A friend of mine told me about a meme that’s going around, people doing 100 days of something consecutively for 15 minutes a day. She had chosen to do an hundred days of devotion to her patron Deity and I decided to do the same for Apollo, starting in the new year.
I specifically chose Apollo because of an unfortunate incident that happened when I was studying (with a study group) for my ‘History of Christianity’ final. We had been given a whole list of names, about which we had to write a few sentences (the professor gave us a “syllabus” for the final exam, so we knew exactly what to study). One of those names was Apollinaris the younger, who in the wake of Julian’s proscription that Christians could not teach (sensible. He said that one could not teach what one did not believe and the Homeric corpus was a huge part of education at the time), rewrote the Old Testament in the style of Homer and Pindar, and the New Testament as a pseudo-Platonic dialogue.
We were sharing mnemonics for persons and dates and one of the students said that she remembers Apollinaris because “Apollo doesn’t exist…” and I was just floored. I think I sat there with my mouth hanging open, so taken aback that I didn’t know what to say. We were little more than a half hour away from an exam and she comes up with something so impious that I was physically nauseous. I made a comment to the effect that Apollonaris may not have been intelligent enough to think otherwise, but many Pagans of the time loved and honored Him. In the course of the ensuing conversation I also made it clear that I venerate Apollo but I still walked away feeling unclean and deeply ashamed that it had taken me so long (out of shock) to formulate an appropriate response. I’ve done div on the matter and know that everything is more than fine between me and Apollo and I have no logical reason to feel ashamed, but I do. This, therefore, is my small way of honoring Him, and making amends.
So, I decided that starting Jan. 1 for the next hundred days, I’ll be making a small offering at His shrine and studying Greek. Each day I will read something and translate it for fifteen minutes and then go to His shrine and make the appropriate offerings. (I just finished day one, reading and translating a story about a contest between Boreas and Helios as to Which was stronger. I’ve likewise made offerings to both Apollo and Asklepios, because Asklepios is also awesome).
I wanted to post about this here because I think this is a great challenge. I read somewhere that it takes about thirty days of consistent work to break or build a habit. I can think of no better habit that I might want to build than one of daily devotion to a God I love. Hail Apollo.
For Your protection,
I thank You.
For Your grace and blessings,
I am grateful.
Teach me to honor You fully and well,
Teach me to love You
Until there is nothing else extant
In those spaces of my heart
Parceled out to You.
The Dionysos Agon closes tonight at 9pm EST.
by J. Starman
Dionysos how now You come;
from silence You come at the hour
when a banquet has been set for my king.
You come on quick feet, dancing a satyr’s beat.
Around You turn me and I rejoice, inflamed
and I lay tokens at Your thrice blessed feet,
honoring You as so my Lord honors You,
embracing You as my Lord embraces You.
My kiss is but His kiss upon Your hem
It is my Bacchic Lord, who through me exclaims
to rejoice in You and Your great company,
to sing praise of the thrice born King.
Running From Dionysos
Let me tell you a story,
Many years ago, when I was a boy, my parents abandoned me.
At night, I used to sit by my bedroom window and wait for my mother to come home. Sometimes she did.
Sometimes, it was better when she didn’t.
My banished father was broken and blinded by his own sadness. He is almost a stranger to me.
Every night I would sit, wait, and even pray for someone to come rescue me. No one ever did.
Not God, not Jesus, not even the Devil. So I prayed to Others.
Every night a piece of me would die
until there was nothing left but my pain and rage.
A night of rage
Stabbing wounds into a wall
Holding the knife just under my sternum, preparing for the upward thrust.
A voice saying “No.”
It wasn’t the Beautiful General.
It was the Warrior.
“You will Endure.”
“Put down the blade and pick up the iron.”
“We will harden you and We will forge you into something new.”
“Serve Me and Endure!”
So I did.
But there is a price.
The Warrior is a loyal but hard taskmaster.
Decades have passed and still the pain and rage roils within my iron-forged body.
My body breaks with its containment. My armor no longer serves as it did in the past.
Yet I Endure.
But for how long?
Life has approached me with twinkling eyes and an outstretched hand.
“Let me help.”
“Let me return to you that which died so long ago.”
I drink of His gift and for brief moments I glimpse and experience those parts of me I’ve forgotten,
Those parts He says He can return to me.
Yet I run from Him, called The Joy of Man.
“Let me help”, says the Emancipator.
I recoil in my pain and rage.
“Let me help”, says the Gentle One.
My body aches in pain as I limp away and say to myself through clenched jaw,
May I someday turn to Him and say,
“Please help me.”
by Wynn Dark
Darkness flows with tidal churning.
Blood and wine in the waters of life.
Minds roil and drown in the rhythm of crest and trough.
Some remember Your passing, the wake of it still rippling in their veins.
Others cry out Your name in praise, whether the waters fill their lungs or no.
Most only feel You without knowing what has passed and shudder in their skins for reasons they cannot fathom.
I remember, tossed on a different sea yet the same, I remember.
Alcohol loosens inhibitions
smooths social interactions
helps the shy be bold
The best way to look absurd
on the theater stage
is to hold back
Asserting our own gender
—not that which we were given
when we were born—
inhabiting our own
The twists and turns and tangles
of a mind that wars itself
sometimes are the soil and seed
One cannot be swept away
by the Gods or spirits
if one clings white-knuckled
to the physical
O Dionysos Liberator
You Who Shatter Chains
Releaser of Control
I pray to you
Remember, folks, there are still a few days left in the agon. if you’ve been thinking about submitting something, now’s the time.
The God of Broken Souls
There are Gods for those who take up arms,
To protect their families and tribes.
There are Gods for those who till the earth,
And reap the bounty from Gaia’s depths.
There are Gods for those who are clever,
With their words and their hands.
And then there is a God for the rest of us,
We who are broken in body, mind, or spirit,
We who polite society frowns upon.
He understands our suffering,
For He has suffered.
He understands what it’s like to be human,
For His beloved mother was a human.
He understands what it’s like to be shunned,
For He was shunned from Mount Olympos,
Before His triumphant return there.
This God is the great and powerful Dionysos,
Lover of the outcast and downtrodden,
Loosener of cares,
Master of revelry,
Breaker of chains.
What would we do without Dionysos’ love?
I honestly do not know.
I am only thankful that He is always here for us.
He wraps His protective arms around us,
Offers us sweet wine from His cup,
And then He leads us in His dance.
Let us always praise Him. Io Dionysos!
By V. Morelli
You are the only God
for Whom I remove all my masks.
You are the only God
Whose Presence I can bear
when my demons come calling,
and You hold me in that Presence
as I writhe, until I am clean.
Restore me, oh my Liberator.
Take me up in the ecstasy
only You can bring.
Tear me Open, Omadios,
fill me with the sacrament
only You bear,
until I am fit, until I am rendered wild,
until I am perfectly and purely free
to be one of Your masks in this world.
Hail to You, Dionysos,
Sweetest and most dangerous
of all the Gods.