Tag Archive: apollo


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…

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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.

Return

And now, it is time for your return

to your sanctuary high atop this stark-faced mountain

where curls of smoke from burning incense

drift and melt into a veil

and bowls of wine and honey adorn your altar.

I wait in your temple, a hymn on my lips;

a prayer hangs from my tongue,

longing for your presence so that it may fall.

Time stretches, then stands still,

holds its breath in anticipation:

your arrival never comes quickly enough.

(written in honor of Apollo’s return to Delphi)

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.

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 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.

Insufficient

To look upon the face of a god,
that is the great mystery,
to fall into such a vision…
to be fixed by the immortal gaze…

Were it that I could paint as I wanted,
I could show you the god who wields
a bow of fire to rain down razor-arrows
from the heavens,
whose touch burns as it heals and whose
sight is second to none.

Whose voice is menacing silk
to the ears of his follower,
uttering terrible prophecy and tossing out
impossible riddles as casually as one
might mention the weather.

And I could show you a god who shines, blinding,
and smolders darkly at once:
The ancient face of youth, perfected and placed on a pedestal
Who grieves as though the world were to end
and meets petty insults with death.

I could show you the god of gold
who dwells in a temple of crystal
perched precariously on a mountain of ice
high above the world.
The wolf and the swan, both,
heed when he speaks- he is one of them
their forms are his forms too.

And there are his eyes, a color you cannot see to name,
whose gaze you cannot meet- or cannot remember meeting-
shadows behind the light,
in the eyes which cannot be met, here he holds all the secrets,
the answers to all questions never asked.

If I could paint as I want,
I could show you every flippant proclamation,
every blatant riddle,
each death, and life preserved,
each wound healed;
the blinding darkness, the obscured light,
the burning touch of his flame-covered hands.

But I cannot paint in blood or fire,
cannot draw with crystal or death.
No canvas vast enough exists
to contain such beauty and terror
and rage and grief, such feeling, as his.
So this will have to do.

I must apologize:
it will never suffice.

(This was inspired mostly by my own ideas, but also a bit by the few decent depictions I could find when browsing around on deviantArt.)

This is a ritual that I don’t do as often as I really should. It has no particular origin, it just sorta happened on its own and became a somewhat regular thing for me. This is an easy ritual to add things for a longer occasional observance, or to do very simply on a daily or otherwise more frequent basis.

Required:

-Seven bay leaves (I prefer fresh leaves. They’re not quite as easy to find as dried, but some larger grocery stores will have them in their produce department- I’ve found them so far in Wegman’s Safeway and Giant in my area. They are far ess expensive- usually around $2.50 for a whole package instead of several dollars more for a small bottle containing far fewer. The fresh leaves keep for several weeks (I think I’ve had them for up to two months in the time) in the refrigerator. I generally try to offer leaves that are undamaged and have found that dried packaged leaves are often cracked or broken. Another source of fresh leaves, if you have one available to you, would be a bay laurel tree.)

-bowl in which to place the leaves

Optional: candles, incense, beverage to libate

I do this at Apollo’s shrine in my temple room. I generally sit on the floor where I have to look up slightly to see Apollo’s statue. I generally start by lighting one or two candles- I have a stash of Mediterranean Cypress votive candles from Yankee (a scent which is, very sadly, discontinued.)

I light these candles and sit down at the shrine. Generally, I immediately then light a stick of incense (I usually use Wildberry brand peach or awapuhi incense. It used to be Green tea before Wildberry stopped producing it. No particular reason for these scents, they are just what I started using a couple of years ago and have stuck. Sometimes I burn cedar or lemongrass incense instead. They all seem to be favorably received.)

After that, I spend some time meditating on what my intention is- the intention of this ritual has generally either been to thank Apollo for blessings, or to make offerings that are more abstract in nature.

When I am ready, I take the leaves one at a time, pick each one up, hold it in my hands, and concentrate on what it is that I’m offering or thanking him for. I mentally place my offering/thanks into the leaf, and place the leaf in the offering dish (you could also write your thoughts on larger leaves with a fine-point pen). I do this for all seven leaves.

