Fiberwytch Supermoon Giveaway!


I have a cord from this wonderful artist on my shrine, I highly recommend her work to add a bit of something special :)

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

10513253_804057949615653_5151456604081396988_nTo celebrate this year’s incredible THREE supermoons (tonight, in August, and in September) I’m having my first-ever Fiberwytch Giveaway! The prize? A custom-designed ritual cord, made from luscious, soft local wool, hand dyed by me and carded with gorgeous locks, silk, bamboo, and lots of sparkle, then spun with intent by hand, soaked with herbs and essential oils, adorned with hand-selected charms, and charged and consecrated with the energies of your choice.

Before I begin working on your cord, you will tell me who or what to dedicate it to (god, goddess, festival, magical purpose, celestial body–whatever!), you pick the colors, the herbs and essential oils for finishing the cord, and up to 2-3 charms to adorn it with, and I spin it for you, absolutely FREE! (My cords normally sell for approx. $25-60.  You can take a look at some of them here and here.)

You can use my…

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Polythusia and the Theban Birth of Apollon

Pausanias tells us that the Thebans believed that Apollon was born in the precinct of Thebes on a small island created by the flow of two rivers, the Olive and the Palm, between which it rested. He went on to say that Delphi held this date, and that the Spartans agreed with it. Unlike the Ionian Thargelia at Delos which celebrated the birth of Apollon at the beginning of the season of ripening grain, the Theban birth occured in what would have been the equivalent of the Athenian month Anthesterion, the Delphic month Bysios.

We are told by Plutarch that of that month it was originally only the one day in the whole year that the oracle was open, on the seventh day of Bysios, but to further honor the birth of Apollon the temple eventually opened monthly. This shows evidence supporting the Theban birth of Apollon being recognized at Delphi and makes chronological sense better than my original figuring of several months of journeying from Delos and Bysios being his arrival at Delphi. It never sat well with me though because the time frame was too long between Thargelion and Anthesterion, and the battle of Apollon with Delphyne during the Septeria, which supposedly occured immediately, would have been a whole month of seperation, not to mention significantly disagreeing with Plutarch. So what is the significance going on here?

The main difference between the births of Apollon is the focus on crop type. The Thargelia focuses on the birth of Apollon attached to the arrival of grain crops. His birth celebrates the first green grains of wheat. This touches on the concept of Apollon as the bringer of the golden grains, the gifts of Hyperborea as celebrated in Delos. Therefore in Delos and other Ionian city states, including Athens, celebrating the birth of Apollon in conjunction of such gifts would make sense. Elsewhere, however, Apollon was honored more in association with herds than grains. As suc his birth during the lambing season during the month of Anthesterion made considerable sense, that the god of herds would arrive with lambs. This would follow with Plutarch associating the Delphic festival Polythusia, as it originally was the only day of oracles, with the birth of the oracular god, as well as falling within the Delphic festivals of Septeria and the return of Apollon from his year long exile in the month Theoxenia, which would happen to line up with the Delian return from Hyperborea/Lycian Patara (mythological/real worship). Hypborea was not originally part of the Delphic exile myth from what I can tell, where Apollon departed in exile seeking purification. Hyperborea enters via the Old Man of Lycia (honored at Delos particularly for the Ionian cycles) arriving at Delphi with two Hyperborean youths (who are part of a later Delian cycle arriving from Hyperborea to Delos, to avenge the death of the maidens who accompanied Apollon’s first return from Hyperborea) to build Apollon’s first temple. Recalling that Delphi was caught in the middle between Ionian Athens and Doric Sparta, we can see here an example of how Delphi mingled in Ionian myth with its native cycle that was more agreeable to the Spartans.

Given the symbolisms of these births I appreciate and honor both as his birthdays with slightly different foci as shown above. I honor both Thargelia and Polythusia to celebrate his birth in accordance to these different symbolic mythic cycles.

Worship, Devotion and Prayer

There is no absolutes when it comes to fluid nature of one’s personal relationship with the gods. How one person interacts with one god may often be not only significantly different from the way they interact with another god, but may also differ from situation to situation with that same god. I find that is especially true for anyone who devotes themself to particular deity. 

As a priestess of Apollon I can say that there is no one way I approach him. I do give him teverence in the traditional Hellenic fashion of ritual once or twice a day as a matter of respect. Not only respect to him but respect towards the culture that he manifests through. It also helps that Hellenic ritual is not horribly complicated either! I have done full Relugio worship with the appropriate gestures etc and find Hellenic ritual to be of a very simple format. So much so that after a few times the steps become automatic and fluid. It actually takes more effort for me to recall the order to write them down than it does just do them.

