Apollon and Helios

This is something that has been on my mind today, and some of yesterday given it is Sunday. I have recently moved around my weekly schedule. At one point I was celebrating Sundays for Apollon, this was a practice started initially because of my long time participation in kyklos Apollon which was timed to Delphi sunrise on Sunday. However, under consideration of several factors I changed it up. For one I worship Helios-Surya on Sundays, and because I do not, unlike fellow worshipers who do agree with late period perspective in which Apollon and Helios were considered the same god, see Apollon as being Helios, or anything near similar to Helios.

Although Apollon has several epithets that address light and illumination, most of his mythic (that which is not originals myths of Helios that were later adapted with Apollon in the place of Helios) and cultic presence has nothing to really do with the sun. In myth we find two instances were the sun may have of some importance….the most obvious is that myth of the dragoness Delphyne in which Apollon rots her body with the heat of the sun, and the other is a speculation that in the myth of Hyakinthos that the “disc” he slayed the prince with in an allusion to the sun killing the tender growth of spring. In either case Apollon himself is not identified in any fashion with Helios, rather then directs the power of Helios to his purpose. This suggests that while Helios may be considered an “ally” of Apollon, they cannot really be considered synonymous from this standpoint. Rather than sun god, Apollon has more evident presence as a god of the boundaries (boundaries of the household, between the world of the living and dead/cemeteries etc), purifier/destroying god/sustainer of harmonic balance and movement, healing, caretaking of flocks and crops by which he protects us from famine, passage of time by which he is also a boundary god as a god of twilight  which oversees the time periods of alternating day and night/moon and sun passage which would correspond his oversight over the passage of seasons as per the Orphic hymn the observation of which is necessary toward the end of agricultural based civilization. As such he is a god of endings as we see in his function as destroyer and opening the door to new beginnings as we see him as Apollon Noumenios. Understanding this lets us understand how some of heraldic animals directly indicate this by their liminal natures, such as the mouse, the wolf, the serpent etc.

Rather than solar, it is perhaps more accurate to say that he is “fiery.” Fire being both a nurturing and destroying element it would by its quality of illumination be linked indirectly to all light bearing bodies of the heavens by which we see Apollon’s association with the polar store/axis of the heavens, the moon and the sun in an indirect manner. Fire is an element associated with purification (consider the lustral water of Hellenic religion in which the water is made sacred by extinguishing flame in the water), its association with health and wellbeing, and its connection with foodmaking. Given that in the Hyakinthia that bread was forbidden in the mourning of the prince, it is reasonable to see Apollon associated here with foodproduction as  the very force which protects the crops of grain by destroying all that which would deplete prematurely. Thus the success of the crops is attributed to him, not as a solar god, but as a destroying liminal boundary god who sees and hears in all directions. Lord of the axis off the heavens who directs the heavenly bodies, the sinking and rising of constellations with the seasons, the rise and sinking of the sun and moon by day and night. As lyre player he leads forth the whole chorus and dance, a difference between the that and the harp of the sun as we find in the Orphic hymn of Helios which issues in a way which can be imagined as the beautiful melody of the day. Even the chariot of Apollon is rarely depicted as pulled by horses, which are particularly sacred to Helios and the only beast to pull his chariot, but rather by  swans, griffins, or some kind of chthonic creature such as boar and serpent. Deer and most especially goats probably have the same kind of prestige as we find with the horse for Helios. This is to not say that the horse never appears with Apollon, but that it is very rare outside of cases where Apollon is taking the place of Helios.

As a pinnacle of our world’s life, we can certainly see a basis for the alliance between Apollon and Helios. But this does not, in my book, make them the same and equivalent. Therefore just as the day between the Noumenia kata Selene and the Deipnon we find a day for reverence of the sun, followed by the day of Apollon Noumenios which officially begins the new month, therefore sunday (which is technically part of the weekend) is dedicated to Helios-Surya, and Monday is, for the opening of the new week, for Apollon-Siva, the fiery lord who is offered copious cool libations and sweet fumigation of incense

Announcing: Winged Words Book Design


Although it is not something I can afford for my booklets (and not really practical in my case since I don’t get much profit per sale by my own choice) I am passing this along for other writers who may want to make use of the offer :)

Originally posted on A Forest Door:

I have officially turned my sporadic work as a book designer for self-published authors into a real business:


I offer a full set of services, including cover design and interior formatting, plus add-ons like proofreading, e-book conversion, and matching WordPress site. For now I am primarily using Createspace (and Kindle for e-books), which is directly linked to Amazon.com and provides ISBNs for free. I have done all my own books that way and have been pleased with their service.

