My definition of Xenia:
1. An act of basic respect to strangers, a welcoming, freely giving what one can, ie., hospitality.
2. A guest respecting the hosts restrictions, accepting their gifts, thereby not asking too much of the host, ie., offering basic respect to the host.
Xenia is a major precept of my beliefs and practice. It is very important to me to welcome strangers into my household. As a Dionysian, I believe one of my many roles is playing host. It is a divine duty and one I maintain. Including housing homeless and friends alike under my own roof.
Something that is often not followed is the second definition above, guest respecting host. This has been a constant source of frustration for me. I don’t ask much of my guests, but when I request they leave, they should leave.
My ideal of Xenia extends outside my household and onto the street when I’m doing public pavement art. I am there to bring art to the streets for free, my work is my own and nobody pays me. I am giving as much or more as a person who has decided to support my work through a donation. It’s a beautiful, mutual and symbiotic relationship, an act that can fall into the category of Xenia.
That said, there are certain members of the public which do not respect Xenia, instead the seek to destroy my work and what I stand for.
Now before I go on a tirade I want to say that I have deep respect for anyone who is devotional, likewise I appreciate all forms of religion. However, here is the BUT, but I will not stand for anyone seeking to insult, convert, destroy / damage my art, physically or verbally attack me or people around me because they believe my work to be satanic, pagan, demonic or any other reason. If I tell a person to leave because I feel they are doing this, they should leave. It’s a very basic respect I would offer to anyone. If I was being a moron and they requested I leave, in the name of Xenia I’d fucking leave.
This is what annoys me, what really shits me, is that these people think they have some fucking divine right to harass me. Not only are they working against the precepts of their *own* religion they are committing hubris according to their faith. Socially they are also breaking a number of fundamental rights granted to me and also breaking the law. The artwork I present on the street is worth a lot, equivalent of a small car, if I decided to walk on or smash a person’s car because I believe their car is against my religion I’d be arrested right? I don’t understand why these rules are not applicable to my artwork also.
Ranting aside, I only request one thing of my guests: when I tell them to leave they should leave or else I have every right to grab my spear and start making a human kebab.