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GoodGod!

August, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dionysos

Merry meet.

This month we get to know Dionysos, the Olympian god of the grape harvest, wine and wine making as well as the god of ritual madness, wild frenzy, festivity and pleasure. He is also called Bacchus.

He was usually accompanied by Satyrs (lustful, drunken woodland deities who were part human and part horse or goat) and Mainades (frenzied female devotees).

The thyrsos (a staff topped with a pinecone), a crown of ivy, fruiting grapevines, a drinking cup and a panther are all associated with him. Frequently represented in ancient art, he was first shown as a mature, bearded adult wearing an ivy wreath and a long robe that was sometimes draped with the skin of a fawn or a feline. In later times, he was depicted as youthful and beardless, effeminate, and partially or entirely nude.As such he is among the most versatile and elusive Greek gods.

According to mythagora.com, Dionysos’ life began with intrigue and disaster. “Zeus was attracted to the lovely princess of Thebes but his appreciation of Thyone did not escape the notice of his sister/wife, Hera. The vengeful goddess dared not interfere overtly with Zeus’s affairs but she was a master of subtlety. When it became obvious that Thyone was pregnant, Hera enchanted Thyone and induced her ask Zeus to come to her in his radiant splendor. Zeus was flattered and revealed himself to Thyone in all his flaming glory … she was utterly consumed by the flames.

Zeus’s son Hermes rescued Thyone’s premature child from the conflagration that consumed Thyone’s mortal body and gave the babe to a woman named Makris, daughter of Aristaios, on the island of Euboia. Makris did what she could to sooth the child but Hera was quick to realize what had happened … she drove Makris from her home. Zeus took the infant from Makris and sewed it into his thigh so that it might have his protection.”

Dionysos later journeys to the underworld, gets his mother and takes “her to Olympus where Zeus transformed into the goddess Thyone,” according to the Theo Greek Mythology website.

When Dionysos and his companions as were traveling through the Land of Thrakian, the king drove them into the sea. “As punishment,” the website states, “the god inflicted him with madness causing him to murder his wife and son and mutilate himself with an axe.

When King Pentheus of Thebes refused to accept Dionysos’ divinity, Dionysos retaliated by driving the king’s daughters into a crazed frenzy and they tore him apart limb from limb, Theo Greek Mythology states.

Another myth shared on the website tells of Dionysos traveling through the Aegean Sea when he was captured by a band of Tyrrhenian pirates who planned to sell him into slavery. “The god infested their ship with phantoms of creeping vines and wild beasts, and in terror the men leapt overboard and were transformed into dolphins.”

Dionysos married princess Ariadne of Krete (Crete) whom he found abandoned by Theseus on an island.


He traveled as far as India, and upon his return to Greece, those who welcomed him adopted his rituals. His followers also wore or carried pinecone-topped staffs, ivy crowns and drinking cups. Dionysos punished those who rejected him with madness or physical afflictions, or he would turn them into animals. Over time, drinking wine became his sacrament, even to the point of drunkenness.

According to N.S. Gill’s article on Thoughtco.com, “Dionysos is a patron of the theater and an agricultural/fertility god. … Writers often contrast Dionysus with his half-brother Apollo. Where Apollo personifies the cerebral aspects of mankind, Dionysus represents the libido and gratification.”

Despite being the creator and god of wine, the ritual madness associated with Dionysus did not involve alcohol or drugs. “Their wild dancing and estate ecstatic behaviour were interpreted as ‘madness’ only by the uninitiated,” according to the Ancient World Project at the University of Michigan.

Greek theater is said to come from the worship of Dionysus in Athens. The Theater of Dionysus held 17,000. Plays were performed honoring Dionysus as god of wine. It’s said that tragedies dramatized his negative and destructive traits while comedies incorporated innocence, humor and his many festivals

When you incorporate wine into your celebrations, rituals, or for cakes and ale, honoring Dionysus can bring fertility and gratification.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

GoodGod!

July, 2018

Meet the Gods: Heimdall

Merry meet.

The Norse god Heimdall was the watchman for the gods. Every hour of every day, every day of the year, he determined who could cross Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard, the land of the gods, one of the nine worlds held in the tree Yggdrasil.

Heimdall is said to have had nine mothers – all sisters, all giants and all virgins. He lived at the footing of the bridge. He was tall with teeth of gold, hearing so acute he could detect grass growing in the meadow; even at night he could see farther than a man could walk in 100 days and required less sleep than a bird. He was the god with the whitest skin, for which he was called the shining god.

