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Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

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Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Αρχιμήδης on Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:22 am

Some stuff on Hellenismos I have come across on the internet puts a heavy emphasis on ethnicity.

I can understand that in that I certainly can understand how the ethnic Greek takes pride in their beliefs ethnically.

I myself am not Greek as I am German and Scottish.

I've always wondered what ethnic Greek Hellenismos followers would think about that having met me.

Would I be embraced in open arms as another keeper of the faith or shunned away for not being a part of the same ethnic line?

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Re: Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Erodius on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:00 am

Rather than reiterate something that has already been adequately addressed, I provide you here with the answer to this question from the 'FAQ' maintained by the American branch of the Orphic brotherhood:

I have read that the Greeks who practice the ancient religion are interested only in those people of Greek blood and that they believe that the ancient religion can only legitimately be practiced by them.
This is not the way of the great teachers of the past, nor is it the way of the great Greek teachers of our time, who accept people not because of their blood, but because of the beauty of their heart. The Greeks this author knows do not separate by race. They state that the Gods are everyone's Gods, of the entire universe, therefore, how could the Gods be only for those of Greek blood? Hellenismos should not be confused with nationalistic trends, trends which have surfaced in many countries. Of course the Greeks have every right to love their country and to be very proud of their heritage and they, simply by who they are, will always have a special relationship with this religion and its traditions, but on the other hand, Hellenismos reflects the very reality of the cosmos and is, therefore, universal.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Αρχιμήδης on Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:05 pm

My sentiments also.

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Re: Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Erodius on Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:22 pm

It should be noted, though, that Greek Hellenism is not a unified entity — contrary to what the YSEE would have people outside of Greece believe. There are indeed a few Greek Hellene organizations that are ultimately more political, historicist and/or nationalistic than they are religious.

There are also varying levels of religiosity in Greece, just as anywhere else. Some claim the practice of traditional Hellenism for the sake of making a political statement, and put on a show for a few public rituals. There are others who are more truly religious, but only insofar as they maintain a shrine in their home for res divinae and domestic/practical worship. There are those who are converts, and there are those coming from a few extant familial lineages. Then, there are devotees of the living Orphic Mystery tradition, mostly out of the rural Peloponnesus, where our tradition has held out over the centuries. While, according to what I have been told, there are a tiny handful of other related Mystery lineages, and I cannot speak for them with certainty, I can say that the branch of which I am a member differs from the first two groups I mentioned in a few important ways. First, our religion is esoteric, rather than exoteric, philosophical and theological, rather than purely practical, and is largely not especially concerned with mundane/small-matters religion (by which I mean things like agrarian festivals, city festivals, prayers for material wealth and luck etc.). Additionally, perhaps as a result of our primarily religious, rather than cultural character and emphasis, we remain unaffiliated with any particular political group in Greece or otherwise, we do not take part in political rallies/conferences/what have you, or even keep much of a public face for our faith at all. We observe the sacred injunction not to speak of truly sacred things before the ears of the profane, and our rites of worship are private, and per our tradition, held behind closed doors. Finally, as perhaps another result of our almost complete lack of direct nationalistic, political and/or secular involvement, being purely religious, ethnicity is not considered to be of concern. We welcome anyone at all as a catechumen who demonstrates him/herself to be of sound mind, good heart, dedication, and sincere desire to learn.*

*- with a caveat in the US, where it has become necessary for us, in order to avoid potential legal issues, to permit as formal students only those over the age of 18.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Linda on Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:28 pm

I know there are people out there, Greeks, who claim that the Hellenistic religion is an exclusive one for people with Greek ancestry. But there are always people like that, don't let them bother you.

Speaking for myself, I have quite a few Greek friends of an indigenous (aboriginal) background who practice the ancient religion true to how it was done in the old days, and those I have met have been nothing but welcoming. A few a bit curious as to why I have found my way home within their faith, but never in any way questioning my right to belong and the honesty in my faith.

Just as Erodius states, they (my Greek friends) see that the Gods are omnipresent and thus there for everyone who reaches out to them in faith regardless of nationality.

And besides, as one of my friend expressed herself, who is anyone to prove that there aren't some Greek ancestor up in the family tree? You just shake it a bit and the old Greek fall down for everyone to behold Smile
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Re: Hellenismos And Ethnicity.

Post  Out of Phlegethon on Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:01 pm

How would these exclusivist Greeks have felt about Porphyry or Iamblichus?  Or to later non-Greeks like Keats or Hölderlin?  

It's hard to blame them, though, when you see what some Neopagans are up to!  Yikes...

It is peculiar.  I have always felt close to Greek myth, never having set foot in Greece.  I think a lot of contemporary believers in the old Gods of whatever sort tend to have experienced myth in childhood in some fashion (I recall this from a sociological essay on Germanic heathens).  I was lucky enough to have been spared a Christian upbringing and to have had a father who told me all about the exploits of Theseus and Perseus, and bought me some fine children's books with some condensed tales of Heracles in them, with all the Olympians illustrated, etc.  Not that I was religious or anything at that young an age or anything, but I basically knew more about Greek myth than the stories of Jesus and what have you, and knowing the real roots of Western civilization to be in Classical antiquity, it never seemed a far stretch to me that we should honor the Gods.  Perhaps the familiarity with such things from childhood makes us feel more at home, more rooted in them.
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