30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 22 ~ Hellenismos and major life events

There’s something to be said for the shared experience of rituals in traditional religions.

I wish I’d gone through the Hellenic childhood rites rather than baptism and first communion — thankfully, I was old enough by the time of confirmation that I was spared being forced into it, out of my father’s fear that I’d make a scene. I wish I’d had the pubescent and adolescent rites — though, most importantly, I wish I’d had the rites for boys.

I don’t usually mention being TS (especially not here) cos it’s another one of those things that is really nobody’s business, but the fact remains that if coming from a tradiotional religious background, with all the gendered rit that comes with that, there is no room for any of the current hipster-TS psychobabble delusions suggesting that TS men have always had “the life-experiences of a man”, cos if one feels one is a man, then “logically” one has always had the life experiences of a man — and ditto for TS women. While I understand the reasons for this hipster mindset (lack of certain specific gendered experiences experiences, or simply the assumption that one of a TS history lacks certain gendered experiences, is often used against TS women by cisgender (non-TS) women to deny TS women entrance to women-only spaces from folk music festivals to public lavvies), ultimately I see a lot of self-induced denial that one has been given a specific lot in life that really is set apart from the overwhelming majority of cisgender people. Sure, one can argue that cisgender individuals, on rare occasion, may have anatomical pecularities, or such-and-such, and so therefore it “doesn’t mean anything”, but in a society that really does give a special status to fertile heterosexual couples, it actually really does mean something to be a transsexual.

As best as we can tell, individuals who would be regarded as transgender or transsexual today have existed since Classical Antiquity; Pliny once even described being witness of a transformation of a woman into a man, and trans women like to point to Roman emperor Elagabalus as one of their own (though, to be fair, this is assumed based on the writings about Elagabalus after his death, and Romans had a habit of further smearing unpopular Emperors after death, and further exalting popular ones; Elagabalus was highly unpopular for many reasons, including the then-unthinkable act of marrying a Vestal Virgin). This creates a specific set of major life events that deserve their own ritual and celebration, and if only there had been an aboveground survival of the ancient religion, would these rituals exist today.

As much as I like to draw comparisons and seek inspiration for how the face of Hellenismos in this day and age should look in Hinduism, I have reservations regarding any comparisons to their hijra caste; like the Gallae, the Indian hijra caste seems to serve a specific function in some religious rites, but I also see nothing suggesting that hijra, unlike Gallae, serve one Goddess or another, whereas Gallae, by definition, were priest(esse)s of Kybele; there are also descriptions from classical antiquity of people who were apparently not Gallae, but could ostensibly fit the current definition of transsexual or transgender individual.

Unfortunately, I know nothing of these specific major life event rituals undertaken by these people, so am left to invent a rite using a loose model of what I do know — and, of course, creating anew is a bit of a pain.

Then there are other “major life event” rites:

I intend to vow myself to a lover in the name of Iolaus, though ideally, I’d like to do so at Theva (modern-day Thebes) at or near the location of Iolaus’ tomb. And any lover I vow myself to will have to swear he’d carry out my wishes for a proper death rite; I want my ashes taken to the Valley of the Mousai, outside Thespiai.

List behind cut:

0. Intro to meme
1. Beliefs – Why Hellenismos?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Sacred sexuality
6. Beliefs – Divination, mysticism and various woo shit
7. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
8. Beliefs – Festivals
9. Environmentalism
10. Patrons – Eros
11. Patrons – Apollon
12. Pantheon – Moisai
13. Pantheon – Adonis & the Flower Boys
14. Pantheon – Nyx & Kybele/Gaia
15. Pantheon – Every-One Else
16. NNymphai, Khthonoi, & The Dead
17. My ways of worship
18. Community
19. Hellenismos and my family/friends
20. Hellenismos and my love life
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Hellenismos and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos
25. Favoured ritual tools, and why
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Hellenismos you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Hellenismos
30. Advice for seekers


One thought on “30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 22 ~ Hellenismos and major life events

  1. Pingback: Weekly roundup of interesting links « The House of Vines

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