Deity for Beginners | Deities | Prayer

Those who are just starting to study Hellenic practice may find the sources a bit overwhelming.

I have a page on my website called “Hellenic Resources & Links/ About Argeiphontes.com”. This page will guide new seekers to a wealth of sources on the Internet that are viable and thorough: http://www.argeiphontes.com/?page_id=2104. The best resource for studying the myths online can be found at this address: http://www.theoi.com. To begin studying a new God or Goddess, my suggestions would be (in this order): 1.) Read the myths associated with the particular Deity. Try to focus on one Deity at a time, and notice Their relationships toward other Deities in the Pantheon, noticing how that Deity‟s personality is revealed. Sometimes these myths hold symbolic meaning so make sure to analyze them for a deeper meaning.  TAKE NOTES!! This is very important. Also, remember that most of the times if you are more “sensitive”, also sometimes if not, these Deities will manifest in your life as They are portrayed. For example:  Aphrodite WILL mean that you will probably also be led to various sexual experiences, or experiences dealing with relationships whether it be friendships, love relationships or familial connections. You will find yourself changing and coming upon situation which will help you develop in those areas as well as other areas related to Aphrodite‟s sphere of domain.  Hermes will guide you and perhaps you will go on a new adventure, whether in your mind or physically traveling. You may be drawn to study the occult or to perhaps pick up different games, like poker. (Just a thought..)  Athene may bring you to study the classics in depth, or to learn about Ancient History, perhaps with a focus on war.. Or maybe you are a guy and Athene will come to you and you will find yourself buying or collecting weapons.  Poseidon will bring the depth of the sea, and you will find yourself drawn to it more so than before… the creatures of the sea may seem to call out to you, and you may be guided to some sort of affinity with them because of this association.  With Apollon, you may pick up archery, or learn how to hunt… you may find yourself interested in Delphi all of a sudden wanting to know about the Oracles of Ancient Greece, and the Ancient methods of Divination.  With Artemis, perhaps you find that you are guided to help children, or maybe to join a female empowerment group. You may also want to spend more time in the woods, or volunteer with animals.  Dionysus may lead you to liberate yourself in ways you never thought possible, encouraging you to perhaps branch out to different music venues, trying different wines, maybe making mead, or experiencing trance through dance and other means. NOTE: Also, sometimes these myths are not in coherence with the actual behavior of a Deity, and are more like “gossip” stories, however, they still contain valuable information and should be studied to the degree, which you find they reveal the personality of the Gods. The only way to know whether the myths are in coherence is to meditate on the myth, and perhaps ask the Deity in question through meditation.  One important thing to study is the different aspects of a Deity. Contrary to popular belief, having worked with multiple Deities for years in personal regard, usually these differing aspects do not “know” each other. Similarly this goes for similar Deities. For example: Hermes:  “Hermes Angelos” is a benevolent aspect of Hermes. He is the Messenger of the Gods and God of Hospitality. He is wonderful and also very “light”. This aspect is logical and fun but also serious and very „in charge‟ when it comes to His spheres of domain. He is „busy‟ but also has direction. He is of the Right Hand path magically and protects those who are ascribed to be protected by Him and more personally loved and cared for by Him through personal choice.  “Hermes Psychopompos” is a more malevolent aspect of Hermes. He is Cthonic and as such requires Cthonic offerings, and is not exactly the type of guy you want at a party, if you catch my drift. (In my opinion, He is quite… negative for lack of better words. He stays in Hades and guides the souls, and is very lonely and it is quite sad. Thus, His more negative qualities are very emphasized due to His position and also inherent traits. He is also of the left hand path magically.)

“Mercury” is another “aspect of Hermes“, but is the Roman equivalent. He is quieter than Hermes Angelos; also more studious. Mercury has “met” Hermes Angelos, but They are not the same entity. (This Deity mainly rules over trade, and also the Agora or marketplace. He also spends a profuse amount of time studying texts and is more introverted in character.) “Odin” is not the same Deity as Hermes. They are similar but completely separate entities. Not the same guys. I have met both of them, and They are completely different, although They are both “Mercurial” in nature, meaning They both encompass a wide variety of domains. (Odin knows all. He is the God of Wisdom and Knowledge and can harsh but is also very supportive and loving at times. He is very powerful magically and also a proponent of Seidh, the Norse version of “trance work”. He is also God of ecstasy, and shamanism, through sacrifice and pain, and at times tends to push people into experiences so they can learn from them themselves. He is usually not very “hands on” in the aspect of guiding devotees.

