Me too!

Sep. 27th, 2010 06:25 pm
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Thirty Days of Paganism Meme

I'm gonna do this thing too. I should get the first entry posted tonight, but if I don't, then tomorrow. "Thirty days" does not guarantee thirty consecutive days.

1. Beliefs - Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs - Cosmology
3. Beliefs - Deities
4. Beliefs - Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs - Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit
6. Beliefs - The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs - Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs - Holidays
9. Deity Gender- who cares?
10. Patrons - Apollo (and other Apollo-related gods)
11. Pantheon - Dionysos
12. Pantheon - Hermes
13. Pantheon - Gods and spirits of Sparkly Things In The sky
14. Pantheon - Titans and Protogenoi
15. Pantheon (anti) - Artemis and Brigid
16. On not being "Earth-Centered" or "Nature-Based"
17. My ways of worship
18. Community- Not quite an outsider but don't really belong anywhere
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I've explored
22. Paganism and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Favoured ritual/magical 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 Paganism you'd like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Advice for seekers
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Just posed this over at the blog

Marsayas, After the Contest

You cut to kill, but I may yet survive
and if I do, you've given me much to consider.
Laid bare to blood-drenched muscle,
every movement, every slight breeze
sears my nerves with fresh pain.

If I die, surely it will be of agony, not injury.

I don't think you will be wearing my hide;
such is undoubtedly well beneath you.
Though perhaps someday I will wear yours:
not in death- for you, there is none
but if someday you shed your skin
like you shed a tear, molting like a snake,
if I should come along at just the right time,
I would seize it up and wrap it around me-
could I then be you, for just a moment
before your essence is lost?

Yes, I am delirious.

You may think me a fool to challenge a god,
but even if I die today, I will be immortal.
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That new blog that I mentioned a few days ago- I've created it. Right here: http://almostseen.wordpress.com/

It's title is Presque Vu, and I hope to start making posts of substance soon.

Since I don't have a paid account at the moment, would someone reading who does do me the kind favor of creating an RSS feed for LJ? (It's easy: go here http://www.livejournal.com/syn/ and at the bottom of the page, paste the URL in the little box. When it asks for a title, call it either "presquevu" or "almostseen".

I would much appreciate!

ETA: The feed has been created, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nicanthiel You can friend [livejournal.com profile] almost_seen if you're interested in reading on your friends list.
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so I've had this idea kicking around for a few days and am thinking more and more of details of how to approach it and I think I'm starting to zero in a bit more on what to do.

Basically, I've been considering my fascination with random, usually fairly obscure deities who have little to no mythology and sometimes not more than a few cursory mentioned in ancient texts. I see a name, a few lines of information, and I want to know more but...there is no more, so I sometimes ponder what their mythology may be like and what stories there might be.

So...that's the project. Writing about what their stories might have been. Speculative Mythology is the term that's formulated in my brain.

For this and a couple of other things, I think I'm going to start a second blog, to keep Pain and Light a devotional blog for Apollo.

Watch this space for details.

Speaking of which, I have a new post over at http://painandlight.wordpress.com
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[livejournal.com profile] sannion is looking for submissions for Neos Alexandria's upcoming Hekate devotional- the deadline has just been extended to July 30th...here are the details- contact Sannion (info below) if you have any questions!

Em Hotep,

Although we’ve received some great contributions for the Hekate
devotional, we currently do not have enough for a full book. So we are
going to extend the deadline until July 30, 2009.

We can use essays, poetry, accounts of personal experiences, and other
forms of devotional writing. We would like this anthology to reflect
the diversity of ways that the goddess has been understood and
experienced both in antiquity and in contemporary times, so the more
contributions we receive the better!

As with all of our devotional anthologies we cannot provide payment or
contributor copies, since the proceeds will be used for charitable
donations and to help bring out further volumes in the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina line. For more information on our Guidelines and Policies,
please visit this page:

http://neosalexandria.org/BAguidelines.pdf

If you have any further questions, you may contact the editor at
sannion@gmail.com. This is also the address where submissions should
be sent.

