Making a Kathiskos in honour of Zeus Ktesios
Kadiskos means “small bucket” and is a small, sealed jar used to hold a portion of your family’s food wealth in offering to Zeus Ktesios.
From Anticleides (140 F22) – “It is necessary to make the symbol of Zeus Ktesios (Protector of the Household goods or He who cares for the prosperity of the Household). We take a new Kadiskos with two ears (handles) through which we thread white wool and yellow thread which we take over the right shoulder so that it hangs in front. We put anything we find and ambrosia in it. Ambrosia is pure water and oil and all-fruit. This we put inside.”
Select a clean, new jar with a lid that tightly seals. The jar can be made of any waterproof material – canning jars work well. Warning: the contents of the jar may ferment or rot and if the jar does not seal tightly, you risk spoiling your other stored food with mold. At the very least, it will smell bad.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into the jar along with bits of food that the family has on hand. This could include a pinch of flour, some small pieces of fruit, rice, lentils, honey, herbs, and/or chocolate.
Fill the jar to the top with water. It is up to you on the type of water used, tap water, spring water, bottled water.
Tightly seal the jar with the lid.
Optional: tie white and yellow threads around the lid or handles of the jar. Personally, I have a small jade figurine of Zeus Ktesios that I tie around the the lid of the jar. Others paint a snake on the outside of the jar.
The Kadiskos is personal to your household and variation is to be expected.
On each Noumenia, a freshly filled Kadiskos is placed in the pantry or
where food is stored in your home, but not in a storage closet where garbage or useless things are stored. As an alternative, it can be kept on your family altar.
Each Deipnon, the jar can be emptied and cleaned. The contents can be emptied outside, preferably in your garden or in a composter. A potted plant works well – especially one where herbs or food for the family will be grown. This helps complete a cycle where Zeus Ktesios is offered some of your family’s food in thanks for His protection and the offerings are then used to grow more food for the family to consume. If this is not something you can do, don’t feel as if you are doing it wrong. Do the best you can, but most importantly, do it consistently. You will get more out of regular worship with a good heart than sporadic worship done “perfectly.”
Also, it’s arguable that ambrosia would be something like mead, not spring water.