Showing posts with label Hellenism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hellenism. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2022

Defeat Bad Spirits & Negativity Like An Ancient Greek


The strife of a positive life is real for everyone, and I would say especially for Pagans and Polytheists because they understand both their own and the universe's contribution to the factor. I know from experience that the way you live, think, speak and act will determine your quality of life. Since 2009, I have worked to build a Hellenic practice of piety and purity both for myself and in my own temple's rites.

Purification Processes
Being free of impurity physically, mentally and spiritually, is to banish and keep miasma from our minds, bodies and souls, and relieve our everyday lives from the toxicities that so often impede human prosperity and separate us from the Gods. Let's begin with the mind. This is of the utmost value to your life and physicality, for without the mind, the body is nothing, and it's proven science that your thoughts, mentality and state of mind will effect your body and life for the better or worse. Your brain soaks up everything it comes into contact with. Therefore, it's imperative that you only expose it to positive things as much as possible. Make a daily, conscious effort to ignore all willful negativity. This can be very hard because modern news and media have conditioned us to depend on alarmism. We have been so programmed that we actually think we need negative outlets to survive and remain informed. We don't. If you must watch news, I would suggest your local station. They're not as bad. But as the saying goes, if it doesn't invoke goodness, let it go. I'm not saying ignorance is bliss, I'm just saying that I have survived the end of the world since Y2K. There is no better way to captivate an audience. Shock value sells like hotcakes. Therefore, turn it off, forever. Also refrain from associating with negative people, and finally but equally important, guard against your own negativity.

Moving on to the body, which is purely physical purification. If you defile yourself or expose yourself to filth and harmful substances, it will create pollution. Take a bath or shower every day (you'll feel the difference), put on clean clothes, and don't be exposed to unnecessary impurities. The body can be purified of miasma through washing with purified water, spring water, or seawater/sea salt water. If you encounter an extreme situation such as coming into contact with a dead human body, you'll need sulfur, and a good scrubbing with lava soap should clear that up. On a more basic level, a good diet and regular exercise are exceptionally terrific for maintaining a healthy body and mind. Not only were ancient Greeks very athletic people, Games were religious events, and while there was no 2nd or 3rd place, every athlete was strong and benefited from the training.

Finally, we come to the soul. Not only are our spiritual selves kept pure by our connections to the Gods, but piety as well maintains spiritual stability and strength. Piety is not only found in doing rites properly, but in thinking and speaking rightly. That is to say, respecting the Gods and Higher Powers. I was once visiting a couple of friends, and while on the topic of ancient Greece, they for some reason decided to start talking badly about the Gods. I kindly got up and left, not only because I didn't want to be around hubris, but because I could feel the pollution and negativity building in the room. Simply put, be a devotee, not a defacer.

Purifying Sickness
We all get sick, whether it be a simple cold or a more serious infection. Once you have recovered, throw away the clothes you wore while sick, wash your body in seawater or sea salt water, and rinse with spring or purified water. End with a prayer and sacrifice to Apollon, God of healing and purification. If you have a disease that cannot be cured, just be sure to always maintain it as best you can. If you're given medications, take them. If your doctors tell you to do something, do it, for they too are servants of Apollon.

Securing Your Home (Hearth Rite of Hellas)
Your home is one of the most valuable places, which is why I spent years performing and perfecting this rite without ever having a single failure.

Take a bowl of clean water and mix it with sea salt. This rite works best with either seawater or water mixed with sea salt.

Light the flame of your home's hearth, which for most people today would be the stove. If you have an electric stove that does not produce an actual flame, put a lit candle in the center during the rite. If you have a fireplace, even better. Make a fire there.

Light a cone of frankincense to Hestia, which is also a cleansing element, and then invoke Her. "Blessed Hestia, Goddess of the home and hearth, I pray that you will shine forth in my home and life today and grant me peace and love, and lift me into the presence of The Dodekatheon, that I may know their mysteries, powers and wisdom."

Take the bowl of water and hold it over the hearth with the following prayer, "Lord Apollon, God of light, and mighty Poseidon, God of the sea, I ask that you bless this water, to drive out evil and negativity from all it touches, and shake loose the bonds they have on this home."

Pour a libation to the two Gods. Take the bowl of water into every room of the house and sprinkle it on every wall, floor and ceiling (don't forget closets). When done, pour the water outside. 

Pour a libation to Hygeia. Take a stick of white sage and light it. Once again, go into every room and draw a pentagram, starting from the bottom left, and each time you draw it, recite the words, "I draw the Star of Hygeia, to banish from this place all evil and ill." Hygeia is the Goddess of physical and mental health and protection, and Her symbol all the way back to ancient times is the five pointed star, but not the pentacle. Draw the star toward every wall, each time reciting the invocation.

End the rite with a final prayer to Hestia. "I bring my holy and sacred rite to a close with a prayer to Hestia, for She is first and last. Home of the blessed Gods, be with me forever." This rite can be used to dispel anything in the home that is hostile to the people there, whether it be simple energy or a bad spirit.
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These simple measures and rites will help you in your daily life as a Hellenist.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Rights of The Hellenic People - 2022 CE


It is first to the present Greek government that I make this appeal, however legitimate or illegitimate one may believe that government to be, and then to the United Nations, and the subject shall be the history and present state of subjugation, and possible future of, the Hellenic people.

The Hellenic people did, for thousands of years, create the Western world, and all that now thrives therein. Theology, philosophy, democracy, Heroism, freedom and indeed civilization itself. It has been said that there is no real Greek except ancient Greek, for the present State under which the Hellenic lands are ruled is incompatible with Hellenism.

In order for there to be any respect toward, and future preservations of, the Hellenic people, we must declare the rights which make them so.

They have the right to know the accurate history and religion of their ancient ancestors. 

They have the right to know that Christianity did not spread peacefully in Greece, but was imposed on the Hellenic people through murder, violence, and coercion of government. 

They have the right to know that the Christian church is responsible for these crimes against the Hellenic people. 

They have the right to know that the Christian church has lied to them about their history. 

They have the right to completely break away from Christianity and all of its institutions and authorities.

They have the right to a Hellenic education.

They have the right to worship the indigenous Greek Gods, to sacrifice to them, pray at their temples and sanctuaries, and to live a Hellenic life free of persecution and discrimination.

They have the right to a government that will represent them as the ancient people.

