The Four Pillars of Hellenismos

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"...In my soul I know that those that accept the Gods by love, they shall be offered happiness."   Anonymous


"...a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong--acting the part of a good man or of a bad." [1]


The Scholar's View of Ællinismόs

This author has read many books concerning the ancient Greek religion and listened to numerous lectures on the subject. Although there are significant exceptions, I must say that the religion that has been presented by many scholars bears little resemblance to what I have been taught by my teachers, the teachers who actually practice Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), teachers from Greece itself. Only a couple of days past, I listened to a lecture by a scholar who presented the religion as distinctly ugly. He said that the ancient people believed that their gods were petty deities who committed heinous crimes, that these gods had absolutely no compassion for human beings, and that these gods only pay attention to mortals at the behest of what amounts to a kind of business deal. Moreover, this scholar described the typical worshiper as highly superstitious with little idea of any kind of ethics, who had concepts of deity that were primitive at best. The Gods were presented as though the mythology was accepted as literally true. In later lectures, this scholar presented the early Christians as being far more reasonable. I could not help thinking to myself, "And did these early Christians believe their mythology as literally true also? Did they believe that Balaam's donkey actually started talking to him as is told in the Old Testament, or that Jonah actually lived in the belly of a whale?" I wonder if this scholar realized how one-sided this presentation sounds to someone who actually practices Ællinismόs, and further, how grossly unfair these criticisms appear, knowing that this scholar must feel that he is quite safe from criticism, as it is generally believed that the ancient religion disappeared centuries ago and the contemporary scholar need never fear that he will confront a credible person with a different opinion.

Another lecturer described the ancient Greek religion before Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτωνas "just not impressive" in comparison to the ancient religion of Israel. Yet the scholars should know better, and some actually do. To give but one example, we could briefly discuss one tiny aspect of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια): the secrecy. These Mysteries were practiced for almost two-thousand years, commencing hundreds of years before Plátohn was ever born. These teachings and practices were conducted and kept in complete secrecy, shared with initiates of the teaching only. This secrecy alone should arouse the curiosity of any scholar. Just why would the numerous initiates of these Mysteries keep their vow of secrecy if what they experienced was "just not impressive," as the scholar said? Why did these initiates take such a commitment so very seriously that the secrets were kept for centuries, such that we still do not know their content except in the most general way? How could anyone assume that such an astonishing feat was accomplished by individuals whose inspiration for such secrecy was a religion that was insignificant?

The scholars also like to point out that the philosophers of ancient Greece saw a problem in their religion, that they criticized the myths and questioned many things about Ællinismόs. Did Plátohn, for instance, find the ancient Greek religion defective, or was he, rather, simply pointing to problems in the way people understood their religion? Careful examination of the dialogues will lead one closer to the second conclusion. Further, self-criticism is a sign of maturity and growth, not necessarily defect, particularly as regards to our subject. In any case, the scholars like to separate ancient philosophy from the religion. 19th century scholars like to see the ancient philosophers in an evolution away from polytheism, gravitation towards monotheism, while contemporary scholars like to say that the philosophers, with their criticisms of primitive beliefs, tended toward atheism, but both these views say more about the bias of 19th century scholars towards Christianity and 20th century scholars towards atheism. Scholars are generally aware of the contribution of philosophy to history and rational thought, but when modern scholars are confronted by a philosopher such as Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος), they tend to dismiss his works as gibberish. Próklos is very difficult reading and it is obvious when you study him that his belief in the ancient Gods is absolute. This approach, combining immense scholarship and reason with actual belief, is not so much appreciated by scholars, who, not believing in Gods, may not wish to make the effort to actually understand what Próklos was saying, dismissing his writings as unintelligible. Even the Tímaios (Timaeus; Gr. Τίμαιος) and Nómi (The Laws; Gr. Νόμοιof Plátohn do not seem to be held in the same regard as the dialogues which do not so much imply belief in deity. And the Tímaios is very difficult, so why exert so much effort on something that you personally think is nonsense. The assumption of many contemporary scholars is that religion and theism, and in particular polytheism, consists of primitive beliefs concerning reality...but we hold a different opinion.

