Another Theos who was worshipped in Boeotia I give cult to is Priapos; having significant-enough cult at Mt. Helikon (near Thespiae), it seemed only appropriate to post about this here.
For me it began with Theoi Project and searching for deities with local cult in Boeotia. What is said there of Priapos’ cult in Boeotia is sparse, and Wikipedia only expanded this somewhat, while failing to mention Boeotia at all. The Index of Burkert’s Greek Religion doesn’t include Priapos, which I find rather odd, but oh well, and so my initial search pretty much ended there. Later, I came upon His entry in The Greek Mythology Index, which apparently confirms His position as a fertility deity presiding over both livestock and gardens.
His connection to Hestia in narrative mythology (which seems to begin and end with Ovid, true, but Ovid’s works are based on the Hellenic narratives) links Him, in my mind, not just to field but to the kitchen.
Now as a sort of self-medication for my anxiety issues, I’ve picked up several nervous habits, and some of them not bad ones. I like to keep something by my side of the couch in the lounge to do with my hands — on occasion, it’s been beadwork that I don’t have to think look at too closely, but more often, it’s been polymer clay that I usually have separated into little cubes. One night, in front of the television, I just picked up a cube and, without even looking at was I was doing, started moulding little penises, mostly erect. My flat-mate was the first to actually take notice of what I was doing, I honestly didn’t realise I’d just made a little pile of tiny wangs, even though I was manipulating the pocket dental pick I used as a tool for my clay and forming the glans on all of them.
Needless to say, I took this as a sign to develop cult a little more; it’s been a slow build, but it’s a pace I’m content with.
The parentage of Aphrodite and Adonis sort of makes the most sense to me — think about it: Hermes, Dionysos, Pan, already had phallic associations. The cult of Adonis hold lettuces sacred to Him; but ancient Hellenes associated lettuces with sterility and impotence (probably the seed of the stereotype that “real men” don’t eat salad). If it’s therefor assumed true that Aphrodite is the mother of Priapos, and assumed true that Hera cursed the foetal Priapos in Aphrodite’s womb with ugliness and impotence, we see a common thread building from the fibres.My shrine to Priapos is not a grand thing like mine to Eros, but more like my plaque for Hestia and my jar for Zeus Ktesios. I purchased a small pine craft house, painted it gaudily, added some glitter, and took one of the tiny polymer clay penises I moulded that previous day, and glued in inside (sometimes having small hands is beneficial). I keep it in the back of the top shelf of my refrigerator, partially inspired by this comic (and somehow, considering the typically anti-social humour of “Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles”, this strikes me as appropriate, but that may just be UPG). I’ve also placed one of these little tiny penises in with each of my herbs (oregano, basil, sage) and a large one with the laurel, keeping in line with the tradition of having an image of Priapos in the garden, serving as a scarecrow (obviously modified to best suit my suburban apartment).
My plants, as always, give me far more joy than some may think they would, but I can’t help it. Especially the oregano here. It has a similar story as my rose — I got it on sale, cos it wasn’t looking that great, but after I transplanted it, it started thriving.
I hope that everybody who observes has been extra-creative this Mouseia — after all, the next one isn’t for another five years.
I’m feeling like a super-tiger-dragon failure for the fact that nobody has submitted any dedication poetry for the Hellenistai Wiki Project, so this probably means I’m going to be doing something myself; I keep trying to assure myself that the only people losing out are those who thought of maybe submitting something, but didn’t — the community isn’t really losing out, cos hey, they have a wiki now, and maybe I’m really not a loser, cos I did what I could, but old habits die hard.