Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Friday, April 1, 2022

Christianity Trembles Before The Pythia


For over a thousand years, the Oracle of Delphi gave the counsel of Apollon to the ancient Hellenic world. She was not, by any means, the only Oracle around. But she was, without a doubt, the most loved and revered. Fortunately today, centuries after she vanished, we still have records of the amazingly accurate words and sound advice she gave to mortals.

When her time came to an end during the rising Christian era takeover, allegations and legends came to surround the event. Some claim she was murdered by the Christian invasion. This could be a likely case, as we know that the Christian Emperor Theodosius the First ordered the temples closed, Games stopped, and the old religions outlawed. Considering that we know for a fact that the early Christians spilled seas of Pagan blood, it's not a farfetched idea that the Pythia (Oracle of Delphi) defended her temple and was killed. We know the murders happened and that Christian leaders and emperors ordered the attacks. Specifically considering people like the Pythia and Hypatia of Alexandria, we as well know the early Christians hated nothing more than a powerful woman. What remained of Delphi's wealth and treasures then faced certain destruction and looting. Another mystery is where her body, and those of the past Oracles, were buried. But if the last Oracle faced a mob of zealots, they destroyed her body, and if they knew the location of the graves or tombs of the women who preceded her, they destroyed and looted them.

If this account of the final Pythia is true, so could be her alleged final prophecy that she gave to her killers before they took her life, saying that the Christians would lose in the end. Specifically, "One day Apollon will return and He will stay." More broadly, we might interpret this to mean that the old religion cannot be kept oppressed for long, nor can the Gods be defeated, and that it's only a matter of time before they regain their rightful places. If she did make such a prediction, it needs to be added to her list of accuracies.

In our time, Christianity continues to significantly decline, both in America and around the world. In fact, it's always had trouble keeping power, largely relying on the force of government for most of its existence. But the more freedom of religion has spread, the greater their loss in numbers. In the United States, Christians make up 65% of the population, which is a 13% drop from just ten years ago. In truth, this is nothing new, as Christian numbers in America have been continuously falling for the last three decades. Catholicism, the largest Christian religion, has suffered a worldwide drop of two million in just the last three years. If the trend continues, American Christians will be a minority by the year 2042 at the latest, with Christianity itself becoming one of the fastest declining religions on the planet. In short, Christianity is losing power amazingly fast.

Meanwhile, non-Christians religions continue to grow. The old religions, Hellenism among them, even gaining enough foot in Greece again that the Christian government recognized them as an official religion once more. Polytheism and Paganism are among the fastest growing, or more accurately, fastest returning religions in the world. The last prophecy of the Pythia has come true.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ruins Testify To Greek Resistance of Christianization

Many of us may not realize it, but modern history is mostly written by Christians, or historians who, in large number, tend to pander to the Christian idea of events, which as we know are all too common false or exaggerated. For example, for the longest time, the so called "Great Persecution" was regarded as a world event, whereas now, we have discovered that it was blown terribly out of proportion and propagandized by the Christian churches. Christians, by and large, were not targeted for their religion no more than anyone else, but rather because they routinely engaged in breaking laws and showed physical aggression toward the cultures where they resided.

However, the point of this post is an even greater falsehood that is often pushed, that which says that most Pagans and Polytheists willingly accepted Christianity. We have known for years that this is a lie, but we have recently discovered even more evidence to keep proving that it's a lie. What's interesting, however, is that the false history doesn't directly pander to Christianity. Rather, it tries to set up a false narrative about ancient Greek religion and faith that ends up being completely debunked by the stones in the dirt.

During my latest reading adventure, which I always love, I had the privilege of coming into contact with a magnificent work that I am enjoying very much, called The Complete Greek Temples by Tony Spawforth. In a nutshell, this amazing work details all forms of ancient Greek temples that have existed, and gives the wonderful architectural, religious, social and political histories behind them. I have not yet completed it, but at this point, I'd not only recommend it, but even place it in my temple's library. Indeed, the importance of temples to ancient Greek life and society cannot be overemphasized. Walter Burkert even calls the Greeks a "temple culture." The temple is as essential to Greek identity as the stars and stripes are to Americanism.

In the book, page 12 interestingly, the author talks about the fact that modern historians tend to fancy the idea that the ancient Greeks began to lose faith in the Greek Gods around the 4th Century BCE and onward. However, the large scale on which they continued to build their temples during this alleged time frame, tells a far different story. Some were, of course, smaller and bigger than others, and had a range of functions, but they always retained a religious significance among all else. In other words, people who are "losing faith in their Gods," don't continue to build temples to them. Archaeology and the hard evidence left behind continues to shatter these abundant falsehoods around the ancient Greeks, which has always been an attempt by modern society to delegitimize the ancient religions. The modern world, which by and large does not accept the Greek Gods as a real, legitimate religion, cannot possibly acknowledge the brilliance of the people in their culture. They don't want serious thought given to Polytheism, lest Monotheism lose control, and so they can't say in one breath what a genius Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle were and then admit that they believed in the Greek Gods. Therefore, they do everything they can to separate those people from their Gods, even at the expense of telling bold face lies to humanity.