Surely it must be true that many, if not most average people in ancient times had a somewhat simplistic view of religion. To view Ællinismόs as deeper than this may seem like an effort to resolve some type of cognitive dissonance, but in reality, transcendent meaning in ancient Greek religion is obvious from a careful study of the antique evidence and can even be surmised in a comparative examination of contemporary religion. As an example, this author is very familiar with the world of Buddhism, having spent many years studying the religion with a renowned Tibetan teacher, as well as having read a great number of books on the subject, from the Dhammapada to The Life of Milarepa. If you study the common people of many countries in Buddhist Asia, you will find that their understanding of Buddhism is often rudimentary and that they may have somewhat simplistic views of its beliefs and practices, reducing it to a very simple religion, even a type of theism more common with polytheistic religions. But in modern times, Western scholars of Buddhism know that there is a difference between what many common practitioners believe and what the Buddha taught, and they are aware of the vast literature handed down through the tradition by numerous Buddhist teachers since the time of the time of his life. One of the principle reasons the scholars must admit that there is substantial legitimacy to Buddhism is that they will confront living representatives of the tradition who will not allow the scholars to diminish their religion. Before the 20th century, books were sometimes not so kind to Buddhism, describing the religion as a type of negativism. The scholars did not have such easy access to living teachers at that time nor did the Buddhist teachers have such easy access to Western students, nor did Buddhist teachers have the opportunity to publicly disagree with scholastic opinion. In our contemporary world, there are Buddhist teachers everywhere as well as students who have direct access to their teaching. Criticism of the religion cannot escape the eyes of practicing Buddhists who not only can read the texts but can learn how these texts are interpreted and practiced by living representative of the religion. Consequently, there are now many Western scholars who have a much more nuanced and realistic idea of genuine Buddhism. But this is not so easy with Ællinismόs. The great teachers in Greece do not feel quite so free to teach publicly. And there have been many, many centuries in which Ællinismόs was interpreted by exclusivistic Christian scholars convinced of the superiority of their own religion, who would not accept any belief other than their own as having any significant legitimacy. Indeed, the Christian tradition has been intolerant of and consistently condemned the ancient religion, despite appropriating much of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy into their theology. This legacy has not quite disappeared. But things have been changing, albeit slowly. It is rare that a Greek perspective on ancient Greek religion is even noted. Perhaps this is due in part to the isolating effect of the rejection of the Reuchlinian method of pronunciation of ancient Greek in universities outside the country. But there are many reasons.



A Different View 

So if you have read that the ancient Greek religion is all about propitiating Gods and obtaining their favor, burning incense and engaging in all kinds of exotic ceremonies; if you believe you can learn the secrets of how to read omens from the entrails of birds and by other means; if you wish to learn witchcraft or read horoscopes; if you think that Ællinismόs is a Greek form of shamanism; or if you desire to participate in irresponsible indulgence of so-called Bacchic rituals of sexual promiscuity......all these things and more: you will find none of this here. If you complain and say that all of these things can be found in the ancient literature, we will not disagree. Virtually all human activities were found in the ancient world, both bad and good, both shallow and deep.  

It is certainly true that a superficial popular religion existed in ancient times; one can clearly discover this from reading the historic literature. Nonetheless, there were those who had a more profound understanding. In particular, we are interested in the traditions passed down by the teacher who the Greeks call The Great Reformer or The Theologian: Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). Orphéfs taught a kozmology which, when properly understood, presents a natural and logical explanation of being and becoming. It is primarily the lineage of this teacher we use as our inspiration, as have many in antiquity. Orphéfs is regarded as the founder of all Mystíria (Mysteries; Gr. Μυστήρια). This term Mystíria is easily misunderstood; it requires a great conversation, but for the present essay it is sufficient to know that the Mysteries are, quite simply, the deeper meaning of our religion, the deeper meaning of Ællinismόs. What is outside of the Mysteries is the superficial, the surface level of the religion, what is inside, is the profound.

This Hellenic journey is based on experience, reason, and practice. We have formal rituals and ceremony which is called religion (thriskeia; Gr. θρησκεία), but we also act in the world. Ællinismόs is a path...a mystical journey, a progression that has a goal. That goal is sacred. The way we live our life determines our relationship to the Hellenic path. For this journey to be genuine requires much more than simply burning incense and having pleasant thoughts. We talk of the Hellenic soul, the soul of someone who is on a committed journey leading to great Arætí (Arete; Gr. ρετή), great Virtue. The genuine path of Ællinismόs is concerned only with Arætí, not so much with practices or even beliefs. This position is in stark contrast to what is commonly thought, that Ællinismόs is said to be more concerned with orthopraxy (correct practice: orthopraxía; Gr. ὀρθοπραξία) over orthodoxy (correct belief: orthodoxía; Gr. ορθοδοξία). This author was taught another way, that the genuine Ællinismόs is only concerned with the progress of the soul, both practices and beliefs being secondary.

Ællinismόs is frequently portrayed as a religion of reciprocity. What do people mean by this? Quite frankly, it is the superficial view of religion, that the worshipper must offer a gift in exchange for something from Gods, quid pro quo. Such an idea can clearly be seen in the literature and has been accepted by many modern practitioners of the religion. Indeed, there are two types of legitimate reciprocity which radiate from the true practice of religion. The first is based on Ǽrohs (Eros; Gr. Ἔρως), the spontaneous flow of attraction between Gods and men; this is a major foundation of our religion. The second form of reciprocity which is essential to Ællinismόs is the exchange of generosity and graciousness between mortals; this is protected by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) himself. We, as human beings and as practitioners of this great religion try to be useful and to make a difference in the world.



THE FOUR PILLARS OF ÆLLINISMÓS

We find ourselves standing before this religion, this great tradition, but how do we engage ourselves in it? What is the approach? How do we proceed? There are endless means of great skill from which we can progress forward, but they generally fall into four categories. These activities are deeply interconnected, interwoven into one another:

1. 
Akoí (Akoe; Gr. κοή; pronounced: ah-koh-EE) Ællinismόs is a way of life, not a faith blindly believed in, not a set of doctrines to memorize, yet there are traditions, stories, and ideas which are the background providing an atmosphere which inspires interest, curiosity, and wonder. Akoí means "things heard;" it is the tradition. By means of Akoí we learn the origin of the Gods, the rituals, the practices of our religion, and the philosophical viewpoints. Because of our inspiration and an ability to perceive things of beauty, we suspect the validity of Ællinismόs. Our intuition tells us that there is great wisdom to be found here. Because of this, we begin with a simple trust in the tradition; we learn all the mythology and practices with some confidence in our teachers. We accept these things as part of our heritage and allow ourselves to be influenced by their richness. 

At some point, these things, these "things heard," like everything in our experience, must come under the eye of Philosophía (see below). Belief, which in Greek is referred to with the term pístis (Gr. πίστις), is subjective conviction. It is not genuine knowledge, for which we use a different word: æpistími (Gr. ἐπιστήμη). Belief, as taught by Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων), is inferior. And it is important to realize that Ællinismόs is not creedal: we are not required to believe anything, unlike exclusivistic religions. There is no catechism of required beliefs. Nonetheless, we must begin somewhere. When we come to our religion, particularly at this beginning, we simply listen and learn the tradition...for a very long time. We study the mythology, (mytholoyía; Gr. μυθολογία), the ancient literature, Ómiros (Homer; Gr. Ὅμηρος), Plátohn, Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος), etc., and we listen to our teachers.

All the pages of this website fall into this category of Akoí, "things heard." No text can magically deliver your prayers to the Gods; no text can cause wisdom to illuminate your mind; no text can make you a virtuous person. Akoí, the tradition, provides hints and suggestions; it is like a finger pointing in a direction; we must do the actual work ourselves, with the help of the Gods of course, but we must work to achieve this. And we must be very careful to distinguish the difference between knowing many facts, becoming scholastically learned, and actually having wisdom. Nonetheless, Akoí are ideas, and the Hellenic ideas are very powerful seeds which have enormous potential, which when planted and tended to properly, can become strong and mighty victories.


2. Thæouryía (Theurgy; Gr. Θεουργία) Thæouryía is a much misunderstood term and we use this term in a different way than many people understand it. Genuine Thæouryía has nothing whatsoever to do with any ordinary view of "magic" or the use of exotic incantations and so forth. Thæouryía is, simply, communication with Deity through ritual. The tradition of Orphismós, the wisdom which flows from the teachings of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς), is an erotic tradition because it is based on Ǽrohs (Eros; Gr. ρως). If you has been drawn to the Gods, you have perceived something of great beauty. This beauty attracts us. This attraction, called in Greek Ǽrohs, is of enormous significance; it is a divine force. The Gods feel our Ǽrohs and they have an immediate reaction. This interaction between Gods and mortals, when it occurs in a formal setting, is called Thæouryía, communion with the Gods in ritual. Does this mean that we cannot interact with Gods spontaneously, without formal ritual? Naturally, we can approach the Gods as our heart drives us, but as a practice, when we call upon the Gods, we call this Thæouryía. The word thæouryía literally means "divine work," and this divine work is the communication and interaction between Gods and men in ritual. Much has been made of the term but in the words of the philosopher Damáskios (Damascius; Gr. Δαμάσκιος), it's meaning is very simple:

"... theurgy ... is the worship of the Gods..." [2]

Why is Thæouryía important? For many reasons, but principally because the Gods have dominion over the Natural Laws and they are the key to living in harmony with those laws, and ritual is the best means by which we can achieve such a thing, by communication with those divinities which have dominion over nature.


