Sunday, April 5, 2020

In-Home Worship During Quarantine

It sucks, especially when you're a Hellene or a Pagan, to be stuck at home until a virus calms down. We enjoy our festive gatherings very much, or even just the company of friends coming over to public sacrifice. But equally important to us as Hellenes is our household worship, and any form of Hellenic practice can be converted into an individual effort that is done privately from your own home. There are many ways, not just the one I describe here, that can make worship and religious activity at home just as enjoyable and powerful as being in large groups. And there's also no requirement in the quarantine that says you yourself cannot go outside on your own land, so if you have a backyard, you can still enjoy worship outdoors in your own private life. An important thing to remember during this time is that plagues are just a part of life. They've happened before, and will happen again in the future, both to our ancestors in ancient times and to ourselves. We work through them and move on. It's natural. 

A General Daily Rite
I have said many times in the past that every Hellene should have some form of daily devotion to the Gods, Spirits and Heroes that they always do, unless circumstances prevent it. Of course, we never stop practicing our religion, it's everywhere and in everything we do. For this you will need an altar table, white candle, incense, and a libation. Generally speaking, there are three parts you always want to do in a daily devotion, and those are prayer and sacrifice to Hestia first and last, to The Dodekatheon (The 12 Gods), and to Zeus of the Boundaries and Zeus of the Household Wealth. You can include more Gods, and/or Spirits, Heroes, Ancestors and Deified Mortals if you like, but the basic three should always be the standard.

Step 1 - Cleanse yourself, the altar and offerings as much as possible.

Step 2 - Light the candle as the altar flame.

Step 3 - Invoke Hestia, "Blessed Hestia, Goddess of the hearth, as you shine forth in my home today, may you grant it peace and love, and lift me into the presence of The Dodekatheon, that I may know their mysteries, powers and wisdom. May the libation please you."

Step 4 - Pour a portion of the libation to Hestia.

Step 5 - Invoke The Dodekatheon, "I humbly pray to The Dodekatheon, the Highest Gods, and all the Gods, Goddesses, good Spirits, Heroes, Ancestors and Deified Mortals of ancient Greece, may you delight in the sweet fragrance I burn for you. May you return my aroma with kind favor." (The Dodekatheon are Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Artemis, Apollon, Demeter, Athena, Hephatisos, Ares, Hermes and Dionysos, or Hestia in place of Dionysos if you ascribe to the other alignment. After this point, you can include any individual prayers you want to anyone, and even other sacrifices).

Step 6 - Invoke Zeus of the Boundaries and Zeus of the Home's Wealth, "I pray to Zeus of the Boundaries and Zeus of the Home's Wealth, may you grant my household prosperity, posterity, abundance and safeguard. May the burning sacrifice also please you." (Now that all invocations are complete, feel free to include your own meditative practice at this point if you like).

Step 7 - Close with a prayer to Hestia, "As I bring this holy and sacred rite to a close, I give my thanks to the Gods, Spirits, Heroes and all the Higher Powers, and pray and pour once more to Hestia, for She is first and last. O' Goddess, may you warm and provide for me, keep my family together, and my home safe."

Step 8 - Pour out the rest of the libation and extinguish the flame. Let the incense burn out on its own. Discard the entire libation in a natural spot outside your home, like a flowerbed or a yard.

In ending this post, remember that the annual festivals on the Attik calendar, as well as the monthly Holy Days, can all be held in your own home and private worship space.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.