Ouranic vs Cthonic Worship

by | Hellenic Polytheism

Who Are The Ouranic and Cthonic Gods?

There are generally considered to be two groups of gods in Hellenic Polytheism: the Ouranic and the Cthonic gods. These roughly equate to the Olympians in wide heaven and Underworld gods relating to the dead.

But, not every god necessarily fits into these categories so neatly. For example, many of the Titans are held separately to the “gods,” despite being considered deities in their own right.

Conversely, there are some gods who arguably fit into both groups. The most common example of this is Hermes, who is most often depicted as one of the 12 Olympians, but whose aspect as Hermes Psychopompos, a guide to the afterlife, sits quite firm in the domain of the dead.

Differences In Worship

Ouranic and Cthonic are not solely labels to group gods together – they also indiciate the traditional approach to worship of the gods. Their worship is not to be mixed and it is unlikely to see Olympian and Underworld gods next to one another on a shrine.

The key differences are in how we pray and how we make offering. When approaching Ouranic gods, we approach them with head held high and hands lifted towards the sky. When approaching Cthonic gods, however, we do so with hands pointed towards the earth and head bowed.

When it comes to making an offering, we may wish to share an offering of food with an Ouranic god, but you must not partake of a Cthonic offering. Cthonic offerings are given as a whole.


<a href="https://hearthandshrine.com/author/alexander" target="_self">Alexander</a>


Alexander has been polytheist for several years. He is continually learning more about Hellenic Polytheism and reconstructionist religions. He is also researching and learning about other polytheist traditions such as Heathenry.

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