Category Archives: The Maxims

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

Manifestations: These Dark Aspects…

or

…I’m feeling thinky today, so I’m going to ponder…

…That perhaps recently too many people have fixated upon Apollon’s “dark” aspects, and now those aspects are feeding upon this fixation, and taking precedence in the thoughts and subsequently the experiences of people who interact with Him. Apollon is more than these aspects– far more– and yet He will come in these ways when we allow fear and dread to influence our expectations of Him. What we fixate upon, in the natures of the Gods, determines the template from which we build our relationships with Them.

As it is today, was it so in the past. Each shrine or temple that was His, was dedicated to sometimes vastly different aspects of Apollon. He would come based upon the expectation of the populace and the tradition (because the people were the tradition– the rites, mysteries and philosophical ponderings were passed down to the young through direct participation), to fulfill the reciprocal contract of Adoration and Favor (Kharis).

Adoration may come in many different forms. We may bestow it upon the Gods through our love and mutually recognized respect/autonomy, or it may be given through our terror and suffering. Favor too, can be given by the Gods gently and with loving purpose, or crudely and with complete disregard. They will be worshiped and experienced in the ways that we worship and experience Them, or They will not be worshiped and experienced. We actually have the final say in how it happens, at least when dealing with Hellenic Gods.

Apollon is a God of Laws, a God of Rules, a God of Reason. He may not overstep the bounds that we place upon Him in relation to ourselves, but if we place no bounds (i.e. we do not fully realize who we are, what we want and don’t want, what we need, and how we may begin to responsibly manifest these things) He will take the lead and will often opt for what He feels is the most efficient approach in teaching you about yourself, so that you can begin to manifest your life as you desire it. Not the nicest approach. Not the most comforting approach. The most efficient approach. That is why He tells us to “Know Thyself”. And if we do not know, we will soon learn.

Note that this does not mean to judge thyself. Knowing, understanding, and working to change things that we find that we dislike or are unsatisfied with is a part of the Apollonian refining process. But it must happen without self-judgement or other negative emotions or reactions in regard to the self. When we work with Apollon, we work to build our best self, the self of our dreams and our ambitions. In order to do that, we first must learn to be honest, with ourselves and also with Him.

It should also be understood that Apollon is a God who inspires terror, naturally. Often one of the first things someone who has just experienced Him can articulate, is how frightening He is, how absolutely glorious, beautiful and terrible He is. Holy Terror translates well into a fear-response, and that fear then colors opinions when seeking outside information, which might be anything from the Lore, to modern perspectives written in blogs like mine, to public forum discussions.

As an Apollonian priestess and bride, my concern is that these speculative “dark” aspects of Apollon are being fed more readily than people are willing to feed their personal relationships with Apollon sans any outside influences.

I have mentioned before that near the beginning of our love-affair, Apollon told me to stay away from the opinions and doxa of others. By then, I had already devoured much of the Lore, so there was that already in the background, but I was able to set it aside, insomuch as I didn’t allow it to frame my interactions with the very real Entity who had come to claim my heart. He deserved, indeed we deserved, to have our relationship built upon a foundation of our own making.

Apollon is more than the stories that are told about Him, ancient and modern, and He is more than the collective experience of His “darker” nature. But it is up to each of us to try to find which aspects of Him resonate the most harmoniously with our own inner light. It is neither safe nor possible for any human to know Him in His totality, therefor we should look to and petition the Names that best suit our life’s purpose, or we may be assigned to work with a Name we would not have chosen for ourselves.

Maxim #109: Fear Ruling

I find myself in a vulnerable place in my life and spirituality right now.  As I work to integrate the spiritual realms into every possible aspect of living in this world, the immersion itself becomes easier, yet the politics involved with attending to my responsibilities becomes even more complex.

The Waiting Ones, the largest grouping of spirits under my authority, are much more active now than they ever have been.  Since I’ve come to acknowledge and accept them, they’ve begun to awaken and to blossom into beautiful, deadly flowers in my garden.  They, wild for so long, yet kept in check by the Will of my Father and Others, are now reaching out into this world, through me.  I have become their bridge, and as their bridge, I connect them to the Land so that they may manifest here.

