Showing posts with label spirituality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spirituality. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2022

Defeat Bad Spirits & Negativity Like An Ancient Greek


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These simple measures and rites will help you in your daily life as a Hellenist.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Pythia Was An Oracle, Not A Psychic


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

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

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

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

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

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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

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

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Why Don't The Gods Talk To Us Like People Do?


The Gods have spoken to common man in many different ways down through the Ages, sometimes in forms contained in mystery. Even today, each individual can have their own unique way in which the Gods convey messages to them, and that particular method is appropriate for, and best understood by, that person. For me personally, the Gods normally respond to my prayers with answers that effect my emotions. For example, let's say I ask Athena for help in a legal matter (which thankfully I've only had to do once), or I pray to Hera for marriage counseling. They will answer by giving me a total bodily feeling. If things are going to be okay, to put it shortly, their presence will feel peaceful, happy, and relieving. Fortunately, I've never had a prayer answered to the contrary, at least not that I can recall at this time. When the Gods turn their attention to you, your mind and body feel it. 

The Gods spoke to ancient man much in the same way they speak to us today, through signs, omens, dreams, emotions, seers and oracles, each one possibly becoming a little more direct than the previous. If you know anything about the Oracle of Delphi, Apollon spoke through the voice of His Pythia to give advice to mankind, but even then it was very short and often encrypted (He likes to give us things to figure out for ourselves. He doesn't attempt to make our choices or live our lives for us). We may wonder why all this is the case. Certainly the Gods can do whatever they want, yet they do not stand before us and talk to us like our friends and family do on a daily basis. Why do they prefer natural, mental, emotional and spiritual communications? I start these kinds of discussions by saying that I am wise because I know that I don't have the answer. So that leaves us with philosophy and examination of the possibilities.

I would first entertain the idea that the Gods are indeed, or at least can be, directly around us, but we cannot generally see them because our eyes are not adjusted to the plane upon which they live. We know there is a reasonable possibility that other universes exist parallel to our own, yet we cannot see them in our bodily form (although some Gods, such as Helios the Sun and Selene the Moon, are exceptions, but they still don't come down and talk to us). Even in the universe we can perceive, there are signals, waves and lifeforms all around us at this very moment that our eyes cannot elevate or descend to. Nevertheless, these invisible things still have an impact on our universe, our world, and our lives. We can't see the forces moving things along, but they still do. We can't see all that exists, but they remain all the same. And if there are things we cannot see because our perception is limited, then certainly there are also things we cannot hear because of that shortcoming. Is it generally possible that we simply cannot see or hear the Gods with our mere physicality? If so, it may be why the Gods communicate with us through sights and sounds that we can perceive, or at least perceive more easily. 

Of course, the Gods can and have fully formed to people in the past, or have shown themselves to humans. There are always exceptions when the need has risen, but that's not normally how they interact with us on a regular basis.

The second possibility is that the Gods enjoy giving us a textbook of universal answers that we can always live by. For instance, "When you see me send the wind that way, when you see me make the animals do this, when you hear that sound, when you dream about that, when you feel that emotion, that's how you know." The Gods can speak to all of mankind in forms that are ultimate. In many ways, we've already come to understand and accept universal signs. We know to get inside when the clouds turn black, to plant only when we see the soil is fertile, and to listen to our instincts about other people and places. 

Additionally, some may even believe that it's not possible for our mortal bodies to stand in the full presence of a God, citing the version of the story of Zeus and Semele when Zeus reluctantly killed Semele because She was unable to withstand His radiance. I don't believe this, because it would be to say that the Gods can't contain themselves. But of course, I also admit that I know nothing as well. 

Finally, I'd say it's possible that the Gods don't usually come to us on our level because, unlike our friends and family, we are not their equals, nor do the Gods exist for our purposes. They answer our prayers, protect us, give us blessings and advice, and keep order in the universe, but they're not our coworkers or office party. Their positions are extremely sacred, royal, and hold responsibilities that we could not even begin to fathom. I delight in the simple fact that the Gods like, love and are intrigued enough by humans to give us as much of their blessings as possible.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

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.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Greeks Kept Plague Away Through Piety and Physicians

The ancient Greeks were no strangers to disease. In fact, no human culture ever has been. The Greeks knew that disease and disorders were an issue, which is why they had doctors and physicians. The ancient Greeks were the forefathers of modern medicine. They were also highly spiritual and pious people who often gave more to their Gods than they did to themselves, and it was no different when there was a virus going around. They used medicine, doctors, prayer and sacrifice to combat it. They did not think either method was a waste of time. Plato himself wrote about the success the Athenians once had in keeping infection out of their City through spiritual means in the Dialogue of Symposium. 

