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Being unemployed, and having more than enough time to think about this shit, I can only think so much before I start to wonder if I'm not assigning too much emphasis to some thoughts, or if I'm not imagining that things are affecting me more than they really do. But that's me. For as long as I can remember, I've downplayed the severity of so much in my mind. Like my recent post about my stepmother and stepsister...it wasn't that long ago that I was thinking about all of those things and brushing them off as being not a big deal, telling myself that they had no lasting effect on me when clearly, I'm wrong.

I don't think I could ever flat out say "I was abused as a child", but at some point during the two and a half years that I was seeing a therapist in Baltimore, I could say that there were numerous incidents of abusive behavior from several of my family members.

So when I think of the shit with the former supposed friends, and how they affected me while we were friends and how it now affects me to realize what happened and be removed from it....I start to wonder if some of the thoughts I have are genuinely a result of that, or if I've manufactured them and shouldn't just shut up and get over it.

I was never, that I can remember, told to just get over it- in so many words or not. I think a lot about how differently things could have gone, how, looking at how they've affected others, it could have been a lot worse for me too.

But still, it does. It affects me. I'm worried about Doing It Wrong too. though, instead of worrying about doing what's right for me and having it be the wrong thing because it's not their way, I'm worried about doing what's right for me, and that it could look too much like them.

Rational brain tells me that it shouldn't matter, that if something is right for me, who cares if it does look like them, it's not going to make me turn into that. And it probably doesn't look nearly as much like them as I imagine it.

For example, I haven't touched my blog in months. Not that I don't want to- there is plenty that I really want to write. But I think about it and I just think about how they have blogs and how they write on them all the time, and go on and on about "when you do as much ritual for as many gods as I do.....blah blah blah" and "I'm taking life-altering vows for the sixth time todayyyyyy and oh how I suffer- today I'm going to walk across a bed of razor-sharp glass shards for the gods, I hope my feet won't be too badly cut but even if I can't walk for days and days it will have been worth it because I love the gods soooooooooo much and this is how I show mah epik boobs devoshuns now gimme teh beeeeeadzzzzz!

Rational brain also tells me that all I need to do is look at any one of my blog posts and compare it to any one of theirs and...well, they're just not the same. I'm writing about and for the gods, they're writing about everything that they do for the gods.

I've also given some more thought as to why I want to keep using the blog, and other than it existing as an offering, I also have the blog because no one else did when I was looking for something like that. It's not that I'm terribly concerned about educating the public, it's just more good reason to do something I already want to do.

Then there's things like making "devotional playlists". Now...I've been making playlists since before I ever saw them talking about it. I have a list of songs that I associate with gods, even with gods that I have nothing to do with. I hear a song and my brain goes "oh, that sounds like *insert name of a god here* and if, on more than one hearing, the same thought comes up it goes on a list, or occasionally if a song is directly about a god, it goes on a list. Most of it isn't all that significant, especially as pertains to gods with which I have no connection- for example, the song Secret Life by Thriving Ivory reminds me of Persephone. Songs like this remind me that such gods exist, and sometimes it's interesting to let the list play and think a bit about them, sometimes I wonder a bit about the gods that I'm not connected to- but it's not devotional anything, it doesn't mean much more to me than the fact that I also have a set of playlists for morning, afternoon and night because for some reason, certain music just um, sounds like certain times of day for me and makes sense to listen to at those times. I do have playlists for a couple of gods- Apollo, Dionysus and a very short one for Hermes. But I don't go looking for songs for them, they just get added when I hear something that sounds like it belongs.

I've also had cause to think a bit about some things I've done, said or felt in the past with regards to religion and how it might be connected to them. One of the things that's been discussed a bit has been the wanting religion to be the most important thing, even coming ahead of romantic relationships. I used to feel this way. I feel it important, though, to make it very clear that I felt this way before I ever had anything to do with them. This had come with my earlier involvement with ADF and wanting to train as clergy. I think I could say that they reinforced that for some time, though eventually Gavin and I both came to a point where we just realized that religion didn't come before each other, but was more of equal importance. It makes sense though, seeing as it was the gods that threw us together.

