Friday, April 29, 2016

Update: Blog Changes

Yes, another update post. Bear with me, this is a little important (if boring) because it deals with the way the blog will be structured and used from now on.

As things are right now, this blog is pretty messy and disorganised. I may not have enough posts here for things to be out of hand yet but I plan on changing that - big time - therefore I need to organise first and save myself future trouble as well as spare my readers from confusion and frustration.

Here's how things change:

Effective immediately (and retroactively!) all posts will be tagged with a particular category (or number of categories, if applicable) specific to their theme. I'll give concrete examples in a bit. First, let's take a look at the categories I have devised. Disclaimer: these are still subject to change so this won't necessarily be their final form (it probably is but I'm warning you just in case).

Reflections from the Mirror: this category will include any post that is "personal": personal experiences, personal opinions, posts related to my (religious) life and so on. Think of it as an online religious journal but tailored for public consumption.

Example: an upcoming post exploring my journey through the strata of Paganism and religion from when I first began and up to the current time (in honour of my 11 year anniversary since my first official ritual and the point when I said "this is who I am now").

Whispers from the Polis: this category will include posts dealing with regional practice and public religion and, specifically, my own approach as expressed through the Athenian Craft of my Triskelion path.

Example: rituals and experiences with local groups, religious work with local deities and spirits and so on.

Wanderings in the Forest: this category will include posts regarding "shamanic" spirit-work and, specifically, my practice and experiences through the Wildwood Druidry of the Triskelion.

Example: acquiring my familiar(s), forging relationships and alliances with spirits of the Wildwood, rituals and other practices "within" the Wildwood and so on.

Hekataia: this category will include posts dealing with magic in general, as well as my practice and exploration of the Hekatean Craft of the Triskelion.

Example: The Hekatean Pathworking, Greek Magic

Hieratika: this category will include posts about polytheistic theology in general, as well as Triskelion theology specifically.

Example: Thoughts on the Hellenic Religion, The Syncretic and Modern Character of the Hellenic Religion Today, Cosmology - The Triple World Model

Akademaika: this category will include posts about scholarly and academic matters as well as my own religious research and articles.

Example: Rebuttal to an Inaccurate Article on Hekate, Definitions, Academic Approach

Miscellaneous: this category will include posts that don't belong to other categories.

Example: blog updates, announcements, placeholder posts etc.

Obviously, various posts might belong to multiple categories and will be tagged in all of them (e.g. something might belong both to the Akademaika as well as the Hieratika).

In the near future, once the chaos (delightful though it is, in its own way) of the Greek Easter holidays dissipates and I have the necessary time, energy, and focus for the task, I'll tag everything appropriately and link them to their respective categories. This list has also been posted in a more abbreviated form on the "About the Blog" page for easier access.

Thank you for reading this and I hope this will make things easier for my readers (and myself!). It's only the first of many improvements and developments though, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Update: Path Changes And Other Stuff

Hello everyone!

It sure has been slow around here. I only posted once in 2015. Well, it was a pretty shitty year for me personally. However, it was also a preparatory period, in a way, for the evolution of my path. Here's how things have been changing.

My personal path, as most of you know, was called NeoHellenic Witchcraft and it was a mix of Hellenic Polytheism and Witchcraft. It's no longer just that. After much contemplation and seeking, I have decided (with a lot of help from the Gods and spirits) to allow my budding spirit-work and Neopagan practices to merge and grow into a new, unique practice: the Wildwood Druidry. I decided on calling it "Druidry" after all, since I've drawn a lot of inspiration from Ár nDraíocht Féin and, specifically, Ian Corrigan's spirit-arte material. The "Wildwood" part of the name comes from a particular spirit-realm tied to many of my pathworkings and which has been cropping up repeatedly and in many forms throughout the years I've been practicing, regardless of the changes in my path. The Wildwood Druidry complements the NeoHellenic Witchcraft and together they have given birth to the fullest (and most fullfilling so far) form my path has taken in the 11 years I've been involved in all this: The Path of the Triskelion or Triskelion for short. The Triskelion is not exactly an Eclectic system. Each part (Hellenic Polytheism, Witchcraft, Wildwood Druidry) is an entire, standalone praxis in its own right. However, all together, practiced by a particular person (in this case, me), culminate into a multi-aspected system and that is the Triskelion. That being said, all three practices have connections with one another and many things gained or learnt in one affect the others.

