Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He Epistole - Winter Issue

Hi all!

I'd like to remind people that the Winter issue of He Epistole is due to come out in December 2009. Please consider submitting an article, image, or poem to our wonderful newsletter.

The submissions deadline for the next issue is November 25th, 2009, and the next issue will be available in December 2009. Any submissions for the next edition can be sent to the Editing Team.

You can find He Epistole online at http://www.neokoroi.org/newsletter.html !

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thinking and Meditating

No, there's no particular reason for my having that picture at the side of my journal entry. It's just that a house next to us (yeah, next to us, about a mile down the road) was broken into and had a bit of damage done. Apparently the thieves were after something specific and trashed the place while looking. Sad. So now the air rifle sits by the front of the house, where I can grab it in a rush. It doesn't do a whole lot of damage, but it looks rather like a full size rifle and I'd imagine coming face to face with it up close would be rather disconcerting. When it comes to protecting myself, the kids, and our home, I don't play games.

I've been working on my homework, and one of the exercises I need to do is actually making me cringe. I don't want to do it. Hence I'm blogging about it rather than actually doing it. I thought perhaps if I explained it, and why it makes me uncomfortable, I'd feel better about going upstairs after I hit "post."

Basically, my psychology textbook is exploring our "characters," what I call the masks we wear. I'm priestess, auntie, Mei Mei, lover, slut, etc. They're all ME, but each face is different from the others, and some are appropriate in some places, and some aren't. That part I have no problem with. I can identify (let's be fair: most of) my dark sides, and I don't generally shy away from them. I've been extricating them from the morass of my personality, labelling them, codifying them... No problem.

Then the exercise arrived. Meditate/fantasize myself as an object for five minutes. Oh. See, now that isn't a big deal for most people. Oh, I'm a table; oh, I'm a fridge, whatever. But wow, this one hit me from left field. I do NOT want to do it. I spent so many years as an object... the object-daughter of my bio family, the object-wife of my ex-husband, the object-girlfriend of my ex-boyfriend... I wasn't actually a person for those roles, I was a thing, and I fulfilled no more and no less of a role than a towel holder or a stove.

I don't want to spend even five minutes as an object.

Now, the other side of the exercise is spending a further five minutes fantasizing myself as a creator, possibly even god-like in abilities. It doesn't feel right to me though. It feels like a pay-off for spending time as an object. For me, that objectification is a slippery slope back to the Stepford Wife I used to be, and I don't want even one toe on the path.

I know this is just an exercise. The very fact that it bothers me so much tells me that I do need to do it, and then examine my own feelings and emotions surrounding the results. I think I will take the time to set up an emotional safety net for myself before I do it, though, so that if I need a hug or reassurance, it will be there for me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sharing joy

That small, pink clad form to the left of our pastor is the girltwin, who was an acolyte for the first time this past Sunday. She got to go up the long aisle with Pastor Alison behind her, and her friend (who is a bit older and more experienced) beside her. Her face was just BEAMING with joy at being given this opportunity to do something she knows darn well is important and something the "big kids" usually do.

This was a great start to our Partnership Sunday service, and a good time was had by all. The sermon was uplifting, the company fine, and people joshed with me (gently) about last week's little spill. But nothing beat the smile on the girl child's face as she walked up there, candle lighter held tightly (and precisely) in two hands.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Too fun!

A friend posted this on her FaceBook and I just had to share it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn Poetry

Graphic courtesy of the LJ community Magic Art

I haven't written poetry in a while, and yesterday while I was standing outside watching the leaves as Gray tilled the spelt field, I was struck with inspiration. I could see the poetry in the fall leaves, and smell it in the crisp air. It had to come out in words! The following poem was written this morning, in honor of the trees and beauty of a New England autumn.

Autumn

I watch as the rudy colored leaves
Fall in graceful flutters
From trees quickly disrobed.
The chill autumn air drifts
In the bedroom window,
Carrying the scent of wet, decaying leaves.
Nights are cold now,
And I find myself lying awake
Just to hear the coyotes howl
And the owls hooting in the dark.
Autumn is alive like no other season.
Every scurrying animal,
Every bounding deer
Readies itself for the long sleep of the land.
The heft of hand-made quilts
Drapes over my drowsy form,
And I feel secure and safe.
In my mind, I am still seeing
Those beautiful autumn leaves
Of gold and red and saffron
As they fall from our trees.

