A fine line of distinction

In light of perhaps some of my recent posts there may be confusion. What? Are you saying Apollon is more or less the god of *everything*? Doesn’t Hermes do some of that? In polytheism, despite how much one may wish to the contrary, there are not such distinct lines as one might find in a pagans dictionary of gods and goddesses. There are no cookie cutter gods for any one distinct thing. In polytheism you have a symphony of co-action and complimentary action that can be quite complex, and perhaps a bit confusing. But really that is one of the fun things about it. For a particular problem or situation you most likely won’t be praying to just one god that “represents” what you are wanting to solve/focus on/establish as a goal. Rather you can find yourself praying to several interconnected deities that each have a hand on slight variations of the same issue. This is really where polytheism gets fun verses the idea within popular paganism in which each name is a certain flavor or attribute of a kind of function.

This happens a lot with Apollon. We find him often intersecting with Artemis on one hand for matters pertaining to the wilderness, and Hermes can join in on these matters for safe travel through the wilderness (and all three of these gods as protective deities at the fore of the home). Likewise we have Apollon and Dionysos interacting, which has often led to a great deal of confusions about what belongs to which god (and has caused a bit of animosity I think between some worshipers), Apollon and Zeus as kingly deities, Apollon and Poseidon in the matters of the sea, etc. For instance, for matters of the heart we can have Apollon and his erote son acting as gods of the marriage song (and potential wooing which has been historically done by poem and song), in edition to the efforts of Eros, Aphrodite and so on.

In my more recent discussions involving Apollon as Guardian god and my recent post on Apollon in the Christianized World one may have seen many areas of overlap with Hermes which may have caused a bit of “wtf” reaction in some readers. This doesn’t mean what it can easily mean among popular paganism in which when one is devoted to go A, that suddenly god A can do anything for them. So this doesn’t mean that I am saying that Hermes’ domain is being usurped by Apollon, as to say such would kind of deride the purpose of worshiping in a polytheistic religion and start going toward henotheism and monotheism. Rather we can see even from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes how close of a pair of brothers Apollon and Hermes are, in fact they are trading stuff, and yet still having said stuff they traded as part of their attributes (such as Hermes who gave Apollon his kithara is also noted for giving lyres out, and Apollon who gave him the bullwhip still has that association with his bullgode). Therefore we see that these are polytheistic gods who intersect each others’ domains and give something beneficial to them without “taking over” or being one mass homogenous deity with different “faces”. Our gods after all already have different “faces”, these are epithets which describe specific duties of the god in how he or she interacts in the world, with the people, and in the cosmos in general.

Therefore when I talk of Apollon as god of the pastures and shepherds, he is the god who provides fruitfulness to the pastures, among the growth of all living things whether they be plant or animal to aid with the genitive functions of the world and the nurture of the youth and the decomposition of the dead to return nutrients to the earth. The whole cycle of life thing (if you feel like singing along to Elton John right now, do feel free). But he is not *THE* god of pastures, because we also have Pan whom we can relate as the procreative conception (via sexual stimulation and reproduction) of new life that continues life in the pastures and wilderness and flocks, even as we have Hermes who, like Apollon is a shepherd type of deity but perhaps in a more direct fashion as the companion of the flocks (souls of the living) upon the earth. Images of Hermes carrying a lamb can very indicative of Hermes with a new soul transporting it to be among the dead in Hades or to new life in the world of the living.

Likewise when we are looking at the issue of travelers when it comes to Apollon and Hermes the lines can get pretty twisty and knotty. For instance Hermes is the companion of travelers, not only of souls but we see this quite blatantly in the myth where he accompanied Zeus in his travels among mortals in the guise of a human. He can lead us into a bit of trouble, and provide for us in a spot of trouble with some good fortune or a clever trick. Apollon however is the god of the roads (both literal in the term of streets, but also to waterways traveled, and spiritual roads). He sets the path and it is by him that we are traveling, both away from him and towards him as we go from destination to destination. Hermes may the god of travelers in the most general of senses, but Apollon is praised for the safe return of travelers and for protecting of strangers/foreigners (something he shared with other gods, which is quite necessary I think), with ferrying by boat etc. I know that when I get behind the wheel of my car I have both Hermes and Apollon Agyieus well in mind, which is quite natural in the polytheistic perspective!

