I Believe

I believe that there are multiple deities, each Their own personage with autonomy from each Other, and agency in the world.
I believe the mythology of Hellas has the finest poetic understanding of the origin of the universe.
I believe in pluralism; the idea of One (Monism) seems patently absurd to me in this day and age, when we know not only that over a hundred living species can share a single common ancestor, but that the universe is literally expanding, moving away from a state of One, further and further every day.
I believe that the Gods of Hellas are deathless, that they were here long before us, and will be here long after our species hops on our own rocketsled to Extinction.
I believe that the Theoi are “perfect”, in terms of metaphysiology, but by human standards of “perfect behaviour”, They may not seem so, but that this is our problem, not Theirs.
I believe that of the thousands of deities out there, that of the tribal pantheon I’ve been called to (as well as those that I have not), the strongest in the human realm are Eros and Eris; overall Nyx and the Moirai are probably the most forceful.
I believe that the mythological apotheosis of Psykhe is an allegory for explaining Her status as Moirai. I have the shared gnosis of others to justify this.
I believe that the presence of atheists / humanists / naturalists in the “pagan community” is evidence that “paganism” is not a religious movement and hasn’t been for some time.
I believe that devotional rit is the best and easiest way to maintain a relationship with the gods.
I believe that spirits inhabit every forest and glen and body of water and mountain and valley and paved road and subway tunnel and nook and cranny of the world; building cities does not and physically cannot make them go away. Anyone who believes otherwise has never truly interacted with spirits.
I believe that the Liberal / Conservative dichotomy is inherently false. Most people generally maintain some measure of ideals from each category, and the inherently progressive nature of humanity means some ideas considered “dangerously liberal” at the time of the Industrial Revolution are now often seen as “destructively conservative”. Tradition, religion, and so on… These things just ARE.
I believe that the arts brings us closer to the Gods.
I believe that pleasure and happiness bring us closer to the Gods.
I believe that the nature of pleasure, for humans, is fleeting and that the most logical course is to take in pleasures as they come to oneself.
I believe that music is inherently magical; some people can make their instrument laugh, or cry, or sing out –others, even if using the exact same instruments, just play notes. Consider the differences between Carlos Santana and Yngwie Malmsteen.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Athene & the Elephant

(This just sort of came to me a couple days or so ago, and so I wrote it down. As best as i can tell, I can’t connect it to ancient ideas and [dare I say?] beliefs, so take this as you will. Though, by sheer coincidence, just before posting this, I took a chance on a search for ‘elephant athena”, and found this –interesting, eh?)

Hermes watched carefully as Alexandros of Makedon followed his own gilded thread of fate into India, and just then, Athene peered over His shoulder.

“Ah, my sister, I was just watching, wondering if he was going to make it. It is better than a play, to me.”

“The Dread Sisters are never wrong, though. I hear that even if They ever are, They have ways of fixing it so that only the Protogonoi would know, and few Olympians would ever suspect.”

“It’s still fun to watch, when I haven’t anything better to do. It’s like the mortals with their mythology, telling Our stories, even the same way, and knowing how it’s going to end, well, watching it on stage is different from knowing the outline of the plot.”

“Fair enough, dear half-brother.” She took down Her helmet and adjusted a pin holding her hair together. “So, when Our people make contact with the Hindu people, they’re going to make some associations.”

“When will they learn that other gods are individuals?”

“They feel it’s complimentary, Hermes. ‘The Gods of Hellas are the Gods of civilisation,’ ergo, even civilised people outside of Hellas worship the same Gods, just with local names. Or so goes the logic, at least.”

“This political turn is starting to bore me. Which animals only previously know to the Hindu people do you want?”

Without hesitation, Athene pointed to the elephant.

“Oh, that’s not what I expected. I mean, the owl is stealthy and patient, and it hunts. That pachyderm is big and tramples the foliage, and all it eats is foliage. It was also relatively easy for them to tame.”

