Fear (Pagan Blog Project, Week 11)

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“Purity is piety, honesty, and fear of the gods.”
– inscription on the walls of the Ptolemaic-era temple of Horus, Edfu, Egypt

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path. When the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
– the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, quoted by Frank Herbert in Dune

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep. I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”
– Alexander III “the Great” of Makedon

Fear is an important concept for the modern-day Pagan who embraces the chthonic traditions of Thrace. To the Greeks, a titanismos was a Thracian battle-hymn so fierce, so filled with the terror of the sons and daughters of Nyx, that the Thracians’ enemies would simply turn and flee, if they weren’t frozen to the spot. And of Titanismos as the modern acknowledgment of our Titanic progenitors, our brother the Anomalous Thracian is fond of saying: “This is Titanismos. You should run.”

What does it really mean to have “fear of the gods,” as the Egyptian inscription instructs Horus’s priests to have? Can fear ever be a positive thing, particularly related to the idea being afraid of the Divine? What about other kinds of fear? Are they a force to be avoided, or, as the Litany quoted above suggests, could they become a weapon to use to our benefit?

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Egypto-Thracian? (Pagan Blog Project, Week 9)

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This week’s Pagan Blog Project asks for a post whose subject begins with the letter “E.” Of course, the big one for me as Agriakosos, Her Fierce Daughter…is Egypto-Thracian.

So what’s an Egypto-Thracian, anyway?

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Devotional Polytheism (Pagan Blog Project, Week 8)

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Galina Krasskova posted an excellent set of blog prompts around devotional polytheism on her blog yesterday. I intend to use them to direct some of my posting here, whether part of the Pagan Blog Project or not. I love the idea, and thank her for sharing it!

For this week, I’ll handle #1:
What wealth have the divinities brought into your life?

That’s a huge question. Can I attribute anything specific to my deities, in terms of wealth? How do I define wealth in the first place? Is it necessary, or even desirable, for deities to bring me wealth? Do They do it all, or am I also responsible for some of it? I could blog for a long time….

For my purposes here, I’ll define wealth as ‘an abundance of a thing,’ and leave it open-ended; and I will not get into the question of whether or not deities are obligated to bring me wealth, if I have responsibility for it or not, etc. Let’s just talk about the basic concept.

Yes. I do believe my Egypto-Thracian deities have brought me wealth. They have done so in a number of different ways, too, starting even when I was a child and continuing to today.

They brought me spiritual wealth in the sense of opening my mind and my horizons to the beautiful, diverse world of Spirit. In recent years, I realized that I was experiencing Egypto-Thracian deities long before I was practicing a strictly Kemetic religion, and that They were the ones Who introduced me to  other gods and spirits that I needed to get to know along the way. (Thank You.)

They also brought me ancestral wealth – both my father’s bloodlines and my mother’s go back to lands that are defined as Thrace (northern Thrace on my father’s side, and Macedon on my mother’s). Through getting to know these divinities, and allowing Them to be present in my life, They have connected me back to my ancestors – and vice versa. It is humbling, and something incredible, to know that my ancestors and my gods are both part of a big circle or cycle that keeps us together.

In terms of monetary or material wealth, I’m not sure They’ve done much there – but then again, I don’t think I ever put that on Them. I have never expected my deities to function as giant gumball machines in the sky that hand out goodies when I ask. (That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t accept some material assistance from the Powers, of course…)

I’ve also received a wealth of work (in getting to know Them), a wealth in friendship and family (from the people whom They have connected me with over the years), and a wealth in lots of positive things for my own life, from confidence and protection to joy and delight in Their service.

Catching up (Pagan Blog Project Week 6)

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Things have been rough for me offline, with a family death followed on instantaneously by starting a new program at my new grad school, and now preparations for a weekend of lecturing and conference/work. I am sorry to have been behind, and hope to get caught up with all of you soon.

Since my brain has no space left for a new topic, I’ll catch up by sharing links to some interesting things I’ve been reading lately, that you might want to read too. I’ll be back next week with something far better for topics beginning in “D.”

1. People are starting to meet each other in person (gasp!) with this Pagan Tea Time thing. Back in the day I was one of the progenitors of a “Pagan Tea House” on the AOL network. Loving both that people are using a similar name for the idea, AND that they’re getting to know each other as human beings and not just words on screens. Keep it up.

2. In this post, Oracle talks about ritual as a “love letter to the Gods.” I could not like this post enough.

3. The difference between purity and perfection, beautifully stated, by a Kemetic Orthodox priest.

4. Even if you don’t like rain or children, this will give you life. Or it should.

5. On conversion and appropriation, or what happens when the religion you once appropriated starts appropriating you….

6. Respect the divine weapons, even when they are aimed at you. (I love me some Hanuman!)

7. On compassion and unification (or, more blessing and less smiting)

8. Have a good week and we’ll talk soon!

I’m not the only one who thinks this way

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In relation to my recent posts concerning polytheism, monotheism, and the influence of the latter on the former lurking like a black hole around the periphery of contemporary polytheism and Paganism (here and also here), this came up in my reading for a class this evening, and I decided to share.

“It may be stressed that neither the number of deities worshiped, nor the absence or presence of definite (and carefully worded) answers to the eternal and unanswerable questions of man separate decisively a polytheistic from a monotheistic religion. Rather, it seems to be the criterion of a plurality of intellectual and spiritual dimensions that sets off most of the higher polytheistic religions from the narrowness, the one-dimensional pressure of revealed religions. Instead of the symbol of the path and the gate, which may be taken to be the ‘kenning’ of monotheism, a primeval, inevitable, and unchanging design or order (dharma, rta, shimtu) organizes the multifaceted structures of polytheistic religions. They are characterized by the absence of any centrality and by a deep-seated tolerance to shifting stresses, making possible the adaptability that such religions need to achieve their millennial lifespan. It is open to serious doubt whether we will ever be able to cross the gap caused by the difference in ‘dimensions.’ … Western man seems to be both unable and, ultimately, unwilling to understand such religions except from the distorting angle of antiquarian interest and apologetic pretenses. For nearly a century he has tried to fathom these alien dimensions with the yardsticks of animistic theories, nature worship, stellar mythologies, vegetation cycles, pre-logical thought, and kindred panaceas, to conjure them by means of the abracadabra of mana, taboo, and orenda. And the results have been, at best, lifeless and bookish syntheses and smoothly written systematizations decked out in a mass of all-too-ingenious comparisons and parallels obtained by zigzagging all over the globe and through the known history of man.”

From Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, by A. Leo Oppenheim (pages 182-3).