Hiller’s Markets in Michigan

When I lived in Virginia (as brief as that was), I met one other person who was from this area, and we could tell we weren’t bullshitting each other on that point, cos we each had cards for a grocery store called Hiller’s. There are only a handful of Hiller’s Markets and they’re currently all in Michigan, though I think there used to be one in Indiana, too (though I may be confusing that with Marco’s Pizza, which is based in Indiana, though most locations are in Ohio, meaning, contrary to what some people in the A2/Ypsi area seemed to believe as few as 7-8 years ago, it’s not a locally-owned mom-n-pop style pizza place, it’s one of only a few surviving Michigan locations of what’s actually a major chain in Ohio and a “local chain” only in South Bend, IN, or something). I’ve since lost my original Hiller’s card, so I signed up for a new one when I moved back to the area, especially after I discovered that they’re the only place in Michigan where I can get real British-made Cadbury chocolate, which I can have, unlike the soy-laden stuff made for the American market.

Hiller’s is something of a cross between a local-focus and allergy-friendly Kroger and a poor man’s Nino Salvaggio1: There’s a lot of locally-produced stuff, a mix of popular and obscure national brands, a lot of stuff that caters to celiacs, food allergies, and veg*n stuff, and there’s also a lot of imported stuff that has considerably less-obnoxious prices than at most other places that focus on imports. It’s a tad too pricey to be my only grocery store for a lot of things, and for some stuff where there’s barely a difference in price, I prefer the Ypsilanti farmer’s Market, when that’s going, but Hiller’s is a great little store, and like I said, for its focus as a grocery chain, it’s probably the best for prices (which is why I made the comparison to Kroger rather than Whole Foods).

So, I brought this up cos of their card, and apparently they changed it since the last time I had a card for them.

The first major change to their card system is you can get the sale price with or without the Club Card, which is nice. The next change is that you have the option to load coupons, “clipped” electronically from the website, onto the card. This is cool, especially if you can get the coupon thing to work. The next thing is that you get automatically joined up into “clubs”, like the “Soup Club” where you buy four soups and get one free, and the “Chicken club”, where the same rule applies (buy four things of chicken, get one free), and the “frequent shopper club” where you make 12 trips costing $25 or more and you get $5 off your 13th trip.

Then there’s the “Community rewards”, where, based on what you spend, Hiller’s will donate a proportionate amount to local schools or charities.

This is where it will become more immediately relevant:

I used to save those Box Tops for Education things for the local Greek School, which is a weekly Greek language program for elementary children and adults through St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church. I’ve never signed up cos it would actually cost a lot less to get the full Rosetta Stone program, and even that shit’s expensive, and I’ve never been able to find anything about a scholarship for adult students. Which is fine, especially as I’d kind of rather avoid churches, if I can, but donating what I can is still a nice thing to do, even if it’s through a corporate program looking for a tax-cut.

But I also noticed that Hiller’s will donate to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL), which is the no-kill organisation that I adopted my last cat, Vermin, from. So now I’m torn –sign up to get more toward the Greek School, or sign up to get more money funnelled over to the MARL? As a no-kill rescue organisation rather than a shelter, MARL could always use more money, but giving to the Greek school had once been a devotional act to Hermes (as He Who gave the Greeks the alphabet and language), and I’m thinking it’d be a good thing to do with the task I’ve taken on with making alphabet tiles/stones for divination purposes…

…BUT KITTIES. I mean, look at this fucking kitty! Look at her!

…but MARL is a non-profit with some apparent corporate donation links (including Bissell and Pedigree dog food) and do adoptions from a couple PetCo locations in the Pontiac/Rochester, MI, area, and seem pretty savvy about getting donations. Through the Box Tops and Campbell’s Soup Labels programs, I get the impression that the Greek school might not be getting the funds they’d like, and I know some years ago, St. Nick’s had to relocate from their gorgeous 100+ years-old building near Kerrytown in down-town Ann Arbor cos the landlord decided to jack up the rent and when they couldn’t make it in full and on time for a few years (and I heard from the historical society that the landlord had been raising the rent way beyond reasonable on them every year for several years), they were kicked out and the building was converted into “luxury artist lofts” (what the fuck even is that??).


I think my mind might be made up, and I’m just going to toss some bones to confirm it, BUT, if anyone wants to do a divination exchange with me over this, let me know. I could still use some practise with the Hellenic alphabet system, and it’s always nice to have this sort of thing confirmed from a second source, you know?

…but kitties.

That said, don’t let my decision sway you: If you live in a city with a Hiller’s, especially if you feel like you’re their target audience (which is Whole Foods-like selections at almost-Kroger-like prices), it’s a tiny local chain, so you should shop there. You can contribute to donations to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (and dozens of other local schools and charities) through your purchases made via your Hiller’s card. YOU CAN GET FREE SOUPS AND CHICKEN!!

1: People who’ve been reading my blogs since my earliest days on LiveJournal (we’re talking late 1999/early 2000), of which I think maybe only two or three people currently do, may remember Nino Salvaggio from the first year Scott and I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and I tried for like, three days during a bizarre pumpkin shortage to obtain a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern legally, but had to resort to stealing one from the display at Nino’s after-hours, which got me a thank-you from someone who identified himself as a representative from the Pumpkin Liberation Front.

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.

hey, look at what I just did…

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If you want to get this set, go here. Hey! Someone snatched them up, already! On the good side, I was planning to go to Michael’s and get more Sculpey, anyway (I have a coupon for there that expires this week), so after I make more, I’m going to post that set. 🙂


…and if you want my Hermes painting, go here.

My Apollon painting is still available here. You can also get a PDF download of the New Boeotian Calendar here.

Also, if you’re at all interested in the tiles I accidentally burnt, you can see them here. I’m only charging $5 to cover the P&P. If no-one claims them in a week, I’ll sell the first set I made, instead, and keep these ones. They’re still perfectly useful, they just aren’t as pretty as I’d hoped they’d be.

ETA: Did I forget to mention that there’s also a shit-tonne of Hellenic and other polytheist badges (and many more to come!) in the Religion & Magic section of my button shop?

Also: hey, did you see this Patreon thing?

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.

Back from A2/Ypsi!

Well, my 27-hour adventure in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area went pretty well. My bus arrived on-time, and I turned ’round the corner to the post office to mail Etsy stuff, but the clerk who got me clearly wasn’t used to running so many things with tracking numbers at once, and I spent nearly twenty minutes *just* on Etsy stuff, so I figured I’d put off renting a P.O. Box until just before my return, cos I figured that was going to be at least twenty minutes, on its own, even without someone doing point-n-peck typing.

After that, I stopped at the CVS that’s on State Street now, which is right near my friend Kelly’s store, The GetUp Vintage, cos they didn’t open until noon, and I needed food, so sure, why not? Unfortunately, i forgot my water bottle as I was packing my overnight bag, so I grabbed a litre of Evian (it’s almost as slim as my purple aluminium bottle, so I know it’ll fit on the side-pocket of my backpack), one of those turkey sandwiches from the cooler, and a bag of “Mediterranean Medley” (or something like that) trail mix, (in part cos it was the only one that didn’t have soy in it).

I then went across the street to sit on the stairs of one of the university buildings that litters the downtown Ann Arbor area, and I lit one of the candles and sticks of incense that I brought, and said a short prayer to Hestia and Apollon before settling down to my meal:

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Now, as all proper Hellenists know, a libation is also part of this sort of thing, and so rather spend oodles of money I couldn’t afford on wine and a cup or bowl for said wine, i did the unthinkable —I took out a bit of my trail mix with my thumb and first two fingers, and rather than pour out onto the earth, I placed it on the elevated ledge there, and poured a tiny bit of water (probably less than half an ounce, to be honest) onto the mix of dried fruits and nuts. I know, pretty hard, right? I don’t know how some of us in the “piety posse” ever manage to get through the day, with all these sacrifices.

Unfortunately, while The GetUp opens at noon, Kelley has some-one else do her opening, cos she lives out of the area and cos of traffic tends not to come in until about 1pm, but I had things to do and get done, especially as I had the primary renter of the apartment to meet up with around 4pm in Ypsilanti.

So, I cut through Nickels Arcade, which I’ve always felt nymph presence at, in addition to Hermes (not just because it’s a covered street of shops, but cos the Arcade often attracts pan-handlers), the Moisai (because it’s always a site for buskers), and Hekate (because, especially as the location I lit the candle at the end, the Arcade has always struck me as this sort of high-end alleyway, and YMMV, but I tend to feel Hekate’s presence in alleyways, as well as more traditional crossroads). I also decided to light a candle and some incense at the far end, where it exits onto Maynard Street:

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Such terribly hard work, and I think I spent all of my moving donations to have to do it, but I do it! (in case this is unclear, I’m being sarcastic.)

