Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Empress

I am the stillness of the night, when your heart beats loudly in your heart.
When the tension in your body has built to a crescendo.
I am your longing for companionship and friendship.
When the terrors of life lay claim to your spirit.

I am the stirring of the breese, when its very touch leaves you panting.
When your skin burns with the power of your emotion.
I am your desires, large and small, made manifest within you.
When your blood rushes loudly to your cock in your lusting for passion.

I am the light of the crescent moon, when it shines its light on your lover.
When the very sight of him incites spark and flame in your loins.
I am your intention made real as you approach him.
When your thoughts become rabid and bestial in heat.

I am the rising of the sun which, like love, has blinded you with its light.
When you have been bound to him, heart and soul.
I am the Empress and Goddess of desire, smelling of rose petals.
When in the end you realise you are now and forever mine.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Emotion

I will not attempt to explain emotion at a rational level. I would be hopelessly ill equipped to do so. We can try to rationalize emotion as the firing synapses, or the wash of chemicals as they are produced and reabsorbed in the brain, but that would be a wholly inadequate explanation. The randomness of emotion and thought cannot fully be explained, at least not to the satisfaction of so many who believe that there is more to life than simple bio-chemistry (that sounds odd coming from me, even to me) because the randomness of it is not really so random at all, rather it is what makes us us. It forms the very basis of what and who we are.

Those emotional and rational impulses that simply come, not hindered or provoked by anything in particular except that they come from us is where Aphrodite holds her seat of power. It is a seat of power far smaller and yet far more all encompassing than anything in the cosmos because in the end it is in all of us. Not just us thinking evolved creatures, but all creatures, great and small.

At this level, Aphrodite is at her most basic aspect. That aspect that is simply a spark. That initial spark that grows and becomes something so vastly complicated that only a goddess could actually understand it, but which we, mere mortals, can but feel and be swept away by it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beginning my time with Aphrodite

I have to admit that this blog is running all over the place. The idea of it is, of course, self discovery and because of that I promised myself that wherever my ramblings took me I would just go with it. That was the whole point, that by trying to focus my thoughts on a particular god, I could cause whatever it was in me that resonated with that god to come to the fore.

Sometimes that meant that some gods, like Poseidon, seemed to only resonate on a single or limited level in me. Only some small part of me that reached out for that deity and its influence, but in some, like Hestia, I found myself discovering that I lacked a connection with the place I lived because my heart was still in that place I left behind. That while I had made this place my physical home, I had yet to make it my spiritual home. It was a discovery worth making because it is slowly forcing me to establish deeper roots here, deeper relationships here, and a deeper understanding of this place, even if not always for the better.

Aphrodite, however, is going to prove especially challenging. I am a gay/bisexual man. By that I mean that I am gay, exclusively, but have bisexual tendencies. I consider women attractive, sexy, but do not feel that emotional, visceral connection with them that would make me want them further than as friends. Often good friends.

Being a man, and a gay man at that, means that I owe a great deal of my being, my personality, to this deity. The deity of sexuality, of lust and love, of the raw physical force that is sexual desire. We men, for the most part, think about sex all the time. You women out there may think that odd, but you may also think that when we say that, or when studies show that, that we are just staring at you, or other men, and picturing our cocks sliding in, but that’s not really it. Sometimes it is a kiss, or the feel of your skin, or the warmth of your breath on our necks.

Sex isn’t always so vulgar (not necessarily a bad thing) sometimes thoughts of a sexual nature are sweet and powerfully emotional, and they make us feel things all the time.

We men are highly emotional creatures, we just don’t express it the same way women do, and expecting us to do so is, I think, one of the faults women have because we accept the way you express emotion, it is only fair that you accept the way we do too.

But, this is about Aphrodite, and she is a goddess of immense importance and power in human existence. From day one, even before we were sapient creatures, we were sentient (feeling) and that is where Aphrodite lives. In emotion.

Monday, December 15, 2008

In you (to Aphrodite)

I am at your feet.
Basking in your beauty.
But I am bereft.

In you I have sought the wrong things.
In you I have sought release.
In you I have forgotten myself.

I am at your feet.
Trembling from desire.
But I am sad.

In you I have lusted after many.
In you I have many had.
In you I have climbed to the heights of ecstasy.

I am at your feet.
Crying in realization.
But I am relieved.

In you I have the ability to love.
In you I can seek it out.
In you I have hope.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Preparing for Aphrodite

Aphrodite is a biggie. Hers is a sphere of influence in the human world that is all pervasive. We acknowledge her power in our every day lives. All religions, no matter their source, see love and its many influential aspects, as the core of religious life.

We who are modern followers of the Hellenic Gods must acknowledge the sheer power of Aphrodite and its all pervasive influence on everything from our interactions with each other to our deepest desires. All based in this strange little emotion called Love.

Before I dive in to this amazing Goddess, to explore her, I must make a few clarifications. Eros, which the Greeks name as being there at the beginning, is a power different from Aphrodite. I see him as a power of gravitic proportions. A power that causes things to be drawn to one another, not necessarily with emotion.

To Aphrodite too is attributed a power that draws things together, but in a form different from Eros. It is an emotional power, and one that has its own Eros, its own erotic influence. Aphrodite is attributed with mothering Eros, who is the lesser eros, the little angelic figure that is erotic feeling, initial lust, love at first sight. This is an aspect of the great power that is love, but not an aspect of the primordial Eros.

So, having clarified that (I hope) I will move forward and seek her out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poseidon: In closing...

I have to admit that my exploration of Poseidon on my long road here is a bit lacking. I feel like I have been hit over the head with a specific aspect of Poseidon and no matter where I tried to move it always seemed to come back to that. His intrinsic fluidity.

This road I am on is not closed, however, and there is no reason I can’t come back to explore new aspects of Poseidon and the realm he inhabits in the cosmos.



Moving ahead means moving again across the lines of the star, and from Hera to Poseidon then places my next target as Aphrodite, a Goddess with whom I have had much congress (perhaps even too much) and it should be interesting exploring what it means to love and lust on the heels of exploring the concept of essential fluidity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Poseidon, Lord of the Second Cosmic Domain... continued


...Like the fluid nature of Poseidon himself, the universe is fluid. It is always changing. Perpetually flowing, like time, from one state to the next, never to repeat. Every point in the cosmos is unique. This is not so much to do with fluidity, but to a simple aspect of the universe’s eternal nature (Yes, another contradiction, but I will try to remember to go into it later) the fluidity brought to the universe by the power of Poseidon is in the ability of a point in the universe to move. The universe itself is flowing, moving, morphing into whatever it is it will be once it has passed from divine view.

Life, that is us, partakes of the fluid nature of the cosmos in an immediate way. We are short lived things, we living creatures. Even the most long lived organisms on Earth exist for only a blink of an eye in the eyes of the Gods. Yet we are also privy to the fundamental and divine forces at work around us because of that short life. We take notice of the constant changes around us because, from a cosmic perspective, the happen so quickly, suddenly, and sometimes painfully.

Poseidon’s ultimate gift to man kind is the very fluidity that he also imparts to all things. That we can change, at the drop of a hat sometimes, is a gift beyond price. That we can learn something and change ourselves. That we can experience something new, and delve into it to enjoy the essence of it, is simply too powerful a gift to ignore. And, if Poseidon has taught me anything these last weeks, it is that I am not set in stone, because even the stone changes. Because no matter how well I think I know myself, I may be and feel very differently tomorrow, and I should not fear that, rather I should rejoice in that.

The water domain is simply fluid, and we are as well. Our mental processes, our emotions, our sexualities, our perceptions, and even our very genes are fluid. No two human beings, even identical twins, are identical, and yet we all flow and change to be more alike, to share, and to connect.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poseidon, Lord of the Second Cosmic Domain


My essential theology is based on the idea that the universe, while a single cohesive thing, is also divided into domains. There are the Cosmic domains, which are ruled over by the primordial aspects of the Gods, which means the Gods as creators or molders of nature. These are essentially transcendent domains. Then there are the immanent domains, ruled over by the “Olympian” aspects of the Gods.

All the Gods have primordial and Olympian aspects (as well as Titanic, but that we will have to go into later, if I remember) and they each take on a domain of nature, and in so doing, they permeate that domain with their essence, their being, their very nature. These are not domains that are locked away one from the other, but rather they overlap, they form a whole, and in so doing they give the universe something of an onion look. One layer, or dimension, over another, each partaking of the nature of the others, yet seemingly limited by our perception, by our perspective.

I see the Cosmic domains as further divided into four great domains, the domains of the Sky, the Sea, the Earth, and the Underworld. These equate to many different traditional interpretations, such as the elemental interpretation of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire or Birth, Growth, Decay, and Death. These four fundamental domains give the universe its essential character. It begins, it grows, eventually grows cold, and then dies. It is mortal.

The primordial aspect of Poseidon, call it Pontus, is Lord of the Second Domain, the domain of the Sea. This is the domain of growth and change (the third domain is also a domain of change, but not of growth in the essential sense, but of decay, but that too we will have to leave to another discussion) and in this, it is fluid and ever changing yet always the same. This contradiction comes from the idea that the sea while always changing, always flowing, is also always there. Its essential nature remains, and it is that essential nature that causes the change and flow I identify with Poseidon and his fluid nature.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Trident: Creator, continued


Creation is an ongoing process in nature, not a fait accompli. The power of the sea in all of worldly creation is paramount. The very nature of the Earth and the life that inhabits it are tied so closely to it that we cannot separate ourselves. Weather, land erosion, tsunamis, all are part of every day life. We accept that the sea, with it’s immense store of energy, drives the fundamental forces of the world in ways that are both apart from us and part of us at the same time.

