ηθοσ and ασκησισ

εθοσ means “habit” or “custom” or “usage”. What one habitually does day to day is one’s ethos. Change that epsilon in ‘ethos’ to an eta and you get ηθοσ: “disposition” or “character” or “temper”. One’s habits are one’s character, one’s êthos. These words are where we derive English “ethics”: what it is right to do day to day, what sort of person it is right to be.

Look also at ασκησισ: “exercise”, “training”, “practice”. One’s way of life is one’s askêsis. (And yes, that’s where we get “asceticism” from, but that’s only one way of life!)

I am trying to learn askêsis. I am trying to change my ethos so that I have an êthos more in line with what I believe and what I value.

Here is what I will be doing, in the wake of the election of someone who terrifies at least a third of the country he will now be presiding over.

I follow Hestia. She acts with care and love. She tends the home. Her hearth is a sanctuary for those in need. I will act, as best I can, with care and love for myself and others. I will tend my home. I will, as best I can, make my spaces a sanctuary for those in need.

I am Athena’s devotee. She acts with wisdom for justice. She makes beautiful, practical, powerful things. She fights. I will act, as best I can, with wisdom for justice. I will make my crafts and hope that they are beautiful, practical, powerful things. I will fight.

I honor the Muses, the Olympians and Titans alike, and the Olympians’ mother Mnemosyne. They call for diligence and remembrance. They create art that sings to the soul. I will, as best I can, be diligent. I will remember. I will create my art and hope it sings to people’s souls.

I will honor the other Gods Above, and I will respect the Gods Below.

I will offer the Gods what I can, whenever I can. I will pray that They protect and fight for, each in Their own way, everyone who is in danger from the president-elect’s administration.

This is what I want my êthos to be. This is what I want my askêsis to be. Care and love and safety; wisdom and justice and fighting the good fight; diligence and remembrance and artistry; protection and love and care.

Hear me, Hestia, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Athena, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Melete, Mneme, Aoide, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Mnemosyne and Daughters of Mnemosyne, Whose praises I sing above. If ever I have made offerings to You, please help me in this. Please help me. Thank you, bright Goddesses. Thank you.

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