Hail to the Queen

To Sannion, for his continued health, a song to the Queen of the Gods:


Hera Ludovisi, 1st cen. BCE

Hail, Hera, Queen of Olympos!
Your Name, renowned and true.
Your crown is wrought of star and cloud,
and your mantle, sapphire blue.

Queen, you are, undoubted:
wife and sister to Heaven’s King.
Cow-eyed mistress of gods undying,
unto whom do kingly birds sing.

Your hand is firm, like the queen you are,
Yet your heart is soft like morning dew.
Your voice commands all rain and gale,
and the hearts of many mortals, too.

This song is made for you, O Queen:
that which is yours can never die.
For you are Queen of every hero’s heart,
though body rot and spirit fly.

In other news, today at the altar:


Many Gods, one household.


Can’t go wrong with Ganapati.

May the fourth of the waxing moon be with you!


Soft and Hard Monotheism?

Is it possible to have a monotheism that doesn’t reject other gods as false? But that wouldn’t be truly monotheistic. Is it possible to have a monotheism that focuses on an all-loving, compassionate power? But that wouldn’t be truly monotheistic. Monist, maybe, or henotheist, but never truly monotheistic.

One might say that all monotheism is radical; it isn’t truly monotheism if it doesn’t espouse a belief in an exclusive, singular supreme power that is ultimately tyrannical and controlling.

I live in the largest Catholic enclave in Asia and I’m thankful that most of these same Catholics aren’t taking their monotheism seriously. Because, honestly, the truly monotheistic ones would be extremely difficult to deal with.

I think that needs to be said.

Di Obsecro Vostram Fidem

So, I’m finally in my 30’s. I can’t say if it feels any different, but I’m thankful for what I’ve become.

For every smile, I thank you, you all know who you are.

For every smile, I thank you, you all know who you are.

Gratitude in smoke and flesh.

Gratitude in smoke and flesh for my eautou daimôn, my genius.

In other news, I’ve revamped the altar at our new place after the repairman broke one of our statues. Seven long years and all it took was a clumsy visitor.

The handiwork of Men may break and fade away, but the works of the Goddess live for ever. Hail, Reason's goddess and Mistress of well-ordered cities!

Fortunately, I got a new one (plus three others) shipped from Greece. It took a month to cross two seas and an ocean, but it was well worth the wait. With feast and fire, we blessed them for holy use last Full Moon Night. May they serve their purpose for many a year!


I also printed out photos for our “god-mural” by the hallway, courtesy of Apotheon‘s concept art. Who knew such a sacrilegious game could produce such beautiful god-images!


May the blissful Gods ever receive gifts of beauty from us! Let thanks be returned for their graciousness.

(Photos can also be viewed at our Instagram account, undertwotrees.)

Señor de Sonrisas


A collection of Santos Niños at the Indophile’s house, January 2016

The Feast of the Holy Child or Pista ng Santo Niño is one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines. The fiesta, which supposedly celebrates the arrival of Christianity in the archipelago, has become a showcase of syncretism of the Christ Child and other, much older spirits (but don’t tell this to the Pope). There’s a Farmer Niño, a Policeman Niño, lucky green-robed Niños for shops, and protective red-robed Niños for homes. (I’ve even seen a cross-dressing Niño! Don’t tell the Pope!)

Much like St Patrick, who could only convert a few Irish chiefs to his Christianity, the Santo Niño is a symbol of this false triumph of the Cross in the Philippines. It wasn’t until several years later, when the galleons returned, that the country was truly overrun by evangelists. What emerged in between those years, however, was a vibrant syncretism of Catholic art and pagan devotion, one that is still evident to this day.

Here, the faces of the Holy Child are as numerous as the islands that foster them. They remind us of a time when religion was more child-like: generous, inclusive, and intimate.

Tulad ng sa mga batà, nawá ay magíng palaging maliksí, matuwain, at mausisà ang iyóng diwà. (I have no translation for this blessing, sorry. But it’s a blessing!)


I’m not sure if litanies are as popular in other Catholic countries as they are (or were?) in the Philippines, but when I was growing up, every rosary was ended with a litany to the Virgin Mary.

As a child, litanies certainly seemed boring — they’re long, repetitive, and contain fancy, old-fashioned constructions you don’t normally use in everyday speech. But now that I’m all grown up(?), I’ve come to appreciate the intricate poetry (and piety) that goes into them. Litanies are amazing.

The litany I’ve made below follows the traditional Catholic style where each name or epithet is recited or sung by the person leading the prayer, followed by a response from the rest of the worshippers in chorus. The response can be: “Pinupurì Ka namin” (we praise you), “Sinásamba Ka namin” (we adore you), or “Dinárangal Ka namin” (we honour you). Obviously, if you’re the only person available, you’ll have to recite everything yourself, but typically, litanies are recited by at least two people.

