Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Athena Soteira

Having spoken about Sthenias (strength) as an epithet of Athena, allow me now to enter into the realm of Soteira, meaning Savior, as an epithet of Athena.

In the realm of the ancient religion(s) Athena was looked upon as a tremendously vigorous goddess. She was always in motion. Here and there in the blink of an eye, running through the battlefields, screaming her war cry. A Goddess of motion and forethought, applying both with wisdom in defense of civilization.

As myth tells it, Athena gave to man the olive (it’s cultivation and use) and the harnessing of the horse, a gift of Poseidon. Poseidon’s gift, one of nature, full of power and potential, Athena’s gift one of control, taming, and putting to use that which is natural. Applying reason to the problems that held us back. The olive, not just a potential food source, the horse, not just an animal. Athena, essentially, made it possible for Athens to rise out of the land and become the great city that it was, civilizing Attica.

But as this land grew in art and civilization,  so too would it come into contact with war, and in this, Athena was savior. The city would see battle, siege, and even destruction, but Athena wasn’t in the city, in the stone and wood that made up its buildings, she was in the heart of its people, and that spirit, that wise power of defense and strategy, allowed the people to not only survive, but to thrive even among the ruins of their city as the Greek people rose up against the Persians, and even later, in Christian times, this city would thrive and survive with that same spirit, the spirit of a divine savior in their hearts.

On a personal level, Athena, as I have said, has saved me more than I can recount. Her spirit guides me, allows me to control the rages of emotion that so often cloud my mind, and brings calm to my heart. I am not always successful, after all, it is I who must work to control my own mind, but there, under it all, I can feel that little push. Perhaps you would call it my subconscious, perhaps you would call it just another mental process, but it is one that is always there, unbidden, reassuring me that I am ok, that things will be ok, and all I have to do is trust and act with wisdom rather than simple impulse, and I will be saved from myself.

Soteiros/a/o means savior, and yes, it applies to many Gods, because for all of us, there comes a time when those Gods we worship save us, cementing our faith, and I do not mean to imply here that Athena is the only savior, but rather than if you are of a believing nature, then open your heart to the divine and allow yourself to feel them there. Salvation, not from hell or whatever other BS organized religion tries to frighten people with, but from the metaphorical demons in your own mind is out there, you just have to reach for it and be open to doing what you need to to achieve it. For me, Athena, Lady of Wisdom, is that force that allowed me to say I am a better man now than I have ever been, and tomorrow I shall be better still.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hail o Daughter of Zeus

Hail, o Daughter of Zeus

Hear me as I pray
I beg not for goods
Nor for a life made easier
Nor do I ask that you lighten my load as I make my way

I ask only that you walk by me
An eternal reminder that I am not now, nor will I ever be alone in this world

Hail, O Lady of Wisdom
Bless me with your pressence

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apollo, kyrios

Apollo, kyrios, lord of light
 who dwells in splendor and heals the wounds of body and mind
 bless us one and all with your presence

Apollo, theios, lord of medicine
 who speaks the wisdom of Zeus and sings with divine power
 bless us all with strength and vigor

Apollo, aionios, lord of music
 who dances with Muses and sets the hearts of maidens ablaze
 bless us all with artistry and peace

Apollo, omorphos, lord of dance
 who brightens the day and hunts through the night
 bless us all with sure aim and follow through


Whose armor glints with the light of the heavens
Whose sword is swift and sure
Warrior Queen

Whose eyes are grey and thoughtful
Whose words entice with logic
Whose thoughts are sacred to the minds of men

Whose hands work yarn into cloth
Whose work is beauteous and strong
Whose beneficent power is tempered by the shield of Zeus

O Lady of Wisdom
O Lady of War
O Lady of Workmanship

O Virgin Lady Athena
Να μας ευλογήσει με τα δώρα σας

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Hera

Great Hera, Queen of the highest mountain
Lady of sacred unions
Defender of Oaths
Grant us your presence

Divine Hera, Queen of the bright blue sky
Lady of Argos
Defender of Cities
Grant us your strength

Heavenly Hera, Queen of Gods and Men
Lady of Heroes
Defender of Widows
Grant us the will to persevere

Blessed Hera
Be with us

Monday, November 10, 2014

Taking a moment to explain… Religion?

I was recently asked in a personal conversation what my religion was. The answer to that is actually simple, it is Hellenismos, but answering that question to the satisfaction of people who do not know what it is can be tricky because often people have a gut reaction to things that are not like they think they should be.

The simple answer to what is Hellenismos is that it is the polytheistic, pre-Christian religion of the Hellenic people, the Greeks.

The answer to what is MY religion, however, is a bit different than just saying "Hellenismos" because I am my own person, and I am more of a psiritual person than a religious person as I do not follow any creed, or a particular philosophy, of which the Greeks had many.

But what is the difference? What is Spiritual versus Religious? That answer requires my own interpretation of those words and that interpretation may be different for different people. So, here it is!

Religion/Religious is a system or paradigm of belief and practice. Catholics are Catholics because they believe in the teachings of the Church, including its sacraments, its social agendas, its theological theories, etc. A Jew is Jewish (here using the word as a descriptor of the religion only) because they believe in the teachings and philosophies of the Jews as they have been passed down for centuries, including sacred feasts, ritual, prayer styles, etc.

Spirituality, though the name seems to imply it, has nothing to really do with the belief in spirit, or soul, or the afterlife, but rather in establishing a personal connection to the divine not guided by any particular philosophy or creed but by a personal sense that the divine is real.

People who follow a particular religion/philosophy often do not have to explore what divinity is, their church or religious tradition has already done that thinking for them, and they have faith that that explanation is the correct one.

People who are spiritual often spend their entire lives exploring what divinity is, what it is not, and how it affects them in their daily lives.

I am a spiritual person, and I subscribe to a paradigm, but I am not bound by it in such a way as to stop me from exploring, changing my mind, and making new discoveries about myself and the divine.

