Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mystery of The Wood From The Sky

One of the original shrines of Athena on the Akropolis, held as Her statue or representation, a distinctive piece of tall wood, unknown to specific time, that was regularly washed and robed and placed in the shrine for veneration. It is a fact that this existed as stated. Completely lost to history at this point, but the story behind this wood was that it fell from the sky during a storm. Presumably, it landed on or near the Akropolis, but the story and the myth is far more fascinating than just that.

Athena is the daughter of Zeus, King of all Gods and God of the sky and storms. As the story is told, She emerged from His head, and some myths say, it happened after Hephaistos used an axe to split his head open for a time, so that She could escape. The storm and the falling wood may have very well been seen as the rage of Zeus, and the splintering of the axe handle, as Athena burst forth into the universe. What if it truly was? Or what if She gave it to the Athenians later?

Pausanias, in his wonderful and timeless volumes concerning the descriptions of Greece, describes the shrine as existing even during his own time, which was far later in history, as he lived from 110 to 180 CE, a good while after the ancient world is officially considered to be "over" by modern historians. He says that the wood and shrine went all the way back to before the unification of Attika, which would have predated even Theseus. Therefore, this sacred image was housed and in use for well over a millennium, over a thousand years of history just in this one small area. 

However, we do not know the time that the wood itself fell to Earth. Human activity in Greece is, at least, 1 million years old, with modern human presence being over 200,000 years old. Of course, over time, far greater, beautiful and more elaborate statues and temples were built to the Goddess, but this original image always remained, considered by some to have been the most holy of them all, or so Pausanias says. 

While we know it existed, we do not know the fate of this relic. We know it survived the Persian and Roman invasions because Pausanias lived well after these time periods. But these were also not religious wars, unlike the time of Christian occupation. The Christians turned even the Parthenon into a church for a time, and no doubt destroyed everything that represented any Gods but their own. All of the gold, silver and bronze, the extreme wealth of the treasuries, and the majesty of the statues and temples on the Akropolis, met their demise and looting during this time period.

But importantly, to my mind, it shows us something about the Greeks, or at least the Athenians, when it came to their theological beliefs and life. Pausanias said the Athenians were more religious than any other man, at least that he knew. While they eventually had glorious statues and temples, some unsurpassed in all of Greece, they also found the Gods in everything around them. There was no separation from their religious life and ordinary life; they were one in the same. The Gods spoke to them, helped them, and elevated them in all things.

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

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Humans Did Not Create Gods, and Here's How You Know

One of the most common arguments, even from some philosophers as far back as ancient times, is that humans created the Gods of their cultures. It's basically an argument that attempts to invalidate the Gods themselves. Now certainly, I'm not saying that there were never any myths ascribed to the Gods that came, at least in part, from human understanding. But it's not true that the Gods are creations of humans. The Gods are real, and I will tell you why.

Let us think about it logically, or perhaps, in a way that most people never have before. And for this, let's of course refer to ancient Greek times, since that's where my religious and spiritual focus resides in life. In ancient Athens, a City ruled by men, a Goddess was the Patron. In a culture where men did most of the hunting, Artemis was the main Hunting Deity. In a society where sex was primarily ruled by men, a female Deity (Aphrodite), was the presiding Divinity. So the question begs, if humans create Gods, why were all of these Gods not male instead of female? Shouldn't a society ruled by men create male Gods to be their leaders?

The simple answer is that humans do not create Gods. Athena, Artemis and Aphrodite, for example, are who they are, regardless of the society we create, or the preferences we may have as human beings. When Athena claimed Athens, it did not matter which humans ruled it, or how the society was structured. She overruled them all. The same for Artemis and Aphrodite. The wild and the love of the universe belong to them, and no mortal social structure can change that. 

As a man, I might be a good martial artist, but when I need strength, it's Athena I pray to. When I need protection for my children, Artemis is who I sacrifice to. And for the power and passion of sexuality and sexual success, Aphrodite's my counsel. Furthermore, I see no reason that this should be a threat to my masculinity. The wonderful powers and Divinities of the masculine and feminine swirl all around us, in the Heavens, upon the Earth, and in the Underworld.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Ruins Of Theseus' Palace On The Akropolis

In some of my recent studies, I happened across a piece of mysterious information hidden in the pages of an old book from my temple's library, something that few people know about in the grand picture of ancient Greek history and archaeology. All throughout Mycenaean archaeology, we have uncovered all of the palace ruins of the main Trojan War Heroes, with Odysseus being the most recent and final one. 

But atop the Akropolis of Athens, the City that Theseus ruled, loved and defended so much that the Athenian motto became, "Nothing Without Theseus," it has been believed that the remains of Theseus' palace rest there. Sure enough, the modicum ruins of what was most certainly a late Bronze Age Megaron Palace still remain, the time period in which Theseus could have most certainly lived, and long, long before the Parthenon was ever even dreamed of. 

A Greek Megaron is not the grand kind of palace we would think of today that houses the monarchs of England. Rather, it is more of a Great Hall building, built in a rectangle that hosts an open porch, is surrounded by four columns, and in the center houses an open air hearth. There would have also been a throne or throne room for the King to sit. Throughout the life and history of the Athenian Akropolis, buildings rose and fell, and new ones were added, such as the Parthenon, so the only traces of this Megaron we have is basically the foundation. Nevertheless, we do know it existed, when it existed, and what it was used for; royalty. 

If you were a tourist in Athens around 400 BCE, and you had been so inclined to ask, the citizens would have probably told you all about the old Palace of Theseus that once stood on their citadel. To them, it would have been historical fact. You may have even been directed to the City's Sanctuary of Theseus just below the Akropolis, and the burial that they believed to be His. We know where this religious center stood as well. But the Palace of Theseus is an even greater mystery because there is so little of it remaining, due to the passage of time and the evolution of the citadel.

