Friday, October 10, 2014

Pulled Jackfruit BBQ

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit


Awesome veggie recipe using jackfruit as a BBQ pork sub. Looks tasty. Now I'm even more bummed that the Asian market up the block closed down. Could have had all the canned jackfruit I wanted. By the by, I'm not a full-time vegetarian (yet.) I just love finding new meat substitutes to try.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hell Yeah

DARIO ARGENTO'S THE SANDMAN starring Iggy Pop | Indiegogo



Horror master Dario Argento is looking to make a new film starring Iggy Pop. This couldn't be more relevant to my interests. They're looking for backers on Indiegogo. I'm kicking in a few bucks when I can. Love Argento's films and Iggy.

The Land Needs to be Purified

Clemmons murder suspect sacrificed animals, spoke ‘as though he was possessed,’ according to source | myfox8.com

One person, who claims to have been there around the time warrants say the bodies were buried, spoke with FOX8 about what it was like inside the home on Knob Hill Drive. We have concealed this person’s identity, and given the person the nickname “Paul.”

“When you walked in the first room, it was kind of blacked out, and the wallpaper had been peeled off. There was like scribbles, and scratches, and graffiti, and Arabic and Satan and swastikas,” said Paul. “It was a very, very thick environment. It was, it had a tenseness to it.”

. . .

Paul said the home smelled of wet dog, and that there were piles of dog feces in the living room. Paul also said there was one room —  the room firefighters smashed windows out of, and investigators wore HazMat suits into, that nobody, not even Amber Burch, was allowed into. “There’s a whole realm that we’re not aware of, and I think that whole piece of land needs to be purified,” Paul said.

Interesting and disturbing quotes from a man who knew suspected murderer Pazuzu Algarad. So far, at least two bodies have been found buried on Algarad's property, and witnesses say he sacrificed animals and acted as if he were possessed.

Obviously, this is a disturbing story about a man with some very severe psychological issues, but I'm quoting it because I always find it interesting to see references to energy work and discernment in the mainstream media. Though I doubt most people would catch it, talking of a "thick atmosphere" and the land needing to be "purified" aren't just figures of speech as far as I'm concerned. This type of shit leaves deep and lasting impressions on a place, and most people can feel it whether they're sensitive to it or not.

Troubling and fascinating.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Has Officially Sprung

Blue speedwell is blooming (so pretty and dainty, but I keep it outside; old folks say it's bad luck to bring it in the house), and I have a new pot of hairy bittercress in a pot on the deck (keep your potted hairy bittercress outside; those things can shoot their seeds three feet if you accidentally brush up against them when they're ready to pop), and today, I found some Viola bicolor (field pansies) all over the meadow behind my house.

I'm especially excited about the bittercress. It's one of the nine herbs used in the 10th century Old English Nine Herbs Charm against poison. It's supposed to do very well in a pot, so we'll see how it goes.

The ornamental pears are in flower (and stinking up the place), the forsythia is on its way to full bloom, and soon the Japanese pink cherries (my favorite) will be out.

I'm going to try and get some good pictures tomorrow if the rain holds off.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Listen to the Ocean in Real Time!

Many thanks to the bloggers over at Dangerous Minds for introducing me to the LIDO project. From their blog post:
If you ever get fed-up with everyday noise pollution from automobile traffic, construction work or that nauseatingly ubiquitous mall muzak then imagine how such unwanted (and often unnecessary) noise damages marine life. 
Mammals, reptiles, fish and invertebrates are suffering from increasing levels of man-made noise pollution coming from ships, oil rigs, and sonar. 
Now a bio-acoustics laboratory at the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain has developed a kind of “audio Google Earth” for under the water, which allows people to access a where they can listen to the sounds of the deep blue seas. The project is called “LIDO” which stands for “Listen to the Deep Ocean Environment” has been developed by French scientist Michel André and his team of researchers. The program aims to monitor undersea sounds to assess the affect of artificial noise on marine wildlife.
If you go to the LIDO website, you can click on observatories around the world and listen to the feed coming back from underwater microphones in real time. I am currently listening to what sounds like a pod of whales near Puako, Hawaii. It is awesome and relaxing.

Give it a shot and let me know what you hear!

A Dream of Death and Release

I woke up from a dream in which someone I loved very much had died. Someone had insulted my lost loved one, and I went on a rampage, screaming and crying and throwing things around, wanting to wrap my hands around the offender's neck and choke the life out of them. I collapsed on the floor crying, and that's when I awoke with real tears streaming down my cheeks.

