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Author Topic: A First Stab at Reformed Hellenic Paganism  (Read 14478 times)
RandallS
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« Topic Start: March 26, 2007, 07:33:58 pm »

[This is a part of the post (Is It Time For a "Reformed" Hellenic Paganism?) that kicked off the series of Reformed Recon sigs here. I had hoped to expand on it a bit before reposting it here, but running the board and getting all the sigs set up doesn't leave me enough time for everything I want to do.]

Reformed Hellenism -- Off the Top of My Head

I started thinking about this idea yesterday and I have already thought of a way to start a practical Hellenic religion that would work without the need for large groups or lots of money for festivals, that would work without requiring its members to become scholars of Classical Greek Religion to do anything, and yet try to remain true to the spirit of Ancient Greek religious belief and practice. If I can come up with an outline of something minimal, but workable in 24 hours, I suspect that with a bit of effort some type of "Reformed Modern Hellenic Paganism" in the middle ground between strict reconstructionism and generic neo-Paganism is quite possible.

Here's the basic outline:

Major Festivals (One a month, normally on a Sunday)

There are 12 months in a modern year and 12 Olympic deities, so have one festival a month honoring each of the Twelve. These festivals would start simple, but could be added to as the religion grew. They would be feasts (very true to ancient Greek practice) with some type of sacrifice to the deity being honored and the reading of some of the myths about the deity and/or the hymns to the deity. Perhaps part of the day could be dedicated to activities in the deities areas of interest as well. These festivals could be done by a family or a small local group (if there are enough Hellenic Pagans in the area). No need for lots of people and lots of money.

Minor Festivals (3 or 4 a month, the Sundays not a Major Festival)

1) Minor feast with sacrifice/libation to deities important to family/group
2) Study of Hellenic myths and/or philosophy.

Daily Practice:

1) Prayers
2) Some type of home fire to Hestia (perhaps real while someone is home and symbolic when no one is home?)
3) Libations to a different deity each day.
4) Divination when needed

I agree that this is simple, but I think it is better to start with something simple that can be done by just about anyone truly interested in worshipping the Greek Gods than something so complex that it scares people way. After all, as time goes on, one can always add to a simple start.

Is this one "one true way" to do a modern Hellenic religion? Of course not. The fact that it is just a very basic outline I thought up in 24 hours should make this obvious. But it is a starting point. A starting point that is actually doable instead of a wish and a hope for "someday" (when there are large numbers of members of our religion in every city so we can recreate Athenian festivals without looking silly).

Notes:

1) I realize that the lists of the twelve Olympians vary. The exact deities and which month their major festival would be is something that would have to be decided.

2) Sunday was picked for festivals because it is one of the two weekend days that most people are likely to have off from work and because it seemed more appropriate to honor the Gods on the first day of the week (Sunday) than on the last day of the week (Saturday).
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« Reply #1: September 08, 2007, 09:25:18 am »



1) I realize that the lists of the twelve Olympians vary. The exact deities and which month their major festival would be is something that would have to be decided.


Didn't know if I should post in such an old topic but here goes.
I like this idea, and I think some discussion should be given to the above point.
To the best of my knowledge most lists of the 12 main Gods agree on the following, Zeus, Hera, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Apollon, Ares, Poseidon and Hephaistos, with others being variously, Dionysos, Demeter, Hestia and Hades.

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« Reply #2: September 08, 2007, 03:27:39 pm »

Major Festivals (One a month, normally on a Sunday)

There are 12 months in a modern year and 12 Olympic deities, so have one festival a month honoring each of the Twelve. These festivals would start simple, but could be added to as the religion grew. They would be feasts (very true to ancient Greek practice) with some type of sacrifice to the deity being honored and the reading of some of the myths about the deity and/or the hymns to the deity. Perhaps part of the day could be dedicated to activities in the deities areas of interest as well. These festivals could be done by a family or a small local group (if there are enough Hellenic Pagans in the area). No need for lots of people and lots of money.

Don't tease me Randall! It's bad enough being completely isolated, with out you rubbing it in with such a nice idea.

