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Polytheistic Voices: Interview with Emily Kamp

PannykhisEKI first met Emily through my husband’s tradition, the Starry Bull and over the years we’ve had quite a few conversations on honoring the dead, raising children in our polytheistic traditions, and the importance of building a hearth tradition. I was very glad when she agreed to be interviewed for this series. 

 

 

GK: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, what do you do?

Emily: Hi there! I’m Emily, a polytheist and initiate of the Starry Bull tradition. I do a lot of devotional work for my Gods and Spirits, and most of that work consists of divination, education, development of local-focus traditions, ritual creation and adaptation, singing for the Gods and Spirits, and honoring the local Dead. I’m currently exploring face paint and stage makeup as ways of adding depth and drama to ritual.

When I’m not doing devotional work, I’m the social media marketing manager for a small tea company and a mother of a four-year-old who enjoys praying to the ancestors and rocking out to hair metal.

GK: How did you come to polytheism? What tradition do you practice?

Emily: I’ve been a polytheist (unwillingly, at first), since I encountered Hermes at the age of seven. I began exploring Hellenic polytheism as a teenager, and solidifying my practice in the late 2000s; 2013-14 found me stumbling into the Starry Bull tradition, which has been more or less my base of operations ever since. My praxis is usually Hellenic. I do find myself exploring the outskirts though, drawing from other traditions and regions that associate with Dionysian ones—off the top of my head, I can think of the Greek Magical Papyri, Ptolemaic Egypt, and even some Norse materials. (Congratulations on creating the Comitatus Pilae Cruentae, by the way! It’s been fascinating to watch its evolution. I’m really excited to see where that goes.)

GK: Why unwilling to become a polytheist? That’s interesting!

Emily: Not as surprising as you might think—I was raised in a Christian household. It was not an easy thing to see past my upbringing to the reality of the Gods—I felt Them calling me as soon as I started reading myths, but couldn’t figure out if these “storybook figures” were actually calling to me or just really vivid imaginary friends. Muddling the matter was the fact that I had channeled my interest in Divine Mystery and mysticism into my family’s church. I even (when still quite young) considered joining the clergy! Choosing instead to go with  the Gods who called me meant turning a significant portion of my family’s culture and personal identity on its head, and eventually dealing with my family’s responses to my choices. It was incredibly rewarding, but not easy.

GK: You work a great deal with Pentheus. Can you tell my readers who he is and why you work with him and how that has impacted your spiritual life?

Emily: Pentheus was a king of Thebes and a first cousin of Dionysos. In life, he refused to let Dionysos spread his cultus to Thebes and, long story short, suffered the consequences. After being torn apart by a group of Dionysos’ maenads, his own mother among them, he became one of the Dionysian dead—death by dismemberment is a forced initiation.

As one of the Dionysian dead, and one of the Dionysian kings, he works a great deal with restoring right relations between the Dead, the Land Spirits, the living, and the Gods; as a Spirit, he is a sin-eater who can take the brunt of incredibly miasmic forces and still be okay. He is an incredible ally when I’m working to restore right relationships between the Gods, Land, and Dead of the city I live in; we have similar goals. In a way, he acts as a bit of a spiritual compass for me, giving me strong instincts regarding proper treatment of the local Spirits and Dead and a sense of when miasma needs to be cleansed.

On a personal level, he and his story have helped me break through some conditioning and perfectionism issues that were holding my devotional work back. I honor Him primarily through ecstatic dance accompanied by a specific type of music—usually something with a strong, driving beat, in a minor key, with lyrics that speak to all the emotions that accompany a need to be broken open. As I dance, I open myself up to Pentheus and allow him to see what has been troubling me. When he finds the thread he wants to trace, it feels like our emotions meld and my story fuses to His. The story gives me a way to feel my emotions and work through pain (particularly deeply-repressed pain) without getting stuck in a negative spiral—we know how Pentheus’ story ends, and it is a cathartic union with Dionysos. Maybe not the gentlest of cathartic unions, but it’s the kick in the pants I need!

