Tag Archives: freedom

Dragon Business

I have wanted to tackle this topic for some time now, but it really requires so much back story that I’ve found it immensely off putting. But, these things don’t write themselves, so I am going to make a serious attempt, while trying to go light on the back story, because of time and my attention span.

So, I am the rebirth of a dragon-child who lived a long time ago in another realm.  Almost all of my dragon Clan was annihilated after a sordid chain of events that I’m not even going to touch here.  Later, I was murdered by a jealous relative from the Other side of my Family. This is important for you to know because those are the reasons why I am who I am, and where I am, in this realm and time period.

The other things you should know are that the realm my Clan is from is one with a long history which includes multiple species that evolved from a common ancestor, two of which were and are the dominant two species in the realm.  These two related dragon species claimed about half of the realm’s land and resources each.  Let’s call them Species A, and Species B.

Species A are bipeds.  They have a fairly humanoid shape and developed advanced technology in their realm, including the manipulation of DNA.  Species B are what one would commonly think of when pondering dragons– large, serpentine, intelligent.  The cultures of these two species could not have been farther removed.  Species A were conquerors.  Species B preferred a wild existence.  Wherever they met, they clashed.

Eventually, Species A gained the technological edge in these skirmishes, and went on to enslave great numbers of Species B, using them as beasts of burden, or as weapons.

During their enslavement, some members of Species B were experimented upon, genetically, having many physical traits of Species A impressed upon them to make their servitude less cumbersome within the architectural structures of their oppressors.  Very few were altered, and bred for this purpose.

After some generations of this “house-slavery”, a revolution was sparked by a dragon named *Swvhrnn (pronounced Soo-ver-EEn), who was an unaltered slave.  Inspired by the spirit who would become the Patroness of my Clan and chief Goddess of the realm, the White Dove, Swvhrnn convinced a prominent “house-slave”, whose name is lost to history, to lead the other “house-slaves” in revolt, joining their brethren in the taking of the capitol city.  The leaders of Species A were murdered by the “house-slaves”, and at the instruction of the White Dove, the first Clans were formed.

The “house-slaves”, and many of the original non-altered revolutionaries became the first dragons of my Clan.  During the reformation, in order to prevent the total destruction of Species A’s culture, and thus a prolonged conflict, the White Dove decreed that the cleanest way to subjugate the remaining dissidents of Species A, was to install one Clan to rule over all the Clans of both Species.  As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the White Dove chose my Clan, and we’ve ruled the realm ever since, saving for the time period after our annihilation and before my rebirth.

And there’s the back story.  What I do for the Clan now is preserve the cultures of both Species A and B, as taught to me by the Ancestors, and by their living descendants.  I learn the history by listening and recording it by hand for future generations.  I also preside over the rituals for the White Dove, embodying Her when necessary.  In this realm, She has a manifestation who answers to the name Columbia (Columba – the White Dove), Goddess of Freedom– and so, I am called Columbine.

Because of my ancestral history, dragon and human, I can not abide slavery.  Neither can the White Dove/Columbia.  In every realm I visit, I spread Her ideals of civil liberty whenever I am afforded the opportunity.  Even in our own realm my people are not forced to swear fealty, but the Clans have come and done so of their own volition.  They desire to be united under the auspices of the White Dove, the Great Liberator.

In addition to those things already mentioned, my other chief concern is securing a living for my people.  That means brokering treaties and trade agreements between Clans, and between our realm and Other realms.  It means being a strong force politically, and remaining useful to my Father, Zeus, to whom I have sworn fealty.

Our Clan also had an important job to do concerning the wellbeing of Olympos, and eventually we will resume those duties.  But as of now, our focus must be on regaining strength, so that we may perform our duties properly, when the time comes.

Now, I realize that I haven’t been too terribly specific regarding my duties, but as I’m sure you can imagine, much of it involves private Clan secrets that I am not at liberty to divulge.  That I was given permission to share this much is extraordinary.

I also don’t know if other dragon Clans, from different realms, are in any way similar to my own, but frankly, that is irrelevant.  Nothing about me, what I do, what I was made for, or my Family, is very similar to anyone else’s experience.  And that is just fine.


*I realize that this spelling makes absolutely no sense using English letters, but the Storykeeper was very insistent on this spelling in English.  It is not my place to correct the Storykeeper.  I am sure he has his reasons.

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My Polytheism

The very best thing about my Polytheism, is that it’s mine.  I don’t have to pretend like my personal practice is indicative of any universal “right way”.  And even in the areas where my Polytheism mingles with others’ Polytheisms, those similarities are only superficial.  I may be Hellenic in inclination, and even on the traditional side of Hellenic in my worship practices, but I concluded a long time ago that I was not participating in Hellenismos, as it is commonly known and touted among those more traditionally inclined than I am.  My Polytheism has no name, and if it did, I might just call it “open source”, for I am open to all relevant sources.