"I shall try to go through for you the speech about Love I once heard from a woman of Mantinea, Diotima - a woman who was wise about many things besides this: once she even put off the plague for ten years by telling the Athenians what sacrifices to make." 

Plato was not a writer of fiction. He recorded the actual events of his society and the people around him. The Greeks, for an ancient people, knew quite a bit about the medical field, but no matter how much knowledge they gained or philosophy they discussed, it never made their Gods irrelevant or unnecessary. In fact, any good thing that happened or was discovered, was naturally followed by thanks to a God or Gods for the success. They did nothing without their Gods. Or, in other words, they knew that without their Gods, they could accomplish nothing. 

Therefore, even now as we face another virus or plague, I don't think we should forget the importance of our spirituality and the salvation and care that it can bring to us. A while back, I was talking with a member of my temple who lives out of state. They claimed they contracted Covid19 and that Apollon instructed them on how to get rid of it. They have since made a full recovery. I note in this story that neither this person nor Apollon turned away from the medical field. In fact, Apollon IS the God of medicine. If we examine this person's story carefully, we see the hallmark of a Greek mindset, which is the combination of spirituality and science. Science is the pursuit of truth, and the Gods are the truth.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Work Cited: Plato Complete Works, edited by John M. Cooper, page 484, 201d.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

How Do I Tell If It's A God, Mental Illness or Something Else?

Throughout human history, and even today, the Gods speak to us in a variety of ways. But such a claim isn't always perceived in our time as being something normal, when in fact it very much can be. Many years ago when I began seeing a psychiatrist for my depression, I mentioned to her that the Gods give me comfort and that comfort helps me battle the depression. She wasn't hostile or disrespectful, although at one point during the conversation, she asked, "But you don't hear Gods talking to you and telling you to do things, right?" I replied no, because that was the truth. The Gods have never spoken to me in a human-like voice, as my wife or a friend would. The Gods have spoken to me through my emotions, instincts, dreams, and at times, omens. I think this is probably the way they communicate dominantly with most people. Can the Gods speak to us with a human-like voice? Of course, because they can do whatever they want, but perhaps these days they refrain from it because they don't want someone being locked up for insanity when they're not. In the old days, people understood that the Gods are real. Today, many people have been taught that there's no way a sane person could hear a Deity. It's just not the case, however rare it may be.

But what if someone does indeed hear voices talking to them, claiming to be Gods? And what if that person is of sound mind, or at least appears to be? What do we make of it? How do we know it's a God talking to us or if we may be having mental health issues? For that matter, what if it's neither? Is there something sinister, like a haunting or a spirit with negative intentions? To me, the answer is simple. If it's a God talking to you, they're not going to instruct anything bad or harmful, because the Gods are always good. The Gods aren't going to tell you to kill yourself, cut yourself, hurt another innocent person, or anything which is negative or filthy. Miasma (pollution) is not of the Gods.

I think back to the ancient proverb, "If the Gods do evil, they are not Gods." Meaning that if something or someone is telling you to do evil, or is doing evil, they are not Gods, even if they claim to be. So to my mind, that's how you know. It's understanding the difference between good and evil, negative and positive, and the nature of the Gods themselves. Therefore, if you do hear a voice(s) driving you to do the bad things I have talked about, you should probably seek mental healthcare and spiritual counseling from your clergy. A good dose of both will do wonders for you.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

What If Your Significant Other Is A Christian?

I got in my older chariot today, named Saturn, and dashed around the American Polis of Machesney Park, Illinois. I always love it whenever work or pleasure takes me to meet new people, see new places, and experience new things. During my outing, I happened to look on my phone and saw that someone I am connected to on Facebook, and who follows the old Gods like me, asked what they should do if their significant other is or wants to be a Christian. The person cited the many centuries of persecution that we have faced at the hands of the Christian church as a point of contentment. I thought about replying with a short comment through my phone, but later concluded that this question is something that, I think, requires a good, thought out response.

