Got a lot to cover this week, so let’s start off with a bang!
Through Spiritwize, Liber Pater sings:
I am the drunken one and my cup spills over
Come and lap up my blood with your tongue
Do not mind that it is fallen and mixed with dirt
I am your freedom that you have forgotten
And when you partake of me you hear her song
Freedom’s song dies never; it is the ear that does not hear
And P. Sufenas sings of The Sixth:
“I will lead them back to the light of day.”
And though they had said words of gold into six-hundred black-cavern ears,
their gentle sound like pouring honey into darkness,
the black talons of a scald-crow of battle
snatched the new being, now breathing, now having spoken,
to carry them away from the five nymphs
and a hundred-fifty pairs of eyes
into the shadowy fosterage of a northern isle
even though they had obsidian-feathered raven’s wings themselves.
Helio Pires goes in search of local gods:
Loving those places and being a spiritual person, I have a tendency to convert my feelings into a religious expression. Whatever beings, forces and spirits dwell here, I grew up with them. I may have come into contact with them in the past; I may have walked, travelled, cried and played with them without being aware of it. And now that I’m making a full overhaul and organizing my religious practices, I’m wondering about the place my origins have in my spiritual life. Part of the answer is pretty obvious: my ancestors, my housewights, the genii loci, national or personal heroes. They are part of my identity and the focus of annual celebrations, monthly devotionals and daily practices, all of which I want to deepen. But there is one category – for lack of a better word – that remains appealing, yet elusive: local gods.
Galina honors her ancestors:
It’s a hard people that birthed me
hard and unyielding
like weathered stone
the bones of the dead,
hard like the yoke
and the necessary brutality
The Lokian Asatruar reminds us that it is never too late to be honorable:
Along with the falsely hyper-masculan image that many associate with Heathenry, so to comes the same bravado that believes that apologies for one’s actions make one seem “weak” in the face of other heathens. Heathenry draws people in for its appearance of rawness, back-to-basics frith, honor, and simplicity- but how much thought is actually put into the concept of the word “honor”? We are no longer able to solve our problems by taking our weapons outside and allowing our skill and the will of the Gods solve our conflicts for us by who remains standing. For those of you who failed to notice, the year is 2013, not 1013.
Sarenth believes that we should start praying for one another:
Inspired by a conversation with my teacher, and this post, I want anyone and everyone to know, that if ever you want to help me you can pray for me. Even right now. I don’t have to be in crisis. Heck, I would welcome a prayer to help keep me in right relationship, in Gebo with my Gods, Ancestors, spirits, and communities. Prayer is not insignificant. Even a simple “Please, [God/dess, Ancestor, spirit(s)] be with hir” is a powerful prayer. Letting me know you are praying, for me, is a powerful way of letting me know you care. In Gebo, gift for a gift, if you need a prayer let me know. If you are going through a hard time, and you are finding it hard to pray, let me know. I will be happy to pray for you. If you would just like me to pray for you, let me know. Let me know what kind of prayers would be useful to you, your life, your situation, and to Whom I can or should pray on your behalf. Otherwise, I will ask the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits, and use my best judgment.
Even prayers won’t bring back the old Hellenismos.us forum which apparently was abandoned by Tim Alexander over a year ago and now redirects to the YSEE English language forum. (Which itself hasn’t been updated regularly since 2010.) Some old regulars from that place have started up a new forum which you can read about and find a link to here. May this effort meet with great success!
Amanda Morris believes that community leaders and those with a priestly vocation need to get proper mental health training:
One of the huge problems with the Pagan community is that clergy are not given formal training. I’m talking about real training. Sure, we can cast circles and talk about deity and we can write rituals and host potlucks, but training is not offered in diversity, community organization, ethics, counseling, etc. Talk shit about divinity school or seminary all you want (actually, don’t.) but there’s a lot to be said about courses that teach you simple things like HOW NOT TO BE A DICK. Pagan clergy just don’t know shit about shit.
Lokavinr has one of the best FAQs on the issue of Loki in Heathenry I’ve yet seen:
Personal loyalties aside, if we are going to read The Eddas as fundamentalists it seems I am doomed to fight against the Gods at Ragnarök regardless. I am a PhD student and aspiring professor, and it seems highly doubtful that I will die in battle. I don’t see any Valhalla or Fólkvangr in my future, nor do I expect it. Most people who raise this complaint against Loki devotees likewise don’t have many prospects for battle deaths, and so the entire question seems obsolete. The idea that Ragnarök will be the “good” heathens versus everyone else is even more steeped in Christian thought than the Ragnarök myth itself.
Dver goes on a little rant about miasma and it’s brilliant:
The Greek gods are not monolithic in Their expectations, requirements and preferences. Dionysos (and I think that’s who we’re talking about here) is pretty well known for breaking most of the rules, which is why even in antiquity people were uncomfortable with Him. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can automatically assume He won’t maintain certain rules, nor can you apply the same attitude to any of the other gods.
She also has some astute things to say about illness and the work:
I don’t talk about it much, but I’ve been dealing with some chronic health issues for many years now. In fact, not coincidentally I think, they started really flaring up just about the time I accepted my vocation as a spirit-worker, almost seven years ago. It would be nice to think of this as a “shaman sickness” (at least, it would give it more meaning) but I feel that if anything qualifies as that for me, it’s been my struggle with depression; my physical illnesses are more complicated in origin.
Oooh, and you should also read what she’s got to say about the importance of making things:
I’d say at this point my art and religion are always intertwined, although that may not be apparent to someone on the outside of it. It’s hard for me to delineate at this point what is a “religious piece” per se. Some are obvious, like the Hermes Propulaios pole I made last fall. But masks, for instance, have a number of powerful associations with several of my gods and spirits, and yet the last mask I made wasn’t created specifically for a certain ritual, or as an image of any of Them – and yet, it was directly inspired by my spirits, and may someday be used for contacting Them…. so is it a religious piece?
Monte Plaisance has an insightful piece on Hellenismos ancient and modern:
For the modern person to understand who and what the gods truly are, he or she must first look past the dazzling images which shine into our eyes and see into the half-lit regions behind them – the dark primeval tangle of desires, fears and dreams from which the gods of Hellenism draw their vitality. If we want to get to the root of the religion of the ancient Greeks, we must get behind these luminous deities of the artisans’ workshops and the myth-maker’s imagination and look into the strange world of archaic thoughts and feelings from which the twelve Olympian gods emerged.
Spiritwize talks about using the Novena and praying in cycles as a Pagan:
So, I was looking at St. Dymphna’s Novena and how each day focused on a virtue or idea that the saint manifested, along with an appropriate prayer and reflection. Eventually, I found myself wondering about a ’pagan’ novena, i.e. using the format of the novena as outlined above but with the Gods and Spirits, their attributes, epithets & titles, etc. Of course, it wouldn’t have to be only a novena as some deities have numbers sacred to them. For example, Tetragonos (‘tetra’ = four) was an epithet of Hermes thus one could use a four day, eight day or other day cycle based on the number four or one could keep to the traditional nine days or even eight (aka an Octave). There’s no real rule here save that if one is to call it a ‘novena’ the number nine has to be found somewhere (I read that modern forms of novenas sometimes consist of nine hours of prayer instead of nine days).
Ruadhán ponders the meaning of Hellenismos:
Which brings me to the notion of how “Hellenismos” is supposed to be defined. The definition often attributed to Julian is “the Hellenic way”, and that’s certainly a fair definition, as the “-ismos” suffix is typically translated as an Hellenic equivalent of “-ism” (makes sense), meaning “system or practice”. That said, in the modern Hellenic language, the word “Hellenismos” is so broadly applied as to include the Orthodox church. Obviously this is something that the crazy people aiming to very narrowly define both Hellenismos and Hellenic reconstruction tend to ignore — curiously, while often simultaneously including an almost fetishistic misrepresentation of YSEE (YSEE are not a reconstruction group, representatives of YSEE in the Hellenic_Recons Yahoo group describe their practise as, “NOT A RECONSTRUCTION, BUT AS IT CAME TO US FROM THE 15th TO THE 20th CENTURY, THROUGH THE “STRATIOTI” TRADITION” — yes, in Caps Lock) and / or a borderline Atheistic revamping of the religion passed down from the same school of Western Classical Studies as Edith Hamilton, and not to mention a complete chauvinism of Platonism and Attic practise.
