I still flounder from time to time over being so enamored with a god when everyone I know seems to be enamored by a goddess. I did ask Zeus for a feminine deity to balance Him out a bit. So He sent me to Hekate and I’m trying to work out a relationship with Her, but Zeus tends to have my attention first and foremost.
You are going to be published through Neos Alexandria; please tell me a little about this organization and the role you feel it maintains in the Hellenic community?
Neos Alexandria is an online organization that focuses on both the Egyptian pantheon and the Greek pantheon. It is a great place to learn and to grow but can easily intimidate newbies due to the high amount of scholarship at times. The organization has both eclectics and recons, so it can make for some contention at times but it is a group of people with whom I enjoy communicating and has done a lot to further me on my own spiritual path.
How is Zeus commonly worshipped in contemporary Hellenic faith?
In my experience, Zeus is rarely worshipped. He may get some token honoring but rarely does it go beyond that. Not many look beyond His mythical representations, hence the reason for the devotional. I hope that this book will show other aspects of Zeus that will encourage others to engage with Him and give Him more than token honors. He cares for us all but cannot help if He is not called upon.
What difficulties do you feel devotees of Zeus may face in reconstructing and restoring His worship today?
I’ve mentioned His constant association with philandering, but He is also often compared to the Christian deity. While They have many similarities, They also have many differences (more than the whole sex thing too!). Many ex-Christians cannot look past the similarities to see the differences. I know because I was the same way. I was so not pleased to be studying Zeus for God of the Month Club. But the more I learned about Him the more I came to love Him. Getting people past their refusal to acknowledge Him because of His supposed sex life or because of His similarities to the god of their past is difficult. Beyond that, the rest is mere details of how to do it “properly.” Heck, I don’t think He cares how, just that you do so. If Zeus doesn’t like what you are doing, I’m sure He’ll let you know.
I’ve seen the issue of Zeus’s sex life come up in the occasional Heathen discussion of Him as well. I realize that some people, as you noted, have a hard time getting past His sex life, and for those of us who honor and/or serve Odin, sometimes the same issues can arise (though they did not for me personally). How would you suggest interpreting that aspect of His mythos? How would you help people to place that within the realm of their spiritual exegesis?
I mention this briefly in my introduction of the book. There are many theories of why many myths have Zeus seducing mortals. The one that makes the most sense to me is it gives a person divine ancestry. My ancestor was seduced by Zeus, so that makes me better than you. (Never mind how it makes the ancestor look.) When I first started studying Zeus, He told me not to learn about Him from the myths. The comparison He made was that learning about Him from myths was like learning about actors from gossip magazines. There are many purposes to myths but they are not the be all and end of Who a god is.
I experienced something very similar when Odin and Loki were first calling me, in that I was specifically told to approach the relationship without any preconceptions that might taint its development, including over-reliance on lore. Makes good sense to me in retrospect too. Anyway, to continue, within Heathenry, it’s a huge no-no to worship or honor Gods and Goddesses outside of the Norse Pantheon (at least to parts of the mainstream community). Is that the case within Hellenismos as well?
I’m probably a bad one to ask that since I’m not a Recon. There are those who say you shouldn’t and those that say you can. I think that is between you and Them. If the Greek gods don’t want you honoring others, They will let you know. That being said, the main deities that I honor all happen to be Greek.
What do you hope that readers will gain from your devotional?
In short, a new perspective on a deity that many pigeon hole as being unworthy of devotion.
If you had to give advice to a newcomer on developing a devotional relationship with Zeus, what would you tell him/her?
Do something, anything to honor Him. Don’t worry so much if it is “proper” or “correct.” I have not found Zeus to be a stickler for details in devotions. It is the act of doing something for Him that is pleasing. He isn’t concerned with proper times or proper ways. Now is the time and whichever way works for you is best.
Where can readers find From Cave to Sky: A Devotional Anthology to Zeus?
When it is published, it will be found on CreateSpace and eventually on Amazon. When the book is published, information about it and the other books from Bibliotheca Alexandrina can be found at Neos Alexandria.
I will also announce it on my own blog. Melia, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you the best of luck in finishing up the work on this wonderful devotional.
From Cave to Sky: A Devotional Anthology to Zeus is expected to be available mid-December 2010.