It’s about fucking time

Sorry to interrupt the regularly scheduled Bolanalia merriment, but even though it’s still in the “hopeful’ stages, this is such good news to me that I had to share:

Greece moves to ban far-right Golden Dawn party

Government to table emergency legislation after murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas at ultra-nationalist rally

The Greek government has hinted that it will seek to ban Golden Dawn after the far-right party was linked to the murder of a leading leftwing musician in Athens.

As violence erupted on the streets and demonstrators protested after the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a prominent anti-fascist, the public order minister, Nikos Dendias, cancelled a trip abroad saying the government would table emergency legislation that would seek to outlaw the group.

Amid renewed political tensions between the extreme left and right, the new law would re-evaluate what constituted a criminal gang, he said.

“Neither the state will tolerate, nor society accept, acts and practices that undermine the legal system,” the minister told reporters, adding that the attack showed “in the clearest way the [party’s] intentions”.

Earlier in the day, police raided Golden Dawn offices across the country, with media reporting running street battles outside branches in Crete, Thessaloniki and Patras.

Voted into the Greek parliament for the first time last June, the neo-fascist Golden Dawn has been widely accused of employing violence to further its ratings in the polls.

The socialist Pasok party, the junior member of Antonis Samaras’s two-party coalition, has campaigned openly for it to be banned, saying it should be considered a criminal gang.

The 34-year-old rapper died within minutes of being stabbed in the chest when he and a group of seven friends were set upon by around 30 black-clad supporters of Golden Dawn in the working-class district of Keratsini.

Eyewitnesses said the singer was stabbed several times by a man who suddenly appeared in a car after being phoned by members of the mob. The attack bore all the hallmarks of a premeditated assault, they said.

The alleged perpetrator, a 45-year-old man who was arrested when police rushed to the scene, later confessed to being a member of Golden Dawn. His wife, who was also detained, admitted having attempted to hide incriminating evidence, including party credentials linking her husband to the extremist organisation, when he called her, panic stricken, after the murder. Greek media cited police as saying the man was not only a sympathiser of Golden Dawn but visited its offices in Keratsini “five or six times” a week.

With parties across Greece’s entire political spectrum condemning the killing, the far-right group vehemently denied it had any connection with the crime or the alleged culprit. In a rare intervention, the president, Karolos Papoulias, warned: “It is our duty not to allow any space whatsoever to fascism – not even an inch.”

Fyssas, who performed under the stage name Killah P, would be the first Greek to have died at the hands of Golden Dawn, which until recently reserved its venom exclusively for migrants. Within hours of his death sending shockwaves through Greek society, the killing was being described as an “assassination.”

The article continues, but I really everything goes through to recognise those xenophobic Nazi THUGS as the “criminal gang” they’re more akin to than a legitimate political party.

And really, OF COURSE Golden Dawn is going to deny any connections whatsoever to the assassin —since 1946, Nazis tend not to admit that they’re, you know, Nazis. Racists tend to couch their racism in “I’m not a racist but…” soundbites than name themselves as racists –hell, even the KKK, in recent years, tends to deny that they’re a racist organisation but claims to merely be “sticking up for their own”.

I shall pray to Nemesis for Divine retribution against the fascist assassin. I shall pray to Athene and Zeus and Astraea and the Praxidikae for justice. I shall pray to Zeus Xenios that those who believe they are honouring the deathless Theoi, as individuals or organisations, yet behave in manners that reject the stranger-friendship that is the virtue of xenia Zeus stands for by affiliating with or even supporting Golden Dawn and similar groups in and outside of Hellas are made to either change their hearts and minds or have justice delivered swiftly upon them.

The fact that there are Hellenists who are affiliated with and support the filth that is Hellas’ Golden Dawn is a blight and a shame, and Americans Hellenists, content with their relative removal from the situation in Hellas and only barely more than paying lip-service to the notion of “engaging the culture” when it’s cute to do so (going to a Mediterranean restaurant after your monthly Hellenion libations? That is NOT engaging the culture), and so ignore this elephant in the room ought to be ashamed of themselves. If you don’t care about this issue, you are a hypocrite before the altars of Zeus who doesn’t care about the virtue of xenia –it’s really that simple.


