“True to the Earth” By Kadmus

“True to the Earth: Pagan Political Theology.” Gods & Radicals Press. 2018

Kadmus, a professor of philosophy, expounds on the difference between Polytheistic (Pagan) and Monotheistic metaphysics. After explaining the differences, he applies Polytheistic theology to modern Western politics. He concludes that capitalism came from Monotheism, which he considers to be nihilistic. To combat that, people need to embrace Polytheism, which is life-sustaining.

The major value of this book for me was how to think as a Polytheist. According to Kadmus, the invention of writing fundamentally changed how people think. Writing objectified words, which now exist without any anchor to reality. Therefore, abstract concepts such as “goodness” could come into being. Since writing detaches words from time and space, it allowed Monotheism to come into being.

In contrast, oral cultures are concrete and additive. They force the listener to be present with the speaker. Oral thought cements words to a particular time and place. Like verbs, oral thought follows “and also” to encourage things to accumulate more parts.

Kadmus writes, “This objectifying nature of the thought of a literate society shows up in many of our very worst modern characteristics. It also runs deeply throughout Monotheistic metaphysics. The Monotheistic God is most often an abstract goodness or perfection, a strange monster impossible to grasp in an active, concrete associative logic.” He continues, “If the One God were good, we could have this world; if it were evil, we could have this same world; if it didn’t exist at all, we could have this same world again. Thus, ‘goodness’ here is clearly a word without concrete content.”

Meanwhile, Polytheist metaphysics is committed to a complex plurality. This can be seen in the many names for the various Gods. For example, Marduk of Babylon has fifty names; each as important as the others. He is the Commander of the Legions of Wind Demons, Wielder of the Flaming Sword, Knower of the Secrets of the Earth, the Bringer of Rain, and more. Marduk can be all of these parts without being a totality

Monotheist thinking is reductive while Polytheistic thinking is productive. Monotheism reduces everything to One, while Polytheism promotes an abundant plurality. Kadmus writes “Reality within Pagan metaphysics is defined in terms of multiplicity and complexity, while Monotheism instead posits an ultimate oneness arrived at through reduction and simplification. For most versions of Monotheism, the oneness of the universe will derive from the power and oneness of its creator. If God is One, then so too are Truth and Reality. On the other hand, if the Gods are many, then so too are the truths of reality.”

Kadmus continues “When your metaphysics is based upon unity, reduction, totalizing, and Oneness, your approach to the world be shaped by it. Your approach to the world will focus on perfection, purity (Note 1), and the one narrow path to the only acceptable goal. In such a view, each thing has an essence that it either fulfills or betrays. Likewise, each thing has a purpose that it either serves or neglects. Oneness is purity, multiplicity is sin.”

As we try to re-establish Polytheistic metaphysics, these ideas are worth pondering. There is no One Truth but as many truths as there are Divine Beings. Polytheistic thinking celebrates fertility in all its forms, multiplying instead of reducing.

Notes:
Note 1. Purity in Polytheism can be seen in context such as dirty dishes that need to be washed. Christian purity involves purpose and order. In Monotheism, to be pure means to consist of only one thing.

Astrology and the Tarot: Wands

From the Universal Waite Deck, I drew the Six of Wands and the Ten of Wands. As Wands, they are of the element of fire. In the Tarot, this element indicates burning passions and drive. In Astrology, the Wands relate to the Fire Signs of Aries (cardinal), Leo (Fixed), and Sagittarius (mutable).

In “Tarot Beyond the Basics,” Anthony Louis says that in the Golden Dawn System, the number six reflects the middle Decan of Fixed Signs. This entails the “full expression of the season” which indicates a desire for stability. In contrast, the number ten refers to the “final expression of the season.” This number reflects the last Decan of the Mutable Signs, when one season ends to allow for the next one to begin.

The Six of Wands reflects the Second Decan of Leo, when this Sign is the strongest. Corrine Kenner in “Tarot and Astrology,” says that in the second Decan of Leo, “Jupiter puts Leo in the spotlight.” As the Greater Benefic, Jupiter gives this Decan great expansive energy. Therefore, it is appropriate that this card depicts a triumphal parade celebrating victory.

In contrast, the Ten of Wands has Saturn, the Greater Malefic, ruling the third Decan of Sagittarius. Although Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, Saturn’s influence makes this Decan seem oppressive. The depiction of a man carrying a load of ten branches is apt for this card. The Third Decan of Sagittarius is usually the darkest time of year. In “Tarot Deciphered,” the authors T. Susan Chang and M. M. Meleen emphasize when the number ten comes in contact with fire, it tends to smother the fire. All of this adds to the intensity of the Ten of Wands.

For the reading of the Six of Wands and Ten of Wands together, the sentence is a stable victory that can become an overbearing challenge. What started as a success could turn into a burden. I interpreted this reading as “be careful what you wish for, it may become harder than you expected.”

Works Used:
Chang, T. Susan and M.M. Meleen, “Tarot Deciphered: Decoding Esoteric Symbolism in Modern Tarot.” 2021. Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN).
Hall, Judy, “The Astrology Bible.” 2005. Sterling: New York.
Kenner, Corrine, “Tarot and Astrology.” 2011. Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN).
Louis, Anthony, “Tarot: Beyond the Basics.” 2014. Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN).

Babylonian Month: September/October

The Babylonian calendar is divided into two halves – the vernal and autumn equinoxes. They usher in the periods of disharmony between the Sun and the Moon. From March to September, Utu, the Sun, is triumphant, and from September to March, Nanna-Suen is more visible. At the spring equinox, the Akiti Se-kintu (the Festival of the Harvest) is held. At the autumn equinox, it is the Akiti-Su-numun (the Festival of the Seeding). In the month of September/October (Note 1.), the focus is on the Autumn Equinox and the coming darkness.

Nanna-Suen
At the Akiti-Sunumun, the emblems of Nanna-Suen are cleaned. Hailed as “Father Nanna, when You sail (across the sky) like a ship on flood waters,” the Moon God loads his Boat with gifts of trees, plants, and animals. He sails from city to city bringing the people fertility. For this reason, The Boat of Nanna-Suen also receives offerings. The Great Offerings to Nanna-Suen are made at the New Moon (the first of the month), the Quarter Moon (seventh), and Full Moon (the fifteen). Modern Sumer Reconstructionists will bake cupcakes for the Great Offerings. (Note 2.)

Kinunu (Brazier Festival)
From the eighth to the eighteenth days of the month, the Kinunu (Brazier Festival) is held. For this festival, people wear their new clothes. Using fresh olive oil, they light their braziers to keep burning throughout the Kinunu. The First Fire of the coming cold and early darkness is honored.

Duku (Festival of the Sacred Mound)
At the end of the month, the Duku (Sacred Mound) festival is held. After feasting with family and friends, homage is made to the Ancestors. Lamentations are read and milk is offered to Endukuga (Lord of the Sacred Mound) and Nindukuga (Lady of the Sacred Mound). They are the Great Ancestors of the Elder Gods, who lived at the Duku. (This was the place of Heaven and Earth before the two parts were separated by Enlil.)

Inanna
At this time, the Descent of Inanna is re-enacted to ensure that the land is fertile. Her Descent into the Underworld is the hinge between the dry and rainy seasons. Inanna dies but is rescued. Since someone has to replace Her in the Underworld, Dumuzi, Her Shephard Consort, goes down for six months. His sister, Geshtinanna, Goddess of Autumn Wines, takes his place the other six months.

Note 1: In Sumer, this month is called “Duku”, and in Babylon, “Tairitu.”
Note 2: The Great Offering was originally cattle, beer, milk, honey, and grain. Today, cupcakes made with grain, honey, and milk are offered.

Roman Gods of the Month: September

For Romans, September is the month of sacred games to honor Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Later in the month, the Capitoline Triad, the Gods of State, is honored with a feast. The harvest is finished and now is the time to relax and to focus on matters of government.

JUNO REGINA

On September 1, Juno Regina, the Queen of Heaven is honored. In 392 BCE, following a vow, Marcus Furius Camillus raised a splendid temple to this Goddess. Using the rite of evocatio, Camillus promised Uni of Veii that if She allowed him to conquer her city, he would build a temple to Her in Rome. Agreeing, Uni left the Etruscan city to become Juno Regina of Roman. She rules the State with Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Minerva as the Capitoline Triad.

JUPITER OPTIMUS MAXIMUS AND THE CAPITOLINE TRIAD

The Ludi Romani are held for Jupiter between September 5 -19. These sacred games (ludi) began in 566 BCE. The Romans held parades, races, and theatrical performances. Contrary to popular belief, there were no gladiatorial combats during the Ludi Romani.

The feast for the Capitoline Triad, known as the epulum Iovis (Feast of Jupiter), is held September 13. Statues of these Gods are dressed, wined, and dined. Traditionally only the Senators and magistrates attended this feast.

For my own practice, I hold a feast inviting the Gods to my table. At the feast, I thank Them for wise government for my community. I pray that the Gods may continue in their counsel. I make offerings that we may experience justice and fairness for the coming year.

Spirits of the Home: Brownies

Since I discovered that Brownies are Spirits of the Home, I decided to mediate on how to meet one. At first, I tried the usual forms of meditation. However outside of being refreshed, I could not envision to how contact any. Therefore, I decide to mull over what to do next.

As strange as it may seem, I felt a presence while I was vacuuming the living room rug. Not sure of what I was experiencing, I continued with my cleaning chores. As I was wiping out my kitchen sink, I heard a deep voice coming from behind me. “Do not forget to shine the faucets while you are at it.” Startled, I dropped my dishtowel. Whoever the voice belonged to was not of this earth.

While wiping down my stove, I glanced out the corner of one eye. Careful not to look directly, I saw a squat brown figure in brown rags. As I kept my focus on scouring the stove burners, I pondered what I saw. I believe that I encountered a Brownie in my home. (Being part Scottish, I was not surprised about having one in my home.)

I continued cleaning as if there was nothing out of the ordinary happening in my kitchen. I stuck my head into the microwave oven to wipe down the inside. The deep voice then said “I prefer listening to Frank Sinatra.” Upon hearing that, I nearly banged my head on the roof of the microwave. This whole exchange was entirely unexpected. I did have enough presence of mind, not to speak to the Brownie, who was standing in the middle of my galley kitchen. I also did not turn my head to look directly at him.

When I do my chores, I often enter a trance. The chores have a rhythm and focus to them that invites meditation. Since I have a set routine, I often do housework on “automatic pilot.” I remembered that Brownies expect tidiness and cleanliness. Therefore contacting one while doing the vacuuming then did seem natural.

Later, I reviewed what I had learned about Brownies. They have rules that the people living the house need to follow. Usually, a meeting of the minds between both parties has to happen. I could agree to keeping a neat home since they dislike messes. Another thing that I could do was to make food offerings in odd places.

Later I left some bread heels near the furnace closet. When I went to wash the floor, the food was gone. Then I put some cereal by the stove. That disappeared as well.

As for the Brownie’s preference for Frank Sinatra, I was flummoxed. There was nothing in the lore about what music Brownies liked. Somehow, I expected that Celtic music was what they preferred. A Brownie asking for the songs of Frank Sinatra was the farthest from my mind.

Since Sinatra was what the Brownie asked for, Sinatra, it would be. I did not want a Good Brownie go bad, and turn into a Boggart. Since I did not know which of Sinatra’s songs, the Brownie liked, I would play a variety of them.

Some nights later, when I was dozing off in bed, I heard a deep bass voice singing. The Brownie was crooning “Young at Heart,” “When the Wind was Green,” and “New York, New York.” The first two made sense since they concerned things that interest the Fae. However, the last song puzzled me. Perhaps the Brownie had hidden ambitions for Broadway. I was reminded that Brownies and other Fae do not conform to human notions about them.

Works Used:
Daimler, Morgan, “Fairies: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folks.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2017.
…,” A New Dictionary of Fairies: A 21st Century Exploration of Celtic and Related Western European Fairies.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2020.
…, “Pagan Portals: Fairy Witchcraft.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2014.
Lecouteux, Claude, “The Tradition of Household Spirits.” (Translated by Jon Graham). Inner Traditions: Rochester (VT). 2013.
…., “Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies.” (Translated by Clare Frock). Inner Traditions: Rochester (VT). 2003.
McCoy, Edain, “A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk.” Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN). 1994.
Moorey, Teresa, “The Fairy Bible.” Sterling: New York. 2008
Sanchez, Tara, “Urban Faery Magick.” Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN). 2021