After running about making various offerings to Hermes, I spent the rest of the morning redoing my Hermes shrine, and my Loki and Sigyn shrine.
Hermes’ place. ^
Loki and Sigyn’s place.^
The icon above is by Grace Palmer, and belonged to my mom Fuensanta.
I woke up not in pain this morning (a rarity in winter) and decided to spend the day cleaning my Hermes shrine and my Loki shrine. They are overdue for it. First though, I decided to leave offerings for Hermes in a local park. It had come up for me some time ago that I should leave a random offering to Him in a park, and I’d inadvertently put off dong so.
So that means that after breakfast, I headed to the store to buy the oddest, quirkiest assortment of things for Him. I came out with two shopping bags of games, food, and – I kid you not, an eight ball. (He wanted an eight ball. I said the offerings were quirky). Then I set out. I realized quickly that I wasn’t going to be leaving these at one park, but at several.
Putting on some music I associate with Hermes, I first left the majority of the food offerings at the foot of mount Beacon. I venerate the Mountain spirit there, so the offerings were given to both Hermes and the mountain itself. Then I went to one of the local cemeteries. One of the games Hermes had me buy was a set of dominoes. I left that at the top of the cemetery on a bench, with some of the food offerings. He is guide of the dead and in one of the divination systems I know, dominoes represent the bones of the dead. It seemed fitting.
Then I went down to a park abutted by an out of commission train track. He’s been coming to me with hobo imagery of late, so I left some of the non-food offerings at the tracks, and more at the park itself. The eight ball got left in a park between my home and the next town over. (I used the eight ball and asked, “is this a good place to leave this offering,” nestled in a cleft in some rocks, and the answer “you can rely on it.” LOL.). So that’s where that offering ended up.
Then I wanted to give flowers to Hygeia, and make an offering to Sigyn so I headed to the flower store. While there, I thought that I could make another offering to Hermes (leaving flowers on a random grave) so I put together a nice bouquet of yarrow and belladonna (it’s a really pretty purplish blue color), with some baby’s breath and headed over to one of the cemeteries.
I received a couple of omens while coming home upon which I will be pondering long and hard and a gift (no kledones, though I kept an ear open). Now I’m going to take a break for lunch and get on with cleaning those shrines. So far, it’s been an awesome morning.
Grace Palmer just finished the next card in the Mothers Prayer Card series: Leda, with Zeus in Swan form.
So far, about half the cards are finished: Semele, Maia, Leto, Metis, Thetis, and now Leda. We still have Penelopeia, Danae, Alcmene, and Pasiphae (i think I listed Them all) to go.
There is nothing better than mornings spent with the Gods, whether in devotion to Them or fruitful discussion of Them. Today was one such morning. My friend Markos posted this awesome quote by Walter Otto on his facebook this morning:
“No single Greek god even approaches Dionysus in the horror of his epithets, which near witness to a savagery that is absolutely without mercy… He is called the “render of men”, “the eater of raw flesh”, “who delights in the sword and bloodshed”. We hear not only of human sacrifice in his cult, but also of the ghastly ritual in which a man is torn to pieces. Where does this put us? Surely there can be no further doubt that this puts us into death’s sphere. The terrors of destruction, which make all if life tremble, belong also, as horrible desire, to the kingdom of Dionysus. The monster whose supernatural duality speaks to us from the mask has one side of his nature turned toward eternal night.”
~Walter F. Otto, Dionysus: Myth and Cult
We both love Dionysos dearly (and if I’m not mistaken, Markos actually belongs to Dionysos whereas while I love this God, I pay cultus from the fringes). This quote encapsulates some core elements of His nature. He is a terrible God, in the old sense of the word, as One Who brings terror.
Another friend Paul C. mentioned that He is also “nice,” and I have to agree: He can be immensely nice and gentle (and we agreed that sometimes that is more shattering than any cruelty He could bring to bear on the transformation of our souls). Paul said:
“I’ll say that when I first started with Dionysus I didn’t expect him to be nice.
It was the niceness of him that was almost hard for me to handle at first. Due to my background of abuse and other unfortunate things I have a lot of self-confidence and self-esteem issues. His acceptance and love was unexpected and clearly not coming from myself. It was hard because of the whole host of new ideas and perspectives that I had to confront As your husband (Sannion) explained it and I think he’s right that was the God’s own way of molding and helping me.
So niceness isn’t always painless like you think it would be. Sometimes it’s more painful than cruelty when it runs counterbalance to what is in one’s head.” — Paul C. (quoted with permission)
Still, as I pointed out, it’s never the “nice” that people try to elide from their Gods. It’s the Power. I was asked to explain and the conversation that followed was meaty enough that I wanted to share highlights of it here.
