You look like a lady….

Adonis and Phoenix, 2006, Ruadhán J McElroy

Adonis and Phoenix, 2006, Ruadhán J McElroy

Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 5 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) :
“Adonis, having become androgynous, behaved as a man for Aphrodite and as a woman for Apollon.”

My head is bad(?) my mind’s all through
Ain’t been so stoned since i was new
The streets are cold the people are too
Ah but you look like a lady, let me sing my songs to you

can’t find a place to lay me down
can’t find a face without a frown
can’t find a hand i can hold to
ah but you look like a lady, let me sing my songs to you

there is no love that i can find
there are no friends to share my wine
tomorrow’s dead and yesterday too
but you look like a lady let me sing my songs to you

if i could live my life again
a yellow bird i would have been
flying high and flying true
ah but you look like a lady let me sing my songs to you

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.

Apollon Erithios

Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 7 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) (trans. Pearse) (Greek mythographer C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
“The rock of Leukade received its name from Leukos, the companion of Odysseus, who was originally from Zakynthos and who was, says the Poet, killed by Antiphos; this is the person, it is said, who raised the temple of Apollon Leukates. Thus those who dive from the top of the rock were, it is said, freed from their love and for this reason : after the death of Adonis, Aphrodite, it is said, wandered around searching for this. She found it in Argos, a town of Kypros, in the sanctuary of Apollon Erithios and l’emporta after having told Apollon in confidence the secret of her love for Adonis. And Apollon brought her to the rock of Leukade and ordered her to throw herself from the top of the rock; she did so and was freed from her love. When she sought the reason of this, Apollon told her, it is said, in his capacity as a soothsayer, he knew that Zeus, always enamoured of Hera, had sat on this rock and been delivered from his love.
And many others, men and women, suffering from the evil of love, were delivered from their passion in jumping from the top of the rock, such as Artemesa, daughter of Lygdamis, who made war with Persia; enamoured of Dardarnos of Abydos and scorned, she scratched out his eyes while he slept but as her love increased under the inflence of divine anger, she came to Leukade at the instruction of an oracle, threw herself from the top of the rock, killed herself and was buried.
Hippomedon of Epidamnos, says the author, was enamoured of a young boy of his land and, unable to obtain any success as the boy had a penchant for another, he killed him, then went to Leukade, jumped and killed himself.
And the comic poet Nikostratus, in love with Tetigidaia of Mirina, jumped and was cured of his love.
Makes of Buthroton was, it is said, surnamed White Rock because he had been cured of the evils of love after he jumped from the rock four times.
A crowd of other people pass to be relieved in this way. Boulagoras the Phanagorite, enamoured of the flutist Diodoros, threw himself from the rock and was killed at an advanced age.
Rhodope of Amisene killed herself also in jumping for the love of two twin lads who belonged to the guards of king Antiokhos and were called Antiphon and Kyros.
And Kharinos, a iambic poet, was in love with the eunuch Eros, Eupator’s butler; trusting the legend of the rock he jumped, broke his leg, and died of pain while making these iambics: ‘To the devil with you, deceptive and murderous rock of Leukos! Kharinos, alas! alas! this iambic muse, you have turned to cinders by your vain words of hope. Can Eupator suffer so much for Eros.
And Nireus of Katana, in love with Athena of Athens [the cult statue?], came to the rock and jumped and was delivered of his pain. In jumping he fell into the net of a fishman in which when he was pulled out was also found a box filled with gold. He went to law with the fisherman for the gold, but Apollon appeared to him in the night in a dream and told him to desist since he should give thanks for his safety and he threatened him; it was not right in addition to try to appropriate gold which belonged to others.”


[link]
Since the epithet múkhios (secreted) as applied to Phaethon in Theogony 991 implies that he was hidden by Aphrodite, we see here an important parallelism with Phaon and Adonis, who were also hidden by Aphrodite.[74] Just as Phaethon implicitly attains preservation in the cult of Aphrodite, so also Adonis in the cult of Apollo Eríthios .[75] As for Phaon, he explicitly attains preservation in the myth where he is turned into a beautiful young man by Aphrodite (Sappho fr. 211 V.). From the myths of Phaethon, we see that the themes of concealment and preservation are symbolic of solar behavior, and we may begin to suspect that the parallel myths of Phaon and Adonis are based on like symbolism.


Hesiod, Theogony:

(ll. 984-991)
The blossom, of [Eos’] love for Kephalos was a splendid son,
high-honoured Phaethon, a man of godlike beauty;
when he was still in the tender blossom of luxuriant youth,
a child lost in innocent thought, smile-loving Aphrodite
swooped down on him and carried him away
to her temple
to be keeper of its holiest part, a luminous demigod.


Now what’s still bugging me:

Apollon Erithios

I’m unfamiliar with this epithet, and unfortunately, I’m coming up with nothing in my searches for it –and I still need to get a Lansing, MI library card (bad recon! No gods for you — come back one year! [sorry, old, obscure Hellenion in-joke at this point]).

Any help, please?

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 beautious Adonis is dead…

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.

Start Your Week Off Right: A Round-Up

In continuation on my celebration of urban spirituality, Lupa posted something last month in No Unsacred Space that I just love:

You notice how the URL for this section of the Pagan Newswire Collective has the word “nature” in it? Of course. It’s specifically for nature-based pagan religious and spiritual discussions and ideas. I would bet that the majority of people who think of “nature” are thinking of open areas that have a minimum of human impact, where the signs of humanity are reduced or even almost entirely eradicated. And I feel that’s a grave shortcoming in our perceptions.

I want to share with you one of my very favorite quotes. It’s a statement by Richard Nelson, quoted in The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature and Spirit, edited by Jason Gardner (emphasis mine):

It’s dangerous to think of ourselves as loathsome creatures or as perversions in the natural world. We need to see ourselves as having a rightful place. We take pictures of all kinds of natural scenes and often we try to avoid having a human being in them…In our society, we force ourselves into a greater and greater distance from the natural world by creating parks and wilderness areas where our only role is to go in and look. And we call this loving it. We lavish tremendous concern and care on scenery but we ignore the ravaging of environments from which our lives are drawn.

This is a perfect image of how we have separated ourselves from the rest of nature. Not separating ourselves from nature, but separating ourselves from the rest of nature.

So much of that post is quote-worthy, and I just don’t have the space to do it, so GO! READ! NOW!

…but if you want any evidence that everything I listed here is true, then look no further than the comments from readers. On the good side, it does seem to cut about 50/50 (though in part for myself, but still a reassuring percentage with self removed), but there are still some of the nastiest, most hateful, prejudiced, and frankly uneducated comments are from those who extol the assumed “purity” of the pastoral existence. No such thing from any-one who has voiced communing with the city.

For those who could not discern some of the finer nuances of Lupa’s first post, she made a more recent follow-up, which (to those who’ve read neither) may also lay to rest most gut reactions made in bias against the concept of the city as an ecosystem and the urban divine. Keep in mind, there is FAR more to read than just this quote:

–Telling urban dwellers that they’re bad people for living in cities, or that they can’t be as good a bunch of environmentalists as rural people, or otherwise playing who’s superior to whom, is counterproductive. Insulting someone or insinuating that you’re better than they are is a great way to alienate them. Not a good idea with potential allies. If you assume that cities are full of people who are self-centered, materialistic, corrupted, etc. then you’ve already started on the path to alienating them. Same thing with assuming all rural areas are full of nothing but small-minded hyper-conservative bigots. And so forth.

It’s funny cos it’s true.

Oh, and here are some hideous Orphic cakes.

OK, you didn’t deserve that, here, look at these gorgeous peacock wedding cakes, instead. Or maybe these Valentine cakes?

Oh, and it’s technically posted on a “Wreck” day, but I love it: Happy V-Day!

I also love this Metropolis-inspired dress, and did I mention that Dieselpunk Athene really helped enamour me to that style?

I also found some magazine PHOTOPLAY magazine covers from the 1920s (click for more):

Looking through blog posts I missed on Google Reader, I also came across this great little fic/revised mythology piece by Laura:

Adonis looked up at her, his dark green eyes inquisitive. She knew he wanted to hear the story. She was certain he had heard it before, but she knew he liked to hear her tell it.

“Yeah. It is all Aphrodite’s fault. My mother had made it quite clear that I was never to be married off like some commoner. She wanted me to be elevated to the very pinnacle of the Greek pantheon – an eternal virgin like Hestia, Athena and Artemis.” Adonis smiled a little and so Persephone responded, “you better believe I’m glad that didn’t happen!

The Barking Shaman shares his photo gallery. Here’s a taste of one of my favourites from the “Manmade” section —and that abandoned theatre he shot is seriously full of nymphai:
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
(clicking the photo should direct you straight to the gallery in question —I tested it to make sure!)

And finally, from the blogosphere, Dieselpunk Encyclopedia honours the passing of illustrator Vladimir Ozerny, a visual artist clearly inspired by and in love with transportation tech, skyscrapers, Deco, and revolutionary posters.

Vladimir Ozerny. Tower 2

ALSO:
Fuck it, if you haven’t read those posts by now, I’m not going to subject you to them. Too many people just fucking angered me, and I’m stepping AWAY.

Just in case you were curious:
I spent most of this last week on my humanoid meat-based housemate’s computer, because my motherboard and/or CPU died, though technically, I got the replacement of the ones I got a little over a year ago at this time for the same damned problem used, so it’s not that surprising. My hard-drive was still intact, so yay, but the computer is now less-functional to my needs (like music, as in making it) than I’ve had in a whole year now. I’m finding myself waffling between making up for slow progress last year with the garden or basically replacing what I need to on the computer to get it back to where I need it to be. I will keep you posted.

Shit you’ve probably read already:
* Aphrodite’s Priestess: Dancing the Divine
* Aphrodite’s Priestess: A is for Aseria
* And lastly, I’m getting caught up on my comics, here are some oldies-but-goodies:
….Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles: The Origin of Humanity
….Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles: Working for yourself
Hyperbole & a Half: Adventures in Depression (This is sort of what it’s like for me EVERY WINTER, and the harsher the winter, the worse it gets. I’m so sick of the ableist rhetoric of re-imagining Seasonal Affective Disorder as “go a bit crazy, then shake [one’s] fists and demand retribution”.)
XKCD: The Orion Nebula

Your New Old Word For the Week:
Macrography: n, from Greek makros (long or large) and graphein (to write): abnormally large handwriting, sometimes indicating a nervous disorder. Jules is pretty obnoxious, so his macrography doesn’t surprise me in the least.

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.

Adonis & The Phoenix

[An aside to the Boeotian Theoi blog project.]

As I alluded in my previous post, I’ve been noticing a vague connection between Adonis and the Phoenix as recognised in Hellenic myth. As per Herodotus and Ovid, the phoenix is reborn from an encasement in myrrh (Ovid also includes herbs), and myrrh is an important part of the story of Adonis’ birth.

A surviving fragment of Hesiod‘s Ehoiai describes Adonis’ parents as “Phoenix and Alphesiboea”, though this is identified as Phoenix, son of Agenor. Still, it was mis-remembering this fragment that inspired this painting of mine.

As well as the mythological connections of being born from an encasement of myrrh (think about it, it’s a tree resin, and Adonis is typically described as being born literally from myrrh bark, which has to be cut into to gather the resin; myrrh resin was basically His amniotic fluid), Adonis and the phoenix basically both have life-death-rebirth mythologies (though Theoi Project ignores Adonis’ veneration as a deity [yet, oddly, accepts Kybele as being thoroughly Hellenised], even a vague familiarity with the Adonia is enough proof of not only His being regarded as reborn, but also of deification), even if you consider Herodotus’ rather bizarre account of a younger phoenix encasing its deceased father in myrrh, thus becoming the father to the reborn phoenix (as well as its own grandpa — holy shit, the ancient Greeks really did invent everything).

