Breathtakingly Delighted is finally live and launched!

My article is up here

And here are the other launch articles

Shines within Darkness by Michael Eldritch

Leaving Monotheism Behind by Niki Whiting

Life, Death, Now by Aine Llewellyn

Zep-Tepi by Rev.Tamara L Siuda

The New World by Julian Betowski

The Gargarean by Markos Gage

Polytheism and Metaphysics by Edward Butler

I am one with my Ancestors by Grant Guindon

Speaking of Syncretism by PSVL

This is unfathomably exciting to me. I’m amazed, breathtakingly delighted that this is happening and pleased as a pot-bellied possum to be part of such an amazing team of writers.

It seems to be becoming a motto, it is a damn good time to be a polytheist.



If I see you supporting or defending Christian Day you are getting cut out of my scene. He is a horrid man who said horrid things. 

That’s all I’m saying on it. 

If you want more info, Galina Krasskova lays it on the line better than I can. She, unlike myself, can channel her anger into something coherent. 



No Easy Days [Poetry]

There are no easy days for me. 

I wake up with absence 
I go to bed with absence
I wake up tired
I go to bed tired

There are no easy days for me

Because I struggle to make myself get out the door
And dread waking up in the morning
Because the cycle must go on and on
I have work to do, don’t I?

It all becomes like mud that I slog through
Progress is hard, slow, tiring
I cannot remember lying my head on the pillow and feeling

But when I lie my head on his chest
And listen to his heart 
I know contentment

There are no easy days
Not brought by gods or booze
The only easy days are spent with him

Flesh meets flesh and joy becomes more than an echo
As his hands trail downwards I remember the Lovely Foam
I gasp sharply in pleasure and remember Her favor
Their favor

There are no easy days
Except when I’m with him
When I’m with him
I remember what easy days were

Little Failures [Poetry]

I know nothing
I know I know nothing because the gods are infinitely 

As soon as I think I know your searing brightness
I am plunged into ice water
Then taken up a mountain and swept
Along the dirt in my backyard

You are called
Ever Near 
And you are and that is not a comfort
Because the protection is paid for 
When all your failings become present
And the only excuse is not an excuse at all
Because sometimes you are lethargic
But sometimes there is laziness

You try to be honest with yourself
But you can never quite be honest enough

Get up, try again
Not tomorrow, today
A failing is not an end
Every second your chance is new

Prayers to Athena for the Yazidi

On Wednesday, August 20th, I and a few others are going to petition Athena for the protection and well-being of the Yazidi people. 

Just give offerings and make prayers to the goddess on behalf of these people. 

A few links about the horrors inflicted upon them.


Hail Athena and Long Live the Yazidi. 

What Gaining 20lbs did to Me.

This past year I went from weighing 171lbs to weighing 192. Due to a combination of stress, mood disorders, and having to rely on rice as a staple, I rapidly gained weight. I went from being slim to being decidedly overweight. I hadn’t had this much body fat since before I hit puberty. This rapid weight gain did things to me mentally and physically that I did not expect. 

1: I lost flexibility 

My joints, for whatever reason, got stiffer. Where I would have been easily able to bend this way or that, they no longer could do so. I felt the pain in stretching where there was no pain before. Realizing this for the first time was when I was trying to perform some dance moves on the game Dance Central and found that there was some pain. They required flexibility that I simply could not muster to do very quickly whereas before I could easily pull off the move. 

2: I lost self-confidence 

I used to be very assured of my body and very comfortable removing my clothing in public if I had to. After I gained the weight I began to be more hesitant in removing my clothes. I don’t even lounge without a shirt on most of the time because I don’t like seeing my belly. I grew to be ashamed of my body and incredibly disappointed with how I used to look. The loss of self-confidence didn’t end with my body though. In social situations I found it more difficult to talk to people and I have become far less assured of my abilities and competency. 

3: I’ve become fatigued more easily

I’ve never been a very athletic or “in-shape” guy but even walking at a brisk pace can get me a little winded now if I walk for a mile or so. It is mortifying to be breathing more quickly on just a simple walk to campus or being unable to exercise as long as one once could. 

4: I’ve become more sensitive to criticism 

Without feeling good about my looks I’ve had to rely on other attributes to you know, make me feel good about myself. When these new things that I value have been challenged it makes me feel attacked personally even when I know the attack wasn’t personal. Everything began to feel like an attack on me. I withdrew from conversation with many of my friends and am just now re-learning that challenges are not attacks. 

5: People make fun of you when you admit to feeling bad about your body. 

I can only speak from a male perspective here, but when I have confided to people about my dislike of how my body looks, I often get dismissed or otherwise made fun of. I’m told that I “look fine” or that I’m overexaggerating and yet I feel overweight, I look overweight, and my BMI is well in the overweight category (I know, BMI is a terrible measure of being overweight or not). I don’t want people to go “oh no you aren’t fat” or whatever the hell they think I want them to say, I just want to be able to air my complaint about myself. Sort of like when your tummy hurts or something, you know the person isn’t going to fix it and you know that complaining isn’t going to fix it, but damn it it feels good to be able to say what is bothering you. 

6: Correcting your eating habits is hard. 

Seriously, correcting your eating habits sucks and takes a lot of effort. It also takes a lot of handling your own fuck-ups in your attempts to fix it. I’ve been trying to eat better for the best few months and just now am I eating in a way that is actually enabling me to get my weight down. Even then I have screw-ups. All the things I really like to eat also happen to be terrible for me. Exerting the willpower to not eat a hamburger when you really, really, REALLY want a fucking hamburger is hard. 

That’s what I learned. I’m not trying to say these things are universal or applicable to everyone’s health, fitness, and weight goals, but for me this is how it has broken down. I’m getting better but getting back to a point where I would be comfortable going to the pool is going to be hard. 

But I think I can do it. 

This makes it worth it.

As many of you know, I tend to fall on hard times during the summer scrambling for work and side jobs to support myself. Well one of the jobs that I happened to get was being given the privilege of teaching a CUUPS member’s kids about Hellenism, the theoi, and some basics of Hellenic practice. I was terrified and nervous, I had never taught kids in this age group before. Would I be able to hold their attention? Would I be able to help them learn? Would I suddenly forget everything I knew and just choke? 

It went well. I was worried that I didn’t have the youngest kid’s attention until a few weeks later when I got this book that he made. It is, without a doubt, one of the best gifts I have ever received. 

Zeus controlling the rain. It says “The Book of Greek Mythology”
This is his drawing of me pouring a libation. It says “Greek mythology is a belief. Everything they eat and drink they give some of whatever they eat and drink.”
This is a picture of Dionysus making wine. It says “Now we will talk about the loves of the gods like the god of wine.” He uses love as in, what they really like.

 And one of the kids I got to tutor also participated in the Herakleia as the Barley Bearer and one of the people who passed out the tokens of the blessings. 

Taken by Cathy Beckett

These things are what make everything worth it for me. These two things brought me more joy than I could ever imagine. Whether or not these kids become Hellenists in the future is irrelevant, they honored the gods, they know they exist, and when the time comes they know it is an option for them. 

I am happy. 

Herakleia Ritual Script


PRE-RITUAL Introduction

SPEAKER I: The days are still long, but becoming shorter. Outside the sun blazes overhead and the air is hot and dry. Tonight some are celebrating Lammas and the plentiful grain, others are celebrating Lughnasadh and the god Lugh. Tonight we celebrate the Herakleia and the god Herakles, or as he is more popularly known, Hercules.

SPEAKER II: The Herakleia was, and still is, a celebration of the life and death of the god Herakles. In ancient Athens it was celebrated in a magnificent gymnasium called Kynosarges right outside the city walls. There was feasting and drinking and feats of strength performed in the god’s honor; and of course sacrifices and offerings were made. But we are not ancient Athenians, we are 21st century Texans, so our rite will be a bit different.

