Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts

Friday, April 19, 2024

Sword of Ares Will Again Shed Blood Across The World

The Middle East once again rages with war, not only between Israel and Palestine, but now Iran since the Israeli bombing of their embassy in Syria. Which, I think, should be condemned and not defended or ignored. Neither Israel, nor any nation, should get a license to do whatever it wants without consequences, and to do so will only encourage more war later. We, the United States, also fight too many wars that are not our own, and care more these days for politics than a justified outcome.

But since my time as a Hellenist, I have come to see war as something that can be natural to human culture and the reality of life itself. Sometimes it can be the only way to resolve a conflict. It makes little difference how much you want peace if someone else wants you dead. You have no choice but to fight.

Since the beginning of the universe, war and conflict has been a factor in forging it. The creation of the world was anything but quiet and peaceful. It was violent, destructive, and pushed out one force so that another could take over. Sometimes, there has to be a fight.

Unlike so many people in modern society, we Hellenists do not see Ares as some loathsome or unadmirable presence. We love, worship and respect Him as we do all the other Gods. He has value, place and purpose, and He can also be a protector of justice and righteousness. But there is also something very important that the God of war wants us to remember, I think. 

Some wars are necessary, but perhaps most of them are not. We should never be quick to draw our swords or sound the cavalry charge with a light heart, because when Ares comes to the field, there will be war of epic proportions. He intends to leave no question as to who won or what happened. In my view, nations these days are an affront to Ares because they fight for gluttonous pride and selfishness. They fight over politics, power and money. 

Of course, there were times when ancient Greeks fought over land and loot, but many of their great wars were also for the cause of liberty and sheer survival, such as when they had to repel the Persian invasions. Sometimes war is the only thing that stands between good and evil, freedom and slavery, civilization and barbarism.

But the wars we see now make a mockery of the God, and that is why these nations have never known true peace. War is never pleasant, no matter the reason. However, I think that if a nation is always quick and haphazardly anxious to start a war, Ares may destroy them as well. To go to war simply because you want to kill, or using said war as a justification to exterminate or commit atrocities, is flying in the face of Ares, and that nation will eventually lose its standing.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Could Solon Solve Our Economic Crisis?

Class warfare isn't unique to America. The rich and poor have really never gotten along, and have had periods when they are ready to literally start throwing punches, especially when an economy deteriorates into those who have it all and those who have nothing. When the middle class vanishes, the society fractures. It's why Plutarch said that an imbalance between rich and poor is the most common and fatal error of all republics.

In our current political and economic atmosphere in the United States, we once again have the extremes that Athens faced some 2,500 years ago. We have the extremely rich and the extremely poor, and those in power and society who are for the rich or for the poor. Really no one stands on middle ground anymore. But in ancient Athens, one famous Reformer and Lawgiver seems to have done such a good job with these issues that his face was hung inside the United States House of Representatives, although it remains to be seen as to whether or not our government will ever live by his example. His name was Solon, someone who loved the Gods and the people.

He himself was not poor, but he also wasn't dishonest, deceitful or uncaring, which is why the poor loved and trusted him to improve their society. He did not make it illegal to be rich. He allowed success. But he also didn't permit it to be gained through the oppression or destruction of others. He forgave the debts of the poor and outlawed slavery as a condition for repaying debt, as was a custom at the time. In other words, no one could any longer turn you into an involuntary servant just because you owed money. He also repealed the harsh Draco Laws. These laws gave the death penalty even for minor offenses, which probably impacted the poor more than anyone else. Finally, he gave all citizens a voice in the government and established a kind of Athenian congress known as the Boule. Solon literally made life livable for all people.

Last night, I was thinking about how Solon would handle the situation today in the United States, which is much like the one he faced so long ago. What if the best way to handle our social and economic problems is not to destroy one side or the other, but to simply institute and enforce humanitarianism and civilized justice? And more so, has our country lost those two things? I think it has. We have become so obsessed with success and wealth that we actually devalue and exploit people who don't have it. The imbalance that Plutarch called the fatal error of all republics is growing by the day, and we are far past the declaration of war between the two classes; it's already raging.

Perhaps Solon would tell us to be humane and fair, that the best way to solve our problems is to simply give everyone the best quality of life possible. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, May 1, 2017

America's Pagan Heritage

While many either like to ignore, or simply don't know its reality, America's Pagan heritage is abundantly clear. In this post, I hope to reveal that reality to a wide range of American readers. This is a topic I have wanted to cover and share for a very long time because I hear so many people in our country trying to say that America is only meant for one kind of people and culture, when in fact we have always been a pluralistic nation for everyone from everywhere.

Take a look at the picture to your left. What is that? That's the US capitol. In fact, the House of Representatives, White House and many other government buildings and courthouses have this ancient Greek and Roman architecture, and the reason we mirror it is because ancient Greece was the first democracy and ancient Rome was the first republic. If you take a stroll inside our House of Representatives, you will see the faces of many historical lawmakers throughout the world's history on the wall where our lawmakers meet, among them being the Greek Polytheists Solon of Athens and Lycurgus of Sparta. The cradle of Western Civilization has always been in the hands of the ancient Greeks in so many ways.

What about this picture to your right? Surely you know what that is, right? It's the Statue of Liberty. But have you ever asked yourself, who is the statue depicting? The person you see is Libertas, the Roman Goddess of liberty. Speaking of New York, have you ever been to the amazing Grand Central Station? If not, pictures of it can be easily googled. Above the entrance, a God stands with a winged hat and a caduceus. He is Hermes, the Greek God of Travel and the Patron of Travelers. Some would also interpret Him to be Mercury, the Roman God. Several other statues of Greek Gods can be found at notable places around our nation, such as the golden Prometheus at Rockefeller Center.

Take a look at the picture to the left. Recognize that? It's the famous Washington Monument, which was built in honor of the commander of the colonial army against British tyranny in the American Revolution, George Washington. He was, of course, also our first official president of the new United States nation. It stands amazingly over 500 feet tall. It's definitely not something that would be easy to miss, but a lot of people probably don't know that the structure is an ancient Egyptian obelisk. The ancient Egyptians were among the most religious people in the world's history, and they worshiped the well-known Egyptian pantheon. The obelisk is considered one of ancient Egypt's most popular religious structures, one of their functions being to commemorate Egyptian spirituality and religion. 

Many Americans and westerners don't realize it, but if all of the Pagan heritage was taken away, there would be very little left. We stand upon the values and images of the ancient world, and I think it's time to, one, realize that truth, and two, understand that we can all live together without trying to push one another out for the sake of dominance. America is for you as well as me and everyone else. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,