I've been feeling for a little while, to some extent or another that god relationships have been somewhat contaminated- not irreparably damaged, but...hmm...overshadowed? I know that Apollo isn't going anywhere, and I don't think I could give him up if I wanted to, and divination indicates that I shouldn't drop Dionysus either, though it could be a little while before I really have much to do with him again.

I have, however, been thinking for probably a couple of months now that maybe what I need is something new, something different, something untied to them. The idea that working to establish a relationship of some sorts with a new god has floated in and out of my mind even before the issues with the former supposed friends came to light, and has been coming in more frequently since we realized how damaging all of their shit was. For a while there, I was thinking of taking a shot with Selene- who at one time I thought may have been a possible patron- or Helios, but no, my interest in teh gods of the Various And Assorted Shiny Things in The Sky(tm) is- wel, whatever it is, this isn't it.

A few weeks ago, I started hearing "You need me" coming from Ares in my mind. Now...this was not The Voice Of Ares, it was my mind manufacturing the voice, but it was fairly repetitive. I started thinking more about it, and after talking to Gavin about it, decided to do some divination and see what came up. I threw around some cards and results indicated that yes, I was right about Ares. Results also pointed out- repeatedly- that yes, this is a good idea, but I should be sure to not forget the limits of this new relationship. Which makes me think, a bit, of the fact that not long ago, I was advised by Apollo to learn about other deities who have aspects in common with him. Odin was specifically named- but with the order that I not engage in any worship of him.

So far, I haven't gone far beyond thinking about it. I did make a necklace a few days ago- I thought I was jumping the gun, but I just really felt like I needed to, so I did. Carnelian, red tiger's eye, red garnets and dark charcoal grey seed beads. Very smoke and blood, feels very right, and since I put it on, he's been on my mind pretty consistently. Nothing major, just a thought that doesn't entirely go away.

I also feel like I'm getting ahead of myself wanting to set up a shrine for him, but I do want to put something together, if nothing else because my current shrine is set up entirely for Apollo and the table it's on is pretty small, and I'd be hard pressed to try to make room for another god there= that and the fact that, with an exception of a brief stint sharing with Dionysus, it has always been strictly Apollo's place. So I'll figure something out.
painandlight: (Default)
Let me start by saying, first of all, that I am a (fairly) hard polytheist. I won't go so far as to say that every single deity name that comes up in mythology is, in fact, a separtate and individual deity. I think that some of them are alternate names for some gods, or that some of them are shades of another god.

For a bit more clarity on that last thought, I'll paste a comment that I made to A blog post on the subject

I get what you’re saying here. It sounds like you’re trying to say in much deeper terms that all of the gods are some of the gods, no?

I also agree that in many cases, a god will appear across pantheons, in different names but that not all gods that appear similar are the same. Most of what I believe about specific deities is pretty much limited to Greek and Roman/Pre-Roman Italic because that’s what I know best and even then, most of it is based only on what I’ve read of mythology, history and religion and based on that, what I’ve decided makes sense to me- though I hope this is a little better than just pulling it out of my ass. I believe that the Greek Apollo and the Roman Apollo are the same god while Artemis and Diana are not the same goddess and Leto and Latona might be the same but I don’t know. I don’t think that Ares and Mars are the same god, or that Aphrodite and Venus are the same goddess. I also don’t think that Apollo is Soranus or Veiovis or Bellenos or Lugh or most of the other gods of which people frequently say he is a cognate- and I am absolutely certain that he is not Helios or Aesklepios though I’m pretty sure that he is Paeon (and to make it more confusing, that Aesklepios might also be), but I think they are all related in varying degrees of closeness. I also think he’s related in some manner to Heimdall and- at least in my extremely limited knowledge- Bragi.


So...there are many separatre, disstinct gods- it's just that not every single name ever is a distinct god. Many, maybe even most are, some aren't.

