Thursday, June 8, 2017

Minor Amendments

There are two things I'd like to update on this blog (and, in time, go through all posts, tags etc and change them):

  1. The part of the Triskelion formerly known as "the Wildwood Druidry" has been (tentatively perhaps) renamed to "the Wildwood Art". While all influences and info I've posted on it remain valid, I thought the name was lacking and didn't express it properly. It also had the risk of being misunderstood and cause unnecessary friction with actual Druids. So, Wildwood Art it is.

  2. The second change, this one being more drastic, is a change in my Services. I'm simplifying the whole thing in the hopes of both attracting more clients who might have been intimidated by the seemingly complex page and info as well as to just make it easier and manageable for me. You can check the updated Services HERE.

Coming and Going Or Why I Can't Post Regularly To Save My Life

An entire year of inactivity on this blog after promises of regular updates and upcoming projects. And, out of the blue, I post an Aretalogy of Hekate as if no "dead period" had passed.

Rightfully, my readers, you would ask "what the eff?".

Honestly? I've been tremendously busy and, for once, it wasn't so much with mundane matters but predominantly with spiritual ones. The Three Days of Hekate from last year initiated (hah!) a veritable avalance of progress, duties, spiritual and magical work, and synchronicities without end.

Here's a brief description of my year between the Three Days and today just to show how engrossed I've been in my practices and path, in no particular order:

  • After the Three Days of Hekate in late May 2016, I participated in a three-day Hellenic festival called the Prometheia in early/mid-July 2016. It was an indescribable experience and while I did write up a modest recounting of my experiences there, I haven't posted it since I feel it just doesn't do it justice. To give you an oversimplified idea of the whole thing: 3 days of free camping on Mount Olympus under Zeus' blessed oaks surrounded 24/7 by (mostly) like-minded individuals and all sorts of rituals, celebrations and other happenings. I was truly plunged in what could very well have been the daily lives of my Hellenic ancestors. Incense filled the air at all times, hymns could be heard at any given moment, I stood besides my co-religionists in ritual and I experienced the virtues of friendship, love (agape), hospitality and the ineffable Mysteries. I was present during naming ceremonies and I participated in private, deeply moving conversations with dear friends. I even ended up participating in an impromptu oracular ritual involving Hekate for the first time in my life and it utterly shattered any doubts or skepticism I had regarding oracles. I can only describe the whole thing as a truly magical experience. I sadly can't attend this year but, given how it's been going strong for over 2 decades (last year was the 21st festival!), I am certain I will get to experience it again in the future.
  • My work with the Amaimaketon Vasileian Sanctuary of the Covenant of Hekate and the private magical/devotional group of Hekateans bloomed and culminated into official membership in the Covenant (after years of failed applications due to technical issues) during this year's celebration of Her Sacred Fires.
  • I recently formed a powerful working relationship with my best friend after strong urging from our patron deities. This is the one thing I can't really talk about besides this short mention due to its very private nature. Nevertheless, it is one of the most demanding projects I have on my plate right now. 
  • During ecstatic work with the Wildwood Art, I was approached by a figure that identified itself as the Black Goat of Mysteries, the Witchfather, the Man in Black, and the Devil of the Craft. Of all things that have happened to me over this past year, His appearance, call, and our work have been the most unexpected and unpredictable. In our considerably few interactions compared to beings I've worked with or worshipped for years (like Hekate), the Witchfather has been almost terrifyingly and tangibly real and manifested. His is a path I neither expected nor devised nor intended and though He came along with the Wildwood AND under the auspices of Hekate, He fits in neither NeoHellenic Witchcraft nor the Wildwood Art. Perhaps He is the "missing" leg of the Triskelion after all. My work with him so far has been... illuminating, to say the least.
  • My work with the Stardust Compass has taken an unfortunate backseat, so to speak, during all this. It's still there, it still calls to me and itches my soul for involvement but I am stretched towards too many and too demanding directions. I have promised myself to return to it come Autumn because it sings a song to my spirit that fills gaps, however small or hidden, that nothing else does.
  • I have been advised, both by Gods and fellow devotees/practitioners, to pursue training and participation in the Ordo Aurum Solis, something I had been mulling over for a few years now. While financial and spiritual reasons haven't allowed me to tackle it just yet, it is something I will definitely move towards and attempt as soon as possible.
  • From a mundane perspective, I've been working on my comics and writing as well as devoting a lot of time to my relationship with my boyfriend (practically fiance). Living with family, good, supportive, loving family is not a bad thing but at the age of 26 at the time of writing of this piece, it is a bit too much. So, I'm working as hard as I can to gain my much desired and needed independence which will remove a lot of limitations on my life, especially on the spiritual/religious/magical part.

