Category Archives: My Opinion

Being The Pythia is Not Necessary

For some time, I have loved and honored my Lord’s priestesses at Delphi with a full heart, for all of their attention and assistance, but always with the understanding that I am not, nor will I ever be, one of them.  I am but a simple novice on a path that they have kindly agreed to help with.  Perhaps a surprising admission coming from one who worships Apollon as very much the Oracular God, Pythios being an epithet holding great prominence in my oikos, as does Delian.  But, as much as I honor and respect these aspects of Him, I understand that in so many ways they are location specific, bound to the places where they originated, and are often better contemplated with that understanding in mind.

Apollon has many Oracular sites.  In antiquity there were Delos, Delphi, Patara, Cumae, Didyma, Claros,  and probably more which I have not mentioned, or which have yet to be uncovered.  Each location was itself a catalyst to Oracular work.  It was never only the person acting as mouthpiece that made the connections possible, but a joint effort beween person, Land and God, the result of which we give the name of Oracle– to the mouthpeice (sometimes called a Sybil), to the site itself, and to the message received. So, with such varied templates and strong foundations to work with, why so often are there those claiming to be a Pythia, or worse still, claiming that they are THE Pythia of Delphi, specifically?

Each of His Oracular sites were glorious, but Delphi is the site considered by many to be the most glorious, and I can understand the draw, although for myself, I was always more intimidated by Delphi as the monolith of modern Oracular inspiration.  However, in my contemplation, I now see that perhaps feeling intimidated helped me to stay focused on the real agenda during all my study of Delphi and its priestesses.  The time I spent there was for the purpose of learning, and the application of spirit-taught technique. Forming permanent bonds with the priestesses was never my intention, and indeed the interest originated from their end.

So, this is not a matter of inheriting a legacy from the priestesses of old, because they choose who they will, as does Apollon.  What it is about, is claiming a title that wasn’t for just anybody to claim.

Firstly, any Pythia would have to physically reside in Pytho, and even if a woman were to settle in Delphi to conduct her Oracular work, she would only be meeting the minimum criteria needed to potentially become accepted into the position.  You see, this is because the priests of the Temple of Apollon had the final say in approving/accepting the Pythia. And since there is no living temple tradition dedicated to the Lord Apollon in Delphi presently, controlled and maintained by His priests, absolutely no one has the authority to dole out the title of Pythia to anyone aspiring to be such, and I will acknowledge no Pythia other than the dead priestesses I revere.

I also do not understand why those grasping onto the title do not more readily grasp onto their own Lands, in conjunction with their connections with Apollon, to establish new and local Oracular sites that are eager for work to be done within their boundaries. The site upon which I work is a living, vibrant place, which has its own spiritual destiny to manifest. Delphi, and all of the other ancient sites are wonderful templates, as well as places of learning for those of us who visit them in Other realms, however, the lines of succession are irreparably broken.  We must forge new paths, new sites, new rituals, new Lore, and new understandings of our Gods, especially of Apollon, Who is making His great and long-awaited return into the greater sphere of human influence.

Shall all this be done on the backs of the long departed?  Or shall we first release ourselves from the expectation of surpassing, or even meeting the achievements of those who walked similar paths before us?  There is a fine line, and though we should always try to be the very best we can in whatever we strive to do, I still can not endorse anyone calling themselves the Pythia (and by this I mean equating themselves specifically to the Oracle, not simply as a moniker of identity), no matter how sincere they may believe themselves to be, because they are not the Pythia.  And, which Pythia do they mean, anyway?  The title was held by a very long line of successive priestesses, over an extremely long period of time.

Does this make me a bad Hellenist because I will not adhere to whatever happens to come along in the community, even when heavily endorsed by those with supposed credentials?  Maybe, if you judge the goodness and piety of Hellenists only by what so many often loud and opinionated individuals tell you. But, if you are more apt to follow after your own conclusions, then you are probably more apt to acknowledge the growth of young Oracular sites, and the mouthpieces who reside in them.

And there are many, as there have always been many dedicated in love and honor to the Lord Apollon.  And we are varied, as those who honored Him before us were varied.  I hope to see a time when all of our dreams are brought out into the waking world, and when our endeavors for our Lord are met between us, not with hostility, but with toleration, especially when we disagree, as all humans inevitably do.

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Acceptable Offerings for the Dirt-Poor

Here is a brief list of things that one may give to their Deity when there is little to no money to be spent on expensive or traditional offerings.  These are merely suggestions for those seeking alternatives.  If you personally do not like these suggestions, do not use them.

