According to the YSEE “Lexicon of Standard Terminology for Hellenismos an “ORKOS (Oath) is an appeal to the THEOI (Gods) when making serious promises to which it is deemed expedient to have the THEOI bear witness. An ORKOS is always taken in front of a VOMOS (Altar) upon which the ORKIZOMENOS/ORKIZOMENE lays a hand while swearing the ORKOS. An ORKOS is always accompanied by THYSIA (Sacrifice) and SPONDAI (Libations). This THYSIA (Sacrifice) is not eaten but either burnt or cast into the sea/river.”
If this is the case and oaths are part of Hellenic Polytheistic faith, we ask then why this Maxim enjoins us to notuse them. The simple answer is that what we promise the Gods, or ask Them to stand as witness to, we then must fulfill – no excuses. The taking of an oath is a serious matter and for us to make one is something that should not be done without due thought.
All too often we use the words “I Promise” when we don’t mean them. This Maxim tells us to not do that. Although, I would tend to believe that if one is testifying in court that the “Swear to tell the truth” we are all familiar with through various media is an acceptable oath as are the marriage vows. But in addition to things of this nature, we should always try to ensure that we do not make promises unless we ensure we carry them out. To do otherwise is not wise.