Please feel free to distribute this announcement to other lists,
forums, and curious individuals. The more people who know about this
the better chance we’ll have of producing a truly awesome book worthy
of Hekate.
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On Tuesday evening, I was walking to the train to go to work. From where I was to the nearest train stop was about a twenty-minute walk. When I had last glanced out a window before leaving where I was, the sky was clear with jsut a few clouds. In the twenty minutes or so from that point until I got outside, the sky had suddenly become heavy with very dark, ominous clouds- large patches of a very green tint to many of them suggested strong tornado potential- though that didn't bother me too much, since it is a fairly rare thing for tornadoes to touch down within large cities. The clouds though were pretty impressive. I tried to take some pictures with my cell phone camera but they didn't come out very well. There was this one large swirl of clouds that curved across the sky like an immense, sweeping arm- that and another cloud formation that I can't really easily describe also looked like strong indicators of tornado potential.

But beyond that...well, I've never really gotten a sense of Zeus before, and I had this sudden "knowing" that he was behind all this- it didn't feel anything like what I feel in the presence of the gods that are more familar to me, like Apollo, Hermes or Dionysus- I can only really describe it as feeling as if there was a distant, over-arching sentience to the sky, and one of the thoughts I had was that the long, sweeping arm of clouds that I saw was one of Zeus's arms.

The last stretch of my walk to the train stop took me down a long, winding hill which was rather busy with traffic at the time, and rain was starting to fall and I didn't have an umbrella on me, and REALLY didn't want to be stuck out in the sort of rain that was on the way. So I did the best thing I could think of- I had a drink in my backpack side pocket, pulled that out, and poured a bit out, asking him to let me get to the train stop- or at the very least to the bridge before it (the walk to that train stop takes me under a raised section of Interstate 83 and over a stream it's pretty cool, so that's either six or eight lanes of highway there, can't remember exactly- provides considerable shelter. I was about a hundred feet from there when the rain started to get heavier and just made it as it really started pouring. Thankfully, l I only had to wait a few minutes before it let up and I could continue to the train stop, another fifty yards away or so. Thunder, lightning and the occasional splatter of rain continued and trains going in my direction were rather heavily delayed for reasons unknown to me, but only for a brief few minutes did I have to duck under an overhang again, and for a decent chunk of the time, I was able to talk to Gavin on the phone. Unfortunately, while I was sitting at the train stop, most of this had left my head on all but a very basic intellectual level and in the midst of training a new guy at work and being ridiculously tired for a few days, I forgot about all this until I was on my way back to work this gorgeous, sunny afternoon, and I wrote this:


Hail Zeus, Labrandeus, whose furious storms race across the sky!
Hail Zeus, Skotitos, whose swirling clouds gather and darken the sky!
Hail Zeus, Keraunios whose crashing thunder echoes through the sky!
Hail Zeus, Astrapaios whose flash of lightning tears the sky!
Hail Zeus, Ombrios whose falling rain pours down from the sky!
Hail Zeus, Euenemos whose fair winds come again to clear the sky!
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I mentioned having started on a novella or longer short story maybe a year ago or so. Never got very far, I think I might have had a page or two written before I put it on hold.

My main problem has been figuring out a cause for the main conflict in the story, and I've had a few ideas, some of which were downright dumb, one of which I'd have no idea how to write about it, and the best idea...well, I couldn't figure out how to make it happen without it becoming dumb. So I put it on hold and have been pondering it since then.

This weekend I wanted to try to get back to it, try to figure out a cause for the problem. Yesterday, I had a phone appointment with the therapist, and this came up briefly towards the end and he mentioned that it was interesting that I couldn't come up with a cause for the problem in the story, and the various issues that I've been talking about in most of my appointments also seem to just come and go from nowhere, also without a cause that I can figure out. (He also noted that that was likely reading too much into things, but that it made for an interesting comment.)

