Hail, Poseidon, Lord of Horses! I sing Your praise!
Hail, Poseidon, whose thundering hooves shake the very earth.
From Your seed did the horse spring,
From Your virility and Your generosity did this noble creature rush forth,
Companion to humankind, and so often, so awfully abused.
Shelter them, oh my Lord, for Your embrace is strong
and Your Love is boundless.
I pray to You, help us remember our debts.
Help us remember our partners in our lives,
Help us remember the advances of our species come upon the backs of others,
and may we be humbled.
May we be humbled
May we be humbled
I’ve been honoring Poseidon Hippios for a number of years, now. This was the first festival I “created” (quotes there because I’m sure I’m not the only one out there honor Poseidon’s various epithets with epithet-centered rituals) for Poseidon, the first themed-specific ritual I constructed to honor this god of mine. I don’t have much to do with horses. While they have the distinction of being the first “favorite” animal of mine (and while one of my grandmother’s favorite stories of me from my just-out-of-toddler-stages was to retell of our trip to the Big E and my exclamaning, lisps and all, “Look at all those muscles on those horses!”; I will forever remember my grandmother’s voice recounting that story!) horses, er, well? They rather intimidate me. The few chances I’ve had to go horseback riding I’ve always bowed out of. I’ll talk a good game about horses being treated like vehicles and the unfairness of it, and how I can walk, thank you very much — and it’s true that I’d much rather snuggle up with a horse than hop upon her back, maybe — but the truth, the real truth is, they scare me. They’re BIG animals, and I just . . .am intimidated. Fascinated, enraptured, yes, but also intimidated.
Poseidon Hippios 2015 shrine, painting by Samantha Lykeia in background
And humbled. And horrified at our treatment of them. It’s bad enough, that we abuse and slaughter so many — abuse is never good. But to abuse those who have such a close relationship to our advancement of a species? They’ve helped us win wars; they’ve helped us grow food to stay alive; they’ve helped us stay in touch with our families; they’ve been subjected to the horrors of mine work, and the only saving grace we have is that we are just as bad to humans who do not have the power to help themselves as we are to other animals who do not have the power to save themselves. Human miners, for example, suffered (suffer!) just as horrendously as mine ponies suffered. And, really, that’s an deplorable saving grace.
Poseidon Hippios shrine. Candle by Fiberwytch; statue by Samantha Lykeia; incense holder by the ocean.
Yes, this is a bit of a downer, but these “festivals” of Poseidon’s often are. While I may have had things in mind like the birth of Pegasos and the association with horses in general that Poseidon has, from the very beginning this day has been about sending healing, energy, love, compassion, and empathy to the equines of the world. Originally horses, yes, but the zebras, the wild horses, the Mustangs and the Brumbies, the various donkeys, any and all wild equine out there — and all those in captivity, and all the domestic horses as well. My Lord, He does not really do boundaries. I think of those coming into the world, and I ask for His blessing upon them — not that He needs me to remind Him of those who could use His aid. But, I hold it in my mind, and in this small way, I feel closer to Him. I feel like what matters to Him matters to me. I feel — in this, as in so many other things, as though I hold suffering with Him, so that we witness it together, so that maybe we together can alleviate *some* of it for *someone*. It’s not enough. It’s almost nothing, and yet. Yet.
This year I scaled back. My honoring of Poseidon Hippios tends to vary from year to year. There are years when I’ve honored Poseidon and Loki, Sleipnir and Pegasos, and the Dioskouri. There are years when offerings have been apples and sugar cubes, carrots and oatcakes. This year? This year it was just Poseidon. It was wine and incense, baklava and a candle, and myself. Always there is Reiki; this year there was the breaking in of my 2015 “Letters to Poseidon” journal, a tradition I’ve let fall by the wayside and desperately want to resurrect. There was much singing. There was sitting and basking in His presence. There may have been crying.
There was also a reminder to keep things simple. It was going to be a big thing, originally. I was going to fetch carrot cake (because He made it clear days ago that He wanted/needed it to be a day for u/Us just to be, and so, yes, work toward Horse, but also just . . . u/Us.) and then process home with the offering. I was going to set up a new shrine space (by my bed, because I really need to do that). I already had the wine, and the venture out to get baklava was shorter and less involved than the carrot cake (and also, baklava) and the shrine was going to be made out of those connect-cubes, so I could also relocate much of my Hellenic books to the bedroom to clear up space for Fiberwytch storage in the living room. (Two people, a host of shrines, five non-human animals, and a store in 700sqfeet. It’s . . . interesting) But, those connect cubes) I hate them. An hour, a sore back, and tears later, and I gave up. We still don’t have comfortable seating in our living room (or any) and so sitting by the shrine doesn’t work, and our hearth shrine has become a test candle station, and a home to an Odin statue that has nowhere else to go, and I don’t begrudge Odin His statue, but I had nowhere cozy to set up this shrine except for in the bedroom and then the cubes fought back and grrr!
“It can be just u/Us! Just u/Us and baklava!”
After a small melt down (there may have been tears) I erected a folding table and all was well, if temporary, and it was good. The whole time, the whole whole time I was getting so frustrated, He was there. “You know, I don’t really care about all the stuff. I mean, I like the stuff, there should be stuff, but right now I just want to be. I want to be, I want to be with you, I want you to see Me and just spend time with Me, being with Me. We don’t need all this stuff, the shrine isn’t necessary, I honor why you want it, but still it’s really not all that necessary. Okay, well, yes, go get baklava, let’s not be silly, but beyond that — well, that and the wine — I don’t need anything else . . . “
better picture forthcoming when Beth heads back into the photo studio!
I dressed up. New lipstick, a new shirt, the skirt of mine that He call my housewife skirt. A new necklace (a Beth Wodandis original made especially for this holy day!). I sat, and we drank wine, and I sang some of o/Our songs, and I sent Reiki, and I wrote. I recited Terence’s hymn to Poseidon Hippios, and then I offered my own, off the cuff. I cried. I cried a lot, but they were tears of wonder, of joy, of . . . *waves hand helplessly*
journal book by Silence; oh the creamy paper! Oh, the beautiful texture! Oh, the fine stitching!
This festival is always so different. It was today, April 10th, because it was my day off closest to the 8th. It’s in April because that is when I have time for it to be. Ages ago I had the idea of timing it to the local foaling time, but that varies so much and there isn’t really a set time. It’s moved, though, as I’ve moved. It hasn’t always been April, and it may not always be April. Who cares?