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Pagan Blog Project: Emergence and Fornication

 

So, if you didn’t notice I posted this week, it’s because I didn’t. It’s not that I forgot about my blog, its more that I am really good at procrastination. It’s my top skill, in fact, I’ve been procrastinating on buying a new pair of shoes for coming close to a year now. This tells you 1) just how hard it is for me to decide on a pair of plain black flats and 2)I’m really not a shoe person.

Anyways, this week for the Pagan Blog Project, I’ll be dividing it up again and covering two subjects. The first is emergence.

Since Anthesteria is behind us now, I figure it’s a good time to talk about this quality in Hellenic paganisms.

For me, the real reason behind Anthesteria is to celebrate emergence. You open the new wine, you celebrate new flowers, and it’s all for the God Who Comes….and even the dead emerge and walk around. The world is cracked open just a little bit and all the goodies come rushing out.

It’s from this sense of emergence that we place ourselves. We aren’t looking back upon the sacrifices we have made, but in the continual act. We drink of the recent vintage — it is this wine that we offer, it is these flowers, so recently come up that we look for and desire. It is this God who we seek. It’s not that Dionysos doesn’t inspire introspection, I mean really, just look at some of the other Dionysians, we can be a wordy bunch. but we can’t get too caught up with what has come before, because Dionysos is here to be with us again.

And really, if emergence is complexity rising out of simplicity, then that’s paganism in a nutshell. Paganism is really very simple, definition wise (applying that definition, is something entirely different) but look at our amazing complexity: Recons, Eclectics, Traditionalists, magic and non-magic practitioners. And so on. It’s thrilling what we can come up with when we let the soup sit and mix for a while. Not all good and not all bad, and some shouldn’t be mixed in the first place.

It’s not just the novelty of these actions that I find joy, but rather in the experience of that moment. Paganism as a whole tends to reward experience and self-discovery over other types of knowledge, to various degrees of success. When we look towards the moment of opening, we can discover in ourselves this quality.

And speaking of the God Who Comes, there’s my next topic.

It’s also a warning that Sanna and Morgandria and I really should not be allowed to encourage each other so much. 

Me: Since I’ve done cock, maybe I should do fucking.
Morg: Fornication! It has extra syllables.
Me: Oh good point. I should try to feel intellectual about all this.

There’s a lot of ways that sex comes up in paganism. There is of course the boring answer of fertility.  You guys understand that fertility is a common theme throughout paganism, right? Right, moving on. I really don’t have a whole lot to add on the subject that hasn’t been written to death.

But using various forms of fornication is a more common than you’d think form of raising energy or even as an act of worship than you’d think. It’s fairly common within my own private practice. This is generally why I’m fairly hush-hush about my own rituals, because while I like sex and sexual activity, and comfortable talking about it, not so much to the indiscriminate web. But I don’t think we should hide that it is part of paganism, there’s no shame, it’s not inherently dirty or gross, and it’s part of life in general. Celebrate it.

So you know, get out there and screw someone or just yourself.  For the gods!

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I’ve been mixing the streams!

I have a half day off to study for my personal insurance exam, and I’ve finished the practice exam. I’m in pretty good shape overall, but combined with the spiritual work I’ve been doing lately, it’s leading to some odd stray thoughts.

Like a good homeowners policy is like the Agathos Daimon, and my premiums are a proper sacrifice.

Which of course has now lead to me singing, “Like your Agathos Daimon, State Farm is there!”

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria…day 3 questions.

I posed this over at Sannion’s since he has a much larger audience.

The final day of Anthesteria, Khutroi,  is given over to the dead. Close your shrines so they aren’t contaminated by the miasma, and that pagan concept of thinned veils, and all of that.

And that…just didn’t seem to happen here. I’m sure it did elsewhere, but here in Central Illinois, I got nothing. I can’t say I’m the most attuned to the dead, but I usually get the tingle that something strange is going on. Nothing.

So, fellow pagans, what do you do in this sort of situation, where it just doesn’t seem appropriate to do your planned rituals and festivities?

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria: Day….how about 2.5?