However, the Megaron that could have very well belonged to the legendary Hero still looks at us from the rocky history of the hill. We can walk upon the steps or floor that Theseus Himself may have, and all of the ancestors before us who walked in to consult or ask for His help. Today, there may no longer be a great throne at the end of the Great Hall, but upon those ruins, we can still look up to the heavens, on top of the sacred fortification, and pray to Theseus.

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

Friday, April 26, 2024

Ancient Greek Medicine and Healing for Modern Problems

At first notion, people today may assume that the physicians of ancient Greece are not relevant to modern medicine and the healing arts. But such a presumption is gravely incorrect. While some ancient methods such as bloodletting are shelved in the archives of error, mostly everything else the Greeks practiced gave birth to all of the medical fields we have today. And doctors have not forgotten this, because they still recite, at least ideally, the Hippocratic Oath of Physicians. Now it has been altered so much to fit personal preferences that I'd argue the modern recitation can no longer be called the Hippocratic, but the ancient Greek as the mortal father of medicine still holds sway over our minds and actions in the field.

Bringing ancient medicine back into our everyday lives is invaluable, whether one is actually a Hellenist or not. The history of healing in ancient Greece is very wealthy and diverse, and the adoption of it remains beautiful and powerful. 

To the Greeks, everything was religious and spiritual. The physical and spiritual worlds interacted on a daily basis. For this reason, the Greeks believed, one, that the best healing and medicine took place when the mind, body and soul were treated and balanced. Neither was left to neglect. One method through which the physical and spiritual body could be tended to was through the Asklepios Healing Temples. Asklepios is the son of Apollon (the God of healing), and is the God of physicians and medicine. These temples were built to Him for the purpose of healing the sick. Afflicted people would travel to these locations and sleep inside the building, where the God would either heal them or send them messages, signs or omens through dreams that would help them achieve recovery.

One's spirituality and connection to the Divine is proven to have immense healing powers, both for the mind and physical body. That's why religious people are less depressed than non-religious or atheists, and if you tell your psychiatrist that your religion helps you deal with your mental health issues, they will tell you to keep doing it as a form of therapy. The benefit of a balanced mind, body and soul is self-evident. Your bodily health will do little good if your mind and spirit is in tatters, and vice versa. All of the essential properties that make up the human body and experience have to be healthy.

Secondly, the Greeks understood that a person's health relied heavily on proper diet and exercise. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said as much. Moderation, which means to have a healthy balance in all things, was at the center of Greek life. To neither starve nor overindulge, but to reach and practice healthy living consistently. When it comes to diet and exercise specifically, we may find it lamentable that most people today are seriously lacking in either one or the other. Obesity and laziness are epidemics of their own, and they cause the body and mind to decay and make them prone to disease and disorders.

For years, especially when it was summertime or warm enough, I would go on runs every night through my City. At one point, I reached 7 miles nonstop. This was part of my mission to lose the weight I had gained years ago and maintain a healthy body mass. Of course, I also had to combine this with healthy eating. It does little good to exercise if you're just going to put the junk right back inside you when you're done. It's like trying to pump water out of a boat with a giant hole in it. I lost the weight and had never felt better in my life, both physically and mentally. Since then, I have always recommended that people do simple exercise like running. Not only will it keep you healthy, it will give you a great outlook on life.

Third, it was not long before Botany and its medical benefits found its way into the Greek physician's world and that of their patients. In ancient Greek theology, mostly everything was a gift from the Gods, and miraculous plants would have been no exception. In fact, profound ones such as Oregano, were believed to have been planted by Aphrodite Herself, and in humans, the plant can help produce white blood cells that aid in recovery and strengthen immunity. There are so many wonderful benefits to Greek herbology that, if one is interested in adopting it for their life, I have put a link to an information site at the bottom of this post.

The Greeks knew that the answers to the ailments of life were placed in the universe around us by the Gods. They only needed to discover them. Everything the Gods give to humans, is Divinely blessed. The Gods love for us to live, and live to the fullest. Therefore, their gifts and blessings to us will aid in that goal.

Finally, the ancient Greeks began to perfect the practice of surgery. They advanced so well in this art for ancient times that they were able to treat and seal wounds, repair fractured and broken bones, remove bladder stones, and even treat cataracts (a condition that causes impaired vision). Necessity, as Plato would say, is the mother of invention. They had to figure out some way to address life's all too common problems, but what makes the Greeks so exceptional in this was that they rose to these challenges. They never gave up. That's the lesson we should take from them as well. Not just for our careers or education, but for the survival and sustainment of our blessed selves. 

All of us today would grow immensely by adopting most or all of ancient Greek medicine into our lives. The ancient Greeks certainly did not have all of the medical advances and technologies that we do today, but part of the Greek way was to take what was available to you and make it the best you possibly could, to make the best version of yourself and your City.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Forest Screams - Could It Be Dionysos?

Channels and videos dealing with everything from the paranormal to simple hiking adventures are filled with what we commonly know as "unidentified, non-human sounds or screams" coming from the forests of the world. And I just love myself a good mystery, a good intrigue, something unknown to investigate, so let's take some time today to explore these happenings. 

Take a moment to visit this link to hear one of the videos people have made of unexplained screams and yells in the forest. Then come back to my blog post. Of course, there are scores of other videos and reels that have been made by various individuals, recording many kinds of screams and ravings in the woods. All you have to do is search for the topic on youtube.

In ancient times, Dionysos, the God of wine, revelry, joy, life and rebirth, was known for His loud celebrations in the forests. In fact, His worshipers would gather in these remote areas, such as the female devotees of the God called Maenads, whose name means "to rave" or "raving ones." A specific natural forest location of theirs was in Nysa, where a temple of Dionysos stood.

In the Orphic Hymn to Dionysos, He is called, "loud-roaring, reveling, and howling." In the video posted above of the unknown screams and ravings in the woods, people in ancient times may have very well concluded that it was Dionysos or His Maenads, especially if it was near a known worship center. In the times of old, things we consider paranormal or supernatural were simply daily life and commonplace.