Athene & the Elephant

(This just sort of came to me a couple days or so ago, and so I wrote it down. As best as i can tell, I can’t connect it to ancient ideas and [dare I say?] beliefs, so take this as you will. Though, by sheer coincidence, just before posting this, I took a chance on a search for ‘elephant athena”, and found this –interesting, eh?)

Hermes watched carefully as Alexandros of Makedon followed his own gilded thread of fate into India, and just then, Athene peered over His shoulder.

“Ah, my sister, I was just watching, wondering if he was going to make it. It is better than a play, to me.”

“The Dread Sisters are never wrong, though. I hear that even if They ever are, They have ways of fixing it so that only the Protogonoi would know, and few Olympians would ever suspect.”

“It’s still fun to watch, when I haven’t anything better to do. It’s like the mortals with their mythology, telling Our stories, even the same way, and knowing how it’s going to end, well, watching it on stage is different from knowing the outline of the plot.”

“Fair enough, dear half-brother.” She took down Her helmet and adjusted a pin holding her hair together. “So, when Our people make contact with the Hindu people, they’re going to make some associations.”

“When will they learn that other gods are individuals?”

“They feel it’s complimentary, Hermes. ‘The Gods of Hellas are the Gods of civilisation,’ ergo, even civilised people outside of Hellas worship the same Gods, just with local names. Or so goes the logic, at least.”

“This political turn is starting to bore me. Which animals only previously know to the Hindu people do you want?”

Without hesitation, Athene pointed to the elephant.

“Oh, that’s not what I expected. I mean, the owl is stealthy and patient, and it hunts. That pachyderm is big and tramples the foliage, and all it eats is foliage. It was also relatively easy for them to tame.”

“This is all true, but it’s certainly the wisest creature on this continent, after mankind.”

“And you say so, because?”

“It’s tamed because it wanted to be. It’s big, but only violent when provoked beyond reason, because it knows that’s the only time it needs violence. In the wild, when it is allowed to behave naturally, it is the only beast that truly knows to honour the gift of life the gods have given all tribes of man and beasts –just look.”

Athene pointed Hermes to a small tribe of elephants in the jungle, carefully having laid a burial mound over their matriarch, now stood vigil. Infants of the pack wailed -like Greek women at a funeral. Each animal waited its turn to take a little water before returning to the three day vigil among the elephant burial grounds. She then pointed out another pack of elephants outside a small village in Africa, in a region of the continent yet unexplored by Hellenes; the village had just been visited by a fearsome storm, and a man and his dog who had been unshielded by a house, lay dead, and the elephants covered him with a burial, out of respect.

“It’s a simple form of religion,” the grey-eyed and unowned one pointed out, “but for a creature so far from man’s genetic material, they have been granted the wisdom to know the gods, and so not only do I favour them, but I believe our father will, as well.”

“But what gods do they honour?”

Athene thought for a moment, and then suggested, “they clearly honour the gods of the earth, and of intelligence. They cannot speak the names of these gods, so they could never ask the gods their names. They know only some basic vocabulary of any language of man, so formulating a question on paper or in the mind is outside their abilities. They therefore honour whatever gods will accept them. The Hindu people treat them with honour, so those amongst the Hindu honour Hindu gods. Those there, amongst the Maasai, if the elephant is tame, it worships the Maasai people’s gods. Why should they be any different from human beings? There are several species of elephant, with dozens of tribes, each.”

“You were able to see all that?”

“Of course. My vision is finely attuned to scouting out the wisest creatures, and the wisdom of these creatures is like the brilliance of the sun when compared to the twinkle of a star.”

“Stars are really whole galaxies, just as the humans see them from Gaia, you know?” Hermes pointed out.

