Tag Archives: religion

Location, Climate and Religion

In my location, we are blessed with a growing season that lasts nearly year-round.  The Winters here are typically mild, and we often do not experience a hard freeze for several Winters in a row, which means you can grow all kinds of plants in the Winter months with just a little careful planning.  I’ve also noticed that this interesting climate has impacted my interpretation of some of the old festivals.  I’ll use the example of Apollon’s return/departure from Delphi, since it is coming up later in the year, and because it is one of the most important to me, personally.

I’ve read that Apollon leaves Delphi for from as little to three months, to as much as six.  Around here, Winter lasts about four months, so that pretty much takes celebrating His departure/return on the equinoxes, as is traditional, out of the running all together.  (Besides, for me, the equinoxes are all about Demeter and Persephone, and Their myth cycle makes a lot more sense for celebration on those dates.)  At the end of October, is when I get all the Winter goodbyes from my Lord.

I’ve been welcoming Dionysos into my home every Winter at Samhain for the last several years.  (One day, I’ll think of new names for my personal festivals, but now I think actually celebrating them is more important.)  So, from that point on, which covers all of November, December (at the end of which we have Yule, also known as Midwinter), January and most of February, is four months.  I always get a very strong feeling of anticipation from Apollon a few weeks prior to His return on His birthday in February.  This happens around the time of the Wiccan holiday of Imbolc, but more importantly, it is the time of Solar Spring, when the days first begin to lengthen in the Northern Hemisphere, and when I notice the first flowers beginning to bloom in South Texas.

So, I have a sort of preparation festival in His honor, which mostly consists of purification and decorating the house for His return.  For me, Apollon’s return is more of a weeks long event, culminating with His appearance at the final ritual. It is probably my favorite festival and time of year, hands down, and it is completely personalized, tailored to suit my location and climate.  There are other festivals which I’ve had to tweak for them to fit into my local framework. Such as Thargelia.  I can’t celebrate Thargelia in April, because there isn’t any fruit growing here yet.  However, only a month later, in May, I’ll have many different fruits to offer.

So, while I believe it to be vitally important that we learn about what the ancients did, and how they celebrated, I think it is perfectly acceptable to find ways of celebration that suit us, today.  Our localities should be respected, and our climates considered when we craft our practices.  Even though many of us may be solitary, none of us are islands.  We each share our experiences with the Land upon which we live.

Advertisements

Once Again…

It’s happening.  My tri-monthly bout of depression has arrived.  I should have seen this coming with all the ranting I’ve been doing on this blog lately.  But, I didn’t, since I’d been so pleased with how the year seemed to be headed. Of course, my life never really takes the turns I expect, and even if I had anticipated this, it is likely that I’d have been thrown for a loop, anyway.

Today, I find myself, and by extension, my family, in dire financial straits, even despite the work I’ve been doing.  It just isn’t enough.  I’m just a housewife, after all, and maybe that’s all I’m really suited for.  What exactly should I have been expecting?  I thought I’d be able to turn the tables on our money problems.  Me, of all people.  Yeah, right.  I’m only good at three things, and I pretty much hate them all.

Maybe I’m just being dramatic.  It wouldn’t be the first time.  Maybe I’m just feeling lonely and unappreciated, which is probably more likely.  When I get this way, I often think that maybe I should pray to the gods for some kind of understanding.  But I don’t like to bother them with the trivial minutia of my psychological well-being.  It’s my mind, and if I can’t get my own mental house in order, what makes me think the gods are going to help?  What makes me think they want to?

I just hate asking them for stuff.  When I come to them, I want it to be out of love and respect.  I want it to be about giving back to them for the things they’ve already provided, and for just being the gods.  But now I’m at a loss. I don’t know what I should do.

At least I’ve got this blog.  I can let out the things I’m feeling, whether they be joyous or frustrating.  Before I started writing here, I didn’t have any outlet for my feelings.  Of course, it would be even better if there were someone close to me who understood what I’m going through, religiously speaking.  I could talk to my sister, I suppose, but that conversation would eventually get hung up on which deity I’d need to pray to, if you know what I mean.  She loves me and she means well, but she’s a Christian, and I can’t expect her to refrain for witnessing all the time.

Oh, well.  This too shall pass, as it always does.  I still don’t know what I’m going to do about the money situation, but at the very least, I can look forward to February, when my Lord Apollon returns from Hyperborea.  I’ll be celebrating his birth soon, and with great fervor this year, as I’ve planned to for a while.  Perhaps by then I’ll have a clearer picture of what’s ahead. And I’ll wait until then to do any more divination.  Now wouldn’t be such a great time to look into the unknown, I think.  Not when I’m feeling like this. Although, writing this out here has actually helped me to feel a little better.

I wasn’t even sure if I was going to post this when I began.  It’s a little more personal than even I’m comfortable with sharing.  However, I think a major part of writing this blog, has been the challenge of staying honest. Of not trying so hard to hide the depths of my emotions.  And now, as I come toward the end of this post, I realize that that one thing may be the ultimate lesson here for me.