Comforting the Dead

It seems that friends of mine are having passings of familial members this year, and there is always something that breaks your heart for the sorrow that is experienced by the grieving family members who have been left behind.

And yet when we are grieving it is good to remember that the dead are not abandoned, but rather are cared for by hosts of gods who ease the transition for their souls when they have been released by the touch of Thanatos. First there is Apollon, lord of cemetery, protector of the graves and tombs. Pausanias tells us that Arkadians would sacrifice to Apollon at the cemetery on the first day of burial, for the god would keep watch over the soul and the bodily remains for thirty days before the soul is retrieved by Hermes, wherein the family members would sacrifice again, this time to Hermes. Thirty days is what it took for the bonds between the soul and body to decay to release the soul. Here we see Apollon acting as a destroyer in this fashion, he is lovingly rotting the flesh to free the soul (much as his fire would more quickly destroy the bodily remains during the period in which funerary fires were the more common method of honoring the dead). It is quite likely, given the context that it is mentioned by Pausanias, that his title as Lord of Ashes is directly related to this. And so, he is there protecting the grave, in its sanctity, from those who would violate it (and remains from Ionian shows heavy curses in place on tombs petitioning Apollon to bring his retribution on those who would disturb the grave), and bringing the comfort of his gentle touch, the fiery warmth of his hands, as he unravels the bonds. He is as protector and father of the graveyard, bringing peace to the soul as they face the initial days of their death and their goodbyes to their loved ones. When one we love dies it is good to remember that he is there in this boundary of the living and the dead. One may give offerings to him when they come too to make offerings to the beloved dead.In fact, on special occasions in which one attends the graveyard to honor their ancestors, it would be highly appropriate to give offering to him as guardian of the graveyard first, and follow this with offerings to the deceased and to Hermes.

Hermes of course is a well known figure among the travails of the dead, for he gathers the souls up from Apollon’s care and leads them, departing to the next world. He is their guide and companion through this experience. The dead are not left to wander without aide, but he gathers them to him as a kindly shepherd and delivers to them to whatever rest is appropriate for them in the abode of Hades. Hermes serves as key-bearer so to speak because where it can be said Apollon is guard of the doors via his position in the cemetery though doesn’t participate in the movement through the doorway of the cemetery, Hermes is well known for this movement…not only in collecting the souls but also on particular days when Hermes escorts the souls of the dead back among the living in such occasions as the third day of Anthesteria. He aids in the communication between the dead and their family, which is perhaps the most valuable function he gives to the dead in their comfort, as well as that of the living.  Perhaps even more so for the living left behind as he is the middle man between our prayers and offerings at the tomb to those whom we have loved.

Apollon and Hermes here are perhaps the gods that are most immediate to us and the comfort of the dead in relation to our loss and their loss of us, however it would be amiss to not mention Hades and Persephone. Persephone among them perhaps has the biggest acclaim because her mysteries give benefit to the souls of initiates among the dead, that they eventually enjoy the paradise of Elysium. That anyone was able to become an initiate, with very few requirements infers a possibility that all souls eventually get there, but that initiates have a bit of a helping hand. She gives us hope, and is as a balm, a kindly mother to the dead. In contrast, Hades is not known for getting many offerings among the living, and has little to do directly with the living, but as the god who governs the domain of the dead and is therefore the most important deity interacting with the souls of the dead. His is the place of rest for many of our dearly departed, and as one who believe in reincarnation, his abode gives whatever is necessary to the soul to prepare it for its next birth. Rest, purification, and the stream of Lethe which is drank from before the soul comes again in rebirth. All of these are a part of him.

The soul drinks of Lethe, the souls is guided in her return even as Hermes participates in the return of Persephone, through the portal of Artemis and Hekate Protheryai, and guarded in its tender infancy by Apollon (which we can infer from the blessings of the seventh day which is a cause for celebration for surviving babes).

As such we can be comforted with the knowledge that our beloved dead are given all comfort, kindness and aide, and that such is extended too towards the living relations to help ease our sorrows and deal with our loss. And it is something that is beautiful.

