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“Stoic Hymn To Zeus”
by Daniel S.
O Zeus, Supreme, Most High,
Your Will guides the destinies of men.
O Zeus, Protector Of The Sanctity Of Oaths,
Should it suit You,
I am quite content
that this be my final day,
for I have strived to live
in accordance with Nature
if You should see fit for me
to live one more day,
I am content as well
and shall continue to sing of Your might.
O Zeus, Ruler Of The Thunderbolt,
Wherever You lead me,
I shall always go gladly and willingly,
Or Fate will drag me, unwilling.
For it is not right to say:
I obey Your Will,
Rather, to say:
I agree with Your Will,
Whatever it may be.
O Zeus, Giver of Good, Of Freedom, Of Strength,
Through deprivation or abundance,
I take comfort in knowing
You, always, are with me.
a thoughtful post about the influence and cultus of Dionysos in the North.
Already in the works of Homer (among the earliest mentions of the God in the Greek language, not counting his appearance in a smattering of Linear B texts from Pylos and other Mycenaean poleis dating back nearly half a millenium before those initially oral compositions were first committed to ink and papyrus) Dionysos has shadowy origins and a reputation for being a world-traveler. Iliad 6.129 ff places him among the Edones of Thrake on the periphery of the Hellenic world; Homeric Hymn 1 goes even further afield, speculating that his birth took place somewhere between Phoinikḗia and Aígyptos, while in Homeric Hymn 7 he is abducted by Tyrsēnoi (either Anatolian, Lemnian or North Italian pirates, depending on the scholarly theory one ascribes to.)
A century or so later we find the cult of Dionysos Bakcheios firmly established among the Hellenic colonies that sprang up along the shores of the…
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First of all, Congratulations to Cody Greene, winner of Mani’s Agon. 🙂 I”ll be in touch shortly. Those of you who submitted, please shoot me an email with your mailing address and let me know which Mani card you would like. Everyone who submits receives one.
April’s Agon is open, and I’ve already received two submissions. Here they are — this one is for your Patron Deities, folks. So if you have things to submit, please email them my way at krasskova at gmail.com. I”ll be posting about the prizes this weekend.
I pray to Athena,
the Spinner, the Dyer,
the Potter, the Painter,
the Weaver, the Tailor,
the Quilter, the Free.
I pray to Athena,
Who knits and embroiders,
crochets and carves spindles,
builds looms and weights warp threads:
my Goddess, help me?
I pray to Athena,
Who sounds the war trumpet,
Who bridles strong horses,
Who girds us in armor,
that we may be free.
I pray to Athena,
Who forges the swords we
will wield in Her service,
Who heals our war wounds so
that we may be free.
I pray to Athena,
the Scientist, Student,
the Activist, Free.
I pray to Athena,
Who knows when to speak, when
to act, to hold back, when
to rest, when to fight on:
my Goddess, help me?
Adorations of Dionysos
by A. Schellinger
I adore you, God of Nysa
I adore you, Giver of pure wine
I adore you, Ruler
I adore you, Bacchic Lord
I adore you, Loud Roaring One
I adore you, God of Deep Forests
I adore you, Good Counciler
I adore you, Lord with long hair
I adore you, Illuminator
I adore you, The True Vine
I adore you, He who sings
I adore you, my Saviour
I adore you, Starry Bull
I adore you, Inspiration
I adore you, Phallic God
I adore you, Androgynus One
I adore you, God of the Outsiders
I adore you, Queer God
I adore you, Twice Born
I adore you, Render of Flesh
I adore you, Gentle One
I adore you, Savage God
I adore you, Laughing God
I adore you, Giver of Joy
I adore you, God of Freedom
I adore you, Lord of Maddness
I adore you, Lord of Frenzy
I adore you, God of Ecstacy
I adore you, God of the Streets
I adore you, God of the Night
I adore you, Night Wanderer
I adore you, God of Orphic Mysteries
I adore you, Wonderful One
I adore you, Holy One
I adore you, Two Formed One
I adore you, Born of Two Mothers
I adore you, Two Horned One
I adore you, God of Foxes
I adore you, You who gives peace to the Living
I adore you, You who gives peace to the Dead
I adore you, Cosmopolitan God
I adore you, God of many masks
I adore you, God of the Counter-Culture
I adore you, Lord of the Dance
I adore you, Lord of the Rave
I adore you, Eternal Intense DJ
The deadline for submissions to issue 8 is approaching. This is an open-topic issue. For those of you who may be considering submitting something, please look at our guidelines here. Deadline is June 1.
Mani’s agon is officially closed, but I had a bit of a cold over the weekend and was therefore late posting the final two entries. Here they are below. I”ll be announcing the winner in a day or so.
