Sunday, December 30, 2012

Zeus's Affairs Visualized

Zeus's Affairs (launched) | - via @Shareaholic

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Father Zeus

I have touched on the aspect of Zeus that is father. It is the aspect of the God that is, perhaps, the most easy to understand for modern thinkers, for in western tradition, this is the aspect of the sky God that was conflated with the middle eastern father God YHWH. 

It does not escape me, of course, that the primacy of the father in this kind of religion is the result of patriarchal culture, but I'd like to explore the father aspect froma slightly different angle here. What angle might that be? The angle of a man who did not have a father, at least not one that mastered in any positive way.

See, the Hellenic pantheon is organized in a way that made sense to the Hellenes, and is therefore patriarchal, I will not contest that organization, it is what it is. What I want to touch on is that for me, Zeus has often been unreachable, inaccessible, unavailable, and as I sit and ponder the why of it I must admit that I have basically approached him as I do my own father. As absent.

Unlike the ancient Greeks, who saw the Gods everywhere, in the light of morning, the breeze, the sea foam, the storm, I am far too analytical a person to see the world that way. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes sit and watch the sunrise and it takes my breath away. I appreciate it and and made humble by it, but I do not actually see the Helios there. To my mind, the sun is like a poetic representation of a divine power, but has a distinct existence apart from it. So, the sun is not Helios, it is a symbol of him that we human beings can latch onto as a focus for our worship and/or honoring of his power.

So too it is with Zeus and the sky, the storm, the thunder and lightning. They are but symbols, religiously speaking, and Zeus is not literally throwing lightning bolts or stirring the sky with his scepter to cause storms. In fact, to my way of thinking, everything about the imagery of the Gods, including their anthropomorphism is just symbology while the true Gods, those beings divine and beautiful, are separate and transcend such physical form and function.

But Zeus, more than the rest (Hades too, sometimes) is far and away the most obscure to me. Not because I don’t think of him when I look at the sky, or when I hear the terrible force upon my  windows during tornadic storms, but because he is father, and even more than any of the other symbols. More than the storm, the throne, the eagle, the majestic lightning bolt, this concept of father is one that eludes me, because I have never felt the closeness of a father, the affection, the love. Even today, on those rare occasions when I see my father, I feel a very vast distance between us, and it is not a distance he is putting there, not these days when he is older and perhaps longing to make up for lost time, but me. I am putting up those walls. In my heart there is no space marked “Dad” and there is nowhere for him to go.

So it is I have to ask myself, does this mean there is also no space marked “Dad” for him? For Zeus, sky father, father of Gods and Men, All Father? Is there no room in my heart for a Divine Father just as there is no room for my mortal father?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Father Sky

Father Sky
who rains and thunders
listen to our prayers
our hearts we pour out to you
our offerings we make

Father Sky
who snows and blusters
listen to our needs
our wants we sing to you
our offerings we make

Father Sky
who blows and chills
listen to our pain
our healing we seek from you
our votives we leave

Father Sky
who strikes with light
listen to our joy
our laughter we wish to share
and Zeus do we call you

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zeus and the Polis

The Polis, a word that means city, was a central part of the organizing force in Greek culture. The Greeks became a "civilized" people, civilized referring to the act of creating civil order, cities, governments, etc., and in so doing the growing cities became central to the way they developed as a culture because their power and influence grew over the centuries in such a way that Greek culture became almost indistinguishable from the very concept of the Polis. 

To think of the Greeks simply as a people of the Polis, however, is a huge mistake. As modern people we seldom have a chance to understand the realities of how the Polis worked, and how the population of Greece must have adapted to suit the growing power of these states, not because we don't know anything about the Polis, we do, quite a bit, but rather because the works of art, fiction, myth, philosophy left behind by the ancient Greeks were very much centered upon the Polis, which became a place where artists and thinkers went in an effort to work their talents where the money was (or the resources of the time) but the population of Greece was very heavily a rural population. The people of the countryside remain, often misrepresented in modern academic works, and for many, the Polis and the way it was organized was the center of all Greek life, including religion.  

We know that among the cults of the Gods among the Greeks, the Hearth Cult was one of the earliest, and that this is reflected in myth when Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth, is named as the first born child of Kronos. When she is called the Eldest and Youngest, the first and the last, something that is reflected in ritual as well. But what does this say to us today? Since the cult of the Hearth is, essentially, a civilized cult, it cannot really have been a cult from the beginning of humanity, or even the beginnings of the Greeks as a people, but rather a cult that was established as people were already gathering into towns and building the fortress towns that would become the homes of the Mycenaean Kings. Add to that that the Minoans already built palaces, and we are looking at a cult that was part of the Polis structure. 

But the Greeks also had a myth of a different kind, the myth of Prometheus and his gift of fire to humanity. If Prometheus stole fire from Zeus to give to man, then man must have needed to preserve it, and this gift of fire was not something that came late, but rather early. So, perhaps this cult of the Hearth is not a cult of the Polis after all, but a cult that comes from the early folk, and perhaps travelled with the people way into the past, long before there were Greeks or Mycenaeans, or Minoans, for all of these people used fire, all of them had received the gift of Prometheus and Hestia. 

What is all this rambling about?

Well, when considering Zeus, and the other Gods, it is important to consider where the stories of the Gods come from and, perhaps, why, and many of the stories told of the Gods, fanciful and beautiful as they are, are shadows of older stories, reflections of our history and the interactions with the Gods that our long lost ancestors managed in those dark times. But also, that these stories were never static. They changed and were made more fanciful, or more down to earth, by succeeding generations. Generations that experienced and understood the Gods in new ways. And many of these people, one can say most, were not people of the cities. Not civilized folk in the conventional sense. 

We must, when considering the Gods, try to put their stories in a broader context than just the Polis and remember that the Gods are not just Gods of civilization, poetry, and art, but also Gods of the wild and dark places.

Yes, we pagans have a love of connecting the Gods with nature, but it is important that we not forget that nature can be a cruel and unforgiving thing, and that the powers that be do not act for our benefit, but for the benefit of all things. That the religion of the Gods was not simply the religion of the Polis and its organized festivals designed to garner their favor, but the religion of the lesser known people, the people of the fields, the forests, and the wilderness at large. A people who understood that Zeus as the thunderstorm could kill as easily as rain down much needed rain, and that they did not hate or blame him for such, but rather understood that, perhaps, they were not the center of the universe or the center of Zeus' concerns. 

Still, the Greeks did build cities, cities of magnificent achievement in art and thought,  and if we must seek to remember that the Gods are also the Gods of the country folk, we must never forget that they were also Gods of the cities, where they encouraged through their worship the flowering of European civilization, and that for this, we must be eternally grateful. 

Monday, October 22, 2012


God. It is a word filled with meaning, both subtle and blunt, and in our Judaeo-Christian culture it has taken on the form of a proper name, which of course, it is not. But the concept that we know as God is certainly not a new one, nor a unique one, for it is found in the philosophies of ancient pagans, of Hindus, Buddhists, and Shinto philosophers.

