In the eyes of spiritual colonialists and pagan hucksters, Hellenes or other ethnicities who don’t live up to pagan expectations and values but, stubborn they are, continue to live according to their own culture—and have no interest in the assimilation into the Occident—are… «folkists» or even «racists» (though the concept of «race» is alien to Hellenismos, whatever). In the past, Hellenes were idolaters, satanists, pagans, freemasons, and zionists, at least according to anti-Hellenes. Now we are… «folkists.» (I’ve never even heard of that term before, so I had to google it.) Well, given our history, I’m pretty sure we will survive this one too. Many names have come and gone, and yet we are still standing.
It seems that some people just can’t accept the otherness of other cultures. Very often they proceed to «correct» them into themselves and to criticize them based on the standards of their own cultures. Due to our experiences with colonial pagans and occultist, we have come to understand that ethnocentrism and monotheism’s attitude toward ethnic religions (world correction ➝ conversion) are typical of this brand of paganism. They can’t stand otherness, they just can’t, so they try to «correct» or change us… into them. It is for this reason that some ethnic Hellenes don’t want to talk openly about their culture or even let others know they are Hellenic. However, this raises the certainly interesting question: why do you bother? Why do you care? And why are you so obsessed with foreign cultures?
It is obvious that many pagans have a difficulty in understanding or accepting the fact that we are not «ancient» Greeks, that is, we don’t practice «ancient» Hellenismos, just like contemporary Hindus are not ancient Hindus and the Japanese don’t practice «ancient» Shinto. And that, as Hellenes, our reference point is not some undefined and fetishized «ancient Greece.» Still others mistake Hellenismos for «religion» and hence Hellenic revitalization for the «attempt to reconstruct the ancient Greek religion.» This misunderstanding arises partly from the lack of knowledge on the difference between a) re-Indigenization and revivalism and b) revitalization and reenactment. On the other hand, it is a sign of an unawareness of the meaning of tradition in Hellenismos. However, the crux of the matter here is that the before mentioned ignorance is not unintentional and harmless. Moreover, it resists the data shown because it does not fit into the desired «framework.» They willfully ignore Georgios Gemistos-Plethon, Michael Marullus, Cyriacus of Ancona, the Hellenic Jacobins and many other aspects of recent Hellenic history that are vital for our identity, which has led some of them to describe us as «Hellenic reconstructionists» [sic], among other things, to write articles or produce videos where they «inform» their audience about a culture and religion they shamelessly exploit and pretend to be part of, in an attempt to make people believe of their fake identity and, more importantly, to convince them just how «wrong» the members of the targeted culture are to be… who they are. Not only that: they try very hard to sell themselves as decent people exploring their spirituality, whereas in reality they are «exploiting, abusing and misrepresenting» other people’s sacred traditions, to quote from the Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality.
They tend to say, the «ancient Greeks» did this, the «ancient Greeks» believed that, without being very concrete. What exactly do they mean by «ancient Greeks»? The Spartans of the archaic period? The Athenians of the classical period? Or perhaps the Corinthians of the Hellenistic period? And which of their tribes in particular (phylai)? Even so, how is this relevant here? Are their stereotypes about other people’s history supposed to be relevant for the Hellenes? Are ethnic Hellenes supposed to photographically reproduce «ancient Greece»? Play «ancient Greeks»? Which of them? And why? They may have read one or two books about ancient Greece, so now they are «convinced» they know our culture better than we do—because they read some texts about some aspects of Greek history. By the way, most or almost all sources regarding contemporary Hellenismos are only available in Greek. For example, Konstantinos Sathas‘ «Medieval Library» has not been translated into English.
It is quite obvious, that they have no idea what they are talking about. It is also clear that they don’t know the meaning of terms like «ethnos» or «ethos.» In the video below, we hear pagan antiHellene «Aliakai» basically giving a lecture about her own ignorance, which leads her to argue against things no one of the Hellenes addressed by her even mentioned, and thus to arbitrary interpretations deeply rooted in her own—conscious or unconscious—biases driven by abject motives and the attempt to overcompensate them. Her conclusion: «racism.» It is a typical case of neopagan ethnocentrism. «Aliakai» is a cliché. She doesn’t know what «ethnos» or «ethnic» mean in Greek but that doesn’t stop her from having an opinion though. «Ethnos,» in our culture, is a group of people sharing a common ethos (ancestry, language, religion, way of life). Ethnos derives from ethos. In Greek, ethos means custom, habit or character. Instead of talking about «ethos,» she rather chooses to express her thoughts on chromosome and blood because doing so serves her goals.
Why? She simply doesn’t know what «ethnic» means to us. She doesn’t know that the late Vlassis G. Rassias, YSEE’s co-founder and General secretary, was the author of the first Hellenic book against nationalism in Greece (Ethnos, ethnismos, ethnokratos, ethnikismos. Athens 1996), in which he defined ethnic identity on the grounds of virtue system, language, and ethos. She neither knows nor cares that neo-Nazis and nationalists in Greece abuse indigenous Hellenic culture for their propaganda just as she does. That the YSEE opposes political monotheism (conservatism, liberalism, nationalism, internationalism) or that it is considered «anti-fascist» (Kolonaki-Press). That some of us have received death threats from nationalists due to our effort to defend our ways against the abusive ideologies of political monotheism.
