’tis the season to make art….

Like Dver at A Forest Door, winter has oddly been the time of the year I feel most tuned in to Apollon (or well, well, as she did before said devotional relationship ended). This regularly perplexes me, as I’ve made no secret of my seasonal depression (where Winter is my season), nor my chronic back pain (which gets worse in cold weather), but on the better days during the winter, I try to use that closeness to get some time with the Moisai of art. In fact, since my schedule tends to wind down a bit in winter, I’ve been making efforts to schedule in some art time.

As you all probably know by now, I write, paint, and make music, in addition to running my mouth on the Internet, updating a calendar by hand, pressing buttons (some of which I even design, myself!), and sculpting Hellenic Alphabet divination tiles out of polymer clay. Sometimes I also just get a thing of Sculpey and make about a dozen tiny penises. Oh, and if you were at the Polytheist Leadership Conference at Fishkill, NY, this last summer, you just might remember my bag that I took a Bedazzler and Polari to.

I bring this up now because I’m too excited by one of my luckiest finds I ever did find:

At my friend Kelly’s shop, I ran into an old acquaintance. I don’t think he recognised me, but it’s been at least five years (three-and-a-half of which, I was in Lansing) and one public appearance of gender ago, and while we saw each other in a lot of the same places, we were never really friends, but I digress. So, apparently he and his boyfriend are leaving for California tomorrow or something, so he was at Kelly’s shop to see if she wanted to buy, or at least do anything with a small bundle of vintage clothing and five or six mannequin torsos.

Kelly took the clothes, but really had no use for the torsos, as a few of them weren’t free-standing or were “too modern”. Lesley, the employee she had in today, bought the gold one, cos why not, right? And I offered all the cash I had on me (which was only $8) for this one, after it was suggested that he was just going to leave the box of torsos out by the kerb with a “FREE” sign. I knew from walking in at the middle of the convo that he and his boyfriend were going to be driving to California, so I figured the cash could be a help, even if it wasn’t that much, and honestly, while I could’ve waited a few minutes for her to go for free, I didn’t want to risk someone else snatching her up or some jackass student picking her out and smashing her (it may have only been about 6 in the afternoon, but that kind of shit’s been known to happen on a Monday in downtown Ann Arbor).

And I picked her out not just for the clear Erté-influence to her design, but because I got an immediate vision.

A lot of my paintings were planned exactly as they look (more or less), and this started when I went to the store for canvases and went looking through each one until I found one that I saw a painting on. I know that probably sounds nuts to a lot of people, but it’s how I work, and considering that I really love most of my paintings, I’m not going to argue with this process. That’s the sort of thing happened with this mannequin.

My acquaintance named her Prudence, but the vibe I got right away was Aphrodite Melainis. I know exactly what colours I’m going to use, which paints will be glitter and which will be satins or gloss. I know how many rhinestones I’m going to applique and in what patterns. The only thing I don’t know is how long it’s going to take me to find her a lower body and arms (but I know there are certainly mannequin collectors where I can eventually procure these parts from), nor do I exactly know how those parts look (she has sockets for them, so clearly she had them at one time, and can eventually have them again), but I know how I’m going to paint those parts and how I’ll embellish on them.

She’s a project that is probably going to take years, maybe even the better part of the next decade or two, to complete, but it’ll be worth it. It’s also brutally important, at this point, that I sell some paintings to help fund this project. It’ll all be worth it, of course, and the uncertainty of my abilities to complete her is obviously no reason to not start as soon as possible. After I clear her up some, I’m going to take a few clear images and do a thorough search for any identifying marks so I can make it easier to hunt down her maker and model names, if only to streamline my search for her missing lower half and arms. After I’ve got the photos and any other information that can help my search for an “official” identity, I’m going to start working on her transformation to Melainis. I’m also going to crack down on getting my room in order, if only so that I have space for her and her progress.

At this time, this is probably the most important piece of art I’ve decided to take on.

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.

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.

Moths

So, central and southeast Michigan is kind of lousy with peppered moths –even when I’ve lived in places where i can keep the windows closed at night, they always manage to get in and just hang out on the walls. Sometimes they get obnoxiously huge, and there was one occurrence at the boarding house I lived at when i was nineteen where an especially large one dive-bombed me several times, and I felt it necessary to flee for the undergrad library for a few hours, just to get away.

Since the luna moth, I’ve come to associate moths with Nyx. Which makes some sense; like the butterflies associated with Psykhe, they’re similarly winged insecets with lepidopteran life-cycle –and though lunas weave cocoons, some moths pupate underground, which (in addition to their typically nocturnal cycles) gives them distinctly khthonic qualities –peppered moths are among the underground pupating lepidoptera.

