When Psykhe took the lamp into the bedroom of Eros’ crystal castle in the sky high above Helikon, and the tiniest bit of oil singed the beautiful God’s skin, He ran. He didn’t run from the pain, or simply the surprise of being woken up in such a way. He ran from the lack of trust. But at the same time, can She really be blamed? When we truly love some-one, any-one, we want to know them as much as we trust them. We don’t have to know everything, but we have this burning desire to know them, or as Genesis P-Orridge put it, to completely consume them and be a part of them and have them be a part of you. We cannot love from behind doors, we can only admire. Trust, knowledge… Love needs that vulnerability to exist, and until such openness is allowed, there exists little more than fondness.
From the trials of Psykhe, after breaking open Eros’ own closet of darkness, we learn that true love overcomes, making us more willing and indeed able to take in the whole person, love them even more, as with the more we learn, the more we have to fall in love with —be is romantic or familial.
Some might want us to believe the Capitalist lie, that love is a privilege to be earned, but indeed, it’s what makes the world turn —for Gaia so passionately loves Ouranos, that she twirls about in His arms forever as They dance the dance of Eternity around Helios’ shining orb, for even after that blazing ball consumes Them, they and Their love will live on. It was created freely in the womb of eternal night, and is given freely at alarming rates, often with neither rhyme nor reason. Some actions can cause love to end, but this is the most mortal form of love, and being mortal, we can’t help it when that happens —but the less mortal, more pure the love, the more willing it is to see that which sets us apart and love us all the same, or even all the more.
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.
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:
(clicking the photo should direct you straight to the gallery in question —I tested it to make sure!)
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.
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 year’s brouhaha courtesy of Pantheacon (or, as I call it: Dianics vs Transies1 2: Electric Boogaloo) reminded me exactly how ignorant a lot of pagans and polytheists are about TS/TG issues, even though we’re E~V~E~Y~W~H~E~R~E!!!! O~o~O~oO~o~h!!!!
No, serious. Trans people? Yeah, we’re pretty much everywhere. Even in the pagan community. Can’t escape us, so do yourself a favour and try to learn something.
Ruadhán, first off: What are all these WORDS? I’m confused by new words! What does it all mean!?!? Continue reading →
I find Genesis Breyer P-Orridge a fascinating creature.
S/he not really “transgender” in the traditional sense, as h/ir transformation seems more philosophical in nature, rather than a matter of personal identity. Born of the belief that he and his lover1, “Lady Jaye” Breyer (who was equally obsessed with him) are both part of and exist separately from a third “pandrogynous” entity that is not only equally male and female but also transcendent of traditional genders, an entity they called Breyer P-Orridge, and so they set about to bring this entity to form, surgically.
When Lady Jaye died in 2007, Genesis continued the project they began, not merely as a means of keeping Jaye always with him, but seeing this “pandrogyne” they sought to become as heir child, a third person or soul they’ve given form to. Ultimately, it’s a testament to love.
There’s been a recent documentary about Breyer P-Orridge, The Balad of Genesis and Lady Jaye; apparently, it’ll have a screening in Detroit on 25 May, so I’m hoping to make arrangements to go see it. I admit, I can’t help but be in love with the tag-line for the tag-line for the film:
Love is dedication. Love is creation. Love is forever.
If ever there was a case for soul mates, I’d say those two were it.
1: though legally married, I choose “lover” not for the potential gender confusion and androgyny, but merely because it conveys so much more than a mere synonym for “spouse”.
I now seriously believe that very few self-identified “pagans” are as committed to “sustainable living” as they want others to think they are. Oh, you and your hubbie made cheese in your basement that you shared with your “poly family” while you spend oodles of cash at the local No We’re Not Whole Foods But We’re Not a Farmer’s Market, Either? These people are living on 1/3 of an acre or less, and are producing a majority of their own diet.
I also suspect Jane Jacobs had an urban-focused spirituality. Too bad she’s no longer around for me to ask.
in the first few generations after Octavian cemented his sole rule of Rome there was very little for a politically minded Greek to do. You got nowhere without extensive social contacts in Rome – and the wealth to travel in such circles – and even then there were limits on how high one could aspire. Many Romans looked down their noses at their Greek subjects, except when it came to the arts and philosophy where they were grudgingly accepted as their superiors. Thus many cities such as Athens, Alexandria and Antioch became little more than college towns where wealthy Romans sent their sons for proper education, deeming them worthy of little else.
This is the era into which Plutarch was born. At one point he even moved to Rome seeking a promising career. Though he made many close friends and met with modest success he eventually bumped into the glass ceiling and grew frustrated with the realization that he could progress no further. So he returned to his hometown, once the shining star of Boiotia but now a pitiful backwater, and spent the remainder of his days active in small-time local politics, serving as a priest at Delphi and pursuing antiquarian and philosophical studies.
