There’s been a mixed review on the proposed Pillars: some are enthusiastic and find them inspiring while others say that it is unusable for specifically Roman Polytheists.
When I wrote the Pillars, I fully braced myself for objections to calling them Pillars (too close to their Islamic cousin), perhaps there would be a disagreement with a word choice (Faith or belief for instance). What I didn’t brace myself for was the “do you know anything about Roman history or religion?” and “You are not a Roman Polytheist” attacks. Which is really disappointing.
Other criticisms did include the term Faith and that the Pillars are too generalized for it to work within Roman Polytheism. As it stands, anybody could use it and that weakens their meaning. Each Pillar ought to be very specific: Daily prayer to a specific God must be done, worship a specific God must be preformed, etc.
Forget that I wrote this for all people who identify with Revival, not just the Romans.
The last criticism is that the Pillars are simply stripped down from Islam with a slapping of Polytheist veneer (my interpretive words).
After giving it some thought, I thought it would be a good exercise to line up the Pillars with another very generalized list of things that “one ought to do” that is readily embraced by Hellenes and Romans: The Delphic Maxims. After all, they tell us to Follow God and Worship the Gods, but they never explicitly name which Gods. As it stands, the list is so general and Universal in language that anybody could apply them to their lives, and I would argue that in no way weakens their importance.
What follows is my thoughts on each Pillar with the Maxims that I think best fit for myself. Each person will be different and that is okay.
Faith or belief in the pantheon of Gods as separate individuals and acceptance of Their influence in our lives.
complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
If a person objects to having faith in the Gods, I’ve got nothing for rebuttal. We are on two different levels and never shall the twain shall meet.
I chose this one as there is a lot of talk of what differentiates between a Pagan and a Polytheist: Pagans (for the whole) see the Gods as archetypes while Polytheists see Them as fully realized individuals. I hardly see how this Pillar can be adopted by anyone?
- Follow God (Επου θεω) 3. Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου
Establishment of daily prayers.
This is a hard one for me which is why I included it. Each person will have their own idea of what daily prayer looks like and how many times a day it should be done. We are informal in this home when it comes to prayers. Thadd has his shrine in his room that he gives Poseidon and Hephaestus gifts/offerings but he doesn’t formally kneel in front of it every day to pray. At least I don’t think he does.
I tried, hard, to do the daily morning prayer. Even had a lovely prayer picked out and candles and the whole thing, but I just cannot seem to keep the discipline (which is why I chose that Maxim for myself). This, honestly, will be the greatest amount of purposeful work for me.
21. Cling to discipline (Παιδειας αντεχου) 76. Pray for happiness (Ευτυχιαν ευχου
Concern and involvement in community service and social justice.
Initially I was inspired by how some people are celebrating Hekate’s Depinon by donating to their local food pantry in Her honour and I thought “Yes, this can be done”. Since then I have surrounded myself with amazing people who are passionate about community outreach and social justice and find myself wanting to do more.
This is yet another one that will not be easy for me as I am a classic case of an introverted shy person, but that is why it is even more important that I step out of my comfort zone to help. I believe in community, in leaving things better than I found it. I believe in kindness, compassion, understanding.
5. Be overcome by justice (Ηττω υπο δικαιου) 6. Know what you have learned (Γνωθι μαθων) 7. Perceive what you have heard (Ακουσας νοει) 15. Help your friends (Φιλοις βοηθει 135. Share the load of the unfortunate (Ατυχουντι συναχθου)
- Building a strong Hearth and Home.
It is no secret that my sole focus of private practice is on my Hearth and Home. The most important thing to me is raising my sons who will be the next generation of Polytheist men. That’s a lot of pressure, ya’ll. Family and home are the most sacred things to me because I understand how I raise my boys will affect generations to come.
Bringing the boys up being taught the Maxims, the Pillars, the Gods, is my sacred duty and I take it very seriously.
11. Honor the hearth/Hestia (Εστιαν τιμα) 107. Pursue harmony (Ομονοιαν διωκε) 124. Love whom you rear (Ους τρεφεις αγαπα) 127. Teach a youngster (Νεωτερον διδασκε) 131. Crown your ancestors (Προγονους στεφανου)
- Pilgrimage to holy sites.
Holy sites for myself include the graves of my ancestors and visiting our family land. Holy sites are different for everyone and will be different for each culture (Greek, Celtic, Roman, Egyptian, etc). It’s not for me to say what is holy for another person.
I do think that it’s important to visit places that are holy to you. Maybe it’s in your back yard or maybe it’s on the other side of the world. Where ever it is, go there and be filled with its holiness.
3. Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου) 131. Crown your ancestors (Προγονους στεφανου)