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To Thanatos

To Thanatos, so kind and so good, I offer my praise.
Son of the darkness and the night, of wise Erebos
and raven-haired Nyx, brother of Hypnos who grants a respite
ephemeral and sweet, O Thanatos, you bring a repose
of a longer span–an endless sleep is yours to bestow.
Beautiful Thanatos, well-wreathed with poppies red as blood,
black-winged god, fleet-footed one, bearer of the sharp-edged sword
with which you cut a lock of hair from each who enters Hades’ realm:
some call you merciless, hard of heart, O god who takes
from us those we most love–and yet, dear Thanatos,
yours is a mercy great and freeing, a boundless comfort,
a final peace. O god who gives us life’s last blessing, I praise you.

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To Ganymede

I offer my praise to Ganymede, great one of Troy,
son of the river-god’s daughter, companion of Eros,
fairest of mortal men. So beautiful you were,
O Ganymede, so bright a flower in the field,
that Zeus himself one summer day came down to you
from Olympos’ heights: a shepherd boy, you watched your herd
with care; in swept the great god on eagle’s wings
and carried you away to the hall of the gods,
to be his cup-bearer, to make you full welcome
among the deathless gods. Beloved of the thunderer,
O god who is a friend to lovers, I pray to you,
O Ganymede, I praise and honor you.

To Peitho

I call out to Peitho, great daughter of Ocean
and sea-striding Tethys, fair of fame and great of name.
Peitho who is the irresistible voice,
who is the sound of the surf, who is bird-song
and fair weather, whose gift it is to turn the tides,
to bring about a change in reason, I pray to you.
Companion of Aphrodite, beguiler of hearts,
refiner of feeling, yours is the divergence of passions,
the coaxing of lovers, the fascination of love;
you are seduction, the call of need to need;
you are the soul and sweetness of persuasion.
Peitho, herald of the heart, I honor you.

To Phoebe

All praise to bright Phoebe, far-seeing, fore-seeing,
mother of Leto who bore clever Artemis
and Apollo who keeps the oracles.
O Phoebe who lifts the shifting veil,
who grants to us the gift of sight,
whose hand it is that throws the bones,
I pray to you for clarity, for wisdom
and for insight, teach me to scry
and read what is hidden, help me to know
true vision from false. I call to you,
I honor you, good and gracious Phoebe,
I offer you my praise and seek your blessing.

Maimakteria Rite

Honoring: Zeus Maimaktes, or Blustering Zeus
Date: Exact date unknown, presumably held during the month of Maimakterion (late November-early December)
Season: The beginning of winter
Region: Athens

Items needed
Bowl of water and stick (incense, punk, or natural) to light and douse
Candle, matches or lighter to light the stick
Bowl of barley
Offerings
Libation bowl
Cup

Procession

Assemble and prepare to process to the altar.

We go to the holy place with reverence and love, to honor the gods.

Proceed to enter the sacred space.

Purification of participants

Light a stick and extinguish in the bowl of water, creating lustral water.

May all be made pure who wash in this water.

Pour water over the hands of each person so that they may rinse their face and hands in the lustral water.

Purification of space

Pass the bowl of barley among the participants so that each may take a handful of barley.

May all that is profane be gone from here!

Each person throws barley onto the altar, gently if indoors, with force if outside.

Invocation

To Zeus Maimaktes, Zeus who comes when the north wind blows,
we offer our praise, we make you welcome!
As the air grows chill around us, as the ground grows firm
beneath our feet, as the fields and trees grow barren,
as the earth takes its rest, then does the sky grow bold,
the gales grow fierce, the storm grow deadly cold. O Zeus
whose hand is in winter’s bluster and blast, who chooses
a season cruel or mild, we call to you this day!

If ever we have honored you, poured out sweet wine
in reverence and love, O great ones, deathless ones,
hear now our prayers, grant now your blessings. Praise be to you!

Statement of purpose

We gather today for the Maimakteria, to celebrate Zeus Maimaktes, wild and blustering Zeus, who rules the winter months, to honor your power and to ask that you be merciful in the coming season.

Ritual body

To Zeus of the wild winds and the knife-sharp cold,
the snow and the sleet that cover road and field,
we call to you, O Zeus, be good, be gentle.
In your name of Maimaktes your might is great;
the storms that rise by your hand can stop the works
of men, can end the lives of those caught far
from shelter. O Zeus whose will it is that the season
be harsh or fair, be kind to us, we pray,
and spring will see us praise your name once more.
O Zeus Maimaktes, we thank you for your blessings.

Libations and offerings

Pour wine, milk, or other liquid offering into cup, hold up filled cup.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes first and last,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To Zeus Maimaktes, Zeus of the storms of winter,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Zeus!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup , refilling if necessary.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes last and first,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

We share this drink among ourselves with love for the gods
and gratitude for all we have been given.

Pass the cup among the participants.

Thanks

We thank you, O gods, for your presence this day
as we celebrate your festival with reverence and joy.
We thank you, O gods, for your many blessings,
for the great gifts you grant to men and women.
With love and devotion we praise and honor you.

Close

We leave this holy place, with reverence and gratitude for all we have been given. The rite is ended.

Step away from the altar and leave the sacred space.