It's a pity there's not a big group around San Antonio, I'd love to do something like that once a month; even if it was just a big picnic out at the park.
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« Reply #3: September 08, 2007, 03:33:36 pm »


Didn't know if I should post in such an old topic but here goes.
I like this idea, and I think some discussion should be given to the above point.
To the best of my knowledge most lists of the 12 main Gods agree on the following, Zeus, Hera, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Apollon, Ares, Poseidon and Hephaistos, with others being variously, Dionysos, Demeter, Hestia and Hades.



I think there was at least some minimal discussion somewhere...  Perhaps in the Major Festivals thread.  Don't know if it went much of anywhere, but I definitely remember posting a similar list in an effort to get the ball rolling.  Smiley

I'll see if I can find it and bump it up...
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« Reply #4: September 08, 2007, 05:15:04 pm »


Didn't know if I should post in such an old topic but here goes.

Please post! I had this idea and then literally no time to work on it. There just isn't enough of me to go around. Sad
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« Reply #5: September 08, 2007, 05:18:07 pm »

Don't tease me Randall! It's bad enough being completely isolated, with out you rubbing it in with such a nice idea.

There's no reason one person could not do a simple form of this. One of the main ideas is that the rituals should scale well from 1 or 2 people up to a few hundred.
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« Reply #6: September 08, 2007, 09:03:03 pm »

Don't tease me Randall! It's bad enough being completely isolated, with out you rubbing it in with such a nice idea.

It's a pity there's not a big group around San Antonio, I'd love to do something like that once a month; even if it was just a big picnic out at the park.

No way, you're from San Antonio too? Right now I'm away at school in Alabama, but for the next few years I should definitely be going home to SA for holidays. I would love to do picnics or whatever.

Also, Randall, I love this idea. Speaking as a beginning Hellenistic, getting into the spirit of things is really tough to do when worried about how to make room for the old rituals and festivals. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love research, but I feel so bogged down by how much I should learn. Making it more accessible would be great and feels like a weight is lifted from my shoulders.
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« Reply #7: September 08, 2007, 10:52:33 pm »

There's no reason one person could not do a simple form of this. One of the main ideas is that the rituals should scale well from 1 or 2 people up to a few hundred.

You don't think people will look at me funny when I go to the park and have a picnic on my own?
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RandallS
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« Reply #8: September 08, 2007, 10:57:23 pm »

You don't think people will look at me funny when I go to the park and have a picnic on my own?

Why should they? More importantly, why should you care if they do?
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« Reply #9: September 09, 2007, 09:11:01 am »

You don't think people will look at me funny when I go to the park and have a picnic on my own?

Speaking solely for myself, I wouldn't find it any more odd than someone eating dinner alone in a restaurant.
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« Reply #10: September 09, 2007, 10:29:26 am »

Why should they? More importantly, why should you care if they do?

And that right there is the key.  Too many people (myself included at times) make their choices based on what other people will think.  Do what you think is right, or best for you.
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« Reply #11: September 09, 2007, 06:20:26 pm »

Speaking solely for myself, I wouldn't find it any more odd than someone eating dinner alone in a restaurant.

Same here. Of course, I used to regularly do that -- and occasionally eat at a park by myself too.
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« Reply #12: September 09, 2007, 07:08:44 pm »

Same here. Of course, I used to regularly do that -- and occasionally eat at a park by myself too.

I would never eat on my own in a public area, I have social anxiety. If I eat at a restraunt, even with my family, I have to sit at a corner table with my back against the wall. If I was somewhere alone I'd probably take my food to-go and eat in the car.
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« Reply #13: September 09, 2007, 07:12:59 pm »

You don't think people will look at me funny when I go to the park and have a picnic on my own?

People already look at me funny, so I don't care much. Smiley Go and do it, Aionia. Say you're having alone time... even if you're not alone. Smiley
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« Reply #14: September 10, 2007, 07:57:23 am »

I would never eat on my own in a public area, I have social anxiety.

I can understand that problem.
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