When I was an angsty teen, years before I’d heard of Paganism, I wrote a poem called “Hellas”.


If I recall correctly, it involved the imagining of an ancient Greek amphitheatre where if the wind blew just right, the bumps, chips, and cracks in the marble would release ancient voices like the grooves on a record player.


I don’t have it anymore, which is good. Because I’m probably describing in a way that it seems better than it actually was.


I was quite proud of it then, but I was also 15 and knew little about anything. (I still know little about anything, frankly…but enough to now know how little I knew back then.)


I don’t think I was ever read the myths. The first book I remember coming across was the D’Aulaires’ “Book of Greek Myths” in the public library when I was a kid. I borrowed that repeatedly from the library.


Then in a garage sale or something, I remember coming across “Heroes, Gods, and Monsters” by Evslin, Evslin, and Hoopes. Again, it was kiddie fare, but I bought it and kept it with me for years and years. I especially loved its version of the tale of Atalanta.


Later, when I was in high school….I came across a book called “Greek Mythology for Everyone” by Donald Richardson in my school library. I stole it. I kept it for many years with me since but it got discarded in one of my many moves.  (I have since bought a used edition. It used to be called “Great Zeus and All His Children”)


The D’Aulaires’ book was great for a kid. As was the Evslin/Hoopes book. But Richardson’s book told the stories in a compelling but more mature way. It talked about how Aphrodite was born from the semen that leaked out of Cronos’ cut-off cock as it sunk into the waves. This was heady stuff for a naive virginal child such as myself. (At least as naive and virginal I could be as a Howard Stern fan.)


I’m telling you this to indicate that even before I was a Pagan, I had an interest in the gods.


In fact, when I first got into Paganism, I was actually fairly disappointed that (to my knowledge then) there were no Hellenic groups. Locally, there were groups of Wicca and Starhawk feminist Goddess-worship (which was really just open to women)…but nothing related to the Hellenic gods. There weren’t books on the subject other than academic books about how the Greeks viewed religion or practiced it. But it wasn’t a 101 guide to Hellenic polytheism in the way that Sarah Kate Istra Winter’s “Kharis” is…which is what I would have needed back then.





However, I have little interest in reconstructing or replicating the culture of ancient Greece. First off, the culture was very patriarchal (even if they allowed for priestesses and women in other religious roles). Secondly…and this is a big one… as someone born intersexed, if I’d been born in ancient Greece, I likely would have been left on a cliff or in the woods to die as an abomination.


I’m not keen on that. Go figure.


But out of all of the Western pantheons, it is the Greek that I feel closest to and know the best. (Despite not being Greek in heritage. The closest I come is Southern Italian.)


I’ve reconstructed my altar to Aphrodite, whom I view as a sort of spiritual mother. I don’t think this will be a devotional relationship unless She wants it to be. I will go wherever the gods want. In the meantime, I felt it appropriate to give offerings.


Out of the many blessings I’ve enjoyed these past few years in my new life, surely the greatest of all is my amazing partner who is a constant inspiration to me in how to be a better person. That is worth any offering I have to the goddess of Love.

~ by R.M. McGrath on 05/25/2017.

7 Responses to “Hellas”

  1. Southern Italian *is* Greek!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Part of it, yeah. Magna Graecia. I’m unsure whether or not my specific Southern Italian heritage (My great-grandparents were from Deliceto in Foggia) goes back to Magna Graecia. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to trace it back specifically so I don’t want to claim Greek heritage and DNA testing has not confirmed that yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apulia was part of Magna Graecia, if I’m not mistaken; but I can understand not wanting to claim heritage that seems dubious to you. Bloodlines don’t concern me much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just started actively practicing Hellenic Polytheism about two months ago. I approach it from a Left Hand Path magical perspective, but I haven’t found that to be too incompatible with a more traditional practice. Also, I’m half southern Italian, and although I can’t know for sure whether there is Hellenic blood in my veins, Hellenic Polytheism feels like home for me. Also, I have Richardson’s book on mythology, as well as Kharis and a few others.

    Anyway, I’m following your blog now, and have just started my own, which is dedicated to developing a Hellenic Left Hand praxis and philosophy.



    • If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading Don Webb’s “Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path”. Not sure it’s still in print, but I imagine you can find used copies on Amazon. Webb is a renowned member of the Temple of Set (and their former High Priest). Very highly recommended for anyone interested in LHP.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve always meant to read it, but I have gotten my hands on some other books from Setians–The Black Ship and Daimonosophy.


  3. Southern Italy, especially Sicily, had so many ethnic groups coming in that its virtually impossible short of a DNA test to see what you’ve got. But the land itself was known to have the best, biggest, and most numerous amounts of Hellenic temples in the entire Hellenic and Hellenistic world.

    I’d say its got the spirit of Hellas in it, for sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: