When I asked for questions a while back, I was very happy to receive so many of them. Some, I still haven't answered, I fear, but I promise I will get to them soon. Along the way I have received more questions, and some of those have answers that are, perhaps, of interest to others as well but don't arrant a solo post on the blog. I'd like to collect some of those questions today and answer them so you finally have the answers you may have been waiting a while for. Sorry about the delay, everyone.

"I was reading your blog posts about libations, and I noticed you said that a sponde to Hestia and the Agathos Daimon only- the kind that is like a toast- is always wine. This is a slight problem for me, as I have a liver problem and cannot drink alcohol. So if I offer wine, I will not be able to drink the remainder. It's generally best for me to not have alcohol around the house at all, so I'm in a situation where I'd need to substitute another liquid. Would that be appropriate?"

Wine is the traditional libation liquid; as drinking water was often stagnant, wine was used to purify it, and mask the taste. All men, women and children drank water which had some wine added to it. Wine was believed to be a healer--and it is--so everyone drank it, sometimes more when they were sick. Now, that is the Traditional side of it; what you do as a modern Hellenist is allowed to differ due to the complications of our current society. One part of that is finding substitutes. As wine pretty much was the ancient Hellenic equivalent of water, water is a good replacement. That said, it may feel a little to plain and personally I enjoy the fact that I libate wine because it has ties to the grape vine and Dionysos. So, as a replacement, I would suggest plain grape juice--as pure and sugarless as you can find it. It still has the same ties to the Gods, but without the alcohol.

"What would you suggest using [as khernips] if you don't have access to sea water?"

Regular tap water will do just fine, possibly with added (sea) salt. It's the water that counts (preferably clean), and the firebrand you add to it that makes it khernips.

"Elani how should a young Hellenist cope with teen anger I ask you cause my family is in disarray of bullshit right now and no one shows any love to each other."

Oh boy... that is a good question. I grew up in a pretty crappy household myself, so I think I can at least somewhat relate. As I have said before, I think there is a clear distinction between philosophy and religion; while Hellenism can incorporate both, it's important to keep track of the difference; if it has to do with the Gods, it's religion, if it has to do with human emotion (especially about the divine) it's philosophy. How we deal with the struggles in our lives in typically philosophical; we turn to Plato or to the Stoics--to name two--and we find a way to deal with the world around us. That said, there is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help from the Gods on occasion and this sounds like a prime example.

Personally, I would make sacrifices to Hestia, Hera, and Harmonia--all three reside over the household, family relations, and in some way, they are connected to making family units work. Harmonia especially--who was born the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite--understands the duality in love, and might be willing to help. I would also turn to Hermes with the plea to promote communication. Good luck!

"Would you like to say a few words as to how you decided on what to include [in your daily rituals] (prayers and actions) and in which order? Do you have a single or multiple sources? UPG? (and I DON'T mean that in any way as "second best"). Once again, thank you for all you do! I know I've said that before, and I'll say it again, please the Gods! Khaire!"

My daily rituals are my interpretation of what household rituals could have looked like. After all, we have no idea. To start off, I make use of the basic ritual lay-out: procession, purification, prayers and hymns, sacrifice/offerings, prayers of supplication and thanks, usually followed by a feast, where the 'feast' is partaking in the sacrifice given. There are records that at least in some parts of ancient Hellas, Hestia was always sacrificed to first and last in state festivals, and I have adopted that for my household worship as well; many modern Hellenists have.

As for the deities I include; that is UPG. I strongly feel that your daily rites should be to the Gods who impact your life most, the ones you are drawn to. This is my personal opinion, but I don't see the need to sacrifice to the whole of the pantheon--or even The Twelve--every single day. I follow the Mên kata Theion and the festival calendar for that. So, for me, the household Gods speak for themselves. I include Athena because She has been with me for as long as I can remember. Asklēpiós and His daughters, I have added to ask for good health for me and my family, Zeus and Hera--as King and Queen of the pantheon--are only logical to me, and I include a lot of the Titans linked to the natural part of our world because I am always so aware of them; They influence my life a lot. With all I include, I have a wish to built kharis with. I hope this answers your question.

"[W]hy is it that you use "Hellenic" and not "Greek"?"

I have actually answered this question before. In the beginning of this blog, I used 'Greek' quite a bit. That's what I thought was the proper term for the country, even in olden days. It's not. There is a big pride issue surrounding the word 'Hellas', or 'Hellenic Republic'. It's the preferred term by the Greeks, and the official name of the country. That is why I use it. 'Greek', to me, also sounds like a description of modern day Greece/Hellas. 'Greek Recon' would then be Orthodox Christianity, as that is the major religion in Greece today. The same goes for 'The Hellenic Religion'. Obviously, that is not my religion. That said, I do use 'Greek' and 'Greece' on occasion: when referring to language, and sometimes to indicate I'm talking about the modern country, not the one in antiquity.

"I have a question for you, that I hope you can answer :) A lot of reconstructionists say that they don't feel apart of the pagan community; that they no longer attend the Pagan Pride day, and I've kind of felt a tension between pagans and recons. I don't really participate in forum chats about paganism, so I don't know when and how this came to be, but maybe you know?"

That is a long and sordid tale, I fear. I think the biggest rub lies in the fact that 'Pagan' has become synonymous with soft polytheism and duotheism, with Wicca and Witchcraft. While these two are perfectly valid ways to explore religion and spirituality, they have very little in common with Reconstructionism and multideism. It can get frustrating really fast to attend a Pagan event and hear your Gods summoned into a circle along with every other God and their brother 'because they are all aspects of the Horned God'. Many of us--and yes, I count myself amongst them out of respect for the Gods--don't deal with that very well. Their method is not wrong, just like ours is not right, but the methods are different and we don't feel comfortable in each other's ritual structures.

That's the core of it, I think. Now comes the moronic part: people, in general, have the ability to turn into disrespectful asshats on a dime, especially in internet forums. Instead of letting others find their own religious and/or spiritual truth, some would rather laugh at, ridicule, and degrade other for not believing the same thing as they do; for 'doing it wrong'. That is bullying, and I have very little patience for it. To calm the waters, many Recons and hard polytheists have distanced themselves from the Pagan community over the years an have begun looking for labels that describe them. Most of us stick with our brand of Recon. Personally, I have found it's easier to just steer clear of situations where I feel religiously uncomfortable in, and there are many who do the same.

Thank you all for your questions! I am always open for more.