As a priestess I find it appropriate to at least once a day perform a ritual at his shrine, however I do think that the most important points for doubg ritual , if for whatever reason I had decided not to do daily rituals, would be to make the effort to honor him in ritual during festivals of importance by formal ritual, because of the sacredness of the occassion. Being versed in formal ritual is also important if leading public worship. Unlike more intimate ways a devotee or priestess may have of communicating with their deity, for the purpose of doing worship inclusive of others who may not have an intimate relationship with him. It is for this reason I feel it should be, if for no other reason, for me to be sufficiently versed on correct Hellenic, and Roman for they honored him too, rituals. This can be well illustrated by Homer in which Calchus, priest of Apollon needed not any ritual to call upon his god, and yet when th Achaeans remedied the situation he assisted them with giving ritual to Apollon to turn aside his wrath. It seems implied here that full ritual is not necessary for all forms of worship but is necessary on a whole.

And outside of Apollon, for those gods I do not have a personal relationship with, I find it necessary on behalf of myself and my oikos to give prayer and worship for the purpose of kharis through appropriate ritual.

With Apollon, and a couple other gods that are more intimately involved in my life, such as Poseidon, Artemis and Aphrodite,, it is not unusual for me to break out into praise and prayer. To play, laugh and express myself. From Apollon he may communicate at one moment through a poetic verse, the next by the humm of a honeybee or raven’s song, and the next again by the moan of rocks on a mountain or crashing waves, and the play of flames or light through the leaves of a tree. And the ways I express my devotion manifold from planting flowers for him, singing, dancing, painting, sculpting, to writing of him. It is not necessarly my worship of him but it is a vital part of my relationship with him as his priestess.

in short the way prayer and worship manifests is by its nature varying with many factors involved.

Artemis, Aphrodite and Teen Awareness

In an odd twist of circumstances, the two most influential goddesses in my oikos are Artemis and Aphrodite, a situation which arose early in my life and for which I can appreciate their roles in teen life, especially as my eldest daughter has entered her teen years.

Anciently the teen years were ones that marked the transition from childhood into adulthood, more firmly than they do today where our teens are considered children until they are 18 years old. This was marked by ceremonies in which Artemis was given thanks and offerings by the youth or maiden, and afterwards were expected to leave the shelter of Artemis in exchange for the blessings of Aphrodite and Hera (and other blessed gods persiding over the marital state). It was considered part of the natural order of things, and the violation of which could bring about disasterous consequences as Euripedes cautions in his Hippolytus.

In short you end up with a period in which a child still clings to Artemis, to the wild uninhibited freedom she brings, while Aphrodite begins to assert herself. This is rough period of time. With adoration I, like Hippolytus, clung to Artemis. I vocally, and sometimes viciously shunned Aphrodite who represented what I intellectualized as the embodiment of my scathing opinion regarding relationships. I laughed and sneered at boys, or just outright challenged them in some form of contest or another. I felt Artemis laughing with humor, and often egging me on. “Oh I dare you” she would seem to taunt at my hairbrain ideas. She is like a shout in the wind…utterly uncatchable leap of freedom. With her I trampled through the woods, leaves tangling in my hair, dirt mingling with sweat, shouted and laughed. She encourages and relishes the beast in me even as she me to become greater than I am. Always a challenge rises from her. It is too easy though to be carried away in your love for that you neglect the mounting responsibilities you owe your family as you age…and even to resent the curb to your freedom and your family who places these upon you.

To make matters worse, no matter how much you push away Aphrodite, she is still working on you. I would find myself adornibg myself with nice clothes, jewelry and perfume. Nevermind the flow of desire in the later years. She us resilient, waging her clever battle.

Even for those who fly eagerly into the arms if Aphrodite, I imagine it is difficult to let go of the joys of Artemis.. to be able to completely surrender to the sway of Aphrodite and leave childhood behind.

I see my daughter struggle between these with having her first real boyfriend but clinging in so many ways to wanting to be a little girl even as she wishes to be grown. I made peace with these goddesses by giving them equal places of honor as I refused to let go of Artemis, and her me. How will my daughter?

Where am I?

It was asked in a group I belong to about what devotional volumes are out there in which we can see the working relationship with the gods. I mentioned my published work and ongoing booklet projects, but then it occured to me, in none if my writing, even here on my personal blog do I really talk about anything personal in my relationship with any of my gods much less Apollon.

It is not that I am secretive nor that my relationship with him lacks any depth. It is more that when I talk of him it is for furthering his worship among others. I have a hard time imagining someone trying to develop and establish worship would be intetested in the relationship I have developed with him over the years. It is also due to the influence of graduating from the university as a history major that I have become used to writing through an academic lens rather than a personal one. I am not present, only words glirifying him.

