Happy Baby God Day!

For the first time in my life, I had almost missed not dressing the Tree before Baby God Day. No thanks to the madness I had been through recently, some traditions were broken. I am ever so sorry.

Luckily, with one day left, I was able to dress our little axis mundi with fresh flowers, pine cones, and old tinsel ornaments. This doesn’t seem to be beyond goodly tradition as this was actually the case for many of our Northern ancestors, waiting for the eve before chopping a tree and bringing it inside.

Well, whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re in good company right now, surrounded with people you love and food you enjoy. Happy holidays!

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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.

Thank You for Not Spamming My Feed with Zeitgeist

[Originally intended to be a pre-Christmas post under the title, “Brace Yourselves, Zeigeist Quotes Are Coming“.]

Said in a Yorkshire accent.

Said in a Yorkshire accent.

Fortunately, I didn’t see a single Zeitgeist meme in my Facebook feed all throughout Christmas. Have people actually been reading real books? I can only hope so.

Nevertheless, I wanted to put these two horrible pieces of information (and thus, splendid works of misinformation!) up on my Wall of Shame:

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Pretty much, comparative myth for morons. For shame!

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Good intentions. Bad mythstory.

Srsly, people. There are better ways to wage war on a dominionist Christmas than spreading misinformation, bad myth, and bad history. Almost feels like miasma, really.

Related reading:

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!

Because Pictures Speak Louder than Words

Finally, I get to update you all on the long holiday hiatus. (Photos best viewed full size.)

Solstice

On the 8th day of Poseideôn, the morning after the winter solstice, I watched the reborn Sun rise from the east, drawn by the mighty steeds of Dawn, His sister. The long wait is over. The promise is renewed. The wheel has turned.

Flames were lit for the newborn Titan. All four Advent candles were lit and set before His cult image, a rebirthday gift, fragrant before His face.

Flames were lit for the newborn Titan. All four Advent candles were lit and set before His cult image, a rebirthday gift, fragrant before His face.

Puto bumbóng and bibingka, local Christmas delicacies, were a staple throughout Advent

Puto bumbóng and bibingka, local Christmas delicacies, were a staple throughout Advent.

Then, on the 11th of Poseideôn, 5 days after the solstice, Christmas came. Presents were exchanged and good food was shared.

Then, on the 11th of Poseideôn, 5 days after the solstice, Christmas came. Good food was shared with the household Gods in a spirit of abundance.

Yummmm

New flowers adorned the holiday tree, and toasts of wine and hot chocolate as well as berries and cheese were raised in holiday cheer. Nom nom nom!

On a pilgrimage to celebrate friendship, adventure, and the Lord of Waters

On the Ides of Poseideôn, the night of the full moon, I went on a pilgrimage to celebrate friendship, adventure, and the Lord of Waters.

On that volcanic pine-laden island, I felt nothing but awe and wonder

On that pine-laden volcanic island, I felt nothing but awe and wonder for the Gods who move and make the world.

Everything about it was beautiful

It was very ‘spiritual’.

I wrote the name of the Lord of Waters on the sand

There, I resolved my bitter conflict with the Sea King and feared Him no more.

On a pilgrimage to celebrate friendship, adventure, and the Lord of Waters

Leaving was bitter sweet.

I brought his gifts

But, I took home only the best of memories… of the warm sand and the cool waters, of the smiling reborn sun, of friends and hidden paradises, and horses playing in the waves.

On the 18th of the month

On the 18th of the lunar month, most of the world celebrated its civic New Year, its first of 365 calendric days. Although not my religious New Year, I celebrate it as a part of a long festival of new beginnings starting from the winter solstice leading up to the second new moon after it (or even up to the vernal equinox). I call it the Festival of the Great Yawning, as fireworks light the night sky and sacred noise-making is greatly encouraged. The family shared good food that night.

Fires were lit

Hearths were tidied up and fires were re-lit, fed with flour and ghee (clarified butter).

I build Wreaths

Old wreaths were burnt and new ones were made and hung over the newly tidied threshold.

And food was shared

And food was shared between kinsmen, household gods, and ancestors.

God of grain

On the 20th of the month, after the long days off of work, we started the Rural Dionysia, celebrating the God of life unstoppable. The fields were blessed with food and the chanting of old hymns.

God of the corn

The grain and the corn were blessed.

God of the vine

The vines and gourds were blessed.

Rural Dionysia

Breads were baked and mulled wine was made.

Haloa offerings

And, dinner was served for the Mother of grain and the Lord of the vine.

Noumenia gifts

And on the first noumênia (new moon) after the solstice, the house shrine was prepared for the Kalends of January, greeting Janus the Opener of Ways a warm welcome.

Sweet gifts

As usual, my berries, cheese, and cream were a staple, as well as homemade mulled wine and cranberry bread. I couldn’t get to take a picture of the meats, sorry.

Sweet gifts

Nom nom nom!

If you think we’re done, think again. Seven days from now, on the second noumênia after the solstice, Springtime is to be ushered in the form of the Chinese New Year (another national holiday, yay!) and my Gallo-Roman “Brigantalia”. Busy days, I must say. Bloody busy days.

A Syncretic Advent

Yes, I’m celebrating Advent. Of course, by Advent I don’t mean the Christian one, but my own. Actually, I think it’s more accurate to say not the purely Christian Advent nor the pre-Christian one, but the joining of both. A Syncretic Advent. After all, to go back to the ways of my ancestors and bring them into the current age, I must cross hundreds of years of Christianity. Surely, some original Christian traditions have crept into our modern paganisms, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In our family’s cultus (which includes Catholic traditions for many of us), I have retained the lighting of 4 Advent candles to herald the coming of the Saviour (which could be Christ’s birth or Dionysos’ rule, depending on who you ask in our family), and a 5th white candle to mark the rebirth of the Unconquered Sun.

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In addition, I have made it into a tradition to hang symbolic gifts on the Holiday Tree every week of Advent. On the 1st Sunday, I hung 12 candy canes to represent the 12 months of the year; and this Sunday, I perched 2 ornamental birds to represent the Sun’s companions, Dawn and Dusk.

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What will I hang on the 3rd Sunday? We’ll all have to wait and see.