Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring rededication

It occurs to me that I have never spoken about my annual rededication of my central altar (Actually, it happens more than once a year, but I always have one in the Spring) which I call, or used to call, my Altar of the Virgin Goddesses.

This altar is dedicated to Hestia, and upon it are images of Athena and Artemis as well, but this year I decided to make a change. While the altar remains dedicated to Hestia, I have added an image of the Minoan Snake Goddess (I know that the image itself is controversial as far as scholarship is concerned, but the imagery and symbolism of it do not go amiss in Hellenism) which, for me at least, are representations of the divine Mother Earth, who we call Gaea.

Many cults of goddesses, and some of Gods as well, have imagery that uses serpents as representations of the Earth and its regenerative power, but also of its chthonic and divinatory nature. The Pythia's title itself is related to the divinatory nature of her office, and the serpent, an aspect of the Earth, which once ruled Delphi.

So I bought this image of the snake goddess, which to me represents the chthonic, or Earthly, aspects of the divine Goddesses we worship, and especially of Gaea herself, the Great Mother. This morning I received the statuette and went about dismantling my altar, removing all decoration and dedications, cleaning them, and then rebuilding it with the addition of the new Snake Goddess.

Below are images of what I did in a lovely little slideshow.

After cleaning the objects and statuettes and replacing them in the fireplace, I relit the candle and lit some incense, offering a prayer to the gods, and especially to Hestia, that the altar may be accepted and pleasing to her.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beautiful Temple of Minerva

Minerva Shrine at Sbeitla

This beautiful ruin of a Roman temple to Minerva, who the Romans equated with Athena, is an example of the kind of temple I would love to build. Simple, yet dramatic, it would make me proud, this temple. I would create four chambers inside, each with a statue of Athena in a different aspect. The First, to Athena Parthenos, the second to Athena Xenia, and the third to Athena Soteira. The final chamber, accessible from the back, would be either for storage of temple goods, or a home for the attendant of the temple. Maybe my dream of building this will come true some day, the Gods willing.

Declan McCullagh has a site with pictures of this site, the picture above is not from his site.

And this, at Trek Earth, great site, by the way.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

But am I learning anything?

While I am learning a thing or two, I am having a hard time putting what I am learning into practice. Hephaestos is not a god whose influence I feel every day in my life, at least not in the way we Hellenistoi normally see him. But there is one aspect of him, as he is revealed to us in Myth, that strikes a chord in me.

He is described in myth as ugly.

I am rather an ugly looking man, and my own perception of this has, over the years of my life, caused me to be a bit self destructive. I over eat, I do not take care of myself as I should, etc. One thing I have never done, is drugs, though, and I think part of the reason is that I latched on to my ugliness almost like a badge of honor. Yes, part of me has always been very self destructive, but another has held himself separate from the norms, been unique, been different from the hordes of capitulating trend sucking fools that always seemed to surround me. I guess I used it as a way to prevent myself from conforming too much to the norms around me.

But there is something I have never quite gotten over. And that is the idea that my ugliness is actually all in my own head, because people chastise me for claiming I am ugly. Not that they ever say I am Brad Pitt or anything, but they don't believe I have the kinds of looks I do.

Yet, part of me cannot get over it, I do not see it. I see ugliness, and strive to make up for it in other ways, and as I embarked on a plan to lose weigh a couple of weeks ago (15 pounds now, yay!) I have to consider why I feel the way I do about myself in relation to my search for inner peace and acceptance. And in relation to the divine, who we all think of as beautiful, a prejudice that is part of our own human conceptions of the world, because divine beauty is not physical, it derives from the way we perceive their state of being, a state of being that is not decaying, not moving toward death, not subject to the same horrors we are.

Hephaestos, though, was perceived as ugly. Ugly because he wasn't perfect, yet the creator of so much beauty that the gods had no choice but to accept the divine nature of his power. How do I deal with my own perceived ugliness? How do I accept it and move on?

Monday, April 4, 2011