Monday, March 8, 2021

Patron Gods of Cities: The example of Athena and how I interact with such Gods

This is a well-known concept, at least on a surface level. Throughout history, Gods (and in Christian lands, saints) have been patrons of cities and places, often giving their names to the land they protect and sponsor. One of the most famous examples is that of Athena, the patron Goddess of the city of Athens. Pretty much everyone knows of the mythical contest between Athena and Poseidon to decide the patron God of Athens, and how Athena won by offering the olive tree to the people of the city.


What I want to discuss here isn’t the mythical perspective – or even the theological exactly – but the practical, the empirical. What I’ve experienced as a practitioner born and raised in Athens (who still lives here too!) quickly put my worries of the Gods being relics of the past to rest. When I was still in my first couple of years of polytheist exploration and was almost entirely focused on the Hellenic pantheon, I felt guilty. I was drawn to deities like Selene, Artemis, and Gaia, yet I felt no real pull from Athena, the Goddess of the very city and land I lived on! I attempted to cultivate a relationship with Athena and in my teenage naivete I call upon her for help with school. 


It worked! While I oversimplified her attributes as a Goddess of wisdom and strategy, she still delivered. I never failed an exam or pop quiz, even without studying, if I had petitioned her beforehand. You’d think this would mean I could worship Athena more intimately than the occasional observance on the Attic calendar or, at least, Athena herself would warm up to me and become more prominent in my life. 


Wrong! None of that happened. I still felt practically no connection; I continued to honor her on traditional dates but that was it. I didn’t experience the kind of interaction I enjoyed with Selene for instance. Puzzled, I prayed to Athena, asking why things didn’t work out. The response I got was swift: “I’m only doing what is expected of me towards you, an Athenian.” 


That terse but honest response changed my point of view and made me realize something extraordinary. Even after centuries upon centuries of people denying Athena worship, honor, and recognition, she still acted as patron Goddess of Athens and, therefore, protected and supported all Athenians. She aided me because she saw it as a duty of her position! This also explained why there was no deepening of the relationship; it was strictly professional, so to speak. 


This experience led me to experiment, in a sense, over the years by “checking in” with various deities and spirits known to be patrons of cities, towns, and other areas. One of my findings was that these can overlap and coexist within the same place. For example, while the entirety of Athens is under Athena’s protection, specific areas have their own “sub-patrons”. Athena has the highest and most potent influence but the many regions that make up Athens are autonomously governed by Gods and spirits. The eerie similarity between human governance and divine organization of patronage didn’t escape me. Perhaps this is were we learnt that from? Who can know for certain. Another interesting thing is that there can be, and often are, more than one “big” patrons! This is usually the result of multiple religions existing in the same place, therefore multiple beings influence the same land. Whether this is always peaceful or not is another matter. 


Knowing the patron Gods of a location is important to me because my personal practice has a considerable bioregional character: I work with the Land, I practice in harmony with the spiritual ecosystem of my physical environment. When I visit another place, especially outside of Athens, I make it a point to contact the resident patron deity and honor them, ensuring my safety and a welcome stay on their land. This doesn’t necessarily look like much to an external observer, especially if I’m not at a place where I can easily and safely practice openly. My go-to method is as follows: 


I do a quick search for info on the location I’m in, if I haven’t already done so before arriving. If the area doesn’t have direct information on a patron deity (whether current or in the past – evidently from Athena’s case, patron Gods don’t really abandon their domains), I look into patron saints and their associations with ancient divinities. In the rare cases where neither option yields the necessary information, I do this: I pray to Hekate and Hermes to either reveal the patron deity to me or contact them and ask them to make themselves known. Once I have established who the patron God of the area is, I give them a simple offering, usually a libation of water and a prayer expressing my respect and reverence. 


Usually, things end there. Most patron deities of places I’ve visited welcomed my actions (and I’ve felt a sense of surprise more than once – how sad that most are so used to human ignorance and neglect) but leave it there. Some barely acknowledged me at all and promptly ignored me after I was done. I consider it the spiritual equivalent of going through customs: you don’t really become friends with the airport staff checking your ID and luggage. 


I haven’t had any negative experiences with patron Gods of places but I’ve also been careful not to do anything that would offend them. That’s not a particularly hard task and any practitioner worth their salt should be respectful and mindful by default, in my opinion. If one were to be so unlucky as to elicit a hostile reaction from a patron deity, then my recommended solution would be a standard propitiation and appeasement. In other words, give good offerings, apologize sincerely, praise them, and make actual amends (i.e. fix what you broke). 


In conclusion, patron Gods and spirits of the land are, in my opinion and experience, an irrevocable and vital part of “spiritual ecology” and we should show our appreciation and reverence to them more often. We’re part of their land, whether temporarily or for life, and we should be aware and courteous towards them.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Simple Offering Ritual

Regular practice is one of the cornerstones of an effective magical life and path. I used to struggle with it a lot when I was still new to these things and I think I underestimated its importance subconsciously. Over the last few years, my regular practice has expanded and I maintain it more consistently. The degree of improvement in my skills, my spiritual sensitivity, and my relationships with my Gods and Spirits has been staggering thanks to regular practice!

