I am currently on holiday with my girlfriend's family, who are very awesome and sweet. I don't have the best relationship with my parents, but my girlfriend's parents are always there for parental guidance or a hug. That said, in our vacation sleeping arrangement, our bedroom is adjacent to their bedroom, and in such a way that we have to go through their bedroom to get to ours. The walls are paper thin. Anyway, all of this to set the stage for last night when I went to do my evening prayers with the provisions from the larger of my two portable shrines, which had not been tested yet.

Oh--I forget to mention that I forgot to check for smoke detectors....

At any rate, I had set up my altar, my girlfriend was busying herself with something else, her parents were getting ready for bed in the other room, and I was just about to sacrifice to Hestia after lighting her candle and the ethanol when a very loud shrieking noise tore through the quiet of the 2 a.m. night.

After a moment of complete shock, I checked the temperature of my offering bowl, picked it up, put it in the sink, drowned it, then went back to blow out my candle, while my girlfriend's father burst into the room in his boxers and t-shirt, and my girlfriend frantically searched for the 'off' button on the fire alarm.

My girlfriend located the button, pressed it, and sunk back onto the bed. I quickly assured my girlfriend's father that everything was under control, and he left with a last glance at my suddenly disorganized altar. Still in a bit of shock, I finished my prayers with prayer alone--as the offering bowl was still in the sink in our room--and then fell into bed, vowing to clean up the mess in the morning.

It took a while to fall asleep, as you might imagine.

Besides a very funny anecdote (looking back on it, anyway), I also get to remind everyone--myself included--that things to wrong sometimes. There is nothing wrong with that; it's how we learn. I, for example, will perform a fireless libation tonight, as I did this morning. I will take out my sacrifice tomorrow morning and all will be fine. It's not like I would do it at home, but I much prefer an adapted ritual to the Theoi than no ritual at all.

I will be back home by Tuesday, so I promise a longer post then. Until then, enjoy your rituals, and remember: never forget to check for fire alarms!