“This is all true, but it’s certainly the wisest creature on this continent, after mankind.”

“And you say so, because?”

“It’s tamed because it wanted to be. It’s big, but only violent when provoked beyond reason, because it knows that’s the only time it needs violence. In the wild, when it is allowed to behave naturally, it is the only beast that truly knows to honour the gift of life the gods have given all tribes of man and beasts –just look.”

Athene pointed Hermes to a small tribe of elephants in the jungle, carefully having laid a burial mound over their matriarch, now stood vigil. Infants of the pack wailed -like Greek women at a funeral. Each animal waited its turn to take a little water before returning to the three day vigil among the elephant burial grounds. She then pointed out another pack of elephants outside a small village in Africa, in a region of the continent yet unexplored by Hellenes; the village had just been visited by a fearsome storm, and a man and his dog who had been unshielded by a house, lay dead, and the elephants covered him with a burial, out of respect.

“It’s a simple form of religion,” the grey-eyed and unowned one pointed out, “but for a creature so far from man’s genetic material, they have been granted the wisdom to know the gods, and so not only do I favour them, but I believe our father will, as well.”

“But what gods do they honour?”

Athene thought for a moment, and then suggested, “they clearly honour the gods of the earth, and of intelligence. They cannot speak the names of these gods, so they could never ask the gods their names. They know only some basic vocabulary of any language of man, so formulating a question on paper or in the mind is outside their abilities. They therefore honour whatever gods will accept them. The Hindu people treat them with honour, so those amongst the Hindu honour Hindu gods. Those there, amongst the Maasai, if the elephant is tame, it worships the Maasai people’s gods. Why should they be any different from human beings? There are several species of elephant, with dozens of tribes, each.”

“You were able to see all that?”

“Of course. My vision is finely attuned to scouting out the wisest creatures, and the wisdom of these creatures is like the brilliance of the sun when compared to the twinkle of a star.”

“Stars are really whole galaxies, just as the humans see them from Gaia, you know?” Hermes pointed out.

Athene slapped the back of His head in that sisterly way, and said, “I know that. It’s the metaphor that’s important —and you know that, too,”

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Eros Oracle Deck

I got this deck from a friend for my birthday. It impresses and amuses me for some fairly obvious reasons, and if you can see, you know that one of those reasons is the integration of 1920s Art Deco-influenced illustration. I’d suggest that the creator was spying on me, but the copyright year is 2007, technically predating even this blog. I’m tempted to file this loose association of mine under Shared Gnosis, but I know nothing about the creator and how they regard Eros, as a deity.

I say that I know nothing about how the creator regards Eros because the deck and little information pamphlet included mention nothing of Deity, but this could just be secularising it for greater marketability. The recommended divination in the pamphlet is also only concerning itself with relationships, but the symbolism is theoretically multi-purpose, and I can already think of other ways to use this.

At first, my favourite thing about this deck is the art —I’m just really not that into cartomancy, because I find the pre-set symbolism kind of restricting, in a way. I understand that some degree of intuition is necessary for any good divination, including cartomancy, but the fact that you’re building this intuition off an only moderately-random (at best) draw of pre-designed and selected images, whereas, say, tasseomancy is completely random in the symbols it can produce (and what those symbols actually are is often up to the interpretation and intuition of the diviner), and hydroscrying is also completely random and utilising no concrete symbolism, but a demi-trance state, I find giving divination from cartomancy harder for myself to trust —as it relies on my abilities to interpret someone else’s symbols in regards to the situation— but at the same time, I also occasionally do the Homeric or Greek alphabet oracles, and those are essentially the same principle of pulling meanings from an incredibly limited range of symbolism.

Here’s a scan of some of my favourite cards:

According to Tarot Dame, this deck is also available with an accompanying (limited edition?) book sold with some decks, which neither she nor I have seen, but I did just find a seller who has it at a price I can do, assuming it sticks around.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.