Monday, May 25, 2009

Cult of the Dead in Memorial Day

As memorial weekend rolled by, I wanted to find some way of honoring the veterans in a more traditional manner. To those few who know me, find out very quickly that I have an interest in war history, particular that of WWII. Most people seem perplexed at this, but the level of heroism in contrast with the amount of inhumanity is outstanding. The are also other wars - the Fall of Nineveh, the Thirty Years War, Civil War, WWI, Vietnam, the Punic Wars - that are just as compelling.

When he was small, when he would fall,
on sand or carpet he would lie
quite flat and still until he knew
what he would do: get up or cry

After the battle, flat and still
upon a hillside now he lies --
but there is nothing to decide
for can neither cry nor rise

Vladimir Nabokov

Now I am accustomed to lighting candles, offering fragrant incense and keeping mindful of the soldiers who have perished, whether they are Americans, Europeans or from late antiquity; whether Generals, foot soldiers, forgotten in the dirt or forever remembered by epic songs. The pouring of liquids, primarily alcohol, into the ground as a form of offering for the dead is nothing new to me. Growing up in Puerto Rico, I experienced this often at parties, and at a young aged I asked my mother what people were doing (as it happened every time someone opened a drink) and I was told it was for the dead. Where this tradition came from I am unsure, but it probably has something to do with the island's deep Catholic roots knotted by ones of Santeria.

From Burket (p. 194)
Thereafter the honouring of the deceased is incorporated into the general celebrations with which the city honours its dead every year: days of the dead, nekysia, or days of the forefathers, genesia. On such days the graves are adorned, offerings are made, special food is eaten, and it is said that the dead come up and go about in the city. The offerings for the dead are pourings, choai: barley broth, milk, honey, frequently wine, and especially oil, as well as the blood of sacrificed animals, there are simple libations of water, which is why there is talk of the bath of the dead.

The pouring of these libations is thought to go down through the soil and reach the dead, feeding them. I find that adding poetry, or songs to remember the fallen is important to keep alive their sacrifices - whether we agree with them or not politically. Essentially, it is just as important to keep in mind those that are still alive; I have family and friends in the service, and we must remember those who have survived. I am an avid admirer of the hardships and heroism found in WWII, as well as modern wars - my grandfather serving in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War.

"The cult of the dead remains the foundation and expression of family identity: the honour accorded to forebears is expected from descendants: from the remembrance of the dead grows the will to continue." (194)

Praise the fallen; remember them.

Hellenic Household Worship

Courtesy of Labrys; link here.
Created by Christos Pandion Panopoulos for Labrys
Edited and translated by Lesley Madytinou & Rathamanthys Madytinos

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Myth and Music

Since my main interest of music is of the obscure variety, I will limit my thoughts on Neofolk and Martial, since the themes of heathenry and paganism has been widely covered before in the realms of metal - as we can see a whole genre evolve from this naming itself Folk, Viking and Pagan Metal.

The most prevalent theme within Neofolk is the Northern Germanic one, with aspects of heathenry like honor, myth, spirituality and the symbolism of runes found in bands like Forseti, Sonne Hagal and :Of the Wand and the Moon:. While some of the bands may not espouse the belief system of polytheism, instead following ideals of Secularism, Freethought and even Satanism - as is with Boyd Rice - the influence is still prevalent throughout the genre. Unfortunately, a lot of Neofolk and Martial bands tend to be labeled as racist or Neo-Nazi due to their fascist or totalitarian imagery, particularly the sculptures of Arno Breker, causing a lot of potential listeners to steer away from them. The bigger controversies tend to center around the band Death in June and Blood Axis. Similar things have happened in the metal sphere when the anti-christian or violent imagery cannot be overlooked by the viewer.

While many bands do not necessarily sing about the gods, I still find their music inspiring and complementary to my devotion and inquiring nature accentuated with the likes of Corde Oblique, Irfan, Pantheon Legio Musica, and my utmost favorite band, Rome. Bands like Sagentoeter, however, explicitly sing about the Northern Gods in their album "Prayers to Othinn" with song titles to "Bring back the Old Gods" and "The Raven's Song."

A Good introduction to Neofolk and Martial Industrial is the 4 CD set "Looking For Europe," containing a total of 53 songs, with a small book that covers the history of the genre and introductions to many of the bands.

For more information, visit:
Heathen Harvest

We Call Your Wolves
Friedrich Hielscher (1979)

We call your wolves
And call your spear
We call all twelve
Down from heaven to us here.

