Procession obsession


Everybody loves a parade.

I cannot find an attribution for that quote, but the sentiment is surely ancient. There’s something about a procession of people, vehicles, and sometimes animals in a line down a road that makes people want to come out and watch. It’s an old, old concept; there are references to “triumphal processions” dating back thousands of years, for example, and the same sense of celebration is captured in ticker-tape parades held today. While the purpose of any particular march might not sit well with each observer, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that overall, everybody loves a parade.

The religion I practice, Hellenismos, has parades — we also call them “processions” — baked right in. Rather than setting sacred space by casting a circle or by sanctifying a building (although the latter is a laudable goal), today we proceed to the temple or shrine as a way to alter consciousness. I did something similar when I was an active Gaiaped (backpacking Pagan) by touching trees along the trail I was hiking. It wasn’t sufficient to commune with any particular tree, but instead helped me get in tune with the trail as a whole.

I happen to live in a community wherein parades are a disproportionately big deal. The biggest is the one on Halloween, when there are nearly as many people walking down Main Street as live in this community. That’s not the only one, though: there’s the pride parade, one on Memorial Day (the real one, mind you, rather than the sad Monday substitute), a celebration of Little League players, and one that happens on Palm Sunday. Once or twice there was something called a “Phool’s Parade,” which didn’t last either due to poor weather in April and May, or maybe because of the odd spelling.

What I see are three important pillars for parades in my life: they are an ancient way of gathering the people, they are a sacred part of traditions I follow, and they are woven deeply into the culture of my community. Nevertheless, it did not occur to me that New Paltz Pagan Pride, first and foremost, needed to be a parade. That notion arose for Anton Stewart, praised be his name, for it’s the parade that shall set apart this pride festival from all others held on behalf of those who follow a Pagan path.

All things come at a price, however. With few exceptions, organizers of parades in New Paltz — at least the big ones, which involve stopping traffic rather than following the sidewalk — must pay not only for a permit, but for the police officers’ time as well. That’s not an unreasonable request, but it is one that can easily run until four digits. Throw in the (refundable) cleaning deposit for the park, and you’re looking at a couple grand in seed money. With some careful fundraising at the event itself (charging vendors, holding raffles, perhaps a silent auction), the money for a second and successive parades should be much easier to acquire than that for the first. Such is the nature of money that it draws itself to itself.

I’m looking to plant that glorious seed.

To that end, I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to get that first wonderful event on the map. It could well be a glorious addition to the religious diversity of New Paltz, which already features a Palm Sunday parade and in which there are plans for an event called “Praise in the Park.” The typical pattern would be a parade that leads to an event; in this case, it would be a Pagan pride day. I’d like to covens, circles, groves of leafy Druids and hooded adherents of mystery traditions congregate in the parking lot of the middle school before following a police escort down Main Street. Perhaps they’d even build floats! We’d chant and throw flowers as we stepped lively down the hill to Hasbrouck Park, where rituals and lessons would be the theme of the day.

Free events are not free! I’m astounded at how much time and effort goes into finding and coordinating people to pull off a simple ritual and provide more information for the curious. Above and beyond the parade, the park I’m looking at only has a nominal cost ($25 last I checked), but there’s also a $500 deposit against cleanup (which cannot be waived, but can be returned) and the cost of event insurance (which can be waived for groups that have no money). Folks also talk about designing and distributing posters, selling t-shirts, and woo-boy, it adds up quickly.

In a perfect world, the expenses of future years are paid for by the money hauled in during the previous. I do not know how perfect this world might be, but I do know that succeeding even once at parading Pagans down my main street would be boss. Traditionally there’s no admission charge for pride days, which is something I’d like to preserve. I also know that priming the pump is the first step regardless.

Perhaps there’s just no market for this kind of lavish event in this area. There’s anecdotal evidence that there are quite a few Pagans in the region (the village supports a metaphysical shop, and there are others in several nearby communities), but maybe they’re here and deeply closeted, maybe they’re not: we had three metaphysical shops just ten years ago, after all. Perhaps it’s pointless even to try. Perhaps I’m a fool for even thinking about going big or going home.

On the other hand, maybe I should start with something simpler, like a poison ivy festival.

“I’d rather Poseidon stay in the ocean.”


I visited a group dedicated to the Green Man to talk about Poseidon.  “Did you know that Poseidon has a Green Man aspect?” I asked, eager to share my enthusiasm for that theme.  I was devoted to the Green Man for many years, and was absolutely floored to discover that maybe I wasn’t worshiping an archetype or force of nature as I thought; it could have been Poseidon in the forest all along.

The only reply I got was from a member who said something like the title of this post.  “There’s so much need to clean up the oceans,” he explained, that he’d “rather Poseidon stay there.”

While I appreciate that there’s a lot of ugly in the world that needs fixing, I hardly think it’s up to us to tell the gods where they ought to focus their attentions.  Or what they should have influence over.  If I were a more hotheaded polytheist, I might have likened such comments to hubris, but I really do understand the spirit in which they were made.  However, I do not agree, not even a little bit.

