Decorations and Preparations for the Aegletia

Autumnal Season table setting. Found via Google.

 

The Aegletia (October 1st through October 9th, 2019) will be our eighth annual celebration of our Lord’s Departure. This simple guide is given, that any who choose to, may prepare their homes, or other spaces, for Apollon’s arrival and presence during the festival.

There are a few specific ways in which you may enrich your space, beginning with the cleaning and organizing of the space you have chosen to utilize. Declutter, and put away everything that has a proper place. Dust, and wipe down your surfaces, along with sweeping, vacuuming, and anything else that you know needs to be addressed. This doesn’t have to be a super deep clean, but certainly enough to be welcoming and comfortable for your important g/Guests.

After the cleaning, you may want to look for seasonal flowers or fruits, especially those local to your own area of the world, and place them decoratively around your space. If the leaves have started to turn, even those make a lovely addition to the mood and atmosphere. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps some young buds, or leafy plants, and of course, flowers. This is a time for us to mark the shift in the land, and we must not ignore our own locales. Our environments are the foundations to Treasury practice. Be aware of the land upon which you dwell, and flow with the turn of the seasons, as you experience them, first and foremost.

Note also the fleeting nature of Apollon’s time with us before His final departure, during the Ninth Illumination. Many flowers and plants last only a little over a week after being cut. So, with the festival lasting a total of nine days, by the time the Ninth Illumination arrives, many of them will be ready for appropriate offering to the ritual fire, should you choose to have one.

Moving on to other ways of attuning our spaces toward Apollon’s grace, we take note of the origin of our festival’s name. As the Aegletia is given its name after Apollon Aegletes, our Lord of the Setting Sun, and of the waning light, we must also be aware that what we feel during His Departure is not actually predicated upon the meteorological experience of the season of winter, as exists in the Northern Hemisphere. Apollon makes His journey at the same time each year, in all places, and winter is not the universal season experienced everywhere at this time. Summer holds its own mysteries in conjunction to His Departure, therefor, those in the Southern Hemisphere should feel no less free to fully exercise their own ways of acknowledgement and celebration. Think of the waning light as a metaphor for His encroaching distance, rather than taking the language literally, when it does not apply to your environment.

Having said that, let us move the conversation back toward decoration. Crystals, especially bold, sunlight colors, and those which are traditionally associated with Apollon, are a great addition to your space and festivities. Many Apollonians, including our Sisterhood, are fond of carnelian, or of orange or yellow calcite, as well as amber, quartz and selenite. You can read up on the properties of these crystals if you wish to incorporate them into your decorative choices, but this is not strictly necessary. These are, of course, not the only crystals or stones that one may decide to utilize, and all are encouraged to make their own correspondences, that every aspect of the Aegletia be attuned to their needs and wants.

Crystals or stones may be placed upon the altar, or within His shrine, during the week leading to the festival, that His blessing may be bestowed upon them. Leaving the crystals or stones out (in a safe location) at or near dusk for a succession of days, will allow them to absorb the solar energies which are present, that those energies may to transferred to the space that you are preparing. On the first day of the Aegletia, spread the crystals or stones decoratively about your living space, asking Apollon to extend His blessings across all areas of the home.

Another important preparation would be to clear the space of negative, or undesired energetic influence. This may be done in a variety of ways, and any that you are familiar and comfortable with already will suffice. One simple method of doing so includes the use of prepared salt water. Fill a clean jar with water, add a generous amount of salt (tap water and table salt are absolutely acceptable, though some may choose spring water or sea salt, as suits their tastes), speak your intent into the concoction, seal the jar, and place it upon your kitchen or dining room table. The jar will absorb any negative energy pervading the space, and should be emptied (onto the ground somewhere off your property, or alternatively, down the drain of your kitchen sink) and refilled once a day for best results. Should you choose to continue this during the festival proper, the emptying/filling of the jar may become another meaningful part of the daily/nightly ritual.

The reason for clearing the negative energy of the table is to prepare it for the convivial energy of celebration that should begin to permeate the household, as the First Illumination approaches. The table is also a suggested place for a small altar or shrine for the Divine Guests of the Aegletia.

And finally, it is encouraged that participants set aside a cozy area of the home, perhaps a living room, perhaps a bedroom, or even a different room of your choosing, for the presentation of gifts or other offerings for Apollon, Leto, and Artemis. This could be done near the home’s main altar or shrine for Apollon, or a new shrine or altar created specifically for the festival. Be sure to decorate this area appropriate to your tastes, and Apollon’s liking. Another use of this space may be the creation of the farewell gifts that you will present to Apollon on the Ninth Illumination. It can be a beautiful place of love and conversation, storytelling and dance, and whatever other celebratory ways you choose. If children are present, be sure to include some age-appropriate activities for them, as well, throughout the Aegletia festival.

