Beginner · Hellenismos · How to

Ancient Greek Offering Ritual

This ritual is based on what Walter Burkert suggests was the ancient method in his book, “Greek Religion” for an ouranic sacrifice. I’ve made it fireless/almost fireless due to my circumstances, bit I’d like it noted that fire was traditionally used. I’m writing this down because it’s the ritual I use in my practice and I feel it may be helpful to some of you!

What you’ll need:
♠ Supplies for making Khernips
♠ Towel for drying your hands and face
♠ Barley (used in ancient times) or rice (modern substitute)
♠ Offering
♠ Incense (optional)
♠ Hymns and Prayers
♠ Music of some kind (played or put on a device)
♠ Offering Dish
♠ Candle/faux Candle
♠ Altar

Begin by making your Pompe, procession, through your home. Play music, sing, and reflect on what is going to take place. Separate yourself from daily life and become immersed in ritual. Think of yourself as an actor preparing for a play. A play for the gods. That is what sacrifice is according to Burkert and many others; a performance. If possible, carry your offering, khernips, and incense. If not, have these things laid out on your altar.

Cleanse yourself and the space with khernips. All participants and spectators must be cleansed. Sprinkle a few drops on your offering. Usually, now is when I personally decide to light my incense if I haven’t carried it down with me.

Take a handful of barley or rice into your hand, and give some to each participant. Say your prayer, and toss it onto your offering.

Offer up your sacrifice with a few words, and eat a portion of it. The rest can sit beside a candle to metaphorically burn up towards Olympos, or it can be burnt carefully. If you have a libation, pour it over your offering.

Finish your ritual with hymns, songs, and poetry if desired. Hold a feast if you are celebrating a festival involving one and be merry.

May the gods guide you!


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