GK: What challenges have you faced raising your child as a polytheist? Can you recommend any resources for polytheistic parents?

Emily: My daughter isn’t in school yet, so I haven’t had to face the things I’m most worried about just yet; I’m not looking forward to talks I may have with her teachers or helping her field/deal with comments about her beliefs. There have been challenges, though. Telling her grandparents about our beliefs was scary, and I consider it a blessing that they have been nothing but understanding. Now if we could just find a preschool in the area that wasn’t run out of a church…

As for resources, on a spiritual level I highly recommend forging a relationship with one’s ancestors if it’s not already there. The ancestors have a vested interest in seeing their descendants succeed, after all!

In terms of books, articles, and blogs, I’m still (always) looking for resources, but the book that introduced me to the Theoi when I was still little was Aliki’s The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. I know other Hellenic polytheists who read D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Two of my favorite polytheist bloggers who also write about their experiences as parents are Camilla Laurentine and Sarenth—Camilla is great at giving details about how her practice and parenting shape each other and tips for how to include children in festivals (like her article on celebrating the Kalends with her daughter here!), while Sarenth has given some great advice on why raising our children in our traditions is important (like in this article here).

And for my unsolicited advice as a polytheist parent: use LOTS of images of the Gods in your home, and have illustrated mythology books oriented towards kids, so your children can get used to seeing and talking about the Gods. It’s a good thing to have even if the myths are from outside your tradition—that’s how I got introduced to Hermes to begin with. Researching local temples for other polytheistic traditions in your area (Hindu or Shinto in particular) gives children a great place to learn about living polytheism. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about temple rules and hospitality!

And nothing beats having friends in the area who are polytheists or sympathetic to polytheists, especially if they’re parents themselves. Having a community to remind you that you aren’t alone is invaluable, especially given how isolating and stressful the attitude toward parenting is in the U.S. right now. If you can’t find friends in your area, finding an online community is still a big help!

GK: What would you tell someone wanting to begin a devotional relationship with the Gods in general and Dionysos in particular?

Emily: The same sort of thing I’d tell someone who was planning on making a big change to any part of their life—leaving their job to find a new career, or getting married, or having children, or any of the myriad adventures we can go on in our lives. You have to want it, you have to be willing to work for it and you have to be okay with it changing you. As with any other big change, you will change, and as old parts of your life start fading away you may see things and people you love go with it.

It’s up to you to decide where your boundaries are, where you aren’t willing to go, and what (and whom) you aren’t willing to give up. And it’s up to you to decide when and if the sacrifices are worth it. If you feel fear, don’t ignore it—but don’t succumb to it, either, because the times we most fear leaping are often the times our Gods will most want us to.

This sounds a bit cliched even for my tastes, but it’s true—I suspect anyone walking these paths will know exactly what I mean.

GK: I know that developing a devotional life is not without its challenges and Dionysos can be especially adamant about facing our weaknesses. How have you dealt with the challenges that have come up in your devotional life? What has worked for you, what really hasn’t, and what would you suggest when others hit those bitter, dark places?

Emily: Man, and I thought this interview was going to be easy.

Because of my particular blend of issues, my response to dealing with problems in my devotional life has largely been to pretend they don’t exist. It has gone about as well as you’d imagine. I do eventually scratch my way out, but it’s definitely a fight.

We all encounter times where we question why we’re doing this, what good we’re getting out of it, or why the Gods are treating us this way. Maybe your Gods have gone silent on you, or maybe They’ve taken an outright antagonistic role and you’re starting to resent your practice. Maybe your whole life got turned upside down and nothing feels stable.

My first and biggest piece of advice is: get a therapist. Get a therapist with whom you can get along—that part’s vital, and might take some shopping around. Particularly with Deities like Dionysos, the rough spots in our devotional lives often stem from things we haven’t yet faced in our lives outside of devotional work. (And vice-versa—problems in our devotional lives can and will radiate outward into our lives outside of that work.)  It can make an incredible difference to have a therapist who will listen to your problems and help you spot the negative and/or unsuccessful patterns you’re stuck in. A therapist who’s worth their salt will listen to you regardless of religion and not judge you for it.

