Friday, September 2, 2016

The Case for Hellenic Traditionalism

Within the Polytheistic and Pagan community, it really boils down to two groups of people, the Reconstructionists or Traditionalists, and the Neo-Pagans. The former reconstructs ancient practice and adheres to ancient belief insofar as possible in our time period. The latter more so celebrates, creates and establishes their own personal relevance and beliefs, sometimes entirely, both in practice and philosophy. Now those of us who are traditional do not believe that one cannot create their own practices, we just believe they should align with the ancient Hellenic worldview if they are going to call it Hellenic. The ancient Hellenes did most certainly incorporate things from other cultures around them, but they did not do so haphazardly. Whatever they brought in had to fit into Hellenic religion and belief. So technically, what they borrowed was already Hellenic in the first place. I myself have my own daily rite that is entirely relevant for my personal life, but it also does not contradict Hellenism. The key is to work relevance into the ancient ways, and despite what some may think, it absolutely can be done. The Hellenes were very diverse and open-minded people.

Some Neo-Pagans criticize us as not really being religious people, but instead, role players or reenactors, but this is simply not the case. We practice the way we do because we believe it to be right. We feel that it best connects us with the Gods, and is very much personally relevant therefore, not something that's merely going through motions. Our point of view generally is that we believe the ancient Greeks knew best how to worship and connect with the ancient Greek Gods. But what's more important to realize is that, if there is no tradition that should be followed, no standard by which to practice, is there really ever such a thing as religion? Or is it merely whatever someone decides to create today? If the latter is the case, then no one can ever call anything a religion, because all that exists is your own personal creation, which can never again be repeated by someone else for the sake of avoiding "role playing" or "reenacting."

I'm not saying that a Neo-Pagan's practices are not valid, what I'm saying is that we on the traditional side feel there is a dire need to preserve standards, otherwise Hellenism has nothing upon which to stand. We feel that the most accurate way to practice Hellenism, is by the ways that made it Hellenism in the first place. And the fact of the matter is that even many Neo-Pagans have set standards by which to classify their religion. Wicca, for example, the largest Neo-Pagan religion today, had set principles, ethics, and certain basic practices that constitute Wicca. What is anything if it has no foundation? If we have no backbone, we cannot stand.

In the Goodness of The Dodekatheon,
Chris. 

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