Perhaps I should start with the time that my wife and I first met and started living together. She was Wiccan at the time, and while I entertained Paganism and practiced Witchcraft, I was still a Christian theologically. That was my only view of deity. I would invoke Jesus, Mary and St. Michael, for instance, in my spells, and read the bible for incantations like Psalms. My wife, on the other hand, had nothing to do with any of it. Later on, through strong spiritual experiences, we both became the same pre-Christian religion, that being Hellenic Polytheism. Fortunately, the theological divide was very short lived. However, our love for one another never dissipated because I was Christian. The strength of a relationship is found in the bonds of commonality rather than the divisions of beliefs. In other words, if you have more in common with the person than the opposite, you shouldn't have a problem.

If your significant other is Christian, I would simply say this. Start by letting them have the same religious freedom that we demand for ourselves. Let them believe and worship however they want. So long as they are not disrespecting you or interfering with your own religious freedom, let them have their space the same as you would in any other situation that requires space. I've seen many couples who are Pagan/Christian and get along, apparently, just fine. You should also keep in mind that while it's true that the Christian church has persecuted and destroyed us for centuries, your significant other alone didn't have anything to do with that. It would be unjust to charge them with a crime they have not committed. 

However, the real problem may come if you have children with them. Anyone who is devoted to their religion, will likely want to raise their children in it as well. You're going to want to teach them ancient values and beliefs, and your significant other will want to teach them normally opposing ones. So before you create children, perhaps you should make sure you've worked out a compromise that can work for both of you. If you just jump into childbearing without first establishing an understanding, it will lead to serious conflict, most likely. You might even end up finding that the best course for both of you is to not have children at all. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mental Miasma Is Real

All religions, that I know of, have an emphasis on being clean and pure, especially before religious or spiritual activity. Even Christianity, the religion that is supposed to accept the dirtiest among us, often has holy water at the doors of its churches for people to use before they enter. Specifically in Hellenic Polytheism, we routinely practice purification not only of our clothes and bodies before rituals, but also of the altar, altar tools, and offerings themselves. We even clean our statues on a regular basis, sometimes ritually. Nothing is left to chance with negativity or impurity, because we believe that too much negativity or miasma (pollution) on something, in whatever form that pollution may be, can hinder one's connection with the Gods, if not disrupt it completely. This holds dire consequences in both the short and long term. In the short, it may obstruct your ritual activity. In the long run, it can have a profound impact on your relationship with the Gods and therefore your general feelings and attitudes in daily life. The good news is that miasma is normally easily remedied with simple purified sea or sea salt water and good hygiene. The only thing that would require higher measures would be unusual miasma like coming into contact with a dead body. In that case, you might want to use sulfur for purification along with the other elements. A good scrubbing with Lava soap might do the trick.

But I think there is another form of miasma that I myself have experienced, and that may be overlooked in some circles, and that's the pollution of the mind. Mental negativity on the quality of life is not just an opinion, it's scientifically documented. Think about it, the body cannot live without the mind. In fact, you cannot do anything correctly or productively without your brain. If it is in disrepair, you will be too, and the bad part is that a mind which has been damaged a lot or allowed to deteriorate, can take a little while to mend, although it's certainly possible to do so. So what do I mean by mental miasma? It is any ailment of the mind that causes you to lose connection with the Gods or Higher Powers in any way. This normally happens during prayers or rituals, but can impact you at any time. It's really a problem with people who have depression, anxiety or other mental problems, but it also consists of simple negative thoughts entering your consciousness during the given time period that disrupts your connection with the Gods. It can actually make you feel so terrible that you don't feel as if your prayers or rituals did anything, literally a feeling of nothing. It's the worst state you can find yourself in. 

In my own experiences, I have consistently recorded these negative impacts of mental pollution on myself. I have noted, for example, the difference in how I feel during a simple prayer when I have a positive vrs a negative mindset or attitude. The first thing I considered was the building up of negative energy and emotions over time, because these can have a lasting impact on the brain. If you're routinely pessimistic about life, hate people or the world, think negatively of yourself or others, or do things to others or yourself that are negative, that can infect your mind with enough negativity to divide your connection with goodness (the Gods). Or, simply not thinking rightly about the Gods, Higher Powers, or yourself can cause it, and I am not talking about your personal beliefs. I am referring to an attitude of pessimism toward the Gods. If you fear things such as, They aren't listening, they don't care, they don't like me, what if I am wrong or doing something wrong, etc. This will overwhelm you with negative feelings of the mind and body and you won't feel spiritual. Furthermore, if allowed to persist, this is how your mind will be conditioned to respond to all forms of spirituality at any time. You'll find yourself in constant combat for the right to simply be spiritual.

