Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heavy metal and Christians

While this could easily lay itself unto a discussion about lyrics, instead I wanted to share this fascinating article from the Telegraph:

Christians could learn a lot about life from heavy metal, says cleric'

The Rev Rachel Mann claims that the much-maligned form of music demonstrates the “liberative theology of darkness”, allowing its tattooed and pierced fans to be more “relaxed and fun” by acknowledging the worst in human nature.

She says that by contrast, churchgoers can appear too sincere and take themselves too seriously.

The priest admits that many will be “concerned” about metal lyrics praising Satan and mocking Christianity, but insists it is just a form of “play-acting”.

Miss Mann, priest-in-charge of St Nicholas’s, Burnage, writes in this week’s Church Times: “Since Black Sabbath effectively created it in 1969 by using the dissonant sound of the medieval ‘Devil’s chord’, heavy metal has been cast as dumb, crass, and on, occasions satanic; music hardly fit for intelligent debate, led alone theological reflection.

“And yet, as both priest and metal musician and fan, it strikes me that the Church, especially at this agonized time, has a serious gospel lesson to learn from this darkest and heaviest music.”

Miss Mann says that heavy metal songs, characterized by distorted guitar sounds, “intense” beats and “muscular” vocals, are “unafraid to deal with death, violence and destruction”.

Its “predominantly male and white” fans “generally like tattoos and piercings” but are “graceful, welcoming and gentle”.

“The music’s willingness to deal with nihilistic and, on occasion, extremely unpleasant subjects seems to offer its fans a space to accept others in a way that shames many Christians.

“Metal’s refusal to repress the bleak and violent truths of human nature liberates its fans to be more relaxed and fun people”.

She goes on to claim that “metal has no fear of human darkness” and while some Christians are similarly unafraid, “many are yet to discover its potential as a place of integration”.

The King himself

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Silly Americans...

From Newsweek's Dumb Things American's Believe:

It seems obvious that it's not a good idea to put too much stock in witchcraft. But it turns out that 21 percent of Americans believe there are real sorcerors, conjurers, and warlocks out there. And that's just one of the several paranormal beliefs common among Americans, according to Gallup: 41 percent believe in ESP, 32 percent in ghosts, and a quarter in astrology. In fairness, the numbers in this poll are a little old—they date back to 2005. But then again, if people haven't changed their mind since the Enlightenment, it's not clear another half decade would make much difference.

Discussing and believing in such silly things!  I'm right in line with evolution-theory deniers, Obama's-a-muslim, Heliocentrism and not knowing the branches of the government. Well, shit...

Friday, August 20, 2010

The lost colors rediscovered

Ultraviolet light reveals how ancient Greek statues really looked 

--courtesy of io9. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birds of a feather

Yesterday evening after coming home from my run, I was enjoying the loud vociferous caws from the murder of crows that reside around my block. They are my favorite songbird, even though many people find it ridiculous that crows and ravens are even considered songbirds because of its voicebox structure, when all they do is emit a loud, annoying, ugly sound that has no melody. And it hit me – ravens and crows are the death and black metal singers of the bird world.

Crows I would consider more black metal because of their higher shrill in tone...

While ravens I would consider death metal for their lower resonance.

Owls are totally doom metal.

Eagles and hawks are heavy & power metal – they are just, you know, epic. 

I can’t think which bird would represent thrash metal, and I won’t even bother with metalcore, but after talking to my S.O. about this last night, we both agree who Metallica would be…

Yea, I amuse myself.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have an odd habit of questioning things I do, believe or see. Or hear. Or taste. It’s a sense of wonderment that most children have and many of them who never let go of this turn into scientists, historians or magicians. I have a bad habit of relying on my ‘gut instinct’ to figure if something feels odd or doesn’t make sense. But I’ve come to realize very early that such things as “common sense” aren’t really common in any sense (read: Not Always Right and it will grate your gears).