Anthesteria 2013: Khoe and Khytroi

I didn’t have time to write about day two of Anthesteria (Khoe) yesterday so I thought I would just make a brief blog entry about these last two days of Anthesteria. What some folks may not realize is that up here in Anchorage, Alaska, Anthesteria this year falls on the opening of the local festivities of Fur Rendezvous (shortened down to Fur Rondy by locals because who wants to say that mouthful apparently), which made an interesting if not lengthy addition to my own festivities yesterday.

Anthesteria day 2 Khoe

And so Friday night I did my ritual in honor of Dionysos, Ariadne, and in memory of Orestes for whom according to tradition the drinking contest was initiated. I also covered the shrines in my house, which has given my house an eerie feeling that I have described that it is as if all the gods have closed their eyes towards my oikos until I uncover them after Anthesteria. Sadly I don’t have a tree in my yard to tie ribbons to in memory of Erigone…but if I play my cards right maybe I will have that next year if I can talk my landlord into it. However I did get a lovely ivy to grace my home in honor of Dionysos (and for which it has sat upon the household altar-hearth for these last two days) as well as a lovely flowering plant for Ariadne. Ariadne is an interesting figure in Anthesteria as we find that the custom of the wife of the city official becoming the bride of Dionysos plays out in parallel to the wife of Theseus, Ariadne, who becomes the wife of Dionysos. This follows too in a more mystical sense of which I spoke before in regards to the liberation of the soul and the wine of the soul, and to the mystic representation of initiates dressing themselves as brides with Dionysos and Ariadne looking on. There is a sense of the hope for the freedom from one existence. In a sense everyone is seeking communion with Ariadne and to in the likeness of Ariadne that the soul is liberated by the sweet essence of Dionysos. I certainly plan on having a small statuette done of her in the near future to place with Dionysos, especially for next Anthesteria.

The next morning, and thank the gods that I don’t suffer any painful reminders of drinking, I got up bright an early to continue the festivities via Fur Rondy. My daughter plays the bass clarinet and was playing in the marching band during our local parade. So I had the enormous pleasure of enjoying a parade full of bright colors and whimsy even with the cold white of snow surrounding us, it is our shout in recognition that winter is quickly concluding as our days are rapidly getting longer (as I have stated before we have more of a light based seasons than agricultural as our growing seasons due to our climate are a lot shorter). Just before the parade there was a foot race that had me giggling due to all the creative costumes so many of the competitors were wearing. DSC09853These festivities were later followed in the day with a view at the ice sculpture competition (which coincidentally had a Minotaur sculpture being rendered that made me think again of Ariadne), and concluding with a trip to the city Fur Rondy carnival where my daughter entertained herself on a few rides and we ate hot funnel cake, and lastly fireworks lighting up the sky! It seemed like the perfect conclusion to Khoe, even as freezing and bone-tired as we were when we finally got home! I had no energy to do anything except slide into bed.

This afternoon, after work, I celebrate the final day of Anthesteria, Khytroi. I made the panspermia to be offered. The tone tonight was subdued, as if shades of the dead are pulling quietly at the edges of my clothes and the ends of my hair. Really that is the best way to describe it, as there is a heavy almost oppressive feeling in the air, something that has weighed on me all day like a heavy fog. It was in solemnness I performed the rite this afternoon and made my offerings of panspermia, olive oil, wine and honey. I had enough panspermia left over to leave some for the dead. I have given my prayers in observance of this day that even as Hermes has lifted the babe Dionysos and liberated him from the fiery body of his mortal mother, may my soul be lifted after death from the mortal state that I may progress forward as all souls seek and all the souls of the dead too desire. Now I am watching the sky darken that I may usher away the Keres (who seek to draw all down to death) and declare Anthesteria officially over that I may uncover my shrines and prepare the evening meal for my family.
Anthesteria day 3 Khytroi pic 2

At the Doorway

I think that the gods of the doorway are perhaps one of the most important set of gods in the household. There is of course something to be said for Zeus and Hestia who dwell at the center of the household and are a part of the bounds that hold families together through generations and descendants to their ancestors, but sometimes it is easy to forget about the doorway gods, perhaps because we are so busy with our comings and goings that we sometimes forget to take notice of how important the doorway is. It is all too easy to take a casual attitude especially when many of us have the means to go where we want at any instant. The automobile makes it easy to zip back and forth from the house and therefore we find ourselves in a continual rush in and out of the house many times a day. It is a lot easier to take a breath and relax in the heart of the house and pay respect to Hestia for instance, but also a lot easier to forget about honoring the gods who guard the doorway and boundaries of the household.

