Thursday, July 24, 2008

More on the FLDS

One would have thought that judge ruling against CPS and sending the children home, and the complete lack of evidence to support abuse claims, would have stopped the "authorities." Um... Nope.

Polygamist Sects are Form of Organized Crime

Read it and weep. Good grief.

"Polygamous sects that have spread throughout the United States and beyond are "a form of organized crime," largely unchecked by law enforcement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday."

Well, that would be because it is not necessary to police communities like that. The government doesn't send "law enforcement" into Amish communities. It doesn't send them into Hutterite communities. It doesn't send them into LDS communities. Why in heavens' name would it send them into FLDS communities? Certainly they should receive the same law enforcement people any other small town or village would receive, but why do they suddenly deserve more? Because someone is scared, is my guess.

"The lawless conduct of polygamous communities in the United States deserves national attention and federal action," Reid said before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Um... Pardon me? Where is there any proof of this "lawless conduct"? They removed 460+ children from their homes in the dead of night, with tanks and SWAT teams, and found NOTHING. While lack of proof does not necessarily mean it doesn't exist, at some point it becomes nothing more than a pointless vendetta. Good grief.

In such communities, teenage or preteen girls are forced to marry older men and bear their children, he said.

Prove it! They've been searching for how many years now? Not a stick of proof. Are there sick people who do disgusting things to children? Yep, there are... and there are more of them in any big city than you'll find in Hilldale. Near as anyone can tell, statistically speaking, the FLDS and other polygamous groups seem to have a much LOWER incidence of pedophelia and child abuse. Perhaps it has to do with their religious beliefs... gee, go figure.

Unpaid child labor is common, they alleged, and children are subjected to a woefully inadequate education while adults disregard state and federal laws.

Ever have your kids weed the garden, mow the lawn, or do dishes? Yeah, me too. That's unpaid child labor. That's what the cameras showed us in Texas. That's what CPS and these dissatisfied women are calling 'child labor'. I hear a lot of stories, but I haven't seen any proof. This strikes me as being just like the Satanic Panic of the 80s. Education? I've seen a large number of FLDS women who have jobs in real estate, law, education, and medical fields. All these take concerted effort at either acredited schools, or serious home study. Just because someone spurns the public school system does not mean they are not educated. Quite the contrary, in fact. As to disregarding laws... I'm sure many of us have. Ever had a drink under-age? Ever snuck out, late at night, and run around the neighborhood? Ever taken a toke (with or without inhaling)? Ever rolled through a stop sign, or gone over the speed limit? I suspect that every single person has broken at least a few laws in their life. These people are no different.

Young men can be excommunicated merely for showing interest in a girl, he said, and a young woman who resists an arranged marriage to an older man comes under "extreme pressure." One who chooses her own husband is ostracized.

This doesn't seem to be upheld by the larger FLDS community, although there are definitely a few boys that were expelled from the Hilldale community for unknown reasons (please note, I don't consider chucking a 12 year old boy onto the street 'right' under any circumstances... however I am refusing to simply accept the media hype on all this). While the media keeps showing us statements like the above, we have seen PLENTY of 18 and 19 year old males married to females about the same age. This doesn't appear to make the news quite so often, of course, because how exciting is it to know that a young couple decided to get married and have kids together? Bah, hardly even page 8 material. I've also seen plenty of the women say they either chose, or had a hand in chosing, their husband... but even so, since when is arranged marriage a bad thing? I seem to recall people in this country doing it up until at least the 70s, and possibly much later. In other countries, it still happens today. My grandparents had an arranged marriage, loved each other very much, and were successful. Since when is that a crime?

"The FLDS openly despises the American government while taking its money," he said. In the community, he added, such conduct is called "bleeding the beast."

And all power to them. They seem to be well educated (gasp!) in how to manipulate the system, and as far as the government can tell, they're doing it perfectly legally. Well, how about that... Someone's doing to the goverment, what the government usually does to US. Somewhat fitting. Regardless, I am not so happy with the American government as a whole right now, either... and I am in pretty darn good company.

Former FLDS member Carolyn Jessop, who has written a book about her experiences in the sect and fleeing it, said women and children in the community "live without the protection of laws that most Americans take for granted."

