The Refracting Crystal and One’s Relationship with the Gods

Photograph by Alberto Ghizzi Panizza.

This post has come about from a couple of starting points. One is in a comment to a friend’s post regarding godspouses, and then again in conversation tonight when speaking of the nature of the gods as it pertains to how we worship and establish relationships with them. The gist was an idea established earlier by Plutarch that when we interact with the gods we are in actuality perhaps interacting with a spirit that a god sends to interact with us on their behalf. And while this may very occasionally be the case in perhaps the most informal of communication, such as perhaps when a person who has an undeveloped relationship with a god is giving up an offering to the god and asking the blessings of a god among other gods invited to the banquet or occasion, I overall disagree that this is a common case. Rather I have my own perceptions on the matter.

When it comes down to it, the gods as far as I can tell are beyond what our limited perceptions have the ability to cope with, see or even understand. They are huge and immeasurable, and have an entirely different state of existence than us. I would liken this to, say, something vibrating at a higher level, moving faster than we can grasp. The word theoi (for the gods), is directly related to the concept of running. This is a great metaphor I think for how the gods are ever moving, ever running, and ungraspable by us as being who can neither move as fast nor to such heights. But as they are so much bigger and fast than us, that we are incapable of true perception of them, the gods themselves can become multiple as they would desire. A god is one, but at will can divide himself into particulars. We find this particular in the Hellenic religion where we focus at a given time on different perspectives of the god rather than the whole of the god. Any body of art is presented at a given time to a certain form, or in poetic form may deal with specific mythic subjects one at a time. While some scholars say that when a god possesses this many names that it may point to a god absorbing different gods that they come into contact with, it seems more likely to me that these are just refractions of the same being.

The god in this case is as a crystal. Perfect and unblemished, but refracting at so many angles and directions that every time he moves you see something different in each refraction of light being emitted. And then another refraction again where that is too reflected. This can happen in a larger sense as we find with epithets, and in many more tiny precise moments as we find with individual relationships with the gods. A Greek poet Yannis Ritsou wrote of this a bit in his poem Marpessa’s Choice.

“It wasn’t by chance that Marpessa preferred Idas over Apollo,
despite her passion for the god, despite his incomparable beauty —
the kind that made myrtle tremble into blossom as he went by. She
never dared raise her eyes above his knees.
Between his toenails and his knees, what an inexhaustible world,
what exquisite journeys and discoveries between his toenails and his knees.”

It speaks of the full presence and beauty of just the smallest glimpse and smallest portion of the god that an inexhaustible world could dwell between his toenails and knees. And this would be so even with the god not coming in his full glory, for we know that this does not happen. Greek myth when dealing with Semele tells us that the Greeks did not think that ever did the gods come in their true forms to the women that they love, but rather in a smaller proximity form of themselves. Like a shard of light from the massive crystal that is the entirety of their being. A refraction of a refraction of light coming to us, giving us a beautiful image of the god, that is full of the innumerable parts of the god, in touch with each of those portions through the refractions of their own light, but by the choice of the god, presented to us in a smaller way that we may personally communicate with us. It is still our god that we are speaking to and giving worship to, yet never while being the same of the whole, never appearing the same way or having the exact same kind of relationship develop in each way he manifests to each of his devotees.

At the same time his crystal catches the light of other gods nearest to him, and that too can draw our awareness of other closely related gods. I who so love Apollon may catch a reflection of Dionysos in a particular angle of the refraction Apollon shows to me, and through my love of Apollon may show adoration and appreciation more for Dionysos, and perhaps that light of Dionysos too had the reflection carried within it of Aphrodite, and so mingling her essence in my worship to bring her necessity into my life and bind her to how I understand the god I serve. I understand and appreciate the other gods through my devotion to my god, and all of this through the smallest portion, a sliver of his being, that he presents to me.

There is no way, even as immense as the gods appear to us in their fractional selves that they present to us, that we really know how immense the gods are. There is a Hindu image I particularly love of Krishna and how he presents himself to Arjuna that I am attaching to the end of this post in which the god presents his innumerable multi form. For we cannot ever know or comprehend how vast and in how many forms the god has within in his entirety. How many refractions for his divine crystal. And even if we can see numerous face at a given time….we can never see the entire scope of the god and he manifests to each worshiper and devotee. The gods are that limitless and multiformed in their singularity.

Or so I believe it to be.

I would like to note that the concept of the gods as refracting light in crystal is highly influenced by the philosophical-religious concept of Indra’s net in which the gods are like drew drops reflecting light on a net, and each dew drop carries within it the reflection of all those near it from whatever angle you look at it. I took this and isolated it and asked myself what I would see of the dew drop of itself suspended in space refracting light in numerous hues and expressions. So while these are ideas are not completely related it was a significant groundwork for this understanding I developed in my own experience.

— Lykeia

The Destroyer With a Kindly Face

“Apollo, Holding a Lyre”, by Onorio Marinari.

