Monday, December 4, 2023
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Wednesday, June 28, 2023
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Tuesday, June 13, 2023
The first mistake modern people make is thinking all religions are the same, and thus, they assume that the ancient Greeks had a "holy book" of religion and myth. This is utterly false.
Not only was ancient Greece a collection of City States completely independent from one another in government and beliefs, but there was no law dictating how someone could view the Gods or what stories they could accept or not.
In fact, it's kind of inaccurate to call it "The Ancient Greek Religion" because there were, in fact, many forms of ancient Greek religion and Cult. Sparta and Athens, for example, believed in the same Gods but did not have the same religion or culture. Not to mention the fact that there were cults everywhere that adhered to their own identities.
So for instance, someone today might say that my beliefs on Artemis being gracious and kind to people is skewed considering the myth of Actaeon, but there's literally nothing in Hellenic religion which says I have to accept that story as literal fact or accept it at all. It's not like Christianity or Islam where the title of the religion depends on the acceptance of one written book or "testament."
We do know that we believe in Artemis as She is, of course. But I don't have to believe everything that everyone tells me about Her. I have the right to my own experiences and perspectives, and it does not denote me as a Hellenist.
You can believe whatever you want about someone, but it doesn't change them. You can believe that Chris Aldridge is a shapeshifting, blood drinking vampire, but it does not make me one, nor does it make me guilty of said actions.
It's also true that not only could a given myth vary in detail from City to City, but many of them were handed down by word of mouth, which can change and modify with each teller, especially as the time and culture changes.
In fact, some of the myths we accept today as Greek, were not even composed by the Greeks. The story of raped Medusa that people commonly call Greek in our time, was actually written by a Roman. The original story, which says nothing of rape or punishment, was written by the Greek Hesiod.
This is also not a modern change to Hellenism either. Greeks were not forced to accept a given story. Historically, it's accepted that around the time of the Hellenistic Era, the myths as literal facts began to waiver as a concept.
But considering people like Plato and Sokrates, I think it began much sooner than that. Those men clearly believed in the Greek Gods but were also philosophers and not necessarily mythologists. They wrote about people's experiences with the Gods instead of taking written myths and saying, "Here's the 100% truth."
Hellenic religion can be hard to understand, but if you ever manage to grasp the core, it'll make perfect sense to you.
In the Goodness of the Gods, I'll see you at the next Herm down the road.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Thursday, June 25, 2020
I think back to the ancient proverb, "If the Gods do evil, they are not Gods." Meaning that if something or someone is telling you to do evil, or is doing evil, they are not Gods, even if they claim to be. So to my mind, that's how you know. It's understanding the difference between good and evil, negative and positive, and the nature of the Gods themselves. Therefore, if you do hear a voice(s) driving you to do the bad things I have talked about, you should probably seek mental healthcare and spiritual counseling from your clergy. A good dose of both will do wonders for you.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Let's start with an example from my own life, so that the reader may better understand this universal truth. I have a very cute cat named Rosie, who we adopted from a local animal shelter a year or so ago. She is a valuable asset to our family at times, but she also has her many problems. The trouble she gets into will sometimes make me incredibly angry to the point that I want to get rid of her, but here's the thing, I can't. No matter how much I want to pick her up and toss her out my door, my emotions create empathy and love, and make me realize that such an action is not only cruel, but very wrong and dishonorable. More so, the Gods are able to appeal that ethical side to me because of the fact that they enabled me with the emotional capacity for empathy and compassion. If I had no emotion, I could do whatever I wanted to other living creatures and indeed the world around me. No matter what the Gods or humans told me, I would be unable to feel or understand it, and that would be a recipe for disaster.
The same goes for other people. The reason we don't abandon our children, spouses or loved ones is because our emotional states will not allow it. Our ability to love and feel keeps us moral and honorable. If we didn't have that capacity, our species would de-evolve into extinction. The Gods gave it to us because it was necessary for our survival and the prosperity of everything around us. And if we encounter someone who fails to show emotion, such as a sociopath, we consider them to be mentally ill, not a natural production.
