Reducing Miasma

As I’m on my way to teaching Erotic Hedonism, in a position of soon-to-be teacher, I’m cutting certain miasmic elements from my day-to-day.

As soon as I’ve finished the last of these cheap turkey dogs in my freezer, I’m cutting factory-farmed meat from my consumption. I’m not cutting meat as a whole, I still believe much of this, like my position on plant sentience, rings true (though some things I’ve rethought on examination of better data), but the conditions of factory-farmed livestock is one I find inherently miasmic, and I’ll be more conscious of meat consumed.

That said, I doubt this will be something expected of all who wish to learn from Erotic Hedonism, but when I pass down my knowledge to an heir to teach it, it will be.

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.

Erotic Hedonism

In ten years, should I choose to, I am told that I will be ready to teach others what I am learning. Mark this date: 19 February 2025. This new school will be founded on the anniversary of the passing of a great Hero of Ours, one who lived in beauty and for pleasure and love.

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.

Response to an email via the Contact page

Name: Becky
Email: b*******@yahoo.com
Comment: Can you imagine being in a small cage, isolated your entire life? You have got to go beyond murder. If I am ever caged like livestock, euthanise me. Spinach has a better quality life.
Subject: You suck

Can you imagine being ripped from the very thing that has fed you and sustained your very life? Can you imagine being mutilated, having everything that wasn’t 100% necessary for sustaining your life ripped and cut from your body, and feeling it happen over and over again, for the duration of your life, which may be hundreds of years? Can you imagine making screams that all other living things have insisted for millennia don’t even exist because it’s at a frequency only you and your own kind can hear? Can you imagine actually BEING A LIVING THING, but not even afforded the dignity of being regarded as LIVEstock?

I’m guessing that you can’t, but such is the fate of the spinach you claim lives this “better” life. To me, that sounds rather nightmarish, but in spite of the mounting studies confirming the sentience of plant life, we very seldom hear people pondering the life of the carrot or the lettuce or the herb.

I’m guessing that you’re responding to this post, and making an appeal to my sense of compassion for the living, but the thing is, I have been vegetarian at points of my life, and my own soy allergy aside (making even a full-time vegetarian diet prohibitively expensive on my budget, much less a vegan one), and it no longer holds compatible with my sense of compassion.

Even plant sentience aside, the evidence continues to mount that a veg*n diet is not a sustainable, compassionate option for everyone. The fuel necessary to keep the population of every major city fed on a veg*n diet, even if that was the only people who went vegetarian or vegan, would be detrimental to the environment, and not to mention the constant need for farming and harvesting living plants to feed those people all year round would radically change the temperate through tropic climates and their landscapes. As it stands, the necessary daily protein for an adult human of any sex is contained in 2oz of beef –but in a whopping 6oz by volume of dried beans or 10oz of brown rice. Meat bay be too expensive to eat every day, but the volume of protein per ounce renders meat the most nutritionally-economic choice for it and other nutrients; the amount of veg*n protein options to feed the current populations of even only major cities *would*, indeed, radically change the landscape of too many places to be truly compassionate.

You’ve made a choice to go veg*n, cos that’s what works for you at this time. That’s great. But it simply can’t work for everyone; at least not until the VHEMT movement takes off at a wide scale, but you’d figure that if we can, indeed, return to a pre-historic human population, not only will the factory farming argument become irrelevant (no need for it with such a small population), so will many veg*n arguments against the consumption of animals for “compassionate” 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.

The Other SJW

Salome, Apollo, in Technicolour
I walked on the moon to touch the stars,
A legend in my lifetime.

Today, one of my medications has been on my mind, since I was at the bus stop with my gigantic umbrella, and a pack of obnoxious teenage boys started chanting, on what was a very bright and sunny day “Hey, where the rain at?” –as if they must’ve thought this had been the first in my life I’d been taunted in this manner. The reason for my gigantic umbrella, I’ll get to in a bit, but just in case we met at the Polytheist Leadership Conference, yes, its the same gigantic umbrella.

