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.

Hunger and Poverty

Have you thought of giving to charity as an offering in the name of Zeus Sôtêr “the Savior” and Epidôtês “Giver of Good”?*

You can do it remotely from the computer, and without spending anything!

I’ve added the option to my sidebar for folks visiting Helleneste kai Grammateus to donate to charity.  How?  By clicking on the icon for Hunger and Poverty, the sponsor(s) will donate towards this charity, and feed the impoverished.  The sponsors will change, but the cause was my choice:  Hunger and Poverty.  My goal is to raise 400 points.

You may be asked to participate in an “event”.  The one I just did rated an advertisement video by PowerBar (fitting, hu?).  When I spent my time on this, I earned points for the charity, which works to feed those who need it most.

Consider a donation of your time to the charity as an offering.  Say a prayer to Zeus,the Savior and Giver of Good when you do so! : )

 http://www.socialvibe.com/?r=706516

Reference
*  SOTER (Sôtêr), i. e. “the Saviour” (Lat. Servator or Sospes), occurs as the surname of several divinities:– 1. of Zeus in Argos (Paus. ii. 20. § 5), at Troezene (ii. 31. § 14), in Laconia (iii. 23. § 6), at Messene (iv. 31. § 5), at Mantineia (viii. 9. § l), at Megalopolis (viii. 30. § 5; comp. Aristoph. Ran. 1433 ; Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8). The sacrifices offered to him were called sôtêria. (Plut. Arat. 53.) 2. Of Helios (Paus. viii. 31. § 4), and 3. of Bacchus. (Lycoph. 206.)
 Theoi.com

On the Ethics of Defense

In Hellenic Polytheist Reconstructionism, one follows the Delphic Maxims, which include:

Help your friends ( Φιλοις βοηθει )
Guard friendship ( Φιλιαν φυλαττε )
Watch out for your enemies ( Εχθρους αμυνου )

With the above three joined, that means: Treat your friends as friends and treat your enemies as enemies. If you don’t defend your friends against your enemies and theirs, then you have compromised your ethics.

Detail from Archaeological Site of Delphi, Greece

Delphi Image via Wikipedia

Also:
Despise evil ( Κακιαν μισει )
Pursue honor ( Δοξαν διωκε )
Guard what is yours ( Ιδια φυλαττε )
Despise insolence ( Υβριν μισει )
Die for your country ( Θνησκε υπερ πατριδος )

However, violence is restrained by:
Shun murder ( Φονου απεχου )
Control yourself ( Αρχε σεαυτου )
Be overcome by justice ( Ηττω υπο δικαιου )
Gain possessions justly ( Δικαιως κτω )
Venture into danger prudently ( Κινδυνευε φρονιμως )
Control anger ( Θυμου κρατει )
Be jealous of no one ( Φθονει μηδενι )

See More Maxims Here.

Discussion of this topic continues in Ethics: Delphi, Solon, and Pythagoras – Discuss!

Know Thyself (ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ)

Excerpt from Everything Men Know About Women

An open journal Image by dailyinvention via Flickr

I began blogging on a blog hosted by Mystic Wicks, but there have been a series of technical problems which has motivated me to seek another place to write. Further, I’m aware that WordPress offers more features than other sources, so I am moving everything here (with some editing and refocusing), and am starting anew.

Long-term projects are challenging for me, even with continued interest. My husband teases me, saying that whenever I complain about not having enough time, I start another project. He points out that I like to have short-term tasks that I can cross off my list. But I feel a need to give my religious reflections and observations a home, and to make them available to others who may benefit from them. The challenge will be posting regularly, and often enough to be of interest and use to others.

Also, we’re in the process of moving out of our apartment. So it’s not the best time to start up a domain or sub-domain. I need something easy, and free.

So if I sustain this blog, post regularly, and gain a readership, I may move to a sub-domain hosted by Ruadhan (a very generous offer) which would offer a lot of advantages.

For now, I will leave you with this:

One of the most important Delphic Maxims is this, in my opinion: Know Thyself (ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ).

To know oneself was to know what one could and could not do; it was to be constrained by the fact that one was human and not divine (and should not therefore attempt to challenge the gods . . . ); it was to realize that as a human being one had certain capacities, but not others. To do nothing in excess was part of the same picture. – JACT, pp.146-147. (Emphasis as in original.)