I humbly apologize to the late great Godfather of Soul, James Brown, for the variation in my subject line here on his song, “Livin’ in America.” Yes, I am in fact doing that, too, and have been for the majority of my life; but, I’m finding that I’m in a different situation now, and it bears further discussion, along with a few links to other interesting things I have seen today.
As a health, well-being, and *HOW THE FUCK ARE YOUR EYES DOING!* update, I had my most recent follow-up from surgery appointment yesterday (Monday the 27th), and it was the quickest exam by the doctor I’ve yet had. My right eye has not improved further since the surgery, and so he did two more injections, bringing the grand total to nine: five in the right eye, four in the left. (Thanks very much, Odin–if it had also been on a Wednesday, that would have been perfect!) Interestingly, I have noticed a slight improvement since then, especially after I had a nap for a few hours not long following the injections (which usually helps to relieve the discomfort a bit for the remainder of the day afterwards, if I can overcome it enough to sleep, which I was able to yesterday for other reasons…on which, more in a moment). I have my next appointment in early September; if I am still having a lot of trouble by October or November, then I might have to do another surgery (and if I do, I hope it is after Fall quarter ends for teaching, because it would be horrible to try and fit it in while I’m teaching two classes online and possibly two in person during that time.) So, while it isn’t all bad, nonetheless, there are still some difficulties that may be ongoing for a while.
But, in other news, as of yesterday, I am more-or-less completely moved in to my new place in Oak Harbor. Friday, we moved my things from where I was living, and I stayed overnight here; there wasn’t a lot of furniture yet, so the only thing I could really do was set up one of my shrines–the Antinous one, of course, though it still isn’t completely set up at this point–and I also did the Tetrad++ and friends shrine. (The others are happening slowly…) On Saturday, we cleaned out my storage unit and moved almost everything here; a few things were discarded, and a small number–about a 3′ x 3′ x 3′ amount of them (several boxes and a bag or two)–are now in a friend and former student’s storage unit here in town, which I’ll bring back in August at some point once as much as the rest of what is here now is sorted and put away. While I *technically* had room to fit those things in here, too, I’d have had to try pretty hard to do so, and it would be even less-fun to navigate this place than it is now. It’s kind of like those tile games you got at the dentist as a prize when you were a kid, that have a 3 x 3 or a 4 x 4 square, and you had to slide them around in the right order to make a puzzle picture, but there is only one tile space empty to work with…I am hoping to have some of the major things unloaded and in place by tomorrow, but I’m going to need *A TON* more shelves to get all the books out. (Not a literal ton, but likely at least eight banks of shelves that are roughly the size of the small folding ones I have now, if not more…)
While my library was pretty big in my last residence, I have lost a number of the shelves I had which are either now being used for shrines or were not mine to bring with me; and, some of them had books in stacks or in double rows in order to fit things. My library, as I think I’ve mentioned, has actually *NEVER* been all together in one place before since 1994, and that was when it was about 1/8 of the size it is now, I’d guess. I feel extremely privileged to be the custodian of such a collection–raggle-taggle though some of it is–and in taking some of it out today (parts of which haven’t been seen for between 5 and 8 years, if not longer in some cases), and having a few friends over briefly to just see what I’ve been able to get out in the last day or two, the books are being pretty loud in terms of crying out for attention. I am reminded of something that someone said at the Esoteric Book Conference last year or the year before, I think: that one of the great joys of having a library is not that one gets to make use of so many different books and to have them on-hand, but instead that the books themselves talk with each other, and there’s been a lot of that going on today. (And I’m sure Harahel talks with them, too!)
As I was getting ready to go to bed the second night I stayed here, I began to think forward to how the shrine room might be used for dream incubation, Antinoan or otherwise. Merely having thought about that, though, caused me to have a dream about Antinous a short while later (he often doesn’t need much coaxing from me to appear in dreams!), and it was an interesting experience, which I may devote an entire separate entry to in the near future…a few of you have already seen it/read about it, but I may introduce it for a larger audience soon. Needless to say, it was fascinating and beautiful, as my dream encounters with him always are.
I had been looking forward to having my own place for a long time because it would mean that I could have a dedicated shrine space, and a concentrated location of deliberately cultivated polytheist power and devotion for the Deities, for my own peace and feeling of sanctuary, and as a service to parts of my extended community who are respectful, understanding, and devotees themselves. I am still excited about that, and it is happening a bit slowly but we’ll get there by the end of the first week of August, I think (which is a good time to be doing so, I think). However, what I had not anticipated was that my books would overflow the main room of the apartment as much as they have and will. When I’ve had a few rooms to work with previously (in 2002-2005 when I was in Ireland in two different locations), separation of spaces was really effective for me in terms of making sure I worked on academic stuff in one area of the house, but only slept, read for fun, or did cultus in the bedroom, and only kept a small number of books there. It may in fact come about that there are more books in my bedroom here than in the front room, which also has a couch and a chair, a television, and a few other things (including a fairly good-sized collection of CDs, VHS tapes, and DVDs).
As much as I’d like to think of my new apartment as the physical manifestation of the Aedicula Antinoi (and likewise an aedicula of various other Deities as well), it is actually turning out to be a physical manifestation of The Red Lotus Library–and it’s not just full of the six books thus far published under that imprint (though they’re certainly here, too!). As I was saying to one of my friends earlier tonight: it is not, by any means, the Great Library of Alexandria, but it might be as close as Oak Harbor is likely to get to it for a while.
[Though in fairness, I know that there is at least one person on Whidbey Island who has a private library of something like 30,000 books, which is probably at least five times the size of mine, if not more…I don’t know the actual count at this point, but I hope to figure that out in the coming months!]
And now, those links I mentioned.
Over at Polytheist.com, there is an excellent article: Edward Butler’s “Principles of Mythological Hermeneutics,” which I think everyone should read.
And, Thenea over at the Magick from Scratch blog has written a lot of interesting pieces about apotheosis (a topic near and dear to my heart, for obvious reasons!), but the latest one, on divine allies and divine antagonists in apotheosis narratives, is especially intriguing.
I must see if I can empty 3 to 8 more boxes before I go to bed, and build at least one or two more shrines…plus a few other things, so off to it! :)