Category: Uncategorized

JSTOR and Chill?


Yesterday being the Summer Solstice, I wanted to celebrate. But I had to work. I’d already attended a Solstice ritual held on Saturday, so I did have a religious observance. Yesterday I made the best of it and spent my down time reading an academic article on an appropriate subject:

Apollo, Helios, and the Solstices in the Athenian, Delphian, and Delian Calendars
Bilić, Tomislav, Numen, 59, 509-532 (2012), DOI:

I’ve not fully digested all information yet, and I want to read some more of his cited sources myself (much of which comes from Burkert’s Greek Religion, a book we all know and love and of which two copies dwell in my house.)

Today, I was off and we ended up taking a stroll across town to Whole Foods. The first thing I saw when walking in the door was a bunch of brilliant orange roses, right there just waiting to be bought and offered. And so I did just that. Tonight they are offered on my shrine. The candle is burning and incense is smoldering.


I promised myself when I came back here that I wouldn’t put too much pressure on myself to write- that’s one of the big factors that pushed me away to begin with. I have a job now, so that hammer no longer hangs over me.

And this little ditty came to me just a few minutes ago as I was listening to some of my favorite songs which remind me of Him:

To Phoibos

Molten velvet, silken symphony
Do you put these words carefully on my tongue
Or merely inspire chaotic juxtaposition?

For you I will procure
Honey roses, lyrical wine.

Only tell me
If this is your wish.

Baby, now I got the flow…

…or something like that anyway. Mark Morrison, I am not. But I’ve had Return of the Mack stuck in my head since a few days before that last brief post and decided to use it to bring my blog back from the obscurity of time.

Six years next month since I last used this blog, and even longer since I posted on any regular basis. A lot has happened in that time, not the least of it being moving from one coast to the other. Twice. Some of you may recall that I and my roommate moved from Baltimore to Eugene, Oregon back on 2010. That quickly flopped. Eugene is not the town for unrepentant urban dwellers, nor is it a great place to get a job if your primary work is in technology. Eight months later, I was offered a job in Portland where we lived until one month ago today when we hopped on a train bound for Sacramento. (No, we didn’t move to Sacramento but funny thing, haha. Amtrak has no trains directly from Portland to Providence, Rhode Island so we had to go an indirect route.)

Years ago, I believe it was 2002, one rainy morning in early April, I got off the train in Providence and spent about five hours here. I fell in love with its odd streets, weird angles and conflicting architecture. I almost moved here about a year later but it fell through and I would up in Baltimore instead. I never quite let go of my infatuation with the place and when we decided to leave Portland, we quickly agreed that Providence was the place to go and so far, I think we made the right choice.

Our stuff arrived just a few days ago. As I write this, there is a blood orange and teakwood candle burning on a half-assembled bookshelf, along with a stick of green tea incense. The candle was purchased in Portland and used for a few rituals over the last couple of months but not much else, as it is rather strongly scented and our apartment in Portland was very small and without air flow. There was an unexpected power in removing the lid and being hit with the odor, plus the sight of half-burned bay leaves, rose petals and barley grains sticking out of the wax. I’d been contemplating how to get started here again, how to reintroduce myself after having so eloquently announcing my return.

I’m not sure what this blog is going to become. A lot of things have changed immensely since I started it years ago. I just know that I’ve missed writing for it, writing for Him. I’m feeling a pull to take a deep dive into JSTOR and write about what I find- It’s been a long time since I’ve done that too. I also have writing projects that I haven’t touched in years but still consider “open”. We’ll see where this goes.

I’m not going to commit to a posting schedule- adjusting to life in a new city and looking for a job makes that difficult.

This re-intro has been about me, yes. But I intend to bring you plenty Apollo in your blog-reading future. New Jack Swing earworms are optional.


“So I’m back up in the game,

running things to keep my swing,

Lettin’ all the people know

That I’m back to run my show”

-Mark Morrison

I was checking out the Tapestry of Bronze website to see which Olympian god their current poetry contest is dedicated, and wouldn’t you know, it’s Apollo. (For anyone interested, the deadline is April 30th- I know, so soon!) I may try to write something, or submit one that I’ve written in the past. a

But anyway, on their site was linked this interview: Apollo on Trial Investigating Mass Murder in Greece (I tried to embed the file into this post, but failed several times.)

I wish this was in Podcast form so that I could actually download it and give it a really good listen while I’m not wanting to be doing other things, but this will have to do.  It talks about a historical basis for the myth of Apollo and Artemis killing the family of Niobe for her insult of their mother, Leto.  Now, I’ve listened to it once so far, but I was also in the midst of remembering my old addiction for podcasts and combing the iTunes store and iTunes U for podcasts on topics of interest- such as the gods- so I was only really half paying attention and therefore, cannot offer commentary at this point on the quality of the information.

