Friday, February 26, 2010

Anthesteria


Well, the dregs of the southern Snowpocalypse has hit New England. Finally! This is the first real snow we've had all winter. I can't believe that in New England I've only had to plow the driveway twice, and I haven't used the snow shovel at all. Sad...

It was beautiful outside. Snow etched every tree and fence post, and the bushes looked like they were coated with cotton balls. Inside it was warm, and the tulips the guys got us for Valentine's Day were just gorgeous against the white landscape outside. There's just something delicious and wonderful about being inside a warm, cozy house with family and friends, enjoying the camaraderie of the season, while heavy snow falls outside.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow it's Anthesteria, and I decided that I would do some mid-level celebrations (in other words, I'm not dressing up in my Greek gear and trudging up into the hills to the snowed-in temple or shrines, but I am definitely setting aside time each of these three days to truly enjoy the holy days). On the first day, it was traditional to open "the new pots of wine." Since I don't have pots or jugs of wine to open, but I DID have to rack my still-bubbling, made-from-scratch pea pod wine, I decided to take a snifter of that and use it for my offering and such. I am really glad I did!

First, we took the wine and siphoned it out of the big glass demijohn, and put it into one of our wine buckets. That's when Gray snuck out a tiny plastic goblet of the wine for me. We all shared a sip of it, and I was favorably impressed. It isn't as sweet as I expected (though that may change considerably with time... this wine isn't supposed to be ready until around Yuletide!) but the flavor wasn't bad at all, and it had a pleasant alcoholic burr to it. The only real issue with it is that it looks rather like urine... but I am hoping that it will clarify a bit with time. LOL...

Once we had the wine out of the demijohn, I cleaned it thoroughly. We then decanted it back into the demijohn for more long-term storage. It will sit in there for another six weeks, and then we'll re-evaluate. It may need to be racked again (the process of putting it into another container and leaving behind the dead yeast sludge at the bottom) or it may be fine as it is. In about three to four months, we'll bottle it, and it'll go away into the basement until Yuletide or thereabouts.

After the wine is opened, we'll sit down to an episode or three of Good Neighbors, one of which will be the one about the first batch of their pea pod wine (here's a clip of it, for those who aren't familiar with the show... it's the second clip in the bunch). I am hoping for a similar reaction to our own vintage. *chuckle*

Here's to Anthesteria, my friends. May your wine bring you great joy, may your ancestors share their wisdom with you, and may they all return to their resting places on Sunday early! Enjoy the snow... it's melting as we speak.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anthesteria

Anthesteria Pantoum

Ancient Hellenes celebrated
Anthesteria's great feast.

Social mores were abrogated

And the first became the least.

Anthesteria's great feast
Starts with opening new wine
And the first becomes the least
When Dionysian vines entwine.


It starts with opening new wine

Sharing, tasting, and libating.
When Dionysian vines entwine,

Revelers are merry-making.

Sharing, tasting, and libating
Leads to cemetary walks
Revelers are merry-making
As to their ancestors they talk.

From the cemetary walks

Social mores were aborgated.
To their ancestors they talked

Ancient Hellenes celebrated.


I wrote that this afternoon. I'm trying to do more poetry and other writing during the time of Lent. They say a habit can be made or broken in 30 days, and so by focusing on my spirituality, my poetry, the creative zing in my soul, I am hoping to create a new habit.

Then Pantoum was pretty complex, for all it sounds like a simple poem. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. I'm actually rather pleased with it. I think I really captured the feel of Anthesteria with it.

Springtime Comes

Spring

I lie in bed,
sunshine streaming through my room.
Through the streaked window
I can just barely see the snow
melting and falling from the roof,
making soft thuds on the ground below.

I am impatient to be up,
out there in the disappearing slush,
plowing or shovelling
or collecting hens' eggs that are still warm.
Indoors no longer interests me;
I've plumbed these depths
too much this winter.

