OFFERINGS TO GODS
TRADITIONAL AND APPROPRIATE OFFERINGS IN
HELLENIC POLYTHEISTIC RITUAL
"...to make libations and to sacrifice and to offer first fruits according to the custom of our fathers, purely and not meanly, nor carelessly nor scantily, nor above our ability, is a thing which belongs to all to do." (Ἐγχειρίδιον Ἐπικτήτου Chapter 31: Piety, trans. George Long, 1888.)
MISUNDERSTANDINGS REGARDING OFFERINGS
Are We Required to Sacrifice Animals to Gods?
When people envision the rituals of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the religion of ancient Greece, they conjure images of animal sacrifice. There is at least one scholar who claims that in order to practice the ancient Greek religion with authenticity, one must sacrifice animals on the altar. We do not sacrifice animals to the Gods. Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς) the great reformer and theologian whose tradition we follow, expressly forbid animal sacrifice, because we should help the less evolved souls. Pythagóras (Πυθαγόρας) and many others suggested offerings of frankincense and other nice things to the Gods. 
Do We Need to Propitiate the Gods?
Under ordinary circumstances, we do not propitiate or need to appease Gods, because the nature of the Gods is completely good and they are not petty despite some mythology that may imply otherwise; they never desire to harm us and are by nature favorably inclined towards us. 
As a worse case scenario, there are people who believe that you can do evil deeds and that by simply making offerings, we can appease the anger of the Gods. But this is bad thinking. Plátôn in Nómi (The Laws, Νόμοι Πλάτωνος) is very matter-of-fact concerning such an idea:
"The other notion that they (ed. the Gods) are appeased by the wicked, and take gifts, is what we must not concede to any one, and what every man should disprove to the utmost of his power...But upon this earth we know that there dwell souls possessing an unjust spirit, who may be compared to brute animals, which fawn upon their keepers, whether dogs or shepherds, or the best and most perfect masters; for they in like manner, as the voices of the wicked declare, prevail by flattery and prayers and incantations, and are allowed to make their gains with impunity. And this sin, which is termed dishonesty, is an evil of the same kind as what is termed disease in living bodies or pestilence in years or seasons of the year, and in cities and governments has another name, which is injustice. ...What else can he say who declares that the Gods are always lenient to the doers of unjust acts, if they divide the spoil with them? As if wolves were to toss a portion of their prey to the dogs, and they, mollified by the gift, suffered them to tear the flocks. Must not he who maintains that the Gods can be propitiated argue thus? ... And to which of the above-mentioned classes of guardians would any man compare the Gods without absurdity? Will he say that they are like pilots, who are themselves turned away from their duty by 'libations of wine and the savour of fat,' and at last overturn both ship and sailors?" 
Can I Obtain Favors from the Gods by Making Offerings?
If it were true that you can produce gifts from Gods by simply making offerings, this would be as if you had some kind of power over the Gods and that by simply following a formula, you could make them do your will, so there is a problem with this line of thinking. It can be found in the ancient folk religion, that people would make a type of business deal with a God, promising an offering if a gift should be received. For instance, an individual might pray, "If my leg is healed, I will sacrifice a lamb." There is no question that such a religion existed in antiquity as numerous examples can be found in the literature. But are the Gods merchants who look forward to receive payments for services they render? Is not such an idea an attempt to profane the divine? It is unkind and ungenerous to look with disdain on worshipers who engage in this type of offering, but it is also useful to question whether such a practice is appropriate or even realistic or efficacious. Is there a way to make offerings that reflects a deeper and more sublime perspective?
WHY DO WE MAKE OFFERINGS TO GODS?
In the beginning centuries of Christianity in Europe, the act of making offerings was discouraged. The Christians believe that sacrifice or offerings are unnecessary because the death of Jesus was more than sufficient of an offering. The animal sacrifice of the Jews was ended with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. If Christians and Jews do not make offerings to their God, why do we make offerings to Gods? The Gods do not need or demand offerings. The idea of offerings as a "business deal" is questionable, and our offerings cannot force the Gods to bestow favors. If all this is true, what is the purpose of making offerings at all? What is the meaning of our offerings?
