Life as an Initiatic Test

“The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong,” said Swami Vivekananda.

In contrast to our image of the aesthetic, holy man of India, Vivekananda placed great emphasis on strength. To be truly religious, an individual (perhaps especially a man) had to be strong. Why? Continue reading “Life as an Initiatic Test”

The Necessity of Myth In A Secular Age

The more secular we become, the more myth we need. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings continues to fascinate. Modern movies like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones — and, of course, the outpouring of superhero movies — are all largely mythic. And politics — which we like to think of as rational — is highly mythic. Leave aside the mythical narratives of communism and fascism, we are not given a balanced view by the media but, rather, a picture of good versus evil and of love versus hate. It is us against them. Angels versus demons. And if a few facts have to be tweaked or forgotten to make the narrative convincing, who cares? Facts are boring. We want the story.

Continue reading “The Necessity of Myth In A Secular Age”

Ogygia or Archeology and Pandora’s “Box”

In 1815, a Greek scholar and author by the name of Athanasios Stagiritis[1] (1780 – 1840) published in Katharevousa (an early form of the modern Greek language) one of the most important texts on the Ancient Greek tradition titled Gr. Ὠγυγία ἤ Ἀρχαιολογία (En. Ogygia or Archeology).  This 5-volume text explores the ancient Greek tradition, its customs and society, including numerous annotations of poets and writers of that time.  The original text is extremely rare to find and was only recently reprinted in Modern Greek after almost 200 years in obscurity.  Moreover, it has never been translated into English.  Even though it is impossible to transfer the totality of its wealth here, it is important to share some of its content in order to inspire interest in the author and in the text, specifically on his transmission of the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box – a myth which first appears in written form in Hesiod’s Theogony (800-700 BCE) (lines 560–612)[2], and is later elaborated upon in his Works and Days (700 BCE) (lines 60–105)[3]. The Pandora myth offers a timeless message of hope that is as relevant today as it ever was, while providing a meaningful connection to the divine. The text that follows is an English translation of Pandora’s myth as it appears in Stagiritis’ first volume of Ogygia or Archeology.  Continue reading “Ogygia or Archeology and Pandora’s “Box””