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.

"Okay so I've practiced for a while, but I never feature any gods in my spells. I do say daily prayers to the Theoi, however, like before I sleep and when I wake (like how some people say grace over dinner), and I was wondering if that was alright."

Whatever suits you is alright to do. If you're asking if it's a recon approach then no, it's not. It seems you practice some sort of Neo-Paganism that includes spellcasting and the Theoi. Which is perfectly fine, especially when not combined! The daily prayers are definitely recon inspired, though, You're not giving me a lot to work with but from what I can figure out from these few words, you have got your own thing solidly down and that's brilliant!


"So I'm planning on taking a day and cleaning the family headstones. And I want to make offerings to the dead. Most of the dead I've never met so I can't give them their favorite food from life. What items would you recommend. And do you know of any short prayers/hymns/etc that I could use while cleaning to let the dead know they are not forgotten?"

First off, let me say that I love that you're going back to your family's headstones to clean them. that act alone matches very well with Hellenismos. The ancient Hellenes believed that as long as a person was remembered, they weren't truly dead. As the believe was that most people end up at the Meadows to wander forever, to be able to return to the surface when libated and spoken to was like a literal lifeline and families gathered at least once a year to honour the dead at the cemeteries. Most of their practices have been recorded in classical literature like for example here, in the Odysseia by Homeros:

“Perimedes and Eurylochus restrained the sacrificial victims while I drew my sharp sword from its sheath, and with it dug a pit two foot square, then poured a libation all around to the dead, first of milk and honey, then of sweet wine, thirdly of water, sprinkled with white barley meal. Then I prayed devoutly to the powerless ghosts of the departed, swearing that when I reached Ithaca I would sacrifice a barren heifer in my palace, the best of the herd, and would heap the altar with rich spoils, and offer a ram, apart, to Teiresias, the finest jet-black ram in the flock. When, with prayers and vows, I had invoked the hosts of the dead, I led the sheep to the pit and cut their throats, so the dark blood flowed.” [Bk XI:1-50]

So we know how it works: blood sacrifice in a pit, followed by libations of milk and honey, then sweet red wine, then water, followed by a sprinkling of barley meal. Prayers to the dead—most likely invoking them by name and the manner in which the person knows them—followed by a promise to do something for them if they appear to drink from the sacrifice and gain life for a few moments.  Then more animal sacrifices. It’s described, by the way, in the Odysseia that the ghosts only drink of the blood in the sacrifice—the life’s blood that makes them solid and restores their memories of life for a while.

I assume you aren’t raising the dead and simply want to honour them, so I am quite sure libations of milk and honey, followed by libations of wine and water and then a sprinkling of barley flour will do. Speak of your relationship to them and while you are cleaning, talk about things you remember about them or what you have been told about them. Make sure they feel remembered and included, that is what matters most. And to those whom you have not met, tell them about how their children’s lives were, or their grandchildren’s lives or how yours is. Tell them you have your family’s tell-tale nose, or that dry sense of humour. Tell them that you always wanted to be a baker or doctor or fireman like they were. Anything to form a bond and remind them of the good things about life and family. If you run out of things to say, list your favourite foods, tell them how a perfect summer day feels and the rain on your skin. Remind them of life and pay your respects. Make it a joyful occasion for both!


"Is it possible to be a soft polytheist and believe in the greek gods? I know this wouldn't be recon. I'm just wondering your opinion on this."

Yes, this is entirely possible. Many people have conflated Gods through the ages--most notably the Hellenic and Roman pantheons. There are ancient examples as well. Most Hellenists tend to stick to a hard polytheistic view but it's not needed to have if you want to honour the Theoi.


"Is it okay to not view the myths surrounding the gods as fact? For instance, when I read the creation of the universe or of humankind, I don't believe it as fact. Same with a lot of the myths, honestly. I view them as stories to understand the gods.""

Needless to say, at least to those who frequent my blog, I am very invested in mythology, and most--if not all--of my ethical, social, and religious framework comes from the accounts of ancient writers like Hómēros, Hesiod, and all the playwrights.

I believe in a form of literal interpretation of mythology. I believe that we are called to view the myths of the Theoi as a literal interpretation of the nature of the Divine, as well as history as a whole. What happened in the myths, literally happened.

Religion has the reputation of being un-scientific. By its definition, religion--the believe in something one can’t prove--seems the polar opposite of science. What I love about Hellenic mythology and philosophy is that it works with science

I have a multiperspectivalistic view of religion. Multispectivalism, in short, is an approach to knowledge that suggests that it is made up of multiple perspectives, none of which can grasp reality as it is. As such, the more perspectives one takes into account--biological, scientifical, psychological, theological--the better the overall picture one might have of reality. Multispectivalism in relation to religion thus implies that all reality can never be summed up under any one religion, concept, or perspective but is, in essence, a combination of all.

It means seeing the divine in everything. Lightning is just as much a scientific phenomenon as Zeus' mighty weapon cast down upon the earth. The little girl who guided Odysseus to the palace of Alcinous was just as much a little girl as the personification of Athena. The two overlap and co-exist. And as such, Hēraklēs' madness was brought on by Hera, and--at an even more basic level--Hēraklēs existed. He may have existed in multiple men, but there was once a man so powerful that he could only be the child of Zeus, and the many extraordinary things he did could only be attributed to a man aided by the Theoi.

Needless to say, this is my vision, my view, on Hellenismos, and it might not fit yours at all while we both honor the Theoi in a Recon manner. The thing that made me smile about your wording is that you say 'I view them as stories to understand the gods'. So do I. I believe the Gods are real so as an inevitable result I believe the stories of their deeds are real, too. At least within a multiperspectivalistic view.