sold my archaic – style Hellenic alphabet divination tiles

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As per the request of the buyer, I’m including a thing to match match up the letters with the modern Hellenic alphabet, as I lost the reference I used when I made the set in question several years ago.

Don’t know why, but I chose to do it in water colours.

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.

Boeotian Alphabet Divination system

This is a variant of the Hellenic Alphabet Divination system seen here; I’ve created this variant myself using verses from Hesiod and Pindar.

Because the Boeotian alphabet lacks Eta, Xi, Psi, and Omega, but instead uses Digamma, Heta, and Qoppa, resulting in a twenty-three letter alphabet, which is harder to divide Sculpey by (which is kind of important when I’m doing marbled tiles, cos it’s not like I can easily use the extra 1/24th segment I’ve cut in another project), I’ve also added the Thespian raised Epsilon.

Alpha: But Prometheus, noble son of Iapetos, stole fire for Man’s sake from Zeus.
Beta: O Perses, follow right: control your pride. For pride is evil in a common man.
Gamma: He dealt death in battle to ravening lions and boars were his prey.
Delta: She shall give her at once, that she may dwell beside her, a portion of land to yield her fruit of all that grows, and wild beasts shall be found there.
Epsilon: Dear soul of mine, for immortal days trouble not: the help that is to be had drain to the last.
Digamma: After him appears to men Pandion’s high-voiced, mournful child, the swallow, when the spring has just begun.
Zeta: It is right that Orion should travel not far from the Doves of the mountain.
Heta: For without the Holy Khairetes not even the Gods rule dances or feasts.
Theta: These days are blessings to the men on Earth; the rest are fickle, bland, and bring no luck.
Iota: The eye of Zeus sees all, and understands, and when He wishes, marks and does not miss how just a city is, inside.
Kappa: Vile old age never appeared, but always lively-limbed, far from all ills, they feasted happily.
Lambda: Great deeds give choice of many tales.
Mu: Observe the days which come from Zeus; instruct your slaves to honour them appropriately.
Nu: Fearless Telamon gave to him a bowl, shivering with gold, full of wine.
Omicron: He who has suffered gains foresight with his mnd.
Pi: Truly what is kept in silence brings even larger delight.
Qoppa: Particularly good is one who lives nearby, but look around you carefully, lest all the neighbours chuckle at your choice.
Rho: He stood dumbfounded in wonder hard to endure but delightful.
Sigma: Truly wealth patterned with prowess brings the moment for this or for that, if it rouses deep ambition to range afar, a transcendent star, the truest light for a man.
Tau: Come, shape words into a sweet melody.
Upsilon When summer still is waxing, tell your slaves: ‘Summer is not for ever; now, build barns.’
Phi: Fifth days are harsh and frightening; take care.
Chi: The beggar’s envy is a beggar, the singer’s a singer.
Thespiae raised Epsilon: They are renowned on strings and the loud cries of flutes in every key for uncounted time.


I’ve created a set of tiles for my own use, and will be soon making a set for sale up at the Nocturnal Spirits shop. I was going to make a print-out of the verses for each letter to include with that set.

If you need your own set of Hellenic alphabet divination tiles (either the standard set, archaic or modern style, or Boeotian alphabet, feel free to recommend colours to me for the set you’d like.


Also, a friendly reminder that I’m trying to raise income through Patreon so that I can afford to pursue my art, music, and divination full-time. If you’ve not been watching on Facebook, long story short is that my food assistance somehow got reduced to the minimum payment of only $16/month —this is not enough to live on, and I really can’t afford to feed myself on cash only, right now (I have a cat, and most of my medications are herbals that I can’t get a prescription for, so pretty much all of what I make on Etsy right now is going to other things). If you were thinking of buying buttons or a painting or donating through Patreon, now is a really important time to do so, since I have absolutely no idea when this shit is going to get fixed.

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.

Guess who just did more stuff?

Pic 001

Archaic style Hellenic alphabet tiles – $12

Pic 004

Marbled silver and lavender Hellenic alphabet tiles – $10

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.

Boeotian Alphabet tiles?

So, I’m halfway done with the new set I just got some clay for, and I think I’m going to post two sets when I’m done –not cos I made two sets, tonight, but cos it’s been almost a week and I think I’ll part with the original set I’ve made and have been using for a few years, and use the burnt set for a while. Main reason is cos I’m really broke this month, have already *had to* dip into the money I wanted to set aside for my cat’s vet visit later this month, and am already trying to juggle things around a bit so I have to dip as little out of my savings as possible (this is money I’m hoping I can put toward having my name legally changed in March, when I’m eligible to do so in Washtenaw County, Michigan).

