Category Archives: Apollonian Virtues

The First Step Is Knowing…

“Knowing thyself is only the first step.  Only the beginning of the path to Mastery.  Yes, you must know thyself, but you must also know what you are not. You must know what not to feed your soul, what not to emulate, what not to become.  And then you must become your best self possible.  At times, this will mean peeling away parts unnecessary.  At others, it will mean taking in what is needed.  Change teaches us who we really are.  This is as true for Me as it is for all of you.  As we are tossed upon the Sea of Fate, our innermost self keeps us afloat.

“Man [as in mankind], you are not the only creatures to endure evolution.  We must also become more than We are, to fulfill Ourselves and to fulfill the needs of All to which We are bound.  Remember this when your lives are wound in the maelstrom.  We have been here before you.  We have come to know Ourselves, even as We grow and change.  We can assist you, and you can be as We are.  Take the first step.  Grasp the hands of Those who would guide you, Those who would share this, and a million other familiar hardships.”

— Apollon, June 29, 2016

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Perseverance…

“This is not the end.  Each breath is a new beginning.  Life continues even after the fall.  What is unknown is not the wall which stands between you and the next leg of the journey, but instead is the creeping ivy that you must climb to traverse the wall.  You are not yet strong enough to dismantle or destroy the wall, yet you may move forward from it.  Choose to.  Choose life.  Choose the unknown, for it is better for you now than what is known.

“To escape the prison of thought and action which compels you, you must be willing to experience the newness calling now.  You are worth the time. You are worth the expense. You are worth the pain of lancing the wound. Fear not the pain, for you are worthy, and when you stand on the other side of the wall, you will only laugh at the superficial scratches and bruises that were acquired in the climb.  Choose the climb.  Choose life.  Choose yourself, for no one else can make your choices for you.”  — Apollon

Gravity

Lost again
Broken and weary
Unable to find my way
Tail in hand
Dizzy and clearly unable to
Just let this go

I am surrendering to gravity and the unknown
Catch me heal me lift me back up to the sun
I choose to live

I fell again
Like a baby unable to stand on my own
Tail in hand
Dizzy and clearly unable to just let this go
I am surrendering to gravity and the unknown
Catch me heal me lift me back up to the sun
I choose to live, I choose to live, I choose to live

Catch me heal me lift me back up to the sun
Help me survive the bottom

Calm these hands before they
Snare another pill and
Drive another nail down another
Needy hole please release me

I am surrendering to gravity and the unknown
Catch me heal me lift me back up to the sun
I choose to live, I choose to live

Veiling in the Face of Fear

I am an Apollon’s woman.  I veil for my God.  Increasingly, as the years have gone by, Apollon has taken my veiling practice under His auspices.  Yes, I still acquire the other spiritual benefits of a consecrated veil, but He has made it known that He considers it His sacred duty to oversee my implementation of the practice itself, and many of its benefits.

It is important to me to do the things that please Him, especially when those things are directly beneficial to my health and well-being.  And it is equally important for me to follow the directives of my own heart and seeking.  Please know that I have veiled publicly and privately for over a decade, well even before my first child was born, and long before Apollon was a major fixture in my life.  This is not a passing fancy. This is not a call for attention.  This is me living my daily life.

Please understand that I have veiled publicly and privately in the State of Texas for much of that time.  Texas isn’t a place that is generally known for it’s tolerance, but you’d be surprised in some places.  I find the further south you go, the more tolerant and accepting the people are.  Perhaps that’s because the cultural majority in this country (the US) is actually the minority, population-wise, in South Texas.  However, you’d also not be surprised by some of the more negative reactions a veiled black woman can receive in any part of the State.

But now I’m in Colorado, and you’d maybe think that such a liberal State, with its progressive stance on certain issues, would be ideal for a Polytheist such as myself, and maybe it is for other Polytheists living here, but because Lord Apollon has taken my veiling practice as a sign of my reverence, love and duty toward Him, I am not currently so privileged as to set it down.  Not even now, when tensions are high and all veiled or covered women have become (or have become more so) a “threat”, or “terrorists” in the eyes of many.

You also have to understand what it’s like simply going to the grocery store sometimes.  The stares.  The whispers.  The outright sneers. Most people who take the time to show you how outraged they are by your presence will do so passive-aggressively, so there’s not much to be done about it.  But there are those rare instances, which are increasing in frequency, of veiled women no matter what their religious affiliation being physically assaulted by people wishing to inflict pain and terror,–even death– upon them.

This is a hard world to live in.  These are the times that we must navigate in all our seeking and heartfelt reverence of the Old Gods. Apollon has not asked me to cease my veiling practice, and He will not. He has marked me and I am set apart from the population.  The veil, in my case, is now not only a concealer but also a revealer of my path as one of His.  When in our society we agree to take up this practice in honor of a God, we agree to at least try to remember courage in face of fear.

Someone asked me yesterday if, in light of the state of affairs today, would I discontinue veiling.  I won’t say is hasn’t crossed my mind.  I am a mother.  I have dependents who need me.  I have a life, and yes, it would be an easier life if I put away my veils.  But what does that teach my children?  What does that teach the world-at-large?  That if enough ignorant people make enough ruckus, women (and men) will bow to their threats and bullying?  I will not.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual whether or not their veiling practice puts them in too much danger to continue.  If you feel threatened and that setting it aside for a time is the correct action for you, take that action.  But also know that our Gods, including Apollon, may have asked us for this devotion because They feel we are strong enough to carry our lives, and Their presence in our lives, openly.  We are the ones the future priests, priestesses and facilitators are looking toward now.  We are the ones they are watching, and so are our detractors within our own communities. In time, let them not say to our children truthfully that we were too afraid to love liberty, and the Gods. Instead, let us win the battles over our own bodies, and what we choose to cover them with.