Sometimes, after that, I’ll pour a libation- usually white wine)- over the leaves. Alternately, I also sometimes will pour the wine into the bowl first and place the leaves in the wine. There’s no real difference in the order.

After this, I generally will meditate or do other things at my shrine until the incense is burned out.

When it’s time to dispose of the leaves, do so when and how you see fit. I end to let the leaves fill up the bowl and then put them all into a plain wooden box that you can get at craft stores. When the box is full, I re-offer the entire thing by way of burning in a ritual fire.

On writing about Apollo…

I originally posted this to my LiveJournal, where someone asked me to write about Apollo in response to a meme.  Since it’s relevant, I also posted it here.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t really know how to write about Apollo in a way that even begins to do Him any sort of justice. Every time I try, I grow stronger in the belief that human language is just not sufficient. How do you explain infinity? How do you describe the brightest light you’ve ever seen, the most beautiful sight to ever reach your eyes or the greatest terror you’ve ever known? And how can you explain that yes, it is okay- even advisable- to place your trust in the source of that terror?

I can always start to write about him, but after a few sentences or a short paragraph, I can’t continue. Why? there is plenty to write about…that’s the problem, there is so much to write about, so much that can be said, but I can never really say it. The thoughts which, in my head were perfectly fine, become imprecise, faulty and unbeautiful when they see the light of the page or screen.

At best, I can reasonably write about my own feelings. This is probably why I write so much in the way of poetry about him, and why it tends to be so personal, because even if I can’t quite get the exact word, I can find something close enough. Whereas with Apollo himself, thre is no such thing as “close enough”.

Believe me, I am trying to find a way, because I would really love to write a book about him.

Gravity

This is a really beautiful  song by Vienna Teng that I associate very strongly with Apollo most particularly for the lyrics in the final stanza:

Hey, love
I am a constant satellite
Of your blazing sun
My love
I obey your law of gravity
This is the fate you’ve carved on me

It’s available on her website in mp3 format- http://viennateng.com/listen/ (it’s the last song on the page, click the link to listen or right click and save link to download)

Yesterday morning, I was talking to Sannion and mentioned this song being stuck in my head for several hours. He wanted to hear it, so went off in search and found this video on Youtube…it’s nothing but a bunch of still shots and videos of, if you can believe it, wolves.  (Really, taken on its own, it’s not all that interesting, but coming across it now, with this song, that’s pretty laoded for me.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2cJabIxHRU

I’ve been seriously thinking for a while of getting those lines tattooed on me somewhere. I received another swipe by a wolf’s claws over the weekend in a trance while doing a ritual. This was on my upper left arm. I think that’s where it’s going to go.

I’m seriously considering this font:

http://www.dafont.com/marka.font?nb_ppp=50

or this one: http://www.dafont.com/joehand-2.font

Dali is always a favorite http://www.dafont.com/dali.font

Another that I like, but probably way too thin for tattoo work: http://www.dafont.com/honey-i-stole-your-.font

Poetic Fragment #1

This is just a fragment…not sure if I’m going to add to it or no, I kinda like it as-is…I started writing more to it, but it ended up not working out as I thought it would.

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

In case you were wondering…

Yes, I’m quite aware that the poetry that I’ve posted recently here is somewhat graphic and violent.  I think that  most of the people currently reading this are at least somewhat aware of its origin, but just in case…this poetry has been inspired by a long string of dreams and meditative visions that it seems, are shaping up to be one of the defining characteristics of my relationship to Apollo. I will probably post them here eventually, I’ve not entirely decided just yet.

As terrifying and painful as it can be, I have no desire for it to be any different.

A Good Thing

I am tired, I am dazed.
I am delerious, I am in pain.
These ties that bind my wrists
eat the flesh raw;

but shoot another arrow into my heart,
go ahead, drive another point
straight through my core

and when you’re finished, peel
back my skin layer by layer
until my skin is no more.

I shudder to think about it,
but your torture is comfort.

I won’t be going anywhere, don’t worry.
I don’t have the strength to think about escape,
and escape is not what I need.
Or want.

So it’s a good thing
these ties that bind my wrists
will hold me up.

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You: Dangerous.

A keenly-honed edge,
razor-sharp.

Ooh, shiny.

Menacing,
hypnotic.