That's just the cliff-notes version of the past year. When I performed those transformative rituals during the Three Days, I knew they'd open up the way for a lot of new and challenging things. I just didn't think it would turn out to be this busy! Now, none of this is truly an excuse or justification for not posting on here. If anything, it reinforces my view that I'm a sloppy procrastinator when it comes to blogging. Still, I think I owed you, my readers, an explanation and an update of sorts for my absence. Let's hope I can keep some semblance of activity on here from now on!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Aretalogy of Hekate

I am She of the Many Names.
I am Hekate of the Crossroads.
I am the Torchbearing Mistress of the Night.
I am the Keybearer of the Ineffable Mysteries.
I am Hekate of Heaven, Earth, and Sea.
I am at all places and none at once.
I am the Crossroads and its Liminal Heart.
I am the World Soul and from Me the River of Mysteries springs forth.
I am Triple Hekate, Friend of Kore, She who consoles Demeter and soothes the pain of loss.
I am the Kourotrophos, namelessly honoured by mothers with their cries during labour.
I am the Psychopomp for the Lost.
I am the Queen of the Dead and of the Infernal Realms.
I am She who treads Olympus and Hades alike.
I am Hekate, Unconquerable Queen, Daughter of my Father and heiress to His might.
I am Hekate, Veiled with the Starry Night-sky and Bringer of Oracles, Daughter of my Mother and heiress to Her gift.
I am the Initiatrix and the Creatrix and the Mother of All Souls.
I am the Cauldron of the Witch and the Wisdom of the Cunning Man and the fearful prayer upon the lips of the wary traveler.
I am She who provides to the poor and the wealthy alike.
I am Hekate, Many-named, Many-formed, equally honoured by mortals and immortals for eternity.
I am She who births the Witchblood.
I am She who grants the First Flame to the soul of man.
I am Hekate of the Obscure, Hekate of the Renowned, Hekate of the Mighty, Hekate of the Hidden.
I am the Goddess of Liminality and I am found on every threshold.
I am the one that brings all together at the roots of the World Tree which I feed with my own essence.
I am the Witch Queen, terrible in my splendor, mighty in my Craft, teacher of the gifted and the restless.
I am the Mother of Theurgy, who taught humanity how to become like Us.
I am the Mediator of the Mortal and Immortal Realms, for prayers can be heard and answers received in accordance to my Will.
I am Hekate, thrice-adored, thrice-worshipped, thrice-honoured.
I am She of the Darkest Night and the Brightest Day, She of Dawn and Dusk and of the changing Moon.
I am She who holds the universe in Her palm yet sees every single candle flame.
I am the Flame and the Shadow and the Soul Crystalline in the Heart of the World and in the souls of all living things.
I am the Lurker in the Cave, the Keeper of Secrets, and the Wielder of all True Names.
I am the Primary Initiatrix and all Mysteries flow from me.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Days of Hekate III: Labrys Full Moon Ritual and Wildwood Workings

On Sunday, May 22nd, I attended a public ritual for the Full Moon hosted by Labrys on Philopappou Hill in downtown Athens (it’s a hill next to the Acropolis). It was a very beautiful ritual: we were gathered in a circle around the altar, the only light coming from the illuminated city around the hill, the torches held by some of the women participating and the various candles and oil lamps on and around the altar. 

One of the torchbearers invoked Hekate with a hymn I hadn’t heard before, although parts of it were familiar. I didn’t have the chance to ask afterwards but I think it was a hymn crafted personally by her and included pieces of other hymns as well. It was beautiful, wild, and moving to the point that I couldn’t recall the hymns to the other Goddesses afterwards. The whole ritual was exceptionally pleasing, aesthetically and energetically.

