kharites

Days of the Week + The Theoi

So I don’t know about y'all, but I have historically had a hard time maintaining feast days and devotional holidays via monthly calendars. A lot of the time, I feel as if I’m doing a disservice to a particular god if I miss their celebrations, or if I don’t have the energy or motivation to manage a full ritual for a particular sacred day. More often than not, I will plan to do something for a deity on a particular date, and then– when that day arrives… work, unexpected plans, depression, or even just a lack of motivation interrupts and I feel as if I have let the Theoi, and myself, down.

But no longer! I have a much better track record of keeping to my habits if I simply set everything onto a weekly cycle. I have done this with devotional days, and the effect has been reinvigorating. So I’m here to pass on this knowledge to you, my fellow Hellenists.

A weekly schedule is helpful to me, because it breaks worship down into bitesized chunks, chunks that are flexible and cyclical, so that I can A) plan ahead easily (it’s much simpler to have the same agenda every week rather than having to look ahead on a lunar calendar to plan in conjunction with the rest of my hectic life), and B) stop beating myself up if I miss a day because, guess what? the next chance to participate in these devotions are only a week away!

I loosely base my schedule on the traditional Western associations for the days of the week (as determined by their planetary rulers), and they are flexible enough that anyone could adapt this setup to their specifications.

Hestia is honored daily

Sunday - (gods of light, prophecy, daytime, the arts) Apollon, Helios, Eos, Hemera, Aether, Leto, the Mousai

Monday - (gods of night, the moon) Artemis, Selene, Nix, Erebus, Hypnos, Morpheus, the Hespiredes

Tuesday - (gods of war and victory) Ares, Pallas, Eris, Enyo, Phobos, Deimos, Nike

Wednesday - (gods of work, knowledge, and skill) Hermes, Athene, Asklepios, Hephaestos, Tyche, Prometheus, Ouranos

Thursday - (gods of law, justice, and social order) Zeus, Hera, Hebe, Herakles, Rhea, Eileithya, Dike,

Friday - (gods of love, beauty, and pleasure) Aphrodite, Dionysos, Pan, the Kharites, Eros, Iris, Psyche

Saturday - (gods of the earth and the underworld) Haides, Persephone, Demeter, Kronos, Hekate, Thanatos, Poseidon

Note: these are arbitrary assignments that I used for my own setup. You could completely categorize your week based on entirely different parameters assigning different spheres of influences than I’ve used (for example, Poseidon was particularly difficult to place and I eventually settled on his epithet “Earth Shaker” in order to fit him into a group in my overly-chaotic mind; you might use a day just for ocean deities). You could use fill the week out using only Olympians, or only divine couples, or based on the classical elements, or alphabetically. This is not a strict calendar, don’t take it as such, I am only using my own as an example for the broader idea of creating a weekly calendar in the first place.

Fact:

The three Graces in Greek mythology are: Aglaia (beauty), Euphrosynia (joy), and Thalia (charm).  However, there are numerous other Graces or Charities who are to preside over the other pleasures of life.

The three Kharites (Charities) were usually depicted in classical sculpture and mosaic as three nude women, holding hands and dancing in a circle.

Greek Mythology - Uncommon Deity Aesthetics

H E B E, Goddess of [Eternal] Youth, Cupbearer of the Gods

Hebe was a companion of the wedding gods Hera, Aphrodite, the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and Harmonia (Marital Harmony). She was the cupbearer of the gods who served ambrosia at the heavenly feast and the patron goddess of the young bride.

“Beautiful Hebe (Youth) … the youngest of the gods and the one most revered by them, since it is through her that they also are young." 
- Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 20 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) 

"Now the gods at the side of Zeus were sitting in council over the golden floor, and among them the goddess Hebe (Youth) poured them nectar as wine, while they in the golden drinking-cups drank to each other, gazing down on the city of the Trojans.”
-  Homer, Iliad 4. 1 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.)

On the Beauty of Kharis (Χάρις)

One of the most beautiful aspects of Hellenic Polytheism, and one that very much drew me to it, is Kharis (Χάρις).  Kharis has a multitude of definitions, such as delight, grace, charm, gratitude, and in a more nuanced sense, represents reciprocity.  This reciprocity is born of our offering to the Gods and practicing Eusebia (εὐσέβεια) or showing pious reverence to the Theoi through prayer and sacrifice.

Kharis is a noun, but I like to see it as a verb as well.  As a noun, Kharis represents the relationship we build with the Gods.  Kharis is an active process though.  That relationship does not just appear, it must be nurtured, cultivated, just like any relationship.  Unless we honor the Gods through action, our relationships with the Gods suffers.  