The paradigm I subscribe to is what some people call "Soft Polytheism", which means I do believe that there are more than on deity, and that they affect, or manifest, to different people in different ways, but that there is not an infinite number of them, therefore, though I adore my religious beliefs and feelings, I do not proselytize because people must find, IMO, their own divine reality.

I may disagree with the way different people interpret the divine, but I adore people whose faith is sincere in their own hearts as much as I dislike intensely people who feel they must force their own beliefs on other people. This applies to people who believe in the divine and people who do not. If your ideas are sincere, I can accept that you have them.

I do not, however, have any respect for people who choose to believe in things manifest in our every day reality that are proven to be patently false. Gravity is real, it doesn't matter if you believe in it or not, it is a provable quality of our universe. The Earth is not just six thousand years old, it can be proven to you, and your denial of that proof is only a stubborn unwillingness to see reality, and in my opinion, a sign of a profound stupidity.

I also have zero respect for people who claim to adhere to a theological philosophy, a religious tenet, yet pick and choose which parts of it to adhere to based on their own convenience and as a means to reinforce their own bigotries and intolerance.

Do I do that? There are some who say I must, but that is why I do not adhere to any one particular philosophy. I don't adhere to Platonism, or Stoicism, or Pythagorianism, or any of the myriad schools of thought that the Greeks created from their ceaseless explorations into thought and the world around them.

So, yeah, Hellenismos. That means Zeus and Hera and Athena and all that, but to me that is one of the many forms the divine, the Gods, take in the world, but I chose a long time ago that this form, this paradigm, was the one that worked for me, and I have stuck with it and the many roads to a better me it has offered me.

Life is a journey, and mine has been a roller coaster of pain, of abuse, of depression, of suicidal tendencies, and part of what saved me was this exploration of the Gods through the lens of Hellenic thought and religion.

I owe them my life, and am forever grateful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Never Am I

Never alone am I
when you stand beside me
grey-eyed and glorious
in armor resplendent

Lady of Battles

Never without am I
when you whisper in my ear
pure and inviolate
with words divine

Lady of Wisdom

Never incapable am I
when you teach me your ways
brilliant and knowledgable
in the warp and weft

Lady of Weavers

Never unprotected am I
when you grant me your armor
strong and talented
in the hot work of the forge

Lady of Metalwork

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Queen of the Dark World

Queen of the Dark World
Destroyer of light
Hear us

Wife of Hades
Bestower of gifts
Hear us

Daughter of Zeus
Granter of desires
Hear us

Let us never be lead astray
Or seek you in your realm before our time

Daughter of Demeter
Maiden of the Springtime
Hear us

Ruler of Shades
Guardian of secrets
Hear us

Goddess of the Unseen
Majestic Kore
Hear us

Let us never fear you
Nor by your power be cowed

Divine Persephone
Hear us

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apollo Mantra/Prayer

O mighty Apollo
O divine God
Healer of ills
Come to me and bless me with your presence!

Ο ισχυρός Απόλλωνα
O θεία Θεού
Θεραπευτής των δεινών
Ελάτε σε μένα και να ευλογήσει με την παρουσία σας!

Any help in improving the Greek is welcome.

Monday, September 29, 2014

To the Erniyes

Endless Allecto
 of dark aspect
 who sees the sins of man

Punishing Tisiphone
 with serpents in your hair
 who punishes the wickedness of man

Enraged Megaera
 seeker of justice
 whose heart is maddened by man's cruelty

Erinyes of blood and sin born
 pure of heart and intent

Bring us justice
 when it is needed most
Bring us vengeance
 when justice fails
Bring us the light of reason
 that we may know the difference

Saturday, September 20, 2014

O Helios, Sun God

In hues of gold and rose as the moon rises
Your light fades in the West
And your all seeing eyes look to another land
O Lord of the upper air
Giver of light

In the darkness of night, your sister stands guard
Her pale light but a reflection upon her silver robes
And her all seeing eyes watch as we sleep
The darkness conceiling her love
Growing older every night

And late on, as your return approaches
Blessed Dawn prepares for her moment
Fleeting though it may be
To shine forth in hues of blue and rose
And bring hope once more as the cock crows

And then, O Lord, giver of light
You return to us
Your all seeing eyes falling upon us once more
Our hearts made to rejoice at the site of you
We praise and adore you, O Helios, Sun God

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Riotous Life

In sombre silence they pray
In joyous riot we celebrate
In silent vigil they sit
In wild abandon we remember

That Gods of life, of joy, of laughter
And in their names we should but celebrate the gifts given
And give thanks for that which we are

Dancing this chaotic rite we call life

Lift your hands and pray
Yell it to the sun itself
And be made one with their divinity
For that is what you have always been

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Athena Sthenias

Sthenias, it means vigor or strength, and as an epithet it means giver of strength, and in this aspect, this Goddess has saved me, my life even, more than once. I call to her to grant me the strength to handle what the world throws at me, and if I let her in, she never fails. Be it a sudden clarity of thought, or a push to stop and breath and gather my inner resources, Athena has always been able to encourage me to be strong and to survive, even in those dark dark moments when I had already given up.

Now, when I say grant me strength, I want to make it clear that I don’t mean that the goddess magically gives me strength I do not possess, rather, that calling upon her, that allowing her into my thoughts allows me to tap into my own strength, a strength I am often not sure I possess. But it is there, and in allowing myself to reach out to something greater than myself, to her, I am able to release my own mind from the turmoil and chaos that may be stopping it from acting as it should.

