Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to the Meditations

Now that Heliogenna has passed, and I'm sorry that I have not shared a lot about it, but this year saw me covering a lot of shifts at work that made it difficult for me to do anything special, but I did my 8 prayers/poems in 9 days thing, and I also did Heliogenna specific tweets over at my @HellenicPrayer feed and have been getting some nice feedback. I want to get back to working my way through what Hephaestos is in my life as I attempt to meditate on his divinity.


According to some of the ancients, he was a laboring god. Tirelessly working at the forge, he was the creator of such works of wonder as the spider web thin threads that trapped his wife, the throne that trapped his mother, and the magnificent palaces of the Olympian Gods themselves. Shields made by Hephaestus were said to be inlaid by such magnificent scenes that they were almost said to move. He took pride in his work, and that, my friends is a thing I have much trouble with.


I am a menial worker, not something I find shameful or anything, but I do get that "Why is someone as smart as you still a waiter at your age." If I am to be honest, I am not that smart, but beyond that, I am not sure I even enjoy my job, yet it has helped me become more sociable. It has helped me gain a better understanding of people, not exactly a good thing, to be honest, and it allows me a certain flexibility with time that other jobs would not.


But pride? What does it mean to take pride in one's work when that work is not appreciated in the least by those for whom you are doing it?


Hephaestus is placing that challenge in front of me, and I have to try and figure it out.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Heliogenna Day 9 - To Helios

(This was supposed to post on December 25th, but a problem with my software prevented it from doing so.)


Rise, O Helios, into the vault of heaven

Rise and bring us your light

Rise that we may see, and in turn be seen by you

Rise and be made welcome


Fly, O Helios, toward the awaiting West

Fly with the wind in your glorious hair

Fly to the sounds of our praise

Fly, triumphant and proud


Make way darkness of night, the Lord of the golden chariot is here


Rise, O Helios, into the vault of heaven

Rise and clear the way for the coming year

Rise and nourish plant and animal with your warmth

Rise and be loved, by all that lives upon the sacred Earth


Fly, O Helios, and we fly with you

Fly that we may pin our hopes to you

Fly that all may see your countenance

Fly and be adored

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heliogenna Day 8 - To Olympians and Chthonoi

Bright above you dwell in splendor

And in your golden palaces you hear song

And as you move about you smell from below the scent of offering


Dark below you dwell in Hades

And in the blessed Earth you hide

And as you move about the dripping offerings make their way to you


And from man you hear the sweet song of praise

And the desire to know you

That they may be enriched by your presence.


Bright above and dark below

The eternal balance maintained

Life and Death assured for all


Dark below and bright above

The promise of new life is made

And forever kept by your divine grace


And from man you hear the prayers of hope

And the will to make this a time of renewal

That all may be well and love be in their hearts forever more.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Heliogenna day 7, to Hyperion, Eros, and Heated

In times gone by
When man strode uncivilized upon the plains
You watched the world from above
As Titan, strong and proud
Radiant Hyperion

In times long gone
When the world was young
You drew Heaven and Earth together
And even now do you draw me to him, beauteous and arousing
You, Eros, beautiful and primal

In times gone by
Among us today
You walk the paths we fear to tread and lead us
Lady who walks between the worlds
Hekate of the brightly burning torches

And as we walk this path of life
Let us remember the light
Let us remember the passion
And with them light the future with our desire to reach higher
While remaining strong and grounded.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heliogenna Day 6: To Helios, Dionysos, and Persephone

Rise into the bright cold sky.

Lord Helios, who shines so bright.

And leave behind the cold dark lands below.

Come forth and watch over us, and grant us the hope of a warmer day.


And from the ashes of Titans, blessed Dionysos, you were reborn.

The heart once of a babes in your heart was placed.

Your divinity, wild and undeniable, revealed at last.

Welcomed at last into the realms of eternity.


And to you, blessed Queen of Hades, a prayer of thanks.

You who give us hope for a Spring Time to come.

And who rest in the land below.

Grant us your presence today, as a reminder, blessed Persephone of the dark gowns.


I am not afraid.

No longer in mourning.

I celebrate today a new beginning.

A Sunrise soon to come.


Καλά Ηλιούγεννα!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heliogenna, Day 5, the Day of Silence

On the 5th Day of Heliogenna, I write no poems, make no offerings. I usually do not light any candles or any kind of ritual activity, but this morning I did make the mistake of lighting my Virgin Altar, it has become such a part of my daily routine that I just forgot, and out of respect, I did not extinguish it.


This is the Day of the Solstice, the Day the Sun God is is in the underworld the longest, and then he will rise.


See you all tomorrow.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heliogenna, Day 4: To Helios, Dionysos, and Hades

Heliogenna, Day Four, To Helios, Dionysos, and Hades


In the light of day, I walk

In the darkness of night, I dance

The eternal ballet between the light of reason and the turmoil of madness.

To Helios I offer

From Helios I ask

For favors of warmth and light.


In the sunlight, I pray

In the moonlight, I cry

The eternal passions of my fractured soul.


To Dionysos I pray

From Dionysos I ask

For favors of enlightenment and sanity.


In the day time, I wonder

In the nigh time, I fear

The eternal darkness that awaits us all.


To Hades I offer

From Hades I ask

For favors of silver and gold.


In Day’s brightness, I see

In Night’s darkness, I sense

The eternal truths of worldly divinity.


To these Gods, I offer

To these Gods, I pray

For favors not meant for me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Heliogenna, Day 3: To The Protognoi

Heliogenna, Day Three, To the Protogonoi


And in the beginning

On the boundless sea of nothingness

You spread your mighty wings

Dark and mighty Nyx


And into this boundless sea also came Erebus

The impenetrable darkness

Your eternal mate

Father of Death and dreams


And resplendent in beauty came he

Who draws men nearer

And loosens the knees with passion

Most glorious Eros, of the beautiful face


And broad bossomed mother

Who brings forth the mountains and the caves

And serves as the fount of all mortal life

Ever giving Gaea


And to surround them came he

Who was formless yet powerful

The first ocean

Mighty Pontus, of the foaming waves.


And to Ge was born he

Who would betray she who loved him

Self proclaimed King of the Heavens

Father of Titans, Ouranos, the castrated.


And on this, third day of Heliogenna, we call on you who were the first.

On this day we do you honor

Blessed Protogonoi, fathers and mothers of the universe.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Heliogenna, Day 2: The Mighty Twelve

Heliogenna, Day Two, to the Olympians


Shining bright you reign in heaven.

Shining bright you give us hope.

Shining bright you bring us close to nature.


You, O blessed Olympians, eternal and divine.


In darkness you guide us.

In darkness you ground us.

In darkness you light the way.


You, O mighty Olympians, brilliant yet obscure.


In our hearts you make us feel.

In our hearts you inspire us.

In our hearts you reward us.


You, O mighty Olympians, omnipresent and serene.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Heliogenna, Day 1: The Moon Hides

Heliogenna, Day One, to the Hyperionides.


The sky is rosy

The clouds are pink

The Sun awaits his day


The Moon heads for the Western shore


The sky grows lighter

The gates of heaven open

The immortal steeds are eager


The Moon arrives at her gates


The blinding light

The hues of blue

The rays of his crown

The Moon shines bright upon the dead


The all-seeing Lord

The eternal gate keeper

The watcher of the night


The Moon hides her face from man

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Reason for the Season

It's about this time of year that Fox News riles up the Christofascists into a frenzy over the "War on Christmas". Maybe when someone demands that you say Merry Christmas you can hand them a copy of this article over on Patheos. It is quite a nice piece.

Christ Is Not The Reason For The Season.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The lame duck

In myth, Hephaestos is lame. His feet are damaged and he is seen as being ugly or deformed. This would have been, in the mythic cycle, a set of very distinct features because all of the Gods of Olympus, save he, are said to be of the most perfect form of beauty. They are tall, bright, powerful, and their appearance is such that it brings tears to the eye, so beautiful.


That Hephaestos is ugly and lame makes him the only God of so exalted a position, an Olympian God, who is not simply perfect in his beauty. I find this aspect of the God a hard one, not because I find it hard to accept the idea of an ugly God, but because I find a lot in that to relate to, yet, to be honest, I don't want to relate to it. I don't want to see myself that way, yet I do, and it is not simply me being self loathing, though I suppose there is some of that there, but an honest appraisal.


I am an ugly man, and at one time that was an ugliness that went deep. I was nearly insane in my mind, and it was getting away from my family, though I love them dearly, that has allowed me to heal, or be in the process of healing, my inner self. The outer self now requires some assistance, some care, some beautifying.


When I read the stories of Hephaestos and the way his parents threw him from Olympus and the horrible deformity that caused, I am reminded of my own childhood, the abuse, the loneliness, the fear, and it brings back memories that I find difficult to deal with on an emotional level, though on an intellectual level I acknowledge and accept them.


This whole blog is about me trying to discover things about myself while attempting to understand the divine, and in so doing allowing those two things to sink in and help me heal myself.


