Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 22, 2015

The Dioskouroi and Antinous 2015

The Dioskouroi to Antinous: I give you the spear, the cestus, and my pilos, that you may excel at hunting, at boxing, and in horsemanship.

Antinous: Hail and thanks to you, Dioskouroi, two brothers and sons of Zeus, Leda, and Tyndareus!

Because of you, I will be given temples in Sparta, Athens, and Rome!

I will be a patron of the Equites in Italy.
I will be honored with the theoxenia in many lands.
I will be symbolized by the dokana.
I will have solidarity with Polydeukes as a brother.
I will give my divinity to Hadrian in loyal love.
I will have an epiphany at Juturna’s font for victory at Lake Regillus.
I will be known as the origins of the youthful Kouroi and the dancing Kouretes.
I will be honored as the Kabeiroi in Samothrace’s mysteries.
I will be given inscriptions at Lavinium.
I will be remembered in stars like the constellation Gemini.

Hail and thanks to you, Dioskouroi!

Hail and thanks to you, Antinous!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 22, 2015

The Daimon Antinous 2015

The Daimon to Antinous: I give you the serpent, that you may travel in any realm.

Antinous: Hail and thanks to you, O Daimon, intermediary for Gods and mortals!

Because of you, I will be active in the lives of many upon the earth!

I will be the numen which inhabits sacred images.
I will be the sudden light in a forest glade.
I will be the unexpected breeze upon the mountainside.
I will be the genius for some who breathe and walk as humans.
I will be the Iove for men who worship me.
I will be the Iuno for women who are devoted to me.
I will be the Ianus for those of other genders who adore me.
I will be the voice from oracles and a whisperer in dreams.
I will be the warmth within the breast perceived during ceremonies.
I will be the engenderer of love for those who call upon me.
I will be the spirit of myself to and in others that are not myself.

Hail and thanks to you, O Daimon!

Hail and thanks to you, Antinous!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 22, 2015

Canis Erigoneius 2015

[“Erigone” by Halldora; click on the photo to be taken to Galina Krasskova’s site where this image is available as a prayer card!]

The first days of the period of Gemini were always confusing for Maira, for she did not know whether she was rising or falling, and in fact who she was at all.

On some years, when those days arrived, she thought she was a nymph, a daughter of Atlas, who married Tegeates the son of wolfish Lykaon in Arcadia. Their land had been cursed by Apollon and Artemis for not giving refuge to Leto when she had come there before the birth of the twins. Her and her husband were loyal in propitiating them, however, and for this she became placed in the stars as Sirius.

On other years, when those same days came about, she thought she was a dog. She had been the hound of Erigone, the daughter of Ikarios, when Dionysos came to teach mortals the art of making wine. She died when her mistress hung herself in grief over her father’s murder after her keen-scented nose had lead her mistress to the body.

She was not the first dog to die, a nymph hung up like Hekate in service to Artemis in Ephesus. Some said that it was Orion’s hound who became Sirius, after he had gone astray of Artemis as well. She wasn’t sure any more whether she was hound or star, bitch or dog, nymph or human, Athenian or Arcadian…

And she found it even more confusing that the Egyptians reckoned the rising of the Nile by her own heliacal rising, as would so many others across the world.

But it was Ovid the poet who made her the most confused, for her natural rising was not when he had said it was, and none could account for it.

Her madness, though, seemed to be justified by how things played out in islands far off and peninsulas far distant around the days of her purported rising.

For on the day of her actual rising, a saint who was accused of being a werewolf–though, unlike Lykaon, had committed no crime–was celebrated in Cornwall under St. Rumon’s name, and in Brittany as St. Rónán.

The day which Ovid spoke of, however, was another occasion when another St. Rónán–who had made a geilt of Suibhne as easily as Dionysos drove the Athenians mad after Ikarios’ death–was celebrated instead.

Was it any wonder that so many names in common, so many strange occurrences, retributions, wolves, deaths, and dogs swirled together into one confusing jumble for Maira?

How much simpler would it have been to instead be the spirit of Scintillica Canis Mirabilis, the lapdog of the Emperor Hadrian’s wife Sabina, who had made Antinous laugh many times with her tricks…

But, Scintillica, even at her most wondrous, did not get a star of her own.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 21, 2015

Agonalia: Vediovis 2015

Vediovis coin

One thing that an Augur does not ignore is lightning. No matter the number, color, or patterns of birds that might appear within the lines of the lituus otherwise, a flash of lightning trumps all else. The Etruscan discipline as it was taught by Tages himself emphasized this, as all Augurs knew from ancient times right down to the present.

But even in a dream, lightning is significant. The Augur’s dreams had been full of lightning recently.

The Augur had only been in his post for a few years, and was yet the youngest in the collegium, but he wasn’t sure if it was perhaps time for a change of some sort, a shifting of priorities to something more political, or perhaps even something simpler and not remotely political. It wasn’t clear, but his trajectory as a potential man of distinction did not seem as clear or certain now as it had to him previously.

It was night in the dream–perhaps blacker than usual, both moonless and starless–and he was resting on a couch in his own home. Suddenly, as if the rage of Summanus had been aroused, a blue flash of lightning shot into the house and began to crumble the roof. The Augur’s first thought was that this must have been what the mother of Bacchus saw when Jupiter revealed himself to her in his full glory…but, the thought was cut short by a second bolt of blue lightning, hitting the same location and destroying more of the house.

The Augur awoke screaming from the dream, and the very thought of it had disturbed him for weeks.

At last, he began to consult what references there were on the matter, taking into account that it was in a dream rather than in waking life, and that it had to be handled more delicately accordingly, the interpretation of it less certain than it might have been if it had occurred where others could see and hear it.

He wondered which of the Novensiles might have been responsible for sending him the dream. Even the eldest of the Augurs in the collegium could not give him a satisfactory answer, and so they suggested he speak with an even older Augur who had been retired from the collegium for some decades, of whose expertise they availed themselves occasionally.

The Augur came to his house–a bit shabby with neglect, but once clearly quite beautiful–and was dismayed to see the fog had not yet broken in the midday sun. He found the elderly Augur sitting in his atrium with one of his slaves, simply staring into space.

The Augur had not heard that the old man was blind.

“Who is that?” he asked as his slave touched him on the shoulder.

The Augur identified himself, and was told to take a seat and was offered water.

The Augur outlined his difficulties, and described his dream to the old man.

“Ahh…yes, I know of what you speak. It is an uncertain dream, much clouded in mystery. Bring me my astragaloi!”

The slave signaled to another slave, who brought a small leather pouch and a wooden tray. The old man shook the pouch and then emptied its contents of knucklebones onto the tray, and felt the surface of each one as it lay in the pattern on the tray.

“Yes…very unusual, this.”

“What is it?” the Augur asked.

“I believe the God that sent the lightning in your dream is Vediovis.”

“Vediovis?”

“Yes, the un-Jupiter. If Iove is the lord of lighting in the heavens, then Vediovis is his counterpart in the dark grey skies of the underworld.”

“I know little of him.”

“So few do these days…so few…” The old man seemed on the verge of a great chasm of reminiscence and regret, but he pulled himself from its precipice and continued. “He is one of the oldest of the Gods, and yet appears as eternally youthful. He is like Apollo in the underworld, bringing light and sun to those regions of shadow, and yet his light is not of the sun. And, he is also like Aesculapius, for he has the ability to heal miraculously. Unfortunately…”

“What do you mean? Go on, please.”

“Vediovis does not heal gently, nor with salves and sacrifices, sweet hymns and balms and the pleasures of the theatre. He heals by destroying, often utterly.”

“I don’t understand.”

“He is offered a she-goat on the Agonalia of May, but not simply because it is his due–it is so that he does not instead require a human sacrifice.”

“So, what are you saying?”

“If you can offer the goat today, make sure it is done. If you are unable to do so, then I’m afraid the offering he shall be granted, perhaps even by lightning’s strike, is your own life.”

“Is this true?”

“No one knows whether any augury is true until it comes to pass; we are only given warnings, for the will of the Gods is good when it is known, no matter what we humans might think of it. You may proceed as I have suggested, or take your chances, but do not be upset if things come to pass as I have warned and you have done nothing to avert it.”

“Is that all?”

“No, there is more.” The old man picked up the astragaloi once again and dropped them after shaking them in his own hand, and felt their surfaces once again. “Vediovis can bring one into the underworld, but he can also free one from its clutches if one has fallen into it in some fashion by mistake.”

“Who falls into the underworld by mistake?”

“You’ve heard of Orpheus, I’m certain, as well as Ulysses and so many others…even Hercules found himself there for a time. Perhaps you are there and simply do not realize it, and this lightning strike shall be your stoke of deliverance.”

“This is a strange tiding indeed!”

“Quite. There have been many philosophers who have asked whether or not we may actually be dead in this life, and only death itself delivers us to our true lives.”

The Augur stood and paced for a moment, looking down, shaking his head. The old man listened to his barely audible footsteps and smiled, nodding, and staring into the space before him with his clouded eyes.

“Go now–if before sunset you make the sacrifice, all shall be well; if after sunset, then let it be a black nanny goat that is the victim. But do not let your head rest upon a bed until it is done.”

“Very well. Thank you.”

The Augur was not sure what to believe, or how to proceed.

As he opened the door to leave, a clap of thunder sounded in the distance, as the sky had clouded over and it began to rain lightly.

The old man simply smiled.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 21, 2015

Epiphany of Paneros 2015

[As you know, I’ve been writing an aretalogy this year in many parts that is somewhat syncretistic, but not exclusively. When it comes to various goddesses, Antinous is not syncretized to them, so instead he speaks blessings to them and they bless him in return. But, that is only two of three “groups” or types of these installments. The third type is the ones in which deities, heroes, and so forth who became gods or were deified/heroized after Antinous propitiate him and receive his blessings. It is fitting, therefore, for this to be the first example of such that I give online; there will be others in the final book that I won’t have given previously!]

Paneros to Antinous: Praise to you, and Thanks for your blessings, Antinous, Father and Grandfather of the Tetrad++!

Antinous: Hail, Thanks, and Praise to you, Paneros!

For you, I shall lend my spear, which shall become your sword for the shattering of bonds.
For you, I grant the might to break chains and free Eros from imprisonment.
For you, I call forth the waters of the Styx in which you drowned to make you more divine.
For you, I deem that you shall have the perfection of love in Paneris.
For you, I will be an ally to all whose gender broadens and breaks the binary.
For you, I sing praises at the shrine of your image.

Hail, Thanks, and Praise to you, Paneros, All-Love amongst the Deities and in the Cosmos!

Paneros: Hail, Thanks, and Praise to you, Antinous!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 20, 2015

Bast Anthology

A new publication was just released, which I have a piece in; so, as is my custom, I am announcing it here since I have received my copy of it.

The Queen of the Sky Who Rules Over All the Gods: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Bast is now out, and contains one poem by me: “O Fragrant Feline,” which I’d not read in a long time when I received the book the other day, and surprised me because–it turns out!–also features Anubis! (They are married, you know!) You can get your copy here.

I am, of course, happy to do this work in honor of a great and much-respected Goddess, and am always happy to see the devotional efforts of others come into communal manifestation in this way. However, I also feel a bit displeased with myself in all this, and I’ll tell you why…several reasons, actually.

1) In most of the BA devotional anthologies, I’ve had multiple pieces–a few poems, or a poem and an essay, or even a few essays plus a poem. This is the first, I think, where I’ve only had one poem. (There have been a few in which I’ve had nothing, and not always for lack of trying…which is another story.)

2) Often, these occasions provide a bit of a challenge for me: can I find a way to connect the divine honorand with Antinous in some fashion–or, failing him, Hadrian or Sabina or someone else? It hasn’t always worked, but it often forces me to push myself in usefully creative ways, which is its own reward. I’ve had no problem doing this with any and every Greek, Roman, or Egyptian deity thus far honored by BA’s anthologies. I know of no direct connections between Bast, Antinous, Hadrian, or Sabina…and yet, with time and a bit of inspiration, I probably could have connected Sabina and Bast. I regret not being able to do that.