What does this mean, in practical terms? Honestly, I can't reveal specific details because I'm still figuring things out. The spirits see fit to grant me bits and pieces, although these often turn out to be the small push needed for me to actually work things out. So, maybe it's just spiritual short-sightedness on my part, heh. What I can say, however, is that I have been undergoing a lot of processes, some of which began since early Summer 2015 (as I found out not long before I wrote this post), others more recent and some visible on the figurative horizon but not yet realised.

Here's what I can share:

  1. I've been going through the process of bonding with a potential familiar spirit, a stray cat killed by a car and whose bones I took and have been preparing for a good while (with the help of Sarah Anne Lawless' methods). I call this process "The Familiar's Bone Rites".

  2. I identified a powerful Daimon that is proving instrumental to my Wildwood Druidry (and is also connected to the Hekatean Craft of NeoHellenic Witchcraft) - this great spirit is guiding me towards the acquisition of an actual "magical name" (He revealed it with a full title in Latin and Greek: Nomen Magicum, Verum et Mysterium, Ὄνομα Μαγικόν, Ἄληθινόν τε καί Μυστήριον), something I never wanted or needed before and even found a bit silly for personal ritual use given my solitary status. It seems the spirits have other plans. I am conflicted as to whether I should share the identity of the great Daimon or my magical name online (I legitimately cannot get my intuition to budge towards either yea or nay) so for the time being I'll err on the side of caution and non-disclosure and if things change, so be it. This is tentatively called "Nomen Magicum Work" although it has more to it than just the name-giving.

  3. I've been doing massive organising, archiving, evaluating, researching, studying, and reinstating neglected bonds and practices. In actuality, this is the busiest part of this whole thing. Things get messy when you have amassed a decade's worth of material and I really need to make it nice and neat (not just out of perfectionism but because it's literally counter-productive and inhibits my more theory-oriented work).

  4. I've been working on my partially-developed Hekatean Craft, since I have finally been shown how to concretely utilise the Elemental Pillars, and how to proceed beyond the Rite of Hekate's Triad Seal I performed so, so long ago. This means I am occasionally bombarded, so to speak, by gnosis regarding rituals, procedures and even some rare glimpses of what completing the necessary framework can bring forth. These are actually two different but connected endeavours and are thus called "The Peregrination of the Triple World" and "The Crossroads Cycles".

  5. Finally, there is Witchcraft and folk magic work to be done; specifically, household workings and "pragmatic" or material magic dealing with day-to-day life, such as prosperity spells, client workings and magical self-care. This is the "Getting-My-Hands-Dirty Juju" (intentionally not as eloquent as the rest, hah).

In conclusion, I am on a very good track, spiritually, religiously and magically, despite bad habits of laziness, procrastination and forgetfullness getting in the way. And here's what this all has to do with the blog and its future:

  • Expect more posts. I won't promise a regular schedule or theme (i.e. scholarly, practical, theological etc) but I do have lots of things to write about. Let's hope I can stay focused and true to all this.

  • The blog will undergo some changes, although I don't know when exactly or the rate of their progress. What this means is that I'll update various pages, finish any works-in-progress, and maybe categorise posts by theme and content.

  • I have many, many ideas for things to share on here and even expand my writing into areas like book reviews, recommendations and even more educational material. These are just ideas for now.
P.S. I am also doing some research and somewhat unsure exploration of self-publishing since I've been told some of the things I can (and do) share on here would also work well in book format. If that bears fruit, you will certainly hear about it.

Thanks for reading and blessings to all of you! Here's to a productive, wonderful and better future!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Hekatean Pathworking

In this post, I will do something a little different. I’ll move away from scholarly pursuits for a while and give you something more practical. A hymn for evoking Hekate as well as an intermediate-level pathworking designed for contacting and interacting with Her. Note that this requires prior experience with pathworkings as well as a working relationship and familiarity with Hekate.

