Honoring the Moon

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Diana and Endymion by Pier Francesco Mola, c. 1660  (Switzerland)

When I visited Rome in 2006 (I think it was), I had not yet made the paradigm shift to Hellenismos.  I was a fairly eclectic polytheist keeping a few shrines for a few different goddesses from different pantheons.  I had had feelings for Athena that were not reciprocated, yet She was present in my life.  Everywhere I went in Rome, I encountered Roma, the goddess of the city, and I remember being very frustrated because all the images I saw of Her looked to me like they were really of Athena or perhaps Minerva.  I kick myself now for the gorgeous paintings, statues, and temple remains to Apollo that I must have missed, but I was very focused on Athena during that visit.  It was only on my trip to the Capitoline Museum that my attention was torn away by another goddess.  It was Selene.  There was a painting of Her that I wish I remembered better, but I stood in front of it just staring at it for what seemed like a long time until my rather bored then girlfriend dragged me away.  When I search the Internet now for that painting, I’m never sure if what I find is the right one as none have captivated me through my computer screen the same way that I was captivated by the original work hanging on the wall of that museum.  I know that the painting was of Selene and Endymion and that it also featured a tree.    I think the piece shown here by Pier Francesco Mola must have been what I saw, but I don’t feel the spark of recognition that I feel I should.

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marble sarcophagus with Selene and Endymion, early 3rd century C.E. (Rome)

I didn’t think about Selene much again for quite a long time.  Then in 2014, a friend took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  To date, it has still been my only trip there, and the few hours we spent there that morning were not nearly enough.  As we walked through the hall of classical sculpture, I recalled the painting I had seen in Rome.  I told my friend about it, and she showed me a frieze of Selene and Endymion on a sarcophagus.  I seem to be caught and held by their story each time I encounter it in person.

I don’t honor Selene regularly.  I find it difficult to know another god of the moon so well (Mani, the Norse god) and to also know Selene.  Sometimes I imagine that They have some sort of club house up on the moon where Selene, Mani, Luna, Chang’e (嫦娥), and all of the others hang out together.  Some of these gods are the actual celestial bodies themselves, and others, like Mani, carry the moon (generally pulled by a chariot) across the sky (except, you know…Mystery), and some of these gods (like Selene) both are the moon that we see and carry the moon.  That notion can help parse the different personalities for the single body, but I also wonder if perhaps these different spirits (the spirits of these gods, not that they are spirits rather than gods) mingle together to form the moon.

If I knew some of these other gods better, including Selene, perhaps knowing how they are different from Mani would help me to see Them all.  In my experience, Mani is extremely generous, loving, accepting, and almost child-like in his love of things that sparkle, shine, and make little tinkling noises.  He is captivated by beauty, yet it is His beauty (and Selene’s) that captivates so many of us.  What fills Selene’s heart with joy?  What captivates Her?

We know that She was and is captivated by the beauty of the eternally sleeping Endymion.  She visits him where he lays in his cave – a story of tragic romance to be sure.  She loves him and has borne him 50 daughters over the years, yet he has slept through it all.  There are a few different accounts of how he came to his immortal sleep, and in some it is through the passionate plea of Selene to Zeus, yet in others it was his own reward and he was actually in love with a goddess who would never return his feelings – Hera.  In this latter scenario, Selene only found Endymion after he began his eternal repose, and he has never been aware of their ongoing relationship. Are Endymion and Selene both the tragic victims of unrequited love?

Selene does share an epithet with Apollon, and I wonder if there is a Selene devotee out there that would like to write about it?  Could it be you?  Selene is known as Phoebe (not to be confused with Apollon’s grandmother) just as Apollon is known as Phoibos.  As the name means “bright,” it is no wonder why these gods of light and celestial bodies that emit or seem to emit light bear this epithet.

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Update: He Who Rules with Honey

We are now a little more than halfway through the extended submission period for He Who Rules With Honey, and I have received some breathtakingly beautiful submissions, for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All of the submissions that I’ve received so far have been prayers, photographs, and artwork. I would love to have a prayer for each epithet, so this is absolutely fine, and I’d love to see more. If you have other ideas for pieces you’d like to submit (poetry, re-imagined myths, essays about personal experiences, academic papers, investigations into epithets shared with other gods, photography of statues, etc…), then no one else has done it yet, so just think, you could be first!

At this point in time, I do not have nearly enough material.  Apollon has well over a hundred epithets, and I’d like to cover at least half of them in this book.  This is intended to be a volume that none of us could possibly create on our own as none of us know Him in all of these ways.  This book is only possible if we work together.

