Kyklos Apollon is a synchronous monthly prayer circle to the Olympian God, Apollon, occurring on the 7th day of each lunar month, the traditional day to honor Apollon in ancient Hellas. Many join in month after month, year after year, and in full ritual. Some join perhaps once only in all their lives, perhaps for some particular purpose. Some engage in formal ritual; some burn or crumble a leaf, or unobtrusively spill a small libation. All are welcome. Your worship may be public or private.

Monday, August 1, 2011

by Lykeia: "I Worship Apollon" from her book, "Crowned With Nine Rays"

I Worship Apollon

            In a day and age when the gods have been reduced to stories and archetypes some may question the relevance that a god such as Apollon has in our lives, a god whose worship is placed in the context of a time much removed from our own and our way of life. Regardless, the very principles which made Apollon such a vital god to our spiritual ancestors continues to make him such today for it is these principles which endure and transmit across time and space. For the light which Apollon holds within his domain, with all of its physical and metaphysical qualities, is the axis of life, justice, freedom and happiness. It is easy to intellectualize mythically who Apollon is and those symbols associated with him, and therefore it is merely another step further to understand why his worship is important to us as human beings, for each myth and every symbol is but another golden ribbon drawing him closer to us if we pay attention and open our hearts to him. He is already present in the world around us. If ever you have let your heart be carried by the sweet measure of music; if you have rejoiced in the principles of justice, equality and freedom to which all people have inherent right; if ever you valued knowledge and reason over ignorance and superstition, or marveled over the harmonic order of all life and the universe you have caught a glimpse of the god.  All of this is encompassed within his light.
            There are those who will tell you that the world is divided into dark and light, negative and positive, and predator and prey which in turns develops into spiritual ideas comparable to the Christian concept of a benevolent God and malevolent Satan, or at the other end of the spectrum becomes comprised of deities that possess a duality in nature that is both good and bad, or “dark.” But nature possesses no element of evil, and thus the gods who rule over the natural and spiritual world as higher beings cannot be evil, neither in whole or in part. That there are polarities, both within nature and in our own selves, there can be no mistake. But these forces within the world are conduits of different flows of energies and cannot be labeled bad. Despite their differences, whether it is aggression or passivity, instinctual or logical, they work in unity together in creating the whole. It is the balance of these energies which is the ideal state and Apollon is essential in helping us to find the middle path as we find a harmonic balance within ourselves and in our relationship with the world around us which he orders.
“..And with your versatile lyre
You harmonize the poles, now reaching the highest pitch,
Now the lowest, and now again with the Doric mode,
Balancing the poles harmoniously, as you judge the race of mortals.”[1]
            This means that Apollon is instrumental in our personal growth and improvement that we can became greater than we were before. He effectively destroys the old to bring the rebirth of the new like a phoenix rises from her ashes. Therefore, the root of his name believed to have come from the word “destroyer” has no fearful connotations to those who live righteously, for his destruction serves them only as being constructive, just as the equal partition of winter to summer renews the land and brings vitality to the dormant seeds. He is the god by whose music ushers in the turning of the seasons in both nature and within mortal lives. By honoring Apollon we recognize the positive role that a seasonal death has in our own spiritual development, which in turn reduces fear of the eventuality of death itself since it is a significant part of the law of Apollon.
“Yours, too, are the beginning and end to come
You make everything bloom…
…You have infused harmony into all men’s lot,
Giving them equal measure of summer and winter.
The lowest notes you strike in the winter, and the highest in the summer
And your mode is Doric for spring’s lovely and blooming season.”[2]
            Certainly no god has as close personal contact with death as Apollon, but that does not mean that all situations of death are doled out by Apollon or directly associated with the god. This is in direct contrast to some common beliefs out there that ascribe a divine agent as directly responsible for any occasion of death, including premature death and murder. In worshipping Apollon we honor that which is a cyclic gateway which transforms and we lay greater responsibility on our own decision making abilities and those of others. We understand Apollon as a god who presides over the law which brings natural death as we see from his argument with Death in Euripedes’ Aclestis. In his confrontation with Death on the part of Aclestis when Death remarked that his function in bringing an end to mortal lives is in accordance with the law and gives Death his office in killing, Apollon responds “Not so. But to cast death on those that are ripe for it.” [3]
Apollon then is a god important in all of our lives because he is a god who balances out life, death, rebirth, and is champion of the heroic cycle that rewards great deeds born of love and sacrifice with spiritual evolution.  Therefore, he is the guardian of life through the implementation of harmony, the balancing of the poles, which aids in our development not only as a species as the centuries pass but also in the development and health of the individual soul. His arrows may strike and bring conclusion, but it is cooperative with his music which sets the measure and the tone of all living things. Even as music grows and evolves, and fades away to be replaced by a new strain, he is the master of the cosmos, and the father of civilizations which too rise and eventually die out. But this destruction is not a bad thing. In order for the birth of the new, the old must decay. Within the Mysteries this is evident by the procession to Eleusis on the nineteenth and twentieth of Boedromion. Apollon is represented subtly by the presence of the mystagogs, those who guide the people through the mysteries, and preserve order on their journey. The initiate must symbolically die in order to be reborn just as the perfect fruit of the grape vine must also be destroyed in order to cultivate the wine, and the ideas born from ignorance and superstition are eventually crushed beneath those born of knowledge, reason and education.[4]
 Even so he is the god the transitional periods of the human life, though he is active in the lives of men and women he is especially important in male life cycle as much as his sister is to the female life cycle. A baby becomes a boy Apollon carefully guards, who transforms into the youth who sings in the choruses for Apollon in the hopes to someday wed as a man. Then as they become adults they are brought into society where he would be introduced to the council where they too will one day become elders before they die. This idea is interestingly represented mythically in the island Syria where Apollon’s arrows slew the men when the period of their lives came to an end.[5]
It is perhaps the destructive nature of Apollon that can be a bit unnerving to those new to Hellenismos and those who are becoming initially aware of the god; enough so that it may discourage people from worshipping him. Certainly there are those who derive dark connotations from certain myths which often make the god appear quite brutal. This probably is the root of suggestions by some that Apollon has a “dark side.” The slaying and skinning of Marsyas is a perfect example, one that seems to overshadow the myths of the slaying of Pytho and the deaths of the children of Niobe in its violence. In this myth Apollon is revealed to the audience as a god who, seemingly uncompassionate, skins alive the satyr over whom he triumphed. The misunderstanding of myths like these which are interpreted in literal terms solely based on their surface appearances, whether it is presented as necessary suffering or as a so called “dark side” of the god, is potentially alienating for those coming into Hellenismos. But when taken as they are, as a collection of symbols that serve to carry certain information about humanity’s relationship to the gods and their relationship to each other, which may or may not be based on historical figures, rather than as literal religious histories they become valuable and can inspire greater devotion to the god. This removes myths from the modern use, which places them in realm of culture and entertainment, and returns them to that of spiritual expression. The myths then, rather than making the god less real and personable in a modern life, brings your own experience into a closer relationship with the god that will further enrich your spiritual lifestyle when you seek to honor him.
Despite some current fashions, there is a human tendency to revere light as the opposition of all that frightens us, clouds our minds, or can potential harm us from within or without; therefore, it only makes sense that a god who wields all the powers of light would be beneficial to us not only personally but as a society. It is because he, whose eyes are like the tireless illumination of the sun, the soft hues of twilight, and the field of stars with the orb of the moon in the night, cannot be blinded from evil, tyranny and injustice. It can never pass by unnoticed by the god. He sees the way and makes it visible to us as all if we care to see. This is perhaps the stem value for the ancient oracles and sibyls. This is not to say that we need anyone to broadcast to us the will of Zeus, or to serve as a mouthpiece for Apollon, but rather to illustrate of why Apollon has held such a place of importance within human society and why he continues to do so. He is the god who shows us the road to our liberty and greatest potential.[6]
It is in this sense that we understand that the opposition of his light by “darkness” is not the natural darkness. It doesn’t mean that he is the opponent to the unknown or the hidden mysteries, or the very night, though he is instrumental in illuminating these things to mankind. For expressions of natural darkness is not entirely absent of light, or his presence. The true darkness the light devours and ferrets out is the darkness of the heart which cognitively refutes the light, and embraces all that is contrary to nature. This is the real darkness upon which Apollon sets upon with his arrows. Where there is festering of some internal disease, soon there comes a visible sign of its corruption by his illumination. He destroys the illusion of health and brings the reality of deterioration and death to the forefront, seen and experienced by all. Perhaps this is what is meant when one calls Apollon a plague bringing god. He strikes affectively with his far traveling darts, so called flaming serpents, as into the nest of Delfine where Typhon was suckled. Typhon represents the evil which we are capable of which in turn destroys us, and Delfine the dragoness, and illness, which nurtures it. By the destruction of this serpent he routs out evil from the land where it feeds. It is the aversion and destruction of this evil which can have devastating effects on ourselves and our society that makes Apollon a good ally to humanity and each of us personally. [7]
This illness and evil may manifest in our cities, unsanitary and rotting from within by the suppression of many into squalid conditions, or in the tyranny which abuses us and attempts to strip us of our humanity and those basic rights which we all possess. By its destruction Apollon heals the corrupt state. By his word he purifies and restores balance and order. This makes Apollon a healer, not only of the sickness of the body and spirit, but of social ills, those things of injustice, tyranny and slavery whether it inflicts the bodies, the minds, or the hearts of its populace. In the face of social ills Apollon is the inspirer of orators, those who in turn inspire others into corrective action as the heralds of change and evolution. To promote order and justice, Apollon must enforce it by the destruction of that which is against nature and that which violates the social contract, that is to say the rules by which people peacefully and successfully live together upon which they agree.  It is for this reason that Apollon gives a voice to everyone to have an equal say in their society, and therefore embodies all which we enjoy from a democratic state.  Apollon’s importance in such governing affairs is illustrated by Plutarch who names a possible source of Apollon’s name to have come from the world apella which refers to the community council. No man can block the freedom of another when all are in council with shared citizen’s privilege to speak equally. When you take your political place, as is your right and responsibility when you reach the point of coming of age, you enter into adulthood officially with full capacity to be a determining voice in your fate. Our rights to petition our government, our freedoms of speech and jury of peers we owe to Apollon. And it is the duty of adults, young and old, to embrace and exercise what rights they have which is particularly important to remember in this age when political apathy is so wide spread.[8]
If we can appreciate his light which balances and instructs, which destroys and illuminates, it is then that we can fully appreciate the significance of the beauty of Apollon, the most beautiful god. It is not the marble face or perfect locks of hair that demonstrates what his beauty means to us, but rather it is these things. And it is these things which make the aesthetic beauty that we enjoy possible. What art can truly thrive if it is smothered beneath the rigid guard of agents of suppression, or if it is manipulated in order to serve some subversive agenda to place a yoke on the people? It is because of who Apollon is that places all things of beauty and creativity within his domain, and those of us who reap enjoyment from them have it because of Apollon who endows the souls with these gifts.