Poseidon, the Lord of the Sea, of its fluid power for both creation and destruction, is in all ways the architect of the natural world as we know it. All things change, he is master of fluidity. All living things require water, he is master of the oceans. The Earth is ever changing, and he molds it little by little. The cyclones churn and release energy, and his trident stirs the waters.

Poseidon as creator, however, is not just a matter of creationism and natural science, but of spirituality. All the Gods have a creative aspect. This cannot be denied, for whether tied to the fertility of the earth, of the animals that roam its wilds, or of humanity, they all have some boon to grant. This creative aspect, however, must be examined as a source of spiritual awareness and spiritual power.

The soul is something I define differently from most people. The soul is that spark of life that is the gift to life from the primordial gods, especially the sky father. But with that said, the gods all contribute to what we call the soul because we have come to identify the soul with our personalities. With the core of us that is a spontaneous generator of thoughts and feelings. One thing that is true of those spontaneous thoughts and feelings is that they are malleable and ever changing.

In other words, fluid.

So, if the foundation of life lies in the particles of the earth, the medium of the sea, and the spark of the sky, then that which we so often refer to as the soul must also partake of these three natures. Poseidon, then, must be present in all explorations of the soul (the inner self) because understanding how malleability affects you is to begin to understand that you are not a being of singular form, but an ever changing process. Always becoming something new. Always flowing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To Poseidon (The Waters)


Rain rain, from above.
Gathered into streams.
Streams streams, ever flowing.
Gathered into mighty rivers.
Rivers rivers, gouging the earth.
Gathered into oceans.
Oceans oceans, broadly encircling.
Gathered around the Earth.
Mist mist, rising skyward.
Gathered into clouds.
Clouds clouds, moving Eastward.
Gathered into storms.
Storms storms, violently raging.
Gathered into rain.
Rain rain, from above.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Trident: Creator

Unlike Judaeo Christian creationism, Graeco-Roman creationism is actually fairly complex and laced with symbolism which, when examined with an open mind, can be related to modern theories of both cosmology and evolution. In the Hellenic mythic cycle, the most well known forms of which come from Hesiod, Homer, and some Roman writers such as Ovid, the creation of the world and the creation of humanity are two distinct and different things.

According to these myths, the acts of creation at a cosmological level are manifestations of a divine reality. The primordial Gods are said to emerge from Chaos, a word which means gap, or perhaps even void (a gap is a void in a continuum, after all), and then proceed to multiply. But unlike us, their coming forth or reproducing is also manifest in the physical aspects of the Gods themselves. When Ge emerges, we also speak of solid matter (Earth, for example) emerging. When Ouranos is born, we speak of the starry sky, when the Pontus is born, we speak of the waters of the sea. It is through such symbolic language that we express the reality of nature as being not only a physical thing, but a manifestation of divinity. Turned around, we also relate nature to the Gods themselves, referring to the Earth as Gaea and the Sea as Poseidon, etc.

But what does creation mean? Did the Gods purposely create the cosmos and all that is within or outside it?

The answer appears to be both yes and no. All of nature is a manifestation of the greater reality of divinity, but unlike divinity, it is temporary. It is mortal. But our physical world is also separate, even if stemming from, the divine world, and while the basic foundation and influences of the world may be of divine origin, the universe and all life within it fallows its own path within the construct of universal reality. life is influenced by divinity, but it evolves and changes in accord with its environment. Thought and emotion may spawn from a divine paradigm, but they manifest and are altered by the life that manifest them into reality.

But if we are to look at Poseidon as a creator God, we must conclude that his was a great portion indeed, for all life, from the lowliest to the most advanced partakes of the element of water, which is his. Poseidon imbues us both with the water that is his element and the fluid nature of reality, that ability that is not simply change, but change from one into another along a continuum, along a medium.

As Sea God, Poseidon is creator of all sea life, but as all life evolved from sea life, he must also be the father of all life, or, it should be said, just one of the fathers of life, for life is not like you and me, it did not have one father and one mother, but several fathers and a mother.

Ge is the mother, of course, but the fathers are Eros, the facilitator. Poseidon, the medium of creation. Zeus, the air and spark. And finally, Hades, who ends the cycle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Trident: Sea God: The All-Surrounding


Poseidon as sea God is also a God that surrounds. He surrounds the Earth. Embraces it. Even holds it up, by ancient ideas about how the world was formed. The sea was itself like an enormous basin of water on which the land rested, thus the water surrounded it in all directions.

This all encompassing aspect was seen as one of the primal deities that are called Titans in Greek mythos. His name in that aspect was Okeanos, which becomes the root word for the word Ocean. In our times, of course, we know that the Ocean does indeed encompass the whole of the land masses of the Earth, but unlike our ancient ancestors we also know that the Earth itself is that upon which the ocean sits.

Still, the image of the Sea God as the all-encompassing power, the power that surrounds all things upon the Earth, is one that offers a kind of reassuring strength to his worshippers. He is a power that is strength through patronage, which like a father, reassures with a hug.

It is difficult to see Poseidon this way sometimes, because he is indeed a God who is most often quite severe and even prone to rash punishments, but in this sense he is also like a father, who is often feared by his children. Not in a dark evil way, but in a strict way that many fathers have of imposing their rules and the rules of society on their unruly children.

Is that, perhaps, how he sees us?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Trident: Sea God: The Medium of Life

The aspect of the god Poseidon as a medium for life, or its creation, is not one that we see in ancient times. At lest not explicitly. In ancient myth Poseidon is a father of a multitude of children, just like Zeus is, which implies an aspect of "creator" to those of us who pay attention to myth as a medium for the passing on of divine wisdom. As a creator, Poseidon's role is much more clear to us than it was to the ancients.

The sea, we know today, was the home to primordial life on Earth. All of the elements of the Earth itself, including the waters of the oceans and gasses of the atmosphere, mix and mingle to create elements conducive to life. All that is needed is a spark, and that is provided handily by the Sky God.

Our mythos, however, tells us that the primordial sea was called Pontus, son of Ge, and that another son of Ge, Ouranos, was the first explicit Sky God, though I suppose one could claim that Erebus (the darkness of the primal unformed world) could be seen as the first and most primal Sky God.

Here, then, the aspect of the Sea God, who we call Poseidon, as a medium for the creation of life must most accurately be called Pontus (or if we follow the idea of naming Gods by name and aspect, Poseidon Pontus.) I, however, tend to always refer to the Gods by their Olympian Names. (Olympian here refers to the Olympian Age)

Thus, Poseidon is the name I use.

In our modern world, however, we can relate the sea as symbol to something very near to ourselves, and that is the water of the womb. Human beings are birthed from a womb full of fluid that one can imagine is similar in many ways to what that primordial sea must have been like. Imagine, if you will, the ocean itself as the womb, the amniotic fluid that nurtures and protects life as it is being formed from the very elements of the universe. A universe very much like our own right now, but an Earth so vastly different that we can hardly imagine it.

Imagine, a God, the God who sees and protects that which is forming in the primal sea and allows it to flourish, grow, and evolve into something grand, and here you have him, Poseidon, the medium for the creation of life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon, Lord of the Sea


The second prong of the trident, for this discussion, represents the Sea. This is the aspect of the God which at first glance the most obvious. Poseidon is, after all, the Great Sea God, the Sea Father, the Great god of the Sea Storms, and in some myths, father of the life of the sea itself.

To us, in the modern technological world, the Sea hardly seems to hold any wonder. We know what it is, we have a decent idea of its vastness, and we understand with much more clarity than did our ancient forefathers what it is that causes the great storms of the sea. But even with such knowledge taking away the magic of the sea, it is still somewhat awe inspiring to stand beside it as it undulates, flows, and rests there like an immense power untapped save at the most basic levels.

The Sea is immensely fertile, though the ancients did call it barren and fruitless, and as a result, we must come to terms with the sea as life sustaining force. It feeds us, though its waters cannot sustain us without being purified. It is as if it were itself the womb that once nurtured us. The womb to which we cannot return, no matter how hard life gets.

If we think of the Earth as a singular entity, as a single organism, then the Sea may well be that womb. That part of her that births life. But the Sea is ruled by the Sea God, something that seems, at first, to contradict this analogy. But when we look at some of the myths, the Earth Goddesses are said to mate with Sea Gods to produce progeny, sometimes that progeny is wondrous, as we see in the birth of Pegasus from that Earth being Medusa, with whom Poseidon had an affair, and others were wild and monstrous creatures which were a kin to the wild storms of the Sea and the power of the Sea itself.

If we look closely at what the Sea is, however, we see that its primal element, water, is not in and of itself a life giver, but rather a medium for the mixing of the many elements of the Earth, all of which dissolve in the primordial sea. Add to that the spark of electricity, the elemental representation of Zeus, the Sky Father, and you have organic matter, the first step to life.

Earth, Sky, and Sea come together, one as the maker of elements, one as the medium, and one as the spark that causes metamorphosis. As the medium, Poseidon is true to himself. The Sea stands between the Greek mainland and the Ionian coast, yet as such it becomes the medium by which the Greeks would travel and transport their culture onto that land in the darkness of prehistory. It is a medium for communication and exchange between the many cultures of this region, and it becomes a barrier offering a measure of protection.

So it is we start our discussion, which implies I’m not the only one talking I guess, but hell, discussion sounds good, on the nature of the God as the medium and barrier to civilization.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God, continued...

So, as the God that flows in transitory states, God of the shore, where earth and water meet and where one is absorbed by the other, where one dissolves into the other, Poseidon, who holds up the Earth, is also the God of transitions. The transition, as Earth God, is different, in my opinion, from the same transition as Sea God. If life emerged from the seas, then life made the transition from Sea to Earth along that boundary where the Sea hugs the Earth to its mighty bosom. The Earth, as embodied by both the Earth Goddesss (In this case the primordial Ge) and the Sea God (The primordial Pontus) and the mighty Sky God (the primordial Ouranos) together give birth to what we call life.

But all of these, the Earth Goddess, the Sea God, and the Sky God have strong Chthonic aspects. Aspects that transcend the boundaries between life and death. Between the inert and the self motivated. As an Earth God, Poseidon is the power that allows life to flow, to metamorphose and be born from the inert matter of the cosmos. As Earth God, Poseidon is giver and sustainer of life, and the fact that life itself cannot survive without water, his signature element, points to this.

So, the first prong of the Trident, as a form used to symbolize three aspects of the God, points to life. Not as a simple abstraction or a symbol, but as a living force. A force that Poseidon is part of at the very core.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God, continued...

But just what is an Earth God?

There are many strains of religious belief that categorize themselves as "Pagan." Among these there seem to be some commonalities in categorization of divinity. Terms like Sky God, Sea God, Earth God, etc. are common because these apparently represent something particular. The Sky Father, whether you call him Zeus or Alom (Mayan) is considered such because he is a God of the heights, the stormy skies, the king of heaven. But if you think about the Earth God, you get images like Dionysos, the dying God, and Hermes, the guide of souls, or Hades, the king of the dead because the Earth is the Chthonic realm, and it represents mortality and the cycle of life.

But as I have already said, Poseidon, to me at least, your opinion may differ, is the God of Fluidity. He is the God of fluid states between one and the other, between life and death, between solid and gaseous, between the physical and the metaphysical. Here we come to an interesting transition between the God as a manifest aspect of our universe, meaning the Sea, and the transcendent deity who flows through the universe, granting the ability of metamorphosis to all things.

Think about that for a second.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God

Poseidon is known as the Earth Shaker. In this aspect, the God is said to be responsible for the shaking of the Earth in earthquakes, which are fairly common in Greece. When water sprang from the Earth, especially salt water springs as might be found near the sea in the rocky landscape of Greece, it was said to be his doing. One myth tells that s part of his battle for the city of Athens, Poseidon produced a salt water spring.

One would think such a thing to be rather useless, since springs are most useful as sources of drinking water, but as a miracle, a salt water spring must be seen to represent much to the Athenians, who went on to build the greatest navy in Greece without which the Greek mainland would have fallen to the Persians.

One thing we can take away from this aspect of the God is that he is capable of great anger, and of expressing that anger through physical manipulation of the world. But I have to wonder what many of you out there take away from that statement. Do you think the God will shake the Earth ad perhaps destroy entire cities if you anger him? If you do, I will assume you are rather a self centered person. But if you believe the God may show such displeasure at the actions of our race as a whole, perhaps there I will agree with you.

The problem, of course, is deciphering what is a natural earthquake and what is the anger of Poseidon. When is an Earthquake due to natural shifting of the tectonic system, and when is it more than that? Are all Earthquakes to be taken as signs of some kind? And if so, do we risk starting to sound like Christians who say God punished New Orleans with Katrina?

It's hard to take anyone seriously when they say, seriously, that the Gods are wiping out a city or a people out of some spite over some moral trespass, but I sometimes wonder if there isn't such a thing as a God taking out his rage on the actions of our species on a population.

Some of this comes as a result of recently watching The Happening. A serviceable movie with an interesting twist to the whole disaster movie theme, but which in the end proved to be far too anti-climactic for me to want to see it again. (shame, as I really loved Shyamalan's first three movies The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs) But the movie poses an interesting question, what if at some point our threat to other forms of life on our world becomes so strong that that life is left with no evolutionary recourse but to adapt a way to destroy that threat, meaning us. What if we, as a species, become such a threat to the balance of the world that the Gods are forced to act to eliminate that threat, or at least, destroy our civilization and throw us back into a state to start over and maybe learn from our mistakes.

I wonder which Gods are most likely to take such action, and Poseidon comes up on the list of Gods who may just do that, with Demeter and Dionysos being the others.

The God as Earth Shaker must be an angry God, but he may also be a God of mercy, warning us rather than destroying us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Trident

Poseidon's Trident, it is one of the many symbols of the God, and not an ambiguous one. Everywhere that trident is seen as his symbol. A fishing apparatus, a weapon, a symbol of power akin to a scepter, the three pronged trident represents far more than just these things, and as human beings, we must seek to understand what the trident represents on a religious level, those of us who include many Gods in our religion often have to come to terms with the symbols and metaphors with which the Gods communicate their will to mankind.

The pomegranate of Persephone, the dove of Aphrodite, the helm of Hades, Athena's owl, Helios' chariot. All of these represent different things, not just from each other, but different things in different contexts as well.

To the end of trying to explain what it means to me, I will assign three distinct representations to the Trident, one for each prong. Earth, for Poseidon is shaker of the Earth. Sea, because Poseidon is God of the sea, and in many ways, is the sea itself. And last but certainly not least, creator, for like Zeus, Poseidon is a creator God, bringing into the world much of what it is made of.

I will try to explore these in the next few posts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The pumpkin in the patch, continued

This time of year triggers memories. This is always welcome for me. It carries with it a feeling of well being that other times of the year do not. Poseidon's gift to me, that fluid memory that has so often been a detriment to me, forces me to try to hold on to some of the most innocent of memories. Like trick or treating in Puerto Rico and Connecticut as a child. The joy of picking out a costume, though we could only ever afford the cheapest ones, and dressing up and letting loose in that special way that only children really do.

I hold on to these because like Poseidon, I am a bit too prim for my own good. A bit too unwilling to let loose and dance the night away, and in these memories, i find the joy that I lack in my adulthood. As I search through what Poseidon means to me, the sea and all that implies becomes less important and the very fluid nature of the God brings its power to bear on me. He tells me that although he appreciates the way I comport myself, I must also be flexible and go with the flow, or break under the torrent of the flood.

Somewhere along the line, I broke, and for many years, the Gods and I have walked together along a path to put me back together again, and here at last, I am reaching a point in my life where I have all the pieces that were me ready at hand and I have to decide, do I put humpty dumpty back into the shape of an egg, or is he better off as a bouquet of flowers? Fluid, you see, we are all fluid, and I can either try to freeze myself into a familiar and comfortable shape, or risk flowing into new and dangerous forms with every passing day.

having some issues with this new blog

having some issues with this new blog, as it is a synching blog system, and until I get all my post re-posted here (blogger has a 50 post per day limit) I will have to take a breather.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The pumpkin in the patch

This time of year is always very special for me, and in trying to understand Poseidon, I am also coming to terms with something in my own life that bothers me, but which I have dealt with for such a long time that I often take it for granted. I suffer from a severe fluidity in my memory, and I choose to use the term fluidity because I am relating it to Poseidon here, but in essence, I have dealt with a rather severe problem with my memory for many, many years, and that is a problem with relating proper nouns to their objects. This stems from an incident in my late teens early twenties, which is not really important.

This issue causes a problem in remembering my own life, not that I don't remember the things that happen to me, but the names of the people who were important in it. The names become fluid, a Carlos or a Tony can easily become a Mark or an Antonio, and in the end, the fluidity of those nouns in relation to who they should be connected causes many problems for me.

Understanding this, I make it a point to speak people's names when conversing with them, and referring to them by name rather than pronouns, when I remember those names, and often when I make prayers to the Gods, and I try to name them all, I forget the actual names. This bothers me, because such a lapse in memory seems disrespectful to me.

But there is actually a good that often comes from this fluidity in my memory.

I was raised to see people differently. Blacks were a certain ways, Cubans another, Whites another still, and in the end, it was leading to a person who would see people in stereotypes. But the fluidity of my memory meant that I couldn't really tell the difference between Carlos and Antoin, David or Stanislav. After all, if the names could be so interchangeable, why not the other traits, the stereotypes? And if that is the case, then doesn't that make them all essentially the same? All essentially equal in the eyes of whatever God did this to me?

We can learn from our mistakes, our issues, our losses, and even our infirmities, and Poseidon is a tutelary deity. Legend has him as a teacher of men. Teaching us to take from the sea where the land is not capable of supporting us, and perhaps taking from our faults where our blessings are not capable of informing us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Letter to Poseidon

Dear Poseidon;

I have come to you to ask you a few questions, and to tell you that I love you. Sure, that phrase really does pop out of our mouths just a little too easily these days, but it is still a perfectly genuine feeling on my part.

When I am near you, I both fear you and want to be near you. It is like making love to a truly masculine, nay, ultra-masculine man, who is so in touch with his own animal nature that he brings you with him into the power of his being, into the depths of his soul. You have always been a fountain of strength to mankind, and a powerful ally, but also a vicious enemy when enraged. So, if I may ask, why are you so angry?

Do we human beings really tick you off so much? Do you disapprove of us, and if so, why? Would you tell us what it is we are doing beyond the obvious to anger you so?

But, and this is my most important question, do you love us? Is the anger you feel toward us like the anger of a father who sees his children heading down a dark path? Is it like the rage of a father who, having been the center of his children’s life, now finds himself only a peripheral figure? Or is it something deeper and more unknowable than that?