As part of my regular devotionals, I perform a simple offering ritual to my Gods. Feeding the Gods and Spirits is paramount in a living, evolving, and thriving religion like the Triskelion; the influences of my Hellenic polytheism and animism are undeniably present in this concept.

 The ritual itself is performed on a weekly basis. The process is quite simple: once per week, usually on Mondays, I place on the altar a bowl of grain (barley or wheat usually) with herbs, a beeswax candle, and a cup of water (replaced daily). The herbs are specific to the religious calendar period we're in at the time or, if I'm performing special work that week, the herbs are associated with the work at hand. The beeswax candle is lit during devotional prayers every day and extinguished afterwards to avoid fire hazards. I start the ritual with the Orphic Hymn to Hekate and continue with personally crafted prayers to the Wildwood Court and the Witchfather. The bowl of grain & herbs and the cup of water are presented and their purpose proclaimed. After that, I take a few moments to focus and spiritually open myself to any potential messages from the Gods as well as to ensure the offerings have been well received (a very simple divination afterwards is performed to double-check). Finally, I give thanks to the Gods and end the ritual. Also, when replacing the water daily, I say a small prayer to accompany the renewed offering.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Revealed Gnosis in the Triskelion System

 Revealed gnosis or transmitted gnosis as I've seen it called by various practitioners, is knowledge one receives from their Gods and/or Spirits. This gnosis is usually not some temporary message or generic advice from our Gods. It's information and knowledge transmitted for specific purposes. It is often esoteric in nature and helps guide the practitioner towards a fuller experience and understanding of the Mysteries. In many cases it can also have valuable practical uses. While not always as clearly communicated as we might hope, Gods and Spirits have the capacity to teach us techniques, incantations and spells, rituals and invocations, secret names and words of power, and even entire systems of practice over time.


Divination can facilitate
the imparting of knowledge
from Gods and Spirits

This type of knowledge, the gnosis revealed to us by the Gods and Spirits, is an extremely important part of the Triskelion's nature and identity. My system would not exist without such gnosis because a large part of it has been and continues to be revealed to me through communication with my Gods and Spirits. I do not claim to be some kind of prophet or oracle. It's simply that in order to fulfill duties, goals, and plans, the divinities I worship and work with have deemed necessary to teach me all sorts of things. This doesn't mean that the entirety of my personal practice is revealed gnosis - not by a longshot. Neither are the things I have been taught some kind of unique, never-seen-before super-tradition. Let me make things clearer with concrete examples.

In the Hekatean part of the Triskelion, there are a number of tools I employ for my rituals and various practices. These aren't necessarily completely newfangled tools; what is "new" and "Triskelian" - in other words, what was revealed to me - are the specific uses, properties, names, and methods of creating and utilizing these tools. For instance, the Dagger is nothing new: most magical systems have some kind of magical knife (or more!). What was revealed gnosis was the way to consecrate it, its specific uses and purpose within the Triskelion system, how it is connected with Hekate etc. Other types of revealed gnosis were the existence and names of specific spirits, the way to approach them as well as rituals and spells with Triskelion-specific purposes.

Revealed gnosis is a fundamental part of the Triskelion because most of it wouldn't exist without this gnosis. Almost everything ends up tying together with previous bits and pieces of gnosis and over time has allowed me to give shape and form to the magical tapestry that is the Triskelion system. There's also quite a few "gaps" in the system because I either haven't received the associated knowledge yet or I haven't applied all of what I've been taught (and in some cases, both). This is also a disadvantage of my personal practice and its reliance on revealed gnosis: Gods and Spirits don't operate on human time or terms. I've received gnosis that didn't make sense or have an applicable role until years down the line, when I reached certain points in my practice that related to it. Other times, I didn't catch all the information (the unclear communication I mentioned earlier) and couldn't proceed with what I had. Still, I find that this systemic model suits both me and the Triskelion as a practice due to the extensive presence and utilization of ecstatic rites, trance-work, and spirit-work.

How do I receive this kind of gnosis though? Honestly, in many ways. Usually it happens when I am in a trance state, either in full ritual or during more casual spiritual and magical exercises. Somewhat more uncommon ways are direct instructions through oracles, divination, or unprovoked "spirit dialogue"*. I've also received quite a bit of gnosis through omens, signs, dreams, and similar synchronicities, although this has been the most random and least detailed way to receive gnosis. My preferred method is to engage in "spirit dialogue" during communion rituals and similar ecstatic rites and thus open myself up enough to receive any knowledge my Gods and Spirits might want to impart. It is my preference because it's a more "controlled" and familiar method which affords me the capacity to both acquire a lot of information and retain almost all of it.