Not what I originally intended to post....

I am... aghast. Apparently, this morning the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Barak Obama. To mimic my outrage voiced on Facebook, this is the biggest WTFery this year. Maybe even this decade. Like many of the people in the article, I find myself asking... what has he done to be awarded this prestigious award?? How could this have happened? I went to the Nobel Peace Prize website to see if I could get more information, because no one at the NY Times was able to tell me why Obama got this award.

Just to be clear, the Nobel Peace Prize has been won by such people as Mother Theresa... the 14th Dalai Lama... Desmond Tutu... Mikhail Gorbochev... Here's a complete list.

So this is what the Nobel site has to say: Obama was awarded the prize "... for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

WHAT?

I don't even want to get into what I think of Obama's policies here. This is my spiritual blog and I do my best to keep politics out of it. But I am just sick over this. A LOT of people are now saying they are questioning whether the award actually means anything. That's a terrible, disgusting thing. The winner of any Nobel prize should be a CLEAR winner, or one of several people who the world knows has worked long and hard on their chosen task.

Someone in the NY Times article said it best: whether Obama makes something of himself or not is yet to be seen; we don't hand out prizes for "future" stuff.

Sigh.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Communion with the Gods

Today, I preached at the church I attend, for the second time. It's World Communion Sunday, celebrated by Christians all over the world as well as some members of other religions (Muslims, Jews, etc.). The focus is on spiritual unity rather than religious division. I chose to spend most of my sermon touching on a variety of messages of unity, and I really enjoyed being there today.

I also, for the first time, served Communion. The bread and wine had been blessed by our pastor yesterday before she left on her holiday, but I was the one handing out the wine, helped by one of our deacons. I hadn't even gotten to the "handing out" part, when I managed to spill the wine. All down the front of me. LOL!

Luckily, everyone was very understanding, and I shrugged it off and moved onward and upward. After the service, one of the people who admitted to being the most nervous about having a pagan at the pulpit came up to me to tell me that I got the "graciousness" award for moving right along after my mishap.

And I did move right along... with wine literally dripping off my stole, and the paper on which was written the actual words I was supposed to say over the bread. People carefully avoided the large wine stain on the sanctuary carpet as they took their bread and wine. It was wonderful, though.

Some words on communion. I think of communion in two ways: first, as the "communion of souls" which happens at any decent religious service or spiritual meeting, and second, the bread and wine offered at Christian services. I talked a lot about the first type today, and then served the second type.

Up until today, I had always thought of communion at a Presbyterian church as being largely symbolic in nature. I know the Catholics believe in transubstantiation, but the Presbyterians do not. It's still bread and wine. Well, when I went to cut up the bread, it was as if I had shuffled through shag carpeting and touched a piece of metal - there was a spark. It was... interesting, to say the least.

I had a wonderful time, despite my minor mistakes. I could see the heads nodding as I talked, and the couple of puzzled looks led me to explain things more than I had first intended, and that brought about more nods.

Later today, I plan on going up the hill for a little bit to commune with Artemis at her temple. The girls will be over to help clean and tend to it next weekend, but I wanted to go up and have a bit of quiet time. It's hunting season here (just bow so far, but as of Nov. 1st it'll be muzzle loader), and I want to go get a feel for the area before shooting things up there. I'm thinking of putting a salt lick at the temple itself, as that means no hunting will take place within the actual temple boundaries. The law states that you can't hunt at a bait station, and salt is a bait. It isn't that I think Artemis would be upset by people hunting deer around her temple (quite the opposite, in fact), but that I don't trust all the hunters to be careful about where their shots end up. This way, they have to stay far enough away to minimize damage.

In a couple of days it will be the day I spend on Dionysian things, and I will be taking straw up to put at the base of my grape vines. I'll clean off the altar stone, and do a bit of meditation up there, and do some house cleaning at my room shrine, too.

