I attended church on Sunday. It wasn't my idea; a friend of my girlfriend was getting baptized, and she had asked along a few friends to something very important to her. I agreed to come along for her, because she is a sweetheart, and I remember my initiation into Eclectic Religious Witchcraft, and how momentous these type of occasions are.

My friend attends a City Life church, which has a young congregation, its own very good band, and partakes in a lot of activities concerning charity and networking to bring members together. Their denomination is evangelical. They rent a beautiful location smack in my city's centre. From what I can tell, the services are about 70 percent music and singing, 20 percent preaching and prayer, and ten percent everything else. The people were nice, the atmosphere good, and all I could think is 'would you still be as nice to me if you knew my sexual orientation, my faith, my life?'.

There will be no bashing of Christianity in this post, and I will not condone it in the comments either. I think Christianity is a very valid religion, and it gives hope and comfort to a lot of people around the globe who are obviously in need for it. Christian charities around the world are doing a lot of good, helping a lot of people in ways that literally save lives. This is good, this is noble, and while it's not for me, a lot of people find comfort in the Word of God.

I cemented for myself that you are wired for religion much like you are wired for anything else in life. Just like sexual orientation, or the way you have hated Brussels sprouts since as long as you could remember, I firmly believe people are wired religiously. Yes, you can follow whatever religion you want, but in the end, only one religion (along, perhaps, with a circle of similar religions that surround it) is right for you. This is the religion you step into and think 'I don't have to change anything in my life to be here; I have always belonged here'. I have that with Hellenismos. Sure, I adopted some practices, but I have always practiced the core tenants of the faith, and I have had to make zero changes in my ethical life.

Hellenismos, for me, embodies how I view divinity; as removed entities who can be called on for help in a time of greatest need, but only if you have maintained a relationship with them. The Gods are not divine gumball machines in the sky and earth; They don't pass out happiness and they certainly don't guard over you all the time. They are there if you need them, but only if you sacrifice to them in return.

I don't think YHWH is like that; From what I gathered in a single service at City Life church, and remember from my childhood Christmas services, God is always there for you. He doesn't need anything in return, except for you to follow His commandments--and He will know when you do not. Even then, though, if you atone for your sins, He will be there for you; He will never really leave, and it is His mission in your life to make it better for you. Honestly, I think that is a beautiful sentiment. I know it's all much more complicated than that, but let it slide for the time being, please. I think this is the basic description, and it differs so much from that of my faith. In fact, it differs so much that it made me uncomfortable during the service.

With my tainted vision, I looked upon the proceedings and thought 'but where is the sacrifice?'; there was singing there, a procession, even, and the Lord was praised over and over, but then... nothing, unless you count the baptisms themselves, but I do not because a) not a weekly thing, and b) from what I gather, a baptism is basically a way of saying 'I belong to You', like any initiation, and you are initiated into something for yourself, because you want to. I spent most of the service figuring out what God got in return for spending 24 hours, seven days a week, watching over his flock.

I'm going to say it, and i don't mean this as a reflection upon the faith, but simply as my personal view upon it: to me, Christianity feels hollow, void of the deep connection I feel to the Theoi. I know it's different for my friend, and she would probably feel odd about a deity's support being conditional. This only goes to show that we all have different desires when we look for religion--or do not look for religion; atheism is a beautiful thing as well--and I would never be able to find spiritual fulfilment in Christianity.

The experience was jarring, and while it happened two days ago, I am still not completely over it. It's still on my mind a lot. I want to understand how Christianity works, who gets what out of the experience. Mostly--and I'm sorry for thinking this--I want to know how it's possible that Christianity overtook the polytheistic religions. What was the appeal? The lure? What did it offer people that the old faith couldn't? I will get back to this, because it's on my mind now. Consider this a messy, rambling, introduction and forgive me for it, please.

