Hymn to Apollo

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,–
Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise, and climbing Heaven’s blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,
Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of Night.

I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
With their ethereal colors; the Moon’s globe,
And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine,
Are portions of one power, which is mine.

I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
Then with unwilling steps I wander down
Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
For grief that I depart they weep and frown:
What look is more delightful than the smile
With which I soothe them from the western isle?

I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;
All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine, is mine,
All light of art or nature; – to my song
Victory and praise in its own right belong.

Hymn to Apollo

by John Keats, 1795-1821

GOD of the golden bow,
And of the golden lyre,
And of the golden hair,
And of the golden fire,
Of the patient year,
Where—where slept thine ire,
When like a blank idiot I put on thy wreath,
Thy laurel, thy glory,
The light of thy story,
Or was I a worm—too low crawling for death?
O Delphic Apollo!

The Thunderer grasp’d and grasp’d,
The Thunderer frown’d and frown’d;
The eagle’s feathery mane
For wrath became stiffen’d—the sound
Of breeding thunder
Went drowsily under,
Muttering to be unbound.
O why didst thou pity, and beg for a worm?
Why touch thy soft lute
Till the thunder was mute,
Why was I not crush’d—such a pitiful germ?
O Delphic Apollo!

The Pleiades were up,
Watching the silent air;
The seeds and roots in Earth
Were swelling for summer fare;
The Ocean, its neighbour,
Was at his old labour,
When, who—who did dare
To tie for a moment, thy plant round his brow,
And grin and look proudly,
And blaspheme so loudly,
And live for that honour, to stoop to thee now?
O Delphic Apollo!

John Keats

Stories the Gods Tell Me



Originally posted on Foxglove & Firmitas:

I have dreams.  I’ve always had dreams that were intense and clearly not just dreams.  For a few years after a car accident, I stopped dreaming completely at night.  I’d only dream if I napped.  That went on for quite some time until one day Odin arrived in a dream I still don’t completely remember, and I slowly started to ease into the idea of working with Him.  I knew things would change.

I started dreaming again last summer, after the doctors got the pressure down in my skull.  It started again almost immediately.  Gods showing up and dropping breadcrumbs for me to follow.  I travel to places over and over again, places with names like Chicago, Memphis, Omaha, and Colorado, but they aren’t those places at all.  Sometimes I dream about places I’ve never been, and then later I find out they actually exist.

And then sometimes I experience…

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A Personal Dedication Ritual

Spirits of Nature which inhabit this place,
Ancestors which have walked these paths,
Gods that dwell in these lands,
And Cosmos which enfolds us all:

See that you are recognized,
Hear that you are remembered,
Know that I rejoice in your presence.

I ask you now to stand witness
and bless this rite.

With this offering*, I declare my intention
to live more fully as a child of Man,
born of those born before me,
to walk the paths they have walked
and to forge ahead in preparation
for those to whom I shall become an ancestor.

(make offering to water)

With this offering*, I declare my intention
to live more fully as a child of Earth,
born of Rock and Tree, Ocean and Breeze,
to inhabit the Living Earth that extends around me,
to drink of the Waters of Life that flow around me,
to inhale the Air that whispers around me.

(make offering to earth)

With this offering*, I declare my intention
to live more fully as a child of the Gods (of Man)**,
born of Inspiration and Desire, to strive to be worthy
as a partner in the creation and continuation of culture,
and to hold mythos–our collective dreams and nightmares,
glory and folly, as sacred treasures

(make offering to air)

With this offering*, I declare my intention
to live more fully as a child of the Cosmos,
born of stardust, and moon-pulled tides,
to dance with the Cauldron of Creation,
the living flame of live within ourselves, within our Earth,
our solar system, and the burning suns beyond our sight.

(make offering to fire)

I shall strive to take action each day that will attune me to the Universe:

So that my words shall be true and my actions just as
I seek to give the voice of our past to our future–
to be a bridge between my ancestors and my antecedents.

So that my choices are mindful of the Earth
and conscious of all of her children
as I undertake the daily tasks of living.

So that my worship is thoughtful
and honors the role of the Gods
in the lives of their peoples.

See that you have been recognized,
Hear that you have been remembered,
Know that I rejoice in your presence.

My offering stands as testament to my thanks for your witness.

(from a personal dedication ritual by thalassa, inspired from To Walk A Pagan Path by Alaric Albertsson)

*For offerings:
Offerings of Earth are made to the Spirits of Nature, and are generally food of some sort. I like to use grain outdoors, generally millet…because, well…lets be pragmatic, its pretty much birdseed.
Offerings of Water are made to the ancestors and are generally drink. I don’t like to use alcohol, because (with some very minor exceptions) when poured put as an outdoor offering, I feel it is deeply disrespectful to the land.
Offerings of Air are made to the gods as incense. The precise gods involved may change the incense up a bit (if they are Greek, I go by the Orphic Hymn’s suggestions), or may not (sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, and dragon’s blood, as well as California White Sage, all have some iffy conservation issues that I avoid by avoidance.
Offerings of Fire are made as original bits of inspiration that I choose to give up and not use elsewhere, they get burned, and they are made to the Cosmos/Universe-at-Large (a nod to my pantheistic tendencies).