They have the right to be protected by their government, and any physical attack against them by the Christian institution, or any institution, on the basis of religious belief, should be considered an act of war. All religions have the right to exist among the Hellenic people, so long as they are peaceful and respectful of the rights and properties of others.

They have the right to freely express their sexuality, whether monogamous or polyamorous, married or unmarried, gay, straight or transgender.

And being a legitimate, human culture of the world, they have the right to be recognized by the civilized and free nations of the Earth as such. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Pythia Was An Oracle, Not A Psychic


In Delphi I shall build my rich temple to be an oracle for man, and her words shall never fail. 
- Apollon.

Her words were just that, amazingly accurate and wise, and she made Delphi the religious and cultural center of the ancient world. Even today, people still come from all over the globe to see the ruins of the sanctuary, where they continue to discuss ideas, beliefs, history and current affairs from their homelands. Delphi always serves its general purpose no matter how long the site has remained abandoned. It's no wonder that it's considered a world heritage location. But I also think the role of the Pythia, and indeed that of the Greek oracle in general, has been misunderstood by modern man, and sometimes even by ancient man.

Ancient Greek religious historians know well the story of King Croesus of Lydia in Asia Minor and his consultation with the Pythia. Planning an invasion in the East, he asked if he would defeat the Persian Empire. The Pythia responded by saying that if he invaded, he would destroy a great empire. He didn't realize, however, that it would be his own. But the bigger picture is that ancient Greek historians and probably the priests of Delphi thought his question to be very odd, in that Croesus clearly did not understand the purpose of a Greek oracle. She was not there to predict the future.

She was a counselor to mankind, blessed by Apollon to give the best advice possible. She was suited to tell people the best courses of action, or which God to appease, in a given cirumstance. For example, one of my favorite oracular responses in Delphic history has to do with the Persian Wars in 480 BCE. When the Persians began the invasion of northern Greece, the Pythia told the Delphians to pray to the Winds, because they would be Greece's strongest allies. Soon after, a very violent storm gathered in the north and sunk or beached atleast 20% of the Persian fleet, while the Greek ships remained untouched. This is factually recorded. The Pythia did not predict the future here, she told the Greeks where their greatest allies were.

As the oracle of my temple, my wife is pretty much the same way. Even when I myself have asked her questions, she has always responded with advice, not predictions, and yet that advice can still secure a great outcome because it comes from a God. Apollon does not attempt to dictate or live our lives for us. He wants us to think, grow and become the best we can be.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sources
Scott, Michael, Delphi A History of the Center of the Ancient World, Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 2014.

Stagman, Myron, 100 Prophecies of the Delphic Oracle, Prophetic Advice from the God Apollo, City-State Press, 1999.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Hellenism Lost Is Honor Lost


During the last few years, part of my Hellenic studies has been the examination of modern Greece and its people (who are predominately Orthodox Christians). In any case, most Greeks today are not Hellenists, and there is no debate whatsoever that ancient Hellas was far stronger, far more prosperous, and far more successful in government and economics. But on a personal level, I have also routinely noticed the decline in human character.

I was talking with a friend and fellow Hellenist who actually lives in Greece today, and I happened to ask if there are any ancient cemeteries still standing. It's a part of history and archaeology that I find very intriguing as you can learn a lot about a person, their family and community. For me, there's just some kind of unexplainable mystique to it all. I ask myself, who was this person and how did they live and die? I remember when I visited Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, Illinois. Standing before the burial chamber where Lincoln's remains rested just a few feet beneath me, not only did I ponder the president's life and times, but thought that if I could see the bones today, Lincoln's skull would still have the hole from the assassination. I know it may sound morbid, but to me it's simply a fascinating idea to be in the presence of such relics.

So when my Hellenic friend responded to my question by saying that, yes, indeed there are some ancient burials still visible, but people have littered them because they don't care, it saddened me at how far the culture has fallen. I secondly remembered a few years ago when I saw images of a ruined temple of Aphrodite in between two apartment buildings that was also covered in trash. 

In ancient times, people wouldn't have dared to desecrate a temple or a cemetery. Not only because they feared Divine punishment, but because it was simply wretched. People had real honor, character and respect in the old times. To the ancient Hellenes, not only were graves considered to be active places of the deceased, but each year in Athens they would hold days of honor called Genesia, starting on September 5th, during which time they would adorn graves and give an abundance of food, drink and sacrifice to the dead. They even believed that during the festive days in discussion, the spirits of the deceased would return to visit the Polis. To show any kind of disrespect toward places of burial would have been unimaginable to say the least.

But when humans lost the honor and dignity that Hellenism brought to the Hellenic people, they also lost their sense of sacredness, even of their own personal human life and behavior. It is this loss of the spiritual world and of the physical self that has greatly aided in the decline of Hellas and her people. I'm not saying that only Hellenists are honorable, but it clearly brought a world of difference to the Greeks that they no longer have, and their culture has paid the greatest of prices.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Source - Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion, Harvard University Press/Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 1985.

Monday, July 11, 2022

A Hero, The Love of A God, and Hyacinth Hysteria


Long before the Hellenes invaded Troy, a cult center stood in Mycenaean Hellas between 1750 and 1050 BCE, southwest of Sparta in a City called Amyclae. The burial mound that allegedly held the remains of the Hero rested beneath a statue of Apollon Himself. The Hero was Hyacinthos, or as we've come to call Him today, Hyacinth. His story has circulated around the world as one of the most beautiful myths, but has also stirred debate over the nature of the tale. Who was He exactly, and what are the real details of His amazing yet short life?

Hyacinth was a Spartan Prince of exceptional handsomeness and became loved by the God Apollon. They played together and the story goes on to say that He was a lover of the God, but Hyacinth was also sought after by Zephyrus and Boreas, the Gods of the West and North winds, and no doubt mortal pursuers as well. However, Hyacinth only wanted to be with Apollon. Some versions say that Zephyrus orchestrated the young man's death out of jealousy by causing a discus He was throwing to fatally wound Him in the head. Other versions paint the event as entirely accidental. In His memory, Apollon took the blood of His slain friend and created the Hyacinth flower, and it of course became sacred to Apollon. The story even goes on to say that Apollon eventually resurrected Hyacinth in some fashion, because later Spartan depictions of the youth show Him with a beard in heaven. Today, Hellenists such as myself still hold Hyacinthos in their theology and spirituality, where He is both a Hero and a God.