Before I post this mess, let me wish all of you who put any stock in this day a blessed new year. I don't, but I have family and friends who do, so I'll be celebrating it, regardless. I'll see you all in the new year, and as always, be careful today and tonight!
It's been quite a ride this season of Atlantis, hasn't it. Going into it, I truly did not know what to expect. Is it the best show on television? No, definitely not. are there worse shows out there? Certainly! The history is a little flawed, and the writing even more so, but heck, beggars can't be choosers and in the vacuum that is ancient Greece on my TV set, Atlantis is king. So buckle up everyone, for the last episode of season one of Atlantis: Ariadne is about to be put to death, and Jason feels responsible because he loves her, but also because he's the one who broke into the palace to kill Pasiphaê as the only way to save his friends. So, basically, in the end it's all Hercules' fault, but he won't admit to that, so we're going to let Jason feel responsible in his stead.

Last episode, Pasiphaê foreshadowed that Ariadne would be put to death in 'the brazen bull', and we are now looking at it. It's huge, shaped like a standing bull with proud horns, and it's standing in the middle of a pyre. Ariadne will be locked in and the fire will be lighted. At that point, the metal will heat until the person inside roasts to death. It sounds like one of the worst ways possible to die... and it's 100 percent authentic: the brazen, or Sicilian, bull was a torture device created by Perillos of Athens. In the head was a complex mechanism that converted the screams of the dying person into the bellowing of an infuriated bull, and released incense smoke from the nostrils. Phalaris, tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, ordered the bull and made Perillos the first to test it out on. Before he could die, however, he was taken from the device and tossed off of a cliff where he died anyway. Phalaris himself was killed with the brazen bull after being overthrown.

Pythagoras is a little impressed with the device, but you know, his best friend's girl is about to be executed in it, so he restrains himself. Jason can't carry the burden of the guilt anymore and goes to confess what he did, hoping Pasiphaê will spare Ariadne's life if he does. Pythagoras rightly ays that that will never happen: with Ariadne out of the way, Pasiphaê will have the throne once Minos dies. All handing himself in will do is have him be executed alongside Ariadne. Jason says he's willing to do that. Hercules says it's not going to happen that way; they will free Ariadne.

Ariadne, all the while, is stuck in a dungeon and then what I hoped would happen, happens: Melas, the priest of Poseidon, is back and he comforts a terrified Ariadne. Ariadne is aware she is responsible for handing Pasiphaê all the ammunition she needs, and she fears for the people of Atlantis far more than she fears for herself. Melas tries to get her to pray to Poseidon, but she is afraid The Gods have abandoned her. Melas hates to hear that from a priestess of Poseidon, but eventually lets it rest. Ariadne asks Melas to take care of her father after she is gone, and he promises he will. Ariadne looks so small in her jail cell, it's breaking my heart.

In the temple of Poseidon, Pasiphaê is praying to the Gods when the Oracle comes up to her. She is pissed, and says the Gods will never forgive Pasiphaê for what she is doing: as a member of the royal house, Ariadne is like a Goddess on earth and her fate is not to be decided upon by mortals. Pasiphaê will hear none of it, but the Oracle says it's a breach of the most sacred of laws and--while we're on the subject of awful things--that the king's rapid run towards death has left some people... wondering about the nature of his condition. It seems the Oracle is well aware of Pasiphaê schemes... and she also informs Pasiphaê that 'her nemesis' draws near. Pasiphaê insists the Oracle's riddles don't care her, but she looks shell-shocked at least. He's touched by the Gods, after all, and he won't be easy to kill.  At this, Pasiphaê finally gives into her fear. she asks the Oracle who she is speaking of, but in true badass form, the Oracle will only say 'you will find out. Soon enough'. Pasiphaê is not happy.

At the oikos, swords are being sharpened when there is a knock on the door. It's the captain of the guard, Ramos, and he is willing to help. He serves the king, after all, and what the queen is doing is certainly not what the king would want.