In the coming months, as a few more anthologies from BA are released with further work by me in them, I’ll have more to say on some of these matters. But for now, the book is available, so go get it!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 19, 2015

Bendideia 2015

Bendis statue

The Baptai was not sure what situation would be preferable.

In Rome, on the night of the Bendideia, a solitary person climbing each of the Seven Hills in turn with a torch of an evening might be unusual, but nothing to worry over…it wasn’t as if an insurrection would happen because of it. There was something exciting, and almost scandalous, about celebrating a major holy day amidst many others who had no idea that it was even a major holy day.

In Athens, on the other hand, at least everyone knew what day it was, and who was being honored, even if they did not partake themselves. The Thracian faction had their own celebration–the music was always better, the revels more intense afterwards, and the liquid spirits more potent–but the Greeks had their observance as well, unusual and rather somber though it was.

By torchlight, as the shadows were lengthening into darkness, the Baptai remembered back to the last time Athens had felt their own footfalls. It was not that the ritual was more intense, or that the Goddess was more present in the ceremonies, or even that a particular insight had dawned because of any of it; it was the conversations on the street by the passers-by that both surprised, amused, and occasionally appalled them.

The horseback relay of the torches slowed through Brauron, and the crowd moving along with the horses could be heard easily.

“It’s what the Thracians call Artemis,” someone said.

“But then what are the torches for?” someone else asked.

“For the Thracians, Artemis is the torchbearer for Persephone and Demeter.”

“I thought that was Hekate?” the other then inquired further.

“For the Thracians, Hekate, Artemis, and Bendis are one.”

What surprised the Baptai was not that this Athenian had thought any of this through, but that the tone with which these things were stated–in front of several Thracians, no less!–made it sound as if everyone knows that and that there isn’t any possible way it could be a questionable interpretation. Heavens forfend that the confused Athenian or the one who thought this was all simple might ask the Thracian priests and people processing around them at that moment…

The ideas of people in other parts of the city were even more outrageous.

“Bendis invented horses: the Thracians say she is Poseidon castrated.”

“Bendis is the head of the Bassarids, and is Dionysos in the clothes of a woman with a fox-fur hat.”

“The Thracians drink horse piss because it is the wine of Bendis.”

“When Orpheus was kind of Thrace, he brought a torch and a sword to Bendis so that he might be made a eunuch after the death of Eurydike–she is Cybele for the Thracians.”

What is this Greek fascination with the luridness of castration, bodily fluids, and transvestism? What a strange culture, the Baptai thought on the fourth Hill.

As the Caelian Hill’s summit was reached and the Baptai’s descent began, a woman halted the procession of one.

“You’re one of those Thracian priests, aren’t you?”

“I am of the Baptai, yes,” the Baptai replied.

“Can’t you tell my future by the Ephesia Grammata?”

“No, that would be the Megabyzoi from Ephesus.”

“But Ephesus is in Thrace, isn’t it?”

The Romans did not know geography outside of the pomerium very well, much less in other provinces, the Baptai thought.

“No, it isn’t.”

“Well, can you tell my future anyway?”

“It’s the sacred festival of the Goddess Bendis today.”

“So, can you tell my future?”

“If you wish to make a sacrificial offering to the Goddess Bendis and would join my procession, then perhaps later divination could be performed on your behalf.”

The Roman woman held out a few obols.

“No, don’t have time–can’t you just take these and tell my future for me?”

The Baptai decided to have a bit of fun at the Roman woman’s expense.

“You have…children?”

“Yes?”

“Do you know where they are at present?”

“No, I don’t–why? What’s wrong?”

“You don’t know…Oh, a pity, then.”

The woman looked horrified, and raised the hem of her skirt to run back to her home. The Baptai had not lied–it was sad that a woman so ignorant and disrespectful to other people’s traditions did not know the whereabouts and activities of her children at that moment.

The crescent moon appeared in the sky, and the seventh Hill was crested by the Baptai. It was not a mounted torchlight procession and relay race, but it would do for the occasion. The auspices earlier had been favorable, and now all that would remain was the final kindling of the sacrificial flame in the insula where the other Baptai lived together from the torch in the procession. It was sad that they had not returned from their errands abroad by this festival, though the Goddess Herself shined down on them as equally as on the Baptai who had just done the circuit of the city’s holy mountains in the forms of hills.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 18, 2015

The Fit Has Hit The Shan…

So, bad news, folks…and no, I’m sorry to say this is neither Glykonalia nor Boukoklepteia, this is not fiction or a joke or a purposeful lie, and this is most certainly not in the “Humor” category.

I had an eye appointment today, and my vision tested the worst it ever has; I have had trouble reading the last few days.

My bad right eye is, well, still bad.

My “good” left eye, though, even though it is not as bad as the right, is having other problems, including swelling.

This meant that I had two injections today, bringing the grand total I’ve now had in my eyes to 3 on the left and 4 on the right.

But, I am also going to need surgery now. The doctor would like to get me in as early as the 9th of June, but as I’ll have 1.5 weeks of the quarter left at that point, the 9th is a day in one of my classes for student presentations involving their final grades, and I can’t be out-of-commission for that nor what is after it, I’m going to see if the 23rd (with the quarter and grading being over at that stage) will be possible instead.

I am going to speak with a local Mystes (who has a variable work schedule) to see if she can accompany me to the surgery, not only in the event of something bad happening, but also so that she can be the custodian of the Book of Books while they are doing horrific things to my unconscious body, as I expect them to be fuck-heads about my religious practices and the physical things which accompany them.

Needless to say, I am not pleased with this turn of events. I am going to have to try and get a lot done between now and then, in the event that something goes horribly wrong and leaves me blind.

So, if ever you have curried the favor of any Deities of healing, of eye health, and so forth, or have connections to Antinous, Qadesh, or Panprosdexia (amongst others), start praying now, and do so especially when I have the surgery. I will update when I get the appointment and other preparations, certainly.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 17, 2015

The Infancy of Religions

I’ve decided there isn’t enough controversy in my life right now, so here’s something that’s sure to piss everyone off!

The following post is not inspired by anyone or anything in particular, other than a conversation I had earlier with a good old friend on the state of some things in the world, including the modern religions with which we’re involved.

A few years ago, I spoke about Robert Ellwood’s stages of historical development in religions, and had a few caveats about the overall schema in the context of what I discussed on that occasion. However, it might be useful to look at that schema for its rough temporal evaluations and see how they might be relevant to the topic of interest at present.

It’s been said more than once that modern paganism is at its “adolescent stage” of development, with the un/official “birth” of it being somewhere in the 1940s or 1950s with the emergence of (Gardnerian) Wicca. While a great deal could be said on how that notion privileges Wicca over anything and everything else, earlier or later or in any case *different* than it (and those questions have also been hotly debated, here and elsewhere, previously), nonetheless it gives us an historical quanta with which to base some further discussions.

If our modern pagan movement–which (and here’s another contentious discussion!) may or may not include polytheism–is 60-70 years old, many people are arguing that the religion is now entering its adolescence, which is why there is so much critiquing of previous ideas, fragmentation and lack of unity in the overall movement, and so much else associated with adolescent rebellion, questioning, and efforts toward greater individuation.

The problem here is, what is the “lifespan” of a religion, properly speaking? And would the lifespan of a religion be proportional to a human lifespan and its discrete stages of development as well? If we take the Ellwood schema into account, then it seems more likely that the infancy of a religion lasts a few centuries at very least, and we can imagine “infancy” to include everything from birth to babyhood to being a toddler, on up to about age four or five, when childhood (as it can be recalled by some people) begins. Let’s ignore for the moment that there are a lot of people who in their infancy developed more quickly, have been able to read and do other things much earlier than some others, or have prodigious memories for the time before they’re four or five years old; for the purposes of this schema, let’s say this 250-year period (let’s ballpark it a bit low just for the sake of this argument) then roughly corresponds to about 50 years of religious development per year of human development.

If that is the case, then modern paganism is not in its adolescent stage by any means; it’s a toddler, if anything, and the matters we are now dealing with seem to be much more in line with that general status than they are with adolescence.

One of the major challenges of being a toddler is learning to walk rather than crawling or always being carried. In terms of modern paganism, there are many organizations that have been able to create infrastructure and stand on their own, and begin to reach out more widely. But, the great majority of them don’t seem to be able to do this, and often not for lack of trying. For every grand announcement that a new group has formed, or has had 501 (3) C recognition from the government, or that ground has been broken on a new community center or what-have-you, others fold and are never heard from again, or find that they can no longer maintain their property, or have gone bankrupt due to misappropriation of funds, and so forth. While this is not anything to be alarmed about, it would be great if those bodies which are attempting to stand and walk on their own were not knocked down as frequently by those who don’t wish to see others walk at this point in history.

Another challenge of toddlerhood is the beginnings of language development. THere’s more than one kid I’ve encountered–of toddler age or even slightly older–who has had to be told that not every guy with a beard is their “daddy,” for example, or that this thing with wheels is called a “car” whereas that is a “train” or a “truck” or “bus” or whatever…the list goes on, and this is ignoring the ability to use multiple terms together in a meaningful fashion, i.e. grammar. Half of the time, in modern paganism, people seem to be squabbling over the meaning of particular terms, upon which people seem insistent upon having their own way despite lengthy and demonstrable histories of recognized and amenable usages. But, heavens forfend the possibility that anyone can tell certain people that they’re using a word incorrectly, or are defining it improperly, because the insistent “NO!” of a recalcitrant toddler is more important than actually learning how to use a word correctly. And stringing them together into useful communications and dialogue–which, in religious contexts is known as theology?–forget it, if no one can even allow that the words they’re using do have meanings at all.

Perhaps least pleasantly, one of the great challenges of being a toddler is to learn to use the toilet and to discontinue the infantile habit of shitting all over oneself every time excretion has to occur. Do I even need to analogize how often these days people in paganism don’t seem to understand how to clean up after themselves, or even evince any knowledge or nor desire to clean themselves at all, and how often it becomes a spectator sport to see how much one can piss and shit all over someone else or something else? I think I probably don’t need to say any more than that. (And here, Sterculinus is no help at all, unfortunately!)

More and more, pagans are demanding to have a seat at the “big kids’ table” amongst other world religions. There are certainly some who are mature enough to be able to have such a seat; there are certainly some (but by no means all) polytheists who likewise can at least string together meaningful sentences, even if they might not be able to stand or walk at this stage; and I think it’s probably fair to say that, on the statistical average in paganism and polytheism, nearly everyone has an “accident” from time to time, but hopefully one that is fairly well-contained (and yes, wearing diapers–metaphorically–helps in such an event!), and not one that drags too many others into it to clean up or to purposefully soil in the process.

Personally, I think nothing will change this situation other than what has occurred with every other religion ever, i.e. continued efforts at becoming more mature, and a great deal of that will only take place with time and having enough of a critical mass of individuals who have also done the work of maturing. We have a very long way to go and a great deal to do, and I am hopeful that it will succeed one day (or else I wouldn’t be writing this or doing anything else in relation to polytheism and wider paganism).

But–and here’s the part that I don’t think enough people are taking seriously, considering that there are still a great number of us who do nothing but babble and sit helpless in their own filth–we are nowhere near “there” yet.

Okay…angry Sunday rant over.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 16, 2015

Festival of Maia 2015

[May 15th]

In the cave of Mt. Kyllene where he had his birth, Hermes came to the abode of his mother, Maia, caduceus in hand.

“O Mother of the heavens, O Mother of the earth–Asteria and Gaia as one in your mountain cave–tell me the story of my birth.”

“Son, that is a tale well known to all.”

“Yes…but, there is a part of it that none have heard before, that none but yourself and Zeus know in truth.”

“And what part is that, son?”

“How did Zeus come to you, and in what form, when I was conceived? Many know the tale of Leda and the swan as equally as they know that Leto was in the form of a wolf when she birthed Apollon; in the form of lightning, he consumed Semele, and as a shower of gold from heaven he laid with Danaë; and did not he trick unwary Kallisto in the form of Artemis herself, to beget upon her Arkas, whom you fostered in this very place as well?”

