Musings: Poseidon

I thibk, upon first introduction, Poseidon could be viewed as a God of indecisiveness. He is not entirely one way or another. The sea can be both terrible and calm, horses wild and tame.

This may be why He is so under-worshipped. Most people, in modern times, are one way or another. Or perhaps clear on what they are striving to be.
I see Poseidon as a God for those seeking guidance in coming to terms with their inherent duality. 

This post is brought to you by insomnia and severe disappointment with the election results. No surprise that my Lord and Tamera of Tumultuous Seas is on my mind tonight.

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30 Days of Devotion: 7-12

It’s been a he’ll of a week with construction madness and emotional lows, but they say that the best time to do something is when you feel like you can’t. So here I am, playing catch up on my devotion posts.

Day 7: names and epithets

  • Earth shaker
  • Savior of Sailors
  • The Bull of the Sea
  • Creator of Horses
  • The Rock Poseidon 
  • Averted of Earthquakes
  • God of the Sea
  • Who Dashes Against
  • King
  • Secures Safe Voyage
  • Overseer
  • Watching
  • Holder of the Earth
  • Father
  • Plant Nurturer
  • Of the King
  • Of the House
  • Of the People

Day 8: variations of this Deity

Simply looking at the above collection of titles and epithets, you can easily see that Poseidon covered more areas beyond the sea depending on where He was worshipped.

In some areas, He was a household Deity that watched over families and their homes. In areas dependent on river flow, He was a Deity of agriculture and plant growth. In coastal areas, of course, He was a God of bountiful fish and safe voyage. One note He was not.

Day 9: common misconceptions 

The previous section actually leads me to the first topic in this one. Poseidon, like all Gods and divine entities, is not one dimensional. I’ve encountered many people, usual non-Pagans but not always, who think each God has their 1 or 2 areas of expertise and nothing more. Poseidon is King in the sea, Shaker of the Earth, Savior and Dasher. His long arms of guidance and protection extend far to places where the ocean is far off and unseen.

Another misconception I encounter is a direct result of literal interpretation of the myths and an unwillingness to believe that the Gods adapt with changing ideals over time. So many people question my worship of Poseidon because they believe he is misogynistic and sexually frivolous, neither of which is true.

The Gods as creators are tasked with populating the Earth with our Heroes. For the purposes of the myths, the absence of monogamy allowed for these Heroes and other Divine offspring to have a sort of variety. Had Poseidon bred only with His consort Amphitrite, the Pegasus would not have come about. By laying with Medusa this was possible.

Outside of the myths, though, in my personal experience, is where I’ve learned these things to be false. I mentioned in a previous post that Poseidon holds consensual, sexual acts to be sacred. To say that he will lay with anyone or anything is disrespectful in this sense. He takes care in pursuing his partners and does not take them lightly. All things have their time and place. As a God of the Sea, He reveres creation in all of its forms. The female body is the foundation of our creation. It curves like His waves and pulses like His tide. We are His counterpart. The female of creation to his Male. As a God he embraces, rather than rejects or denies, this duality.

Day 10: offerings

  • Pine
  • Wine/cheese/honey  (I’ve found this combination to be popular among many Greek Deities and Heroes)
  • Beef
  • Rum/whisky/beer
  • Sexual acts
  • Caught fish (that you’ve caught yourself, that is)
  • Athletic games
  • Strategy games
  • Oral hygiene 
  • Salted meat
  • Lemons and limes
  • Earl gray tea

Day 11: sacred days and festivals

The month of December corresponds to Poseidon’s month on the Athenian calendar. December 23rd was His day of celebration as well as the 8th of each month.

Around January 5th is the celebration of Poseidon Phytalmeos (fresh water and plant growth).

Around January 25th is the anniversary of the marriage of Zeus and Hera. Poseidon was honored on this day in some areas as well.

June 3rd and 12th held sacrifices to Poseidon.

Many other festivals were held including the first rain and last harvest depending on the region.

Day 12: places of worship

  • Beaches
  • Coast lines
  • Corinth
  • Argolis
  • Helice (now Achaea)
  • Onkhestos (now Boeotia)
  • Attica 
  • Sicyon

TL;DR: Postpartum Depression

It used to be that when you thought of the USA you thought of freedom, triumph, and success. These days, it’s becoming more and more evident just how many ways in which that is not the case. We are living in a time where all of America’s big taboo topics seem to be simultaneously in the foreground . While the various topics under the umbrellas of equality and equity are being juggled around, it seems as though one topic in particular continues to get conveniently swept under the rug: mental health.

Whether it be PTSD, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue, no one seems to have time to look at what’s clearly in front of them.

11-20% of women who give birth each year are reported to have postpartum depression. This number doesn’t include the countless women who suffer silently and alone.

This week in my home city here in SOCAL, a mother took the life of her 8 week old son and then took her own life.

The local news released a brief article describing the event. How sad. How unfortunate. “Please contact us if you know anything.”

My daughter is just over a year old now but the memories of those first few weeks have hardly left me. While I’m greatful that the idea of harming her never crossed my mind, I had plenty of other thoughts to work myself through.

In the immediacy of the depression I was, in fact, alone. If not for the breastfeeding support group I was (and still am) in, I fear I may have abandoned my child in some way or another. And my guilt still tells me that, for one night, I did just that.

10 hours of emotional hell is too long. Dragging yourself out by your own bleeding fingernails (metaphorically, still) is too hard.
I wish this mother had had the support that I had from a tribe of mothers unafraid to reach out and be open. A tribe of women with been-there-done-that experience and here-and-now compassion.

Here are a few things you can do to help any mother through a difficult time, whether she be a few days postpartum or a few years. Postpartum depression has no time line.

Ask her how she’s doing.

This is easily do able. Sometimes all she needs is for someone to be there, ready and willing to listen. Don’t make her feel bad about repeating the same problems you heard last week. All of it is most certainly still a problem. Just be there open and willing to understand.

Offer your hands.

The hardest things to get done sometimes when you have a child around are the little things. Dishes, vacuuming, changing sheets, restocking toilet paper. Offer to handle the small chores at times when she needs a moment to re-enter herself. Or, when she doesn’t; getting the small stuff out of the way when she’s doing great will give her the chance to get ahead of the curve.

Remind her of what’s important.

Remind her that she’s doing an amazing job. Every day she gets through, no matter how messily it may get done, is a triumph. And every once in a while, remind her that it’s OK to take time to take care of herself. Self care is one of the most important things for a mom to remember. The benefits of a shower, eating well, and drinking enough water are legion, but brushing her teeth and combing her hair are more than just mundane tasks when she’s gone two weeks without doing either. They can feel like the most luxurious spa day given enough time without them.