In this hour of need, Jason goes to visit the Oracle. She is praying for Ariadne, and Jason seems relieved by that. He tells her of the rescue plan and she smiles, throwing Jason. She is proud he has gotten to the point where he doesn't ask for her advice but informs her of his decision. Jason thanks her for everything she has done, and she takes his hand, saying she is the one who is grateful. They say goodbye a bit tearily and she informs him of old silver mines where he can hide with Ariadne if he does manage to rescue her. It seems it's a place of the dead, but it should offer refuge.

It's time. The drums sound and Ariadne quivers in her cell, dressed in a white robe. She manages to pull herself together as she is escorted down the halls and onto the square in front of the palace. Jason has managed to sneak into the castle, and Hercules is wandering around with an amphorae filled with some liquid he keeps sloshing about while pretending to be drunk. Pasiphaê looks ready to do a little dance at her shot at the throne being so close by, but Ariadne gives her nothing extra to gloat about; she absolutely refuses to show weakness. You go girl!

As the bull looks in front of her, though, she does falter. Confronted with eminent and excruciating death, she tries to wrestle free but fails. Meanwhile, Jason readies a burning arrow and shoots, setting ablaze the flammable liquid Hercules has been spilling. People scream as the entire square becomes a blazing inferno. Ramos takes command over Ariadne in the chaos and pushes her in Jasn's arms, telling her to trust her friends. Ariadne is completely overcome but wraps herself up in a cloak and lets herself be dragged away while Ramos fights the guards.

Heptarian is quickly in pursuit, but the rescue party is on their way out of the city already. A tearful Ariadne hugs Jason close a hurried moment before rushing on. They are not safe yet. Everyone catches up and Ramos is hurt. Not too hurt to lead them through the sewers of Atlantis. He's hurting, though, and Ariadne wishes to stop to tend to his wounds. He refuses. By joining forces, everyone gets out of the sewers, but the guards are onto them. Ramos will hold them off once more, and he will die. Everyone is aware of that, and they thank him for his sacrifice before hurrying on. Ramos fights bravely and takes out a good few of the guards. He buys the others time to get out. He is, however, hurt badly, and Heptarian kills him.

In the morning, Ariadne changes into the traveling clothes brought to her by the three men as they turn around and promise not to peek while peeking (except for Pythagoras). Ariadne does look lovely in her tunic, pants, and cloak. While happy to be out of the city, Ariadne also feels very guilty for leaving; although she has her life, she has still left the fate of Atlantis--and her father--in the hands of Pasiphaê. Jason reminds her she once wished to have a simpler life; this could be her chance.

Herc and Pythagoras have a bonding moment over Medusa, and it only serves to make me sadder. While traveling, Jason shares the bit the Oracle told him about the mines and the dead. No one is very happy about the current course. In the mean time, Pasiphaê--wearing a breastplate!--and her men have found the campsite and some tracks leading west. She wants our heroes captured before sundown.

In the palace, our untrustworthy chambermaid gives the king his daily dose of poison while Melas looks on. Once Ione is gone, Melas goes into the room and checks the chalice. He soon discovers the poison and tells the Oracle. It seems the oracle wasn't really a fan of Minos taking the throne, but she is a lot more fearful of Pasiphaê, and so they intend to save the King. Melas questions the Oracles decision to send Jason to the silver mines, but the Oracle doesn't share his doubt. 'who better to keep him safe than his father?' she says and suddenly I get very excited.

Jason and the gang reach the mines and it doesn't really look inviting. For one, it's dark as night inside, and they keep seeing things... and hearing things. Lets not spend the rest of your lives here, guys. At that point, a bunch of men in white robes show up form every crevice. It seems they are sick; they have leprosy, and so they hide. Jason explains why they are here and who sent them, and the man who speaks for the group steps forward upon spotting his bull horns necklace. Something flickers in his eyes and he asks for Jason's name. He gives it and asks for help. the male gives it, and while I feel a daddy-vibe, he doesn't say anything.