I left a “seeking roommate(s)” notice at Encore Records, and… You know, i can’t remember if i did anything else on my way back to the bus station to get to The Ugly Mug in Ypsilanti, but clearly I did *something*, but damned if i can recall what….

So, I took the bus into Ypsilanti, and figured I’d stop at the Deja Vu Love Boutique –you know, the porn shop next to/technically inside the stripper club (it’s not a “nudie bar”, Michigan has laws against that). I’d had some friends who used to work there, and I knew it was a long shot to see if they still did, but I also knew that it was pretty frequent that the dancers are looking for reliable roommates, so it’d be worth it to check, right? Well, I got in, and no-one i knew was working, and it’s possible that the whole staff of people i used to know isn’t there anymore. And to top it off, an older man who worked there at the shop, Big Al, who had this almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the porn tastes of the regulars, and always seemed extra-excited to see me and my current humanoid meat-based housemate, I had heard that he had actually died. He had to be at least in his seventies, so I’m not too surprised, but he was nice enough, so when I stepped back out to make my way to the coffeehouse, I places a candle on the pavement and stuck an incense stick between the bricks, and asked the Khthonoi to see his safe journey:

No, I didn't clear the cigarette butt --somehow, it seemed appropriate.

No, I didn’t clear the cigarette butt –somehow, it seemed appropriate.

I got to The Ugly Mug a bit early, and so I plugged in the charger cord for mt mp3 player, and ordered an iced vanilla latte. Just over the little station where they have the sugar and creamer and lids and stuff, they had these little busts that I forgot to get photos of, and I don’t even remember who (or Who) they were supposed to be (and of course they’re not in the panorama of the interior), but the dress and hair seemed mid-Victorian, and one was the basic eggshell/ivory-coloured resin and one was stained brownish-blacking, possibly with tea or coffee. With the stained one, I was immediately reminded of Aphrodite Melainis (Αφροδιτη Μελαινις); I was kind of tempted to pocket it (and i can be sneaky), but I figure if I end up moving close by, either a) on the off chance this’d be my first time caught stealing, it would not do me any good to steal from the best coffeehouse within walking distance of where i was guessing I might end up living, OR b) if i did end up moving to the area, i could just ask how much they cost. Of course, i could’ve asked that, at the time, but I was expecting to see the only real prospects I had on a roommate situation, and i didn’t on the off chance that She’d be $15 or less, I didn’t want t get caught in a loop of trying to decide whether or not i could afford the expense.

The potential roommate was running a bit late, but when she showed up, we chatted a bit about situations, what we’re looking for in co-habitants, and cost of living expenses after utilities. Personality-wise, she’s pretty chill and laid-back, not the biggest stickler on cleaning in the common areas (“if you say you’ll get to it, just get to it when you can, no big deal”), and totally cool with the trans thing (even sounds like she’d be willing to eliminate other potential roommates from the running if they aren’t). We walked back to the apartment, and the place was *gorgeous*. It’s an apartment in a converted BIG old Victorian house (one of the more modest ones, to be fair), and the apartment itself is about half of the basement, and maybe a third or just over that of the Ground/First level, and the two floors have a spiral staircase –and the Ground level master bedroom opens up onto a porch; the potential roommate said she’s taking over the master, but that she doesn’t care if other people in the apartment go through it to use the porch. 🙂 So, assuming I get a room there, I can bring my bird feeders!

Now, I say “assuming I get a room there” because *technically* nothing is set in stone, just yet. After I looked around, Potential New Roommate aid that she’d planned to email people later that night or early today, and that it was going to be “first come, first served”, as in the first three of the five people to get back to her would get to fill out an application with the property management. I said “this could be an issue, cos I don’t have a smartphone and so no guaranteed Internet access until I get back to Lansing”, which was around 4pm today; if it wasn’t going to be any trouble, I asked, would I be able to just fill out an application, right then, if she had any *or*, if she didn’t, would she be willing to take my claim to an application before she sent out the emails. As luck would have it, she had an app for property management right there, and the apartment had wi-fi so I could check on the Lansing house’s property management phone number –I even offered to go get copies made of Nigel’s current vaccine documentation and ESA certificate, but that wasn’t going to be necessary until I get my credit check approved.