Mortals, Ǽrôs, and the Gods
In Ællinismόs, the progressed soul is attracted to the great beauty and goodness of the Gods. This attraction is called Ǽrôs (Eros, Ἔρως). Our Ǽrôs immediately gains the attention of the Gods, who have been awaiting our invitation. Why do the Gods await our invitation? It is because there is a great law that the Gods do not violate our freedom and our conscience: they do not demand our worship. But when we discover deity and find it beautiful and are attracted to it, this is an invitation; we are inviting the Gods into our life, and there is an immediate flow of Ǽrôs back from the Gods to us; the Gods feel our attraction and perceive that it is beautiful. Therefore, when we make offerings to Gods, the offering actually represents the Ǽrôs flowing back and forth between Gods and man. When we feel the great Ǽrôs surging toward us from the Gods, we desire to express our gratitude and love. We do this by offering the Ǽrôs back to the Gods. That is why we make the offering, whether it be a libation of wine, incense, or whatever one wishes. The offering represents the Ǽrôs or attraction to the beauty of the Gods, and it represents the Ǽrôs flowing from the Gods to us, that we receive from them and return to them in order to honor them and express our love and appreciation for them. This is the reason why we drink some of the libation or eat some of the food offerings; we are receiving the Ǽrôs as well as offering the Ǽrôs. Without Ǽrôs, our offerings are meaningless, the smoke from our incense blows about and is never savored by the Gods:
"He (ed. Ǽrôs) interprets between Gods and men, conveying and taking across to the Gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the Gods; he is the mediator who spans the chasm which divides them, and therefore in him all is bound together, and through him the arts of the prophet and the priest, their sacrifices and Mysteries and charms, and all prophecy and incantation, find their way. For God mingles not with man; but through Love (ed. Ǽrôs) all the intercourse and converse of God with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on." 
Another way to explain this is to say that we make and share in offerings in imitation of the love and compassion of Zefs (Ζεύς). This is explained in the mythology of the sacrifice of Zagréfs by the Titánǽs (Titans, Τιτᾶνες) and his role in the providence of Zefs after being reborn Diónysos (Διόνυσος) of Sæmǽli (Semele, Σεμέλη). All this can be found in the Orphic Theogony (See The Sixth King), the most important page on this entire website.
The Genuine Reciprocity of Ællinismós
There is an idea commonly held by both scholars and practitioners (both contemporary and ancient) concerning Ællinismόs, the idea that our religion is a religion of reciprocity, that we make offerings to Gods who in turn bestow benefits, in other words, quid pro quo or do ut es, "I give so that you give back to me." In the modern Hellenic community, this idea is equated with the word kháris (charis, χάρις), grace. But as discussed above, if not properly understood, this is a perversion of the beautiful meaning of a genuine offering. Yes, Ællinismόs is a religion of reciprocity, but it is not that we are expecting gifts from the Gods. It is reciprocal because Ǽrôs flows freely back and forth from man to Gods to man to Gods, etc. It is action which is spontaneous, natural, and bountiful. The physical offering represents our Ǽrôs for the Gods. It is not a "bribe" or a payment for an expected gift. There is no "magic" such that one could make an offering and force the Gods to act; as a matter of fact, such an idea would be impious. Rather, we make offerings because we desire to express our love for the Gods, who, in return, express their love for us; and this is the true kháris.
WHAT ARE APPROPRIATE OFFERINGS TO GODS?
Through the history of our religion, there are many things which have been used as offerings. On this page we will outline some of the traditional offerings used in the rituals of Ællinismόs to express our Ǽrôs for the Gods.
In general, anything pleasant may be offered to the Gods, but the most traditional offering for us is laurel leaves (in addition to a libation to Diónysos). They are sacred, particularly to Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων) but also to all the Gods. Laurel is known to absorb much light in photosynthesis, symbolic of the brilliant light of the Gods, who are by nature all-enlightening. The laurel leaves are placed in the foreground of the altar. Try to use fresh laurel, not dried. If you cannot buy fresh laurel at the market, consider growing a laurel tree in a pot (if you do not live in a warm climate where you may be able to grow one out-of-doors). They are very easy to grow. (See this page: Sacred Plants and their Cultivation) Or course, if you cannot obtain fresh laurel, the dried leaves are satisfactory.
