Elaion, Black Lives Matter, and the Xenia Declaration

Last week, a post blew up on the Elaion Facebook page. Robert Clark, one of the admins, made a post about Black Lives Matter and the ways in which black folks in the US face discrimination and inequality. The post was well-intentioned but also came across as quite ignorant and was flawed in various ways, mostly in his use of the phrase “All lives matter”. People rightly called him out on this, some being more empathetic than others, and next thing you know there’s white supremacists quoting fake “statistics”, saying white privilege isn’t a thing, and people with very right-wing views commenting and saying they don’t want to talk about politics.

The other admin, Elani Temperance, got involved once this had been going on for a while – time zones are a thing and Europeans sleep when Americans are awake. I must have seen the post at roughly the same time as Elani because we live in similar time zones.

So once the Europeans were awake, there was more discussion and several members called on Elaion to make clear their stance on things. The upshot of the whole thing was that Elani put up another post for people to ask questions about Elaion’s fundamental beliefs about racism and anything else people wanted to question. She also put up a post to say:

“Elaion does not support racism or discrimination of any kind. Elaion accepts members with all views on society, as religion is not the same as politics, but we will moderate the hell out of any mention of racial superiority or the downplaying of the devastating impact racism has on the US and everywhere else in the world. This is not just a US issue, this is a human one. Elaion supports the Black Lives Matter movement and any other movement that calls for safety, equality, and justice for all.”

Those who had been explicitly racist were banned, and with input from members, some who had been less explicit were also banned. All of this was good, but I don’t think it went far enough towards making the group safe for people of colour and especially black people. At this point in time, I cannot in good conscience recommend the group for the following reasons.

Continue reading “Elaion, Black Lives Matter, and the Xenia Declaration”

Finding Spiritual Practices Without Miasma

In my previous two posts, I used the calendar/Greek Wheel of the Year from Y. S. E. E., via a Patheos post from many years ago. Having since done research and spoken to other Hellenic Polytheists on some wonderful Discord servers, it turns out that Y.S.E.E. has some… questionable aims and views and probably attracts a lot of people who have equally questionable views. I had not previously realised this. But I cannot support an organisation which espouses things like anti-Semitism and a bunch of very problematic ahistorical views on ancient Greek religion and society.

So, since their calendar is a solar one as opposed to the lunar-based Attic calendar, and appears to have been completely made up by them, I won’t be using it anymore. It’s an amount of miasma that I don’t need.

I feel that, as a community, we have a responsibility to let each other know about who and what is trustworthy and who and what isn’t. I signed the Xenia Declaration the other day; both because I support it and because I think having a list of organisations and groups who are inclusive will be really helpful to anyone starting out on this path.

I am a queer Hellenic Polytheist who also sometimes practices magic. I do not support the homophobia of Hellenion or the anti-magic stance of Elaion. On that last one specifically, I feel that since we have a clear archaeological record of magic being used in the ancient world, we have no authority to declare that it is incompatible with Hellenic Polytheism. That’s probably another whole blog post in itself.

I created a “Nope Shelf” on my Goodreads account a while back to shelve authors whose books people probably don’t need to read or at least buy, which sadly now has a lot of Pagan and Hellenic authors on it who, for one reason or another, I cannot support.

I have more thoughts on “community” but they belong in another post. For now, let it be enough to say that Discord has been a boon for me in these locked-down times. It’s not as good as threaded discussions, but it’s at least a platform that lets people talk to each other as opposed to at each other.

Reflections on October 2019

October, according to Y.S.E.E., is the month in which the God Ares dominates and you are supposed to cultivate the virtues of Courage and Steadfastness.

I did not do nearly as much for Ares as I did for Hephaistos in September, bot hbecause it was a really rubbish month personally and because I don’t get on with Ares as well as with Hephaistos. I only really focussed on one devotional activity, which was learning how to deal constructively with anger.

I now have an Anger playlist on Spotify which I can use to deal with anger, which I feel is a result. I prayed and sacrificed to Ares specifically once in October and I dedicated my time working on the playlist to Him.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about October.

September 2019 – Reflections on Hephaistos, my personal practice, and ritual

September, according to Y.S.E.E., is the month in which God Hephaistos dominates and we cultivate the virtues of creativity and diligence. This post is about what Hephaistos means to me, what I have done so far this month for Him and what I am still planning on doing.

I am prefacing this with a slight excursion on my personal practice, as I feel that some of the issues I have recently come across tie in well with these topics.

Personal practice issues

Recently, I have had massive trouble keeping to a daily routine of prayers and offerings. Part of this is because my life has become a lot less “routine” for a variety of reasons, and so I have trouble scheduling things – including my rituals. Life becoming less predictable in itself is a problem because I have Asperger’s and so I always do better when there is a clear routine. So it’s in my interest to re-establish one. But because this consumes time and energy, I struggle with it.

The other part of it is that I started thinking of my rituals as a bit of a chore – something that just needs to be done, but that I have no special interest in or attachment towards. Which is not super conducive to doing them at all, or getting anything out of them.

Continue reading “September 2019 – Reflections on Hephaistos, my personal practice, and ritual”