Deadly,
like a wolf,
claws slashing
jaws snapping.

More precise
than microsurgery.

Burning like a fire,
Harsh as an arctic freeze.

As scarred as a man.

As perfect as a god.

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Do I make an offering in your temple
when it is I who is offered?
I lay my trust in your hands
as surely as you lay down my shredded body
bleeding on your altar,
its surface now streaked and stained
as red as life and death.
What you want of me, you don’t ask
but take from me violently.

Simple acts of devotion will never suffice.
You, I cannot worship by halves.

Willingly

My trust, you demand
repeatedly, constantly.
Don’t you know this hurts?
What do you want from me anyway?
Don’t you know I follow you willingly?
I sometimes wonder if there’s
something wrong with me,
that I let it go so far
and why I have no desire for it to end.
But your beauty is my incentive
and your touch burns, sublime.
The slice of your blade across my skin
is so familiar now
though the shock never wears off completely
and terror is new every time.
I know you know this hurts.
Now I know what you want from me.
And I know you know I follow you.
Willingly.

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Oh ancient face of idealized youth,
I’ve seen what lies beyond your
marble shell,
scarred perfection,
horrifying beauty,
comforting terror
of depths which I can barely
begin to conceive the vaguest iota
you protect the would-be victim
from your own destruction.

In you, contradiction contradicts no more.

You.

I come to you broken.
I come to you damaged,
cut and scarred by your own doing.
What will you?
Why do you do this to me?
Why do you call me?
Why do you hold me, claws digging deep
into my flesh?
You are the enigma.
You are the dream.
You are the nightmare.
You make me scream
in pain
and tremble with fear.
But you pull me to you
and hold me with an iron velvet grip
which I have no desire to escape.
You’ve given me freedom
(or the illusion of it).
All I want is to know
what lies in front of me.
But you tell me nothing.
And I only wait.
And follow.
You try my trust.
You lead me blind.
Your gentle touch burns.
Your cruel cut heals.
I bleed by your hand
and rest on your stained altar.
I, a crumpled heap, can barely crawl.
You gave me wings.

Past the Roadblock…

If you’re reading this now, chances are good you’ve already read it on my Live Journal. But in the spirit of chronicling my religious experience, I copy this here. This is from this past Friday night. It’s interesting to note that these thigns usually come up when I’m sleeping, in dreams. This is only the first or secomd time that something like this has come up that I wasn’t asleep.

Well, the cold is gone. There’s the occasional little bit of cough, but that is going to be around for a while yet. Doesn’t really mean anything.

So I settled down in the temple room, and within a few minutes, had drifted elsewhere. I kept thinking about him asking me to come to him. I know it would mean a venture of sorts, but I didn’t think it would go quite this far…

I was in a place that looked like the Swiss Alps- at least as I remember them from when I traveled through Switzerland thirteen years ago. i don’t know what I was doing there, but I was there. I came upon a mountain that jutted up much higher than the others. It reminded me of the Materhorn, (I’ve no doubt that was the basic visual that my brain was using for building this place.)The mountain was completely covered in snow and ice, even much closer to the base, where all the surrounding mountains had a tree line, this one had none. I started to climb the mountain, though I was not equipped to do that. I was not dressed appropriately I was wearing ordinary sneakers. But I climbed, sometimes able to walk along a steep path, other times literally climbing over snow banks and ice formations. I was afraid of frostbite, and falling and sunburn and windburn. As I ascended, it got colder and the wind blew harder. The soles of my shoes wore through. My clothing became tattered.

Finally, near the top, I came upon a glittering temple of crystal and white marble. it seemed to be clinging to its perch so far above the world. This was not the temple of previous dreams, but like that temple so many times before, I was expected. The doors swung open at my approach. I was so cold by this point, I felt like ice water ran through my veins. I thought I should have died long ago of hypothermia.

The temple inside was as cold as it was outside. It seemed to glow from the light shining through its crystal walls. I walked a few steps in and nearly collapsed in exhaustion as the door slammed closed behind me, and then I felt a burning just above the base of my spine. It spread through me briefly, agonizing, like my nervous system had been lit on fire. After a moment, the burning receded so that it was confined to my spine, the rest of me remained reasonably warm after that, while my spine continued to burn.

