Outdoor Shrine to Mani

For several months now, i’ve had an outdoor shrine to Mani ready and waiting for just the right statue. I was driving home from work one day and saw this box by the side of the road. 

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It wasn’t a pretty blue then, but a faded, dirty light green. I saw that it opened and thought it would make a perfect outdoor shrine so I knocked at the door of the house where it was and made sure the things by the road were for the taking (they were. there were other things spread out farther back as part of a construction project so I wanted to make doubly sure). I brought the box home, had a friend paint and refinish it and it’s been waiting lost and lonely for a Mani statue ever since. 
Well, Lykeia made me one and i’m just waiting for it to arrive before consecrating the shrine and setting it up outside. I’m going to nail it to the outside of my house where the moonlight can hit it. I think it will make a nice shrine for Mani. 
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Those of you wanting Deity statues, Lykeia does take commissions. Check out her shop here

New Prayer Card Needs a Prayer

The newest prayer card is for Morpheus by Grace Palmer. I need a prayer for it — if anyone has a devotion to this God and would like to contribute, please shoot me an email at krasskova at gmail.com. I will give credit on the back of the card and six prayer cards of your choice (or six of the Morpheus if you wish). help!

morpheus painting2x4

 

My New Book is Available

My book “Combatting the Evil Eye” is now available. It can be purchased here. This is a small companion volume to my recent book on miasma. 

evileyefrontcover

Submission to the Asklepios Agon

For Asklepios
By Alexeigynaix

In days of old, Asklepios,
we left for You our offerings:
a votive sculpture—eyes, a leg—
in thanks for Your kind healing and
Your answers to our pleading prayers.

Asklepios, Physician, You
Who Heal all those in need of You:
I hurt, and hurt, and don’t know why.
You guided those who found the drug
called ibuprofen in results
of sugar degradation. You
have thereby somewhat eased my pain.

I hurt, and hurt, and don’t know why.
I ask, Asklepios, that You
find me something—anything—
to further ease and soothe the pain.

Look here: I pour to you red wine,
and coffee mixed with chocolate milk.

I have no skill in molding clay;
I know no potter who might make
a votive sculpture I could buy
to offer at Your temple door.

My skill with pencil coloring
needs work, but here it is. I vow
an offering: I’ll draw myself
to offer at Your temple door—
for if you find a way to bring
my usual pain from five or six
with spikes to seven, eight, or nine
down to a four or (please!) a three
and hardly ever spiking six
(for I cannot recall, just now,
what none or one, or even two,
feel like; I’ve never felt a ten,
for which, Asklepios, thank You),
you will have given back to me
myself.

Modern Asklepios

Submission to Asklepios’ Agon

To Asklepios
by Emily K., MD

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

You had several shrines downtown in the city where I trained.
Tall tower hospitals lined the road from the harbor to the parliament.
Here is a shrine to the nurses who died in the Great War.
The men who cured honey-urine disease did so in these laboratories
Your own image was carved in stone above the hospital doors;
Apollon introducing You to Chiron
Money and power have changed the temples’ faces now, but the hospitals remain.
Your memorials and art are all carefully preserved.
Except one votive plea, which was discarded;
“Hospital Zone- Quiet” it read in black-on-yellow sign letters.
I last saw it perched above a worker jackhammering by the subway vent.
Sleep and dream attended Your temples in the old days
We have forgotten that.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

Quiet green trees surrounded the place where supplicants sought You
Neither Birth nor Death made a home there,
For You suffered greatly both to be born and then again to die.
Your father God brought You into life through burning flesh and brilliant fire.
You are your mother’s son too;
Coronis knew Apollon’s holiest light, yet still sought comfort with dim mortal love.
Apollon inflamed her with death and fire till at last she glowed like a goddess,
Though He rescued You before her white wings crisped to blackened ash.

Your death too, was all noise and blinding light; a thunderbolt from Zeus.
You knew the price of stealing souls back from Hades.
Yet You pitied us and brought back the mourned-for dead, easing for a while the bitterness of mortal grief.
Sympathy for the weak and merely mortal is the gift Coronis gave You.

