LeopardBoy

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Everything posted by LeopardBoy

  1. I don't believe there's a big difference between many divine beings and natural processes. I worship the Anemoi, which are the daimones of the winds. They do what wind has done since before the existence of mankind. I don't believe there's any malevolence toward us when natural disaster strikes, but that doesn't make the event any less divine to me. Tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, storms, and the like have been part of our planet's natural processes long before our species entered into the mix. The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is a massive storm, but because there isn't much damage to human life there, it's not usually considered "God's wrath".
  2. I've never had a direct mystical experience with the deities I worship, but I do glean feelings and insights about them through various acts of worship and through studies into the culture that surrounded their ancient worship. I regard those personal feelings with scrutiny, and if they don't run completely counter to established historical views of the deity, I may adjust a particular detail of my practice to go with the feeling. At no point do I consider these feelings anything more than UPG though, which isn't a bad thing, but it is a personal thing. I do know a few in the pagan community who will make universal statements based on their UPG, and may even make critical judgments about ancient cultures based on that modern UPG. For example, I once knew a pagan in an old group I was associated with who claimed to have a direct relationship with Artemis (goddess of the hunt, among many other domains), and stated that Artemis thought hunting was wrong, and the ancient Greeks were wrong to kill animals and associate her with hunting. While I personally no longer identify as a pagan, I think it would be difficult to confirm if direct mystical experience of deities is common among pagans, or even sought after. Not all pagans believe that mysticism or divine revelation is a higher form of spiritual evolution that anyone can experience.
  3. I like to observe certain "modern" secular holidays, even though their placement can sometimes throw off my usual festival observances due to the lunar/solar calendar issue. For Earth Day, I make it a point to pray to the four generations of Greek Earth-Goddesses: Gaia (Ge), Rhea, Demeter, and Kore; along with the nymphai and other daimones of natural places. My offerings are of grain (the fruits of Demeter's agricultural teaching), and I pour sober libations (water, oil, honey, milk, etc.).
  4. I brought up the definition precisely because people define it according to their negative feelings about it and not because of the proper usage. I've been criticized many times because I admit to "worshiping", "praying", and belonging to a "religion". By making the comparison between worship and slavery, you are essentially saying that countless many who "worship" are enslaved to their deities. I was merely attempting to point out that it's not the case.
  5. The Merriam-Webster definition of worship (noun) is: 1: chiefly British : a person of importance - used as a title for various individuals 2: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power 3: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual 4: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem The Merriam-Webster definition of worship (verb) is: 1: To honor or reverence as a divine being or spiritual power. 2: To regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion. From the Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being; from the Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect; from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe- ship. The implication that worship and spiritual slavery are the same thing has nothing to do with the definition of the word. I worship the Theoi. That does not mean I am enslaved by them, demean myself before them, or bow to their every whim (though I do acknowledge that I am a mortal with mortal thinking). It means I show respect and honor to them through ritual actions and prayer. I means I find them worthy of such reverence. In the pagan community, words like "worship", "religion", and "prayer" have become almost taboo because of holdover emotions relating to a previous religion or through common usage in dominant religions; even though the concepts of these words often apply to the actions of the individuals who shun the term.
  6. I don't personally observe either Ostara or Easter, as neither are a traditional part of my religious practice; but I will be joining my family for dinner on Easter Sunday. I'm just now finishing the observance of the seven-day festival of the City Dionysia, which partially coincides with the Christian "Holy Week" this year. I have a bit of a break from holidays until the end of this lunar month, when I observe Hekate's deipnon (supper) and then the Noumenia of Attic month of Mounukhion.
  7. Praise be to Dionysos!

  8. I'd find the question "what is the name that you call GOD?" confusing. I worship many Gods, with names of their own as well as multiple epithets relating to different aspects of their being. I don't follow the philosophy that there is one singular "God" or "Source" that I worship by different names. As the original question specifically refers to polytheists without specifying type, I find "what gods/Gods do you believe in?" to be an easier question for hard polytheists to answer. It's difficult enough as a polytheist to communicate in an interfaith setting when the default language often leans toward monotheistic thinking. A question like "what is the name that you call GOD?" already begins with the assumption that there is one singular universal deity referred to as "GOD" and polytheists simply know this deity by other names. For many polytheists, this question cannot be answered without acknowledging this assumption as true.
  9. I worship the pantheon of ancient Greece. I don't believe in one singular "Creator", but view creation as a continual epic series of events that many deities had/have a hand in. In fact, Hesiod's creation story in the Theogony has the universe unfolding as generations of deities are "born". Just about all of the Protogenoi (the first generation of Gods), most of the Titans, many of the Olympians, and countless daimones (spirits) represent natural and human social phenomena themselves; so "creation" would occur with the appearance of that deity or spirit in the myth.
  10. I thought wizards were balloonists from Omaha.
  11. I prefer just calling myself an Hellenic Reconstructionist. It serves the same purpose. I can start with a cleaner slate, as it were, instead of spending a lot of time battling assumptions about what a "pagan" is or does. I just find it interesting (and frustrating) that a great many in the pagan community will say things like "there are eight pagan holidays", "Samhain is the pagan new year", "pagans don't practice animal sacrifice", "pagans have no problem with witchcraft", etc.; while at the same time defining a pagan as anyone that doesn't follow one of the Abrahamic religions. The language and terminology used as a default method of communication in the pagan community and at numerous pagan gatherings doesn't match the definition, and isn't really inclusive.
  12. I would have to add that there are certain "pagan" religions that do have requirements in regards to practice or initiation. It's not all eclectic, even though the term "pagan" in the pagan community is often used interchangeably (and erroneously) with eclectic neopagan practices and paradigms largely influenced by Wicca and the New Age movement. It's one of the reasons I don't like calling myself "pagan".
  13. I know a lot of practicing Wiccans who don't realize just how much of what they do stems from an Abrahamic background. They have more in common with Victorian spiritualists and their Christian-influenced worldview than with actual ancient polytheistic cultures. I see the faiths existing alongside as long as both sides allow the other to behave according to their own beliefs. That means accepting that not everyone or every behavior will be accepted by all religions. I'm neither Wiccan nor Christian. I won't make judgments about either religion being true or false for those who do follow them, but will only say that I have been personally dissatisfied by both, and found something else entirely. Accents of a universal path? I honestly don't know.
  14. May Zeus Ktesios watch over the provisions of the household and bring a blessing of bounty during these winter months.

