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Beginner, help with specifics?

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Beginner, help with specifics? Empty Beginner, help with specifics?

Post  Muse_of_Fire Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:17 am

Greetings! (Warning, LOTS of questions!)

I am brand-new to all of this. I have been doing lots of reading and am feeling very overwhelmed. I understand why and how there is a lot of conflicting information around, and also why it's not possible to do it "exactly the perfect way," given that there was so much variation in practice in ancient times, interpretation of archaeological sites & texts varies, academic knowledge on the subject is always expanding, there are modern variations, etc. etc. I understand that "big picture" as long as I am approaching the Gods with a sincere heart and endeavoring to develop a genuine relationship with them and learn I am doing it "right"; but I also understand that Hellenismos/Olympianism is orthopraxic and therefore necessitates attention to a certain set of prescribed practices. And also, if we go too far down the "as long as your heart is sincere" path, we run the risk of it turning into a willy-nilly, anything goes, feel-good new age kind of flavor and that is the last thing I want. Then it would no longer be Olympianism.

I have and refer often to the LABRYS Household Worship book. I have done LOTS of research and reading on the hellenicgods(dot)org site. I have dabbled in many other sites and texts, with what I hope is a critical-thinking mind, to try to pull together what is essential/common and authentic among the sources. I get the gist, generally, and am OK with some "wiggle room" between interpretations but now that I am trying to implement a household practice I feel really lost and would love some help with specifics. To wit:

1. To start, for now, until I learn more and get more comfortable, I intend to only do a morning and evening worship ritual at my household shrine*

2. I know that the basics of these rituals include:
- cleansing the body (at bare minimum washing hands and getting in the right headspace)
- lighting a flame to Hestia (I am not in a position to maintain an eternal flame) and reciting some words to "invoke(?)" Her (specifically what? I have been using a Homeric Hymn but I am wondering if it would be OK to shorten this but still be appropriate?)
--> using this match to create lustral water, sprinkling it over me and my shrine
- making offerings to the Twelve Gods (Hestia first), then offerings to specific Gods that apply to my situation (my votive Gods and/or Gods that may be specific to a current life situation)
- praying to said Gods
- pouring libations to said Gods
- ??? am I missing anything? How to end the ritual?

3. What can I say at each point in the ritual?
- Lighting the flame to Hestia (per my question in #2, above)
- When making offerings, are there specific words to say with each offering?** I feel like I read this on the HellenicGodsdotorg website somewhere but there is so much information on there I can't seem to find it now.
- To begin and end prayers** (I understand that prayer can be whatever is in my heart at the time, but is there an appropriate way to open and close the prayer, along the lines of 'Heavenly Father' and 'Amen' in the Abrahamic traditions?)
- When pouring libations (again I think I read this somewhere on HellenicGods but information dense, etc.)
- To close the ritual

4. I know there are differing ideas about whether or not one can consume the offerings. I am in a position where I can sometimes take them out into nature and sometimes not, it depends on the day and time of year, etc. but there are times when my choices will be to throw them in the trash (least desirable) or consume them (as I understand it, acceptable but not ideal). If I need to consume them, when is the appropriate time to do it? After the ritual is over? After 24 hours? At the end of the ritual but before it is officially "closed"? etc...

* Specific notes about my household shrine. Right now it is a "ladder shelf":

- The top shelf has a beeswax candle for Hestia (which I light during my worship), a purple blown-glass amphora for Zeus Ktesios, a small statuette representing Athena, a $5 bill gifted to me (not meant to be ever spent) by an international traveler who stayed in my home, as part of his native customs (non-Hellenic) for protection of the home -- to me this represents Hermes (travel/commerce) and also Hestia (household/hospitality/xenia) -- it's a little abstract/non-Hellenic but this money was meant to go on a sacred household altar of mine as part of my guest's tradition and I wanted to honor that; and lastly, a feather to represent Hermes.

- The next shelf down has pictures of my still-living family members and a few natural objects of sentimental importance to me (rocks, dried flowers, etc).

- The next shelf down has pictures of my ancestors as well as a serpentine dragon figurine that belonged to my grandmother.

- The shelf below that has an antique earthenware bean pot that has been in my family for generations. All of the siblings in my dad's side of the family, from his generation, as well as all of my cousins, have one which we all keep in our homes.

- The shelf below that has a memory book that was gifted to me when my dog passed away several years ago.

- Does this shrine seem acceptable? Also, when I make my offerings I place them on the top shelf, where my objects/images for the Gods are. Is this acceptable?

- I would like to put barley in the amphora for Zeus Ktesios; would this be considered an "offering" or part of the object itself?

