Phytalmius photo op

Green Man

Badass green man jacket, front.

I am no stranger to the Green Man.  Indeed, I wear his jacket, or would if I could remember to get the zipper fixed.  That’s why I was pretty excited to write about Poseidon Phytalmius, since I had no idea he had any meaningful link to green, growing things.

Tumblr readers, you’re going to want to click through now, because my pics over here on WordPress are sweet today.

The story until now:  I excited by mythology as a child, but bored as a Roman Catholic.  I but decided to try harder in my teens, and became a lector (reader) in my church.  That routine didn’t survive the tumultuous transition into college life, but when I met real Pagans, my curiosity (“You mean they worship the Greek gods?”) also led me to explore all the established religions in town.

Badass Green Man jacket, back

Badass Green Man jacket, back

After a time I identified as Pagan, the sort of Pagan that was drawn more to the beings of the forest than I was to the Wicca-styled rituals which were my only experience.  I did rather enjoy drawing down Herne, though, and in time my path led me to a deeper relationship with the Green Man before I allowed my religion to lie fallow for a time.  The theoi, having noticed that I hadn’t entirely forgotten them, eventually came calling, Poseidon tapped me, and here we are.

Along the way, I’ve carried forth the lessons of my earlier forays into relationship with divine forces, and I have also picked up a few objects which remind me of the more profound experiences that I have had.  One of these is a iron Green Man face, which has sometimes hung on the front door, but is really too heavy for that spot.  We’ve talked about mounting it above the mantle, but the bricks are covered with plaster, and that’s a lot of expertise which no one here possesses.

Poseidon Phytalmius Poseidon Phytalmius Poseidon Phytalmius Poseidon PhytalmiusMy Hellenic practice has caused me to cultivate an interest in shrines, both inside and out, and I’ve created a surprising number given the amount of usable land around our home.  In fact, one of them has never gotten a whole lot of use, because although I’ve been sure it’s a sacred spot, I haven’t really known who it was for.  I’ve tried pouring libations to Pan there, but even with the massive patch of moss surrounding the small stone I erected, it didn’t ring quite true.  I tend the moss, and encourage it to spread, but that’s about it, so when I suggested to my wife that I might take the iron face outside to put it in the moss to dedicate the shrine to Poseidon Phytalmius, she was quite agreeable.  What I didn’t expect is how incredibly right it would look — and feel — when I did so today.  The face just settled into the opening created when I removed a pile of stones which I’d placed there previously.  I moved one small tuft atop his cheek, and there it was.

I stood up from my ministrations to look at my work, and a deep sense of satisfaction — of rightness — all but bowled me over.  Seeing him surrounded by leaves, I understood that I should construct festivals to honor his sleeping under the leaves, and for the time of uncovering in the spring.  The spot is also adjacent to the front door of the house which, as is so often the case in my country, is not the primary egress, but it is used, and never had a divine presence nearby until now.  (My Hermes shrine stands at the crossroads near the most-used door.)  It feels like I’m just realizing that he was trying to reach out long, long before I started paying attention to this (okay, any) part of my ancestry.

Dusk

Dusk.

Dawn

Dawn.

What this means in full, will likely take some time to understand, but my appreciation for the subtlety and patience of Poseidon are redoubled by this simple experience.  No doubt there were times in my life that I would point to this as proof of the rightness of my theological stance, which might have been pantheist, or monist, or panentheist, or some other complicated word to express a sort of connectedness that once felt true to me.  Of course, that perspective is almost certainly as entirely true as what I feel now, which is that this is proof that the individual god Poseidon simply was trying to find the right face and right message for me.  And the fact that my Green Man jacket continues to be a hit doesn’t hurt.

End of the line

Nothing else interesting this way. Move along.

It was fun, but now it’s done.  Over the course of Maimakterion I wrote 33 hymns to Poseidon, including all the epithets I know were used for him in antiquity, several that I’ve been assured were or should have been used no matter what the limited records say, and a couple that I’m almost certain have not been uttered up until now.  I think this assignment was only to prepare me for two successive months of Poseideon, but as I write this I don’t know what is expected of me.  I don’t expect further daily demands upon my blog, but I haven’t actually asked yet.  (Divination might work, but I’m also a Quaker, and weekly worship is often where I get my messages.)

The product of this month’s work won’t be restricted to my blogging, though.  Astute readers may note that I have only posted 29 hymns here, but claim to have written 33.  (There’s also a bit of prose that came out, and I’m really excited it did, but even though I know what it’s trying to say, I barely understand it; clearly, it needs a wee bit of polish.)  I do intend on submitting the original 29 for consideration for inclusion in From the Roaring Deep.  I was excited when I learned about this anthology months ago, thinking it would make a good read, then I put it out of my mind.  A few days into my hymn-marathon it was again brought to my attention, and the fact that it opened for submissions during this month was not lost on me — I can be dense, but sometimes a sign is pretty clear.  Beyond that, I know I have more writing to do, because no matter what gets included in that worthy tome, I intend on putting out a collection of my own, one that will include the four I haven’t shown to anyone yet.