And then He appeared., tall and golden, painfully beautiful. Previously, He was always tall, taller than most mortal men but not inhumanly tall. Here, He must have been ten feet, maybe more. His presence was overwhelming, more intense than anything I’ve ever known, I felt like He could crush me with barely a thought. And He was brilliant, blinding and more real than I had ever known before. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to. It was as if up here, so far above the world, everything was so much clearer.

He started walking towards the rear of the temple. I followed. There was an altar there, carved of white marble. It was bare- no cloth, no offerings. The light streaming in was brightest here. By this point, I knew why it was bare. I realized now that I was no longer wearing clothing, though I had never actually removed what had remained of what I had been wearing. Silently and slowly, He began to transform and soon I was facing an enormous wolf. He let out a low growl, circled around behind me and slashed at my back with His claws, down one side and a second time down the other. The pain was agonizing, I was bleeding. He circled back in front of me, transformed back into His familiar form, picked me up and placed me on the altar face-down. blood running down my sides stained the white marble. He disappeared for a moment and returned, I could see something glinting in His hands, but my vision was blurred from the pain and the light surrounding me. He came and stood beside the altar and leaned over me. I felt my skin being pierced, and then again. I realized that He was sewing the gashes in my back. The pain of the unanesthetized stitching melded with the pain of the gashes and my spine, still burning. The touch of His hands, usually a relief, afforded none this time. Then he started to sew another gash, and he was not just sewing. I felt a weight settle against my back, along the length of the gash, unfamiliar. He did the same for the final gash. When He finished, He picked me up and made me stand, blood dried all over me and the previously pristine altar. A mirror was placed in front of me and I could see what the foreign weight was- He had sewn swan’s wings to my shoulders.

Right now, for whatever reason, my back is a little hypersensitive, even more than usual. Gavin’s touching me, even just a little bit, feels like electrical shocks through my spine.

Before all this, I sat for a while, lighting some incense and a cypress candle. I didn’t follow it, but while I was doing this, I felt a strange compulsion to stick my finger in the candle flame, or to grab the burning end of the incense. It was odd.

Songs for the God of Song

Been trying for quite some time now to compile a list of songs that remind me of Apollo. Slowly, I am finding them. Very slowly. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Airlock- Alpha
Airlock- Quiet Hour
Violet Indiana- Sky
Mr. Mister- Kyrie*
Rhea’s Obsession- Dreaming Blade
The Moody Blues- The other Side Of Life
The Moody Blues- Breaking Point
Vienna Teng- Gravity

*Yes. I am well aware of the meaning of “kyrie”/”kyrie eleison”, thanks.

A little progress…

Two posts ago, I explained the origin of my blog’s name, which comes from the beginnings of an essay that I started months ago. in the last week, I’ve made a little (very little) progress on that, so here is what I have so far:

I know Apollo as a highly complex god with more layers than I will ever imagine. He is a god with solar connections, but he is not god of the sun. He is not civilized- that is a human concept, he is a god, and you will never forget that he is a god. He is beautiful and perfect in ways that can only be glimpsed in brilliant fractions of a second at a time, so vast, like the moment when it suddenly dawns on you for an instant just how big infinity really is.

He is a god of many lights. He is a warm golden glow of safety and joy. He is the brightest light, which casts the darkest shadow. He is the light that shines into the dark: He is the light of truth and truth is often painful. The absolute light that leaves no crevice in shadow. In the light that drowns out all shadow, there is only truth. It’s the cold, cruel, surgical light which allows no room for denial. It hurts. Often unbearably- healing does not come easily, and there is no exception when it is granted by Apollo. But after it hurts, it heals. When it heals, there is the memory of pain and light.

Apollo is a god of binary oppositions. The face of a coin cannot exist without its reverse. He is a god of health and plague, of light and dark, of creation and destruction. Through Apollo, I have experienced some of those oppositions first had: when healing is painful, pain is healing. The deepest dark is found in the brightest light, the brightest light in the deepest dark and the most profoundly powerful place means being tied up, helpless and delirious.

Slowly, the words come to me. Describing Him from where I stand is no easy task. Human language is simply not sufficient, I am making do as best as I can.

