SGP Glossary of terms/quick reference quide

So it occurs to me that OH BOY do I use a lot of jargon. Here’s a quick refresher guide.
Will be updated as needed. Last update 2/12/2017

SGP:
Acronym for ‘Sovereigns of the Golden Path’, affectionately known as the #suncult.

A Sovereign of the Golden Path:
A person who has made a commitment to sacred self-ownership and principles of the SGP.

Animism:
The worldview that all things have a kind of living spirit, including plants, rocks, chairs, ext.

Chaos magic:
A modern magical system which posits the power of belief as a tool and mental flexibility from the constraints of dogma.

Queens of Death:
Four saint-like figures representing a way of conceptualizing of death.
Lady of Green Death:
Rebirth, tranquility, forests
Monarch of Black Death:
Entropy, infinity, space
Monarch of White Death:
Inevitability, acceptance, cemeteries
Lady of Red Death:
Grief, pain, the hearth

Animal Regent:
A mythic archetypal being. Similar to the Westernized concept of ‘totem’, but created to avoid the cultural insensitivity of using an Ojibwe term.
Animal agent:
A physical, individual animal acting as a messenger for it’s Regent, such as a ‘sign’ in the form of a cat running across your path.
Over-Regent:
A Regent which encompasses many species of the same type, such as the Regent of the taxonomic classification of a genus. For example, Vulpes Regent, and their many species of children, the foxes.

Ecstatic practice:
A state in which an intense visionary experience is attained through trance/altered states of consciousness. Does not necessarily require entheogens/drugs. Sometimes also referred to as ‘gnosis’.

Shrine:
A place devoted to a being or type of magical working.

Altar: 
A place in which to do participate in/use as the focus for magical working.

Sigil:
A type of spell in the form of an abstract symbol.

Pop Culture Magic:
An offshoot of Chaos Magic which employs the symbols and cosmologies of the mythic or modern fictional media.

UPG:
Acronym for ‘unverified/unsubstantiated personal gnosis’. Personal experiences and understandings not backed up by established lore. For example, associating Haephestus, ancient Greek god of fire and forge with power tools.

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Official unofficial SGP recommended reading list

Eager to get your research on? Here’s the Official unofficial SGP recommended reading list. Will be added to as I find (and complete) good books because I have a shockingly bad habit of not finishing them. Many of these aren’t directly related to chaos magic, but I feel they add an important dimension to personal understanding.

Last edited:
29/11/2017

Books:
Killing, Jeff Sparrow
A language older than words, Derrick Jensen
First we make the beast beautiful, Sarah Wilson
This is how, Augusten Burroughs
No logo, Naomi Klein
Delusions of gender, Cordelia Fine
Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton
Chaos Protocols, Gordon White
Practical Sigil Magic, Ralph Tegtmeier
The artist’s way, Julia Cameron

Series:
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Youtube channels:
Kurzgesagt
Crash Course
PBS Idea channel

Essays:
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
The History of Mana: How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic

Zines:
Oven ready chaos, Phill Hine

Blogs:
THIS ONE ;D

SGP FAQ

This FAQ is a work in progress and will be changed as the SGP evolves.
Last updated: 29/11/2017

Why an FAQ?
It’s an easy to digest format for large chunks of disparate information.

What is the SGP?
The Sovereigns of the Golden Path is an emerging queer pagan tradition rooted in chaos magic, affectionately referred to as the #suncult. It’s based on principles of personal growth, authenticity, healing, truth, the power of storytelling and embracing one’s status as Othered.

I have safety concerns?
There will be no rigid hierarchies nor poisoned beverages here.
Safety is very important to us; harassment will not be tolerated.
The Pagan Awareness Network (PAN) have an excellent brochure on the basics of personal welfare titled Safety in the Circle, located here.

