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.

Heathen / Northern Goddess prayer card give-away!

If you were at the Polytheist Leadership Conference, you may be aware that, upon realising that Io had a little more money than i expected to, I made a bid at the silent auction for RAINN for some prayer cards I barely even took a look at, with the intention of giving them away. Yes, I’ve been back nearly a week, but I *just* found the book I put them in and officially finished unpacking last night, so here are the ones i have left-over after giving some away at the conference:


L-R top: Var, Gefion, Fulla
L-R bottom: Gna, Snotra, Syn

If you or one of your Heathen/Northern trad friends wants any of these, just drop me a message via the Contact form (include the name of the card/s you want and your name and address)! First come, first served!

This give-away is absolutely FREE! I know I’m raising money for moving expenses right now, but donations are totally optional; if you want a prayer card and let me know, you’ll get a prayer card! Don’t worry about reimbursing me for the stamps, I buy them all the time for all sorts of reasons (but if you want to donate the approximate price of a book of stamps, I obviously won’t be complaining).

I only have one of each, so only six lucky people will get a freebie!

As I said, if you want a card or two (please not all six, leave some for others!), you can just have them, but if you want to make a completely optional donation toward my moving expenses, I will not complain! Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if I had condoms for that date tomorrow?

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.

16 July’s Wyrd Ways Radio

Once again, I missed the call-in but this time not because i was busy with other stuff, but because of “train lag”, and spending nearly twenty hours on a train, leading me to believe that yesterday was Tuesday.


Some of my favourite bits:

Even though there were people from all over the spectrum of formal education, from people with Doctorates to high-school drop-outs, there was a generally “egalitarian” air, where people were generally assumed to be intelligent.

I think it was Anomalous Thracian Julian Betowski, in speaking about a lack of tensions between people of different traditions “No-one came in there and expected the person they were talking to would be their identical twin [with regards to religion and practise],” which seems a big issue (certainly one I’ve noticed) at “pagan” gatherings.

“Sometimes Atheism is the religion of the One True Negative God.” (Lupus?)

Julian Betowski: “It’s the difference between actually believing in something and belonging to a chess club, and I think we see this in kind of mainstream paganism, as well, sometimes saying ‘Belief is a dirty word’, and i think that’s the atheist trend, ‘well, belief is a dirty word, cos that’s irrational, and we must be rational, at all costs.’ So you belong to your little chess club and you do your stuff, and I guess that gives some people comfort? It just seems sort of empty and hopeless.”
Tamara Suida: “Somewhere along the line, the culture lost the understanding that it’s perfectly possible to have a valid kind of experience that doesn’t necessarily require scientific proof. We forgot that divination(?) is good, we forgot that mystic experience is good, we forgot that ecstasy is good, and we just… If it can’t be measured with some sort of instrument, then it’s real.”
Edward Butler: Even if we’re not talking about religion, if we’re just talking about literature”
TS: “I think it’s true. I think it’s very pervasive in the culture. ‘Prove it.’ I mean, we have archaeology and we have religion, and people are trying to prove the Bible. What’s the point?”
JB: “How do you prove whether The BROTHERS KARAMOSOV is true? That’s kind of a proposition that lacks any coherence, but literature, art, flies in the face of any kind of scientism, but we have to face it every day of our lives, in every field of our lives.”

JB: There is a kind of truth that is different from scientific truth, and the fact that our culture has forgotten that there are various kinds of truth is incredibly dangerous.

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

a PLC observation from another person that reminded me of junk

So, someone at the Polytheist Leadrship Conference observed, as I was walking up from the diner with my lunch on Friday:

“Is it just me, or are there a lot of transmasculine people here?”

Which is fine, but at the same time, I have noticed in certain pockets of the trans community, either I myself, or at least those witb similar experiences to my own are often *unwillingly* included in that “transmasculine” category.

“Oh, but Ruadhán,” one might say now, “i thought you were?”

Yeah, no. I’m a trans man, I’m on the FTM spectrum, I’m DFAB and post-op above the waist but still pre-op below, on ‘mones seven years this October, but let me make another thing quite clear: I am not “transmasculine”. And I explained this by pointing out that “transmasculine”, while likely coined with good intentions of presumably being inclusive, carries with it an active definition, an implication, of being on the “butch” side of gendered expression –or, at the very least, “not femme / effeminate”.

If you’re a relative newcomer to my Erotic and Hedonistic and Nyxturnal nonsense, let me bring you up go speed: My expression of gender is probably best described as “fairy”.

Since 4 June 2014, I have been on a spiritual taboo from cutting my scalp hair. When I bonded myself with Eros, for Our “first anniversary”, it was Suggested With Extreme Bias that I get a beauty mark piercing. As I’ve said before, on here, even, I feel more naked without eye make-up than I do without pants. Last year, I just gave up on a self-imposed ban from buying clothes and/or accessories from the Ladies’ section, cos it was more important to me that I have shoes and gloves that fit my tiny feet (US Mens’s 6W), and tiny hands, than to “butch up” in even the tiniest ways, cos no-one was apparently paying attention, anyway –and those who were, were unlikely to stop calling me “he” and “Sir” just because I bought magenta glitter Chucks or slim black Isotoner gloves that actually fit my hands without having to infantilise myself by shopping in tbe Boy’s section –which seldom has quality shoes, anyway, and almost *never* in Wide sizing. I mean, I’ve already been cleared for adult dental braces (now I jusg gotta find a way to get ’em paid for), no sense in putting on Transformers novelty gloves cos it’s the only ostensibly “masculine” pair that fits me.

At one time, very early on in my transition, especially after my first chest surgery, I really *tried* to be “transmasculine”, cos I believed that, even in Ann Arbor, MI, that it was necessary. It’s not, and I know hat now, so fuck it.

Like i said, as I understand it, “transmasculine” was coined as a smooth, alternative to stuff like “FTM spectrum”, cos that implies transitioning, or “DFAB persons”, which arguably emphasises the designated-at-birth sex rather than the lived gender expefience. the problem is, “transmasculine”, like the word “pagan” is at its most useful when describing people who identify with the particular term –and, as per my experiences, the majority of such people who do are of butch, or “decidedly non-feminine” expression; and this would implicitly exclude those like or more-like myself.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of an all-inclusive alternative to “trandmasculine”. I don’t think one single word could exist in this lifetime. It’s OK for one to notice that I do share some experiences with the “transmasculine” crowd, but as I’m hardly “masculine” in expression, that’s not an appropriate thing to call me.

Now that I’m at my desktop, I just wanted to add something else that I thought of on the shuttle, but didn’t want to fight with the touchpad “keyboard” any more with to go back and add right away.

I also noticed a few people commenting on “all the fabulous genderfuckery”, and someone did remark to me (and this is as close to the quote as I can remember), that I struck them as “a fabulous genderfuck superstar”.

OK, I just want to point out that while i don’t mind that as a summary of my chosen manner of gender expression, it is not my gender identity. I’m male. I’ve been male since day one. Yes, it took me twenty-some rears to transition, yes, I’m highly effeminate, but this is what I wanted to be when I grew up, as young as, like, five:


I’ve been aspiring to that, in some way, shape, or form, since I was little. The feminine, glamorous man.

And i think our society has become more violently gender-normative since the early 1980s, and I think a lot of people who would otherwise be content to being feminine men are conceding to non-binary identities as a sort of defeat, “OK, you don’t think I’m male-enough to be a man? That’s OK, I guess I can be something else then.”

Don’t get me wrong, I do support non-binary identities, but I also support a whole spectrum of male and female gender identities. I don’t identify as an especially masculine man, but I do identify with effeminate men, glamour boys, and so on. Yes, there is some overlap in areas I identify with in non-binary identities, but I think that’s going to be true of anyone who isn’t especially normative with regards to their gender –but my identity is still male.

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.

rough timeline of my Polytheist Leadership Conference

thursday in the AM:
So, my train from Toledo was running an hour and a half late, and it was about the time they informed us of this that I realised that I had forgotten to pack my notes for the Sexual Ethics Panel and the coffee divination, so whilst on the train, around the time I guessed my friend Emily, who jumped in to fetch mefrom the Poughkeepsie train station and let me share her room, was getting herself ready to go, I texted her to let her know I needed some index cards or scrap paper to re-write all my notes.

Thursday afternoon:
I notice from the Amtrak Timetable on the back of the seat in front of me that the Poughkeepsie train station does not have a staffed ticket booth –people buy their Amtrak fares either online or from those little electronic kiosks –which kind of pissed me off, cos I’d’ve liked to see if I could trade my return date for Sunday afternoon, cos I still had no plans for where I would be sleeping Sunday night. Also, the train from Toledo to Poughkeepsie had no wi-fi, and the assholes who had portable 4g and even 3g connections weren’t sharing –which is why my Twitter went silent.

Thursday evening:
My train arrived around 8pm, and Emily came to pick me up, and I was HOUNGREH! Since I usually Amtrak to Chicago, which is barely an eight hour ride from East Lansing or Ann Arbor, I don’t usually eat on the train, especially now with my soy allergy confirmed, cos I don’t believe in paying $5 for a crappy ham-n-cheese on white, especially since now all I can eat is the ham, so I was HOUNGREH, and just barely fending off dehydration with my trusty aluminium water bottle, so we dropped my crap off in the room and went to the I84 Diner, a very shiny 24hr place run by Greeks. They lacked a proper allergy menu, but based on what I know is usually safe, I decided to take a chance on a turkey club wrap. They also have an in-house bakery, which I will get to. We went witb the moderators of the sexual ethics panel, and I ended up in Em’s quote book. 😀

Thursdah night:
I was excited and chatty, and Em and I stayed up until about 2am or so, then I showered and decided to turn in, but I had the damnedest time trying to get any sleep.

Friday morning:
I got up with barely enough time for the complimentary continental breakie, and made my way to the opening statement and keynote address.

Unfortunately, some things had to be changed up, cos Aine Llewellyn missed her plane and Alex Bettencourt (my original plan for weekend roomie) fell ill and couldn’t show up. I attended the Dionysian ritual Sannion put in at the last minute (wnich was great, clearly intense for many, and got a little bit weird on my own end), the Raven Kaldera and Brandon Hardy’s discussion on Henotheism and Polytheism after which, Kaldera signed my copy of HERMAPHRODEITIES (which he even said wasn’t even for all trans people, which I’ve suspected since it got such a scathing “review” from a certain K Berger, and pretty much only started reading so as to spite said, but have genuinely enjoyed, so far).

Friday Evening:
During the break for Dinner, at the encouragement of some people, I brought out the badges I packed, which proved incredibly popular with Galina and a few others (especially this small pack of DFAB queer folk of, what I’m assuming to be, mixed genders, at least one of whom got some badges from me, before –you have them to thank for the Thyrsos one ;-). Then I saw Rhyd Wildermuth’s lecture on Radical Relationality and Polytheism. I gotta say, while I do generally enjoy Rhyd’s blog, especially his anti-Capiltaism ranting (which kinda makes my dream about touching him inappropriately –in a consensual way, of course), I think he makes for a better speaker (he should probably consider teaching, if he hasn’t, yet)

Friday night:
There was a Dionysian ritual around 9:30pm, hosted by Thiasos of the Starry Bull –all were welcome, of course. I was really impressed to see a few people from YSEE show up, too –which is kind of a Big Deal, amongst Hellenists.

As an aside, I was really happy to meet all the Hellenists I did this weekend, some of whom you might even know from the Internet! Big thanks to Kayleigh, Julia (from Hellenion), Jessica, err…, that sweet non-binary kid whose name I’m *totally* blanking on at the mo’, Emily (of course!), Alder Knight, PSVL (who I had previously met when they were briefly in Ann Arbor about six years ago –and apparently I have a reputation from that, as another person I met this wekend said to me “oh! you’re the one who showed Lupus that movie!” Ah, they mentioned that? “Yes, in great detail. :-D”). Great apologies to any other Hellenists, Helleno-x(-y(-z)) multi-trad people, and similar who I met and who I may have forgotten about –it’s been a busy weekend, I hope you understand.

Saturday morning:
I had another hard time sleeping –in part cos of a nightmare that woke me up, about being chased by a vicious raccoon– which let to waking up later than I wanted to, and cos I was on the panel later, I decided I’d rather shower and miss breakie, after all, Emily bought snacks, so it’s not like I was going to starve until the lunch break.

After I finished getting dressed, I went to Edward Butler’s lecture, “On the Gods and the Good”, which was about the apparently “radical” notion that Platonism, being born of an inherently non-monist polytheistic society, was itse,f non-monistic, in spite of considerably more recent portrayals of it as such (which, to be fair, stems from long-term appropriation by Monotheist and Monist religions). In my opinion, he’s definitly among the top Classicists out there, in spite of what certain people from a certain non-accredited seminary imply all over the place.

Break for Lunch:
I went to the I84 Diner, again, cos it’s literally a two minute walk across the car park from the Fishkill Quality Inn, and my turkey wrap the other day seemed safe. The one I got with Saturday’s lunch, though, had a gross white American cheese single on it instead of the shredded cheddar from Thursday’s wrap –but cos I was dragging my arse to get it, in hopes of having someone walk over with me, at the least, I pretty much had to eat during PSVL’s lecture on the Ephesia Grammata, which was followed up with The Anomalous Thracian’s (or, as he seemed reasonably receptive to: Baron Anomalous von Bigglesworth III) presentation on Regional Cultus in contemporary polytheism, accompanied by Gimbal, the hybrid raven who is also a Hatian(?) priest of some sort –I don’t recall the details about that, or even if I asked about them.

Saturday early evening:
There was then a twenty minute-ish break before the sexual ethics panel, cos a lot of people really seemed to need it, so what should have started around 4:30 didn’t get going until almost 5pm. i was expecting the panel to be more free-form amongst the panelists before the Q&A portion, and the notes I wrote, and the ones I kinda-sorta re-wrote, were geared that way, cos I didn’t recall seeing anything reading anything in the emails prior suggesting anything but. The panel instead began with first Ned Bates and PSVL delivering prepared statements, then came me. Fuck.

Those of you who may recall my Wyrd Ways Radio interview, I don’t do well unprepared. I may have done better than I felt I was doing up there, but I seriously felt like I was just seconds away from a full-blown panic-attack, as I was winging it with an unplanned explanation of Classical Hedonism and how its ethics work.

Then was Tamara Suida, who delivered her statement, firsg addressing the difference between ethics and morality, and then on how sexual assault can be handled in groups.

I was doing better during the Q&A portion, wherein someone brought up the *very common* question most Hellenists get, “How can one honour gods that rape?” I explained that this is largely an etymological convention held over from the 19th Century / Bullfinch era, which many Hellenists unfirtunately still lean on, and the root for “rape” originally meant “to steal, robbery”, and witb the (originally euphemistic) use of “stealing” a girl from her family –basically, eloping or otherwise marrying a young woman without the consent of her family. PSVL (I think?) added that the Hittites also had a way to deal with the issue of “marriage by rape”, essentially taking a woman to marry without her family’s involvement, and (as I recall) it was especially common during wartimes, it seemed implied that this was not unheard of amongst neighbours or otherwise during more-peaceful times. basically that while “rape” (in its most-common use) has a very narrow definition today, it was something applied more broadly until approximately the mid-20th Century –unfortunately, the convention with Greek myth is still to translate as “rape” when “elopement” or “abduction” would be more appropriate.

I wascalso pleased to see, especially with regards to that portion of the Q&A, one of the Greeks from YSEE spoke up to further elaborate that it’s still tradition in most of Greece, even if the daughter and her enfianced have the blessings of the parents, it’s still the convention to call the grandparents and announce that the young woman has been “stolen” –a tradition I know to basically go back, in some form, to ancient times, and back then, it would often even feature a staged “kidnapping” of the young lady by her intended.

As a whole, I think the panel went generally well, I just wish tgat either a) it was a more-conventional sort of panel or b) that I had actually prepared a statement rather than just some reference notes.

7:30pm Divinations in Room 2:
I did, though, work just fine fro. reference point notes on index cards for the kaphemanteia introduction and session, and the whole session went *beautifully*. I really could not have asked for that to go better –except maybe if I had a proper six-serving birki (mi is small, likely a 2serving size, but I can squeeze three outof it).

Apparently the people from YSEE got excited to see me preparing an area for the coffee divination session, cos they agree (as all right-thinking people should) that American coffee sucks, and a proper, sweet, Greek coffee is the best. None of them actually purchased a coffee divination from me, but one of the women seemed to be taking notes as I explained coffee history and the “geneology” of cup-reading. (A lot of the YSEE people seemed to be taking notes –mostly good things, I hope.)

After a single round, I re-read one gentleman’s cup, cos I don’t know if I poured wrong for him the first time, or if I was unclear and he drank more of the grounds than is best for a good reading, but I made a seconcup for him cos he just needed a good reading, right? After that, I read for Galina, cos she covered my massage on Friday, and she seemed fairly impressed with my skills at kaphemanteia –itvwas nothing she didn’t already know, but as I explained in the introduction, cup-reading is not an inquiry-based divination, it’s closer to palmistry but with a general overview of a “what’s going on right about now?” sort of thing –what’s at the bottom of the cup (which becomes the “top” in a reading) can show lifelong influences or constants, such as deity or spirit influences, the ‘sides’ I generally read clockwise fro. the handle, and from the base down, depending on the size of the images, I tend to interpret as a story, but if it doesn’t seem to work that way, I’ll just look for things that could signify recent or upcoming events or even just other recent influences on a person’s life.

Galina’s cup had some of the clearest images I’ve ever seen in a cup, even the saucer formed a very clear (if asymmetrical) heart shape. The young man I re-read also got some very clear symbols, and so did one or two other people.
It also occurred to me as I was giving the introductory talk that I’ve been doing this (startingvwitb tea, but moving on to coffee when I was 20) since about 1995/96 — that’s nearly twenty years. I don’t do it very much, but it never ceases to amaze me how clear some things can be.

After the first kaphemanteia session, it didn’t seem like anyone elsevwas interested, so I let my hotplate cool while I joined the Hellenist discussion in the lobby.

After I packed up my kaphemanteia stuff, I headed downto the room to just put it away for a bit. I passed two people whonasked if I needed help, but I said I was OK, but by the third offer to help, I figured I might as well admit that I could use it, and let one of the YSEE people help me get things back into the room and on my bed. He asked where I learned, and I’m pretty sure I said I wasvself-taught after inheriting tea from my grandmother, and switched to reading coffee when I decided tgat I liked it better, and that I learned how to make the coffee myself when I noticed that nearly every place in Centeal and Southeast Michigan thatbserves Greek/Turkish/etc… coffee (it’s the same basic method, but the difference is mainly how it’s fkavoured and whether it’s typically serves sweet or unsweetened), and most of the places around me serve it unsweetened and often *very* bitter.

After I put my coffee stuff away, I gave Galina the portion of the divination money I had promised forthe RAINN donations (and I will PayPal the portion I promised to the Maetreum of Cybele, shortly). Also, upon realising that I had a bit more moneh than I expected to, I made a bid on a set of prayer cards –first, cos it was for charity, and second because they’re small and it was one of the more-inexpensive things being auctioned. It was a set of Goddess prayer cards, and I didn’t even look through them completely, figuring that I’d keep whatever ones I wanted and give the rest away. Since the set was all Norse/Germanic/Heathen goddesses, I’m giving them away! I already passed out a few, but I’ll post the rest after I get back home. 🙂 These are going to be FREE, to anyone (even International!), first come, firsg served, but if you want to PayPal me a dollar or two to defray my postage costs, feel free (the PayPal Tip Jar is on the sidebar of my main blog page).

Around midnight, I was feeling snacky, and I remembered that the I84 Diner has their own bakery and does ice cream, so I cobbled together a small group of people to walk back over to the dinervwith me for dessert and snacks. I ordered a vanilla ice cream soda, and a slice of a basic cream chedsecake.

If the cheesecake at the 84 Diner were a person, I would make sweet love to it. It has a very balanced richness to it, the texture was almost whipped, and it was just so creamy and melty and amazing…. And at $4.99/slice, they give you a HUGE piece, too. Oh, and get this: No grahm cracker crust! with my soy allergy, I have to watch for some snacks and crackers, but this wasjust cream cheese, and sugar, and eggs, and HEAVEN.

Sunday was short. I attended Galina’s class on ancestor worship, the Common Cause panel, and the closing ceremony.

A friend decided to get me a final night in the hotel, cos I was unable to come off as sufficiently pathetic to others, and I have a ride arranged. A couple other people decided to stay tonight, as well, and we went out for dinner.

While out, I noticed a Wells Fargo branch, so if I’m lucky, I could stand to deposit some of this money directly into my account, but it would depend on whatever plans my ride may have had in addition to picming me up and dropping me off at the train depot in Poughkeepsie.

So, so far, so good. If I never update again, after this, it means that aliens abducted the train, and I bequeath care of my Ni-Ni-Nigel to my friends Susie and/or Phaedra, who can split the profits of anything left in my Etsy shop and any future royalties on my novels –butvon the condition that none of VC Andrews’ ghost-writers come within a few miles of my unfinished manuscripts. The ghost of VC Andrews shouldn’t, either.

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.

Found at PLC, Rm 108


So, my friends who were staying in the room I’m in now extended the reservation another night, just for me, on account of the fact that I couldn’t find other lodgings for tonight –that said…

I know there were a few people in and out of this room all weekend (not just the two who reserved it), so if this pair of earrings looks familiar, please let me know, and either come back to the Quality Inn in Fishkill tonight (if you can), OR let me know via Contact Page (sometimes my Hotmail Junk filters can be over-enthusiastic) and I can send them back to you after I get back to Lansing on Tuesday.

Further description, cos it’s a shitty playbook photo:
They look maybe Onyx, maybe Jet, possibly just black glass or such, and they seem almost magnetic.

Owner of the earrings has been located. crisis averted!

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.

Thought I had whilst on a booze-related discussion pre-PLC

The Romans believed that the liver was the source of human emotion.

The ancient Hellenes may have known, as evidenced via the myth of Prometheus, that the liver can regenerate from damage.

In the myth of Prometheus, His liver is eaten by a large bird. (Depending on the regional variant, the exact bird may differ.)

Via Aristophanes, Eros is the father / creator of all birds.

From this, we can say that when Love leaves our emotions damaged, we can still heal. Or, if you prefer, Love alone won’t leave us irreparably damaged.

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.

Update on my PLC situation

So it looks like a friend is going to be able to fetch me from the the train station on Thursday afternoon, and I have a room for Thursday, Fri, and Sat with the same person, back-up room for Fri and Sat.

Sunday is still up in the air, but depending on how long it takes my ride to drive from Fishkill to Poughkeepsie, I might be able to trade my return ticket for a day early (it’s worth a shot, but looking at this ticket, I might not be able to.

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.

Travel Itinerary and PLC Schedule

Wed. 9 July
7:00pm East Lansing, MI – Get on bus for Toledo, Ohio; bus takes me to Amtrak station

Thurs. 10 July
3:20am Toledo, OH – Train leaves for “Albany Rensslr,” NY
4:10pm Albany, NY – Train leaves for Poughkeepsie, NY
6:00-7:00pm Poughkeepsie, NY – If memory serves, train should arrive about 6pm.

At this time, I have no idea if the ride I believed to be arranged for myself in early June will be available to pick me up. NO IDEA. They haven’t responded to any of the emails or FB messages I’ve sent in the last week, and if I cannot get a ride, I will be literally stranded at the Poughkeepsie train station until the 14th, unless I get arrested for vagrancy. Please use my Contact Form if you can offer a ride –give me a phone number I can reach you by, should my estimate on arrival be WAY off.

Since my ride was also going to be my roommate for the weekend, I am also out of that, as well. If you can offer me a place to sleep –share a room or even bed, or couch, I’ve even slept on bare floors and in bathtubs, in the past, as well– please use the Contact Form. Any one day or the whole time I’ll be out would be appreciated.

[ETA: Mon 7July 2014 @8:07am]
OK, I’m halfway good for the weekend –a previous room offer for Friday and Saturday nights ONLY has reminded that that’s still good –unfortunately, I still need to get to the hotel from Poughkeepsie on Thursday night, so that I don’t miss anything (and, at the very least, so I can shower after spending twenty-three hours on the bus and train -I change my clothes and shower after scooping the cat boxes, I think it’s safe to say that twenty-three hours in an upright position, possibly next to The Stinky Guy, I’m going to feel gross and want a shower).

TL;DR version: I need lodgings for Thursday and Sunday and a ride to and from the Poughkeepsie teain station. I’m good for Friday and Saturday nights.

After I arrive (and hopefully get picked up from the station), I hope to meet up with people for dinner at a local Middle Eastern / Mediterraneran restaurant. I’ve found Zorona in Poughkeepsie, NY; it’s inexpensive, they serve Turkish/Greek style coffee, and if you get your own, I can do readings for $5 at the restaurant. Readings at the restaurant will only be limited by how many people the restaurant can accommodate.

Fri. 11 July
Assuming I found somewhere in the hotel to sleep, I’ll do the continental breakie and offer coffee readings for $10/person –I will need my own coffee and, so I will only be able to accommodate up to five readings during breakfast, divinations during meals at the hotel are BY APPIONTMENT, please use the contact form to schedule with me, or schedule no less than an hour before in-person at the hotel. All spots open.

1:00pm – 3:30pm — I will attend the opening remarks, prayer, and keynote.
3:30pm — still technically undecided, but I’m thinking of the Otherfaith presentation in Room One.
5:00pm — again, still technically undecidd (especially after Sannion pulled out to give Kenaz Filan his spot), but I’m thinking of Kaldera and Hardy’s Polytheism and Henotheism in Rm 2.
6:30pm –break for dinner and coffee readings. See breakfast reading descriptions. All spots open, please make an appointment no less than an hour ahead of time.
7:30 — Rm 2 for Rhyd Wildermuth’s radical relationality and polytheism.

Sat. 12 July
continental breakie and I’ll take a spot for a private coffee reading (still open), private readings are my typical rate of $15.
11:00am –still totally undecided.
12:30pm — break for lunch and another spot for a private coffee reading (still open)
1:30pm — Rm 1 for PSVL’s Ephesia Grammata.
3:00pm — Rm 1 for Anomalous Thracian on regional cultus in contemporary polytheism.
4:30pm — I will actually be participating on the Sexual Ethics Panel moderated by Chris Redmond and Kelly Forbes.
6:00pm — break for dinner and one last spot for a private coffee reading (still open)
7:00pm — Rm 2 for the divination period. I can accommodate up to six people at a time, up to three rounds; first come, first served. This session will proceed after a brief history on tasseomancy and I can do a Q&A with people on tasseomancy and my own history of reading cups while we enjoy the first round of coffee, so if you’re curious, feel free to come over to the coffee reading table and listen and ask questions. Maybe if the party is still going, I’ll make an appearance after I finish readings.

Sun. 13 July
Breakfast and coffee readings, five spots available, all open.
10:00am — Galina Krasskova on ancestor work and indigeny
12:00pm — Panel on finding common cause moderated by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus.
1:30pm — lunch and coffee readings, FOUR spots available, all open.
2:30pm –closing ceremony

I will be staying Sunday night, as well, and will be up for finding a Middle Eastern / Mediterranean restaurant that serves Turkish / Greek style coffee for $5 readings, but will obviously need to find someone who drives. If you can offer to drive, again, please use the Contact Form.

Mon. 14 July
Depending on where I might be staying, I may be available for an early breakfast reading, but I need to make sure my hotplate is cool enough to pack back into my luggage, so only breakfast coffee readings will be made.
12:00n – 1:00pm –packing.
1:00pm-ish — meet up for lunch? maybe a restaurant coffee reading?
5:00pm — Train leaves for Toledo, Ohio

15 July
6:30am –bus from Toledo to East Lansing, Michigan.
9:00am? — back home! I take my Etsy shop off Holiday, and things might get back to normal.

Speaking of my Etsy shop, I do plan on bringing my Queer, Political, Religion & Magic badges, and a *small* selection of music designs. These will be 2/$3 and, like the coffee readings, CASH ONLY. I’ll arrange a sheet of images so I can take orders between sessions and (hopefully!) have time to deliver to people’s rooms after the day’s sessions. If you want to make sure I don’t run out of something (or that I absolutely bring a certain muso for you) feel free to go to my Etsy shop, select payment type as “other”, and include a note stating “POLYTHEIST LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE – I WILL BE THERE!” Just discount the postage price, and add them up at $1.50/ each –coupons are not applicable for in-person delivery at the PLC, please do not use the current coupon codes, PLC sales are already getting a significant discount.

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 must return to Apollon’s city in Michigan…

The handful of my Of Thespiae readers who also follow me on Teh FarceBorg may already recall that I’m at risk of being homeless at the end of this summer. This is problematic for a few reasons –I have health problems, Mr Nigel Prancypants (my cat) and I are emotionally dependent on eachother, and, well, as my friend Mr McElligot once said, a home is.. something wisevand stuff… Sorry, I haven’t been sleeping well, lately, and I’m on the tablet, and it just isn’t worth looking up the chatlogue on FB right now, so fuck it –but it was very wise. Something about roots. I’m also broke, I have barely over $100 saved up for all sundry moving-to-a-warmer-climate stuff-and-nonsense, which I can totally dig into, if I have to, but I’m still hoping to raise separate moving funds.

That said: I have thought about this logically, and I have meditated on this, and I have consulted divinations, when applicable, and I have concluded that it is in my best interests to move back to Ann Arbor, until I can leave Michigan.

Logically speaking:
It makes a lot of good basic sense to move back to the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area. All of my doctors are there, as much as the AATA sucks, the public transit in A2/Ypsi is actually a lot better than it is in Lansing (and as a disabled Medicare recipient, I qualify for a free bus pass in A2, where in Lansing, it’s only discounted), and there are greater social resources (where here, especially after my friend Jay quit the Goth/Industrial night up the street from me [due to regular double-booking], all my social life potential here is connected to FetLife, and I have a low tolerance for most kinkyfolk outside fet settings, or now my friend Ace’s drag night is monthly, and sometimes I can get in on carpooling to concerts in Detroit a few times a year). The downside is that A2 is **expensive**, and while Ypsilanti is better, it’ll still be a “roommate required” sitch, but here’s the fun part: I was in A2 last week (fourth Mon of June 2014), and whilst killing time at Crazy Wisdom’s tea room upstairs from the bookstore, I casually asked the manager, who I just thought was another barrista, if she hires part time or seasonal, and she said she pretty much only hires part time, but you gotta commit to a year, at least, and I said “I can probably do at least a year, I’m just mostly familiar with people only offering me seasonal, cos I’m disabled,” and she said “well, if you can move back to A2/Ypsi, come by, fill out an app, and I’ll put you to work.” So I’ve got a job lined up, I even told her that I can only really do two or three days a week.

On all logical grounds, it just makes sense to go back. I hate the students, and 80%+ of the townies aren’t much better, but all my doctors are there, and I’ll have a social life again. I’ll have a part-time job, and hopefully that’ll enqble me to save money to move out of this state, if only for the sake of my chronic pain.

On the spiritual side:
I know when I first moved here, I was excited about the house with garden, but that first summer, I think I strained my back while excavating grass, and my relationship with this house has been on a steady decline. I have suspected since recovering my back, that the local spirits in this city and I don’t really “gel”. I don’t know Who or Whose deities are especially active here in Lansing, and I’ve often felt either too physically weak or too emotionally depressed to find out. I respect Them That Live Here, and they seem to respect me, but it’s like when you meet someone that seems interesting at first, maybe you have a few things in common, but nothing that “really matters”, and you two never have anything to talk about. I think it might also be contributing to some of the spiritual stagnation I’ve had here.

Now, I don’t talk about that stagnation much, especially here, cos it’s kind of embarrassing. I went from being so spiritually active in the A2/Ypsi area, even that period after my surgery (which I now understand as a temporary enforced taboo), I was active: Painting regularly, divining near-daily, *my plants thrived* whereas here, I’ve somehow killed everything but my laurel and a zygocactus I got the winter my older cat, Vermin, died –and I got so depressed that winter my cat died that I almost killed my laurel. I have barely read coffee or tea since I’ve been in Lansing. I haven’t painted anything on canvas in the three years I’ve been here, and I only got around to painting my leather jacket when it became clear that I had to move (even though it took me a while to admit I had to return to A2) –I’ve wanted to paint, even bought a huge canvas for a painting of The Fates, but after I brought it home? All drive to actually paint it left, and I have been unable to get the car started, again.

I’ve been spiritually minded, I’ve started doing all sorts of research, and Nocturnal Spirits, but so little has actually come of this, that I doubt it’s me, at this point –and I was afraid for a long time that it was all me.

Now, I referred to Ann Arbor as “Apollon’s City” because it is. Apollon is active all over that area, even Ypsilanti and Saline. It might explain why Apollon was the first deity contact I had before “officially” coming to Hellenismos. he’s at the hospital, the university, the libraries, and a lot of streets and addresses I’ve since learned are associated with music from the area. I think returning to Apollon’s city might be good for me, spiritually, as well, especially as Eros and Apollon have always been my spiritual constants in life, even when I wasn’t aware of it, even when I was an eight-year-old in Toledo, fresh witb my D’Aulaire book and feeling Apollon with me in the choir.


Time is NOT on my side. There’s the Polytheist Leadership Conference next week (and I only got my ticket in the mail about a week and a half ago –a ticket I bought at the end of May), and I had to dip into my Conference Catering Money, and maybe my half of the Conference Room Money last week, whilst in Ann Arbor, checking out rooms for rent. I think I’ve already lost one such room cos it’s been so hot I couldn’t sleep well, and missed a 1 July deadline to get in a sublet application, so barring some birthday miracle, there goes that. Plus, whilstbat Crazy Wisdom last week, I also met a girl who’d be looking to move into an apartment around the same time I’d NEED one, and we really seemed to click (she’s a cat person, loves wine and cheese, into yoga, semi-veg), but so far we’ve had lousy timing in getting a hold of eachother to work out a day to meet up in thevA2/Ypsi area and check places out –and I really hope that something with her could work out, cos I’m usually really apprehensive about moving in witb strangers who aren’t at least a friend-of-a-friend, but we’ve already got a bit in common, and I like her energy. If all else fails, hopefully my friend Patrick will be able to take me in for a bit, and I know my friend Jeff can store my books, LPs, and DVDs.

So, in part to help raise money for the move, I’m planning on bringing my coffee service to the Polytheist Leadership Conference and doing $10 readings. I’m going to donate a dollar from each reading to The Maetreum of Cybele as an offering to the Goddess, and a dollar each reading to RAINN, and hopefully the rest will help me move back to the A2/Ypsi area.

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.