Some Holiday Cheer

So, I just learned that the carol “Deck the Hall(s)” was originally a drinking song. Before the Victorians got to it, the line “Don we now our gay apparel” was “Fill the mead cup, drain the barrel” (!!)

My mind is utterly blown.

The complete, proper lyrics are below. Have a Glad Yule, a blessed Solstice, and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Deck the hall with boughs of holly, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Fill the mead cup, drain the barrel, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troul the ancient Yuletide carol, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

See the flowing bowl before us, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus. Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I sing of beauty’s treasure, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Fast away the old year passes, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses! Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Laughing, quaffing all together, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Heedless of the wind and weather, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Prayer to All of the Gods III

I haven’t the words to describe how powerful and magnificent this prayer is. Please, go check it out!


This is the last of the three prayers that I wanted to write in 2021 — hopefully, a decent enough go at it. It’s the most Platonic of the three (but, let’s be blunt, that’s all of them), and it was a good exercise in hammering out where I solidly understand Proclus’ Platonic Theology and where confusion lingers. As with the other poems, some edits may be made as I use it.

Now for the accompaniment. I recommend a combination of frankincense and some kind of aromatic herbs — which, given incense blends, is easy to achieve in one type of stick when frankincense and aromatics are pressed together in it. The stanza breaks are good points at which one could offer libations.

Prayer to All of the Gods III

I pray to all of the Gods, welcome —
accept this offering of incense and these libations
given in adoration…

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Happy birthday, Proclus!

Today marks the 1,609th anniversary of the birth of that pious and brilliant philosopher, successor of Plato, Proclus.

A few fun things to honor the occasion:

First Things First

At the start of 2020, I read a thoughtful and inspiring blog post, on the beauty, value, and importance of beginning the new year by very deliberately calling upon the Gods. At the time, I was living in what the Brits (so I’m told) would call a bed-sit: I had a bathroom, a kitchen, and one other room to serve as bedroom, living room, study, and repository for all of my shrines, combined into one cozy space. This meant that every morning when I woke up, even before fumbling for my glasses and rolling out of bed, I was very tangibly in the presence of the Gods, before their shrines where I regularly offered my gifts and prayers. So it occurred to me that, just as it’s important to begin the year by acknowledging and honoring the Gods, so too, at the beginning of each day. And so I set out to form that habit.

As a daily practice, I don’t make this especially formal or elaborate; I save the more elaborate prayers and rituals for after I’ve fully woken up! But there’s something unexpressibly powerful, when the first words out of my mouth can be a simple sentence or two, in praise of the Gods who are so dear to me, and who have given me everything.

Though I’m no longer sleeping right in front of their shrines, I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up the habit of making a small simple prayer as soon as I wake, even before I put on my glasses. Which means that today, without any special planning for it, I could begin a new year of my own life with prayer and adoration. (The more elaborate work came a little later.)

Praise the Gods!

Things are getting autumnal!

Today’s the day. Day and night are balanced, the world is turning inward, preparing for the coming winter. (It’s already been two weeks since our first snow here, but things have warmed back up a bit.) The air is clear, the sky is blue. And most of all, it’s the season for one of my favorite words: autumnal. 😀

Have a happy and blessed equinox!

A Late August Morning

Cool breeze through dry grass
Whispers through rugged valley:
Day’s heat still to come.
While above, through hazy sky,
Orange Sun beats down on Earth.

My understanding is that a traditional haiku, which forms the first three lines of the tanka form used here, should relate to the season(s). Well, here in the Mountain West, it’s fire season.

To Socrates, on his Nativity

It’s that time again. Kala Thargelia! Kala Platoneia!


Written yesterday, on his actual birthday; posted here a day late.

Hail to you, Socrates, midwife of souls,
Whom we honor with Artemis, for your shared goals.
To you, whom the oracle once prophesied
Were of all the Athenians surely most wise,
A mission was given, to enlighten the young.
For your skill in that task, your praises are sung.
You comfortably owned your own knowledge’s bounds
And would seek out the truth, wheresoe’er it be found.
Even on your last day, you did honor the law,
For you knew well that death’s not the end of it all.
But rather, philosophy’s practice did quite
Have much the effect of a mystery rite:
You were ready for death, whatsoever it brings
Through the study of human and all divine things.
So we honor you, Socrates, born on this day.
Pray lead us and guide us on Wisdom’s bright way.

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After the Fire

Look down, look down,  
Eyes on the ground.
The flowing stream,
the Sun’s bright gleam,
All’s well –
So it would seem.
Look down, look down,  
Eyes on the ground.
Green mosses thrive,
Bright flowers bloom.
All’s well –
No sign of doom.
Look high, look high,  
Up toward the sky
At dark-scorched trees
Whose blackened trunks
Will soon fall in
To broken stumps.
Look high, look high,  
Up toward the sky
At branches bare
In summer air
Scant signs of green
To be found there.
Up toward the sky  
Dead sentinel trees
Wave ravaged corpses
In the breeze,
While on the ground
New verdant growth
Obscures the signs
Of fire and smoke.
Look down, look down 
Where water flows.
The promise of
Renewal grows.
Look high, look high
And ask how long
‘Til living branches
Host birdsong?

Written July 2019, after a visit to the section of the Columbia River Gorge which was ravaged by the Eagle Creek fire, two years ago.