The Greek Ministry of Culture announced the conclusion of the 2016 excavation season at the Minoan palatial complex at Zominthos by the Greek Archaeological Society under the direction of Mrs. Efi Sapouna-Sakellarakis. A magnificent 150-room structure of the Minoan era came to light. Digging also unearthed some beautiful finds, all of which will be showcased in the new Digital Museum of Anogeia.
 
 
The latest excavations at Zominthos showed that the Neopalatial complex, whose main building phase dates to c.1750 BC, extended over an even larger area during the earlier Old Palace period (c.1900 BC) when the Minoan palaces were first constructed. It is thought that the earlier structure comprised some 150 rooms and was two (and in some place three) storeys tall.

Corridors, stairways, new pillared halls, polythyra (a system of doors set next to each) and skylights have been added to the majestic complex during the course of this year's excavations. The walls, which in places are preserved to a height of 2.5-3 metres, were covered with frescoes portraying plant, animal and architectural themes painted on thin plaster and reveal a particular sophistication.

The building has two and three storey-rooms in some areas, while some of the chambers have desks around the permitter, a feature that leads archaeologists to believe it was occupied by prominent people of the Knossos dynasty. Another feature the gives supports this is the fact that an area for religious gatherings was also present in the large building. A plethora of bronze religious items, like double edge axes, incense cups, statues and other items, possibly used in the religious chamber, were also unearthed during the excavations.
 
With its typically religious character, the Zominthos complex enabled the descendants of the Knossian Dynasty not only to control the Idaion Andron, but to also mobilize the products of the mountain (wool and medicinal herbs) and export them to the markets of Egypt and the Near East.
Apart from the areas of habitation and the public spaces, several workshops were also identified, including a pottery workshop with a huge kiln, a rock crystal processing facility, and a metal-working furnace.
 
After the destruction of the Minoan complex, sometime after 1450 BC, the same place was settled by the Mycenaeans 100 metres to the northeast. The Romans later built a military barracks on the site.

The Ministry of Culture also announced the opening of an innovative digital museum, erected by Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki with the assistance of the Municipality Anogia, showcasing the history of the excavations and findings from Zominthos and the Idaion Cave.

For sources an many images of the finds and structure, go here and here.
The 21th of Metageitnion, Hera Thelkhinia was honoured at Erkhia. Hera Thelkhinia, Goddess of Charm. Will you join us in honouring Her on August 24, at the usual 10 am EDT?


We know very little about this epithet of Hera, and it is often confused (including by yours truly) with 'Telkineia', missing the  'H'. The epithet Telkinios (Telkineia) is used for Apollon, Hera, and the Nymphs. It is linked to the island of Rhodes and either to metalworking or storm, at this point in time I truly am not sure. Metalworking would make sense, after all Hephaistos is the son of Hera.

In the Erkhian calendar, however, the epithet of Hera is Thelchiniai (ΘΕΛΧΙΝΙΑΙ), with an 'H'. The only references to this epithet is ‘charm’ and ‘charming’, not metal working. H. W. Parke, in Festivals of the Athenians' writes on page 179:

“Hera besides her festival with him [Zeus] had a sacrifice alone on the 20th of the same month under a title which seems to mean ‘Goddess of Charm’ (Thelchinia). So in Erkhia she may have included in her sphere the functions of the classical Aphrodite who was not worshipped in the deme.

The ritual for this sacrifice can be found here, and you can join our community page here.
I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.


"I'm wondering if the goddess Kybele plays a part in your worhsip/practice of Hellenismos. If so, can you point the way to any hymns or prayers? I'm having a very hard time finding anything. I found something from Pindar but only in Greek... which is Greek to me. Other than that option, are you familiar with any other epithets than mistress of the animals (of which she was one of many apparently) or mother of gods? I read that she was invoked in Athens as a protector of the city, but no hymns..."

Kybele is originally a primal nature Goddess worshipped in the mountains of central and western Anatolia. Ancient Hellenes who settled in those regions identified her most often with Rhea but also with Gaia, Demeter, Artemis and even Hekate. Her original cult was too barbaric for the ancient Hellenes to adopt whole. As such, I do not usually include Her in my worship; I honour Rhea, Demeter, Artemis and Hekate Themselves instead.