The Agon for April is open, for one’s patron Deity. So feel free to submit for any Deity you love and honor. I’ll post about prizes in a few days — i’m still catching up!
Under Your Gaze
by C. Greene
Under Your silver light the hounds bay.
Under Your sad eyes small feet fly.
Under Your wrathful glance monsters pass, bearing the children away.
Under Your guiding hand hunters run with the glint of moon dogs in their eyes.
May the great hounds of Your wain run with us.
In Your name may we triumph.
Under Your gaze may the children be freed.
In honor of Mani and his human hounds in Child Abduction Response Teams everywhere, whether they know who aids them or not.
A portable shrine to Mani
by Vanessa M.
Musing on the Moon, and the Moon-God of the North
by Grant E. Hodel
Mani, the Northman’s Moon,
What do your bright eyes see, as you travel across the sky every night?
Do you bear witness to mankind’s inhumanity?
Do you view each and every anonymous act of kindness?
Well, You know the answer to that question at least.
I hear that your cultus is making a comeback in these modern nights.
It does my young body and old soul good to hear such glorious news.
And what, pray tell me, did they have to rebuild your worship with, Moon-God?
An etymological connection between the names of Your pages and an English folk-poem
here, genealogical information preserved in Lore there.
If the tales are true, then that was enough to fuel the connection between Yourself and the modern day seidr, shamans, spirit workers,
and simple forlk who follow the old ways.
That so few could restore anything at all from so little is proof of Your power,
God of the Northman’s Moon.
“Our way of life, our holy places, our festivals and religious practices, our ancestors and Gods – these are everything.”
On twitter, I’m having a rather interesting discussion about this article. It details how the archeologist currently in charge of Çatalhöyük is going out of his way to push an anti-theist agenda, using linguistic gymnastics to avoid acknowledging the site as one that was once polytheistic, and specifically denying that any Goddesses were venerated there. As Dr. Edward Butler noted in this twitter conversation,
“General avoidance of the term Gods is common in Western writers. …Interpreting religion as religion, and Gods as Gods, gets in the way of interpreting religion instead as a proxy for social and economic organization, an imperative since Durkheim and Weber. Hence, for instance, part of the reason why Hodder (the archaeologist in charge fo the site. –gk) wants to suppress the idea of any kind of theistic devotion having been practiced at Çatalhöyük is because of that site’s egalitarian social organization, whereas he wants to associate religion with the emergence of “domination”.”
I cannot tell you how many classes I’ve endured where the professors – who should have known better – pushed the idea that the ancients believed all Gods were the same, or that they didn’t understand their own religion. They jumped through hoops – in complete opposition to the surviving evidence, I might add — to deny the polytheism of our ancestors, to paint is as primitive, a minority position, to insist that anyone intelligent or educated was monist, monotheist, or atheist (this is especially so in the wake of Christian scholasticism when it comes to ancient philosophers, most of whom were in fact deeply pious men and women).
This is important. This should be noted and called out. It is, in some cases blatant, an attempt to rewrite history, to strip polytheism and by extension the Gods from the historical narrative. If we are left with the falsehood that our ancestors had no piety and no religion than there is nothing to restore. If we buy into that falsehood, then the coming of Christianity and other monotheisms can indeed be painted as “progress,” instead of the religious and culture destruction that it actually was. It reduces the complex body of religious practices that our ancestors held dear to superstition and misguided error. It obliterates the reality of our Gods in favor of either monotheism or secular anti-theism (and sometimes it’s very difficult to tell the difference).
This is why I think it’s so important for us to not elide the term ‘Gods’ in our own discourse with non-polytheists. I think too many of us do that to make them comfortable, to find common ground, but we really, really shouldn’t. Even I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can count, especially in academic discourse. We’re trained to find common ground for discourse, and all of us know how charged a term ‘polytheist’ or even ‘pagan’ can be. It’s sometimes very difficult to resist the unconscious push to use words like “the divine” or “deity” or (worst of the lot) “spirit”(1). I think it’s very, very important that we not do this, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. To elide the plurality of our Gods is to allow our listeners to assume (which they will because it is their place of comfort) singularity, unity, that no matter how many Divine Names we use, how many Gods we call, we really are referring to one being. It further erases the polytheistic voice from whatever narrative in which we’re engaged. It removes our Gods’ presence, denies it, all to placate monotheists or anti-theists, and largely because we are not strong enough to endure their discomfort.