Outside of therapy: don’t be afraid to change how you do things devotionally; don’t be afraid to scale a practice back, or look for new ways to work, or to approach new Deities. You know how pharmaceutical commercials say “ask your Doctor if XYZ is right for you”? Ask your diviner if XYZ is right for you. And if your diviner says that this issue is for you to work out on your own…listen to Them. The Gods will sometimes back off to give you the space to work through matters on your own before regrouping.

If you’re outright feeling resentful to the point that you are refusing to engage in prayer, or if you feel repulsed from it…you probably won’t want to take my advice, but I’ll say it anyway: you probably have a larger unresolved issue going on that is starting to become miasmic. It’s like the psychological version of a wound that became infected instead of healing. You’ll need to do all of the above and consult someone who can help you build up a stronger regimen for cleansing your energy and that of your living space. Dear fellow perfectionists: I feel like we’re some of the most at-risk people for this. You’ll see the beauty in your high standards when it’s time to discipline yourself for a new and better devotional regimen.

GK: I very much agree with that. If you can find a polytheistic friendly therapist, go because old scars, wounds, issues, pain, insecurities — it’ll all be dredged up in the course of this work precisely so we can deal with it. Ignoring that can be devastating. That being said, can you tell us a little bit about the Gods and spirits that you honor and are there particular protocols that ought to be followed?

Emily: I primarily honor Dionysos, Ariadne, Hermes, Hestia, my Ancestors, the Gods and Spirits and Dead of my city, and the Gods and Spirits and Dead of the Starry Bull tradition (particularly Alexander of Makedon and Pentheus). I feel hesitant to speak on protocols, not because they’re unimportant but because I have little experience in recognizing and implementing them relative to the spirit workers I know. Here are some opinions on and examples of my personal protocols, though:

Dionysos tends not to be as heavy on protocol, but it depends on the capacity in which one is honoring Him. His protocols go up, for example, if you are honoring Him as Eubouleus, “He of Good Counsel” (a chthonic aspect associated with mediating relationships between the living and the Dead). Really, anything having to do with the Dead will be pretty high protocol because of the higher risk of miasmic contamination.

Ariadne is high-protocol during festivals. She is the High Holy one, and should be approached as such. To do anything less is to show disrespect to Her. I go through a multilayered cleansing to set aside ritual space for Her: delineating Her sacred space with a line of cornmeal or kaolin clay, asperging everything inside that boundary with khernips, walking its perimeter with a candle and inviting Fire to consume and transmute any pollution inside the boundary, and maintaining the purity of the space with incense. Cleansing baths are also a must with rituals to Ariadne, and I have even changed which beauty products I use and how I apply them if what I was doing didn’t feel “clean” enough.

Hermes is not usually high-protocol (unless you are honoring Him in His capacity as psychopomp—but again, that’s because of the influence of the Dead). He respects protocol as a sign of respect, and will happily receive it, but if I make too great or too formal an offering, especially on someone else’s behalf, the offering does not seem to go over well with Him. He values offerings made with a strong sense of situational awareness.

GK: i never thought about that, but you’re right. The only time He is high protocol with me is in that particular capacity and it’s very much on account of the dead. The dead can be *massively* high protocol!

Pentheus has given me a specific cleansing protocol for honoring Him—a cleansing bath that contains dry, tannic red wine. I find the Dionysian Kings value ritual purity pretty highly: Alexander favors white clothes and frankincense, while Pentheus favors black clothing and catharsis with blood or wine.

I clean and cleanse my house from top to bottom once a week to honor Hestia and the Household Gods and Spirits, and try to maintain that cleanliness as much as I can. Hestia Herself has never struck me as high-protocol. She is happy with a well-kept home that is comforting and inviting to others, and offerings that are associated with hospitality. Just as Hestia resides at the center of the home of the Gods, though, this practice is the center of all the rest of mine; it ensures that my living space is clean enough (physically and on a miasmic level) to accommodate my other practices.

On days with historic significance in my city, I visit graveyards and offer to the Dead there to help soothe Them and bring Them joy. I have a certain set of cemetery protocols I follow to help soothe the Dead and keep Them from following me home, involving offerings of tobacco and liberal use of kaolin clay.

I do divination once a month on behalf of the Gods and Spirits of the Starry Bull tradition and follow a strict protocol for setting up divination space and calling the presence of my Ancestors, Gods, and Spirits into it. Following this protocol makes my divination much, much clearer.

GK: Sannion mentioned to me that you do a blog on domestic cultus. Can you tell me a little bit about what that type of cultus entails, what got you involved, etc. and share the blog?

Emily: I do! The blog I run, Home, Hearth, and Heart, is dedicated to Hestia, and contains suggestions for all types of devotional work (for Household Gods and Spirits or otherwise). These are pretty basic materials; one of my target audiences is the group of people who are new to revived polytheistic faiths, who might not have much of an idea of where to begin and what all, outside of research, they can do.

I give themed devotional suggestions for each day of the week—creating Deity playlists on Music Mondays and dusting altar decorations on Cleanse-Day Wednesdays, for example. Alongside these, I include commentary on lunar calendar dates, links to hymns, important dates in the Hellenic month, festival descriptions, and the occasional Q&A. These are the things I wish I’d had when I was starting out about a decade ago!
For those of you who want to check it out, you can find it here.

GK: Thank you, Emily. I appreciate you taking the time to do the interview. For those reading, i’d love to hear what type of hearth cultus you all maintain, what you do at home, what challenges have arisen, and how you’ve dealt with them — especially if you’re laity. I don’t think we hear enough from our lay voices. So feel free to post in the comments. 

*************

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.

Submission to the Asklepios Agon

Prayer for Care Givers
by Sparrow

Hail to you most compassionate Asklepios
Beloved son of bright Apollon
Student of wise and kind Chiron
Father of physicians and nurses
Please hear my prayer.

Your temples were the first hospitals in ancient Hellas
The sick would come to your temples asking for You to cure them
You, who surpassed Chiron in the skill and gift of healing,
Would listen to the snakes entwined upon your staff
Advising you how to heal the sick.

I come to You now many centuries later
Asking You to look after my loved one who has (name disease here)
And to please look after me too, his/her care giver

While disease rakes my loved one’s body, grief rakes my heart
I see my loved one decline, and my heart aches
I try so hard to help him/her but there is only so much I can do
I remember the good times I shared with him/her and how healthy he/she was
Please grant me strength in my caregiving role,
Most benevolent God.

Please help me have faith in the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals
Who look after my loved one
Please guide their hands, minds, and hearts in tending to my beloved.

And please, benevolent Healer,
Help me to look after myself.
Remind me to eat nutritious food, get my rest and exercise,
And to maintain my social and spiritual connections.
For if I’m not looking after myself, I cannot look after my loved one.

May you always be praised great God of healing.
Io Asklepios!

For Apollon

I want to write for You
the kind of poems
where the words burn,
dancing through synapses,
flickering over eyes,
igniting on the tongue,
where they sizzle and crackle in the mind
like a bonfire,
blazing and blistering through consciousness
until one emerges transformed.
I want to capture some of the sense
of terror and danger, ecstasy and
aching, desperate hunger
that You evoke whenever You are
even faintly near,
the way my belly lurches with anticipation
and breath suddenly seems so very hard to gain.
I want to capture something
of the simmering burn
I can all but taste
in Your presence.

If words were enough though
our hearts would never know
what it is like to unfold,
like a fragile sometimes ragged blossom
trembling and terrified
longing too
in the Presence of a God.

No brighter thing in my darkness,
Hekatos, Paian than You,
and the cry of Your name,
head thrown back
world awash in white fire
restores.

(by G. Krasskova)

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.

Submission to the Asklepios Agon

To Asclepius
by Courtney B.