Hail to You, Asklepios
Still honored today
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

You took Your lessons from Chiron the centaur.
Chiron taught you pharmacy;
The Gorgon’s blood breeds serpents.
These bring You herbs to poison or to cure, as Your staff directs.
Chiron taught you surgery;
The deft touch that cures is Yours, to cut the sinew space apart and leave the living blood and fine filaments of sense intact.
Chiron taught you therapy;
Man is mind and animal all bound up in one;
Who better than a centaur to teach you that?
Your words brought peace to suffering souls
You gave the best sleep and healing dreams
The body healed soon after.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

Your sons were Therapeutae in your line;
Highly honoured Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros.
Your wife and daughters too were blessed with skill.
I am glad to follow in their footsteps.
Epione, your beloved wife, who soothes away suffering.
Aceso, who walks alongside the patient in their journey.
Iaso, who restores to strength and function.
Aglaea, who adorns the body once more with beauty.
Hygeia, who makes whole and clean.
Panacea, who cures all ills.

I don’t practice near Your tall towered temples in the city far away.
I have a few beds in a hospital out in the country,
A few days a week dedicated to Your service.
Still, God of Physicians, teach me a little of Your skill.
Even a little of Your quiet
Someday I will need Your help; may I find You in the care I will receive.

Let me remember the words You taught me;
Who bears the serpent, serves.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

Are you feeling … Monstrous?

Sannion’s latest book is available through amazon now. Check it out. This has some of my favorite poetry. 🙂

The House of Vines

monstrous

Monstrous Thingsnow available through Amazon.

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A Sneak Peak

I compiled the lessons from a class on the Evil Eye that I taught several years ago into a small book, a companion to my book on Miasma and it will shortly be available. Stay tuned, folks. I’ll post here when it’s out. 

evileyefrontcover

More Thoughts Theological — This Time on Aversion to the Sacred

I’ve been pondering this topic for a long time. It’s important, but a difficult thing about which to write, partly because to write about it well, I need to touch on personal things that frankly, I don’t very much want to share here on my blog. Situations have been coming up with clients, with some of the troubleshooting that I do, however, that have brought this to the forefront of my attention and since addressing this falls under ‘preventative measures,’ I don’t think I can avoid it any longer. I’m going to start with a brief story.

When my adopted mother died, I went through a really really bad period with Odin. I still did all my work, but in my heart whenever I would approach Him or He me, all I could think was ‘you killed my mother, you son of a bitch.’ and I wanted nothing to do with Him. I could not bring myself to go to Him for a very long time. Now, He didn’t kill my mother. Death is a natural part of living, a sacred thing every bit as much as birth, but I don’t think we’re always particularly logical in the face of grief. One would think being a spirit worker or vitki that I’d be more accepting of death, having some inkling of what comes after, but …it really doesn’t help, especially when it’s one’s mother.

There was nothing wrong in feeling as I did, and Odin gave me ample space to process and heal but I held onto those feelings. I pushed them to the side and worked around them and kept pushing Him away doing all manner of other devotional work and one day I turned around and realized that there was a huge calcified blockage where my connection to my God should have been; and I was horrified. I did divination on my own and with another diviner to see what I could do –because while grieving is natural, I had a choice about what I did with that grief and what I did to restore myself and my devotional connections and I”d made a poor one–and I did all the things suggested. I started seeing a grief therapist for a time to work through the intense pain of having lost a beloved mother. I did all the right things, a little late, but I did them and…while things got more or less back to normal, there was still a part of me, not a large part but something solidly, doggedly *there*, that wanted nothing to do with the Old Man. I suddenly found myself nurturing a deep aversion to something, Something holy.

I kept up my work, kept doing all the things that were helping me, started rather (in retrospect) ragged devotion to Him again and really didn’t think anything more about it. I figured I’d get over it or learn to live with it. The Work was more important. Then a man walked into my house for divination and brought a friend who turned out to be possessed by something very foul. Then I had a God come so strongly around me that my bones vibrated with the power of the Holy. Then I saw very clearly how allowing even a tiny little chip of aversion to the Holy could provide a foothold for something foul, for miasma, for pollution, for things and creatures that are diametrically opposed to the order that our Gods have created. I saw I had another choice and I begged Odin as fervently as I have ever begged and prayed for anything to take that last little bit of aversion away from me…and He did. It was a grace. I felt Him again as clean and whole and terrifyingly raw as when He’d first claimed me, and I am so grateful, so incredibly grateful.

