Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Unexpected Response (and a hope for the future)

For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, you are probably aware that I work at my University bookstore. Last week I was working a very long shift and was just exhausted at the end of the day. I had worked 10:30-7:30 and was just ready to go home. After I punched out, I headed down the stairs of the Union and ran into an old friend. We began talking and we (somehow) got onto the subject of my faith. From memory, the exchange went something like this (I will call him A for the sake of privacy)

A: Aren't you Wiccan or something?
Me: No, no, no. 
A: I thought you worshiped the Greek Gods
Me: I do.
A: Well, you're something like Wicca, something weird like that?
Me: No, I'm a Hellenistos, I have more in common with Catholics than I do Wiccans.

Then we started talking about stand-up, D&D, and re-organizing our group, then we parted ways.

I had been mulling over for several days why I responded the way I did, and the truth of it all. Theologically, I'm pretty far apart from the Catholic church, but the way the Church treats their God, but. . .in terms of practice the comparison is true. I mean, Hellenismos is in no way very similar to Catholicism, but we have a couple of similarities (which shouldn't be surprising considering the Church's Roman roots and the Greek and Romans influencing each other.) now with Wicca, what similarities do we have? We *might* worship the same Gods as some branches of Wicca, but a lot treat them as "aspects" or as "archetypes" and our rituals are pretty different from theirs, in feel, and in layout, at least from my experience. They do "magick" by and large Hellenistai don't. Our only similarity, I've discovered is our  connection through the worship of Gods, and even that can be a stretch.

I paused at this realization though. I turned it over like a pretty rock in my hand, what does this mean for me? For my relationship to the larger Pagan community? After a while, I kept the rock, I accepted that when it comes down to it, we are very different, but despite the difference I have a greater interest.

It made me realize that I have a few hopes.
I hope for the to be a temple to the 12 Olympians (with both Dionysus and Hestia being counted as the "12". So, it'd be for 13 Gods, but that is the most common variation on the 12 I've seen)
I hope that this temple can be operated in such a way that Hellenistai, Wiccans, Druids, and Eclectics can come and leave their votive gifts to the Gods no matter their affiliation.
I hope for my faith to grow, and to re-establish the cults of some of the Gods, for their rites of dedication to be re-established, for their faithful to grow, and for their devotees being recognized by the acts of goodness that they bring into the world.

I want the worship of the Gods to grow.

The longer I'm in the community, the more I get a feel for what I want out of it, and for what I hope to give. I am of course, quite uncertain of whether or not I will be able to give anything substantial, but by the Gods I am going to try.

First though, I have some biases and prejudices to work through. I need to be able to say, after a long day of work, "I'm not a Wiccan, but they are a good bunch." instead of "No, no, no"

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.