I find this especially interesting in the exploration of the idea of there being some sort of literality to mythology- or some of it, at least. I have no problem with the idea that some of the myths may be stories that were made up or inspired by the gods with no historical basis whatsoever. But as many stories as there are, I have a very hard time accepting the idea that none of them have any real history to them. After all, as it is pointed out in this interview, it was once upon a time thought that the city of Troy was a mythical city that never really existed. It has since been proven otherwise.

Should anyone else give this a listen and have any opinions to share, please do!

I have found some other podcasts that, once I get a chance to listen to them, and assuming I think that they’re worth the ones and zeros of which they’re comprised, I will post more about.

Asked last night by a friend to describe what Apollo looks like to me, I answered:

Often winged, with a sword when not wielding a bow. Think of statues of Michael the Archangel.

There is no one real image in my mind that *is* Apollo. His image changes constantly. Even as I see him in my mind, it’s changing, it’s never static. Sometimes it’s like a slide show of pictures, other times, my mental image is just constantly melding and morphing from one appearance to the next. I have no idea what color his eyes are for sure- I’ve either never seen the color, or never remembered it, but if I were to pick a color, it would be dark steel blue, like dark blue tourmaline. His hair is long, but the length varies from shoulder-length to longer. Sometimes it’s golden, but more often it’s bronze. He’s always clothed but I never remember his clothing, only get the impression that they’re more often than not modern, and I think he’s often not wearing a shirt.

His hands are sometimes covered in flames. Sometimes, he’s bright and blinding, other times, he’s dark and shadowy. He can be gentle and serene and soft-focus, slightly blurry or harsh, terrifying, hard-edged and sharp.

But always, one thing never changes- he is beautiful. Painfully, transfixingly so.

I’m sorry, there just is no one good image that I can describe to you.

I think I can work this out into something a little more complete…

Quick Note

I was going to wait tuntil I was (reasonably) finished to post about this…but since I made some other minor changes, I decided to just go ahead and mention it all. I now have a recommended reading page (my links will eventually be moved from the front page to this page, it’s starting to look a little cluttered here for my liking. My blog roll, however, will remain where it is.) This page is still under construction. Once I’m finished, I will add a request for any suggestions.

I have also added a link for anyone who is interested to add my blog RSS feed to their Dreamwidth reading page (I have had such a link for Livejournal for quite some time now.)

I’ve also started to rewrite my “about” page, but it’s not finished just yet.

That’s all for now.

Because I Can

Got a new phone a little while back with a reasonably decent camera. Now I can take pictures that aren’t all fuzzy! (Assuming, that is, that I can keep my hand still while I snap it.) Just got a data cable a couple of days ago, so I can upload photos….so here are a couple.

(Okay, this last one was taken on my old phone with its far inferior camera.)

As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been gone for a long time. A lot has happened, a coast-to-coast move from Maryland to Oregon not the least of it all. There are a lot of things that I don’t need to worry about anymore. Some things that, unfortunately, I still do (like being unemployed for a year now) but overall, right now I feel like there’s a lot of potential for a return to where I need to be- or at least to get much closer to it.

With respect to this blog, I’ve got some ideas for posts I’d like to make. I plan to start doing some research and get to working on some of the suggested writings from when I solicited idea from you readers many many moons ago. I’d like to start writing some more poetry and I need to redo my “about” page.

So much has changed in the last couple of years I’ve had varying degrees of difficulty with things spiritual since the fall of 2007 (wow…has it really been that long?) and now I am hoping that I can start finding my way out of that. I’ve had to say this so many times, had so many false starts. Hoping that a change of scenery and 3,000 miles between me ad what’s troubled me for so long will be good for that

On Thursday night, I was talking to a friend about the passing of Isaac Bonewits. This eventually lead tot talking about my departure from Cedarlight Grove and ADF. As there were a lot of details that he had forgotten or was unclear about, I had to fill in the blanks. Long, tangled mess of a story that it is, it’s a lucky thing that I had written so much out on Livejournal and could just go and locate posts and link to them. This meant that I was also rereading a lot of this for myself, remembering what I was thinking when I wrote them, seeing how things were connected and realizing that I didn’t fully understand until now just how far a few early events went to unravel several years of my life. I see now just how sweeping the scope of these events. Now that I’ve had some distance, temporally and physically, I am looking back and I can see Apollo’s hand in it all. Though I always knew, I didn’t really understand. and even if I had, I was so upset at how much I’d lost that I’m not sure how much it would have mattered.