So why nurture our relationship with the Gods?  That’s an individual question, and can vary from person to person.  For some, it is pure gratitude for all the Gods have bestowed upon us.  For others it is a need to build a sense of trust and faith, a trust that the Gods have this, that they will support and guide us in times when we need that.  For others, it is a sense of intimacy, closeness, and comfort.  We must understand our motivations for having Kharis and building Kharis if we are to come from a place of respect.  

In the book, Reciprocity in Ancient Greece,  Christopher Gill, Norman Postlethwaite, and Richard Seaford describe the relationship between Kharis, delight, to Kharis, the building of reciprocity.  

“Kharis words are in fact applied to both sides of the relationship.  Mortals seek to bring gifts or sacrifices which are kharienta or kekharismena to the gods, and request a return which is itself khariessa; in later texts the relation can be presented quite explicitly as one in which kharites are exchanged.  Two interconnected points need to be made here.  On the one hand, the primary meaning of kharis is ‘charm, delight’, or that which causes it.  In attempting to bring the gods kekharismena mortals are trying to bring them things in which they take delight, and speakers sometimes explicitly urge deities to ‘rejoice in’ (khairein) the offerings they make them.  On the other, a strong social sense existed that ‘it is always kharis that begets ‘kharis’ or, as English says, ‘one good turn deserves another’”

Kharis begets kharis… I interpret this to mean that our delight and thanksgiving to the Theoi begets the relationship or reciprocity we build with the Theoi.  This delight is expressed through our prayers and offerings.

It is natural that we would seek gifts and help from the Gods.  We are human after all, and have our limits in abilities, but this is not a tit for tat system of “I gave you this, so you give me this.”  We don’t demand or expect from the Gods.  Our offerings ought to be given freely, truly out of praise and thanksgiving to build honest and true Kharis.  

It was common and normal for the Ancient Hellenes to propitiate the Theoi for assistance and favors.  Oftentimes people would ask the Gods to grant assistance but only after offering due sacrifice and praise.  The following is an example of a prayer found in the first book of The Iliad.

So he spoke, and the old man was seized with fear and obeyed his word. He went forth in silence along the shore of the loud-resounding sea, and earnestly then, when he had gone apart, the old man prayed to the lord Apollon, whom fair-haired Leto bore: “Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stand over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rule mightily over Tenedos, Sminthian god, if ever I roofed over a temple to your pleasing, or if ever I burned to you fat thigh-pieces of bulls and goats, fulfill this prayer for me: let the Danaans pay for my tears by your arrows.”

Here, we see that reference is made to past sacrifice and the wish that it was pleasing and received by Apollon, and the hopes that in return, Apollon would grant this final request: Apollon punishing the sons of Atreus for their reluctance to accept ransom and return the daughter of Chryses back to him. 

In Hellenismos, Kharis is at the heart of our practice.  It’s a beautiful thing, and it brings us closer to the Theoi.  That should be a desire for all of us, because the Gods bless us in so many ways.  Kharis can be built in so many ways. Offerings and sacrifice can take many forms, shapes, and sizes.  We can offer food and libations to the Theoi, read the myths and stories of our Gods, give offerings of action, such as the building of temples, decorating and cleaning our shrines and altars, dedicating volunteer time in animal shelters to Artemis, committing to nurture our relationship with our spouse in devotion to Hera, singing for Apollon, playing sports in honor of Hermes… you get the point. Through these actions you might find that Artemis gifts you with venison from a friend, Apollon may cause the sun to shine in the darkest of times, Hera may grant you a long and happy marriage, or Hermes may keep you safe on your travels.  These are never expected, just happily received and giving the Gods their due praise and thanksgiving.  

Kharis helps attune our awareness of the Gods’ presence in our lives.  We see them everywhere.  This is the beauty and delight we hold in our hearts and see with our eyes.  For this we are grateful and offer what we can, and the cycle goes on and on.  Today, I build Kharis through writing this piece and burning incense.  I do so, because it makes me happy, and I hope the Gods will smile upon me.  What can you do to nurture your relationship with the Gods today?

Pie's Reform Hellenic Calendar

This is solely for my own purposes at the moment, but feel welcome to use this as a basis for your own calendars. Some associations are personal so if you’d like clarifications, drop me an ask or an IM. Calendar follows our modern Gregorian months and is US-Centric. “Devotion” includes any type of remembrance for the purpose of this post.

New Year’s Day: Devotions to Zeus, Hera, Apollon Prostatêrios

February 5th: Devotions to Zeus, Athene, and Apollon Patroios

Mardi Gras: Devotions to Dionysos and Aphrodite

Valentine’s Day: Devotions to Hera and Aphrodite

First day of Spring: Devotions to Kore and Demeter, various nature spirits, Dionysos, Pan, the Kharites, the Horai, etc. Minor devotions to Haides. Devotions to Helios and Eos.

Earth Day: Devotions to Gaia and the Protogenoi

Mother’s Day: Devotions to Hera, Demeter, Rhea, and other Mothers. Devotions to ancestral mothers.