One leaf is a sufficient offering for one person. If you have a large enough group of people, the leaves are offered one by one from each participant, first one leaf on the left, then right, left, right, forming a wreath as in the picture below.
Perhaps the most common offering to the Gods, the venerable libation can be utilized in all ritual. Please visit this page to learn more: LIBATION IN HELLENISMOS.
Bunches of flowers or even petals of flowers are appropriate offerings.
It is traditional to offer incense to the Gods. HellenicGods.org has several pages related to this offering: Incense
Food Offerings to Gods:
All kinds of food may be offered to the Gods. Anything pleasant and good: fruit, grain, milk, honey, cakes, cookies, etc. Obviously, food offerings are not "eaten" by the Gods; they are symbolic of our Ǽrôs, our love, our attraction to them. If you have a ritual fire, some of the offerings can be offered up in the flames, but it is nice to have an excess of offerings such that after ritual, the remaining offerings should be shared amongst the participants. Also, it is good to leave food offerings outside for wild animals to eat; our aim is to benefit those souls who are less developed. It is not necessary to dig food offerings into sacred ground and it is unfortunate to waste the offerings to Gods.
We often read of animal sacrifice in the ancient world, but Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς), whose tradition we follow, prohibited the killing of animals. Traditionally, cakes were made into the shape of animals or other things, to be offered to a God. This can be accomplished by making cookies and using cookie-cutters, easily available on the Internet and at some cooking stores. Sugar-cookies are ideal for this, made with a bit more flour and then spread out with a rolling pin. The commercially available mixes are fine and you can decorate the offerings as you believe would please the God. These cookies are appropriate for major festivals such as the Twelve Days of Dionysos or the Sacred Autumn Equinox. Offer some of the cookies to the God; if you have an offering fire, the votive cookies can be placed directly in the fire. The rest can be eaten by the participants and some left for wild animals. Things can be added to the cookies, such as little pieces of bay-laurel for Apóllôn, etc.
Here follows a list of animals and other things associated with Gods, in particular the Twelve Olympian Gods and Diónysos. Many of these shapes are already available as cookie-cutters and others can be constructed oneself (see below for ideas on making your own cookie-cutters):
Ækáti (Hekate): Dog, Weasel; Twin-Torches
Ærmís (Hermes): Cattle, Hawk, Sheep, Tortoise; Kirýkeion (Caduceus, Κηρύκειον)
Ǽrôs (Eros): Hare; Apple, Rose, Bow & Arrow, Wings
Æstía (Hestia): Swine; Flame or Fire, Kettle
Aphrodíti (Aphrodite): Goose, Hare, Sparrow, Turtle dove; Apple, Rose-flower
Apóllôn (Apollo): Dolphin, Mouse, Raven, Swan, Wolf; the Sun; Laurel-wreath, Lyre, Bow & Arrow, Tripod
Áris (Ares): Eagle Owl, Serpent, Vulture, Woodpecker; Spear, Warrior-Helmet
Ártæmis (Artemis): Bear, Deer, Dog, Guinea fowl, Quail, Wild boar; the Moon, Bow & Arrow
Asklipiós (Asclepius): Snake; Serpent-Staff
Athiná (Athena): Crow, Little Owl; Warrior-Helmut
Dimítir (Demeter): Beehive, Bees, Gecko, Serpent, Swine; Wheat-Ear/Sheaf, Torch-staff
Diónysos: Bull, Donkey, Goat, Leopard, Lynx, Serpent, Tiger; Thýrsos (Pine-cone Staff; Gr. Θύρσος), Grapes, Ivy
Ílios (Helios): Rooster, White Horse
Íphaistos (Hephaestus): Crane, Donkey; Flame or Fire, Hammer, Anvil
Íra (Hera): Cow, Crane, Cuckoo, Lion, Peacock; Lotus-staff
Iraklís (Hercules or Heracles; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς): Lion ; Knurled-Club, Lion-skin
Krónos (Cronus): Ox, Bees, Beehive
Poseidóhn (Poseidon): Bull, Fish, Dolphin, Horse; Pine-tree, Trident
Rǽa (Rhea): Lion
Zefs (Zeus): Bull, Golden eagle, Lion, Wolf; Oak Leaf, Lightning
Here are a couple sources of cookie-cutters:
You can also make your own cookie-cutters:
Barley and Wheat Offerings to the Dead:
Barley seeds are traditional offerings to the souls of animals who have died and are between lives. Wheat seeds are traditional offerings to the souls of humans who have died and are between lives, such as the souls of our ancestors.
