Monthly Archives: November 2016
I’m really enjoying this format. These are slim, pocket sized volumes with a series of prayers that one can do daily. They’re not heavy works of theology, but small booklets for those wanting to engage in a prayer practice for specific Deities. I love how portable they are and how flexible the practice can be. I’m definitely going to be writing more of these.
While folks are waiting for “Honoring the Mothers,” which should be available soon, check out the other novena books currently available:
To Rejuvenate and Nourish: Nine Days of Prayer to Asklepios, God of Healing.
In Praise of Hermes: Nine Days of Devotion to the God of Travellers, Mischief, and More.
By Scalpel and Herb, Blood and Healing Hands: A Novena to the Healing Goddess Eir
Sacramentum: A Devotional to Dionysos (this one isn’t a novena book per se, but it’s the same size as the novena books and contains articles and prayers).
I ‘ve been focusing on the Greek Gods, but I intend to do several for the Norse too, so stay tuned.
I just finished writing “Honoring the Mothers: Novenas to the Mothers of Our Gods and Heroes.” I’m sending it to be formatted and edited tonight so it should be available in a couple of weeks. I can’t quite believe it’s finished.
This book includes novenas to Semele, Mother of Dionysos; Maia, Mother of Hermes; Leto, Mother of Artemis and Apollo; Thetis, Mother of Achilles; Metis, Mother of Athena; Leda, Mother of Helen and the Dioskouroi; Alcmene, Mother of Herakles; Danae, Mother of Perseus; Penelope, Mother of Pan; and Pasiphae, Mother of the Minotaur.
Once these are available, I’m going to have ten copies to sell here, signed, personalized, and with a prayer card of your choice. If you would like to reserve one, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com. they’re going to be $10 plus $2 shipping and handling.
Novena books still in progress include Freya, Sigyn, and I’m seriously considering ones for Athena and Apollo.
I have the deepest respect for my colleagues like Edward Butler who are philosophers and polytheists. Until today, I had no idea of what you guys face every day, and the fight that you’re engaged in to reclaim our philosophical traditions from monotheistic depredation – and it is outright depredation.
I’m still stunned at what I experienced today. I was in a theology class and we got around to discussing Aristotle. We were each giving a brief presentation on what we’re going to write for our final papers and I was up. One of the students could not comprehend why I would not embrace Aristotle as a monotheist, paving the way for later Christianity. (Excuse me while I throw up). Another was convinced that ὁ θεòς in Aristotle was absolutely referring to a monotheistic God. Nothing I said about how the singular was common classical usage when discussing the particular manifestation of a particular God at a particular moment made a dent in their dogged insistence that the writers they admired from the ancient world must, of course, be monotheists. (No, sweetheart. Actually we have medieval scholasticism to thank for twisting and corrupting ancient philosophy in such a manner. Many of the philosophers were deeply pious). What some of these students did to henadology would make a polytheist weep.
Everyone else in the class was absolutely convinced that A) Aristotle, Plato, Cicero (and we mentioned one other philosopher but I don’t recall at the moment which one. I think it was a Roman, and yes, I know Cicero isn’t a philosopher per se but he came up in the conversation) were atheists or monotheists only paying lip service to religion which was B) only state run, no belief, no devotion, nothing of substance. And then I had to listen to them discussing the natural victory of Christianity. I had to listen to the blanket erasure of both my religious traditions and the philosophical schools that those religions birthed. It was revolting. I’ve seen complete lack of understanding of polytheisms as religions with their own theologies in Classics, but not to this degree. I don’t think I’ve ever quite experienced the incredible blindness that I saw today.
This all started when I mentioned the “inherent plurality of polytheism” (it’s relevant to my paper topic). I think those words and concepts are pretty self-explanatory but apparently not. Not a single person in the class grasped what I meant, not even the professor. It was completely outside of their learned experience to consider ancient polytheisms as legitimate, richly textured, living faiths. They were absolutely incapable (not unwilling I think, but incapable) of seeing them as anything other than brittle state funded apparatuses and place holders for monotheism. I think I’m still in shock.
So I’m working on a paper about St. Jerome and his anxieties over his love of Pagan literature and thinking about my final paper for my Asceticism and Monasticism class, which has been focusing on the desert fathers and as I’m outlining, I’m thinking about how to lay out clearly the complexity of the Pagan and Polytheistic world that preceded and overlapped early Christianity. Certainly until Christianity did its damndest to obliterate it, the Pagan world was synonymous with education, learning, and civilization. This created serious tension for early Christians (a tension with which I have zero sympathy I might add) as they attempted to define, develop, and refine a cohesive group identity.
