Praise be to tender and merciful Epione. I honour and adore you. Beloved wife of Asklepios, Godly mother of Iaso, Hygeia, Panakeia and Akeso and celestial mother to many more. Forgive me for my errors. Kindly Goddess, I beg you to ease my burden of loneliness, jealousy, heartache and fear. Please stop me from hurting so badly that I cannot continue. I plead to your grace and the grace of your family. Lay your fair hand upon me, comfort me as no one else will. I want so very strongly and I know that is wrong but I pray that you will not let me endure more than I can bear when I don’t think I can last much longer. Honour, worship and respect to you, gentle and learned Goddess. I am thankful for your blessings.
‘So Achilles prayed
and Zeus in all his wisdom heard those prayers.
One prayer the Father granted, the other he denied:
Patroclus would drive the onslaught off the ships-
that much Zeus granted, true,
but denied him safe and sound return from battle.
Once Achilles had poured the wine and prayed to Zeus,
he returned to his shelter, stowed the cup in the chest
then took his stand outside, his spirit yearning still…’
– Homer’s Iliad, Book 16
Zeus is the Father and king of Gods and men. He protects the weak. He upholds the law. In layman’s terms, He’s the big boss of just about everything. There are instances in the mythology where He recognises the authority of others (such as Nyx), but on the whole, He is supreme. It is therefore logical to presume that He hears any and every prayer. As is shown in the Iliad, He cannot grant every prayer as sometimes Fate gets in the way but it’s safe to say that every prayer is heard.
I pray to Zeus. I pray that His great and mighty will be done, not mine, as for me right now, Father knows best.
So I went out to what was the last libation in that particular spot (I go home from my holidays tomorrow) and afterwards I went a little bit down a slightly different path and saw a building that I’d never seen before in my life. I thought about going closer to look there but then I thought ‘not yet, but one day’ and I don’t regret not going. I kept the sand in my shoes on the walk home as a reminder.
Sometimes life gives you everything you need, you just need to look around you and it’s there. ‘More’ is a bigger word than I thought. It’s no bad thing to aspire to greater things but that shouldn’t stop you from living in the meantime. Sometimes right now is enough.
It was just a thought, but as it came to me after doing a libation I thought I’d share it.
My Gods, do I love the internet. Really, I do. Nothing else has allowed me to connect with other people in the same way.
And I love it when people write about a Deity that they whole heartedly love, when you feel the passion and devotion through their words and you know that they really mean what they’re saying. It’s very encouraging and it inspires me to grow stronger in faith.
For example, today I read a very beautiful post about Apollon and now I have this feeling that I really should worship Him. I think gut instincts are very important and if I can go with them then I will.
I hope that one day I will become close enough to a Deity that I will be able to write about them with that level of love and security but I think I have a long way ahead of me yet.
There will be times in your life it will be just too difficult to find the time and space to do libations, for example if you’re away with people who you don’t want to know about your faith (which is my present situation). In these times I go for the notion that any libation is better than no libation at all and go for a makeshift, faster version.
Note/disclaimer: This is not the best way to do libations, if you do have the time/space/whatever to do a proper one then do it. Don’t cheat the Gods.
All of these steps here are ‘if possible’ so adapt them as you wish. You won’t need anything out of the ordinary so all you’d need to say is ‘I’m going for a walk’ or something to that effect. Just a water bottle (filled with water obviously, as that’s the libation) and perhaps a notebook and something to kneel on.
- Planning is essential. This could be the only libation you make for the day/week/whatever frequency you normally do them, so be sure to include everything you need to. It helps to have a good idea of what you want to say (or whisper if you’re in a relatively public place) so that you don’t get lost for words under pressure.
- Find somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. This is often easier said than done but try to go somewhere a little off the path behind a tree or a bush so you’ve a little privacy . Worst comes to worst someone might think you’re having a wee. It’s worth bringing something to kneel on, especially if it’s sandy or muddy.
- Often meditation takes too long, so taking a few deep breaths and trying to centre just a little bit will suffice. If you have to walk to get to your chosen spot then you might want to try mediating in motion. (Have a quick google, you never know you might discover something new that really works for you.)
- Before you do anything, be honest and say ‘[names of God/s you’re worshipping], I have a limited amount of time.’ or something to that effect. Chances are you’re going to have to make the libation to multiple Gods so you should always be aware and respectful. Apologise if you want to but make your main focus the worship.
- Do your libation from the water bottle however you would do it normally. Try not to rush this part even if you do feel pressed for time. The key here is to be sincere. If you followed step 1 and have a good idea of what you’re going to say then this step is easier. I would suggest maybe beginning with something for a text (for example: ‘I will sing of Zeus’) and then going on with your own words to say whatever you need to say.
- Thank the Gods for Their time and blessings.
As long as you are respectful and heartfelt I don’t think you can go far wrong, and even if you do, the Gods will let you know.
In a typical year in my country, there aren’t that many days of sunshine per year and the highest temperature I’ve ever experienced was about 25°C. That makes it all the more special when Helios does decide to bring us sunshine and heat. It’s very much a part of the culture here to ‘make the most of the sun’ (as it usually doesn’t last long) which means that on a sunny day the majority of people will be go outside to enjoy themselves.
This, in my eyes, in Helios’ blessing. He gives me the opportunity to get out of the house and go and do something, live my life, in you will. I went down to the beach today (I’m on my holidays at the minute though still in the same country) and even while I was walking down there there was such a profound feeling of happiness in the air that I ended up including Helios in my libations (that’s another post coming up soon) even though I had not originally planned to.
To me Helios symbolises making the most of the here and now, and truly revelling in any happiness that comes your way.
And to make up for the large amount of UPG in this post, I’ll end with a quote,
‘Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance that cheers the heart.’ – Homeric Hymn #31
Have some of my personal opinion on worship. I don’t believe that there is only one ‘right’ way to worship the Gods but then again I’m not a full on reconstructionist. Anyway, here we go.
Imagine two situations in which a person (let’s call them Mark, why not?) worships the Gods. In the first scenario Mark carries out a full ritual with as much historical accuracy as is possible but mentally he’s totally uninterested and his mind has wandered to what he’s going to have for tea rather that focussed on praising the Gods. In the second scenario Mark does nothing expect close his eyes, clasp his hands together and pray but his mind is totally centred on his worship. Which of the two scenarios is more pleasing to the Gods? Which one worships Them more thoroughly? That’s for the individual to decide.
As important as it is to honour traditions, I think it’s more important to be sincere in what you’re doing. Carrying out rituals is difficult for me anyway as I have the attention span of a gnat and living with my family does limit me in terms of time, space and how much noise I can make. One day I would love to take part in a group ritual which would maybe be easier for me in focus in but for now I think I’ll stick to simpler forms of worship and be heartfelt in them.
Unless the Gods tell me otherwise, of course.