Certainly the fact that we have several deities connected specifically to the boundaries and doorways shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact there is all evidence to suggest that this area was given much serious consideration. Hellenes had several specific gods associated with different areas. For the property boundaries you had Zeus Horios and Apollon Horios. For the entrance you had Apollon Agyieus (of the road) and Apollon Thyraeus (before the entrance/of the door) along with Hermes. Meanwhile, of the door itself you had Artemis and/or Hekate (I personally include them both). Amusingly unlike Hermes and Apollon, these goddesses were associated with the doorway among Romans, whereas for Hekate there is a popular image that was hung inside and for Artemis there have been archaeological finds of nitches just outside the door in which Artemis stood, made from terracotta, with open spaces in her hands that are suspected to have been used to hold small torches. Despite the fact that the Romans don’t honor Apollon and Hermes at the door, I was astounded by just how many gods they had associated with various part of the door, it was nearly mind-boggling! And then there was Janus, the double faced god, who in his practical function associated with the door combined with his solar characteristics was quite reminiscent of the role of Apollon and Hermes at the entrance….which could explain why the domestic function of these gods never took hold in Rome when these gods were adopted by the Romans. Even in India I have recently seen a picture of a house with two phalluses painted just outside to repel evil and bring in good fortune.

Thus we arrive at the importance of the gods at the doorway. More so than anything else they protect the wellbeing of the household. If you consider the household a microcosm of the city it makes sense that whereas the city has gods who protect the welfare of the state, and consider such gods of high importance, so too would the gods of the oikos have gods with such duties. In the case of Apollon, Hermes, Artemis and Hekate we have deities who are by their natures liminal gods and goddesses. Hermes escorts souls to and from the otherworld as he is the journeyman and divine messenger who travels upon the roads from one destination to another, Hekate is a titanide associated with the interlocking of the three primary divisions of the world, and Apollon and Artemis are frequently a part of the wild refuges while also playing a large part in the welfare of the state and as such move back and forth between civilization and wilderness (for which bears out connections to roads, vessels such boats, etc). It is these gods collectively who protect the house and nurture its healthy state of being.

They protect the household, going so far to drive away impurities/pollution, *evil*, and ill consequence. For this purpose I especially give offerings to Apollon and Artemis, as I envision their double bows loosening arrows to destroy all that which would harm the oikos. I pray to Hekate and Artemis then for nurturing those within the household that the household grow in good health (and in the case if I were living in an ancestral home which had been handed down through the generations I probably pray too for the expansion of the household for their blessings upon new children born into the oikos). Meanwhile Hermes I give offerings to primarily to bring prosperity and good fortune as is his want.

As I live in a modern household, this means that all of these gods sit within the front doorway, and all indoors. Upon leaving I occasional speak as I am passing a small prayer, and then on returning I give offerings at their places at the doorway. This usually manifests in the form of incense, as I find that easier to give directly upon entering the house, especially in a subarctic environment where the option of gathering wildflowers or blossoms from the garden to give them upon entering is a bit difficult outside of the brief summer season. I have also had it suggested to give barley groats (though this might be more useful to be ground into a meal and kept in a jar on the altar that can be sprinkled in offering, akin to the idea of the roman mola salsa of spelt and salt, for ease and convenience. Of course offering libations of clear water directly upon entering is also useful and is often something readily on hand (or close enough to being so). This means that unlike people in the ancient world who may have passed less frequently through the doors, going out for the day for whatever business they had before finally returning, I acknowledge that I pass through my doors ALOT. This also means that I am giving offerings and prayers ALOT. But I still find it an important part of my religious practice in preservation of the wellness of my oikos.

