Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

  1. #1
    Sr. Member Claude's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    141
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Greco Roman Polytheist and Dionysus Devotee
    Location
    IL
    Phrase
    There is no cure for madness when the cure itself is mad-Euripides

    A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    As a easy way to introduce myself I decided to just pull one of my posts off from Tumblr and share it here. I hope you guys enjoy.

    I saw on an Asatru Folk site a criticism about Hellenism. The author wrote that unlike Hellenism Asatru has a huge appeal because of its view of the afterlife. The author wrote that Asatru offers the halls of Valhalla whereas Hellenism only offers the gloom of Hades. Not only does this author not understand their own faith (not everyone goes to Valhalla) but they also do not understand mine.
    When someone dies their spirit travels with Hermes down to the Styx. The spirit is then ferried across the river and led by Hermes to the Crossroads. At the Crossroads the Three Judges Minos Rhadamanthys and Aeacus decide the fate of the spirit based on their deeds and actions in life. This is different from the Christian idea of sin because the Gods are entirely unconcerned with things like who we decide to bed or how many different kinds of fabric we decide to wear. Instead the Three Judges look at the overall impact of our lives on the Cosmos.
    The majority of us who have lived normal lives will be sent to the Asphodel Meadows. The Asphodel Meadows are the gloom that the Asatru author spoke of. The common view of the Asphodel Meadows parallels that of the Heathen view of Helheim. The spirit exists in a mild way as in life with both joy and sadness. The spirits is spared the worst of things like hate evil and pain though. Interesting fact the Asphodel Meadows get their name from this flower.

    If the spirit lived a good especially beneficial life the Judges send it to the Elysian Fields. This is the Hellenic version of Heaven. Here is where the spirits of great social leaders artists philosophers soldiers and those who just lived decent lives etc get sent. This is also the place where those who managed to achieve enlightenment on Earth rest in perfect bliss. In ancient times it was believed that those initiated in the Eleusian Mysteries would go here after death. The Elysian Fields are nothing but fine food fine wine sex and sleep. There is no work toil boredom hate or anything else that plagues the living in this sacred place.
    The third and final option is Tartarus. The Judges reserve the land of Tartarus for those few spirits who have committed especially heinous crimes against humanity nature and or the Gods. This land if full of pain and suffering. Characters in mythology like the Titans Tantalus and Sisyphus are sentenced to suffer here.
    I also believe in reincarnation. This idea was more common among the Romans than the Greeks but I carry it nonetheless. According to tradition after the spirit served its allotted time in its designated place it either drinks from the Lethe River or the Mnemosyne River. The difference is that the Lethe causes the spirit to forget its past life and existence in the Underworld. Whereas the Mnemosyne allows the spirits to remember both of these things. What determines rather or not a spirit is allowed to drink from one and not the other is where they spent their time in the Underworld. Those who went to the Elysian Fields are allowed to drink from the Mnemosyne and those who went to the Asphodel Meadows or Tartarus are only allowed to drink the Lethe. After the spirit has had its drink it is reincarnated along familial lines

  2. #2

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    That's very informative.

  3. #3
    Member Py9's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    35
    Gender
    female
    Religion
    Pagan, trying to find my path
    Location
    Jerusalem, Israel

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    Claude, can I ask how your Hellenistic beliefs affect your everyday life?

  4. #4
    Sr. Member Claude's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    141
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Greco Roman Polytheist and Dionysus Devotee
    Location
    IL
    Phrase
    There is no cure for madness when the cure itself is mad-Euripides

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    I don't even know where to begin. There are just so many different things Hellenism has helped grow in me. It has made me more mindful of myself and the way I interact with others. One thing I stress a lot when I talk to people about Dionysus is how He really forces you to analyze yourself. He shines a glaring light on every aspect of your existence rather you want Him to or not. That kind of mindfulness is very rewarding in many different ways.

    At the same time Hellenism has opened up an insatiable craving for knowledge and understanding especially in topics like psychology philosophy biology rhetoric etymology etc. Being a part of a faith that really values and even endorses logic over faith has really been a big drive in my life. That's part of why I find it so hard to identify with the reconstructionist movements within Hellenic polytheism. In my experience they are more like papacy with all of its static rules and practices.

  5. #5

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude View Post
    At the same time Hellenism has opened up an insatiable craving for knowledge and understanding especially in topics like psychology philosophy biology rhetoric etymology etc. Being a part of a faith that really values and even endorses logic over faith has really been a big drive in my life.
    That's why I love Buddhism and Left-Hand Path Philosophy.

