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Praying for Typhoon Victims

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Praying for Typhoon Victims

Post  ayma_nidiot on Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:05 pm

I am an Olympianist, but I interact with many who are not. Also, I am praying to Zeus (as he is the god of weather) and Poseidon (as he is the god of storms and the sea) for the safety of those affected by the recent Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda, as it is known in the Philippines). How do most Olympianists feel about praying for non-Olympianists?

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Re: Praying for Typhoon Victims

Post  Erodius on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:44 pm

It is the dame Divine Power that rules the entire cosmos. It matters not at all who or where you are.

There is nothing wrong with praying for the safety of anybody.

However, it should probably be noted that the idea of 'praying for strangers' is, to a certain extent, a Christian idea. In the Classical era, it would have been normal to pray for yourself, and for your friends, family and children, but praying for strangers would have been seen as probably a bit strange — not wrong, per se, but a little unusual.

The whole idea of 'unjust suffering' was not really as much a part of the mindset of people in the Classical era (and still remains somewhat foreign in some cultures today). To the people of the Roman and Hellenistic worlds, if someone experienced some tragedy, it sort of went without saying that he/she must have committed some sin against a god or daemon, or his/her family, or country. As harsh as it may seem to those raised in the Christian charity-oriented and 'pray for everyone' mindset, to your average Greek or Roman, just as it remains for many Hindus today (and the Hindu religion is almost identical to the Olympian in virtually every respect), the thought regarding those who are suffering would likely have been something along the lines of "That's very unfortunate. I'm so thankful that I and my family are well and safe. But they probably deserved it in one way or another."

The world is full of numina. The Gods are good and they are supreme, but their sight is far greater than ours, and what may seem a tragedy to us may not at the level the Gods see the world. It is also hard to say if someone is innocent or deserves punishment, sins and crimes go unnoticed by our eyes often, and may not even have occurred in this lifetime, and further, even among those traditions that did not espouse palingenesis, the idea that especially serious sins and crimes were passed on to one's descendants is a common feature of Classical mythology — the Christian concept of inherited guilt derives primarily from Graeco-Roman ideas, not Jewish ones. Finally, among the countless daemones that inhabit the world, just as with people, many are good, some are nearly gods themselves, others are neutral, and a few are malevolent, and, as with many cultures still today, even Christian ones, when bad things happen to otherwise apparently innocent people, it is common to place the blame on evil spirits, and this is certainly the case in Classical Antiquity.

Really, people from Antiquity all the way through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and even still in many places today, dealing with the effects and methods of avoiding the influence of evil spirits and demons was a very real and major daily concern for many people.

As far as praying for those affected by the typhoon. It is perfectly fine to pray for them — just don't take it further than is proper. You can pray that the innocent are safe and well, that whatever power behind the storm is pacified, and for those for whom it was fated to die, that their passage and judgment in Hades proceed well.

_________________
"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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