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Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  AgathonZante on Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:41 pm

I know that in traditional Hellenic practice, the Greeks would burn the portion of the God's meat offering to them on the altar flame. But what do modern practitioners do who do not have a strong enough flame on their general altar to consume meats? I have a candle that can produce a rather large flame, but nothing hot or large enough to cook meats. I don't even know if it could burn away very small portions at a time. So how would I complete a meat offering once I carve it up?

Thanks.

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:41 pm

AgathonZante wrote:I know that in traditional Hellenic practice, the Greeks would burn the portion of the God's meat offering to them on the altar flame. But what do modern practitioners do who do not have a strong enough flame on their general altar to consume meats? I have a candle that can produce a rather large flame, but nothing hot or large enough to cook meats. I don't even know if it could burn away very small portions at a time. So how would I complete a meat offering once I carve it up?

Thanks.

While I am usually against the use of meat and blood-offerings in ritual, I recognize the value the meat has as a source of nutrition for animals of the wild, or for the homeless/poor. After the meat has been offered to the Gods, it is holy, and should not go to waste. To burn all of it up in the fire to deities who neither need nor truly desire the flesh of an animal would be a shame when it could be used as a gift of charity to those who need it. After it is offered and the ritual completed, perhaps give it to a person who is in want for food, or leave it in the woods or another area with animals so that they may also partake of the interaction of the Divine with man, through the consumption of foods offered to the Gods out of Love. Also, please consider a story of Herodotus:

"It happened that Periander, son of Cypselus, had taken three hundred boys, children of the chief nobles among the Corcyræans, and sent them to Alyattes for eunuchs; the men who had them in charge touched at Samos on their way to Sardis; whereupon the Samians, having found out what was to become of the boys when they reached that city, first prompted them to take sanctuary at the temple of Artemis; and after this, when the Corinthians, as they were forbidden to tear the suppliants from the holy place, sought to cut off from them all supplies of food, invented a festival in their behoof, which they celebrate to this day with the self-same rites. Each evening, as night closed in, during the whole time that the boys continued there, choirs of youths and virgins were placed about the temple, carrying in their hands cakes made of sesame and honey, in order that the Corcyræan boys might snatch the cakes, and so get enough to live upon. And this went on for so long, that at last the Corinthians who had charge of the boys gave them up, and took their departure, upon which the Samians conveyed them back to Corcyra." (Iródotos [Herodotus; Gr. Ἡρόδοτος] Histories, Book III, Chapters 48-49, in the translation by George Rawlinson, 1910, as found in the 1997 edition on pp. 247-Cool

*quote taken from the following webpage: http://www.hellenicgods.org/proper-care-of-offerings-to-the-gods-in-hellenismos

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Erodius on Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:20 pm

I know that in traditional Hellenic practice, the Greeks would burn the portion of the God's meat offering to them on the altar flame.

Bones, organs and fat would be burned completely. Meat of sacrificed animals would be cooked and eaten by the officiating priests and worshippers.


But what do modern practitioners do who do not have a strong enough flame on their general altar to consume meats? I have a candle that can produce a rather large flame, but nothing hot or large enough to cook meats.

I think you are conflating an altar with a shrine. An altar is, essentially, a round or square clay or stone table, dedicated to a deity, on which a fire is kindled for sacrifice. A place where images are kept, lamps/candles lit, etc. is a shrine. Most large enough shrines would have altars nearby them (usually right in front), but they are not quite the same thing.

Only the wealthy would have had altars large enough for sacrifice of anything larger than perhaps a chicken. Others would, similar to Jewish custom, purchase an animal and take it to a temple. In any case, animal sacrifices would not usually have been very frequent – perhaps done a few times per year.

Average people often had tiny altars on or near their home shrines (only a few inches in size), on which sacrifices were made ture ac vino, as it's said in Latin – 'with incense and wine'.

In the image below, you can see the altar (the reddish rectangular thing in the center of the steps) out in front of the temple façade, where it would usually be located. That rectangular thing is the altar, the temple itself is a shrine:






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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Theodoros on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:35 am

Not trying to be rude, or imposing anything as you are free to do as you wish, but just providing food for thought.