People will go to any lengths to make their Gods sweet, nice, and unthreatening, to insist that their Gods aren’t savage or vicious, violent or bold. We want our Gods civilized and ‘modern.’ We want Gods we can control, or at least Gods that don’t challenge us, that don’t drag us down into the morass of our own shit and force us to look at it, and deal with it. We as a culture want Gods Who won’t interfere with our lives and the priorities we set for ourselves. We want Gods of peace so that we never have to stand naked, afraid, trembling, and possibly bleeding and snot faced before Them. We want characters in a storybook. Just look at any of our communities.
Of course positioning a Deity as any one thing alone is always problematic. A God, any God is never just savage or nice. They *are*. They are in a fullness and complexity of Being that I don’t really think we as human beings quite have the capacity to comprehend at all. We may catch glimpses, but the totality is too immense for us to do more than gnaw upon. Think about the story of Dionysos’ Mother Semele. When She was tricked into forcing Zeus to reveal Himself in the fullness of His power it burned Her to ash. A human being, as we are now, simply does not have the capacity to behold the Gods in Their fullness. The masks They wear are necessary but every so often, oh every so often we get a glimpse of some of the roaring Power that lies beneath.
So yes, Dionysos is nice. I can also attest He’s been incredibly nice and gentle with me. but …that’s not the part the average person is going to erase in their minds, I think. We know He’s nice. That’s not the part most people want to forget.
I saw this over the years with Odin. Any mention of Odin’s darker sides — and oh, He is a terribly savage God. Anyone who thinks His veneer of civilization and culture is anything more than a carefully calculated mask is deluding themselves.—His penchant for ordeal, His violence, His savagery inevitably led to claims that I was making this God into a sadist. “That’s not my Odin.” (#notallOdins) No, buttercup, but it is Odin. Maybe it’s not what He’s showing you, but it is absolutely His nature. The best of us learn to revel in it. Those who can’t? Well, there’s always British TV, fanfiction, and pop culture.
There’s a movie that several people in the conversation brought up, one that has strong Dionysian overtones: “The Witch.” In this movie, the Devil in the shape of a black goat drives a rather neurotic Puritan family to ruin. Well, they drive themselves to ruin, and the goat just does what demonic goats do. (#goatlivesmatter). In the end, the goat transforms into a man and asks the surviving daughter: “Do you wish to live deliciously?”
We agreed that this is Dionysos.
This is the Liberator. I have my suspicions that many of the medieval images of Witches’ sabbats were cultural memories of Bacchanalian frenzies with all the potential savagery that might entail. (#livedeliciously).
We should be careful what we do to our Gods. One thing I’ve learned venerating the Norse Gods is this: if we insist on allowing Them only one avenue of manifestation, only one mask, They’ll take it but it won’t be the best outcome for us. We will get the Gods we deserve. When we deny Them the fullness of Their being, we start denying ourselves too and as that movie so beautifully showed, repression never leads anywhere good. (#lokiwivesoftumblr).
So maybe let us live deliciously.
Especially where our Gods are concerned.
I want to give folks an update on how the Mother’s Prayer Card project is going. (I could just title this: Grace Palmer is awesome. She’s been whipping these cards out and they’re gorgeous).
So far, we have cards completed for
Leto, Mother of Apollo and Artemis
Semele, Mother of Dionysos
Maia, Mother of Hermes (I think this one is my favorite 🙂 There’s just something about little. baby. Hermes).
Metis, Mother of Athena
Thetis, Mother of Achilles
The next card currently in progress is Leda, Mother of Helen and the Dioskouroi. If anyone would like to donate to this card, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com (usual perks apply).
Once the cards are all finished, I’ll offer them A) as a complete set; B) as a complete set with a signed copy of the novena book; and C) individually.
Cards still to be done include Alcmene, Danae, Penelopeia, and Pasiphae.
There is a gate
at which the hero waits.
Quietly, sizing his chances,
flexing his thoughts,
until the dawn of movement
and the sun of a new day.
He tilts his hat at its coming,
tightens his grip
on an ever-present staff,
and then boldly steps forward.
There is a gate,
and from it the hero goes forth.
(by Agi Samothrax)
Messenger, storyteller, and dreamer
Protector of home, bringer of fortune
Clever and sarcastic god,
Guide us in dreams and over roads,
You, the giver of grace and of the lyre:
salve for sorrow and despair
Inspiring love, joy, and sleep
Son of Zeus and Maia,
grandson of Atlas who bears the world
Beautiful brother and loyal friend to Apollo,
far shooting lord of the silver bow
Lord of all birds of good omen, all flocks and all herds, and of the lion – wild and free
Sly thief with beguiling charm,
Be remembered, and remember us, too.
Accept this gift, my prayer in song.
