Showing posts with label Ancient Greek Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ancient Greek Religion. Show all posts

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Building A Safe and Effective Outdoor Shrine

No one's happier than a Pagan or Polytheist with yard space. I know I certainly was when I bought my first home. I was already marking out where I would place my temple's shrines and altars, in the rather vast space that had enough room for dozens if I chose. But once you begin a permanent structure of this importance on your property, you may find that it takes a little more work and preparation than initially thought. For this post, I will primarily use my outside shrine of Athena Pandemos as an example, which is pictured above. Feel free to scroll and refer back to it at your own will.

The first step is, of course, rather obvious; finding a suitable or preferred location. For me, my terrain is flat and, in most places, easy to lightly modify with gardening and digging tools. But generally speaking, you want to try and pick a spot that is as independent of outside influences as possible. For example, don't build next to the main road or near a sewer or trash container. The reason for this is because your shrine stands a conceivable chance of being involved in an accident or a desecration. Someone could go off the road and run over it, or contaminants that will create miasma may filter in. My Athena shrine is in my fenced in backyard, among the natural trees and foliage. The only religious structure I have ever built close to my main road is my Boundary Marker because of its function, and I am actually looking at moving it up to my door or steps. Luckily, nothing has happened to it.

Second, you must first place a structure for the shrine's statue to stand upon, and also choose the proper tools and elements by which to firmly install it. Storms will come and bring strong winds along with them. My Athena statue stands upon a Greek Ionic column. Now the other important thing to consider is the material that the column and statue are made out of. Do not use cheap alabaster columns that you can find at craft stores. They will quickly rot in the face of the elements. Even if you paint them, it doesn't matter. They are just not designed to stand up to weather. My column was purchased from a designer that specifically equipped it with weather resistant materials. It is a hard, very durable plastic, but not a cheap one. Its looks, weight and design makes it cost around $150.00. But consider the investment. You will never have to replace it. If you can't afford one, there are other options I will get to a bit later. Your statue, likewise, should also be able to resist the outside weather. There are Greek and Pagan suppliers who make them, and can be found easily online at affordable prices.

The column's base rests in the ground, inside a small hole dug specifically for it to fit in. For a hole this shallow, however, simply putting the dirt back on top will not be enough to hold it against strain unless it is placed within an enclosed area where wind will have a difficult time directly hitting it. For the completion of the base, fill the hole with quick drying cement, which can be purchased extremely cheaply at hardware stores. The kind I have used successfully is called Quikrete. Pack it down, wait for it to dry, and cover it up with the excess soil. As an extra anchor, I also placed a concrete block on the ground on either side of the column, so that if a strong force does begin to push against the base, it will have a harder time uprooting it to the point that it would harm the statue.

Third, place the statue on top of the column with a base sealant. I use E6000 to glue the top of the column and the bottom of the statue together. An abundant amount will greatly secure it against mishaps. You don't want to just stand the statue and leave it without an anchor. Especially if it's a large, expensive one like mine. You want to make sure it cannot be easily toppled, which brings me to the last section of this outline.

You'll notice the nice garden gate that encircles my Athena shrine. That's not just there for decoration. It serves two vital purposes. The first is to close and section off the shrine as sacred. The second is to protect it from overheard dangers, as there are trees directly above it. We don't normally think about it, but a falling branch or even a sturdy twig can destroy or damage the statue or column. But in the case of mine, the falling tree would impact with the iron gate and be unlikely to penetrate. The gate may need replacing depending on the strength of the object, but the shrine will be saved. A strong garden gate of this kind will run you at least $200.00. However, depending on the size of your statue and its location, you may not need it. If you look at the picture and take notice to the altar that is used for sacrifice to Athena, you'll see that it is simply made from straightly stacked concrete blocks. These blocks can also be used in like manner to build a pedestal for the statue, saving you cost on the column, and their immense weight will be enough to keep them in place by themselves. Although you should take note that I do not know if glues such as E6000 will bind to concrete. However, I am sure there are sealants that will. Ask the people at your hardware store. Once you have built the stone column and placed the statue on it, use much smaller blocks or stones, or some other very hardened material, to construct a small shelter around the statue. You must also make sure that said structure won't collapse or fall away. Of course, if you build the shrine away from any direct dangers, you don't need a cover at all. My Artemis shrine looks to the open sky and does not have an overhead for that reason. The protective barriers only need to be in place if there are exterior dangers possible.