In our own religion, the religion of the ancient Greek pagans, the God who comes closest to this conception, of a deity as all powerful and all knowing, is Zeus, and it is Zeus and his iconography, imagery, etc., that gives form to the otherwise nebulous figure of the Jewish YHWH, for the religion of the Christians owes an enormous amount to the imagery and iconography of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The image of God as a man, older, bearded, kingly, sitting on the throne of heaven is quite literally the same image as that of Zeus on the throne of Olympus. The anthropomorphizing of Jehovah, which as a transliteration of the word YHWH has a remarkable similarity to the word Jove, the Roman name for Zeus (though to be fair the two words are technically unrelated), is essentially Zeus layered over with Jehovan iconography and myth.

The Greeks understood Zeus to be the God of Gods, father of Gods and men, the king of kings. In so understanding him, in so invoking him, they elevated his status in their religion to one of near omnipotence and omniscience, two divine aspects not shared by his fellow gods, or even by him in the myths of the Greeks, yet of all the Gods, Zeus was the Greek God par excellence, the pan-hellenic deity that was unmistakably the Lord of the Greeks.

I say they elevated him because this is not about whether a God is or is not these things, but rather about how he was worshiped and understood by his worshipers. It is these qualities that the ancients passed on to us, this notion of Zeus as an immense being who is the God of Gods, so it is this that I, and anyone else wishing to worship or honor him, must contend with.

To understand this aspect of Zeus one must understand how the Greeks came to worship their Gods, how the Pantheon they worshiped was organized, and how that organization mirrored old aristocratic ideas of rule, order, and a manifest destiny that some classes of people felt was their inherent right.

Zeus, you see, is a God who is worshiped not as a child born to rule, though he was son of the previous ruler, but one who fought his way to the top. In this he is very much a reflection of society. The Greek culture came into being in Greece not by being born to it, but through successive waves of migration, often called invasions, in which a war like people from the North and East entered what is known as Greece and through the course of centuries gained control from whatever people were there before them, and whatever powers were exerting control over these regions. But like Zeus who must enter the world and then fight his way to the top by battling out with his father, the Greeks must also fight, among themselves and against those who would usurp their growing cultural influence and power.

One could argue that the great disaster that weakened the Minoan culture such that it could easily be taken over by the Mycenaeans (Greeks) that followed was an act of divine war. As the Greeks were growing in power Kronos was battling it out with Zeus, and as they took over the reborn Gods (regurgitated by Kronos) were battling it out with the Titans for control of the universe. This is not exactly how my theology would explain this, but it is an argument for how the myths explain the emergence of a powerful pantheon of Gods that would lead the Greek people to a flowering of culture and philosophy seldom seen in the world.

Zeus wins this war, and soon he sits at the very throne of Heaven, and so he embarks on an orgy of marriage, marrying the local goddesses and producing offspring with them. The religions of the old people merging with the religions of the new and new and various aspects of the Gods emerging as the people adopted and adapted new forms of worship, new iconographies, new myths. What was once two people struggling for control became one, and the Gods of the more powerful of them became the Gods of all, as they married and merged with the local forms and aspects.

Zeus was now father of Gods and men, and he usurped whatever creation myth may have been present, becoming the instigator of the creation of man.

See, Zeus isn't just a deity, he is the deity into which the people of ancient Greece poured their wonderfully active spirit. He represents not only their belief in powers higher than themselves, but a belief that their history, reflected in his, has value and is, in a way, sacred. This is not to say that Zeus is simply an abstraction of that spirit of the people, no, the Greeks saw him as much more than that, as a force of nature, as an immanent power felt by all, breathed in and out by all, motivating and animating them to action and feats of great skill both on the battlefield and on the racing track. They saw him as omnipresent in the way the air around you is omnipresent because he was, to them, the very sky itself. He was the sky father.

In this immensity and all pervasive cultural influence, Zeus is very much like the modern conceptions of the Judaeo-Christian God, or perhaps even more so like the all pervasive Brahman of the Hindu religious sphere. A God who is so immense in scope and power that he is everywhere you are at all time. He is around you and in you, and therefore very difficult to come to grips with. Meditating on Zeus becomes difficult when one seeks to understand all of him, and so we are grateful, i think, to the aspected forms the Greeks spoke of in their writings and myths. It was not necessary then, nor is it necessary now, to believe you know Zeus in his entirety. That might even be considered Hubris. It is, however, okay to be intimately and expertly knowledgeable about Zeus in one of his many aspects and to do him honor as such.

So it is that I choose a couple of aspects of Zeus to venerate in my life. The father, for I have none to speak of and so he is it, the sky lord, for the beauty of the thunderstorm is something I have always admired, and that of Zeus as watcher of men.

It is these I hope to explore as I move forward.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

To Zeus Pateras

Zeus Pateras

Lord of the vaulted skies

Watching from high Olympus

Over us, your children.

Grant us your ear.


Zeus Pateras

Lord of the mighty oak

Who whispers from its rustling leaves

To us, your mortal children

Lend us your voice


Zeus Pateras

Father of divine wisdom

Who traffics in the eternal fate

Of your troubled children

Lend us your counsel


Zeus Pateras

Father of the radiant healer

Who metes out sickness and health

To us, your ailing children

Lend us your strength


Zeus Pateras

Lord of eagles

Who fly to the corners of the Eath

To watch your fragile children

Lend us your vigilance


Zeus Pateras

Who sees us from afar

And gives to us nourishing rain

To feed your starving children

Lend us your divinity


Zeus Pateras

Lord of hosts

Who seeks justice in all things

Especially in us, your children

Lend us your divine hand


Blessed may you be, now and forever

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bye Artemis...

I have decided to move on from Artemis, she does not seem at all interested in me.

I have managed to glean some things from her, to learn some new things about myself and her, but I find that I cannot connect to her the way I did with apollo or Athena or even Hephaestos. There is something ominously large about Artemis, a deity so often depicted as a small child in myth, that I think maybe she seeks to have me learn from others before, maybe, I return to her at some point. Life is about learning, after all, and I will continue to learn about the Gods for the rest of my life. Perhaps she will become my tutelary deity later on in life, perhaps not.

Speaking of ominously large, the next deity on this path is Zeus. Talk about large, bold, ominous, and difficult to come to terms with. Unlike my haphazard approach to this until now, however, I may have to put this one into some kind of planned writing schedule, with very specific topics in mind. I am not sure, but be that as it may, I want to hear from people about their experiences with him and with Artemis, I know I don't have many followers here, but since I mirror this on my site, I am hoping to maybe become better engaged with the few people who read this.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

IAmAn Ex-Member of the Westboro Baptist Church

IAmAn Ex-Member of the Westboro Baptist Church

Ever wonder what makes the Westboro Baptist Church so horrible? Check this out, from one of the children of Fred Phelps...

