The next deity that I’m honoring from the atheist graveyard is Veles (#12) of the Slavic Pantheon. Now I’ve written several posts about deities from this pantheon under different names and every time I write about them, I grow a little more in knowledge. There is a lot of variety in names but with similar roles. Before I’ve described this divinity as the bad guy, but he reminds me a little bit of Loki in that he isn’t necessarily the bad guy but he does take on the adversarial or trickster role. It seems Christian influence made him appear worse than he really is.
The next deity (#6) from the “god graveyard” is Loki. Loki interests me unlike a very large part of the Norse Pantheon, even more so than Odin and Thor. Maybe it is his association with fire (fire sign here [grin]) or the devotion of Sigyn. More likely it is the fact that he doesn’t fit in anywhere (as I often feel that way). Yet it could e my tendency to cheer on the underdog or maybe his similarities to Hermes. Any way he incites a cautious curiosity in me.
Next up in my tributes to the Gods placed in the atheist graveyard, I honor Janus, Divine Doorkeeper. Yet I've already written about him once as Janus, God of Libraries, so below I leave you with an interesting excerpt of Ovid's Fasti (Book 1):
The next divinities from the “God Graveyard" list are the Slavic divinities Belbog and Chernobog. They interest me because I have Slovenian (Bohjon) ancestry. I’ve been a bit intimidated in researching these divinities because I want to get it right. Unlike many other pantheons there are no firsthand accounts for this pantheon. There is no irrefutable evidence that the Slavs had any system of writing so all their beliefs and traditions were passed down orally. This creates or enables many individual characteristics within that belief system (a fancy way of saying that there are as many differences as similarities in the details of their belief system). While there are many archeological remains, there is no contextual understanding to be had. The only time anything was written down was by Christian missionaries who were not always interested in accuracy in depicted Pagan beliefs. Fragments of the old beliefs are found in folk customs, songs and tales. This is not to say that this pantheon is not still honored, for it is, but I imagine Slavic rely heavily upon similarities in other belief systems and on unsubstantiated personal knosis (aka UPG).
The existences of both of these deities, Belbog especially, are heavily contested. So let me tell you what I have found out about them and then offer an interesting possible conclusion that I stumbled across. Belbog and Chernobog are twins and, one could say, the mirror images of the other. One website stated that they were honored by the priestly class.
So while the Pagan blogosphere is reacting to the God Graveyard fiasco, I figured it would be more interesting to learn about some of the deities that were on the list.I found a short list on Sannion’s blog.If anyone finds a longer list or a complete list, I’d love to have it.
So the first god I’m starting with is Shezmu (Shesmu, Shesemu, Shezmou, Shesmou, Sezmu, Sesmu, Schesmu, Schezemu), an ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.
I’m told that I have a thing for the “bad boys” of the Greek pantheon and maybe that is true. Yet it is because I see past their “popular” labeling to someone worthy of my attention and respect. So let me tell you about the bad boy that seems to surpass even Ares. He is the ultimate freak out for some people. Haides, God of the Underworld.
Asklepios (Aesculapius) is traditionally described as the mortal son of Apollo by Koronis or Arsinoe who was then deified after death.Traditionally it is said that as a babe Asklepios was cut out of his dead mother’s body and raised by the centaur, Kheiron, who taught him the arts of healing.He later became so proficient that Zeus ended his life to maintain status quo.Asklepios then was raised up as a god with many temples where people would seek cures.
I started a new job this week. It is a job that I’ve always wanted. I work in a library. Responses from my friends have been highly amusing. Anything from “that is the perfect job for you!” to “that’s like putting an alcoholic in charge of a bar”.
I started wondering what god has libraries in his purview. My first thought was Hermes but I connect him more with the internet and buyer/reader beware. My second thought was Thoth or Seshat but neither of those felt right. So I did some googling and stumbled across a blog suggesting Janus as a modern symbol for libraries. Now that is an interesting thought.
A tale for your reading pleasure...this came to me today as I was researching another topic.
A woman frantically spins a crystal in the light from the window making rainbows swirl around the room.“Iris, storm-footed and golden winged, you who nursed my child when I could not, hear me.My boy has been taken from his cradle by Apollon, furious to behold.Tell his father!Bring my baby back!”
So I've only recently returned home from fest and visiting my sister. This is the first good opportunity I've had to sit down and write. Forgive my lateness.
