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Bonfire

Post  tayarlin on Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:59 pm

The Summer Solstice approaches!! Has anyone planned on doing any special rituals or any acts of worship? I had the thought to have a bonfire and invite some friends and be in the Gifts of the Solstice and the Agricultural Gods.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:37 pm

I'm not aware of any particular religious significance given to the summer solstice. June 21st is the first of the Orphic month of Karkinos, so the liturgy changes, but beyond that, it's not any different from the commencement of any other month. 


tayarlin wrote:thought to have a bonfire and invite some friends and be in the Gifts of the Solstice and the Agricultural Gods.


I'm confused; what are you referring to? I've never heard of 'Gifts of the Solstice' before, and who are the 'Agricultural Gods' — any god is potentially agricultural. scratch

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
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Re: Bonfire

Post  tayarlin on Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:47 pm

Does there have to be? Why not celebrate the return of Summer and what it brings to us. Gifts of the Solstice is a my bad on capitalization, and I was referring to Dionysos and Demeter.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:07 am

A religious celebration ought to have a religious purpose — I think that goes without saying.

But if you want to have a bonfire for the fun of it, by all means, go ahead. You don't need any reason to have a bonfire.


tayarlin wrote:Why not celebrate the return of Summer and what it brings to us. 


What does it bring, that you are referring to? 


I was referring to Dionysos and Demeter

They certainly have agricultural associations, but so also do Zefs and Plouton, Persefoni, Apollon, Afroditi, Adonis, Rhea, Kronos, Ilios, Selini, Pan, the Nymphs, Fortune, Nature, Earth, and even Athini and Poseidon. There are many gods one could rightly call agricultural — actually, perhaps all. cyclops

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Bonfire

Post  WynnDark on Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:40 am

I should think that what was being referred to was the growing season, which is what Summer is for those of us in the US, at least in large swaths of it we're watching our crops flourish (if we're lucky) and that Is something to celebrate.
 
Many of the Theoi could be thanked for and praised for this, which one chooses to praise at this time is probably going to be more dependent on your particular region, without a festival to go on from ancient or classical sources that is.
 
A bonfire would be grand, for festivities, for communal gathering, and for burning sacrifices to the gods, if one feels compelled to celebrate the gifts of the summer, then by all means make sure the Theoi are included and praised for the blessings they have bestowed. If doing so can actually be done with like-minded followers of the gods then all is to the better, if not then involving them in a meaningful way with the joys of your life is not to be frowned upon.
 
Remember though, the crops of the summer aren't always those we eat, violence brews in the heat, both necessary and not. An example of necessary violence (so folks have an idea of what I mean): bucks fighting to establish a hierarchy that will carry through into breeding and hunting season later in the year.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:03 pm

WynnDark wrote:we're watching our crops flourish (if we're lucky) and that Is something to celebrate.

Perhaps if one is a farmer, yes. One always ought to be thankful for a blessing of success in one's life.

But to be very honest, an agricultural celebration for those of us not involved in an agricultural lifestyle strikes me, with all due respect, as a little bit empty and neo-primitivist. 

Rationally speaking, fields do not care whether they are celebrated or not. If tended properly, the climate is good, and the seed is good, they will grow. It is natural procession. Celebrating growing things likewise seems to me a bit of a 'counting one's chickens before they hatch' situation. Once the fruits of one's horti/agricultural labors are collected and apportioned to whatever purpose they were meant for, be it sale, storage or use — that's the time to express one's gratitude. 


Many of the Theoi could be thanked for and praised for this, which one chooses to praise at this time is probably going to be more dependent on your particular region, without a festival to go on from ancient or classical sources that is.

Any god can be thanked for anything. However, I don't think dispensing with rational and empirical knowledge is helpful. Gods do not make plants grow. Cellular action, solar energy, and gathered nutrients make them grow. Gods ensoul, personify and give us faces to apply to Natural Laws, but it is the Laws that makes things happen. 


Ultimately, my criticisms of doing this stem from my strong aversion to retroactive justification / ex post facto reasoning — which I do not see as ever helpful or meaningful. Being thankful and gracious for a specially-privileged situation in life, such as a special and/or new prosperity is a great thing; what I am speaking against, however, is first planning a celebration and then afterward seeking something to celebrate. Such a situation, as I see it, is in the wrong spirit from the get go. 

I'm sure it will be taken offensively, (though I absolutely wish it not to be), but I think the question that should be asked, and that I would pose, is this:

If it weren't the summer solstice, and if it weren't such a popular custom among many New Age and neopagan communities to have bonfires on what they sometimes call 'Beltane', would you (nonspecific 'you') still feel so drawn to having such a celebration?


If the answer is yes, then I think the only conclusion is that, yes, there must be genuine reason for such a desire to celebrat.

But a 'no' answer, I think, would suggest bandwagoning and consequent retroactive-justification of which the thinker him/herself may not have even been readily aware. 

PS- please do not interpret my questionings as intentionally offensive in any way. I'm simply honest to the point of bluntness, and I question in order to help myself understand others' thinking, as well as to encourage the formulation of reasoning on the part of the person I ask.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Bonfire

Post  WynnDark on Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:11 pm

Perhaps if...well, yes Erodius in my case I am a homesteader, my crops are what gets put on the table as much as possible and the rest is (with few exceptions) what other local farmers and homesteaders grow in abundance.  

Understandably if one isn't as rooted to the earth they live on as to draw a living (financial or literal) from it, perhaps then the connection isn't seen, or is deemed 'empty'. I disagree whole heartedly that it would be entirely empty; would it be as immediate or visceral or possibly even painful? No, it wouldn’t, but I would point out that without those agricultural cycles functioning to our (humanity in general) benefit most urbanites would come to know starvation. Also remember that it doesn’t take long for people to break down to heinous acts when they don’t have anything to eat. Humanitarian aid is a rapid process in Some parts of the world (thank the Theoi I’m in one) but even when that’s the case the disruption of food distribution to a city for even a short time tends to cause a sharp increase in violence. If nothing else, celebrate the shield that a good growing season is, more so than any police officer ever could be (note: no disrespect at all is meant to the police in this).  

As for the Gods not making plants grow…well, that’s a can of worms if I ever did see one. Yes
“Cellular action, solar energy, and gathered nutrients” wrote: 
 make plants grow, but would any of these things actually work as they do now if the Gods willed it otherwise? I’m not suggesting the breaking of natural law, but rather the retarding of necessary ingredients for the growth of the crops within the bounds of the laws of the cosmos, the wrath of the Theoi is a terrible thing and though they may well not become wrathful because you (general) didn’t have a bonfire or any other celebration, ritual, or event, celebrating the Theoi and praising them with an eye to insuring a good growing season isn’t to be looked down upon.

Personally I would include Dionysus, Demeter, the Nymphs, Zeus, Aphrodite Areia, and Priapus if not more of the Gods in such a celebration.

As for the Solstice celebration being influenced by New Age thought, sure, I doubt many of us haven’t been influenced by modern neopaganism in some way. Would I have a solstice celebration when it wasn’t the solstice…no, it’s a specific point in the agricultural cycle, in the turning of the seasons, a point on the calendar that matches a measurable natural event that has significance to those of us that are growing crops whether to feed ourselves or feeding others. As for the bonfires, well, those are just good clean fun on one level…and on another, if I needed a bonfire to burn the offerings I’d be making then yes, yes I would have a bonfire to make my offerings on, the long bones of cattle anyone?

Since I don’t have a great heap of offerings to immolate and I don’t have a large community of celebrants to join me, I won’t have the bonfire. Either would make for a perfectly valid reason to have a bonfire in a religious context. In the case of tayarlin I don’t know if their friends would be taking an active part in any religious event going on at this gathering, or if the fire would simply be a communal gathering place for them.

As a side note Erodius, I’ll admit that on first reading your post that I was offended for as much as I find the Stoics fascinating I don’t claim to be amongst their number, as such I’ve made a point of going over this post a few times and trying to remove any inflammatory materials. I realize that our paths are rather different (I’m no Orphic either) and that your writing is often rather blunt and whether or not we ever agree on any given point, I will endeavor to not take your words as a personal attack unless you make it explicitly clear that’s what you are doing (I would expect no less if such were the case). If I do, since my emotions tend to run about with me, I’ll endeavor to not fire off the first thing that comes to mind without thinking as I’d rather converse with you (and all others here) than argue (as opposed to entering healthy debate). 

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:41 pm

WynnDark wrote:Understandably if one isn't as rooted to the earth they live on as to draw a living (financial or literal) from it, perhaps then the connection isn't seen, or is deemed 'empty'. I disagree whole heartedly that it would be entirely empty; would it be as immediate or visceral or possibly even painful? No, it wouldn’t, but I would point out that without those agricultural cycles functioning to our (humanity in general) benefit most urbanites would come to know starvation. Also remember that it doesn’t take long for people to break down to heinous acts when they don’t have anything to eat. Humanitarian aid is a rapid process in Some parts of the world (thank the Theoi I’m in one) but even when that’s the case the disruption of food distribution to a city for even a short time tends to cause a sharp increase in violence. If nothing else, celebrate the shield that a good growing season is, more so than any police officer ever could be (note: no disrespect at all is meant to the police in this).  
 


