Pagan Paths

A polytheanimist Thracian perspective on creating, rebuilding, and embodying ancestral religions as living traditions in the 21st century. Religion as life, life as spirit, spirit as being.

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Razing the Temple

Razing the Temple

It is a damn good time to be a polytheist.

Fair readers, since I last left you (way back in June -- sorry*!) things have changed dramatically for my life, my practice, and the sacred creatures I share both with. I have relocated from the S.F. Bay Area in California to the Northeast, in a move that had me selling off vehicles, loading my library (some 4,000 lbs of books) into freight containers, and driving a little over three-thousand miles with a fellow priest in a Dodge Ram Van packed with active shrines, icons, ten sacred Temple serpents, and an African raven.

This move also necessitated the closing of my Temple in California, which I'd built by hand and operated for several years. However, one does not merely "close down" a Temple.

The Temple of Night is a living thing, as much a being and a realm as a space of shrines, worship, and sacrifice, which I tended full-time in the years since I built it. To safely close the space down, certain rites needed to be observed.

Friend, fellow priest and polytheist and sworn ally of my House, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, wrote a very powerful elegy (mourning poem) for the occasion, which can be read here. Others from my communities and collectives showed support and lent their aid in various ways throughout this process.

"The process" involved a three-day fast from food and water, while the physical structure of the the Temple was dismantled, board by board, stud by stud, and lovingly fed into the sacred fires burning in the Temple hearth. The physical process took about twelve hours of labor, with a two-thousand degree fire, and another ten hours of ritual, divination, prayer, and many offerings fed to many gods, and many spirits. The walls were burned, and the sub-floor was burned, and various sacred articles which could not safely leave that location were ushered into the embrace of the fire and rendered unto ash, joining forever the sifted remains of what once was -- and will be again.

The Temple was destroyed, at great cost and sacrifice, but it will be returned. The Spirit of the space was anchored lovingly into another form which will become the foundation of the new Temple, when permanent space makes this possible. 

For now, I find myself a Temple Priest without a Temple. Words cannot express this, and most I know will not have context for the loss. The grief is unfathomably deep, and there was no way to prepare for that, for this. But such is the way of things, and the journey continues onward.

I would like to take this time, and this space, to give thanks to those of my community who offered support and aid during this time and process. I give humble, tearful praise to my gods, and to my dead, and to all of the spirits who have walked with me -- and acted through me -- over these many years, and who I pray will continue to do so in however long I am meant to walk this world. 

It is a blessed time to be alive. A blessed time to see the gods of old -- and new, too! -- coming through into the world and our communities in ways that mark the beginning of a remembrance of a time before so much was lost, and the building and reviving of traditions and structures and forms of worship, devotion, engagement and praise that speak hopefully of the days and years that are to come. For those of us who have always known and heard the call of the gods, and of our blessed dead, it is a beautiful and awesome thing to see others awakening to this.

It is a blessing to see the proclamations of true belief uttered on breath unafraid to speak the truth of our gods, and of our lineages returned or returning or starting anew.

It is a blessing to be alive in a time when restoration seems to be looming for so many traditions, cults, and lineages, with a lived authenticity pulsing as obvious as blood from cut vein upon the stones of the earth.

My Temple burned, and in a sea of blood and sweat and delirium it was my hand that did this. No other. No invading presence, no intruding oppressive force, no corruption or expulsion: I have burned that which I had built, in order that it might rise again even more realized and more revitalized than I could have thought possible.

Though I weep for what was lost to those flames, I am filled with a lightness and a starry-eyed sense of rightness at all that is returning, and will return, to our practices and to our religious traditions

It is a damn good time to be a polytheist.

I see new developments and connections and allegiances forming between our Priests, between regional cultus traditions, between Orders and Houses; I see the gods Themselves brokering deals between one another to bring more fullness to each of our lines of worship and devotion by being positioned in support of one another. I see polytheists standing together in a way that knows no borders, no bounds, and I see hope for the future generations and ages that will come into this world.

