Showing posts with label mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mythology. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Palace Of Odysseus FOUND At Last!


When the Greek Reporter released an article this week about modern Greeks having Mycenean DNA, it made me think about the elusive Odysseus and the search for Him that has been by far one of the hardest.

But a few years ago, I became fascinated by the quests of modern adventurers like the late Tim Severin who proved the voyage of Jason possible, and then I moved on to the geographical research into Homeric Ithaka. Like Severin, I refused to accept the analysis of "myth busters," mainly because they've been proven fools numerous times. I was not content with the conclusion that Homer's Odyssey describes an island civilization that didn't exist. Because the problem with this analysis is that Homer's world was not set in stone, but one forever in motion due to earthquakes. Even Troy was only accepted as factual when Schliemann dug it up from the earth and matched it to Homer's descriptions. And Schliemann, among others, also visited Ithaka during his time as an archaeologist and mythologist. Not only were coins discovered depicting Odysseus, but a sanctuary to Apollon from 1,400 BCE, before the Trojan War (the specific worship of Apollon on Ithaka is mentioned in Homer). But of course, evidence of life on the island goes all the way back to 3,000 BCE, with findings that prove Mycenean civilization was there at one time. So there is no debate whatsoever that Ithaka was notable during the Iliad Era. 

It was perhaps only a matter of time before we either found the location of Odysseus' home or declared it lost forever. Indeed, Greece has always been a very seismic region, especially on the islands. Sometimes earthquakes completely wiped out the town or village and sent part of it plunging into the sea. Some things from Homer may be unfindable simply because they were destroyed not only by the Christian church, but through natural movement and erosion. I suppose I've always been fascinated by Odysseus and Ithaka because The Odyssey was my first taste of ancient Greece when my English high school class watched the film. I was captivated at that point. I even dressed up like Odysseus during Hero Day, one of the days held during School Pride Week. In truth, I never doubted the story for a minute. I always believed it.

For a long time, Odysseus' palace remained the only Homeric royal residence that had not been located. But by 2018 and on into today, it has been declared found by archaeologists on Ithaka. The Greek government was so sure of this that the Prime Minister sent 120,000 Euros to continue funding the excavations. The large building found in Agios of Ithaka has been confirmed to be a Mycenean complex, which existed at the time of Odysseus' rule and fits perfectly with Homeric details. The archaeologists and professors responsible for the find are not leaving it to mere interpretation either. They believe it proves Odysseus was real. The final piece of the palace puzzle has now fallen into place. Homer is history. With so much discovery and truth of the ancient stories, and now one more added to the pile, one may wonder how long it will take before the Greeks realize where they truly come from.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sources

Picture: Fresco of a Mycenean Woman, 1,300 BCE. Image is in the public domain in the United States because it is PD-Art and the copyright term therein has expired 100 years after the author's death.

Article 1 (Ithaka Archaeology)

Article 2 (Excavation of Odysseus' Palace)

Google (Palace Landmark and Visitation)

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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Is Giant DNA Still With Us Today?

Robert Wadlow and His Father, before 1937

As far back as ancient Greece herself, there have been stories of giants who walked the Earth, made trouble for smaller people, and even unsuccessfully warred against the Gods. While people today scoff at the idea as a mere fairytale or a story invented to make kids go to bed, I've taken time to do my own brainstorming as a mythologist on the topic, and I have developed a theory to present. Generally put, the stories of giants are not false, incorrect or misinterpreted.

Let's begin by examining the average height of an ancient Greek male, which was 5'7". Even today in America, that has only increased by 2 inches. Six footers and above like myself, are not the norm. However, we also know that there have been extremely rare cases of people who have grown to extraordinary size and height, such as Andre the Giant and Robert Wadlow, Andre being 7'4" and Wadlow 8'11", and from my own state of Illinois. 

These incredibly large people achieve their status not through a fairytale, but hard genetics. Both men had what is called gigantism, which is the result of abnormal or very overactive hormones and glands. And here's the kicker about Wadlow; at the time of his death, they could not conclude that he had reached his maximum growth. That's right, it is possible that he could have gotten even bigger. He also possessed amazing strength, perhaps the kind that would have been used to help build what we know as the Cyclopean Walls.

An average person looking up at these colossal people would certainly think of them as what they literally are, giants. Because these conditions of great size are science, what if it is, in fact, the rare DNA of ancient giants, that continues to sometimes be handed down through the human line? People today think of giants as those who reach to the clouds, and are even monsters, but that doesn't have to be the case. To me, there is no question as to whether giants existed. We have seen them with our very eyes.