Perhaps there have been Hellenic hymns written especially for Kybele, but I don't know of any. The same goes for Her epithets. I am sure She had more local ones but in general, I assume many of those to Rhea, Gaia, Demeter, Artemis and Hekate apply or can at least be used to honour Kybele. I do know of Roman Emperor Julian's Oration to the Mother of Gods from which you might draw some inspiration? It can be found here.

~~~

"Hello! I was just wondering if you could explain the difference between a shrine and an altar. Thank you!"

An altar is one of the basic necessities within Hellenismos, and it differs from a shrine. Where an altar is a 'work space', dedicated not so much to a specific deity but used to do the bulk of the (daily) rituals, a shrine is a devotional area where an altar might be located. In ancient Hellas, the shrine was usually a temple, the altar an actual altar, standing outside of it. Household worship took place at a multitude of shrines. Labelling something a shrine does not mean you can't sacrifice at these spots in your home. In general, you decorate a shrine but leave the altar rather bare.

~~~

"Are there sins in Hellenic polytheism similar to Christian sins? I understand that hubris is condemned but is there some list of defined sins? Or is it more obscure and up to interpretation. Thank you."

Sin is defined as a 'transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate', often regarded as either 'deliberate disobedience to the known will of [the Abrahamic] God, or 'a condition of estrangement from [the Abrahamic] God resulting from such disobedience'.

Sin is a Christian issue, which is made clearest in the punishment of sin: once sinned, a devotee is barred from Heaven--the supreme goal--until he or she repents. Repenting is 'to feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do', and includes 'an admission of guilt for committing a wrong or for omission of doing the right thing; a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong or the omission where possible'.

The concept of sin has no place in Hellenismos. There are things you can 'do wrong' in Hellenism, but because of the way the concept of sin works, it can never be applied to the Hellenic religion: we are not working towards the goal of an afterlife. Mythologically speaking, we know that we will inevertably end up a shade in the realm of Hades. Only if you have done something incredibly inexcusable (kill, chop up and serve your son to the Theoi, for example, as Tantalos did), you might be punished in Tartaros. In general, we will walk the dreary Fields forever, while some of us--those who have done extraordinary deeds in life--will end up in Elysium, but that is a rare honor indeed.

Within Hellenismos, we try not to do wrong--or better, we always try to do right--by the Gods. They are the major influence over our lives and we live largely by Their will. As such, fear of the Gods is a cornerstone of the faith, but it is not meant in the Christian sense where any sin committed is seen by God and jeopardizes you place in heaven; here it is meant as a reminder of kharis: that the Gods look favorably upon those who honor Them properly. The implication here is, of course, that they do not look favorably upon those who do not honor Them properly, and this is correct. Yet, committing hubris does not automatically mean that you will be punished by the Theoi; it simply means a drop in kharis. A drop in kharis is restored by fostering more kharis.