The truth is clear and present. The ancient Greeks, by and large, did not willingly accept Christianity, Monotheism, or lose faith in their Gods. They were forced to give them up and accept Christianity at the hands of a government of massive state pressure, who had allowed itself to become corrupted by Christianity because of its ability to control people. The government fell in love with the very thing that destroys people and nations; greed. As a Hellenist, I think part of our duty is always to the truth, and we should never allow it to be concealed or hidden. We must always dedicate ourselves to that endless pursuit, upon which Apollon Himself sent Sokrates so long ago, that our minds remain free.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

What If Your Significant Other Is A Christian?

I got in my older chariot today, named Saturn, and dashed around the American Polis of Machesney Park, Illinois. I always love it whenever work or pleasure takes me to meet new people, see new places, and experience new things. During my outing, I happened to look on my phone and saw that someone I am connected to on Facebook, and who follows the old Gods like me, asked what they should do if their significant other is or wants to be a Christian. The person cited the many centuries of persecution that we have faced at the hands of the Christian church as a point of contentment. I thought about replying with a short comment through my phone, but later concluded that this question is something that, I think, requires a good, thought out response.

Perhaps I should start with the time that my wife and I first met and started living together. She was Wiccan at the time, and while I entertained Paganism and practiced Witchcraft, I was still a Christian theologically. That was my only view of deity. I would invoke Jesus, Mary and St. Michael, for instance, in my spells, and read the bible for incantations like Psalms. My wife, on the other hand, had nothing to do with any of it. Later on, through strong spiritual experiences, we both became the same pre-Christian religion, that being Hellenic Polytheism. Fortunately, the theological divide was very short lived. However, our love for one another never dissipated because I was Christian. The strength of a relationship is found in the bonds of commonality rather than the divisions of beliefs. In other words, if you have more in common with the person than the opposite, you shouldn't have a problem.

If your significant other is Christian, I would simply say this. Start by letting them have the same religious freedom that we demand for ourselves. Let them believe and worship however they want. So long as they are not disrespecting you or interfering with your own religious freedom, let them have their space the same as you would in any other situation that requires space. I've seen many couples who are Pagan/Christian and get along, apparently, just fine. You should also keep in mind that while it's true that the Christian church has persecuted and destroyed us for centuries, your significant other alone didn't have anything to do with that. It would be unjust to charge them with a crime they have not committed. 

However, the real problem may come if you have children with them. Anyone who is devoted to their religion, will likely want to raise their children in it as well. You're going to want to teach them ancient values and beliefs, and your significant other will want to teach them normally opposing ones. So before you create children, perhaps you should make sure you've worked out a compromise that can work for both of you. If you just jump into childbearing without first establishing an understanding, it will lead to serious conflict, most likely. You might even end up finding that the best course for both of you is to not have children at all. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Aphrodite's Stronghold Against Christianity

As the 4th Century CE rolled on, the rising Christian State, led by the power of Rome, was stopping at nothing to persecute the Polytheists out of existence. The old religion(s) under the Christian Emperor Theodosius I, had been outlawed, and in 393 CE, he finally banned even the Olympic Games of Greece. Of course, the persecution didn't begin with Theodosius and it wouldn't end with him either. But it would have appeared that the "massive state pressure" concerning the Christian State that Walter Burkert talks about in his book Greek Religion, was finally taking hold in its mission to force everyone into the new religion.

However, according to recent archaeological finds, it appears as if the worship of the Greek Gods, namely Aphrodite, set up a stronghold in Thessaloniki through the 4th Century, a region in the far north of the Greek mainland. By 306 CE, Christianity had already found its way into Thessaloniki, but there were apparently Greeks who refused it until the end. During the excavation of the metro, workers came across thousands of artifacts from the time period, most notably statues of Aphrodite, giving testament to the enduring worship of Her during this highly hostile, anti-Pagan time. Devotion to Her was as strong as the love and sexual desire itself over which She rules and gives to humanity. She was, without a doubt, one of the most hated Goddesses among the Christians, because She represented sexuality and freedom of the body. Christianity knew it could not gain control over the masses without shackling the basic human makeup. Aphrodite was a dire threat to the very core of their objective. 

These finds are not only significant because of their history, but because it seems to show that, despite what the modern Church says, not everyone willingly accepted Christianity. Some people, probably most of the population, resisted it. There would have been absolutely no other reason for Christians to make laws forcing people to give it up. So today, we should also draw an inspired spirit as we look at the remains of undying devotion to the Gods, and carry it on into tomorrow and the days and years to come as we move to restore the traditional identities of humanity. No matter how hard, hopeless or hostile things get, let us never give up our beliefs, our love, our devotion.

To read more details about this recent story, check out the website of my friend and fellow Hellenist, Baring The Aegis.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Paul's Propaganda At The Shrine Of The "Unknown God"

Although the Greeks worshiped a plethora of Gods, there was also a shrine in Athens that wasn't specifically dedicated to anyone. It even appears in the bible in Acts 17:23, although Paul was immensely ignorant as to its meaning, thinking that the Greeks were "ignorant to what they worshiped," or perhaps Paul wasn't ignorant of what he was saying, but saw a prop for introducing the idea of the Christian god - maybe a bit of both. Paul's antics around the Greek world are very well known. He also visited Ephesus in 54 CE, where he was eventually ran out of town for organizing the large burning of ancient Greek and Jewish texts and trying to overthrow the present religious order, but he also ended up in Athens at one point, talking to the Athenians about one of their particular shrines. What we know for certain is that Paul's sermon was basically a trick to get the Athenians to think that they had already been worshiping Jesus or Yahweh without realizing it, for Paul was one of the best propagandists the new religion had in its arsenal. I am referring to the Shrine of the Unknown God.

