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.