In the forests, away from the civilization and the common ailments of human life, it's easy to see how someone could release, and why they might enjoy the ability to leave their old world behind as much as possible for a time. Dionysos lifts us to life, brings us to life, breaks us free of death. 

I myself grew up in the middle of a forest, down in a small, remote valley in central North Carolina, and especially during my childhood, the depths of the woodland provided me with a much needed retreat on a regular basis. In fact, anything could happen in them. Nothing was impossible, meaning was everywhere, adventure lured at every turn, and everything was beautiful. There is something about the haunts of the forest that make them otherworldly.

The importance of Dionysos to Hellenic life is, like all the Gods, vastly important and crucial, but like all Gods as well, Dionysos also retains His own uniqueness. As the God of life, the youngest of The Dodekatheon, and Twice Born, He is known as the "Savior God" of Greek religion, although He is certainly not the only God who carries the Savior Epithet.

Dionysos is salvation from death, depression, sadness, and anything else that hinders life and its enjoyment. I developed my own temple rite to the God in this respect. There is historical record of some of His worshipers in ancient times eating a live bull in a ritualistic setting (the bull being a symbol of Dionysos), and in so doing, they believed they were taking the God into themselves. Wine is also known as the blood of the vine just as far back.

If this sounds familiar, you're right, but the concept of ingesting communion with a God was not originally Christian; it's very ancient and very polytheistic. In my own rite, I include a drink of wine or grape juice and a small bite of rich chocolate (should I ever find chocolate in the shape of a bull, that'll be spectacular). The chocolate, being an ecstatic food, is the body of the God, while His wine is, of course, His blood.

Before consuming, I recite this simple prayer, I pray to Dionysos, Twice Born God of everlasting life, to descend His blessings upon the food of joy and the drink of the vine, to bless my mind, body and soul with His wonderful Godhood. Spirit of Dionysos dwell within me, blood of Dionysos flow through me."

If there has been no general offering to Him in return, some of the wine or chocolate can be given. But it's also important to remember the objective and reality of Dionysos and this rite. It is not Christian. He is not a God of abstinence or one who teaches us to resist and hate our humanity. There is no "cross to bear." You don't invite Him to save you from your humanity because your humanity is not evil or damned. It is blessed. Therefore, Dionysos blesses us with all it takes to live a happy and joyful life, and drives out whatever threatens that. Dionysos reminds us that it's okay to live.

What are the screams and ravings that people keep hearing deep in the forests of the world? Dionysos? The ghosts of His Maenads? New worshipers? Or maybe all of the above? The ancients most certainly knew of these same kinds of sounds. They wrote about them in their hymns to the God and stories about those who followed Him throughout their lives. Perhaps there is always that natural calling out there, reminding us that there is freedom from the dismal things that may plague us.

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

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

When Religion Was What It Should Be

Crusades, terrorism, and oppressive theocratic dictatorships. These are the things that commonly come to mind today when people think of widespread religion, mainly because we are so used to seeing the dominant religions, which are based on oppression, wreak havoc on the world. A fringe element of radical Muslims committed the worst terrorist attack on American soil, and only our Constitution stops radical Christians from using the government to force everyone into their way of life.

It's almost as if you have to rally against religion if you want to be a freedom fighter, or at least stand against the militant elements of it. However, religion was not always like this, which is something that Pagans and Polytheists like myself are trying to teach and bring back to humanity. Religion was not about imposition in ancient times, nor did it possess so much insecurity that one culture couldn't stand another simply because they had a different religion. Ancient man found himself more than able to live harmoniously in a diverse world. Of course his own culture had its own theology and customs, but there was never any reason conceived to force the entire world into the same way of life. When a Greek visited Egypt, for example, they didn't demand that the Egyptians worship the Greek Gods instead, and abandon their own culture. 

When I was in my first year of college in 2008 back in North Carolina, my philosophy and writing class held a discussion on the history of religion and spirituality. At one point, a girl across from me said that ancient religion was the way religion was supposed to be. It was about a man, woman, or community worshiping their Gods, so that the City, sea, fields, etc, would produce the good and productive things of life for them. 

Only later when I became a Hellenist did I fully understand where she was coming from. Hellenists worship the Gods because it brings bliss to our lives, and shows our proper reverence for the Higher Powers. We simply love and also respect our Gods. Even to this day, we are perfectly content in our own skin, and do not concern ourselves with the fact that other people may have a different theology. 

The admission of monotheism was really the time when religion became globally weaponized, especially when governments realized the great ability that religions like Christianity had to control massive amounts of people. Even though religion had changed, mostly by force, it still retained an ultimate place of importance in people's lives, especially as time went on and the newer generations could be lied to about how their ancestors were converted, and governments were not ignorant of this. They found that they were able to use the new religions and their orthodoxies to produce any kind of obedience, war or wealth they so desired.

However, theology itself was, and is, about the Divine and the human experience of it. It's not about a system of oppression. I don't normally think about it when I walk through my temple doors, but it should be a revelation that I don't walk through them for the same reason I did church doors when I was a Christian. It's not my hope that the world bows to me, but that I find the Gods in my life. If we as the human race could but understand the simple truth that this is the goal of human religion and spirituality, we would never again fall.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Rock & AI - Faces Frozen In Hubris

Stand in this place and look upon the face of someone who's pride cost them everything. Her name was Niobe, and before we get into this discussion, it's important to recall her Myth.

Niobe had it all. She was a beautiful queen of Theban Greece, with seven beautiful sons and seven beautiful daughters, which in ancient times, was a great accomplishment in and of itself, considering infant mortality. Niobe wanted for nothing, and had everything for which to be most grateful. There was nothing inglorious about her life, yet she could not find herself satisfied and humble enough to admit to this. She grew jealous of the fact that people were worshiping Leto and Her children Artemis and Apollon, saying that people should really be "worshiping her own sons and daughters, for they were far greater than the Gods." 

