Reader Question #1: Is it morally wrong to break with my parents’ religion?

As previously announced, I’ve decided to take interesting comments, questions, and topics posted to Helleneste kai Grammateus and answer them in longer articles. You can take advantage of my offer after reading the Site Policy and completing the Ask a Question form. As always, this is a free service, but if you wish to help support this blog, you can make a donation.

Below is the first question that set me off doing this. It was a comment in reply to article on How to Find Your Patron Goddess or God, and it’s a really important one.

I’m a Catholic and I have been drawn too this religion, I’m not sure what it is but I love the gods but I will feel terrible for leaving my religion, I’m barely a teenager but like I said its like I’m being drawn too this, and I have been searching this stuff all day and it just feels right somehow I’m confused, would it be bad for me too leave my religion behind and start again??

Deanna

Continue reading

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Hellenion’s 2011 Hellenic Festival Calendar

By Ivy Izzard. Available for print and use on altars at Redbubble. Hera is honored by Hellenion in January on the second Saturday of the month.

Hellenion’s 2011 Calendar is available for download at Hellenion’s website.  I’ve also included it here for download from Helleneste kai Grammateus.  The calendar is also available in webpage form.

If you use Google calendars, go to Hellenion’s Google calendar to integrate it into your schedule.

This year many of the holy days are linked to pages online which describe the ancient festivals, some with suggestions for how to celebrate them in the modern world.  To read about all of them at once, go to our Temenos site list of festivals.  The Temenos site can be edited by any Hellenion member.  So if you are a member, you can add how you celebrate the holy days to our collective experience there!  Regardless of whether you are a member of Hellenion, your personal experiences are also welcome on Hellenion Chat, which is affectionately called “Hellenion’s Front Porch”.

By using this calendar and the festival resources available at the Temenos, you’ll be celebrating alongside fellow Hellenic Polytheists.  We look forward to celebrating with you!

Hellenion’s Welcome Kit: Do You Want One Too?

 

A fountain pen of S. T. Dupont.

"Thanks!" in Portuguese via fountain pen in blue ink Image via Wikipedia

 

As Grammateus (Secretary) of Hellenion, a non-profit religious organization with 501(c)(3) status, I have many duties.  This includes, but isn’t limited to, processing new member applications.  That duty involves several tasks.  One of my predecessors started a tradition that has become my favorite task as Grammateus, and that is personalizing our welcome kit and sending it to new members.

I was delighted yesterday when I saw that my new friend, Jota, had posted pictures on Facebook of the arrival of his welcome kit and documented his excitement opening it.  This was especially grand considering that he resides in Brazil and is the brother to another member in Brazil.  I am kindling quiet anticipation of new demoi (congregations) emerging all over the globe.

With his permission, I have included his pictures and comments below to give all of you would-be-applicants an idea of what you can expect to receive when you first join. Continue reading

Which Gods Can You Trust?

Pagans, particularly modern Hellenic Polytheists and those of the hard polytheistic bent, will usually agree that the gods have their own agendas. This is clear in the earliest mythos of Homer. The gods take sides, have personal alliances, have varied personalities, and while our prayers are sometimes answered they are also sometimes ignored. So how can we trust them?

I visited a forum recently in which a poster asked this:

Currently, I’m a new pagan, only been pagan for about maybe a year or so, but how did you guys know which gods or goddesses to trust?
I realize that upon entering a relationship with any deity, there will be conditions that you will need to abide by.

It’s a very general question that I’m not sure how to phrase properly. However, how do you find a god or goddess who is open-minded, willing to let you ask questions no matter how irreverent, and just think for yourself? – gracesong

Zeus, the king of the gods, and controller of ...

Bust of Zeus via Wikipedia

My answer is this: Read up on the mythology of the god in question before approaching Them. This will give you a good start.

With many gods, you have to show that you are trustworthy first. That trust is built on exchange, you’re much more likely to develop that trust if you hold true to your side of the exchange than if you don’t. If you offer something in exchange for favor, then be worthy of Their trust and follow-through with your offering/sacrifice.

If you’ve done your reading, and keep your side of the exchange, then the rest is trial and error. Some gods will be indifferent to appeasement. Only They know who They favor.

If you’re not sure what to offer, then ask. If you don’t know which god to thank for something unexpected, you can say something like, “Hear me Zeus, if you are the right god to address, thank you for….” or “To whichever god blessed me with….thank you, I leave this offering for you.”

If you’re inclined towards the Hellenic Pantheon, these gods are known to be approachable:

  • Hestia – The hearth and seat of the home, what could be more inviting than that? She gave way to Dionisos and relinquished Her seat on Olympos when he was recognized as a god.
  • Hermes – He may play tricks on you, but he welcomes all kinds of people.
  • Asklepios – Very kind and known to accept all sorts of offerings (including a child’s dice) for healing.
  • Hypnos – The benignant god of sleep.
  • Which gods do you trust, and why?

    Why Pagans Aren’t Taken Seriously

    Pagan symbols on stones

    Various Pagan symbols etched and painted on stones.

    A very dynamic discussion opened on Mystic Wicks titled Is Paganism Taken Seriously?. I answered (first clarifying that “Paganism” itself isn’t a religion anymore than “Monotheism” is [both are categories]) that some people I’ve found are politely curious, but most either immediately change the subject or give me a “WTF?!” double-take.  I’ve also been told, in a roundabout way, that all mythology is hokey.

    The discussion led to a spread of answers all circling around the same theme, in keeping with Pagan style.  There are a lot of quotes below, but trust me, I’m getting somewhere with this: Continue reading

    Miasma and the Mentally Ill

    Miasma: ritual pollution or defilement.

    Is mental illness, and disease in general, inflicted by the gods as punishment for hubris and other “sins”? Are we punished for approaching the gods when afflicted by Miasma (ritual impurity), or simply ignored? Or, is Miasma the result of physical and mental illness, which when afflicts us, bars us from approaching the theoi (gods)? If so, what can we do to seek Their help when we most need it (when ill) and yet do so with respect?

    How did the ancients approach this issue?
    Continue reading

    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