Going to Ann arbor, tonmorrow!

ypsilanti-michigan-us

Leaving at 8:45am –as my peeps from the PLC may recall, I don’t do well on diurnal hours, so keep your fingers crossed for me! (At least the Greyhound trip is three hours, so I’ll get to nap.)

Got *one* apartment lined up to visit, Etsy stuff to post out, a P.O. Box to rent, maybe meet with some friends, maybe fill out that app at the Crazy Wisdom tea room (as per the manager’s suggestion), then there’s the trans* group, and I found someone on CouchSurfing.com who’s confirmed my overnight stay, so I don’t have to beg after group.

The room in the apartment I’ll be seeing is a lot less than the max I’ve budgeted for (which really is ideal for my situation), so if you know your magics, I think I can use all the help I can get. I’ve already got myself a bargain with the Gods (and a friend), and I’m bringing some tea lights and incense to light near some important locations in A2 and Ypsi, to supplicate Apollon and the A2/Ypsi local nymphai poleis —apparently I had a stronger bond with them than I realised before moving here.

Now would still be a great time to donate to my moving fees! Even $5 would be helpful, if that’s all you can do:

I’m just a hair under 40% of the way there! Do you realise how much that is?! SUPER LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO ALL WHO’VE SO-FAR DONATED!!

And one just one more thing:

No-one apparently wants any of the Heathen Goddess prayer cards? I guess I overestimated how much people liked free stuff. I’m not too surprised, as I figure most people reading this are Hellenists, but I’m turning in around midnight, tonight (and I have the zolpidem to make it happen), so you’ve got less than 12hours to claim a prayer card for yourself or some-one you love! Any that go unclaimed will be left at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room, in an envelope on the corkboard in back, marked “Free to Good Heathens, Please take Only the Ones You Need!” I’m seriously afraid I’ll lose them, otherwise.

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 think I shall leave something out for the local nymphai….

This last week, the birds haven’t been as greedy at the feeders as they usually are.

And I woke up earlier (technically yesterday) to the sight of the large bottle of apple cider vinegar I keep by the door to neutralise cat urine from the various strays, and it had somehow been moved to the middle of the floor.

Outside, there was a mysterious female garden gnome statue in front of the condemned place next door.

Now, logically, the statue might have showed up cos there are various bums and such who like to break drink behind that house, and *maybe* one of the cats just had the urge to attack the vinegar, and that’s where it laid after, but with the birds mysteriously reluctant to the wonderful buffet I set out for them combined with the other noted weirdness, I’m certainly leaning to the notion that Someone might be trying to get my attention.

And really, female garden gnomes are pretty rare. Especially this one –more a Phrygian cap than a tall cone commonly assoviated with gnomes, and designed kind of on the “young” side. If it’s still there, I should get a picture (at the very 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.

To the Hylêôroi

Watchers of the woods, fair maidens of aether.
Forming rings of history for centuries
Giving all of Gaia’s creatures
Shelter from the storms
Spreading cones in the north
Cycling colours in temperate climes
And Equatorial with green tresses always
In the wild standing many
But still in the cities strong
See your dependents well.

Also, Woot a gorgeous t-shirt today. You should buy one.

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.

Painting

It’s been a while since I’ve done a painting for the theoi — perhaps tellingly, my last one is Narkissos, left unfinished after my surgery in 2008 went awry.

I’ve been feeling the push to paint again quite recently, and the image I’m getting is for Britannia, and will most likely be in watercolours — indeed, one of the main things holding me back this last week is the search for where I unpacked my watercolours to.

“But Ruadhán!” you might wish to interject with, “That’s not a Hellenic goddess!”

Well, I suppose in the strictest sense, you’d be correct, but my reasons include ancestor-worship (definitely an ancient Hellenic practise) and the name “Britain” ultimately comes from Hellenic etymology. Of course, I’m only really justifying myself in public because I’m sure my #1 fan would love nothing more than to use this and the forthcoming painting as “evidence” that I’m somehow “not practising Hellenic religion/reconstruction” anymore, possibly ever (as he’s done this to others in the past, for lesser reasons) — which is hilarity-on-a-stick, true, but best to make such lunacy apparent from the start, den eínai?

