Showing posts with label piety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label piety. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Divinity in Daily Life: Anger and Frustration

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

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

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

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

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.