Monday, December 30, 2013

Pagan Blog Project

I've wanted to try the Pagan Blog Project for a while and now I can finally begin properly. I'll be participating in the 2014 Project so you should expect the first post (for the letter A) on January 3rd!

http://www.paganblogproject.com

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Changes to the Services

Hey everyone! I've made a small change to the Services. I increased the price for the Consultations (from 15, 25 and 35 to 25, 35 and 55 dollars respectively) as well as the How-to Guides (from 7, 12 and 15 to 10, 15 and 20 dollars respectively). This won't affect any clients that requested any of those things before the change. I do promise no hidden fees and I mean it. That includes retroactive price increases (big no-no in my book).

However, I was forced to raise the prices for those services since they turned out to be far more work than I had anticipated, which made their price too low as a result. I hope this won't be seen as money-grabbing since I assure you, it's much, MUCH cheaper than paying me by the hour. Believe me, I've done the math, much as I might hate them! ;)

Thank you and here's to more clients!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Services are now available!

Exactly one month after I posted my "A Milestone and Important Changes" post, I finally have the "Services" page up! You can find it here.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have via comment or e-mail!

I sincerely hope this will be a good start. I really want to offer to the wider community in a more professional and individualised manner. Of course, I need some compensation as well and in this case money is the best one.

You can also make a donation using the button on the right, under the "Followers" section. All money received goes towards helping my family and for my living expenses. :)

I will definitely keep writing blog posts and such. I am also always available for a chat. :)

May the immortal Gods favour this effort of mine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Milestone and Important Changes

Hello everyone! I have something important to announce and it amused me a lot that at the same time I chose to write this, the blog also hit 7500 views and 50 (!!!) followers! Wow! 7500 views and FIFTY followers! How did that happen? :D It amazes me that so many people find my writings interesting enough to read them to such an extent. Thank you all so, so much!

I take this as a good sign for my decision. Here's what's going to change:

As I am sure most of you know, the economy of Greece is going downhill fast. Financial issues crop up one after the other and things are pretty tough. I thought long and hard on what assets and skills I have and which ones I can utilise to try and earn some money. Since a significant part of my life is devoted to spiritual matters, I thought I should explore my options there as well. It took me quite a bit (years, in fact) to come to terms with my decision but here it is.

From this point on, I will offer spiritual services for payment. What are those going to be? For starters, divination, spiritual consultations and how-to guides.

What kind of divination?

I am versed in two divinatory methods (cards and pendulum). For cards specifically, I use a Greek-themed deck called Deste and, more recently, the WildWood Tarot deck (which proves to be immensely fitting for my style and has increased the accuracy of my readings). I intend to offer set prices depending on the type of readings (i.e. the spreads and number of cards) I will perform, as opposed to the time the readings might take. Pendulum readings will be featured as optional double-checking for the card readings and their cost will be a small addition to the card readings' price.

What sort of spiritual consultations?

As a theologian-in-training, researcher and practitioner with 8 years of experience in religion, spirituality and magic, I can provide in-depth explanations and help regarding those fields. Specifically, I am capable of informing and advising you on anything pertaining to the Hellenic religion or, at the very least, pointing you towards sources that can cover what I do not know well enough. I can also help you find or narrow down the paths that fit you as well as guide you towards knowledgeable people and sources dealing with a great variety of systems, from Mesopotamian religions to Wicca and from Kabbalah to shamanic spirituality.

Consultations also involve divinatory readings in order to gain a more spherical point of view of your situation and make sure we're working on the path your Gods and spirits point towards. These readings will not be charged extra; their cost will be part of the consultation's final price.

What kind of how-to guides?

I can guide you step-by-step in the following fields: matters of the Hellenic religion, witchcraft and spirit-work (aka communication and interaction with spirits). These how-to guides can also be part of your consultation. In that case, depending on their complexity, there might be a bonus "fee" for them that will be added to your consultation's final price.

How am I offering all these things?

Through the internet! In other words, through extensive e-mail correspondence. And remember: for divinatory readings, I charge by the reading, not the hour! That means you can request as many or detailed explanations as you want (within logical limits) and the cost won't change! For the consultations I will adjust the price depending on the amount of help required and how much work I have to dedicate to answering all your questions.