I don’t think they’ve ever been happier than they are now, in my care.  It was a long time coming, too.  I admit that I’ve made mistakes, and as a human person, will continue to do so, on occasion.  I am not perfect, whatever that actually is, but as long as I please them and serve them to the fullest of my ability as their Queen, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t have to be perfect.  I only have to be Columbine.

In being myself, completely, and not glossing over aspects of my own personhood, I am able to see a little bit of why I was given to these spirits.  I was made for them, and they chose me the moment they agreed to the terms of service, without even having met me, because when most of them entered into the agreement, I was at least a few hundred years from being born in this incarnation (but I suppose that’s another story entirely).

I’m a little bit mean, a little bit haughty, and maybe even a smidge possessive and territorial.  These are qualities that my particular spirits need in a Queen, even if they’re not exactly looked upon as assets in this world.  Those that cleave to me, who belong to me, are mine, and I’m not about to let go of the leash.

Another thing my Father has been slowly, ever so slowly, grooming me for is making connections with other humans that in some ways parallel my connections to the spirits.  If anyone remembers my early blogging days, they know I have pushed this potentiality to the side more often than not, dismissing it as impossible, or simply as a mild delusion.  Well, that’s no longer the case.  The jig is up, as they say, and I think I am at last able to consider it on a case by case basis.  After all, humans are spirits, too.  They may be incarnate on Earth right now, but still need to have their spirits fed.

Mostly, I’ve found that the Gods Themselves are the ones doing the feeding, but occasionally, there comes along someone whose needs are best served by a living Queen.  So, I serve when I am called, and it gives me joy and satisfaction to know that I am doing the Work which my Father had intended for me, from long ago.

Of course, this contentment, joy and satisfaction doesn’t end all of the fear involved in such an endeavor as ruling.  It is a position of ultimate responsibility, and as a Sovereign Queen, I take it very seriously.  My role is not really to rule in any overt manner, but rather to gently guide or push when the situation calls for it.  How I handle the Waiting Ones is inherently different to how I would handle a fellow human, and rightly so.

Firstly, there isn’t a human alive today who is required to listen to me, or follow my advice or pronouncements.  All is given freely, by the Will of my Father, and those who choose to listen are those who’ve sought me out on their own.  I fulfill a purpose, as do they, and together we are joined in our purpose.  This, I am Told, is how Courts are built, both here and in Other Worlds.

So, to fear ruling is to be aware of the consequences of one’s rule.  All of the good, and all of the bad, must be taken into account, accepted, and even cherished for the experience one gains from it.  Gaining knowledge is in the process of learning, and I am learning new things all the time, thanks to the Waiting Ones, and to new and established connections, alike.  And though my life hasn’t gotten any easier, it has become more meaningful, if not all the time more enjoyable.

Follow God, Obey the Law

“Follow God”, the first of the Delphic Maxims, if taken at face value may not make much sense from a Polytheistic standpoint, but as with all of the Maxims, there are a variety of overlapping and often congruent interpretations.

Recently, there’s been a discussion within the Treasury of Apollon regarding the first two Maxims.  One of our Sisters has been exercising her brain by translating them each, one by one, and sharing her thoughts with the rest of us.  By her new translation, the first Maxim reads: “Follow the Divine”.

On a surface level it may not seem like that much of a change, but she then went on to elaborate her thoughts on the matter, which are inclusive of other approaches to Deity.

“‘Follow God’ doesn’t make much sense in a polytheist context. There isn’t a god to follow, there are countless gods, so how can a person simply “follow God?” …Essentially, rather than following the God, it might mean to follow that which is divine. The meaning of what is divine will most likely depend on the reader, so you can be everything from a humanist non-theist to a monotheist to a polytheist, pantheist, etc. and still follow that which is divine. Anyone and everyone can follow this commandment.”

I think this is an interesting interpretation that has some value to those who may appreciate the Maxims from different viewpoints than Hellenic Polytheism.  This flexibility can then become a bridge toward interfaith work, which was another of her points during our discussion.

