Any suggestions?

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Erodius on Tue May 28, 2013 11:48 am

The ancient Greeks and Romans were certainly no strangers to long sea-voyages; even a relatively short and commonly traveled route, like Athens to Ostia, would have taken several days.

The best alternative I can think of is making a formal sacrifice before time out at sea with a promise for another formal sacrifice upon return,

That is precisely what the Greeks and Romans (and other Classical Mediterranean peoples) did.

and the interim rituals being adapted to focus around a devotional I created that centers around a prayer bead adaptation I made which can be adapted to a hymnodic calendar, as well as the usual libation.

You should have some form of light when you worship. I would suggest these: battery-operated tealight candles

For images, you can always print a variety of them for free from Theoi.com's galleries. To make them a little more durable and so that you can carry them around all together, you might also think about getting a 12-slot frame: http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Collage-Graduate-Fruitwood-Stained/dp/B00375H148/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_17

I hope these suggestions are helpful. ;]

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Callisto on Tue May 28, 2013 3:06 pm

I agree that it would be acceptable to make a formal offering before deployment and a promise for providing such again after your return, and with the use of battery-operated tealights.

Also, sea water was considered an ideal source of purification, it might be feasible to keep a small jar or vial of it in your kit. As for representations of the gods, I'd suggest getting a small image of all the deities and laminate it (which water proofs and makes it sturdy), which you can then keep in a wallet or book (or even in a pocket). Maybe on the backside of it before laminating it write a prayer, symbol or something else meaningful.

One such example would be the painting by Rafael:


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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Callisto on Tue May 28, 2013 4:02 pm

This might be of some interest:


"The Role of the Physical Environment in Ancient Greek Seafaring"
by Jamie Morton, p.311:


The correlation between the points at which mariners resorted to religious activity and the points which they found to be dangerous or otherwise important in navigation, or both, can be seen in the following passage of the first century AD, which apparently relates to a voyage westwards from the eastern end of the Corinthian Gulf:

"Blest god of the harbor, accompany with gentle breeze the departing sails of Archelaus through the undisturbed water as far as the open sea, and thou who rulest over the extreme point of the beach, save him on his voyage as far as they Pythian shrine. From thence, if all we singers are dear to Phoebus, I will sail trusting in the fair Zephyros." (Anth.Pal. 10.17)

Voyages can be 'broken down' into an initial stretch from the point of departure from land to the first headland of the coast at which a change of direction was to be made, followed by a series of stretches between successive headlands and offshore islands, until, on a long-distance voyage, the ship headed out to the open sea from a suitable headland or offshore island. The significant coastal features on such journeys were the initial point of departure and particularly the headlands, but also the offshore islands, at which the ship most closely approached the shore, where dangerous or at any rate changing sailing conditions (i.e., winds, currents) might be met, and where changes in direction were made. These are exactly the points at which the author of this epigram describes changes in the nature of the journey and inserts appeals to different gods. Thus the sailor looks to the harbor god to protect him through the 'undisturbed water' of the sheltered coastal zone, as far as the sheltering headland in which the coastal indentation holding the harbor terminates. At this point, where the shelter provided by the headland is lost, and stronger winds and waves are encountered, the ship has reached the 'open sea', and the god with a shrine on the this headland is appealed to for protection as far as the next shrine on the (coastal) route, they 'Phythian shrine'. Beyond this point, the ship will trust in 'fair Zephyros'. This detail, describing how the ship's bearing is no longer set according to visible coastal landmarks, but simply by sailing with a particular wind, is indicative of the transition from coastal sailing to open-sea sailing. On striking out over the open sea, where there will be no more shrines at which religious protection might be sought, the sailor relies upon the good will of Phoebus, the god of the coastal shrine from which the ship headed out to sea, and Zephyros, the wind/god that will carry him across the seas. Thus it can be seen that religious activity focuses on the most significant points of the journey -- the harbor of departure, the headland where the ship meets less sheltered conditions and sets a bearing for a point further along the coast, and the coastal shrine from which the ship heads out onto the open seas.

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue May 28, 2013 7:27 pm

I didn't think of electric lights :0 I had my heart set on a live flame. Thanks for pointing that out, Erodius.

I'm not sure about the sea water, though a little vial of it surely can't take up too much space. It'd also be easy enough to refill when docked and allowed off the ship. I also like that painting, thank you for pointing me to it, Callisto. Printing Orpheus to Musaeus (for those days when schedule prevents recitation of individual hymns and demands abbreviation) on the back and laminating it will be easy enough.That was also a very interesting read,in reference to the second post of yours Smile

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Callisto on Tue May 28, 2013 8:10 pm

You're welcome. Smile

I forgot to mention that printing image(s) out on cardstock as opposed to regular printer paper will help resist wear and tear since the stock is thicker.

Being Hellenists in the 21st century and in a society that doesn't adhere to our religion presents us with having to weigh alternatives, such as what are acceptable modern adjustments. I think whenever possible, an actual candle is preferable. However, needs must as they say, and it would be a good idea to keep battery operated candles on hand if for no other reason than a backup when use of an actual candle is not possible.

The Orthodox Jews have had to sort out how to reconcile their beliefs with modern living, and have many years on us pondering alternatives, so they're not a bad example to look to for some ideas for our own issues. One such example is the use of electricity. In short, there are certain activities Jews are prohibited from engaging in during the Shabbat, one of which is the igniting of fire. Turning on an electric light is considered to break this law, as is the deliberate/direct use of any electrical object that produces light and/or heat. While there are nuanced reasons, essentially electricity (in specific uses) is the equivalent of fire (light/heat source), the spark generated by turning on a light has the potential to become an actual fire (UL standards aside), plus in the case of the bulb itself, it emits light and heat.

