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.

"Do you know how to make/create your own frankincense? I can't find anything at all!"

Frankincense is a resin, tapped from the Boswellia sacra tree. The bark is stripped off, and the tree 'bleeds' tears of frankincense, which are allowed to harden before being cut off. There is great variety in quality--color, purity, aroma, age, and shape--and, thus, in price. Generally speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality. If you want to create it yourself, you probably can but you would need your own Boswellia sacra tree. From that point on, it would be easy!


"If I have done a ritual I didn't like because I think I could have done it better, can I redo it the day after?"

Yes, you can. Should you, that's the question I would pose in return. Why would you want to redo it? Is it because you weren't happy with it or becasue you didn't give the Theoi Their due? If the Theoi got Their due when there is no need to do it again. You still can but it would be for you, not Them. If you messed up, forgot a step, didn't give the right sacrifice, etc... then it might be worth doing it again the day after (or, even better, later that day) to give the Theoi their proper due and make it right.


"I know that the remnants of sacrifices, for example the ashes, were often left in the Sanctuary, as told by Παυσανίας in Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις. Nevertheless, is that a mandatory practice, is it considered unrespectful to discard them or use them for other purposes? And how should one deal with ashes and unburnt parts of offerings (for example incense etc.) used in domestic worship? Hoping that you can answer me, I heartily thank you!"

It seems like you know what the ancients did: they buried them on the temple grounds or they were left, becoming an ash-altar over time. At home, the remnants of sacrifice were often buried after every sacrifice. What you should do is up to you--it depends on your situation. I can tell you what I do: I store everything sacrificed--including things that don't break down, like coins--in a special vessel and take it out to be sacrificed at the crossroads along with Hekate's sacrifice at the Deipnon. This 'end of month'-celebration has a cleansing askpect that I take advantage of in this way. It's worked very well for me for many years.


"I would like to ask a question regarding the myth of the Achelous, and how the supreme of all the river gods of Hellas battled the supreme man, Heracles over the hand of Deianeira. Wasn't Heracles's act of dueling with a god hubris?"

If Herakles had been a more mortal then yes, it definitely would have been. Even Herakles, who was an established hero by this time, pretty much walked the edge here. I can't say this with 100% conviction but I assume this is a question of hierarchy. The Potamoi--river-Gods--belong to an older, overthrown generation of Gods. Herakles is the son of the highest God in the pantheon. As such, even though Herakles was partially human at the time, he outranked Achelous. that's also why he won--if he hadn't outranked Achelous, he would not have been more powerful and he would not have won. So no, it was not hubris because Herakles had the right to fight and defeat Achelous--but don't try the same trick at home!


"When one commits a disgraceful act, or an act going against the moral laws, for example dishonoring parents or failing to have self-control, aside from improving one's behavior are there any more ways of cleansing oneself from a deed like that?"

Cleansing was an act tied to religion--still is. If the transgression was of a secular nature, there is no need nor reason to do anything but make it up to any people who might have been wronged by your behavior and change your behaviour for the future. There is no connection to the Theoi so no additional cleansing needs to be partaken in. The theoi are unconcerned with the every day affairs of mortals.