As the stories go, and in myth there is never just one version of a story, Hera and Zeus were in a most contentious marriage. Zeus was a philanderer and Hera a jealous being. Either Zeus and Hera had the child or Hera, in anger and out of revenge, decided to bear a child without a father as Zeus had borne the goddess Athena. (He did so from his forehead, and one myth tells of Hephaestos already being there and assisting in that birth)


The anger and fights were legendary in this marriage, and either the child was born with some defect which Hera could not bear, or her anger at the child caused her to throw the child from the heavens and his landing on the earth caused his deformities. Whatever the case, the child ended up on earth and was taken care of by Eurynome and Thetis.


I am reminded here of my early childhood, the abuse of my mother by my father, and the way her own anger was often thrown our way. The beatings and the harsh words would break me, of this I am sure, and among all this the burgeoning knowledge in myself that I was different from other people. I was not only very precocious, something neither of my parents were equipped to recognize (I made rather logical assumptions about my parents fairly early on, at ages 7 or 8 I was aware already that they would eventually go their separate ways, and I was happy about it) but I was also already recognizing that I was not like other boys. I did not like girls the same way they do. (I am sorta 85% gay, but identify as gay) And in the mid 70's in Puerto Rico, that was not a good thing, socially.


Zeus and Hera, of course, never divorce. They are an eternal couple, but in my head, they had a marriage based on status and necessity. Not that there is no love, I cannot claim to know what Gods feel, but the mythic characters based on their divine reality seem this way to me. Their interactions with their children are rarely if ever shown to be loving, at least in a way our modern culture attributes as loving, and in many ways, this is exactly how my own childhood was.


Of course, my early childhood and my later childhood were different in many ways, but that period of my life left me with great scars. I feel, in my mind, that I am grateful that in the end my mother did leave my father and that although the abusive behavior from her did not stop with that, it diminished over the years and through her experiences with us, as well as my eventually growing too big for my mother to abuse and confronting her with the fact, she changed. If the abuse I suffered as a child led to her changing as a person, and my two youngest sisters (from her second marriage, another abusive man, though his abuse was only toward her, never the kids) getting to grow up with a much nicer, kinder, gentler person, I have to say it was worth it.


But Hephaestos gets his revenge on his mother, not in a vicious way, though he does bind her, he does so by claiming his place on Olympus, and by becoming the greatest of all craftsmen, the beauty of his work reflecting the beauty of his interior where his exterior did not.


So, I should look at myself and see the outer ugliness, and seek to do something about it, but to also look at how I express the beauty that may lie within me so that people see that beauty and learn to appreciate it, regardless of what I may look like on the outside.


Monday, November 29, 2010

To Hephaestos, Lord of the flames.

The fires are lit.

The boys are set to run.

The light of the torches they bear warm the night.


The sacrifices are waiting.

The wine will be poured.

The songs in your honor will bring joy to our hearts.


The barley will be sprinkled.

The altar will be consecrated.

The power of your spirit will infuse it as we pray.


The boys run.

The torches smoke.

The worshippers anxiously await them.


They arrive, smiling and proud.

The altar fire is set to burning.

The priests sing forth to you in the chill breeze.


The song reaches it zenith.

The sacrifices are made.

The glorious scents of the altar rise to his perception.


The God is called.

The God arrives.

The divine spirit of the forge is brought to the hearts of man.


The pious rejoice.

The people feast.

The night rolls forth into day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

To Hephaestos

It burns, the heat

It gives you pain, the hammer

It folds like a serpent, the metal

And in your hands it is made art


It is a burden, this talent

It is a joy, this gift

It is a curse, this body

And in your chest your heart is heavy


They rejected you, who should have loved you

They belittled you, who should have cared

They threw you down from heaven, who should have protected you

And by the kindness of another you were saved


They did not love you, your parents

They did not appreciate you, your brethren

They did not know they needed you, all who lived

And with your skill you convinced them


It is our pleasure, to receive you

It is our gift, to know you

It is our shame, should we reject you

And by your divine presence are we forever humbled


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The benefits of work...

Hephaestos is the god of work. In his manifestation to the Greeks as a Smith, he places himself in a position to be a God of hard, harsh, and often painful work. He works at a trade that is capable of producing much beauty, utility, and protection. He can make a sword for the heroic soldier, or a shield for the heavenly lady of battles, or inlay into metal the most astonishingly beautiful of designs, but in doing so he may also hurt himself. His pained hands, his burned forearms, his bent back as he works tirelessly to create as if from the very fires of creation, that which he must.


We all experience this kind of thing. We all go to work and bring to our minds and bodies stresses that, unfortunately, can also harm us tremendously even as we seek to create or serve. In Hephaestos we have the spirit that allows us this, to dedicate ourselves to a task and be happy, or do one grudgingly and be miserable. We get to choose.


As I was working yesterday, a job with which I have a love/hate relationship for sure, I noticed something important, and which now prompts me to ponder this further, and that is that the same job, doing the same thing, with the same obnoxious clientele, can be both pleasant or miserable all at the same time, and that it isn't the job that decides that, it's me. By bringing to bear a certain mindset, by running that internal program that slows me down and makes me think most clearly, I make the job enjoyable. I do it.


And so it is that today I am hoping to dedicate myself to training my mind to do that, to bring the spirit of Hephaestos into my heart as I toil away and give myself over not to the misery of it, but to the surprising pleasure that having something to do everyday can bring, and while I would still rather be home writing a blog entry or playing Angry Birds, I can take solace in knowing that what I am doing is allowing me to work my way through life rather than depending on others.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In sickness...

I have been sick this week. Well, actually, I have been sick since I moved to Ohio 12 years ago. Moving here has brought on a plethora of allergies and health issues that I never knew I had. I don't know what it is about this area that causes this, but I am assured by the people here that it is not uncommon for people to move here to suffer from a variety of issues, especially sinus and respiratory ones.


I suppose it would be a bit fallacious of me to pin the cause on the level of pollution here, or the way this area, known as the Miami River Valley, sits at some kind of weird crossroads of weather that brings so much stuff from both the North and the South to bear, but I think maybe the way the people in this area seem to care so little about things like the ecology might have something to do with it.


Sticking with my current mentor on this path along the star, Hephaestus, I remember a story told of our God of Smiths, a story in which the God makes himself part of the land, and by doing so, brings industry to it.


As the story goes, Hephaestus is an ugly God. This is, of course, a rare thing. The Gods of Olympus are of the most utterly beautiful of forms, but the God was hurled to the Earth in anger in a battle between his parents, and his landing upon the Earth rendered him broken and ugly to most eyes.


Thusly, Hephaestus was also a lonely God, and in his desire to love and be loved, he sought to make Athena, the great virgin goddess of Athens, his wife. To you and me this would, perhaps, entail a courtship and a very special question, but in a time long ago, when women were often simply taken, this meant something a kin to rape.


He spied Athena, lovely virgin goddess, and attempted to take her. But this is not just any goddess, this is Athena, goddess of war, favored daughter of Zeus, she who protects and defends with both strategy and action, and so it was she fought him off, and in his attempt, this frottage, Hephaestus spills his seed upon her leg. In disgust, she wipes away the offending seed with a piece of woven wool cloth, perhaps woven by her own hand, and tosses it to the ground.


There the divine seed takes root upon the eternally fertile Earth, and from it is born the snake footed Erichthonios. Athena takes the child as her own, and raises him. It is said she places him in a box, and in the land of Athens he is raised and protected and eventually becomes the first King of Athens.


Now, why this came to my mind this week as I pondered my own illness is, perhaps, a clue to how I think. Hephaestus is a god of Smiths, of industry, and Athena is, in many ways, a personification of the spirit of the people of Attika. She is Athens, he is industry, and through the connection they share to Erichthonios I see Hephaestos, and industry, as coming to Athens.


But along with industry comes the byproduct of industry, pollution, and from pollution comes much illness, and in this area, the not so clean air has lead me to be far sicker than I ever was in my previous home in Connecticut. So the idea of industry came to mind and how, as a nation, we have allowed it to ruin so much of our birthright. The very land that maintains us, nourishes us, keeps us safe and alive.


At which point do we wake up and say enough, and how do we do so while allowing the manifestation of the force that is Hephaestus in our lives, the desire to build, create, and profit from our labor?


I won't claim to have the answers to this, but I do need to take a better look at my own spending habits, and by doing so put my money where my mouth is. Buying things I know are good for me and my environment, not buying those things I know are harmful, and trying my best to avoid buying from businesses that are abusive or destructive.


Now, where do I find that information?



Tuesday, November 2, 2010



I must admit that Hephaestus is going to be a hard one for me. I long ago seem to have left my artistic sensibilities behind, and I do tend to see Hephaestus as an artist. A god who inspires us to achieve great beauty with even the most seemingly ugly of materials.


