Monday, August 12, 2013

Moved to Wordpress

I have moved my blog over to Wordpress! All my posts have been migrated, so I suggest you come and check it out! New blog!

This blog will remain up though, for posterity mostly.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Noble Hearth [Poetry]

Oh Hestia, you noble hearth
I bear my breast to you
From your heat sweat drips down my brow
A trickle down my eyes, burning them
Down my neck, preferring to rest on my collar bone
Till a movement I make

This hearth I tend not for me
And not for who I know or knew
For someone yet to be known to me
For someone known only to you

Burn away hostility noble Goddess
I feel your flames lap at my face
Purify me oh noble Goddess
No pollution has touched my soul
But do away with the inhospitality within it
Let me be a vessel for your kindness
For there is no joy without you

Once Upon a Time, Conor was in a Frat.

Once upon a time I was in a fraternity.

I know, I know, you must have fallen out of your chair at that sentence, so I'll give you a minute to compose yourself.

Done? Okay.

It was my Freshman year of College. I had never really thought about fraternities or joining one, I thought it certainly wasn't for me. At my Freshman orientation I found out about them and found out about all the wonderful opportunities they could afford me. I though well, maybe there is something to it. I carefully began investigating the available fraternities, I checked their pages, scoured for photos, and basically saw what kind of air they gave off. Did they seem aggressive? Douchy? Friendly? Kind? I rushed and only went to one fraternity's events, Phi Kappa Tau.

They seemed like good guys, they had a good mixture of folks. Some were geeky like myself, some were conservative, some were gay, some were liberal, but none of them were 'bros'. I was enthralled when I received a bid from them.

Two other young men also received bids


Bid day was interesting, it was surprising to see how many other folks received bids from the different fraternities and how diverse they were. There were some guys who were clearly destined to become the bro-esque guys that swim in alcohol and party all the time. There were other guys who looked like skater punks. There were exceptionally flamboyant men, there were exceptionally manly men. Men of every stripe, creed, race, and orientation were there to receive bids that morning. Going up on stage and accepting the bid was kind of exhilarating to be honest. 


Then came the pinning. Being pinned was. . .definitely an experience. It was the first act of initiation into the group when I became recognized as an associate member (and thus not fully initiated.), Three other men were pinned with me (one was picked up shortly after the formal pledge period). I wore that pin with pride. I was proud to be a part of the group, proud of what we were doing and what we would do. I saw success in our future. You see, at that time we were what is known as a 'colony' meaning we didn't have a charter yet but were working towards getting one. At the time of the pinning I was convinced we'd have one very soon.



Homecoming rolled around shortly after I got pinned and I got to experience the pleasure of pomping a float. In case you don't know, pomping is an insanely tedious and repetitive task that will eventually result in you getting pomping tissue stuck to your jeans due to the spray on glue. It was a lot of work, and I didn't even do a ton of pomping when compared to the lovely ladies of Kappa Kappa Gamma (I tell you, they wanted to WIN that float contest.) I even got to ride on the float and wave to little kids, make eagle shouts. It was a great deal of fun.


Eventually though, some conflicts with other people and disagreements with where some of the leadership was going led me to drop. To this day I'm not entirely sure if that was the right decision on my part. I had a lot of fun with these guys though, and being in a fraternity gave me some experiences and some particular perspectives.

There are a few things I learned from this. 

The first one is that organization is not a bad thing nor is leadership. Sure, when you have this stuff you have a lot of petty politics that occurs and a bit of tiara chasing occurs but you also are able to get more work done than an individual person. We volunteered and cleaned up parks, staffed SUSAN G KOMEN events and worked at a charity haunted house and in each one of these things our group did more work than an individual could do by themselves. We were able to do this through communication and organization, and we had people volunteer that normally wouldn't to help make the group look better.