I was talking to a couple of my theology colleagues at school last week and we were chatting about our paper topics and they were teasing me (I’m obviously the only polytheist in the class, and these two knew that so we were throwing good natured zingers back and forth) about being a polytheist who studies theology and I said something to the effect that we’re taking it back. That actually brought them up short and one said “but you never had it…Pagans didn’t have theology.” I’ve been pondering that (erroneous) statement ever since because it’s not an uncommon attitude in academia.
Firstly, by Pagan, we’re talking Polytheists and those who practiced their various ancestral religions and mystery cultus in the ancient world coincidentally with the growth of Christianity, so we’re talking, c. 3rd and 4th centuries. It is true that scholasticism and the academic discipline that we term ‘theology’ didn’t develop until the medieval period (with the rise of the university) but that does not mean that the Polytheistic world lacked theological inquiry.
I think a couple of things went on in the Pagan world. Firstly, many of the questions that today would fall under ‘theology’ were instead addressed by the various philosophical schools.(1) Beyond that, there were lived mystery cultus. There was an experiential component to the hammering out of theological inquiry that went hand in hand with philosophical exegesis. (2) To say that Pagans didn’t have theology is to imply that they asked no questions about the origins of their world, about the Gods, about the nature of the holy, and a thousand other questions that today would fall under that category and we simply know that this is not true. They did ask these questions and we have enough surviving material to prove it.(3)
To assume that Polytheists didn’t make these inquiries is to dismiss their religions as less than monotheism. It’s to say that they did not care about their traditions, or that there was something lacking in those traditions that precluded deep thought – all assumptions we know to be patently false. I don’ t think that my colleagues meant to imply these things at all, but the paradigm in which they’re working is based on precisely that implication.
One of the articles I’m reading in research for my paper kept putting ‘pagan’ and ‘pagans’ in quotes, and I almost had to trash the article this annoyed me so much. I had to sit and think about what the writer was saying about the extant religions that Christianity was so hellbent on replacing. Was he denying that they were legitimate religions? Was he questioning the uniformity of any one Paganism? Was he just objecting to a term applied to people by their enemies? I don’t know because he didn’t footnote his reasoning. What I do know is that whatever that reasoning might be, it diminishes the polytheistic identity that existed, however varied it may have been, prior to Christian obliteration and it misses the point that the final generations who led a protracted resistance to Christianization did adopt “pagan” as an identifier, whether it was imposed on them or not.(4) These things matter. Just like capitalizing the first letter of pronouns relating to our Gods matters. It sends a powerful psychological message and levels the playing field.
One of my professors was confused when I spoke about the diversity of the divine inherent in polytheism and I realized that he’d never considered what it meant to be polytheistic. It was a word, an idea, a placeholder until Christianity could happen for him, not a reality. These are the unspoken paradigms with which we’ve been taught to approach our world. No wonder this restoration is so hard. Our very ability to think has been crippled.
So now I’m going back to outlining my paper. Jerome goes on quite a bit ‘What has Cicero to do with the apostles? What has Vergil to do with Christ?” Nothing and I can think of no better reason to read them. Go read some Homer, Virgil, Cicero…it’s a good tonic to so much of the crap.
1. The influence of Hellenism and Neo-Platonism on early Christian theologians cannot be overestimated. Early Christian thinkers like Origen, particularly in the East, were deeply influenced by Hellenistic culture and philosophy to the point of integrating some of these ideas into their own writings.
2. Keep in mind that even that shining star of Christian theology and scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas, based much of his work on reworkings of Aristotle.
3. Plato’s Euthyphro for instance hammers at the idea of the holy, what is the holy and what makes something holy.
4. I shouldn’t be surprised since the article was trying to make the case that religious violence against temples and shrines wasn’t that bad.
Just a few things that I’ve been meaning to post about, necessary or, in the latter two cases at least, interesting updates.
I. Firstly, I’ve had several requests for divination and other services recently from new clients and I’ve likewise been contemplating revising my rates. I’ve finally decided to do that:
I offer the following services:
• Divination: $20/question (or 3 questions for $40)
• Commissioned prayer: $15 (I will write a prayer to the Deity of your choice – if for some reason I cannot, I’ll let you know and refund you).
• Prayer with offering on your behalf: $25
• Setting of lights (candle-lighting): $22
• 1 hour of spiritual direction (skype or slack chat): $25
• conjure, house clearings, other types of spiritwork = to be negotiated (will always include supplies, travel, and initial divination).