A bit later, dinner is served and until that moment, Hercules is moaning about his current situation like it wasn't his fault. Dinner is pleasing, though, so all is good. The leader of the lepers--whose name is Tychon, and who is played by John Hannah (they will only tell you his name about ten minutes later, but I'm already tired of finding descriptions for him) is speaking quietly with Jason. He has recognised Ariadne, and Jason tells him about her current predicament, and the health of Minos. Tychon is worried. Jason asks about the man's disease and he says he's had it many years and that it brought him the best friends he has ever had. The man questions Jason on his love for Ariadne, and Jason says he loves her more than he can express.

Back in the palace, Melas interrupts Ione's next dose of force fed poison feeding, and she's not too happy about it. the Queen left instructions, after all. Melas is not impressed and Ione rushes off. Good riddance. Melas gives Minos a potion to drink, and I hope it's a miracle cure, because Minos looks about to keel over.

At the silver mines, Pasiphaê's army has caught up with our heroes. She sends them in with clear instructions: kill anyone but Ariadne; she will be executed in front of her people. Tychon tells them there is another way out, and he takes them a large portion of the way before returning to his people, who are doing a damn good job at killing soldiers and delaying them with smoke bombs. Heptarian takes a knife in the gut and he doesn't look too well.

Jason, Ariadne, Hercules, and Pythagoras reach the other side of the mountain and emerge into blinding daylight. Jason wants to go back for Tychon and his men, but Ariadne pulls him along; the lepers know the caves like the back of their hands and they will be just fine, she assures him. Then, the choice is taken from them as an archer on horseback spots them Everyone runs, but Jason and Ariadne, and Hercules and Pythagoras get separated while the soldiers search for them in the woods. Pasiphaê is still looking damn good in her breastplate. Unfortunately, she still wants her men to kill Ariadne and Jason whom she spots through the trees.

Jason tells Ariadne to run while he holds off the soldiers, and she does so reluctantly. Jason does a good job in fighting the soldiers, but Ariadne still happens upon one. she trips and lays sprawled on the ground in her cute tunic and the guard carefully comes a little to close. Before he knows what's happening, he is on his knees, clutching his stomach in pain. Ariadne took some self-defence classes, it seems. unfortunately, A fleeing Ariadne runs straight in the arms of another guard and this time she is not getting away. She screams for Jason, who gets distracted and is hit in the back of the head, causing him to pass out. He's soon at the mercy of Pasiphaê.

Before Pasiphaê can slid his throat, however, Tychon literally comes out of the woodworks and stops her. It seems it was Pasiphaê who made him the way he is, and after a while, she remembers him. she asks why he cares about Jason, and Tychon says the thing that drops my jaw: 'he is our son'. OUR son. Well, I will freely admit I did not see that one coming. Neither did Pasiphaê, by the way. She turns to Jason, stares at him, engraves his face into her memory. She thought he was dead; it seems she betrayed Tychon with Minos, and in retaliation, Tychon took Jason away, to safety, out of her reach.

She asks if Jason knows who she is, and he says Jason does not. She asks why Tychon did not tell him. Tychon's reasons are simple: he will not let Jason become as corrupted by power as his mother is, and it clearly hurts Pasiphaê. Tychon says that it is better this way, that Jason will not try to take the throne from her if he does not know. Pasiphaê makes him swear Jason will never know his true identity and Tychon agrees. Pasiphaê watches the Tychon wake Jason until the latter stirrs, then turns away with tears in her eyes, once more loosing her son. My heart breaks for her a little, no matter how evil she is.

In a two second intermezzo, we learn Heptarian is still alive, still hurting, and mighty pissed off.

Jason wakes up and the first thing he does is inquire about Ariadne. Tychon has to tell him Pasiphaê took her. Jason tries to get up but can't; he needs to heal first. He passes out while Tychon watches over him. Once he has recovered a little, Tychon tries to get Jason to give up trying to save Ariadne, but fails miserably. the talk is cut short by Heptarian, who swings a miss but still tries to kill Jason. The fight that follows is brutal and desperate, and it hurts to watch. When Jason finally manages to kill Heptarian, it doesn't feel like a victory at all; it feels like these two men who were forced into this situation have finally reached the end and there are no winners here, just losers.