And speaking of cats, the Potential Primary Roommate has a cat, a fluffy long-haired tabby named Cleo; she’s a little shy, but very sweet. There are also potentially two other cats who will be staying while their owners move out to places that may be anti-cat and a total of three other cats there, now: a big orange tabby named Jerry(?), a slightly smaller orange tabby, and a brown/grey-and-black tabby with a white belly (I forget the names of these two). The cats are very playful with each-other, and I know that Nigel will love that, cos before Vermin died, when Nigel was still a wee kitten, he really wanted her to play with him (since Chunk and the now-departed Fat Bob wanted nothing to do with him), and he’s so happy when the tamer of the porch cats will come in for a few minutes to play with him, so I know it’ll be good for Nigel to make friends with other cats –might even help some of his shyness issues with strangers when he’s out of his carrier (he does fine at the vet and the groomer, but as soon as a stranger [to him] even steps on the porch, he’s trying to get under the chair, cos obviously this person is here to murder kitties!)

When I finished up and asked for directions back to the Ypsilanti Bus Station for the AATA, Prospective Roommate said “yeah, just make a left out that way onto N. Washington, and it should be just down the street eventually. This was an overstatement –the bus is just barely a block away! Also, on the very short walk to the bus station, apparently some of the people in the neighbourhood think the local nymphai get chilly:

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So I hopped on a bus back to Ann Arbor to see my friend Jeff at PJ’s Used Records. I got off the bus about a block early (three and a half years away led to forgetting that there’s a stop right out in front of the shop), and when i stepped in, I said “It’s smells like old hippies in here!” (which is kind of true, when Jeff’s working), and here’s something interesting he had to share:

We chatted a bit, I politely explained that I was unable to really justify buying anything from my hold this time, but to wish me luck on the apartment, and, just as an “insurance policy”, put up a “Seeking Roommate(s)” notice on the corkboard just outside.

I noticed that i *just* had some time to swing by Crazy Wisdom and maybe fill out the app at the Tea Room, but by the time i got there, I was told that there weren’t currently any openings, but maybe if i’m persistent the manager (who was not there) would at least keep my app on file. On my way out, got the urge to ask the woman at the book counter if there were any downstairs openings at the time, and she said no, but assured me that even thoug the manager likes to have people commit to at least a year at the Tea Room, that there’s a high turn-around, cos food service, so just be persistent, and it’ll happen, eventually. Then on my way out, I noticed a statue of The Three Kharites (Χαριτες) in a case. Because it’s what sells, most of the statuary at CW is either Hindu, Buddhist, or Celtic. They have a very small selection of Shenist and Kemetic deities, but it’s actually unusual to see Græco-Roman stuff there, at all. Cos I couldn’t see the price, I asked the woman at the book counter if she could check that for me, and it’s certainly affordable. I asked how long they could hold stuff, and she said only about two or three days, and since I’m not going to be back for at least another two weeks, that wouldn’t be fair, so I said, “well, I’ll just cross my fingers that They’ll still be here when i can justify the price.” She responded, “they will be.” I thought it was a tad odd, but noteworthy, that she didn’t couch this in a “probably”, so here’s hoping. 🙂

At the trans group, I met a few new people and said hi to some people I saw last time. Unfortunately, nothing much to say about that, but I did share my experience at the Polytheist Leadership Conference and also my search for living arrangements back in the area, and asked people to “pray to whatever deities or saints they think could help, light a candle, and/or just send out good vibe or energy for me. Apparently at least one person from group lives in the neighbourhood, too (not sure where, and since I’m not giving their name, hopefully this doesn’t breach the expectation of confidentiality in that group), so I just may have someone to go forth and make mayhem art with!

I then got back to the Ypsilanti bus station and met up with my couchsurfing.com person for the overnight I had planned. She has a half-blind, 12-year-old Pomeranian who loves carrots and thinks I’m a bigger sucker than I am. Not much to say, there, we chatted, I slept, woke up, showered, and got on the bus back to Ann Arbor.

