May 1st, 2007


Wondering Why We Ever Go Home: Greece, 2007

Journal Entry 5

2:30 PM
Lunch in the Shadow of Olympus

After this morning's excursion to Dion, we adjourned to a cafe in Litochoro for lunch. In the shadow of Olympus, we ate gyros and enjoyed a beautiful day.

The first glimpse of Olympus was more daunting than I expected. I know the weather patterns of mountains well, and I knew that three PM was the "magic time" by which all hikes should end. Thunderstorms roll in without warning at mid-afternoon, regardless of climate and geography.

Thus my first sighting of the home of the twelve Olympian gods brought not a thought of awe, but a creeping knowledge of what the clouds gathered at the snow-bound summit meant.

My second sighting informed me just how difficult this walk would be.

Somehow, it had escaped me just how close to the sea Mt. Olympus is. To most people, this might mean beautiful views or easy tourist access, but to me, it meant that I would be climbing all 2918 meters from the sea to the peak. In my mind, Lichotoro was a mountain city, nestled in foothills or in a valley somewhere. A seaside town never occurred to me.

Now, as I gazed up from the coastal road, from Dion, and from my dinner table, I saw how high the Home of the Gods really was.

And the challenge excited me.

Wondering Why We Ever Go Home: Greece, 2007

Journal Entry 6

6:10 PM
Mount Olympus, 1400 m above sea level
Olympian Zeus, Protect Me
The sky was darkening and the sun was setting over Stavroities, and we had gone as far as we could. I knelt on the side of Olympus, greatful for the amazingly clear weather, the ease with which we found ourselves back on the trail, and the good omens we had found.

Our first good omen was the eagle we saw gliding from branch to branch while on the main trail. I knew we were being watched over at that point.

The second good omen was the woodpecker we heard while we were lost. It was the sound of his beak on the tree that gave me a knowledge that we would be okay.

The third good omen was another woodpecker who sounded as I made an offering of thanks and hope for a second good hike at the highest point we had reached. As I prayed the third line, the woodpecker responded for the Gods:
For clear skies,
for keeping the rain off our backs,
for a safe journey on your mountian,
Olympian Zeus, be praised.
Look with favor on us as we return down,
look with favor on us as we return back up.
Olympian Zeus, be praised.
There, I left an offering of a two Euro coin with an eagle on the reverse (after checking the correspondances with zylch, our resident Hellenist in our party of three), and made an offering for viedansante as well. I gave zylch a two Euro piece for an offering as well, this one with Europa and the bull.

After we made our offerings, we started back down, and reached the parking lot in a quarter of the time it had taken us to do our entire round trip (3 hours).

Some tired ramblings

ADF elections finally ended last night. I've been spending the past several nights at my workbench, working on things in order to keep my mind off a lot of things, but those in particular. Last night, I spent my time working to finish the set of runes I've promised for so many years to make for the Grove, but have never managed to actually do.

I also have a set of Ogham sticks that I hope to make for the Grove. As I was working last night, trying my hardest to avoid fretting over other things (a common thread in my life recently), I began thinking about the other divination tools we might need on hand.

I'm a fan of culturally-appropriate symbol sets, which has been a perennial issue with a Gaulish hearth culture. Ian, apparently, has a new symbol set of his own that looks intriguing (I just heard about it recently, though it's apparently been discussed on ADF-Seers a couple of times. . . which doesn't help much for me, who went NOMAIL there a long time ago because it wasn't worth reading), so we might need to get something like that. I made up a set of Discordian Futhark runes for my own personal use (I don't think the Grove needs them), and I've found that they're really fun to use. [note: I have a similar creative project underway, and others have also thought about Discordian divination.]

Of course, I have no idea what to do with this whole Vedic thing and seership. I suppose I'll just do what I'm doing now: read up on the famous Vedic seers and pretend I know what I'm doing. [mental note: get a fire extinguisher for the altar, idiot.]

I've been reading as much as possible about Usas over the past few days, and as a result, I've been encountering her in my thoughts quite often. I'm back in the habit of my dawn and sunset devotionals, which are really the one thing that I will always recommend to folks who are having a hard time spiritually: it's amazing how they affect your religious life.

Of course, because I'm staying up late and getting up before sunrise, I'm getting really, really freakin' tired. At this point, we're looking at about 14 hours of daylight at this latitude, and it's only going to get longer for the next six weeks (peaking at about 15 hours). I do not expect to sleep in until late September, after the daylight savings change.

The one thing that I really feel I need to do with these rites is to wake up and stay up, which means no more lazy mornings in bed. And, if I can swing it, I'd really like to wake up, shower, and be ready for my day by the time I stand before my altar at dawn. So far, because of how late I've been up, I've chosen practicality over piety, but at least dawn is waking me: that's the real goal.

And I've been rambling for a while now, so I'm going to shut up. This, apparently, is the effect of three hours of sleep on my writing.