The dead rise to His staff,
Great Nurturer and Restorer of Life.
Yellow sunlight shines from His eyes.
The light of life is inside Him.
Graceful son of Apollo, merciful Staff Bearer,
You hear the cries of the sick and the dying;
You bring the sick back from the brink of the black Beyond.
You taught man the healing secrets of the plants;
whispered the recipes of brews and potions to the kindly souls in Your service.
Your mercy is truly more than we deserve.
Cut From The Womb.
Snake-Stirrer!
Elegant emerald snakes adorn Your brow,
celestial yet present in every hospital and house of healing.
We pray You cut us open and cleanse us of miasma,
of hubris, of impiety, of atheism, of doubt.
Help us be the best devotees we can be.
Praise His Holy name: Asclepius!
Thank Him that you still breathe the sweet airs of life.

First Submission to the Asklepios Agon

Hurrah! I receive the first submission to Asklepios’ Agon and I am glad. I don’t think our healing Deities get half the attention and veneration They deserve. 🙂

In Gratitude
by Victoria C.

I am not accustomed to Gods being overly kind.
Loving yes, magnificent yes, but kind in a way
that does not sear the heart,
not so much.
I am not accustomed to Gods
Whose touch leaves no lasting mark
except health and healing and peace.
You brought me that, Son of Apollo,
unexpected boon and blessing.
You brought me that and raised me up
and set me back on my feet
and enabled me to live again
instead of just survive.
Yours were the hands
that dredged me out of the darkness
of my depression,
out of the wracking torture of my body’s pain.
‘Thank you’ are such paltry words
with which to repay such a grace.
They are the words that I have though,
and I bring them to You,
with a heart overflowing with joy.
I sing praises of You, Asklepios,
Wisest and most gentle of Healers.
To the Son of Apollo,
I will always pray.

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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.

Don’t Piss off Apollon

Once a month I do readings at a local shop. The owner is a friend of mine, it helps her out, and I usually enjoy doing it. Yesterday was one of those days. Now when I do this, I don’t take my entire kit. I choose two or three systems and yesterday, I decided to make offerings to Hermes, Apollon, and Dionysos with the intention of reading with a sortilege system owned by Apollon, and the Dionysian leaves. I had one client. It was a clusterfuck.

The client Mikey (yes, his actual name. after what happened, fuck it. I’m not using a pseudonym) came in asking with what decks I read. I carefully explained that I would not be reading with tarot, and explained the systems I use. He asked me and the young man behind the counter several times, a little confused that I didn’t use cards. I’ve found that tarot is so well known that people often have trouble understanding that there are other systems of divination out there, so I didn’t mind the questions but I had a feeling that he was going to be an unpleasant client. Still, people don’t generally come to us when things are going well (though they should! It’s best to get divination quarterly – I do for myself as a matter of course and was always counseled to do so by my elders because it is preventative) and it’s our job as diviners to sometimes deal with people in crisis. He was supposed to have a half hour reading. It lasted about an hour and a half and from the beginning it was ugly.

I began the reading with a system dedicated to Apollon and, of course, as always before seeing any clients, I did my opening prayers, which included a prayer to Apollon. Mikey was unhappy and irritated that I was using a sortilege system and not cards. He kept getting frustrated when he received answers he didn’t like. He kept asking the same question or series of questions in different ways because he didn’t like the answers. He outright refused to do any prescription given to him to better his situation and then he started getting rude and rather aggressive. At this point, I told him that if he was unwilling to do the prescription then he wasn’t going to get what he wanted. He started to argue, becoming both whiny and belligerent and …that’s the point when Apollon gave him a seizure.

I felt Apollon reach through the crown of my head and push out and at that point Mikey had a seizure ( just when his level of disrespect for the ordered space of the mat, the divination process, the diviner and by extension the Gods involved reached a certain level. It didn’t help that he sort of insulted Apollon’s mother). I sat through it, gave him some further advice when it was done (more counseling than divination) and finally got him to leave. He staggered out and it is my sincere wish that he never, ever returns to plague any future diviner who might happen to be on the premises.