3. Philosophía (Philosophy; Gr. Φιλοσοφία) In the deeper Ællinismόs, we attempt to practice true philosophy, but what is true philosophy? The etymology of the word is: φιλο (love) + σοφία (wisdom), so, philosophy is the love of wisdomIn general, what we are talking about here is the type of intellectual work depicted in dialogues of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) in which the philosopher is willing to challenge his own ideas. We are speaking of the intellectual work which endeavors to discover genuine truth and wisdom, rather than philosophy which tries to justify and defend pre-accepted positions. In other words, we attempt to be rational and logical, in a very big way. 

Much ancient Hellenic philosophy after Plátohn involved expanding, explaining, and justifying his apparent conclusions, topics such as the Forms and the Good. These are hugely important subjects, challenging in themselves, but this formal approach of adapting other philosopher's ideas is not the philosophy we are advocating as the principle purpose of Philosophía. When we speak of Philosophía as one of the four pillars, we are not talking about the study of other people's ideas and conclusions. Rather, we are very interested in what happens before conclusions, if conclusions are even possible. In other words, when you have an existing belief or idea and your philosophy is to defend that idea, to find a way to make that idea impregnable rather than to uncover the actual truth concerning any particular idea, we question such philosophy as having ultimate value.

As for scholastic philosophy beyond antiquity, the great bulk of this consists of Christian examination of the meaning of their own religion, or examination of the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος) with the assumption of the supremacy of their belief. Indeed, the Christian philosophers attempted to prove the existence of their one god and create a theology around this idea, borrowing the theories of Plátohn and Aristotǽlis (Aristotle; Gr. Ἀριστοτέλης) to assist them. But the foregone conclusion is always an affirmation of their beliefs. Such formal philosophy extends from antiquity until, roughly, the Enlightenment, when the confines of religious restrictions on beliefs and ideas began to seriously deteriorate. This author admits that this summary is not entirely fair, but generally, this is the case. 

Self-justifying philosophy, whether pagan or Christian, has little to do with the "raw" philosophy of the actual Sohkrátis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης) which is far more challenging and genuine. In this unadulterated, pristine philosophy, we attempt to expose the ego (not in the Freudian sense [3]), that which takes sides and skews arguments in favor of the defense of preconceptions, rather than actual perception of reality as it is. This, of course, is a rather impossible task or certainly extremely difficult, but the object is to attempt such a challenge and accept that progress is incremental. We try, stumble, fall, get up again, and try once more, on a daily, even moment-to-moment basis. This is why we say that there is that which is taught, on the one hand, the tradition (Akoí), and actual experience of reality on the other, how well we understand and function in the Kózmos. From this point of view, most of philosophy, even pagan philosophy, really falls into the first category above, that of Akoí, "things heard." Religion without this raw Philosophía is belief-based and insubstantial, and such Ællinismόs tends towards insignificance, a religion of worship for favors and propitiation, like that described by the many scholars who try to divorce the philosophers from our religion.

Why are we even concerned about engaging in the work of philosophy? Why don't we just leave ourselves alone and just live our lives? Living in the world, we act, and we act based upon our perception of reality. If our perception of reality is skewed and incorrect, then our actions follow, and we act badly. But if our perception of the world is accurate, we are able to act with more effect. Accurate perception is powerful and makes possible efficient action, action which can make a difference. Without accurate perception, quite frankly, we do not actually know what we are doing. 

