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!)

La Vie Avec Les Dieux

Sorry for being out of touch! My 29th year is proving to be very, very eventful, indeed.

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Shortly after the Vialia, the first full moon of the year called for a full table and an intimate dinner with the Two Lords and our household spirits.

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The end of January also called for a feast for those who blessed the opening month with many gifts (and there were many). May every month end with such gratitude!

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Didn’t get a chance to get my fortune read, but nevertheless welcomed the Fire Monkey at the oldest Chinatown in the world, our very own, where Jesus, Buddha, and the Shen have dimsum every night.

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A recent movement at work called for a lovely Wednesdate with Man’s dearest companion, His gifts are generous beyond count.

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Come Anthestêria, things got a little more earthy.

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Even this young bull was drawn.

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Bull meets mask in a perfect display of Dionysian imagery.

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On the last night of Anthestêria, we feasted in Their names.

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And shared the same feast with Them.

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One of the many unexpected but joyous events in my 29th year was deciding to move out from home (on the 29th of February, no less) and living with my dearest friend, the Indophile. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling to leave the place of your childhood to carve your own space in a strange city, but our lords are with us — we shall not weep. Here is our shrine at the new pad, our second home. They are generous beyond count.

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Of course, never a feast without the Goodly Gods in a new place. Here we celebrate the Calends of March, quite appropriately, on our first day at the pad.

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Despite being far away from the town I grew up in, praying with the same fire from home feels like I’m still there, praying with my family. And maybe it truly is so.

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Never forget the Goddess of cities who guards all.

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Old keys and new keys to old homes and new homes.

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Old spirits, new spirits — one fire and one song.

Roughly a month to go until I turn 30. Wondrous things are about to happen.

 

 

 

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

Yesterday marked the end of the transitional holidays — can’t really call them “winter holidays” for us here because, you know, no winter — and now it’s back to regular programming for the rest of us.

(Well, unless you’re from Eastern Europe, in which case, I greet you a Happy Christmas!)

Monday, we celebrated our second Vialia (a festival we’ve adopted from Helio‘s fasti) and made our first offerings to the Traveller and his train of goodly road-spirits. May the path be opened to all things beneficent and auspicious, and may no evil ever cross our path!

Here are the new wreaths we laid out for them:

And the sweet offerings we shared for breakfast:

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Always auspicious to have your kathiskos jar bursting with grain.

We also baked our own version of libum for the Gods of the household:

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I used cheddar, though, not ricotta.

More pictures from the New Year where we cleaned the hell out of our house and re-painted the altar:

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After an intimate dinner with Father Janus and the laughter-loving Sons of Zeus, we also painted our individual daruma dolls with their right eyes (thank you, Murmur, for the gifts), signifying our goals to chase this year. Before the year ends, I pray that the dolls will see with two eyes the fulfillment of our promised goals.

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May we always pray with a good fire and ever share good food with Her.

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Our newly painted house shrine c/o the talented Laya.

May all our comings and goings this year be swift and safe and may we make many good memories. Also, more money to go places and travel the world!

Salve, Mercuri! Salvete, Lares viales! Χαίρετε!

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Greeting you all a most Joyous and Prosperous New Year! May we all live to our truest to be at our happiest.

And now, for our obligatory photo collage:

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New wreath for Father Janus and our family’s first offerings for 2016

May we see through our most cherished hopes and dreams this year and may they bring us much joy to last ten thousand and one years.

Io Hermês! Io Dionysos!

Joy to the World

From the dark and cold of night is born the new Light. Hail, the Unconquered Sun!

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May the Light of the Unconquered Sun shine on all your days in the year to come. May His rebirth be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out. (Big fan of Tolkien, obviously.)

It’s also a rare Christmas full moon tonight, so I hope you’ve sung to Her, too. Hail, bright-faced children of Hyperion!

Happy Baby God Day!

For the first time in my life, I had almost missed not dressing the Tree before Baby God Day. No thanks to the madness I had been through recently, some traditions were broken. I am ever so sorry.

Luckily, with one day left, I was able to dress our little axis mundi with fresh flowers, pine cones, and old tinsel ornaments. This doesn’t seem to be beyond goodly tradition as this was actually the case for many of our Northern ancestors, waiting for the eve before chopping a tree and bringing it inside.

Well, whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re in good company right now, surrounded with people you love and food you enjoy. Happy holidays!

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Gratitude to the Gracious

Yesterday, the House celebrated our third Hermaia Eriounia together, dedicated to, no other than, Hermês Eriounios, the Luck-bringer.

A modern Hellenistic festival normally celebrated on the fourth day of the old Makedonian month of Audynaios, it is a time to pray for good fortune for the coming year and give thanks for the good (and sometimes, not-so-good) things from the passing year. To seal the deed, we lay out only the sweetest and most auspicious things to eat.

This year’s Eriounia had two special guests, the God who is invited at every party, Dionysos, and the Lord of this truly rainy month, Poseidôn. Together, they shared an abundant feast with us, which we pray has cheered their hearts.

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And as a matter of looking back, thanks to Google, here’s what we had last year:

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Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε, πολυστάφυλ᾽ ὦ Διόνυσε, Ποσείδαον γαιήοχε, κυανοχαῖτα, σύ τε καὶ χρυσόρραπις Ἑρμῆς, Διὸς καὶ Μαιάδος υἱέ ! (And so hail to you, Dionysos, god of abundant clusters; Poseidôn, Holder of the Earth, dark-haired lord; and you, Hermes, bearer of the golden rod, son of Zeus and Maia!)