Tag Archive: basic info

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.


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.

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. )

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.

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.

Should I?

I’ve been debating with myself for a while now as to just how much I want to post here. I created this blog for discussing my religion, including the more personal, not so conventional stuff.

I used to write everything on my Live Journal, right out there in the open…and then some things veered off in very unexpected directions, so I filtered things- lightly at first, just a few particular posts. Then last spring, I inadvertently got into some nasty Intarwebz Drah-mah(tm) and very quickly started locking down all but the more conventional stuff. The headaches ended pretty quickly for me, but my girlfriend ended up getting picked on pretty nastily for a while.

I created this blog quite a few months after that passed, intending to talk more openly about Teh Cray-Zee as it came up, even wrote up a little disclaimer informing the world that I do, in fact, see a Qualified Mental Health Professional (TM) on a regular basis, who is familiar with my religious beliefs, practices and experiences, and despite all this, he’s yet to tell me that I’m delusional or making it all up or just wanting to feel like Speshul Snowflake, so if anyone wants to make that call and feels that they’re more qualified than the therapist that I see, I’ll be happy to refer them to him.

Well, there are intentions for what to do when something happens…and then things actually happen. For the first time since I created this blog, I’ve had something that I consider big enough to call into question. Do I post it or don’t I?

And earlier tonight, I was talking to a friend about just this and the conflict that I felt between not wanting to deal with what some people might say, and actually wanting to write about this. Knowing that my particular understanding of Apollo is pretty uncommon and if for no other reason than that, feeling a certain obligation to write about it, and about my experiences, hoping to draw out others with similar views, and to make my own sense of it.

I’m going to write about it here. Hopefully I won’t feel the need to question it again. This is mine and this is about Him and for Him.

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…