Sannion’s Guide for the Apocalypse

Druids aren’t the only people with cool hats. As Archiboukolos of the Starry Bull tradition I have one too.

According to John Beckett and co. there’s a great war, sorry — Great War in the Otherworlds and the “good guys” are 100% in support of his progressive politics and values while the forces of evil and uncreation are backing his ideological opponents, the Republicans and cultural conservatives more generally. 

How surprising.

A friend asked my thoughts on the subject and, well, I strongly suspect that if I shared them here I would be in violation of WordPress’ Terms of Service. 

Instead I’m going to take a point on which Beckett and I are in full agreement – we’re headed into some very uncertain times – and suggest some practical steps people can take to mitigate stress and suffering during them. 

Read Seneca and Plutarch. Build a network of family and friends you can rely on as things get tougher and start breaking down. Know and have good relations with your neighbors. Learn how to do things the old way; in other words, develop practical skills that are not dependent on modern technology. Learn the essentials of emergency medicine and keep a well-stocked kit. Garden, buy local, barter and trade, etc. as you’re able, as well as learn basic survival and prepper skills (i.e. foraging, hunting, how to cook and preserve food, how to fight and use various weapons, etc.) but without going completely overboard and letting fear and paranoia govern your life. Maintain your religious practices, especially those involving local land-spirits and the dead who can be potent allies, especially against malignant spirits. Perform regular cleansings, protections and psychic hygiene, whether you think you need such things or not. Listen to what your Gods and Spirits are telling you, even if it doesn’t make complete sense at the time. Trust that more than what the experts, influencers and other authority figures are trying to convince you of, especially if there’s a conflict between them. Keep an eye on the news, without obsessing over it so you have a sense of what’s going on locally and in the wider world. But minimize your exposure to social media and pop culture and be intentional, selective and critical when you do consume such content. And the rest – don’t worry about it unless it starts impacting your life. Then pray, make offerings, amp up your psychic defenses, divine frequently, and consult religious specialists and other respected authorities within your community to figure out how to proceed. Did I mention prayer and making offerings? You should do that, a lot. 

Anything you guys would add? 

Of course I think all of these are things that a mature, responsible adult should be doing whether the eschaton is imminent or not, but that’s just me. However if you do follow these simple prescriptions I guarantee that you’ll be ahead of the pack should the shit hit the fan.

And here’s the screed of the prophet Beckett, should you be so inclined to read it for yourself.  

10 thoughts on “Sannion’s Guide for the Apocalypse

  1. You know, I’ll be honest. I don’t really get what aspects of your political beliefs people have a problem with. You are for social freedoms for all people. Isn’t that really what matters? The only criticisms I’ve ever seen of your politics were from people that were purposefully being uncharitable to you in what little you have written about the topic. Your primary focus is not on politics so in my mind it is absolutely unfair to really judge you on anything political you have written because it’s not the style you are accustomed to writing in. It would be way more fruitful to have people have a conversation about your beliefs and I truly believe any reasonable person would see that you are nothing like what people fear you are. Are you conservative? Sure but by today’s metrics so are any political figures from the ancient world. Men and women that are literally worshipped by us as Gods and heroes! Would these people cancel Alexander? Caesar? Rameses? They’d be idiots to do so. You simply advocate for having a community founded on the traditional principles of our traditions. Of course there will be conservatism! The very notion of reviving ancient religions is a conservative act! And quite frankly it’s a conservatism I’d rather have in a heartbeat. There is very little I believe our ancestors could have improved upon in their societies and literally every single one of those improvements was already well underway. Pagan Conservatism rooted in the actual values of our traditions should be championed as the ideal platform in our community. Moral order and family values mixed with social freedoms. Anyone who disagrees with that either doesn’t understand what you’re getting at or they’re part of the problems keeping our religions from flourishing

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    1. That all sounds good, except for one thing. Although I’ve studied pretty much every political ideology under the Sun (and some that only come out at night) I can’t say that I have any particular political affiliations since I don’t really believe that it’s possible to have a healthy or stable society much past the tribal level (say somewhere between 150 and 500 people, but definitely not more than that. Maybe in the thousands if they have enough territory to stay out of each other’s hair except when they come together for big occasions, and that’s a pretty big maybe.) I suppose one could class me as an anarchoprimitivist except that I believe in hierarchy and the rule of law, just of the tribe and not the state. Tribalist probably makes the most sense, except I’m a man without a tribe. Thus I have no politics to discuss, should others have an inkling to.

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  2. As always, Beckett, Daimler, et al are a day late and a dollar short, always following in our footsteps. We’ve been writing and talking about this for a decade now and in more detail and depth (and dealing with it). They’re just catching up? By the time they figure out what this war is all about, it’ll be over. Sorry, “the Great War”. *snorts*.

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    1. Interesting. Your dear husband told me about the two of you writing this a long time ago. One thing that I have noticed is that the ones writing now are all Celtic/Fairy Faith. Hmmmm, is there something in that Polytheism(?) that is particularly martial? Or is this one of those things where you need to do a lot of divining to figure stuff out? (One as in their writings not in the “the Great War.”)

      Or are these vestiges of Monotheism embedded in their thinking?


      1. They’re idiots, Neptunesdolphins. Let me be clear. The problem isn’t their faith, it isn’t that divination is needed, though it is, it’s that they mistake their particular political iteration for the war itself. They’re short sighted fools aching for attention. this isn’t monotheistic thinking — though the monotheists weren’t wrong about everything. There IS a war. That’s about the only thing Beckett and company are correct about. they’re certainly not martial. if they were, they’d have more sense. They. mistake their personal causes for the war and are trying to lend those personal causes an air of legitimacy and urgency they simply don’t possess. This is an existential conflict, not a political one, yet they can’t refrain from politicizing everything. I guess every village needs its idiot. It’s just a pity we have so many minus the village.