For a god whose domain is largely focused on the natural forces which demolish life and form, it may seem odd that he is often portrayed looking beautiful and often kindly faced. I saw a lovely photo shared of the remains of an archaic statue of Apollon from Delphi, in which the person who originally shared it commented on how sweet his expression is. A person who is familiar with the sweeter and kinder images of Apollon may find it more appropriate for Apollon as known as a god of civilization and the arts than what they would think to associate with a god of destructive natural forces. Yet if we understand Apollon who is a god of civilization and the arts by his compassion and love to hold back and protect civilization from his harsher forces that it may flourish we can see very well how the god of nature’s destructive forces could have come as a being of beauty and infinite kindness and compassion.

This is more poignant when we understand Apollon as a god who has twice been exiled (once by his own means and once again into slavery by his father) and of the gods knows well concepts of suffering and tears, especially given spending a term in human existence which few gods have experienced in myth outside of Dionysos. Thus the myth brings revelation of Apollon as a god in contact with human experience. And yet unlike Dionysos, he is not a dying god. In fact he never matures beyond the transitional point between youth and manhood, eternally young and beautiful like a serpent with which he is intimately associated and form he has often taken that sheds its skin that it ever appears to be youthful and unchanged in the height of its beauty.

The most important thing that has been highlighted in myth regarding Apollon as a god for nature’s destructive forces is that while he can be violent and appear to be cruel in some instances if myth were taken literally, it rather highlights the distinction between organic and natural death/destruction by way of nature and that of murder. Apollon is represented in both instances at once. When he is exiled he is a murderer and thus he often penalizes murderers who come to him for purification in cases of accidental death especially and sentences them to travel afar in exile to form new colonies in penitence. He understands murder as one who has committed murder in the company of the gods, and as such he represents the understood distinction between murder and organic death/destruction. Apollon is presented in literature I believe as undergoing murder because this distinction of understanding is essential for his role in nature. For a distinction between natural death and murder myth is used to illustrate the differentiation as being fully formed in the domain of the god. Although Apollon has murdered and understands murder in myth, he himself abhors murderers and sends them abroad for their purification to remove the stain of their presence. Euripedes in his play Aclestis emphasizes this understood distinction in the domain of Apollon by his confrontation with impartial Thanatos (a distinction between the god which turns time into maturity and to the appropriate time of their death for when they are ripe for it as a god of the forces of nature that include time but also storms and ravages that consequently may take human life due to their fury, and the god who is death itself and is impartial fulfilling his duty to cut down life whenever he is sent to do so regardless of the means of the death). Here Apollon laments against the cruelty of life taken before its time is ripe. In some ways we can see Apollon as a god preserving civilization as an kindness to give humanity the fullest of time to age and die of the most natural causes rather than quickly slain by hostile environments within nature and predators.

Given this his role thus is with organic natural destruction that is a product of nature only it is reasonable that he would not bear a fearsome form as say Typhon does (it is a curiosity too, one that has been remarked by at least one academic at the closeness of the names of Typhon and Python/Pythios but usually with the regard that the myth of Zeus and Typhon was meant to parallel that of Apollon and Python. Nevermind that the whirling wind of Typhon bears links to Apollon’s similar role as a god of wind storms. The biggest difference however is that Typhon is entirely represented as a malevolent being of fearsome visage (despite being the offspring of Hera). It may be a distinction between Apollon as a god of organic and natural destruction and Typhon as being of wholesale destruction without compassion or pity? I have remarked in the comments of my previous posts that there are some strange mythic things occurring with Typhon and his relationship with Delphyne in myth (who resembles Echidnae in many instances in her form) and the odd line up with Delphic myth and the Homeric Hymn to the Pythian Apollon. If Apollon slew her when he was days old and yet he is said to have fled with Typhon emerging as a power with the other gods, to what purpose would Delphyne have been one to hide the sinews of Zeus and why would Hermes have retrieved them with Cadmus when it would be more logical that as a local daemon following Apollon’s rule at Delphi that Apollon would have had potential authority to retrieve them but is not present. It makes some odd things going on in the literary body regarding Delphyne and Apollon, and what possible relationship he may or may not have had with Typhon, especially with Apollon’s later alignment with the sun and it being mentioned to me that Typhon was too associated with the sun. Yet all the same the distinction that appears to be present between Apollon and Typhon as destructive beings is one that is controlled by the confines of nature and one that is absolutely uncontrolled devastation.

In this respect Apollon, unlike Typhon, does not appear in a form that is fearful and monstrous. He would be the exact opposite of such a form, and as such his kindness could be seen as the kindness that death brings to end suffering, and that decay brings to release souls into the next world as well as make fertile grounds for new life, and the harvest of flesh that humans slaughter even as they take too the harvest of grains. He cuts down all things at their ripeness. Yet it is to natural and benevolent purpose, rather than unkindness or any concept of evil. That is not to say that he was not understood as harsh. Organic destruction is harsh, and cannot be bargained with or changed. You cannot stop a storm from breaking, or water from breaking down stone and thus releasing important minerals even as it corrodes the land. Myth reveals this by speaking of the one time he tried to halt death for his favorite, king Cadmus which called of heroic means and thereafter divination of Aclestis by her part in bravery and Herakles for bringing her back from the gates of the underworld. Yet otherwise we do not see Apollon acting against the means of his own natural law, and one particular translation of Aclestis I had even had Thanatos translated (perhaps erroneously but still an interesting translation for these purposes) of Apollon violating his law. Regardless, the grievance of Thanatos for the interference of Apollon tells us a lot about what is expected of Apollon functioning within his domain. Same could be said in regards to the hostility of the Erinyes against Apollon in the Oresteia as a god who does not condone murder and yet directed murder and protected the murderer. Even though in myth these serve very important illustrations for other spiritual things going on that often involves apotheosis, it also highlights by example of what is abnormal by remarking upon it in the most extreme terms of hostility and grievance of that which was not considered part of Apollon’s function or nature.

