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Lady T. - "The Witch Is In" [userpic]
by Lady T. - "The Witch Is In" (ladytairngire)
at November 5th, 2009 (05:07 pm)

I have been a pagan for going on twenty years, but it's only been the past several that I have been exploring truly polytheistic worship. I'm wondering if any of you would be willing to share your insights on something that has confounded me.

As Hellenic Pagans, I assume that means there is a host of deities with whom you have, in theory, an on-going relationship. Not to say that each person will have an active relationship with every god... but presumably there is more than one at a time that you can approach, honor, and so forth.

My question is: when you choose to honor/approach/pray to one god, do you ever feel that you are slighting another? That you are showing a preference or even insulting one deity by choosing to address another?

The more I begin to think of spirituality in polytheistic terms (rather than abstract, eclectic terms), the more I become concerned with this, and I feel it most keenly when it comes to the Hellenic gods - I think because so much of what I understand about Them comes from common literature, which is all about the personalities and big on the capriciousness of the gods - so I thought this might be a good place to address the question.

Please note I've been trying very hard to phrase this question so as to not seem like an irresponsible or irreverant eclectic - I assure that's not the case! I just can't figure out how to ask so I'm going to hit post and hope you can help. ;)


Posted by: Daeron Runesmith (daeron)
Posted at: November 5th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)

I've actually never thought of it in terms of slighting the other Gods. My special relationships are with Apollo, the Muses (especially Kleio) and (lately) Hermes and Athene. But I'm always aware of the others, and I respect and revere Them even if I'm not involved in a direct relationship with Them.

I think, as you explore this side of your spiritual life, you'll find that what you read (be it in the ancient texts, or in modern writings) will only take you so far. The rest comes from within you. Find what works for you. When you've found that, and you're not suffering any ill effects, then whatever it is you're doing is probably acceptable to the Gods as well (both the ones you have a direct relationship with and the ones you don't).

Posted by: firefly_124 (firefly124)
Posted at: November 5th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
apollo3 by little-shinies

My relationships are primarily with Apollo, the Muses, Pan, and the Nymphs. I don't feel as though I'm slighting the other Gods, though I've recently started trying to do a regular New Moon (Noumenia) acknowledgement/praise of all the Gods.

A couple of books you might want to check out would be Kharis by Sarah Winter and Devotion by Hearthstone. Kharis is more of an overview of modern Hellenic polytheism while Devotion is a collection of prayers. I've found both of them helpful in developing my own insights into my relationships with the Gods.

Posted by: ~*~Jessi~*~ (eternalhearts)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)

One major component of the Hellenic religion is giving honor to all the Theoi, even if it's something as simple as lighting a stick of incense "to all the gods" when you do a ritual. Being aware of and attentive to the family that those Deities you may have a relationship with is very important to understanding and building that relationship.

Posted by: zoe_me (zoe_me)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)

A lot of the traditional prayers have a phrase that goes something like "if ever I have swung you an offering, could you please swing me a favor?" and uhhh gee. People realized it might be the first time they had made that theoi an offering.
While the primary reason Hellenion started the "2nd Saturday libation" was for community and synchronized ritual, a strong second reason is because it REALLY helps one to with making sure to at least nod to a broad range of "the family".
(I know of some folks who wanted to ask Ares to help the secret service protect the president, and boy were they happy they had honored Ares a bit in the past. He just doesn't seem like the type you want to come asking for favors on the first pass ;-) Thanks to the Hellenion libation schedule, they had honored Ares before! If they had waited for a more.... say patron thing? Wouldn't have happened, or not for a long time.)

Posted by: ~*~Jessi~*~ (eternalhearts)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)

I can attest that Ares is not to be asked favors of lightly!! I asked Him for protection once and when I dragged my feet about writing His hymn, life became a little less pleasant for a while.

Posted by: zoe_me (zoe_me)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)

exactly! You know how witches have a "book of shadows"? I am trying to think of a clever name for a "kharis book" for Hellenes. Basically, every time you make a commitment in prayer, WRITE IT DOWN. Because not honoring that commitment will not have a fun result.

My husband made this commitment to Athena for the 4th of every month (I looked at him like he was NUTS) and yep - he is finding it's really hard to remember to make the offering!!! She is teaching him a lesson about commitments and discipline!

I recently flubbed something with Hermes (I swear because the end point was a bit vague, but mostly it was I got busy and didn't catch "oh, I guess that was the end point and it's my turn to PAY UP".) and yes, I think it didn't help some things.

