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Everything posted by LeopardBoy

  1. My beliefs require that I use my own wisdom to determine when and how I apply the Hellenic virtues that I hold dear. So far nothing really has changed in the past year aside from juggling a new relationship and the complexities that go along with that. I speak out against what I perceive to be injustice and ignorance the same as I always have.
  2. I'd also add that the emoluments Athenian priestesses would receive, which would vary from cult to cult, were fairly equal to those their male counterparts would have generally received. These could include monetary payments, rations of grain or other food usually given in offering at the temple, the hides of sacrificed animals (or money from the sale of those hides), choice cuts of meat from sacrifices, and reserved seating at the theater. The role of religious official was one of the socially acceptable means by which Athenian women could earn their own salary.
  3. It's a bit inaccurate, as least as far as my studies on Athens goes. The first identifiable priestess of the cult of Athena Polias was a woman named Lysimache, and we know of her because a statue of her was erected on the acropolis in honor of her 64 years of service. She died at the age of 88, and since that cult appointed priestesses for life terms, she was around 24 years old when she was elected to the office. We also know she was married, and had borne four children during her service to the cult. According to Robert Garland's study of the cult records of Athens in his article 'Religious Authority in Archaic and Classical Athens', priests and priestesses could be elected to office (presumably with male family members submitting the names of potential priestesses), or selected by drawing lots. The criteria the candidates would have had to meet would differ according to each cult, but could include age, marital status, health, and sometimes which tribe they come from. Certain priestesses, including that of Athena Polias, were tied to a particular tribe involved in its founding, either historically or in myth. Appointments weren't always for life, either. In fact, most appointments to religious office lasted only a year.
  4. That might be the case in parts of the Northern European world, but it's not universal. Ancient Athenian society was very oppressive toward women, long before Christianity set foot there, and the patroness of the city was Athena, a goddess. The cult of Athena Polias was the most socially powerful cult in the city, and there is an account of a priestess banishing a king from the temple grounds on the acropolis because he was deemed ritually unsuited to be there. While the women in religious office held a certain amount of social power in Athens, that wasn't the case for the common women, who had no political voice of their own and were considered the property of a male family member. Goddess-worship in itself doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with women's rights or social and political equality.
  5. The phrase "God helps those who help themselves" isn't biblical, but rather originated in Greek tragedy and the fables of Aesop, specifically Heracles and the Wagoner.
  6. My personal heritage and ethnicity don't match the reconstructionist polytheistic religion I practice. Being considered Hellenic was more about speaking the language and observing Greek religious and social customs than where and to whom a person was born; though birth and heritage determined things like citizenship in a polis and a host of rights and social obligations attached to that. I'm of the opinion that holding an appropriate spiritual and cultural worldview is more important than heritage and ethnicity, though I will add that honoring one's ancestors is a very important part of my religious practice.
  7. I usually worship in the home, focusing my daily rites toward the Theoi and daimones that reside in the household, as well as the ancestral spirits of my family. Occasionally I will also worship outdoors, pouring libations at a local park to the nymphai that reside in the area. Currently I have no temples or groves at which to conduct worship.
  8. The concept of ministry in itself is foreign to my religion as well, and the roles of clergy are very different from what is expected of priests or ministers following a Christian concept of clergy. Hellenic priests and priestesses aren't spiritual counselors or "shepherds to a flock", for one thing. They are caretakers of a temple or other sacred site (as well as the inventory of votive gifts, monies, and other offerings made to the deity or spirit of that specific site), and leaders of rituals related to the specific cult they are elected to serve. In most cases, their terms also have a set limit before another priest or priestess is elected to the position. Only a few very exceptional cults would have had a lifetime position for clergy. Hellenic priests and priestesses also wouldn't be involved in those domestic functions which modern Christian-influenced culture tends to associate with clergy; such as weddings, naming ceremonies, and funerals. Those functions were the spiritual responsibility of the family itself as part of the domestic cult of each household. The idea of a solitary minister or priest wouldn't make sense in my religion, since priesthood is bound to a specific cult, and priests and priestesses are elected by the community of worshipers (either from eligible members of the general public or eligible members of a specific family descended from the founders of the cult). The average, everyday Hellenic worshiper is also responsible for making their own offerings and prayers, and approaching deities and daimones in worship for themselves or on behalf of their household and family, so really there is no need for the role of solitary minister or priest in my religion.
  9. So far, my plan for Halloween is to hang out at my friends' place. My best friend's stepchildren are supposed to visit for the weekend, and we have plans on watching movies or doing some other kid-friendly activity with them. After they're in bed, we plan to have a few drinks and watch slasher films, and at some point the event will probably shape into our usual symposium of good conversation and humorous antics. Other than perhaps pouring a few libations while drinking or making an offering before partaking of meals (ritual actions I would perform anyway), I really don't observe the day in any religiously significant way, as neither Halloween nor Samhain are Hellenic holidays.
  10. There are many polytheistic religions that are centered on praxis, not orthodoxy, and thus allow for a multitude of individual beliefs and philosophies.
  11. A rebellious act against your god perhaps, but not against any of the deities, daimones, and heroes/heroines I worship. I will continue to be open about my homosexuality without guilt, fear, or shame, and I'm grateful that I live in a time and place where I won't be put to death by government decree for it.
