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Thread: Hellenic Altars

  1. #1
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    Hellenic Altars

    If I were to follow the path of the Hellenic and worship the Hellenic Deities what would an altar look like, I need some ideas. Keep in mind I'm keeping my practice a secret from my family so that leaves incense and candles out.



    There were three deities I was interested in worshiping at my first ritual.



    1: Hestia of the Hearth (per recommendation)



    2: Clio, the Muse of History



    3: Apollo of the Silver Bow (among other names)



    Is there any particular information about these three I need to keep in mind during a ceremony, offering sacrifices etc.



    Personal stories appreciated

  2. #2
    bibliophibian volcaniclastic's Avatar
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    Re: Hellenic Altars

    Did you do any research at all?

    The Lararium (more of a roman construct)

    other stuff: here
    “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir

    Mostly art.

  3. #3
    Sr. Member Claude's Avatar
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    Re: Hellenic Altars

    There's no need to have a separate altar for each deity, especially since Hestia is supposed to receive the first of every offering and Apollo is the leader of the Muses.

    Traditionally, you have to have some sort of fire rather it be a candle or an oil lamp. Other than that you should have a dish for offerings and libations. Incense is just another kind of offering like bread or juice. There's nothing special or specific about it in terms of an altar.

    Things like athames and most of the other stuff in the second link aren't Hellenic by any me.

    My first altar was similar to a Norse cairn. I had a pile of stones outside that I poured libations and left offerings on.

    I eventually got sick of having to go outside all the time, so I brought it all indoors. I set aside a space on my dresser that I always kept spotless. Besides things that were associated with my ancestors and my gods (pine cones mostly) the spot was empty. There was a small bowl that I used to put offerings in before taking them outside.

    Next, I upgraded and got some candles. Blah blah blah stuff happened. I ended up with a bedroom containing five large altars and then two altars outside. Now I condensed it all to one altar inside and one outside. My outside altar is a cairn and my inside one is on a shelf top. I have a bell, candle, salarium, offering dish, abalone incense holder, a faux hearth stone I found in the woods, a silver bowl for offerings and a cup for libations on it. There are also three small statues, but I'm likely to change those in coming years.

    I guess the moral of the story is that at the bare minimum you need a permanent offering bowl. As long as you approach the altar with a clear mind focused on the Gods and the mutual love we share, then it doesn't matter what "tools" you have. Many aspects of Hellenism, especially in rural areas, is animistic so you could even just designate a tree as a sacred place.

    The big thing to remember is that if you do designate any place as sacred, rather it be inside or out, it's no longer yours to use for mundane things. Altars and temples are the homes of the Gods and offerings are gifts given to Them.

  4. #4
    Sr. Member Louisvillian's Avatar
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    Re: Hellenic Altars

    Quote Originally Posted by redhairjoe View Post
    If I were to follow the path of the Hellenic and worship the Hellenic Deities what would an altar look like, I need some ideas. Keep in mind I'm keeping my practice a secret from my family so that leaves incense and candles out.
    In historical Hellenic practice, households would have one or more shrines in addition to the hearth, and an outdoor altar. The outdoor altar would be the workspace for most religious practice. The hearth would, however, be an important focal point as well, and would act as a shrine to Hestia. Various shrines may be in the house, depending on the size of the home; typically one to Zeus, one to the Agathos Daimon, a doorway shrine to Apollo, and an outdoor shrine to Hermes to demarcate the boundaries of the property. In larger homes, extra shrines might be installed for any deities the family held to be of personal or special significance.

    For instance, my intention for my home is to have the above, plus a shrine to Cernunnos, a shrine to Hekate, and a shrine to Dionysos. I and different members of my household maintain personal cultic rites to those deities.
    All in all, for indoors it would require maybe two small shelves in addition to the existing small double-shelf that I have (which will be our shrine to Hekate and to Agathos Daimon), and the fireplace mantel which will serve as a shrine to Zeus. Outdoors I just need a small statue of Hermes with a pedestal to leave offerings, and a raised brazier for the outdoor altar.

    But you might not have that much space. Or that much income. You make do with what you have.
    Last edited by Louisvillian; 01 Aug 2014 at 08:41.

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