By Elyse Welles
© 2022 Elyse Welles. All rights reserved.
"I used to command the Rhodian winds
And your regions of the sea
Whenever I'd want to set sail.
Whenever I'd want to stay there,
I'd say to the regions of the sea:
‘don't smite the seas with your blows
Lay smooth the brine for seafarers.’ Then every fair wind is raised;
they shut out the blasts, and so, God [Poseidon],
grant the impassable to be passable." - Greek Magical Papyri, Hymn 29
The God Poseidon - God of the Sea, patron of fishers, sailors, and their families - is entreated to for safe voyages, bountiful fishing hauls, and peace for those lost at sea.
But in modern times of human-made climate disasters, Poseidon is called upon for protection and safety in a new way. He is a refuge, and a means to discard our fears. He is reviving in new ways for the new times we live in.
I am a Greek witch, sharing my experiences at sacred sites on Seeking Numina, my YouTube channel in which I write meditations, record ambience, and share the history to immerse viewers in places of spiritual power around the world. On location, I feel the power of these sites in ways I want to bring to anyone who can’t go there themselves, and the Temple of Poseidon, the wide embrace of his Sea, the refuge he offers us all, is there for any who need him.
I was starkly reminded of his power this summer through the climate crisis here in Greece.
Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon - enjoy this ambient video to help you sleep, enter trance, or to provide a calming background to your day: https://youtu.be/uwg3ocxit1E
Wildfires have been sweeping Greece and her islands, many in places they have never happened before, and all at levels never before seen. In August of 2021, fires burned for 13 days straight throughout Evia, and across the Athens area, which I call home.
I've seen ridges of mountains blindingly red with fire. I've watched ash wash ashore and coat the sea, something I've never encountered in years of time in Greece. Entire towns and regions have had to be abandoned, and it is likely these areas will be deemed unsafe to build in again.
Regions of Greece that have been inhabited for 10,000 years or more will be abandoned for the first time because of human-made destruction.
I won't make this article about the science - that is something you can all research for yourself, and likely have as a follower of a nature-based religion. If this period of record climate extremes on both hemispheres have taught humans anything, if the tropical storms sweeping even inland places show us any harsh truths, it is that our Mother is in dire trouble, and there is no denying that or hiding from it. But what I cling to as a hope, what I can see as pure magick in a world on fire, is the refuge of the sea.
In Greece, there have been only two deaths during these unprecedented fires. There aren't strong evacuation procedures - many of the towns that burned are isolated in the mountains, with narrow, unpaved roads as the only access points for first responders. Islands don't often have their own hospitals or many response teams. In fact, Greece has had firefighters coming from France, the UK, Germany, and all over Europe to aid in putting them out. But there have been only two deaths.
It is by the grace of Poseidon that so many lives have been saved, as the people run to the sea for safety from the fires. Ordinary civilians in boats arrive in the waters to retrieve the refugees, guided along by Poseidon, His arms protecting and soothing burns, and delivering to safety thousands of lives. For thousands of years He has been listening and watching, ever-present, a constant protector. Today, in an era that often feels very removed from His crumbling temples' heydays, we are reminded of the spiral of time. All that was, still is, and all that will be, has been.
Poseidon is in a time of revival and new power again in the human-caused disasters, as water levels rise and the sea becomes desalinated as glaciers melt into it. He is as powerful as ever, yet tempered by these changes.
As pagans, it's important to be aware of the changes and destruction humans are bringing, the changes that we are a part of. It is our responsibility to do our part to slow it, and do what we can to bring about healing. But we are also now realizing we are likely in a new territory with climate change - what they warned us of has arrived. We are in the era of no return. These disasters will be lasting, and may return every summer season. Our work with deity and land must change as well. Recognizing these disasters and the way they're changing the earth's connection to deity, and humanity's place in the spiral of life, is the vital work we must engage in. Adjusting our relationship with deity, and reassessing our understanding of their strengths and powers, is a large part of that.
This is the meditation I wrote on location at his temple at Mt. Sounio on the mainland in Greece:
The invocation below ends the meditation, but the text is included here for your use. Feel free to use the below invocation in your practice, adapt and adjust it for your region, and please in your healing works, remember Greece and her lands burned beyond repair. To donate money or time to the fighting of these fires, consider supporting Forest Fires Protection Volunteers of Attica: https://www.edasa.gr/en/ . Even when the flames go out, the recovery will take decades.
Invocation to the God Poseidon
written at the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, Greece by Elyse Welles
God of the Sea,
Father of the Naiads,
Protector of Fishers and Sailors,
open your warm embrace to us here in your Temple.
Fill our nets with sustenance,
guide our boats on soft currents.
We ask that you bring calm to those lost in your abyss,
and comfort to their loved ones who will visit your Temple in grace.
We run to you in refuge from the fires of the mountains,
for protection and safety when the heat is too great.
We run for relief and peace,
your lulling waves timeless,
your waters ever-warm,
forever clear even at the deepest depths.