I realized immediately that the dream had been about my father, who died almost three years ago, and that I still have a lot of anger and grief that hasn't been released. The dream, while distressing, had the feeling of one that had been sent to me to teach me something, and I'm taking it to heart.

After I woke up, I rolled over to look at the clock. It was 3:33 A.M.. That number, for personal reasons, has a lot of significance for me, and considering the work I have been doing lately to establish a relationship with Hekate and the chthonic gods, it seems even more significant.

I have been feeling the push to work on the deep, dirty crap I've been hanging on to, but I've been resisting. Ready or not, here it comes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rhyd Wildermuth Says It Better Than I Could

I have been meaning to write a post about what my spiritual life has been like recently, but it turns out I don't have to because Rhyd Wildermuth at Paganarch.com has already written it. Run, go, and read it. It's beautiful and perfectly captures how I have been feeling lately.

Fantastic New Song from Gary Numan - 'I Am Dust'



We were dust in a world of grim obsession
We were torn from our life of isolation
We were pulled from our path of least resistance
And the songs we sang? 'What became of us?'

We are here waiting for you
We are here waiting for you
We are yours, we're waiting for you
We are yours, we're waiting for you

We all prayed for the end, for their God to take us
We were falling down one by one
We were weak and the fear was all around us
The machines screamed from moon to sun

We are here waiting for you
We are here waiting for you
We are yours, we're waiting for you
We are yours, we're waiting for you

We are yours, we're waiting for you
We are yours, we're waiting for you

[Hat tip to Dangerous Minds for making me aware. I love Gary Numan!]

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hekate, Iphigenia, and the White Island of Snakes

This morning I was doing some research on Iphigenia and her connections to Hekate, which are many. I started with this passage from Wikipedia:
Artemis punished Agamemnon after his soldiers killed a pregnant hare. Artemis, being the goddess of the unborn, was livid and decided that she has to punish Agamemnon for the evil deed his soldiers committed. On their way to Troy to participate in the Trojan War, Agamemnon's ships were suddenly knocked violently into each other, as Artemis caused intense winds in Aulis. The soothsayer, Calchas, revealed an oracle that appeased Artemis, so that the Achaean fleet could sail. This much is in Homer, who does not discuss the aspect of this episode in which other writers explain that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice Iphigenia to her. According to the earliest versions he did so, but other sources claim that Iphigenia was taken by Artemis to Tauris in Crimea to prepare others for sacrifice, and that the goddess left a deer or a goat (the god Pan transformed) in her place. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women called her Iphimede (Ἰφιμέδη) and told that Artemis transformed her into the goddess Hecate. Antoninus Liberalis said that Iphigenia was transported to the island of Leuke, where she was wedded to immortalized Achilles under the name of Orsilochia.
The bit that caught my eye was the bit from Liberalis. He mentions that she was transported to the island of Leuke. Leuke is "White" in Greek, and the Greeks considered the island to be holy. The modern name of the Isalnd? Snake Island. Lots of connections between Hekate and serpents. Coincedence? I'm not sure.

Thetis brought the remains of Achilles and Patroclus to the island to be buried in a sanctuary. Thetis, a goddess of the sea, was the daughter of Nereus. She was said by Homer to be one of the Nereids, who were the daughters of the Old Man of the Sea -- more on that below.

Nereus was the brother of Phorcys, who, according to some myths, was the father of Scylla on Hekate. Nereus and Phorcys were brothers to Eurybia, the strong goddess. Eurybia by Crius was mother to Perses -- Hekate's father. This makes Thetis and Hekate cousins.

The thing about Nereus and Phorcys was that they were both referred to as "The Old Man of the Sea." Nereus seemed to be the gentler of the two, the one sailors could trust, a god of prophecy and good sailing, while Phorcys was the god of the deep sea with all her mysteries, the dangerous places where whole ships could be swallowed up in the dark.

Given that it is conjectured that there was once an ancient god of the sea who was eventually supplanted by Triton, I wonder if Nereus and Phorcys were merely epithets of the same old sea god. If so, that would only strengthen Hekate's connection to both Thetis and the Holy White Island of Snakes.

Connections upon connections.

I'm Confused and Bewildered and I Love It

So recently I have been feeling this huge shift. It comes after about a year of huge blockages (which, it turns out, were easily solved by asking the god who owned me first to let me go -- something he did immediately and with some relief. Long story; I'll tell you later.)

Once the blockage began to clear, I felt a strong pull to the Roman pantheon. "Ah," I thought, "here is where I belong." It was the Magna Mater who sucked me in, along with Diana.

