I’m not feeling terribly eloquent today, but I still want to note two holy days occurring.
First, the birthday of the god Mercury, or Hermes, divine messenger, communicator, interpreter, and mischief-maker of Olympus. Isn’t this picture of him cute? (I’ve posted it before, but I couldn’t resist posting it again.) I think many pagans ought to thank the D’Aulaires for turning us on to the gods of Greece and the North.
It’s also, however, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the Episcopal Church, he may be commemorated on this day as a martyr instead of or in addition to the national holiday celebrating his birth. Michael Harriot has published a bitter but cogent essay on The Root that reminds us that King was not a national hero in his lifetime, but a thorn in the side of a complacent white majority that was quite contented to see him gone.
What do the god and the martyr for justice have in common? Perhaps just this: They both got in there and stirred shit up.
Child of air and earth and water
Child of peace and truth and beauty
Child of eagle and bull and serpent
O fiery one, O most powerful, O leaping lion:
On this day celebrating your birth
I breathe deep
and plant my feet wide
and feel the tides surging
I call on the height of the eagle
the steadfastness of the bull
the suppleness of the serpent
I open my mouth to speak
of peace and truth and beauty
and in your name I roar
I breathe fire
The beginning of the light
Where does the light begin?
Is it when the sun rises, banishing sleep and opening eyes?
Is it as the days lengthen, though the cold deepens,
and the sun begins its slow procession northward again?
When does the light begin, and whence
does it shine forth into our hearts?
Let it begin today, as in these shortest days
we kindle Vesta’s fire and gather close
to drink her warmth.
Let it begin today, the birthday of the goddess,
as we plug in our strings of lights at sunset,
as we heat our kettles for hot cocoa and hot cider,
as we fill our ovens with cookies and cakes to share.
Come among us, maiden goddess, clad in white heat
and crowned with candles, stars, and colored lights
that twinkle at our windows, on our trees,
we celebrate your heat and brightness in the winter’s depth.
Felix dies natalis, Vesta dea!
Having posted the hymn of the day, I would like to wish natal felicitations upon my dear friend and mentor P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, Doctor, Sacerdos, and Magistratum of the Ekklesia Antinoou, who by eir writing, eir kindness, eir humor, and eir own exemplary devotion led me to approach Antinous and thereby gave me a very great blessing. Happy birthday, dear Doctor! And many more!
When body and soul come together truly,
when there is no separation between them,
it is Love which is engendered and given birth.
Self needs no other if other is also self;
unity within one’s being, making one of two,
making two of all, makes love for self, for other,
and for all. O Panpsyche, may soul and body love thee!
O Panhyle, may body and soul love each other!
O Paneros, ever and always may love be universal
and never let it doubt to speak its name, thy name.