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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hellenic

The last I wrote of Hēraklēs, our hero had successfully navigated Eurystheus' scheme of getting him killed by help of Artemis. Hēraklēs completed another labour, made Artemis happy, and saved the day. All was well in the world of Hēraklēs. At this point, Hēraklēs is aware he still has eight labours ahead of him: he completed three successfully, but the labour with the Lernaean Hydra was disqualified because he had accepted the help of his nephew and lover Iolaus. It was most certainly an unfair ruling, but nothing can be done about it: Hēraklēs must continue with his quest in hopes of cleansing himself of his crime.

The fourth labour is to capture the Erymanthian Boar, which got his name from the mountainside and swamp it roamed on. It seems Eurystheus realized that capturing something can be a lot more deadly than killing something, especially when that something is bigger and badder than any of its peers. That said, Hyginus in his Fabulae describes that the task was not to capture the boar, but to kill it, which Hēraklēs accomplished. As far as I am aware, though, he is the only one. Pausanias mentions the boar in his 'Description of Greece', saying:
 
"There is also a legend that Heracles at the command of Eurystheus hunted by the side of the Erymanthus a boar that surpassed all others in size and in strength. The people of Cumae among the Opici say that the boar's tusks dedicated in their sanctuary of Apollo are those of the Erymanthian boar, but the saying is altogether improbable." [8.24.5]

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Temperance, Thank you for sharing the story of Herakles' 4th labor! I really appreciate that you found differing accounts fro

Recently, I read a blog post by Star Foster, whom I admire as a person and writer and whose blog will survive any culling of my blog reader for a long time to come. In this blog post, titled 'Being Human', she questions basic life lessons, including ethical living. From that blog post:
 
"I’ve been thinking a lot about the Precepts of Solon. So many of these maxims are subjective. What is good character? What is good? What is bad?"

Although the original blog post is in no way limited to this question, this is the part of the post that stuck with me and has been a thorn in my side for the last two days. Why? Because my first reaction was 'you just know', and that is never a satisfactory answer for me. So I have spent the last two days trying to figure out how 'I just know' when I am not displaying a good character, when I am not good, and when I do something bad. Because I do 'just know'.

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  • Bruce Walton
    Bruce Walton says #
    Fantastic article. This has really made me think about my actions and words, and also how much we allow ourselves to get away with
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I am happy to hear my article made you think. You are right about online communities and fading ethics. It is easy to lash out aga
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Temperance, I know what's right. I've read a number of philiosophical treastises about ethics, and I embrace many of the anci
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Khaire Jamie, I am happy to hear the post rang true for you. I think you have a very healthy way of looking at your shortcomings,

Yesterday I got an interesting question from a reader named Wendy, who has allowed me to print part of her e-mail and my response to her so as to accomodate others who might be struggling with this question. It went as follows:

"Hi Elani, I read your blog a lot and saw that you wrote that sometimes sacrifices were burned fully, and sometimes they were only partly sacrificed and partly eaten. I think the difference is in who the sacrifice is to, but I have trouble deciding who should get what type of offering. Is there a list or something I can use? Thanks! Wendy."
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  • Joseph Eberling
    Joseph Eberling says #
    i think being what i believe in is what i am wiccan and i in joy being what i am i believe in the power that i got in with the gro
  • Joseph Eberling
    Joseph Eberling says #
    I am a green witch and I study herbs and practice crastals and try to help ppl with there problems and ive been doing this for 5
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    This is a really great post, and so useful... I recently gathered some standing dead wood for the fire pit, and now we can put i
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Very welcome! This is exactly the reason why I like reader questions so much.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I want to apologize for the mothballs covering this blog. I've been keeping up with my personal blog, but somehow, PaganSquare fell off the radar for a while. It's been nearly a month and that is unacceptable to you, kind readers, and to myself as well, as that was not the deal I made with Anne when I took the opportunity to blog at PaganSquare. A lot has happened here while I was away dealing with a boatload of personal issues, and I have no opinion on that for now. Perhaps at a later date. All I want to say about it right now is that I have never felt attacked, unwelcome, or in any other way uncomfortable at posting here. I stick to my own subjects and because of that, I seem to stay clear of a lot of trouble. It works for me. I'm not here to argue, I am here to share information. Please, be sure that my absence had nothing to do with these issues. For now, I would like to post on the strong link between prayers and hymns in the ancient Hellenic religion and modern Hellenismos, with a promise to resume regular postings here.

