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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hellenismos

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Today's Hekate's Deipnon and I have a lot to do for it so I'm keeping this post brief. Since my progression into Hellenismos, I have started to consider language in Pagan practice. Although I am Dutch, I have nearly always practiced in English. I love this language; it's softer, more poetic, more fluid than Dutch. It has synonyms that make sense. 'Practicing in English' became part of my practice. When I set out onto the Hellenic path, I naturally started practicing in English. I can't read or pronounce Greek yet so it made sense. Since about a week, I am not so sure anymore.

I tried an on-the-spot translation into Dutch of my daily prayers and hymns and felt a deeper connection to Deity than I had felt before within this practice. I started wondering why that was as I stumbled through my translations this week. I think... that especially Hestia appreciates my Dutch prayers and hymns because Dutch is the language that is spoken in this household. It's part of our Oikos. I'm not sure the others care very much.

Of course, I would rather practice in ancient Greek. I got myself a home study course and will be attempting to learn as much as I can on my own before taking a language course. It's not mandatory in Hellenismos to speak Greek but I would love to be able to read the hymns, myths and plays I base my practice on in their original language and form. Translations are lovely but there is always artistic freedom. Besides, for me, it's the language of the Gods.

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Two days now, I have tackled very heavy subjects in general, as well as for me personal. It becomes wearisome to write about such topics, so today, I'm writing about puppies. Well, hunting dog, but they were puppies once, so it counts.


Dogs had a very special and particular place in ancient Greek society. The Greek word for 'dog' is 'kuón' (κύων), and there were a couple of breeds that were favored. First and foremost, the Molossus, a now extinct species of dog related most to the mastiffs of current times, enjoyed great prestige. Another favorite was the Laconian, which was especially popular in Sparta. The Molossus was most often used as a guard dog, while the Laconian was the go-to hunting dog of the time. Also known were the Cretan, a Laconia probably crossed with the Molossian; and the Melitan, a small long-haired, short-legged lap dog.

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I got back from my city trip to Berlin late last night and I had planned on writing about some experiences from that trip, but I received my daily e-mail from a friend who informed me that his wife's cousin had taken his own life unexpectedly, and that his life was pretty hectic right now because of it. He would therefor need some time to get back to me. After that, the concept and act of suicide was set firmly in my mind and I could write about nothing else. So here is fair warning; this post is about suicide, it touches on depression, my interesting childhood and my opinion on suicide. If any of these are triggers for you, I would ask you to come back tomorrow. Also, and I will get back to this, depression lies.

I grew up in a household where the threat of suicide was prevalent. When I mentioned moving out, when I got angry, when something went wrong (especially if it was something I had caused--or for which I was blamed), I was stopped and the emotions repressed by a veiled or outright threat of suicide by my mother. I used to be angry about that, but as I got older, I understood that it was simply her only way to deal with the depression and personality disorders she was struggling with. She did try once, and it was a horrible experience for all involved. After that, though, I think she realized that no matter how miserable she was, she wasn't really going to go through with it. The threats only stopped when we agreed that she was only allowed to call me with a suicide threat if she really meant it. She never spoke of it again.

Through my experience with suicide, I have developed a very low patience threshold for people who use (the threat of) suicide as an excuse to get attention. For people in my social circle who honestly feel they might commit suicide, I am there. All I ask of them is that they ask for help if they need it. I will gladly give it. I'll get up in the middle of the night for weeks to talk them off of any ledge they might be on, but I need honesty and I will not be guilt tripped into helping them. I did that for at least ten years. I'm a very decent human being. If you need me, in any way, I will be there for you. You don't have to lie. But if you simply need attention, if you need a shoulder to cry on and someone to tell you what a miserable life you have and act shocked you have even considered the act of suicide, I am not the person to go to. I'm the person you go to for help, and to get you help.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    No harm done, glad to be of service.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I appreciate your concern; thank you. If you do NOT want to give the impression you'd been suicidal yourself, you should consider
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Done, thank you. I apologize for any inconvenience.

The Protogenoi (Πρωτογενοι) are the First Born Deities of the Greek Kosmos. They are the building blocks of the universe, primordial Deities. I have written before about Them, in a post about genealogy of the Gods.

