Guest Post: Between the Worlds 2015 – Inspiration for Apollo

This weekend’s post comes to us from Matt Gerlach. You’ll see him around the Den, you’ll see him as part of the Flamekeepers, and you’ll see him around. He seems to be everywhere all at once. If you’re not sure who he is, ask anyone, and someone should be able to point him out.

Have you registered for Between the Worlds 2015? Are you looking for inspiration on what kinds of workshops and rituals might be great to craft and offer to our community this year, the year of Apollo?

If so, this article is for you! Here are complied a few ideas of what kind of content resonates both with the Gathering itself through the years, and also with the patron deity of 2015, Apollo.

Great Topics for Gay Men in the Woods

Queer Spirituality – As it says on the BTW website, “The Between the Worlds Gathering was designed to provide a safe place for men who love men to explore alternative spiritual practices and paths, to empower themselves, and to plant the seeds of spiritual renewal within the gay community.” Rituals and workshops on what it means to be a man who loves men in the Pagan community reach to the very heart of why this Gathering was founded, and will always be a great addition to the schedule regardless of the year.

Nature Spirituality – We are spending a week in the woods! So many of us find benefit and nourishment from simply getting away from the world build by man. Help up deepen this benefit by offering workshops and rituals for connecting with nature and the Land.

Community – The staff of BTW spend a good amount of time asking themselves, “How can we best cultivate this beautiful community of men each year?” and many of the events they plan are designed specifically for building that sense of community. Help them out by offering your own rituals, workshops and events geared towards knitting together a closer, more vibrant community.

Bring Yourself – What is it that you do? Where do your skills and passions lie? Can you teach us about these things? Can you lead us in rituals rooted in these things? If so, we’d love to see you more deeply!

Great Topics for Working with Apollo

Oracular Work – Apollo is perhaps the most famous God of Oracles in the Greek world. Do you have a workshop or ritual dealing with this fascinating and elusive topic? Propose it! Not comfortable teaching about or doing the work of the oracular seer? Perhaps a workshop on your favorite divination system! Or maybe a workshop on “how to ask the right questions?” Let inspiration be your guide!

Healing – Both Apollo and his son Asklepios are known for their great powers of Healing. And goodness knows many of us find ourselves needing some healing when we arrive at BTW. Do you offer services as a healer? Perhaps Reiki, massage or something else? Bring your gifts and teach us about them, or offer them at the Gathering with Apollo’s blessing! Can you lead a ritual rooted in healing? Propose that too!

Disease – Just as Apollo is a god of Healing, so is he a god of Plagues and Pestilence. This year would be a great time to bring content to the Gathering honoring those who live with illnesses which effect our community, like HIV, and also to remember and honor those who have died. (Also, remember to educate yourselves on safer sex practices!)

Music, Poetry and Dance – Every year we have many opportunities for music, poetry and dancing, from the No Talent Show to drumming and chanting at night around the fire. But this year we have Apollo, God of Music and Inspiration; bring a little extra if inspiration hits you. Wanna teach about how to write poetry like an ancient Norseman or Greek? How about teaching drumming? Perhaps you can bring these elements into the rituals you propose?

The Muses – Where would our music, poetry and dance be without the Muses? The ancients called Apollo Musagetes, Leader of the Muses. Where he goes they will not be far behind, so why not honor them with ritual and teaching?

Athletics and Competition – As a god associated with young, strong, healthy men as well as with seeking excellence, Apollo was associated with athletics and competition. Do you want an excuse to rub strange men down with oil and wrestle them to the ground? Or perhaps to throw ball shaped objects at them, reliving the horrors of being an awkward little gay boy in elementary school? This is the time! Step up and offer to facilitate something!

The God Himself – Who exactly is Apollo? Who are his family? What did ancient people do for him? What makes him relevant to us now? Propose workshops to answer our burning questions! Offer rituals drawing us closer to him, to his family, to his work!

His Sister – There are many who have a relationship with Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, and so it would also be valuable to bring her to the Gathering, if you feel so called. Who exactly is she, and what is her relationship with her brother?

The Nietzschean Duality – As many of us know, in modern times the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote quite extensively about Apollo as a God of reason and logic, contrasting with Dionysos as a god of the irrational and chaos. What do you have to say on the topic? Do you have rituals invoking these powers along this duality? Do you not like this charactarization and choose to interact with these gods in other ways? What did the ancients say about the relationship between Dionysos and Apollo?