I am, of course, not saying that what happens on a farm is irrelevant to those who do not live on one; that is certainly false. Everyone who enjoys the privilege of a comfortable life ought to be always thankful for that. What I am saying is that an individual who does not farm or live an agricultural lifestyle, as far as it appears to me, does not really have any business celebrating that “the crops are growing,” especially given that, in many situations, he/she, separated by many miles from the source of his/her food, does not even know what the situation is on X-farm at a given time. In other words, to use myself as an example, while I have every reason to be perpetually thankful to have a comfortable life and sufficient food, it would be absurd for me to “celebrate the growing crops” when I live perhaps 200 miles from the nearest farm, am not a farmer, and get my food from a supermarket to where it had been shipped, in many cases, from other states or even other countries entirely. My objection is to what I see often in New Age/neopagan groups where generally urban/suburban, privileged, upper-middle-class individuals with no actual  experience in agriculture and a romantic/poetic notion of rural life  make a somewhat comical scene of “celebrating the harvest of the Triple-Goddess All-loving Earth Mother” and the ‘wheel of the year’ in a suburban backyard or park with items purchased from a grocery store that originated who knows where.
 

WynnDark wrote:but would any of these things actually work as they do now if the Gods willed it otherwise? I’m not suggesting the breaking of natural law, but rather the retarding of necessary ingredients for the growth of the crops within the bounds of the laws of the cosmos, the wrath of the Theoi is a terrible thing and though they may well not become wrathful because you (general) didn’t have a bonfire or any other celebration, ritual, or event, celebrating the Theoi and praising them with an eye to insuring a good growing season isn’t to be looked down upon.


I would give an opposing argument: 
 
Where I would disagree is this: gods are not omnipotent. They are bound by Natural Law, synonymous with Fate/Fortune, to which only the Supreme Zefs alone is external. Gods, in Orpheo-Pythagorean reckoning, are souls aligned to the Natural Laws — merged with the Laws, in a way, but still subordinate to them. In terms of angry gods, this is also something that the Orpheo-Pythagorean, Platonic, and other schools reject. In our reckoning, there is no such thing as an angry god, nor a ‘happy’ god. Sallustius perhaps explains this reasoning most concisely:



XIV.
In what sense, though the Gods never change, they are said to be made angry and appeased.
If any one thinks the doctrine of the unchangeableness of the Gods is reasonable and true, and then wonders how it is that they rejoice in the good and reject the bad, are angry with sinners and become propitious when appeased, the answer is as follows: god does not rejoice - for that which rejoices also grieves; nor is he angered - for to be angered is a passion; nor is he appeased by gifts - if he were, he would be conquered by pleasure.
It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies - not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of sins, we do not appease or change the Gods, but by what we do and by our turning toward the divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again the goodness of the Gods. To say that god turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind.


No prayer or sacrifice will ever change the dictates of Fortune. Sacrifices sway people, not gods. Should Fortune/Law decree that a plant grow, it will, should Fortune/Law decree that it not, it will not. 


WynnDark wrote:As for the Solstice celebration being influenced by New Age thought, sure, I doubt many of us haven’t been influenced by modern neopaganism in some way. 


I disagree here. I know for a fact there are plenty of individuals following Olympianic religion who have no particular influence or relationship to contemporary New-Agery and neopaganism. However, I think it is simply the fact that the place with the fewest such individuals is likely the US. Many of the ‘tenets’, so to speak, of American culture (i.e. a consumerist mentality, ‘have it your way’-ism, DIY-ism, a dose of ‘everyone is 100% equal’, a heavily impersonal/individualistic and internet-heavy society, and suspicion of virtually any authority figure) are very conducive to the growth of New Age and related systems. It's only logical they'd be so popular here. 
 
I likewise disagree strongly with ‘supplementing’ original Olympian religion with external add-ons from New-Agery. Classical Olympianism is such an immensely rich and sophisticated field that, as I see it, by ‘supplementing’ something, another thing is being ignored.
 

WynnDark wrote:if I needed a bonfire to burn the offerings I’d be making then yes, yes I would have a bonfire to make my offerings on, the long bones of cattle anyone?