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1. Tap water.  If you don’t have access to your own tap, most fast food restaurants will still give courtesy cups of water when asked. Guerrilla water collection techniques also include filling an old bottle with water from a neighbor’s sprinkler, public water fountains, or any clean public restroom.

2. Mud or clay effigies.  Can you dig a hole? If so, then you can dig up some mud or clay from your yard, or a park, and commence molding a little something for your Deity. Decorating the effigy with flowers, weeds, leaves, sticks and found stones is another nice way to add a bit more love and energy to your offering.

3. Blood, sweat and tears.  Whatever you are doing, dedicate it to your Deity, especially if it absolutely has to be done, and doubly so if you find it difficult. In my experience, They see our commitment, and don’t usually ignore those who are working hard.

4. Fake fruit/flowers.  Low on cash for foodstuffs? Or simply afraid of waste?  Maybe you’re like me, and can not afford to take any food out of your children’s mouths.  In that case, invest in some craft fruit. The way I like to imbue the fruit with life energy, is to guide it through a natural life-cycle of the plant it was intended to be, through meditation. It is then ready to be offered in place of the actual fruit or flowers. The best part about this, is that the fruit can be re-imbued after the Gods are finished and the fruit has been removed from the altar/shrine. This type of offering is very good for seasonal festivals, when they may be re-gifted, yearly.

5. Found objects, and handmade gifts made from found objects. I include re-purposed objects here, as well. I can not tell you how many things I’ve given to my Gods which were first used for some other purpose. Never have They complained about hand-me-downs, but once the object is Theirs, it’s Theirs forever.

6. Tea-light candles.  A pack of tea-lights goes for no more than four dollars around here. I know that even four dollars can be a lot to some people, so as an alternative for the crafty devotee, have you considered melting down your child’s old, blunt and broken crayons into candles? There are a variety of wick making methods to be found online, as the wick is the hardest part to make yourself. The crayons just need to be melted and poured into a mold. Don’t have an appropriate mold? Dig a hole and pour the wax down there. It will produce a crude but effective candle, with the added bonus of being completely in tune with the energy and rhythms of the land you live on.

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These suggestions are only a few things that I can think of, and I’ve done all of them at varying times in my devotional practice. All were received with kindness and affection from my Gods. Some of these require a small amount of money, others do not. There is always a way to give when you think you have nothing. We just have to get creative about it sometimes.

Let’s Talk About Sacrifice

There are many kinds of sacrifice which can be made to one’s Gods, and most of those ways have been covered elsewhere and in better ways than I could.  That’s why, as I often do, I will only be talking about a certain kind of sacrifice.  A sacrifice so ordinary that most people look right past it, as though it were the air around them, while this sacrifice is as important as the air, and as life-sustaining.

I myself have given, and continue to give this sacrifice.  It bleeds out of me every single day.  It drains me and countless others, sustaining every function of the world we humans have created.  It is also the most essential component to the revival of all ancient religions, including my own.

Have you yet guessed what sacrifice I speak of?  How about a few hints, because the invisibility of this sacrifice is a part of its lesson.  Those giving in this way are not seen as the saviours and builders that they are, for as I said before, they are ordinary.  They are everywhere.  They are rarely acknowledged outside of the small sphere of influence they hold, if even there.

A hundred years ago, in just about any industrialized nation, those giving this sacrifice did so at the very real risk of painful death, and they were expected to endure this risk, and the subsequent years of bondage, with the utmost selflessness– just as those giving it today in the non-industrial world are expected.

Even today, the risk is greater than most would like you to know.  You can still die, and the suffering, though mitigated in certain aspects, is not entirely alleviated.  In fact, trying to put off the suffering leads to more dangerous complications, more often than not.

So, those giving, suffer for their gift.  They suffer and they bleed, and they lay down their lives all too early, for the total benefit of society.  Without them, there would be no society, because there would be no humans to inhabit it.

That’s right.  This is the mothers’ sacrifice, that which is looked down upon and scoffed at, even before the evidence of its necessity.  My religion is growing.  I can see that with my own eyes.  People are honoring the Gods, worshiping Them, sacrificing to Them.  However, we can not remain a religion of converts, not and expect to have any lasting influence over this world, and indeed those children already born into the religion.

We need mothers, because we need Hellenic babies.  We need mothers (and fathers), because we need people to raise those Hellenic babies.  We need women who are ready, and able to risk their very lives, and the lives of their unborn, to see the ranks of the Deathless Ones be filled.  We need women who are willing to collapse from the pain, to bleed out on the delivery table, to never even see their baby’s face before sweet Death takes them away. We need the mothers’ risk, and the mothers’ sacrifice.