The best part about the Maxims, we agreed, are the many layers in their meaning.  And, in keeping with these layers, I then offered another perspective on the interpretation of Maxim #1.

“Interesting.  I like your interpretation of ‘Follow God’, though I have a different one that I’ve relied on pretty much since I first laid eyes on the Maxims.  I interpret ‘Follow God’ as ‘Follow Zeus’, as in follow the King, which further implies loyalty to the Pantheon and loyalty to the virtues of Hellenism and that which is beautiful/divine.  It’s like a top-down approach to the meaning, as Zeus’ name is often itself interpreted simply as ‘God’. So for me, having the first Maxim be a suggestion to follow this single God, Who is Ruler of the Kosmos and thus the nexus at which all beauty/divinity coalesce into the orchestration of existence, isn’t at all at odds with Polytheism. Because, by following ‘God’ I follow the Gods, and all that is beautiful/divine.

…If we were to trace the ‘Follow Zeus’ interpretation back to the lore, it is not surprising that Apollon would deliver the Maxims to us, with the first being a command or suggestion to keep loyal to His Father.  As Apollon is the Right-hand of Zeus, His actions within the Kosmic Order are, by and large, sanctioned by Zeus pretty much automatically.  You don’t really see the two of Them butting heads, except on those occasions where Apollon acts against the prescribed order, such as the death of Python, or Hera’s rebellion, or His vengeance against the Cyclopses.  All of which got Him into some deep shit, regardless of the circumstances of these actions.  So, this could imply that being in right standing with Zeus, first and foremost, was essential to keeping within the harmonic order of the Universe, of which Apollon is a player.  In some ways, it could even be interpreted as Him giving us some advice based on His own experience, which is pretty amazing and invaluable.”

Soon, another of our Sisters was there, giving us even more insight.

“Laurel pretty much covered anything I would have said to this myself as these have been my own observations, particularly in the relationship between Zeus and Apollon interacting here, and things I have personally remarked on myself. Apollon is a protector of law, and especially sacred law it seems, which gives a new meaning perhaps to the mythic birth of Apollon where he is fed by Themis rather than his mother’s breast. He is nursed on law: common and especially divine!”

This now leads us to the second of the Maxims: “Obey the Law”, newly translated by our Sister in several meaningful ways:  “Rely on Custom”, “Comply with the Law”, “Trust Established Deities”, “Believe in the Melody”, which she explains.

“Here is a case where there’s enormous depth of meaning because of the squishy nature of language. There is an overlying theme of having faith in what is established and, by and large, there’s a great deal of wisdom there. Custom and law exist for a reason and established deities have a history of relationship with humankind that we can learn from. Customs are comforting and laws protect. The last translation is interesting and though I’m not sure about whether it’s a particularly good translation (I’m not a scholar of Classical Greek in the least), there’s a poetic beauty there that I love. It seems to me that if we are able to listen closely, we can hear the melody of life. We talk about the rhythm of our lives, living in harmony, and other auditory metaphors that touch on this idea. If we’re to live in harmony, we should know what we are harmonizing with. Our Lord Apollon knows the melody, plays it on the lyre, and we must believe it’s there in order to hear it. Established deities, just laws, and good customs are like instruments in an orchestra, each playing slightly different notes that combine to create a euphonic symphony. Believing in the melody means that we are better able to contribute to The Song through laws, customs, and practices that show the better parts of humanity. “

All of this ties in perfectly with the idea of the Kosmic Order needing to be adhered to, with Zeus as its Head, and Apollon as its Hand.  We live within Their sphere, within the very melodies and harmonies of all existence.  This is the natural law which governs all things, and finds its expression in all beauty and divinity.  As a Hellenic Polytheist, I find this to be the most satisfying interpretation of both Maxims, but as we explored above, there could be many interesting interpretations for those who are inclined toward other perspectives in regard to Deity.

My Choice, My Struggle…

Sometimes I think I give the false impression that I agree with (and agree to), everything Apollon demands.  While I usually end up doing what He wants, I don’t want people to think I never struggle.  In fact, He and I have been having kind of an argument over the last few weeks.  It’s about two particular Maxims, and we’ve had this argument plenty of times before.