The Shrine of the Unknown God was not, actually, dedicated to a God that was "as of yet unknown." It was actually established as a safety net, if you will, to make sure that no local Deity was neglected or forgotten, or who, at present, remained unnamed. The Greeks were not ignorant of the fact that many Gods were around, they just didn't know if they had named them all yet. So if a God didn't have a temple or a following, the Shrine was erected as a default sanctuary. You might even think of it like a temple or shrine to all the Gods, in the sense that it is not dedicated to specifically one, but all of them. It wasn't about ignorance of Divinity, but actually the knowledge and realization that Divinity is everywhere, and whether that Divinity has been named by us or not, it is still of importance and value. Even Paul's father god, aka the Jewish god, had an "unpronounceable name." In that sense, his god was also ultimately unknown. Generally, think about how many times you've heard a Christian say, "Don't question god," or "I don't know, that's just how god works." That's called an unknown, or an unknowing. When it comes to those things and those responses, Christians have constructed a Shrine of the Unknown probably more so than the ancient Athenians actually did.

With that being said, I still don't know if it was something practiced by every Greek City or town, and I haven't even heard of a modern Hellene having such a shrine today in their homes or temples. I personally wouldn't be opposed to having one myself, although I never have felt the need, and therefore if I did so, it would largely be to respect Tradition. However, I do, after all, live in a vast place which brings me to my final point about the Shrine of the Unknown, and that is humility. For an ancient Greek or a modern Greek worshiper to think that they know everything, especially about the Gods, would be hubris. Both ancient Greek and Christian religion advises against arrogance. What can be more humble than for someone to erect a Shrine that basically says, "I admit I don't know everything?"

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Being Hellenic Isn't Just About Blood

When my DNA results came back last year, I was very disappointed that it did not reveal any known Greek lineage, even though I still came from the over all Classical World. Not being specifically Greek, at least in part, was an emotional blow to someone like me who is devoted to the Greek Gods, and who at one point thought for sure they had Greek blood somewhere. Before the results came back, I stated that it wouldn't change who I was, and it hasn't. But I also got to thinking what it really means to be Hellenic, and I realized it's about more than just blood.

People who were born Hellenic have the easiest time being it, but not necessarily acting like it. There are countless ethnic Greeks today who are basically the Stockholm Syndromes of their people, who side and have a relationship with their Christian oppressors who teach them to hate the original Greek society they came from. It's basically a hatred for self. So just because someone has Hellenic blood, doesn't necessarily make them a real Hellene. Being an authentic Hellene is a mentality, a worldview, and a lifestyle.

It's about an undying love for the original Gods, for Hellenic virtue, honor and piety, for life and all of its wonders and pleasures, and for your ancestors. And it's also about having the mentality of a Hellene - meaning that your worldview does not oppose, destroy or contradict what it meant to be Hellenic. Sadly, Greece and her people have not been governed by the Hellenic mindset or values, and it doesn't take much to see how far the country and society has fallen since the time of Christian obstruction.

Blood is great, but it only goes so far. Your birth you had no control over, but the way you think and live is something you have complete control of, and therefore the latter is where you make your choice as to who you are, and who you are not.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Christian Witchcraft Making News: My Thoughts On "Jesus The Magician"

Christian Witches will be holding their first ever convention this year in Salem. I understand that, for some people, mixing Christianity with Witchcraft or Paganism is a starting point, because I myself used to be there. From 2008 or thereabouts, until 2009, I was a Christian Witch or a Christian Magician. Like pretty much every Christian Witch, I believed Jesus was a magic-wielding wizard, and the bible a spell book, even though Jesus never said he was such, and the people who wrote the bible hated Witches and Pagans pretty much every time they turned the page for a new entry. I didn't care, it was how I saw the world at that time. Saint Michael and Azrael were my patron angels, the foremost beings against evil and lost souls, which was something I needed at the time since I lived in my grandmother's old country home that was believed to be haunted. I would cast spells in the name of Mary, Jesus or Yahweh, and I wore a cross with a pentagram in the middle. I was very serious about it, but back in my time, Christian Witches were largely silent around my neck of the woods. Nowadays, their community is starting to gain a foothold.

Mixing Christianity with magic certainly didn't begin with modern Witches. As long as Christians have been coming to the Americas, some indigenous people and populations have combined it with their own customs, some of which included magic and spellcraft. As far as our community today, my thoughts on Christian Witches is that I have no problem with a Witch who is a Christian because they love Jesus. However, I do have a problem with a Witch who is a Christian because they are scared of the devil and hell, which was really the main reason behind my own mixing in the early days of exploring magic and Paganism. Sometimes before I would do magic work, I would say, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us," just as a precaution against the event that I was "sinning" with my practices. A lot of people keep Christianity intertwined "in case they are wrong," and those kinds of people are neither Christian or a Witch in my view. As long as they're doing it from a place of sincere longing and not simply shivering fear, I'm cool with them. If not, I may ask them why they're doing this to themselves, because there's no way anyone could be happy like that.

