Sometimes, I think I might be different from most people…

(Here’s something that’s been sitting in my Draft folder since at least August 2013, just figured I’d pick up where I left off and see what happens with it.)

…and that this might be especially true with regards to the pagan community.

First off, I was never interested in Wicca. I’ve seen literally dozens of people all over the Internet and in real life claim that Wicca is a starting point for all pagans, a shared experience to some extent, for all Western pagans. This is simply not true, for myself. All I know about Wicca is mostly from a combination of the old “Why Wiccans Suck” and the Wicca For the Rest of Us sites and a handful of things I’ve seen others say on blogs, LiveJournal communities, and e-mail lists. Most of these “sources” assumed a passing familiarity with many NeoWicca basics, and I gotta say, I still don’t know what “casting circles” or “crossing quarters” exactly is or is supposed to do in ritual, I have an idea based on the things I’ve read, but I’m not sure I could identify it, if I saw it. Wicca was never a part of my journey, and so this is likely the main way I’m simply not like pagans –I’m not very familiar with that language, and it’s not at all an experience I share.

Secondly, I don’t “revere” nature in the same ways that I see from a majority of pagans. I recycle my rubbish and I compost in honour of the nymphai, but my primary interest in avoiding processed food is cos of allergies and other immediate health concerns, rather than the borderline tin-foil-hat ravings against “Frankenfoods”. I say “borderline” because they’re often based in some evidence of experimentation, but no evidence that the sort of experimentation that they speak of will ever enter the mainstream food sources; furthermore, while Monsanto is certainly an evil Capitalist corporation, the whole idea behind engineering resistant crop seeds lays in the compassionate hope to feed more people for less money, including people in deeply impoverished areas in industrialised and non-industrialised countries, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty telling that the overwhelming majority of people who are anti-GMO, across the board, are affluent white people from industrial countries. Humans have been modifying food crops since the dawn of agriculture —it’s kind of how Mesoamericans evolved maize (sweetcorn) from being a completely inedible mutant grass (look up “pod corn” sometime) into the staple crop that would eventually come to dominate the agricultural industry of the Americas. All that’s happened in this last century is technological advances that that accelerate the process by actually examining the genetics faster than the trial-and-error hybridisation observed by Mendel, and also the multi-billion-dollar industry that makes a basic human need and a once-compassionate idea into an unstoppable corporation that exploits its means to penalise small farmers. There’s hardly a single thing humans eat today, save for the cultures that still subsist on game and insects as a major protein source, that isn’t a “genetically modified organism”. This technology can, and has been, a good thing that can literally feed the world, if bourgeoisie honkies and those aspiring to be and /or aping said would take a step back and examine the underlying classism and racism in what they’re saying when they talk about banning this technology as a whole. I’ll agree that some additives are best done without, and that there does seem to be a strong correlation between eating highly preserved foods and poor health, but I’m not so self-centred and ignorant as to believe that simply modifying a crop’s or a livestock’s genetics is a problem, in and of itself. Might it be a problem to introduce one of the highly experimental modifications into the main source crops? Sure. Might there be problems with this accelerated modification several generations down he line? Possibly, but probably not as much as the anti-GMO crowd certainly wants people to believe –if anything, any health risks associated with that accelerated genetic selection will happen more slowly and be less apparent until it affects millions of people, doing it the old-fashioned way.

