Confessions of a Chthonic Devotee. 1:1

-I embraced the grave, the hollow, the crossroads, and the lonesome places where stone and ivy numbers those who have passed. I walk with shades in strange places, and revel in ecstatic rites in orphic visions. In moist dark earth do I leave my prayers, and by dark of the moon do I walk. In that time I freed myself. I let fear drain away, while I welcomed the taste of the night on my lips. Though I may fall, I rise again and again. I am the unbroken and unconquered, and my lives are as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate. As the Phoenix rises from his funeral pyre, so do I live again.- 

Orphic Hymn to Hekate

(translation by Adam Forrest)

Einodian Hekatên, klêizô, Trihoditin Erannên,
Hekatê of the Path, I invoke Thee, Lovely Lady of the Triple Crossroads,

Ouranian, Chthonian, te kai Einalian, Krokopeplos.
Celestial, Chthonian, and Marine One, Lady of the Saffron Robe.

Tymbidian, Psychais Nekyôn meta bakcheuosan,
Sepulchral One, celebrating the Bakchic Mysteries among the Souls of the Dead,

Perseian, Philerêmon, agallomenên elaphoisi.
Daughter of Persês, Lover of Solitude, rejoicing in deer.

Nykterian, Skylakitin, amaimaketon Basileian.
Nocturnal One, Lady of the Dogs, invincible Queen.

Thêrobromon, Azôston, aprosmachon Eidos echousan.
She of the Cry of the Beast, Ungirt One, having an irresistible Form.

Tauropolon, Pantos Kosmou Klêidouchon, Anassan,
Bullherder, Keeper of the Keys of All the Universe, Mistress,

Hêgemonên, Nymphên, Kourotrophon, Ouresiphoitin.
Guide, Bride, Nurturer of Youths, Mountain Wanderer.

Lissomenos, Kourên, teletais hosiaisi pareinai,
I pray Thee, Maiden, to be present at our hallowed rites of initiation,

Boukolôi eumeneousan aei kecharêoti thymôi.
Always bestowing Thy graciousness upon the Boukolos.

In Praise of Hekate

Hekate, wise one, walker in the dark
who moves swiftly along hidden pathways.
In bright flames in the night, uncertain roads
made clear, in shifting lucent visions, 
in hard choices made, in shadows embraced,
in all these are you well known, Hekate.
Hekate, knower of things unknown,
seer of things unseen, guide of the lost,
guardian of spirits, friend of the helpless,
we thank you for comfort and for shelter,
for a despairing heart’s flutter of hope.
O Hekate, we praise and honor you.

Epithets of Zeus

Agoraios – of the Marketplace
Aigiokhos – 
Aliterios – 
Cleansing from Sin
Basileus – 
Boulaios – 
of Counsel
Eleutherios – 
Epidotes – 
Erigdoupos –
Euboulos – 
Good Counsellor
Eunemos – 
of Calm Winds
Gamelios – 
of Marriage
Hellenios – 
of the Greeks
Heraios – 
of Hera
Herkeios – 
Guardian of the Fence
Hersos – 
Divine Child
Hiksios – 
Protector of Suppliants
Horkos – 
of Oaths
Hupatos – 
Most High
Hypsistos – 
Kappotas – 
the Downpourer
Kataibates – 
Descender, as lightning
Katakhthonios – 
Kathatsios – 
the Purifying
Keraunos – 

The Apple

Eat of the Forbidden Fruit
and ye shall be as Gods!
Eat and ye shall be Wise!
Said the Serpent to the Maid…

Said the Maid to the Man,
Said the Man to His Son,
Said the Son to His Wife…

And so said They,
from generation to generation,
til all Their Kindred knew the Secret.

And so, Beloved, must I say unto you:
Eat and ye shall be Wise!

Andrew Chumbley, “The Grimoire of the Golden Toad”

Knowledge is Imperfect

Ever since at least the time of Newton we have been in the grip of hubristic fantasies that science could perform a reduction on what we know of the physical world to bootstrap all the significant questions.  From Newtonian mechanics, Laplacian reductionism, positivism, logical positivism, Einsteinian determinism, behaviorism, the type-identity theory of the mind, we tend to get seduced by our own imperfect knowledge into thinking we’ve discovered the template of how it all goes together, and what remains is mere data collection.  All we need is that *master equation*.