So I start reading and studying, still confused, and then yesterday, a bolt out of the blue. It was to HEKATE that they were leading me. As soon as I recognized it, everything got so much clearer, and so much of what I have gone through over the last couple of years began to make sense. She came through very clearly and demanded attention in a way I have never experienced before. And then she quickly delivered me into the hands of . . . the Greeks! It wasn't Rome after all. I was just refusing to see what was in front of my face.

I'll detail some of the signs and coincidences that accompanied all this later. Let's just say that since I made the connection, it's as if the world has opened up to me in a whole new way. I'm still a bit confused. After all, the Greek myths are a labyrinth in more ways than one. But it all feels right. It feels clear. And I have needed that.

Expect lots of rambling and posts on mythology. And lots more about the Queen of the Crossroads. This is going to be a bumpy ride, I can tell.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fitting Fourth Days

Once upon a time, the Roman calendar was lunar. The fourth day of the month was the fourth day of the new moon. All fourth days (and all things four) are dedicated to Hermes. It's fitting, then, that the Megalesia begins on the fourth day of the month, since it was Hermes who brought the infant Dionysos to Cybele:
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 9. 136 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) : 
"[The jealous goddess Hera would have destroyed the infant Dionysos who was then nursed by Ino:] She [Hera] would have destroyed the son of Zeus [Dionysos]; but Hermes caught him up, and carried him to the wooded ridge where Kybele (Cybele) dwelt. Moving fast, Hera ran swift-shoe on quick feet from high heaven; but he was before her, and assumed the eternal shape of first-born Phanes [one of the first born gods]. Hera in respect for the most ancient of the gods, gave him place and bowed before the radiance of the deceiving face, not knowing the borrowed shape for a fraud. So Hermes passed over the mountain tract with quicker step than hers, carrying the horned child folded in his arms, and gave it to Rheia [i.e. Kybele, Cybele], nurse of lions, mother of Father Zeus, and said these few words to the goddess mother of the greatest: ‘Receive, goddess, a new son of your Zeus! He is to fight with the Indians, and when he has done with earth he will come into the starry sky, to the great joy of resentful Hera! Indeed it is not proper that Ino should be nurse to one whom Zeus brought forth. Let the mother of Zeus be nanny to Dionysos--mother of Zeus and nurse of her grandson!’
Source: theoi.com

Hail, Mountain Mother!

Today begins the Megalesia, the Roman festival of the Magna Mater, the Phrygian Cybele. The Romans, following a prophecy in the Sybilline books, brought her to Rome during their war with Carthage, and she eventually came to be assimilated with other goddesses, such as Rhea, Terra, and Demeter, though she always maintained her individual identity as an adopted foreign goddess.



I was born on the second day of the festival and have always felt a deep attraction to the Magna Mater, though it wasn't until recently that I knew who she was.

Hail to the Magna Mater deorum Idaea, the great Idaean mother of the gods, mother of Sabazios, stone-faced Queen and nurse of lions!



According to Wikipedia:
Romans seem to have perceived Megalesia as either characteristically "Greek"; or Phrygian. In the late republican era, Lucretius vividly describes its "war dancers" in three-plumed helmets, clashing their shields together, bronze on bronze, "delighted by blood"; yellow-robed, long-haired, perfumed Galli waving their knives, wild music of thrumming tympanons and shrill flutes. Rose petals are scattered, and clouds of incense arise. The goddess's image, wearing the Mural Crown and seated within a sculpted, lion-drawn chariot, is carried high on a bier. At the cusp of Rome's transition to Empire, the Greek Dionysius of Halicarnassus describes the procession as wild Phrygian "mummery" and "fabulous clap-trap", in contrast to the sacrifices and games that he admires as being carried out in "traditional Roman" style. Roman citizens can observe the procession, but their own laws forbid them to join it, or to know the goddess's mysteries; and slaves are forbidden to witness any of these proceedings. The Roman display of Cybele's procession as an exotic, privileged public spectacle offers signal contrast to what is known of the private but socially inclusive Phrygian-Greek mysteries on which it was based.
I am not an expert on the Magna Mater. She told me her name in a dream once, but it wasn't until I started investigating Roman religion that I knew who she was. I am taking this opportunity to make this the start of an in-depth study of her. I hope that next year, when the Megalesia rolls around again, I will be able to feast to her properly.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dionysos

Dionysos has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, but I have always avoided him because he scares me. Maybe it's because I've had so much first-hand experience with real-life madness that I don't want to invite any more into my life. And he's always seemed to respect my hesitancy, though I get the feeling that he could break down my walls any time he wanted to and leave me a gibbering wreck.

