All in the service of Eros’ radiant Daughter

So I’ve been doing things lately. Things that I have been wanting to do for some years now, but for reasons never went forth to do. Some of it was environmental depression, some of it was inertia, some of it was a touch of fear that i couldn’t, or perhaps shouldn’t.

One item is something that I’ve actually had planned out in my head for about ten years, but for reasons, never thought I could ever do, or should ever do until I moved back to the area and got the “go ahead” from Hedone. I’m currently hoping to raise funds for a quarterly event called The Tomb. I’m mentioning this here for two reasons: First, I’ve only got about a month left to raise the bare minimum of money needed, and two, if this event can take off, I will begin each night with a libation to Nyx and Hedone, seasonal deities, and local spirits and local heroes and ancestors.

I’m also now officially volunteering at the local Ann Arbor “uni station”, WCBN. It’s one of less than a dozen truly free-form radio stations left in the United States. The volunteer position I signed up for will eventually get me an on-air slot, probably very late at night, to start, and it’s encouraged that my demo tape (which has to be done on a compact audio casette —it’s *that* old-school) be as unstructured as possible, with a healthy selection from the WCBN library. I’m planning, once i get on the air, of letting Apollon guide my selections for the block. As I’ve wanted to do this for at least the last six or seven years, I’m also making an offering of incense to Hedone before i go to volunteer my time at WCBN.

(As an aside, especially if you haven’t clicked on the link to WCBN’s official site, yet, you can listen online, and if you have an Android phone, they also have a free app to listen.)

Things have also mostly settled down after the move and I can finally schedule in time for writing and painting and even music!

Also, i know I’ve been going on about it for some time now, but tomorrow I’m going to set aside some time to post all the art I have for sale, and maybe later in the week I can go through some ritual items and see what I want or need to sell and what I want or need to keep, and get those things up, too. I haven’t accumulated much, mostly cos money, but I have reached a point where I might have more than I need right now.

Off to go do my weekly 90 minutes of work! Whee!

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.

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.

Unfortunately…

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.

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.

Q: Who says Apollon only loves “Classical Music”?

Hint: Don’t listen for words or rhythm or construct any more than the whole. Getting lost in one part —lyrics, rhythm, movement— is for Dionysians ( ;-p ), or to be more accurate, it distracts from Apollon’s presence in all truly inspired works of musical genius.

A: Anyone who don’t know Apollon.

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] Creativity

Mine is a religion of Creation.

Eros, god of Beauty, Love, Sex, Desire, and ultimately, Creation. All other theoi, ultimately, create things. Even the Goddesses Parthenos.

The path of the hoi polloi is to work, procreate, and pass on.

The path of the hero is to use one’s gifts to create from one’s life a legacy that outlives, outshines one’s mortality.

The path of the artist is to hone one’s craft and create, create until one can do so no more. This, too, brings immortality. Artists live forever through their creations and the desire of those who love it to keep it alive.

Is creativity, in any of its forms, integral to a pagan identity? I’d say yes.

If one’s gods do not create, then what incentive is there to worship Them? If one is going to say “oh, I worship nature”, then what is a seed? Water and fire don’t necessarily destroy, they just create smaller objects from bigger ones. If you’re not passing on your path, either via initiation, familial procreation, or just engaging others and teaching them, then you’re destroying it. If one can’t even muster up the courage to be not just inspired by their Deities, but to make something that future generatons can enjoy, then one might as well set fire to the Louvre, for one who does not act on that creative spark, ultimately, destroys 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.

Violets

Poseidon had a daughter with Pitane, the nymphe of a Laconian spring of a city She gave Her name to. Pitane named the girl Euadnê, and Euadnê grew to be quite beautiful, and she was raised in the Arkadian palace. As Euadnê grew older, Apollon became smitten, and asked Pitane to arrange that He could perhaps lay with Her daughter, and, with joy, Pitane agreed and took delight in dressing Her daughter for the occasion.

