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April 2015
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Misconceptions of Apollon

By Lykeia

Understandably I will not be able to touch on each and every single thing that I have come across, but I will give it a go to touch on some of the biggest misconceptions that bug the hell out of me. This page however will be updated as I come across other issues to address, as is why it has been elevated to a page on this blog from its origin as a blog entry. This is developed from my own studies and devotion to Apollon.

1) Apollon is a god who has never married and is unfortunate in love

This is usually inspired by such myths as Daphne, Hyakinthos and a number of other myths in which those loved by Apollon die. However, this seems to not take in account that Apollon is effectively “married” to all the Muses, which is explained mythically that Apollon chose to not marry any of the Muses because he could not decide which to marry over the others (my paraphrase). In a sense this leader of the Muses is the spouse of all nine, which also reflects in the number nine that is sacred to his domain. This statement also tends to forget that Apollon did marry, he married the Thessalian princess/nymph Kyrene. Aphrodite prepared their marital chamber in Libya where he carried the maiden off to, and in her arms she was said to have bore three sons, the most notable of which is Aristaios, the divine shepherd who is often regarded as an offshoot of Apollon in that he is called by a cult title “the shepherd Apollon”. the fact that many of his lovers die has more to do with the function of his domain, that he is a transformative king who purifies through death. In such cases we have Daphne immortalized and cherished in the form of his sacred tree, and Hyakinthos in scenes in his Amyclaean cult which depicted him, on the throne of Apollon, ascending to the heavens upon his death. This hardly seems like Apollon is unfortunate in love, nor that his lovers are unfortunate themselves either. Rather it seems quite the reverse.

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White Light Meditation, by D. F. Bailey

Reviewed by John L. Murphy

I’m curious about meditative practices outside of a religious framework and ritual observance. I also wonder about those that, as D. F. Bailey’s encourages, expect one to empty the mind. So, the author’s invitation to review his short (e-book as a Kindle) study offered me a chance to learn more.

“White Light” bases its approach on thirty years of crafting by a Canadian writer and a counseling psychologist; this non-theistic, non-mystical orientation is designed to channel, as Chapter Two details, a “universal force of nature” with which to align the meditating mind. Chapter Three defines meditation, categorizes four types, and differentiates White Light Meditation’s “special nature.” Ten steps follow for Chapter Four’s implementation. Chapter One introduces the study and Five wraps it up.

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Narrative and Identity

By Taylor Ellwood

In The Functions of Role Playing Games by Sarah Bowman, the author brings up an interesting point about narratives in relationship to identity when she explains how people use narratives to define their conscious sense of self, as a way of highlighting key moments of significance and linking those moments together to create a causal logic that in turn shapes the identity of the person by describing both who the person is and how that person is changing because of the narrative they’ve created. While her focus is on role playing games (RPGs), you can see how narrative is used as a tool in a number of different disciplines including magic, as well as how it reinforces aspects of identity related to narrative.’

In magic, narrative shows up in the form of ritual and spells, but also in pathworking and even to some extent in meditation. I’d argue that any process of magic is essentially a narrative which is structured to express the identity of the magician in particular way that enables the magician to establish his/her identity, both before and after the narrative. The purpose of the narrative is to describe the change in identity and what type of journey the magician goes on to make that change.

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Pagan Alliance Wins Student Organization of the Year Award

By Heather Greene

[Snip] On April 23, Mills Pagan Alliance of Mills College was presented with the Student Organization of the Year Award. The annual recognition honors an “organization that has demonstrated through their events and activities, outstanding collaboration and dedication to educating the Mills and broader community.” This marks the first time that the Pagan organization has won the award, and been publicly recognized by the college.

On hand to accept the award were co-founders Kristin Oliver, Rose Quartz and Sasha Reed and member Nikka Tahan. Oliver said:

This award says that the Mills community is a place where Pagans can practice and thrive openly, a place where Pagans at Mills are respected and admired, and where Pagans are known as community leaders. For us, it means that what we do matters. What we say matters.

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Devotional Polytheism, by Galina Krasskova

Reviewed by Lisa Roling

Often when picking up a book that calls itself an introduction, I expect to find pages that skim the surface and give a smattering of very basic information. In her book, Devotional Polytheism: An Introduction, Galina Krasskova does something different. She provides a deep focus and reflection on the foundations of devotional practice or, at least, of her practice. As she writes, “…part of developing a devotional practice is figuring out what works best for you and then putting it into productive practice.”

Krasskova is a Heathen (Norse polytheist) and priest of Odin and Loki. Over the past 20 years, she has received multiple ordinations and degrees in religious studies. She is well-known in Heathen circles not only for her years of experience, but also for her contributions as a blogger, author, editor, and teacher. Krasskova brings her years of teaching and devotion to her newest book in order to introduce seekers to the art and practice of devotional polytheism.

Rather than spending multiple chapters defining various forms of polytheism or dwelling on lengthy theological dissertations, Krasskova states very early on that everyone’s experience with the Gods is different and, as with any other aspect of life, experiences can alter our approach. As such, she repeatedly encourages the reader to find a way that works for them and says, “The only things that I have found to be universal are the need for respect and the benefit of consistency.”

