Hailing Hera

I’ve been actively worshipping Hera consistently since this past summer.  I began when She indicated that she wanted to be included as one of the gods that I call on when I do divination.  I initially had a few challenges incorporating Her worship into my routine, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in case others find it helpful.

I keep a monthly offering calendar for the the gods.  For the most part, it’s been pretty easy to find days of the month when the gods I worship were traditionally honored or where enough modern devotees have come to the same conclusion (PCPG: peer-corroborated personal gnosis) that I could adopt those days into my calendar easily.  For Hera, this wasn’t possible.  I had some divination done (I try not to do much divination for myself), and I learned that Hera wanted me to reserve two days for Her on the calendar: the 2nd and the 11th.  The 2nd is shared with the agathos daimon, but the 11th is Hers alone.

There are several festivals from throughout the ancient Greek world dedicated to Hera, but the only one I’ve celebrated is the Theogamia, which is the wedding anniversary of Hera and Zeus.  It’s celebrated on the 26th of the Athenian month of Gamelion (the seventh month if you begin the calendar with the first new moon after the summer solstice).  In addition, there is the greater and lesser Daedala (of Boetian origin).  The greater Daedala is celebrated every 60 years and the lesser Daedala is celebrated every four.  The Daedala is a celebration of reconciliation and renewing of vows between Hera and Zeus.  It’s celebrated with procession and holocaust (wholly burnt) offerings.  I keep a monthly calendar and do celebrate some annual festivals, but festivals that require a large community (such as this one) and are celebrated at multiple year intervals (like this one) are not celebrations that I’ve yet tackled.  I’m also not sure what time of year this festival was celebrated.  The Heraian Games were also dedicated to Hera, but as we currently have women’s  events in the Olympics, those events replace the Heraian Games in my eyes.  Simply acknowledging the changes that have come between then and now and making an offering to Hera before you watch (if you watch) is a good compromise, I think.

Version 2
my shrine for Hera, December 2016

Offerings are somewhat personal.  There are things that the gods want from some of us but don’t want from others.  I find it to be a good practice to get divination to find out what particular gods want from you specifically if you’re unable to figure it out on your own.  This divination should be repeated at regular intervals as what the gods want from us can change over time.  Below, I offer you a list of things that Hera has been known to want from Her devotees as a starting point.

Food Offerings

  • cooked meat dishes (lamb, goat, beef, poultry, and rabbit)
  • figs & honey figs
  • baklava
  • pomegranates
  • apples (especially yellow ones)

Flowers

  • lillies
  • poppies (particularly opium poppies, but I think substitutions of other varieties would be accepted)

Libations

  • olive oil
  • wine (both reds and whites)
  • whole milk

Votive Offerings

  • peacock feathers

Incense

  • myrrh

As for prayers, it is nearly always ideal if you speak ex tempore or prepare (write) your own prayers, but I understand the desire to have a collection that you can refer to in times of stress and limited time.  Below, I offer you the resources that I refer to for my favorite prayers and hymns for Hera.

Underflow – Hearthstone writes beautiful prayers, and you can search her blog for prayers specifically to Hera.  She’s also written two books that I suggest you look at as well.

Queen of Olympos – devotional for Hera and Juno published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Homeric Hymns – this is my preferred translation

Orphic Hymns – I have other works by this translator and feel comfortable recommending him.

 

 

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