I had the privilege of being interviewed by author Tony Mierzwicki on his Patheos blog. Tony is the author of “Graeco-Egyptian Magick” and “Hellenismos: Practicing Greek Polytheism Today.” These are excellent books to have in your library. “Graeco-Egyptian Magick” in particular changed my life. The actual Work of aligning oneself to planetary energies and, thusly, the Gods, is rewarding in many ways. Get them for yourself, do the Work, and see the change. Thanks Tony for inviting me to your blog. Below is the link. Peace and Health!
This presentation was originally done for our Alexandrian coven’s Outer Court. Peace and Health!
I lecture for a Unity ministry known as the People of Diversity. They have an interfaith format and welcome speakers from different religious backgrounds. We are all given a specific topic to speak on. Because I am a Neopagan, a witch, and a Hellenic Polytheist, I approach the given topic from that point of view. This lecture is on the topic of Community. Enjoy!
I lecture for a Unity ministry known as the People of Diversity. They have an interfaith format and welcome speakers from different religious backgrounds. We are all given a specific topic to speak on. Because I am a Neopagan, a witch, and a Hellenic Polytheist, I approach the given topic from that point of view. This lecture is on the topic of Abundance. Enjoy!
I lecture at a local Unity church which has an interfaith format and welcomes speakers from different religious backgrounds. We are all given a specific topic to speak from. Because I am a Neopagan, a witch, and a Hellenic Polytheist, I approach the given topic from that point of view. This lecture is on the topic of Commitment. Enjoy!
I lecture at a local Unity church which has an interfaith format and welcomes speakers from different religious backgrounds. We are all given a specific topic to speak from. Because I am a Neopagan, a witch, and a Hellenic Polytheist, I approach the given topic from that point of view. This lecture is on the topic of Forgiveness. Enjoy!
I lecture at a local Unity church which has an interfaith format and welcomes speakers from different religious backgrounds. We are all given a specific topic to speak from. Because I am a Neopagan, a witch, and a Hellenic Polytheist, I approach the given topic from that point of view. This lecture is on the topic of Darkness. My father passed away early in April, and this lecture’s topic really took on a personal interpretation. Enjoy!
Yes, your witchcraft is political. It always has been. I wrote about Dionysos and Ares here and here, respectively. Many witches look to Aradia for their inspiration of the Craft. In fact, in many circles, when the Circle is cast to establish sacred space, Aradia is called upon to help lend her energy.
Aradia is an important character in witchcraft. Whether she actually lived or was a legend in Italian folklore doesn’t matter. A messianic figure of sorts, she is supposedly the daughter of the Goddess Diana and her brother Lucifer and lived in the 14th century in Tuscany, Italy.
In the High Middle Ages (1000-1250 BCE), the Goddess Diana was touted by papal Rome as the Goddess of the witches, who were able to fly on nocturnal journeys to join the Goddess Diana at her Sabbats (also known as the Tregunda). In some writings at the time, Aradia had another name: Herodias.
Aradia was sent to Earth by her mother Diana as the “first of all witches,” and was to teach the secret art of witchcraft to the poor and downtrodden. In “Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy,” her story is told. The book tells us that at the time the poor and subjugated were under the cruel heel of their noble masters. Many escaped their lords and hid in the forests, becoming outlaws.
Aradia taught a different religion than that of the corrupt Catholic Church at the time. The church grew fat on the backs of the poor, thus deserving the arts of witchcraft against them. The arts included the classic witches’ arsenal of using poisons. Curses also were thrown at the church and the nobles. Aradia cursed the God of the church as well:
And when the priests or the nobility Shall say to you that you should put your faith In the Father, Son, and Mary, then reply: ‘Your God, the Father, and Maria are Three devils…For the true God the Father is not yours; For I have come to sweep away the bad, The men of evil, all will I destroy!’
Aradia then went on to teach the Craft of the Witch:
Ares is a God who, in some circles, isn’t understood very well. He is viewed mostly as a symbol of pure rage and frenzy, as well as an icon of unbridled toxic masculinity. The latter confuses me, as anyone who worships Ares and does their research will understand that this is far from fact. Ares is a God of Civil Order and Rebellion, and it is this aspect I want to focus on. This is a necessary message for our times.
Civil strife and disobedience is not a very well-known aspect of his. Under his epithet of Laossous, Ares is known as “He who rallies men.” Note that Ares is a God who rallies ALL men, not just a select few because of the color of their skin and sense of superiority over others of a different skin color. ALL MEN. This means that Ares is a God who also transcends societal boundaries, much like Dionysos. In fact in Thrace he was worshiped alongside Dionysos. Herodotus in his “Histories” writes:
They (the Thracians) worship no Gods but Ares, Dionysos, and Artemis.
