Week 9 – E

E is for ethics, E is for eusebia, and E is for epithets.

I originally thought I would do eusebia, but I am still defining what this means to me personally, so I combined epithets with another idea of pointing out that gods are not just their archetypes.

Epithets, to narrow it down quickly, are like nicknames for the Gods, and they remind the worshipper that Gods are more than their archetypes and domains.

For example, most people are familiar on a base level with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex. These two things are seperate, but equally awesome. Aphrodite Pandemos would be Aphrodite in terms of sexuality, a basic drive for most of humanity, whereas Aphrodite Urania is the goddess of spiritual love, like the kind you have for a dear brother or long time spouse. Some may be even familiar with Aphrodite Philomeides, the laughter-loving Aphrodite. But are they familiar with Aphrodite Areias, war-like Aphrodite?

I would bet on probably not.

In the case of Zeus, most know him as kind of a dick. He’s the guy going around raping women and cheating on his wife, a sort of frat boy of the sky. He’s also the guy that flings thunder and lightning about, and many people are aware of this aspect of him as well. But, he is also Zeus Xenios, in charge of punishing those who do not treat their guests properly, and Zeus Telios, a protector of marriage. Someone else put it as a bit of “At the end of the day, despite Zeus’ philandering, he always goes back to Hera, and there is something romantic in that”. I’m not terribly close with Zeus, and while the word ‘rape’ may put others off, recall that rape was a general word of any male sticking it in a girl, and that, quite likely, the gods aren’t bound by human morals.

One of my favorite of the males is Hermes, god of the marketplace, god of thieves, and god of traveling. Brazen thieves would call his name as they bolted with some goods. In terms of archetypes, he is a trickster god, like Loki, however, he was also a god of language, and combined with Thoth into Hermes Trimegistus, and he was a god of alchemy. Despite his vague trickster god status, he is not entirely about ruining people’s lives. He was also a giver of good things; when one came across some bit of lucky find, it was called a hermaion, a windfall from Hermes. And Hermes was a pretty smart dude.

So whoever called Greek paganism an obnoxious bureaucracy can suck it.

<3, Lily.

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8 thoughts on “Week 9 – E

  1. Nice post! I agree that some epithets of our gods tend to be overlooked. Do you have any idea why that might be so? I thought perhaps some of it is due to 101 books and the media, who just present Aphrodite as someone to call on in matters of love (however, I’m not too familiar with the Greek pantheon and worship, so I might be mistaken).

    • I think you’re probably right, and would like to add also a lot of what the general person knows of pagan gods is limited to that which they learned in high school. Which amounts to “Zeus is a jerk, Hera’s just a mean lady, Artemis has a bunch of lesbians following her…” etcetera. Certainly the 101 books and media don’t do much to enforce it, because the general American public is rather lazy, and don’t care to think too much about stuff or scour through all of the half-finished or blatantly wrong information.

      And that’s okay; I got some help from my other friends when it comes to Norse paganism, because I don’t know too much about them. 🙂

  2. Awesome, awesome post. I found myself having to explain things like this to other people, but you’ve put it in far better words. It’s difficult to remember each and every epithet for everyone, and I’ve gotten several mixed up a few times. But at least knowing that they are more than their basics is wonderful.

    • Agreed! Sometimes during my morning and night rituals I trip over some words, and I might have to reference my notebooks to make sure I am saying what I think I am saying. I hardly know all of the epithets, and I hardly could say I know what all of the deities want from me, but I am trying and I am quite certain they understand!

      For the most part, it seems like most deities are willing to at the very least tolerate awkward followers until they know better.

  3. Very good points! I am often frustrated when I see people criticizing the gods for their most popularly known aspects, but I haven’t been able to explain all of this in a way that is short and simple enough. But you did it very well, and I enjoyed this post a lot.

    • Agreed. I wish there were better ways to explain things to those who don’t know better, and those who can’t manage to find decent resources online. But, that’s basically why I started this blog; as a way to thank those who helped me find the good information, and to continue to pass it on to those who want to learn. It’s my little way of trying to help out and thank others.

      I’m grateful I was lucky enough to find good enough resources to start with and read through time and time again.

  4. Interestingly enough I also covered epithets before I explained a particular epithet of Zeus’. Most paths seem to discount epithets because they seem to over simplify things. Look through the PBP posts and they mostly cover general topics instead of specifics. Epithets are all about specifics.

    • I will have to read! 😀 I know what you mean. For soft polytheists, simplification is fine, but it seems like many don’t know the difference between soft and hard polytheism, and they just make all deities over-generalizations for the sake of easiness. This is okay, I think, if they truly believe in soft polytheism, but there are a lot of people who are too lazy to do research into the gods they claim to worship.

      I actually heard someone use “I have ADHD” as a reason for being a Christian, because they don’t have to deal with more than one god to pray to. This just seems lazy and stupid; why take spiritual beliefs based on the sole fact that they’re ‘easy’ instead of finding one you can truly get behind and believe in?

      I have no problem with Christianity, Catholicism or monotheism as a whole, so long as the person claiming to be a religion actually, you know, follow it and believe in it.

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