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Author Topic: Is It Time For a "Reformed" Hellenic Paganism?  (Read 47049 times)
Chabas
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« Reply #15: March 15, 2007, 08:46:27 am »

Feel free to steal it and adapt it. Wink

That's what my boyfriend said - "so why don't you go do that?". The thing is, I don't nearly feel up to it, knowledge-wise. I would gladly be involved in a group to work on it, but I don't have a group to do it with, and if I want to do it solo, I'll need to do a lot more research first.

Or maybe that's just nonsense and I'd need to just get up off my ass and do it.

--Chabas
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« Reply #16: March 15, 2007, 09:00:58 am »

One of the reasons I never even considered a Reconstructionist path was the thought of all the research I'd have to do before I could even start properly.

*nods*  With me, I'm perfectly willing to do the research (although pregnancy-brain is making it hard right now), but even with recommended reading lists like the one TC has on the Greek Recon page it's really difficult to know where to start.  And then how to apply the knowledge gained from research once started.  I like reading, I love learning, but when it comes to how to do something (for instance, how--and when--to worship), I really do a lot better if I can start from a basic list of instructions and then build on that knowledge from other sources.  As such, an outline of practices and festivals such as the one Randall proposes would make Hellenic Paganism infinitely more accessible to me simply by being a place to start.

...So much so that there's some part of me that wants to leap on it, steal it, and adopt it myself.  Grin  Must give this some thought re: whether it's truly something that's going to work well for me, or whether I'm just jumping at it because it's one of the first concrete, collected proposal for practice that I've been able to get my head around enough to think, "Hey, maybe I could do that."
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« Reply #17: March 15, 2007, 09:43:50 am »

I think many Hellenic Pagans tend more toward the path you described, although I'm not 100% certain (In fact, I think Sannion wrote a piece similar to yours)
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« Reply #18: March 15, 2007, 09:46:10 am »

I think many Hellenic Pagans tend more toward the path you described, although I'm not 100% certain (In fact, I think Sannion wrote a piece similar to yours)

Got a link, by any chance?
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« Reply #19: March 15, 2007, 10:03:39 am »

Got a link, by any chance?

Yeah, I think this is it:

http://www.winterscapes.com/sannion/getting_started.htm
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« Reply #20: March 15, 2007, 10:08:39 am »


Thanks!
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« Reply #21: March 15, 2007, 11:57:26 am »

...So much so that there's some part of me that wants to leap on it, steal it, and adopt it myself.  Grin  Must give this some thought re: whether it's truly something that's going to work well for me, or whether I'm just jumping at it because it's one of the first concrete, collected proposal for practice that I've been able to get my head around enough to think, "Hey, maybe I could do that."

*head is spinning*  Okay.  "Giving it some thought" turned into 5-6 posts in the religious blog in one day (when I've been doing, oh, one a month or so for a while now).  Um.  I think I need to find the throttle on my brain and pull it in just a bit before all this runs away with me and I wind up burnt out on all of this.  Oops.

I think what's happening, for me at least, is that just reading Randall's essay has prompted some self-examination that has woken me up a little.  I hadn't even realized I was doing it, but although I consistently resist calling myself "recon", I've still been approaching things from a very recon-ish point of view.  Find out what the Greeks did, try to do the same as closely as I can in a modern setting.  Which is part of why I was so darned confused about everything and feeling a little lost, I think, because I was having trouble understanding the specifics of things that they did in a cultural context very different from our own.

Then along comes Randall and points out that, you know, hey, we can do this without trying to be ancient Greeks.  And...  I dunno, I guess it was one of those things I "knew" and thought I'd internalized and all that, but reading through what Randall said really kind of brought into sharp relief how strict I actually had been being.  And I think it really helped to have another direction offered, an example of what could be done.  That might be what really did it, because then I had something to compare to.  I guess what I'm saying is that whether this reform idea is really such a revolutionary idea or not (I'm not enough a part of the overall Hellenic Recon community to know whether it is or not), I think if nothing else actually setting it down in words and offering concrete suggestions does seem to be.  And is important in and of itself.  (Am I making any sense here?)

Thank you, Randall.
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« Reply #22: March 15, 2007, 12:05:32 pm »

A whole bunch of good stuff.

This is basically what I was trying to do with Conair an Cheo, and then I got some other ideas. I didn't think of the name "reform reconstructionism", but it's good- and I was trying to boil down what CR practice there was for someone like me, who just can't work in a strict reconstructionist setting.

I think it's a really good start, I can't wait to see more, and I'd love to see other Recon groups take this reform idea and run with it!
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« Reply #23: March 15, 2007, 12:55:54 pm »


Then along comes Randall and points out that, you know, hey, we can do this without trying to be ancient Greeks.

It's something I have thought about for a long time but never could see an alternative that I thought would be acceptable. Note, I don't mean acceptable to strict recons, but acceptable to The Gods and many in the community.

Quote
I guess what I'm saying is that whether this reform idea is really such a revolutionary idea or not (I'm not enough a part of the overall Hellenic Recon community to know whether it is or not), I think if nothing else actually setting it down in words and offering concrete suggestions does seem to be.  And is important in and of itself.  (Am I making any sense here?)

