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Author Topic: New to Hellenism  (Read 1715 times)

zasadilk

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New to Hellenism
« on: May 26, 2015, 09:30:38 pm »
I have just recently felt really called toward a hellenistic practice (and Hermes in particular)  but as I've been researching,  I can't seem to find any bare bones,  simple crash course for beginners.

I wondered if such a thing existed...?

Mikie

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Re: New to Hellenism
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2015, 10:04:30 pm »
Quote from: zasadilk;175419
I have just recently felt really called toward a hellenistic practice (and Hermes in particular)  but as I've been researching,  I can't seem to find any bare bones,  simple crash course for beginners.

I wondered if such a thing existed...?

 
I am a Hellenistic Pagan myself and I will say it is truly hard to find good books that are not all fluff. You will find that people treat Hellenism like a fun bed-time story rather than a serious pantheon and belief system. I avoid the "M" (mythology) word like the plague lol I'll drop a couple links below if you want to learn more about the Gods and Goddesses.
I do strongly encourage you to read the Iliad as well as the odyssey.
It is important to understand that much of that you read is parable, which makes understanding what the others then were getting at with their story.

You can also gleam a lot of insight about the general belief on life, the after-life, the different forms of life, our place in it all and what the Gods felt about all of it and how they felt about us by reading period appropriate philosophers.

I hope this helped a little, if you want to talk more, feel free to PM me. :)



http://www.theoi.com

http://mythagora.com/

Demophon

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Re: New to Hellenism
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 12:22:39 am »
Quote from: zasadilk;175419
I have just recently felt really called toward a hellenistic practice (and Hermes in particular)  but as I've been researching,  I can't seem to find any bare bones,  simple crash course for beginners.

I wondered if such a thing existed...?

 
A simple crash course doesn't exist that I'm aware of.

Basically, Hellenic practice revolves around offering to deities, and many gods will have special "feast" days when they are honoured. Acts of worship can be very simple, such offering incense and/or drink libations to gods with hymns or prayers. There aren't really complex "rituals" like a Christian church service or a Wiccan circle. Communal worship in antiquity usually involved festivals with processions and a sacrifice, which would be hard to do in the modern age, especially on one's own. Most worship happened at home, and tending a shrine to the gods in the home is a good way to accomplish this now. Hestia and the Agathos Daimon were the major deities of the household, but also certain aspects of Zeus and Apollon were important too. If you feel a connection with Hermes, you can of course include him on your shrine, or give him a shrine of his own.

 Ethics were more social than something related to the gods, but modern Hellenic polytheists often draw from codes like the Delphic Maxims to inform their moral compass, living by such values as reciprocity, moderation, humility, etc. Hope that helps a little.

Walter Burkert's book, Greek Religion, is the most widely recommended book on the subject, and with good reason. It's the best, and covers just about every aspect of ancient Greek religion. It's the one book I would say is absolutely necessary for a Hellenic polytheist. Ancient Greek Religion by Jon D. Mikalson is another good one, though not as comprehensive as Burkert. Books on modern Hellenismos aren't really that substantial, so there isn't much point in reading them.

Louisvillian

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Re: New to Hellenism
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 03:52:36 am »
Quote from: zasadilk;175419
I have just recently felt really called toward a hellenistic practice (and Hermes in particular)  but as I've been researching,  I can't seem to find any bare bones,  simple crash course for beginners.

I wondered if such a thing existed...?

 
Check out Elani Temperance's blog, Baring the Aegis. Her approach is sometimes a little harsh, in my opinion, towards those who don't fit her standards. But the information she has on her site is solid, and it's copiously researched. She has a lot of articles on the practices and religious mentality of ancient Hellenes, and has started a Hellenism 101 series, all of which is very informative.

I also concur with getting ahold of Burkert's Greek Religion. It's by far the best book on the subject of ancient Greek religion.

zasadilk

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Re: New to Hellenism
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 10:56:03 am »
Thank you all for your advice! I've been creeping around the Baring the Aegis blog and have ordered a few books from Amazon,  including the Homeric Hymns,  the Orphic Hymns,  and Burkett's book.

I've already taken a class on classical mythology and 5 semesters of Greek (3 of Attic,  2 of Biblical). But I still feel woefully ignorant of the religion and the way that its translated into modern times.  So thanks again for your advice!

veggiewolf

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Re: New to Hellenism
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 03:25:28 pm »
Quote from: zasadilk;175438
Thank you all for your advice! I've been creeping around the Baring the Aegis blog and have ordered a few books from Amazon,  including the Homeric Hymns,  the Orphic Hymns,  and Burkett's book.

I've already taken a class on classical mythology and 5 semesters of Greek (3 of Attic,  2 of Biblical). But I still feel woefully ignorant of the religion and the way that its translated into modern times.  So thanks again for your advice!

 
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