reading the news out of Charlottesville

I am silent, not because I am willing to let anyone who thinks everyone like me should die go unchallenged (I am a Nazi target for several reasons), but because I am struck speechless; I can find so few words.

I find myself longing for a temple to Athena, to which I could bring my offerings and prayers, and in the antechamber of which I could sit in Her presence. So I am directing your attention to The Virtual Temple Project led by Silence Maestas of Walking the Heartroad. I cannot contribute to this project this month, because I’m moving apartments, and maybe not next month either. But precisely because it would so help me at this moment to have a virtual temple space to Athena—indeed, to any of my Gods—, I’ll be contributing as soon as I’m organized in my new apartment.

Speaking of Walking the Heartroad, good book. I’m rereading, and it’s reminding me of important things.

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A Prayer to Hestia while Packing to Move

O Hestia of Hearth and Home,
Whose light I see in the flicker flame
of this little candle,
if ever You have guided me
before, please guide me now.
If ever You have aided me
before, please aid me now.
If ever I have poured you
water, tea, or wine
before, please help me now
to organize my home and things
and box them up and clean them.
I get the keys to my new home
in two weeks plus one day.
I’m not ready.
Do I have the strength
to get all this done
in time?
Please grant me the strength
to go pack one more box.
O Hestia, the new home will be better,
and I ask that You bless there
and bless here, that my move
may be orderly, my move may be swift,
and when the dust settles
we’ll live in a home
guarded and guided
by Your blessing, Your light.

I thank you.

Etsy and Redbubble and etc

Just so you all know, I have an Etsy and a Redbubble, for devotional art. The Etsy is about half pocket shrines right now.

The Artemis watercolor you can see in both locations and featured here, “Artemis Runs”, did not come out of my trip to the state park on Sunday. Not exactly. I’d planned that painting before I planned the trip. But there’s still something about that painting that I don’t think is the same as it would have been had I done the painting before walking in the forest of the state park. (That thing is not the un-deer-like deer. I am not very good at depicting animals.)

I’m not sure yet what to make of my experience in the forest of the state park. I can tell you Artemis is beautiful—I wrote a poem for Patreon about exactly how I saw Her. (Context: I’m horribly nearsighted.)

I keep trying to sit and do a stillness meditation but anxieties about undone mundane things keep tugging at my mind.

Hekatombaion

one hundred bulls for
sacrifice; not Pamplona:
Panathenaia

festive, celebratory!
meat for the city-wide feast

solemn in temple
speaking gifts for the Goddess
seeking Her blessings

today we have no temple
our voices ring awkwardly

breaking the silence
no sacrificial cattle—
do we bring enough?

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“Seasons in the Mind”, by Kabir tr. Daniel Ladinsky

There are seasons in the mind,
great currents and winds move there,

the true yogi ties a rein to them; a power plant
he becomes.

Winter, spring, summer, fall: these are pages
in a book the advanced can turn to,
and impart.

Order is a great benefit to the seeker,
otherwise living in one’s own house can become as
walking through a marketplace

where all the merchants keep shouting,
“You owe me.”

That does not sound like
much fun,

and who could accomplish anything
in all that
noise.

I wonder, was Kabir autistic?

This poem, from Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, certainly speaks to my experience. My large altar to the Gods: the flowers are fresh, brightly pink, but the table is dusty. My small altar to the Trans Dead: the candle has not been lit in a long time. The things destined for the recycle toters heap up in the dining nook and the clean unfolded laundry heaps up by the sofa. The laundry pile cries “You owe me”, the recycle pile cries “You owe me”, the altars cry “You owe me”.

And yet here I sit, rocking lightly side to side, instead of declaring, for instance, that it is time to remove the recycle pile, one boxful or basketful at a time. Instead of declaring that it is time to tend the Gods’ altar. Instead of declaring that it is time to stand before the altar to the Trans Dead and light the candle and pour some water and speak some verses of the Litany. Certainly instead of doing any of those things.

“You owe me.”

And who can think in all this noise?

a prayer that the memory of Charleena Lyles may be a blessing, and a plea to all white people

Hestia of the home,
Hestia of the home city,
Hestia of the homeland,
Athena Who defends the defenseless,
Athena Who girds with armor,
Athena who sounds the war trumpet,
Zeus of liberty,
Zeus of justice,
Zeus of all the people,
and any other Gods Who care
that Charleena Lyles was murdered
for being a black disabled woman
and that her unborn child died with her
and that her other children watched her die,
in the same week
that the man who murdered Philando Castile
before the very eyes
of his girlfriend and her child
was deemed not guilty in the matter of
the death of Philando Castile,
I call all of You
by whatever names You choose to be known.

Charleena was not safe in her own home.
Charleena was not safe in her home city.
Charleena was not safe in her homeland.

Charleena needed defense against those she called to defend her.
Charleena needed armor against the bullets of her saviors.
Charleena needed a war trumpet calling armies to her cause.

Charleena cries out for liberty.
Charleena cries out for justice.
Charleena cries out for all her people.

There is a fable told by Aesop.
An Athenian on a sinking ship
prayed to You, Athena, for safety.
A sailor swimming by called out,
“Pray to Athena all you like,
but move your arms!”
You tell us thus, O Gods,
that You will refuse to aid us
in gaining things that we ourselves
do not work to gain.

Charleena’s people,
Philando’s people,
Michael’s, Eric’s, and Trayvon’s,
Rekia Boyd’s and Sandra Bland’s,
have worked and worked and worked and worked
to gain for all the people
the liberty and justice
we the people of the United States
have been promised.
My white people
have attained these.
Charleena’s people
have been denied.

I have little to offer You, O Gods,
only incense, only wine—
only one white voice
who might perhaps be listened to
when black voices go unheard.
As Andreas Hale once said,
“We march, y’all mad.
“We sit down, y’all mad.
“We speak up, y’all mad.
“We die, y’all silent.”

So I pray this prayer in public
and I hope my voice is heard:

I ask You, O Gods,
to defend Charleena’s people,
to gird with armor Charleena’s people,
to sound the trumpet calling armies to Charleena’s people’s cause,
that Charleena’s people may be safe
in their own homes,
in their home cities,
in their homeland,

so that when we read the famous phrases
in the United States Declaration
“all are created equal”,
“life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness”—
so that when we read in the Preamble
to the United States Constitution
“common defence” and “general welfare”,
“justice” and “blessings of liberty”—
so that when we proclaim
in the United States Pledge of Allegiance
“one nation”, “indivisible”,
“liberty and justice for all”—

we do not by our actions
and by our inaction,
by our speech and by our silence,
make these famed words
into lies.

For this, O Gods, I pray.

———

Dear white people:

When will it end?

When will we stop?

When will we have taken enough respect from them?

When will we have taken enough wealth from them?

When will we have taken enough blood from them?

When will we have taken enough lives from them?

When will we have taken enough from them?

When will we be satisfied?

When will we stop?

When will we make it end?