Since this has been a fun and well-received feature in the past – and there’s often so much excellent material in my Google Reader that I enjoy bringing to people’s attention – I’ve decided to make these posts a regular weekly thing. So, without further ado …
Ruadhán over at Of Thespiae reflects on community within Hellenic Polytheism:
I think it would be great if we could learn that there are some things more important than “orthopraxy”, being right, or just loudly proclaiming our own separatenesses. Ecclectic Pagans … seem to have reached a point where they acknowledge that they aren’t going to get along 100% of the time, and that differences in theology and details of a ritual are going to happen — but that if any true sense of community is to happen, then differences must be temporarily put aside and compromises have to happen. That’s not saying that those called to Attic traditions and those to Spartan tradition and those to Boeotian tradition, and that Platonists and Epicureans and Cynics and Pythagoreans must now all be “Pan-Hellenes”, quite the contrary; we can all be and remain our own things, but if we expect community to actually grow, then it can only work if, outside our oikos practise, we concentrate on what brings us together than what makes us different. Then, and only then, can a worldwide community of Hellenes thrive.
Wednesday at Metal and Iron ponders the differences between Mars and Ares:
I did, after all, start as a devotee to Ares. But in the evolution of my faith, I ended up honoring Mars Pater and growing much, much closer to him. In fact, he’s the only Roman god I worship. The rest of the gods I worship are still Greek (and a couple of Norse ones, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on the Theoi). Why not just ascribe the “Mars-like” qualities to Ares and call him by that name to keep things Hellenic? Because Mars is a different god, with some very different aspects, but it was these differences that made Mars my patron in ways Ares could never be.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus explores syncretism and how all roads lead to Bithynia:
It may not be an earth-shattering revelation, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is certainly an interesting point of connection between the three deities, outside of their promiscuous syncretisms and their individual and independent ties to Dionysos.
Patch of Tending the Hearth reflects on tiny devotions:
Every day when I pass my shrines, I press my fingers to my lips and then gingerly touch whatever items represent the gods. Sometimes I will just touch the base of the shrine and other times I will pick up my little Hermes statue and kiss it on the forehead. On days when I am in a state of miasma I simply smile and nod towards the shrines instead of touching them.
K. C. Hulsman discusses how some Heathens came to the support of a fallen soldier during a recent Westboro Baptist protest:
According to a local news report about two thousand people showed up to support Sgt Balduf’s family, and to act as a visible and audible screen against the Westboro Baptist members. But what you won’t find in any other news report of that day, is the fact that among the vast crowd of anti-protesters, were two Heathens associated with the local White Oak Kindred … “I have to admit,” said Farmer, “I was nervous. I didn’t know what folks were going to say … After maybe one or two minutes, a young man ran over to us and gave us a high-five.” During the couple of hours that Wilson and Farmer were at the anti-protest site, a woman asked them about their signs, and they explained to her that in their religion the God Odin, and the Goddess Freya each receive half of the warriors who die in battle.
Elizabeth of Twilight and Fire has an excellent meditation on being a catalyst and trickster and what that actually means:
That is what happens to the liminal figure who reinforces the dominant paradigm by pointing out its insufficiencies — basically, to anybody who walks the archetypal road of the Trickster, which so many of Loki’s own fondly imagine we are doing. It’s a thankless job, really. Nobody likes a tattletale, especially when you’re tattling on everyone at once and exposing their complicity in keeping the lie alive. Nobody likes to have their fears, prejudices, or cowardice exposed where they cannot hide or deny it. So there is always fallout. At best, the Trickster is made into the Fool, who is laughed at, mocked, and only taken seriously in the privacy of one’s own innermost thoughts, when there is no hiding from the Self. At worst…well, Lokasenna describes the worst that can happen, because it isn’t just Loki who suffers for His actions, in the end; it’s also His innocent wife and sons, one of whom is uncontrollably slain by the other right before Their horrified parents’ eyes. That’s a drastic and uncommon example for most humans…but that’s the kind of price you might have to pay, depending on what you say, and to whom, and how true and unwanted it is.
Dver discusses our trip to the Oregon Country Fair for the express purpose of seeing musician/supernatural entity Thoth perform:
While searching out something to eat, we heard the unmistakable voice, the ankle bells jingling, the strains of violin, and we rushed over to find them playing in a sort of artificial cave. We watched the performance in awe.
Max Dubinsky proclaims that your life is the greatest story ever told – or at least could be, if you’re leading it right:
Sometimes we cannot face the truth that the stories we are living are lies; that we are living a story unintended for us. But we find ourselves there, comfortable with the characters, stages, and players because they are familiar, and we know how to handle them. Even though our story may be a tragedy. Even though we may be the villain of that story. My truth today is that I have hurt not just one individual from my past, but many. But my truth is also that I have spent the last few days living outside, hiking through the woods, forging rivers, and exploring old Civil War ruins. I am sunburned in South Carolina, and I’ve run out of resources. I have no idea where I am going next. All I know is that I need to get back to LA. And I need to return to the woman I met on the road and plan to marry. And so the story begins. What does your story look like? Are you living an adventure today you’d love to talk about? Are you living in the truth? Or have you created a story to accommodate a life you were never meant to live?
Terri Windling encourages us to dare to be Foolish:
Don’t be afraid to be weird, don’t be afraid to be different, don’t worry too much about what other people think. Whatever it is that’s original in you and your work might sometimes make you feel uncomfortable. That probably means you’re on the right track, so just keep going. Dare to be foolish.
Erik at sightless among miracles reflects on how music and creativity have a strong spiritual component:
When you have truly internalized the music that matters to you most, and seen what it has to say to you, then you can try to understand your response to it – figure out what in it speaks to you, and why, and what that tells you about you – letting the flowing light of Awen illuminate your inmost self. Then, and only then, can the only real work of your life begin – the transformation of your self, bringing it into line with its own highest ideals, and making that transformation manifest. This is the work that never ends, and that I suspect many people never really begin.
Yewknee meditates on the Orwellian implications of Twitter and Facebook:
Are we moving towards this sort of mentality? Is it happening so slowly that we won’t even realize we’re in the world of Idiocracy? If so, can it even be stopped?
And on that note I shall bring this gallimaufry to a close. But first this, because it’s been going through my head all freaking morning: