All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

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Psalm for Flidais

The scent of loam,

of fir and oak and rain.

Here, in this instant,

She breathes in;

the light of midday

falling through the trees

dapples Her shoulders

like an extra layer of freckles.

Hair bound back in a tight plait,

so as not to catch on

branches and briars when She runs.

She runs;

oh, how She runs!

The deer She guards

are no more fleet or lithe than She;

the tunic woven of leaf and ivy

blends in to the forest around Her,

and the blur that She becomes

as She runs is all but invisible.

Her hair is the flame that does not burn;

Her eyes are stars falling, blue-white in darkness.

Her feet are bare against the wet mud

and broken boughs

that litter the forest floor.

Her steps are lighter than gossamer;

each foot leaves no impression

in mud or mire,

and all around Her, birds sing

to praise the lady of the woods.

Flitting through the treetops, from

branch to branch, toes barely kissing each limb

before leaping to the next;

each fleeting step so perfect a dance that

the winds become envious of her grace,

and the deer find themselves clumsy in her presence.

She shines, even when bending low;

head dipping before the pool,

kneeling to sip water as the deer sip.

Round her fair throat twines the sweetness of woodbine,

pale yellow blossoms in clusters,

curling heavily where nothing else about her is;

in the pellucid gloaming, dusk

paints purple and charcoal shadows on her eyes.

The deer do not start when she joins them,

do not flee;

She moves with them when dusk comes on,

and beds down among them when the bright sun

lifts its head above the far horizon.

She grieves when fawn or doe or stag

falls to the fangs of fox or wolf,

but does not hunt them in vengeance;

these things are part of the cycle,

and the balance must be maintained.

Here she will be, dwelling among them always,

racing through ash and alder, elm and apple,

tangled oak and beech weaving their limbs together,

these slender violins strung with ivy and wild grape,

in this greenwood that is her home.


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My mother, deathless Rhea,

must have loved me best;

why else endure the devouring of three daughters

and two sons

before finally deciding “Enough!”

Why not act sooner?

Cronus’ pattern, it can be said,

was clear from the very first–

or, at least, having swallowed Hestia whole,

from the second,

when he swallowed fair Demeter as well.

I never understood that, to be honest;

the prophecy was plain–

he would be overthrown by a son,

not just any child,

so why gorge his ravenous hunger

on the girl-children at all?

Unless he could not tell the difference,

at first,

and then had gotten the taste for it.

No matter.

As I said, my mother must have loved me best:

not to stop those awful feasts at once,

nor simply to let me be eaten also,

and any who came after me, as well.

I never had to dangle by one foot

over that wide and gaping maw;

never had to slide, whole and unchewed,

down the dark and tight-clutching

tunnel of his throat

to drop into his gullet.

No — I was meant for greater things,

hidden in a cave by my mother,

as one of my own clever sons later was,

fed to fullness on goat’s-milk and honey,

and grown, in time,

to the strength of hands

and might of thews.

I must give thanks to my grandfather,

glutted with a surfeit of rage at his maiming,

and the outrage of my grandmother,

whose fury at her son’s foul meals

deprived her of grandchildren.

They aided my mother in her deception,

and I grew to adulthood

with the sound of spears clashing against shields

ringing in my ears.

When I was ready,

I knew I could not defeat my sire alone,

so within his food was hidden a bitter herb,

and one by one,

my brothers and sisters were vomited forth,

full-grown in his belly over the years,

and ready to take umbrage

–and vengeance–

for his deeds.

To be fair, my father was not stupid;

he understood the inevitability of the prophecy,

even as he strove to defy it,

and he knew the danger in those brethren of his

whom mother-Gaia made:

the one-eyed ones,

the hundred-handed ones,

even his own brothers and sisters,

cowards though he must surely have thought

those last to be,

since they would not take up,

any of them,

the flint sickle their mother had made,

to rid her of Ouranos’ unstinting attentions.

I was not stupid, either,

and though I enlisted my deformed uncles

against my own father,

I was no fool to allow

any such monstrosities

to walk free when the battle had ended,

and my father had been chained up

to languish in Tartarus.

I have spawned my own brood since then,

maidens of flower and battle and the hunt,

sons of war and cleverness and revelry,

and I will not make my father’s mistake.

