Nina Paley’s “God-Mother”

•08/28/2017 • Leave a Comment

I really enjoyed this short animated film.

 

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All

•08/14/2017 • Leave a Comment

I understand that this is not a political blog but a religion-based blog. Not all of you agree with my politics. But a woman is dead because of a Nazi rally in America in 2017 and my heart is broken. I have not confirmed this but I’ve read rumors that she was a Wobbly (IWW). As a former Wobbly, this hits home even more.

 

I hope this is something that people on both the Left and the Right can agree is wrong.

 

As a queer socialist feminist, I’m the kind of person the Nazis would want to kill.

 

I do not believe in violence. I am and have always been a pacifist.

 

But if there are Nazis and white supremacists going around threatening people of color, LGBTIQ people, Jewish people, women, or anyone else, I’m glad that there are people like the Antifa who are out there to protect the disenfranchised.

 

I do not support unprovoked violence on any side, left or right.

 

I believe that people have the right to express themselves but not if it is an ideology that comes at the cost of others’ right to exist. We must not let this ideology take root again.

 

Millions of people (Jewish people, leftists, Roma people, LGBTIQ people and more were murdered) by the Nazis.

 

Let us not ever have to go through that again.

Real Polytheism

•08/07/2017 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had a real problem in the past with polytheism in practice.

 

What I mean is that I’m a polytheist (in theory and belief) but often end up focusing on one or two or three deities at a time.

 

For example, my worship of Brighid did not incorporate other deities from Gaelic Polytheism. When I worshipped Hindu deities, it would be restricted to Sri Ganapati (Ganesha) and His parents, Shiva and Sri Lalita Devi.

 

As a Hellenic polytheist, I’m trying to expand my horizons and not just limit myself exclusively to Aphrodite (though She is whom I am devoted to). I wasn’t exactly sure how to do this until the recent interview that Galina Krasskova did on her blog, Gangleri’s Grove, with Emily Kamp.

 

Kamp runs a blog called Home, Hearth, and Heart on tumblr devoted to Hestia that was mentioned in the interview. I checked it out and really enjoyed it. It’s updated daily and includes prayers to different Hellenic deities each day.

 

The prayer recommendations are from Drew Campbell and the prayers themselves are from the Orphic Hymns. I’m not a fan of the translations linked to on HHH as it’s rhyming archaic English often with Roman god names substituted for the Hellenic ones. I prefer the translations by Apostolos Athanassakis. But this site gives me a good template on which gods to pray to and when.

 

Additionally, the Orphic Hymns also suggest which incense is a good offering for that deity (which ties in perfectly with my interest in resinous incenses mentioned in my previous post). I recently got a sampler pack that has benzoin (storax), frankincense, myrrh, and other traditional resin incenses.

This helps me where I’m focusing upon and praying to (and giving offerings to) various Hellenic deities as part of a daily devotional practice.

My fear, though, is that I’ll finally get into a rhythm for about a month and then will have to stop. I have surgery scheduled for right around the time of the Autumnal Equinox. I’m sure I won’t be in well-enough condition for a few days after surgery.

 

I hope that I’m able to pick up where I left off in my worship.

The Offerings

•08/04/2017 • 4 Comments

Though I may incorporate modern things into my shrines (like little star-shaped electric lights), I find comfort in using more traditional methods in my worship.

For example, in my previous post, I posted my Aphrodite shrine (a work-in-progress). It might be too small or obscured to be seen, but there’s a small glass with olive oil used as a candle with a wick that floats on a cork.

The glass, I picked up in a Kosher supermarket in a nearby city with a notable Jewish population. The wicks and cork, I ordered online from a Greek Orthodox Christian supply store (which sold it through Amazon).

I think ideally, I would like to buy a ceramic oil lamp in the ancient Greek style but the last time I used ceramic (for Hindu ghee lamps) the oil would leak through it, leaving an oil ring-shaped spot on my altar cloth.

Jews and Greeks still use olive oil lamps to light their prayer spaces. That sort of sense of tradition speaks to me. I’m neither Jewish or Greek (that I know of), but the gods of the Mediterranean have been worshipped with olive oil since before recorded history.

Obviously, if you’re in a dorm and you can’t have any sort of fire, that’s not a good option. (I also would not recommend the particular sort of oil lamp glasses that I have to people with pets or kids as they rest on a very short stem and can be knocked over easily.)

Still, I prefer it to candles. But you use what works for you and what you have access to.

I also try to use a censer and charcoal with resin incense when worshipping Aphrodite. I have some excellent Japanese stick incense. But, for me, there’s something about burning resinous myrrh that links me to the people throughout the ages that have burned myrrh to Her. Or frankincense (olibanum) or other resinous incenses.

