Rituals & Offerings
We honour our gods in ritual, which can be simple or elaborate. This is the basis for building kharis, the Ancient Greek word for joy, grace, or favour felt between mortals and the gods. Below is the traditional ritual format, as seen in antiquity. Feel free to cut, adapt, or modify at will.
Traditionally this was the march or parade to the temple altar, in some cases miles away. In household practice, if included, this step may consist of a mindful approach to the altar.
Any running water, particularly streams, rivers, and ocean, are considered purifying. The level of purification before ritual can vary from simple hand-washing (khernips) to more involved bathing rituals. Laurel trees and their leaves are also considered purifying, whether burnt, laid upon the altar, or growing nearby. Whilst traditionally all water used for the purpose of hand-washing is named "khernips", some contemporary worshipers like to use a modern recipe for this: simply extinguish a burning bay leaf in fresh water, and/or add sea water (or salt).
3. Hymns and Prayers
Seen as both an offering and a way to call the god's attention to your ritual. You can write your own or recite the Homeric or Orphic Hymns, or any relevant works from the ancient poets.
The symbolic exchange of kharis; the bread and butter of the religion. Light your incense, pour your libation, or lay your offerings on an altar - whether permanent or make-shift. After leaving out for some time (before it has a chance to rot or mold), dispose of by burial, burning, composting, leaving outside (if animal safe), pouring in a potted plant, or respectfully washing it out in the sink.
5. Prayers of Supplication and/or Thanks
After you've made an offering, it is appropriate to make a request, pray for the help of the god(s), or give thanks for their blessings. Traditionally prayers are paired with offerings, except in situations where you are unable to give one, in which case a thanks offering may be given at a later date.
This traditionally referred to animal sacrifice and sharing a communal meal. Even in ancient times, bloodless offerings were often given and shared instead. This might include breads, fruits, cookies/biscuits in the shapes of animals, or any other food. This is where you consume your portion of the offering/libation.
O Kharites, much sung queens
of shining Orchomenos and guardians of the ancient Minyai,
hear my prayer.
For with your help all things pleasant and sweet
come about for mortals,
whether a man be wise, handsome, or illustrious.
Yes, not even the gods arrange choruses or feasts
without the august Kharites;
– Pindar, Olympian 14
It was customary in Ancient Greece to give the gods a libation from anything you were drinking. Following this practice, you can offer anything you would consume yourself, or offer to a guest.
Libations like wine, olive oil, water and honey are all offerings suitable for any god, both Ouranic (of the sky) and Khthonic (of, or beneath, the earth), though more specific offerings may vary depending on the god's unique cultus or festival and may require further research. Traditionally these libations would be poured out in part for the Ouranic gods, and in entirety into a pit in the ground for the Khthonic gods.
Any offering given in good faith is acceptable, and traditionally any food in season could be given to the gods. The "First Fruits" of the harvest are a traditional offering and have a special place in many festivals. Food offerings to Khthonic gods are traditionally buried in a hole in the ground, or burnt in their entirety.
Frankincense is a common offering, as well as burning bay leaves and other sweet smelling herbs. Hymns are considered offerings in and of themselves as music and kharis are intimitely linked. Votive offerings (physical objects permanently left at the altar) and devotional activities are also an option, such as dedicating physical fitness to Herakles, Hermes, or Apollon, gods traditionally associated with the gymnasium, or dedicating fibre crafts to Athene, or song writing to The Muses.