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Author Topic: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars  (Read 3433 times)

SkySamuelle

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Today  I was reading an online except of 'Temple Of Hekate' by Tara Sanchez  on amazon.com, in order to try and decide if I wanted add it to my library.

I stumbled on a section that featured the consecration of deity statues meant to be housed inside ancient Greek temples. Apparently priests and priestesses used to invite the spirit of the God or Goddess to reside inside the statue, that was antointed, then offered food and incense to 'welcome the new guest'.

Tara Sanchez suggested to  restore the tradition by inviting our gods to reside inside the images/statues on our modern altars, with a similiar rite.

I found the idea both interesting and... well, intimidating. I am lucky enough to have a room that serves as temple for now, and whole a desk to use as my altar. For me, the images that I place there are already a bit sacred, because I craft them myself with the idea of capture my impression of that particular deity... but the idea of going past that makes me kind of nervous.

For one, I am worried that once you 'antoint' the image in such a way, it might be problematic if, for whatever reason, you were later forced to put it away.

By 'problematic', i mean that removing the picture/statue might offend the deity in question.

And even if it didn't offend anyone, how would one go on 'disposing' this kind of sacred item, if the necessity were to arise?

Thoughts?
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SkySamuelle

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 06:39:56 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18068



 
I apologize ... I was so sure I had posted this one in the 'worship and ritual' section...:o

I am not sure about what I should do about it now?:(
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Juni

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 06:50:40 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18074


 
It happens. :) The easiest thing to do is send a PM (including the link to the thread) to a staff member currently online.
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SkySamuelle

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 06:52:55 pm »
Quote from: Juni;18078
It happens. :) The easiest thing to do is send a PM (including the link to the thread) to a staff member currently online.

 
thanks! i'll do it now!
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Juni

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 07:07:19 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18068
I stumbled on a section that featured the consecration of deity statues meant to be housed inside ancient Greek temples. Apparently priests and priestesses used to invite the spirit of the God or Goddess to reside inside the statue, that was antointed, then offered food and incense to 'welcome the new guest'.

Tara Sanchez suggested to  restore the tradition by inviting our gods to reside inside the images/statues on our modern altars, with a similiar rite.


I haven't read the book or heard of the author before (perhaps some of our better read members will have) so I can't speak to the historical veracity of it, but it's not an idea foreign to the ancient world. The ancient Egyptians had a ritual that functioned similarly, and the statue, once the ritual was performed, had a host of priests to tend to it.


Quote from: SkySamuelle;18068
For one, I am worried that once you 'antoint' the image in such a way, it might be problematic if, for whatever reason, you were later forced to put it away.

By 'problematic', i mean that removing the picture/statue might offend the deity in question.

And even if it didn't offend anyone, how would one go on 'disposing' this kind of sacred item, if the necessity were to arise?

Thoughts?

 
This is a very valid concern to have. Personally, I feel that attempting to replicate rituals in the home that were originally performed in temples by priests is often a bad idea. If it were meant for everyone as a practice in the home, then we would have evidence of that from the ancient record. I think that such actions should only be undertaken by people who are very knowledgeable, stable, and feel they have a true calling to the work. (And it is *work*.)

That being said- and to actually answer your question- if I were somehow to find myself in the possession of an open statue (to use the Kemetic terminology) that I could not care for, or had become damaged enough that it felt necessary to dispose of it... actually, it would depend. If I could not care for it, for whatever reason, I would do my best to find it a new home with someone I trusted, and make sure that they felt capable of taking on the responsibility. If I felt it were so damaged as to require disposal, I would do some divination and see if any preferences came through- otherwise, I would probably wrap it in clean linen or cotton, put it in the trash, and make the best offering I could to the deity in question. (Honestly, my first instinct was to say 'bury it in my backyard', but if I'm going to litter the planet I might as well do it in a designated littering zone/landfill.)
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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2011, 07:31:51 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18074
I apologize ... I was so sure I had posted this one in the 'worship and ritual' section...:o

I am not sure about what I should do about it now?:(

 
Moved:)


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RandallS

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2011, 10:32:34 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18068
Tara Sanchez suggested to  restore the tradition by inviting our gods to reside inside the images/statues on our modern altars, with a similiar rite.

Personally, I think that's not a very wise idea. When this was done, it was done in temples where there were priests who duty it was to serve the god. The average person today is unlikely to be able to manage this in their home -- with work and family and other duties.
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monsnoleedra

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2011, 10:37:38 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;18068
Today  I was reading an online except of 'Temple Of Hekate' by Tara Sanchez  on amazon.com, in order to try and decide if I wanted add it to my library.

I stumbled on a section that featured the consecration of deity statues meant to be housed inside ancient Greek temples. Apparently priests and priestesses used to invite the spirit of the God or Goddess to reside inside the statue, that was antointed, then offered food and incense to 'welcome the new guest'.

Tara Sanchez suggested to  restore the tradition by inviting our gods to reside inside the images/statues on our modern altars, with a similiar rite.

I found the idea both interesting and... well, intimidating. I am lucky enough to have a room that serves as temple for now, and whole a desk to use as my altar. For me, the images that I place there are already a bit sacred, because I craft them myself with the idea of capture my impression of that particular deity... but the idea of going past that makes me kind of nervous.

For one, I am worried that once you 'antoint' the image in such a way, it might be problematic if, for whatever reason, you were later forced to put it away.

By 'problematic', i mean that removing the picture/statue might offend the deity in question.