My Polytheism is flexible.  I am spoused to an Olympian, and my ultimate loyalty is to Zeus and Hera.  My Territories swear fealty to the High King of Olympos, but there are no commandments (anymore) which prevent me from seeking knowledge or companionship elsewhere.  I have Family among the Norse Pantheon, and Friends among the Demonic Pantheon.  I freely learn the ways of my people, Dragons from a distant realm.  My Polytheism isn’t “pure”, and it never was.

My Polytheism has no boundaries but those I choose to adhere to.  I follow the Maxims to the best of my ability, and I follow the Protocols given to me by Apollon, which are always subject to change.  I rely on the wisdom of my Treasury Sisters, and others whom I trust and respect, but there is no ultimate authority in my Polytheism, save for the Blessed Gods and my own conscience.

My Polytheism is no one else’s Polytheism.  I don’t practice to please the masses, or to impress them, or to wield power over them, in body, mind, or heart.  I am a Queen of specific spirits.  Humans have nothing to do with my duties.  And if I ever again include humans, it will be because I choose to, not because I was compelled by a Higher Power.

My Polytheism is unique, and nonconforming.  I follow my true will, wherever it leads, and I embrace my true nature, however it presents.  My Polytheism exists everywhere I exist, and only where I exist.  It is Immersive, encompassing the whole of my life, and each thought and action within it.  It is the mirror of my soul, displayed for all to see, but for no one to hold.  None except me.

I am my Polytheism, just as you are yours.  And as each of us are unique, so are our ways.  As they should be.  For within a hundred Polytheists, you’ll find a hundred Polytheisms.  One for every individual.  When you know this deep within, others’ Polytheisms, no matter how foreign or similar, will posses no power to intimidate, or to dictate your own.

My Polytheism is freedom.  What’s yours?

The Risk-Maiden

columbia

Our Star, shining and multiplying the light as it passes through You.  Queen of Diamonds, forged under the pressure of free will.  Risk-Maiden, stacking the hands of those whose guile is limitless, yet are You also the Bear consuming the meat of Your weak and crippled prey.  You are a fickle Mistress, though the Powers You govern are steady, even in the chaos of the Marketplace.

Hail, Lady of Rushing Bulls, Who tramples over false currency– that which does not feed the soul, or the stomach.  You entreat us to be true, and to welcome the gains which we have earned, and to never sign away our Sovereign right to be secure in our own deeds.

Columbia, You were the Nameless Goddess Who was here before us, waiting to inspire this Nation.  We did not understand the depth of Your lessons, and only now are some awakening to the debt we owe this Land of Your Jurisdiction, and the many Nations which preceded ours– still living, still struggling to be free.

My Lady, always fighting for the cause of Liberty, Your presence was known in small ways during harrowing times, and even when the shackles were slipped again over the wrists of free men and women, You did not fall silent, but raised Your mighty voice, until a chorus was sung in pursuit of the promise of self-governance.

Yet the road remains perilous, nor easily walked by those unwilling to risk their very lives. For to stand beside you in ease, Risk-Maiden, is to stand secure in the knowledge that Freedom can, and often will, be taken to the grave.

Hail Columbia, Risk-Maiden, Fair Goddess of America!

Our Lord, Leading Us

Across the promenade, down the cobbled walkway, in the moonlight striking my skin harshly, like the sting of pea-sized hail, for I am damp still from the sacred river.  There are the sounds of night-birds, always singing, always calling out in warning. And the sound of the sea, below, crashing against the rocks. The cliff is high, and I traverse the hallowed walkway, with the sound of my sandals dragging slightly.

The Moon, Great Selene, always sets my mood eerily, hovering above, witnessing the scenes of love and other base passions played by humans, even acting as agents of the Gods. I smile, nervous, knowing, having rehearsed my role so well in advance. I have waited so long for this night. So very long.

Inhaling the freedom of youth and virgin maidenhood– enjoying it, tasting it again– for the last time perhaps, I catch the sweet scent of rosemary, burning.

My hands are suddenly moist. A hot wind stirs about me, clinging and humid. My stomach twirls… and lower, I burn for what I have not known. Though I will know much in time, of this I am sure.

I slink forward, clasping my own arms. The heat is unbearable, and I must move. The scent of rosemary is so inviting…

I notice my heart has quickened. Could it be because I am running? Ahead, I have seen them, the fair ones for the Fair God. His priestesses. His women. His many fawning conquests. Dancing. Dancing with abandon; hair loose, limbs loose, tongues loose with loving praise for Him, our God, our Lord, leading us in the moonlight.

I am free now. There was no freedom in maidenhood, only the illusion thereof. Within His grasp, I am free. For I am unbound to the world– free to see it as it truly is, free to witness the tides– and the rise and fall of empires. Free to set His course in motion, for I am one spoke in the great wheel with which He steers the fate of this world. Within Him, we are all free.

