In Hellenic Polytheism, the reconstructionist religion based on ancient Greek myths and deities, khernips (also called lustral water) is water which has been ritually purified, not unlike holy water in Catholicism. Khernips is used by Hellenic Polytheists to clean the hands and face before prayer, offerings, and other religious activities at a shrine or altar. For water to qualify as 'lustral,' it has to be ritually imbued with representations of the other three cardinal elements. Khernips is not intended to be consumed internally, and each individual Hellenic Polytheist will have their own preferred method for disposing of used khernips after a ritual.
1. Clean fresh water from a natural source - this could be from a spring, lakewater boiled clear, or rain water, but chlorinated tap water and seawater and other saltwater or polluted water sources are considered unsuitable by some Hellenic Polytheists.
2. Aromatic or religiously significant leaves - usually this is vibernum or dried bay laurel, but some practitioners use pomegranate leaves, white sage, or myrtle leaves, depending on the specific deities they would intend to invoke in their practice.
3. A candle or other source of open flame other than lighters and matches (The candle itself can be lit by matches or a lighter.)
4. A basin wide enough to completely immerse one's hand, for holding the khernips currently in use. This basin is called the khernibeionas.
5. An urn or bottle to hold unused khernips or fresh water for later use, separate from the basin
1. Light the candle or other source of standing fire.
2. Fill the basin with fresh water, leaving any excess in the urn or bottle.
3. Select one of the leaves you will use to represent the earth element, and pass it through the standing fire until it smolders, taking care not to burn your fingers. The leaf does not need to completely catch fire, but it does need to emit some smoke, representing the air element.
4. Drop the smoldering leaf directly into the basin of water, pronouncing ‘xerniptosai’ (pronounced 'zer-nip-TOS-aye-ee') aloud, meaning "be purified."
The khernips is now considered to be imbued with all of the cardinal elements, ritually pure, and suitable for use in preparing a Hellenic Polytheist for interaction with deities.
Khernips is just one part of katharmos, a sequence of mental and physical activities used by Hellenic Polytheists to achieve an ongoing state of ritual purity and for banishing miasma.
Iron Noder Challenge 2014, 18/30