What’s different now from all the previous times that I thought I had gained a foothold was that I see so much more clearly how this is all His doing, this all came from Him. And now that I see so much more clearly, for the first time, I can say that I’m okay with that.

Last night, I was typing this post and WordPress ate it. At that point, I was ready to go to sleep, so I waited until today to do it again. and now, despite the fact that WordPress once again ate my post- at the same place: almost completely finished, I’m glad that I had to wait to redo it because I came to another realization last night.

I now believe that the reason for all of this is simple. The reason that I suddenly could no longer participate in clergy training, could no longer remain a part of Cedarlight Grove or ADF. when I dedicated myself to Apollo, everything belonged to Him. Even though I believe this to have been true before, that was the point where it was solidified, where I acknowledged it. The point was that instead of being based on Him, my religion was that of a whole other framework and I was trying to find a way to place him into it. I had to lose everything to start over again with Apollo as my base.

When everything else has been stripped away, when time and space make everything clear, I am left with the knowledge that He is all I need to start again. Left with that knowledge, and the memories of pain and light.

Fluidity of -theisms

When asked what I believe with regard to the number of the gods, my answer is generally simple, that I am a polytheist. I don’t think, at this point, that I need to explain what that means to most readers, but just for the record: I believe that the gods are many, distinct individuals.  For the most part, each is a separate god- Aphrodite is not also Venus, Ares is not also Mars. I think that there are a few exceptions, such as Odin/Woden/Wotan, but I don’t know enough about them to do more than say that I suspect that they are the same deity- and they are exceptions.

Sometimes, I’ll go so far as to mention that I am also a panentheist- believing that god or the divine is within everything. I’ve seen it asked to others in the past how one can reconcile the idea of there being both many gods and god within everything. It’s fairly simple in my mind, though I’ve only recently come up with a clear explaination:

I don’t believe in any one entity called “God”. I believe in many gods. And I believe in something that I refer to as “the divine” (I don’t really like this word for this use, but I’ve yet to come up with something better). I believe that what I call “the divine” is a basic building block of life for metaphysical beings. In other words, “the divine” is to gods and spirits as carbon is to people, goats and great saguaro cacti. I also believe that some of this divine stuff is contained within anyone or anything that has a spirit or soul. No, I’m not going to go so far as to call myself an animist and say that I believe that everything has a spirit or soul. So maybe that makes me a panen(somethings)theist or something. I can deal with that, and if it’s important, I’ll eventually figure the rest out.

What I can’t reconcile in all this- and don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly struggling, I’ve mostly accepted it as an occasional personal experience and while it baffles me a bit, I see no pressing need to justify it- is that from time to time, usually in a ritual or moments of particularly strong religious inspiration, I will abandon all belief in any other gods or any other concept of “the divine”- in these moments, there is only one god, and that god is Apollo. I can’t explain it, I don’t understand it, it just is that way.

Maybe it’s that there are times that His presence is so strong that He eclipses all possibility of any others in my limited human understanding. Or maybe something causes my perception to shift and in those moments, a monotheistic view makes the most sense.

I don’t know how it is that I can slide so fluidly between my normal polytheistic beliefs and those instances of monotheistic belief where Apollo is the only god (and please believe me, in those moments, there is no question in my mind abut it.) and just as seamlessly back to my normal beliefs, but it happens. I’d be curious to know if anyone else gets anything like this.

Note: It’s been a long time since I’ve discussed this online. The last time I did was on a list that was rife with neoplatonists who patted me on the head and insisted that Apollo most be the filter through which I understand The All. I am not a neoplatonist, I am not an emanationist, this is not what I am talking about. I welcome comment and discussion, but I do not want a replay of that.

Singing for Apollo

Preface: Just so you, my dear readers, know: I’m a fairly awful singer. I recently realized that I sound even worse than I thought when I recorded a bit of myself  singing using my cell phone’s recorder. Even given the fact that those things don’t pick up the best sound quality, giving me a few extra points to account for that would still place me fairly squarely in the “abysmal” realm.

I’m telling you this not to get down on myself or as some sort of apology, I’m telling you because whenever the subject of singing for the gods comes up, someone inevitably comes back and says “I want to sing but I’m a bad singer!”

I’m telling you this to say it doesn’t matter.

Though I haven’t talked about it much in quite a while, it’s no big secret that I’ve been going through some less than fun times for the last two years or so but after too many months of aimless wandering and numerous false starts, I think I’m finally starting to get somewhere again.