Common sense is dictated by education, experience, beliefs and expectation of things and what may seem common sense to me is not so for someone else. But more importantly, we view and analyze things based on one’s Ego.

I have been told plainly that reading too many books have made me ignorant. I fail to see the truth – whether religious or conspiracy related - because I just need to “research” it more. But it is flawed and biased research (unscholarly) to justify the developed Ego, the worldly Self. I discovered that not only do they live in a world ignorant of simple fallacies to their arguments, but is driven by Apophenia.

To my delight, Chris at the Infinite and the Beyond podcast interviewed the fantastic Lon Milo DuQuette on this very subject. My Ego tells me a Socratic quote over and over – The only thing you know is that you know nothing at all. My fear when I was younger was to be ignorant – to not know – and this is why I want to enter the field of Library Science. The more I read, research the more I discover how little I understand of the world, or the myriad of cultures - of their customs and symbology that I am unaware of. To claim to know the inner workings of a secret world or universe with concrete assurance when some can barely solve calculus or complete basic tax forms seems hubristic. Seems very human.

We are beings that love order; structure. We love finding clues and hints that give in to our preconceived notions of things, to prove to us that we are right - in the right path - whichever that may be. We associate with others that hold the same view and reinforce it – whether political or even music-wise (“The new Burzum album is for fags.”) Scientists use these clues in a very strict methodology, while in occult and pagan areas, we have our own version. This is true for those in conspiracy circles or right-winged religious zealots (like my apocalyptic grandmother). When the earthquake hit Haiti everyone began putting attention to the amount of seismic activity happening – therefore the end of the world was nigh, again. Confirmation bias, in essence. Ignoring the fact that tectonic movement happens daily, every minute... they didn’t want to hear it, because it reaffirms their belief; it matches up to their Ego. To be wrong is anathema to their existence: it discredits who they think they Are. I hold a strong sense of wonder and skepticality in my life, which has affected all areas of my life. However when the universe throws at you some sign, how can I differentiate it from something my Ego wants in order to keep appearances? My own biases have sullied certain paths I could have taken earlier, to my chagrin.

So I shed, I remove. Analyzing the subjective from the objective. Years ago I would view certain situations in my life with different colored glasses – I would sit down and switch my brain within specific belief systems I had studied or been part of, and the decisions, meaning and vibrations of it would change. Now it’s relearning that while it is well for it to serve as a method of understanding, it is not a method of being. Shedding it – clear lenses to not have a myopic view on what is before me. Not saying that this will be easy, especially when dealing with the Thoth and Liber 777, but I’m giving it a try.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who put Bella in the Witch Elm?

Black magic was blamed in 1943 four teenagers found the skeleton remains of a woman within a tree. Fifty years the crime remains unsolved and the reasons behind it stir a dark and sinister reason within the locals' imagination.

It begins on a sunny April Sunday in 1943, when four teenage boys from nearby Stourbridge went birds'–nesting in Hagley Wood. Their quest took them to an old, hollow wych–hazel – also known as a wych–elm, on account of its size and age. For a minute or two they climbed and searched. Then one of them, Bob Farmer, gave a cry: from out of the tree, a white skull was grinning at him. "There was a small patch of rotting flesh on the forehead with lank hair attaching to it, and the two front teeth were crooked," he later stated.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Dream...

I am a dreamer. Clichéd, absurd and maybe even ridiculous, but I can’t think of any other way of explaining my personality. By which I mean I truly do not live here, but in my head. I guess it’s not surprising that an introvert like myself would see it as such, retrieve and become a recluse there. Then, of course, comes Inception and it puts its hold on me. The more I read about it, the more I listen to Hans Zimmer’s brilliant soundtrack – the more I connect with myself.

Christopher Nolan took ten years writing the script. But like the layers of dreams he presented us in the movie, the meanings seem to go much deeper as well. Two fascinating looks at other people trying to decipher it are found here and here (spoilers within).

