Prayers and responses

Some things I learn the hard way.  Okay, lots of things.  Take the power of barley, for example.

A couple of days ago I went about happily blessing the old and new shrines and sacred spots in my yard.  I learned a new (to me, anyway) prayer for libations to the Greek gods, used with libations (translation in italics):

Khaire O Hermes. Eleibometha soi. I have poured a libation to you. Leipsometha soi. I do pour a libation to you. Leibometha soi. I will pour a libation to you. Kharin ekhomen soi. I give you thanks. Khaire!

I also used barley.  The grain can be used as an offering, but it can also be used to mark an offering for a particular god.  I sprinkled it on the altar, the upright stones, the moss gardens, and the houseplants I put out for the summer.

Christmas cactus, before it was offered up.

Alas and alack, the barley on my Christmas cactus marked it as an offering, rather than simply as sacred. The plant is enjoying its second summer outside, but never before did a deer think it a tasty snack.  It was significantly trimmed back, to say the least, and I will be more thoughtful about how I use barley in the future.  I think the cactus got the trim it probably needed, although it may disagree.  I certainly hope Artemis is pleased with the offering.

In other news, this morning I found my herm covered in centipedes.  One of the little guys was walking about with one of its fellows atop its back – is that still called piggyback?

Hermes is an interesting god, since he was still and solid long before he was fleet and nimble, but he retains the qualities of both.  I like having him around.

Doing some landscaping

Every year that I make the journey, I get inspired by the Lughnasad festival at Laurelin Retreat.  It’s hosted by the Laurelin Community on 56 acres of land owned by Reverend Kirk White (someone really needs to upload a new image for that page).

This year I came home thinking about the various shrines and sacred places on that land, and how I might emulate that at home.  It’s tough to do more than emulation when you’ve got a quarter acre and the place you were camping is 56 acres of fields and woodlands.

Cats have different uses for altars than humans do.

We already have a really ace stone altar, which is being used for all manner of rituals.  I like the fact that the cats find it an appealing place to worship the sun, but I probably won’t use it in quite the same ways.

I regularly sprinkle khernips (purified water) on the altar, which should cover all the bases.  Any gods (or worshipers) who are bothered by kitty activity should be satisfied by purification.

However, I don’t think we have anyone with that concern here.

Besides the altar, there are a couple of moss gardens which have taken a more sacred aspect.  One of them I started on purpose, and it’s been a slow process.  I’ve gathered stones from various places, along with some logs and bark, and encouraged the moss along.

After I killed a deer with my car a few weeks ago I asked Artemis for some guidance, and she told me I ought to honor her on purpose rather than accidentally like that.  I’ve taken to sprinkling the moss garden with khernips and barley in her name.

Moss garden with upright stone

There’s another patch of moss on the other side of the yard, and I’ve been encouraging it by plucking out the adjacent grass and clearing it of competition like clover.  It’s done really well since I first delineated it with some stones, outgrowing the original ring.

I just found a stone which had been upright in an old wall, and grew lichen on its upper end.  It clearly needed to remain upright, so I added it here.

I still want to complete a new ring of border stones.

I added another, slightly larger upright stone at the crossroads of two paths in the yard.  It’s a herm, a traditional shrine to Hermes.  I’ve been thinking a lot about herms and divination, and having one here will allow me a chance to experiment.

We have a rock garden and a vegetable garden.  That kind of effort focused on beauty and life is always going to be sacred, even if it’s not dedicated to a specific deity.

So I’ve been working on this plan for several years, and only now just realized it.  More pictures on the True Pagan Warrior Facebook page.