Jessop left with... what, 8 kids? That means she didn't just "disappear into the night" as she might like to have you think. I am more and more concerned about what people like Jessop are saying. They are dissatisfied with the FLDS, and they've left, and that's fine. That's their right, and they've exercised it. Apparently, no one's come after them. Did the fathers attempt to get custody? You bet your polka-dot panties they did... because they love their kids, and want to see them grow up in the religion they consider "right". I don't have to agree with it (all that long underwear stuff seems awful silly to me in hot Texan summers, but hey, whatever) but I'll defend their right to do it. How can the laws of America simply end at the borders of Hilldale? The answer is, they do not - Carolyn just wants you to think they do, so she can get a few more books written, and make a few more bucks.

The religious schools have since been closed, and for the past two years, most FLDS children have not attended school at all, she said. "Their education has essentially stopped."

One, she left the FLDS... how does she know? Two, it simply isn't true - the raid uncovered a very active school that the FLDS children in Texas were attending and learning at. Three, the various foster homes conducted tests to find out how "uneducated" their guests were... and found that the vast majority were at or above grade level targets. Amazing - I wonder how they do that since their education has "essentially stopped." Wish I could learn how to educate myself without doing anything!

Gawd... :(

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

R.I.P. Estelle Getty

http://uk.reuters.com/article/peopleNews/idUKN2231541320080723

Estelle Getty died today, at age 82. Rest her soul, and may the Gods guide her to a safe place of rest.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's berrying time!


These delectable looking berries are what I was harvesting yesterday afternoon. We had about 2 pounds of them, although the amount has gone WAY down. We had diet vanilla pudding for dessert, with fresh raspberries in it, and it waas delicious. Having a taste of summer is always lovely. This picture is of a bunch that I picked and brought in.

This time of year always makes me think of berries with cream. Last year we didn't get many berries, but this year we're just drowning in them. We're going to keep picking until they fail, and we'll freeze the results so that we can have that taste of summer anytime we want. I know how nice it will be to have a bowl of berries and cream in January, when the snow is piled high and the wind is blowing.

We're also just beginning our zucchini odyssey, which is always exciting. We had sausage and turkey zuch boats the other day, with the first of our delicious veg. The flavor was incredibly good! Tonight we're having pasta with vodka sauce, something yummy but not so good for us.

This week, I'll be going to NH with Gray.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The NA ritual of the week

I am finding I really enjoy and look forward to the formality of the Wednesday evening ritual. Having gone from the "bells and whistles" of Wicca, to the stark offerings (in comparison, at least) of Hellenic Polytheism, it's a nice middle ground. Tonight, I invited Farnham to join me, which was lovely. The two of us really enjoyed the time together and priest and priestess.

Farnham's friend's dad died today, and he has a funeral to go to tomorrow, so we also said some prayers for the dearly departed. That went well - the prayer which I had chosen for tonight is a Jewish one, and the father was Jewish, so it felt right. I said some prayers for various people, including myself and the kids, and asked for the continuing health of our "bun in the oven."

With all the candles going, it got quite warm, but not too bad. I left the fans running out of sheer desperation, though normally I try to make sure all electronics are off during ritual. I don't feel it's properly respectful to leave the light on, or the computer beeping at me, when I'm supposed to be concentrating on the gods.

I feel better tonight than I have all week. The ritual really energized me, emotionally. That's a good thing, because I've been very distant, emotionally, the past week. What with the move and all, I've been so exhausted that I haven't been dealing with anything very well.

I think I will work on a ritual that includes incubation, to do in the near future. I think some dedicated healing and such are necessary.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Things you come home to...

So today I went to NYC with family and friends, spent 3 hours in an incredibly huge and beautiful research library dedicated to the humanities, and read a bunch of interesting stuff on the Greeks, and early rituals of humans. Fascinating stuff. Everyone else went to see the Lion King on Broadway, but I just wasn't interested. The library was much more fun!

Coming home was, as always, a bit of a drag. It isn't that I don't want to be here or anything. It's just L O N G drive. It's almost 5 hours from where we were, to home. Bleh. After a full day of hanging out, researching, and having fun, it seems like a lot longer. We made it, and I decided to check email. My bad, of course.

