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Clearly Identifying Hellenic Reconstructionist Organizations

Friday, June 6th, 2008 Leave a comment

Note: This wasn’t written by by me, but was written by an friend of mine, Timothy J. Alexander. The original post can be found at: Hellenismos.us

On Mind-N-Magick we had a conversation about individuals wanting to present an image of practicing Hellenismos, Hellenic Reconstruction, or Hellenic Polytheism. I wanted to provide a few examples of what I am talking about. Now, before anyone gets up in arms, I am not critiquing anyones love of the Gods, or their practices… but what is apparently clear, is that many of these groups, in order to attract members or to conform to group leaders change in thought and practice, have moved from Reconstruction to Neopaganism while still trying (by some) to present an image of Hellenismos, Hellenic Reconstruction, or Hellenic Polytheism.

….take for example the HellenicPagan Yahoo Group. If one goes on almost any general Pagan forum and ask for information on Hellenismos, Hellenic Reconstruction, or Hellenic Polytheism, it is almost inevitable that they will be referred to this group, but let us look for a moment at the groups description.

For the first five years of the group’s ten year history the site description stated…

New Age/witchcraft/Wicca or related practices are considered *offtopic* unless it DIRECTLY pertains to Hellenic/Roman Polytheism.

Today, the description states…

We welcome Reconstructionists, Wiccans, and any other pagans who worship the Greek gods in some way, as well as people who are interested in talking about such worship.

…and from my own experience, anyone that holds to the idea that Hellenismos is more than worshiping the Greek Gods “in some way” will quickly have their posts placed on hold, reviewed, edited, or deleted, especially if they can cite sources to affirm that position.

Let’s us move on to Neokoroi. I know we have some members who are also members of this group, and I do not want to be over critical, but even some members seems to think this is a Reconstructionist group when it is not.

The groups original description of their Yahoo Group stated…

group is entirely Reconstructionist in methodology, and is open to all those who sincerely wish to learn more about the Gods, and have fellowship with like-minded individuals. This is a restricted membership group, for polytheistic Hellenic Reconstructionists only.

Today the description states…

We tend to favor reconstructionism as an approach to developing Hellenismos, although we also recognize the importance of personal experience and local cultus. And we are especially dedicated to fostering “real life” worship, through the formation of local groups, and of course through the building of shrines and eventually temples.

All this, while their main website provides an aura of being Reconstructionist.

Neo Alexandria seems to be the worst and most intentional at making use of rhetorical slight of hand. From discussions with actual members, the group is diverse and includes Wiccans, Druids, and other Neopagans, along with self-identified Reconstructionists (some that are exclusively Hellenic or Kemetic), and the group does not have a formal mission to reconstruct the Greco-Egyptian religion, nor does the membership work to that goal.

Their Yahoo group description states…

Neos Alexandria, a general discussion list for those interested in Greek and Egyptian religion, history, and culture with a strong emphasis on Ptolemaic Egypt and the city of Alexandria in particular. This will be an informal group for people to share their own research and experiences as they explore these two beautiful faiths simultaneously and forge their own personal religious synthesis.

…and their website’s main page states…

This website serves as a common meeting place for all who are inspired by the Greco-Egyptian culture inaugurated by the Ptolemies and who seek a revival of the worship of the gods of Greece, Egypt, and Rome.

  • general discussion list
  • informal group
  • inspired by the Greco-Egyptian culture[/list]

Yet, on their Greco-Egyptian Pantheon page it is clearly stated that “we are trying to be as accurate as possible in the reconstruction of ancient Greco-Egyptian religion and this site is representative of that.” Sannion even reiterates in his What do I want in a Greco-Egyptian religious group article, “Certainly there are better, purer periods from which to reconstruct a Hellenic religion. And perhaps there are.”

…and some members have publicly promoted the group as a recon group…

NeosAlexandria, a Greco-Egyptian recon group, one Sannion is a part of, have released a new book on Dionysus, the first of many books they plan on releasing on the Gods they worship (which includes the Kemetic Gods too).
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I know some of you probably aren’t that interested in Dionysus but I thought some of you might be interested ’cause NeosAlexandria does worship Kemetic Gods too, and combines and adopts certain Kemetic concepts (which was done in historical times, as this is a reconstruction of the Greco-Egyptian religion), such as the concept of divine kingship, etc (although NeosAlexandria don’t have a divine king like Kemetic Orthodox, it did play an important role in Greco-Egypt in ancient times).

~ http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?p=3425035

We can even provide even more blatant examples such as Spira and the Church of Thessaly if we want to continue further.

Again, I want to reiterate, this is not a criticism of anyones actual beliefs or practices. There are just some very serious issues with groups wanting the image of Hellenismos, Hellenic Reconstruction, or Hellenic Polytheism, be it to attract members or the image or whatever. People with a genuine interest get sucked into these groups, seek out mentors, and get filled with information that is (at best) labeled as inaccurate.

Reprinted with the permission of Hellenismos.us
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