Athene slapped the back of His head in that sisterly way, and said, “I know that. It’s the metaphor that’s important —and you know that, too,”

Start Your Week Off Right: A Round-Up

In continuation on my celebration of urban spirituality, Lupa posted something last month in No Unsacred Space that I just love:

You notice how the URL for this section of the Pagan Newswire Collective has the word “nature” in it? Of course. It’s specifically for nature-based pagan religious and spiritual discussions and ideas. I would bet that the majority of people who think of “nature” are thinking of open areas that have a minimum of human impact, where the signs of humanity are reduced or even almost entirely eradicated. And I feel that’s a grave shortcoming in our perceptions.

I want to share with you one of my very favorite quotes. It’s a statement by Richard Nelson, quoted in The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature and Spirit, edited by Jason Gardner (emphasis mine):

It’s dangerous to think of ourselves as loathsome creatures or as perversions in the natural world. We need to see ourselves as having a rightful place. We take pictures of all kinds of natural scenes and often we try to avoid having a human being in them…In our society, we force ourselves into a greater and greater distance from the natural world by creating parks and wilderness areas where our only role is to go in and look. And we call this loving it. We lavish tremendous concern and care on scenery but we ignore the ravaging of environments from which our lives are drawn.

This is a perfect image of how we have separated ourselves from the rest of nature. Not separating ourselves from nature, but separating ourselves from the rest of nature.

So much of that post is quote-worthy, and I just don’t have the space to do it, so GO! READ! NOW!

…but if you want any evidence that everything I listed here is true, then look no further than the comments from readers. On the good side, it does seem to cut about 50/50 (though in part for myself, but still a reassuring percentage with self removed), but there are still some of the nastiest, most hateful, prejudiced, and frankly uneducated comments are from those who extol the assumed “purity” of the pastoral existence. No such thing from any-one who has voiced communing with the city.

For those who could not discern some of the finer nuances of Lupa’s first post, she made a more recent follow-up, which (to those who’ve read neither) may also lay to rest most gut reactions made in bias against the concept of the city as an ecosystem and the urban divine. Keep in mind, there is FAR more to read than just this quote:

–Telling urban dwellers that they’re bad people for living in cities, or that they can’t be as good a bunch of environmentalists as rural people, or otherwise playing who’s superior to whom, is counterproductive. Insulting someone or insinuating that you’re better than they are is a great way to alienate them. Not a good idea with potential allies. If you assume that cities are full of people who are self-centered, materialistic, corrupted, etc. then you’ve already started on the path to alienating them. Same thing with assuming all rural areas are full of nothing but small-minded hyper-conservative bigots. And so forth.

It’s funny cos it’s true.

Oh, and here are some hideous Orphic cakes.

OK, you didn’t deserve that, here, look at these gorgeous peacock wedding cakes, instead. Or maybe these Valentine cakes?

Oh, and it’s technically posted on a “Wreck” day, but I love it: Happy V-Day!

I also love this Metropolis-inspired dress, and did I mention that Dieselpunk Athene really helped enamour me to that style?

I also found some magazine PHOTOPLAY magazine covers from the 1920s (click for more):

Looking through blog posts I missed on Google Reader, I also came across this great little fic/revised mythology piece by Laura:

Adonis looked up at her, his dark green eyes inquisitive. She knew he wanted to hear the story. She was certain he had heard it before, but she knew he liked to hear her tell it.

“Yeah. It is all Aphrodite’s fault. My mother had made it quite clear that I was never to be married off like some commoner. She wanted me to be elevated to the very pinnacle of the Greek pantheon – an eternal virgin like Hestia, Athena and Artemis.” Adonis smiled a little and so Persephone responded, “you better believe I’m glad that didn’t happen!

The Barking Shaman shares his photo gallery. Here’s a taste of one of my favourites from the “Manmade” section —and that abandoned theatre he shot is seriously full of nymphai:
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
(clicking the photo should direct you straight to the gallery in question —I tested it to make sure!)

And finally, from the blogosphere, Dieselpunk Encyclopedia honours the passing of illustrator Vladimir Ozerny, a visual artist clearly inspired by and in love with transportation tech, skyscrapers, Deco, and revolutionary posters.

Vladimir Ozerny. Tower 2

Fuck it, if you haven’t read those posts by now, I’m not going to subject you to them. Too many people just fucking angered me, and I’m stepping AWAY.

