Monday, March 1, 2010

Reciprocity and Sacrifice

Ask any of the chickies in my pen
They'll tell you I'm the biggest mother hen
I love 'em all and all of them love me
Because the system works
The system called reciprocity!

--When You're Good To Mama; Chicago Soundtrack

In Hellenic Polytheism a lot of emphasis is placed on reciprocity. Although it was known of in ancient Greece spellwork was generally frowned upon as a form of hubris. If you wanted to influence the outcome of a thing it was required that you sacrifice to the Gods.

I personally get enjoyment out of sacrificing to the Gods. It is remarkable to think that sacrifice could be an enjoyable process, but because the nature of Hellenic Polytheism is orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy I can do just that. Oddly enough to the modern mind, it doesn't matter if you feel like you are doing something sacrificial as much as it matters that you are actually doing something that qualifies as a sacrifice. Thus, burning a few grains of frankincense feels pretty good to me. It smells nice, is inexpensive, and it makes me happy. However it qualifies as a sacrifice. It is the same with writing a hymn. I enjoy it and it counts as an offering to the Gods. Whereas if I gave up chocolate, as an example, I may think of it as a sacrifice, but it does not count as one.

Back to reciprocity. There are many reasons I honor Athena above the other Gods of Olympus. She resonates with my work and my desires in a way that is difficult to put into words. I doubt that most people would claim Her as a mystic's Goddess, but She is that for me. At the root of our relationship is reciprocity. Do I imply that Athena needs me in some way? Of course not. I, on the other hand, do need Her. I write Her hymns, She offers me rationality with warmth. I burn to Her incense, She gives me profound peace. I blog in Her service, She gives me things to write about.


It is the defining characteristic of why I can claim knowledge of the truth of the existence of the Gods. I do therefore They are.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post. =)

    Your blog interests me because personally though I really like so many of the Theoi the goddess Athêná is one of my favorites. She likes to appear here and there to me and I wear a pendant with Her image on it daily.

    Reciprocity, involving Theoi and human beings, for me is something that causes me to have a concrete knowing that the deities are real and actually look at us. On the fourth day of the current moon I gave Hermês something He must had really liked because three days later I received two old coins, one foreign and the other domestic, in my change at the grocery store. Heheh.