**While it may be controversial to some, I recognize the gods as being Of Man. Whether the gods are experienced by polytheist of the hard or soft variety, through a literal or figurative lens, or something else entirely, it cannot be argued well that anyone other than Man worships them. And we do so through a culture specific filter. Whether one thinks that we created the gods whole cloth through our imaginations and they are symbols, or whether one thinks that they were here first (or even literally that they made us), they are still our gods.

Five Styles of Breathing (inspired by the novels of Jacqueline Carey)


The chestnut sidled and pranced beneath me. I soothed him once more, and forced myself to cycle through the Five Styles of Breathing.

The Breath of the Pulse of the Earth, drawn into the pit of the belly and the depths of the groin, inhaled and exhaled through the mouth.

The Breath of Ocean’s Rolling Waves, drawn in through the nostrils to the middle belly, out through the mouth.

The Breath of Trees Growing, circulating energy to the limbs, trading nourishment with the world.

The Breath of Embers Glowing, in and out through parted lips, quickening the heart and warming the blood.

The Breath of Wind’s Sigh, pulled and expelled through the nostrils into the space between my eyes, making my head light.

Jacqueline Carey, Naamah’s Curse

People, like all animals, need to breathe. Its necessary for cellular respiration–brings in oxygen and rids the body of carbon dioxide. Inhalation brings in air (and filters it using cilia and mucousal membranes), and exhalation takes it back out. Biomechanically speaking, breath travels in through our nose (or mouth), through our larynx (voice box), into the trachea, the bronchi, bronchioles, and into the aveoli (special blood vessels in the aveoli exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood cells). But when we focus on our breath meditatively, we can feel it traveling through out our body, beyond just our lungs. Anapanasati is a Buddhist meditative technique centered on the mindfulness of breathing. The goal is to feel the sensation of breath through the body as one breathes. To do this, I’ve adapted the Five Styles of Breathing from Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah series (while I tried to keep them close to the book as possible, there were some modifications for what I felt made for better energy work and clearing).

  • Breath of Ocean’s Rolling Waves–Breathe with a light but long inhale through the nose as the breath flows in and slides down along the central axis of the body (corresponding with the nadi for those familiar with chakra work) to the area of the solar plexus chakra, where it pools briefly before flowing back up and out through the throat with the mouth open in a way that feels almost like making the sound “huh”. Focus on clearing your self of burdensome emotions. Repeat until you feel calm and still (or as calm and still as you get).
  • Breath of the Pulse of the Earth–Breath in slowly and deeply through the mouth, down through the belly, and into the groin. Circulate the breath between the Sacral and Root chakras and allow it to ground you, connecting you to the earth. As you exhale, purse your lips and slowly but strongly blow out your air. Repeat until you feel solid and seated in the earth.
  • Breath of Embers Glowing–Breathe with a naturally paced breath in and out through parted lips as if blowing on the embers of a fire to get it to relight. Allow your breath to ignite in the area of your heart chakra, warming the blood and spreading that warmth to the body as it travels into your muscles and organs. Focus on kindling your compassion until it permeates your entire being. Repeat until you have acknowledged and released any excess ego.
  • Breath of Tree’s Growing–Breathe in deeply but swiftly through the nose, holding the breath before exhaling through the mouth. Push your breath outwards on the exhale, down your limbs and past your fingers and toes, and draw it back along the same path, exchanging nourishment with the world. Focus on building the web of connections between you and the world. Repeat until you feel renewed.
  • Breath of Wind’s Sigh–Breathe swiftly and lightly in and out through the nose, up into the space between the eyes into the top of the head (the area of the Third Eye and Crown chakras). Focus it filling the space like a balloon and expanding your brain, your mind, your very thoughts. Repeat until you feel expansive and embracing.

(originally posted on my personal blog, 25 March 2015)

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De Natura Deorum: “The Forgotten Gods of Nature” by Lupa Greenwolf



Originally posted on Humanistic Paganism:

De Natura Deorum is a monthly column where we explore the beliefs of Naturalistic Pagans about the nature of deity. This essay was originally published at Paths Through the Forest.

When you think of the gods of nature, who do you think of? Do you think of the Wiccan Lord and Lady (also beloved of many non-Wiccan pagans), she a long-haired woman wrapped in vines and fruits and grain, he a man hirsute and burly and surrounded by large, wild mammals? Do you imagine Artemis or Diana, huntresses and maidens and carriers of the moon? Or perhaps Gaea, her swelling belly the Earth itself? I wager that nine times out of ten, the deity you first thought of took the form of a human, female or male or otherwise, but almost certainly formed in our own image.

But I want to tell you about the forgotten gods of nature, the…

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