Then there’s the fact that I REALLY don’t understand why some of, apparently, the most popular pagan bloggers are. From Star “Foster Care” (yeah, I know she tries to pretend she’s “not a pagan blogger anymore”, but from what I’ve gathered from certain people who just feel this inexplicable need to keep me informed on the various minutia of the pagan & polytheist blogosphere, she sure continues to do a lot of whining about how she’s not a pagan blogger anymore, which just makes me think of the kind of atheist bloggers who whine about Christians and how they aren’t Christian, and then act surprised when no-one takes them seriously when they insist that they do more than whine about Chrirstians), to (now ex-pagan) Teo Bishop/Matthew Morris and his shit-eating grin. It’s always that the most popular pagan bloggers tend to have the least to say, but allot more time and energy into saying it than those who are actually pretty interesting, and because of a combination of that, savvy social connections, and sheer persistence, guess who gets the attention for it? It’s not that I necessarily have anything against certain people (though sometimes that changes), and I know their fangirls will always try and insist otherwise, but it really isn’t jealousy. It’s sheer bewilderment that some-one can drone on and on about how much they “never wanted to be a big-name pagan, but poor me, I took a high-profile position at a popular webzine and volunteered to go on CNN and all that shit, anyway” or about how much they really don’t understand how ritual circles work, and dozens, even hundreds of people –other bloggers and mere commentators alike– will sit and applaud, as if this complete nonsense was somehow meaningful, or perhaps confusing ignorance with insight. I mean, I guess if I think about it, I can concoct a few reasons for how this dullness ends up as “the voice of pagan blogging” and how watered-down drivel like Silver Ravenwolf is Llewellyn’s international best-seller: Pagans don’t give a shit about excellence. They want voices that they can relate to more than they want someone to look up to, which possibly reveals a resistance to personal, spiritual growth. They’re so paranoid of any semblance of authority that they’ll buy the notion that some of the least-noteworthy ideas are worthy of a blog entry, just as easily as they’ll buy Scott Cunningham telling them that a “self-initiation” is as valid as a real initiation into a traditional coven, no matter how much the very phrase “self-initiation” smacks of contradiction. I mean, hell, bloggers and Llewellyn authors aren’t the only “pagan writers” lacking in standards of excellence; do a search for “diane paxson, marion zimmer bradley, walter breen sex abuse” and tell me that the pagan community isn’t quick to turn a blind eye to unsavoury associations because someone did something they liked, I fucking dare you.

And don’t get me started on pagan music. A good 85-90% of the pagan music I’ve heard is half-arsed filk that’s barely better than what an especially eloquent toddler might write. The best pagan music is usually in the Gothic or Neofolk genres, and while I certainly won’t deny that SOME Neofolk artists maintain unsavoury associations on par with the kiddie-diddling that Paxson and Bradley were enabling and covering-up (and Bradley, at least, partaking in herself), not only are many (if not most) not maintaining such associations, at least not directly (seriously, Leonard Cohen was one of the major influences on the Neofolk genre, and if you listen to Leonard Cohen, you kind of fail at Nazi) but some Neofolk artists are Far Left or simply apolitical, and yet possibly the most-deserving big pagan blogger, Jason Pitzl-Waters at The Wild Hunt, often seems on a campaign to portray the entire genre as just a bunch of Neonazis when, let’s be frank, there’s far more damaging evidence that Eric Clapton is a fascist than the members of Spiritual Front (yes, I know Simone Salvatori did a song on that tribute album to Codreanu, but he also lists Discharge, an anarcho-punk, Leftist, and pacifist band as one of his all-time favourites –at best, you’ve got evidence that he’s “trolling”, as my humanoid meat-based housemate would say). Then there’s the fact that, many “Martial” bands that make no secret about cozying up to Fascism (even though there’s a handful of clearly Left-wing martial musos, as well). It’s not hard to learn any of this —I don’t have nearly the search engine magics that my humanoid meat-based housemate does, and I can still figure out pretty easily that no, not all Neofolk has “murky politics”, and if challenged on calling out a band or artist, I don’t just brush it off with “trust me, I’m a goth”, as if that makes me some kind of authority on a different scene (albeit one with significant cross-over appeal, but a different scene, nonetheless), I cite my fucking sources.

Then there’s the goddamned polyamourists. In theory, I have nothing against those who have multiple informed romantic/sexual partners, but let’s get a few things straight:

Polyamoury ≠ “Free Love”. The latter was a Victorian anti-marriage/proto-feminist movement, and real Free Love proponents actually frowned on the notion of multiple partners for the simple fact that it’s not what their movement was about –it was about the freedom to cohabitate and raise a family with another person out of love without being subjected to the borderline slavery of Victorian marriage laws. Polyamoury is about “being in love” and having sex with multiple people, all of whom are ostensibly aware, at least in passing, of one’s other relationships. Some polyamourists are married (a notion that appalls true proponents of Free Love) and cohabitation is not a requirement or necessarily a goal, with any of one’s lovers, whereas Free Love is about at least hoping to find a mate for pair-bonding and cohabitation, even if the couple is under no pretentions of this being a lifelong arrangement.