Some mythologists and readers of today raise an eyebrow at the tale because they interpret it to be one of pedophilia or immoral attraction, but I would argue completely differently. 

We must first remember that, not only is the age of consent younger in every culture with shorter life expectancy, but the story simply says that Hyacinth was a youth or young man; it does not say how old He was. This becomes interesting when examining Spartan and ancient Hellenic culture in general, because reaching adulthood wasn't an age as much as it was an achievement or milestone after completing the City's rites of passage. For the Spartan, one would only become a man and gain citizenship after he passed the Agoge, a 13 year training period that started at age 7 and ended at 20, which is about the time a man grows his beard. In Homer, whose writings deal entirely with Mycenaean culture, Telemachus also becomes a man once his beard has grown in. This means that in ancient Sparta, someone who was 18, 19, or even 20 but not yet graduated and bearded, might conceivably have been considered a youth or young man. Adulthood was a title that was earned, not merely the attainment of an age in and of itself. In conclusion, it's entirely possible that Hyacinth was an adult man by our modern standards, but not yet by that of His culture.

Of course, all of the aging information is only one part of the equation that we can use to theorize and create questions. The other part has to do with the connection between the God and youth itself. Love was very much an umbrella term. The ancient Hellenes had 8 different kinds of love, not just sexual, and they were all powerful and valuable. These 8 kinds of love were sexual, friendship, playful, humanitarian, longstanding, self, familial, and obsessive. The Hellenes understood that in addition to romantic partners, love manifested in many different ways, which is how a polytheist should see it. 

There was love between friends, playful and flirtatious love between individuals, love of the human race, matured love, love of self, love between family members, and obsessive love - such as being so in love with someone they are always part of you or always on your mind. It's not necessarily an unhealthy love. 

For a couple of examples, I fantasize about my wife all the time. I'm simply fascinated by her and want to know everything about her life. The Hellenes would definitely say that I have an obsessive love among others. After high school, I had a best friend I always hung out with, and we did everything together for about 5 years. We even went to the movies and slept over at each other's houses. I loved him, but it was not sexual, it was friendship love. 

So what was the nature of the love between Apollon and Hyacinth? It could have been many things, and I think we today would be foolish to think the ancient cultures were the equivalent of our own. Hellenic religion is beautiful and full of wisdom and knowledge, but it can also hold things that are greatly mysterious, and for us to think about throughout our lives.

In Hellenic spirituality, Hyacinthos can be prayed to for prophecy, music, hunting, sporting, and of course for a strong connection to Apollon. His patronages probably include hunters, athletes, musicians and oracles. In other attributes, He is also a Vegetation God of rebirth and renewal. Good offerings and gifts to Him would be the Hyacinth flower, sunflowers, lyres and music.

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 7, 2019

The Sexism That Never Occurs

Some people, whether they're Hellenic Polytheists, Pagans, or just historians, tend to think of ancient Greek religion as being sexist to some degree. I've even read this from other ancient Greek Pagan authors such as Laura Perry. I think it's clear, however, that some authors and historians simply desire to stick to their own one sided view of things, because they never talk about something even as ancient as the Homeric Hymns saying that Hera is revered "no less" than Zeus. In other words, they are equal in the powers of Divine Male and Female. There is no sexism there. They also won't mention how the most revered religious leader in the Greek world was always a woman (the Oracle of Delphi), nor do they bring to light the societal powers that Spartan women held. I'm not saying there weren't women-haters in ancient Greece, but it's unfair to judge an entire culture by the opinion of one playwright, or even the opinions of 20 philosophers. But this post isn't strictly about historical records. Instead, it's regarding the interesting fact of my own Hellenic worship.

When I am praying to the Gods, calling out male and female names, there's never, in my mind, a dependent connection between their power and their gender. In other words, I don't think Zeus is King because He's male. I think He's King simply because He's King. I don't think Athena to be the champion of battle because She's female, but simply because She is. Besides, with most Divinities of the Greek world, you can normally find a reasonable gender counterpart, such as Poseidon and Amphitrite, or Aphrodite and Eros. It's true their sexes are essential parts of their identities, and it's disrespectful to call them something they're not, but a gender preference never occurs to me. Sexism is just not something that makes itself a relevant factor, nor should it. To me, the Gods simply are, requiring no other reason. And indeed, there are certainly female Gods who hold positions higher than some male Gods.

I suppose for some people, no matter their religion, it may be hard to see Deity as someone different from their own self, but when it comes to a Polytheist I think we understand the immense diversity of the universe and all the life around us, that we as humans are but one part, and everything and everyone doesn't have to reflect our personal selves to be powerful, beautiful and relevant.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Day The Gods Wiped My Slate Clean

It's an understatement to say that I've had a great many struggles in my life, but on a cold day, it manifested into the internal monster that had been consuming me for a long time.

For what seemed like weeks and months, I pulled myself through an agonizing world that had no spirituality; I couldn't feel anything. I felt that my past errors as well as my own negative thinking about things, had put me in disfavor with the Gods that might take great feats to repair, something that I was terrified I wouldn't be able to do satisfactorily. I suppose we all have the fear of failure, an anxiety that haunts the back of every human mind. But some might say that mine flooded my head completely. I was so scared that I was incredibly far gone. The ancient Greeks call it miasma, and I'd say I was certainly covered in it.

Many times did I beg the Gods in prayer to pardon me of my past and shortcomings, but the pain and dread continued. Then there came the early morning hours of that fateful day, quite possibly around 3 am, I am unsure, but some time in the opening times of the day after midnight. During the previous day, I had fasted until sundown as a sacrifice to the Gods. According to some, fasting itself lifts you out of the physical ailments and into the spiritual world. I was able to narrow the sleeping time frame down using when I went to bed and awoke. In my dream, there was a horrific monster in the form of a shabby and dirty woman chasing after me. Demonic? My own inner anguish manifesting? Both? I don't know, but it was certainly one of the most terrifying dreams of my life.

I fled from her as fast as I could, but she never went away. Then, very suddenly, a group of people, male and female, dressed in normal clothing, came to my aid. The next thing I knew, I was standing on a bridge, looking down into a vast stream, and in that stream my friends stood with the evil woman lying on her back. I said, "Just grab a limb and pull." They ripped the woman apart, and as her skeletal remains washed down stream, I said, "Into the depths of Tartaros, I send you back!" 

