Baring the Aegis is a little more than a year old, and I have been Hellenistic for a few hours shorter than that. It's amazing to read back some of the struggles of that first week, starting with my first post, to struggling with my devotion to Brighid, to Brighid letting me go, all in the span of 24 hours. When Baring the Aegis was week old, I was Hellenistic to the core, and I can still recall that feeling effortlessly, just like I can recall every moment of that time I sacrificed Pringles to the Theoi. I can recall lots of favorite moments I wrote about here: my wake for Athena (part one and two), the Anthesteria, moving from English to Dutch for my daily practice, actually having a daily practice (although I have since added the household Gods, Athena, Asklēpiós, and Hygieia to my daytime prayers), and answering your questions. I especially love doing that.

When I wrote that first post, I wasn't sure I would keep blogging. I had tried to blog before, and it never stuck. I didn't have anything interesting to write, nothing that others might want to read. I don't believe in writing things down for prosperity alone; it's the reason I can't keep a journal. I need people to read my words, or I will stop writing them. Yet, that first month especially was such a flurry of learning and sharing that I became hooked. Still, I mean it when I say that I need you guys. Writing Baring the Aegis is a devotional activity for me, but it's also my personal learning tool. I am forced to earn something new about Hellenismos every single day, and that's a great gift.

I want to do more than thank you guys in this post--which will be a bit of a collection of random things about the past and future of the blog--I want to ask you again to tell me what you want to see on Baring the Aegis; topics, specific posts, more or less of something... all feedback is appreciated. I started Baring the Aegis as a learning tool for myself, and it will continue to be so, but you guys make all the early mornings and late nights worth it. 411 posts and 60.000 views (on here alone) in, and writing Baring the Aegis is still one of the highlights of every day.

Silent July
Sannion over at The House of Vines had made a proposal: that polytheist bloggers join in protest over being marginalized and put down by the greater Pagan community and shut down their blogs for the month of July. I have my issues with Sannion, but in essence, he is a really good guy, and I get where he is coming from. That said, I'm not going to participate: Baring the Aegis is staying over for business throughout the month of July.

"Not only would this send a powerful message about what Paganism is like without polytheism but I think it would be very good and healing for everyone involved. Especially if this was used as an opportunity to deepen our practice and relationships with our gods and spirits.

Imagine what you could accomplish if every time you got an itch to make a post or check what other people are saying you instead went to your shrine and prayed or made an offering or created something of beauty to honor your divinities?"

Blogging has never been a reason why I don't get 'actual worship' done: I do get worship done. Twice a day, and because I blog, I also open my books and do my research at least once a day. Even through graduation, through illness, through bad nights with three hours of sleep, and vacation periods, I have blogged on here every single day. That time is precious to me, and it has helped me to be a better Hellenist. Because I blog, I know what I'm doing when I get to my altar. And no, I don't make art, or other things to honor the Theoi: not everyone has to make art. My art (read: gift of devotion) is my blog. So I'm staying here.

As for the 'Pagan vs. Polytheist' thing, in its many incarnations... personally, I think it's rubbish. I couldn't care less if someone else sees the Gods differently than I do, or worships them in another way, or doesn't worship Them at all. This may be hubris talking, but I feel that if the Theoi cared, They would have done something about it. I have stayed out of these debates, and I will continue to do so. I'd rather enjoy my life and religion than worry about someone else's practice. So no, I'm not going dark on Baring the Aegis because of an argument on the internet that I feel should have dies a slow death months ago. Sorry. I practice temperance in everything, and all of this feels very gung-ho.

I did talk to Jonathan Agathokles--who is about an hour's drive from me, I believe--and we have decided to pen pal for at least the duration of the protest. I think it's a good way for us to see if meeting up for any type of worship would benefit us, and I like Jonathan, so it should be fun.

Devotional week
Next week, my girlfriend is going away on work vacation. Separate from the Silent July initiative, I have decided to make this week a bit of a devotional week, especially because this Hellenistic year--and Olympiad--ends on the eighth of July with the Hene kai Nea. Besides libations to Zeus and Athena, I don't think this was a big happening for the ancient Hellenes, but I do want to go into the new year with a good cleanse.

My devotional week will consist of at least a fast, purification, lots of reading, and increased prayer schedules. I haven't figured out how and what I want to do exactly, but this is a head's up that this is going to happen for me, and you might be hearing about it on the blog for a while. In the spirit of Practicing Apart Together, I might set up a date and time for a shared libation to Zeus the Savior and Athena the Savior, but I'll leave it to you guys to say if this is something you would like to participate in.

I look forward greatly to my second year as a Hellenist and a Hellenist blogger. I have met such wonderful people--even if only online and over the phone--and learned so much. The Theoi have such a beautiful place in my life now, that I can only be inspired to discover what comes next. Thank you for making the journey with me. It's been a heck of a wild ride.