Olympianismos
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Greetings and a question...

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Greetings and a question...

Post  imjustjen1974 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:11 pm

Hello everyone! This is my first post here. I have a question but first want to give a little background. The Gods found me years ago and in particular Aphrodite saved my life (LONG story) so needless to say I have been devoted to them and especially her ever since. I come from a wiccan background and found out about Hellenismos around 2006 at my first Pantheacon. I did not know of Olympianismos until today when I did a google search. In the last year or so I have started on a personal quest to learn more about worshiping our Gods in a more authentic form than I have been doing from my Wiccan/Witchcraft history. There is a reason I give a brief background...

I am also a scholar at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I am working on a Masters in Research on Pagan Reconstructionism and my dissertation/thesis will be on Hellenismos/Olympianismos. I am what they consider an 'INSIDER' or someone who has 'GONE NATIVE'. I wanted to give my background so that people will understand my research is in pursuit of furthering my own personal knowledge and to show academia that there are people out there who are making a serious attempt to reconstruct ancient religions as authentically as possible. I am hoping to make connections through this site with people who might let me attend any ritual/ceremonies and learn more from other practitioners in relation to how the modern world and urban environments effect our worship. PLUS as someone who is solitary in my devotion to the Gods, I would like to make connections on a personal level to have friends that worship the same way as I do and help me honor the Gods more authentically. If anyone can help I would be most grateful. I am currently in the UK but can travel to other areas (I am a US citizen so I will be back in CA this summer anyway).

I thank everyone in advance for any help!

Sincerely, Jen
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Re: Greetings and a question...

Post  Daedalus on Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:53 pm

I really can't help with anything you ask, but welcome!

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Thank you!

Post  imjustjen1974 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:32 pm

Daedalus wrote:I really can't help with anything you ask, but welcome!

Thank you for taking the time to reply Daedalus! I am just glad to find this forum if for no other purpose than to meet people with a similar interest in the Greek gods and spirituality!
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Re: Greetings and a question...

Post  Erodius on Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:18 pm

I did not know of Olympianismos until today when I did a google search.

'Olympianism' is simply the word favored by this site primarily because, unlike the term 'Hellenism/os' which, truthfully, is not a religious term, but an ethno-cultural term, 'Olympianism' refers only to a religion (a religion practiced, historically, in a variety of nations around the Mediterranean cultural area), not to any particular ethnicity or culture. Nowadays, people who use the word 'Hellenism' are almost always North American, and totally unconnected to modern Greece. Those who are, however, are usually aware that, for modern Greeks, while recognizing that these individuals' do not mean harm by using the word and are simply a little naïve, find their use of the various derivations of 'Hellene' (which means 'Greek person') culturally offensive and inappropriate. 'Olympianism' has no such problematic baggage, and that is why it is the term favored here. Additionally, this site is not specifically 'Greek' any more than the religion itself is. It is Hellenistic (that is, Greek-ish, as in the Hellenistic Era), but is for all of Classical Olympiac religion, whether Greek, or Italic, or Iberian, Etrurian, Anatolian, or even Medieval, and Early-modern.

I have started on a personal quest to learn more about worshiping our Gods in a more authentic form than I have been doing from my Wiccan/Witchcraft history.

That is an excellent personal endeavor; and I'd say this is one of the better places to do just that. Though you certainly cannot learn everything here, there is plenty available around here nonetheless, and individuals who can direct you to further reliable resources if you are looking for more depth, etc.

I am working on a Masters in Research on Pagan Reconstructionism and my dissertation/thesis will be on Hellenismos/Olympianismos. I am what they consider an 'INSIDER' or someone who has 'GONE NATIVE'. I wanted to give my background so that people will understand my research is in pursuit of furthering my own personal knowledge and to show academia that there are people out there who are making a serious attempt to reconstruct ancient religions as authentically as possible. I am hoping to make connections through this site with people who might let me attend any ritual/ceremonies and learn more from other practitioners in relation to how the modern world and urban environments effect our worship. PLUS as someone who is solitary in my devotion to the Gods, I would like to make connections on a personal level to have friends that worship the same way as I do and help me honor the Gods more authentically. If anyone can help I would be most grateful. I am currently in the UK but can travel to other areas (I am a US citizen so I will be back in CA this summer anyway).