My envisioning of Britannia is based part in the traditional Roman and part in the Mod subculture, and may even seem reminiscent of a certain scene from Derek Jarman’s Jubilee — and I’m sure at this point, you probably have the same mental image I do, especially if you’re familiar with my painting style.

One thing that I regret not posting about this year is my ritual and prayer for my re-envisioning of Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Feast of Britannia and St. Patrick’s Day as Bacon & Cabbage Feast of Hibernia. I intend to remedy this, but at a more seasonally-appropriate future time.

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.

Fish, Spice Tree nymphai and Shriekback

I expected to have something about the nymphai in my apartment complex a few days ago, but I’ve been having an adventure. See, I keep tropical fish, and the big thing about tropical fish is that the temperature of the water needs to stay in the range of 75°F and 80°F, or the fish will find it very unpleasant — and if it drops to about 69° or lower, they’ll hate it so much they just may shrug off this mortal coil. Now, because I keep bettas (because they’re relatively low-maintenance, and for fish the size they are [2-3″ as adults, rather than 10″-16″ for adult goldfish*], they’re kind of intelligent), and I currently have two, this means I have two, 2.5gallon tanks (ideal size for a single betta — not those shitty little 8oz jars sold as “complete betta habitats”), each heated with a lightbulb. On the good side, a lightbulbs provides adequate heat for two-and-a-half gallons, but on the down side, it builds up algae — but that’s OK, cos one of my two eats a steady diet of brine shrimp, which get fed from the algae I get to peel off the leaves of the tank plants. And when the fish die (average life-span for a betta under proper care is still only about 2-3 years — still, on occasion, this can be thwarted due to an unexpected illness or sometimes the fish’s own neuroses), I bury them in my laurel. Not a perfect cycling ecosystem, but it works well for my purposes. This system was threatened when a bulb burned out and it turned out that rather than simply replace a bulb, I had to replace a tank.

So, long story short, living things come before blogs few people read. Apparently, to a lot of people in this world “it’s just a fish, it’s not like it matters”, but first off, they matter to me — these are neat little fish — and secondly, when you take an animal into your care, there is an implied contact with certain deities to make sure this animal is cared for properly, whether it’s for sacrifice, for food, or for personal companionship. Seriously, living things come before blogging.


As to the nymphai in this complex, I may have scoffed at the suggestion of this a decade ago, and I’m willing to believe that the smaller things, like missing socks and what-not, are just a matter of basic carelessness on my part, but the single most convincing factor I can point out is how many of my friends manage to get lost trying to find my apartment. This would be unexceptional if not for the fact that my building is right near the entrance to the complex. There is no reason for people to keep getting lost in here, but they do.

Some of those who get lost in here have a reasonable explanation for it: They used Google Maps or a GPS unit to find my place. This is a reasonable explanation because my apartment is right between two major roads, and the address is calculated for the road opposite the road I’m nearest; GPS units tend to want to steer people up the road farthest from my building and then back down toward me, even if they’re starting closest to the road I’m next to. But even then, it’s pretty simple to drive straight across the car park and get to my building, but friends have still gotten lost in the complex because, for what they describe as inexplicable reasons, either the GPS told them to turn, or they mis-remembered my dictated instructions and turned, or it somehow just seemed to make sense to turn somewhere in the complex and get lost. The record amount of time lost in my complex trying to find my building is forty-five minutes before calling me on his cell-phone, and an additional ten minutes after the first call on his cell phone.

There’s something truly ridiculous going on, and I wouldn’t put it past local nymphai dead-set on fucking with me.