I am sure I must sound like a mess to you, that’s ok, perhaps I am, but I am aware of my own weaknesses in a way many are not, and I am not afraid to admit that I must sometimes seek the aid of the Gods, especially my beloved Athena, to get through the day. The cynic in me speaks to me and says she is just a crutch you are using to access your own logical mental processes, to stop emotion from running away with your mind, and I suppose in some ways this is true, but I can only reply to myself simply enough, to believe we human beings are the highest and most evolved things in the universe would simply be arrogance beyond even hubris, so I accept, on faith, that she is there with me, in my mind, not pushing me, not controlling me, but reassuring me and allowing me to utilize her gifts of a reasoning mind to control the gifts of other, more emotional Gods. She does not seek to control or be my only love, only to offer balance, and it is in that balance that there is strength and vigor. In that balance lies Athena Sthenias.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Athena Parthenos

Perhaps the most well known aspect of Athena is Parthenos, Virgin. This is not unexpected, since this aspect of the Goddess, untouched, inviolable, has one of the most famous temples in Greece, the Parthenon. But because of Christianity, the aspect of the Mother Goddess visible through Mary the Virgin, and by Mother Goddess I mean any Goddess, like Demeter, Ge, or Rhea, who is famous for bearing divine children, is respected throughout the world by nearly two billion people. This aspect, The Virgin, is highly adored and venerated because it is seen as a form of virtue, or purity.

This is true of Athena Parthenos as well, but understand too that Athena was also Areia, of war, and Parthenos, the virgin, was the inviolable, defender of cities, untouchable in battle. Her city might fall, but her people never give up and eventually rise up and take back what is theres.

The temple of Athena Parthenos on the Athenian Acropolis was not just a religious symbol, but a civic symbol of Athens’ power and inviolability. The Goddess protected her city, her state, just as it did her people. To this day Athens stands, and even if the old temples are in ruins, they remain a reminder that she is still protecting it.

But what does Parthenos do for a man like me, sexually free, gay, by no means even remotely pure or virginal in the classic sense?

Well, there is a part of each of us that is Parthenos. A part of us that no one can touch, no one can violate if we do not allow it, and that is deep in our own minds. That part of us that is the spark of thought, the spark of consciousness remains pure and inviolable because no matter what happens to any of us, that remains deep within us and we can rebuild better, stronger than we were before.

Parthenos is not just the virgin, but the kernel of the Goddess that remains unchanging, no matter what we call her, no matter what attributes we assign to her, and a reminder that we too possess such a kernel, a core, that remains us no matter who tries to damage us, destroy us, or belittle us. There we find her, the divine warrior virgin that will fight to get back what is hers.

Monday, July 21, 2014

And now to Athena

As I move on, I move on to the goddess that has been the one true constant in my life, Athena. I will start by retelling a bit about my life so that you understand why this particular deity has been so important to me. 

I was born on the island of Puerto Rico, a beautiful place with a lovely culture and a latinic language (Spanish) with a distinct dialect based in the Southern Spanish dialects of Al-Andaluz, or Andalucía. To many who speak Spanish in the Americas, the Spanish of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic often sounds a bit low class, because the Andalusian twang and rhythm is, in Spain, sometimes considered low class. However, these are lively, energetic, constantly evolving dialects that can be said to be like the Vulgar Latin of ancient Rome, which was often looked down upon by the elites yet was the basis for all the Romance Languages we know today. 

Puerto Rico is a land of heat, beauty, elemental change, and great history, including some of the first places in the new world where African Slaves were freed, or brought over as free people, to work and build a better life (as well as in chains, no desire to white wash that) and a place where what we often refer to as “Hispanic Culture” blossomed and was passed on into non-Spanish speaking countries such as the USA. (Mexican culture is another great spreader of what is called “Hispanic” though Mexican culture is quite distinct from most others, with the immense influence of native american culture that makes it so special)

So, I was born into a rich heritage that includes the influence of Native Taino, African, Spaniard, and American influences, and part of this is the mish mash of religious traditions, from Catholic and Evangelical to traditional African beliefs that over the centuries has become known as Santeria (it refers to Saints, which are used to represent the traditional African Orishas, or Gods, in a context made more palatable to the Christian rulers of the island for most of its recorded history. 

So through life I was aware of a variety of beliefs, superstitions, and odd practices while my mother rarely if ever discussed such things with us, her children. But I would eventually become semi-familiar with these things as I explored on my own.

It wasn’t an easy life for me. My father left us when I was nine years old, and my sisters were younger, and before that he was abusive to us and to my mother who was herself abusive having never known anything but in her whole life, and by the time I became an adult, I was a mess of a human being who found himself at a loss as to how to actually be a human being, much less a truly good one. To this day I still have trouble caring about people, and love, well, love is a mystery of divine proportions that I may never truly understand, though I admit to having felt something I think is love from time to time. 

I knew I was gay early on, and…

I am not sure this is the right place for  this, but I did experience sex a bit too early in life. I  don’t call it molestation or abuse because it was not an adult who did that to me, but whatever I call it, I only now find myself acknowledging that that experience also damaged me, almost as much as the beatings and verbal abuse of my parents and the absolute apathy of my grandparents.

Know that I do not tell you these things to make you feel sorry for me, you shouldn’t, that boy is dead. I grew out of him and put him to rest, but I did grow out of him, so I find it important to acknowledge him and remember those times when he was so innocent, so cute, so brilliant yet totally unprotected and completely lacking in any encouragement from any corner, be it at home or in school. No one expected anything of me, so I became nothing. 

I developed a dislike for Christianity fairly early on too, and though my mother was abusive and scary sometimes, she was never a religious zealot, so eventually she did acquiesce to my desire not to go to church, and partly she agreed with me, though she still had faith in her god, that the people of the church were little more than hypocrites. Mind you, I might say the same of her, but the bible did teach her to use corporal punishment on her children, so I guess she wasn’t actually being a hypocrite.

I rebelled against it and went full on obnoxious atheist, and by the time I was 13 I was telling anyone and everyone who even said the word Jesus in front of me that they were wrong and there was no such thing as God. But, to be honest, there was still a part of me that believed. Not in Jesus, but that the universe was not just what we see but it had another level, a divine level. Could I have said as much then? No, I did not have the vocabulary. 

