Science + Nature + “The Unknown”/Religion: All things in moderation and moderation in all things

It’s been years since I’ve seen the film, but this is pretty spot-on to how I’ve interpreted it —especially when he points out that a balance is best, and ultimately, it was “the unknown” that provided the solution.

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.

Little changes

I’ve been getting more environmentally conscious with age. Damned if I know exactly why. I’m limited in exactly how far I can take it, though, cos I’m on disability allowance and have some food intolerances. I’m allergic to soya, but in spite of this, I’ve tried vegetarian diets before, always fairly responsible, and the last time I did, it was probably the worst condition I had been in trying a vegetarian diet –I was tied all the time, and barely able to hold a thought, and I take my vitamins and all. On the good side, any non-evangelising veg*n will sdmit that it’s not for everyone, 100%, and anyway, it’s not like I’m one of those people who feels compelled to eat meat with every meal (I don’t have that kind of money, for starters, and even if I did, the fact that I know people who insist on meat with every meal is just ridiculous), and on average, I have one to two, sometimes even three meat-free days a week.

The industry of factory farming is just inefficient use of land, but even though I’m in a position where I pretty much have to make use of it, there are better ways of doing that than just caving in to it from all sides.

I bring this up now because I recently decided to switch cat litter. It may not sound like a big deal, but Blue Buffalo, the brand that makes the all-natural kibble I feed my little cat-lumps (it’s also an affordable brand, too), recently started making a cat litter. Now, I prefer the clumping cat litters, cos even on testosterone, I tend to be sensitive to smells, and the ability to scoop out the urine is a wonderful invention. I’ve tried other compostable cat litters before, and flushable, but in all honesty, those were half-hearted efforts (I neither have a backyard compost bin nor attempted to take the scooped clumps to a community composting site), and I ended up feeling kind of vindicated by the fact that the litters sucked.

Yesterday’s News is made from old newspapers, is non-clumping, and the consistency is like twigs; it seems like an all-natural good idea, at first, but the cats at the time (Bob and Vermin, before they died last winter) were more interested in playing with the twigs than doing their business in it, which is a problem.

There was another brand, I forget the name, also made of old newspaper, promised to be scoopable, promised to be flushable, but so soft in consistency that the cats sunk down past their ankles and gave this look, as if looking for Ashton Kutcher and the hidden cameras. Obviously not a hit, either.

So far, this Blue Buffalo walnut-based scoopable litter seems to live up to promises, and it’s lightweight, to boot (a plus to someone like myself, who can’t really do heavy loads cos of carpel tunnel syndrome). The source of material is revewable, the odour control isn’t as good as Fresh Step, but about as good as Tidy Cats and without smelling like dryer sheets. The cats seem OK with it, too. By weight, it costs more, but by volume, it’s only a little bit more expensive. Best of all, it’s compostable.

This is important.

The city of Lansing made a relatively “minor” change to their recycling system, recently. See, before, everything went into these small green bins, a little larger than an apple crate. All recycling went in there, with no need to separate things out. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that I’m going to tell you that now Lansing citizens have to divide their recycling, but actually it’s kind of the opposite problem. Now we have these huge recycling barrels –and I mean HUGE. I can definitely put it on its side and crawl in, sit up, and lay down –yeah, I’m only 4’11.5″, but it’s still the principle of the thing. These new barrels are just under twice the size of the garbage barrels.

It’s kind of highlighted the fact that up to half of the garbage barrel’s contents on any given week is cat waste. I got a compost bin for the house this last summer, and I’ve been trying to save up for a rain barrel, but it’s these little things that add up. It’s never too late to reduce what one send to the landfills, or make the changes to the ways we eat, but what matters is that we do them as we can –maybe you can’t in this lifetime, it happens, but if you can, there’s no real reason not to and every reason to do. If you can’t spend the extra couple bucks for Blue Buffalo cat litter, maybe you can get Yesterday’s News, or that flushable stuff, and your cat won’t mind. Maybe you can go vegetarian or vegan full-time rather than half the time (if you can, it’s MUCH cheaper than eating meat). Maybe your apartment doesn’t have a compost pile, but the city does. Maybe you have a few hours a week free to take in your recycling, cos your building doesn’t have a separate bin. What’s important is that you make the little changes as you can.

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.

To the Hylêôroi

Watchers of the woods, fair maidens of aether.
Forming rings of history for centuries
Giving all of Gaia’s creatures
Shelter from the storms
Spreading cones in the north
Cycling colours in temperate climes
And Equatorial with green tresses always
In the wild standing many
But still in the cities strong
See your dependents well.

Also, Woot a gorgeous t-shirt today. You should buy one.

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.

Hemara Gaia

©Josephine Wall

I’d make a more substantial post right now, but I’m feeling a tad on the uninspired side right now, and it may or may not have to do with the fact that my head is covered in wave clips and gel (it’s really the only way to make my hair hold anything for more than an hour). I’m going to celebrate Hemara Gaia the way any urbanite should: I’m going out to a nightclub.