For this offense, Artemis and Apollon drew their bows and killed all of her children (Apollon taking the sons and Artemis the daughters). Niobe found herself, of course, devastated and in unending pain. She climbed to the top of Mt. Sipylus in Asia Minor, today in the modern Manisa Province of Turkey. There she begged the Gods to take away her pain. Zeus changed her into a rock. To this day, people can visit the "weeping rock" on the mountain that is said to be the remains of Niobe, forever frozen in despair and crying when it rains. The picture above is of that rock formation that overlooks the modern population below.

We may assume the moral to be simple, but I theorize that it's a bit more extensive than simply, "Don't offend the Gods." Niobe took hubris to a new level, because instead of simply boasting in pride, she tried to actually take worship. Niobe literally tried to put herself and her children in the place of the Gods.

It reminds me of something I wrote in my philosophy journal several weeks back. Modern scientists tend to be reverent of no power except their own, and see no reason why they cannot mess with whatever they choose, so long as they have the money and legality. It's therefore foolish to give so much power over our world to the most arrogant group of people.

Our world today takes human confidence far beyond its healthy and appropriate levels. It's increasingly growing from a philosophy of human strength to human worship, where people literally take the crowns of Gods and attempt to place them upon their own heads. Even more revealing, humans have never learned to stop doing this. So many people either just don't get it, or don't want to. We're not supposed to take the place of Gods, nor claim domain over that which belongs to Gods. Yet, they have. Humans have taken it upon themselves to create life (AI), they try to control the course of the natural environment, and they experiment with everything under the Sun enough to put Dr. Frankenstein to shame. 

Why is AI so bad, one might ask? For starters, it could end up destroying the human mind by making it obsolete. If humans have someone to think for them, the mind will no longer have a need or a desire to be creative, inventive, or do anything for itself. Second, it's one thing to have a GPS in your car, or some kind of medical device that saves lives. That's wonderful. But when you're creating full robots that are just like humans, you're toying with life. Humans have no such right or capacity to go down that road. Not to mention that when you're creating a robot that can outthink human beings, there's a clear and present danger to human safety itself. And the fact that AI could end up taking even high level employment from people is not even the biggest hazard, and yet that in itself is still a disastrous cliff.

It not only stems from arrogance, but I also think, a resentment toward the Higher Powers. The Gods decide what happens to this world and this universe, not scientists, politicians or religious leaders, and this factor makes the latter three the most furious. They have grown to think of themselves as deserving to rule instead of the Gods, just like Niobe. The worst part in terms of interacting with our fellowman, is that arrogance cannot be reasoned with, neither philosophically or literally. No amount of argument or lightning strikes will change a hard head. And sadly, most of the consequences often fall on the innocent.

Although human self-destruction has never been something new to the human scene. The most tragic factor is that people never learn from it. So what can we as individuals do to stem the tide? The first obvious one is to live differently ourselves. Second, we can reject the idea of hubris by refusing to use and support the things that further it, like AI. We can't stop people from being foolish, but we can refuse to participate, and if enough of the human population refuses to support it, there won't be a market for its posterity. Third, educate the populace. Evil or toxicity often displays an illusion or act, because if it presented its true self, most people wouldn't tolerate it. And it's rather easy to expose the reality behind the mask, because the mask isn't real.

Generally speaking, we preserve ourselves, and the actuality of what we should be.

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

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Source: Photo: The Weeping Rock, photographed by Carole Raddato from Frankfurt, Germany. Photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic. No changes were made. Link to material can be found here.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Difference Between A Sacrifice and An Offering

In Hellenism and contemporary Pagan and Polytheism, we are familiar with the terms sacrifice and offering. 

Some people use them interchangeably, and I suppose on the surface it's not really a big deal, as some consider sacrifice to be anything made scared, but I think it's worth discussing that the two are not historically the same thing generally speaking.

A sacrifice is normally something of exceptional cost or worth to you, that you give up to the Gods, and in so doing, make sacred. 

In ancient Greek times, this would have encompassed livestock a lot, because they met the above criteria. Giving up sheep, goats, and cattle was, or could be, very costly to the livelihood of the average person.

Yet that willingness to still risk the loss in order to show love, admiration, and request favor from, the Gods, is what made it a sacrifice and a sacred act. The willingness to go long was believed to have grabbed the Gods' attention more.

Today, of course, it doesn't have to pertain to livestock because most people don't live that kind of life anymore. Now our costly sacrifices would be things like money, valuable properties, and our physical time and labor. Even large portions of food and drink, things that take a lot of effort to put together, would be sacrificial.

An offering, however, is a general gift, such as a votive statue, libation, a valuable, or some appropriate foods. They are things that are more readily available and not as costly; easy for pretty much anyone to obtain.

If I give a fresh bar of soap to Aphrodite for Her baths, a libation of olive oil for Athena, or burn incense to Zeus, those would be offerings. This is a bit contradictory to me, because I have normally called all of my burned offerings sacrifices, but to be more accurate, I should use the term offering: my burned offering.

Then again, if it were a huge portion of incense, it may be able to be called sacrifice, but that would take an almost comical pile. Not something normally done. 

Often these days, I find myself paying more attention to how I term things, especially publicly. In many cases, I felt the term offering had been used in the religious communities almost to the point of being cliche or monotonous, so I didn't really like using it a lot.

But as a Reconstructionist Hellenist, I find myself more and more concerned with historical accuracy and appropriate piety on a regular basis. It's a lifelong learning experience. Do I think the Gods are petty and care about which term you use? Absolutely not. But the properness sets the human mind correctly. 

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

Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Pendants From Greece Hold More Natural Power

In the modern Greek Polytheistic community, some people may not be too explorative about jewelry or necklaces, even if they are religious. 

In fact, with the exception of my own works, I haven't read a book on the topic that really puts any significance on it. I'm not being critical; it's just an observation.

