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. Also: this is question collections post number sixty. Sixty! With an average of four answers per posts, that is at least 240 questions answered--say 250 because I like whole numbers. 250 answers. Quite the achievement. Here is to at least 250 more!

"Is there a Hellenic version of Yule or Winter solstice celebration?"

The closest thing we have to it is the Poseidonia or Poseidea or Poseideia. During the Poseidonia, Poseidon as savior of ships, protector of those who voyage in ships, and God of the lapping waters both salt and fresh important for agriculture, is thanked for the many gifts that came from faraway places that were likely given at that time. The immense trade and distribution was nearly all through shipping, relatively little overland, whether it be perfume from Cyprus or pottery from Corinth. Celebrating Poseidon's Festival seems to be lost in modern practice. It likely entailed bonfires, feasting, cutting of trees (probably decorated), and very likely gift giving. As God of begetting, that aspect was not forgotten.

We don't know, exactly, when the festival took place. Scholars have both claimed and disclaimed it took place during or near the Winter solstice. Elaion generally places it around the winter solstice; it's a point in time the ancient Hellenes would have been able to observe and they most likely did.

"Thoughts on Hermeticism?"

The Hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Hellenistic Gnosticism and has greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition. It was considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition claims descent from a doctrine which affirms that a single, true theology exists which is present in all religions and was given by God to man in antiquity. The Hermetica form the basis of Hermeticism. They discuss the divine, the cosmos, mind, and nature. Some touch upon alchemy, astrology, and related concepts. They are Egyptian-Greek wisdom texts from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, which are mostly presented as dialogues in which a teacher, generally identified as Hermes Trismegistus ('thrice-greatest Hermes'), enlightens a disciple. Many Christian writers considered Hermes Trismegistus to be a wise pagan prophet who foresaw the coming of Christianity.

I have stressed before on my blog the importance of narrowing down your practice to a time period and even a location. The reign of the Hellenes lasted for roughly 650 years. During that time, several major changes took place within the culture and religion of these people. Trying to reconstruct all these practices is not only impractical but also impossible. As a Hellenic Recon, it therefor becomes important to find out which classical, Hellenic, period speaks to us--and if we want to go beyond the scope of those time periods into the Graeco-Roman and Graeco-Egyptian. Of even more importance, perhaps, is if you want to follow or include mystery Traditions, like those taught at Eleusis, or by the Orphics, or even those found in the Papyri or Hermetica.

Hermeticism has no place in my personal practice. I base my practice on older traditions as that is what I am most comfortable with. that choice is a personal one and I do enjoy reading texts like the Hermetica. It's just not a religious text for me.

"Why do you not think the use of magic is ok? I mean like what if you worship hades and hekate? "
I do think the practice of magic is okay, I just don't think it's Traditional. I am of the rather strong opinion that modern witchcraft has no place in Hellenismos--especially when that witchcraft is defined as acts which allow humanity influence over their lives and those of others, outside of the realm of the Gods. I call anything else 'praying', and if you need tools for that, than I take no issue besides the fact that it's non-Traditional--save for when it is.

Something I often hear about the ancient Hellenic religion, and prescribed about its modern equivalent, is that there was no magic in ancient Hellas. This is true. It's also a lie. It all depends on your definition of magic. Yes, there was 'magic' and 'witchcraft' in ancient Hellas and its mythology, but not in the way we know it now; this was divine magic; a manifestation of a trait major Gods manifest with a thought and for which lesser deities require a medium to manifest. Their powers, however, are still the powers of a God. This is exactly why I feel we, as Hellenists, should pray to the Gods for any aid we might require, and blessings we would wish upon our lives; to practice magic ourselves would be to equate ourselves with the (minor) Gods, and Hellenismos is clear upon the status of humans: we are human, not divine. In my view, to practice magic is to practice hubris, and that is decidedly dangerous in a Hellenistic context.

The ancient Hellenes worshipped Hekate just like they did other Gods. They worshipped Plouton (an Ouranic epithet of Hades) like that as well. In general, they did not worship Hades--or very rarely. Hades adn hekate were nto equated with the practice of magic; Hekate, if anything, was equated with protection from magic--mostly against the Evil Eye. Practicing magic, in a Traditional practice, makes absolutely no sense, and so I do not. that does not mean I am against it. I think the practice of magic is beautiful. To me, it just does not belong in Hellenismos.