Our ancient past isn't as distant as we have been led to believe, nor are the old stores as far fetched as we have been taught by the modern education system.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Sources: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wadlow

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Fire Didn't Raise No Fool

Prometheus gave humans fire in order to advance our minds, that is what the ancient Greeks believed. Humans were made last, and there was nothing left to give us in the way of natural weapons or abilities, and so the Gods gave us an amazing mind, that we could be superior to all the animals around us. The beginning of that development was the gift of fire that the Titan blessed us with. While most people of our modern Age may think nothing of the story outside of a cultural worldview long passed, science proves that it's actually true. As with mostly all the Myths, our educational system of today leads us to discount rather than examine them.

Prehistoric man did indeed have fire, and we now know that because they had fire and were able to cook with it, the human brain grew. Because of the fact that food became more digestible, far more nutrients went into the body as opposed to earlier primates who couldn't use the tool. In short, it is a literal fact that the gift of fire advanced the human mind. In the broader view of humanity, it literally gave a rocket boost to human evolution itself. Fire later became used in sacrifices and was considered a sign of the presence of a God. Fire, when big enough, would also keep nightly predators away, and so it became known as that which drives away evil. 

Of course, the ancient Greeks had no knowledge of this prehistoric and modern science, so how did they know? Who told them? The Higher Powers and Intelligences of the universe, whom all humans have an inherent connection and quest for because of schema, created that realization. Simply put, the Gods told them. Today we are often raised and trained to be afraid of fire. I remember when I was growing up, just lighting a stove scared or made me very nervous. We should most certainly be careful with it, because after all, it did come from Powers beyond our control, but I think that the more we grow accustomed to the natural world and our natural selves, we understand the Divinity and wonderfulness of it all. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Greek Sets Medusa's Story Straight With New York

I'm astounded at the idiocy. That was my conclusion when I saw the latest political and social statue to be unveiled in Manhattan recently, sparking news coverage from the New York Post and other outlets. A statue dubbed Medusa was erected, with a sword in one hand and the severed head of a man in the other, dubbed Perseus. This design, apparently, was done to represent the Me Too sexual victims movement. As there are those of us, many of us, who still worship the Greek Gods and follow ancient Greek religion, this story naturally made its way around online Hellenic groups for all to see, including myself. At first, I thought about ignoring it, but later realized that something so outrageous in so many ways, warrants a response from a Hellenist as well as an American man.

I've done posts on the story of Medusa in the past, mainly concerning the idea of the vilified rape victim she is often portrayed as, pointing out that so many people don't realize that this version of the story isn't Greek at all, but Roman. It was not said that she was turned into a Gorgon. It says she was born among the Gorgons, of which there were three. They were winged spirits. In Hesiod, it never says she was raped by Poseidon, or raped at all. It never even says the sex took place in a temple, which was said by some to be the reason for her punishment. It says in Theogony that Poseidon laid with her in the spring flowers. That's it. Then it immediately talks about her destruction by Perseus. There is not a single word of rape, a temple, or being unjustly punished for it. Again, I will say, Medusa was NOT a rape victim in Greek myth, which by the artist's own admission, is what the statue is based on in Manhattan. I would also like to add that Gorgons aren't always portrayed as destructive or chaotic in Greek religion. Their images are used as well for protection. Alexander the Great wore one on His armor. 

The second issue concerning this new statue is the obvious hatred it's trying to raise toward men and causing division instead of unity, which is something we don't need more of right now. I find the statue's image to be a promotion of sexism, just the other way around, especially since the victim was clearly killed on the basis of gender and Medusa was not. The artist claims the statue was built and placed in this area to honor the destruction of the sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. So the question begs, why not his head in her hand instead of Perseus or a man in general? Essentially saying that men are monsters is the product of simpleton ignorance, and not a productive way to address the gender and sex issues our society faces. This is unfortunately what has happened with this statue whether the creator intended it or not. I can only imagine the outrage if the genders of the statue were reversed. 

The bottom line is that it will only make people into enemies and spread resentment based on sex, which again, is the continuance of sexism in our society. While there was and is certainly a major problem with the way women are viewed and treated in our country, we must realize that each person is an individual in America. Generalization is dangerous, and has been the cause of every form of discrimination and oppression.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Sense of Faithful Fear

If you base your religion on the views of the ancient Greeks, there's no denying that Greeks do fear, as well as love, the Gods, but it's for a good reason and perhaps not in the way you think.