After all these years, I tend to always keep one eye (and ear!) open, so to speak, so I won't be caught off-guard and miss or forget any important information. Sadly, I'm not perfect so I do miss "cues" at times, especially if the imparting of gnosis occurs through dreams or the trance-like state before we fall asleep. Like I mentioned earlier, Gods and Spirits don't operate on human terms and time so Their timing and approach can sometimes be inconvenient. Still, I consider myself lucky and blessed to have received and continue to receive so much knowledge from my Gods and Spirits. I am extremely thankful and happy to see my path unfold in such a manner. That said, I do wish things could be a little clearer at times!

* "Spirit dialogue" is what I call ecstatic, direct communication with a God or Spirit. In simple terms, it's literally talking with an entity! For me, their side of the "conversation" tends to manifest as foreign thoughts (seemingly random thoughts that I didn't consciously form myself - they often mentally "sound" different and contain information I couldn't know and didn't have the time to imagine), feelings and impressions, visions and/or manifestations in pathworkings, etc. Physical auditory and visual responses are very rare for me in general so I don't generally experience them in "spirit dialogue" either.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

I'm Still Alive!

Wow. More than TWO years since the last time I posted. Since this blog's beginnings back in 2010, there has never been this long a period of inactivity from me. I won't make excuses or jokes this time since it seems I only repeat myself every year! That said, I will give an update of my life and path for the past two years for anyone (still?) reading.

In the last real post, two years ago, I listed the various reasons and happenings in my life between 2016 and 2017 that kept me busy. There have been plenty of major changes since then and most are directly related to the things I was taking about in that post.

Here's what's new with me. First, the bad things:
  • I got a job at a warehouse towards the end of 2017 till the middle of 2018. While the company I worked for wasn't completely horrible, the conditions of the job itself were literally backbreaking. I was working overtime constantly, ended up in relentless pain that permanently injured by left thumb and worsened the state of both wrists, and the pay was, while the legal minimum, truly measly. All aspects of my life - mental health, social life, spirituality, art - took a huge hit. 
  • Unable to endure the warehouse job, I managed to land a retail job in mid-2018. While seemingly better at first, especially in terms of time (less hours which meant marginally less money but way less physically crippling), it turned out to be even worse as the boss was an atrocious creature (I have trouble calling her a person) whose unpredictable, insulting, and demanding behavior left me in a constant state of extreme anxiety and exhaustion. For those unfamiliar, I suffer from chronic generalized anxiety and depression and I've fought for years to return to a more healthy state of mind and life. Those two day jobs, especially the retail one, took me many steps backwards in terms of mental health progress. 
  • In the end, at the beginning of March 2019, I was fired after demanding to be paid the money my boss owed me. That, coupled with four months of stressful, and ultimately futile, efforts to get my money as well as solve a number of other major issues, nearly destroyed my religious and magical practice, reducing it to a mere shadow of a spirituality. I'm still dealing with the psychological (and financial!) aftermath of this past year and a half of bullshit, unfortunately.
  •  The Hekatean group I was in that operated under the auspices of the Covenant of Hekate ended up disbanding due to inactivity and the departure of core members. I still maintain a good friendship with the couple that started it and we occasionally do rituals or magic together but we're no longer a formal group of any kind.
  •  During 2018, I was also undergoing training for eventual initiation in the Aurum Solis. Unable to cope with yet another source of pressure and being truly drained of time and energy, I ended up stopping the training. While mulling that over, I realized I was seeking initiation for the wrong reasons and the personal revelations that realization ignited changed my thinking and approach on many things in my life, especially in spiritual matters.
  • The Stardust Compass apparently went inactive some time during my disconnect from my practices. As such, I have completely let go of that particular system.

Now, onto the more positive stuff:

  • My boyfriend and I moved together in mid-2018 and have been living together since then. It has been amazing but also very challenging, especially since it's the first time for both of us. Building and maintaining your own, truly independent household is both incredibly rewarding and stupidly difficult!
  •  I continue to have a magical relationship with my best friend, although mundane life has caused it to wax and wane in activity.
  • My relationship with the Witchfather has grown exponentially since the last time I posted here. The development of the Triskelion Path as a whole has also reached new levels and Hekate has elevated me to new strata of understanding I was not expecting. There will be much to do and share regarding the Triskelion in the near future.
  • Finally, my art and writing have grown a lot, both in terms of quality as well as in terms of productivity. My goal is for 2020 to be a year of publications and full-fledged work in those matters.

So, that's the cliffnotes version of the past two years of my life! I will jinx this again and say I'm hoping to post more in the coming months. I've been inspired recently so I'm revitalizing my online presence in regards to religious/magical matters, such as making a Pagan/occult-focused Instagram account. I found that doing so helped keep me productive and accountable with my artistic goals so I'm hoping it will do the same for my religious and magical stuff. Here's to more content!

P.S. I've also changed my online name to Chelydoreus. It's my public "magical name" and, in an effort to shift my mindset to a more professional approach, I've decided to also make it my screen name.

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.