Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We've got pictures!

I have pictures today.  My altar isn't significantly different but there are some changes that are significant to me.

Please ignore the dirty walls.  They need painting badly.  I got these decals on Amazon.com.  I can't afford any statues right now and felt I wanted something to focus on during ritual so these worked out well.

The Moon is a card I got from Ladyhawke's Treasures.  The Sun I got at a thrift store and painted it myself.  It was an ugly blue before.  Who the hell paints a Sun blue?

 The center candle is for the chthonic gods, of course.  Complete with a dragon holder.  The other two represent the gods and goddesses.  My mother's first engagement ring is on that ledge.  Daddy gave her two more in the course of their 61 years of marriage but that was the first and it means a lot to me.

The black rose is for Persephone.  I have a great fondness for her and a connection with her that will remain private for reasons she and I know about.  The altar needs cleaning but I'm going to wait until Noumenia to do it.  I do brush off the ashes but couldn't do it when I took the pictures because the pets' water bowl is right below there and I didn't want to get ashes in their water dish.  The blue jar just represents the Greek/Hellenic world.  Mostly it's just decorative.  Of course there is the water (khernips) and the offering bowl of barley.  Other accoutrements such as my bell, crystals and stones, jar of barley, jar for ashes and such,  candle snuffer, and my Animal Oracle cards.  And my spirit beads that feel very much Gaia's.  Or possibly Demeter's.

I moved my parents' picture to Persephone's flower because my mother, who so recently crossed the river to the underworld feels connected to her somehow.  The tea candle is just a vigil light although I don't keep it lit all the time.  I do have battery operated tea lights that I might start using but as finances are still an issue and we are waiting to see what our portion of all the medical bills are (already over $1000) I hesitate to spend money without thinking about it first.  Especially since I just bought some books for Zach and me for our spiritual education.  Honest...it's the last I'm going to spend on it for a long time.

I'm still plugging along, studying every day, learning more and more and remembering more from my studies all my life.  I should dig out all the various books I have on Greeks and the gods.  I've been collecting them for years.  I just didn't acknowledge that this was my path even though I was preparing to walk on it for a long, long time.

Edited:  I have no idea why the time stamp is reading over 2 years ago.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back from the hospital

I'm back after an overnight stay in the hospital where I was treated like a queen, if a queen has her sleep interrupted 5 times a night. Truthfully, I couldn't have been in better hands and in spite of the cross on the wall beside my bed, I managed to have a brief solstice-type ritual on Thursday night.  It had to be brief because they were constantly in and out of my room checking on me.

I wasn't online much yesterday because I was wiped out and spent most of the remainder of the day, after being checked out, just sitting in bed reading and knitting.  I managed to stay up until around 11 and then slept in until nearly 9, when I heard Tom leave for work.  He took 2 days of vacation for the procedure and I think the rest did him a lot of good.

I have made the last of my purchases for a good long while.  I bought Zach a pendant with the Eye of Horus on it and these three books, which will arrive any minute now:  From the Satyr's Mouth, Kharis, Hellenic Polytheism Explored (and yes, I know that Hellenismos adherents don't approve of her writings), and The Balance of the Two Lands.  These will help Zach with the pursuit of his path and will help me in mine, not to mention help us find common ground for shared rituals and such. 

He has found a home, even if it may end up temporary with some of the Egyptian gods as well as some of the Celtic/Norse gods.  He's much better at combining cultures than I am.  I remain very content in my choices though, which makes me feel much better.  Normally, after I buy something to do with my present path, I end up feeling like I shouldn't have bought it because I no longer feel the same way about it.  It's not exactly buyer's remorse but it did have more to do with me second-guessing myself all the time.  I don't seem to be doing that now.  In fact, I feel very much on target with the Greek gods.  It seems like we have finally made a match.