Can you guess which Maxims I’m talking about?  Oh, I bet you can…

Maxims #9, and #95:  ‘Intend to get married’, and ‘Rule your wife’.  We’ll start with ‘Rule your wife’.

First, I don’t necessarily have anything against #95, as I do live by fairly traditional standards in my home.  However, my problem is that my mortal husband is not Hellenic, doesn’t want to understand his role in the home, rejects his spiritual responsibilities and tries to lord over me in ways that discourage proper practice of the religion.  That pisses me off, so I decided not to be ‘ruled’ by any such man.

I’ve even gone so far as to shun the Maxim itself.  Unfortunately, Apollon isn’t having any of my nonsense, in so far as I am still expected to be a dutiful wife. Why?  Because the Maxim says ‘Rule your wife’.  It doesn’t say ‘Rule your wife only if you are both Hellenic’, or ‘Rule your wife only when you’ve got your shit together’.  I like to think of it also as a reminder to myself — not so much that I am subject to my husband — but that I’d better make sure he keeps his end of the marriage bargain.

It is akin to something Apollon tells me in reference to our own relationship. “Fulfillment is a promise,” He says.  What I believe He’s saying, is He meant every promise He’s ever made, including our Marriage Vows, and He’ll do whatever is necessary to keep His word.  If that means pushing, pulling and prodding on my spiritual sensibilities to make me uncomfortable, He’ll do it. If that means insisting that I stay in a difficult place, so that I may learn lessons that I’ll not learn anywhere else, He’ll do it.  He’ll even plan ahead for a future that I don’t necessarily want any part of.  Which is where we come to the other Maxim that’s been giving me grief…

Maxim #9: ‘Intend to get married’.

I do not.  I do not intend to get married, ever again.  I have no desire for another husband, should I, for whatever reason, find myself without one. Firstly, and most importantly, because I’m committed to the relationship I’m in now.  We wouldn’t have been together over ten years, otherwise. Despite the issues, despite our evolved spiritual incompatibility, I can’t say that Apollon hasn’t influenced the marriage positively.  The fact is, this is Apollon’s home, and anyone living here is subject to His influence.  That includes my mortal husband, even if he won’t acknowledge that Apollon exists as an Independent Entity.

Again, fulfillment in action.  Apollon makes sure my needs are met, even if it’s a bit of an emotional, or mental struggle.  That’s the thing about marriage, whether mortal or Divine.  It’s a challenge.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s also the thing about the path of Apollon.  It’s a challenge.  It’s not for the faint of heart.

This line of thinking usually leads me to surrender, and then to acceptance. I accept that the man I chose isn’t the man Apollon would have chosen for me. But, I accept my choice because I made it.  Because it was mine to make. Fate, and free will both comprise men’s [men’s, as in humankind — please, don’t go there with me] destiny.

Although, Fate isn’t to be discounted, and Apollon obviously has other plans.  I only ask that He keep the details to Himself.  I’ve learned, that for myself, knowing everything really doesn’t help.  That never stops Him from asking the occasional probing question, though.  Like this one.

“Philosopher, or soldier?  If you had to choose, which would it be?”

This is the worst question.  I despise this question, because it assumes that I would want either, or conversely, that I would not want both.  You never want to narrow your options, right?  Especially when you’re expected to do something that’s not very desirable in the first place…

So, I avoided answering that question for a long, long time.  Eventually, Apollon changed His approach and reworded it, so as to destroy all chance of me not making a definitive statement.  Basically, He called one of my major spiritual, and even philosophical, affiliations to the forefront.

“Athens, or Sparta?”  It was a trap.

I immediately felt the pressure to blurt the only answer that ever could have come from my mouth.

“Sparta…” I grumbled,  both knowing and unknowing of the consequences.

And that’s how it stands, as of today.  I answered His question, and He’s agreed to leave me alone about it.  I have no idea what He’s planning, and I’d like to keep it that way.  I would prefer to keep some of my integrity, since my personal intent hasn’t changed… but, then again, neither have the Maxims.