Sin is an important concept but it is unrelated to Hellenismos. One should never feel guilt for doing wrong by the Gods--only, perhaps, sadness for not doing right. Sin and guilt have no place in our religion, although they have a place in many of us as our Western societies are often drenched with Christian values and morals. It's important to untangle yourself from these subconcious influences to live an authentic Hellenistic life, which is not better than an Abrahamic one, only different. And the differences count.

~~~

"I often follow the monthly calendar you have based off of HMEPA. Most often, that lines up in a lunar sense even though I'm on the other side of the ocean. However, the new moon on September 30th is before sundown for you and after sundown for me. I believe that would mean that I would celebrate the Deipnon one night after you if going by the moon. If I'm trying to be recon, would it be inappropriate to just go with your calendar instead of customizing,moving everything for the month a day off?"

Every once in a while, we run into ‘Reconstructionist problems’. In general, these are issues that would not have been an issue in ancient Hellas, but are one now because of societal, practical, or economical reasons.

A little background: Hekate’s Deipnon is a religious celebration that takes place on Hene kai Nea. Hene kai Nea basically mean 'old and new’, and takes place any time before the first sliver of the new moon is visible. In practice, this is the day after the new moon. The Noumenia is held the day after that, when the moon has become visible again, and Agathós Daímōn the day after that. It is important to note that the ancient Hellens started a new day at sundown the day before. Instead of starting a new day at midnight–or in the morning–like we do today, they started it at sundown of the previous day. This means that–when applied to modern practice–the Deipnon starts on the day of the suspected new moon, and the rest follows after, to the total of four days. For more information on this, please see here. For those of you who have issues reading the Hellenic calendar at all, please see here.

In general, the placement of Hene kai Nea is easy: check the date and time of the dark moon, and at sundown afterwards, the Deipnon starts. Every once in a while, though, there is a complication: because of the moon’s cycle we end up with a situation where,if we hold the Deipnon at the time of the dark moon, we are a little too early and if we hold it the night after, we are a little too late. There is an added complication: many of us follow the HMEPA calendar as a basis for our practice and as a concensus, the HMEPA calendar is divided equally in 29 day months and 30 day months. This was much less applicable in ancient Hellas (especially Athens) where days were dropped or added where needed to accommodate festivals, wars, public events, and anything else. If the ancient Hellenes needed a little time before the fourth of the month, they just repeated the third day.

Because we all work off of the same calendar, we can’t just drop or add days in our practice, or at least if we do, we need to reallign ourselves somewhere, preferably right away. Where the ancient Hellenes would have pushed the entire month back if they needed an other day and taken off a day at the end, we would like to celebrate festivals together in a way, so if we remain out of tune, we will end up with three possible dates for a single festival; one on the actual date, one a day earlier because of a dropped day, and one a day later for an added day.

So, let’s look at this practically. If you follow the HMEPA calendar, you’ll be a little early but you’ll automatically be aligned with the rest of the world. If you push the Hene kai Nea back, you need to cut a day in the beginning of the month to fit the month into the 29 day/30 day cycle we stick to in modern times. The third day of the month is set, so you would have to drop the Noumenia to make a 30 day month fit.

The choice, really, is yours. There is no right or wrong answer, there are only practical ones. If you want three full days like usual, you need to put the Hene kai Nea early. If you don’t mind being out of alignment with the rest of the word from now on, just push it back and don’t remove the Noumenia. If you want to push the Hene kai Nea back and you don’t want to be out of alignment, drop the Noumenia (or, alternatively, a day later in the month but you’ll be out of alignment until then, including festival days). The perfect example of a Reconstructionist problem, isn’t it?

~~~

"Is there a way to properly dispose of khernips? For some reason I decided my first batch ever should have essential oils in it and now the khernips' smell is extremely overwhelming. I have to dispose of it but I don't know how without disrespecting the gods."

Dispose of khernips--lustral water used in ritual to cleanse yourself with--in a pot or outdoor pit. Use the same spot every time. You can also use this spot to dispose of other offerings. Ancient temples had these pits as well (and they are now our main sources of information about the types of sacrifices that took place there).
Will you be joining us at 10 AM EDT on 22 August to celebrate the female heroes that we have so plentifully in our religion?


The ancient Erkhians honoured the Heroines twice a year, once on the 19th of Metageitnion, and once on the 14th of Pyanepsion. Certain heroines--like Basile--were worshipped separately from the group as well, most likely because they were local heroines instead of universally accepted heroines like Atalanta, who hunted the Calydonian boar, slew Centaurs, and defeated Peleus in wrestling, or Kallisto, who was an Arcadian princess and hunting companion of the Goddess Artemis. The Heroines received a white sheep in sacrifice, of which the meat was partly sacrificed and partly eaten by those who came out to sacrifice. The skin of the animal went towards the priestess.

Heroes and heroines have a special place in Hellenismos, as they had in ancient Hellas. These were humans--most with at least a part divine heritage--who were considered so brave, so skillful, so extraordinary in their lifetime that they became revered. Some were priests or priestesses of a temple, some excelled in battle, others were skilled healers or good rulers. Once they passed to the realm of Hades, their names were remembered at least once a year on a special occasion, because the ancient Hellenes believed that if the name and deeds of a person were remembered, they would live forever and potentially look out for those they had looked out for before.