I wish there were some easy way to ask you these things, or to be more clear, some easy way to know our answer, but I will just meditate on your presence some more and hope that you will give me some more insight into you. If for no other reason than I love you, and want to know you better.

Yours, now and forever.
Hector

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Capricious Fluidity

Fate is capricious. It is random, chaotic, and all together unfathomable. By fate I am not talking about predestination, that is something I do not believe in, but about the randomness of the things life throws at you and how from time to time those events happen one right after the other, all in a single week or month, and it often causes us to think that the heavens have it in for us.

In my last post I implied that maybe the storms and such that have been causing havoc in the last few years were being brought down upon us by the Gods. This is not an idle implication, in our mythos and ancient literature, such things are to be believed as true, yet in my personal beliefs, this is not to be seen too literally, even when I say it.

Poseidon, as Lord of fluidity, of things that change in the flowing rather than standing still or even being in constant motion (there is a distinct difference between the flowing motion of Poseidon and the perennial motion of Athena, for example)is also a lord of Fate if described as the flowing of time and the flow of events that we see as time. This is not to say that he is the actual Lord of Time, but rather that his power is instrumental in how it flows. It is not a coincidence that time is so often said to flow like water. Even if this is largely a perceptual issue, as some believe.

But, I have to put that aside for a bit and move on to what I really wanted to blog about. The coincidences of life are many. Our very individual existence is largely coincidental, yet in each of our lives things happen that we often wonder about. Earlier this year I had a month, May it was, in which I was hurt by allergies, by asthma, and by a sudden pneumonia and blockage of my lungs by fluids not related to the pneumonia or asthma. I then ended up in the hospital again after suffering bad vertigo, which I apparently will continue to suffer from for some time. It is benign, but can be troublesome, especially since I do not drive, choosing to bicycle instead.

All of that happened in the space of four weeks. This week, I find myself at odds with things electronic. From failing hard drives, to answering machines that stop working, computers that suddenly develop booting issues and a DSL modem that stops working, forcing me to buy a new one, it seems I am turning into Harry Dresden.

I am not sure I understand why this happens to me from time to time, but it always seems to happen in clusters. And it is no exageration that I can almost feel it coming. One electronic thing dies in my home, I start to expect several others to do so as well, and usuall it happens.

Are the Gods out to get me? Is Hermes playing practical jokes on me? Or is it simply that the fluidity of time, of fate, comes in waves, nd sometimes the waves just clash in a perfect storm of shit.

You know, many years ago, things like this would drive me to suicidal rages, but thanks to Hellenismos and the faith I have found in my Gods, these things bother me in very subtle and understandable ways, and so I can deal with them and not worry about it. Time moves on, flows forth, and so do I.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Storms and Such

So, it is probably common knowledge at this point that the storms that hit the gulf states a couple of weeks ago also wreaked havoc on the Midwest. From the Gulf of Mexico all the way up into Canada, the storm which bore names like Ike, left a swath of destruction as they held a great deal of their hurricane like form and force as they swept up onto the continent.

These storms left enormous areas all over Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, etc., without power and damage to property which will cost the already struggling economies of these areas more than they may be able to bear. As always with us who believe in the immanent nature of divinity (as well as the transcendent) we turn to looking at the reasons for such things. Why, for example, has Poseidon taken to such awesome examples of his power at this time? Are such things even the workings of the Gods in a concerted effort to communicate something to us, or are they simply the aftermath of their very presence? Are we humans so hubristic a species that we think all such things are meant for us?

Well, I suppose the answer to all of those is yes.

You see, turbulent weather, all weather actually, is the result of cause and effect. Sure, a system like weather is so vastly complex that it would be impossible for us to ever fully categorizes all the little causes hat lead to all the little effects that lead to all the bigger causes and effects, but they are, none the less, cause and effect, and as a result, all such things must be viewed as sign posts to other things.

If the storms we are witnessing are far more powerful now than they have been in recent decades, we must assume that there is something triggering that increase in power. It is too easy to say it is divine anger, though in the case of Poseidon, not too big a leap. If the Gods are immanent as well as transcendent, then it means that we as a species are, in essence, defiling the very fabric of their beings as we destroy our world. We are, in essence, shitting on them, and I have no doubt that is not something the Gods are all that willing to allow.

Contemplating at a time like this the nature of Poseidon brings to mind the story of the Phaeacians, who return Odysseus to his home Ithaca and are then punished for that kindness when Poseidon complains to Zeus that if they are not punished he will lose face with the other Gods and mortals alike. In essence, the order of life must be maintained, and he must now act to preserve that order by doing what we would think of as way too harsh a punishment, he destroys the kingdom of the Phaeacians utterly, their home sinking into the sea itself. Why does it remind me of this?

Well, like the Phaecians, we are not looking at the big picture here, and while they acted out of innocence, we act out of arrogance and willful disregard. How long before the Gods strike us down as a ntion, as a civilization, and just let another take our place. They are, after all, eternal, and patient beyond measure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Aside...

Over the last two weeks, I have undertaken a few days of fasting, and today I start another three day fast in commemoration of the Mysteries of Demeter, which I celebrate in conjunction with the onset of Autumn.

I will not be undertaking any special event this year, except to remember the two goddesses especially on the first day of Autumn with offerings, but am hoping my fasts will be a sacrifice, as well as a benefit to my health in the long run.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Impressions of the God

Poseidon, lord of the sea, earth ruler, shaker of the foundations of the earth is a backward God. Don't misunderstand when I say that, it is not an insult, but rather a comment about the God as a kind of "conservative" element in the Olympian Pantheon.

Not particularly versed in his cult, I do get the impression that the cults of Poseidon were much more "old world" than those of say Athena, or Zeus. It is as if the cults of the God found a proper grounding in archaic forms, which again is not a negative, just a different outlook, than those of the Gods who seemed to flow into philosophy and high religion. A term, which I admit, is rife with a kind of arrogant representation of the more philosophical religious movements as inherently better than the older, more nature based religious cults and movements of the time.

Poseidon, as a God who seems almost stodgy as compared to Apollo for example, is a god who brings a different balance to Hellenismos. Where most of the other Gods seem to travel well into the many forms that Hellenismos takes in the modern world, including the more hippy/neo-witchy strains, Poseidon seems to ground himself so that even in the more eccentric and eclectic cults, he seems to stand as a force for considering, if not following, old ways.

When approached, Poseidon feels immensely old. This is not to say this feeling is a proper representation in the sense of linear time, after all, Gods are eternal, but as a representation of something old in ourselves that is immediately touched by the presence of this God. When we approach him, a part of us that still recalls living in the sea is touched. That part of us that us still the single celled organism floating in the primordial sea is made to stir. That part of us that somehow remember being in the amniotic fluids of the womb is touched and made to emote something primal, something powerful, something all together unknowable in a rational way, but emotionally.

So, in trying to find Poseidon, whether by the river, or by contemplating the river from my bike as I ride by it or along its banks, I am forced to find him a bit off putting in a strange way. Not that I lack respect, but that I am often at odds with myself in relation to my own liberal versus conservative streaks.

For most of us, there is a balance in such things. Very few people really are 100% conservative or 100% liberal in a political and social sense, and in many ways, I am quite a mix of both, but taking the liberal stance where the rights of people as individuals are concerned.

But when I reach out to Poseidon, I feel that he demands that I examine my more conservative aspects and do so not with my usual liberal attitude, but in a very serious manner. It is as if Poseidon himself is telling me, check yourself young man, and don't be so sure of your every opinion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Contact

So, now that I have explored, on a more intellectual level, some of the aspects that I consider important to me in Poseidon. I must try to move on to the creation of a more emotional, more core level connection with the God. Knowing who or what Poseidon is pales in the end to the feeling he inspires deep within. If a God is there in the river, how do I find a connection to him or her or it, so that when I sit by that river, I can feel its presence?

I will be taking some time this weekend to making the attempt. To sit by the river, some soft music in my ears, and try to feel him there. Feel his power flow through the waters, and feel his essence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Problems with themes...

Currently, I am trying to work out some bugs in my theme. Photos that were once in the blog have disappeared, and they may not load properly if you can manage to see them at all, in Firefox. I have managed to get the pages working in the archive, and am considering just using flickr or photobucket to host the images and just use links.

They won't really change the blog, but I do make reference to missing images from time to time. I hope you can bear with me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Poseidon and eternal fluidity

It is difficult for us, or maybe I should say many of you, to understand what I mean by fluid eternity. We human beings, when we try to conceptualize eternity, tend to conceptualize something that is immovable, unchanging, forever the same, yet eternity does not, by its nature really imply a perpetual state, it implies timelessness, and more importantly, boundlessness with regard to time. In other words, the eternal is defined most especially by the fact that it has no beginning and no end.

Poseidon, the eternal God, has no beginning and has no end. He was never actually born, and he will never actually die. Many infer a monotheistic influence in me. The influence of Catholic or Protestant theology with which I was raised, yet we know for a fact that many philosophers, including that most famous of Hellenic philosophers, Plato, believed in the concept of eternal Gods.

Aristotle tended to categorize “Gods” as being of two or more types. The Celestial, and eternal, type who lived in a blessed state that was rather separate from our own world. These were transcendent beings. The other type that I remember is the immanent type which is capable, or willing, to manifest in the world. These Gods manifest as wind, in bodies, as spirit forms, and in myriad other forms.

As I have often thought of this, both of these “types” of Gods are actually present in each of the Gods, just as we see the celestial and chthonic in all the Gods. Each deity partakes of the four essential qualities of the divine being. They are immanent, transcendent, fluid, and moving. That they are eternal is a given, just as the fact that we are mortal is a given.