“As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” -Pythagoras


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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  AgathonZante on Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:26 am

I think you guys misunderstood me. I am not talking about literal, live animal sacrifice. I don't take live animals and kill them on my altar. Not only do I not think I have it in me, but I also hate messes. I couldn't do it. When I say meat sacrifices, I mean things like store-bought meats, such as chicken or pork, or perhaps even small cold cuts that are used for things like sandwiches.

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:13 pm

AgathonZante wrote:I think you guys misunderstood me. I am not talking about literal, live animal sacrifice. I don't take live animals and kill them on my altar. Not only do I not think I have it in me, but I also hate messes. I couldn't do it. When I say meat sacrifices, I mean things like store-bought meats, such as chicken or pork, or perhaps even small cold cuts that are used for things like sandwiches.

No, I understood what you meant. I have a distaste for sacrificing animal flesh to the Gods in general, as it requires the death of an animal (whether by cutting it's throat at the altar or buying it packaged from a store, an animal had to die), and death should not be near a shrine of altar, because the Gods are deathless and pure. Death and blood are traditionally considered to be miasmic, and one is in need of purification if one is exposed to them.whether killed directly on. That said, if you're going to do it, I recommend giving the meat to the homeless after it has been offered to the Gods. It shouldn't go to waste in the fire, because the Gods do not really -need- the animal's flesh. What they desire is the love that motivates any sacrifice, and giving that meat to those who are in need after it has been offered to the Gods is a very loving/charitable thing to do, much more preferable to just burning the meat away in a fire, where no one will derive any nourishment from it.

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  AgathonZante on Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:33 am

Erodius,

So you're saying that in general, everyday worship, the average person would offer simple things like libation and incense?

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  DavidMcCann on Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:05 pm

My own practice with food (as opposed to libations) is to offer it and then eat it. That's what the Egyptians did and what is done in India, China, and Japan. If anyone says "that's not what the Greeks did", I'd reply
1. Do we actually have a description of how household worship was conducted? Even for temple sacrifices, I only know one description of exactly how it was done.
2. Religions change. For example, if you go back far enough you get human sacrifice, even in Greece.

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:48 am

DavidMcCann wrote:My own practice with food (as opposed to libations) is to offer it and then eat it. That's what the Egyptians did and what is done in India, China, and Japan. If anyone says "that's not what the Greeks did", I'd reply
1. Do we actually have a description of how household worship was conducted? Even for temple sacrifices, I only know one description of exactly how it was done.
2. Religions change. For example, if you go back far enough you get human sacrifice, even in Greece.

The Ancient Greeks likewise ate the edible portions of their offerings, at least at large temple festivals when they sacrificed an animal or animals at the altar. So, eating the offerings after it has been offered is perfectly fine according to traditional methods. However, I'm a vegetarian, so I suppose I'm biased toward donating it to needy people or leaving it somewhere outside where animals are sure to find it Laughing

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Re: Proper Disposal of Meats

Post  Erodius on Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:43 am

AgathonZante wrote:Erodius,

So you're saying that in general, everyday worship, the average person would offer simple things like libation and incense?

Generally speaking, yes – ture ac vino would have been most common, and is what was expected of individuals in public ceremonies.

It is quite improbable that pre-butchered meat would ever have been considered for an offering. The edible portions of a sacrificed animal were distributed amongst the people; it is the bones, fat and viscera that would be burned as an offering, not the flesh.

Additionally, an animal that had been killed outside of the sacrificial ritual would doubtlessly be ritually impure, and unsuitable for offering – much akin to the concepts of kosher or halal meat today. A great deal of 'vetting' was involved in selecting the live animal to begin with.

My own practice with food (as opposed to libations) is to offer it and then eat it. That's what the Egyptians did and what is done in India, China, and Japan. If anyone says "that's not what the Greeks did", I'd reply

It is not always what was done, to be sure, but, as Aktaion mentioned, in any situation wherein the measure of offerings was of any real magnitude, anything edible (which would usually have made up a large portion of offerings in most instances) would have been distributed in one of several ways – either among all present, among the officiant priests, or among all who contributed.

1. Do we actually have a description of how household worship was conducted? Even for temple sacrifices, I only know one description of exactly how it was done.

It would never have been a codified system. Prayers, burning incense, and small offerings would be made. There are customs dictating generalities of how this would be done, but the exact details would have varied from place to place, from house to house, even from person to person.

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-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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