Firstly, any mortal who doesn't have some level of fear for a God, is foolhardy at best. Fear isn't something that is directly taught in Greek religion, it's simply there by nature. You should fear a God for the same reason you'd fear a bolt of lightning, or a raging sea, because they are more powerful than you and can wipe you from life in the blink of an eye. A God is also far wiser than yourself will ever be. Fear is the result of a recognition of superior power. It is the "right" kind of fear because it breeds humility and prudence. Without a good sense of these things, we may find ourselves in more trouble than we can get out of.

Fear does not mean you're not brave, strong or confident, there is simply a fine line between these things and arrogance and stupidity. For example, saving someone from drowning is brave, strong and confident, but swimming with sharks is stupid, and you will eventually become drive thru for a dinosaur. Fear is merely the recognition of your place and limitations, arrogance is a failure to do so. Now some people might ask me, "Didn't the Heroes do things that most people would have considered beyond human limitation?" Yes, they did, but they were sent by the Gods to do something that was possible. They also didn't sink in over their heads. In fact, the Gods routinely provided them with assistance so they wouldn't. Bellerophon couldn't have killed the Chimera without Pegasos (the horse of heaven). A Hero always knows, recognizes, and most importantly, accepts the difference between themselves and the Divine. Being an affront to the Gods is not what it means to be a Hero.

I find that a lack of fear and piety among Pagans can be an issue. I've seen Pagan writers call Gods "scoundrels," and Pagan worshipers call them "assholes." While it may be rare, it is certainly a real case. A mortal picking a fight with a God is idiotic at best. Probably the only reason they haven't punished those people is because of their forgiving nature, or they think there is something mentally wrong with that individual. At any rate, you're never going to gain the favor of a God by insults, arrogance, or impiety. Even if they don't punish you, they'll probably turn away. Would you help someone who insulted you? Probably not, you likely wouldn't even give them the time of day until they shaped up and treated you with proper respect.

The only time fear is wrong is when it's unwarranted. Fear the Gods because you know they can destroy you, but love them because you know they're kind enough not to, and you will find wisdom. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dualism In Heroism

Readers may look upon my work concerning Heroes and wonder, "Wasn't that Hero actually worshiped as a God?" Indeed, some Heroes did become Deities, such as Theseus and Herakles. Alexander the Great was also worshiped as a God after His death. So why then do we still refer to these men as Heroes? How can one be both a Hero and a God? 

In ancient Greece, Heroes who became Gods could find themselves being revered as both, a theological dualism. For example, there were religious establishments for Herakles as a Hero, and other establishments for Herakles as a God. He was worshiped as both. Likewise, Heroes like Theseus and Alexander can be worshiped as both.

The question then begs, how can they manifest as both? If you ascend from one level to a higher one, you are no longer on that lower level. So how, then, is one both a Hero and a God at the same time or at different times? A God, or even simply someone who has Ascended to a higher level than that of ordinary mortals, is not subject to the same laws or limitations that we are in the flesh. Within the Ascended Ones lies the power to manifest everything that composes their Being. Just as a God or Hero has different epithets, so they can also have various manifestations at their choosing, and do so for many different reasons. For example, Theseus is a Hero, King, Avenger, Sailor, and a Democrat (meaning the founder and supporter of democracy). He turns His head in many different directions to complete Himself. Sometimes, we need a Hero to protect us, other times a God to lead us, although both can do either. Everyone who approaches the altar/shrine of a Hero or God, will be an individual. The Higher Ones know this fact, and therefore, come to each person as they can best understand and communicate, and in the way that can best address the supplications of the worshiper(s). 

We tend to place mortal questions of limitation upon immortal Beings, which is entirely unrealistic. Even after all of these centuries, there are still those among us who think the Gods are simply mortals with some super powers. This is not so, and I think that we will only begin to understand the true being of Divinity when we start realizing that Divinity is not mortal. Ancient Greek Divinity is so immensely vast and powerful, ever-reaching into any part of the universe it wishes, breaking any and all limitations, and transcending any barrier or border.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Learning From The Greek Heroes: Atalanta

Atalanta (Atalante in Greek), is the Heroine Huntress of Arcadia (Arkadia). From the time of Her birth, She was faced with hardship. Her father, wanting a boy or simply not wanting Her at all, threw Atalanta into the wilderness to die; he just left Her in the middle of nowhere. Artemis, being the Protectress of infants and children (namely young girls), found and cared for the baby. In some versions, Artemis sent a mother bear to save Atalanta's life. Others say hunters found and nursed Her into health. Either way, She escaped death by the blessing of the Gods, and because of this graceful act, She was Divinely favored. Growing into a powerful Huntress and servant of Artemis, She at first shunned men all together. In reality, why wouldn't She? The man who was supposed to have loved Her the most, threw Her away. Nevertheless, She later in life entered a foot-racing contest against potential suitors, all of which failed but one. He beat Her by throwing down golden apples, or in other words, Atalanta simply could not resist Her attraction to him, and to this man She eventually married and gave up Her chastity.

