PRODUCT REVEIW: Uni (Hera) Anointing Oil From Lykeia’s Botanica – 5 stars!

I really love to have ritual items and icons that were crafted by other Polytheists, because you know that love for the Gods were poured into it during its creation. That love and devotion has it’s own energy, and it helps to ensoul the items in question. As uni.jpgan animist that believes that most items are (or can be) ensouled, this is extremely important. Some of the most powerful religious icons I’ve ever had were paintings of my Gods created by a Polytheist friend. Actually, the same friend who created this annotating oil.

This oil, meant for anointing or blessing, is made by Lykeia’s Botanica. The oil I got is for Uni, the Etruscan Goddess Who became synchronized with Hera/Juno. The site describes it as a “Sweet cool scent with a slight warmth reminiscent of spring rain” and it is made of neroli, jasmine, clove, cedar, and ginger. The scent is very distinctive, but as I sat to write this review I realized I wasn’t sure I could use the correct words to convey differences in types of olfactory experiences. In a way its the same as wine tasting; it is always enjoyable but it can take time and experience to develop the required vocabulary and knowledge to do it well. In any case, here I go. I can smell the ginger hints in the solution. I had to sit with it for a while to try to think of the best words to describe it , and I think I’d say “crisp and clean, but luxurious”. I love it. I have not had the opportunity yet to use it in ritual to anoint my Hera statue, but I’m sure that She will be as pleased with it as I am.

This is a 20% dilution oil, so a little drop goes a long way. It can conceivably be used as a perfume or on the skin (and when I have touched it left my skin feeling silky), but I’ll be using it mostly for anointing and for other ritual uses.

FULL disclosure: Lykeia sent me a tester vial of oil (normally $9) for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Homesteading Blurb: UPS, Trees, and the Importance of Community

Written on Wednesday the 5th

Today I walked down to the mail to wait for UPS to come. They will leave packages by the land company sign if I ask them to, but they won’t cross the bridge to get to my house. Obviously there becomes the problem of the package possibly walking off with someone else or being damaged by weather. So my solution to this problem is to schedule the delivery for a day when the weather is reasonably nice, and then walk up to the mailboxes by the main road and wait for delivery, and carry the items back. Of course it’s a bit of a hassle, but that’s what happens when you live this far out in the country without a car. The idea of a “small” errand like this taking so long is likely inconceivable to modern folk, but its more on par with the way our ancestors experienced life. Besides, I only order things this way once a month, and only for necessary items that I can’t get on the shuttle ride into town.

It is just over a half-mile walk to to the mailboxes, making it over a mile round-trip. I admit that some days I resent not having a car to do this, and when I set off on the start I’m angry. Angry at the world and pissed off that I don’t have a car and ended up in this situation. But that rarely lasts. Something about walking on the private gravel roads winding though the plots of woods and fields is very calming. Sometimes the neighbor’s dogs run up to greet me. I see horses and goats in the feilds along the way. Sometimes one of the neighbors is in his or her yard or on the road and they stop to chat. Since my brother rarely comes on these walks with me, its also one of the only times I get to meditate on Nature and the Gods uninterrupted, especially when I go just after sunrise.

I’m writing this draft by hand up by the mailbox right now. I can hear wild turkeys gobbling in the distance. Two Great Pyrenees, livestock guardian dogs, are laying down snoozing in the sun 15 feet away from me. They live in the field next to the mailboxes, guarding the goats and horses. I carry treats for them every time I come up here, as I know several other neighbors do. Sometimes when they are hungry they come all the way to my house because they know I will feed them. These dogs are as much a part of my community out here as the humans are, and I am just as happy to know them.

My favorite neighbor, Tom*, and his family moved back to the hill, much to my delight. Apparently they didn’t sell their land, but were just going somewhere else while letting someone they knew stay there. One of the worst problem neighbors (who was a big part of why Tom* moved) was arrested recently on serious enough charges that he’s not getting out anytime soon. And, no, I’m not going to explain further. Suffice it to say everyone is better off with him gone.

Marina* and her husband have been giving us eggs because they have way more than they can ever eat, and I’ve been giving them egg cartons I’ve saved. It sure seems like I’m getting the better end of this deal, but they were extremely happy about it. Barter system rocks!

I recently met and talked to a new neighbor, who I have seen around for months but had not had the opportunity to meet yet. He showed me the orchard he was working on planting, including some fruit trees he grafted himself, which seemed to be thriving. I hope to get to know him better, and learn how to do this from him. Its awesome when everybody around you has different skill sets and you can learn from them.

Speaking of trees, another neighbor gave us 5 one-year old trees. He ordered 200 of them from the local nursery, but ran out of space in which to plant them. So he gave some trees to each of the neighbors. We got 3 wild plum trees and 2 black walnuts. Now as young as they are, they are far from producing, being only a foot tall. Still, its amazing. Adding those to the three fruit trees we already have, that make 8 trees: 6 fruit trees, 2 nut tress. We have the beginning of our food forest. We cut both ends out of a 2-liter soda bottle, and put it over the tree seedling to protect it from mice and hail. There are small wooden skewers driven into the ground inside the bottle. This is so that when it gets really windy (and it will here in the Ozarks) all the weight is on the wooden steaks and not on the delicate seedlings.

