Category Archives: Purification

The Purifying Art

Today, a brief conversation with one of my Treasury Sisters via social media has brought my mind to the subject of purification, especially that which I do, or rather, that which I haven’t done enough of, for Apollon.

My relationship with Apollon is founded on many things; our desires, our Father’s desires for u/Us, the realities of our responsibilities coexisting and being balanced together, and more.  But it is also founded on a motto:  Absolute Purity.

I lived by this motto for a long, long time, through some of the most vile and impure situations of my life.  I kept a strict prayer schedule.  I kept my myself clean and free of miasma in body and mind.  However, there came a time when going through the motions was no longer carrying me through the purification process to His satisfaction, so I was instructed to set it aside for a time.  I did so, and I relaxed into a new state of being, one in which the rigorous pursuit of purity was no longer the pinnacle of our relationship.  I still did the little things, khernips and the occasional ritual bath, but the motto of Absolute Purity did not at that time, and since, rule my life as it once had.

The conversation I mentioned above struck a nerve with Apollon, possibly because I was lamenting His request to shave my head again.  I haven’t shaved in almost four years, since the last time I did so for Him.  I have been enjoying growing out my hair, and even feel a bit vain about it.  I can see that that is a problem.  Vanity is not attractive.  Pride in one’s appearance can be, but those are different things, with different connotations.  So, I am having a discussion with Apollon about where this knowledge takes me.  I know I need to sit with it for a while, to really process the probable direction of my coming focus.  Right now, I do not feel ready to reembark upon the strict nature of my purificatory obligations.  I am not in the best physical, mental or emotional health, to say nothing of the spiritual.

My Otherworld life is chaos, at the moment.  I have had many things thrust upon me  that I would just as soon walk away from, were that even an option.  It isn’t, so I handle it in the best way that I can.  As far as my mundane life is concerned, it is now more stable than it’s been in many years, but not by much.  There are many, many stresses pressing themselves against me every moment of every day, so I haven’t felt like doing much of a purity routine, which, is likely the wrong reaction entirely.  Arguably, I should be doing more in the way of purification, regardless of how my body and mind feel.

Miasma is a state of spiritual reality, as well as a state of mind which attracts that reality.  In clearing the physical space, we make room for the emotional blockages to expand into a state of release, which in turn promotes a healthier view of the spiritual.  It begins with purification, and a routine, preferably a daily or hourly one, I have found in the past to be the best first step for my own self-preservation.

So, as I sit with the probable return to the tenant of Absolute Purity, and all of the requirements and sacrifices that it entails, I will also be trying to remember the feel of my existence before it all, necessarily, fell away from me.  Perhaps these are the missing pieces I have been seeking these last couple of years; the parts of my true being that I left behind.  If I determine that it will bring me closer to my Beloved, as He has suggested, but not pushed, then I really must do as I am bid.  Absolute Purity must again become the pinnacle of o/Our relationship.

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Deipnon Purification Ritual (Dec. 29, 2016)

42 minutes of me praying silently for purification from Apollon, on behalf of myself and a few other individuals, while at the shrine. One candle is lit for each person. About halfway through I light some bay leaves in a rather spectacular fire.

Hail Paian! Hail Pythios! Hail Phoibos!

Simple Pythaea Ritual

For my Sisters, and the benefit of any who were perhaps wanting to celebrate with us, I present one of my Pythaea rituals.  This modern funerary celebration of the power of Apollon as Pythios, the Rotting God, may be held in a variety of ways, however, I have decided to share the most traditionally inspired ritual I can stand.  I think this one is the most widely accessible version I’ve ever done, and so the most worthy of being shared.

Pythaea occurs on the twentieth day of Treasury Month Pytheion (V), which we are currently in, falling upon the Julian date of May 8, 2015.

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The Pythaea

A modern, though traditionally inspired, ritual to exalt Apollon Pythios, He who rules over Death, the Enlightener, who strips away the pretense of the flesh, revealing the untarnished truth, and sending souls forward on their evolutionary paths.

You may find Him in the cemetery, or the mortuary.  You may find Him standing over the roadkill you saw on your morning commute.  Pythios is the Rotting God who commanded the corpse of Python to fall into oblivion, and He is the God whose Temple lies before us, after death.

