Baring the Aegis: Hellenismos
Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.
During the writing of yesterday's post on Reconstruction, an example of my changed mindset came to mind which I couldn't find a place for in that post. I told you all before about my path. Most of my religious life was spent as a Neo-Pagan or some form of Eclectic Witch. I enjoyed it a lot and some practices were so engrained into my life, I only realized I had them when I transitioned to Hellenismos. One of these practices was to buy (almost) only second-hand religious items for my practice.
The thought process behind it was that, everything I stumbled upon, be it boxes, chalices or books, was provided to me by the Gods. The only things that were exempt were my Athame, candles and incense. Especially in the case of books, I felt that the books I found in thrift or second-hand stores were the books I was supposed to find at that time in my life and religious practice. I took them as signs. In true Neo-Pagan manner, I also didn't haggle on the cost of any item I bought for religious purposes. It was a wonderful way of magickal living.
As I transitioned into Hellenismos, however, the change in mindset caused me to drop both practices without conscious thought. I knew what my path was, now. I didn't need that specific type of guidance. I left general Pagan books on the shelve that I would have bought only a week ago. With my new shopping list in hand, I still found myself in a veritable Elysium of possibilities. I also couldn't think up a single reason why I shouldn't try and haggle when the opportunity arose. In fact: it seemed like a perfectly valid Hellenic thing to do. And all of that over the course of, maybe, a week.
Treasure hunting is still a favorite pastime. I'm still a sucker for second hand stores and I love to buy older, second hand, books. I have found some absolute gems, even for my Hellenic path. A beautiful version of the Odysseia, Greek mythology books, Grecian urns, offering bowls, keys, hair pins; you name it. Once thoroughly cleaned, both physically and ritually, they are beautiful additions to my practice. I still believe that those finds are divinely inspired; everything I find is a gift and is treated as such. But I also buy things I need.
I buy books from the internet, I bought some hand towels and some statuary to quench my thirst for knowledge and help my practice along. As for haggling: why not? Not doing it made sense in the Eclectic system I had operated in but the fist time I was confronted with the possibility of doing it, I was somehow sure that the ancient Greeks would have haggled until their dying breath. Gods know that the modern day Greeks did it when I visited Greece as a child. I'm sure we silly tourists paid about four times what the vendor would have accepted for the trinkets we brought home.
And so, two things that were cornerstones of my practice, gave way to an entirely new viewpoint. It are these sort of changes I was talking about, where everything you previously believed in, loses its meaning to give way to a new way of thinking and a new set of practices. It's an odd but miraculous feeling. A wonderful way of magickal living, all the same.
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