Memorial Day Ritual for Ares and the Spirits of the Military Dead

Amanda Aremisia Forrester

[Note: this ritual appears in Forrester’s forthcoming Journey to Olympos: A Modern Spiritual Odyssey. Posted here with kind permission of the author.]

After closing your eyes for a moment and centering yourself, step forward to the

Barley Offering: Sprinkle barley on the altar, saying: “To the givers of life, Life.”

Purify the Circle: Walk around the ritual space with the khernips bowl, sprinkling the water around the perimeter. Say: “You are pure! You are pure! By this holy water, this ground is made pure. By the cleansing power of Zeus and Apollo, this place is now a sanctuary.”

Walk in another circle, taking the bowl to each of the worshipers, so they can
wash their face and hands. As they are doing so, say: “By this holy water, you are made pure. By the cleansing power of Zeus and Apollo, you are holy and fit to enter the Temple.”

Hymn to Ares
Magnanimous, unconquered, boisterous Ares,
in darts rejoicing, and in bloody wars;
fierce and untamed, whose mighty power
can make the strongest walls from their foundations shake:
mortal-destroying king, defiled with gore,
pleased with war’s dreadful
and tumultuous roar.
Thee human blood, and swords, and spears delight,
and the dire ruin of mad savage fight.
Stay furious contests, and avenging strife,
whose works with woe embitter human life;
to lovely Kypris [Aphrodite] and to Lyaios [Dionysos] yield,
for arms exchange the labours of the field;
encourage peace, to gentle works inclined,
and give abundance, with benignant mind.
Orphic Hymn 65 (To Ares)

Pour out a Libation of Wine to Ares

Call to the Spirits: Today we are gathered to celebrate all the brave soldiers who have fought for our country, but especially those who did not return, our Honored Dead. We give thanks to Zeus for guiding our country and to Ares and Athena Soteira for
protecting our men and women on the battlefield. But most of all we pray for the
souls of the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom.

Pour our libations of wine and milk mixed with honey.

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