You also look out for each other and support each other. When I and another member where in a terrible car wreck (not our fault. Was rainy and a guy smashed into us) they came and got us from the hospital (luckily no life threatening injuries for this, but the car was totaled). This was in the wee hours of the morning, after they got us they took us out to eat. Like any good community of folks they supported us when we were at a low spot and did so with no hesitation. Likewise, the 'Greek' community supported each other in some small way, be it by going to each others events or donating to each others philanthropies. We competed with one another but we also helped each other succeed.

It also taught me that the stereotypes were not true except for small populations and that stomping out the stereotypes were essential and vital when we encountered them. One non-Greek thinking that all Greeks were alcoholics was harmful not only to my fraternity but to every fraternity, and when someone would complain about Greeks and then cite a specific fraternity some defense of the members may have been in order. Or maybe just the assertion and reassurance that all fraternity men were not like that.

There is strength in numbers. There is no doubt about that. There is a reason that despite all the bad press, the bad media, and the fuck-ups that fraternities around the nation have made they still continue to thrive. It is because they stick together. Regardless of what council they belonged to or what fraternity they were in they didn't allow themselves to be divided and conquered.

Out of all the lessons I learned, strength in numbers is the most critical lesson of all. Sannion recently wrote a post called Polytheism Without Borders in which he issued a call to Polytheists of all stripes and cultures to be stand and counted and to help one another. To band together and be strong and support one another. With that notion in mind, I hafta ask.

What can I do for you? Contact me in the comments below or at fathergia@yahoo.com

I am here to serve.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Deipnon [Haiku]

No moon in the sky
Offerings at the crossroads
Your dinner is served

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lament to Athena [Poetry]

Hear my cries dear Aegis
Be my strength and my landing shore
Oh how, you cold-eyed goddess?
Do I sustain myself?
On the hopes of generations
And on the soil of dead and ruined men.

Hear my cries great Goddess
Be the sharpness of my tongue
How then, will I begin to build?
When given no tools
Nor source of light
Oh Savior, a forest of trees yet no axe.
A quarry of stone yet no pick.
A clear-sighted man fumbling in the dark for matches

Hear my cries Daughter of Zeus
Be the deftness of my hands
I beg tell, when will I see warmth?
When my fellows are not fellows
When the friends are only friends
When the union of faith is not met at the hearth
Not consummated by consuming flame
When the only voice lifted in song is my own

Hear my cries dearest one
Be the beating of my heart
Oh how, Mater Athene
Do I know peace and security
When my roof leaks and my door does not lock
When faith does not make friends
And when I fear perpetual solitude

I've almost forgotten
When peace was not an illusion
When I could smell the scent of friends
Voices lifted in worship to a jealous god.

I kneel in front of you
You clasp  your hands in mine.
Together we raise our voices.
For a second my heart and mind are quiet
I have answers to my questions
They are not the ones I want

Only shall I know peace
If I carve it out myself.

Lend me your spear, oh war-like Goddess.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Impiety and Magic

This whole 'magic is hubris' bullshit needs to stop.

Seriously, I have seen it tear apart group after group, get people's feelings hurt and just destroy harmony and the notion that we might be able to talk with others in an open and honest way. It drives people away and scares them off for a start, and all of it is entirely unnecessary.

The folks that I see often claiming that 'magic is hubris' usually have one thing in common. They either came to Hellenismos after a stint in practicing Wicca or look up to/heavily admire a person who has done so. It seems to me that many of those folks who rail against magic so hard are the kind of folks who are trying to put as much distance between themselves and their Neo-Pagan background as possible. They seem to be terrified that Hellenismos might somehow get lumped in the Neo-Paganism (surprise guys, it already is by outsiders) and as such rail against common elements in Neo-Paganism, especially the over-emphasis on magic. It seems to me that they have something to prove, so they try to prove it by bashing on 'magic-users' and 'rooting them out' from Hellenismos like they are some kind of Athenian Inquistion squad.