Originally, this was supposed to be a submission for the Hekatean Prayerbook, a project by Skyllaros of The Crossroads Companion. Since, however, the project seems to have been abandoned (or, at least, placed in a long hiatus), I’ve decided to publish my submission here (I’m clearing my backlog material) and should the project restart in the future, I can submit something else.

Hymn of Evocation of Hekate

Khaire Hekate! Hail Goddess of the Mysteries, Key-bearer of the Inner Gate! I call upon you, upon your infinite names, Mistress of the In-between, You who guides us in the path of self-discovery! Hear my words, Hekate, and attend my rite. Skiaia Anassa, Potnia Mysterion, Pneuma Aniketon, Great Goddess of the Crossroads, You who wields arcane power without end. Come to me, Hekate, allow me to feel your presence and commune with you. Hekate, Queen of the Witches, Lady of the Restless Dead, stand by my side! May your favour always be with me. May the honour I offer satisfy you. May you grant me, Hekate, gifts unparalleled. Genoito!


Khaire = Welcome, Hail (“Χαίρε, pronounced “KHE-re”)
Skiaia = Shadowy One (“Σκιαία”, pronounced “skee-E-a”)
Anassa = Mistress, Lady, Queen (“Άνασσα”, pronounced “AH-nah-ssa”)
Potnia = Lady, Queen (“Πότνια”, pronounced “POH-tnee-a”)
Mysterion = of the Mysteries (“Μυστηρίων”, genitive case, plural, pronounced “mee-stee-RHEE-on”)
Pneuma = Spirit (“Πνεύμα”, pronounced “PNEV-ma”)
Aniketon = Invincible, Undefeatable (“Ανίκητον”, pronounced “ah-NEE-kee-ton”)
Genoito = May it be, so mote it be, (“Γένοιτο”, lit. may it become, pronounced “YEH-nee-to”)

Hekatean Pathworking

Purify yourself in your preferred manner or in the methods of your tradition. Sit comfortably, ideally against a wall. Close your eyes. Begin performing the four-fold breath exercise: while inhaling, count to four, as fast or slow as you prefer. Don’t exhale immediately – instead hold your breath while counting to four again. Then, begin exhaling and, at the same time, count to four again. Hold your breath once more and count to four. Repeat as many times as needed to allow your body to relax and your mind to concentrate. If breathing exercises for entering light trance don’t work for you (or you have a medical issue that renders them unwise), you may use any similar methods you prefer. The goal is entering a mild trance state.

Once you have focused on your breathing and relaxed enough, visualise a dark-coloured cloak. Feel the cloak in your hands, see it in your mind’s eye. Wear the cloak and spend a few moments visualising yourself wrapped in it. The cloak will help shield you from unnecessary distractions. If, at any point, you feel the pathworking slipping, focus on the cloak and spend a few moments visualising it again. That should reaffirm your hold on the pathworking itself.

Once you have worn the cloak, look around you, always with your mind’s eye. You’re in a shadowy place, you cannot see anything – only yourself. Start walking. Notice how the shadows and darkness begin to dissipate after a while. You see a dirt road beneath your feet. Look around you. The road is surrounded by endless lines of trees. It’s a road running through a mighty forest.

Walk further ahead. Soon, you come across a crossroads. You look at the roads that spring from it – there’s no destination in sight. Your destination is the crossroads themselves. Now is the time to commune with Hekate Herself.

Recite a hymn or invocation of your choice. You can prepare one beforehand, you may use the one I have provided above or allow inspiration to guide you while in the pathworking. Once you have recited the hymn, chant Hekate’s name repeatedly. Keep doing so until what you experience in the visualisation changes. At this point, the results will vary among individuals. Try to approach Hekate in whatever way She might manifest Herself in that crossroads. This is a good time to mention any requests or voice questions you might have.

