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.)

You Are What You Eat (And Pray For)

In celebration of many good things that have come our way lately (and “many more to come still”, as our prayers always go), our House was happy to host a prasad of desserts and produce to our beloved spirits three Sundays ago. You are what you eat, they say, and boy, did we eat auspicious things!

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To the right stands Hermês (aptly appearing through an iPad) and a bunch of auspiciously named sweets.
To the left are Asklêpios, Athêna, and Apollôn with a ‘healthier’ menu of fruit and greens.

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It all started out with Murmur‘s idea of offering auspiciously-named candy for Hermês to pray for continued good fortune in his job of 5 years. Although not present at the time, he asked that we pray on his behalf that he be “Lucky“, that he have “Splendor“, find “Treasures“, and become [even more] “Big Time” this year.

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Also, in celebration of my new job after a long winter of contemplative unemployment, the people of our House decided to pray for work-related success, as well. May we hear a lot of “Bravos” in our jobs.

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Bingo“, may we always say whenever it’s “PayDay“. May our work create a “Big Bang” of blessings in our lives, and may we always be “Happy” and “Bueno“.

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May our jobs be like four-leaf “Shamrocks” to us, may work be “Magic“-al, may it be “Loaded” with goodness, and may we become “Mr Goodbars” at everything that we do.

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Hermês looked pretty happy with our pun-filled offerings.

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The offerings weren’t all “junk”, of course. As it was also Asklêpia that day–and because it’s generally a good idea to eat a balanced diet–we made sure to offer a healthier entrée to Apollôn, Asklêpios, and Athêna for continued good health.

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A bit of each gift on a plate to be burnt for the Gods.

Live Efficiently

Having caught the attention of Apollo means that you have to live efficiently, without waste. Everything you do must contribute to your improvement. You sleep well because you need to function excellently the day later. You take “breaks” to open yourself to inspiration and ideas. You travel and explore to gain insight about yourself and the world. You play games to hone your skills in strategy. You party to express your pent up emotion. For Apollo, there is no such thing as idleness: every moment must contribute to your progress.

A Mad Light, December 2011

Art by aragon64

Art by MariaAragon64 (mariaaragon64.deviantart.com)

Mousai

The Muses are very busy entities. They are here and there, checking up on people’s thought processes and planting ideas. Knowing this, they don’t have time for the unworthy. They look for the skilled and the sincere and that’s who they spend time with.

Inspiration is a slippery thing. Many artists and scientists struggle with a “creative slump” or a “writer’s block”, and they wait for a muse to come along and save the day. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. But the muses do not choose people who do not choose them.

When you choose a discipline, you must dedicate yourself to it. This means you love it enough to think about it constantly and improve on it and love it enough to come back to it everyday even when the wells of inspiration are dry. You have to love your craft enough that you breathe it, that you see it in other crafts and the other things that you do. It is called a discipline for a reason, and perhaps it is no surprise that Apollo is their leader.

Become worthy, and the muses will flock to you.

A Mad Light, November 2011

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Darkness and Light

I find it quite strange how Apollo is usually described as a young boy, gentle and smiling at the world. But for me, he is far from innocent, far from gentle, and you couldn’t really tell if he was smiling or frowning because if you tried to look, you’d burn your eyes. He is a stern master, more like a father than a child. For me, he is always there, always watching and pushing me towards excellence.

He does not forgive, because he has no reason to. He does not care about your mistakes. You can make as many mistakes as you want and it would not matter to Apollo. What does matter to him is that you are always striving to become better, always reaching for the ideal. You stumble, therefore you must pick yourself up.

Apollo will urge you to cut out everything that you don’t need and focus on the things that you do need. He is a minimalist, and it’s not an easy job to identify and cut out the unnecessary from your life. It hurts, in fact, but it is necessary.

There is no coddling with Apollo. When you are sick, you heal yourself. Apollo’s only reward is the one that you earn for yourself. He gives nothing more, nothing less. In other words, excellence is its own reward.

In my early readings about Dionysus, I was rather confused about how he was depicted a party god. Was partying that important to the Greeks? I did not party in bars at all, and I could not relate to him. But I when I learned more about his other aspects, about trance and madness, I could look back at my life and see how strong his presence is. I did not party but I tranced out on my own. I would focus my attention on a glass of water, so that just a glass of water would be enough to make me happy for that moment. If I did not experience these various flavors of ecstasy, I would likely not be a musician right now.

