Palms of Our Hands

A Polytheist's Blog


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Words from Ares: Courage, Caitlyn Jenner, and What It Means To Be A Warrior In Times of Peace

Thenea of her blog Magick From Scratch put the question of Caitlyn Jenner’s courage compared with a soldier’s courage to Ares, Greek God of war. She received this response, which hopefully put a lot of things into perspective for any who reads it. Thank you Thenea, and to Lord Ares!

Magick From Scratch

Ares is a taciturn sort of fellow, but I showed him a meme going around with a picture of Caitlyn Jenner next to a soldier, and he had a mouthful to say about it. Often, when he does speak more than just a few words, his opinions are quite surprising.

For reference: projectile weapons, in ancient Greece, were considered a “coward’s weapon.” Correspondingly, Ares doesn’t think much of modern war, or guns.

Ares is not what you might call eloquent. In order to understand how I experienced this, you need to imagine a gigantic, ripped biker dude wearing bronze armor growling or yelling part or all of this.

Take this message for what it is: if you are fighting for acceptance, Ares thinks you are bad ass.

All courage should be rewarded.

It should be, and it isn’t.

When a soldier faces streams of cowardly bullets shot from behind the safety…

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Devotional Practice: 7 Night Sleep Prayer/Divination, inspired by Dan’el in “Aqhat”

Tonight, and hopefully for the next six or seven nights, I will be making offerings to the Canaanite deities before bed.  I’m super excited about going to Many Gods West next weekend, but also nervous. My intuition says I should be prepared in attending…the ‘how’ of that preparation seems to have been left up to me.  Also, as I’m still in the middle of Sorting Things Out in my living space, a lot of my stuff still needs placing or giving away. So what I do have left are source books and my imagination.

The tale of Aqhat is a story translated from the stone tablets found in Ugarit (present-day Ras Shamra).  It is a mythic tale of a man, Dan’el (in Hebrew, Daniel)*, who longs for a wife and son/children to continue the family line, to comfort him in his old age, and to remember him and the ancestors when he passes away.  So, not unlike the goals many of us have about family. The story makes particular note of the duties a well-rounded descendant should do. Dan’el laments and makes prayers to the deities for seven nights until Ba’lu Haddu (Ba’al Hadad), the text states “draws near in compassion”.  Ba’lu Haddu addresses ‘Ilu (El) to answer Dan’el’s prayers, which he does. When I was devotional reading (well, trying to be devout) my copy of Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, this particular passage leapt out at me:

(from the translated tablets of “Aqhat”)

“Now Daniel, man of Rapiu,
The hero, man of the Harnemite,

Girded, gives food to the gods,
Girded, gives drink to the deities,

Throws down his garment and lies,
Throws down his cloak for the night.

One day passed, and a second–

Girded, Daniel gives food,
Girded, gives food to the gods,
Girded gives drink to the deities,

A third day passes, a fourth–

Girded, Daniel gives food,
Girded, gives food to the gods,
girded, gives drink to the deities,

A fifth day passes, a sixth–

Girded, Daniel gives food
Girded, gives food to the gods,
Girded, gives drink to the deities,

Daniel throws down his garment,
Throws down his garment and lies,
Throws down his cloak for the night.

Then on the seventh day
Ba’al draws near in compassion:

“The longing of Daniel, man of Rapiu,
The moan of the hero, man of the Harnemite!

Who has no son like his siblings,
No offspring like that of his fellows,

Who, girded, gives food to the gods,
Girded, gives drink to the deities?

Bless him, Bull, El my father,
Prosper him, Creator of Creatures.

Let him have a son in his house,
Offspring within his palace,

      To set up his Ancestor’s stelae
The sign of Sib in the sanctuary;

      To rescue his smoke from the Underworld,
To protect his steps from the Dust;

      To stop his abusers’ spite,
To drive his troublers away,

      To grasp his arm when he’s drunk,
To support him when sated with wine;

      To eat his portion in Ba’al’s house,
His share in the house of El;

      To daub his roof when there’s mud,
To wash his stuff when there’s dirt.”

El responds in the next verse by holding up a cup in blessing, and helping Dan’el achieve these things. I’ll type the ending verses at the end of the seven nights. By coincidence…it will be seven nights up to the day before Many Gods West. So whatever I need to know, I hope it will be revealed about that time!

Winging the inspiration, as it usually does for me, I will be offering food and drink to the ‘Iluma (plural for ‘deities’, particularly the Canaanite ones) before bed. Intuition says it should be both food and drinkto echo Daniel’s ritual petition, and then go straight to sleep.  Tonight I had a little bottle of wine on hand for the drink. I used a half-slice of bread and cheese slices for the food. (I ate the other half of the bread and cheese, especially since cheese is supposed to help people get sleepy. Secondly, I love cheese, and offering that which is quite enjoyable instead of consuming it all by myself is part of offering, right?)