I will warn, though, on most of the “older” set of new tiles I’m posting this week, I’ve used archaic forms of the letters (there were a few where I did not), and in writing up a little card-thing to make it easier for anyone less familiar, I decided to look up ancient formS, yes, plural, of the Hellenic alphabet, and holy hells, there’s nearly two dozen surviving alphabets; seriously, if all the Hellenic tribes couldn’t have the same alphabet, what makes some people think that they had universal culture and practises? Or that even a pan-Hellenic practise can work for all Hellenists, today?

So, I’m thinking I’m going to start creating a Boeotian variant of the Greek Alphabet Oracle with the Boeotian alphabet and tiles; maybe make them a specialty thing for $12-$15 versus $10 (the standard set I just sold), for the extra work put in for re-associating letters. If anyone wants to make requests for *tiles* for other archaic alphabets, let me know, I’ll see what I can do.

Also feel free to put in requests or suggestions for colours! I’m working on two-colour marbelling, so feel free to suggest up to two colours for the clay, and a contrasting colour for the paint (the acrylic paints I currently have are metallic purple, black, and blue; I’ll see if I have others, I thought I did, but they might be in another place for now); if you don’t want to do colour requests, I’m probably going to default to a lot of purples, blues, and greens, black, silver, etc…. It’s what I like, you can’t fault me for sticking with what I dig.

Alright, off to go bake some Sculpey and find my watercolour paper (I have a surprise hatching). This weekend the Dionysos oil painting goes up for sale, and I’m *really* hoping that one of these sells before the 23rd of this month, or I’m going to have to dip a *lot* more from my savings than i want to cos my Ni-Ni can be safe from distemper for another year. (And so I can get more button parts. I am in desperate need of button parts after I press this week’s batch.)

ETA:
Almost forgot, if the Hellenic alphabet tiles and the New Boeotian Calender don’t interest you and my paintings are too expensive, but buttons for your jacket or messenger bag do, please see what I have here.

If that doesn’t interest you, but supporting who I hope is one of your favourite bloggers does, you can donate to my Patreon, as little as $1/month! Yeah, fat boy’s got goals, but every little bit helps.

ETA: Alright, I just went to go pay this month’s electric bill, and guess what? One of the roommates did not pay at all last month, and another one only paid $5 of what was due $18.50 EACH, so I just paid WAY more than I needed to in order to keep the lights on, or it was going to get a shut-off TODAY. On other words, I REALLY need to sell a painting, or I have to drain my savings to take my cat to the vet. I’m willing to come down $10 on each, if that would sweeten the deal for anyone. Please. I’m desperate at this point.

ETA: Just posted the latest tiles! Go see!

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.

Patreon, WCBN, and How!

So this coming week begins my “apprenticeship” period at WCBN-FM Ann Arbor, and so far I have one apprenticeship of the required four scheduled, this being with WCBN “legend” Arwulf Arwulf on his Face the Music program. So I’ll be there this coming Thursday, 7-8pmEST (GMT-0500), and you can listen online at wcbn.org or via the mobile apps for Android or iPhone devices. Arwulf’s planned shows for the next eight weeks are to ring out 2014 with music from 1924, 1934, and 1944 *exclusively*. That’s the kind of thing that’s right up my alley, and should be totally interesting for everyone who can and wants to tune in.

So, now that my WCBN apprenticeship has made it this far, I’m making up for some lost blessings, and bringing incense out to the station every time, after. I just have three more apprenticeship shifts, two or three more volunteer hours, and the broadcast exam, and then I’m on the rotation of substitute DJs until Summer, when I’ll finally get put on the schedule. Keep me in your prayers, oh readers of my Hedonist, Erotic, and Nocturnal ramblings, this is something I’ve been threatening to do for at least the last ten years I’ve been in and out of this area.

So… Patreon, eh? I hear all the cool kids are doing it, and I figure that it won’t hurt to set up a page and cross my fingers, right? The worst thing that could happen? I’ll be no worse off than I am, right now, right? Especially since I’ve already started this month $30 into that $50 cushion I like to keep in my chequing account, even after transferring $50 out of the $175 I previously had in savings, to save me from overdrafting, and later this month, Nigel is due for his distemper vaccine, and already has an appointment and everything. I really don’t know how I’m supposed to do it, this month, especially since Etsy is no guarantee of anything, all things considered.

