Saturday, September 5, 2015

Solid Gifts - Eternal Offerings of the Gods

Modern Hellenists and general Pagans give general offerings and sacrifices to the Gods, among them being things such as libations, incense, and various foods such as meats, sweets and portions of daily meals. It's traditional to burn these kinds of offerings in the first place, even libations are poured into the altar flame, which means they burn up and ascend to the Gods. These kinds of offerings are the most common because they are easier to give and extremely affordable. Even I myself mostly offer to the Gods on these levels. My daily rite includes proper incense and libation, as I am sure many Hellenists practice in their own daily rites.

However, I have found that solid offerings also help me greatly fulfill my spirituality and delight the Gods. What I mean by “solid offerings” is things which are not burnable, eatable, or drinkable. These are gifts given to the Gods to be housed in their temples, sanctuaries and/or worship spaces. This was also not an uncommon practice in ancient Greek culture.

For example, many of you may have seen the post I made on my Facebook page when I added two solid, golden brass swans to my shrine of Apollon, being that swans are His symbol and pull His chariot. I did not only place these as such symbols on His shrine, I also offered them to Him, and they now stand in His worship space as such a gift. Recently, I also offered an iron bull's head to Theseus as reverence for His victory over the Minotaur and a symbol of His most notable triumph. This also stands in the small shrine of Theseus that I constructed in my home.

Both of these solid gifts were purchased at my local antique store for very low prices. This is one of the main reasons I like to visit these places. I have purchased about 5% of my religious materials at antique and thrift stores, even statues of Greek Gods, because these places carry rare and unique items that are not normally carried in general department stores. Of course, what you purchase for the Gods must be properly purified before use, but these places can offer us a variety of materials for our worship.

The thing I really love about solid gifts is that they never go away, and in many ways, they are a far more beautiful and unique expression of your personal devotion to the Gods, and I believe they will recognize such uniqueness as coming directly from you.

Now, of course, this does present a problem if done without moderation. If someone does this at their personal shrine on a daily or even monthly basis, it will eventually become cluttered and tacky-looking. Even a large temple would eventually run out of room, which is why one should choose only the most beautiful and appropriate solid gifts for the Gods. For example, it's not everyday you come across solid, golden brass swans or an iron bull's head. These things were very uniquely beautiful and fitting for the spaces in which they were going to be placed. They were not purchased merely for the sake of adding something, and in some ways, they called to me to be used for their present purposes.

With that being said, even if one does follow that criteria, there may still come a time when they run out of room or it is no longer suitable to add to their shrine/sanctuary/worship space and/or temple. In such a case, take the lesser offerings and bury them beneath the area or in a spot specifically designated and sanctioned for that purpose and for that God or Gods. By “lesser” I mean smaller. Start with the smaller, less valuable ones and work your way up until your space is clear enough to add newer ones. It's also important to remember that, once offered, these things become sacred and the actual property of the God or Gods, and therefore, one should care for them the same as they would care for anything else belonging to or representing the God or Gods. Keep them cleaned when needed and housed and protected from dangers and intrusions.

In the Goodness of the Dodekatheon,
Chris.

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