For some people, Christianity can be very hard to let go of itself, because it's what you've been taught your whole life. Even when I officially converted to Hellenism in 2009, Christianity still bled over into my life at times, because I had not yet started studying my new religion. All I knew was that I believed in the Greek Gods. It actually took a little while before I realized how to begin my new course in life.

When it comes to the bible, I can see how some people may interpret certain things as being magical or spell-worthy, such as the battles between Moses and the Pharaoh's magicians, the chanting of Psalms, or the prayers and stories that can be viewed through magical lenses, but I also think it's important to realize that the people who wrote it probably didn't see it that way. If we're honest with ourselves, the bible is a giant protest against Witches and Pagans, and stands against everything we hold dear, such as freedom of the mind and body, a religious reverence for Nature, and a love for the original Gods of mankind. I suppose it would all depend on the kind of Christianity you want to mix with Witchcraft, but I don't really think the bible itself is compatible. You'd have to ignore a great number of things in it.

But at the end of the day, religious freedom means any religion. If someone wants to be a Christian Witch, however they bring it together, its their own business. It's not hurting anyone, so if it makes them happy, so be it. As Witches and Pagans, we shouldn't be resenting, attacking, or shunning people for their personal religious and spiritual choices. That's not who we are, that's what we broke away from. Back in the day, I got a lot of flack from people, so I know how it feels to be thrown into a limbo where no one accepts you, and it's not fun. We would certainly find the Christian Witches far more likable than the Evangelicals in any case. So I say let people do their own thing in life. We don't have to always agree, but instead of tearing each other down, let's live in peace together.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Greek" Christians Who Laugh At Me

Often times, I find myself in several Greek-based groups online, and they're not all Polytheistic. Some of them are dominated by the dominant religion of Greece today, that being Orthodox Christianity. While most of them are nice to me, there are others who are very rude and confrontational when they find out that I worship the Greek Gods; that my religion is ancient Greek and I reject Christianity. It's all the worse when you consider the fact that I do not make fun of or attack them in the group for their religious choices, but let me post something in a universal Greek group about my shrines, sanctuaries, or general spirituality, and at least one or two people will laugh at me or call me crazy in one form or another. One person even told me that I should see a psychiatrist. I should have retorted by saying that she's the one with Stockholm Syndrome. 

I do wish the group administrators would ban the bigots instead of just deleting my threads to stop the confrontations, but I have always found it very interesting that the people who submitted to the religious invaders who did everything they could to destroy the ethnic Greek culture and subjugate the Greek people, would think that someone like me who chooses to fight for their freedom from it, is delusional, crazy, laughable, etc. They certainly have the right to follow whichever religion they want and I'd never try to stop anyone from having that right, but it's clear that they think Christianity is the legitimate religion of the Greek people, or that it saved the Greek people from destruction. When in fact, it's the opposite. The legitimacy of any people is their ethnicity, not outsiders or foreigners who forced them into another ethnicity, and Greece today is not even a shadow of the greatness it was in the ancient times.

It also angers me that these Greeks in question resent the ancient worshipers and followers, but also have no problem using our architecture, forms of government, ethics, art, science and philosophy. They're more than willing to take the cultural constructs and claim their greatness for their own, but not the Gods who inherently come with it. Because the ancient Greeks had their religion intertwined into everything, you naturally cannot adopt that culture while excluding its spirituality. Otherwise, it makes you hypocritical. So I wish these Greeks, if they hate the ancients so much, would form their own culture, their own ideas, and give ours back to us along with the land they hijacked. It would be great if we could have all of our temples and religious lands back, along with restitution so we could restore them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

I Feared Death Until I Knew Haides

Even His worshipers obscured themselves from His sight. No Divine name, arguably, made the Greek heart tremble with fear more than Haides, God of the dead. In popular modern fiction, He is portrayed as a villain and even ignorantly equated with the Christian devil, even though He never served any such function. However, Orpheus calls Him "Excellent," and I include Him in my daily prayers with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

I grew up Christian, so I have always been a theist, but I feared death immensely until Hellenism. The belief in Jesus never relieved that stifling anxiety, only the ancient Lord of the Underworld did. That's not to say I look forward to dying, or think that this life doesn't matter. Quite the contrary. I have simply come to better understand death. The afterlife is not the focus of Hellenic religion, life is. However, we must also realize that death will one day come, and knowing Haides has given me wisdom instead of fear as many would come to expect.

There is an immense peace I have come to find in and around myself with Haides. Many of you probably had no idea that one of His Epithets is Nekron Soter, which means, "Saviour of the Dead." Into His care, He takes those who have passed on from this life, saving us from the burdens of this world and securing for us a peaceful and intriguing place. There is nothing to fear, for I know I will be going into the hands and realm of a wonderful God. The beauty of Divinity that we experience on Earth, will continue to surround us in the afterlife, and wherever I go, it will be free from the ailments I have lived with. Whether I go to the Underworld, the Isle of the Blessed (Elysium), or the endless possibilities of reincarnation, the ancient Greek God has filled me with a calmness and security that, in some ways, cannot be put into human words. It is literally a language only known to the Gods, and merely felt by mankind.