When Apollon lay with Euadnê, He believed He was clear to communicate His identity, but Euadnê, unaware of who her real father was believed she was completely mortal and didn’t really believe Him, and having never eaten the sweet nectar of Olympos she was more mortal than the deathless ones, so perhaps it was in her best interest not to, as she was certainly aware of the fate of Semele. When Euadne became full with child, she hid it from her parents, and when the time came, she bore the boy alone and took him far beyond the palace, leaving him in a patch of violets, in hope that someone would find him, and give him a decent life.

On Euadne’s walk home that night, her step-father had a dream that she had given birth to the son of Apollon and had left it in abandoned amongst the tiny purple flowers. When Euadne returned home, the king greeted her and then sent her back out to retrieve the boy. When she arrived, a shepherd had found the child, intending to raise him alone.

“But this is my son,” Euadne pleaded, weeping. “My father tells me I have born the son of Apollon and I must take him back home to retain the god’s favour over Arkadia.”
“But you exposed the child to the elements at the outskirts after carrying him for over half a year; I have been with the boy for barely five mi utes and have already given him a name. I had a vision of a child amongst the wildflowers and when I awoke I felt compelled to find it. Apollon gave me this son to raise as my own and finally make my family happy, by giving them a grandson.”
“If you truly want the child and to become part of his life, my father can have us married. You would receive a handsome dowry for saving the boy.”

After a moment to consider this, the shepherd agreed to return with Euadne to the palace and formalise the engagement with her father that the girl had offered. The engagement was announced, and the wedding was big and lavish.

The boy was named Iamos, after the violet patch, and like this step-father, received visions and prophecies. This gift later led him to Olympia, where he established the Iamidai, the House of the Violets, which continued for centuries in ancient times to hold prophecies and oracles of Apollon.

The violet is sacred to Apollon, and the colour named after it is the colour of prophecy, divination, fate. I’ve always linked it to the Moirai.

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.

Balance

One thing that has maintained my interest in the Hellenic religion, no matter how much some of my co-religionists may drive me nuts, is the Apollonian ideal of Moderation and Balance. In fact, this ideal seems to be held by some of the seemingly “saner” Pagan religions practised more widely in North Amerika than Hellenismos. I have to agree that, to the average Abrahamic religionist, Polytrheism may seem a little “unhinged”; I’ll agree that it’s not as common and so those who have it deeply ingrained in their thoughts and beliefs that Monotheism is “normal”, the belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses may seem “abnormal” and in this society “abnormal” often translates to being synonymous with “crazy”.

In my own personal practises, I balance out a lot of the “crazy” (not that I actually think anything I do makes me certifiable, in fact, my therapist even agrees that it doesn’t) with a lot of rationality. I examine my seemingly mystical experiences with logic, just to rule out perfectly rational explanations before jumping to the most fantastical and least probabl explanations, first. Most of the time, something can be explained with something utterly mundane, on rare occasion, it can’t.

Now, acceptance of the mundane does not necessitate disbelief in the fantastic; but the mundane and the fantastic do and should co-exist in balance with each-other. A friend of mine once explained the Apollonian / Dionysian paradigm as sort of a slightly more complex take on the Yin-Yang symbolism — a true Yin-Yang symbol contains a seed of the other within each half of the circle. Logic and Science may be within Apollon’s domain, but so are oracles and mysicism, something that has always been associated with those living outside the realms of “normalcy”. Ecstasy and “wildness” may be in Dionysos’ domains, but so is the ability to convincingly put on a mask, even for a short time, thus necessitating a need for some degree of control.

While Nietzsche painted Apollon and Dionysos in a sort of “yin and yang” fashion, he missed the part where balance is necessary for the two to be complete, and thus painted a picture not to two of the Theoi worshipped widely across ancient Hellas, but two 100% Black/White extremes. Nietzsche’s Apollon isn’t about “moderation in all things”, but about total control over oneself. His Dionysos is closer to the “Jimbo Morrison” in Oliver Stone’s highly fictionalised and exaggerated biopic, The Doors: a near-constant ecstatic, perpetually drunk, out of control. Ray Manzarek has since said that the fictional character based on Jim Morrison in the Stone film was very unlike the Jim he knew in real life — rather than the poet and philosopher he became friends with, the true Dionysos to Ray’s Apollon who, in Manzarek’s words, “[would] kiss and love through the connection made through [their] music”.