So, the question, is how do we curtail mental miasma? The answer is good news. Quite simply, don't be a negative person in your actions or thoughts, and when it comes time to do rituals or prayers, leave all else behind. In other words, focus and don't let go of it. If you feel it slipping away, just realign back to the former state. Think goodly about the Gods and yourself at all times. The Gods are good, they always do good, there's no evil in them, life is beautiful, I am a good person, I can achieve, etc. These self-statements are typically called affirmations, but depending on how badly your mind has been polluted, you may have to do them several times during the day instead of just once or at a certain time. The important thing to always do when reciting these affirmations is to hold firm. Never let them slip away into any form of doubt or fear, because then all will be lost and you'll have to refocus. Just literally shut it all out, give it no consideration or thought at all. It can be a battle, but eventually, your mind will recondition itself and a positive feeling will happen naturally for you.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

If you enjoy my blog posts and writings, please keep in mind that I am the author of several Pagan and fantasy books that are sold at very low prices in the right hand column of my website, some of which have been sold around the globe and loved by all who read them.
------>

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gods As Universal Consciousness

As a writer and a theologian, I never quite know when something as simple as a general conversation or experience will give me something to write and philosophize about, but today was such a time, and it involved one of my favorite Gods. 

My wife and I were discussing statues and we got onto the topic of Poseidon's trident. Talking about all of its different functions from spearing fish to ruling the sea currents and creating water sources entirely, she asked me, "How would you reconcile the belief in earthquakes with modern science?" In words words, "How do I accept the fact that quakes are caused by plates rubbing together and pair it with the idea that Poseidon causes them by striking the ground with His trident?"

My response was rooted in the belief that the Gods are everywhere and in everything, as the ancients also believed. "Do I believe that there's someone standing there who looks like me, hitting the ground with a trident when there's an earthquake?" I replied. "No, I think that the movement of the plates is the movement and consciousness of Poseidon in the Universe itself." 

To me, the Gods exist, at least in one form, as the consciousness of all that was, is and ever will be. That's why I don't even consider them to only be Gods of Earth, but of every other planet, galaxy, and all other lifeforms out there. For example, I don't consider Artemis to be the Goddess of only Earth's moon, but of every moon. The Gods are all that is, and their consciousness, direction, intelligence and Divine Powers give existence and place to everything; the sun and moon, Earth and sky, water and fire, love and sex, wind and rain, freedom and justice, all things possess their minds, bodies and powers. That's why, for example, it makes perfect sense for people like us to consider the sun a God, while other people may think us primitive or even crazy. When you understand that the Gods are literally the beating hearts and blood flows of the Universe, you begin to see them everywhere and recognize the fact that they are there.

As for Poseidon's trident, that is also part of His embodiment. I don't mean to say that He is a trident, but that the weapon and staff is something through which His power and consciousness flows. So, in a way, yes, He is striking the ground with His trident, but in a way that people may not have yet considered. Perhaps the trident may be, at least as one manifestation, His channel, His key to the realms of the Universe over which He rules. All things have a path or opening which lead to them. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Religion Is A Rescue, Not A Downfall

Most people in the world are religious, or are at least theists, in one form or another. In any case, spirituality itself is certainly a dominant, and natural human trait. We are born with schema, the natural mental construct of looking for patterns and meanings, and therefore Higher Powers. We are born looking for Gods and Goddesses, born with an inherent desire to find Deity. Religion is simply a system established around any one of those given pursuits. Like all good things, religions can be perverted, but in its correct self, being religious, spiritual, and knowing Deity is one of the greatest blessings ever given to humanity.

Those who hate religion will often paint any wrongdoing by religious people on the biggest billboard they can find. However, they never talk about all the people who turned from suicide or crime because they found religion. They refuse to bring to light those religious people who created the greatest civilizations in history, and those people who were among the greatest humanitarians and peace-loving individuals in the world. They don't talk about the fact that the founders of the sciences that we still practice today were theists. Sometimes, they won't even mention that the vast majority of religious people are in fact good and upstanding. There's a reason they don't bring up any of it, because this hate, like any form of hatred, is about promoting an agenda of prejudice and bias.