Manifestations: Accountability and Consent

[Although I have been working on a version of this article for a few weeks, my finishing it has entirely to do with Thenea’s very thoughtful post from yesterday.]

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In recent years there have been a couple of good discussions about differing manifestations of Gods, and how They can manifest to each of Their devotees in varying ways and degrees.  There is some speculation that each of us who works with a Deity gets their very own version of that Deity.  I sort of agree with this, not in the sense that I believe there are, say, ten-thousand different Apollons, each acting and responding under the same name, but rather that for each manifestation of Him, He puts only the parts of Himself in that are of spiritual relevance to the devotee(s) that particular manifestation is working with.

For instance, if we were to think of Apollon as a non-anthropomorphic bubble, filled with the various aspects of His personality, He might looks something like this:

Non-Anthropomorphic Apollon

Imagine each colored circle within being a different part of Him.  Now, imagine that He has three manifestations, each taking a little of what is in the original, into Themselves.  It might look something like this:

Non-Anthropomorphic Apollon x 3

Each is Apollon.  Each is carrying around a different set of aspects, causing variation within the ways that He manifests for the different groups or individuals He works with.  In this diagram, at least one of those aspects is shared among all three manifestations, while all other aspects are unique to the manifestation in which they occur.  These are all Apollon, but They are not the same.  Depending on what aspects work best for groups or individuals, Gods can choose to tailor Their manifestations to suit the end goal of the work.  But it isn’t just the Gods tailoring these experiences. They will often play off of our expectations, coming to us in the ways that are most promoted by our Polytheist culture, and also by the overculture.

In our current very patriarchal (American) society, this causes a lot of grief, as many of the Gods see this and recognize it from antiquity.  They are already used to working within this framework, and so what They may think as a very normal and reasonable approach to gathering devotees, may not actually be the correct approach for this time in human history, although each case should be taken on its individual merits.  For someone like me, a darker manifestation might be needed, at least in the beginning, as a starting point for learning and spiritual growth.

Let us now imagine that this dark manifestation behaves in ways that are familiar to us, from what remains of the Lore.  If Apollon is responding to the prevailing societal view, it shouldn’t be surprising.

This Apollon is haughty and controlling, and He does pretty much whatever He can get away with.  He demands, He threatens, and He punishes without mercy.  But what happens when we outgrow this dark manifestation– when we see our worth as being more than what this darkness is expressing to us?  I believe that is when we ought to look past the darkness and into ourselves.

We can often find aspects of our Gods within us, if we dare to look.  Also, if we take the time to learn about the others aspects and integrate them into our lives through offering and conversation, we can alter the make-up of our personal manifestations of Deity.  As with all relationships, this way works best when we acknowledge that the Deity is more than what has been revealed to us, and when we accept that our interactions with the Deity can, and often will, change.

To put it simply, we are just as responsible for how the Gods manifest to us as They are.  Once we can accept our role, and our agency, we may begin to see vast changes in how our relationships with Them are expressed.  But part of accepting our agency is learning what our boundaries are.  What and where are the lines which should not be crossed?  How do we respond when a Deity approaches that line?  How do we respond when a Deity crosses that line? These are questions that need answers, for us an individuals, as well as for groups of people working with the same Deity.  And if a God does cross that line, how do we reign Them in according to our values?

I’m pretty big on contracts which detail to exacting degrees, just what is acceptable and what is not, behaviorally speaking, both for the God(s) and for mortals.  You have the right, as a free agent in the worlds, to guard and protect yourself from all harm, even and especially that coming from a God or Goddess.  You do not have to be a doormat.  You do not have to say yes. I believe that the Gods are People.  Larger People than we are, but still People, with all the virtues and vices that entails.  But while these vices may exist within Them, like us, They have the agency to choose whether or not They will express them, or if They will instead learn, grow and move past those negative tendencies.

We must hold Gods accountable for Their behavior, and They must hold Themselves accountable, as well.  If a Deity is unwilling to address these issues when and wherever they arise, then that is a fine time to reconsider working with that Deity.  They do not get to treat you however They want. Respect is a reciprocal exchange, not an endless stream poured out from one “lower” individual to a “higher” one.  Humans are not lowly creatures. The Gods know this, and have known it for far longer than we have.  But They are quite limited in the sense that They can not interact with us outside of the scope of our expectations.  Only when we expect to be treated respectfully, at all times, will They begin to acknowledge this cultural shift.

We need to take command of our cultural expectations.  Overall, this will be a difficult task, especially if our main focus continues to be the dismantling of the patriarchal overculture.  Which, by the way, I’m not saying we should stop doing, but, if we can narrow our focus onto our Polytheist culture, whether it exists within a closed group, or on the world wide web, we can begin those first steps toward a culture of informed consent, at least when dealing with each other, and our Gods.

Occupy Your Seat!

Occupy your seat!  Do not sit there in complacence, hoping for the world to recognize what you fail to assert!  You do not live for the sake of mere existence!

Occupy your place in this world!  Or the bounds of your territory will wither away until there is naught left but the receding scraps of your potential!

Occupy your words!  You must breathe life into your thoughts with conviction, rather than with indecisive platitudes!

Occupy the power borne into the form you call yourself!  Only you can be who you are meant to be!

And never, ever, allow yourself to be occupied!  I did not place you here to be exploited or enslaved!

You are a Queen!  You are the Mother of your House!  You are the ruler I have installed here!

So occupy yourself, and your future!  And be a bane to those who would plow over your life and dreams!