 
Offerings wouldn’t be burnt on a simple bonfire. Burnt offerings are made in a consecrated fire on a consecrated altar, and would not be/are not used for any other purpose. The size of a sacrificial fire would vary depending on its purpose and the size of the altar, but a bonfire is just a bonfire.



WynnDark wrote:As a side note Erodius, I’ll admit that on first reading your post that I was offended for as much as I find the Stoics fascinating I don’t claim to be amongst their number, as such I’ve made a point of going over this post a few times and trying to remove any inflammatory materials. I realize that our paths are rather different (I’m no Orphic either) and that your writing is often rather blunt and whether or not we ever agree on any given point, I will endeavor to not take your words as a personal attack unless you make it explicitly clear that’s what you are doing (I would expect no less if such were the case). If I do, since my emotions tend to run about with me, I’ll endeavor to not fire off the first thing that comes to mind without thinking as I’d rather converse with you (and all others here) than argue (as opposed to entering healthy debate). 



I am glad to hear that. It’s essential to divorce person from idea. I show no quarter to counterpoints in debates, and I can be merciless against a statement or idea, but at least from my end, I argue for and against only ideas, sentences, statements etc., never an individual person. I was taught once, in a class on debating years ago, to ‘reject the idea, never the person’, and to never say ‘I disagree with you.” but instead ‘I disagree with your idea, XYZ-statement, what you’ve said, etc.”

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Bonfire

Post  tayarlin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:03 am

Your ideas are well thought out, yes. For knowledge sake, I do indeed live on a farm and see it quite fit that I honor the Gods and return of the growing season. The thought and desire to have a bonfire did not come from a "neo-pagan" idea, rather one of my own heart and mind. I plan to do this with propriety and a pious heart and mind. Offense was not taken, just a little irksome. Razz

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Re: Bonfire

Post  WynnDark on Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:05 pm

On your first point, I think we may agree to disagree…though not entirely, for I don’t advocate what you’re describing anymore than you do, that is people with no idea of where their food comes from and no desire to ever find out “celebrating the harvest of the Triple-Goddess All-loving Earth Mother” and the ‘wheel of the year’ as I see this is disrespectful to whatever divine beings they may be praying to, if they are even praying at all (which seems unlikely in your example).  

Otherwise, I understand your viewpoint, though I don’t hold it and a good deal of that is no doubt because I Do know where my food comes from, I am one of the people growing it. I still think that celebrating the growing season and praying to the gods for a good harvest isn’t inherently just something for us rural folk, but I agree that generally sincere thought and practice doesn’t go hand in hand with neopagan events such as the one you suggest above.

 

Where I would disagree is this: gods are not omnipotent. They are bound by Natural Law, synonymous with Fate/Fortune, to which only the Supreme Zefs alone is external. Gods, in Orpheo-Pythagorean reckoning, are souls aligned to the Natural Laws — merged with the Laws, in a way, but still subordinate to them. In terms of angry gods, this is also something that the Orpheo-Pythagorean, Platonic, and other schools reject. In our reckoning, there is no such thing as an angry god, nor a ‘happy’ god.”



We are on different segments of the wide spectrum that is Olympianism, you are an Orphic and follow a different pattern of thought about the Theoi…not a ‘bad’ one by any means, but different. Though I would agree, the gods are not omnipotent with the exception of Zeus, I would even agree that the gods are bound to and a major part of the Natural Laws…I don’t agree that such is all they are (I know, you didn’t say such but it could be implied and often seems the case at least to my eyes), or that they can’t be angry or happy for that matter.

I’m also, as I’ve said, a rural homesteader, a rustic, the local Nymphs and certain other semi-divine beings do well figure into my religion, and they don’t have to be omnipotent to affect my crops.

As to the New Age comment and America, well, yes I should have made myself clearer; I realize that there are whole swaths of people from other countries who are following an Olympianic religion who probably aren’t influenced by the New Age movement. I’m an American, so perhaps I should have said that most Americans who follow such a path are likely influenced by neopaganism or have been at some point.

Offerings wouldn’t be burnt on a simple bonfire. Burnt offerings are made in a consecrated fire on a consecrated altar, and would not be/are not used for any other purpose. The size of a sacrificial fire would vary depending on its purpose and the size of the altar, but a bonfire is just a bonfire.”



Bonfire, etymologically speaking once described a fire in which bones were burnt. If I needed a bonfire, then it would be to burn offerings of bones, something I usually do on my alter though it isn’t large enough to burn more than say something the size of a middling chicken’s bones and organs.  Now, the way I was referring to it was more in keeping with the common idea of a bonfire as a great big fire (something more sizable than your typical camp fire anyway), which one would Need if burning large quantities of offerings or a large offering such as cattle bones. As such, a bonfire can well be something other than a ‘simple bonfire’ and in this context I do mean it as it was originally intended, as a bone fire.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:19 pm

Perhaps it would be helpful for me to describe the image I see when I hear the word 'bonfire' as to why I am so viscerally averse to it. 

This is what my mind sees:

"A group of New-Agers, neopagans, neo-tribalists or some combination of the three, lighting a large fire somewhere for the purpose of honoring the ‘wheel of the year’ and “The Triple Goddess”, at which all guests present have the opportunity to whine about how ‘oppressed’ they have been, show off their troves of silver pentagrams, purple glitter hair extensions, fairy wings, magic wands, cat ears, and outfits purchased at the local Renaissance festival, where all can discuss their revelations from their spirit guides, their totem animals, the UFOs that have visited them, and their experiences as ‘otherkin*."

*if you don't already know what this is, I'm really not sure you even want to. Shocked 

This is certainly by no means an etymological definition of 'bonfire', it's my subjective and experientially-based one, based not on what a bonfire should be, but on what those I've seen have been (with the exception of those mandated 'bond-fire' bonfires that I have attended per the mandate of my school when I was in gradeschool, which are a whole different kettle of fish.)


WynnDark wrote:I don’t agree that such is all they are

The relationship between a God and a Law is complex, and you are right, they are not entirely interchangeable. A god is a soul, a physical thing, a part of the universe. A Law is a Form, to use the Platonic designation. Laws govern physical being, but are themselves outside of it in their essence. A god is a theotic soul perfectly, entirely and immaculately aligned to a Law, but of a different order of being, so not quite identical with the respective Law. 


WynnDark wrote:they can’t be angry or happy for that matter.

As different as it may seem for those not familiar with philosophical/intellectual theology, the belief that deity is unchanging is a vitally important and very central truth for many such camps, to the point that this characteristic is effectively the primary quality that defines what is or is not divine. Fluctuation of passions is foreign from divinity; it is neither happy nor sad, but transcendant of either. However, it would be absolutely ridiculous to say that nothing bad ever happens on earth. Planted fields do wither and die, people go hungry and starve, people lose what they've worked for, people die young, and people's lives are ruined. We say these 'acts of god' are not acts of any true god at all, but rather of daemones, terrestrial souls without flesh-and-blood bodies. There are many kinds of daemon, but many are, in essence, disembodied human souls between lives — ghosts, if you will — that are subject to the same sorts of passions as embodied souls. Daemones are, effectively, human; they're absolutely capable of anger, or happiness, or vengefulness, or any other feeling or drive. There are good daemones and bad ones. According to Sages of ours such as Dv. Iamblichus, most daemones act in the service of a god's seira, which is a term used to describe a god's dominion of influence (for instance, the sea is part of the seira of Poseidon, the peacock is part of the seira of Ira, etc.). Because most daemones do not have independent identities or names, if 'asked' their identity, for instance, in syndesmos, they will respond with the name of the god they serve, because they have no other name for themselves. However, as I mentioned, just as their are virtuous people who strive to serve god, and also bad, greedy and hateful people, there are also bad, greedy and hateful daemones, called cacodaemones. Cacodaemones do not serve gods, but care only for themselves. However, the danger is that these daemones likewise, will call themselves by the name of whatever god they wish to at the moment, usually in order to take advantage of someone who had inadvertently called them. We believe these things are the origin of a great deal of understandable confusion over the nature of gods. 


WynnDark wrote:I’m also, as I’ve said, a rural homesteader, a rustic, the local Nymphs and certain other semi-divine beings do well figure into my religion, and they don’t have to be omnipotent to affect my crops.

Exactly. Nymphs are daemones. They are not omnipotent, not at all, nor are they truly gods. However, it is exactly because of this that they can be either beneficial or harmful, happy or sad. Daemonic/nymphine souls (of which we ourselves are a sort) are the ones directly responsible for wealth or poverty, for success or failure. 


WynnDark wrote:Bonfire, etymologically speaking once described a fire in which bones were burnt. If I needed a bonfire, then it would be to burn offerings of bones, something I usually do on my alter though it isn’t large enough to burn more than say something the size of a middling chicken’s bones and organs.  Now, the way I was referring to it was more in keeping with the common idea of a bonfire as a great big fire (something more sizable than your typical camp fire anyway), which one would need if burning large quantities of offerings or a large offering such as cattle bones. As such, a bonfire can well be something other than a ‘simple bonfire’ and in this context I do mean it as it was originally intended, as a bone fire.