The shrine should now spend time being cultivated by you, the builder and devotee. There's more to a place of worship than just stone and iron. It's sacred to the God it represents. They can even spiritually visit it. It is a holy place for their holy presence, and a center for your supplication for their bliss, blessings and wisdom in your life. Therefore, make it welcoming and devoted to the God. My Artemis shrine will have a fresh pine tree in its precinct this year, dedicated to Her as the Goddess of forests and Her immortality, as pines do not lose their green. The more you love and grow the shrine, the more, I think, you'll be surprised at how the God shows their presence there. After I had built my Athena shrine, an owl took up residence somewhere in the nearby trees and sometimes hoots at night (an owl is Athena's sacred animal).

When you get down to the bottom line, a shrine is really a place where you show a God or Gods how much you love them. It is one of their homes, one of their sacred areas, and one of their universal places for you to welcome them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Hunting Hydras Might Still Be A Pastime

All of His Labors were terrifying and near impossible, but one that seems to be remembered easily by most people is that of the Hydra. I have said in the past that monsters are still monsters even if we've grown used to their presence and call them by different names than in times of old. In fact, a monster is simply defined as an animal of great size or ugliness that incites fear and panic into people. So in search of the truths behind ancient Greek stories, I began to study the second Labor of Herakles in a bit more detail, and what I found piqued my interest greater than ever. But before I begin, let me briefly describe this Labor in order to familiarize the reader.

The monster was more specifically called the Lernaean Hydra, after the coastal springs and fresh lake area that formed the waters, known as Lerna Lake. Today, the water source is extinct. It sits right near the ocean shores east of Arkadia. The monster that lived there was said to have nine or ten heads, depending on the source, and that each time one was cut off, more would regrow. Not only was the beast of immense size and power, it possessed deadly and poisonous breath and blood. Herakles managed to defeat the creature by cutting off eight heads and burying the ninth under a rock.

In the picture above, we see an ancient depiction of Herakles fighting the Hydra. We may not think at first glance that the Hydra looks a lot like an octopus. Octopuses have eight arms and one head, making nine ends, and if they lose an arm, it can regenerate the lost limb in pristine condition. The arms even have their own minds. The animals can also grow to immense size and possess incredible strength. They also carry very painful and deadly venom that can be inflicted upon prey or opponents. Is it possible that the Hydra was exactly this, and that Herakles managed to kill after it had haunted the inhabitants of the area with deadly attacks and/or harassment? They can most certainly kill a human very easily with their poison, and depending on size, might even be able to drown a victim. I think the evidence all points to a very menacing, multi-limbed water monster that we today call the octopus, and to take out one of this magnitude on its own turf with bear hands and sword, would be something most definitely unique and Heroic. The only setback is the fact that the Lake was a freshwater source, and these animals cannot live in that. But who knows? In ancient times, there might have been a part that flowed into it from the sea, or perhaps the inhabitants just thought that the creature came from the Lake but didn't always live there. Maybe the actual battle took place in the sea.

Assuming I am correct, these monsters still live with us today in abundant numbers. The hydras have even become a favorite meal, interestingly, in the Mediterranean, and far East. But generally, they are simply beautiful and fascinating creatures to watch and study. They've even been known to create their own communities. They are very intelligent and resourceful, and have been here for nearly 300 million years, which predates modern humans by a long shot. If only they had been able to talk and take notes, what a world of fascination they could reveal to us.

So the next time you take a dip at the beach, don't forget that the Hydra may still be watching, and in the case that you encounter one, it's probably not a good idea to try to be another Herakles if you can avoid it. There was only one.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, February 7, 2022

How Do You Release All Your Doubts?

"I think you're awesome," a very close friend of mine said. "Why?" I asked. "Because you're so spiritual. I wish I had your faith. You have no doubts at all."

I do not consider myself to be anything special or profound. I'm just a man being himself and doing what he loves and believes in. But at the same time, there are some people in my life who think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. And there is certainly something undeniable in what they said, I have always had incredibly strong faith no matter what has happened or hasn't happened in my life. Growing up dirt poor, struggling through my young adult life, having a premature child, enduring years of hardship as a parent; there were many things that would attack the spirit of some other people. But not me. Why is that and how do I release myself from doubt?