Why do you call it a cult? Aren’t cults dangerous?
The Oxford dictionary refers to a cult as “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object”.  Although ‘cult’ has become largely pejorative in popular culture in recent times, it’s usage here refers to its meaning as a ‘fringe/unorthodox social movement with novel beliefs’. This usage is still common today, as its etymology is rooted simply in ‘to worship’. The term is nuanced and varied in its meaning dependant on the context applied to it. Many ancient belief systems are often referred to as cults, such as the Greek/Roman Orphic mystery traditions.
There is no one clear sociological definition of cult, and many mainstream organizations fit perfectly into ‘cult checklists’ as harmful and toxic environments.
To deem a movement to be a cult is often used as a way to demonize and vilify it in the face of an ideology it threatens. For example, many people refer to ANTIFA as a cult despite it having no power structure whatsoever. Although the label of cult may seem shocking at first, it is an invitation to challenge assumptions and to take ownership of the power of being Othered, much like the reclamation of the word ‘queer’.

We recognize that the term may be distressing to some; its use here is not intended to denigrate or upset.
If people or individuals in your community find certain terms or topics distressing, we encourage the use of blacklists, content warnings and other methods of harm minimization.

What is chaos magic?
That question is too big for this FAQ. I’ll have a recommended reading list up shortly.

Why ‘queer’?
Sometimes identities are context-dependent, malleable and messy. Sometimes a single term like ‘gay’ doesn’t cut it, and at others, a single term is too invasive and limiting. Queer is emotionally charged, defiant and ambiguous. Queer embraces strangeness as a source of power.

Isn’t queer is a slur?
If you aren’t comfortable claiming the label on a personal level and prefer LGBTQIA or one of its derivatives that’s fine, but it’s going to get used as an umbrella term pretty frequently. There is evidence of queer being reclaimed for decades, it is a part of our history and heritage.

Am I queer enough to join?
There is no need to qualify your queerness. We aren’t ace, bi, questioning, closeted, trans or nonbinary exclusive.

How inclusive are you?
A committed desire for self-mastery is a prerequisite, as well as a sense of humour. One of the core principles of the SGP is to eliminate and minimize both incidental and overt personal bigotry and discrimination. Frothing racists aren’t welcome, but a proactive approach to working through internalized prejudices is.

How accessible are you?
I’m a spoonie so my capabilities are limited, but I will do my best to provide captions on videos, wheelchair access information for events, ext. whenever possible.

Does the SGP have its own deities?
Yes, but it’s non-exclusively polytheistic. Praising the sun is optional, but highly encouraged. Practitioners are welcome to participate in other paradigms, ways of interacting with and defining gods.

Is it a mystery or initiatory tradition?
It’s too early to say, although at this stage there will likely be grades for people who wish to make the commitment available in the future.

What is The Manticore Sun?
Both the giant spherical nuclear reactor in space, and a great golden lion with a scorpion tail, simultaneously. The primary deity of the SGP, he is fatherly and loving and wants you to do your best.

What are the other gods of the SGP?
Deities of the SGP are animistic and rooted in physical phenomena. The Moon, The Sea, and The Earth, The City of Melbourne are all gods. A god could be a highly personal place one has a relationship with, such as a specific mountain, or more conceptual one such as The Highway, which represents and is all paved roads.

Do you practice Pop Culture Magic?
The primacy and importance of story and archetypes are a large part of the foundational principles of the SGP. As a system, it is Pop Culture Magic compatible.

Do you practice witchcraft?
Yes. The SGP is a pagan paradigm based on chaos magic principles, but it’s also animistic, ecstatic, ancestor-reverent and spirit-working. If and how intensely one wishes to participate in magical workings is up to the individual, however.

Is the SGP a left-hand or right-hand path?
It’s a mix of both. Rather than a Left/Right dichotomy, it uses a metaphor of an open or closed fist, to represent a distinction between qualities that need to be processed and worked on, rooted in Bad Faith, and qualities to aspire to, grounded in Truth.

Does The Manticore Sun have a name?
Not that I’m presently aware of. I affectionately refer to him as mantdad for short.