Also of note, I posted a review of Shriekback’s Sacred City on the Hellenistai Media Blog today. Upon further consideration, it’s probably better suited for this blog, but what’s done is done and it’s already been twittered about — but I may also just decide to cross-post it here again later. I’d put it as #2 out of my three favourite Shriekback albums, after Oil & Gold and before Big Night Music — but that’s a very close #2, the only reason Oil & Gold is #1 is because “Nemesis” and “Hammerheads” are the great Goth night anthems that never were, and as much as I’m embittered with the Goth scene, I got to admit that some of the music associated with that scene is pretty bitchen.


ALSO OF NOTE:
The latest google analytics for searches reveal that Of Thespiae was found in a search for “trust me, you don’t want to know” by two people in the last week. Whoo-hoo!


*dead serious. The common misbelief that “goldfish only get as big as can be supported by the size of their container” is just that, a misbelief, and it’s based on decades of people having no idea how to properly care for goldfish — which can actually live to about forty years with proper care.

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.

So, I was dicking around on Theoi.com a couple days ago….

…and I entered in “Boeotia” in the search engine on there. First time I’d done that, actually. Really weird how I’ve used that site as a resource for YEARS and been gravitating further and further into Boeotian-specific religion, and I’d never done that before. Now, I’m putting this here rather than in Of Thespiae because my search basically proved me right about something else I’d posted here seemingly ages ago:

My babble about the nymphai poleis isn’t that far off-base.

It seems most, if not all, Boeotian cities are named for a nymphe. Thespiae (now Thespis) is named for Thespia. Thebes named for Thebe. And on and on. You know what this means? It means I’m right — and not just right, technically right — the best kind of “right” there is.

I admit, I feel a little stupid now — this would seem like a pretty remedial thing to learn, but there you go. It’s things like this, the “confirmed personal gnosis”, that lead me to believe that Eros has a master plan in this, somehow.

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.

Urban Spirituality in song

One of the things that I love about the songs of Marc Almond is that so many of his songs celebrate the urban energy. “City of Nights“, “Waifs & Strays“, “Urban Velvet”, “Gutter Hearts” — these four songs especially strike me as celebrating of a unique kind of urban spirituality that’s very transcendent. It even transpires across religion (last I knew, Marc Almond was a member of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan), which shows me just how real the urban spirits actually are.

There are very few songs that touch on this kind of energy adequately — and even fewer coming from openly Pagan and Polytheist musicians. There are plenty of songs that are about specific cities, a handful of them are even good, but rare is the song that is both generalised (I could really care fuck all about New York, N.Y.) and so perfect in celebrating the energy of urban life.

If I accomplish nothing else as a musician, I wish to write just one song that celebrates the urban spirits even half as well as Marc Almond’s work.

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.

Respect for Local Nymphai

I currently live in a small city; I prefer living in large cities, but many of the mechanics of living in a smaller one are essentially the same. When I fill my bath (on occasion, I do have a bath), the whole bathroom smells of chlorine, “city water”. Still, this water, though heavily treated, comes from a natural source.

In my kitchen, despite numerous attempts to have maintenance employees for my apartment complex here to fix it, has a dripping sink faucet. It drips, well, a lot. I also buy a lot of springwater cos I have a mild intolerance to ingesting fluoride, which makes the dripping faucet even more trying on any guilty feelings I had about it in the first place, since I’d rather not drink this water. It does, though, render me with an abundance of 1-gallon water jugs which has inspired me to put this dripping water to good use. Unlike a rural person, my water is not coming from a well and is not very easily recycled back into the earth (though, unlike what some oddly seem to prefer believing, it does get recycled).

Basically, I keep one jug positioned under the kitchen sink faucet to catch drip. When one jug is filled, I quickly place a new jug back under it and put the filled jug in the area with the rest of my water reserves. I use these reserves of water for many things around the apartment. Some of it, I clean with. I’ll fill up the cats’ water dishes with it. Water my plants with it. Use it in cooking. Fill my humidifiers in the winter. My room-mate drinks it, and in an emergency, I will, too. I prefer to use locally-bottled spring-water for rituals, as well, but this will do in a pinch, as well.