SPEAKER III:  How many of you think of Kevin Sorbo when you hear the name Hercules? [wait for hands to raise.] Now how many of you think Disney and church-choir Muses? [wait for hands to raise]. Both of these helped put the name “Hercules” into pop culture, but neither sufficiently captures the original story of the god. Neither captures the humanity of the god, not his hopes, his trails, and his pain, and his quintessential humanness. He was, after all, known as the friend and protector of man.

His story is one of terrible tragedy and hard-earned redemption. It is one filled with pain and hope. It is a story about doing what must be done, and it is a story about Humanity, for we all suffer tragedy, joy, sorrows, and set-backs, triumph and defeat. We are all struggling and fighting to reach our highest potential, the story of Herakles is the story of what it means to be human. Only the details differ.

OFFICIANT: Now let us ground our beings, center our minds, and attune our spirits to each other and to the worlds around us, both seen and unseen.

MEDITATOR: “Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take a deep breath.

<pause – breathe – pause>

Take a second.

<pause – breathe – pause>

And a third.

<pause – breathe – pause>

You all came from somewhere to be here tonight, some from very close, and some from very far away.  See yourself now not in this time and place, but in a time and place very far away.  See yourself in a hilly countryside.  There are no modern buildings, no modern vehicles, no modern technology.  The only things flying are birds and insects.  It is the heat of Summer, just after the barley harvest, and it is time for the Herakleia.

Begin walking down a dirt road.  Feel the hard ground under your sandals… the Sun is hot, but a strong breeze makes it bearable.  Continue walking down this road.


After a while, you come to a fork in the road.  Standing there are other people, who like you are on their way to the Herakleia.  Greet them as friends and neighbors.


Now pick up the journey again.  Together with your new friends, take the road to your right, and continue walking over the hilly terrain.


After a while, you approach a city.  You hear music, and the cries of vendors selling food, garlands, incense, and items to be offered to the Gods.  You find a stone bench in the Agora, and you sit and rest, taking in the sights of the city.


You see a group of young men moving toward the city gate.  They are wearing the garlands of victors.  These will be the guides for the procession to the temple.  You get up and find a place near the front of the gathering crowd, and you notice several large bulls, with horns sheathed in gold.


A drumbeat begins, and a choir of strong voices, both men and women, begin singing hymns to Herakles.  The procession is starting.  You, your friends, and all the participants find the pace and begin to move as one.

You go out of the city and down another dirt road toward a mountain. This is snowy Olympus, the Mount Olympus of our world.  Zeus rules the Golden Olympus, where the weather is always fair and the land is lush and green.  We mortals cannot travel there.

The road begins climbing up the mountain.  A reverent hush falls over the procession – the only sounds are of the drums and the choir.


The road bends and as you turn, you see the Temple of Herakles.  The officiants lead the bulls into the temple grounds, followed by the young victors you saw earlier.”


OFFICIANT:  “Here our journey from long ago ends.  Now we will process into our own Temple of Herakles.  On the way in you will be sprinkled lightly with khernips, a type of purifying water.  Please rise and follow [OFFICIANT].”


Play First Pythian Ode by Pindar as performed by Petros Tabouris

(Leader do not process until you hear the music/singing. There should be a purifier to the right side of the entrance sprinkling khernips lightly on the processing party. Ideally they are using an olive branch, oak branch, or bay sprig to do this)


OFFICIANT: (go to Altar of Hestia. Throw a handful of barley onto it. Light candle and incense and say) Hail oh daughter of Kronos, noble and gentle Hestia. As it has been done and is done, we  honor you first as is custom. Graciously attend our rites. (Now have all the other priests through a handful of barley onto the main altar.)

PRIESTESS OF HERA: ( Throw a handful of barley onto the altar. light candle and incense, say) Hail oh Queen of Olympus, Daughter of Kronos and Rhea, Wife of Zeus, you who are the stinging goad that pushes us to fulfillment, Queen of the Wind and Ruler of the Starry Skies.  Come, allow us to tell of your role in the life and death of Herakles, allow us to honor you graceful Queen of the Gods. Please attend our rites.

PRIEST/ESS OF ATHENA: (Throw a handful of barley onto the altar. Light candle then incense, say) Hail oh Grey-Eyed Maiden, Daughter of Zeus, Crafty-Weaver and Skilled Fighter, you who support heroes in their quests, Lady of War and Civilization. Come, allow us to tell of your role in the life and death of Herakles, allow us to honor you brave-hearted Maiden. Please attend our rites

PRIEST OF HERACLES: (Throw a handful of barley onto the altar. Light candle then incense, say) Hail oh Friend of Man, son of Zeus and Alkmene, come now and let us tell your story, of your labors, of your joys and sorrows, successes and failures. Come now and let us tell of your glorious life and your tragic end. Please attend our rites, blessed Herakles



Success by Emily Dickenson

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear!


OFFICIANT: Let us now hear the tale of Herakles!

STORYTELLER I: Herakles was born to Alkmene, one of the many mortal lovers of Zeus, King of the Gods. Hera was none too pleased about this and conspired to get revenge against the children of Zeus for this transgression. When Herakles was just a baby, she sent two snakes after him, and while his half-brother Iphicles was terrified, Herakles bravely dispatched them. His mother Alkmene and his foster father feared the wrath of Hera, so they left the babe in the mountains leaving his fate to the gods. His half-sister Athena found him and took him to be nursed by Hera. The goddess nursed the young hero and he grew strong and powerful. Some say she recognized the young boy, others say she did not. Which you believe is for you to decide.

PRIESTESS OF HERA: Hear our prayers, oh Hera, noble Queen of Heaven. Let us find strength and understanding in our hardships, let us see through the smoke and realize the clarity and wisdom in our struggles. Let us always strive to face them nobly, resolutely, and courageously, never to shirk from our duties.

STORYTELLER II: Herakles grew into a man and married a beautiful woman named Megara, with whom he had six sons. Hera, still nursing her old grudge against the man for the infidelity of Zeus, drove Herakles to madness. In his bout of insanity he slew his six sons and his beloved wife believing them to be enemy soldiers; he dispatched them with his bow. When he regained control of his senses he was deeply grieved by his own actions. He did not blame what he did on Hera, however, and underwent purification and then sought a way to atone for his crimes. He went to the Oracle at Delphi and received commands to perform twelve mighty labors.

STORYTELLER III: He slew the Nemean Lion, a giant beast which he had to wrestle into submission. He slew the Hydra, a monster who grew two heads for every head that was cut off. He captured the golden hind of Artemis, an animal that could outrun an arrow. For his fourth task he had to capture the Erymanthian Boar, a monstrous pig. He then cleaned the Augean stables in a single day, no easy task as they contained over 1000 divine cattle and had not been cleaned in over thirty years. Most famously, he went into the realm of Hades and captured his ferocious and infamous guard dog Kerberos, more commonly known as Cerberus. Among his other labors was the slaying of the Stymphalian birds, the capture of the Cretan Bull, the stealing of the mares of Diomedes, the theft of Hippolyta’s belt, the rustling of the Cattle of Geryon, and the acquisition of the Hesperides Apples. Throughout all these things Athena bore with him, lending her wisdom, advice and support. Allowing the hero to complete the tasks on his own merits, but never abandoning him.

PRIEST/ESS OF ATHENA: Hear our prayers, oh Athena, Grey-Eyed Maiden. We ask for gentle support in the challenges that life brings to us,  we ask to remember that we are never truly alone, for our ancestors walk besides us and our gods have long memories, we ask for the wisdom necessary  to rise to our challenges and do what must be done.