Someone had dropped me a note to tell me that I was being talked about on a pagan forum. I peeked, because I've always been a proponent of the maxim, "People talking trash are giving you free advertising." It was much like what I expected - someone taking things out of context, having not read my book, and having denied she would ever read my book. So ... Yeah, whatever.

Two things about it annoyed me. First, trash was talked but no link was given (thereby ruining my chance at that wonderful free advertising LOL) and so no one in the thread was actually given the information they needed to find out for themselves. I find that horribly disturbing. If my writing scares them THAT MUCH, the least they could do is explain why. Mostly, it was the "same old same old" that "we" (meaning Neos Alexandria in general and me in particular) were claiming that neopagans, Christians, avacadoes, and Jews were all a part of Hellenismos. The claim was made that my book is doing this in particular. I'm just stunned... My book is about the Delphic Maxims, not Hellenismos, not religion. One might argue it is about arete or paidiea, but those are not specific to or part of Hellenismos. Not to mention that, in my book, I state quite clearly that I AM NOT A HELLENIC RECON, never have been, never will be. I am a Hellenic polytheist - I believe in the Greek Gods, and they are my primary (well, at the moment, only, but I can't speak for the future) Gods. But apparently, that forum's people are now claiming that term, too. Everyone beware - if you aren't a part of the cadre, you can't use those words. Check the patent office. *snort*

Secondly, the person doing the trashing called me the other night. On the phone. She was oh so contrite, she'd NEVER bash me, she likes me, I don't make claims like the other devils and sinners at Neos Alexandria, etc. etc. ad nauseam. I admit, I took what she was saying with a grain of salt (oh, okay, a salt cellar), but I listened, and I talked honestly enough. End of conversation was, "So this is me holding out the olive branch!" I chuckled, and said, "Yep, doves and olive branches and everything."

I wonder she paused to breathe or pee before she went off to write trash about my book. Anonymously. Oy. Unfortuately, I am guessing she will never come out of the situation she is in. It's a shame. I am disappointed in her, but life goes on. I guess I expected more from her. She's never lied to me before, although she's skirted the edges. It makes me sad. Lying is one of those huge hot butons for me.

For those who wish to criticize my book, please do! Longing for Wisdom is not meant to be an end-product (something I discuss in the opening chapters), but the start of a long dialogue between members of the various Hellenic and historical communities. Because the Maxims are of interest to a larger group than just the insular Hellenic types (colleges, universities, etc), it may be an excellent bridging point. In any case, anyone who READS my book is welcome to make commentary, positive or negative. However, I'm not going to do a whole lot of listening to people who haven't read it. That's sort of like Christians trashing pagans without ever knowing what they do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kharis - Second Edition!

Passed on for Erl_Queen (and boy am I excited!):

KHARIS second edition
I am happy to announce the release of the second edition of my book, Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored. The first edition was printed via Cafepress four years ago, and I wanted to publish a more professional version now that the technology was more readily available. While I was doing that, I decided to include an updated Hellenic pagan survey, incorporate a few recent articles I've written, and make several smaller changes, updates and additions.

You can visit the website for the book (including a Table of Contents) here: http://www.winterscapes.com/kharis/
And buy it either via CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/Customer/EStore.do?id=3344165
Or Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Kharis-Sarah-Kate-Istra-Winter/dp/143823192X/

I will be donating 20% of the proceeds from this book to Survival International, a charitable organization working to protect tribal peoples around the world.

For those unfamiliar with my book, here's the blurb:

Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored delves into the many aspects of the revival of Greek paganism, from its ancient roots to its modern practice. It is written for the person new to Hellenismos, and for the person who has been practicing for years, as well as for people outside of the religion who are interested in learning more. It covers not only the basics of worship, but also how to make the ancient religion relevant to modern times, cultivate relationships with the gods and other divinities, and create a deeply satisfying spiritual life.

The emphasis of this book is on the concept of kharis - the reciprocity so implicit in the practice of Hellenic polytheism. From the simplest devotional act, to prayer, to divination, to mysticism, the principle of reciprocal favor governs the heart of this religion and lets each worshipper encounter the gods on a real and profound level.

