From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities.

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Melia Brokaw

Melia Brokaw

I am a Hellenic Pagan, dedicated to Zeus, living in the Colorado mountains with my husband, our son, two cats and a yellow lab.  In the little bit of free time that I have, I enjoy reading and crafting.

Asklepios (Aesculapius) is traditionally described as the mortal son of Apollo by Koronis or Arsinoe who was then deified after death.  Traditionally it is said that as a babe Asklepios was cut out of his dead mother’s body and raised by the centaur, Kheiron, who taught him the arts of healing.  He later became so proficient that Zeus ended his life to maintain status quo.  Asklepios then was raised up as a god with many temples where people would seek cures.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Brokaw, This is a very good question. I agree with Sallustius' view, which is that there are twelve divine powers we call the

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Young Hermes finds his grandfather sitting on his throne pensively gazing across his island lost in thought.  “Grandfather tell me a tale.”

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“My tale is a tale of heartache and joy lost,” said his grandfather, never once looking at the child at his feet.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thank you again for recounting the God lore! I like the child/grandparent storytime motif.
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Happy to share! I'm glad you like it!

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Of the blogs I’ve written so far, this one by far has taken up the most of my time, frustration and with not nearly enough to show for it.  I’ve got more questions than answers. This week’s deity is from the Mesoamerican pantheon.  This area is widely known home for the Mayans, Aztecs and Incans.  Their pantheons overlap so much it is hard for a layman to pick one out from the rest.  So I’m going to tell you what I found on one of their deities that caught my attention, listing it in the order that I found it.  I make no promises of the accuracy, so this is mostly just an information dump to start you on your own search or for you to throw more information to aid me in mine.

In reviewing an item, I came across a deity named Acat who was described as a Mayan deity of tattooing and tattoo artists.  Now I thought this was pretty cool, so I wanted more information. Commence headache.  The majority of the information I found in English was the same thing ad nauseum. 

Acat, Acat-Cib, Acaat, Ah-Kat:  god of tattoos, tattooing and tattoo artists; god of fetal growth and development; God of Life; possible Becab(Bacab) of the East

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I received the following recommendations from Chas Clifton for those that may wish to follow up on Acat or on Mayan divinities in

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So I recently read a blog that said if you want to pray for help for Syria, then pray to the old gods of Syria.  I think that is an interesting idea.  Who would know the people, their needs, their problems and the sources of dissension more accurately?  Who would want healing and unity more?  Send them the energy to help them heal their people.  For non-polytheistic Pagans, who the gods of the region are may seem unimportant to you but think of it in terms of context.  For hard polytheists, it would be important to know who the gods of Syria are.  For soft polytheists, it may be important to know to who they are similar.  Alternatively, ask your own divinities to relay your prayers/gifts/well-wishes to their Canaanite brethren.

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Our government can be very short sighted. Add to that the complications of the thousands of years of conflict in that area and it
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thank you for this post! I don't know which saddens me more...the situation within Syria itself, or our choice of "allies". Gotta

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I started a new job this week.  It is a job that I’ve always wanted.  I work in a library.  Responses from my friends have been highly amusing.  Anything from “that is the perfect job for you!” to “that’s like putting an alcoholic in charge of a bar”. 

I started wondering what god has libraries in his purview.  My first thought was Hermes but I connect him more with the internet and buyer/reader beware.  My second thought was Thoth or Seshat but neither of those felt right.  So I did some googling and stumbled across a blog suggesting Janus as a modern symbol for libraries.  Now that is an interesting thought.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    That's really original, and I like it. Congratulations on your new job! I'll make an offering to Janus the next time I visit a
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Thank you times 2!
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Book 'em, Danno. Sorry, couldn't resist . . .

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(An insomniac's Prayer to the God of Sleep)

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  • Wendall Mountain Runner
    Wendall Mountain Runner says #
    You write well and I'm glad to see Hypnos honored thus.
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Thank you! Hail Hypnos!
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Wonderful! And an underrated God, at that. Who doesn't appreciate a good sleep?

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A tale for your reading pleasure...this came to me today as I was researching another topic.