Armed Forces Day: Devotions to Ares and Athene, devotions to ancestral soldiers.

Memorial Day: Devotions to Haides and other kthonic deities. Devotions to the dead and ancestral spirits. Devotions to Mnemosyne.

Father’s Day: Devotions to Zeus, Kronos, ancestral fathers, and other Fathers.

First day of Summer: Devotions to Helios, Hemera, and other deities associated with daylight.

4th of July: Devotions to Ares, Zeus, Apollon Patroios, Nike Athene, Aphrodite Areia, etc.

Labor Day: Devotions to Hermes, Hephaestos, and any professional patrons that you may have.

First day of Fall: Devotions to Persephone and Haides. Minor devotions to Demeter. Devotions to the Horai, the Hesperides, Pan, etc. Devotions to Helios.

Halloween through November 2nd: Devotions to Khthonic deities, Haides, Persephone, Thanatos, Kharon, ancestral spirits, Dionysos, Hermes Khthonios, etc.

Election Day: Devotions to Zeus and Athene

Veteran’s Day: Devotions to Ares and Athene, devotions to ancestral spirits.

Thanksgiving: Devotions to all of the Theoi, but to Hestia in particular.

Monday following Thanksgiving: Devotions to Artemis Apalakhia.

First day of Winter: Devotions to Nyx and other nighttime deities. Devotions to Demeter and Helios.

December 24-26: Devotions to Hestia.

New Year’s Eve: Devotions to Hekate.

The third of every month is devoted to Athene.

The full moons are devoted to Selene, Artemis, and Poseidon (as ruler of the tides).

New moons are devoted to Hekate and the restless dead, and Selene.

Last day of every month is devoted to Hekate, the Agathos Daimon, and other household deities.

Artemis | Goddess of Maidenly Dance

“[Artemis] goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoibos Apollon, to the rich land of Delphoi, there to order the lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Graces). There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and deed.”

//for @ofmoonlightandthesun

THE SIGNS AS TITANS AND TITANESSES

ARIES: ATLAS - Titan God of Strength

Atlas was one of the second-generation Titans. He personified the quality of endurance (atlaô). In one tradition, Atlas led the Titanes in a rebellion against Zeus and was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders. In another, he was said to have been appointed guardian of the pillars which held earth and sky asunder. He was also the god who instructed mankind in the art of astronomy, a tool which was used by sailors in navigation and farmers in measuring the seasons. These roles were often combined and Atlas becomes the god who turns the heaven on their axis, causing the stars to revolve.

TAURUS: EURYNOME - Titan Godess of Water-Meadows

Eurynome was the Titan goddess of water-meadows and pasturelands, and one of the elder Okeanides. She was the third bride of Zeus who bore him the Kharites, three goddesses of grace and beauty. Eurynome was also the goddess of the river Neda in Arkadia, and the mother of Asopos, a nearby stream. Her name was derived from the Greek words eurys “wide,” “broad,” and nomia “pasturelands.”

GEMINI: PROMETHEUS - Titan God of Forethought

Prometheus was the Titan god of forethought and the creator and benefactor of man. He defied Zeus on several occasions, including tricking the gods out of the best share of the sacrificial meat, and stealing fire from heaven for the benefit of mankind. Zeus was furious, and had Prometheus chained to Mount Caucasus, where an eagle was set to devour his ever-regenerating liver. The Titan was eventually released from his tortures by Heracles.

CANCER: RHEA - Titan Goddess of Fertility

Rhea was the Titanis mother of the gods, and a goddess of female fertility, motherhood, and generation. Her name means “flow” and “ease.” As the wife of Kronos (Time), she represented the eternal flow of time and generations; as the great Mother (Meter Megale). She was also a goddess of comfort and ease. In myth, Rhea was the wife of the Titan Kronos and Queen of heaven.

LEO: AURA - Titan Goddess of the Breeze

AURA was the Titan goddess of the breeze and the fresh, cool air of early morning. She was a virgin-huntress who was excessively proud of her maidenhood. In her hubris she dared to compare her body with that of the goddess Artemis, claiming that the goddess was too womanly in form to be a true virgin. Artemis sought out Nemesis (Retribution) to avenge her dignity, and as punishment, Aura suffered rape at the hands of Dionysos. This crime drove her to madness and in her fury she became a ruthless, slayer of men.

VIRGO : COEUS - Titan God of Intelligence

Coeus (or Koios) The Titan god of the intellect as his name would suggest. He was also known as Polus (the pole) and probably presided over the axis of heaven in the north around which the constellations revolve. Coeus was one of the four Titan-brothers who conspired with Cronus in the ambush and castration of Uranus. At the end of the Titan-War, he was confined by Zeus in the Tartarean pit. Coeus was sometimes described as leader of the Gigantes, who rebelled against Zeus.