Some of you may already know that I take St. John’s wort for seasonal depression (and other environmental depression I can experience throughout the rest of the year). Apparently St. John’s wort is named for its aprtropaic properties:

Hypericum perforatum is a yellow-flowering, stoloniferous or sarmentose, perennial herb indigenous to Europe. It has been introduced to many temperate areas of the world and grows wild in many meadows. The herb’s common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John’s Day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the plant’s traditional use in warding off evil by hanging [the] plants over a religious icon in the house during St John’s day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light. [from Wikipedia]

and also:

St. John’s Wort has been valued since the ancient Greeks for its plethora of uses. The colorful common name refers to the red pigment and the German word “wort” which means wound. During the Middle Ages it was believed to have the power to cast out demons.

Traditionally, St. John’s wort has been used as a pain reliever and helps to regulate the nervous system (nervine). It has also served as a mild sedative and antidepressant, astringent for hemorrhages and diarrhea, expectorant, diuretic, digestive aid and cholagogue (by encouraging the release of bile from the liver), uterine tonic (which may relieve uterine cramping) and abortifacient. It is also an emmenagogue (which promotes menstrual flow) and is anti parasitic.

Additionally, as the common name implies, this wonderful herb has been used for wounds, burns, sores, bruises and other skin problems. For topical use make an oil from St. John’s wort by soaking the flowers in olive oil for 2 to 7 weeks and strain. Apply the oil to affected areas.

Recent studies have shown St. John’s wort to work very well for depression which may be the modern equivalent of the medieval demons. These studies support many of the traditional uses, especially the antidepressant qualities. Tests show improvements in antidepressant activity, anxiety, apathy and low self-worth. Antidepressant results occurred after 4 to 8 weeks of use. Another study found that St. John’s wort may be beneficial in Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD).

St. John’s wort has also been compared with pharmaceutical therapies for depression. The results have shown that St. John’s wort is just as effective as the pharmaceuticals but with fewer side effects. As compared to some pharmaceuticals, St. John’s wort increased cognitive functions while some pharmaceuticals decreased them. [from kroegerherb.com]

That said, one of the known side-effects of St John’s Wort is increased sun sensitivity –and i was already pretty sensitive to sunlight, to begin with. While I am (as well as many other Hellenists) inclined to associate all medicinal herbs, especially the ones backed up by scientific studies to be more effective than placebo, with Apollon and Asklepios, the origins of its name (both common English and scientific) suggest that its associations exclude Apollon’s perceived solar qualities which I’ve already been questioning.

So as i tend to do, I decided to search some terms with tags like “mythology” or “folklore” or “ancient greek” –works like “depression” and “shade” that are associated with St John’s wort (the former SJW aids, the latter aids one who needs SJW), and I came across a story that I only had a passing familiarity with, before:

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 106 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
“In all the throng the cone-shaped cypress stood; a tree now, it was changed from a dear youth loved by the god who strings the lyre and bow [i.e. Apollon]. For there was at one time, a mighty stag held sacred by those nymphs who haunt the fields Carthaean [i.e. on the island of Keos]. His great antlers spread so wide, they gave an ample shade to his own head. Those antlers shone with gold: from his smooth throat a necklace, studded with a wealth of gems, hung down to his strong shoulders–beautiful. A silver boss, fastened with little thongs, played on his forehead, worn there from his birth; and pendants from both ears, of gleaming pearls, adorned his hollow temples. Free of fear, and now no longer shy, frequenting homes of men he knew, he offered his soft neck even to strangers for their petting hands. But more than by all others, he was loved by you, O Cyparissus, fairest youth of all the lads of Cea. It was you who led the pet stag to fresh pasturage, and to the waters of the clearest spring. Sometimes you wove bright garlands for his horns, and sometimes, like a horseman on his back, now here now there, you guided his soft mouth with purple reins.

It was upon a summer day, at high noon when the [summertime constellation] Crab, of spreading claws, loving the sea-shore, almost burnt beneath the sun’s hot burning rays; and the pet stag was then reclining on the grassy earth and, wearied of all action, found relief under the cool shade of the forest trees; that as he lay there Cyparissus pierced him with a javelin: and although it was quite accidental, when the shocked youth saw his loved stag dying from the cruel wound he could not bear it, and resolved on death. What did not Phoebus say to comfort him? He cautioned him to hold his grief in check, consistent with the cause. But still the lad lamented, and with groans implored the Gods that he might mourn forever. His life force exhausted by long weeping, now his limbs began to take a green tint, and his hair, which overhung his snow-white brow, turned up into a bristling crest; and he became a stiff tree with a slender top and pointed up to the starry heavens. And the God, groaning with sorrow, said; ‘You shall be mourned sincerely by me, surely as you mourn for others, and forever you shall stand in grief, where others grieve.’”