But I am most certainly someone who loves anything I can carry with me that reminds me of, or connects me with, the Gods and Heroes, especially when its a remake of what once existed.

In the picture above, you can see my own that I recently purchased from Greece herself, Athens specifically. The coin is a replica of the Athena Tetradrachm, meaning it was worth the value of four drachmas in the ancient world, eventually working its way up to a standard form of currency. 

The silver mines were located probably in Laurium in the Athenian countryside. This particular coin originally came into being in the late 6th Century BCE. More importantly, the coin is a direct connection to Athena, not just by Her frontal image, but by the AOE on the back, 

AOE means Alpha, Theta, and Epsilon, or Of The Athenians. The coin embodies all that is Athena and Athens (the Goddess and Her beloved City).

After I received the pendant, I put a chain on it to wear around my neck during the day, not really giving it that much thought. I didn't even try to put any energy or blessings onto it myself. It was intended for purely cosmetic purposes.

But I noticed that when I wrap my hand around and just hold it, Athena's amazing presence comes over and calms me, no matter how frustrated, angry, sad or hopeless I may be feeling at the time. It's like a cure-all for the mind and emotions.

The only thing I can figure, as to the pendant's natural power, is that it is directly from the land of Athena Herself, and carries on that ancient connection that has existed for thousands of years. 

Not even pendants that I have bought of Athena in America and placed blessings upon have had this kind of natural, never-ending spiritual strength. And of course, when you have a pendant with this kind of natural power, adding prayers, hymns or other spiritual significance along with it will only strengthen it further for you, and perhaps others as well. 

I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting Hellenic jewelry for religious purpose, to consider Greek sellers. There is just a charm that you cannot get anywhere else.

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Humans Aren't Gods, and Pagan Groups Need To Stop Telling People They Are

Many people come to Paganism out of a longing for the old Gods, to find community where they otherwise would not, and to reach their own unique sense of purpose and achievement. Most people find the Gods, their purpose, and equally important, themselves. These are all fantastic things. 

But perhaps in an attempt to raise people above the levels they came from, or out of delusions of grandeur, or perhaps even out of actual belief, there are Pagan systems that tell people they are Gods, equal to Gods, work with Gods, and are the same as Gods. 

Whenever I hear someone say they are a God, or that some other person is a God, if prompted I always say, "Oh, yeah? Make it rain." I don't respond this way to be a jerk, but to wake them up to an important reality that can become dangerous to neglect.

Our religious and social ancestors had no problem with worship or religion. In fact, to the Greeks, there was no word for religion because life was religious. They were not Christians nor Abrahamic, and yet, they still realized that their Gods were greater than themselves. They still prayed, worshiped and sacrificed to them because they held status, power and wisdom far above their own.

Humans are not the same or equal to the Gods. If we were, we would not be called humans. We do not take their places nor work with them, because we are not on the same levels at all. We are mortal, we hurt, we bleed, and we die. Gods do not. 

The idea that Pagans did not worship is simply incorrect at best, and a lie at worst. However, it did not mean they saw themselves as degenerates. Quite the contrary, they could be Heroic to the point of eternal glory. Simply put, the Gods had their place and mankind had theirs. Nothing deplorable about any of it.

There are many reasons humans should not consider themselves Gods, but here are the core ones to my mind.

1. Humans simply aren't. Truth has a place in human life.
2. It gives a false sense of achievement; people don't have to do anything else in life.
3. It can create dangerous self-righteous authority over other people and things.
4. Self-harm can follow from thinking you're something you're not.
5. To not give the Gods their proper place is an affront to the sacredness of Divinity.

It does not matter how big, strong or successful you are, you are not a God. But you also don't have to be. Who in the world ever thought or assumed that human beings couldn't be great as a human? 

Ikaros was, mythologically, among the first two men to achieve flight. That in itself was greatness. But because Ikaros failed to understand his proper place and tried to soar higher than a mortal should, he fell and drowned. 

It was not that he didn't reach greatness, but that he didn't acknowledge what greatness was for a man. He had achieved all a man could, filling his cup of glory to the top, if only he hadn't tried to make it hold more than it naturally could.

Imagine it. He could have brought the knowledge of flight to mankind, made himself rich, loved and admired for eternity. There would have been nothing inglorious about his life. If only he had understood the difference between Gods and men. In the picture above of Ikaros, notice to the left that Athena has Her back turned to him. 

"Didn't some of the Heroes become Gods after death?" Yes, but it was after they had transcended the physical realm, and many of the Heroes were part Divine to begin with. And not all Ascended people are Gods either. They are more powerful than physical humans, but still not Deities. 

In closing, I will say that when it comes down to personal belief, should others really concern themselves with that? I'd say normally not. If someone believes they are Superman, who cares? But if they put on the costume and go to jump off a building, should we as a community tell them that they are indeed Superman and to go ahead? 

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Mythology/Theology: To The Greeks, There Was A Difference

If you've been a Hellenic Polytheist for at least five minutes, you've no doubt heard an argument that you'll hear like a broken record from people in the modern West who are vastly ignorant about the religion.

The first mistake modern people make is thinking all religions are the same, and thus, they assume that the ancient Greeks had a "holy book" of religion and myth. This is utterly false. 

Not only was ancient Greece a collection of City States completely independent from one another in government and beliefs, but there was no law dictating how someone could view the Gods or what stories they could accept or not.

In fact, it's kind of inaccurate to call it "The Ancient Greek Religion" because there were, in fact, many forms of ancient Greek religion and Cult. Sparta and Athens, for example, believed in the same Gods but did not have the same religion or culture. Not to mention the fact that there were cults everywhere that adhered to their own identities. 

So for instance, someone today might say that my beliefs on Artemis being gracious and kind to people is skewed considering the myth of Actaeon, but there's literally nothing in Hellenic religion which says I have to accept that story as literal fact or accept it at all. It's not like Christianity or Islam where the title of the religion depends on the acceptance of one written book or "testament."

