The Greek word 'Dodekatheism' broadly translates as 'the worship of the twelve Gods'. It is used to indicate either the entire movement of Hellenic Reconstruction, or solely to indicate a movement within Hellenic Reconstruction that focusses on the worship of The Twelve Olympians--usually consisting of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Hēphaistos, Hestia, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Ares, Demeter, Hermes, Artemis, and Apollon--with Dionysos (usually as a replacement for Hestia), and Hades, tagged on.

When used to indicate the entire movement of Hellenic Reconstruction, it is seen as an alternative to the terms 'Hellenismos', 'Hellenic Recon', and 'Hellenism'. 'Hellenismos' is a word coined by the Emperor Julian in the 4th century AD. He was the first to group the entire religion of ancient Hellas into one label, the ‘Hellenic way’, which, at the time, encapsulated pre-Christian religion and the legacy of Hellenic philosophy and culture. In modern Greek, the term translates roughly as 'Hellenism, the Greek nation.', which makes it a good term but not necessarily the most accurate. As it focusses on the Greek nation, it not only does not limit the practice to ancient Hellas, it also doesn't refer to religion in a direct manner, and has a certain ethnical ring to it that might exclude those who are not born in modern day Greece or who cannot trace back their lineage to ancient Hellas.

The word 'Dodekatheism' has been used for some time within modern day Greece to refer to the ancient Hellenic religion, as the term encompasses much more of the required meaning; it refers to religion, it speaks of the Gods worshipped in ancient Hellas, and it has a modern and inclusive ring to it that I can appreciate. Within Elaion, the term Dodekatheism is used to indicate the religion, and I most certainly understand why. On this blog, I use 'Hellenismos', however, as the term is more wide-spread, people are used to it, and I have a weakness for it. I also do not want this blog or myself to be linked to the movement within Hellenismos where only The Twelve--plus, perhaps, Hestia (when believed to have been ousted by Dionysos, which is often the case) and Hades--are worshipped.

So, lets talk about Dodekatheism as worship of The Twelve. This belief is held most famously by modern  practitioners like Timothy Jay Alexander, and it stems from the idea that the total number of Gods is both finite and innumerable, and all are contained within or divisions of The Twelve as a result.

From the website:

"[The] totality of all things makes up a multiplicity of a single ultimate thing, the One. The One contains all time, all space, all intelligence, and all spirit. It is all-inclusive, and functions everywhere unhindered yet without diminishing diversity or individuality. The One is seen as the source of all spirit, matter, and of all created things. In a closed-system (the One being that system and containing all things) it is an implausibility for there to exist an infinite number of things. By containing all things, the One is itself infinity. A thing that is contained cannot be infinite. Therefore, while it is possible for the total number of Gods to be innumerable, there can only ever exist a finite number. We can then reason the total number of Gods is both finite and innumerable. The Twelve refers to the Twelve Olympian Gods, or Dodekatheon, who are considered the supreme Cosmic Gods. [...] We can reason these twelve are in primary possession of the world, and can consider all other Gods are contained within or divisions of these."

I personally do not subscribe to the notion of the One any more than I subscribe to a system where The Twelve are all Theoi you need to worship to practice Hellenismos. To each their own, but Dodekatheism as practiced in this regard is based on an age of ancient Hellas far later than what I subscribe to, an age built on philosophy, not theology.

I think it's incredibly important to worship not only the Twelve Olympians, but the entire pantheon of Gods, Titans, nymphs, heroes, and spirits. To think of Khionê when the snow falls, and Hēlios when the sun shines. To put food out at the crossroads on the new moon, and to draw strength from Hēraklēs and Theseus when you are going through a rough time. To beg not only Zeus Ombrios for rain, but also the Anemoi. To appease the dead when the growth cycle begins anew. To me, this is what it means to be a Hellenist, no matter the term you give the religion.