I find that my dreams is where I really belong, and life is just the time lost between sleep that I dredge through day in-day out. Like Nightmare on Elm’s Street “Dream Warriors,” the dream state is where I get to explore my subconscious freely without any limitations. I have been wolf, part animal, in other lands and planes of existence, unafraid of demons, conversed with beings while walking miles above Earth and watched mountains fall to hollow crevices. I have dreamt, gruesomely, of my mother’s disease that she kept secret from me. I've met Gods. It is only limited by the time given to sleep – and once the alarm clock rings sometimes the sudden jolt erases the memory of what had transpired. I have woken up in tears realizing what I’ve lost. I have cried for persons I’ve known forever which I love, deeply, that are lost within. Escapism? Perhaps. Repressed thoughts or just sputtering synapses, maybe. Even though my dreams may at times be depictions of visions from Barlowe or Beksinski, sometimes I rather experience the possibilities there than what is given here.

I’ve been told in the past that I put too much weight in the significance of my dreams. Maybe it’s true, but it’s the key to your subconscious (a key to something) – and while it may just be trying to dump excess data out or trying to defrag your mind – I find that within its self-created encyclopedia of symbolism it is trying to tell you something. Dreams have been known to be the medium in which the Gods spoke to men, as Asklepios would in order to heal illness. I feel that my subconscious is Nostradamus and my dreams are his quadrants – if I could only decipher them, I would learn so much more. When Cobb tells Ariadne in the film that he spent 50 years with his wife Mal within their own self-created dream world, Ariadne looks shocked. But if we think about it – it was only a dream… and yet within the film we understand the gravity of it. Within life, we would dismiss it as something silly. Childish. Nothing more than imagination gone awry...

In dreams there is no time, no structure. It is limitless and boundless. It is as if the reality of the infinite that we attempt to connect with is experienced in our dreams. It has its own logic. It is where the ridiculous meets the Divine. In our living state we our conformed by laws, rules and time within our three-dimensional state. We’re made of meat. We do not have to focus to keep our physical reality rotating and existing and we understand it, by reason or logic.

Hans Zimmer, like always in my opinion, had a touch of brilliance and beauty with the soundtrack. The song within the movie telling the inhabitants of the dream that it is time to “kick” back is Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne Regrette Rien” slowed down. (link) And as we listen to it, it essentially tells us, the viewer: wake up.

You’re waiting for a train – a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don’t know for sure. But it doesn’t matter.

With this chasing of dreams I find myself dreamless - sleepless even - for the past few days. To sleep, perchance to dream, ay...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


After coming back from vacation two weeks ago I find myself in a hollow hole of my own emotional making. I was out of state visiting my Love and found that time was not on my side - it felt shorter than it was and before I knew it I had to get back on the plane. Coming back I've just been readjusting to work - a new position - and immersing myself with catching up on podcasts and music. I'm all strewn all over the place, particularly within, to busy-myself in order to not get too caught up in my oh-so-familiar depression.

I've been amassing a few more books (and I seriously do not need anymore) but I want to jump head-first into active practice instead of my usual armchair study, limited space nonwithstanding. So these feel slightly more future practical, and it's in a subject I've struggled with in the past to which now I feel more comfortable. To start it I have re-purchased the Thoth deck and getting acquainted with it. Today, the card I pulled was The Hanged Man. Upon further study, seems fitting.


At the moment I need to clear my thoughts, organize some documents I look forward to writing about (I miss writing academic, historic papers honestly) and clean the room - the physical clutter is just a reminder of the mental one - before it distracts the emotional.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tetelesmenoi Hermei

Hermes, simplistically known as the "Messenger of Gods" becomes more complex the more you delve into him, follow him around and learn from the wisdom of the messages he carries and dispatches. It is no wonder why this enigmatic and warm god became the one deity Karl Kerenyi was fondest of, in his life and journey.