I'll tell anyone truly, if the Gods and their religious and spiritual principles hadn't been in my life all these years, I don't know if I'd still be alive or living in any form of stability. Hellenism has instilled an immense sense of piety, honor, and morality that I didn't have beforehand, no matter how many other positive influences were around me. There was a time in the past when I didn't see anything wrong with lying to people or cheating them. I didn't feel any reason to have an inherent respect for other people or even their properties and rights. Like some, I thought, It's only wrong if you get caught or It doesn't matter as long as it's not happening to me, or if I benefit from it.

I came to realize through the Gods and their guidance that it does matter if you live your life without honor and dignity, that it does make a difference how you treat others and if bad things become of those around you, not only because they are humans too, but because the same might happen to you if its allowed to continue. It matters because attitudes like mine were not only those that destroy the person holding them, but also are the ones that allow all injustices to flourish in the world. How we live as human beings will determined ourselves and our planet. There are some universal rights and wrongs, whether we like it or not, and connecting with Higher Powers or higher purpose helps bring it all into perspective and understanding, because the Highers are the ultimate orders, as in the stable structure and balance. That's why being religious has brought so many people back from chaos.

Even the simple peace that being Hellenic has given me has allowed me to keep up successful battles against things that commonly destroy humans, like depression and fear. Without my Gods and my religion, I'd have nothing to turn to for supreme trust and power. Where would I be? I don't want to wonder.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Day The Gods Wiped My Slate Clean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, May 18, 2018

When The Gods Hear You, You Know It

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

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

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

In the Goodness of the Gods.
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, July 14, 2017

If The Gods Care, Why Is My Life So Hard?

Why do bad things happen to me if there are Gods who care?

It's one of the oldest questions in the book, even asked by some Hellenists today who are having a difficult time with life. I by no means pretend to have the answers to life and the universe. Sometimes, the wisest thing you can say is, "I don't know." But in my own life, I have had no shortage of bad or seemingly bad experiences and tough times throughout all of my years on this Earth.

I was born into poverty, physically and mentally abused growing up, bullied in school, failed grades, lost several close relationships, lost jobs, worked ones I despised, lost my vehicles, had a son born severely premature, and ended up losing everything I had ever known living in North Carolina all together when my home was taken from my family and I left the state to pursue a better life. For years, I also suffered from severe depression and anxiety disorder. Only recently have I found medication and therapy that have quelled the issues. So do not take me for someone who has had a good life and is trying to tell others in bad situations that life's not so bad. I'm not the born-billionaire telling the trailer park that they can make it if they try. Believe me, I have had no easy life. Quite likely, I understand what you're going through. 

But I also still sincerely believe in and love the Gods. No matter how hard things have gotten, I have never cursed or turned on them. Ever. And what I've noticed is that things progressively improved for me because I am always inviting in the blessed presence of the Gods. We don't worship the Gods because they need or demand it. We don't do it to satisfy them. They can get along perfectly fine without us. We connect with the Gods to bring bliss into our lives. The more we do things to take ourselves out of the presence of the Gods, the worse things get. I know this also from personal experience. As I have said before, I used to be an extremely negative and angry person, and bad things kept happening to me left and right, because that negativity and hate was keeping me out of the presence of the Gods who are always positive and joyous.

When looking at our lives, I think the first question we have to ask ourselves is, What is bad? Often, what we may perceive as bad or a struggle is actually working out for a greater good. It can be impossible to see at times, but it may indeed be the case. When I left North Carolina, for years I thought I had made the worst mistake of my life. And indeed, I asked the Gods, Why did you let this happen to me? But now, the reality of my family's situation has been made clear. If we had remained where we were, my son and our family would have greatly suffered financially and in the educational system. North Carolina jobs don't pay as well, there's basically no protection for workers and minorities, and healthcare access can be a stand-up comedy. The educational system also wouldn't have worked as well with my son's special needs. Living in Illinois has brought us a great deal of help and opportunity that we would have otherwise probably not had. So while my situation for many years seemed like a terrible disaster, it was actually for the best that we went through that journey.