LIBRA: MNEMOSYNE - Titan Goddess of Memories

Mnemosyne was Titan goddess of memory and remembrance and the inventress of language and words. As a Titan daughter of Ouranos (Heaven), Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. In this role she was represented as the mother of the Mousai (Muses), originally patron goddesses of the poets of the oral tradition.

SCORPIO: THEMIS - Titan Goddess of Devine Law

Themis was the Titan goddess of divine law and order–the traditional rules of conduct first established by the gods. She was also a prophetic goddess who presided over the most ancient oracles, including Delphoi. In this role, she was the divine voice (themistes) who first instructed mankind in the primal laws of justice and morality, such as the precepts of piety, the rules of hospitality, good governance, conduct of assembly, and pious offerings to the gods. In Greek, the word themis referred to divine law, those rules of conduct long established by custom. Unlike the word nomos, the term was not usually used to describe laws of human decree.

SAGITTARIUS: SELENE - Titan Godess of the Moon

Selene was the Titan goddess of the moon. She was depicted as a woman either riding side saddle on a horse or in a chariot drawn by a pair of winged steeds. Her lunar sphere or crescent was represented as either a crown set upon her head or as the fold of a raised, shining cloak. In myth, Selene’s great love was the shepherd prince Endymion. The beautiful boy was granted eternal youth and immortality by Zeus and placed in a state of eternal slumber in a cave near the peak of Lydian Mount Latmos. There his heavenly bride descended to consort with him in the night.

CAPRICORN: ASTERIA - Titan Goddess of oracle and prophecies of night

Asteria was the Titan goddess of the oracles and prophecies of night, including prophetic dreams, the reading of the stars (astrology), and necromancy. She was a younger Titan goddess whose name and genealogy suggest presided over the night, stars and nocturnal prophecy. She was the mother of the goddess Hecate. After the fall of the Titans Asteria was pursued by Zeus and but leapt into the sea to escape him where she was transformed into the island of Delos.

AQUARIUS: HECATE - Titan Goddess of Magic.

Hekate (or Hecate) was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. She was the only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea. Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After the mother-daughter reunion became she Persephone’s minister and companion in Haides.

PISCES: OCEANUS - Titan God of The Ocean

Oceanus (or Okeanos) was the Titan god of the earth-encircling, fresh-water river Oceanus. As a Titan god he presided over the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies : the sun, the moon, the stars, and the dawn. His ever-flowing waters, encircling the edges of the cosmos were associated with the neverending flow of time. Oceanus was the only one of the brother Uranides not to participate in the castration of their father Uranus. In the Titan-War he remained neutral, giving his tacit support to Zeus.
Super Simple Festival Calendar (UK)

(Stripped right down the bare bones.) Mention opalborn)

January – Libation to Hera

(Nothing for this month as of yet. Fields are bare and weather is cold/wet.)

February – Libation to Aphrodite

17th - Theogamia. Zeus & Hera sacred marriage. (Because Zeus and Hera are ones I pay attention to.)

Late Feb - Lambing Season – Pan & the Nymphs. (Sheep farm just down the road from me.)

March – Libation to Hephaistos

Full Moon week - Anthesteria.

Lesser Mysteries. Persephone & Demeter. Persephone’s return. Fields are fertilised. Sugar Beet sown. (Things start growing again.)

April – Libation to Artemis & Apollon

21st  - Offerings to the Horai & Kharites. (Weather getting better, Spring and stuff.)

May – Libation to Zeus

8th May – VE Day. Hero/Ancestor offerings.

June – Libation to Athena

Pea Harvest.

21st Prometheia. Modern solstice festival.

July – Libation to Hermes

4th Aphrodisia. Bathing festival of Aphrodite.

August – Libation to Ares

10th - Battle of Britain Memorial.

Start of harvest depending on weather.

September – Libation to Poseidon

Cereal & Beet harvest continued.

7th Niketeria. Offering to Nike.

October – Libation to Demeter & Persephone

Full Moon week - Thesmophoria. Persephone’s descent into the underworld.

Barley/Wheat sown.

November – Libation to Hades

11th – Poppy Memorial Day. Hero/Ancestor offerings.

December – Libation to Dionysos

21st -  Heliogennia. Solstice.

         ❝ So you’re the one Morpheus has been fawning all over?  The kharite coos at the mortal with scanning violets, the mellow of her voice as welcoming as it is intrigued.  ❝ You should visit us more often — funny how riled up he gets over something so human. ❞ Too bad her visitation possibility depended on her brother-in-law’s rather FRANTIC way of handling his threats. Nevertheless, the goddess headed for the kitchen with a fluid gesticulation of her hand; ❝ Do you want tea? Don’t worry, I brew my own from the Upperworld — no shady tricks. ❞   // @kindmedium​