Monthly Archives: June 2015

Down the Memory Hole

In his book 1984, George Orwell introduced the Memory Hole: A chute in the Ministry of Truth that carried inconvenient documents to the building’s incinerator. The idea was, if the government could make talking about the past–the real past, not the party-approved story–illegal, and destroy all evidence of the real past, then they could completely control the remembered reality of the people.

This isn’t fiction. It’s happening right now, in Syria. DAESH (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, transliterated) is busy demolishing historical sites, so that there will be no evidence to counter their propaganistic historical narrative. So that there will be no evidence of the culture and religion that existed before Islam came to Syria and the Levant. Among all their other atrocities, they are doing their best to erase the history of the Middle East.

DAESH is shoving all the pre-Islamic history they can get their hands on down the Memory Hole.

The history of cities where Christians and Jews had thriving communities in the Holy Land and neighboring states? Gone. The history of temples, of cities where many gods of the Near and Middle East, of Greece and Egypt and Rome and Persia and Canaan and Babylon were worshiped? Gone. As if it were never there.

When I stop and consider how much we rely on studying ancient physical evidence–broken pots, partial statues, ruined buildings–for our understanding of ancient polytheism, it leaves me cold, and angry.

But what to do? I don’t have an army, or a lot of money for donating to whoever might be able to help directly.

Well, I suppose there’s always magic. Galina Krasskova has a suggestion, over at Gangleri’s Grove. Go check it out.


To Honor the Land is to Deal with the Dead

The dead are always with us. The ground we walk on, the food we eat, often the clothes we wear are all made from dead things. The culture we live in is the will of the ancestral dead, living and moving in the world.

The land would be there without humanity, or our dead, but we would not be here without the land and its dead.

Gangleri's Grove

Some friends were having a discussion with Sannion last night and as I was passing through (swamped with preparations for my upcoming trip), he mentioned one of the things they were discussing and it just blew me away. This is so spot on, so powerful, so incredibly profound that I, half way upstairs, stopped dead in my tracks and asked everyone’s permission to write about it here. (Obviously they graciously allowed me to do so, or I wouldn’t be posting this!).

The latest issue of Walking the Worlds discusses the importance of regional cultus to the restoration of our polytheisms. We talk about regional cultus a lot but I don’t think many of us (myself included) ever really stop to parse it out or to figure out how all of the various parts of our praxis are organically (no pun intended, I swear!) connected. Part of regional cultus is venerating…

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For Today’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Rejoice

by darkaeigis

Rejoice with me children of Dionysus

Sing with Eluthereus in celebration

Passivity no more

The oppressed refuse to be

Raging, we cast aside shackles placed upon us

Permission to love we never needed

To demand such, that is the sin

Today we fly with Dionysus Psilax

Eat, Drink and Marry


“Eluthereus” is a name of Dionysos, meaning “Deliverer, Liberator.”
“Psilax” is a cult name of Dionysos, meaning (rouglhy) “who lifts us up.”


Dance Like No One’s Watching

How do you incorporate movement into your worship?

Movement hasn’t been a large part of my practice in recent years, and I think I need to change that.

I came into modern Paganism through Starhawk and Reclaiming-style witchcraft, and then British Traditional Wicca. In that style of Paganism, there’s a lot of moving around, starting with re-arranging the living room to make space for the night’s festivities. After that, it’s mostly walking the circle several times during the first parts of the ritual, stopping at the quarters to do things & stuff, circle dances complete with bruised shins from banging into the altar, leaping up for the fire extinguisher when the cat knocks over a candle…

My change from Wicca and Wicca-derived practice to a Polytheistic practice based more on Hellenic structures came at the same time as I started working less with groups, and more on my own. Ritual no longer required moving the couches aside. Mostly, it was a matter of pouring libations and praying at a shrine in my bedroom. Not much room for perambulations, but there was a narrow path past the foot of the bed for a simple procession from the ritual ablutions in the bathroom to the altar, and back again.

But I’ve noticed that I miss the motion. There’s something about including a somatic component to ritual that helps keep focus, and not just because one’s legs go to sleep if one stands still too long. I got a Murphy bed so that I could easily clear floorspace. Though I haven’t made use of that yet, I anticipate that pre-ritual furniture moving will help get the old juices flowing.

Another thing I would not have thought I’d miss was the dancing. I’m not much of a dancer. Oh, I can do a passable Goth-Boi Shuffle, and I’m pretty good with the High School Slow Dance, but that isn’t what I have in mind.

No, this is more like shutting myself away from possible lookers-on, putting the headphones in (no point in putting the housemates out), and just moving. At a concert at a con, I decided I would dance for Dionysos, even if I felt like a clumsy fool.

I clearly recall Him saying something like, “If you’re going to look like an idiot on the dance floor, best to look like a passionate idiot.”

I’m pretty sure it was said with love.

In any case, that felt good, and it felt like it pleased Him, so I should probably do more of that.

Just do me a favor, though, and don’t watch.

My lover Ember and I have decided to go through Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme questions together, over the next several months. We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers in our comments, as well as your thoughts on our answers. Ember’s answer can be found at her blog, Embervoices


Happy Birthday, Life!

What does fertility mean to you?

Well… Not a lot. I mean, I could go on about it; I’m initiated into a Gardnerian-derived Wicca line, which is pretty much a fertility cult. (Though if anyone asks, you didn’t hear it from me.)

Also, Dionysos is the life of the vine, the force which brings the vine to flower and fruit, and the one who makes the hungry, hungry yeast eat sugar, piss alcohol, and make more yeast. So there’s a connection there.

But I just don’t feel it, you know? Come spring equinox, I don’t even get particularly excited about the chocolate, much less the spring. I’m much more into autumn.

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“I am Freya”, by Thenea

Beautiful.

Silver and Gold

(As channeled by dear friend Thenea.) This whole poem: Yes, and yes, and yes.

I am Freya

I am War. I am Love.

To me, all is beauty: I behold the terrible majesty of all creation.

I am all beauty: The majesty of the world returns my adoration

I stand before you without judgment.

Holy is the blood of death – beautiful in its completeness

Holy is the blood of birth – beautiful in its potential

Mine is the dance of battle, danced to the beat of harsh-clanging metal

Mine is the dance of sex, danced out rhythmic and sweet, to a song voiced by lovers.

This is who I am.

I am all love, and love all.

Doubt not that I love you, also

The meager of heart have naught but hollow threats to defend their place

The frightened and childish shall storm up and take their baubles home when challenged.

But I am no frail…

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