Procrastes X

Notes from a Lazy Reconstructionist

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We now enter the darkest weeks of the solar year, a time of year that always seems to speak of Hekate. She is Dadophoros, the Torchbearer who lights the way; Propolos, the Companion who walks ahead with Her lights; and of course, Khthonia, She of the Underworld.

This is not the happiest time of year for me, contrary to forced cheerfulness of the mainstream Holiday Season (or maybe because of it!). Working in retail pretty much guarantees that. But more deeply, a change comes over my praxis and my perspective: Hermes’ presence recedes, along with a sense of ease and hot-bloodedness. What replaces it is best described as “back to black”: my interest in the occult is piqued (there is, after all, a long tradition of Hekate being a Goddess of witchcraft, stemming ultimately from classical Athens), nocturnal rites dominate, and my focus turns inward as the trees lose their green beauty.


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The Hymn to Hermes Kriophoros

Of all the cities that invoke your name first, Lord, Tanagra has long been among your favorites. There they call you Kriophoros, Ram-Bearer. This is why:

No one knew who affronted the Gods. Their anger was in the summer heat that hung low and heavy over the houses and the fields. It crept among the houses as the mountain lion creeps among the trees. Mothers woke to find their children screaming with fever. Farmers, their limbs shaking, left their crops scorching in the heat. And many of the old never rose again.

Fiercely the funeral pyres burned as the cicadas sawed in the trees. Fiercely the Tanagrans cried to the sky, their cheeks stung by tears.

And then you appeared, O Lord.

Terror follows epiphanies of the Gods. You beckoned the Tanagrans to rise from where they hid their faces in the dust. They brought forward a ram, biggest of the herds, saved for sacrifice. The proud animal...

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The Visible Gods: Dawn, the Sun and Multiple Meanings

I watched the sun rise over a bank of clouds on the horizon while on my way to work a couple days ago. Watching the sun rise and the world stir and awaken to its light is a spiritual experience in and of itself. The birds sing for joy and beneath their echoing songs you can almost hear the sighing of the earth itself, as if its breath were quickening in anticipation.

Seeing this titanic (pun!) entity rise in the sky makes one aware of the presences of other divine beings that inhabit and govern the world. These are the visible Gods, so huge, vast–right there in front of our eyes! They are present, as apparent as the sun in the sky. Dawn is a Goddess heralding the Sun’s approach. The Moon is a Goddess riding her white bull across the night sky. The stars are daimones. The mountain is a God. In the trees dwell nymphs. This is how the ancients perceived the world. They didn’t have to...

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The Kriophoria & Pastorialism

One line of departure I neglected to mention in my last post about Hermes Kriophoros is the image of the shepherd relating to months/seasons of the year. I should note first, however, that although every Hermes Kriophoros is a shepherd, not every shepherd is a Kriophoros. It seems we have Virgil to thank for connecting the pastoral tradition of poetry to the (highly idealized) landscape of Arkadia in his Eclogues. I think this is where some of the obfuscation takes place: so widespread were both the cult of Kriophoros and the poetic motif of the shepherd caring for this flock that some overlap is perhaps not far-fetched.

With this in mind, a further development of pastoral imagery is the shepherd with his flock as a calendrical motif representing March, April, May, or spring in general. Mosaics show this directly: on one from Thebes (c. 500 CE), a shepherd carries a lamb under the...

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Heads Up

sheep flock


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Hermes Kriophoros

Hermes is a rustic God, a truly rustic God. This is not a familiar image of Him. Those sides of His character that most often receive homage these days concern speed, communication, commerce—hardly surprising, considering all these areas accord well with modern life and its preoccupations. Yet I would argue that Hermes’ equally widespread image is that of a pastoral God, particularly evidenced by His epithet Kriophoros, “Ram-Bearer.” This is by no means the only evidence pertaining to His concern with herding and pastorialism. His other epithets Epimelios (“Keeper of the Flocks”), Nomios (“Herder”) and Oiopolos (“Shepherd”) also speak to this. In Hesiod, He and Hekate “swell the produce, and the driven herds of cattle, and the wide-ranging goat flocks, and the flocks of deep-fleeced sheep” (1). According to Homer, He bestows his favor upon beloved mortals by multiplying their herds (2)...

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About Me

I have been worshiping the Gods as a Hellenist for a full decade now. Like many others, I migrated to Hellenic polytheism (“Hellenismos” was the popular term then) from Wicca, which had been my accepted religion since 1998. That’s sixteen years as a Pagan of one stripe or another, and only now do I feel as though I’m getting a handle on the more-than-basic facets of Hellenism.

Within the past year, Hermes in His aspect of Kriophoros has become more and more prominent in my worship of the God. Hekate stands alongside Hermes in prominence. They are joined by Apollon and Agathos Daimon. (Not to mention all the divinities who are invoked for monthly observances, yearly festivals and specific needs!)

This blog honors those deities. It documents my praxis even as it continues to evolve with Their presences in my life.

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