It Came from the Search Terms, April Issue

Every once in a while, I answer the questions that people typed into search engines to find this blog. Except for adding punctuation, I don’t change the wording. Enjoy!

How did greek oracles better tune there visions?

Every oracle had a particular method of divination. These included motion of objects in the spring, movements of birds,  cracks in the bones of animals, rustling of leaves, interpreted dreams, etc, and were all considered valid indicators for divination. Some established oracles were those of Zeus at Dodona, Apollo at Delphi and many more. Oracles were priestesses, often educated in temples devoted to particular gods. This means that more experienced priestesses trained them, and acolytes gained the benefit of practice before taking on the mantle of authority. They had the benefit of institutional structure and mentorship. Of course, more detailed questions presented to the oracle would help them focus.

A patron god or goddess and how to know?

It sounds like you think you might have a patron god or goddess but want to be sure. My best advice would be to continue reaching out to the deity in question – make offerings and libations, ask for specific favors – and see what happens. If you see objectively that your god is granting your request (and you’re holding up your end of the bargain) and subjectively you feel something inside when you speak to Him or Her, then you have a relationship. Another idea, if you have very specific questions like “Are you my patron?” is to write your question in a journal before you go to sleep, then the god may answer it for you in your dream. Regardless, as soon as you wake up before even getting out of bed, open your journal and begin writing. Don’t let any doubts or thoughts filter what you’re writing, just write for about 15-20 minutes or three pages. Then stop and see what you’ve written. You may recall your dream or have your answer.

Hellenism holy book?

The only state-recognized church in the US is Hellenion, and it had previously published an overview book of modern Hellenism called Old Stones New Temples which is currently under revision. Though our sources, which are divinely inspired, are Hesiod and Homer. Currently there is discussion in Hellenion about whether or not to produce a modern ‘holy book’, but this is a controversial issue.

Maxims of delphi hellenion.

The original Delphic Maxims can be found here. Though there are maxims that are no longer followed in modern Hellenism, such as “Rule your wife (Γυναικος αρχε)”. Modernizing the maxims is an interesting idea for a holy book, should Hellenion decide to produce one.

Can gods die?

I suppose that depends on if 1. You believe that time is linear (a modern idea) and not cyclical (an ancient idea, discussed by Herodotus among others) and therefore there is a permanence to death, and 2. If you count transforming into another deity, or part of a deity, death. Even though they were overthrown, many Titans such as Prometheus and Atlas were imprisoned but not killed. Early Titan wives of Zeus such as Metis (goddess of wisdom, skill, and craft) did not remain in the same form. Because She was both important and a threat to Zeus, prophesied to have powerful children with him, He tricked her into transforming into a fly and Athena was born. Does this mean She is dead?

On the soft polytheist side, we could argue that since there is still deep thought in the world, that the embodiment and essence of thought is not dead. On the hard polytheist side, the question of she died is open vs. if She is still inside Zeus (as He and His siblings were once swallowed but were able to escape), whether She ceased to be because She was transformed, or if She is actually reborn as Athena. It’s like asking if water cease to be water when it evaporates.

What is the difference between a demigod and a god?

A demigod is a hero, born of one god and one mortal parent. A demigod is between mortal and immortal, and therefore able to perform super-human feats but aren’t immortal (unless transformed into a god). They have the benefit of being able to travel between realms; which is off-limits to all but psychopomps, messenger gods, and mortals who have recently died. Some demigods, such as Hercules, had their own temples and many were worshiped as champions of the people – more approachable than gods.

Demigods, and their cult followings, are very similar to how today we sacrifice a great deal of time, money, and attention in tribute to super hero characters. They inspire the best (and worst) in us, live among us, and champion us, but aren’t totally human.

Autumn Update

You may have been wondering what happened during this lapse of time since the last article posted to Helleneste kai Grammateus.  The truth is there has been a lot.  Happening, that is.  I won’t bog down this article with the full details of everything, but this will be an overview for upcoming posts…

Hellenion had its Annual General Meeting which kept my hands, mind, and emotional capacity more than full.

Concurrent with that, our family lost a strong friend of 14 years which sent me into a deep immobilizing funk of guilt and regret.  Our friend was one of the two family cats my husband and I took into our home four years ago when my side split households across the country.  He was declining sharply due to kidney failure and we were forced to decide to put him down.  It felt like pulling the plug on a child, but one that couldn’t communicate his pain.  We are still coping with the loss.

I’m also now in my last two weeks of a class on digital painting.  That is, painting on the computer with Corel Painter.  I promise I’ll post a link to one piece I did which Hellenic Polytheists will enjoy: Hestia.  I felt moved by Her to paint it.  I’m considering selling prints of it to those in the polytheistic community if there’s enough interest.

I am also applying to the graduate program at the Academy of Art University in SF for a MFA in Illustration (Concept Art track).  This has required a lot of attention to cultivating my portfolio.

And then there was Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday.  Perhaps its approach was why I was compelled to paint Hestia as it is certainly Her holiday.  Family and friends gathered to give feast and give thanks as winter approaches and they spend all day over the oven cooking together.  What could celebrate the hearth more?  My husband and I went out of town for the week and celebrated twice with his family (his parents are divorced) and spent time with his brother, brother’s fiance, and our nephew (who is now three years old and both charming and brilliant).  Then we flew back and entertained my parents and family and friends for a third Thanksgiving feast (well, three of those really as friend and relatives came at three separate times).  What can I say?  We have much to be thankful for.

Now I am taking a deep breath and getting back into the groove.  As usual, I post not by a schedule or routine, but when something of interest begs to be shared and discussed.  Next, I’ll share some advice I posted at MisticWicks concerning finding a patron (or matron) deity.

RIP Gay Victims of Abuse: Will YOU Wear Purple on October 20th?

 

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...

LGBT flag Image via Wikipedia

 

This post follows a previous article on Tyler Clemente Dead at 18: Teasing and Bullying Teenagers is an Epidemic.  Please click there before continuing…

Tyler Clemente wasn’t the only recent teenage victim of persecution for being gay.  There was also Asher Brown (an 8th grader who shot himself in the head after suffering abuse by other students), Seth Walsh (hung himself at 13 after school officials ignored the problem), Justin Aaberg (at 15 hung himself following three of five suicides thought related to struggles with sexual identity), Raymond Chase (hung himself at 19) and Billy Lucas (hung himself at 15 after making administrators aware of his LGBT bullying, and they did nothing).

According to the Miami Herald, Campus Pride (which recently released a study on attitudes towards LGBT students on campus) issued a statement in reaction to the deaths:

…the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern. Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.

Many consider this terrible pattern of abuse as a call to action. Continue reading