Honoring Hermes

Sometimes there are gods that enter into your life and receive especial honor, not so much because they are gods that you are particularly attracted to, but rather it is a more focused and devoted worship that is beneficial to your life in general. This was the case with Aphrodite, and the establishment of her shrine in order to improve some aspects of my life that I felt she was impacting. This also proves to be true of Hermes as of recent.

For some time I have established his worship in my oikos as regular daily worship in his place at the doorway with Apollon Agyieus, but aside from my daily prayers to all the Olympians collectively, this was the summation of my interaction with this god. There were many things I appreciated about him in his cultus, in his myths, and how he was portrayed by poets that often made me smile if not laugh aloud. In fact, most of my mental engagment of him where in areas where he and Apollon shared a certain closeness in that Apollon possesses the flute and kithara of Hermes, and Hermes possesses Apollon’s bullwhip and wand. Therefore I had a great academic interest in Hermes due largely to his relationship to the god that I love.  I just did not click with Hermes and therefore did only the basics in his honor that are part of a normal regular domestic worship and in important festivals (such as the Anthesteria). The only statue I possess of him, for that manner, is a charming bronze of the god seated in a relaxed posture as if he were strapping on his winged sandals, a lovely small statue given to me years ago.

However, now that I am starting in work in transportation, specifically passenger transportation, it has now brought a situation which stimulates a relationship between myself and Hermes. Because of this new job I am focusing more on Apollon Agyieus for his rulership of the road, and Hermes who protects travelers particularly. Yes the same two gods who are honored at the entrance of my home are now essentially going everywhere with me lol. I am even drafting in my mind some small charm I may want to create out of clay and cast which features Hermes and Apollon together that I can keep with me when traveling on duty.

Aside from this charm though, I am going to make more focus at the doorway shrine, do more with it and make it more prominent in my home. I am torn between whether to just expand his shrine at the doorway that he shares with Apollon Agyieus (whichwould also be a good place to leave said charm when I make it) that my offerings to him are directly symbolically connected with him who is traveling about with me as I leave the house to perform my duties on the road in transportation, or if I should leave the entry shrine to Apollon and Hermes alone and make a seperate shrine to Hermes just as I have a seperate shrine of Apollon.

I am not even entirely sure what I will include in a greater worship and recognition of Hermes. With Aphrodite it doesn’t amount to much more than a monthly libation and celebration of her important festivals. But, it seems like Hermes may very well be a more pertinent figure in my daily life and therefore I may want to do a bit more than what I do for Aphrodite. This of course is going to require expanding my knowledge on Hermes since of all the Olympians, aside from his connections to Apollon,he is one that I know very little about. This should make for a rather interesting personal journey in my religious/spiritual life 🙂

(PBP) B is for Boundaries and Birth

Perhaps a significant, and often overlooked, providence of many deities has considerably to do with boundaries. These are differentiated from portals/doorways in that a boundary doesn’t necessarily imply that there is a point of passage, although often there is one for which we can see boundary related gods associated also with gated entrances. Such is certainly true for two well-known boundary gods: Apollon and Hermes whose representations were erected at either side of the courtyard gate. Both of these gods in the domestic worship of the oikos preserve the boundary between the intimate space of the courtyard from the world-at-large. This of course is appropriately paralleled by the providence held by Artemis and Hekate at the portal, the door to enter the house that seems to create two parallel cooperatively functioning boundaries.

In essence the boundaries represent the liminal edges between the worlds, one which all of the above mentioned gods have considerable access to as they pass into (like Hekate and Hermes) or hold position at this edge of the world (like Apollon who is associated with cemeteries in parts of Ionia and Arkadia, and  and Artemis). The mythic relationship between Apollon and Hermes in the Homeric hymns likewise suggests that Apollo may have once been specifically associated with underworld functions that Hermes took over, one in which the sun is believed to have sunk into the underworld (as it sinks into the river of Okeanos which in itself represents this liminal boundary and Apollon’s resting thereon is represented poetically in Hesiod’s Sheild of Herakles by the description of the swans resting on the river Okeanos). By stealing his cattle when the god is conspicuously absent, he is then given in exchange the cadaceus, his serpent entwined wand, and a bullwhip from Apollon in exchange for the musical inventions of Hermes (the kithara and the pipe). Nevertheless Hermes retains his associations with the instrument which he can similarly gift upon others, just as Apollon doesn’t cede his relationship with the boundaries with the netherworld….a relationship which is stressed in his cemetery cult in which he provides and protects the soul for 30 days as it is attached to the grave until which point Hermes escorts it.