Archaeological evidence suggests that hero worship was closer to Khthonic sacrifices in execution than Ouranic ones the further back in time you go; especially in the archaic period, it seems that hero worship consisted of destructive sacrifices--sometimes in the form of a holókaustos where the entire animal was burned, sometimes in a sacrifice where only a part (most often 'a ninth' of the animal) was burned and the rest remained on the altar for the heroes to eat from until gone. The sacrifices were generally burned in an offering pit known as a bothros. The food offered to heroes consisted of meat, blood, and 'food eaten by men' like grains, fruits and other every-day dishes. These were usually offered to the heroes on a table--known as a trapeza--and the heroes were sometimes offered chairs or a bench to sit on. As time went on, the living began to eat part of the meal laid out for the heroes, joining them in celebration.

You can find the ritual here, and join our community page here. We have added some of the other main Hellenic Goddesses to the ritual as well. Feel free to add more of our Goddesses and heroines to your own ritual, especially if you feel close to Them! This ritual will be a celebration of the feminine power in our religion!
I'm not always active in the online Hellenistic community but I get tagged in a lot and I do read that. I also get and answer a lot of questions from you. What I sense in many of your posts is a kind of fear about faith. Fear of the judgement of the Gods; a sense that the Theoi are always watching and ready to strike. Fear of the afterlife (or, perhaps, lack of same). The ancient Hellenes struggled with this as well. How do I know? Because there is a word to define the opposite of that fear: that word is ataraxia.

Ataraxia (ἀταραξία) is a Greek term used by--amongst others--Pyrrho and Epicurus. Ataraxia is the Greek word for equanimity, sometimes translated as imperturbability.  It generally translates as tranquility, serenity, or peace, and it’s the telos or goal of all wholesome ethical philosophy. In Epicureanism, ataraxia was synonymous with the only true happiness possible for a person. It signifies the state of robust tranquillity that derives from eschewing faith in an afterlife, not fearing the Gods because They are distant and unconcerned with us, avoiding politics and vexatious people, surrounding oneself with trustworthy and affectionate friends and, most importantly, being an affectionate, virtuous person, worthy of trust.

Ataraxia is satisfaction with life as it is here and now, not seeking its perfection but accepting its limitations and never minding them. It’s the mental aboveness of one who’s learned to be happy and to live in a pleasant state always, regardless of conditions. Ataraxia is unconditional pleasure in living.

Note that ataraxia is not about eliminating doubt, but about eliminating the cause of the mental distress people experience when doubts assail their minds. This cause contains a desire for the certainty of knowledge coupled with a belief that such knowledge is possible; and when we desire something, we always desire more of it. The practice of ataraxia requires the acceptance of the inherent uncertainty of most of our opinions and calls us to stop searching for answers that do not exist in our world and can never be attained.

Epicurus insisted that ataraxia is a mindful, positive state of peaceful abiding which can be cultivated through certain disciplines, including the cultivation of deep gratitude to life, to nature, to one’s teachers and ancestors. Sextus Empiricus supplies an example of ataraxia:

"The Sceptic, in fact, had the same experience which is said to have befallen the painter Apelles. Once, they say, when he was painting a horse and wished to represent in the painting the horse's foam, he was so unsuccessful that he gave up the attempt and flung at the picture the sponge on which he used to wipe the paints off his brush, and the mark of the sponge produced the effect of a horse's foam. So, too, the Sceptics were in hopes of gaining quietude [ataraxia] by means of a decision regarding the disparity of the objects of sense and of thought, and being unable to effect this they suspended judgment; and they found that quietude, as if by chance, followed upon their suspense. [Outlines of Pyrrhonism 1.28—29]

How do we benefit by accepting a basic human ignorance? The reason is pragmatic. We benefit by releasing debilitating mental agitation. Where knowledge is unavailable, we can only make a choice. The those who practice ataraxia choose not to choose in cases where there are no clear conclusions and opposing positions continue to be asserted even while everyone knows they cannot all be true. The benefit is in letting go of any and all doubt an fear of that which will always remain uncertain.

Stoicism often made use of the term, as they too sought mental tranquillity and saw ataraxia as highly valuable. In Stoicism, however, ataraxia is not an end to be pursued for its own sake as it is in many other philosophical schools. Rather, it is a natural consequence that occurs in a person who pursues virtue.

