Thus far in my PantheaCon 2014 coverage, in addition to some general comments on it, I’ve been able to review in-depth the two rituals the Ekklesía Antínoou did on Monday, and the Wiccanate Privilege discussion on Sunday. What I’d like to discuss otherwise is: the Ephesia Grammata session that I did; our Lupercalia ritual; the other sessions and rituals I attended or took part in on Friday and Saturday (including a healing ritual for Margot Adler); the socializing I did on Sunday outside of the Wiccanate Privilege discussion; and then a few things not actually a part of this year’s PantheaCon, but which need to be done anyway, including something I would have done in another session (but couldn’t for various reasons), and at least two poems for individuals divine and human who had larger or smaller (not respectively!) parts to play in the whole thing.
So, that’s a total of seven more posts after the present one…crikey! I’d better get going on this one, then, eh? ;)
But, in many respects, I have to tip my fez to my Anomalous Thracian colleague, who already wrote about the present matter at his blog in a manner that is hard to follow…and I wrote and executed the ritual in question! ;) But, as the organizer of something on behalf of the gods and the beloved dead is only doing one part of it, it’s important to see how others present responded to it, and to how effective (or not) it might have been. Read his account, thus, whether before or after the present one, for a different and spirit-eyed view of the proceedings.
[Perhaps something to write about in the future: there are many different kinds of spirit-worker and spirit-work, and thus not everyone's "god-phone" is even a phone. The Thracian's is quite different from mine, and is more like a holographic projector, or a full-on Star Trek holodeck; mine is a tin can with a wire attached to it, and honestly I get more out of it when the person on the other end of it tugs on it than I do listening for their voice from around the corner...and, that's not at all to say "I feel inferior to him," or "I wish I was like him," as we are each to work with what we have in the best ways we know how, and we cannot do otherwise. But, as I said, that is more appropriate to another post in the future, so I'll stop there!]
As many of you know, in the last few months our greater modern pagan and polytheist communities lost two important elders and tradition-founders: Lady Olivia Durdin Robertson and Rev. Dr. Eddy Hyperion Gutiérrez. Both are now, and have been, Sancta/e/i of the Ekklesía Antínoou–there was little question that they would be, in my mind, when I heard about their deaths. But, me simply declaring that, and carrying out a ritual for this purpose on my own, is rather less impactful than doing it with people who actually knew them. So, I decided that during the dinner hours of the first day of PantheaCon, we’d have a gathering for them near the pool, and do our Sanctification Ritual for them in the company of others.
The Ekklesía Antínoou is no stranger to using this area, and the pool and hot tub themselves, for ritual purposes, having done our Inundation rituals there on many occasions for the past few years. However, we’ve never had as many people present for anything we’ve done than what occurred on this occasion.
I’d also like to state from the start that I am terribly sorry for whatever part I may have had in the miscommunication on the timing of this event. I was in a workshop at 3:30 (after my 1:30 presentation) on Friday, and had stated in my PantheaCon schedule post that this Sanctification Ritual would take place at about 5:20 PM on Friday, but somehow 3:30 was communicated as the time to many people. Our Thracian colleague nearly split some heads to find me, and that was the last thing I’d have liked for anyone to undergo on my behalf…In any case, things got sorted later, and it all worked out.
We gathered for the occasion, and a few of the Ekklesía Antínoou-related folks, a few other passers-by, and many people from The Unnamed Path came to our event…including Hyperion’s partner and mother. When I saw so many of The Unnamed Path’s members present, and then found out that Hyperion’s mother and partner were also there, I suddenly had “ritual stage fright” like I’ve never experienced it before. “Feck, this has to be good, better than you’ve ever done anything like this before, because THEY’RE HERE and this is a big deal!” Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t consider this a matter of the utmost importance before I knew those wonderful individuals would be present, or that I didn’t put the utmost that my tradition has to offer into my plans for the proceedings; but, I almost felt as if there “should be more” because they were there. When we’ve done this ritual as a part of Foundation Day in the last ten and more years, it’s often the bit of the ritual that people care the least about and find the “most boring,” so I’ve stopped doing it at rituals where there are other people for the most part, other than to sing the Ignis Corporis usually; this doubtlessly has much to say about what priority some modern people have for ancestor worship generally, and even for group and spiritual ancestor worship in particular, unfortunately. I thus feared that all of these wonderful individuals, the family and friends and co-religionists of Hyperion in particular, might find it likewise boring and lifeless like some people within my own tradition have over the years. I suspect it was Antinous himself who at last calmed me down and conveyed to me that it would be fine–just do what you’re here to do, and all shall be well. And, me being me, I groused for a few more moments internally, and then listened to him, and got on with it.