Though Dionysos is typically regarded as “rustic” to Apollon’s “urban”, Dionysos’s can be felt in the theatres of the cities, the nightclubs, the basement parties that nobody wants to admit were as planned out as they were. Likewise, Apollon does tend to venture out into the woods to commune with his Nymphai and cry out against the death of Hyakintos and other loves lost. It’s all done in perfect balance, perfect harmony. To let ecstasy overshadow reason or vice-versa is to invite total madness and spiritual impurity. Recognise when you need to reel in one for moderation and strive for the ability to recognise those moments.

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 Stories of Daphne and Hyakinthos

Re-Told By Ruadhan J McElroy

[Originally published in He Epistole, Summer of 2007, I believe. Edited and revised slightly.]

Once Artemis noted to her twin, “Dear brother, you advise to mortals ‘everything in moderation’, and yet you have lost yourself to the games of Eros at least twice.”

“Ah,” replied Apollon, “this is true. But remember, I advise everything in moderation – this holds especially true for moderation itself!”

This is the story of those instances.

Once, quite a long time ago, Apollon and Eros (who is older than all the Olympian Gods, but still rather child-like in his passions and general outlook), were in a dispute over who was the better archer of the two. Eros mentioned his millennia of years on the silver-bowed seer and how His own abilities of pairing of Gods and men alike had given him much more experience. Apollon scoffed, saying that it was not years, but the time He took to perfect his skill that made Him the superior bowman.

Apollon had decided he had enough of this pettiness and declared he was off to Gaia’s fertile plains to make music for the Nymphai – He may have been Eros’ junior in years, but He was still old enough to know when such an argument was going to go absolutely no-where.

Now Love always has something to prove, and with the encouragement of his companion Aphrodite, Eros simply could not let this go, and his golden arrow struck fair Apollon in the shoulder as the other eternal youth looked up from His lyre to glance at the dancing Naiad Daphne, the nymph of the artesian fountain nearby.

Now it is quite well-known that all nymphai love Apollon dearly, but most of them maintain chaste feelings toward Him, feeling more inclined toward the virile lasciviousness of the satyroi over the God’s refined sense of love-making — the Nymphai are, indeed, quite wild creatures at heart. Quite startled Daphne was when Apollon set down His harp and beckoned her nearer.

“But my Lord,” she replied, “I do not mean to offend, but if it is all the same to you, I would very much rather dance over here.”

“How can you mean that when I want nothing more than to be so nearer to you, sing of your beautiful chestnut hair and whisper sweet nothings in your ear?”

Startled, she began to back away. Unable to see the shaft of Eros’ dart for Apollon’s free-flowing mane, all that she could tell was that this was very much unlike Her God. When Apollon stood up and started toward Her, telling Her of Her beauty, Daphne feared a malevolent spirit was trying to trick Her, had somehow disguised itself as Her dear Apollon, and so She turned from Apollon’s hand and sped off faster than the speed of Eros’ dart.

“My beloved!” the confused God cried out. “Why do you run from your Lord?” Apollon ran to catch up with Daphne.

“You cannot be my Lord Apollon! My Lord knows that my heart belongs to the satyros Argyros, a keeper of hares! Whatever wicked spirit you are, return to where you came from! Do not touch me!”

“How can you not recognise your God? Please, dear woman,” Apollon begged, grabbing a hold of Daphne’s arm. “I beg of you, be done with this nonsense!”

Daphne turned her head and noticed that they had come upon the river of her father, Ladon, and called out to the river-God for help as Apollon held onto her and pleaded with her to allow Him to love her. By the power within Him, Ladon transformed His daughter at her plea that “anything would be better than being pursued by this fiend!”

Daphne’s feet took root into the ground below her as Gaia opened up her pores for the tearful nymphe. Her skin became thick, and like that of a tree as her rich brown hair spiralled up-ward and became covered with leaves thick and flavourful, but sharp to those who should bite them.

At first startled by her metamorphosis, Apollon’s heart then broke at the realisation of what He had driven his old friend to beg for. He then felt the golden head or Eros’ dart under His skin, and realised what the ancient ephebos had done to Him for daring to think Himself better than Nyx’s self-begotten son.