Speaking of journeys brings me to my next discussion on the matter, purpose. Aristotle said that nature does nothing without need, and the Gods control nature. Therefore, we can also say that the Gods do nothing without need. In giving us life, they gave it for a reason. In our struggles as well as our triumphs, we find meaning, purpose and wisdom in life. If the Gods just gave us every single thing and didn't allow us to actually strive and experience, there would be no purpose to human life, and thus, we ourselves would have no purpose. The things we experience in life are part of that journey and that purpose. It's like when we go through schooling. Some classes are easy, others are very hard, but they all teach us what we need to know, and we are the better for it. My experiences in life have helped me understand what it means to be poor, to feel empathy for people who are abused and mistreated, to seize opportunity, and to be grateful for the things I have instead of squandering them. Had I grown up rich and privileged, there's no way I could have possibly understood those struggles or the people who go through them. It has actually made me wiser and more humane.

As humans, we are very reactive creatures, and we're so quick to categorize things into joy and sorrow, success and failure, or good and bad. Because it's so easy for us to seek the extremes of something. And we are so quick to assume that the Gods don't care about us even at the slightest sign of trouble. I don't believe any evil comes from the Gods. Democritus said that the Gods give all good things. They are the ultimate good in the universe, the order against the chaos, and in some cases, that battle still rages today. That's why we invoke the Gods in our times of need, because we understand that any evil or harm that is happening to us, isn't coming from them. Deep down, we know that, and we know we have seen them answer us in the past. I certainly have. My son is alive today because the Gods cared. Otherwise, we wouldn't pray to them for rescue, and the more we bring that ultimate goodness into our lives, I can say from experience, the better chance we have of life getting better. 

Pray to them every day, and delight in all the beautiful things around you that they have given. When you learn to look, you will see the love of the Gods. You will see it in the bright sunshine on your face, the fresh breeze in the air, the soft grass beneath your feet, the beautiful smell of the flowers, the shimmering fields and towering forests, the peaceful flow of the passing streams and rivers, the children playing happily, and the friends and family who dearly love you. This part of life can be hard, but the Gods are not against you. If they were, you wouldn't be here. And if you choose to live a life where you hate the Gods, or where you serve them one day and spit on their statues the second something doesn't go your way, you're never going to experience their full goodness in your life. And if you choose to always look at the bad side of things instead of finding good and the inherent purpose of all that comes to you, you'll never be happy or successful.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Can Prayer Be An Offering?

Once when I was doing my weekly rite of Athene, I had to prepare and execute a little more quickly than usual because of some other pressing obligations later that day, and in so doing, I did not have anything to present to Hephaistos, Nike, or the Spirits and Heroes of the day who are associated with Athene. But then I remembered the belief that some Hellenes hold, which is that the Gods love it when we recognize them and their greatness, and since the prayers I used did just that, I thought it would be sufficient. I didn't think about the question until later in the day, but it inevitably surfaced: can prayer be an offering? This could be an important question for people who find themselves in a daily rite or ritual without anything to give for one reason or another, but still need or desire to make that connection with the Gods, Spirits or Heroes.

The answer is absolutely, a prayer can most certainly be an offering, especially if you wrote it entirely yourself for that specific Divinity or Divinities. If the Gods take delight in our recognition, then all things given in those respects are gifts that show our love and devotion. This is what an offering is in its entirety. And the Gods never forget. Athene remembers what happened 5 minutes ago just like She remembers what happened 5,000 years ago. She knows how I prayed last week, and how the Greeks prayed on the shores of Marathon. I believe the Gods remember our devotions in whatever form they take.

A prayer that is written by you can also be a great offering to the Gods in the sense that it aids in rebuilding the Hellenic religion. Anything we build or create in honor of the Gods, Spirits or Heroes is an act of devotion, reverence, gift, offering, etc. So when you create your own prayer and write it down in secure records, like a book or a protected journal, you have brought into existence another delightful piece of Hellenic religion and the recognition of the ancient Gods in our world. It's a wonderful offering or gift, especially if those writings later go on to be largely used in Hellenism, or discovered by historians and archaeologists later on as they try to piece together a past understanding of contemporary ancient Greek religion.

In my life as a Hellenic writer, I have myself composed numerous new prayers, around 250 to be close to exact, and those writings are published in book form so they can be distributed to Hellenists and Pagans. Of course, it wasn't an easy process. All the prayers of mine that people now see have been in the making since 2009. It's taken me 7 years to assemble them all. In my advice, if you want to give a continuous, custom offering to the Gods, then custom prayers are a good way to do that, if it's all you can present for any given reason. Furthermore, publish them if you can and wish. Create your own website or blog and post them as your contributions to the worship of the old Gods. Pray often.