Ruadhán also takes a crack at GBLT and Queer Spirituality:
Generally speaking, there are a lot of “out” GBLT folks in the Hellenic community. Furthermore, the ancients didn’t really have a concept of gay, lesbian, or bisexual as sexual identities — as I’ve said before, ancient sexuality just was. Some degree of what’s now classified as “bisexuality” was considered normal, even somewhat expected, and yes, people with an exclusive preference for one gender or another were regarded as a little odd, but generally accepted, and most importantly, one’s sexuality was defined by a preference for activities, not a preference for genders. Historically, the closest thing to GBLT or Queer spirituality was the cult of Kybele and Attis, maybe the cult of Dionysos. Unfortunately, a lot of people like to look to the Hellenic pantheon and repurpose several gods as being “queer” or of “alternative sexuality” when by ancient standards, these deities were often considered within the spectrum of “normal sexuality”, because of the simple fact that ancient people didn’t pathologise anything outside 0 on the Kinsey scale — indeed, it was a tad weird to be in that category at all.
Speaking of which, do you remember that time Klaus Nomi was in an ad for Jägermeister?
Sean Murphy thinks Jesus is a punk.
Want to read about medieval werewolf tales?
How about romanticism before the Romantic period?
Anne weighs in on primal gods:
The Primal Gods take us to the wastelands, but yet… We find so much nourishment through our own starvation. We find our thirst quenched even though the rivers are not water at all. They dump us in the middle of torment and torture, and leave us alone. They leave us on purpose – because purification and removal is not an easy process. If you are to learn Their mysteries – will you leave the darkened soot covered pit? Strengthening of steel does not happen unless it is molten by the fires of the forge. We do not become ourselves unless we are tested over and over again.
Soliwo deconstructs the Gundestrup Cauldron:
And placed within the same exhibition – Kingship & Sacrifice -, there was the Gundestrup Cauldron. Or rather its replica. Yet still I was confronted with the cauldron’s sheer physicality. I was standing in front of an object I had seen many times before. It was an odd experience. I wonder if there are any Pagans who are not familiar with its imagery. Many still consider it the summon of Celtic art. And the placement of cauldron in an exhibition focussing on the national treasures of prehistoric Ireland, seemed to suggest a similar vein of thought, making it appear Irish by association. The Gundestrup Caudron however is most definitely of Thracian workmanship and it was found disassembled in a Danish bog, not an Irish one. And Denmark is well out of the Celtic geographic sphere.
P. Sufenas discusses the gender ambiguous kami in Shinto:
There are, it seems, a number of “gender-ambiguous,” or perhaps gender-fluid, kami within Shinto tradition. One of them (whose name is interesting due to part of its similarity to the Greek name Kore) is Ishi-Kore-Dome-no-Kami, who is an androgynous or gender-variant kami most famous for having made the mirror which helped (along with Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto’s lewd Baubo-like dance) to lure Amaterasu-Omikami out of the cave. Makers of mirrors and stone-cutters consider Ishi-Kore-Dome-no-Kami as a patron/ess, therefore.
Flowers in the Attic is absolutely perfect smut. It’s like… everything you ever wanted in a pulp novel. Scary mansions, murderous mothers, incest in captivity, creepy children of the corn, wills, dead fathers, creepy grandfathers, iron ladies, and poison. And, swan beds. And, more incest. Just… dude.
It’s something else.
Galina takes a swing at her detractors and awesomeness ensues:
Several people repeatedly protested that my work makes their lives difficult, it creates problems for them most especially when someone looks up their religion online, finds me (and my colleagues) and then assumes that they practice similarly. Ostensibly then, they’re forced to explain that no, this isn’t what they do and they don’t want any of that talking to Gods shit, or some such.
know what i say to that? Too fucking bad.