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Old Wives Tales: Women’s Fairy Tale Art and Literature

By Terri Windling

“There exists a European convention of an archetypal female storyteller, ‘Mother Goose’ in English, ‘Ma Mere l’Oie’ in French, an old woman sitting by thefireside . . . . Obviously, it was Mother Goose who invented all the ‘old wives’ tales,’ even if old wives of any sex can participate in this endless recycling process, when anyone can pick up a tale and make it over. Old wives’ tales — that is, worthless stories, untruths, trivial gossip, a derisive label that allots the art of storytelling to women at the exact same time that it takes all value from it.”-— Angela Carter

Many scholars over the last century have attempted to define why fairy tales and magical stories can be found in virtually every culture around the globe. Some scholars view magical tales as pre–scientific attempts to explain the workings of the universe; others see in them remnants of pagan religions or tribal initiation rites; still others dissect them for symbolic portrayals of feminist or class history. The most fascinating thing about fairy tales is that there is some truth in all these different views. There are many ways to interpret the old tales, whether as allegory or metaphor, as art or simple entertainment. No single deconstruction of a fairy tale is “correct,” no single version of a tale is the “true” one. The old tales exist in many different forms, changing and adapting from culture to culture, from generation to generation. The tales themselves are shape–shifters: elusive, mysterious, mutable, capable of wearing many different forms. This fact is at the core of their power, and is the source of their longevity. It is also what makes them such useful tools for women artists, writers, and storytellers.

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Apollon and Demeter

By Lykeia

While later Hellenists revered Apollon directly associated with the sun, this is not something that plays a great importance in my worship of him. Yes I recognize he has connections to Helios and favors Helios, but he also has significant connections to the moon in his cult outside of poetics and to the stellar bodies of the heavens, certain heavenly events being ones that were said to indicate the seasons for his festivals (as well as important agricultural and husbandry themes). For instance there are scholars who suggest that the rising of certain stars (likely Gemini, a sign that he has been astrologically linked to anciently in his worship, perhaps sharing alike certain connections with the Dioskouri who represent said body) was the actual start of Thargelia…around the 21st of May. And as for his return to Delphi, that this was signified by the rise of the constellation of Delphus (which was visible later in Delphi due to the mountains). Combined with certain festivals that were focused on fullmoons (such as Hyakinthia and Karneia among the Spartans) it is no wonder that we have a very convoluted heavenly array associated with Apollon that cannot be narrowed down to “sun god” but is often done due to historical precedent of this occurring during the Hellenistic period.

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Ethnic Fraud and Cultural Appropriation in Spiritual Communities

By Lisa Boswell

In the spiritual community, ethnic fraud and cultural appropriation is a huge problem which only seems to be getting worst. I have noticed that Romany Gypsy, African and Native American cultures are defrauded the most. However, there are others and to which extent depends on trends. I’m sure that if Polynesian magic becomes a ‘thing’ then there will soon be many people claiming Polynesian ancestry selling their “Authentic Polynesian Guardian Angel Spray” on Facebook groups.

I should state I do not have a problem with people whom are interested in my culture. If anyone has questions I will answer them.

What I do have a problem with is people whom think they know more about my culture than I do then try to ‘educate’ me on it. It is not the place of someone outside of a culture to tell those inside of it what they think.

What else I also have a problem with is people who lie both to others and themselves. They go around spreading false information about a culture whom they are loosely or falsely connected to.

This blogpost is therefore for the ethnic fraudsters, cultural appropriators and your general misinformed, opinionated new ager out there. I have selected several of your statements and answered them so whenever I see someone committing ethnic fraud I can link them to this blog post. I hope you find it informative!

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Building Woo Spaces – Personal Shrines (Pt. 2)

By Caer Jones

Building Woo Spaces – Personal Shrines (Pt. 2)

Personal shrines are the backbone of a devotional practice. They are a physical manifestation of the relationship between the Power and the person, and as such serve as a site for honoring, contemplation, meditation, petitioning, and connection.

Not that you can’t do all of these things perfectly well without a shrine, of course. A shrine just helps everything along! Personally I find that just being able to see the shrine makes me more inclined to Do the Work. They’re reminders, and that’s one reason my shrines now stay in my living room instead of being tucked into a closet somewhere.

Why do we need reminders?

Just as a relationship requires regular maintenance, so too does a shrine. But it goes beyond that. Devotion is something you practice. Honoring is a verb. In the day-to-day rush it’s sometimes easy to forget shrine tending, or tell yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Too much of that leaves you without a shrine at all, just a dusty collection of stuff on a shelf.

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Aquae Sulis

The Epitome of Roman Syncretization with the Celts

By Ryan Stone

The Roman bath system was one of the most intricate and complex of the ancient world. Composed of various rooms for mental and physical cleansing, the Roman baths were more than a source of hygiene; they were an important source of culture as well. The Aquae Sulis became one of the largest and most renowned Roman baths in Britain, and is considered today the highlight of the Roman syncretization of the Celtic tribes as well as the highlight of the Roman bath system outside the city of Rome.

Located in the modern town of Bath in Somerset, England, the Aquae Sulis rose as one of the largest and most sought out Roman baths outside the Italian peninsula. Dedicated to the goddess Sul or Sulis, the Aquae Sulis represents the blending of both the Roman religion and culture with the religion and culture of the Celts. At this site Sulis, a goddess of water, healing, and fertility, was fused with Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, and in some accounts health as well. Prior to Minerva’s arrival however, Sulis was revered by the Celts at the site of Aquae Sulis because its hot springs provided natural rejuvenating properties that convinced many Celts that this was a place of directly linked to the goddess.

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