STORYTELLER IV: Despite the fact that many of these tasks were set about by Hera and made difficult by her the hero did not hate her. He made offerings to her and praised her throughout. Herakles did finish the labors. He even married again to a woman named Deianira (Day-an-EE-ra) who loved him dearly. She wove a cloak for him and on his return from his last adventure she presented it to him smeared with a balm, a balm which she was told would cause him to love her forever. She was lied to. Once the hero had pulled the cloak close to him his skin began to burn with terrible pain. He pulled the cloak off but it only burned more fiercely until the hero finally saw death as the preferable option. His friends built him a funeral pyre and he threw himself upon it. The hero was dead.

But his story was not over.

For his great and wonderful deeds the gods in Olympus gave him the highest honor and allowed the hero to become a god. Athena swooped down from the peaks of Olympus in her chariot and retrieved the hero from the Pyre and instilled him in his new station as a god. He then married a goddess called Hebe, a favorite daughter of Hera’s, and began his duties as the Friend of Man, lending his strength to mortals in our moments of most dire need.

PRIEST OF HERACLES: Hear our prayers, oh Herakles, Mighty Friend of Man! Your strength and perseverance inspires us, your story is the story of every man woman and child. Let us remember our own strength. Grant us endurance, fortitude, dedication, and the ability to see all tasks through.

OFFICIANT: Herakles was spurned and driven by the rage of Hera, his life made difficult and caused him to commit acts which almost broke his spirit. But he overcame. He was not bound by his past and rose to the challenges which were presented before him. Perhaps Hera seems cruel to you, but consider this. If she had not done what she did Herakles would have lived and died as a mortal, he would not have realized his destiny and ascended to godhood. Herakles roughly translates as “the glory of Hera” Was Hera truly angry at him? Or did she use her anger to direct Herakles in fulfilling his destiny? I cannot answer for you, but it behooves us to keep in mind that the things and people who oppose us may in turn be our greatest allies.

[a moment of silence]

STORYTELLERS: (wait for OFFICIANT to give signal) We have told the tale of Herakles

OFFICIANT: We have heard the tale of Herakles



Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


OFFICIANT: Let no one speak an ill-omened word!

PRIESTS: For it is good to pray!

OFFICIANT: Let us offer these prayers with joy!

PRIESTS: For it is good to pray!

OFFICIANT: Let us turn ourselves towards the gods!

PRIESTS: For it is good to pray!

OFFICIANT: Hear our prayers oh holy and mighty immortal ones! Let us carry within our hearts the lessons that the story of Herakles tells us. No matter what has happened in our past, we are not bound by it. It will always be there and we do not have to forget it, but it need not control us. Let us remember that our hardships, our struggles, and our challenges help us do what we were meant to do, for as Herakles shows us, the road of excellence is wrought with difficulties. Let us also remember that no matter what television, movies, and popular culture tells us, we are never truly alone in our journey. We have the support and backing of our family, our friends, our ancestors, and our gods. We cannot do everything, but we can do what we were meant to.

PRIESTESS OF HERA: pick up tokens, raise towards the gods) Hera, let these tokens be a reminder of the necessity of struggle and challenge and of the wisdom and growth that these struggles bring. hand basket to Priestess of Athena

PRIEST/ESS OF ATHENA: pick up tokens, raise towards the gods  Athena, let these tokens be a reminder of the support that we can find, be it direct or indirect and let us find comfort in the knowledge that we are never truly alone. hand basket to Priest of Herakles

PRIEST OF HERAKLES: pick up tokens, raise towards the gods  Herakles, let these tokens be a reminder of strength and perseverance. Allow us to remember that sometimes following our True Will is hard, but in doing so we strive to meet our full potential. set basket on altar

OFFICIANT: If you are comfortable, please take a token as they are passed around. If for any reason you do not feel ready or willing to take a token of the blessings you are under no obligation to do so

(WINE-CARRIER and BARLEY-CARRIER should pass out tokens)

(After everyone has received a token)

OFFICIANT: Come now, if you wish, and pray to the gods. After you have spent a moment in communion with Hera, Athena, or Herakles, pour a libation of mixed wine into their bowl in thanks for them hearing you.


