So, I recorded myself reading the Litany to Hermês (four times for luck), added a few effects, and came up with this:
(If the link doesn’t embed properly, you can also listen to it here.)
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!
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)
Sorry for being out of touch! My 29th year is proving to be very, very eventful, indeed.
Roughly a month to go until I turn 30. Wondrous things are about to happen.
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:
We also baked our own version of libum for the Gods of the household:
More pictures from the New Year where we cleaned the hell out of our house and re-painted the altar:
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!
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:
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!
Ever experienced being told that you’re crazy because one of your relatives is? Or having your family name associated with that crazy relative’s craziness as if one relative’s actions represented the collective character of the family?
What about being profiled as a mugger, a lazy worker, or a parasitic immigrant because you’re the same colour or eye shape as that mugger, lazy worker, or parasitic immigrant from the other side of town?
That’s how it feels when anti-theists throw around the word ‘religion’ when they mean a specific religion (often, Christianity or Islam) or a specific strain of religion within that specific religion (like Evangelical Protestants or Wahhabists).
Easier to do, but not smarter. It’s truly offensive, too.
Religion is such an old, vast, and diverse thing to ever compress into one definition or characteristic. This isn’t an ideal — this is thousands of years of actual history. Which is why it seems extremely racist (to borrow the term with good reason) to group a good chunk of the world’s population into one basket, as if they were all the same.
And that’s really how a lot of anti-theists seem to see the religious in their repetitive, impassioned memes: that religious people are a monolith; a cohesive group of delusional, backward bigots holding the world back from science, reason, and progress.
But on what basis?
There’s also the matter of shrugging off the decline of ancient religions as if it were a matter of “progress”.
This Halloween, Hemant Mehta, an otherwise Friendly Atheist, yet again, praised the annual anti-theistic stunt of UW-Madison’s atheist group on his blog:
As they do every year, the Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison put together a fantastic “Graveyard of the Gods,” reminding students of all the deities who were worshiped, believed in, and eventually forgotten.
The purpose is to get students thinking about when their God will join the ranks of the dead.
“Fantastic”? But this isn’t a matter of critical enquiry, at all. It’s not that it bothers me what these kids believe about the old gods. It’s because the graveyard, essentially, is an endorsement of cultural genocide, no different from building a monument to Christopher Columbus.
Basically, how this sounds like is, “These cultures are dead and you’re next”. But since these cultures didn’t die of “natural causes” or “old age”, this isn’t a reminder of mortality — it’s a threat. We know from history that most of those religions “died” and their gods “forgotten” because of coercion, not for simply falling out of favour.
Now, I understand how they want to “help” monotheists see how ridiculous it is to question other religions but not theirs. I think that’s important. However, this graveyard stunt (and others like it) comes off as historically and culturally uninformed. There are countless accounts of pagan peoples fighting for their right to exist in an increasingly pagan-hostile society, ultimately losing because the enemy had more money for a bigger army. In some places, it still happens.
Imagine future generations, talking about how there are no more Jews because their ancestors simply saw their culture useless and assimilated happily into the Reich. Or how Native American culture is vanishing because everybody decided it was so much better to join the White Man.
This kind of thinking doesn’t question monotheism’s absolutist claims as effectively as it could and should because these anti-theist attacks are still Eurocentric–still monoculture-centric. By using the same absolutist language the Wahhabists and Evangelicals use, power remains with the powerful. Putting up this sort of graveyard only adds insult to injury and only supports the same hegemony we’ve all been trying to defeat.
Polytheist, Lily A. Connor, laments on her Facebook:
[…] blanket antitheist rhetoric – deities are “imaginary friends,” using the language of psych disability for religion (“delusions” etc) – doesn’t hurt Christian institutional power or hegemony. It doesn’t weaken abusive religious orgs.
It does, however, hurt people like me – practitioners of stigmatized minority religions. Some of that religious abuse and stalking was on the basis of my religion, and from my position, there’s not much difference when atheists and fundamentalists use the same arguments to dismiss me.
[…] I wish y’all would approach atheism like I approach vegetarianism – do your thing, but don’t be an ass, and go out of your way not to accidentally marginalize already-marginalized people. Discrimination is real and collateral damage is still damage, y’all.
Because if you’re against racism, racial profiling, and stereotyping, maybe you should be against absolute anti-theism, too. After all, there are so much better, more informed ways to critique religion.
From the dark and cold of night is born the new Light. Hail, the Unconquered Sun!
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!
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