It was during this phase in my life, the rebellious pseudo-atheist phase, that I developed an interest in ancient history and ancient myth. I read the Icelandic Eddas, parts of the Finnish Kalevala, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and novelizations of Homer and other ancient tales. I am by no means an expert, though, as I do tend to forget details, which often forces me to look things up that I remember only in outline, but that’s ok, the age of the internet was not so far away, and looking things up would soon become easy as a click, click, and a click.

My teenaged flirtation with these things became nearly obsessive later on, another one of my quirky traits, and I developed a desire to know more about these myths and started buying books by the likes of Kerenyi and Burkert, which allowed me to make a distinct connection between the fanciful myths, which I saw early on not as religious but as superstitious, and the honest faith of a people. Hellenismos. 

It never occurred to me that there could be people who still worshipped these Gods then, at least not early on, but at this point, I had become aware of neo-pagan movements. I knew no details, but as the internet age dawned, it became clear that there were things such as Wicca and Asatru out there, yet it never occurred to me then to search out people who might worship the Greek Gods, because at this point I still didn’t see the Gods and Goddesses of myth as part of a real religious system, I still saw them as anthropomorphized superstitions. But in hindsight I see a path developing here, a path that would lead me to Hellenismos. 

I already said, I am a mess, but I manage to hold down a job, barely sometimes, and what were once crippling issues have abated somewhat today, yet in this phase of my life, my issues were a real and constant problem for me. I had many jobs, some for as little as a month, but one at a restaurant in Stamford Connecticut, where my mother had moved us when I was 12 or so, had lasted me four years. When that restaurant closed suddenly (I could write a rant on restaurants doing that to their employees on purpose) I was able to get a job at another right next door, and there I befriended many people, including a lovely young Greek woman named Maria. 

I have always had an easy time being liked at work, though I find it difficult to make friends outside of work, because I tend to be sarcastic and funny and irreverent, and so one day she invited me to go with her to Greece. I was never able to make that trip, but I asked her to bring me back something, anything, that she thought might say “Hector” to her. 

She came back with tons of beautiful pictures, and some of our co-workers were there with her, and when she came back to work she made me an offering of a gift. A small statue of Athena. 

By this point all the cards were on the table. All the paths in time were heading toward this moment. All the reading, all the assimilation of data about these gods and their myths had lead to this. This moment when the Goddess of wisdom would “reveal” herself to me. 

OK, it sounds a bit like wishy washy superstition, right? I agree, but I don’t see this as some kind of divine sign. Athena didn’t make Maria buy me that statue, but I took it as a moment of revelation, of something that was already in my mind, already percolating in there, and caused it to come into focus, and that focus was Athena and her divine power. 

Understand that I tend to look at the universe and even religion in a rational sort of way. I see the Gods as fundamental parts of our cosmos, and that in their sentient and eternal power lies all the possibility and probability of the universe, but I do not see them as micro-managing the universe. They are not pulling our strings. They may encourage with their presence, inspire with their gifts, but they do not force us to do anything we do not want to do. 

And so it was that I was inspired to take a step onto a path, a path that had, probably always, been leading me to her. Athena, divine wisdom, divine protector of civilization and the art of thought (Science) and the inspirer of philosophy. 

I began my journey onto a path that will likely continue my whole life, a journey of control and self awareness to calm the demons that have plagued my mind for so long.

And so here I am, about to tell you what I feel and think about Athena, my patron deity, who is my guide and lead through life...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

O Helios

O Helios

Golden hued son of Hyperion
Flying high above the winds
Look down upon us, O Lord, and see
For through our toil, our love, our sadness we seek you

To see the beauty of the earth with your light
To feel the heat of it on our skins and be happy
To lie under the rays of the sun and adore you

O Helios

Resplendent son of Hyperion
Upon a chariot of gold
Shine down upon us, O Lord, and bless us
For in this, your season, we are made glad to seek you

To be enriched by your heavenly light
To seek pleasure in the joys of life
To dance upon the shifting sands and adore you

O Helios

All seeing son of Hyperion
Looking down upon the ever changing earth
Set your divine eyes upon us, O Lord, and see
For in this time of joy and bird song, we need you

To guide us with your light
To warm us with your heat
To feel you upon as and know we are also loved

Before I move on to the next point… Hekate

Before I move on to the next point in the star, I want to take a few posts to talk about Hekate.
I am, of course, somewhat familiar with this Goddess, as she is well attested in Hellenic literature, but her origins are murky and her place in the pantheon nebulous. Not an Olympian Goddess but a Titan, her power remained hers in the great mythic cycle because of her aid against the Titans. She retained her divine honors on Earth, in the Sky, and in the Seas, and her place in the realm of the Underworld is well known, for it is through this connection that her current role among some neo-pagans as a Goddess of Dark Magic and such is drawn.

But I am not going to lecture you on what Hekate is in the myths, but rather what she means to me. Which is how you should assume all my posts work.

I acknowledge four main aspects of Hekate.

1: Moon goddess.
2: Protector
3: Avenger
4: Psychopomp

Lunar Deity:

The first, lunar deity, is an aspect she shares with others, especially Artemis and Selene. You should know that I don’t think the Moon is a deity, nor the Sun, nor the Earth. These are physical bodies in a physical universe governed by the rules of how that universe works. But the Moon (and Sun and Earth) are symbols of divine powers. Symbols that come down to us from our ancient ancestors. They saw the moon as something mystical, magical, or divine, and as such, we do too, even if we do so from a different perspective brought about by a greater knowledge of what it actually is.

Moon deities seem to have some aspects in common. The bring light, they change, they signal the passage of time, they are dark and light, bringing with them aspects of something fearful that the light of the moon either sheds light on or drives away. It would be a gross simplification to say that the Moon deities are all one deity, that would be to give the Moon itself the central role of deity, but it is not, it is just a small planetary body in orbit around a much larger one.