It is rather startling to think on your writing and have the bewildered question come to mind: “where am I? Who am I in all of this?”

I am the keeper of his shrine, his priestess, his. There should be something of me amid all of this, for every scrap of information I come across, every bit of new inspiration, all of it impacts my relationship… and just maybe that too is worth sharing.

So my challenge to myself: at least once a week I have to write something here where you also see me. This means getting back to doing more regular blog posts, even if is irritating to do from my phone!

In the Likeness of God

I read a post today which suggested that the inherit danger of priestood or focused worship of a god is that you become as a likeness of the god, that is, you begin to express traits common to the god you worship. Whereas I don’t really consider this a “danger”, I do think it is factual to a goodly degree. And if we look at Plato I do think that this likeness was observed anciently. Plato is more inclusive though, as he ascribes that each soul expresses those qualities of that god which it belongs to. Therefore, if such was the case, which I happen to agree with, then the qualities of the god are already in place. It would make sense then that the closer we get to the god, the more pronounced those characteristics become. It is to this end that Plato say we are likewise attracted to other souls bearing likeness of the same god, that through honoring each other and the presence and influence of each other that it serves to influence this development at a more rapid rate.

So, if all of this is true, it means that everyone has a natural disposition towards the god that their soul belongs to and reflects. The soul by nature experiences through its evolution progressively increased reflection of its god over long expanses of time. Over lifetimes. In such case devout worship of a god, or becoming a devotee, priest etc of a god would work further towards aligning the soul with its god.

Does this mean that every priest of a god is a perfect expressed mirror of their god? Of course not. We are human, and it takes numerous lifetimes to be able to join with its god and be liberated from the mortal existance. Plato illustrates this best by saying that ever the soul seeks to rise to its god, but because of its mortal imperfections, falls away. Therefore, while you wont find a mortal who perfectly expresses their god ( for if that were the case they would not be among us) but who to varying degrees expresses these traits of the gods their soul belongs to, is attracted to and whom they whole heartedly devote service to. This is but natural.

Artemis, Hekate and Demeter

So similar are the natures of Artemis and Hekate that it sometimes causes argument in regards to which is more appropriate for certain forms of worship, namely those various points their natures intersect. I have tried, not quite satisfactorly to myself, puzzle out how these goddesses fit together. After a while I started to come to the conclusion that there is no satisfactory way to separate these goddesses, and I think that this is a conclusion that Athenians came to as well in the classical era where we find references of Artemis-Hekate in the work of Euripedes in his Seven Against Thebes.

For I have noticed something quite distinct, that aside from a few notable sanctuaries (the one at Brauron being in direct competition with Sparta as the inheritor of the Taurine Artemis) Artemis seems to enjoy a bit less popularity than Hekate, and much of worship seems to be very narrowly defined. I think this is part of what causes some to argue that the Eleusinuan temple of Artemis is not really for Artemis, because they see no real function for Artemis in Demeter’s sanctuary, especially when Hesiod, a rather famous Ionian poet to whom the Homeric hymns are typically attributed to, speaks of only the aid of Hekate outside of Demeter and Persephone in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter as the goddesses who aids Demeter in recovering Persephone. This aid was freqently celebrated in Attic vase paintings depicting Persephone with Hekate and Hermes.  So then how possibly could Artemis fit in? To discover that we need to move away from Attic and allied resources and take into consideration that the conquered Eleusis was said by Pausanias to have the exact same rites as those of Demeter at various points in the Pelopennese. In a couple of places this can be attributed to just a migration of the Eleusinuan cult, where Demeter is surnamed Eleusia. But in many cases that is not so. In Messenia we have mention of three Great Goddesses of whom Pausanias doesn’t name, but says that their rites are exactly the same as those at Eleusis. The identity of these goddesses can be peiced together from his subsequent writing on Messenia’s neighbors, Arkadia and Laconia. First he mentions that it is in Messenia, in the feilds of Apollon’s horse herds, that Demeter, in her grief over loosing Kore, hid herself in the form of a mare and there Poseidon, in the form of a stallion, copulated with her. From this mating, Pausanias tells us, Despoina was born. Pausanias tells us that Despoina is a title for the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon, just as Kore is a title for the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. He initially tells us that it is forbidden to say the name of the goddess, but then a few pages later informs us that Artemis is the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon. Which he makes further clear when speaking of the sanctuary of Despoina in another part of the Pelopennese where one enters first through the temple of Artemis Hegemone, and from there you come to the inner part of the sanctuary where there are two images. The main image being that of Despoina (holding the sacred kiste) seated beside Demeter, with another statue of Artemis nearby holding a torch in one hand and a dragon in the other.

