Tag Archive | hellenic paganism

To Rhea

All praise to Rhea, bright queen of the heavens,
great and mighty among the immortal gods.
Mother of many, saviour of your children,
O Rhea who wears the high-towered crown,
whose rites ring out with a joyful sound,
who is honored by dancers, by seekers
of solace and delight, O gentle goddess
who eases our sorrows, our troubles, our pains,
O lady of the lions, enthroned in glory,
worshipped in temple and in wood, I call to you.
I honor you, good and gracious Rhea,
I offer you my praise and seek your blessing.

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To Kronos

All praise to wise Kronos, lord of the Golden Age,
son of the earth and the far-reaching sky.
Father you are of monsters and gods, father
of the gifts of the land, the golden grain,
the heavy-fruited trees. Bearer of the sickle,
Wielder of the scythe, yours it is to reap
what is sown, to harvest what is ready and ripe.
Kronos of the ancient feast, the temple broad
and strong, Kronos of Elysium, who wards
the best of humankind, I call to you.
I honor you, good and gracious Kronos,
I offer you my praise and seek your blessing.

Boreaia Rite

Honoring: Boreas, god of the north wind, and his daughter Chione, goddess of snow
Date: Beginning of winter
Season: Winter

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
Offering of a paper snowflake or other gift(s).
Libation
Libation bowl
Cup

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

Boreas of the bitter winds, lord of the north,
lord of distant Thrace, master of the wintertime,
purple-winged god of the darkening days,
I call to you, O Boreas, O god of cold and ice.

Chione of the snows, of the softly falling flakes
and the keen and biting storms, the billowy drifts
and the treacherous ice, daughter of the north,
I call to you, O Chione, O goddess of the frost.

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

As the days grow short and the nights grow long,
as the air grows chill and the earth stone-cold,
we gather to welcome the gods of the season,
to greet you with reverence and love.

Prayers and Offerings

We welcome you, O Boreas, who rules the lands
of ice and rime, who in your season brings to us
a frost to rest the weary earth, a chill to set
our bones a-shiver, to set the world anew.
We welcome you, O Chione, mistress of the snows,
whose might it is that cloaks the land in alabaster white,
whose hand it is that dips each tree in shining ice,
whose gift it is to grace the world with beauty.

O gods of the cold and silent lands, O gods
on whose power we rely, in whose good will we trust,
we thank you for your many blessings, we praise your might.
For your care and warding in seasons past, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.
For a safe return from uncertain travels, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.
For abundance granted each wintertide, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.

Hold up paper snowflakes or other gifts.

We offer you this token of our reverence and thanks, O gods.

Place gifts on altar.

Libations

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 drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To Boreas of the cold north wind, winter’s lord,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Boreas!

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

To Chione of the snows, capricious and comely,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Chione!

Pour out some drink 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 drink 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 humanity.
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.


A PDF version of this ritual script is available here.

For more information on ritual format, see Some Elements of Hellenic Ritual at my other blog.

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.

Pyanepsia Rite

Honoring: Apollo
Date: 6 Pyanepsion (19 October per HMEPA calendar)

Season: Fall harvest
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
Eiresione*
Libation
Offering of panspermia, a dish made with beans and grains**
Libation bowl
Cup

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

Apollo, wise and mighty son of thundering Zeus
and great and gracious Leto, we honor you,
we praise your power. Apollo, friend of the poet
and the hero, long ago your favor fell
on Theseus, son of sea-dwelling Poseidon,
who slew the monstrous Minotaur of distant Crete.
Great perils followed Theseus upon his journey home;
once safe ashore, he made to you an offering,
a small and simple meal, yet richer than a feast
of kings, for with it were the ship’s stores bare.
Apollo who keeps at bay all ill and evil,
who wards each gate and door, I praise and honor you.

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

Today we celebrate the Pyanepsia, remembering the many gifts given us by Apollo and offering him our thanks and our praise. Today we call to him to bless our homes, placing the eiresione over the front door as a sign of prosperity and plenty, and a reminder of our faith in the goodness of the gods.

The Eiresione

Hold up eiresione.

“The eiresione brings figs and cakes,
honey golden-sweet, oil to anoint us,
and good strong wine to make us sleep.” (Traditional chant)

May all within these walls be blessed;
may all within these walls be favored;
may only that which is good enter through this door:
health, wealth, and joy, good friends and good fortune!

Bring eiresione to front entrance, hang securely over door. Return to altar.

Alternatively the eiresione may be hung over a shrine or altar where Apollo is honored in your home.

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 drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To Apollo, whose might protects and sustains the children of men,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Apollo!

Pour out some drink into the libation bowl. Place plate of panspermia or other bean/grain dish on the altar.

Apollo, we offer you this simple dish, in thanks for your many gifts and blessings, and in memory of the great service you performed so long ago for Theseus and his crew, for which they offered you the last of their meager provisions in thanks for your protection during their long and perilous journey. May it please you, O great god.

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 drink 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.


* The eiresione is an olive branch decorated with wool and hung with other items, possibly including fruit, bread, honey, oil and wine, which was offered during the Pyanepsia at Apollo’s temple as well as being hung at private homes after being carried through the streets by troupes of boys.

** The panspermia is a dish made from beans, grains and seeds. You can attempt to recreate the original dish, or you can use a modern equivalent (such as red beans and rice), as long as the ingredients are those that would be left when the larder was nearly empty—at the end of a sea voyage, for example, or before the new harvest has been reaped—so that the feast represents a gift that is both humble and significant.

Please note that if you are unable to prepare the panspermia dish, that section of the ritual may easily be omitted. Not everyone is a cook, not everyone is able to make food offerings in their home. 🙂


A PDF version of this ritual script is available here.

For more information on ritual format, see Some Elements of Hellenic Ritual at my other blog.

Democratia Rite

Democratia

Honoring: The goddess Democratia (Democracy)
Date: 12 Boedromion
Season: Would be appropriate during civic or patriotic holidays, or on election days.
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
Libation
Libation bowl
Cup

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.

Purification of participants

Light 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

We call to gracious Democratia, goddess so dear
to us, so dear to those who honored our gods of old.
O goddess who gives a voice to all, who ensures
that the mighty hear our pleas, attend to our needs.
O goddess in whom reside our duty and our strength,
granter of wisdom with which to wield our rights
and pay our debts, to whom we are responsible,
for whom we fight and die, Democratia, goddess
of a hand both open and firm, we praise you.

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

Today we gather to honor Democratia, great goddess of democracy, whose gifts to mankind are great. We thank you, O goddess, for the gift of freedom and the ability to exercise it. We thank you for our choices, both wise and foolish, and the will to make them. As the ancients did, we know your worth and treasure you for it, and we know as well the need to hold to you. May you be with us, O goddess, always and forever.

A prayer of thanks

To Democratia, wise one, fair one, well known
to the ancients who named you thus, friend of those
with the will to work within the world, that it may
be made better for all. Goddess, we thank you
for our freedom, we thank you for opportunity,
for the right to be heard and the right to decide.
Each time we think of the greater world, each time
we act with purpose and intent, each time we go
to cast our vote, we thank you and we honor you.

Libations

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 drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To Democratia, who grants us each a voice and a vote,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Democratia!

Pour out some drink 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 drink 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 at http://hearthfirehandworks.com/2015/09/22/festivals-some-elements-of-hellenic-ritual/.

A PDF version of the ritual script is available here.