Fewer than twenty epithets have received submissions (though there is more than one submission for some):

  • Agyieus
  • Akesios
  • Alexikakos
  • Argyrotoxos
  • Belenos*
  • Boedromios
  • Delphios
  • Erythibios
  • Hyperboreos
  • Karneios
  • Klarios
  • Latoios
  • Lykeios
  • Mantikos
  • Moiragetes
  • Nomios
  • Noumenios
  • Phoibos
  • Pythios

If you have been considering addressing one of these epithets, please do! If you have been considering addressing one of His other epithets, please do! If you would like me to assign you an epithet, please e-mail me! (pythioumelissa at gmail)

Thank you for all of your hard work so far. I am confident that together we can create a volume to truly honor Him, my most beloved of gods.

*I had originally been intending only to address Greek epithets in this book. I have received one submission for Apollo Belenos, but while the submission is fantastic, I am not yet sure if it will be included. I suppose some of that decision rests on what else is submitted.  So, go ahead, submit!

Announcing: Agon for the Muses

Who may enter?  Absolutely anyone may enter this agon.  I will eat the shipping charges to wherever you live if you win.  Good luck!

What can you enter?  You can enter any piece of artwork (written, visual, or performed) that is dedicated to an individual muse or the muses as a collective whole.  Performed work must be original and submitted as a link to a youtube video of your performance.  The piece that you submit should not have been previously submitted elsewhere – if it was not initially created for this agon, it should be finished or revised for this agon.  This is an honor system – you are the judge of whether an old piece has been revised enough to have become a new piece.  You will retain the rights to the piece only giving me permission to publish it here.

What can you win?  First prize will be a custom blended oil for the deity of your choice and a perfume bloom (not necessarily the one linked here).  Second prize will be a $25US gift certificate* to Snow Moon Spinnery.  Third prize will be a $20US gift certificate* to Snow Moon Spinnery.

When?  Submissions are open beginning now, May 2, 2017 and will remain open until midnight EST on June 1, 2017.

Where can you talk about this?  Feel free to spread the word to any groups that you are a part of.  Tell them about the devotional, too!

Why?  I made a promise two Noumenias ago.

How can one enter?  Simply e-mail me (pythioumelissa at gmail dot com) your written work with the text preferably in the body of the e-mail or send me a photo of your artwork.  If you have written music and you’d like people to hear it in addition to seeing the lyrics or sheet music, please send me a link to a video of you performing it.  If you choreograph a dance or write and perform a play (or part of one) or anything else, take some video, upload it to youtube, and send me the link.

How will the winners be chosen?  I will post each submission as a separate post.  The submission with the most likes wins.  In the event of a tie, I will do divination to determine the winner.

*Due to the nature of Etsy’s coupon codes, which is the only way I can offer a gift certificate, there is a required purchase amount that is 10% higher than the amount of the gift certificate (ie. if you win a $25 gift certificate, the total in your cart must be $27.50 or more in order to apply the coupon code).  If they ever change this to allow us to offer real gift certificates, I will exchange the coupon codes for real gift certificates.  They are transferrable (you can give your prize to someone else), but they can only be used once.

Hailing Hera

I’ve been actively worshipping Hera consistently since this past summer.  I began when She indicated that she wanted to be included as one of the gods that I call on when I do divination.  I initially had a few challenges incorporating Her worship into my routine, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in case others find it helpful.

I keep a monthly offering calendar for the the gods.  For the most part, it’s been pretty easy to find days of the month when the gods I worship were traditionally honored or where enough modern devotees have come to the same conclusion (PCPG: peer-corroborated personal gnosis) that I could adopt those days into my calendar easily.  For Hera, this wasn’t possible.  I had some divination done (I try not to do much divination for myself), and I learned that Hera wanted me to reserve two days for Her on the calendar: the 2nd and the 11th.  The 2nd is shared with the agathos daimon, but the 11th is Hers alone.

There are several festivals from throughout the ancient Greek world dedicated to Hera, but the only one I’ve celebrated is the Theogamia, which is the wedding anniversary of Hera and Zeus.  It’s celebrated on the 26th of the Athenian month of Gamelion (the seventh month if you begin the calendar with the first new moon after the summer solstice).  In addition, there is the greater and lesser Daedala (of Boetian origin).  The greater Daedala is celebrated every 60 years and the lesser Daedala is celebrated every four.  The Daedala is a celebration of reconciliation and renewing of vows between Hera and Zeus.  It’s celebrated with procession and holocaust (wholly burnt) offerings.  I keep a monthly calendar and do celebrate some annual festivals, but festivals that require a large community (such as this one) and are celebrated at multiple year intervals (like this one) are not celebrations that I’ve yet tackled.  I’m also not sure what time of year this festival was celebrated.  The Heraian Games were also dedicated to Hera, but as we currently have women’s  events in the Olympics, those events replace the Heraian Games in my eyes.  Simply acknowledging the changes that have come between then and now and making an offering to Hera before you watch (if you watch) is a good compromise, I think.

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my shrine for Hera, December 2016

Offerings are somewhat personal.  There are things that the gods want from some of us but don’t want from others.  I find it to be a good practice to get divination to find out what particular gods want from you specifically if you’re unable to figure it out on your own.  This divination should be repeated at regular intervals as what the gods want from us can change over time.  Below, I offer you a list of things that Hera has been known to want from Her devotees as a starting point.