Saturday, June 16, 2012


In passion’s grip
In love’s embrace
In thought and feeling, Goddess take
My heart
My soul
My eternal gratitude, blessed may you be

In days bright light
In nights cool dark
In bliss and ecstasy, Goddess see
My heart
My soul
My eternal gratitude, blessed may you be

In love’s sweet laughter
In lust’s harsh moans
In desire and longing, Goddess feel
My heart
My soul
My eternal gratitude, blessed may you be

In my soft prayers
In my scented smoke
In offerings and sacrifice, Goddess accept
My heart
My soul
My eternal gratitude, blessed may you be


Here I am in Columbus, Ohio for the.annual Stonewall Gay Pride festival which happens here every June. It is called the largest Gay Pride festival in the Midwest, but I have to assume that excludes Chicago, though having been here several times, it would not surprise me of the parade itself was not the biggest even including Chicago.

I left home last night and spent the night doing honor to all those soldiers who have given their all in the east against sexlessness.

Before leaving home I made a small offering to the gods, and one in particular to Aphrodite, goddess of fabulous parties and pride in our sexual and gender differences. I did her proud, I think.

But now it is morning and I am sitting across the street from the Ohio State House, drinking a really good cup of coffee (am I the last one to know Tim Horton has such awesome coffee?) And pondering a few things.

First, I find out annoying that the politicians in the state house, with the help of the Columbus city council have moved the parade route just enough that technically it no longer passes right in front of the state house. It annoys me that our politicians, our so-called representatives, have become like the monarchs of old. If the people are making demands, hide then away and ignore them.

Second, I was pondering the role of Artemis on this day. I have to be honest, I am not sure I can come up with a way in which this particular goddess is of particular influence to a gay man. Yet to lesbians Artemis is known for being important to the exploration of the feminine that lesbianism implies.

My lesbian sisters must, I think, hold a deep respect for a deity that explores and encourages female independence, female strength, female love, and female power over their own fates.

So here I am, a gay man in Columbus, up too early, being taken for a ride by Artemis, who is reminding me, on this day of Pride, to not forget the women who have been fighting the fight for equality along side Al those men who get most of the attention. To remember and honor them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Strike me Athena

In a blinding flash, you strike me.

I am made stronger by your blow.


And as I fall you hold out your hand.

I am made safer by grasping it.


And in the midst of this battle you whisper to me.

And through your words I am made wiser.


It is a battle of wills. 

Mine mortal and fallible, sometimes weak. 

Yours eternal, patient, and strong.


In a moment of weakness I reach out to you.

In recognition of weakness I am strengthened.


In a moment of silence I listen for you.

In the sounds around me I am fortified.


In a moment of terror I see you for what you are.

In that terror I see my reflection.


These are moments of realizations.

Mine of the self, frightening and true.

Yours of revelation, blindingly pure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blessed May You Be

Candles lit in your name

Incense burning in your honor

Loaves of many types made for you

Blessed may you be


Children dancing for your pleasure

Women weaving as you taught

Nude men compete for you

Blessed may you be


Parades to attract you

Processions to show our pride in you

New garments for your statue

Blessed may you be


Many come to honor you

Many come to play

Many come to rejoice in brotherhood

Blessed may you be


The sacred calves are brought forth

The sacrifices are made

The many will be fed today

Blessed may you be


For your guidance they plead

To propitiate you they act

To call you back into the world of man

Blessed may you be

Monday, May 7, 2012

More on disconnection...

So, since I believe that we can be more connected to some Gods than others based on our reactions and decisions, which Gods am I most connected to and why? Which am I not very connected to, and why? Understanding that these are conscious connections, not subconscious or natural connections, since at instinctive, physical, and natural levels we are connected to all of them. 

I am connected first to Athena. I have always been mercurial. Some might say I am bipolar, or Cyclothymic, though I do not have an official diagnosis for any of these except depression, which I got during a brief stint in a psychiatrists office. Through my teens and 20s, and most of my 30s, I suffered through what I call "hyper issues". Stress causes my mind to start running very fast, I get hyper, and once this happens I find it very hard to think clearly, or even though I am thinking clearly, it is happening so fast that I can't keep the thoughts in place long enough to be fully cogent. In other words, I go a bit crazy. It is not at all strange that I would reach out to the divine for help, and I got my answer from Athena. 

I have told this story before, but maybe it bears telling again. During one of my catastrophic turns at employment, of which I have had many, I had a Greek friend named Maria. She invited me to go to Greece, she had family there so we could stay with them and it would not cost that much. I could not go, the short notice would not give me enough time to save up the money (I have been to Europe twice, actually, but never to Greece) So, I asked her to just bring me a souvenir. By this time I'd already made my transition, long before, from Christianity. I'd been exploring the mythic cycles, Norse, Egyptian, even a little of the Greek, but not much of them. My heart was searching for help, for a connection to the divine, and then Maria came back from Greece and handed me a gift, a small statuette of Athena, which still sits on my altar to this day. (over 20 years now)

I am not prone to seeing things as signs, I tend to think too logically for that, even in my most hyper states, all the thoughts are really quite logical, just too fast, but this thing, sitting in my hands, it seemed like a sign to me. I'd been seeking, and Athena sort of bonked me over the head with a statue of herself. It is not coincidence, in my opinion, that the first deity I found myself drawn to this way was Athena, a deity most associated with wisdom, thought, and thoughtfulness. 

From there, I went whole hog. Learning who and what Athena was, I was also forced to see the divine as a far larger thing than I had thought in my upbringing. Learning of Athena also meant learning about Hephaestos and Aphrodite, Ares and Apollo. Of Theseus and Perseus, Herakles and Orpheus. Of Aristotle and Perikles. Of a once living theology that did not seek to limit wisdom, but expand upon it. An imperfect people who were at once highly civilized and deeply barbaric. Of Gods who did not seek to convince us of their perfection, but to accept that all things are light and dark, deep and shallow, and based on our own perceptions, good or bad. 

I've always been gay, but up until this time, I'd been very limited. Growing up as I did meant shying away from sexuality. My mental issues meant I, more often than not, chose to distance myself from people. I sought to seem normal, even though I felt like I was nothing of the sort. In seeking to distance myself, however, I just seemed stranger to the people around me, because I was so very hard to get to know. This is still true of me, and it is something I am trying to change. 

Yet then, in my 20s, with a budding sense of a new reality emerging around me, I also began to accept Aphrodite in my life. Of course, not knowing so much about her, I accepted parts of her but not others. I accepted the sexuality, the eroticism, and the raw physical aspect of the goddess, mostly ignoring the more sublime, emotional, and heavenly aspects. I am a dude, this is not strange, we tend to accept sex before emotion, and for some of us, it is hard to consolidate the two. Learning to do so is a lifelong path, one that Aphrodite continues to help me with. 

During my life I have also tried to end my life. I don't want to go into details, but after one such bout with those suicidal tendencies, I cam to realize that Hades was my "silent patron". That in all of that, death had refused to take me, and I must strive to fight those tendencies, and thanks to him, I have done so for 20 years. I have learned too that it is important to talk about suicide. If I have feelings of a suicidal nature, I should express them, not hold them in for the shame it brings, and by doing so alleviate those feelings. This comes from my acceptance of Aidoneus in my life. 