In this case I cannot see Apollon as being represented with any other visage than expression of kindness or thoughtfulness. Even with his bow flexed he is often with a relaxed countenance and pleasant expression rather than appearing to be in any way moved by anger or aggression. His entire being is of benevolence, as is appropriate for a god of the passage of time in the harmonic movement of all celestial bodies and god of organic natural destruction. For he does not destroy life out of hatred or anger, or even in opposition to life for which he safeguards himself by withholding his destructive forces. In this respect I do not think he can be represented any other way except with expressions of serenity and kindness without moving off target. This is not to say that Apollon doesn’t anger and can’t be violent against transgression of natural/divine law. He is as much a protector of these laws as he rules a domain within it. Even in the instance of the murder of Clytemnestra we do not find him openly dispute that murder of kin is against nature and as such in punishable, rather arguing where the line has be drawn for accurate punishment as he also demonstrates that murder of mated/wedded pairs is also against nature. As a protector of these laws and as a protector god in general can be very fierce, but it is not what I would consider his primary state of being when it comes to destruction as it is not foremost an act of punishment but rather nature.

— Lykeia (8/31/2015)

Leto: Death and Motherhood

“Apollo and Diana Slay the Children of Niobe”, by Jan Boeckhorst.

As I (Lykeia) am getting closer to the conclusion of my pregnancy, Leto has been on my mind a lot as she was during my previous pregnancy. I have been trying to find a way to work her into the domestic calendar of my household just because she is such an important goddess, and then it occurred to me, given her associations with the underworld and with motherhood, it would be the most appropriate to honor the goddess just prior to the sunset signifying the beginning of Noumenia as the goddess of the previous period that has died and gone and mothering the new month brought forth by Apollon Noumenios even as she mothered him. It would be akin too to a birth of a new day via the night shroud of the goddess who herself has been described as being darkly garbed in a very concealing and obscure manner.

In some ways the close association with motherhood and the dead is kind of an odd one, but yet in other ways it makes sense, especially given just how dangerous of a time child birth was in the life of a woman. So much so that the clothes of mothers who died in childbirth were offered to Artemis at Brauron. Likewise the transmission of new life into being is so like that of death that it requires a certain period of miasmatic influence from the presence of the spirits and beings associated with death as would a person upon dying (but perhaps less so since the purification period is considerably shorter than the 30 days following the day of a person). Still the very real link between birth and death as having a common access is one that really indicates strongly the nature of Leto as both an underworld goddess and a mother goddess. Especially in cults that believed in reincarnation, we could see this exemplified as a return of souls via the mother as portal. In some ways this may also be linked to an association with Demeter in which the grain goddess in some versions is also the a mother of the god Iakkhos in the netherworld, Demeter herself regarded at times as a mother of the dead likely in a similar manner in which the stones of the earth are linked to the bones of one’s ancestors. The dead and the tomb is intricately linked to the advent of new life. As a goddess linked to the tomb and underworld she is thus the ultimate mother of life. Even her mild, often sweet-tempered and calming disposition (when not riled into anger) is very suggestive of her underworld connection as a kindly being that brings rest and comfort to the souls of the dead even as she grants forth the souls of infants to inhabit the wombs of mothers.

It is of little wonder that creatures that go beneath into the hidden realms of the earth are largely sacred to her, such as bees (creators of sweet elixir) who build hives in the roots of trees, in the earth…and in the myth of her grandson Aristaios in the carcass of bulls, frogs which multiply in great numbers beneath the surfaces of ponds and are intimately connected with the underworld as we see in the play “Frogs” where they keep the nursery of Apollon’s reeds (another teasing connection of birth place and the underworld), earth-denning wolves, as well as serpents and shrew (especially in connection with her syncretism with the Egyptian goddess Wadjet) that likewise nest within the ground and spawn numerous offspring from these recesses. Symbolically then it may seem that the earth itself is spawning the young of these creatures from deep within.

As this makes her even more so a great candidate as the mother of Noumenia, even as her niece Hekate closes the month. This will be a great continuation of what I am already doing at the doorway in which she is the deity I address first in my prayers, as mother of the underworld, mother of mothers, mother of the portal and sacred gates. This has become such a significant part of my understanding of the nature of this goddess and it has had a profound impact on the way I am building my relationship with her and her presence in my oikos. Hail Leto!

— Lykeia (1/21/2016)

The Brides of Apollon: Reflections of Artemis for the Apollon-Artemis Unity

“Diana, the Huntress”, by Guillaume Seignac.

