Last night I was on a podcast run by Lamyka called the Pagan Women’s Podcast. About once a month she ropes various Pagan women into talking about subjects of interest to us. This time the episode was about Hellenic polytheism, and Lamyka and I grilled Cara Schulz on her practice.
The thing that makes Hellenic polytheism (and other traditional forms of polytheism like religio Romana and Asatru) different from Wicca and popular forms of Paganism is its emphasis on household worship and family. Particularly in Hellenic tradition, making your home a sanctuary and temple is the key focus. There are monthly rituals of purification and celebration that don’t involve elaborate rites.
The Deipnon is when you clean your house, pay any outstanding bills, and take stock of your pantry. The Noumenia is when you celebrate the new month with a big family meal and special dessert. These celebrations are small: vacuuming, a meal, a jar in the pantry, the pouring of libations and lighting of incense. They are designed to bring a sense of peace, sanctity, stability, order and purpose to the home.
So I understand why people convert to faiths that emphasize home worship when they consider marriage. Why it is important to want things like Shabbat dinner or small household rituals when you plan to set up a household with someone makes perfect sense to me.
The last time I looked into Hellenic polytheism I was married and thinking about having children. I was trying to set up a Pagan household, but my husband wasn’t interested in creating something that would last. I’m about to join a Pagan household, but I will be in a periphery/roommate position in the household. I’m likely years from creating my own sanctified home. But I think about these things.
Life is rough. It buffets us around and messes up all our plans. It can be harsh. It can be cruel. While converting to another religion just to marry someone can seem shallow, I can see why there is an appeal to create a sanctified home, a haven, a sanctuary, with someone.
Is that a good enough reason to convert?