Interestingly, though the phoenix is typically described as being a variegated saffron-to-scarlet colour, there’s an anthropological theory identifying the phoenix with Old World Flamingoes (and this theory is apparently supported by biologists naming the order, family, and genus of all species of flamingo) because the salt flats where flamingoes are fond of nesting can become far too hot for humans, or many (if any) other predators to walk across, and anybody who’s watched the air over an outdoor grill in the summer would know that the extra-hot air sort of “dances”, which could create the illusion of flame. To protect the egg from the heat, flamingoes build nests of mud, which keep the egg cool enough not to cook, but which could also look like perhaps a mound of ash from a distance. The Greater Flamingo, which is native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and SW Asia (making it the most widespread flamingo), does have variegated colouring, even if not matching the classical description of the phoenix. In fact, the Hellenistic mosaic above (found in the former ancient suburb of Daphne, in what is now Antakya, Turkey) certainly seems to support the identification with flamingoes and the phoenix.

Though initially an association I formed from a mis-remembering, I’ve grown to further and further associate the phoenix with Adonis, and I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but simply couldn’t think of an appropriate moment to post it.

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.

Ares & Aphrodite & Adonis & The Phoenix

Eros was out with Aphrodite, and the Goddess commented on the body of Ares as He practised His battle exercises, and pondered out loud to Her friend how exciting it would be to be in his arms and beneath Him. You see, as much as She loved and took satisfaction from doting on Her husband, Hephaistos, while the Smith of the Theoi had great arms, that was about it — he was dwarven and his spine crooked, and His face so far from conventionally attractive that His own parthenogenic mother was said to have thrown the quasimodian child from Olympos, crippling Him. Aphrodite alone saw a beauty in Him beyond the gifts He fashioned for Her, and truly loved Him, but He was merely a good husband: Reliable, well-providing, and They shared a bond almost familial. Ares, on the other hand, She suggested to Eros, would make a magnificient lover: Exciting, daring, and what She’d heard from mortal women was that what soldiers lacked in money, skills, and conversation, they made up for in bed.

Eros remarked that it was near Her birthday, and so if Ares was what She wanted….

Ares then approached the pair and poked fun at Eros’ delicate features and small arrows when compared to his own javelin. Eros’ then pulled one from His quiver and wished it an absurd weight for its metal. He handed it to Ares, saying, “This one is far heavier than it looks, try it and see.” Ares scoffed, and took the arrow, which he quickly learned surely must outweigh his own weapon in spite of being less than a third the length and a quarter its thickness. Realising He’d been tricked, his face became sour and he attempted to return it, saying, “It is too heavy, take it back.” Eros replied, “Keep it, it is a gift”, and Aphrodite smiled when Ares threw the empowered arrow to the ground in frustration, scratching His own foot with it as it landed.

The affair was conducted as any illicit affair, which for Aphrodite always remained exciting and worth every second They risked exposure — while Zeus’ affairs were no secret, as a married woman, Aphrodite was held to greater expectations of fidelity, and while She loathed the double-standard, She revelled in the excitement it created, always unsure of whether She feared or yearned for the affair to be found out.

Then Aphrodite learned of Her carrying of twins, at a time when clearly She would be unable to pass Them off as Her husband’s. As She fretted over this with the Kharietes, Hephaistos overheard, and devised a humiliation for the pair. Being not only a master craftsman, but also inventor, He was finished with His trap long before Aphrodite even began to show, and even managed the assistance of Apollon. When Aphrodite met with Ares in one of the magnificent rooms of Her palace built by Hephaistos, when the weight of their bodies combined (so as not to accidentally ensnare Kypris on her own) shiofted to the centre of the bed, a heavy net fell upon Them, and Apollon illuminated the room so that the outer wall was transparent, and all of Olympos could see Them in such a precarious state.

Aphrodite and Ares endured stares and pointed fingers and even laughter, and so when Ares and Aphrodite were finally freed, Ares flew into a rage, and took it out on Eros, for passing Him the arrow that made Him look a fool. In a panic to cease the beatings, Eros offered Ares and Kypris a compromise: He would convince Hera to grant Aphrodite a divorce, which would free the pair up to be together. Hera was receptive to this offer, but only if Aphrodite could find Hephaistos a suitable wife, so She arranged Hephaistos to be wed to Aglaia.

But Aphrodite is a fickle woman, and so after the birth of the twins, Phobos and Deimos, She bore Ares a daughter, Harmonia, conceived post-divorce, and soon grew weary of the soldier’s schedule, and took other lovers. Ares didn’t notice at first, then denied it when He did notice, until….

A young woman named Symrnah had offended Aphrodite for failure to honour the Goddess in Her due measure. in retaliation, She cursed the girl with a lust for her own father, driving the girl, in shame, to rape her father as he slept. He awoke and threatened Smyrnah, so she fled, and Eros took pity on the poor girl, and transformed her into a myrrh shrub, so that in death, she’d have no choice but to honour the goddess through the resin the bush produced.

One day out, when a priestess was harvesting myrrh resin, she cut into Smyrnah’s bush, and an infant began to push its head through the wound of the bark. Aphrodite came to see what was going on, and immediately claimed the child when She saw Him and then saw His future face, and saw He was destined to be quite lovely. To protect the child from Ares, She made an arrangement with Persephone, but as He grew up lovely, Persephone refused to give Him up to Aphrodite when She came to claim Him. Apollon offered to take in the youth as the women quarrelled, eventually taking the matter to Zeus, who suggested that a third of the year, the boy could live with Persephone, and for a third, He could live with Aphrodite, and the final portion of the year was for the youth Himself to decide.

Aphrodite chose to avoid the criticisms of Her affair with Ares by declining to marry Him after She and Hephaistos had their own dissolved; it just seemed easier, even though there was an assumption of exclusivity, what with the children and all. Still, Ares was jealous, so She and Persephone realised that Zeus only said “a third of the year”, He didn’t specify that it needed to be one-hundred-twenty days all in a row, so She made all attempts to arrange Adonis’ days with Her while Ares was away.

Still, word quickly came around to Ares that His beloved Aphrodite wasn’t keeping fidelity toward him; and to His own horror, He learned that this other man was a beautiful, effeminate youth who was said to be passed back-and-forth between Kypris and Kore like an accessory, and when not with them, would “lay as a woman” with Apollon, or so they said. Clearly, something would have to be done.

One day, when Aphrodite and Adonis were out in Her garden, Ares transformed Himself into a massive wild boar and charged the youth at full speed, goring vital organs and then tossing the boy into the air before turning around and taking off back to where He came from.

As Aphrodite wailed, tears poured from Her lovely face, and then Zephyros carried them as anemone poppy seeds on His breath, spreading and germinating the flower, creating a trail leading all to the torn body of the dying Adonis. When Ares came in His own form, Aphrodite recognised His eyes in the boar, and would not let Him touch Her. Persephone offered to take Him to the underworld, where His body remained lifeless while roses sprang up in the middle of the lettuce patch from the blood where the beauteous Adonis had died.

The following year, the Phoenix was due for renewal, and so began collecting myrrh resin for its egg. As it coaxed the beads of gum from the shrubberies, eventually it came upon Smyrnah’s bush, and dug its claws deep into the bark, which soon pulled out the long golden hairs of Aphrodite’s beloved youth, who soon after pulled himself from the wound in the wood, for it was the deep love bestowed upon Him in life that renewed Him, love deeper than that which Aphrodite gave to Ares, for Ares was known to be immortal, so He didn’t need it.

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.

Messenger Bag

I was actually inspired to make this post after reading this post from the LJ community pimp_my_altarPimp My Altar. My messenger bag began life as, well, and ordinary messenger/Israeli paratrooper bag that I purchased at Harry’s Army Surplus before their Ann Arbor location went out-of-business (due largely to gentrification and the sudden raise in rent for businesses on that block):

Mine was purchased for under $10 on a 50% off clearance, and I also got a fishtail parka for just under $20, on a 75% off clearance, and an extra-tall “walking stick”-sized umbrella for about $10 even (the latter is no longer a usable umbrella, due in part to Chicago winds, and in part to living with three cats).

