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.

"Hey, since they didn't have the letter J in Ancient Greece what would it be replaced with? Would Jennifer just become Ennifer?"

The Greek alphabet shows that there is no letter J or sound. In fact, there was no letter ‘J’ in  any language prior to the 14th century in England. The letter did not become widely used until the 17th century. Any name which we now spell with the letter 'J' would have been spelled with the letter 'I' instead. The modern spelling for the Hellenic hero 'Jason', for example, was 'Iason' in ancient times. As such, 'Jennifer' would most likely become 'Ieniffer' instead. But I will leave that open to the (native) Greek speakers!


"Would proper etiquette require that I say a prayer to Hestia every time I wish to pray to another god, or does recognizing her role during more formal ritual settings cover this?"

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. Do you have to? No, you don't. But Hestia is the Goddess of the hearth, of the household, and the sanctity and safety of the house and family. To me it makes sense to always include her, except for during Kthonic rites--rites to the Underworld Gods.

It is my personal opinion that Hestia was not honoured (first, last or at all) in Khthonic rites. In fact, I think as few as possible Gods were called in these rites, and all of them had a Khthonic character. I think this is tied to the practice of miasma--after all, contact with the Underworld (and thus the Khthonic Gods) was a major source of it.


"Hello Mrs. Elani, I have a question pertaining to the burning of offerings in Hellenismos. I've seen a video in which you use ethanol to burn barley and wine in a simple libation. You said that you burn all libations. On your blog, I remember reading that you also burn nearly all of your other offerings as well. I was wondering how you would burn offerings other than libations and barley when you are indoors. Any help would be wonderful, thank you! :)"
I burn everything, and because of space limitations, I burn everything indoors. That video can be found here, by the way. I have found that everything can be burned indoors without upsetting the firealarms as long as you stick to one simple rule: keep the offering small. Meat, honey, cakes, whatever--everything can be burned as long as you either feed it to the fire in small quantities or make a small symbolic offering of it. A six ounce steak is gonna kill the fire but a small cut of it will do the trick.
And remember: during most sacrifices the Theoi recieved only a small portion, the mēria (μηρια), consisting of both thigh bones in their fat, which was placed on the altar, sprinkled with a liquid libation and incense, and then burned. The scented smoke was said to sustain and please the Theoi, and the sacrificial smoke also carried the prayers of the worshippers to Them. The mēria is a very specific portion, and you can read how it came to be and how it related to actual sacrifice here.

"Hi - do you have any advice for libations for someone who doesn't drink alcohol? Would it be best to offer wine and not drink it or offer something else that I can drink? I know some people offer the things they drink regularly, such as tea or coffee, but I'm not sure if this would be appropriate. Thanks x"
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 changed from the ancient to the current society. One part of that is finding substitutes if wine is not something you want to consume--or can't consume.
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.