Which reminds me: I gotta e-mail that one guy about the divination exchange. I could still use at least one other person (preferably two or three more) to do a divination exchange with, so I can figure out what two or three days a week I should set aside for painting. Unfortunately, the Divination Exchange FB group seems kind of useless, at this point, which I find disappointing, cos that sort of group has the potential to be incredibly useful for learning new systems, but all it seems to be for the last fortnight is people posting face shots for free… face-readings? Hell if I know what’s going on, there, but I took my query to that group and it’s going no-where on a rocket sled. Over three thousand members, and barely a brain in the bunch, so I just removed myself, cos fuck it, I’d rather ask people here, anyway. 🙂

Also a reminder, in case anyone who was interested missed it, I’ve finished the New Boeotian Calendar, and you can purchase a PDF here. I’ve thought about it, and if, for whatever reason, you absolutely cannot afford the US$4 for a download, just message me via the contact for, and we can work something out –cos that really took me the better part of a week to do up for this year, and putting it together in the first place (five years ago, now) took me the better part of a year of researching and divinations. I offered it for free the first four years, and with my cost of living going up after moving, I really can’t just set it out for free, anymore, so if you really can’t give me money for it, email me, let’s see what we can work out.

And speaking of the calendar, I also said to Edward Butler on FB, so i might as well say something here about it:

If you want me to send you a printed, tear-off calendar with an original watercolour painting, just let me know any time between now and the 9th of December, to allow for plenty of shipping time before the Boeotian New Year. I can do these for as low as $45, and that includes P&P. If you’re one of those nit-picky people who needs to see examples of my art, just go here and click “watercolours” or “oils” –it’s basically a free calendar for the price of a watercolour painting.

…which reminds me: Every Friday this month, I’ll be posting another painting for sale on the Nocturnal Spirits Etsy until all the ones I need to sell are up, and I should also finally have a few bucks for polymer clay to make Hellenic Alphabet divination tiles (those, I’ll post as I finish a set, so whenever). Paintings I still need to post are Hermes, Dionysos, and a lot of Helios, Selene, Eos, and Astraios. Still not decided on whether or not Hekate stays or goes, nothing has really changed in our relationship, I just think maybe the extra space might do me good, but then again maybe not offending Hekate might do me better (at least until I do a new one, perhaps)?

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.

Anyone want to do a divination exchange?

I’m still trying to familiarise myself with the Hellenic Alphabet system, and I could really use a bit of Divinely-guided advice for 2-3 days of the week I could set aside to paint.

See, I cut a deal to land this place in downtown Ypsilanti, MI, and the deal was that I had to start painting again. While I totally intend to keep up my end of the deal, I’ve been having issues with budgeting my time for it, and while I’ve got another deal with Hedone to finally get around to doing many of the things I’ve been wanting to do for years (but just didn’t for lots of reasons), I gotta hold good on the deal to paint, cos I’m seriously starting to suspect that there’s a Divine conspiracy hatching to keep me away from the radio station so I have no choice but to paint. This is going on my second week in a row where I’m going to barely be at WCBN, which I’m not liking, so I want to see if my suspicions are correct, or if this is just one of those fortnights where everything just coincidentally happened. Either way, it’ll get me on a schedule to paint a few days a week, so I can plan most other things around that.

So if you think you could use some practise with a new system, or if you want to do a divination for me in exchange for an otherwise-free Hellenic alphabet divination from myself, let me know. I just want to know which two or three days a week would be best for painting, and I’m hoping to take up to four people’s divinations for this and take the top two or three days –meaning I’ll give an otherwise-free HAO divination for up to four people. I’ll get at least three days that should be good for painting, and I’ll get a bit of practise in for this system.

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.

Today’s Greek Alphabet Oracle

Γ (Gamma)
“Gaia [the Earth] {Gê} will give you the ripe fruit of your labors.”
Ripe: complete, final;
fruits: produce, returns, profits, results.
You will have a successful harvest, or you will reap all your profits from the Earth. The Mother of All will bring your labors to a fruitful conclusion. Gaia will give you your just deserts.

