Bearding


bearded PoseidonPhutalmios, verdant one,
plant-nourishing Poseidon,
such bounty has been born of earth!

Phutalmios of the waving fields,
sun-dappled, wind-kissed,
flowing nectar and sap.

Phutalmios of the deep woods,
lord of life’s quiet secrets
and keeper of hidden oaths.

Phutalmios of the silent eddy,
swirling seed to ground
and guarding is rest.

Phutalmios of the white barley,
a geyser erupted,
beard of the world.

Phutalmios, cloak swirling,
covered in night
to sleep once more.

The space between


The equinox is a liminal time, ideal for a liminal god.  Poseidon was given the portion which is neither above nor below.  He is Domatites, of the doorway which stands between here and there.  He is Epaktaios, of the coastline between realms of land and sea, both of which comprise his domain.

2016-09-21 16.11.59.jpgI brought my offerings to my outdoor shrine to Poseidon, a mossy patch from which his metal face emerges.  Here, he is holder of the earth, plant-nourisher, the reason why I have adored green man iconography for as long as I can remember.

Barley, and wine mixed with water, because that’s tradition going way back.  My equinox prayer to Poseidon (which is in Depth of Praise but has never been published online), because he wouldn’t have asked me to write it if he didn’t intend for me to use it.  Another offering of barley, this mixed with roast coffee beans, because it’s referenced in the prayer but this would be the first opportunity to follow those instructions.

Inside, the daily offerings to Hestia Caffeina also change: now comes coffee with the barley.  In a few months, the barley will be abandoned and she will receive only dark, chthonic offerings to reflect the darkest time of year.

Now does Phytalmius turn to sleep, and the icy breath of Glacius begins to quicken.  This balancing point signals that the Poseidalia is closer at hand than I can possibly believe.  Perhaps this year shall be the one in which I invite others to celebrate with me.

“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.

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.

Waking of Phythalmius


Poseidon Phytalmius in snow

Poseidon Phytalmius in snow

Today being the tipping point between winter and spring, I thought to wake Poseidon Phytalmius from his slumber.  This picture is illustrative of what my shrine to the plant-nourisher looks like in snow, but today is a bit different.  At least 18 inches of snow have fallen since I went to sleep, and there was no evidence of the sleeping god under that thick blanket.

Using the azalea and the slope of the land, I made my best approximation of where he was underneath, and poured him a libation of wine upon the snow.  It was fluffy enough that I am sure some wine got to the ground, but deep enough that I haven’t a clue if it landed upon his face, or missed the mark completely.

Such is the uncertainty and certainty of life.  I cannot tell if my offering was received, but I do know that Phytalmius shall in time awaken, and the nourished buds shall again burst forth with life.  I don’t even know if my own shall be long enough to see that day, but I’m certain that I am not needed for the cycle to again pass through this stage.

Xaire, Poseidon Phytalmius.  Awake!

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.

Poseidon Phytalmius


Cloaked in the depths and the salty mist
few consider Poseidon Phytalmius.
Verdant lord, forest king,
to him each leaf and bud does sing.

Long before wrote thoughtful Homer
was he consort to Demeter.
Breathing life upon each branch
so lifeless bleakness was thus stanched.

Phytalmius, nourisher of plants
who sees the future of each seed,
we give thanks to their nature
so our people we may feed.