What are some of the Manticore Sun’s correspondences?
Beverage: Mead, chamomile & dandelion teas
Scent: Beeswax, Frankincense
Plant: All plants, but especially cacti, succulents, and yellow flowers
Animal: lions, bees, scorpions
Colour: Yellow, peacock blue/teal
Suggested offerings: Exercise, honey, gardening, trying your best
Tarot card: The Star and Strength
Gemstone: Gold
Gender: Masculine
Bodily centre: Heart
Holiday: Perihelion, the solstices

I’m interested! What now?
The SGP is still a fledgling path, but we currently have a facebook group dedicated to discussing its development here.

This isn’t really about marriage equality

‘For you I take a holy risk to love as I must,
love is the law, the only law that matters’
-Reclaiming witchcraft chant by Ravyn Stanfield

I went to the beach yesterday, and swam for the first time in years. I’d loved swimming once, but body dysphoria and abuse had robbed me of the pleasure. I was fat and strange and bullied for it as a child. I was very young when I grew large breasts and the feel of spandex swimclothes was insufferable to my autistic sensitivities. In bathers all I could feel were other people’s eyes all over me and my chest, worsened by their sticky words. People threw me in pools and even tried to drown me. During my school’s compulsory swimming program I began telling my male teachers I had my period. The women I told I had the flu, because they’d know I wasn’t menstruating for a month straight. When that excuse wore thin, I’d ‘forgotten’ my towel and gear. They didn’t believe me and gave me detentions. Detention meant nothing to me; I’d sit at the back of the classroom and read every Friday afternoon. I didn’t have anywhere better to be.

Yesterday, a friend suggested we go to a pool, or the beach. I said I didn’t want to go to the pool for fear of disease. Although the both of us are prone to ear infections, public pools fill me with more than just germaphobia; a visceral disgust. Rafts of snot and used bandaids and laughter that made me want to rip off my own skin with my bare hands. Chlorine bloodshot eyes hiding tears.

But it was gloriously warm yesterday, and the sea was fresh and calm, so I said yes to the beach. It’s hard to learn to say yes to what you want and no to what you don’t, and knowing the difference. To have people take you seriously when you change your mind. I wore an old t-shirt and boxers because I don’t own anything else. I’m fat again now but flat-chested and tattooed and stubbornly body neutral. There were other people there, enjoying the warmth and the sun, but they were tourists. The liminal; this is my realm. I was able to ignore the occasional odd looks of judgmental teenagers, dismissing it as a folly of youth. I swam.

It was a baptismal experience. Two of my greatest loves, my parents, the sun and the sea. A rebirth into a better version of me. The first time I ever took my shirt off in public was at the beach. This wasn’t a true first, a reclamation or victory, but it was a Rubicon. One of many.

I made an offhand comment to my friend about how people have lost touch with the world around them, too absorbed into the constructed, manufactured reality of the human. That we no longer have the ability to read the winds by looking at the clouds or tell the date by the stars. My friend couldn’t accept the beach was natural, a pristine sandbank extending so far from the shore, believing the sand to be imported. To him, the sand was too real, like a postmodern dream. There’s a walking trail where one can see how dramatically the shape of the coast has changed by comparing it to Impressionist paintings of the Heidelberg School of the late 19th century, shifted about by the waves in the natural bowl created by the very narrow opening to the bay. The Boonwurrung land that I love and through love wish to know.

He told me rain had been forecast-it was raining over the bay at that moment, far in the distance, but I knew the clouds wouldn’t make landfall judging by their size, shape, and the speed of the wind. They didn’t that evening, at least nowhere near me.

Not long after, we both spotted an insect floating on the surface of the glassy green water. It was a bee, and I immediately wanted to see if it was still alive. My friend was worried for me, that I shouldn’t use my bare hands to pick her up. I did anyway. I knew she wouldn’t sting me. She didn’t. Cradled against the wind in my palm, she immediately began grooming the salty water from her legs.
I’ve never been stung in my life, partly through luck, occupation, and love. As a child I never had a forest to run wild in, so I’d spend hours observing insects in our yard instead. I loved cicadas, dragonflies, mantises, beetles, bees and case moths best.