It is not enough for us to cultivate throngs of mystics who will never, ever, by their own admission, have children.  It is not enough to organize gatherings in which very few children will see and learn the rites.  If we want to be successful, we have to produce the future sowers of our success. It is about the numbers, and we simply don’t have enough.

Now, stop to think about what it means to be a mother for the Gods. Bearing new life– life granted by Them–  into this world, with all of the dangers inherent in the task.  Not only the physical strain, but the mental strain, and the emotional strain.  Mothers (and in this capacity, fathers) give and love because it is natural, because it is expected.  Children are under no such mandate to love their parents.  Every parent knows that they are not guaranteed their child’s love or their respect.

You may raise a child, or several, and never hear words of thanks or praise for your efforts. You may live the invisible life, never being acknowledged, except perhaps by the Gods, Who may be watching your tour of selflessness with much satisfaction.  In bringing the children into the world, we deliver them into the waiting arms of our Gods.  By raising the children within the religion, we ensure that our love of the Gods will be passed on for at least another generation.  If that isn’t a sacrifice, I don’t know what is.

May the many Gods be made greater by these sacrifices, and may our children reap and sow in turn, lifting the Deathless Ones to greater heights still.  For that is the true purpose of the mothers’ sacrifice to the Gods.

On Oracles and Diviners

Oracles and Diviners do not carry the final word of any God.  They may only give you what they can translate through their own mental, emotional, and spiritual filters, which includes any tools of their trade.  First and foremost, an Oracle or a Diviner, is a translator of a God’s Will.  The words are not theirs, and should not be followed by rote.

The Oracle’s interpretations of the words should be limited in the beginning, and only expanded upon by request of the querent.  If an Oracle or Diviner gives you unsolicited advice or interpretation, politely thank them, but hold onto your own interpretation first.  The words are addressed to the querent, not to the Oracle.

If an Oracle insists that you must follow their interpretation, despite your having to walk your very own path, and not theirs, then you have an example of a false Oracle.  Not false in the sense that their ability should be questioned, but certainly their well-demonstrated humanity should raise some warning flags.

Because we are all human, and flawed, it is always possible to take ourselves and our abilities too seriously.  I liken this phenomenon to a sing-language interpreter being mistaken for the speech-maker during an important event. The difference is obvious to anyone paying attention, or anyone with requisite knowledge of sign-language interpreters.

As it is unlikely that the interpreter has forgotten that they are not delivering the actual speech, it is the perception of those watching which transforms the interpreter into the speech-maker.  If no one bothers to question the false reality being woven around the interpreter, it becomes more difficult for those glancing to differentiate the two.

This is a serious issue.  Those seeking Oraclular or Divinitory confirmation need to be alert, and aware of these types of broken boundaries.  I think some of this is due to the informal and anonymous nature of the internet, which is a tool utilized by many Diviners and Oracles, myself included.  The ease and convenience of long-distance Oracular work should not be a replacement for the solid and physical exchange of energies needed to discern truth from fiction, and human from Divine.  It takes a more conscious effort by the querent to remain focused on the words, and less so on the person delivering them.

Oracles and Diviners are people, like the rest of us– plain and unspectacular. We, our abilities, and our translations of the Divine Will, are not to be placed above the inherent knowledge existing within individuals.  In the end, we ourselves are no more than the tools of our Gods and spirits.

A megaphone, for example, has many volume settings.  And like a megaphone, Oracles can be turned either up, or down.  Common knowledge tells us that the Gods have Their hand on the dail, but what isn’t so commonly known, is that the querent has a volume control of their own.  Do not be afraid of using yours.

Another way to ensure that you are not led down an unnecessary detour, is to seek out multiple sources.  Do not go to only one Oracle or Diviner.  There isn’t only one, and I’m certain that if you look hard enough, you will find at least two translators for any particular God.  Probably more.  You have all the power in the relationship between you and the Oracle you choose.

Just remember that your interpretation of your message stands above the Oracle’s interpretation of your message.  And if they tell you otherwise… walk away.  Tools are a dime a dozen, and you will find another one.

Glamour and Concealment

All of these findings are based entirely on my own continuously evolving research and experiments.  This is a subject that, for whatever reason, has become important for me to develop an understanding of.  I have done everything that I’ll discuss today.