Today just does not feel like Khutroi at all. It’s been too triumphant. I will cover my shrines in the morning and try again. These things happen when you try to muck around with a lunar calendar, right?

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria Day 2: short notes

Just could not get into a mixed melancholy and joyful mood. As weird as it seems, I think I was too productive to get into the right mood (lots of studying for my personal insurance test on Friday, choreography work) but I did settle down to do a decent ritual.

I love, love, love doing a silent ritual though. It never fails to feel both somber and expecting. How glorious for the god the comes!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria day 1

really, my only note on this is that I’m fairly certain that when this wine was given to my brother, they probably weren’t thinking that it wasn’t going to be used as part of a Dionysian festival.

But it was! And it was grand.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pagan Blog Project: Ephemeral

As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I spent the time since last Friday helping my husband through the death of his grandmother. The funeral was Thursday, and very Catholic. It was actually my first Catholic Mass since they changed up the liturgy, and it was a little disorientation. Things I have known by heart since childhood have changed and while some weren’t hard (Nicene Creed was interesting to read) others would have tripped my tongue, if I had been responding (And with your spirit? I love the change, but boy, that would be hard!)

Already, what’s with all the Catholicism here, this is a pagan blog prompt. A few things, since I’ve gained a few new readers since I started the Blog Project; 1; I not only grew up Catholic, my oldest brother is a Catholic Priest, and I married into another family that is heavily Catholic and 2; growing up that way has impressed itself on my idea of ritual. I like smells, bells, and a little formality. I’m comfortable with Mystery and eating gods.

But it really impressed upon me just how ephemeral ritual, language, personhood and humanity is. One of my favorite bits of literature is from Ptolemy, “I know that I am mortal and the creature of a day; but when I search out the massed wheeling circles of the stars, my feet no longer touch the earth, but, side by side with Zeus himself, I take my fill of ambrosia, the food of the gods.”

One of the great aims of Mysticism is to give an idea of immortality to we mere mortals, and eat with (or you know, of…) the gods, and to give a little substance to our ephemeral natures.

When my mental Mass tripped over Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, and realizing just how old and young the phrasing is at once, I was struck again by just how wondrous it is that we keep reaching towards our gods, keep wanting both embrace and transcend our mortality.

Tomorrow begins Anthesteria, which is quite possibly the very best of Hellenic festivals: opening wine, the joy of life,  the worst pains of life, and when the spirits of the dead walk. In Anthesteria’s three days, we experience Dionysos in his complexity.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I am still a horrible person

My husbands grandmother died on Sunday (hence, radio silence), and I think tomorrow’s post is going to deal with something pagan-y that came up.

But I think it’s important that I share just how horrible I am. They placed her casket in an epoxy-sealed vault before burial to keep it from the elements. I’m more assured that in case of zombies, she will not rise from her tomb.

It’s the little things, really. Kind of like when singing “On Eagles Wings” at the Church, and I don’t think of the Abrahamic God or Jesus. Nope, I think of Gandalf.

 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pagan Blog Project: Dionysos part 2: The Ecstasy

Dionysos
or, reflections while I drink

Dionysos finds his Maenads among women who can’t stand any longer being locked into the domestic enclosure.
~Pagan Grace, Ginette Paris

So last week was all about the dangers of Dionysos: how he isn’t soft and safe. But now, you need to know why it’s worth it.

For those of you who don’t know me outside of blogging, I’m a contradiction myself. I’m a hyperactive introvert, socially awkward and fundamentally nervous about embarrassing myself. I’m also a performer, opinionated person who tries to live by the motto: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

The thing is, I have to break out of myself to perform.  When I was a kid, and I was a choir girl, this was easier, because it was a group thing most of the time. But now, it’s hard. I dance by myself most of the time, and it isn’t nearly as anonymous as performing used to be.

And that’s Dionysos for me: the enabler and liberator, who allows me to access the parts of myself that I would not otherwise. Because of my repeated rituals, where I struggle (yeah, struggle) to enter a trance state, I’m also able to get outside of myself enough to dance in front of people.

I think it’s a pretty mundane example of the type of liberation that Dionysos can offer. Real liberation isn’t the bombastic; it’s the ability to choose and discern and see your freedom, even when your situation is limited.

