I was at Denver Pagan Pride
yesterday and although there were not a lot of people at the ritual that I was hosting, I still went ahead and did the following ritual. It was something that I frankly felt was NEEDED given the current “religious freedom” cries that actually translate to “religious freedoms for “approved” Christian sects” cries. I felt that we DID need to call upon our Gods to help us help ourselves….. And that
is what we need to struggle for — right now!
Come, O Blissful Gods,
great Friends of Mortals,
Mighty pillars of the world.
Come, Immortal Gods and
by the grace of our offerings, freely grant to us mortals
untainted virtue, great happiness, and well-being
Hymn to Hestia
Hestia, royal daughter of almighty Kronos,
You who holds the central abode, the magnificent perpetual fire,
Elevate the respectful suppliants who worship You in their holy ceremonies,
Grant to them ever-flourishing happiness, glad and pure,
O’ dwelling of the Blissful Gods, steady support of mortals,
Eternal, glow-formed, needed by all,
Come, smiling Blessed Goddess, accept our offerings with kind heart,
Inspire happiness and gentle health.
Explanation of festival
This festival, at which the Athenians celebrated democracy, included sacrifices to Zeus Agoraios, Athena Agoraia and to the Goddess Themis. Images of Zeus and Athena were paraded in the agora, the lower city below the Acropolis (high city). Themis, one of the Titans, is “goddess of divine law–the primal, unwritten laws governing human conduct which were first established by the gods of heaven. She was believed to have issued these edicts to mankind through the great oracle of Delphi over which she presided alongside the god Apollon” . Clearly, the establishment of democracy in Athens was seen as a divine gift of Themis, especially, as well as Zeus (her father) and Athena.Because of this – it is appropriate that we celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy as part of our country’s heritage. These include especially the Freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the rights to Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Peaceful Assembly. These freedoms also include things like the freedoms of women and people of color to vote and own property as well as the freedom that same-sex couples now enjoy in being allowed to legally wed across our nation. This festival also serves to remind us that we still have a long way to go, but that we should never give up the struggle for a just society.
Hymn to Themis
I call upon pure Themis, daughter of noble Sky
and Earth, Themis the young, the lovely-faced maiden,
the first to show mortals the holy oracle
as prophetess of the Gods in her Delphic hideaway
on Pythian ground where Python was king.
You taught lord Phoibos the art of giving laws.
Amid reverence and honor you shine in the night,
for you were first to teach men holy worship
howling to Bacchos in nights of revelry;
From you come the honors of the gods, the honors of the holy mysteries.
O blessed maiden, come in a joyous, in a kindly spirit
to your very sacred, to your mystical rites.
Hymn to the Titans
Titans, glorious children of Sky and Earth,
ancestors of our fathers, you dwell down below
in Tartarean homes, in the bowels of the earth.
From you are descended all toiling mortals,
the brood of the sea and the land, then the brood of the birds,
of all generations of the world born of you.
I call upon you to banish harsh anger
if some earthly forefather of mine stormed your homes.
The following material is optional but can be included if the celebrant wishes:
I sing of the all-seeing eye of comely and radiant Dike,
who is seated on the sacred throne of lord Zeus.
From heaven you watch the lives of the many human races,
you crush the unjust with just retribution,
matching things lawless through the truth of equality.
For whenever base opinions prevail in difficult verdicts,
because men wish more than is fair,
you intervene and rouse justice against her foes.
An enemy of the unjust, you are a gentle goddess to the just.
O goddess, come even handed, to thoughts that are noble,
until that fated day descends on my life
O paragon of justice to mortals, blessed and beloved one,
you take equal pleasure in all men who are just.
Honored by all and blissful, O bold, O lofty Justice,
you are pure of thought, you reward propriety,
your own conscience is unbreakable for you break all
who do not submit to your yoke, but…
in their greed upset the balance of your mighty scales.
Dauntless, charming, a lover of revel loved by all,
you rejoice in peace, you strive for a life that is stable.
You loath unfairness, but fairness delights you;
in you knowledge of virtue reaches its noble goal.
Hear, O goddess, rightly shatter wicked men,
so that mortals who eat of the fruits of this earth
and also all living creatures nursed in the bosom
of Earth, the divine mother, nursed in the bosom of sea-dwelling Zeus,
may follow a path both balanced and noble.
(end of optional prayer)
Modern prayer for the Demokratia
Dearest Gods, both those on High Olympus and in the Darkness of the House of Hades,
we praise you and your gifts of liberty for all of us and our progeny.
We thank you for the liberties we enjoy and we offer our prayers to you this day
to help us preserve these liberties in the face of attacks by those who would strip them away.
We ask you for your guidance in the struggle against those who would deny civil rights
to any based on color of skin, religion or sexuality.
We ask that you inspire our lawmakers with your wisdom so that they might make just laws.
We ask that you teach ourselves and our families your justice so that we may teach others.
We offer this prayer to you both for ourselves and for those of good will who cannot be here.
Prayer to Hestia who is both first and last.
Hestia, in the lofty dwelling of all,
both of the immortal gods and of men who walk the earth,
you have obtained an eternal abode and the highest honor,
together with a fair and honorific prize; for without you there can be no celebrations
for mortals, if at the beginning yours is not the first and last offering.
And you, Argeiphontes, son of Zeus and Maia,
messenger of the blessed gods, golden-staffed giver of things good,
dwell with Hestia in beautiful houses, with loving hearts.
Be favorable and help, both you and reverend and dear Hestia.
Since both of you know the good works of the men of this earth,
accompany them with youthful mind.
Hail! O daughter of Kronos, both you and Hermes of the golden wand!
I shall remember you this day and another day also!