The Greeks who worship the ancient gods

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The summer solstice, 21 June, is one of the most important dates in the calendar for many followers of ancient religions, and it's a special time for people in Greece who worship the country's pre-Christian gods.


"I love the energy this place has," says Exsekias Trivoulides who has pitched his tent on what he considers to be the holy site of Mount Olympus.

Trivoulides is a sculptor who studied art history and classics, and these days, he is living his passion.

Along with a few thousand others he is taking part in the Prometheia festival, which celebrates the ancient Greek hero Prometheus, who helped humans by stealing fire from the gods.

It's the most important annual festival for followers of The Return of the Hellenes – a movement trying to bring back the religion, values, philosophy and way of life of ancient Greece, more than 16 centuries after it was replaced by Christianity.

These people consider Greece to be a country under Christian occupation.

Written By: Matthew Brunwasser
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

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  1. Strange, not a single doubter of these beliebers was described as strijdent or millie tant. I mean to label a believer as kooky is just plain offensive but the guy in this article gets a free pass. Mob rule perhaps

  2. The reincarnated religions and modern fake copies are out in force for the mid-summer solstice.
    Crowds have been gathering in England at Stone Henge, – with various groups inventing their own mythologies.

  3. It isn’t just those Greek gods who have modern adherents. I worked with a woman who was in and out of various religions–for a tlime she was a Jesus Freak, then sometimes a Wiccan (she claimed to have a “witch’s tit,” a supenumerary nipple, but I steadfastly refused to let her show it to me). One time she had a fight with her boyfriend. She knew he had a new boat and was planning to launch it for the first time on a certain day. She prayed to Wotan for bad weather to spoil his launching. That day a powerful storm blew up after he had the boat in the water, it capsized, and he damn near drowned. The next day she told me, “That was too much! I’ll never pray to Wotan again! Nobody has prayed to him for a thousand years, and he was so excited to be prayed to after all this time, he got carried away and went too far!”

    • In reply to #6 by 78rpm:

      It isn’t just those Greek gods who have modern adherents. I worked with a woman who was in and out of various religions–for a tlime she was a Jesus Freak, then sometimes a Wiccan (she claimed to have a “witch’s tit,” a supenumerary nipple, but I steadfastly refused to let her show it to me). One t…

      Wotan is very powerful. We should name a day of the week after him. Oh yeah……..

      giggity

  4. The significant difference between Hellenismos and the Middle Eastern monotheisms is that it does not purport to be ‘factually true’ in real-world terms. A myth can carry the meaning of its story without pretending to have happened to x real person in y real location on z real historical date. The mono-god religions insist on making real-world truth claims, even when these are biologically/physically preposterous, and on the objective existence of a sole celestial autocrat, rather than a collection of characters who represent natural forces and with whom writers and thinkers were able to play creatively. (You could re-tell a myth in a different way without getting a fatwa or being called a heretic.) On 26 June, it is 1650 years since the last Emperor to advocate Hellenismos (which he did not see as something reserved for people of Greek descent: the Classical tradition had a syncretic approach that incorporated other mythologies by adoption or by making equivalencies in function, e.g. Sul-Minerva of Bath) died, possibly through treachery. To me, it seems that something fine and valuable broke at the heart of civilisation with him.

    • In reply to #9 by Silverwhistle:

      Yes, the emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus. One of my heroes. Paganism is intrinsically syncretistic: if the gods are symbols of natural forces, and Nature is everywhere, then clearly your gods must be the same as mine, so let’s exchange myths. This is perhaps the reason why no war of religion has ever been fought between pagan societies, though of course they fought for all the other usual reasons.

      Gore Vidal got it right: the great evil oppressing the world is not religion; it is monotheism.

      • In reply to #20 by Robert Firth:

        This is perhaps the reason why no war of religion has ever been fought between pagan societies, though of course they fought for all the other usual reasons.

        Really?? List of wars involving Greece

        Each with their gods on their side!

        Some of them were also well versed in sacrificing prisoners of war or children to their gods!

        The ritual of the Aztec flower war all started with Tlacaelel, an emperor of the Aztec empire. Tlacaelel brought the empire to the height of its power in the 1400s. He began to rewrite the history of the Aztecs, burning old history texts and emphasizing that his people were the chosen of the gods.

        That sounds only too familiar!!

        The warriors continued to conduct skirmishes not only with the Tlaxcalans, but other neighbouring peoples. Though at times the people did actually go to war to conquer a people, very often they simply took a few prisoners to sacrifice to the gods.

        Though the Tlaxcalans took part in the Aztec flower war in part willingly, in reality they hated and feared the empire. It’s believed that the Aztecs could have easily taken Tlaxcala, but the city was kept alive as a “farm” for new human sacrifices.

  5. Ha Ha the return of Zeus et al!
    Maybe there’s the possibility of Jupiter and Baal.
    Some years ago a postman was sacked for placing Odinist literature in what Muslims thought was “their” prayer room.
    He received substantial co pensation.

  6. Worshiping the Olympic gods is one step away from being a Marvel Superhero collector geek.

    I have often told Christians if I had to pick a religion, I would vastly prefer the worship of Zeus to Jehovah.

  7. Seems to be more a themed lifestyle than a case of people genuinely believing that gods live on Olympus. But I generally approve of such “religions” on the basis that they seem mostly harmless and that they are excellent Trojan Horses into the special privilege arguments of the big religions.

  8. Fun! I went to a solistice event and it was really interesting fun – a cross between a big picnic, Renaissance fair, “Alice Cooper” concert goers, wiccans, …. Lots of hippies, gays, liberals, eccentric types, burnouts, people dressed up, a couple Tibetan Buddhists tossed in too. The people were as nice as could be. Never been to a real May Day/Green man event… a little too kinky and risky for me.

    Many of these Pagan groups and liberal Churches use story symbolically to get to a personal meaning. It has its pluses (and minuses.)

  9. a movement trying to bring back the religion, values, philosophy and way of life of ancient Greece,

    Wait…are they serious? Wasn’t Ancient Greece a hotbed of war, subjugation and poverty?

    Anyway, this looks about as religious as the SCA thing in the US. People getting dressed up and having fun. That the Orthodox Church is even giving it the time of day is laughable.

  10. Maybe they’re all atheists and this is just their version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    It looks like a lot of fun though. A lot more interesting than any of the ‘three’ major religions. Along the lines of the ‘Hindu’ worship.

    Good to hear they don’t take the religion itself too seriously it’s more about seeing the value in the stories.

  11. In reply to #5 by nancynancy:

    Love the Grecian gowns the women are wearing…

    Except for the evening photo – it reminds me of ‘Eye of the Beholder’, in other words, unsettling.

    The groom guy is hot.

  12. According to Victor roudometof :

    Those who worship the ancient Greek gods are widely regarded as no more than “interesting curiosities”, he adds.

    According to Mr DArcy, all gods ancient and modern, are interesting curiosities.

  13. The article suggests that these people have no actual belief in the supernatural ” no praying” so they are far more rational than 98% of the rest of the population.
    Besides the ancient Greeks were of far more benefit to mankind with the Socratic method (whether or not he ever existed) than all the Faiths that arose in Asia Minor.

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