Et in Arcadia ego

Welcome to Despoena.org, an introduction to the Arcadian Mysteries, brought to you by Grimr.

Presented here is a detailed look at the Greek Mysteries that existed in Arcadia, the homeland of Pan and Hermes.  The first thing to realize is that, though Greek religion is presented as a homogeneous belief system with one set of consistent stories, Greek belief, like Roman, Norse, Germanic, Celtic, all religions, varied from region to region, city state to city state, village to village.  Zeus in Athens was different from Zeus in Sparta or Zeus in Arcadia.  The stories varied, who was the child of who varied, the character of different gods varied.  There was a loose similarity, and in general the same cast existed in most areas, giving a definition to what was Greek religion and what wasn't, but the details varied widely.  In a religion based on a written holy book, be it the Bible, the Tanakh, the Qur'an, the Mahaburata, the Tao Te Ching, the stories in the book is for the most part set.  There is variation in secondary stories.  There is variation in interpretation of the stories.  But the core stories are set.  But Greek religion was mostly oral, passed down from person to person, adn things were added in one area, things dropped, lost, or forgotten in another, reinterpreted in another.  Some writers like Ovid and Plato wrote down things about parts of it, and plays including the gods and heroes were sometimes committed to writing, but there was no central text, nor even any central authority, be it a ruler or a priesthood.  Each area, sometimes each god, had its own leaders, priests, and followers.  The religion of certain areas are well known and a major part of the modern understanding, some because of more surviving writings from or about the region, some because of the importance the Romans placed on the region or stories.

Arcadia is less known, both because it was a remote region and because it didn't have much military, academic, or political influence.  It is a region well known for grazing, not scholarship, diplomacy, or might.  Linguistically and culturally, it has a lot of elements from an older Greek wave.  It is a very interesting region, because it is so different from the more well known regions.  But very little is known about the region, its culture, and its religion during the time of the Arcadian Mysteries.

On this website, we will attempt to reconstruct as much of the culture and history of the region, and, more importantly, the details of the Mysteries, that we can.  I hope you enjoy that journey with us.