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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

MMXVI

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:

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New wreath for Father Janus and our family’s first offerings for 2016

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!

Welcome, Anthestêriôn and Year of the 羊!

I’m going to spoil my upcoming entry and announce that our House has chosen a new date for our lunar new year: Anthestêriôn. Prior to this, we used Athenian reckoning and started on Hekatombaiôn, but we felt that the date had little significance to our cultus and to the general cultural setting of where we live.

In case our Western readers are unaware, the noumênia of Anthestêriôn (i.e. the second new moon after the winter solstice) coincides with the beginning of the first month in the Chinese calendar (thus being the New Year). It is also a significant coincidence that both months are associated with springtime, flowers, and a link between the past and the present.

And whilst there are only a handful of Filipino families that are actually of Chinese origin, the Chinese New Year remains a culturally significant time for many urban and suburban households. It is not uncommon for Filipino Catholics, for example, to flock to nearby Daoist or Buddhist temples to offer prayers for a prosperous new year. And who doesn’t want to know their feng shui around here? Everybody who isn’t a fundamentalist Protestant seems to be so concerned about the lucky colour of the year or which charms to hang by the door or which parts of their house they want to rearrange on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Staying true to the mestizo heritage of our house, we have included symbols and auspicious offerings from both East and West in our celebration below:

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Coincidentally, I’ve also taken up gardening again, starting with this pot of earth. The petals you see are for mulching, and come from last Theogamia‘s roses. I say, fertility for fertility! Wish my tomatoes good health!

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Welcome, 2015!

Happy Gregorian New Year! ¡Bienvenidos MMXV!

I hope your Kalends of January were joyous! I’ve had no time to update you all on our “Decemberalia” (i.e. Poseidea, Dionysia, Saturnalia, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, etc.) festivities, but I still plan to post one or two (read: several) pictures in the coming days.

Thankfully, Instagram was privy to some of our Kalends of January moments, so I can share these right away:

Fresh pine to make new wreaths for the New Year

Fresh pine to make new wreaths for the New Year

A new wreath for Father Ianus

A new wreath for Father Ianus

One wreath for the threshold and another for the Sun King

One wreath for the threshold and another for the Sun King

No rite without oil and wine

No ritus sanctus without oil and wine

Modest portions because we are a modest people

Modest portions because we are a modest people. Bragging doesn’t work on the deathless gods.

The shrine is unveiled and all the gods are invited

The shrine is unveiled and all the gods are invited.

May all your calends and noumênia feasts be joyous and bountiful!

May all your feasts be joyous and bountiful! (By the way, the beautiful clay lararium plaque was a gift from our dear friend, Murmur, praise his bloody skilful hands!)

Of course, the celebration doesn’t end there. As we speak, our house is getting ready for our very first celebration of the Vialia (which we’re borrowing from Helio, bless his genius). I’m, at this very moment, baking some whole-wheat focaccia cum libum and it smells really good, mm-mm. I hope the Luck-bringer likes it, so let’s do this!

Happy New Year! Happy Vialia! To auspicious beginnings!

— 4th of January 2015 c.e. 2768 a.u.c. / 13th of Poseideôn-Audenaios 2nd of the 698th olympiad

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.

Ritual Cramming on New Year’s Eve

It's the seventh day of the Twelve Nights and here's my seventh swan.

It’s the seventh day of the Twelve Nights and here’s my seventh swan.

Gads, it’s New Year’s Eve tonight and I’m still here, sitting on my arse. It also happens to be the eve of the new month of Gamêlion-Peritios and the Egyptian month of Mechier.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s beyond wonderful that all three kalends are happening on the same day. If only I weren’t such a crammer. Well, writing about it usually solves the problem for me, so I hope this works.

Tonight: Last Evening of the Old Year.

  • [15:00] Make a new evergreen wreath for Janus and Juno Limentina.
  • Buy flowers, have twelve kinds of fruit, and assorted desserts for the Midnight Feast. Done! Thanks, Ma!
  • Clean the place, change sheets, change drapes, and wash the old year’s dirty laundry!
  • Upload all unuploaded photos and finish all draft articles. Nope, not going to happen.
  • [20:00] Begin fasting after supper (last supper of the old year). Make serpentine-bread and write unwanted things on clay pot à la Wep Ronpet.
  • [21:00] Ask Hekatê’s blessing, turn over old year, and burn old offerings (especially the old wreath) outside. Burn the serpent and break the pot! Fumigate house with incense, afterwards. Clean house shrine and altar.
  • [22:00] Bake Aldrin’s special New Year Bread. Cross your fingers.
  • [23:00] Clean hearth-stove after all the cooking is done. (At this time, all fires should have been put out.) Re-kindle the main altar fire with a match (or three matches together). Use this fire to bless the hearth-stove and light all fires in the home.
  • [23:45] Right before midnight, bring out the Janus cult-icon and present the new wreath to him as well as the Midnight Feast. Recite adorations to Janus to bless the new year. Keep the house shrine open.
  • [00:00] Chase the old year away and welcome the new with merry-making and sacred noise!
  • [00:05] Pray for auspicious tidings and feast with the family, breaking the fast.
  • [01:00] Sleep.

Tomorrow morning: First Day of the New Year.

  • [06:00] Wake up and get everything ready. Bathe. Prepare first offerings to be presented to the household spirits and the All-Gods.
  • [07:00] Welcome the Gods and ask their blessing for the New Year. (Ritual outline to follow!)
  • [08:00] Have first breakfast with the Gods and family.

I’m an awfully anal man, and an even more awfully anal cultist from a very ritual-anal culture. May I have the right skill to get everything ready in time and may I have the wisdom to forgive myself if I don’t. Wish me luck and wit!