There was a bit of a problem though. It got really cold to the point that I couldn’t stop shivering. Unwilling to break circle to get my jacket or to interrupt the gorgeous ritual in any way, I silently called upon two of the Four Guardian Spirits: Mother Bear of the North and Brother Wolf of the South, two important spirit animals in the Wildwood Druidry. That actually helped a lot! Slowly, I began feeling a sense of warmth emanating from inside me (my “centre”, the point in my body I visualise as my core and centre during centering and meditations, located a little above the solar plexus) which extended to my entire body. It faded somewhat at times during the ritual because my focus was divided but, other than that, it worked better than I expected. 

After the ritual, we had a simple feast of sorts, sharing salty foods and red wine and having fun as a community (it looks a lot like an outdoors party, in fact!). As always, I only took a few sips and offered the rest as a libation. Even so, I felt a bit “tipsy” and unstable on my feet and I was positively buzzing with the energy of the ritual, despite being dead-tired from the hours of standing. When I got home, I was too charged up to rest so I performed an ecstatic rite for the Wildwood Spirits, a working that brings me in communion with them through the use of a veil, ecstatic dance, and “spirit-talk”*. I thanked them for their aid with the cold and then decided on the spot to use this as a chance to do something I had in mind for a while: request entrance to the Wildwood Realm under their auspices**. I uttered my request and, while still in trance, drew a card from the Wildwood Tarot deck to serve as the answer from the Spirits. It was an overwhelmingly positive and reassuring card, essentially the Spirits screaming “YES!” to me in regards to my request. Deeply moved, I thrice blessed and thanked the Spirits and slowly finished the rite.

Thus concluded the Three Days of Hekate, which began with Her Sacred Fires, continued with the Nomen Rite, and finished with a public Full Moon ritual and a private Wildwood rite. Those three days were filled with potent energies and presences, moving and powerful experiences, and a lot of hope and determination for the future.


*Spirit-talk: Speaking while in trance and communion with Gods or Spirits, with minimal control over my speech, allowing the inspiration of the Spirits and the words of my soul to come forth, unhindered by the conscious mind. It is essentially a type of oral automatic writing, as well as a type of channeling and mediumship. The Gods and Spirits don’t possess me or talk through me per se – rather, it is a way for me to open up to their guidance and inspiration completely as well as speak what is True and what comes directly from my soul (thus all speech during spirit-talk is Words of Power and can be considered the same as spell utterances and incantations). It is an important tool in my spirit-work as it allows me to remember what transpires but also to gain insight and gnosis that would otherwise be hidden from me. It also allows me to express my true will, intent and feelings without relying on scripted prayer or invocations or stumbling to find the proper words.

**Entering the Wildwood Realm: This is part of a bigger subject that I will discuss on this blog at some point. Long story short, it is part of a process for working with and experiencing the Wildwood Realm and all its Spirits, and it refers to getting the permission of specific Spirits before entering the Wildwood, for a host of reasons, such as protection and guidance. While it is entirely possible to enter the Wildwood without permission (it’s not a closed-off realm) and even experience it in different ways (“enter it from different gates”, if you will), requesting permission is a necessary step for entering the Wildwood in a specific manner and being able to fulfill specific conditions and workings in the future, as per Triskelion and Wildwood Druidry practice.

Days of Hekate II: The Nomen Rite

On Saturday 21st of May, I performed a rite for which I was preparing for months.  The reason behind such lengthy preparation was that the Nomen Rite was as important as my dedication to Hekate and, in some ways, even more binding and serious for me. It was a long, intricate ritual, lasting a bit more than 2 hours, making it one of the lengthiest rituals I have ever performed in 11+ years of practice. It was also rather taxing and demanding in terms of invocations, maintenance and work. Truly, it ought to have been a group ritual, with at least two more people to help but, alas, the Triskelion is a solitary path (for now?).

The Nomen Rite, as the name suggests to those familiar with Latin, was my naming ceremony. In this ritual, I took a special name – a “magical name” for the first time in my entire Pagan life – that was revealed to me by Hekate and the Wildwood Spirits, and one I had to take if I was to commit fully and truly to the Triskelion and open up all channels and gates for the road ahead. At first, I was only aware of one name I had to take but during the preparatory period, I was “told” that it had a supplementary name-title indicating “where my heart was born”. 