Hestia is a strange one for me, but since moving away from family, something I should likely like to eventually discuss since they were part of the reasons for my craziness, I have accepted Hestia in my life. I do not own a home, I am an apartment dweller, but this is my home, and in it there is a spirit of "welcoming" that many have commented on in the past, and I think Hestia is the reason. Every morning begins with a candle lighting at her altar, and every night ends with its extinguishing at that altar. 

These four deities form the core of my daily religious life. At some point or another during my every day I think or meditate on them. During work, the most stressful part of my day, Athena and Hades are with me, in my thoughts, and by allowing them in I try to maintain the balance in my head while Hestia and Aphrodite, two very different deities indeed, remind me of why I put myself through the stress that is work. 

As for disconnect, there are certainly some deities with whom I seem to feel little or no connection. 

Though I often pray to him, and I often post prayers to him on my HellenicPrayer twitter feed, I do not actually have much of a connection with Apollo. It is odd to me, because I see Apollo in a similar light as Athena. Both are deities of a high order. They are both deities associated with the heavenly more than the chthonic, yet Athena is a deeply held part of me, while Apollo is not. Oh, he is there, in my body's ability to heal, in my instinct for truth, etc., but those are all instinctive, natural things. 

Hephaestos too is a God with whom I always have a hard time connecting. Perhaps because my work is more service than creation. Perhaps because I don't have a sense of entrepreneurship or a deep sense of ambition. See, Hephaestos is a worker god. One could argue that building a web site and writing this blog is the work he means for me to do, but I don't see this as work, so I find myself often at a loss of to understand him. 

Zeus. I find that there are times when I feel a deep connection to this deity, and certainly I feel it when my heart skips a beat at the sudden sound of a thunderclap that has struck too close for comfort, but Zeus is an enormous being. All the Gods are enormous, mind you, but there is something about Zeus that simply seems too big to handle. He is harder to encapsulate in a theological thought experiment than the others, and while Hades has a similar feeling, I felt Hades' effect on my life directly, while with Zeus it is an all pervasive kind of feeling, and maybe it triggers a defensive mechanism in me. 

Whatever the case with these deities, I accept that at some level or another I am connected to all the Gods, yet on a conscious level, I definitely see some as being very connected and some barely connected, and the rest fall in between. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

With connection comes disconnection

Having posted my theory that all the Gods are in constant action in the world, and that we, as living thinking creatures, feel their influence then decide how to act upon them, I must now ask this question.

Since we feel the influences of the Gods and act upon many, but not all, thus forming connections with some Gods more than others, what of those Gods whose influences we choose not to act upon, are we disconnected from them?

I find the question interesting because it brings to mind the erroneous belief we as human beings seem to have, a conceit really, that we are separate from nature. That anything we do or say is somehow contrary to nature. Is it possible for human beings to disconnect from nature when we are, in fact, part of it? And since nature itself is a kin to a manifestation of the divine Gods and how they interact with each other and space/time, can we, any of us, ever truly be disconnected from any of the Gods?

As I was thinking about this the other day I was watching a TV show about a young woman who was diagnosed with a form of juvenile sociopathy. Now, I am not a psychiatrist, but if I remember correctly, sociopathy is a kind of disconnect between the emotional and the cognitive being. That is to say that although sociopaths often seem like they are emotionless, they are not, they are simply disconnected with their emotions so that they become unable to feel some emotions or others. Empathy, for example, is a big problem among those who suffer from forms of sociopathy, because they can be driven to act upon their impulses, their curiosities, without concern for how it might hurt or affect other people.

So, since emotion and cognition are natural processes, how is it they can be thus disconnected? And if it can happen within our own mental processes, why not with our own mental processes in relation to the influences of divinity?

Whatever the answer to that question may ultimately be, it is clear that people will act upon or be more heavily influenced by some divine forces but not others, and this is not always a matter of choice, but of our inborn instinctive reactions as well as our conscious ones.

I am a little crazy. Some 15 years ago I left Connecticut and moved to Ohio to be with a man I had fallen in love with. That relationship did not last more than a year, but my relationship with Dayton Ohio has lasted, and it has done so for a variety of reasons. The man I moved here to be with was also a Hellenistos, at least in so much as he was basically a Wiccan with Hellenic underpinnings, and while with him I managed to learn a special lesson, that I had not properly turned to the Gods to help me with the issues that had most been my adversaries for most of my life.

Some form of cyclothymia had a hold of me. Mood swings, rage, suicidal tendencies, all had been so strongly a part of me for so many years that I finally found, away from my family, and now alone after he and I split up, they were like demons haunting me. (not literally, mind you)

I had already been a Hellenistos for some time, years in fact, but now I turned to them in earnest. I began to seek out and understand what it was I felt and why, and in doing so I found myself more strongly drawn to the Goddess who had always been my patron deity, Athena. I began to understand that many of the things I felt could be dealt with, internally, by focussing my mind on Athena and seeking her power to ease my emotional mind and give me a stronger sense of logic. It is not a quick thing, it means slowly changing the way one thinks, but in addition to understanding that I could choose to draw on her influence I was also pulling away from another. Ares.

I have mentioned that I believe Artemis is also a goddess of emotion, of instinct and its many impulsive reactions to the world around us, but I have now also come to understand that when I drew on Athena's strength I was also pulling closer to an aspect of Artemis, the aspect of huntress.

The hunter doesn't just kill to kill, but also to control population. The goddess of instinct does not just cause impulses, but allows you to hunt them down in your mind and control them, and as I am getting closer and closer to moving forward in my star pattern, I am beginning to understand how much of who I have become over the last fifteen years has been due to not only the instincts I feel, but her power to force you to confront those instincts in combination with Athena's divine wisdom.

So, now that I have come to this realization, that Athena and Artemis have allowed me to pull away from Ares and his more vicious instinctive influences, where does that leave my relationship to that God? Can I, eventually, come to a good balance between these Gods and when I do, will I know it? Will I be too disconnected from Ares to realize I need him, because while I may never be able to be completely disconnected from him, I may be disconnected enough that I fail to recognize him as he gives me good things.

Am I wrong?

Sunday, April 22, 2012



At this point, I think I need to take some time to examine something important to my personal theology, the interconnectedness of all reality, from the lowest levels to the ultimate wholeness of it, which includes the divine. 


It is important, as always, to remember that none of us knows everything. That certainty in belief is usually the sign of someone who is unwilling to think about what he believes. We have to be willing to see new things and accept or not accept them not based in whether it agrees with what we already know, or think we know, but based on whether or not it makes sense in a logical manner. 


Applying this kind of thinking to religion is, of course, problematic, because religion relies on a few things that, for those inclined to logic, are illogical. Faith, belief (not the same thing, by the way), personal experience, and group experience, often are undefinable, because they are personal, or shared on a limited basis, and as a result cannot be reproduced in a way that allows for examination. 