There was one just now on the wall over my computer, hanging out on one of the several sticky-notes I’ve placed to remind me of junk. I asked it if it was OK, and then nudged it just slightly with a fingernail. It scuttled around, and then settled on the wall just behind but off to the side of my monitor (remember, kids, I’m in the attic; the walls slope), then a song by Crime & the City Solution came on WinAmp (which I have set on shuffle):

Within the first thirty seconds or so, at least two other moths came to hang out with the little white one I was concerned about. As far from the window as i am right now, that’s kind of noteworthy, cos away from an easy out, I don’t often see the moths congregating in my room like that.

Just seemed a bit uncanny, so I thought i’d share.


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.

O first-quarter moon….

O first-quarter moon,
First half face of Selene
She who illuminates the vast tresses of Nyx
You show the first secrets
Of our Dark Mother
and you light the lamp accordingly
As you slowly ease the revelation of more
And this you show us every month
And every month is different and new
For time as we mortals know Him
Can only begin to reveal
How old our Dark Mother is
But you, Selene Waxing,
Show us just what Nyx wants us to know
This time around
And after this cycle passes
Never will these secrets of yours be the same
And so we honour, too, Selene
As She raises the wick of the lamp or the moon
And shows us what we can learn
Should we choose to


About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Follow every wave that traces my name

luna-moth-eye

I can hear the wild waves break
This island of bone
Below the swell the stars are waking
No matter how much I shake
i’m gonna find home
Though I’ve been overtaken
By the tides of the moon
I’m swimming against
The tides of moon
You’ll hear from me yet
I’ll get to you soon

Savage cities on my trail
Won’t leave me alone
Terrorize the song I’m veiling
Even though my arms are frail
I’m gonna find home
You know my faith ain’t failing
‘Lo the tides of moon
I’m swimming against
The tides of moon
I’ll get to you yet
You’ll hear from me soon

Follow every wave that traces my name
You know
That I have been detained
And I feel I could die

Swimming against
The tides of moon
You’ll hear from me yet
I’ll get to you soon
Swimming against
The tides of moon
You’ll hear from me yet
I’ll get to you
Get to you, oh…

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.

Achlys: Not just a plot-point in a Red Dwarf eppie

So, before I get the Cool Kids on Patheos™ misinterpreting last night’s free-verse as evidence of latent Monism, let me explain a bit about that bit toward the end:

I’ve always like science. I’ve said as much here. I also believe that my attempts to reconstruct Cyrenaic Hedonism, especially when coupled with syncretising it with Empecoklean pluralism and Leucippus’/Democritus’ school of Atomism, this is highly compatible with the sciences, especially some of the more complex and “theoretical” stuff, especially with regards to the nature of knowledge.

Now, there’s a sci-fi/comedy BBC series I enjoy, Red Dwarf, and not just cos it’s a self-aware sausage party (in the first couple seasons, the fact that it’s a sausage party is actually relevant). At one point in the series, time-travel becomes intricately tied to the show’s plot arch, and there’s an episode that, while not especially plot-relevant in the course of the show, does lead up to some of the weirder things they do with time-travel, but it’s going to require some explanation, especially if you haven’t seen the show:

The universe is expanding. This is observable to people who study these things (and to the science-deniers, really, there’s nothing to be gained from making this up). Because the universe is expanding, this makes the Big Bang, where the universe began as a single, extremely dense and hot mass of particles especially compatible with the empirical data. Now, if one posits that all things that begin must end, even if only to cycle again, then one potential possibility for “the end of the universe” is the Big Crunch. Now, it’s unlikely to play out the way it did in Red Dwarf, but it’s a comedy, so of course they’re going to make it silly.

I reconcile this with pluralist faith and philosophy because when Khaos happened, She is essentially what held this mass of particleS, plural, into that dense mass before flipping the switch to disperse it, and with dispersing Her particles, all Gods that formed and bred and all currently-observable “physical” matter, as well. Thus, with that dispersal, Khaos shifted into Kosmos (who’s always struck me as more hermaphroditic or “pangendered” than “male”, as a few writers have envisioned Kosmos).

