A Vision of Athena

Last night, mindful of my previous post I entreated Athena to reveal how she would like me to know her. This was followed by random images thrown up, some of which did not make sense.

A viper coils in a great nest of serpents

A war crown (similar to a helmet but not completely enclosed at the top with the front stylized like the face of an owl.

A spider spinning her web to entrap her prey

A fishermans net

the bridal veil and death shroud (not new for me)

A flurry of large winged moths

So not a bad start, although the moths mystify me lol

 

 

Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Come Easy

Most often when we think of gods who are important ones in our lives all honor goes to those which we have intuitively formed deep bonds and relationships with, the ones we forge deep lasting relationships with that it is easy to overlook those gods who are always present and a huge impact but with whom we have never hit it off.

Some gods will take matters into their own hands. Exhibit A: how Aphrodite started to get worship from me and eventually her own shrine in my home. She harasses me, for lack of a better word. Or rather, she was not going to let me overlook how much influence she has in my life. She caused mischief, and appeared to me in various ways. Nowadays I may not have the deep bonds as I do with Artemis and Apollon, but I do hold her in high regard and genuine fondness.

But Athena is another matter. Despite the fact that Athena is in the company of a very small number of gods I first honored in my childhood, she is still very foreign to me.  I respect her and honor her but have failed to form any bonds to her. Frankly much of it is because Athena is mor aloof than my  somewhat chaotic personality allows.  The wild rampant nature of Artemis is something I see within myself reflected from her that formed bonds of love and devotion.  The cool aloof impenetrable nature of Athena makes forming a relationship with her difficult for me. And this is  with Athena making herself apparent over the years, especially when I was visiting Greece and she was seemingly attempting to draw my attention in whatever way she could. I know she is there but I just do not yet know how to make a connection to her. Maybe it is time to appeal to her to make herself known to me.

So to anyone having problems developing relationships with gods, take heart. You are not alone. Just because some gods hit it off with you quick doesnt mean all will without some effort. Some come easy, and some do not.

Shrine Building for Apollon

Sannion recently blogged an excellent piece if advice that before you build a shrine you need to get to know your god through worship to discover how that god appears to you in a meaningful way rather than erecting general shrines.  Even though he was speaking of Dionysos in particular, this is valuable for any god.

When it comes to Apollon I have a long history of throwing together shrines that attempted to squeeze in every symbol and sacred thing. More recently I discovered that the shrine I gad previously had little to do with my relationship with him. Pretty much the whole thing was tossed aside, and I had to spend some time considering how Apollon has revealed himself to me. It was these things that have become incorporated into my shrine.

For instance the main images on my shrine are connected to how he has revealed himself, and how my relationship developed: Lykeios, Pythios and Karneios primarily. Secondary is Delphinios ( recognizing Apollon as the Dolohin lord, leader of ships/souls)  and Kithirados (with his kithara). In association with these my shrine has developed to reflect them. My shrine is flooded with serpents, wolves and goats consequently with only the smallest homage to swans and dolphins. Otherwise it is skulls everywhere that play a big way in how I have experienced him…the dragon resting upon skulls of the dead and decaying remains. The fiery one.

It is for this reason that I agree whole heartedly with Sannion. A shrine will not really be very effective in your worship unless it is constructed around how the god is to you. It is but a connection and a reflection.

The Power of Illusion

As someone who belongs to Apollon I find that I have a great appreciation for illusion. Illusion is the other half of light’s natural influence: to reveal truth and to play tricks with our eyes. As such we find that even by illusions we ultimately find truth, although that truth may not be what we expect. Often the illusion makes us face uncomfortable truths about ourselves. What we truly think, what we feel in our hearts. What we fear. Illusion sheds that light upon ourselves… and that is under Apollon’s domain.

These illusions can come through many avenues. That which we think to have seen from the corner of our eyes, or reflections. The other is the slight of hand of magicians who inspire hope and awe. Even the illusion of miracles may serve this same purpose of inspiration, as well as bringing great feeling if devotion and unification.

The illusion and truth of Apollon is his labyrinth, and it is only by our personal harmonized beings (as such is under the domain of Aphrodite) can be navigate surely. Hail lord of truth, lord of illusion!!

 

 

 

 

 

Of Altars and Shrines

I think it is too easy to slip into the habit of using shrine and altar almost interchangably, after all we pray at both. Even I have caught myself saying altar a time or two when discussing my shrine for Apollon, but in reality they are very separate and have their own functions in the household. 

An altar is where the general worship of the household is conducted, where the kharis between the oikos and the gods is predominantly carried out. As such it tends to be rather formal looking, clean and simple in design. It is more less the “work area” of the household. Adornments, if done, tend to be seasonal or for specific festivals. 

I have two altars in my home (although I am planning ancestor altar). At the door I have the rudimental beginnings of my doorway altar where the gods who protect the entrance are honored. The crystal representing Apollon Aygieus is temporary until I find a suitable black stone. I have also yet to find a good stone for the herm, and it lacks images of Artemis Prothyria, Hekate, Herakles and Zeus. This altar in any case perserved the oikos by the woship there.