I meant to get pictures of my altar today but it's been overcast until now and now I'm just wiped out.  I was able to do up some dishes and generally clean up the kitchen and bits of my bedroom but I need to rest a bit before I fix supper.  Tom will be home in about an hour and while he won't need supper the minute he walks in the door, I would like to have it for him by around 5.  I'll be eating vegetarian because it seems to be the easiest and cheapest way for me to conform to the lifestyle required for me, having had the heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure I've had for years.  I've done okay the past few days.  Haven't really lost any weight yet but that will come as I get more active.

I hope to post more often on the blogs since I'm spending less time on Facebook and other areas.  But for now, back to reading and knitting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'll post some pictures when I get back

I got the other package in the mail the other day:  a set of 12 decals that stick to the wall over my altar, of the Olympic gods.  Very basic and not easily identifiable in all cases but it's exactly what I needed... and wanted.  I'll get a picture when I get back from the heart catheterization tomorrow.  Or the day after that depending on what the results are.  I like the simplicity of them as well although my walls need paint badly.

I've been doing a good amount of reading.  I have The Greek and Roman Myths by Philip Matyszak that I really like because it goes into more detail about the nature of the myths.  Plus while I'm fairly sure he's not a pagan, he doesn't dismiss the myths as foolish the way some of the older books do.  Like Edith Hamilton's books, which I grew up on and loved dearly.  In fact it was her books that gave me my first love for the Greek gods.  But reading them now, she's obviously smug about the way the ancient Greeks used to believe.  And some of the other books on mythology are even worse.  One book states that no one worships the Greek gods anymore because there is a better choice.  As if!

I'm preparing for my procedure tomorrow and in case I have to stay overnight, I'm taking my battery operated tea candles and my Hesiod and Homer so I can have a bit of private, subtle ritual if I have to be away from my altar.  I don't "need" any accoutrements but it's nice to have them anyway.  I have my Star of Olympus but that will have to stay in my purse during the procedure so I think I'll just put it there tomorrow morning before I leave.  Otherwise I'll forget and since Tom will have my purse I might not have any place to put it.

I also have my Kindle.  I downloaded some books from the library to read while I'm waiting in recovery...4-6 hours of that.  And a book would be too heavy to hold over my head, flat on my back, so I got some books to read.  I have Orpheus' Hymns on there for ritual, too.  Plus a bunch of other books on ancient Greece and the gods.  I'm thinking of not taking my knitting along since it would be for one night anyway, unless they find a blockage and I would have to have a bypass which no one is thinking of as a possibility anyway so it's just for one night.  The more I take, the greater the chance I'll lose something.  Better to leave them home.

The city is cutting down trees today (and yesterday) along the street.  Initially I was a bit put off about it because they were big, old and very nice trees, but the insides are rotten, which I could see once they cut it down.  Better to cut them down and replant something healthy.  If they do replant something.  Not sure if that will happen.

I have a lot of organizing to do today so I'm off to get it done.  I should mention, since not everyone reads both blogs that I seem to have had a heart attack some time in the past as there is a scar on my heart, which may or may not be contributing to the congestive heart failure.  As odd as it sounds, it's better if I have some blockage or narrowing of the arteries so they can remedy the situation.  If not, then the heart attack has caused the CHF and there is nothing more anyone can do.  And it's obvious that I have to get busy and be more stringent with my health routines so that I can have many more years ahead of me.  I had no symptoms at all of a heart attack...no chest pain, squeezing, tingling in the arms...nothing.  He called it a silent heart attack and apparently it's something that many women have happen to them.  We just don't get the symptoms the guys do.

Anyway...I'm off to do laundry with the help of Zach and get my overnight bag packed and do some general resting for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting things in the mail is like getting presents all year long

I got my medallion in the mail today.  It's the Star of Olympus and I love it.  Initially I felt I had to distinguish myself through my jewelry where people could look at it and see just what I believed.  Now, not so much.  I only care if I know what it means.  It really expresses who I am without being obnoxious about it.  I love the description of it, too:

The Star of Olympus is an artistic interpretation of the original Star of Vergina, also known as the Vergina Sun or Argead Star. This powerful symbol was engraved on the Shield of the Greek Warrior, Achilles. At the center is the Delphian Epsilon, which represents the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end, timelessness, infinity. Surrounding the Delphian Epsilon are four points symbolizing the Four elements; Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The twelve rays surrounding the elements represent the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus.