** Specific notes about my votive Gods:

- I have chosen Athena and Hermes.

- Athena: I am a teacher by profession and also a devoted martial artist. I am drawn to her wisdom and to her role as a helper, "mentor" or coach to young heroes (Perseus, Heracles); and how she helped mankind (well, Athenians) develop their capacity for freedom by providing them with sustenance and teaching them skills. I am drawn certainly also to her martial skill.

- Hermes: I am passionate about communication and building bridges between people, cultures, ideas. I am a world languages teacher and take seriously my charge of helping students develop keen communication and intercultural skills, and opening their eyes to cultures beyond their own. In this respect, I most admire Hermes in his role as messenger/communicator/herald/liminal figure.

(So given this, per my question above, is there a specific "script" for making offerings, and to open and close prayers to these Gods; and also to any other Gods I may wish to include in the future)?

... I think that's it. Maybe I am thinking too much about all of this but like I said, with so many sources that seem to differ only in the specific details, it's hard to know if those specifics truly matter or not (and if so, which ones, and how). I am the type of person that needs a "script" and/or checklist to start with, and then I can adapt from there as I learn more and develop my connection to the Gods.

Your help is much appreciated.


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Join date : 2018-07-24

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Post  Dodeka Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:42 pm

There is a handbook in the thread for beginners, which contain a lot of basic information you need.

I neither finish readin yet, but afaik to local shrine is important for the daily cult.

the cleaning part is i know too. afaik initiating the ritual is typical how the ancient romans did their worship in the household, and the end is to the god janus. I know that romans, especially the plebs often did not extensive rituals and made sacrifices and prayers quite randomly at will and depending from the situation they are in life. I think that is also a quite differentation to christianity where you have thousands of rules and it the end you dont know if actually something happened. I would recommend trying what works for you and have the discipline to stick to it. I think it is also important how you adress the gods, it kinda reflects your personality and "the way how the gods look at you reveals at a prayer". I found myself often kinda arrogant or frightful when talking to the gods..

Libations are good I make that too, thats an easy and cheap but still valueable way to make a sacrifice. You can also drink some vine first and pour out the rest while saying "this is for xxx". The plebs in ancient rome often had no rituals or great ceremonies at all, someone just made an offering, said I sacrifice this to you so please give me courage to do that or that for example and that's it. But by doing stuff quickly you should never find yourself behaving or thinking in a way that could be arrogant or snobbish because thats the death for a relationship to a god. The best way to end a ritual is by being thankful and act, if your wish was already granted. You can check out if the gods fulfilled your wish in a later moment and recapitulate. When you offer something, you basically give something of "value" (animals sacrifices have the value "life", cartheginians even sacrificied their children because it is a valueable thing you can "have") and you can expect to retain something of value too, for example, courage, awareness or luck or anything basically. If you dont receive it, it is a sign, that your relationship with the certain god may be not so good.

Please dont say amen, if you dont know how to end just say I thank you. At the beginning it is important to make a kind of intitative ritual where you introduce yourself, who you are, what you are doing and how you see yourself in life. afterwards a short presentation greetings is adequate. I have read that you have to talk loud when praying to your gods, I personally had some problems with that because I felt ridicculous or someone hearing me might think I am pretty crazy. But well, how shall I say, on one hand thats the tradition, on the other side you kinda confess by speaking it out loud. In the catholic church I can remember when singing everyone was whistling something and you had no idea who said what. It makes indeeed a difference.

Rituals and consum I think you can do at any time you feel so.

yes the way you make your household shrine is indivdually and very personal, between you (family) and your gods, just as it was common in ancient greek, thats perfect.

as my father is a teacher and Ive been parented subliminal in a educational way, I also feel like Athena has a lots of influence over me. Though I am rarely worshipping or praying explicitely to her, in situations where i am in danger or that were dodgy she always kinda helped me out, she has a cool mind in precarious situations, a strong will and strategic thinking. She loves hero's that may go beside common ways of societey. She also protects citizens and is a protective god like ares/mars. She is the perfect godesse for teachers.

The relation to Hermes is also kinda nearby because teaching also has to do with "communication" and hermes is a god of logic and science aswell. Hermes is basically the god of transfer, travelling is "the transfer from one place to another", communication is the transfer of information to another, trade is the transfer exchange of 2 things. dreaming is the transfer of subconscious to conscious and so on...


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Post  Erodius Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:27 pm

There are many threads addressing many of your questions in the beginners subforum.

Not to blow anyone off, it just does get tiring reanswering the same questions again and again.

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