Posts Tagged With: Twelve Olympians

Structure, Grapefruit and Fluff: Why Are We So Bothered?

Structure, Grapefruit and Fluff: Why Are We So Bothered?
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Author: Abitha-Evie

It’s 9 a.m. at the Offices of ‘Astral Intervention’ located in a nice sunny spot of the Summerlands. Thankfully for the Goddess and the God, today is a rather quiet day. Not like last Tuesday when there was so much paperwork the Goddess decided to manifest herself into several females from the Greek pantheon, only to result in Athena and Artemis having a full-scale-thunder-and-lightening-my-way-or-the-highway bout of will over the spelling of ”Magic’, and Aphrodite not doing a damn thing for spending the day fixing her hair.

No, today is quite quiet. It’s the God’s turn on Ritual Observation, whilst the Goddess handles prayer. The first item appears in the God’s ‘in’ tray, and he glances at it quickly.

“Welsh Gardenarian coven doing ritual for a member to attract love to her.”

The Goddess looks up from her desk where she is filing the first prayers of the morning under their subject and selective deity, and looks over the top of her half-moon spectacles.

“So not a direct love spell?” she asks, as a small pile of papers suddenly appears in her ‘in’ tray. “No names used?”

“Nope. These love spell toe the line sometimes.”

“No sneakily trying to specify a person in there?”

“Borderline.”

“Alright, let it slide. Maybe a ten months in the pot for being cheeky?”

With her conformation the God takes a large green stamp marked ‘GRANTED’ and punches the paper with it. He files it in the ‘successful spells’ cabinet under 10 months-this being the time it takes to have full effect.

The Goddess busies herself sorting through prayers as the God rolls his eyes at the next piece of paper he’s picked up. He drops it without hesitation into the waste paper beside him, which hurriedly spontaneously combusts.

I’m not into rigid structure. This is why I’m for the most part Solitary and eclectic, and I steer away from following anyone’s instructions to the letter. Structure and obsession in doing what every else was doing is exactly what I wanted to flee from all my life in Mainstream religions!

So here follows a mix of satire and my own views on a few aspects of Witchcraft. I hope it makes you laugh, and makes you think.

“I’ve got a bogie in the wire!” The Goddess says loudly, and the God maneuvers himself on his wheeled chair over to her desk.

“Mmmh?”

“Well, the prayer means well, but the dude’s praying with his hands together like those damn Christians.”

They both shake their heads.

“Sounds fluffy to me.” He says, flicking his wrist, and a clipboard appearing with a small crack in his hand. He idly flicks through the sheets of paper attached to it. “What’s his name? Is he on our fluff list?”

“Marcus Jameson, Europe-UK-England-Midlands-Birmingham, 45 Sable Street. Repeat offender if I’m not mistaken.”

“Yup.” The God confirms, checking a tick again his name.

Many Pagans I’ve met seem to be petrified that what they’re doing bares any similarity with mainstream religion, most evidently Christianity. A Pagan stranger at a shop recently chastised me because they overheard me talking about my mealtimes and that I include a prayer beforehand. It seems this was too much like the concept of Christian ‘grace’ for them to think it ‘Pagan’. But surely thanking the divine for their great bounty is more Pagan that it is Christian?

Just think of the Cake/Wine rites so many of us use in ritual. When I calmly mentioned this they actually snorted. There’s nothing wrong with holding your hands in any fashion when you pray, calling it a prayer, singing songs together, and getting together and having a good time.

“I’ve got a protecting ritual coming in from Wiccans not wearing black.” the God pipes up suddenly.

“What? I’m sure everyone who’s read any kind of literature knows they need to wear black.” The Goddess says exasperatedly. “Their clothes should be 90% black, the female eyeliner at least 5mm thick around the eyes, and we encourage the larger pentacles, right?”

“Sure do. Bloody Wiccans.” The paper is quickly incinerated.

