It's been a while but I like to spend a post every now and again on the Delphic Maxims. they are very important for our faith and as such, talking about them--and keeping them in mind--matters. Today I want to talk about number 21: 'cling to discipline' (Παιδειας αντεχου).

I'm not sure if all of you are aware, but I am a bit on the Autism spectrum. Not diagnosed, but it runs (diagnosed) in the family. It's manageable and doesn’t affect my life much; it’s just something to remain vigilant of. One of my primary ‘symptoms’ is that I enjoy structure. I enjoy doing the same thing at the same time every day, or every week, or every month. I like things being predictable. I do my blog every day. I work out every day, with a specific schedule. My food intake is tightly controlled to fit macros and calories. I can work without breaks for 14 hours on end and never complain.

For me, doing these things does not require discipline. It might for others, but for me, doing things over and over is exactly what makes me happy. What I have to be vigilant about is the anxiety that comes from breaking my routine. If I do something solely because I can’t stop, I’m in trouble. And it’s happened quite a bit in the past.

Especially as a teenager, I often ended up hooked on things. I was smart enough to avoid drugs or alcohol (both of my parents are prone to addiction issues so I wasn’t going to risk it), but gaming, for example, has been a downfall. What took discipline was putting the controller down. I am not allowed to do Multiplayer Online games anymore because I still have trouble balancing the time I spent doing them. There are more examples, but that goes beyond the purpose of this post.

What I want to talk about today is discipline itself. Discipline, in general, means forcing yourself to behave in a manner not entirely comfortable to your own being. It means getting up to work out if all you want to do is lie around on the couch. It means heading to the office five days a week, even though the tasks suck. It means not doing all the things you want to do because other things are more important, or are better for you.

In order to exhibit discipline, you first need to be aware of your own behavior and your own inclinations towards life. In short, discipline requires the highest good of the ancient Hellenes: knowledge of the self. You need to know who you are in order to affect your own behavior. No matter who you are, facing all the good and all the bad in you takes discipline. There is nothing easy about it. It’s great to pat yourself on the back over all your fine qualities but the bad? No one wants to face the bad. And that is exactly the part that discipline speaks to.

‘Cling to discipline’, as a maxim, reminds me of two things: to do well in, and stick with all things I might not want to do but should do to help myself and others in the long run, and to learn as much about myself and the behavior I am inherently comfortable with so In don’t self-sabotage my life—like I have done often in the past. Discipline, to me, means working towards a better version of yourself, and I believe the ancient Hellenes might have viewed it in the same way. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, after all.
Sorry, zero time! Let me share ancient words with you, the ancient words of the Batrachomyomachia. The Batrachomyomachia (Βατραχομυομαχία) or the Battle of Frogs and Mice is a comic epic or parody of the Iliad, definitely attributed to Hómēros by the Romans, but according to Plutarch the work of Pigres of Halicarnassus, the brother (or son) of Artemisia, queen of Caria and ally of Xerxes. The word 'batrachomyomachia' has come to mean 'a silly altercation'.
The plot is as follows: a mouse drinking water from a lake meets the Frog King, who invites him to his house. As the Frog King swims across the lake, the Mouse seated on his back, they are confronted by a frightening water snake. The Frog dives, forgetting about the Mouse, who drowns. Another Mouse witnesses the scene from the bank of the lake, and runs to tell everyone about it. The Mice arm themselves for battle to avenge the Frog King's treachery, and send a herald to the Frogs with a declaration of war. The Frogs blame their King, who altogether denies the incident. In the meantime, Zeus, seeing the brewing war, proposes that the gods take sides, and specifically that Athena help the Mice. Athena refuses, saying that mice have done her a lot of mischief. Eventually the gods decide to watch rather than get involved. A battle ensues and the Mice prevail. Zeus summons a force of crabs to prevent complete destruction of the Frogs. Powerless against the armoured crabs, the Mice retreat, and the one-day war ends at sundown.

