Spirituality

Opiate of the masses.

Eris and the Discordians

By Psyche | July 27, 2007 | 1 comment

The second of a two part series on Eris, Greek goddess of chaos and disorder. Here we explore Her divine nature as portrayed in Discordianism.

Discordianism is a rather new religion, begun in the late 1950s, which can best be described as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke…ad nauseum. Its founding text is the Principia Discordia, a mad collection of both typed and handwritten text, cut and paste quotes, images, drawings, rubber stamps, and genuine insight, the authors of which are Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst. Omar Ravenhurst was an alias of Kerry Thornley, but while Malaclypse’s identity remains under speculation, he is widely believed to be Greg Hill.

Its matron goddess is Eris, goddess of chaos and disorder. She’s portrayed rather malevolently in some Greco-Roman myths, but Discordians see Her in a softer light, while still revelling in the mischief and disharmony She brings.

Discordianism’s underlying doctrines resemble Catholicism turned on its head, with a healthy dose of Paganism infused with an absurd amount of drugs. To quote Kerry Thornley in his introduction to the fifth edition: “If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe.”

There are a few core concepts in Discordianism, such as the existence of Discordian Popes. The Principia gives a template for Pope Cards, which explain that “Every man, woman and child on this Earth is a genuine and authorized Pope”, and recommend the bearer be treated right.

POEE, the Paratheo-Anametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric, is a non-prophet irreligious disorganization described as “a tribe of philosophers, theologians, magicians, scientists, artists, clowns, and similar maniacs who are intrigued by Eris, goddess of confusion, and her doings”.

The Sacred Chao one of the more popular symbols of Discordianism resembling the yin and yang symbol of Taoism, but as the Principia explains, “The Sacred Chao is not the Yin-Yang of the Taoists. It is the HODGE-PODGE of the Erisians.” It further elucidates “…instead of a Podge spot on the Hodge side, it has a PENTAGON which symbolizes the ANERISTIC PRINCIPLE, and instead of a Hodge spot on the Podge side, it depicts the GOLDEN APPLE OF DISCORDIA to symbolize the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE. The Sacred Chao symbolizes absolutely everything anyone need ever know about absolutely anything, and more! It even symbolizes everything not worth knowing, depicted by the empty space surrounding the Hodge-Podge.”

The Law of Fives states that “ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5.” Five being a number of chaos, the disruption of four, traditionally seen as a stable number representing order. This, coupled with William Burroughs’ obsession with the number twenty-three, which many Discordians discover through the works of Robert Anton Wilson, a well known Discordian author, has given rise to Discordia Day, on the twenty-third of May, the fifth month. Discordia Day is recognized as a day to celebrate Eris and Discordianism, getting into mischief and having a laugh.

Eris is worked with in a lighthearted manner, Her penchant for disrupting the norm is celebrated with mischievous glee, and all works of chaos are Her works.

Rejoice in the sight of a messy room, laugh in a traffic jam, and celebrate divine disruption with joy. Hail Eris!

Works Cited:

  • Malaclypse the Younger and Ravenhurst, Omar Khayyam. Principia Discordia. IllumiNet Press: Lilburn, 1991.

For more, you can check out the entire Principia Discordia online at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~tilt/principia/. Also recommended: The Illuminatus! Trilogy, a novel by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

First published on Suite101.com on 29 May 2006. (Unfortunately.)


Eris and the apple of discord

By Psyche | July 27, 2007 | 2 comments

Golden Apple, photo by Chris ParfittThe first of a two part series on Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos and discord, in which we explore Her origins and most famous myth.

Eris is a Greek goddess, the Latin form of her name being Discordia. She is best known as a goddess of chaos; She is mischievous and something of a trickster. She is sometimes described as the twin of Ares, daughter of Zeus and Hera, or, alternately, as the daughter of Nyx. Continue reading


Southern Hemisphere Paganism: How Differing Seasonal Cycles Affect Sabbat Dates

By Psyche | July 7, 2007 | Leave a comment

How do Pagans in the southern hemisphere accommodate the differences in their seasons when most of the Pagan literature is focused on more northern climates?

