My Polytheism

My Polytheism begins with Eros. He led me to Apollon, who led me to Hellenism. Then Eros, He led me to the traditions of Boeotia. He led me to the Hedonist philosophers, for their teachings ultimately begin with His daughter, Hedone.

My polytheism is devotional rituals, art, and music. It’s reading and studying mythology and philosophy and forming the cohesive teachings of Erotic Hedonism into a whole for the benefit of His people who’re led to it. Not everyone will be led to it, and in fact, it’s not for everyone, it’s not supposed to be, and that’s fine — it’s for the rejects who love beauty and happiness and pleasure and laughter from all the unexpected places, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, gender; Erotic Hedonism is Hellenism for beautiful freaks.

My polytheism places the highest of the Pantheon to be, in order, Nyx, Eros, Psykhe, Hedone, the Khairetes, the Moisai. Other Hellenic deities are worshipped in Their due, but the Pantheon of Erotic Hedonism places them above the rest.

Erotic Hedonism isn’t about me, it’s about the gods and helping others to see Eros and His family the way I do. It’s about taking the time to engage with those led to it. It’s about learning and connecting with the gods.

My polytheism gives a crap about who tries to claim that title, “polytheist”, but acknowledges that there’s pretty much fuck all I can do to stop egotistical atheists, short of reminding people what words mean. Words have more besides intent behind them, there’s a history, and with that, a magic. Still, it’s not my battle to fight; I can have an opinion without a calling to make it my mission to defend.

My polytheism rrcognises a multitude of gods, demigods, and spirits, even those I do not worship. Spirits of the land, sky, sea, and city. Spirits of song and if story — Batman is certainly some kind of real spirit created of the 20th Century American superhero comic books, but I would hesitate to put him on the same level as a god, though it’s not my place to day that with certainty.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

The Swastika -or- How Cultural Appropriation Hurts

I know I’m a little late to the party in addressing Tom Swiss’ claim that cultural Appropriation does not exist from a couple weeks ago. While I do still stand by my comments that dreadlocked hair is a poor example of “cultural appropriation” of African-Americans (a claim which allegedly instigated his post), as locked hair does occur naturally on the Indian subcontinent and certain Eastern Europen populations, in addition to the African diaspora (it’s even been suggested that locked hair is the real-life origin of the Gorgon mythology of Hellas), I wanted to blog about possibly the most widely-known symbol appropriated in a harmful way by white people that very few people even acknowledge as appropriation:

Artemis as Mistress of the Animals, Boeotian vase, circa 650BCE

Artemis as Mistress of the Animals, Boeotian vase, circa 650BCE

The symbol of the swastika is literally thousands of years old, with the oldest example on ancient artefacts going back to paleolithic Ukraine, about 15,000 years, in a maiandros (“Greek key”) pattern on the torso of a bird figure alongside phallic symbols, suggesting it as a fertility symbol (thus it’s clearest relevance to this blog). Most of the history of the symbol has been relatively benign: It’s apparently decorative or ornamental, showing little indication of strong meaning.

Most defenders of the symbol point to Hinduism, where the Sanskrit name “svastika”, is often translated as “Be Well”, and used as a symbol of austerity, peace, happiness, positive spiritual power (especially when associated with Ganesha). It’s also been given solar associations, and in the States is often acknowledged as a symbol used in some Native American tribes. It probably entered use in Hellenic art from the cultural descendents of the Vinca.

The swastika has also been associated with the triskelion and triskele, common symbols in Pagan circles, with the Triskelion especially prevalent in Sicilian and Manx communities, as it’s a feature on their flags.

Greek Boeotian Kylix

Greek Boeotian Kylix

Appropriation.

While it’s been a long-established that the swastika is practically universal in its use, and one that has been established for having positive meanings and as a benign ornamental design for literally thousands of years, one thing that often gets ignored in defences of the symbol, is the fact that it’s only become so controversial in the West because of cultural appropriation. This fact is also often ignored in discussions of cultural appropriation and how it hurts.

While the symbol is practically universal to humankind, its use by the Third Reich was directly appropriated from its use in Hinduism. This is based largely on a bastardisation of linguistic connections between German and Sanskrit, and inherently racist misinterpretations of Sanskrit literature of the Arya. Hitler took the symbol most-directly from Indian culture as a symbol of political and military power, and with likely occult connotations that don’t actually exist in Hindu literature.