So, Poseidon.

Poseidon as a God is best known among us as the Sea God. Because of this he is known as an elder God, tempestuous, strong, and with a temper that shakes the earth itself. We attribute to him the qualities we see in the sea itself, but as the Lord of fluidity, he is something far more than this. He is the God whose power causes all things to change shape.

This may seem strange, but fluidity implies a constant state of flux. If the Gods are beings of constant motion, then they owe that ability to do this in our universe to Poseidon, who lends the universe that capacity to allow this kind of constant fluctuation. In fact, this ability of the universe to constantly change and remold itself is necessary. Without it, we would not be able to exist the way we do, if we were not capable of fluid movement, fluid change, and growth. That we grow from children to adults, changing, metamorphosing, is due to that very power of fluidity.

So, when the Gods manifest in our cosmos in a more condensed state, meaning in forms we can perceive clearly, they do so by taking advantage of that power of fluidity that Poseidon grants. In this case, Poseidon allows their eternal motion to be stilled, their vast forms to grow smaller, and their vast, and perhaps hurtful, voices to be heard by beings such as us. What effect, for example, might the presence of a God in all its power, all its glory, have on the earth as a planet?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Eternity and Eternals, continued...

So, now that i have given you a slight glimpse of my conception of an eternal being, which I will define here again in brief as a being whose essential nature is made manifest in a fragmentary form within the context of a religion, I must also try to come to terms with eternity itself and what it is, what it means, etc.

Eternity, at least my understanding of it, is not the same thing as infinity. The Gods are eternal, but they are not infinite. Nothing is. The gods are nigh omnipotent, but that does not mean they can simply snap their metaphorical fingers and make it so like Q in Star Trek or Samantha Stephen on Bewitched.

The universe exists as a set formula. It is balanced and beautiful in its complexity, and as such, the changes a god may make to it reverberate through all of existence. It is why there aren’t many true miracles. To act in such a way, the Gods must not just make a snap call on giving this person this or that person that, they must do so knowing that by doing so they change all of reality.

Eternity is all that is. Timeless!

But, and here I run into something of a rub, because while Eternity is timeless, it is not changeless. In fact, it is rather fluid. The cosmos itself exists within it, and the cosmos is a dynamic thing. Within it, potential and actuality are merged into a chaotic mixture we call reality, and while one may see eternity as being outside the cosmos, it is not, it is in fact part and parcel of the universe just as the atmosphere is part and parcel of the Earth itself.

Because I see Eternity as fluid, I must also admit to seeing Poseidon as a God who can represent, or who is responsible for, the fluid nature of eternity, and perhaps, responsible for the fluid nature of all things, even the Gods themselves.

Next time, I hope to go into that aspect of the god. Not just the fluid aspect, which i have already talked about, but that same fluidity in relation to all the cosmos, from eternity to emotional fluidity to the fluidity of wisdom.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eternity and Eternals, continued...

So, picturing an eternal being is not easy. We humans have mathematical and linguistic concepts of eternity, but we do not really have an actual physical experience of it. We can conceptualize it, imagine it in many ways, but we can never truly know it, so, what is my conception of an eternal being and how it interacts with the cosmos?

Choosing an image for this is not so easy as it may seem, as I want to relate it to the mundane world in which all of our experiences are based, so I have to find an image that we can all relate to. For us, the idea of nationhood, culture, and language are ubiquitous, so I will go with the paradigm of civilization.

A civilization is like a God. It encompasses a great many languages, cultures, even religions, while its tendrils find their way into every aspect of life for the people. A civilization encompasses things like linguistic relation, moral uniqueness, mindset, political forms, religious forms (Christianity is an offshoot of Hellenism, for example) and, and this one is important, a philosophical mindset. All of these things tend to run as a kind of commonality within a civilization, even when there are differences in religion and language in that civilization.

A God is like a civilization. It’s power and influence run throughout the cosmic sphere, from the highest order of magnitude to the lowest, and in so doing he binds things together. In its totality, a God is like Chinese or European civilization, each of which is composed of many languages that are related in some way, and yet there is commonality between these languages and cultures that make up the whole. A God and its many different aspects all make up a whole, but like the cultures within a civilization, each of the aspects has its own contextual uniqueness with which the people connect.

Does that make any sense?

Think of it this way. The French are part of European civilization, a civilization that can be said to have been sparked by the Hellenic influence. The French are unique, and they relate to each other within a French context, a context that makes up their culture and linguistic uniqueness. Yet a French man can travel to Germany or America or Portugal and find that while he is uniquely different from that general culture, he is also bound to that culture by the similarities, the threads of civilization, that run through all of the European cultures.

Some ascribe this to the common religious thread that is Christianity, but that is a false assumption because even before Christianity, the philosophical and religious context of the Hellenes, Romans, Germanics, and Celts was tied together by commonalities that the Romans often saw in the ritual and beliefs of the people they encountered in Europe, commonalities that were not as evident to them with regard to the Egyptians or Semites of the Levant.

When we see a God this way, we begin to see that religious contexts are very important to the understanding of a God, because within each religion, the power of a God is made felt in the ways that that culture interprets it and allows it to flourish. This means that if you try to understand Poseidon by studying some of his Hellenic aspects in conjunction with his Egyptian, Celtic, and Chinese aspects, you may end up with a jumble that does not properly represent him.

This is not to say that you should ignore other religions and their history, this would be a mistake, it is that when contemplating an aspect of a deity it is important to try to understand not only that aspect, but how that aspect interacts with the rest of the religion in which it exists.

I mean, what if you read the story of the battle between Athena and Poseidon for control of the Athenian Acropolis and left out Athena? Would the story make as much sense?

So, an eternal being is a force that encompasses all of the many aspects representing it which we are capable of experiencing, but which different cultures see, yet interpret, in different ways, ways that are relevant only within the context that spawns them. Poseidon becomes irrelevant to Shinto, where Susano-O no Mikoto behaves in different ways, yet ways that we might find familiar at times because it is still the same essential spirit, the same eternal being.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eternity and the Eternals

What is an eternal? How does one make a distinction between immortal and eternal? Why?

Well, the answers are essentially simple, but at the same time difficult because we humans have always had trouble with the concept of eternity and the eternals. So much so that even in religions where the concept of an eternal being has come into common acceptance, that same eternal being is surrounded by beings who are not essentially eternal, and it is these beings who actually receive most of the worship. Islam and Judaism appear to be exceptions to this, but even in those religions there are angels, demons, etc. which by virtue of being created by “God” are not themselves eternal.

Eternity is boundless time. It has no beginning, no boundaries, no means of origin or end. An eternal being, then, is one that has no origin and no end. It exists, plain and simple, and has always done so. Infinity, by contrast, is boundless space. Something that has no end to its area or quantity. The Gods, by my definition, are eternal, but their aspects are not.

Myth gives us these aspects. From Athena of the Greeks to YHWH of the Jews and Zoroaster of the Persians, these aspects of divine beings all have origins in our myth and they change and alter in number and story over time. The Hindu concept of The Brahmin, in my opinion, is more a kin to a representation of a place than a being. Like the Greek conception of Chaos as a “gap” or the Ginnungagap of the Northern people.

So, the aspects of the Gods, like their avatars, are mortal in that they have an origin in our cultural myths, often as titles or epithets that serve as descriptions of an action taken by a deity. And while these aspects all represent a deity, or sometimes multiple deities, they are not, technically, the deity itself. Therefore, Athena, as a name and title, represents the deity we call Wisdom, movement, a structural creative force that the Jewish and Coptic texts describe as moving over the waters.

The eternal nature of the Gods means that they have had an infinite number of aspects, with infinite being an exaggeration. But when dealing with such beings, it is necessary that we human beings divide them into a multitude of titles because it allows us to understand them by bits. We simply do not have the capacity to understand them, each of them, in their entirety.

But if the Gods are such, why does it matter which religion we follow? Why does it matter what form of them we choose to honor? My answer to that is context, because it is within these contexts, cultural and religious, that the aspects come into being and within which they can be understood.

These contexts also allow us to understand divine interaction. Catholics I have known used to say, “Pray hard to God, but throw a prayer to St Anthony (or whoever) for good measure” and this is because within Catholicism there is an entire hierarchy, which comes from Biblical and other mythological sources, that give them an understanding of divine interactions that they, because of the strictures of their religion, cannot acknowledge as being Gods. But call them what you like, the Gods make themselves felt in all religious contexts.

So, the Gods being eternal, and the names we use to define them being of human origin, who are the Gods themselves, and within the context of the current conversation, who is Poseidon?

The Gods are essentially unknowable in their totality. We do not, cannot, know their names, or if they even have names. But if we were to try to name them in the tradition of mankind, meaning by titles, we would come up with names like Father Sky (Father God), Mother Earth (Mother Goddess), Sea God(dess), God(dess) of Light, Moon God(dess), etc. But these are forms that are nebulous, perhaps indicating the inability of man to grasp them, and as such tend to be rather unsatisfying.

Thus, the Sea God becomes Poseidon to the Greeks, and it is their experience of his power that then colors how they title him. And it is their experience of his interaction with the other deities that give him his place in their cosmology and theogony. Thus Poseidon is their Earth Shaker, their Sea King, their giver of life, a punisher of “sins”, and so forth.

To me, however, Poseidon is also a lord of the fluid nature of life, of nature itself, and as such he is a God who is everywhere, from the fluid nature of our cultures and languages to the fluid nature of sexuality, an aspect of the God that is not very much explored by people who see the Sea God and nothing more.