…but, to do it, I’m taking in a bunch of bottle returns so I don’t have to take out cash, I’m getting myself a flower from the farmer’s market, and I’ll be walking there and back (unless, of course, I drink too much to walk three blocks, which is unlikely). Also, my hair dye is all-natural botanical and vegan, and my conditioner has placenta and gel have placental proteins in them, so even though I’m not vegan, I’m not letting that shit go to waste, nosiree.

Yeah, I could probably go out and do some more work in the garden, but it’s cold, and I will not be shamed about my lacking desire to plant saplings.

You keep Hemara Gaia in your way, and I’ll keep it in mine.

©Josephine Wall

I give thanks to Pan
God of the wild things
Of the forests and the streets
And to His companion Kybele
To whom Theban women sing
Mother of Earthly life
©2010 Ruadhan J McElroy

You’re free to use this small prayer I wrote in your ritual, but please re-print with credit, and do not publish formally without permission.

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.

[begging] I am here to get you laid!

So, in going through a bunch of crap in my room, I’ve found a bunch of surplus condoms I can’t use any more due to latex allergy. Because I hate throwing out otherwise perfectly good items, I’d rather these rubber johnnies go to a good home than in the garbage.

I have two brands: Durex and ONE

Durex is the brand I’ve bought my entire adult life (no matter how much their costume adverts amuse me, I will never buy Trojans; an old friend who was a part of ACT UP during his uni days in the early 1990s has given me some very good reasons not to —reasons I’m having the hardest time sourcing, but he was there at the time, so I trust him), they’re the most popular brand in the Anglosphere and they’re a UK-based brand, but ONE amuse me because of their “designer” foils, and I picked up a bunch with their “pride foils” last year, when I still didn’t realise I was allergic to latex.

I’m selling all of these with the “extra protection” ONE branded tin for $7 plus $3 shipping. The expiration dates vary between March 2013 (three of the Durex) and March 2015 (at least seven of the ONE), so you’d have a minimum of about one year to use them.

I’ll also bless each condom prior to packaging and shipping, which I’m doing just as a complimentary religious service. 🙂

First come, first served. I’m selling these as a batch, photo is just included to show off the ONE foils and box. The box looks like it’s aluminium and it can comfortably hold 12 or 13 condoms, 15 or 16 if you squeeze ’em in (or you can put in ten condoms or fewer and one or two of those little mini-sachets of lube) —great for dorm room, messenger bag, or large purse storage.

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.

Gaia comic


Mother Gaia by *humon on deviantART

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.

It’s so Easy Being Green

Since I know a lot of people who are or wish to get into crafting, I figured I’d pass along Lupa’s handy guide to shipping green. I don’t think most of the people who read this blog will need to know everything here, but you never know.

I admit, I don’t plan out my shopping list for Whole Paycheque, nor do I let the presence or absence of a “Go Green!” logo dictate what I buy — in fact, I’m convinced the overwhelming majority of it all is a scam of some variety, and looking at the differences in price alone between Regular Bag o’ Beans and Organic Veganic Bag o’ Beans, I think there’s more money in this latest incarnation of the “Go Green!” fad than a lot of the people buying it all are willing to admit.

Still, there’s a point where I just think it makes a lot more sense to do little things that will reduce the carbon footprint — just little, miniscule lifestyle changes that will make a big impact on the planet, over the long run. So, here’s my advice to urban polytheists who may not have considered them in the pressures from the greater pagan & polytheist co0mmunities to “go green”:

*cook from scratch, whenever possible. If you need some tips or advice, watch some episodes of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. I love his show for a lot of reasons (primarily the concept of “Julia Child meets Bill Nye the Science Guy”), and one of them is that most of the foods he cooks on the show are familiar, “classic” Western/North Amerikan foods made from scratch. He explains just how cheap and easy it is — most things take no more than 45minutes — and he makes it clear when pre-prepared ingredients (like canned tomato sauce, for example) are just fine. His episode on canning and preserving is a must-watch. The gratan on his Potatoes episode can be easily prepared in front of the television. He also stresses exactly what tools and appliances you will need for a task, which ones have superfluous (and pretty much useless) features, and how nearly everything in your kitchen should be a multi-tasker, except the fire extinguisher — this saves money, storage space in your kitchen, and saves space in landfills, should something ever break or break down beyond repair.

I really don’t want to guilt-trip people who don’t regularly have the time, but if you find cooking from a recipe enjoyable, it’s totally worth setting aside an hour on your days off to cook a meal from scratch. You’ll be avoiding all the excess packaging from convenience foods, and it’ll probably taste better, too.

*especially if you have a “container garden” (indoors or out), try composting. I’ve recently seen small “composting containers” at Target, designed to go under the sink, but I just use an old bucket that cat litter came in.