This is the very definition of cultural appropriation: Taking a symbol or cultural item from another culture, and inserting misunderstood, bastardised, or wholly invented meanings into it that the item did not possess, often while penalising the culture of origin.

In German, the Nazi symbol is referred to as the hakenkreuz, and I posit the use of this word to differentiate the Nazi symbol from the correct, traditional uses of the swastika, gammadion (“gamma cross” — a common name in the Anglosphere from the Victorian through 1920s, based on its resemblance to conjoined members of the letter Γ), and menandros symbols, and out of respect to Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain people, who successfully petitioned the EU to drop all plans to ban the swastika in its 25 nations — much like other polytheists have used the title “Daesh” to refer to the terrorist organisation out of respect to Kemetics, Graeco-Aegyptians, and others who honour the goddess Isis/Aset, Whose domains includes love and fertility, and Who is regarded as welcomming of all people, especially the persecuted. For the remainder of this blog, from this post onward, I will use this differentiating terminology.

The hakenkreuz was used less than thirty years as a symbol of Nazi power — less than thirty years! This is after centuries of use of the swastika by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains as a sacred religious symbol and good luck amulet. This is after centuries of use of the Whirling Log on Navajo blankets, and by other Indigenous tribes of the Americas for a wide variety of positive and benign meanings. This is after centuries of use of the gammadion and meandros borders in Hellenic and Graeco-Roman art. This is after centuries of use of the fylfot in heraldic European customs. In less than thirty years, Western people are willing to cave to cultural appropriation, take a symbol from its origins and meanings, and give it away to white Fascists.

This surrender to cultural appropriation is most glaring when the Navajo, Apache, Tohono O’odham, and Hopi tribes of the Americas issued this decree in the early days of WWII:

Because the above ornament which has been a symbol of friendship among our forefathers for many centuries has been desecrated recently by another nation of peoples.

Therefore it is resolved that henceforth from this date on and forever more our tribes renounce the use of the emblem commonly known today as the swastika or fylfot on our blankets, baskets, art objects, sandpainting, and clothing.

This was referenced to me, earlier today, as a decree of solidarity with the Jewish and Romani and others persecuted by the Nazis (and implicitly made by “all” Natives, though a basic websearch has revealed that only four tribes had representatives sign this decree, but you know, people with white privilege making “Native monolith” racist assumptions are nothing new, to me), but in reading this decree, the populations persecuted by the Nazis are not mentioned. All that is stated is that a few hand-picked representatives of a tiny handful of tribes were going to relinquish the symbol and surrender it to cultural appropriation.

This is how cultural appropriation is so insidious: Reading the background on this decree, it’s said that white tourists to Navajo and Hopi and other reservations became nervous and apprehensive at the symbol on blankets and other items for sale. This was financially penalising Native tribes for their use of a symbol that they had used for centuries, that they had joyfully sold to those same tourists only a few years before, because the symbol had been bastardised in just the wrong way by powerful white people! The tribes were left with little choice BUT to surrender the symbol for their livlihoods!

Surrenders of the symbol to cultural appropriation are not limited there; Wikipedia has a very lengthy section of their page on use of the swastika in the West specifically about efforts, largely in the United States, to remove the swastika from historical structures. A search for “Hindu Swastika news” turned up an article about privileged soccer moms of Orange County pressuring a museum to remove a Hindu tapestry, lent by a local family, even though there was a plaque explaining the history of the symbol and its meanings in Hindu culture.

This is EXACTLY the thing that many have talked about over the last two weeks about the definition of cultural appropriation — penalising members of the culture(s) or origin for use of the appropriated symbol.

While it would be disingenuous to not acknowledge that, yes, the hakenkreuz continues to be used by Neonazis and Fascists (and the meandros even appropriated by Greek nationalist fascists), it is equally disingenuous to ignore the fact that it is cultural appropriation when they do so. The fact remains that cultural appropriation is a tool often used by racists, and side-swiping or even ignoring the fact that the Nazi hakenkreuz has been appropriated from Hindu symbolism is, at best, ignorant “accidental racism”, in that it’s giving preference to the white appropriators to the symbol that they stole!