Once that book is published, I’m permitted to take on an additional name to mark that offering.

Being a simple guy, I’ve been stunned by the amount of interest and support this work has received.  I’ve seen over 60 hits on this blog some days, and a couple of my posts have nearly 10 comments!  (Seriously, it doesn’t take much to please me.)  Some people have given me particular support that is worthy of public gratitude.  They are:

  • My wife, who I am not naming just because I haven’t ever asked her if I could do that here.  She’s the one who first pointed out that I had a problem with Poseidon, even though she may not think that’s what she was doing, and despite being on a different path, her unwavering support of my religious life makes it all possible.
  • Sannion, the first person who called me on the fact that I really never talked about Poseidon.
  • My priest Timotheos, who pointed that that Poseidon also had noticed.
  • Jolene Poseidonae, who has been an enthusiastic cheerleader and constant inspiration.

The fact that I was experiencing a lot of repressed anger is less interesting to me than the assignment I was given to work on that:  write about him to learn about him, I was told.  I don’t [yet] think that my questions have been answered (except for that one Sannion got an answer to via divination; for some reason I never got the email and ultimately I decided I didn’t want it, not that way), but I now have some tools to help me ask better questions.

Poseidon Psychopompos

King Poseidon, the endless seas and all beneath are your domain.
Nurturing one, the cycle of life is in your hands
with which you hold the Earth you protect.
Watcher from the depths, keeper of the tides,
you bear the secrets of the dark places.

I sing to you, Poseidon Psychyopompos,
who takes the sailors from the homes
and the drowned, the lost, the castaways,
the pirated, the evidence of mortal misdeeds
and all who breathe the waters of life.

From your realms are born all that swim,
and those that swim give life to those that walk.
So too are fish offered to please you, for in death
those that swim and are offered
sustain you as surely as the fatted calf.

Upon the tides over which you rule
are cast what remains of our honored dead.
Receive them in death as your sustained them in life.
Strip them flesh from bone so that they are ready
to be borne by you to your brother’s realm.

By shell will you know the ones
that take the perilous journey of burial at sea.
Comport them with honor, remember their service,
open the way for your devotees.
May this never be the only hymn I offer you.

Poseidon Agoraios

I sing of the market
I sing to the sea
I sing for the traders
who bring community.

I celebrate Poseidon
as he opens the way
to this human innovation,
to exchange commodities.

With the markets come a burden,
a price not paid today.
May Poseidon trade in wisdom
of how this greed to stay.

The market gates stand open
to all the ships at sea.
All that glitters, all that shines,
can be bought by this decree:

A portion for Poseidon,
a portion for the home,
a portion for one’s mortal loves,
and one for those who roam.

Poseidon Mousêgetês

A song never sung goes to Poseidon Mousêgetês,
for memory flees and with it, this name.
Leader of Muses before they gave beauty voice,
guardian of the soft heart that through poetry, weeps.

When the brothers divided the sky from the land,
and each took a portion, his own to command,
dark Haides withdrew to the places unseen,
while above came the throne of Zeus Celestine.

Sea from sky, earth from under,
divisions were clear,
but for those bright spirits
not of this world, but near.

Some flocked to Haides, of money and death.
To Zeus clove spirits of justice and breath.
And closest to the lands that mortals eyes beheld
were the daimones of beauty enfolded in hard shells.

So precious did he find them,
these daimones, bright and pure,
that Poseidon loathed to risk them
near his sacred, rocky shores.

In time, the young god knew
that this world was yet unborn
as he watched the first men’s races,
lived not with love, but scorn.

With each new god that came
to add richness to the world,
Poseidon let the shells dissolve
until beauty was unfurled.

And into that potential
did his brother in the sky
seek several kind goddesses
with which, in time, to lie.

Mousêgetês is not your name
for those maidens were unknown
until you freed potential
so that artist could carve stone.

Fundraising frustration

I was thrilled to write yesterday’s story on how Pagans raise money using the cool tools available nowadays.  However, one possible fundraising branch continues to frustrate me, that of government employee giving programs.

One of my several income streams derives from working within a state campaign, which gives me enough inside knowledge to write about it, but there’s no good place to find links to all of these programs.  Even the link I provided is a couple of years out of date, and while some of those links may actually be valid, they may only be active during the application period, and there’s no simple way to discover those windows.

While it’s not something I can likely get done quickly, I’m putting “make and maintain a list of government charity campaign sites” on my own list of things to do.

Poseidon Nymphagetes

By the trident of Poseidon
struck upon the rocky froth
does a pure and bubbling spring
now dance and issue forth!

Lord of nymphs of springs
they arise at your command
and issuing bubbling cataracts
upon the thirsty land.

The briny ocean’s salt
does not touch these spirits fair;
for this god of cooling springs
bids them let down their hair.

The spirits dance
the fountains sing
the nymphs will dance
and praise their king.