Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

What makes a man happy?

It’s an interesting question, that. What makes a man happy? Not what makes us all happy, but what makes a man happy? The stereotypical answer, and one that a lot of women would probably jump to, since they have just as many sexist ideas about men as men have about women, is that what makes a man happy is sex. Lots and lots of sex.

Well, let’s be honest, lots and lots of sex is awesome, and it can give one a momentary bliss that few other things can, it is not what, in the end, makes us happy. A career seldom makes us happy. Things we buy or play with seldom makes us truly happy. We can buy gadgets, which I admit are loads of fun, or computers, or porn, or comics, or whatever, and in the end only end up wanting more of it, because they do not accomplish what we seek, to feel happy.

But what exactly is it we mean by happy? I have to admit, that we rarely ever really know. Our culture has spent so much time pushing happiness as something we can buy, drink, or smoke, that we are seldom taught what happiness really is. In Eastern religious philosophies people are taught that happiness, or better put, contentment comes from understanding what desire is, and learning that what we desire is not always what is good for us, and too often, not what will makes us feel that deep sense of peace and contentment that is true happiness.

It is a profound reality in Hindu and Buddhist belief that desire is something to be set aside so that one can look deeper at a truer need, a truer wish to be not elated with momentary “happiness” but content. One can be dirt poor and yet be “happy” is the lesson there. But there is a reality of poverty in overwhelming numbers there that such philosophies always had to take into account. Here, in the land where we have so much, it is too easy to simply look at such philosophies as bullshit that people tell themselves in order to live their impoverished lives, while at the same time being utterly miserable with the wealth of the world at our fingertips.

Men, or perhaps i should say this particular man, has a lot of things that he thinks make him happy. A good book, a fun movie, music, porn, a few friends here or there, sex, liquor, computers, ipods, TV shows of all types, and yet deep down, what I think we all really want is to soothe the savage heart within us and feel content.

It isn’t about the pussy, or in my case the cock, it is about the search for a kindred soul. It isn’t about the story, but the letting go of the hear and now and living in imaginative splendor. It isn’t about the hot men or the wickedly good sex in the porn flicks, it is about living vicariously through them what I cannot live in reality, or perhaps, what I fear to live in reality because I could too easily fall into patterns of self destruction.

Now, I don’t personally believe in the relinquishing of desire as a whole, or that feeling and want are part of some evil that keeps us trapped in this world, but i do believe that those philosophies do have a point, that I need to start learning from what I desire rather than simply giving in to it. That all of our most primal emotions are there to teach us something. Perhaps not about the gods or the secrets of the universe, but about ourselves.

And if life is a journey, then isn’t what every man wants is to walk the walk and reach his journey’s end with a sense of contentment, perhaps even accomplishment, but certainly with the feeling that it has all been worth it. That all the sex and the drinking and reading and playing have all taught us something profound. The sad thing is that in the end, that lesson is not one we can pass on to others, so we try to pass on our journey to others in hopes they see in it the same things we did, and in so doing, maybe help them find contentment in the end.

What every man wants, is to be remembered as a man who left behind a legacy, not of money or accomplishment, but of lessons worth learning and an example well set.

In hope

Make bright the day, o Helios
Make dark the night, o Nyx
Make visible the pathways to and fro
And protect us as we walk your way, o Hekate

Make strong my heart, o Athena
Make willing my body, o Ares
Make forceful my will and memorable my speech
And protect me from the dangers of arrogance, o Zeus

Make subtle my touch, o Aphrodite
Make powerful my thrust, o Eros
Make lustful my feelings and loving my approach
And grant me willingness to share my home, o Hestia

Make tasty my food, o Demeter
Make colorful my view, o Persephone
Make appreciative my eyes and soothing my voice
And grant me passion in artistry, o Apollo

Make skillful my hands, o Hephaestos
Make fluid my judgment, o Poseidon
Make the dark in me light, and the light in me grey
And grant me the heart to face you with pride in the end, o Hades

Make swift my decisions, o Hermes
Make wild my soul, o Artemis
Make desire in me bloom to something ever greater
And grant that i may not end up forever alone, o Hera

Make strong my foundations, o Ge
Make sharp my sight, o Selene
Make nimble my knowledge and strong my resistance
And grant me transcedence and hope, o blessed Dionysos of the wine dark eyes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Zeus

Δία, κραταιέ (dhEE-ah krah-teh-EH)
Κύριε των υψηλότερων βουνών (
KEE-ree-eh tohn eep-see-LOH-teh-rohn voo-NOHN)
Δωρητή της βροχής (
dhoh-ree-TEE tees vroh-HHEES)
Παραμέρησε τα σύννεφα με το ισχυρό σου χέρι (
pah-rah-MEH-ree-seh tah SEEN-neh-fah meh toh ees-hhee-ROH soo HHEH-ree)
Και χαμογέλασε μας σήμερα (
keh hhah-moh-GEH-lah-seh mahs SEE-meh-rah)

Zeus, powerful
Lord of the High Mountains
Giver of Rain
Part the clouds with your mighty hand
And smile on us today



My thanks to Evritos and his anonymous friend from Greece for his help in correcting the grammar. Software translation leaves much to be desired, but it can be a good place to start.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tomorrow we greet her...


Today
Blessed Lady of the Corn
We say good bye to the Winter
That time of grief and despair
Today we bid it farewell.

