A Party to Which I Am Late

But glad to have made it to! During my trip to Oregon, I had the good fortune to (re)meet Genevieve Williams and Ray Snyder, one of whom kindly fed me and the other one on our way to and from the retreat. Turns out we'd been at several of the same events, and had even interacted a bit. One of the things they'd been up to since the pancakes (apparently, I am remembered for the pancakes) was writing a podcast called The Hermes and Hekate Roadshow. Today I got the chance to listen to the first (and so far only) season while on a long and fruitless bus ride. It's a great show, written by people who know the pantheon and mythology, and, like many writers now, wanted to see what these gods might be up to in modern America. By my standards, they did a lot better than most of those writers. There's acknowledgement of a lot of aspect of the gods that most people nowadays miss -- such as that Hekate is not under the authority of Zeus, and that the gods of Olympus give her honor. There are reference that attendees of the Spring Mysteries Festival here in Washington may recognize, particularly since both of them used to write for and take part in it. There are also plenty of pop culture references from their -- and my -- childhoods, including Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and He-Man. There are local touchstones for the PNW, too, like Elysium Brewery here in Seattle and Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR. But best of all, these are the gods as I know them. This is my Hermes, light-hearted and clever and quick with a joke. More importantly, this is my Hekate, snarky and a bit cranky, but caring very much for mortals. And the two of them together, palling around, solving crime. (No, really.) This is what I imagine a road trip with the two of them, on motorcycles, would be like. Enodios and Enodia, together, on their highways and byways. Glee! So few people seem to encounter the same faces of Hekate, especially, as I do. It's a joy to hear someone who does. There is, I'm told, a second season recorded, but their producer has been awfully busy, so it's taking... well, a while. He's less busy now, though, so we may be seeing this podcast again soon. It's up on iTunes as well as the website. Go give it a try....

Hermes and Blind Dice

My Hermes Night rolled around again on Saturday. I finally found a suitable offering to make after someone told met that cinnamon is sacred to him, so he got cinnamon-sugar covered waffles. Next time, maybe something a little fancier, but he signaled his approval via die. It happens that a couple of weeks ago, my wife turned up my old SCA gaming box in the garage, with an assortment of dice, squashed-marble counters, and a set of instructions for period (600-1600CE) dice games. Since I like to find related activities to help me contemplate the gods, I grabbed some dice and started rolling. First, and without bothering to ask a question, I rolled up four verses in Sannion's Bowie-inspired Oracle of the Masks: 6-2-3 Lady Stardust sang his songs of darkness and dismay 5-4-5 Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress. 1-3-2 You know, you know 2-2-4 Can you dig our groovy feelin’? Sounds like a good night at the goth club. Which does actually roll back around to another of my projects, via Death Guild, to which I have actually been. (Didn't tear my dress, though.) From the box, I snagged a set of six wooden cubes on which I'd hand-drawn one number (1-6) on each, and on the other faces eight-rayed stars. I vaguely recalled them as being for a game called Blind Dice, which sounded appropriate, and I plonked down three gambling counters on the altar, then rolled the dice onto it. All stars. Blind dice. Then I actually bothered to read the instructions for Blind Dice in the pamphlet. Here they are. No author is listed. Blind Dice Being a 16th Century Italian Gambling Game To play this game, you must have six square dice each having six sides. Five sides of each die will be empty -- or will be marked with a fanciful image -- and the other side will have a number from one to six. One player must be the bank or the house. If more than one player wishes to be the bank, they must roll the dice. The player who succeeds at rolling the highest score will be the first banker. The player to the left side of the banker begins by putting up a stake of coins (bid, ante, wager). It is the custom to set a limit to the amount that can be bid. This player then rolls all six dice. If no number shows, the player has rolled Blind Dice and loses the stake to the banker. If the dice total 1 through 8, the player has kept the stake. But if the dice total 9 or more, the banker must pay the player who rolled as follows: 9 or 10...........amount equal to the wager 11 or 12...........twice the wager 13.................three times the wager 14.................four times the wager 15.................five times the wager 16.................ten times the wager 17.................fifteen times the wager 18.................twenty times the wager 19.................twenty-five times the wager 20.................fifty times the wager 21.................ninety times the wager For those who like to know the odds, there is a 34% chance that a player will roll Blind Dice -- no numbers at all. There is a 56% chance that 1-8 will be rolled. The odds are small that you will roll a 21! Therefore, you can see that with any good gambling game the odds clearly lie with the bank or house! Sounds like Hermes' kind of game to me. And now I remember why my sack of counters is enormous. And heavy. It was for Blind Dice. Ninety times the wager! Good grief!...

