When it comes to classical polytheism, people often talk of “gateway gods” - deities that actively recruit individuals into the polytheist rebirth. — The most popular gateway gods for Hellenism are Apollon, Dionysos and Hermes, with Athene, Artemis and Hekate not far behind.
By contrast one doesn’t hear much about Zeus. — The real reason, whether people want to admit it or not, is that Zeus is politically incorrect. He is a stern father figure and, at times, a ruthless ruler. He has no problem displaying his strength and power when it serves his ends. Nor does he flinch from endless sexual escapades, regarding it as his right. His unabashed use of power, strength and male sexuality is frowned on strongly by a certain politico-cultural mindset, a mindset which seems to predominate overwhelmingly in paganism.
But, really, the power, strength and potent sexuality are only the beginning of Zeus. Those who look no further miss the side of him they might grow to like. Zeus is intimately connected with a well functioning social order, one that is concerned at every level with justice and hospitality. Paternalism, after all, doesn’t mean mere dominance for its own sake; rather it seeks to ensure everyone is playing by the rules. It means protecting those who are too weak or immature to protect themselves. It means even-handedness and generosity. it means that everyone is cognizant of their duties, and that they discharge them faithfully so that the family and community may thrives. It means opposing those that threaten that order.
That is Zeus.
This is from an essay written by Jeremy J. Baer in the devotional anthology to Zeus ‘From Cave to Sky’ published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and sums up a lot of my feelings about Zeus.
I have seen a lot of posts recently asking why no one worships Zeus? That is obviously not the case but more to do with the fact that very few people talk about Zeus as actively or as intimately as they do with other Theoi, the ‘gateway gods’.
Personally, within the Tumblr environment and other general places you mention anything to do with honouring him and someone will say something like ‘How can you worship a rapist?’ Or an adulterer.
I don’t deny the myths, nor make excuses for the way Zeus is portrayed but that is not the sum of his character. Myths are stories that teach us something and Zeus has power, being the King of the pantheon. That power is represented by the thunderstorm, by the Throne and sometimes physical power over another, be it another god or mortals. There’s a saying something along the lines of ‘rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power’ and from a male orientated culture where Zeus originated it isn’t a great leap of logic to include sexual power into the King image.
Moving on from that, Zeus is the Overseer and the Mediator. (He settled the arrangement of Persephone’s bi-yearly locactions).
He is the Master of the Fates, and people seem to forget that though Apollon ruled at Delphi, he only passed on the will of his Father.
He keeps the family safe, oversees the food stores, governs the host/guest dynamics of social interaction.
He and Hera were worshipped together in relation to marriage, not just Hera by herself.
I’m only a layperson so my personal experiences of him aren’t anything spectacular. He is definitely not a father figure to me, but the authority is obvious. He’s not subtle and he’s used to getting his own way but that doesn’t mean he won’t take a solid no for an answer.
There is a sexual undertone, pretty much along the lines of sexy older man charisma but I have no interest in exploring that so it’s just something to daydream about and never act on.
I don’t worship him without Hera, because she scares me a lot more than he does and as Queen deserves equal respect. Maybe being British and having grown up with a Monarchy makes it easier for me to accept ‘royal’ figures, I’m not sure.
In conclusion, I guess this is just a ramble. I’m not a devotee but Zeus does have a special place in my practise.
I always wondered why no one mentioned Zeus. Stories aside, I do see him as a father figure, and he’s one of the gods I pray to when I, or someone I know, needs to be protected or needs strength.
Paganism DOES NOT EQUAL ritual sacrifice.
We don’t kill goats, or anything else.
We do not worship Satan. He’s your problem.
We do have a horned god, but he is a god of Earth who has nothing to do with Lucifer.
Is a symbol of the horned god. It’s not…