A dedicatory or votive offering, called an anáthima (anathema, ἀνάθημα, see the glossary entry below), is some kind of gift, usually an object of some kind (it can also be a promised act), offered to a God after a prayer request has been fulfilled, or sometimes the gift is offered before the attainment of one's wish, in hopes of its fulfillment. The Greek word for a votive offering is anáthima (ἀνάθημα). In antiquity, such offerings were usually set up in a temple. In current usage, the anáthima may be set up in a shrine near the home altar. The suppliant can offer small gifts, pottery or bronze, in the shape of an arm or leg or other part of the body in hope for healing; this was traditional in ancient times in the temples of Asklipiós (Asclepius, Ἀσκληπιός). A suppliant may offer a ceramic such as a kratír (krater, κρατήρ) etc. dedicated to a beloved God and placed in a place of honor. A statue of something dear to a beloved God may be given as a present, such as in the picture on the left, a bronze deer for Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις)
THE ÆRMÍS (HERMES) JAR: Some people have a practice of placing a sum of money in a jar whenever they have good luck, the proceeds to be distributed to those in need.
SONG, POETRY AND DANCE: Those who are inspired make songs, poetry, and dance to the Gods. These can be offered during the offering section of ritual.
Contests of various types were conducted as offerings for Gods, as an entertainment for Gods, at all the major sanctuaries in antiquity. The games were held in honor of the God to whom the temple complex was dedicated. The most famous of these contests were the pan-Hellenic Olympic Games in honor of Zefs (Ζεύς). The contests were mostly athletic, and you can still see, for instance, the ancient racetrack for horse/chariot racing at Dælphí (Delphi, Δελφοί), the seat of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). But there were many types of contests for wrestling, boxing, and other athletic skills. There were also competitions of poetry and music. Such a contest, both athletic and musical or literary, was called an Agóhn (Agon; Gr. ἀγών) and the participants competed for a prize called the áthlon (prize; Gr. ἆθλον). Funerary contests such as these were also held as commemorative offerings for beloved warriors such as Akhilléfs (Achilles, Ἀχιλλεύς). Agóhnæs (agones, αγώνες, plural of ἀγών) have been held in modern times on a much smaller scale, the author seeing mostly poetry contests for particular Gods.
AFTER RITUAL, what should we do with the libations, food offerings, spent charcoal, etc.? Please visit this page:
TERMS CONCERNING OFFERINGS:
Æpivatíria - (epibateria; Gr. ἐπιβατήρια, ΕΠΙΒΑΤΗΡΙΑ) sacrifices on disembarkation.
Æxefmænistírion - (exeumenisterion; ἐξευμενιστήριον, ΕΞΕΥΜΕΝΙΣΤΗΡΙΟΝ) propitiatory offering.
Agóhn - (Agon; Gr. ἀγών, ΑΓΩΝ, Plural αγώνες) Agóhn means contest or game. Here we are speaking of games not as an entertainment, but as a religious offering, as in the familiar pan-Hellenic Olympian (for Zefs, Ζεύς) or Pythian (for Apóllôn, Ἀπόλλων) Games. These were games conducted as a gift to the God, for which one competed for an áthlon (prize; Gr. ἆθλον). Agóhnæs (agones, αγώνες) were conducted at all major shrines for deities. The contests were athletic, but could also be musical or poetic. Agóhn, which also means a "struggle," is the etymological root for the English word agony.
Agon - See Agóhn.
Aimakouríai - (Gr. αἱμακουρίαι, ΑΙΜΑΚΟΥΡΙΑΙ. Etym. αἷμα is blood.) Boeot. for ἐναγίσματα, offerings of blood made to the dead. In our tradition, that of Orphismós (Orphism, Ορφισμός), we do not make aimakouríai, offerings of blood to the dead, because Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς) indicates that blood-sacrifice is unnecessary, that the animals used in sacrifice have souls which are progressing; we include this entry for completeness as such an offering is made in the Odýsseia (Odyssey, Ὀδύσσεια) of Ómiros (Homer, Ὅμηρος).