The more I dig beyond the surface of the Messenger, the more in depth the road becomes. Among a few past Hellenistic forum discussions the question arouse as to why certain divinities seemed more popular than others, and in particular Hermes was one mentioned. But when it is of his divine nature in traveling from the world of man to that of gods, to the heavens and to the underworld it doesn't surprise me that more of us are responsive to his inquiries, noticing and welcoming him into our lives. I am still learning of all the titles Hermes carries, along with many areas he is keen with: pompos or diaktoros ("guide"), angelos ("messenger"), eriounios ("luck-bringer") akaketa ("benignant," "gracious," witness of a gentle death-god), enodios ("by the road") and hodios ("belonging to a journey"). An Etruscan inscription has turms aitas meaning "Hermes of Hades" as his chthonic aspect.

He is the god of travelers, of journeymen. But isn't our lives a journey in itself? Having a guide not only in the literal sense of the act, but in the allegorical as well would seem helpful. Inciting ideas, dreams and epiphanies - the trickster god taking and giving: to his amusement, to our bereavement. Hermes is hegetor oneiron ("ruler of dreams") and with his Caduceus his brings sleep and wakefulness to men. The offerings left on the roadside were called hermaion, but it was also the word for windfall, as things that are of accidental discovery for gain. The residue of the chaotic windfall, Kerenyi wrote, which is shaped to the meaning of the god.

"In every cosmos accident remains fundamental, a residue of the chaotic condition, and this is true also of the Hermetic cosmos."
Of the crossroads and of the night - polythropos ("gate-watcher"), nuktos opoetera ("nocturnal scout") and Kerenyi and Walter F. Otto both felt that they understood Hermes as the Greeks understood Night.
But the darkness of night which so sweetly
invites to slumber also bestows new vigilance
and illumination of the spirit. It makes
it more perceptive, more acute, more enter-
prising. Knowledge flares up, or descends like
a shooting star -- rare, precious, even magical

And so night, which can terrify the solitary
man and lead him astray, can also be his friend,
his helper, his counselor.
-- Otto

The image of Hermes started out as his namesake originates from, as a herm, a pile of stones at entrances of homes and roadways. This image was seen as a mediator, but also connected him to the home. Guiding souls (psychopompos) from the realms - paths, underworld, roads - back to the life and warmth of the home. Mediator of the between, night and of day, men and spirits, gods and mortals: propylaios ("before the gate"), pylaios ("the one at the entrance"), storphaios ("cunning," "versatile"), psithyristes ("whisperer") and hermeneus ("interpreter"). As a god I feel the closest to, one I keep in my thoughts daily and carry his symbols not only on my person but at work as well, I feel that I am part of tetelesmenoi hermei "initiated into the Mysteries of Hermes" as Kerenyi himself had inscribed onto his grave. However, I feel (that like all mysteries) much will remain enigmatic and will require a lifetime of contemplation in order to truly learn and comprehend the experience. Kerenyi quite well described it in his book:

The reality of Hermes world proves at least the presence of a standpoint from which it is revealed; more than that, it testifies to something active that is not merely revealing itself from that standpoint, but that is ever again suddenly present and drives the world to give concrete expression to the Hermetic works of art and illusion. The source of this experience and configuration of the world, which at the mention of Hermes' name breaks into the light of day (and broke forth also without mentioning his name, only less clearly), is Hermes himself. It must possess the complete Hermetic breadth, from the phallic to ... From here we are as yet unable to move on with any perspicacity, for on the basis of the classical tradition we have to complete the foregoing sentence with: ... to the guidance of souls, an activity that stretches beyond life. Here Hermes remained completely enigmatic to us.

Qui animas ducere et reducere solet ("the one who leads souls away and leads them back again")

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Unknown Father Unknown Soldier

June 18th, Friday. A day I always celebrate in a dismal sort of way. It falls five days before my birthday - it is the day my father died. This year, it also happened that the day before I finally met my sister, from his side, for the first time. We went to Rose Hills Cemetery and we tended our father's, grandfather's and grandmother's graves by cleaning them up and putting flowers. We sat there and talked, took photos and offered a libation of beer to them (well the bottle kept tipping over dad's grave so he got what was left). Because of this new found and incredibly powerful relationship I have found, I want to share the little of what I have. I gave my sister copies of the pictures I had of my father along with copies of his birth and death certificate.
I look forward to obtaining copies of the investigation that was done years after his death for both us. Copies of my grandfather's WWII military record.

This time of year I keep my ancestors, and my father particularly, close in my thoughts and heart. I don't carry any memories of him even though I carry pictures and I always wondered of his character. Of that which others say. I wonder what influence he had in me, indirectly. I wonder of the influence my ancestors have within my family, and what of it still lingers on in the blood, in the daily interactions with each other and what sort of luck or fortune has been passed through the lineage. The Norse called this Hamingja.

I've never been one to directly experience the dead. My mom is, however. Now it seems, she sees them on constant basis in her new home. She even saw my father on the day he died while she was overseas, in her house - and she knew. No, I have never felt my father, or my grandfathers, or great-great grandfather nearby even though I honor and think of them. Makes me feel lonely during these times.

On Wednesday - a day before I would meet my sister - I was walking home listening to my podcasts, when I came upon a section of this one episode. It's an an old episode of This American Life, to which I have filled my iPod with. It is moving, heartbreaking and in such a peculiar moment of my life that it hurt - What was the last thing he saw?

Unknown Solider

So give my eyes to the eye bank,
give my blood to the blood bank.
Make my hair into switches,
put my teeth into rattles,
sell my heart to the junkman.
Give my spleen to the mayor.
Hook my lungs to an engine.
Stretch my guts down the avenue.
Stick my head on a pike,
plug my spine to the third rail,
throw my liver and lights to the winner.
Grind my nails up with sage and camphor
and sell it under the counter.
Set my hands in the window as a reminder.
Take my name from me and make it a verb.
Think of me when you run out of money.
Remember me when you fall on the sidewalk.
Mention me when they ask you what happened.
I am everywhere under your feet.

-Luc Santé

Happy Father's day, Dad.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reflections on the goat-legged divine

When Guillermo del Toro was creating his creature for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, he decided he would use a faun instead of the movie’s namesake being, Pan. He said that having Pan on screen would’ve been too dark and dangerous from what he wanted the character to be. The moment I saw the trailer for the film I was ecstatic. When the Faun appeared on screen I was mesmerized – he was so beautiful, haunting and strong. When I was a child and the figure of Darkness appeared on screen from the film Legend, I was also mesmerized. His legs! His horns! “He is beautiful and misunderstood” I thought long through my teens. I thought to myself “Clearly, you’re a weirdo.” However as I grew up I understood where the image of Darkness had come from, and how it had been distorted. Perhaps I thought, deep down it had struck an instinctual chord for that reason. Fauns, satyrs and Pan himself have always had some attraction for me, stirring sometimes some weird sexual energy I’ve had trouble explaining, or even bringing up. I used to be perplexed by this – they have animal features – along with the usual cultural indoctrination of the Christian idea of the personification of Evil, as shown in the movie Legend with the characterization of the Light vs. Darkness. What is the allure?

Pan is known as a god of the wild. His nature so intrinsic in his divinity, appearance he is half-human. His name is the root for the word panic. Satyrs are extremely sexual creatures who cannot be satiated, unless of course he is taken by nymphets, as the multiple paintings throughout the century have depicted them.

In Rome, fauns are spirits of place (genius) and were considered the Greek counterpart of the hyper-sexualized satyrs. However the Greek Satyr is much more sexualized, and did not have goat legs – only later did the mixing of the two happened since they became to be regarded as one and the same. Guillermo del Toro does well to distinguish them in the movie. The game company White Wolf also used the hyper-sexualization of the satyr into their game characters for the role-playing Changeling: the Dreaming; the satyrs being the lovers, the sensual and sexual creatures of the Fae-folk.

