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.

"Hello. I have been believing in the Greek Gods (excuse my uneducated termanology) for some time now and have been considering taking part in daily sacrifices and rituals and such. The problem however is that I am underage to consume alcohol and your guides for libations call for drinking and using wine. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get around this? I would very much appreciate your advice. Thanks"

Grape juice. My answer to this has been and will forever be grape juice. Wine, after all, is nothing more than fermented grape juice. If a carton of that is hard to hide, water will suffice. But grape juice comes as close to the real thing as you can get without adding alcohol.


"I saw on your post about miasma that any distracting thing can be considered miasmic, but I have adhd and am distracted by literally everything. My thoughts are always in a million different directions at once and Incan't help it. Is this miasma?"

No, having ADHD is not a source of miasma. At all. After all, yes, it causes distraction but for you and those around you the behaviours associated with your ADHD are commonplace. What I mean when I say ‘miasma is caused by distraction’ (paraphrasing a very long and intricate post here) I don’t mean distraction as such, I mean something that is out of the norm and that takes away the spotlight from the Gods. Your ADHD is nothing new, not for you and not for those around you. It’s just something you have, something that makes you who you are. Well, one of the building blocks of who you are. And no, it is not miasmic in the least.


"Am I a bad hellenic polytheist if I like reading the percy jackson books?"

Haha! No, I quite liked them myself. What would make you a bad Hellenic Polytheist is only reading the Percy Jackson books and believing that what you read is accurate in terms of history or mythology. It's not. Not even close. Read it as amusement, as long as you do that, it's perfectly alright to enjoy them!


"Is being more revival instead of recon disrespectful or bad or anything? Like, I'm not talking abt like hellenic wicca or anything i mean just things adapted to modern stuff, since im unable to be mostly recon due to my household"

No, not at all, the two are simply different approaches that one can either be drawn to or be forced into. Both honour the Theoi and both take the ancient Hellenic practice as a base. How much of that base survives differs but that's not good or bad. Just different. I try for a Traditional approach (as much as possible), but that it not better than anything else, or more authentic. It's just what works for me. What matters is that you find what works for you.


"I really want to wear the veil, but I'm terrified to do so in public. I'm scared I'll offend someone, especially since I am very obviously white, but also people who wear hair coverings are not treated well in public where I live. I'm also worried about seeing someone I know and if they would judge me. How can I gain the confidence to express my devotion in the way I want to?"

In ancient Hellas the word for veil was 'kalyptra' (καλύπτρα), or 'kalyptrē' (καλύπτρη) in Ionic Greek. It comes from the verb 'kalyptō' (καλύπτω), 'I cover'. Veiling was a huge part of social life in ancient Hellas, and retained its importance well into the Roman era. While we don't know how many men and women veiled--because veiling was important for men as well, especially in the Roman era--we can assume that especially in ancient Hellas adult women tended to veil whenever they left the house. The fact that so few ancient writers mention the veil is indicative of one of two things: either it rarely happened, or it happened so often that it was not worth mentioning. Seeing as we have a lot of depictions of veiling on statues and other forms of art, we can only assume the latter to be true.

While we cannot accurately establish the frequency of veiling, we can most definitely try to discern 'why'. I say 'try' because veiling was a very complicated practice and it was done (and not done) for a great variety of reasons. Let's start with religious veiling: during rites to the Ouranic Gods at least, women tended to veil. At least in Roman times men did as well, but because of the words of Plutarch we can assume that the ancient Hellenic men frequently did not. Veiling during religious rites was seen as an act of dedication. By veiling, women--and by Roman times, men--put themselves below in status to the Gods as an act of piety. As Plutarch says in his 'Quaestiones Romanae':

[T]here is only one matter that needs investigation: why men cover their heads when they worship the gods; and the other [why men uncover their heads when they meet any of their fellow-men worthy of honour] follows from this. For they uncover their heads in the presence of men more influential than they: it is not to invest these men with additional honour, but rather to avert from them the jealousy of the gods, that these men may not seem to demand the same honours as the gods, nor to tolerate an attention like that bestowed on the gods, nor to rejoice therein. But they thus worshipped the gods, either humbling themselves by concealing the head, or rather by pulling the toga over their ears as a precaution lest any ill-omened and baleful sound from without should reach them while they were praying. That they were mightily vigilant in this matter is obvious from the fact that when they went forth for purposes of divination, they surrounded themselves with the clashing of bronze. " [10]

Plutarch (Ploútarkhos, Πλούταρχος) was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, who later in his life became a Roman citizen. As such, he was extraordinarily qualified to write two standard works: the 'Quaestiones Graecae' (Αἴτια Ἑλληνικά, or 'Greek Questions'), and the 'Quaestiones Romanae' (Αἴτια Ῥωμαϊκά, or 'Roman Questions'). These essays are part of the book series 'Moralia' (Ἠθικά, loosely translatable as 'Matters relating to customs and mores'), and can be found in book IV of the series. The Greek Questions contain fifty-nine questions, the Roman version hundred-thirteen, and all pertain to matters concerned with their respective culture. Many of the answers are names or customs, and because Plutarch often refers (back) to Hellenic customs, both are extremely valuable for research on ancient Hellenic life.

