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Pagan Blog Project – J is for (St.) John’s Wort!

Oh dear. I have not been keeping up with the PBP!

So onwards!

I am informed that this week’s letter is the letter J.

J shall be…

  • (J) eneric deities
  • Jewelry Everyone’s got a post on jewelry for some reason.
  • Journaling I don’t keep all that great of one.
  • Jesus Psh.

Hmm… I looked through the Delphic Maxims, all epithets of the gods I know, and didn’t find one that seemed fitting. So then I started poking through my herbal collection, and — duh! St. John’s Wort. So here’s to my friend who was curious about herbs, but was fearful of poisoning herself. 😉

I have a lot of love for this little yellow beauty. St. John’s Wort tea was the first tea I would drink straight, no milk or honey or sugar necessary.

For those unfamiliar, St. John’s Wort is used to relieve depression. If you’re an out-and-out suicidal, it won’t help much, but if you are someone like me who just needs a reminder that self-injuring doesn’t help you out in the long run, it brings you to a good, rational place. (By the way, nobody take the out-and-out suicidal thing as  a joke — it’s not meant to be. I know what it’s like to want to die.)

Now, yes, I believe the earth is kind enough to provide an answer to every problem — have you heard that there was some kind of fungus discovered, which loves to eat plastic — thus potentially solving the dilemma of bottled drinks in dumping sites?

The flip side is — St. John’s Wort can be poisonous in large doses for livestock. And, with St. John’s Wort being one of those plants that can grow uncontrollably, this can cause a problem for farmers and others who have cows, horses, etcetera.

Normally, the animals would become kind of restless, confused and depressed. They might become adverse to water, and will also seek out shade, because they can also become photosensitive at this time.For human poisoning, this would require a ridiculously high and long period of dosages to cause problems — some liver damage has been noticed in people that have that going on, but the human body can have some moments of being a badass, and coping with whatever you throw at it. If you have that problem, lay off of the tea for a little bit, and you should be okay.

Also! I hear rumor it was used as an herb to aid abortion — anyone have any information on this?

<3, Lily.

Pagan Blog Project – H is for Hestia, obviously!

After just posting G is for Goodbyes, I looked at the dates on the Pagan Blog Project. This is what happens when Lily pays no attention to dates on stuff. Which she usually doesn’t. Surprising I’ve never had bad milk or food poisoning. (knock on wood.)

So apparently this week’s Pagan Blog Project is, in fact, H! Someone somewhere said write about what you know, and some people don’t know who Hestia is.

Because of this, when I couldn’t make the deposit on my tattoo last week, I swore on Zeus instead that I’d show up to the appointment. (Side note, some girls next to us, the very pop-culture stupid teen types, didn’t know that name either. Also, they thought our friend’s Tourette’s were her trying to be funny. Stupid bi…) The tattooist started trying to explain Zeus, because anyone who went to fourth grade in America should know that name. Or ever watched the Hercules cartoons or movie. ANYWAYS.

Hestia.

Hestia is a deity the Greeks worshipped mostly in the home, which is why people are largely unfamiliar with her, I think. She didn’t get the great temples and big city processionals, but she’s something of a homebody, so I really don’t think she’d care for them anyways.

Hestia as a word means hearth, and she tended hers and always kept it burning, so that everyone might have a warm spot by the fire, perhaps with a little snack or two and a story to share.

Sometimes life happens, and I don’t honor her (or any of the theoi, for that matter) as I should. To which she seems to think “It’s okay dear, whenever you have the time.” Which just makes me sad, because appealing to my morals and such works so much better than actually punishing me.

(Example: in high school, for the few times I was texting in class, they never took my phone or sent me to the principle’s. One teacher just said “Lily, I expected better of you”. Gonk. You couldn’t just take my phone or yell at me, could you?)

I also think my devotion to Hestia explains why some people think my boyfriend and I live in a 1940s TV show – I do the cooking, the cleaning, and intend at some point to be a Nordwife too, with brewing mead and beer. (Where’s your 1940s now, huh?!)

I also hear rumor some Hestians are thought of as being “held down by the man”. Except, if you spend a full minute talking to the Hestians, you’ll find they’re happy with it. Hestia didn’t do it for a man; in fact, she rejected both offers of marriage from Apollo and Poseidon, and decided to remain an eternal virgin to stop a fight from happening between the two. She doesn’t need a man to be complete.