Dying has been called passing away because it's the most appropriate term. There's actually no such thing as a complete death, only the destruction of the temporary body that we all have. Your body will die, but you will not. Dead, to my mind, is simply a term to identify those whose bodies have went through this process and are now in spiritual form. It's just another step along the path of life.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Pagan Response To "Experiences With Jesus."

Scores of Christians in the world claim experiences with Jesus as testament to the validity of their religion. They may talk about how Jesus saved them from illness, debt, jail, or some other horrific disaster, and with over 2 billion Christians in the world, what are we, as Hellenes and Pagans, to say in response if such experiences are used to fly in the face of our own experiences, religions and Gods? How does a Pagan explain experiences with Jesus?

As far as my own perspective, I have no doubt that Jesus was a real man who founded a new religion. It's perfectly plausible that he existed, and eventually ended up having a swirl of myths tagged onto him, like mostly every other influential human figure of old times. If he was indeed an actual human, then like all other humans, he had a soul or a spirit, and just like in Hero and Ancestor worship, the soul or spirit of the person can be contacted, and that entity normally possesses powers and abilities greater than that of people in the flesh.

So, no, I don't call their religion invalid. I don't call them insane or delusional. I think it's perfectly possible that they are experiencing the manifestation of their human hero. But he is just that, a human hero like the countless others that exist. Jesus is a cultural ancestor, founder, and like many Heroes, a savior of his people. Heroes also often act as intercessors between mortals and their Gods, just as Jesus was said to be the bridge between his people and their deity.

I also think that Christians are used to looking at divinity only through Christian lenses. If Apollon came to them, cloaked in the light of the sun, they would probably think He was an angel, or maybe even Jesus, because that's the only way they know to explain it, and the only eyes they possess for the universe. So I also entertain the idea that they're not actually seeing Jesus, but a God or Being that is responding to humanity in a way that they can understand.

All in all, I think each person calls on things relevant and known to them, and that those who have passed on who have a direct connection with us in some form, can reach back into this realm and touch us. Jesus, as a human ancestor and hero of the Jews and Christians, is no different.

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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hermes Answers My Call Again, But A Bit Strangely This Time

As many know, my wife and I have had our fair share of vehicle problems in the past, and after calling on the Gods on the side of the road, help immediately arrived out of the blue. It happened to me again recently but not in the normal manner of things.

Tonight, I drove to the store for some grocery on an empty tank. I didn't think too much of it because my trusty Saturn, that I named Argo, had ran on empty before. Not this time. On the way back, she ran out of gas literally about a quarter of a mile or so away from my home. I had no money I could get to, didn't even have my phone on me. After trying numerous times to restart, I realized it just wasn't happening. So I get out and start to walk, but something tells me to get back in the car and make sure everything is in the park position (I have a straight gear). While inside, I try to start it up once more, still nothing of course. I look at the Hermes statue on my dashboard and say, "Hermes, please help me."

When I step out of the car again to begin walking, two young guys in a jeep immediately pull up behind me. After inquiring as to what the situation was, they graciously offered to find a gas station and return with a gas can containing enough fuel to get me home. Sure enough, about 10 or 15 minutes later, they returned and filled the tank just enough so that I could complete my journey. Now here's where the strange part happened, although I am sure it's not uncommon. They wanted to pray with me. I thought, "Oh, great. Now they're gonna try to convert me to Christianity. They noticed my bumper stickers." For the sake of being courteous, I decided to consent (although I myself didn't pray, I just stood with them). I mean, these are the guys who just saved me from a serious jam. How can I just snub them? So I figured, it can't hurt to humor them for a few seconds.

Of course, as I suspected, they were Christians trying to convert me, and for some reason I didn't think to mention that I had prayed to Hermes for them just a few seconds before they arrived. I should have taken this opportunity, once they were done, to pray with them also to Hermes. Not for the sake of trying to convert them, but just to let them see that there are many valid points of view. But nevertheless, here we were, Pagans and Christians brought together. Were they supposed to tell me about Jesus, or was I supposed to tell them about Hermes, or neither? When it was all over, I got to thinking about the situation. Why had Hermes sent not only two Christians to rescue me, but two proselytizing Christians at that? Clearly, it was obvious that Hermes wanted me to know they were devout Christians, and once more, that they were helping me. I didn't know the answer, so I consulted my wife, the best oracle I know.

I guess for starters, I have to consider the fact that most people today are Christians. I don't think Hermes had the luxury of picking a Pagan who was nearby and able to help. It was probably a matter of course that the helpers were members of the largest religion, just like if you break down in the middle of Saudi Arabia, if anyone helps you, there's a good chance they'll be Muslim. So I do have to entertain the idea that their religion meant nothing, but then again, why was it brought up if so?

