February Updates

Before I get started, I want to drop a link to the International Rescue Committee, founded (in part) by Albert Einstein. They are active around the world to help displaced people, and they are now mobilizing to help Ukrainians. I donate to IRC monthly because I want to ensure that displaced people — there are so many wars around the world — have the support they need. Over the years, I have noticed that many Etsy shops selling wood-carved deity icons are based in Ukraine, and my sincere prayers go to those artisans and their families. So many of us have icons from those shops on our shrines, and while we may not know anyone in Ukraine personally, this is just one example of how we are all connected to one another in ways known and unknown to us.

Now, on to updates.

In February, I started out by spending some time in Notion reworking my daily rituals. I needed to create some efficiencies in my prayers on the days I work onsite so I am less rushed when heading out the door, albeit in a moderate way. A quote that has always stuck with me is the one about how tasks will balloon to occupy the amount of time we give them, so if I allow other elements of my morning routine to “stretch” longer than they ought, it lands me in the same conundrum ad infinitum. I’d rather offer that time to the Gods and force myself to be efficient.

The other edit I did was to reframe how I do lunar calendar observances, moving more away from the ancient Attic Greek calendar and more towards a loose application of Hesiod plus a few auspicious days for deities in the close cluster I worship. Reworking my lunar cycle observances has been the hardest habit for me to change as I move towards reframing my own practice in a more mindful and culturally appropriate way.

The broad reception of Hesiod’s poetry beyond his immediate place and space, the concepts from Proclus and others of Gods having sacred days that “resonate” with the God with respect to the cycles of time we observe, and getting clear about the logistics and process of honoring all of the Gods, have all been factors in this decision-making process. Additionally, while I wrote my rough draft of the open access “how to even many Gods” project, new ideas and ways to reframe things cropped up almost continuously.

This is how it currently looks. As a reminder, I have some printables of lunar calendars on this site for anyone to make use of.

  1. NOUMENIA: Prayer to All of the Gods III | Ritual for New Moon | Incense at CIP Shrine
  2. Matrones, Suleviæ, Household Gods, Good Spirit (at ancestral shrine)
  3. Athene
  4. Aphrodite, Eros, Herakles, Hermes
  5. Erinyes, Eris, Horkos
  6. Artemis
  7. Apollon
  8. Poseidon, Asklepios
  9. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  10. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  11. Moirai
  12. Creative Gods
  13. Athene || Evening: Full Moon Ritual, probably, unless time is strange
  14. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  15. Apotropaic Prayers
  16. Artemis
  17. Demeter (grain offering)
  19. PURIFICATION DAY: Dionysos
  20. Household Gods, Apollon, prayer to intellectual ancestors
  21. Eikás: Apollon
  22. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  23. Athene
  24. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  25. Apotropaic Prayers
  26. Prayer to All of the Gods I or III
  27. Apollon Moiragetes
  28. Chthonic Gods, Ancestors
  29. Chthonic Gods, Ancestors (if in calendar)
  30. Triakás/Hene kai Nea: Hekate

I was born on the 20th day of a lunar cycle, so the changes I made to that day (special offerings to household Gods and Apollon) are exploring that. It’s also the day when apparently wise people are said to be born, so it seems like a great time to express gratitude to dead theologians, philosophers, and poets, if we ignore the “born” part.

A wood image I ordered from Greece also came in, finally, to go in my office. I wanted to have an image of Athene there. She has such a role in academia and libraries for me (alongside Hermes). My library is underground, and I have no access to natural light during the day. There’s a pit window on my floor, but its rays never touch me. I was surprised by how bright her image made my office space.

To consecrate the image, I prayed at my shrine and asked for a blessing. I wrapped it in white cloth to keep it safe in my backpack, especially since I had a 9-9:30 AM in-course library teaching session on Wednesday when I went in. I put up the icon after I arrived at my office.

I also keep my overhead light off because it increases my eye strain somehow?

