Hail Moisai

Knowledge, mural by Robert Lewis Reid

Knowledge, mural by Robert Lewis Reid

Today, I finally got my library card for the Ypsilanti District Library

This means I live here, now. I never feel like I *really* live somewhere until I have a library card. I can get my State ID updated, I can have my voter registration transferred to my district, but that doesn’t really matter, at least not to me. I don’t live somewhere until I’ve had my library card.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost library cards for many places I’ve lived: Toledo, Ohio; Lenawee County, Michigan; Ann Arbor; Chicago, Los Angeles; Gary, Indiana; Charlottesville, Virginia….. I never had a Lansing, Michigan library card… Perhaps that affected me, in some way? I also never had a library card for Cadillac, Michigan, but I’d always intended that to be temporary, and was really surprised that I managed six months there. LE_SUEUR_Eustache_The_Muse_Terpsichore

Every city of the ancient Mediterranean considered a “cultural hub” was know for, amongst other things, the ways they honoured (whether explicitly or implicitly) The Moisai. Libraries of the Graeco-Roman world, especially the most famous, the Library of Alexandria, were also temples of the Moisai. Public art, in the Graeco-Roman world, was regarded as being guided by a Muse. These are goddesses of civilisation and culture, not only art and music, but KNOWLEDGE.

Many people mistake Athene’s holy places in the modern world as including libraries, but this is based on a misunderstanding of Athene’s domains. Her domains, conceptually, include Wisdom. Wisdom is not synonymous with Knowledge. Knowledge is a collection of things learned, Wisdom, on the other hand, is how one uses knowledge, understanding, and insights. Wisdom cannot be gained from libraries alone –take it from someone who spent his childhood in them, knowing everything about anything doesn’t make one wise, it makes one knowledged; or, to put it succinctly, if knowledge alone granted wisdom, I would not have made nearly the number of poor judgements I had in my life, but at this point in my life, but I feel I’ve gained at least enough wisdom to know that I’m probably not done with those mis-steps in judgement, nor will my accumulation of knowledge prevent it.

Athene’s domain is not the knowledge of history books, but the wisdom of the oral traditions.

This is not to say that knowledge is at all worthless, when compared to knowledge. Knowledge, and the accumulation of it in a referencable form, books, film, microfiche, all manner of recordings, and digital media has only improved not only technology, but societies. Books and other writings and recordings of information have played integral roles in ending slavery, gaining women the right to vote, creating the modern 40-hour work week and minimum wage, and so on. We need knowledge.

While our own experiences are our own best reference points of knowledge, the arts, writing and recording is the best possible way to access the knowledge and experiences of others and relating to them. Human interaction, while invaluable in many ways and many instances, simply cannot convey the nuance of many experiences the way that an articulate essay or a movement in a music composition, or an especially stirring scene in a film or play can; having a discussion is only as good at giving oneself knowledge of another’s experience as that other person is at conveying themself verbally.

Because there is a wealth of human experiences that can only be best conveyed through the arts and the recording of knowledge, the Moisai are, indeed, goddesses of the very essences of our humanity –meaning that those of us who have made the arts and writing our missions in life, are serving not only the very essences of humanity, but the Goddesses Who gave that to us, whether we realise it or not.

Did I mention that this coming summer will feature another Mouseia festival? If you get a calendar, you can keep track of that. As an added bonus, I’ll be holding an online Mouseia Agon; I’ll draw up plans and post about it after the first of the winter solstice.

Also: Patreon.


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.

[PBP2013] Iris

Rainbow Ringlets by *wisely-chosen on deviantART

Iris: Why would I choose a mere male god or daimone as my lover?
Hermes: I suppose more the question is, why not? There are enough goddesses going parthenos, as it is!
Iris: You misunderstand that word. I exist in-between, as do you –with my mother in the clouds, and my father in the sea. Think of all the other goddesses parthenos who came before I: Hestia, quite sweet and matronly. Artemis, quite feral. Mortals fancy Athene as little more than a man with breasts. Even Hera adopts that title, when it suits her, and mortals can hardly begin to understand why.
Hermes: So then what am i missing, colleague?
Iris: The title has little to do with lacking sexual gnosis, and only relates to “virginity” inasmuch as one defines the, shall we say “wedding feast”. To be parthenos is to not be owned. And anyway, women are far more to my preferences.

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.

