Saturday, April 27, 2013

In 13 minutes...

I have 13 minutes to write this, to try to sum up what I feel about Zeus at this point. I am not done with him, but I want to sum up what I feel as I write, as I am right now, so that I can move forward and explore some aspects of the God that are of particular importance to me.

Zeus is, for lack of a better expression, God. His very name means God. Not the God that is all things, that is not where my religious beliefs lie, but rather, he is the God that the Abrahamics refer to, the one who is being invoked when I say O My God, and the one whose presence is felt in all of the strange and sometimes maniacal rantings of the Abrahamic Religions. 

Zeus is not that God, not in the sense that he condones or expects the zealotry of the Christians and Moslems, but his influence is felt by them and they mistakenly see him as being the one and only.

Zeus is vast, which is saying something for a God, as all Gods are vast beyond our ability to comprehend, but Zeus is vast and permeating. Like the sky which we use to symbolize him, he is everywhere. We walk through him, breathe him in, feel on our faces as the wind blows. He is there between and within us . So ever present is he that we are never, ever, out of his influence. 

Zeus is sovereign, and as I have already alluded to, I believe it is because he is like a medium through which all other Gods act. He is like a buffer between us and them, between the blinding and dangerous fires of divinity and the delicate senses of mortality. He is like a king, because he doesn't just rule and mandate, but mediates between many powers. Like a king who must control the power, ambitions, and needs of his court, he is the hand that rises and stops an action that could destroy, or allows another that can create. 

As a deity, Zeus is not only ever present, but eternal, as are all the Gods, but he is also one of the Gods who I believe has, from time to time, incarnated in the world. Was it as a human being, an eagle, a bull? I cannot tell you those with certainty, but I believe this incarnation has given him the power he holds, because it has made him the medium of contact between disparate powers. 

We adore and honor him for his protection, and in doing so acknowledge and help maintain his place in the hierarchy of the divine.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lord of, well, tons of stuff

If there is one God among the Hellenic pantheon that can be said to be like the Hindu “God", or the all encompassing “God" of the Jews and Moslems, it is Zeus.

If there is a title or epithet available, odds are Zeus has been referred to by it at one time or another. Underworld? Yup. Heaven? Yup. Wisdom? Yup. Healer? Yup. Odds are he has the title.

But we should remember too that if you try hard enough, you can ascribe many seemingly odd titles and epithets to almost any of the Olympian gods, so to the ancient Hellenes it was not at all odd that a deity would have so many titles, some of which might contradict each other.

It is important to remember that the titles of the gods are signed to the gods as a result of perceived action, and Zeus, being perhaps the most widely worshipped of the Greek gods, would, over a period of two thousand years, have accumulated a huge variety of them.

So, s I sit here and think about Zeus, and how he fits into our religion, the answer is he fits in everywhere.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Rising Sun

The rising sun gives us peace of heart.
A reminder that life continues.
A reassurance that the world turns.
That all is as it should be in the cosmos.

The rising sun touches our souls.
A reminder that life is a gift.
A reassurance that light conquers dark.
That even the longest night comes to an end.

The rising sun touches our skin.
A reminder that divinity lives.
A reassurance that we are never truly alone.
That even at our loneliest, someone watches over us.

Sunday, April 7, 2013



It is an epithet that means thundering, and it is not just that the sky father thunders during the storm, but that he is a warrior, a destroyer, and a defender of his divine rights. The thunderbolt, you see, is also called the weapon of Zeus, a weapon with which he slew dragons, Titans, and giants. A weapon with which he was said to punish those who stood against him.

But, when you are a God, what does it actually mean to stand against you?

We human beings tend to think of Gods as people. we often ascribe to them very human features, motivations, and even appearances, yet to know a God is to come to the realization that they are not human beings, not even slightly, and so one must also come to the realization that what we may perceive as their motivations, their will, may actually just be our own projections. Our own expectations reflecting back on us.

But myth is often also a reflection, not just of our own hopes and dreams, but of something else, the experiences of man with the divine. When man creates myths, he does not do so simply out of his imagination, but out of having experienced something that he cannot readily explain, or as a result of experiencing what he feels is a direct answer to a prayer or a hope. So, when we refer to the warrior Zeus, the one who launches his weapon at his enemies, we are reminded that Zeus has, in the past, responded to the pleadings of men. Whether that response was literal or perceived is matter of faith, and we must each decide whether to accept these myths as being proper interpretation of divine action or simple legend.

But one thing is clear, the myths, in spite of their contradictory natures, imply that the Gods do, from time to time, act in our best interest. Oh, they don't necessarily take sides in our wars, or football teams, or any of the other myriad things we humans seem to think the Gods do, but in times of great peril, they do grant strength and fortitude to those who have within them the potential for greatness, whether they are individual or entire cultures, so that in the end, they add to the sum of us all. And certainly that is something to be ever grateful for.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


What is worship?