I was once an artistic type. I even did a stint in art school, but that was before the darkness took me and I struggled for years with almost debilitating depression and even suicidal tendencies. I still struggle, you see, with the pains in my head. Most are real, and some are imagined or postulated by my mind and held onto so that today I find myself wondering which were real and which were figments.


That my mind was thus tortured is not something I am proud of. I feel very often that if I had just been stronger I could have become something great, but that too is speculative imagination. There is no way to know such a thing, and besides, I wouldn't be me had my life gone different, and I have grown to rather like me, even if I still have tremendous issues with my ugly exterior.


But those artistic sensibilities make their way to the surface from time to time, thanks to Apollo, and in so much as I often make my living space a thing of beauty even with thrift store materials, I feel that Hephaestus is active in my life. Seeing what might come of a thing lacking in value or intrinsic beauty. Working beyond my own handicaps even as the god himself is said to do to bring something of beauty into being, even if it is only beautiful to me.


So there it is, the first lesson Hephaestos has taught me.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Prayer

Standing at the precipice

where light meets darkness

and the moon weaves her spell over the night.


They stand, torches in hand

waiting to guide you across

To the land where shadows dwell.


You who this year made your way there

You who will be always remembered

You who will pass from the world.


Down into the depths of our Mother

where the waters of forgetfulness await you

and the Ferryman lights your lonely voyage.


Across the mighty Styx

and into the darkness of dissolution

into Oblivion's welcoming hands.


You who will hold a place in our hearts

You who inspired us

You who brought joy to us.


To this place you will be guided

by lovely Hekate who protects

and heavenly Hermes who guards the boundaries.


You of the pleasing smile

You of the comforting tears

You who have passed this year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saying good bye to Hermes.

I am lost. I will be honest. Hermes has been difficult for me. I have been lost since I started focussing on him in my life, partly because unlike my other focusses to date, I have had trouble pinning him down.


The Historical aspects of Hermes are easy enough to figure out, information is available all over the internet, but they seem to me to be very different from what the God brings to bear in my life as I try to contemplate him. Even just checking, you come up with many important aspects of the God.


Hermes is God of

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Heralds
  • Birds of Omen
  • Trickery
  • Trade
  • Merchants
  • Thieves (not theft)
  • Language
  • Craftiness
  • Roads
  • Travel
  • Hospitality
  • Feasts and Banquets
  • Protector of the Home
  • Guide of the Dead
  • Dreams of Omen
  • Rustic Divination
  • Contests
  • Gymnasiums
  • "The Games"
  • Astronomy
  • Calendars
  • Rustic Music, Poetry, and Animal Fables

By just looking at that list, I can see the problem. There is so much Hermes represents, historically, that seems so far from my daily experience of life tat I have a hard time exploring him in a way that would give me the kind of meditative benefits I need.


But, it seems, Hermes is also a God who is part of your life on a daily basis. You travel every day, you look up at the stars all the time, you feast to celebrate your family and friends, no? So maybe I need to look back and seek to understand how Hermes affects the way I look at my entire relationship with the Gods. After all, as a God of communication, does he not also serve as the God who facilitates prayer?


So rather than trying to see him by himself, perhaps I need to move on and acknowledge him in my daily interactions with the world,  with my loved ones, with the Gods themselves. And so I must bid my time with Hermes adieu and move to the next point in the star to another God I will no doubt have great problems with, Hephaestos. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


In celebration of the Eleusinia this year, I made it my project to post daily, almost, tweets at my HellenicPrayer twitter feed . Ten tweets in total, and here they are collected.

For Eleusinia ta Megala 2010

Gone! Gone, she is! The bright light of Springtime. The joy of her mother's heart. Deep in which the horror builds, and Winter now stirs.

Bereft of light. Bereft of love. Bereft, her heart, of the laughter of youth that once made her smile. Blessed Demeter, we share your pain.

She will travel the land, she will search on the beaches, she will long for her darling daughter, and be made sad. The world will suffer.

Above, the mother searches. Below, the daughter weeps in darkness. She who will be called destroyer of light yet hungers for its presence.

The world will wither and die, and men will pray for aid, and deep beneath the child turned bride will hunger and not take nourishment.

And when the world was dying, the Great Father called her to his court, and before her rage did tremble. Her child she would have returned.

With man's woeful prayers, and the Mother's anger before him, dispatch the holy messenger did he, Father of Gods and Men, to Hades below.

But the young daughter was even then hungering, and the Lord of the Manor did offer her the seeds of a pomegranate to eat, sealing her fate.

With him, dread Hades, would she spend her Winter, and with her mother, great Demeter, the Summer heat, and the beauty of Spring all hers.

And so when the Autumn chill does your heart make to shiver, remember the daughter of the Tempest and the fertile Earth, Persephone below.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Gone, she is.

The sweet light of Springtime.

The bright joy of Demeter's divine heart.


Gone she is.

Who men fear to name.

And the shades of death serve down below.


Gone, is she.

To the world of her husband, who rules over death.

And brandished the wealth of the Earth.


Gone, is she.

And soon we will all know it.

As a mother's lonely heart turns cold, and with it the world itself.

Monday, September 13, 2010

To reiterate

It occurs to me that I have not explained the point of this particular blog in a while, so...


Several years ago, I was attempting to meditate. I made the mistake many Westerners probably make, thinking there is some kind of magical mind emptying required to achieve meditation, and as I came to realize that that is not the case, I saw something in the chaos of my mind and allowed it to simply develop and show itself to me.


What I mean by this is that by not trying to force my mind to go blank, which is not the point of meditation, I allowed whatever was percolating in my brain to show itself along with the all the other chaos that would normally, maybe, only show itself in dreams. What I saw was a star.


Not an astronomical star, but a twelve pointed contiguous star and at each point a deity. It was three fold, one above, one below, and one at the plane as I looked at it, at the center was a flame, and the flame connected all the stars.


What I realized as I looked at it was that the star was made of one contiguous line, or twelve lines connected at the points, but in the end, the same thing, because if it was large enough to walk along I could start at 12 o'clock and walk to all of the other points before ending up back at 12.


So, I assigned a deity to each point based on what I could remember of the star and it looks like this.


meditation star.jpg



I now use this in a program that forces me to focus my attentions, in meditation, in thought, on a particular deity at a time in my life. It doesn't mean I ignore the others, or only pray to that deity, but rather that as I go, I try to focus my thoughts and reactions in life on what it means in relation to that deity, so I started with Hestia, which then took me to Apollo then Hera then Poseidon then Aphrodite, and now, currently, Hermes.


It has been a couple of years now since I started on this path, and must say that it has made of me a new person. Not completely, and I am barely half through, and who knows how long till I finish, if I ever actually do, but it has definitely changed the way I look at the world.


In this blog I try to express some of the things I may be learning, or at least which come to mind as I meditate and focus on the Gods, so that you might, perhaps, get an idea how you may also benefit from this system.


You will learn your own lessons, not mine, and I hope you will give it a shot.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Smith Island, Maryland

Like I said in my last post, and I'm sorry I am not doing more of these these days, I went on a short vacation to Maryland. I'd been through Maryland before, but never to Maryland, and I found myself rather a bit enchanted by the place.


I admit, I half expected Baltimore to look like a bomb hit it, and I am sure there are parts that do, just as there are right here in Dayton, in NY, in LA. But what I did see of Baltimore, I was more than a little pleased with. Sitting, almost majestically, on the water, it was wonderful, made more so by the lively people who were making very very good use of the waterfront.


The next day, we went to Annapolis in the morning, a town that reminded me of some of the older places in New England. Those of you who, like me, came of age in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts know the look and feel I mean. It's that combination of new and old mixed with the sights and sounds of the sea being almost everywhere. It is a feeling that immediately embraces you, as the immensity of the power of the sea also sits there, quietly reminding you that one of the great forces of divinity lies right there at your feet, nurturing life yet dangerous to it.


We eventually head out toward the Eastern Shore, and South toward my friend's home on Smith Island. Understand something, the difference between Smith Island and Baltimore is like the difference between an anti hill and Dubai. The shift is almost immediate. Once you cross over to the Eastern Shore you are in a different world. A world that seem familiar to me, having lived in Ohio now for over a decade. It is a quieter place separated from the bustle of the Western Shore by the Bay's waters. The Scenery is almost breathtaking in parts, and then it becomes less like the sea side and more like the farmlands of Ohio that i have become accustomed to, that is, until you get to Salisbury, and are therefore near the point at which you will eventually head over to the Island from Crisfield.


Obviously, the waters here are calmer than they are on the actual Ocean shore. They are almost tempting, but I am assured that this time of year, the Jellyfish would make that an uncomfortable situation. Of course, I am not a swimmer, but the waters were inviting, almost as if Poseidon himself were calling to me.


And then, after a forty minute ride on a clunky, yet utterly charming boat captained by a man who, well, looked like he should be captaining that boat, we arrived at a world I had hoped I would see when I got there.


