Hellenismos' Cults, Traditions, and Practices
About Hellenismos and reconstruction
Eusebeia: ethical and moral values
The Delphic Maxims
Hellenismos in the everyday world
Hellenismos' Cults, Traditions, and Practices
Mysticism in Hellenismos
Virtual Temples to the gods
Note: I do NOT speak for all of the Hellenismos communities. This is just a rough guide so that people understand that there is more than one way to practice Hellenic religion, and that one type of practice as professed by one person or organization does not reflect all of the Hellenismos communities and their various practices.
Originally I had on this page a rough series of denominations according to reconstructionist "types." Upon serious reflection and study, I realize that this is very un-Hellenic. Are we Jews, or Christians? No, we are not. We are Hellenists. Some of us are reconstructionist, some of us are semi-reconstructionist, some of us have mystical practices and some do not, and there are many cults with many traditions, including different festivals, calendars, and traditions to go along with each. Then there are the thiasoi, or cults devoted to a practices involving a specific deity. What is required to be a pious Hellenist devotee of Artemis is different from someone who is a maenad of Dionysos.
Just the way it was in ancient times. :)
Thiasos Dionysos: There is one functioning Thiasos online right now, and that is for Dionysos. It is located at Thiasos_Bakkhou@yahoogroups.com. Their scope is limited at present to Hellenists in the Boston area, but their doors are open to those who live elsewhere and are interested in active participation. They seek a closer understanding of the god via academic research and understanding as a foundation for mystical and devotional practices for the god. Email Kyrene Ariadne for more details.
Kyklos Apollon: There is one for Apollo which is up-and-coming in regards to turning into a full-fledged thiasos in the sense of being a worship group and not just a social discussion group. It's located at KyklosApollon@yahoogroups.com.
There are other thiasoi online, mostly discussion groups. They are excellent and while some have more traffic than others, it's a great way to learn more about the worship and practice involved with devotion to a particular deity, or deities.
There are numerous organizations online, all of which have their own traditions, whether labeled or not, as well as their own practices, philosophy, and calendar.
I will copy their statement from the website, as I think it is reflective of the group as a whole:
We share ideas, passion for Hellenic Reconstructionism and its gods, and mutual dignity.
We bring libations, offerings, incense, and humility before the Deathless Ones.
We value liberty, tradition, ethical behavior, curiosity, tactful candor, honor, and common sense.
We work to support present and future Hellenic polytheists by sharing research, providing for religious needs of family and community alike, and establish a stable presence on which to found a lasting future for the practice of our faith.
We light the sacred flames, pour the wine, sing the hymns, and restore long-neglected tradition well worth preservation.
Whatever the world may think of us and what we do, we know we are bravely moving forward with what we know to be right. We know that we are not gods, and need no reminding that we are merely human.
We are merely human, but we are human! We have minds capable of compassion as well as research, wildness as well as reason, humor as well as piety. We are capable of understanding geometry, law, philosophy, art. We are capable of contemplating our own existence, its end, and questions of how one should live one's life in between.
We respect one another's right to learn, think, and choose. But we come together, lending each voice in one chorus.
Our diversity does not drive us apart, but adds to our perspective. Together we are more than we would ever be in separation.
They are a reconstructionist group which has emailing lists online, one public (Hellenion_Chat@yahoogroups.com) and a bunch of private ones for their membership, including the study list, clergy education, area specific lists, and whatnot. They are reconstructionist, but how reconstructionist depends on the members. A calendar is currently under construction within the group along with Hellenion-specific festival days. They support the idea that people's personal practices are their own, and that mystical practices are acceptable.
Hellenion is becoming both a tradition in and of itself as well as having traditions contained within it as practiced by their Demoi, or local worship groups/congregations. Demoi can create their own calendars, celebrate their own festivals, and create traditions of their own for their group, especially local, area specific ones, or ones pertaining to the patron deities of their Demos. Hellenion believes a strong foundation is essential for a religion and that as long as we keep that in mind, new hymns, festivals, et cetera, can be created. Since the religion went with ancient Hellenic "pioneers", they also created new festivals in their new environments.
Traditionialist Hellenist (Elaion.org):
Perspective on research, practice, and belief as from Elaion's FAQ:
How is ‘traditionalism’ different from ‘reconstructionism’?
‘Reconstructionism’ is an approach to pre-Christian religion that emphasizes academic research and historical accuracy. Traditionalism certainly falls within the bounds of ‘reconstructionism’.
However, traditionalism takes the academic standards of reconstructionism for granted. It moves the focus from ‘what you do’, in terms of ‘accurate’ rituals and practices, to ‘what you believe’. Traditionalism argues that the most important aspect of a religion is that you find consonance with the ‘inner life’ of its theology.
A special thank you to Carolyn of Elaion for getting the specifics of this denomination sorted out so that others may benefit from it.
All of the above descriptions of what makes up Hellenismos and its myriad of traditions and cults within it is in decided contrast with religions such as Judaism or Christianity, which may have a holy text or core set of rules at their center which is considered to be the most accurate way to practice the religion. We have set of rules, values, practices, and beliefs to follow, but some of those practices and even beliefs varied depending on what location they were from, and the set of traditions which were practiced there. It is in that spirit that I have given the above listing of perspectives on reconstructionism, not to point out which way is "right" but instead to point out that many people have different viewpoints, and yet we are all practicing the same religion.
Odds are likely as time goes on, this page will be corrected, added, and updated as times change, people change, and our religion matures. It is my hope that as this happens, people will continue to support each other in spite of our differences, and honor xenia regardless of whether or not we agree.
For those interested in discussing the theology of Hellenismos, particularly in relation to what it means for us in this day and age to be a Hellenist, I recommend VERY highly the Hellenismos_Theology emailing list.
©2005 by Kyrene Ariadne