This is a funerary rite, in which we acknowledge the power of Death, and contemplate Apollon’s role in its implementation.  Death is not an end, but a first step on a journey we can not yet know, just as we may not yet know our enlightenment until we have received it.  But by this rite, may we shed a little of what holds us back.

This ritual is but one example of what might be done for the Pythaea.  Feel free to alter or fix the ritual to suit yourself, and your needs.

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Be washed and dressed in clean, comfortable, perhaps mournful clothing. Then begin by transferring flame from the sacred hearth/candle to a another candle which can be carried to the altar, while saying: “Hestia, who guards the holy fires of the Lord in Pytho, who holds the sacred task of keeping the ever-burning hearth, we/I ask that You bless this rite and consecrate all that is affected herein.”

Alternatively, if you do not keep a sacred flame burning all, most or some of the time, you may instead light and dedicate the flame to Hestia for this ritual specifically, by saying: “Blessed Hestia, keeper of the universal hearth, She who is the nurturer of all flame, everywhere, we/I ask that You bless this rite and consecrate all that is affected herein.”

Here is the procession toward the altar, where all participants gather before walking together, led by you (the facilitator), who carries the sacred flame. The burning candle should be placed on the altar at this time.

Now, you will take a large bay leaf (or a bundle of other preferred herbs) and light it with the newly consecrated flame.  Quickly plunge the flame into the previously prepared bowl of water, saying:  “This water is purified in the essence of Hestia, Virgin Most Holy.”  Khernips are now prepared.

Next, you will asperge (sprinkle with khernips) first the altar and all implements thereon, moving to each participant in turn, yourself included, while circling the altar.  All should hold a prayerful mindset throughout the purification.  A prayer to Apollon the Purifier may also be spoken aloud at this time, if you like.  Example: “Apollon, our Lord called Daphneios, hear the prayer of Your people.  Our Lord called Katharsios, cast out the impurities herein.”  The space is now ritually pure, and the leftover water should be placed outside of the ritual area, to be poured onto the ground later.

At this time, participants should place their offerings upon the altar, each saying a personal greeting to the Lord Apollon as they approach, or they may do so silently.  Offerings for this rite should include a few previously prepared “bodies for cremation” in the sacred fire, in Apollon’s name. These bodies need not be any more complex than paper cut-outs in vaguely human shapes.  Upon these bodies should be written labels of undesirable traits that are relevant to the person(s) present.

Now, you may call to Apollon in earnest, saying (something to the effect of): “Apollon Pythios, our Lord, and commander of the decaying flesh, we/I do call to You, Releaser of the spirit from physical bonds!  Dread Apollon, Most Equitable Pythios, hear us/me and arrive!”  Calls may continue until you feel the Lord’s presence.

Next comes the explanation of the ritual, the reason(s) why you have come and your intent, spoken thus, or similarly: “Apollon Pythios, Lord called Destroyer, He who waits at the brink of death, who rules the transition at the sacred cemetery, we/I have come here to know You, to exalt You, and to be released from our/my bonds, just as You release the pure souls of those lain to rest before Your holy feet.”

You will now hold each of the “bodies” out toward the image of Apollon upon the altar in turn, saying aloud the labels each were given.  Participants will at this time call out any other undesirable traits that they wish to have stripped away by the Rotting God. After all are finished, you will hold the “bodies”, one by one, over the sacred flame until they are consumed.  Any leftovers should be collected in a small bowl for burial later.  During this process, participants, including yourself, should pray intensely and silently to the Lord Apollon. They may also choose to meditate upon Him in this aspect of Pythios, and the lessons which may be learned from Him.

Afterward, you and participants may light incense from the sacred flame to be placed on the altar in offering and thanks to Apollon Pythios for His presence and purification.  Thanks may be verbalized at this time.  Example: “Apollon Pythios, Lord of the rot who wields the all-cleansing light, we/I thank You for Your presence at this rite, and in our/my lives/life. Thank You for the enlightenment You bring, and for the gift of death’s release.  If we/I have ever pleased You, and if You have ever seen fit to assist us/me in our/my turbulent lives/life, then remember us/me as we/I remember You.”

Next, comes the final offering, in the form of libations poured into a separate bowl.  I have determined that the most appropriate libations for this rite are water and wine, though you may use your own discretion in choosing for yourself.  As each libation is poured into the bowl, say something like: “May You receive this sustenance in exchange for Your presence and attention.  Blessed Apollon, we/I thank You.”