You should by no means feel you have been negligent in your study when I tell you this (many, if not most, are unaware) — many people interested in contemporary practice of Classical religion live in the Americas or in various parts of Europe, and have little or no contact with, or awareness of, contemporary Greece. This makes a certain amount of sense, because Greece is, comparatively speaking, a fairly isolated country (not many people visit real Greece [outside of touristy-spots], and few Greeks spend much time outside of Greece). However, although they make up only a tiny, tiny fraction of the population, perhaps only a few hundred at most, and largely keep out of the public eye for various reasons, and having historically dwelt in the more remote, isolated regions of Greece itself — like the precious few remaining Zoroastrians in Iran, and the Mandaean Gnostics of southern Iraq — there are a few, living, intact lines of traditional religion in Greece. I, and another very knowledgeable member on this site, Icarus, are students of a recent transmission of one of the living, Greek lineages to a very small group of individuals outside of Greece (an action which, while I cannot and ought not to go into too much detail, caused somewhat of a stir and controversy within Greece, among those who feared desecration by greedy, egoistic Americans [can you blame them?], and others simply motivated by some xenophobia).

As such, this site (because of the background of its administration), although it is traditionalist, is not, specifically, 'reconstructionist' — although the study and educated discussion of all forms and periods of traditional Classical religion is very much encouraged.  

There are, obviously, exceptions, but it has been my experience that a number of self-proclaimed 'reconstructionists', in addition to being almost totally ignorant of any form of Classical religion outside of 5th-century BCE (Golden Age) Athens (which is also understandable, because they have learned virtually everything they know from a very few mainline textbooks about Greek religion, which tend to focus almost exclusively on Golden Age Athens. There are really disappointingly few available academic-level texts in Classical religion dedicated to anything else other than 5th century Attica.) are often more what you'd call 'reenactors'. They fixate on ritualism and minute details thereof, but have little interest in actual belief or theology, to the point where some are even admitted atheists. This may be also because of their background in academic Golden Age Athenian public/state religion, which is what most academics in the area study, which was indeed largely uninterested in any theology, and simply focused on the correct observance of a set of public rituals.

But private religion was hardly non-theological. Christianity was born among these Hellenistic private-sphere religious movements, and its contemporaries, in its early history, were hardly any less ardently and devoutly believed in than Christianity was by its devotees.

Thus, we see the following issue: a number of those interested in Classical religion (outside of Greece), come to it because they are not really religious/believer type people, but want a label for themselves anyway, and have a curiosity-level interest in the rituals of 5th century Athens, and are told from the begin that 'this is a belief-free religion, we're only interested in doing rituals accurately'. This results in this sort of mentality being very prominent, especially in the Americas and Western Europe.

On the other side of this, I think many people who are looking for an authentic, traditional, but also deeply spiritually, mentally, holistically fulfilling religion, far beyond detailed study of ancient ritual minutiae, unfortunately, as a result of being influenced by the above mentality, think they have to look elsewhere.

——

PS- Unfortunately, I think there are only a few people here from anywhere in the UK, and those who are are not among the handful of people who either routinely contribute or log in very often.  Neutral 

Best, and I hope your time here is worthwhile, both for you, and for your studies.

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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

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All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
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Re: Greetings and a question...

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:45 am

Oh, Erodius, how you flatter me! I am but a lowly 20-year-old with barely two semesters of college under his belt Laughing (my pursuit for a degree in anthropology will be on hold for some time Wink )

Welcome, itsjustjen1974! I hope you find the community you seek here Smile I for one, eagerly extend my hand in friendship to you. Although my naval career will make personal contact a tad difficult Laughing my next command, however, which I will be leaving for in the next month or so, per verbal orders, is on a ship who's home port is in San Diego, so maybe it'll work out, since you will be traveling back to California soon, the Gods be willing.

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Thank you Erodius and Icarus!

Post  imjustjen1974 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:51 am

Erodius-I appreciate your very valued feedback. I am actually a Religious Studies major and besides furthering personal knowledge, I wanted to try to not only look at how people 'reconstruct' this tradition but the who, why, when, where, (several such as you mentioned). I am actually planning to take a mini vacation before I start my dissertation in Mid-late April to visit Greece. I have never been and feel a strong pull to go. I know this reply to yours is very abbreviated and does not address everything you mentioned but I wanted to say thank you and just mention the above in a quick manner.  I shall reread it later with fresh eyes (it is almost 5 am now) and give a more proper reply later. Smile

Icarus, thank you for the welcome and that would be cool if all worked out. My cousin was stationed in San Diego (also with the Navy) for a while and loved it. Smile! Thank you for your service! I look forward to making new friends here and learning more. Smile
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