Lunar deities are deities whose power we are affected by in day and night, but more so at night, because just as the light of the sun tends blind us to the moon’s presence, so too does day often, with all the hustle and bustle, blind us to the things that worry us. Lunar deities tend to be more mellow seeming, yet fierce and even dangerous in truth. Again, an aspect of the night, which seems so calm, yet can hide many dangers. 

I’m crazy, you say? Look at Artemis, she is wild and motion and the fierce huntress, but remember, in her common guise as daughter of Zeus, she is often seen as a very young woman, a girl even, and who hasn’t seen a pretty little girl and thought “how cute” never once considering she may hold in her pocket the knife that might end your life. 

To me, Lunar deity means ever changing, ever in flux, ever to be careful of. 


All deities, in one aspect or another, have aspects of protection. It only makes sense, but Hekate is indeed a goddess of protection. Whether she protects by shedding light upon your path, or is called upon by women to protect them in times of vulnerability, or by witches who seek her blessing upon their amulets of protection, she is a protector. Like Artemis, she is also a protector of children, and as a Goddess of women, this is to be expected. If there is anything women seek protection for, it is their children. 

Interestingly enough, her role as protector can also be a dangerous one. Like Athena, how far will that protection go? To the destruction of entire nations? You just never know with a power like Hekate, because hers is a power that stretches far into the other realms of the world and is even Titanic in nature. Titans were not subtle. 

I think that Hekate is a power around which one must tread lightly, not because she is indifferent or prone to attack, but because we mortals are often too quick to call upon Gods and often, if a God were to lends said assistance, it can come with unforeseen consequences. And while it is one thing to seek the protection of your children from harm, it is another to seek their protection through the destruction of another.

I, personally, seek her out as a lighter of my path, protecting me by illuminating my mind to danger, never seeking to invoke her name in vengeance. 


This is linked to the above in that, as we would see in the story of Medea, Hekate, who was Medea’s Goddess, aided her and it lead her to ruin. 

Vengeance, you see, is very destructive, but more so to the one seeking it than to the one who is being targeted. But there is something different about Hekate as Avenger of wrongs, and that is Justice. But Hekate is an overwhelming power, and if you seek her strength in your act of vengeance, do be careful, for as Medea showed us, the cost of that vengeance can be horrific indeed.

But as avenger of wrongs, Hekate is a useful deity to include in your prayers, and like others, such as Zeus and Athena, it is perhaps left up to them and fate what that Justice is rather than seeking to enact it yourself. 


It is my firm belief that like Hermes, Hekate is a psychopomp, a guide of souls. Now, considering I don’t actually believe in an afterlife, what does that mean to me? I believe that Hekate and Hermes are powers of transition. That as Hermes allows for the transition of the living into the dead, that instant when one becomes the other is his, and that in turn, that moment when dead things become living, that belongs to her. That part of her power, part of her domain, is that spark, that moment, that little reaction between disparate elements that produces something that is actually alive. In a sense, she brings the animating spirit across the divide between the divine and the physical into the world just as he takes it out again. 

To be honest, I hadn’t given it that much thought until just now, when the basic idea that has always been in my head, that Hermes and Hekate formed part of a chain of events that resulted in life and death, came head long into my head and actually flourished. (This is partly why I do this blog, it helps me think, focus my thoughts) And now I must meditate on it, see how much further the idea goes. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am moving on from Zeus, but before I do, I want to set down a couple of the things I have managed to glean from my attempt to focus on him and his power.

1: He is Supreme.

This is not to say all powerful, but that his power to affect the universe around us is the most potent because he is, as myth would put it, the king. He is the arbiter, the decider, the one who is, for lack of a better word, the city manager of this universe. Gods act, but it is through Zeus that those actions take form in our universe.

2: He is vast.

To say a God is a vast entity is, well, stupid, of course they are vast, but in Zeus there is a different vastness. It is something hard to explain, but because of his role as King, his power and form is such that under no circumstances could I ever claim to truly understand him. The vastness I speak of is a vastness of power, of presence, in time and space, in the air, the water, and in death. It is hard for a mind, trapped in mortality, to come to an understanding of him.

3: He is powerful.

By powerful, I mean that even in our modern, Abrahamic world, the power that is Zeus is still very much worshipped even by those who claim, and will claim vehemently, they do not. The old testament Jehovah is very much like Zeus, and the ancient YHWH/El shares so many attributes with Zeus that historians, mythographers, and anthropologists would all have to lie to not classify him as the “Sky God” of the ancient Hebrews.

4: He is father.

One of the roles readily identifiable with Zeus, clear in his epithets and myths, is that he is a father. Father of heroes, of Gods, of men and women. He is progenitor and lord of house, and his role as father extends not just to the mythic impregnation of virgins, but to his role as the father of nations. All over the world, Gods that can be identified with Zeus, sometimes almost directly, sometimes with tenuous connection, have proven themselves the founders of entire civilizations, and as such, he is also…

5: He is civilizer

In ancient times, people believed that it was not just customary, but a religious obligation to be kind to strangers. To be welcoming of guests and to render them aid when needed. In our Western world, where all we seem to care about is ourselves, this is an ancient custom that can use reviving. Among the Greeks, this was also a custom, and Zeus, like YHWH, is said to have set forth the destruction of humanity (I don’t take myths literally) in order to end their shameful treatment of each other.

The crime for which El/YHWH destroyed the world was not gay sex, it was that, like Zeus, he is Lord of Hosts and as such the unwillingness of a people to behave in a kind and welcoming way to each other offended him.

This is Zeus (The Sky Father) as civilizer, as encourager of civility and kindness. In my opinion, one of his most wonderful aspects.

6: He can be angered.