This is a common niggle of many of use. While black may be a good color for its energy-absorbing properties, black is not stitched to ‘Witch’. There is NOTHING you have to wear to be a ‘true’ Witch/Pagan. But on the other end of the scale, people who chose to wear ‘stereotypical Witch’ fashion are going to get it in the neck for being sheep. Appearances do make an impression, but it seldom the right one.

“Hmmm.” the Goddess murmurs as she flicks through several piece of pink paper.
“What is it?”

“I’ve got a daily devotional, a nice enough eclectic, who I’ve been quite good to for the past year, but I’ve just realized she always pronounces athame differently. A-tha-me, A-th-ame….”

“Send her a spot of bad luck, she’ll get the picture.” The God says offhandedly, immersed in his papers.

Does it really matter how we pronounce certain things, if we know what each other are talking about? And what’s with this obsession with finding new and strange ways of spelling ‘magic’? I personally don’t suppose the divine cares how we spell it.

The God’s eyes widen as he scans with amazing speed through a pile of papers several feet high.

“Oh my Goddess!”

“Yes?” She raises an eyebrow.

“These are from a set of Covens who don’t rhyme their verses!”

The Goddess gasps.

“Well, you know what to do, dear.”

“Sure do.” With that the God forces the large pile to burst into flame.

“Not on the desk!” the Goddess shouts.

“Sorry.”

Now, this one I understand could be met with some criticism, but I don’t believe a spell is any less effective because it doesn’t rhyme, or it doesn’t include bad Old English (the, thou, ye, -est/-eth). I don’t believe my magical work is any less worthy because I don’t give it a rigid structure. I’m sure the divine conscious likes a break from all that sweet poetry.

I suppose all I’m trying to do here is to make a point: The craft is your own. If you’re told something, or read something that doesn’t fly with you, don’t do it! Do it the way you believe is right for you. If you’re spelling magic with a ‘Z’ in it, pronouncing athame like ‘grapefruit’, or wearing an Elmo t-shirt to ritual, don’t sweat it!

It is the intent that matters.

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In Search of a Pantheon

In Search of a Pantheon

Author: Crick

[Note: This essay is primarily for those living in the USA.] A thought has crossed my mind that needs to be addressed. It is the common custom of Neo Pagans in this country (America) to reach out to pantheons that are associated with countries and/or locales other than those found here. For instance, neo pagans in this country will commonly invoke the Tuatha De Danann whom is associated with various areas of Ireland. Or perhaps they will invoke the Olympians of the Greek pantheon or the Nordic pantheon and what have you. Often these various deities are by nature of their being, associated with a particular river or sacred well or mountain, or other geographic area particular to each area and/or country. Their presence and influence is woven into the customs and histories of the people who dwell in those areas.

My question is does the members of these geographically located pantheons extend their attention and/or influence to those outside of their historical areas of influence simply because neo pagans request them to do so?

Does not each set of Deity have a demarcation line that they simply do not cross? And if they were to do so, would this not create a basis for war against the Deities whose territory they have infringed upon? After all, do not humans serve Deity rather than the other way around? Let’s face it; America is in all reality, a mongrel country when it comes to a national identity.

When one goes to Italy for instance, folks there are Italian, in Japan, they are, ethnically Japanese and so forth on around the world. Only in America is there a melting pot of so many different ethnicities that leaves us without any discernable identity as a true national identity.

Does this mean that we have no discernable pantheon of our own and thus the overwhelming and common tendency to poach upon pantheons not associated with this country?

Of course one could suggest that we turn to the Native Americans, who are the true Americans of this country and utilize their pantheons. After all, they have Deities that are associated with the original people of this country. Their Deity is connected to this land and not to Germany or England or China or what have you. Their Deity is connecting to and associated with the geographical landmarks that are found here in the US and not across the ocean. Their belief systems even include a belief in the wee folks known by various names such as the May-may-gway-shi, the Mekumwasuck, the Nagumwasuck, the Ohdows and so forth.