The unity of Apollon and Artemis, quite easily explained by those orphic hymns which call Misa (clearly derived from the name of Artemis as a daughter of Demeter) as the double Euboleus (Apollon as the swineherd son of Demeter fulfilling his character elsewhere in connection with this mysteries as a herder/leader and of a nature parallel to that expressed by Diodoros Siculus as the chorus-leader of Dionysos/Osiris) expresses the nature of Apollon and Artemis as deriving from the same source…mythically the womb of Leto. As such Apollon and Artemis have naturally reflecting features of their domains, which likewise carries over into a great number of shared or closely related epithets. Though they have distinct functions and personalities, they are inseparable and cosmically linked for that even as Artemis drives the prey in her hunt, Apollon receives what she had hunted. Thus establishing a never ending pattern of energy and the effect of the energy under control. Artemis hunts forth, and Apollon destroys. Even in their cult centers it is difficult to find the presence of one without the other.

Of course the masculine-feminine dichotomy is presented here a bit different than it has been presented with other such cases in which you have myths of a divine source being separating into another, usually the case of a male separating himself into a female. She is still part of him, and he is still part of her, but they are at the same time separate. Usually in such cases when this arises in which you have a male and female deity of the same source they will be bonded together in a marital or procreative relationship. However in the myth of Apollon and Artemis these twins fall into a different relationship that follows its cultural expression. Romans seemed to have attempted to modify the tones of the relationship a bit in the retelling of the story of Orion in which Apollon, jealous of the relationship between his twin and the hunter, tricked his sister into shooting him in a contest. Yet such jealousies in regards to the twins rarely crop up, though they are quick to defend each other and act for each other, as Artemis struck down Coronis.

Yet, there is something that ties into their relationship that reflects a reaffirmation of their unity in a vein similar to the procreative elements, and that lies mostly on the part of the maidens loved by Apollon. This is particularly the case when we see his first love, Daphne. This nymph was for all intensive purposes identical to the nature of Artemis. She too was a huntress who hunted with a band of fellow nymphs throughout Peloponnesius. Likewise, the wife of Apollon, Kyrene is also a double for Artemis in her persona and character. She too is a huntress/shepherdess who disdains the womanly arts to tend to the wilds. In fact, she was so closely associated with Artemis that she was said to have been given dogs by the goddess for her hunt. Of course there are figures who are less like Artemis with whom Apollon carries on a brief affair, but these two maidens figure prominently in his myths in Hellas, and Kyrene is the only marriage that he has had in myth, with full honors by the gods via the presence of Aphrodite creating for them their marital bed.

For Artemis there is a case, retold my Apollodorus in his the Library, in which according to an alternate version of the story of Callisto that the maiden was seduced by Zeus not in the form of Artemis, but rather in the form of Apollon. Herein we have the form of Artemis being replaced distinctly by that of Apollon. That Callisto would permit herself to be embraced by Apollon in substitution for Artemis suggests that the lines are easily blurred between what Artemis is doing, and what Apollon is doing and that for one of her followers to be embraced by Apollon was of quite a different nature than the same action being performed by another god.

I would like to reiterate that this post is not intended to say that Apollon and Artemis are one and the same in all ways, but rather that they are a male and female components of a whole for which we see too Apollon also called hunter like his twin, and Artemis as Despoina carrying on her lap the staff, likely of the kind which a shepherd would use that is aligned to the staff of Apollon Karneios. So they dance together in their cosmic actions. They do not need to be procreative, and in fact it is not necessary for their actions. Apollon is the destroyer at the boundary/gate, Artemis is the nurturing lady of the portal/doorway the huntress who drives forward all things through life. They do not need to be procreative together to do their parts harmonically as twin lights of the same function. Just their unity is brought home between the points of their twinship, and the character of the bride of Apollon. It is merely illustrated in this fashion through myth.

— Lykeia

Community ≠ Competition

“Apollo and the Muses”, by EunjeongKim Hazzi.

As a Sister of the Treasury, I have made a commitment to bringing Apollon’s will into the world, as best I can, to the best of my understanding.  This is my life’s purpose, and it fills me with joy.  It also fills me with joy to see others doing His work.  And I am so grateful to be a part of a Sisterhood, and a wider community who loves and honors Him.  His will is for all people.  There are no exclusions, save for the ones deep in an individual’s heart.  Their own will determines whether or not they accept His invitation, but the invitation is open to all.  And no one has to accept, but we do have to accept that everyone is welcome, from those we do not know, to those we may not like.

Everyone is welcomed by Apollon to become more than they currently know they can be.  Everyone is welcome to heal.  Everyone is welcome to change.  Everyone deserves the chance for purification.  And His arms are open.  There is no force that can sever His connection to a person who mutually cultivates it, though, it must be cultivated.  It must be nourished and warmed, each by our own conscious development.  Which means, that we should seek not to look toward each other and our individual accomplishments, under the scrutiny of culturally-enforced false competition.

If we are all doing the work He set out for us to do, by His decree, then we should focus on our own work, rather than hover over the accomplishments of others.  Comparison ultimately leads to insecurity, anxiety, envy, or all of the above and more.  Each person is on a different level of individual development, with differing skill levels for different talents.  There is no Apollonian monolith, thankfully, nor should there be, and we should not seek to create one, either purposefully or accidentally.

