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College and Hellenismos

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College and Hellenismos

Post  Nikoletta on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:44 pm

Okay so as you all can probably tell I am new to not only this cite but also to my complete commitment to this faith. I am in College and my college is trying to get a pagan club started. Myself personally I do not like being referred to as Pagan, but I realized at the meeting that the group primarily consisted of Wiccans to whom this word does apply. So here is my question I am not sure if I want to officially join this club if I am going to be the only Hellenist in the bunch. I know this must sound childish but I have been on my own all this time would it really be worth it to join this group? What do y'all think?

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  Erodius on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:56 pm

I do not like being referred to as Pagan,

I find it highly offensive, and also misleading. 

Being a Latinophone, the word to me has its original meaning, which is something like 'hick' or 'hillbilly'. It meant someone rustic, foolish, bad-mannered, and/or uncultured. 


but I realized at the meeting that the group primarily consisted of Wiccans to whom this word does apply.

I would estimate that virtually every (actually, wait, every) self-named 'pagan' group in the entire English-speaking world consists of at least 97% self-taught, eclectic wiccans. You will run into the same situation everywhere, both online and in the real world. Trustworthy sources on traditional religions virtually never use the word 'pagan'. 


So here is my question I am not sure if I want to officially join this club if I am going to be the only Hellenist in the bunch. 

I know this must sound childish but I have been on my own all this time would it really be worth it to join this group? What do y'all think?


I definitely wouldn't, personally. I doubt there's really much there for you to gain, either intellectually or otherwise. You'll rapidly find that, if you're really interested in traditional Hellenistic religion, you really have very little in common with the people in that club, and will fairly likely encounter a certain measure of hostility from them. 


Probably the large majority of genuine practitioners of Hellenistic religion, outside of Greece at least, have very limited, if any, actual in person contact with others of the same. The Internet is the tool of communication. 


My own mentor, for instance, lives about 2,000 miles from me. We have known each other for several years now, and have never met in person. But we've had many hours of conversation, both written and via phone/Skype. 

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  DavidMcCann on Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:56 pm

Personally, I have no problem with the word pagan: it has been reclaimed to refer to primary religions, which have developed naturally rather than being invented like Buddhism or Islam. But on that count, Wiccans are not pagans!

There's an interesting pdf on the web called The Pentagram and the Hammer, comparing Asatru and Wicca. The author makes the point that Asatru is a religion, a few of whose believers may practice magic. Wicca is a system of ceremonial magic, with a bit of religion thrown in.

If you feel uncomfortable with the word pagan, how do you feel about people who "work with" the "crone" Hekate?  Shocked

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  Nikoletta on Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:35 pm

I have nothing against people who do identify as Pagan for what ever their reasoning. However, the primary group of people that I have found that identify as pagan ARE claiming Wiccan tradition. As was previously stated the term pagan was used to essentially mean hillbilly and I am not a hillbilly *redneck maybe but not a hillbilly*.

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  Erodius on Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:46 pm

it has been reclaimed to refer to primary religions, which have developed naturally rather than being invented like Buddhism or Islam. But on that count, Wiccans are not pagans! 

Has it really? I'm skeptical. 

Perhaps things are different where you are, but where I'm from, things are much more as Nikoletta described. Not only do virtually all self-described 'wiccans' (who are, around here, an army of paperback-taught, eclectic, new-agers loosely influenced by the 20th-century system of ceremonial magic that was originally called 'wicca', plenty of whom might be seen wearing fur tails and/or fairy wings with dyed hair to match them) call themselves 'pagans', conversely, outside of a few old books here and there, the use of the word 'pagan' refers primarily to these people insofar as if you use the word, that is what will probably be assumed that you mean. Regardless of whether or not the usage is accurate, and whether I personally agree with it or not, 'pagan' and 'eclectic quasi/paperback-wiccan new-age counterculturist' are, effectively, synonyms. 


However, the primary group of people that I have found that identify as pagan ARE claiming Wiccan tradition.