God Nights

A new practice I've been working on taking up is having designated nights where I make offerings to and contemplate one of the gods with whom I am most involved. A night for Hekate was already built in -- the deipnon on the night of the new moon -- and I'd been making offerings and sometimes doing oracular work for Dionysos on the full moon. Since I'm looking at both starting up a business again and going back to school, upping my worship of Hermes seemed like a good plan, and I was finally putting together a separate altar for Ariadne, and it just seemed to come together to add them on the first and third quarters respectively. They mostly aren't a big production. Offerings and contemplation, usually just chilling out a bit with them as it were. If I'm going to do bigger ritual for them, it will be on those nights, but most of the time there's no reason to. A couple of weeks ago, I was set to babysit my friends' kids. Their 11 year old has been known to join me for worship from time to time, and is particularly fond of Hermes, whom she likes to call "the God of Fast". (She likes speed. I dread the day she learns to drive.) It just happened to be the same night as the first quarter, so I asked her if she'd like to join me for it. We made offerings of candy from her private stash (I'm still working out exactly what the best offering for Hermes is, but so far he seems to like sweet things), and read each other stories about him. She read to me from Greek Mythology Link, and I ended up reading her this story from Myths Retold, which puts various myths and legends into some of the more excited forms of net communication, full of sentence fragments, digressions and casual cussing. Like this: Yes it is greek history time again which means it is time to learn about assholes or really, one asshole generally when we talk about history we tend to focus on one or two assholes at a time (or else whole huge groups of assholes that run in packs leaving great greasy black trails of shit all over everything but that’s gross so today we’re only talking about one) (From Alcibiades is Handsome as Hell) Also it has really entertaining lines like referring to a certain superficially similar set of trickster-messenger gods (including Hermes) as "just a fast-moving jerk clown swinging more dick than a playground full of private detectives." So that seemed appropriate for a Hermes night. I wouldn't read from that blog for most gods (although I should really look up anything it has on Dionysos), but I figured Hermes would be amused. I haven't been as consistent in observing these as I might like so far, but when I do manage these evenings, they feel good. A little time taken apart from everything else just to be with my gods. Brings me closer to them....

Project Post: Hermes Hanging

After months and months of this sitting around because I’d lost the last two strips of silk for it, my prayer hanging for Hermes is finally finished. Materials: Wool, silk, nylon, sparkly stuff, Jacquard paint Length: 22” Width: 12” EPI: 8 Loom: Cricket The prayer reads: What? When? Who? Why? As Hermes speeds through your life. Here one moment and gone the next. Leaving nothing but a ghost of a smile and a hearty laugh. You must ask yourself. Where did my wallet go? It was written by Cataphract, and I found it on the Polytheism Without Borders forum. The lines of the prayer are painted in gold on cloudy indigo-dyed silk I did myself many years ago. The very fine variegated blues with the touch of pink sparkle is my own handspun. The plain blue is a wool-silk blend I had hanging out from many years ago, when I wove a present for my mother on the big loom. The other variegated blue is an unknown sock yarn (I think) someone sent me as part of a destashing* effort. Stuff I learned: Keep the bits and piece in an envelope or folder or something, attached to the damn loom somehow, or you will get stalled for month when you lose them. Stiffen thin fabrics with something before using them in this kind of project. I had those silk strips twisting and coming loose the moment I cut this off the loom. I may end up sewing the entire thing to a backing and sewing each fabric strip down separately. When you have a finer reed, use much finer thread for the warp. Couldn’t on this one, because it would have gone all to pieces at this sett, but this warp is thick enough to obscure the text. Higher contrast text would be good, too. Whatever. I know what it says and so does Hermes, so I’m content. Overall, I’m satisfied with the piece, and am happy to have finally finished something I promised Hermes so long ago. (ETA: Only I just realized that I really did lose one strip, because there are six lines in the original and only five in the actual hanging. I'll have to see what's missing when I get a chance.) For the next prayer hanging I do, whenever I do it, I’m envisioning a continuous ribbon, with loops left loose above the weaving as it winds from line to line. Grosgrain or something, probably, for the stiffness. It would take somewhat more planning, though, to get the text all on there and correct, and I’d have to find some kind of permanent ink that would be fine-tipped enough to write on ribbon but wouldn’t spread badly, and didn’t come out looking like a laundry marker. Argh. A refined version of this idea is something I’d love to be able to offer for sale, but the effort is pretty intense, materials are expensive, and I just don’t know that I’d be able to get the word out to the people who can actually afford it. This piece represents about twelve hours of work for painting the words, dressing the loom, weaving and finishing. I mean, there was a lot of trial and error in there, and hopefully I would be able to cut that down a lot with practice at the form, and the cricket is much slower to weave on than a floor loom, but it’s a lot of time. And then there’s materials costs, and nice yarn are not cheap, let me tell you. Plus this one, of course, also has handspun and hand dyed elements, and that would just not be feasible to price. Maybe when I have a Saori loom, I might be able to set up one warp and do several pieces, both small single-line things and larger, longer ones, and be able to price them lower. Something to think about. Of course, I’d also have to actually start selling things again, which I’m not 100% certain I want to do. It’s all far in the future anyway. There’s no Saori loom anywhere in the forseeable future for me. Now I have a naked loom, and no particular next project in mind. Maybe time for another attempt at straps. I’d meant to save the charkha-spun cotton for a single largish piece, but maybe I’ll try some straps again. I’d need to do some dyeing for it. I’ve got the green from the hemp dyeing, plus the natural white and brown, but I’d want some others. I haven’t got any more procion dyes, but maybe I’ll fiddle around with some natural ones, if I have the stuff....