Just in case you were curious:
I spent most of this last week on my humanoid meat-based housemate’s computer, because my motherboard and/or CPU died, though technically, I got the replacement of the ones I got a little over a year ago at this time for the same damned problem used, so it’s not that surprising. My hard-drive was still intact, so yay, but the computer is now less-functional to my needs (like music, as in making it) than I’ve had in a whole year now. I’m finding myself waffling between making up for slow progress last year with the garden or basically replacing what I need to on the computer to get it back to where I need it to be. I will keep you posted.

Shit you’ve probably read already:
* Aphrodite’s Priestess: Dancing the Divine
* Aphrodite’s Priestess: A is for Aseria
* And lastly, I’m getting caught up on my comics, here are some oldies-but-goodies:
….Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles: The Origin of Humanity
….Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles: Working for yourself
Hyperbole & a Half: Adventures in Depression (This is sort of what it’s like for me EVERY WINTER, and the harsher the winter, the worse it gets. I’m so sick of the ableist rhetoric of re-imagining Seasonal Affective Disorder as “go a bit crazy, then shake [one’s] fists and demand retribution”.)
XKCD: The Orion Nebula

Your New Old Word For the Week:
Macrography: n, from Greek makros (long or large) and graphein (to write): abnormally large handwriting, sometimes indicating a nervous disorder. Jules is pretty obnoxious, so his macrography doesn’t surprise me in the least.

THIS is How You Name a Sexual Aid Company After an Ancient Goddess

Hathor Aphrodisia premium lubricants

image posted because I LOVE the design work on this logo

No, really, Athena doesn’t care about your sex life.

While I’m at it, The “Eroscillator” brand sure is expensive —I find this appropriate, especially considering all the graphics illustrating the superior design, and not to mention the goldtone of everything (and not to mention an actual gold-plated Eroscillator), I just can’t afford any of it.

And I gotta give props to Pjur brand’s Eros line of lubes; the Power Cream is honestly the best thing I’ve ever used.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

[This was originally cross-posted to the Hellenion_Chat and Neokoroi e-mail lists, and it just occurred to me that I didn’t get around to posting this here, like I said that I would, because the latest FireFox update is total crap and keeps freezing up and the only way to fix it is to reboot this eight-years-old eMachines piece of poopie.]

For those not in-the-know, 20 November is the Transgender Day of Rememberance for TS/TG persons who have died as victims of hate-crimes and is an important day for TS/TG persons (MTF and FTM) and their friends, families, and allies.

As one whose gender has often been debated by others (even though it’s been clear to me for the last two decades and some [note: I consider my condition one of many states of being a “biological eunuch”, in that I did not go through a normal boy puberty; but just for the record, I’m male-identified and making several hormonal and surgical “corrections”]), I plan to just simply offer libation, a small portion of lavender, and some music by Jayne County (who is awesome), recite my version of the Story of Hermaphroditos [note: to be posted later, currently in Iss#17 of He Epistole, ask me for a PDF or printed copy], and give this small prayer:

O Kybele, O Hermaphroditos,
Theoi of changed forms,
All I ask of you on this sacred day to those of similar fate
And of form andro-gynos by birth or by hand,
Is to seek justice for those whose time was cut short,
And to aid and protect those who remain in a world less understanding.
May Persephone and Adonis lead those passed safely to the Fields of Elysium,
May those who brought them to You too soon be dealt their due justice in this world,
And by Those Who Judge the Dead.
May Athene and Zeus guide the judges of the living to seek mercy on the deceased,
As you, O Andro-Gynos Theoi, give comfort and confidence to the living.

My rituals are usually very simple, consisting of little more than offering of food and/or herb and libation.

Athene at the University

Well, if I wasn’t suddenly bombarded with all of this work (backed up commissions, need to do some paintings to try and nab an art deal — bah!), I’d think up my own topic, but instead, I’m going to direct you all to Lykeia’s post at her blog about Athene of the university. And I’m basically going to agree with it.

