A Renewal of Vows

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A new turibulum (incense burner) for the occasion.
August 7th is coming quickly now.  Time slipped by as it tends to do in my world.  But August 7th is an important date in my own religious calender…

It’s the anniversary of my vows to Apollon.  He and I have been together in this relationship we have for 8 years now…  8 years?  Has it really been that long?

This year, though, I was told it was time to renew our vows.

I have, admittedly, been avoiding thinking of my actual vows.  It’s not that I am avoiding this situation, but it’s just that even after all this time I sometimes feel the immensity and weight of having Him be part of my life at this level.  How did this come about?  When did this start?

I’m not sure I really have answers to those questions.

And what do I want out of it?  That’s what He wants to know with this…  All of this time, we’ve been working on what He wants for us and me.  Now He wants to know what I want of Him…

That’s not an easy question to answer.  Me, who regularly doesn’t know exactly what she wants of her life on a very basic level anyway.  I prefer to dream and plan before blindly feeling my way through the actual execution of that.

I can’t do that this time.

This isn’t to say I’m not excited and happy.  This is a joyous occasion!

But just like a mortal marriage, it’s a contract that isn’t to be entered into lightly.

The shrine is slowly being prepared.  I was given the gift of resin incense and a beautiful turibulum (burner) today by my mother.

So here we go.  Countdown to the 7th.

There will be pictures to come, I’m sure.

Asklepieion: My Big Dream

I mentioned in a video that I had been given the charge to build a temple for Apollon, but I realized that I’ve been kind of nervous about talking about what it is that I feel called to accomplish with my life… Partially because I really don’t want to hear the naysayers’ opinions. Partially because I’ve spent so much of my life avoiding the calling towards what I realize I’m meant to be doing in this world… It’s hard to say I have a calling and a vision for my future, that I feel I was placed in this point and time in history because I have Work that I am supposed to do, and not feel like hubris is creeping in.

I talked to my therapist about this the other day. I went back to therapy, because I’m working on social anxiety issues and pain management via cognitive behavioral therapy. But really? CBT is pretty awesome. It aligns with Stoicism and mindfulness. Finding Personal Center and conquering the doubts, fears, and shadows in my own psyche while on relatively equal footing instead of in the middle of mental health emergency is proving to be a really empowering and enjoyable process thus far.

It’s that whole “Know Yourself, y’all” deal that Apollon has driven home to me.

But as I was saying, I talked to my therapist about it the other day. This was a huge deal for me, because I’ve only talked about the Big Dream in bits and pieces to anyone. Never mind that this fantastic woman, truly a modern day healer, who I’m paying to help me untangle the knots holding me back, isn’t Polytheist or Pagan. I have no idea what her beliefs are, other than she wasn’t too keen on the local inter-faith community locally and she’s got friends with children who are Pagan or Polytheist. And yet, we were able to talk Jung, CBT, and the intersection of mental illness and spiritual experience on a neutral place… She got it. She understood where I was coming from, even if I struggle with an elevator speech on what I believe and can talk more easily about what I’m not instead.

She looked at me. She smiled. And she told me, “Your road is lonely.”

She got it.

Each time I’ve talked to someone, even in bits and pieces, I’ve felt a little more brave about putting it all down in one place. So, despite the fact that I have questions I’ve promised to answer, I wanted to take the time to put The Big Dream down in words to share. The Big Dream I’m eventually going to have to have people helping with, because it’s too big to do on my own.  Even if for now it is lonely.

As I’ve said, Apollon has made it clear that He wants me to build Him a temple. It’s not simply a temple where religious services will be held but a place of healing. And not just any healing but spiritual and mental healing specifically.

I think my own life and watching other friends, both in and out of the Pagan and Polytheist communities, struggle with spiritual emergence, spiritual emergencies, and mental illness has led me to understand that this sort of place is needed. We have very few allies we can go to when we find ourselves having experiences we cannot explain. Mystical experiences can be quite close to psychosis, and typically there is no one there to help navigate the person experiencing them that has a firm understanding of how the spiritual, mental, and even physical integrate to make the larger whole.