I thought about that for a long time and really looked at how damaging holding onto that aversion could have been. that’s where the unraveling of one’s spiritual life, cleanliness, and goodness begins. I thought about how quickly it spiraled with me, how easy it was to turn a blind eye to it, and how fast it quickly became entrenched. I was lucky: I work with enough diviners that I had help. I have a clean, strong ancestor practice and had their help. I kept up a ton of devotional practice with other Gods, and even brokenly with Odin so I was open to accepting the gift of Their grace. But what about people who aren’t in that situation? Who don’t have those blessings? I thought about what the first and last symptoms of the pollution had been and knew I had to eventually write about it and it’s taken me a very, very long time to do so.

The first and last symptom was a subtle aversion to the Holy. Oh for me, it wasn’t everything or even most things, I just didn’t want anything to do on a personal level with Odin. It was, however, enough. I realized that when we have in any part of our being a deep aversion to the sacred, it’s a warning sign. It needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. I know that if I had recognized or acknowledged and dealt directly with my own right away, I’d have spared myself (and more importantly my Gods) so much pain. I’ve learned after all of this to see that aversion in someone as a major clarion call, a major warning sign. If we are in right relationship with our Gods, we won’t have any aversion to the Holy. That’s what it really comes down to and if we do, there’s a problem.

When I’m training apprentices and students, one of the assignments I always give them, and fairly early on, is to read C.S. Lewis’ “Till We Have Faces.” My friend Alexei Kondratiev once described it as one of the three great Pagan novels of the 20th century for all that Lewis was a Christian. It is a retelling of the story of Eros and Psyche with one addition: Psyche has a sister named Orual and Orual detests the sacred. She fights and rails against it, out of hurt and jealousy and it calcifies her until the very end when her epiphanies come. She is given in stark contrast to Psyche (named Istra in the book), who goes to her God with an open, passionate heart. One reading of the book looks at Orual and Istra as the same person, at different points in their devotional life.

My students recently were discussing the book and Orual is not popular. Several said that she is the embodiment of modern pollution and attitudes but several of them admitted that they see Orual in themselves sometimes (I think we all do, we all have those points of deep resistance, or times when we’ve been jealous of someone else’s spiritual lives, gifts, work, or times when we’ve curled up from hurt and let it become angry and bitter. We’re all works in progress). We were talking about how one deals with those times and one of my apprentices, T., owned by Freya, said potently: ” If the Orual in me pervades, if I am stuck, I go to Freyja’s altar and offer Orual to her. I give Her my service and I surrender Orual to her, and tell Her that She will guide me, Orual or no Orual. Then it passes.” Later, when I asked if I could quote her here, she said, “If I am struggling, it impedes my path that She wants me to walk. I need to know when to ask for help or I will truly be lost.” And it occurred to me that this is what it comes down to: we need to know when to ask for help and more importantly, we need to not be too proud to actually ask.

This is part of the contract we have with our Gods, and it requires a certain humility to acknowledge that we cannot always do it on our own, that we cannot right ourselves all the time, that sometimes we need to ask for Their help trusting that it will come. May we not be too proud to ask. May we have the humility to listen. Keep us clean, oh my Gods, keep us clean.

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Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Why Huehue Tlamanitiliztli

I’m delighted to discover that there is a new blog devoted to the restoration of indigenous Mexican polytheism. Go and check it out.

(Also be aware that there has been a great deal of push back from people who would rather accept the anthropologists erasure of their own polytheism than do right by their Gods and actually restore practices. The person running this site is doing a great deal of good, solid work for his Gods and ancestors. We who are working in our own polytheisms should support that because those ancient contracts need renewing, no matter what the cost).