Feel free to pass this announcement along to any lists, groups, etc. that you think might be interested.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Rape of Persephone

This story will also appear on the Neos Alexandria website. I wrote this today, in response to a long discussion about Persephone and Kore, and whether or not the "rape" was an actual forcible sexual act or something psychological. This is based on myth, but not bound by it. This is not primary source material - it is my fictional account of what may have happened to Persephone, and why, and where it led to.

The Rape of Persephone

Mother always was a wee bit controlling. Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly. Spending time with her, talking to her every day, playing little pranks on Zeus and Hades and my siblings and friends are all a part of our very close and loving relationship. However, Mother has this way of making things unbearable if you are with her for more than a few days. She is the epitome of the old saying: House guests, like socks and fresh vegetables, have a habit of going bad after about
three days.

My childhood was fairly carefree. I spent much of my time playing in the fields, enjoying exuberant games of tag and hide and seek with the nymphs and local children. We rarely lived on Olympos, although we did visit frequently. Hera always made it a bit uncomfortable when we were there, and looking back on it with the eyes of an adult, I can certainly understand why. Still, she was never mean to me, at least that I know of. My most joyous memories are of running wildly through the wheat fields, the golden feathery heads tickling my face, butterflies fluttering up out of reach and dancing as I smiled.

Then I began to change. My monthly time came upon me, and Mother explained that it was to do with fertility and childbearing. She also suggested that I begin to look for a husband, as I was not uncomely and would likely be attracting suitors soon. I didn't want this adultness thrust upon me, though. I wanted to dance, and sing, and play with the nymphs. I wanted to spin naked under the full moon, my hair a great halo of gold around me.

Then HE came, sniffing around. There's a feeling of power that you get when a "bad boy" takes an interest in you. I was flattered, of course. He was dark, yes, but also handsome and intelligent. He courted me privately, behind Mother's back. I suppose if he were to do it today, he'd be riding a motorcycle and wearing a lot of leather. Probably piercings, too. Then, he would just meet me in quite places when Mother was otherwise occupied. He'd find me swimming in the ocean, or
come upon me gathering eggs. I was a bit afraid of him, too. I knew who he was, King of the Underworld, and a denizen of darkness. There was always that special something about him, though, which I could never deny. The interest was mutual.

He ruined it for me, though. Rather than talking to me, he went to Zeus, and asked my hand in marriage. I wouldn't put it past him, manipulative bastard that he is, to have gone to Hera first. Perhaps he whispered into her ear about getting rid of me, so she wouldn't have to see Zeus's bastard offspring anymore. Who knows. Zeus thought it a good match, as did Hera. They didn't talk to Mother about it, though.

He found me that day, sitting on a hillside, drinking a cup of mead and enjoying the sunshine. I was playing a game with flowers ("He loves me; he loves me not..."), letting the white daisy petals drift away on the light breeze. He crept stealthily out of a nearby cave, and practically slithered over. We talked for a few moments, but I was desperately trying to get him to disappear before Mother's entourage of maids and naiads noticed him. That was when he snatched me up, as if I were a sack of grain, and toted me off into the darkness of his cave, his realm.

I screeched bloody murder, and clawed at his back, but it was no use. My interest in him was my own downfall: he was strong and capable, and knew me well enough to counter anything I might do. He also had the attitude of the victor, knowing that he had the permission of Zeus himself. Far off, I could hear Mother calling for me, and the other ladies running about searching, but even those faint cries faded to nothing. I felt terribly alone. I no longer felt like I had power over
this dark, almost sinister male. I had felt his strength, and his control, and it terrified me.

How could he do this? Didn't he understand that Mother would tear him to pieces and take his bloody remains to Mount Olympos, throwing them before my Father? Surely he was just playing a game... and yet, I knew from the first moment that it was no game. I simply hoped, and prayed.

He deposited me in a dark room, lit by an eiree glowing lichen, decorated in borgia greens and blood reds with gems embedded within the walls constructed of Mother Earth herself. I was beside myself with fear, unable to think or even speak clearly. I suppose I must have looked quite the ninny, dressed as I was for picnicking in a sunny field, my eyes grey with fear and as large as dinner plates. I simply stood there, holding my own arms, hugging myself, looking every
which way as if I could find an egress.