[1] “To Apollon,” The Orphic Hymns, trans. Apostolos N. Athanassakis, The Society of Biblical Literature (1977, 1988): n. 34.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Euripides. “Aclestis,” Ten Plays, trans. Moses Hadas & John McLean, Bantam Books, In, NY (1960) :4-5, 28
[4] Robertson, Noel D. “Two Processions to Eleusis and the Programs of the Mysteries,“ The American Journal of Philology, 119, 4: 552, 557, 566.
[5] Homer, The Odyssey 15.410; Cartledge, Paul. The Spartans, Vintage Books (2003): 59; Plutarch, , Plutarch’s Lives, trans John Langhorne, D.D & William Longhorne, A.M. William and Joseph Neal, Baltimore (1831): 35.
[6] “To Apollon,” Orphic Hymns.
[7] Homeric Hymn to Apollon, trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Perseus Digital Library.

[8] Plutarch, Plutarch’s Lives: 35.

My Apollon essay, 2005

You do not have to worship Apollo. It is possible that those who do not worship Apollo live miserable, thwarted lives. It is possible that the failure to worship Apollo leads one to a horrible afterlife-to a damnation of some sort- or to no afterlife whatsoever. If so, I am not aware of it. Nor is this anywhere written. Pascal's wager makes a poor rationale for the worship of Apollo.