Poseidon is also a “father Deity” and myth gives us tales of him fathering many multitudes of children, from sea nymphs to the life of the sea itself. In this aspect, he is also a stern deity who demands respect, like fathers do in their homes, and who also demands a certain conservative streak from those who follow him closely. Not, perhaps, the kind of prudish conservatism of America, but a kind of almost humorless nature, that does not allow him to laugh at the inappropriate behavior of Aphrodite and Ares, preferring instead to seek a solution to the embarrassing situation.

To Be Continued...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The boundless sea...

Our Lord Poseidon, King of the Wine-dark Sea, is the lord of the boundless sea. To the Greeks, the sea they knew was the Mediterranean, of which the Aegean and Ionian are part, and it is with this sea that they associated his power and temper.

The sea, as they knew it, was frightening. It was tamable, of course, but it was to be feared and respected, first and foremost. To the sea they offered prayers, sacrifice, and to it they also entrusted their very lives, holding on to dear life on their boats as they sought to bring in the bounty it offered to a land that was often too barren to farm.

The great Lord of the Boundless Sea was a figure much respected throughout the coast of Greece, and a land with so many islands, this was almost everywhere.

There is another interpretation to this, for me, and that is that in this aspect as Lord of the Boundless Sea we are also meant to see the God as eternal. Boundless.

I want to try to explore this aspect of divinity the next few posts.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fluidity and Change

Life is a big fluid mess. It is always in motion, in flux, and all things, from the waves of the sea to the minglings of cultures share this very real, and scientifically observed, behavior. All things, it seems, are fluid in their natures, even if they are stuck for long periods in particular forms.

I often refer to Poseidon as the God of Fluidity, but that does that mean, really?

In the last couple of weeks I have been giving bits of thought here and there to Poseidon and what he means. To the idea of a “Sea God” and what that means. To the idea of fluidity, or chaotic change, as a natural force under his dominion, and what that might mean.

A recent post on one of the Hellenic lists made me think about it in a clearer way, because as with so much else, I do try to think of the Gods as cosmic, and as a result I often tend to forget that while we may see the cosmos, our experience of it is at a terrestrial level and on a human level of consciousness and understanding.

I won’t repost the post here, as it is essentially irrelevant to Poseidon himself, but my response to a post about the enormous levels to which people, religions, cultures, etc. are all influenced by each other was to say that all such things are fantastically fluid, and how awesome that is.

It was like, at that moment, when that idea burst into my head, that Poseidon was there and he reminded me that he is the fluidity I was referring to.

You see, when you think about Poseidon, and by extension his epiphany on earth, the sea, you have to take into account some of the more basic functions of the sea, and these are as a means of sustenance, communication through travel, and as an erosive force on the land.

The sea, like rivers, rain, wind, etc, causes a great deal of change in the very shape of the land man occupies. It forces the land itself to alter, to be fluid in its shape and, in many ways, in granting man access to its shores. Through man’s ability to access the sea for sustenance, it caused a great change in man, allowing him to grow as a species, making survival easier. It was transformative. As a means of communication and influence between peoples, the sea was also instrumental in making the ideas of cultures, for good and ill, travel from one culture to another. It allowed the Greeks to learn writing from the Minoans and Phoenicians. It allowed religious and cultic ideas to travel back and forth between the Greeks and the peoples of the lands around them.

In the Hellenic world, the level of religious variance was enormous. From Eastern forms of religious expression entering Greece through the cults of Dionysos and Aphrodite to older forms of religious expression from the Minoan and forms of religious belief that made their way into Greece from Egypt and Italy, the sea always allowed man to share ideas. And the ideas did not just flow in to Greece, but from Greece they made their way all over the Mediterranean. Phoenician art and architecture were, for example, influenced by Hellenic forms, and the Romans fell so in love with the achievements of Hellenic culture that they almost became Hellenes themselves.

The God of Fluidity, who makes all things change, often in unexpected ways, works in all aspects of the universe. From the smallest particle to the largest of galactic super clusters, fluidity and change are universal. Is Poseidon the god of change? Not really, change is an effect of his power, however, and as a result of this, he is also a God who often is forced into the periphery in our polytheistic system because other deities, like Athena, enforce a kind of order on the cosmos that attempts to stem the forces of change.

Interestingly enough, Poseidon is often presented in myth as an almost conservative figure. He demands respect like an elder demands it of children, because the way of society demands children respect their elders, but in doing so, he betrays his very nature as a deity who is fluid and powerful and who, even as he seems to advocate for the old guard, is slowly disarming it and replacing it with the new, because if there is one thng about the sea that is and always will be true, that is that it is always in motion. Always changing. Never exactly the same way twice.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Earth Shaker

In ancient times, the ideas about how the world was formed, how it takes shape, what land was in relation to the sea, etc., were all far more fanciful than any we might believe today. From lands that grew out of the sea at the behest of a goddess in need of a place to birth her children to lands that floated on the seas.

That conception of the relation between the sea and the earth gives fair mythological basis for another of Poseidon’s well known aspects, that of “Shaker of the Earth.”

The Gods is said to sing an entire city state, a nation, into the sea in Odyssey when the God became angry that the people had willfully aided the mortal he had decided to punish for his crimes against the God. This is an aspect of the god as Earth-Shaker.

The idea that the Sea God is also the Earthquake God is not that odd when one considers the notion that the land floats upon the ocean or that the Sea encircles the earth as if in an embrace, and that the god can cause the earth to tremble by his motion or by his squeezing the earth.

Strangely enough, however, Poseidon was not, mythologically, married to an Earth Goddess, but to a Sea Goddess. Might this embrace of the earth be something a kin to a mother/son relationship? A child throwing a tantrum at his mother’s knee? Perhaps such an idea is “sacrilegious” or disrespectful, but on a mythological level it is worth pondering, for in many ways, Poseidon was often shown to be a petulant being. One who was a wee bit fickle and a tad bipolar.

In pondering Poseidon, I think I must use him as a means to understand that inner child that is petulant, turbulent, and often unwilling to accept the actions of others as theirs to own and therefore wanting to lash out at them in order to release the anger within myself.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rivers... Continued

When talking about Poseidon as a God of Rivers, we can only use the idea of Poseidon, not so much the ancient sources as a guide. The reasons, as I have already said, is that the people will use their local representations and their personal ideas about what that god is or is not when describing the river deity.

So, for example, the main river that goes through the town I live in is called the Great Miami River, which is a tributary to the Ohio River, which is a well known and rather major river in this part of the U.S. This river, the Ohio, is also a tributary to the Mississippi River, perhaps the most well known river in all of the U.S. This River, the Mississippi, of course, empties into the Gulf of Mexico, which is part of the greater Atlantic Ocean which, of course, is part of the great World Ocean, since the oceans of the world are a single contiguous mass of water, the divisions of which are man made.

When one thinks of a river in this way, one is struck by the unity of it. Waters that fall from the heavens, some absorbed into the Earth, are released into streams which flow into small rivers which flow into large rivers, etc. Is the divine divinity of fluidity then not also thus diversified?

These are aspects. And aspects can be of more than one deity, just as rivers can have more than one name, as the Amazon River is not called Amazon by the natives who have not assimilated into the Spanish and Portuguese cultures which inhabit the lands that surround it. Poseidon too must be called by peoples all over the world by those names with which they are familiar.

This river, the Great Miami, then, is a local aspect of the god, a local epiphany of the great Lord of the Seas, God of the Waters.

This aspect of the Water God has many aspects of its own. Rivers are life sustaining features of the land we live on. Without them, life as we know it would either not exist, or be so different as to not be recognizable. In this aspect, then, the river is a giver of life. As a means of transport, rivers have been indispensable in the history of man kind, and as such, this aspect of the god is also a bringer of civilization. In the same aspect, he is also a god of commerce and, further, assisted in the spread of man kind from his humble beginnings in Africa to the entire world, in which the god's oceanic aspects was also instrumental.

But rivers are also treacherous things. Many a life is lost every day world wide, drowned in the waters of strong and powerful rivers which are so often underestimated by humans who too often grow complacent with their presence. In this aspect, the Water God as River God is also a taker of life, and in this way a balance is struck.

The River God, who I see as an aspect of the Ocean God who is an aspect of the great God of Fluidity, is instrumental in the life of man, and as such, man has always venerated him in some way or another. Throughout history rivers, lakes, and springs have all been venerated as Gods, spirits, eve, in post Christian times, as sacred sanctuaries to Saints and Angels.

The veneration of the waters that give life, help us spread out into the world, and allowed for commerce to flourish in ancient times is, then, not only understandable, but a necessary aspect of human interaction with the divine world and how that world interfaces with our own in the epiphanies of the Gods.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rivers

The God of the Sea is, by force of his dominion, the God of all of the Earth’s waters. All that is fluid on the Earth and moves and shapes the world that contains it by it’s power. The oceans, the seas, the lakes grand and small, the rivers and streams and even the great glaciers whose movements shape the world so profoundly.

For the ancients, rivers, lakes, streams, springs, etc. each had their own attendant deities. A river God is a very local God, contained by the very river that he is responsible for. The nymphs that inhabited wells and springs were also thus localised and contained by the nature of that which they represented. In my theological view, these are all representations of two specific things. One is the human acknowledgment of the rivers as sources of life without which human existence would be extremely difficult if not impossible. The second is a more abstract concept in the religious ideologies of polytheistic religions, and that is the concept of apsected divinity.

