Today, I was doing my usual obsessing about my blog here. Honestly, I check the stats and look for new comments about every waking hour. As a military analyst, I’ve had a great deal of compulsion and paranoia bred into me, so I’m constantly looking for new information to absorb, and I’m always evaluating, judging, and scrutinizing every last detail. Don’t worry, I’m not just judging everything you do, I’m also being highly critical of myself; I spend a lot of time evaluating every hypothetical situation that may arise between myself and any potential member of my audience.
A casualty of such constant contemplation can be a lack of clarity. Writing on the Internet can be especially difficult in regards to clarity, because the audience may not be clearly defined, or may be co-opted by a group other than the targeted demographic.
I want to be perfectly clear and as unambiguous as possible as to my target audience in addition to the purpose and mission of this blog. Please allow this post to serve as a clarification and guide as how I intend to direct this blog.
I am a hard polytheist Hellenic Reconstructionist who focuses on Ancient Greek religion, specifically those practices from the Archaic period to the Classical period. I choose not to include the Hellenistic period because I feel that foreign cults blended with native cults more than I am scholastically and ritually comfortable with. Yes, I understand that many foreign divinities were adopted into Greek religion, and that many local deities were subsumed into larger cults under more common names. In regards to historical syncretism, I have no qualms against that, but you will not find that in my blog. This includes my own preference to excluding Mars as equivalent to Ares when at all possible. I feel they are separate divinities, and to me, to equate the two would be disrespectful.
The intent of this blog is to create a corpus of material for those, who like me, worship Ares in what we can hope is a traditional, appropriate way. As a reconstructionist, I understand the importance of innovating and updating ancient material for modern use. This is a special concern where the cult of Ares is involved, as his cult was small and largely unaccounted for. However, this does not mean I condone “making it up as you go along”. Any invention must be an extrapolation, not an exercise in pure imagination. You should expect from me to explain any invented ritual, prayer, or theological point with literary and scholarly evidence. I will admit that I offer quite a few original analyses; if you ever need to know where it came from, please ask. Unfortunately with my busy school and work schedule, I can not write every post as a fully cited, MLA/APA-formatted essay. I am also not into tags or embedded links, simply for expediency’s sake. That does not excuse me from making invalid or unverifiable claims. Unverified Personal Gnosis will ALWAYS be cited as such.
My intended audience, as stated above, are those individuals who wish to worship Ares in as traditional and authentic a manner as possible. I am not writing for the eclectic neopagan crowd. While I can not police the traffic to my blog, and have no intention to, I want to be clear as to what I feel is a matter of integrity regarding my practice and those of my compatriots. Ares is a god, unbeholden to mortal whims and theologies. It is not for me to say who may approach his altars and worship him in a manner of their choosing. However, it personally irks me when my material is re-posted and tagged with words such as “Wicca”. I practice Hellenismos, not Wicca. While I have no qualms about inspiring Wiccans and other neopagans to worship Ares in a traditional manner, I am not an evangelist or a missionary, and have no desire to advertise my material to them.
A minor yet important aspect of my blog is outreach to Hellenic reconstructionist military members and veterans. Pagan military members and veterans are a small, often neglected demographic within the community at large. Veterans and servicemen have unique experiences which are often untranslatable to their civilian counterparts, thus requiring unique attention. Those who experience war have unique spiritual needs which outsiders may not be able to fulfill, and one of my goals is to offer some sort of support to those individuals.
Despite my unwillingness to cater to a broader, more eclectic audience, I do wish to foster a sense of community among those who worship Ares. I don’t wish for every post to be a dry treatise on some academic or theological point. I do want to share mystical accounts, personal anecdotes, poetry, and community news. Ritual is one aspect of a religious community, not the only one. I greatly encourage third party content submissions and collaborations. Want to do a back and forth piece, in the style of an “opposing viewpoints” article? I would love that! Please, feel free to add input on -anything-. To create community, there must be a dynamic exchange of ideas; stagnation is death.
I hope this clears up some things regarding the scope and focus of my blog. If this offends you in anyway, feel free to tell me. My intent wasn’t to offend, but rather inform, however I can never appease everyone. I felt this was important to write because I feel clarity, integrity, and honesty are paramount. Again, I understand I can not realistically stop anyone from re-posting my material however they wish, but I would appreciate having potential readers keep my intentions in mind when sharing my work and acting appropriately. I do appreciate everyone who does read my blog, comments on a post, and shares it with friends who would be genuinely interested. Especial thanks goes out to friends and acquaintances who have regularly publicized my work by means of social media and ping-backs on their own blogs. I owe you all a great deal of thanks, and I hope I may reciprocate your generosity in the future.
Thank you all for your consideration, and hail Ares!