Then there’s the goddamned “poly-” cultists, who seem damned determined to make sure everyone is like them, especially if they’re of the sort that can’t actually be in a functional interpersonal relationship of any sort (with the ostensible exception of biological relatives -but you can never tell with some people) unless sex is eventually going to happen with this other person. of course, is that really a functional relationship model?

And not to mention the fact that even Oberon Zell, who arguably introduced the concept to the pagan community in the 1970s/80s, has even said, “serial monogamy may just be the human default“, and has said it without any sense of judgement, but just as a simple fact that people should keep in mind.

So there’s very little common ground between myself and most self-identified “pagans”, and while I’m totally cool with that, it does help keep me weird.


While I have you here, were you aware that I’m still seeking Moving expense donations?

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.

Another Year, Another Hellenistai Wiki

So, just out of curiosity, am i the only one who’s noticed that the Wiki at http://wiki.hellenistai.com has been unuseable for a couple months? Yeah, didn’t think so (but if I’m wrong, please say something).

Long story short, DreamHost offers several site software packages as “One-Clink Installs”; in theory, the installation of these software packages onto a website is fully automated and requires the DreamHost user, such as myself, only “one click” to install it. Well, that’s a great idea, but unfortunately, MediaWiki —the software developed by Wikipedia developers and the software that I’m using to run the Hellenistai Wiki— does not work that way. Seriously, it’s far more complicated than i have patience for, and updating it requires me to log in through a client with the site’s IP, and doing all these things, and maybe I gotta read entrails or something, too. I’ve tried several times to complete the update of the software, only to get incredibly frustrated at the first or second step, cos something that sounds simple turned out to be incredibly complicated, and fuck that.

I’m still holding out hope that my humanoid meat-based housemate, who does this sort of thing for a living, can make it work, but I’m not going to rely on that. Fortunately, Wikia, a popular community wiki site that hosts a lot of fandom wikis, does all the backend stuff for me, and I can just be all “la-lalaaa!! I’m updating the wiki pages and that codey stuff works cos sprites and pixies!”

So the wiki is now HERE:

http://hellenistai.wikia.com/

…and I’m going to be grabbing as many pages off the Digital Archive Wayback Machine as I can over the next couple of weeks, reformatting it all manually (cos of the way the private wiki was set up, to only take updates from users with certain permissions, has cut off the edit pages from my access), and if anybody wants to volunteer their time to help me out, that’d be great! Great, great, GREAT!!!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the forum is back open? I know I did.

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.

New Addition to the Map!


View Worldwide Map of Hellenic Polytheists, Syncretists, Reconstructionists, and Pagans in a larger map

Crossposted to Hellenistai Project! Eventually, I’m going to stop posting these updates here, and only there, so be sure to add the feed to your reader!

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.

New Addition to the Map!


View Worldwide Map of Hellenic Polytheists, Syncretists, Reconstructionists, and Pagans in a larger map

Crossposted to Hellenistai Project. I’m also taking people who want to contribute to that; I’m trying to broaden the focus from entertainment media reviews to News, Living, and Hellenism in Pop Culture. Like, if some-one just wants to post relevant news from Greece or archaeology news, with commentary, great —just so long as it’s original commentary and it’s not all stuff from The Wild Hunt (I love TWH, and have no problem with some content overlap, but there should be some obvious reasons why I don’t just want to filter TWH content through a Hellenic lens).

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 Map


View Worldwide Map of Hellenic Polytheists, Syncretists, Reconstructionists, and Pagans in a larger map

I just now added to it.

Time to touch myself clean!

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.

Busy couple days for Hellenistai Project

The last couple days have been busy for the Hellenistai Projects.

In a nutshell, I’ve been really stressed out about a lot of things I don’t really need to elaborate on right now, and so that’s a primary reason I’ve been neglecting Wiki maintenance. I feel awful for letting it get to that state, but when I’m in a state where I can’t concentrate on cleaning out spambot pages and building real pages, I can’t force myself to do it.

Thankfully, a few days ago, I was feeling up to it — oddly, this was after maybe four hours of regularly-interrupted sleep on account of heat and nightmares of the wake-up-screaming variety, so difficulties in sleeping them further complicated when one of my cats decided that she was going to cuddle me to sleep — which is only adorable in retrospect, or when she’s not doing it to you, personally. Unfortunately, due to the lack of sleep and other things, things that won’t do themselves, I barely got 750+ spam-pages deleted in twenty hours — and there was still ~1500 left to go. Thankfully, my friend Jessi was up and apparently had nothing better to do, so after promoting her login on the Wiki, all spam got deleted in the 9-ish hours I spent in bed (and free of nightmares).