 I was looking for statues as well because I find it helps my focus when I have a representation of the gods to look at but the statues were way out of reach.  Instead I found some decals of the gods.  This is perfect because I don't have a lot of room on my altar and ugly wall space above it that I cover with some pagan cards in frames.  It would be better if the wall were painted but that is something that will happen much later.  No energy to do any painting right now.

I got the house fairly cleaned up yesterday and it makes a huge difference with regard to the feeling in the place.  It feels lighter and less oppressive.  I look forward to ritual tonight, although my bedroom is still in a mess because I stuffed so much stuff in here to hide before company came today.  I think I finally got rid of the biggest part of the baggage I had been carrying around with me that interfered with my capacity to commit to a path, without fear I would change my mind a million times.  I don't have the same hang ups about the Greeks that I had before and I certainly don't view this path as an all-or-nothing venture.  I walk it however I feel comfortable.

Zach is still struggling with his path.  He, too, is divesting himself of the baggage I imposed on him as a fundamentalist Christian mother.  I'm his sounding board now, offering little more than encouragement and a few links in things he's interested in.  I told him it's not a race to the finish line but I completely understand his need to start walking the path that fulfills him.  He knows that Druidry is a part of it but he has realized how important deity is to him, and finding the gods that complete him is a struggle right now.

Well, my baked potatoes are nearly done and I'm hungry.  Plus I'm eager to get back to knitting up my stash.  I have a new grand-nephew going to join us sometime soon so I'm going to give him one of the blankets I knitted up out of my stash and I have enough yarn left over to knit up a sweater and hat for him as well.  I'm working on a blanket right now that is supposed to be afghan sized but the amount of yarn required seems very small so I wonder if it's a misprint.  If it is, I'm going to have to knit it in multiple colors...which I do happen to have, thankfully.  I'm thinking of donating this stuff to the women's shelter.  A good friend suggested that and it's an absolutely wonderful idea!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just another day

I'm settling into the Greek path slowly as I'm still struggling with the enormous fatigue that goes along with this stupid diagnosis.  You'd think after a year of the fatigue I'd be used to it but I'm not.  Now that I know why, I am learning to live with it.  Still takes a bit of time to figure it all out though.

But I am very content with this path, especially now that I've worked out all the toxic crap that I had brought into it before.  No more all-or-nothing and no more my way or the highway thinking.  It makes it much more accessible to me, finding the gods as they are and not as the ancestors viewed them.  Or how someone thought the ancestors viewed them.  I believe the gods change over time, just as society does.  That may or may not be the way others view it and that's fine.  Unverified personal gnosis is personal, after all.

Zach is dealing with some changes and some struggles on his path.  I'm hoping to help him along this process without trying to take the wheel from him.  I know what it's like to have the lacking and longing so I want to help.  We're going to do some research tonight as soon as I get the dining room presentable for company tomorrow.  At least I hope company is coming.  We didn't get the phone call we were supposed to get so I don't know.  It's business stuff and not a social call so I'm trying to care about it but as it's Tom's stuff, I'm finding it hard to love having it dumped in my lap.

I've been reading The Iliad at night with my candles lit and incense burning.  And some of Hesiod's works as well.  I have Burkett's book but I haven't gotten too far into that yet.  Still battling concentration problems, probably related to the fatigue.  But I'm happy with my rituals so far.  I don't need a lot of elaborate design to them. 

I have a lot more to say but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I need to get busy working on the dining room and bathroom.  I need a maid.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Spending time with myself for a while

I decided to spend less time online lately and unfortunately that included my blogs as well but the time has been golden and I've learned a lot about myself and was able to sort out my priorities, which I really needed to do.  Now that I'm back I'm limiting myself to the things that matter the most to me.  Spirituality rather than politics.  Friends rather than politics.  Crafting rather than politics.  Notice a trend there?