Smelling this from a resin from a tree or plant is the same smell that my ancestors smelled. (Both in the ancient polytheistic world and in more modern days as frankincense and myrrh are often burned in Catholic censers as well.)

Of course, this isn’t primarily about MY experience. Light from an olive oil lamp is a traditional offering for these gods. Resinous incense over burning charcoal is traditional for these gods.

I hope that going the extra bit pleases my deities even more than it pleases me or gives me a connection to the ancients.

•08/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been slowly working on my Aphrodite shrine. It needs more work. But here’s where I’m at now:

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There’s a brass statue of Her. A framed print from Lykeia’s Botanica. The statue has assorted seashells at Her feet (not visible). There is an iridescent organza with a wire that connects lit stars surrounding the statue. This is in honor both of Aphrodite being born from the sea and associated with the sea as well as Aphrodite Ourania (of the Heavens).

There is a small round mirror in front of the framed image, a sacred symbol of Hers.

A small glass full of olive oil has a floating wick on cork as a light.

A basket in the front carries purple hibiscus flowers from my front yard.

Not seen in the photo:

  • A censer that I burn myrrh and other resinous incenses in over smoldering charcoal.
  • A ceramic cup for mead offerings.
  • A glass for offering cold water.
  • An Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite that I read to Her devotionally.

 

My Comfort Zone at the End of the Vine

•07/14/2017 • 6 Comments

Recently, I started a class put on by an initiatory Dionysian group. I was curious because there were people whose writing I deeply respect involved in the group. I was curious about this class, so I requested a reading from a diviner. Her reading indicated that the god (Dionysus) has something to teach me.

 

So far, it’s intriguing but I’ll openly admit that I am struggling with a connection to Dionysus.

 

As a queer person interested in fermentation who was a theatre major in college, one would think a connection with Dionysus would be a no-brainer. But there are roadblocks for me.

 

While I do drink alcohol, I drink only a small amount. It’s rare that I’ll have anything more than two drinks (generally beer). Never more than three… even this is only a couple of times in a month at best. After having received a kidney transplant, I drink only in moderation.

 

However…to get personal, I am very uncomfortable being around drunk people. Drunk people often lose respect for boundaries. As someone who has been raped and molested, I count on those boundaries for a feeling of safety when interacting with people.

 

When the Quaker intentional community that I moved into 5 years ago had a very intentional alcohol policy that provided protocols for those that were not comfortable around alcohol, I was happy.

 

When I got hired at my unique non-profit private hotel, I was thrilled to learn that alcohol and drunkenness were expressly not allowed on the premises. (Our establishment was founded in the mid-1800s by a temperance-promoting preacher who established it as a safe house for sailors to live and stay away from the temptations of drink.)

 

After having worked in the industry since 2001, I’ve dealt with my share of drunk hotel guests. I loved this.

 

I’ve been finding comfort in being in spaces that were either conscientious about the effects of alcohol or strictly forbade it.

 

Dionysus, though, is not about safety. He is NOT about comfort. Maybe this need for safety around drunk people has been a crutch? I don’t know. Maybe that’s what He has to teach me.

 

As Neale Donald Walsch once wrote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

 

I need to set up a shrine but I have not done so yet because I’m still struggling with forming a personal connection with Him. I have strong feelings about drunk people. Negative feelings. Fear. Anger. Not to mention the negativity I have towards male beings.

I hope this connection with Him helps me to process that. Maybe this is just what I needed.

Aphrodite Shrine update

•07/10/2017 • 2 Comments

Spent some time (and money) working on my Aphrodite shrine as a devotion.

Previously, I’d had only red altar cloths (left over from Ganesha). This sat wrong with me. I mean, the cloths were not consecrated to Ganesha, so it wasn’t the re-using of cloths. I think the color bothered me.

Though reds and pinks are associated with love in our culture, 
I looked up traditional attributions and saw that blues and greens were more strongly associated with Aphrodite in ancient Greece.

So I ordered a cheap but sturdy end table for $15 on Amazon, ordered aqua-colored altar cloths and an iridescent organza.

Right now, the organza is acting as a sort of veil which I lift when I come to visit or with offerings. I already had a bunch of seashells that I lay strewn at Her feet.

I think I might get some small lights as well to hang. Perhaps a large scallop shell as well to place behind Her image. Once I get it to where I think She wants it, I’ll post some photos (if She allows).

Additionally, I’d like some stars there as well to hang at the top to represent the celestial Aphrodite, Aphrodite Urania.

If I can find a way to represent sea, land, and sky, it’d be an honor to Aphrodite Limenia.