I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"I love the outlines you posted on your morning and evening prayer, but you say that at the end of your evening prayer you drink the rest of your libation. Aren't the Gods and Goddesses your honoring (Nyx, Hypnos, Hekate, etc) Cthonic and receive all of the wine libation? Sorry, just trying to sort out my own practice."

That would be this outline. I get where the confusion comes from. As a short recap, my evening rituals include sacrifices to Nyx, Selene, Hypnos, Morpheus and Hekate. None of these are actually Kthonic, at least not in the epithets I sacrifice to Them in.

'Khthonic' literally means 'subterranean' and usually refers to deities of the earth or underworld. It is a very narrow subset of Gods that this refers to and most have Ouranic epithets as well. Khthonic deities recieve holocaustal sacrifice, yes--sacrifice given whole--but these rites are purely ouranic and such the libation can be shared.

Most of the Theoi honoured in my evening rites are pre-Olympians. Contrary to the Olympians, the pre-Olympians are actually of the world; They, together, form the tapistry of earth and life. They literally make up our universe. The Protogenoi (Πρωτογενοι) are the First Born Deities of the Hellenic Kosmos. They are the building blocks of the universe, primordial Deities. Nyx and Hypnos are included in this list. Then came the Titanes Gods which includes Morpheus and another generation down are other Titanes like Hekatê and Selênê.

All of the Theoi I worship are ouranic in nature--nighttime Gods, yes, but presiding over domains related to mortal life, not the dead and not the fertile earth. Nyx and Selene personify the night sky, Hypnos and Morpheus preside over sleep and (pleasant, I hope) dreams, and Hekate--while a liminal Goddess and one often assumed to be Khthonic--was most often worshipped as an ouranic household Goddess who presided over the bourders of the property on which the house stood. Basically, she keeps bad things out and during the night while I am asleep, that is exactly when I want Her blessing most.

So no, They should not recieve a holocaustal libation during my evening sacrifices, but because of the nighttime element, I get where you are coming from. It's important to note that 'nighttime' does not automatically mean 'khthonic', just like daytime does not automatically means 'ouranic'. Varios Theoi and events call for specific rites, times and practices and the process is involved. the distinction between ouranic and khthonic can shift with almost all Theoi and so does Their cult worship in these cases. If you are just starting out, this may seem confusing but I promise you it will start making sense. you will start to feel it when something slips away from being ouranic. Until then, keep asking questions!


"It is correct that for the men's version of the doric chiton, it only comes to the knees?"

I have talked before about ancient Hellenic clothing before, including a video of how to put it on. The chiton (khitōn, χιτών) came in two forms: the Doric chiton and the later Ionic chiton. The Doric style was open on one side, sleeveless and didn't have the apoptygma the peplos had, while the Ionic chiton was pinned or sewn from top to bottom, was made with a much wider piece of fabric, and had sleeves. A woman's chiton would always be worn at ankle length. Men wore the long chiton during the Archaic period, but later wore it at knee length, except for certain occupations such as priests and charioteers, and also the elderly. They wore it long even later on.


"I'm kind of trying to reconstruct the culture of Hellas as well as the religion - would it be imperative that I read ancient Hellenic books? P.S. do we Hellenics have an anthem? I've tried writing one and drawing a flag, but they probably won't work..."

As you probably know, I feel that reconstructionist faiths work on a basic premise: those who practiced it first, practiced it best. If we want to worship these Gods, we should do it in a way which the Gods are used to and expect of us. Yet, society has changed. Other religions have come and gone. People have changed. Some practices have no place in current society but... how do we decide which practices should or should not be revived? And is it really up to us to decide this?

When you say 'reconstruct the culture of Hellas', are you referring to the ancient culture of it or are you describing nationalist thought about the current state of Greece? I'm not in favour of either, to be honest. I have written about that in length here but it boils down to the following: we live in the now and culture, while influenced by the Gods, does not dictate religion. My preference is to bring as much of the ancient religion into modern culture as we can while being respectful to both.

As for reading ancient Hellenic books, I am always going to advice you do that. Read modern academic texts, read various translations of the classics, read the classics in ancient Greek if you can. It's absolutely imperative to me, yes.

Do we have an anthem? No, I suppose not, nor a flag. Why? And more accurately: why do I feel we don't need one? National anthems rose to prominence in Europe during the 19th century AD. The tradition of having national flags started in Denmark in the early 1200's. Back in ancient Hellas flags were everywhere and every city-state had at least one to carry into battle. Again, I believe we are reconstructing a religion, not a country. Carry your own national flag (and/or the glag of Greece if you feel so inclined, but remember that ancient Hellas stretched far beyond the bourders of modern Greece) into ceremony. That's pretty much what the ancient Hellenes did.


"Do you know anything about doing divination by looking at a fire or at a laurel leef burning up?"

Let's see... divinition by looking into a fire is called causimancy or pyromancy and it's been used since, well, pretty much since we figured out how to control fire. We've read the flames (lampadomancy), read the smoke (capnomancy), read the burning coals (anthracomancy), read the ashes (spodomancy), and yes, by tossing plant material into it and seeing how it burns. That last one is called 'botanomancy'.

Divination came in two forms in ancient Hellas--or more accurately, through two channels. Oracles given directly, like at Delphi, were rare and called chesmomancy. All other forms of divination practiced in ancient Hellas were performed by seers, not oracles. The biggest difference between oracles and seers was that oracles gave long answers which usually needed some for of interpretation while seers usually answered yes-or-no questions.

Divination of any kind was rarely turned to, to predict the future. To desire knowledge of the future was considered hubris. Instead, oracles and seers were petitioned to help answer questions about the present or to advice on a decision which had to be made in the very near future. Divination played a fairly large role in Hellenic every day life and any and all means of divination were used by seers to 'help' the common folk. I am certain pyromancy and botanomancy were used as well.