The dream ended by the top of her pelvic bone being placed in my hand. As the day went on after the dream, or some might say a nightmare, I felt as if I had recovered from a sickness. I just knew that the Gods had come and wiped everything away, all the things of my past and put it behind them and myself. As if, Never think of it again, begin a new day. Now was the time I could restart. I no longer felt an ounce of negativity, fear, guilt, or a separation from the Gods. My spirituality had been restored. But I couldn't figure out the meaning of the pelvic bone, so I consulted the best oracle I knew to help me interpret the dream, my wife. It turns out that it's a symbol of personal power, and that when it was placed in my hand, the Gods gave me back control over my life. What's more, the bone actually came from the monster. I had been given triumph over it completely.

I decided to tell this story for two main reasons. Firstly, to dispel the myths and individuals who want to portray the Gods as cruel, uncaring, and having little interest in the prosperity of humans. They are absolutely fascinated by us and want to see us at our best. The Gods knew how badly I was hurting and they didn't want to see me go through it anymore. Second, the Gods wiping away my past shows their immense love for humans because, one, they cared enough about my turmoil to free me from it, and second, even as they were wiping it all away, they knew future mistakes made by me would likely follow, because no human is perfect. Yet, they still chose to be with me now and in the times to come. They didn't see me as a problem but as a potential.

You're never in too deep, that's the lesson I would tell others about my experience. Additionally, the Gods are always there, they always adore you, and they always want to help you. You may lose connection because you turn away, but you'll never lose it because they turn away.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, November 19, 2018

How To Build Private Prayer Space For All Purposes

Polytheists and Pagans like being private people. The number of solitary practitioners is one of the highest denominations, if you will, in the community. In some Pagan Paths, like Wicca, it's even drawn controversy as to whether or not it's even legitimate for a Wiccan to be without a Coven. So those of us who enjoy our alone time with the Gods and our spirituality are massive. When I built my own entirely private altar just a few days ago, I wasn't even in the market for it when I stumbled upon the marvelous items for it at a local Goodwill store, but I'm always on the lookout for new stuff I can use and design for my pursuits in life. Originally, I went to Goodwill that day because I always try to buy a little something I like each time I get paid, so I was looking for nice decorations for my home.

As you can see from the first picture on the right, I assembled a private altar very nicely, facing the direction of the rising Sun each morning. Of course, the lower wooden stand is the altar for prayer, sacrifice and even festival celebrations for a particular God when necessary. In the center is the incense burner which is the common offering at this altar, on the left a relief of Eos (Goddess of the dawn) and on the right Hemera (Goddess of the day), over shadowed by a golden, metal reef of flowers. At the very top is a central wall niche to finish. The total price for all of it was about $16. That's the reason I always tell Pagans to search for religious items at thrift stores and antique shops. You can find absolutely wonderful things that cost virtually nothing.

Now the altar is for universal purpose. In other words, prayers, worship and rituals regarding any God(s), Spirit(s) or Hero(es) I want at any given time. But there may also be times to focus on one particular Divinity, such as for a festival or personal need, and that's what the wall niche at the top is for. As you can see from the picture on the left, if time comes for this direct focus, I just place a statue, picture or symbol of the God, Spirit or Hero on there. For example, Hephaistos in this picture, and for the purpose of, let's say, celebrating His festival on October 30th called Khalkeia. In this instance, my private prayer space can transform into a temporary altar or small temple or sanctuary of Hephaistos. When the celebrations are finished, I simply take the statue back to the original place I took it from, and the altar then returns to universal purpose. One of the best things about this space besides how cheap it was to make it, is that it does not take up much room at all. It's barely one yard across, and about two yards high.  The lower wooden section also has a lower shelf that can be used for things like prayer and ritual books, solid offerings, libation bowls, and/or to house relics of Gods or Heroes. With this small and very affordable establishment I have built in my own private living space, I can do all things religious that I need to in terms of worship and ritual. 

Don't be afraid to go out and try this for yourself if you need something like I have built, or perhaps more importantly, if you think something like this would be the most practical for you at this time. There is always more than one way to be Pagan.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Theseia ~ A Way To Celebrate The Oktober Rite

On October 8th, Hellenes everywhere will recognize or celebrate the ancient Festival of Theseus, the founder and Hero of Athens and her democracy, and the slayer of the infamous Minotaur monster who devoured innocent young girls and boys of Athens until Minos met the only man who wasn't afraid of him, Theseus.

Years ago, or so it seems, I constructed a rite to the Hero that anyone can practice, not only during Theseia, but any time they like throughout the year, the purpose being to honor and worship the Hero and bring His presence into one's life and/or home. Permission is granted to the Hellenic and Pagan community to use this rite whenever and wherever they like, so long as credit is given to me, its author.

1) To begin the Rite of Theseus, place in the center of your shrine or altar a statue of Theseus, or a picture or representation of the Hero. Do the proper cleansing of the altar, the offerings, and yourself.

2) Light the flame of the altar, which can be as simple as a candle, and recite the following declaration, "I light the flame of the altar, to burn bright with the Spirit of Theseus of Troezen, Hero and King of Athens and the mighty slayer of the Minotaur, Founder of festivals and the unity of the people who gather in His presence."

3) Bring forth and recite the journeys and times of Theseus with the following recitals, and offerings or gifts placed after each reference or invocation.

Journey to Athens
"The long, lost son of Aegeus He was, born in blessed Troezen, and lifting the great stone to find the gifts His father had left behind, and taking them into His possession, the great sword and sandals, to make His journey to blessed Athens, that He may reunite with His father and claim His birthright. Along the way, many enemies and evildoers did He encounter, and thus He slayed them that they may be punished, and the Hellenic people freed. O' Theseus, who brings rescue from evil and ruthlessness, I welcome you as a Savior, and to you sweet fragrance must be given.

(Light The Incense)

Destruction of the Minotaur
"Sailing the beautiful Aegean, Theseus on the sea, mighty Sailor, He bravely traveled to the island of Minos to free the people of Athens from the tyranny of the Minotaur and the oppression of the Minoan monarch. He confronted the half-man, half-bull monster in the endless labyrinth, and struck the beast dead to the floor of the maze. Never again would Athens yield and submit, for Minos now knew the power of Athena's people. Theseus who brings us salvation from tyranny and oppression, I welcome you as Liberator, and for this greatness, a great libation should be poured to you."