The emotions that can be stirred up by unhealthy comparison are in direct conflict with many important Apollonian qualities.  Envy is a black hole that lets no light escape.  Insecurity and anxiety are its handmaidens, dim stars caught in its effect.  There, can not also thrive empathy, kindness or compassion.  In the face of such forces, neither can cooperation, co-leadership, or simply any acceptance of others doing work that was not given to another to do.  There is truly enough work to go around.  We needn’t complicate things by driving our minds into competition, rather than expressing our own commitment and love for Apollon.

In times like this, we must embrace our Lord’s purification.  We must let go of preconceived notions of grandeur, for His work is not about us.  His work is the sum total of all His orchestration, all the moving parts He’s nudged into place.  Every cog in the machine working to bring His vision of a chaotic, yet somehow ordered Universe to life, through no vehicle other than all of our individual talents.  This is community, and communities thrive neither on envy, nor the suspicion that envy breeds in others.

Communities can benefit from striving to be places of homecoming, safety, and healing.  We must allow ourselves to be mastered by Apollon, and shaped by His example– to focus on our tasks, and ultimately, to grow in our entire worldview.  A way toward this, is to sincerely embrace the notion of change, for if we can not imagine ourselves differently, it becomes that much more difficult to bring a new self, with new and healthier habits and values, into manifestation.  Purification is part of the work, and we must not exclude ourselves from the paradigm of growth now lapping at the shore of the unknown world to come.  Apollon will keep the way bright for us, as we traverse the fallow grounds awaiting His seed to be planted.

— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 1, 2019]

Apollon and Apollo

“Apollo”, by Anne Louis Girodet de Roussy Trioson.

I will be the first to admit I am not terribly well versed in Roman Religion, or at least it has been quite some time since I looked at it, but I doubt that fact is of huge importance to this subject because Apollo was altogether directly borrowed from the Hellenes. The Romans simply didn’t have any god that they considered the equivalent of what Apollon was. Thus all you see as a modification of the name in a Latinized form…and really a very slight modification at that. This is unlike other deities whose myths and attributes were conflated by the Romans with their own gods, which usually produced cults that had distinct differences from the Hellenic ones, but this was simply not the case with Apollo. Unlike the relationship Apollon enjoys with Helios, I have never particular come across anything like that in regards to the Roman Sol. The Roman philosopher in his book On the Nature of the Gods, does says that Apollo is the Greek name of Sol, but I hadn’t previously come across this statement elsewhere and as Apollo’s temple was not part of the city proper, as where would be any gods native to Romans, it seems like a dubious statement in regards to actual belief and practice. There was one scholar I had read some time ago who said that the Romans gave little attention to the features of Apollon’s cult which resembled features already in place with their own native god Sol (my paraphrase). I have no idea how accurate that particular idea may be though it is my general impression that the Romans didn’t make a particularly strong association between the sun and Apollo in their cultus to him, given the Latin epithets that we have don’t even address light much less a specific light-bearing body.

However, he was at one point associated with Luciferos who, though a light bearing god, has no association with the kind of solar light and was rather associated with the morning star, perhaps inspired by Apollon’s epithet Phosophoros. That Lucifer/Phosophoros was connected with the evening star and philosophical statements stated that the evening and morning star were the same it may allude to how the Hellenes and in turn the Romans perceived part of the relationship with the sun, as the star followed before the dawn and after the sunset in the twilight hours which are particular to Apollon Lykeios. That is to say that a recognition of this period between night and day, during the twilight hours, in which the planet Venus shines the most brilliantly. Whether or not either the Hellenes or Romans believed Phosophoros or Luciferos to be directly Apollon or Apollo is debatable, but the concept of the light as being in a related dance with the sun but not being the sun seems to be a common expression in both cases. However, it is possible that at least with the Romans they may have taken a more direct association between the morning/evening star and Apollon, if we consider Diana whom they conflated with Artemis and to whom they attached all of the latter’s myths and symbols. Not only was Diana called Lucifera, but also the philosopher Cicero attributes a particular manifestation of Diana as moving through the heavens as a wandering star. However we do find some divergence artistically as they seemed to have incorporated many elements of a solar idea, more to the point in expressing Apollo’s connection with the sun to illustrate the passage of time or as a vague kind of solar cross halo behind his head in mosaic portraits of the god. Typically though most images of Apollo were, like so many statues, copies from those made by Hellenes. The exception being Etruscan work, such as the statues which made the scene of Herakles and Apollon of Veii contesting over the golden hind. The Etruscan Aplu, or Apulu, is thought to have been borrowed from the Hellenes at a much earlier date and while he never had much presence in Etruscan myths and cosmology he had a popular cult with numerous votive statues among the Etruscans.