It actually started shortly before Christmas, that I wasitting at my shrine one night, trying for the thousandth time to feel my way back to the connection that I used to have, one that I knew was there but I had somehow lost my end of. After getting nowhere for about an hour, I thought about the ipod I had with me stuck the phones in my ears and scrolled to my Apollo playlist. instead of just listening to the music as I so frequently had, I started singing along with it. a couple of songs that remind me most strongly of him.

Almost instantly, I felt the connection- and strongly, and I knew that this was something that I needed to do.  I can’t really say for certain why I didn’t continue to do so very often starting then and there. There were a few other times, like one very cold, very windy evening in January when I had gone to the bank, opting, for no good reason, to walk instead of taking he bus (A nice walk in good weather, but when it’s twenty degrees out and the wind is gusting to forty miles an hour? Not so much. But I walked, stopping on my way home in a park to drink some coffee and watch traffic in the distance and starting to formulate an idea or two (possibly a topic for a separate post, I haven’t abandoned the thoughts.) and in the dying winter light, I felt the connection again for a few minutes, strong as it ever was.

There were one or two other times after that, and each time i’d feel a bit giddy with happiness of reclaiming wha I’d been missing so badly, but I didn’t keep it up again. Then one day, about a week and a half ago, I went to my shrine with a few things on my mind. Before I could turn my attention to Apollo (actually, Apollo and Dionysus- both had been on my mind at the time, and I had recently rearranged my shrine space so that they shared a table) my mind was momentarily diverted by another. It was suggested to me that I needed to refocus my attention a bit at the moment, narrow the view a little more to the one upon which everything depended. I decided to listen, and turned my attention entirely to Apollo. And I sang for him.  Since then, excepting for maybe two days, I’ve spent at least a little time every day at my shrine, and always part of that time singing.

And that’s what I’m doing right now, repairing that connection. My end of it, at least, was broken and is slowly getting back to what it needs to be. With the exception of one time when I recorded myself out of sheer curiosity (and very quickly deleted the files), I do not worry about how I sound. After I’m fnished is another story, but I try not to dwell too much on that.  It is a little sad, I think, that the way my own voice sounds in my head is so much better than the way it sounds to others, but I resigned myelf to that years ago. But I have since told myself that what He hears is my voice as I hear it (and I do believe this to be true).

I like songs that contain long, extended notes, as well as shorter, trippier ones that require a bit of dexterity to get the words out in time with the music.  I also like songs with a wide range of high and low notes. Even if my voice doesn’t sound very good, I do have a  good rang, lung capacity (once upon a time, I played the saxophone) and ability to sing along with trickier words.

Lower notes, I feel down in my chest, between my lungs. As they get higher, the notes move up through my throat and into my head. As my vocal chords stretch tighter with the higher notes, I also tend to get more light-headed. In this context, I love the feeling. I feel his presence in the notes, in the words, in the changes in pitch and speed, and especially in the holding out on the longer notes. When I’m singing for him, I don’t know what ever made me lose my connection to begin with. Everything is as it was always supposed to be, without break, or doubt or hurt. This is going a long way towards letting me move past what’s got such a hold on me.When I sing for him, I don’t feel that I’m healing- I feel that  I am healed.

For the moment, I am focusing solely on Apollo but soon, I will be ready to shift and work on also re-establishing my connections with other deities.

I know I’ve done this before, but there have been some changes, and seeing as it’s the thng to do lately to post playlists for one’s god, I’ll go ahead and post my Apollo playlist now:

Alpha- Airlock
Quiet Hour- Airlock
Sky- Violet Indiana
Kyrie- Mr. Mister
Breaking Point- The Moody Blues
The Other Side of Life- The Moody Blues
Dreaming Blade- Rhea’s Obsession
Gravity- Vienna Teng (If I had to pick one song from the list to be *the* Apollo song, this would be it.)
Momentum- Vienna Teng
I Dare You- Shinedown
Before I Walk on Fire- Sophie B Hawkins
Apollo- Kelly Andrew Kaveny
The Oracle of Apollo- Vangelis
Hymn- Vangelis (both the original instrumental and the choral versions- they’re unique enough to merit mentioning both.)
Apollo’s Gaze- Miriam Marston
Temple of Apollo- Pamela & Randy Copus
Half Life- Duncan Sheik (This is a song which I think-hope-will move on to be removed before too long, but it is there for the time being because it describes too perfectly how I’ve been feeling for far too long.)

Now that I’m finally feeling like I’m starting to be able to get somewhere- and the feeling is sustaining- I’m getting a little more productive. I’ve revamped the blog, I’ve started on a couple of poems, including almost finishng one inspired by the myth of Marsayas which I’ll post when finished. A couple of weeks ago I had jury duty, and I passed the day in a blissfully silent room, listening to music and reading more on Apollo (Okay, I took a break to read a bit of Kerouac too!) and beginning to write an article on how I see the connection between Apollo and Dionysus. I;ve got a couple of reader requests from a while back that I fully intend to make good on, I just need some time with that because they were mostly with respect to deities that I l know a lot less about but rest assured, I will do what I can with each one and post when finished.

That, I believe, is all for the moment.

Under Construction…

Hopefully I’ll actually be able to just get this done tonight, but if you stop by in the next few days and notice that things look a little off, just bear with me for a few days.  The dust will settle soon. I’ve changed the theme, as you can see and now I’m just working on getting things arranges the way I like them. This theme is a little more tricky (and annoying) to work with for some reason but hopefully it’ll all be worth it in the end.

And you can expect a new post or two of actual substance soon!

ETA: I think I’m finished. Probably won’t change anyhting around again anytime soon- too much hassle. Good thing I like stuff as it stands, eh?

Tell me…

Dear readers, I’m curious. With respect to Apollo, is there anythng in particular that you’d like to see me write about here? I’ve got ideas, but they’re often difficult for me to put into coherent words that others might understand.

And so, in the meantime, I am soliciting suggestions. Comment here, or drop an email to painandlight at gmail dot com.

In other news, my copy of Fritz Graf’s Apollo is shipping out today, and I do plan to order Apollo: The Great God, which I mentioned a few weeks back, probably in a few weeks. I will post reviews (or at least some thoughts) on both books when I have read them.

The polarity of “light gods” versus “dark gods” is a fairly common one to see in discussion on a lot of pagan forums. Let me tell you, this dichotmy (and the emphasis that some people put on it) drives me nuts. Depending on whom you’re speaking to, “light” gods are the good guys while “dark” gods are the bad guys…or “light” gods are the gods of nice, pleasant civilized things while “dark” gods are those of not-so-nice things, the facts of life which aren’t so fun to think about.

Some time back, on one of the forums that I frequent, someone made a post asking who the dark gods were and who the light gods were, and the standard discussion took place- dark gods are gods of death and war, light gods are gods of law and music and healing and pretty things, blah blah blah. I was inspired to make a post illustrating how this one dark versus light, one or the other laundry-sorting of the gods is rather dismissive of large chunks of the nature of most deities. (Betcha can’t guess who I used as an example…three guesses, first two don’t count!)

Of course, everyone knows who I’m talking about here, so my “Let’s say there’s this god, but I’m not going to tell you who it is…” is lost.  It was also intended to be posted in two parts, with the intended audience answering in the middle. Ah well. I still think it worth posting. (And I’ve revised it a bit from the original)

So there is this god, I’m not going to tell you his name. He is a god of many things- of light, of music and beauty, poetry, truth and healing. He is rational and wise. He is called Radiant, and Averter of Evil, Rescuer, Protector from Harm, Healer. He is known for defending his mother from attackers and insults, his music is unrivaled. He id a god of knowledge. Some consider him a sun-god. Surely, this is a light god I am speaking of, no?

And there is a god who is known far and wide for his wrath. One who, with his sister, killed innocent children for their mother’s insolent bragging; who skinned alive a satyr who dared challenge him to a musical contest and lost. He is a god of death, one who sends plague. His lovers are slain or punished through his wrath- or otherwise meet with tragic endings- the latter, he mourns. He is enigmatic, mysterious, oblique.  There is no question: we are speaking of a dark god, are we not?

The two gods are, of course, the same. The god is Apollo, one thought of by many as a “light” god.

He is not a light god. Nor a dark god. Or perhaps he is both? No, I don’t think that’s true either. Why, you might ask. He reigns over areas that fall on both sides of the coin. I think that’s overly simplifying the things over which he has provenance- take for example healing. Healing is a good thing, no? When we are sick or hurt, we want to heal. We get better, we feel better.

Hold on just a minute there- it’s not that easy, is it? Healing hurts, it’s painful- or otherwise unpleasant. Ask anyone who’s had to go through physical therapy to recover from a traumatic injury. Or someone who is finally facing an abusive past in order to try to move past it. Even a small cut ot minor injury can be extremely itchy or painful in healing.

What about music or poetry- those aren’t unpleasant things, are they? In strictly conceptual terms, no I don’t think they are. But what about the song whose words evoke a flood of tears in its sadness, or the poem that provokes great anger in the reader?

These things, they’re not dark or light, good or bad, they just are what they are. The gods are much the same.

