I’ve read today with regret that the Facebook-Group “Society For The Protection and Promotion of Polytheism” presented the “neopagan” group “Neo-Hellenic Polytheism” (NHP) as being part of Greek Polytheism. We Hellenes often explain that we reject “neopaganism” and the “neopagan” attitude toward ethnic tradition (“I will be part of your tradition, whether you like it or not”) and that the so-called “Neo-Hellenic Polytheism” does not belong to our tradition. The reasons are many. Two important of them are: First, Hellenes are an ethnos, not “pagans”. And second, Hellenismos is an ethnic religion and way of life and thus not “neopagan” or “pagan” at all. The term “paganism” was fabricated by the Christians in order to humiliate the ancient cults and ethnicities. We would never use the mentioned term to define ourselves (except maybe for very rare exceptions), for it was imposed on our ancestors, which were persecuted, tortured and slaughtered as supposed “pagans”, “idolaters” and “devil worshippers”. This word itself transports all the categories of thinking of the current dominant culture, its imagination and alienating power of colonial mindset. “Neopaganism” is one of the most significant forms of current cultural imperialism.
It’s outrageous to see that this group still holds onto its old propaganda. I very much hope that the “Society” will correct its post, for “NHP” is not Hellenic, but “neopagan”. Hellenism is an indigenous culture. “Neopaganism”, on the other hand, is a modern movement that emanated from (christian) occultism, it is one of the many new religious movements of the occident. The Greeks didn’t practise “neopaganism” and “neopaganism” itself has no Greek origin, so “neopaganism” can not be considered as being part of their religion. Hellenism was never linked to “neopaganism”. “Neopaganism” is the “child” of western monotheism, it has nothing to do with indigenous religions and worldviews. On the contrary, “neopaganism” represents the homogenizing aspect of global monotheism. “Neopaganism” is not ancient. And if its not ancient, it can not be Hellenic. Therefore it can not be part of the revitalized Hellenic culture in general, unless the mentioned group can prove the opposite. But I haven’t ever read about such a thing in any book written by scholars like Walter Burkert, Walter Friedrich Otto and Paul Veyne. As an ethnic Hellene I would know, if such a group existed in my tradition.
The issue is not a personal one. Nor is it about “believing” right or wrong, but practicing Hellenismos in a historical and cultural accurate way, for Hellenismos is an orthopraxic tradition and it is orthopraxy (“right practice”) that defines Hellenismos. So the issue here is that this group labels itself as “Hellenic polytheistic”, while they are not. This kind of bogus claim is characteristic of “Neopaganism”. If someone doesn’t practice Hellenic religion in the right way, meaining the Greek way, it should be apparent the he or she does not practice Hellenic Polytheism, but something else.
We don’t practice Hellenic Religion in “my” or in “your” way, but in the way of the Greeks. Hellenism is a collectivistic culture. The Polis stands above the singular citizen, the community stands above the individual. Greek Religion wasn’t a matter of personal likes and dislikes. It was and is an orthopraxic religion (orthopraxy means “correct practice”). The ancient Hellenes were eager to practice their religion “in the ways of our ancestors”. Today we would say: In the way the Hellenes practiced. And that’s what Hellenismos is about: Honoring the Greek Gods in the Greek Way. Orthopraxy lies in the heart of hellenic piety. Individualism is in the wrong place here. “The intellectual principle of the Greeks is not individualism”, (Werner Jaeger: Paideia: The ideals of Greek culture, Vol. I: Archaic Greece, the mind of Athens, p. XXIII, Oxford 1946).
Therefore we say “NO” to the exploiters of Hellenic tradition and follow the example of the Lakotas by protecting ourselves, our tradition and identity from desacralization and distortion caused by disrespectful individuals and groups who can’t take No for an answer (see: Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality). Native traditions, stand up and protect your heritage!
1. “The term ‘Pagan’, which in the original Latin is derived from Paganus (peasant), is yet another insult used by the victorious Christians since the 4th Century, to belittle what remained of the Native Religions. They used this to label all those remaining loyal to their Ethnic Traditions, to imply that they were uneducated and uncouth villagers. The term was used for centuries in most European languages to refer to the Ethnikoi. In the 20th Century, it was reintroduced with the suffix neo (viz. Neopaganism), by various Christian-inspired devotees of Esotericism and the New Age. ‘Neopaganism’ doesn’t concern us. It may even be a manufactured ploy to detract from the current world rule of the so-called ‘Monotheists’.” (Supreme Council of the ethnic Hellenes, FAQ 24).
2. “The polish reporter Wojciech Jan Rudny interviews a constitutional member of the Supreme Council of the ethnic Hellenes (YSEE) on behalf of the polish «GNIAZDO» magazine”
Wojciech Jan Rudny: I’ve heard about many American Hellenists (people that they believe in the Greek Gods). What do you think about them?
YSEE: Some of these people that you mention are not true Hellenists but rather members of the so-called Wicca or other “neo-pagan” groups who are simply disguised as “Hellenists” for reasons that exist hidden within the depths of their own minds. Obviously we are not interested in having any relationship with these people. Our Tradition, Religion and Values should not be exploited in any manner, in much the same way that no other ethnic Tradition, Religion and Values should be exploited.
3. “Neopaganism”, Occultism and the New-Age-Movement simply don’t concern the Hellenes, their Religion and Culture.”
The mistake has been corrected. The “Society” finally deleted the contentious message. We thank the “Society” for protecting Hellenismos and saying no to “neopagan” intolerance.