I don't think it is revolutionary so much as a recognition of reality -- it's an evolution of the recon idea from the standard "recreate the ancient religion as the closest duplicate of ancient practice we know how to do" (which simply is NOT working in this case) to a "take what we know of ancient beliefs and practices and from that knowledge create modern beliefs and practices that should both please the Gods and be immediately workable for the modern world."

Will my "Reformed Hellenic Paganism" go somewhere?  It's possible, but the basic outline would need a lot of fleshing out.
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« Reply #24: March 15, 2007, 01:20:58 pm »

"take what we know of ancient beliefs and practices and from that knowledge create modern beliefs and practices that should both please the Gods and be immediately workable for the modern world."

You see, this is pretty much what I consider modern Hellenismos to be -- at least "moderate" versions of it, which actively acknowledge diversity and plurity of belief as an essential component. I think part of the problem stems with the word "reconstructionism" itself - it's a pretty hidebound word, especially if you try to turn it into a religion or religious framework itself, rather than remember that it's really a religious/theological approach. People who get caught up in the methodology of (re)creating a religion end up enshrining that methodology, and lose the whole point of what a working religion is.


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« Reply #25: March 15, 2007, 01:24:28 pm »

Note, I don't mean acceptable to strict recons, but acceptable to The Gods and many in the community.

*nods*  It won't appeal to everyone.  But that's OK.

Quote
which simply is NOT working in this case

Shadow mentioned this earlier in the thread, too, what does work vs what doesn't.  I have to agree.  Right now I'm kind of flailing around trying to figure out how to honor the various Gods properly and frankly not making much headway.  Establishing some sort of regular worship has got to be better than that, even if it's not done exactly the way the ancients did.

Quote
Will my "Reformed Hellenic Paganism" go somewhere?  It's possible, but the basic outline would need a lot of fleshing out.

Fleshing out, certainly.  What's popped up in my personal brainstorming session so far:  Defining which list of 12 Olympians to use, dealing with acknowledgement of non-Olympians (the lack I noticed was the more cthonic deities like Hades and Persephone and Hekate, and of course there's Whoever doesn't wind up included in the list of 12 Olympians that's used), more specific suggestions about things to do with the major and minor festivals (worship structure, suggested offerings and activities for various deities, etc.), a little more about things like how and when to use that divination (not "how" as in teaching people to divine so much as what sorts of purposes to use it for), and...  How to put this one?  Stuff that's important to do, but not strictly religious practice in the same sense festivals and prayers and stuff are.  I'm thinking things like xenia here--appropriate ways of acting that don't necessarily have specific times and actions associated with them.  I'm sure I've missed stuff there.

Yeah, there's lots to be done and ironed out and fleshed out.  But what you have so far is a very good start, I think, and I do hope it goes somewhere.
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« Reply #26: March 15, 2007, 01:42:35 pm »

I've been going with recon lite.  But I guess that sounds a little flip...

"Recon lite..."  LOL!  Maybe diet-recon?  Cheesy

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« Reply #27: March 15, 2007, 02:58:55 pm »

That's what my boyfriend said - "so why don't you go do that?". The thing is, I don't nearly feel up to it, knowledge-wise. I would gladly be involved in a group to work on it, but I don't have a group to do it with, and if I want to do it solo, I'll need to do a lot more research first.

I'm slowly working on building up the research basis for what I think would work.  Talking with -- I don't remember what name SatAset is using on this incarnation on the board, I know it's not her LJ name, argh -- has helped me figure out which things I need to pick up most urgently so I can fill in certain gaps.

I don't feel qualified, but I also am in a state of "Well, someone's gotta do it, if enough of us stray unqualified people get off our asses and work on it, one of us will hit on something robust enough to survive."
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« Reply #28: March 15, 2007, 03:33:29 pm »

There is also the problem of context. In ancient Greek religion, each city-state had somewhat different important deities and festivals tailored to the history (both mythological and real) of their city. Detailed records only survived for Athens so most Hellenic recons focus on Athens for their religious calendar and festivals -- even though they do not live there and some of the festivals held in Athens really only make sense if you live in ancient Athens.

This is the main reason I'm not really a Recon; the Athenian calendar and festival structure never made much sense for me, and trying to graft that onto my life in the 21st century Midwest frustrated me to no end. I almost gave up entirely, because I also didn't want to just do whatever felt good and call it Greek. I think what you've outlined is a good start for finding the middle ground between that extreme and strict reconstruction that doesn't work for everyone.

My focus lately has been (probably pretty simplistically) on eusebia, on getting into the rhythm of daily worship and actually doing something. But I'd like a workable festival calendar--daily worship sometimes doesn't feel like I'm doing enough.
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« Reply #29: March 15, 2007, 03:37:42 pm »

But I'd like a workable festival calendar--daily worship sometimes doesn't feel like I'm doing enough.

*nods*  That's what initially grabbed my attention; this is something I've been grappling with and getting nowhere.
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