You see, there is NOTHING to do on Smith Island except breath and run from the mosquitos. Sure, if you live there there are the necessities of life to take care of, but if you're visiting, there really is nothing to do, nothing to see that can't be seen in 20 minutes, and then you just do nothing.




And you know what? That is exactly why you go there. That is exactly why you make your way there and leave the world behind you, and the great god Hermes lead me there for a reason, to remind me of a simpler life, and the magnificence of silence. But, I was with my friend, Steve, who for several years now has lived there, sometimes part time, but for a few years now, has made it his home. I was inspired to see him go about life. He does,  he creates, he fixes, and he makes himself useful to the people of the island, and in so doing he is able to  pay for those things he must, and by recycling the things others no longer want, or which are no longer needed, he lives and is made happy.


This was the lesson Hermes meant for me, I know it is, that I have been looking for a nebulous happiness that means nothing in the end, that it is possible to find happiness in simple things, in the beauty of a small boat plying the water, in the smile of a lonely woman seeking friendship, or in the strangely musical accent of a local woman as she speaks, happily, quickly, and with passion about her air conditioning unit.


That I, like so many of us, have been seeking happiness in things, and have forgotten that there are smaller things, simpler things, and things that we take for granted on a daily basis that can bring me that happiness I have been longing for, and all I have to do is figure out how to reach for it without fear and leave the complexity of this life behind me once and for all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On my merry way

Tomorrow morning I am taking off to visit my friend Steve in Maryland. I have never actually been to Maryland, that I am aware of, except maybe through it on an AmTrak train. And I am very much looking forward to it. Baltimore, Annapolis, and then a trip south to Isle de Smith in the Chesapeake Bay where he lives.


This, of course, brings my mind back to Hermes, who I am currently trying my best to meditate on, but, as one might expect, he is a slippery one. Always in motion, kinda like Athena, but unlike her always in a kind of motion that doesn't always make sense.


As someone who did a fair amount of traveling for pleasure when I was younger, and crazier, I have to wonder if maybe I might be coming back around to that part of me that was much more adventurous, much more willing to explore. Is this what Hermes has been trying to teach me all along? Is he trying to push me to step out of myself now and into myself then in more than just a thoughtful or philosophical way?


Of course, the real question is, is this something I really need to do right now because I have become far too ensconced in my ways? I think the answer to that is yes. I am at a point in my life now where I am starting to notice myself  act old, and I don't like it. So, maybe what I do indeed need is to reconnect with the me that took off to Europe all alone. Of course, I had more money then, and less of a burden, but if I can't do something as grand as walking the Ramblas to clear my head, maybe I just need to look a little closer to home.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rage and Injustice?


In my attempts to understand the influences of Hermes in my life as I make my way through his time in my life, I am having a tough time. Hermes is hard to pin down, always in motion, always changing, and, it seems, always pushing me in ways that I don't like. Ways that make me crazy and force me to recall the times in my own life when I was rather unstable, crazy, and unable to really handle even the smallest amounts of stress.


See, I am not usually superstitious. I don't really believe the Gods throw things at me, over cook my pot roast, make my bicycle tires flat, or anything like that. I just don't believe myself so important that the Gods are busy playing tricks on me. I do, however, have to admit that when it comes to Hermes, I do wonder if it isn't him behind some of it.


Last weekend, last Sunday, to be exact, I had a day that will seem rather a bit unbelievable to you. I woke to no internet and a leaking coffee maker. As I write this, my internet is down again, but the coffee maker seems to have healed itself. My iPod had somehow managed to corrupt its database, something easy enough to fix, but time consuming. And when I decided to take a bike ride to ease my building tensions, I discovered the front tire was flat.


Well, OK, I decided to play a game, I am not much of a gamer, but I do like Sim City, a game I have played on and off for years, and so I put the CD in the DVD on my Windows machine. Well, it spins up and then I hear a very loud bang and the DVD drive stops. I try to open it, fail. I then open the computer up and remove the DVD drive. The CD had disintegrated in the drive, and spinning at such speeds, it had literally destroyed a great many parts of the drive. The drive was dead, and I had replaced that drive only about three weeks before.


All this, and it was yet morning. I am speaking of these things rather calmly here, but I assure you, my inner self was in a rage. I was torn to pieces wondering just WTF was going on. And, to be honest, it occurs to me that this is exactly what Hermes wanted. He wanted me to fall to pieces. He wanted me enraged. He wants me to learn something from this, and perhaps it is to help me learn to better deal with these things, to avoid the whole tantrum experience that comes with rage, but I can't be sure of that.


Why? Because it occurs to me that I am also a bit stuck in my ways. A bit complacent to the world around me. Maybe Hermes is trying to enrage me to remind me of the way I used to be so that I can learn to use these chaotic emotions to make a difference in the world. Maybe I need to take a more active role in the pushing of the charities I support and the things I find important. Maybe Hermes is pushing me to be more angry toward injustice.


Of course, trying to divine the will of a god is not exactly a science, and I do not buy into the divinatory arts (is divinatory even a word?) and I have spoken at length in previous postings about my reactions to things like tarot, auguries, psychics, etc. I simply do not believe in them because, quite honestly, they seem like hokum.


But one does have to sometimes wonder, even when one is so incredulous, if perhaps those things do not simply give one a focus so as to be able to search one's own soul in search for the meanings of things. If so, I can certainly see nothing wrong with that. So do I flip a coin and abide by the answer? The god is simply reminding me of what I was so I can be aware that it still lies inside me, or the god is forcing me to experience all this in order to push me to be more aggressive and proactive with the full backing of my emotional states behind me?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So Far...

Blah blah blah. I turn the TV on on a Sunday morning and I am greeted, as always, by advertisements for great new films on the On Demand service of my cable system. Truth? I barely even notice what the movies are, but I can almost guarantee that very few of them are any good. By now I can already smell the incense burning in the iron urn that holds dirt. It’s a sweet scent. Sometimes Nag Champa, sometime Ganesha Incense, sometimes other stuff not so readily recognizable as a brand name. But it always smells sweet.


It burns, as always, as an offering to the Virgins, and on an altar that is a non-functional fireplace. The decorations are simple, I am not a wealthy man, but they are reminders of the powers I am hoping to evoke in my life. Powers of wisdom, strength, security, and that essence of wildness that we often call our animal nature. Above all, however, I want to evoke in myself a sense of purity. Purity of intent and purity of action.


This is not a purity based in the puritanical ideals of Christianity or Islam, but one based in the idea that any action that does not harm another, and which is taken with a pure heart and desire in mind, is pure. That a man can engage in a vast sexual orgy, hunt, drink, or even commit an act of violence in defense of another, and if his motivations are pure, his intent to be of service as much as serving his own needs, he is acting with a pure heart. It is this purity, it is this sense of “virginity” that I seek out when I call these powers into my life.


When we think of such powers, of course, we think of Virgin Goddesses, and in Hellenismos this means Hestia, Athena, and Artemis, the Olympian Virgins. And it is these three goddesses that I invoke as I say my morning prayer each day, and particularly today, when I sat in front of that altar, it’s statues, flowers, small gong, and candles all reminding me of what it is I seek, that I was also reminded that I was ignoring a very important part of who I am in these moments.


What am I? I am a man, and in manhood I have to also find what it means to be a pure man. If I were a Christian or a Moslem, these things would be proscribed for me. I would have things like chastity and honesty and sexual abstinence rammed down my throat by preachers of all types, but I am not a Christian. I am a Hellenistos, and in so being I have to explore what it means to be a vital, sexually active, single gay man in the context of this religion, but more importantly how I should live my life with purity of purpose, intent, and action as my guides.


I am currently in my Hermes phase in my meditations, and as I work my way through what Hermes means to me, I am reminded of an aspect of Hermes that is very prevalent in art, but not often discussed among us Hellenistoi, that of a youth. Youths are young men full of energy, vital spirit, and let’s face it, lots of cum. Young men tend to make big mistakes, and hopefully learn from them, and so this Hermes, who is making himself felt in my life is one that I now have to get in touch with, but also has made me aware of something. I am still very much a child inside, a youth.


This may well mean that I never grew up. That the traumas and viciousness of my youth caused me to delay this “growing up” until I could better deal with it, but at 43, I feel like I am way too old for this to be the case now. Why am I to be forced to face this sense of youthful ferocity now, when I should be enjoying my experience in life.


I can actually answer that, strangely, yet the fact that I can answer it does not seem to matter. Common thought about what psychology is would lead us to think that realizing the problem is the way to cure it, but if we really look at it, realizing it can also be a problem in and of itself, because the problems, once articulated, can become self fulfilling prophecies.