Tulips of pink and red grace the living room window,
and I sigh.
When will those little buds appear outside?
It was not a cold winter, but
I'm done with it,
done with being sick,
done with wheezing and coughing.

I want my window to be open,
letting in the spring air,
the cleansing air,
the healing air
of a new agricultural season.
I want to feel whole
and well.

My soul melts along with the snow,
becoming less rigid,
more soft and warm and real.
Spring is welcome here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent, poetry, devotional calls

I am sorely disappointed. I was not able to help Paster Alison this morning with Lent at the retirement center. I will not be able to attend the Lenten service this evening, either. However, Alison is coming over to visit me after my doctor's appointment, so I'll get some pastoral care, which is nice. I like being a part of a community where I'm not always the one in charge, responsible for everyone else. I like that I can get sick and have someone else come by to say prayers with/for ME instead of the other way around. I don't mind helping out others - it makes me feel good! But when I'm not well, it's definitely a plus to be a part of a community where other people come and take care of you.

I mean that physically, too. Everyone here has been great, making sure I got food and drink when I needed it, and otherwise leaving me alone. I've been so afraid of spreading this to someone else in the house that I've been avoiding pretty much everyone. I do seem to be coming out the other side finally, though. Today, I had energy again. Not a lot, but some. I felt like making food for breakfast. I made lunch. I spent a bit of time with the kids (a very little bit, but still). I have dinner plans. I still have three doses of antibiotic left, which makes me nervous, but I'm prepared to take them, and be over and done with this.

It's the first day of Lent, and I've given up my online games. Whew. It's an odd feeling, being online and knowing I'm not going to pop over and play with my online zoo, or my silly little cafe or farm. I'm not going to play with my borbles. I'm not going to play Scrabble or online Sudoku. I like doing those things, but in a way this feels very freeing, too.

I started writing poetry today. There are several devotionals in the works right now which I wanted to contribute to, and I am thinking that I will write several Lenten themed poems over this period as well.



For those interested:

Bibliotheca Alexandrina is delighted to announce that we are now accepting submissions for a Pan devotional. Please spread this announcement far and wide.

This devotional will focus on Pan, the Goat-Footed God of healing, panic, dancing, music, etc. All his historical aspects in myth, cult, art and philosophy are fair game. Modern experiences are also desired but they must have the above logical foundation or be clearly labelled as opinion.

Entries on other deities will be accepted if and only if they focus on said deity’s relationship to Pan or historical syncretic realities.

Examples:
  • Faunus (or Sylvanus) as related to Pan
  • The Nymphs, as related to Pan
  • Pan through the ages
  • Pan in literature....
The following types of entries will be considered:
  • Hymns, prayers, poetry;
  • Ideas for rituals, festivals, meditations and divination;
  • Scholarly essays ;
  • Opinion essays and personal experiences;
  • Original short stories.
Non-fiction pieces should be at least 300 words and should not normally exceed 3000 words – if your idea for a submission will be longer than this, please contact the editor. Submissions should be documented as needed; if a submissions states something as a fact, this should be referenced as to source. The editor prefers the Harvard (in text, author-date) form of citation, see:
http://libweb.anglia.ac.uk/referencing/files/Harvard_referencing.pdf

The editors reserve the right to make minor changes to any submission for purposes of spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, formatting and clarity. The editors also reserves the right to reject any submission that is deemed not commensurate with the criteria set forth above. The final decisions about inclusion for the anthology remain with the editors.

As with all of our devotional anthologies we 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

Please send all submissions to diotima_sophia@hotmail.com All submissions should be in MS Word or compatible format (.txt or .rtf). All submissions must be sent by email. With your entry please submit a 2-5 sentence author biography. Submissions will be accepted starting February 1, 2010 and submissions will close on 1 July, 2010.



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.



I am delighted to announce that we are now accepting submissions for the Zeus devotional. Please spread this announcement far and wide.