Well, guess what.  The more we learn, the more we realize how much more there is to learn.  Every single one of these triumphal isms crashed and burned the more our knowledge expanded.  Right now we don’t have a clue how first-person experience arises from neural tissue, we can’t reconcile quantum mechanics with General Relativity, we’ll never know what’s going on in the Alpha Centauri star system right this moment, we understand everything there is to know about what electricity *does* but precious little about what it fundamentally *is* (fuckin’ magnets, man)  – and nobody has a clue aside from your-guess-is-as-good-as mine speculation about what happened *before* the Big Bang.

So there are some decidedly open questions out there and some people choose belief to fill in the gaps.  Hey, some philosophers chose logical positivism.  Some psychologists chose behaviorism.

None of this necessarily leads to the teleology, anthropocentrism or warrants the ad-hominem attacks for being crazy for choosing to “fill in the gaps” about the fundamental questions.  Unless, I dunno, you wanna call Ludwig Wittgenstein or IP Pavlov “insane,” too, for believing in what would eventually become bankrupt theories.

Understand that “proof” is strictly logical and defined tautologically, like 1+1 = 2.  Empirical observations are always contingent, up to and including the question of whether the sun will rise tomorrow,  only assured by the  Uniformity Principle, which is itself circular.  (This is good; this is why even the most often-observed scientific law is always open to revision from  new data).

So even you, Mr. Reality-Based Community, don’t have “proof” as a reason for why you do things (except maybe to solve math problems).  You’re left, like everyone else, with more-or-less justified belief.  Sure, the sun up tomorrow’s a much safer bet than the existence of a Judeo-Christian God.

But all either one are, are Bayesian inferences. Continually updating as we experience and understand more. And amidst all that probability one might find the Supreme Intelligence, The Highest and True. It has as much of a probability of truth as it’s opposite does. To argue that it can be proven one way or another is fundamentally (according to the scientific method) impossible. The system just isn’t built for it. Thus, we return to justified belief having been shown just how imperfect and subjective our understanding of “reality” is.

A heathen hearth

The one-eyed god wears horns, because he is a wild god, a living god of the untamed places. He is fury and passion, prophecy and wisdom. Kingmaker, and Kingbreaker.

The goddess of the hearth is a weaver and a sorceress, weaving fates of men and women. And when she walks the earth she carries a sharp blade to cut the heads off her foes for she is mistress of battle and fury like her husband. And together, and it is always them together, they lead the hunt

The god of thunder wields a hammer, for he is a god of craftsmen and farmers. He keeps safe the working man, brings the warming rains to restore the fields, and hallows the homes of men. He is also the bane of ruinous powers, slayer of thurses, demons, and all wild and unclean. Because that hammer is not just a workmen’s tool.

And his friend, his uncle, the god of trickery is a god of change. A god of fire. Like fire, it can burn things away, leaving us bereft of that which we have. But like fire, he pulls out the deadwood and burns the trash that doesn’t serve us. 

When apart they are mighty, the great gods who shape the world. When together? There is no limit to what can be done. The entire fate of worlds has been changed in the blinking of an eye, and fortune itself rewritten when men and women reach out to them.

The Serpent’s Hearth

A fire is kindled…

A torch is lit by another

and burns till it’s burned out;

a fire is kindled by another fire.

A man becomes wise

by speaking with other men,

but foolish by keeping to himself

— Havamal, Stanza 57

This blog is my attempt to keep my thoughts straight and to perhaps provide a bit of illumination on the path. What path? The path to the old gods. The Old Gods as worshiped by The Saxons, The Greeks, and their kin. The gods who were worshipped long before Christendom replaced the old customs and old faiths. This is a blog focused on their worship, their theology, their philosophy. A few of my own musings will find themselves recorded here, as well as reflections regarding modern issues in relation to the old faiths.

The Hearthkeeper

Who am I? A man of many facets. A teller of tales, singer of songs, drinker of drinks, collector of books, and self-styled guy who knows things. Possibly involving drinking. When I’m not busy with my cats, my partner, or my hobbies I am involved in doing my pat in trying to live the old customs as best as can be. It involves a bit of study, a good deal of faith, a great heap of laughter, and a touch of mindful reflection. So stick around, you might find something that tickles your fancy (or at least makes you laugh).