I carried the bee the long way back to shore and gently nudged her off my hand in the shade with some flowers nearby. My thoughts and statements are often punctuated by what others may consider coincidence such as this, but I know it’s a dialogue. We’re in a constant conversation with the world around us. To ignore it is the source of a well of deep emptiness that results in a drive toward apocalyptic self-destruction. Anything to escape the pain. Pay attention, it was telling me, disconnected from my body and the natural world, suffering. The entire biosphere of our world is as one organism, one community. Listen. It’s speaking truth to power.

Today I spent most of the day lying in bed feeling surly, tired and hurting. The day the marriage equality plebiscite results were released. It was a win, but the cost was too high, the percentage too low, the outlook too grim. Then I heard thunder and rushed outside to feel the first few drops of rain on my skin and relief from the oppressive heat and stress and uncertainty I’d been holding on to. It hit me like a wave. I could feel the love and strength and relief of the queer ancestors and we wept together. I opened all my windows to let them in, to wash away the tension.

There is still sand in my hair. Small victories.

Beltane musings on the Green Death

It started on the first day I noticed the winter chill had broken-at least during the daylight hours-as the cold rushed back in with sunset later that evening. Spring; and with it the stirring of the Lady of Green Death.

greendeath

The Lady of Green Death. Apologies to the people whose photos I yanked to make this. Image description:  A photo-manipulation of a funerary statue of Mary, with a sunflower for a face, blended into a forest. 

I don’t perceive the Monarchs of Death as inherently seasonal, although White Death and Red Death walk with hands held at Samhain time. What they are is abstract and alien and unknowable in terms not translated into myth and metaphor. They don’t speak, because words do not serve them. Their presence is paradoxically both qualia and a fundamental force; a firsthand experience and a law.

On this first temperate day, I had paused on my way to meet a friend to admire a baby seagull. Cute.

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I hadn’t gone far when I spotted another; dead in a barren promenade planter. At a glance, it didn’t seem injured or malformed, but perhaps too young to fly. Hit with a pang of melancholy, I didn’t investigate further so I don’t know for sure. I’ve always been fond of seagulls; although most people consider them vermin, silver gulls are a native species and thus protected under the same laws that sanctify eagles. They’re inquisitive, adaptable and boisterous birds. I once sat on the beach at midnight during a terrible cricket plague and watched as the gulls formed a line to drive the insects towards the waves so they could be picked off with ease. A favorite pastime from my childhood was amassing great flocks by feeding them barbeque table scraps on camping trips and leading them around like a beneficent Australian Pied Piper. It’s hard to ignore a bold bird that will steal a sandwich straight out of your hand if you aren’t paying attention. Baby gulls are shy, squeaky and awfully cute, and my young self tried to favour feeding them over the ones too busy posturing to snatch up bits of sausage.

Back in the present, so few steps apart, I recognized the poignancy in the moment.
For every life, there must be a death.
The thin crust of the Earth is like an enormous digestive system, grinding and chewing and renewing itself as it awakens from the sleep of winter, stretches and hungers for sex and nourishment. Usually calm, serene and silent save for the rustle of insects in leaf litter, and the hiss of mushrooms releasing spores, at Beltane the Green Lady pulls like a tide, urgent, insistent. She’s an explosive force pushing out of the ground in a cacophony of orgasmic lust, rain and verdancy.

Many living things take a scattergun approach to reproduction. Plants blast seeds out in all directions knowing not all will land in viable soil. Babies die. Eggs fail to hatch. All are digested back into the biosphere, perhaps to try again in another form. There is a critical moment in which the young must bloom, must hatch, must fly, must stand or take a breath or stretch upwards or they will die. Many do.

Beltane is a crucial point in time, hurtling forward and dangerous with possibility. Now, NOW. NOW!
You can trip and stumble but you must not hesitate. Jump. Awaken. Feel. Live.
Or don’t.
Sometimes it’s a choice and sometimes it isn’t. Not everyone will make it.

Now is the time to bloom into our better selves, and let the old rot and nourish us while we still have the chance.

 

Previous post on the Monarchs of Death.

Sovereigns of the Golden Path

or, how I learned to stop worrying and start my own cult.

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I refer to the SGP as a cult as a way of using humor to minimize the terrifying immensity the task; to start a magical tradition.
When envisioning something as purposefully heterodoxical as starting a cult, you’ve got to maintain a sense of levity, even if it is born from anxiety. I want to create a space, a haven for people who are too strange to fit anywhere else without ignoring or cutting bits of themselves off. Within that space, a conversation.
I want it to be like lichen, defying easy classification; something erased from people’s minds by the limitations of artificial constructs and poor education. Lichen is a symbiotic being, a unity of fungi, algae or bacteria. I love lichen for the same reason I love tardigrades and those alien creatures that live around the hot sulphurous vents in the constant darkness of the sea floor. Against all odds, they persist. They endure. Their regents are very, very old.
When the fungi from a lichen is separated from its symbionts in a lab environment, it is able to survive but loses its shape and structure, becoming a formless mass of hyphae; a purposeless blob. Sometimes I feel like a fungus-less lichen.
The SGP is my attempt to inject a bit of structural bacteria into my practice, along with a desire to spread, to survive. That seems like an inelegant metaphor but it’s going to be organic with a lot of junk DNA to start with that’ll get honed by evolution, and hopefully, helpful outside input. The average human body contains a staggering, uncountable amount of bacteria. Down to our very basest physicality, we are communities, conversations. No thing is born perfect. We grow through error.
The SGP will be about the pursuit of personal sovereignty and truth. The further we stray from truth, the more we suffer. Truth is a stand-in word for freedom, authenticity, spirit, unity, god, source, whatever ineffable, holy quality you need it to be. The name refers to the sun, but it won’t be a path in denial of shadows. The lights in the night sky after all, are themselves tiny distant suns. It’ll be animistic, BYO gods if you have them, a tool not a dogma. It’s firmly rooted in chaos magic, but the more it evolves, the family resemblance becomes less clear.
It’s early days yet, and not all offspring are viable. But I remain hopeful that one day this will grow into a conversation that can continue on without me.

Medusa’s legacy

Medusa and the gorgon have left an indelible mark on Western mythology; commonly seen today as either a cool monster for creature feature films or as an icon of the power of feminist anger.
In their early depictions, archaic gorgoneions (the head of the gorgon) had locks of curly hair, beards, fang-tusks, bulging eyes, fat protruding tongues and flat noses. They were usually shown to be disembodied, sometimes featuring a halo of snakes. Descriptions of gorgons recount them as being fearsomely ugly, monstrous women with scaly skin; able to petrify their victims with horror.

As history progressed, so did the manner in which gorgons were portrayed. Modern era gorgons became beautified women with snakes for hair, faces contorted with rage. Their depictions often show them looking away from the viewer, unlike the always full-frontal mask of the gorgoneion. Both species of gorgon have adapted to continue life today.

gorgon

The Predator’s shoulder-mounted weapon system enables it to kill with a glance and its countenance is petrifyingly ugly, resembling an archaic gorgon. Ray Harryhausen’s Medusa of the 1981 Clash of the Titans, with her bow and serpent coils in lieu of legs, was the next evolutionary step for the modern, beatified gorgon.

I imagine a gorgon for the digital age would be a powerfully built, muscular woman with a head replaced by a fearsome mask; a cloud of spasming glitches with an angry rictus snarl facing the viewer no matter which direction she stomps purposefully toward, paralyzing them in fear, causing computer systems to revert back into unthinking rocks.

reference: Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon, Stephen R Wilk.

The sun muscled manticore

Parental love, chaos magic, and a reason to run.

When I was younger, I believed that adulthood meant escaping any emotional reliance I had on my biological parents. I thought I would outgrow a need for parental love, guidance and approval. I was wrong on both counts; this need isn’t something that one sheds with age, and you can’t outgrow something you never had in the first place.

This lack of positive parental/familial guidance has been a real shackle on my personal development and is something I continue to work through. But how? It’s awful hard to get adopted when you’re in your 30’s, which left me with a dilemma. I don’t have many strong community ties and the AIDS crisis eliminated most of my chances at having access to a supportive network of elders.