But then we would have to face the reality of the actions of our forefathers who came here with an arrogant and domineering attitude. Our same European forefathers who did their best to shut down the native beliefs in the Deity associated with this land and who tried to enslave the original people of this land to spiritual beliefs that originated from foreign lands and a foreign God/s. And such a sad and disrespectful practice unfortunately has continued on to this very day.

If we are to impugn the original children and thus the true believers of the Deity associated with this land we know as America, can we really expect such Deity to now hear our spiritual pleas?

Even the very children of these native Deity distance themselves from the label of Pagan. There is a clear and established resentment towards those of European descent who claim a connection to what Native Americans see as spiritual beliefs which are foreign to those they see as encroachers and thus not to be understood by those they regard as outsiders. And from the looks of it, such views may very well be legitimate considering the ongoing history, past and present, towards Native Americans.

But then this essay is not about ostracizing folks for actions against this people or that. It is about taking a pragmatic view when it comes to how we view and thus how we develop and advance our spiritual beliefs. For if we don’t have the ear of Deity, what validity do our individual spiritual beliefs have?

Of course one may argue that such pantheons are simply labels for a unified supreme energy. But then why have so many different pantheons when in essence they all represent the same human characteristics that one would use such labels to identify with? Of course having so many different pantheons provides populist material for the many self-proclaimed experts on Neo paganism to sell their plethora of paganism 101 books.

But then is this the premise for Neo Paganism. Creating a market in which to sell modern concepts of spiritualism? Or is there a deeper understanding and spiritual goal for taking belief systems that have in many instances been practiced unaltered for centuries. That is other than giving them a modern label, such as “Neo Paganism” in order to set up a different set of parameters that does little to contribute to the original spiritual intent and goals associated with such ancient beliefs. Which brings us back to the Neo pagan concept of Deity and pantheons in America…

If we accept the blatant practice of “selling neo paganism” based upon the whims of modern entrepreneurs for what it is, and if we accept that pantheons associated with lands foreign to America have little or no interest and/or influence here, and lastly, if we accept that the pantheons associated with the native lands of America are not friendly to those of European descent, then where does that leave Neo pagans in America?

Quite frankly I do not have the answer to such a personal spiritual question, for I am not seeking to sell any books on this subject. Like most of you I am simply a student of the mystical arts and I do not claim to be a master of anything. But if I were to make a suggestion, it would be to put aside the many populist books that seek to tell folks how to connect with their individual spirituality.

One person’s experience is not a one size fits all. That concept is what Abrahamic religions are based upon. As pagans we have the freedom of individuality and thus the possibilities of discovery that works for us on a personal spiritual level. Following this suggestion I would be remiss not to point out that Deity starts from within. And as such, one may want to actually go out into the woods, fields, mountains, riversides and so forth. And once there one may want to try actually connecting with the Deity/spiritual presence that resides in such locations.

If there is to be a label (for we humans have a need for such a connection) than rather creating a name/label that comes from a foreign land or even a populist book, allow the experience of the moment to speak to your heart and soul. Perhaps by actually reaching out in such a realistic manner, one can actually connect with the spiritual identity of such locations in ways that greatly exceed just reading a book on the subject.

And is it not such a personal experience, that each of us who follows a mystical path exactly that which we are reaching for? And would not such a connection put one in attunement with a spiritual essence/Deity that is associated directly with our current abode and culture?

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Today We Honor The Goddess Hestia

The Goddess Hestia

Hestia is one of the three great goddesses of the first Olympian generation, along with Demeter and Hera. She was described as both the oldest and youngest of the three daughters of Rhea and Cronus, sister to three brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, in that she was the first to be swallowed by Cronus and the last to be disgorged. Originally listed as one of the Twelve Olympians, Hestia gave up her seat in favor of newcomer Dionysus to tend to the sacred fire on Mount Olympus. However, there is no ancient source for this claim. As Karl Kerenyi observes,”there is no story of Hestia’s ever having taken a husband or ever having been removed from her fixed abode.” Every family hearth was her altar. Of the Olympian gods, Hestia has the fewest exploits “since the hearth is immovable, Hestia is unable to take part even in the procession of the gods, let alone the other antics of the Olympians,” Burkert remarks. Sometimes this is assumed to be due to her passive, non-confrontational nature. This nature is illustrated by her giving up her seat in the Olympian twelve to prevent conflict. She is considered to be the first-born of Rhea and Cronus; this is evidenced by the fact that in Greek (and later Roman) culture ritual offerings to all gods began with a small offering to Hestia; the phrase “Hestia comes first” from ancient Greek culture denotes this.