Though treated, I don’t believe that this treatment can remove the essential “essence” from the nymphai at its source. Some rural-inclined pagans I’ve spoken to seem to lean toward thinking so (though, I admit, this is a conclusion I’ve come to based on some round-about answers from them, when asked) or just stand mute on the subject, but I think that such thinking implies that humanity can be more powerful than these “lesser Goddesses” or terrestrial spirits/daimones, or whatever one prefers to think of the Nymphai as.

I don’t believe that there is anything that humanity can do to remove their divinity from that which is sacred to them, the Naiades, I believe, do not abandon this chlorinated, fluoridated water as it leaves the processing system and enters the city water system, I believe that perhaps they cannot more than simply don’t. It’s still freshwater from a freshwater source, and thus I believe that they still want it to go to a good use, so to honour them, I do what I can to put it to good use. If I just let it drip down the sink drain and let it recycle back into Ann Arbor’s water system, it would be like saying “sorry, Naiades, but I had no immediate use for this water, so I couldn’t be arsed to do anything with it! Better luck next time!” It would also be dishonest, as there are obviously many things that I can do with this water, so I save it for those things.

The more I think of it, the more I realise how considering my inclinations towards cities has enriched my reverence of the “natural” Theoi and daimones of the Hellenic pantheon. As I’ve said before in this blog, I don’t believe that human cities are more “unnatural” than rustic areas, no more so than a beehive or an ant colony, anyway. I believe that it’s all interconnected, and that they each benefit the other, in their own ways. If anything, this has made me realise how inherently Apollonian my practises are, as my beliefs in the context of being a city worshipper are about seeking a balance, a moderation if you will, between the human worlds on Gaia’s terrain. As much as I love the bustling metropoloi of this modern world, I’ve simply become more-conscious of how interconnected these worlds within this world are connected to the rustic worlds of this world. That’s such a beautiful thing to see.

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Urban Pan

Oh, the things that come into my head while I’m taking part in my twice-annual Big Apartment Cleaning:

One of Pan’s domains is Wildness; ergo, it makes perfect sense that there would be Urban qualities of Pan in addition to Rustic characteristics. Large cities are far from ordered panic-free environments, in fact, many Pagan and Polytheists of this modern world choose to escape the cities for the perceived comparative serenity of the countryside. There is chaos and disorder in cities. In “ghettos”, Pan is Lord and His father, Hermes, aides people living on the ends of their wits in Skid Rows. This chaotic element belongs to Pan.

Every person who wanders down a dark street scared is visited by Pan; to avoid pan-ic, one has a choice: One can acknowledge and beg of the guidance and protection from the Urban Theoi, or one can escape to the squeaky-clean, gentrified homogeneity of the suburbs.

Personally, while realising Pan’s presence in the City is relatively recent, in retrospect, I’ve also known He was there. Pan is, generally speaking, associated with the Nymphai; since the Nymphai Poleis are a presence in the cities that I am attuned to, it just makes sense that Pan is there with Them.

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.

An Argument For the Case of the Nymphai Poleis

While there is absolutely no dispute that that the nymphai prefer wooded, nay, densely wooded areas, the case for the nymphe polis, the City Nymph, is a strong one to be made. As a child, I once read that all trees, all of them, had a nymphe connected to its life; as long as the tree lived, the nymphe would. This is one of those things that has stayed with me always, and has helped, to some extent or another, shape my spirituality and religious life. Within a half-mile radius of my apartment complex, there are at least three apartment complexes named for trees, plus my own, and a golf course, and trees are not only present on the grounds of my apartment complex, there’s one right outside the window of the room where my computer is and another outside my room-mate’s bedroom window. Trees are everywhere I go in this small urban area, so it goes without saying that I believe there is a considerable population of nymphai in this area, as well.