Above all we call You.
Now comes the wild hunt,
Now let the horn resound,
No lament for the dead.

The enemy has already fallen
Before the morning breaks.

The prey has no name,
The enemy no face,
The carcass has no seed,
Righteous is the court of justice.

The harvest is past,
The chaff is daily sold,
The ravens now demand
The portion they are due.

The hunt has begun:
Now, Lord, your salvation
sustains us!

Translation by Michael Moynihan
VA - Wir Rufen Deine Wolfe

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quantum physics and the questions of our reality

Below is a snippet of a fascinating article I found about quantum physics from Foundational Questions Institute, or FQXi.

Alex Vilenkin and Jaume Garriga ponder how unusual our universe is and whether this is all just a quantum dream.

[...] Other measures had downright bizarre implications, predicting that “normal,” biologically–evolved human brains should be outnumbered by so–called Boltzmann brains—disembodied minds that float in space. Boltzmann brains could be complete human beings, just brains, or maybe even silicon chips—material objects with the thinking power to “hallucinate” the universe we think of as real. Pick the wrong measure, and poof: You’re a Boltzmann brain!

It might sound like crackpot cosmology, but Boltzmann brains are a serious sticking point for some measures. Quantum mechanics tells us that things can pop up from the fluctuating vacuum. These “things” could be as trivial as an electron–positron pair that blinks into existence and then disappears again a split–second later. Particle physicists are well aware of this phenomenon; it happens all the time. Less likely, a whole atom could perform this magic trick. Even more improbably, a whole human being—or Windsor Castle, or a Honus Wagner baseball card, or a fully–formed brain thinking exactly your thoughts—could spontaneously materialize.

“It’s ridiculously improbable!” says Vilenkin. But given an infinite amount of time, even things that are ridiculously improbable are bound to happen. “So how do I know whether I’m a normal person…or a vacuum fluctuation?”

Don’t have an identity crisis just yet. Theorists agree that our universe must contain more “normal” brains than it does Boltzmann brains. “The world around a typical Boltzmann brain looks very different from the world around us,” says Garriga. Plus, a Boltzmann brain likely wouldn’t stick around for long, so the mere fact that we all continue to think coherent thoughts from one moment to the next should be some assurance that we’re real.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today was a busy day. My face is reddened due to the over-exposure to the sun, and I wish I had used some cream before I had gone out. Perhaps it was appropriate.

I went along and bought some items I needed today to perform my libation, like incense, a charcoal burner and candles - which I purchased at Ikea, snagging also some delicious lindonberry jam, oat cookies and a small hanging ivy for my Dionysos Kissos. I take public transit, so it took me a good four hours and long walks between destinations. I cleaned the house, sweeped, dusted and threw away boxes and bags of unnecessary junk.

After my libation my brother called with unpleasant news about the car (nothing new, at this point) with the engine going caput. Ah, Hephaestus' blessed hand was missing the day the installed that darn engine.

This is set atop an small podium; I never thought I'd actually find a use for it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Metal-Smith

I dreamt last night with Hephaestus. I had an old car shop that I was attending, though I really had no skills to call my own (perhaps all the car-talk that my brother fills me in on a daily basis has something to do with this). I wasn't surprised to see him, and he stood before me. I found him to be beyond beautiful, and nowhere near the lame or cripple that he is often called by the other Theoi. Perhaps it means something, and I will look further into him.


The Fumigation from Frankincense and Manna.
Strong, mighty Vulcan [Hephaistos], bearing splendid light, unweary'd fire, with flaming torrents bright:
Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:
All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow'r, 'tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:
Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.
To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus'd thro' mortal bodies bright and strong.
Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:
Suppress the rage of fires unweary'd frame, and still preserve our nature's vital flame.

According to Neokoroi, he is the god of honesty, hard work, dependability and loyalty. He is not concerned with getting the glory, but with getting the job done, and doing it well. He encourages his followers to tackle their problems with vigor and persistence, and shows them how to take rough and unpleasant things and turn them into works of beauty. He is a peacemaker, capable of seeing the many different sides of an argument. He doesn't jump into a fray until he has carefully weighed all sides of the dilemma. But when he does, his actions are swift, decisive, and efficient. He is the patron of all civilized arts, though smiths and metalworkers are his special charges.

His festival months are
Apaturia: 3 days in Puanepsion (October-November)
Hephaestia (celebrated on different dates) and
Khalkeia: 30 Puanepsion (October-November)
 And a little synchronicity occurred wile talking to my Love, discussing suddenly the appearance of quails for him, while I finished this entry on this side of the line.


Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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