(Pour the Libation)

Unification of Attica and the Founding of Panathenaia
"To the region of Attica, scattered and divided, Theseus brought the Union, both of land and people, into the great State of Athens. He founded its historic democracy which has since inspired the free world, He created its brilliant festival of Athena's people known as Panathenaia, and He pushed Athens to the heights of its most glorious and influential times. I welcome you, Theseus, as the great Unity, the Founder of free government, and the Father of our festivals, and in that honor, I give you a beautiful fabric of my home, robes given for a King, to see you with delight and wrap your statue/image in beauty."

(Wrap the Cloth Around)

4) Grand Invocation
"O' Theseus of Troezen, Hero and King of Athens, slayer of the Minotaur, lead me to victory over the monsters in my life, free me of tyranny, and bring me to liberation, through the goodness of the Gods, and the grace of Athena's blessed City."

5) Closing Prayer
"As I bring my holy and sacred rite to a close, I give thanks to Theseus for hearing my prayers, delighting in my gifts, and blessing my home and life with the goodness and freedom that He brings. As Athens declared, Nothing Without Theseus."

(Blow Kiss of Love To The King)

Final Note- Consider finishing the rite or the day with a feast in honor of Theseus.

Also know that I wrote a book on Theseus some time ago. Consider purchasing a copy if you would like to learn more about Him by clicking on this Link.
Theseus: His Life, Mysteries and Virtues
In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Day With The Druids

Autumn is my second favorite season, summer being the first. So yesterday afternoon, in very beautiful weather, I decided to attend a local Druid gathering, part of the ADF, in Rockford, Illinois, to celebrate the turning of the seasons. One thing that interested me in Druidism is that their central idea is simply a love and reverence for Nature, not necessarily a set theology. While they do call on certain Gods, namely Celtic, a Druid, to my understanding, is not made to take a vow to uphold one specific theological idea or worldview. There are, indeed, Hellenic Druids, and probably Druids who are monotheists or don't have any gods at all. I thought, I can jive with that, because I love Nature too and it doesn't conflict with my Hellenic beliefs at all.

The nearby group, called a Grove in Druid terms, much like a group of Hellenists may be called a Temple or a Demos, is ran by a friend of mine who invited me to attend back when the gathering and ritual was first planned. I had never before attended a Druid rite, so when it began, I was intrigued to see some similarities with Druidism and Hellenism. As within Hellenism, a central burning flame is ignited during the rites, although not necessarily for the same reasons. To the Greek, the fire may symbolize Divine presence, while to the Druid, it may represent one's inner spirit and connection to the Divine Ones.

The Druids invoke Gods who are obviously not Greek, but who rule over the same things that Greek Gods do. In other words, it would be very easy for a Hellene to create equivalences, such as when they called on the Earth Mother and their Forge God named Goibhniu, whom I would call Gaia and Hephaistos. They went on to invoke the Spirits of Nature and the Ancestors, which Hellenists do, and they also venerated their local river as a Divinity. This as well was and is done in Hellenism. In ancient Greece, local rivers and even springs received worship from their locals. The giving of sacrifices and libations were done pretty much the same way as a Hellene might do by pouring or placing them on the ground or in a holy container. So I didn't feel like too much of a foreigner religiously. There were, of course, some cultural differences, like the fact that a Druid's holy drink is ale, and for a Hellene it's wine. The rite was very clearly Irish and Celtic. However, I saw it as an opportunity to not only be Pagan with other Pagans around me, but to learn about another way of life. I didn't see the differences as being enough to build a wall of separation.

There was one particular thing the Druids did that I really enjoyed, and that was the concept of The Well. A fairly large bowl of clear water was set up in the middle of the altar to symbolize this cosmic entity, containing universal holy waters made so by the Kindreds, aka the Spirits of the land, the Ancestors, and the Shining Ones (Gods, Goddesses and Heroes). To take from this Well and into yourself is considered a sacred drink, and once ingested, the blessings of the Kindreds reside within you. We also ate of bread as well with our drink, but this was more on the concept of sharing sacrifice with the Gods, which the Greeks also did. You might remember, the Greeks had a rite of holy ingestion too, though far more complicated in cult setting, that I wrote about some time ago concerning Dionysos, and of course, the Christians took these concepts and ran all the way home with them into their holy communion. But The Well just really made me tingle with intrigue. I am very much a naturalistic person, so my deep love is found in very natural concepts.

I found the entire rite to be quite uplifting, and importantly, thorough. Sometimes, Pagan rites are done in a few simple movements or actions, or they continue through to completion entirely with one or two of the same movements or actions. This one, however, took its time and covered all of its very large, diverse theological and naturalistic bases. It actually taught me some things about ritual structure itself and gave me some new ideas in terms of templates that I might could fill in with Greek religion for my own public rites. I was very impressed with how detailed the Druids were, and how they touched the Divine, Nature and the worshiper on every level possible - mind, body and spirit completely. If there was ever a religion besides Greek that could be called a universal system in that it reaches out to everything, it's that of the Druids.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, May 18, 2018

When The Gods Hear You, You Know It

Moving is highly stressful, not to mention all of the financial dealings you have to go through. But, here I am again, about to move an hour and a half away from my present home to the region of Rockton and South Beloit, Illinois. Since my wife and I have been together, we have moved every year since 2009 up until 2015, when we settled in Elizabeth, IL up to this present date. Why are we moving again, you might ask? Well, human migration really hasn't changed that much since the old days. We used to move where the herds went. Now, we move where the jobs are, such as in my case. I have really enjoyed Elizabeth and the surrounding region, but when it comes down to it, there are just no prosperous jobs here. So my wife landed one out to the east of the state. There's also far more opportunity in our new area for the temple that I run. The hardest part, however, is that you know that moving a house is Tartaros on Earth; no one in the right mind wants to, or enjoys it. The last time, I moved the entire apartment alone, with nothing more than a hand truck and a moving van. Perhaps after I die, I will be the Hero of Movers, or the Patron of Toilsome Endeavors, or something like that.

Some time ago, I was lounging in my car at the park in Stockton, Illinois, thinking about all my stresses, worries and fears. Sometimes, life becomes too hard to deal with on our own, and that's when the Gods are there. My wife told me in the past, "Sometimes, you have to just give it up to the Gods." I tilted my head back, closed my eyes, and began to pray to Athene for strength, and Hermes for success in the move. When the Gods hear you, you know it, because a smothering blanket of peace and love came over me, complete calmness and delight. My troubles troubled me no more. I knew things were going to be ok one way or another, there was nothing to fear. There is nothing that can hold rule over me so long as the Gods are by my side.

