A new weekly ritual will be posted here each week, which we will use in our Saturday meetings. For more information on these Saturday meetings, see the Get Involved page.
It is recommended that you have two bowls: one with pure water, another empty. You will also need a glass with your offering to the Gods. Typical offerings are wine, milk, or water, but the offering can be specific to the deity you are addressing. It is also appropriate to have a candle and incense.
Wash your hands in the bowl of water to purify yourself before the gods.
We will begin with Delphic Maxims read by Alex, followed by music.
- ἀγαθοὺς τίμα – honor good men
- κριτὴν γνῶθι – know the judge
- γάμους κράτει – control your marriages
Our gods, who order the Cosmos
and fullfill the laws of Fate,
and from whom all Good comes,
we come before you now,
pure in body and spirit,
and with reverence and devotion.
We honor our ancestors also:
our own ancestors,
as well as the ancestors
and great men of our people.
We live through them
and they continue through us.
Today’s libation text is Homeric Hymn 31, To Helios. It will be read by Alex.
ἥλιον ὑμνεῖν αὖτε Διὸς τέκος ἄρχεο Μοῦσα,
Καλλιόπη, φαέθοντα, τὸν Εὐρυφάεσσα βοῶπις
γείνατο Γαίης παιδὶ καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος:
γῆμε γὰρ Εὐρυφάεσσαν ἀγακλειτὴν Ὑπερίων,
5αὐτοκασιγνήτην, ἥ οἱ τέκε κάλλιμα τέκνα,
Ἠῶ τε ῥοδόπηχυν ἐυπλόκαμόν τε Σελήνην
Ἠέλιόν τ᾽ ἀκάμαντ᾽, ἐπιείκελον ἀθανάτοισιν,
ὃς φαίνει θνητοῖσι καὶ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσιν
ἵπποις ἐμβεβαώς: σμερδνὸν δ᾽ ὅ γε δέρκεται ὄσσοις
10χρυσέης ἐκ κόρυθος: λαμπραὶ δ᾽ ἀκτῖνες ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ
αἰγλῆεν στίλβουσι παρὰ κροτάφων δέ τ᾽ ἔθειραι
λαμπραὶ ἀπὸ κρατὸς χαρίεν κατέχουσι πρόσωπον
τηλαυγές: καλὸν δὲ περὶ χροῒ λάμπεται ἔσθος
λεπτουργές, πνοιῇ ἀνέμων: ὕπο δ᾽ ἄρσενες ἵπποι.
15ἔνθ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὅ γε στήσας χρυσόζυγον ἅρμα καὶ ἵππους,
[αὐτόθι παύεται ἄκρου ἐπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ, εἰσόκεν αὖτις]
θεσπέσιος πέμπῃσι δι᾽ οὐρανοῦ Ὠκεανόνδε.
χαῖρε, ἄναξ, πρόφρων δὲ βίον θυμήρε᾽ ὄπαζε.
ἐκ σέο δ᾽ ἀρξάμενος κλῄσω μερόπων γένος ἀνδρῶν
ἡμιθέων, ὧν ἔργα θεαὶ θνητοῖσιν ἔδειξαν.
Sing Helios, Muse, Zeus-born Kalliope!
This god was Earth and starry Heaven’s grandson;
Bright son of gentle-eyed Euryphaessa.
Hyperion married his own famous sister,
Euryphaessa, and they had had fine children:
Rosy-armed Dawn, Selene with her bright hair,
And the godly-beautiful, untiring Sun,
Who shines both for the dying and the deathless,
Driving his horses. Terribly his eyes glare
From his gold helmet, and his body flowers
With dazzling rays, while bright hair from his temples
Half-covers handsome and far-beaming features.
His weightless-woven, splendid clothing flickers
At the wind’s breath. The stallions pull him forward …
And halts the gold-yoked chariot and horses,
Until the marvelous seaward ride through heaven.
Goodbye, lord. Please, give me a happy living!
I start with you, but earthly half-gods follow:
I’ll praise the acts the gods let mortals witness.
As you give to us, so we give back to you. Hail!
Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.
It is said that
‘verily at the first Chaos came to be,
but next wide-bosomed Earth.’
And that we are like to the Cosmos:
‘Of Ymir’s flesh
was earth created,
of his blood the sea,
of his bones the hills,
of his hair trees and plants,
of his skull the heaven;
And of his brows
the gentle powers
formed Midgard for the sons of men;
but of his brain
the heavy clouds are
And it is said that
‘the world subsists through the goodness of divinity.’
Therefore, as the Cosmos
is ordered out of Chaos by divinity,
so we, as we partake of this drink,
shall likewise be brought to order by divinity.
The remainder of the drink is consumed.
Today’s reading is a selection from the Handbook by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus.
Each person who chooses to read will read from the asterisk to the next asterisk. One person will read at a time. I will begin the reading; the person who is above me in the voice channel will then continue the reading, and so on, until the reading is complete. If you do not wish to read, mute your microphone and this will be understood as a signal that you wish to be skipped.
Remember, that it is not he who gives ill language or a blow who insults, but the principle which represents these things. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you.
Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible be daily before your eyes, but chiefly death, and you will never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything.
If you have an earnest desire of attaining to philosophy, prepare yourself from the very first to be laughed at, to be sneered at by the multitude, to hear them say, “He is returned to us a philosopher all at once,” and “Whence this arrogant look?” Now, for your part, don’t have an arrogant look, indeed; but keep steadily to those things which appear best to you as one appointed by God to this station. For remember that, if you adhere to the same point, those very persons who at first ridiculed will afterwards admire you. But if you are conquered by them, you will incur a double ridicule.
If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything with being a philosopher; and, if you wish to be thought so likewise by anyone, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you.
Don’t allow such considerations as these distress you. “I will live in dishonor, and be nobody anywhere.” For, if dishonor is an evil, you can no more be involved in any evil by the means of another, than be engaged in anything base. Is it any business of yours, then, to get power, or to be admitted to an entertainment? By no means. How, then, after all, is this a dishonor? And how is it true that you will be nobody anywhere, when you ought to be somebody in those things only which are in your own control, in which you may be of the greatest consequence?
Has someone been given greater honor than you at a banquet or in a greeting or by being brought in to give advice? If these things are good, you should be glad that he has got them. If they are bad, do not be angry that you did not get them. And remember, you cannot demand an equal share if you did not do the same things… You will be unjust and greedy, then, if you want to obtain these things for free when you have not paid the price for which they are bought.
This completes this week’s reading. We will pause for approximately half a minute for silent contemplation.
As we complete our meeting
in honour of our gods,
our ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of divinity,
we will remember that
‘piety consists of holy thoughts’
and that we are to be
courageous, just, temperate, and wise
in every aspect of our lives.
The offering can be left in the bowl for some time. Later, it can be poured outside into the earth.