…and then I found this:

In Greek mythology, Cyparissus or Kyparissos (Greek: Κυπάρισσος, “cypress”) was a boy beloved by Apollo, or in some versions by other deities. In the best-known version of the story, the favorite companion of Cyparissus was a tamed stag, which he accidentally killed with his hunting javelin as it lay sleeping in the woods. The boy’s grief was such that it transformed him into a cypress tree, a classical symbol of mourning. The myth is thus aetiological in explaining the relation of the tree to its cultural significance.

…and also thisthis:

Spatholado:
St Johns Wort Wound Healing Oil

spatholado, Saint John’s Wort Wound Healing OilThis ointment comes form the Greek island of Kea where it is gathered and prepared by hand in small quantities using the ancient method. The plant is gathered during the flowering season (in May) under a waxing moon. It is then placed in a jars with local olive oil and left in the sun until it turns red. The oil is used to dress burns, cuts, surgical scars etc. It is particularly effective for deep wounds, injuries caused by crushing, or any other trauma associated with nerve damage. St John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is a rhizomatous perennial plant with gland dotted leaves and flowers containing its healing properties. Though the plant may be known today as an anti-depressant and sedative (opinions vary as to its real effectiveness in this field) – it is historically more important as a healing herb. Indeed, it is mentioned as such by many ancient Greek authors such as Dioscurides and Hippocrates.

St John’s Wort has been known throughout history as a vulnerary (wound healer) and was in its heyday on the battlefields of the Crusaders. In Greek it is known as ‘spathochorto’ referring to its ability of healing sword wounds. It was also credited for keeping evil spirits away, for which purpose it was hung above doors on the eve of St John’s day (June 24), when witches were thought to be most active. Its mystique was confirmed by the way the juice of the plant turns red on exposure to air – a phenomenon thought to symbolize the blood of St John the Baptist.

These three items coupled together all reminded me of much of my aforementioned entry on Apollon from the “thirty days of paganism/polytheism meme” from four years ago, which was also written the last time I lived in this area, at the curiously-named “Spice Tree Apartments” (there were no such things in the complex, which severely disappointed me, as I was hoping for free peppercorns or something).

As for all of this giving insights to St John’s Wort, other than confirming Apollonian associations in spite of heliophobic side-effects, I’m not getting much, but the fact that all signs point to Apollon (especially as the song playing as I was writing this was Gavin Friday’s “Caruso”), I think the subject of my first painting in years has been decided —now hopefully, unlike this week, I’ll have some time to start on it next week.


And while I have you here, it just occurred to me as i restarted “Caruso” and added the epigram to the begining of this post, that where Jesus’ cult was arguably born of Orphic origins with the Christ figure as the Dionysian life-death-rebirth deity, Apollon, especially from my time in Kyklos Apollon (which I was initially thinking of rejoining, but am now thinking of doing my own similar ritual, but at a time I’ll select through divination, as I now believe there is sufficient evidence that the KA cult has been polluted1 —but I’m getting distracted), that Apollon would be the complimentary John the Baptist figure, bringing us back to St John’s Wort. Maybe I’ll rethink the significance of the herb I almost just assumed to be low.

1:yes, I’ve seen most of the FB posts referenced, and I knew about this long before Sannion posted it, just in case anyone was thinking o accusing me of being one of his “lackeys” or some such stuff and nonsense; if anything, this opinion of mine makes me Kyrene Ariadne’s lackey, it’s just that sannion’s post is the most easily-accessable source on this miasma that has been brought to Kyklos Apollon.


In other news, at the bus stop, today, a bee (as I quote myself from FB) “spent an absurd amount of time hovering around my junk”. Make of this what you will.

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.

Oh my…

You should go check out this ass’s so-far unfinished jacket. It apparently took two days to do even just that.

