Sing Praises of Love, Laughter & Liberty

For the love that lights up the soul, I thank you.

For the liberation that love inspires, I thank you.

For the laughter that gives life to each moment, I thank you.

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I thank the Three who are generous beyond count in all these things and more. Hail, hail and hail again!

 

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Where Is Zeus?

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People ask me where the Gods have gone, thinking perhaps that the ancients saw Zeus as just a man in the sky, and because we see no sky-man there now (or ever), that Zeus is “gone”.

But He is always there, and has always been: in the fertile rain, in the mighty sound of thunder, in the very order that holds the sky aloft the wet earth.

Ὦ Ζεῦ, πάτερ Ζεῦ, σὸν μὲν οὐρανοῦ κράτος, σὺ δ᾿ ἔργ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἀνθρώπων ὁρᾷς, λεωργὰ καὶ θεμιστά, σοὶ δὲ θηρίων, ὕβρις τε καὶ δίκη μέλει.

Hail Father Sky, Founder of justice in heaven and all beneath it!

O King in the highest heavens enthroned in glory

O Father of all, praise and thanks to You and Your mighty name.

Aba Amang Langit, Tagapagtaguyod ng katarungan mula langit hanggang kailaliman!

O Hari ng kaitaas-taasang naluluklok sa kaluwalhatian

Ama ng sansinukuban, papurihan Ka at pasalamatan at ang Iyong magiting na pangalan.

Hymn to Hermes

I cannot love this enough. O Son of Maia, our Guide and Companion in life and in death, hail and hail again!

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“Hymn to Hermes”

(c) A. Applegate 2017

We give greetings to Hermes,

Clever Son of Zeus and Maia,

Wanderer of all the worlds

God of great cunning

Who, on His very first day of drawing breath,

Proved Himself a maker of music and mischief,

Strummer of the lyre,

Thief of the cattle of Apollon

The One Who achieves fame amongst the Gods by His deeds

The Prowler by night Who lurks in the street before the gates.

We hail holy Hermes

Who wards all wayfarers

Whether travelers for pleasure or commercial pursuits,

or those seized by thanatos

Who wend their way into dark caverns to be seated as guests

in Hades’ great, gilded halls

We hail Hermes Psychopompos,

His most sacred charge

Serve as our unerring Guide, our Companion, O Khthonios,

May Your lamps reveal the Mysteries

Glory gleaned in gloomy depths

To those ready to receive the Light of…

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AVE IANE PATER AVE MMXVII

It’s been a while since I was last here and much has changed. And whilst 2016 was a bitch to the world of politics and pop icons, I was lucky that the changes were mostly positive for me. That said, I pray not only for my good fortune to flourish but also for the zeitgeist of this year — may things improve. I welcome you with open arms, 2017.

And what would be a more fitting way to welcome the next 365 days than with a prayer to the Opener of ways and God of beginnings?

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Pagbati sa Iyo ng may galak at tuwa,
O Haring Tarangkahan na may dalawang mukha;
isang pakanan at isang pakaliwa,
Poon ng mga pintuan, mula langit hanggang lupa.
O Haring Tarangkahan, buksan Mo ang daan:
sa Taong ito’y nawa’y walang humadlang
sa pagtupad sa mga tungkulin na sa ami’y nakalaan;
biyaya’t pagpapala nawa’y maging katuparan.
O Poong nagbabantay sa bawat simulain,
nawa’y sa unang pag-awit at panimulang panalangin
ay buksan Mo ang daan sa lahat ng kariwasaan;
kasaganaan, kagandahan at kasiyahan.
At sa pagsilang ng bagong umaga ito,
isilang nawa sa aming mga diwa at puso
ang isang bagong pag-asa at bagong ngiti
isang bagong lakas na hindi mapapawi.
Nawa’y sa Taong ito at sa mga darating pa
ay maging matagumpay at maligaya
ang pagkamit sa aming mabubuting mithiin,
malaya sa balakid at suliranin.
O Haring Tarangkahang tagapagbukas ng Daan:
nawa’y sa susunod na Ika’y aming awitan
ay mas higit pa ang aming tuwa’t kasiyahan
sa pag-awit sa Iyong matamis na pangalan.

 

Yes, this is Tagalog. I spent half of 2016 trying to get down my prayers and songs in the tongue of my mother’s people, and though I promise to try my best to provide a good translation sometime this week, I hope you can at least enjoy the rhythm of this New Year’s prayer to Janus. Ave Iane Pater! Luwalhati sa Iyo!

 

Hail to the Queen

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

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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:

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Many Gods, one household.

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Can’t go wrong with Ganapati.

May the fourth of the waxing moon be with you!

 

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!

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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!

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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

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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!)