We do know that we believe in Artemis as She is, of course. But I don't have to believe everything that everyone tells me about Her. I have the right to my own experiences and perspectives, and it does not denote me as a Hellenist. 

You can believe whatever you want about someone, but it doesn't change them. You can believe that Chris Aldridge is a shapeshifting, blood drinking vampire, but it does not make me one, nor does it make me guilty of said actions.

It's also true that not only could a given myth vary in detail from City to City, but many of them were handed down by word of mouth, which can change and modify with each teller, especially as the time and culture changes. 

In fact, some of the myths we accept today as Greek, were not even composed by the Greeks. The story of raped Medusa that people commonly call Greek in our time, was actually written by a Roman. The original story, which says nothing of rape or punishment, was written by the Greek Hesiod.

This is also not a modern change to Hellenism either. Greeks were not forced to accept a given story. Historically, it's accepted that around the time of the Hellenistic Era, the myths as literal facts began to waiver as a concept. 

But considering people like Plato and Sokrates, I think it began much sooner than that. Those men clearly believed in the Greek Gods but were also philosophers and not necessarily mythologists. They wrote about people's experiences with the Gods instead of taking written myths and saying, "Here's the 100% truth."

Hellenic religion can be hard to understand, but if you ever manage to grasp the core, it'll make perfect sense to you.

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

Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Have City Loyalty; Your Greek Ancestors Would Be Proud

There was no mortal establishment more important to an ancient Greek than their City State (Polis). It was not only their place of residence, but their nationality and the identity of their particular part of Hellenic religion. 

Someone from Athens or Sparta would have called themselves Athenian or Spartan, not Greek in the sense of an all in one national people. In fact, Athenians and Spartans would have probably taken grave offense if you had called them the same people.

To an ancient Greek, cities also didn't have to be highly populated. In modern America, we call locations with only a few thousand people villages, but the Greeks would have considered them cities still. While places like Athens eventually boasted huge numbers, many cities had at, under or a little over 5,o00 people. And so my location (Machesney Park, Illinois), which houses well over 20,000, would certainly meet the definition.

Yesterday as I was driving home through Rockford and back into the Park, I thought on things I wanted to buy, and although I was several miles from home, I wanted to try there first, because I like keeping as much of my commerce as possible in the place where I reside. So I took the extra miles for my City, because that's what a Hellenist should do.

Since I set up my temple in Machesney, I've become increasingly involved in the City's politics and services. I've even considered running for office, but never actually have. The national identity, and even state identity stage, is of course very important, but your City literally hits home. It's where you spend most of your time, where you experience your love life, home, career and where you pray to your Gods.

You may not realize, but your City is of the most importance, because whatever happens there, has the greatest chance of happening to you as well. If the economy tanks, you will feel the bankruptcy. If crime spikes, you may need a few more locks. If the environment isn't kept clean, it could come out of your faucet or garden. 

If something, good or bad, happens in a City or State 2,000 miles away, you wouldn't even know it if not for the news. But if it happens where you live, the ripples are on their way to you. 

Therefore, make your City good and protect it from the bad. Stand up for her and her people. Run for office, go to the Council meetings, voice your concerns, write your representatives, get involved in community projects, spend your money at City businesses, and something else you may not consider, be kind to your fellow citizens. The more supported and happier a people are, the better their City will do.

You don't have to be the federal President or join the Marine Corps to serve. The opportunity to be of invaluable service is before each and every one of us right now, by the simple fact that we live there.

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

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Riace Bronzes: A Hellenist On The Unsolved Mystery

Most people have probably already seen these two statues, but know them by sight only, because there are no other details, not even that modern archaeologists can tell. No one knows who the statues depict or how they even ended up where they were found. 

For those who may not know, The Riace Bronzes refers to two magnificent bronze statues, believed to have been made in Attika or Argolis in the 5th Century BCE, and somehow ended up at the bottom of Italian waters in a place called Calabria. The pieces are not only notable because of their mystery, but because of their amazing precision and detail to the, apparently, human makeup. 

When the Greek Reporter released a recent article on the topic, it grabbed my interest because I love historical mysteries, not to mention that I am a devoted Hellenic Polytheist.

The first question would be, if the statues were made in Attika or Argolis, how or why did they submerge off the coast of Italy? Let us consider that the 5th Century BCE was the era in which the Parthenon was built. So there were magnificently well known artists in that area during that period, who could have been commissioned by people outside the region to make statues or buildings for them. 

We must remember that the most famous artist of the Parthenon was formerly the artist of the statue of Zeus at Olympia, which was one of the Wonders of the Ancient World. He had been called on, or hired, by Pericles for the Athenian Akropolis.

Even today, the best way for an artist to make a living is to find patrons. Without people who admire and are willing to buy your work, you travel the road of the starving artist. It's very well possible that these statues could have been made in Attika to be shipped to people or cities in other parts of the Greek world, and either fell overboard or went down with a sinking ship. 

They were obviously foundered while on the way to their location. People don't normally order expensive bronze statues only to throw them in the ocean. So although they were found near Calabria, we can't confirm that's where they were headed. Nevertheless, somewhere in the Western Greek World around that region is a safe bet.

Ancient Greeks began settling in this Italian area as far back as the 8th Century, which means the patrons, or whoever ordered the statues, were likely of Greek descent or at least had an admiration for Greek culture.

But who are the individuals depicted? I would theorize Greek Heroes. While Greeks settled in this area much later than the Heroic Age, Heroes of Greece were believed to have traveled to the area long before. Odysseus, and very notably Diomedes who commanded at least 80 ships in the Trojan War. 