Ataraxia is very important in Hellenic philosophy and in Hellenismos today. Christianity clings to many religious terms we use today--including the word ' religion', which is often seen as synonymous to Christianity. It's concepts of fear of Deity and death live on in many of our minds, even in those minds that were not formed by Christian ideology. In modern times, practicing ataraxia includes becoming aware of this influence and letting it go in favour of more ancient ways of philosophical thinking. In modern Hellenismos, ataraxia is an almost necessary practice to apply in order to get ethically and philosophically closer to the ancient Hellenes and through their way of thinking, the Theoi.
On Sunday I posted about a report that had come out about skeletal remains found in the altar of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion. With the workweek done, various people and news outlets have gotten their shot at giving their opinion on the subject matter and I'd like to go through a few with you today.

Let's kick off with Livescience.com, who wrote:

"Since 2007, these researchers have been excavating a massive "ash altar" containing the remains of drinking cups, animal and human figurines, vases, coins, and a vast quantity of burnt animal offerings, most of which come from sheep and goats. Mount Lykaion in Greece is known to be the site of a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, Greek god of the sky and thunder.

"Several ancient literary sources mention rumors that human sacrifice took place at the altar, but up until a few weeks ago, there has been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site," excavation leader David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona, told the Associated Press.

The ancient writer Pausanias (A.D. 110-180) told of a legend he heard of a king named Lycaon who was turned into a wolf while sacrificing a child. "Lycaon brought a human baby to the altar of (Zeus) and sacrificed it, pouring out its blood upon the altar, and according to the legend, immediately after the sacrifice, he was changed from a man to a wolf," Pausanias wrote in a book on the geography of Greece (translation from a "Description of Greece with an English Translation" by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, Harvard University Press, 1918).

Archaeologists told the Associated Press that they don't know whether the teenager they found was sacrificed and that much of the altar has yet to be excavated. "Whether it's a sacrifice or not, this is a sacrificial altar ... so it's not a place where you would bury an individual. It's not a cemetery," Romano told the news agency, adding that the upper part of the teenager's skull is missing."

The Christian Science Monitor weighed in on the issue as well (with the lovely headline 'Did ancient Greeks practice ritual murder?'):

"Though the excavators have said it’s too early to speculate how the adolescent boy died, the discovery casts doubt on the belief human sacrifice was only legend in ancient Greece, the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of democracy.

Until now, most studies of human sacrifice in ancient Greece concluded it was probably fiction, Jan Bremmer, a professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and an editor of "The Strange World of Human Sacrifice," told The Guardian. He said that while the ancient Israelites, Romans, and Egyptians performed human sacrifice for religious purposes, modern-day archaeologists have long held that the Greeks did not.

"It nearly seems to good to be true," Dr. Bremmer said, although he questioned if the location of the findings could affect interpretations. Excavator David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona, noted that up until a few weeks ago, there was no evidence of human sacrifice at the site besides several ancient literary sources mentioning rumors of it. "There been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site," Dr. Romano said."

Because many of the reports state the same as these three, I'll only add a part of one more, by Yahoo:

"Excavators say it's too early to speculate on the nature of the teenager's death but the discovery is remarkable because the remote Mount Lykaion was for centuries associated with the most nefarious of Greek cults: Ancient writers - including Plato - linked it with human sacrifice to Zeus, a practice which has very rarely been confirmed by archaeologists anywhere in the Greek world and never on mainland Greece.

According to legend, a boy was sacrificed with the animals and all the meat was cooked and eaten together. Whoever ate the human part would become a wolf for nine years.

"Several ancient literary sources mention rumors that human sacrifice took place at the altar, but up until a few weeks ago there has been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site," said excavator David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona. A very unusual detail, he said, was that the upper part of the skull was missing, while the body was laid among two lines of stones on an east-west axis, with stone slabs covering the pelvis.

The mountaintop in the Peloponnese region is the earliest known site where Zeus was worshipped, and even without the possible human sacrifice element it was a place of massive slaughter. From at least the 16th century B.C. until just after the time of Alexander the Great, tens of thousands of animals were killed there in the god's honor.

Human presence at the site goes back more than 5,000 years. There's no sign yet that the cult is as old as that, but it's unclear why people should otherwise choose to settle on the barren, exposed summit. Zeus was a sky and weather god who later became the leader of the classical Greek pantheon. Pottery found with the human remains dates them to the 11th century B.C., right at the end of the Mycenaean era, whose heroes were immortalized in Greek myth and Homer's epics, and several of whose palaces have been excavated. So far, only about 7 percent of the altar has been excavated, between 2007-2010 and again this year. "We have a number of years of future excavation to go," Romano said. "We don't know if we are going to find more human burials or not.""

