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.

"The only real question I have is the meaning behind 'khaire'. I looked everywhere for a solid definition but no one can seem to agree."

'Khaire' and its plural cousin 'Khairete' are greetings. They were used by the likes of Homeros in their writings. They both have the literal meaning 'rejoice,' 'fare well,' and 'hail.' As such they can be used both as a greeting or as a goodbye. This is some interesting reading on the words and their use.

"Should I construct an Altar to the Gods I want to worship?"

Some definitions you will need: an altar is one of those basic necessities within Hellenismos, and it differs from a shrine. Where an altar is a 'work space', dedicated not so much to a specific deity, but used to do the bulk of the (daily) rituals, a shrine is a devotional area where an altar might be located. In ancient Hellas, the shrine was usually a temple, the altar an actual altar, standing outside of it. Household worship took place at a multitude of shrines. You need an altar for Hellenic sacrifice, and you could build a shrine to the Gods you wish to honour, if you so desire.


"I want to celebrate the Galaxia, but would Kronos not be offended if I offer to another God?"

The ancient Hellenes (and modern Hellenisist with them) felt strongly all the Gods are connected in some way. Thus you will only very rarely--if ever--sacrifice to just one God. Sacrificing to the Gods in the periphery of the main God you wish to worship establishes kharis and is simply good form. The Gods care about Their family just as we do, so honouring Their mothers, daughters, sons and brothers is very important.

"I would like to adopt the custom of having a kathiskos, but I'm really worried about all of that decomposition and decay that is tied into it all. Would you have any advice for me?"

A kathiskos is an offer jar of foodstuffs used to protect the household's food storage. Typically, it has olive oil and water. The rest is up to the household. The Kathiskos is dedicated to Zeus Ktesios, guardian of the household. The jar is typically emptied into the compost bin or garden and refilled with fresh foodstuffs every month. In generl, kathiskoi have a lid--a lid that tightly screws on. If you have that, then you really need to worry about anything like decomposition and decay.

Below is a picture of an example kathiskos that has not been changed for a little over a year (!) now. It still looks pretty fresh, doesn't it? And this one has fruit! Of course, if I were to open this one know, it would smell foul. My kathiskos always smells foul. That's the point. Think of it like this: all the rotting and fermentation that took place in your kathiskos did not happen to your other foodstuffs. The worse the smell and the worse the status of your content, the better.


"My sister recently gave birth to a baby girl and I said a prayer of thanks to Hera and Artemis. Now she has two other children, 2 boys, and I was wondering, should I say prayers on their behalf to Artemis as well, or to some other deity?"

Congratulations on your niece (and nephews, of course). Artemis is the protectress of all children, as a Kourotrophos The Kourotrophos are (mostly) female deities who watched over growing children--Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Eirênê, Aglauros and Pandrosos, especially. They also watched over young boys and were offered to to keep them safe. Zeus, Athena and Hēraklēs were also prayed to by young boys in order to grow big and strong, and these Theoi were also prayed to to guide and protect the boy.