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

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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

All That Is The Goddess Of Love

On July 4th, we celebrated one of my favorite ancient Greek festivals known as Aphrodisia (the Athenian festival of Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and sex). I thought my temple and I had a wonderful ceremony and celebration. If you want to view the rite on video, click here.

Depending on where you went in the ancient Greek world, you might get a different view of Aphrodite. In some places She was viewed as a Goddess more of marital sex, whereas in others, She was the Goddess of love, sex, beauty and pleasure universally, whether it occurred in marriage or not. I view Her as the latter, but also believe She plays an important role in marriages as well, because even between spouses, physical satisfaction is important to happiness and strength in a relationship. My wife and I have never lost our passion for one another, even after being together for 10 years at this point. We are as crazy about each other today as we were then. This has remained a core strength in our union and I thank Aphrodite for that.

But I took time this month after the festival to think about all that Aphrodite encompasses in this world and human life. The ancient Greeks had 6 different kinds of love, which is one reason I think ancient Greek religion is so brilliant, because it understands the reality of the Universe. There is, of course, Eros, who is the God of erotic sexual passion. Literally, He entails the basic carnal instinct of humans, the lust that we all have for one another. It's our natural and basic self, the enjoyment of sex. Second comes Philia, which is the love that binds together strong friendships. This can be both sexual and non-sexual, but normally refers to the general concept of good and close friends. Third is Ludus, playful love. This is the love between youths. Fourth is Agape, meaning universal love. Agape encompasses literally the love of the human race, what you might call humanitarianism. Fifth is Pragma, meaning enduring love between lifelong partners or spouses. My wife and I who have been together for a decade and still have the same passion and dedication for one another, would certainly be a state of Pragma. Last, but not least, there is Philautia, meaning the love of self. On the surface, it might sound arrogant, but only if used in the wrong way. It is important to love yourself in a positive manner. Self-loathing is not a healthy state for anyone. To be secure, confident and happy in your life and the things that are part of it, is good Philautia.

In my view, while there are obviously different Beings and forces of love, Aphrodite is the Supreme Ruler or Leader of them all. She's always been a Goddess particularly close to me in life. I remember way back in the day, around 2005 or 2006 when I first started exploring Greek Polytheism, I would pray to Her for success in attracting a female partner. Often times, I would have better encounters with women afterwards. When I told my mom, she said, "Maybe you should pray to Her more often."

Since I officially became Hellenic, I have looked at Aphrodite in the broader perspective of Her Divinity. As the Goddess of love, I think that means all of it. Whether it be love between best friends, or sexual partners. Whether it be the love of life or that of your fellow human being. I also can't help but imagine how wonderful the world would be if we all adopted the ancient Greek ideals of love in our lives. What if we all sincerely loved ourselves and one another?

In the Goodness of Aphrodite,
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.
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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.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Realization That Conquered Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety disorder impacts countless people in our country and world. They're probably two of the most common kinds of general human disorders known. It was likely a problem that had been developing for some time with me, but it came to a head around about 2011 or 2012, which was when I began seeing my first therapist in Lexington, North Carolina, and when I began taking my first medication to deal with the issues. In early 2013, after I had moved to Freeport, Illinois, I began seeing other doctors and was diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety disorder. I also had some anger and paranoia issues. Numerous medications would follow, but none were able to sufficiently turn the conditions. Now, I'm not suggesting for a second that someone should abandon their doctor or not take their medications, because medical care is important, and for some people, it can be the cure, but for me personally, I did not find that the medications did anything to conquer my afflictions. If anything, they just kept getting worse and worse.

When 2015 began, I started to realize the roots of my problems, and began to think that, perhaps, these are the causes of many of the cases of depression, anxiety, anger and paranoia out there. Our world pushes against us a lot of negative material, and some of those who push it may not even intend to deliver such a blow to someone's mind and emotions, but they do nevertheless. Ninety-nine percent, and that is not an exaggeration, of all the things that increased and embedded my mental and emotional struggles came from the outside world through news and internet. From political pundits to Chicken Little activists, I was bombarded with all the reasons known to humanity to be down in the dumps and fearful of things. Now, I'm not saying that the news and things like activism are not important, but some people take it way too far, into levels of exaggeration and instilling panic into people so that they can further their own agendas and ambitions. And some people are just generally dishonest or ridiculous with their rhetoric and hysteria. So what I did was I stopped watching the news, both political and general, I unsubscribed from and unfollowed all of the websites and facebook pages that promote "end of the world" rhetoric and hysteria, as well as conspiracy sites. You know, the ones who convince you that the government is in cahoots with the Illuminati and things like that? Those.

