Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Amazing Reads ~ Hellenic Household Worship Book Review

Aside from the YSEE, there's another prominent organization called Labrys. You might have had the pleasure of coming across photos of their gorgeous rituals on places like Facebook. They released a book that's been on the market for about 4 years at this point, called HELLENIC POLYTHEISM: HOUSEHOLD WORSHIP. 

Last week, I finally decided to order a copy, since it had been making headlines with some of the Hellenists and Greek Pagans I know. On the surface, you would think that it's just a book about things Hellenes can do around the house, but it's extraordinarily more. Rarely do I find a book that I cannot put down, but this one is the exception, and it's definitely a volume that should be available for use beside of every Greek altar. 

The first thing I really enjoyed was that it didn't focus a lot on trying to shape the reader's mind into a certain belief or worldview. It's extremely non-judgmental. There is no, "Believe this or you're not a Hellene." Rather, it seeks to unite us by taking someone who believes in the Greek Gods and strictly teaching them how to practice in the ancient and traditional ways, and it's also going to give you the idea and reasoning behind them. The teaching reaches into the home and family unit itself, and molds it into the Oikos, or the ancient Greek household. Instead of teaching the Hellenic ideals though annual public rites, as most works in the past have done, it exhibits the ancient ways on an everyday basis and for every part of our lives. It's really the most practical work I have yet seen on day-to-day Hellenic living. It even leads the reader through ancient marriage and burial ceremonies. Things that are common concerns of the general and private individual are covered in the texts. So you are literally going to learn how to transform not only your practice, but your life itself, into a Hellenic one.

The rituals and prayers that it gives are also quite extensive, yet easy to remember and understand. As a prayer writer myself, I love the ones in this book because it's the only one I have read that doesn't stop with prayers to the Dodekatheon and a few other highly known Gods. There are also prayers that mention the Heroes and prayers for your Ancestors. Some people think that ancient Greek religion was only focused on Olympos, and that's not true. There were countless Gods, Spirits, Heroes, Deified Mortals and Ancestors who were worshiped and venerated. The Greeks loved the Divine and Spiritual world in all of its wonderful entirety. This book is a work (outside of my own books) that finally begins to reflect on that factor. The prayers to the Gods in the work also focus on a broad range of Epithets for our daily lives, some of which that I myself had never even realized before and I've been a Hellenic practitioner and student for 10 years. And not only that, but the prayers themselves are amazingly beautiful, detailed and powerful. 

Whether you're just starting out as a Hellene (for whom I would strongly recommend this book), or if you've been practicing for years, this work is going to help you greatly. Out of 5 stars, I give this work a 6. It's a job well done. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.