Pan is the wild, the uninhibited. The idea of being alone in the forest, in the dark and being stricken with fear and panic. Of the wild rushing up at you, enveloping you in raging emotions, ecstatic fear - even wanton abandon. It is his domain after all. Perhaps it is no surprise that this divine force has been trans-mutated into the evil that brings out the worst, particularly in women, making them frolic naked in the dark woods while leaving all cares behind in want of the phallic wild divinity. Satyrs were smaller manifestations of this and were followers of Dionysus, known for his festivities in which imbibing on his gift of wine to rejoice in freedom would unshackled our inhibitions: social, mental, emotional and sexual. Perhaps this whole amalgamation of what satyrs and Pan is, has been muddled in my head and their attraction is more than an emotional or even physical level - but an instinctual one. Curious of course, that Pan being a god of the rustic, of hunting and the wild is perceived as half-animal, something that is rare in the Greek pantheon. While there are deities that have their animal equivalents as representations they inevitably are shown to us humans as best as we interpret them: like ourselves.

The images of a Horned God, phallic and fertile that brings forth life with aid of his Goddess in Wicca seems the same, sometimes attributed as Cernnunos. Horns are known in nature as a sign of virility – the larger and more intricate, the stronger the offspring and the chances of survival not only reproductively but in safety and longevity of the species, and in the aspect of the God, it is the same.

Pan is also the only god that was proclaimed by Plutarch to be dead. In our modern age and with our technology it is rare that people venture out to the wild alone, in the dark. Few places are left, that haven’t been paved over and lit with harsh bright lights. I live in a city that the few places of nature are man-made and have been rigorously planned out. Even the bodies of water are man-made, with no soul. In my city at least, Plutarch’s words stands as true.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Skeleton Lake of Roopkund, India

"In 1942 a British forest guard in Roopkund, India made an alarming discovery. Some 5000 meters above sea level at the bottom of a small valley, was a lake absolutely full of skeletons. As the glacier melted in the summer it revealed ever more skeletal remains, both floating in the water and lying haphazardly around the edges. Something horrible had happened here.

The immediate assumption, it being war time, was that these were Japanese soldiers who had been sneaking through India and died of exposure, and the British government terrified of a Japanese land invasion sent a team of investigators. However upon examination the quickly realized these bones could not be Japanese soldiers, in fact they were much much older than that."

All the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons but of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above...

Among Himalayan women there is an ancient and traditional folk song. The lyrics describe a goddess "so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones “hard as iron.”

After much research and consideration the 2004 expedition came to the same conclusion. All 300 people died from a sudden and severe hailstorm. Trapped in the valley with nowhere to hide or seek shelter, the cricket ball sized hailstones "hard as iron” came by the thousands and killed the travelers in a sudden and bizarre death. The bodies would lay there for some 1200 years before the astonishing tale of what happened to them would be revealed to the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aphrodite Sosandra

Aphrodite Sosandra, carved during the 2nd century C.E., or known as the Hadrian period. When I first saw this image of Aphrodite in a Greek Mythology book I was first floored by how different it is compared to all other depictions of Her. That was months ago and having forgotten the image due to school and life, I was finally able to find it again.

Sosandra means "Savior of Men" from what I gathered, and was presumably in Athens. An unfinished Roman copy of the Sosandra (c. 460 BCE), found at Baiae in 1954 and now in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy.

