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Author Topic: A First Stab at Reformed Hellenic Paganism  (Read 14662 times)
Calla
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« Reply #15: September 16, 2007, 09:53:19 am »

I know this is rude to just jump in without an introduction...but a link to this thread was sent to me by a friend who know I would be interested.  I had posted in my LJ on this topic and I will be posting the calendar that I had drawn up that I have been using for a year - it's been working out great!  I'll post and edited version of my LJ post below.

Soooo...for the past while I had been celebrating Hellenismos festival dates according to the dates on the old Athenian calendar. And some of them just didn't work for me.  But I wanted to give it a serious go before I changed things.

They didn't work for a variety of reasons, here are the main ones.

1. CLIMATE - What was suposed to be celebrated wasn't happening in my neck of the woods. It's hard to be all YAY! SPRING! THE PLANTS ARE UP! when there is still 2 feet of snow and we will have snow for at least 2 more months.  Now I know the festivals aren't just about sowing seeds, flowers, and all that. But what was happening in the world was important to the timing of the festival - if it wasn't, the Athenians wouldn't have had the festival on that date.  Other parts of the Med. had festivals at different times of the year so that the timing essence of the festival was correct for the locale.

2. TIME/DAYS OFF - Since Hellenismos isn't our state religion - we don't have time off during the week for the festivals. Trying to celebrate a festival that starts in the evening, goes all night, and is fairly wild or intense - on a week night - was insane. OK...Athens might have had the time off, but we don't. So unless there is some huge reason why not, I moved most of them to the weekend.

3. Trying to call the month by some other name and be lunar instead of our current solar (kind of) calendar goes in the category of "PITA for no reason". Will calling this day the 2nd of Broedromion bring me any closer to the Gods? Or a better question...why did the Athenians call today the 2nd of Broedromion? Because that's what was on their friggin calendar. (Plus thiers went through revisions) 

So before I started moving things around on whim...I researched each festival. Why was it held on that date? Was it always on that date? Was it held on that date everywhere Greek was spoken? What is the key to understanding the festival?

And I used those answers to craft a calendar that, so far this year, has worked really well for me. Many festivals are now on the weekend. Some are teamed up with secular holidays (like Thanksgiving and Apatyria, goes together like chocolate and peanutbutter if you ask me). Some that were in the fall in Athens are in the spring for Minnesota. (Sowing and Plowing in November would be insane) Some newer ones have been added like a festival for Prometheus on the Summer Solstice and one for Helios on the Winter Solstice.

Anyway...I'm not all the way through my year...but so far, so good.

********************

I will be scanning my calendar and posting it, hopefully on Monday.  If anyone wants to use it - great!  If anyone doesn't or wants to alter it for thier climate, great!  For 2008 I will be making a "real" calendar in PDF form that has the dates on it, but will also have information on what the festivals are about and alternative ways to celebrate if you are solitary, in a small family group, etc.  This is information I had only planned on making for myself, but if others want it too...they can have it.
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« Reply #16: September 16, 2007, 06:19:00 pm »

1. CLIMATE - What was suposed to be celebrated wasn't happening in my neck of the woods. It's hard to be all YAY! SPRING! THE PLANTS ARE UP! when there is still 2 feet of snow and we will have snow for at least 2 more months.

I had that problem with Wicca. The climate of Northern Europe was nothing like the climate of South Texas. The climate of Athens and South Texas are closer, but still not the same.

Quote
I will be scanning my calendar and posting it, hopefully on Monday.  If anyone wants to use it - great!  If anyone doesn't or wants to alter it for thier climate, great!  For 2008 I will be making a "real" calendar in PDF form that has the dates on it, but will also have information on what the festivals are about and alternative ways to celebrate if you are solitary, in a small family group, etc.  This is information I had only planned on making for myself, but if others want it too...they can have it.

I'm sure people will find it interesting.
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« Reply #17: September 30, 2007, 06:12:56 pm »

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.

Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Herakles, Hebe, Hestia, Hermes, Poseidon is the most accurate list scholastically speaking.  Hades and Demeter were not included in the Dodekatheon because although major deities they were considered Chthonians rather than Olympians.  Occasionally Herakles has been replaced by Dionysis but again Dionysis was by ancients considered tenuously as Chthonian he seems to have sort of fluttered between Olympian and Chthonian for a few centuries!  Though of course sometimes rural areas and villages would decide that Chthonians should be included in the twelve and demote a couple to allow space!  They usually threw out Herakles and Hermes to make way.  But the most accurate list at least with regards to an Athenian perspective (simply because speaking as an archaeologist and historian that's from whence there is most easily reconstructable evidence) is the above list. 
The basic routine your outlining is very close to what we do.  It's good for us because we are a Hellenic family - my husband and I have three sons - and there's five of us so it makes a nice little family group for celebrations.  It's great to be able to involve the children in a daily prayer and ritual and then the feasts and festivals.  We cook special meals depending on which deity we are honouring (actually I published a sort of cook book once called Food of the Gods that suggested menus for different festivals and occasions).  We've attempted to construct a calendar that's based on the Athenian calendar but ammended here and there because I found it too difficult with varying dates, its better especially for the children if a particular celebration falls on the same date in the modern calendar each year.  Anyway, I've done my best with a sort of calendar and put in the Hellenic months and dates alongside the gregorian ones as best I could and it works for us, just hope no deity is too offended if we're celebrating his or her festival a few days off!  Cheesy  The children made a big copy of it on coloured card, decorated it with pictures copied from our Greek vases etc. and put it up on the wall of their classroom (our converted conservatory!).
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« Reply #18: September 30, 2007, 06:38:19 pm »

Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Herakles, Hebe, Hestia, Hermes, Poseidon is the most accurate list scholastically speaking.  Hades and Demeter were not included in the Dodekatheon because although major deities they were considered Chthonians rather than Olympians.