One of the few things I actually love about the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area* is that two major state universities are right here. Based on where my apartment is, I’m almost right between University of Michigan (which, at various points in its recent history, has had the distinction of being the most expensive state university on this side of the Mississippi) and Eastern Michigan University (which has the shame of NOT electing the emu as its school mascot). I’ve always felt like Apollon and Athene really loved this area. There are many things for Them to love about this college town.

First off, at the U of Michigan Student Union building, there is a plaque out in front commerating the founding of the Peace Corps with a commerative speech right out there on the front steps by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Unlike Ares, who is often regarded as a borderline-psychotic War Theos Who can only be tamed by His love for Aphrodite, Athene contrasts as the Theon of Just Wars, considering this, She can also be a bringer of Peace and Prosperity, much like Aphrodite, but the significance of this event happening on University steps helps paint this town with a strong Athenian vibe for me. Ann Arbor also has a strong socio-political activist history, something else I associate with Athene.

University of Michigan is also home to one of the best teaching hospitals in the United $tates, and if that doesn’t strike my readers as something in Apollon’s favour, then I really don’t know what else would. The university libraries and museums dominating downtown Ann Arbor, along with tonnes of second-hand stores for books, records & CD’s, and even musical instruments (with Shar Music being just a stone’s throw from the main downtown area) definitely give this place an equally Apollonian presence, in my mind.

I really didn’t mean to just come off as if I’m gushing about this town — I really can’t stand this place, it’s very small and rather suffocating, to me. But I would like to thank Lykeia for making a post that prompted me to think about the Theoi of the Universities and giving me something to appreciate about this town — even if I do have a two year plan to get out of this place.

*just in case you may have forgotten or bypassed it, I’m taking a poll of where Hellenistai live, partly for my own entertainment, partly because I have a plan, in about four years, to do a book about Urban Hellenismos, and it would be nice to have some comparitive annual surveys of this kind of thing.

Urban Theoi

One thing that I always loved about Hellenismos is that many of the Theoi (Gods and Goddesses) have both urban and rural aspects and many others are neither inclined toward one place or another; the few Theoi that may even seem “strictly rural” are still very important to urban life. Basically, Hellenismos is a religion that, unlike some other Pagan or Polytheistic religions, makes no pretenses about the alleged virtues of rustic live over city life; all directions of human living are spiritually valid on an equal playing field, so to speak.

Still, though, I like to think that the ancient Hellenistai had been quoted as saying “the Gods of Hellas are the Gods of civilization” for a reason. 😉

One of the most obvious Theoi “of civilization” would be Athene: The namesake for the very large and very ancient city of Athens. The legends behind the founding of Athens state that Athene and Posiedon were feuding over who the city belonged to, and Athene won this dispute with the creation of the olive tree. Also being the Theon of wisdom, Athene seems a natural comrade of large universities and museums, halls of learning and collected wisdom of generations passed and present.

Museums themselves are named for the Mousai, and statues of the Mousai graced the entrance to the Library of Alexandria — Alexandria being the largest city in the world, in the days of the ancient library. The Mousai are the companions to Apollon, a Theos whose domains include education, medicine, and the arts — all institutions that typically experience greater growth, development, and cultivation in large urban areas before such is experienced out in the countryside.

Hestia (and her Roman “equivalent”, Vesta), in ancient times, was believed the heart and hearth of not only every home, but every polis.

Lykia Poet has written a very interesting article in her own blog citing the presence of Aphrodite in every city by way of common doves (commonly known as pigeons). The Cult of Eros and the Cult of Aphrodite have been heavily entwined with each-other, in both ancient and modern times, and while more often pictured with hares on ancient pottery, doves are another animal commonly held sacred to Eros.

Hermes is traditionally associated with messengers, commerce, and living by one’s wits. Urban life is brimming with all of that — not so much in rustic areas. And while city folk depend on farmers and keepers of livestock (another one of Hermes’ domains being cowherds) for food, rural dwellers benefit greatly from the money brought in from the cities — Hermes is a sly one, isn’t He?

Dionysos was honoured both in the woods and in the theatre. Theatres are typically best off in large cities, packing an audience in from wall to bloody wall, bringing in just enough of a din to make the make-believe on stage (or even the screen at our modern cinemas) all the more lively.