The peace simply came in knowing that they heard me. Absolutely nothing had happened yet in regards to the move. We had not even found a new home. But I knew the Gods heard my words, a simple common man, and that alone was enough. Their power and presence is beyond amazing. There are no words which a human mouth or hand can use to describe it. The best I can say is that, when you're in the presence of the Gods, goodness is all that exists there.

In the Goodness of the Gods.
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Are The Gods Perfect?

Sometimes, I get the question, Do you think the Gods are perfect? The problem with this question first and foremost, is that humans have no idea what perfection is. Not a single mortal on this planet can look at a forest and tell me which tree is perfect, or look at the sky and tell me which cloud doesn't have any imperfections. No one can tell me which blade of grass is better, the tall or short one. No human can even tell me which human being is perfect and which one isn't, and more so, explain why. Which color of hair, eyes or skin is perfect? What height is perfect? Which sex is perfect? If you get where I'm going with this, good.

Are the Gods perfect? The plain answer is, I couldn't say, because as a human, and like every other human around me, I have no idea what perfection is. There are, however, a few ideas we might entertain. One, perhaps everything is indeed perfect because everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be. And/or two, if there is no perfection, perhaps there doesn't even need to be. Do the Gods have to be perfect? No, they don't. But they are undoubtedly the highest level of perfection that could possibly exist. In other words, if they're not perfect, they are certainly as close to it as you can get, completely unmatched in the universe. When I praise the Gods, or invoke them for something, what I am literally doing is praising or asking for that highest level of something. Their power doesn't have to be perfect in order to be unsurpassed. The idea that a God must be perfect really more so comes from the Judeo-Christian mythos than anything else. In order for the early Christians to claim theological superiority over everyone, they had to create a perfect deity. It's not really something that existed a lot in Pagan culture, and yet the Pagans still loved their Gods all the same. It does not, by any means, indicate that the Gods are not excellent.

Then the final question begs, if the Gods aren't perfect, why worship them? The answer is simple, because they are the Gods. Your parents may not be perfect, but you still love them. Your boss may not be perfect, but you still respect him or her. Your spouse may not be perfect, but you're still devoted to them until the end. Why should the Gods, who are far greater than anything else, not be given the same respect, obedience, and loyalty? It makes no sense to be devoted to imperfect humans, but refuse to worship a God on the grounds that they may not be perfect. A human is far weaker and less wise than a God, whereas a God will exceed the human in all things. To adore the human and reject the God isn't logical. 

So, are the Gods perfect? My answer is, it doesn't matter.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Old Greek Proverb ~ No Evil Is Found In The Gods

If the Gods do harm, they are not Gods. 

I've seen a lot of people suggesting that the Gods can be, or are, vicious, destructive, perhaps even harmful. But the above ancient Greek proverb gives me comfort in the assurance of the opposite. Whenever someone tells me the Gods did them harm in some fashion, I understand that they do not understand the Gods.

What the above proverb means is to say that, if something or someone is doing you harm, they are not Gods. They are something else, even if they claim to be Gods. You will always know the true selves of the Gods based on whether they wish you good or evil. If the latter, you are not in the presence of the Gods. The Dialogue of Theaetetus goes even further to say, no evil can come from a God. 

The Gods are the ultimate Good in the universe; the ultimate Good in all things. Certain Mythologists may have believed otherwise, but it's clear that the hard-thinking philosophers believed the Gods to be positive. It seems to me that, if the Gods were not good and delighted in the opposite, we wouldn't be here. Yet the world is beautiful, life vibrant, and both incredibly and obviously ordered and directed. The Gods have brought so much good to our lives and our universe, that it would simply be out-of-character to say they are not good.

And I hope your weekend, and all your days to come, are filled with that bright comfort from the light of Olympos.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Daily Joys & Wonders of Hellenic Polytheism


When you live as an ancient Greek, you find an inherent flow of the Greek spirit through you before you even realize it. For example, today I purchased a new book on the way of ancient Greek life, which stated that the enjoyment of life and the acknowledgement of how delightful the world is, constitutes the hallmark of the Greek spirit. This is what I have felt and told people in philosophy for the longest time, but had never read it in actual context until now. When Greek lives within you, it's like all that is Greek also comes with it. You don't have to always willfully put it there. The Gods reach down and mold you into the identity of their people.

I have said in the past that Hellenism has made me religiously the happiest I have ever been in my life, and this is true. A large part of that reality is the simple fact that I experience so much joy, wonder and intrigue on a daily basis with the Gods, Spirits, Heroes, and the stories, myths and customs of ancient Greece.

My first pleasure is that I wake up each day knowing that I am part of a vibrant, growing and supportive community. When I first began joining the national group Hellenion, I attended a libation rite to Hermes through their online broadcast. It was one of the most spiritually uplifting times of my life; to be there with people who felt like brothers and sisters, who believed in the same Gods as me, as we worshiped together in union and friendship.

Of course, the real and ultimate beauty is the Gods and the spirituality of the religion. I love waking up to the beautiful sunshine, knowing that my day begins and ends with Gods all around me. The morning begins with Eos, Helios and Hemera, the latter two throughout the entire day. During which time I can pray to, worship and honor so many wonderful Gods relevant to everything, from Zeus in the sky, Artemis over the forests, hills, wildlife, and animals, Aphrodite in love, Poseidon of the seas and rivers, Athena for my strength and protection, Apollon for healing, light and inspiration, Hera for Motherly guidance and nurturing, Hermes on my travels and publishing endeavors, Demeter for my great foods and beautiful fields, Dionysos for life and joy itself, Hephaitsos for creativity and invention, Ares for success in the battles of life, I could go on and on even beyond the Olympians. When night draws close, I am in the presence of wonderful Gods like Nyx and Selene. There is never a time when the Gods are not there.

As such, I love building beautiful worship spaces, sanctuaries and temples to the Gods, as I have many of such structures at my home. At the Shrine of The Dodekatheon, incense burns throughout the day to all of the Gods, focusing on the 12 Olympians. Below it rests a shrine to the Heroes and on the last level an altar to the dead and ancestors. I also have an outside sanctuary to my town and region's Patron Goddess, Artemis.