One day last week, I woke up with this thought on my mind “I do not destroy the dark, I illuminate it.” I’ve been thinking about it since then. Light does not remove darkness. When the sun comes up at dawn, the night does not disappear, it moves to another part of the world. When you turn a light on in a darkened room, the darkness is still there, it has merely been hidden by the light and will be once more visible when the switch is again flipped. If there is a dimmer knob, you can see the whole spectrum of degrees existing between the two- a spectrum which shows us that things are not merely “dark” or “light”, but so much more than that.

And the gods, like the things they govern, are also not merely dark or light, but so much more.

Apollo: The Great God

Has anyone seen this book?  There are no reviews of it…anywhere. It’s a self-published book, so that’s not a surprise. It’s been translated into English too- rather simplistically, it seems from what I can tell of the book’s preview but judging how good the information in the book is is much more difficult.

Since it’s not really expensive, I’m thinking about maybe grabbing a copy in a few weeks when I have some money- and if I do, I’ll post a review of course.

New Blog

In the interest of keeping this blog in devotion to Apollo, I’ve started a new one for other, mostly religious sort of writing, including the development of a few writing projects that I have in mind. So, if it should interest you, please check out and feel free to add Presque Vu.

I wrote this little bit about a year ago:

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
this time you’ve done it:
Ripped the pain out. Painfully.

Well, last night, it continued itself.

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
this time you’ve done it:
Ripped the pain out. Painfully.
No mere scratching the surface, this.
You cut me soul-deep
and now I’m bleeding out.
God of healing, help me to heal.
And will you then help me to not hurt?

Approaching Apollo

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking what advice I would give to someone new to the worship of Apollo. I started to email an answer, but thought better of it, and decided to make a blog post instead so that anyone else interested may read.  I intended to have this posted some time ago, but dealing with a round of the flu, ongoing unemployment and some difficult personal issues put a but of a crimp in my style. The flu well-gone, the personal issues at least under control, here I am. I hope you find this post helpful and informative. Even if you are not particularly interested in the worship of Apollo, I think a lot of what I have to say is applicable to almost any god out there, regardless of who they are.

I’ve seen a lot of people write articles like this, and have long thought of writing one myself but I’ve never really known what to say, simple as it may seem. Having actually been asked that question, it’s given me reason to actually think about it as not just something that might be good to write, but something that is actually waiting on the other end for an answer. Funny how that can help the thought processes along.

I think the first bit of advice that I would give, may sound a little silly, but I feel the need to say it anyway: Never forget that He Is A God. i feel the need to say this mostly as a reaction to my spending time on a number of different pagan forums, and frequently seeing people comment that they think the gods are their equals, they don’t worship them because the gods are not “above” us, blah blah blah. I have no hesitation in saying that I think this is absolutely wrong and don’t understand why anyone would bother with gods if they don’t really believe in them as such. (I am not saying this because I  think that the person who asked my advice may think this- it’s just the first thing that comes to mind.)

Personally though, I don’t believe that Apollo will ever let you forget that He is a god anyway.

I think the most important things in His worship are effort, sincerity and honesty. He is considered, by many, to be a god of perfection and I have on a few occasions talked to people who didn’t think they should be worshiping Apollo because nothing they could do would be good enough. This always maks me a little sad. He does, after all, know that you are human and nothing I have ever experienced has, even for a second, made me think that He expects perfection of His worshipers. Effort, on the other hand, is very important. I write poetry for him. At times, I have started writing, only to find that what started out rather well has begun to fall flat. I could keep going and wind up with something that might have been acceptable in my angsty teenage journal back in high school, but what kind of gift would that be? And so, I keep working at it, or sometimes put the work down to be revisited later. That in and of itself, I believe is a gift. My Evadne poem, I believe, took me roughly a year and a half from when I first thought if it to when I committed it to the pages of the book in which I keep my poetry written for Him. But in that time, there were many moments and sometimes hours of thought, of writing down words and rearranging them and scratching them out, in re-reading the original story and reconsidering the details, and in knowing where to stop. This, all, is part of the gift, the offering.

Sometimes it’s much harder than that. Sometimes you don’t know what to do or what to give, or how much you need to or should. Or you feel that you have nothing to give. If you don’t know, ask. I’ve found that the gods are often not terribly shy about telling a worshiper what they want. I’ve not run into this problem so much with Apollo but I do remember that when Dionysus first showed up in my life, it was a rather bad time. I had just lost my wallet, I had no money for groceries, never mind anything like wine or other things that I felt appropriate to Dionysus, and would not have for a couple of weeks. I didn’t really know what to do. So I did what I could- I told him that I did not have much, but what I had, he was welcome to. I asked what it was that I should give or do for him just then, and just then, a simple stick of rosemary incense and some of my time was what he wanted. Don’t be afraid to ask.

