Stay off the fifth, which is difficult, terrible, dreary, and painful,My thinking up until this week went something like this: To act against them means acknowledging their prayers are dangerous — in reality, I only consider them dangerous for how their fanatic devotion to YHVH provokes them to burn bridges when they interact with any people whose brains have not been set on fire by the exact same devotional tendencies. Besides, I have homework.
For on the fifth they say the Furies attended the birth of
Oath, who was borne by Discord to make all perjurers suffer.
Hesiod, Works and Days, ln. 789 - 791.
I have updated this a little.
They mean to do harm against other people with those prayers.
Apollôn knows that I have engaged in malefic prayer exactly once, so I’m not exactly one to talk. Starting to worship the Erinyes loosened some of the Wiccan conditioning (a holdover from childhood) enough that I don't actually have a problem with the concept as long as it gives the other party a way out (for instance, if the behavior stops) and is never used as a first option. Throwing shit at other people doesn’t actually tell them why you did it, and it will not likely ameliorate whatever it is they’re doing.
The above probably sounds like the logic someone participating in DC 40 would give for what they’re doing. These people have addressed us repeatedly to encourage us to turn from our sinful ways and be born again as part of the body of Christ. (At least, I think that’s how they’d word it. Sounds like a Borg thing.) We have not responded how they want, so they have decided to use prayer grapeshot.
Of course, this assumes that the deity they worship will actually listen to and fulfill their prayers or even exists at all. I like to think that a bunch of confused Middle Eastern storm gods woke up naked and joined at the hip in the noncorporeal equivalent of a padded room with no memories of how they got there.
When I saw that this began on the Erinyes’ sacred day, I decided to perform some card divination to see if I should pray to them. The divination was mostly favorable, and I am making it better by including Aphroditê. When translated, the cards essentially meant this:
The freshly-tilled ground gives
beneath my feet in this morning light.
Grass sticks to my heels,
and all is clear now:
the movement of the heavens,
red dust on the riverbanks,
and ash in my pockets.
Stretched out behind me, I see
echoes hissing in the dawn-shadows.
I once hung by a thread over the abyss
and wove my own hair into it
strand by strand until it became strong
and guided me to solid ground.
A new world bloomed at my feet
The flowers soothed my aching hands.
Like a child, I ran through the fields
over fences and under barbed wire,
creating and generating a new path
in the weed-choked places between.
But the echoes still catch up.
Like whispers heard through thin
apartment walls, they threaten
to swallow the small hours of morning.
If I had cut the thread and kept my hair,
I would have fallen here, too,
but they would never have found me
lying among the flowers and dancing
in the groves, and we would be forever
a ghost in their mirror or a shadow
cast by stigmata nails on a man's hands.
Both the Erinyes and Aphroditê have a birth story involving the castration of Ouranos. I chose to include her because the drawn solution involved petitioning a god who knew how to woo rather than pursue, and she matched the card’s persona more than Erôs.
Regardless of whether or not the malefic prayer the DC 40 people are doing actually matters, it brings to mind a lot of the past crimes Christians committed against others in order to spread their faith — be they the microaggressive comments murmured in modern New England or the far more horrifying loss of life in 6th-century Heliopolis.
I, for one, would rather pray to the Erinyes and Aphroditê to make our community stronger by accepting and reconciling with our own shadows, acknowledging what we have lost, and helping members of our community be excellent to each other.