Sunday, April 9, 2023
It's The Size Of Your Devotion, Not Your Altar
Friday, May 21, 2021
In Search of Greek Heroes: Bellerophon
Welcome to the new series I have decided to dedicate my blog to this summer, In Search of Greek Heroes, where I search for the facts and myths behind the greatest Heroes of ancient Greek religion. Today we are looking for the magnificent Bellerophon.
Also known as Bellerophontes, His name means either Wielder of Missiles or Slayer of Belleros. If the latter, it means that this name was given to Him later in life. Therefore, the question would then be, what was His original name? It has been suggested to have been Hipponous. However, this name was also given to other figures in ancient Greek history. It appears to have been a general title for certain kinds of men. If Bellerophon was not His original name, we may never actually know what it was. His birth and death dates remain unknown, but is believed to have lived before Herakles, who, according to some, lived around 1303 to 1259 BCE, which means Bellerophon predates the Trojan War. Writings of Him go as far back as Hesiod and Homer, who lived during the Archaic Age, around 750 to 650 BCE.
According to His story, Bellerophon was the Prince of Korinth (a City that, in Bellerophon's life, was actually called Ephyre), born to Poseidon and the mortal woman Eurynome, who was queen and wife of the King Glaukos. Growing into a man of superb strength, ability and beauty, He was admired by the people of the City, but when He accidentally killed His brother, He was exiled to find a way to purify Himself of the killing, as would have been ancient Greek custom. Murder, and we are lead to believe here, even manslaughter, was considered to be among the worst of pollutants upon a human being, and in order for them to be a blessing to the City or be in the presence of the Gods again, they would have to be purified of the pollution.
In Argos, He found a man who could and would purify Him, King Proetus. Being restored to good standing as He was, His hard times were just beginning. The king's wife wanted to sleep with Bellerophon, but the Hero refused her, being of such honor to not offend or wrong the man who had given Him such wonderful hospitality and assistance. However, the wife became enraged at the rejection, and falsely accused Bellerophon of raping or attempting to rape her. She demanded that her husband execute Him, but the king did not want the pollution. So he sent Bellerophon to the King of Lycia in Asia Minor with a note saying to kill the young Hero. The King of Lycia also refused for the same reasons. However, The Lycian king thought of a way around the offense. He sent Bellerophon to kill an infamous beast that had been ravaging the countryside, a horrid creature known as the Chimera, half lion, snake and goat.
Athena gave Bellerophon a golden rein by which He could tame the winged horse of the Gods, Pegasos, and use him to destroy the monster. Upon the back of Pegasos, the Chimera was unable to strike Bellerophon in any way. There are conflicting accounts as to how Bellerophon killed the beast. One says He shot it to death with arrows. Another that He placed a clump of lead onto the end of a spear and rammed it down the throat of the fire breathing monster. When it melted, she died. And finally, that He used the lance to stab her to death.
He then returned to Proetus, who was not finished devising ways to kill Him. He sent the Hero on a campaign against the mighty Amazon women whom He also defeated. Nothing the king tried could conquer the young man, and he concluded that He must truly be loved by the Gods. Proetus gave Bellerophon his daughter in marriage. But during His life among mortals, He began to think of Himself as a God, and wanted to fly to Olympos on Pegasos. The horse, however, threw Him off and He crashed back down to Earth. We are told He lived out the rest of His life with His injuries.
Finding Bellerophon isn't an easy task, as traces of Him are not anywhere near as readily available as people such as Alexander for instance.
One of the most compelling things is the Tomb of Bellerophon that still stands today in Lycia, which is a rock-cut temple tomb near Tlos, an ancient citadel in southern Turkey. This tomb was discovered empty. However, the porch has a relief of Bellerophon slaying the Chimera that can still be seen today. The tomb and those around it are not easily accessible, but people still visit and enter the structures.
Monday, November 23, 2020
I Faced My Minotaur
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Ruins Testify To Greek Resistance of Christianization
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.