Should Hekate not manifest is some discernible way, repeat the hymn or say a small prayer (heartfelt is always best) urging Her to appear before you in what form or way She sees fit. Should that fail again (make sure you keep trying for a little while), end the pathworking in the way I have given below and try to figure out the lack of contact through divination (or, perhaps, appease the Goddess through offertory rituals).
Once you have finished your business with the Goddess, you may begin your return. It is not advisable to explore any further, neither the forest nor the other roads. This realm is Hekate’s own crossroads, the incarnation of all liminality and progress. To intrude further in this domain is to challenge the Goddess Herself; if nothing else, it’s hubristic. If you feel you can explore further or Hekate Herself tells you to, so be it; just be aware of the risks.

If you choose to exit the pathworking, retrace your steps. Follow back the road you came from until you find the dark place again. Untie your cloak and let it fall or vanish from your shoulders. Focus on your breathing (or other preferred method of exiting trance) and slowly ease yourself back to normal consciousness. It’s best that you get up and move around a bit, reaffirming your connection with your body and the physical plane. You may also eat something solid to further reinforce the return, especially if you’re feeling light-headed. Salty foods are the best for this due to salt’s natural grounding properties.

Note that this particular pathworking requires a moderate degree of experience with pathworkings. If you’re inexperienced in pathworkings – also called meditational journeys or extensive visualisations – you might want to try a few others first. Otherwise, you can perform this pathworking, minus the invocation part, a number of times until your grasp on the visualisation is satisfactory (i.e. the pathworking is flowing comfortably without you forcing it to develop).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pagan Blog Project: C is for Cosmology (Part 1 - The Triple World Model)

Disclaimer: This post is not scholarly-minded. This is my personal system's cosmology and as such it is not found in any particular book or source (although it is obviously inspired and influenced by many different things).

NeoHellenic Witchcraft has a specific religious cosmology that acts as a theological foundation upon which the spiritual meaning and drive of its ritual and liturgy rest.
This religious cosmology is manifold in its aspects and not thoroughly explored or defined. In other words, I have not – yet – recorded all of my theories and beliefs even though I do make use of rituals that hinge, spiritually, even on some of the unexplored parts.

Currently, I recognise two main aspects of this cosmology: the Triple World model and the Hierarchy of Beings. The former deals with “physical religious cosmology”, i.e. the division of the layers of existence (the various worlds and realms), although it is symbolic rather than literal or even mythical. The latter deals with the “cosmology of being”, i.e. the division of the various entities and beings of existence (ranks, groupings etc). This, too, is more symbolic than literal. Both, however, have practical applications in ritual and spirit-work.

Before I define the Triple World model, I need to provide a bit of context and introductory information on my philosophical theories regarding existence, the world and the universe. This will mostly take the guise of brief definitions (which will be added, in the future, to my blog’s glossary). Note that certain terms might be used differently in here compared to common vernacular or scientific terminology.

Existence: The entirety of All-That-Is. Everything that ever was, is and will be, including time itself. Every concept, object, being or idea, physical, spiritual or mental.

The One: The state of existence prior to the Big Bang. The Great Monad, the First-And-Only, the amalgamation of All-That-Is in complete, homogenous and perfect union. The Cradle of Potential and the eternal, underlying state of Being (here meaning “existing” as in the verb “to be”).

The Great Division: The multi-dimensional and multi-layered process that is known as the Big Bang in scientific cosmology. The process of transformation of the One, the changing of the Great Monad into the Many, the Great Crowd – Singularity becoming Plurality.

The Many: The current state of existence (post-Big Bang). The Great Crowd or Great Plurality, the Ever-changing and Ever-progressing Cosmos in infinite, coherent and co-dependent unity.  A Sum rather than a Monad. The realisation of potentials and the eternal, experiential state of Being.

Universe: the entirety of the physical realm – all of space and time, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the greatest galactic supercluster.

Cosmos: all realms, physical and spiritual. All worlds and layers of existence, including the universe.

Realms: The various dimensions or layers of existence such as the physical realm, astral realm, specific dimensions like the realm of Hades, Olympus etc.

World: A synonym for realms, although sometimes taken to mean more fully developed and independent dimensions. Often also means clusters or groups of realms.