  12. Christian missionaries like Scott Lively didn't seem to have a problem stirring the pot over homosexuality in Africa, which led to Uganda's notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/how-uganda-was-seduced-by-antigay-conservative-evangelicals-9193593.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Act,_2014
  13. I've had osteoporosis since the age of twelve so space travel has never been an option for me, whether I had any desire to go or not.
  14. May your holiday be a blessed one. I think the equinox this year falls between a sacred day to the Nymphai and the end of the Attic month of Boedromion in the festival calendar I observe. Autumn and into early winter is also my favorite time of year. I enjoy pouring libations to the Nymphai that reside in the trees at a local park when the leaves are changing color and just beginning to fall.
  15. Daughter of Kronos, elder sister of God most high and of Hera the partner of his throne; Lady of Fire, I give you reverence first among all divinities. May you grant me comfort, warmth, and a stable foundation.

  16. I've had a number of people tell me that my worship and devotional practices shouldn't be considered a religion. It doesn't change what I do or how I feel about the Gods. They have the freedom to believe what they will and to openly express their beliefs, up until they start causing actual legal hardships for me. I also have the freedom to believe they don't know what they're talking about, and openly express that belief.
  17. If you look at some of the foundations of our modern society, you'll find that many of them come from cultures that had spiritual practices without a focus on holy literature, and in some cases without any holy literature in written form. The Greeks before Christ, for example, had a vast collection of myths, maxims, and philosophical writings, but no unifying holy literature for the communal spiritual practices of each polis and surrounding area; and in many cases the theme of their cultic practices was quite different from the themes of the written myths. Certain adversarial relationships between deities that had been revealed in the myths were more like amicable partnerships in the actual worship, or figures that played only a minor role in myth could have had large public cults in reality, and so on. Even those societies that had written material that we might call holy writings often didn't share the same kind of understanding about those writings that we commonly do today.
  18. In my religious worldview, no, dogs and cats don't go to heaven after they die, and neither do humans.
  19. While my religion could be classified as "pagan", it's not a term I willingly embrace for myself or what I do for several reasons. For one thing, the word's most common modern definition seems to be a negative one. It doesn't convey anything particular about my practices or theology, but only that what I do and believe is "not Abrahamic", or "not mainstream". Even the "not Abrahamic" definition is sketchy, because it would include indigenous religious practitioners that have their own cultural labels and object to being grouped together as "pagan", and exclude what is perhaps the largest neopagan religion, Wicca, due to the Abrahamic origins of many of Wicca's magical practices. The second reason I don't like to use the term "pagan" to describe myself or my practices is because of the default association with the word in the pagan community with Wicca and practices derived from Wicca. The word "pagan" is often used interchangeably with "Wiccan" (more accurately, Wiccan-influenced eclectic neopaganism), and I've found a lot of assumptions come with using the term among other "pagans". It is assumed that I observe the eight Wiccan Sabbats, or Wheel of the Year, too often erroneously described as "the eight pagan holidays". It is assumed that I practice witchcraft and have no objection to the practice of witchcraft, with the caveat that anything I do "harms none". It is also assumed that I view the individual Gods as aspects of some all-encompassing universal Goddess and God. None of those assumptions fit what I do or believe. I've found that if I eschew the term "pagan" entirely and describe myself as an "Hellenic polytheist" or "Hellenic reconstructionist", I don't have to spend as much time refuting the myriad "pagan" things I don't do or believe, and I can describe my own practices and theology in an easier manner to those who wish to understand them.
  20. Just out of curiosity, it seems you were unhappy enough with the Wiccan-esque neopagan path to cause your return to Christianity, so why go back to it instead of seeking a new path entirely? I tried the Wiccan-style neopagan path after I left Christianity, and personally found it unsatisfying, so I moved on to something different that better fulfills my spiritual and intellectual needs.
  21. The Orphic hymn to Asklepios might be suitable for the injured. This is the Apostolos Athanassakis translation: "Asklepios, lord Paian, healer of all, you charm away the suffering of men in pain. Come, mighty and soothing, bring health, And put an end to sickness and the harsh fate of death. Helper, blessed spirit of growth and blossoming, you ward off evil, Honored and mighty scion of Phoibos Apollon. Enemy of disease, whose blameless consort is Hygeia, Come, O blessed one, as savior, and bring life to a good end." As far as any Hellenic prayers on behalf of the dead go, that might be tricky. There was a common belief among the Greeks that the majority of the Gods avoided the event of a mortal's death, because the physical act of dying brought with it a type of spiritual pollution, or miasma. In fact, we have evidence that dying on sanctuary grounds was often forbidden. If death did occur on the property of a God, intense ritual purification would have been required to cleanse the taint of miasma from the area. I suppose one could petition specific death-related deities such as Hermes Psykhopompos or Thanatos on behalf of the recently dead to speed the soul along to the Underworld, but ensuring the soul reach its correct path through the Underworld or appeasing the spirits of the dead would require more than simple prayer. Certain funerary rites such as the preparation of the body, providing a coin for Kharon, pouring khoe libations, and leaving offerings at the grave were thought to aid the dead's journey in the Underworld.
  22. I'm an Hellenic Reconstructionist. I practice a modern reconstruction of the ancient worship of the Greek pantheon.
  23. My religion includes female priestesses from various age groups, with some as young as seven years of age. Their role is to maintain the temple and/or sanctuary and perform certain ritual functions related to whichever specific cult they serve.