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Author Topic: The obligatory altar question post  (Read 2278 times)

ccam

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The obligatory altar question post
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:50:59 am »
I didn't see any post on the new forums about setting up altars so I thought I'd ask.  How do you?  I've read that one has to have an altar for The Twelve Olympians and honor them all every day without fail with icons for each and loads of offerings.  I, however, do not have the money to recreate the Altar of the Twelve, hire a staff, and buy a pantry full of offerings.  I've also read about ancient household altars being just a place near/over the hearth for simple icons of household spirits and family gods (implying not all of the Twelve) with modest offerings of incense, wine, and food.  So I guess the question boils down to must one honor the Twelve every day, all day.  I'm not saying they shouldn't all be honored, but maybe honored a few days out of the month, like a calendar.  Also, any tips and suggestions for setting up an altar?  Please let me know if something is unclear (which I'm sure there is).  Thanks in advance for any help.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 12:36:26 pm by RandallS »

Nachtigall

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 05:39:23 am »
Quote from: ccam;72590
I didn't see any post on the new forums about setting up altars so I thought I'd ask.  How do you?  I've read that one has to have an altar for The Twelve Olympians and honor them all every day without fail with icons for each and loads of offerings.  I, however, do not have the money to recreate the Altar of the Twelve, hire a staff, and buy a pantry full of offerings.  I've also read about ancient household altars being just a place near/over the hearth for simple icons of household spirits and family gods (implying not all of the Twelve) with modest offerings of incense, wine, and food.  So I guess the question boils down to must one honor the Twelve every day, all day.  I'm not saying they shouldn't all be honored, but maybe honored a few days out of the month, like a calendar.  Also, any tips and suggestions for setting up an altar?  Please let me know if something is unclear (which I'm sure there is).  Thanks in advance for any help.

 
On my altar there's a small relief depicting the Twelve Olympians, but before finding it I intended to put a picture or a relief of a dodecagram, the twelve-pointer star, as I absolutely don't have money or space for having statues for each Olympian. Besides that, there's a libation bowl, an incense holder, a tealight candle and a figurine of owl. There should also be a bowl for khernips, the purified water, but for now it's on my separate shrine to Apollon.

The offerings absolutely can be very modest (mine are just incense and wine/water/bay leaves), and a general dedication "to all the Gods", rather then reciting a hymn for each one of Them, is OK for a daily practice. There are also holy days to separate Gods in each month - f.ex. the 6th day is holy to Artemis, the 7th to Apollo - where they get special veneration.

ccam

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 04:38:07 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;72602
On my altar there's a small relief depicting the Twelve Olympians, but before finding it I intended to put a picture or a relief of a dodecagram, the twelve-pointer star

 
Wow, I'd never thought about using the dodecagram as a symbol of the Twelve.  I've read that archaeologists haven't yet figured out whether it was a religious symbol or just a decorative symbol, so while we're waiting...it sounds perfectly acceptable to me.  Thank you very much.  That helped a ton.  I'd still love to hear other's opinions though.

drekfletch

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 12:27:42 am »
Quote from: ccam;72590
I didn't see any post on the new forums about setting up altars so I thought I'd ask.  How do you?  I've read that one has to have an altar for The Twelve Olympians and honor them all every day without fail with icons for each and loads of offerings.  I, however, do not have the money to recreate the Altar of the Twelve, hire a staff, and buy a pantry full of offerings.  I've also read about ancient household altars being just a place near/over the hearth for simple icons of household spirits and family gods (implying not all of the Twelve) with modest offerings of incense, wine, and food.  So I guess the question boils down to must one honor the Twelve every day, all day.  I'm not saying they shouldn't all be honored, but maybe honored a few days out of the month, like a calendar.  Also, any tips and suggestions for setting up an altar?  Please let me know if something is unclear (which I'm sure there is).  Thanks in advance for any help.

 
How's "It depends" sound to you?  Who you offer to depends on who you worship.

I don't single out any Hellenic gods in particular, so I offer to them all in concert. That offering consists of water in a tiny cup (about 1/2 oz) that get's poured over a marble representing them all.  [for reference, a standard shot glass is 1 oz]  I'm very minimalist, mostly because I've never been able to keep at anything long enough for it to become a habit.  I don't get a sense of a push from more from Them, whereas I did feel a push to do something before I started with just water.  I do make a distinction that their water is the same as what I drink.  I don't drink tap water, and it didn't feel right for them to have their own jug to offer from. "This whole thing is yours, but you only get it a little at a time" didn't work for me.

An exception exists for the boundary-altar to Hecate-Hermes-Zeus (Mistress of Keys, Lord of Travelers, Lord of the House and it's Grounds.)  There's a specific context for those I single out.  Outside of that context, each is just one of the conglomerate who get the daily offering.