Now that the main cosmological terms have been defined, the Triple World model can be presented.

In the Triple World model, the entire Cosmos is divided, as the term suggests, in three types of groups of realms. These are called the Upper World (or Upper Regions), the Middle World (or Middle Regions) and the Lower World (or Lower Regions). The spatial modifiers are allegoric. An important thing to remember is that the Triple World model is a form of categorisation for the sake of philosophical simplicity and organisation, not an attempt at a cosmological and religious “theory of everything”. It intends to simplify the exploration of cosmological subjects so that others can understand how I perceive such matters. Therefore, it is not theologically applicable or (mis-)appropriative of any religion’s cosmology neither an attempt at homogenising – superficially – the cosmological tenets and realms of any religious system.

The Upper World is an allegoric grouping of all realms that share characteristics of being “heavenly” or “celestial”, “godly” and “transcendent”. Realms such as Olympus, the place of residence of many Hellenic deities, the Christian Heaven and the Platonic “world of ideas” are all of the “Upper World” type.

The Middle World is an allegoric grouping of all realms that are connected to or associated with the physical realm (in other words, the physical universe where we reside in). Realms such as the astral realm, the Otherworld(s) of folk belief systems, the spiritual concept of the “Veil (between/of) the Worlds” or the pocket realms of regional spirits and minor deities of places are all examples of “Middle World” types of realms.

The Lower World is an allegoric grouping of all realms that deal with the dead, fallen entities or rest and liminal transformation (such as many types of initiations, deep trance spirit-work, the process or “afterlife” between incarnations etc). Realms such as Hades, Tartaros, Hell or the kabbalistic Abyss are all examples of “Lower World” types of realms.

As I mentioned earlier, the Triple World model has practical (i.e. liturgical) applications as well as philosophical ones. Philosophically, it allows for an organisation of cosmology (the categorisation of realms into types or groupings for simplicity). Liturgically, it echoes the mystical symbolism and power of the number 3, especially in the way that number is expressed in Hekate’s triple form and nature as a liminal Goddess of the Crossroads. The Triple World model mirrors the three domains of Hekate, the Triad of Hekate’s Seal, the three faces of Hekate, the three Crafts of NeoHellenic Witchcraft, the three milestones of a human soul’s journey (birth, death, rebirth), the three main rites of passage (birth, initiation*, death) and countless other things.

The archetypal qualities and attributes of the Three Worlds can be accessed and utilised in ritual, especially in initiatory and other mystery rites as well as rites of journeying and trans-dimensional spirit-work (i.e. spirit-work that deals with multiple realms).

In ritual symbolism, the Triple World model is represented by the Sigillum Axis Mundi, the Seal of the World Axis. The Axis Mundi, also known as the World Tree – another significant and multicultural symbol –, is central to the Triple World model, symbolising the embodied authority of Hekate, the Anima Mundi (World Soul), over the Three World as well as the allegorical ladder or gateway that Hekate’s followers can utilise for their spiritual and mystical work in the many realms.

Just like the Three Worlds correspond to many things, including three of the main ritual tools of NeoHellenic Witchcraft (the Triad of Hekate’s Seal), the Axis Mundi also corresponds to a great many things, some symbolic, other mythical and yet other practical. Ritually, it is connected to the Minor Anima Mundi, the Torch of Hekate, which is one of the main tools of NeoHellenic Witchcraft and lies in the centre of Hekate’s Seal. It also corresponds to the Hermetic Rod, a wand-type tool associated with Hermes, his kerykeion and Wind (both the classical element of Wind and the Wind Gods [Theoi Anemoi]). The Hermetic Rod is heavily connected to the spiritual and liturgical concepts of movement, travel and progress, reflecting the World Tree’s role (among others) as a gateway and road between the many worlds.

The World Tree’s three levels of “branches”, “trunk” and “roots” also correspond to the Upper, Middle and Lower Worlds respectively. In the physical renderings of the Sigillum Axis Mundi, the symbolic markings of the Three Worlds are drawn on these respective levels.

