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Author Topic: Hellenic: Marriage, the Oikos, Hestia and Hellenismos - a personal rambling  (Read 106 times)

TransporterMalfunction

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I recently got married, and have started living with my husband. Due to very fortunate circumstances, I have been able to give a lot of time and energy to my religious practice and I have also experienced a greater ability to connect with the Theoi. If I remember my reading correctly (and I have 'Household Worship' by Labrys on the 'to read' section of my bookshelf so I may be proven wrong) a woman started having greater responsibility for household religious worship when she married, so the spiritual significance of my marriage does not escape me. My husband is a very science-oriented agnostic, and I don't know if he truly understands my need for religious devotion, but he is very accepting of it. However, I have always been very private in the exact details of my worship from a sense of fear - it would hurt if someone I loved so dearly criticized something that was so important to me.

So, I prayed to Hestia today, and meditated in open myself to anything She wanted to say. When I started meditating, I 'landed' in a fire that burned around me and within me, it was all that I could see. I saw Hestia as an outline in red and orange hues, gently shifting as the flames danced in the air. The feeling I got was one of intense love, a love that needed to be spread and shared.

Naturally, I got worried. Based on a meditation I had with another deity, I thought that perhaps this was some sort of life-changing omen, that my oikos would figuratively (or literally) go up in flames. But then flames got shorter and I realized that Hestia and I were in the spot in my home where the wood stove in our house is, and the flames were encircling it but not touching the other rooms. I realized that She wanted me to make Her shrine there. Naturally, I argued.

'What am I supposed to do when I want to honour You? Take all my ritual supplies out there and stand naked (because that's how I pray) while my husband ogles me?'

'I don't want elaborate rituals. I want offerings from your meals, and for you to acknowledge Me every time you walk into your home. That is the worship I want.'

'So what, I tell my husband that a goddess wants to set up shop on the wood stove? He'll think I'm a nutball, or that I'm trying to convert him, or that every nook and cranny will be filled with religious paraphernalia.'

'You worry to much. Simply ask him for the space. He is kind and gentle. You've chosen well.'

I promised I would ask. So I did. I started off with 'You're not allowed to laugh at me.' And I explained that traditionally Hestia was worshiped by the stove, and asked if he would mind if I put a statue and an offering bowl on top of it. His response?

'Of course. I would never laugh at you about something like that.'

So, Hestia's getting a new place in our home. What have I learned from this?

The gods are always right. I have chosen well.
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

Castus

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stand naked (because that's how I pray)

While your story is indeed a heart-warming one, I have to say that particular detail brought me up short. Is praying in the nude an acceptable practice in Hellenismos? My background is Roman, not Hellenic, and although I'm a little rusty these days on the Cultus Deorum I am fairly sure that performing a ritual to the Gods while naked would be perceived roughly as if one were to urinate in a baptismal font. Granted, for all the accounts of orgies and vomitoriums the Romans were prudish enough to annoy the Puritans (there is an anecdote floating around from ancient times that Cato once expelled a man from the Senate because the erstwhile senator had kissed his own wife in public) and so their attitudes may not have been reflective of earlier Greek ones.
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TransporterMalfunction

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While your story is indeed a heart-warming one, I have to say that particular detail brought me up short. Is praying in the nude an acceptable practice in Hellenismos? My background is Roman, not Hellenic, and although I'm a little rusty these days on the Cultus Deorum I am fairly sure that performing a ritual to the Gods while naked would be perceived roughly as if one were to urinate in a baptismal font. Granted, for all the accounts of orgies and vomitoriums the Romans were prudish enough to annoy the Puritans (there is an anecdote floating around from ancient times that Cato once expelled a man from the Senate because the erstwhile senator had kissed his own wife in public) and so their attitudes may not have been reflective of earlier Greek ones.

I haven't particularly read anything either way about doing rituals naked (although I'm really just starting to get more academic, so it may be that I stumble upon something eventually). Right now it's more about my own comfort/how I like to do things and not having received a horrified response from any deity yet. I am beginning to read 'Miasma' by Robert Parker, however, so with my luck I'll probably discover that it incurs a miasma that spreads through generations and dooms any descendants to be forever polluted.

My UPG on it would be that since so much of worship was communal that it was logical that you wouldn't worship naked since you were around others. We don't have as much information regarding private ritual, so it could be that any information on it is lost or that no one really spared a thought on it either way. I will update this thread if I find some sources that speak to it!
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

Louisvillian

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While your story is indeed a heart-warming one, I have to say that particular detail brought me up short. Is praying in the nude an acceptable practice in Hellenismos? My background is Roman, not Hellenic, and although I'm a little rusty these days on the Cultus Deorum
The Greeks had a wider cultural appreciation for the nude human form, though that mostly just extended to men and in certain specific situations. As far as religion goes, it was expected that people wear their nice, clean clothes, but most of what was written down pertained almost entirely to the public religious sphere. In private, we don't know if there was any kind of customary dress code; nothing like the Roman insistence on performing rites capite velatio.

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