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.

"Do the Theoi mind if you worship other gods?"

As an individual? I doubt it. The Theoi, in general, are unconcerned with a specific worshipper. Our religion is at its core one of group worship. They remember us when we draw Their attention to us but only then. Stop praying to Them and you'll be forgotten. As a species, though? Yeah, I bet that pissed Them off something royal! But there is not much They could have done about that (see below).


"Hope this isn't a bad question, but why couldn't the Theoi save Hellas when the Romans, then Christianity, came?"

You are assuming the Romans conquering Hellas was a bad thing. Perhaps it fitted Their plan? Even without that, though, the invasion of the Romans and then the rise of Christianity was of human design and humanity abandoned the Theoi of their own free will. I think that might be waht you are really asking, is it not? Why did the Theoi allow humanity to convert to Christianity?

Hellenismos believes in free will of humanity; not even the Gods can end the will of a human being, but they can certainly influence the lives we live and instil in us through our environment a need to serve, a need to find Them, a need to honour Them. The concept of free will was a grateful one to the ancient Hellenic philosophers. After all, free will in a religious world poses a problem: if you believe in the Gods, and that the Gods have powers beyond ours--foresight, mostly, and a claim to the end of our lives--how can you make the case for free will?

 In the early days, a form of compatibilism was found where the idea that causal determinism and logical necessity are compatible with free will. As time and philosophy progressed, great thinkers like Anaximander and Heraclitus around the sixth century BC came up with theories to grapple with the supernatural as it ruled over the natural while leaving free will intact. Their resolution was to assign earthy causes to physical events like floods, taking them out of the realm of the supernatural and into the realm of the natural.

In a quest to give humanity back a sense of responsibility for their own actions, materialist philosophers Democritus and Leucippus posed a new theory: that everything--including humans--existed from atoms from the same source. It were great thinkers like the Pythagoreans, Socrates,  Plato, and Aristotle who attempted to reconcile an element of human freedom with material determinism and causal law, in order to hold man responsible for his actions. Aristotle, especially, introduced the notion of 'accidents' into Leucippus' thinking, paving the way for an element of chance to be introduced into the theory.

Aristotle's views were the foundation for a slew of new theories that built upon his, the most famous, perhaps, being Epicurus, who thought human agents had the ability to transcend necessity and chance. He argued that as atoms moved through the void, there were occasions when they would 'swerve' from their otherwise determined paths, thus initiating new causal chains. This paved the way for Lucretius, who saw the randomness as enabling free will.

 It was the Stoic school of philosophy that solidified the idea of natural laws controlling all things, including the mind. Their influence persists to this day, in philosophy and religion, even though most of their work on free will has been lost--most likely to the Christian church, who preached a dogma of determinism by way of an omnipotent God.

Free will is powerful: it gives us the agency we need to aspire to greatness. It gives us a sense of control over our lives. We choose to become servants to the Gods--we are not forced to do so, even though it might be destined we become servants; this makes all the difference in our joy of the execution of the Divine will. If we felt pressured and ordered into it, we would not find the same joy in it as we do now we are free to choice our path--or believe we are free to choose our path.

Sadly, or perhaps necessarily, this also paves the way for us to choose to denounce the Theoi, both as individuals as well as as a species.


"I was conducting a few actions for the Deipnon tonight, and one of my parents disapproved (I'm 14). What should I do about that?"

Nothing. They're your parents and until you are eighteen, you are under their rule and guidance. You don't mention if they are actively keeping you from further worship. I also don't know your home situation. What's perhaps a good course of action is to talk to them. Talk to them about your faith and your desire to practice. Ask them for their reasons for disapproving an see if they have the right idea about Hellenimsos (I doubt it). If at all possible, conversation is always the most prudent of courses of action.

If you do want to continue practicing, try to fidn a way to use regular things already in your room for it and choose times when they are not at home if at all possible. There are ways to hide it, but again, respecting your elders (and parents, especially), is one fo the core ethics of Hellenismos. Good luck!


"Is it normal to worry about not doing the rituals correctly?"

Especially when first starting out, I would say yes. I know I worried about it for a while when I first started. But truly, there is not much to Hellenistic ritual. Walk to your bomos (altar), cleanse yourself with water that has had something burning tossed into it, recite a hymn to the God(s), make your offerings, say your prayers, and make sure not to catch the house on fire during any part of it. That's basically it. You can get a lot more elaborate but it will still come down to procession, cleansing, hymns and prayers, and offerings.


"How can I get an involuntary, offensive-to-the-Theoi thought out of my mind?"

The Theoi, in general, don't look into our heads. Have you ever read Zeus getting ticked of at Herakles because he thought something bad? Have you ever read anything about the Gods judging a person upon their thoughts? Our Gods are not all-seeing (except for Helios, and that applies only to things actually visible to the naked eye as He beholds the earth from above and thus has a great range of vision). Our Gods need to be drawn to us to get attention, let alone randomly look into our heads at the exact moment you may or may not think something that They may or may not take offense to. Our minds are our own, which is why we say our prayers out loud. It's our actions that speak for us and draw the Theoi. It's through our actions that we must practice arete. Truly, you are safe from your thoughts.