When I got back to A2, first I stopped at the Forest Hill Cemetery. I stopped there instead of the Island Drive Park, where i had planned to cos a) I was now doubting that the park was where I remembered it was and b) I tried to find the cemetery the day before, but because Ann Arbor’s city streets were designed on cannabis or something, where I should’ve turned a hard right, I turned a soft left and instead wound up at the dental school. I found one of my old favourite spots and stopped to light some incense for Nyx, Persephone, and the Dead. Now, the day before, I stopped in at the little shop called Middle Earth, where they sell postcards and a bunch of trinkety things, and they had a wall of Wildberry™ Incense; I had grabbed a few sticks of Opium and a few sticks of Sizzling Bacon for my current humanoid meat-based housemate. When I stopped in the cemetery, I intended only to burn the stick of patchouli for the local dead (which was lying around and fit in my overnight bag, and in a pinch, I’ll use anything that doesn’t specifically has Khthonic qualities, as an all-purpose incense) and a stick of the Opium for Nyx, but as I was there, and praying, supplicating my weord old Goddess for Her blessing, I said suddenly, mid-thought, “yes, you’re right, Persephone wants the Sizzling Bacon, Scott won’t mind one less stick.”

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I had lunch at NYPD (New York Pizza Depot), and then made my way back to the Student Union, or rather, the vicinity of its rear entrance on Maynard street for another little offering to the local gods; I would jave the day before, just before group, but i had been on my feet, carring my messenger bag and my overnight bag, and I was afraid that if I sat down on the steps, I would not be able to get back up in time for group. So why here, in particular?

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Click the picture for the full-size. See what building I had to stop at, there? See why it was a moral imperative that I libate and offer incense to Apollon and the Moisai, there? 🙂 When I lit the incense, a woman with a headscarf that looked kinda like how a friend who converted to Hare Krishna wears hers saw me and smiled sweetly before walking into the Literature, Science, and Arts building.

Then I *finally* got my PO Box –now people can send me things!

After that, I stopped at Sam’s, which was just across the street, and got a new bandana, waffled briefly between Purple or Spiderwebs, selected the Purple, and then went back across the street and to the parking structure office that now serves as the new Greyhound Bus ticket office and baggage check station. Obviously I got home safely, and I have made this post and shared these photos! I also have a couple photos for Galina that I forgot to take off the camera until just now, so I’ll do that after I hit “Publish”.

Other good and relevant news: Nigel’s paperwork came in today! I *knew* Priority Shipping was going to be a waste of money when the default was First Class Package! I was honestly expecting it a little later in the week, but now is good, too. Thank you, registermyserviceanimal.com! Now Nigel has a certificate (in my currently-legal and soon-to-be legal names!), an ID card for his carrier (ditto!), a collar tag that says “Emotional Support Animal”, and a little emergency kit, with a couple of window decals, key tags and wallet card, and a booklet for jotting down vet info and vaccine records. Thanks so much to those who donated and made this possible, now Nigel and i cannot legally be separated. 🙂Pic

That said, I’m still raising money for moving expenses! You can just straight-up buy my Ni-Ni a carrier or microchip, or donate toward any amount! Scott needs gas (and not the kind from burritos), I need rent, and it’s possible I’ll need a van rented. Things are looking more hopeful now than ever, I’m just waiting for the news from New Potential Roommate and the property management people to make it official!

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.

30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 15 ~ Pantheon – Every-One Else

I’m at a loss for words on this one, so I’m going to do a run-down of as many Theoi and Titans as I can think of, and a quick line or two (or possibly three) on how I see Them, my thoughts, etc…:

Zeus: Mythologically, He’s the God who puts his dick in everything. In real life, He’s a multi-faceted Father God who can be The Stern, Mean Judge one minute, and then crack bad Dad Jokes the next.
Hera: She’s a goddess of marriage, of fidelity, and of traditions. I get the impression that She’s more of a monarchist than Zeus.
Athene: Athene is like the Cool Older Sister who goes to political rallies and fights for civil justice. People who aren’t close to Her also seem to think She’s “kinda butch”, but I get the impression that She doesn’t see Herself that way. I tried to forge something with Her, but it was never meant to be that deep, apparently.
Aphrodite: As I said in my Eros post, I see Her bond with Eros as familial in spirit — They share a lot of common ground, but I’ve never seen them as mother-and-child deities. In fact, that one picture I added to yesterday’s post, with Eros comforting an exhausted Aphrodite, I think that says a lot.
Hermes: A god of the in-betweens: Travellers, story-telling, commerce — which is the exchange of money rather than the acquisition of said. A protector of thieves, but specifically those who are so out of necessity, not sloth.
Dionysos: Patron of theatre, wine, and all in life that proves delicious.
Hephaestos: God of smiths, craftsmen, labourers, the blue-collar working classes. A patron of those who overcome obstacles.
Ares: God of war, fighting for self-protection (rather than sport), and machismo.
Poseidon: Rules of the seas, bringer of earthquakes, creator of horses. A protector of many Hellenic cities.
Demeter: Goddess of the corn (grains), harvest, agriculture. She who prepares for the changing of the seasons.
Artemis: Goddess of the hunt, archery (for necessity, rather than sport — which is Apollon’s domain), protector of children (especially young girls) and all wild things. Always struck me as a bit of a wild thing, herself, and the glimpses of Her I’ve had, She struck me as all but feral.
Hestia: Goddess of the hearth and home; “the rock” that holds families together. Her givt to humanity are the domestic arts, especially cooking and baking.
Hades: Lord of the dead and ruler of all places inside and under the face of Gaea. Perhaps not the cuddliest deity, but certainly not the Hollywood “substitute Satan”.
Persephone: Goddess of changes. She turns winter into springtime, She transforms girls into young women.
Asklepios: Son of Apollon the Healer, and patron God of medicine and doctors; according to legend, He was the first.
Pan: God of shitting in the woods. God of wild things, shepherds, mountains, primitive musics. Consort of Kybele.
Herakles: Steve Reeves. Theban heros. By Thespian tradition, He is the father of all fifty grandsons of legendary first king of Thespiae, Thespius, by each of Thespius’ fifty daughters. By the account of Parthenius of Nicaea, He is also the father of the Keltoi via the daughter of “Bretannus” (though this story is apparently one of backward-etymology, considering that Hellenes had referred to the British Isles [including Ireland] as “Βρεττανίαι (Brettaniai)” for about three centuries prior to the appearance of this story). Herakles is a deity of responsibilities, physical greatness (as opposed to mere fitness), and obstacles.
Ganymedes & Hebe: God and Goddess of youth. Cup-bearers of Olympos.
Moirai: The fates. They Who spin the threads of each individual’s life and then weaves it into an immense tapestry of humanity.
Horai: Two sets of goddesses; the eldest keep the seasons, and the youngest keep the hours
Kharites: The three goddesses of Beauty, Merriment, and Festivities.
Hekate: Goddess of magics, witchcraft, ghosts, nighttime, necromancy; and according to Hesiod, “Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods”. Protector from bad omens and harmful spells. Eternally youthful, but mother of
Kirke: Goddess pharmakeia — often translated as “witch” or “sorceress”, but is the root for “pharmacy” and means “user or giver of drugs and medicines”. Wife of Odysseus. Her cult seems to have been rooted in herbal magics and medicines.
Hypnos: God of Sleep, protector of insomniacs. Older brother of
The Oneroi: The givers of dreams and omens. Older, but only very slightly, than
Thanatos: Bringer of death, typically a peaceful death.
Helios, Eos, Selene, The Asterea: Celestial Titans of The Sun, Dawn, The Moon, and the Stars.

I may add to this later, but for now, will close with a quote from my favourite science fiction series:

“Gods by the bushel! Gods by the pound! When every day is a fight for survival, you need all the gods you can get.” — Londo Mollari, Babylon 5

List behind cut:
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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.

30-Day Paganism Meme: Day 3, Beliefs – Deities

I’m at a bit of a loss on this.

Why didn’t I change this one?

See, I’ve been putting this one off because I’m not sure how to essay this.

The simplest and most bleeding obvious would be to explain that I believe in multiple deities and multiple tribal pantheons, but that’s pretty obvious from previous posts. I guess I could extrapolate on that….

See, when I first started looking into Celtic mythology, I first tried to think of ways to compare them to Hellenic deities — and that was full of fail on my part. First off, there is no one Celtic mythology; you can say that there are two main Celtic mythologies, Gaelic (Irish, Scottish, and Manx tribes) and British (Welsh, Cornish, and Briton tribes), though some would argue that the Gauls were Celts, as well, and then there are some deities that seem quite apparently Pan-Celtic, even moreso than certain Hellenic deities, but if you ask around, there are still distinct tribal names, even if the differences between names seems minute to a non-speaker. Trying to put Celtic deities in a Hellenic model is asking for headache. Some are easy, like Aerten/Aeron (Welsh/Cornish Goddess of Fate) is easy to correlate to the Hellenic Tykhe, in domain if not narrative mythos. Then you get to Brighd/Banfile, and She’s the Goddess of both the hearth and of martial arts, of fertility, and of “all feminine arts and crafts” — which Hellenic Goddess is she most like? Athene? Hestia? Hera? Ask five different people, I doubt you’ll get the same answer from every single one of them. Lugh/Llaw Gyffes is another one like Banfile — He’s got sun and light, and that’s easy to sync up to Apollon, but He’s also a “god of many skills”, which just screams “Hermes” to me (indeed, the Romans likened Him to Mercury), and He’s a god of metallurgy, which brings to mind Hephaistos; he’s also considered chief of the Tuatha de Dannan in the Irish cycles, which is an easy similarity to Zeus. This is where certain brands of syncretism and / or “soft polytheism” fail me; the important thing to remember about polytheism is the “poly-“, the many — really, it’s far too easy to look at a deity worshipped by another culture and pick some of that deity’s aspects, but not truly learn about all of them (much less get up-close-n-personal with said God/dess) and say, “oh yeah, your deity A is like our Deity Z”. Maybe this gave some common worshippers among the ancients a neat little frame-work to have at least some peace with their neighbours, and maybe it gave the “Educated” Elite of Hellas (who pretty much dominated the philosophy scene) some kind of ego-stroke to believe that it was truly their Gods who were worshipped everywhere, and the Hellenic form is the purest of these deities — and hey, by hand-picking a few of Brighd’s traits and assigning them to the notion that “Brighd is Minerva and/or Athene”, it creates the illusion of knowing about your neighbour’s culture without actually troubling yourself with getting down with them and really and truly learning about their culture.

And this is where I have to disagree with a lot of ancient writers, who commonly made a habit of taking a deity from another pantheon and likening Them to one of their own. Now, technically, I’m rather forgiving of this practise amongst Hellenes, and maybe that’s where my arbitrary line is drawn, but this is an opinion piece, of sorts. In my own experiences, Lugh and Apollon, Hermes, Hephaistos, and Zeus are all very different from each-other — and most importantly, I get pushed away by Lugh. Plus, the number of people I’ve encountered who have similarly experiences separate entities far outnumber those who are happy to believe that Lugh is Llaw Gyffes is Apollon, and I do believe that means something.

I will say, though, and maybe this is me “outing” myself as “not a pure recon”, but though I’ve yet to find any rituals to perform to Him, I do connect with Oengus Og, indeed, He’s the only Celtic deity I ever really have, and I feel Him very differently than I do Eros, but then, I’ve mentioned this before, haven’t I?

There are deities everywhere, and for everything. Some of their spheres of influence will overlap with that of several others, some tribal deities will be perfect matches with others.

I believe each deity exists in Their own right and their own form, but this form is largely incorporeal and They may shift form to better relate to mortals — still, I see some constants among those who have become close to one deity or another, probably so that humans may become closer through that bond (like Hermes with red hair).

I believe that each deity, though ultimately incomprehensible, does have a range of relatable emotions and personality traits that we, in our egotism, ascribe as “human-like”.

I believe, ultimately, that They love us.

0. Intro to meme
1. Beliefs – Why Hellenismos?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Sacred sexuality
6. Beliefs – Divination, mysticism and various woo shit
7. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
8. Beliefs – Festivals
9. Environmentalism
10. Patrons – Eros
11. Patrons – Apollon
12. Pantheon – Mousai
13. Pantheon – Adonis
14. Pantheon – Nyx & Kybele
15. Pantheon – Every-One Else
16. Nature spirits, Khthonoi, & The Dead
17. My ways of worship
18. Community
19. Hellenismos and my family/friends
20. Hellenismos and my love life
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Hellenismos and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos
25. Favoured ritual tools, and why
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Hellenismos you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Hellenismos
30. Advice for seekers

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.

Hermes & Computers

If being an Hellenic polytheist with Internet access has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me that Group Gnosis among other Hellenic types seems to agree that Hermes’ domain includes computers and the Internet. I’m not at all opposed to this idea — in fact, I’ll even go so far as to agree with it because, frankly, it makes sense.

