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.)

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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.

 

 

 

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!

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!

Flowers, Dead Things, and Spring

Sometimes, I wonder whether this is a blog or a photo album. Nevertheless, I’m sharing you this year’s Anthestêria through the following pictures:

Burong manggá for Pithoigia.

On the first day of Anthestêria, Pithoigia, I pickled some mangoes. We call them burong manggá around here, and they’re best eaten (IMO, at least) when they’re bordering on alcoholic. The jar, along with the wines, was presented to Dionysos and the Household Gods to kick off the festivities.

Burong manggá, lambanóg, and my mulled wine from Lênaia.

Here, you see my freshly pickled mangoes, a new bottle of lambanóg (“coconut wine”), and old mulled wine from Lênaia. True to my Mestizo heritage, I make it a point to offer produce/products from both sides of the family.

To the God who wears many masks.

After the sacred fires were lit, many songs were sung to the God who wears many masks…

To the Raging Bull.

…to the One who causes flowers to spring from the cold, dark earth.

A generous libation of mixed wine, a gorgeous bouquet of Marsh rosemary, and some upo from our farm.

The altar is graced with a generous libation of mixed wine (in a boat-shaped wooden bowl, no less), a gorgeous bouquet of Marsh rosemary, and upo (or calabash), freshly cut from the vine.

A libation of mixed wine crowns our rice supply for the next few months, blessing it.

Here, the mixed wine crowns our rice supply for the next few months, blessing it.

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On the third day of Anthestêria, Khytroi, the gracious Spirits Below are invited (and sent off) with the rattling jingle of sleigh bells.

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The Immortals and Once-Mortals who keep the Dead in peace watch on…

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In keeping with Asian custom: paper money to burn in sacrifice.

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As I keep one shrine for all the gods of my family, I leave two-thirds of it veiled (the portion for the celestial ones) and the remaining third open (for the ones below).

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Hermês Khthonios as Hermanubis grants our Blessed Dead passage and mediates between us and them.

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After setting aside portions for our family’s ancestors, the rest of the panspermia pottage was left outside to be buried, to feed the All-Dead, not just our blessed and beloved. We who survive, remember and honour those who have gone before us, as Deucalion and his kin once did.

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As we ended Anthestêria with a proper send off for overstaying “visitors” (including the “kindly” Keres and Lemures), we ushered the beginning of Parentalia, informing our Blessed Dead that they are welcome for the next 9 days to share our joys and hopes, and to bless us if they so will. Salvete Dii Parentes!

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Hail to You, ye beautiful, laughter-loving sons of Zeus, Openers of the door, deathless friends of mortals and once-mortals! Even when the shrines are veiled and the fires burn low, You are with us, standing in between, ye faithful guides and saviours of Men, in darkness and in light! Hail!

And that, my friends, is how I spent the first half of February. I hope you had beautiful celebrations yourselves, and I pray for only bigger smiles and better food in the coming festivals. As the old hymn goes:

« καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε, πολυστάφυλ᾽ ὦ Διόνυσε:
δὸς δ᾽ ἡμᾶς χαίροντας ἐς ὥρας αὖτις ἱκέσθαι,
ἐκ δ᾽ αὖθ᾽ ὡράων εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐνιαυτούς. »

“And so hail to you, Dionysos, god of abundant clusters!
Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season,
and from that season onwards for many a year.”

Hail days past! Hail days to come! Hail Winter’s end and Spring’s beginning! And hail the Spirits that stand in between! Hail Hermês! Hail Dionysos! Hail our Blessed Ancestors!

dionysos

PS: In case you missed last year’s, here they are, too.