Before my wife began the reading, she reminded me that Hermes has a sense of humor. He likes to play jokes, a Trickster. I chuckled, because I knew it was true. Did Hermes help, but also decide to have a little fun with me in the process? Did He make me the butt of a joke? Possibly. But more so what I discovered, was that Hermes had two things to show me. One, that those Christians made me feel uncomfortable, but that it got me what I needed. The lesson was, sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to get what you want out of life. In other words, if you never step outside your comfort zone, you won't progress. That's a hard reality for so many of us, including myself, but it makes perfect sense. Sometimes, you may not like your work, or the people you work with, but you have to look at the end result. This lesson doesn't have to do with religion necessarily, religion was just used to get the point across. The second part of the reading from Hermes told me that He also wants me to be more social, and interact with the world around me, that I may let go of some of my anger and presumptions about other people. Through this, more advancement in life is possible. This can also be hard for lots of people to do, but also beneficial to not running out of gas again.

And maybe sometimes, it's good for us to come together and help one another, than it is to always be fighting. Perhaps there is more that unites us all than divides us. To the men who helped me, thank you, my friends. If there should come a time in the future when I have the opportunity to repay the generosity, by Zeus I shall.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Disturbing Trend of Monotheism


The first Monotheist on human record is Akhenaten, an infamous Egyptian pharaoh who ruled the 18th Dynasty. He turned ancient Egyptian religion on its ears when he abolished the Polytheistic system by force, and turned the god Aten into a radical Monotheistic Cult, mostly centered around the adoration of Akhenaten himself. By the force of the state, everyone turned Monotheist during his reign, only being allowed to worship the one god Aten. Once the king died, the traditional religion of Egypt was reinstated. Not only that, but the Egyptians did everything they could to remove him from their history, including destroying his statues and erasing all records of his reign. Clearly, he was hated and considered a shame upon his culture. Interestingly, the religion he founded, called Atenism, is still practiced today by some modern Egyptian worshipers. Of course, modern practitioners of the religion are not of the mind that everyone should believe as they do, or that Polytheism should be abolished. In this way, they immensely differ from their founder. In fact, to my knowledge, Egyptian Polytheistic groups today have no issue being friends with Atenists. This post is not meant to be a stab at modern Atenists at all. It's to examine the history of Monotheistic oppression. Secondly, I simply love writing about religious history.

As Monotheism continued down through the centuries, turning into systems such as Christianity and Islam, this radicalism continued, and still reigns in terror throughout many parts of the human world today. The ancient Greek religion vanished only under the intense pressure of the state government after it was taken over by the Christians. The coming of Monotheism to the Greek lands saw the old religion outlawed, temples closed and followers murdered, tortured and coerced. This line of persecution really got its rabbit start under the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. Modern Christian historians would have you believe that it was the Pagans who persecuted the Christians mostly, and while certainly this happened, it's not the grand scale that is implied. The 313 CE Edict of Milan gave freedom of religion to everyone in the Roman Empire, including Christianity. There would no longer be any laws prohibiting it from existing. The problem was that the Christians didn't want simple religious freedom. They wanted religious superiority. The idea of Jesus being recognized alongside all the other Gods instead of above them, was not something the Christians were willing to accept. They could not stand the fact that they didn't have control of all things. When the Christian emperor Theodosius I later came along from 379 to 395 CE, the genocide of the Pagan cultures was fully implemented.

In our modern time, there are still leaders, elected officials and governments, even in our own country, who try to use legislative power to enforce Christian belief on their entire population. Islam also sees the mass persecution of entire nations in places like the Middle East where it's illegal to be any other religion but Muslim. Dissenters in these countries are routinely jailed, banished or executed. Extremely radical Monotheists like the Islamic State, a terrorist organization, also routinely smash ancient Pagan religious relics, using force to remove them from the human consciousness and awareness. And I don't want to actually put separation between the Islamic State and said Islamic governments, because when you get to the core, they're all terrorist organizations. It's just that one has a UN license to persecute and murder, and the other doesn't.

Of course, this is not to say that every Christian or every Muslim believes in persecution. Indeed, there are many who love freedom just as much as anyone else, and it's always important to judge people as individuals, not groups. Judging people by groups has also led to unspeakable acts against the innocent. I think of good humanitarians like Barack Obama, who is Christian and supports religious freedom for all faiths. But historically speaking, Monotheism itself has been, and is being, used on massive levels of persecution and crimes against humanity. 

The larger picture here is a continuous trend in Monotheism. Since its inception as far back as Akhenaten, it has had to be implemented by force. When the Egyptians were free to choose their religion again, they returned to Polytheism. When freedom of religion finally found its way back into Greece after centuries of persecution, Polytheism began to regrow. In the Free World itself today, Pagan and Polytheistic religion and spirituality is rapidly growing and thriving. When freedom of religion is allowed to flourish, Polytheism reclaims the land and the people. Monotheism has always been given by force of sword and blood, and in my view, it always will have to be if it is to remain, because the natural structure of the human theological mind is geared toward Polytheism. It is literally our natural state, which is why it has always taken force and fear to silence and change it.

Why, one might ask, has Monotheism been so inherently tyrannical? The answer is simple. When you believe there is only one way to live and believe correctly, and that you yourself have that way, you cannot leave any room for those who disagree or want to live differently, lest you be forced to question the validity of your own notions. If Monotheism had allowed freedom of religion, it would have had no grounds to proclaim itself as the one true way that everyone should follow, and it would therefore lose its power and control over the masses. While on the other hand, Polytheism does not need force to exist.