This is how mine looks today:

It wasn’t a huge task to transform the paratrooper symbol into a Caduceus, which has been historically used as a printer’s mark. Regardless, as a symbol of Hermes, it seems an entirely appropriate thing to paint onto a bag that I primarily use for carrying notebooks, my agenda, important papers, my chequebook (which has the simpler Caduceus [sans wings] painted on the front), and a few other things that I’m in the habit of carrying with me, including my lyrics book, sheet music, drawing pencils and sketch diary, mp3 player or Walkman, personal phone book, cigarette tin and lighter, and gum. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio: “It was through an act of theft that Mercury created the Arts.” I recall that quote not because of theft (though I am frequently reminded of how the push for gentrification has essentially robbed this poor town of its culture before it could truly come into its own, and how the closing of Harry’s and several other down-town stores really solidified Ann Arbor’s gentrification in my mind), but because of Hermes’ long-held associations with the Arts and how I carry in this bag my simplest means of creativity.

All the pin-back buttons on the bag (with the exception of “The Amino Acids – Warning: Tangy Reverb” one) are also one’s that I’ve created. I had a few more on there before I took these two photos just now, but they either fell off or were removed by me at some time or another. [Well, except for a Dionysos button that I’m pretty sure some kid on the Amtrak stole while I was in the on-train restroom; it’s one of those things that I just know, even though I couldn’t prove it. Of course, I didn’t even notice it was gone until I had already reached Chicago. There was just something about the way that kid kept looking at the button when he and his mother boarded the bus, kept looking at me after I came back from the restroom, and the fact that his mother was dead-asleep before and after I went to the restroom.]

Here’s a close-up (albeit, a dark one) of the buttons. I took it without flash to eliminate glare that would have made them unviewable:


left-to-right are: Top – Satyr & Nymphe (from a Roman mosaic), Narkissos (19thC CE illustration)
Bottom – Apollon & Muse, Hyakinthos & Zephyros, Apollon & laurel branch
(gone missing or out-of-commission: Dionysos, Hermes, Adonis, Eros, Caravaggio’s Narcissus, Hermaphroditos, Neokoroi flame, Hellenion flame)

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.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

[This was originally cross-posted to the Hellenion_Chat and Neokoroi e-mail lists, and it just occurred to me that I didn’t get around to posting this here, like I said that I would, because the latest FireFox update is total crap and keeps freezing up and the only way to fix it is to reboot this eight-years-old eMachines piece of poopie.]

For those not in-the-know, 20 November is the Transgender Day of Rememberance for TS/TG persons who have died as victims of hate-crimes and is an important day for TS/TG persons (MTF and FTM) and their friends, families, and allies.

As one whose gender has often been debated by others (even though it’s been clear to me for the last two decades and some [note: I consider my condition one of many states of being a “biological eunuch”, in that I did not go through a normal boy puberty; but just for the record, I’m male-identified and making several hormonal and surgical “corrections”]), I plan to just simply offer libation, a small portion of lavender, and some music by Jayne County (who is awesome), recite my version of the Story of Hermaphroditos [note: to be posted later, currently in Iss#17 of He Epistole, ask me for a PDF or printed copy], and give this small prayer:

O Kybele, O Hermaphroditos,
Theoi of changed forms,
All I ask of you on this sacred day to those of similar fate
And of form andro-gynos by birth or by hand,
Is to seek justice for those whose time was cut short,
And to aid and protect those who remain in a world less understanding.
May Persephone and Adonis lead those passed safely to the Fields of Elysium,
May those who brought them to You too soon be dealt their due justice in this world,
And by Those Who Judge the Dead.
May Athene and Zeus guide the judges of the living to seek mercy on the deceased,
As you, O Andro-Gynos Theoi, give comfort and confidence to the living.

My rituals are usually very simple, consisting of little more than offering of food and/or herb and libation.

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 Theoi of Mod

As I am wont to say, I am a hopeless Mod, so as a post I’m making cos I really want to blog today but can’t think of anything really good to say, let me explain to the non-Mod Pagans and Polytheists and Hellenistai reading this (which is probably everybody but me) the Mod culture with different Theoi.