If Apollo is the kind of god who sheds light and illuminates the world, Dionysos is the fucking god that gives life to the world.

Dionysos is the god of the held breath, expectant and waiting for the next.

Dionysos is the god of the wild forest, of the wildlife creeping into the cityscape, pushing through cracks in the sidewalk, the weeds in the cultured suburban lawn. He will always take root, starting in the marginalized spaces: is there any wonder that he is lauded amongst the women, and coded as queer?

I think we take for granted the popular perception of Dionysos: as the drunkard, the partier, the oversexed god, reclining on a couch, fat and sated. This, the god of the aftermath is my god, too, but he is not the god who comes.

Okay, I am still the worst Dionysian ever. I’m drinking, sure. There’s a reason I didn’t talk about alcohol during this: I’m not much of a drinker. If wine exposes hidden truths, then my hidden truth is that I’m exhausted. Worst Dionysian Ever.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pagan Blog Project: Dionysos part 1: The Agony

Welcome to week one of the D’s. And I decided that I’m going to write about the same thing for both weeks. Of course. Hi, my name is Nuri and I’m a Dionysian. I’m a little god-proud. This is not a perfect essay by any means, so feel free to argue in the comments.

Dionysos: The Agony

So, my notes for this entry start off with “Fuck it, Dionysos is dangerous”.  and I mean it, he really really is.

What I want to do with this two-part entry is provide an introduction to Dionysos via a basic duality: Agony and Ecstasy. There is of course, a lot in between but it’s a start. So, again, fuck it, Dionysos is dangerous. To really honor Dionysos you have to bring madness in your life and let go of the structures that you have understood to be true for your entire life.

On a surface level, this just sounds awesome. I’ll be free from everything that’s kept me down my entire life. Some might realize that this also means that everything that supports you can be broken down too. If you can’t manage this, well, there’s a reason Dionysos is the god of madness. I’ve often wondered if the rate of depression is higher than the average in Dionysians, during the times when that breakdown isn’t managed well. Would be interesting.

Dionysos is the breaker of bonds, yes, but freedom from bonds isn’t the freedom to do whatever you want. What happens isn’t utopia, because you are left with an enormous responsibility: You have to replace the restrictions, the rules and your boundaries. It’s freedom, yes, but it’s a terrible type. Dionysos takes your worldview and breaks it into little pieces. If you can’t rebuild it…well, it can be enough to find the darker side of Dionysos’s madness.

Dionysos does not shy away from taking people past the brink; he’s been there himself. When Hera finds the young God, he goes mad (somehow) and wanders across Greece, Egypt, Syria, and all the way to India. Along the way with his throng of followers,  he teaches his ways: cultivation of vines and wine, creating villages and meeting people, and being cured of his madness by Kybele or Rhea, depending on the myth. Those who saw Dionysos for who he is and his divinity were blessed, and the Kings and sailors who didn’t, who not just didn’t honor him but denied him, were driven past that point, and none more famous than Pentheus.

Dionysos does not just punish Pentheus for his transgression, he does so by sending his mother to madness, and she tears her own son apart. Pentheus was terrified of the mad women, and is killed in what has to be the most offensive way possible to him.

And you can be careful, you can have the best of intentions and still struggle and hedge on just this side of madness. Here’s my own story.

My interest in Dionysos had been pretty strong since I started in Hellenic Paganism, but it was still mostly academic and mostly one-sided. Until I slipped into a near-trance like state in the bathtub, and when I came out it took hours to get into a state where I was able to coherent, and days to recover from a depressive funk. Turns out, ecstasy turns to agony quickly when you aren’t prepared for it. As academically interested I was, I was not prepared to have the support beams knocked out. In many ways, I’m still recovering from that single experience, and if I hadn’t had other structures to cling to (schoolwork and going to classes is calming) and to help me build back up,  I don’t know if I would be able to figure this out now.

But I have found this experience worth it. Dionysos is dangerous, but so many good and worthy things are.

Next week? The Ecstasy, and possibly the reasoning of why I am the worst Dionysian ever.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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