But he's moved closer lately, and the fear that I feel, while still there, has turned into something more. I feel like maybe I'm ready to see where this leads.

Starting Over at the End

I have been studying paganism for over 20 years. I have considered myself a pagan for a bit less than that, with some random asides into frustrated pseudo-atheism brought about by a vicious depressive disorder.

I have called down the gods, danced with my beloved dead, and worked ritual from books, from the head, and, most effectively, from the bowels. I was going to say, "from the heart," there, but it was from the bowels -- from my gut, from my womb, from my sex, from the deepest part of my lower self, the cauldron of my soul.

And yet here I am nearing 40 and feeling a deep need to start over, as it were. First there is the call to the Greek and Roman pantheons, one I've never really dealt with in too much depth. My religion, such as it is, has been all bones and blood -- deep family line shit. My god is a guardian, red and black, a demon and an angel, the man in black. My goddess a Red Queen in an amber castle.

But I am getting strong signals from Mercurius and Jupiter and Diana and Dionysos and Hera and the Magna Mater and a push to enter into a more formal religious practice. I have been digging my trenches too wide, too shallow.

"Go deeper," they say. "Get some structure; you fucking need it," they say. And I know that they are right.

It's time to make some changes and do some hard work.

And, as always, in the corner of my eye, is my shadow self, the stuff I'm not dealing with. She lurks. She waits. And if I don't take some proactive steps to integrate her, she's going to do it herself, and the results won't be pretty.

My head, thought it might not seem like it, is in a pretty good place now. I am in therapy and back on the meds I need. I have started the shadow work with words, but I think I'm finally ready to rend some flesh, too.

So I'm starting over but not at the beginning. That was a long time ago. I feel like I'm starting over at the end, the end of one part of my life and the start of a new one. Not THE beginning, but A beginning. Things will be loose around here as I tear down some old shit and try to build it back up. I feel like I might need to go a little crazy.




Friday, February 14, 2014

Nymph GIMPing

Just playing around in GIMP. I saw this magazine cover and had to do it.


Sacred Heart

I dreamed last night of Zagreus and his sacred heart. I dreamed of being buried in water.


Grant this favour then, although so long after, to him from whom you are sprung; for you came from the heart of that first born Dionysos, so celebrated. -- Nonnus, Dionysiaca

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thundersnow

I live in the mid-Atlantic area, and we are getting a ton of snow from winter storm Pax, about 8 inches so far. I was just out walking my dogs and was astonished to see a flash of lightning bolt across the sky accompanied by a rumble of thunder. "Thundersnow," as such an occurrence is called, is exceedingly rare here, and I aim to take advantage.

This was particularly meaningful for me as just a few hours ago, I began work on a hymn to Jupiter Tonans, a thank-you for a gift he gave me earlier this year during a mean  rainstorm.



I think I will split up the melt and use some of it as an offering on the next Ides and some of it in a war water I'm working on.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On This Day in History, Trajan was Crowned Emperor of Rome

On January 28, 98, Marcus Ulpius Traianus became Emperor of Rome. Trajan was universally lauded as a fair and good ruler, so good, in fact, that the Christians tried to retcon him into the Church:
"It was commonly said in medieval times that Pope Gregory I, through divine intercession, resurrected Trajan from the dead and baptized him into the Christian faith."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nature Doesn't Care About Symbols


This is a good reminder that we can use imagery taken from nature as a symbol, but that doesn't mean nature is going to cooperate. I might see the gazelle as a symbol of swiftness and grace, but it ain't nothing but a snack to the lion.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Talking Tourette's

Well, I didn't imagine I'd be writing about THIS today, but it seems like a good time to bring it up. Over on this post, a commenter joked that another blogger needs to "overcome her Tourrets [sic]" in reference to her propensity to curse when she's angry. He got called out on his ableism -- rightly -- and deleted that portion of the comment, but I thought I'd use it as a springboard to talk about Tourette's (or Tourette) Syndrome, which I will call TS from here on out, and tic disorders, because I happen to have Tourette's.

First, let's clear up the biggest misconception about TS: coprolalia, which is a sudden outburst of profanity or offensive words or phrases, while the stereotypical image of TS, only actually occurs in about 10% of people who have the disorder. Most people with Tourette's don't go around saying "shit" and "fuck" all the time, and if I could change one thing about the way people think about TS, this would be it. I don't even tell people I have TS anymore because I don't want to deal with the, "So you say fuck all the time?" comments. If it comes up, I just tell them I have a tic disorder (technically true; TS is one of several tic disorders; not everyone who tics has TS) and leave it at that.