I decided that if I didn't think of something soon, I would just start writing again and see what happened, maybe an idea would present itself.

Well I hadn't started writing, but this morning on the bus, I was studying CVE stuff, when an epilogue for the story popped into my head...and from the epilogue, came a cause that I don't think is at all dumb or too complicated to write. I think it will make the story a bit more "supernatural" than I had planned...but I like it and I think I can do it without it being cheesy.

This makes me happy, I've been wanting to write this for a while now.
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I will sing of the earth-shaking Poseidon, son of Cronus, brother of Thundering Zeus. Dark-haired mighty land-rumbler, your quakes cause the mountains to be born, their jagged new peaks thrusting towards the sky while old ones shatter and fall. Great Lord of the sea which dashes against rocky cliffs and laps the sandy shore, your strength can crush a ship to splinters or cradle it upon your rolling waves.

It is in your honor that voyagers make sacrifice, that you may protect them as they cross your vast expanses and with your blessings, colonists sent forth by the Far-Shooter may reach new lands unharmed.

Hail to you, Poseidon, who rules the harsh and gentle seas! I pray that you will grant honor to my song.



Just wrote this one today. It's been a while since I wrote one of these. I've got a decent start on one for Dionysus too I think.
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I'm slowly writing on some of the subjects from the memes that I posted last week, so if you haven't seen yours yet, you eventually will.

From this meme, [livejournal.com profile] raistlynn asked me to write about Apollo. I've yet to do so not because I forgot about it or anything like that, but because I've just not been able to write anything that I find satisfactory.

The fact of the matter is that I don't really know how to write about Apollo in a way that even begins to do Him any sort of justice. Every time I try, I grow stronger in the belief that human language is just not sufficient. How do you explain infinity? How do you describe the brightest light you've ever seen, the most beautiful sight to ever reach your eyes or the greatest terror you've ever known? And how can you explain that yes, it is okay- even adviseable- to place your trust in the source of that terror?

I can always start to write about him, but after a few sentences or a short paragraph, I can't continue. Why? there is plenty to write about...that's the problem, there is so much to write about, so much that can be said, but I can never really say it. The thoughts which, in my head were perfectly fine, become imprecise, faulty and unbeautiful when they see the light of the page or screen.

At best, I can reasonably write about my own feelings. This is probably why I write so much in the way of poetry about him, and why it tends to be so personal, because even if I can't quite get the exact word, I can find something close enough. Whereas with Apollo himself, thre is no such thing as "close enough".

Believe me, I am trying to find a way, because I would really love to write a book about him.
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Charles is hellbent on me teaching a class at Ecumenicon on something or other Hellenic. Preferably, it seems, related to the Homeric hymns (this came up back in October after he saw some of the ones I'd written) and current;y has two time slots reserved for me.

Eep. Two. When I was talking to him before, he was talking about doing this for the 2009 conference. I had later emailed him with a different idea that was more apropos to the conference theme, he liked that idea and asked me to write up a proposal if I wanted to do it....and then a whole bunch of things happened and it fell by the wayside. Then I came into work tonight and found an email from him in my inbox saying that I have two spaces reserved. (Unfortunately, one is up against Jane Sibley's ritual, which I would love to take part in again. It was quite the experience last time.)

So I emailed Charles and told him that what I would want to do is one on a discussion of ancient hymns, and one on creation myth and the protogenoi.

So...it seems the gods want to keep me out of trouble. Arkon Polemakros, CLG Witan, clergy training, now this.

This all reminds me, I haven't been writing hymns lately. I need to start doing that again. I opened a notebook yesterday and found the beginning of one to Athena...I remember having a great idea for one and then losing it. Hopefully, I can recover it. Or come up with something else.

So I'm looking through the Ecumenicon schedule and seeing several classes on material apropos to the CTP- mostly in the realm of divination. That can't hurt. Pass up the opportunity to learn about rune casting with Jane Sibley? Not I. Ethnics of divination....yeah, very useful topics.
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1. Writing...lately I've had ideas for a number of stories with the potential to be something longer than a short story. Or elements of them anyway...A main character for one, a setting for another, a conflict for yet another...but I've been unable to build the rest of the elements so far for what I do have (It would not work to combine the setting, character and conflict that I have into one and make it the whole story.)