For more information on ritual format, see my other blog.

A PDF version of the ritual script is available here.

Chalkeia Rite

Honoring: Hephaistos and Athena as patrons of artisans and craftworkers
Date: 30 Pyanepsia (~ 11 November per HMEPA)
Region: Athens

Items needed
Bowl of water and stick (incense, punk, or natural) to light and douse
Candle, matches or lighter to light the stick
Bowl of barley
Offerings (wine or some other drink)
Libation bowl
Cup
Crafting implements to be blessed; these can include things like knitting needles, crochet hooks, paintbrushes, woodcarving tools and so forth.
Optional: Materials for making a peplos to be presented at Panathenaia

In the ritual script, italicized text refers to directions and actions and isn’t meant to be spoken.

Procession

Assemble and prepare to process to the altar.

We go to the holy place with reverence and love, to honor the gods.

Proceed to enter the sacred space.

Purification of participants

Light the stick or incense and extinguish in the bowl of water, creating lustral water.

May all be made pure who wash in this water.

Pour water over the hands of each person so that they may rinse their face and hands in the lustral water.

Purification of space

Pass the bowl of barley among the participants so that each may take a handful of barley.

May all that is profane be gone from here!

Each person throws barley onto the altar, gently if indoors, with force if outside.

Invocation

We call to Athena of the steel-grey eyes,
whose will it was that built the walls of Athens,
whose wisdom brought into being an age of greatness.

We call to Hephaistos of the fire and the forge,
whose keen eye and strong arm made from stone unrefined
the strongest of shields, the sharpest of blades.

O gods whose favor falls on the diligent
and the deft, the artist and the artisan,
the seamstress and the smith, the wright and the weaver,
all who work with craft and skill, whose hands grow calloused,
whose eyes grow dim, we ask your blessing on our art.

If ever we have honored you, poured out sweet wine
in reverence and love, O great ones, deathless ones,
hear now our prayers, grant now your blessings. Praise be to you!

Statement of purpose

We gather today to celebrate the Chalkeia, the day of Athena and Hephaistos, patrons of craft and art. On this day we praise and honor the gods for their many gifts to humankind, we thank them for the skill and inspiration they provide us, and we ask their blessing on the tools we use in doing their work.

Blessing of crafting implements

Place crafting implements on the altar.

To Athena, who shapes the maker and the mind,
to Hephaistos, who crafts things of beauty and strength,
to you gods who guide the hands and hearts of men

and women as we bring into the world
that which has never been before: we thank you
for your gift of art and inspiration, we thank you
for your counsel and the vision you provide.
O gods of the workbasket, gods of the hammer
and tongs, we ask your blessing on these tools
that we may be strong and skillful in our work.

Remove crafting implements from the altar.

Creating the peplos to be presented at the Panathenaia

If you plan to craft a peplos for Athena to use in celebrating the next Panathenaia, now present the materials you’ll be using to make it—for example, yarn if you’ll be knitting, crocheting or weaving it, or fabric if you’ll be sewing it.

Great Athena, mistress of foresight, good advisor,
whose art and skill are unsurpassed, whose goodness
and bounty are far-famed, peerless goddess whose gifts
to mankind are well known, to you we promise
the gift of a new peplos, to be made by hand
with care and reverence from these materials.

Hold up materials.

O goddess, may you bless our work, may you be pleased
with our efforts and our devotion.

Remove materials from the altar.

Libations and offerings

Pour wine, milk, or other liquid offering into cup; hold up filled cup.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes first and last,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To great and gracious Athena, child of mighty Zeus,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Athena!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To clever Hephaistos, great of strength, great of art,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hephaistos!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup , refilling if necessary.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes last and first,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some wine into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

We share this drink among ourselves with love for the gods
and gratitude for all we have been given.

Pass the cup among the participants.

Thanks

We thank you, O gods, for your presence this day
as we celebrate your festival with reverence and joy.
We thank you, O gods, for your many blessings,
for the great gifts you grant to men and women.
With love and devotion we praise and honor you.

Close

We leave this holy place, with reverence and gratitude for all we have been given. The rite is ended.

Step away from the altar and leave the sacred space.


For more information on ritual format, see my other blog.

A PDF version of the ritual script is available here.

Prayer to the Gods for the National Day of Prayer

May Hestia, who warms the hearth and brightens the home,
who is ever first in the hearts of mankind,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May great Zeus, bearer of the firebolt, granter
of rule to the worthy, upholder of the right,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May peerless Hera, friend of those who seek the joy
of marriage, the solace of companionship,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May grey-eyed Athena, protector of cities,
keeper of wisdom, who favors the virtuous,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May Demeter of field and flower, mistress
of all that grows in the earth, founder of the feast,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May golden Aphrodite, whose gift it is
to bring us together in love and compassion,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May swift-footed Hermes, guide of words and meaning,
who clears the way for unity and understanding,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May bright Apollo, lover of knowledge and beauty,
who keeps away all ill, who banishes all blight,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May Artemis of the woodland, mistress of beasts,
guardian of all that is innocent and wild,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.

May noble Persephone, queen of light and dark,
comfort of the sorrowing and the bereft,
be with us: we honor you and praise your might.