Here in America, we don't believe in telling anyone that they can't practice the religion they want. Monotheists should always have the same rights as everyone else. But there should never be any mistake that the same rights belong to others as well. If we do not learn from history, and beware of its lessons, we may be doomed to take the classes over again. As James Madison said, the purpose of the separation between church and state is to not repeat Europe's bloody past. I certainly do believe that Monotheists have the right to their religion. Freedom of religion is a human right, it is NOT negotiable. But I also think that the Pagans and Polytheists should have some their rightful things returned to them, and be able to live freely anywhere in the world without fear of being harmed because they choose to believe in the old Gods.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How I Explained Polytheism To A Young Christian

Yesterday, I held a literary signing at the Freeport Public Library in Freeport, IL to promote some of my latest publications in magazines and journals. I also brought some copies of my memoirs In The Presence of the Gods, which outlines my experiences with the Greek Gods throughout my life. It was originally intended to be an event to just promote my latest fiction, but I figured that the more stuff I could sell, the better, so I brought some of my non-fiction material as well, and it sold just as good as the opposite. 

But an encounter happened to me that I will always remember, and that I think is worth noting. A very friendly young man hung around me for a good portion of the day, being interested in my writings and what I was doing. When he picked up my memoirs and learned that I was a Polytheist, it became clear to me that he was a Christian, because he asked me, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" I told him that I did believe Jesus to be a real historical man, but that I didn't believe him to be a god or divine. The boy basically went on to ask me, "Why do you believe in many Gods instead of just one?" Being that he was a young man and more curious than anything else, I came up with what I thought was a good way to explain my theology to him on a level he could comprehend. I never, at any point, tried to tell or convince him that his beliefs were wrong. Instead, I taught him about my own.
I asked him, "Have you ever been outside?" He replied, "Yes." Then I asked, "Do you see one tree or many?" He replied, "Many." I went on to ask, "Are they all the same or different?" He answered, "Different." I continued my line of questioning. What of grass, is there one blade or many? What about clouds? Is there one or many? And what of other worlds? Does our Solar System have one or many? He replied, "Many" to all of my questions. Then in conclusion, I said, the nature of the universe dictates that everything exists in multiples, not singulars, so why should God be any different?

And yes, I know some people might ask, "Can there not be one painter who paints many things?" Of course there can be, but is there just one painter in the world or many? Is there only one who paints all paintings? No, there are countless painters. So once again, all things exist in multiples. 

He didn't have an answer for me. He just shrugged it off, but I would like to think that I encouraged him to think outside the box in his life, to come to his own beliefs and conclusions about things, instead of just blindly accepting what others tell him is truth. It's quite possible that I will never again encounter the lad, but I hope that I created another student of Socrates at least.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In The Presence of the Gods: The Night That Changed Our Lives Forever

This is an experience I do not normally talk about, because I don't want to come off as a bragger. I always say that you can tell the difference between people who have had legitimate spiritual experience and those who haven't, because those who have will not brag, or try to use it to score religious, social or financial points. Those of us who have had real experiences in these realms, don't go around blowing our own trumpets. The only time I tell this story is when it is necessary to describe why my wife and I became worshipers of the Greek Gods. It's not something someone will usually find me discussing or trying to spread around on a consistent basis, because I don't feel the need to be personally validated or convinced of my experience, nor do I care if others believe me or not. In fact, the only reason I am telling it now on my blog and website here is because I feel I should make a reasonable post about it for my readers. They read my life story in my autobiography, but it doesn't describe this massive change, so I am going to tell one of the greatest stories of my personal life.

Many people in our time talk about experiences with their own deities, especially in the mainstream religious society, giving countless stories about how the Christian, Jewish or Muslims god came to their rescue in their time of greatest need, or showed them a way to enlightenment. We can hardly read mainstream religious material, or watch shows, videos or movies without hearing some story regarding these religions. And yes, some may be false or exaggerated, but they still exist nevertheless. And because there are so many of these stories, they overshadow the minority religions who can and do have stories of personal experience with the old Gods just as fascinating and spectacular if not more so. It is my own story of that genre that I now wish to share. Over the centuries, there have been countless attempts to remove the old religions and the old Gods from our world and the memory of mankind. Even as you read this, there are people continuing that effort.  From the closing of temples to the destruction of statuary and the literal murder and persecution of those who refuse to accept the new religion, there was and continues to be a religious genocide. But they have all ultimately failed, and two such places where they have failed is the United States and Greece, which is where my story comes from, as I talk about how the Greek Gods came to rescue the life of my wife and I one hot summer night in 2009.

The Greek Gods are not merely myths as many consider them to be. They were real before and during ancient times, and they remain real in our own time, immortal and deathless, and the rulers of heaven, Earth, and the worlds and realms beyond those. Nothing escapes their authority or their blessings, for it is theirs, and always has been and will be. If you don't agree with my beliefs, that's fine of course. I do not express my beliefs or tell my stories with the intention of trying to change that of someone else, nor to tell them that they are wrong. But it is certainly what I hold as the sincere truth of my own heart, mind, body and soul.