The reason the spam keeps coming is in part cos while I understand, in theory, how to install Mediawiki plugins, I can never make them work. I follow the directions on how to do it, and nothing ever happens — good or bad — so while I’m clearly doing something wrong, it’s not so wrong it borks up the whole site functionality. I’m about ready to see if there’s a WordPress plugin that will basically make a wiki built right into the site, and allow me to import the pages from the Mediawiki-based one.

I really feel like I should pay Jessi something for doing all that, but I had fifteen dollars until the end of the month, and I won’t know immediately after I get paid again what I’ll have left for August.

Then there’s the forum.

I undated the phpBB software that the forum runs on a few weeks ago, and I knew since the day after that at least one person couldn’t properly log in. I still have no idea what went wrong. I also learned a few days ago that the registration question, my best line of defense against spam-bots on the forum, suddenly was no longer visible, but it still had the text box and expected an answer. After I reset the registration human-check to a “captcha” image, back come the spam-bots, and seemingly with vengance, so I disabled new user registrations and installed a WordPress forum plugin, so that at least there will be a forum that works. I’m going to lock the threads on the old forum by Thursday, and I’m updating my own links.

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.

gee, I guess the Gods ARE laughing

So, after a couple years of fighting it, last week, I signed up for Google Analytics and plugged some code into all of the Hellenistai Project sites (though the wiki was the last one, just cos I was trying to avoid opening up the appropriate file in Notepad), and since now it’s been a week, I figured I’d start a new regular feature around here: The weird shit that brings people to the Gods

Wel, more accurately, this would be “The weird shit that brings people to a bunch of sites occupied by people who’s most constant shared quality is their love for the gods”, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue as well, and hey, if even one person a week found something on the Hellenistai sites that resonnated with the, spiritually, that not only makes “…brings people to the Gods” true, but it means my work at plugging keywords into this stuff to lay some decent SEO work is doing some good not just for hit counters, but for the community. After all, just cos the homo-fags can’t make their own babies doesn’t mean that they can’t bring in fresh meat.

Furthermore, this may not be something that the average Hellene would find spiritually relevant, but as Rev. Dr. Rho Iota Mu from The Church of the SubGenius, as I recognise “Bob” as a disciple of Hermes (don’t try to convince me the God of commerce, theives, story-tellers, and vagabonds wouldn’t appreciate the idea of a church whose only sin is not giving them $30, and with the promise of “eternal salvation or triple your money back”), this is of especial interest to me, as some of it is pure wrongness, and wrongness breeds slack — albeit, only if it’s the proper kind of wrongness, which this is. (How’s that logic for you? Perfectly circular! Hail Hermes! Praise “Bob”!)

This week, the weirdest search engine phrases that brought people to the forum is a bit of a tie:
1) “youngsoulrebel trans” — and it’s sixteen hits from the same person who apparently can’t just get over the fact that my squiddley bits don’t make my testosterone for me. Probably somebody I had to hand their own arse to on FetLife — obviously somebody who makes my beloved Pope No-Life look like he has one.

2) “kevin smith religion” — O_O I have no idea what this is about, or why it brought somebody to the forum. My only hope is that they took the right message from their visit, even if it wasn’t the one they thought they were looking for.

Nothing brought people to Of Thespiae, nor the Wiki, nor the shiny new media blog/webzine that I didn’t expect or would otherwise come as a total “wtf?” on whatever level, so I close with the weirdest keyword search that brought people to Urban Hellenistos — THAT would have been the phrase “slap a girl menstruating in greece”.

O_O

OK, I wrote that that post about miasma and menstruation, but the only instance of the word “slap” in that post is from the phrase “slap a bandage on it”. This is possibly the weirdest thing that will bring anybody to this blog, or ANY site on the Hellenistai.com domain ever (technically, this blog and OT aren’t part of the Project, but they’re on the same domain just to keep things simpler for people). Truly, this world has strange people in it — like that guy who’s made Philadelphia the U$ city where the Hellenistai Forum is most-popular by IP number. Tell us about it, Gordon:

Dead serious, next post will be about how my apartment complex has nymphai, and my first review to the media blog is scheduled for Wednesday (tomorrow, at this point). May take a few days on the next one for here, as I’ve got something for OT planned about the “elf home” in my fridge.