And sometimes a little effort is the most important thing. Apollo is a god of a few things for which most people have the physical capacity- even if they don’t have great skill. Poetry and music are great offerings for Him- even if you’re not a very good writer or singer, I do believe that making the effort carries a lot of weight. I also believe that it’s possible that one’s efforts in these endeavors may be somewhat augmented by the intent to honor Apollo. (Then again, I may also be insane. But I tend to find that the poetry which I write in his honor is better- in my opinion at least- than most of the rest of my poetry. I don’t make a conscious effort to make it any better- I want all of my writing to be as good as it can- it just seems to turn out that way. Additionally, I’ve recently started singing for Him sometimes. I’m no great singer- I think I could be reasonably decent, except that my voice itself just doesn’t sound that great. Maybe it’s just the acoustics in my temple room. Or maybe it’s by virtue of being an offering for Him, but I always seem to sound better in there.)

My point? Give it a try. It’s between you and Him. No one else has to know.

Try to learn at least a little bit about the other gods to which he is connected. I’ve found this to be helpful in developing my understanding of Apollo. And if you’re not already, you may very well find yourself eventually worshiping some of them.

There is a reason for the common image of Apollo as a sort of impersonal, shining white statue (I sometimes call this Apollo, the Pretty Statue God) but this is not His only face. Some people will only see this, others will see other faces. You may see other sides- they may surprise or scare you. He can be soothing and comforting…or terrifying. And He can turn from one to the other so smoothly and seamlessly, you’ll wonder if you didn’t imagine the opposite face just a minute ago.

Read and study the myths in which He appears- but don’t hold them as the be-all-end-all of who He is.

Learn about how He was worshipped in ancient times and different regions. Even if you’re not a reconstrctionist and don’t plan to be, this is still good to know. As I see it, if you’re not sure what you want to do or how you want to do it, basic traditional worship is as good a jumping-off point as any and changes can always be made along the way.

This post has gone on long enough for the moment. I may come back later and add more thoughts in a second post or expand on some of the points I made here. I hope that it’s been helpful.

Earlier this morning I was in the temple room, spending some devotional time focused on Hyporborean Apollo. I had lit some candles and incense and made foferings of bay leaves and white the (this has recently become one of my regular offerings for no reason that I’ve yet discerned) and settled down

I gazed for a while at the white statue in front of me, a beautiful figure standing on the back of a swan, one hand resting on an unstrung bow. I watched as the shadows cast on the wallsflickered with the jumping candle flame.

I started thinking about the time of year and what it meant. In a few weeks, Dionysus will take up residence at Delphi, while Apollo will depart for the land of the Hyperborens, His favored people, said to be most pious.

For many of His worshipers, this is a time of distance, of separation from Apollo. His absense is felt in the darkness of the year.  A few years ago when I was becoming more strongly devoted to Him, I remember coming upon this time of year and feeling a bit sad in anticipation of the separation. But as November came and passed and I read discussions onemail lists and people described their feelings of distance, I waited in anticipation for the same feeling to desend on me. it seemed odd that it enver did.

I finally brought this up and one or two other people commented much the same. Someone mentioned the nature of individual relationships making a difference in how people respond to the activity of the gods. As the winter moved on and I learned more about the nature of my own relationship with Apollo, the feeling of closeness only grew stronger.

In the last year or so, for reasons of my own doing (though unintentional) my relationship with Apollo has been overall a distant one, but most of the closest and most personal moments were during the Hyperborean months.

I’ve had thoughts occasionally in the past, never amounting to much but enver abandoning them, on the idea that there are places- both in the physical and non-physical worlds that may be homes, of sorts, to people’s souls. Having seen, several times in meditative vision, what I believe to be Apollo’s Hyperborean temple and feeling as I do at this time of the year, I have entertained (and not discounted) the possibility of the mythical Hyperborea being jsut such a place for me.

Who were the Hyperboreans? Are they a strictly mythical race of highly pious people? Or did they actually live at one time? And where? The article Apollo at the Back of the North Wind by J Rendel Harris explores three possibilities for their origin- as well as for the origin of Apollo himself- based on ancient Amber trade routes. I’ve only just read the article so I haven’t had a chance to research further, but being published in 1925, it is old, and I beleive likely to be very inaccurate but if nothing else, the possibilities make for fascinating speculation.

The answers to these questions are Apollo’s guarded secrets, and we can only guess at them. But what if the Hyperboreans were simply his most dedicated devotees? I would never presume to even begin to consider myself one of His “favorites” but otherwise, the idea makes sense to me.

