Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lesson 1- Early History and Religious Beliefs

 I decided to post my course work for the RE class on here due to wanting it to be organized, accessible, and available. I also want to make my opinions, thoughts, and progress in this course known to all.

1. How do your own practices relate to those of the pre-Hellenics?
2. What is the relationship between deity and the natural world? Do the gods
control physical phenomena, do they personify it, or do they have some other relationship?
3. What is the significance (if any) of the origin and history of a deity?

1) Well, first and foremost we worship some of the same gods! There is also the
matter of a few overlaps, such as libations and votive offerings, but these are
also found in the religion of the Hellenic people's. I'd say that there is the
matter of the epiphany which is reflected in my own practice somewhat. For
example, when a coal or coals refuse to light, I take that to potentially mean
displeasure, or as a test of how "devoted" I am to making sure I make offerings.
I usually resolve the issue with some means of divination to figure out if I
should continue with the rite or devotional, restart, or the like. Though, if I
recall correctly the ancient Greeks also looked for some sort of "sign" in their
practice, which I suppose could be a derivative of the Minoan epiphany.

2) By and large I take the Gods natural associations to be reminders and symbols
of the God or Goddess. Do I think that the Gods control all weather that
happens? Certainly not, but I do think that the Gods can "conspire" or influence
the weather as a means to the ends, though they can't affect it to the point of
it being unnatural (which may also tread on the will or territory of some other
God or Goddess, which from my understanding is not something done frequently, if
at all.) If a lightning bolt hit me does that mean it is a sign of Zeus's
displeasure? Perhaps, but then again it could be just a lightning bolt. Is it
one or the other? That is beside the point for me, the point is that it reminds
me of the strength, awe, and majesty of Zeus.

To further illustrate my point, a while back I was going through a nasty
break-up. I was furious, I was hurt, and I was angry. I asked Aphrodite why it
happened, when I had held my end of the bargain up, when I had made appropriate
sacrifices. I begged for an answer. A few days later, I noticed some sparrows, I
fed them, they hopped about and chirped, and I intently observed them. This led
me to researching about sparrows, finding Gods and Goddesses associated with
sparrows, and ultimately discovering they are messengers of Aphrodite. I went
on, and a bit after that a sparrow landed outside my window, right on the ledge.
I stared at it, and it stared at me, we had a moment, and I knew everything
would work out fine. A few days later, I went on the first date with my current
boyfriend, and things have looked rosy since then. Was it all coincidence?
Perhaps. Were the sparrows *actually* delivering the comforts and "good news" of
Aphrodite? Perhaps. Regardless of it being one or the other, they reminded me of
the wonder and beauty of Aphrodite. This is how I view most natural/animal
phenomena in relation to the Gods and their natural aspects.

3) Hmmm. This is a tougher question as I have to ask myself if it really
matters. Humans are really concerned with the history of things, who did what,
etc, it is why we would rather have the original over the re-print even if they
looked precisely the same. So, the history can be very important to learn simply
for one's own edification and perhaps if one wanted to incorporate some older
elements into their household practice for whatever reason. I, however, take the
stance that the Gods are not as they are depicted, but for my own benefit I
choose to view the Goddess which I call Athena as Athena with her various
attributes as opposed to viewing her as Neith or some other Goddess from which
Athena may be derived. The "history" is for no reason other than my own
satisfaction and I have sincere doubts that it will lead me to a deeper
understanding of the Goddess I call Athena or the Goddess I call Aphrodite or
the God I call Dionysus, but it is certainly a lot of fun.

Project Assignment: 
 Project (paragraph, not a ten-page paper):
Choose a god and research their origins.
What is the earliest appearance of their name?
Do we know which culture they came from?
Do we have any information about their role in pre-Hellenic religion?
Did your findings surprise you?
 After doing a substantial amount of digging around Hestia has been the same
Goddess with several spelling variants. Her origins have been the hearth and it
is no coincidence that the hearth is called a "hestia". From what I read on, she had a very small cult but her name appeared as early as the 5th
century B.C.


  1. wow great answers to the questions asked. thanks for sharing, I will need to do these lessons and see if what i'm doing is justifiable in my own eyes and see if I feel as though i'm deemed fit to be a devotee of the gods themselves!

    1. Well, these lessons won't determine if you are fit. Anyone who shows arete is fit to worship the Gods, and these lessons aren't going to prove it or show a lack of it. They are mostly useful to Recons like myself.

    2. Also, as an addendum to that, most people on Earth show arete to some degree and in some form, therefore, I believe that the majority of people on Earth are "fit" to worship the Gods.


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