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.

A Project Long-Overdue

A few of you kind readers may already know (if only because I’ve talked about this to you), but my plan for the hellenistai.com mainpage (no sub-domain, like “forum.hellenistai.com”) has been a media review blog/webzine. The main reasons that this hasn’t taken off yet is because 1) I’m too broke to start this off all by myself (and, having worked for a small-press and very short-lived magazin myself, in the past, “awkward” doesn’t begin to describe the shared feelings between artist and magazine when the topic of review copies of things comes up, especially with a very new magazine), and 2) at first I thought that people would submit to me and I’d post it all myself, but not only did all of one person send anything in, ever (dead serious), it turns out that I’m too lazy to be the lone cheerleader to amass a wealth of material, enough to post regularly, and enough to make for a respectable media blog.

Yes, gentle reader, sometimes I have a kernel of a good idea, but it’s got this husk of bad idea surrounding it. This has been my plight with the Hellenistai Project Media Blog.

Now for the good news: I’ve finally managed to separate that kernel from the husk.

It was really pretty simple; wrangle in a few friends, at least to start out, and let them upload their articles themselves. My experiences of “friends + work” has been about fifty-fifty, and there seems to be a correlation between how much money is involved, and how fast it will destroy the friendship. On the good side, this is so far from a money-making endeavour that I’m confident that people will trust me about site donations (but in the off-chance I’m proved wrong in this, I have PayPal and DreamHost set to send me receipts for everything), and I’d be seriously surprised if people start sending in review copies of stuff (though later this year, I will probably be setting up a P.O. Box just in case), but even then, it probably won’t be until long after we’ve already discussed an established protocol for when review items come in.

I’ve so far confirmed one wrangled-in friend, and I’m pretty confidant that at least one of the other two people I have in mind will be willing and able to participate.

I ask for little from these friends for this project: A minimum of once a fortnight (that’s every two weeks), post a minimum of one review of any media item of potential Hellenic polytheist interest (books – both fiction and non, music, film, games, theatre; hell, even a painter’s body of work is a potential media topic). It doesn’t have to be new, either, since we all seem to be regularly re-discovering old things. I’m not even going to be a big stickler that all media items reviews be “strictly Hellenic”, either, cos that would, at the very least, seriously drive us to running out of articles very fast. I don’t even care if two people want to post contrasting reviews of the same thing, as long as their opinions of the item contrasts enough — in fact, since my tastes with people on the Hellenistai Forum seems to differ so greatly, such reviews could become a regular thing. Hell, enough people have divergent enough tastes, I’m sure mine won’t be the only contrasting voice for long.

Will we take on other reviewers or guest reviews? In time, sure, obviously. Hell, if we want to limit no more than one post per day, this project can easily accommodate as many as fourteen different voices per fortnight. I just think a nice steady start of a core of four people who can post new reviews in their spare time every other week is a solid place to start. People who want to submit a guest review can talk to me about it, and I’m sure something can easily be worked out.

So, by all means, go to Hellenistai.com and click and / or copy the appropriate links to add it to your blog feeds and what-not, cos I’m hoping that within the next two weeks, there will be a review up from at least two of us.

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.

Chat review and New Forum!

First things first:
The chat on March 31/April 1 went swimmingly. A handful of people showed up, and I was very pleased. Main topic of discussion turned out being the creation of a stronger face for the greater Hellenic community on-line, which brings me to topic #2:

I have created a new forum for Hellenistai! There are a small number of people already signed up and a few “starter threads” in a butt-load of topics. Come sign up and enjoy.

I’m also working on a “main site” to compliment the forum. This will concentrate pretty much just on media reviews for Hellenistai and with Hellenists in mind. I’m still working out the look and feel of that one, but I’m also more than willing to have other people writing articles for that site, as well. Feel free to contact me (rowan@sexyhobbitsuperstar.com) if you have ideas — I’m not going to expect individual media reviewers to submit more than one or two things a month, and I may be interested in other regular columns or articles. Again, I’m still in the brainstorming phase here, so feel free to contact me.

The Chat room should also be assumed “open 24-7”, but scheduled chats will be announced with a minimum 48-hour notice.

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.