Oikos, family and our view of ourselves

OIKOS: ΟΙΚΟΣ
Pronunciation: Ēekôs
Singular: Oikos
Plural: Oikoi
Other Forms of the Word:
Oikogenia: referring to the members of the Oikos
Common English translation: household, home
Translated definition of the word:
OIKOS in its original form denotes simultaneously the house (building), the members of the family living within the OIKOS, the estate, the goods belonging to the estate and is inclusive of extended family, servants and employees. OIKOS also refers to the particular dynastic families such as the OIKOS Agamemnon or the OIKOS Herakleides, etc. 

The oikos is an interesting subject as it is more than just the members of a particular nuclear family. The oikos also includes people who are not related by blood. This is a concept that is in my way of thinking central to the Hellenic idea of community. Oikogenia is the modern Greek word for “family” and it speaks of “birth-family” specifically. But when we look at the word oikos, there are other levels to it that also include the members of the family who are ‘adopted’ into it — the proverbial ‘soul’ kin that we hear so much about in certain types of literature. 
In its original form it denoted the building and contents as well as the people so there is a sense that we are not separate from the rest of the universe, but instead are part of the world we have created for ourselves.  It is in part defined by our mindset concerning our surroundings and what we are comfortable with. If we are not comfortable with things being out of place we are one way and if we are comfortable with a mess we are another. And it is the same with our relationships with people. If we allow people to be part of our lives (to the point of being part of our oikos — like a lover could be) who do not make us comfortable that says much about our view of ourselves as some people are toxic to the makeup of that oikos.
Our oikos may sometimes overlap with the oikos of other people, but this is usually when members of a family establish their own oikoi and can be a source of strife when the ideals of these oikoi are not the same. For example, my PERSONAL oikos is Hellenic Polytheist, while one of my sisters practices a fundamentalist Protestant form of Christianity. We do not share the same religious ideation or ideals and definitely do not have the same worldviews about what should and should not be a part of my daughter’s life. Are we family? Yes. Are we part of the same oikos? No. Does this mean that we do not overlap at times? Absolutely not, it means that we overlap and because of that we must make adjustments periodically. (More on that in another post)
Tomorrow, I look at the relationship of the oikos to the Theoi. Somehow, I think that it will not be everything that I expect……

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