I am pretty lucky. My TS is mild compared to some people that have it. My tics started when I was in elementary school. At least, that's when they became an issue. I remember being in second or third grade and my friends making fun of me for ticcing. I didn't know what it was at the time. All I knew is that I had a constant "itch" in my throat and nose, a constant compulsion to make these noises, to move and jerk.

My main tics, which are still with me today, are a kind of growl that I make in the back of my throat, jerking my head back, sniffing and wrinkling my nose, or twisting up my mouth and nose. I don't know why I do it. They have been with me as long as I can remember. I can sometimes control them, and they get worse when I am nervous, which is often, because I also have an anxiety disorder. Yay, me! I once heard someone describe it as trying to hold back a sneeze. That's how strong the compulsion can be and how difficult it can be to control it.

When I am alone or around people who know me and know about my tics, I don't think about it until someone mentions it. My tics just kind of happen, and unless I am paying attention, I sometimes don't even realize I am doing it.

When I am in public or around people I don't know very well, things get a little more difficult. Like I said, I am lucky in that most of my tics are quiet, aside from the throat clearing and sniffing. A few friends have told me that when they first met me, they just though I had a really annoying cold. I get a lot of people asking me if I need a tissue! However, I still feel very uncomfortable trying to keep track of my ticcing and try my hardest to control them. Sometimes, I can keep it to a minimum. At other times, I have to excuse myself. It really depends on the situation.

Some people with TS have severe tics. Some bark or yell quite loudly, and some have motor (physical) tics that can be debilitating. Some DO have coprolalia, but as I mentioned before, the majority of people with Tourette's DO NOT.

There is no cure for Tourette's, but there is treatment. Some people have to take medication; some just need behavioral therapy. I never had to take meds, and my therapy was minimal (I needed far more intensive treatment for my depression and anxiety) because my tics, while a daily thing, were not debilitating. I had a fairly normal childhood, and aside from being seen as weird and getting made fun of (usually for things other than my tics), it wasn't that big of a deal.

For the most part, my TS does not affect my day-to-day life, and I am extremely lucky for it. I don't talk about it too much, but I thought I would throw it out there as it's come up in the Pagan blogosphere recently. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

All Roads Lead to Rome

The pull is there. It has been there a long, long time. I just never took the time to listen to the voices that said, "Come home; give us cultus; worship us; enlarge us; stop ignoring us, for we have been ignored and mistreated for far too long." Maybe I was afraid to listen, because going to that place would require work I wasn't ready to do. Gently, gradually, the spirits I serve have been pushing me towards Rome, saying, "Here. Go. We will always be with you, but you do not belong to us. You belong to Them."

When I first recognized the call, I thought it was coming from the Greeks. I didn't WANT it to be Rome. Ancient Roman religion, I thought, was too cold, too transactional. The gods were just  Greek knockoffs anyway, right? Greece is where it's at -- Dionysos and Hermes and great, thundering Zeus. They had the myths. They had the mysteries.

But no. The voices became louder. "Not to Greece. To ROME." So I started reading, and as I did, the cultus of the Romans opened up to me in a way I had not anticipated, and I realized that so much of the foundation of Roman polytheism, particularly the concept of Numen, appealed to my little animist soul. The worship of the Lares and Penates, the spirits of land and house, was something I was already intuitively doing, though I used different names.

The transactional nature of worship became something beautiful to me, giving cultus and worship to the gods because it is right and pious to do so. To see the hand of the gods and the spirits of land, family, household, and community, even the state, at work in the lives of everyone took my breath away as I uncovered it piece by piece. The precision of ritual -- doing it over if you got it wrong, offering propitiatory sacrifices in atonement for unknown offenses, paying attention to the signs and omens the gods send -- makes sense to me. It is done because it is right to do it and because the gods deserve it, because it is ultimately about them and not us, though we hope to help our families and communities by and through them.

So everything has shifted for me. I have been reading over the classics with a new eye (and pen and paper beside me), poring over my beloved Aeneid for the umpteenth time, and making up a new and unfamiliar calendar of feasts and observances that is sure to make the coming year an interesting one.

This blog, young as it is, will also be taking a turn towards Rome. I may retitle it. I will definitely be staking out new territory here and will probably make some mistakes. If you feel like it, I hope you will follow along with me, and we'll walk towards Rome together. After all, all roads lead there, at least for me.

It feels good to finally be heading home.