The possible attribution of this statue to Kalamis is due to the austere, early Classical style of this statue: a Sosandra, 'Savior of Men,' by Kalamis was admired by Lucian for its simplicity; this may have been the statue dedicated by Kallias (brother-in-law of Kimon) on the Acropolis at Athens. (link)

The same style has been used to depict Aspasia (470 BCE) or Europa, with a meditative expression.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gods of the past returning

I grew up in a Puerto Rico from a very young age to graduating high school. The influence the island has held on me pretty much set up my belief system as it is now. I never went through a Wiccan-phase, as most pagans do, because I couldn’t get my head around the concept of a dual god-form, one male and one female when I had experienced the Orishas myself. My mom had espiritismo and Santería friends, and my great-grandmother was a well-known Santera in the town I grew up in. She wanted to initiate my mother into the “work” but my grandmother was very religious - and very Baptist - so this never happened. I dabbled here and there, but was never fully immersed in the culture so by the time I hit 19 I had married and left the island to reside north in the cold, snowy land of Alaska.

It’s been years since I’ve been in a Botánica, a Latin shop full of candles, statues and other occult and Christian paraphernalia, and it’s something I’ve purposely avoided. While I’ve entered many new age and pagan shops, there’s something inherently darker and viscous about a botánica for me. So this week, I decided to go to one. It’s very basic, honestly, not as flashy or well-stocked as a pagan-flavoured shop usually is. And two of the things that first greeted me when I walked in were two four-foot statues of a bleeding Jesus on crutches and the other of Santa Muerte. They had many statues of Santa Muerte, sickle and all with oils, powders and images of the Virgin and saints. I talked with the owner of the store, a Santero and he quickly recognized my Caduceus necklace. I got a few items, incense and a candle for Eleggua. There’s something about the Orishas that always meant home for me, a very scary and reverent home, that is. Perhaps that is why I always pursue the Gods that walk the edges, the darker roads, like Hekate, Hermes, Set and Odin. Yes, this is quite a mix of pantheons, but as I’ve gone through my life studying and exploring and trying to find my way. If I had a spiritual passport, it’ll show some interesting stamps of the places I’ve wandered.

I got a Spanish book from the Santero on my way out that I found useful since I’ve had trouble finding something I could work with without working one-on-one with someone. While I won’t leave my home within the Theoi, nor the weekly practices I do, sometimes the ties you’ve done in the past return and I have to make space for them.

There’s an interesting podcast called A Year in White that I’ve subscribed to. I’ve discovered his blog a while back when he was interviewed in another podcast I listen to. It feels familiar, of course, to be doing these things while at the same time I feel somewhat out of place. It’s like long lost uncles and aunts have been meaning to visit and I’ve been putting it off, and forgotten everything. They want to see how my life is going and are expecting some hospitality. I guess I should start brewing some strong coffee for them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alcest - Écailles De Lune (part I)

Alcest @ MS

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Library Additions

I am excited to have received in the mail two books that have been on my wishlist for quite some time - Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths? by Paul Veyne and Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds by Daniel Ogden. I got these used so money wasn't an issue, instead it's my habit of amassing large numbers of books and never finishing them. And yes, I get chastised for this a bit, thank you very much.

I am looking forward to reading them this weekend, and having perused the Ogden book today I will definitely be posting and giving some thought on some of the stories that are presented.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vîrstele pămîntului

I received an email regarding Negură Bunget’s new album in the works, since I am on their email newsletter. I assume I got myself on it since I created their myspace page a long time ago and then handled the reigns over to Negru. The original band members split up, but after some disagreements, Negru decided to keep the band going against his ex-bandmates wishes. While I adore this band to no end, I wish they would have kept their words but that is none of my business.

I own all of their work, including reissues and copies of Negură Magazine. So in regards to the new album, I am of course very interested and very much looking forward to it, despite past/personal issues within the group.