"I want you to be my wife." He was always so forthright. He never beat around the bush. "Be my queen. You deserve more than to live in Demeter's shadow." He leaned casually against the doorway, his dark robes blending in with the earthen walls. He seemed to be a disembodied head, talking at me, leering at me.

I sputtered. Be his wife? After he kidnapped me, and dragged me down here like some peasant wench? I'd see him rot in... Yes, well I was very upset and hadn't really processed the idea that we were already in the underworld. I spat out a vicious, "No!" and flounced off to the other side of the room/cave. As I stared at the bleak walls of dirt, the precious gems scattered so thoughtlessly throughout the borders of my new universe, I felt desolate. I wanted my mother! I began to cry.

I heard him leave, but didn't turn. Who knows what things went through his head. Did he feel remorse? I now know that sometimes he does, but at the time I saw him as a heartless ass. When I was certain he'd been gone for a while, I looked around the spacious room. There was a bed, of course, and a table, a chair, candles and even a lamp. A small hearth, vented to who-knows-where, burned in a corner that I hadn't seen walking in, and from this I lit the candles and the lamp. I made as much light as I could in that dim, dank world, trying desperately
to hold myself together and not cry.

I failed, as young girls are wont to do. Eventually, I threw myself bodily onto the bed, noticing the costly sheets and furs only peripherally, and sobbed for a very long time. The sound was absorbed by the walls, providing no vaulting echo as there was in my room on Olympos. I hated it here! It smelled of earthworms, and dirt, and mold, and mushrooms! Be his wife! Bah!

I'm the daughter of a goddess, and a goddess in my own right, but I still feel hunger sometimes despite not needing earthly sustenance. I had been accustomed to eating regular meals with the maids and children who were my playmates and friends. I felt hunger, and especially thirst. I resolved not to ask Hades for anything, because I knew for a fact that eating anything down here would doom me to stay. Even the smallest drop of water was not allowed. I set my chin, though it quivered a bit, and made up my mind to wait him out.

Days passed, I'm sure. It was difficult to tell underground, and the light was almost always the same in that room. After several refillings of the lamp from a container of oil I found, I had
thoroughly explored every aspect of my room. There was no door in the doorway, and no guard or fence to stop me leaving. I began to wander, carefully watching my way so I didn't become lost. In this way, I came to know the denizens of the underworld.

Several times, Hades summoned me, and I was brought before him by pale skinned, small breasted women who seemed to be the servants here. Each time, he asked me to marry him, and each time I turned away.

"I don't love you," I would repeat each time. At first, this was true. I didn't love him, and in fact I was very angry with him for causing this misery in my otherwise happy young life. Time heals, though, and Hades was very solicitous of my feelings. He was never under my power, and I saw now that he never had been when visiting me in my own realm. He had simply let me feel that power, to put me off guard. He controlled every aspect in this nether world, even me, but he
controlled it with great insight and caring.

After many summonses, my feelings began to change. I started accepting his dinner invitations, even though I neither ate nor drank at his table. I craved the company. I craved the upper world, the sun on my skin, and the arms of my mother wrapped around me. He was not
unpleasant to be around. As I have mentioned before, he was very easy to look at, with his rakish dark hair, and his strong, wiry frame. He was content to speak to me about anything except my leaving him. He even contrived games for us to play, using dice or coins or cards.
Slowly, my feelings for him softened, and I felt those quiet pangs of love.

I had made up my mind to accept his next offer of marriage, when I heard about Mother's tirade upon the world above. Mortal men were starving, it was said, because she had caused ice to cover the land, and all manner of food was dead or dying. I came to Hades, prepared to talk about what we should do, and discovered him talking to another young woman carrying a torch. A belt of keys hung at her waist, and her khiton hung strangely on her although she was quite pretty. A stab of jealousy pained my heart, and Hades felt it, and looked up to me. He beckoned me forth.

"This is Hekate, sweetling," he introduced me. The other woman, Hekate, smiled at me. I returned her smile, somewhat hesitantly, as I had not interacted with someone from the upper world in many months. "She is here as an emissary from Demeter."