Having met both of the above aspects of Hermes, I choose to worship Hermes Angelos, because frankly, I prefer His lighter side. His dark and light sides are not the same Deity. They do not talk to each other on a regular basis and manifest completely separately from each other as independent entities. This goes the same with ALL the Deities. It is best that you find an aspect or a few aspects of a Deity to be particularly devoted to, to avoid confusion on both ends. Worshiping specific aspects of a particular Deity lessens the chances of having your prayers answered by a more malevolent aspect of said Deity, which can sometimes be adverse. 2.) Start a devotional practice. (This does not have to mean putting up an altar necessarily.) Examples for Devotional Practice Starters:  Apollon, going out every morning at a particular set time to honor the Sun.  Poseidon, make a special day for Him during each week, at a set time to honor a body of water near your home. If you don‟t live near one, get a tub of water and put some goldfish in it or something (making sure to have the proper equipment so they don‟t die of course), and spend time with these creatures, contemplating how they relate to Poseidon. For Hermes Angelos, I would say a good way to honor Him would be to light incense in your car, or before you travel, and noticing perhaps how He relates to this area of your life. Is there ever a time where you just find where you are going without necessarily having known the way consciously? This is Hermes Angelos. Note this relationship of Hermes to the physical plane through the metaphysical. For Athene, perhaps volunteer with veterans, and listen to their stories.

What do I think about during devotional time? During this devotional time I would keep my thoughts on the myths of the Deity, and contemplating Their place and various roles in the Universe. This will also bring up points, which you have not connected upon contemplation. 3.) Meditate on your breath for about 15 minutes a day. Through practicing this, you will start to notice a stronger connection forming to yourself, and your mind being clearer through practice, allowing you to let the Divine communication in more clearly. If you are not interested in communication with the Divine, it will at least allow for better concentration for your studies and de-stress your mind and spiritual body! 4.) Develop a practice of prayer. If you don‟t write prayers yourself, you can start reading aloud to the Deity of your choice, the Hymns which are Homeric and Orphic. Apart from the value they bring in an academic sense, these sacred passages open up clues and hints to the Ancient worlds, which were Greece. Specific Deities are revealed through these words, and in the prayers lay much symbolism and culture. Sacred Texts‟ Orphic Hymns provides great footnotes on the Orphic Symbolism behind the words, which can be surprising to learn

about. There have been many times when reading these pages that I am surprised that what I thought was meant in a prayer is not actually the case! To pray:  Say the words in your mind, speaking to the Deity and telling them about your day, what you learned about them, what you find interesting, thank you‟s for things you noticed due to them or any „favors‟ given to you by them (that awesome parking spot in the mall parking lot- Hermes, definitely.)  Tell them about yourself, and also what you find endearing about The Deity in particular, what draws you to them. Do you have special items for them? What do those items mean to you? Etc. You can also go into any doubts and worries you have had, or other emotional issues, so they can understand how to help you better. This is important for Them to know. Let them get to know you, and you get to know them. It‟s a two way street.

Make an offering. Find a cup and pour water in it, make this their cup especially, and use it only for them. You can also use wine; especially Merlot it seems is a favorite. Words to Say While Making An Offering:    You would simply pour the wine and state, “In thanks to _________ Deity. For (state reason „daily devotion„, „this favor‟, „hearing my prayers‟, coming into my life‟ „being my friend‟ etc.). Usually, I kind of bow my head slightly, in respect and then I light a candle. The reason I light a candle is because it draws Their energy down from the Ether, into the Physical creating a meeting of worlds. A lot of people choose to also offer barley. (Barley was a grain in Ancient Greece and as such was a staple food and considered sacred since it helped keep the people alive most times.) Barley is a traditional offering. Also bay leaves are appropriate for any Deity, but are considered especially Sacred to Apollon. You can then sit and read a hymn or two, if you are being formal. If not in a formal mood, you can simply sit and feel Their presence around your body. This practice of quiet sitting in front of the altar, combined with breath-work meditation will help you connect with Their energy.

These steps will help you start a relationship to the Deity of your choice. There are many other ways you can develop a relationship with Deity and part of that is learning what helps you personally connect to Deity more successfully and peacefully. Part of the process of getting to know Deity is getting to know Their many aspects. Through time and experience working with a Deity you will learn which aspect is best suited for you to worship. You may find a few that are suited to you. The most important thing to remember when praying and starting a relationship of this kind is that Deity is not there to judge against you. Deities exist in relations to humans as teachers, friends, guides, and sometimes take on a more personal relationship with Their devotees. Their purpose is to help us progress as a soul and in our process as devotees, but also keep in mind that a relationship with Deity is reciprocal, and They also learn much from us! D.L. Wood 12 April 2012 www.Argeiphontes.com

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