Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored by Sarah Kate Istra Winter.

khariscoverKharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored delves into the many aspects of the revival of Greek paganism, from its ancient roots to its contemporary practice. It is written as an introduction for those new to Hellenismos, and as a reference for more experienced devotees. It covers not only the basics of worship, but also how to adapt the ancient religion to our modern lives, cultivate relationships with the gods and spirits, and create a deeply satisfying spiritual life.

The emphasis of this book is on the concept of kharis – the reciprocity so implicit in the practice of Hellenic polytheism both in antiquity and today. From the simplest prayer or libation, to direct encounters with deities, the principle of reciprocal favor governs the heart of this religion and facilitates for each worshipper a real and profound connection with the divine.

184 pages, 5.5×8.5″, paperback, third edition published August 2019 (replacing and updating the 2008 edition).

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Preface to the Third Edition
Kharis: Definitions
Notes on Language

CHAPTER ONE. Ancient Greek Religion
The Myths; Cult Practice; Temples; Religious Roles; Rites of Passage; Miasma; Oaths; Mixing Wine; Music, Dance and Theatre; Oracles; Values; Non-Mainstream and Foreign Cults; Patriarchy and “The Twelve”; Historical “Facts”

CHAPTER TWO. Modern Hellenismos
Other Pagans, Other Places; What We Take From the Past; Scholarship; Language and Clothing; Religious Names; “Hard” vs “Soft” Polytheism; Citing Sources and UPGs; Community; Priesthood; Ancient Mindset and Innovation

CHAPTER THREE. Kharis Through Ritual
Creating Effective Ritual; Tangible Acts; Hellenic Ritual Types; Festivals and the Calendar; A Personalized Religious Calendar; Animal Sacrifice; Ritual Structure; Offerings; Disposal of Sacrifices; Hymns; Libations; Temporary Festival Shrines; A Festival Day Example

CHAPTER FOUR. Kharis Through Relationships
The Gods; The “Olympians” and Beyond; Ancestors; Heroes; The Nymphs; Other Spirits; Agathos Daimon; Household Religion; Shrines; Holy Places; Prayer; Listening to the Gods; Divination Methods; Omens; Patron Gods; Devotional Acts; Pilgrimage; Everyday Practice; “Everything is Full of Gods”

CHAPTER FIVE. Mysticism, Magic & Mysteries
Meeting the Gods; Ecstatic States; Prophetic Trance; Ancient Mystics; Acts of Magic; Mystery Cults


Appendix I: The Ancient Athenian Calendar and Major Festivals
Appendix II: Plants, Animals, Places, & Activities Sacred to Specific Gods and Goddesses
Appendix III: Useful Greek Words and Phrases for Religious Practice
Appendix IV: Results from the Hellenic Polytheist Survey

Further Exploration
Internet Resources
About the Author

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