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February 14, 2007

The real old time religion

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Doreta Peppa recently took the floor at the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It must have been something to see: For the first time since the dawn of Christian dictatorship, pagans are offering proper worship to the gods of Olympus.

To the astonishment of onlookers, Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple's giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms of pagan worship, had a high priestess officiated on the sacred site.

The Guardian notes the Orthodox Church is not happy about this situation but it seems to me the real problem for a revived paganism lies just across the water. At least Christians could pay the jizya through those long centuries of Ottoman rule; humiliated, alive and nominally "People of the Book". Ellinais would have a much harder time of it. Time for some careful note-taking from 300..

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 14, 2007 07:27 AM

Comments

My young lad was apparently teased about his last name recently. I told him to tell the little fool that did so that the name actually means "the son of the man who turns into a bear and kills many enemies in vicious slaughter on the battlefield" and that it says so half in highland Scots Gaelic and half in the Viking tongue.

If now as a society we are to promote our traditions and heritage I would hope that our real pagan heritage of the gleeful use of organized violence to protect the good of the community would be included in that conservative agenda.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 11:35 AM

It was my impression the berserk involved quite a bit of rather disorganized violence. I am quite happy to advocate the organized variety as well.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 11:56 AM

The subjective experience is quite calm and focused - though, granted, the recipient of the attention of the berserker might not see it in the same light.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 12:09 PM

Anything that upsets orthodoxy pleases me.

Gee Alan, as you may have guessed, I and my boys have been teased because of my last name in the past at school. I have no such retirt as you however I did try to explain that I was a distant heir to the Barony of Ravensworth but that just egged the little bu66ers on..

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 04:53 PM

I don't wish these mush-heads ill, but the connection between actual paganism and the bundle of New Age cliches these people are spouting seems even more tenuous than the connection between medieval Christianity and the modern C of E. A real pagan revival would be much more disturbing and interesting.

Posted by: utron [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 05:07 PM

This is quite close to my thoughts on the matter. I doubt anyone is seriously advocating a revival of, say, Carthaginian child sacrifice (assuming this is not mere Roman propaganda). Though these days I expect you could get a Carthaginian school funded by the British tax-payer and expect a mob of International Socialists to stage protests in favour of child sacrifice so what do I know.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 06:46 PM

But can't you be disturbingly pagan and modern. Grow and eat your own food on apartment balconies even if you get rickets. Advocate for massively disruptive decisions at work and in civic politics, especially ones that trigger crippling infighting. Brew your own ale and drinking throughout the day in your cubicle calling it an energy drink. Explore smells.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 09:18 PM

I never thought of calling it an energy drink....

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2007 10:18 PM

THE SONG OF THE STRANGE ASCETIC
G.K. Chesterton

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have praised the purple vine,
My slaves should dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And his slaves grow lean and grey,
That he may drink some tepid milk
Exactly twice a day.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have crowned Neaera's curls,
And filled my life with love affairs,
My house with dancing girls;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And to lecture rooms is forced,
Where his aunts, who are not married,
Demand to be divorced.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have sent my armies forth,
And dragged behind my chariots
The Chieftains of the North.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And he drives the dreary quill,
To lend the poor that funny cash
That makes them poorer still.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have piled my pyre on high,
And in a great red whirlwind
Gone roaring to the sky;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And a richer man than I:
And they put him in an oven,
Just as if he were a pie.

Now who that runs can read it,
The riddle that I write,
Of why this poor old sinner,
Should sin without delight-
But I, I cannot read it
(Although I run and run),
Of them that do not have the faith,
And will not have the fun.

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 12:14 AM

Hopefully they decide to adopt some of those ancient child-rearing practices too, so that the brats that kick and scream at the grocery store will get abandoned on mountainsides for the eagles to pick at.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 12:19 PM

Seconded. There should be some sort of retro-active eagle-pecking for children who kick the backs of seats on airplanes.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 12:40 PM

And you may want to inquire about certain Celtic warrior post-battle bashes before you agree to go...rather, err, manly...just saying.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 02:17 PM