The Protogenoi we know of are: Aether (Αἰθήρ, 'Light'), Ananke (Ἀνάγκη, 'Fate' or 'Compulsion'), Khronos (Χρόνος, 'Time'), Erebos (Ἔρεβος, 'Darkness'), Eros (Ἔρως, 'Desire' or 'Love'), Gaea (Γαῖα, 'Earth'), Hemera (Ἡμέρα, 'Day'), Hydros (Ὑδρος, 'Primordial Waters'), Khaos (χάος, 'Chaos' or 'Air'), Nêsoi (Νησοι, 'Islands'), Nyx (Νύξ, 'Night'), Ôkeanos (Ωκεανος, 'Water'), Ourea (Oὔρεα, 'Mountains'), Phanes (Φάνης 'Procreation'), Pontos (Πόντος, 'Sea'), Phusis (φύσις, 'Nature'), Tartaros (Τάρταρος), Thalassa (Θάλασσα, 'Sea'), Thesis (Θεσις, 'Creation'), Uranos (Οὐρανός, 'Sky').

As might have become apparently from the, previously mentioned, earlier published post; any mythology from this era is incredibly mucky. There are a few sources we can track the beginning of the universe to; because that is where the Protogenoi were born in--or from; the beginning of the universe. They are the embodiments of the aspects of life They are named after. Zeus may be Lord of the Sky, but the sky itself is a primordial Deity, distant from humanity but ever-present.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    I know a few modern Hellenics who honor the Protogenoi. There is even an Oracle of Nyx.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I'm referring to the Orphic hymn to Nyx.
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    You mean Aphrodite Philophannyx? I... Guess you could say the two were equated but as far as I'm aware, Philophanny was only used

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Yesterday, I wrote about my experiences at Pagan festivals and I got a lot of thoughtful and understanding replies on it, both on Facebook and PaganSquare as well as off-line. It got me thinking about my Recon Tradition and how Recon I can make it. This was also inspired by a comment by Rebecca Buchanan on another post of mine at PaganSquare whose thoughtful reply made me scratch at an itch I have been refusing to scratch for a while now.

Hellenismos is a Recon Tradition; it's founded upon religious practice, as practiced by the ancient Hellens in a culture where this religious practice blended in effortlessly. Myself, I'm not Greek. I don't live in Greece. I'm a lesbian woman living in a culture which is incredibly far removed from that of ancient Hellas. I also practice alone and I have to substitute a lot of practices and sacrifices with something socially acceptable.

I'm going to say something now that I do not take lightly but I do stand behind. If practiced correctly and without prolonged suffering for the animal, I am in favor of animal sacrifice in religious worship. In all honesty, I think it's a beautiful practice. I would not relish the kill at all, and I think that if I ever had to do it, I would really, really struggle with it. But I would do it, out of respect for the Gods and because it was part of the practice of the ancient Hellens.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    As a qadish (a practitioner of Natib Qadish, Canaanite polytheism) I understand where you're coming from on a number of points. If
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    As more of an eclectic Hellenic I search for ways to bring an ancient idea into the modern world. I have a hard time thinking alo
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    OY! This sentence: However, I do think that the act of sacrificing an animal to the Gods is something that lessens our own society

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's the festival season and I just spent the weekend at Castlefest. Castlefest is not, exactly, a Pagan festival but it was--and probably still is, although they're fading to the background--the festival Pagans flocked to. There is a Pagan corner of the festival terrain, a wicker burning of which the Pagan gang is in charge and many Pagan supplies can be bought there. Incense, clothing, tools, you name it. Even statues of some Pagan Gods. It sounds like Pagan heaven and in a way it is. Yet, I don't feel at home there.

I wrote yesterday that the biggest difference between me and any other Pagan there, seems to be in our views about Deity and how to approach Them. As I said then, any Recon tradition forces you to actually believe in the Gods, not as just handy tools to get your own needs fulfilled. Cara Schulz, in the very post I went off on before, but explained why later, recognizes that very problem:

"I live in a catch-22. I love going to Pagan festivals and gatherings as I love the people there and greatly enjoy the general vibe. I highly recommend them and I have a great time when ever I attend a community event or Pagan festival or Con. Yet when I attend these types of gatherings, that is when I feel the least like part of the Pagan community. I attend the workshops, the rituals, and listen to the conversations and I have almost nothing in common with any of it. I can’t relate. Casting a circle has as much in common with my religion as walking the Stations of the Cross. We have no common connection. The lovely maiden Hekate I worship that grants our family prosperity little resembles the Crone Hekate that many neo-Pagans work with for magic. The very things that should draw me closer to the Pagan community are the very things that tell me I may not belong."
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for this. I walk in a couple of worlds, one of which is interfaith. I am always surprised (and, to be honest, disdainful)
  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    I enjoyed this post, Elani. Although I have never been to a "Pagan festival" I have been to numerous Pagan events, open circles, P
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    You are articulating the experience of many Pagans, I believe; I count myself as one of them. I recognize that festival culture is

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Timothy Jay Alexander is one of the most visible Hellenics out there. He has written a couple of introductory books and is active on-line as well as off-line to promote Hellenismos and educate people on its ideology and theology.