Since I’m writing about Poseidon’s life beyond the ocean, check out my latest update, in which I talk about the cthonic Poseidon.

Final push for an illustrated Poseidon


Pretty_Please

That’s right, I’m bringing out the cats.

Raising money is not the money work I am best at, so as I move into the final days of my push to illustrate my Poseidon devotional, I understand I need to both step up my efforts and get more help from those readers I’ve already got.

  • Contributing just a dollar will get your name added to my morning devotions to my patron.
  • Any amount totally counts as an offering to Poseidon, so don’t be shy.
  • I’ve added a new reward in honor of the sacred marriage of two friends today.
  • If you follow me on Tumblr, WordPress, or Twitter, and choose to boost the signal, I will be pleased to retweet or reblog one of your posts, or follow you back as thanks.  Just let me know which.
  • Yes, some of my rewards are quirky, but my work is deadly serious.  I would have been swept away without Poseidon, and I need to give him back more than I have the talent to provide.
  • Suggestions for finding those people who a) are interested in prayer books focused on Poseidon specifically or Hellenic gods generally and b) have a few books kicking about would be very much appreciated.

Each and every time each of us supports the work of others to support the gods, we amplify the message that these are gods worthy of honor and glory, who are still worshiped today, and who save and transform lives.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Not knowing


A massive search is ongoing off the eastern seaboard of the United States for two teen boys, experienced boaters, who have been lost at sea.  Drownings tend to affect me in a deep place, which is why one of the unpublished hymns in Depth of Praise was inspired by the massive loss of migrants in the Mediterranean as people try to escape wars and other troubles and make for Europe.  Not knowing the fate of loved ones is also something that speaks to me; I would not wish that pain upon anyone, no matter the species of, relationship to, or circumstances surrounding the loss.

stephanos

Austin Stephanos


cohen

Perry Cohen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together, these experiences inspired me to dedicate a prayer to these boys.  May they find peace, in the arms of their families or arms of the gods.  I will make offerings in favor of their fates being known sooner, rather than later.

The dashing god, and other drawings


I got some surprisingly positive feedback from my first Poseidon drawing.  Not only did Sannion give me props, it’s actually been spoken for by a backer for my crowdfunding campaign to illustrate Depth of Praise.

2015-07-25 23.11.45Far be it for me to look a gift horse in the mouth.  If stick-figure drawings of divinities tickle your donation-bone, I’ll tickle.

I am pleased to present nineteen more drawings of Poseidon, each a unique piece of art created with authentic Sharpie markers on actual printer paper.  These differ from my first work in two significant ways:

  1. They are much smaller, which allows me to bring down the price of both the art and the shipping.  One of these could be flying to your door for as little as ten US dollars, a rock-bottom price that includes shipping anywhere in the United States of America and Canada.
  2. Each represents Poseidon as described by one of the epithets I praise in the book.  The montage here offers some tantalizing hints how I visually interpret his many titles, but it’s my words that I trust will thoroughly knock your socks off.

Here’s the rub:  you don’t get to choose which one you get.  I’m going to let Poseidon complete that task.  Considering how much work writing and publishing all these hymns is creating for me, it seems only fair to ask him to share the burden.  I’ll perform divination to confirm his wishes in this matter.

Ten-dollar Poseidon drawings?  Where else are you going to find a deal like that?

Imagining


phytlamiusToday’s Kickstarter update was a musing on what an illustration of Poseidon Phytalmius might look like.  There are so many really excellent pictures drawn of Poseidon relating to the ocean, but not so many covering his earth-god aspects.  That’s really part of why I want to illustrate Depth of Praise, to visually call out his more-than-just-the-ocean-ness.

Of course, if I completely ignore his watery ways, I may end up all wet myself.  Rest assured, breathless reader, I shall not.  Indeed, my first illustration has been sold, and I am contemplating creating a few more to capture such epithets as “he who dashes against” and “of the coast” in my inimitable style.  While you wait, feel free to dangle this post in front of anyone who might be willing to help get this project funded, or who has a bunch of friends in such circles.

Stay tuned.

Ducks in a row


Rubber duckies are my friend.

Duck!

In my latest Kickstarter campaign update, I delve into the mystery of the ducks, and why I am asking a Ben Franklin of people who want a little rubber one lubed with some oil.

Drink in the thoughts I share, and by all means, consider helping me illustrate my Poseidon devotional — reward levels start at just one dollar, after all.

While I have received some feedback suggesting that my own illustration style is awesome, this is about much more than me.  It’s about Poseidon, a mighty god who deserves to recapture some of the honor given him in antiquity.  It’s also about putting artists to work.  If you know someone who is incredibly talented but still has to flip burgers or sell lottery tickets to put food on the table, this campaign is for them.

The gods and job creation.  What better reasons to contribute could you possibly have than those?