Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Excuse me, you guys with Zeus or with the SCA?

Hundreds of followers of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Artemis, Aphrodite and Hermes stood in a circle, a mile from the Acropolis, in what was the first official religious service allowed in the grounds of an Ancient Greek temple.

Hundreds of followers! There are hundreds of people who are willing to pray to a deity last seen on a Xena re-run? When I heard about a group wanting to stage a religious service to the Gods of Olympus I had imagined maybe a dozen. Hearing there were hundreds, I was dumbfounded. And, then, I saw the video of the actual ceremonies! At university during the orientation week I would sometimes see some people from the Society for Creative Anachronism walking across the campus in full armour or home-made versions of twelfth century dresses – those guys could learn a fair bit about historical costuming from the Zeus crowd! Or is it that the worshippers knew someone who’d worked on one of the Hercules re-makes?
The whole thing is quite astounding and, well, ridiculous. The number of people who took part in the ceremonies, however, forced me to realise something that may be difficult to accept. I am sure that most of those who took part, like the guy from Melbourne in the BBC article, are just normal everyday people rather than some special kind of lunatic. So, looking at them, we are looking at us. And I do not mean just religious people, I mean people in general.

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