I envy the Greeks

14.9.12 § 5 commentarii

The Hellenes, I often think, are those Reconstructionists who have the greatest stylistic elegance and panache. For example, witness the following Hellenic marriage ritual:

It looks recognisably like a wedding (something most Neopagan "handfastings" fail to entirely), yet is also clearly a Pagan ethnic ritual. The costumes are elegant and unfussy, with a few nods to classical clothing here and there but far from being the getup of a re-enactment group. The ritual actions look on purpose, and the liturgy has only minimal reading from a print-out. (Why is it so difficult for most Neopagans involved in ritual to just sodding learn their lines? If you absolutely must read from something during ritual, at least make the effort and read it from an appropriately grimoire-like bound book. Not a printed sheet of A4.)

Contrast, if you will, virtually any video of a Druid rite. The robes are preposterous, the beards menacing and the delivery wooden. Actions lack any grace, and what are supposed to be portentious silences appear to simply be awkward moments in which the participants have momentarily forgotten what they're supposed doing.


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§ 5 Response to “I envy the Greeks”

  • Frenchie says:

    One can only envy the Hellenes. They have access to a wealth of written sources detailing a sophisticated cosmology/theology/philosophy and detailed ritual, while the poor Druids rely mainly on wishful thinking and eclecticism. That doesn't excuse their total lack of gravitas and grace though.

    This organisation has a nice informative website too, although it would be nice to see this wedding ceremony from beginning to end, instead of jumping around as it does.

  • Heron says:

    ΕύϗαρὶϚτῷ for this.

    Isn't it just all too depressingly true.

  • Deiniol says:

    At times, it is almost enough to make one want to throw in the towel. If there wasn't the pesky minor detail of actually believing in the Gods, I'd be khaire-ing it up with the best of them.

    I do, however, wonder if 90% of it isn't just the fact that they aren't coming from an Anglo-Saxon, northern European culture in which all religious expression is incredibly self-conscious. If, for example, southern Mediterranean types had been the first to get their hands on druidry, would the modern result be far more elegant and visually stunning?

  • Bo says:

    Argh so true, so terribly, terribly true!

  • Frenchie says:

    You may have a point there.

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