In the case of Judaism, a battery operated tealight would be prohibited for these reasons. Conversely, a Hellenists can use those same reasons to use it as a substitute for an actual candle.

Never hurts to have a backup - make like a Boy Scout and always be prepared.

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Erodius on Tue May 28, 2013 9:16 pm

Printing Orpheus to Musaeus (for those days when schedule prevents recitation of individual hymns and demands abbreviation) on the back and laminating it will be easy enough.

There are some issues with both the Taylor and Athanassakis' translations of this Hymn.

Here is my own translation from the original Greek that I produced for a class I took last semester in Hellenistic Greek history.

Orpheus to Mousaios
Use with good fortune, O Companion
Learn thus, O Mousaios, the sacrifice all-holy,
The prayer, which indeed for thee is most excellent of them all.
O Zefs the King, and Earth, and the heavenly Fires pure
Of Sun, of Moon, and the holy light in all the Stars;
and Thou, Poseidaon earth-holder, dark-haired,
And Persefoni holy and Dimitra of fine fruits,
And O Artemis arrow-pourer, maiden, and O Apollon of the cry,
Thou who abidest on Delphi's holy ground; and Thou who the greatest
honors unto the Blessed Ones bearest, O Dionysos the dancer;
O Aris strong-spirited and Ifaistos' mind pure
And the foam-born Goddess, possessing famed gifts;
And Thou, O king of the lower worlds, the great and eminent daimon,
Youth and Eileithyia and the good mind of Iraklis;
And the great blessing of Equity and Piety,
And I summon the glorious Nymphs and great Pan,
Ira, Zefs Aegis-bearer's buxom wife;
And Memory lovely; I call the nine pure Muses
And the Graces, the Hours and the Year,
Leto fair-haired, and divine, holy Dione,
The Kouretes, the armed Korybantes and the Kabeiroi
The great Saviors together, Zefs' deathless children,
The holy Idaians and the messenger of the Heavenly Ones,
Ermis the herald, and Themis, overseer of men,
And eldest Night I call, and light-bringing Day,
Faith, Justice, and noble Law-bringer (a name for both Dimitra and Persefoni),
Rheia and Kronos and blue-cloaked Tethys,
And great Okeanos together with His daughters,
The great strength of Atlas and Aion
And Time ever-flowing, the shining water of the Styx
The benevolent divinities, and Pronoia good unto all,
The kindly Daimon and the Daimon hostile to mortals,
The heavenly Daimones, those airy, watery,
Chthonic, subchthonic, and fiery,
And Semele, and all synevastēres of Bakkhos,
Ino Lefkothea and Palaimon bestower of bliss,
Victory sweet-speaking, and Adresteia, lady and queen,
Great Asklipios giver of remedy,
Pallas the warlike maiden, and all the Winds.
I shall call the Thunderers and the parts of the four-pillared Cosmos;
I summon the Mother of the Deathless Ones, Attis and the Moon,
The Ouranian Goddess (this is Afroditi), with divine, holy Adonis,
Arkhe (the Orphic 'Source' substance) and Peras ('Limit' the Orphic demiurgic principle, identified with Zefs) , for the might was coming into all,
And ask Them to attend, gracious, and of jubilant heart,
This sacred sacrifice and holy libation.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue May 28, 2013 9:45 pm

Reading through that, I think I actually prefer your translation to Taylor's. I haven't read Athanassakis' edition (the books on Amazon are waaay out of my price range at the moment). But your translation seems to flow better, for lack of a better term. Thank you Smile

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Erodius on Tue May 28, 2013 11:00 pm

Taylor's is poetic and written in a style suited to song or recitation. We, at least Anglophone Orphics, use his translation in worship. Athanassakis is more literal, but it is choppy and at times the English is odd (Athanassakis is himself Greek). My translation is extremely literal, and I even made a point of trying as much as possible to keep the original word order.

I actually had plans to translate the entire Hymns, but I haven't yet finished them. I've only gotten about 2/3 of the way through.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  J_Agathokles on Thu May 30, 2013 5:36 am

I used to have a link to a word-document that had the Athanassakis-translations of the Orphic Hymns. But it seems I can't find it anymore. I still have those translations, so if you want PM me and I could email it to you if you give me your email-adress. The translation I have is a bit strange in some places, it doesn't contain the line mentioning Semele in the Orpheus to Mousaios hymn for example. I should really take the time and check whether my college has his translation in print so I can check and correct any mistakes.

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  Callisto on Thu May 30, 2013 1:18 pm

I used to have a link to a word-document that had the Athanassakis-translations of the Orphic Hymns. But it seems I can't find it anymore.

That website's down but the .doc can be retrieved via archive.org.

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Re: Adapting practice to military

Post  SpiritofApollo on Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:38 pm

Icarus wrote:I didn't think of electric lights :0 I had my heart set on a live flame. Thanks for pointing that out, Erodius.

I'm not sure about the sea water, though a little vial of it surely can't take up too much space. It'd also be easy enough to refill when docked and allowed off the ship. I also like that painting, thank you for pointing me to it, Callisto. Printing Orpheus to Musaeus (for those days when schedule prevents recitation of individual hymns and demands abbreviation) on the back and laminating it will be easy enough.That was also a very interesting read,in reference to the second post of yours Smile

I like everyone's suggestions and I wish you well on your journey. My brother is planning on going to the Navy as well.
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