The open access project, as I wrote in a previous post, is now being allowed to sit for a week. This has been a very difficult pause, as I constantly have ideas for how to rework sections and ensure it flows well. While rereading Proclus’ Platonic Theology, there have been many occasions when I’ve wanted to just put the book down and thread some things in.

While the book could never escape being informed by the fact that my polytheistic practice is Platonizing, and I will justify things in that book using Platonic arguments, it is designed for people just getting started worshipping Gods — people who may feel intimidated and who definitely do not need information overload. This is the main thing I will need to edit for, and it’s already occurred to me that splitting up chapters could be useful. It is also designed to be practical, such that someone with zero knowledge can set up a shrine, say some prayers, and have a decent idea of what a God is, insofar as anyone could understand them. I am into religion and spirituality, and many resources nowadays are for people who worship Gods as part of a magical and occult practice — so, while there are many “getting started” guides out there, this is one that doesn’t assume the reader will ever join the witchcraft or occult subcultures.

Last, I keep a handwritten journal. The volume I started on September 22, 2016, came to its final entry on February 21, 2022. There were times I didn’t update, definitely, but the more striking thing is that the journal abruptly changed tone in mid-2019, coinciding with some spiritual things going on in my life. Glancing at the earlier entries — when I was in therapy and working through a lot of shame and toxicity — was so eerie to me. I was worshipping Hermes a lot because his traditional domains involve many of my interests (conlanging and prose), trying to get back into consistent spiritual study, failing to cope with short story and other types of writing rejections, identifying into something that wasn’t mine (Hellenism), and so much more. It was such a liminal space, and not a pleasant one. After mid-2019, in the years leading up to now, I self-published a book of religious poetry, got a lot of my sh–t together (although I’m still a work in progress), had a dramatic upheaval of how I labeled my practice (and grew a lot through following logic and my gut to its conclusion), read a ton of Platonic commentaries, and returned to following Apollon. And then there are the changes over the past five and a half years in civic life writ large. I expressed at several points towards the end of the journal how much my outlook had changed and how jarring it was to think about anyone reading the first two-thirds of it.

The final eerie reflection happened when I opened up my new journal to put down the words I write at the beginning of every journal: “But when you have put away craving for sweet food, come with me singing the hymn ie paean until you come to the place where you shall keep my rich temple.”

The quote in the new journal.

It’s from the long Homeric Hymn to Apollon, and the God is addressing the sailors he has brought to Delphi. Reflexively, thoughts raced through my mind — analysis. Sweet food, the delights of the sensory and the irrational world; the hymn ie paean, the rites and rituals we keep for the God; the upward climb following the God to the temple; the inevitable journey into the adytum. How long had I written that passage down? How many years had I spent thinking of those words without realizing the selection of them was a prayer, not knowing what putting down those specific words meant? I thought back to that one time I prayed to Durga in my teens, and it was momentarily amusing that I had prayed to Apollon with the same ignorance. I felt such gratitude that the God had answered, though. I wrote out the words. My fountain pen made a hollow sound against the hard inner cover while my mind peppered the interior stream-of-consciousness with images of difficult upward trails, the sound of a lyre, and a sense of inner steadiness. I started off my journal in 2016 venting about a work thing. I started off my journal on February 22, 2022, expressing gratitude to Apollon.

I took a photo of the first paragraph before I got into personal stuff (as I always introduce who I am — name, some demographic info — towards the beginning of a journal).

One of the things I wrote in the draft of the open access project, and something I firmly believe, is that our practice is iterative — regardless of whether we are doing our own thing or in a specific tradition. The years coil upon one another in spirals — time marches forward, the cycles come back again. Things change, whether we recognize it or fight it. We can be so certain about elements of our practice, or Gods we follow, until we have those upheavals that force us to approach things methodically and with fresh eyes. As long as the change is in dialogue with the Gods, and as long as it expresses that unfolding of that sacred conversation with them in time, we are making the right choices — the only ones we could make.

3 thoughts on “February Updates

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s