Ancient & Modern Hellenism

Mythology and Modern Psychology

"Only the development of his inner powers can offset the dangers
inherent in man's losing control of the tremendous natural forces
at his disposal and becoming the victim of his own achievements."

Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will, 2002, p. 6

“Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their
thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred
to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave.
Athena was telling them to fall in love.

Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy,
but now they call this free will. At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.”

Chuck Palahniuk

Apollo and the Nine Muses. It is a painting by Hendrick van Balen from the early 17th century.

"When Nietzsche Wept" Dr. Irvin D. Yalom
From the bestselling author of Love's Executioner comes a riveting blend
of fact and fiction, a drama of love, fate, and will, played out against
the intellectual ferment of nineteenth century Vienna on the eve of the
birth of psychoanalysis.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher...Josef Breuer,
one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis...a secret pact...
a young medical intern named Sigmund Freud: these are the elements
that combine to create the unforgettable saga of an imagined
relationship between an extraordinary patient and a gifted healer.

As this compelling novel opens, the unattainable Lou Salome begs Breuer
to help treat Nietzsche's suicidal despair using his experimental
“talking cure.” As the eminent physician reluctantly accepts the task,
he makes a powerful discovery. Only through facing up to his own inner
demons can he begin to help his patient. In this compelling novel,
two brilliant and enigmatic men plumb the depths of their own romantic
obsessions and discover the redemptive power of friendship.

Copyright © 1992 by Basic Books, Inc.

by Nikos Kazantzakis
Translated by Kimon Friar

Greetings for
Pandelis Prevelakis
from the author in Greek
and the translator in English


The Preparation
First Duty
Second Duty
Third Duty

The March
First Step: The Ego
Second Step: The Race
Third Step: Mankind
Fourth Step: The Earth

The Vision

The Action
The Relationship Between God and Man
The Relationship Between Man and Man
The Relationship between Man and Nature

The Silence


WE COME from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss,
and we call the luminous interval life. As soon as
we are born the return begins, at once the setting
forth and the coming back; we die in every moment.

Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death!
But as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create,
to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment.

Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality!
In the temporary living organism these two streams collide:
(a) the ascent toward composition, toward life, toward immortality;
(b) the descent toward decomposition, toward matter, toward death.
Both streams well up from the depths of primordial essence.
Life startles us at first; it seems somewhat beyond the law,
somewhat contrary to nature, somewhat like a transitory
counteraction to the dark eternal fountains; but deeper down
we feel that Life is itself without beginning, an indestructible
force of the Universe. Otherwise, from where did that superhuman
strength come which hurls us from the unborn to the born and gives us
- plants, animals, men - courage for the struggle? But both opposing
forces are holy. It is our duty, therefore, to grasp that vision
which can embrace and harmonize these two enormous, timeless,
and indestructible forces, and with this vision to modulate
our thinking and our action.


The Pythagoreans believed in the eastern idea that the soul is divine
and immortal, and that it does reincarnate after each death.
It is imprisoned in our imperfect material bodies as a punishment.
The goal for all rational people is to break free from this prison.
The only way this can be achieved is by seeing and understanding
the true reality.

The Pythagoreans taught that the planets (including the invisible
Anti-Earth on the other side of the Sun), the Moon and the Sun
were fixed on great spheres of crystal, rotating around a central
fire. Their motions creates the exquisite harmony of the spheres,
which ordinary people cannot hear because they are too used to it.
The Pythagoreans made no distinction between music, mathematics
and magick. Music was found to be based upon subtle mathematical
laws, and so was magick. Everything in the universe follows
mathematical laws and is created out of the geometrical interactions
of the numbers, which are the true basis of reality. Each number
is holy and has its own powers. One is the indivisible monad,
creating everything out of itself. Two is the pure duality, perfect
balance between opposites. Three is the number of the gods, while
four is the number of the material world (hence the four elements).
And so on. This became the foundation of the numerology that the Order
of Hermes adopted.

"Everything is created out of the whole numbers.
From their ratios, differences and sums everything is made.
The spheres are arranged by their immutable laws, rotating
in eternal harmony. In the same way we can attain perfect
harmony with the cosmos by opening our minds to the truth
of numbers."

Nakedness routine
Everything naked around us,
everything naked hereabouts:
plains, mountains, high heaven.
It’s an unruly day.

Creation is transparent.
All the deep palaces are all open.
Drink your fill of light, eyes,
and you, guitars, of rhythm.

Here among the scattered
Ugly clumps of trees,
the world is wine, undiluted wine.
This is nakedness territory.

A shadow is a dream here.
A bright smile breaks on
even night’s dark mouth.

