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Hero Worship

Post  AgathonZante on Fri May 02, 2014 6:01 pm

In Hellenism, are all the Heroes prayed to? Or, perhaps a better question, are there any who are not?
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Re: Hero Worship

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Fri May 02, 2014 8:11 pm

AgathonZante wrote:In Hellenism, are all the Heroes prayed to? Or, perhaps a better question, are there any who are not?

A Hero is a being who, through their virtue and the grace of the gods, have transcended the human realm and exist in that space between mortality and godhood; they are on the brink of attaining divinity. It is perfectly acceptable to pray to them, the Hero being sought depending on intent of the prayer, and I can think of no reason why one would refuse to pray to the Heroes. They are exemplary rolemodels for those of us who still tread the paths of mortality.

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Re: Hero Worship

Post  Erodius on Fri May 02, 2014 9:58 pm

AgathonZante wrote:In Hellenism, are all the heroes prayed to? Or, perhaps a better question, are there any who are not?

Although remnants do not necessarily remain for us now, given the plethora of shrines and fanes throughout the Graeco-Roman world, it would be reasonable to say that likely every hero of the Classical mythos had a shrine or aedicula or at least a dedicated altar someplace — although many would have been very localized and, for those whose cults were not popular, existed almost as memorial sites.

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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: Hero Worship

Post  Artemisia Apollonia on Tue May 20, 2014 10:56 pm

I also have some questions about hero worship. Do you believe that the heroes once lived on earth? Since mythology (such as the stories of Herakles slaying the hydra) is not meant to be taken literally, what might you believe the heroes did to become heroes? Are there a few heroes that most Hellenists typically worship?
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Re: Hero Worship

Post  Erodius on Wed May 21, 2014 12:30 am

Aktaion already answered part of your question, I think — but to clarify, I will quote from the religious Glossary compiled by the Orphics:

The heroes are particular mortals; they are almost Gods. They dwell in the area of the eighth Natural Law, which is the Realm of the Heroes, i.e., those who are about to become deified.  In popular thought, the heroes are associated with fantastic, selfless deeds, often to benefit people.  This is how the heroes appear to us because, although they are still mortal, they are closely in tune with the Natural Laws and, therefore, are able to keep their lives in perspective to the cosmos at large, diminishing their self-interest or ego, and making them capable of performing deeds of enormous Virtue, or, as we tend to say, enormous heroism.  Nonetheless, the word is used in literature in several ways:

1) A hero is a deified mortal.  
2) Heroes are special men of great achievement who lived during and before the Trojan War, what is called the Heroic Age.  
3) A hero is a demigod: a soul having one divine parent and one mortal parent.  
4)  A hero may be an ancestor to whom sacrifices are given, such as the founders of cities.  
5) 'Heroes' is sometimes used by Homer as a name for princes and nobles.

Artemisia Apollonia wrote:Are there a few heroes that most Hellenists typically worship?

Heracles' (Ἡρακλῆς) veneration is common to virtually all strata of Olympian religion, all social classes, all regions (all Greece, Italy, and ultimately the entire Graeco-Roman world). Other hero cults were, as described above, mostly local and had to do with historical ancestral and foundational figures of cities, families, or countries, although the veneration of Homeric heroes was fairly widespread, though not to quite the same extent as Heracles'.

_________________
"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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The Orphic Way: www.hellenicgods.org
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