* For most people, your “patron deity” will be related to your stage in life (Apollon and Artemis have domain over protecting children and adolescents) or your careers and hobbies. Very few of you will have a close personal bond with a deity that may make you seem crazy or unstable. This is a good thing.
* While “magics” are not a central focus for Hellenismos, as they tend to be with other paths, it was used in ancient times (often in a for-hire context, but protective talismen were used by many, and by Roman times “curse kits” were popular throughout the Empire). Not everybody needs it, and I’d wager that it will remain a small and controversial aspect of the religion in its current state, if only due to the popularity of certain schools of philisophy and ethics.
* While you don’t have to be a scholar, it still is best to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially when encountering people on-line.
* Most Hellenists are actually very friendly, even if we’re anti-bullshit. Don’t be afraid to ask us things or comment on our blogs.
* The religion doesn’t begin and end with Attik Platonism, but then if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m sure you’ve at least figured that much out. Explore different ethical and philosophical systems and regional religions for what works best for you — and think about why it works best.
* The Maxims of Delphi are not “holy commandments”. They were written by the Seven Sages, most of whom were Ionian or Doric, and only one of whom was Aeolic, and Lesbian, not Boeotian (though one anonymous source cites Acusilaos as one of the Seven, it is unknown if he was Peloponesian or Boeotian). Their importance is going to vary, and it’s often debated exactly how much importance these Maxims even had in ancient times — even people with a Phd in Classical studies don’t definitively agree as to whether the Maxims of Delphi were regularly regarded as “great wisdom” or “quotable proverbs” (similar to the ending of Aesop’s Fables) or if they were simply a social conditioning tool and writing exercise for children. Maxims 73 (“Be happy with what you have” Κτωμενος ηδου), 130 (“Do not begin to be insolent” Μη αρχε υβριζειν), and especially 132 (“Be ready to die for your homeland” Θνησκε υπερ πατριδος) seem to support the latter hypothesis, as adult men have already passed compulsory military service and so meditating on that “wisdom” seems a bit redundant. Sure, there is wisdom in these proverbs, but clearly not for everybody, and especially not at every stage of life. The “Ten Commandments” of Abrahamic religion are, by their own mythos, “handed down divinely”; the Maxims of Delphi were created by man.
* Just because a secondary (typically “modern” — 17th Century or later) source uses words like “archaeology” and even if the guy has a degree does not make it credible. I can’t think of any well-known or easily identifiable examples for faulty scholarship of polytheism specifically, but Naked Archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici has a BA in Philosophy and a MA in Political Science &mdasj; at best, this qualifies him to be a diplomat, and doesn’t even qualify him to teach Philosophy at a community college, his History Channel special, Exodus Decoded has been heavily criticised by real archaeologists and real religious scholars, using very simple tactics to mislead viewers, and then mangles Anglicised Hebrew with the original, something that I very seldom see novelists do, all in an attempt to perform retrograde etymology, much like the Resurrect Isis guy does to claim “Genesis = genes-of-Isis”. True, there is some decent stuff on the telly, but if you’re going to absorb cable documentaries, note the by-lines and titles of the speakers interviewed, and check up on their credentials and claims. There are some well-knowledged and scientific-minded laypersons out there, but since they don’t tend to have an agenda, they come off “fair and boring” and tend not to have television shows.
* That said, you DON’T have to be a scholar to practise Hellenismos. You don’t have to be a puffy-chested philosopher, either. Hellenion’s website, for example, has ritual outlines and a calendar of festival cycles, and you can just go from there.
* Eschew anti-intellectualism.
* Embrace xenia.
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