Starting at the autumn equinox Apollon has been for these last two months (just about) wearing his black veil draped over his head and shoulders, concealing his face from view, draping him in mystery. He is like a shadow on his own shrine. Just as during these Hyperborean months he is as a shadow. Winter is often a personal time in my worship. He is closer in a more personal sense, but he is like a shadow and obscure. He is a comforting presence in the winter, a reminder that a departure from the world is not an end of things. That even although our beloved ones cannot cross the threshold back to the living except for an allotted night every year (which varies from tradition to tradition), he crosses with ease by the barking griffins as is rules his Hyperborean seat in the next world. Out of respect for his summer office he conceals his bright face, and the northern hemisphere is concealed in the fall of darkness. In Alaska this is more prominent than in other places. In November the sky is fairly dark at 4pm. In December this will be even more extreme. It is no wonder so many people experience seasonal depression. In a way it makes sense that Apollon would in a way remain (even as he is in the next world…hey he is a god, it is not an either or situation!), concealed in darkness as Helios refrains from the heavens, to bring even the barest light on another level to the hearts of those who are his.
But this is the first year I have veiled his primary cult statue. His other statues remain uncovered, but the primary statue is like a shade. Whenever I look at it I hear the howl of the winter winds, a rattling shake of bones, the smell of fire on hearth logs, a brush of fur. It is powerful. In fact veiling his statue has brought home just how powerful and primordial this half of him is. It comes to my mind that he is, in this form, as a great shaman of the Siberian steppes region. Power flows. He may not shine this time of the year with the radiance of summer’s light, but he is like a hot electrical current at this time. Like the rise of the aurora borealis in the dark skies of the night.
There is part of me that is uncertain how to react this is part of himself that Apollon is revealing to me. As in years past, the warm drape of comfort and love is still present. He still croons singing by the hearth. A protective present in the household as he sings of passing ages. But this year this has been a new element as I followed as he bid to veil him. On an instinctual level it raises the hairs, and is unfamiliar for a god who has been so familiar for a decade. A small part of me, even as I stand in awe before him, and find myself attracted as a moth to his shrine, wants to pull off the veil. To return to what is familiar. But I know this is part of himself he wishes to reveal to me. something that will be important in our relationship in the years to come. So I resist that childish impulse. By seeing him obscure I am seeing what I have overlooked or refused to see before…or perhaps only saw that one part that was familiar to what I knew before.
Even an interesting journey.