Your narrow minded, fundamentalist attitudes make my life more difficult too. It’s embarrassing. I have to deal with people new to the religion, coming to me after having encountered one of you and your small minded, knee-jerk responses, who fears that YOU represent the attitudes of all Heathens. I have to deal with people who look at you and see the worst sort of fundamentalist Protestantism, with its fetishization of the written word, its fear of experience and mess, it’s pathologizing of mystical traditions, its demand for orthodoxy and vilification of anything smacking of “heresy” –only here with a thin polytheistic veneer slapped on top and think that this is all Heathenry is. I have to deal with people more interested in spirituality and devotion than in kissing any community’s ass who wonder what on earth is wrong with contemporary Heathenry that it’s more like a social clique than a religion. I am forced to deal with people who feel that they have to choose between honoring the wishes of their Gods, and abandoning their devotion to fit into what you describe as a ‘community.’ Moreover, I move in academic circles where I am constantly explaining that “no, we’re not all that small minded” or “yes, there is a section of contemporary heathenry that really does believe that,” and assuring people that “no, not all of us cousin to cyber bullying.” blah blah blah. I haven’t even gotten to the accusations of racism yet (which I suspect many of you, to your credit, find as abhorrent as I do–I’ll give you that one).
Gwen Idasfostri takes a look at the theology of Diane Duane (whose books I loved as a kid):
Our Heros meet, at one point (I think) Lugh, in Ireland. This Being is not spending His time in mortal form with neopagans of any stripe (except, I suppose, by happenstance) consoling and advising those people in whose religions Lugh plays a part. He is a blacksmith, shoeing horses, out of (as modern blacksmiths do) a forge in the back of a truck. Lugh is being Lugh, and if there is a lesson to learn from a belief that reality is founded on the reality-beyond-reality of many individual Holy Powers, it is to spend your time being particularly yourself, and doing the work that it is particularly yours to do.
Speaking of theology, Sam Webster believes anything other than monism is transcendental hogwash:
Panentheism is a social problem. Pantheism can be very attractive to some transcendentalists. The issue for the Christians that propounded the doctrine was that God, in the theology of the day (early 19th c.), had gotten so alienated from the world that this idea was necessary to bring Him back in. So this new term, Panentheism, was coined to reconcile Christian monotheistic transcendentalism with the ancient idea of pantheism by Karl Krause in 1828. Out of this was produced a kluge of an idea that attracted some of the best minds the world has produced like Spinoza and Hartshorne. Even Neoplatonists get accused of this notion, unfairly. The idea is to have God present both in the world and outside of it. The ‘en’ in the word alludes to this idea, which breaks down as “All in God”, i.e., God is bigger than the world. But, there is a problem. . .
Hey look! It’s Hitler leaning against a tree giving you the sexy eyes!
I think he likes you Mr. Webster.
Warboar talks about the great god Herishef:
Herishef’s epithet “Powerful Phallus” may, in part, relate to the psychoactive and aphrodisiacal attributes of Nymphaea caerulea.
Nymphaea discusses shrines and altars and shares some lovely pics as well:
I’ve always had a difficult time constructing altars and shrines. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and quite frankly very picky as to how things are arranged and what sits in my spaces. I’ve tossed different altars around for a long time, and every since I moved last June I’ve not had an arrangement I’ve been truly pleased with, but I’m happy to inform that is no longer the case! I’m going to share with you my 3 main spaces, albeit slightly cramped ones, and explain what I’ve used and why I think it’s appropriate. Some things are tradition specific for me, while others are not. I took time in carefully deciding each piece and why I felt it needed to go upon the space. I’ll be sharing some pictures of them during the day time, so you can see each of the goodies upon it, but later I’ll post either on here or my tumblr pictures of them lit up at night, which is veryyyy pretty. So without further ado….
Will Mclean explores pseudepigraphica on the internet:
Spurious attribution goes back long before the Internet, so far back that the Greeks had a word for it: Pseudepigrapha. Claiming the mantle of a respected author as your sock puppet is an effective way to get unearned respect for your writing, at least until people figure out that the respected author didn’t actually write it. Thus the so called Homeric Hymns. After their impostures were exposed later writers would refer to the authors pseudo-Appollodorus and pseudo-Eratosthenes, as we should refer to pseudo-Jefferson and pseudo-Lincoln. The prefix can be abbreviated, as in ps-Jefferson.
