I should put a disclaimer here that my religion is more Hellenist-leaning than actual Hellenic reconstruction. I respect reconstructionists for all their study and hard work, but that’s not something I do or find personal value in. In other words: it doesn’t blow my skirt up the way it does for some other people. My religion is more like a revival than a reconstruction. The gods to whom I am devoted are the gods of Hellas. I keep some ancient practices such as libations and honoring Hestia first and last before any formal prayer or ritual. I celebrate the Hellenic holidays—one way or another—usually in small acts and offerings to charity. I keep a jar in my cupboard for Zeus, to thank him that my pantry is always full. I think that’s about it. I pray. I pray pray pray. I pray informally, but I do pray.
But, as teased, here’s the big list of things I don’t believe in or do:
I don’t make lustral water. I don’t always remember to wash my hands before I pray.
I don’t wear robes to do rituals. I hardly ever do rituals.
I don’t make burnt offerings. I don’t set aside part of my meals for Hestia. (I really should though. That is a practice I embrace.)
I don’t believe the gods are all how they are described in the various hymns, epic poems, and myths. I believe those things give us some idea about the nature of the gods, but the gods reveal themselves differently a lot of the time.
What else don’t I do?
I don’t believe in miasma. I believe a good god who is a “friend of humanity” understands that we’re dirty creatures and that sometimes we need them most when we’re dirtiest. I don’t believe a god discriminates based on whether or not you smell of sugar and spice or sun and sweat.
That’s an important one.
Other than candles or incense, I don’t give material offerings at my shrine. I don’t believe offerings of that kind are in the spirit of ancient offerings. I believe offerings are, in part, about sacrifice. What sacrifice is an orange and a flower to me when I can just go to the grocery store and get more anytime? I believe the money spent on things like fruit and flowers that would rot and go to waste is better spent on a charity in the god’s sphere of influence.
I don’t say things in Greek because I would butcher the pronunciation and because I don’t think it’s necessary. I believe addressing the gods in your native tongue is an intimacy.
I don’t believe gods get offended by a whole lot except active ingratitude and hubris. I don’t believe there is such a thing as sin and, therefore, it is impossible to sin against the gods.
While I do believe in divine retribution, I think you have to really, really push the limits in order for it to be enacted on you. If you’re worried about incurring divine retribution, you probably haven’t done anything near awful enough to incur it.
That was weird—making a list of things about my own religion that I don’t believe in. Like a backward, hand-walking catechism.
I’m sure if I have any Hellenic Reconstructionist followers, they can give me another whole big giant list of things I don’t do. My practice is, admittedly, awfully minimalistic and my spiritual beliefs are broad and extremely liberal. (Lazy future cult leader’s way out.)
What don’t you believe about your own religion? I’m fascinated to find out. Let’s go to our cult clubhouse, sit on our lily pads, and discuss. I’ll make French onion soup, (I make a mean French onion soup), and this time I’ll even remember to save a bowl for Hestia.