But it is important to try to apply this kind of thinking even to religion, even if in non-absolute ways. On the topic of totality, the interconnectedness of everything, it is also important to note that both religion and science have a few problems. Religion attempts to explain the totality of all "creation" in terms of the divine, and it is of course necessary to admit to ourselves that we simply do not know divinity in any concrete way. Science attempts to explain the totality of the universe through one of its most demanding and exacting languages, mathematics, and again, even the best scientist has to admit that the theories produced by mathematics cannot be accepted without observation and verification. 


In this science has the upper hand because unlike many who accept things on faith they seek to verify and prove rather than simply accept and not question. In either case, however, there are symbols and important concepts that come to define the cosmos and our place in it in ways that fill us with awe. 


It is my personal belief that the cosmos is like a meeting place for distinct forces, forces we call Gods, but which science may, perhaps, refer to simply as fundamental forces. By this I mean that the cosmos we see around us is the result of the interaction of several forces, like water is the result of the combining of two distinct atoms in a particular configuration (H₂O). Myth, for example, tells us that at the beginning there was chaos, and that from the chaos arose Nyx, Erebus, Aether, Hemera, Eros, and Ge, and probably a couple of others I may be forgetting. To me, these are clearly representative of the fundamental reality of the beginning of the cosmos. 


The big bang is the chaos, a spectacular explosion that renders the nothingness that was (nothingness is not quite right, but I can't think of a better word as I write this) into a turbulent mass of interactions. Nyx is the night, space itself, Erebus is the darkness, beyond the shockwave of the big bang and together, space and darkness are joined and bring about what are often seen as the darker aspects of the divine, such as death and decay. But with the explosion comes Hemera, the day, and Aether, the space within the shockwave. That is, the turbulent space unfolding from the big bang itself. Then there is Eros, a very special power. You see, Eros is there as the chaos of the cosmos begins to coalesce, and as a result, there is gravity, and from gravity there comes matter. Eros, though a weak power in comparison to the chaos around him, is a very pervasive and patient power. It interacts with everything. He draws things together as well as binding them. Then there is Ge, matter itself, which we call The Earth. Together, these forces in interaction, form what we call the universe. 


Of course, we are beginning to understand that the universe is much more than what we can directly observe. It would appear to be multi dimensional, some dimensions perhaps being hidden from our view yet at the same time interacting with the rest of the cosmos. Things like Dark Matter are poised to be proven without doubt, even if the proof we already have is nearly conclusive enough for all but the most stubborn. 


For us, however, I want to consider the interactions of our Gods and how they affect us. 


See, we are living, thinking creatures, but we are not in any way separate from the universe. We like to think we are, but we are not. Everything about us, our behavior, our thinking processes, all of it follows the "laws" of the cosmos. Laws which are part and parcel of how the Gods interact with different things. 


For this conversation, we accept that the Gods are in some way or another synonymous with the forces that drive the universe. And we accept, though it is not really a matter of faith but provable fact, that we are affected by those forces on a daily basis. 


The forces of the cosmos, the Gods, are all pervasive. A God does not decide one day to shoot you with the arrow of love just to fuck with you, for example, but we are affected by them continually, and we are forced to endure ebbs and flows of their influence based not just on the forces themselves, but our interaction with them, because in spite of our influence from the divine forces of the universe, we are still thinking creatures with free will, and so our decisions affect how we cause those influences to be stronger or weaker in our lives. 


So, we are constantly being influenced by Artemis. It is a primal power, one that forces us to make decisions on a daily basis because hers is a power that is instinctual. Hers is a power that drives us to behave in ways that make sense from a purely instinctive perspective. It is part of our animal instincts, part of our survival and predatory instincts. But, Artemis is more than that, and so as we interact with her power, her force, her natural essence, we must rely on our own mental ability, our own sense of logic, of emotional stability to set how we react to that influence. 


But it is more than that, because just as we are being influenced by Artemis, we are also being influenced by Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Dionysos, Hephaestos, Ares, and Hestia. We are, in fact, being influenced by all the Gods to different degrees, always. 


I think that the influences of various Gods, and their various aspects, is different on different levels of the cosmos. Eros, for example, is a force that draws things together. He draws light to the black hole, but he also draws men together in friendship, and lover to each other. It is not an emotion, the way Aphrodite's power manifests, but a deeply instinctual need in mankind to be one with another. A deep need for companionship and contact. It is easy to see how one aspect of his power, the literal force of gravity, can be seen as more powerful than the other, the need for human interaction, but both have a deep impact on their respective fields of influence. 


But when we are drawn to others, and then also influenced by Aphrodite we have that wonderful mix of emotions we call lust and love, and when another influence, a need for bonding, to form a family unit comes into play, you are now being influenced by yet a third power, Hera, and it is the combination of these, that forms the union we call marriage, in whatever permutation it may manifest in your life. 


We begin to see that the many influences of the Gods can become complex. The trifold influences that create the basic family unit can then be infused with others, like the wisdom of Athena, as we have children and seem to impart our knowledge to them, and the power of Ares, and contentious issues brought about by individual characteristics create friction in the family (Eris) and again, the Wisdom of Athena must be brought to bear to fix the problems that may arise, or perhaps dissolve the union for the greater good of the individuals. 


In groups, the influences become even more complex. Ties of friendship, civic duty, fear, aggression, all manifest in the group just as they do in the individual, and in groups we are influenced yet again. From the influence of artistry from Hephaestos and Apollo applied to create beauty for the group to enjoy to the use of those very same influences to create implements of war to defend the group, we see that these influences carry weight and force our hand (in reaction to them) on a daily basis. From the smallest family unit to the largest nation.


So, understanding this, and understanding that on a physical level, these same forces apply to far greater things, the way gravity, a relatively weak force, can also create the monstrosity that is a black hole, so too do the forces of attraction and instinct (things behaving as they do because they must) affect us deeply even as we often seek to deny those influences. 


The power of man lies there, in that innate ability to decide how to act. In accord with those influences or in denial of them. It is our ability to decide what to act upon that makes us what we are, and it is in deciding what influences mean the most of us that we decide which Gods we have the most contact with on a daily basis, and in turn, which are most likely to receive our adoration and worship. 


Blessed be, and happy earth day!

Flowering Aphrodite

It starts as always
The blessed Earth
Her flesh made moist
Her heart made fertile

And by the edge
Where sea and earth meet
There steps forth a form of utter beauty

To the carpet
Of bright green grass
She steps and walks newborn
Attended by the seasons of the world

And at the edges
Where plant meets sky
There emerges a bud

Into bright bloom it grows
Bright and delicate
The stunning rose
In subtle imitation of its mistress

Into the air
The scent flies
Free and alluring

That beauteous flower
Gorgeous beyond all others
Yet but a pale manifestation
Just a reflection of her divine beauty

Thursday, April 5, 2012

By the light of Morning...

By the light of morning

In the chill air

We greet you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun



And at this hour

And with all our hopes laid bare

We seek you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun



For when the Sun rises

And the light of day kisses our skins

We will know you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun



So watch us today

As we play, as we toil

Watch and guard over us, o Helios, Lord of the Sun


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Puritanical Attitudes...