This dedication extended into the social as well: veiling and unveiling was a large part of wedding ceremonies for both men and women--who were both veiled for the ceremony. In ancient Hellenic times, men veiled during funerary rites, while women unveiled (in ancient Roman times, this was reversed) as anything associated with the underworld and death required a reversal of the usual. Plutarch, again in the 'Quaestiones Romanae' questions 'why do sons cover their heads when they escort their parents to the grave, while daughters go with uncovered heads and hair unbound?' and answers, partly, with the following:

"Is it because fathers should be honoured as gods by their male offspring, but mourned as dead by their daughters, that custom has assigned to each sex its proper part and has produced a fitting result from both? Or is it that the unusual is proper in mourning, and it is more usual for women to go forth in public with their heads covered band men with their heads uncovered? So in Greece, whenever any misfortune comes, the women cut off their hair and the men let it grow, for it is usual for men to have their hair cut and for women to let it grow." [14]
 Now, for women in ancient Hellas, there was another obvious--although very much linked--reason to veil: as a way to move freely outside of the oikos. Ancient Hellenic homes were simple structures, made from clay, wood, and stone. In many cases, a large wall with a single door connected the house to the street, while insuring maximum privacy to the occupants of the house. Women and men lived almost entirely separately within the home. Male-only rooms were called 'andron' (ανδρών), female-only rooms were called 'gynaikon' (γυναικῶν). Men were not allowed to enter female-only rooms, and a visiting male guest would be punished most severely if he entered the gynaikon.

Women, at least while in the gynaikon, were likely not veiled. When a married woman was alone with her husband, she most likely was not veiled either. When surrounded my other men, however, she most likely be veiled without fault unless the social rules dictated she must go unveiled. There was a good reason for this: women, for men, were near-mythological creatures; they didn't see many of them in their daily lives--safe for their mothers and wives, and even them, they hardly saw because they spent most of their time separate. Men feared women a little; they were closer to their primal nature because they bled once a month. That made them unpredictable.

Females started veiling around their first menstrual cycle: from that point on they were viewed as women and they developed their appeal on men. Ancient Hellenic men viewed women as having an uncontrolled sexuality, as well as a natural miasma linked to that sexuality, both of which posed serious threats to the social order. Men were attracted and aroused by women, who shook their self-control and their ideals of temperance. Instead of looking inward, changing their own behaviour and controlling their own desires, they lay the fault with women. As such, the veil shielded males from the female's dangerous gaze, controlled her enticing hair, and symbolically contained her siren's voice.

In ancient Hellenic society, women were regarded as being the property of the men in their lives--first their father, then their husband. They rarely had interactions with men not from their oikos. This was explainable: lawful and legitimate parentage was extremely important in ancient Hellenic society. A man who caught his wife cheating could bring the man she was cheating with to court. Plutarch, in a discussion of law, says that Solon gave 'to the one who catches a moichos (an adulterer) the right to kill him, but if anyone seizes a free woman and forces her, he assigned the penalty of one hundred drachmas’.

Veiling, like sexual separation, helped to preserve the Hellenic female's chastity, which, in turn, ensured both the legitimacy of her husband's heirs and the highly valued honour of her husband and family. When the woman left her home and the protection of her male guardians, the veil rendered her both socially invisible and sexually inviolate and marked her as the property of the male whose honour was reinforced by both her invisibility and chastity. The veil, essentially, served as an extension of the oikos: when women left the house veiled, they were safe. They became untouchable.

Veiling, however, was not simply a cultural mandate that underscored the woman's powerlessness relative to men. While women's adoption of the veil supported the male ideology that advocated female subordination, veiling also gave women a certain degree of authority by allowing them to claim both respectability and assert their own position in the social hierarchy. Because of this it is not surprising that the practice of veiling for women increased as their power in society increased.

Veiling for religious reasons is a pious act, one that speaks of dedication and devotion. If veiling outside of ritual in a modern context makes sense to you, I applaud it. I think it's a beautiful practice. It is, however, not worth your safety. Personally, I bind my hair when an ancient Hellenic woman would have veiled. It's my way to honour the practice and ensure only my spouse sees me in the state that the ancient Hellenic men agreed was a woman's fairest.

Fact is: times have changed. The veil has come to be associated with a fair deal of negativity in modern time--especially in Western countries. Which is a shame as I find it a beautiful practice in pretty much all religions. Now, there are ways to veil that are not as triggering: a bandana worn about the hair, for example, or even a hat or baseball cap. Or using a wrapping style not currently associated with negativity.

As with all new things, easing into it is probably best. Wrap up your hair with a bandana, go out and see what happens. Do it again after a few days, then build up the frequency and alternate styles until you are happy and the outside world has adjusted. And remember: 'because', just like 'no' is a full sentence answer to the question of '(may I ask) why you're wearing something on your head'. Good luck!