The original Order of Chaeronea was a secret society for the cultivation of a homosexual moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual ethos. It was founded by George Cecil Ives in 1897, as a result of his realization that homosexuals would not be accepted openly in society and must therefore have a means of underground communication. The society is named after the location of the battle where the Sacred Band of Thebes was finally annihilated in 338 BC. The organization drew heavily on gay-positive Greek spirituality and mythology, as well as the gay literature of the time.
The New Order of Chaeronea is a reimagining of the Order of Chaeronea for modern times based to some extent on the ideals of the original Order and ancient Greek culture and religion which is history's best example of a culture and religion that accepted and embraced homosexuality and bisexuality.
Our Purposes are:
- To form a social and fraternal secret order open for men who love men. This includes homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and even heterosexual men who love their queer male family and friends.
- To encourage the cultivation of a homosexual and bisexual male moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual ethos based upon gay and bi-positive ancient Greek and other Pagan ideals rather than Judeo-Christian ideals which are not only antithetical to gay and bi sexuality, but oftentimes sexuality in general.
- To encourage the formation of emotional, sexual, and spiritual gay and bisexual male relationships that are truly our own, rather than mimicking heterosexual marriage and the heterosexual nuclear family model. This includes Greek style Erastes-Eromenos arrangements, polyamorous relationships, and intergenerational relationships (so long as all partners are of legal age in their country).
- To encourage the aspiration toward the Greek body ideal, while accepting members where they are on this quest.
- To form a modern "army of lovers" who can stand up and fight against homophobia and heterosexism within their communities.
Our Core Beliefs are:
- That ancient Greek culture and religion (and other pre-Christian cultures and religions) are a superior system for gay and bisexual men to follow and a valid alternative to modern Judeo-Christian culture and religion.
- The Greek gods and goddesses (many homosexual, bisexual, and transgender), as well as other Pagan deities, exist whether as actual deities or as archetypes that can be tapped into.
- The importance of the four cardinal Greek Virtues (as given by Plato): Wisdom (knowledge); Justice (treating people fairly and defending those who are not); Fortitude (courage or bravery); and Temperance (moderation, balance in life and nothing in the extreme).
- All forms of love, sexuality, and relationships between consenting adults of legal age are valid and holy. Gay and bisexual men should not limit their ideas of relationships to the models of heterosexual marriage and the nuclear family. While we support the right to gay marriage, we also support the right of gay and bisexual men to create their own types of relationships. Valid expressions of relationships and sexuality include, but are not limited to: Greek style Erastes-Eromenos arrangements, polyamorous relationships, intergenerational relationshipss, one night stands, bachelorhood, and so forth so long as these relationships are consensual and all partners are of legal age.
- Gay and bisexual men should strive for health and fitness and the Greek body ideal, but should also realize that genetics, metabolism, and other factors make this ideal harder for some of our brothers than others.
- Gay and bisexual men have a responsibility to give back to our communities and to fight homophobia and heterosexism within those communities.
Chapters are independent, but interconnected entities. Chapters are largely autonomous, and there isn't much support at this stage, but a Member manual is in process to provide some guidelines and background. . The Member manual will be posted soon (probably by the end of 2016).
The formation of new chapters is a relatively easy process.
- You must have at least 3 members interested in forming a chapter based on the above purposes and beliefs.
- You should create some kind of web presence (web page, Facebook page, Meetup group, or some other online place to convey information about your chapter).
- You should plan to meet at least once a month (socials, workshops, rituals, study groups, whatever).
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Currently the Norfolk Chapter is merged with the local Hampton Roads Pagan Men's group which is open to men of all sexualities and backgrounds. If there is enough interest in the future, we may form a separate group specifically for Gay and Bi men under the auspices of the New Order of Chaeronea.