Ave Fortuna!

A guest post by Kaigi-Ron


Ave is the principle of gratitude.

Of recognizing, in each moment, how incredibly lucky you are…because it could’ve gone another way.  It could be so very much worse…but, fortunately, it isn’t.

Ave Fortuna!

It all started with the Focus to Fortuna.  In this world ruled by chaos, she rolls the dice.  They cannot be unrolled.  So it goes.

I added miniature decks (both standard playing card and tarot), a pewter ship (the winds of change), plus a full set of D&D dice.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor…

…and I’m reminded of a passage from Leonard Mladinow’s book The Drunkard’s Walk – all about how we perceive randomness.  Think for a moment about rolling dice.

Is that process truly random?

Can you practice rolling dice and improve your game?

Can external factors “throw you off”?

(answers: yes, no, and no)

But even when I’ve asked my colleagues with science degrees, they often struggle against this illusion:  That external factors can somehow alter randomness.

That you can appeal to Fortuna – kiss her ass, give her what she wants, and she’ll reward you.  Hey, it works on people, so of course it works on Gods, right?

Sometimes the mere illusion of control is enough.  Thus I complete my ritual before my Atheopagan Focus.

Ave Fortuna!

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In a Dream of Incense and Candlelight

My Focus is densely populated, because I like it that way. It is rich with meaning and history: places I have been, things I associate with important principles.

In its candlelight, illustrations of cave drawings from 35,000 years ago flicker. A Homo Erectus stone tool rests for a tiny percentage of its existence. Images of the Earth, of the Hubble Deep Field image, of rivers I’ve run and canyons I’ve hiked, and precious, beautiful things from Nature; symbols of my chosen family and of this community; A chalice of rain water; a bouquet of wheat; a quartz crystal and one of tourmaline; a slate engraved with a triple spiral; a bowl of acorns. My sacred rattle, which I’ve used in so many rituals. The program of the first Moon Meet. My Atheopagan rosary.

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On the shelf below, in the Underworld, reside the Honored Dead. Images of the interior of the Newgrange passage burial, of owls. A deer skull, a mummified bat, a dessicated pomegranate. Bones. A sugar skull for Dia de Los Muertos. A human femur. A blown glass bottle of rose water which I used to anoint the body of my goddess-daughter’s five-year-old brother when we buried him, and have used to anoint the foreheads of celebrants in Hallows rituals since. A bough of yew gathered from a cemetery on Halloween, and with which I will light the Hallows fire this year.

An hourglass.

And pictures of those who are now gone.

Beneath those, in the bottom shelves of the bookcase, all the tools: the incense and censor, the oils and Tarot decks and water from sacred wells and books of sacred poetry.

This…construction, this illustration, this expression lives in my room. It is where the heart of my spirituality finds material expression in my home.

On nights like tonight, when my heart softens and I ease into the way of being that is wonder, is awe, is delight, I think of all of you out there who are interested in this path, in this way of being. Yours will not be mine, and that’s fine.

But we share something, wherever in the world you are. We are Atheopagans together.

Tonight the Moon swells. Tomorrow the long day of the mighty Sun dawns.

And we are paying attention.

I’ve been sad, lately. The world, my personal life. Not going so well.

But there it is, that Moon. Here they are, those stars.

Here it comes, that blazing Sun.

The world turns as it turns, and the waves at the coast go in and out, and Robinson Jeffers is right:

The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty

Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.

There is awe and gratitude to be found even in the darkest of times.

I am grateful for you, reading this. I call to your deepest heart to breathe, to open, to see what the Sacred world pours out for you.

To know that you are blessed.

 

Turns Out, I’ve Been Living in an Atheopagan Focus

A guest post by Kaigi-Ron. 
It was the knives that first pointed me to the truth.
 
Seven of them stood at attention by my sink (fastened in magnetic rigor by the new strip I’d just installed), adjacent to the Hello Kitty curtains.
 
And I was struck:  OMG, I have a living Housewives Tarot card in my kitchen!
 
What was weirdest, this didn’t seem random:  I had recently been the victim of vicious (and untrue) gossip.  Yet My Science Nerd Mind knew that there was no way this was “directed” at me by “somebody else”.
 
I pulled the HWT deck from the shelf, found the Seven of Swords, and re-read the copy:
 
  GOSSIPS – THIEVES – BACKSTABBERS
You’ve heard whispering behind your back and sensed phony smiles and condescending charm at every turn.  There’s a vicious gossip in your circle doing everything in her power to put a big black stain on your pretty white reputation.  Watch out – she’s a real stinker, determined to soil your social status.  She’s always been jealous, but now she’s trying to steal your recipes, your friends, and maybe even your husband.  Though it’s normally beneath you, the time has come to roll up your sleeves and fight fire with fire!
 
(Just want to say here that I continue to be impressed by how closely the Housewives Tarot gyves with Butler and Rider-Waite.  HWT is now my go-to deck!)
 
This was a bit unnerving.  And I realized that from this day forward, I would never forget this association.  I needed to do something to combat that reaction – to feel that I’d Done Something About It and Bl**dy Well Put A Stop To It.
 
I knew then: I needed to build a Ward.  (Yeah, yeah – not actually something real but it will make me feel better,and that’s all to the betterment of mankind.)
 
I asked the lad and he said it was traditional to put up a mirror.  And I had the perfect one – it had been a gift from a friend, so it had extra positive “juju” already associated with it…and which I duly mounted right above the knife rack.
 
There I Fixed It!
 
And it’s not just the kitchen, it’s our multiple shelves of overlapping “micro-shrines” of every conceivable configuration.  It’s the Shrine of Stuffies, and The Shrine of Hello Kitty.  It’s everything:  My home is one big temple to feeling good about our shared experiences, and to continuing to take this world forward.
 
And I realized:  I’ve been a Atheopagan a whole lot longer than I thought – I was one way before I had a word for it.  Turns out I’ve been living in one big Atheopagan Focus for years!
 
I can almost hear Madge the Manicurist saying, “You’re soaking in it!”  Who knew?