When you get a chance to meet Lon Milo Duquette and talk about the tiny home town you share, you jump on it! And when he asks for a selfie....you grin like an idiot and play it about as cool as you can.
On February 16, 2020, I had the honor of being Elevated to Senior Priest at Pantheacon in San Jose, California. I have spent the past 6 years studying, researching, writing, and doing the work. It's hard to believe that I've now completed the Clergy Training Program. I have received so many kind words and so much support from my friends and community. I love this community and, while I don't know exactly what the future holds, I'm excited to see what comes next.
I do want to take a few minutes to reflect on the ritual itself and my experience with elevation. I was elevated during the official ADF rite at Pantheacon on Sunday evening. Because my primary hearth is Hellenic, we (those of us who were planning the ritual together) decided to do a ritual for peace honoring Eirene, the Greek goddess of peace and new growth in spring. I was responsible for several parts of the ritual, including calling the being of occasion, as well as honoring Hestia at the beginning of our rite, beginning our praise offerings with my own personal offerings, performing the main ritual omen, and completing my final oath. However, all of the remaining parts were filled by friends and fellow-ADF members, and Rev. Jean 'Drum' Pagano acted as our ringleader. Overall, we had more than 50 members in attendance, and I couldn't be more pleased with how things went. I will warn you now, this may be a VERY long post.
I think everyone recognizes that life on Earth would not be possible without the sun. It's what brings warmth and life to our planet. The sun establishes our seasons. It's how we measure the passage of time. The sun is so important, so it makes sense that ancient Indo-Europeans could recognize the role it played and incorporate it into their mythology. Below are a list of sun deities that can be found in several different Indo-European cultures:
I love seeing repeated themes across multiple cultures. For me, it adds a feeling of validity to my personal practice, and I appreciate that. Of course, in addition to this list there are also numerous deities associated with different times of day, such as dawn or dusk, and day or night and other attributes of the sun. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but at least a glimpse into the vast array of sun deities that exist. If you know of an IE sun deity that I have missed, definitely let me know and I'll be happy to add them to the list.
Have a wonderful day.
I still can't believe that we're already into February. 2020 is flying past and I am trying to stay on top of everything and go with the flow as much as possible. In my life, it's a time of transition and change. It's exciting and sentimental at the same time, so I'm trying to stay focused and take in all of the opportunities I have in front of me, so I was looking forward to seeing what this week's message held. Below is the message I received:
Othala - Home & Ancestors
Othala speaks of the comfort of home and the safety that which is known. It is a message of the wealth of family and home, and the ancestors.
Dagaz - Hope & Short Timing
Dagaz is a message of hope and new opportunities to prosper. However, the rune poem speaks of "Day" which indicates that this hope may be for something in a short period of time.
Fehu - Wealth & Abundance
Fehu is an omen of prosperity and increase. It shows opportunity for abundance and the importance of sharing that prosperity with others.
This week's omen felt a little more disconnected for me, but that may purely be because I'm less familiar with Runes than with some other methods of divination. However, here is my interpretation: Right now, we're in a space of comfort and familiarity. However, there is hope and new opportunity in the near future but we have to be willing to step out of that comfort-zone in order to find it. By taking on these opportunities, we may find abundance and prosperity.
Interpretations come from my favorite quick reference for Rune interpretation, the Runemantis app developed by Rev. Rob Henderson found here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=oracle.rune
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Earlier this week, I finished reading Original Magic by Stephen Flowers, PhD. I decided to read this book after thoroughly enjoying The Magician Tarok and wanting to explore more of the Persian magical system.
This book begins by exploring and trying to define the beginnings of magic, describing the wisdom and science of magic as the first great mystery. He dips briefly into the Tripartite system and the different levels of power affiliated with each group. After these explanations have been explored, Flowers begins to explore the religion of pre-Zoroastrian Persia.
He begins with a brief explanation of several deities (called ahuras). From there he discusses the theory of the religion, which indicated that humans can gain benefit from the gods by engaging in gift giving. This reciprocal relationship is something we see in many different ancient cultures, like the Xenia of ancient Greece, and the term *ghosti which is a re-constructed word regularly used in ADF. It’s interesting to see so many correlations in religions that appear at first to be vastly different.
Flowers then begins to discuss the important actions found in their religion, which includes a large emphasis on sacrificial fire. There is also a brief exploration of some of the culture’s mythology, including a creation myth, cosmological view, and a description of what happens after someone dies.
From here, the book moves on to descriptions of the Amesha Spentas which were “beneficial immortals,” which are often interpreted to be Angels or minor deities. This description includes an explanation of Fravashis or the inner guardian angel & guide that lives inside each human.
After all of this information has been shared, Flowers begins to describe a magical practice that leads the reader toward initiation. It includes a twelve-month program that involves daily training sessions with meditation, multiple prayers each day, recommended reading, and additional learning of specific words or phrases (both in English & Avestan). The program is quite involved and changes each month to allow the participant to explore themselves and their spirituality in the way of the Avestans.
At the conclusion of the study program, the book also contains descriptions and scripts for several different Mazdan Magic rituals. The book ends with a number of appendices, including: History of Eranshahr, Avestan Pronunciation Guide, Analysis of Avestan Manthras, 101 Names of Gods, Astrological Lore, and Resources.
Overall, this book has a lot of information in it, and is presented in a way that feels approachable. The study program seems like a good way to establish a daily practice, so I will be experimenting with it personally to see how I like it. While this book isn’t for everyone, I enjoyed learning more about the practices of the ancient Persians and look forward to seeing where these studies take me.
I am a day late in getting divination posted this week. I still took the omen yesterday, but didn't have an opportunity to write up and share my interpretation. So, without further delay, below is the message I received for this week:
Two of Pentacles - This card is about reflection and making decisions. It's a card that speaks of trying to find balance in those decisions, and maintaining harmony in your movement forward.
Hierophant - This card speaks about finding help with your spiritual questions. It's a message that speaks of the wisdom carried by teachers, and looking to those guides for aid. It is a reminder to lean on those who have knowledge on your questions, and listen when they speak.
Nine of Cups - This card is a beautiful message that speaks of happiness and fulfillment. It shows that you're happy with your current position in life and the cosmos. It's a message of self satisfaction, which is a wonderful place to be.
Week after week, we see omens that connect together and build upon themselves. Right now is a time for balance and reflection. However, we also have decisions to make. Listen to your advisers and guides. They have wisdom that is valuable. Listen to them! If you do these things as you move forward, you will experience happiness and fulfillment. What a positive message for a brand new month.
This omen comes to us from the Rider-Waite
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
2 of Pentacles - time of finding balance, reflecting, and making decisions
Hierophant - finding help with spiritual questions, wisdom of teacher
9 of Cups - happiness and fulfillment, self satisfaction
This divination comes from the Alice: the Wonderland Oracle by Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Appreciating the natural world is a huge part of my spiritual practice. I love to spend time in nature, with my my toes buried in the earth, while the the warm sun shines on my skin. However, those moments are much more challenging to experience in the middle of winter. I live in a location with very harsh winters. When the seasons turn, the days grow much shorter and the world ends up buried in snow and ice. The bitter cold prevents me from spending any quality time outdoors for several months of the year, which brings an inherent sadness to my practice. Even the sunshine doesn’t feel warm in these months. However, I try to put effort into appreciating the sun nonetheless. I focus on the returning warmth and light of the sun when it returns to power. This work helps push me through the coldest, darkest months. So, how do I honor the sun when I can’t spend time outside? I’ve got a couple of go-to methods that I use during the winter:
Yoga is an exercise that is fairly new to me, but I have fallen in love with it this winter. I view Yoga as a method of prayer that is done through different positions and body movement. There are specific Sun Salutations that can be done to express gratitude to the Sun, and to connect to the light and warmth it embodies. Even a short 15 minutes doing Yoga, like the video I linked above, can help me reconnect to the energies of the world, while also working on my physical body.
In the moments when the sun is hidden, I find that I can reconnect to it and appreciate the role it plays with other fires. I have a fire pit in my yard, so when it isn’t TOO terribly cold, I will light a fire and enjoy the warmth and light that it brings. Sitting around the flame and sharing happy stories, singing, and spending time with loved ones can be a beautiful way to reconnect with the light. You could also do this with a fireplace if you have one in your home.
Watch the Sunrise
I find that a really beautiful way to honor the sun is to watch it rise over the horizon, perhaps pouring an offering or saying a word of thanks as it brings light to the world around me. Because the days are shorter, the sun rises later in the day, so I find this practice much easier to follow-through with during the winter than in the summer (I'm a night-owl at heart, so mornings are a challenge for me!).
There are also numerous crafts that can be done to honor the sun. This can be a lot of fun if you have little ones. Below are a couple of examples from different bloggers:
Sun Weaving https://nurturestore.co.uk/sun-weaving-solstice-crafts
Stained Glass Sun Catcher https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/summer/sun-catcher.asp
Melted Crayon Sun Catcher http://morningsunrae.blogspot.com/2010/08/catching-sun.html
I hope these give you an idea of some ways that I honor the sun, even when the world is cold and snowy. If you have other suggestions on how to honor the sun during winter, I’d love to hear them. Also, if you decide to try any of these practices, send me a message to tell me how they worked for you!
The weather today is warmer than it's been in weeks, and I see glimpses of the sun. I genuinely wish for a week that is much better week than we had last week, so I approached this omen with a shy amount of tentative hopefulness. Below is the message I received:
Eta - "Bright Helios, who watches everything, watches you."
For me, this omen always indicates the importance of the ever-present sun. In the middle of winter, it's hard to remember the warmth and brightness that it brings, so it's a good reminder in the cold. However, Helios is also all-seeing, so this omen also acts as a message that SOMEONE is watching, so make sure you are staying true to your word and following through on your promises.
Pi - "Completing many contests, you will seize the crown."
Pi is a message of perseverance. It is a message to keep moving forward, even when things are difficult. Ultimately, you can find success if you persist in your efforts and put in the hard work necessary.
Iota - "There is sweat; it excels more than everything. "
Iota is a message that I receive regularly in my practice. It indicates that the work is never done, but that it is through hard work that we can find success. It's not always a fun omen to receive, but combining it with the other two lots, I think it's an important message.
Again, the omen builds upon itself. Even when the world is dark and difficult, the sun is present to bring light and warmth, and to keep us honest in our efforts. We will succeed if we push through the challenges, but the work is truly never done. There is always more to learn or things to develop. It's a good reminder for all of us.
This omen comes to us from the Greek Alphabet Oracle. Quotes come from an article by Apollonius Sophistes found here: http://opsopaus.com/OM/BA/GAO.html
I hope you all have a wonderful week.