Apollon: I generally think of Apollon as the most-Mod of the Theoi. Many Hellenistai recognise Apollon as the Theos of Moderation (unlike Nietzscheans, who regard Him as the God of Abstinence — silly, silly, Nietzscheans…), and there is an old saying about Apollon, often presented in the form of an exchange between He and Artemis, wherein Apollon states, “Ah, but I advocate moderation of all things, including moderation itself!” Mods in the 1960s were ragarded as flamboyant dandies in comparison to their working-class backgrounds, but it can’t be denied that they were still considerably less flamboyant than Oscar Wilde, who came before, and the other youth cultures that came after. Mods are still very much like this. The music, which danceable, is hardly the rhythmic thumping of disco and its derivatives (which I regard as Dionysian). Even Mod jazz has some semblance of order amidst the syncopation, but just enough of that freeness to steer clear of that soulless and detestable “smooth jazz”.

Dionysos: Dionysos and Apollon are far from being polar opposites (as Nietzsche liked to portray); to continue that misconception is to underestimate both Theoi, and (in this blogger’s opinion) is very much “missing the mark” and tantamount to blasphemy — but enough about that. Dionysos, through throwing in an element of careful excess (as a Theos of the Theatre and concerts, I highly doubt He approved of Axl Rose’s temper tantrums, and I also find it hard to believe that the Theos of Wine appreciates getting drunk to the point of being sick all over everything, or driving into a tree, or using substances to commit rape) is a Theos perfectly worshipped in just about any nightclub. And really, if any of the Theoi truly appreciate Jazz, I would have to say that it’s Dionysos.

Hermes: Hermes is the Theos most commonly associated with innovation, novelty, and progress — in other words, Hermes is a modernist. Apollon, being among the most sophisticated of the Theoi, is naturally a Modernist (and a modernist) by default, but where Apollon is there to remind us that analogue sound is of superior quality, making the slight medium degeneration from even perfect use of vinyl worth its imperfections, Hermes is there to remind us that it’s perfectly OK to record our records onto mp3’s to not only prevent unnecessary degeneration of the sound recording medium, but because the iPod just looks so cool! A God of Transportation, it was both the desire for affordable transportation and ost WWII resourcefulness that both birthed the Motor Scooter and popularised it amongst British Mods.

Hyakintos: Though commonly regarded amongst mythology buffs and modern worshippers as a Hero, I think there is sufficient enough evidence that the Spartans regarded Him as either a Theos in his own right, or as Hemitheos (demigod) to some extent. That out of the way, let’s look at the most famous attributes of Hyakintos — Young, Male lover and beloved of Apollon, Athletic. Though, in recent years, Mod had been maintained by older generations, at its heart, it’s still a youth culture, meaning that young people are necessary to its growth in both size and spirit. There is also a joke amongst Mod that goes “What do you call a fat Mod? A Trad Skin” and in the book Mod: A Very British Phenomenon, it is stated that “there are no fat Mods”. As for the gay? Well, just check out the first two albums by the band Secret Affair, which my guitarist and I joke solidifies their position as the gayest band composed of all-heterosexual members; also, Pete Townshend has finally admitted that, though he has maintained a heterosexual identity since the 1980s, he “experimented with men” in the 1960s, and at this point, everybody should know that David Bowie was once a more obvious Mod (if you ask me, he never stopped being a Mod, but that’s another story for another time), so obviously sexual ambiguity is not something that Mods should have any sort of problem with (and, historically, is something that Mods typically don’t). By this revelation of Mod, Adonis should be well-suited to Mod worship, as well.

Hekate: I’m not leaving out Goddesses, ladies! A Goddess of gateways and crossroads and the underworld (all of which get mentioned frequently in old blues standards covered by The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones), Hesiod regarded Her as a feminine counterpart to Hermes and the most powerful of all the Titans. She’s also probably the only Goddess, after Artemis, whom I can envision looking just as regal and Divine with either a bob or pixi haircut. I also biased because there’s a song by Makin’ Time called “Two Coins For the Ferryman”, which seems to contain many Hellenic mythological references including, possibly, Hekate — though I could just be inserting my own meaning there because it’s what I want to hear.

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.