Monday, December 26, 2011

Heliogenna Day Nine - Sunrise - To Helios and all the Gods

This is it, the final day of Heliogenna. The Sun set, and we praised him and gave thanks for what came before. The night came, and we missed him. We mourned our dead and fell silent in reverence to that ultimate mystery. Then the sun rose once more, glorious and bright, and we look forward into the future, unknowable yet often a little predictable. We pay them honor, all the Gods, and celebrate this day as a kind of New Year celebration (secular new year being just a week away now) and we make offerings to him, the holy Sun God, and to all the Gods. 

But I also write my hopes and dreams onto rolling paper and then burn them as offerings to the Gods. Promises too, those I mean to keep in the coming twelve months, and as I do, I also give them my fears, my desires for better health, for mental clarity, and all that I wish to change about myself. Perhaps a bonfire is in order.

So here, I make my offering to him, to the undying Sun, watcher of mankind, who sees what we do and judges us not, but rather lights our way so we may see with clarity.

To Helios

Blessed God
You who shines bright
Set me on the right path. 

Blessed God
You who travels West
Set me on the course to righteousness

Blessed God
You who see all
Set me on the road to forgiveness

Blessed God
You who burn like the fires of a star
Set me on the way to inner peace

To you, Helios, I dedicate this day

Blessed Lord
You who give life
Watch as I go forth

Blessed Lord
You who give light
Watch as I make myself new

Blessed Lord
You who burst forth from the East
Watch as I make you proud

To you, Helios, I dedicate this day

O blessed Gods above
O blessed Gods below
O blessed Gods who dwell upon the sacred Earth

To you I make this pledge
To you I promise
To be a better man in every way I know how
To learn new ones as I go forth

Blessed may you all be, now and forever.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Heliogenna Day Eight - Sunrise - To the Olympian Gods and the Chthonoi

Day Eight is the second day of Sunrise, and dedicated to the Olympian Gods and the Chthonoi. The idea here is to send your hopes and dreams to the Gods above and below. Make promises for the coming year you intend to keep (remember, you are making promises to the Gods)

Bright are you
Olympians above
Who dwell in golden splendor

The light of Heaven never fails you.

Dark are you
Chthonoi below
Who dwell in earth darkness

The darkness of Hades comforts you

Grey are you
A blessing to man
Who dwell upon the Earth

The songs of worship set your soul alight

King Zeus above
King Hades below
King Poseidon who encircles

Bless us one and all with the gift of health
Bless us one and all with the gift of prosperity
Bless us one and all with the gift of wisdom

Queen Hera above
Queen Persephone below
Queen Amphitrite of the waves

Bless us one and all with the gift of companionship
Bless us one and all with the gift of long life
Bless us one and all with the gift of flexibility

Come one
Come all
All you Gods who dwell above

Come one
Come all
All you Gods who dwell below

Come one
Come all
All you Gods who dwell upon the sacred earth

Dance with us in celebration

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Heliogenna Day Seven - Sunrise - To Hyperion, Eros, and Hekate

Day Seven of Heliogenna begins the third segment of the festival, with dedications to Hyperion, the Titan father of Helios, Eos, and Selene. To Eros, the primordial God of attractions, love, and especially male eroiticism. And to Hekate, walker of the secret pathways between the dark and the light.

The Sunrise segment is celebratory rather than commemorative in nature, looking forward rather than back.

To Hyperion, Eros, and Hekate

Along the sacred way, I come upon a crossroads

A fork in the dirt path.

There stands a herm, and at its base offerings

Offerings of sweets

Offerings of bread

Offerings of milk and honey poured into the earth


Do I walk left?

To the darker realm of memory?

Do I walk right?

To the lighter path of the future?

To the left I see echoes of times gone by

Where Hyperion shone upon the land

And Eros held sway

It is a time long ago, before the war of heaven

And the fall of the mighty Titans

I hear songs too

Praising the shining lord who saw all things

And the tender embraces of boys in bushes

To the right I see change ever moving

Where Eros holds sway with Aphrodite

And the son of Hyperion shines bright in the heavens

It is a time not too far from now

Where Olympian Gods rule heaven and earth

To Hyperion, once lord of the sun

I leave golden mead

Tasting of honey and colored like his radiant hair

To Eros, who pulls us together

I leave rosy wine

Tasting of grapes and pink like the blush of a lover

And to Hekate, who walks the unknown paths

I leave the picture of a love lost

With the my hopes and dreams for a future

Off to the right I walk

With the memories of Hyperion behind me

The joy that is Eros ever with me

And torch bearing Hekate lighting the way ahead.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heliogenna Day Six - Night - To Dionysos and Helios

Day Six is for Helios and Dionysos, this time as the reborn Gods. Rejoice for the sun is reborn, and Lord Dionysos has come to Delphi. Drink and be merry and offer up burnt offerings to the holy sun.

This is also a day to make offerings to Persephone, the underworld queen who is also the goddess of hope in resurrection. Call her that she may be reminded that her time to be among the living is not so far away now.