I also love the fact that there are so many wonderful Heroes and Heroines in our religion we can pray to and interact with, some of which are my Patron Heroes, namely Theseus. As with the Gods, the Heroes can encompass a wide range of epithets. Unfortunately, there's no ancient list, so we have to use fact-based reasoning behind it. For example, in His story, we know that Theseus traveled on foot across the Greek landscape to Athens, and along the way, put an end to criminals and monsters. Therefore, when I go out during the day, I may invoke Theseus the Traveler to see me safely there and back, especially if I am walking somewhere. So when I take my evening walks, I pray something like, Theseus the Traveler, bless and watch me on my journey tonight. Another example might be Antigone. We know She died for Her choice to do what She thought was right, despite being ordered to do what was wrong. So in tough decisions of right and wrong, I may call on Antigone of Honor. My prayer may state something along the lines of, Antigone of Honor, help me to do what's right, instead of what's desired.

As a devout Hellene, you'll also notice that ancient Greece is always on your mind, and flows through your whole body and life. I can open, for example, Plato or Homer for the answer to literally anything I am going through or want advice on. These sources of philosophy, myth and religion alone are 2,400 pages long. And keep in mind, these men are only 2 sources for the religion and worldview. I never run out of things to learn from or stories to experience.

I'll never give it up. I have only one regret; that I didn't find Hellenism sooner.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Artemis Is Not A Vegetarian, An Abortionist, or A Man-Hater

Some people in the modern Pagan community (though not the norm), are ripe with their own versions of the ancient Gods, which in itself isn't a bad thing. But when they basically create their own Gods and give them ancient names and images, that's when I find myself compelled to say something. One of the most common of these has to do with Artemis. She's one of the most commonly-adopted Deities by Neo-Pagans and Wiccans. While these people are a minority in the community, there are still Pagans who want to start a culture, gender or race war within Paganism. Therefore, being a historical Hellenist and someone who has worshiped and studied Artemis since 2009, I want to set the record straight about the Goddess. These are not opinions, these are facts of religious and cultural Greek history.

Claim #1 - Artemis Is Against Hunting
The argument that Artemis is against hunting or meat eating should, in and of itself, be an obvious ridiculousness from the start. She's the Goddess of the Hunt. The first sentence of the Homeric Hymn to Artemis calls Her the "slayer of stags," and talks about her chasing and striking down the wild beasts. To say that Artemis rebukes hunting or opposes the consumption of game that was killed in ancient times specifically for eating, is a blatant historical falsehood.

Claim #2 - Artemis Supports Abortion
Whatever your views on abortion are, that's not the concern here. Not everyone has the same beliefs on the issue. Some are pro-life, some are pro-choice, and some are moderate; I understand that. But to say that Artemis revels in abortion, is simply not supported by anything other than someone's own personal theory. Artemis is the Goddess of childbirth and the protector of infants and children. She carries no historical epithet that refers to Her as an abortive Goddess whatsoever. She fiercely protected the weak and vulnerable. When Atalanta's father threw Her away at birth, it was Artemis who came and saved Her life. Another manifestation of Artemis is the legendary Artemis of Ephesus, which is a multi-breasted form to symbolize Her as "the Great Mother." The ancient Greek religion, in many cases, took a stance against abortion itself in some of its main cultural declarations. For example, the famous physician's Hippocratic Oath, which swears before "all the Gods and Goddesses" to not give an abortion. People in ancient Greek myth who harmed children were also dealt with very severely by the Gods. A good example would be Lycaon, who dismembered a young boy and tried to offer the remains to Zeus, who was so repulsed and offended that He wiped out the entire Bronze Age of Greece.

The historical fact of the matter is simply that Artemis never possessed a title, epithet or function even remotely similar to abortion. Quite the opposite, actually. 

Claim #3 - Artemis Is A Matriarch Who Hates Men
This idea mainly comes from a misunderstanding about Her refusal to take a husband and the death of Actaeon. While She did not marry, She always remained in recognition of the Supremacy of Zeus, the King of all the Gods. In fact, She sought His permission to remain chaste. She did not take it upon Herself to make the decision without Him. She also never decided that She was going to run everything. Zeus was always Her dear Father and the Ultimate Authority. All of the Gods, male and female, called Zeus the King. It wasn't as if the male Gods weren't expected to revere Zeus. The King was the King because He was King. It's that simple. While women worshipers today can find a great deal of independence in Her Divinity, She does not think of Herself as the ultimate ruler, or that She has a natural right to be at the top of the rule because of her gender, as a Matriarch would. The fallacy that people have here is the idea that one must be a gender-supremacist in order to be free, strong and independent. Nothing could be more untrue. One can be those things without crushing the opposite sex. Artemis is strong, powerful, wise, free and independent, but She doesn't try to usurp Zeus as we would think a Matriarch would, nor does She feel that He is a threat to Her own greatness or Her own rule over Her domains. There is no competition or war. To call Artemis a Matriarch, is to basically call Her a sexist, and the Gods are far above such human pettiness. 

As far as the man-hating label She routinely gets tagged with, this comes from the myth that the hunter Actaeon secretly spied on Artemis naked in the forest, and after She spotted him, turned the hunter into a stag and his hounds attacked and killed him. This probably had a far broader ancient meaning. Artemis didn't like sex, and therefore, did not want to be sexualized, and sexualization in those days was largely portrayed between male and female. But Artemis had and still has many male worshipers who show Her proper respects and don't end up on Her bad side. In fact, I built a sanctuary to Her in my yard and She was one of the main Gods I prayed to for help in saving my son's life when he was born prematurely. I am doing fine and so is my boy. I don't think we need to get so caught up in gender that we make everything about gender or sexism. Why can't we be great together?

Conclusion
There's nothing wrong with having UPG in your own private religious life, but to make it a universal declaration of the religion or the Deity, is quite another matter. In closing on this issue, I think back to something Susan B. Anthony once said. "I distrust those who know so well what God wants, because it's always the same as their own desires."

