Gods and Their Cycles


As with everything in the universe, the Gods have also their cycles. When They move about our world, we sense Them deeply, When the Gods leave, They become remote to us. For example, Nanna-Suen, the God of the Moon of the Babylonians, follows the phases of the moon. He disappears at the dark and new moons. In the winter, when Odin rides with his Wild Hunt, a person can expect to encounter Him.

Modern people are baffled by cyclical time. Since the industrial age, societies have adapted to machines, which have no slack periods. People, on the other hand, have circadian rhythms that do not conform to unchanging machine time. Therefore, modern people become flummoxed with the disruption that the flu season brings. Even a snowfall will gum up the “well-oiled machine” of work, school, and commerce. Used to the inflexible rhythms of the industrial age, people have lost the ability to deal the ebb and flow of their lives.

Therefore, many people become alarmed when they no longer can sense a particular God. They forget that Gods are not on “machine time.” What we need to do is to understand the cycles of the Gods we revere. If we follow their rhythms, we will be in sync with the Cosmos.

For me, the Babylonian Gods are at their strongest during the equinoxes. The Babylonians have divided their calendar to start and end at the equinoxes. The summer, when the heat ruled the land, is the time for the Dead and Ancestors.

With the Gods of Canaan, summer is when Mot, the God of Death, stalks the land. Then, ‘Anat, a warrior Goddess, battles Mot and kills Him. With the coming rains of autumn, Ba‘al Haddad returns from the Underworld.

To know the Gods, the first thing is to step out of machine time. Remember that the Gods are not robots, but a part of the Cosmos. As we experience our ebbs and flows, so we can Theirs.


The Dance of the Hours


black and white photo of clocks

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

From a psychological point of view, people may experience time in one of two ways. “Polychrons” experience time as one continuous current much like a river flowing from the past through the present, and on to the future. Meanwhile, “monochrons” perceive time as discrete intervals, which are divided into fixed elements such as hours. Furthermore, societies tend to organize themselves on either of these perceptions of time. Since western industrial society is monochronic, the notion that time can be proven to be relative is plausible. (Of course a polychronatic society would not even consider the idea.)

However with a brain injury, my perception of myself is detached from how I feel. Therefore time, as it is measured, is nonexistent to me. Because I only perceive the illusion of time, it has become an artificial construct for me. Since I live in a monochronic society, I have to accept the idea that time exists in measured units. To be in sync with others, I have developed various methods of “timekeeping.” Otherwise, I would simply follow the rhythms of my body, the days, and the seasons.

Today, people live in a world where time is artificial and mechanistic. This is important for polytheists to understand, since monochronic time divorces modern people from their natural rhythms. How can anyone experience a God if her sense of time has been divided into discrete points? How can he ever understand the Fates: She who was Becoming, She who is Becoming, and She who will Becoming, and the Tapestry that They weave? To reclaim their sense of polychronic time, polytheists can look to nature and the seasons.

Works Used:

Fitzgerald, Waverly, “Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life.” Seattle: Self-Published. 2007.

Hahn, Harley, “Time Sense: Polychronicity and Monochronicity.” Web. http://www.harley.com/writing/time-sense.html.

Prosser, Simon, “Passage and Perception.” Paper. Web. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~sjp7/passage_and_perception.pdf.

Time is a River and a Lake


Time, as I experience it, runs counter to most people’s sense of time (Note). In my research on how others see time, I uncovered was that there is not complete agreement on how it is perceived. One thought on time is “presentism” in which “time is experienced but does not pass.” The other is “flowism” in which “time flows whether people perceive it or not.” According to the concept of “flowism,” people perceive the passage of time by reflecting on their experiences. The philosopher Immanuel Kant agreed with this. He wrote that “the phenomenology of passage of time is a necessary condition for any experience.” For him, time existed and was “true” whether we experienced it or not (A priori reasoning).

Before Kant, western philosophers traditionally defined time to be a construction of the self, starting with St. Augustine. (“I measure my self, as I measure time.”) Therefore perceived time is the “mental state of the beholder.” According to this philosophy, we perceive time as we feel. For example, depressed people usually see time as slowing down.

