Late this afternoon/early this evening, I returned home from what will probably be my last multi-day trip for a while. I was in Seattle, visiting many different friends, attending certain lectures and performances, and having some direct and near-direct encounters with a variety of deities that I wasn’t expecting to have along the way…
On Friday, I traveled down via three buses, and arrived with relatively little difficulty (apart from traffic, which only impeded my progress for about 20 minutes) to the waiting Michael Sebastian Lvx and his partner, with whom I stayed over the weekend. We talked and hung out for a while until our scheduled dinner at a Thai vegetarian place in the U District with Stephanopotamos, the Oracle of Polydeukion, who happened to be in town over the weekend, and who had been at the King Tut exhibit not long before meeting us. Good food and conversations was had, and additional people were met in the process. Afterwards, we retired to Michael’s house, only to continue in our discussion of various topics–including Bendis and various other Thracian deities and processes–and what eventually emerged in our talk was the importance of Hekate. Some unexpected visionary images and words emerged for Michael, which then lead to a variety of matters, and a venturing out into the dark and soggy night to a nearby park, where a short ritual for Hekate was carried out in a very interesting location, underneath a bridge on a path through the park that was just on one side of a footbridge over a ravine/stream…and all to the good!
While more could have taken place that night, we were all pretty fried at that point, and soon Stephanopotamos parted ways with us, and we tried to sleep. Several hours after that, we finally succeeded in that effort…
On Saturday morning, Michael and I met up with Disirdottir for a few hours of lovely food and conversation at a Greek place in the U District. She had been on a pilgrimage recently to Ireland (well, it was four months ago…but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other!), which she told us all about; the link there is to Erynn Rowan Laurie’s account of the pilgrimage. Later, I caught the bus up to Capitol Hill and attended the Eleusyve Productions’ staging of Aleister Crowley’s “The Rites of Eleusis: The Rite of Sol,” with a lecture beforehand by Lon Milo DuQuette.
Of course, Lon is well-renowned throughout modern occultism, and is a regular feature at PantheaCon; my sessions (or ones I’ve attended) at PantheaCon have often been in the room next to his, and there are pretty regular outbursts of capacity audience’s laughter at these; I’ve also seen him, or heard him, in panels at PantheaCon or on T. Thorn Coyle’s podcast. I read a book by him in the last few years: Angels, Demons, & Gods of the New Millennium, which had some useful things in it (which I cited in A Serpent Path Primer), but which didn’t entirely satisfy me in the end. His lecture to the capacity crowd was to be on the Eleusinian Mysteries, and on Crowley’s “The Rites of Eleusis” in general. Lon’s lecture was enjoyable, and began with one of his songs, “I Wish I Was Krishna,” but overall, my enjoyment of the entirety was heavily moderated by my annoyance at his presentation of the material (including in his song!). There was too much of a 1:1 correspondence suggested between the myth of Osiris and Isis and the myth of Demeter and Persephone, which didn’t even go into the part of the two myths that matches the closest: i.e. the Demophoön portion of the Demeter myth. He also declared that the final mystery was a nude young girl with a “sheath” (his word, not mine) of wheat, and that one of the reasons that the mystery seemed to be so effective and life-changing to everyone who did it was that they were all high on ergot and mushrooms from the kykeon, which has more or less been entirely discounted at this stage. While I’m very happy with his declaration toward the beginning of the lecture that “Magic is drama, and drama is magical,” at the same time, so many of the historical, ritual, and mythic details were so fuzzy, embellished, or interpreted in what I’d consider a flawed and outdated manner that my enjoyment of the lecture was lessened a great deal as a result. Alas. He’s still a nice guy, I still had him autograph my book, and I respect his work greatly; but, I hope that everyone there doesn’t stop any further investigations into Eleusis and its mysteries with what Lon’s lecture said.