For starters, I think my spiritual upbringing plays a part, even though it was an entirely different theology. Several religions, despite their vast disagreements, can at times agree on some human values, or at least not devalue them. I grew up in a religiously conservative community and environment in the South. Enduring faith as a concept in and of itself, was instilled into me. I was taught that belief in deity was vital, and simply childish to only be loyal when something goes your way, and turn your back when something goes wrong. In short, a tremendous sense of honor. 

Is it also possible that someone could be born with inherent faith? I certainly think so. We are born with schema, which enables us to look for Higher Powers in the universe, and so we are always looking for Gods even from the time we are born. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with the natural world and could always see the powers and minds behind it all. I still retain that mindset and interpretation to this day. I can't disbelieve in the Gods just as I cannot disbelieve in anything else around me. I can't disbelieve in the Sun, Moon, the forests or oceans because they're obviously there.

Finally, I would call it bliss. I've heard people in the Hellenic community say that we do not worship the Gods because we want something in return, but simply because it makes our lives more blissful. I cannot logically deny that the Gods have given me so many blessings and helped me through all of my hardships. Yes, life has had trials, but the Gods are the goodness we can always experience, and that can help us overcome our problems.

How do I release all doubts? I suppose it would boil down to a simple factor. No matter how long they've been in the religion, whenever a fellow Hellenist tells me they are scared or worried, I always say, you still haven't learned to trust the Gods yet, my friend.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Plague Conquered By Hero Veneration

Ancient Greek religion is, of course, ripe with mythology, but just because it's called a myth doesn't mean it's untrue, and second, we know that myths were often centered around real events, such as the Trojan War. While reading a new book today called Seers, Shrines and Sirens, I came across a Hero I had never before learned about, which is why I encourage Hellenists, no matter how long they've been at study and practice, to always read something new. They may discover a new Hero, God or story to their life and knowledge. The stories and histories of ancient Greece speak regularly about a veneration, sacrifice or action that delivered people from plagues, famine and destruction. In this case, I found new information on these instances, which I suppose spoke to me directly because we today are just now coming out of our own plague, Covid19.

The Hero is named Trophonios. Although sources say that it was not officially decided whether He was a God, Spirit or Hero, the Oracle of Delphi seems to have called Him a Hero. His Cult center was located in Boeotia, Greece, in an area called Livadeia. Trophonios was the legendary builder of the Temple of Apollon at Delphi itself, along with a man named Agamedes, and died 7 days after (the 7th day of each New Moon being sacred to Apollon). But this was not His only great feat or adventure. According to the historian Pausanias, He constructed a secret treasure chamber for the king of Boetoia, a fortune which He and His partner Agamedes tried to steal. Trophonios got away from the traps set by the king, but His partner was killed. Trophonios then went into an unknown cave location in the City of Livadeia and was never seen again.

The veneration of the Hero, seemingly, did not return to the City until the people in later history suffered a plague. Upon consulting the Oracle of Delphi, they were advised that a Hero was angry for not being venerated. If they could locate His resting place and worship Him, the plague would cease. When they eventually found the Cave of Trophonios, where His body apparently resided, the plague vanished. Legend has it that a shepherd was led to the discovery by a swarm of bees, hence the Hero's connection with the honey-making insects. The Cave was used in ancient times as the residence of the Oracle of Trophonios. We know it existed because Pausanias himself visited the Cave and the Oracle, and describes the experience in detail. You can read the account by clicking here.

So how do we venerate this very ancient Hero today? I have actually begun collecting charms for my daily clothes that I am going to bless as amulets of Heroes. This one I have chosen for Trophonios is below.

The bee, as explained above, is sacred to Trophonios, and the crown above is His association with the royalty of His land which ended up contributing to His Heroism. The gold represents the purity, light and genuineness of Apollon and His center at Delphi, Delphi being a place that the Hero had a notable hand in building. Finally, as His Oracle was a famous one, the silver stands for the mystical side of life. This charm, of course, was not created with such intent. I found it at a local craft store, but such beautiful things can be easily found and made into religious and spiritual items. The Amulet or Charm of Trophonios is used to invoke the Hero into my daily life, but also to protect against plague and injury when worn, and to invoke good fortune and wealth. Everything about this Hero is handsomely connected as well, and thus makes so much sense. Bees are sacred to Trophonios who was a servant of Apollon, who is the Healing God, and honey from bees is scientifically a curative antibacterial element for preventing infections. Plagues are also caused by infections, which the Hero banished when He was invoked in the ancient setting. 

