kyrene: (Default)
(created by me back in 8/05)

I am the very model of a Hellenist individual
My festivals are derived entirely from Burkert et al
I'm quite adept at reconstructing Hellenismos theory from what I have read
From Walter Otto, Jane Harrison, and everything Kerenyi has ever said

Many Hellenists I have emailed and in person have met
And all of their Hellenic wisdom I understand and jokes I of course do get
I've even told fluffy bunnies to go fly a kite
From Robert Graves to Bulfinch I've told them to go and get it right

I keep all of the other recons on their toes
I quote page and chapter from Walter Burkert and watch as their confusion grows!
I even keep quotes memorized from Karl Kerenyi
Even though the idea of Hades and Dionysos being the same doesn't agree with me

I know all of the names and traits of the gods, nature spirits, even Furies,
Then to impress them all I can recite a book from W.K.C. Gutherie
I have just about every book on Hellenismos imaginable
Including Old Stones, New Temples written by Drew Campbell

You see from all reconstructionist festival and ritual
I am the very model of a Hellenist individual!
kyrene: (Maenad with leopard and torch)
This comment to one of my posts was teh awesome. :)

It's true, though. I know of a lot of people who went Pagan to "escape the fundies" only to realize that they're in every religion. Everywhere you go you will meet people who take themselves WAY too seriously and will spend more time obsessing over what you do in your practice and what you believe versus what they're doing for themselves. "Being okay to agree and disagree" with these types is "Sure, we can agree and disagree...just as long as we both agree on what it is to agree upon, and disagree with".

Some people are afraid of change. These people are deeply insecure and feel the need to justify their beliefs, their practices because they are deeply, terribly afraid that they are Not Doing It Right. Therefore in reflection of their fears, other people "aren't doing it right", either.

Tradition evolves over time. We see that in religions such as Judaism and even in Christianity. Tradition isn't a static thing. Once upon a time, chicken was considered to be pareve in Judaism. Now eating a chicken parmigiana sandwich isn't kosher anymore. This is a small but worthwhile example. In my religious community where there was no continuity of changes as lineage was broken ages ago and we look back directly two thousand years ago with our modern and frequently American eyes, we see this tradition which we want to cryogenetically freeze and stick on our shelves. And frankly it's just as cold and stiff when we do that.

Examining this means that we are forced to examine ourselves and our motives for wanting to lift everything wholesale from 5th century BC in Athens. And once again, some people don't like to examine themselves too closely. They're afraid. They want to justify their thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotions, and actions and Be Right, and Being Right means Not Questioning Anything. It also means taking yourself too damned seriously.

For instance, I want a nickel for every unthinking retard on the Hellenic lists who uses the term "hubris" to describe something they dislike and disagree with. I would be able to retire young and focus on my writing career--not to mention be able to do spiritual work full time.

Better yet, fuck, make it into a charity event. People could sponsor their favorite reconhead. For every time they use the word "hubris" they'll make x donation to their favorite charity. Finally some good use could be put to some of the silliness I see so often.
kyrene: (Modern Pythia)
I dreamt about Delphi again last night. I'm not sure what brought it on except that this is the most amount of times I've dreamt about this place in a given period of time.

I don't really know what it means and I'm not sure of its significance beyond various things I was "given" in the dream. One theme that keeps getting repeated over and over again is the concept of the place as a spirit or daimon living on in other people and places that it may not truly be lost to time. Given my last communion with Apollo went something along those lines I guess this would make sense.

This seems like a very simple message on the surface but has overreaching complications for others. I've frankly had more than one dream missive from Apollo telling me that reconstructionism was a waste of time and energy and ultimately was more destructive to those ancient practices than positive due to the sheer quantity of misinformation and misunderstanding brought about by modern mentality and needs that whatever it used to mean would be lost forever. I'm going to have to dig up the original dream and post it here, but it was some years ago, and in it I was approached by a wolf on my way to Delphi who showed me people taking apart old stones from old temples and using them to make warships. Not only were the remains of the old temples being lost to these ships they stood the chance at being destroyed forever and lost to time due to the battles that would ultimately be fought by these very ships.

Given how much IMHO the Greek reconstructionist community has gone astray this dream seems to be right on target and I only wish that I had determined its meaning sooner. I would've run away from reconstructionism a lot faster than I had.