Therefore we see Apollon as the god at the boundary (so named Apollon Horios) to which the soul passes from living and death, and Hermes who escorts the soul into the next phase of life. In similar manner we may see that the worship of Apollon and Hermes as the front gates represents the god at the boundary between the road and the home (for which he is called upon as Apollon Agyieus…Apollon of the Roads and turns away evil to preserve the harmony of the house), and Hermes (who as a god of boundaries is generally viewed as a god who protects travelers as travelers frequently cross land boundaries, and in a spiritual sense in which Hermes is associated with the boundaries over which the dead cross) is viewed as the god which draws good things into the home, and likewise averting ill things from entering. Apollon’s association with the demos, cultural norms and practices (both mundane and religious), sacred law (as we particularly see as the guardian of the regulations of the Olympic Games as Apollon Thermios together with Artemis Thermia) etc which crosses from the public sphere into the household. In a more indirect manner it can also be associated with Apollon’s oracular station as well in which the god transmits divine knowledge across the boundaries between the divine and mortal planes of existence.

In contrast Artemis and Hekate at the portal are more strongly associated with the opposite function of passage into life…inclusion into the oikos perhaps, which includes adoption, guest-host relationships, and the more immediate entries via birth for which both goddesses are strongly associated with birth as a portal goddess. If Apollon and Hermes make the exchange of the passage from one existence into a new state via death and destruction, then we adequately see a paralleled reflection represented in the placement of torch bearing goddesses of birth, and in at least one case Artemis (as a lamp and dragon bearing Artemis Hegemone at Arkadia. This Artemis who leads, which in its relation to a cult center of Demeter in Arkadia not unlike that of Artemis at Eleusis, can suggest one who leads into a passage of a new beginning for which the both the torch, with which both she and Hekate are most popularly depicted, bears much the same symbolism as the more domestic light via the lamp.

However this is not suggest a polarity either in which Hermes and Apollon represent one kind of passage, and Artemis and Hekate another, for we understand that Hermes likewise leads Persephone out from the underworld (as is associated with escorting the dead during the Anthesteria) and Apollon is associated with the new birth of the month. So it is not singularly destruction of the negative things that may try to enter the oikos at the gates to provide passage for the good things that benefit the oikos, but also the transformation that occurs (both destructive and genitive) that occurs as the gate door swings both ways as visitors and family members pass to and fro.

Such is also true of Hekate and Artemis that whereas the portal represents birth and the productive life of the oikos, are also associated with the departure from the oikos. This includes the entrance into the unknown/wilderness as members physically depart the home to engage in the world outside of the household, and as the passage of life via death in which the oikos is reduced by the exit of a member. This is natural as Artemis represents the liminal world, the woodlands beyond the city boundary…a huntress and destroying goddess. Meanwhile Hekate passes, like Hermes, into the netherworld and is often associated with the hidden knowledges for this.

Therefore there is no direct polarity between the boundary of Artemis and Hekate at the portal, and that of Apollon and Hermes at the gate, but rather they are fluid and cooperative with each other. There is the fact that we have more protective deities at the outer entrance at the boundary and gate of the oikos courtyard, and goddess associated with nurturing the young as Kourotrophoi at the portal of the oikos and the intimate life of the family…this seems to be the biggest difference for which they are assigned very specific designations of worship in the oikos.What is interesting though is how many rivers are assigned to gods associated with boundaries and the liminal zone. This is particularly true with Artemis and Apollon, both of whom have a significant number of epithets that refer to rivers (which act as natural boundaries both in geography but also as the children of Okeanos and Tethys who as stated above is associated with the liminal boundary between worlds) associated with their worship and mythos (example Apollon Tilphossios, god of the spring Tilphossa, Apollon Ismenios of the river Ismenos, and Artemis Alphiaiai of the river Alpheios). Such a strong symbolic association with boundaries and the liminal zone may have something to do with the strong associations of Leto with motherhood/childbirth and in many places in Ionia, particularly Lycia, with the underworld. I do think it is curious that Leto, who bears such strong associations, is comparable almost with the myth of Asteria (her sister and mother of Hekate) who, upon plummeting into the sea in order to evade Zeus became as an unanchored island which has been described at times as wandering beneath the surface of the sea. Therefore the rising of Delos (the transformed Asteria) in order to provide a place of birth for Apollon and Artemis is provided via the transference of the body from the unknown into the sunlit living world. Her dwelling beneath the waves is quite similar to Hekate’s position at the mouth of caves which are the entrance/doorway into the next world. Therefore it seems that in the case of Apollon, Artemis and Hekate there is a strong hereditary relationship with boundaries and portals.