To actively be a polytheist in the world is to be a living, breathing challenge to the comfortable paradigms by which others define their lives. We challenge the narrative that we’ve all been raised with, one that privileges monotheism or better yet atheism while positioning polytheisms as primitive superstition. When we verbally elide Their presence, we are contributing to that, even if we don’t realize it, even if that is not our intention. It is a small thing we can do to further our traditions, to give our Gods a place in this world: refuse to conform to the expected. When we yield to the pressure to conform to monotheism, anti-theism, secularism, we are allowing those traditions a position of superiority to our own. We are confirming in the minds of those with whom we debate, reinforcing their own inherent and often unacknowledged assumptions of that presumed superiority.
This may seem like a small thing and maybe in the end it is, but it does us no good at all when we lack the confidence and courage to use our words wisely in ways that acknowledge our Gods and give Them and our traditions a place in discourse, discourse with those whose traditions once attempted the eradication of ours, discourse with those who have in their hearts – for all they may claim otherwise – contempt for all that we represent. By refusing to elide the polytheism from our language, especially in interfaith settings (2), we force our interlocutors to acknowledge that polytheism exists and that there are those who have fervent devotion to the Gods with everything that entails. This challenges, quite directly, their hegemonic biases (and is one the main reasons that interfaith settings, with their default monotheistic-light positions, are so unwelcoming to actual polytheists who will not play their game).
To again quote Dr. Butler,
“I think it’s significant in this that even where there isn’t monotheism, there is the notion of a mono-causality, that social facts can only have one true cause, whether that’s economic, or has to do with dispositions of power, or whatever else somebody is pushing. This is a subtler intellectual legacy of monotheism, the refusal to recognize that the same social fact can be analyzed according to multiple causes at once, and hence that religious phenomena can have specifically religious causality. Instead we have reductionism, and what Ricoeur calls the hermeneutics of suspicion, where whatever our privileged explanation is, is seen as unmasking and undermining the other modes of explanation as “mere ideology”.”
- Of all the insipid language used in interfaith dialogue, I particularly detest the use of “Spirit.” I recall when I was teaching at a local interfaith seminary, and refused to allow my students the use of this term (I don’t care which Deity or Deities the students honored, but if they couldn’t be specific about who was on the other end of the metaphorical phone when they got the call to ministry, they had no business in a seminary.), the uproar it caused. “Spirit” is a tremendously polyvalent term. Many, many things qualify as “spirits” and not al of them good. If you cannot be specific, go home. There’s a wonderful quote, that ironically comes from Revelation (3.16 if I recall correctly): be hot or cold but don’t be lukewarm water in the mouth of God.
- Keep in mind that as much as we may bend over backwards to accommodate monotheism, they would not do the same for us in any way, shape, or form. We are, in interfaith settings, expected to conform in ways large and small and our voices are given very little weight (one of the reasons I am seriously on the fence about whether or not engaging in interfaith dialogue is useful – after all if mutual respect and good faith isn’t there, what’s the point?). We too often grovel out of sheer gratitude to have been included and it needs to stop. Our traditions existed for thousands of years before monotheism was even a blip on the religious radar. We created civilizations and gave the world philosophy, art, culture on a grand scale. The last thing we should do is feel grateful to have a voice in these settings. The next thing we’ll be expected to do is thank them for their traditions having engaged in religious genocide of ours. Where we go, our Gods and ancestors go as well. We represent and it’s incumbent on us to do that courageously and well.
They and Mani
by C. Greene
They say you hide your light behind the herds of sky sheep because you are fickle.
They say the wolf must stalk you through the night to keep you to your course.
They say many things, without asking why the pearl of the sky should cry.
They do not see all that you see in the darkness of the world and wyrd.
They do not count the cost of wayward moon beams that reveal prey to two-legged predators.
They do not know the price of darkness, that the forgotten children might slip by unseen.
They do not see the tears for those whose wyrd you can not make less pained in tender years.
So they do not understand the sadness in your songs, even in the love chants you cast to the sea.
I will wear the marks of my Gods proudly.
Let there be no mistaking where my allegiances lie.
My skin will proclaim it.
My clothes will tell you.
I will not be emptied of Them.
I will not forsake Their mysteries.
There is nothing you could offer me,
that would cause me to swallow lies.
Nothing you possess that would ever
tear me from Their service.
I bring Them wherever I walk.
My very flesh is a doorway
through which They may reach.
Make no mistake:
Offerings provide fertile ground
for devotion to flourish.
Remember this, when you ask me to trade
the emptiness of the secular modern
for the glory of Their revelation.
Some of us have not forgotten
The faces of our ancestors
The whisper of our Gods
The honor of Their cultus
and our duty to those yet to come.
What weight is a bit of flesh
for such a promise?
Like our Gods, we remember.