May all be blessed, and may our Lord see you swiftly and tenderly upon the morning of the Second Illumination.

Hail Hyperboreios! Hail Aegletes! Hail Anax, Apollon, our King!

— Treasury of Apollon

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May the Wind Lift Us Up, Rather Than Strike Us Down

“Apollo Bringing Down Arrows of Plague Upon the Greeks”, by Stanisław Wyspiański.

O Lord, who commands the wind in Mastery, so too do You sway with booming Voice, our unfocused minds! God whose turn of phrase is at once enlightening, and terrible, we who have loved You overmuch, who have dwelt with You in peace and contemplation, are here in honored reverence of You!

God of the nimble dance of fingers against lithe strings, Apollon who has breathed life into our mortal exploits, hear us, the beautiful ones enveloped within Your exquisite magnitude!

Hear us, and grant favor as You see fit, to we, the quiet ones who toil in the whirlwind of modern life!

And Lord, do grant favor also to the bold, those who embody Your deep and scathing wrath, for the whirlwind is cruel, and Your people are in need of Your deft care, as brought about by those whom You entrust!

Apollon, Prince of the sword slicing through the air, slicing through ignorance, slicing through all enemies, grant us a hardened defense, and let us remain victorious, from now until all time hereafter!

Blessed is Apollon Telkinios, Apollon Katharsios, Apollon Loxias, Apollon Khrysáoros!

Blessed is Apollon Argyrotoxos, whose aim is righteous!

Hail to You, Apollon!

— Columbine

The Names of the Gods Aren’t Their Real Names

“Apollo”, by Adam Camerarius.

There is a phenomena that happens in the mystic sector of our communities that regularly drives a knife into the heart of the mystic – That of suddenly realizing that the Gods you are so close to are not who you expected them to be, which is the very foundation of mysticism. At first it is rending. Then it is uncomfortable. You begin the journey, diving into what we define as syncretism, and you’re met with mixed emotions. You mourn the loss of equilibrium. You fear uncertainty. You mourn what you’ve lost. You doubt your path or your sanity, sometimes both. Sometimes there’s the loss of community or co-religionist friends. It hurts. It’s excruciating.

Meanwhile there’s tickling excitement as you find spots where you discover the familiar in new faces and learn new things. You gain new tools for approaching your beloved Gods. You expand your community of like-minded, same-hearted companions.

This is the very basis of the mystic experience. You grow. Your relationship with the Gods grows. You learn and accept (Eventually? Hopefully?) that, like most relationships, you don’t have full control of the situation. Learning to let go of the reigns, trusting that the beings carrying you on your journey know the way even when you may not, is one of the hardest things that will ever happen in your life.

In the last month or two I’ve been musing over this quite a lot. As believers of Many and not just One, we don’t have as many sources of people historically going through this. Many of us identify with the Abrahamic mystics, who have the luxury of there only being One in their core beliefs. We also learn in school that Gods fit into neat boxes of what they’re in power over, and that construct is not something that simply goes away because we will it. Suddenly the God of your heart does not fit into that box. They tell you that they no longer wish to be called by the name you’ve always known them as. They want to be called something else.

Now I’ve rambled here, trying to get the foundation of what I’m actually wanting to say… And that is this: Those who walk with the Powers with root in the Indo-European traditions are grounded in the very nature of the Gods does not allow for boxes. The names of our Gods were rendered in the languages spoken and carried through time. Words, after all, have power, but power shifts like everything else. Our Gods are many-named, otherwise there would have been no need for titles, epithets, and facets. No need for syncretism and interpretation. Everyone in history would agree. But that is not the case.

Many of our traditions hold that the Gods’ true names are rarely known. These true names hold power. Only the initiated learn them, and they are held as some of the greatest secrets lost in history.

These names cannot be found in primary sources and secondary sources are mere speculation. The only way to find these names now are directly experiencing the Powers. These names were regularly part of Mysteries.

We can find this in the Rig Veda:

As God, the secret names of Gods he utters, to be declared on sacred grass more widely.

– RV 9.95.4

We can find this in regard to Rome:

…and, last and greater than all, Rome herself, whose other name the hallowed mysteries of the sacred rites forbid us to mention without being guilty of the greatest impiety. After it had been long kept buried in secrecy with the strictest fidelity and in respectful and salutary silence, Valerius Soranus dared to divulge it, but soon did he pay the penalty of his rashness.