With no other evidence, it’s as valid an idea as any.

A Request…

I keep finding my blog linked from more and more places. (Good to know people like me!)

If you link to my blog, and I don’t already know about it, please comment here and let me know.  (With one or two exceptions that I just haven’t gotten to yet, I have links back to all of the blogs that link to me that I’m aware of. )

More Stuff For The Gods…

I’ve continued on my little spree of making things for the gods, mostly jewelry. I’m going to try to take some pictures tomorrow, as my poor-quality camera phone seems to do a lot better in daylight than in indoor lighting, but I thought I’d write a little about what I’ve done and what I want to do anyway.

Aside from the previously-posted bracelet for Dionysus, I’ve made…

-A necklace for but Apollo and Dionysus: two twisted strands, one of rhyolite, one of citrine chips. When I was looking at them in the store, I was just thinking they’d look really nice together. And then, I suddenly thought “Ooh, something for Apollo and Dionysus together!” Just as Gavin looked at them and said “Apollo and Dionysus?”

I need to get back to more exploration of my ideas of these two being so closely related…

-A bracelet for Apollo, specificly Hyperborean Apollo, of citrine chips and little Larvikite spheres. Larvikite is one of the stones I’ve come to associate with Apollo (I think I’ll be making a post on the stones that I associate with him in the near future, so I’ll save my explaination) Since Larvikite isn’t a very well-known stone, here is a picture the beas that I have are more of a silvery-grey color than that in the picture, but I do have a couple of tumbled pieces that have this steel blue color.

-a necklace for Selene/ the moon, Helios/the sun, the stars and the sky- this is made from blue lace agate beads- they kinda look like a daytime sky with clouds, sunstone and peach moonstone chips for the sun and moon (I picked peach moonstone for color symetry with the sunstone, it looked better than white moonstone) and aqua-blue apatite chips for the stars- this was chosen mostly arbitrarily, heavily influenced by the fact that I liked the way it looked with the other beads.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to make some little jewelry boxes to keep the pieces in. Michael’s sells a variety of wooden boxes in different sizes and designs that you can paint or otherwise adorn. I’m definitely going to make one separately for Apollo, and probably one more for everything else for now.

I will also continue making more jewelry as the inspiration strikes me, and as I have the funds. I have decided that I am going to turn the two-stranded prayer beads that I made some time ago for Apollo into a necklace. As they are, they just aren’t very good for a lot of handling, and I’ve noticed that I’ve taken to wrapping them around my hand and twining them in my fingers, and for that, I will need something sturdier. I would have liked to make something involving each of the seven stones that I associate with Apollo (Larvikite, champagne citrine, rutilated quartz, sunstone, iolite, red garnets and dark blue tourmaline) but blue tourmaline, while easy enough to find, would be absolutely cost-prohibitive to use for the sort of design that I’d like to come up with (actually, I’ve never seen the sort of beads I’d like to use- smooth-polished spheres, in tourmaline. I don’t think that sort of thign works so well with the crystaline structure.) I’m hoping to come up with another stone that could substitute for tourmaline so I could have seven but I’m not worrying terribly over it right now.

A Bracelet for Dionysus

I decided the other day that I want to make some more jewelery items for the various gods that I worship besides Apollo. One down so far- I just made a bracelet for Dionysus.

The spherical beads are amethyst, the odd-shaped ones on either side of them are rhyolite, the rest are glass. The tiny beads in between the lime-green ones are a very deep, intense purple- they almost seem to glow.  Sadly, their color could not be captured by my sad little cell phone camera.

More to come in the future.

A Bit Of Archaeology

Colossal Apollo Statue Unearthed in Turkey
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Sept. 8, 2009 — A colossal statue of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, light, music and poetry, has emerged from white calcified cliffs in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists announced.

Colossal statues were very popular in antiquity, as evidenced by the lost giant statues of the Colossus of Rhodes and the Colossus of Nero. Most of them vanished long ago — their material re-used in other building projects.

“This colossal statue of Apollo is really a unique finding. Such statues are extremely rare in Asia Minor. Only a dozen still survive,” team leader Francesco D’Andria, director of the Institute of Archaeological Heritage, Monuments and Sites at Italy’s National Research Council in Lecce, told Discovery News.

Read the rest of the story here.

Site Update!

Spent some time today adding my religious poetry, hymns, prayers etc to this site. You can find it here. This includes a page for Apollo, one for other Hellenic gods, and one for non-Hellenic and non-specific gods.

Still a bit under construction, a few thigns need to be tweaked a bit, but other than some minor editsit’s as I want it for now.