The event took place shortly after my wife and I, my fiancee at the time, moved into our first apartment together in North Carolina in the summer of 2009. At that time, she was a Wiccan of ten years and leaned more toward a Norse Pagan persuasion, but she also knew of the Greek Gods and considered herself to have a relationship with Athene. I considered myself to be a "Christian Wiccan," or more accurately, a "Christian Witch." Even though I knew of the Greek Gods as the only alternative religion I had heard of through my years in school, I retained the Christian belief system I had been exposed to all my life and combined it with the emerging practices of magick and witchcraft that I so dearly loved. I didn't see any reason why I couldn't practice magic and be a Christian, for to my understanding, the bible and the Christian religion was full of magical practices, just in the name of its own god instead of any other. Now there were Christians back then who told me I wasn't a real Christian, I am sure that many Christians would still say that, and that's fine, but the fact remains that I was extremely loyal to Jesus and the Christian belief system. And there are many Christian denominations out there all telling one another that they are not real Christians either, so I didn't think too much of it when people told me I wasn't one, for I was sure I could find someone to tell them the same thing.

Because we had just moved in together and completely left our old lives, we had little money. I was unemployed and my wife only had a part time retail job. So we had to go to thrift stores to get the things we needed for our apartment, which there's no shame in at all. Many times, thrift stores can have very nice things. Although this particular thrift, which shall remain nameless, was unlike any I had ever entered. When you walked in, you could sense that there was just something very, very negative, even perhaps evil, about the place. It just was not a pleasant feeling at all, but rather a feeling of extreme uneasiness. It's not unreasonable to think that such places could possess negative influences, energies or beings because you never know where the items therein originated. They could have been involved in violence and other bad things, or could be the property of a deceased who is very angry that their stuff is being sold. There are several problems that could come with random belongings of others that have been taken or discarded. Nevertheless, we really didn't give it much thought at the time. We just wanted to get a table and chairs for our kitchen, and after a short time, we found a set and went on our way back home.

On into that evening was when things turned weird and terrifying for us. A presence began to manifest in our home which can only be described as a serious and aggressive haunting. Some kind of spirit or negative influence had entered our home, probably having followed or latched onto us from the item we came into contact with and then attacked when we took it to our home. Whatever this thing really was, it made itself known by slamming doors and filling us with fear, saying that it was not going to leave until death was brought on us. Not only could we feel and hear its hostility, we could hear its voice and it talked to us as plain as any person would. 

Me being highly Christian, I began an exorcism, calling on Jesus and also Saint Michael, the biggest enemy of Satan, to kick the spirit out. However, not a single prayer of mine worked. In fact, the situation became more and more desperate with each passing minute because the creature grew more and more powerful, or so it seemed. One thing is certain, it laughed at me in everything I did and every prayer I prayed. 

My wife told me that she could tell that the spirit feared the old Gods, and how she knew that I did not know. Perhaps she was closer to the Greek Gods than I was at the time. But at this point, I was willing to try something different because nothing I was doing was working. So I decided to turn my prayers to the Greek Gods, particularly to Athene and Apollon. Athene is the great warrior Goddess and defender and Apollon is the God of Light who averts evil and purifies ill. So I prayed to them, my wife joining me, simply asking for them to please help us. After what seemed like a few seconds of praying to these Greek Gods, my wife described an image of a lady with a spear and a male of light appearing and confronting the spirit. To quote her exactly, "Athene grabbed him by his tail," and stabbed him, then Apollon's light filled the area and cleansed away all the impurities. Then, almost as fast as it had begun, the time of terror came to an end.

Needless to say, my wife and I cuddled closely in the bed for the rest of the night, sometimes fearing the spirit might return, but it never did. It was gone, and so was our former religions. The next day, without even verbally confirming it to ourselves, we became ancient Greek. It was a given after our experience, especially with me, because the god I had spent years serving and defending never showed up, while the Gods I had given nothing to, gladly extended their hands in help in our time of desperate need.

Now, of course, I cannot tell you what this thing actually was beyond all doubt. Was it an actual spirit? Was it just bad energy? Or was it simply the manifestation of negative and stressful emotion and pain? After all, we were under a lot of stress at the time, which can also make a person vulnerable to outside aggression in many forms. Or could it have been a combination of the three? The truth of the matter is that I don't know, but what I do know is that the Greek Gods annihilated it, and we would go on in life to receive ever greater blessings from the Gods, such as when our premature son was expected to die but didn't, and all the great things they have brought to our lives and bad things they have kept from us.

I knew that each time I would tell this story, there would be Christians who would not only tell me I wasn't a real Christian, but that what really happened was not that the Greek Gods came and rescued us, but that it was actually Satan tricking us, that he was the one who removed the demon of his to trick us. The theory of this ultimate conman is reverted to sometimes more than the name of his counterparts. But what I found to be interesting about this claim was the fact that Jesus said the exact opposite in the bible, because Jesus plainly stated that Satan cannot cast out Satan, because it would divide his kingdom (Mark 3:22-27). By the words of their very own religious and spiritual icon, no, it wasn't a trick by this alleged Satan, because Satan would not drive out his own presence. The simplest answer is probably the right one, that the Greek Gods are real, they are authorities of goodness, and they came to restore goodness and order once more as they have done for so many years in Greek religious belief.

In the Goodness of the Dodekatheon,
Chris.

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