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  3. “According to John Beckett and co. there’s a great war, sorry — Great War in the Otherworlds and the “good guys” are 100% in support of his progressive politics and values while the forces of evil and uncreation are backing his ideological opponents, the Republicans and cultural conservatives more generally.”

    In another post, he wrote:” Politics is the collective expression of our highest values.” and “Ignoring politics supports the status quo.”

    And finally:
    For me, it’s not a question of whether devotion or politics is more important. They’re both important. But the inspiration I need to do the political work I do flows from my connections to my Gods, ancestors, and other spiritual allies. If I don’t put my devotional work first, I won’t be able to do the political work.

    And as much as I’m convinced that active participation in the political process is a good and necessary thing, I’m equally convinced that putting our faith in politics is the wrong choice.

    Anyroad, for me, the Roman Gods are interested in government, not politics. I guess that makes me an upholder of the status quo (egads, a Conservative!). Sigh, it seem that the old American tendency to make religion and politics one rears its head at Patheos.

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    1. While my values come from my religious tradition, and those values would inform my politics if I had any, I don’t comprehend the need to provide divine sanction for one’s political ideology and action. The Gods gave us intelligence to reason this shit out for ourselves; I don’t need Dionysos standing over my shoulder telling me what’s right and just or which lying, corrupt, corporate stooge to vote for. I’m less bothered by them ritualizing their political activity – whatever I may personally feel about their aims and efficacy -because we should, as Orpheus taught us, begin all things with the Gods. I just find it amusing – and presumptuous – when they take it that extra step and assume that the Gods are automatically on their side and think exactly the same way they do on every issue. There are plenty of things I do not agree with Dionysos on, usually because he does not share my pessimism and misanthropy. (And I love that about him.)

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      1. ” I just find it amusing – and presumptuous – when they take it that extra step and assume that the Gods are automatically on their side and think exactly the same way they do on every issue. ”

        You know that is one definition for impiety – the presumption that the Gods are always on your side, because you said so.

        Beckett tries to couch his writing in terms of well this is the Gods, and this is me, which is fine. But getting into the weeds and writing about Pagans in general, he links the two such as the Gods are for a woman’s right to choose (i.e., abortion). Well, I can think of several Gods who might baulk at that such as the Gods of Childbirth and Fertility. I can be pro-choice, but I cannot assume any of the Gods I follow are.

        A God may tell me to do something political since that may be what They do, which is fine. But as you state there is a difference between me and Them.

        What I find interesting is when Beckett rails about Christian Nationalists (and others) who do the same thing – assume that God and they think exactly the same.

        BTW, nice tea cozy.


        1. Much appreciated. I think the cozy is rather stylish myself.

          And precisely. Although Dionysos is very much about choice and bodily autonomy I’ve found a number of instances where abortion is discouraged or carefully regulated within his cults. I can think of a number of reasons for this – uniquely among the Gods Dionysos is represented as a fetus or premature child; he also has a strong concern for life in general, and young life in particular; as a God of luxuriant vitality, and growth and fertility more generally, abortion is the antithesis of that. I also strongly suspect that the purification rites imposed weren’t punitive but designed to help the woman process what happened and deal with grief and other unresolved emotions which might not otherwise have been addressed within their society before undergoing a process of reintegration and resuming their religious obligations.

          So it’s complicated, especially since we’re left with the prescription in isolation. And interestingly the word used can either refer to the intentional termination of a pregnancy or an accidental miscarriage – not only is no context provided to help determine which is meant (assuming they saw a distinction between them) – but most sacred laws don’t even touch on this, so you can’t look to other sources for clarification either. (I will note that in the instances where this regulation shows up we’re either dealing with a Dionysiac cult interested in promoting fertility or else there’s a strong Orphic and Pythagorean influence which means we’re dealing with a non-normative form of the God; in other Dionysiac cults, as with Greco-Roman religion generally, abortion/miscarriage tends to be overlooked.)

          Unsurprisingly this is something that’s gone unnoticed and uncommented on by the majority of contemporary Dionysians, most of whom are left-leaning and take it for granted that Dionysos shares their liberal viewpoint. I generally don’t bring it up because I don’t want contemporary politics to get in the way of them having a rich and satisfying relationship with Dionysos. However reflecting on this has definitely shifted my views on the subject – to the point that I’m no longer in favor of abortion, though I don’t want to see restrictive laws imposed since I have an inherent mistrust of the government and history has shown that such legislation just makes a bad situation many, many times worse. I’d rather see effort put into education, moral and societal reform, access to contraception and the morning after pill as well as sterilization procedures, eliminating some of the bureaucracy and hoops around adoption and surrogacy, providing support and resources both during and after pregnancy, and whatever else it takes to make sure that every child born is wanted, loved, healthy and properly cared for as well as ensuring the health and wellbeing of the mother – not to mention a bunch of needs and services I’m not aware of because I’m a dude, and early on made the decision to remain child-free.

          And I think everyone needs to step up to make this happen – the nuclear family is unnatural and ineffective. In any properly functioning society you’ve got the grandparents, and older children, a pack of aunties and uncles, friends and neighbors, etc. etc. etc. all willing to pitch in and help the young couple out. It truly does take a village to raise a child. But today everything is so atomized and disconnected it’s no wonder we’re producing Millennials and Gen Zers, with all of their defects, dysfunction, and degeneracy. It’s not their fault they are so entirely lacking in virtue and functionality – that’s a failure of society at large. No wonder millions of mothers would rather murder their babies than raise them in the world we have collectively created. We can do better.

          And that’s my Ted Talk, folks.


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