I will not devour any of them,

for such is abhorrent to me,

but I will always remember

that the one most likely to strike me down

is more apt to come from within the family

than without,

and I will keep my eyes open wide,

and be wary,

and be ready.

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Process, and an upcoming poem for Zeus

I was asked recently about my writing “process”.

I kinda hate that word; it makes what I do sound so mechanical. But I can’t think of a different term right now, so.


Like the blog title says: I open my spiritual “ears” and listen for Their voices. The voices of the Gods; of my ancestors; of the spirits of nature. I listen to what they tell me, then write it down in a way that’s as close to what they said as possible. (As only the ancestors, out of that group of beings, were ever human, it’s sometimes difficult to understand things told to me in the language of the Gods, or that of trees, or rocks, or wind. There is, of necessity, a certain amount of translation required, parsing the concepts shared with me in a way that other human beings can understand.) I also try to write it down in a way that’s pleasing to read.


Some beings are easier to hear than others. I have stronger connections with certain deities — and ancestors, and spirits — than others. For example, these days it is nearly impossible NOT to hear it when Odin speaks to me, or Hermes, or An Morrighan. Or my father, or coyotes and crows. But I have very little connection with, say, Ares, or any of the Aztec deities, or Hindu ones. Or with my father’s father, or with anole lizards, or mosquitoes.


Nonetheless, I keep my spiritual ears open to ANY that would speak to me. And I actively try to encourage more connections with those I know I have little to none with, because I believe that none should be left out. I automatically assume, when I listen, that if there are those I can’t hear, that the fault is with me; that I’m not trying hard enough, or subconsciously closing myself to them because I may not like what they have to say. This is especially true when I haven’t gotten any indications that someone isn’t talking to me because they don’t want anything to do with me (I know, for example, that there are many pagans and polytheists who’ve mentioned their experiences with deities they think they should be worshiping, only to be rebuffed by those deities with a “no, you don’t interest me right now, leave me alone.”)


I mention this because last night, after a very long time, right as I was at the edge of sleep, an idea finally came to mind for a poem about Zeus. I’ve written works for most of the Hellenic pantheon, and over the last few years, only three of the better-known deities (a term I choose rather than “important”, since all are important, or “major”, which implies that some are minor and not worth bothering with) remain whom I have yet to forge any connection with. These are Aphrodite (whom I finally was able to hear for the first time in Autumn of 2013), Ares (whom I heard in February of last year, and started writing a poem for [ ] but stopped because I didn’t think it was good enough for Him), and Zeus.


I’m glad that He has finally shared something with me that I can write down for Him. Obviously, it’s a bad idea to reject any of the Deathless Ones; They don’t take kindly to such slights. It was never really rejection, though, just an inability — that I hope has ended at last — to hear Him speak.

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Song to Brigid at Imbolc

The hammer swings, the anvil rings

At breaking of the dawn’s first light.

Like hallowed bell or solemn knell

To sweep away the winter’s night.

The flame that shines in bright smith’s shrine

Has burned a thousand years or more,

Undimmed by woes or rage from those

Who bring on famine, plague, or war.

It ever burns for those who yearn

For healing, skill of hands, or art,

We turn to Her whose mercies blur

The pain that burdens every heart.

As gift to She who inspires me,

I offer now my humble song,

Its words of praise ring through my days,

And makes the bond between us strong.

If these words meet approval sweet

From her, I have achieved my aim;

I am no bard, but labor hard

That each verse sings her holy name.

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Hymn to Epona

Hymn to Epona

Graceful and brilliant Epona,

Lady who dances like the wind,

sure-footed and swift,

whose children were the wealth

of nobles, warriors, and kings,

we praise You for Your beauty,

Your agility, Your speed.

In times of old Your name

was on the lips of all,

and Your prayers echoed across the land,

ecstatic with reverence and awe toward You.

The thunder of hooves along the roads

that linked city to city, land to land,

was a drumbeat that sang out Your name,

and now, too, as we see the horses galloping

over moor and field and plain,

too do we cry out our thanks for Your gifts

and Your majesty, Your wisdom,

and the four-footed friends

You have seen fit to give us.

O Epona, long will the ages remember You,

and Your name will resound down from yesteryear

through today and long into the future.

Hail Epona!


Book Review: Your Face is a Forest, by Rhyd Wildermuth

Have you ever read a book that hit so many of the right notes in the right spots that you thought, surely the author has read my mind?