We are nothing without our gods, and we are nothing without those who came before us, whose bones and blood we are supported by with every breath.

I see a time of restoration and returning.

At no time have I seen this as clearly and prophetically as when my hands brought fire to the most sacred of things I have ever known in this world. As my Temple burned, razed down to ash, my eyes stung from sweat and smoke and my beard and skin burned in the heat and my arms hurt and my legs shook and my hands bled and I knew a lightness through it all. A sacred, crushing lightness of knowing that there will be more Temples -- true Temples -- and other deepened, reawakened modes of devotion, as our avenues of service and praise are once again diversified, intensified, as our roles and our responsibilities to ourselves and to each other as community and most of all to the gods and spirits who hold it all, are more deeply and critically understood to exist in a thousand forms and shine outward in a thousand directions from the thousands of gods, named and unnamed, known and unknown, who have guided us all from the beginnings of things, and who will usher us all lovingly and firmly to the waiting End.

It is in endings that new beginnings happen, and in death that new life comes forth, and in destruction that we are taught the true mysteries of creation.

It is a damn good time to be a polytheist.

*My long absence was unintentional and was due, in part, to a logistical inability to find the time and technological resources to keep up my space here at Pagan Square. I attempted to write several articles, but these were lost due to tech failure as my journey out of California commenced and mobilization began. It is good to be back and writing. Please stay tuned in the next few days, and weeks, for more from me as my gratefully busy schedule allows! Thank you for your patience and continued reading.

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A temple priest, shaman, and spirit-worker in the Thracian tradition, Anomalous Thracian lives in a van in the Northeast United States, with a crazed raven from Africa. He teaches foundational spiritual principles and results-oriented mysticism, with a focus on anchoring ancient nomadic wisdoms and values in contemporary reality. A Thracian mystic reconstructionist, he leads an initiatory tradition and facilitates rituals, traditional rites of passage, various methods of divination and temple functions appropriate to the needs of the community. In all of his doings, he attempts to honor the ancestors, the gods, and his living relations in this world and the rest of them, while focusing also on further understanding and addressing contemporary issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

Comments

  • Tim Schneider
    Tim Schneider Thursday, 10 October 2013

    May the new Temple be raised in power and strength. May It be well-loved by the Gods, Ancestors, spirits, and communities It will serve. May Its be blessed and do well in all he is called to do. Hail to the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits. Hail to you, Anomalous Thracian, for doing what I can only imagine was probably one of the hardest pieces of work you have had to do. I pray that your journey is blessed, that you are given the support you need in all you do, and thank you for all of your hard work.

    Ves ðu heill!

  • Anomalous Thracian
    Anomalous Thracian Thursday, 10 October 2013

    Thank you, Tim!

  • Dver
    Dver Thursday, 10 October 2013

    So glad to see you back, and look forward to future posts! I cannot even imagine the intensity of razing a temple you built and cared for yourself, but it sounds like you did it exactly right, and have therefore created the proper spiritual foundations for a new temple someday. Hope you are acclimating to the Northeast well, it's a beautiful time of year to be there (I always miss my home state of Maine during the autumn).

  • Jamie
    Jamie Friday, 11 October 2013

    Anomalous Thracian,

    May your new temple be filled with devotion and piety, and may the Goddesses and Gods bless your endeavors.

    Welcome to the northeastern U.S.!

    It was very touching to read about the rituals related to the closing of your temple.

  • Natasha Kostich
    Natasha Kostich Friday, 11 October 2013

    Thank you for all the Work you do! May your new temple and life be blessed by the Gods and Ancestors!!!

  • Soli
    Soli Monday, 21 October 2013

    I am working on emerging back into the virtual community so I will add words here. If there is anything I can do to assist in your recent transition or for the temple, or even just for you, do not hesitate to ask. Welcome to the east coast!

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