I am also a panentheist. I believe that the divine is within everything. When I say that I believe the Divine is within everything, I mean that I believe that there is some "stuff" that I call "The Divine" of which there is a little bit in everything. I also believe that this is the basic building block of life for the gods, other non-corporeal beings, and probably for the souls/spirits of such things that have souls or spirits (I'm not an animist, I think I'm semi-animistic, but as far as what exact things I beieve to have spirits versus what doesn't, I haven't exactly made up my mind. Some thing are obvious, others..not so much- but that's wandering a little off-topic here, so maybe some other time.) Please don't misunderstand me- I'm not an emanationist. I don't believe in "The One" or "The all" or whatever you want to call the idea of a single, supreme entity even beyond the gods from which they, uh, emanate. When I say that I believe The Divine is "the basic buildig block of life" for the gods, I mean it in the same sense that carbon is called "the basic building block of life" for physical life. I don't believe that the gods emanate from this one source any more than I believe that plants and adnimals emanate from a cloud of carbon.

I believe in their literal existence. The gods are not "energies" or "thoughtforms" or "archetypes"- this one drives me crazy. the gods are not archetypes. A specific deity may fulfil an archetype, but that's different. An archetype is not a specific example, but a general idea, a stock character. "Love Goddess" and Thunder God" are archetypes. Aphrodite and Zeus are examples which fulfill the archetype.

I said in my last post that I believe that the gods are the supreme beings, I could just copy and paste my second to last paragraph from that post here...but you've probably already read it if you're reading this and if not, if you care to read the bit I elebotrated on that, you can just go back and look.

I don't know if the gods are necissarily male or female, "young" or "old", or each other's mothers and fathers and sons and daughters but I don't think it's not possible that these things are true of them. I also don't think that it's wrong to ascribe human wants, needs and emotions to them. These may be human traits, but I don't think that the gods would reveal themselves in this way if there were no meaning and purpose to it. Of course, I also think it's very possible that humans got all of these traits from the gods themselves.

I believe that the gods are above us, they are to be worshipped and respected and loved. They are not our equals, they are not below us. They can be worked with, but they are not to be used.

This is where I get ranty. As I frequent a number of online pagan forums, I see a lot of things that annoy me. One of the big ones is how people treat the gods. People saying "I dno't worship the gods because I don't bow down to anyone" or "I useed Aphrodite for my Beltane spell last week" or "Hey, I don't know anything about them, butI think it would be a brilliant idea to call Hathor and Quetzalcoal for my Equinox ritual, wanns join in?" all just make me want to bang my head against the most covenient brick wall- and then grab them and do the same to them. Seriously...learn what words mean and learn a little respect for the gods. And learn a thing or two about them while you're at it. Because nothing says clueless like "Apollo's my favorite god because I'm gay and he's gay!" or "Apollo and Artemis go together so they're like the perfect Wiccan lord and lady!!!"

Okay, it looks like I managed to keep the rant pretty short. Tay me.

Da List )
painandlight: (Default)
I didn't think that when I said that thirty days doesn't necessarily mean thirty consecutive days that it would start right away, but there ya go. I'm going to double up today, since I have two posts mostly-written. I think they will probably finish themselves while I write. Also, I'm thinking about changing one of the days- probably the last one because I can't think of any others offhand that I really want to cut right now, but I've been thinking for a few days that I want to write about places that have or have had some significance to me in a spiritual context.

If you could read my thoughts, this is exactly the sort of thing that you would be subjected to frequently. I don't imagine that most people would want to be able to read my thoughts.

The structure of the universe is a subject of curiosity for me. Particle physics and string theory are subjects that I've read a bit about and have wanted to read more but haven't gotten around to it yet. If, as the Big Bang theory tells us, the universe exploded into being from a single point and continues to expand outwards, then clearly there must be a perimeter somewhere, right?

If this is true, I imagine the universe to be something like the town of Seahaven in the movie The Truman show- but on a much, y'know, grander scale. If you haven't seen the movie and want to know, or if you need me to clarify what ideas from the movie I'm talking about- just so you know, I sum the entire thing up in two sentences..... ) If you could take a boat (or a spaceship) out far enough, you would reach the "wall" of the universe. What's the wall made of? what's on the other side? Is it possible to get out? How big is the universe? How much does it weigh? (If on the other hand, it's not true, this is all a bunch of pointless blather.) Here's an idea: what if the spark of fire is the big bang that sets a whole new universe into being? Does that mean that you become a god every time you flick your Bic?

How ridiculous is that? Is it any more ridiculous than a giant bird coming along and laying an egg from which the cosmos hatches? And how is the idea that the universe once took up the space of a single point until it exploded any less absurd?

