Unhorcruxed!

I’d like to think so, at least.

After 6 days, a 24-hour bus ride, and 2 days of lying in bed, I’m back from my mountain DIY pilgrimage. As I wrote to a friend, my primary goal was to sort my shit out, but five days into the trip, I felt that I wasn’t really accomplishing anything substantial (at least, not to my liking).

But just when I felt I wasn’t getting anything done, I had an extremely moving experience. It was on our fifth day when, by some fateful chance, we made our way to a sacred waterfall, the Falls of Bomod-ok.

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Took this picture before I plunged in. Other beautiful pictures here (but not mine).

Usually the area is closed to tourists, but it opened a day before our departure. It was an hour trek down the valley, but it was all worth it. The moment I saw the waters, I felt a chill take me. As we got closer, I began to talk to it. Or him. Once I got my feet into the freezing water, even I was taken aback by the words of praise that wouldn’t stop pouring out of my mouth. I felt an urge to drink from the waters, so I did just that. Boy, did the Waters take me. I cried. I cried so much. It was as if the Spirit of the waters had touched me, lifted me up from my worries, and hugged me. I was laughing and crying, crying and laughing. It was truly divine. No wonder people still worship him!

Praises to the Grandfather of the Waters, Grandfather Bomod-ok, who unloosed my tears at last, mending my soul, healing me of my madness!

The next day, we met the sunrise, sang to the gracious gods and mighty spirits, and made offerings. I didn’t care if people were watching. It felt right to approach them again at that very hour at that very place.

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Soul unhorcruxed. Miasma cleared. Cultus can now recommence.

Obviously, I am overjoyed to say that I did, in fact, find what I needed to find in my 7-day DIY retreat. Cost me 10 days of unpaid leaves from work, but it was well worth it. I had my doubts if I could even do it, but it happened, anyway. I know, I still have a long way to go, but I think it’s a good start.

Salamat, Apo Bomod-ok! Salamat, mga Ginuo, mga Diwatang kasamba-samba! Salamat, mga Ninunong kapuri-puri!

Unhorcruxing

I’m heading for the mountains in a few hours and won’t be back until next Saturday. Wish me luck in getting the Spirits to help me in fixing my shit. May all our offerings be pleasing to the Gods.

For now, I leave you snapshots of the little offerings we’ve made these past three weeks, trying to set things straight between me and my soul, through the help of our Beloved Spirits:

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Hail, Dionysos Sotêr, Dionysos Eleutherios! Hail, Hermês Diaktoros! Hail, our mighty and blessed Dead!

Légomai Eleuthérios

In case you’re wondering: Aldrin is out and Eleutherios is in.

Blog Title Goes Here Right?

It was the day before Poppy Day when the son, brother, and friend known as Aldrin, author of this lazy arse blog, fucked up big time. Sinking into a pool of shame, guilt, and sadness, he descended into the abyss of his own making, and perished.

Just kidding. He isn’t dead–not literally, at least–but he is trying to resurrect himself from a figurative death as we speak.

Half a month after shutting people out from his then-dismal existence–on Lebanon’s independence day, no less–Aldrin decided to reconnect, taking the name of Eleutherios (ancient or modern pronunciation, doesn’t matter).

I am now Eleutherios.

Born again, through the fires of freedom and truth, though not in any evangelical or new-agey way. Halleloo.

Now, you can still call me by my old name, no problem, but it wouldn’t hurt if you called me Eleutherios, too.

The reason I decided to change my name is because it’s symbolic of what I’m…

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Dancing with Dionysos in a Foreign Country

Guess what awesome thing is going to happen in a few days? You guessed right–well, I hope you did, anyway–it’s going to be Lenaia again, and on the same day as the Kalends of February, no less! I wasn’t able to properly observe it last year, so I’m hoping to do it justice in 2015.

It’s also a beautiful coincidence that I’m celebrating it in a foreign country and watching Riverdance at the same time! I know it’s not exactly acting, but it’s still theatre and it’s still art. I’ve also been dying to see it live since 1997. I was 11 or 12 when I first saw it on television and I’ve been hooked on Irish dancing ever since. It is absolutely my most favourite thing in the world. This kalends is going to be very memorable, indeed. May all be well and fortunate!

Speaking of good fortune, I of course did not forget to pay my dues before the trip:

No trip without proper sacrifice to the Luck-bringer and Traveller

No trip without proper sacrifice to the Luck-bringer and Traveller

The Lord accepts auspiciously-named candy as payment for his unfailing travel insurance plan

The Lord accepts auspiciously-named candy as payment for his unfailing travel insurance plan

How can the Lord resist the smell of burning cinnamon bark!

How can the Lord resist the smell of burning cinnamon bark!

May all be smooth, safe, and sweet for me and my friends on this trip!

Hail dancing Lord of the wine-press! Hail travelling Luck-bringer! Hail gracious roadside spirits! Hail Twin Saviours!

Of Farewells and Beginnings

Even if it isn’t exactly the start of your religious year, I’m sure–one way or another–the secularised Gregorian calendar has remained (or become?) an important part of our lives, if only just for bills or taxes. So, Happy New Year, folks! I hope you had a wonderful and auspicious Kalends of January!

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In other news, as if the winter holidays weren’t busy enough (as they always are), I took the liminality of the season as a good time to bid farewell to the country of my birth and its spirits. Yes, I’m taking a giant leap to go on a journey that’s going to change my life as I know it. I’m not exactly sure when, but I’m hoping to make it happen within this year. In the words of Dionysos through the Oracle of Eugene:

“It is time to go. Make offerings to the spirit of this place so they will let you go peaceably. 