I am a dude.

A man.

I like to think about sex, have sex, and then think about it some more. It is the way I am built, as a man, and I don't apologize for it or try to hide it behind façades of puritanical saintliness, and neither should you. And, I say I am a man as part of the introduction there because in our patriarchal culture, these are things generally accepted about men, but if you are a woman, and you think about sex, like sex, and have lots of sex, you shouldn't apologize either. 

Since I am focusing on Artemis during this path on my star, and if you are unaware, this is what I am talking about:

Meditation star


I started at the 12 o'clock position, with Hestia, and then followed the path to each as I found myself reaching a point of terminus in my meditations of the God in question. The rotation goes toward the right, so, Hestia to Apollo, Apollo to Hera, etc. At this point, I am at Artemis, and have been for some time. There is no time limit, just at some point I reach a moving on feeling, and do so.

So, because I am at the Artemis point, I have been pondering sex in relation to what Artemis represents to us, in our modern world, with regard to sex. As I have posted, Artemis is a Goddess of instinct, of nature, etc., and as such she is also part of the mating instinct. Not the actual sexual intercourse part, but of the instincts that drive us to propagate the species. But that doesn't change the fact that sex is part of my life, our lives, and on a daily basis we all encounter things that make us think of sex, want sex, seek out sex. 

And if this is the case, if even the chaste Artemis is intrinsically tied to the human sexual drive on some level, then is it fair for us to subscribe to the highly puritanical and sex hating attitudes that our culture, and Christianity, try to push on us, even if it is done hypocritically in a nation where sex sells?

I have to admit that, in spite of my free thinking with regard to sex, I am still trapped in the puritanical attitudes of our culture. And if anything, Artemis is calling on me to set myself free from these, to learn to love all aspects of myself regardless of how society views me. That includes my homosexuality, my slight bisexuality, my love of comic books, my inability to dress worth a damn, etc. And if I like having a threesome from time to time, then so be it, accept that and be open and honest about it.

Now, this may seem odd, but it seems to be on a path to helping me release myself from the shyness that has often trapped me, caged me, and made me feel inferior to others. I often see people having fun and wonder what it must be like to be like them, to be so free, yet in other ways I also look at people and wonder how they can live so trapped by strictures and sexually repressive attitudes. How can they live their whole lives in closets.

But we all have closets, don't we? We all need to crack open those doors and step out to see that there is a lovely forest of wonders awaiting us, and all we need to do to be realized, to be free, is to run through it naked and unafraid. Puritanical ideas are something we have to liberate ourselves from, and it is an uphill battle, because Christianity has broken us down, forced us into some kind of weird slavery that, even when we let go of Christ, even when we realize Christianity is a lie, it is still  something we have to battle in the culture, because the entire culture has been permeated with it. As Hellenistoi, Pagans, Wiccans, Asatruar, whatever you may be, we have to learn to separate ourselves from the notions that enslave us to Christianity, and that includes sex, because we as a people must allow ourselves to be what we are, without them telling us we have to be something else.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


On the opposite side lies malevolence, the desire to do wrong or harm to others.


The ancients saw many forms of malevolence in the world. They believed in things like magical charms, curses, and spirits that sought vengeance for wrong done to them. The ancients also believed that the Gods could act in ways that would seem malevolent to us. They could punish us, sometimes for great misdeeds, like the killing of a parent, or for small things, like not offering the proper respect to their temples. But the malevolence of the Gods, if we choose to even call it that, is not one based in evil. The Gods did not act out of hatred toward us, though one could argue the myths of the persecution of the wives of Zeus by his divine wife Hera are filled with hatred, they fall into a different category of myth than I am discussing here, because one could argue that the many wives of Zeus, the mortal and divine women he impregnated all over creation, were mythologically linked to Hera herself, aspects of her, but that is a discussion for the future I think.


When Artemis changes Actaeon into a stag, she does not kill him, she offers him the ability to survive. When Semele foolishly asks Zeus to see him in his divine form (naked, if you will) he warns her, begs her almost, to ask for something else, anything else, before he finally acquiesces and kills her in the process. When Arachne challenges Athena, she does so knowing there is a price, a price she is willing to pay. Humanity makes bad choices, and the Gods make the price clear. Failure can bring you misery, but failure to try, to seek, to explore the possibilities is part of who and what we are.


We humans, however, have a tendency to lay blame. On each other, on the Gods, on nature itself, and seldom do we seem to take responsibility for one particular thing, that we are creatures of free will and we choose to take these risks that sometimes bring us misery and misfortune. The Gods merely give us opportunity, and perhaps shine a light in the right way from time to time, but what the Gods think is the right path and what you may perceive as the right path are different things. The Gods do, after all, have a vast point of view not limited by space and time (meaning not limited to aging and mortality) and so that path that brought you misery yesterday may be the path you needed to take, the lessons you needed to learn in order to become something great tomorrow.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Been thinking of starting a Facebook group linked to this site, and I thought this might be a good logo

Shadowofolympus logo


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Welcome the Morning

I awake, early and cold

My skin objecting as I move to the freezing air.


I walk out into the air

The sky is still dark and the moon still shines brightly


I turn to face East

And there the sky is starting to change colors


I close my eyes to venter myself

And from my lips a prayer is released to the aether


I sing you a song, lord of the rising sun

As my soul is made purer by this act of mortal devotion


I say a thank you, my naked body shivers

And as I speak your holy name I am made warm by your presence


Helios, I say, thank you and welcome

And into my life you come, your warmth, your light, your watchful eye.


I kneel in the Earth, it is still moist from rain

And rise and turn to return to the shelter of home


I shiver again and am reminded

That fragile are we who adore you and not grateful enough for your love.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Since I am pondering the parts...

Since I am pondering the parts of Artemis, and I am trying to come to terms with what they all mean, I want to touch on a different aspect of my personal theology that may prove useful.

I call them detached or autonomous aspects. These are aspects of deities that take on a life of their own. Aspects of deities which, in the mythic cycle and even in popular belief, become independent entities. These aspects of deities can actually be aspects of many different deities which are seen by the people as the same mythic figure. In practice, there is a fine line between acknowledging Gods and their aspects and angeloi, which I see as small aspects or pieces of a deity which behave like independent beings.

What do I mean by this? I will use a couple of examples...

The Erotes

The Erotes are like little angelic beings that in myth act at the behest of Aphrodite to pierce the hearts of people with their arrows of emotion. In essence, they are little aspects of her, the little bits of her that inspire the varying heart felt emotions of our lives. Things like infatuation, love, jealousy, desire, lust. Are they literal beings? Probably not, but through poetry we have made them real. We recognize in ourselves a little bit of the Goddess of Love and Emotion, and so we picture each of our hearts, our emotional centers, as being manipulated by these little critters. But they are all really her.


Medusa is a different kind of figure. A vengeful spirit, some might even say malevolent, yet also protective. The myth of Medusa is based in the larger epic cycle of the Greeks as the heroes of their legends sought to go forth and conquer the world around them, which included conquering their own fears, fears like Medusa, who represented to them the bitter outrage and fearsome vengeance of the Gods. 