I guarrantee I will always give it my absolute best, no matter if it's a 10-minute reading or a complex consultation requiring hours upon hours of research and interpretation!

Payments will be submitted via Paypal.

ALL COSTS will be decided between us beforehand. You WILL be informed of any possible bonus costs upfront. There will be NO hidden costs or "sudden" fees.

I also have a Paypal donate button, which you can find on the right side of the blog, underneath the "Followers" section!

ALL payments and donations go towards supporting my family, my studies and daily life. A huge thank you to everyone that supports me in any way whatsoever, even if you "only" spread the word. Even that seemingly small action can benefit me immensely!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rebuttal to an Inaccurate Article on Hekate

I came across a status/photo post on Facebook from a page called “13 Witches”, a generic Neopagan and Witchcraft page. The post contained the following text about Hekate, which I have copied here with permission from the author. Since I found it contained multiple mistakes and inaccuracies, I thought a blog post pointing those out and setting things straight was in order. I will comment on each sentence separately, with my writing in italic and the original text in quotation marks. The sentences of the original text have been numbered to ease reference.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Syncretic and Modern Character of the Hellenic Religion Today - Personal Thoughts (To be revised)

The ancient Greek religion was never a truly unified whole. Indeed, it was so diverse that many academics in the field of Religious Studies speak of Greek 'religions' [1].


Every region and era had significant differences in their expression and version of the Greek religion when compared with other regions and eras of Greece. The form of the Greek religion in Sparta was very different from the Athenian one, even during the same time periods [examples needed]. Of course, we wouldn't speak of a Greek religion if we didn't have major and important similarities and common ground. However, in this case, I want to focus on the differences to show and explain why I consider the modern Greek religion (especially Reconstructionist Hellenism) to be syncretic and truly modern.


Modern Hellenism is the product of centuries of historical and archaeological research and discovery as well as decades of theological and comparative religious studies. As a result, we have gained an accumulation of knowledge from nearly all eras and regions where the Greek religion flourished. This very fact is what makes Hellenism today a modern and syncretic product. But why?


The ancient Greek religion was alive and naturally evolving. Modern Hellenism is a rebirth from the sum total of known Hellenic information. Due to that, it unites a previously very diverse and regionally autonomous whole of religious versions and practices into roughly one homogenised, and thus syncretic, religious system. Obviously, variations will certainly exist (and they do) because the interpretations of the archaeological evidence and primary sources and the theories expressed by comparative religious studies are subject to opinion and diverging points of view. Also, the variable of actual religious experience modifies further the map of modern Hellenism, birthing almost as many diverse expressions (in its own unique and new way, through the filter of current times) as its ancient forefather.


This results in a religion with the Gods of the Archaic and Classical ages, the practices of the Hellenistic age and the religious understandings of the Alexandrian and later Roman eras. Also, it has the tendency of mixing regional practices, albeit with a prevalent disposition towards the, better documented, Attic forms (creating a peculiar practice of interpretatio attica).


Another difference is the introduction of philosophy in the religion itself as a kind of theology (possibly a remnant of Christian/dogmatic perception of religion, which dominated and still influences the young, modern Hellenism). This, in my opinion, is a faulty approach, since the various philosophers simply expressed and taught to their students (and not all followers of the Greek religion) their personal interpretations and beliefs regarding deity, the world, spirituality, religious practice etc.


The ancient Greek religion was a non-dogmatic, orthopraxic religion. Not an orthodox one, thus not rooted in belief but, rather, in practice and methodological piety. Indeed, in many works [citation needed], even of philosophers, it appears that the only 'real' - so to speak - requirement was proper, pious participation in the practical side of the religion. In other words, the public and household latreia. Understandably, this means that any given philosopher's theories cannot, in good conscience and historical accuracy, be used as theological treatises applicable to or religiously normative for all modern Hellenists and Hellenes.


It is obvious, I believe, when looking at these great differences even briefly, that modern Hellenism is indeed a product of this era and a result, a 'child' of the sum total of the ancient Greek religion and modern points of view and understandings, as well as, naturally, the influence of abrahamic monotheism and dogmatic approach in theological matters. It is not, therefore, a continuation or evolution, per se, of the old religion. Rather, it is a new 'beast' altogether: a phoenix born from the ashes of the old, dead creature and fed with new substances, creating a new being, not a true child and a continuation of the 'genes'.


