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Showing posts from March, 2019

Priesthood of Aphrodite

I am not Wiccan.  However, I do have an appreciation for it.  It was through Wicca that I entered the Pagan Community and its practices still have an influence on my worldview and practices. It was through the Reclaiming Tradition that I first encountered the idea of goddesses, and where I first began to love the Goddess.  I had learned some had Goddesses or Gods who had called them and with whom they had a special devotion.

Now here we are 25+ years later, and I am going to be anointed a priest of the goddess, Aphrodite.  I guess my calling happened very naturally.  I had no blinding visions, nor episodic dreams that let me know I was called to serve the goddess Her.   In fact, I don't think I ever would have considered being devoted Her, based on media images of her.  I remember episodes of Xena where Aphrodite was shallow, a self-centered bimbo, and just not interesting.    However as I healed the pain of the past and embraced my sexual orientation and coupled with that of lear…

Goddess of Love

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Sappho's Prayer to Aphrodite

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Iridescent-throned Aphrodite, deathlessChild of Zeus, wile-weaver, I now implore you,Don't--I beg you, Lady--with pains and tormentsCrush down my spirit,But before if ever you've heard my pleadingsThen return, as once when you left your father'sGolden house; you yoked to your shining car yourWing-whirring sparrows;Skimming down the paths of the sky's bright etherOn they brought you over the earth's black bosom,Swiftly--then you stood with a sudden brilliance,Goddess, before me;Deathless face alight with your smile, you asked meWhat I suffered, who was my cause of anguish,What would ease the pain of my frantic mind, andWhy had I called youTo my side: "And whom should Persuasion summonHere, to soothe the sting of your passion this time?Who is now abusing you, Sappho? Who isTreating you cruelly?Now she runs away, but she'll soon pursue you;Gifts she now rejects--soon enough she'll give them;Now she doesn't love you, but soon her heart willBurn, though…

The Origins of Aphrodite

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One of the earliest Greek poets, Hesiod,  tells the oldest origin story of Aphrodite:  A couple of generations prior to Zeus, Uranos reigned with his wife Gaia.   Uranos despised his children as they were seen as threats to his power.  So he hid them in the depths of the earth, until Gaia, created a plan with her son Cronus. 

Devotion

A Christian friend asked me if I prayed and if so, how I pray.  Realizing there are so few books actually on Animism and even fewer from a practitioner viewpoint I thought I might share how I personally "pray". 

I begin by honoring my most ancient ancestors, the primal elements from which we all came: what many in big-tent Paganism attribute as the earth, the air, the fire, and the water.  These primal ancestors I depend on for life.  I then honor my physical ancestors and ask for their help and guidance.

Next, I honor the spirit of place, those nature spirits with whom I co-exist as part of the land where my home resides.   I pledge to seek to constantly dwell in harmony with them.   I know that offending the spirits of place is a recipe for chaos and unrest in the home and life. 

I then honor the spirit of my city and the surrounding land then those "big" spirits of many lands that we might call gods, particularly those with whom I have developed a relationship. …

My Animist Beginnings

Animism has always fascinated me.   Even before I knew the word for it, I was one.   I remember as a pre-teen visiting a small canyon behind our property in rural Oklahoma.  It was one of my favorite places to spend time.  It was home to bugs, scorpions, spiders, cacti, and snakes.  But at the bottom, there was a little grove of trees, not very large.  I made a shrine there.  I even called it a shrine.  In this space, I remember feeling such peace.   I would leave tiny offerings to the trees and space there.  Other times I would stand on the edge of the canyon and slightly lean into the strong winds and bask in a strong feeling of joy and peace as I said thank you to the winds.   I remember my sadness and anger upon coming down to my small grove and finding someone had torn up the offerings, scattered things and left garbage all around.  Sadly, I never returned. 

A Worldview

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A friend once asked me to describe the spiritual world as I experience it as an Animist.  As we were enjoying a walk in a park, I pointed to a nearby oak tree.  This oak tree has roots, bark, leaves, acorns and so much more that we don't even see that make it this particular oak tree.  This oak tree has a life, a way of feeding itself and a life span.  To me this life, that scientists understand only a little bit about, is sacred.  This oak tree is a type of person to me.  Not a human person but an oak person.  And like my body is made up of more than just the big parts, it is also made up of mini "eco-systems" of cells, bacteria, and other things, each with their own function and life, often very different than mine....so too does nature.    Some of it with which I, as an animist, can develop a type of relationship or communion.   This tree is a type of spirit of nature in my worldview.  It could also be part of a slightly larger natural system such as a grove of trees…

Loss and Finding Oneself

The past several months have been unique, to say the least. I walked away from my relationship with my partner.  The relationship had become one in which neither of us were happy and both of us were finding ways to emotionally and mentally check out with each other.   Additionally, the small Pagan community I had served in for several years disbanded.  There was no drama involved other than our numbers were small and members spread out by distance no longer felt the need to come together weekly.  I also suspect that much like my relationship with my partner...real needs were not being met.  The icing on the cake was the group I helped found when living in another town over 20 years ago ceased to be.   The co-founder was moving away and no one was willing to step forward to lead. 

Loss and change is not easy for anyone, myself included.  In the final months of our local communities meetings, some of us experienced breakthroughs in our spiritual practice and personal gnosis of the faces…