Unlike the Erotes, however, Medusa is not the aspect of a single deity, but rather, an aspect of many as well as an aspect of feminine rage, a rage that must have festered in the hearts of many women in ancient times when women were so ill treated by men. One imagines that in today's world, that same avenging spirit remains very much alive. The essence of what Medusa represents is still very much active in the world today, a world in which women are still often little more than slaves under the thumb of barbaric patriarchal religions like Islam, and no, I won't apologize for that characterization, as I won't apologize for the same characterization of Christian churches which still insist on calling woman the subservient sex.

But the power of what Medusa represents is also something different. The vengeance and protection of the Gods themselves, especially the Goddesses. The myth of Medusa, or rather, of the Gorgons, is rooted in very ancient times, and that of Medusa herself, a mortal woman turned into a Gorgon, is rooted in the mythology of Athena, a goddess known for her rather terrible temper when it comes to propriety. But that myth is also rooted in the idea that the rape of women calls on a deep, dark, power of vengeance, a power that can turn men to stone. That is, paralyze them.

When Medusa is raped in the temple of Athena by none other than Poseidon, Athena, in her rage, transforms her into a Gorgon. To the Classical Greeks this seemed a punishment, but perhaps to earlier people it was understood as something more. Perhaps they understood that this tale spoke of the ultimate violation of a nation, the nation of Athena, being violated by another and the nation itself rising up with power beyond anything it once had and lashing out, protecting itself in the future. See, Athena did not simply transform the poor maiden into a monster, she transformed her into a creature that could protect itself against any attack. That it is Athena herself who in the mythic tale of Perseus helps him kill her, though not her power, indicates that the Goddess has retaken her power, she has made her nation strong. That in her nation women were often little more than property is one of the great dichotomies of the ancients, but myth tells us of happenings, not necessarily of the moral values of those happenings.

Ancient people placed an effigy or mask of Medusa at their home entrances, this symbolized protection, and in this we see a transformation of Medusa, from nearly demonic creature to protective spirit, and so again it seem to represent the power of a divine being.

Both of these types of beings, the angelic, and the demonic (not demonic in the Christian sense) represent aspects of greater powers, but in the case of Gorgons, Furies, Muses, Graces, etc., these can represent more than one being. The Muses can represent inspiration, but the inspiration of Apollo, or Zeus, or Hera, or Athena. The Furies can represent the anger of Gaea, or the vengeance of Persephone. The Gorgons also represent many, and in so doing so, are as agents of greater powers.

They are such because we human beings tend to understand them as such, because in them we are able to separate the aspects of the great Gods that seem undignified or dark and place them somewhere more fierce or terrifying. It would seem unbefitting of the Holy Mother of all things to lash out at us with destruction, so her power made manifest in the world around us can seem like that of Furies, as can the power of any Goddess.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

At odds with Artemis.

I find myself at odds with Artemis. I think, perhaps, because it is Winter, I am not finding myself in the proper mood and state of mind to explore the aspects of this goddess that is a force of nature. There are still woods and wills and deer in Winter, of course, but it becomes harder to set out and try to put myself in their midst at this time of year.

It is not, of course, necessary to do this, this goddess has so many facets that I could explore them and leave the others to the coming Spring, but I find that I prefer to be dragged, kicking and screaming into whatever the Gods make available than to try to force it. 

So far, however, I have come across an aspect of this goddess that forces us to look into our faith and come to terms with what it means to believe in something so surely that you know it to be truth, even if others do not agree. Artemis, I think, forces us to look at this because she, perhaps more than any other goddess in the Hellenic pantheon, is mired in contradiction. Artemis, the virgin, is also the huntress. Artemis, the protector of children can also be the killer of women. Artemis, the mother, can also kill niobe's children. Artemis, the healthy runner in the woods, can also be Artemis the plague.

This isn't uncommon in Pagan religious theology and iconography. Unlike the Christians (and the other Abrahamic faiths) the Greeks did not try to force their Gods to be either all good or all bad. They understood that these beings, these divine forces of nature and the universe, acted from a place far more vast than our own, and as such, some of the things they did seemed bad from our perspective.

But for some deities, this can come off as too much. It is not that I question her power or her good will or anything like that, but that I am having trouble putting them into a series of parts in my mind that make a whole. For this, I will have to take some time this Spring and try to connect to her more natural aspects, her more pervasive energies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Say no to SOPA


Bios and Zoë

Thinking about the arrows of the Gods, symbolic as they are of divine interaction with the mortal world, I am brought once more to a concept which must be central to any consideration of the Gods, the concepts of life.

I remember reading, a long time ago now in another city in another state in what seems a different life in Walter Burkert's book on Dionysos that the Greeks had more than one word meaning life. These were not simply synonyms, however, but conceptually different words that when used expressed different things about life.

The first word relevant to this discussion is Bios, from which we get the word stem bio as in biology. Bios is mortal life, biological life, life based in the animal and vegetable world. We know today that this life is based on things like cells, DNA, RNA, and is organic in nature, meaning based on the organic element carbon. Biological life is strictly mortal. It begins, reproduces, and eventually ends. In doing so, it also mutates and changes, improving and evolving as it interacts with the environment around it, an environment which is often very hostile to it. Biological life adapts, and that is its greatest strength.

Biological life is linked, and is reliant on, its environment. It exists as part of the very natural rules, physical laws, that make the universe itself possible because it arises from them. Terrestrial life is linked directly to the elements and conditions that the Earth provides, and it adapts to suit it, being forced to do so as it survives. Life on Earth is of Earth. It contains within it the very elements that make up the Earth, from carbon to metals and complex molecules created by geological processes long ago. The Earth gave birth to us, and we are part and parcel of it just as we are part of our mortal parents.

The planet Earth, however, is also mortal. It came into being, it exists and continues to change and evolve, and one day it will die, the internal processes that keep it going slowing down and stopping, like the heart of an animal stops. Perhaps it will be destroyed, the sun growing and engulfing it as it progresses into a new stage in its "life", because the sun too is mortal. One day it will grow and then shrink, leaving behind a simple white dwarf, and eventually even that will dim and die away, forgotten in the broad arm of the galaxy. And the galaxy too is mortal. Mother to the sun and earth, it too will eventually be torn apart by a collision with a sister galaxy, perhaps merging into one, or being destroyed as two new galaxies form around the cores that continue to grow and swallow up matter, the enormous super massive black holes.

And yes, they too are mortal, slowly leaking information in minute particles, and one day when the stars have burned out and the former galaxies are nothing but enormous black holes drifting in the vastness of space/time, they will slowly dissipate and die, and then the universe, also mortal, will settle and die a cold lonely death.

We share in that universal nature, the one thing all things in the universe have in common, their mortality.

Biological life, then, is an organic manifestation, on a small scale, of the reality of the universe, and we, who have adapted and changed to suit the environment it throws at us have grown into thinking rational creatures that can ponder this very reality.