You may find yourself seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who can help you get leveled and back in control of the situation, but you may find yourself scared to talk to them about the religious part of your experiences due to being branded one of the mental ill, widely stigmatized in our society.

You may find yourself falling into a community where psychiatry is demonized. Even though it may, in the right hands, be a key to help you obtain some relief without removing the underlying spiritual work. And you may find in that situation that your life falls away from you in a way that causes you to lose more than you are willing to give up.

Or, worst of all, you may find yourself unhelped at all and end up dead.

My dream is to build a place, with a trained and professional staff, that brings about equilibrium for those in this situation. Professionals with degrees in social work, psychology, chaplaincy, and so on, to help serve a person transition from mundane existence to a more spiritually-led life. A psychiatrist who is friendly and open to the needs of this type of situation.

The logistics is that, eventually, a live-in religious community of Polytheists and Pagans would develop on the land that the temple would be on. Small individual houses for those who work both the land or with people along with communal space for (optional) shared meals and celebrations. More small quarters for those who are coming to be helped. All surrounding the space that’s dedicated for Apollon’s temple.

Around that would be a sustainable farm using permaculture, including a bee sanctuary and shrines set up in various places throughout the zones. We would offer a training programs for veterans, teaching them both to farm and helping them work through any mental health problems they might have problems with. We would offer internships and a residency program to hopefully help train other professionals to go out into the world and offer services that align with our values.

This serves 2-fold: One, it provides Pagan and Polytheist training. Two, for those who can’t afford the services monetarily, there can be a sliding scale and payment via work that must be done to keep the community thriving.

If I can get enough land, I would like to offer space for natural and green funerals. At the very least, I know that with my current training in being a death worker will be used to serve those who need help dying, though eventually I would like to explore the thought of offering hospice space for those in need.

I’ve had this idea in my head for about a decade now, but it’s only now that I’m starting to think that it’s quite possible I may be able to actually have this happen. It’s only now that I’m brave enough to start talking about it with others

So… There is my Big Dream. When you hear me talk about building at temple for Apollon, this is what I actually mean. When you hear me say that I’m struggling to figure out what I’m going to do education-wise for myself, this is why. This is what I want to make happen. This is what I’m called to do.

 

Study for Future Apollon Piece

Study for Future Apollon Piece

Slowly pulling myself out of the art block that lasted over a decade. I’m currently working on studies for a future piece of Apollon.

I have been putting off drawing Apollon, because my self-confidence to get Him right is does not exist. He has been pushing for it all the same.

Coming Out as a Godspouse

Coming up at the beginning of August, I will be celebrating my 8th anniversary with my Lord Apollon. With that, He has requested that He and I revisit and rework the vows we made to each other all of those years ago when our relationship was just really beginning to take form. Despite the fact that these vows were agreed to for only a year, we remained with each other faithfully without much fanfare. We simply were and are, and I have enjoyed constant companionship with Him. I have enjoyed the blessings He has brought into my life.

It feels strange and uncomfortable talking about my relationship with Him on my blog, which on the other side of the coin is hilarious to me. I have to remind myself that it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve even begun to talk about the relationship to those nearest and dearest to me.

But with this renewal of our marriage vows, He has made it clear to me that my Work with Him is about to increase. And with that comes the necessity of being open about who Apollon is to me.

For the last 6 months, I have been attempting to write my history with Apollon. At this point it simply isn’t going to happen. It is too long, convoluted, and honestly I’ve discovered that in those first few years I’ve completely lost track of my own chronological history due to mental illness and/or spiritual emergence as a (still emerging) Spirit Worker.

He doesn’t care if I tell our story at this point, because there are other projects He prefers I work on – Roman Revivalism, building a new shrine in the house, and laying down the plans for His future sacred homestead and temple. Taking on students. Training further as an Oracle. More importantly, working to raise His healing family’s cultus and (re)building a healing modality that lies in the heart of a Mystery tradition that is being built – Not just by me, but others working with Him.

He wants art. He wants me to write more, both fiction and non-fiction, so perhaps in time our history will be told. It’s just not high on my priority list right now.

