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AAvalon: Olympic Ritual to Hestia

To: alt.religion.wicca,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion,alt.pagan,alt.mythology,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,soc.culture.greece
From: "Diana J. Hulsey" 
Subject: Re: AAvalon: Olympic Ritual to Hestia
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 18:25:14 -0400

On 14 Jun 1996, nagasiva wrote:

> kaliyuga
> 49960614 AA1
> (Lady Amythyst Avalon)
> |I am one of the Olympic torchbearers.  I will certainly invoke Hera,
> |Athena, and Nike either when I receive the torch or as I pass it on to
> |the next bearer (whichever seems more appropriate at the time).  The
> |ancient Olympic games were started in honor of Hera.  This is why the
> |torch was kindled in the ruins of the ancient temple to Hera in
> |Greece.
> does anyone else believe this person?  is this a traditional role in
> olympic games, akin to Elusinean mysteries, or a nuveau creation role-
> playing in a time of decadence and idol-worshipping?  I don't claim to
> know the facts, and I'm just wondering if others have similar experience
> to Ms. Avalon here or if she is fabricating something unusual in human
> history.
> nagasiva

The lighting of the torch in Olympia and its relay by selected runners to
the sight of the games is the ritual that is part of the modern
competition.  The modern Olympic Games were begun by British
sportsmen/philanthropists, who missed the boat on alot of things about the
Ancient Olympics.  (For one thing, it was a money-making venture-- Olympic
thletes were akin in fame and wealth to the Hollywood and pro-sports
celebrities of out time)  

Hestia was an extremely unmportant goddess to the Greeks, she gains
importance as the Greek counterpart of Vesta -- a goddess of central
importance to the Romans.  I do expect the passing of the torch was mean
to give the *feel* of ancient ceremony.  Torch races are well attested
athletic events from antiquity (Aristophanes' *Frogs* makes mention of
them)  The symbolism of passing the torch is definitely apt, no doubt

thats why it shows up in so many different places.

Another point.  At the Ancient Olympics, The Temple of Hera was not in
ruins. (technical I know)  Also, it is a matter of debate as to whether
women were even allowed to attend the games (which were held in many
locations, not just Olympia) In ancient times, although Hellenistic
accounts show women competing.  

I will have to check my sources, but I am pretty sure the Ancient Games
held in Olympia were in honor of Zeus.  It is hard to believe such a macho
event in as misogynistic a culture as Ancient Greece was would be
dedicated to Hera.  

Diana Hulsey

> ------- rest of her post follows (thank you!  thank you for posting! ;>)
> |	The passage of the torch through the different cities is, indeed, a
> |modern reflection of the ancient torch passage in honor of Hestia.
> |One might also remember that this same tradition was (and is still)
> |followed by worshippers of the Celtic goddess, Brigit.
> |	I am a high priestess of the olde religion, born and bred in its ways.
> |In being chosen as a community hero and torchbearer, I hope to carry
> |it with dignity and honor for my religion, my country and myself.
> |		Blessed be,
> |		Lady Amythyst Avalon

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