I do have one that includes a setting, basis and reason for some characters but not the actual characters yet themselves. The plot, however is far too obvious and "duh" to the settings and potential characters...it *could* work if I could write it well enough, but if I couldn't, it would be rather exasperating at best. I guess I'll just have to try.

All of these ideas are of course, fictional though...well, I want to say surreal but they wouldn't be quite that out there. I guess you would say more like magical realism, I think that some of my ideas have definitely been influenced by my love of works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Laura Esquivel. The one that I mentioned that is most developed so far also takes some ideas from a couple of Greek goddesses (Mnemosyne, Kleio, Kalliope) though not from any particular existing myths.

2. I am coming down with a head cold. Feh.

3. I think I'm going to start making more use of [livejournal.com profile] asthefiretree. I think I'm going to continue using it to track my many essays of the CTP as I did with the DP, but I may actually use it for a journal regarding that subject matter as well.

4. Mmmm...coffee.

5. Christmas. Two weeks away. Zoinks. I've done no shopping...but I know that I'm getting presents for Mike and Chelle/Dave online. Chelle told me that Samantha's learning to sew, so if I get some fabric and such supplies from a craft store, that'll be good for Samantha, and I'll probably find some sort of jewelery thing for Mom.
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While writing a post to the Neokoroi list tonight, two things kinda got smashed together in my brain at once that could make for an awesome piece of fiction if it were written right....

Okay, I have to figure out a way to make this work.
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I've just submitted three pieces to Oak Leaves for consideration for publication...the article I wrote last year, Ancestors For Those Without Ancestors ([livejournal.com profile] chronarchy suggeted at the time that I submit it, I was planning to but apparently never did.), my DP piety essay (http://asthefiretree.livejournal.com/7301.html) and the hymn that I wrote to Hekate, Iris and Hermes (http://fuego.livejournal.com/589765.html)

I've been thinking about submitting stuff for a while but this is the first I've actually done so.
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To those of you reading who write frequently and openly about your relationship/s with the deity/ies of your choice...

Have you ever been reluctant to do so? Not because you're afraid of sounding silly or people who don't need to know finding out, or anything like that, but because you're afraid that putting things into words on a journal will somehow make it all less "real"?

There's a lot that I would write, that I want to, but I've got it in my mind that I'll "lose" it if I do. So I only write about dreams- dreams are easy to write about. Or the stuff that is absolutely undeniably concrete to me.


In other realms, I'm so happy that Ferarri isn't fazed by thunderstorms.
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I have found in the last year and a half or so that I am decent at writing invocations. By that I mean I can grab a notebook and come up with something passable or better in about three minutes. Tweak a few words here and there and usually within about 5 minutes, I've got something I'm happy with. (I generally cannot write anything else like this. Especially essays describing the evolution of my personal religious practice.) Even at times for deities with whom I am not particularly familiar, such as the one I wrote for Airmid at Lughnassagh.

I've another invocation to write to the less familiar. Water nymphs. I might take a bit more than 5 minutes on this one...lol...

I'm thinking I may use the Orphic hymns to the Nymphs and Nereids as models.

Orphic Hymn to the Nymphs (trans. Athanassakis) - incense: aromatic herbs

Nymphs, daughters of great-hearted Okeanos,
you dwell inside the earth's damp caves
and your paths are secret, O joyous and chthonic ones, nurses of Bacchos,
You nourish fruits and haunt meadows, O sprightly and pure
travelers of the winding roads who delight in caves and grottoes.
Swift, light-footed, and clothed in dew, you frequent springs;
visible and invisible, in ravines and among flowers,
you shout and frisk with Pan upon mountain sides.
Gliding down on rocks, you hum with clear voice, O mountain-haunting
sylvan maidens of the fields and streams.
O sweet-smelling virgins, clad in white, fresh as the breezes,
with goatherds, pastures and splendid fruits in your domain. You are loved by creatures of the wild.
Tender though you are, you rejoice in cold and you give sustenance and growth to many,
O playful and water-loving Hamadryad maidens.
Dwellers of Nysa, frenzied and healing goddesses who joy in spring,
together with Bacchos and Deo you bring grace to mortals.
With joyful hearts come to this hallowed sacrifice
and in the seasons of growth pour streams of salubrious rain.



