Linkspam from the Green Frontier of Death

My net's down. Again. So posting may be spotty. In the mean time, here're some links. The Sorcerer Dionysos Foundations of Magical Practice: Ritual Orpheus Ascending ritual in Redmond, WA Hymn Bound (The Slightly Less Basic Basics of Ancient Greek) Mourning the Loss of the Keening Tradition in Ireland The Return of Barrows to the English Landscare Mushroom Suits, Biodegradable Urns, and Death's Green Frontier The Implications of Natalie Sudman’s Unusual Near-Death Experience in Iraq My Polytheism Have a video: Tainted Love played on 13 floppy drives and a hard drive....

Depth of Praise

Terrence P Ward, founder of The Wild Hunt and all around Good People, has published his first book, a devotional to Poseidon! Depth of Praise explores many of the aspects and epithets of Poseison through praise and poetry. I haven't read it yet -- it's only just going out to the Kickstarter patrons -- but I look forward to it. TPW is an excellent writer, and this is sure to be a beautiful book, especially with its five illustrations....

Linkspam from Beyond the Grave

I used to do occasional linkspam posts. I think I'll take it up again. Maybe I'll start posting them Fridays, as weekend reading suggestions. Where There's a Will, There's a Ghost on Strange Company Animism at the Dinner Table from Sarah Anne Lawless Feeling Grief + Dreaming Another World at Woolgathering & Wildcrafting 8 ways white witches can support #BlackLivesMatter on Little Red Tarot 51 of the most important things you've ever fought about at Autostraddle Death & the Maidens at, well, Death and the Maiden, writing on a topic I'm also working on a piece about. Here's a waulking song Beth from Little Red Tarot shared. Waulking is a (sadly dying, if not already dead) traditional way of fulling newly woven cloth. The tweed or plaid would be taken off the loom, and all the women of the village would gather to help. Warm stale urine (wash) would be poured over the cloth as a way of scouring out any dirt, oils or foreign matter (this was before soap was readily available in the quantities needed), the cloth would be placed on a long table or board, and thumped against it rhythmically. The women would sing to keep time and amuse themselves. A waulking song with no waulking, no matter how lovely (and it is lovely) being done just doesn't seem right to me. At least put some nice thumpy thuddy percussion in. A video of waulking the tweed whilst singing a waulking song, which I think shows the need for that percussion, and some explanation of waulking: Although it's not stretching the cloth, it's fulling it. And finally, on a personal note, after nearly twenty years of threatening to shave my head in the summer, I've now mostly done it. Inspired by Holtzman in the new Ghostbusters movie, I've shaved the back and sides, leaving only the hair on my crown long. It's cool and comfortable, the clipped part is all velvety and nice to touch, and it looks fuckin' awesome! So here's an incredibly rare pic of me, just minutes after it was finished. ETA: Note to self: Going to give shorn hair to Hermes and Athena. Hermes, asked if I should hang it from a tree for birds, told me to wait before doing anything. Athena turned down a Woolly God image of her stuffed with it, but accepted jewelry made from it....

On Prayer

Sannion has a post up on the importance and various uses of prayer. It's a good piece, and important to Starry Bull practice. He talks about why and when it's important to pray, how to choose whom to pray to, and a bit about how prayer works. He lists off the following as times it's important to pray: When we are in a crisis state or require something On behalf of someone else At the beginning or conclusion of an endeavor When something extraordinary has happened Out of simple gratitude or appreciation To get the attention of the gods Upon waking up or going to sleep When we come into contact with something that falls under the area of concern of a particular god As part of a regular devotional routine It's that last one that's most important to me, personally. Prayer is, as Granny Weatherwax might say, the soul and center of my practice. (Not that Granny has any truck with worshiping gods.) My daily prayers are the most consistent thing I do, and the most important. I often miss my moon-quarter God Nights, and miss nearly all of the festivals on the Starry Bull calendar. They simply aren't as important to me as prayer. I pray morning and night. In the morning, I pray to members of Dionysos' retinue, including gods and heroes, and then to my household gods. I say a brief prayer to each of them, and then I make offering. In the evening, I pray to the heroines of the Purple Thread, to the Hyades, to a monster, to Agathosdaimon and his wife Agatha, and to the Dead: the spirits of my household. Then I make offering to them. Incense and clean water, both morning and night. Whenever someone asks me for advice on starting a personal practice, I always advise starting with daily prayers and/or offerings. It isn't right for everyone, of course, but a simple prayer that one can recite daily, whether at meals, at waking, at sleeping, or when you do something specific, is a traditional foundation for a practice, stretching back millenia and across religious traditions. How many Christian children pray "Now I lay me down to sleep..." every night? How many ancient Greeks and Romans said prayers and poured out wine or water for the gods every morning? Prayer is simple, and it is an effective method of building relationships with gods (for most people). So I advise people: pray. Pray daily, pray when you need something, pray when you are afraid or upset, pray when you are joyful to give thanks, pray when you begin something new. Pray. You can, if you're interested, find my current set of prayers here. I try to keep it current....