But Biological life, the Bios, is dependent on the universe, which while mortal seems to us eternal in the same way that the universe relies on far greater things that are not actually mortal, but are truly eternal, truly immortal. We call them Gods (or God, if you have been brainwashed into thinking there is only one) and they exist as a form of life called Zoë.

Although we get the stem Zo, as in Zoo and Zoological, from Zoë, the term in a religious sense indicates life as a constant, ever present, eternal thing. The Gods are categorized not as Bios, but as Zoë, because they do not take part in the same processes of life that Bios does. We call this form of life divine, and we call the individuals Gods, which we honor, worship, or otherwise acknowledge as having an important role not only in our lives but in the very life of the universe itself.

Unlike Bios, which is self contained and individual, divine life is more diffuse, more spread out into the very universe itself, and it is not possible to think of them, the Gods, as being even limited in terms of interaction, for they overlap, merge, cross each other, combine and separate, and are, for all intents and purposes present in all things, living or not, organic or not, in various combinations.

Zoë is part of the eternal realm. The Eleventh dimension, that dimension of space which is the container of all things. It is timeless (eternal) and spaceless (infinite) and we call this realm by many names. In our religion, Olympus, Elysium, Tartarus, and Hades are names we give to different aspects of this realm. The life of this realm is, by its nature, eternal (having no beginning and no end) and infinite (having no spatial limitation) and are, here, privy to all of existence.

Unlike Bios, Zoë is vast. An individual God is infinite in form and has no need to account for time. One would even wager that the concept of time itself is likely a difficult one for such beings. One might even ask if the universe itself, molded and guided as it is by the Gods, is not a kind of experiment on their part to understand these concepts. But I tend to think they are beyond such games and could find easier ways to understand such things.

Unlike Bios, Zoë has no need to reproduce, but they do create. They have no death, but they do change. They have no need of sustenance, yet are fed by our adulation. The universe is as a laboratory of sorts, I admit, but it is also something else. Their work of art. Their child. Their most cherished creation, for it is given by them a portion of their own being, which to us seem not like people, but powerful forces, forces that act in accordance with their natures but always in balance with the other forces of nature.

That Bios seeks to understand them by clothing in flesh like its own is not so mysterious, what remains a true mystery is if, perhaps, there is a small spark of them in each of us, what happens to them when those small sparks rejoin them, become part of the whole universe again. Does my life bless that spark with something good, something wonderful, or will my ultimate gift to the Gods be my misery, hatred, and unwillingness to change. 

I think I shall endeavor to bless that spark with a little joy, a little pleasure, and a little love.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Arrows of the Twins

The question of faith brings up a question. How much of myth, legend, and poetic storytelling should be taken literally, how much as fancy, and how much of it should we assume is meant to teach us something about ourselves, about the Gods, and about the paths of life?

They are questions meant for individual consideration, of course, as each of us has to decide this for ourselves, but I do think it important that we who have walked this path longer reach out with our words so that those who come along behind us are not lead astray by overly zealous or overly literal interpretations of ancient texts.

The title of this post is The Arrows of the Twins, and I titled it that because those arrows, metaphorical arrows I should say, are part of the issue at hand. In myth, several deities are said to shoot arrows at mortals, an act of aggression at best, yet these arrows are almost always allegories for things such as disease, health, love, hate, jealousy, etc. When Eros fires his arrows into the hearts of men it is an allegory for the lust that we men are prone to. When the Apollo fires poisonous arrows, they are allegories for disease, and when Artemis fires her arrows at a birthing mother, it is an allegory for that most tragic of deaths.

The ancients understood, as we sometimes forget, that the Gods are not so much super-people as they are unimaginable forces of nature. Forces beyond our power to fully understand, yet which we must try to understand if we are to grow and evolve as sapient creatures. When we speak to newcomers to our path, our religion, we must try to be clear about this because the mythology studies in schools are useless in educating them about more than the idea that the Greeks were a silly people who believed in a man riding a chariot in the sky.

We must make it clear to them all that our myths are heavily allegorical and that the nature of the Gods is essentially unknowable, even if we can come very close to understanding some of their aspects. That with the good comes the bad, because the Gods act not to satisfy our whims but to assure the balances that keep the universe running.

The Gods are not evil, nor are they good, those are concepts brought to us by the friendly neighborhood Christians who would like nothing better than to convince you that you are an impure sinner that needs them to save you. We must reassure them that the arrows of the Gods are not meant to hurt us or save us, but to assure of us the full breadth of life, which sometimes includes suffering and sometimes joys beyond imagining. We must be willing to question them as well, because the arrows of jealousy can be balanced by the whispers of wise counsel in our ears and the recklessness of love can be balanced by the knowledge that the arrows of Apollo can sicken and weaken you.

We do not have a moral guide in our religion. Even if we did, it would be woefully outdated and old fashioned, so we must remind our young charges that the arrows of the gods can strike and that the best defense is to recognize them and act in accordance with the principals of wisdom, balance, and caring. And so, Apollo and Artemis can strike us down only that we may get back up, stronger and better than ever, but we, not they, make the decision if that happens.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Since I started on the Artemis point of the star, some things have been on the periphery of my consciousness, things that seem to be pointed out by the world around me. I think most of us know what it's like to have something brought to mind in a meditation or a prayer and then have the world around you constantly reminding you of it.

As part of my work, which is actually work I am trying to do on myself, not necessarily for the gods, I find the idea of faith coming up over and over again. I am especially troubled but the confusion we Americans seem to have about what faith means and how it relates to belief.

What do I mean by that?

In all manner of discourse I now hear people saying "I believe" or "I don't believe" with regard to things they see in the real world. This is a kind of negation of reality, especially with regard to things people like to speak about  but which they actually know nothing, or little, about. It is this same kind of discourse which has brought to the fore things like the debate between creationism and evolution.

On both sides, people will say that they believe their way is correct, yet know little by way of the other side of the argument. This proves a problem in any rational discourse, because people will simply dig in to what they "believe" without ever giving the other person a chance to make a logical argument. What makes it worse, however, is that as a result, even when something is proven more likely, or possibly proven true by science, those who "believe" may simply decide that to hear such proof is blasphemy and therefore refuse to hear it.

This is not faith. This is simply stubborn refusal of reality.

Faith is a form of belief, but it is not, should not be, a stubborn refusal to accept facts. To deny the earth is a globe, for example, because an ancient tome says it is flat would be to expose oneself as an idiot.

Not, that is not faith.

Faith is trust. Trust that the Gods, in whatever form you may worship them, have a hand in the workings of the universe, and that regardless of how science reveals their work to play out (how they accomplish these works) you can still hold on to the reality of their existence. And faith can stand up to the scientific disproving of ancient myth, because myth, like science, has always been a way for humanity to explain the world around them.

You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, and you don't throw the Gods out with quantum physics.

Why it is Artemis that has set me to pondering this I don't know, but it is perhaps as a way to prepare me for when I am ready to move forward, because when I do I will have to face my definitions of faith and belief.