A Song for Hermes
Clever and sarcastic
Guide over roads and through dreams
Athletic and fantastic
Protector of home, Lord of schemes
Wherever we roam
We call you
Save us from harm
Help us pass through
Keeper of flocks
Please count us
Among your own
Trickster and Deceiver,
With your wit, guide us through
You are heart delighting
and Giver of Joy
Bringer of luck and of grace
We glory in your embrace
Hear our song and join us
It is you, Busy One
It is you that we praise
with this song.
So within NT shamanism we have a specific divination system to determine what type of purification will work best, in the event that we or our clients require purification. (Of course this isn’t the only thing we use but if all other types of div and discernment have failed, there is a specific system for this). That is more or less lineaged material but I happened to show it to my husband. His eyes gleamed and he got all excited and asked if he could use it as the basis for one of his own systems. Since while it technically is part of the lineaged material, it’s part that can be shared with non-initiates, I explained the extremely simple system to him. He nodded and disappeared into his office and emailed me the following about a half hour later.
It is an awesome system based on the Greek theory of the four humours. He gave me permission to share it here. This in turn has inspired a friend and colleague to do yet another riff on the system and I love the interconnectedness and mutually inspiring nature of this work. A Heathen makes up a system and it’s down, dirty, and simple. A Bacchic, southern Italian, Hellenic inspired Orpheotelest tries it and he gets all fancy. ^_^.
Here it is.
This is the method of prescribing cleansings.
You will need four stones, a die, and a pouch to keep them in.
The four stones represent the rizomata panton, the “roots of all things” or primordial elements which Empedokles described as follows:
Now hear the fourfold roots of everything:
shining Zeus, enlivening Hera, Aidoneus,
and Nestis, moistening mortal springs with her tears.
The stones should either have their Greek name inscribed on them or be of an appropriate color, as derived from the Galenic humours.
Fire = (πῦρ pur) = hot and dry = yellow
Air = (ἀήρ aer) = hot and wet = red
Earth = (γῆ ge) = cold and dry = black
Water = (ὕδωρ hudor) = cold and wet = white
Draw the stone out to determine where the root cause of the problem lies and then roll the die to determine the nature of the cleansing that needs to be prescribed.
1. Pass fire over the body.
2. Walk on coals.
3. Write your afflictions down on scraps of paper and then give them to the fire.
4. Burn an effigy of your enemy.
5. Keep a flame burning for a month.
6. Wear red clothing for a week and work on cultivating the fire within.
1. Fumigate with bay or other purifying herbs.
2. Cleanse using music.
3. Cleanse through prayer, singing or intoning words of power.
4. Burn incense every day for a month.
5. Devote yourself to intellectual study and practice mindfulness and meditation.
6. Cover your head, especially when you’re outside the home.
1. Apply sacred ash.
2. Cover with mud and sit upon the bare earth for three hours.
3. Make offerings to the ancestors.
4. Make offerings to the land-spirits.
5. Ground and center.
6. Thoroughly clean and put your home in order.
2. Cleanse with chernips.
3. Take a cleansing bath, with milk and appropriate herbs.
4. Bathe in a river.
5. Cleanse through tears.
6. Wear all white for a week.
I was sharing this story with a friend tonight who suggested I share it with my readers so here goes.
The winter before last I was doing a lot of work with Hermes. I tend to honor Him regularly (Hermes is awesome) but for some reason throughout that winter He was getting a lot of offerings, more than usual. It may have been around the time that I had expanded His shrine, I don’t recall. What I do remember is that I had promised Him an offering of steak.
The day that I was supposed to give Him the steak came and so did a nasty snowstorm. I am a careful driver in the best of times but I really didn’t feel comfortable going out in those weather conditions. Being from the south, I’m a bit skittish about driving in snow and ice. I went to the shrine, lit candles, offered a prayer and explained the situation to Hermes promising that I would go as soon as I could the next day after the roads were properly ploughed. About five minutes later my doorbell rang.
Wondering who the hell out would be out in a bad snowstorm, I answered it to find a young man selling…steaks.
This guy had a truck full of steak that he was selling door to door and before heading home he hoped to make one more sale. I got the point – Hermes wanted His steak— bought a couple of boxes, thanked the man profusely and made the offering I had promised the God.
Sometimes you go to the offering, sometimes apparently it comes to you.
The Hermes devotional is available here. It will be up on amazon in a few days. Like Eir and Asklepios, this is another pocket size devotional, a novena book for the God of travelers.
I have six on their way to me that I will sell for $10 plus $2 shipping and handling. These will be signed, personalized, and sold with a prayer card. If anyone would like to reserve a copy, please email me at email@example.com.
This one has been a labor of love, folks. I started it last year but it just would not come together until I decided to turn it into a novena book. I”m really liking this format too. Anyway, read on!
EDIT: the signed copies are sold out, but the book itself is available on amazon and createspace now.