In December 2005, when I was living on the island of Cyprus, I took a trip to Athens for the weekend. This was before I had acquired a taste for icons. I saw them in some old churches and in museums and found little appeal in them, save one Pieta — a Western motif with Western influences in style!
One evening in Athens, having seen the glories of pagan Greece, I peered through a shop window and saw a small statue of a woman, bronze in colour and executed in the Classical style. This was when I realised that my taste in art was thoroughly pagan. I preferred the Classical sculpture I had seen at the National Archaeological Museum to the icons painted on domes of churches.
However, icons vs. Greek sculptures is not the only area of my paganism.
My favourite poet is Publius Virgilius Maro, author of The Aeneid which is the national epic of the Roman Empire, which had such thoroughgoing paganism until AD 312 that it occasionally killed Christians. Second place comes to Homer. There is very little that is more pagan than Homer and Virgil are. They are all about gods and heroes, about wars and honour and pride. Yet they are my favourite poets.
Ought I not to prefer Dante or TS Eliot?
That love of Homer and Virgil is probably excusable, but what of the fact that I thrilled with excitement a week ago when I purchased the Metropolitan Opera’s 14-CD recording of Der Ring Des Nibelungen. I don’t know that even Les Troyens, the Virgil-based opera which is playing right now, is as pagan as these operas are, crafted from the raw stuff of Germanic mythology cast with characterisations and themes of Greek mythology and wrought together by an anti-Semite German nationalist.
I should be listening to Samson and Delilah or something biblical, shouldn’t I?
I also have an interest in Vikings — history, material culture, mythology, sense of fashion. And the pyramids. And the Nibelungenlied. And Celtic mythology.
Now, not only do I prefer pagan art, pagan poetry, and pagan opera, not only have I studied the ancient pagans’ history, mythology, literature, art, culture, but I read science fiction! Science fiction is nothing more than modernist mythology for the secular humanist pagan. Thus, although I am fond of Lewis’ Cosmic Trilogy, the SF that calls my name is that of Asimov and Bradbury.
Plus I have long hair. Pagan.