I have something of a laundry list of misconceptions I regularly see from people, some of which, like “Hellenismos is Neoplatonic dick-baggery”, or “Eros is a god of one-night stands”, I seem to have already said something thourough in an effort to clear up, and at this point, I don’t think there’s much more room to “clear up” the idea that only fanatic Thiassoi cultists can be “real Hellenes”, if only cos most of the literature from primary sources to YSEE to Hellenion stresses all gods (or at least the “Olympian Twelve” plus Hestia and Hades) and also philosophy and ritual, avoiding (when possible) talk of us wackier types, even if not explicitly renouncing us — and I think that this very blog, along with a few others, also stresses that us wacky ones very much are a part of the religion, just not a part that is going to have immediate or regular appeal to all Hellenes — though in a “pan-Hellenic” context, we may provide valuable insight to worship of various deities, both directly and indirectly.
Is there really even one more misconception that I can clear up to any extent that I haven’t already? I may be a verbose little queen, but a man even of my own sort can only say just so much.
I think one thing that I haven’t really stressed enough is how Hellenism is for ANYBODY who is called to the Theoi:
- You don’t have to be of or largely of or of any amount of Hellenic ethnicity — after all, I’m not (at least probably not until you go back to the Keltoi in Thrake, and with as much Black Irish1 in my father’s side of the family.
- You don’t have to be a chest-puffing Neoplatonist more interested in talking than worship — I know very few Hellenes who are, and those I know who do fit that description have very little real respect in the actual community of Anglophonic Hellenists.
- You don’t need a lot of expensive statues and junk to set up a proper shrine. In ancient Thespiai, the original image of Eros was an unwrought stone. All you need is an adequate amount of space, a small bowl for libations, a candleholder (for safety), some sort of incense burner, and (at least ideally) some sort of representitive image/s for the god/s. My first shrine was honestly just a spare custard cup, a small clay holder for a chime candle, cone incense on a piece of aluminium foil, and a computer-print-out collage of ancient statues; that was all I had, at first.
- While usually a good idea to learn the Hellenic language and play ancient music (even if only in recording) for the Theoi, this is not necessary, either. It was common for ancient Hellenes to believe that all cultures worshipped their gods, just under different names (and they often believed this no matter how ill a fit two deities were, so long as they shared a superficial characteristic or two), so if this is held to be true, then logically it’s at least a little difficult to truly offend certain Theoi with words or music. Still, I recommend that people learn what they can, and explore as much music as possible; the Theoi are gods and goddesses Who all delight in beautiful things, Hellenic is a robust and ancient language that has lent significant vocabulary to English, and beautiful sounds of all sorts impress the gods of Hellas.
- You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to approach the Theoi. Remember, Hephiostos is lame and dwarven. It is, though, best to take care of oneself as best as one can; if the mortal world has graced you with healthcare, then by all means, make use of preventative care, and exercise your body whenever possible, in the best ways possible — maybe that means you should swim competitively, or maybe that means you should stick to low-impact water aerobics.
One thing to remember is that, while in ancient times, there were differences between the classes and locations to the practises and hymns, at its core, Hellenismos was for everybody. Temples were attended by everybody, and so in this mnodern age, there is no real reason to believe that Hellenismos is no less for us Hellenising barbaroi than it is for those who speak native Hellenic.
1: An Irish Keltic ethnic group, usually characterised as having dark hair, darker eyes, and a somewhat Mediterranean appearance; currently, geneticists think the origins of this particular group is the Iberean peninsula, others turn to traditional folklore and history, which suggests a migration from Thrake.
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
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. Nymphai, Khthonoi, & The Dead
17. My ways of worship
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. Philosophy & Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos
25. Favoured ritual tools, and why
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How Hellenismos has helped me in difficult times
28. One misconception about Hellenismos you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Hellenismos
30. Advice for seekers