Friday, February 1, 2008
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.