In the West we tend to think of Gods as either capricious or as these strange emotionless things that spend eternity staring at their navels, but the history of religion teaches us that Gods can be angered. We may not understand fully the reasons, and we may often not even be the reasons, as we human beings are so egotistical, but Gods act, and often their actions mean horrendous turmoil. If we accept that Zeus is the Sky itself, and I do not, then we accept that storms, tornados, lightning strikes, etc., are his actions. If we do not, then we accept that some part of him is the divine force that allows those things. Are they a sign of  his anger? I don’t think so, but I do think that the turn our civilizations take, the life and death of them, can be. It is unfortunate that we so often blame stupid things, like gay men kissing or abortions (looking at you, tea party nuts) or some other stupid sin when perhaps it is the way we are in general that angers him. Our destructive, polluting, careless use of this world, this gift, we have been granted.

7: He can love.

Zeus is seen in myth as rather fickle, horny, and even rapey, but let us set aside those myths for a second, as more often than not they speak of human dynasties seeking to connect themselves with the King of Olympus, but there are also moments when he is seen to show tenderness to Hera, and to a few others, and in some myths, he is also the father of divine love.

Zeus loves mankind, but we are not his only love, we cannot be. God loves life in all of its many manifestations, and it is incumbent upon us to respect that life and, since we are part of the cycle of life, to be so with respect and care. To be part of the food chain is natural, to be cruel about it is not, and we have to learn that and then teach that as part of our religion’s teachings.

8: He is warrior.

Zeus is King, and in ancient times Kings did not sit by and give orders in the safety of their castles. Kings strode into battle, sometimes at the very head of their armies. Zeus loves the warrior, the hero, the defender. He loves the man, or woman, who puts his sword arm where his mouth is. I am guessing he probably hates most politicians, but hey, I dunno.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

O Sun

O Sun
Lighting the Earth
Giver of life
Giver of warmth

Let not my eyes be hurt by your glory
Nor let them turn away from your light
That I may see what it reveals
And ponder what it does not

O Sun
Lighting the Moon
Revealer of color
Revealer of truth

Let not my eyes be deceived by darkness
Nor in that darkness see only what they wish
That I may always seek reality
And help others to this goal

O Sun
Lighting the Skies
Bringer of morning
Bringer of dusk

Let not my heart be lost to lies
Nor by obsession be drawn by what I see
That I may know when to trust
And when to turn away and flee

O Sun

Lighting the way

I have not given up on this blog. I am just having a hard time right now, will get back to it...

Monday, May 19, 2014

O Moon

O Moon
Man has sung praises to your beauty
From times now forgotten
We marvelled at your face

O Moon
Of the many names
Who has been made symbol of divinity
And inspired dreams of eternity

O Moon
Mistress of the tides
Master of cycles
Keeper of secrets told to you by children

O Moon
Lovely and serene
Whose visage serves many
Artemis, Selene, and Hekate

O Moon
Worthy of our wonder
For you remind of so much
In man’s dreams and hopes

O Moon
Let us rejoice in you
Let us wonder at your beauty
Let us never forget the stories you inspire

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Zeus, ever living!

Among the Gods of Olympus, Zeus is the one that resembles the God of the Jews, Moslems, and Christians. Not Jesus, that figure most resembles a conglomeration of several other Gods, including Apollo and Dionysus, but God the Father.

This isn't so much of interest to me theologically, since I accept the Olympian paradigm as my only paradigm, but it is important to me when I realize how much of my culture, the languages I speak, and the morals and ethics I was taught from my youngest days has evolved as part of the greater influence that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have had on Western culture.

I mention Islam because as a hispanic, Islam had great influence on Spanish culture and language, just as the Gypsies and Catholicism have, but it isn't about the details of that influence, but how  it has all merged into my own personal culture and how my perception of the Gods is influenced by it.

This is why, for example, when I hear people say "God" in my mind the image of Zeus is usually what pops up, because Zeus' imagery was used early on by the Greeks and Italians (of varying Italian cultures of the time) to create the image we now so often associate with the Abrahamic God.

This is not surprising, since that God, known to the Jews as YHWH, or Yahweh, was also, by all accounts, a sky god, and therefore, in essence, the same spiritual entity we call Zeus, but just as the Greeks gave to Zeus imagery and iconography based in their own culture and understanding, the Jews did the same for YHWH.

Zeus, the ever living God of the Sky, Lord of Heaven, Lord of Hosts, of the Rains, the Thunder, The Storms that bring life and change to the Earth could have those very attributes placed after the name YHWH and I doubt any Christian or Moslem or Jew would argue.

So, why are they worshipped so differently?

It started with the Jews, of course, who were not always a monotheistic people. Through their history, they have been a small group. Even in the heyday of their ancient history, theirs was never a large culture. They were always a small group amidst enormous powers. From Egyptians and Babylonians to Assyrians and Persians, the Jewish people have always been a small minority. Their cultural history speaks of their enslavement, their escape, and their turning to their God to help them, and one cannot deny that their survival speaks to some kind of divine intervention, since so many other, larger, cultures have vanished while theirs has managed to survive, at least religiously. They gave thanks for his help, and interpreted it in ways that, to me, are odd. They turned to him as their only God, and then, after who knows how long, contrary to all other evidence, turned to a belief that he was not just their only God, but THE only God.

This break with the previous polytheism of this Semitic people lead to what we call the Abrahamic faiths of today, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (I would argue that none of these are truly monotheistic, but that is something for another day) and eventually to the fall of ancient Paganism in Middle Eastern and European culture, but Paganism (here used to refer to the ancient polytheistic religious systems) did not simply disappear. The people continued traditions that were common among Pagans, festivals that would not die were simply assimilated into Christianity (Christmas, Easter) and other traditional celebrations were Christianized, even if they remained local.

One of these were the visual aspects of religious representation in art. To this day, Christian imagery retains a decidedly Greek and Roman look. Statues are don mostly in a Greek/Roman form, including robes and other adornment, and even imagery of other figures in their mythos, like Angels and Demons, are done in forms that retain that Greek and Roman artistic sensibility. This means that images of Jesus, Mary, and Jehovah are often reminiscent of the images of Zeus and other deities of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans.

