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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I always say that you can't pour a proper libation if you're afraid of splashing your shoes.

It was Sparky T. Rabbit's Memorial. I had waded into the Mississippi up to my waist to release the death-ship with its garlanded standing picture, the flowers, the grave-gifts and the bowls of barley, ash, and ocher. As I pushed the ship out to catch the current, from the shore our friend Sirius poured out the grave-libation into the River. Because it was behind me, I couldn't see the libation being poured, but I could hear the voice of it as the wine kissed the water. I knew that Sirius was pouring out a full bottle of wine, but the pour just went on and on and on. I could have sworn that that bottle held three times the usual amount of wine.

And that's the right way to pour a libation.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • john stitely
    john stitely says #
    Steve , you often have excellent advice on authentic ritual and pracitce. Your contribution on How to Pour a Libation” was no exc
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, John; a good, clear analysis as always. When I spoke of libations as "waste" I was thinking of how it must seem to an outs
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Steven - I love this post! My grandmother makes a great show of pouring the tea from her big brown teapot from a great height. On
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Back when I was a wine waiter, we did exactly the same kind of pour for exactly the same reasons. The Wielder of the Brown Pot (a
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "'Sustained' pour" is the perfect description. Thanks!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Lunisol

Unlike the ancestors, modern pagans for the most part have little experience of temple worship. Here's an important bit of lore on the topic from someone who has been making twice-daily temple offerings for nearly 30 years.

"A gift for a gift” is the main theory underlying the practice of the temple offering. One brings the offering to the deity in the deity's place, and offers it. Some offerings—flowers, incense, and lights, say—remain with the god. (They then become sacred, something that belongs to a god.) Others—generally food offerings—are then returned to the worshiper, the god having partaken of his portion. This sharing of the sacred with the god constitutes a deeply intimate form of communion.

There's another difference between food offerings and non-food offerings. Generally food offerings are laid on the altar before the god for the duration of the offering, while the non-food offerings are “waved” before the god in offering as part of the worship.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The Sun Calls sure do have a primal quality to them that speaks directly to the deeps. I'm glad they spoke to you too. Here's the
  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees says #
    Excellent! This feels like it'll be something that I can fit into my own work. I appreciate that you shared it and I've apprecia

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Most of us grew up listening to song lyrics that proclaimed a lack of satisfaction. Here in mid-life I find myself increasingly satisfied, peaceful and content, or hetep – a fitting mood for today’s annual holiday of Thanksgiving.

The word hetep was also used in the classic “offering formula,” a standardized epithet placed on stelae commemorating the dead, on tomb walls and numerous other inscriptions. The formula started with the phrase hetep-di-nesu, “a gift the king gives.” Since the king was the priest for all of Egypt, any offering was thought of as offered by the king, even if it was just you ordering up a monument for your mom and dad.

Here’s what hetep-di-nesu looks like:b2ap3_thumbnail_htpdi.gif

And here’s a whole offering formula for a guy named Ky:

...
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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Full Moon's After Glow

Full Moon
Milky white
Veil of soft embrace.

Your light reflects the
Pools of wisdom and grace
As illusion's cunning
Mirror cloaks the knowledge
Of inner flood gates.

Filter and flow of celestial sight
As velvet darkness parts the way
Of expansive breath and I tremble
Bowing to your Path of Surrender.

The veil parts
The portal opens
And ALL stand waiting
In anticipation of your
Sacred Kiss.

I walk silently down the wrought iron stairway and into my back yard, out into the moonlit night.  Noise comes crowding in and I breathe deeply pushing out what seeks to intrude.  Lady moon hangs high overhead and the silhouette of tree and plant crowd my view.  This is the night of the moon's fullness. This is the expansion of breath and air, mind and heart flowing as one. 

...
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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Beautiful, thank you for the images. This particular full moon cycle has been such a gift and blessings to me as well.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it begins

I've written before here about how, in our household, Samhain starts early.  For us it begins at the end of September, during the week when we've repeatedly lost beloved pets and on the day when, two years ago, I pledged my service to the Wild Hunt.  This year, that day was marked with an inadvertent bloodletting when the Hunt, not satisfied with the efforts I had made thus far on their behalf, aided me in slicing open the knuckle of my right index finger almost to the bone with a pair of sewing shears.  (Followed, of course, with a expensive trip to the emergency room and several weeks of limited ability to do anything--including typing and crafting--with that hand.  The Hunt does not play.)  

It continued the following week when I made a trip to one of the city's oldest cemeteries (and bear in mind that here on the west coast, "oldest" means the 1800s, and the most ancient looking monuments, crumbling with apparent age, are not truly ancient at all but merely rain-damaged).  I brought with me home-brewed mead and bone meal, to feed the dead, and locally harvested apples for Sleipnir, Odin's giant eight-legged steed.  (Eight legs, by the way; have you ever thought about that?  Why does He--the horse, that is--have eight legs?  Spiders have eight legs.  So does a casket, when borne aloft by four mourners.  Sleipnir is, indisputably, a horse of death, a steed to carry one to the land of the dead--which, throughout the Norse myths, is exactly what He does.)  I discovered an area devoted to the Civil War dead, which startled me because it seemed the wrong coast for that, but the monument statue of a soldier in uniform and the plots of the military dead exuded an aura of welcome for me, a kinship with the "once human" contingent of the Hunt, with Odin's fallen heroes.  Here was succor and support, and so it was here that I marked the stones with my blood, freshly drawn from my finger (not the one with stitches!) using a lancet.  (The dead were especially interested in and enthusiastic about the mead, by the way!)

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  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    Another excellent post! I'm looking forward to both our celebrations, and I'm thinking that splitting them up as we have this year
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    I found a small pomegranate at the store this weekend and bought it, so I should do something. Just no idea what. Some of it is be

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

When I want optimum yield from my garden, I feed the soil with composted vegetable matter, old manure and yummy organic fertilizers.

When I am hungry, I make myself something healthy and/or delicious because I know this machine doesn’t run without fuel.

...
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There are many ways of sacrificing to the Gods, but none are as prevalent within Hellenismos as a poured sacrifice. As Hellenics, we have two general types of libations at our disposal; a sponde (Σπονδή) or a khoe (χοαί). Both are poured sacrifices, libations, but the practice differs, as does the goal. Before we look at these, it might be wise to discuss why we sacrifice in the first place.

A sacrifice to the Gods is a way of bonding, of kharis. It's a way of showing our devotion to the Gods and bringing Them, actively, into our homes and lives. It's a way of acknowledging Their greatness and recognizing our loyalty to Them. Practically, this means that whatever the sacrifice, it should be given with this kharis in mind. It should be given with love, dedication and with respect to the bond between immortal and mortal.

On to the sponde: a sponde is a libation given, partly, to the Deity or Deities offered to, and partly drunken by those given the libation. Most sacrifices, especially animal sacrifices, worked with this principle, called thyesthai (θύεσθαι). They are appropriate for the Olympic Deities. There are two types of sponde: one used as a toast--usually to Hestia and/or the Agathós Daímōn--and one as a general libation.

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