Here is riot, all tits out and
uninhibited: the dry rock a
star, the body a conflagration.

Here are rubies, pearls, coins of gold
and silver, distributed by your holy
nakedness, thrice-noble Attica!

Here the youngman is a magic spell,
flesh turned to god, each virginity
a Diana, each desire a fluttering boy.

Here, all naked, every second,
scandalising undersea society,
out pops Aphrodite, and starts
spilling things all over the place.

Clothes off, nakedness on.
You, soul, are its priestess.
You, body, are its temple.

Magnetise my hands to
You, amber of the flesh!
Give me to drink of Olympian
Nectar of nakedness!

Rip the shirt off, lose the ugly
dress, let your plastic form
blend in with Nature.

Belt undone, hands crossed over the
heart; your hair is a coronation
gown, trailing far behind you.

Become stress-free, a statue.
Art that shines in stone is perfect:
try it on, see how you like it.

Play, and act the part of
the nakedness of the idea,
quick beasts, reptiles, birds,

play, and act the part of pleasures,
of beauties, purify your nakedness,
idealise it.

The rounded, the completely smooth,
the furry, o lines, o curves, dance,
o divine shudderings, dance!

Forehead, eyes, waves,
hair, arsecheeks, loins, little
secret valleys, roses of Love,
myrtle bushes, hide-outs,
legs that shackle,
fountains of little strokes, o hands,
pigeons of desire, falcons of loss.

Whole-hearted, unimpeded
words, mouth, o mouth,
like the comb in the honey
or the red in the pomegranate.

The alabaster lilies,
all the paraphernalia of April,
are jealous of the wineglasses
of your breasts.

Mine’s a drink from the
rose-carved, the upstanding,
the enamelled, the milk
in which I dreamed of good times,
dreaming of you.

I am your soothsayer.
Your knees are altars.
In the fires of your embrace
gods work wonders.

Far from us everything ugly,
clothed and covered,
warped, badly shaped,
unclean and alien.

All be upstanding – unmasked,
no strings, earth, air, body,
breast. Truth is Nakedness
and Beauty is, too.

And if, in the nakedness, the
sun-beautiful Athens daylight
nakedness, you catch sight of
something like some unclothed freak,
something like a leafless tree,
not even the charm of a shadow,
an unworked stone,a thin dry body,
a thing naked and uncovered
in the wide open squares,
two burning eyes the only sign of life,
a thing that descends from the satyrs
and is wild, whose voice is silver,
don’t walk away. It’s me.

My name is Satyr. I am rooted
Like the olive hereabouts. That deep
music is me, making the winds sigh.

I play and they couple, they worship
and are worshipped, I play and they dance:
the humans,the animals,the ghosts.

from the Greek of Kostis Palamas (1859-1943)

The Poets' (c.1919) Painting by Georgios Roilos (1867-1928) oil on canvas

Your Small Town
Truly, you couldn't possibly leave behind the time
you were afraid of the wolf and you were anxiously awaited the angel.
You studied the customs and traditions of history,
you passed under the arrows of contemporary events,
you've traveled... and yet you couldn't cast off
the small town of your childhood from your innermost,
the town made up of kind faces, bare or verdant plains, celestial things,
along with the esteemed old man sated with reflection and perception,
and high up, Taygetos, zooming proudly.

Truly, how smugly you would've felt if only you could,
turning your back to gigantic cities, had returned
to the things that were given to you and had weaved
your beautiful dream, if you had returned
to the hill where you sat , at one time, and reigned in peace,
...Returned under their gleeful glances
to gather your evening wood.

Nikiforos Vrettakos
Translated by: Matina Kokolis Psyhogeos

Old Athens

Ionian Song
Just because we have broken their statues,
just because we have driven them out of their temples,
the gods did not die because of this at all.
O Ionian land, it is you they still love,
it is you their souls still remember.
When an August morning dawns upon you
a vigor from their life moves through your air;
and at times an ethereal youthful figure,
indistinct, in rapid stride,
crosses over your hills.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Papatsonis: Wisdom
We arrived thus little by little to nakedness,
one by one we took off the famous problems,
the colorful, the cherry, the purple of the charms,
and only now, although some kind of fear even before,
some presage, told us what waits for us,
yet, only now, us, the unclothed,
saw, that we are dust. Awareness of a miserable
wisdom. Poverty of today. Inadvertence of yesterday.
Our work now is to elevate it into a triumph.

Translated by Elpenor

The Greeks were a very sexual society obsessed with human perfection.
They also had many scenes from glorious battles of men with spears,
swords and large metal shields, showing the sheer power of Grecian society.
As you can see, there are many different aspects of Greek art.
All of these different aspects make Greek art recognizable and very powerful.


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