Vîrstele pămîntului is an album about places of the earth and places of the spirit, about bounds transcending worlds. Symbolically the album is based on the principle of 9. 9 is the triad of the triads, symbol of fulfillment of the creative effect. It symbolizes the return of the multiplicity to unity (like the snake biting his tail). 9 is the number of patience, of meditation and harmony. Symbolize the plenitude of talents, the reward of the tests. It is a symbol of creation and life as rhythm and development. The earth is where we came from and where go back into, athe one from above and beyond us. Understanding and respecting it means to understand yourself, your purpose and destiny. Vîrstele pămîntului is an album about embracing your destiny, about choosing and consciously assuming a way of life.

The work on the album was done on a seclusion Negură Bunget took into the wilderness of the mountains, concentrating solely on the work for the album. The album will be released by code666 Records in a special limited edition - handmade woodbox, roped and filled with the very earth of the place it comes from (Romania). Release date is: worldwide - March 31, Germany and Italy - April 2.

They never disappoint with the style of their newsletter, but the beauty and simplicity of this new email completely blew me away. The description of the new album is also very interesting and I look forward to listening to it – I’m sure (but hope) it is no different than their amazing masterpiece releases in the past - ‘N Crugu Bradului being my top favorite album ever, followed by OM.

Negură Bunget translates to “Dark Foggy Forest” in Romanian and the album ‘N Crugu Bradului means “Through the Deepness of the Fir Tree Heights” according to an interview I once read (early editions of this disc contained a sprig of a Fir tree within). I loved the album so much that I had originally named my newly adopted Norwegian Forest cat that, but seeing people struggle with the pronunciation, I changed her name to something more normal, like Camila. Yes, I am weird, but at least I didn’t name her Beelzebub or Shehamforash (tho no offense who do; just sayin’).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ancient Greek Podcast

A quick post - I found series of video lectures titled Introduction to Ancient Greek History by Yale professor, author and foremost Greek historian Donald Kagan.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Failure in mnemonics

I am one for having really bad memory. Now for some people this is a non-issue, but I'm an avid fan of books and history, and other tidbits of information deemed 'useless' - but it has come to a point where reading becomes a chore unless I actively use it immediately in some sort of activity. But isn't something new. For the minor stuff I suffer from the "tip of my tongue" moments, while there are people in my Facebook that I went to highschool with that I have no recollection of who they are. Worst of all, there are years of my childhood that I do not recall, including those I spent with my deceased father.

During prayers to Hermes I always highlight his aspect of helping one's memory--

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.

However, I guess one should directly seek assistance to the source, the Titan Mnemosyne.

Image by Lord Frederick Leighton

Orphic Hymn

The consort I invoke of Jove [Zeus] divine, source of the holy, sweetly-speaking Nine;
Free from th' oblivion of the fallen mind, by whom the soul with intellect is join'd:
Reason's increase, and thought to thee belong, all-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong:
'Tis thine, to waken from lethargic rest all thoughts deposited within the breast;
And nought neglecting, vigorous to excite the mental eye from dark oblivion's night.
Come, blessed power, thy mystic's mem'ry wake to holy rites, and Lethe's fetters break.

Daughter of Ouranus, she was said to lay with Zeus for nine nights in order to create the Nine Muses. The Orphic tablet instructs us to forgo drinking from Lethe and instead drink from the lake of Mnemosyne.
Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a Well-spring,
And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.
To this Well-spring approach not near.
But thou shalt find another by the Lake of Memory,
Cold water flowing forth, and there are Guardians before it.
Say: "I am a child of Earth and of Starry Heaven;
But my race is of Heaven (alone). This ye know yourselves.
And lo, I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory."
And of themselves they will give thee to drink from the holy Well-spring, And thereafter among the other Heroes thou shalt have lordship. . . .
Prof. Gilbert Murray / Critical Appendix on the Orphic Tablets

Of course there are ways to strengthen memory, which I've tried (along with my attempts to kill insomnia - Hypnus, where are you?) along with suggestions of hypnotherapy. I'll try the former first.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In Gowan Ring - Hazel Steps

This song has more meaning to me than words could ever express. My heart syncs with the percussion beats immediately upon hearing. For him, with love and adoration.


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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