Π (Pi)
“Completing many {Polus} contests, you will seize the crown.”
Contests: struggles, trials, dangers;
crown: wreath, garland.
If you persist in your struggles, after many trials you will succeed. Perseverance through adversity.

Ξ (Xi)
“There is no fruit to take from a withered {Xêros} shoot.”
Fruit: produce, return, profit, result;
withered: lean, harsh.
There is no good to be gained from an angry young man or woman. The frayed end of a good line. Harshness and stinginess will achieve nothing. You can’t get blood from a turnip; you can’t get water from a stone. Don’t polish a turd.


I know i haven’t yet gone to bed yet for this, but if it still seems like a good idea after i sleep on it (or unless I don’t get a dream telling me I’m going in the wrong direction with this), I think between this one and the one from the other day,I’m going to go ahead with something I’ve been planning to post here for a couple weeks now. But I need to sleep on it, first –for a few reasons.

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.

Today’s Greek Alphabet Oracle

[source]

Υ [Upsilon]
“The affair holds a noble undertaking {Huposkhesis}.”
Affair: deed, act, issue;
holds: involves, implies, gives cause for, holds fast, hinders, guides, steers;
noble: high-born, high-minded, excellent, notable;
undertaking: engagement, promise, profession.
There is some issue to be resolved, or some deed is under consideration; it involves high-mindedness, either in commitment, deed, or professional pursuit. The oracle may tell us that the affair is admirable due to this noble element, or that the situation may guide us to seek the appropriate noble undertaking or profession. The hero’s quest. On the other hand, the oracle may mean that the situation hinders this fine undertaking. Thus you should try to understand the situation: does it demand an excellent undertaking or impede it?

Ω [Omega]
“You will have a difficult {Ômos} harvest season, not a useful one.”
Difficult: cruel, rough, untimely, unripe;
harvest season: fruit-time, autumn, summer bloom, bloom of youth;
useful: suitable, apt.
Concretely, there will be a poor harvest, or autumn will be difficult; the harvest will be too early, before the fruit is ripe. More abstractly, too early grasping of the fruits of your labor (whether voluntary or necessary) will yield a poor return; the rewards will not be suitable for their purpose. Your youth will be rough; you will have to grow up before your time.

Β [Beta]
“With the help of Tychê [Fortune], you will have an assistant {Boêthos}, the Pythian [Apollo].”
Assistant: helper, auxiliary, one who hastens (theo) to the battle cry or other call for help (boê).
You are at a critical point, but if you are fortunate, Apollo the Far-shooter will help you if you call on Him. Even with luck, the God will only assist; ultimate responsibility is yours. “Pythian” refers to Apollo as the God at Delphi (which was in Pytho), one of the most important oracular sites. Therefore the help to be expected might be of a prophetic nature.


Not only am i trying to familiarise myself with this system, I needed something a little more “Q&A-geared” than my usual coffee readings, and i made some thingers for this *years* ago, then promptly decided it was too much work at the time to learn a new system. Glad I kept them, though.

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.

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.

On Kaphemanteia

Following is an approximation of the little presentation thing I gave while the first pot of coffee was cooking.

coffee-beans2-800So, how should I begin? The history of coffee or the history of cup-reading?

let’s start with coffee!

greek-coffee6Alright, fair enough. Sit, sit…. So, I think at least some people here might’ve heard the legend of how coffee became cultivated, but in case there are people who haven’t, there’s a little story about how it began with a goatherd, and he took his herd to graze , and there were these bushes that the goats took a liking to, and when he started taking them home, the goats who really liked the bushes were a bit more alert and jumpy. He took them back there the next day, and noticed the same thing, and he managed to determine that it was cos of the berries from the bushes, or more accurately, the seeds inside the berries. Not a lot of people know that what were tend to call the “coffee bean” is actually a seed from the inside of a berry. Now, whether or not this story is true, it certainly seems plausible enough for the region where we’re pretty certain coffee first was cultivated, which is Ethiopia. coffee

Now, there was trade between Greece and Ethiopia for centuries, but coffee didn’t first really come into the West until about the 13th or 14th Century, CE, when the Ottomans in Turkey imported it from Ethiopia, and it spread from there to Greece and then all over Europe. And contrary to common assumption, coffee is actually favoured over tea in the UK, but tea has become a bit more ritualised, and people can be especially particular about it, so it’s more fun to joke about, and the Brits do seem to have a weakness for self-deprecating humour. greek-coffee-cups-12744565