When people reach a point where they are flat-out committing racism to avoid criticism of their ignorant opinions of the swastika, which they’ve decided is the same thing as the Nazi hakenkreuz, the surrender to cultural appropriation has become so insideous that I just don’t have words.

And, to make matters worse, in the West, that surrender to appropriation is so prevalent, that people who should know better, like people in the Pagan community, will avoid calling it the cultural appropriation that it is, either out of ignorance, or out of a useless sense of “white guilt” and fear of being accused, themselves, of being racists, when anyone with any sense will acknowledge that it’s the exact opposite.

The push to acknowledge that cultural appropriation does cause real harm to the cultures stolen from is, at its heart, a movement to avoid this again, but it really cannot be usefully addressed without acknowledging the appropriation of the swastika to the Nazi hakenkreuz as the most glaring example of how cultural appropriation is a tool of institutionalised racism that hurts people on an individual level and entire cultures outside of mainsteam Western whites.

By failing to defend the proper use of the swastika, and by failing to differentiate it from the Nazi hakenkreuz, one continues to surrender the symbol to cultural appropriation, and thus continues an act of institutionalised racism so insideous that one will fight tooth and nail to defend that racism.


About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devition: 11 ~ Festivals, days, and times sacred to Eros

I’ve written a lot about the Feast of Eros, so go read that, if you haven’t, yet. This is set for 4 Thioyios of the New Boeotian calendar (sunset 3 April of the Gregorian calendar, this year).

Dr Susan Block has created “Eros Day“, and the date is selected for when the planetoid Eros, an asteroid belt object that has actually been studied to learn more about the origins of the solar system, is at its closest to Earth. This is usually 20 January, by the Gregorian calendar.

While i honestly have no personal problem with people deciding to honour Eros on St. Valentine’s Day, and I can certainly argue a folk-religion justification connecting Chaucer’s referencing to birds finding a mate in 14 February with the creation of birds by Eros (as per Aristophanes), but honestly, I haven’t started doing this just yet. This last eight years, i’ve actually actively abstained from honouring Eros on St. Valentine’s day simply because it’s been far too commercialised and just plain hokey, and not at all related to Eros as I know Him. Actually, mentioning the thing about the birds, I’m going to meditate on that and hopefully return to the topic of a festival honouring Eros’ position as the father of the birds, later.

I also honour Eros on the fourth-to-last day of the year, by the New Boeotian Calendar, as the anniversary of the date I bonded myself to Him in 2009. The date was chosen by Him, and I celebrate by soaking pieces of quince in wine, giving Him the first piece, and performing several divinations for guidance in the year to come –at least that’s the part of it I can talk about. This year, I plan on making quince preserves as a part of this ritual, at least a preparation for it, but it depends largely on finding good quince in-season.

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on Eros
  9. Common mistakes about Eros
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to Eros
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devition: 10 ~ Offerings – historical and UPG

Historical:
hare, cockerel/rooster, quince, apples, pears, myrtle,

Modern/ UPG:
roses, chololate, oxalis regnellii (purple shamrock/sorrel, “Love Plant”), vanilla, orchid, rose quartz, bivalve shells,

unknown:
cinnomon, copper, pearl, arrowheads, gold,

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on Eros
  9. Common mistakes about Eros
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devition: 9 ~ Common Mistakes about Eros

“Eros is all sweetness and love.” Eros is Love, Desire, even Longing, but Sweetness, He is not.

“Eros is a merry trickster.” I’ve learned one thing about deities with a trickster aspect from others who have a relationship with tricksters –tricksters are not merry and playful. Tricksters only look cute, and not all of Them.

“Eros is only about love and sex and escort directories and lube.” Er, no. No. I hope that if you’ve found this blog, you at least have a vague understanding of that.

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on Eros
  9. Common mistakes about this deity
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devotion: 8 ~ Variations on Eros

This has been one of the harder ones for me to answer, because while I know this can include “aspects” –and that can include the way that Waitress and Mother are both aspects of the character Christie on the sit-com Mom— I’ve clearly had people misunderstand what this blog is about and what I believe, and there is little that bothers me more than being misunderstood, having my words and ideas taken out of context, and twisted into something I nevef meant nor intended. This is something that has bothered me since I was a child, and I’ve actually gotten better about it in recent years (yes, I have –if you think I’ve been nasty to Halstead and others for twisting my words around in the last four or five years, trust me, you wouldn’t’ve known what to make of me when I was sixteen, twenty, twenty-four…).