The next morning, Tychon leads them out of the woods. Jason thanks him for his help, and expresses his hope that they will meet again one day. Tychon shares this hope and they hold hands for a bit. Tychon says he should be proud of the man he has become and Jason sighs.

At the palace, Pasiphaê orders the guards to prepare Ariadne for the sacrifice, but Minos will have none of that--Minos who is looking very well, I might add, and walking down the steps into the courtyard absolutely livid. He enforces his rights as King and Ariadne is released. she hugs him for dear life while Pasiphaê trembles in her breastplate. This was not part of the plan--at all.

That night, Jason and the boys rush home to prepare for a desperate gamble to free Ariadne, but Melas is waiting for him with a note from Ariadne herself. Jason can't believe his eyes, but he trusts Melas and reads the note quickly. Apparently it says to meet her in the temple, because he rushes over there. The two lovebirds stare at each other across the large hall and Jason is about to go over to her when Minos appears, flanked by two guards. He is there to express his gratitude, though, not make Jason's life any harder than it's already been these last few days. While Ariadne prays, Minos compliments Jason and wants to give him a reward, which Jason turns down. just knowing she is safe is enough for him, though.

Minos does have ulterior motives: he warns Jason to forget about any possible feeling he may have for Ariadne because she is of royal blood and he isn't (well, as far as he knows, anyway), and because of that, they will never be together. Jason is crestfallen, but not exactly impressed.

It's a busy night in the temple; Pasiphaê is there as well, visiting the Oracle. This time, she is not there to pick a fight. She quietly questions the Oracle; had she known all along who Jason was? To her? The Oracle is vague as always but does predicts that Jason will eventually destroy Pasiphaê.

Hercules is not happy Jason turned down gold for saving Ariadne, but then proceeds to do the cute bonding thing that happens when Jason, Hercules, and Pythagoras are together and no one is trying to kill them. It's a breeze of air in a very emotional episode and very welcome. Pasiphaê watches them from a hiding spot, dressed to disguise. It seems she is having a very hard time letting her boy out of her sight now she knows the son she thought she had lost is, indeed, alive and in Atlantis.

That's it! the first season of Atlantis done and recapped! Now it's just a few months to (what I predict will be) a Spring or Summer start of the second season. Will you be turning in for it? Would you like me to recap it? Let me know in the comments!
Pandora's Kharis is proud to announce that the Coats For Kids Foundation won this month's poll for the next cause to donate to. The options were the following, including their percentages:
The Pandora's Kharis PayPal account is once more open to receive donations, and can be accessed in the right hand sidebar of the Pandora's Kharis website or by wiring the funds directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. The deadline to donate is January 2, 2014, and remember: we are giving to procure winter coats to at-risk kids.

The Coats for Kids Foundation, established in 2004 in Alexandria, VA has been a long time partner of Operation Warm, Inc. Founded on similar principles, both organizations have made it their mission to provide new winter coats to children in need. [Their] shared vision of ensuring every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and has a strong self-esteem is why Coats For Kids Foundation and Operation Warm, Inc. have united  with a goal of serving at-risk children in the Greater Washington D.C Metro area and an increasing number of children nationwide.

All PayPal costs will be covered by Elaion so your full donation will be transferred to the Coats For Kids Foundation. Thank you in advance for your donation, for spreading the word, and/or aiding the cause in any other way.

If you want to join the conversation, join Pandora's Kharis on Facebook.
Archaeology lovers, head's up; the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG) announced the official launch of its 'Portal to the Past'-website.

According to the Archaeology News Network, in the Portal to the Past, 'the user will find detailed information pertaining to all 18 field projects that have been undertaken during the CIG’s history. These projects cover Greece from north to south, east to west and span from the 9th millennium BCE to the 20th century CE. However, within the framework of each project the visitor will also find a wealth of information including details about each project, directors, publications, excavated material, photographs, and much more. A scan of the various “about” pages at the Portal will explain the purposes of each of the main areas of the site'.