I was speaking of just a great big pile of wood and random flammable things lit on fire. This would not be a sacrificial fire. Even if it is not on a permanent site, a sacrificial fire would be lit in a space demarcated specially for the purpose and lit with consecrated fire (from the home's central hearth in early Antiquity, or in later Antiquity from a torch/brazier taken from the site another sacrificial fire: from a fire altar perhaps, or a shrine lamp). What I'm saying is that, regardless of it's size, a sacrificial fire is not just a random blaze that one throws things into, that's all.

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-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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Re: Bonfire

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Erodius wrote:"A group of New-Agers, neopagans, neo-tribalists or some combination of the three, lighting a large fire somewhere for the purpose of honoring the ‘wheel of the year’ and “The Triple Goddess”, at which all guests present have the opportunity to whine about how ‘oppressed’ they have been, show off their troves of silver pentagrams, purple glitter hair extensions, fairy wings, magic wands, cat ears, and outfits purchased at the local Renaissance festival, where all can discuss their revelations from their spirit guides, their totem animals, the UFOs that have visited them, and their experiences as ‘otherkin*."


A rather colourful description, though perhaps a little generalised.

I have a minor issue with the statement that a sacrificial altar would contain a fire lit from a previously burning consecrated fire. What would be the difference between lighting from a previously consecrated fire and simply consecrating the fire aftwerward, like many people today, who do not keep a candle or lamp to Hestia burning at all times, do at the start of each ritual? I see no fundamental difference, unless I've misses something.

Also, as an aside, I happen to have, as acquaintances, three people who consider themselves Otherkin, and they probably wouldn't like the depiction you lumped them into Laughing certainly many, many people who believe in the concept may have some imbalances and odd ideas, but a fair number of them are also productive, functional members of society, including the three I mentioned, who are quite rational and level-headed in nature, aside from maybe one or two quirky beliefs, and actually are not neopagan in the sense you described, but a Celtic Recon, an Asatruar and a practitioner of Shinto, respectively, hence my comment on the generalisation.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:59 pm

Icarus wrote:I have a minor issue with the statement that a sacrificial altar would contain a fire lit from a previously burning consecrated fire. What would be the difference between lighting from a previously consecrated fire and simply consecrating the fire aftwerward, like many people today, who do not keep a candle or lamp to Hestia burning at all times, do at the start of each ritual? I see no fundamental difference, unless I've misses something.

I can see a certain difference. Even in cases where it is not possible or safe to keep a light continuously burning, a continuity is maintainable by source of original ignition. That is to say, a shrine lamp for instance, even if it is not kept lit, is in a measure the same fire each time it is lit, as would be any further lights kindled from it. For instance, every wick or candle I have used in worship has been lit from its predecessor, and is used to light its replacement when it is used up.


Icarus wrote:Also, as an aside, I happen to have, as acquaintances, three people who consider themselves Otherkin, and they probably wouldn't like the depiction you lumped them into  certainly many, many people who believe in the concept may have some imbalances and odd ideas, but a fair number of them are also productive, functional members of society, including the three I mentioned, who are quite rational and level-headed in nature, aside from maybe one or two quirky beliefs, and actually are not neopagan in the sense you described, but a Celtic Recon, an Asatruar and a practitioner of Shinto, respectively, hence my comment on the generalisation.

I really am sorry, but I'm just a little  . . . skeptical, about this. Being an evidently productive and functional member of society is really not a great measure of mental state. Plenty of sociopaths have been described by those who knew them as otherwise polite, normal-seeming individuals, who just happen to commit brutal murders in their free time. Now, I doubt your acquaintances are sociopaths, but my point is that being off-one's-rocker does not necessarily entail being incapable of outward normalcy or being a socially nice person. I also did not mean to say that "otherkin-ness" entails New-Agery (although I imagine there is a strong correlation) but rather that New-Agery seems to possess a preponderance of "otherkin", and it's usual values can do much to enable the fantasy. 

I don't know your acquaintances, and probably will never meet them, so I cannot speak for them specifically, but I can say that, although Asatru and Celtic-revivalism are definitely not the same as the mostly New-Age/Wiccan-inspired eclecticism that makes up much of 'neopaganism', much of both of these systems requires a large measure of 'neo' improvisation, simply because it has to. There is just, unfortunately, not much left of those religions to even build on, and consequently, individuals attracted to these religions, I imagine, look oftentimes to neopaganism for a certain amount of guidance, not really knowing where else to look. 