In sorting out my priorities, I've also sorted out my spirituality.  I've been reading a few blogs the past several days that challenged my thinking to a very large degree.  Some questions that have forced me to think about what it is that I need rather than what I want.  Other questions about things that are important to me.

First off, I'm still dealing with the death of my mother.  Not having been at the funeral affected me more than I thought it would and I still haven't grieved her.  One issue I realized was that in my eclectic path, there has been a huge void that I never bothered to fill...mostly out of a fear of that commitment thing that I seem to avoid like the plague.  I wasn't connected to any deity in any comfortable way.  I was still trying to make the Celtic/Irish/Welsh/Scottish gods work out.  And failing as usual.  As a result I had no spiritual comfort, no one to turn to during my mother's death.  And with my own health issues, I had no energy to really deal with it.

Part of my problem has also been wanting to share a path with Zach and since he was traveling along the Druid/eclectic path I was trying to walk that path as well.  And I do love the Druid path.  It's just not complete for me.  I needed more.

I saw something in a blog about the different kinds of paganism:  deity-centric, nature-centric, and ancestor/spirit centric.  In honestly looking at myself I realized I'm deity-centric and have been trying to be nature-centric.  Square peg...round hole.  Not that I don't love Nature.  I do.  But I don't have the reverence for Nature that earth-based pagans have.  It's just not my path; yet I keep trying to walk it.

That led me to face the inevitable question:  which gods?  I'm a person who needs deity in my life.  It's not a failing...it's just who I am and what I need.  I've been all over the map looking for deity that I think "suits" me when I should have been looking into another question:  which gods do I believe in?  That was a question on another site, addressing the problem of another person in a similar situation.  Which gods do you believe in?

It's been obvious to me that the Celtic/etc gods aren't a fit for me.  I don't believe in them, not in the sense of trusting and interacting with them.  They probably exist but aren't "real" for me.  The Norse/Anglo Saxon gods are strangers to me and even if I spent the time getting to know them, I still don't necessarily "believe" in them either.  Authenticity still matters to me, especially in light of having been lied to all my life about my birth religion.  And I still have a problem with the interference by the Christian monks regarding their rewriting of the myths.  My problem, of course.  Other people can sift through and find the truth they're seeking.  I'm not inclined to even try to do that with regard to anything Christianity has tainted.  Plus I've never been able to find a goddess outside the Greek pantheon that I really connected with.  I'm just not fond of the Norse or Celtic goddesses and I don't know why. 

While there are other deities I believe in, Egyptian, Hindu, Judaism...it has to be more than just believing in.  I have to trust and love them.  When it's all said and done, there is only one set of gods that meet that criteria and that is the Greeks. I don't like the system necessarily but I do love the gods.  When my mother died, I wanted to put my head in Persephone's lap and let her stroke my hair, talk to Hades about my mother and speak to Hermes, who delivered her to the Otherworld.  But since I hadn't been in contact with them for months, it didn't feel right to want them to take care of me when I wasn't honoring them.

This might sound all silly to some people but it is important to me.  It's not about the all-or-nothing mentality anymore.  I'm not interested in being a reconstructionist or finding favor with people who are.  I'm interested in my relationship with the gods, honoring them in my own way and finding comfort and peace where I'm most at home.

Last night I set up my altar for honoring the Hellenic gods.  I got my books out regarding the worship of the Greek gods and found some prayers honoring Hera and offered up some honesty and simplicity for worship.  I felt such a powerful connection.  I haven't felt that in months and I teared up with the intensity of it.  I feel at home.  I hope this is it.  I hope I've finally found the path I need to walk on.  I hope I'm done hopping from place to place.

All I can do is try.  I need to stop making what other people think matter more than what I think or believe.  I need to focus on MY relationship with the gods and not how other people interact with them.  I need to spend more time with my thoughts instead of letting someone else dictate what I should be thinking or feeling.  It's time to lead my own life and walk my own path even if it conflicts with what someone else thinks that path should look like.

I am a Hellenic pagan.  Proudly.

For now, at least, I'm the most content I've been in a long time.