30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 15 ~ Pantheon – Every-One Else

I’m at a loss for words on this one, so I’m going to do a run-down of as many Theoi and Titans as I can think of, and a quick line or two (or possibly three) on how I see Them, my thoughts, etc…:

Zeus: Mythologically, He’s the God who puts his dick in everything. In real life, He’s a multi-faceted Father God who can be The Stern, Mean Judge one minute, and then crack bad Dad Jokes the next.
Hera: She’s a goddess of marriage, of fidelity, and of traditions. I get the impression that She’s more of a monarchist than Zeus.
Athene: Athene is like the Cool Older Sister who goes to political rallies and fights for civil justice. People who aren’t close to Her also seem to think She’s “kinda butch”, but I get the impression that She doesn’t see Herself that way. I tried to forge something with Her, but it was never meant to be that deep, apparently.
Aphrodite: As I said in my Eros post, I see Her bond with Eros as familial in spirit — They share a lot of common ground, but I’ve never seen them as mother-and-child deities. In fact, that one picture I added to yesterday’s post, with Eros comforting an exhausted Aphrodite, I think that says a lot.
Hermes: A god of the in-betweens: Travellers, story-telling, commerce — which is the exchange of money rather than the acquisition of said. A protector of thieves, but specifically those who are so out of necessity, not sloth.
Dionysos: Patron of theatre, wine, and all in life that proves delicious.
Hephaestos: God of smiths, craftsmen, labourers, the blue-collar working classes. A patron of those who overcome obstacles.
Ares: God of war, fighting for self-protection (rather than sport), and machismo.
Poseidon: Rules of the seas, bringer of earthquakes, creator of horses. A protector of many Hellenic cities.
Demeter: Goddess of the corn (grains), harvest, agriculture. She who prepares for the changing of the seasons.
Artemis: Goddess of the hunt, archery (for necessity, rather than sport — which is Apollon’s domain), protector of children (especially young girls) and all wild things. Always struck me as a bit of a wild thing, herself, and the glimpses of Her I’ve had, She struck me as all but feral.
Hestia: Goddess of the hearth and home; “the rock” that holds families together. Her givt to humanity are the domestic arts, especially cooking and baking.
Hades: Lord of the dead and ruler of all places inside and under the face of Gaea. Perhaps not the cuddliest deity, but certainly not the Hollywood “substitute Satan”.
Persephone: Goddess of changes. She turns winter into springtime, She transforms girls into young women.
Asklepios: Son of Apollon the Healer, and patron God of medicine and doctors; according to legend, He was the first.
Pan: God of shitting in the woods. God of wild things, shepherds, mountains, primitive musics. Consort of Kybele.
Herakles: Steve Reeves. Theban heros. By Thespian tradition, He is the father of all fifty grandsons of legendary first king of Thespiae, Thespius, by each of Thespius’ fifty daughters. By the account of Parthenius of Nicaea, He is also the father of the Keltoi via the daughter of “Bretannus” (though this story is apparently one of backward-etymology, considering that Hellenes had referred to the British Isles [including Ireland] as “Βρεττανίαι (Brettaniai)” for about three centuries prior to the appearance of this story). Herakles is a deity of responsibilities, physical greatness (as opposed to mere fitness), and obstacles.
Ganymedes & Hebe: God and Goddess of youth. Cup-bearers of Olympos.
Moirai: The fates. They Who spin the threads of each individual’s life and then weaves it into an immense tapestry of humanity.
Horai: Two sets of goddesses; the eldest keep the seasons, and the youngest keep the hours
Kharites: The three goddesses of Beauty, Merriment, and Festivities.
Hekate: Goddess of magics, witchcraft, ghosts, nighttime, necromancy; and according to Hesiod, “Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods”. Protector from bad omens and harmful spells. Eternally youthful, but mother of
Kirke: Goddess pharmakeia — often translated as “witch” or “sorceress”, but is the root for “pharmacy” and means “user or giver of drugs and medicines”. Wife of Odysseus. Her cult seems to have been rooted in herbal magics and medicines.
Hypnos: God of Sleep, protector of insomniacs. Older brother of
The Oneroi: The givers of dreams and omens. Older, but only very slightly, than
Thanatos: Bringer of death, typically a peaceful death.
Helios, Eos, Selene, The Asterea: Celestial Titans of The Sun, Dawn, The Moon, and the Stars.

I may add to this later, but for now, will close with a quote from my favourite science fiction series:

“Gods by the bushel! Gods by the pound! When every day is a fight for survival, you need all the gods you can get.” — Londo Mollari, Babylon 5

List behind cut:
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30-Day Paganism Meme: Day 3, Beliefs – Deities

I’m at a bit of a loss on this.

Why didn’t I change this one?

See, I’ve been putting this one off because I’m not sure how to essay this.

The simplest and most bleeding obvious would be to explain that I believe in multiple deities and multiple tribal pantheons, but that’s pretty obvious from previous posts. I guess I could extrapolate on that….