I’ve mentioned this before here, and now I can finally talk more about it. Specifically, divination and spirit communion explained that I can, now, reveal the Great Spirit that has been aiding me in this work as well as a good deal of the Rite itself and a part of my name: the supplementary name-title. I am under oath not to reveal my “core name”, sadly. I also cannot share details of the Nomen Rite such as the invocations used or my Naming Oath (although I can tell you roughly what I swore). The Spirit that has been aiding me is the Heron and my new name is Chelydoreus, taken after the name of the village where I’ve spent nearly every summer of my life, the place where my maternal grandmother was born and raised, the place I consider my true home: the village of Chelydori, between Mt. Evrostini and Mt. Chelydorea, where Hermes found the tortoise he used to fashion the lyre, according to myth.

The Rite itself was deeply potent. Here’s the outline of the ritual: 

1.       Preparation:
·         Self purification
·         Space purification
·         Gathering necessary tools, offerings, etc.
2.       Casting the Magic Circle.
3.       Invocation of Hekate:
·         Hekataion Hymn, Orphic Hymn
4.       Invocation of the Wildwood Court:
·         Invocation of the Four Guardian Spirits
·         Invocation of the Heron
·         Invocation of the Horned One and His Lady of the Moon and Forest
5.       Rite of Manifestation of Hekate's Seal
6.       Main Working:
·         Declaration of the ritual's intent
·         Naming Oath (Όρκος Ονομαστικός, Sacramentum Nominis)
7.       Offerings, libations, hymns and prayers of praise
8.       Red Meal*
9.       Closing.

*Red Meal: Yes, this is indeed like the Traditional Witchcraft practice. The name and way to perform it were revealed to me by the Wildwood Spirits and after researching it out of curiousity I was shocked to find that it is an already existing and established rite - I thought it was a unique request from the Spirits!

One of the peculiarities of the ritual was that, even though the presences of the Gods and Spirits invoked were stronger than usual, I got very little in terms of communication and practically nothing in terms of epiphanies or revealed gnosis, despite my continuous requests to be shown what comes after this and what I should do from now on. After a lot of effort and communion, Hekate finally had a message for me: “You know what it is that must be done following this and We have nothing more to impart at this time.” In other words, we’re not going to spoon-feed you everything, you’re way past that stage. Do your own dirty work. Duly noted!

The offerings were nothing spectacular, sadly, but both divination and my intuition pointed towards them being very well-received, which made me very glad. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are some of my biggest personal “demons” and being told that even the small things – the only things – I am able to offer are happily accepted is a much needed reassurance.

This whole Rite and the naming itself primarily served as a dedication, of sorts, to the Triskelion. I committed myself fully and formally to this path and system and to the Gods and Spirits that come along with it. No more excuses, no more feeling bad about “dry spells” or periods of inactivity, no more arm-chair occultism. Moreover, the days after the Rite I found myself more open and sensitive to the Otherworld and receiving a lot more revealed gnosis that before – or, at the very least, more detailed and complete gnosis as opposed to the bits and pieces I was getting before. Indeed, other workings and divination confirmed that many spiritual “gates” within me and in my path had been opened and certain aspects of my work are finally accessible to me. In many ways, the Nomen Rite was a kind of spiritual initiation akin to what I experienced during my dedication to Hekate and felt very much as the – somewhat overdue – next step from the dedication.

That was the Nomen Rite or, perhaps more accurately, the Nomen Experience. I have a lot of things to still share here, beyond this; my account of the Three Days of Hekate is still not complete. I also have many other writings and work to finish and post. Until next time:

I am CHELYDOREUS, devotee of Hekate, practitioner of the Triskelion, Polytheist, Witch, Pagan, a student of the Mysteries indulging in the Great Work.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Essay: Worshipping Virtuously

This phrase in ancient Greek is the result of my effort to find a description for “proper worship” in the Triskelion which would be succinct and multi-aspected. “Λατρεύειν ἐν ἀρετήν” (“latreuein en aretin” – lit. “worshipping in virtue” or “worshipping virtuously”) encapsulates my beliefs regarding proper, respectful, mindful, well-rounded, informed/educated, willing, and just worship and religious Work («ργον» -“ergon”). It speaks of religious responsibility, following the example of the Gods, and pursuing excellence in religious matters. “Λατρεύειν ἐν ἀρετήν” is about truly, faithfully, virtuously practicing the Triskelion.