This devotional will focus on Zeus, King of the Hellenic gods. All his historical aspects in myth, cult, art and philosophy are fair game. Modern experiences are also desired but they must have the above logical foundation or be clearly labeled as opinion.

Entries on other deities will be accepted if and only if they focus on said deity's relationship to Zeus or historical syncretic realities.

Examples:
  • Jupiter as the Roman equivalent of Zeus
  • The Indo-European Sky Father as the cultural ancestor of Zeus;
  • Tyr and Indra compared and contrasted to Zeus:
  • Zeus-Ammon;
  • Serapis embodying aspects of Zeus;
  • Hera as sister, wife and queen to Zeus.
  • Hermes as herald to Zeus.
  • Apollo as oracle of Zeus.
The following types of entries will be accepted:
  • hymns, prayers, poetry;
  • ideas for rituals, festivals, meditations and divination scholarly essays ;
  • opinion essays and personal experiences;
  • original short stories.
Non-fiction should be at least 1 full page in MS Word and should not exceed 10 pages. It should be documented as needed. The editors prefer endnotes or in-text citations to foot notes.

The editors reserve the right to make minor changes to any submission for purposes of spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, formatting and clarity. The editors also reserves the right to reject any submission that is deemed not commensurate with the criteria set forth above.

As with all of our devotional anthologies we 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

Please send all submissions to zeusdevotional@gmail.com. With your entry please submit a 2-5 sentence author biography. Submissions will be accepted starting October 1st, 2009 and ending on March 31st, 2010.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent

One of my classmates sent me a Lenten poem as a response to something I wrote over on FaceBook. I wanted to share it, because it really is beautiful.

A Lenten Prayer

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ (or God, Spirit, Light, Love) in them.
Fast from wanting more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on positives.
Fast from stress; feast on prayer.
Fast from anger; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast of compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
Fast from fighting; feast on peace.
Amen

Saturday, February 13, 2010

28 Days

Spoiler alert. There are details written below about this movie that might spoil it if you haven't seen it. I'm not dealing much with the plot but I do reference it several times.

I just finished watching 28 Days with Sandra Bullock (as Gwen). It isn't the first time I have seen it, and it isn't the first time I've cried during it. This is the first time I've truly broken down, though. It led to a long and very emotional conversation with Gray, which made me think. A lot.

The movie is good. It's about a woman in rehab, and what she goes through. While I've never been to rehab, I've certainly gone through the throwing up, the not knowing where I was, and many of the other things Gwen goes through as the main character. She denies she has a problem, and only after a real emotional struggle does she realize she has much less control than she thought. There's comedy in there, and the show makes you laugh, but it's not about the laughs.

There's a scene in the movie where Gwen's sister (whose wedding Gwen wrecked at the beginning of the flick) comes to a family day encounter at the rehab clinic. The idea is for her sister to say how she feels about what happened at the wedding. Really, that's all she's been asked to do - tell how she feels. She can't do it. She stops talking to Gwen, and starts telling everyone else what a horrid person Gwen can be. Gwen just sits there, for the most part, with only a few muttered comments (at appropriate points, imo). Then the sister gets up and walks off, spouting about how she doesn't need to be there, because she "has a life." Gwen is crushed.

She doesn't give up, though. Later still, Gwen's roommate dies of an overdose, and Gwen realizes just how shallow she had been, and how far she's come. It's a real struggle, and you can see it, but she lets the pain in and embraces it. She's sitting on the edge of a river, just being alone and grieving, when her sister comes to talk to her.

"I should have walked home with you. I should have taken care of you. You were so little, Gwennie, and I should have been better to you." Her sister finally says the words, after a longish talk about her feelings about the wedding disaster. It's a good talk. They discuss their alcoholic mother, and her abrupt death. More than anything, though, it's her sister's willingness to feel GWEN'S pain, to actually stop and come out of her own self-righteousness, to know that Gwen really is trying, and really is hurting, that gets me.