Now, this isn’t the only instance of Artemis acting as keeper of a sacred kiste, for in one of her sacred cities in Asia Minor we find her receiving the sacred kiste of Dionysos from Troy in myth. In fact it in Asia Minor you really see the overlay of Artemis and Hekate. For you see triads of Cybele, Hekate and Hermes lining up directly with those of Leto, Artemis and Apollon in differing cities, largely because this part of the world was colonized by Athenians and Laconians both creating a hodgepodge of differing foci. Of course the interesting thing is that Ephesus, whose Artemis so unresembles the Attic Artemis to the point of people saying nowadays that they are not the same goddess, is said to have been mythically founded by an Athenian prince, bears more in common with Artemis outside of Attica. Such can be stressed by very Persephone like imagery in her temple of the Thessalian queen Aclestis, wearing the crown of Persephone as she is escorted back among the living by Herakles. It is also in Ionia that we find Leto identified with a great mother goddess in Lycia and in other parts identified with the dead.  The nature of Leto becomes distinguished as bearing commonality with Demeter. The parental relationship evident with Demeter quite plausibly was well known and recognized in Hellas which likely inspired the account of Diodoros Siculus who said that Artemis and Apollon were worshiped with their mother Demeter in Egypt… their recognized relationship with Demeter probably factoring the Hellenic-Egyptian view of Bast and Horus as twin children of Isis, something that did not previously exist in Egyptian religion before then as far as I am aware.

So then how does Leto, the fruitful mother become distinct with few other instances of her in myth and cult…and never without her children?  It is because this is her identity specifically is attached to het children. She is as the exhalation of the earth that imparts light… just as the natural vapors of the earth mingled with the air in Hellenic thought to provide nature’s relevations through the oracles. Her very nature is meant, as given by her name, to be obscure …and seems quite intentional. As is Hesiod producing her sister Asteria to present as the mother of Hekate. For we see no other mention of this titanide outside of this particular theogony, which states that she was held in esteem by Hera for escaping Zeus by plunging into the sea in the form if a quail, setting up her continued existance as Delos whereas Leto conceived as a quail in one myth.  Thus Hekate for all that Hesiod acclaimed over her, possessed just as vague of parentage.

In fact when it comes to the origin of Hekate we find a differing version inside of Attica alone, in Brauron, where Hekate was said to have originated as Iphigenia. That Hekate is so vastly reduced within Attica alone is rather startling. But as infrequently as one sees evidence of her presence outside of Attica in a truly notable way, it should not be surprising either to find her so reduced. Although among tragedians Hekate’s popularity skyrocketed, in terms of cult she seems to have been honored frequently as Iphigeneia, which Hesiod mentions in his catalogue of women, as she was acclaimed over poetically as Perseis (the daughter of Perses). Certainly as with all gods Hekate has diverse parentage that attributes to her functions as a goddess. As such the stress in her functions likely varies from place to place. So it would be a mistake to think she was held in equal esteem throughout Hellas, rather Artemis and Hekate are almost interchangable depending on where you are. What is clearly distinct of Hekate that is worshiped in Hekate in those few places mentioned by Pausanias is not a kourotroph of nurturing nature outside of Athens, but a goddess of the dead and witchery, a goddess of the night, wheras Artemis is kourotroph.

Neithet position is more correct than the other tho, which was finally agreed on by Athenian playwrites when discussing Artemis outside if Athens, for only then does Euripedes call her Artemis-Hekate in recognition of Artemis bearing qualities like Hekate, and for which we see the goddesses interchangably addressed in the Orphic hymns.

Unfortunately this peaceful interchange has made matters a bit less so among modern worshippers. Unlike Apollon and Hermes who have several areas of overlap but never were identified as more than the closest of brothers and whose worshippers enjoy a happy interaction, the mingling of Hekate and Artemis causes some rather heated disputes, especially as not all worshippers do so through the Athenian lense as it were. But it would be nice to see some positive exchanges.

As one of Pelopennesian leaning and devoted to Artemis I try to not ignore Hekate. As such I honor both Artemis and Hekate at the entrance. I honor both, with Ge, during Korutrophia, even tho it is Artemis I recognize particularly as such. I honor Artemis ad Despoina and companion/sister of Persephone during her time among the gods, and Hekate as her companion in the underworld, and it is Hekate I honor with Apollon in regards to death and burial, just the same as key keepers.

Balance has become the key.

brought to you by my laborous typing on my phone. As always please forgive grammatical and spelling errors.