No, I don’t believe that Cupid or Amor are Rome’s local forms of Eros. I don’t believe that Aegnus Og is the Irish form of Eros. And so on. I believe that they have common grounds, but these are as much the same deity as my humanoid meat-based housemate and I are the same person on the grounds that we split the rent.

I also have a very hard time accepting the notion of the putto, the “chubby winged baby”, as a valid form of Eros on anything more than historical grounds. I get that this became a dominant “form of Eros” later in antiquity, but it’s not one that I relate to at all, and is one I have never known.

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on Eros
  9. Common mistakes about this deity
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devotion: 7 ~ Names and epithets

Abros (ΑΒΡΟΣ) – tender
Algesidōros (ΑΛΓΕΣΙΔΩΡΟΣ) – pain inducer
Anikatos (ΑΝΙΚΑΤΟΣ) – irresistible
Bromios – (βρωμιωσ) “Thunderer”[2]
Diphuēs (ΔΙΦΥΗΣ) – dual in nature or form
Eleutherios (ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ) – the liberator
Kallistos (ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΟΣ) – the fairest
Lusimelēs (ΛΥΣΙΜΕΛΗΣ) – limb-loosener
Phanes (Φανης) – Bring to Light
Protogenōs (ΠΡΟΤΟΓΕΝΩΣ) – First Born
Puridromos/Pyridromos (ΠΥΡΙΔΡΟΜΟΣ) – who runs on a path of fire
Skhetlios (ΣΧΕΤΛΙΟΣ) – cruel, merciless
Takeros (ΤΑΚΈΡΟΣ) – melting, languishing

Sappho also gave Him the epithets of “bittersweet”, “from heaven”, and “a crawling beast”.

His name in the Boeotian tongue, an Aeolic dialect, was Arpus. Some have also connected His name to the word Harpaleos, from the Homeric tongue of Aeolic, meaning “attractive,” and also “devouring”.

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
  9. Common mistakes about this deity
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devotion: 6 ~ Other related deities and entities associated with Eros

Lovers: Hyakinthos /Hymenaios, Ganymedes, Okeanid Rhodope

Erotes: Aphrodite, Anteros, Himeros, Hermaphroditos, Hedylogos, Pothos, Hymenaios,

Rivalries: Ares, Zeus, Apollon, Herakles

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with Eros
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
  9. Common mistakes about this deity
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

What “Wiccanate” Actually Means

You know, I haven’t thanked Heather Greene sufficiently for linking to my follow-up post about Wiccanate Privilege in the post she made on The Wild Hunt about the Wiccanate Privilege discussion. See, follow-ups are important, even though most people don’t seem to think so. Follow-ups are how we know that the whole “razor blades in / poisoned Hallowe’en candy” thing were largely hoaxes and pranks, and thus taking your children’s candy in to be x-rayed is a bigger waste of tax money than shit that actually does good for people, like Medicare and Food Stamps. Follow-ups are how we know that the “Satanic panic” was a hoax created more by parents’ paranoia and wild imaginations after reading a book now denounced as “fiction”. Most importantly, follow-ups are how we learn that bloggers have refined their ideas, or even changed their minds.

Now, I suspect that some people may be getting the idea that “Wiccanate is pejorative” from a misunderstanding of some line or another from my initial post on “Wiccanate Privilege” back in November. This is not in any way how I intended it.

True, I have a “Keep Wicca Traditional” badge on this blog. True, while I was never a Wiccan myself, nor even a “Pop/Eclectic Wiccan”, I agree with Trad Wiccans who believe that theirs and other forms of Traditional Wicca have more of a right to the word “Wicca” than other people who read some books and call what they do “Wicca”. That said, I think I was pretty clear, especially in my follow-up, that “Wiccanate Neopaganism” included “anything that looks like Wicca, functions like Wicca, but maintains that it is not Wicca”. The concept of “Wiccanate Privilege” reaches beyond that and includes not only that fairly broad group, but also people who are afforded the same privileges –you know, people who call what they do “Wicca”. It would also be fair to suggest that “Wiccanate Neopaganism” includes any manner of Wicca itself, but where I sit, it’s like the distinction between “cisgender”, being one who identifies with the gender they were assigned since birth, which may include some Intersex people, versus “cissexual”, being those who may not necessarily identify with the gender associated with their natal sex, but who are in all ways non-transitioning, versus “cis-” which, in discussions on gender, tends to include both to varying degrees; these distinctions can be useful, even if at times it’s useful to have a broader term that puts them all together.