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.

Moisai & Moriai: A Love Story

We who are driven by music, conducted by Apollon and the Moisai, tend to hear the music we’re meant to when we’re meant to hear it. We may even dismiss something we stumble upon too early as “not [our] thing”, but be it years, months, or even weeks later, we can hear the same band, artist, album, or even song as if it’s for the first time, and it will be life-changing, life-affirming, or however we’re meant to hear it. I hated Scott Walker five or six years ago, and had barely heard one song when i dismissed his work; lately I cannot live without his music.

If free will was at all a part of the equation, we might realise at that pivotal moment, “hey, wait, this is the same thing I’ve dismissed for years, why does it sound better now?”, and we could choose away the importance of that music. Sure, some songs or suites may lose importance with time, that’s only natural and is no more in our control than the burning feeling that this song, at this moment, is keeping me alive, or similar burning feelings. Our desires and choices don’t matter here, and they never will. What matters is that we entertain Her and all Her children and grand children, and great, greater, and greatest grands…. What matters is that the story of love that we’re here to tell called for us to hear that piece, by that muso, at that moment, and place importance on it for that length of time.

And that’s all this is: It’s a story of love, told with love and out of love, for the Mother of Love (Eros) and divine mitochondrial of all Divine beings. We are but marionettes carved lovingly to tell Her stories is love and joy and spirit and creation — of herself, her eldest boy, the youngest Fate to Whom He was betrothed, and Their shining daughter who puts the smile on the face of every child, the sweat of the brow of every orgasm, the delirium on the tongue that has tasted every dessert, and the pure unadulterated bliss on every mind that has enjoyed any great work of art, literature, music, and philosophy. They’re very close, you see, and They are truly in charge —Zeus is but a figurehead that keeps the uninitiated mortals in order. Some day, perhaps in a future lifetime, they, too, will come to understand this.

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.

[PBP2013] Iris


Rainbow Ringlets by *wisely-chosen on deviantART

Iris: Why would I choose a mere male god or daimone as my lover?
Hermes: I suppose more the question is, why not? There are enough goddesses going parthenos, as it is!
Iris: You misunderstand that word. I exist in-between, as do you –with my mother in the clouds, and my father in the sea. Think of all the other goddesses parthenos who came before I: Hestia, quite sweet and matronly. Artemis, quite feral. Mortals fancy Athene as little more than a man with breasts. Even Hera adopts that title, when it suits her, and mortals can hardly begin to understand why.
Hermes: So then what am i missing, colleague?
Iris: The title has little to do with lacking sexual gnosis, and only relates to “virginity” inasmuch as one defines the, shall we say “wedding feast”. To be parthenos is to not be owned. And anyway, women are far more to my preferences.

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.

[PBP2013] Hedonism

The Lion of Cyrene in Libya

The Lion of Cyrene in Libya

The Hedonist loves fine things, from food to clothes, to entertainment to perfumes. Because of one’s love for these things, one has little regard for cost, in either direction. The lover of money, rather than pleasures, will brag of how much or how little something cost them, boasting either their assumed wealth or assumed savvy. Fine food and entertainment speaks for itself.

Hedonism is clearly at odds with Capitalism. Capitalism is an institutionalised love of money, placing a person’s inherent value by how much money one has. The Hedonist, educated in life’s pleasures, measures one’s worth by one’s diversity of pleasures.

The Hedonist is able to find pleasure in a diversity of surroundings, from the grandest of palaces to the lowliest of hovels. An appreciation of fine things within one’s means includes any means by which one is living, which is always subject to change. Always.

Hedonist reality is subject to knowledge. Knowledge is limited to personal experience. Personal experience is never wrong, but what we know of the external influences on those experiences can be. Experiences are also practically impossible to fully share with others (at last with current technology) because one is limited in one’s ability to share it with language —and even that which appears “white” to oneself may appear “cream” or “platinum” to one’s neighbour. Even an experience shared by two people is not going to be completely the same; not even two women scissoring are going to have the same orgasm, even if they each experience their orgasms together.