You may be interesting in looking at this article.  (I had to update my bookmark, if anybody else needs to.)
http://www.labrys.gr/index-en.php?l=oikiaki_latreia-en
There is no inherent meaning to life.  Stop looking and give your life meaning.
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Chapter 91 of The Order War by L.E.Modesitt jr.  If I could quote the entire thing I would.

ccam

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 01:46:00 am »
Quote from: drekfletch;72852

You may be interesting in looking at this article.  (I had to update my bookmark, if anybody else needs to.)
http://www.labrys.gr/index-en.php?l=oikiaki_latreia-en

 
That's funny :)  I have that bookmarked and refer to it religiously in the the hopes of eeking out another iota of information.  I had actually contemplated setting up an altar to Hermes, Zeus, and Hestia, the household gods, for daily offerings (kind of like a Roman lararium) then setting up another one for sacrifices to the other gods.

Nyktelios

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 06:32:25 pm »
Quote from: ccam;72590
I I've read that one has to have an altar for The Twelve Olympians and honor them all every day without fail with icons for each and loads of offerings.


Oh god, no. It definitely isn't necessary to worship all Olympians every single day. Typically, ancient Greek calendars have one sacred day a month for the major deities the polis honours, but they are pretty arbitrary so I don't it matters too much which day a person sets aside for a particular deity. Household deities like Hestia, the Agathos Daimon, and Zeus Ktesios should be honoured daily, but all that takes is burning incense or pouring a simple libation.

As for altars, they can be pretty simple. When I was strictly Hellenic, I kept a shrine with a white candle for Hestia, an incense holder, and libation dish, and that was all I used for honouring most of the gods. I did have separate shrines for a few of my favourite gods, but my general worship was done on my Hestia shrine.

RedHawk

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 01:13:58 pm »
Quote from: ccam;72590
I didn't see any post on the new forums about setting up altars so I thought I'd ask.  How do you?  I've read that one has to have an altar for The Twelve Olympians and honor them all every day without fail with icons for each and loads of offerings.  I, however, do not have the money to recreate the Altar of the Twelve, hire a staff, and buy a pantry full of offerings.  I've also read about ancient household altars being just a place near/over the hearth for simple icons of household spirits and family gods (implying not all of the Twelve) with modest offerings of incense, wine, and food.  So I guess the question boils down to must one honor the Twelve every day, all day.  I'm not saying they shouldn't all be honored, but maybe honored a few days out of the month, like a calendar.  Also, any tips and suggestions for setting up an altar?  Please let me know if something is unclear (which I'm sure there is).  Thanks in advance for any help.

 
I don't have the money for statues of all the 12 Olympians. The only statue that I have is Hephaestus, which I bought from Greece on-line. It's a tiny statue of him but I really like it.

OfThespiae

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 11:37:28 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;81791
Oh god, no. It definitely isn't necessary to worship all Olympians every single day. Typically, ancient Greek calendars have one sacred day a month for the major deities the polis honours, but they are pretty arbitrary so I don't it matters too much which day a person sets aside for a particular deity. Household deities like Hestia, the Agathos Daimon, and Zeus Ktesios should be honoured daily, but all that takes is burning incense or pouring a simple libation.

As for altars, they can be pretty simple. When I was strictly Hellenic, I kept a shrine with a white candle for Hestia, an incense holder, and libation dish, and that was all I used for honouring most of the gods. I did have separate shrines for a few of my favourite gods, but my general worship was done on my Hestia shrine.


Pretty much what I planned on saying. There's no need to honour the primary Twelve every day, and certainly no need to give tonnes of offerings daily, either. A simple libation of wine and /or water and some incense is all that's really necessary.

RedHawk

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 04:49:41 pm »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;93011
Pretty much what I planned on saying. There's no need to honour the primary Twelve every day, and certainly no need to give tonnes of offerings daily, either. A simple libation of wine and /or water and some incense is all that's really necessary.

 
Ditto on that. Right now I only do offerings to Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Hecate, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Agathos Daemon. Only during certain times of the year do I honor any Olympian beyond that. If I add anymore pictures I'll knock things over.

FollowerofOdin

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Re: The obligatory altar question post.
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 08:40:31 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;72602
On my altar there's a small relief depicting the Twelve Olympians, but before finding it I intended to put a picture or a relief of a dodecagram, the twelve-pointer star, as I absolutely don't have money or space for having statues for each Olympian. Besides that, there's a libation bowl, an incense holder, a tealight candle and a figurine of owl. There should also be a bowl for khernips, the purified water, but for now it's on my separate shrine to Apollon.

The offerings absolutely can be very modest (mine are just incense and wine/water/bay leaves), and a general dedication "to all the Gods", rather then reciting a hymn for each one of Them, is OK for a daily practice. There are also holy days to separate Gods in each month - f.ex. the 6th day is holy to Artemis, the 7th to Apollo - where they get special veneration.

 
I like that idea.

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