From my understanding much of the nuances related to Apollon’s domain among the Hellenes were pretty much stripped away down to a more simple presentation of the god, and one that probably colors how people perceive the Hellenic god today rather than embracing his complexities. There is no evidence of Apollo carrying over any of the characteristics of destruction, death and tombs that Apollon has, as well as his involvement with orchards, roads, pastures, herds, etc. Instead, we find Cicero dealing with some of these parts of Apollon’s domain as entirely separate gods.If that is how the Romans perceived them philosophically then that may explain why so many various functions of Apollon get neglected. That is to say that aside from Latinizing his epithet Phoibos into Phoebus and bringing it into use during the Imperial period, his epithets among the Romans are few and rather straight forward. These are: Articenens (who carries the bow), Averruncus (who turns away evil), Coelispex (who watches the heavens) which is most likely an oracular/divination  association, Medicus (doctor), and Culicarius (who drives away midges, a small two winged fly). Thus you have Apollo as an archer, oracular god, a deity that turns away unpleasant and evil things, and a healer (the latter associated with the former if you consider turning away disease in association). In the later case the Vestal Virgins were known to pray to Apollo Medicus by chanting his name. Apollo Medicus in association with the Vestals is perhaps the most well known forms of Apollo in Rome. It was primarily as a healing god that it has been speculated that he was brought into Rome and until the Imperial period during which Augustus identified himself with Apollo and brought his worship to greater prestige, including the building of the temple on the Palentine hill…outside of the original city limits as befits a foreign god.

It was mostly out of the interest of this emperor that Apollo was established further in recognition and popularity in Rome from what I can tell, who then instituted the gods place on the Palentine Hill separate from the Apollinare on the Flaminian fields. This of course should be distinguished from any temples that may have existed in southern Italy that were founded by Hellenic colonists. This is in a huge contrast to the numerous temples of Apollon of great antiquity scattered through Hellas and Ionia which is quite telling of how important this god was perceived in the two different cultures. Likewise, as far as I have come across the Romans only had one event that was especially for Apollo, the Ludi Apollinares, a series of games in honor of the god to celebrate his coming to Rome and relieving the people of the plague. This is in stark contrast to the numerous festivals held for Apollon throughout Hellas that honor mythical events and specific functions of Apollon’s domain rather than an event. However, poems seem to be largely inspired by Hellenic hymns, though the Roman ones seem to focus more on Apollo in association with transition of boys into adulthood than anything else from what I recall. Though many of the poems otherwise have a carry over from Hellenic poems and myths to the god. But the most celebrated of poems focused primarily on the successful maturation of boys.

As far as myths regarding Apollo, these were directly borrowed from the Hellenes though often retold in modified forms. For instance it is from the Romans that we find the instance of the death of Orion being attributed to a passion Apollon held for Artemis. This is a version of the myth that for all I can tell is distinctly Roman. Likewise the most well known version of the transformation of Daphne is from the Roman poet Ovid, and this is the only version in which I have read of Daphne being struck by a lead dart. In Hellenic versions of the myth she, a chaste maiden, runs as natural instinct would bid her and needs no prompting from a dart. In fact the whole lead dart thing I find utterly silly, especially considering that Daphne became his most sacred medium as his sacred tree. Seems hardly right for a myth to suggest that she was repelled by him by some negative juju. These are just a couple of examples, but certainly there are many others out there.

Another really distinct difference between the Roman Apollo and the Hellenic Apollon is that the former did not possess a domestic cultus. In Hellas Apollon is well connected the household as a protective deity in the form of a black phallic stone before the household entrance. This same image has been found on a plaque from the Palentinian temple but aside from a scene in which a youth and maiden are honoring the phallic stone draped with arrow and lyre to clarify its association with the god, there is no evidence of Apollon being associated with the roman household in this manner. Apollon has no presence as god before the doorway, lord of the gate. Likewise the beginning of the month, an important occasion among Hellenic households, did not honor Apollon Noumenios or any form of Apollo associated with the new month. Rather the new month was auspicious to Iuno. This completely alienates their Apollo from the most primary protections he provides, the protection of the household, which leads me to think that the protective element of Apollon’s nature was possible either ignored and given less importance. Of course Romans had many of their own gods, numerous actually, associated with every part of the house. That said, it seems strange that this form of Apollon that is so vitally important in the daily life gets forgotten aside from a small plaque on the Palentine temple.

In short I would say that Apollo in the end is more like Apollon-light, a watered-down version of Apollon that was suitable for the Roman needs, and as such is perfectly fine, but lacks the beauty, complexity and depth that Apollon contains within himself in my opinion. That is not to say that during the Imperial period that Apollon’s cult didn’t enjoy a great expression of beauty in Rome, but in the end it just doesn’t come across as being quite close enough to Apollon in Hellas.

— Lykeia

The Sacred Departure

“Apollo in his Chariot”, by Filippo Lauri.

My Lord, Your season comes like a gale force wind, ripping through branch and blade, bending all which is flexible, while breaking the rigid and the frail.

O, my Lord, a razor-wind is welcome, cutting into the breathless, struggling for air within a whirlwind. The sound surrounds, circulates, circumvents all thought and reason– a driving sound, full of hope and consequences.

O, Divine Lord, You have set out upon this world, and we feel the signs of You everywhere. Distance grows, as the night creeps upon the day– cool twilight our companion, our lives held in liminal sway.

Apollon, O Lord, You are the Storm, You are the Calm. You are the boundary of fear and desire. And all shall rejoice where You roam.

It is upon the Autumnal Equinox that Apollon begins His annual tour, before at last moving on toward His winter throne, at Hyperborea. This day is referred to in the Treasury as the Departure, and we honor Him solemnly, quietly, and introspectively, out of respect for this seasonal/psychological transition.

