Gratitude to the Gracious

Yesterday, the House celebrated our third Hermaia Eriounia together, dedicated to, no other than, Hermês Eriounios, the Luck-bringer.

A modern Hellenistic festival normally celebrated on the fourth day of the old Makedonian month of Audynaios, it is a time to pray for good fortune for the coming year and give thanks for the good (and sometimes, not-so-good) things from the passing year. To seal the deed, we lay out only the sweetest and most auspicious things to eat.

This year’s Eriounia had two special guests, the God who is invited at every party, Dionysos, and the Lord of this truly rainy month, Poseidôn. Together, they shared an abundant feast with us, which we pray has cheered their hearts.

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And as a matter of looking back, thanks to Google, here’s what we had last year:

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Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε, πολυστάφυλ᾽ ὦ Διόνυσε, Ποσείδαον γαιήοχε, κυανοχαῖτα, σύ τε καὶ χρυσόρραπις Ἑρμῆς, Διὸς καὶ Μαιάδος υἱέ ! (And so hail to you, Dionysos, god of abundant clusters; Poseidôn, Holder of the Earth, dark-haired lord; and you, Hermes, bearer of the golden rod, son of Zeus and Maia!)

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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.

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.

Have a Happy, Merry, Joyous Season of God-Births, Thanksgiving, and Good-Natured Merriment

Whoever or whatever you’re celebrating this season, I wish you only the best of fun this season to jumpstart the New Year. So far, everything’s been quite merry around here, and we’ve only just begun. Here’s to more! I wish you luck, love, and a long life to enjoy the first two!

A thanksgiving party for our landwights in the name of Hermês and Dionysos on the full moon.

A thanksgiving party for our landwights in the name of Hermês and Dionysos on the last full moon of 2013.
The little boy is my Indophile friend’s baby brother. And yes, there was a marvelous rainbow and it rained a little. It was beautiful.

The four Sundays of Advent and our Tannenbaum: as each Sunday passed, a candle was lit and an ornamental gift was 'given' to the tree in anticipation for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti cum Christmas.

The four Sundays of Advent and our Weinachtsbaum: as each Sunday passed, a candle was lit and an ornamental gift was ‘given’ to the tree in anticipation for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti cum Christmas.

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Solstice Morn and the first day of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. All four candles of Advent have been lit.

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Sights and smells of the ultra syncretic holiday season here at the House of Two Trees.

To good food and good company and the Goodly Gods!