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The Making and Use of Khernips

Updated on March 25, 2017
Khernips is a Hellenic purifying water.
Khernips is a Hellenic purifying water. | Source

What is Khernips?

Khernips is the closest thing Hellenic Polytheism has to the Christian ‘Holy Water’, only we prefer the term ‘Lustral Water’. Some people claim that the concept of Holy Water came about because of Khernips but I am on the fence about that theory. We use it to cleanse ourselves and surroundings of pollution or ‘miasma’ before preforming rituals, making offerings or just interacting with the Gods in general.

Khernips is mostly made up of clean water.
Khernips is mostly made up of clean water. | Source

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Why use Khernips?

As mentioned above, Khernips is used to cleanse ourselves, offerings and surroundings of a special type of pollution known as miasma. Miasma is unique to us human mortals and can be caused by things such as murder/death, negative emotions, sickness, all bodily fluids and even lack of contact with the Gods.

Not purifying yourself, altar or offerings of miasma is considered of great insult to the Gods. Some people explain it as if the Gods have some sort of irrational phobia of miasma but as this pollution is unique to humans, it can’t really touch the Gods which disproves this explanation. Most refer to not purifying yourself before rituals to have a similar effect to the Gods as not taking off your boots when entering someone’s home and tracking mud all over their carpet would to the owner of that home.

Making and using Khernips.

There is more to purifying yourself than just using Khernips. The first thing you should do is to make yourself as presentable as you can. This involves taking a shower, combing your hair, brushing your teeth and wearing some nice clothing. However, not all of this is completely necessary as historically, not many people had the luxuries of being able to do all of those. Just do as much as you can or deem necessary.

After you have made yourself clean and presentable, you need to get yourself into a peaceful mindset and be careful not to think of anything negative as this just creates more miasma. It is vital not to think negatively before or during rituals as doing so means that you will need to continuously cleanse yourself. Having negative thoughts while making Khernips causes the Khernips to have no effect as you just end up polluting it with miasma as it is being created.

Now that you have made yourself presentable and have a clear and positive mind, you are ready to begin creating Khernips. You will need a few things for this:

● A water pitcher or two for the water you will be using. Most people tend to use ancient styled or other sorts of stylish pitchers, but anything works.

● Clean water. Some people get water from a local spring but store bought and even tap water can also be used. Do not just go to the river or dam out the back, you need to be sure it is clean water. However, there can at times be an exception to this rule. Some people like to mix clean water with sea water. If you choose to mix these two waters, keep them separate until later.

● An aromatic leaf, herb or wood. These are used to burn. This can be anything from a bay leaf to something like a small cedar stick.

● A flame. You can use a match or a lighter but most tend to use a candle as it is often seen as a more pure flame.

● A cloth or small towel. You will need this after using Khernips.

● A bowl or basin. You will need a bowl to put all of the ingredients in. Most people like to use a ceramic bowl.

Once you have all of these, you need to use them all together to create the Khernips. You begin by filling the bowl or basin with the clean water from the pitcher. If you wish to add sea water, you pour this in after the clean water. Now you set the aromatic leaf, herb or wood alight with the flame and place it into the water. A lot of people wait a few seconds before placing this into the water to help create more smell and overall effect. Some people like to say a small prayer to or invoke a certain God or Goddess if the ritual is only meant to be for one in particular. Just to get their attention and help receive their blessing. Your Khernips is now ready for use.

There are three things you must use Khernips for. Personal cleansing, altar cleansing and offering cleansing. For offering and altar cleansing, all you need to do is sprinkle the Khernips over the offering and altar but some people like to fully wash their offering in it or to pour it over the offering. Personal cleansing includes scooping the Khernips up in one hand and pouring it over the other then vice versa. After washing your hands, you move on to washing your face. Again, scoop up the water with your hands and bring it to your face. If barefoot, some people choose to pour it over their feet as well. If the Khernips is being distributed among a group of people, it is often transferred into another pitcher and poured into everyone’s hands so that they can clean their hands and face with it. The final step is to take the cloth or towel and quickly dry your face and hands.

Bay leaves are the most common item used to burn.
Bay leaves are the most common item used to burn. | Source

That’s it.

That’s all there is to it. You are now ready to perform a ritual or provide the Gods with an offering. It’s quick and simple and has reportedly helped many people have greater experiences with the Gods. Some even state that it has helped them overcome their anxiety. I cannot confirm these as my experiences change randomly and I only have a small amount of personal experience with anxiety.

Some people like to use Khernips before simply praying to the Gods but praying alone doesn’t involve much interaction with them while rituals or offerings do, so this isn’t necessary. The only time I would use Khernips for prayer is if I were to enter a temple to pray or if I were to pray by my altar.

A video tutorial on making Khernips by Elani Temperance, a popular member of Hellenismos.

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    • Hellenic Pagan1 profile image
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      Hellenic Pagan1 8 months ago

      Glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Athena Dugan profile image

      Athena Dugan 8 months ago

      This is a great article. I can't wait to make my khernips water for the deities. Thank you for this information.