Hail Traveller & Teacher

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Hail Hermes, full of joy!
Thou, son of Zeus and Maia!
Gracious art thou amongst the blessed Gods
and blessed are those who gain thine friendship.

Watchful Hermes, father of Pan, guide us,
travellers and luck-workers,
now and ever after.

Hail Athena, full of splendour!
Thou, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus!
Brightest do thine eyes shine, Glaukopis,
as do the minds of those who hold thee high.

Exalted Athena, who sprang full-formed
from the head of Zeus,
lead us, ardent pupils of life,
now and ever after.

Hail you, mighty children of Zeus,
fair speech and fair wit we bespeak of you
now and for ever more!

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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!

 

Papurì

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!

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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)

Aba Ginoong Magdalena

It’s our town fiesta today, which means, for a predominantly Catholic barangay (the Filipino version of pueblo), some saint or Marian avatar will be paraded through the streets.

Fortunately, this is an enjoyable event, even if you’re not Catholic. The evangelicals hate it, of course, for reasons discussed here, but if you’re one of us heathens, you’re sure to enjoy it: our version of a Catholic procession is a 7-hour long street dance called karakol. You’re not a local if you’ve never been to one.

Now, my hometown’s patron is actually St Augustine of Canterbury, but the real star is St Mary Magdalene: the reason being she is believed to end the dry season by calling down the rain. If you’re not from here, it won’t make any sense — nowhere in the Gospels can one find a former prostitute turned intercessor for meteorological phenomena. But, it seems to make perfect sense to our mostly agricultural community. One wonders if our Magdalene was originally a precolonial cloud nymph or a monsoon goddess. If you look really close, she even seems to be wearing a bindi. (You can read more about it here.)

Anyway, to celebrate this day, I wanted to share with y’all this old proem (prayer-poem) I wrote many years ago to our not-so-canonical Magdalene a.k.a. She Who Brings the Rain. It’s in Tagalog, so be warned, but I do intend to create an English version someday.

Mayo a bente otso nanamán.
Simulâ na ng pagbuhos ng ulán.
Dalá ng lakambining nanganluran.
Magdalena ang kanyáng pangalan.

Abá at Junio na.
Nagbalík na ang Magdalena.

Maryá Magdalenang dalá ng dayuhan
Salamín ng diwatang nakálimútan.
Ngayó’y sa amin nang nanahan
Naibsán ang pagtangis sa nakaraán.

Sakáy ng alon saami’y nakaabót.
Kamí’y isukob sa Iyóng salakót.

Kulóg at kidlát ang kanyáng dalá
Ulán para sa mágsasaká.
Pagkaing tubò mulâ sa lupà
Siyáng biyayà ng Magdalena.

Halina at kamí’y basaín.
Dingín itóng aming dalangin.

Papuri’t galák sa lakambining Maryá
Sayáw Mo sa amin ay ligaya
Ulán Mong buhay sa amin ay pumaritó
At sa susong-lupang inalayan Mo.

Abá, abá! Papurihan si Maryá
Mapagpalang Santo at Diwatà!

And finally, the video I promised to upload 2 years ago:

Some pictures from yesterday’s karakol, too:

Seven hours of karakol dancing seems like a short, effortless task when you think about the beauty that is our Lady Who Brings the Rain.

Seven hours of karakol dancing seems like a short, effortless task when you think about the beauty that is our Lady Who Brings the Rain.

We used to just stop and kiss her robe. Now, we take saint-selfies, too. Sainties?

We used to just stop and kiss her robe. Now, we take saint-selfies, too. Sainties?

The amount of devotion that goes into carrying her is always a touching sight.

The amount of devotion that goes into carrying her is always a touching sight.

This is where she parties the hardest. Soon, the rains will return.

This is where she parties the hardest. Soon, the rains will return.

An ad from a government. Happy 117th!

An ad from our government celebrating the battle between my colonist ancestors and my colonised ancestors (which eventually led to the declaration of the first free Philippine Republic). Happy 117th!

Under the Same Sky, Above the Same Earth

From: indianweddingsite.com

From: indianweddingsite.com

A few months ago, I had the honour to bless a good friend of mine and her husband at their wedding celebration. It was my first ever and I’m glad it turned out just fine.

The blessing sounds a wee bit Wiccan (as you can decide for yourself below), but we all decided, for the benefit of everyone involved, to make it as “universal” as possible. Metaphors involving nature can’t get any more universal, I tell you.

That said, the blessing is quite simple and probably doesn’t deserve much attention, but I am posting it, anyway:

Today, I bless you X and Y, under the same sky, above the same earth.

May you both be blessed with the stability of earth and the firmness of rock, these islands and continents we’ve risen from, the rich soil that sustains and feeds us, the land upon which we make our cities and homes. May your union become a firm and fertile ground that you can build your visions and dreams upon.

May you both be blessed with the flexibility of water, the glass of water that becomes the clouds, clouds that return to the sea or nourish the land as soft rain, turning into ice and back again. May your union become fluid and flexible as flowing water, able to change yet ultimately be constant.

May you both be blessed with the persistence and endurance of plants and crops. As with fields of grain that have grown, dropped seed, and wilted, so too, generations of your ancestors have come and gone, leading up to this moment. May your union be aware of the past and have the freedom to strike its own path to the future.

May you both be blessed with the permanence and brilliance of the heavens, as the ever present sky above and the burning stars deep in the blackness of space that have watched the first lifeform rise from the sea onto land. May your union be everlasting as the stars, and give light and warmth to those around you.

May the blessings of all these be with you always, as eternal as the sun and moon that rise and set each day. May you know more happiness from this day forward.

Of course, I did perform a more Hellenic blessing in private, away from Christian eyes. I gave the bride a pomegranate and a bottle of red wine. May Hêra bless them for as long as they will let Her.

Frederic Leighton, Pavonia, 1858–59 Reminds me a bit of Hêra.

Frederic Leighton, Pavonia, 1858–59
Reminds me a bit of Hêra.