Saturday, May 22, 2010

This spring has been so busy, I've only managed to get up to the shrines and the temple a handful of times. The Agrotereion is doing well, although we had some minor damage during the horrid wind storms in February. I had a generous donation to the temple, and so I will be using that to purchase the white paint to paint the walls of the temple proper. I also need to get a new door for the building, because the one that is currently there swells so much in damp weather that it's impossible to open and close in a dignified manner. I hope to have the girls over sometime soon to do some spring cleaning!

My shrine to Dionysos is coming along quite nicely. The grapes have come back with a vengence this year, and have leaves almost the size of dinner plates. I still have to train them over the latticework, but it's feeling very good there. The marble altarstone weathered the winter beautifully, and really looks great. It's the perfect size. I'll try and get some pictures soon.

The natural shrine for the Nymphae and land spirits is starting to green up, now. The tree stump we use as an altar (pictured above, by the stream) actually has sprouts at the side, with green leaves coming up! Nature is such a wonderful thing. This spot is still the favorite of the children, who like to bring offerings and picnic with the Nymphae. It's so wonderful to see them thinking about the land they live on, and how to give back to it.

My seminary journey is approaching its end for the year. June 4th through 13th I will be in NYC, first attending class, then going on retreat for four days, and then staying around to help with and attend the Class of 2010 ordination ritual. Not only is this going to be exciting, challenging, and fun, it's the first time in 9 years (as of the 5th, in fact!) that I will have been away from everyone in my chosen family for more than two days. Wow.

I have a tiny bit of homework left to do, and a bit of reading, but the bulk of the year's work is complete and in my binder. It's so nice to see it, sitting on the bookshelf by my school altar, neat and complete. It's been a long, arduous year, and I'll admit I'm glad it's almost over. I'm ready for summer in a way that I haven't been for a very long time. Yet, this year has been a time of great satisfaction, emotional and spiritual growth, and maturation. I have a much clearer image of the things I need to do, both mundanely and spiritually.

Life is good. The farm is full of green things, and my heart is full of growth, too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer He Epistole Issue!

He Epistole is, once again, seeking submissions for  the upcoming Summer issue. The Spring issue was a  smash, so let's all work together to continue the growth of our community and this publication.

This issue, I look to try something a little different. Rather than remain cornered into a purely religious focus, I'd like to see if we can expand our scope to cover the depth and breadth of life in not only its serious moments, but its time of whimsy and   frivolity as well.

While we are taking unsolicited and open submissions (send what you like), I'm including in this request a few article ideas and pieces I'd love to see;

1.  Worship at the beach- Encompassing the worship of sea deities, oceanic nymphs, and other daemons into a visit to the seaside.

2.  Walking with Pan- Hiking season is upon us and it would be great to see a piece on either a devotee's personal experiences with Pan while in the wilderness or even a thoughtful essay on how such a connection could be fostered and nurtured.

3.  The August Moon Festival-  Held during the month for which it is named, this festival encompasses the opening of ancient theaters for the public to get to experience Greek music, theater, and the arts live. A full write up of the event, as well as its history, would be spectacular

4.  Dionysian Days- Though Dionysus may not have an official festival in the summer, here in the west we've certainly turned the summer into a time of Dionysian revelry and merry making. An essay on this aspect of him, a ritual surrounding him, or even how to honor him in night time summer activities would be a good add on to the issue.

5.  Barley, Bonfires, and BBQ Oh My!- Throwing a BBQ is one of the biggest social events of the summer season, so what about throwing a Hellenic shindig? If anyone has a fantastic experience or ideas for bringing together a Greco-Get Down, this would be a lighthearted and educational article.

As usual we are always seeking poetry, artwork, essays on patron deities, archaeological news/photos, solstice rites, music/movie reviews,  and of course summer rituals that fall outside of the fanciful fare above. I'd also like to start implementing two short story series in each issue- so if you've been writing something that you'd like to share with fellow religionists (and is Hellenic in focus or a new myth for us to enjoy) feel free to send them to:

Happy Weekend!

Kharis Theocritos
Editor: He Epistole

Sunday, May 9, 2010

If I were...

