In the last year or two I have become very interested in Shinto, and in what I as a Hellenist can learn from the experience of a culture that has maintained their ancient traditional religion over thousands of years. However much it may have changed (and it has, quite a bit) over that time, the chain of tradition is basically unbroken – even more so, in some ways, than the chain that leads from Vedism to modern Hindu religions. The similarities and differences I note in this series would likely apply, to greater or lesser degree, to most traditional pagan religions – for that matter, there are some similarities to Biblical and Temple-era Judaism – but I’m focusing on Hellenism because that’s what I know. Extrapolate as you see fit. :)
NB – I make no claim to be an expert on either Shinto or Hellenism – I am simply a practitioner of Hellenism, and a student of both.
I was going to write a single post on the subject, but as I looked at it, I realized each subtopic deserves a fuller treatment than would be possible in that small space. The points (some major, some more or less incidental) that I plan to cover in the main series posts include: pollution and purification; the nature of kami as compared with the Theoi and nymphoi; the physical aspects of public shrine and temple worship; syncretism; attitudes to mythology; and the ritual calendar. (I may also tack on a post on Shinto and Aikido; we’ll see.)