As Wicca’s spiritual roots are found in pre-Christian European mythology and culture, consequently its festival dates tend to follow the seasonal cycles of the northern climate.

In fact, previously, most books on Paganism and Wiccan focused almost exclusively on the northern hemisphere, but more and more Pagan writers are getting the idea that this there are Pagans practicing in other parts of the world, with entirely different seasonal cycles.

We’ll explore more on this in future articles with book reviews and interviews featuring Pagans from varying traditions from all over the globe.

As a nature-based religion, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to be celebrating the slumber of the Earth and the Sun-God’s rebirth in December, where in Australia, for instance, they’re throwing shrimp on the barbie and the sun’s in the full blast of summer.

Typically southern hemisphere Pagans shift the traditional designated dates on the Wheel of the Year by 180 degrees, so you have the following designations:

Samhain – 30 April
Yule – 21 June
Imbolg – 31 July
Ostara – 23 September
Beltane – 31 October
Midsummer – 22 December
Lughnassadh – 2 February
Mabon – 21 March

In each of the Sabbat articles I’ve written thusfar, I’ve included both the northern and southern dates for the festivals, and I will continue to do so.

If you’re a Pagan down under, let us know how you celebrate. What you do differently, what you do that’s similar. You can begin or contribute to discussions by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.


First published on Suite101.com on 25 June 2006. (Unfortunately.)


The Pagan diet: a few thoughts

By Psyche | April 10, 2007 | Leave a comment

Fruit & vegetable box, photo by Ali KarimianPaganism, in general, has no prescribed dietary restrictions, though it has developed a few customary dishes for feast days over the past 50 years. There are some noticeable tendencies in our dietary habits, while by no means universal or necessarily defining, there are a few notable commonalities.

For example, you may find a higher number of Pagans who prefer to buy natural and organic meat and produce, as reverence for nature is one of our defining doctrines, Pagans tend to be especially environmentally and morally conscious in this regard. Continue reading


Pagan Community

By Psyche | April 6, 2007 | Leave a comment

I first began meeting other Pagans and magickally-minded folk online ten years ago through various Usenet groups, e-lists, message boards, IRC, websites, e-mail and other electronic correspondence. While there were quite a few then, over time I’ve watched it expand and grow significantly. Today there are literally hundreds of e-lists and online communities virtually dedicated to each and every facet of Paganism, and every tradition of Wicca imaginable (and some I would never have imagined!)

I was excited to find others who were interested in the same things I was, and I learned a lot. I even briefly had a go with an online coven, but that didn’t work out for me, though there are several that are active and successful today.

There is a certain amount of interconnectedness online, especially within specific communities, but what about offline, meeting people in the flesh? Attending public rituals with other Pagans, or even just meeting up for coffee or a pint, can seem difficult or scary for someone newly discovering their path.

Check out your local occult shop for postings, or Pagan magazines, and websites. For example, the Witches’ Voice is great resource that lists many, many local covens, shops, and other places for networking.

You may not find a community that fits your particular interests or needs in your city, may need to decide how far you’re willing to travel, and what sort of relationships you’d like to make. Are you hoping just to meet casually, or would you like to be a regular member of a coven, circle or grove? What tradition would you most like to connect with?

When meeting anyone new for the first time, it’s always best to meet in a public place. Many moots are held in pubs or coffee shops with non-Pagan attendees present as well. Festivals and conferences are great ways to meet a number of people in a public setting.

People in the Pagan community come from a variety of age groups, traditions, coven or solitary backgrounds, and while generally a friendly lot, if you do come across a group that seems hostile, or demands certain things of you that you feel uncomfortable with, remember that you are free to disagree or leave at any time.

Just be honest and open; make an effort, but allow connections to form naturally, and don’t try to jump into anything too serious too soon. At any large gathering you’re likely to find others who are new to the scene or to Paganism in general.

It’s fairly recently that I’ve branched out into meeting other Pagans offline, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I hope your experience is as rewarding.

First published on Suite101.com on 27 March 2006. (Unfortunately.)


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