Now, when I say that I shunned and abandoned these things, I mean it in absolute terms. I did not watch or listen to ANY of it, and I shunned anything negative and discarded it from my life and thoughts. I even went to the lengths of unfollowing or unfriending people on my friends list who insisted on continuing to post negative material, no matter the material itself or how it was intended. I completely and absolutely shunned it all and no longer worried about any of it. This was the first thing I did. The second thing I did was to surround myself with things I liked, loved and that made me happy. For example, I really love fountains, so my wife bought me a beautiful indoor house fountain. I love my religion, and so I set up and worked on building and beautifying my shrines and sanctuary areas and worshiped on a regular basis, sometimes more than regular. I liked exercising, so I started taking jogs everyday. I ate my favorite foods, read books on my favorite subjects, and spent time with my wife and son. I also love writing, so I began focusing on that more as well. 

Within 90 days or so of this practice, my depression, anxiety, anger and paranoia plummeted to an epic low, the most it had ever dropped in 4 years, and eventually was totally obliterated. Basically, what I did to achieve this victory, was to turn away from all things negative, and only focus on the good things in life. Today, I enjoy living a lot more, I am happier, I treat people better, and I can think myself through the obstacles in my life. I want to start a new movement here called the Positive Movement, which entails the practices I have described above, to combat the ever-growing problems of the mind and emotions that are thrust upon us by our own world, and to not give these people, places and sites any support or attention, so that they may eventually stop receiving fuel for their world fires. It is possible to regain happiness and oust the worst enemies of our mind and emotions, those being depression, anxiety, etc. We can defeat them when we discover their causes, and most of those causes, I found, were from the outside influences in my life.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Do You Really Worship The Ancient Greek Gods?

More than once this has been asked of me, and more than likely, other questions they ponder are, "Why do you believe in the Greek Gods?" Well, first of all, if I didn't worship the Greek Gods, I wouldn't have an entire shrine and altar space dedicated to them where I pray and offer regularly. I suppose that for many modern mainstream citizens, they can't grasp the idea that someone still truly believes in the Greek Gods, that they are as real to me as the person asking me the questions. It's like something that's foreign to them. And should they ever discover that there are, in fact, countless people in the world who still believe in the Dodekatheon, they would certainly no doubt be in shock. As the old polytheistic religions continue to reemerge and grow by leaps and bounds, it is only to be expected that we will eventually enter mainstream society and people will no doubt be curious about our religions and ask questions. But, right now, it's as if our society is covered by a blanket of ignorance. Schools today even teach children that no one worships the Greek Gods anymore. I asked my English teacher in high school, "Do the Greeks still worship their Gods?" She flat out replied, "No." The correct answer would have been, "Yes, many still do, and many people throughout the world do as well." I wouldn't go so far as to accuse the teachers of lying, because lying is intentional deceit. I just think that they, too, are severely uneducated on the matter. 

One thing I want people to understand is that we are not some weird and mysterious people. We get up and go to work and school, love our families, pay taxes, shop, read, write, play, vote, and the many other things in which common citizens engage. But as for the question, "Why do you believe in the Greek Gods?" It's because they have always been there for me and my family and have never let us down. They fill every void in me with love, spiritual fulfillment, protection, and wisdom. I have never felt happier or freer in my entire life. I am free to be myself, go after what I want in life, and believe and worship as I choose. No one is dictating how I live and think but me. That's not to say I don't have ethics. I do follow the Maxims of Delphi. However, I find they are not anything beyond human or even hard to keep in check for me. They do not interfere with my freedom and personal aspirations. I am free to live and enjoy life, and there's no punishment for that. 

I am Hellenic, I love, believe in, and worship the Greek Gods because only they stood up when I was in need, only they have healed my wounds and calmed my fears, and only they have done the impossible for me. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Courage and Honor,
Chris.

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