Links for the Dead

Necromantic herbs Placating the Dead Ancestors Master Post Ancestor veneration 600 BCE - 600 CE Ancestor Cult in Ancient Greece and Rome The Order of the Good Death...

Publications

I've mentioned that my very first time in print is fast approaching, a piece in Bibliotheca Alexandrina's upcoming anthology Crossing the River. Alas, publication is going to be delayed for a couple of weeks, to make room for the Immanion Press anthology Rooted In the Body, Seeking the Soul. I'm really looking forward to reading this. My friend (and editor of Crossing the River) Literata has two pieces in this one, “Speak for Yourself: The problem of victim-blaming by magical practitioners,” and “Sick or Well: False Dichotomy.” She was kind enough to give me a look at them, and I think they're really excellent, addressing issues of disability and chronic illnes in pagan and occult circles....

Art Feeds Us

The wild god reaches into a bag Made of moles and nightingale-skin. He pulls out a two-reeded pipe, Raises an eyebrow And all the birds begin to sing. The fox leaps into your eyes. Otters rush from the darkness. The snakes pour through your body. Your dog howls and upstairs Your wife both exhalts and weeps at once. The wild god dances with your dog. You dance with the sparrows. A white stag pulls up a stool And bellows hymns to enchantments. A pelican leaps from chair to chair. -"Sometimes a Wild God" by Tom Hirons, aka Coyopa In the regularly recurring Golden Mean department, here is Golden Mean, the oilpunk snail art car. Gorgeous: And here is Solstice, a beautifully animated fantasy Western short. I really hope they can further develop the story of this, because I would love more detail....

Why Some of Us Aren't Reconstructionists

Just ran across some really good discussion on Tumblr of some of the problems with reconstructionism and some of the reasons it's simply not for me. The gods will let us know if we're doing what they want, worshipping them the way they want to be worshipped by us. Yes, even those people who don't have personal relationships and UPGs. The gods have ways of telling us if we're Doin' It Rong. They're gods. So yes, the gods do call some of us to worship them in different ways, in more modern ways. We don't live in Ancient Greece, or early medieval northern Europe, or Roman Britain. We understand the world differently, different symbols are meaningful to us, and some of the old symbols have radically different meanings. All of that makes a difference. And, as I've said before, the information that's come down to us is contradictory and full of holes, spread over wide areas and centuries, all with different practices. What we construct probably doesn't bear a whole lot of resemblance to actual ancient observances. If you stuck a Hellene or a seithr or a druid in the middle of a recon ritual or observance, they'd probably recognize some parts, but they'd also probably think that other parts were outright sacrilege. I have, of course, no problem with people worshipping in whatever reconstructed ways they put together that work for both them and their gods. But too many reconstructionists try to tell other people that they must do it some particular way, or they're worshipping the gods all wrong and are horrible people. I've seen the phrase "one true Hellenismos." I've seen people insist that mysticism is irreconcilable with Hellenism, and that magic is hubris and blasphemy -- despite the fact that both were manifestly practiced in Hellas. And, of course, Wiccan used as an insult, because Wiccans don't really know the gods and do it all wrong. But what the fuck business is it of theirs if some of us practice in a way that is pleasing both to our gods and to us?...