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Sacrifices/Prayers

Post  NorthernOlympian on Thu May 15, 2014 4:23 pm

So, lately I've been wondering how to sacrifice to the gods.
For example, if I where to sacrifice food to a certain god, would I
burn it? Could I do the same with, let's say, a drawing of Athenas owl,
or would it be seen as disrespectful? What are other ways to sacrifice?
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Re: Sacrifices/Prayers

Post  Erodius on Thu May 15, 2014 8:24 pm

NorthernOlympian wrote:So, lately I've been wondering how to sacrifice to the gods.
For example, if I where to sacrifice food to a certain god, would I
burn it? Could I do the same with, let's say, a drawing of Athenas owl,
or would it be seen as disrespectful? What are other ways to sacrifice?

The broader subject of sacrifice is covered in some of the free PDF resources posted here in the Beginners section.

But simply speaking, sacrifices are burned, poured, or buried. Customarily, meal offerings would be either burnt immediately as an offering into the sacrificial fire, or would be offered to a deity first, and then taken down and burned later.

It is not essential to make burnt offerings, however, if you do not have the necessary equipment to do so properly and safely. It is fine to sacrifice ture ac vino as it's said in Latin – 'by incense and wine', or even only by incense smoke, or only by wine.

Artistic items were not usually offered as normal sacrifices, which consisted of various food items, burning incense, or pourings of wine, oil, must, water, milk, or honey. However, people did sometimes dedicate larger items like paintings or statues, lamps, pillars, and a variety of other things to temples. Attractive paintings and sculptures which were donated by people were sometimes set up for display inside the temple cella. Smaller items, like bronze or clay votive figures and votive plaques (called ταμάτα or πίνακες)  were gathered up by those in charge of the maintenance and finances of the temple after too many had accumulated. Metal items would then usually be melted down to use for the raw bronze/silver/gold metals in them, while clay votive figures were usually crushed and buried in behind the temple.

As an interesting note, these 'trash dumps' behind temple sites from the ancient world are an absolute delight for archaeologists and historians to discover, as you can well imagine. They are literally pits full of hundreds or even thousands of buried artifacts. It is from these that we know that there seems to have been a business in mass-produced, low-quality, partially-fired, small clay votive statues, which were cheap enough for the average person to buy on the street and then offer at a temple. Archaeologists find literally thousands of these, many of which often seem to be completely identical to all the others from the same pit, indicating they were probably made by molds, rather than actually sculpted.

Here is an image of a modern roadside shrine to the Virgin Mary in Italy surrounded by many votive plaques. This is the same sort of thing you would have seen in Classical Antiquity:




_________________
"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: Sacrifices/Prayers

Post  NorthernOlympian on Thu May 29, 2014 10:18 am

Thanks! Btw, could you explain ''incense and wine'' better?
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Re: Sacrifices/Prayers

Post  Erodius on Thu May 29, 2014 1:10 pm

NorthernOlympian wrote:Thanks! Btw, could you explain ''incense and wine'' better?

Haha, it's fairly self-explanatory. It just refers to the simple method of worship through burning incense and libating wine, which was the basic/bare bones sacrifice in Antiquity, and something that was expected to be doable for anyone. When it was public law to offer worship to a particular local tutelary deity, or to the soul of a royal person or emperor, 'a pinch of incense and a splash of wine' was all that was expected.

Philosophical schools also often avoided elaborate offerings, and zealously shunned those that involved blood sacrifice, so the ture ac vino type of offering was the dominant way among most philosophical movements as well.

_________________
"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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The Orphic Way: www.hellenicgods.org
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