After getting home from the dentist I received some news that’s had my head in the clouds all evening – Ellen wrote to notify me that the necklaces were finished.
“Who’s Ellen?” you’re probably asking at this point. Followed closely by, “What necklaces?”
Chances are unless you’re one of the lucky few in our overlapping communities that she’s reached out to over the years, you don’t know Ellen.
You might recognize the name if you’ve been following along at Art is Anathema; it’s not a big name though. She’s not a fixture of the pagan/polytheist festival circuit, she doesn’t have a ton of books out, write for one the major community hubs or even have a blog (at least that I’m aware of.) You won’t find her on Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Kwazzle, Flippidygibbit or wherever everyone’s hanging out these days; shockingly, she doesn’t even have a Facebook account. I know. Mind blown.
Where you will find her is in the background, quietly doing her thing. Her thing involves honoring her Gods and Spirits, working some heavy magic and offering support, encouragement and sage counsel to those people she feels are doing serious shit for their Gods and Spirits.
Yeah, I’m not sure why she contacted me either – but I’m glad that she did!
It’s been several months since we started corresponding but it feels like I’ve known her for years. I wish that I had, because her gentle wisdom and the example she provides of humble devotion could have helped me avoid some major blunders of my past. There’s a lot more I could say, but that’s her story to share with whom she will – however I will say this, I’d be proud to call her an elder of my tradition, because she embodies so many of the virtues so many of our so-called leaders only pay lip service to.
And that’s the crazy thing. Though she belongs to other Gods and works in a different tradition she has already done so much for the Starry Bull. I’d like to rattle off a list of all the ways she’s helped out in just the handful of months I’ve known her, but I suspect that would only make her profoundly uncomfortable and that’s the last thing I’d ever want.
I also suspect she wouldn’t be terribly happy being saddled with the title of “elder”; she steadfastly holds to the position that what she’s doing isn’t extraordinary, it’s what committed laypeople all over the world and in every religion do all the time.
She’s right and she’s wrong about that; no religious community would be possible without the contributions of the “rank and file” who so often get overlooked and yet keep helping because they’re not doing it for the pats on the head anyway, but for the many Gods and Spirits who deserve the best that we can give them. People like you guys. And like Ellen. And that is what makes it so extraordinary.
Which brings us to the second question.
The answer is these necklaces:
A wearable shrine for Dionysos and his bride Ariadne, hand-crafted by an artisan of the sacred and specially blessed to help foster an ecstatic connection with the happy couple.
You can feel the power radiating off these things just through the pictures and she hasn’t even finished charging them.
She made one for each of the members of the ritual team as a way of thanking them for putting together this grand and tragic spectacle on behalf of the community, as well as five others we could sell to help raise the funds needed to get Bakcheion to Many Gods West in August.
She refused compensation for supplies, labor or even to offset the cost of shipping, considering that all part of her donation to the cause.
I should be pricing these things much higher but I want them to be available to anyone who will properly appreciate and give them a good home. If you’ve got $45 and a willingness to help some crazy Dionysians do their thing then one of these necklaces can be yours. But act fast, because I have a hunch they’re going to sell out pretty quick.
I mean, if you got this necklace and the set of Starry Bull prayer cards you’d have yourself the start of a rather lovely shrine. It’s even in the right colors and everything. Just saying.
[Dionysos to Ariadne]
Don’t you know my name,
well, you been so long.
See these eyes so red,
red like jungle burning bright.
Those who feel me near
pull the blinds and change their minds.
It’s been so long.
Still this pulsing night,
a plague I call a heartbeat,
just be still with me.
– David Bowie, Putting Out the Fire