Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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Hail to Persephone and Demeter, goddesses of agency

Personally, I don’t hold onto myths if they don’t serve me or the world I live in. Yesterday was the offering to Demeter and Persephone, and I decided to share the Persephone myth I believe in.

Demeter, as an earth goddess, spent much time in the beginning underground encouraging the roots to grow; and beloved Persephone often came with her. But since you can only wat your mother work for so long, Persephone began to explore the world underground and the underworld beneath it. On her explorations, she came upon Hades, overworked and overtaxed by the demands of the dead.  Persephone offered help, and Hades gladly took it. The work of bringing justice and order to the dead gave Persephone purpose and in the light of the silent flames, she blossomed. Eventually, she fell in love with Hades, the underworld, and the dead; refusing to leave. Demeter, as mothers do, refused to believe that Persephone (her bright spring child Persephone) would rather stay in the dark underworld and flew into a rage that destroyed the gree growing plants of the earth. Demeter refused to go underground to tend to the roots. The dead flocked to the underworld in droves and told Persephone of the famine and her mother’s cruelties. Kind-hearted Persephone went to the border of the underworld and underground, where the seeds sleep and the roots grow. Slowly, because she had little of her mothers powers, Persephone pulled the roots from the seeds directing them to water and rich patches of soil before pushing tentative shoots up to the sun. During this time of famine, Demeter grieved on Hecate’s shoulder. Demeter mourned her daughter and all the dreams she had for her. With time and Hecates care came acceptance, so when the first brave shoot came through the earth Demeter was ready to begin again. But grief is something we live with, not something we conquer; and on the anniversary of Persephone’s absence,  Demeter falls into deep grief again.

Some men I know, have an issue with this version of the myth. They say I don’t know my gods appropriately, or that I have never bothered reading about them. When I show them my collection of classic writers: Apollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, Hesiod, Pausanias, the Papyrii, Strabo, Oppian, Ovid, Pseudo-Hyginus, Virgil, Cicero, Propertius, Seneca, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, Apuleius, Claudian, and both the Homeric and Orphic hymns; I’m accused of keeping them on my shelf to make myself look smarter. Even though some of them aren’t in neatly bound books, but rather were pdfs I printed and put into beat-up binders.

Those men do exactly what the classic myth does: they take away the agency of the women around them and diminish them to something smaller. That’s why I love my myth so much. It’s pure women’s culture, and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands before I let it go.

Women’s culture is the art and stories women make around their identity as women. Here at the Pagan and the Pitbulls, this culture is intersectional. In the middle of that intersection of gender, sex, sexuality, race, age, ability, and nationality is our agency.

Our agency to live in our bodies, to modify and dress them as we see fit.

Our agency to not only decide if and when we want children; but also to raise those children in a place with good housing, clean water and air, healthcare, and education.

Our agency to choose the careers and jobs we want, to follow our purpose and desires. Without others putting arbitrary barriers to accessibility.

Our agency to choose as many or as few partners we desire, and to form bonds with them in ways that fit our lives.

Our agency to grieve our beloveds fully.

Our agency to call for justice for harm done to us and our communities, and to have those calls be heard.

Our agency to choose our religion, philosophy, or beliefs without them being questioned.

Our agency to simply exist.

Demeter and Persephone are goddesses of agency and to them, I give an offering.

XXVIII. TO PERSEPHONE

Daughter of Zeus, almighty and divine, come, blessed queen, and to these rites incline:

Only-begotten, Plouton’s honored wife, O venerable Goddess, source of life:

‘Tis thine in earth’s profundities to dwell, fast by the wide and dismal gates of hell:

Zeus’ holy offspring, of a beauteous mien, Praxidike, with lovely locks, infernal queen:

Source of the Eumenides, whose blest frame proceeds from Zeus’ ineffable and secret seeds:

Mother of Eubouleos, Sonorous, divine, and many-form’d, the parent of the vine:

The dancing Horai attend thee, essence bright, all-ruling virgin, bearing heav’nly light:

Illustrious, horned, of a bounteous mind, alone desir’d by those of mortal kind.

O, vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight:

Whose holy form in budding fruits we view, Earth’s vigorous offspring of a various hue:

Espous’d in Autumn: life and death alone to wretched mortals from thy power is known:

For thine the task according to thy will, life to produce, and all that lives to kill.

Hear, blessed Goddess, send a rich increase of various fruits from earth, with lovely Peace;

Send Health with gentle hand, and crown my life with blest abundance, free from noisy strife;

Last, in extreme old age the prey of Death, dismiss we willing to the realms beneath,

To thy fair palace, and the blissful plains where happy spirits dwell, and Pluto [Plouton] reigns.