And so it is that I find myself seeking out purity in the Olympian Virgins, yet finding that I may be looking at it the wrong way, because the virginity of the Olympian Virgins is very much tied to their power as feminine divinities, while the purity I seek is one based in masculine divinity. Hermes, to me, speaks most loudly to this, and he does so most loudly in this youthful aspect. (Apollo does too, but I can try and get back to that later)


Men, in general, do not value “virginity” in themselves in the sexual sense. Men want to fuck, it is in our natures, and we want to fuck a lot, but as I already said, the “virginity” I am seeking is not that kind. It is way too late, and I enjoy sex too much, and am much too good at it to give it up now. Aphrodite and Eros have been good friends to me, and I am not about to turn my back on them. But the idea of this “virginity” being more linked to a purity of heart than sexual virginity is an important one, because men do value this very much. Living an honest life. Living with some measure of honor. Living with the idea that dealing with others with pure intent, honesty, and a knowledge that they are worthy of your respect is part and parcel of being a true man, and something most men want to be thought of as, but many fail to live up to.


Do I fail?


Mostly, I like to think that I am an honorable man. I keep my promises, and thinking I might not, I do not make them. I try to always be honest, though I know honesty sometimes hurts, and I am sure that there are times when I lie or keep the truth to myself because of circumstances I feel require it, but I do try to be honest in my life. So much so that in my circles, in chat rooms, even on this site, I often share too much. TMI is not my friend.


So, getting back to the whole purity thing, I need to find a way to define this purity for myself in ways that are not vague. It’s one thing to say I want to be pure of heart, but another to really grasp it as a concept and define what it is it means to be pure of heart.


My definition will always come down to honesty, but not just being honest, but being honest with yourself, with your feelings, and being able to accept what it is you feel and incorporate it into your life, and here is where I am running into trouble. While I am an honest person, I am sometimes unwilling to speak up for myself. Sure, it is easier here, online, in a blog or on an email list, but in person I often simply let things happen and pass me by whereas I should be more willing to express my feelings on things so as to assure I am not caught up in things I am not sure I want to be involved in.


Thus I ask Hermes to guide me, and he does so in the strangest ways, by giving me weird days where absolutely everything stops working, or breaks, or explodes (not kidding) and by doing so I am forced to deal with my own anger, rage, and the impurity of my own thought processes as I turn inward, hurting myself from the inside out and then being forced to calm myself down and ask myself some very important questions. So I have to meditate further on this and hope that as I explore my inner child I also learn from him enough to give myself a break and stop taking so much of what happens to me at random in this universe as a direct attack, or a curse.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


When your heart has been broken
And the hurt is too deep

You call

We are this spirit of vengeance

When you are dearly betrayed
And the words are hard to muster

You call

We are the spirit of justice

When you feel heartily defenseless
And fear to reach out

You call

We are the daughters of the Earth

When vengeance is what you need
And peace of mind is what you want

You call

We are the vicious avengers of woman's pain

When at last you are willing
And your time has come

You call

We are the kindly bringers of wisdom

Monday, July 19, 2010

the daemonic

Something recently came up in one of the Hellenic lists that made me aware of something these little meditations of mine were meant to point out all along. That we each have to seek to “channel” the Gods into our lives in various ways.

In the myths, the Gods are said to act as “daemons.” That is to say that they whisper in our ears, they can become almost a part of us if we allow them to. To the early Christian Church, and to many modern evangelicals, the word daemon becomes demon, the malevolent spirits that cause so much mischief in the world according to their own religious philosophy, but it also means something else, the demonizing of any religious ideas and philosophies that do not agree with their own.

The word daemon is one we pagans of all stripes need to reclaim from the warping philosophy that seeks to make itself the only true faith. And it is one we Hellenistoi need to claim for our own and make clear. The daemones are the gods, they are that aspect of a god or goddess that you can bring into your heart to give you strength, courage, and desire for justice. In psychiatric terms, these aspects of the Gods are called archetypes, and often people are said to hold within them all of these archetypes, and that we can make use of them by training our minds to behave in accordance with these archetypical characteristics when necessary.

It is, I think, important especially in light of where I am right now along my star path to recognize the daemonic, because Hermes, especially, has very real and long remembered angelic/daemonic aspects, and he seems to currently be tugging at my heart so as to push me to further accept the daemonic aspects of the Gods into my life.

This past week was one that almost drove me over the edge, and it occurs to me that if I could better channel the daemonic, those voices in my head that are from them, that I could have better dealt with my world. That instead of a nervous breakdown, I could have gotten into a place of peace and steely reserve to deal with all the stress and incompetence that dealt me such a harsh blow.

Hermes is asking that I open myself up more to these things, and now I am asking myself if I will listen...

Lady Athena


Lady Athena!
Lady of Wisdom.
Lady of Battle.
Always in motion.
Come into this home, you are always welcome here!


Κυρία Αθηνά!
Παναγία της Σοφίας.
Κυρίας της μάχης.
Πάντα εν κινήσει.
Ελάτε σε αυτό το σπίτι, είστε πάντα ευπρόσδεκτοι εδώ!


¡Señora Atenea!
Señora de la Sabiduría.
Señora de la Batalla.
Siempre en movimiento.
Entre en esta casa, que siempre es bienvenida aquí!


Senhora Athena!
Senhora da Sabedoria.
Senhora da Batalha.
Sempre em movimento.
Venha para esta casa, você é sempre bem-vinda aqui!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Daughters of the Evening

Daughters of evening.
Watchers of the tree.
Of the golden apples that Mother Ge gave to the Queen.
Maidens of the West.
Where the gates of the Sun’s Western palace lay.
And the dances of golden skinned maidens make his last sight a pleasure.
Guard them well, those golden treasures.
And make your father proud who holds the sky on his back.
Daughters of Atlas.
Named like an eagle, the evening, or the blinding light of sunset.
Sing songs to the Goddess, your matron.
Virgin Guardians of the Evening.
Defenders of the fruits of emotion.
Witnesses to the Hero’s Labor.
Dance and be merry, sing and be honored.
Greet and welcome great Nyx, and father Erebus.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The dark aspects

So, Hermes, as a guide, has proven both elusive and instructive. It is part of his charm. But he is also now pointing me into a new direction, one which most are fearful to think too hard on, after all, who likes to ponder their own deaths too much, except maybe some goof ball emo with too much time on their hands and a mommy who pampered him too much.

But this isn’t about wallowing in self pity or indulging in thoughts of death to be cool, this is about coming to a true realization of one’s own mortality and then facing the possibility that it may be coming rather a bit sooner than one might hope. It is about finding yourself feeling sick, or feeling your body do things that you can’t explain and which remind you that there comes an age when things just start to go downhill.

I am taking this part of it as a warning rather than a simple reminder, but I am also taking it as a chance to ponder the concept of non-existence.

That is not as easy a thing to ponder as you might think. We exist, so we have no clue what it means not to. Truly conceptualizing such a thing is really rather impossible unless you can catch small little glimpses of it as you try, but then, as you grasp it, it disappears because once you do you are no longer pondering actual a lack of existence, but a a non-existence based on the thought of non-existence, which in itself is not non-existence.

I say this because I do not actually believe in an afterlife. My meditations on the nature of the universe and the Gods have convinced me of this, and so, once I sit and ponder my ultimate death, I must try to conceptualize, to truly bring to mind, an idea that dying means a total and ultimate lack of awareness. That once you die all things you were simply cease and are gone. That I will have no sense of being, no sense of perception, nothing.

It is difficult.

Yet to ponder Hermes is also to ponder all the potential that is in us as living creatures.

Hermes seems to be saying that we can transcend, not to become Gods, but that as we live, we can transcend and in this life leave behind a legacy that makes others feel and understand things that they might not otherwise have understood. That while we, the people who live, may die our impact on the universe remains and reverberates through it in small and large ways that only the Gods can predict into the future, and even then, that future is unwritten and therefore unpredictable.

Every choice I make affects the future, even if it only alters the flow a little, it does so, and me today affects tomorrow, and even after I am gone, my presence will have affected the flow of time and, along with all of us, will have set up the tapestry of the past on which the future always depends, and the present, well, the present is that beautiful place where all the potential and probability collide and the hands of the Fates set the threads into place.

Hermes, and his darker aspect as Psychopompos, is one that may seem to lead some to believe in an afterlife, but to me, it is a reminder that our time is limited, and maybe sitting on my ass and watching life go by is not a good idea. So, I should go, make love, dance, sing, explore new music, new people, new places and by doing so make my little section of the great tapestry more beautiful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Soldier

You fight in lands that are not your own.
You sweat and bleed for your brothers in arms.
You miss your family.
You miss your son.
The one you've yet to meet.

You fight for reasons not your own.
You fight for honor.
You fight to save your fellow man.
You fight for freedom's hopeful return.
The freedom so many seek to deny you, even at home.

You are the warrior who defends his state.
You are the soldier who cries in silence.
You are the one who sees them fall.
You mourn them all and continue to fight.
As politicians dine like kings.

You are remembered upon your death.
You are made hero to your own.
Your son will visit you and flowers leave.
You are celebrated by Gods and Men.
As Ares weeps for your loss to the world.