See, when I first started looking into Celtic mythology, I first tried to think of ways to compare them to Hellenic deities — and that was full of fail on my part. First off, there is no one Celtic mythology; you can say that there are two main Celtic mythologies, Gaelic (Irish, Scottish, and Manx tribes) and British (Welsh, Cornish, and Briton tribes), though some would argue that the Gauls were Celts, as well, and then there are some deities that seem quite apparently Pan-Celtic, even moreso than certain Hellenic deities, but if you ask around, there are still distinct tribal names, even if the differences between names seems minute to a non-speaker. Trying to put Celtic deities in a Hellenic model is asking for headache. Some are easy, like Aerten/Aeron (Welsh/Cornish Goddess of Fate) is easy to correlate to the Hellenic Tykhe, in domain if not narrative mythos. Then you get to Brighd/Banfile, and She’s the Goddess of both the hearth and of martial arts, of fertility, and of “all feminine arts and crafts” — which Hellenic Goddess is she most like? Athene? Hestia? Hera? Ask five different people, I doubt you’ll get the same answer from every single one of them. Lugh/Llaw Gyffes is another one like Banfile — He’s got sun and light, and that’s easy to sync up to Apollon, but He’s also a “god of many skills”, which just screams “Hermes” to me (indeed, the Romans likened Him to Mercury), and He’s a god of metallurgy, which brings to mind Hephaistos; he’s also considered chief of the Tuatha de Dannan in the Irish cycles, which is an easy similarity to Zeus. This is where certain brands of syncretism and / or “soft polytheism” fail me; the important thing to remember about polytheism is the “poly-“, the many — really, it’s far too easy to look at a deity worshipped by another culture and pick some of that deity’s aspects, but not truly learn about all of them (much less get up-close-n-personal with said God/dess) and say, “oh yeah, your deity A is like our Deity Z”. Maybe this gave some common worshippers among the ancients a neat little frame-work to have at least some peace with their neighbours, and maybe it gave the “Educated” Elite of Hellas (who pretty much dominated the philosophy scene) some kind of ego-stroke to believe that it was truly their Gods who were worshipped everywhere, and the Hellenic form is the purest of these deities — and hey, by hand-picking a few of Brighd’s traits and assigning them to the notion that “Brighd is Minerva and/or Athene”, it creates the illusion of knowing about your neighbour’s culture without actually troubling yourself with getting down with them and really and truly learning about their culture.

And this is where I have to disagree with a lot of ancient writers, who commonly made a habit of taking a deity from another pantheon and likening Them to one of their own. Now, technically, I’m rather forgiving of this practise amongst Hellenes, and maybe that’s where my arbitrary line is drawn, but this is an opinion piece, of sorts. In my own experiences, Lugh and Apollon, Hermes, Hephaistos, and Zeus are all very different from each-other — and most importantly, I get pushed away by Lugh. Plus, the number of people I’ve encountered who have similarly experiences separate entities far outnumber those who are happy to believe that Lugh is Llaw Gyffes is Apollon, and I do believe that means something.

I will say, though, and maybe this is me “outing” myself as “not a pure recon”, but though I’ve yet to find any rituals to perform to Him, I do connect with Oengus Og, indeed, He’s the only Celtic deity I ever really have, and I feel Him very differently than I do Eros, but then, I’ve mentioned this before, haven’t I?

There are deities everywhere, and for everything. Some of their spheres of influence will overlap with that of several others, some tribal deities will be perfect matches with others.

I believe each deity exists in Their own right and their own form, but this form is largely incorporeal and They may shift form to better relate to mortals — still, I see some constants among those who have become close to one deity or another, probably so that humans may become closer through that bond (like Hermes with red hair).

I believe that each deity, though ultimately incomprehensible, does have a range of relatable emotions and personality traits that we, in our egotism, ascribe as “human-like”.

I believe, ultimately, that They love us.

0. Intro to meme
1. Beliefs – Why Hellenismos?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Sacred sexuality
6. Beliefs – Divination, mysticism and various woo shit
7. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
8. Beliefs – Festivals
9. Environmentalism
10. Patrons – Eros
11. Patrons – Apollon
12. Pantheon – Mousai
13. Pantheon – Adonis
14. Pantheon – Nyx & Kybele
15. Pantheon – Every-One Else
16. Nature spirits, Khthonoi, & The Dead
17. My ways of worship
18. Community
19. Hellenismos and my family/friends
20. Hellenismos and my love life
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Hellenismos and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos
25. Favoured ritual tools, and why
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Hellenismos you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Hellenismos
30. Advice for seekers