I cried. I cried really hard. As I watched that scene, I realized that deep down inside me, the acidic person that I was became that way because I wanted my mother to feel my pain. I wanted her to know how much I hurt inside. Surely if she could only feel it, sense it somehow, she'd stop hurting me. So I lashed out, making a bad situation worse. My mother, unlike Gwen's sister, has never made that leap, though. That made me cry, because I'd made this (for me) huge realization, and then took it one step further to realize that I could never have that catharsis of a true "sorry" from my mother.

Gray came in to talk to me, and that led him to mentioning how much I have grown in the past 9 years. Yes, it's just shy of nine long years I've been with him and sis. I've grown up a lot in that time. I've gained confidence, found my voice, and recently pushed myself (thanks to seminary) into working past the limitations my mother put on me all those years ago.

I'm no longer a child, even if I sometimes enjoy childish things. I hope I'm never too old to give up my teddy bear. Yet I'm thankful for my growth, for my maturing soul and mind. It's led me to seminary, to New England, to the family I have...

Gray mentioned how my rituals "way back when" used to look very stilted, very much like an amateur drama production. It wasn't bad, and I knew my lines well, but the whole thing was just amateur. I'm not that way anymore. I walk with confidence to the altar or podium. I still quiver a bit in the tummy, yes, but not to the extent that I used to. Preaching in a church comes very naturally, and helping out there comes just as naturally.

I'm not where I thought I'd be, when I arrived here. If you'd asked me 10 years ago if I'd be preaching in a Christian church at age 39, I'd have laughed in your face. Yet it is where I feel drawn to be. That draw is not something to be ignored. My own gods seem not the least bit jealous, and so... I do what I am feeling called to do. Maturity has allowed me to do so.

I shed a lot of tears tonight. Some of it is, I'm sure, from the medication I'm taking. Yet, the emotions are very real ones, based on very real things. I feel like I made some kind of breakthrough tonight. I'm tired, ready for sleep... and I feel accomplished.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Please spread far and wide!

He Epistole is once again seeking submissions for our wonderful newsletter! The submissions deadline for the next issue is March 25th, 2010, and the next issue will be available in April 2010. Any submissions for the next edition can be sent to the Web Mistress at info@neokoroi.org, with "He Epistole" in the subject line.

Please consider writing for He Epistole. We are accepting articles about "real life" happenings, rituals, poetry, short stories, book reviews, recipes, and anything of interest to Hellenic Polytheists. There is no renumeration for writing in He Epistole, however you will get the joy of seeing your name in print!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Seminary Weekend

I'm back from my weekend at seminary, and what a weekend it was. On Friday, about the time I started packing, I began to cough. By the time we left, it was obvious that I had what the kids had, and that it was going to be bad. Through sheer force of will and ample application of DayQuil, I managed to attend the two days worth of information. I'm not sure how I got through it, but I did, and I even managed to scrounge up a few squeaked questions. I'm rather proud of myself, though not so much that I'm not going to listen to the mp3s later to make sure I didn't miss anything through either falling asleep or spacing out (I think I did both but I'm not sure).

It was a very different seminary experience this month. Normally, I'm very sure of myself, upbeat, full of energy, and ready to romp. I sit in a prominent place in the classroom, because I want to be among my fellow students. This time I was not myself at all. The main topic I'd struggled with all month was Islam, and the presenters on Islam were very well-spoken and polite, but did not answer all my questions. I was very ill, and my attention span was much shorter than usual. I sat at the back, away from everyone, in an attempt to keep away from others and not infect them. I didn't go out to lunch or socialzie much, either. It was a much more introspective weekend, and that was okay.

I did a tarot reading for one of the Deans, which went very well. I enjoyed reading her, and it was fun to use my Mythic Tarot. I also had requests from two or three others, so I suspect that more readings are in my near future. That works well for me. It's something I do rather well.

Tonight I facilitate at my study group. Tonight's lesson is on meditation, and I have a relaxation meditation picked out, with music prepared, and an information sheet for those interested. I think it will be well received. I hope so, anyhow!