Sayings of Sannion


Ἀποφθέγματα Σαννίωνως

Everything you do and everything you are is a choice. You are free. Choose wisely.

Make mistakes, as many as you can. How else are you going to learn?

This, too, shall pass.

Show respect to all things. Yes, even if they don’t deserve it. Manners aren’t for other people, they are for us.

Question everything. Especially if it comes from an authority.

Educate yourself, or others will.

You will never have it all figured out.

We all go a little crazy sometimes.

Often what is most feared is most needed.

Listen to The Doors. Jim Morrison was a prophet.

Love unguardedly. Hearts are made to be crushed.

You will die a thousand deaths before your time if you do not master your fear.

Find what you are great at and pursue it with a single-minded devotion.

It doesn’t matter if it’s hard and difficult and unpleasant. Do it anyway.

Live simply in order to enjoy greater leisure and pleasure.

No matter how great you are there are ones who are greater still – the Gods, the Spirits, and the Mighty Dead. There are beings greater than you beyond number. The whole world is alive with their presence. Honor them, from highest to lowest and all in between.

Some Gods and Spirits aren’t nice.

Always do what the Fairies tell you.

If your every act is one of reverence and right relationship with the powers you cannot help but live rightly, justly, wisely and prosperously.

Whenever you’re uncertain, divine.

You have a body. What sustains you is physical. Therefore make material offerings to those who have blessed you.

Give beyond what is expected of you. The excess is the choicest portion of the sacrifice.

Worship with joy. You are in the presence of the divine! Be overcome by awe.

At least once a day just stop everything you’re doing and be completely still, present and mindful.






Never let another make you feel bad for what you do or do not feel.

Be open. Don’t hold back. It’s okay to look mad and foolish. All the best people do.

Wear masks.

Be pure in mind and body when you carry out sacred service.

Bow your head to no man, but to the divine only.

Always approach the holy crowned.

Adorn your shrines with flowers.

Immerse yourself in prayer and thoughts of your Gods and Spirits. Carry them with you wherever you go.

A gift requires a gift in return.

Remember and honor those who came before you. You would not be who you are without them.

Nothing is perfect – or needs to be.

Test yourself in the flame.

Let spiders live.

You always have time for worship. If you don’t, rearrange your schedule. Do you really want to tell the powers that they are not a priority in your life, that they aren’t worthy of your time and attention?

First master the rites and traditions that have been handed down to you; then only may you improvise.

All that is beautiful is dear to the Gods, so make your worship as beautiful as you can.

Begin every endeavor with a sacrifice.

Worship outdoors as often as you can.

Cities are outdoors too.

Learn everything about the place where you live.

Don’t come to the Gods only in times of need.

Make amends swiftly.

Never let your shrines gather dust through neglect.

Treat strangers as you would treat Hermes.

Do not revile another’s God. There are strange alliances among the powers.

Pray from the heart with honest words. Your Gods know you — there is nothing you can hide from them even if you wanted to.

Read Plutarch and Seneca if you would be wise, pious and happy.

Should is an abyss.

What you do is more important than what you call yourself.

Your past shaped you — it does not define you.

Demonstrate your beliefs through your actions.

Make purchases that reflect a right relationship with the world.

Don’t buy stuff for your stuff.

Create instead of just being a consumer.

Remember that every time you’re looking at a screen you’re missing what’s going on around you.

Pay attention to animals. They know things you don’t.

Plants know things even animals do not.

Mark the passage of the seasons.

It’s more fun on the margins.

You aren’t your labels, your fandoms, or the things you own.

Be selective in the media you consume, for it lives on in you afterwards.

Question everything. Seriously, it cannot be said enough: question everything. Even why you should question everything.

Try new things, even things you don’t think you’re going to like, because experiences are precious.

Never be ashamed.

Don’t bleed before you’re wounded.

Regret is a wasteful emotion.

If you don’t prioritize your happiness, don’t expect others to.

Don’t let others drag you down.

All you can do is suggest. In the end others will live the way they want to.

Accept others as they are. You can’t change them.

Don’t let others change you in ways you don’t want them to.

Know who you have to prove your worth to – and who you don’t.

It’s your mind — expand it however you want.

Push your own boundaries, but accept those of others.

Know when to stop.

Know the risks before you play.

Don’t do anything you aren’t willing to accept the consequences for.

Don’t ever be bored or boring.

Always hunger for more.

Balance the scales.

Feelings are not actions.

You can always walk away.

Be suspicious of those who express themselves through maxims.

Everything dances.

No matter what other Gods and Spirits you worship, honor Dionysos.

Dionysos is in the details

One of the best parts of the production was how fucking polytheist it was. And I don’t just mean that they kept the hymns to assorted deities in, which not every production does. But the whole thing began with an invocation of the ancestors of the place, going back generation through generation to the Lenape people; Tiresias was dressed as an houngan and at one point Dionysos shouts “àṣẹ!” and instead of setting it beside the streams of Dirke and Ismenos they called on Hudson and the other local Harlem river. I think these flourishes helped bring the audience more fully into the sacred atmosphere of the play; they were also nice parallels to the ceremonies the Athenians conducted during the Dionysia. All it lacked was a parade of war orphans and giant phalloi, culminating in a bull sacrifice and it would have been perfect. 

Everything to do with Dionysos


Here I am in the park, waiting for the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of The Bakchai to start. Shortly after I slipped into a state of entheos that did not lift until well after we got home.

No matter how familiar you are with this play there is nothing quite like seeing it performed live. The leads were phenomenal, especially the aftermath of the interrogation scene where a tarted up Pentheus, with breaking voice, begs Dionysos to make him beautiful; they touch foreheads for a pregnant moment and the God responds, “You are.” Fuck, man. I’m tearing up just typing this, many hours later – that’s how good it was.

But don’t take my word for it – here’s my wife’s account, from a letter she wrote to the company. Our household made a sizable donation to these sacred artisans of Dionysos and will definitely be attending future productions, though I think it’ll be tough for them to top this one. 

Day VII. To Þórr Sönnungr

Hail Thor who truly shines in the heavens,
glint of Sunna reflecting off the golden wheels
of your goat-drawn carriage, billowy beard
blowing in the breeze, sparks shooting from
your glowing hot hammer gripped in invincible
iron gloves, strength enhanced by your mighty belt
and cheeks flushed from Óðr’s wine, gulped down
at the start of your journey as you set out to slay
the murky horde of wicked Wights and gnarly Ents
assembled against the impregnable walls
of gleaming Ásgarðr. Ride on, O Strider
ever in defense of all that is good, holy and true,
and know that this household stands with you
and shall never let your shrine be barren of offerings.

Day V. To Þórr Rymr

Thor who noisily protested when
Loki lie-smith said he needed to put on
Freyja’s cloak and underthings,
color his cheeks and walk and talk
in an affectedly dainty manner
to court a brutish Jötunn or three
– but did it anyway, big enough
to withstand a little humiliation
for the wellbeing of his people.
Hail O God who is worthy to wield Mjölnir
and on that day Þrúðvangr’s Lord proved
the Goddess of Courtesans’ equal too
in the arts of attraction and seduction,
so great are you, Thor, at all you set your mind to.