To my understanding Trophonios is a Hero who can be prayed to for good health, protection against disease, healing, escaping hard situations, and prophecy. He is the Patron of Boeotia, architects, beekeepers, doctors, medicine and oracles. Offerings to Him naturally would be honey, gold and silver.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Shrine That Wouldn't Fall

I often spend time thinking about all the ways the Gods have either intervened or proven themselves in my life and my family's. In fact, I have written blogs and books on the topic. However, when we think about the big miracles of life, we tend to forget the small things that the Gods used to comfort and strengthen us. 

In late 2014 through late 2015, my family and I lived in a small apartment in a very small village nestled in the western Illinois hills called Elizabeth. Our residence was on main street. In fact, we lived in Elizabeth until 2018. There were pros and cons to the town. On the good side, it was safe, quaint, had a surprisingly vibrant spirit, the people were very nice, and the countryside was breathtaking. On the bad side, utilities were very high and there were virtually no employment prospects. Your best bet was to open your own business, which we actually did for a short time, although it didn't turn any profit. We mainly stayed for the superb school district my son attended. 

The apartment we had was advertised as an apartment with a storefront, but it was actually an office space that we managed to make into a living area. In our living rooms, we would normally erect our family shrine in the apartments and homes we rented before we bought our own property in 2019. We did the same with the apartment in Elizabeth. The structure itself was made of solid wood and stood about 7 feet in height. It had a top chamber for statues and a lower chamber for an altar, plus a storage cabinet on the very bottom. All of our main statues and altar tools were placed on it. The biggest problem with the building was that it wasn't entirely structurally sound. The upstairs neighbors had a leaking problem with their pipes, and water would drip down and stain our ceiling in certain places. Although, we never expected what would happen when we returned from vacation in April of 2015. 

During our absence, the leaking from upstairs must have worsened. Our living room ceiling collapsed, leaving water and slushy debris everywhere. When I walked in, I thought I was stepping in milk and graham crackers all over my floor. The collapse got all over everything and soaked the carpet. One thing it never touched, however, was the shrine. There wasn't a single scratch or drop on it even though it was right next to an area where the ceiling fell. Mostly everything in that living room had been slammed, but the shrine was still there, just as beautiful as it was when we left. We didn't have much in the way of material at the time, and I think the Gods knew that the shrine was our most prized possession. But also, to me, the event demonstrated the fact that the Gods have never, and will never, be taken out of this world or this universe. For many centuries, haters have tried, but ultimately failed. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Why Are Greeks Returning To The Ancient Gods?

Pagan and Polytheistic revivals are popping up all over the world, and Greece isn't an exception. More and more Greeks, perhaps slowly but also surely, are returning to the worship of the Gods of their ancestors, aka the Greek Gods. While it's important for Hellenists and Pagans to celebrate, it's equally important to know and understand the reasoning behind this emerging societal shift. It will help us understand our past, be solid in the present, and push on into the future.

Recently, I went online and caught up with Vlassis G. Rassias, a leading spokesperson in Athens, Greece for the modern ancient Greek religious movement and founder of the YSEE (Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes), to ask him what he thinks about the resurgence. According to him, when freedom and democracy began to regain a foothold in Greece in the 80's after the nightmarish military dictatorship of 1967-1974, the ethnic Greeks began to resurface. In fact, he said, religious freedom had been oppressed ever since the formation of the Neo-Greek Christian State in the 1830's after Greece won independence from the Ottomans. In short, a serious lack of oppression has allowed the ancient religion to come back. I finished by asking Vlassis about his personal devotion and what brought him to ancient Greek religion. According to him, the final straw came in 1976 when a Christian monk literally smashed apart the statue of Zeus outside the Ministry of Education in Athens. Thus began his rebuking of Christianity and his allegiance to the ethnic religion of Greece.