The idea of practicing philosophy is rather high-minded, but moving back down to a day-to-day level, there is a way to see the value of such a pursuit. As we grow from children to adults and we find jobs and begin making money, we discover the enjoyment of the accumulation of wealth. And we try to fill our homes with the things we love and things we hope will reflect our view of ourselves. When we invite our friends to visit, we love to show them the wonderful things we have purchased. Some people enjoy showing others their sophisticated library, with the kinds of books which may impress their friends. And we may possess beautiful furniture or perhaps paintings and other nice things. But the North-African Neo-Platonist philosopher Apuleius, in his work On the God of Sohkrátis (Σωκράτης), likens this situation to someone purchasing a horse:

"...it is usual to consider rich men in the same way that we do horses when we buy them; for in purchasing these we do not look to the trappings, nor the decorations of the belt, nor do we contemplate the riches of the most ornamented neck, and examine whether variegated chains, consisting of silver, gold, or gems, depend from it; whether ornaments full of art surround the head and neck; and whether the bridles are carved, the saddles are painted, and the girths are gilt; but, all these spoils being removed, we survey the naked horse itself, and alone direct our attention to his body and his soul, in order that we may be able to ascertain whether his form is good, and whether he is likely to be vigorous in the race, and strong for carriage...In a similar manner therefore, in surveying men, do not estimate those foreign particulars, but intimately consider the man himself." [4] 

Apuleius then goes on to encourage one to practice philosophy, so that we become like the strong and sturdy horse, and that we are not deceived by the impressive but ultimately mundane things in life which, in reality, are not part of ourselves and which will indeed pass away, and that we should endeavor to become substantial people of great wisdom and character. His example is good, and we could deliver many more equally convincing examples.

To sum up concerning the third pillar of Ællinismόs, philosophy is the process of challenging your preconceptions and developing the courage to change your mind when you discover that your ideas and views are incorrect, and to then live your life accordingly.


4. Arætí (Arete; Gr. ρετή) The ultimate goal of the higher Ællinismόs is the achievement of Arætí, genuine virtue. Arætí is another term having common definitions which are not quite applicable. The understanding of the meaning of the term is a philosophical pursuit, worthy of dialectic. Nonetheless, while to perceive its meaning may be a step toward its acquisition, the understanding and the acquisition are two different things. We are not at all talking about the "pursuit of glory," as many people seem to define the word. Nor are we looking for an Aristotelian list of various excellences, although such a journey may help us in our pursuit. Also, Arætí is not quite the same as the Latin virtus, which is more of a virility and strength. While these various ideas and definitions may give us a hint as to the meaning of Arætí, they are not quite it itself. Arætí is the source from which all the various "virtues" are generated. But what is it? Plátohn says that that virtue is a type of harmony of soul, a type of consent between one's emotions and one's reason. [1] Plátohn also identifies four principal manifestations of Arætí: Courage or Fortitude (Andreia; Gr. Ἀνδρεία or Thrásos; Gr. Θράσος), Temperance or Moderation (Sohphrosýni; Gr. Σωφροσύνη), Wisdom (Phrónisis; Gr. Φρόνησις), and Justice (Dikaiosýni; Gr. Δικαιοσύνη), what are known as the Four Cardinal Virtues of classical antiquity. [5] Seen another way, Compassion (ǽlæos [eleos]; Gr. ἔλεος) is the most important virtue because without courage, compassion is unattainable; without temperance, compassion is unattainable; without justice, compassion is unattainable; and without wisdom, compassion is not attainable. But why do we need compassion? ...because compassion is the providence of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), the king and father of Gods and men, who has unequaled empathy for all of creation, for Zefs has sent his son Diónysos to free all sentient beings from the vicious circle of rebirths (See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Sixth King). And it is the highest aim for all people to imitate the Gods, who themselves, particularly the Olympian deities, assist Zefs in enabling this providence to be realized. The greatest virtue is to be compassionate, the virtue which requires the acquisition of all the other virtues.

To discuss virtue is a vast subject, but may I propose an initial and broad definition, a working definition from which we can begin our pursuit of understanding: the achievement of Arætí is putting one's own ambitions aside in favor of those which reflect the Natural LawsThus, the acquisition of Arætí necessarily involves the development of absolute perspective in relationship to one's place in the Kózmos, and putting that realization into action, which has the effect of developing the human conscience. The realization of personal Arætí is a function of Progress, the progress of the soul. Without Arætí, knowledge of the facts and figures of Ællinismόs is of minor significance

We have said that our tradition is an erotic tradition (based on Ǽrohs) and our tradition is also an aretaic ethical tradition...based on virtue...and it is personal; we develop Arætí within ourselves and it gushes forth like a magnificent and wondrous fountain. While we may take into consideration the example of those who came before whose lives are admirable, we are not like the creedal religions who have virtuous rules which must be followed; rather, we develop virtue within our souls and ethical action flows naturally as a result. And while we use Philosophía to help us determine the results of our actions, this process is made easier and natural by the personal development of virtue.