He is exactly the opposite of a jealous God, calling all worship into himself. Indeed, the existence of Apollo actively presupposes the existence of other Gods, and if it is your desire to become wise, or to save your soul, or simply to shed a few bad habits, the existence of Apollo presupposes one's capacity to fulfill these wishes beneath the shade, or light, of some other deity. You do not have to worship Apollo. His existence does not even contradict the existence of that God whose existence would presume to contradict his.

And more: no mortal can guarantee that Apollo has any interest in your worship, or in you. The claim, Apollo Loves You, must be won through experience, not doctrine. This might seem discouraging, but here there is something quite breathtaking. For if you are among those (Few? Many? We shall see) if you are among those who carry within them the feeling of Apollo's interest, you may conclude that this interest is in you, distinctly, and in you, wholly, as a particular individual; that he has seen the path you alone have walked, and invites you onto a path that has been walked by few, or by none, before.

There is something centrifugal in his nature, that sends force outward, onward, toward some far destination. His statuary suggests this. The statues of Apollo-think of the Belvedere, think of the Olympia-almost never face you, the mortal, with open arms, as though he himself were the destination of your path. Nor are they turned inward, as Buddhas are, toward silent contemplation. Instead, they draw your eye to some third point, upon which he, Archer, Striker From Afar, is rapt. You are invited to share this focus upon the third point, which is neither you nor he, but which, shared by you both, becomes the intersection of the mortal and the divine. To appreciate a statue of Apollo seems alwas to triangulate upon this third point, in the same manner that one tends not to gaze upon the Sun, before soon focusing upon that which the Sun illuminates. Even in the Apollo of Project: Apollo, one cannot long consider Apollo without soon considering that third thing, the Moon.

You do not have to worship Apollo. But let us, for a moment, gaze into the Sun.

Apollo has, of course, his special creatures. The wolf. The crow. The dolphin. Apparently disparate creatures, united in being, each, an irruption of intelligence within Nature; of intelligence as Nature's fruit, rather than as Nature's opposite. However, among the Olympians, Apollo does not shorthand very comfortably; he is notoriously resistant to synopsis. Apollo is Sun God, but not in the manner that Aphrodite is Love Goddess, Ares, God of War. Name Aphrodite Love Goddess and you have said something reductive, and crude, but for a given moment, adequate. One might then go on to consider all the depth and complexity of the field, Love. Do so with sufficient thoroughness, and you will have come to a conversational understanding of Aphrodite.

It is not adequate to Apollo to name him Sun God. It becomes necessary, for instance, to understand the Sun as the Greeks did. Where we see a stillness around which we move, they saw a fireball that rose out of darkness, crossed the broad sky, and returned to darkness; and knowing this matters when you name Apollo Sun God. Then there is the entire business of Helios, and the uneasy dance between Sun God and Sun itself.

Further, to the Greeks, Apollo was more importantly God of Medicine, of Prophecy, and of Purification, than Sun God. Of these, we all welcome  Medicine; Prophecy is a minor cultural aside to most of us, belonging more to entertainment than to religion; and Purification means nothing to us, even less than nothing.

And yet of all Apollo's many facets, Purification is perhaps most crucial. It needs to be understood. A mystical concept, it can yet be approached rationally. As a question, Purification necessarily divides into two:

Purification from what?


Purification toward what?

These queries can be seen as two points that describe a Line.

Purification toward what? has a straightforward answer: Purification toward the condition of Apollo. And this condition is, simply, perfection. Apollo is the antetype to man, standing beyond our far point, forever over the horizon of our possibility. Of all Gods known to man, none represents this aspect of divinity-divine excellence-so completely as Apollo. Excellence incarnate, excellence is his gift. Though we will never match him, we yet share the same Line. Even as there is this fundamental difference, still there is this fundamental bond. And the Delphic command, Know Thyself, means both Know that there is always a segment between his point and yours; and also, Know your position, precisely, along the Line. Know when you rise, shortening the segment, and Know when you have sunk, lengthening it. 

Apollo combines the impossibility of our becoming Gods and the invitation toward divinity. The Line segment between Apollo and ourselves is the segment upon which Icarus rose and fell. Traveling this Line is fraught with danger. Know Thyself is a warning. Don't challenge the Gods to musical contests. If you see a Goddess bathing nude, look the other way. Don't ask the Gods to show themselves in their true form.

And yet, paradoxically, Purification is-inevitably- an invitation to ascent. There are those who have accepted this invitation. This is the ascent of Pythagoras. Of Socrates. Of Plato. Of Empedocles. Of Apollonius. Of Plotinus. This invitation, which is Apollo's, is, through these men who worshiped him, the deep source of Western reason, science, and technology. And the fruit of this ascent, the ultimate third point, is the conceptualization of the One.

You do not have to worship Apollo. But do so, and you will have stepped into the center of the center of Western civilization. For, Purity incarnate, incapable of fear, Apollo is the God who does not fear your thinking, nor where it might lead. Appropriate, that it was his son, his blood, who began raising the dead themselves, till Zeus cut him short.

Stand back a distance, regarding the Line, and yourself as one point upon it, and an adequate synopsis for Apollo occurs:

Apollo is the God of the Evolution of Man. No wonder that we look about ourselves, across Nature, in vain for that phenomenon that is the the Sign of Apollo. We ourselves are the Sign of Apollo. You are a shadow he casts upon time. Be Purified.


by Venator - Kyklos Apollon ritual for Religio Romana

I wrote this during the summer of 1999 for a friend who practiced the Religio Romana.
While it is written in honor of Apollo, it follows the ritual form I used at the time for
giving worship tp the Holy Aesir and Vanir of the North.

I hope it is of use - Venator


Apollo Rite:

The setting should be a grove of evergreen trees; failing that, a nice park-like area,
backyard or other private area conducive to communing with Apollo will do nicely.
Set up an altar in the center of the area.  This can be a waist high table covered in
a gold cloth, a small boulder, a section of tree trunk, etc.  On or by the altar place
a light: candle, oil lamp, torch, brazier... plus a candle, etc. at each of the compass
points (when possible).