Before he came to be the sentinel keeping Asgard safe from giants, he went by the name of Rig. Wandering the world and staying with three couples, he is said to have been the forefather of the three social classes: thralls (who served), peasants and freemen, and warriors and chieftains.

He and Loki kill each other fighting over a necklace.

According to NorthernPaganism.org, Heimdall can be of assistance with pragmatic wisdom for achieving a goal, considered helpful in academic and philosophical pursuits.

He took it upon himself to stand watch to protect Asgard. It was a lonely but important job. Let him serve as an example of duty, dependability, purpose, focus and awareness – traits that would benefit detectives, intelligence operatives, those providing military surveillance and protectors of others, as well as anyone who deals with unruly factions and needs to maintain good relations with all. Find ways to emulate him. Call on him for endurance.

Gjallarhorn was Heimdall’s horn, which could be heard in all nine worlds when he blew it – which was not often. You can dedicate a horn to him.

When seeking to honor Heimdall, be honest and know he valued actions above words.

Mead makes a good offering, so does coffee.

Heimdall Ritual for Blessing a Guard” by Ari is offered on the website as a way to honor and appreciate those who hold often thankless guardian positions such as security guards, bodyguards and bouncers.

Ari calls for making a sigil – a round piece of wood painted sky blue, with the runes Dagaz and Algiz, for wakefulness and protection, on it. It should have a piece of rainbow ribbon tied to it, and a golden chain to hang so it can hang around your neck or a gold keychain for carrying it. A wooden staff, taller than the person being honored, is given to him or her. While holding the staff, the individual is smudged with smoke from dried angelica and cumin seed.

The person performing the ritual says:

Hail to Heimdall! Hear us, Hallinskihdi!

Gold-toothed guardian of Gjallarhorn,

Give this your guardian

Sire of many castes, stamina’s soldier,

See this your sentinel as s/he stands watch

And watch over him/her as well.

Bifrost’s border-watcher, bane of burglars,

Be with this your patient protector,

Let eyes close not, let ears shut not,

Let back bow not, let wakefulness flow,

Let wits be about in all ways, O Wave-Son,

Witness of a hundred leagues around.”

Then a drop of mead is touched to each eye, each ear, the center of the forehead, the top of the head, and the back of the neck, with the words:

See all above,

See all below,

Hear all above,

Hear all below,

Sharp to catch all,

Proud to stand tall,

Strong back never fall.”

The guard takes a sip of mead and pours out the rest as a libation to Heimdall with the words “Hail Rainbow’s Guardian.” The guard hands the staff over, and is given the sigil in trade, with the words: “This staff stays in your spine; this sigil stays at your side.” Then the guard should, ideally, go straight to work, with Heimdall’s blessing.

More poems, prayers and writings about Heimdall can be found here http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/heimdall/writing.html.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

My Staff and its Consecration

June, 2006

I’ve seen the staves of other Pagans, and was really impressed by them, especially the handmade ones. Being a Tool, as well as wanting one while taking nature walks, I decided to make a Staff of my own.


I had picked up a number of bundles of strong bamboo lengths from Pier 1 Imports, not knowing what I was gonna do with them, just knowing I might have a need sometime. That time came. I took what was the thickest and strongest length, and sanded the whole thing, to expel the commerciality of its origin as well as to introduce it to my own personal energy.


I glued a perfectly spherical white calcite orb to the top, to give it that ‘sceptre’ look, mindful of the Staff also being an extension of the Wand tool. White calcite is also a preferred stone for working with the Sahasrara, or Crown Chakra, so that itself was great for the aspect of the Guru.


I decided I wanted to eventually consecrate what this would become…when the Moon was Full in Leo. That would be the next Fire sign the Moon would be full in, and not too far away, either. In my eclectic Path (as well as maybe some others’) the Staff is a Fire tool, so that would be just right. I wrapped some faux suede I got from a craft store around the top for a hand grip, gluing it at the seam. Then I knotted 7 different colored threads from the base of that hand grip to the top. The colors were ascending in order in association with the colors of the 7 main Chakras. A friend I was visiting in Virginia had given me this braided length of leather that been knotted at the end. This knot has been tied since 1965, and if I were to use it, I would need to untie it to fit it through the opening of a cross-section of spiral hermit-crab shell that I ornamented the front with. That itself was held secure to the Staff by crisscrossed lengths of string that I had braided, myself, held to the back by a small piece of abalone shell that I had glued on. When I finally untied that knot in the leather braid, I felt like I was releasing the energies of a distant past…when the Rolling Stones were some hot new rock group out of Britain. I looped this through to serve as a stirrup-type guard to have my wrist through when gripping the Staff.