But first, we had to make the choice.

For My Lady, Columbia

 Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace

I.

Who cometh over the hills,
Her garments with morning sweet,
The dance of a thousand rills
Making music before her feet?
Her presence freshens the air;
Sunshine steals light from her face;
The leaden footstep of Care
Leaps to the tune of her pace,
Fairness of all that is fair,
Grace at the heart of all grace,
Sweetener of hut and of hall,
Bringer of life out of naught,
FREEDOM, oh, fairest of all
The daughters of Time and Thought!

II.

She cometh, cometh to-day:
Hark! hear ye not her tread,
Sending a thrill through your clay,
Under the sod there, ye dead,
Her nurslings and champions?
Do ye not hear, as she comes,
The bay of the deep-mouthed guns,
The gathering rote of the drums?
The bells that called ye to prayer,
How wildly they clamor on her,
Crying, “She cometh! prepare
Her to praise and her to honor,
That a hundred years ago
Scattered here in blood and tears
Potent seeds wherefrom should grow
Gladness for a hundred years!”

 III.

Tell me, young men, have ye seen,
Creature of diviner mien
For true hearts to long and cry for,
Manly hearts to live and die for?
What hath she that others want?
Brows that all endearments haunt,
Eyes that make it sweet to dare,
Smiles that cheer untimely death,
Looks that fortify despair,
Tones more brave than trumpet’s breath;
Tell me, maidens, have ye known
Household charm more sweetly rare,
Grace of woman ampler blown,
Modesty more debonair,
Younger heart with wit full grown?
Oh for an hour of my prime,
The pulse of my hotter years,
That I might praise her in rhyme
Would tingle your eyelids to tears,
Our sweetness, our strength, and our star,
Our hope, our joy, and our trust,
Who lifted us out of the dust,
And made us whatever we are!

IV.

Whiter than moonshine upon snow
Her raiment is, but round the hem
Crimson stained; and, as to and fro
Her sandals flash, we see on them,
And on her instep veined with blue,
Flecks of crimson, on those fair feet,
High-arched, Diana-like, and fleet,
Fit for no grosser stain than dew:
Oh, call them rather chrisms than stains.
Sacred and from heroic veins!
For, in the glory-guarded pass,
Her haughty and far-shining head
She bowed to shrive Leonidas
With his imperishable dead;
Her, too, Morgarten saw,
Where the Swiss lion fleshed his icy paw;
She followed Cromwell’s quenchless star
Where the grim Puritan tread
Shook Marston, Naseby, and Dunbar:
Yea, on her feet are dearer dyes
Yet fresh, nor looked on with untearful eyes.

 V.

Our fathers found her in the woods
Where Nature meditates and broods,
The seeds of unexampled things
Which Time to consummation brings
Through life and death and man’s unstable moods;
They met her here, not recognized,
A sylvan huntress clothed in furs,
To whose chaste wants her bow sufficed,
Nor dreamed what destinies were hers:
She taught them bee-like to create
Their simpler forms of Church and State;
She taught them to endue
The past with other functions than it knew,
And turn in channels strange the uncertain stream of Fate;
Better than all, she fenced them in their need
With iron-handed Duty’s sternest creed,
‘Gainst Self’s lean wolf that ravens word and deed.

VI.

Why cometh she hither to-day
To this low village of the plain
Far from the Present’s loud highway,
From Trade’s cool heart and seething brain?
Why cometh she? She was not far away.
Since the soul touched it, not in vain,
With pathos of immortal gain,
‘T is here her fondest memories stay.
She loves yon pine-bemurmured ridge
Where now our broad-browed poet sleeps,
Dear to both Englands; near him he
Who wore the ring of Canace;
But most her heart to rapture leaps
Where stood that era-parting bridge,
O’er which, with footfall still as dew,
The Old Time passed into the New;
Where, as your stealthy river creeps,
He whispers to his listening weeds
Tales of sublimest homespun deeds.
Here English law and English thought
‘Gainst the self-will of England fought;
And here were men (coequal with their fate),
Who did great things, unconscious they were great.
They dreamed not what a die was cast
With that first answering shot; what then?
There was their duty; they were men
Schooled the soul’s inward gospel to obey,
Though leading to the lion’s den.
They felt the habit-hallowed world give way
Beneath their lives, and on went they,
Unhappy who was last.
When Buttrick gave the word,
That awful idol of the unchallenged Past,
Strong in their love, and in their lineage strong,
Fell crashing: if they heard it not,
Yet the earth heard,
Nor ever hath forgot,
As on from startled throne to throne,
Where Superstition sate or conscious Wrong,
A shudder ran of some dread birth unknown.
Thrice venerable spot!
River more fateful than the Rubicon!
O’er those red planks, to snatch her diadem,
Man’s Hope, star-girdled, sprang with them,
And over ways untried the feet of Doom strode on.

