The Heart of a Servant…

I have not been around too much because I am in the middle of a move.  I do plan to write more soon especially after I get settled.  This Friday, is our official moving out day so hopefully by next week we will be situated.  I have been working really long hours, and doing lots of overtime so we will be able to move to a hopefully better place.  When I focus and put my mind to something I can get things done!  I did want to share something special but I wanted to say a few things first. If this post seems like it is all over the place I apologize.  My mind is in a 100 different places right now.

As y’all (I am a native Texan..lol.) know, this past Sunday was Father’s Day.  I hope everyone had a nice Father’s Day.  I have no family besides my husband and child (that also includes in-laws, it really is just the 3 of us and the Gods).  Yes, my biological family is still living but those ties are severed and that is all I am going to say on that for now.  We went out to dinner and a movie which we all enjoyed.  Lord Ares has been the one to be a father to me and He has been wonderful.  I will be forever grateful to Lord Ares.

I have always felt different.  I have never really belonged anywhere.  An awkward troubled girl with braces, acne and glasses.  A triple threat! lol..I always seem to be getting into trouble and being misunderstood. I have never in my life felt peace.  I read plenty of articles, listened to plenty of gurus and searched everywhere for the answer. I have read about bliss and thought about it but never experienced that particular feeling before.  Even on the day I was born, there was chaos, pain and conflict.  My mother’s uterus burst and she lost a lot of blood.  All babies are born covered with goo and some blood but I was literally born covered in my mother’s blood.  She did survive and had to stay in the hospital for a much longer amount of time.  I got to be reminded daily by my mother about how she almost died and how I “took all her strength”.  I realize and respect the pain and suffering she went through but I will not apologize for being born.  As a mother myself if I had to choose between my life or my daughter’s life, I would always choose my daughter.  She is my reason for living.

The point is that I would always look at the “peaceful” people with envy.  Why can’t I be more like them?  Why don’t I just keep my mouth shut?  I wondered if I needed to shave my head and become a monk.  I grew up Catholic and even contemplated becoming a nun.  While I have not had a peaceful life I have always felt the call to serve.  The sacrifices, hard work, and challenges are something I have contemplated my entire life.  I would happily humble myself for the right Lord.  We each have different roles and callings in life.  My calling in life, or at least one of them is to serve.

When I started this path I had asked Ares, about oaths or vows.  HIs answer was “No, not right now.”  It is not necessary to make any kind of oath or vow to any of the Gods in order to worship them.  In fact, I think it is discouraged because it is not something to take lightly.  To break any oath or vow is unspeakable and dishonorable…You can have a perfectly fulfilling spiritual life without making any huge commitment whatsoever.  The only “commitment” I think one should make is to always respect the Gods.  Some people worship the Gods for 10 or 20 years before even thinking of making a commitment and again an oath or vow to the Gods is not necessary.  Every person has to walk their own path.  I had come to the conclusion that I would not be making any oaths and I continued on my journey.

The days prior to Father’s Day felt very surreal.  There was something stirring.  I was thinking of what to do for Ares.  Roses? Incense? Steak Dinner? Dance? Poetry?  Nothing clicked.  Then I knew what to do and it is more than just a gift.  Ares made it crystal clear to me that it is time. It is something that deep down both me and Lord Ares knew what would happen all along.  For a few weeks prior I had felt a strong pull to worship Aphrodite and each time I would praise her, I felt my ties to Ares getting stronger.

I wondered if I should wear something special or write down what to say.  I thought if I should say some hymns to Lord Ares first but my Lord would have none of it.  So in my pajamas and clean I approached his altar and lit his candle. In my experience Lord Ares is all about getting straight to the point.  I laid face down and prostrate before him with my hands reached out to him.  All this time I worried about what I was going to say, but as soon as I was there the words just flowed out of my mouth.  I made my vows and swore an oath of service to Lord Ares.  There was complete silence as if the whole world suddenly froze.  I trembled and waited…and waited….Then a miracle.

I was happy.  I was actually happy and truly happy.  The only other time I had truly felt completely happy was when my daughter was born.  There was joy and acceptance from Lord Ares.  Then I was at peace.  Me at peace.  I have never ever known peace, much less have it given to me by a God of War.  Maybe it is nothing to most people, but to finally be at peace is huge for me.  It is something I have never had.  Peace was like the carrot at the end of the stick and I am the donkey.  Running, running, running but never getting any closer to the carrot.  Then I experienced this new sensation called bliss.  I almost thought I was drunk(or what it would feel like to be drunk because I have never been drunk)! I never thought I would feel complete bliss.  Happiness, peace and bliss?  A joyous war God? Yes it is possible because our Gods are so much bigger than we can possibly imagine.

I realize the commitment I have made and there are probably sweeping lifestyle changes that I will need to make.  As far as the details of how I will be serving Ares, that will come together in time.  I do not claim any leadership role whatsoever.  Who knows?  One day he may turn me into a leader with his mentorship but for now that is not what I am. I am just like you.  I love Ares deeply and passionately because that is what I do.  I am not ashamed to love the Gods. However it is not necessary to go there but it is something I choose to do.  I think of myself like a soft clump of clay and I am ready and willing to be molded by Lord Ares.  In time, he may not be the only deity working on the clay.  Lord Apollon also has a strong presence in my life but we are getting to know one another.  In case anyone is wondering…Yes, Apollon is still very much here! I get a pretty strong indication that Apollon is here to stay too!

One time during the past week, I ended up falling asleep in front of Lord Ares’ altar.  I felt horrible but luckily my Lord found it a little amusing and was forgiving.  I think I know why I ended up falling asleep.  While it is true that I have been working long hours that is not the main reason I feel asleep.  At the feet of Lord Ares, I am finally home.

Advertisements

My practice and worship of Lord Ares

I want to begin by saying that this is just the way I worship Lord Ares.  This is the way I do things and if you feel called to do something different by all means go right on ahead.  I do not claim to be anything but a devotee of Lord Ares.  I want to share a little of how I practice because when I first started I could not find anything informative or positive on how to pray and worship Ares.  My hope is that maybe something I do may help or inspire you in YOUR own path.

I saw on yahoo answers one time someone asking on how to pray to Ares.  The response went something like this, “Why would you want to do that?  Pray to Dionysus, so you can drink and party!”  Now, with all due respect to Dionysus, I think he is more than just the “drink and party God.”  I have a very healthy amount of respect for Dionysus and I think it is very disrespectful to just consider him in such a limited capacity.  It is very disappointing to see such ignorance and hubris among people who claim to worship the Gods. 

If you are a reconstructionist or follow a more traditional route the way to pray, from my understanding, would be as follows:

1.  Wash your hands and face, at a minimum your hands

2.  Approach your shrine or altar and light your candle.

3.  Some say you need to say something along the lines of “All profane things depart” but I do not feel it is necessary for me.  I know I am clean and what I think is more practical is just make sure you have a quiet space.  Turn off the TV, radio, IPOD and maybe shut the door.  Let other people in your house know that you can not be disturbed so they can go to another part of your house or room. 

4.  Address the deity by name and all other names and titles of the deity.  One way to accomplish this would be to say, “Ares and all other names you wish to be known by.”  I never say this personally but I have heard some people may wish to use some variation of this in the beginning.  Some people say the name of the deity and only add the title that relates to the particular request they are making of that deity.  In my own personal practice I do not feel the need to say all of Ares’ titles and names when praying or making offerings to him.  In the beginning, I did say “Ares, God of War, Courage, etc…” but I do not do that anymore.  For me, I simply call him Lord Ares or Lord Father Ares because he is very much a divine father figure and mentor to me.  I do not find Ares to be picky on huge introductions but do what you feel is right.  I would recommend to be polite.  You do not “demand” Ares to come to you.  Inviting Lord Ares respectfully and humbly, in my opinion is the right thing to do.  Saying “please” and “thank you” is also good to remember.

5.  The next part, you can say a hymn or words of praise or adoration.  In the beginning I would say a hymn every single time.  I do not do that anymore because I am finding hymns to be a little repetitive.  I always wonder is he going to get bored with me saying the same things over and over again.  I do love adorations and still utilize them because to me they seem more action oriented.  To me, saying the words “I adore you” has a very strong and powerful meaning. I have not said a hymn in a long time, but I still think it can be used as a starting point or as a regular part of your practice if you so choose.  Most of the other Hellenic deities I still use hymns because being devoted to Ares and now adding Apollon, takes quite a bit of time. 

6.  Present and give your offering.  I think different people do this at different times.  My personal preference is to do this at the very beginning as a way to invite him.  Some people like to do sports or martial arts as an offering to Lord Ares. I think dance is something that could also be an offering. 

Traditionally his incense would be frankencense but I have offered him other incenses.  I can not remember the name of one brand of incense but it comes in a blue box.  I think it is called nag champa.  I think he likes the stronger scents but that is just me.  If he does not like a particular brand of incense I am sure he will let you know! I also offer him a floral incense like rose incense because to me it seems a tradition to give flowers to warriors and soldiers before they head off to battle.  I also think given his close relationship with Aphrodite that he would appreciate rose incense or actual roses or flowers.  I have not received any objections from him regarding the rose incense. 

I have also given him traditional offerings such as barley or olive oil.  For libations I have given water, fresh squeezed lemonade, dr pepper, sweet iced tea, honey and salsa(I am from Texas, we love our salsa! lol).  As you can see some offerings are traditional and some not so much.  I have not really given too many food offerings but I might offer more of them in the future.  I think non-traditional offerings are fine as long as it is something you really like and something you feel the deity would appreciate.  I think it is also important that your intentions are pure and genuine. 

7.  Say your prayer and/or request.  I think it should also be noted that it might be best to build up some kind of bond with him before you make a request.  It can be as simple. You do not have to do a big huge formal thing every day or even every week. I just do not think he would appreciate it if the only time you ever speak to him is when you want something. 

One part of my own practice that I love about Ares, is what I think could best be termed as a kind of “sacred silence.”  Sometimes my thoughts are a complete mess and people that get close to me soon find out my life can be chaotic.  I always seem to have multiple conflicts and situations going on that have to be resolved.  Sometimes there is so much I want to say that it just becomes one big blob and nothing can come out of my mouth.  Lord Ares, lets me sit in silence before him and somehow he can make sense out of all it.  After this time of silence, maybe 15 minutes or maybe much longer, I just immediately know what to do. I am able to get back on track and not feel so overwhelmed or lost. It is hard to explain but I hope I have explained it clearly enough.

8.  If you follow the traditional route some say to remind the deity of things of offerings and deeds you have done for that deity in the past. I personally do not do this but Ares is also a very strong part of my daily practice.  He hears and receives offerings from me every day.  I greet him every morning and at night before I go to bed. Maybe if your own worship of him is not as regular you might want to consider reminding him of things you have done for him but I would strongly suggest you be respectful. 

9.  Closing.  Some people mention about give the deity a time frame for the request, if you made a request.  I am not really comfortable doing this myself so it is not a part of my practice but some people find it helpful.  I think to close you could say, “Hail Ares.” You can also be more elaborate but I think simplicity is nice. 

I will probably say this a million times in this blog, but I think the key to any successful interaction with the divine is to have an open mind and heart.  I do not think any of the deities can just be classified into one category or put into one box.  Just as Dionysus is more than the “drink and party God”, there is more to Lord Ares than most people realize.

 

In search of Ares: Lord, Saviour and Divine General

I do not think there is any possible words I could say, that could begin to express just how deeply I feel about Lord Ares. Worshipping Lord Ares, is like breathing. It is fundamental and necessary to my existence. People have plenty to say and assume about Him. How many of those people have actually lifted their voices in prayer to Him? Even among Hellenic Polytheists, some are disrespectful, but as soon as trouble arises, “I am going to stick Ares on you!”
Amazing what you find on the internet! My experience of Lord Ares might be different or it might even be similar to your own, but the only way to truly discover the warrior God, is to seek Him yourself with an open mind and a humble heart. (Homer, by the way, is not the be all, end all of Hellenism..) When I speak of Lord Ares, I speak from my heart and my own experiences.

He is Lord Ares, out of respect because He is a God and a son of Zeus. He has authority and is a divine ruler. He is a warrior and king in His own right. Although Father Zeus is King of All, Lord Ares is still a God worthy of respect, praise and adoration. He is a supreme being. Before you roll your eyes, and say “duh!!!”, I have to point this out because people often forget that he is a deity when they start dissing Him. We are only mortal, that does not mean we are dog poo, but I think humility and respect are qualities that should be emphasized more in our community. I think there are more than enough myths to explain why arrogance never pays off in relating to the divine.

He is a savior. Yes, a savior. In my darkest moments, when all hope seems lost, He is always there driving me forward. He has seen me at my weakest moments. He was there when I thought of ending my own life…Despite his reputation of being a “bully”, He has always been a kind and loving father to me. He could have easily torn me down but instead he breathed into me courage and the will to live. No matter how many tears I shed, he does not stop teaching and challenging me. I was in a very heated argument a little while ago, and it was about to get, well, bad…I remember standing eye to eye with this person. Then like a smoke rising from the ground, I felt a stirring of strength starting from my feet and rising all the way to my head. For the first time I stood eye to eye, toe to toe with an opponent. Instead of shaking with fear I felt a strength in me that I had never felt before. It is an amazing feeling, to truly stick up for yourself. To make a stand. That is the gift of life itself. That is the blessing of Lord Ares. There is no hiding behind him like a scared puppy. He makes you face your problems and challenges head on. He saves our souls from cowardice and despair. He saves us from ourselves but that does not mean you are the damsel in distress. When He comes to save you, He will place a sword in your hand and march you forward.

His way of saying He believes in you, can feel like being tossed in the middle of battle but he is the general that leads by example. The general fighting alongside his men. He is the general, whose voice can rally countless warriors to victory. He is the whisper commanding you to rise, when life seems to continually knock you down.

He is bloody, murderous, fearsome and dangerous. He is a war God but He is also so much more. As a child, I used to be so scared I would jump behind the couch every time someone knocked on the door. I was always afraid. I would hide in my closet, and scream into a wash cloth so no one would hear my sobs but He did… He took a scared little girl like me and taught me to rise. He is my Lord and Savior. He is my general and commander. He is my divine father and no matter where he leads me, to the depth of darkness and beyond, I will follow.

Hera

Noble, Blessed Queen Mother.
You are as swift and fierce as a gust of wind.
No one escapes your loving embrace.
Breathing life into our wearied souls, we are reborn.
Each day you inspire all of mankind to rise.
Your beauty is beyond words.
With eyes that see all, your presence captivates our hearts.
Softly whispering words of hope, you save us when we are blinded by darkness.
Majestic Goddess, grant us the strength to always believe and persevere no matter what may arise.
Please remind us to always maintain our honor and dignity.
Bless our relationships with partners who believe in mutual respect and honesty.
We are forever grateful to you, awe inspiring divine queen.  Hera, royal Goddess, we give you honor and praise with every fiber of our being. Hail Hera.

Hephaistos

I have been gone for far too long and for that I apologize.  To kick things off, I will share some little devotional pieces I have written about each of the Gods.

Renowned, Famed, Glorious Hephaistos, God of Fire, Metalworking and Crafts.  Cast away at birth and disregarded as weak and delicate, you proved yourself worthy and supreme, rising to the heights of Mount Olympus.  You are the God of Hard Work and instill the quiet perseverance and strength of heart in every mortal.  Resourceful and inventive, you always find a way and have an endurance in all things that is everlasting.  Golden Divine Phoenix, you always rise high above the ashes, never succumbing to despair or defeat, but reborn with the bright purifying fire of determination.  Your creativity, ingenuity and skill, keeps the universe moving forward. 

Virtuous, loyal and wise God, I am humbled and filled with joy in your presence.  You warm the hearts and put a smile on the faces of both mortal and divine.  I honor and praise you, great mighty Hephaistos.

Hail Hephaistos