A ritual is usually used to make sure the deity will listen to what you will say in your prayer. Usually food or items are burned that are dedicated to the deity or deities in question. It begins by chanting a hymn, than the burning while you are praying. At the same time the rituals are our gratitude and trust that we have put in them. Rituals are theologically speaking a relationship based upon voluntary mutual aid. One honours the Gods and they help us get through the challenges of life. There were different kind of rituals; the ones in honor of the Olympians and those in honor of the Underworld deities. Rituals for Earth deities were performed in the same manner as for the Underworld deities. A ritual for the Olympians must be performed on an altar, not touching the ground. Rituals for the Underworld or Earth deities were performed on the ground. Libations were flown onto the ground while libation for a Olympian had to flow into a bowl on the altar.
This is more or less the general outline for any Hellenic ritual to any deity. However purification rituals were different. It rids us from pollution or any harmful element or ritual miasma. It can mean everything to birth, death, murder, blood, etc.. contact with these things are considered ritual miasma. Purification through ritual differ. There are two kinds of purification: one through blood and another through water. Purification through water is explained below, but purification through blood is different. One doesn’t wash their hands in clean water, but this method is more or less derived from the blood ritual where the blood flows on the head and hands. Afterwards these are washed. This was usually done for the insane, murderers, etc.. These persons must be left alone until they are purified.
It can be performed whenever the person thinks it is needed to rid itself of the traditional forms of ritual pollution as before festival or sacrifice. It can also be used for seeking emotional or psychological cleansing from pain, regret or sorrow. A presence of a priest might be assumed for the ritual, but is not necessary. It can be performed alone as well. Here the supplicant laves her/his hands seven times in a bowl of salt water and prays to Apollo on her/his own behalf.
The supplicant- person to be purified– sits on a black cloth. The priest places a white cloth over the supplicants head. Holding out a bowl of seawater (or spring water with 1 tablespoon of sea salt added) and say:
Priest: “Lord Apollo, this person comes before you to be purified of [name type of miasma] [His/ her] heart is humble and wishes nothing more than to return to the service of the Gods in this community. Cleanse [him/her] of this taint, and [he/ she] will made thank- offerings to you in return. ”
The priest than sprinkles the water of the supplicant. The supplicant dips his/ her hands in the water seven times and says a prayer from the heart, silently or aloud. The priest then removes the cloth from the supplicant’s head and says:
Priest: “You are pure and fit to serve the Gods. Ready yourself for sacrifice.”
The supplicant should than withdraw to change clothes. Upon return, make a offering to Apollo and to any God whom you feel may have played a role in the situation that lead to the miasma.