Realizing this about ourselves is crucial to beginning to understand the genius of the Gods and the intelligence behind our natural existence.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Monday, September 9, 2019
But during my workshop, there was one question in particular that I thought needed a blog post. Someone asked me to explain what sets a God and a Spirit apart. This can be a bit tougher to explain than one may think. In fact, I myself had to contemplate for several minutes through the class while we explored other things, and I gave examples until I was satisfied with what I had told the person and the other students in attendance.
What's interesting and important to remember is that while a God has the power to transcend into a Spiritual presence, a Spirit does not have the power to do the vice versa, because a Spirit is not a God, while a God has all the power to do anything they choose and become anything they want. That's why in ancient Greek religion and myth, Gods were sometimes referred to as a Spirit of something, such as when Orpheus calls Poseidon the Spirit of the deep. It's not that the God has changed from being a God, it's just that they can become and do whatever they want. The Spirit which is a Spirit by its natural being, however, remains a Spirit.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Fear does not mean you're not brave, strong or confident, there is simply a fine line between these things and arrogance and stupidity. For example, saving someone from drowning is brave, strong and confident, but swimming with sharks is stupid, and you will eventually become drive thru for a dinosaur. Fear is merely the recognition of your place and limitations, arrogance is a failure to do so. Now some people might ask me, "Didn't the Heroes do things that most people would have considered beyond human limitation?" Yes, they did, but they were sent by the Gods to do something that was possible. They also didn't sink in over their heads. In fact, the Gods routinely provided them with assistance so they wouldn't. Bellerophon couldn't have killed the Chimera without Pegasos (the horse of heaven). A Hero always knows, recognizes, and most importantly, accepts the difference between themselves and the Divine. Being an affront to the Gods is not what it means to be a Hero.
The only time fear is wrong is when it's unwarranted. Fear the Gods because you know they can destroy you, but love them because you know they're kind enough not to, and you will find wisdom.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Monday, December 3, 2018
In short, Bibliomancy involves the practice of finding selected words or passages in a book for answers to a question, normally guided by the hand of a God or another kind of spiritual presence.
The reason I enjoy Bibliomancy probably better than any other form of personal divination, is because of how detailed the message can be when it speaks to you. Instead of producing a card with brief epithets or a stone with a very general marking, you can actually have an entire response a page or more long.
Like today, as I celebrated the monthly observance of Athena's birthday, I used an antique copy of The Iliad in asking Her, basically, "What message might you have for me today, O' Goddess?" I was guided to page 455, which said,
"Cease from the strife! Let godlike Achilles drive from the city right now the Trojans; for what care I for contention and succor? Do not mistreat the Immortals for a mortals' sake. Thus the rage of Xanthus was tamed, but by the dissension of the Gods, the broad earth groaned."
Really, the entire page talked about me allowing myself to have peace in life, to blame mortals for mortal problems and not the Gods, and that the Gods, if angry at anything, are more so upset with the state of the world, not me personally. It was clearly a message for a man who is being too hard on himself as an individual, and to call on the Gods and Heroes to help fight the things that are overwhelming to me. And lastly, that if I am trying to impress the Gods with my own feats, it may be of little consequence to Beings who are far bigger than myself. In other words, once again, don't be so hard on myself.
The advice of the Goddess was a tremendous blessing. I needed it today more than ever, for Her to say those words. She clearly knew my suffering with the hardships of my life, and the ones I have put on my own mind and body. She came in mercy to assure me of the love of Heaven, and this is one of the main reasons I like Bibliomancy. Through the text, She was able to speak to me with direction and precision, because there were many ways that those words could be utilized.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Source: Smith, William Benjamin, The Iliad of Homer, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1944. Print. PP. 455.