  6. #6
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2,609
    Religion
    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
    Location
    West Virginia
    Phrase
    Can't never did nothing till it tried!

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    While what you wrote is important I think many forget that the Hellenic afterlife was strongly tied to the living as well. One could either change the fortunes of their dead through ritual offerings of food and such of gain purification for their dead regardless of how long they have been dead.

    That and there was a lot of social influences upon the dead and whether they would be restless dead or not. The very dead being tied heavily to curse tablets or called forth to do the bidding of some practitioner. Even going so far as to be called forth with the promise that their pollutants would be purified and praise given so the spirits could rest in peace.

    The book The Restless Dead: Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece (ISBN-13 9780520217072) by Sarah Iles Johnston is a very good read on the subject.

  7. #7
    Sr. Member Claude's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    141
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Greco Roman Polytheist and Dionysus Devotee
    Location
    IL
    Phrase
    There is no cure for madness when the cure itself is mad-Euripides

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    The Afterlife also varied from polis to polis school to school and year to year. Ancient Greece was not a homogenized culture. Each polis had its own dialect and religious traditions. The only constant between the city states was a veneration of the Dodekatheoi in one form or another.

  8. #8
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2,609
    Religion
    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
    Location
    West Virginia
    Phrase
    Can't never did nothing till it tried!

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude View Post
    The Afterlife also varied from polis to polis school to school and year to year. Ancient Greece was not a homogenized culture. Each polis had its own dialect and religious traditions. The only constant between the city states was a veneration of the Dodekatheoi in one form or another.
    I agree there was a lot of difference between not only the polis' but also the major historical periods and the evolution of dead rites and funeral rites. Heck even between the civilized Greece and the uncivilized out lands that influenced Greece such as Anatolia, Macedonia, etc. Perhaps even the actual make up of the chthonic world and how one was brought in. Hermes is perhaps the most well known via the boatman but Hecate also comes into play with her association to the restless dead. That and the various entryways into the underworld, most people know of passing Cerebus / Kerberos on the island but one might also enter via the swamp / water and pass the Hydra or one that was supposed to be in the desert though I do not recall who the protector of that gateway was.

    Though much of what you've written seems to be reflective of the Athenian perspective more so than the Lacedaemon (Spartan) or Arcadian perspectives or some of the other city states from my readings. Though to be honest that makes sense considering Athenian perspectives are better recorded in the surviving records.

    What I find of interest is that it is frequently assumed the notion of the Dodekatheon originates in Anatolia not Greece. As such worship of the 12 Olympian's is not found through out Greece in the Archaic period. Then factor in that the 12 Olympians do vary from local to local as to who or whom was actually part of the 12. From many of my readings you do not actually find a stable 12 Olympians until after the Trojan War and the reshuffle of gods / goddesses and their sphere's of influence. But that is moving away from the underworld and afterlife concepts or the evolution of them from the 6th century B.C.E forward.

  9. #9
    Sr. Member Yazichestvo's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    240
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Slavic polytheist
    Location
    United States

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    There were a number of different views of the afterlife. The view of tartarus for instance, became more hell-like between Hesiod and Plato's republic. Some views such as reincarnation or judgment were also likely influenced by Pythagoreans, or by the mysteries of Eleusis and Orpheus.
    If you want to be thought intelligent, just agree with everyone.

  10. #10
    Biker Doc_Holliday's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    831
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Asatruar
    Location
    Good Ol' Canada
    Phrase
    Come join the murder, Come fly with black, We'll give you freedom, From the human trap.

    Re: A Look Into the Hellenic Afterlife

    That Asatruar author is in fact very ignorant. First of all, Valhalla is a hall in Asgard, there are more halls for different people. The fact he said the halls of Valhalla is a huge hole in the side of the Asatru boat, also, hes hating on another religion. My god he needs to get over himself, I apologize for his bigotry and don't let him sour your opinion of all us

Similar Threads

  1. Hellenic Altars
    By redhairjoe in forum Greek & Roman Traditions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01 Aug 2014, 08:36
  2. Not hellenic?
    By EclecticWitch in forum Greek & Roman Traditions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09 Jul 2014, 08:13
  3. Other Greek And Hellenic Pagans.
    By Archimedes in forum Greek & Roman Traditions
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01 Jun 2014, 13:32
  4. Crossing Pantheons from a Hellenic/Religio Perspective
    By Claude in forum Greek & Roman Traditions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15 Nov 2013, 23:22
  5. Hellenic And Roman Style Folk Music
    By Archimedes in forum Greek & Roman Traditions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23 Jun 2013, 14:23

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •