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)

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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 automatically 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]

Prayers of Healing

First, some background: I was raised Baptist and, as it turns out, I’m actually a preacher, but one inspired by Apollon, so there that is. The following prayer is not a parody of that upbringing in any way, but a fully sincere expression of faith. Please approach with that in mind and with respect.
____________________________________

Praise be to the Lord of Light. Praise Him who purifies us, who gave unto us the Maxims that through them, we might know Him and know ourselves. Praise Him! Praise Phoebos!

To those who have received the poison of hatefulness, may He heal them, Praise Phoebos, and may he take the poison from them and lend them both comfort and courage.

To those who play the part of Python, spewing forth poisonous hate, polluting themselves with calumny and hubris, prejudice and arrogance, may He open their eyes that they might know the way of compassion. May they know love, humility, excellence of character.

Heal them, O’ Lord, and make them see the truth of what their poison has wrought. Free them from lies, purify their hearts, bless them with sight.

Make holy, O’ Lord, you and Hestia, all places where the name of Phoebos Apollon is known. Bestow your furious blessings upon all who put your name in print. Open the eyes and hearts of those who speak it.

Praise the Lord Apollon! Praise He who heals! Praise Him!

So Say We All

— Sunweaver


The Journey 08-22-16

There was a Priestess in ancient Greece
in Apollon’s temple
I have not been told much
Except she made a promise to a fellow Priestess
Who we will call Thea
To be at hand for her time of crises
Little did she know this would be lifetimes later
and that the best part of her would be withheld
until that promise needed to be honored

Spring four years ago we met
online in a group of those wanting to serve as Priest Folk
for Hermes
and in no time I was sworn to help her
and submerged within my Higher Self
for the time until the fall equinox
Her battles for her sovereignty were mine
Her allies within the Holy Powers mine
My whole being dedicated to Them
as They struggled within a war for her being

She got her freedom within the ability to release from the body
and I was left bereft
no longer fully integrated with my Higher aspect
no longer in alliance with my sister
no longer a daily vehicle for aspecting
I did not know if I could bear to be incarnate

It was a handful of polytheists
that gave me the lifeline
I found that spouses of the Holy Powers
resonated for me the most
Because of their independence in how they worked with the Gods
and the strength of their love

They did not tell me how I had to do it
But they shared their stories openly and honestly
and in that I found the threads that connected me
in my own way with the Holy Powers
and more than I expected
because this Love that rides me and that is my life’s blood
is not a small thing bound and diminished by rules
and regulations
other than the ones the Powers have imposed on me

For those I am grateful
Because they know my strengths and they know my weakness
and when I ask for help they know my willingness to accept
boundaries and structure that builds the one and limits the other

I do not have a name specifically for those who love many Gods
but I know that their communal influence upon me
still brings out the best in me
still lets me know I am not alone

For that may all the Holy Powers bless them and build their numbers

Hear me Lord Apollon in this prayer
To me you are Golden and perfect and Healing
Shine upon your children please
Growing up is so hard to do sometimes

— Christine


[Requires sunlight – Ideally should begin at dusk, so be ready if you wish to use this one! – You will need at least one object to be blessed, such as jewelry or a stone.]

*Hold out your object(s) toward the setting sun*

Apollon, Asklepios, please hear my prayer! I call to You in utmost sincerity! Grand Physicians, by whose authority are the arts of medicine practiced, be kind and generous in Your blessings, for there is one/are those in need of Your great skill!

[Individual’s name(s) and relation to yourself] lies infirm, and is desirous of Your Mastery over these arts! Please, bless the hands of the surgeons, technicians and nurses! Keep the minds of all involved medical staff sharp and ready for their sacred work! May all contingencies be planned for, and may none of them be necessary! And by Your grace, may all things occur as cleanly and safely as possible!

