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.

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We will begin with music and three Delphic Maxims.

77. τύχην στέργε – be content with your fortune

78. ἀκούων ὅρα – listen and see

79. ἐργάζου κτητά – work for things worth getting

First, we worship our Gods,
pay reverence to the noble Heroes,
and greet the spirits of the Dead,
who dwell in otherworldly realms.
So let us offer this libation,
for the honour of their power
and communion with their souls.

Today’s libation text is to Hearth Goddess:

With the Sun dwindling,
we must once more make our own light.
Receive this blessing, first fire of fall,
and bring it to the goddess who dwells on our hearth,
along with our devotion and affection.

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

Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.

Neither earth nor heaven were,
when chaos ruled the empty space.
But from the two that shape and form –
from light and darkness, sky and soil –
the world was forged and ordered.
So shall we be brought to order,
As we partake of this drink.

The remainder of the drink is consumed.

Today’s reading is chapter XX “Houses of the Planets”, from 1st book of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos [translated by J.M. Ashmand]. The Tetrabiblos, or ‘four-part book’ of Ptolemy is one of the most important surviving ancient texts on Astrology. Claudius Ptolemy, the second century C.E. author of this book, is best known as the originator of the Ptolemaic system. The Earth stood fixed at the center of the universe, with crystalline spheres within spheres whirling around it. In balance, the universe had a vast influence on earthly events, which was the basis for the belief in Astrology. This explanation stood for nearly a millenium and a half, bolstered by its acceptance as orthodoxy by the Catholic Church, until Copernicus and Galileo demolished it and placed the heliocentric (sun-centered) system in its place. .

For newcomers:
Each person who chooses to read will read one paragraph from asterisk to asterisk. 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.

***

THOSE stars which are denominated planetary orbs have particular familiarity with certain places in the zodiac, by means of parts designated as their houses, and also by their triplicities, exaltations, terms, and so forth.

*

The nature of their familiarity by houses is as follows:

Cancer and Leo are the most northerly of all the twelve signs; they approach nearer than the other signs to the zenith of this part of the earth, and thereby cause warmth and heat: they are consequently appropriated as houses for the two principal and greater luminaries; Leo for the Sun, as being masculine; and Cancer for the Moon, as being feminine. It has hence resulted, that the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn has been ordained solar, and the semicircle from Aquarius to Cancer, lunar; in order that each planet might occupy one sign in each semicircle, and thus have one of its houses configurated with the Sun and the other with the Moon, conformably to the motions of its own sphere, and the peculiar properties of its nature.

*

Saturn, therefore, since he is cold and inimical to heat, moving also in a superior orbit most remote from the luminaries, occupies the signs opposite to Cancer and Leo: these are Aquarius and Capricorn; and they are assigned to him in consideration of their cold and wintry nature; and because the configuration by opposition does not co-operate towards the production of good. [Saturn being also malefic in his nature.]

*

Jupiter has a favourable temperament, and is situated beneath the sphere of Saturn; he therefore occupies the next two signs, Sagittarius and Pisces. [The planets, having two houses, are said to be more powerful in one by day and in the other by night] These signs are airy and fruitful, in consequence of their trinal distance from the houses of the luminaries, which distance harmonises with the operation of good.

*

Mars is dry in nature, and beneath the sphere of Jupiter: he takes the next two signs, of a nature similar to his own, viz. Aries and Scorpio, whose relative distances from the houses of the luminaries are injurious and discordant.

*

Venus, possessing a favourable temperament, and placed beneath the sphere of Mars, takes the next two signs, Taurus and Libra. These are of a fruitful nature, and preserve harmony by the sextile distance; and this planet is never more than two signs distant from the Sun.

*

Mercury never has greater distance from the Sun than the space of one sign, and is beneath all the other planets: hence he is placed nearest to both luminaries, and the remaining two signs, Gemini and Virgo, are allotted to him.

***

This completes our reading. We will pause a moment for silent contemplation.

As we conclude our meeting –
in the honour of our Gods,
of our Ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of the Gods –
let us remember how to live
with justice, wisdom, temperance,
with holy thoughts and valiant deeds.

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

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