Friday, February 02, 2007

Ye Gods!

Readers of this blog will know of my affection for Greece and my respect for the Greek people. There is now another sign that Greece is becoming closer to the European mainstream, something celebrated a few years ago by Stanley Johnson, whose house is not far from mine. The special position of the Greek Church, previously only having been threatened by scandals, now faces a new challenge. Not the onward march of rational secularism but, no doubt to Francis Wheen's horror, mumbo-jumbo. Yes the pagans are back worshipping the Olympian Gods. Ellinais, a pagan group, is reviving the ancient forms of worship. Helena Smith reports,

Enter the Athens headquarters of YSEE, an umbrella organisation of pagans, and the first thing you encounter on feast days are white-clad believers offering libations before a life-size marble kouros symbolising eternal youth. Busts of Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hera and Zeus cast their stony eyes on to an altar replete with burning incense, herbs and flowers. Housed in a decrepit apartment block, between a Kurdish-run cafe and a bathroom utilities store, YSEE has become a meeting point for pagans. Here believers, such as Vlassis Rassias, gather to discuss ancient Greek history and solace-giving gods.

Like pagans the world over, Rassias says he was drawn to polytheism by the religion's focus on humanity, ecology, cosmic connections and reverence for the past.

Oh well, is this how the Enlightenment will end, not in an ideological struggle over fascistic doctrines but in a "mostly harmless" general lunacy? Bring back the Titans, I say.

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