True, I was always looking at the more… glamourous gods and goddesses when I was looking for the one I was supposed to be with, which, looking back now, I really shouldn’t have. I am not a person who really seeks out glamour or wealth. I don’t even recall where I first stumbled across Hestia’s name, but… I am content with knitting and baking on a rainy day, and prefer the company of a few friends to a raging party. I like playing with my mice and spending time with kitties.

I totally understand Nuri’s “hyperactive introvert” comment she made about herself. I don’t like when people equate introvert with raging antisocial bitch, because that’s not how an introvert is. An introvert is an introvert, and a raging antisocial bitch is a raging antisocial bitch. These are not the same.

Though I haven’t read the Percy Jackson books, I did hear what he did with Hestia, which I think is pretty appropriate. Apparently she featured in “The Last Olympian”, as, well… the last Olympian. She said something or other about “When all the other gods have gone off to war, I am what remains.” Like a good ol’ army wife, she keeps home and is the girl worth fighting for that every soldier should have. She will miss her husband, but with a heart full of love she keeps the home ready for his return.

I am as feminist as any other gal, so hardcores, put your torches and pitchforks down. It’s just as oppressive to tell a girl she can’t wear makeup and heels if she wants to as it is to force her to wear them for her attractiveness. I choose to do my tea-brewing and garden-tending. I enjoy cuddling with tea thermos and blankies and just watching a movie. My idea of date night, 75% of the time, costs no money.

Boyfriend and I have even considered moving away from city and getting a little self-sufficiency with a farm. Now hush and let me make you stew and a scarf.

Khaire Hestia.

Lily. ❤

Pagan Blog Project – G is for Goodbyes

Apparently my life decided to go off the radar for all of my fantastical internet friends. Life got busy. Sorry guys. 😦

In any case, after dropping off of the i-Planet for a while, with no updates and all that, I come back for Pagan Blog Project – this week is G!

I read a wonderful post from Nuri about Grace, and she’ll be covering Kharis later, which I’m looking forward to.

G shall be for… goodbyes.

No, I’m not leaving the Internet, sillies.

Some sad news I heard the other day — a girl I went to high school with died sometime this past week, and I tried to see if I could help out with any funerals, wakes, funerary expenses, etcetera, but apparently the funeral had already happened and was a private affair. I think the mother worked at the nurse’s office at my school, so I might pay a visit to say hello to the mumsy. Though I doubt she’d be back at work this quickly, so I’ll give it some time.

I was thinking of just doing something small for her in the meantime. I’m [i]pretty damn sure[/i] she was a Kemetic pagan, she had a really big thing for Egypt, with an ankh necklace, ankh tattoo and an Eye of Horus tattoo (maybe Eye of Ra? I get the two confused.) Dunno if she was a recon or not, and that’s not really all that big of a deal to me.

Obviously, I can’t do a “real” Egyptian funeral, because I don’t think her family would much care for me to go dig up her body and do all the canopic jars and all that. But I can light up a candle, read some poems and hope that she can say that she had a good time while it lasted. I also have this hardcore desire to offer cinnamon honey, which I’m not sure where that comes from, but I could see her being a person who liked cinnamon, despite no real reason to know that, so I’ll go get a honey stick when I’m at the market again.

I also somehow bet she knew I had a bit of a crush on her in school.

So I’ll make somethin’ pretty and hope she likes it.

Week 11 – F

I decided rather early on this week what I wanted to do for the Pagan Blog Project. I gave brief thought to ‘the Fates’ and something else, and then I thought: Foreseeing the future!

I used to do tarot, and I guess I still technically do if someone asks me to. The thing is, nobody’s asked me to in a good while, and I don’t care much to spoil the future for myself anymore than my dreams already do.

So today is a step away from all of the Greek stuff, everybody, and instead a focus on something a lot of people  practice: Divination.

There are lots of ways to divine the future, some better than others to particular people.  Popular ways are the aforementioned tarot and other cards, like oracle cards, stone cards, and I have heard tale of people using a normal deck of cards for, say, poker.

