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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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)

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.

P is for Prayer Routines

Through the years serving as some sort of “proxy-priest” for my family, I’ve experimented on several prayer routines, and despite being a devotional pagan for almost half of my life now, I’ve only been performing daily rituals for about 3 years. Before that, I would only hold rituals on special occasions or on days that I “felt” like it. In short, I wasn’t as “religiously religious” as I had hoped.

Things changed immensely after my father made his final journey West as I took the household rites a little more seriously with daily devotions offered to the ancestors and our gods, and regular sacrifices and libations, too. To me, it felt like I needed to take on bigger responsibilities as the paterfamilias [of ritual matters].

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Our annual kathiskos jar and representations of our Lares, Penates, and Ancestors

I started out by establishing a steady routine with bi-daily prayers on behalf of the family to our Lares and Penates. Soon after, I began involving our tutelary gods as a whole, then each of them (sometimes in pairs or triads) on different days of the month.

My current prayer calendar repeats on a monthly basis, based largely on traditional Athenian customs, but also on certain Roman and other traditions, as well. (You might also want to check out Jonathan’s and Elani’s, too, for a more strictly Hellenic approach.)

Needless to say, every prayer starts with an invocation to Hestia–first born and last–and Hermês (“Nothing without Hermês!”). I find the hymns of Homer, 24th and 29th, to be perfect for this.

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Mother Hêra and Father Zeus with Auntie Hestia in the middle, flanked by Brother Hermês as the Holy Child of Atocha and the elephant-headed Ganesh

  1. New Moon (also called Noumênia or Kalends): The first of every lunar month–or when the first sliver of the crescent is visible–belongs to the Moon and Apollon Noumênios (Apollôn of the new month), and also Hêra and Hermês-Thoth (following the Roman tradition of the first day of the month being sacred to Iuno Regina and Ianus); first offerings of fruit, grain, and/or drink are presented to the pantheon and are stored in the kathiskos jar by the lararium.
  2. Traditionally reckoned as dies atri or a “dark day” for Romans, the day after the new moon is regarded as auspicious by the Hellenes, and is dedicated to Zeus Ktêsios (Zeus of the pantry), the Agathos Daimôn (good spirit or Lar familiaris) of our house, and fair-hearted Harmonia.
  3. The third day is dedicated to the gods who look after human civilisation: Athêna as Protector of cities and Goddess of many skills, and Hêphaistos the Divine Craftsman.
  4. The fourth day is to Hermês-Ganapathi, Aphroditê Pandemos, and Erôs (and sometimes, also Hermaphroditos as child of Hermês and Aphroditê).
  5. Fifths are dies atri in my calendar as per Hesiod: “Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horkos whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn”.
  6. The sixth celebrates Lêto’s daughter, Artemis.
  7. The seventh belongs to Lêto’s son, Apollôn and his son, Asklêpios, first of physicians (who would otherwise be celebrated by Athenians on the next day).
  8. The eighth sings of Poseidôn, Lord of waters, and the Dioskouroi.
  9. The ninth (nones or énatos) is for the Mother of the Gods (often Rhea-Cybele, but also sometimes Athirat or Durga)
  10. The day after nones is dies atri.
  11. The eleventh is given to the family guardians and the individual daimôn (genus/juno) of all living members of the family, but especially of the head of the household.
  12. The twelfth celebrates our universal parents, Heaven and Earth, as well as Ptah the Maker of worlds.
  13. The thirteenth (AKA ‘Phallus Day’ and ‘Imported God Day’) is for the thirteenth Olympian, Dionysos, and Ingwaz.
  14. The fourteenth–if not already the full moon–is given to the Sun.
  15. The day of the full moon (Dikhomênia or Ides) belongs to the King of the Gods (Zeus-Ammon) as per Ovid: “The worship of Juno claims our Italy’s Kalends, while a larger white ewe-lamb falls to Jupiter on the Ides…”
  16. The day after the full moon is dies atri.
  17. The seventeenth sings of Hathor and Sekhmet.
  18. The eighteenth is dedicated to purification and apotropaic rites; Sobek and Seth are given honours.
  19. The nineteenth is given to Arês and Hêraklês; purification and apotropaic rites continue.
  20. The twentieth belongs to Isis of Ten Thousand Names.
  21. The twenty-first or the waning tenth–which belongs to Apollôn in much of Hellas–is given to Horus in my calendar.
  22. The waning ninth is given to Anath and Astartê, protector-goddesses of Lebanon (which is my paternal ancestral homeland along with Greece).
  23. The waning eighth belongs to the mother-daughter duo, Dêmêtêr and Korê-Persephonê (sometimes, also Plouto as Lord of the underground).
  24. The waning seventh reflects the waxing seventh, but focuses on Apollôn as Apotrópaios (Warder of evil).
  25. The waning sixth also mirrors the waxing sixth and is given to Artemis Potnia Thêrôn (Mistress of animals) and Bast.
  26. The waning fifth reflects the waxing fifth when most of the gods are not named in prayer and major sacrifices are withheld.
  27. The waning fourth, considered an “impure” day (along with the next three days), is given to Hermês Propýlaios as Guardian of the gates, standing between worlds (can also be for Hekatê Propýlaia or as Hermêkatê).
  28. The waning third is given to the Heroes.
  29. The waning second is given to the Ancestors and Hermanubis (Anoubis + Hermês Psykhopompós).
  30. The last day of the month or the Dark Moon (Hena kai Nea or “the Old and the New”) belongs to Hekatê, so she may bridge the old and the new months; to cut the old and worn from the new and budding. The contents of the kathiskos jar are emptied and cleaned for her.

If that sounds like a mouthful, take note that these prayers only take around 15-30 minutes a day in total. Aside from the days of the new, full, and dark moon, all other days are really very simple: you wake up, wash up, and open the day; in the evening, you wash up, close the evening, and sleep. I don’t like very lavish or complicated rituals unless it’s actually a very special occasion or a feast-day that only repeats once a year.

I’m still getting used to all of it, though, and I’m, by no means, done experimenting. I especially need getting used to the waning days as I’m a little paranoid over too much exposure to the “darker” (but undoubtedly necessary) sides of certain gods. You can never be too careful when proxy-praying for an entire household.

I’ve written something about my yearly rituals, too, but I’ll save that for another time. Does anybody else have an established prayer schedule that repeats every month? or every week, perhaps? Do share if you do.

To Anath

To Anath

I sing to thee, Anath,
Daughter of El,
Daughter of Ptah,
Daughter and Eye of Ra.

Thou, Anath most holy,
Sister to loud-thundering Hadad,
Sister to fair Astartê,
Sister-in-law of the people.

Thou, Anath most fierce,
Wife to Seth of the red-hair,
Companion of Min,
Companion of Resheph.

Thou , Anath called by many names,
thou Goddess drawn by lions,
thou Goddess of the land of cedars,
thou Goddess beloved of King Ptolemy.

Come, glorious Virgin,
defend your people in battle,
be our safeguard against cowardice,
wickedness, and injustice.

Come, Defender of Ma’at,
uphold arêtê in all nations,
slay our wretchedness,
and lead our souls to glory.