XXXIX. TO DEMETER ELEUSINIA

O Universal mother Deo fam’d august, the source of wealth, and various named:

Great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joy’st in peace, to nourish corn is thine:

Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing, are thy constant care;

Who dwell’st in Eleusina’s seats retir’d, lovely, delightful queen, by all desired.

Nurse of all mortals, whose benignant mind, first ploughing oxen to the yoke confin’d;

And gave to men, what nature’s wants require, with plenteous means of bliss which all desire.

In verdure flourishing in honor bright, assessor of great Bacchus [Bromios], bearing light:

Rejoicing in the reapers sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find.

Prolific, venerable, Nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Proserpine [Koure]:

A car with dragons yok’d, ’tis thine to guide, and orgies singing round thy throne to ride:

Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine and fruits of lovely green.

Bright Goddess, come, with Summer’s rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling Peace;

Come, with fair Concord and imperial Health, and join with these a needful store of wealth.


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Hymn for Labor Day

This is a hymn for Labor Day, for the workers and the gods who bless them. For gods who go by a thousand thousand names, and the workers who do a thousand thousand jobs. This is a hymn for the people.

This is a hymn for Aphrodite: Aphrodite Chrysea of the beauticians, beauty bloggers, and cosmeticians. Aphrodite Eustephanus of the fashion industry. Aphrodite Limenia guarding the harbors and bays. Aphrodite Philommedes guarding the sex educators and sex workers. Aphrodite Xenia an ocean goddess in a foreign land, the salt blood in foreign workers hoping for a better life. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Apollo: Apollo Acestor and Apollo Paian of the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and healthcare workers. Apollo Agyieus of the dedicated workers who protect their homes and neighborhoods without violence. Apollo Delphinius and Apollo Loxias of the journalists recording human malcontent every day and the Cassandras who try to warn us in time. Apollo Epicurious and Apollo Loimios of the CDC and WHO workers protecting us from disease. Apollo Noumious of the dairy farmers. Apollo Paruopios of the exterminators and pest control. Apollo Phuzios of the undocumented workers hiding from searching eyes. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Artemis: Artemis Acraea and Artemis Karuatis of the scientists, engineers, conservationists, and activists fighting to keep the wild places wild and free. Artemis Agrotera who hunted for her mother, and guides those who hunt for their families. Artemis Knagia who dreams of better, and of the DREAMers who dream for more. Artemis Genetyullis of laboring new mothers and the midwives and doctors who labor with them. Artemis Heurippa of the horses, guiding mounted search and rescue through the wild. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Athene: Athene Aethuia of the shipbuilders and navigators. Athene Alea, giver of sanctuary, and her lawyers and nonprofit workers aiding those who seek asylum. Athene Ergane of the artists who don’t stop a day, of the factory laborers making dimes to the dollar, of the threads and looms that never stop. Athene Mechaneus of the inventors and engineers and scientists. Athene Polias protecting the cities, and all those working towards a world where Black Lives Matter. Athena Xenia of hospitality and hospitality workers. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Demeter: Demeter Chloe walking the green growing fields of the large-scale farms, and Demeter Epogmia digging the furrows for waffle farming for the small-scale farmers in the desert. Demeter Eunostos of the food production, grinding flour on the factory floors. Demeter Plutodotira of the regulators, making sure to each goes fair weight and measure. Demeter Sito of the aid workers bringing food to where Hunger’s skeleton fingers scrabble and grasp. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Dionysus: Dionysus Acratophorus, Dionysus Lenaeus, and Dionysus Omphacites, patrons of all involved in making wine and beer from the workers in the fields to the brewmasters and vintners, to the bartenders and wait staff. Dionyus Dendrites of the forresters and forrest restorationists. Dionysus Melpomenos of the singers and actors. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Hephaestus: Hephaestus Clyrometis of the skilled artisans and craftspeople. Hephaestus Cyllopdium and Hephaestus Amphigyeis specific patrons of equal accessibility for all who work, and of those who work regardless of accessibility impediments thrown their way. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Hermes: Hermes Ktesios of the security guards. Hermes Agoraeus of the customer service and retail workers. Hermes Hermeneutes of the interpreters. Hermes Dolius of the law clerks, paralegals, lawyers, and judges. Hermes Diactorus of intelligence workers. I see you and raise an offering.

This is a hymn for Poseidon: Poseidon Pelagaeus of the sea and sailors. This is a hymn for Hades: Hades Ploutos of the wealth from the deep, and of the miners and rig workers who pull it forth. This is a hymn for Hecate: Hecate Kourotrophos of the child care workers. I see you and raise an offering.

This a hymn for Hestia, who receives the first and the last: This is a hymn for the cooks and bakers and the baristas, working at the hearth. This is a hymn for the unseen workers, for the unpaid workers, for the unrecognized workers. I see you and raise an offering.