The concept itself is fairly simple. The idea is that a deity can manifest to a people, or person, in a variety of forms, and that those forms are often, perhaps even always, dependent on the people’s or person’s ability to comprehend it. A being who has never seen the vastness of the ocean or a large sea may not have the conceptual ability to see the deity as vast and powerful, rather, he may only be able to identify such a deity with what he is familiar with, a river or small lake or ven a pond or spring. So this person, or these people, may only see the God of the Seas as a God of River X or a nymph of the local springs which are so important to their survival.

The Greeks adopted a form of address that often, if not always, took into account this aspect of their religious system. Gods were often named with epithets that gave an inkling of what that aspect of the deity was to them. How they perceived and called upon that deity until such a time as their view of that deity was expanded.

Poseidon was known by many such epithets, and here are some:
Basileus: This means King or Lord, and Poseidon was very much a king.
Asphalius: He who secures safe voyage.
Epoptes: Watcher or overseer. This is a protective aspect.
Gaeochus: Holder of the Earth or he who bears the Earth in his hands.
Ennosigaeus: Shaker of the Earth, in his aspect of God of Earthquakes.
Phytalmius: He who nurtures plants. A sign that he was associated with more than Sea Water.
Laoites: Of the people.
Patrus: Father. Esecially when seen as father of the clan.
Hippios: Of horses.
Prosclystius: He who dashes against, as when ships are dashed against rocks or when sea storms dash objects onto the shore.

There are many others, of course, and many of them can be found at Theoi.com, an excellent source of quotations about the Mythos of the Greeks.

I will continue this later...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Poseidon

The wheel turns. The walk along the path I have chosen to walk these last months has not been arduous, but it has placed a few challenges before me. It started with Hestia, virgin goddess of the hearth, and moved to Apollo, the Lord of Light, Music, and Artistry. From there to Hera, Queen of Heaven, and now to one of the three ruling deities of our pantheon.

Myth tells us that after the great war in heaven, the Titanomachia, the Olympian Gods were victorious and the three brothers, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades drew lots to decide who would rule what part of the world. To Zeus fell the heavens and mighty Olympus. To Hades fell the gloomy Underworld which would for ever more bear his name. And to him who is now to be my focus, Poseidon, fell the sea and all the wonders therein.

Poseidon, like Hera and Hestia, is one of the Kronides, the children of Kronos in our mythos. His place as the ruler of the second kingdom, the fluid kingdom that is always in motion, always changing, places him closer to us in many respects than Zeus. His place in the pantheon as Sea God places him all around us, and by means of the sea, the people of the earth were both separated and in time able to once again connect to each other. And so the Greeks, who’s tribes made their way onto the Greek mainland soon found themselves in contact with other people, many living as part of large powerful cultures, such as Egypt and the Hittites, who were related to them in the grand scheme of humanity through the Indo-European migrations, and lesser yet closer cultures, such as the Minoans, who would leave their indelible marks on the culture of the people who would one day come to call themselves Hellenes.

Religiously, Poseidon is very much a kind of father figure. His presence is a vast one, like the Sea itself, and in so being it creates a sense of awe that one can easily equate with the feeling one gets from one’s father. A feeling of a figure that is both protective and punishing at the same time. Even in the earliest extant works of the Greeks, those of Homer, we see Poseidon as an elder God, a God who is feared for his power, and a God who is willing to punish with great and disastrous effect those who will not abide by his laws or dictates.
But what does this mean in the grand scheme of things religious? Does it mean that Poseidon must be obeyed without question? Is Poseidon truly to be feared, or does he simply demand respect? What, in the end, is the difference?

Before continuing, I want to either introduce, or perhaps reintroduce, my idea of the structure of the cosmos as a religious concept. The universe is like an onion. The ten dimensions of the universe are layered as an onion, and we exist as part of the third dimensional plane, this means that we partake of the first, second, and third dimensional planes. The Gods exist as part of the 11th and 12th dimensions, which are actually a single dimensional plane which is a transformative dimension. The universal balance is maintained by the entropic forces leaving through the South pole and as they travel through this divine dimension, they are transformed and once again enter. This happens at the smallest levels of our cosmos s we perceive size.

Poseidon represents, in many ways, this fluid interchange of energies. This fluidic aspect of nature is part of his domain, and it is a transformative power. Ask anyone who has never seen the ocean how it feels to stand on its shore for the first time. How it feels to bear witness to its power, both subtle and abrupt. It is a feeling of transformation.

Poseidon, according to myth, did not start out this way. He was the son of Kronos, the sky god, king of the cosmos, lord of what would later be called Olympus. But his domain was not decided by his nature, it was decided by lots. In other words, Poseidon became what was necessary for his domain to function. He became a transformative power rather than simply being that from the beginning of things. In other words, again, he was himself transformed by the needs of his function in the cosmos.

This leads me to a fundamental difference between me and what is probably the majority of the Hellenistic and Pagan communities, and that is that I do not really think of the Gods as manifestations of particular aspects of nature. I don’t think of Poseidon as actually being the sea, or Helios as actually being the Sun, or Ge as actually being the Earth, but rather, I think of these aspects of nature as epiphanies or objects that inspire the epiphanies of the Gods. The sea is not Poseidon, but it inspires an epiphany of the God. It inspires us to feel his presence near us.

Yet the God can also be present in other things, all depending on how you associate the world around you with him. Thus that traditional epiphanies of the God, the sea, the horse, the earthquake can also be accompanied by boating, the joy of riding a horse, or the heroism of people coping with the disaster of an earthquake. Or perhaps you see Poseidon in a different light, as the sea-storms, what we call Hurricanes. What does the Hurricane symbolize to you in relation to Poseidon, and why?

Poseidon stirs.
The Earth shakes.
Boulders fall into the sea.

Poseidon awakens.
The sea quivers.
The waves crash onto the shore.

Poseidon walks.
The trees tremble.
The leaves shaken from their stems.

Poseidon rests.
The ocean calls.
The waters reflect the Moon

Poseidon angered.
The land crumbles.
The hearts of men tremble.

Poseidon is merciful.
The sea breeze blows.
The ship reaches the far off shore.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Concluding my time with Hera

My time with Hera has come to an end, and I am a bit confused by her. Of course, I am fairly confused by all the Gods in one way or another, but Hestia is a difficult deity to get a handle on in the scheme of things because the Greeks laid out a fairly rigid domain for her, yet ne that could be interpreted to include almost all of the other domains in one way or another.

We think, today, of love and marriage as being indellibly linked, yet in their time, the Greeks did not necessarily think this way. Surely we know there were stories of the romantic entanglements that gods and mortals alike fell into, but marriage itself was so often a matter of familial duty that one has to ask, are we doing it wrong?

Hera forces us to look at these things in ways that also force us to sometimes consider whether marriage, her domain, is one we even want to continue to foster in our current society. After all, it no longer serves the same function in society that it once did. But marriage is not going anywhere, and recent developments lead us to believe that marriage is expanding to a whole new function in society, one that is part of an elite class. Do we really want that?

But if our current definition of marriage is one that Hera has absorbed into her realm, then love, Aphrodite’s domain, becomes entangled in her domain as well.

As Queen of Heaven, her domain becomes entangled with almost every other domain except, perhaps, that of Hades and Persephone. She commands, as Zeus does, and she is a warrior, as Athena is, a protector of cities, as many of the Gods are, and a Great Goddess in her own right.

As a Great Goddess her role in Greek society, and in our modern revival of Hellenismos as a religion divorced from its parent culture, was one that also brought into the Hellenic cultural environs traditions and ideals that predated them. She brings with her a certain earthy quality that is not like that of Demeter, but more of a type that is of the people. Hera, as Great Goddess, is the very spirit of the people, and she binds them together not only in marriage, but as a society, as a culture, and with her guidance, the culture of the Indo-European Tribes that migrated into Hellas were married with the indigenous people into a new family unit, the Hellenes.

For that, we owe her much, for without her we would not know the Gods as the Greeks knew them, and that would be a great loss indeed.

I now move on along the star pattern to Poseidon, and it may be a little while before I can make my first post on him. There is much to think over in him, and many new ways in which I must consider him and his place in our religion, so I will write and rewrite some of what I feel about him from the onset.

See ya soon...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Conclusion

Heraian religion is not something I am all that familiar with in terms of my knowledge of her cultus and civic festivals. Like Athena, Hera had very strong religious importance to the people of Greece, and like Athena, she was also seen as a Patron Goddess in parts of Greece, including the Argolid. Unlike Athena, however, Hera was not seen with kind eyes in the mythos of the Greeks, and this remains, to me at least, one of the great mysteries of ancient Greek myth.

Why, for example, do the myths of the Greeks show Hera to be an almost vile creature. A horrible nagging wife whose vengeance against anyone who dared intrude on her territory was, even by mythological standards, harsh and inhumane.

Hera is what many would term a “Great Goddess”, that is, a Goddess who appears to have been worshipped before her place in the mythos was set in a way that was very different from that which we come to know through myth. A Goddess who was preeminent among her worshippers and for whom a mate was a subordinate divine figure. Thus, as the culture of Greece changed during the Indo-European invasions and the Doric and Ionic migrations, her place as a preeminent deity was seen differently by the warrior culture of the Hellenes and the native peoples of Greece.

Neither is bad or good in its own, the two peoples simply saw the divine differently, wrshipped differently, and had a different cultural interpretation of the divine sphere. But the Greeks themselves continued to worship Hera and evidence shows that they held her in high esteem. Her worshippers offered to her, prayed to her, sought her out in times of urgency, and if the myths show anything it is that Hera is not particularly kind to humanity.