Next time, we will explore the “Hierarchy of Beings”.

*Initiation: Including but not limited to spiritual and ritual/religious initiations as well as any other major transformative events and progresses in one’s life (such as marriage) excluding physical birth and death. Rituals and events that are also called rites of passage (such as cultural observances of the progression into adulthood) fall under “initiation” in this case.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Update: Pagan Blog Project and more!

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything, not even for the PBP, for quite a while. I had a multitude of problems that stopped me from posting (from writer's block to a lot of stress and pressure with life shenanigans) but I am slowly catching up.

Here's what's up:

I chose to write and publish the post for the letter E, so I could stay within the PBP schedule (it's currently Week 2 for the letter E) before I started to post the letters I've missed. I already have drafts for the missed letters (namely B, C and D). The problem is they're rather complex and require quite a bit of effort before I can complete them (including research). Therefore, I can't promise you when I'll have them ready. In any case, I do believe it will be sooner rather than later.

In other news, I'm studying for my upcoming university exam period, I'm working on a new, academic-only, bilingual blog (it will have posts in both English and Greek), I'm taking Comic Art seminary courses (I just finished a four-month long cycle and will begin a second, more advanced, four-month cycle of weekly lessons), I'm working on a small webcomic I have on hiatus, and I'm trying to catch up on my personal research as well as practice my sketching and drawing.

As you can see, I'm rather busy so I really can't promise when I'll be able to write and publish the missed posts for the PBP. Worry not, though: I fully intend to publish them, even if it takes a while. I also want to write a number of other articles I want to post here which will be unrelated to the PBP.

Now time for a little self-promotion:

You can always support me by donating (you can find the Paypal Donate! button on the right side of the screen) or by hiring me for the spiritual services I offer via this blog. As you might already know, I'm an unemployed university student so every little bit helps me alleviate some of my family's burden as well as improve my daily life. :) Of course, even "just" sharing my blog and increasing my readers is a tremendous help!

If you're interested in my art-related work (still kind of amateur-ish), you can check my deviantART profile or my art-only Facebook page.

A note to any of my readers that want to request a service or even an art commission: regardless of my schedule and how busy I might be, the commisions and service requests I accept are my top priority both in terms of time as well as quality. You need not worry - I won't delay your request simply because of any schedule issues. :)

Finally, I want to close this post by thanking all of you, my readers, regular or not, for your support, whether that support is monetary or just reading my writings. Thank you!

Pagan Blog Project: E is for Entitlement

Entitlement is one of the more aggravating and widespread problems of the (overall) Pagan community*. It has a multitude of facets and tends to crop up repeatedly. In my experience, it appears the most among the Eclectic (Neo)Pagan scene, probably due to the scene's emphasis in individualisation, the lack of organisation and the - seemingly - large percentage of younger practitioners.

What is entitlement, though, and why is it so much of a problem?

Entitlement is having a right to something. It's not always a bad thing, although the term is used mostly negatively in the common vernacular. Feeling entitled means you believe you deserve a certain thing or result. In the way the word is used in this post, feeling entitled is believing you deserve a number of things whether you fulfill the requirements for said things or not.

There are many types of entitlement present in the Pagan community. Personally, I have observed entitlement in regards to knowledge, availability, recognition, training, gratification and others.

In the - nearly - 9 years I've been part of the Pagan community, I've come across people who demand that others hand out painstakingly acquired (or even secret!) knowledge "just because". The justifications range from "we're all Pagans so we should help each other" to "you're elitist snobs if you withheld knowledge". I've noticed similar behaviour from people who demand training or help while committing fallacies (such as appeal to emotion) as well as from people who want everyone to cater to their sensitivities and desires.

Entitlement in the Pagan community is a problem because there is very little anyone is entitled to within our religions. If one takes into account the fact that the Pagan community is actually a misnomer and an imaginary case (see note) and there are many, many different religions under Paganism, with their own limits, requirements and standards, then it becomes obvious that no one has a right to anything - at least not by virtue of association or "specialness".

