LeopardBoy

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About LeopardBoy

  • Rank
    Initiate of the Pickle Conspiracy
  • Birthday 06/08/1982

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Marital Status
    Single and Complete
  • Location
    Baltimore, Maryland USA

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  • Doctrine /Affiliation
    Hellenismos

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  • Website URL
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  1. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    I also think the term religion in these type of polls seems to be defined too narrowly. In many cultures, religious practice is intertwined with the culture itself, so a person answering the polls might not define the everyday spiritual practices they perform as a “religion” separate from their culture. I see countries like China and Japan listed as secular-majority countries, yet both cultures are steeped in spiritual practices that could be described as religious, if one is defining the word religion more broadly than the context Westerners apply the term.
  2. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    I can understand doing that. When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it. It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone. I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay. Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself. Especially with male friends. Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation. It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.
  3. In Hellenic polytheism, dekatai are voluntary thank-offerings of a tenth of an acquired enterprise or fortuitous windfall (either in goods or its value in cash), made to a god and given to a temple. It’s the closest thing I can think of to the typical 10% tithe of Christianity, though a dekate wouldn’t normally be given as part of regular religious practice. Personal acts of charity really aren’t considered part of the general Hellenic public cult. Philanthropia is an Hellenic virtue, but it isn’t tied to temples or any specific religious practice.
  4. Favorite Playwrights

    Aristophanes. His comedies paint a convincing portrait of Athenian life at the time. He also ridiculed and satirized his political opponents and contemporaries, a trend that continues in comedy to this day. I'm also a fan of Shakespeare's plays. Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and the Scottish play are my favorites.
  5. The Attic Festival Calendar

    A number of days in each Attic month are sacred to certain gods and heroes: Noumenia: the first day of each Attic month is sacred to Selene, Apollon Noumenios, Zeus Ktesios, Zeus Herkeios, Hestia, and other household gods and spirits. This is also a day many modern practitioners of Hellenic polytheism choose to fill the kathiskos, a jar of various food items which serves as the household altar to Zeus Ktesios (an aspect of Zeus that guards the pantry and brings prosperity in the form of a bountiful food supply). The second day of each Attic month is sacred to the Agathos Daimon, a serpentine household spirit that protects the house itself. The typical offering to the Agathos Daimon is a libation of unmixed wine (Greeks typically drank wine diluted with water) after the last meal of the day, poured directly onto an earthen floor. In my modern house, I keep a libation bucket to receive this offering. The third day is sacred to Athena, and a common offering to this goddess is a libation of olive oil. The fourth day is sacred to Aphrodite, Eros, Herakles, and Hermes. The fifth day is sacred to the Erinyes, Horkos, and Eris. Fifth days were considered unlucky, and the Athenians were hesitant to conduct major business or swear oaths on these days. This also includes the fifteenth and twenty-fifth days of the month. The sixth and twenty-sixth days are sacred to Artemis, and the seventh and twenty-seventh days are sacred to her twin brother, Apollon. The eighth day is sacred to Poseidon, Asklepios, and the hero Theseus. The ninth day is sacred to the Titan-Queen Rhea, Helios, and the nine Mousai (Muses). The eleventh day is sacred to the three Moirai (Fates). The seventeenth day is sacred to Apollon, Asklepios, and Demeter. Hene Kai Nea, the last day of the Attic month (either the twenty-ninth or thirtieth day) is sacred to Hekate and the dead. Hekate's deipnon (supper) offering is made at the end of this day, typically left at a crossroads. Household shrines and altars are traditionally swept on this day, and the dust and debris is collected and given in offering to Hekate, either at a crossroads or upon a grave. Food and drink offerings to ancestors and other spirits of the dead are also appropriate. Many modern practitioners choose this last day of the month to empty their kathiskos jar as part of the cleaning of household shrines.
  6. The festival calendar I follow is based on the Attic festival calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar used by the ancient Athenians to determine their holidays. The first thing to remember is that unlike today, when our day begins at midnight, the Attic day begins at sunset. This is important to keep in mind each year when I calculate my festival calendar, because the Attic day begins the night before the current day in the Gregorian calendar. Each Attic month begins with the first sighting of the crescent moon after the new moon. This day is referred to as Noumenia. The year begins with the first Noumenia after the summer solstice. Tying the cycle of lunar months to a fixed point in the solar year allows for each month to fit somewhat within a certain season, with some variation. There are typically twelve Attic lunar months, listed here in order: Hekatombaion Metageitnion Boedromion Pyanepsion Maimakterion Poseideon Gamelion Anthesterion Elaphebolion Mounikhion Thargelion Skirophorion Because a cycle of twelve lunar months is eleven days short of a solar year, there is a thirteenth intercalated month about every three years. This extra month is a repeat of the sixth month in early winter, known as Poseideon Beta, also rendered Poseideon B or Poseideon 2 in modern calculations of the calendar. Because the moon orbits the earth in 29.5 days, each Attic lunar month has either 29 or 30 days. The months with 30 days are called full, and the months with 29 days are called hollow. Each full month is further divided into three "weeks" of ten days, or in the case of hollow months, two ten-day weeks and a third week of nine days. The last day of each Attic month, when the moon is dark, is called Hene Kai Nea, which translates to "the old and the new." A cycle of four Attic years is grouped as an Olympiad, which corresponds to the four-year cycle of the Pan-Hellenic Olympic Games.
  7. Authentic self