The blazing sun

Helios who watches us one and all
March to your immortal horses

Helios who lights the firmament
Mount your golden chariot

Helios who sees all
Ride high into the sky

The blazing sun

The living vine

Dionysos who intoxicates us
Free us of our inhibitions

Dionysos who maddens us
Show us glory in truth

Dionysos who sits silently enthroned
Let us love with wild abandon

The living vine

Heliogenna Day Five - The Day of Silence

Heliogenna's essential point is to celebrate the Solstice. This is a common point of celebration among pagan religions, most religions, in fact, but I like to think of the Solstice as a dark moment, a silent moment. I like to think of nature holding its breath for a moment and releasing it.

Because this is a kind of "Sol Invictus" celebration, I like to think that that moment when the Sun is still, having reached it's lowest point, it's shortest time of brilliance, as a moment that should be commemorated with silence, but I do not like to think that nothing should happen this day. Rather, I like to think of it as a day to simply be silent toward the Gods, be they the Olympians or the Chthonoi.


If you have daily rituals toward the Gods, do not perform them, hold your breath, if you will. If you are part of a greater Pagan community, and wish to take part in Solstice parties, etc., feel free, but you should not take part in ritual or invocation of the Gods (no matter whose Gods) but celebrate their celebration, enjoy yourself, take joy in the day as a mortal, beholden to no god or goddess.

Tomorrow you will rejoice and welcome the sun god back, tomorrow you will rejoice in a new year and perform your rites and rituals.For today, though, be free of the Gods, even if that seems a bit wrong to you. Be free of your ritual obligations and just be a human being.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heliogenna Day Four - Night - To Helios and Dionysos


Day Four marks the beginning of the segment called Night, and in night the mood shifts from thanks to rememberance and commemoration of the dead. The Fourth Day is in honor of Helios and Dionysos (Apollo too if you choose to include elements of the Dionysian lordship of Delphi during the Winter) and this day includes an offering, which you can make as you see fit, to the Lord of the Underworld. A friend of mine suggested, if you live in warm climes, a luau with a pig roasted underground, that would be awesome.

I should note that the day of the Solstice itself, the fifth day of the festival, is a silent one. No offerings, no lit candles, no prayers, just a day for man to be as if dead to the Gods.

To Helios and Dionysos

Your light grows dim
The days ever shorter
And soon you will go down into the underworld

The Earth shakes
Maidens twitch nervously
And soon, o mad god, you will come

Down below
Your light is smothered
Man faces the shortest day of all

Revelry is yours
You who have come
You who rule over the Winter at Delphi

We await you
You who will rise anew
You who will be resplendent and envigoured

Come, dark Dionysos
Come and lead the procession
Toward the flowering of Springtime

Come, bright Helios
Come and light the way
The way toward the coming Springtime


Monday, December 19, 2011

Heliogenna Day Three - To the Primordial Gods (Protogonoi)

In darkness, you were born, who set to work in earnest to create the universe. To you I whisper my thanks, for without you we would be nothing.

To you, O Dark Nyx, who spread her wings wide

Who made way for all that would come

Who set the empty universe into its first order

I give thanks and offer my prayers


To you, O Erebus, who remains forever unseen

Who lives in darkness eternal

And brought to all that begins an end

I give thanks and offer my prayers


To you, O Broad Bosomed Ge, who is the foundation of all things

Who made of disparate parts a whole

And made all life possible

I give thanks and offer my prayers


To you, O Dark Hearted Ouranos, who envelopes the Earth

Who shines with dull star light

And made the broad sky

I give thanks and my prayers


It is through you that all came into being

It is by you that all things were set in motion

It is to you we owe our lives.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Heliogenna Day Two - To The Olympian Gods

I light this flame in your honor, blessed Hestia
In your name do I call to them
In your name do I pray

To you, blessed Zeus, I say thank you
For the torrents of rain
For the crazed power of manhood
And the restraint of a king
I thank you, o bright and highest
I thank you, o lord of the heavenes

To you, blessed Hera, I say thank you
For the tug of heart strings
For the loyalty of woman
And the nobility of a queen
I thank you, o lady divine
I thank you, o queen of heaven

To you, blessed Poseidon, I say thank you
For the beauty of the sea
For the shaking of my expectations
And the strength of an uncle
I thank you, o fluid one
I thank you, o lord of the mighty oceans


To you, blessed Athena, I say thank you
For the certitude of knowledge
For the force that is wisdom
And the safety of your shield
I thank you, o grey one
I thank you, o lady of battles

To you, blessed Apollo, I say thank you
For the sweetness of enlightenment
For guiding me when I am lost
And the skills of healers
I thank you, o celestial lord
I thank you, o lord of prophecy

To you, blessed Artemis, I say thank you
For the purity of thought
For your clarity of purpose
And the innocent heart of the virgin
I thank you, o wild one
I thank you, o lady of the mountains

To you, blessed Ares, I say thank you
For the ferocity of your will
For your blessed protection
And your heroic spirit
I thank you, o fierce one
I thank you, o god of soldiers