The Portal is the product of over a year’s efforts by a diligent and enthusiastic team who worked together to achieve a concept first proposed by the Canadian Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, Robert Peck, for a virtual photograph exhibition which conceptually morphed into a website envisioned also to serve as a digital archive for all Canadian archaeological projects operated under the auspices of the CIG.
The Canadian Institute in Greece is a privately-funded, not-for-profit educational institution, incorporated in Canada by Federal charter, which seeks to promote Canadian research and education in fields relating to Hellas’ heritage. From its founding in 1974 until 2006 it was called the Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens (CAIA). The Institute advances knowledge of Hellas in all periods by sponsoring and promoting archaeological fieldwork, providing resources for scholarly research, and disseminating the results. CIG was officially recognized in 1976 by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture as a foreign archaeological institute, with primary responsibility for Canadian archaeological research in Hellas.

Future plans for the Portal include the translation into French and Greek languages, and continual updates about the various projects which have been worked on, are still being worked on, and will be worked on in the future.
'Z' is not the easiest word to make a post around when it comes to Hellenism or ancient Hellas, and it says something special about me that my first thought for two years in a row is 'zombies'. No matter how much I love my zombie genre as well as Hellenism, there is no way I am going to be able to merge these without confusing a heck of a lot of people, so I'm settling on something else: the zodiac. The other option was 'zygote', so, you know, you got off easy today because I doubt anyone wants to hear me go on about the wonders of reproduction.

Anyway, the zodiac. To borrow heavily from Wikipdia, because I never really had much interest in the zodiac, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets also remain close to the ecliptic, within the belt of the zodiac, which extends 8-9° north or south of the ecliptic, as measured in celestial latitude. Historically, these twelve divisions are called signs. Essentially, the zodiac is a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude, and the position of the sun at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude.

The ancient Hellenes were already aware of celestial movements and the bodies in the sky, but it were the Romans who put everything together to form the zodiac we know today. The Hellenic name for constellations was 'katasterismoi', and of the katasterismoi, only twelve signs whose risings intersected the sun's at dawn were known as the 'zōidiakos' (ζῳδιακός) or 'zōdiakos kyklos' (ζῳδιακὸς κύκλος): 'circle of little animals'.

The modern zodiac is a mix between Babylonian astronomy, Hellenic thinking, Egyptian horoscopes, and good old Roman ingenuity. The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC; the ancient Babylonians made the division into twelve equal 30º arcs, assigned each month to a sign, and set the starting point of the zodiac at the position fixed stars in the sky. They were the ones who set Aries as the starting point of the zodiac.

Astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, whose work I am basing my constellation series off of, had a huge impact on the zodiac. Under the Hellenes, and Ptolemy in particular, the planets, Houses, and signs of the zodiac were rationalized and their function set down in a way that has changed little to the present day. Ptolemy forever cemented the stories behind the signs, and he also un-fixed them from the sky: instead of the Babylonian ecliptic system, he adopted what we now call the 'tropical' system.

The classical zodiac was introduced around the seventh to the sixth century BCE. At the time, the precession of the equinoxes had not been discovered. Classical Hellenistic astrology consequently developed without consideration of the effects of precession. The discovery of the precession of the equinoxes, is attributed to Hipparchus, a Hellenic astronomer active around 130 BC. Ptolemy, writing some 250 years after Hipparchus, was thus aware of the effects of precession. He opted for a definition of the zodiac based on the point of the vernal equinox, i.e., the tropical system. This shift means that the start of the zodiac is now always at the same time, even if the constellation associated with the zodiac sign is not yet showing. Currently, this means that the tropical sign of Aries lies somewhere within the constellation Pisces. Fun, right?

It is important to distinguish the zodiacal signs from the constellations associated with them, not only because of their drifting apart due to the precession of equinoxes but also because the physical constellations by nature of their varying shapes and forms take up varying widths of the ecliptic, and so the Sun is not in each constellation for the same amount of time. The zodiacal signs are an abstraction from the physical constellations designed to represent exactly one twelfth of the full circle each, or the longitude traversed by the Sun in about 30.4 days. The zodiac signs take their name from the constellations they are named after, but they are not synonymous.