What is there to learn from Atalanta? For starters, sometimes I pray to Her against the "ruthlessness that has always plagued mankind." This ruthlessness I refer to in prayer is what happened to Her as a child. Still today, parents kill or abandon their unwanted children. It's something that has sadly always been with humanity, and if Atalanta teaches us anything it's that the Gods expect us to care for our children; it's our duty as decent human beings, and I pray that Atalanta, by the mighty power of Artemis, shows us the way.

Being a Huntress and a lover of the wild, Atalanta obviously had tremendous love and respect for nature; it was Her home. If anyone ever understood that humans are part of and dependent on nature and not separate from it, it was Atalanta. Without the wilderness, She would have known no place of being. She teaches us that, without nature, there is no us, and we need to always care for, protect and preserve it. 

Lastly, Atalanta, throughout most of Her life, was very much Her own independent person. She relied on Herself in many ways. Sometimes, that's what we have to do as well. We have to understand and harness our own inner strengths and abilities to get through life or to achieve our goals. We can't always expect others to be there, or things to be done for us.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Atalanta's Patronage
* Infants and children.
* Young girls.
* Orphans.
* Hunting.
* Wildlife.
* Forests.
* Foresters.
* Environmentalism.
* Exercise.

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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hidden Hellenic Secrets: The Mark of Poseidon's Trident

Like many other religions, Hellenism is filled with its mysteries, perhaps housing among the most of the world's religions. As a constant student of ancient Greece, and of course, a modern ancient Greek worshiper, I am always on the lookout for truths of our spirituality and people, things surfacing to show the powerful reality behind Hellenic Polytheism. Mostly all religions do this. Whether they have sacred artifacts, or like in this post, an actual imprint of a God's staff, the mysteries of the Divine are numerous, and I simply love exploring them. I am equally excited that you, the reader, have decided to join me on this particular exhibition.

We probably all know of the ancient Athenian myth concerning the contest between Athene and Poseidon, both Gods battling it out for control of the new city. Poseidon struck the earth with His trident to produce His gift to man (some say a horse, others a spring), and Athene then raised Her own (the olive tree). Athene's gift was determined to be the most useful and She was awarded the Patronage of Athens.

I've been reading a book recently called, The Parthenon Enigma, by Joan Breton Connelly. The Parthenon, as we all know, was the Temple of Athene that stood atop the Acropolis. I think it's important to remember, as well, that Connelly presents historical and unbiased research. She is a classical archaeologist, and gives very good information from what I can tell. On page 109 of her book, I found something extraordinary to say the least. Placing the contest between Athene and Poseidon on or near the Acropolis, she says that even now, an indention of a trident is visible in the bedrock below the Erechtheion temple (also on the Acropolis), marking the spot where the God hit the ground.

Since ancient times, this eternal scar upon the surface, left over from Poseidon's mighty staff, still speaks to us now of the wonder of the Gods. Certainly, it's no less than a holy place for Hellenists like myself. In school, many of us were taught a number of things about special places and objects concerning the world's religions, but how many of us were told where we could find the place where Poseidon struck the earth? The answer is, none of us. That is one of my main points in this post. Our modern society has only recently begun to treat Hellenism as a legitimate religion in the world. For years, we were blanketed with ignorance by the educational system, teaching us little to nothing about ancient Greek spirituality. Only when we reached adulthood and entered the religion, did we understand for ourselves the immense beauty, truth and magnificence of it. I'm not saying that the school system should teach a religion. I am saying that Hellenism should be included in teaching about the religions of the world. Teaching the facts of a religion is not the same as telling students what to believe or how to live. Furthermore, I want the educational system to treat Hellenic Polytheism as a legitimate religion the same as it would the mainstream belief systems.

As someone closely tied to the element of water, I am close to Poseidon, and consider Him one of my Patrons. But to read something this profound honestly gave me a new sense of holiness with my religion. In the past, I've even thought about writing a book concerning the truths and wisdom of Hellenism. I see such books on mainstream religions, but none on the ancient. That needs to change, and even if in a small sense, this publication in question concerning Poseidon has started to turn that tide. For us Hellenes, it speaks truth to the presence of our Gods, that they are here within the universe and the lives of mortals.

In closing, I hops this post gets people thinking and interested in studying the history of Hellenic religion and culture.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Source
Connelly, Breton Joan, The Parthenon Enigma, New York, Vintage Books, 2014. Print. (pp.109)

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.

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