kyrene: (iPod deities and heroes)
I think it's hard not to think of Apollo when it gets to be the summertime. Especially when the weather is mid-90s, sunny, and HUMID as hell.

I do a lot of informal spiritual rituals to the gods on a regular basis, but don't do an awful lot in the way of formals one and haven't in a while. I developed a severe allergy to them after the drama-filled events with a group I used to belong to, and I haven't been able to enjoy them since. Try as I might to have new ideas, I think I just like simplicity.

It's more than obvious to me however that I owe a few deities a serious offering rite as a thank-you. Two of those deities are not patrons, but I had asked them for a favor a while back and nine months later it was granted--in spades. Although its serious, long term reprocussions have yet to be determined and are still underway, I need to thank them for what I have so far because I'm damned grateful.

I don't like doing blind ritual for the sake of doing blind ritual. But I do enjoy having a sense of rhythm, for offering thanks and accepting blessings, and doing things that are a part of day to day life versus having to remove myself from it. Maybe that's why I don't do a lot in the way of formal ritual except to invoke and thank them when I do spiritual and magickal work--I'd much rather have them be a part of my day to day life versus having to remove myself from it in order to do a ritual for them. In some ways, I see such a removal as being dysfunctional, at least for myself. The gods don't stop being around, nor do they stop being in my life when I am at work, in heavy traffic, at yoga class, et cetera.

Just some rambling thoughts for today.
kyrene: (Default)
Mindfulness is not a term over which the Buddhists have a monopoly. One of the most disappointing things I have found about much of the Pagan and Hellenic communities is the complete lack of an outlet for people to improve themselves. This is especially frustrating in the Hellenic community where the mindset is often focus on ritual but not on self development. Given how ancient religion emphasized arete or excellence (and not just in sports either) I find this rather strange.

Being a mystic is no guarantee of said self improvement. In many places, ranging from the Hellenic community to the Golden Dawn community, I have found mystics who have in the entire course that I've known them stood at a standstill as far as their personality was concerned. In fact I have found that mystics can often "get in, get high" and never make any efforts towards mindfulness, self improvement, or anything of that nature. They wind up in pursuit of one spiritual experience after another the way people go from book after book, drink after drink in a bar, or relationship after relationship--never really scratching the surface of their own ego or producing any real results except the euphoria that mysticism can produce.

Is it any wonder why non-mystics are often so skeptical towards us?

What does mindfulness mean? It means being self-aware and cognisant of one's aptitude as well as one's flaws. It also means being aware of the world around them and how they relate to that world. In becoming mindful, one can become a better person.

This is usually where people ask, "Well, what is a good person and why would I want to become that?" I can sum up a good person via both modern and ancient standards according to the Delphic Maxims: a good person is someone who is compassionate, has integrity, and is good to others--and hence contributes to their family and/or community in a positive way. I don't think a person can contribute in that positive vein without being a good person.

What is a positive contribution? A positive contribution is someone who is a good role model for others. Writing essays and putting up websites doesn't make one into a good person, but someone who actively assists in charitable causes, helps people in need, and is generally good to others is.

When is someone not a good person? A person who spends their time negatively judging other people, is narcissistic and self-absorbed, and adds more negative contributions than positive. Frequently such people appear to care more about what other people are doing rather than what they are doing; hypocrisy is a trademark of such people.

I sometimes hear, "Well, trying to become a good person detracts from the worship of the gods." Given how a good person can aid their community more effectively and be a force of good in this world, I see this as a rather lame attempt to justify their own behavior. What they REALLY mean is: "I just don't care about being a good person; I only want to get high off of my spiritual practice. Who cares about the real good I can accomplish? It's much easier to throw barley at offerings and libate my drinks and not do any work or effort towards such things. It's too hard anyway."

FYI you don't have to be a mystic in order to improve yourself. And mysticism comes in many forms: contemplation, meditation, philosophy--any sort of personal experience with the divine in whatever form or form you conceive of it to be.

Sometimes I get accused of doing too much navel gazing and second guessing myself. But I'd rather that than not examine myself at all. It is true though that moderation should exist in all things--including moderation. ;)
kyrene: (Default)
I just cleaned my yahoogroups out quite a bit, removing myself from a bunch of groups upon which I was standing on ceremony. One list was for a group that was supposed to start up in my area for the Religio Romana, and the guy went off and got some gov't job and had to disappear. No posts for almost a year from that one and he's the sole mod with his email listed as bouncing. The rest were all lists along same lines, no posts and done with standing on ceremony. I'm overusing that expression but I really am at a loss for what else to call it.

It's a similar thing with the NR priesthood list. Once again, every couple of years, the head suddenly remembers that he has like, a priesthood just sitting around there doing nothing with our hands tied because he clearly isn't around, doesn't care, or both. Countless emails have gone out to him over the years asking him wtf I'm supposed to do as priestess of Apollo, and not a single one were replied to. He claims that I've never replied to his, but ya know...I'm no idiot. I never got them, nor did they somehow wind up in a spam filter either. That one is on its last legs with me. I'm waiting to see what happens over the next few months before I figure out what to do with my membership in NR after the past nine years or so--I suspect that once again he'll forget about us and then I'll give up and leave, as I REALLY have better things to do with my time and my money than continue to support a group that well, isn't doing anything. I've stuck around only because people begged me to do so and frankly at this point I have to ask WHY?

It's the waning moon, an excellent time to purge my life of dead weight. That and I'm PMS-y, IBS-y, and shivering in my pjs at home. What better way to spend my spare time? Aside from WoW, that is. ;)

Oh yeah and my new spiritual path is a particular trad of Southern Italian witchcraft. Yay for belonging to a trad where the esoteric and mystical isn't kept separate or locked away in some dark corner somewhere, and I can still worship my gods--which is really what's important to me. And the answer is no, it has nothing to do with Raven Grimassi. :P :)

And the best part about it all?

I'm HOME. And I don't mean just physically, either.
kyrene: (Maenad with leopard and torch)
I'll be honest--after my local Hellenic group exploded and I spent time recovering from the hell I went through being subjected to all of their shit, I stopped celebrating the Hellenic holidays. I put up an olive branch last year on my door--I think during the Pusnepsia for the eiresone--but that was essentially it. I've done my usual offerings and libations and what-not throughout the year, but the only real festivals I've done so far have been a solitary New Moon ritual for Hekate, a Thelemic version of the Samhain festival, the equinoxes, and a Festival of Hekate.

Hekate's REALLY been present these days--glad she's got an altar by the door of my bedroom now. :)

I'm not even certain what I would celebrate if I did. There are very few Athenian festivals that grab me: Anthesteria, Thargelia, Rural Dionysia maybe. I like the idea of honoring secular holidays and the solistices and equinoxes in a Hellenic fashion--I really don't want to create my own holidays out of thin air, and I think aspects of the Pagan wheel of the year make sense to me. At the very least I think that the solistices and equinoxes speak to me. The changing of the seasons always affects me on some profound level.

Festivals came about due to local customs and actual meaning, and were localized to a particular city or town. The winter time has always meant Dionysos to me, while the summer has always meant Apollo. The equinoxes have always made me think of Demeter and Persephone. So perhaps those would be good places to begin. New moons for Hekate, Samhain for Persephone and other chthonic deities, Beltaine for Aphrodite. I think full moons would be a great time to honor Artemis and/or Diana.

Cycles of nature are timeless, and I need Dionysos to keep me warm during the cold New England winters. Brr.

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Kyrene

September 2010

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