I honestly wish I had some photos of the performance itself, as it was quite amazing. Not unlike “The Rite of Mercury” from 2010, the music was excellent, the acting and staging wonderful, and the overall effect superb. I knew two people in the production, including a Mystes of Antinous who was in the last production as well (playing Gemini once again!). I’m very glad I went. BUT. (There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?) I had some problems with the material itself, which is entirely a result of Crowley, and not of the actors, the directors, or the writers of this rock opera. Some of the speeches were way too long. I am not (and never have been) very comfortable with the equational syncretism that so many occultists and even modern pagans have of “Set-Typhon-Satan,” and in this play, there was “Satan-Typhon” as well as “Scorpio-Apophis” (who ended up being a very intriguing character). And, Bes (spelled “Besz” for some reason…?!?) was also in this play, and had a rather odd role; he was played by a woman who did a very good job of it and looked awesome! I was also rather upset that Sol didn’t have a single line of speech nor song at all in the entirety; the actor playing him was more or less stage furniture throughout, though he did a good job with that. The directors (and, I don’t know if Crowley himself did this or not) seemed to take the view–popular from Frazer in Crowley’s own time–that the dead/dying sun was the same as Jesus, who is also of course Osiris et al., which is rather hard for me to take seriously since Sol Invictus (and various other directly solar deities) is quite different to and distinct from the vast proportion of these other deities.
The only technical or presentational difficulty I had was that some of the actors might have benefited from being mic’ed, as it was hard to hear them on their own singing over the music and other actions on the stage at some points. I did think that the portion in which each zodiac sign praised Sol was pretty amazing, as both poetry and song (in contrast to “The Rites of Mercury,” where I found that section somewhat confusing and tedious in comparison to others). It would lend itself quite well to being recycled into Antinoan praise songs, perhaps…
In any case, I thought it was great, and was glad to have seen it, and afterwards, I made my way back to the U District, I had some food, and then after a while of further discussion of various topics with Michael and his partner, I asked for a tarot reading. A number of interesting career-related matters emerged in this, but of particular relevance here was some upcoming work I need to do with ancestors, as well as the possibility that I’ll be somehow “pregnant” with something else (like the Tetrad?) in the near future as well. To clarify further on this, Michael consulted the runes, and as that entire process occurred, he said I need to get in greater touch with some chthonic “talking” deity, like perhaps Hermes. When he tried to get more clarity on this, I suspected I might know who the deity in question was: Freyr. Sure enough, the rune he pulled for that was Ing, which pretty much can only be one thing, i.e. Ingvi Freyr.
What then followed was rather unexpected for both of us: he drew three further sequences of runes, and then wrote each one into a three-line poem; he later described to me that through the entire process, Freyr was pretty much present in his field of vision as he did this. (The night before, other visionary experiences of deities occurred as well, as you may recall!) I am not entirely sure what to do with some of the results of this, but here’s the poems themselves:
Winter’s ice is melted by the Tree
Friendship is just by the Farmer’s Friend
The Stag-King gives gifts of the tongue
Days of ice lead to flowering branches
Hail falls the gifts of the Sun
The tree’s boughs offer support
By day the tree bears fruit
The sleet becomes a gift
Joy and change follow the Lord on his steed
So, nice and cryptic. The only further clarification I was able to make in this was in the third line of the first verse, which by the order of the runes concerned, it seemed to me, must be more correctly parsed as “The Stag-King’s mouth gives gifts.” And, the Stag-King here is not a Wiccan concept, it is Freyr, who fought with a stag’s horns as his weapon at Ragnarok–at least in my interpretation.
If any of you have any knowledge of Freyr, I’d be very interested in hearing anything you might have that would further my understanding on any of this. I suspect there will be a great deal of further work to do with him in the near future…If any of you have suggestions about images/statues of Freyr that you like that aren’t awful (and, unfortunately, I’ve seen a few too many of those, alas!), please also let me know…
So, that was most of my weekend. I hope to have more posts of substance for you in the coming week!