First of all, I want to thank you for starting. Just starting. It’s a good place.
Beginning to understand a deity is opening a door. All sorts of things are about to start pouring through that door. Awesome things. Things you never dreamed possible. Or, knowing you, you did. You’re always dreaming big. Bigger than maybe you should. That’s another story, maybe for another time.
Here is what you have to understand about Us. A human being thinks of a deity like a thing. Example: a vase. A particular vase. The vase is 6” high and 3” in diameter, or some such, at its base. It is blue. It is blue, and therefore, it is not colorless. Shit like that falls apart when you look at us.
I am a thief. I steal shit. All the damn time. I stole your wallet, for example. I stole it a few times. I stole it because I was mad at you. A person who steals your wallet is not a moral person. I am not a moral person.
Except that I am. I really, really am.
I am the guy who did Odysseus a solid when the gods were all against him, and he was one weed away from dying without his story ever being told. I was the god who was the last stop on the way out of town for those who had no one and nothing left to turn to: the poor, the prostitutes, the brigands.
I am the god of lost sheep, and you, my dearest Thenea, are the most lost of anyone I have ever known. You’ve found yourself a place away from the assembly of the gods, like my mother, Maia, and for reasons that are absolutely no different than hers. But she is a goddess, and you are a mortal.
She was not garbage, my mother, she was not refuse. She was not short on wit, nor talent, nor beauty. Neither are you. Yet just as Maia was denied any proper offering, despite the many gifts she could have offered the gods, you, too, are denied your just share of honor, largely because you choose to remain apart.
Step One: Embrace my family.
What is the difference between a vase and a bumble bee? A bumble bee has dimensions, and it has a color. But what is most important is not the fact that a bee is yellow, or that it stings you. A bee is a part of a hive, and the hive, in turn, is a part of a whole eco-system.
To understand me, you must see me as I am. I am not a god, but an Olympian, a member of a pantheon, which you hold yourself away from. The pantheon, in turn, is a part of a world –an ecosystem– from which you exclude yourself.
The vase can be taken out of context, appreciated as a work of art. A bee cannot. A bee out of context is as good as dead. And so am I.
Step Two: Learn to talk to other humans.
This isn’t primarily directed at you, actually. I’ve seen you work on projects and I see how you talk to people. Like, last night, when you did that charity event, how you stopped each and every person who helped to tell them how you appreciated the job that they did, and even found specific things to compliment about their work. They felt seen. That’s super important.
But what you don’t do, is reach out to people. You hold yourself apart. Lots of people do this. Two people honoring the same god — never mind that, half a dozen people — all in the same town, each in his or her own dark basement, because no one will compromise with anyone else, or tolerate anything less than perfection out of their fellow human beings.
Do I seem fractured? A god cannot be in the world except through their followers. Bring them together, and bring me together. The two aims are identical.
Step Three: Embrace My Culture
This is the ecosystem. You can try to go for a slightly trans-cultural approach, like, for example, extending your frame of reference to the Mediterranean. But for the sake of all that is holy, know that Thoth is a different deity in this uber-pantheon than I am. This is a very ancient mistake with a lot of historical precedent. And if you ask me –which no one ever does– it was responsible for the fall of Paganism in the Empire.
Sure, Christianity curb-stomped us after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, but ask yourself why he did that. For the same reason that celebrities in your country convert to every whack-ass religion available. Because he was bored, he was rich, and thus, he had enough time to realize the moral and philosophical vacuuity of a religion already in a state of decay. In a state of decay, mind, because the people following it had already desisted in taking the gods seriously.
Don’t even get me started on the sacred calendar, and how the Athenians wiped their ass on it when a traveling dignitary insisted that it should suddenly be Anthesterion, in the middle of the Autumn, because his royal ass needed to be initiated into the Mysteries of Eleusis.
Fuck. My. Life.
Make what you do something worthy of being taken seriously. It needs to be internally consistent, and you need to not take an epic dump on it every time you are exposed to a new, cool, or even superior idea.
But seriously, leave that philosophy stuff to my brother Apollon. If you want to take up a discussion about truth with me, especially “religious” “truth” then you and I are not going to get past first base. For real.
I got derailed.
Respect the Greek concept of Greek deity. Consider the Theoi a different species from the Anunnaki and the Igigi, or from the Netjer. Each group represents a local ecosystem that includes language, culture, custom, folk belief and a bunch of other things that sort of fertilize the soil in that area, allowing Supernature to fully bloom.
If you start there, then research a bunch, and write some stuff, I’m pretty sure it will all be cool. Largely, the rest is about inspiring the human imagination, and exciting the passions of man and the gods.
I love you.