Friday, December 28, 2007

OK, time for a bit of a reboot...

So, the last time I posted before Iliouyenna, I had come to the realization that I had erred in my approach to Apollo. Now, I am still not sure, not 100%, of why my approach is bad but it is, and the God has made his displeasure known. That I have been moving in too book nerdy a way that seeks to understand this God through the epithets laid upon him by the Ancient Greeks is clear, but I have always used this approach to understand the Gods. I have always used this as a means to move deeper into how they affect me, but maybe where I have gone wrong here is in misunderstanding the way this God is more akin to Dionysos that I thought.

What do I mean by this?

Well, Dionysos is a God of extremes, and as a result he is a God who hits us through our emotions, and because it is Dionysos, we expect it. But with Apollo I think I have always seen him as a God that was more "of the head" or more intellectual. Yet intellect, in the end, is just another one of our natural processes, and thought, like emotion, is very spontaneous, even mysterious in its origins and purposes sometimes.

If Dionysos is the God of the rampant emotions like various forms of lust and emotional discord, then Apollo is a God whose power lies, in so far as we go, in the ultimate control of one rampant and chaotic process reining in another in our minds. Yet that control can also come at a price, and that price can be the loss of connection between our minds and our emotions.

How do we understand love if we force ourselves to control the base emotion at the core of love? How do we come to an understanding of fear if we try so hard to understand it that we fail to feel it properly and in its proper context? How do we understand the Gods themselves if we cannot let go and feel them in the raw?

So Apollo, a God who is often presented as lusty himself in the mythos, must never be understood as a God of control, but rather as a god of moderation. One may imagine this as being basically the same thing, but there is a subtle difference, and understanding Apollo means understanding that.

Now the question remains, do I really understand that distinction? And if I do, am I capable of putting that into practice in my life in such a way that I learn the lesson the God is seeking to teach me?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taking a break...

I am taking a little break to celebrate Heliogenna this year. For me it is a solitary experiment this year, though I did get a few non-pagans interested in the concept of a Winter commemoration and celebration, and they did seem like they might give some of it a try.

I'll be back, as our favorite Austrian politician was once fond of saying.

Happy Holidays, whatever holidays you may be celebrating at the moment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I have erred...

In taking on this project, I decided that part o the reason for it was to open myself up to the Gods themselves so that they guide me while at the same time I explore how I have come to interpret the Gods.

But I have erred horribly with Apollo, and I am paying for it.

Let me explain. I asked the God to teach me, to help me, to guide me, and in so doing I had couple of dreams, nightmares, and other moments of extreme imagination that prevented me from sleeping. But I have lost myself in trying to understand Apollo through his epithets and lost my way, and I think Apollo has punished me. I have become very ill in the last couple of weeks. First it was a little shortness of breath, then a horrible allergic reaction to my boyfriend's cats (I helped him move and the dust kicked up by all the moving and the cats caused a horrible allergic reaction in spite of allergy meds) which triggered an asthma attack which caused a build up of fluids in my lungs that almost became a pneumonia.

So, O.K., am I scared yet? Absolutely. But other things have happened in the last couple of months. I met a man I am falling in love with. Whether he feels the same is something that may or may not happen in time, but for now we are exploring each other and the feelings we have. I have come to a better understanding of how to manage my current illness, something I have never been good at. And just this week, my best friend in all the world, who I have not seen in almost three years, has moved back into town and left a message for me.

Apollo struck at me hard with a poison arrow, and in doing so is forcing me to look at the things in my life that have true value to me, like friends who care, friends I have allowed to fall out of my life who I should never have allowed to do so. Love and how it affects me, and he is forcing me to face the frailty of my mortality by smacking me down.

I have always had a bit of an overly bright view of the Gods. Usually seeing them in their lighter aspects far more than in their darker, harsher aspects, and Apollo, the God of light, civility, and art is teaching me that I need to be careful with doing that because it is causing me to overlook important lessons the Gods may send my way through adversity.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And so...

We come to an aspect of Apollon that I have never quite gotten.

On an intellectual level I get it. All Gods, at lest in the mythos, hold within them their own opposition. They are both light and dark, good and bad (not in the evil sense), masculine and feminine, etc. Apollo, as the great hunter God, is also the wolf God. He is both hunter and prey. In this sense, Apollo is very familiar to me in this sense because he is very much all the other Gods.

It is the specific aspect of Lykeios, the Wolf-Slayer, that I am often at odds with because while the title implies a hunter, which Apollo clearly is, the association with the wolf is not simply secondary, but also primary. In many ways, Apollo is the wolf as much as he is the hunter that slays the wolf.

In modern times we may see this aspect of Apollo in fuzzy eco-friendly ways. Protecting the wolf, for example, would seem to fall as part of the potential activities to participate in in honor of Apollo. But in ancient times, the wolf could be a very real threat to man kind. Much higher population of wolves and a much smaller population of human beings and you can see the potential problem. Add to this that in order to become civilized man had to be a farmer and cattle wrangler (yeeee-haw) and the wolf was a danger to the herds of the Greeks as they were, and often still are, to almost all cultures.

As a god of cities, of civilization, Apollo would have had to take on a role as destroyer of wolves even as he was himself very much a wolf by nature.

According to some sources, Latona, the mother of Apollo, was identified with a bitch-wolf, and in many ways, Apollo here is destroyer of his own mother (Latona is another name for Leto) and as a hunter, he, Leto, and Artemis all take on forms of the very beasts they destroy.

I said that this is an aspect of Apollo, Lykeios, that I don't quite get, and then go on to give rational explanations for it, thus contradicting myself. But, what I don't actually get is the wolf thing itself. I have a great imagination. I can picture amazing things in my head, come up with varied and complex stories in my mind, and I can imagine sex of which your mama would have been very ashamed, but this is a point at which my imagination always fails me. My ability to imagine myself as a wolf, as a wild beast in the woods, is very limited, and as a result I am a bit lost sometimes with regard to this specific aspect of the God.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The light of...

You are the light of reason
The wise son of Zeus
Beautiful ad everlasting

You are the light of civility
The sure footed son of Leto
Lover of women, fair and sweet

You are the light of restraint
The brilliant brother of Artemis
Feller of the beasts of the wood

You are the light of the city
The loving father of Asklepios
Lover of men, young and strong

You are the light of the healer’s art
The dark son of Zeus
Bringer of pestilence and death

You are the light of hope
The heavenly son of Leto
Purifier of sins and evil in the hearts of men