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Helios

Rising in glory you bring light to the land
And the warmth of your countenance brings joy
As the breezes of morning make way for the hot day to come
Fighting hard to cool to air in the Summer

Racing toward midday your chariot gleams
And your immortal steeds strain to pull you
As the minds of man are turned to the fruits of the Earth
Feeding the soul and body

Heading toward the horizon you see the gates
And you smile and look down upon us all
As the toils of man approach their end, and the evening's revelry awaits
Searching for meaning in the dance

Setting in hues of red and orange and violet you rest
And your day's work is ending
As your bright white fire is hidden from the view of man
Sleeping and traveling in the eternal land of dreams

Lampontas and Adonaia

Every Year, at the turn of the season from Spring to Summer, I celebrate Lampontas, a holiday of my making celebrating the Sun God Helios at the height of his arc on his annual journey across our skies. His mighty travel across the day time skies will be shorter from now on, and his visit in the land below longer.

This celebration has, of late, taken on an additional component to me that is of special relevance to me, because in Ohio, the Columbus Gay Pride March and Festival is held every year on the same weekend as the Solstice (Generally, that is, as the Solstice moves along the week as all other dates do) and as a result, it is a time of celebration and festivity that, for me, is very appropriate to a celebration of the warmth of Summer and the joy of life, and, you know, if there is one thing we gays know how to do, it’s throw a party.

But this Summer I was also met with a special reminder, a blessing from the Gods, and that is a reminder of the power of friendship and the love people so willingly share with one another in the name of that friendship.

The Gay Pride Festival, and my personal reminders to myself with regard to Helios, brought me into a focus about certain things which I too often ignore in my life, friendship and family, and how friendship is often the family we want, while the family we were given is distant. That the love we feel for our parents and siblings, a love so deep it knows no measuring, can be opened up to include people who share no blood, except that which we all share, the blood of humanity.


I have been doing some reading on Adonis lately, and today I received a Facebook invitation to join a group dedicated to the celebration of a Festival in his honor. I found myself longing to know more, and I am going to look for more info, not on the myth, which I have read many many times, but on his cult and the deep felt sorrow and the expression of that sorrow that made his cult so popular.

An antecedent to the cult of Jesus, another dying Hero/God figure probably manifesting the same core deity, Adonis’ death was mourned by women, big pots with small gardens in them were grown on roof tops and at the time of his mourning were thrown from the rooftop, a symbol of his dying and the dying of nature (we would likely celebrate such an event in Winter, but in the Middle East and in many parts of Greece, this would likely have been in the horrid heat of Summer, when the growing of things was made so difficult by the lack of rain and the oppressive heat. The women wore clothing that were either dirty or reminiscent of the dead, they shore or yanked out their hair, and beat their breasts in mourning, and the wailing of their mourning could be heard throughout.

I am certain that the cathartic nature of this ritual of mourning could do many of us good, releasing all that inner anger, hurt, pain, and sadness to the dying god, and in so doing becoming better able to deal with the world around us.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Culture of Shame

As I was pondering Hermes a bit today, and thinking about our religion in general, is struck me, and not for the first time, that one thing our religion has that the monotheistic religions do not, is a lack of enforced shame.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that while our religion does give us some strictures, so moral and ethical guidelines by which to live through myth, philosophy, and the often fragmentary maxims and fables that enforce an idea of place and propriety to mankind, these do not seek to ever make us feel shame for being ourselves. Your race, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, even your personal religious beliefs are almost irrelevant to the religion/philosophy as a whole, and I say religion/philosophy, because I am beginning to think of Hellenismos as more of a philosophy than a religion, and Hermes, in many ways, is central to this subtle but monumental shift in how I see both this path and myself.

I suppose one has to think of Hellenismos as a religion because the term has come to mean a system of beliefs that orbiting a central set of theological ideals or centered on the writings or philosophy of a particular “holy man”. Because Hellenismos is focussed on the Gods, it must be a religion, yet the Greeks themselves never had a word, until Christianity forced it on them, for what we call religion. To the Greeks, life, religion, philosophy, and ritual, which is part of both religion and culture, were all just part of being Greek. They didn’t distinguish between religion and daily life, because the two were inseparable.

The cultural rituals of life, the rites of passage, the rituals for birth and death, they were all mixed together both with the Gods and how they were seen by the people, and with the culture in general. And Hermes, that God that links all things together, that travels the paths between all things, is there at the heart of this, something which our current culture struggles with as it attempts to separate religion and state craft.

I am not suggesting that state and religion should, in our times, be once again united, I think we are all seeing how disastrous that can be as the religious right tries to merge their fundamentalist, often times radical and even tyrannical, ideals into politics and government, but certainly we need to acknowledge as a people that religion was never meant to be separated from our daily lives, only from how government behaves, what laws are passed, and whether or not our government should have a right to enforce a particular set of religious beliefs on the population.

To this end, I think acknowledging too that religion and philosophy are not really separate things is very important.

A philosophy is a set of beliefs, but one that is not really dictated to the adherent that he may never question, but taught that he may explore and conclude from as he is capable and willing to do. All religions, from the most polytheistic and free form to the most dogmatic and monotheistically stringent, are also philosophies, but the difference, I think, lies in whether a man can come to his own conclusions about it without fear of reprisal from other adherents, and in this respect, “Pagan” religious philosophies, including Hindu and Buddhist systems of philosophical exploration, have the Judaeo-Islamist-Christian world beat, because none of these try to dictate a single path that can only be followed one way. Some of these, like Buddhism and Daoism, have even become almost exclusively philosophical, allowing their adherents to apply what they learn from their explorations to whatever theological system they may have been acculturated into.

Hermes can cross those paths. Hermes can teach us that it is OK to learn from other people, other philosophies, other systems without losing ourselves in the process, and he can teach us that it is OK to explore, to be a man, a woman, a fag, a dyke, a queen, a lumberjack, a liberal commie, or a conservative capitalist pig, and still explore beyond that into the world around you so that you might be at ease with yourself and therefore at peace with the world around you. You don’t have to become a zealot to be loved by the Gods, and perhaps, in zealotry you may lose yourself so much that the Gods no longer find you interesting.

The culture of shame that is so promulgated by the strict religious systems, like Christianity and Islam, is a detriment. It is not ok to be so ashamed of something as natural as sex, sexual attraction, etc. Nor is it ok to shame your children into living lies their whole lives in order to fit into the slave mentality of a people bowing down before their god like dogs before a master.

Hermes, as a force of nature, is free, constantly in motion, and does not allow boundaries to stand in his way while at the same time setting those boundaries so that we may challenge ourselves and learn what we are and are not capable of. How much happier might we be if we allowed ourselves to love anyone, without fear that loving the wrong person would shame us in front of others. How much happier might we be if we set aside all the detritus of the culture of shame brought to us by the God of the desert, and instead embraced the freedom to be fully alive and mortal.

Let Hermes guide you in this, and you may be surprised.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the mystery that is Hermes.

I am not a scholar, that should be obvious from my writings, but I like to think that I am sharing an experience of something here that helps others, not be like me, but maybe establish their own connection to a greater reality, a greater experience of life and the divine, which I do not insist must be one way or the other, except I am fully convinced it is not monotheistic in nature, but essentially polytheistic.

When I speak of the mystery of Hermes, I am taking about the mystery of his being in relation to his mythos.

Why would a god, a being of such utter pervasiveness and sublime beauty, be a messenger? Why would a God, Zeus, need a messenger? Why do the Gods of Myth always seem to fall into a very familiar pattern derived from human social norms?

The answer to that last question is easy enough, we human beings interpret the world around us by relating it to our own nature, so we envision the Gods as human-like, and we imagine their behavior to be like our own. We also envision the Gods to fit into a hierarchy that fits into our conception of a hierarchy, in the case of Hellenismos, a patriarchal monarchy. A kingdom ruled by Zeus, who is father or sibling to most of his court.

Hermes, often represented as youthful, young even, is then at the bottom of that hierarchy, still a prince of the realm, but a bit far in line for the throne of heaven. Surely this is human interpretation, at least in its details, but what about in its more subtle implications? What mystery lies beneath the truth of this hierarchy, and should it really matter?

In these many years I have come to my own conclusions, they are likely worthless to most of you, as they are simply my own personal gnosis, my own personal interpretation of what I perceive around me, but they are as follows.

The Gods are eternal, I have said this before, and the Gods exist as both part of and transcendent to the universe as we know it. But each god is, essentially, sovereign. The God we call Zeus does not really rule the other Gods, not in reality, but in relation to interaction with mortal life, and in our current age, he does rule in a sense, because his power, his influence on the cosmos, gives him the responsibility to mediate what the other Gods are doing in order to maintain a balance that keeps the universe going.

In this we then see something of a need, a need for a figure to take on a responsibility of fully transcending all that is and, at the same time, immersing himself, consciously, into an full on interaction with all the various realms of reality and with mortal life as well. This being, who we call Hermes, is not so much a messenger as he is a conduit. A conduit between mortal life, physical reality, and the eternal realm that is the ultimate dimension, that which encompasses everything.

The mystery to me is why? Why must such a being provide such a conduit if Gods can accomplish anything?