– Pliny, Natural History, Book 3, Chapter 9

We can find this, dear to my own heart, in Hellenic sources for Apollon:

O fair-beamed Sun, how you have destroyed me

and him here. You are rightly called Apollon among mortals,

whoever knows the divine powers’ unspoken names.

–from M.L. West’s Indo-European Poetry and Myth quoting Euripidies’ Phaethon (225 f. = fr. 781. 12 f.)

If you read chapter 3 of M.L. West’s Indo-European Poetry and Myth, you will find other examples of this reality. Which is exactly what it is: Reality.

Years ago, I came across a database of all the recorded names found for Celtic gods, and I was struck by how many gods had once been worshiped in Europe that were entirely lost save for a single inscription. As far as I can tell, despite lots of searching, the database seems to be gone now, which just painfully reminds me of the ephemeral nature of language and names. Some of the names in the database were simply possible reconstructions of meaning, because the language wasn’t so much lost as it evolved naturally over time. The art of describing the world around us changes, words become taboo, and the sounds that roll across our tongues are ever evolving.

Sometimes at night, when the house is silent and I enjoy a few moments of peace to sit with the Gods, I think of all the Gods that we’ve lost over time. But the reality is that the Gods are immortal. They are deathless. They are waiting for us to find our way back to Them as we reforge what is left of our traditions. Rebuild? No. We will never be able to rebuild the structures that were destroyed, but we can take what has been recorded, discovered, and experienced. And with those pieces, we can listen to the Gods whispering how to melt them and forge them into traditions that build into a strong tool used to come back to the Gods of our Ancestors.

That is Revivalism. That is the job of mystics. When a God tells you that they are not who you thought they were, you’re allowed to feel the wide range of emotions that flood over you. You’re allowed to rage. You’re allowed to cry. To scream. To fight with them. To feel the height of joy as a clue falls into your lap. You are allowed to experience all the frustration that comes with this most holy of Work.

Let it take days. Months. Years… Let it take a decade or more. However long it takes you is just the right amount of time, because you’re on the path to the Gods. Not just greatest who are remembered or even simply recorded, but all the Gods. All of Them.

Let Them give you the names They now wish to be called. Let Them be nameless until They are ready to reveal a name to you as an initiate into Their mysteries. Try to be uncomfortable with Their namelessness with hope that one day you will be far along enough in your path to be given that name, which you will hold dear to your heart from that day on.

There will be new names given. New titles. New ways of engaging with the Powers. Dive into scholarly work. Dive into pop culture. Dive into whatever gets you to that place of understanding and love. Deep, deep love. The indescribable love that itself defies names and leaves you wordless when you are cradled in the love of the Gods.

It is entirely human to demand a labeled box with which to place the mysteries of existence. That’s where language comes from. It’s easy and comfortable to shove the Gods into the boxes that were kept from the destruction of our Ancestors’ traditions. But it’s entirely impious to think that these are the only Gods there are. It is clear that those of us reviving and creating traditions have the same understanding of our Ancestors – That only the initiated know the true names of the Gods, and those names are sacred.

Sacred means of the Gods’ and not of humans. You may be faced with the reality that the names of your Undying Ones are no longer known, though They are waiting to be remembered by a new name that means more to Them now, as it will rebirth them into the present.

Our lives are not static, and neither are our traditions.

Keep walking your path even if your Gods are suddenly nameless. You’re walking the paths of our Ancestors, even if it may not feel like it.

Our traditions depend upon it.

— Camilla (7/11/2017)

The Beautiful Truth

Lord Apollon, the very pinnacle of beauty, I pray that You lift the shroud of bias, shame, blame, and control that clouds over the eyes of those who wish to see beauty in the world.  I pray that You, Unshorn One, allow these to see the many truths before them, which they shirk from their sight.  Lord of the Light Unceasing, brighten the world before these who are lost, that they will witness the terrible, ugly, beautiful truth of Nature– that which we see and admire, is also that which may destroy us, even as we sit staring in awe.

The many landscapes are indeed beautiful, especially to those who traverse them not.  Those who look from afar and never step foot into the wild lands.  Fear contains them, and rightly so.  The beautiful world is indifferent to their praises, and hostile to their ignorance.  So, Lord, I pray that You tear away the fragile skin which covers them, that which hides their insecurities, and that which implicates them in the ancient scheme of subjugation.