Orphic Hymn to the Nereids (trans. Athanassakis) - incense: aromatic herbs

O lovely-faced and pure nymphs, daughters of Nereus who lives in the deep,
at the bottom of the sea you gambol and dance in the water.
Fifty maidens revel in the waves,
maidens riding on the backs of Tritons and delighting
in animal shapes and bodies nurtured by the sea
and in the other dwellers of the Tritons' billowy kingdom.
Your home is the water, and you leap and whirl round the waves,
like glistening dolphins roving the roaring seas.
I call upon you to bring much prosperity to the initiates,
for you were first to show the holy rite
of sacred Bacchos and of pure Persephone,
you and mother Kalliope, and Apollon the lord.
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I finally wrote a personal religion essay that I'm happy with. Of course, I left it on my desk at work (reasonably sure I did anyway, really hope I did.)

Today at the Grove, we talked about the Spring Equinox and what we're doing. We've decided to do a ritual this time for the strengthening and protection of native trees against invading species like Aleantha. Everyone is supposed to research, looking for deities that are connected to the protection of forests and/or trees. Caryn seems to be very set on the idea of a ritual asking the assistance of Artemis, to which I said that we would definitely need to include the nymphs (more specifically, hamadryads) in this venture. The hamadryads' lives depend on the lives of the trees (Though, what about hamadryads connected to the trees of the invading species...?)

And folks are also researching other possibilities. We'll see what is found. I went looking for non-Greek stuff too, but haven't found any deities or spirits so far that are as intimately connected to the trees.

In any event, I am working up an adaptation of the festival of Thargelia, for possible celebration this year instead of Beltane. (The idea seems to be going over pretty well with people. Nothing is decided yet of course, but everyone that's heard it seems to have an enthusiastic response so far.) Since I am so interested in doing that, I will certainly be happy if people decide that two Greek rituals in a row are in order, but I would not be nearly as vocal in expressing a particular opinion for this one as I might otherwise. I would, of course, help out in ny way I could...but I would do the same for any other ritual.

After the Grove, Steph, Jesse, Dominic and I went to Barnes & Noble down at the harbor. I bought a new journal tonight, for a specific purpose. None of the blank books that I currently have actually suit my desires for this use- mostly in that none seem to have enough pages. I've been feeling for a while like I should be keeping some sort of track of my regular religious activity- daily, weekly, etc. and I got some more motivation this morning when I was reading over some thigns on the ADF website and found that a log of no less than four months' time was required for just this sort of thing.

I figure this one should last me a decent part of the year. Writing about this sort of thing on a mostly daily basis should take up, in most instances, less than a side of a page at a time. Though I haven't really talked about it, I have for a while now been working on daily religious practice. I've got the weekly thing down quite well by now I think :-P

On a different topic, I decided a while back that I was interested in learning about the Iberian Celts. There's something about obscure cultures that fascinates me. I was just talking to Jon a little while ago, he's going to send me a list of source information that he's got. He's a history snob, so I think I'm safe there. The only thing that I've managed to find myself was a single issue of a single academic journal online.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going down to Caryn's place with [livejournal.com profile] jackgreen60 to talk about the ritual upcoming at Four Quarters Farm in two weeks. I'm really on the fringes of this one, and I'm ok with that. Yeah, I have the day off work tomorrow. It's Presidents Day and I work exclusively with schools so no work for me. Oh, and I had volunteered to work on MLK day. So there you are.

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