Perhaps it is through my emotions that I speak to the gods most clearly. Perhaps words aren’t even necessary.  Which of course, leaves me with so much more to ponder about staying in touch with my feelings, as well as seeking assistance from the gods…

~

Also, to whomever read this, sorry for the drama, but thanks for taking the time to acknowledge my life’s little struggles, minor though they may be. I appreciate it.  :)

Caution: Pissed Ex-Wiccan

I’m so fucking sick of Hellenic Wicca bashing.  And by this, I mean Hellenists who insist upon bashing the Religion of Wicca, and the theology and practices of Wiccans.

I’ve heard the cultural appropriation line so many times I’m going to puke. So, you people with the fucking problem think you have a monopoly on the gods, do you?  Why don’t you try explaining to Apollon why a Wiccan can’t or shouldn’t worship/WORK WITH (I know how you just hate that term <3) him? I’m sure the god will be pleased by your bigoted opinion and all-pervasive wisdom concerning who he sees as worthy enough, or respectful enough for his attention.

And I’ll say this once more, as well.  Hekate is a goddess, a deity, a divinity, and she is ancient.  She can appear in whatever form she damn well pleases, including a crone.  You are attempting to limit the power of the gods.  You are saying that you know better than they do about which religions they will take part in.  And yes, they do take part in religions other than Hellenismos or whatever form of Hellenism you practice.

So, you are not Wiccan, and would never worship in a Wiccan context.  Fine.  But don’t think for a second that your religion is better, or worthy of more of the gods’ presence or respect, simply because you do not incorporate modern ritual forms, or cast circles, or Draw Down, or practice magic, or worship nude, or whatever else the big, bad Wicca Monster does.

I am a Hellenist who only recently (within the last five months) stopped self-identifying as Wiccan.  My practices haven’t really changed much in that time, only my willingness to identify as a duotheist when I am clearly a polytheist. And you know what?  Neither Apollon nor Aphrodite (or any of the other gods, for that matter) have given me any indication that they care, one way or the other.  The gods are still the gods whether we are Hellenes, Wiccan or just generally Neo-Pagan, and they don’t seem to be nearly as concerned about “proper labeling” as we mortals are.

So, why don’t you just get off you high-horse and rejoin the rest of Humanity on planet Earth?  Or, was your apotheosis so complete that your swelled head floated you all the way up to Olympos?

Foreign Gods

Okay, so the other day I was in the city making meals for homeless people and hanging out with some self-described hipsters and progressives.  All very nice people.  Well, this one guy, who called himself a Marxist/Atheist/Buddhist (wow, what a label) asked me if my polytheistic religion precludes belief in the deities of other cultures.  He seemed to think that all religions were like Christianity, in that they deny all manifestations of divinity save for their own, and was so shocked by my answer that I don’t think he believed me.  He immediately went into a tirade about how he hates being witnessed to (where did that come from?), and I quickly had to tell him that most Pagans and Polytheists don’t proselytize, to which he seemed skeptically impressed.  He never did allow me to answer his original question, however.

Since the incident, I’ve had time to reflect on my personal experiences with gods from Pantheons outside my own.  I do have a few.  Two gods from both the Norse and Egyptian Pantheons, and one who is oftentimes included in Christianity.  I’ll start with him then go on to the others, since he was the one who got me moving forward on the Path, after my last ditch effort to make a connection to the god of the Bible.

Lucifer

I used to talk to Lucifer about every little thing that bothered me about Christianity, from women’s obedience and gay issues, to the divinity/humanity of Jesus, and the fact that the god of the Bible is a schizoid maniac. He was a good listener, gave decent advice to a ten – twelve yr. old, and ultimately encouraged me to seek religious expression outside the confines of Monotheism.  From what I experienced, he is nothing like the Christians portray him to be.  He was both challenging and motivational, and was a source of strength when I was most in need.

Bastet and Isis

I was obsessed with Egypt as a young girl and teen.  I had images of Bastet all over my room, and drawn inside my school notebooks.  I knew nothing of her worship (or worship of any ancient gods) at the time, but I’m pretty sure I was worshiping her without even knowing it.  I had a little spot on my vanity for a small cat figurine that I associated with her, and I was constantly putting fresh dandelions next to it.  I’ve always been a cat lover, and whenever one of my cats has died, I’ve said a prayer to Bastet so that they might find her, and find peace.

My experience with Isis is much more brief, but very profound.  I’ve only called upon her for assistance once in my life, though I did study her myths for some time before hand.  It was through the myths that I came to know her as a nurturer of children.  So, one night, while I was babysitting a very restless and upset little girl (just over a year old), I called on Isis to help me calm her down enough to get her to sleep.  She and I sat together in front of my altar as I did this, and I swear, the change was instantaneous.  The baby started giggling and cooing, when previously she’d had only tears.  She fell asleep in my arms a few minutes later, and I have been extremely grateful to Isis ever since.