The other ritual objects: a bow and arrow, a laurel wreath, a flask of wine, a bowl,
a cup, a flute or small stringed instrument, a small olive or evergreen branch.

Costume: dress in ancient or modern garb, the outer form has less importance than
the inner intent and spirit. Though, a chiton or tunica and sandals would probably
lend more atmosphere and solemnity.

First, pour some wine into the cup. Greet the spirits of land and sky, explaining your
purpose, then share a libation with them, drinking a little then pouring a quarter of
the rest to each of the four points. Saying: "I give thee greetings Spirits of this place.
I am come today to give honor and respect to one of the Mighty Ones.  I share this
drink with thee in a spirit of friendship that the purpose might please thee also.

Next, a warding to the cardinal points is performed.  As Apollo has aspects as archer
and musician, the warding tools are the bow, arrow and musical instrument. Grasp
the flute in the left hand and the bow and arrow in the right. Hold them high and
say to the rising sun (at each point, imagine a soldier standing guard beside a watcher,
a legionary palisade surrounding the entire ritual area): "Bow and arrow, weapons in
war, tools in peace, Flute, bringer of music at all times, (gesture with the flute towards
the fire at the east, then south, etc.) Fire, warmer of life, sanctify this enclosure and
prevent all evil things from entry!"  Turn sunwise (to your right) and say this to the
south, west and north.

Facing east once again, hold the tools high to Apollo and say in proud, clear tones:
"I consecrate and make holy to the service of Apollo this altar and place of sacrifice,
banishing from it all influences which are unholy and impure!  May our minds, hearts
and spirits be likewise consecrated to the honor and service of Apollo!  Such is our will!
As Juno's geese guarded Rome, may this place be warded against all forces inharmonious
to our purpose here today!"

Set down the bow, arrow and flute, hold up the laurel wreath and speak to Apollo thusly:
"Apollo, Lord of the Bow, Marksman Supreme! Apollo, Patron of Music, Melodious One!
Apollo, Sun God, Sender of Light and Warmth!  We know you by the greening of the
fields under the spring sunshine!  We feel your touch in the sunshine upon our skin!
We hear you in every note of song!  We see you in the art of every archer's cast!
Apollo, Phoebus, Helios, Son of Jupiter and Leto, Brother of Artemis, Inspiration
of Oracles, Seeker after Daphne, Physician, Cattle herder, Bearer of Laurel, Bright One,
Divine Shepherd! Apollo, Archer, Light Bearer, Harper, we of Rome salute you and ask
that you join us here!

Set down the laurel. Fill the wine cup and hold it about eye level with both hands.
Say: "We offer you sacrifice, as in the days of old when we walked the holy groves
and glades, not of flesh and blood, but of our human efforts, our struggles, our
devotion and dreams! May it aid us, Gods and Man alike in the effort to forge a place
anew in this world for Rome that was and shall be again!  Apollo, accept our gifts!
Not as from slaves, for we have no masters! Not as appeasement, but as a sign of our
respect and affection!"

Hold the wine cup above your head, offering it to Apollo with all your will and desire.
When you feel that Apollo has accepted it, place the cup on the altar and hold your hands
over it, as if warming them over a fire and say: "Apollo, you have received our sacrifice,
symbolized by this wine. Pour now your blessing and power into it, making it a true vessel
of inspiration, that we may grow in your eyes as Romans."

In your mind's eye, picture Apollo sending a ray of sun into the wine cup, infusing the wine
with a spark of his divine strength and will. Pour a little of the wine into the bowl and take
up the olive or evergreen twig.  Sprinkle each of the people with some of the wine to transmit
Apollo's energy, saying these words: "I give you the blessing of Apollo."

Lay down the twig and bowl on the altar. Pause for a moment, reflecting silently on the
importance of the moment. Take a sip from the cup feeling the warmth of Apollo as it infuses
your body. Move sunwise and offer a drink to each participant, sharing the energy. As each one
takes a drink, they may make an appropriate, short comment or prayer to Apollo. [It is
appropriate to refill the cup from the flask. A God's energy is boundless and even one drop left
in the cup will bless the new wine.] When all have partaken, return to the altar and pause again
to reflect on the moment. Reverently pour a little more into the bowl and drink the rest in the cup.
After a few heartbeats say, looking to the east:  "The sacrifice is done! May it strengthen us in
devotion to the Gods, in the determination to build Nova Roma! May our strivings be filled with
faith, dignity, wisdom and courage, until we see the boatman and go to be judged! Apollo,
we thank you for your presence! As you return to Olympus, carry with you the sentiments of
we on earth! We Salute you Apollo! Fare thee well!"

Hold the bow, arrow and flute as before and say in turn to the warders at the four points:
"In the name of Apollo, we thank you, farewell!"

Replace the tools on the altar and pick up the bowl.  Without taking a sip this time, pour a libation
to the spirits of land and sky, thanking them for the use of the ritual area.: "We thank thee spirits
of this place, our rite is done, our work is finished."

The ritual is now over.

by Michael Standingwolf - Kyklos Apollon Ritual

kyklos apollon ritual

my altar has a central image, which is flanked on either side by a small votive candle, and then on either side of that are two much larger, “framing” candles.


ablutions:  wash your hands, feet, and face, saying:

my feet/hands/face i purify in honour of the god.

set up a cult image of apollo.
have some bay leaves and/or frankincense nearby.
light the two outer candles.

1.  opening

be seated before the altar and take 3 deep breaths.

i come before this altar
to honour the blessed gods who hold wide olympos,
the shining and magnificent gods who are for ever.

not one of you, gods, is small, not one a little child;
all of you are truly great.
therefore you are worthy of praise and sacrifice, you olympian deities,
the gods of humankind, the holy ones.

2.  invocation of hestia

light the first votive candle, saying:

with this flame, i call upon her who is first among the immortal gods.
may she come and bless these holy rites.

holding it in both hands like an offering, circle it clockwise before the altar 3x.

         homeric hymn to hestia (24)

light the second votive candle.