Of course this prooves an issue for modern worshipers since not everyone possesses a front gate. The closest it seems to get is among those families who have an entirely enclosed yard through which one would have to enter the gate in order to reach the front door. Otherwise the boundaries of the oikos are consolidated at the front door for which worshipers may be presented with no other option but to combine the designations of boundary/gate together with that of the portal and worship all of the above gods together in a fashion…though possibly seperated by different shelves if possible. But it also means that it limits the options of where at the door things can be placed since typically as front doors swing inward there is relatively little room to place shrines at either side inside the doorway, and most prefer not to have anything for Apollon and Hermes outside the doorway because of concerns of vandalism or theft. This requires some creativity. This is also the most regular form of worship for the gods in relation to the boundary as, compared to daily comings and goings—for which offerings are given to these gods, births and deaths are less regular occurrences within the oikos and far less worship will involve such direct manifestations of the role of the gods associated with the boundaries, aside from specific festivals that honor such roles.



Pompaia, speculated to possibly have occured on the 16th of Maimakterion will be falling on my birthday this year (November 13th) so that will be an interesting day to say the least having a day of personal festivity and birthday cake being the same day of a festival in honor of Zeus and Hermes which is suspected of acting as a festival to turn away adverise forces of nature. I guess what you considered to be an adverise or beneficial force of nature would depend largely on where you live. I know growing up in south-central Alaska, though snow in November wasn’t exactly celebrated, it was a bit worrisome to not have snow by November. This is because our local watershed was sustained almost entirely by winter meltoff. A mild winter always meant drought, but with the subzero temperatures not having the protection of snow also meant greater permafrost damage and therefore a delay for any kind of spring planting. There were a few occassions in my memory where the ground was so hard because of this that we literally could not break up the frozen earth until into June. Therefore in such a climate a prayer for a great blanket of snow would be considered good, whereas freezing rain and cold dry days are considered in the long term adverse.

Now to turn the lens in the other direction, living in the south has its own different environment altogether. Alot of people do fall planting, there are tender plants growing in the winter, and we do not lack of rain during the year so don’t have to worry about being drought-ridden because of a lack of snow, nor do the temperatures get so severe here because of the alignment of the earth to the sun. That said, because of how hot the summer was there is alot of speculation that the winter is going to be particularly brutal. This means abnormally cold weather and snow fall for which this region is not accustomed. Therefore during the Pompaia I would be more likely in this region to ask that the winter not be brutal with heavy snows and cold winds for which the local population is not acclimated, but rather the cold rains and nippy days that it is typical of a winter here from what I understand.

We don’t realize just how much devistation abnormal winter weather can cause until we have seen it. I remember in the spring of 2010 when there were the blizzards in the south. And seeing on the news how the winter crops of Florida (fruits, citruses etc) were widely endangered by the atypical weather. So I can but pray that the winter weather remains in its appropriate regional balances with excesses or declinations that could adversley harm the local ecologies and peoples.

I will have to give some thought on how how I will celebrate it. I don’t have a sheep skin or cadaceus to parade around my home. Nor would I be likely to sacrifice a bull in honor of Zeus and Hermes lol. But with this in mind I will see if I can get a bull horn (I have an instrument made of cow horns that I can play if I feel inspired to do so) and set it on the altar, perhaps filled with vegetables something like a thanksgiving cornucopia. If I can’t find a literal horn I may have to make do with a symbolical one made of wicker or ceramic as the sell during the thanksigivng holiday. More on this later as I think it out.