Firstly, whether or not someone is Hellenic is not contingent upon whether or not they practice in magical acts or arts. Individual practice is not really that relevant to the 'classification' of the person. Are they performing the household rites? Yes? Are they performing them in the traditional format? Yes? Are they following some sort of lunar calendar, be it reconstituted or directly drawn from? Yes? Do they honor all the Olympians? Yes? Okay, as far as I'm concerned that person is pretty damn well into the "Is an adherent of Hellenismos" category. The general rebuttal to this assertion though is "well magic is impious! You can't have an impious practice and be a real Hellenist." Now, I'm going to call that bullshit spewing from your mouth and break it down for you right now.

I'll pull this post since he pretty much just regurgitated the most common arguments that I see people spew.

He first asserts that magic is a way that a person attempts to exert and force his or her will on the Gods and cosmos. Firstly, seeing as I've talked to and am friends with a number of these 'magic users' I can pretty much tell you right now that the very statement that they are trying to 'force' the gods or cosmos to do ANYTHING is bullshit, at least when the individual in question is a polytheist. Generally I have seen them try to get a particular god's assistance in this or that (much in the same way that your typical Hellenist might try to get a god's assistance by petitioning them). When they don't 'invoke' or 'invite' a God for the spell, they generally say that they are sending out energy into the world to help them achieve their goals. This is not an act of 'manipulation'. These people also don't think that they are somehow better than or above the gods. They know the gods are greater than they and they will admit to that in a heartbeat. The notion that they think they are above the gods is a disgusting straw man.

However, our lovely Flemish friend also seems to think that the Gods are in control of every little aspect of the universe as he says:

"Magic is seen as a way in which someone, man or women, attempts to influence the Gods or the kósmos based on ones own will and power, by means of sympathetic or other connections. It constitutes a manipulation by means of which one seeks to impose ones own will on the Gods and kósmos, and attempts to subject them to ones will in order to achieve a certain goal.
Quite obviously such an attitude is utterly unacceptable in Hellenismos. The Gods are the fundamental powers that cause, keep, sustain, harmonize, transform, etc., the kósmos, and they are far beyond human understanding. None can ever completely understand their entire being and greatness. The thought that a mortal even could ever manipulate the Gods or the kósmos in such wicked ways is beyond ridiculous, this preposterous attitude places oneself above the Gods who cause our very existence!"

which is all fine and good I suppose, but such a view necessitates a few things. He either has to think that all other pantheons are 'false' to some degree or the other OR he has to admit to there being a 'universal pantheon' of gods that expresses itself in each culture. Folks who adhere to the first viewpoint I have nothing to say to. Folks who adhere to the second can't possibly claim that magic is impious as there are MANY cultures throughout history and even in the world today that practice some form or the other of sympathetic magic or other variants who are considered perfectly pious, and wonderful folks, and apparently their gods don't give half a damn about it. From the stance of the universal pantheon then, we can conclude that the 'impiety' of magic is simply a human construct, one which the gods don't care about, and thus practicing magic is not in of itself impious.

He then goes on to say:
"Others within the (neo)pagan movement claim to “work with” the Gods to help the kósmos or fate unfold, when they practice their magic. From a Hellenic point of view this is only marginally better than the previous attitude, in that one doesn’t place oneself above the Gods. But one does place oneself on the same level as the Gods. Which is only marginally less preposterous."

Hold on there buckoo, step back and have a cigarette. I don't think 'working with' someone places yourself on the same level as them, last I checked just because I am a co-worker with my manager doesn't mean that I see myself as equal to him within the company. Working with also automatically has implications of hierarchy, but does not implicate status IN the hierarchy. The dribble that he spouted is yet another example of a fallacious strawman set-up by a person who refuses to think about things and who only wants to spout what he has heard others tell him.