I noticed that in talking with Vlassis, two things stand out. One, that Greeks are returning to the old Gods because they are now free to do so, and two, they have seen what the Christian church has done and wants to do to Greece. They are realizing that their ancestors were converted by force, which was still being applied in the late 20th Century. This realization, I think, also makes people realize they have been lied to and enslaved by the present establishment, and it makes them want to seek their true identities that were taken from them. To this day, ancient Greek religion continues to grow, with 5,000 to 10,000 in Greece (which can't account for the number of people who may still be in hiding), and among the Pagans of America that number over 1 million, there are certainly many who worship the Greek Gods as well, if not exclusively like myself.

I feel I should include my own self in the topic as well, since I am also a Greek Polytheist. Although I'm not from Greece, I am still part of the ancient Greek religious movement abroad. In spirit, mind and deed, I am certainly a Hellene. Of course, mostly everyone knows of my conversion story from 2009, when the Greek Gods answered my prayers in the time of my family's greatest need, but I can also relate to the things said by Vlassis. I grew up Christian, and learning about how so many parts of the world had been forced into conversion, lessened my trust in the church and the religion. Not to mention the persistence, especially in the southern states, of trying to force Christianity on everyone, whether they wanted to accept it or not. There was still, of course, freedom of religion, at least on paper. But many parts of society and even the state and local government officials don't always want to respect it. Then, of course, there's the simple fact that Christianity just isn't the right religion for many people.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Enduring Faith of an Ancient Greek

Last night, I was going through new background art for my website. I enjoy bright and positive images for my religion and life, so I was very much drawn to the ruins of ancient Greek temples in the daytime. Although I found some worth using, at first I didn't really grow to like them on my background. I thought I should use something that shows more of the active Hellenic religion of today, instead of the ruins of the past. However, I came to realize that the ruined temples make a huge statement that I don't think many people think about.

In the past, there have been times when I've posted pictures of completely ruined sanctuaries or temple grounds on Facebook, often consisting of nothing more than a few scattered stones, and said, I would rather worship here than at the biggest cathedrals. In other words, I'd rather be here among these ruins, praying to the Gods with a few of my brothers and sisters of Hellas, than to be in a giant Christian church supported by millions of followers. Ancient Greek religious followers in Greece today still idealize worshiping at old temple sites, although from what I have heard, the state wants to charge them a significant fee to do so. This, of course, is absurd. They wouldn't charge Christians to go to church, so why charge the Hellenes to worship at their own temples that their ancestors built for that specific purpose?

Worshiping at, or displaying ruined sites, as a Hellene, has a profound message and realization for Hellenes and the world. No matter how much ruin their temple is in, the Hellene will still go there willingly and lovingly, and pray to the God it represents. Whether there are a hundred shining columns or a few rugged ones leaning over in the loose soil, the presence of heaven still radiates there for the Hellene. The faith of an ancient Greek is unconquerable. For us, it doesn't matter what the temple looks like now, or how many worshipers still choose to come there. The Gods never die, and we know this. They are still as real and glorious today as when their temples were the wonders of the world; humans and time don't change this factor.

I came to realize that the ancient ruins are not symbols of something which is dead, but rather, something which can never be killed; the Gods and the spirit that resides within every one of their followers. The ruins do not represent something which has passed, but rather, they stand as a reminder that the ancient Greek spirit shall never leave the Earth.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Learning From The Greek Gods: Zeus

My series Learning From The Greek Gods is finally nearing completion as I present the next chapter on Zeus. The ultimately highest God in all of Greek belief, surpassed by none, is Zeus, the King of all Gods. He also rules over the universe and mankind itself, and is thus called "Father" by all Gods and mortals. Thunder, lightning, and rain or any atmospheric accumulation is attributed to His power, presence and authority.

Being the last born child of the Titan rulers Kronos and Rhea, Zeus was sent to Earth by His mother to be raised in secrecy away from the destructive clutches of His father. Upon reaching adulthood, He overthrew Kronos and freed His preceding brothers and sisters who joined Him in the New Rule of the universe. Zeus is also the biological Father of many powerful and famous Greek Gods, such as Athena, Hermes, Apollon, Artemis, Hephaistos, Ares and Dionysos.

Evidence of His Supreme Authority is found in all of Greek religion, such as The Iliad when we are told that once Zeus makes a ruling, absolutely nothing can change it, neither man or God. Only He Himself could alter the course. His will has to be carried out without exception. That's one reason why I sometimes petition Zeus's favor even in prayer to other Gods.

There's a lot to learn from Zeus. He's the ultimate leader in any given situation, fearless and resilient. He never gives up and is never dictated by anything other than His own mind. He's the ultimate individualist who knows He's powerful, knows what He wants, and makes it happen. In our own ways in human life, we too have our own powers and ability to be a leader, an individual and attain what we desire or deserve. The only twist is that we are mortals, and if we do not practice this with moderation, we can go from confident to very arrogant and boastful.

Zeus is also the God of Hospitality. He very much believes in treating guests, suppliants and strangers with kindness and generosity, which is the hallmark of being hospitable. To our fellow man and woman, we are taught the truth that we are all human beings and worthy of human dignity. To treat a fellow human as a subhuman, especially in your own home or establishment, would be among the most dishonorable of human offenses. By Zeus, we are taught the universal value of honor and human worth.

In the Goodness of the Gods, and our Father Zeus,
Chris Aldridge.

Picture of Zeus is in the public domain, because it was published in the United States before 1923.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hidden Hellenic Secrets: The Mark of Poseidon's Trident

Like many other religions, Hellenism is filled with its mysteries, perhaps housing among the most of the world's religions. As a constant student of ancient Greece, and of course, a modern ancient Greek worshiper, I am always on the lookout for truths of our spirituality and people, things surfacing to show the powerful reality behind Hellenic Polytheism. Mostly all religions do this. Whether they have sacred artifacts, or like in this post, an actual imprint of a God's staff, the mysteries of the Divine are numerous, and I simply love exploring them. I am equally excited that you, the reader, have decided to join me on this particular exhibition.

We probably all know of the ancient Athenian myth concerning the contest between Athene and Poseidon, both Gods battling it out for control of the new city. Poseidon struck the earth with His trident to produce His gift to man (some say a horse, others a spring), and Athene then raised Her own (the olive tree). Athene's gift was determined to be the most useful and She was awarded the Patronage of Athens.

I've been reading a book recently called, The Parthenon Enigma, by Joan Breton Connelly. The Parthenon, as we all know, was the Temple of Athene that stood atop the Acropolis. I think it's important to remember, as well, that Connelly presents historical and unbiased research. She is a classical archaeologist, and gives very good information from what I can tell. On page 109 of her book, I found something extraordinary to say the least. Placing the contest between Athene and Poseidon on or near the Acropolis, she says that even now, an indention of a trident is visible in the bedrock below the Erechtheion temple (also on the Acropolis), marking the spot where the God hit the ground.

Since ancient times, this eternal scar upon the surface, left over from Poseidon's mighty staff, still speaks to us now of the wonder of the Gods. Certainly, it's no less than a holy place for Hellenists like myself. In school, many of us were taught a number of things about special places and objects concerning the world's religions, but how many of us were told where we could find the place where Poseidon struck the earth? The answer is, none of us. That is one of my main points in this post. Our modern society has only recently begun to treat Hellenism as a legitimate religion in the world. For years, we were blanketed with ignorance by the educational system, teaching us little to nothing about ancient Greek spirituality. Only when we reached adulthood and entered the religion, did we understand for ourselves the immense beauty, truth and magnificence of it. I'm not saying that the school system should teach a religion. I am saying that Hellenism should be included in teaching about the religions of the world. Teaching the facts of a religion is not the same as telling students what to believe or how to live. Furthermore, I want the educational system to treat Hellenic Polytheism as a legitimate religion the same as it would the mainstream belief systems.

As someone closely tied to the element of water, I am close to Poseidon, and consider Him one of my Patrons. But to read something this profound honestly gave me a new sense of holiness with my religion. In the past, I've even thought about writing a book concerning the truths and wisdom of Hellenism. I see such books on mainstream religions, but none on the ancient. That needs to change, and even if in a small sense, this publication in question concerning Poseidon has started to turn that tide. For us Hellenes, it speaks truth to the presence of our Gods, that they are here within the universe and the lives of mortals.

In closing, I hops this post gets people thinking and interested in studying the history of Hellenic religion and culture.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Connelly, Breton Joan, The Parthenon Enigma, New York, Vintage Books, 2014. Print. (pp.109)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Learning From The Greek Gods ~ Hephaistos

Perhaps one of the most forgotten Olympians by general society today, Hephaistos is an extremely beautiful and important Deity. He's the Divine Blacksmith, the God of Fire and Forge, and the Creator of things beautiful, both in heaven and on Earth. Perhaps one of the best ways that I, a mortal, can describe His incredible beauty and worth is in a prayer I wrote to Him some time ago.

Blessed Hephaistos,
Engineer of the Universe,
making things beautiful and eternal,
magnificent Creator!
Slam your divine hammer upon the anvil,
and send to us the creations of heaven,
those that house in their wonder the love of the Gods,
and the good things for my life.

Hephaistos is far more than just a maker of simple armor and weapons. There's a lot more to it than that. He is a Creator of existence itself, even of celestial bodies, and the great structures of Earth. In the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, He is attributed to the moon, sun, stars and cities - even countries, as the Creator Force behind them. Even though the sun and moon are ruled by Apollon and Artemis, for example, it still makes sense because Hephaistos was believed to craft things for the other Gods at times. When you look at it in those terms, you cannot deny His extreme relevance, and how our modern world has failed to understand His wide role in the Olympian Pantheon. To receive a gift or blessing from this God, forged out of His own flames, would be in value and power beyond anything a mortal could ever even wish to create or obtain on their own. In fact, proof of His wonderful perfection can be seen in the fact that His ancient temple is the best-preserved one in Athens, Greece still today. What else could we expect from the Divine Workman other than expert craftsmanship?

When we look to Hephaistos, we can learn the value of hard work and that we can create many wonderful things in our lives and world if we are but willing to put forth the effort necessary in all ways that are required. In short, we can make hard work pay off, and if we work intensely and dedicate ourselves to its perfection, then success is our inevitable course. 

In the Goodness of The Dodekatheon,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why I Believe The Gods Have Personalities

Not everyone within the Hellenic community believes that the Gods have personalities, which is fine, everyone has the right to their beliefs. I can respectfully disagree with my fellow Hellenists. However, I am among those who believe otherwise, and in this entry I will explain my position in detail, as the Gods have many forms of personality. 

For one, let's look at the obvious, which is the fact that each Deity has specific attributes and epithets, and they are able to be distinguished because of these. We don't pray to a Goddess of Marriage for divorce advice. We don't pray for success in battle to a Deity of Peace. If the Gods did not have personalities, they would not have these distinctions. But, because they do indeed have them, because they indeed have attributes, epithets, and characteristics, they possess personality.

Another thing that makes the presence of their personalities self-evident is piety, which is a big, big focus in modern Hellenism. If piety and impiety exist, and the Gods smile upon piety as opposed to frowning on impiety, that means the Gods can show preference, they can show likes and dislikes. Showing favor to the pious and disfavor to the impious constitutes an existence of their personality. Someone who lacks it cannot express preferences. Personality is based on reactions, which the Gods clearly have if they can react differently to piety and impiety. To say they have no personalities would be to say that they do not react, which they clearly do if they can judge, rule over, be an active presence in the universe, and recognize what they think is pious and what is not.

Thirdly, I believe the Gods have personalities because they can clearly disagree among themselves. Let's speculate for a moment. If Demeter raises a field and Zeus refuses to let it rain there, thus causing the field to eventually cease to exist, can we say that Zeus did not favor that field? If so, then we must say that the Gods do not always work in harmony, and if they do not always work in harmony, that means they have the power to disagree, make their own decisions, draw their own conclusions, and determine their own destinies, and therefore have personalities. If the opposite were true, if they did not have these powers to disagree and so forth, that would mean that they are constantly in the same state, which they are in terms of their existence, but not in terms of their actions and reactions. These can vary from time to time, place to place, God to God, and circumstance to circumstance. In short, independent thought do the Gods have.

Lastly, the Gods are self-aware, and can therefore tell themselves apart from other selves, and therefore have personality because they can make those distinctions. They can say, "This is who I am, and this is who you are!" They can say, "I am a God and you are a mortal." The act of such distinguishing constitutes an existence of personality. Personality must be present for this distinguishing to take place because recognizing differences is what defines it.

Feel free to comment and leave your own beliefs and thoughts on the matter.

In the Goodness of the Gods,