Now cup-reading, also called tasseomancy (cup divination), tasseology (cup study) or tasseography (cup reading), actually pre-dates coffee but nearly a millenium. In Greece, there were traditions, and in some regions even games around reading the patterns made by wine sediments –and independently developing in China, at around the same time, was the reading of tea leaves. Tea reading became associated with Romani culture in India, likely due to trade with China and learning or just picking it up from Chinese readers. So obviously, coffee reading is the newest of the cup-readings, and in Greek is known as “kaphemanteia” [καφεμαντεία], or “coffee divination”. SAMSUNG CSC

Now, I know a lot of people have talked on the Internet about “revealed deities of coffee”, with varying degrees of seriousness. I’ve seen the name Caffeineia a lot, some people say they honour Java.

Coffee-Bean-Animal-Art02Who do you do this for?

As it’s an act of divination, I honour Apollon with my coffee readings. I also see some people say they offer coffee to Hekate, and sometimes i do that, as well, but typically not as a reading. (As an aside, something i did not think of at the kaphemanteia service, Aristaios, whose name comes from the word for “most-useful”, strikes me as a Boeotian deity whose domain would include coffee.)

φλυτζάνιNow, the method of brewing coffee is essentially the same in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia, and basically all over the Arab peninsula –there are some regional differences in spices added and sweetness level. At a lot of the Lebanese restaurants in Southeast Michigan, it’s served unsweetened, and I have no idea how people like that. In Greece and Turkey, it’s traditionally sweet, there are some people who like it unsweetened, obviously, but traditionally it’s rather sweet, and is usually a dessert thing, so that’s why I set out the mixed dried fruits –thanks, Emily for picking up the mixed fruit, when I saw that amongst the snacks you gave me, I knew it was going to be perfect for this.

99a220a6b829ec98400e0537d3c0f4b3 So, anyone want to know how I started this?

Of course!

Well, I started in kind of a round-about way…. After my grandparents, who were English and Cornish, died, I basically “inherited” all of my grandmother’s loose-leaf teas, and I’m sure some of them were going stale, but I knew about tea-reading from pop culture sort of things, and so this was the early days of the Internet, when it was all just Usenet, and I found something about it that some-one posted somewhere, so I printed it out and that’s how I learned the basic technique. The person who wrote that piece included some basics on what certain shapes can means, but I kinda scrapped most of that, and developed my own, more intuitive meanings of things.

looks better than any photo I've taken of my demitasse set, though i think i prefer my own set...

looks better than any photo I’ve taken of my demitasse set, though i think i prefer my own set…

So, I’m self-taught, and I started with teas when I was about fifteen…. When I was about twenty, I started reading coffee, and I decided that I like it better. I think the images are clearer, and honestly, I just like the taste a bit better. Now, I learned how to make it myself when I realised that just about every place in Ann Arbor, Michigan made it unsweetened, and somehow really bitter. I found the pot, called a “briki” in Greek or and “ibrik” in Turkish…. I think I got mine at a yard sale? The demitasse set, I found that at a Middle Eastern grocer with the coffees, and it was the only set with the gold key pattern like this, originally $13 and marked 40% off, so it was like I had to, right? Sorry the birki hasn’t been polished in a while, but it is clean, I’m sure you all trust me to make sure of that before I packed. And I have no idea where this demitasse spoon came from, but it’s marked “made in Egypt” on the back, I might’ve actually got it at the old apartment complex, people would leave all sorts of stuff out just by the dumpster –I found incense dishes with Hindu swastikas and several tapes of Hindi pop music of the 70s and sent it all to my friend Jason after he converted from Heathenry.

So what should I ask it? Keep it to a yes or no?

Eh… Cup-reading isn’t that kind of divination. It’s probably comparable to palmistry, or maybe entrail reading, in that it can reveal lifelong influences or traits, but it can also give a general overview of news in the immediate timeline of the person whose cup is being read –like over the last month or so, or what could be coming in the next month or so. You don’t ask the coffeecup for specifics, you just ask it what it can tell you.


Remember kids, I am having a Germanic/Northern/Heathen Goddess prayer card give-away! Be sure and snatch up the ones you want before they’re gone! Totally free!

I am ALSO raising money for moving expenses! If you like this blog, please consider donating SOMETHING, cos if I’m on the streets, I can’t update!

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.