For modern day persons and their magical practices it seems that it is not an act of manipulation or coercion, deception or force. It is simply something that is done, a variant on prayer and ritual, and honestly when you stop to think about it is something that is very difficult to define. They are not impious folks, and I'm sure that if the Gods had a legitimate problem with them practicing magic as well as being a Hellenist, they'd let them know about it.

One last quick note, magic is not an intrinsically Hellenic practice, really and truly. However, just because it is not *intrinsically* Hellenic does not mean that a Hellenist can't practice it. Hellenismos is not a religion in which the actions of the individual are the sole criterion for 'belonging'. It is, as I stated before, a household religion, and thus by performing the household rites and observances in the traditional fashion (or as close to it as you are able to get) you are clearly a Hellenist. Personal non-Hellenic practices should be a non-issue. If I choose to divinate by orthinomancy or by casting lots or by using the tarot is of no concern to you. Two of those are traditionally Hellenic, one is not, however it is an individual and personal choice. If someone was a Hellenist for 25 years, if someone erected an altar to Zeus and Hera and built them a temple, if this someone suddenly decided that they wanted to use the tarot for their own *personal and private* divinatory sessions would you suddenly throw your hands up in the air and shout "YOU AREN'T A REAL HELLENIST!". I wouldn't. So it goes for magical practices.

And to pre-empt certain objections, no I don't practice magic. I just would like to see us stop devouring, berating, and driving away good and pious people because they have one personal practice that is 'non-traditional'. I'll bet you dollars to donuts we ALL do something that is non-traditional, because last I checked we aren't having processions to Mount Olympus.

We have two choices my fellow Hellenists.
Grow the hell up or we die.

Pick one.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Devotional to Apollo

I would like to note that all this was/is hand-written in a blank journal so I can't just copy/paste things for y'all. I feel that writing it down in a journal first is a great thing, because it makes you think very carefully about what you have written and selected to include in the devotional.

A few more notes, as I have typed this as I have it written a few personal assumptions are made, because I wrote it myself. This is mainly evident in the THUSIA section. I assumed that incense would be burned, and libations would be made. Also be aware that this is designed to be performed at a personal shrine, hence why there is no procession and why the purification is more simple. I have not designed it to be performed at a blazing altar, but it could easily be altered (see what I did there?) to be done as so.

PURIFICATION 

Sprinkle yourself and your worship space with khernips.

HYMNODIA 

HOMERIC HYMN TO HESTIA

[Light a candle or other flame source]

Hail, daughter of Cronos, now I will remember you and another song also.  

HOMERIC HYMN TO APOLLO

How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight. Shall I sing how at first Leto bare you to be the joy of men, as she rested against Mount Cynthus in that rocky isle, in sea-grit Delos, while on either hand a dark wave rolled on landwards, driven by shrill winds---whence arising you rule over all mortal men?

HOMERIC HYMN TO APOLLO 

Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple. For no other will touch you, as you will find, and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savor of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of stranger. For truly your own soil is not rich.

HOMERIC HYMN TO APOLLO 

Now, when Leto had sworn and ended her oath, Delos was very glad at the birth of the far-shooting lord. But Leto was racked nine days and nine nights with pangs beyond wont. And there with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and Rhea and Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the other deathless goddesses, save white-armed Hera who sat in the halls of cloud-gathering Zeus. Only Eilithyia, goddess of that sore travail, had not heard of Leto's trouble, for she sat on top of Olympus beneath golden clouds by white-armed Hera, who kept her close through envy, because Leto with lovely tresses was soon to bear a son, faultless and strong.

HOMERIC HYMN TO HESTIA 

Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one-mind with Zeus the all wise. Draw ever near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.

PRAYERS

Give prayers and thanksgiving.

THUSIA 

Give to Hestia the first, then give to Apollo incense, food, and make libations. Then give votive offerings. Finally give to Hestia the last.

CLOSING

Have a drink at the shrine, contemplate Apollo and the various blessings he has graced your life with. Extinguish the candle/flame source.

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.