In spite of this empiricism and scepticism, Hedonists are not atheist, unless they’re Theodorans, and even that was debated amongst the ancients outside that sect of the Cyrenaic school. If one experiences the theoi, then one does –true, one cannot be certain of what brought that experience (after all, medical and psychological studies, at best, can only really show so much, and even then, they only really can explain what happens to the body when these experiences happen, not necessarily what makes these experiences happen, or why they happen), but it is what it is, and one should take pleasures in celebrating that experience. If one has not experienced the gods, then one has not; but if pleasures are to be derived from worship of Them, regardless of experiences, then indulge, for pleasure is its own justification. Indeed, the argument that present pleasure can be derived from Their worship, even for one who has yet to experience Them, can be a great one.

Cyrenaic Hedomism recognises Pleasure (the Hedones) as the ultimate good, and Pain (the Aglae) as the ultimate evil; pain is not the denial of pleasure, denial is merely an inert state. Aristippus likened pains to a violent storm over the sea, and pleasures to a gentle breeze, whereas lacking both, there is a calm. There is no “black-grey-white”, there are pleasing actions, painful actions, and absence. If pain were one colour on the wheel, and pleasure the colour opposite that, absence of either would be absence of any colour. All pleasures are equal, all pain is equal; your classical morality is “endorsed” by the Cyrenaic only as far as its ability to endorse pleasure and discourage pain, if it endorses more denial than pleasure, it is of no use.

While bodily pleasures are certainly equal to mental and spiritual pleasures in Cyrenaic thought, in spite of the insistent that Cyrenaics value bodily pleasures more highly, there is not a shred of evidence in the collective of surviving Cyrenaic teachings; indeed, the elder Aristippus himself seems to have sought mental delights just as easily, if not more-so, and it’s fair to conclude that “bodily pleasures” only have value from the mental pleasures that they can give. Without the ability to take in delights as a thinking person, the odours of fine perfumes, the feel of velvets and satins, the sound of a Brian Eno suite, the appearance of a stunning Erté litho, and the tastes of fine chocolates are rendered inert.

Denial is Epicuran delight. Despite this, some ancient believed that Epicusus practically plagiarised portions of Theodoros, student of the younger Aristippus, son of Arete, daughter of Aristippus of Cyrene. Through this allegation, there is a link between Marxism and Cyrenaic Hedonism (Karl Marx being influenced directly by Epicurus) and between Existentialism and Hedonism (Jean-Paul Sartre and Somine de Beauvoir being directly influenced by Marxist philosophy).

The dichotomy of Pleasure and Pain in Hedonism, mythologically, strike a similar chord with Empedoclean pluralism. To Empedocles, the universe was driven by the forces of Love (phila) and Strife (neikos), or rather, attraction and repulsion —respectively domains of Eros and Eris, and as per Apeulius, the former being the father of the Hedones, Pleasures, and the latter per Hesiod as the mother of Algea, the Pains.

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.

I Believe

I believe that there are multiple deities, each Their own personage with autonomy from each Other, and agency in the world.
I believe the mythology of Hellas has the finest poetic understanding of the origin of the universe.
I believe in pluralism; the idea of One (Monism) seems patently absurd to me in this day and age, when we know not only that over a hundred living species can share a single common ancestor, but that the universe is literally expanding, moving away from a state of One, further and further every day.
I believe that the Gods of Hellas are deathless, that they were here long before us, and will be here long after our species hops on our own rocketsled to Extinction.
I believe that the Theoi are “perfect”, in terms of metaphysiology, but by human standards of “perfect behaviour”, They may not seem so, but that this is our problem, not Theirs.
I believe that of the thousands of deities out there, that of the tribal pantheon I’ve been called to (as well as those that I have not), the strongest in the human realm are Eros and Eris; overall Nyx and the Moirai are probably the most forceful.
I believe that the mythological apotheosis of Psykhe is an allegory for explaining Her status as Moirai. I have the shared gnosis of others to justify this.
I believe that the presence of atheists / humanists / naturalists in the “pagan community” is evidence that “paganism” is not a religious movement and hasn’t been for some time.
I believe that devotional rit is the best and easiest way to maintain a relationship with the gods.
I believe that spirits inhabit every forest and glen and body of water and mountain and valley and paved road and subway tunnel and nook and cranny of the world; building cities does not and physically cannot make them go away. Anyone who believes otherwise has never truly interacted with spirits.
I believe that the Liberal / Conservative dichotomy is inherently false. Most people generally maintain some measure of ideals from each category, and the inherently progressive nature of humanity means some ideas considered “dangerously liberal” at the time of the Industrial Revolution are now often seen as “destructively conservative”. Tradition, religion, and so on… These things just ARE.
I believe that the arts brings us closer to the Gods.
I believe that pleasure and happiness bring us closer to the Gods.
I believe that the nature of pleasure, for humans, is fleeting and that the most logical course is to take in pleasures as they come to oneself.
I believe that music is inherently magical; some people can make their instrument laugh, or cry, or sing out –others, even if using the exact same instruments, just play notes. Consider the differences between Carlos Santana and Yngwie Malmsteen.