And even if it didn't offend anyone, how would one go on 'disposing' this kind of sacred item, if the necessity were to arise?

Thoughts?


To continue with the Hekate / Hecate theme of this thread.

I have never found anything about ensouling or opening the mouth of the Hernes of Hekate / Hecate that were placed at the cross-roads.  Nothing recorded in the Greek tales or Roman tales so it seem's that the statuary of the goddess was viewed quite differently between that enshrined in the the inner sanctum of a temple or sanctuary versus that in common use.

I have equally never found anything about ensouling or opening the mouth in any of the entryway statues of Hekate / Hecate that were situated in the openings to ones home.  The tri-formus figures that were placed to safeguard and watch over the home and its occupants.  So again it seem's out of place to think of giving such an opening or ensouling practice to a statue that will not be housed in a temple or shrine with the accompanying multitude of priests / priestess and other acolyte's and initiates to support and service it.

That doesn't even take into consideration the many acts that go into the mainenance of said statuary.  Especially the processions of the statue that is record for Artemis, Hekate and Athena to name a few where the statue is taken along a ritual route to be cleaned and re-robed after being bathed, perfumed and other formal ritualized actions.  Or processions where the statuary or other symbolic items are carried for specific purposes such as Hekate's / Hecate's Procession of the Keys recorded at Lagina as an annual rite from her temple that may or may not have included the statue.

Of course that also raises the question of enshrining the statue upon or within the atlar and the references to that procedure.  But that to was part of the ensouling process and usually occured after the statue was moved to the inner sanctum where it would only be serviced by dedicated priest / priestess whose sole function was to serve and watch over the statue.  Usually a 24 - 7 process not including the more formal rituals / ceremonies and dedications that would be done or overseen by the high priestess or other higher level initiates assigned to the job.

While I have statuary of Hekate / Hecate I would not ensoul any of them or open the mouth from what I know of what it means to do such a thing.

SkySamuelle

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2011, 05:18:31 am »
Quote from: Juni;18080

 
 Personally, I feel that attempting to replicate rituals in the home that were originally performed in temples by priests is often a bad idea. If it were meant for everyone as a practice in the home, then we would have evidence of that from the ancient record. I think that such actions should only be undertaken by people who are very knowledgeable, stable, and feel they have a true calling to the work. (And it is *work*.)  


This is a very convincing point. I am personally freaked out by the idea of having inside my humble abode something this important.
Still, I find myself fascinated with the concept of how such a ritual would affect... well whatever comes next, in terms of relationship with the deity in question.

I think Greek priests made daily offerings of food to those ensouled statues... I am impressed by the resemblance between Kemetics and Greeks on this.

Quote from: Juni;18080

That being said- and to actually answer your question- if I were somehow to find myself in the possession of an open statue (to use the Kemetic terminology) that I could not care for, or had become damaged enough that it felt necessary to dispose of it... actually, it would depend. If I could not care for it, for whatever reason, I would do my best to find it a new home with someone I trusted, and make sure that they felt capable of taking on the responsibility. If I felt it were so damaged as to require disposal, I would do some divination and see if any preferences came through- otherwise, I would probably wrap it in clean linen or cotton, put it in the trash, and make the best offering I could to the deity in question. (Honestly, my first instinct was to say 'bury it in my backyard', but if I'm going to litter the planet I might as well do it in a designated littering zone/landfill.)

 
Divination! To think about it, no better way to avoid accidental offenses than asking the deity directly.
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SkySamuelle

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Re: 'Ensouling' of religious effigies in Greek temples and on modern altars
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2011, 05:24:27 am »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;18118
To continue with the Hekate / Hecate theme of this thread.

I have never found anything about ensouling or opening the mouth of the Hernes of Hekate / Hecate that were placed at the cross-roads.  Nothing recorded in the Greek tales or Roman tales so it seem's that the statuary of the goddess was viewed quite differently between that enshrined in the the inner sanctum of a temple or sanctuary versus that in common use.

I have equally never found anything about ensouling or opening the mouth in any of the entryway statues of Hekate / Hecate that were situated in the openings to ones home.  The tri-formus figures that were placed to safeguard and watch over the home and its occupants.  So again it seem's out of place to think of giving such an opening or ensouling practice to a statue that will not be housed in a temple or shrine with the accompanying multitude of priests / priestess and other acolyte's and initiates to support and service it.

That doesn't even take into consideration the many acts that go into the mainenance of said statuary.  Especially the processions of the statue that is record for Artemis, Hekate and Athena to name a few where the statue is taken along a ritual route to be cleaned and re-robed after being bathed, perfumed and other formal ritualized actions.  Or processions where the statuary or other symbolic items are carried for specific purposes such as Hekate's / Hecate's Procession of the Keys recorded at Lagina as an annual rite from her temple that may or may not have included the statue.

Of course that also raises the question of enshrining the statue upon or within the atlar and the references to that procedure.  But that to was part of the ensouling process and usually occured after the statue was moved to the inner sanctum where it would only be serviced by dedicated priest / priestess whose sole function was to serve and watch over the statue.  Usually a 24 - 7 process not including the more formal rituals / ceremonies and dedications that would be done or overseen by the high priestess or other higher level initiates assigned to the job.

While I have statuary of Hekate / Hecate I would not ensoul any of them or open the mouth from what I know of what it means to do such a thing.

 
Thank you for offering this impressive -if a bit scary- amount of information on how ensouled statues were tended to. It was fascinating to read, even if i don't plan going down that road!
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