The Batrachomyomachia
Into my soul, fair Heliconian train,
Enter, and fill me with your tuneful quire!
For on my knees my tablets have I ta'en,
To heap them full of strife and tumult dire;
Hear, sons of men! while with poetic fire
I sing how mice the frogs in fight withstood,
Performing deeds of valour in their ire,
That mock'd the achievements of the giant brood:—
As Fame, the story told, thus rose the deadly feud:—

A thirsty mouse, escaping from a cat,
Dipp'd his soft whisker in a neighbouring lake;
Him, while upon its verdant marge he sat,
With its sweet stream his panting thirst to slake,
A croaking native of the pool bespake,
"Who art thou? what thy race? whence hast thou come,
Reply with truth, no fraudful answer make,
For I shall lead thee to my royal dome,
If worthy of my love — and make my house thy home."

"I am the king Physignathus, whose sway
Is own'd through all these waters, high and low;
Me, as their rightful lord, the frogs obey,
And to my sceptre long have loved to bow.
Peleus, the prince to whom my birth I owe,
Wedded his bride Hydromedusa fair,
In amorous transport on the banks of Po;
Thee too, thy vigorous form and lordly air
A sceptre-bearing chief, and warrior tried declare."
The remnants of the Acra, a fortress built by the Hellenic King Antiochus IV more than 2,000 years ago and sought for over 100 years, has emerged from a parking lot in Jerusalem, Israeli archaeologists have announced.

Mentioned in Jewish biblical sources and by historians like Josephus Flavius, the fortress was unearthed after 10 years of excavations under the parking lot.The discovery solved one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The archaeologists unearthed a section of a massive wall, which they said was the base of an imposing tower measuring 66 feet long and 13 feet wide. In addition, the wall’s outer base was coated with layers of soil, stone and plaster. The specially designed slippery slope was meant to keep attackers away.
Coins dating from the reign of Antiochus IV to that of Antiochus VII, as well as wine jars imported from the Aegean region were also unearthed, providing evidence of the citadel’s chronology, as well as the non-Jewish identity of its inhabitants. Among the ruins, the archaeologists also discovered lead slingshots, bronze arrowheads and stone catapults, all stamped with a trident, which symbolized the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (215-164 BC).
According to historical sources, the Acra fortress was occupied by mercenaries, and Hellenized Jews which produced great sufferings in Jerusalem’s residents. The stronghold withstood all attempts at conquest and only in 141 BC was it conquered by the Hasmonean king Simon Maccabeus, after a long siege and the starvation of the Hellenic defenders. According to Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority:
"This stronghold controlled all means of approach to the Temple atop the Temple Mount, and cut the Temple off from the southern parts of the city. [These items] are the silent remains of battles that were waged there at the time of the Hasmoneans, in their attempt to conquer the citadel which was viewed as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ of the city. This sensational discovery allows us for the first time to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city, on the eve of the Maccabean uprising in 167 BC."
I assume we are all familiar with the myth of Persephone's abduction into the underworld? Cliffnotes version: Zeus and Hades agreed thad Persephone, Zeus' daughter would marry the Gods of the Underworld. This decission took her away from hr mother Demeter, who stopped making the ground fertile. Nothing grew and mankind suffered. So it was decided that Persephone spent part of the year with her husband underground and part of the year above ground, with Her mother. This appeased all paries and mankind survived.

Today I would like to share an animated version of this myth by 'Animated Tales of the World'. This was a 2001 American animated series that aired on HBO. this short episode focusses solely--and very beautifully so--on this myth. I found it quite moving and absolutely beautifully done! Enjoy!

I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"I don't read or speak Greek and want to get some ancient texts in book form. Should I get the English versions or the one in my native language? I have looked at those in my native language and most seem greatly influenced by Christianity. "

In general, it helps getting a version translated from the Greek, not the English, if you go for one in your native language. I have a few translations of various books and I have found that those based upon English translations usually base them on order ones--which are greatly influenced by Christian thinking. In general, if you are okay with English, I would go for an English translation.

 "I wonder, as God of War may involve the main character killing off Olympic gods, if you might find that game blasphemous?"

You know what, I think about things like that a lot, actually. I wonder about it when watching some TV show which does something horrid with the Theoi or play a game or whatever. Is this blasphemous?  And then I read some of the ancient plays and remember that even the ancient Hellenes had no issue at all with using representations of the Gods for their amusement. And the Gods never seemed to mind. There is a difference between the Gods and the characters in these games, movies, and series. Those characters are not my Gods. I think, in general, that distinction is very important to remember.