The miracle of the Internet makes it easier than ever to publish Pseudepigrapha, so train yourself to notice these common signs, so you don’t embarrass yourself by reposting them to Facebook.
Ever wondered what the Anglo-Saxons thought of the East?
Or why we live in an age of anxiety?
Or why hatred was a social institution in Late-Medieval Society?
How about what John Waters thought of Nico?
Did you know that there’s a whole Tumblr devoted to covers of These Boots Are Made For Walking?
Kiya Nicoll reflects on being accidentally syncretic:
So I started doing other stuff too. And I built an artificial simplicity: I will do this, and I will do that too, and there is this illusion of multiplicity to work with, and I do not cross the streams.
There was a fascinating thing about doing other stuff more deeply, more thoroughly, and with more devotion: the more other stuff I did, the more it all looked like the same stuff. Here, this symbol matches that symbol, with similar resonances; here, this goal looks like that goal viewed from a different angle. And that was okay, that was a thing where I did the work and suddenly I was building a deeper framework because I was doing two things.
I’m okay with it when it feels like work.
And then …
… and then it gets different …
… and the artificial simplicities, the this-and-that, they break down, they fall away, there is this gaping chasm, and after the fall there is …
… actual simplicity.
Seastruck has some beautiful words to say about Aphrodite, Psykhe, Hera and Zeus:
And Dionysos? Although He stands for the opposite of many things Hera represents, and although She pushed Him quite possibly harder than She ever pushed anyone, it is by Her torments hat He goes from being Zagreus to being Dionysos, acquiring so the unique capacity among the Deathless Ones to move from Haides to the living world, back and forth at His liking and to bring along the deceased with Him occasionally, by grace of His bond with Persephone. Who among us can imagine Dionysos as a sane god? His madness, His capacity to overcome it even while remaining engaged into it, are a large part of what makes Him ‘The Archetype Of Indestructible Life’. Yet madness is a curse Hera originally inflicted on Him. Hera challenges, terrible and seemingly merciless, but Her hands so pave the path for her ‘persecuted ones’ future greatness. I would go as far as saying that Her actions are in concert with Zeus’ will and Fates’ designs and that this role of Hers in the heroic quest, a role She exercises even over other gods, feels to me as the foundation of Her rulership over the Olympus.
Ixkul reflects on the intersection between art and spirituality:
I was not expecting to be able to relate to her or much of her Work, not being a spirit-worker, or an oath-bound devotee, or any such thing, but I did, and I did in such a powerful way that I was completely caught off-guard. Reason being is that I found myself able to replace every instance of “spirit-worker” or “shaman” with “artist”, and the experiences and perspectives fit like a glove. The entirety of my life and my existence as a human being serves to make art, and if there is some part of my situation that doesn’t serve that, then I am going to do my best to distance myself from it or amend it so that it does suit that need.
John Becket believes magic isn’t about faith but actions:
Successful magic doesn’t involve believing the right things, it involves doing the right things. You can believe in wingardium leviosa with all your heart and you still won’t be able to levitate heavier than air objects. But if you know what you truly desire, if you exercise your will, if you dare to take risks, and if you allow time and space for the magic to work, you will see results.
The second law, as originally formulated by Glenn Turner, says that the other person’s opinion determines whether the effects of what you do are positive or not. This version of the “Golden Rule” says, “Do unto others not as you wish to be done unto, but as they wish to be done unto—for their tastes may damned well differ from yours.” (Thus this law, most usefully, eliminates any arguments over how one defines “good” or “evil.”) In other words, you may not do something for what you think is someone else’s “own good”; you have no right to make that decision. You may not work a healing unless you have permission from that person to be healed; it is unethical to hit an unprepared person with a jolt of energy. You may work without prior permission for those you are already personally involved with (as a mother for her child, a man for his wife, etc.), but you may not accept an opinion that another would give permission if asked, unless you are certain that the two people concerned are genuinely committed to caring for each other.
I’ve got a ton more, but I don’t want this to get too big and folks stop reading so I’ll save the rest for later.
I leave you with two things.
One, this woman believes that her bad sex wasn’t rape.