By this, a fair amount of Hellenic polytheists say that they’ve included a sort of “mini-shrine” for Hermes by their computers. Now, as those of you watching my primary blog and Twitter (or at least talking to me on IM) would know, I got a new computer this weekend. The specs and soundcard are optimised for music, primarily, but after that, Internet — graphic work on this thing will look adequate, but the video card is at least spiffy enough that YouTube won’t constantly crash this machine (as it tended to do with the older one). With this new comp, I’m now feeling like it’s worthy of a little Hermes shrine, but I’m also in the beginning stages of re-doing my office, so I’m simply idea-hunting on the shrine right now.

If you have a computer-area shrine, feel free to link me or at least tell me about it — or, if you’ve seen some photos that have inspired you, feel free to share with me.

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.

Praise to Hermes

So, my room-mate was driving me to an appointment in Detroit earlier when, due to the snow and slush on the roads, we ended up spinning out on I-94 whilst trying to make a turn. The car, a silver Saturn Ion, did a complete 180° turn and ended up with the passenger-side tires over the edge of the asphalt and the whole car facing the opposite direction of traffic.

First thing out of my mouth “well, that could have been a whole lot worse” and then I immediately light a cigarette.

Less than a minute passes and in that short amount of time, my room-mate, who I shall call Scott (cos that’s his name) for the sake of simplicity, and I assess the situation and decide that he, being in the range of six-and-a-half feet tall and built like a cross between The Undertaker of WWF fame and a farmhand (compared to my own diminutive 5’2″ and being built like Bilbo Baggins), shall push the car while I move over to the driver’s seat, put the car in Neutral, and steer it back onto the road. After this minute-range of time passes, a car of two people, a young man and his lady friend, pull over to see what they can do to help. Another minute, at most, passes, and another car, this time a largeish SUV containing another young man, this one with a chain and a towing hook, stops to help out.

I then toss a couple of coins pulled out indiscriminately from my change purse, and toss then into the snow, under the car, as a minor offering to Hermes as thanks for this help, and then whisper a short prayer of praise, as I steer the car being towed out. Thankfully, there is nobody oncoming by the time we get out, so we’re able to turn the car back around the proper way, and make our way back onto the surface streets — where it’s discovered that we only made it as far as Romulus, Michigan, before I call my surgeon’s office to reschedule. (Thankfully, his receptionist was very nice about it and even asked to make sure that we were OK.)

And now, if nobody minds, I’m off to go burn some incense.

Kala Noumenia!

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

Messenger Bag

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

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

This is how mine looks today:

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

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

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

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

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

How Eros has Affected My General Worship: Chloris

Somehow, I think that the especial cult reverence that I afford Eros and the Erotes has helped me to see how the Theoi are connected and interact. One Goddess, Whom I now feel is often overlooked, Chloris (Flora, in Latin), the Goddess of Flowers, is one who I only really noticed after gravitating toward Eros cultus.

After noticing Chloris, it seemed quite obvious why She should be afforded at least some reverence in Erote worship: Many (and I do mean many) love stories in the mythos of ancient Hellas involve a metamorphisis into flowers. Many flowers are sacred to Aphrodite and the Erotes. Even in modern rituals that many people regard as being totally secular, flowers are often given in romance — and, interestingly, flowers are left for our dead. Again, we come to a relationship between Eros and Thanatos, Love and Death, a relationship which is far more pronounced in Gaelig mythology, and as we can see in the sources on Theoi.com, Ovid -in heavily implying Greek origin of this mythology (indeed, he implies it all over the place)- associates Chloris with the Isles of the Blessed in Elysium, and according to Wikipaedia, She is associated with not only Flowers, but also Spring and New Growth — an incredibly apt Goddess to associate with mythos often interpreted as life-death-rebirth mythos, such as Adonis or Hyakinthos, or even Narkissos.

And let us not forget that, botanically, flowers are basically the sex organs of the plant.

In connecting Chloris to Eros, the nymphai of the flowers are next, then the nymphai as a whole, Apollon, Dionysos, Hermes, Artemis… basically any other Theos with strong connections to the nymphai. In connecting Him to Chloris, we bring Him together with the Seasons, the Winds, the Weather Theoi, Zeus. All roads lead to Eros: Love and Creation.

About Ruadhán McElroy

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

The Theoi of Mod

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Ruadhán McElroy

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