The answer becomes this. The Gods are not capable of doing everything at all times. Within the reality of their eternal existence, within that eternal realm of infinite possibilities, they can do anything, but our universe is limited, and like a painter with a very limited pallet of colors to paint with, they have to make due with what they have available to them in our realm of existence and work on this canvas with only the colors available to them here.

I imagine that some Gods have such an intense effect on our plane of existence that something, or someone, has to mediate it in order to prevent damaging it, and as such, Zeus and Hermes form that mediating force in the cosmos, Zeus by being the “Lord” that allows such interaction, and is thus the “King” and Hermes, who establishes the routes to be taken, the means by which they can interact with the cosmos, is the messenger that allows that which the King allows to be disseminated into this limited dimension of space and time.

But, in the end, does this really matter to us as people?

In some ways, it does not, but in others it does, because that which happens above, in the eternal realms, is always somehow reflected in our world as well. As above so below, as I have heard said somewhere, and just as the mighty cosmic forces of nature, like gravity, chaos, and repulsion, find manifestation in the behaviors of life forms, so too the divine forces of the universe find manifestation in us as well, and as such, we can learn from what myth and the exploration of it through philosophical exploration of its themes has to teach us so that we can better understand each other and the ways we behave in the world. Just as an exploration of the cosmos and its forces helps us to advance as technological beings, so too does an exploration of the divine cosmos, the divine reality, whatever way we may be capable of understanding it, provide us with a way to improve as spiritual beings.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From my perspective

From my perspective, Hermes is a tremendous God, one who is too often taken for granted or seen as small because of the way myth describes him. This can, of course, be said of all the Gods, because myth, as beautiful as it can be, is also but a tiny fraction of what the ancient religion was. In many ways, Myth even helped destroy the religion of the ancients, as it allowed the Christian oppressors to point to them and ask “How can you worship gods that do this and that?”

But anyone who opens themselves up to the Gods, be they in a Hellenic Context, or any of the myriad others, knows that a god is always so much more than a simple, and often simplistic, story about his birth, life, deeds, and death. In fact, Gods do not die, so therein lies a clue to one of the realities of myth, that they are not strictly true things, but rather the shadows of things that are true in some abstract way, but which can only be conveyed in our reality as these imperfect stories.

In my mind, Hermes is the God that best corresponds with one of the fundamental realities of my personal faith, that the universe of Einstein and Newton is not in conflict with the universe of Nyx, Eros, and Ge. That the universe is indeed composed of several “worlds”, be they called Olympus, Hades, and Tartarus, or Asgard, Midgard, and Hel, or the dimensions of space time. And Hermes, for me, exemplifies the reality of a universe which is whole and entire, yet perceptually divided. That the three dimensions of space, time, and the myriad other dimensions curled up inside of, around, and sideways of our own are all tied together by these beings who are part and parcel of all of them and who inspire in this great totality, life and its aspiration to become something more.

Hermes transcends, and transcendence in the divine sense is different from what you or I might consider transcendence, or what we might be capable of transcending to, but it doesn’t matter, because this inspiration to become something more than we are today is all that life is about. It is evolution, it is civilization, it is philosophy and religion and all the aspirations of every human being alive.

Keep moving ahead, he seems to whisper to us all, and we would be stupid not to take him up on the invitation.
 Greek Death Gods: Hades, Hermes, Tartarus, Charon, Thanatos

Three Greek gods in Egypt: The cults of Aphrodite, Artemis, and Hermes in Greco-Roman Egypt according to the documents and literary notices ([Theses for ... of Master of Arts - University of Hawaii)

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I recently posted a short prayer on Twitter and Facebook which read like this:

Hear me as I pray, Hermes of the winged feet, and allow me a respite
to feel and enjoy that which might otherwise pass me by.

This wasn’t an idle prayer, I really mean it. It occurs to me, and not for the first time, that I am letting way too much of my own life pass me by. I work, I come home, I watch TV, I chat online, and then go to bed and do it all over again the next day. This ain’t good. I am asking Hermes, of course, because life is a kind of journey, and, because I am hoping to get back to doing something soon that I once loved, and that’s travel and see new places.

I don’t need to travel and spend thousands of dollars, I am fairly content sitting in a cafe with a cup of coffee or tea and observing the different ways people live, or going to a museum and staring at a painting, but, I want to do it in new places. I want to go back to Spain and France and Portugal and see how things have changed since I was there all those many years ago, but, foremost, to find new and economical spots to visit that will nourish my soul.

I also ask the Gods, because I need to get myself out of the economic mess that illnesses have put me in, and again, Hermes seems to be my guide in this.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

To Hermes, the Traveller

In a place I once knew
Among people I knew once
I am bereft of feeling
Guide me to find those feelings again, O Hermes

In a place that seems familiar
Among familiar people who seem strange
I am confused
Guide me to understand, O Hermes

On this journey I have come to show my affection
On this journey to feel their affection in return
On this journey to meet the newest member of my clan
I seek your aid and guidance, O Hermes, and thank you for your gifts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Facing Reality

So, since I have been pondering my sexuality and all those wonderful things that often make us who we are on these defining levels, I may as well touch on a couple of other things, things that most of us don't really communicate to each other out of fear or shame.

I am a an angry person.

I try not to communicate that too much, but I know it comes off, and others misinterpret it as bitterness or general negativity, which to be honest are manifestations of that anger, but they are the anger that resides in me. It is an anger built up over decades of tamping it down and sublimating it. N anger born of abuse and, as a child, an inability to understand that abuse. It is something that I have worked hard on these past ten years or so, and it is something which I now have a quandary about, because while I now recognize this anger in me, I also have to now figure out what to do with it.

I suppose a psychologist would tell me I need to confront the source, to get answers and face the people responsible, but I wonder if doing that, if bringing that kind of shame and pain into their life now will actually do anything to help me in mine.

Forgiveness isn't an issue, I am not sure I am strong enough a man to actually forgive where forgiveness is needed. Forgiving my mother is easy, I love her dearly, but forgiving my father? How do I do that when I barely feel anything for hm, except this odd dull anger that is really more general than acutely directed at him. I also have to ask myself if my anger toward him is not disproportional, misdirected, as a way to allow the anger to express itself but without placing more of a burden for it on my mother.

Hermes may be pushing me not only to face my sexuality, but all of these things as well, because they are all part of communicating. All of these things that are part of who we are on the inside, that form the mental paradigms that make us who we are, require expression, and that is my problem. That I can write this and know what I sort of need to do but not be able to fully express it in a verbal emotional way is something that must vex the God of Communication, and which is now vexing me as I try to proceed on this path of self discovery.

So I sit here and do what I always do, I self medicate with food, being a dick, perhaps keeping myself from ever having to experience real love by making it hard for others to want to be near me. It is hard to think about these things, because it does seem like it is all so obvious, and I should be able to just get over myself and let go, but saying you need to let go and actually doing it are two very different things, and they are not at all even comparable, because this logical and written confession of my failings in this matter is very unemotional and detached from m reality, and the actual doing will require something from me I am not even sure I possess. True inner strength and confidence.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


But it would be disingenuous of me to claim that I can simply change what I am, what I have been acculturated into being, and what I have made myself into simply because it seems as if hermes is telling me it’s ok. My gender and sexual identity are far too complex and profound a p[art of me for me to say that I could do that. Yes, both men and women have their charms, but I know in my heart that it is men that draw me, excite me, arouse me, and all together make me feel as if I am truly alive.

Women are a part of my life that is different from what mainstream thought says they should be, they are friends, intellectual equals, sisters, and above all, my fellow human beings, and while I do find many women beautiful and maybe even attractive on a visceral sexual level, that never seems to translate to arousal or true desire in my heart and mind.

So, maybe the labels aren’t really so much bullshit as they are not to be applied too strictly and forever.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Label

So, what exactly is this label I have identified with? What does it mean?

It is fairly common for many in the gay community to say that the ancient Greeks were gay friendly, or perhaps even a gay culture, but that is a fallacy. Ancient Culture was, for the most part, free of the labels we use to identify sexual preferences. There was no gay, bi, or lesbian community. Who you were attracted to, who you fucked, what sex parties you went to were a function of your life, not your politics, and were often strictly regulated by the cultural attitudes not toward who you were having sex with, but how.

So modern concepts of “Gay” did not really exist, although they surely understood that there were sexual preferences and that some people liked the boys, some liked the girls, some liked both, but these were not really categorized by a political or social label. But with the advent of the more “conservative”, dare I say “superstitious” forms of moral religion, like Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, the common sexual freedom of places like Greece were forced to move underground, and to this day there is clear evidence that homo and bisexuality were never reduced, just hidden from view by a moral authority that sought to control people through concepts of Hell and eternal punishment and the immorality and filth of sex.

But modern concepts of sexuality arose out of the need to come together and fight against the prejudices engendered by the intolerant religious and moral concepts of Christianity and Judaism in the Western world, with small movements in the Islamic world now beginning to show their faces. These labels are as much political as they are emotional, as much a function of political action as sexual activity. So, what does being gay mean?

