More Phabulous Phlying Phalloi

At some point, I'm going to put up a shop somewhere, and then I won't put so many of them here. But I am REALLY PROUD of these. I think I'm really improving. First, my Little Blue Daimon, more directly fan art for Ursula Vernon. No horns, light shimmery blue, kind of shy, just that tail to warn you he might be up to something. Cute, isn't he? Next is his buddy the Angel, who looks like he might be on the way to a Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence show. Most of his glitter doesn't show. Aww. Here's a rather more devilish fellow, made as a birthday present for a friend. He then made me explain it to his daughter. And now the one I'm most proud of! The Starry Bull himself! I'm soooo happy with this fella. The horns and ears and wings line up right. His little hoofy-woofies are so cute. He has the Hyades (the stars of Taurus' head) on his face and horns, and the Corona Borealis as a cutie mark on his rump. And the trio of daimon, angel and bull. I feel like I'm progressing a lot with this, and am very happy with this batch....

Who shall wear the starry crown?

As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the starry crown Lady, show me the way O sisters let's go down Let's go down, come on down O sisters let's go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the ivy crown Good Lord, show me the way O brothers let's go down Let's go down, come on down Come on brothers let's go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the starry crown Lady, show me the way O mothers let's go down Let's go down, come on down O mothers let's go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the ivy crown Good Lord, show me the way O fathers let's go down, come on down Don't you want to go down Come on fathers let's go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the starry crown Lady, show me the way O bacchae let's go down Let's go down, come on down O bacchoi let's go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good old way And who shall wear the ivy crown Good Lord, show me the way From the song by Lawson, sung by Alison Krause A couple of us at MGW were talking about rewriting this for the Starry Bull tradition....

Exhaustion After Frenzy

Wow. I'm home from Many Gods West, and completely exhausted. I spent the entire weekend completely focused on the ritual, and on the preparatory and finishing rituals our group did for ourselves. The only thing I caught was the last half of Rhyd Wildermuth's talk. No workshops, no anything. That's ok, that's all I meant to do. When I'm in a social situation that's scary for me, the best possible thing is to have Something To Do. At parties, I head for the kitchen and make something. The Chocolate Party Trick (melt chocolate in a double boiler, dip things in it, pop them in the freezer to set, and then distribute) is a favorite. For MGW, it was the ritual. The ritual itself was awesome, in the old sense. Truly amazing. And on Sunday, when I got to do a bit of socializing, it made a great conversation topic. Everyone who went loved it and complimented us on it. A few notes, largely for myself: Most of my job during the ritual itself was simply to check in with people. I discovered that a really good way to do this was to walk around with a bunch of grapes, and offer to feed them individually to people, with the simple phrase "a gift from the god". I could check pupils, assess them, connect to them without necessarily touching them. It worked beautifully. I discovered on Friday night, when we meant to make offerings to the Dead, that the Litany to the Many Dead converts well to call-and-response, simply by having them repeat the "We pray to the ____ Dead" lines after me. Playing Satyr (explanatory post later this week) works really well not only to get someone into satyr headspace and into the ritual, it gets those who witness it further into it. It also works well to refocus someone deep in trance who needs to be distracted from an inappropriate direction (we had somebody try to follow the maenads on their chase, which would have been bad). Ooof. I'm going to crash again now....

Baltic Pickup DIO Band

Being me, I could not bear to use any of the not-actually-all-that-awesome patterns in the one book I have, so I set out to learn two or three skills at once: Reading a pickup pattern, actually doing pickup, and creating my own pickup pattern. Whee! What a ride! All of the symbolism here — the snake, the bull with the star between his horns, and the Greek letters delta iota omicron, which are the first three letters of DIOnysos, as well as the black, white and red color scheme — comes from the Starry Bull tradition of Bacchic Orphism. There’s a group called the Thiasos of the Starry Bull, which is the main body of people in the tradition, but some few of us keep some practices and not others, and don’t count ourselves members of the thiasos. The thiasos has a blog and a facebook group that I don’t keep track of. You can learn more there. The ritual I’m helping to put on at Many Gods West, which has an Indiegogo running right now, is in the Starry Bull tradition. So, Baltic or basketweave pickup weaving has a drafting pattern like this: O| BBBXOXXOXXOXBBB H| BBBOXXOXXOXXOBBB Basically, while continuing to heddle every other string, you warp two background threads, then one pattern thread, which is much thicker. I used 5/2 perle cotton for the background and 3/2 perle cotton for the pattern. You should always have an odd number of pattern threads, so when you’ve finished the border, lay down one pattern thread before you start the 2:1 warping. Make sure to end with a pattern thread as well. This is what it looks like on the loom: You’ll note my border was black threads. Well, you should always use weft thread the same color as the border, so black it was. Hm. Maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea after all. Apparently the weft needs to be the same color as the background. Undid that, put two white warps on each edge, and went to white weft. Looking much better, huh? Got my little snek going and everything. I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop and take out multiple rows, because I lost track. But since there was worse to come, I was terribly relieved to reach the last snake at the other end, because it's actually less tricky than the rest of this. My bull with a star between his horns ended up looking more like a stag or something. Not sure what to do about the star, but I already have designs for future attempts at the bull. And the centerpiece, delta-iota-omicron, the first three letters of Dionysos. From there it was all downhill, doing stuff I’d already done, just backwards. Fewer mistakes, too. Consequently, it was pretty quick. Ta-da! The finished band. Not too shabby, eh? Closeups: This is the second snake. You may or may not notice that his head is a little different from the first. I tried giving the first one 2 eyes, but neglected to mark it on my pattern, so when I got to the second, I did what the pattern said (which I’d based on one in the book). I think I like two eyes better. Here’s what the back looks like: It’s sort of a negative image of the original. I like the effects on the snakes so much that I’m trying to design one that way on purpose. See, Two Eyes looks even better like this. One Eye just looks sort of sinister. And here’s the pattern as it ended up: Things to remember: Use weft the same color as the background. The patterns turn out longer that you think they will. The pattern threads lose tension faster than the backgrounds. I ended up having to stick a crochet hook under just the pattern threads before I was done. This one is going to be a choker, for ritual wear. Oh, and the other thing I’ve been working on is the woven bookmarks for that Indiegogo....