It is a shame that the mythos does not include greater detail about the actual beliefs of the people and focused instead on the later besmirching of her reputation by the often misogynistic poets like Homer and Hesiod, both of whom have left beautiful examples of their work while the every day worshipper did not.

But myth is not an absolute dogma, nor should it be, not in our religion, not in any religion. The mythos of the Greeks is, in our faith, the basis for the epithets and forms that the Gods took among them, but it is not dogmatic because we understand that myth is subject to human interpretation and manipulation. Myths, plays, philosophy, and modern scholarship in fields like anthropology, history, archaeology, and language give us much deeper levels of understanding of the nature of the ancient religious sphere, but the one thing it cannot give us is feeling.

That feeling of religious faith, piety, etc., can only really be achieved through personal exploration. One must experience the Gods to understand the Gods in a religious context, or, I should say, at a spiritual level.

Therefore, it is difficult for those of us who worship and pay honor to the Gods to offer explanations about what the worship of the Gods is like. We do not have an authority that tells us what we should be thinking and feeling about the Gods, nor do we have an authority that can accurately describe for us what our ancient forefathers were thinking and feeling either. That is simply something modern science is not capable of doing, and which, perhaps, it should never be capable of doing since it would remove that most important aspect of our religion, our personal gnosis, our personal interpretations, and our personal experience of they for whom the religion works.

You see, in spite of our assertions about ours being a orthopraxic religion, all religion is about feeling. All religion is about the heart and its need to understand that which is greater than itself and, in the end, that which can provide it with a feeling of belonging. The Gods are the heart of that religion. That which makes us all seek to be better people lies within us, and it is that self same heart, that self same spirit that believes and hopes, and it is there that we find them, it is there that we find her, Hera, Queen of Gods and Men.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Overpowered

The Gods are an overpowering presence.

Hera is an overpowering presence. A presence that inspires and frightens. Mythically, she is often like a "Mary" figure, but she is not, to me, such a figure at all. Perhaps only in the wide spread love of her is she like Mary. She was highly mistreated in myth, but the Greek people loved her. They had a sense of her that was very different from the texts that describe her, and this can be a problem in a religious sense because as separated from her worship as we are in the modern world, we have to rely on those myths to get a sense of her. That failing, we must rely on academic works which leave us with someone else's interpretation of her.

One of only a few stories from ancient times, and a Hellenistic one at that, is the Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius. In it, Hera takes on a very different aspect from the vile shrew she is often shown to be in myth. She is helpful, and the Argonauts, especially Jason, seem to have a strong bond with her. The story itself is far more ancient than the source that tells it. of course, as Jason and his voyage are referenced in several places other than the Argonautika, but it is in this play that we see the role that the Queen of the Gods played in this expedition.

The Goddess Queen of Heaven is a creature that is both near and far, helpful and an impediment, and this is actually true of all the Gods, but with Hera and the character the mythos gives us of her, these become ever more pronounced. Like an Earthly queen, the Queen of Heaven demands a certain level of subordination to her will and power, but unlike a mortal Queen, it is not a matter of pride or entitlement, but of divine grace.

What do I mean by this?

The Gods are divine beings. To say they are superior to us is like say a man is superior to a virus. Sure, on one level it is true, but the virus exists on its own, in its own little world, at a level of existence that is, for it, like our universe is to us. That as a type of life the virus has managed to survive millions of years is testament to its inherent strength as a life form. The gods exist on a totally different level of existence from us, they are of the ultimate level, that 11th dimension, that divine world that encompasses all others within it. If the Gods notice us and take it upon themselves to act on our behalf, or to counter us, it is through their grace. A word that often has misleading interpretations in our modern world.

The grace of the Gods is manifest in all that we see around us. The Gods shower gifts upon the world all the time, and like a virus, we don't really take much notice of them. By Hera's grace, mankind knows the holiness of union with another human being. Of that bond of trust and love that allows two people to create a family and defend it against all ill will. It is not that procreation would be impossible without her, life does that as a matter of course, but her influence allows man to act in accordance with a higher level of emotion and spirit with regard to our young, to our lovers, and to our progenitors.

In realizing this, I am overpowered by her.

I admit, that at this time in my life I have given up on finding that bond. I have loved and lost in my life, but the truth is that I know that it is not something that will ever happen for me. In a sense, I am rejecting part of Hera's domain outright, but in another, I am acknowledging its importance and refuse to be one of these people who takes it far too lightly and rushes in to love and marriage simply because I feel a desperate need to be "married."

I am overpowered by her.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

May

May has been a month of sadness.
Too many prayers have I laid at the altar of death.
Too many friends and family have gone.

Dear Susana, passed in pain, your children at your side.
Too many fond memories now haunt me.
Too many tears I have shed for you, dear aunt of mine.

Dear Mark, passed in loneliness, you tears of bitterness your only companions.
Too many times did I seek to help you.
Too many times was I rebuked as were we all.

Dear Trey, passed with friends and loved ones around you. 
Too many times did I neglect your friendship.
Too many times did you make me laugh, if there can be too much laughter.

Dear Tim, though gone you are not, you lie in pain at death's door.
Too long have I not seen you, or your husband who sits at your side.
Too many prayers for you have I said to them who deal in life and death.

Let me deal with grace.
Let me deal with hope.
Let me deal with compassion.

Dear Zeus above. 
Dear Poseidon all about.
Dear Aidoneus who hides underneath.

Bless those left behind in tears and longing.
Bless those left behind in sorrow and pain.
Bless me with the memories of their smiles and good hearts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

But...

But the incense burns and the prayers flow from me to her regardless of how small I often feel in her presence. The reasons for this are shrouded in a little mystery for me, because part of me wants to not recognize that part of how I see Hera is also part of how I was trained to see "God" as a child.

You see, I was brought up Pentecostal. Now, luckily, though my mother took us to church and prays to this day to all mighty God for my soul, she was never a zealous Christian fundamentalist type, so when I felt I no longer liked church, she did not try to force me to go. Eventually, she too gave up going, always claiming that she thought the majority of her fellow church goers were hypocrites.

The way I was taught to see "God" was as a distant yet ever present being who was watching every step you made and writing it all down to decide if you were good or bad, kinda like Santa Claus, but also that he was so vast, so overwhelmingly "other" that I was essentially just an insect in his presence.

Now, to contrast this, the Olympian Gods are vast, they are ever present, and they are amazingly "other" but unlike the version of "God" I was taught about as a child, they were also always accessible to the people. The Greeks had no holy writ that needed interpreting for them by an authority. Each household, each person, each city, each nation, could approach them. The head of the household, the father, husband, etc., bore the responsibility for much of the family's obligations to the Gods, but in essence, each person was responsible for his or her own relationship with the Gods. And these relationships were close ones.

Mythically, the Gods spoke with man directly, and while I don't actually believe that the Gods were walking up to houses for tea, I do think the mythic relationships between men and gods did represent a very real sense among the Greeks that when they prayed to the Gods, the Gods were listening. That they had a sense that the Gods were there, beside them.

This sense that the Gods were not just very enormous "others" was very appealing to me, and yet, there are some Gods, Zeus and Hera among them, who do give off that vibe of being so vast, so very much "other" that the relationships we build with them, or I should say I build with them, must always retain a certain distance.

Yet, Hera is to man a very powerful bonding deity, and as a result she is also there at our most intimate moments. When we realize we love someone and want to bond ourselves to them, Hera is there as much as Aphrodite. When we realize for the first time that a friend is a true friend, the kind of friend that will be with you forever, Hera is there too. And when a friend dies and you are left with that nagging feeling that you wish you had talked with him more, visited him more, or maybe told him you loved him more, Hera is there to help you deal with the loss of a bond that is beyond human comprehension.

I lost a friend this week. A friend I wish I had been better to. A friend I wish I had gotten to know a lot better. Now to deal with that...

Monday, June 2, 2008

In practice

Putting the various discoveries I am making about the Gods and my relationship with them into actual practice is not something I can speak of as many others do because I am very much a solitary. There are no other Hellenistoi in this area that I can think of and for me to put my beliefs into practice as ritual has therefore become very simple.

Prayer, the burning of incense, the making of simple offering at the altars of the Gods, etc. are the core of all my practices. The blessing of my home with incense smoke while invoking the Gods is something I do when I am preparing to celebrate any festival through fasting or making special offerings, etc.

Putting my ideas on Hera into practice was something I had already done. Placing her altar at the entry way to my home, invoking my idea of her as a protecting goddess and offering to her there in that aspect. Making a statue of Hebe my representation of her, for I see Hebe as an aspect of Hera that represents the goddess' maiden aspect, an aspect that to me represents potential, both lost and to be fulfilled, and in reference to the ancient ways, an aspect that represents a certain sadness as women were so often treated with such disdain and with attitudes of ownership, and one has to wonder how Hera, the Goddess, must have railed against these attitudes among Greek men. Along with Hera, her altar includes an image of Mother Earth, who I do not see as an aspect of Hera, but who also represents here the chthonic aspects of Hera. Aspects that are often connected to death, war, and the defense of self at the expense of another and for another, as warriors did in the defense of their cities.

When I invoke Hera, however, it is usually as Queen of Heaven, and this is an aspect that requires more than the usual simplicity of an incense burning. It requires a certain humbling of the self. It requires putting oneself in a mindset that one might when meeting the Queen of England, except this is a Goddess, and while the Queen of England is just a human being like you and me, this is the Queen of Olympus, the Sky Queen, a deity. It causes awe in me to think of her, and this awe translates to a feeling that my practice is simply insufficient to her majesty.