Such a mix of information and methodology is, undeniably in my eyes, syncretism.

____________

References:

[1]: Burkert, Walter. Αρχαία Ελληνική Θρησκεία: Αρχαϊκή και Κλασσική Εποχή (translation by Nic. P. Mpezantakos & Aphrodite Avagianou, Kardamitsa Publications, Athens, 1993, - English title: Greek Religion: Archaic and Classic - Original title: Griechische Religion der archaischen und klassischen Epoche, Vol 15 of the Die Religionen der Menscheit series, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1977.) Introduction, Chapter 3, p. 41, in the translated Greek edition







Thoughts on the Hellenic Religion


A few thoughts/theories on the Hellenic religion I wanted to post (my Latin might be a little rusty):


The Hellenic religion is divided into:
  1. Public or common worship/practice (henceforth "latreia")
  2. Household latreia
  3. Mystery cults
  4. Oracles (manteia)
The practice/worship (latreia) is divided into:
  • latreia ex modo
  • latreia ex genere
  • latreia ex subiecto
The notion of latreia ex modo refers to the method, the practical approach in the worship of the given powers-that-be (e.g. of the household, initiatory/mystery practice, public etc).

The notion of latreia ex genere refers to the kind, categorisation or grouping of the worshipped powers-that-be (e.g. celestial/olympian, chthonian, rural, primordial etc).

The notion of latreia ex subiecto refers to the which powers-that-be are addressed and approached through worship (e.g. heroes, ancestors, the dead, the Gods etc).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Supporting the Community

Community. A controversial topic. Do we have a community? Are we simply divided? Is there anything that ties Pagans with ATRs, Asian and Native religions? If you ask me, I'd say yes and no. However, I'm not going to analyse this subject now. I want to draw your attention, my readers, to something else, yet still connected to the idea of "community".

Projects. Research projects. Practical projects. Efforts, from outstanding people among us, to give, to provide, to develop and help grow. Projects like new books that satiate needs and fill gaps in our religions. Projects like new stores that supply us with much needed ammunition: both ingredients and materials and human connections. Even in this era of the Internet and insta-information, people still use stores, moots, cons and other physical places to hold events, meet people and further relationships and community spirit. It's irresistible, the allure of face-to-face contact.

Why am I telling you all this though? Ah, because I want to bring attention to certain wonderful efforts from people I recently "met" but who captured my interest and my mind. One of these is completed and you might ask, why bother mentioning it then? Because it's an excellent example of how much projects can succeed when they have our support - our collective support.

First is Tamara Siuda, an Egyptologist as well as founder and leader of Kemetic Orthodoxy, a reconstructionist branch of Kemeticism. Her project, the Ancient Egyptian Daybook, will be the accumulation of her long research on the ancient Egyptian calendar. Truly a marvelous book, both for academia and actual followers of the Kemetic religion. Her Kickstarter fundraiser concluded today with an astonishing $17,144, multiple times its original goal of $3,000! This unbelievable success was realised through the wider (Pagan and non-Pagan) community's efforts. We banded together, we spread the word, many donated. This shows that despite all our issues, problems and obstacles, we can be supportive, we can provide new, valuable material and more than anything, we are invested in our future.

And with this success, I want to inform you of a new project. Three amazing people are coming together to open a Hoodoo/Conjure store in Kansas City, Missouri. I personally know one of the three (sadly, only through the Internet - for now), the extraordinary Houngan Matt. However, I am also aware of Professor Ames and his work with Papa Matt on the Traditional Conjure Podcast. Unfortunately, I don't know Mambo Julie. I am certain though, that for Professor Ames and Bozanfe (Houngan Matt) to work with her, she must be a true and amazing person.

Donating to this fundraiser will help these three powerhouse practitioners open their shop (which will also have an online presence, if you're worried you won't be able to buy from them!). If you can't donate though, don't fret! Spreading the word is just as important!

Go then! Donate, promote, spread the word. Let us support and aid those among us who begin such aspiring projects! Let's all help make our community better and better!