I've just NEVER been able to see Herakles as one of the Dodekatheon.
 
Quote
We cook special meals depending on which deity we are honouring (actually I published a sort of cook book once called Food of the Gods that suggested menus for different festivals and occasions).


Is it still in print/available?  That sound like something Lyric and I would like.

Quote
We've attempted to construct a calendar that's based on the Athenian calendar but ammended here and there because I found it too difficult with varying dates, its better especially for the children if a particular celebration falls on the same date in the modern calendar each year.


I think it is better for most adults as well, the modern world doesn't accommodate holidays that move around all that well.
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« Reply #19: September 30, 2007, 06:56:10 pm »

Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Herakles, Hebe, Hestia, Hermes, Poseidon is the most accurate list scholastically speaking.  Hades and Demeter were not included in the Dodekatheon because although major deities they were considered Chthonians rather than Olympians.  Occasionally Herakles has been replaced by Dionysis but again Dionysis was by ancients considered tenuously as Chthonian he seems to have sort of fluttered between Olympian and Chthonian for a few centuries!  Though of course sometimes rural areas and villages would decide that Chthonians should be included in the twelve and demote a couple to allow space!  They usually threw out Herakles and Hermes to make way.  But the most accurate list at least with regards to an Athenian perspective (simply because speaking as an archaeologist and historian that's from whence there is most easily reconstructable evidence) is the above list. 

If you don't mind me asking, where did you find this information?  I haven't seen it anywhere before.
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« Reply #20: September 30, 2007, 07:02:25 pm »

If you don't mind me asking, where did you find this information?  I haven't seen it anywhere before.

I've seen various lists of who is included, but I've never seen any one list considered the definitive. Like a lot of other things with the Greeks, there are multiple versions of that.
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« Reply #21: September 30, 2007, 07:12:12 pm »

I've seen various lists of who is included, but I've never seen any one list considered the definitive. Like a lot of other things with the Greeks, there are multiple versions of that.

So have I, but the post I was replying to suggested that there was an original list that people added and subtracted deities from.  Either that or I'm not thinking straight and read it out of context Undecided
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« Reply #22: September 30, 2007, 07:16:46 pm »

So have I, but the post I was replying to suggested that there was an original list that people added and subtracted deities from.  Either that or I'm not thinking straight and read it out of context Undecided

Not sure that you are. Smiley
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« Reply #23: September 30, 2007, 07:19:13 pm »

I've seen various lists of who is included, but I've never seen any one list considered the definitive. Like a lot of other things with the Greeks, there are multiple versions of that.

Hi
As I said, it's only the most accurate or 'definitive' with regards to Athens not even all of Attica because there were regional variations and the rural areas would often include chthonians and some sort of fluttered in and out of the list over time.  This list I use is Athenian rather than generally Hellenic.  It appears on quite a large number of votive tablets from circa 6th-5th century Athens.  Earlier ones from circa 9th century have Dionysis instead of Herakles.  It's just after midnight here so I'm logging out now but if you like I can post the sources in detail tomorrow re the tablets and scholastic comments on them.  night night.
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« Reply #24: September 30, 2007, 07:23:32 pm »

Hi
As I said, it's only the most accurate or 'definitive' with regards to Athens not even all of Attica because there were regional variations and the rural areas would often include chthonians and some sort of fluttered in and out of the list over time.  This list I use is Athenian rather than generally Hellenic.  It appears on quite a large number of votive tablets from circa 6th-5th century Athens.  Earlier ones from circa 9th century have Dionysis instead of Herakles.  It's just after midnight here so I'm logging out now but if you like I can post the sources in detail tomorrow re the tablets and scholastic comments on them.  night night.

Please do post the source, because most of the folks you'll talk to here will source the Athenians simply as the area with the most complete information. That's why Melamorphos asked for a source. You're sounding extremely definitive and most of the scholars that I've seen quoted may give different deities as a part of the Olympians. Like you said elsewhere, there's a large time frame to work with so I'm not sure a person can settle on one definitive list so much as a list that's accurate for the time being referenced.
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« Reply #25: September 30, 2007, 07:25:14 pm »

It's just after midnight here so I'm logging out now but if you like I can post the sources in detail tomorrow re the tablets and scholastic comments on them.  night night.

I would like that  Smiley
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« Reply #26: February 20, 2008, 01:10:28 pm »


I know this is an old thread, but I have to say I think this idea of 'Reforming' is a great idea. I'm pretty new to Hellenic Polytheism and I've been finding it overwhelming to say the least. But having found this it's at least given me a good starting point to think about. I was having huge problems converting the Athenian calendar and applying it to modern living -- it wasn't working out. The impression I get from some extreme Hellenic Recons is that if I do *anything* that leans towards modernizing the religion I'm in some way defiling it! It's refreshing to have read through some of these threads for a less, for lack of a better term, "dogmatic" viewpoint!
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« Reply #27: February 20, 2008, 05:58:26 pm »

I was having huge problems converting the Athenian calendar and applying it to modern living -- it wasn't working out. The impression I get from some extreme Hellenic Recons is that if I do *anything* that leans towards modernizing the religion I'm in some way defiling it!

I would hear that from many of the extreme Hellenic Recons except most of them have heard enough about me to know I would not be convinced and just might be able to mince many of their arguments.
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