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PRESENTATION & ACTIVITIES in their entirety).

Almost all Hellenic group rituals include CLOSING LIBATION


some form of one or all of these additional Closing libations are performed exactly like the
activities: theatrical performances, dancing, initial libations but in reverse order (Olympians,
games, contests or other group activities. These honored Immortal(s), Hestia). After the libations,
vary with the type of ritual but the primary the sacred herald should announce the end of the
ritual with something similar to “Tharrei pant
purpose is building a sense of community.
agatha pepragamen” (“be brave for all good things
FEAST have come to pass”).
When the activities are over and the feast is GLOSSARY
prepared, the sacred herald announces the feast.
This can be a simple announcement, or you •  hestia - the hearth of a house.
might use these lines: "When mirth reigns •  pompe - solemn procession
throughout the town and feasters about the house, •  sponde - drink-offering
sitting in order, listen to a minstrel; when the tables
beside them are laden with bread and meat and a •  temenos - a piece of land marked
wine bearer draws sweet drink from the mixing off from common uses and dedicated to a
bowl and fills cups; this I think in my heart to be god
the most delightsome." •  khernips - water for washing the
During the feast, each person gets only as much hands
food as they can consume with a small portion to •  khthonios - in, under or beneath the
be sacrificed in the fire. This should be carefully earth.
planned as nothing of the sacrifice is to be taken
away. The sacrifices for each person consist of a BIBLIOGRAPHY
small portion of the food thrown on the fire for  Burkert, Walter. (1985) "Greek Religion" Trans.
Hestia, the unused portions (bones, skin, fat, etc.) John Raffan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
thrown on the fire for the honored deity. The University Press. for more information, contact us at:
important thing to consider, for the feast and the  Nilsson, Martin. (1940) "Greek Folk Religion"
sacrifice, is that they are a sharing with the Hellenion@hellenion.org
Philadelphia, PA: Columbia University Press.
Immortals of what they have given us. Therefore,
the food should be the best of quality but should
never be more than what is normally consumed.
Keep in mind; these are offerings to honored guests.
Just as in the libations above, daily devotions and
Chthonian deities are handled differently. Food
sacrifices for daily devotions consist of a few
morsels placed in the hearth fire and offerings to
Chthonian deities are never shared (they are buried
NOTE: Some of the practices mentioned in this home to the location of the ritual. LIGHTING THE HEARTH FIRE
brochure are specific to one particular Demos PURIFICATION OF PEOPLE
and are provided as examples only. The rituals of : While lighting the hearth fire, the cleric
other demoi within Hellenion may vary. : The other separation between the sacred purifies the hearth by what they do and/or say.
and the profane is the purification of the people. Similar to purifying the area, one may toss
INTRODUCTION This is a part of every ritual since nobody should incense or barley into the fire, or make a
Hellenic ritual is most often for the purpose of appear before the Immortals in a polluted state. statement. Many prefer to do both
asking the Immortals to intervene in our lives, to simultaneously.
Fulfilling a clerical role in a ritual to honor the
thank them for past interventions or to generally Immortals sometimes requires a more extensive INITIAL LIBATIONS
honor and recognize them. The most common purification with periods of abstinence, fasting, and
forms of ritual are daily devotion, honoring of the : Libations are drink offerings shared with
avoidance of things dealing with birth and death.
Olympians and prayers to a Chthonian. The the Immortals. They usually consist of wine mixed
Abstinence and fasting is not due to sex or food
structure of a Hellenic ritual usually consists of a equally with spring water but can also be made
being inherently evil but to enhance any sexual
procession, purification of the people, purification from grape juice mixed with water, milk or olive
experience or food consumed within the ritual.
of the sacred area, lighting the hearth fire, initial oil. The choice of libation is made by the group as
Avoidance of things dealing with birth and death is
libations, presentations and activities, a feast shared everyone uses the same drink for the offering. The
to rid oneself of evil spirits who are attracted by the
with the Immortals and closing libations. cleric serves participants with the same amount of
beginning and end of life.
the libation (about a half-pint each) into their
Throughout the ritual, the clerical “roles” can be For others attending a ritual and for daily drinking bowl.
performed by anyone that is respectful of the devotional rituals, washing hands with lustral water
Immortals and knowledgeable of their functions. For each libation, the participants announce whom
and banishing evil spirits, is sufficient purification.
Each of these clerical functions can be performed the libation is for (i.e. “Libation to Hestia, always
Lustral water, as in most religions, consists of a
by a different participant and/or more than one the first and the last”), pour a little of the libation
blessed salt-water solution. In Hellenic beliefs,
function can be performed by the same person. In onto the ground (or into a libation bowl to be
lustral water can also be created by placing a
Hellenic ritual there is always more emphasis on poured onto the ground later) and drinks a little of
burning firebrand into the water (this should be
what is done rather than what is said and, being a the libation. There are always a t least three
done very carefully since burning wood sometimes
community focused religion, it is important that libations (and there may be more). The first is to
explodes). The cleric pours lustral water over the
each person participates to some extent. Hestia, the second to the Immortal(s) honored at the
hands of the participant while they say a banishing
current ritual and the last to the Olympians as a
PROCESSION phrase such as, “Ekas! Ekas! Esti bebeloi!” (Far
group.
off! Far off! Even to the profane!”).
: Processions are usually found in the Libations for daily devotions and to Chthonian
festivals to honor the Olympians and the purpose PURIFICATION OF AREA deities are slightly different. For daily devotions, a
is to separate the sacred from the profane. : Any area purified for the purpose of few drops are sprinkled on the floor for the
In historical times, the procession was from the Hellenic ritual work is a “sacred area”. The cleric Agathos Daemon (good spirit and guardian of the
Hestia (community hearth) or from the city gates to can purify an area through several acts. One house). Libations to Chthonian deities are not
the place of worship. Along the way, the parade example is by sprinkling around natron (a mixture shared (the entire libation is poured on the ground)
would pick up many others to join the parade and of salt and baking soda). One may also toss and not witnessed (libations are made behind the
the celebration. In modern times, a procession barley on the area. This is usually done for any back and the person walks away without looking
should be from a place symbolic of the center of ritual dealing with the Immortals but is sometimes back).
town, from the edge of town, o r f r o m a omitted for a simple daily devotion.
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