I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.


"I can't use fire for sacrifices where I am, is it ok to not use fire?"

I always find it difficult to answer that. According to ancient Hellenic orthopraxy, it's not okay to give sacrifice without fire; it's the fire that raises the fumes of the sacrifice up to the Gods, after all. But we don't live in ancient Hellas anymore. As much as I would like to, modern times make it impossible (and sometimes undesirable) to practice Hellenismos as the ancient Hellenes did. I practice as Traditional as I can but in some cases, that is just not possible. Is that okay? I don't know. We do what we can. I you can' tpractice with a fire, then you can't practice with a fire. It is what it is. The goal should--in my Traditional opinion--always be to practice with a fire but if you can't manage that, whatever you can do will have to be enough.

~~~

"Is there a way to honour the Theoi for my birthday?"

You can do whatever you want for your birthday! (And happy birthday, of course!) The ancient Hellenes did not celebrate their birthdays. Families celebrated the birth of a child, a coming-of-age feast, and feasts after death held on the anniversary of the day of birth (or death, depending on the scholar), but otherwise there were no annual birthday ceremonials. The birthdays of many of the Theoi were ritually acknowledged once a month, but the individual did not celebrate theirs. Herodotos notes this in his Histories, when he describes the birthday practices of the Persians.

"Of all the days in the year, the one which they celebrate most is their birthday. It is customary to have the board furnished on that day with an ampler supply than common. The richer Persians cause an ox, a horse, a camel, and an ass to be baked whole and so served up to them: the poorer classes use instead the smaller kinds of cattle. They eat little solid food but abundance of dessert, which is set on table a few dishes at a time; this it is which makes them say that "the Greeks, when they eat, leave off hungry, having nothing worth mention served up to them after the meats; whereas, if they had more put before them, they would not stop eating." They are very fond of wine, and drink it in large quantities. To vomit or obey natural calls in the presence of another is forbidden among them. Such are their customs in these matters." [133]

This, of course, changed with the Romans--especially the Emperors--but the ancient Hellenes found the birthdays of the Gods much more important.

~~~

"Can you tell me how you keep your fire going for offerings. Even with high proof alcohol, the mixed wine puts the fire out before I've offered to all the Theoi I've intended on offering too. It's quite annoying and I find it distracting. I was using 70% alcohol. Maybe I need 95%? I don't dilute my wine more than one part wine to 2 or 3 parts water."

The ancient Hellenes had it much 'easier', I fear--they always had someone assigned to guarding the fire. That said, they did always have to build up a fire--a time consuming practice.

The best advice I can give you is small volume offerings; give only a few drops with each outpour. That, so far, has been the only way that I have found to keep the fire going while you libate. I use bio-ethanol and as long as I don't flood it, the fire stays lit quite well. It even evaporates all the moisture if I do it well. And yes, don't mix the wine with too much water. Practice makes perfect!

~~~

"Do you cleanse yourself of miasma with khernips when interacting with Khthonic Theoi?"

Khernips are the traditional way to cleanse yourself from miasma–religious impurity. It is created by dropping smoldering incense or herb leaves into water. When throwing in the lit item, one can utter ‘xerniptosai’ (pronounced ‘zer-nip-TOS-aye-ee’) which translates as ‘be purified’. Both hands are washed with khernips and you can wash the face as well.

Artwork has taught us that khernips was often applied just outside the temenos, with hands being washed in a bowl or water poured out of a jug while the supplicant washed their hands. The water was collected from a moving source of water, which could be a natural spring, a river, or even the sea. Moving water was considered sacred, and often viewed as an extension of the body of a stream/river/sea God(dess). For my video tutorial on how to prepare and apply khernips, go here.

Khernips are applied whenever one engages in ritual that includes the Theoi. That goes for both the ouranic Gods and the khthonic ones. The distinction in deciding if khernips are a requirement is not between 'classes’ of Gods (ouranic vs. khthonic) but 'divine vs human’. If the Theoi are involved in any way, khernips is a requirement.