 VII.

Think you these felt no charms
In their gray homesteads and embowered farms?
In household faces waiting at the door
Their evening step should lighten up no more?
In fields their boyish feet had known?
In trees their fathers’ hands had set,
And which with them had grown,
Widening each year their leafy coronet?
Felt they no pang of passionate regret
For those un solid goods that seem so much our own?
These things are dear to every man that lives,
And life prized more for what it lends than gives.
Yea, many a tie, through iteration sweet,
Strove to detain their fatal feet;
And yet the enduring half they chose,
Whose choice decides a man life’s slave or king,
The invisible things of God before the seen and known:
Therefore their memory inspiration blows
With echoes gathering on from zone to zone;
For manhood is the one immortal thing
Beneath Time’s changeful sky,
And, where it lightened once, from age to age,
Men come to learn, in grateful pilgrimage,
That length of days is knowing when to die.

VIII.

What marvellous change of things and men!
She, a world-wandering orphan then,
So mighty now! Those are her streams
That whirl the myriad, myriad wheels
Of all that does, and all that dreams,
Of all that thinks, and all that feels,
Through spaces stretched from sea to sea;
By idle tongues and busy brains,
By who doth right, and who refrains,
Hers are our losses and our gains;
Our maker and our victim she.

 IX.

Maiden half mortal, half divine,
We triumphed in thy coming; to the brinks
Our hearts were filled with pride’s tumultuous wine;
Better to-day who rather feels than thinks.
Yet will some graver thoughts intrude,
And cares of sterner mood;
They won thee: who shall keep thee? From the deeps
Where discrowned empires o’er their ruins brood,
And many a thwarted hope wrings its weak hands and weeps,
I hear the voice as of a mighty wind
From all heaven’s caverns rushing unconfined,
“I, FREEDOM, dwell with Knowledge: I abide
With men whom dust of faction cannot blind
To the slow tracings of the Eternal Mind;
With men by culture trained and fortified,
Who bitter duty to sweet lusts prefer,
Fearless to counsel and obey.
Conscience my sceptre is, and law my sword,
Not to be drawn in passion or in play,
But terrible to punish and deter;
Implacable as God’s word,
Like it, a shepherd’s crook to them that blindly err.
Your firm-pulsed sires, my martyrs and my saints,
Offshoots of that one stock whose patient sense
Hath known to mingle flux with permanence,
Rated my chaste denials and restraints
Above the moment’s dear-paid paradise:
Beware lest, shifting with Time’s gradual creep,
The light that guided shine into your eyes.
The envious Powers of ill nor wink nor sleep:
Be therefore timely wise,
Nor laugh when this one steals, and that one lies,
As if your luck could cheat those sleepless spies,
Till the deaf Fury comes your house to sweep!”
I hear the voice, and unaffrighted bow;
Ye shall not be prophetic now,
Heralds of ill, that darkening fly
Between my vision and the rainbowed sky,
Or on the left your hoarse forebodings croak
From many a blasted bough
On Yggdrasil’s storm-sinewed oak,
That once was green, Hope of the West, as thou:
Yet pardon if I tremble while I boast;
For I have loved as those who pardon most.

X.

Away, ungrateful doubt, away!
At least she is our own to-day.
Break into rapture, my song,
Verses, leap forth in the sun,
Bearing the joyance along
Like a train of fire as ye run!
Pause not for choosing of words,
Let them but blossom and sing
Blithe as the orchards and birds
With the new coming of spring!
Dance in your jollity, bells;
Shout, cannon; cease not, ye drums;
Answer, ye hillside and dells;
Bow, all ye people! She comes,
Radiant, calm-fronted, as when
She hallowed that April day.
Stay with us! Yes, thou shalt stay,
Softener and strengthener of men,
FREEDOM, not won by the vain,
Not to be courted in play,
Not to be kept without pain.
Stay with us! Yes, thou wilt stay,
Handmaid and mistress of all,
Kindler of deed and of thought,
Thou that to hut and to hall
Equal deliverance brought!
Souls of her martyrs, draw near,
Touch our dull lips with your fire,
That we may praise without fear
Her our delight, our desire,
Our faith’s inextinguishable star,
Our hope, our remembrance, our trust,
Our present, our past, our to be,
Who will mingle her life with our dust
And makes us deserve to be free!

~James Russell Lowell~

 Hail Columbia! May all who dishonor you, or who make war against you be embraced in love, and may they see the harm they cause themselves by harming you! May the many goddesses unite to turn back this petty assault! And may the enemies of Columbia know always that her sons and daughters will defend their Mother to the last! Hail Columbia, and Blessed Be!