What I do have is my magical practice and a certain narrative malleability with regard to my own life. I am part of a house and legion; the boundaries of my body and self defy scientific materialism. I’m a jumble of metaphors that defy easy classification as figurative or literal. I thrive on ambiguity.
My grandmother and my son were both housecats, and one of my mothers is the sea.
I recently discovered an aspect of the Earth is another maternal figure for me. She appears to me as a Venus of Willendorf-like figure. She is nurturing and full of love, cradle comfort and simple safety. She is not an empowered earth-goddess-mother figure for me as I am neither a woman nor a birth-parent, but a powerful grounding force of warmth, forgiveness and acceptance, and I am loved. Love like being hugged tight and safe, words of wisdom so practical and grounded they are cunning and sly, warm food and solid ground. She asks little in return but goodness, to walk softly and with the bravery to be kind.

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Venus of Willendorf figurine from the Paleolithic era. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

While the Earth provides me a well from which to draw this love, I still lacked a positive fatherly influence. I needed fierce protective love, rationality, teaching through demonstration, expressions of pride and uplifting frameworks. Trust, capability and responsibility. None of the masculine deities/beings I already have an established relationship with fit this role.

Depictions of the sun as a masculine, fatherly figure in real-world mythology aren’t unfamiliar to me but none of them ever struck me as being personally relevant. Luckily for me, practicing chaos/pop culture magic I’m not restricted to the trappings of eclectic witchcraft-I can cast a wider net for inspiration than traditional mythology.

solaire-of-astora-large

“The sun is a wondrous body. Like a magnificent father! If only I could be so grossly incandescent.” Solaire from Dark Souls, Namco Bandai Games 2011.

Playing Dark Souls and meeting Solaire of Astora was something of a watershed moment for me. In that simultaneously delicious and maddeningly cryptic way of all Souls series characters, he tells you he has deliberately become a member of the undead in order to undertake a journey to find his own sun. This in turn this reminded me of these two songs by SJ Tucker, featuring the writing of Catherynne M. Valente:

I recommend giving these two tracks a listen, one after the other. Manticore’s lullaby punches me so hard in the feelings I cry every time I hear it. Like Grotteschi, I was denied the exaltations of a good and proper childhood. I’m doing my best to catch up but I’ll carry some wounds forever.

The manticores in this story, naturally, see the sun as a glorious, shining manticore, their father. I adore the fantasy trope of the equivalent of anthropomorphism for creatures that aren’t human.

My favourite forms of pop culture magic are those that can be ported/carried over to our world with a little creativity and tweaking. While manticores exist in the mythology of our world, their depictions are relatively scant. They are nonetheless symbolically important to me with deep personal connections. With this in mind I’ve decided to engage with the sun in the form of a glorious golden manticore, lover of the Upas tree and father of the manticore fruit-and me.

Left to my own devices, I tend to become almost wholly nocturnal, both literally and otherwise. I can be prone to detachment, anhedonia, stagnation and feelings that I do not deserve happiness or pleasure. I do not feast gladly or sink my sharp teeth into offered fruits but decline, cringe, shy away, refuse. It’s not humbleness and piety but a harmful self-flagellation.

Not leaving my cave in the daylight hours has a lot of negative effects for a person prone to depression and withdrawal from the world.
To worship the sun is to tend to my little garden of potted plants; weeding out the oxalis, gently brushing away harmful bugs, to water and prune. To take my vitamin-D pills, as like many pasty Australians worried about skin cancer I’m terrifically deficient. To burn Frankincense, which has a beautiful golden scent, using homemade beeswax tealights.

And lastly; exercise. I’m doughy and unfit and I struggle with various ailments that make sticking to exercise regimes difficult. Lions, and thus also manticores, are fabulously muscled creatures. Making exercise an act of devotion is likely to give me the fortitude to reach the goals that I’ve so far failed to reach or sustain.

I wish to steep my life in magic, to revel in it, to live it.
In the past I’ve taken up running as a way to deal with pent-up anger. While my rage is a renewable resource, I’d prefer to run for joy, satisfaction and glory. From now on I’ll run for the manticore of the sun.

