Yesterday, I got  reader question about the kathiskos; 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. The question was:
"Why the contents of the kathiskos isn't a part of the offerings to Hekate on the Deipnon like all other 'left overs' of previous offerings are?"

When I the question, I had to think about the answer for a while, because it is largely a matter of the heart, not the mind. We don’t have a description on what to do with the contents of the kathiskos, after all. It got me thinking on how much of reconstruction depends on our well-informed intuition; on inferring courses of action simply because they just feel right and logical in line of everything we know.

For the kathiskos, for example, I strongly feel that the offerings to Hekate are the remnants of offerings given to the Gods, consumed by fire in Traditional Hellenismos, and after that no longer of value. These offerings become left-overs, ashes and dirt. They have served their purpose. The offerings to Zeus Ktesios, however, remain offerings, despite having served their purpose. They aren’t sacrificed through fire but through burial, through the recycling of the nutrients in them. They add to the cycle that feeds the family by becoming compost. They belong to Zeus, and because of that, they can’t be offered to Hekate.

Reconstruction thrives on research, on understanding why certain people did certain things so when we encounter a problem in our modern worship, we can say: 'okay, we don't have a source for what to do in this exact situation, but we do know what they would have done in this situation that is at least a little similar, and so we can infer that they would most likely have done this'. It's not an exact science, but it allows us to get through the basics without too much fuss and second-guessing.

Repetition is one of the greatest goods of re-creating an ancient practice; here were a people who did things the same way over and over again with only minor differences to account for the large variety of Gods and circumstances that was engrained in their society. The ancient Hellenes believed that the Gods had to be drawn towards the ritual, so they always performed the same basic steps; they had a logic to the animals they sacrificed, the rituals of purification they did, and the way they wrote their hymns and prayers. They were very much a people of predictable action when it comes to their religion and culture. Finding out these patters and undercurrents means you can apply them to anything and anywhere in the now.

I believe in study, in finding out as much as you can, and then letting go of the details until the inconsistencies smooth out into a generalized red thread to follow. Like with the kathiskos, I have inferred a lot to get my answer, but all of it is based upon pre-existing knowledge. I feel my answer is correct, although there is a chance that--applying the same method--someone else comes to a different conclusion, or we one day come across evidence that the kathiskos was, in fact, emptied out along with the offerings to Hekate. That is a risk you always run with reconstruction, but if you let that stop you from trusting your gut, I promise you, you will never get any worshipping done at all.