Anáthima - (anathema; Gr. ἀνάθημα, ΑΝΑΘΗΜΑ. Noun.) Anáthima is the Greek word for a votive offering, a dedicatory gift set up, usually in a temple, in gratitude to a God. This gift is the fulfillment of a vow made to this God after a prayer-request has been answered. The anáthima can also be given ahead of time in hopes of the fulfillment of a prayer-request. The word anáthima was twisted by the Christians to mean a gift offered to evil, because the Christians vilified our Gods. Later, the word was used in the church to designate someone who had been condemned to eternal damnation. But in truth, the anáthima is a beautiful thing, a gift of love for a God who had compassion for you.
- Cf. Ágalma.
Ápargma - (Gr. ἄπαργμα, ΑΠΑΡΓΜΑ) Ápargma = Aparkhí. See Aparkhí.
Aparkhí - (aparchi; Gr. ἀπαρχή, ΑΠΑΡΧΙ) Aparkhí is the first offering, usually in plural, aparkhai, first offerings.
Árgma - (Gr. ἄργμα, ΑΡΓΜΑ. Only in plural: ἄργματα) the first offerings at ritual; used only in plural form: árgmata.
- Cf. Kátargma.
Árgmata - See Árgma.
Catargma - See Kátargma.
Catharsion - See Kathársion.
Dóhron - (doron; Gr. δῶρον, ΔΩΡΟΝ. Noun.) an offering.
Doron - See Dóhron.
Efkholí - (euchole; Gr. εὐχωλή, ΕΥΧΩΛΗ. Noun.) form of εὐχή, prayer, vow, also, a votive offering.
Éfktaia Kháris - (euktaia charis; Gr. εὐκταία χάρις, ΕΥΚΤΑΙΑ ΧΑΡΙΣ) an offering of gratitude for a gift given by a God.
Epeuchadius - See Æpefkhádios.
Epibateria - See Æpivatíria.
Euktaia Charis - See Éfktaia Kháris.
Kátargma - (catargma; Gr. κάταργμα, ΚΑΤΑΡΓΜΑ. Only pl. κατάργματα) Kátargma are first offerings; used only in plural form: kátargmata. Cf. Árgma.
Kathársion - (catharsion; Gr. καθάρσιον, ΚΑΘΑΡΣΙΟΝ) a purificatory offering, because ritual itself is kathársios, purifying, cleansing and wholesome for the soul.
Osía (Gr. Ὁσία, ΟΣΙΑ. [fem. of ὅσιος]) divine law.
Pancarpia - See Pankarpía.
Pankarpía (pancarpia; Gr. πανκαρπία, ΠΑΝΚΑΡΠΙΑ) a traditional offering consisting of all kinds of fruits.
Panospría - (Gr. πανοσπρία, ΠΑΝΟΣΠΡΙΑ) an offering of all kinds of legumes.
Panspærmía - (panspermia; Gr. πανσπερμία, ΠΑΝΣΠΕΡΜΙΑ) a traditional offering of a gruel containing all kinds of seeds.
Splángkhnon - (splangchnon; Gr. σπλάγχνον, ΣΠΛΑΓΧΝΟΝ) mostly in pl. σπλάγχνα (σπλάγχανα), inward parts, which in sacrifices were reserved to be eaten by the sacrificers at the beginning of their feast.
Tælæstíria - (telesteria; Gr. τελεστήρια, ΤΕΛΕΣΤΗΡΙΑ) thanks-offering for success.
Telesteria - See Tælæstíria.
Thæodosía - (theodosia; Gr. θεοδοσία, ΘΕΟΔΟΣΙΑ) a gift or offering to the Gods.
Thesauros - See Thisavrós.
Thiagóhn - (thiagon; Gr. θιαγών, ΘΙΑΓΩΝ) sacrificial cake.
Thyílima - (thuelema; Gr. θυήλημα, ΘΥΗΛΗΜΑ) sacrificial offering.