While discernment is extremely important, and certainly some things that appear to be messages are just random coincidences, I think we often err too heavily on the side of skepticism because of our preconceptions. That face we saw in the pattern of leaves on a tree must just be our imagination, even though it looked so much like a familiar god, even though we had prayed for a sign, because a real vision of a deity will manifest out of nothing before us, undeniable and life-altering. But why do we expect that the gods and spirits would use, as the medium of Their communication, anything other than the elements of our own physical world, when those elements are ready at-hand (and, as a bonus, easily processed by our sensory organs and brains)?
Normally, I’d put this follow-up interview of Ronald Hutton in the “Shit You’ve Probably Read Already” sub-heading, but I wanted to include a quote that actually got me interested in reading Hutton’s book:
Will you publish on the history of modern Paganism again?
Probably not. I wrote Triumph to suggest an answer to one specific question: why Wicca appeared in England, of all the places in the world, and in the mid twentieth century, as opposed to any other time. To put it another way, I wanted to show why it was that one of the most industrialised, urbanised and densely populated countries on earth happened to be the one to produce a religion drawing on ancient pagan roots and centred on nature deities, at the threshold of late modernity? In providing my answer, I also believe that I achieved three other objectives. One was to explain the national and international success of the religion concerned, and another to reassure those who knew little or nothing of it of its essentially benevolent character. The third was to show that, far from deriving from ideas and impulses which were the preserve of a fringe element in society, they drew on several which were mainstream to modern British culture, and involved some of its most familiar and admired figures. In particular, its deities, although present in the ancient world, were not those who were most central to that world’s religions but those who had become most important to the modern British in general, in a way which has not been adequately appreciated and honoured.
The Huffington Post ran a piece a few days ago from a mother whose 7yr old son recently declared that he was gay. It was a lovely essay about love and acceptance, with a bit of parental concern in there too. The parents are being supportive of his identity, while at the same time, understanding that what he feels at seven may or may not be how he feels in the months and years to come. They seem quite content to take him at his word and see what does or doesn’t change with time.
There have been quite a lot of people on internet message boards saying that this is ridiculous, that this child can’t know at such a young age that he is gay. I’ve seen this particularly on LGBT message boards, where people are holding up their own coming out at older ages as proof that seven is “too young.”
I’ll probably say something about this, myself (assuming I haven’t already, and then forgot to come back here and edit appropriately).
And I also found Hêrakleion, a Herakles blogger. It’s a relatively new one, but so full of good posts already!
Your New Old Word for the Week:
Rhathymia (ruh-THY-mee-uh): n. from Greek rhathymos (light-hearted, easy-tempered, carefree): the state of being carefree; lightheartedness. The modern person often mistakenly sees Aphrodite as a Goddess of Peace and rhathymia, but that role belongs to Eirene.
“At night, the city is no more full of dreams than at any other —that’s where people go wrong. They think the daytime city —full of money, and work, and people who know where they’re going— is the real one; but I look all the time for the real city, and I know it’s not as simple as that. It’s not simple at all. You might think you might find it by digging holes, or staring at the pavement, but it’s not there in mortar and stone and brick. The real city is alive, and breathing. You can look for it in the buildings, and the way they’re built, and why, and how they look in the light. What some-one called ‘the spectacle’ organised by architecture. But how can that be the real city? The real city is not organised, by any-one; it just uses certain places to make itself seen, and the best architects know this and don’t over-reach themselves.
“…that which gives me a feeling I’ve never known before, but I’ll call it a religious feeling, cos I’ve no other word for it. When I see all of this, this city, full of light and sound, and there’s so much that you can’t even imagine knowing all of it. So beautiful and so hideous, all at once. It’s then I start to think there might be a new god, that only lives in cities. It’s not everyday you discover a new god, especially such a powerful and ambivalent one. Sometimes a drunken, stinking, dangerous god, certainly; but still, the correct response to a god, or goddess, of any kind is worship. I don’t care what any-one says, and that’s what I want to do. I feel like St. Joan must’ve felt when she heard the voices, like a blasphemer, but I think we could do with more gods, than less, and I’ll take that chance. And of course, the presence of a god makes the city a sacred place, which is what I’ve always thought, anyway. Look at it, just look at it. How could it not be?” –from the introduction to Sacred City, a film by Barry Andrews
Yes, I’ve reviewed the CD before, which is lovely in its own right, but the film it was originally intended to accompany is STUNNING (that is, if you like art films).
Pausanias and Strabo say that Thespiae got their name from the river god Thespios. Other legends claim that the city was founded by Thespia, daughter of the river god Asopos, or a descendant of Erechtheus named Thespios. The city was center to the cult of Aphrodite and Heros who was worshiped in the form of an uncut stone. The goddess was worshiped in her lunar form as “Black Aphrodite”. The cult of Artemis as goddess of childbirth (Helitheya – Lochia) was also important. The city was ruled by seven magistrates (damouchoi) and elected two Beotarchs in the Beotian League.
Found this great article just browsing around on-line for Thespian info. Also came across a new (to me) epithet and artistic representation of Eros.