There’s also divining rods, pendulums, other swinging things on a chain, ornithomancy. I think, somewhere, people use the auras on people now to foretell the future as well, though I can’t claim to know how to use the last two at all. I do like counting birds though, which I totally picked up from Neji, a la Naruto anime.

I’ve had good success with tarot, as long as I don’t try the crazy Celtic Cross layout, which takes a good while to read, and gives a lot more input, but can lead to information overload for me. I have a friend who loves her oracle cards, and I have only one deck of those kinds of cards that I like. Pendulums are quick and appropriate to questions that need a yes / no answer, and are rather non-descript and pretty much answer on the spot.

As for foreseeing the future in dreams, I don’t know how or why, it just is for me. Like the pendulum, it’s usually nothing terribly important, it just shows me a snippet of a conversation I’ll have and what people are positioned where and what they’re wearing at the time. I suppose it’s been kind enough to show me people I’ll be hanging out with in the future, like how I saw the apartment of some people I now hang out with weekly, seen before I ever even met them, and video games before they release (Skyrim did this!), but usually it’s just a generic thing. I didn’t see, for example, 9/11 or anything on the big scale, except for when one night I couldn’t see anything, but I heard a bomb go off pretty much right in my ear. A couple of days later, I find out my dad’s being deployed to Afghanistan. Fun. He came back pretty messed up.

But, that’s kind of tangental. I have plans of keeping track of when I have dreams that predict the future vs. how long they take to actually occur. Maybe I can mark it down to a particular moon phase, or something, I dunno. But when I have them, I even realize in the dream, as when I do in reality, when I have a sudden “I saw this happen already!” moment, but it’s stronger than deja vu.

Maybe it’s just bad meat. 😉

Alternative form of divination, you could just do what JennaMarbles does, and foretell your day by what panties you’re wearing. Probably qualifies as NSFW :

Enyalios

Continuing off of last week’s post about epithets, Enyalios is about a Greek god who gets a lot of dirt kicked up about him. And, honestly, I don’t think he’d have it any other way! 😉

Enyalios is an epithet of Ares, the god of war, which translates about to ‘Lord of War’. Like Loki from the Norse pantheon, some don’t like him because they feel he is evil or the devil or whatever.

Let me be absolutely and totally clear about this: they’re not evil.

Someone on the Hellenismos website was even having a fit, saying he’s not worthy of worship and Athena is a better deity of war and she deserves honor and Ares deserves death and negligence.

Yes, Athena and Ares are both deities of war, though they differ in their approach to it. Using a common comparison, Athena is the general who decides where the best tactical points are, when to strike, strategic choke holds etcetera. Ares is on the battlefield with the common soldier who is putting the general’s plans into action.

Both are a part of warfare, and so you can’t say one is good and one is evil. There seems to be pretty much universal agreement that war is bad, but it has been going on since, well, probably forever. Humans aren’t the only ones that do this, either; animals fight too. It’s a natural part of how our world is.

Yes, Ares brings bloodshed, but he is not this all-evil rapist / ax-murderer / psychopath.

A story about Ares

Ares was well-known to have all sorts of love affairs, which led to the production of many offspring, over fourty children have been given a real name and many have been unnamed. One daughter was Alcippe, who, depending on which myth you go by, Poseidon’s son Halirrhotius either raped or tried to rape her. Ares, full of Papa Bear Anger ™ pretty much grabs his sword and runs outside. He finds Halirrhotus and kills him on the spot.

This leads to Areopagus later, “Ares Hill”, a little hill in Greece where Poseidon takes him to trial with Zeus as the judge, with Ares getting off scot-free from murder charges. And after Zeus has spoken, you really don’t get much choice in the matter afterwards. Because, y’know, Poseidon’s son tried to rape / raped Alcippe.

Ares is with us when adrenaline is whizzing through our veins at the speed of sound, when it becomes a fight, run, or die situation. When you just want to give up on life, Ares slaps you in the face and tells you “Get a hold of yourself, man!” He won’t put up with self-pity, and he won’t listen to you whine. He’ll hand you a sword and tell you to get up or die here alone.

Sure, he’s harsh, but he has to be.

<3, Lily.

Week 9 – E

E is for ethics, E is for eusebia, and E is for epithets.