*repair things before buying new. Sometimes, it’s just far more cost-effective to get a new thing, I admit, but clothes can be mended, even attractively so, a plate can (usually) be pieced back together with non-toxic glue, and your computer probably isn’t “broken” but full of spyware and minor vira that you can get rid of (and prevent) with proper software (that doesn’t even have to cost you a penny — I recommend Avast). If you build your own computer (and no, I don’t mean by selecting options from the Dell or Gateway website), you can replace each individual component as it needs it — but if you buy something off the shelf or one of those all-in-one-piece jobs from Apple that looks pretty, you’ll probably have to sink another couple thou into a whole new machine, even though it’s just the DVD-RW drive that’s broken. I’m also really tired of seeing people who replace things that are still in perfect working order. I’ve taken to darning socks and patching my jeans in front of the television over the last few months — yes, eventually, something is going to be beyond repair, but I figure that a card of darning needles and a spool 300yds of thick cotton thread cost $5, two of which will last you a lifetime, and a pair of socks can be mended with maybe a yard. A new six-pack of crew socks costs $7 — and if you go through socks like I do, you’d be replacing that once or twice a year; I don’t know about you, but that’s $14 a year I’d rather use on other things.


A lot of this just seems pretty no-brainer to me, cos I grew up with it, but it honestly surprises me how much people admit to me that it never crosses their minds to do simple things like repair those Fair Trade Organic Cotton socks instead of replace them — probably because they grew up in a nuclear family culture where everything is replaceable, and a “lifestyle” can be easily purchased for $19.95.

While I get that some people honestly don’t have time, I also get that others are simply using “I don’t have the time” as shorthand for “I’m going to watch telly for six hours straight and not do anything else, cos I really can’t be arsed to!” I get that some people are disabled, I get that some people need an hour or so to just unwind and not do anything else — but I also get that some people are just lazy and think buying things can make them a better person without doing anything else.

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.

Urban Hellenistai & Food Sacrifices

A question I see coming up frequently enough on Hellenic lists concerns food sacrifices. Many of the responses are impractical for urban dwellers, but some are actually very practical.

First off, let me state that in Hellenic practises, food sacrifices are a tradition that goes back to ancient worship. In ancient times, there were two kinds of food sacrifices: offering of a small portion or whole serving of food to non-Cthonic deities; and the offering of the whole of the servings to the Cthonic deities, sometimes with the adage “What the Underworld receives is [Theirs] — They Below receive all in full, because it is NOT our time and we are not ready to sup at Their table just yet.” Many food offerings were burned in the hearth of the home, or the hearth of the polis during large community fests and rituals, some weren’t. Some temples had designated areas for perishable (food) and non-perishable offerings, and sometimes when the perishables would stack up, they would be carted away to a separate area just outside the city — sort of a “landfil” to the Theoi.

Some urban homes still have working fireplaces, though those are less common, these days. If you live in a house or apartment that has a working fireplace, by all means, feel free to burn your offerings safely there. All that’s required is that you know how to operate your fireplace safely.

If you have a backyard, many urban-dwellers these days have a small designated “composting” area where food-waste is casually dumped and biodegredation is assisted with the help of red worms. This option is essentially keeping with the ancient temple practise, only on a smaller scale for your house. If you have a backyard and you know another Hellenist who does not, you can also feel free to invite them to use your “Divine composting heap” for food sacrifices; they can accumulate food offerings in a large snap-locking container (Rubbermaid or Tupperware are familiar brands) that they can keep in the fridge or under the sink. This will also help in aiding the development of an Hellenic community in your area, and community was very important in ancient practises, and is something that can be maintained today, with people who wish to cultivate it. Also keep in mind that, if you rent your house rather than own it, composting may be something restricted by your landlord, so be sure to read your lease or call them, first.

If you’re all alone, or neither you nor anyone else in your local Hellenic community can volunteer a backyard compost, another idea is to compost indoors. Some places sell composting containers for people in apartments or houses with small backyards, but anything conceivably large enough, like a 30lb bucket the previously held kitty-litter, can work. You’ll need both a container of appropriate sie, a few red composting worms, and (optionally to some, required to others) a base of potting soil. If you garden indoors or out, the resultant compost can be used for that — or if you don’t do that, this can get you started — after all, there is absolutely no shortage of plant-life sacred to the Theoi, and much of it can be grown indoors.

Other options I’ve seen from others include:

  • Have a separate trash receptacle for food sacrifices. I don’t like this, but I can understand it’s practicality for one who doesn’t have the time, patience, or skills for indoor gardening.
  • If you have a gas cooker, but no fireplace, burn your sacrifice under the broiler. I’ve done this on rare occasion. It can take forever, and if you’re not careful, it may set off your smoke-alarms. If you have non-Hellenic room-mates, be sure to make sure to use basic courtesies before burning a sacrifice under a communal broiler.
  • Some suggest eating it oneself, citing references to Egyptian priests doing such. This may not be appropriate if you do not wish to incorporate Kemetic worship or practises into your own.
  • Some state that they just leave the food sacrifices outside, bury it, or place it in trees. This may not be practical or even possible for many urban-dwellers. It may also be grounds for eviction in some apartment complexes.
  • Some have even suggested placing a serving of a meal in a plain paper lunch sack and leaving it at a city crossroads for Hekate or some One else. Others have suggested giving the meal to a homeless person as an offering to her.

If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment with them.

Or if you have a funny story about leaving or otherwise making a food sacrifice to the Theoi, then by all means, let me know! I’m still fighting off this awful cold for another day, so maybe a laugh will help that out.

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.