He begged the forgiveness of Ladon for so foolishly pursuing the river-god’s beloved daughter, and asked if He could bless this monument to the fair nymphe. He infused its leaves with the gift of second sight to all who should worship Him. Indeed, even today, followers of Apollon have been known to chew on or burn leaves of the divine daphne, known to the Latin-speaking Romans as “Laurel nobilis” and to modern speakers of the Briton tongue, which some believe is Hyperborean in nature, as “bay”.

Now on another occasion, quite some time after Daphne was but a memory but when mortal men were still in their infancy as a race, and the Gods roamed more freely among us than They do today, Lord Apollon became enchanted by a youth of Spartan nobility. The ephebe’s name was Hyakinthos, and even his mother was so mystified by her son’s beauty and intellect that she, like her neighbours, was hardly above comparing his charms to those of Apollon. Indeed, even His sister Artemis had to look twice when seeing them about, just to make sure that He had not found himself another twin.

“Well, my Brother,” She said when they parted from a playful and loving kiss. “I do believe that you have just proven yourself to not be above vanity. Even your beloved is only distinguishable from you by his mortal aura and the small imperfections in his young skin alone.”

“But do you not see, dear Sister, jealousy is such a waste. I am sure your beloved nymphe could have born Hermes in comfort if only your jealousy did not frighten even our dear Father.”

Artemis knew better that to quarrel with Her twin over the differences between jealousy and the wrath reserved for oath-breakers. He knew the difference, and despite Her wild ways, She was too mannered than to argue with Him in front of His new lover.

Despite his unwavering love for Apollon, Hyakinthos was still mortal and therefore flawed. One of these flaws was that he still could not tell when his own youthful flirting may be taken more seriously than it was intended to be, and this finally was met with sorrow from Zephyros, who had become quite enamoured with the mortal boy.
When Hyakinthos finally realised that Zephyros had fallen in love with him, he apologised to the north wind – he did not mean to mislead Him of his own affections.

“I am gravely sorry, but my heart belongs to Apollon.”

“No! I refuse to believe it!”

“But it is true. And I swear on my life that I had no intentions to make you think I felt that way toward you. I ask that you accept my admittance of this mortal mistake. Just please, I beg of you, dear God, turn your head so that you may see the truth.”

“Why should eruthibios Olympian have the heart of all the lovely young men of the world? Am I not myself attractive?”

“You are indeed fair in your own right, but it is impossible for me to share my heart with two. If I were to even try such a feat, one would become favoured over the other. No mortal can love more than one in the way that I love Apollon. If he tried to, he would fail. There are polygamists who take as many as they can financially provide for equally, but one wife is always awarded the lion’s share of his heart, meaning that his provisions can never be truly equal. Even great Zeus obviously gives more of his heart to Hera than to those he unites with in passing fancy.”

As the boy ran toward Apollon’s beckoning, Zephyros cried out in heartbreak, “Mark my word, fair mortal – if I cannot love you, than neither can He!”

Apollon, honoured by men of the gymnasia, was teaching his young paramour to throw the discus and were now playing an old catching game with the throwing circle as Artemis and Hekate sat by and watched as their dogs ran about with the masculine beings of golden hair.

Then just as Hyakinthos ran to catch the disc as he had been, Hekate could see from the corner of her eye Zephyros, with a jealous look in his.

Hekate cried out “Wait, stop!” but Apollon had already thrown the discus. Zephyros then blew the weighted toy off its course, and quickly did Hyakinthos’ neck snap as the heavy circle beat the mortal youth across his brow.

Where his blood fell, flowers did begin to sprout and take root, as Apollon lifted the boy up, tears pouring down his own face.
Where the story ends here for many people, offering them nothing more than an allegorical tale of the death of childhood. But in Sparta it was said that the fair boy, who was one of their own, by petition of Apollon and the will of Hades, whose heart was softened by his wife Persephone – so girlishly romantic, deep down inside – was reborn as a demigod and every summer in Sparta, they would honour this death with solemn feasts and his rebirth by offering fine clothes to Apollon, singing songs of He and His beloved Spartan boy, and some were even inducted in the mysteries of Apollon and His favourite of all youths.

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.