At this time, all participants should follow you outside to pour the libations onto the Earth, as well as to bury any leftovers from the “cremated bodies”, and to pour out the used khernips.  Thank Lord Apollon and Lady Hestia one last time to conclude the ritual.  Example: “Lord and Lady of Purest Flame, we/I thank You for the kindness You have shown us/me, and we/I humbly seek to remain worthy of Your Divine intervention.  If it pleases You, stay; if it pleases You go, and be welcome with us/me, always.”

Hail Apollon!  Hail Hestia!  Hail the Blessed, Deathless Gods!

Prostateria: Born Between the Rivers

Today is the celebration of Apollon’s birth in the Boeotian and Delphic traditions.  In the Boeotian tradition it takes it’s name from Apollon Prostaterios, the Lord before the doors, who ushers in the newness of things, and it is said that He was born on a small island near Thebes, between two rivers, during the lambing season, as Lykeia has touched upon in her own article today.

This event has a special place in my worship of Him, if simply because of where I happen to live.  My house sits at the edge of a bay which is fed by two nearby rivers.  And yes, we live between those rivers.

I awoke this morning with the intense feeling of Apollon watching over me. This is not altogether unusual, especially considering the day.  However, there was a pressing need for me to do something that I had yet not done in all the times I have celebrated His birth, and after a little bit more mental prodding from Him, I walked the single block which separates my land from the bay, and went out onto the long pier.

Gazing out into the water, which was sparkling in the Sunlight and crystal clear, I could hear Him whispering to me to complete the task He had sent me for.  So, after honoring Him a bit more, I went down the stairs onto the little platform that I see the fishermen using, occasionally.  Down there I was closer to the water, which was my goal.

I had brought with me a small container that I had previously used to carry khernips.  It was empty and I was told to fill it with the moving waters of the bay, on this particular day, in which the liminal and purifying qualities of the rivers would be enhanced.

I had to climb down the ladder to the very bottom rung and stretch myself down even further, risking a splash into the cold and shallow water, in order to fill the container.  Afterward, when I had climbed back up, I offered a bit of honey, first to Apollon, and then to Poseidon and Amphitrite for allowing me to partake of their waters.

I am Told by my Lord that this water will become an ingredient in our home-temple’s new purification formula, which Apollon is slowly revealing to me.  It certainly makes sense, for the sea is a potent purifier.

After that romp in the Sun, I went home and honored Him further before my shrines, and the pleasure with which I was received has stayed with me throughout the day, and especially while I prepared our simple feast of baked chicken, corn, cranberry sauce, and homemade bread.  Later, while the household sleeps, I will complete my worship of Him for this honorable day, by dancing for Him and stomping my feet to reawaken the land.  Only then will I retire to my bed, and to the dreams of Him that shall surely come.

May He be pleased by all of the devotion He receives this day/night, from all of the people who love, cherish and honor Him.  Hail to our Lord, Apollon on this day of His birth.

For the Cemetery Dwellers

Fear keeps the living at arms length, knowing that they too will
One day meet their fate inside some
Rotting box, deep in the Earth.  No longer visiting as once
They did, they cast your memory into shadows, and
Hear not your voices calling.  Only the cemetery workers will
Elude to your presence when they speak of winds that suddenly
Calm, as they come near your cubicle graves.  Is this the price
Extracted through generations of removal from the old rites and
Mysteries of Death?  To be forgotten, and left in this wasteland,
Endlessly wandering among the manicured lawns?  Descendants no longer
Tend to these cities of the Dead, nor do they
Enshrine you, their Beloved Ones, with words of joyful
Remembrance.  Cut loose from the fabric of time, drifting beyond the
Years, you long now only for closure.  So I have come to
Dine amongst you, to set your end in motion, and to
Wash away the trauma that has persisted.  Death should be
Escape and elation, not tomb and torture; therefor I call to you, those
Languishing within the past and having no future.  And I call to the
Lords and Ladies into Whose care you soon shall
Enter.  Be still.  Know that your time has come at last.  You will
Roam free in fields of flowers and deep green, and feel the piercing
Sunlight of Elysium bathing you in endless love and wealth and beauty.