Huehue Tlamanitiliztli

The decision to coin a word to refer to the old Mexica religion was due to have a proper name to call our Tradition, the same way Greek Reconstructionists have Hellenismos or Anglo-Saxon Reconstructionists have Fyrnsidu, in this way and as there wasn’t a word used by the own Mexicas to name their believes, I decided to follow the pattern of Modern Paganism, so on, Huehue Tlamanitiliztli is Classic Nahuatl for Old Customs” or the Old Way of Life, the same way FyrnsiduVattisen Yaly or Senistrognata means more or less the same thing for the Anglo-Saxon, Chuvash and Celtic Recons.

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Polytheistic Voices: Interview with Lykeia

20170306_160233 (1)This month’s “Polytheistic Voices Interview” is with Lykeia of Lykeia’s Botanica. I”ve known her for several years now as a devout devotee of Apollon. She’s also a painter and sculptor who makes beautiful images and icons of the Gods (she’s working on a Mani statue for as I type this). She has several books on Apollon available and has done a great deal over the last few years to build and promote His cultus. Thank you, Lykeia for taking the time to answer these questions.

GK: Let’s start with something really basic for those who may not know you. Tell me a little bit about yourself. I”m betting most of my readers aren’t familiar with you. Who are you and what do you do? LOL.

Lykeia: Well my name is Lykeia, a name that was given to me in Greece during a naming ceremony. You know this ceremony for adults is adapted from household naming ceremonies that introduce new children to the gods of the household. You don’t realize just how adapted it has to be until you do it with children, as has been done with both of my youngest children following their seventh day. This name refers the wolf (and light) which is a pretty significant part of my relationship with Apulu (Apollon). After…wow 20 years (now that I think of it) of worship.. my gods and ancestors have requested that I used terminology and spiritual cues from my Etruscan ancestors. This has been a huge adaption for me I am sure you can imagine. All the same it doesn’t much affect what I do as a crafter and icon maker. It has taken me many years to get a shop started but I am pleased that it is finally having groans of growing pains. Slow as it be. When not crafting I write. I have a series of booklets gradually coming out (2 of which are currently published and available) dealing with devotional worship of Apollon. I am also working on finishing a novena for him and starting up a year long book of hymns and meditations for his devotees. Let me see, the only other pertinent information is perhaps that I am a married mother of three living in Alaska.

GK: How did you come to polytheism?

Lykeia: I totally fell in love with the gods when I was 12 and read my first book of mythology. They just made sense to me on a very instinctive and practical than an omniscient far away father god in Christianity. It wasn’t until I was 14 and doing research for a school report that I came across the goddess spirituality books of Starhawk. While goddess spirituality wasn’t my cup of tea as I had a fondness for several male deities, it did start the ball rolling in the right direction. I read everything related to Paganism that I could get my hands. I discarded popular Wicca for its duotheism and eventually Stregheria (which I got into as an attempt to embrace my heritage but left disappointed for some of the same problems I had with popular Wicca). Even before getting in with the streghe, in my teens I had already started abandoning Pagan texts for texts on ancient history and religion. So that kind of was the writing on the wall. After my stint with the streghe, I put all of my energy into Polytheism that was more in line with my initial passion…the ancient Polytheistic practices.

GK: Why Apollon? (I hate it when people ask me this about Odin, but it’s a question I find a lot of people are intrigued by). How did that relationship develop?

Lykeia: Actually it did not come about directly. I was initially a sworn maiden to Artemis from the age 14 until 18. All I had asked is that when I had children that the birth be quick and they be girls (on my third child I ended up changing my mind and petitioned Her with offerings to have one boy lol). Apollon did not enter my life until I was in my mid 20s. I joke and say often that She was preparing me for Him. My first experiences of Him were very raw and intense like a consuming fire. The Daphne myth was a very poignant one for me…that run instinct. Never had I felt something that direct in divine touch. It didn’t take me long to relish and celebrate those moments and then eventually surrender and devote myself to Him utterly.

GK: What would you tell someone looking to develop a relationship with Apollon devotionally? What do you feel are the key components to devotion?

Lykeia: First I would say examine your motivation. Are you wanting a devotional relationship out of direct experience and genuine pull to the god? Or are you seeking to get something out of it in particular. Be honest with yourself. There is nothing wrong with the latter scenario of devotion but in it you need to be clear as to your obligations in turn and DO IT. Cassandra is quite a good warning on that end. Also realize that being His isn’t going to necessarily make you an instant oracle…His domain is vast and you may have skills related an entirely different part. Everyone seems to want to be an Oracle though…except me. I just divine for my family lol.