Alexander has identified seven pillars of Hellenismos which practitioners should adhere to and which will help identify and understand Hellenismos for the non-practitioner. These pillars are:

  • Ethike Arete - the practice of habitual excellence (ethics)
  • Eusebia - reverence, loyalty, and sense of duty toward the Gods (of Greece)
  • Hagneia - the maintaining of ritual purity by avoiding miasma
  • Nomos Arkhaios - observance of ancient tradition, (religious) law, and customs
  • Sophia - the pursuit of wisdom, understanding, and truth
  • Sophrosune - the control of self through deep contemplation
  • Xenia - adherence to hospitality and the guest-host relationship
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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Overall, I like Alexander's pillars, too. The only one I find problematic is Nomos Arkhaios. Hellenic culture/s covered a broad r
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Thank you for your comment, Rebecca I understand where you're coming from. I don't think Alexander limits his practice to any on
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Elani, Your construction "pillars of practice" is one of the best religious memes I've heard in a long time. Mind if I use it? Wit

I greatly enjoy watching the Olympics. I enjoy watching sport in general, but this is a competition which was started in Greece, by the people who worshipped the same Gods as I do, people whose lives I'm trying to reconstruct. Watching the Olympics is religious for me. A post about them is, of course, unavoidable.

There is so much to say about the Olympics, I would need ten posts to discuss all I want to discuss, but I have decided to limit myself to just ten points of Olympic interest people might not be aware of. Did you know all of this about the Olympics?

An artist's impression of Altis, the sanctuary in Olympia
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I remember the first time the Muses overtook me. I was fourteen, sitting alone in my room and suddenly, words popped up in my head, unbidden, unprovoked. I grabbed a voice recorder I had and begun to speak. I wrote down what had come out afterwards and I still cherish these words. They still speak to the base part of me. They still bring me truth and peace. High time to examine the Muses. 

The Muses (Μοῦσαι) are either three or nine in number, depending on the source. Plutarch, in his Quaestiones Conviviviales, named three Muses; Melete (Practice), Mneme (Memory), and Aoede (Song), but Hesiod described nine of them in his Theogony; Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flutes and lyric poetry), Thaleia/Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Terpsikhore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia/Polymnia (sacred poetry) and Urania (astronomy). Due to the influence of Hesiod, Hómēros and others of their time, it's the nine Muses we now go with.

These nine muses were born from Zeus and his aunt and fifth wife, Mnemosyne, who was the personification of memory. The Muses, back then, were simply Deities, in charge of Their own aspects of mortal life. Euterpe was the 'Giver of light', for example. Their function and status as Muses was a later, Roman, addition.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    So nice to meet another devotee of the Muses! They seem to get only lip service among modern Hellenics, if they are acknowledged
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    AS a writer, most of what I do is influenced by the Muses. It's only logical for me to keep them in mind during practice. It's goo

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This blog focusses entirely on Hellenismos, and I have been writing about it on my own blog for quite some time. Because I will update my Pagan Square blog alongside my own, it might be handy for newcomers to have a bit of a Hellenismos 101 session; this way, the terms make sense and the basic belief system is a little bit clearer. Because of this, I have compiled a Hellenic primer out of various blog posts to give you an idea of what you're in for on this blog.

  • What is Hellenismos?
  • Is it Pagan?
  • What are the pillars of Hellenismos?
  • What's with all the terms?
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A lot has changed for me over the last few months. I took the leap of faith needed to finally embrace Hellenismos, I started to blog and now, I have joined PaganSquare as a regular blogger. Especially the last one came as a complete surprise.

I have known for a least a year, I would be transitioning to Hellenismos. It was inevitable. Even when I first started out, I connected almost solely to the Greek pantheon. When I called the God and Goddess, I used the names of the Theoi. The Greek pantheon offered such a beautiful mix of endless power and possibilities, offset with Gods who erred, that I could relate without even trying. It was easy to see why these beings were Gods and how They related to my life. Yet, back then, I was also firmly trustful of the God and Goddess, and letting Them go proved hard.

As I went through my life and progressed from Neo-Wicca to Technopaganism, Hedge Witchcraft and eventually on the Eclectic Religious Witchcraft, I realized that I was heading towards a crossroads. Oh how fitting, that term, because it was Hekate, Goddess of Crossroads, who eventually opened my eyes to the truth I had been denying; if I wanted to properly honor the Theoi, I needed to let go of the Neo-Wiccan framework in which I had been forcing Them, and let Them be their own Gods and Goddesses. I needed to start worshipping Them in a way which They were used to, a way designed especially for Them.

...
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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Welcome, Elani! I'm looking forward to seeing your posts!
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Thank you, Anne! It's a wonderful place to be invited into. I'm looking forward to blogging here!

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