Moderns are so busy and distracted I think it's key for us to WRITE IT DOWN. Calendar reminders seem to arrive at work, and are NOT helping my husband with his Athena issue. If it was more with "the ritual stuff" it might help?

Posted by: ~*~Jessi~*~ (eternalhearts)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)

Suggestions for your husband: if he has a calendar in his cell phone, he can set up a reminder each month--more in your face than a work calendar. Or Google calendar--will send as many reminders to your email as you want, and can even print it out to place in a frequently-viewed place with the 4th highlighted.

Posted by: zoe_me (zoe_me)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)

I think the problem is the the alarm time that was set in the google calendar. The whole demos gets one reminder a month, but I think I need to figure out where to put his (if I was to print it out). If I was to highlight it and tape it to the Mac computer monitor? Miss seven year old would take it down as it was "in her way" (and she is sure it's HER computer). His pillow? hmm.....

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: ~*~Jessi~*~ (eternalhearts)
Posted at: November 8th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)

There's no music to it--although Hellenic hymns were historically sung, I think it's rare in today's time for them to actually be written with music in mind, and I'm tone deaf. If your choir can compose and would like to set it to music, you are welcome to.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: ~*~Jessi~*~ (eternalhearts)
Posted at: November 8th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)

Here's the link :D

Posted by: neowiccan (neowiccan)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)

i think it's a good question and i used to worry about that too. but i really don't any more, and i think once you start developing a relationship with a few of the theoi you will find that worry fades away. there may indeed at times be a deity who wants your attention and ignoring that deity could be problematic, but the myths are an introduction to the gods, not a primer on them. they aren't jealous or petty. it's just good manners to pour an occasional libation or something else to honor 'all the gods' but you don't have to tiptoe through a minefield to offer timai to the ones you feel especially drawn to.

Posted by: snowcalla (snowcalla)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Pagan - hellenion

My question is: when you choose to honor/approach/pray to one god, do you ever feel that you are slighting another? That you are showing a preference or even insulting one deity by choosing to address another?

Nope and nope. Not being flip.

Posted by: adf_anthony (adf_anthony)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)

I've been thinking about this lately. While I work mainly with Apollo, it's mostly because his traits are the ones most relevant to my daily life. I do work with the other gods though. If I distrust someone, I'll call on Helios to see if there's deceit lurking around. Athena likes to work with me (rather than me with her, she's very "Hey I'm here listen to what I'm saying" with me.. I love it) whenever I walk by something that may as well have neon signs around it that I somehow missed. And different gods for different things.

At times I do feel like perhaps I'm neglecting the other gods, but after reading the Odyssey and seeing how there were islands dedicated mostly to one god, or how Athena played favorites with Odysseus, I feel like it's perfectly fine. You can't be friends with everyone, but that doesn't mean you can disrespect those you aren't close with.

Hope it helps

Posted by: R (raistlynn)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Ares (Mythic Oracle @ Dreams of Gaia)

I can't really add too much to this conversation that hasn't already been stated. I'm still 'new' to this family, so I'm learning.

I do have a 'collective' altar for the Greek/Roman Gods and yesterday I received a depiction of Pan, who is someone I never have had any contact with, so I thought it interesting.

My point is that I think if They want your attention, They'll let you know. It's also been my own experience that once you open a door to someone, the others who want your attention/have something to say will come in.

I don't think it's an insult if you honour just one or two, as has been said, you won't necessarily get along with everyone, and it doesn't mean you're disrespecting the ones you don't have a relationship with.

Just my two cents though.

Edited at 2009-11-06 05:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Dver (erl_queen)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)

I don't think it should be a problem. I've never experienced the gods as all demanding equal worship from every worshipper. In fact, that would kind of be impossible, as there are many, many gods. I think the only problem would come if a particular deity was trying to get your attention, and you ignored them. Otherwise, remember that they have their preferences too, and may not even be interested in you. Certainly, I have never felt any spark from Athena, Ares, Hephaistos, or plenty of others, and only the tiniest occasional glimpse of Zeus, Artemis, Poseidon. I devote so much time and energy to the handful of gods I worship regularly, I just couldn't possibly do the same with the rest. And from everything I know, that's just fine.

Posted by: patch99329 (patch99329)
Posted at: November 6th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)

There are several gods I devote more time to than others.
The ancients didn't honour all the gods of the pantheon equually, and instead honoured the ones that were relative to their lives for various reasons.

When I do my daily ritual though, I do pour one libation and offer incense to 'all of the gods'.
As long as a relationship with one god dosen't interfere with an aleready established set of practices for another, you should be fine. :)

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