Achlys exists independent of Khaos/Kosmos, and both are especially impersonal, when it comes to humans, moreso than some deities –think, like, Lovecraftian “ancient horror” incomprehensible, something that we can only glimpse the tiniest fraction of when in a state resembling Madness, for if we see any more than that, it would break us, mentally. And where Achlys came from, and what may have caused Khaos to happen, are obviously more incomprehensible than that, since we don’t even have a name for it. Achlys, though, will eventually breathe Her toxic mist over The Kosmos, contracting Their form back to Khaos –the Big Crunch. We’re less than dust mites to Them; we’re just little bits of particles swirling and whirling and maybe we look pretty….

I don’t think this is an “eternal” end, I think it will simply begin another cycle. Like when a spool of reel-to-reel film ends and the projectionist rewinds it for the next screening, I think Khaos will pull back only to disperse again –only when that happens, the film might change, or maybe it’s all just the same nonsense, over and over again.

Now, are the gods deathless? Of course. The particles that became the gods are eternal and unchanging. The Theoi will always be what they are, no matter how many times Khaos becomes Kosmos, then Khaos again. And Kosmos is not some “godhead” or “One” or other divine unification principle; Kosmos is Kosmos, and Kosmos does what They do, and what Kosmos does is let the particles find the Order they see fit to have, and the particles that are or become the Theoi are simply immutable particles, no matter how often this cycles. They are immune to neither Big Bang nor Big Crunch, they are simply immune to being changed by it –assuming anything is changed by the Bigs. But even when Khaos is at Her densest possible state, think of Her like a basket of eggs packed tightly with a packing medium, like confetti –it’s not just one big cosmic egg of a cell laid by the Hen of Achlys, that will separate and become two cells and then a whole thing before it hatches, it’s a collection of “eggs” that will eventually form entire structures that will hatch and breed with each-other, or form other structures with the medium that previously kept the eggs tight in the basket. And when Kosmos returns to Khaos, it’s, well, like the Red Dwarf eppie, it’s like the chicken de-aging and going back to chicks, and then back into a single cell in an egg.

The closest thing Khaos will ever be to One is the backet of eggs held in tightly with a backing medium –if you look at it from a certain angle, it’s a solid, One, thing, but if you look at it closer, you see pieces — you see the weave of the basket wicker, you see the eggs, you see the packing medium.

Achlys and Khaos/Kosmos are the closest thing i can think of that I regard as Divine, but not necessarily “Theoi” in the same way as Eros or even Nyx, but also as certainly much more that the Earth-bound Divine entities, like nymphai and Heroes, etc…. “Energies” is a decent way to describe Them, but I suspect it’s a more complex sort of energy than even physicists of any sort can comprehend. And because they are so complex and impersonal, and barely even think about us the way a biologist might think about atoms, I find it fruitless to offer worship to Them, especially in the form of setting up a shrine or writing prayers to be performed regularly, because it’s not something that will even register to Them.

Nyx is the oldest and strangest Deity I worship. She’s the oldest and strangest that any human can comprehend, and even then, it’s likely that not everyone can, and doubly likely that no-one should want to.

…but that’s another story for another time. In the meantime, here’s something a little less incomprehensible:

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Oh my…

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

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Moisai & Moriai: A Love Story

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

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

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

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Free Will

Free will is an illusion of Nyx’s children
Apatê and Dolos, Deceit and Trickery
And people love Them so much for this illusion
It allows them to believe that humans are above the Moirai
When not even Zeus is above the Moirai
When Eros is in cahoots with the Moirai
When Nyx is the mother of the Moirai
and They live to please Her
They weave Their tapestry of eternity
for Their beloved mother
We never had any say
We will never have any say
So go about your day
Perform the actions you believe are choices
And remember that it’s all for Her
We do this all because
the beloved daughters of Night
wish nothing more than to delight Their mother
with the beautiful pictures that Tykhe designs
and Klôthô spins threads for
which are measured by Lakhesis
and cut by Atropos
and woven by Heimarmenê
as we are guided by Psykhe
to create this picure
This ever-moving picture
that will end long before They do
for They are deathless,
and our lot is fated short,
and we don’t get to say when it ends,
we don’t get to say when we’ll eat
or drink
or fuck
or piss,
we only think we do,
because She her brood likes it best that way.

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.

And Who is Nyx?

She the mother of contradictions
The mother of Life and Death
The mother of Love and Strife
The mother of Light and Darkness
The mother of Friendship and Deceit
and Night Herself is the mother of Day.
She is the mother of the “dark”
The mother of Fears
The mother of Doom and of Criticism
The mother of Distress
The mother of Aging
and of Fate
and the Stars
She is the lynchpin of the Kosmos,
the order of the Theoi
that emerged from the death of Khaos
a phoenix of black 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.