For tomorrow we greet her who comes
She who steps forth with flowers at her feet
She whose laughter brings joy to your eternal face.

Today
Blessed Lady of the Tilled Fields
We say good bye to the death of the Green
When the land lies cold and barren
Today we bid it farewell.

For tomorrow we greet her who dwelt in darkness
She who ate of the pomegranate below
She who sat upon the throne of Hades with her eternal mate.

Today
Blessed Lady of the Wheat Grain
We say good bye to the shivering fear of tomorrow
When the future seems so far away
When the warmth of Summer seems a long lost memory.

For tomorrow we will rejoice at her return
She who walks in splendor, daughter of Zeus
She whom you lost now returns, Persephone of the Sprint Time reborn.

(This is written with the North American perspective of the Demetrian myth as symbol of our Winter, not as the ancient view of the Summer as the time when the grain was stored under ground to protect it from the immense heat. Taken in this way, Demeter and Persephone are here aspected toward the local growing seasons.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back to my thread of consciousness

So...

It seems that the great Goddess of Sex herself chose to focus me in ways different than I had expected, and then Hermes has chosen to lead me there instead. As I have stated, I hope clearly but knowing me, not that clearly, I have hopes that part of what I am teaching myself as I seek to understand my self, my motivations, and my spiritual needs is how to understand my sensual desires. How to accept yet contain that part of me that is decadent in ways that can be harmful to me.

Because I am culturally American, being decadent comes with the territory. We are an empire on decline, a people gone to decadence and, now, seeing the ramifications of that decadence as we move further into the age of discovery, of technology, and as those who are being left behind now fight their way to prominence and, possibly, destroy us from within as has happened in almost every civilization before ours.

But as individuals, there is still much to be said for decadence and what it means to us as people. See, decadence can mean different things to different people, but I boil it down to this, the enjoyment of pleasure at the expense of others. It is selfish decadence. The decadence that can be of use to us as people, however, is that which allows us to explore what it is to be alive, human, and physical beings.

The suppression of our instinctive selves is common in the monotheistic religions, and in some of what are called the philosophical religions of the East, like Buddhism and Hinduism. The idea being that we are physical beings and that to move forward, to go beyond this physicality means relinquishing desire, relinquishing emotions that guide us to excess and debauchery. In essence, living in a way that completely ignores one’s own humanity and what it means to be human.

Breathing, drinking of water, and eating just enough to survive and contemplation are the basics of life, and any action taken should be taken with a view toward the afterlife. I find this to be a most odd way to think. I am not some crazy decadent loon, mind you, I live a rather sedate, calm life, even if I do indulge in some things often enough, but here’s the rub, I don’t believe in an afterlife. I believe that we live, we experience, and we die. Truly die. But this doesn’t mean that life itself is something to be taken to extremes, or that it has no meaning. I have become convinced over the years that what we experience, what we feel, what we desire and how we go about getting it form part of a greater “program”. That when we let our feelings flow and we share them with the Gods and seek their guidance, we share with them something they do not, cannot have in their eternal realm. Things like fear, hunger, true desire the like one feels at the sight of a most beautiful woman, or a truly erotic man. The longings and desires for peace we all feel, and the simple pleasure of physical contact.

Now, I am not saying that the Gods know nothing of these things, rather that their experience of them cannot be like ours. That in their eternal existence that requires nothing, they do not have the needs we do, the desires we do, the sense of urgency we do, and there is the spontaneity of our emotions to contend with. We do not feel or even think things because we want to, we do so because there is a spontaneous event that occurs in our minds that should spur us to action, and that action, the more philosophical minded might say should be to ponder and consider rather than to act upon. But a wise man once said, or if he didn’t he should have, that thinking about doing something is only half of the equation, and that acting upon it is the other half, and that the one without the other is simply either impulsiveness or timidity, and in the end, is that not what being a rational thinking person is about, about melding the two together so that we can experience life in the best way possible without allowing ourselves to fall victim to the sheer drop that is the extreme?

And is not the God of boundaries suspiciously well equipped to help in this?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A journey

In honor of Hermes, I am hoping to undertake a journey. Because Plouton has not been as generous with the gold as I would like, however, think I may have to simply undertake a journey of solitude to some place near that can also be new to me. Perhaps one of the nooks and crannies that make up this city to which I have not yet made myself privy. If exploration is the key, than certain parks in the area are certainly open to me, and since Spring will soon be upon us, so too will the vast network of bike paths that lead to such places as state parks, dams, rivers, and farm land.

It is, perhaps even possible I may be able to undertake a bike ride from Dayton to Columbus, but in my current shape that may be more a matter to be discussed with a doctor than a plan.

So, why a journey in honor of Hermes? Well, because while I cannot travel like I once did, I can still explore, and there are always beautiful things to photograph, even in a city like this, which has been left to drown in the decay of the post industrial age.

And Hermes’ urge, that urge to see new things, to explore, to be revitalized by these things, is one that I have almost let die in me since moving out here. Not having a vast metropolis nearby like New York or Boston kind of stripped me of it, but remembering m travels in France, Spain, and Portugal, I have to try and recall how some of the best experiences were quiet ones, in small places that seemed to be cut off from civilization, even if by walls, and that that is a feeling that can be captured almost anywhere.

So, I am hoping that Wintergeddon ends soon so I can get my ass out there to see what it is Hermes wants me to see, and perhaps even why.