Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored by Sarah Kate Istra Winter.
Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored delves into the many aspects of the revival of Greek paganism, from its ancient roots to its modern practice. It is written for the person new to Hellenismos, and for the person who has been practicing for years, as well as for people outside of the religion who are interested in learning more. It covers not only the basics of worship, but also how to make the ancient religion relevant to modern times, cultivate relationships with the gods and other divinities, 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. From the simplest devotional act, to prayer, to divination, to mysticism, the principle of reciprocal favor governs the heart of this religion and lets each worshipper encounter the gods on a real and profound level.
164 pages, 5.5×8.5″, paperback, published July 2008 (replacing and updating the original 2004 edition).
Dedication & Acknowledgements
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
Introduction; 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; In Conclusion
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 Pagan Survey
About the Author