Sacrifices and Sympathetic Magic

Like many pagans, sympathetic magic is a substantial part of my personal practice; be it drawings, photographs, statues or other symbolic representations. Although I do work with live plants, incenses, resins, animal remains and more, the real thing is not always appropriate, possible or practical.

My shrine to the Outsider uses battery-powered LED candles and lanterns because its hidden position makes using real fire dangerous-and I rather enjoy the humour of using fake fire for pop-culture magic.
The consumption of large, juicy strawberries is a perfectly acceptable substitute for human hearts in ritual as far as Lilith is concerned, as another example.
Since the issue of live animal sacrifice is a purely hypothetical one for me in my current circumstances, I leave those moral quandaries to be unpacked at another time. What I can do, however, is make symbolically appropriate sacrifices.
Although I’m not a strict reconstructionist, I do enjoy research and adapting ancient practices to fit my modern lifestyle. In this research I found accounts of animal sacrifice substitutes in ancient Greece being made with bread, beeswax and reeds. As the sacrifice of livestock would have represented a substantial financial commitment for anyone who wasn’t particularly wealthy, I imagine these sympathetic magic substitutions would have been reasonably common.
I have a lot of local natural beeswax on hand from making my own devotional candles, so it seemed the obvious material to use if I were to create my own effigies. It turns out carving/modeling straight beeswax is incredibly difficult and my first attempts were an ugly mess. Instead, I adapted my sculpting and casting knowledge to create small dog and bull effigies, sculpting them in modeling clay then creating a silicone mould so they could be easily replicated in wax.
I use the dogs as apotropaic offerings to Hekate as part of a cleansing ritual, since my relationship with Hekate has a strong bent towards cleaning. I’m yet to test out the bulls, but I have one set aside for dedication and sacrifice to Dionysus. Bulls are symbolically rich animals, however, and could be used for any number of other deities or purposes.
Since I was on a roll sculpting, I also made a tiny human heart replica for healing/cursing or whatever else one fancies. My companion uses them for enchanting and enclosing within his taxidermy pieces, which is delightfully creative.

In the future, I’d like to experiment with various additives such as incense or tiny pieces of dried bull (Companion jokingly referred to it as ‘homeopathic bull’) or dog hair. I’m not sure how I feel about using the shed hair of still-living animals for sacrifices since my practice has always had a distinctly necromantic bent. But does using the parts of an already dead animal nullify the effect of a ‘sacrifice’? Is the intent all that matters in sympathetic magic? Food for thought.


Devotional cooking: Koresh Fesenjan for Hekate

Suffering chronic fatigue, I usually don’t have the energy for big, flashy ritual. Once a month on the day of the new moon, I clean my house as best I can in service to Hekate, and we share the evening meal. If I’m able, I try to incorporate relevant foods such as egg, garlic, leek, honey, and pomegranate.

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Last month I made Koresh Fesenjan-a Persian chicken, walnut, and pomegranate stew.

Ingredients:
(I don’t measure things when I cook; it’s why I’m terrible at baking)
2 spoonfuls of honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper
Salt-I don’t normally add salt to my food but Hekate requested extra after I’d plated it up
Chicken tenders, cut into small strips
Cup of chopped walnuts
Liquid chicken stock
White rice
Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses

Process:
1. Toast the walnuts in a pan for a few minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
Lightly crush with a mortar and pestle. When cooking for two, using a food processor isn’t worth the effort it takes to clean.
2. Cook the rice.
3. Lightly brown the chicken in a pan and toss in the spring onions with a dash of oil.
4. Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
5. Add spices, honey, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.
6. Simmer until the stew is no longer watery.
7. Serve with rice, garnish with walnut, parsley or pomegranate arils.

It’s a very sweet and sour, rich tasting dish.
I lit a candle and served it with a cup of fruit tea. Hekate seems to have a penchant for dark chocolate as well, which we had for dessert, although she seems insistent on sharing whatever I’m eating. Afterwards, I take her portion to my three-way crossroads altar, as well as a customary offering to the restless dead which I do not eat from.

Some months I’m not able to cook the food myself or make anything quite as elaborate as this, but it is my duty to share this meal and to remember the dead.