The trees we bought at Walmart last year are doing fantastic. The plum is twice as tall as it was (it was already about three years old last year) and leafed out beautifully. The peach is tall and bushy, and the thunk is extremely thick, the leaves a beautiful vibrant green. The pear is green and looks good, but has not grown as fast. It is a slower growing variety, being a standard-sized fruit tree, and the other 2 are semi-dwarf. We might peaches or plums this year. There won’t be a lot because the trees are still kind of small but we could get some. The pear is way too small to support fruit. Even if it does flower, we are going to pinch them off so all its energy goes into developing a strong root system and getting big, strong, and healthy.

We are getting PLENTY of rain right now. There was a crazy storm last night. I opened the door and watched the downpour of Zeus’s fury upon the world for a few minutes. It was very humbling. And it was perfect timing, too, for the health of the new trees. Okay I’m gonna sign off for now.

Happy homesteading!

 

*All the names of my neighbors and friends have been changed for their privacy.

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March GMC Poetry: Hermes Ascrostic

Hospitality’s guardian, with Zeus He protects travelers

Ephemeral magician, liminal laughing thief

Rustic God Who dances with nymphs, father of panic-inducing Pan

Messenger wandering, twisting words like spells

Enthusiastic bestower of persuasion

Shepherd’s companion and guardian of borders

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March GMC: Hermes of the Homeless

A few lines in the last poem sent me on a tangent, and I liked it but it didn’t fit within that particular praise-poem. So I split it into two separate hymns. This is the second, Hermes of the Homeless.

Hermes of the Homeless

by Amanda Artemisia Forrester

 

 

I offer to Hermes of the Homeless,

As often as I can.

I see Him shining in the eyes

Of the PTSD-stricken veteran in the street,

The beaten child in the shelter,

The beggar with the sign on the corner.

I offered him a few dollars, an offering to Hermes

As much as to the human being before me who needed it.

I’ve been there too,

And I remember the fear and the hunger.

I remember the eyes of the majority sliding over me,

As if I was invisible.

I remember the anger and the hostility of some

And the kindness and compassion of a small number.

“Don’t think of it as begging” He told me once,

When I was desperate and depressed,

And doubted my worth

“Think of it as testing their hospitality.”

Now the whispers at the back of my head say something different

“Pay it forward. That was you once —

Not very long ago at all.”
And I do.

It’s not much.

A few dollars here,

A little food there,

A blanket on a cold day in winter.

But I remember how much it means.

So I pray to Hermes, Protector of vagabonds,

Who watches over the homeless and the destitute,

The wanderers and the outcasts,

Keep safe all those who have nowhere to lay their heads to tonight.

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March GMC Poetry: Facets of Hermes

Yes, I know, I’m more than a week late. I’m considering cutting the God of the Month Club down to two Deities a month instead of three. I’ll have to do some divination on that subject.

Facets of Hermes

by Amanda Artemisia Forrester

 

Many-named wanderer with sparkling eyes full of mischief

The longer that I know You

The more facets I find

Like a rare jewel elaborately cut

I can stare deeply deeply into it’s every face,

And never truly glimpse its core.

I think I glimpsed You in the woods

In the park in Indianapolis

When I offered to the Nymphai and

Cleaned up the trash left by disrespectful humans.

I know for certain it was You Who protected my brother and I

As our truck limped into Columbia, Missouri

We ran out gas two exits outside of the city,

On a hill’s steep incline, the engine died.

It should have been impossible to restart

Yet we prayed and gunned it,

And somehow we limped the last two miles to town,

As if the Protector of Travelers Himself

Was pushing the vehicle along.

I think I’ve seen You in the eyes

Of the homeless man on the street,

The beggar with the sign on the corner.

I offered him a few dollars, an offering to You

As much as to the human being before me who needed it.

I have heard the smooth intonations of Your voice many times,

(although I didn’t always want to acknowledge it)

In the persuasive argument from a person I didn’t like,

Who fought for a side I didn’t agree with.

I have felt Your Presence, Your magnificent spirit,

In the rising power of a magical working.

In all these places, and more, I have glimpsed You,

Only a few small facets of the Great God the Greeks named Hermes.

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Agon winners for Aphrodite Agon

W00t! I won second place in the Aphrodite Agon!

Lykeia’s next Agon is for Artemis. The deadline is May 6, and the prize will be a 8×10 painting of Her.

Beloved in Light

This afternoon I praised Aphrodite and greeted her to sweeten herself to those who sing her praise, and that she take pleasure in their offered hymns. That each be blessed.

One by one I entreated the goddess to listen with favorable mind as I read each hymn. At the close of each have hymn I cast her medallion. Face side up was her approval and favor. (As a trial I did some practice goes to make sure it can land both ways). Each hymn she found favorable in her eyes. Blessed are each who submitted a hymn, each was worthy by far.

Sadly there can only be one with winner and one runner up. So lots were cast that she select that which she favored.

First place is the Hymn by Heathen Chinese and will be rewarded the silver Aphrodite Medallion.

Second place is the Hymn by Amanda Forrester and…

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Devotional to Hestia now available!

fl_frontcover.jpgSo the Bibliotheca Alexandria devotional to Hestia, First and Last, is now available! I have three poems and a ritual home blessing published in this volume. The table of contents can be seen here, and you can order your copy on Createspace here.

Although there are few surviving writings regarding Hestia, She is arguably one of the most important Deities of ancient Greece. I’ll probably do a review of this at some point.

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