Tag Archives: reciprocity

Why Honor the Deathless Ones?

Today, after a time to sufficiently bask in my family’s good fortune, I’ve come to a new conclusion about what reason is best to honor the Deathless Ones.  In the past, I can say that I’ve done it out of love and respect, primarily, and also to procure those things which were needed for survival, and some marvelous comforts. But those are all things that I’ve reasoned are important, things which I can predict a need for.  I know better now, though. I know that we can never know when the Gods are needed most.

We pay them honor, and they grant us favors.  This is kharis– reciprocity, and it seems to be the general arrangement.  They are not obligated to grant favors.  They are within Their rights to ignore every offering made by every devotee from the beginning of time till the end– and we would still be required, out of duty to the right order of the Kosmos, to give Them what is Theirs.  The Gods owe us nothing. We owe Them everything.

Yet, They seem to be at least mildly fond of our species, and are known, even now, to manipulate events and affairs of deep concern to our lives and livelihoods.  Why is that, I wonder?  Surely, for some of us this is answered in the question of Patronage, in the relationship of a God to a mortal in which They take on the majority of responsibility toward that devotee (without disrupting necessary relationships between said devotee and the other Gods).  But what of those who do not carry the weight of such Patronage?  If they are honoring the Deathless Ones as they should, each given Their proper portion of sacrifice, at the proper times, then there is no need to worry.

But, it must not be forgotten that reciprocity works best under the condition of continuous momentum.  In my understanding, this has come to mean keeping to a strict schedule of devotion, catering to my Household Gods, as well as the Olympians.

I do not have a close relationship to all of the Olympians.  Far, far from it.  I go to most of Them only with the problems of my life’s journey, or those related to specific areas of Their expertise, when needed.  I also give Them honor on the Noumenia, so ultimately, none are left out.  And this is as it should be.  Never underestimate the power of this foundational devotion.

It is literally Their job to listen to the regular and sincere devotions of the people.  Note, listen to, and not respond to– They owe us no response.  But if you are giving Them a return on the bounty they have granted you, along with regular prayers, then I’d wager They’ve put you on Their “list of humans to watch”.

When you put yourself on Their radar, you make it more likely that They will be watching when that unexpected disaster occurs.  You know, when you almost get run over by a truck, or nearly drive off an overpass, or almost drown, or just miss running into a murderer, etc., etc., etc.  It could be anything, really.  Anything could kill us, fragile as we are.

So, I posit that the greatest and most important reasons for honoring the Deathless Ones can not be known by humans.  Only the Gods may be in possession of this knowledge.  But that should matter little to us, who are at the mercy of the events of life.  As long as the Gods know, and are watching– as long as being known to Them leads to the fulfillment of reciprocity, we may lead our lives with blissful confidence.

As long as we keep up our devotions.

Praise Hermes!  Hail Apollon!  All Glory to the Deathless Ones!