I wanted to imbue the energies of a wide assortment of oils into the bamboo, one for each phase of the Moon cycle before the one where it would be full in Leo. That meant to start when it was New in Capricorn, New Year’s Eve of 2005.


I chose the bamboo that I already had, so that not only would this Staff serve as a magickal Tool and a walking stick, but also as a defense, much like a bo used in martial arts. Far be it from me to ever want to have such a circumstance arise, but close be it to me to be prepared if it should. Mindful of it being a walking stick, I thought about a walk across the world, starting from the far East. So when the Moon was New, I anointed it with the rather Asian Lemongrass oil. I had a Catholic rosary (yep, I’m pretty eclectic) looped around it, and prayed inside a cast Circle. The Waxing Quarter Moon was in Aries, and I oiled it with Arabian Sandalwood, to continue working my way westward in the ‘walk around the world’. Once again I had a rosary looped around it, as I would do the rest of the way through this Moon cycle. The Full Moon came, in Cancer. I cast a Circle and oiled it with Cedar, giving propers to Phoenician Lebanon, as I have much admiration for the Phoenicians in my eclectic Path. Waning Quarter Moon was next, in Scorpio, and I oiled it with a ‘Sea Goddess’ blend made by the owners of an occult shop in nearby New Hope, PA. ‘Sea Goddess’ was great for representing the ocean that stood between the Old World and the New, as well as my love for all things maritime, oceanic, nautical…and the celebrated sailing and trading skills of the aforementioned Phoenicians.

I was hoping that my order for the Mayan Tagetes oil or the Peru Balsam would have arrived before the Moon was New again, to complete the ‘walk around the world’ with something of the American continents. But alas, it didn’t, and I completed the cycle at the New Moon in Aquarius, anointing it with the ever-so-deifying Rose oil.


After the oil had dried, I took my woodburner and carved some sigils down the length of it. I made the triangular alchemical symbol of Fire, as well as another triangle to represent the Grand Trine in Fire that I have in my astrological natal chart. Mercury and Sun in Aries, Moon and Neptune in Sagittarius, and South Node in Leo. The planetary symbols as well as the zodiac sign symbols were creatively blended to form sigils of their own. I had previously downloaded a Phoenician-script font, called ‘eshmoon’ on my computer, spelled out my craft name in that font, and burned that down the length of the front. I did the same on the back, with an Atlantean font used in Disney’s “Atlantis”, which itself was a sweet and unexpected find.


Now in February, this gave me 2 weeks to meditate on my Staff before the Moon was New in Leo, when I would consecrate it, as well as prepare for a small ceremony as well. The only thing I ended up premeditating was setting up the Altar, with my new cherry-red panne cloth to represent the element of Fire. This was great, because the 11 inches of snow that fell the night before the Full Moon was not expected. What that did, was create for an unbelievably BEAUTIFUL winter fairyland setting at the edge of the woods right behind the house. Many tree limbs hung low under the weight of all this snow, forming shelters. Even the thinner of the branches still had an inch of snow build-up that didn’t fall off. Mother Nature knew what I was going to do, and undoubtedly smiled upon me, blessing me with this scenario. The night of the Full Moon was a clear one, with the Moon really bright through the trees in the woods, magnified by the snow. As I brought my Altar outside, setting up the pillar candles, too, I felt an instinct tell me that my Staff was already Consecrated, that I need only to bring it out and cast a Circle as a formality. I smiled an obliged.


No doubt it was cold, and the Moon was full at sometime close to midnight. But I was going to be hardcore, penitent, and gracious to my Lord and Lady for their Providence. Skyclad was not going to be my method. Even dressed warmly, with a coat and boots, my feet were still freezing. But I cast my Circle, had 4 glass votive holders, each colored in relevance to the 4 Elements and their respective Quarters…placed gently in the snow as to not sink through the 11 inches. One did crack with the conflict of extreme temperatures of Fire and Snow. It was not a long ceremony, but I gazed at the Full Moon that was almost overhead, through the white calcite that topped the Staff. Blessed it with the salt, sage smoke, flame, and water. The latter kept freezing, but Fire saved the night, proving its power and adopting my newly consecrated Staff as its own.


***


author bio:


Bar Ptolmai