It's interesting how I look to the Celtic, Asatru, and other recon communities and they seem to have it more together than we do. Not without a share of battles and arguments, but they look like they're accomplishing more--probably because they have much less to work with than us and aren't demanding everything be purely ancient or they wouldn't have anything to work with!

Maybe I'm looking at them with rose glasses, but perhaps we could take a page or two from them somehow.
kyrene: (Default)
We don't live in ancient Hellas. We will never truly and fully comprehend the mindset of someone living in ancient Hellas. None of us were raised in that culture nor would any of us conceive of living in the sorts of conditions that people in ancient times lived under.

Someone on the lists recently made the amusing remark that they really, truly do comprehend the ancient paradigm. I find this attitude to be naive at best and delusional at worst. While this person was rambling about how much they, like, really understood how the ancients thought, I heard Bill Shatner in my head:

Beginning of the lyrics to 'Common People' )
Are you sure you want to live like common people?
You want to see whatever common people see?
You want to sleep with common people?
You want to sleep with common people, like me?
But, she didn't understand,

[Jackson]
She just smiled and held my hand.

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.

But still, you'll never get it right.
When you're lying in bed at night
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you called your Dad he could stop it all.
Yeah.

[Shatner]
You'll never live like common people
You'll never do whatever common people do.
You'll never fail like common people.
You'll never watch your life slide out of view,
and dance and drink and screw
the rest of the lyrics... )

We'll never know what it's like to never have access to a supermarket, the Internet, cars, technology, or be able to think outside of the culture in which we were raised. Sure you can drop yourself off in the middle of the woods but at any time you can head back to your SUV and head to Starbucks where you can drink your mocha latte and post silly statements on emailing lists using their Wi-Fi connection about how much you, like, totally get the ancient mindset.

You can turn reconstructionism into a bullshit religious version of the SCA complete with garb and replicas of ancient Greek drinking cups to make your "totally ancient" reproduction of a Greek religious rite complete, but let's face it, you bought that replica on eBay and your garb from Joann's Fabrics.

We live in the 21st century. It's not a bad place to be, so deal. I mean, let's face it, if you live in the States and you're a woman you actually have RIGHTS. Most women didn't have those in ancient times except in a few places such as Sparta--and you didn't want to live in Sparta, trust me:

SPARTA: In ancient Sparta, the purpose of education was to produce a well-drilled, well-disciplined marching army. Spartans believed in a life of discipline, self-denial, and simplicity. They were very loyal to the state of Sparta. Every Spartan, male or female, was required to have a perfect body. When babies were born in ancient Sparta, Spartan soldiers would come by the house and check the baby. If the baby did not appear healthy and strong, the infant was taken away, and left to die on a hillside, or taken away to be trained as a slave (a helot). Babies who passed this examination were assigned membership in a brotherhood or sisterhood, usually the same one to which their father or mother belonged.

Sounds totally cool, doesn't it? I bet you pro-lifers out there are positively cringing at that paragraph.

Oh, and here's about what happened to their women:

Spartan Girls: In Sparta, girls also went to school at age 6 or 7. They lived, slept and trained in their sisterhood's barracks. No one knows if their school was as cruel or as rugged as the boys school, but the girls were taught wrestling, gymnastics and combat skills. Some historians believe the two schools were very similar, and that an attempt was made to train the girls as thoroughly as they trained the boys. In any case, the Spartans believed that strong young women would produce strong babies.

At age 18, if a Sparta girl passed her skills and fitness test, she would be assigned a husband and allowed to return home. If she failed, she would lose her rights as a citizen, and became a perioikos, a member of the middle class. In most of the other Greek city-states, women were required to stay inside their homes most of their lives. In Sparta, citizen women were free to move around, and enjoyed a great deal of freedom, as their husbands did not live at home.

(http://hometown.aol.com/donnclass/Greeklife.html)

Sounds like a great place to live, huh gals? Pack your bags and set your time machine!

We should be DAMNED thankful that we don't comprehend the ancient mindset, which included the idea that women were either second rate pieces of property to be owned by men or had to pass skills and fitness tests (which I doubt ANY of you couch-potato Net-posters can pass, with few exceptions) so that they could keep their rights, where slavery was considered to be a-ok, and human sacrifice at one point was practiced.

So don't babble about how much you comprehend the ancient mindset--because you only look like an moron when you do.

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Kyrene

September 2010

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