Friday, February 1, 2008

In Her Service: Reflections from a Priestess of Aphrodite

If you read this blog, you’re going to see occasional references made to my other (non-blog) writing – articles, poems, novels and non-fiction books. Though I’ll likely only reference works that pertain to Aphrodite, I DO write on other topics. (However, I tend to use pseudonyms to differentiate between themes, so you may have a hard time guessing what else belongs to “my” credit.)

I’ve actually already written and published a non-fiction book about what it means to be a contemporary priestess of Aphrodite. In Her Service: Reflections from a Priestess of Aphrodite was released in October 2007 through Magic Woods Publishing.

Okay, so it’s my own publishing company, and I’m currently using a print-on-demand printer/packager. Whatever. It’s a well-written, well-edited book on decent paper with a slick-looking cover. I didn’t want to mess with traditional Pagan/New-Age publishers because I wanted complete artistic control of my work. I’m also sufficiently aware of the market’s current size – miniscule. So, self-publishing/POD made the most sense for me, despite the pervasive stigma that is attached to it.

I’m working on the marketing, and I’m building up a little head of steam. Folks are buying the book, and I’ve gotten excellent reviews thus far. My goal/desire/intention is to bring Aphrodite’s worship into public consciousness. She has been very rejected for the last 2,000 years in all aspects of life except art. Most people have a very poor understanding of Her role, and that includes Neo-Pagans of every ilk (including Neo-Hellenics).

Simply put: I wrote the book because it didn’t already exist. Very few people have written about what it means to honor any of the Olympians, and none have written about Aphrodite. As a fledgling priestess, several years ago, I had no resources to consult. There were no Yahoo groups until I started Thiasos Aphrodite. I knew of one ritual group in California, led by folks who had been my friends when I lived there. Those were the only people I knew who actively worked with Her. Several Hellenic websites mentioned Her, but most didn’t have any contemporary perspective or information to share, and those that did seemed to think of Her as a lesser figure in the Greek pantheon. Worse still, people continue to write of Her as a vindictive, vain and petty prom-queen-type, when they bother to write of Her at all.

I muddled through, though, and learned what I could, where I could. I have worked with Her using reclaiming techniques, and I have conducted exhaustive research into primary resource material. The topics I thought about, read about and talked with others about form the basis of this first offering in Aphroditic service.

This 124-page book discusses (among other topics) issues of self-identifying as a priestess of love, sacred sexuality and temple “prostitution,” the dark aspects of love and beauty, energy exchange and offering, ethics, and enhancing personal grace. I’ve also offered a number of resources, a complete bibliography, and two fully-developed rituals.

It’s a beginning. This is certainly not a complete manual for any man or woman who wants to serve or honor Aphrodite, but it is a starting place. The discussion can continue from here since it has been slow to start elsewhere.

As I continue to write, I’ll keep exploring what it means to be Aphrodite’s priestess. I’m working on a book of rituals as well as a collection of poems. I’ve hit on several topics that I feel I can explore in articles for Pagan publications, and one or two that might make good non-fiction book topics. The first offering that I began (and the one that is taking the longest to bring to fruition) is a novel that I began in January 2004, and I hope to finish the initial draft by May or June of this year so that I can start the editing process – and get to work on subsequent installments in the series.

I hope my fellow priests and priestesses, having heard the summons, will carry on the conversation in their own ways.


Pandora said...

While I haven't read the book, I do want to comment on your dedication and courage in putting your work out there. I'm also a writer but I haven't published anything except an article many years ago. Therefore I don't feel justified in calling myself an author as yet. You've taken a big step in publishing. Congratulations, albeit belated!

Laurelei said...

Thank you so much, Pandora! It is always a nerve-wracking process to put your work out for public consumption. It scares me every time. Sometimes, you just feel like you must -- for one reason or another. So, again, thank you.


Hi Laurelei,
I had read your blog before and saw mails of you on Hellenion list but didn't know about your book. Looking for your name I came here and get very surprised for seeing your work.

Well, one thing I would like to know: When you say you "have worked with Her using reclaiming techniques", what you mean by "reclaiming"? The Starhawk group?

Anyway... I really want to get your book to read and see your research.

Congratulations for your work!



Sorry for posting another comment, but I see your website and on books section I've founded the books "Cult of Aphrodite" and "Aphrodite's Priestess". Were them wroten by you? Laurelei Black is one of your plublishing names?

Laurelei said...

Jota ~ Thank you for commenting. You never need to apologize for that!

By "reclaiming," I mean meditational/spiritual techniques that allow a person to recapture information that was thought lost. I actually learned this process through work with the Sisterhood of Avalon and Jhenah Telyndru many years ago.

And, yes, I publish under the name Laurelei Black now. =)


Thanks for answer my doubts! I'm very impressed how you dedicated yourself and your place to Her! It's amazing. My patrons are Zeus and Aphrodite... And I want to dedicate my self more for them and I'm very happy knowing that a sister of Hellenismos and Aphrodite have already published this kind of work. Soon I'll bought them and study very deeply! Congrats for your work and devotion!

seventhsisterofthestars said...

Greetings Goddess! While researching for glimpses into the past of the Priestesshood of Aphrodite I found your blog. Thank you for stepping forth and shedding more light. I wished to share my thoughts on the subject and connect. Much Love to you sweet Sis Star.
p.s. look for our community page on Facebook

Pagyptsian said...

I'm intrigued about this book!