One of the problems I’ve encountered with having highly devoted cult reverence to Eros, Apollon, and The Muses (of course, it seems that Apollon bloggers are a dime-a-dozen these days, heck, I list three of them in my side-bar) is that there are going to be misconceptions amongst co-religionists who do not participate in your cult reverence. Oi Theoi. Here are two of the most highly misconceived things about cult practise:
1: The assumption that I don’t worship any other Theoi, or that they all take a sort of “back seat” to Eros worship. I don’t even know how to begin with how wrong this is. For starters, my kitchen is all about Hestia, Demeter, and Zeus Ktesios. Little shrine-like things may not have sprung up overnight, but I’m living on disability allowance, and thus a very fixed income, so if all I can afford at the moment is reciting a rotation of prayers as I’m mixing muffin or pancake batter, that’s a hell of a lot better than how most of my father’s friends thought that being Catholic was all about putting up a shrine in the parlour and going to mass whenever one had something to confess. The fact of the matter is, just like in ancient times, those who were a part of deity-specific cults worshipped the whole pantheon, though their cult practises would vary — some practises extended into daily life, along with daily pantheon devotions, while others wouldn’t. It is wholly possible, and often practised, that one who has a high cult devotion (or “patron relationship”, as some may prefer) to one or two Theoi also reveres and worships the rest of the pantheon.
2: I’m not an Hellenic polytheist / I worship my own personal pantheon. OK, I haven’t had people say that kind of thing to me or about me specifically as much as I’ve seen it being said to and about other people. This is based often on spotty knowledge of another person’s practises. News flash! Nobody has an obligation to go into great detail of what one does every day in their religious practises. In modern Western society, religion is regarded as rather personal, so it goes without saying that many people of any religion will feel that there is a stigma about sharing anything about what they do, and those who do share will feel that there is a point where they can share “too much” and do not want to cross that line, especially when there are at least two books on the market at the moment, as well as a few websites, that give details about what Hellenistai do, in their practises. I’m sure many feel that, with this information easily accessible (within reason, of course), that explaining all sorts of details is unnecessary; the practises less shared, though, are those that are cult-specific, modern syncretic practises, and new practises based on the reconstructionist method that fill a sort of “niche” that isn’t touched on in general-info sites and books. To assume that because Billy is only describing his practises that fit in with what I described means that Billy isn’t really an Hellenic polytheist but instead worships some personally-designed pantheon that he’s picked and chosen deity names from other pantheon(s) for is absurd, especially if he’s stated several times what his religion is. The problem with the “logic” of “the proof is in the pudding” is that it assumes that the pudding itself is actual proof of what one says it is.
It kind of goes without saying that those deeply involved in cult worship are going to at least come across as somewhat “exclusive” in conversation, but that’s just how certain levels of devotion play out. It also means that said persons often work extra-hard to keep up with worship of the rest of the Pantheon and other holy days not exclusive that that Thiasos.