I don't think it is, but only the latter is at all accepted as a scientific possibility. Science explains how things work, it explains the forces of nature. It doesn't explain the forces behind the forces. We all know that Zeus isn't literally up there, riding around on a cloud, picking out a lightning bolt, taking aim and hurling it at the ground. At least not on this plane of existence. But can we say for sure that He isn't literally doing so on the plane of the gods, that that's not hmm...meta-force? behind the natural phenomenon that we know as lightning? Maybe natural phenomena in this realm is a result of the activity of the gods in their realm bleeding over here. Maybe when Nyx laid the cosmic egg, its first crack in hatching over there caused the big bang. Maybe all stories of creation are literally true in that realm- maybe a whole bunch of different huge events happened all at once, and the outpouring of energy was just so unimaginably massive that it caused this explosion in a void of nothingness that set this realm into being.

It makes sense to me. I've never really been concerned with trying to reconcile how so many different people can have so many different explanations for how the world came into being, so this isn't my desperately grasping at straws. In fact, i didn't really even have this last idea in mind at all when I started writing this. I've long held the idea that I illustrated above with the example of Zeus, but it never went so far as the origins of the universe until now, and as I look back on what I'm typing here, it really makes a lot of sense to me.

Continuing on...

I believe that the gods are the supreme beings- at the very least that they are the highest beings that we humans are aware of, but I don't really believe that there are any higher than that, aware of them or not. Above the gods, I believe there is only "The Divine"- which I will explain more in my next post. No, I'm not an emanationist. From the gods, it goes on down the line, but I couldn't really put an exact order or hierarchy on what "the line" is- where demi-gods versus deified mortals versus nymphs fall, I don't know. The order doesn't affect me, and how or how much it affects them is their affair. I just know that I am human and the gods are above me.

I believe that there are many worlds in parallel, they're all occupying the same space It's like projecting more than one movie onto the same screen at the same time. Sometimes two different characters in two different movies say the same word at the same time, or the same character appears in two movies at once or the same song plays on both soundtracks. When this happens, the worlds bleed through into each other.

I think that's all I have to say on cosmology. For the moment at least.

Da List )

Me too!

Sep. 27th, 2010 06:25 pm
painandlight: (Default)
Thirty Days of Paganism Meme

I'm gonna do this thing too. I should get the first entry posted tonight, but if I don't, then tomorrow. "Thirty days" does not guarantee thirty consecutive days.

1. Beliefs - Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs - Cosmology
3. Beliefs - Deities
4. Beliefs - Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs - Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit
6. Beliefs - The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs - Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs - Holidays
9. Deity Gender- who cares?
10. Patrons - Apollo (and other Apollo-related gods)
11. Pantheon - Dionysos
12. Pantheon - Hermes
13. Pantheon - Gods and spirits of Sparkly Things In The sky
14. Pantheon - Titans and Protogenoi
15. Pantheon (anti) - Artemis and Brigid
16. On not being "Earth-Centered" or "Nature-Based"
17. My ways of worship
18. Community- Not quite an outsider but don't really belong anywhere
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I've explored
22. Paganism and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Favoured ritual/magical tools, and why
26. Any "secular" pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you'd like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Advice for seekers
painandlight: (Default)
I did the same thing as Gavin today. By now, you've probably seen her post about a devotional hair-wrap as something that isn't easily forgotten about. I used some gold/tan variegated embroidery floss and added one spot to attach/detach a charm.

The charm is the seven stones that I associate with Apollo (Rutilated quartz, Larvikite, Citrine, Iolite, Garnet, Sunstone and blue tourmaline. Here, aquamarine stands in for the blue tourmaline, as it is mindblowingly expensive and the only blue tourmaline I have are some practically microscopic chip beads that already have a sorta-plan for. Aquamarine works- we had some on hand, and hey...Apollo is associated with water, so...yeah. The little spacers are just some copper-metal lined clear glass seed beads that I love. They're very Apollo.

And that's me, totally looking like an evil teenager.

Apollo hair

Apollo hair charm

Thanks so much to Gavin for helping and taking the pictures!

This reminds me, I want to do a blog post on the stones that I associate with Apollo.

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