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The second altar is at the center of the house where Zeus who ruled the center of the house is honored along with all the gods of the oikos. As I do not have a house with roof access as was anciently had and I have had the pleasure of experiencing in Morocco, I cannot set up an altar on the roof for the Dioscouri. So they too are worshiped at this central altar. I am slowly working on providing images of all the household gods on it. This altar is the heart of the oikos.

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Shrines, on the other hand are usually set up for selective gods where personal worship is offered. The shrine is for our relationship with the gods so honored there, and are typically created because the god or goddess is highly favored. Shrines continuously change and evolve as devotional items are added. Most of my own are still rather sparse. Shrines tend to grow organically in my experience, so no two shrines will grow at the same rate.

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Where’s the Support?

lykeiaofapollon:

Although frankly my resources are stretched beyond thin, I plan making a pitifully small donation. It is more than worth while for all the reasons Columbine touches on, it us just unfortunate that I do not really have much of the way of spare cash, or the luxury frivolous spendin that I can draw from when I am counting pennies for formula and diapers but even still I plan to give a few dollars. Many are i similar boats as myself, but a loy of good can come from many giving what few dollars they can spare, even if you might wonder what difference such a small sum can make. It does make a difference. I will give, will you?

Originally posted on Queen of the Waiting Ones:

So, I’m curious and have a question for all the super serious Pagans, Polytheists and other Alternative Religious folks out there who so often proclaim that they are all about founding new temples and other types of religious worship areas for those of our kind.  Where exactly, is your support for the Maetreum of Cybele?

I know most of you have read the recent Wild Hunt article detailing the Maetreum’s struggle against the Town of Catskill, NY, where government officials there have vowed to spend the Maetreum into bankruptcy, despite the Town’s losses in court.  Is it because you are tired of hearing about the priestesses’ plight?  If so, why haven’t you donated anything to help ease their burden?  This lawsuit has been going on for several years, and if you think you are tired and burnt out with it, just imagine if you were one of the priestesses.  Priestesses…

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Apollon, the Great Dragon

Aside from being the wolf, and the goat horned god, Apollon takes a most unlikely form.. that of a dragon, or great serpent. I believe that this is most especially his guise as guardian, most particularly of tombs  for instance, and oracular god. It is as the great serpent that he is coiled, ungulating, at the the boundaries of all things.

 We may consider first he less commonly known mythic origin from Crete, perhaps more specifically a Doric origin myth in Crete that came onto the island with Apollon and the Doric colonists who established sacred cities to the god, in which Apollon is not the son of Zeus, but rather of Corybas, the dark dragon. As the son of Corybas, Apollon struggled with Zeus, but upon the victory of the latter, Apollon yeilded to the great bull, the chthonic serpent. The marked contrast exists here that whereas Zeus, and Dionysos, have funerary and birth mysteries as the serpent bull repeatingly fathering himself, Apollon is eternally renewing himself that we find playing out in his purification myths and ceremonies. He sheds away the skin and renews.

His more popular mythic heritage points this no less. We find his grandfather Koios, the axis the heavens depicted in an ancient stellar poem as a great heavenly dragon whose glaring eye was the axis. Alternate myths where Apollon inherits Delphi from his grandmother Phoebe (seated at the axis of the earth) may suggest some telationship between her and the dragonness Delphyne, especially if we take Aesychlus at his word that Themis and Ge are one and the same, this would imply that a necessary contest  took place for Apollon to be so gifted. Thus giving a different perspective of a particular vasr painting in which Apollon is seated before Delphyne who is before him with her hands presented in a humanoid Echidnar type of form. It hardly seems a coincidence given that Apollon was responsible for sending another Echidnae-like dragon to devastate a village. This would account for the close identity of Apollon with Python, and the appearance the dragonness in art as a kind of guardian daimon of Apollon’s precinct. I believe that by slaying her he assisted her in a transformation of her own. This would account for the punishment and cleansing tjat resulted as shedding the blood of kin was unforgivable (ask Orestes…as a note interesting how Apollon demonstrated in that myth the favoring of higher law that grants for necessity rather than the old law if the Erinyes. That Apollon was nursed by Themis makes him possessing a direct lineage to law). This would be an important feature of his purifications, his own suffering, and the libations and flute song Apollon offers to Delphyne. This descendance of dragons is further highlighted by Leto who was seen to be the same goddess as the Egyptian Wadjet in Greek opinion. 

Of course Delphyne should be held distinct from another Python, a male which pursued Leto and was slain. This Python is the son of Ge, Tityus. Yet we know he had sacred observances around the time of the Stepteria festival, the crowning festival. That Delphi has two traditions that seem to occur simultaneously, one of which a serpent was burned (Delphyne) and another of armed combat between between men (Tityus) would indicate two mysteries ongoing. One of which Apollon becomes a master by defeating the dragonness, and the other being a spring rite in contest of two male powers before Apollon returns to Delphi. Tityus seems here to me to be as Dionysos whose grave is held as sacred by Delphi’s neighbor as that of Dionysos at Delphi. It would reason while the flesh of his grandmother was offered up to become the earth, Tityos as Python has a grave, the same grave of Dionysos it would seem.

It reasonable then that Apollon is the dragon guardian of the grave of Dionysos as he seems to appear in the Orphic Argonautika. I will be going into this in more depth as I am writing my booklet the Serpents of Delphi in my Apollonian series . In the picture below Delphyne coils around a serene Apollon

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