Ritual Purification


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ritual purification An Evening with Pagans

Over 25,000 years ago, our ancestors across the continent
practiced an ancient form of religion known as paganism. During the
Neolithic and Paleolithic time era, our ancestors were in awe of the
great manifestations of nature. Due to lack of scientific thought, they
were riddled with ignorance and superstition. Everything had a supernatural
They associated each naturalistic phenomena with a type
of god, inscribing inanimate objects with life -like characteristics .This
practice is referred to as animism. Every element ,be it thunder ,rain or
the sun ,was thought to be a god (or goddess) within it.
Eventually their gods became an object of worship known as polytheism.
Eventually many forms of polytheism evolved to what is known as paganism.
Now defined as :The worship of a god or goddess whose roots
are in pre-Christian Western Europe. Modern paganism is alive and well
today. It consists of many sub-divisions .These include Wicca ,druidism
Santeria and many others. Wicca focuses on the worship of a god and
goddess .In Wicca ,there  is a plethora of pantheon of deities that one
can choose from including: Greek, Norse ,roman etc......
Focusing on a Greek Wiccan tradition ,this will be describing
The festival of Hecate  is celebrated between the 3rd and 4th
Saturday of August. (which ever is closest to the new moon)
It is in honor of the Greek goddess Hecate. She was first worshipped
in ancient Greece -called the triple goddess of magic. She is often
represented in triple form ; maiden (youth) ,mother (fertility)
and crone (the wise woman). In ancient Rome ,she was known as
trevia ,the cross road with three paths.
Hecate is symbolized by the phases of the moon.
Each attribute correlates with a particular phase of the moon.
The waxing moon (maiden),the full moon (mother) and the
Upon arrival at the festival in Georgetown Delaware,
everyone gathers for the lecture. This is to educate the newcomers
as to what the ceremony entails. The ceremony is always rehearsed
before it is performed. After the lecture ,there is a large potluck
feast to keep everyone energized for the evenings festivities.
When the sun sets, the processional begins. With everyone
in their appropriate magical attire,(consisting of a robe and jewelry)
everyone lines up proceeds with the first phase.
This is called consecration- each person is consecrated . This is done
by covering the body in incense smoke and sprinkling of water.
This is a purification process that cleanses the body of negative
Next each person is permitted to enter the circle one by one.
Once everyone is inside the circle, the next phase begins.
At this point ,the high priest/priestess begins the calling
of the quarters or summoning the elements. Each direction is marked
by an altar and each is represented by an element.
West =air, east=water , north=earth and south=fire.  The high priest
approaches each point ,says a chant and ends the chant with the
phrase hail and welcome. After the elements are called , the
highpoint of the ritual begins  the invocation
The invocation is where the goddess is invited to attend
the ceremony. The invitation is done through a series of chants .
Ex:          He Kau  ,He Kau , He Kau
Hecate queen of the moon and all her phases    3 Xs (Hek a ta)
Next 3 women are chosen to represent Hecate ,each representing
one of her aspects.(they are chosen prior to the ritual)  The maiden is in
white (purity) the mother in red (fertility) and crone in black(wisdom)
At this point the goddess speaks to the participants .Each one
gives a brief message ,usually a blessing or advice. Once the crone
has finished, each participant is invited to approach any of the three
forms and speak to them. They may ask for advice ,offering or a boon.
Once everyone has had their turn to speak with Hecate,the group
becomes silent. The goddess is thanked and dismissed.
Sometimes during a ritual a participant may feel a bit
overwhelmed with the energy that has been raised. It is for this
reason ,that the next phase ,called grounding takes place.
This is done by simply placing the hands on the ground and releasing
the energy. Once the grounding has been performed,it is time to
close the quarters or dismiss the elements.
Like the opening , the high priest approaches each element
,says a chant but this time ends with hail and farewell
Once the elements are dismissed, it is time to close the circle.
A special chant is recited to close the circle :
The ... more

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Of Gods And Romans

         
           
History of the Roman Republic/Empire
October 27, 2000


Of Gods and Romans

The Romans during the time of their Republic relied on their advanced technology, social structure, leadership and politics to achieve as much as they did. To these people, their gods affected all of these factors and the relationships mankind had with them. The contractual relationship between mankind and the gods involved each party in giving, and in return receiving services. The Romans believed that spirits residing in natural and physical objects had the power to control the processes of nature, and that man could influence these processes by symbolic action. The first is a primitive form of religious creed; the second a type of magic.
The services by which the Romans hoped to influence the forces that guided their lives were firmly established in ritual - the ritual of prayer and the ritual of offering. In either case, the exact performance of the rite was essential. One slip, and you had to go back to the beginning and start again. The very multiplicity of deities caused problems, as did the gender of some of them: 'wether you be god or goddess' was a common formula in Roman prayers.
The motivations of the sacrifices are what of interest. Most of the time, sacrifices took place for purification, supplication, or celebration. The purification ritual was one that was performed before battle (285). Asking for a deed to be done was very popular as well. One usually asked for victory and good fortune in battle (20). Celebration is the event that seems to be the most spectacular of all. Whether it is in joy of an enemies' death, such as Mithridates (201), the end of illness of a leader like Pompey (218), or simply the merriment that comes after large victory, we see this in Caesar's winnings in Gaul (264). Some sacrificial events took place in order to ask forgiveness and appeasement for defeat of a religious enemy (90 - 91).
Any sacrificial routine was elaborate and messy. The head of the victim was sprinkled with wine and bits of sacred cake made from flour and salt. Then its throat was cut and it was disemboweled to ensure there was nothing untoward about its entrails. If there was, it was not only a bad omen, but the whole process had to be repeated with a fresh animal until it came out right. The vital organs were burnt upon the altar and the carcass cut into pieces and eaten on the spot, or else laid aside. Then the priest, wearing something over his face to shut out evil influences from his eyes, would say prayers, speaking under his breath, while a flute was played to drown any ill-omened noise. Any unintentional deviation from the prescribed ritual meant not only a new sacrifice, but also an additional one to absolve the error. In high occasions, on which a replay of the entire ceremony might be an embarrassment, a sacrifice was performed as a matter of course on the pervious day, to cover for any potential errors during the main ceremony. Multiple sacrifices were commonplace: the word hecatomb, which derives from the Greek, means the sacrifice of a hundred head of oxen.
There was a distinction between signs that were solicited and those that appeared without invitation. At many times, an individual would see an omen that gave him/her confidence to continue a current course of action (52) other incidences produced warnings to change one's itinerary (55, 74 - 75). The more startling or unexpected the sign, for instance a sudden flash of lightning or an epileptic fit on the part of a member of an assembly, the more seriously it was taken. It was not unknown for an interested party to throw a feigned fit in order to obstruct proceedings. Lightning which appeared while auspices were being taken was good news, but not so if it came otherwise. Certain omens such as scorpions fighting (55), sacrificing an animal that does not appear to have a heart (303), or bizarre natural occurrences (74 - 75) were signs of disaster. The gods also produced omens through the actions of men. When a child expressed a particular talent or a ... more

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