No one has to cater to your sensitivities. You're not entitled to training, help, knowledge, acceptance or association simply because you want any of those things. Those things have to be earned (and for valid reasons - not mere desire or envy). Entitlement in the Pagan community is poisonous and problematic because it attacks the notions of hard work, effort, responsibility and progress.

Entitled people don't want to work to achieve their goals. They don't want to make an effort towards improvement. They don't want to build their spiritual and/or religious lives. They don't want to go through trial and error or to fight for their ideals.

Entitled people want to be handed everything for free. They want instant gratification. They want to be pampered and cared for regardless of their own worth. They want to be given everything without contributing anything. They want to have their pie and eat it too.

Unfortunately, entitlement stems from the flaws of our Western society, in many ways. It stems from bad education, from the issues of the demographic generations (such as the baby boomers and the millennials) and, last but not least, from social privilege. I don't want to go into the thorny subject of social privilege (not to mention, I don't have the qualifications to discuss it) but we can't deny that entitlement is rooted in it.

There are, thankfully, ways to battle entitlement. As Pagans we can strive to improve our respective communities; to choose and support our representatives carefully; to educate and improve ourselves where we fall short; to learn how to debate and discuss controversial issues without resorting to fallacies and fights; to reinforce the notions of hard work, valiant effort and co-operation.

These are neither easy nor quick solutions. However, few true and valid solutions are quick or easy.



*Pagan community: In truth there is no single, unified Pagan community. Rather, there is Paganism, which is a religious category, and countless communities within the belief systems that belong to Paganism. While those that identify as Pagans may feel a sense of connection to one another, even if their actual religious identities differ (e.g. Wiccans, Hellenists, Eclectics etc), the fact remains that "Pagan community" is an intentional misnomer utilised solely for simplicity's sake (instead of saying "the various religious and spiritual communities under the umbrella of Paganism").

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pagan Blog Project: A is for Adiós

I'm changing my second "A" post to reflect a sudden tragedy. A friend, whom I sadly only knew over the Internet, passed away. We weren't very close but I admired his power, his mind, his eloquence, the passion and joy he had in his life and his greatness as a Santero, priest and man of magic and wonder.

His unexpected passing at the extremely early age of 38 years, sparked a lot of thoughts in my mind. Even though this was someone I knew only online, it is the first death of someone I know that I've experienced in years.

I work with Gods of the dead. I am devoted to Hekate, psychopomp Goddess and Lady of the Dead (especially the Restless Ones). I honour many chthonic divinities and, in addition to that, as a Witch I am fairly familiar with the Lower Regions.

It doesn't prepare you from the sudden coming of death. It can prepare you for a lot of things but not the moment, the instance and event of death itself. I guess that's part of the ways things are: perhaps death always ought to shock us for us to truly experience it. I don't know.

All of this is making me think a lot about Ancestors, the Dead and working with them. I'm not going to say much more here, I'm still a bit shocked and not very capable of articulating my thoughts right now. Let's just say that such tragedies have immense impact when they strike someone you know personally; even if over the Internet. So, let us tell our friends, family and beloved that we love them, let us embrace them and let us remember to LIVE because death's finality and unknowable time is ever-looming.

What comforts me and will continue to comfort me throughout all deaths of people I know that I will experience in my life is that, even though we do lose those people, we can still reach out and interact with them in another capacity. I consider myself lucky to practice a religion that values the dead, that contacts and interacts with them in a deeper and more active way than most other systems. It most certainly can never replace the truly living person, but it helps. It helps so that it's not a complete loss.

Adiós, Eddy. I admired your passion, your tenacity, your knowledge, eloquence and strength, your beauty and love for life, your joyous character, always eager to laugh and joke around, your impressive skills as a writer, conjure doctor and priest and your very presence and spirit. For the relatively short time I knew you, I admired and looked up to you as a role-model. You were and are someone I want to be like. May the Gods guide you safely, may they grant you peace, may they bring comfort and solace to your loved ones. I bid farewell to you and honour you as one of the Mighty Dead, one of the blessed Ancestors. You will be missed.

In memory of Eddy Gutiérrez, a fantastic man.