GK: People wouldn’t want to be oracles, I warrant, if they knew what it entails. Now I know from following you on facebook and from our private conversations that you are looking into Etruscan practices and Deities. Why? What prompted that? How do you see it intersecting with your devotion to Apollon (or don’t you)?

Lykeia: Heh at first the Etruscan thing was nothing more than a “hey that is interesting” footnote to my ancestry. It wasn’t until when I was having divination done on an entirely unrelated note that the “look you need to focus on Etruscan stuff came through”. I put it on a mental burner and half forgot about it until another unrelated divination months later repeated it a bit more insistently. Well that made me pay attention, finally. I didn’t initially want it as it is hard to revive and gets poo-pooed by some who don’t understand why to even bother since we don’t have primary sources from them. Yet there is a LOT we are given by their very close Roman neighbors. Not to mention considerable archaeology so it is not as daunting as I feared. Hellenic polytheism just spoiled me a bit lol. As for Apulu…actually given that Apollon was borrowed from the Hellenes at a very early period it actually is in line with how I perceive Apollon and relate to Him in His early form a seasonal wolfish herding god of storms and plagues. So it has taken no significant adjustment outside of getting used to the name Apulu.

GK: You’re a vibrant artist and your work has been featured on several of my own prayer cards — thank you for that by the way. I do appreciate you allowing me to make them. Is this a devotional practice for you? Where does your inspiration for this work come from?

Lykeia: Thank you! And it’s certainly my pleasure to be helping out! Honestly I address the deity and stare at the canvas until inspiration comes. Sometimes this helped by reading on Them before hand…or even walking away. I can’t tell you how many times inspiration has hit while in the shower LOL! But it is quite devotional. It is part of my task from Apollon this relegation of the gods through art and poetry in parallel to oracle work others do.

GK: How do you balance having a family and doing the intense level of devotional work that you do?

Lykeia: It is not easy. As it is until I can get my business off the ground I work 3rd shift. This means I get a couple hours sleep in the morning before the kids wake up…and a couple hours in the evening after my husband gets home. I fit devotion around how the kids are behaving. If they won’t be too wild I bring them in the worship room…otherwise I wait for nap time. I have much more flexibility on my weekend! I can actually have private time in there!

GK: Because I”m a shit stirrer: what are your thoughts on raising your children polytheistic?

Lykeia: I think it is very necessary. It informs how they view the world and their relationship to it and those deities and spirits that occupy it. My eldest daughter was raised polytheistic and even though right now she is going through a period of personal focus the gods still make sense to her and impact how she relates to others and the world. My youngest children have the benefit of me having a more developed relationship with my gods and practices of worship and devotion. I was only 19 when I had my eldest and I was still working stuff out as I have mentioned. My babies are taught the names and told the myths. As they get older they will participate in offerings like my eldest did.

GK: I’ll admit to having no patience with Pagans or Polytheists who refuse to raise their children in their faith. How else are we expected to restore our traditions? It’s little enough to give back to the Gods. So it delights me every time I see a devout parent passing that on to his or her child. To continue though, what projects are you working on now? Where can people find your work?

Lykeia: I am working on so many things. I have two different booklets in the works. One deals with his maternal family and serpent symbolism. The other focuses on the herding wolfish Apollon and directs focus too to his relationship with Hermes and Dionysos. I have a novena almost ready to come out. The big project is the Book of Days, a 365 day litany of Apollon with brief mini discussions one can meditate on. I am hoping it will be ready by the autumn sometime. Artistically I am always working on something new. My current big project is to finish up the portrait of Apollon with his maternal family. I am also working on as donation to the Temple of Aphrodite two large paintings that will go in their temple when it has a roof. I kind of just go where inspiration directs me. Most of my original work, prints and products an be found at lykeiabotanica.com or at my etsy store.

GK: Thank you, Lykeia. Those sound like amazing projects and I know I”ll be picking a couple of those books up. Folks, check out her shop and if you don’t see anything you like, email her. She does take commissions.

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Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.