After the war, He exiled Himself into Italy for fear of his life and even founded cities there, one of which is called Arpi, which is only around 3 hours away from Calabria's region itself. Who's to say that at least one of the statues didn't depict Diomedes and wasn't going to Arpi? Two perfectly depicted human images traveling together, I'd say there's a good chances we are looking at Heroes. Which ones, though, sadly remains unknown. But let's look upon the genius of the ancient Greek mind and marvel at what we do know about them.

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

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.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Christianity Trembles Before The Pythia


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

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

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

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

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

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Shotgun Wedding That Started A Holy War

In the name of liberty, to Apollon's temple once again! 

The bones of the first two sacred wars were now lying still in the soil, but as has been said, only the dead have seen the end of war. 

Historians would more than likely conclude that the conflict had been brewing for a while, but this part of the story starts on the day of a wedding at the sanctuary. A father by the name of Crates became outraged, to say the least, perhaps even insane when his soon-to-be son in law Orsilaus got cold feet and cancelled the marriage. Not only did the father have the groom executed, he also murdered the groom's family members right in the sacred areas of Delphi itself, which was the worst religious offense. The fact that the father supported Theban domination at Delphi and Orsilaus supported Phocis, probably did not aid in resolving tension between the families either. Some say the execution and murders likely had political ends as well as revenge. We will remember that in the last Sacred War, Phocis remained in control of Delphi, and the power struggles between the Cities were far from over.

As punishment for the pollution of murder in a sacred area, Crates and his family were faced with heavy fines, and the feud between Thebes and Phocis over Delphi would only intensify from this point. It all came to a head when the League of Delphi, who has been victorious in the past wars, came to support Theban power, and Phocis, unlike in the last Sacred War, was losing strength and support fast. 

At a meeting between the League and Phocis, which no doubt included talks about the actions of Crates against Osrilaus, the Phocians found themselves to be charged with basically the same thing Crates had been convicted of, impiety, blasphemy, sacrilege, etc. Phocis faced heavy fines as a result. Phocis, however, refused to bow to the League or the emerging Theban power, but at the same time, knew that defiance would inevitably lead to physical confrontation. Therefore, they attempted to end another war before it began. In 356 BCE they conquered Delphi. However, they surely knew that this was not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. If they had expected Greece to remain passive, they were wishful thinkers.

That summer, the League forces reunified, retook Delphi, and dethroned Phocis from its position of supremacy. Because of their eventual defeat, and probably their desire to remain important at Delphi, they began to comply with the original demands of the League. But the Third Sacred War was far from even a remote close.

In 355 BCE, the League decided to punish Phocis even more for their actions one year prior and attacked them with military force. The conflict was apparently too much for some of the Phocian leaders to handle, as their General committed suicide and even his replacement was killed in action. Nevertheless, Phocis was determined to take the war to whatever ends necessary to win. They robbed the temple's treasury and broke down valuable metal objects they could find in the sanctuary. This resulted in the immense loss of much of Delphi's history, story and economic stability. The theft was, in large part, to fund their army, but it probably also struck a blow to the spirit of the City, or so they might have thought. Religious work and consultations of the Oracle went on uninhibited.

As the fourth year of the war came in, it was clear that it was only a matter of time before Phocis collapsed, both from bankruptcy and military setbacks. However, a friend of Delphi to the far north would be the one to put the final nail in the coffin: Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. He had received word from the League and was asked to intervene on their behalf, which he did because of his dealings with and great respect for Delphi. By 346, Phocis was not only thrown completely out of the temple and sanctuary, but banned from having anymore influence over it. Even what remained of the Phocian City State was divided up into small neighborhoods, probably an effort by the League and Philip to ensure they could never again unify in power. Finally, Phocis was forced to pay monetary compensation for all they had destroyed and defiled. 

Delphi emerged the victor once again, although they could never get back the originality of their geographical glory. What had been destroyed, was destroyed. But if there's one thing to always remember about ancient Greeks, it is that they will press on despite any obstacles. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

First Sacred War 

Second Sacred War

Source: Scott, Michael, Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World, Princeton Publishing, 2014.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Holy War That Shook Ancient Greece To The Core

As we saw in the First Sacred War, the victory of the League of Delphi resulted in the destruction of the town occupying its harbor and the restoration of Apollon's Temple. Delphi had won her first holy conflict, but it would be only the beginning of religious and economic fights over the center of the Greek world. 

Athens has always taken powerful and pivotal roles in ancient Greek history, and even today they hold tremendous influence as the capital of modern Greece and the most populated City of the nation. Although, we must remember that in ancient times, Greece or Hellas was not a unified land. Each City State had its own government, laws and religious observances. In the decade of the 440s BCE, the imperial power of the City of Athens began to flex its muscle into central Greece, and the fact that Delphi was there did not go unnoticed, neither by Athens or its biggest rival City, Sparta.

Not only had Athens spent a lot of time, money and effort dominating the Delphic sanctuary with their own dedications and even a treasury whose ruins still stand today, but Athens also started to control and influence all the areas around or within proximity of Delphi, and the people who would strike this match were the Phocians. Phocis was a central region of Greece in which Delphi resided, and the people wanted to incorporate it into their jurisdiction, probably not only because of the influence it held over the Greek world, but the immense amount of wealth that was accumulating there. But it appeared as though the Phocians were not strong enough to do it on their own. They managed to enlist the powerful aid of Athens in removing the independence of Delphi.

Sparta had frequently consulted the Oracle of Delphi and had begun establishing their presence in the sanctuary. They did not like the fact that Athens was literally the master of the Temple and the City, so they decided to send troops to overthrow the Phocian control and return Delphi to its full independent state in 449 BCE. Sparta succeeded and Delphi was again ruled by Delphi alone, which the people of the City and Temple were extremely grateful for. They even erected dedications to the Spartans for their liberty. 