But if you think that only men are capable of channeling Ares, you’re wrong. Women have had a lot of dealings with Ares as well. ALL WOMEN. In Tegea, one of the most ancient and powerful towns in Arcadia, Ares had an icon in the marketplace. According to Pausanias in his “Description of Greece:”
Carved in relief on a slab [Ares] is called Gynaikothoinas (Feasted by Women). At the time of the Lakonian War, when Kharillos king of Lakadaemon made the first invasion, the women armed themselves and lay in ambush…When the armies met and the men on either side were performing many remarkable exploits the women, they say, came on the scene and put the Lakadaemons to flight. … The story goes on to say…that the women offered to Ares a sacrifice of victory on their own account without the men.
To add, Apollonius Rhodius in his “Argonautica” states that Ares was the God of the Amazons, a group of female warriors. It was said that they founded many temples in his honor. Apollonius calls the Amazons the daughters of Ares. As you can see, Ares does not discriminate, but he is very well-favored by women especially.
Ares, as the God of Civil Unrest as well as Civil Order, is not a contradiction within himself. Ares is glorious in his campaigns to bring Justice to civilization, and to speak up for the downtrodden who are killed beneath the boot of the oppressor. Ares is an ally of Themis, the Goddess of Divine Order, Law, and Right Judgement.
What does all this mean?
Currently with all of the unrest throughout the nation, we are seeing boundaries shift. As a God of all men and women (especially the latter), Ares is the spirit of sedition: destroying the Old Order to make way for the New. When civil order is no longer order but oppression, it takes rebellion to stoke the fires in order to restore real divine law in our land.
Ares stands with the ill-treated. He defends the defenseless. He gives anger to those who have been beaten down and left for dead. Ares is the shout of civil strife. Women are minorities and were subjugated in many periods of history. How much more so in this day and age for any minority?
In StrixCraft as I teach it, there is the lesson of the Doctrine of the Four Elements and their oversight by both Aphrodite and Ares. Aphrodite (Unity/Love) brings together the Elements for Creation. However, Ares (Strife) separates the Elements for Destruction. By separating them, they return to their natural, pure states. This creates the potential for new beginnings. Expansion and Collapse are the ways of our Cosmos, and follow the natural law of Themis. Ares, as the aforementioned ally of Themis, attempts to bring that pattern to the microcosm so that civil order is always in a state of flux and flow, but the purpose is always Harmony.
As patron of sedition, Ares is there to upend society. Before anyone tries to claim that Ares is for white supremacy and the earlier rebellion of the Confederacy, I remind you that slaves, as the oppressed, are under the oversight of Ares. Violence against their masters is his blessing. Do not try and claim a God who does not side with you.
Violence, Anger, and Rage are found in the uprisings which take place. But I must also remind you that in that anger, Ares also helps us to control that anger. In the Homeric Hymn to Ares it is written:
Ares…Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the ways of blood-curdling strife. Rather, o blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.
There is always anger when you have been maltreated by the Powers that Be. There is always going to be pure rage. This is as it should be. But take care to focus that anger upon the Powers, and not be blinded by it to indiscriminately wage a war upon the innocent, who are also under the purview of Ares.
Remember: your uprising is to create a new society. It is to restore what has been lost; or else make what has never been there. It is to fight for your rights. All of this is Ares guiding you. Ares is with you. Do not be afraid to fight for a better day. When all is said and done, a newer society of civil order will be born. May Ares guide you.
Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)
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Dionysos is often viewed as simply a wine and party God, but that is not Dionysos. He is a God of Ecstasy, the Wild, Frenzy, Madness, Drama, and a patron of the Queer Communities. He is also the spirit of the downtrodden – those who are cast aside or controlled by a society that attempts to chain people down.
In his entourage, Dionysos had satyrs, leopards, maenads, as well as the daimons Lyssa and Mania. Lyssa is the daimon of mad rage and fury, while Mania is the daimon of ecstasy and divine madness, to an extent. Usually it is Mania who is sent by the Gods to inflict its power upon mortals who dare to defy the Gods, or else need to be awakened to their weaknesses. Often there was more than one daimon of Mania, and together they were called the Maniai.
In ancient Greek tellings, divine madness was often inflicted on certain people by various deities for their own agendas: agendas which demonstrate the glory of the Gods or else expose the individual’s weaknesses, bringing them to a place where they must seek restitution for what they have done under the influence of mania. For example, Herakles was inflicted with madness (mania) by Hera. He ended up killing his family. When he became sober and grieved, he was tasked with penitence and performed his infamous 12 labors.