To you, blessed Aphrodite, I say thank you
For the body's sensual delights
For your gentle hand and firm commands
And the feelings you inspire
I thank you, o terrible one
I thank you, o lady of passions

To you, blessed Hephaestus, I say thank you
For the molding of beauty from ugliness
For your inspiration
And the hard work that makes it real
I thank you, o tired one
I thank you, o lord of the mastered fires

To you, blessed Demeter, I say thank you
For the fruits of nature's bounty
For the grain that makes our daily bread
And the knowledge that makes it possible
I thank you, o golden haired one
I thank you, lady of the plowed fields

To you, blessed Hermes, I say thank you
For the exuberance of youthful men
For the desire to see new things
And the boundaries that make us human
I thank you, o swift footed one
I thank you, o lord of the well worn paths

To you, blessed Hestia, I say thank you
For your steadfast protection
For the spirit of home
And the unending fires that warm us
I thank you, o pure one
I thank you, o lady of the home fires


Friday, December 16, 2011

Heliogenna Day One - To Helios, Eos, and Selene

The sun sets

The moon rises

The sky is rosy, golden, and blue


The eternal lords and ladies of light and dark settle in

See us, O Helios

Guard us and watch over us

Welcome us, O Eos

Offer us shelter and warmth

Shine upon us, O Selene

Guide us through the dark night


The sun sets

The moon rises

The sky grows darker and cooler


The eternal lords and ladies of heaven and earth settle in


Look upon us, O Helios

Watch our toil, our love, our fear

Host us, O Eos

And bid us enter into your embrace


Light the way, O Selene

That we may not fear the night


The sun sets

The moon rises

The sky has grown black


The lords and ladies of the celestial realms settle in

Friday, December 2, 2011

Artemis and the Amazons

I was looking online today, and one of the search terms I used was "The Goddess Artemis". As you can imagine, that search term resulted in innumerable pagan, neo-pagan, historical, archaeological, and even christian sites. Among these were sites that fit into the magical/neo-pagan vein that bugged me. Not because they were magical or neo-pagan, the ancient Greeks practiced forms of magic and had many superstitious beliefs (not saying all belief in magic is superstitious, by the way) that included the Gods and their many "powers". What bugged me was the way some of these site present misinformation, fantasy, and myth as fact backed by historians and archaeologists.

One such site claimed that the cities of the Eastern part of the ancient Greek world, cities like Ephesus, for example, were founded by Amazons, and that it was the Amazons who founded the cult of the Great Goddess of Ephesus. Claiming that historians agree this is the case.

Let's make this clear, while it is possible that what the Greeks called the Amazons were a real culture that was subjugated by the Greeks at some point, and that it being in the Eastern Aegean makes some sense, there is no historian, other than one wearing a tin foil hat, who would make a claim that with absolute certitude they existed and had founded Ephesus. Claiming this is at best a lie, at worst the sign of a truly stupid historian or archaeologist who is simply seeing what he or she wants to see in the evidence of that area.

I am not a believer in presenting myth as reality. I see it as a separate thing, something that is representative, sometimes of forgotten history, but never to be taken literally. Were there Amazons? I don't know, but the amazon myth is not one to be taken literal. Was there a Thesus? I don't know, he could represent a great king of ancient Athens, but one should not take his existence for granted as anything other than a myth.

So, what do I see as myth, and what value do I place in it?

Myths are stories which, told over centuries, gain and lose much detail. Some myths are about explaining the Gods and how the people of a certain area see them. Some myths are the stories of great actions, heroic deeds, and great sacrifices made by real people which gain in them fictional elements, or elements that explain the way the people see their actions as being in accord with the will of the Gods. Some myths are pure fiction, created to explain the world or even to frighten children into behaving properly. Which ones are which is not something we can know with any certainty, except as our own speculations.

I see in myth a variety of uses, and I hold them to different levels of esteem and sacredness depending on what they seem to accomplish. The myths present in larger stories, such as Iliad, Odyssey, or in philosophical works, present to us myth as fiction, or as education. These, especially, become more "sacred" to me than do simple myths, but they all are important to the way we perceive the Gods and the people of the ancient world.

To me, Myth is useful, and I value it as these:




  • Education about the nature of the divine
  • Education about the nature of a god
  • Education about a set of beliefs or philosophies
  • Explanation of the natural world
  • Detailing great heroic deeds
  • Detailing the origins of a people
  • Detailing the origins of a religious belief or system
  • Detailing ritual
  • Passing on culture and language
  • Entertainment

In so far as myths accomplish any of these, or any combination of these, I find value in myth. Where I find myth sacred, however, is in ritual that illuminates the divine in the context of prayer, ritual, or meditation.

Presenting myth as history, however, is a no no. Myth can lead us to history, by asking the question, were there Amazons, we can be lead to explore the history of the Eastern Aegean, but taking the myth itself as proof only makes me question your credibility, and in some cases, your intelligence.