O Gods of Healing, shore up the strength of [Individual’s name(s)] body/bodies, and drive away infection! For Yours is the knowledge of the true arts of medicine, from herbs to the scalpel’s edge!

And finally, my Lords, I ask that You bless this/these [Name of object(s)] to be a comfort to [Individual’s name(s)], and for it/them to emit what power You have imbued! May it/they grant relief from pain, anxiety, fear, and all other ills!

Now, on behalf of [Individual’s name(s)], I pour out these libations, as a sign of good will!

Apollon, Asklepios, I thank You, and bid You farewell!

— Columbine


Hail to You, Apollon, and welcome here to my home, where dwell my darling children, ever innocent to that which plagues me, their guardian. By Your grace, I would have them remain untouched by pain or illness, guarded by Your arrows which strike from afar.

Purifying Lord, do keep them close in Your heart, that You might grant them good health throughout the many days of their lives. May You keep them youthful in body and spirit, emotion and mind, and may any illness which lurks about them be destroyed, as sure as You bring ends to all profane things.

Let my children glow with strength of will and character, always by the grace of Your healing hands. O Paian, Masterful Physician, I beseech You to shower these, my children, in Your preventative medicine, keeping them from all harm.

If You would do this, Healer, many offerings shall You receive in my profound gratitude. Even now I pour libations to You, and with them also my love.

O Apollon, my Gracious Lord, I thank You for the blessings You have bestowed.

— Columbine


As surely as the sunlight decends upon the Earth, illuminating and nourishing all it touches, do Your healing powers reach those who are in need.

O Daphnephoros, the sweet scents of laurel and rosemary call You forth, and the soft sounds of ocean waves herald Your coming. Be present with us, Venerable One, who adore Your shining countenance.

We each have loved You in our own way, and we each have left savory offerings at Your feet. Remember us, O Lord, and attend to our fervent pleas.

Paian, the Great Healer who lifts us out of the darkness, we await Your grace and Your healing touch. For Yours is the power to cure the ills of men.

Katharsios, the Purifier, wash away that which pains us, so that our bodies may again house these troubled souls in comfort.

Be not distant, Pythios, for Your people need You, and are weary from the weight of this world. Until we may be shorn of the flesh, Yours is the power and the solace we seek.

Khrysáoros, with sword in hand, slice away the evils that exist within us. Let our minds be free. Let ours souls be pure. And let us always be worthy of Your attention.

Apollon, O Blessed Lord, hear our prayer, and be pleased to offer Your divine succor, that we might know peace and health and love.

For Your grace and blessings, Apollon, we offer these libations, and promise more upon fulfillment of our prayers. Please receive these in the spirit of kharis, and be joyfull, as we are joyfull in our honor of You.

Thank You, Lord, and Hail!

— Columbine

Invocation to Apollon

Profound Lord, pouring honey into the mouths of Your Oracles, come now to be honored, for we have made a feast for You in this place.  Grace us with Your golden light, and we shall be as the little children, basking in the hot sun.

You are the fire burning away the impurities which lurk in the crevasses of men– all those dark and hidden biases.  You are the corrosive wind which errodes even the most stern, and the most ridgid among us.  You are the vortex which subdues and swallows the burdensome pains that afflict us.  O Paian, O Healer, share with us the panacea to cure our ills.

Lord of Death, come, and teach us the ways to be free in body and soul.  We are the receivers of Your knowledge, and the receptacles of Your everlasting love.  May we be pure of intention, so that You find a respite in these halls.

O Hand of Zeus, who yields not to the whims of mortal men, speak the True Oracles through these/this man/this woman who are/is prepared to house Your shining glory.  O Loxias, come, and we shall receive You with great pleasure.

O Lord of the pristine sounding lyre, whose music soothes all troubled minds, we welcome Your voice, we welcome Your humor, we welcome the breadth of Your Immortal Self– and we name You, APOLLON!

Destroyer!

Purifier!

APOLLON, who is our Lord, come!

— Columbine