Gay, in general, is a label used by men and women who are homosexual, meaning men and women who are attracted to, and who engage willingly in sexual and emotional relations with members of their own sex. The modern Gay Movement, of course, is one that attempts, sometimes a little too hard, to be inclusive, so the term has become somewhat watered down, but in general, when the word “Gay” is used, it is usually as a reference to men who are emotionally and sexually attracted to other men.

As a label, however, gay has limitations. Because it has taken on political and communal implications, many gay men are, like their straight brothers, unable to move beyond the label itself. It confines them and forces them to restrain their natural and healthy sexual urges. Many gay men find that they have an overwhelming attraction to other men, but that they are sometimes drawn to a woman, but they stop themselves from experiencing or exploring this because it goes contrary to their self imposed label.

I sometimes wonder if this is me, and I think that is a boundary that Hermes is forcing me to look at and explore. Not that I should run out and have sex with a woman, something I have never done, but to explore whether I am forcing myself not to do so in order to fit in to Gay Culture, a culture which can often be just as intolerant as any other.

The myths tell us that Hermes and Aphrodite produced a child who was beautiful, charming, and of both genders. An allegory for us to maybe study with more profound philosophical mindsets and perhaps come to terms with what it means not to be gay, or straight, or bi, or transgender, or male, or female, but, quite simply, human. To explore what it means to love a person not because they are male or female, beautiful or artistic, sexually pleasing or comforting, but simply for being human and having within them a spark of that thing we call life, a gift from the Gods.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So, gender and sexuality...

So, it seems my focus on Hermes at this point in my life means taking a journey into my own sexuality, and this is not the first time this has happened in my journey so far, perhaps because my sexuality, in varying senses of the word, is very important in my life.

Because I identify as Gay, that aspect of my life influences my politics, my religious beliefs (If Hellenismos was anti-gay, I would likely never have been drawn to it) and even the friends I make and the people I choose to love. It is all influenced on some level by my sexuality. Yet clearly, I have never really gone for the whole “sacred sexuality” thing either. Yes, I believe that sex and emotion can be important aspects of spirituality, in fact, they have to be, but I have yet to really delve into that, mostly because I am a solitary practitioner, but also because my main patron or tutelary deities are not ones particularly linked to sex or sexuality. Athena? Hardly. Hestia? No way. Hades? Um, not really.

But in my daily reflections, meditations, and rites I do try to include Dionysos and Aphrodite, both of whom one can clearly assign aspects of sexuality, wildness, lust, and the indulgence of passion. But as of yet, I have not found them to be true patrons to me. Aphrodite, perhaps, comes close to being a deity I can claim as a patron, but the aspects of her that are important to me tend to be about her as a celestial deity, Ourania, a deity of higher emotional aspect. One who is manifest in love and beauty rather than fucking. Sure, I understand that she is definitely a goddess who relishes our bliss in desire and passion and fucking, but for me, I find that when she has made her presence strongly felt in my life, it is when my heart is breaking at the loss of something special, a love or someone special to me.

But then comes Hermes, ever moving, ever tempting, ever challenging and it seems that all the questions that come to mind are questions of sex and sexuality and lust and the boundaries that must be placed in such things so that they don’t drive us to obsession.

So, as I said, I am a man, a gay man, a man who identifies as homosexual, although I do have some small bit of the bisexual in me. Is Hermes trying to force me to confront that and answer the question to myself once and for all? Is there a part of me that needs to see what I am missing in order to be satisfied that I am not making mistakes in my life? And how?

As a man, I was taught to think of women as beautiful, and so they are, but I learned on my own, from my own inner desires, that men were beautiful and sexually attractive. But is it possible that I ignored part of myself when I identified so clearly as gay?

I don’t think so, but there are possibilities there. I mean, can I really ever know that a woman is not what might make me happy one day if I am unwilling to try it because of the boundaries placed on me by my own label?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On Hermes and Gender Issues

I find it interesting that recently the issue of sexuality, sexual identity, and gender identity has come up at the Hellenic Pagan forum at Yahoo. Why? Because, as I said, Hermes seems to be taking me on a journey into my own sexuality, my own motivations for sex, my own identity as both man and homosexual. He is, I think, begging me to ask myself questions with regard to my own prejudices in this area, and yes, I have them.

I try to be a fair person, Zeus demands that we be just, but I also try to think things through on a level that some would consider logical, and others might consider antithetical to religiosity. As a result, I tend to come to conclusions that often put me at odds with the reality of our political and religious systems. Systems that often, at least on my side of the political spectrum, tend to want us all to be rather relativistic ( Not Einstein ) rather than dogmatic or steadfast.

One issue which, I have to admit, causes me vexation is the Transgendered.

What issues?

Before I go further, allow me to say this. I believe that each of us has the right, a right not handed us by a constitution but by higher authority, to make our own destinies as we feel best suits us. So when I say what I am about to say, do not think I mean that transgendered people should not follow their dreams or needs to become what they feel is the more authentic them. Indeed, I feel they should do that, I only question the wisdom of it in many cases.

Gender. What is it? Is it really attached to a particular way of dressing, of playing with dolls, of being “masculine” or “feminine” in the traditional sense? I think we all know it is not, that gender itself is simply a matter of biology. That if you have a penis and testicles and are not truly inter-sexed, you are male. If you have a vagina, ovaries, breasts, and are capable of birthing a child, you are a female. To many, this seems like too simple a definition of gender, but I disagree.

Gender Identity, however, is a much more complicated matter. A woman who looks like a man, dresses like a man, makes love to other women can be quite happy with being a woman. In fact, I know many women who are quite like this, They seem to, on the outside, identify with a more masculine paradigm, yet ask them and they will tell you, they like being women and would not change that for anything. I know drag queens and femme men who one could swear would rather just lop it off and become women, but ask them and they are happy to be men and love their penises.

So it is possible for a man to be feminine and still be happy with his cock. It is possible for a woman to be very masculine and still love her pussy. (Sorry to be vulgar, but I assure you, the connotation of these more vulgar words, their impact, is very much in keeping with the conceptual context here) Psychologically, these people accept in themselves their difference from the “norm” of their gender, and in accepting it, they become happy with what they have rather than obsessing over what they do not.

But this is also rather superficial, after all, gender identity is deeply rooted. It forms part of every single aspect of our lives, behavior, etc.

What is it that is different about people who seek to actually alter their gender at that superficial level in order to match that inner sense of masculinity or femininity?

I think what is different about them is that they also suffer from, and this is where I get people hating me a little, from a form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a psychological condition linked with anxiety that causes the person to obsess over a perceived flaw or defect in their appearance, or sometimes, an obsession with aspects or parts of their bodies, often causing them to damage themselves or seek out medical procedures that alter their appearance. People with obsessive “addictions” to plastic surgery, for example, or who have eating disorders because of their faulty perception of themselves are examples.

Transgendered people seem to fall into this category. They feel that they have qualities that fall into the other gender’s purview, and as a result, they perceive their bodies as flawed, and obsess over that flaw, meaning their genitals, until they have to remove them. (Yes, I know they are altered rather than actually removed)

Now, I think that sex change operations are a mistake. I don’t think that a person who has a perfectly healthy male body is actually trapped in it but is actually female. I think he is simply a girly man, and I think that such men should deal with the underlying issue of shame involved in being girly for a man, or manly for a woman, and accept themselves. But I know that is simply not realistic. I know that often people will want that fix, they want to make the change because they are convinced that is what will fix them.

Where I am concerned is in whether or not everything was tried before the surgery was booked. Did he or she go through all the therapy necessary? Has every possible complication been discussed? Has the potential for disillusionment been truly introduced and dealt with before hand?

If a man or woman has gone through it all, dealt with all the issues, been through all the therapy and such, and still feels that his or her life would be best served by having the surgical procedures necessary to change their outward physical appearance to make them into the other gender, then I would have to say go for it. And I will be respectful of your choice and be happy to know you are a happier person as a result.

But I am always going to seek to understand it on some logical level that, to me, does not exist yet. I do not understand it, and so sometimes come off as a bit coarse about the subject.

But the issue coming up now does remind me that we are all forced to deal with sexuality and gender issues in our culture. The Abrahamic attitudes toward gender force men to behave one way, eschewing anything that might threaten that status quo, and women another. As a gay man, I am always aware of this because straight men seem to have such a deliberately exaggerated reaction to anything gay. Two men kissing elicits a reaction that often makes one wonder what they are really trying to hide, or, perhaps, if they are really trying convince themselves that it is gross while at the same time noting that it is really no more odd than watching a man kiss a woman.

What does my gender have to do with how I love the Gods?

Certainly my sexuality has something to do with it. Being gay in the most gay of all pantheons seems perfectly fitting, but what about my actual gender and gender identity. How does being a man who identifies strongly as a man yet loves other men relate to my worship of Athena?