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.

19. ὅρκωι μὴ χρῶ – do not use an oath

20. φιλίαν ἀγάπα – welcome friendship

21. παιδείας ἀντέχου – cling to education

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 text is Thomas Taylor’s Hymn to Latona. Latona, or Leto, is a Titan who, pregnant from Zeus, gave birth to Apollo and Artemis beneath the sea. Taylor uses the name of the Roman goddess Diana here instead of Artemis.

“O thou who are the mother of all vivific light, which preserves all things by heat, and who are thyself a vivific fountain comprehended in Ceres the fountain of all life. O thou who dost illuminate the intellectual essences of the Gods, the orders of souls, and the whole sensible heaven, generating mundane light and establishing the cause of this light in thy all-splendid offspring Apollo and Diana. O thou who dost cause all things to glitter with intellectual and vivific light, and dost impart to souls the consummation of virtue, and an illumination which leads them back to the intellectual port of their father, hastily withdrawing them from the winding paths of matter, the entanglements of vice, and the roughness of the passage over the sea of generation. Graciously be pleased to impart to me and ineffable energy, a voluntary and blameless life, gentleness of manners, sanctity, and intellectual tranquillity. Be pleased also O most benevolent Goddess, to produce in my soul an oblivion of those evils which I have experienced in this terrestrial abode, in order that I may be able to rise with unimpeded energy from a sensible to an intelligible essence, and that entirely forgetting the roughness and storms of the sea of generation, I may at length be perfectly established in the exuberantly vivific fountain of thy all-splendid divinity.”

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 consists of a selection from the Sentences of Demophilus, which is a collection of Pythagorean proverbs.

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.

*

Request not of the divinity such things as when obtained you cannot preserve; for no gift of divinity can ever be taken away; and on this account he does not confer that which you are unable to retain.

Be vigilant in your intellectual part; for sleep about this has an affinity with real death.

Divinity sends evil to men, not as being influenced by anger, but for the sake of purification; for anger is foreign from divinity, since it arises from circumstances taking place contrary to the will; but nothing contrary to the will can happen to a god.

*

When you deliberate whether or not you shall injure another, you will previously suffer the evil yourself which you intended to commit: but neither must you expect any good from the evil; for the manners of every one are correspondent to his life and actions: for every soul is a repository; that which is good, of things good, and that which is evil, of things depraved.

After long consultation, engage either in speaking or acting; for you have not the ability to recall either your discourses or deeds.

Divinity does not principally esteem the tongue, but the deeds of the wise; for a wise man, even when he is silent, honours divinity.

*

A loquacious and ignorant man, both in prayer and sacrifice, contaminates a divine nature: the wise man therefore is alone a priest, is alone the friend of divinity, and only knows how to pray.

It is impossible to receive from divinity any gift greater than virtue.

Gifts and victims confer no honour on the divinity, nor is he adorned with offerings suspended in temples; but a soul divinely inspired solidly conjoins us with divinity; for it is necessary that like should approach to like.

*

It is more painful to be subservient to passions than to tyrants themselves.

It is better to converse more with yourself than others.

If you are always careful to remember, that in whatever place either your soul or body accomplishes any deed, divinity is present as an inspector of your conduct; in all your discourses and actions you will venerate the presence of an inspector from whom nothing can be concealed, and will at the same time possess divinity as an intimate associate.

*

Believe that you are furious and insane, in proportion as you are ignorant of yourself.

It is necessary to search for those wives and children which will remain after a liberation from the present life.

The self-sufficient and needy philosopher lives a life truly similar to divinity, and considers the non-possession of external and unnecessary goods as the greatest wealth; for the acquisition of riches sometimes inflames desire; but not to act in any respect unjustly is sufficient to the enjoyment of a blessed life.

*

True goods are never produced by indolent habits.

Esteem those to be eminently your friends, who assist your soul rather than your body.

Consider both the praise and reproach of every foolish person as ridiculous, and the whole life of an ignorant man as a disgrace.

*

Be persuaded that those things are not your riches which you do not possess in the penetralia of cogitation.

Since the roots of our natures are established in divinity, from which also we are produced, we should tenaciously adhere to our root; for streams also of water, and other offspring of the earth, when their roots are cut off become rotten and dry.

He is a wise man, and beloved by divinity, who studies how to labour for the good of his soul, as much as others labour for the sake of the body.

*

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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