Today, I made my intentions to the ‘Iluma after reading that portion of the tale of Aqhat. The text mentions Ba’lu Haddu and ‘Ilu. It is ‘Ilu who, by granting his blessing, answers the prayer and brings it about. I made the prayer be to the both of Them, as well as any of the other deities who wished to “draw close in compassion” in responding. (Leaves the door open to others with good intent.) It’s always richer, to me, when I can incorporate the verse itself with my own petition.

In my case, I’m petitioning for guidance and wisdom, since I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in figuring out what to do next with my life in the near future. Hopefully, whatever guidance They wish to give will be clear for me to know.

*Dan’el/Daniel, Ba’lu/Ba’al etc.: Depending on the translation, the names either reflect the given consonants (Dan’el) or are anglicized to more recognizable forms (Daniel).


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Don’t look under the flower pot, please.

This is exactly what I feel like right now.

This is exactly what I feel like right now.

(It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. If I could find my notebook I’d be writing it there instead. But all my things have been moved and this is literally the last place I can write it in peace. So this post will ramble. Better for me to put it down than let it eat away my self-esteem faster than my meds can keep up.)

I didn’t get to sleep till 4 am yesterday, so I was already low on both energy and will power. And just before the sun went down today, I got a mental shakedown that left me both exposed and maybe this time, poised to make changes in myself.

In hindsight, there HAD been a sign of the impending shakedown. My parents had come over to help me clean up some space for the electric company inspectors to do their electric jobs. And while we were making smoothies to cool off, the glass bowl we were using to break smaller chunks of ice shattered. The bowl ended up looking like a jagged, terrifying glass doughnut. No way could we salvage the ice to make any more smoothies–glass shards in clear ice? That would have probably cut someone while swallowing.

The crazy thing was, I thought absolutely nothing of it. Me, who gets tied up in knots over other countries’ superstitions when I have never followed their spirituality or poked into their patheons. Who overthinks whether to get an iced mocha on a day that I actually scheduled myself to buy one. Glass broke, a consistent sign that something’s about to go down? Oh well, couldn’t mean anything…

Just before they were about to leave, my father saw the state of my room. He did the fatherly thing and Got Shit Done. We all started cleaning under his direction, whether I wanted him to or not. (Seriously, I didn’t.)  Part of me, the side that sees the long game, says it was absolutely the right thing to do. I’ve been stagnating in my own junk for most of the year! That practical side knew I wasn’t going to do it, despite my inner promises, so here’s some movers and shakers to bypass the bullshit on script and get things moving again.

The other side of me, the one who likes routines and being comfy and safe, felt incredibly violated.  Just like those little potato bugs scurrying for dear life when their flower pot gets moved, the stuff I’d accumulated, used, lost, or forgot came to cringing light. I was simultaneously six again, getting scolded for being so sloppy and yet now old enough to know I had no answer to rhetorical questions like “Just like before, you couldn’t keep things clean. Every time…” Thirty-something years of life has not yet cured me of being a clutter bug.

They were also getting too close for comfort to my paganism/polytheism materials. Pieces of me, of my interests and joys, overturned and clinically examined and tossed into a bag for the garbage bin. It was junk, but it was MY junk. I cleaned in a distant daze, and my parents were kind enough not to go for my jugular and didn’t start with “You’re always so…(quality that is disappointing)” At least not out loud.

In the solitude, I ask myself why I didn’t want them in my room. Words continue throwing themselves at me: failure, scolding, you are bad, they are always right, they don’t care what you think, weakling, emotions are weak, stop being all this emotional tear ball, disappointment, huh, it’s …you.

pill-bug-rollie-pollie-doodle-bug

I see now why they tell the clutterer to not be present during the actual clean-up. The things that comforted me, that gave me a positive feeling for a time, even since I don’t use them anymore, are picked up. They’re examined (What the hell is so special about X?). They’re tossed somewhere, to keep or not keep made by their whim, no longer quite mine. The stuff tells a story about me as a person, to have collected all this stuff. They are the ultimate disinterested readers, out to find what’s exactly wrong with me in order to build some structure.

It showed me one of my fundamental faults, stagnation. It replayed one of the scripts I’d built into my head so early in life that I followed the directions long after the words were spoken. Now it’s played loud enough for my mind to hear the negative, self-criticism. I’ve been alive long enough to finally have the mental space to say, “I’m not…just this.”

To cap that emotional shanking, the coincidental timeliness of posts on the gifts of Loki and Disciplina tell me that this is something to gain from this all. I should be happy about this. If I say I’m happy about this, can we move on and I never make a mistake again? 😦