She doesn’t even seem to know the difference between a Hellenist and a Hellene. Probably she doesn’t care. But she is not the only one. There are many persons out there who make public statements on «behalf» of Hellenismos, though they are not members of Hellenismos, but occultists, neopagans, «witches,» in short: people who «are simply disguised as ‹Hellenists› for reasons that exist hidden within the depths of their own minds» (YSEE). The funny thing is, most of these individuals think of themselves as being open-minded and sophisticated. In reality, however, they are intolerant and not even interested in learning the reasons why we think the way we do. To be honest, we have no desire to engage with people who can’t stand diversity and cultural alterity, whether they are aware of their intolerance or not. But it is not mere intolerance. It is the attempt to control, use, exploit and to slander whatever stands in their way. In this, however, she is not alone. The activities of other pseudo-Hellenist charlatans show a similar modus operandi.
All «Aliakai» does in her videos against Hellenism is interpreting texts based on her own interests and stereotypes. For instance, she implicitly interprets YSEE’s statement on Christianity being the «expansionist» form of «Jewish monotheism» as anti-Semitic. (She even seems to think that YSEE’s book on the Hellenic ethnic religion, the book she quotes from, is «it’s holy book,» which speaks volumes about her ability to understand the simpliest things.) And, of course, she has a problem with YSEE’s decision to not «perform same-sex marriages.» Well, it would have been a good idea to study the meaning and purpose of marriage in Hellenism before making this video. LGBT issues have no place in the ancestral cults, they are simply irrelevant. The cult of the ancestral gods is not a political party, ideology or lobby group. One’s sexual orientation, eating habit or philosophical affiliation doesn’t and can’t concern the ancestral cults. It’s absurd. The pagan ethnocentrism here reaches grotesque proportions as she tries to impose a notion of personal identity or marriage on other people’s collective imagination. This cultural imposition, that is, the attempt to force one’s beliefs, ideologies or views upon a group of people or their culture, is also typical of Angloamerican paganism. Such obsessions ultimately raise the very important question: why do you care? She is neither a member of YSEE nor of Hellenism. Furthermore, YSEE does not represent her or her pagan beliefs.
She doesn’t have to like it, the Hellenic people don’t seek her permission. Hellenismos is what it is. The way other people express their spirituality is not our business. As long as they don’t drag us down into it or abuse our ethnonym, we don’t care what they do. But why accept other cultures‘ otherness, their way of life? Why not slander them for daring to be what they are? It becomes more and more clear, neopaganism evolves into a threat to ethnic religions. The homogenization of the ethnosphere ruins its very foundation: the natural and beautiful diversity of mankind. In this, neopaganism walks along the paths of monotheism, which is no surprise when you consider that occultism and paganism are emanations of monotheism, particularly of Western esoteric Christianity (Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, Eliphas Levi, Dion Fortune and others).
Hellenes are not the only ones targeted by spiritual colonialists. The Celtic tradition, for example, faces the same problem. If you defend yourself against cultural appropriation and expropriation, you are «racist» (though ethnic Hellenes don’t define ourselves through this Western European concept of the 17th century), that’s the new narrative they share, the cacophony of the broken record of pagan intolerance. But nothing could be farther from the truth, as this quote from a Celtic organization demonstrates: «some of us were sick of the rampant cultural appropriation in the neopagan community, and wished to devote ourselves to something that was our own, that honored the ways of our ancestors without needing to rip off anyone else’s ancestors or cultures in the process. There is no ethnic or cultural requirement for anyone to practice CR — we do not believe that ‹blood› has any bearing in spirituality or in who might be called to a particular path. And as Celtic identity is a matter of language and culture, ‹blood› really has nothing to do with whether or not an individual or tradition is Celtic. No matter where your ancestors were from, or what your ethnic background, you are welcome to practice CR with us.» (CR: Why are you racist?) I could not express it better myself. It is really time for all of us to respect other people’s culture, even if we don’t agree with their worldview or religion. This is something that should be taken for granted rather than be made as a call. Unfortunately, we live in times of great confusion and intolerance, so we must insist on it.
If «Hellenic» pagans or «Hellenists,» as they like to call themselves, knew anything about Hellenism, they wouldn’t even be mentioning «genetics» or «blood.» But people tend to «understand» what their mind allows them to understand. Ethnic Hellenes have nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. We are who we are, whether some people like it or not. Period. Cultural heritage maybe «folkism» to some, we on other hand know that it is an important aspect of our collective identity. We know they don’t get that. They lack the internal perspective. When Hellenismos is alienated and destroyed, pagans can return to their own culture. They will have a place to go and be safe, we won’t, because Hellenismos is the home we live in, without it we are «homeless.» That’s the difference. Imposters and wannabes have the privilege of evoking thoughts on «cultural gatekeeping.» We, on the other side, have real problems to deal with.
We really don’t need people trying to «correct» us, telling us what to think, to feel or how to live. We are not here to serve or satisfy the various derivations of monotheism, foreign ideologies (conservatism, liberalism, nationalism, internationalism), artificial opposites (capitalism vs. leninism, market vs. state, universalism vs. folkism) or narcissists‘ needs for self-promotion and attention. Nor are we obligated to live according to other people’s ideals. We have our own virtue system, our own cultural imagination, and our very own interests, goals and views on things. Eventually, they will learn to endure other people’s alterity and culture. No doubt however, they will learn to endure the fact that ethnicities have the right to define themselves and defend their cultural sovereignty. Because we are here to stay.
«The Hellenic tradition is, like any other ethnic tradition, only accountable to itself and does not depend on what others think about it.»
Vlassis G. Rassias: From a lecture that was held at the Hellenic philosophical institution «Hekatēvólos» on June 9, 2018, in Athens, Greece.
Original source: Hellenismos (Facebook page), August 22, 2020. Last time checked: October 18, 2020. Published with the permission of the owner.