These whose mouths are open only to speak the ancient falsehoods– that physical beauty alone is the compass of virtue– let their mouths be closed so that their ears, hearts and minds may instead be opened to the vastness of this beautiful, terrible, ugly world.  I pray that You open their eyes to rot and death, to pain and suffering, to plague and fear.  Only then will beauty and ugliness be revealed as twin aspects of the Truth:  All that is beautiful is not inherently good.  All that is good is not necessarily beautiful.  Beauty and ugliness are woven between the fabric of matter, space and time.  One may not exist where the other does not also dwell.

Apollon Despota, Wrathful Lord, I pray that You will do these things and more, to facilitate the growth so badly needed.  For only through the cutting away of disease may the whole body be saved.  So, Lord, to that end, do I offer these gifts, that You might be pleased, as well as favorable toward us who keep Your charge to bring both truth, and beauty, into the world.

Ie Paian!

Belonging

I belong to Apollon– the prize of my Lord.  He sees me, He knows me.  I yield to His word.  Who I am, what I am, are extensions of Him.  I walk this world primly, and am bound to His whim.

And yet, no greater freedom have I found, anywhere.  For I pursue my own goals with the utmost care.

I belong to the Prince.  Aegletes, Lykeios.  Phosphoros, Telchinios.  God of sunset and wolves.  Of stars and tornadoes.  None of these can ever be tamed.  So it is with myself.  I alone hold the reigns.

And yet, I am compelled to do as He pleases, for my head and my heart embrace all of His reasons.

I belong to Despota, the one who is Master.  He who becomes the unyeilding disaster.  His will becomes mine, and for it I’m grateful.  His eminent knowledge spares me from what’s hateful.

And yet, I am human, and sometimes can be hurt, but Apollon knows all, and rends lies in the dirt.

I belong to the God with the serene smile.  But make no mistake.  With Him, life is a trial.  In all that I am, and in all that I do, He pushes and moulds me ’til I acknowledge His veiw.

And yet, through His shaping I am made better– more whole.  For such is the fate of the untempered soul.

— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 3]

Welcome Here!

Welcome, my Lord!  Welcome here today!  From now until the end of the ninth day, I will see to your every comfort!  All that you desire shall be my pleasure, and all that you care to bestow shall be received in reverence!

Welcome here, my Lord, and rest upon the throne we have prepared!  High upon the mantle may you oversee our love as it ascends toward you!  Also, may you shower us in return with your grace and presence!

Welcome here, my Lord, and rejoice in the love of your family!  We wish only for your happiness, and to honor you with honest, joyous praise!  We have waited the long months since your Return, preparing to send you forth into your Departure gladly, and with much celebration!

So, welcome here, Apollon Aegletes!  Welcome, Apollon Lykeios!  Welcome, Apollon Telchinios!  Welcome, Apollon Hyperboreios!  Welcome, Apollon Anax!  Welcome, our Bright Shining Lord, Father and Protector of this house!

— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 2]

The Tour Begins

It is the Autumnal Equinox, the day whereupon the Treasury of Apollon recognizes our Lord Apollon’s Departure from this world.  But it is not a time of immediate departure, but rather, the beginning of a tour of gradual withdrawal.  In our tradition, this withdrawal ends on the final day of Aegletia, when we bid Him a fond farewell.

He has been with us throughout the year, from Theoxenia onwards, and He has guided us through our unique transformations and circumstances.  Now, as winter approaches, He turns His mind toward other affairs, and other responsibilities.

He is our Lord, and though we, as a species, will be in His thoughts from time to time, along with the other inhabitants of this world, Apollon must now take His leave of us, and travel to His far-northern home in Hyperborea.

So, dear friends, take a moment to acknowledge Apollon’s waning light. Acknowledge His presence as His attention shifts, and be thankful for His power, His love, and all that He gives to our world.  For He is the Civilized God, but now, He again becomes the Wild God– the Wolf, Lykeios, lurking in the twilight.

Again, He is Telchinios, the harsh winds of winter approaching.  Once more, He is Aegletes, the sun falling under the horizon.  And He is Anax, the Northern King, who will watch this and other worlds from afar.  Acknowledge His seasonal shift, and be consoled by the truth of His eminent return, next year, when Theoxenia comes again.

And please, if it suits you, join with us in celebration of our Lord’s Departure. Join us in the Aegletia, for His love is boundless, and now, as He prepares to leave us and our concerns behind, He desires to show us that love, that deep affection which is His.  Apollon welcomes us all into the fold, so that we may know His embrace, and long for it, as the harsh months pass in His absence.

[Aegletia begins October 1st, and ends October 9th]