One of the big rituals at the Pagan festival I attend is the Drawing Down. It is where multiple priests and priestesses allow a divinity to take temporary possession of their bodies so that they can speak with devotees. Who you speak with is typically luck of the draw. Rarely are masculine divinities drawn down in my experience, as female divinities are just more popular it seems. Even more rare, in my experience, is having a walker seek out a particular person at a divinity's behest. I experienced both this time.
Since opening this space a few weeks ago, I have been thinking more consciously about our journey to The Edge. I am grateful to have the space here to share how the light shines upon it for us all.
See, for much of my life I did not know what an “edge” was, or what expansive, fertile possibilities lay just beyond it. I did not know what type of path I would cut or even what tools I would need to access the raw, vulnerable parts of myself; eventually laying the groundwork upon the true self which would be born anew. I felt alone. I felt incapable of being able to come from a place of authentic expression. I had no idea what gifts I could offer this world.
Life was lived "safely" based on clean edges, organized processes, and a sense that I was doing the “right thing” with the barometer being the acknowledgement of those around me. I followed all of the "rules" and defined happiness by living up to others’ expectations. All the while there was a churning inside, an acidic buildup of knowing I was not dancing to my own rhythm. I was trying my damndest to be the “perfect” daughter, wife, mother, career woman, community serviceperson. Forget rhythm when living a life of constant white noise.
Oh, I was still in there, present with small pieces of it, definitely not all of it, a walking-dead from what I can now ascertain. I was superficially happy, not deeply satisfied. I was seeking a “something” to fill my hollow and was incredibly imbalanced internally. The external world was starting to show the stress of not being able to keep the charade going much longer.
The first of many lurches showing me a brighter reality hit me the day I found out my daughter had chosen me to carry her into this world. I did start to wake up that day, but it would be a long time before I had the courage to act. The next few years were spent still trying to play in the white noise, yet the core had started to break down. I was ready to exit stage left. I was ready to be done with all of the bullshit and move on.
Yet I had a child to raise. Her birth was my rebirth. She opened me up in profound ways and served as my grounding wire that first number of years as I learned how to stand again. I still felt alone, untrustworthy, unqualified, yet there was a spark which had been lit from within and She reminded me of that every single day.
The question remained though: how was I supposed to raise a child if I didn’t even know how to raise myself from the dead? The edge was slippery at times, but I learned to listen to the internal voice, to trust the compass. That journey began more than 12 years ago and every step has been a true blessing. Life continues to improve, become more joyful, more fulfilling, more honestly my own to claim in this lifetime.
See, The Edge is the familiar unknown. It is an invitation to remember who we are. It is about discovering our internal truths and then manifesting them into brilliant existence! My own familiar unknowns have shown me how deeply nourishing and joyful life can be! My edge has shown me I am here to love, nourish and support others from an incredibly deep space. BUT! If I am not loving, nourishing, and supporting myself, then what do I have left to give? The equation is simple, as is the life I am living. And I envision it to become easier and much simpler as time goes on.
The truth has been deeply revealing. It has led to unexpected and miraculous gifts along the way in the form of connecting and learning from others who open their hearts to their edge of familiar unknowns. The following poem was written and performed with one of those beautiful souls, my dear friend John DeLozier. You may also watch a video of the performance here. My cup truly runneth over.
The EdgeJohn DeLozier & Jennifer MillsSummer Rhythm Renewal, August 2012The Within becomes limitless when I am with you.A roiling, boiling potential.Through the liquidous center, the tremors of vibration unsettlethe sediment existence has produced.An uncontrollable force which can no longer be held within.Truly eyes know nothing yet reveal everything.The pulsing, rhythmic dance begins.The roiling emotions charged: a supernova state, heartfelt and open!The sacred seal is broken between the illusion of opposing forces.Suddenly, desolate and lightless as a black hole; nothingness; my mind cannot conceive.I have gone to my Edge;my toes on the precipice.Are you complete?Resistant: I hesitate, afraid of the unknown.My truth unspoken, constricted by the perpetual state of Doubt.Break yourself free from that constraint my friend!We are bigger than that!Join me in this leap of faith!Take my hand.So, the darkness was a shadow, dissipated by our light!Connected now are we.This bright-light confusion of the senses fades.The breath of light returns in the Light of Love.