3.  dedication

already this radiant four-horse chariot, the sun, flames over the earth,
and at this fire of heaven the stars flee into the sacred night;
the untrod parnassian cliffs, shining, receive the wheel of day for mortals.
the smoke of dry myrtle flies to phoebus’ roof.
the woman of delphi sits on the sacred tripod,
and sings out to the hellenes whatever apollo cries to her.

but you delphian servants of phoebus, go to the silver whirlpools of castalia;
come to the temple when you have bathed in its pure waters;
it is good to keep your mouth holy in speech
and give good words from your lips to those who wish to consult the oracle.
but i will labor with laurel boughs and sacred wreaths making pure the entrance to phoebus’ temple,
and the ground moist with drops of water.
o paian, o paian, may you be fortunate, child of leto!

lovely is the labor, o phoebus, i carry out for you before your house,
honoring your prophetic shrine;
glorious my labor, to be a slave for gods, not mortal but immortal;
i do not tire of laboring over my auspicious work.
phoebus is a father to me;  i praise the one who feeds me;
the name of father, beneficial to me, i give to phoebus who rules this temple.
o paian, o paian, may you be fortunate, child of leto!

4.  offering of incense

light the bay leaves or the frankincense and cense the image of apollo clockwise.

hear me, pythian apollo, apollo loxias, apollo mousagetes,
phoibos apollo, apollo akesios, apollo smintheos,
or by whichever name you wish to be called.
i offer this incense in honour of you.

5.  invocation of apollo

visualize the altar as looking out over delphi, where you can see the sun rising.  cyclical invocations:
         orphic hymn to apollo (34)
         kriosa lysia’s invocation of apollo, or

o holy child of great leto, golden-haired phoebus,
come from afar to be near us
as the son of hyperion rises over the navel of the world.
as daylight dawns at sacred delphi
we who adore you turn our thoughts there,
scattered as we are across the whole earth,
and each in our own way salute you,
remembering the one we shall never forget.
where your golden foot steps is hallowed ground;
may you come to each one of us.
and with your coming the light grows warm,
and soft harmonies cleanse the air.
your presence purifies us,
for only what is pure can approach apollo.
where you are is sweet delphi,
and we who are yours unite in this sacred place
to greet and to praise you,
to smell the fragrance of your hair,
and to remember, to always remember,
apollo who shoots afar.

6.  readings to apollo

o lord of delos whose very heart is song,
what better offering can i lay before you
than the glorious songs of those who loved you of old?
accept this sacrifice of words which i pour out in your honour.

cyclical readings:
         homeric hymn to delian apollo
         homeric hymn to pythian apollo I  (3.179-299, 375-387)

         homeric hymn to pythian apollo II  (3.388-546)
         euripides' hymn to apollo in iphigenia among the taurians  (c. 1235-83)
         kallimakhos’ hymn to apollo
         kallimakhos’ hymn to delos  (in parts)
         apollo in the library of apollodoros  (1.4.1-2, 2.6.2)
         pausanias on delphi  (10.5.5-13, 10.24.1-7)
pause to contemplate or meditate on apollo, and then pause to remember the members of kyklos apollo who are also performing a ritual to the god at the same time.

7.  purification  (the python verses)

i come now before apollo paian for purification,
for he among all the gods is renowned for cleansing and clearing away whatever ails us.
they say that near the temple at delphi there was a fair-flowing spring, where the lord,
son of zeus, with his mighty bow, killed a dragon,
a great, glutted and fierce monster, which inflicted
many evils on the people of the land—many on them
and many on their slender-shanked sheep;  for it was bloodthirsty.
o kind phoebus, there are monsters here too.
please listen while i tell you everything.

speak freely now to apollo about circumstances in your life with which you would like his help, about qualities within yourself which you would like to improve or overcome, and about any errors and wrongs you may have committed in the past week.
         when you have detailed all your concerns, imagine all negativity emerging from your body in the form of a great dragon-like serpent.  as you read the following verses, visualize apollo the archer standing before you and just to the side.  when you reach the appropriate place in the hymn, see him fire his arrows into the python coming out of you until it is completely torn out of your body and lies thrashing on the ground.  as you continue reading the hymn, see it rot & disintegrate until there is no trace of it left.

the python brought their day of doom to those who met it,
until the lord far-shooting apollon shot it
with a mighty arrow;  rent with insufferable pains,
it lay panting fiercely and writhing on the ground.
the din was ineffably awesome, and throughout the forest
it was rapidly thrusting its coils hither and thither;  with a gasp
it breathed out its gory soul, while phoibos apollon boasted:

“rot now right here on the nourishing earth;
you shall not ever again be an evil bane for human beings
who eat the fruit of the earth that nurtures many
and will bring to this place unblemished offerings,
nor shall typhoeus or ill-famed chimaira
ward off woeful death for you, but right here
the black earth and the flaming sun will make you rot.”

thus he spoke boasting, and darkness covered its eyes.
and the holy fury of helios made it rot away;
hence the place is now called pytho, and people
call the lord by the name of pytheios, because on that spot
the fury of piercing helios made the monster rot away.

now visualize apollo bathing your body in his magnificent golden light, burning away any last traces of negativity, and then healing and regenerating every part of your body from your head to your toes.  say:

ij paian, i am healed!
ij paian, i am cleansed!
ij paian, i am purified!

8.  offering of libation

9.  invocation of leto & artemis

the delian maidens,
followers of the lord who shoots from afar,
first praise apollon with a hymn
and now again leto and arrow-pouring artemis.
and so i too will praise the stately mother of the god who suffered much for his sake,
and also his formidable, arrow-pouring sister who stands always at his side,
for those who are dear to luminous apollo
are dear as well to those who love him.

         orphic hymn to leto (35)
         homeric hymn to artemis (9)

10.closing invocation of apollo

o holy archer whose broad shoulders gleam,
to you i give thanks for the purification you bring,
the healing you have given me at this time of delphi dawn.
stand by me, o radiant one, as my sanctuary and support,
both today and every day,
until revered persephone calls me near.
your ways are my ways, o treasured son of the noble daughter of koios,
so lead me on that path which you of all the olympians show forth:
that illustrious way which heals and honours the body;
which harmonizes and ennobles the heart;
which elevates and inspires the intellect;
and which purifies and enlightens the soul.
ij paian, o lyre-bearing god!
it is through you that mortals attain perfection.

lord apollo, founder of laws and cities, who sent forth the ships to new shores,
and inspired the deep-souled to heights of philosophy,
may our prayers be pleasing to you.
as we pray to you for purification, may you indeed purify us,
dissolving the effect of our faults as we mundanely strive to dissolve the faults ourselves.
may we belong to the inmost whorl of the restoration of your worship, and your honors,
and may these, which were once dimmed,
never be dimmed again.

take 3 deep breaths.
extinguish the candles.