That's exactly my experience. Really, I cannot recall ever in my life having met or heard of anybody who would profess 'pagan' as a primary self-designation, who was not either avowedly some kind of a "wiccan" or, if not a professed "wiccan", was heavily influenced by popular neo-wiccan norms and trends, to the point of being "wiccan" in everything but name. 

As I said, not that any of this is either right, true or good – this is simply what I see time and time again.

As much of a stickler as I am for using words properly, I must admit that I see truth in descriptive rather than proscriptive grammatical usage when a word's colloquial use and function have ceased to connote their original proscriptive/dictionary denotation.

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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: College and Hellenismos

Post  Callisto on Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:40 pm

Nikoletta wrote:Okay so as you all can probably tell I am new to not only this cite but also to my complete commitment to this faith. I am in College and my college is trying to get a pagan club started. Myself personally I do not like being referred to as Pagan, but I realized at the meeting that the group primarily consisted of Wiccans to whom this word does apply. So here is my question I am not sure if I want to officially join this club if I am going to be the only Hellenist in the bunch. I know this must sound childish but I have been on my own all this time would it really be worth it to join this group? What do y'all think?

Another way of looking at it is as an opportunity to be a source of information - many Pagans, especially young ones tend to be clueless to the fact that "Paganism" isn't "A" religion, nor do all forms consist of Wicca-derived elements. Sadly "solitary Wicca" proved to be a lucrative cottage industry and many seeking polytheism are led to believe such is the default, that if you're alone (solitary) then you "need" to be an "Eclectic/Solitary Wiccan". Whereas traditional polytheism provides exactly what they're looking for, regardless if one lives alone or has a local religious community to participate in.

I've always been a polytheist. However after college I did encounter an authentic (traditional) Wiccan coven, of which many of the members were polytheists as well, largely Olympianismos, Celtic, Religio Romana and Kemeticism outside of the Wica (one 'c') priesthood. One obligation of the priesthood is to assist newcomers which includes helping them discern whether it is right for them. It was not uncommon to have newcomers who were wholly oblivious that "pagan" ≠ "wiccan" and that another practice was better suited to what they were looking for, sometimes that was a form of traditional polytheism.  Also at local opens and Neopagan festivals, some would lead workshops or officiate open rituals that are not Wicca oriented.  

Yes, 90% of the time traditional polytheists are the minority but even the slightest presence can have significant impact. If doing so results in even one person out of a thousand seeing beyond the pop culture claptrap, that's an accomplishment. Olympianismos might not be what they're drawn to either but they now know to go beyond the New Age section.

But only you can determine whether it's worth your effort. If it was me, I would attend initially to get a feel for the group and the individuals in it, it's entirely possible you might encounter one or two other lone traditionalists who feel much like you do. Even if they're of another religion, there is common ground among modern polytheists (e.g., orthopraxy, proper resources). I also would suggest to the group that they NOT call it a "pagan group" as many modern polytheists do not identify as such, and might feel the group is not for them because it only addresses Wicca-derived practices. Students potentially interested in the group might not be comfortable looking into it because they don't like the "pagan" label and having to identify as such (e.g., coming out to family, friends). The goal of any group is to be welcoming in order to succeed. See if they'd consider coming up with a more inclusive title that would immediately indicate diversity and something other than just Eclecticism and "Wicca" (e.g., either "_School Name_ Polytheists" or "Pagans & Polytheists").

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  Nikoletta on Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:45 pm

Just for an update.

I have gone to the local Old faith Community (Pagan Club) on campus. However, I don't think I will stay this semester. The reason is because the "President" claims Hellenism, but he contradicts himself and does nothing to actually represent that their are varying beliefs in this community.Perhaps once he leaves I will be able to consciously go back to the club.

I greatly appreciate the advise, thanks for the guidence Very Happy

Nikoletta

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Re: College and Hellenismos

Post  xxChella21xx on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:59 pm

[quote="Erodius"]
I do not like being referred to as Pagan,

I find it highly offensive, and also misleading. 

but I realized at the meeting that the group primarily consisted of Wiccans to whom this word does apply.

I agree...it is Not a very accurate term to use to refer to matters like this.
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