“Wiccanate Neopaganism” simply means “[neo-]pagan paths that are like Wicca, but not [or possibly not]”; what exactly is and is not “Wicca” is ultimately for Wiccans themselves to decide. Wiccanate paths include, but may not necessarily be limited to: Reclaiming, certain branches of Feri1, certain branches of Neodruidry, just about anyone who claims to be “not a Wiccan” but largely practises rituals and/or believes in things common to “Pop / Eclectic Wicca” –things that may include, but may not necessarily be limited to, The Wheel of the Year, casting circles, calling quarters/cardinal directions, a distinctly modern understanding of the classical elements, “the Maiden-Mother-Crone Triple Goddess”, “The Horned God”, Goddess spirituality, certain pop-Dharmic elements like “chakras” without actually engaging in Hindu religious culture, and beliefs about spirituality that share considerable overlap with the definition of New Age….

One has “Wiccanate Privilege” if one’s religion or “spiritual path” is one of Wicca or something that fits the broader category of “Wiccanate Neopaganism” and this puts that person at a certain advantage in the greater pagan community that gives one a greater opportunity to:
* Find information pertaining to one’s religion / path
* Find people to practise one’s religion with, should one choose to do so
* Understand a majority of ritual presented at any major pagan event, even if one has never taken part in that particular ritual before
* Have one’s religion understood by a majority of people at any major pagan event
* Be considered a “voice for all pagans” by those outside the pagan community
* Have those outside the pagan community have at least a passing familiarity with one’s religion due to television, popular films, and books

This is not now, nor has it ever been about putting one down for not being BTW or whatever —I’d rather put people down for being stupid, thanks. It’s been about putting to use a concise term that encompasses a wide range of pagans whose paths share more in common than they don’t because it’s these traits that put them at a distinctly privileged position in the pagan community. It’s about identifying that privileged position in the same way words like “cisgender” identify a privilege that some women have over others, because the other option would be to call that population “default” or “normal” (or similar terms that amount to the same meaning), when that’s not really the experience of all pagan practises.


1: Yes, i know Feri has a wacky-ass history with some lineages having more in common with Wicca than not and other lineages having almost nothing in common with Wicca; I’m told it’s similar to being bisexual in the GBLT community –if you’re dating someone of a gender clearly dissimilar to your own, people say you’re enjoying “het privilege”, if you’re dating someone of a gender similar to your own, people try to make you out as uncomplicatedly gay or lesbian.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

30 Days of Devotion: 5 ~ Members of the family – genealogical connections

Mothers:
Khaos & Nyx, the latter born pregnant with Him after forming from the self-destruction of the former

Sisters:
The Moirai, Eris,

Half-Siblings:
Hypnos, Thanatos, Nemesis, Moros, the Keres, the Oneroi, Momos,

Wife:
Psykhe

Lovers:
Hymenaios/Hyakinthos, Ganymedes, Okeanid Rhodope

Offspring:
Hedone, birds, Poros, Penia

  1. A basic introduction of Eros
  2. How did I become first aware of Eros?
  3. Symbols and icons of Eros
  4. A favorite myth or myths of Eros
  5. Members of the family – genealogical connections
  6. Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
  7. Names and epithets
  8. Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
  9. Common mistakes about this deity
  10. Offerings – historical and UPG
  11. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
  12. Places associated with this deity and their worship
  13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
  14. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
  15. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
  16. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
  17. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
  18. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
  19. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
  20. Art that reminds you of this deity
  21. Music that makes you think of this deity
  22. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
  23. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
  24. A time when this deity has helped you
  25. A time when this deity has refused to help
  26. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
  27. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
  28. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
  29. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
  30. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.