The question of rage and blind fury among the protesters across the nation for the murder of George Floyd and others have caught my interest; not least because the riots and protests are classic examples of Mania: divine madness. The Powers that Be have controlled every aspect of our lives with fear. Fear is a barrier that keeps boundaries intact, especially with struggles for power. Fear is the shield which Dionysos breaks in order to induce chaos for order to be restored. One of his epithets is Eleutherios, or the Liberator. It is also this name of Dionysos that I serve as devotee.
The question of the Gods and politics is a hotbed in many Neopagan and Witchcraft circles. But what many seem to forget is that the daimons of the Gods are involved in every aspect of our lives. The daimons carry the personifications of what we as a people seek out and experience. Dionysos approached kings to declare his divinity, and when they attacked him, he caused his enemies to be afflicted with his daimons and they would lose themselves to their passions. An example is King Pentheus. The king forbade the worship of Dionysos, not allowing women to participate in his rituals. When Dionysos appeared before the king, Pentheus had him locked up. The chains which bound the God, however, fell off, and the jail doors opened. Disguising himself as a woman, Dionysos led Pentheus to the mountains where his wife and daughter were, joining in the revelries of the God. When Pentheus was spotted (he was hoping to catch a glimpse of an orgy), he was brought down off a tree and ritually dismembered. It was only when Dionysos lifted the mad daimon that Pentheus’ wife and daughter realized what they had done. This rending and tearing of the king was a sign Dionysos was sending: the powerful can be brought low, and dismemberment of the “natural order” of society could easily be toppled by the God in his desire to free the oppressed.
Dionysos as a God is neither all good nor all bad. He is a God, and his domains are concerned with freeing the spirit of humanity in order to demonstrate his power. He empowers the persecuted, and lifts up those who have fallen beneath the boots of powerful government.
Social constraints were his specialty: in some parts of ancient Greece (like Athens), women were chattel. They were under the authority of their father, brothers, and later husbands. They had zero power except at certain festival rites, especially those invoking Dionysos. Unlike some other Mystery cults, foreigners and slaves were liberated in rituals which had spirit possession. Outlaws found a home with his Mysteries as well. Dionysos took the marginalized of society and helped them find liberty. Once their spirits tasted liberation, they knew they could never go back to the status quo ever again.
With everything going on in the country right now, I cannot help but see the beauty of Dionysos’ energy in everything. The downtrodden are angry. Marginalized groups are finding solace in their wrath, tearing down a broken system which – for far too long – has kept them beaten under the heels of their masters.
This type of mania is blessed by Dionysos. The ancestral wounds of many folks in this day and age have festered for far too long. This kind of holy delirium has long been overdue, and the murder of George Floyd is the final act of a drawn out fight between the oppressor and the oppressed.
Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, criticized Athenian democracy and frequently was compared by Plato to a gadfly. Just as a gadfly pricked and annoyed, so, too, was Socrates the “prick” for judging the societal conscientiousness of Athens. He was also in touch with his daimon directly without the interference of the Gods in an act called “nympholepsy,” or possession by the nymphs in order to heighten his spiritual awareness. This caused the Athenians to also accuse Socrates of blasphemy and impiety. Socrates was aware of his inner divinity. For this disruption to the natural order in Athens, he was tried and convicted. He was killed by drinking hemlock. Yet it was this criticism which needs to be channeled, and the people of the Old Order must be challenged.
One of the greatest examples of a slaves’ connections to the cult of Dionysos is Spartacus. He was a Thracian gladiator whose revolt against Rome led to him having tens of thousands of followers. Plutarch, the writer and theurgist who dwelt at the Temple of Apollo, wrote that Spartacus’ wife was a prophetess of the God. She was an initiate of the Thracian cult of Dionysos (he had different manifestations of his cult throughout the Greek world). One morning Spartacus woke with a serpent coiled around his head (the Agathos Daimon?). From this omen, his wife stated that he would become great. Her ecstatic trances, combined with popularity of the cult among slaves and the poor, drew crowds to Spartacus’ cause. His victories against the Romans solidified his memory, and Italy was shaken by his revolts.
In the end, I contemplate this revolutionary style of fighting for justice as the spirit of the God being unleashed upon our society to tear down the broken system that we have. It is imperialistic in its spirit and oligarchic in its manifestation. This must be brought to the ground if a new awakening is to occur. The Gods are calling us; they are moving us to find our spirits and free ourselves.
Your ancestors all fought for a variety of reasons. Somewhere in our past, we were all warriors. It is there. And we must ask ourselves during this time of upheaval whether we shall be a part of the Old Order, or the New? Will we allow ourselves to have him possess us in holy mania so that we experience the Oneness of Enlightenment? Or will we remain purposefully blind to our own shackles? You cannot control Dionysos. He will free us from chains and open up the prison doors of our minds. It is his ecstatic glory that will find its way into our spirits, a serpent coiling above our heads.
Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)
My book is now available for pre-order, to be released October 8, 2020!