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.

"Which theoi can be invoked in regards to friendship? Has Dionysus got any connection with friendship?"

There is actually a Goddess in charge of friendship (and sexual intercourse): Philotes (or Philia). Not much is known about Her, but you can pray to Her for sure. Theoi.com has a small article about Her. Not surprisingly, 'philia' is also the word used by the ancient Hellenes to denote friendhsip. As for Dionysos... He does not have a direct link to Philotes, but when there is drinking involved, friendship tend to be easily born (and broken!), so I would not be surprised if Dionysos would be open to listen to issues concerning friendships.


"I managed to watch the documentary. While its very interesting, many things bother me. About the fact they keep saying our gods are archetypes, for example. And at one point it's said that in ancient Greek religion 'we say we created the gods at our image'. That made me cringe. Am I wrong in thinking this?"

That would be this documentary. The woman who explained these things, explained them very simplisticly. She ditched all 'minor' Gods and put all major domains with the dodekatheon. She also integrated ancient Hellenic philosophy into her story when she spoke of mankind creating the Theoi. Her thought process is largely influenced by Socrates, and later Plato and Xenophanes (him especially). These philosophers, in turn, were influenced by the Jewish prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who interpreted parts of the Old Testament to reflect the idea that man created the Gods as a way to feel safer (simplifying here).

During the sixth and fifth centuries BC, the traditional Olympian religion began to lose its hold on some aristocratic Athenian citizens. A small number of poets and philosophers began to question popular views of the Gods (Socrates, famously, was put to death for that). They shifted their interest away from the role of Gods in mythical stories, supernatural events, and everyday life and instead towards the search for a single rational principle at the heart of the universe. They pushed religion from deities to divinity, from divine interventions to physical causes, and from tangible images to invisible forces. Xenophanes (570-478 BC) famously said:

"Ethiopians make their gods snub-nosed and black; the Thracians make theirs blue-eyed and red-haired ... Mortals imagine that the gods are begotten, and that the gods wear clothes like their own and have language and form like the voice and form of mortals. But if oxen or lions had hands and could draw and do the work with their hands that men do, horses would have drawn the form of gods like horses and oxen gods like oxen and they would represent the bodies of the gods just like their own forms."

Plato had much the same idea:

"The gods are human contrivances, they do not exist in nature but only by custom and law, which moreover differ from place to place according to the agreement made by each group when they laid down their laws."

As did Athenian playwright-poet Critias (460-403 BC), who had the leading character in his play Sisyphus, promoting a related idea:

"... a man of shrewd and subtle mind invented for men the fear of the gods, so that there might be something to frighten the wicked even if they acted, spoke or thought in secret. From this motive he introduced the notion of divinity. There is, he said, a spirit enjoying endless life, hearing and seeing with his mind, exceeding wise and all-observing, bearer of a divine nature. He will hear everything spoken among men and can see everything that is done."

Xenophanes and Plato believed in the Gods, though, and questioned only Their form--most ancient philosophers did. So the views expressed in the documentary definitely have ancient foundations. I don't agree with this way of thinking as the roots of my religious view lie earlier, with writers like Hesiod and Homeros. But to view the Gods as archetypes and created by humanity is definitely a valid form of thought and worship within Hellenismos. That said, I think philosophy and religion are not the same thing and while they influence each other, you can have one without the other as well. For more on that, please see here. I hope this puts your mind to rest a little.

"Hello Elani! I have a devotional necklace I wear constantly for Apollon. Is there a time when I shouldn't wear it? Like sex or sleeping or working or showering?"

Personally, I do not feel that a devotional necklace or anything you wear to show your dedication to the Theoi needs to be taken off for anything. It's a personal gesture that--while very important to you--is not tied directly to the Theoi, nor does it automatically draw Their gazd. It's something that shows other people what (and who) you stand for--it's not an extention of the Theoi.


"Do you have any resource on Oracle of Delphi?"

What sort of resources are you looking for? I have quite a few posts up on the subject on my blog?
I hope this helps!


"Do you speak/read ancient Greek? If so how did you learn and how would you recommend others learn? Have you ever been to Greece?"

I don't, actually. I would love to learn, but I suck at languages. English and Dutch is about all I can manage. I hope to one day get the hang of it, though. I have been to Greece, though. As a child, but still. I went there twice. Would you like to see pictures?