go read this. ASAP.

Concerning the Spirits of Art by Lo Keen is a twenty-page zine that is well worth the $4 I spent to get a copy. I need to read it at least eight more times.

A couple pull quotes:

[W]hat is art but co-creation? Just as the Gods often crafted the earth and its inhabitants from some extant enspirited creature or material, so too must the artist work with an enspirited media, each with its own manner and way of being, to bring some thing into existence. This covenant between artist and medium has been broken. And as animists and peoples of many Gods, it should be one of our chiefest goals to restore this right relationship.

The artists of these [ancestral] cultures were neither priests nor shaman, but craftspeople. Yet, note how they occupy similar space while undertaking the work. We, as modern animist and polytheist artists, might look to these kinds of historical roles when framing ourselves now.

[…]

Art is often spirit work, whether we are aware of it or not.

Profound words. I, as an artist and hopeful priest, need to spend a lot of time thinking this over.

Athena Agon Wrap-Up

I want to publicly apologize to Jessi Robinson and Amanda Forrester for taking so long about acknowledging and posting their Athena Agon entries. It seems I have two (or three! how exciting!) previously undiagnosed chronic illnesses, and they’re flaring each other up and have been for almost a month. I say this to explain myself, not to excuse myself; Jessi, Amanda, I am most sorry.

Since two of the four entries have only just been posted, I will divine for, announce, and contact the Agon winner tomorrow.

Attention Deficit Housework as Devotion

My ADHD (inattentive) diagnosis is all formal now; has been for nearly three weeks. My meds have been added to accordingly.

…I am actually accomplishing things with ever so much more ease now than before. As a case in point, while I have been consistently doing laundry weekly, until last weekend I had not folded laundry in some months. Clean Laundry Mountains could be found in the corridor between the coat closet and the sofa. The laundry is all folded and even away. I further succeeded in folding all the laundry I did this past weekend, and it is piled neatly in a basket in my bedroom—I don’t have room to put away most of that, actually, I need to reduce my wardrobe size (or get more clothes storage space). I repeat: I had been procrastinating folding laundry for months. Amazing what one can get done when one doesn’t have to stare down the vicious dragon of Can’t before one can get to the actual project!

I owe Athena Paionia such a thanks-gift, and I hope Hestia Polyolbos is pleased with the offerings of housework labor I have been making. Certainly I find my home to be a much more pleasant living space when it’s clean[er]—though I hate cleaning!

metaphysical self-care and protection

I’m finding Jenett Silver’s “Self-Care in Difficult Times” post on gleewood.org/seeking a massively helpful resource right now.

I’m finding this “Self-Care in Difficult Times” post and list of helpful links by Jenett Silver on gleewood.org/seeking a massively helpful resource right now.

In particular, Silver’s advice about cleansing, centering and grounding, and shielding is helping me out. I’m doing the energetic cleansing and the centering-and-grounding practices a lot more consistently in the past few days than I have since I first picked up a Galina Krasskova book telling me to do such things! (Silver and Krasskova differ in the details, but the broad strokes are similar.) And I finally figured out how to shield! (The visualization that stuck is bronze armor, akin to Athena’s.)

Silver also observes that cutting down on the disturbing input is a valuable self-care tool; I am two days into what I intend will be about a week of no Facebook, no Twitter, no Imzy, avoiding a particular IRC channel, ignoring certain content coming through Feedly and email, and filtering out certain content from Dreamwidth. (Also no Tumblr, but honestly I hadn’t opened that tab in weeks or months anyway.) This cuts me off from a bunch of supportive people I really only have contact with through Facebook, but I’m certainly not the first in that circle to vanish for a few days for recent-events-related self-care reasons. And I’m…calm. I’m not wholly avoiding recent-events news, because I can’t avoid my coworkers, but I can certainly turn up the volume on the music playing through my headphones when the politically minded coworkers are chatting.

I also, thanks to advice from a Dreamwidth friend who perhaps wishes to remain anonymous outside DW access-lock, looked into setting wards with charged amethysts. I’ve not done much (read: any) energy work beyond centering, grounding, and shielding before, so I’m not wholly certain it worked? But I now have a bunch of cleansed and charged tumbled amethysts distributed around my apartment, running on—if I did things right—some of my own energy, some energy from Earth and Sky, and whatever Hestia and Athena are willing on the basis of my prayers to expend to protect me. And I can see, when I try, that the boundaries of my apartment are delineated now by a silvery-purple wall layered with the bronze one I envisioned almost as soon as I figured out the bronze-armor visualization for personal shields.

(You know, we really need distinct words for the physical and the metaphysical sensory experiences, even when those experiences run in parallel.)

Now if I could get past the ‘earth’ part of a four-element cleansing for the inside of my apartment, I’d be getting somewhere!

ηθοσ and ασκησισ

εθοσ means “habit” or “custom” or “usage”. What one habitually does day to day is one’s ethos. Change that epsilon in ‘ethos’ to an eta and you get ηθοσ: “disposition” or “character” or “temper”. One’s habits are one’s character, one’s êthos. These words are where we derive English “ethics”: what it is right to do day to day, what sort of person it is right to be.

Look also at ασκησισ: “exercise”, “training”, “practice”. One’s way of life is one’s askêsis. (And yes, that’s where we get “asceticism” from, but that’s only one way of life!)

I am trying to learn askêsis. I am trying to change my ethos so that I have an êthos more in line with what I believe and what I value.

Here is what I will be doing, in the wake of the election of someone who terrifies at least a third of the country he will now be presiding over.

I follow Hestia. She acts with care and love. She tends the home. Her hearth is a sanctuary for those in need. I will act, as best I can, with care and love for myself and others. I will tend my home. I will, as best I can, make my spaces a sanctuary for those in need.

I am Athena’s devotee. She acts with wisdom for justice. She makes beautiful, practical, powerful things. She fights. I will act, as best I can, with wisdom for justice. I will make my crafts and hope that they are beautiful, practical, powerful things. I will fight.

I honor the Muses, the Olympians and Titans alike, and the Olympians’ mother Mnemosyne. They call for diligence and remembrance. They create art that sings to the soul. I will, as best I can, be diligent. I will remember. I will create my art and hope it sings to people’s souls.

I will honor the other Gods Above, and I will respect the Gods Below.

I will offer the Gods what I can, whenever I can. I will pray that They protect and fight for, each in Their own way, everyone who is in danger from the president-elect’s administration.

This is what I want my êthos to be. This is what I want my askêsis to be. Care and love and safety; wisdom and justice and fighting the good fight; diligence and remembrance and artistry; protection and love and care.

Hear me, Hestia, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Athena, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Melete, Mneme, Aoide, Whose praises I sing above. Hear me, Mnemosyne and Daughters of Mnemosyne, Whose praises I sing above. If ever I have made offerings to You, please help me in this. Please help me. Thank you, bright Goddesses. Thank you.