July 31, 2015
In remembrance of the over three hundred ancient and in many cases holy sites destroyed by Daesh. In grief and terror over the damage to and potential destruction of the UNESCO city of Palmyra, and the Temple of Ba’al Shamin. In silent protest against the attack and forced eradication of even the vestiges of polytheism across the world.
This is not a Syrian issue. This is not a Muslim issue. This is a world issue. It is a human issue. Daesh is purposely targeting memory. They’re targeting their history, and their own physical connection with their polytheistic ancestors. It is done to demoralize, terrorize, and desecrate.
We Polytheists who have the freedom to practice our religions without fear of our lives (regardless of how much Christian hatred we may experience) have the opportunity to unite ritually, magically, spiritually in mind and will, with hearts and spirits in a cross-community day of ancestral reverence and remembrance.
Over sixty Deities were venerated at Palmyra alone, from multiple traditions: Canaanite, Mesopotamian, Arab, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman, as well as local and ancestral gods. Deities given cultus there included Bol/Bel, Yarhibol (god of justice), Malakbel (god of the Sun), Aglibol (god of the moon), Astarte (Phoenician Goddess of love and power), Ba’al Hamon, Ba’al Shamin, Ba’al Hadad, Atargatis, the Sumerian Nabu and Nirgal, the Arab Azizos, Shams, and Al – Allat, the native Gods Gad Taimi and Arsu, and even Dionysos.
What to do? :
1. Print out this graphic or copy it onto a piece of paper.
2. Meditate for a few moments, focusing on all the destruction,
desecration, and damage, on the sacred places that have
been destroyed, on the erasure of these ancient
polytheistic spaces, and all the other horrors Daesh
3. Offer this prayer:
“May the holy places of the Many Gods remain inviolate for all time.
May the hands of the enemies of the Many Gods of be smashed and their efforts come to naught.
May the worship of the Many Gods flourish in many lands once again.
May those who hold true to the Many Gods be preserved and strengthened.”
4. Burn the paper in offering.
5. Make whatever other offerings you wish.
If possible, do this NINE times throughout the Day.
Feel free to share about this experience on facebook, blogs, twitter – this is an act of evocation of all those Gods Whose sacred places have been destroyed and Whose people are being violated. The internet is a perfect way to keep this evocation going.
This is a way of holding space for polytheism, ancient and modern, it is a way of drawing a line in the sand and declaring to the world that we stand in solidarity with those whose voices once rang out in praise to a plenitude of Gods and Goddesses. It is a statement that for every stone of every temple destroyed, we will restore that cultus a thousand fold. It is an act of evocation, execration, and magic. We’re still here.
(art by M. Gage. The logo is one of the symbols of Ba’al, heavily stylized. It seems particularly appropriate with Palmyra. Divination was done to ensure that it was ok to use the image for this purpose).