    Knowing myself is a balancing act between my own perceptions of myself, and what others around me might tell me they perceive of me. In more than a few cases, I trust my own perceptions of myself over those of my community, because many of my core beliefs are at odds with theirs. In some cases, others see things about me or the way I act that I might not notice unless they bring it to my attention. I also keep in mind that the Delphic maxim that is often translated to "know thyself" is not just a call to introspection, but also a warning against hubris. Knowing yourself is also knowing your limitations, flaws, and any bias you might have that colors your perceptions.
  8. Misunderstandings in civilized community

    Some of us have also been raised in different cultures, either as immigrants or by immigrant families, with our own social conventions and manners. I've gotten some weird looks because my reflex is to bow instead of shake hands when I meet someone for the first time. Table manners also vary widely between cultures, and what passes for etiquette to one may seem rude (or barbaric) to another.
  9. There's no ancient source for Hekate as a crone goddess. In fact, the entire maiden, mother, and crone three-in-one goddess concept seems to have its origins in the 20th century.
  10. Does the human soul exist?

    In some ways, such as in those examples, polytheism does still have an influence over our culture. But monotheism's grasp on the word "god" itself, even in the context of polytheistic deities, would make most people hesitant to even consider using the term for these myriad personifications that continue to exist in our language. When I use the word Zeus, most people would think of a bearded man in the sky hurling lightning, an artistic expression that did indeed exist in ancient times. But they think that image is the beginning and the end of the ancient understanding of Zeus. A superhuman figure, to use the dictionary definition of the gods of polytheism. That is the influence of monotheism, trapping our view of polytheistic gods in literal interpetations of myth.
  11. Does the human soul exist?

    Our common culture might not take Zeus and Poseidon seriously, but our language still uses colorful phrases alluding to the personification of ideals or natural phenomena. Their influence is still alive, even if hidden behind terms like Lady Luck (Tykhe/Fortuna) or Mother Earth (Gaia). In America particularly we speak of Liberty in almost religious terms, and even have a colossal cult statue of her image. Modern sailors and seamen still give personification to the sea and storm, and we give hurricanes personal names. Justice is spoken of as blind, and revered in our courts, complete with ritual actions in her honor.
  12. Does the human soul exist?

    Ah, I see. I'm used to piety in the context of the Greek term eusebia, the customary acts of worship given to the gods, or giving the gods what is due to them. Sometimes what is due to them is nothing, depending on the situation. Blind faith and self-righteousness doesn't really come into play, as eusebia in the Classical usage of the word is more about religious actions and behavior than faith.
  13. Does the human soul exist?

    What's so bad about piety?
  14. I haven't had any direct, personal experiences or revelations from the gods I worship, and honestly I don't expect to have any. My religion really isn't reliant upon individual mystical experience, but private and community acts of devotion. Sure one could point to the ecstasy of the mystery cults or the phenomenon of nympholepsy, or oracular visions and insights, but those were historically rare and happened in specific settings. The vast majority just worshipped according to whatever level of piety suited them, and went about their lives never having grand mystical experiences. I think a lot of the reason mysticism and personal divine experiences and revelations are so prominent in the pagan community, is that the gateway to the community for the most part is still Wicca, and those pagan religions that are influenced and inspired by Wicca. A religion with no laity, where everyone is a priest or priestess, and the focus of the religion as it relates to their god and goddess is on ecstatic experience (drawing down the moon, the practice of magic, etc.) I had also been among the online pagan community long enough to be very skeptical about the majority of the claims people make about their direct experiences with gods or demons, etc. I've seen many a wild claim accepted almost blindly and affirmed by others in the community out of some sense of inclusiveness and solidarity. Many a forum became an echo chamber for ridiculousness, and I grew very disenchanted with the community because of it.
  15. Does the human soul exist?

    There isn't any nuance or detail in those dictionary definitions though. No discussion about the various omni-qualities that go along with a monotheistic god but don't represent polytheistic gods. No discussion about deities having "superhuman" descriptions in myth, but not all religions have taken these mythic or poetic descriptions literally. You can't fit these kinds of theological discussions, including major differences in the way religions define what a god is, into one or two oversimplified lines in a dictionary.