new forest lone trees

The Theoi in England? UPG thingies

Thinking about potential English cultus/UPG things and writing little bits of prose for them… what do you guys reckon? (Heavily skewed towards Southern England because I don’t often get to go up North. I’ve tried to include bits but…eh… I dunno)

Wheat shifts from lush green to yellow gold as Demeter walks. The summer rain has passed, it glistens on the leaves and on her brow. Her lips are bright as strawberries, her breath sweet and heady as oilseed rape.

Poseidon crashes against the Whitby coast. His serpents draw the cliffs down into the sea and ancient creatures are exposed from their resting place in the rock. Our tiny island is held in his embrace as he carries our ships from shore to shore. In Portsmouth we salute him at the naval base and build monuments from the wreck of the Mary Rose. The gulls call his name as they soar inland.

Aphrodite comes ashore, her eyes bright as the Dover cliffs, skin golden as Cornish sands. The collared doves bring her flowers for she is the English Rose.

Hermes flits through the Underground, carried by the coursing breeze of the Tube. Each tap of an Oyster Card is the beating of his winged sandals. Every letter dropped into a red post box is an offering. Anywhere where money changes hands is his realm, from the marbled floors of Harrods to the dull neon of a Camden kebab shop, for he is the only one faster than the City.

Hestia crouches in the doorways of closed shops, bringing warmth to the homeless. She slips an extra pound coin into the hand of a Big Issue seller and never takes the magazine. Her hearth may only be in a pilot light or in the heating element of an electric kettle, but she is always there, warm, waiting, comforting.

Athena walks through the Bodleian stacks placing blessings on the books hidden underneath the Oxford streets so that students may succeed and those who apply for readers’ cards may be accepted. She stands in the corner of a Shetland home and smiles as a grandmother teaches her grandchildren to knit Fair Isle patterns. A barn owl cries in the cold night air and she moves in the ghostly flicker of its wings.

Apollo accompanies doctors through the wards of Great Ormond Street and sends hopeful smiles to the lips of the children there. He stands in the break room behind MRC researchers’ labs and keeps their coffee hot. He lurks backstage with the roadies at the Electric Ballroom, the O2 and the Roundhouse, singing along to songs of modern muses. He was there at the 100 Club and at the Cavern, at Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight. He is always there.

Artemis sprints through Dartmoor past long forgotten ruins and lonely homes. New Forest ponies gallop at her side, between the trees and heathers, forcing traffic to still. The mountains carry her through the lush green of the Peak District. Her stride is vast and covers cities too, in the wail of an urban fox and the hovering wings of a kestrel above the motorway or the rabbits that burrow beside Heathrow airport. There are corners of the wild everywhere.

Dionysus dances in a Manchester rave, liquor on his lips, eyes bright as glow-sticks. He follows the music through cellar clubs and secret happenings, to counter-culture bars and Soho drag shows. He lies in a punt in the haze of May Morning as drunken revelers leap, singing, from Magdalen Bridge into the gentle river below. He wanders through each theatre, watching West End musicals, Stratford Shakespearean revivals, and Edinburgh Fringe art-house pieces, as every stage is his altar no matter what is performed.

Ares joins Help for Heroes campaigns and stands aside veterans with poppies on their breasts. He carries coffins draped with Union Jacks through Wootton Bassett, head bowed, as mourners scatter flowers. He stands, fists and voice raised, with protesters and activists, carrying their banners as they cry for justice. He shelters refugees cramped into cargo containers and watches over them until they find safety. His spears pierce injustice, his shield blocks hatred.

Hera attends every wedding, every civil partnership, every hand fasting. A couple marry in their lunch break at a registers office and she is there. A lesbian wedding in a local hall receives her blessing. She watches from afar as an Anglo-Pakistani family celebrates for four days with bright clothes and painted hands, for though she is not among their gods, all marriages please her. She is the Queen above Queens, outlasting mortal monarchies and outshining all.

And Zeus? Zeus is in the English rain, that nourishes and punishes, floods and flourishes. He is called by the cries of Red Kites that circle, renewed, in clear skies. His strength is in the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest and in the memory of lost wolves.