OFFICIANT: Come now, oh Herakles, Athena, and Hera, and accept our offerings!

PRIESTESS OF HERA: To you, oh Hera, we offer this frankincense [give incense], we give this gift of bread [give bread], and we give this offering of mixed wine [pour libation].

PRIEST/ESS OF ATHENA: To you, oh Athena, we offer this frankincense [give incense], we give this gift of bread [give bread], and we give this offering of mixed wine [pour libation].

PRIEST OF HERAKLES: To you, oh Herakles, we offer this frankincense [give incense], we give this gift of bread [give bread], and we give this offering of mixed wine [pour libation].

OFFICIANT: And to you gentle Hestia, we give a final offering of frankincense, a final offering of bread, and a final offering of mixed wine. [pause for a moment] Now let us enjoy food and drink in your presence.


(Pass out cups and serve wine and grape juice for the drink, pass out some sort of bread for the food portion. Play Calling of the twelve gods and Hymenios by Daemonia Nymphe the same artist.)


OFFICIANT: (after everyone has been served) We have enjoyed food and drink in the company of the gods, let us now thank them for their presence.

PRIEST OF HERAKLES: Hail, oh Herakles. Let us remember your name now and forever. We thank you for your blessings, for heeding our prayers, and for accepting our offerings. We bid you farewell, mighty Friend of Man.

PRIEST/ESS OF ATHENA: Hail mighty Athena. Lets us remember your name now and forever. We thank you for your blessings, for heeding our prayers, and for accepting our offerings. We bid you farewell, sturdy Grey-Eyed Maiden.

PRIESTESS OF HERA: Hail, oh Hera. Let us remember your name now and forever. We thank you for your blessings, for heeding our prayers, and for accepting our offerings. We bid you farewell, blessed Queen of Olympus.

OFFICIANT: Noble Hestia, most gentle among all the gods, we remember your name now and forever. We thank you for your blessings, for heeding our prayers, and for accepting our offerings. We bid you farewell gentle Hestia. (pause for a moment) our rite is ended, our offerings made, and Their stories told. Go in peace and go in the grace of the gods.

MEDITATOR:  “Again find yourself in the Temple of Herakles on Snowy Olympus.  As our rites here are complete, so are the rites there.  Return at your leisure, down the mountain, past the city, down the long road, and back to your home.  Feel the ancient past fading, and find yourself back in this place, and this time.


Open your eyes, and be here now.”

ASPERGER:  “Tonight we have celebrated the Herakleia.  We have honored Herakles, the Friend of Man.  We have honored Hera, Queen of Olympus.  We have honored Athena, the Grey Eyed Maiden.  And we have honored Hestia, Gentle Goddess of the Flame.  As we leave this temple and return to the ordinary world, let us remember their blessings and the power of their struggles.

PRIEST OF HERAKLES:  “Let us rejoice in the company of the gods!

All:  “Let us rejoice!”

OFFICIANT:  Ring bell.


*Recommended Processional*

I recommend the following order for the processional:


It helps to have those with scripted parts to be in matching garb. We said “Let the people in white assemble first and then follow behind them.”

*Recommended Garb*

I recommend wearing white clothing, preferably white linen or white wool, as this is more traditional.

*Recommended Setting*

This is a late-summer kind of ritual, traditionally the Herakleia takes place in the month of Metageitnon. It should take place before the sun goes down.

It is also not intended for a strict-recon group, but rather a mixed group who may not be familiar with Hellenic deities. It may be modified to suit your needs

Herakleia Ritual Script by Conor O’Bryan Warren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.