The liturgical formula with which I’ve been starting blog entries recently is not much altered at present: I’ve got a lot of work to do, and tons I’d like to write about…
But, instead of allowing the latter to stand entirely, I think I’m going to take a stab here at discussing various matters, perhaps in a more brief manner than I would have otherwise preferred, but nonetheless I need to clear them off my “to-do” list, and as the festival of the Lion Hunt is coming up (on which we confront our various failures), I’d like to have fewer things on that list than I do at present.
So, if things seem somewhat disjointed here, that’s why. And, I’m not sure I have photos enough to illustrate each of the matters I’d like to discuss, so I’ll be mostly peppering this with photos related to the Olympics. Hey, what can you do?
Speaking of which, I’ve written about the most recent Olympics several times already (and the latter of those posts has been my one with the highest hits ever since it was posted–gosh, discuss theology and syncretism and polytheism and you get nothing, but talk about dicks and everyone wants to read you!), and wanted to debrief it, in a way, at some stage. So, here’s my effort towards that end. Hurrah for the U.S. for coming out on top medals-wise! But, congratulations to all of the other countries competing for actually competing and making it interesting, as well as to the U.K. for doing an excellent job hosting. Cullen Jones (who I mentioned in previous entries) got silver medals, and “local” athletes Nathan Adrian took home golds and silver, and Hope Solo took gold on the women’s soccer team. Very interestingly, of the 100+ medals that the U.S. took home, 20+ were won by athletes from Washington–so, apparently, my state wins @ teh Lympix! It was also great to hear Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” accompanying Jordyn Wieber’s floor exercises on the gold-medal-winning “Fierce Five” women’s gymnastics team.
And though David Boudia took home gold for the U.S. in 10 m platform diving, I have to say, bronze medalist Tom Daley of the U.K. took home gold for looks:
My little note to Brazil, the host of the next Summer Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro: you guys invented the thong. I think it should be required for both males and females competing in diving, water polo, and beach volleyball when you guys host. Hey, it’d only be appropriate, eh?
Also, I just heard last night that David Rakoff died on August 9th of this year. He has the same birthday as Antinous, on November 27, but in 1964 rather than c. 110 CE. He was a Canadian-born writer, actor, and humorist, who also appeared on the radio; amongst other things (and though he hated getting typecast in these ways), he was also gay and Jewish. I have not read any of his books yet, but I saw him twice on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and both of them were among the most hilarious guest appearances on the show I’d ever seen. A potential Sanctus? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on that matter.
And now enjoy a picture of Michael Phelps, greatest olympian of the modern games, which almost cost him his medals.
What a screwed-up society we live in: he should have been given MORE MEDALS for that photo!
And now a few poetry-related matters, both of which are connected to the ritual I had last Monday with Michael Sebastian Lvx in Seattle.
First, I have a poem that I started to write that night (when I couldn’t sleep) regarding the Ides of August and why Vertumnus, Hercules Invictus, Castor and Pollux, and Diana all share that festival. Part of its content came from a few indications in dreams that I had in the days before that festival. I’m not quite done with the poem at this point, but at the same time, I’m also not entirely sure it’s a “good” poem either…I very rarely fail to finish a poem these days when I am writing it, especially one that is relatively long like this one is. I don’t know…I’m having mixed feelings about it, and am not sure if it would be worth continuing on or not. Part of me feels it would be a failure to not honor the gods concerned in this way; but, another part of me feels that it might not be good enough to properly honor them anyway. I don’t know…what do you feel when things like this are concerned? I know that not all of my poems (including some in print) have been “winners” 100%, but this one feels like it wants to be better than it is…I don’t know. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on that.
And before I get to the next poetic matter, please enjoy this odd photo of U.S. diver Troy Dumais, in which the photographer accidentally decapitated him. While he’s cute and all, I think I’d probably have made the same mistake…
The American colors never looked better at half-mast.
Now, the other poetry problem. This one makes the previous one look like a stubbed toe in comparison to open-heart surgery…sort of.
Last year, just before Foundation Day, we tried to contact Pachrates of Heliopolis/Pancrates, the Egyptian poet-priest-magician, for some advice on certain matters. We weren’t able to get him on the line, as it were, but we got someone equally as helpful, all things considered: Anubis. My account of that can be found here. So, after our Natalis Dianae/Ides of August ritual last week, we then took a short break before trying to get in touch with Pachrates in the same way as we did before…with rather mixed results. We finally did get him, after many tries and a long period of “not really much happening” (though there were some indications within it that connected to the previous poetic matter I was referring to, as well as to the one at hand), but once he was there, he was extremely difficult in a variety of ways. My instinct that he’s like the Zahi Hawass of Egyptian priests was proven true, unfortunately: if we didn’t play by his rules, he wasn’t going to play with us…and yet, he sort of overstepped his bounds at one point in a way that was rather shocking. Basically, if we don’t create a votive stela for him and use that in the future, he won’t speak further with us…so, I’ve been trying to figure out how best to create that in a way that would be both respectful and proper, but also effective. I’m not quite there yet…
But, because we couldn’t get my specific questions for the occasion answered, we decided to try something else. I was told via the Oracle of Polydeukion that this year, I should try and do something “big” for the Lion Hunt festival. My idea was one that I’d had for a while before that, but decided I’d at least attempt before this year’s festival: gathering what fragments of the “Lion Hunt” poems exist, and then filling in the gaps. I estimated the poem might be in the 320-ish line range; and while I can’t write Greek dactylic hexameter, I thought I might be able to write English dactylic hexameter (perhaps with some rhyming couplets thrown in every 10 lines or so to give it some further internal structure). I had hoped to ask Pachrates some specifics about his poem, but since he wasn’t obliging, we decided to ask Hermes instead, through various sortilege methods.
First, we used the Homeric Oracle from PGM VII, and the most important question that I asked was the first one: “Should I write this poem?” The answer was from the Odyssey 21.180: “we may try the bow and complete the contest.” I’m taking that as a bit of a “HELL YEAH,” but I don’t know if that’s the right decision under the circumstances…This line is from the incident where Odysseus is just about to surprise the suitors and reveal it is, in fact, himself returned after all these years…but, in the neighboring parts of the epic, Antinous (the suitor, not our god!) is pretty averse to Odysseus, which gives me pause, at very least.
We then did a series of coin tosses for the rest of my questions, and I got some answers that confirmed certain feelings that I had, and illuminated various others that I had not expected.
So, I’m in the strange position of feeling like I have enough info to proceed…but, I also sort of feel like perhaps I shouldn’t until I make things right with Pachrates…I had initially thought that perhaps he’d be pleased if I wrote the poem for the occasion of the dedication of his stele, but perhaps that’s not the best option either.
In any case, I suspect that the Lion Hunt’s “failure” message might be actualized even more than it is usually over this particular matter. Why fail in typical ways when you can fail spectacularly? (Or, something like that, maybe…?!?)
I’d be interested in hearing any more thoughts any of you might have on this latter issue in particular.
I’m all out of pictures of Olympic athletes in speedos, unfortunately, so I think it’s time to end this entry.