Immediately after their birth, Cronus swallowed Hestia and her siblings except for the last and youngest, Zeus, who later rescued them and led them in a war against Cronus and the other Titans. Hestia, the eldest daughter “became their youngest child, since she was the first to be devoured by their father and the last to be yielded up again”—the clearest possible example of mythic inversion, a paradox that is noted in the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite (ca 700 BC): “She was the first-born child of wily Cronus—and youngest too.”

Poseidon, and Apollo of the younger generation, each aspired to court Hestia, but the goddess was unmoved by Aphrodite’s works and swore on the head of Zeus to retain her virginity. The Homeric hymns, like all early Greek literature, reinforce the supremacy of Zeus, and Hestia’s oath taken upon the head of Zeus is an example of surety. A measure of the goddess’s ancient primacy—”queenly maid…among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses”, in the words of the Homeric hymn—is that she was owed the first as well as the last sacrifice at every ceremonial assembly of Hellenes, a pious duty related by the mythographers as the gift of Zeus, as if it had been his to bestow: another mythic inversion if, as is likely, the ritual was too deep-seated and essential for the Olympian reordering to overturn. There are theories (by modern neopagans among others) that Hestia, as goddess of “home and hearth”, was one of the most ancient of all gods later worshiped as Olympians; as a maternal goddess of humans finding safety and homes in caves around a fire, worship of Hestia, by other names, may literally be hundreds of thousands of years old and has continued through classical Greek times to the present day.

“The power worshipped in the hearth never fully developed into a person,” Walter Burkert has observed. Hestia evolved into a lesser goddess in the same ranks of Pan and Dionysus, who was incorporated into the Olympian order in Hestia’s place. At Athens “in Plato’s time,” notes Kenneth Dorter “there was a discrepancy in the list of the twelve chief gods, as to whether Hestia or Dionysus was included with the other eleven. The altar to them at the agora, for example, included Hestia, but the east frieze of the Parthenon had Dionysus instead.

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Goddess Of The Day: HERA

Goddess Of The Day:  HERA
Daedala (Greece)
 
Themes: Love; Romance; Forgiveness; Humor
Symbols: Oak; Myrrh; Poppy
 
About Hera: Hera rules the earth, its people, and the hearts of those people. Using passion and creativity, Hera nudges star-crossed lovers together, chaperones trysts, and helps struggling marriages with a case of spring twitterpation!
 
Legend tells us that Hera refused to return to Zeus’s bed because of a quarrel. Zeus, however, had a plan. He humorously dressed up a wooden figure to look like a bride and declared he was going to marry. When Hera tore off the dummy’s clothes and discovered the ruse, she was so amused and impressed by Zeus’s ingenuity that she forgave him.
 
To Do Today: Ancient Greeks honored Hera and Zeus’s reconciliation today, often in the company of old oak trees. Small pieces of fallen wood are collected to symbolize the divinities, then burned on the ritual fire to keep love warm. To mirror this custom, find a fallen branch and burn a small part of it as an offering to Hera. Keep the rest to use as a goddess image year-round, burning a few slivers whenever love needs encouragement.
 
Present someone you love or admire with a poppy today to symbolically bestow Hera’s blessings on your relationship. If you have a loved one away from home, burn some myrrh incense in front of their picture so Hera can watch over them and keep that connection strong.
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By Patricia Telesco ~ From “365 Goddess”  (FMP) and GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast
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