I whimpered quietly, and walked to Hades' side. He wrapped a protective arm around me, and held me close. I felt safe; I felt loved. I did not really wish to leave. The days and months of my
captivity had allowed me to see that the realm under the earth was a lovely one, in its own way. It had stunning beauties that the sun side could never know. I laid my hand over my love's hand, and noticed that the color of my skin had faded, and almost matched his own pallid flesh. I smiled a bit, and stood straighter.

"Lady Hekate, I thank you for coming in my mother's name. I do not wish to leave here, though. I love Hades, and if he will have me, I will become his wife." I could feel his arm tighten around my waist, and the glow of his smile seemed to light the room.

Hekate nodded sagely. "I suspected that was the case, however I promised your mother I would come. Are you aware of what she has done to the earth above, to the mortals and animals?" I nodded, and looked down. "She grieves for you, and believes you have been stolen away, and raped. Even the knowledge that Hades here had permission to do it has not assuaged her anger. She is content to allow the entire mortal realm to perish because of her unreasoning grief for you."

I met her eyes, and saw that she was telling the truth. Mother always did have that stubborn streak. I was a bit taken aback by the idea that my father had given Hades permission to abduct me, but I understood that "normal" means would not have worked with me. I required the time to truly feel his strength, and get to know his underworld, before I could become his queen. I nodded to Hekate.

"I know what to do. Will you join us for a meal, Lady Hekate?" Her status as a Titan allowed her the pleasure of joining us, without fear for her own safety. She watched me, curious, as I ordered the servants to bring us dark ale, and many foods that were special to this realm. They hastened to obey, Hades' dark gaze acknowledging my power over them. I felt my own power returning, not as power over another but over myself. Perhaps that is what Hades wanted me to gain in the first place.

I sat down to the meal, and I ate nothing. I watched as my husband-to-be enjoyed my choice of mushrooms and truffles and such. I watched as our guest sipped at the delicious ale brewed here within our own dark halls. For dessert, pomegranates were brought forth, and Hades cracked one open with deft fingers, and offered half to Hekate. She ate, lips and fingers darkening from the juice of the seeds, and she watched me.

I touched Hades' hand gently, and exchanged a knowing look with him. His fingers caressed mine, ever so gently, before he plucked three little seeds from the fruit in his other hand. These he offered to me, wordlessly, and I accepted, saying nothing. I ate those seeds, knowing exactly what I was accepting, and exactly what I was giving up.

The rest, as they say, is history. Mother was livid that I would "forget" and eat something in the underworld. At first, she railed at me, screeching like a barn owl. After a while, she cried, and begged me to ask Zeus to free me from my bondage to Hades. I listened and endured this spectacle for several hours, until she had wound herself down to a few damp tears.

"Mother, I love him. But more than that, in his own way, he needs me. The underworld needs me. I have the power to make men forget, and this power I will use there to soothe the souls meant to return in time to the earth. Hades needs a Queen, someone to share his power, not some slave girl to cower at his feet. Those he has by the bucketful, if he wishes them. I am different, though. And my time there has changed me. I am no longer a girl."

She cried more, and said some vile things to me. I know she did it because of her deep love for me, but it hurt. I endured it, though, with a calm face, and a calm mind. In time, she would come to see the wisdom of my marriage. She would come to love my children, and my children's children. We would have our time together each spring and summer, and the fall and winter would be my time with my marvelous, dark haired husband.

So the seasons were born, the myths say. Of course, there were seasons long before the myths came to be, but I'm sure the bards and storytellers and myth makers knew that. Raped? No, I was never raped, in body or in mind. I was simply taught a different way to be, and I was allowed to grow up.

Neos Alexandria Weekly Ritual

I just completed the first NA weekly ritual. It took me about a half hour to complete, so not a hugely long one, but it felt right. Because I can't offer incense, and I can't burn anything but scentless candles, I offered pure water and barley as my libations. In the winter, I'll be able to use eucalyptus oil in a steamer pot as my incense, but right now it doesn't make much sense (just the candles alone heat the room up to the point where the fans can't handle it anymore, and don't talk to me about humidity). I trust that the gods understand my position, and have no wish to see me pass out from heat prostration.