“These are all tales that are well-known, too, son.”

“Indeed. And yet, I would know the form which he took in this case, to add another number to the thousand jealousies of Hera.”

“Very well, son, if you must know it, I shall tell it.

“The Pleiades are the daughters of Atlas, and I am the fairest of them, of Titanic race. But what is fair is not always fawned over, and what is beautiful is not always appreciated, and thus of the numerous nymphs upon the earth and in its many mountains, caves, trees, and streams, I shunned the company of the satyrs, the gods, the daimones, and all of the powers upon the earth and in the seas and through the heavens. For even if in great beauty is truth, truth has its majesty in modesty. If I would retain my modesty, and in truth my beauty, I would need to recede from every eye, lest even a glance awry might spoil me.

“The all-beholding mind of Zeus, however, did not mistake my silence for the quiet of the mountains, nor my singing for the wind through the peaks of Mt. Kyllene. A jewel hidden within a mountain is like a treasure atop a tall tower to the one who looks upon it with envy and desire, and no chasm in the earth might be deep enough, nor ladder so over-endowed with rungs that it might sway the resolve of such a one from pursuing their goal to the utmost.

“Zeus first came to me as a simple mountain shepherd, playing upon the aulos in the cool of the afternoon near my cave. Though his songs were sweet and plaintive, I did not show myself from the hidden depths of the cave.

“Then the many-formed Zeus took the shape of a ram upon himself, and climbed the rocks to the treacherous precipice wherein my cave could be accessed. He bleated and butted across the entrance, but the darkness of my cave was as an unfathomable chasm to the ram, who retreated in his defeat.

“Then the clever god stalked the entrance to my cave in the form of the comb-headed cock, thinking that he might crow Helios himself from the heavens to appear and steer his chariot into the depths of the cave to illuminate the darkness. But Helios would not swerve from his course, and the crowing chanticleer’s chest heaved and deflated as he left the peaks once more.

“Adopting another form, he became as Hephaistos, club-footed and face-sooted, and brought his hard iron anvil and his hammer into the mouth of the cave, striking down hard with the arm which wields thunderbolts, and yet the sparks which flew forth could not penetrate the darkness any more than a single firebrand can boil the waters of Okeanos. Away he went again, dejected.

“And still without stinting, he came once again, this time in the form of chthonic Hades himself, a quadriga of the blackest steeds snorting brimstone in their galloping as the wolf-capped driver goaded them onward into the depths of the cave. But even those steeds bolted, for the depths of the darkness in the cave were too profound for their souls to grasp, and Zeus in his chthonic form could not restrain them from straying back to the darkness of the night’s sky.

“But, Zeus is not the sovereign of Olympus because he gives up easily, or is diminished by trying circumstances.

“At last, he adopted a form that was not known easily to most, even of the Titanic race.

“By night, he came to the cave, and with ease slipped into the shadows, made his way through them as if even the blackest of rocks at the bottom of the cave were the light of a thousand suns. The veil draped across his form like a train behind the dark moon flooded through the cave, and overcame my resolve. I could not resist the figure before me, for there is no conquering of it…of Her.”

“‘Her,’ Mother?!?”

“Yes, Her.”

“And what Goddess, what Titaness, lent the form which he adopted?”

“It was no Goddess, no Titaness, no nymph nor daimon nor mortal.

“It was Nyx herself, she whose gown is the space between the stars of the white-flecked firmament, she whose form gives the heavens their grandeur and whose darkness encompasses the wide cosmos around.”

“Then this, indeed, explains much, Mother.”

“In what sense?”

“From the moment the God’s seed fell within your fertile womb and found its form from the egg you bore, and my divine soul was quickened within you, the light of intellect sprang strong throughout me, and I could look outwards from the reaches inside that bodily cave and see nothing but divine darkness. From this, I knew I had my generation, and thus no darkness–not the blackest hollows of Hades nor even the deepest shadows in the depths of Tartaros–places fear in my heart, nor makes my winged feet flinch in the slightest from where I wish to plant their soles or traipse with their toes.”

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