V is for Vigilance (and its God, Hermês)

Hermes likes to play. And if you’re not paying attention, he will play with you. One of his games goes like this:

It will start with a small object, something insignificant. A pencil, a pen, a piece of paper, a trinket or doohickey. You might carelessly misplace it or have it suddenly vanish from your bag. You’ll think, “Oh, that’s okay, I’ll get another”. The next object will be something slightly more valuable, a semi-important document, some money or laptop wiring. And you’ll think, “Geez, I’m so silly for forgetting these”. If you still haven’t taken these warnings seriously, be prepared to lose something valuable. And you’ll think, “NO! What have I done! I should have done this and that”! And you’ll be more attentive. But your attention will fade over time, and the cycle starts again.

Pay attention, or suffer. Take notice when your attention is slipping. Do not let attention slowly slip or you will face the consequences. But don’t worry, Hermes is fair: he gives warnings. 😉

A Mad Light, January 2012

Art by A-gnosis (a-gnosis.deviantart.com)

Art by A-gnosis (a-gnosis.deviantart.com)

On Choosing/Being Chosen

Patronhood (or patronship, whichever) is a bit of a controversial topic in contemporary polytheistic circles, especially when we think about how differently our ancestors understood the idea of patron gods. Is Arês the god of war because warriors are drawn to him or are warriors drawn to him because he’s the god of war? Maybe both?

On a related note–to which many polytheistic pagans might relate to–Do we choose the gods we feel closest to or do they choose us? Or are we both drawn to each other because of similar desires or goals?

My friend once wrote:

It is not accurate to say that the gods chose their charges: the ones they love. It is also not accurate to say that that the charges choose their patrons. Rather, it is something that seems to happen simultaneously.

Charges are not servants of the gods, because they would choose to do the same activities whether they knew about the gods or not. Charges are close to a god because they share the same goals and the same agendas with their “patron”.

A Mad Light, December 2011

What do you think?

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oochappan/6240184969/

Touching Hanuman, God worshipping God
Source: flickr.com/photos/oochappan/6240184969/

Gods and Science

Make no mistake.

The Gods want us to know them.

They want us to understand the mysteries of the universe. They want us to learn how to use what we know to make our lives better.

They want us to learn how plants grow and how weather works. How our own body works, so we can heal ourselves. They want us to learn about the rocks that sleep and toss and turn beneath our feet. They want us to learn about how we interact with each other. They want us to explore our feelings and thoughts.

They want us to explore their anatomy, and understand how they operate. They invite us and push us to see more of their workings every day. They want us to know what they know.

And, sure enough, as each day passes, we learn more, and we see more.

But the more we know, the more we realize that we really don’t know anything.

So is it futile to learn more about the universe?

I don’t think so. The Gods want us to understand them.

A Mad Light, December 2011

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Metamorphosis

Dionysus is a god of metamorphosis. When he grabs you, he will not let go until he is finished with you. With his mad gaze, your mind will be displaced, and with this displacement comes enlightenment. Madness reveals aspects of yourself that you never knew existed, and places in your mind you have avoided for so long. He will tell you “You are more than what you think you are” and he will prove it. You are more than just a poet, more than just a man, more than just a young person. It is a very painful process, but you will come out of it more strange, and more beautiful.

A Mad Light, December 2011

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Live Efficiently

Having caught the attention of Apollo means that you have to live efficiently, without waste. Everything you do must contribute to your improvement. You sleep well because you need to function excellently the day later. You take “breaks” to open yourself to inspiration and ideas. You travel and explore to gain insight about yourself and the world. You play games to hone your skills in strategy. You party to express your pent up emotion. For Apollo, there is no such thing as idleness: every moment must contribute to your progress.

A Mad Light, December 2011

Art by aragon64

Art by MariaAragon64 (mariaaragon64.deviantart.com)

Mousai

The Muses are very busy entities. They are here and there, checking up on people’s thought processes and planting ideas. Knowing this, they don’t have time for the unworthy. They look for the skilled and the sincere and that’s who they spend time with.

Inspiration is a slippery thing. Many artists and scientists struggle with a “creative slump” or a “writer’s block”, and they wait for a muse to come along and save the day. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. But the muses do not choose people who do not choose them.

When you choose a discipline, you must dedicate yourself to it. This means you love it enough to think about it constantly and improve on it and love it enough to come back to it everyday even when the wells of inspiration are dry. You have to love your craft enough that you breathe it, that you see it in other crafts and the other things that you do. It is called a discipline for a reason, and perhaps it is no surprise that Apollo is their leader.

Become worthy, and the muses will flock to you.

A Mad Light, November 2011

Z20.2Mousai

Darkness and Light

I find it quite strange how Apollo is usually described as a young boy, gentle and smiling at the world. But for me, he is far from innocent, far from gentle, and you couldn’t really tell if he was smiling or frowning because if you tried to look, you’d burn your eyes. He is a stern master, more like a father than a child. For me, he is always there, always watching and pushing me towards excellence.

He does not forgive, because he has no reason to. He does not care about your mistakes. You can make as many mistakes as you want and it would not matter to Apollo. What does matter to him is that you are always striving to become better, always reaching for the ideal. You stumble, therefore you must pick yourself up.

Apollo will urge you to cut out everything that you don’t need and focus on the things that you do need. He is a minimalist, and it’s not an easy job to identify and cut out the unnecessary from your life. It hurts, in fact, but it is necessary.

There is no coddling with Apollo. When you are sick, you heal yourself. Apollo’s only reward is the one that you earn for yourself. He gives nothing more, nothing less. In other words, excellence is its own reward.

In my early readings about Dionysus, I was rather confused about how he was depicted a party god. Was partying that important to the Greeks? I did not party in bars at all, and I could not relate to him. But I when I learned more about his other aspects, about trance and madness, I could look back at my life and see how strong his presence is. I did not party but I tranced out on my own. I would focus my attention on a glass of water, so that just a glass of water would be enough to make me happy for that moment. If I did not experience these various flavors of ecstasy, I would likely not be a musician right now.

Those ecstatic moments are alright, but what really convinced me of his presence is his aspect of madness. I sometimes fall into bouts of depression. There are days when I feel extreme emotion I cannot control, destructive thinking and the feeling of my soul being ripped apart. He looks at me with mad eyes and a frothing mouth. Darkness and hopelessness fill me. I once read in high school, if you stare at the abyss, it stares right back at you.

In my moments of extreme despair, he sometimes just laughs and says “Oh, come on, it’s not that bad!” I don’t understand exactly why he does these things to me, but I am sure that I gain new perspectives after each episode. Perhaps it is these intense emotions that fuel the things that I do with force and passion, and impart my pursuits with an inexplicable “umph!”.

For me, the most prominent aspects that these two show to me are the “darker” aspects. Their “good” aspects don’t magnetize me as much as their more “destructive” aspects. So when I see descriptions of Apollo as a happy, childish sun god, or Dionysus as a merrymaking party god, I can only think: Oh, if you only knew what they really do.

A Mad Light, November 2011

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