The twelve zodiac signs are as follows: Aries, The Ram (Κριός - Krios); Taurus, The Bull (Ταῦρος -Tavros); Gemini, The Twins (Δίδυμοι - Didymoi); Cancer, The Crab (Καρκῖνος - Karkinos); Leo, The Lion (Λέων - Leōn); Virgo, The Maiden (Παρθένος - Parthenos); Libra, The Scales (Ζυγός - Zygos); Scorpio, The Scorpion (Σκoρπιός - Skorpios); Sagittarius, The Centaur (Τοξότης - Toxotēs); Capricorn, The Sea-Goat (Αἰγόκερως - Aigokerōs); Aquarius, The Water Carrier (Ὑδροχόος - Hydrokhoos), and Pisces, The Fishes (Ἰχθύες - Ikhthyes).

The zodiac can be used as the foundation of many things, including divination--something done by the ancient Hellenes. I doubt the ancient Hellenes drew horoscopes or the intricate maps we do to describe a person based on their date and time of birth, but the ancient Hellenes realized that this ever-turning wheel in the sky had an impact on them--or could perhaps explain a bit about them. Elements were already assigned to the signs at that time, of this we can be relatively sure. Ptolemy used them, at least. He also laid the groundwork for character traits associated with the signs today. So, the next time you are looking through the newspaper and find your horoscope, think of the ancient Hellenes, and Ptolemy in particular, because your prediction of (future) love was made possible by their hard work.

Image source: here.
Near the beginning of the blog, I posted about my daily rituals. The idea was to inform you about what I do, but I also posted it as a way for me to look back on the journey I have made. The original post can be found here, and an update from a good while later here. I came across that second post yesterday and realized that again much has changed. As such, I wanted to present you guys with another update. Again, please keep in mind that this sounds much better in Dutch.

Night time prayers (before bed):

  • Pour wine in my kylix
  • Empty water bowl and fill anew with water previously prepared by mixing tap water with sea water and asking Okeanos' blessing
  • Empty sacrificial bowl
  • Add ethanol to sacrificial bowl
  • Lay out a match and a hand towel
  • Lay out (dried) herbs or scented wood
  • Procession to the shrine
  • Strewing of barley groats on the altar
  • Preparation of khernips 
  • Purification – washing of hands and face, sprinkling the room and altar with fingers
  • Add khernips to wine
"Blessed Okeanos, may your bright waters purify this space, and prepare both me, and it, for the rites that are about to unfold."
  • Lighting of Hestia's candle (if not yet burning, mine almost always is), as well as the ethanol to burn sacrifices in
  • Hymn and prayers to Hestia
"Blessed Goddess Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise—draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.
Blessed Goddess Hestia, accept this offering of honey sweet wine, and guard this house as you guard the houses of all who sacrifice to you. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
"Blessed Nyx, Goddess of night. She who holds the world in her dark embrace, and Selene, Goddess of the moon, who illuminates the night like a torch. Accept this offering of sweetest wine, and come always, as the day follows the night. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
"Blessed Hypnos, Morpheus, Gods of sleep and dreams, respectively. Accept this offering of honey sweet wine, and grant me equally sweet sleep, and even sweeter dreams. Carry my mind far beyond the limits of my imagination. Accept my prayer, and allow me to rise rested and rejuvenated so I may continue my hard work. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Libation to Hypnos and Morpheus
  • Hymns, prayers and libations to the night time or Khthonic Theoi whose sacred day it is, or any night time or Khthonic Theoi whom I feel the need to pray and sacrifice to.
  • Hymn and prayer to Hekate
"I call Einodian Hekate, lovely dame, of earthly, wat'ry, and celestial frame, Sepulchral, in a saffron veil array'd. Goddess of the night, companion to Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld. You, key bearer of this world. Accept my offering of honey sweet wine, and guard the borders of this house as you guard the borders of the houses of all who sacrifice to you. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Libation to Hekate
  • Hymn to Hestia
"Blessed Goddess Hestia, Goddess of home and hearth. To you, I offer last of all, as any pious mortal should. Tend to those whom I love, and guard the houses of the pious. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Drink remaining wine
  • Extinguishing of the candle or replace with electric one, as I always do.
  • Clean up and off to bed