“Light lanterns and release a dozen paper swans into the water and make a feast.”

“Invite all the spirits and the ancestors. Say your goodbyes, speak your intentions to them.”

“They will understand and bless you with the luck and success you will need in the year to come.”

And that I did.

A thanksgiving party for our landwights in the name of Hermês and Dionysos on the full moon.

On the last full moon of 2013, my friend (the Indophile) and I started with a thanksgiving party for our landwights in the name of Hermês and Dionysos. I can’t remember the first time we started acknowledging their presence, but it’s only been a most magical relationship through the years.

On December 16th, I said my farewells to our town patron. I may no longer be Catholic, but the spirits that dwell there have only been good to me and my family. They will always have my praises. [Photo credits: warrenski manuel, EddieMarRico, AspireCavite]

The next day, we said our goodbyes to our beloved town patron at her shrine. She is a beautiful holdover from my Catholic upbringing, and whether she’s the same Mary as other Marian incarnations around the world or an ancient tutelary diwatà of my hometown, she will always have a place in my heart.
[Photo credits: warrenski manuel, EddieMarRico, AspireCavite]

On Christmas Eve, at the stroke of midnight, the family gathered and said their prayers of thanksgiving over Noche Buena. Portions of our midnight meal were then gathered and offered them to the Ancestors in general but to the foremothers in particular. After all, according to old custom, this was the Night of Mothers.

On Christmas Eve, at the stroke of midnight, the family gathered and said prayers of thanksgiving over Noche Buena. Portions of our midnight meal were then offered to the Ancestors, but to our foremothers in particular. After all, according to old custom, this was the Night of Mothers.

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On Christmas Day, we gathered pine branches, and had a small party at the Indophile’s house, and feasted and toasted to our common deities. (It was a small feast, but we sung hymns and praises for a full hour, I think!)

Our last visit to the local Hindu temple for 2013.

Just before New Year’s Eve, we paid our last visit for the year to the neighbouring Hindu temple. Everyone was so beautiful, as usual!

To the Gods of good beginnings.

And then, on New Year’s Day, the All-Gods were honoured. Ianus was given his new wreath and offering-bundles for 2014, hung on the front door, and candles burnt for the Sun King at his seasonal space at the house shrine.

To the Gods of the household.

On January 2nd, the Agathos Daimôn “finger-painting” on our kitchen wall was re-painted, and a new garland crowned our lararium.

On January 3rd, had sweets and a toast for the Professor's 121st birthday. Because men like him get to live for ever.

On January 3rd, had sweets and a toast for the Professor‘s 121st birthday, because men like him get to live for ever. (Also, because he’s an amazing myth-maker, a fellow linguist, and my idol.)

Twelve Nights of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti.

Hêlios-Solis Invictus here on the Eleventh Night.

The dark-maned sea

Finally, on the Twelfth Night, we headed to the beach.

A feast is prepared.

A feast was prepared by the shore, and the swans were made ready.

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Each paper swan was crafted on each of the Twelve Days. Now, they’ve finally come together for their team swim.

The swans are made ready.

Some of the food came to us as timely gifts from the holidays: the Spanish wine and Tunisian dates, in particular. Thank goodness for gracious friends and family!

Lanterns.

I couldn’t find any lanterns in the market, so we made one (well, two) from paper cups and candles. Still quite lucky!

Whispering prayers of good fortune.

Whispering prayers of good fortune before letting the swans go.

A most epiphanous feeling.

A most epiphanic feeling (on Epiphany, no less) to stand there, where earth, sky, and sea meet. The world is just amazing.

Praying westwards this time.

Saying goodbye has a bittersweet feeling, but there’s also that promise of adventure, a new life or a chance to come back better and happier.

I’m thankful for 2013, I really am, even if it was a little rough on me at first. Things are clearer now, and I know I’ll be thanking my people, my gods, and my spirit-friends again for this year in 2015. May all be well, may all be fortunate.

Hermês, You Sweet God of Subtle Signs, You!

Today at a random cybercafé at four o’clock, cubicle number four, something really awesome happened. I can’t tell  what exactly because you won’t get it, but let’s just say, Hermês leaves subtle but unmistakable signs every fuckin’ time. Whether it’s a billboard, a line in a song, or something as crazy as an immigration application left open right when you were thinking about it, it’s always something to marvel at. Thank you for the smiles, Lord.

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PS: Happy 2014! I’ll post more in a bit.

PPS: Actually, I don’t think “subtle” suits him here. His signs are, like, IN YOUR FACE, kind of.

One year ends, another begins, still quite lucky!

Hail Hermês! Hail Dionysos! For friends and family and feasting, I will for ever thank you. With you, my cup has never been and will never go empty.

Blog Title Goes Here Right?

Last Christmas, as you might have seen here, I had lots of money to spend on the holidays. This year, I only had a little over a thousand pesos in my pocket (roughly $20), and it wasn’t even in my pocket; it was in my piggy bank! I wish there were more, but it was all that little golden pig could carry: 200 pieces of 5 peso coins.

Fortunately, I’ve got a very supporting family and the most generous of friends, so I never needed to spend any of that on any of the days I was jobless. I’m still unemployed, by the way–on my fifth month now–but I’ve got a good feeling (and I’m good at feelings) that all that’s going to change very soon. Immensely. The period of purification is ending, the mist is parting, and the path ahead seems clearer. Still quite lucky, even to…

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