I plan to write more, but for now, I’m starting with Hermês (my personal lord and saviour, ha). It will be in Tagalog (as I’d really like to build a solid Tagalog liturgy this year), but I’ve provided rough English approximations in parentheses.

Hope you like this (first ever?) prayer to Hermês in an Austronesian language!


Litanya kay Hermes

Anak ni Maya, pinupuri Ka namin. (Son of Maia, we praise you.)

Apo ni Atlas, pinupuri Ka namin. (Grandson of Atlas, we praise you.)

Sugo, pinupuri Ka namin. (Messenger, we praise you.)

Tagapamalita, pinupuri Ka namin. (Herald, we praise you.)

Tagapaghatid, pinupuri Ka namin. (Escort, we praise you.)

Taga-akay, pinupuri Ka namin. (Guide, we praise you.)

Kaligayahan namin, pinupuri Ka namin. (Jubilation, we praise you.)

Kaligtasan namin, pinupuri Ka namin. (Sanctuary, we praise you.)

Kasama, pinupuri Ka namin. (Companion, we praise you.)

Kaibigan, pinupuri Ka namin. (Friend, we praise you.)

Gabay sa daan, pinupuri Ka namin. (Guardian of the road, we praise you.)

Kasing tulin ng hangin, pinupuri Ka namin. (Fleet of foot, we praise you.)

Kamay na lumupig kay Argos, pinupuri Ka namin. (Hand that slew Argos, we praise you.)

Tagapagtanggol, pinupuri Ka namin. (Defender, we praise you.)

Tagapagligtas, pinupuri Ka namin. (Saviour, we praise you.)

Agarang saklolo, pinupuri Ka namin. (Ever-our-succour, we praise you.)

Prinsipe ng mga panaginip, pinupuri Ka namin. (Lord of dreams, we praise you.)

Kaibigang tapat ni Dionisio, pinupuri Ka namin. (Faithful friend of Dionysos, we praise you.)

Kaibigan ng lahat, pinupuri Ka namin. (Friend of all, we praise you.)

Tuso, pinupuri Ka namin. (Cunning One, we praise you.)

Mapagbiro, pinupuri Ka namin. (Playful One, we praise you.)

Haring Sinungaling, pinupuri Ka namin. (Master of lies, we praise you.)

Hari ng tuwa, pinupuri Ka namin. (Joy’s king, we praise you.)

Matamis ang labi, pinupuri Ka namin. (Honeyed-lips, we praise you.)

May *ginintuang dila, pinupuri Ka namin. (Silver-tongued, we praise you.)

Mapanlibang, pinupuri Ka namin. (Merry One, we praise you.)

Gabay ng mga naliligaw, pinupuri Ka namin. (Guide of the lost, we praise you.)

Maparaan sa lahat ng bagay, pinupuri Ka namin. (Crafty One, we praise you.)

Ama ng wika, pinupuri Ka namin. (Father of tongues, we praise you.)

Salita ng Dios, pinupuri Ka namin. (Word of God, we praise you.)

Mabuting Pastol, pinupuri Ka namin. (Good Shepherd, we praise you.)

Mapang-aliw sa mga tupa, pinupuri Ka namin. (Solace of the flock, we praise you.)

Pasan mo ang Cordero, pinupuri Ka namin. (Ram-bearer, we praise you.)

Ama ng lira, pinupuri Ka namin. (Father of the lyre, we praise you.)

Sundo ni Proserpina, pinupuri Ka namin. (Persephone’s chaperon, we praise you.)

Sundo ng lahat ng kaluluwa, pinupuri Ka namin. (Chaperon of all souls, we praise you.)

Sinisinta ni Afrodita, pinupuri Ka namin. (Beloved of Aphrodite, we praise you.)

Kilabot ng mga ninfa, pinupuri Ka namin. (Adored by nymphs, we praise you.)

Ama ni Hermafrodito, pinupuri Ka namin. (Father of Hermaphroditos, we praise you.)

Tagapawi ng takot, pinupuri Ka namin. (Fear-slayer, we praise you.)

Hari ng himpapawid, pinupuri Ka namin. (Lord of heaven’s path, we praise you.)

Hari ng lahat ng daan, pinupuri Ka namin. (Lord of all paths, we praise you.)

Nababalutan ng ligaya, pinupuri Ka namin. (Filled with joy, we praise you.)

Aming Panginoon, pinupuri Ka namin. (Our Lord, we praise you.)


(*ginintuán actually means golden, but culturally, silver-tongued would be a more fitting approximation in English)