Moreover, philosophers have argued about how time flows. In “objective time,” time really does flow. In “dependent time,” time flow is an illusion of the mind. In his writings, St. Augustine complained that Pagans went in circles for they always returned to the same place in Time. Civilized people only move forward from the Resurrection of Christ. Today, the flow of Time, in modern western tradition, has become a forward arrow that only points upwards.

Notes: 1. I have a type of synesthesia, a neurological condition, which often accompanies brain injuries. A common form is tasting colors.

Works Used:

Janiak, Andrew, “Kant’s View on Space and Time.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 14, September, 2009. Web. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-spacetime/.

Le Poidevin, Robin, “The Experience and Perception of Time.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009. Web. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time-experience/.

Musser, George, “Time on the Brain.” Scientific American. 15 September 2011. Web. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/09/15/time-on-the-brain-how-you-are-always-living-in-the-past-and-other-quirks-of-perception/.

Threshold Guardians

Bunch of keys on white background

Bunch of keys on white background

Thresholds are
Between places of
Not coming or going.
Crossing a Threshold
A ritual act.

Doors keep
Worlds apart
To keep in and to keep out.
Before from after
The In-between secure

Doors have Gods
Janus of Two Heads guards the Out and the In
Cardea of the Door stands firm
Limentius of the Threshold stands firm
Portunus of the Portal holds the key

Guardians have
Sacred obligations.
Each demands
A reason for opening
A reason for closing

Forculus of the Passage
The Guide through
The Threshold
Coming in and
Going out

Gods of the Month: January

Named for the God, Janus, the month of January is the hinge of the year: the old year ends and the new one begins. The second King of Rome, Numa Pompilius (715 – 673 BCE) reformed the Roman calendar by adding two more months – January and February at the beginning of the 10-month year. Thus the New Year began in January instead of March. (However, for Romans, both New Years are celebrated.)

January is the month for public vows and divination of the coming year. Festivals celebrating the beginnings of life – both human and plant are held. The Carmentalia is for childbirth, and the Sementivae is for crops. Also, the Gods of Healing are given offerings to ensure a healthy year.

Janus, the two-head God, is the God of Beginnings and Endings. In Ovid’s Fasti, Janus explains to the poet why the year begins in the winter instead of the spring. “Midwinter is the beginning of the new Sun and the end of the old one. Phoebus and the year take their start from the same point.” God of the Month: Janus (Ianus)

On January 1, dedications to the Gods of Healing were made at temples on an island in the Tiber River. A plague was stopped during the dedication of the temple of Aesculapius on January 1, 291 BCE. Meanwhile, Lucius Furius Purpurio vowed the temple to Vediovis on January 1, 194 BCE for the God’s help at the Battle of Cremona (against the Gauls).

God of the Month: Vediovis

God of the Month: AESCULAPIUS, the Healer

During January, the Compitalia is observed to honor the Lars who watch over the crossroads. At each crossroads, shrines are set up and dolls hung from them. I live at the nexus of three streets, and make offerings of crystals to the Lars. I also hang a wooden doll on my door knob for a day. Gods of the Month: Lars Compitales

January 11 and 15 are the two days of the Carmentalia honoring Carmentis, a Goddess of Childbirth and Prophecy. Prayers for safe childbirth are made to Her. For the two days, matrons celebrate their status in the family. In addition, divinations are done. God of the Month: Carmentis

Held between January 24 and 26, the Sementivae is a festival of purification to protect both the seeds and the sowers. Tellus and Ceres are entreated to keep the seeds safe. Oscilla (small clay discs) are hung in trees to ward off evil spirits. Gods of the Month: Ceres and Tellus

Feriae Sementivae: Early Spring Planting

Mapping the Universe – Roman Style

AAll Roads Lead To Rome.

colosseum coliseum flavian amphitheatre rome

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

To explore and navigate a territory, people need a map. Most maps have correspondences, of which the most notable are the cardinal directions. Going north may take a person by a school and later a group of stores. Afterwards, in their mind, “North” corresponds to the high school and the local strip mall. If they go east, they will not encounter those particular landmarks but instead other ones. A map preserves these landmarks and sets the correspondences for a traveler to follow.

Magical correspondences act as a map to the cosmos. By aligning a direction with an element, color, animal, et al., people can move from place to place in the universe. With each correspondence, they can arrive where they want to be.

Using correspondences in a ritual is similar to taking a bus to a destination. Each stop along the way informs a person of where they are at that moment. Sometimes, they have to change buses at transfer stations to reach their final destination. Like certain correspondences which serve more than one direction, a person moves through the cosmos by “changing buses” at these nexus points.

For Roman Polytheists, the most important part of a sacred map is the Pomerium (the boundary between sacred space (the Templum) and profane space. Within the Pomerium is the Focus (the Fire), which crosses all the worlds. Supported and fed by this world (the earth, which lies in the center), the Focus reaches up to the Realm of the Sky Gods and down to the Dark Underground of the Earth Gods. Fire exists everywhere from the magma of the earth to the stars of the sky. Therefore, the Focus can be regarded as the Cosmic Center of the universe.

The Hearth Fire, which is Vesta, the Goddess of the Home, burns at my altar to welcome the Gods and Ancestors to come and partake of my hospitality. The Hearth Fire offers my sacrifices to the Gods, and carries my words to Them as well. The living flame of Vesta helps me to re-orient myself in the cosmos, while doing my daily devotions.

The Mundus (the Pit) opens to the World of the Chthonic Gods and Lemurs (chaotic Dead). Beyond the Mundus are the treasures of the earth as well as the dwelling places of the Dead. For Romans, removing the lid of Mundus is fraught with danger, and care must be taken lest a lemur comes into the world. Offerings are made to Consus, the God of the Granary, to keep the Dead from leaving.

The Portus (Door) creates the portal between all the Worlds. Because of the Portus, within the Templum, all the worlds can come together at one place. Unlike the circle which for many neopagans moves through space and time, the Portus opens the gate to all the worlds. Guarding the Portus is the Gatekeeper, Janus of the Two Faces. Like the janitor of old at the door, Janus oversees this liminal place.

Works Used.
Newberg, Brandon, “Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites.” ADF Publications. 2007.
Scheid, John, “An Introduction to Roman Religion.” Indiana University Press: Indiana. 2003.

Adventures in Math: Sacred Geometry


The Pentagon (US) by Touch of Light

One thing came from my exploration of sacred geometry. I wanted to know more about circles, triangles, and squares — and why we are drawn to them. A circle (a line that meets itself) is complete. For this reason, many people have their sacred space be a circle. Triangles, the most stable shape, appear in building structures. Squares comfort us with their neat understandable boundaries.

Now I understand why I am in awe of The Pentagon. For years, I commuted to Washington D.C., changing buses at the transfer station located at The Pentagon. All major roads in Northern Virginia converge at The Pentagon (formerly called the “Mixing Bowl”). This low concrete building is the power center of the region.

A pentagon consists of three generating triangles, which form a triad. The mystic numbers of five and three combine to form eight which is divided into four and two, which added become six. As each number weaves in and out with the next, they add their special magic to The Pentagon, the building. What emerges from the dance of the numbers is a fortress of strength and resolve.

Note: Yes, I was a witness to the plane going into The Pentagon on 9/11 2001. I lost three friends in the fire. The Pentagon, itself, was on fire for three days until they put it out.

Works Consulted:
Coppens, Philip, “Salvador Dali: Painting the Fourth Dimension.” Eye of the Physic. 20 October 2009. Web. https://www.eyeofthepsychic.com/dali/

Crystal, Ellie, “Numbers and their Meanings.”Crystalinks,” 26 Sept. 2009. Web. http://www.crystalinks.com/numerology2.html

DuQuette, Lon Milo, “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot.” Destiny Books: Rochester Vermont. 1999

Hall, Judy, “The Crystal Bible.” Godsfield: Alresdord (UK). 2003

Hart, Francene, “Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck.” Bear and Company: Rochester (VT). 2001