In a religion where so much emphasis is placed on Gods and their worship, why is Arætí considered so great? What does it have to do with our worship of the Gods? The achievement of Arætí is the most pleasing gift one can give the Gods. All the various traditional offerings...the incense, the flowers, the fruit...these offerings are all symbolic...lovely, yet still symbolic...but Arætí is exceptional because its effects are significant and far-reaching; they make a real difference in the world. The Gods love Arætí and desire us to acquire it, and when we do, and its sublime beauty is perceived by the Gods, great notice is taken. And when the Gods discover the mortals who struggle to achieve Arætí, they are deeply moved and they endeavor to help us in our labor and they stand by our side.


Summary

In conclusion regarding the Four Pillars of Ællinismόs, it can be seen how this functions. 1. We discover and are attracted to our religion and, by hearing and learning (Akoí), we enter the tradition. 2. We develop a relationship with deity (Thæouryía) which strengthens our resonance with the Natural Laws. 3. We attempt to become truly rational people by challenging our view of reality and develop Wisdom (SophíaGr. Σοφία) by means of the great struggle which is Philosophy (Philosophía). 4. And finally, we take all these things and integrate them into our lives, developing Virtue (Arætí), which enables us to establish qualities of character, qualities such as Courage (Thrásos; Gr. θράσος), Compassion (Ǽlæos; Gr. Ἔλεος), Goodness of Heart (Khristöítheia; Gr. Χρηστοήθεια), and the evolution of the human Conscience (Syneidisis; Gr. Συνείδησις), which empowers the soul, and gives it a godlike will (voulí; Gr. βουλή or voulefsis; Gr. βούλευσις) to make a great difference in the world, which, of course, makes all the difference.


Community 

Reading books and visiting websites can be very helpful for study, but ultimately you need actual human contact to properly learn Ællinismόs. You need to look into the eyes of flesh-and-blood people who love and worship the Gods. You need to hear their voices, to eat food with them, to hear their stories. Without contact with real people, it will be much more difficult to take this tradition from the realm of fantasy into reality. Take a bold step and try to mingle with those who are putting this philosophy into action. Furthermore, the most critical aspects of this teaching are not permitted to be transmitted publicly; you will not learn the most important things of Ællinismόs from books or websites. 


 
There is a course of study available  

To participate you must be at least 18 years of age. You must be willing to start fresh, at the beginning, without preconceptions, regardless of your previous background. You must be willing to talk, either in person, by phone, or by Skype, at regular intervals. If you have a serious compelling interest, please write: inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com.




The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.


NOTES:

[1] Πλάτων (Plato) Ἀπολογία (Apology) 28a, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892; found here in the 1937 Random House publication entitled The Dialogues of Plato Vol. 1 (New York, USA), where this quotation may be found on p. 411.

[2] Δαμάσκιος (Damascius) Φιλόσοφος Ιστορία (Philosophical History) 1.4, trans. Polymnia Athanassiadi, 1999, as found in Damascius: The Philosophical History, Apamea Cultural Association (Athens, Greece), Oxbow Books (Oxford, England UK) and The David Brown Book Co. (Oakville, CT USA), where this quotation may be found on p. 79.

[3] The way the word ego is used in the religion has nothing whatsoever to do with Freud's id, ego, and super-ego. We are using here more the common conception of ego, as the misunderstanding of the mind regarding its relationship with the Kózmos. The ego is, actually, a delusion. When the soul finally fully understands its true nature, the ego is destroyed. There is no acceptable degree of ego...by definition...for ego is self-deception. "Egotism is a passionate and exaggerated love of self, which leads a man to connect everything with his own person, and to prefer himself to everything in the world." Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America Vol. II, Section 2, Chapter II. 1840, trans. Henry Reeve.

[4] Apuleius On the God of Sohkrátis 172-174, trans. Thomas Taylor 1822. We are using the 1997 Prometheus Trust edition (Somerset UK) entitled Apuleius' Golden Ass or The Metamorphosis, and other Philosophical Writings, Vol. XIV of The Thomas Taylor Series, where this quotation may be found on pp. 250.

[5] Ref. Πλάτων (Plato) Νόμοι (Laws) 964b and Πολιτεία (Republic) 427e.


 
The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian GodsIn front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).



PLEASE NOTE:
 Throughout the pages of this Glossary, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself.  An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website.  For more information, visit these three pages: 

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