In the Goodness of Olympos,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Learning From The Greek Gods: Apollon

For a long time, I have started and tried to finish this series of mine, "Learning From The Greek Gods." It was not intended to be a series of the many Greek Gods, just the Dodekatheon, but I was never able to complete it. However, this time, I intend to finish it out. Let's begin with one of the most popular of the Dodekatheon.

Apollon is the God of Light. Other attributes of His include the sun, truth, prophecy, music, healing, oracles, poetry, and archery, and with His silver or golden bow, one of His most popular epithets is the Archer and one who drives away evil or negativity.

Apollon is a God who brings enlightenment, so what does it mean to be enlightened, and what does it mean to strive toward enlightenment in life? Enlightenment means to have or seek a greater understanding of things that the average human mind does. This does not mean you think of yourself as knowing more than other people, but rather elevating your mind above the basic mundane of human consciousness and awareness. For example, humans generally have a desire to be greedy, so being generous would be enlightened above the normality of humanity. When so many people in the world resort to violence to settle a mere verbal dispute, it is enlightened to not let the words of another control you and walk away. In other words, you become greater than yourself instead of greater than someone else. This is what it means to be enlightened and to seek enlightenment. Learning from Apollon in these respects is to look toward the heavens. And what I mean by that is to look above general humanity and toward greater meaning for yourself and how you live. Each of us will find our own personal truths and that's perfectly fine, but the important thing is that we find them, and that they drive us to be greater than we were previously. And Apollon, being a God of Truth, lifts us to that universal wisdom, the universal wisdom that enlightenment is possible.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Humanity Is Not Born Atheist

This post should not be mistaken for a doctrine of intolerance or hate, but simply as a response to those who make the argument I am going to address. 

I've heard time and again atheists make the argument that everyone is born an atheist, that no one comes into life with any knowledge or realization of divinity, and I just have to say, that is utterly false. The reason for this all too common fallacy is the fact that these particular atheists are only used to looking at religion from mainstream modern era, where we have numerous religious schools, institutions, families and resources of all kinds that teach and even indoctrinate and force children and adults into one religion or another, and they assume that such has always been the case. However, it has not, and to see the truth of the matter, we only need to go back to our evolution into the species we are today.

The argument is, no one is born with the knowledge of God.

I would first like to point out that no one is born with the knowledge of anything, other than basic instincts, and no one knows where those come from in the first place. But humans are also not born with the knowledge of science, math, architecture, mechanics, computers, or even how to go to the potty. So just because something is taught to you, does not necessarily mean that it's false. Now as far as the argument itself, humans are not born with the knowledge of any particular deity or doctrine, but it's absolutely not true that humans are born atheists, and I'll tell you why.

When we first came into being, there were no churches, priests, books, schools, or even established religions or spirituality. Yet we felt the belief in higher powers within ourselves. This was a belief that developed as part of our mental and physical makeup, not something that was forced into us from the outside because there were no outside forces to push it. We felt spiritual ourselves, and we developed our own belief systems and established our own religious practices. If humans were born atheists, we would have evolved as atheists. We would have never felt or thought of any such thing as deity, spirituality or religion, certainly not by majority. It simply would not have existed to us. But human beings are naturally spiritual and religious creatures.

Secondly, the human brain develops something called schema. This is the organizational system of the brain for external information, and we are born with this ability which enables us to recognize and interpret patterns in the universe and make conclusions based on those patterns. Patterns = larger intelligence. We are born looking for larger meanings, things bigger than ourselves, and are therefore born looking for divinity and deity. 

Point being, such a construct or mindset is there by the very nature of being human, and it's extremely hard to change or even to convince yourself of something outside of it, which is why human beings have not accepted Atheism by and large throughout their existence as a species. Now, I'm not suggesting that someone does not have the right to believe or not believe whatever they want, and each person is as human as another. Personally, I could not care less what someone believes. It does me no harm at all for someone to say they don't believe in any deity or divinity. But the simple fact of the matter is that Atheism has never been the consensus of the human mind. In actuality, Atheism is a learned mentality. You have to learn to ignore the larger meanings, patterns and intelligence, and you have to focus on the belief that everything is an accident with no purpose and we're all floating aimlessly.

In conclusion, it's simply false that the human race is born atheist. We never were such a thing as a species. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Most Read Posts Of All Time