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1.)  Fabric Veiling
This, I have done the most frequently and consistently.  I’ve veiled for several years, and I do it for a few reasons, although, as the year in this new(ish) location has gone by (along with other Things which occurred, and continue to occur simultaneously), my reason for covering has shifted to specifically taming my own energy.

This self-discipline is of benefit not only to myself, but to the world at large.  It helps me to move smoothly in this world of people who would be otherwise disturbed, or frightened, by the intensity surrounding me.  But it isn’t just the covering that enables the energy to be tamed.  Often, the color/pattern and texture of the fabric can come into play on a given day, depending on how much coverage/concealment is needed.  Colors carry their own vibrations, and oftentimes it is best to ride a current, rather than swim against it.

For example: when I’m angry, I sometimes wear orange or red.  These fiery colors assist in the burning off of the charged emotion.  Once enough of my energy has been focused into color, and/or pattern, I can remove the veil and put on a different one.  The next will be of a cooler color, such as blue or perhaps even white.  This helps to train the remaining energy to take on a calming presence.  Of course, my scarves are blessed for these and other purposes, so they already know what to do when I put them on.

One may also choose to veil for the sake of invisibility, as I used to do when I would go out in public.  My charge is no longer to appear invisible, but rather to be seen in a far off, distant and ornamental sense.  For this purpose, the traditional covering route is obvious, however, I also have the option of covering with a wig, instead.

2.) Veiling with Wigs
The wig itself can be the cover, for in this instance the cover is for the crown chakra, as opposed to the hair itself.  This of course works better when you have very short hair (or none at all).  Normally, the natural hair would hold in personal energy, an depending upon how it is styled, the energy may leak, or otherwise be lost.  A wig, when properly blessed or “activated” in a magical sense, may act as the natural hair, thus holding in energy.  Again, color may play a role here, as there are a variety of both natural and non-natural colors, which can be utilized for any situation or need.

3.) Braiding
This can be done with the natural hair, as well as in tandem with a wig.  Braiding is an alternate way to bind in your energy.  Braiding is also effective in programming specific currents of energy to flow in and around you.  The key is to infuse the braid with your intent during styling, and to seal it in.

4.)  Dyeing of the Hair
Another common way of covering without any outward or obvious sign (especially when it matches one’s natural hair), is to use hair color techniques.  Dye, when infused with intent, may seal in certain energetic qualities that you may desire.  It can also seal in personal power, though it does not seem quite as effective as braiding, or fabric, for that purpose.

5.)  Ornamentation
Just about anything you can get to stay in your hair, on attached to your veil, can be utilized as an energetic aid, or other kind of talisman.  You are limited only by your imagination.  Of course, I wouldn’t choose just anything. Knowledge of various simple magics can be put to good use here.

6.)  Glamour
And here is where all of the aforementioned covering techniques can be brought together in harmony.  There are no rules for covered Polytheists/Pagans.  There is not a certain way that we are expected to wear our veils.  Though tradition may be behind our decisions to veil, we are not necessarily bound by these traditions.

Be creative.  Experiment.  Do not allow the cloth on your head to dictate what you ought to look like, or act like.  Do not allow the opinions of other humans to distract you from your goal, whatever it may be.  Because veiling is very much a goal-oriented practice.  It helps us to focus our energy in the directions we need for it to go.  It helps to separate out those distractions which keep our attention occupied by meaningless things.

Veiling, or covering in more non-traditional ways, is not limited to the modest and the reserved.  As I mentioned above, glamour is a technique which can pull all of these together, if desired.

There are those who dress themselves for life’s daily struggle in far more meticulous ways than most.  When I woman dons a power-suit for her high level executive position, with her strikingly colored face and heels, no one wonders what she’s doing it for.  If you want to dress like the Queen (or King) that you are, do so, and charge your glamour with the intent to achieve your goals.  Even just a short affirmation while doing nothing more than brushing your hair in the morning, can begin the process of changing one’s attitude toward self and beauty.

This is because glamour and concealment are two sides of the same coin.  They both deal in the handling of personal power.  One technique is about tamping it down, while the other is about building it up.  Nothing is quite so hard and fast as that, but it’s as close a description as I think I’m able to give.  But, there is nothing that says you must fall on one end of the spectrum and not the other.  I am comfortable resting somewhere between both, yet decidedly on the more modest end of things.  Your mileage may vary, as well it should.

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I saw this yesterday and thought it was really beautiful.  It fits in well with the theme of this post, also.  So, enjoy.  :)  [edited 12/3/2013]