I then read the Ritual of Sanctification, which was slightly different in English than it was in Latin, for the two of them. Because so many of our Sancta/e/i are figures who have been long-dead, and are often somewhat forgotten and even maligned for various reasons, the original rubrics of the ritual had been written with that in mind. Thus, in this case, they were altered, and both were along the lines of the one given at the link for Lady Olivia Sancta above. In the part where something from the person’s own words is also read, I did the words of Lady Olivia Sancta as given in the link above, and for Hyperion, I used the following from The Unnamed Path website:
Our natural ability to cross back and forth between the physical and spiritual worlds gives us a unique role in society – that of the Deathwalker. We can help the dying by making their transition one of love, joy and peace. There is a huge cultural fear around death. We are sheltered from it, don’t want to be anywhere near it and even fear being near places where people have died in the past. This fear of death comes from our twisted perspective that it is a finality to life. It is not. It is a transition from physicality to spirituality just as birth is a transition from spirituality to physicality. The Deathwalker understands this, helps those who are dying in doing so with honor and anticipation in their hearts instead of fear and also helps them sort through any remaining issues or attachments they might have anchoring them here in the physical world preventing them from finally passing over.
Given the circumstances and the context of our ritual, I felt these words were especially significant, appropriate, and poignant, and I hope Hyperion and those present from his tradition and who are carrying on his work felt likewise.
Then, the Latin was done, and with this, I asked Tamara L. Siuda to light the (electric) red lotus candle for Lady Olivia (as Tamara “got her start” from Lady Olivia), and for Eddy’s mother and partner to light the one for him. These were passed around so that everyone could partake of their light and heat; likewise, the water was passed around for everyone to drink from, and some of it was poured out to them and to Antinous as an offering likewise, and then was thrown to the heavens and all the directions to all the spirits and powers present. Amongst various other things taking place during this time, Tamara said she could hear Lady Olivia saying “Oh, this is wonderful!” The emotions on the part of many present were powerfully expressed and there was deep sadness and grief at the immanent sense of the loss of Eddy’s beloved presence, certainly; I know myself that PantheaCon just didn’t feel right or the same without him, and I swore on several occasions earlier that day that I had seen him walking around or felt him nearby…and, I know I was not only not alone in that feeling, but that all of us who had that feeling were absolutely right about it.
Then, after the Latin was completed, and we hailed the new Sancta and Sanctus, I invited everyone present to share whatever memories of these two wonderful people they had. Tamara remarked that both were so well-connected that it was a wonder that, to everyone’s knowledge, they had each met “everyone” and yet had not met each other, which was a fascinating observation. Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir, who played a very important role in several events later in the weekend, was present and sang a beautiful song in Spanish for the occasion, which I think brought those who weren’t already in tears to them most strikingly at that stage. Eddy’s mother spoke last, more or less, and had some wonderful things to share about her beloved son, but the aspect I had utterly not realized, and which she brought home in a humorous, but also deeply profound and achingly holy way, was that she said something along the lines of, “I remember Eddy as the kid who I taught to tie his shoes; but now, he’s a Saint, and I’m the mother of a Saint!” And that’s exactly right, in every last possible meaning of the word “right.”
There are many sorts of events that one remembers for a long time. There are the rituals that are unbelievably profound and moving and spiritually significant, like the Tetrad++ ritual last year. There are rituals that simply go so well and everyone enjoys themselves, like the Beard Blessing ritual this year. There are other events, like discussions or teaching session and workshops, that feel like shining examples of people realizing useful things and coming to greater knowledge. And there are even some that don’t go quite right and in some ways can even be disastrous, but which end up accomplishing what they’re meant to anyway (as I’ll be saying in relation to Lupercalia this year in the next few days…though it wasn’t quite “disastrous,” by any means!). All of these are wonderful, and each holds a particular significance; while all are moments to enjoy and to feel blessed to be a part of, and in which to realize that “this is what is supposed to be happening,” nonetheless some stick out more than others for various different reasons.
And then there are rituals like this one was. It was a very “us” sort of ritual, something only (to my knowledge) the Ekklesía Antínoou does anything like at this point; it was a ritual I’ve done many many many times before, whether by myself or with a smaller group of people, which often doesn’t get very good reviews afterwards and seems to some like a lot of words without a lot of vibrancy or meaning for them. Indeed, that was why I feared it might not quite be what it should be given that Eddy Sanctus‘ mother and partner were there, as well as those from his tradition who are used to powerful and moving rituals involving deep spirit-work. And yet, it was nothing more than what we’ve been doing all along, and what is appropriate to our tradition–and, for me and for them and for all present, I think it’s fair to say that it not only “worked,” but it served to properly honor these individuals, and to make them into Ancestors in the fullest sense of the word–not merely beloved dead, but now the guardians of their respective traditions (though I fully accept and acknowledge that their own traditions’ ways of doing that likewise accomplished this for them), and people held in the highest esteem and regard and holiness within our own tradition.
They are to be remembered, praised, and thanked for all they’ve done, and all that they have yet to do with those of us who remember them and uphold their traditions and examples while we are still fortunate enough to have time and breath on this earth.
And, likewise, Antinous is to be thanked, for once again showing us the way to not only become better at being human while on the earth, but for showing us how to tread the path toward becoming divine.
Hail to Lady Olivia Sancta!
Hail to Rev. Dr. Eddy Hyperion Sanctus!
Hail, Hail, Hail to Antinous!