I spent quite a bit of time purifying myself. I don't know if I'm suffering from miasma or not, but a lot of things in my life (outside of religion) have been chaotic. The move to Farnham's, settling in, closing out the old house, cooking and cleaning for more people, not being with Amo... these all contribute to stress, and in my opinion, to a general sense of miasma. I didn't really have the opportunity to shower (if I had, my ritual would have been much shorter), I did wash my face and hands with a lye soap scented with peach. It felt very "summery" and light, and I think it's what I needed. I used cold water, too, rather than warm or hot. I felt that was the most appropriate thing, and as close to pure water from a stream as we can get (we're on a well, not city water, so I know where the water comes from). I scrubbed my hands and arms up to my elbows, and then my face and neck. It felt very refreshing, and I felt light going into ritual.

I sprinkled water around for purification of my space, more because it's also my bedroom than because it's dirty. It harbors the same miasma I do, I suppose. I then lit candles for all the gods of Neos Alexandria (one candle in honor of them all), for the honored dead that we celebrate, for Hecate, and Dionysos, Asclepius, Hera and Zeus, Hestia, and Nyx. Then I lit a candle for my personal honored dead: Agnes, Eric, Grandpa, Nagymama, and Nagyapa. I also invited a couple of others, in honor of my family rather than myself.

I made offerings of pure water and barley to each of these gods, then said a prayer for each of the gods. I asked politely for guideance and love from my ancestors/honored dead, and asked a special favor of Zeus and Hera, and of Asclepius.

I whispered words to Nyx... she and I are just starting a relationship and I am finding my UPG about her to be very different, very bizzare in some ways. I need to do more reading about her, although there doesn't seem to be very much in the way of primary sources about her. In a way, she feels like a "grandmother" of sorts, although the images of her that I have received in dreams and visions always depict her as young and comely. Somehow that meshes together. I have her altar set apart from the other altars, and it has a shelf that is backed by a multi tiered mirror. When I offer worship and praise to her, I look in the mirror... but it isn't so much myself that I see. It's hard to explain. In the candlelight, with the dark around me, with my himation over my hair and part of my face, it is not me looking back.

See? I told you it was wierd.

When I was done my prayers and requests, I said thank you, and goodbye, and put out the candles. That was that.

I am still struck with Wicca disease in some ways. The Hellenic rituals that I do are not so "fancy schmancy" as the Wiccan ones, and are often much shorter, and more to the point. However, I no longer get the feeling that the gods are tapping their feet waiting for me to GET ON WITH IT, so I suppose I'm doing it right. I sometimes miss all the frippery I put into my Wiccan rituals, but I also understand the reasoning behind NOT doing those things as a Hellenic polytheist.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dark of the Moon

I am not at home with my altars and such, this week, and so I will be celebrating both Hecate's day and Noumenia here in NH, by myself. Today, we are making a trek out to land we hope to purchase, and to look at other land as well. In honor of my Lady, I offer this poetry.

Bright Lady, Dark Lady

Bright coiffed, Homer named you
Yet darkness became your due
Depicted oft in maiden's robes
With hair of blonder hue

Child of Persais
Asteria your dame
From these great Titanes
You grew in lawless fame

Goddess strong and bold you were
Of field and bloody birth
Now the Queen of Curses
Your realm in cthonic earth

Medea once your servant was
And now, no less, am I
Though you demand no bowed head
Your power I cannot deny

Thou art my joy, Hekate bright
Your hair as blonde as sun
Your darkness, too, claims me strong
My devotion never done.

(c) Allyson Szabo, July 2nd 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Longing for Wisdom

List Price: $15.99

Longing for Wisdom

The Message of the Maxims

By Allyson Szabo

Know yourself. Nothing in excess. Give a pledge and ruin is near. These are the words inscribed on a stele just outside the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Stunning in their simplicity, these Maxims have survived the test of time. Even today, they cause the reader to pause and think about what such short, poignant phrases mean. For those who study Hellenic Polytheism, either in historical or modern religious context, the Delphic Maxims are of great import because they hold a key to understanding early Greek thought. Delving into both the history and the current application of 34 of the Maxims to the creation of personal ethics and morals, Allyson Szabo provides us with a path to personal growth and understanding of the world around us.

Publication Date: Jun 27 2008
ISBN/EAN13: 1438239769 / 9781438239767
Page Count: 154
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Religion / History