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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Move Quietly Through the World

File:Zacharias Webber - A Sacrifice to Apollo - KMSsp602 - Statens Museum for Kunst.jpg
“A Sacrifice to Apollo”, by Zacharias Webber.

This world is a teeming, vibrant world.  A world full of the bitter struggles of life in all beings and forms, wrenching their existence out of the elements before them. The fish move throughout the ocean, but they also are the ocean, as their molecules constantly shift between those of the water, and other sea life.  The land animals dig and scrape the earth for food, sometimes even taking the lives of their Earthly cousins for survival.  They too are mingled in form with their elements.  We, humanity, are no different, for even in our cities of concrete and glass, we feed upon the structures of our environment.

Ours is a society nourished by many sources.  We are of course sustained by the Earth, though in a way that seems almost secondary to the human construct of fame, and its behavioral partner, ostentatiousness.

The desire for a place in the world is one which nearly all people have.  We want to belong, and we want to be valued within the particular social structures we navigate.  We are an animal which needs its own place in the world, both collectively and individually.  Hence, we have occupied many niches, and in so doing, have attempted to elevate ourselves through our achievements.  In celebrating our advancements within the animal kingdom, we have become lost in our potential as a species, forsaking the now, and our Earthly brethren, and also one another.  Such is our way, reflected, for example, in humanity’s conquest, use, and sometimes misuse of fire.

We think of fire as a mere tool too often, and we as its masters, when instead we should see fire as our honored ally.  It has its own life and will, and as long as we respect it, treating and feeding it with the proper care, we can prevent fire from suddenly taking everything we value, including our lives.  But if we do not respect it and its responsible care, we need only indulge in one moment of neglect, and all is lost. In the loss of our once reverent coexistence with the non-human, we have also lost much of our ability to empathize and identify with each other.

We must prevent the loss of these crucial perspectives.  The surest way to do so, is to dismantle the construct of human superiority, and indeed superiority over other humans.  There are no lives which are inherently of more or lesser value.  Each of us, and each individual of each other species, even the tiniest protozoa, has the right to life and respect.  We must protect ourselves in certain circumstances, yes, but self-defense is a far cry from the wholesale destruction of species’.  Because life feeds on life, we must respect life at all costs.

How may we begin to assist in this shift of human consciousness?  How can each of us, as mere individuals, help to end the perpetuation of false ideas of mastery and lordship over the whole Earth? We need first confront any illusions of superiority lying inside us, dormant or otherwise.  And we must be willing to see and accept the inherent equality of all life.

Know also that this is not the dismantling of pride.  Healthy pride is a virtue that all should cultivate within themselves, for one must first know their strengths if they wish to utilize them.  Pride is not boastful, which is a common vice among those seeking an elevated place in society.  Pride is not loud, nor is it domineering.  Pride is the opposite of ostentatiousness, just as quiet humility is the opposite of boastfulness.

One may, and rightly should if circumstance warrants it, visibly champion their right and just causes, and even their personal goals, to those who would listen and contribute.  But we must not let our pride be swept away in this fervor, for to do so may invite hubris to poison our minds.  Sometimes, the easiest and best way to prevent such an occurrence, is simply to choose to move quietly through the world.

In this context, moving quietly means doing right and doing good in small, unassuming ways along with more overt gestures, but also to do so without any expectation of reward or accolades.  When the focus is on the deed and the rightness of it, rather than the audience of the deed, our egos gain the peace of the shadow.  That is to say, we learn that by occupying the background, we may observe the foreground, quietly remaining within the scene while holding our place subtly.  In this position we become more capable of responding to the actual needs of those or what we champion, instead of the opinions of spectators and future contributors, alike.

Imagine what might be accomplished once the ego has stepped aside, what goals might be met quietly, and without controversy.  Imagine how much good can be done when one is focused on the doing, and not the telling.  The gratification of revealing our deeds can be a potent lure, but we have to look past those urges to see what is truly best, and what we truly care about.

By moving quietly, we can attain the perspective needed to see our world in all of its terrible beauty.  In the quiet, truth is found, and once we have attained even a kernel of that truth, we must continue to cultivate it for our own sake, as well as our causes’.   People unknown to us and the world, in circumstances unfathomable, do right every single day, expecting nothing in return.  We can join them if we choose. Then we can accomplish our great deeds, and our vast projects, by moving quietly, like shadows revealed in the burning light of truth.

Perhaps and hopefully, in the quest to better ourselves, collectively and individually, we will begin to reopen the lines of empathic communication between ours and other species.  Moving quietly also facilitates listening, and that is something that we could certainly do more of when it comes to the animal kingdom, and our species, too.

Hail to the Lord Apollon, who provided the images and emotions channeled through me for translation of this article.  May He continue to illuminate our world, while steering us through the chaos which permeates it.

Hail to the Bright One!  Hail to our Prince!

— Columbine

Phosphorus: Treasury Newsletter – Issue 3

Happy (belated) Noumenia!

We’ve had a busy Noumenia weekend with school wrapping up and Beltaine/Thargelia celebrations and your esteemed (I hope) editor is also easily distracted by shiny objects. I do hope you’ll forgive me for the lateness of our newsletter this month and I will do my best to ensure next month’s gets out on time.

Special thanks to Zoe for the statement against racism, to Lykiea for the use of her painting of Athena Nashville, and to you, as always, for reading.

This is a Special Edition of our newsletter and a response to some… stuff going on in our community. I have done my best as a white person to present anti-racism work in a way that doesn’t create more emotional labor for people of color. To that end, most of the content is directed toward people who have white privilege as a way to encourage this work both internally and externally. Feel free to share with whomever needs to shed a little light on their words and actions around white supremacy and, my dear and beloved friends, also feel free to call me out if I’ve made any mistakes. I’m still learning and I offer these words in the greatest humility and willingness to shed additional light on my own missteps.

Apollon lend you sufficient moxy to dismantle systemic racism.

Be well,
Sunweaver

Apollon, and Owning Your Own Shit

“Apollo Belvedere”, Roman copy of bronze Greek original, by Leochares.

It may not have escaped the notice of many devotees that those who belong to Apollon reflect our god, just as you find with other devotees to varying degrees. As such, while we can be great listeners and healers, we aren’t your crutch or going to give you platitudes to please you. Apollon is the lord of truth. Part of that is frankly owning your own shit/personal accountability for your own behavior and being. You are expected to act like a responsible adult, not lie, whine or emotionally blackmail. If you need help and ask for it he will be there to give some comfort and support. If you expect him to step in and coddle you and bend over backwards to protect your feelings, you are in for a disappointment.

Cassandra broke her vow and had to deal with the shit storm of consequences. When Cruesa breaks down and goes into a temper tantrum, Apollon distances himself from it. He sent Herakles to serve a term of slavery to resolve a blood debt. Frequently exiled murderers. Apollon brings all that you plant into fruition, so the word of advice is watching what you sow because you will be reaping it. It is not his job, or that of those who are his, to be your personal champions or knight in shining armor. He is not a knight. He is a mirror. What you see is not always pretty, but it is something that can help you grow and develop if you choose to accept it as such.

Myth has a history of people blaming Apollon because they don’t like how shit turned out when near him. Orestes blamed Apollon for the truth of the Oracle given to him. Cruesa blamed Apollon for the loss of her son that she chose to abandon. The Erinyes blamed Apollon because they were loosing influence in favor of his domain. Apollon is a destroyer god. Herakles had a tantrum and tried to steal the tripod because Apollon was going to make him deal with his own shit storm he created for himself, and not going to make it easier for him by giving him an oracle. He burns out the infection so that one can heal. That means labors and trials. That means getting dirty and facing shit you don’t like to face. To face your own vulnerabilities and shadows. He will even give you a hand and light it up so you can get an even better glimpse of that stuff you don’t want to even look at.

He won’t protect your ego or sensitivities. Rarely will one who is devoted to him do so either… it seems to be a trait fairly commonly passed on to those who are his. It is not personal, anymore than a storm is personal. That said, if you are having trouble coping with these things you are presented, reach out a hand and ask for help. He is generous and kind, even if it may not be the exact response that you wanted.

I have had to rub elbows with owning my own shit in my relationship with him for some time now. My life, my spiritual growth and welfare, my identity as a person, keeping my word and honor… all of these things and more I am responsible for, even when it is not easy. Especially when it is not easy. Friction is necessary.

— Lykeia (5/03/2018)

Changes, Transformations and Purifications

“The Birth of Diana and Apollo”, by the Workshop of Giulio Romano.

There are many gods which I think fairly should be recognized for changes and transformations that occur in life. We experience many such changes as we go along from the moment we enter into the world, beginning our days with a small collection of deities that address the welfare of the young, with an ever expanding number of deities getting involved at different life stages as if through a sort of evolutionary progress of one’s life. Yet the key deities almost always involved consistently are Apollon and Artemis (and to a degree their mother Leto) which I consider, in connection to my post regarding their domains as gods of the action of nature as destroying and nurturing forces. In many ways this links to their very real historic cult associations with significant life changes. As I have many new changes coming into my life, with another new baby on the way, and moving into our new (and more permanent) home, has made this kind of a fixture in my mind lately in my relationships with them.

Apollon and Artemis are the premier deities of the newly born. Whether this be the newly born month (Apollon Noumenios, and some have also taken to calling Artemis as Noumenia), the newly born child over which the guard and care-take from being taken prematurely into death during its most tender days, as well as the significant changes of maturing into adulthood and the marital rites (which participation during their youth in the cults of these deities were blessed by marriage as adults). Even their positions at the doorway enters into this, as we enter and exit into new states of being every time we pass our threshold with the very different environments of being within one’s home under the protection of the household gods, and outside interacting in the world outside of the household which had more threats to one’s well-being. To enter into one’s household was a kind of purification itself before these gods who guard the doorway (usually by means of offerings to the gods of the doorway and even possibly washing oneself at the entrance), just as we find the gods of the gates acting similarly in a larger scale with cities in which armies were not permitted to pass through the gates until they were purified. This applies to the processes of death and spiritual evolution.

In a sense, with Apollon as a guardian god of the gates of transformation/apotheosis/etc and Artemis as the goddess of the energy which sustains and drives all to these ends, we can see how and why Apollon and Artemis would be significant deities present in any momentous changes in one life….even those changes which are by necessity determined by the Fates for a purpose of impact to our beings that we may not always find individually favorable when they are experienced as painful. Growth and change is often in fact painful or at very least uncomfortable. There is a sorrow of a new bride who has to leave behind the things of her child just as she presented momentos of her childhood to Artemis, and leave behind too the familiar gods and spirits of her household to occupy that of her husband’s. There is the pain of bringing new life into the world, even pain and anxiety of bringing any kind of new creation forth from our minds as Zeus labored greatly in his head to bring forth Athena, by the tools of Hephaistos (another significant god of transformation as the god who enables/gives form to the new forms taken to which I would say Eilethyia almost matches as a goddess of labor pains as being another part of the process…which may be telling as to why between Apollon as the father of the Korybantes and Hephaistos as the father of the Kaireboi we find them as fathers of gods who oversee the most divine change in the arrival of the savior god whether that be Zeus or Dionysos, and the close connection between Eleithyia and Artemis).

Apollon and Artemis remind that that one of the most important things with the come of significant changes and transformations in our lives, that purification is a very important part of the process. Not only does it remove any pollution that we may otherwise taken into our new existence (extra baggage need not be brought), it also allows us in many ways to start fresh and newly born. A home is to be purified before the gods are welcome into it when a new home is established. Purifications are done upon the household, mother and infant after the baby has successfully survived its first seven days of life. Purifications following the allotted period necessary after death of a family member in residence (usually 30 days). Even the rites of passage into states of youths and maidens by children were themselves purification rituals in form….in varying degrees of aggressiveness depending on the place (the rites on youths at the temple of Artemis Orthia is a great example of particularly violent forms of what could be considered purifying rites. Even those who practice some form of magic or spirit work will often begin and end with varying degrees of intensive purifications depending on the deities and spirits concerned.

It makes sense that under any new change in one’s life that a sensible spiritual act would be one of purification, to even approach these gods (at the doorway if you have them established enshrined no where else within your house) and engage in purifications in preparation. Often the simplest and most common means when not dealing with serious transgressions that require purification, is by water although some people also utilize incense smoke into it as well. This can be considered of the same nature as the purifications that are undergone as part of  Hekate’s Deiponon and the Noumenia for the well-being of the household as the new month changes round. Really it is the same principle. I myself engage in regular purifications that includes daily bathing and fumigations with smoke as part of my devotions.

One of these easiest ways to conceive of the necessity of purifications is in a philosophical understanding of Artemis. Artemis herself is connected to rivers in very significant ways and is associated herself as being a holy river that brings forth the blessings of the gods. This can be most notable in her role as Artemis Eurynome in which she oversees the purification of the infant Zeus following his birth (perhaps the only significant after birth purification myth that I have found aside from the travel of Leto to Xanthus to purify and bathe her twins. The fact that Artemis and Apollon have many strong river cult associations is relevant to this purpose. The water itself is pure and the purity of its nature is that which carries away the stains of miasma. This is perhaps because water itself has the observable ability to dissolve and carry away particles that gives it such strength. Therefore the purification by water is a kind of release, and unblockage as water is unhindered and one is left open to receiving the blessings of the gods and spirits. The agency of the purifying water itself becomes the first expression of divine blessing…in the cases of rivers purifying gods the blessings go both ways with the deity being purified likewise blesses the body of water such as we find in the case of Xanthus, or even in the case of the river Peneios who offered to withstand the anger of Hera to offer shelter of Leto for the birth of her son (Peneios who incidentally was the father of Daphne who herself underwent a massive transformation into a laurel tree but was also the purifier of Apollon later after slaying Delphyne).

Therefore, like a fount of water or living stream, purification allows access to us to begin a new way, and at the forefront we find Apollon and Artemis there who are the god who are first to bestow their blessings as gods of the purifying agent and gods who preside fundamentally (although not exclusively) over transformation and changes.

— Lykeia

Phosphorus: Treasury Newsletter – Issue 2

Hello again, Sisters, friends and associates!

The Treasury of Apollon’s second issue of Phosphorus has arrived!  Thanks so much for reading, and or subscribing!  We really enjoy what we do, and knowing that it is well-received is the best encouragement we can ever have, in return.  We will attempt to have each month’s newsletter posted here (as well as sent out to subscribers) on the day before each Noumenia.  Hence why we’re posting today instead of tomorrow.

So, Happy Deipnon for today, and a very Happy Noumenia of Theoxenion, and a Blessed Theoxenia for tomorrow!

Hail Hestia!  Hail Apollon!

Phosphorus, the Treasury’s Newsletter!

Hello, everyone!  The Treasury of Apollon has just begun working on a, perhaps, monthly newsletter that we will distribute to our Sisterhood, and to anyone else who may wish to receive it.  The first issue of ‘Phosphorus’ is kind of an experiment, so we can decide how we want it to look, and what we want to express.

Included here is the link to the PDF of Newsletter Daphneion, 2019.  Sunweaver is our Editor, and if you would like to contribute, or to subscribe or unsubscribe, contact TreasuryNewsletter(at)gmail(dot)com.

Have a Blessed month of Daphneion!