Like many religions, there are some terms and titles which are specific to The Assemblage of Areté. As you spend time with us, you may encounter some of these words and phrases.
Areté (pronounced: are-eh-tay) is the Greek word for the virtue of excellence in all things, which we aspire to.
The Assemblage of Areté
An assemblage is the act of assembling, rather than an assembly itself. As an organization we will always be assembling new people of areté, so we are an assemblage rather than a completed assembly.
Adherents & Members
This externally used term describes anyone who believes in the foundational principles of Areté: The Three Tenets, The Six Qualities, The Thirty Aims, The Four Stages of Human Consciousness, and the use of ritual to cement commitment to these principles.
Internally, we refer to Aretéans in general, and Aretéans who are members of The Assemblage of Areté specifically, as "heroes". The word hero originally refers to the characters from ancient Greek mythology who were of such outstanding attributes that they pushed the bounds of mortality, becoming almost godlike. We believe that humans can be people of areté, both individually and collectively; and the members of our religion take on sincere vows to pursue their own heroic destiny.
Long associated with churches, the word parish comes from the Greek "paroikos" which means neighbor (from "para" [next to] and "oikos" [house]). Our congregations are specifically meant to include those geographically near to us because humans are physical beings, despite living in a digital age. Spending time with our neighbors helps us build stronger communities and to be present in the world literally around us.
Aretéanism is a belief structure for the modern era, and we recognize that defining our associations and loyalties by biological ties is an arbitrary and often harmful social norm. Rather than focus on family units that not all people have, or which may be unhealthy for some people, The Assemblage of Areté focuses on what we call "kindred". Kindred are the people that you have chosen to be close to in your life, and with whom your life is intricately involved. While family members may often be in one's kindred, they might not necessarily be, and non-family members are frequently among those we consider kindred. By thinking of our kin before our blood-relatives, we keep our focus on the powerful element of choice we each possess in our lives.
Sunday Meeting and Services
The word convocation means a meeting of those called together. Each week we are called together to strengthen our commitments to be excellent, to ourselves and to each other.
Locus is the Latin word for an exact, specific place. We believe in being mentally and emotionally present in all of our lives, and calling our meeting spaces loci reminds us to be especially present in the particular spaces we are each in.
We believe that leadership is service, and that heroes need narrators to turn their stories into the epics they ought to be. Narrators serve by directing the flow of our convocations, and the general business of each parish.
The chief executive of The Assemblage of Areté for both administrative and religious affairs is called the Supreme Mugwump. While the term mugwump comes from Algonquin for "great chief", its modern usage is considered somewhat comical for English speakers due to its sound. Heroes of Areté take advantage of both meanings- while the position deserves some respect, mindless obedience to the Supreme Mugwump is laughable.
Closing Call and Response
"Be excellent to each other... ...and party on!"
Originally heard in the 1989 film "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", the saying supposedly becomes part of a greeting for people in a future society which has achieved enlightenment, thanks to the sincere music of Bill and Ted. While the film might be a juvenile comedy to some, the saying perfectly conveys the hopes heroes of our assemblage have: to seek areté, and enjoy life!