"Is there a certain ceremony I should do to devote myself to Apollon or should I just speak with him and tell him my wishes?"

Oh boy, am I ever not the right person to ask about the Neo-Pagan side of Hellenic Polytheism! Okay, what you ask sounds like personal patronage to me and I feel like that has no place in Hellenismos. Not in the Recon version I practice, anyway. Hellenism has its own beautiful system of kharis, and because of that, there is no need to bring in a modern concept like patrons. Modern patronage is a beautiful thing but unfortunately, I can't answer any questions about it because it's foreign to the ancient Hellenic religion. Sorry.


"Should I use diluted or undiluted wine (I only have red is that fine?) in my libation? And if diluted how much should my water to wine ratio be?"

That depends, are you worshipping 'Ouranic' or 'Khthonic' Gods? 'Ouranic' is a term that applies to Theoi and practices who reside or that are associated with Mount Olympos, home of many of the Theoi. As such, Ouranic deities are also referred to as 'Olympians'. Ouranic deities tended to receive wine libations that were mixed with water. 'Kthonic' refers to deities or spirits of the Underworld or the earth, and the rituals associated with Them. Khthonic deities received either wineless libations (water, milk, and honey, usually), or wine libations of unmixed wine.

It's unclear how diluted the wine was for Ouranic libations. Sources state that for a Symposium--a (non-religious) assembly--the best mix (depending on the wine, of course) was one part wine to about three or four parts water, but a dilution of 1/20 appears in the writings of Hómēros. Personally, from experience, I would say that a mixture of one part water to two or three parts water is best. This way the libation doesn't murder your fire.


"I've heard some say among our tradition that after death we either become Gods ourselves (Orphic Hellenismos) like Heracles, while others say we pass on to Elysium. I was wondering because you are very much a spiritual leader what you believe on the subject and any details you may provide."

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert in Orphism. I don't follow a Mystery Tradition in my own practice, after all. That having been said, let me give this a try.
Orphic ideas of the soul and afterlife are most often defined by explicit contrast with the Homeric view of the afterlife, which is taken as the standard view for ancient Hellenic culture. The Homeric afterlife is that of a grim, joyless and tedious existence in the Underworld. The Underworld of Homeros exists solely--at least for the now departed mortal--of the Asphodel meadows. The dead drink from the river Lethe and forget who they were. Sacrifical (animal) blood returns a sense of life to the shades and they recover their memories for a short time. In this tradition, life is lived while you are alive. One you die, you are dead. You might cling to life, but you will never truly be part of it again.
The Orphics were an ancient mystical cult with affinities to Indian religious systems. They believed in reincarnation and the possibility of liberation. Orpheus, the movement's legendary founder, is said to have taught that soul and body are locked together during life; the soul is divine, immortal and aspires to freedom, and during life, the body acts as a prison to the soul. Death releases the soul for a short while, but is then captured by another body until that, too, dies, and so the soul moves from body to body--both human and animal--until it can attain the highest good: liberation. In order to reach liberation, the Orphic way teaches to turn to God by ascetic piety of life and self-purification: the purer the life lived, the higher will be the next reincarnation, until the soul has completed the spiral ascent of destiny to live for ever as God from whom it comes.
The ancient Hellenes called this process 'Metempsychosis' (μετεμψύχωσις). It is a philosophical term which refers to the transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. The notion that the human soul enters another body upon death, though unfamiliar in Hellenic religion, was widespread in Hellenic philosophy. The doctrine of transmigration is first associated with the Pythagoreans and Orphics and was later taught by Plato and Pindar. For the former groups, the soul retained its identity throughout its reincarnations; Plato indicated that souls do not remember their previous experiences. Although Herodotus claims that the Hellenes learned this idea from Egypt, most scholars do not believe it came either from Egypt or from India, but developed independently.
My personal believes of life after death have shifted over the years. I transitioned into Hellenismos from Eclectic Religious Witchcraft and in my former Tradition, reincarnation was the primary belief. Since the ancient Hellenes had a version of it in metepsychosis, I simply went with that. Now, the older I get and the better my understanding becomes of the ancient Hellenic culture and religion, the more I pull to a more Homeric version of the afterlife. A bit later, perhaps, where Elysium is an option for those who live the highest, purest, of lives. I long for the meadows now. I don't strive for Elysium; I don't think it's for the common folk like me. Give me the meadows and the water of the river Lethe. Let me live life to the fullest. Let me live its up and downs. Give me the completion of my goals and my challenges, and then let me forget and wander in contentment, remembered sometimes--hopefully fondly--by those I leave behind.
Archaeologists think they may have found the city of Kane, site of a major battle between Athens and Sparta during the Peloponnesian war, reports National Geographic. The island, mentioned by the ancient Hellenic historian Xenophon, is famous for its proximity to the 406 B.C. sea battle of Arginusae, at which the Athenians defeated the Spartans near the end of the Peloponnesian war.