As much as I complain about the gentrification of the Ann Arbor area, it’s still very much a city — a rather small one, but a city nonetheless. Trees are all over down-town Ann Arbor. They run all up and down Liberty Street to Main, they lord over the campus areas from the Law Quad to the Michigan Union to the Diag to Fraternity and Sorority Rows, and up and down Main Street are still more trees. On Liberty and Packard Road both, there are small areas, one is Liberty Plaza, another is tinier, both little more than park benches surrounded by trees with small water fountains built on local wells (taste what comes from those fountains and tell me that’s not well-water).

Even in large cities, even in Chicago, trees may not be more populous than people, but they are present enough that one can duck onto one side-street of Diversey or Belmont or another, close one’s eyes, let oneself “go”, and hear the giggles and whispers of the nymphai who have stubbornly refused to not desert this land simply because Man has brought her cold steels and glasses and her machines, built her buildings of clay and mortar, and coated the grounds in rivers of stone and more clay. The nymphai still stick around Chicago, Detroit, Manhattan, West Hollywood, Seattle, Miami, Cincinati, Toronto, London, Paris, Athens, Hong Kong, Sydney, and elsewhere, and they will not leave Their lands just because Their trees and the other plant-life that They are connected with has grown scarce in those parts. Their numbers may be far fewer, but Their abilities and efforts to drive Man to madness, whether she has asked for their guidance or not, are highly commendable, among the Lesser Divinities.

The Nymphai Poleis are, if you ask me, less a “breed” of nymphai, like the Dryades (the Nymphai of Trees and Forests) or the Anthousai (the Nymphai of Flowers), and more a “class” of nymphai, like the Boukolai (the Nymphai of the “Rustic” or Rural areas): They choose to tough it out in these new forests and jungles of concrete and clay because this is Their land, too, and as long as Man permits the plant life that sustains or at least attracts nymphe life, the Nymphai Poleis will adapt Their ways to urban realities, just as the Naiades (the freshwater nymphai) had adjusted to Man in previous generations. The Nymphai Poleis belong to the trees, the waters, the clouds, the flowers, and the shrubbery, and They are just as much the children of the winds as the Boukolai (thus it is apparent why, of all the large cities I have lived in and visited, why I feel that They are especially fond of Chicago). They are just as likely to be Dionysian or Apollonian or otherwise or neither. They also seem to be protective of those who walk or bicycle or take public transportation, as such means are far kinder to what plant life does exist in the city than driving a large personal automobile. They love street performers and learning institutions and open-air café patios and even the smallest city parks. They hang out under the El Train overpasses and in the Subway stairwells and elevator shafts and they dance and sing and swing around the poles and columns and rafters holding the platforms up and together and sometimes They whisper to you “forget about your appointment or your date or that concert you came here for — wouldn’t it be far more exciting to just take off to Chinatown instead?” or maybe even “your company can get on just fine without you, if you move to Koreatown, you can afford to be a street mime and find far more meaning in your life.” Yet, despite hearing those voices that simply can’t be our own, or that sound too much like our own to really be ours, we listen to Them or not at our own discretion, and our nymphe-guided adventures are as many or as few as we want them to be, yet still the Nymphai Poleis beckon us to extraordinarily mad or silly or merely irresponsible things in ways that the Boukolai simply haven’t the opportunity to: The Boukolai may call us into the woods or lakes or ponds or pastures, but in the end, the Boukolai drive us to Their own madnesses that are wholly distinct from those driven by the Nymphai Poleis.

Just as the Bourgeoisie needs the Proletariat classes and vise-versa, and the balance of the classes of Man must be maintained to keep her social orders fulfilled, neither the Nymphai Poleis nor the Boukolai are any better than the other class of nymphai, and They understand the inherent equalities of the classes as much as They understand the differences that give Them Their intrigue and Their purposes, and They understand these things far better than Man understands them, no matter how relevant and true such realities are to Man, as well. The Nymphai Poleis are as much as part of the city population and urban spirituality as the Boukolai are to the rural areas and rustic spirituality. The Nymphai Poleis couldn’t go away, even if They wanted to; the land the poleis were built upon was Theirs long before Man, and it will be Theirs long after she has gone.

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.