On a side note, if anyone is interested in a laugh, I was curious enough to look up what the masses of urbandictionary had to say about New-Age — it's beyond priceless. It's generalized, sure, but it had me, literally, falling out of my chair cracking up, particularly because I have met several special-snowflakes personally who fit this description to a T: 


[url=http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=new age]http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=new%20age[/url]

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Bonfire

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:18 pm

As to the question about consecrated fire, you cleared that up perfectly, thanks ^^

And as to the Otherkin statements, and social functionality ≠ good mental health: point taken. I myself don't put much stock in the concept, it's admittedly pretty far-fetched, but I've never been one to let something like that get in the way of my opinion of them xD at least for the three in question, even if it's a fantasy they believe in, it's a fantasy that is evidently helping them improve upon themselves, so I take a "live and let live" approach to it.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  WynnDark on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:49 am

I'm not sure that I entirely agree with the Orphic position on the nature of the gods, though I suspect I'd always take issue with it as a knee jerk reaction on some level, though actually hearing your explanation of daemones does help a great deal with making it make more sense to me so I find myself not entirely disagreeing. Which is odd I feel and has me thinking on another topic all together, that of whether it's really appropriate to call them all daemons or cacodaemons, how does one categorize, it sounds simplistic, much like a Celtic reconstructionist (or even just one of celtic decent that still takes part in the faery faith) suggesting that all such beings are Fae or Good Folk when such is so clearly too large of a catch all to have as much meaning as it could.
 
Pardon the wandering there. I can understand associating that rather colorful (though not entirely inaccurate, no matter how generalized...I've seen what you speak of in person) description of a bonfire getting stuck in one's head as the definition of bonfire. It is not what I tend to mean when I use the word, I shall endeavor to seperate a big pile of wood that one burns things (or not) on and an honest bonfire which tends to mean a large alter fire (especially one with bones in it) when I use the word.
 
Personally I don't have an alter lamp, well I do, but it hasn't seen service yet as it is intended for my shrine which is much under construction at present (well, it will be after several of the other structures on site are erected). I've seriously considered using a sunglass to start my alter fires much as the vestal virgins would re-light the flames in Vesta's temple when they went out, though I've not yet made one and often don't actually light my alter fires until sundown or after dark anyway.
 
I am curious about a few things you've mentioned Erodius, the term: syndesmos is one of them, what exactly is this, if you are allowed to tell the uninitiated that is?
 
Also, I'm curious as to how your tradition demarcated sacred space for sacrificial fires and what the general ideas on relations with daemons the Orphics hold, again, if these topics aren't something that you are comfortable sharing with the uninitiated I will understand. Of course if some of these subjects should form a different topic that too would be understandable.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:43 pm

WynnDark wrote:. . . whether it's really appropriate to call them all daemons or cacodaemons, how does one categorize, it sounds simplistic, much like a Celtic reconstructionist (or even just one of Celtic decent that still takes part in the faery faith) suggesting that all such beings are Fae or Good Folk when such is so clearly too large of a catch all to have as much meaning as it could.

 
Yes, I am absolutely simplifying in using only the categories of daemon and cacodaemon. “Daemon” is a word like “bird” — all birds can be called birds, right? But certainly there are a great many sorts of birds. Cacodaemon is in a binary with daemon based on character. Daemones are characterized customarily as either benevolent on one hand or ambivalent to malevolent on the other. But as to orders of daemones, if you get into the explorations of Ectheotic Sages like Iamblichus or Proclus, the number of codified daemonic orders gets to be very large. In general, a daemon is any of the various ranks of beings below a god. In the more ecumenical system shared by many religio-philosophical systems in Late Antiquity, the orders are: 1. Archons, 2. Archangels, 3. Angels, 4. Heavenly daemones, 5. Heroes/Kouroi, 6. Terrestrial daemones, 7. Cacodaemones, 8. Embodied daemones (living sentient beings — we, for example).
 
 

WynnDark wrote:Also, I'm curious as to how your tradition demarcated sacred space for sacrificial fires and what the general ideas on relations with daemons the Orphics hold, again, if these topics aren't something that you are comfortable sharing with the uninitiated I will understand. Of course if some of these subjects should form a different topic that too would be understandable.


 
That actually depends on the formality of the ceremony and of what sort it is. For Mysteria, there is a specific and more elaborate act of demarcation, but in general, an altar is marked by aspersion with consecrated water (χέρνιψ). Orphic telesteria often keep a permanent eternal flame from which religious fires are lit, but like I mentioned, it is also done that continuity is maintained through the transmission of religious fires from the lamp, wick or coals left behind from a previous fire.   
 