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Learning From The Greek Gods: Dionysus

I'm proud to continue my long-time series Learning From The Greek Gods by today talking about Dionysus, spelled Dionysos in Greek transliteration. He is a fascinating God to say the least, and the youngest of The Dodekatheon, or the Twelve Olympians. Dodekatheon simply means "Twelve Gods," referring to those who rule Olympus. Some Hellenists still retain the belief that it is Hestia, not Dionysus, who sits upon the 12th throne. While not denying the vast importance of the God, they do not accept the belief that Hestia vacated Her throne to Him and came down to live more closely to mortals. However, most of the Hellenic community views the contrary; that Dionysus occupies Her former throne. In fact, in Walter Burkert's book, when he lists the 12 Gods, is it Dionysus he includes in the section, not Hestia.

Many know Dionysus is the God of Wine, and broadly, the God of the Vine itself. He is also extremely tied to the natural world and is considered an Earth God. But many people in the mainstream, and perhaps even some in the general Pagan community, do not know that He is the God of Life who brings joy, happiness, revelry, and a rescue from death. Because of the goodness He can bring through His presence and gifts, He is called a Saviour in addition. He's also considered to be a Sun God. All of these reasons are why He is included centrally in my weekly addresses through my Temple, during which time we pray and drink wine or grape juice to the God, asking for His blessing of life. But the deeper question is, how did Dionysus become such a God? 

There is more than one version to His death and rebirth story, but the one I enjoy and believe the most is the Cretan version, which says that as a child, Dionysus was attacked and ripped apart by some of the Titans (presumably those who hated Olympus). All that remained was His heart, which Zeus placed in the womb of His mortal Mother Semele, and through Her, Dionysus was reborn, which is why He retains the title of "Twice-Born." Literally, death was not able to overcome Him. He returned to life in defiance of it, which is why He's the God of Life, and so we can look to Him as a rescue and a salvation from all things that hinder or destroy our lives and the happiness and joy within them.

What to learn from Dionysus is that life is meant to be loved and enjoyed. If you're living in sadness, depression or any form of self-loathing, you are not enjoying your existence, and Dionysus wishes for you to do the opposite. He is the embodiment of a happy and joyous life and time. He is a Saviour because He literally saves us from ourselves and all the things that take our life away. To learn from and connect with Him is to know that death in any form cannot and will not hold rule over you when you are supposed to be living. From us, He drives away death, destruction, depression, destitution, sorrow, loathing, and brings to us life, prosperity, happiness, joy, wonder, and love, both for ourselves and others.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Learning From The Greek Gods: Poseidon

Without a doubt, one of the most well-known, celebrated and powerful Gods in all of Greek belief, Poseidon is best-known as the God of the Sea. He is also the God of Rivers, protector of springs, wells and water generally, God of Horses, and the God of Earthquakes; which earns Him the name "Earth-Shaker." He rules around 70% of the Earth's actual surface, and the entire realm beneath it where quakes are vibrant. He is a vastly influential and powerful God. On a personal level, He's a blesser of waters, a giver of flow and peace, and a caretaker of plants and steeds. Among the first Olympians, Poseidon was also among the first born of the New Order of Gods, and remains one of the most prominent Deities in Greek Myth. Numerous temples, prayers and modern statues have been erected to His mighty honor.

So what do we have to learn from Him, and what does He have to teach humanity and the world? Perhaps we can start with one of my own prayers to the God; one that has been quite popular among fellow Pagans even:

May Poseidon set my sails,
sending me down life's peaceful river,
both spiritually and physically.
By the Lord of the Sea,
may I find my way to the shores of serenity,
and the goodness of all the Gods.

When we realize and learn the tremendous beauty of Poseidon, we understand that His peace and flow not only helps us live better, more productive lives, both mentally and physically, but that His presence also does the same for our world, whether it be in regards to the planet, its people, or both.


I also think it's important that we keep the peace and favor of Poseidon, because the blessings He gives are essential to our survival. In other words, if there's one lesson He has for humanity, it's to not look a gift horse in the mouth. Only about 2% of the Earth's water is drinkable, and if we don't take care of it, we will perish. Not to mention the tremendous amount of food we get from seas and rivers, and the vital role they play in our planet. We won't hurt Poseidon or even the water in long term, because nature will eventually replenish and refresh. And Poseidon can just as easily create a new river or water source, even in another world in another solar system. WE are the ones who will be harmed. We honor the God by honoring His vital blessings, and if we lose sight to the sacred holiness of that, we are dooming ourselves. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.
www.caldridge.net 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Divinity in Daily Life: Anger and Frustration

Recently, I've thought about Gods and Heroes and their involvement in our everyday lives for our benefit. While reading a Pagan book, I came across invocations on restraining anger, but it wasn't Hellenic. So I thought to myself, who would I pray to for restraining anger and helping with frustration in Hellenism? I think this is an important topic to discuss in such a series as Divinity in Daily Life because anger and frustration are among the most common afflictions among the average person these days, and I think my conclusion on the matter is quite interesting. Hopefully, it will help other Grecians and people who pray to the Greek Gods. I also think it's important for religious communities to talk about these issues together because we all face them. As Plato once said, be kind because everyone you meet is facing a hard battle.

Among the Heroes, the first I would think to pray to in this field would be Oedipus, for the simple experience He has in this matter, and the fact that He ended His life calmly. Oedipus experienced the tragedy of letting anger and frustration get to Him when He mistakenly killed His father in a fit of rage, not realizing the true identity of the man. I also didn't read anything about Him ending His life in anger, even though He had every reason to be mad at the world and His own misfortune in life. When He faced the Sphinx, her riddle at first must have also tested His mind, but He did not become frustrated. Instead, He maintained excellent fortitude, which is something you'd need to keep a calm mind in things that are very frustrating and angering. So one might recite a prayer such as this:

O' Oedipus of Thebes,
I humbly ask for clarity of the mind,
fortitude against frustration,
and restraint against anger,
that I may continue my road this day without horrid mistakes.

One might also consider Orpheus, a great Divine Musician who was able to calm any raging force with His wonderful lyre. Theseus would also be great to invoke for fortitude. Among the Gods, Athene and Apollo would be wonderfully fit. Athene is a strong, fighting Goddess when needed, but She also prefers peace and diplomacy to war, and tries to achieve that end beforehand. Apollo is the God of Enlightenment, and unchecked anger and frustration is not such a state of being. Therefore, Apollo's great mind can realign us with a prosperous outlook on life. The prayer above written to Oedipus is a structure that can be used for any of the Gods or Heroes mentioned here, just make the proper changes. Life's roads are not without hardships, and sometimes we can find it hard to barely function onward. But fortunately, we have the Gods, Heroes and each other.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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