Odin and Loki

Now this one is weird.  I’m a writer and illustrator by hobby, and back when I was just out of high school I was working on this silly original manga, the title of which escapes me.  What I do remember, is that Odin and Loki were my main characters.  I have no idea what possessed me to name them thusly.  I don’t really think I did.  I think the two gods barged into my life through the manga of their own free will.  They certainly were a lot more developed than the other characters, and actually talked to me.

By this time I had been Wiccan for several years, but didn’t know anything about Norse Paganism.  I couple of months later, I would meet an Asatruar for the first time, who just happened to be a follower of Odin.  Before we parted ways for what would prove to be the final time, he carved and gifted to me a gorgeous image of Odin riding Sleipnir, out of a coconut shell.  I treasured it and kept in on my altar until sadly, the fire which prompted my move to Texas, destroyed it and everything else I owned at the time.

As far as Loki is concerned, he didn’t leave after I abandoned the manga, nor did he leave when Odin did, which was around the time my Asatruar friend moved away.  The god stuck around and was quite good company for a long time. I studied his myths and some of Odin’s, and was increasingly drawn in by him.  I set up an altar to him and made regular offerings of flowers and poetry. I was falling in love with him, there’s no doubt about it.

Then, when I met the man who I would later marry, Loki took an instant dislike to him, and attempted to destroy the relationship.  No, that’s not quite true.  I meant to say, he blew it the fuck up.  Scared the shit out of me.

After everything died down, I patched things up with the future hubby, and I haven’t been able to have anything to do with Loki since, even though I still feel that charismatic draw that only he has.  Also, because of our history (mostly the fact that I am apparently compatible enough with the god to actually fall in love with him) Apollon has forbidden me to speak to, or in any way make voluntary contact with Loki. Yep, he’s that particular god I think I’ve mentioned before.

So, to answer that Marxist/Atheist/Buddhist dude’s question, even though he’ll never actually read it, no, my belief in and love for the Olympians does not in any way preclude the gods of any other culture, foreign or otherwise. I don’t need to have direct experience of them all just to know that they exist. The fact that they have worshipers, and the fact that we are having discussions like this one, are proof enough.

Family Secrets

Every family has secrets, and mine has a ton of them.  Recently, I’ve been informed of a secret about me that my mother took to her grave.  However, my aunt didn’t think there was any reason to keep it from me anymore, in light of my longheld religious choices.  Yeah, it’s pretty juicy, and just happens to be related to another of our not-so-little secrets.

The first thing you should know is that the wonderful phenomenon called twins runs in our family.  Normally, this would be great and joyous news, except that in nearly every set of twins, only one baby survives.  It is something that nobody really talks about.  You know, like those two plushy, pink elephants in the room…

My mother was a twin.  Her twin sister died when they were six.  I was a twin.  My twin sister died before we were born.  That, I knew, and have known for a long time.  My mother told me how I nearly died along with my twin sister.  She told me that she prayed and prayed and prayed, and that it was due to the answering of her prayers that I am alive at all.  She always presented that story in the most Christian way possible, so I never expected the truth spoken by my aunt to be so shockingly sweet.

My mother, a reasonably devout Christian, prayed, but (and this is the part that brought tears to my eyes, as well as to my aunt’s) she didn’t pray to Yahweh, as she had been doing before losing my twin sister. In the midst of that crisis, and in her despair, instead of praying to her own god, who had been so seemingly unreceptive, she prayed to Apollo, whom she remembered was a twin himself, as well as a god of healing.  Now, my mother didn’t spend a lot of time in school, if you know what I mean, but she remembered these strange and seemingly random bits of information, right when she needed them most.

In exchange for my life, my mother promised the god that she would leave me free to choose my own religion.  She didn’t outright offer me to Apollo (although he would argue that point, as she was a little hysterical and likely didn’t fully understand what she was promising), but she never thought I’d choose to be anything other than Christian, either.

Miraculously I recovered, and was born, on time, a couple of months later.  In keeping with her word, my mother refused to have any Christian blessings placed upon me, and steadfastly refused to allow me to be Baptized into any Church, ever.  We did attend several churches, as she was a Christian and had hoped that I would take a liking to one of the many variations of the “one true religion”, but she never forced Christianity on me.

Eventually, I would happen upon Wicca, and their idea of real, feminine divinity would capture my heart, leading me first to Hekate, and onward past Wicca, until finding my own way to the god who had shaped my life from the very beginning.  Although, if I am to be completely honest, Apollon is the one who chased me down with a pack of wolves, until I submitted myself to him, totally.  That is how I initially became his possession, or rather, how I came to acknowledge his very crucial role in my life.

I can hardly believe it.  I never ever expected this kind of confirmation of my personal gnosis.  After all these years, after all this time, wondering if I’m crazy…  That kind, soothing voice in my head was telling the truth.  I was his all along.  I was always his.

Hail to you, Apollon, my Lord!  My Prince!  I thank you for saving my life, for you are the reason that I live!  My life is your gift, and I promise to do your Work so long as it pleases you, as I hope to become a beacon of your light in this world!

Hail Apollon and Blessed Be!