A world full of gods

20180308_101622Vesta’s fire burns on my stove and in the candles on my shrine. She consumes the incense I kindle and crackles through wires as electricity to power lamps, laptops, and everything else.

Apollo gives music, healing, poetry, prophecy, all of which I need. He and Diana shed light by day and by night. Venus and her court bless me with birds and flowers as well as love and desire. Mercury blesses writers as well as merchants and thieves, protects me when I catch public transit or walk across the freight train tracks.

Who better than Minerva to help a single woman further her career, especially in an intellectual field? To whom shall I appeal for just government if not Jupiter, king of the gods? Mars is a protector of boundaries and of the fields we cultivate, not merely a god of war. Juno’s image burns within me, my sacred female sovereignty.

The blessings of Ceres put food on my table. Bacchus entertains me not merely in every glass of wine but in every movie and television show, transforming reality and slipping me meaning and wisdom along with pleasure and diversion. Neptune and Portunus are needed to bless our rivers and our harbor, a center of tourism and of trade. Without Vulcan, would I have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone? I’m not an artificer, but I need the products of craft and manufacture. With Janus at the door, I sleep safely at night.

Antinous, my beloved boy, god of my heart, carries the gifts of Apollo, Dionysus, and Hermes, as well as of Osiris, and opens the door to all the gods. He is the center around which my sense of the numinous is organized, the heart of the mandala.

There is no god that is not part of my life. They are everywhere. I may not go into the wilderness, but I know that Diana and Faunus are there, just as Mercury and Apollo, Minerva and Venus are not far away in the city. Even a vacant lot overgrown with weeds can be a glimpse of Faunus; Diana’s deer are hiding in patches of woods just off the light rail’s route. Flora blesses the carefully tended yards and gardens no matter how run-down a neighborhood may be.

Other gods are no less real for my not worshipping them. They, too, are present even if I don’t notice them.  It doesn’t seem like mysticism, or magic, or anything but reality. The gods and my relationships with them are woven through my life, my ordinary life. I pay attention to them, and they pay attention to me. Their reality affirms my reality; their sacredness affirms my sacredness. After all, some gods become humans, and a good many humans have become gods….

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A prayer for the Portunalia

A view of the Baltimore Harbor from the deck of a Coast Guard sailing ship
Baltimore Harbor, September 2013, taken by your humble blogger

Hail, Portunus, protector of ports,
guardian of portals, god of the harbors.
Hail to you Portunus, Palaimon, divinized
by the waves, akin to Antinous, boy on a dolphin.
Hear, Portunus, a prayer for your blessings
on this harbor town, and all harbors everywhere.
Let the ships safely come and go with cargoes
and with passengers. Let no storm deter the cruises
or topple the water taxis which the tourists ride.
Protect our waterfront; may it be beautiful and safe.
Let no child fall into the waters; let no suicide
leap into the depths in despair. Let the blessing
of commerce come and go through our Inner Harbor
as easily as the gulls, the mallards, the coots
come and go in their seasons. Let our historic ships
ride lightly on the water and let their stories be truly told.
Defend us, O Portunus, from storm and flood,
and I will honor your name and remember you
when I stand at the harbor’s edge.