reconstructionist. I am a revivalist.
In that vein:
Although I have a deep respect for reconstructionists of any stripe, there is a certain attitude among most Hellenic recons that does not sit well with me and is one of the primary reasons I do not count myself among their ranks. A good many recons I have come in contact with tend to ascribe to the notion that it is necessary to fear and appease the Gods in order to please them. I have no doubt this was a part of the ancient mindset. My partner and I were watching an episode of Carnivale last night that featured a horrendous dust-bowl storm. I thought, "If you didn't have the technology to know better, how could you not attribute something like that to angry Gods?" But, the thing is, we do have the technology to know better now--to know that natural disasters are either Gaia doin' her thing to sustain and renew herself or us screwing that process up. So why do some Hellenic recons still approach the Gods as if their worship will abate the storm? Why must we hold on to the ancient belief that we worship the way we worship mainly to keep the Gods from squashing us?
In the eyes of the Gods, I believe it is more offensive to hold onto this attitude when they have inspired us with the means to know better. Perhaps it was OK for the ancients to approach them that way because it gave them some comfort in a world to which they were extremely vulnerable--but what purpose does it serve now to attribute, say, devastating tornadoes to Zeus and allow the fear of same to distance our hearts from him?
But then, I am apparently very liberal about this sort of thing--believing that, in reality, it is almost impossible to offend the Gods unless you allow hubris (your perfectionism, your intellect, your fear), to keep you from a sincere and consistent practice, (a topic on which I wrote an entire post here).
Look, the Gods know you--every gritty little Earth-bound nook and cranny. Attempting to hide these from them is foolish on the face of it and will severely handicap your relationship with them. Yes, it is good and respectful to wash in the khernips before ritual or prayer, but you must come to that prayer with both of your washed hands open--holding nothing back--not even the unwashed parts, inside and out.
I speak these things passionately because I have been guilty of them and I know firsthand how a raging, arrogant perfectionism can strangle a meaningful relationship with the Gods. Many are the times I have needed, and received, a solid whack upside the head with a spiritual 2x4 when I have allowed that hubris, or worries over “not getting it right”, to get between me and my Gods and stop us from talking.
I have discovered that If we humbly open ourselves up and keep calling upon the Gods, it will be given to us what it is they require of us, and usually it isn’t much except to stay in touch and honor the gifts they have bestowed.
Blessed by the Mystery,
(and the spiritual 2x4)