A woman frantically spins a crystal in the light from the window making rainbows swirl around the room.  “Iris, storm-footed and golden winged, you who nursed my child when I could not, hear me.  My boy has been taken from his cradle by Apollon, furious to behold.  Tell his father!  Bring my baby back!”

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for writing the story and sharing it with us!
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I am pleased that it has been well received. Thank you.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    By "came to me" you're saying that the tale just popped into your head during your research? If that's the case, I find it uplift

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So I've only recently returned home from fest and visiting my sister.  This is the first good opportunity I've had to sit down and write.  Forgive my lateness.

One of the big rituals at the Pagan festival I attend is the Drawing Down.  It is where multiple priests and priestesses allow a divinity to take temporary possession of their bodies so that they can speak with devotees.  Who you speak with is typically luck of the draw.  Rarely are masculine divinities drawn down in my experience, as female divinities are just more popular it seems. Even more rare, in my experience, is having a walker seek out a particular person at a divinity's behest.  I experienced both this time.

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  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Melia, this is spot on with how I have experienced Odhin as "The Old Man". Not all the time. But yes, he can be quite chatty when
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Nice! It is great to have one's impressions match someone else's. It gives me a bit more oomph to continue to write about my own
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Actually, yes. In one of the two Wiccan traditions I have received initiation in, it is considered acceptable, even ideal, for Pr

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I’m AWOL this week attending a Pagan festival/retreat here in Colorado.  This was written before I left. 

I readily admit that thinking about philosophy gives me a headache.  Literally.  Attempting to discuss it or read it makes me nauseous on top of the headache.  I suspect this physical reaction is embedded in the fear that I’m dumber than I like to think and attempting to sound intelligent during a discussion of philosophy will only prove that a 3rd grader is smarter than me.  (Oh the dreams along this line are most humbling…)

Last week I received a link to an opinion blog for the New York Times by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, titled “Did Zeus Exist?”.  My friend and philosophy-teaching-hero, EB, summed up the article thusly: 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Yeah, I'm a Platonist and reading a detailed summary of Proclus' take on philosophy (one of Plato's legitimate successors) can giv

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Kronos (Cronos) the Titan god of time (khronos) and the ages, typically regarded as destructive and all-devouring.  He is the youngest of the Titans.  Kronos was given a flint sickle by his mother, Gaia, in order to castrate and then depose his father, Ouranos.  She did this in anger at Ouranos’ treatment of their more unusual children. 

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Lacking ideas (please send me some!), I chose to write about Pan this week.  A divinity whom I know very little about.  Read on to find out what I've learned.

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Pan is the Greek god of pastoral life including shepherds, animals and music.  This rustic divinity is known to dwell in grottoes during the heat of the day and wander the mountains for his entertainment.  He guards flocks, whether wild or tame,

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Nice summary, thanks for sharing!

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I am a loss on what to write for you this week, so I leave you with a story I wrote over a year ago...The aegis is variously described as a shield, buckler or breast-plate. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! Very nice.

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I’m going to step away from my usual blogging theme this week to share a topic that came to me while driving the two hours it took me to get to my camping destination.  (Hubby and I are on staff for a Pagan retreat here in Colorado and this was our work weekend.)  We had stopped for lunch at a place where the server recognized our t-shirts as Pagan in content.  So she proceeded to ask questions which required long answers.  Neither of us had the time.  I needed to get back on the road and she needed to help her other customers. So in hopes that it will be of service to her (I so hope she emails me!), those just starting out and those that are trying to make sense of what the broader community is, here is my viewpoint.  I am NOT trying to start up the “my way vs. your way” debate again…most of this is based on my own experiences and observances.  Your mileage, as always, may vary.

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  • Brian Shea
    Brian Shea says #
    And apparently, as I've found out recently, there are atheist pagans! Or non theist pagans. Who knew? There are also those who ar
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    It does seem odd, though for the most part I understand the wanting to be included in a community that for the most part is welcom
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I've gotta echo Wizard on the narrowness of this one, which is interesting. Monist Goddess worshippers ("We all come from the Godd

Appropriation or syncretisation?  Or maybe just the evolution in understanding?  You decide.