For Rhyd


At first, I was angry because you made me cry:

weeping over how much I had forgotten.

But then I let the rain stop falling

so I could be glad again:

Better to forget a little while

(and how very much, for us,

is just a little for Them!)

and then remember again,

rather than forgetting forever.


I am buried in the depth of winter,

wearing a shroud I did not die in,

a chrysalis that will soon burst open,

releasing me to life and memory again,

and for this gift, I am grateful.


I will drink tea and speak with you

as if you are there, laugh as I hike

through the woods,

and leave gifts for the spirits and Cernunnos,

Artemis and Flidais,

and read your words again and again,

until the pages are warped and dog-eared,

highlighted, old:

I will celebrate the fire in you

with fire at Beltane,

races at Lughnasadh,

oatcakes and cream at midnight on Samhain.

And the only thing I ask of you is this:


Keep writing.



I know you, don’t I? From somewhere, or some when?


Your Face Is A Forest


Read this book.


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Son of the Sea


Son of the Sea

Your ship is a thing of beauty and grace;

it knows, as You know,

every splash and swell better

than the wisest mortal man knows his books,

or the most amorous lover

knows the face of his beloved.

Only You know the way to each of the Blessed Isles:

Tír na nÓg, Mag Mell, Tír Tairngire, Tír fo Thuinn,

Tír na mBeo, and Emain Ablach,

where there is neither pain nor sickness,

old age nor suffering, and where the fruit and blossoms

of the apple tree ever share the same branch.

And sometimes Tech Duinn, the house of Donn,

where the Lord of the Dead rules over all.

The ocean’s waves listen to Your voice;

calming to stillness or raging into destruction

at Your command, pushing onward

the ships of those You favor,

and sinking or sending astray those who

have angered You for any myriad of reasons:

those who were cowards,

the impious, the treacherous,

the greedy, the brutal, the contemptuous,

profaners of temples and groves,

defiler of sacrifices,

the unjust and the wicked.

The sea can go in a heartbeat

from smooth as glass to a mountain

of green-black death, billows high as trees,

valleys collapsing inward to crush ships to splinters

and men to masses of bleeding bone and pulp.

Blessed Manannan, clever and fierce,

prudent, brave, and strong:

You also are kind, taking away from this mortal life

those who have grown weary of it:

the sick and the aged, the downtrodden and the poor,

the heartbroken, the tired, and the lost.

Too, those come with you who would seize a few more years,

but that is true of all who greet the dead and dying

when their journey on the path has come to an end.

There is gentleness in Your smile as You

help them onto Wave Sweeper, ready to bring them

to pain and sorrow’s ending.

Someday I will meet You; some day,

when my last breath is spent,

when my tired body has finished with this world,

You will come for me, and I will take Your hand,

step aboard Your ship,

and settle in as You take me

to dwell among my ancestors,

to lay eyes upon their unknown faces with joy,

and take my place among them at last.

Hail to Manannan mac Lir, whose arrival

brings with it an end to sorrow and pain:

I sing my many thanks, Son of the sea:

I do not disdain your kindness, your grace,

but instead cry out in gratitude and love

for all the blessings You see fit to grant us.


Wandering thoughts of wandering hearts


A question occurred to me today that hadn’t really come up in the past; it was spurred by hearing a snatch of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” on the radio.

The very first words are “This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted; no silent prayer for faith departed”. My brain mixed those two lines together.

Many, if not all, pantheons have deities that are considered to be gods or goddesses of love, passion, beauty: Aphrodite and Eros, Venus, Freyja, Aengus and Aine, Erzulie, etc. etc. Many of these deities have different epithets and facets to them: Aphrodite Ourania being different from Aphrodite Pandemos, Venus Obsequens vs. Venus Genetrix, Erzulie Dantor as opposed to Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, and so on.

I’ve never had much connection to any deities of love, and that’s all the more true now that there’s no love (at least, of the romantic or sexual sort) in my life. But part of me wonders if there’s an Aphrodite or Venus or other such deity devoted to those who have been loved and abandoned, loved and betrayed, loved and destroyed. For those who knew love, once upon a time, and then had it ripped away from them. A deity who could comfort them, protect them, assure them that just because someone had once loved them and then threw them away didn’t mean they were unworthy of love, or that their significant other had been right to throw them in the garbage.

That, I think, would be a love god or goddess I’d like to get to know better.