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.

In Defence of Sex as Sacred

http://sexisnottheenemy.tumblr.com/post/18194488567/all-the-paganism-tantra-meditation-sacred-sex

All the paganism, Tantra, meditation, sacred sex, and BDSM sex magic(k) books and workshops represent a step backward. They are very convenient ways of rationalizing sexual pleasure by letting people claim that it’s about “something more” than just making your body feel good. All the sweat and cum and juices and the delicious, confusing carnality of sex get shoved back into the closet in favor of much tidier abstractions so that we can believe that we’re not just shallow hedonists. And that takes us back to square one, where we were told by our teachers, priests, and parents that sex was good — or at least acceptable — when done for any reason other than physical pleasure.

Now, I haven’t gone back to the source on this, because this alone was enough to incense me with rage at the immensely gross misunderstanding of every spiritual revelation I’ve had thus far.

ALL SEX is inherently spiritual. It doesn’t matter if your intention is procreation, magic, religious ecstasy, or pure and unadulterated pleasure. If you don’t think sex is sacred, great, good for you, but demonising those who have a spiritual relationship with sex, whatever our reasons, by accusing us of taking “a step backwards” isn’t going to help anybody.

Pleasure, even just the “base” bodily pleasures of the body, are, or at least can be, spiritually significant. The first sensation to run its current through the universe, Desire, governed by Eros, and the offspring of that, Pleasure. These sensations are inherently sacred and spiritual, even if people don’t wish to acknowledge that. When we act “for pleasure”, our sensory area of the brain opens up a window for contact with those primordial forces and the deities who guide them; from then, we either reach ourselves out to it, or not, but it’s that opening by our genetic memories to the sacred energies and most ancient of Deathless Ones that ultimately brings that pleasure –it’s when we acknowledge that sacred that we have a spiritual relationship with not only sex, but all of life’s pleasures.

Do some people, of all sorts of religions, use that information (or some variant of it) as a crutch, limiting themselves with it? Of course. Do some people use it as a set of shoe lifts for the ego, in a flailing attempt to try and make oneself seem more important than one is? Of course. But it’s those people, for those reasons, that are taking the step backwards. By conflating the spiritual with the ego, and the evolution of the soul with self-delusion, that’s the step backwards. By denying that sex is both spiritual AND biological pleasure, and that even the pleasures that most people see as inherently “earthly” are crucially beneficial to the soul, THAT is the step backwards.

Furthermore, it really bothers me when people, even self-identified pagans, especially traditional polytheists (and this goes double for the Hellenists) use “hedonism” as a synonym for self-absorbed. This is why Aristippus’ ‘Kyreniac’ school splintered and Epicurus founded his own, people don’t get it, that it is those ‘little pleasures’ that become the gateway to Hedone, and ultimately Her Holiest parents, Eros and Psykhe, the eldest progeny of Nyx and the youngest of the Moirai. Through those pleasures, we learn our fates, and what by learning what we desire most, we learn our place in the great tapestry of the Cosmos. There is no such thing as ‘mundane’ or ‘shallow’ pleasure, unless that pleasure is taken without knowlegde that all of it is sacred, and knowledge can only be gained with experience. If one lacks that experience, then it’s cos one never took the opportunity to throw open the sash when the window presented itself; if one lacks that experience, it’s cos one mistook noticing the window and peering through it for actually touching the Divine.

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.