WEEKLY GROUP RITUAL

A new weekly ritual will be posted here each week, which we will use in our Sunday meetings. For more information on these meetings, see the Get Involved page.

Preparation:
It is recommended that you have two bowls: one with pure water, another empty. You will also need a glass with your offering to the Gods. Typical offerings are wine, milk, or water, but the offering can be specific to the deity you are addressing. It is also appropriate to have a candle and incense.

Wash your hands in the bowl of water to purify yourself before the gods.

We will begin with music and three Delphic Maxims.

40. ὅρα τὸ μέλλον – see what is to come

41. ὕβριν μίσει – hate insolence

42. ἱκέτας αἰδοῦ – respect suppliants

First we worship the Immortal Gods,
and revere our oaths.
Next we pay reverence to the noble Heroes,
full of goodness and light.
Likewise we honour the spirits of the dead,
who dwell in the otherworldly realm.
And we keep in mind our parents,
and those most nearly related to us.

Today’s libation is to the Spirits of Nature:

Autumn is circling,
tying knot after knot,
to form its net,
inexorable.
But not yet: now it is summer.
Pokeweeds’ jeweled berries,
Lazy Susans’ suns:
I praise you,
you and all that is found in this time.
Spirits of late summer,
to you, praise,
you, beautiful,
on this sunny day.

As you give to us, so we give back to you!

Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.

“Neither was earth nor the air nor the heavens”,
First there was chaos and first there was chasm,
“Neither was being nor not-being then”,
But all came to be, from the two that create it:
Ice and fire, light and darkness,
Father Sky and Mother Earth.

“In the Gods’ first age, from nothing came being”.
A tree grew aloft and it covers the heavens,
“And nobody knows where its roots are meandering”.
The cosmos was ordered by numinous powers.
So shall we be brought to order,
As we partake of this drink.

The remainder of the drink is consumed.

Today’s reading is story about founding Lithuania’s capital Vilnius.

Gediminas (Latin: Gedeminne, Latin: Gedeminnus; c. 1275 – December 1341) was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1315 or 1316 until his death. He is credited with founding this political entity and expanding its territory which later spanned the area ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Also seen as one of the most significant individuals in early Lithuanian history, he was responsible for both building Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and establishing a dynasty that later came to rule other European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Bohemia.
As part of his legacy, he gained a reputation for being a champion of paganism, who successfully diverted attempts to Christianize his country by skillful negotiations with the Pope and other Christian rulers.

For newcomers:
Each person who chooses to read will read one paragraph. One person will read at a time. We will read in alphabetical order and repeat this order as many times as needed till the reading is complete.

*

Lithuania’s pagan ruler Grand Duke Gediminas, was on a hunting trip in the forests of Šventaragis valley around the mouth of the River Vilnia. When night fell, the party, feeling tired after a long and successful hunt, decided to set up camp and spend the night there.

*

While he was asleep, Gediminas had an unusual dream in which he saw an iron wolf at the top of the mountain where he had killed an auroch (European bison) that day. The iron wolf was standing on the top of a hill with its head raised proudly towards the moon, howling as loud as a hundred wolves.

*

Awakened by the rays of the rising sun, Gediminas remembered his strange dream and consulted the pagan priest Lizdeika about it. The pagan priest Lizdeika prophesied: “A capital will arise here, power and beauty of which will be legendary throughout the world.”

*

He told the Duke that the dream was a direction to found a city among these hills. The priest explained that the howling of the wolf represented the fame of the future city: that city will be the capital of Lithuanian lands, and its reputation would spread far and wide, as far as the howling of the mysterious wolf…

*

So the Grand Duke of Lithuania, obeying the will of gods, immediately started to build the future capital, and took it the name – Vilnius – from the stream of the swift Vilnia.

*

**This completes this week’s reading. We will pause for approximately half a minute for silent contemplation.

As we complete our meeting
in honour of our gods,
our ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of divinity,
we will remember that
‘piety consists of holy thoughts’
and that we are to be
Just, Wise, Courageous, and Temperate
in every aspect of our lives.

The offering can be left in the bowl for some time. Later, it can be poured outside into the earth.

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