Day time prayers (after waking up):

  • Pour water in my kylix
  • Add ethanol to sacrificial bowl
  • Lay out a packet of matches and a hand towel
  • Procession to the shrine
  • Strewing of barley groats on the altar
  • Purification – washing of hands and face, sprinkling the room and altar with fingers
  • Add khernips to wine
"Blessed Okeanos, may your bright waters purify this space, and prepare both me, and it, for the rites that are about to unfold."
  • Lighting of Hestia's candle, as well as the ethanol to burn sacrifices in, and the incense burner
  • Hymn and prayers to Hestia
"Blessed Goddess Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise—draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.
Blessed Goddess Hestia, accept this offering of honey sweet wine, and guard this house as you guard the houses of all who sacrifice to you. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
"Blessed Goddes Eos, Goddess of the bright dawn. You who speed forth from the gates of heaven before everyone else; Hêmera, blessed Goddess who pulls back the veil of darkest night; and Hēlios, God of the sun; He who brings light and warmth to all on earth, accept this libation of honey sweet wine and come always, as the night follows the day. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Libation to Eos, Hêmera, and Hēlios
  • Hymns, prayers and libations to the Ouranic Theoi whose sacred day it is, or any Ouranic Theoi whom I feel the need to pray and sacrifice to.
  • Hymns and prayers to Athena
"Come forth, blessed Athena, Sacker of Cities, golden-helmeted, who rejoices in the din of horse and shield. Guard over this house. May your shield protect us always and may your spear slay any who wishes us harm."
"Blessed Asklēpiós, Giver of Health, prophet in the night, You who has the most lovely of daughters, may your blessings forever reach my home."
"And to the household deities I offer libations, to Zeus Kthesios, Zeus Ephestios, Zeus Herkeios, Apollon Aguieus, Hermes Propylaios, and Agathós Daímōn, in gratitude of all you have bestowed upon me."
  • Libations to the household Gods
  • Hymns and prayers to Zeus and Hera
"Blessed Zeus, King of Gods, and protector of the household, and Hera, Queen of the Gods, and protector of unions: guard mankind, and share with us the wisdom and strenth to worship the Theoi as they should be worshipped. Guard those I love, and all who need protection. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Libations to Zeus and Hera
  • Hymn to Hestia
"Blessed Goddess Hestia, Goddess of home and hearth. To you, I offer last of all, as any pious mortal should. Tend to those whom I love, and guard the houses of the pious. As the Gods will it, so shall it be."
  • Drink remaining wine
  • Extinguish incense burner
  • Clean up and on with the day
'Tis the season to be stupendously busy with tidying your house before your parents come over, baking bread substitutes so you can participate with Christmas brunch, and slave away all day in the kitchen, it seems. Today and tomorrow will be light on posts because by the Gods, I am swamped! I'll be back after the holidays. Enjoy Christmas for those who have made plans, and for everyone going home to hostile environments for whatever reason--religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.--be strong. Just hold on these few days.

For today, I am going to share pretty pictures of Disney's Hercules because I recently watched that movie and nothing is getting 'I Won't Say I'm In Love' out of my head, not even all the horrible Christmas tunes the shops keep blasting out. You know, there is a lot wrong with this movie from a mythological standpoint, but the songs are the best!

I hope you get to enjoy the holidays with family and friend, and really good food. It may be a Christian holiday, but there is a lot of Hellenism in the execution of it, so just hold on to that. Remember, when you're full, you're full.

 - kurtcobains

Disney Meme: [3/7 Sceneries] (Hercules) - vviserystargaryen
Disney Scenery - Hercules pt. 2 - vviserystargaryen