If I were a day I’d be Sunday.
If I were a time of day I’d be 9pm.
If I were a planet I’d be Mars.
If I were a sea animal I’d be a dolphin.
If I were a direction I’d be north.
If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a table.
If I were a liquid I’d be coffee ('nuff said).
If I were a gem stone I’d be a hematite.
If I were a tree I’d be a sugar maple.
If I were a tool I’d be a Grizzly toolbench.
If I were a flower I’d be a dahlia.
If I were an element of weather I’d be a fluffy cloud.
If I were a musical instrument I’d be a bass guitar.
If I were a color I'd be green like grass and trees.
If I were an emotion I’d be ambivalence.
f I were a fruit I’d be a pomegranate.
If I were a sound I’d be a running stream.
If I were an element I'd be Spirit.
If I were a car I’d be an old Bug.
If I were a food I’d be a slice of New York cheesecake.
If I were a place I’d be a forest.
If I were a material I'd be white cotton.
If I were a taste I’d be salty.
If I were a scent I’d be slightly sweet and almost not there.
If I were a body part I’d be a hip.
If I were a song I’d be "Leather Wing Bat" by Peter, Paul and Mary.
If I were a bird I'd be an owl.
If I were a gift I'd be beautifully wrapped, with bows and curls.
If I were a city I'd be pretty rural.
If I were a door I'd be green, and open.
If I were a pair of shoes I’d be sensible, with a low heel and good arch support.
If I were a poem I would be short but descriptive.

And what would you be?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's coming... so fast!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal ... a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance ... a time to embrace  and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to lose and a time to seek; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
    -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

That quote has always seemed so profound to me. Now that my first year of seminary is quickly coming to a close, I have been thinking of it almost constantly. Though I am not drowning in homework anymore, I am definitely feeling the pressure. Soon, I will be faced by my Deans, asked questions, examined for my fitness for initiation (and later for ordination).

On one level I know that I will do fine. I've gotten good marks, had thoughtful commentary posted on my homework, etc. Marks aren't enough, though, when you're dealing with seminary training. Getting an 'A' doesn't mean you'll make a good minister, pastor, or priestess. It just means you study well and do your homework. And that isn't enough.

I'm not desperately worried. I feel prepared. I have moments when I go through a bit of panic, but it quickly passes, and I know I will do fine. It still preys on my mind during unguarded moments, though. My last initiatory ritual was when I dedicated myself to Dionysos, and that was met with quite a bit of chaos. I wonder what will happen after this one.

Perhaps I'm paying the chaos price prior to the initiation this time. Things have been very hectic and chaotic around here lately. My dress for the retreat arrived, and it's beautiful and perfect... except that it doesn't fit. Argh. I've contacted the company to see if I can get one size larger. If not... I'll be doing something drastic: a severe diet to lose inches as fast as I can. The dress will fit if I drop 15 pounds, and I have a month. Healthy? Not particularily (although I do need to lose the weight), but if necessary I will do it.

Ah well. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The universe is unfolding as it should.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New York, New York

I had class yesterday, the second-to-last class for this year! It's hard to believe it's gone so quickly. The past month and a half have been intense, full of homework and deep thoughts, rituals and sermons. I'm glad April is over with, and I don't have to deal with it for another whole year. I've had enough of spring rains, snow, insane weather, being sick, being stuck inside, alternating between my thick winter blankets and thin coverlets... I've just had enough. It was fun, but now it's over, and I'm ready to hit May with all my might!

Our class yesterday was just as intense as the last several. I'm glad I was there, rather than trying to listen to things on CD. It was a very visual, very experiential time, and being there really made an impact on me. Our morning speaker was there to talk about chemical dependency and disfunctional families. She used us to create a talking tableaux of a disfunctional family, which was both funny and somewhat scary. I could see a lot of my bio family in it, and maybe a bit of my chosen family as well.

The afternoon speaker practices and teaches Non-Violent Communication, and she helped us learn to be better listeners and communicators. A lot of what she had to teach us was stuff I already know, but the things I didn't know really complimented my current knowledge. I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of the class, and ask questions.

The class just seemed to whiz by. Considering I'd gotten up at 4am to make it to class in NYC by 9am, I was taken aback by how quickly it appeared to be over.

Today, I studiously avoided homework. Instead, I mowed the lawn, planted herbs, and took it easy. Wonderful!