1.      rg-veda 8.30.1-2.  verses 1-2a: trans. wendy doniger o’flaherty;  verse 2b: trans. ralph t.h. griffith, with edits
3.      euripides, ion c. 80-155 (selections)
4.      incense recommended by orphic hymn 34.
         words after gitana, “ritual honoring athena,” 11 june 2005, at
7.      homeric hymn 3.300-4, 356-74
9.      homeric hymn 3.157-9
10.           todd jackson, kyklos apollon, 16 feb 2005 (with edits)

by Phoebe Lyra: Weekly Purification Ritual -- for New-Age Oriented Apollonians

Weekly Purification Ritual -- for New-Age Oriented Apollonians

1.  Khernips and settling down -- light candle and take some deep breaths.

2.  Invoking prayer and libation

Phoebus Apollo, we invite you to be near us and our fellow Apollonians around the world as we turn our thoughts toward your sanctuary at Delphi.  We ask you to help us create sacred space wherever your people may be.  May all that is not of your spirit be far away from your sacred space.  And just as the sun is rising at Delphi, may the Light of your Spirit rise in our souls.  We greet you here in love as we pour this libation for you.

3.  Bring concerns about areas of self-improvement needed to Apollo, or wrongs committed.

Apollo, these are the areas of concern that I bring to you...

4..  The Python Verses (modified) -
Then Phoebus Apollo boasted over the slain Python: 
"Now rot here upon the soil that feeds humanity.  You at least shall live no more to be a bane to human beings who eat the fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring forth perfect offerings.  Against cruel death neither Typhios shall avail you nor ill-famed Khimera, but here shall the Earth and shining Helios make you rot."
Thus said Phoebus, exulting over it, and darkness covered its eyes.  And the holy strength of Helios made it rot away there, wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and people call the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian, because on that spot the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away.

5.  We ask Apollo to destroy guilt and self-loathing and replace it with motivation to improve OR a more realistic assessment of own abilities.  We now erase the stuff we have written on the slate, or put a big "X" through the stuff that we wrote on paper. (This can go into the recycle bin later.)

Apollo, just as you were able to make the carcass of the python rot under the sun, we ask you to burn away all the monsters of our ill deeds and guilt with your White Light.  We ask you to strengthen us so that we do not take on guilt from having unreasonable expectations of ourselves, and so that we make improvements in the areas where we are able.  Help us to know ourselves and our abilities, and to let go of all self-loathing so that we have more energy to put toward making a meaningful effort to improve.  May your White Light purify us.

6.  We thank Apollo for his support and ask for blessing for ourselves and for the world.  Pour libation.

Phoebus Apollo, we thank you for the purification you have given us today at the time of Delphi dawn.  Thank you for helping us to become more aware of our downfalls so that we can do something about them at the time, and so that we may put our energy toward rational thinking and genuine self-improvement.  Thank you for the constant support you give us each day.  May you and we extend that support to the rest of the world. May we be surrounded by your White Light at all times so that nothing but good comes to us and nothing but good goes from us.  So mote it be.

7.  Extinguish candle.

Kyklos Apollon Ritual - from 2007

Kyklos Apollon Ritual      

Todd Jackson

It’s fascinating to watch the organic process of a ritual growing into itself. What becomes clear is that what one originally writes can never be the ritual, but only an initial sketch. It is impossible, for instance, when first scripting the ritual to know what-ultimately-will be the first step across the temenos boundary, leaving the mundane behind. One will perform some action prior to the first scripted action; the next time around, one might repeat that action. In time, it will have accrued to the ritual. A dozen such actions, and the original script resembles a plowed, flat farmland in early March.  The ritual, the real ritual, meanwhile will have come to resemble a vineyard just before the harvest.

The ritual of Kyklos Apollon, devoted to the Hellenic God of purification, prophecy and the light of the Sun, is an excellent “living laboratory” for watching this process. First, it is atypical within the Hellenismos revival in that it revives nothing, but is entirely new. It lacks even the advantage of having an ancient precedent, itself the organic result of centuries of repetition, whose pieces can be gathered up and reassembled. The initial script, therefore, was a particularly flat farmland. Who knew whether there would even be any crop whatsoever?

Further, the Kyklos Apollon ritual has a weekly, rather than an annual period. A great deal of change can happen in just a couple of months. If you’re a biologist and you want to watch evolution in process, you observe fruit flies, not tortoises. Likewise, the student of ritual might be better advised to observe the Kyklos Apollon than Thargelia.    

Now, just into its third year, this is what my Kyklos ritual has become: The first step across the temenos comes the night before, with the soaking of a cup of  bay leaves in wine. There is a story of ritual evolution that is told by these leaves alone. There is no one Kyklos Apollon ritual; I do not have a legion of winged monkeys to set loose across the world, from Las Vegas, USA to Dublin, Ireland to South Australia, making sure that each member of the circle follows my script. The only uniformity is in the time: the ritual occurs each Sunday at dawn, as reckoned at the Temple of Delphi in Hellas. One element of our rituals has become common among us to the point of near-universality: the burning of the bay leaves.

“Bay” is simply another word for “laurel,” the tree sacred to Apollon, and the Greek for “laurel” is daphne.  Our burning the leaves is at once an offering to Apollon and an act of communion with him. We surround ourselves in, we breathe into ourselves, a smoke that symbolically acts as a natural conduit to Apollon, as copper is natural conduit to electricity. We reaffirm ourselves as being within his presence, becoming, like the leaves, his symbola on Earth.