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,
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Mental Miasma Is Real
So, the question, is how do we curtail mental miasma? The answer is good news. Quite simply, don't be a negative person in your actions or thoughts, and when it comes time to do rituals or prayers, leave all else behind. In other words, focus and don't let go of it. If you feel it slipping away, just realign back to the former state. Think goodly about the Gods and yourself at all times. The Gods are good, they always do good, there's no evil in them, life is beautiful, I am a good person, I can achieve, etc. These self-statements are typically called affirmations, but depending on how badly your mind has been polluted, you may have to do them several times during the day instead of just once or at a certain time. The important thing to always do when reciting these affirmations is to hold firm. Never let them slip away into any form of doubt or fear, because then all will be lost and you'll have to refocus. Just literally shut it all out, give it no consideration or thought at all. It can be a battle, but eventually, your mind will recondition itself and a positive feeling will happen naturally for you.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
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Monday, March 4, 2019
Being Hellenic Isn't Just About Blood
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,
Thursday, February 28, 2019
A Sense of Faithful Fear
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,
Saturday, January 5, 2019
I Feared Death Until I Knew Haides
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,
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Dualism In Heroism
Monday, August 14, 2017
Does Religion Make You More Moral? It Appears So
There have been times in my life when I have had the opportunity and the ability to do something wrong, even to break the law, and get away with it. But I never did because of the Gods and the morals of my religion. I knew it would be an offense to Olympus or a dishonor upon me, and I could not face the Gods or myself that way. My religion has kept me on a path of goodness and virtue in every way.
I'd say that those of us who are religious and spiritual recognize that we have a grander purpose and place in life and the universe, and that the two have meaning far beyond mere flesh and bone. Therefore, we become more conscious of how we behave and the virtue we strive to achieve therein.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Monday, April 3, 2017
The Ease of Constructing a Basic Greek Altar
Monday, December 7, 2015
Learning From The Greek Gods: Ares
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Can Anyone Be A Greek Hero?
However, I think it's also important to remember that these categories can take on way more than a singular form. In other words, one doesn't have to save lives by beating a Minotaur. They can save lives by rescuing people from danger or giving aid to a homeless, sick or destitute person who might otherwise perish. They can overcome their own great challenges that have been placed before them, and they can cause great change by doing good things for their society, state, country and/or world. It is one's abilities, courage, willingness and drive to do what is right that creates a Hero. And all or any of those great things achieved, will be what the Hero is called on for my mortals. What the Hero does best, or what they wish to be recognized for, is what they continue to do. So, if someone rescues a person from a burning building, firefighters might pray to them for assistance in that pursuit, or people may pray to them for protection from fires. If someone defends a child or woman from abuse, they might later be prayed to for protection for children and women against aggressors. If one drafts legislation to bring, for example, freedom and equality for an oppressed people, and they get their government to pass it, people could pray to them for assistance in liberating those in any kind of unjust societal bondage. Or, if someone simply has a great enough challenge themselves to overcome and they conquer it, people could pray to them for victory in the same or similar challenges.
I think it's also great to remember, as Walter Burkert points out and as I have believed for a long time, that we can always change and become better than we were the previous days. In Hellenism, we can decide to be better and achieve greatness, despite our past. Someone could go their entire lives being nothing or being less than admirable, and still have the ability to reach for greatness should they choose. We always have the ability to do better. We can even become a Hero.
In the Goodness of the Dodekatheon,
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Learning From The Greek Gods: Apollon
Apollon is the God of Light. Other attributes of His include the sun, truth, prophecy, music, healing, oracles, poetry, and archery, and with His silver or golden bow, one of His most popular epithets is the Archer and one who drives away evil or negativity.
Apollon is a God who brings enlightenment, so what does it mean to be enlightened, and what does it mean to strive toward enlightenment in life? Enlightenment means to have or seek a greater understanding of things that the average human mind does. This does not mean you think of yourself as knowing more than other people, but rather elevating your mind above the basic mundane of human consciousness and awareness. For example, humans generally have a desire to be greedy, so being generous would be enlightened above the normality of humanity. When so many people in the world resort to violence to settle a mere verbal dispute, it is enlightened to not let the words of another control you and walk away. In other words, you become greater than yourself instead of greater than someone else. This is what it means to be enlightened and to seek enlightenment. Learning from Apollon in these respects is to look toward the heavens. And what I mean by that is to look above general humanity and toward greater meaning for yourself and how you live. Each of us will find our own personal truths and that's perfectly fine, but the important thing is that we find them, and that they drive us to be greater than we were previously. And Apollon, being a God of Truth, lifts us to that universal wisdom, the universal wisdom that enlightenment is possible.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
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