Food Offerings

  • cooked meat dishes (lamb, goat, beef, poultry, and rabbit)
  • figs & honey figs
  • baklava
  • pomegranates
  • apples (especially yellow ones)

Flowers

  • lillies
  • poppies (particularly opium poppies, but I think substitutions of other varieties would be accepted)

Libations

  • olive oil
  • wine (both reds and whites)
  • whole milk

Votive Offerings

  • peacock feathers

Incense

  • myrrh

As for prayers, it is nearly always ideal if you speak ex tempore or prepare (write) your own prayers, but I understand the desire to have a collection that you can refer to in times of stress and limited time.  Below, I offer you the resources that I refer to for my favorite prayers and hymns for Hera.

Underflow – Hearthstone writes beautiful prayers, and you can search her blog for prayers specifically to Hera.  She’s also written two books that I suggest you look at as well.

Queen of Olympos – devotional for Hera and Juno published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Homeric Hymns – this is my preferred translation

Orphic Hymns – I have other works by this translator and feel comfortable recommending him.

 

 

Announcing: Agon for Apollon

Who may enter?  Any writer or artist (of any caliber and any medium) may enter this agon.  I will eat the shipping charges to wherever you live if you win.  Good luck!

What can you enter?  You can enter any prayer, poem, piece of artwork, academic or personal essay, or photograph that follows the guidelines of the CfS for the devotional – the piece must be dedicated to one of Apollo’s epithets and has to have been created specifically for this agon.  Call upon the muses and create something new or significantly revise an old piece.  This is an honor system – you are the judge of whether an old piece has been revised enough to have become a new piece.  All submissions to the agon will also be considered for the devotional.  You will retain the rights to the piece only giving me permission to publish it here and potentially publish it in the devotional.

What can you win?  First prize will be a custom blended oil for the deity of your choice and a perfume bloom (not necessarily the one linked here).  Second prize will be a $10US gift certificate* to Snow Moon Spinnery.  Third prize will be a $5US gift certificate* to Snow Moon Spinnery.

When?  Submissions are open beginning now, March 31, 2017 and will remain open until midnight EST on April 30, 2017.

Where can you talk about this?  Feel free to spread the word to any groups that you are a part of.  Tell them about the devotional, too!

Why?  I love that Galina Krasskova and Lykeia have been hosting agons for a multitude of gods for awhile now.  I will host another one after this completes.  It will be for the Muses themselves.  I made that promise this past Noumenia.  As with most things I do, though, the first time I do it, it must be for Apollon.  In addition, I thought the added incentive might be just what some of you need to get working on your submissions for the devotional.

How can one enter?  Simply e-mail me (pythioumelissa at gmail dot com) your written work with the text preferably in the body of the e-mail or send me a photo of your artwork.  If you have written music and you’d like people to hear it in addition to seeing the lyrics or sheet music, please send me a link to a video of you performing it.  I cannot host the video, so you must upload it yourself and provide me with a link.  You can use youtube or any other service you prefer.

How will the winners be chosen?  I will post each submission as a separate post.  The submission with the most likes wins.  In the event of a tie, I will do divination to determine the winner.

*Due to the nature of Etsy’s coupon codes, which is the only way I can offer a gift certificate, there is a required purchase amount that is 10% higher than the amount of the gift certificate.  If they ever change this to allow us to offer real gift certificates, I will exchange the coupon codes for real gift certificates.

Shared Epithet – Aphrodite & Apollon

While I hope that the devotional will be filled with writing and art by devotees of Apollon, I also hope that devotees of other gods will explore the epithets that are shared by Apollon and the gods that they know and love best.  Aphrodite, the foam-born goddess of love, beauty, and so much more, also shares at least one epithet with Apollon.  I’ve extended the deadline for the devotional, so please, get to work!  I can’t wait to see what you create.

Aphrodite Hekaerge & Apollon Hekaergos (Απόλλων Εκάεργος), the Far-Shooting; Working of His/Her Own Free Will (Εχάεργος?); Working from Afar; Keeping Far Away; the One Who Works from Afar

Lykeia is currently running a poetry agon (contest) for poetry about or for Aphrodite.  So, go ahead, write a poem for Aphrodite.  Let Her poetry inspire you to learn about how She might be connected to Apollon Hekaergos.  Write, draw, paint – do whatever it is that you do.

Interested in Reminders?

Would you like to receive a text or e-mail reminder of upcoming holy days and festivals?

If you click here, you can sign up to receive a text message or an e-mail through which you will receive all of the reminders that I add.  I’m not keeping track of every extant festival from every area of the Hellenic world, but I will send out reminders for the monthly holidays that I observe – days set aside for each of the gods I worship as well as Deipnon, Noumenia, and Agathos Daimon Day.

I’ve already scheduled reminders for the next month, and if people are interested and sign up to receive the reminders, I’ll continue to update it.