However, the victory was brief. Two years after the Spartans left, Athens sent its troops under the command of Perikles and restored Phocian rule, establishing a tug of war in central Greece. But by 445 BCE, independence was again won by Delphi, noting the fact that Athens had to eventually turn its attention fully to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War by 431. Athens, at that point, simply did not have the time or power to keep Delphi locked, and would end up losing the war to Sparta after nearly 30 years of brutal fighting. Further conflict would not return to the City of Delphi for around 100 years later, what would come to be known as the Third Sacred War. For the time being, Delphi would once again remain a free State.

Read my post on the First Sacred War here. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Sources

Scott, Michael, Delphi, A History of the Center of the Ancient World, Princeton Publishing, 2014.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Massachusetts School Bans Odyssey Because Of "Sexism and Hate," Proving How Little They Actually Know About It

The declining intellect of some members of the human race never surprises me in this day and age. A Massachusetts school has actually banned The Odyssey because it teaches "sexism, racism, ableism, antisemitism, and violence." Good Gods, I don't even know where to start, but I'll try, because I'm a Hellenist of 10 years who has actually read the works of Homer and studies ancient Greek religion and civilization. The first thing these historically illiterate people need to understand is that Homer was not merely a Poet to the ancients, He was history. To them, He was simply reciting things that had happened long ago, not advocating a political or social position. It would be like accusing someone who writes a US history book of being sexist, racist, or whatever it may be. 

Claim 1: The Odyssey is sexist. 

False. The Odyssey holds Goddesses and mortal women to some of the highest levels of honor, power, virtue, wisdom and nobility. Without Athena, Odysseus and His son would not have been safe from the suitors. In the beginning, Athena even makes a plea for Odysseus to Zeus, showing how valuable it was to have the favor of female Divinity. If it hadn't been for Penelope's persistence and dedication, Ithaca might have been lost. Without Nausicca, Odysseus may have died before even reaching home. Or perhaps you might think the story is somehow sexist because men at times encounter female opponents or villains. But this is a huge fallacy, especially considering that there are many female Heroes, and male villains as well such as the Cyclops and the suitors who are depicted with great disgrace. At this point, you're finding sexism only because you desire to.

Claim 2: The Odyssey is racist.

Have you ever even read the first book? At the beginning of the story, Poseidon is away delighting with the Ethiopians, a race different than that of the Greeks. So let's put this into perspective. One of the greatest Gods of the caucasian Greeks leaves Greece to go feast and celebrate with the black Ethiopians, and this is supposed to signal racism. In what reality? Odysseus travels to many foreign lands of people different than the Greeks, where He often receives their aid and protection. Sometimes, people in The Odyssey even sacrifice to foreign Gods when they are in foreign lands to gain divine favor outside of their own culture.

Claim 3: The Odyssey supports ableism. 

What shall we say of the idea that abled people are more favored than disabled people in The Odyssey? I would imagine it thinks disabled people can be very capable, since at the end, Odysseus, in the form of an elderly wobbling man, outdid and defeated the younger, stronger suitors in the bow contest, and then killed them all. So the allegation that The Odyssey "doesn't like disabled people," is an invention at worst, and out of context at best.

Claim 4: The Odyssey is Antisemitic. 

The largest culture closest to the Jewish people in The Odyssey would be the Phoenicians, who were a semitic speaking people. While they resided in Israeli territory, they in fact had trade and influence all over the Mediterranean. Hardly something you would expect from people who were allegedly hated by the Mediterranean at the time, but there is something vastly important to consider. They were not enemies of Odysseus. They were friendly, helpful and essential to Odysseus completing His journey. In fact, in Book 8, Odysseus blesses them by saying, "The Gods shower down their grace upon these people, so that no evil dwell among them forever."  Odysseus bears no ill will toward the Phoenicians, but in fact is grateful for their presence. Some might even argue that the Phoenicians would not qualify as Jewish people, since their king Alcinous prayed to a Greek God after the blessing of Odysseus was given and encouraged his people to do the same: "Herald, stir the mixing bowl and carry drink to the entire hall, that our dispatching the stranger to his land may be with prayer to Zeus the Father."

The antisemitism that's allegedly in the story was, in fact, pulled out of someone's butt in the year 2020 and placed there. If anyone can locate a section in The Odyssey that is blatantly antisemitic, please post it in the comment section and we will examine it. 

Claim 5: The Odyssey is violent.

Violence is part of the nature of the universe, and part of human nature when necessary. Get over it. Sometimes violence is needed to create, build and preserve. You think the Earth came into being peacefully? You think there were no violent events? What of the United States that gives you the freedom to speak against literature you dislike? You think we maintained our way of life through campfire songs? Get real. Teaching children that there's no such thing as violence is to make them ill-prepared for the real world. It may be unfortunate, but sometimes violence is necessary. On a side note, you know other books and stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, that are violent? Harry Potter, but even with the immense violence and the clear transphobic attitude of JK Rowling, I bet they are still on the shelves of every public school library. 

In conclusion, yes, it is true that in parts of ancient Greece (not all), women were not equal to men. Although they were highly revered and privileged in Sparta, a kingdom which also appears in The Odyssey. But it's also true that women were not equal to men for most of American history as well. So are you going to ban US history books? And what of the violence? You'll have to ban US history for that as well. 

Disabled people in ancient Greece, unlike in other parts of the known world, could become valuable members of society, such as Seers. Some cultures, notably the Abrahamics, wouldn't even let disabled or deformed people sacrifice in their temples or at their altars because of their disabilites or deformities. The Greeks weren't that ignorant. And as said before, the Greeks routinely interacted with the many races and cultures around them. They traded with them, learned from them, and made friendships and alliances. This is not the conduct of racism or antisemitism. 

There is not, nor ever will be, such a thing as a perfect history, culture or people. You're going to end up banning every book known to humankind. The point of history is to learn, but this is the blatant erasing of it.

Update - Apparently the book hasn't actually been banned, there has simply been discussion of it, but nonetheless, it was strong enough to create news headlines, and accusations that should be addressed. 1/5/2021.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Work Cited: The Odyssey, translated by Laurence of Arabia aka T.E. Shaw.