Zeus is the Greek king of the gods, the god of sky and weather who fertilizes the fields and protects the home.  He is the god of law, order and fate.  He was typically depicted as a mature, regal man with a beard.  Typical symbols associated with him:  lightning bolt, eagle, ram, bull, snake, cornucopia and scepter.

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  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    This is a fascinating subject and a very nice overview of it. Honestly, though, I don't see where talk of "appropriation" comes in
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Personally I'm never sure where the line of appropriation is...Americans can be "gaga" over anything and everything Native America
  • Freeman Presson
    Freeman Presson says #
    The Greeks who came back from the grand tour of Egypt and sold fake Khemetic initiations for 10 talents were appropriating (like $

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Of all the myths, it is the myths of the sun that give me the most trouble.  The typical sun myth is that the divinity of the sun rides around the earth in some type of conveyance and then takes a different one or a different form to return to the original starting point.  This myth stems from the original belief that the sun travels around the earth.  It is the ancient’s explanation for the days and nights.  Yet we of the modern era know this is incorrect.

 

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  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    I've come to know AP as one of those sharp-tongued people who do not suffer fools gladly. Happily, the substance of his commentary
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    The curvature of the earth is instantly obvious to anyone who has ever traveled on the open seas. Records of such seafaring go bac
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I wanted to get other view points and am glad that others are finding this useful though I admit to having harder time dealing wit

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Bulls.  Big, strong, temperamental creatures that have had loomed large in man’s past.  Bull jumping, bull baiting, bull fights and running of the bulls are events where they were, and in some cases still are, featured.  They were used in the form of oxen to pull plows and carts.  Their virility kept up herds, generating wealth for their owners. In some areas, placing a bull head above a door gives protection and luck much like the horse shoe.  As sacrifices, few animals were more costly.  From them we get the terms ‘seeing red’ and ‘bull-headed’.  A lot of myths feature bulls, even modern myths like Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.  In some cultures, earthquakes are blamed on a rowdy celestial bull believed to have the world upon its horns.  A lot of masculine divinities, particularly those of the sun and the sky, are associated with bulls.

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I saw that but again I wonder if those are bulls or cows with horns. Sounds like an interesting temple!
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Interesting post and great list thanks! I follow the research done at Catal Huyuk; their dig season just started back up, so I've
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    Great informational post. Odd coincidence: My wife and I were just talking about Paul Bunyan and Babe today.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Ares is not a very popular god.  I'd say in a lot of areas he is pretty reviled.  People need to keep in mind that the gods can give or they can take.  Ares is not only the bersker, the bloody warrior, the lover of battle.  He is also the protective father, the defender of the home and land, the policeman.  Some areas would chain his statue as a representation that they wanted him kept close to their home in order to defend it.  If you believe that he is the same as Mars, then he also has agricultural aspects (which makes a lot of sense, since blood is a really good fertilizer).  But today, I'm not here to discuss Ares but to offer a prayer to him.

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(Still on vacation this week!  Hopefully my travel mates are still on speaking terms with me!)

The god of the guessing game is Thor! 

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Too easy?  It wouldn't have been for me as I know very little of the Norse pantheon.  I can, however, now tell my son the differences between Marvel’s Thor and Thor of the Norsemen.

 

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I’m on vacation this week, so instead of an article I leave you with a guessing game. 

My 6 year old son recently asked me about this divinity and how he differed from his doppelganger.  Hopefully, this is not too easy.  Explanation will be posted next week.

 

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  • Candi
    Candi says #
    Frey?

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One of Zeus’ epithets is Georgos, meaning “farmer” or literally “earth worker”.  This epithet obviously describes his agricultural connections.  Now some may find this surprising.  “But he’s a sky god!”  He is now, but remember, Zeus was raised on Gaia.  He only became a sky god when the Titans were defeated in the Titanomachy.  Zeus Georgos was honored on 30 Maimakterion (November/December) which was the time plowing and planting of grain.  (I like to imagine it as right around the time of the US holiday of thanksgiving.)  He received bloodless sacrifices like ambrosia (water, oil and a sweetened mixture of edible seeds) or cakes. The dios kodion, the fleece of Zeus, was probably carried around the fields in his name for purification and protection from bad weather. 

 

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