Ancient historical sources refer to three Arginusae islands, but the exact location of the third has long been unclear. The Arginusae islands, now called the Garip islands, lie only a few hundred yards off the coast of Turkey. Researchers drilled into the ground and used geological evidence to reveal that what is now a peninsula was once an island. At some point before the late Middle Ages, a land bridge formed between island and shore. An Ottoman map from the 16th century shows the island had already become a peninsula by that point.

It appears the island may have been connected to the mainland by deposits that formed in a narrow natural channel, possibly as a result of earthquakes or the erosion of mainland agricultural fields.
The scientists plan to determine the ages of the geological layers using radiocarbon dating, which will help them better understand how this happened. Archaeologists also found the submerged remains of an ancient harbor from the Hellenistic period (323 B.C. to 31 B.C.) nearby, another indication that the peninsula was once an island.

Though Kane was only a small city in antiquity, it held a place along a strategic maritime trade route running from the Black Sea along the southern coast of Turkey, with a large harbor where ships could shelter from storms. Previous research uncovered pottery on the island that suggested trade routes; now certain microorganisms native to the Black Sea that were likely carried in by boats to the nearby port of Elaia offer additional evidence of trade networks.

It’s unlikely that any of the wooden shipwrecks from the battle of Arginusae would have survived, but future research will aim to establish a timeline from the drilled cores and combine this data with historical sources to better understand the maritime networks of the broader region.

For the full article and several images of archaeological finds, the peninsula itself, and some of its researchers, please visit National Geographic.
For Maimakterion 2015, Pandora's Kharis members have selected three great causes to choose from for their Maimakterion 2015 donation run. Two focus on animal rights and wellfare, and the other focussess on the homeless of New Orleans.

Animal Defenders International
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is a major international campaigning group, with offices in London, Los Angeles and Bogota, who lobby to protect animals on issues such as animals in entertainment and their use in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; factory farming; pollution and conservation.

The organization has been involved with several international animal rescues, funding both the relocation and rehoming of circus lions, tigers, chimpanzees and other animals and has become a major force for animal protection, succeeding through its undercover investigations in securing legal protection for animals.

The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE and supports projects in 27 countries worldwide. It reaches out to those in greatest need through the provision of permanent refuge and veterinary services to alleviate their suffering. Over 50 million donkeys and mules exist in the world. Many need care and protection from a life of suffering and neglect, whilst others have a vital role to play in human survival and happiness; they are at the heart of everything they do at The Donkey Sanctuary.

The New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA) is non-profit organization comprised of self-identifying vampires representing an alliance between Houses within the Community in the Greater New Orleans Area. Founded in 2005, NOVA was established to provide support and structure for the vampire and other-kin subcultures and to provide educational and charitable outreach to those in need.
NOVA is composed of artists, priests, mystics, lawyers, teachers, writers, parents, married couples and single individuals. NOVA as a group cuts across the socio-economic and ethnic spectrum. Like the legends of the vampire that the members invest in as a personal reality, NOVA finds its members in every segment of life.

Do you have a favourite out of these three? Vote for your favourite in our poll until December 1. We will announce this month's winner on December 2, 2015.