All in all, things are going well. I'm thrilled with how the Agrotereion is coming along, and pleased as punch over the way things are going at church. My seminary homework is done, and on time, and will be mailed tomorrow morning to my dean. Tomorrow I also embark on listening to the class mp3s, learning about the religions we're studying. I'm looking forward to that!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Devotional!

From Bibliotheca Alexandrina:

It is a pleasure to announce that I am now accepting submissions for Megaloi Theoi, the Dioskouroi devotional, to be published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Please spread this announcement to all groups and individuals that might be interested in contributing to this work.

This devotional will focus on the Dioskouroi, in Greek, Egyptian and Roman belief systems, as well as their Indo-European aspects. Modern submissions on the Divine Twins and Gemini are welcomed, so long as they are linked to the Dioskouroi. Additionally, this devotional will examine the relationships of The Dioskouroi with other members of their extended family, including but not limited to Zeus (see below), Nemesis, Tyndareus, Leda, the Leukippides, Helen (of Troy) and Clytemnestra. All historical aspects in myth, cult, art and philosophy are welcome.

Examples of acceptable submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • The Dioskouroi as:
1) saviors;
2) warriors;
3) horsemen;
4) patrons of athletes and the Olympic games;
5) attendants of Hera;
6) Argonauts;
  • The Dioskouroi and Sparta/Laconia/Dorian peoples;
  • The Dioskouroi and Sobek;
  • The Dioskouroi and the Kabeiroi;
  • The Dioskouroi and other Greek twins, Idas and Lynkeus (the Apharetidai), and Amphion and Zethos;
  • The constellation Gemini;
  • The relationship between the Dioskouroi and modern ‘Divine Twins,’ such as in the Feri tradition;
  • The Indo-European ‘Divine Twins’ as the cultural ancestor of the Dioskouroi;
  • The Vedic Asvins, Lithuanian A┼ívieniai, the Latvian Dieva deli, and any other sibling Indo-European Divine Twins compared and contrasted to the Dioskouroi;
  • The Dioskouroi as the Roman Castor and Pollux;
  • Tyndareus and Leda;
  • Nemesis, either in Greece or Rome;
  • Phoebe and Hilaeira (wives of the Dioskouroi) as priestesses of Athena, Artemis, or Apollon;
  • The Leukippides, including Phoebe, Hilaeria and their sister Arsinoe;
  • The Cult of the Leukippides;
  • Sons of the Dioskouroi;
  • Helen and Klytemnestra;
  • The Indo-European ‘Daughter of the Sun’ as the cultural ancestor of Helen;
  • The Cult of Helen of Troy.
Readers are encouraged to explore these and other topics related to these deities.

The editor is looking for one entry on Zeus with a specific Dioskouric relationship. The editor reserves the right to add more if a quality submission is received. However, Zeus is not the focus of this devotional.

The following types of entries will be accepted:

1) Hymns, prayers, and poetry;
2) Rituals and/or festivals involving any of these deities;
3) Meditations and divination;
4) Scholarly essays;
5) Opinion essays and personal experiences;
6) Original short stories;
7) Artwork, as defined below.

Artwork must be original, and must at least 300dpi at full print size and grayscaled. Color submissions for the front cover are encouraged. In the case of multiple submissions, the editor intends to hold a contest to decide the front cover.

Non-fiction (short stories, opinion essays, personal experiences, scholarly essays) should be at least 1 full page in MS Word. Endnotes, in-text citations and footnotes are acceptable and encouraged in particular for scholarly submissions.

The editor reserves the right to make minor changes to any submission for purposes of spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, formatting and clarity. The editor also reserves the right to reject any submission that is deemed not commensurate with the criteria set forth above. The editor may request that submissions be modified or expanded if the editor deems it necessary.

As with all of our devotional anthologies we at Bibliotheca Alexandrina cannot provide payment or contributor copies, since the proceeds will be used for charitable donations and to help bring out further volumes in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina line. Please read the BA policies: http://www.neosalexandria.org/publishing.htm Submission to the editor assumes that the author has read the BA policies.

Please send all submissions to dioscuridevotional@gmail.com. Submissions will be accepted starting October 1, 2009, and ending July 1, 2010. The editor will acknowledge all submissions, but does not guarantee any submission inclusion in the devotional for the reasons stated above.