In case you were wondering…

Before I get too far into this, there are a few points that I’d like to put out there regarding myself, my beliefs and my religion/religious practice. So you know where I’m coming from, to avoid misunderstandings, and for other reasons. So for the record…

There’s a good chance that you’re assuming that I’m pagan. That’s not unreasonable, however it stands to mention that I rarely identify myself as “pagan” for a number of reasons:

1. What does “pagan” really mean? It’s extremely nebulous. Next to meaningless for all intents and purposes as far as I’m concerned.

2. I’ve long since gotten tired of people assuming that “pagan”, for me, meant the generic, vaguely Wicca-flavored neopaganism that Llewelyn publishes a zillion books about. Really, no thanks.

3. To refer to the classical meaning of the word…I’m not a country dweller. Just the opposite in fact, I live, happily, in the middle of Baltimore city. I prefer to live in cities- larger ones at that. Prior to living in Baltimore, the happiest time of my life was the two years that I spent living in Dallas. (It had to do with a lot more than that, but living in the city was definitely a factor.)

4. I’m not a member of the motorcycle gang. 😛

Moving along, there is a very common concept amongst pagans of patron deities. What exactly that means has some variation, but it’s usually something to do with a deity or a few deities to whom one feels closest or has a particularly close relationship. While Apollo could definitely be referred to as my patron deity in such a sense, I do not use that designation for reasons that I cannot put very well into words. “Patron” does not even remotely begin to describe what I feel the relationship is. (And right now, I can’t really tell you that, since I don’t know for certain myself. I’m trying to figure it out. A year ago, I could have told you. But then it started getting interesting.)

Regarding both the “pagan” and “patron god” terminology, I’ve used them not terribly infrequently in the spirit of employing the vernacular when talking to other folks who know what I’m talking about. That feels more and more wrong to me as time goes on, so I’ve not been doing that anymore.
There has been some controversy, especially in the last year or so, amongst sundry Hellenic folks about what is and is not Hellenic reconstruction, what is and is not Hellenismos, bah blah blah. This has lead to lots of debate, argument, fighting, headaches, screaming, nasty blog entries, flaming on email lists and probably puppy-kicking and orphan-punching. To head off any possible miscommunication, nastiness and hair-pulling, please understand:

1. I do not call my religion “Hellenismos”, nor have I ever.

2. I do not call myself a Hellenic reconstructionist, nor have I ever. I have referred to myself as “somewhat reconstructionist” in terms of approach. Reconstructionism is not my religion.

Finally, I do tend heavily towards mysticism. I know that there are those out there who may read this who have the attitude that those of a mystical bent are mentally ill or delusional. If you are going to come here with that attitude, let me be clear: I do see a therapist who is aware of my proclivities. I do run this stuff by him, he doesn’t seem to think I’m crazy. If you think that you are better qualified to discuss my mental state, I will happily refer you to him, it’ll get you out of my hair all the quicker.

Now you know.

Why ‘Pain and Light’?

This comes from an essay that I started writing some months back. One that I hope to finish. Someday. It’s about Apollo and my understanding of him, and has been amazingly difficult to write. I can talk forever about Him. Writing about it is another story.

Here’s what I have to date:

I know Apollo as a highly complex god with more layers than I will ever imagine. He is a god with solar connections, but he is not god of the sun. He is not civilized- that is a human concept, he is a god, and you will never forget that he is a god. He is beautiful and perfect in ways that can only be glimpsed in brilliant fractions of a second at a time, so vast, like the moment when it suddenly dawns on you for an instant just how big infinity really is.

He is a god of many lights. He is a warm golden glow of safety and joy. He is the brightest light, which casts the darkest shadow. He is the light that shines into the dark: He is the light of truth and truth is often painful. The absolute light that leaves no crevice in shadow. In the light that drowns out all shadow, there is only truth. It’s the cold, cruel, surgical light which allows no room for denial. It hurts. Often unbearably. But after it hurts, it heals. When it heals, there is the memory of pain and light.

The farther I go, the more memories I have of pain and light. These two ideas, the pain and the light, are critical and central to my relationship with Apollo. This I will discuss in more depth as time goes on. He has been a presence in my life for several years now and I’m only just barely starting to figure it out…