In order to ease our anxiety at His passage, we may focus on His lightbearing qualities, with particular emphasis upon the waning light of dusk, represented in His epithet, Aegletes. Even as the sun sets, we know the dawn will rise again. So it is with Apollon. He leaves us for a time, for His duties take Him elsewhere, to Lands with concerns beyond our own. But He always returns, in the spring.

As we prepare for the Aegletia, the coming days are crucial. Use this time to purify the energies of your home or ritual space, for last minute decorating, and for final planning of rituals and other activities for the Nine Illuminations. The time will move quickly, so be certain you will have what you need.

And when the sun rises on the morning of the First Illumination, know that your only concern should be preparing yourself, in all the ways that you deem necessary, for our Beloved Prince. In the subsequent days, you will be pushed and tested, as well as uplifted and celebrated, so taking this time to lovingly tend to your own needs will replenish you, so that you may in turn replenish those who share space with you, and who walk with you in reverence of Apollon.

— Treasury of Apollon

Purification Ritual for Brides, Lovers and Consorts – Repost

Photograph found via Google.

This ritual is adapted from my (Columbine) personal purificatory regimen, for use by any bride, lover, consort, etc., of Apollon. Of course, any devotee may use this ritual, but it was adapted with His many lovers in mind. It is not traditionally Hellenic. It is shared for the Aegletia, to be done on the First Illumination: Purification. It is to be done before bedtime.

You will need:

A clean shower or tub
Sea salt
White clothes and veil (optional)
Two prepared purification waters of your choice; one to drink and one to pour over the body
An anointing oil of your choice (olive oil may be used)
A prepared offering of your choice
Bay leaves, and a means of burning and containing them

**** Special diet consisting solely of fruits, breads, herbs/spices, olive oil, honey, salt and water, should be adhered to (by those able and willing) for at least twenty-four hours prior to purification ritual. ****

First, wash the body and hair, shave appropriately (if you choose to shave), then scrub down your whole body with sea salt. Do not rinse. Dry and dress in white clothes, and a loose white veil.

Approach the shrine or altar. Propitiate the Beloved. Give thanks, and praise unto Him. Unveil, and drink previously prepared inner purification water. Anoint the body with an oil that both you and Apollon find pleasing. Begin purificatory visualization, breathing exercises (optional), and chakra cleansing (optional).

Visualize the flow of water, flushing away the impurities, leaving the body clean. Visualize the same for the auric and astral bodies. Continue chakra cleansing (optional), and breathing exercises (optional), while visualizing.

Visualize yourself ascending a tall spiral staircase leading to a spiritual abode where the Beloved waits for you, becoming more pure with each upward curve toward perfection. Visualize your arrival and the Beloved’s presence enshrouding you. Repeat these words: “I am whole. I am holy. I am perfect. I am Yours.”

Commune with the Beloved.

After your communion, awaken, and give thanks and praise unto Him. Veil yourself again, and ask that He create a shield from, and a system with which to flush away all future impurities before they have the opportunity to take root. Accept His divine touch. Give thanks and praise unto Him.

Present previously prepared offering, then burn bay leaves to seal your intent. Give thanks and praise unto Him.

Now, invite the Beloved to be received into your home on the second day of the Aegletia. Leave the shrine or altar and commence rinsing body and hair in a warm bath or shower, then pour previously prepared outer purification water over your body. Dry, dress in comfortable night clothes (or not, as the case may be) and sleep.

— Treasury of Apollon

Grounding, Daphne, and Elemental Convergence

“Daphne”, by Guangjian Huang.

Back during the early days, I would often mention, though not in any deep way, my affiliation with the nymph, Daphne. And although Daphne, in my understanding and doxa, was a hamadryad, it should be remembered that originally, and before her transformation, she was a naiad, a nymph of fresh Water.

So, as a tree, Water remained an important element in Daphne’s well-being, probably as much as the Earth she was rooted to. I imagine that being grounded in the way that she was, receiving her nourishment from the Earth below, was not exactly the same type of grounding that we understand today in our modern spiritual practices. I also imagine that when the sky opened up to shower her and the other trees with rain, from which moisture was needed, that it helped to wash away her troubled emotions, cleansing her and freeing her of much of the hurt and trauma she was subjected to during the pursuit from Apollon, which itself was the traumatic result of the vengeful Eros’ ire toward the God.

Water is often lauded as a carrier of emotion, and I have found this to be true in my own doxa and experience. Returning for a moment to the lore of Daphne, it is not surprising for me to realize that the pain and fear she experienced during her trial had to somehow be removed if she were ever to truly succumb to Apollon’s will. This necessarily happened after her transformation, because the perspective of a rooted tree, or hamadryad, rather than that of a free-roaming nymph allowed her to finally be embraced by Apollon’s fierce love.

Daphne must have underwent a series of dramatic purifications before she was able to accept Apollon’s love, and thus accept her fate as the vehicle of purification, through Him. In her final state, we see her in a sort of elemental convergence, where Water joins with Earth, and in turn joins with Fire as her leaves are burned to release the virginal essence still residing within her. This essence is then carried up to the realms of the Divine by Air, in the form of smoke lifting away impurities.

This, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of purification, for it is the convergence of all these elements together which fully expresses Daphne’s innate purity, which is then shared with us through the process of simply burning the bay leaves, or in another way by the preparation of khernips, which itself requires Water, sometimes salt, and usually burning herbs or bay leaves, which results in a small amount of smoke before being plunged into the Water, thus joining all of the elements.

So, in these examples, we see the importance of Water as the carrier of the pure essence of Daphne, and the vehicle through which impurities, both physical and emotional, are washed away.

For myself, as one who identifies in many important ways with Daphne, it is little wonder that Water should be so necessary in my own grounding efforts, for it is not only about the cleansing of impurities, but also the release of stagnant emotion, which through Earthen grounding alone I am unable to dispel. Thankfully, however, I was able to figure this out through meditation, trial and error, and some conversations with Apollon in which He all but hammered it into me that I am not, in fact, attuned to the Earth element in any significant way. This is made more evident in the make-up of my astrological chart, which sadly, contains zero Earth.

I’ve known this for a long time, but only recently have I put two and two together. I believe it is important for us as practitioners to be aware of the nuances of our elemental natures, and to take these nuances into account when attempting even the most basic of spiritual activities, such as grounding and centering. If we try to adhere to forms which are less compatible with our natures, we may likely find our efforts wasted, leading to more feelings of inadequacy and other negative emotions. It becomes a cycle of self-deprecation that can never help to improve our capabilities in the areas we wish to improve upon.

So, what does grounding through Water (for lack of an appropriate Water-based term) look like? For me, it may begin with visualization, as do many Earthen grounding techniques, but instead of visualizing a connection to the Earth itself, I see a pool of ground Water seeping up to cover my feet, or my entire body if I’m feeling particularly needy. I then try to synchronize the movement and flow of this visualized Water with that of my blood. Through concentration, the Water which comprises so much of my physical form then becomes inseparable from the visualized Water. It is at this point where I am able to release the pent up emotion, which is washed swiftly away, soaking deep into the Earth, along with the visualization.

There are other, more immediately physical ways to engage with Water in this way, such as running cool tap Water over one’s hands, then releasing the unwanted energy; or swimming, particularly in the ocean and other natural bodies of Water; and even standing outside during a heavy rainstorm. All of these I’ve found to be effective, and I will continue to experiment with other techniques as they present themselves, and as the need arises.

— Columbine

Touched… or… The Hands of the Gods Touch Others, Through You

By @bryanadamc, on Instagram, found via Google.

When we are called by our Gods, oftentimes our first instinct is to run, to flee from Them and Their immensity. Sometimes we get far, other times not. Sometimes we spend years hiding for fear of being touched. Right now, as I type this, Apollon is within me, and I ride the current of His inspiration. His power is pervasive. I feel it in my skin, and in my breath. It compels me to do many things, to take many actions in this life of mine that perhaps I would not take, otherwise. To be a distributor of His word is one of them.

Oh, I would love Him still, would honor Him still, even without this power coursing through me, for I have loved and honored Him in times when this power was absent. I know, truly and fully, that my life would be made easier without this constant flow of Himself into me. But He is here, within, commanding that I speak His thoughts, and sometimes His words, for others to know.

Even now, after having become His in all possible ways, I sometimes run. I sometimes make walls between Himself and I. Apollon annihilates those walls. There is no barrier that He will not destroy for the sake of knowing that I am His– to hold and to touch, and to command. And in return for my willingness to let Him lead, I receive His boundless love, and His unfettered devotion.

To be touched by a God is to form a reciprocal link with Them. It is to house Their power, and Their thought, and Their smiles and laughter and pain and frustration, also. It is to see inside Them, to learn from Their mistakes, and to know Them in many intimate ways.

They will know you also. They will explore your fantasies and your desires, and They will hold onto your secrets and your hidden emotions. To be touched is to be as one, and to be at home within the halls of Another, as They make a home within you.

And there will be moments when They will ask that you open those halls, both Theirs and yours, to others. Sometimes these will be other Gods, and sometimes they will be human, or spirit– but open the halls you will. By Their insistence, you will open the halls to allow others to partake in your knowing of Them. You will teach by example, and sometimes through direct instruction. But know that though you may be a teacher, it is the God who shall lead the way. Through you, They will touch others.

You may not even always mean to act in such a capacity. For you, the sharing of Their touch may be completely accidental. In such times, you may begin to fear your own mark upon the world, even if restricted by choice or necessity to a small sphere of influence. Actions which you have taken may echo across vast distances and leave traces in the most unexpected quarters. This may cause you to feel that the consequences of your intent are beyond your control. They are. Though we may fear being a vehicle for Their touch, we must not allow the fear to dictate our actions.

Every action that we commit has the potential to be a holy one. Every word that we speak can cause a hundred hearts to melt into Divine hands. Compassionate words and gentle assistance will bring seekers into the fold of the Gods we love and serve. It is not up to us whether this happens, but as vehicles of our Divine Beloveds, we should try to be aware of its potential.

To be touched is to emit Their power in all that we do and are. So, we must be careful. So, we must be wary. Yet also must we be receptive to the needs of our Beloveds, and of those whom They would approach. Because sometimes, we will be the bridges over which They will traverse, in order to grasp the hand of another. And because we are touched, we will feel all the closer to Them, as They extend Their power, and Their embraces forward.

— Columbine