  15. Hestia is the Greek Goddess of the hearth, home, and family. She was represented both in the warm fires of the hearth and also the altar flames of burnt sacrifice. She's the eldest of the six offspring of Kronos and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titanes, and was the first swallowed and last regurgitated by her father. Zeus decreed that she would receive the first and last of each offering and sacrifice that mortals make to the Gods. She also swore on the brow of Zeus that she would remain a virgin forever. In Greek religious tradition, she is the chief of the household deities; and as public cult worship grew out of (and mirrors) household worship, she is the deity that is most accessible to mortal devotees through worship. When Greek colonies were established, a fire from her hearth at the governmental center of the mother-city was taken to light the new prytaneum hearth of the colony. I feel a strong devotion to her because of my personal inclinations toward domesticity, which she governs. I cook, clean, bake, and tend to many duties concerning the household. I pray to Hestia first when my day begins, and last when it ends, and I give her small offerings of each meal I take during the day.
  16. Each day, I begin my morning prayers by reciting one of the Evelyn-White translations of the two Homeric hymns to Hestia: "Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet, where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. And you, Argeiphontes, son of Zeus and Maia, be favorable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, daughter of Kronos, and you also, Hermes." "Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollon, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise -- draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song." I finish my prayers each night with a recitation of the Athanassakis translation of the Orphic Hymn to Hestia: "Queen Hestia, daughter of mighty Kronos, Mistress of ever burning and peerless fire, you dwell in the house center. May you hallow the initiates of these rites and grant them unwithering youth, Riches, prudence and purity. You are the home of the blessed gods and men's mighty buttress, Eternal, many-shaped, beloved and grass-yellow. Smile, O blessed one, and kindly accept these offerings, Wafting upon us prosperity and gentle-handed health."
  17. Daughter of Kronos, eldest of the Olympians, I pray for the protection and stability of my home and hearth.

    1. PaganPeaceMaker

      PaganPeaceMaker

      Hestia? I love her!! But I more follow Danu & Lugh of the Celtic pantheon. Namaste' & Blessed Be )O(

  18. The Iliad is a myth, not scripture. While there were behaviors classified as virtue and vice in Greek culture, it's not really the same thing as sin in the Christian sense. It's rare to find absolutes when it comes to spiritual law in the Greek cultures. The tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton defiled the festival of Athena with bloodshed (incurring spiritual pollution onto the city itself), but were given honor as heroes, and their descendants were honored with social privileges because their act of murder was socially acceptable and justified. The Gods of Greece did not dole out any equivalent of "the ten commandments" or sacred laws. Outside of Orphic and Pythagorean schools of thought, you won't really find the concepts of "man's sinful nature" and spiritual salvation from that sinful nature in ancient Greek philosophy, because there aren't any popular myths of a flawed creation or a "fall" that led humans astray from the Gods. There's really no need for spiritual salvation when one's myths do not speak of a fall from perfection and original sin.
  19. For many, the idea of any kind of spiritual "salvation" from "sin" is completely foreign. The very terminology assumes a core belief that doesn't exist in many religions.
  20. If I ever adopt children in the future, I plan to raise them in my religion until they are old enough to choose for themselves. I would observe various rites of passage with them as they relate to family and the Hellenic household practice, such as the Amphidromia, when new children are formally welcomed into the household and presented before the household deities. I can't see how it's possible to separate my religious practice from my secular life, and anyone who shares my household with me would be exposed to my practice. I pray and make offerings throughout the day, particularly at meal times. I keep a shrine and agalmata of the Gods. My religion isn't just something I do now and then, but a ritual way of life for me. It just wouldn't be possible to hide that from my children.
  21. I'm attending a costume party with my friends. I don't observe Samhain or Halloween as a religious holiday. The closest religious festival I observe around that time is a sacred day to "The Heroines" on the 13th of the Athenian month of Puanepsion (occurring October 29th this year).