So, you see, even in these religions that claim to have only the one God, the Gods echo, for while religious zealots, philosophers, and commentators may seek to reduce them to a singularity, in our hearts we all know that the universe is inhabited by, guided by, moved by not one, but many forces and wills. Zeus, ever living, survives even in the differently told stories of the monotheists, in the colorful stories of the Hindus, in the quiet seeking of the Buddhists, and in the prayers of children who fearing the thunder call to him, by whatever name they know, to protect them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What the world needs are Amazons

I was reading an article on a news website today. “Women’s Rights curtailed the world over” read one of the headlines, and a part of me felt very sad. I turned to my faith, as I usually do. Oh, I don’t immediately pray about everything, but from time to time, reflecting on the Gods, on their influence in the world, their mythos, their power in the very myths that are part of our daily lives, and in doing so, another story crossed my path. It was the story of the writer and artist of Wonder Woman and their final arc on the series.

Now, obviously, Wonder Woman isn’t part of my religion, but Wonder Woman, as a character, is enmeshed in daily battles with evil, with trickery, even with the Gods themselves in order to persevere against injustice, and she is an Amazon.

An Amazon!

See, in my religion, the Amazons are seen as a bit of a problem. To the ancient Greeks, women of such ferocity and power were seen as a threat. The story of the Amazons ends with their defeat, and it is a defeat that ends with the notion that Greece, or at least those parts of Greece involved, are saved from them. To the patriarchal culture of the West, these barbarian women with their immense talent with the sword, on the horse, and as an army were not just a military threat, but a threat to the established order of things. A threat to the power of men over women.

This lead me to consider that, maybe, what Hellenismos needs to do is encourage the rise of a new tribe of Amazons. Not an army of women laying waste to the world around them, but rather, a culture of power emanating from within, with the support of the men around them, to not allow themselves to be mistreated.

In the West we often speak of helping women in the world, and Hellenismos is, for the most part today, a religion that seems to encourage the exploration of both masculine and feminine power not only in the divine, but in humanity, so perhaps, just perhaps, what the world needs is more Hellenismos and less Abrahamic chauvinism. Perhaps what the world needs is Amazons, born to a myriad of cultures but all screaming Hail Artemis in the face of any man that tries to cow them.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Zeus and Hera, the Hieros Gamos of heaven.

Though there wasn’t any kind of established orthodoxy in Hellenic religion with regard to theology (or anything really, except at extremely local levels, it seems) the mythological corpus seems to imply a few things about the ancient religion that were, it seems, accepted as being true by the majority of Greeks. One of these seems to have been the concept of the Hieros Gamos, which translates as Sacred (or Holy, perhaps) Marriage.

The division of the world into domains, such as Sky, Earth, Sea, and Underworld meant that those domains also had Lords, as the Greeks interpreted the Gods as being a monarchy, and Ladies, since the Greeks also saw the Gods as having relationships of a human type. This meant that the Lord of the Sea, Poseidon, also had a wife who was the Lady of the Sea, Amphitrite, and these domains could be seen as kingdoms, making Poseidon not just Lord, but King of the Sea and Amphitrite his Queen.

In the realm of the Underworld it was Hades who was King of the Underworld, and Persephone was his Queen. But among the realms, none was more powerful as that of Sky, and its King was also king over all the other domains, like an Emperor, and that king was Zeus and his Queen none other than Hera. This was a marriage celebrated by the Greeks as both sacred and holy, and the union between the two was of great importance to the entire mythos, as so many figures of myth owe their lives to Zeus (he fathered so many of them) and their adversity to Hera, who is said to have hated so many of them due to their illegitimate births.

But this is not a blog about myths and their details, but rather about the Gods and me, and so I seek to understand here, and in January, the month of the Theogamia, a feast celebrating the Hieros Gamos, how this affects me, a single gay man in 2014.

Together, Zeus and Hera form the divine marriage of heaven, and as such, they are also the divine couple to which people should make their vows of marriage, but Zeus is also a God of Oaths, and Hera is a punisher of oath breakers, and as such it is not just this bond we call marriage (which had a different meaning to their culture than it does for ours today) but oaths of all types.

Never promise something you know you can’t deliver on, and certainly never vow to do it, and absolutely never do so in her name. Failure is one thing, we all sometimes fail to do things we really tried our best to do. Do not fear that you have failed her, or that she will be angry with you. Your attempt, if it was true and not your own lame self justification, was what fulfilled your promise.

Since as a gay man in a state not likely to allow me to marry any time soon, and since I am not likely to have anyone in my life wanting me to marry them any time soon, that aspect of the Hieros Gamos would seem to be illegitimate to me, but it isn’t, because the Hieros Gamos is not just about marriage, but rather it is also about the marriage between two divine forces. In this case, the marriage of heaven and earth, for in this case Hera can very much be identified with the earth, is of paramount importance to all of us for these two divine forces are about us all the time. Under our feat, in our blood, in the very air we breathe, and not just literally but spiritually as well.

There is a fundamental universal set of forces at work here, and while they are surely more complex a matter than just a “marriage” it is important to here understand that term, marriage, as meaning the complex interaction of things as they join or are joined by other forces.

We human beings, and all life really, is intimately reliant on the marriage of forces that surround us. From gravity and the interaction of matter with its environment to produces different states of matter to the forces of evolution and behavioral norms we must all abide with as a species, these things all marry, they combine and interact, to produce us.

Think about that the next time you think of Hera as “Goddess of Marriage” and understand the magnitude of that simple statement.

So it is that I celebrate the Hieros Gamos, divine marriage, sacred marriage, and understand that it applies to me not only at a human level, where the promises I make are sacred obligation to try my best, but also that at a cosmic level, which I also see as a spiritual level, it is responsible for the state of the universe itself from the broadest of perspectives to the smallest.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

At the heart of it...

Why do I worship Zeus, Athena, Apollo, etc.? Is there a logical reason, or is it something all together different? Is it just gut feeling?