In terms of relations with daemones, the benevolent daemones are essential to even an act of worship or prayer. We are essentially too distantly separated from gods to communicate with them directly, but the good daemones (Agathodaemones) of a god’s seira are much more accessible and will deliver our supplications to the god. In terms of relation with cacodaemones, these are perhaps the most significant obstacles to anyone’s progression, whether religious or temporal. Dv. Iamblichus concluded that every Soul, in the process of making its choices through life, creates a ‘photographic-negative’ of itself; a Soul’s evil twin, essentially. Every person’s cacodaemon is merciless and, by its nature and origin, acts by its whole power to damage its twin’s life, mind and happiness. But in order to be freed from the cacodaemon one created, one has to recognize it, acknowledge it, and ask it to leave one alone. The cacodaemon, in this instance, would be treated as any other power — it would be given an occasional prayer and a sacrifice, although the purpose of it is not to seek the cacodaemon’s graces, but rather to appease it and get it to depart.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Bonfire

Post  WynnDark on Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:08 pm

You make a good point with your bird analogy, it sounds as though I should read some Iamblichus and Proclus to get a feel for the order of beings they discuss. I suppose that one could use such a system to classify any being between a God and man, though I have to wonder if some such would take offense.
 
Thank you for the information on demarcating the alter space, that is similar to what I am prone to doing as it is though I usually use barley and use khernips for washing my hands and face prior to entering the space.
 
The seira of a God is then all of the daemons that are aligned with the God in question, to the point that they speak as though they are the God? I wonder if that's in part how we get multiple 'masks' as it were of the Theoi through their epithets and the like, would you mind defining seira?
 
While I may be no Orphic, through this conversation I find that I'm becoming more intrigued by the religion than I ever was in the past, not that I was oblivious to its existence or entirely uninterested before.

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Re: Bonfire

Post  Erodius on Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:13 pm

WynnDark wrote:The seira of a God is then all of the daemons that are aligned with the God in question, to the point that they speak as though they are the God? I wonder if that's in part how we get multiple 'masks' as it were of the Theoi through their epithets and the like, would you mind defining seira?

A seira entails more than just a god's associate daemones, it refers to everything that is part of that god's domain, including its symbola — the god's associate Law, color, number, polygon, vowel, objects, fumigation, hour, and month/house, as well as all of its aligned daemones (aligned, yes, even to the point of nominal identity).

I have an essay posted in the Philosophy section elaborating more on the source of apparent divergences in static and unchanging gods. Although the basic conclusion is that the divergences are the result of varied capabilities and different levels of refinement on the part of the beholder, rather than the beholdee, it is our belief that ambivalent or malevolent daemones can and do impersonate gods for the sake of misleading the embodied. We would say that this is the source of instances of outright contradiction. I use a mirror analogy in my essay — a clean mirror, a cracked mirror, a dirty mirror and a fogged-up mirror, for instance, will all exhibit slight differences in how they show a reflected image, just as various individuals, depending on their refinement and state of being, will reflect a divine power differently. However, there will always remain sufficient commonality between the mirrors to indicate that they are all, ultimately, reflecting the same image. A total inconsistency, we would say, is evidence of some deliberate, possibly cacodaemonic, interference — say, if three mirrors are reflecting a rocking chair, while the fourth shows what is evidently a pineapple.
 

While I may be no Orphic, through this conversation I find that I'm becoming more intrigued by the religion than I ever was in the past, not that I was oblivious to its existence or entirely uninterested before.

Orphism is an influential, serious, and powerful faith for those who follow it — influential enough to impart a considerable segment of our doctrine to the early Christian church, whose teachings have seemed, for many scholars of historical religion and religious development (including an elderly former professor of mine who had once been a Presbyterian minister), to amount to a rather odd ideological marriage of Pharisaic Judaism with Orphism. 

We Orphics were influential enough in the early Christian era that Christian writers like Clement of Alexandria, in his work 'Protrepticus' (or 'Exhortation'), make energetic efforts to refute other cults that, because of a fair degree of similarity in belief and practice, were considered especially threatening by the early Christian church, particularly Christianity's three most notable rivals at the time, the Orphics, the Mithraists, and the Manichaeans. It was really just a historical accident that the Christians got state sponsorship and the scepter of rule over the western world. Mithraism, Manichaeism, and Orphism were all strong contenders . . . sixteen-hundred years ago . . .

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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