Delphic Maxims: Think As A Mortal (Φρονει θνητα)

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I like this Maxim. In the world of religion we spend a lot of time trying to think like Gods and other generally incorporeal beings. How should one address an angel? If I were a sea nymph what kind of offering would I want? How does one evolve over centuries, through millennia and via various cultures? If one is Immortal, what does one want or need?Sometimes I hear people talking about Aeons and Ages and the massive millennia long spiritual cogs of the Universe turning, and I sometimes … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Know Your Opportunity (Καιρον γνωθι)

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I'm kind of shell-shocked this morning. I had some unexpected news that got to me. I'm getting ready to pack and bury myself in work and solitude for a long weekend, so I felt I should post something quick for one of the Maxims. And this was the next Maxim. It speaks to the sad story related to me this morning. I'm not going to give details, but this maxim could have kept the story from being so sad.Know Your Opportunity.It's good advice. I think most people will look at it from the … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Intend To Get Married (Γαμειν μελλε)

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This is the first difficult Maxim I have to address, and not nearly the hardest (because there's one I intend to dismiss entirely so stay tuned). This is a Maxim geared towards a specific cultural norm that no longer exists. Yet some of the root virtue inherent in this Maxim still applies.Marriage meant children, and continuity. It meant maturity and stability. It meant status. It meant family. It meant love.So how does this translate into modern culture? For one thing, marriage doesn't … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Be/Know Yourself (Σαυτον ισθι)

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Know Thyself.It's the Maxim that everyone knows. What new thing can I say about this? I don't think I can say anything that won't sound cliché or trite.And so I give you Emerson: The Gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that.And a person will worship something, have no doubt of that either.One may think that tribute is paid in secret, in the dark recesses of his or her heart, but it will out.That which dominates imagination and thoughts will … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Know What You Have Learned (Γνωθι μαθων)

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I have this trick of being able to repeat a phone number in my mind until I have a chance to enter it into my phone. Once I've got it safely squared away, I promptly forget the number. It's a really good example of not knowing what I've learned.This whole series on the Delphic Maxims is an active expression of this one Maxim. I could memorize the list, but would I know it? For instance, it's not enough to remember to Know Thyself, one actually has to put in the work. Memorizing by rote is … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Be Overcome By Justice (Ηττω υπο δικαιου)

This may be one of my favorite Maxims. It is the counterpoint to Obey the Law. Sure, we have to stop at stop signs and pay our taxes, but we are also commanded to Be Overcome By Justice.I love that word: overcome. It reminds me of the old civil rights spiritual: We Shall Overcome.So when it comes to our rights being taken from us, do we obey the law or do we allow ourselves to be overcome by justice?I think the same-sex marriage debate raging in this country is a great example of … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Respect Your Parents (Γονεις αιδου)

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First let me send out some link love to all the folks also blogging through the Maxims:Aine Llewellyn tackles three at once, Anne Hatzakis takes on Follow God and Obey the Law, John Beckett gives a polytheistic take on Worship the Gods, and Niki Whiting takes on the difference between worship and devotion.With Mother's Day this weekend, and Father's Day next month, this is a good time to consider the 4th Maxim.I know a lot of Pagans have difficult relationships with their parents who … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου)

This series has garnered a bit more attention than I expected, with other bloggers joining me on this journey. Since some have asked, here is a full list of the Delphic Maxims. I thought people were familiar with these, but I find this is not the case. As a broad and comprehensive ancient ethical code, they deserve our consideration, even if not our acceptance.I'd especially like to thank Niki Whiting for pointing out that we all break the law at times. I've certainly run a red light in my … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Obey The Law (Νομω πειθου)

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This Maxim is pretty self-explanatory. I don't have much to say about it.It's a very different emphasis from Wicca, which emphasizes doing your will, or Aradia which with it's encouragement to poison the rich makes the most tense Occupy protest look like a kindergarten play.I guess in a way this is a very useful thing to remember today. Pagans have to obey the law too. They have to pay taxes. They have to stop at stop signs. They have to keep on the sidewalks.There is a mode of … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Follow God (Επου θεω)

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The first Delphic Maxim is a doozy. It's got a very monotheistic sound to it. One rough translation of it is "follow/honor that which is godly" which isn't much better. It sounds like a line out of an Evangelical exhortation from the pulpit. Yet when over the centuries the lists of the Maxims, the wisdom of the sages of Greece, and the moral exhortations of the oracular temple of Apollo at Delphi, this was first on their list.If you're anything like me, your mind is likely roiling in … [Read more...]


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