I originally thought I would do eusebia, but I am still defining what this means to me personally, so I combined epithets with another idea of pointing out that gods are not just their archetypes.

Epithets, to narrow it down quickly, are like nicknames for the Gods, and they remind the worshipper that Gods are more than their archetypes and domains.

For example, most people are familiar on a base level with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex. These two things are seperate, but equally awesome. Aphrodite Pandemos would be Aphrodite in terms of sexuality, a basic drive for most of humanity, whereas Aphrodite Urania is the goddess of spiritual love, like the kind you have for a dear brother or long time spouse. Some may be even familiar with Aphrodite Philomeides, the laughter-loving Aphrodite. But are they familiar with Aphrodite Areias, war-like Aphrodite?

I would bet on probably not.

In the case of Zeus, most know him as kind of a dick. He’s the guy going around raping women and cheating on his wife, a sort of frat boy of the sky. He’s also the guy that flings thunder and lightning about, and many people are aware of this aspect of him as well. But, he is also Zeus Xenios, in charge of punishing those who do not treat their guests properly, and Zeus Telios, a protector of marriage. Someone else put it as a bit of “At the end of the day, despite Zeus’ philandering, he always goes back to Hera, and there is something romantic in that”. I’m not terribly close with Zeus, and while the word ‘rape’ may put others off, recall that rape was a general word of any male sticking it in a girl, and that, quite likely, the gods aren’t bound by human morals.

One of my favorite of the males is Hermes, god of the marketplace, god of thieves, and god of traveling. Brazen thieves would call his name as they bolted with some goods. In terms of archetypes, he is a trickster god, like Loki, however, he was also a god of language, and combined with Thoth into Hermes Trimegistus, and he was a god of alchemy. Despite his vague trickster god status, he is not entirely about ruining people’s lives. He was also a giver of good things; when one came across some bit of lucky find, it was called a hermaion, a windfall from Hermes. And Hermes was a pretty smart dude.

So whoever called Greek paganism an obnoxious bureaucracy can suck it.

<3, Lily.

Week 8 – D

February 24th is Week The Eighth of the Pagan Blog Project, and the first one I am doing. I’m a little late to this party, so… let’s get started!

D… D, D, D, D…

D is for dancing!

For those who can cut loose and dance during ritual, I feel like there is an explicit power there. There’s a lot of energy raised during ritual and worship dances, like, so much surging that it’s absolutely fantastic. Only once did I feel extremely called to dance during a time when I was using witchcraft, and I forget what exactly it was for, but I remember what I was listening to and where I was doing my witchcraft.

Then again, it’s almost always done in my bedroom, especially if it’s later in the day.

All the same, I was dancing around what used to be my  altar; it’s a little round blue table, and I was burning, I’m pretty sure, Egyptian Jasmine incense. I’m rather certain this is around the time in my life I was attracted to Bast, and my cat, at the time, was getting very old. His kidneys were starting to shut down, and he was getting way too thin.

Gus ended up getting put to sleep and cremated, but when I am sad I have a little wooden box with his ashes inside. I feel like when I hold it close I can still feel his purr against my chest, and it’s a wonderful thing.

But, yes, dancing. I’m rather sure that night when I danced was the most energy I’ve ever whipped around on my own, and I offered all of this up to Bast, I’m sure, in a spell to best remove my cat’s pain. It would have been preferable if he hadn’t died, but I’ve accepted death since I was a kid, and apparently Gus was much older than the adoption center thought he was.

So everyone, let loose a little the next time you’re practicing witchcraft or honoring the Gods, for some severely fantastic spiritual experiences. I swear it will be worth it. 😉 Dance, everybody, dance!

And whether Gus was reincarnated or simply passed on to a fantastic afterlife, I absolutely love him to pieces. I miss him, but if he was reincarnated, I hope that the new human he’s with treats him very well. Remember, he’s fat, and he likes to lay by the fire and have his tummy rubbed.

I’m rather certain the power and energy raised during dancing applies whether you’re a circle-casting witch, a non-circle-casting witch, a Temenos-creator, or whatever you do to create your sacred space. I’ll try it with temenos sometime and tell you how it goes. I think I casted a circle when I did the ritual where I danced. Let me do some experimentation.

<3, Lily.