I found out from the young man handling the counter that Mikey has a long history of becoming verbally abusive to diviners and has even made one particular diviner cry. When he’s not told what he wants, he verbally attacks them. It never got that far with me (probably good for Mikey’s sake, because I’d have bodily thrown him out. I don’t take shit like that from clients or anyone else). Apparently, several diviners who frequent the shop have refused to read for him. My question to the shop: why do you allow him to keep coming in? I don’t find that particularly ethical.

At any rate, the level of pollution was so intense that I felt the need to do divination to see if I could keep seeing clients or if I needed to go home and cleanse. Pollution is one thing, and Mikey was riddled with it, but being hit with pollution (as when a client moves from passive pollution to active offense against the Gods) when in an altered state is worse. Ironically the diviner is extremely vulnerable when in that open headspace. I initially asked “Do I need to leave?” And the answer was ‘no.’ Then I asked “Does Apollon want me to leave.” And I got a definite ‘yes.’ So I followed up by using Apollon’s oracle to ask for confirmation and received the following verse:

“Take the tripod and carry it from the temple…”

I immediately packed up and went home, texting my husband on the way to prepare a cleansing bath. As soon as I got home I went through intense cleansing and then did divination to see if I could continue to read in such a venue. (I can, but I now have new protocols for all in person clients).

Sannion also told me something that I didn’t know or had forgotten: there are accounts of Apollon doing exactly this in antiquity when his oracles were shown disrespect. Some Gods are more forgiving of such violations than others, but in the end, it’s not a game, it’s not a parlor trick, and it’s not for entertainment. Divination is sacred and when the diviner is at the mat he or she is serving in some cases as a direct mouthpiece for the Gods and ancestors. It is sacred work. It’s unfortunate that most clients no longer realize that and I think those of us who do this work in our communities have the added burden and obligation of teaching people anew how to position this as a sacral practice and how to approach the mat with reverence…because there are consequences when one doesn’t.

It’s not our job, as I was told yesterday, to make the client comfortable. It is our job to do the work. It is our job to be clean interpreters and transmitters of what the Gods and spirits provide. It is however, a reality that we will deal with clients – many quite well meaning—who do not know how to behave. I’m still a little stunned by yesterday and I have no answers for that. My protocols have been tightened to give them better warning and I do prepare most clients as well as I can but still…as the saying goes, shit happen. Sometimes, that’s going to backfire on those clients. Apollon especially is not a God with which to trifle. He protects those in His service.

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Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

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New submission to the Orpheus Agon

Hymn to Orpheus
by Ian A.

Hail Orpheus,
Singer of songs of the great Theoi
Teacher of the mysteries

Hear my prayer
Guide me on my journey
You who braved the darkness of Hades
Bless my days with song
As you played for the rulers below
Help me not to look back
A lesson you learnt through pain
Give me the courage to face death
Knowing as you taught what lies beyond

Follower of Dionysos
Ripped apart by his maenads
Follower of Apollon
After you saw what lay in Hades
Guide me in my relationship with the gods
And inspire my tounge with praise
That I may sing of their glory

Submission to Maia’s Agon

A Mother’s Love
by Sparrow

One of the most powerful things in the Kosmos,
Is a Mother’s love.
It endures and perseveres no matter what happens,
It protects and sustains the beloved Child.

This is the love that Maia felt for Hermes, Her beloved Son.
Maia who held baby Hermes in Her arms,
In the dark Cyllenian cave,
Protecting Him from Hera’s wrath.

Maia looked down at her beloved Child,
And saw that His hair was as curly as His Father’s.
He had a smile as sweet as His Mother’s,
And a twinkle in His eyes which was all His own.

Maia loved Her Child beyond reason and measure.
Baby Hermes knew this love well,
And promised His Mother one day they would not live in the shadowy cave,
They would live on radiant Mount Olympos and rightly take Their place
Among the other Gods.

Hermes was true to His word.
He became one of the Olympian Gods and brought Maia to Olympos.
What a glorious day for Maia and Hermes!

Hail to Maia, beloved Mother of Hermes,
Sweet and gentle Goddess,
May you always be praised, great Mother.
Io Maia!