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.

"Is there any way around having to use blood in certain sacrifices?"

So, I’ve read your question a couple of times and I am left wondering what information you have been reading that focusses so specifically on blood. If it’s a source for a specific rite then maybe there isn’t. If it’s a general source about animal sacrifice (but why, then, ask me about blood specifically and not animal sacrifice?) then yes, there are.

Very few modern Hellenists practice animal sacrifice due to logistics, ethics or law. Even in ancient times, poorer families and people with certain dietary or philosophical philosophies decided against sacrificing animals and giving cakes in the form of the required animal instead, or they focused on giving libations or First Fruit offerings, which is a fancy term to describe that the Theoi got the first portion of anything the family would consume.

So you don’t have to practice animal sacrifice in Hellenismos, but again, if this is a specific rite that somehow calls for blood (I don’t recall any but they could very well be out there), then maybe there isn’t.


"What do you make the fire to burn your offerings from? And what kind of bowl is it? I want to burn mine but I don't know how to do it safely inside and I have a lot of nosy neighbours so burning out in the garden daily is a no lol"

I burn everything, and because of privacy limitations, I burn everything indoors. For this I use bio-ethanol, the burning agent I use when building a fire indoors. This is a form of biofuel (fuel derived from biological sources), and a variation of denatured alcohol. It’s a clear, flammable liquid which burns without smoke and without scent. As such, it works very well for indoor use. Make sure to use a cast-iron or at least solid container to burn in! It gets hot and if it cracks, you will burn the house down. Make sure to test it out a couple of times and usually if it says ‘oven proof’, you’re good.


"Is it normal for hellenists to have multiple smaller altars? I think I mainly see people who have one altar, but personally I think it would be more appropriate for me to worship more than one God and I don't have other places of worship I could go."

Ah, there is a terminology issue here that has you tripped up. Easily fixed! There is a difference between an altar and a shrine. An altar is one of those basic necessities within Hellenismos, and it differs from a shrine. Where an altar is a 'work space', dedicated not so much to a specific deity, but used to do the bulk of the (daily) rituals, a shrine is a devotional area where an altar might be located. In ancient Hellas, the shrine was usually a temple, the altar an actual altar, standing outside of it. Household worship took place at a multitude of shrines. Labelling something a shrine, does not mean you can't sacrifice at these spots in your home. In general, you decorate a shrine but leave the altar rather bare.


"Hi! I want to bring an offering for Athena,mostly because I am interested in hellenism and Athena is the goddess I identify most with.I don't actually believe in hellenistic gods tho,so I wonder if that would be disrespectful?"

Disrespectful...? To whom? I doubt the Gods care whether you believe in Them or not. What I am wondering about, though, is why you want to sacrifice to something/someone you don’t believe in? What’s the point? Nothing is stopping you, though! Go right ahead. I am just not sure how useful it will be...


"I'm new to Hellenism and I've been going through your blog to learn, but I was wondering if rituals, altars, and sacrifices are required? Because I have very strict Christian parents who are not open to other beliefs and would not be able to do anything like that. Thank you in advance!"

That depends on if you want to be a Traditional Hellenist or not. The short answer is: yes, they are required. At the foundation of our faith is kharis--religious reciprocity--and traditionally, it is only established through proper ritual and regular sacrifice. The idea is that you give freely (and loudly) to the Gods and They give freely to you. So in a Traditional sense, they are required.

Now, if you truly can’t find a way to practice sacrifice (perhaps in the form of a libation; the easiest to hide), then... well, you would need to look at the religion and kharis from a more modern viewpoint. Dedication could then, in theory, become a way to establish kharis. Set a goal, tell whomever you are dedicating it to that it is for Them before you start, complete the goal and tell Them you have completed it in Their name. It has to be something that challenges you, though. And/or something that counts in the grand scheme of things. Some examples off of the top of my head:

- Dedicate a 5 mile run to Ares once you have worked up to it
- Volunteer for a good cause related to a deity (animals for Artemis, for example)
- Collect money or goods for a good cause related to a deity (cancer research for Asklepios or Apollon, for example)
- Learn a new craft and make something with it for Athena
- Do something nice every day for your family/a person in your family for a month and dedicate it to Hera

Things like that. I hope this helps!


"As a reconstructionist, how do you feel about communication with the theoi? are you the kind that's like yeh let's grab a pint and chat it up, or are you more like NO the gods are silent and we don't deserve their attention. cuz (most of) the gods are kinda brickwalling me and I'm just like could u maybe not."

I am... somewhere between that. I think the Gods are bigger than us and if we want Their attention, we need to go through the proper ritual steps. That’s what they are there for: in the ancient Hellenic religion, it was believed that the procession with loud singing and dancing and musical instruments drew the attention of the Theoi. Once you had that, you sang your hymns to make sure the Theoi who would be given sacrifice to would stick around to receive it. Then you said your prayers out loud as you sacrificed so they raised up to the Gods with the smoke of the sacrifice.

This ‘evening chat’-sort of thing that is prevalent more in modern Pagan worship is actually very Christian inspired. The Abrahamic Gods see all, after all, so you had better always play nice or there will be punishment. On the flip side, that also means that whenever you whisper a prayer or request for guidance to the Abrahamic God, He’ll hear it. And hopefully He’ll choose to help.

So I don’t have conversations with the Theoi. I have very meaningful interaction with Them, though, through ritual. And through that ritual I establish kharis and They will think of me every now and again and make my life better.

Remember: Hellenismos is a religion where the central figure(s) are the Gods, not the worshipper. We often think all religions are, but in the Abrahamic religions, for example, it is the other way around. God is there to guide, forgive and punish humanity. In Hellenismos, we are there to honour the Theoi and if they so see fit, They will help us. But it is not a given and it is not a requirement. They were worshipped because They were higher beings and They were undoubtedly there. As such, appeasing them and building a relationship with them was not just the smart thing to do but the essential thing to do, because your life and livelihood depended on it.