All that was really requested of me is an easy “Yes, this is me. I am a Wife of Apollon.”

When this relationship started, I realized that I wasn’t the only one. I simply didn’t know other Wives or even that there was a larger community of Godspouses (and all the other shades of relationship) out there. Over the last few years, I’ve found others. Some of us have formed very important friendships to me to the point where I truly do consider them sisters.

I’ve heard stories about how they are treated by some in the larger community. I’ve seen a lot of accusations that fall upon the mental illness stigma our community is rather terrible about. And I think partially I’ve been quiet due to not wanting anyone else having problems since I have been completely open in the past about my struggles with both bipolar disorder and debilitating social anxiety – Both of which Apollon has helped me and is continuing to help me manage. I don’t want others to experience some of the treatment I’ve experienced due to the fact that one Spouse happens to also have the mentally ill label.

But more importantly, I have simply wanted my relationship to be private, because it’s exactly that: A private relationship. I don’t talk about the details of my marriage to my mortal husband. Specifically I don’t divulge very private details: our disagreements, our physical relationship, etc. And yet people feel that, because you are married to a God or Goddess, that it’s okay to ask for information of a private nature. There’s a disconnect for some reason that, because this is a God it is somehow different emotionally than being married to a mortal. It isn’t. It never occurs to people that asking someone in this sort of relationship with a God might be hurt by others demanding to know if their Husband wishes to be in a marriage with them or how to have sex with them.

In the limited openness I’ve had I’ve found this to be true, so I’ve very quietly started coming out about it. I put a link up to The Treasury of Apollon. I mention my work with Apollon more regularly. I state I’m a godspouse on my About page.

But that’s not quite good enough for Him. I’m okay with that, or if I say that enough times perhaps I will be okay with it eventually. He didn’t ask me to tell our story. He just wanted me to be open about who He is in my life.

I will not be responding to others asking questions about if He wants to marry them or how to sleep with Him. Trust me, if He has interest in you, He’ll find away to get that wish communicated to you very clearly. I’m fully okay with Him having relations with others, but I’m much, much less okay with being involved with being part of the organizing of said relations of strangers.

I will, however, talk about my relationship with Him. I will talk about Him in general and our Work together.  If you have a question about working with Him in general, I will happily respond to your questions.

So there you have it.

Apollon… Lord Overseeing My Compost Pile

Recently, I’ve had a run in with one of the local spirits in my area. He requested that I focus on composting as an offering to him. I have been combing my memory and sources for a Roman god of compost. Sterquilinus comes to mind, but he is more a god of fertilization and manure.

And while it isn’t Apollon that has requested it in this situation that I am working with, I began considering what I have been noticing within my circle of Hellenic or Apollonian friends. More than one of us have been called to work our land as homesteaders and farmers. This might not seem strange with that single statement, but all have also received some dream or message that we are also to build temples to Apollon.

This year you will find me talking a lot about working with local gods… About finding some sort of syncretism with the world and culture we live in to help birth the Gods into our modern lives instead of honoring The Immortal Ones in a tradition that, for the most part, has not had a chance to step fully out of the history books… Traditions that have many people fully comfortable with leaving their faiths exactly where they were when they fell from common practice.

I have been considering the American Apollon, or at the very least the Midwestern Apollon (offered ranch dressing on iceburg lettuce and fried Oreos on a stick during the state fair? I kid, I kid… Kind of?). He is clearly wishing to be an agricultural deity once again. He is not the sun here; he is not Phoebus… For the sun is under the care of Sol in my religious life.

In myth, Apollon’s agricultural side was that of a mouse that brought the plague… Here, in my world, He is still a god of purification. While I was sitting here musing over who would be the God or Goddess of Compost, it struck me as all too obvious. It would, indeed, be Apollon.

For He is the God of Decay. He is the God of Rot. He purifies and restores all matter. He breaks down the dead plant parts, cardboard, and whatnots, changing it into the very thing that life starts and thrives in.

This is but a half-thought… Something that I started writing last night after musing upon it and coming to this revelation to myself. I am amused that I had never realized it before. So there it is in the even someone else can use this personal gnosis for their own.