I am hoping to fill a niche for those authors who want to self-publish but don’t have the necessary skills to make their books appear professional and polished, but also can’t afford to spend $500 – $5,000 on a cover alone (yes, those are some real prices charged by other designers!). My packages currently run between $250 – $400. I am also offering a 10% discount for books with pagan or polytheist themes, as…

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Janus and the Unity of Apollo (Apollo) and Artemis (Diana)

I have spoken before of the cosmic unity between Apollon and Artemis. I have spoken of this in reference to their interlocked domains and in comparisons to Apollon and Siva. Recently I read a passage that speaks of the work by Macrobius from his work Saturnalia in which he ascribes Janus essentially as being the composite whole of Apollo and Diana, stating the providence of Apollo and Diana over the doorway and streets. This makes quite a bit of sense to me and has been something I have been leaning towards. I have read two descriptions of Janus’ two faced somewhat aniconic form. One describes him as bearing a youthful face and a bearded face representing youth and age and thus the passage of time and the doorway of which he oversees. The other descriptor states that the two faces are gender opposites, one masculine and one feminine.

I have often wondered why the imagery of Apollon Agyieus persisted in Rome and through the Roman Empire when I have never seen any evidence of the domestic worship of Apollon. In fact, I had always assumed that with the adoption of Apollon that their Apollo was adopted simply lacking the domestic features that were so important to his Hellenic cult. However this was something that struck me as particularly odd given just how important it was that it would be so abandoned, and even more so when I came to see how many Agyieus representations were present in that part of the world. For years I have simply ascribed to the simple explanation that the household cultus was not adopted because the providence of Apollon in the domicile was already covered by Janus. This conclusion was reached after formerly abandoning the identification of Apollon and Janus with each other on the assumption that this identification in branch of stregheria I was familiar with may have been an assumption of later folklorists from which the founder drew. That said, now reading this material from Macrobius I am forced to reevaluate those assumptions of my youth when I prayed to Apollon and hailed him in the same breath as all-seeing Janus. That these prayers that would flood my mind’s eye with light and heat are something precious. That just perhaps this instinctual alignment and association was perhaps containing something worthwhile.

According to Macrobius Janu was the universe itself, holding to my associations of Apollon/Artemis with Phanes, whose name was derived from eundo given that the heavens are always in motion. This has a stricking similarity to Socrates discussion on the inherent meaning on the name of Apollon in which  he suggested that Apollon referred to him as the god which keeps the bodies of the heavens (and really all things) moving together harmoniously. Even the Neoplatonic view of Janus as the god of the doors of the heavens and hell aligns with Hellenic worship of Apollon not only as gatekeeper and his celestial associations but also his khthonic ones as funerary god of the cemetery. Given that Artemis shares in all  the same prvidences as Apollon we can link her to nearly all of these same designations as well.

Associations of Janus with the compass of the world is also quite familiar in my own thoughts regarding Apollon, although ones that are likely not shared given that they are my own doxa and conclusions. Whereas I generally ascribes the directional winds  Somewhat related, although not quite the same, Marcus Messala indicates that Janus unifies the opposites and brings together the four elements in the compass unifying the elements where they meet. While the texts giving this information is neo-Stoic which had a high emphasis on Apollon as god of gods, this does not discount the close undeniable association of Apollon and Janus….and kind of amusingly that Jarilo whom can be identified as a Slavic possible origin of Apollon possesses a name that bares similarities to both the names of Apollon and Janus, although that is just my amused speculation there.

In many ways I am seeing Janus as kind of Parasiva, or perhaps symbolically more accurately comparable to Ardhanarishvara in which Parvati and Siva are unified, as the unified form of Apollon (Apollo) and Artemis (Diana), nurturing and consuming presider over the heavens and the earth, binder of things, ensarer, unifier, destroyer, guardian.

The Serpent Arrows of Apollon and the Fire of Leto

Apollon’s arrows have been poetically described as serpent arrows. This signifies certain qualities of serpents of the venomous nature. The arrows are fiery, stingy and eating like flames in the skin, probably similar to the feel venom entering into the blood system. While I have never been bitten by a venomous snake, I have been stung by a wasp and can well understand the feeling of fire on the skin. It is an interesting turning of the imagination to imagine the arrows of Apollon projecting out, entwined with fiery serpents, dealing their death blows and consuming that which they pierce. They do not merely wound, but like greatly venomous creatures, their sting is certain death and consummation by fire.

As the Hellenic peoples saw Leto in the Egyptian Uto/Wadjet (the nurse of Horus and Bast, which may have some connection to how Leto was perceived in her relationship with Apollon and Artemis in the mysteries where the twins were regarded as the children of Demeter (Artemis) and Persephone (Apollon), we can see a definite serpentine connection as Uto is typically represented in the form of a winged cobra crowned by the sun, sometimes with the head of a woman in something of a naga or Echidna fashion. Although Hellenes identified Uto with the night, as preceding the light of the divine twins and said she escaped Typhoen by turning into a shrew, the serpentine nature of Uto is what is clear in Egypt. We can certainly get an idea of the flaming serpentine nature associated with Apollon via this association that Leto has as a matter of inheritance whether she is regarded as his mother or nurse. This oracle goddess who is both serpent and had a cult in which the shrew was given particular honor forms an interesting variation of the hunter/prey theme that I have written of before. In a sense she is herself like a self consuming fire, a self consuming serpent for she is both the serpent, the natural prey of the serpent, the shrew.  It provides an interesting dichotomy housed in one goddess  that gives some direction of thought that she is herself constantly consuming like all devouring time, nursing life and destroying it without effort and in every breath and movement. Night that is constantly bringing forth day and consuming it again.