Probably the best definition of 'prayer' I have ever happened upon was by William D. Fuley, who says: "prayers (and hymns) are attempts by men and women to communicate with gods by means of the voice". It is simple, elegant, and accurate. Especially in the ancient Hellenic religion, it was important to raise one's voice when hymns were sung, and especially so when prayers were made.

I am going to generalize here and say that a hymn was sung to the Theoi, with the aim to please the God in question. They have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning contains two things: a note that the hymn is about to begin, and an announcement of whom the speaker/singer is addressing.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thank you for posting. I'll try to bear this stuff in mind the next time I do ritual. Very helpful!
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    This is a wonderful guide, not only to understand the difference between hymns and prayers, but also in helping us to write our ow
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I am glad it was helpful! :-)
Guilty Pleasures of a Devout Hellenist

Oh, Kevin Sorbo, you hot Norwegian-blooded Minnesotan human pec monster, you gave me much fap fodder during my teens.

Which reminds me: The series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess did mythology wrong, so very wrong. They did ancient Greece even more wrong. They gave a more unflattering image of the gods than even Homer, but you know what else? They're something I genuinely enjoy watching.

...
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In part one of this two part series, I wrote about personal patronage in the ancient and modern context. Today, I want to talk about professional patronage (i.e. Apollon as the patron of the arts, and thus prayed to by artists). Personally, I think the only thing that professional patronage shares with the practice of personal patronage is its name--and we will get to that in a second. 
 
The interesting thing is that none of the academic sources at my disposal make mention of this practice under the term 'patronage'. Patronage in the context of ancient Hellas seems to focus on the non-lineal bond between two people--a patron who took care of a client or slave in a material, financial, or emotional way. 'Patron' to mean the support, encouragement, or privilege that a deity bestows upon those practicing a profession or living in a city is a Christian term, which refers to patron saints. Patron saints are regarded as the tutelary spirits or heavenly advocates of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person. Taking this description would give you, for example, Athena as the patron of Athens--but outside of Christianity, the proper term is 'tutelage'; a tutelary deity.

A tutelary, or tutelar, deity is 'a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture or occupation'. Both tutelary and tutelar can be used as either a noun or an adjective. As such, Athena is the tutelary Goddess of Athens, or the tutelar of Athens--but because we are so used to 'patron(ess)', 'tutelar' does not have quite the same ring to it.

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  • Matt G
    Matt G says #
    This doesn't sound right to me. When I look at Catullus' "Carmina" in his first poem he addresses "patrona virgo" specifically in
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you that is a helpful distinction.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I think I will use the term 'tutelage' from now on, as the commonly-used modern Pagan term "Patronage" really does not seem to app
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I would mot certainly encourage the use of 'tutelage' as opposed to 'patronage' when discussing ancient practices I should clear

Patronage is a pretty big thing in Paganism these days. I frequently a few Neo-Pagan places, and one of the most ask newbie questions is: 'How do I find out who my patron is?", or a variation thereof. There is nothing wrong with this; modern patronage is a thing, and I have experienced it myself. The interesting change in the last few years seems to be that patronage used to be the exception, now it is the rule. Any person new to Paganism feels they are doing something wrong if there isn't a God or Goddess tapping them on the shoulder right away.

modern patronage, in this context, is the support or encouragement of a patron, where the patron or patroness (and we will get to that) is a divine being. In these relationships, the active party is often the deity in question, who claims the passive human. Some will describe a sense of 'being owned' by their patron. The human becomes a conduit for the work and will of the patron in question, and is required to spend large portions of their lives in active service to that deity. The bond between deity and human is personal. This is what having two patrons meant for me when I was growing up (because They were there long before I discovered Paganism), and this is what the word meant when I first joined the (online) Pagan community. These days, the first part still applies; humans are approached by deities and receive their help. I see less and less of the latter part, unfortunately, and while I think patronage is a beautiful practice, it seems time for a general discussion and some ancient Hellenic examples of why the modern concept of patronage does not apply to Hellenismos.

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    The concept of patronage in Hellenismos was described to me pretty much as you laid it out, but my teacher reasoned out an explana
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Like I aid, I am not against the practice at all, and yes, the Gods find ways to reinvent Themselves to the needs of Their modern
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I don't have a modern patron-type relationship with the Theoi, either. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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