What makes me a Greek polytheist today in the twenty first century, is exactly what made an ancient Greek a worshiper of the Hellenic Pantheon. Greek polytheism today has to follow an a long-established pattern and the blueprint of our religious practise is the sacrifice, the offering.The sacrifice played an important role in Greek religious devotion, which was practised and repeated more than once a day by a Greek polytheist and involved more than one divinity.There were the state’s sacrifices in honour of the city state's main divinities and their cults as well as the private sacrifices in honour of the household gods, the family ancestors and thedemes’ heroes and local gods.
So, which of these two aspects of religious practices was the most essential in the ancient times and how does this apply today?
In order to answer that
question we should first visit the ancient world and try to step into
the shoes of an ancient Greek citizen at a specific location in Greece.
We must not overlook the fact that every community had its own
divinities to worship and every altar and / or temenos had its own cult.
On the basis of this fact Greek polytheism was an extremely diverse religion in its notion and practice.
There were not just twelve gods but, on the contrary, thousands of divinities worshiped throughout ancient Greece.
For that reason, I will select a citizen of the Erchia Demes, located near the area of the new internationalairport of Athens.
Erchia provides us evidence
of its religious calendar, in which we can see what our ancient friend
worshiped every single day throughout the year.
He had the opportunity
to be involved in sacrifices for statewide divinities, such as Athena
Polias, gods of small distance districts, Demeter Eleusinia, local
deities, Epops, Menedeius and Heroines and Pan-Hellenic gods such as
Apollo Pythios. But what the calendar does not refers to is the most
essential aspect of our Erchian friend: his household's religious
Household worship is indeed
what makes an individual a part of his community, is the alpha and
omega of the Greek polytheism. It is not just the local demes’,
Pan-Hellenic and state-wide divinities that he should or could worship,
but it is also the everyday worship of his household divinities and of
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