Bachkeion crowdfunding

Bakcheion, the group I'm part of to put together a Bacchic ritual for Many Gods West, is running an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money. Several of us (including me) need money to help cover travel, hotel stay and food, and of course there are materials we need to buy for the ritual itself. If you'd like to go help, that would be awesome. You'll find many cool perks, including divinations from several people, one of Sannion's books, grapevine wood amulets, consecrating oil, and some handwoven bookmarks in the colors of the Starry Bull tradition by yours truly....

More prayers

Sannion has called for collective hymns to Apollon and Melinoe for the thiasos of the Starry Bull. Here are mine, along with one to Artemis, because I always call on the Twins together: I pray to Apollon Who runs with wolves Who knows and who tells I pray to Apollon of the Starry Bull I pray to Artemis Who walks in fields known and unknown Who gives strength to those who walk the wild I pray to Artemis of the Starry Bull I pray to Melinoe She of the double nature The light in the darkness and the dark in the light I pray to Melinoe of the Starry Bull...

Prayers for the Starry Bull

The Trials of Daily Practice Sannion is starting up an Orphic Bacchic tradition called the thiasos of the Starry Bull. I approve of this. I’m not going to join, because I seriously suck at following other people’s rules for religion, but I approve on general principles. Sannion and I clearly have some similar ideas and experiences of mysteries of Dionysos (not just cuz I think so; he was kind enough to link to my piece on divine madness, and to say, “That right there is exactly what the Bacchic Orphic mysteries are about.”), and I’m very glad to know that other people have similar understandings, but also I just generally approve of more established culti (even ones I personally think are ridiculous). One of the things he’s requiring of anyone wishing to join this tradition — the price of admission, he calls it — is that they maintain a daily practice that honors particular figure or group of figures for each day of the week. I started playing with prayers along the lines of my own spinning prayers, and here’s what I’ve got, which any of the thiasos of the Starry Bull are welcome to use. Or anybody else, for that matter. First, a single prayer for the set: The throng that follows the Starry Bull Above the earth or below The throng that knows the Starry Bull As sister, as lover, as friend The throng that loves the Starry Bull Pray admit me to your number Then, for each day of the week, a specific deity or groups of figures is honored: Monday – Persephone Tuesday – Ariadne Wednesday – Hermes Thursday – The Heroes Friday – The Heroines Saturday – Nymphs and Satyrs Sunday – Dionysos I pray to Persephone The Iron Queen of Erebos Who welcomes and transforms the reveler I [take action] for Persephone of the Starry Bull I pray to Ariadne Who guides the way to the Starry Bull, And returns from under the earth I [take action] for Ariadne of the Starry Bull I pray to Hermes Of the staff and the fleet feet Who guides us down and sets our feet on the path I [take action] for Hermes of the Starry Bull I pray to the Heroes Those who have walked these paths before And feast forever at our Lord’s side I [take action] for the Heroes of the Starry Bull I pray to the Heroines Who have sorrowed before us And will rejoice beside us when we follow them I [take action] for the Heroines of the Starry Bull I pray to the Nymphs and Satyrs His eternal companions Those who dance with him above and below I [take action] for the Nymph and Satyrs of the Starry Bull I pray to Dionysos Who liberates and saves us Who offers an eternal feast to those who know the Mystery I [take action] for Dionysos, who is the Starry Bull Personally, if I decide to follow this pattern (it appeals to me somewhat, I admit), I will be adding Hekate, and praying to her alongside Persephone. I do not think that Hekate should be left out of the Orphic cultus, as she, too, leads the souls of the dead, and she keeps the gates below, and yet she, too, dances the Bacchic rites with the dead there. So: I pray to Hekate Who brings the dead to the feast Who dances in revels lit by her torches I [take action] for Hekate of the Starry Bull Now I, of course, mean to recite this while spinning, and my wind-on refrain will be The Starry Bull runs on and on, the rushing ram runs on, and so where I’ve marked a prayer with [take action], I shall say spin, and suit deed to word. But I’m sure the actual members of the thiasos mostly don’t spin, and even if they do, may not wish to spin as a form of prayer. So I suggest lighting incense — either a single type for all of them, or a different one for each — or pouring a libation, or drumming, or whatever else seems good to them, merely inserting the correct words into the prayer while they take they action. ETA: Sannion apparently liked my prayers, and even added Hekate to his thiasos' pantheon, although he specifies that she be honored alongside Hermes rather than Persephone (which makes sense, given that their roles in these mysteries are matched). He also added Aphrodite, to be honored with Ariadne on Tuesday. Therefor: I pray to Aphrodite She who brings together what is separate Who inspires the action of the night I [take action] for Aphrodite of the Starry Bull Yes, the third line is specifically about sex. Yes, the Greeks actually used "action" that way, as one of...