Thisavrós - (thesauros; Gr. θησαυρός, ΘΗΣΑΥΡΟΣ) Thisavrós is an offertory-box.
Thýma - (Gr. θῦμα, ΘΥΜΑ) Thýma is a sacrificial offering; also, a representation of a sacrificial animal, such as cakes made in the shape of animals given as an offering to a God.
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
 ".... we hear of other human beings who did not even venture to taste the flesh of a cow and had no animal sacrifices, but only cakes and fruits dipped in honey, and similar pure offerings, but no flesh of animals; from these they abstained under the idea that they ought not to eat them, and might not stain the altars of the Gods with blood. For in those days men are said to have lived a sort of Orphic life, having the use of all lifeless things, but abstaining from all living things." (Νόμοι Πλάτωνος 6.782, trans. Benjamin Jowett)
Also, please visit this page: Burnt Offerings.
 "Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only and not of most things that occur to men. For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him." (Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος 2.379, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892 )
Also, please visit this page: The Goodness of the Gods.
It can be argued that there are many instances in ancient literature where Gods are propitiated through sacrifice. There are extreme actions which could arouse the anger of the Gods or cause them to withdraw assistance. But the examples given in mythology where individuals arouse petty retribution from Gods for actions which, in some instances, are not even done deliberately, are not to be taken literally. An example of this would be when Aktaiôn (Actaeon, Ἀκταίων) accidentally observes Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις) bathing naked in the wood. As is typical in these types of myths, the "victim" who is killed or punished has qualities that are connected with the deity in question. Aktaiohn is a hunter, like Ártæmis. He has his dogs. The dog is symbolic of the Agathós Daimohn (Agathos Daemon, Ἀγαθὸς Δαίμων) which Ártæmis uses to hunt down the beautiful souls. And Aktaiohn is transformed into a stag, an animal connected with the Goddess, and is devoured by his own dogs. In mythology, when a God kills, the God deifies: always. But using common logic, it is completely impossible for a God or Goddess to be petty as they are beings of immense enlightenment. And it must also be understood that the ancient understanding of Gods and worship was not always correct with the common people, as has been pointed out in Εὐθύφρων Πλάτωνος and elsewhere. Nonetheless, there is plentiful evidence of historical personages who felt that they had aroused the anger of Gods for one reason or another, often for not having fulfilled a promise made in request for some favor. Perhaps a general would ask for a victory in a battle and promise in return to build a temple, later after the battle had been won, realizing that the temple had not been built in a reasonable time and that it appeared that the Gods had withdrew assistance, the temple would be built and a propitiating sacrifice be made. So there may be instances where the Gods can be angered or withdraw their help, but usually these cases are particular or extreme. It must be understood that Gods have enormous understanding of human psychology and, frankly, are rather capable of predicting our actions before we even make them. So the way they understand our actions is different from the way we perceive their understanding.
 Νόμοι Πλάτωνος 10.905.c-906e, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892.
 Συμπόσιον Πλάτωνος 202-203, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892.
 "It happened that Periander, son of Cypselus, had taken three hundred boys, children of the chief nobles among the Corcyræans, and sent them to Alyattes for eunuchs; the men who had them in charge touched at Samos on their way to Sardis; whereupon the Samians, having found out what was to become of the boys when they reached that city, first prompted them to take sanctuary at the temple of Artemis; and after this, when the Corinthians, as they were forbidden to tear the suppliants from the holy place, sought to cut off from them all supplies of food, invented a festival in their behoof, which they celebrate to this day with the self-same rites. Each evening, as night closed in, during the whole time that the boys continued there, choirs of youths and virgins were placed about the temple, carrying in their hands cakes made of sesame and honey, in order that the Corcyræan boys might snatch the cakes, and so get enough to live upon. And this went on for so long, that at last the Corinthians who had charge of the boys gave them up, and took their departure, upon which the Samians conveyed them back to Corcyra." (Ἱστορίαι Ἡροδότου Book III, Chapters 48-49, trans. George Rawlinson, 1910.)
This logo is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).
PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this HellenicGods.org, you will find fascinating stories. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally; a literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is often concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:
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