It would seem an easy enough question to answer. But the truth is that each culture has a slightly different idea of what constitutes worship. Is worship about ritual, feeling, submission? A combination of two or more, and what manner of combination?

Religious rituals among the Greeks was heavily orthopraxic, that is, it centered around rituals that were cultural and specific. Many forms of which were unique to particular areas of Greece, but others which were pan-Hellenic and part of the Greek cultural norms. But ritualistic worship without any sense of feeling, of piety, of love for the Gods would be meaningless, and studies into the religion of Greece that ignore this aspect of Hellenic Religion are useless.

But I am not, of course, an ancient Greek. I am a modern man, an American man, and so I must confront not what worship meant then, though that certainly colors my ideas some, but what it means to me today. So, I will proceed with a simple explanation in three easy steps.

1: To worship a God is different from the more loose use of the word worship in relation to other human beings. In the common sense, worship of heroes and celebrities is simply a kind of admiration. To worship a God, however, is to accept that God as a God and then accept that he or she has an influence and effect on your life. Because of this, you give the God reverential treatment. 

2: While ritual is a part of worship, it is not in itself worship unless it is also accompanied by the above acceptance and reverence. If it is, it is empty, which is not so much worship as capitulation to an expectation.

3: Worship is not submission. We are not slaves bowing down to our masters, we are proud human beings who accept our place in the cosmos and show reverence and do honor to those divine beings who we perceive in our lives.

Now, having said that, submission can play a part in worship, as sometimes we seek to understand the will of the Gods and to do that will. To submit, willingly, to that will. The Gods do not demand this, we offer it.

Ritual, however, is a different matter. all worship seems to include some kind of ritual. even if it is simply praying in a formulaic way, or lighting a simple candle, those acts, when repeated as part of our daily worship are ritual. My rituals are simple, as I don't personally buy into the idea that we must copy what the Greeks did in order to worship the Greek Gods, but there is no mistaking that the ritual aspect of my worship plays a part in my life. It has an effect, whether it is the pacifying nature of meditation or the way lighting my hearth candle make me feel, it affects how I feel about the God or Gods in question when I pray and meditate.

But when I say I worship Zeus, or any of my other Gods, I mean this, that I feel their presence in my life and through my daily rituals prayers and meditations, I acknowledge them and love them.

In the end, that is what worship is about, love. 


Amor et desiderium,
Gaudium et libido,
Voluptas et acceptatione.
Hi sunt ferebat.

Illa deam amoris, cui carmina scribunt.
Illa, dea pulchritudinis, ad quem agant feminae honor.
Venus, aeternaliter formosae.
Aeternaliter debacchantem per amorem.


Love and desire,
Joy and lust,
Pleasure and acceptance.
These are her gifts.

She, the goddess of love, of whom men write songs.
She, goddess of beauty, to whom women do honor.
Venus, eternally beauteous. 
Eternally enraptured by love.

(Corrections welcome)

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Changing Seasons

To many, the changing of the seasons, the thunderstorm, the earthquake, the hurricane are manifestations of divine power. Many, to this day, believe that a storm happens because a deity has willed it into being. Now, I know that is false. Not that it is impossible, but that in general it is false. The Gods do not punish us with plagues, bad weather, earthquakes, or other relatively catastrophic events. After all, a hurricane will kill a lot more innocent bystanders than it will some few who transgress upon the good will of the Gods. 

But as Winter turns to Spring here in the Northern hemisphere, I am reminded of certain Gods, some are brought to mind because my calendar has festivals in their honor listed there, but others are brought to mind by the way the world itself changes. The way the air feels more alive, the earth feels softer, and the trees are almost glowing from within with all the potential for growth they are about to embark upon. Gods like the Kore, Dionysos, and Aphrodite come to mind with alarming ease, because among their many aspects, attributes, and acknowledged powers are the imbuing of nature with growth and beauty. 

But Zeus too comes to mind, because his is a power through which all these things are brought to bear. 

Oh, yes, I know the logical reasons for the changing seasons, the evolutionary adaptations that have given plants and animals the ability to time their life cycles this way, but these things are symbols, reminders, and clues to the nature of beings far more expansive in their existence than anything we can imagine. And so we take our cues from nature, we Pagans, and we allow nature to remind us of the many ways in which the Gods have made themselves felt in our world, past and present, because by being so reminded, we retain some semblance of our true natures, our connections to the world that birthed us, and we give thanks. 

So, blessed be you all with the many gifts of the Gods, and may you enjoy this Tempus Vernum, την Άνοιξη, and may you feel the blessings of Zeus upon you, your life, and your garden, as the Spring rains bring life.