Payment may be sent via Paypal to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
II. I have joined an artist’s collective in Rhinebeck, NY where my work will soon be showing. My personal page had been added to the gallery website and you can see it here.
III. There are new prayers posted at the Scathach online shrine, which may be found here.
Finally, I’m in the process of finishing up a novena book to nine of the Mothers of our Gods and heroes. As part of the daily meditation, I’d like to have a suggested activity offering for each Holy Power (I’ll list Them in a minute). For instance, when I did my Eir novena book, one possible activity was to donate blood, another to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders or a similar charity. Do any of you have suggestions for devotional activities for the following:
1. Semele, Mother of Dionysos
2. Maia, Mother of Hermes
3. Leto, Mother of Artemis and Apollo
4. Metis, Mother of Athena
5. Thetis, Mother of Achilles
6. Leda, Mother of Helen and the Dioskuri
7. Danae, Mother of Perseus
8. Alcmene, Mother of Herakles
9. Pasiphae, Mother of the Minotaur
10. Penelope, Mother of Pan
If I use your suggestion, you may choose a prayer card of your choice (see the prayer card page at the top of my blog here for a pretty much up to date list of what’s available). I’d very much appreciate your thoughts. Please feel free to email me at krasskova at gmail.com.
That is all for now. I’m moving into crunch time at school so it’s a bit crazy here. (and yet I’m working on this novena book when I should be writing papers, LOL. Go figure).
Some hymns to Apollon that I really like (I wrote one. lol). My favorite is Sannion’s. My Apollo isn’t gentle, isn’t a god of moderation and sunshine either.
Read more below:
I will hear no more of the poet’s Apollo, all sunshine and moderation and bland admonishments that men should know their place. I do not say that they lie: he is a huge god, I do not know him well, and what they see may indeed be there. But my Apollon is different. He is the terrible archer whose arrows carry plague and who danced on the corpse of the Python after it mocked his mother. My Apollon tore the skin from Marsyas to teach him what being a true artist is all about. My Apollon is a wolf-god, a hunter in the wilds far from man. He is a raven-god, manifest in its night-black wings and omenous eyes that see the mysteries that lie beyond mortal confines. The face of my Apollon is the jagged peaks of Parnassos, snow-covered and stretching up to the heights of heaven. His voice is the wind rustling through ancient trees in midnight forests, and the staccato beat of young men’s feet as they dance out the Paian for him. His breath is the scent of burning bay leaves and the sweat of the priestess as she struggles to give birth to the prophetic words with which he has filled her. My Apollon is in the swarm of bees and the icy depths of the virgin spring. My Apollon is a god of light – but the light that shines out of the darkness. My Apollon is a healer – but he heals through pain. My Apollon is a singer – but of magical chants not pretty songs. He lives far away, and it is a perilous journey to find him, one from which no man returns unchanged. This is my Apollon. I will never be an initiate of his, but I have had occasional and partial glimpses of him and I love what he has shown me. So I raise up this song to my Apollon, since the other Apollo has been hymned plenty of times before.
click here to read more: Modern Hymns and Poetry for Apollon
They’re doing a secret Kalends exchange in the Bacchic Underground (I know this because i lurk :)) and this inspired me to get something like that going here with my readers.
What i’d like to do is pair you guys up and then you guys can exchange cards made in honor of each other’s deities. So let them know Who you honor and they’ll make a card, and you do the same for them.
If you’re interested shoot me an email before next Wednesday, November 30 11pm EST and then I’ll pair folks up and send out the info in individual emails. Y’all can email me at krasskova at gmail.com if you’re interested.
This is a fun way to help build community and to make images and art for our Gods Who are losing Theirs as a result of monotheistic aggression.
Let’s make the holidays polytheist again. ^_^.
(Gruss von Krampus card. 🙂 )
Here’s another prayer card only recently completed. It’s not quite available yet — it’s still in need of a prayer. If anyone honors Ninlil and would like to write the prayer, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com. You’ll get noted on the back of the card and also six cards of your choice.
Here is a sneak peak at the two newest prayer cards, both by Halldora.
Surt, Lord of the land of fire
Sinmora, Lady of the Land of Fire
They’ll be available shortly.
Sannion’s latest book on divination is out. This is an amazing book and a must have for any diviner. I had the pleasure of reading parts of it as he worked on it, and I was blown away. If you want to be a better diviner, this is one of the texts that I”d recommend. I’m so glad this is available now!