This makes her, although she is not envisioned as a huntress, the principle companion of her daughter in the hunt. Whereas Artemis is the energy of the hunt, I imagine Leto to the be the very force of the nature of the hunt, the natural  repurposing cycle of birth and destruction. Likewise, as Apollon by his nature is preserver and destroyer, she is as the very force behind his destructive power. She, like her mother Phoebe, is one with Delphyne (which I believe may have occurred to the Hellenes historically given her association with Buto and Buto’s own oracular providence) who is both the serpent arrow of Apollon and the victim of the arrow. Yet for all of this she is possessing serpentine qualities of grace and beauty, although often concealed within the veils of shadows. Mysterious, lethal, but powerful and gracious all at once. Whereas Artemis is the mover of the energy, and Apollon directs the movement of energy…Leto is raw power itself. It is for this reason she is devouring and generating all at once and ceaselessly. Leto is inseparable from the cults of her children because she is coiled deep within both of their disciplines and natures. Her relationship with them s by necessary different than the maternal relationship of Demeter/Persephone. Fact of the matter, aside from directing and protecting her offspring one does not really see a very maternal side of Leto in terms that we commonly think of it. We see  the unknowable, the gracefully elegant, nurse and killer and fierce protectress……we see her raw power for which she was also associated with goddesses such as Rhea.

*correction: I misremembered the name. Buto has been corrected to Uto. Many thanks to Edward Butler for the correction!

Opened a Patron account

Although I have had a donate button on my blog for a while now, after a lot of personal deliberation over the matter I have set up a patron account for those who wish to contribute towards my writing and products I am in the process of developing. Having more funds available makes me able to set aside more time for my writing and my various projects, as well as fund new production in the works (such as the line of oils, candles etc that has been sitting on my mental backburners due to lack of personal funds). This also gives me the opportunity to donate more work to other projects and contests and future drawings and raffles. If you believe in my work as something worthwhile and beneficial and get a lot out of it and feel the desire to donate a little something, every little bit helps!


What do you want to know about domestic worship of Apollon?

The title here pretty much speaks for itself. I am several pages into my second booklet “Before the Doors: a household worship of Apollon” and while I have a pretty good outline going I want to make sure I don’t overlook anything that might be helpful to people in their worship. So I want to know what you want to know about the domestic worship of Apollon, or what you want better clarified etc.

Leave your comment below :)

Rice, Maize, Wheat, Barley and Demeter

Wheat is undisputedly the great gift of Demeter, the sacred substance of the goddess, the very symbol of the Kore, the sacrifice of the wheat ear of whom we are partake. Second to the wheat is the purifying and holy barley which is used for purifying the altar space, tools of sacrifice and the object of sacrifice. When you hear of sacred use of barley as a food substance it is usually used in festivals such as the Pyanepsia, the kykeon of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the panspermia at the Anthesterion. Unfortunately these grains, amid all their holiness, have in common  (as with spelt, rye etc) is a grain protein called gluten which is difficult for some people to digest.

So what do you do when you are limited to, or cannot partake of the most holy of substances that is an important fixture of your worship? I, like my mother who must even avoid many shampoos due to the use of the gluten, have a sensitivity to gluten that has been getting worse as I have been getting older. Simple direct contact with flour on my arms I discovered years ago causes painful rashes on my arms which may or may not be related to the issue at hand, but eating gluten causes not only painful blisters on my back and thighs when consumed more than the most minimal amounts, but when I step over than minimalist line also causes extreme gastronomical pain.  Gastronomical pain isn’t new to me, for which reason I tend to avoid eating nuts, because I have difficulty digesting them too, but the pain with grain is something which has been increasing to the point in which I am now considering completely cutting out (or quite close) gluten in my diet. Even the smallest amounts of grain cause an uncomfortable gassy tummy that I have just had to deal with. But it has affected my relationship over the years with Demeter.

It is really difficult to fully appreciate the savior cult of a goddess of grain when grain causes  you suffering. I found that while I use the symbolic properties of the wehat and barley in my worship, that I  relate more strongly to Demeter and Persephone in my daily life and worship with other grain like products, namely maize and rice. Persephone is still goddess of the  grain ear but I conceive of it in more broad terms to include thiese food staples that I more regularly eat. Rice is a particularly large part of my diet, and conceiving of Demeter as a mother of rice has been quite profound way for me to connect with the goddess in regards to that food which sustains my household. Life sustaining foods. In the future my connection to her with maize will probably develop more to consuming of maize tortillas in place of sandwiches.

While there is a strong historical root in the wheat ear and barley to Demeter (and spelt with Ceres) there is no reason that those of us with certain sensitivities to these things cannot enjoy and appreciate the goddess in the bounty of grains in general. I imagine that if  maize and rice crops were prevalent in ancient Hellas that she would have likely been connected to these grain-like harvests to. Mother of grains I appreciate you who are savior of the races of men, yours whose bounty ever flows the basis of our lives. May your crops continue to ever be diverse and manifold. I thank you for the rice grain and the maize grain that  nourishes my body.