I am not sure I could explain it to you, except to say that my logical mind, my heart, and my spirit (that sum total of who I am, not some magical being) seem to all say “this is the truth.” Not that Hellenismos is “The Truth” and all others are wrong, but rather that my belief that “God” is not a singular being, but a multiplicity is the truth and that all of us see, hear, feel that multiplicity in a different way. That individually we do, but also as cultures. This also leads me to believe that the forcing of the divinity into a singular form (well, no religions is truly monotheistic) is an error for which we as a race of beings is paying the price.

That may be a partial answer as to why I am a polytheist, but not as to why I am a Hellenistos.

In my, admittedly limited, experience, the religions of ancient Europe have fallen. Christianity, with its tyrannical view of all other religious piety did its best to bury them, to kill them off. The Celtic religious system is lost, many neo-pagans like to follow it, and I think they have managed to construct something lovely from the scraps left to us, but it is an error to say they are reconstructing the Celtic faith when there is simply too little left to actually do that. Part of me believes many neo-pagans choose it precisely because of this, as it allows them to do or claim whatever they want, but that is fodder for a different discussion.

The Egyptian system fares much better, with so much study having been done and so many monuments to their culture and religion remaining to guide people, but it is not a European system, not Indo-European, and I admit to having a hard time relating to it in any meaningful way. I admire the magnificence of what they left behind and the influence they had on the world around them, including the Roman and Greek worlds, but in the end, I simply find nothing there that touches me on an emotional level.

The Germanic religions, both of the Norse and of the Germanic peoples of the mainland are fascinating, and I was drawn to them once, having read the Eddur, but culturally I feel distant to them. I love the myths, the stories, the way they envisaged the Gods, it was all so beautiful, yet distant to me that i could not see myself relating to the Gods that way.

The Hindu religion, of course, is still very much alive, with tons to draw me to it, including the music, culture, vibrancy that is very much a presence in the world today. Hinduism is actually a growing system of belief (as is Islam) and I could, possibly, have been drawn to the many philosophical, religious, and spiritual paths it offers, and in some ways I am, having made its music and meditation a part of my life, but religiously, I felt distant from it as well.

There are, of course, a myriad of other systems. From the Taino culture of my birth place, though that is lost and mostly speculative, to the Aztec and Inca religions, of which much is known, including the influences the Aztecs had on the Carribean tribes. There are African systems of belief that, in some forms, have come down to me in my culture, but alas, I am not much for believing in magic (divinity is not magic, but that too is fodder for a different discussion) and the Aztec religion always seemed so barbaric to me.

Europe was where I needed to draw inspiration from, and as far as having a long standing relationship, me and the Graeco-Roman myths go way back. One of the first books I ever read that didn’t have a kid a cat and the moon in it was a book on Greek myths (as well as a book on astronomy, got them both from school and both were in Spanish) And I always found those stories fun, but later on, even as I read other things, like the Eddur, I also continued to find and read new books of myths. They seemed endless to me. By this time, of course, I was already in the US proper and was reading these in English, and the public library in Stamford, CT actually had a really good collection of books of myths, legends, and astronomy, the Eddur were even in both English and Icleandic (my first real exposure to a language other than English and Spanish) and I even learned to read some of the Icelandic by extrapolating the Germanic roots in relation to English (just don’t ask me to do it today, I might come off a fool now) and so, I remained a fan of the Graeco Roman myths.

I was brought up a Pentecostal. In Puerto Rico we went to a Pentecostal church, though my mother, noticing my eventual lack of interest, did not try to force me to go. By the time we came to the mainland, I was completely disconnected with that church (thank heaven, really, as the stories friends told me about what some of the pastors were up to with the young boys might have lead me to kill someone) and though I sometimes went to accompany my mother, I usually just stayed home and read comic books or watched TV, or sometimes, books on myths and astronomy.

This love of the mythic stayed with me, but at this point I was much more of an agnostic than anything, and it wasn’t until I was at a job, I may have been 23 at the time, that that connection became a true reality for me.

I had become convinced, by then, that the church was wrong, that there wasn’t just one “God”, and I was struggling to make sense of it, and one day this lovely young woman I worked with came back from a vacation in Greece and out of the blue hands me a token of her visit. There it was, a small statue, the kind they sell to tourists in stalls in outdoor markets, yet it struck me like lightning.

There she was, Athena, our lady of wisdom, and as I looked at it and thanked her, I also saw other things, other connections in my life that, to be honest, I had never thought of before. My name is Hector, the name of one of the great heroes of Greek epic poetry, my great grandmother’s name was Basilia, my grandmother’s name was Providence, and my mother’s name is Minerva. (I was corrected by my mother, I though my great grandmother’s name was Sofia, but that was someone else in the family)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind to draw ridiculous conclusions from coincidence, but at the moment, right then and there, those coincidences came together to push me into a decision, and that decision was simple, yes, there isn’t just one God, and to connect to them you need a system, and here it is, right in front of you, dumbass!

Of course, making that decisions was the simple part. Reading and loving myths is all well and good, but in many ways reading mythology is like reading comic books in the 70s. Lots of great stuff, but very little depth. I needed to fill in the huge voids myth leaves by learning how the people of Greece and Rome worshipped these deities, what other lesser known stories they told about them, etc.

And that’s where it began. With children’s books, disillusionment with monotheism, and a sudden realization.

Why I remain a Hellenistos, though, well, that is actually simple enough to answer. It makes me a better person. I have learned to be a better man through my connection to the Gods, and I hope to continue along that path to a better me until the day I die and am taken back by the earth from whose mass I am formed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Year

Happy New Year

…but, I have fallen behind, and as the new year starts I am choosing to make my best effort to continue this blog, to seek to meditate on the gods and place here my impressions. But, I also want to do better at conveying some of my emotion about the Gods because my writing does tend to be rather dispassionate.

My love of the Gods is not just academic, I do feel them in my life, in the world around me, in the cosmos, and I have not done a good job of conveying that, so, I hope to do much better on that note.

Wish me luck...