I take half the next day’s bay leaves and soak them in wine, and let them marinate overnight. For me, this is a gesture toward Dionysos, close brother to Apollon, Lord of Delphi in the winter months, and linked to him by visionaries from Orpheus to Nietzsche. I remove these leaves come morning and set them to dry. A warning here: I live in the Mojave Desert, where the wash, put out on the line, is bone-dry in fifteen minutes during summer; your wine-soaked leaves may need a full day or so.  While the leaves dry, I clean my home and all the altars. I also prepare the various incenses. Here are my recipes for the flammables:

Hekate: a handful of bay leaves soaked in last week’s patchouli oil, three quarters, and some combination of wormwood, marijuana, and tobacco.

Hermes: a handful of bay leaves sprinkled with frankincense and myrrh nuggets, three quarters.

Aphrodite: a cup of bay leaves sprinkled with myrrh nuggets, last week’s rose or cinnamon oil, sometimes crushed dried rose petals.

Apollon: a cup of the wine-soaked bay leaves, now dry; two cups or more of bay leaves; lots of frankincense nuggets and last week’s frankincense oil.

The last cleaning is of myself, including my once-a-week shaving of my head bald. After the shower and putting on the clothes I wear at ritual, I take another cup of the leaves (not the wine-soaked) and set them ablaze while calling out the familiar Hellenic cry Hekas, hekas! Este bebeloi! (“May all that is unclean depart!”) that precedes all rituals, adding “May all that is touched by the smoke of these leaves be purified for the ritual.” All this day, I’ve been abstaining from red meat; after this, I abstain from eating altogether, as well as from bathroom functions and leaving the apartment. I open and close the front door at all only because of my full-time job as doorman to my cat, Shaman. Shaman doesn’t give a rat’s ass about my rituals, bad kitty that he is.  His yowling at a closed door would disturb the neighbors. I suspect he’s Muslim.

The first incense is to Hestia, I light it while preparing the khernips water.  I splash the water on myself (and any visitors) before entering my altar room.

Where Hestia does receive her typical honors as first (if not last) of the theoi honored, the true “opener” of the ritual is Hekate, and now-at least one hour prior to Delphi dawn- is the time to approach her altar.  

I address Hekate, while lighting the tea candle beneath the dish of fresh patchouli oil, and then the bowl of flammable incense, with a stick of patchouli incense. I address her as she in whom commerce between Gods and mortals is even possible, as binder of the circle.  And I light the single tea candle that rests upon Persephone’s altar-still new, still underdeveloped.

I light Aphrodite’s flammable incense and offer her wine mixed with water, and address her a the Goddess in whose power the bay leaf is bound as symbol-recalling here the Daphne myth, and the crucial role of the arrows of Eros, her son.

Now I’m entering deeper into a meditative state, and the scent of patchouli just accented with rose is throughout the apartment.

At least a half-hour before Delphi dawn, I approach Apollon’s altar, not yet for Apollon himself but for the libation cups that serve as shrines to other Gods. First of these,Zeus, as Demiurge. I usually offer him beer. (Yes. Beer. I am yet a barbarian.) Next Dionysos-a cup of wine. I splash wine also into the dish that services my Idios Daimon, cut it with water (Pellegrini, or even better, Greek mineral water), finally lighting a single bay leaf and dousing it in the wine/water. At that point, I take up the twelve-pointed star medallion that always rests on Apollon’s altar and is my own insignia as his priest. I dip the medallion into the Daimon wine/water and offer praise to the ancients, which always include the heroes Lykourgos of Sparta and Iamblichus; I address also my own higher emanations, up to the angelic. Then I put on the medallion.

Fifteen or twenty minutes before Delphi dawn, and I splash the Omphalos that sits before Apollon’s altar with Pellegrini water, mindful that I am also wetting the navel of the world in Delphi, and declare the Kyklos.

Then I light Hermes’ flammable incense, and with his lit stick incense I light Apollon’s two tea candles: the one that stands at the front of his altar, and, now, the one that rests beneath his dish of fresh frankincense oil. I address Hermes as the God who holds the secret of magic words and magic speech.

Some minutes before the dawn at Delphi, I sink even more fully into mindfulness. By now, the ritual doesn’t feel like a unique event, but like a return to a place that always exists, is always present, and always waiting to be revisited. It has become an eternal point at the center of a life that, otherwise, is passing in time.

I turn on the music. Generally Classical, sometimes Middle Eastern or Mediterranean, with a leaning toward guitar, violin or piano concerti. Often it’ll be a piece I haven’t heard until this moment, and the sense is of Apollon and I sharing a music connaisseurship.

At Delphi dawn I address Apollon in typical Hellenic fashion, with a string of epithets, and offer a libation of pure Pellegrini water, then set his cup down at the front of his altar; this is the same cup which, years ago, at the beginning of my worship of Apollon, was the very first piece, before any of the statues, before anything. This is the cup that would have been placed, simply, on the ledge of a window.

I light the pot of flammable incense while speaking words from the Homeric Hymn to Apollon (Pythian) which, to me, indicate the Apollonian priesthood:

(“Then, like a star at noonday, the lord, far-working Apollo, leaped from the ship: flashes of fire flew from him thick and their brightness reached to heaven. He entered into his shrine between priceless tripods,
and there made a flame to flare up bright, showing forth the splendor of his shafts, so that their radiance [445] filled all Crisa, and the wives and well-girded daughters of the Crisaeans raised a cry at that outburst of Phoebus; for he cast great fear upon them all. From his shrine he sprang forth again, swift as a thought, to speed again to the ship, bearing the form of a man, brisk and sturdy, [450] in the prime of his youth, while his broad shoulders were covered with his hair: and he spoke to the Cretans, uttering winged words”) (From Perseus Digital Library, Hugh G. Evelyn-White)

Once the fire is well-established, I read the Orphic Hymn to Apollon. The ancient Greek is transporting, and I feel linked to all who worshiped Apollon in the past, all now present and joining in the ritual.

Apóllōnos, thumíama mánnan.