Those ecstatic moments are alright, but what really convinced me of his presence is his aspect of madness. I sometimes fall into bouts of depression. There are days when I feel extreme emotion I cannot control, destructive thinking and the feeling of my soul being ripped apart. He looks at me with mad eyes and a frothing mouth. Darkness and hopelessness fill me. I once read in high school, if you stare at the abyss, it stares right back at you.

In my moments of extreme despair, he sometimes just laughs and says “Oh, come on, it’s not that bad!” I don’t understand exactly why he does these things to me, but I am sure that I gain new perspectives after each episode. Perhaps it is these intense emotions that fuel the things that I do with force and passion, and impart my pursuits with an inexplicable “umph!”.

For me, the most prominent aspects that these two show to me are the “darker” aspects. Their “good” aspects don’t magnetize me as much as their more “destructive” aspects. So when I see descriptions of Apollo as a happy, childish sun god, or Dionysus as a merrymaking party god, I can only think: Oh, if you only knew what they really do.

A Mad Light, November 2011

apollon dionysos

Musings on the Gods and Oneself

[This was written more than two years ago by my friend, the seerapist, who has grown so much since then. I’m very happy for him. May Apollôn and Dionysos continue to bless him.]

I’m reading about Apollo in several blogs and they say he’s a possessive god. I kind of agree, but he’s possessive not in the sense that he doesn’t want to share, but maybe in the sense that he has to be very meticulous about the things he owns, like keeping an heirloom piano in tune and keeping it totally free from dust. Or maybe like a coach who wants to keeps his atheletes always at top performance. I feel it’s like:

“Are you done sulking?”
“Good. Now get back to work!”

I don’t really experience Hermes as close as I do Apollo and Dionysus (close enough to touch; Apollo by fire, Dionysus by madness), but he’s always in the background, and he’s always doing big things for me even if we don’t really touch. I think it’s inevitable that my friend who introduced me to paganism (a big Hermes-boy) and I would interact, since these three gods have something of a close relationship.

Athena comes and goes. It often feels like Apollo calls her for me.

Athena: Okay, what do you need?
Apollo: Look at that boy. You’re more suited to teach this next topic than I am.
Athena: Alright, alright, I’ll handle this one.

Ares also comes and goes. Again, it feels like Apollo calls him for me.

Apollo: He’s being pathetic again. Do you mind?
Ares: It would be my pleasure.

It’s almost like Apollo’s prepared a course outline, and I’m a student in his school.

Though sometimes Dionysus comes to me with Ares. That’s when I have my weird bursts of anger. Very dangerous stuff.

Aphrodite and Eros. They don’t talk to me often, and I don’t communicate with them often. We’re not close now, but I’m very sure they’ve left their fingerprints on me. I feel like there’s something of them in me. Like a present from godparents or something.

A Mad Light, December 2011

For Apollôn and Dionysos

My song is my journey.

To the muse-leaders,
Apollo & Dionysus
May you continue to sing with me
and inspire the coming verse
and the next note.

I am a new species of plant.

Apollo, the brilliant sunlight
that showers these leaves
Dionysus, the nutritious soil-water
sipped through my roots.

When your wondrous music stops,
so does mine.

I am a caterpillar in a fenced garden.

Apollo, the far-shooter, show me
what I can become.
Illuminate the world beyond the fences.
Dionysus, the liberator, give me
the force to transform.
Demonstrate that fences are only sticks of wood.

I will not listen
to those
who tell me
that I cannot fly

I am an ecstatic listener

Apollo & Dionysus, whisperers of prophecy
I will be standing in the shrine at Delphi
through many suns and many moons.
I inhale each vision with enthusiasm.
show me the target,
I will drink the bullseye.

I am a dancing star
filled with light and madness
the pain and pleasure of this process
I shed each layer
and disintegrate into nebula.

Apollo & Dionysus, revealers of the true self,
when all is cast off
I will be what remains.

A Mad Light, November 2011

Art by comicgeek86

Art by comicgeek86