It has other connotations as well. For instance, it refers to the ideal and desired/preferred mindset and mental-emotional state for entering and facilitating ritual. According to Triskelion standards, one should enter or perform ritual while in a state of purity. The obvious expression is physical cleanliness and ritual purifications. There is also a mental-emotional level though, and that is entering ritual space or beginning ritual “in virtue”. Specifically, this means entering ritual free – at least, temporarily – of negative and overly intense emotions and thoughts, such as anger, sorrow, hatred, sexual arousal and so on. The practitioner may very well exhibit any of these during ritual if the situation (Gods, Spirits, ritual energy and atmosphere) incite them or they may express them from the beginning if the working in question is a special case that warrants such emotions (e.g. malefica, sex magic, ecstatic worship, funerary rites etc.). However, most cases of ritual (“default rituals”) need to be experienced and performed in a balanced, pure, and energetically ideal state of mind and soul; that is “ἐν ἀρετήν” – virtuously.

Theologically, “λατρεύειν ἐν ἀρετήν” hinges upon the beliefs that: a) the Gods are the source of virtue(s) and of many other good and desirable qualities and attributes, b) that they impart those virtues and qualities/attributes to us, and c) that they have a vested interest in our improvement and thus guide and support us towards it*. Therefore, to worship virtuously is to act “godly”, to accept and utilise the aforementioned gifts granted to us by the Gods. This, too, is an act of worship and honour in its own right. Moreover, “λατρεύειν ἐν ἀρετήν” can be further defined as part of or similar to «εὐσέβεια» (“eusebeia” - “piety”), a central tenet of Hellenism. 

That said, none of these mean that failing to always follow and realise this idea and goal is condemnable. Effort counts (although success is always best) while perfection is impossible. Even if failure to comply to such standards occasionally causes displeasure to the Gods and, possibly, repercussions, these are neither punishments for some kind of “sin” nor transgressions eternally divorcing us from the Gods**. Rather, the displeasure and possible repercussions are reactions to specific actions or lack thereof (such as miasma or disrespect) and not a judgment of the practitioner and their effort in general. In this case, we’re talking about religious conduct and what is the best/ideal way to approach it, not moral-ethical consequences or trappings. 

In conclusion, it is important – in the Triskelion – to practice the religion in one’s best possible state and ability.  Λατρεύειν ἐν ἀρετήν” is a continuous effort towards improvement and quality religious practice.


*This does not mean all Gods or Spirits have such interest in humans, or that all of them are benevolent, or that such interest is permanent, or even that only naturally benevolent Gods and Spirits express it. This belief has its own prerequisite beliefs and conditions such as referring only to Gods or Spirits with whom the practitioner has forged relationships of reverence and devotion, or Gods and Spirits that have particular requests or reasons for involving themselves in the practitioner’s life. In general, however, in Hellenism and the Triskelion, we operate with the idea that most divinities (Gods & Spirits) we interact with are of the benevolent or, at the very least, of the amiable-towards-humans kind. In Hellenic belief, the “big Gods” tend to care for humanity, both in terms of feelings and in terms of actions (imparting virtues, blessings etc as mentioned in the essay) beyond their standard care for the world.

**Barring, of course, actual such transgressions, although none of those have anything to do with worshipping virtuously; when murder or desecration, for example, occur, the person in question has long since left the side and path of the Gods and virtue. This is not a case of “bad people aren’t really Pagans/polytheists/witches” but rather that said transgressions have such effects (energetically, spiritually) that those people practically cannot worship virtuously, despite their efforts. They may very well believe and self-identify as *insert Pagan/polytheist identity* but on a practical, energetic level, they are “powerless” (that is, devoid of many relationships and connections to Gods and spirits – not necessarily all, and it definitely depends on the case, but as a rule of thumb, grave crimes have grave consequences, religiously speaking).