Elthé, mákar, Paián, Tituoktóne, Phoîbe, Lukōreû,
Memphît’, aglaótime, iēie, olbiodōta,
khrusolúrē, spermeîe, arótrie, Púthie, Titán,
Grúneie, Smintheû, Puthoktóne, Delphiké, mánti,
ágrie, phōsphóre daîmon, erásmie, kúdime koûre,
mousagéta, khoropoié, hekēbóle, toxobélemne,
Bákkhie kaì Didumeû, hekáerge, Loxía, hagné,
Dēli’ ánax, panderkès ékhōn phaesímbroton ómma,
khrusokóma, katharàs phēmas khrēsmoús t’ anaphaínōn;
klûthí mou eukhoménou laōn húper eúphroni thumōi;
tónde sù gàr leússeis tòn apeíriton aithéra pánta
gaîan t’ olbiómoiron húperthé te kaì di’ amolgoû,
nuktòs en hēsukhíaisin hup’ asteroómmaton órphnēn
rhízdas nérthe dédorkas, ékheis dé te peírata kósmou
pantós;  soì d’ arkhē te teleutē t’ estì mélousa,
pantothalēs, sù dè pánta pólon kithárēi polukréktōi
harmózdeis, hotè mèn neátēs epì térmata baínōn,
állote d’ aûth’ hupátēn, potè Dōrion eis diákosmon
pánta pólon kirnàs kríneis biothrémmona phûla,
harmoníēi kerásas {tēn} pagkósmion andrási moîran,
míxas kheimōnos théreós t’ íson amphotéroisin,
eis hupátas kheimōna, théros neátais diakrínas,
Dōrion eis éaros poluērátou hōrion ánthos.
énthen epōnumíēn se brotoì klēizdousin ánakta,
Pâna, theòn dikérōt’, anémōn surígmath’ hiénta;
hoúneka pantòs ékheis kósmou sphragîda tupōtin.
klûthi, mákar, sōzdōn mústas hiketērídi phōnēi.

-transliteration by Michael Standingwolf

( Blest Paean, come, propitious to my pray'r,
Illustrious pow'r, whom Memphian tribes revere,
Slayer of Tityus, and the God of health,
Lycorian Phoebus, fruitful source of wealth .
Spermatic, golden-lyr'd, the field from thee
Receives it's constant, rich fertility.
Titanic, Grunian, Smynthian, thee I sing,
Python-destroying, hallow'd, Delphian king:
Rural, light-bearer, and the Muse's head,
Noble and lovely, arm'd with arrows dread:
Far-darting, Bacchian, two-fold, and divine,
Pow'r far diffused, and course oblique is thine.
O, Delian king, whose light-producing eye
Views all within, and all beneath the sky:
Whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure,
Who, omens good reveal'st, and precepts pure:
Hear me entreating for the human kind,
Hear, and be present with benignant mind;
For thou survey'st this boundless aether all,
And ev'ry part of this terrestrial ball
Abundant, blessed; and thy piercing sight,
Extends beneath the gloomy, silent night;
Beyond the darkness, starry-ey'd, profound,
The stable roots, deep fix'd by thee are found.
The world's wide bounds, all-flourishing are thine,
Thyself all the source and end divine:
'Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
Now the last string thou tun'ft to sweet accord,
Divinely warbling now the highest chord;
Th' immortal golden lyre, now touch'd by thee,
Responsive yields a Dorian melody.
All Nature's tribes to thee their diff'rence owe,
And changing seasons from thy music flow
Hence, mix'd by thee in equal parts, advance
Summer and Winter in alternate dance;
This claims the highest, that the lowest string,
The Dorian measure tunes the lovely spring .
Hence by mankind, Pan-royal, two-horn'd nam'd,
Emitting whistling winds thro' Syrinx fam'd;
Since to thy care, the figur'd seal's consign'd,
Which stamps the world with forms of ev'ry kind.
Hear me, blest pow'r, and in these rites rejoice,
And save thy mystics with a suppliant voice.)
-Thomas Taylor translation

Once the flame has died out, but the smoke is still rising, I pass the smoking put around my body while reading the words that indicate and accompany purification. Also from the Homeric Hymn to Apollon (Pythian), they are the words Apollon spoke to the dying dragon. I find this the most potent passage in all the ancient literature:

ho d' epêuxato Phoibos Apollôn:
entauthoi nun putheu epi chthoni bôtianeirêi:
oude su ge zôousa kakon dêlêma brotoisin
esseai, hoi gaiês poluphorbou karpon edontes
enthad' aginêsousi telêessas hekatombas:
oude ti toi thanaton ge dusêlege' oute Tuphôeus
arkesei oute Chimaira dusônumos, alla se g' autou
pusei Gaia melaina kai êlektôr Huperiôn.
hôs phat' epeuchomenos: tên de skotos osse kalupse.
tên d' autou katepus' hieron menos Êelioio,
ex hou nun Puthô kiklêsketai: hoi de anakta
Puthion ankaleousin epônumon, houneka keithi
autou puse pelôr menos oxeos Êelioio.

Which translates:
"Then Phoebus Apollo boasted over her:
'Now rot here upon the soil that feeds man' You at least shall live no more to be a fell bane to men who eat the fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring hither perfect hecatombs. Against cruel death neither Typhoeus shall avail you nor ill-famed Chimera, but here shall the Earth and shining Hyperion make you rot.'
Thus said Phoebus, exulting over her: and darkness covered her eyes. And the holy strength of Helios made her rot away there; wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and men call the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian; because on that spot the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away."
(Perseus Digital Library, Hugh G. Evelyn-White)

By now the altar room, indeed the entire apartment, is pretty much filled with smoke; till the following evening, I and all my clothes will smell of bay and frankincense. I turn out the lights and sit still and silent on a backless stool before Apollon’s altar, a chip of amber resin in each palm, for as long as the music lasts-a half hour to an hour-or much longer if I’m doing particularly deep work. Sometimes the music will take me up and I’ll be compelled to dance. Good ritual is being pulled into some deep, silent place, while I am mindful of the Sunrise in Hellas, around the other side of the world, while I sit in the dark of Night. Great ritual is light, as though flying, with an electric quality, and when the music has taken over; the whole universe condensed into Apollon, myself, and one piece of great music, sharing a radical presentness.

.Ie Paian.