Ares in Chains

One of the things that I think is important to discuss in the onus of the recent sexual abuse allegations within the pagan community is the theological importance we levy to our gods. Sannion touched on this briefly, but I wanted to expound on the myth of Ares’ trial for the retributive murder of Hallirhothios and the story’s theological and instructive value to both the polytheist community and pagans who assert archetypal philosophies.


Ares Kills Poseidon's Son


The myth is summed up as follows: Hallirhothios, a son of Poseidon, rapes (and this time in the myth, rape definitely means “sexually assaults”) Ares’ daughter Alkippe. Upon learning of the assault, Ares kills Hallirhothios. Poseidon, of course, is pissed, and so brings Ares to trial. Assembled before the rest of the gods, Ares and Poseidon give their cases, and the gods acquit Ares of wrongdoing; the place of the trial is renamed the Areopagus and becomes a place where the Athenians try capital cases.


This myth is significant for a variety of reasons. First, it sets up the first case of truly justifiable homicide. If you rape someone, it is justified–and some would say necessary–to kill the rapist. This precedent has trickled down to our modern legal system, where rape is a capital crime in places that have not abolished the death penalty. Even in places that have, many courts consider homicide in defense of self or another during the course of a sexual assault to be justified.

This is of course not to say that we can just go out killing abusers and rapists with impunity; you will go to jail if the homicide occurs after the fact, and of course the accused is still entitled to a trial. False accusations, though very rare, do happen, which is why courts can only justify violence in self defense during the commission of crime against you, and even then, self-defense laws vary from place to place. For more information about self-defense law in the US, follow this link.


Secondly, this myth demonstrates why it may be prudent to incorporate Ares’ cult into our community. It would be a slap in the face to victims to say, “Oh, if you only prayed to Ares more, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.” I’m not saying that nor would I attempt to. However, I feel that the sort of culture that Ares’ cult perpetuates, one of responsibility and care for victims, would be beneficial to the entire community.

Ares teaches us that “no” means “no,” and that the consequences for transgressing those boundaries of consent can and should be met with the most severe consequences. He teaches that someone will have the victim’s backs; by not fulfilling Ares’ promise (see below), we insult him and his charges. Ares can also bring courage to victims, and inspires the vulnerable to strengthen themselves when the strength of those charged to protect them fails. He is compassionate towards women and children, and his mythology attests to this. Yes, Ares is a violent, bloody god, but he is only wrathful towards those that transgress the law and make war.

Archetypically, Ares represents the upholder of laws and the protective father. Therefore, rejecting even the archetype of Ares is nonsensical for me. Ares, whose voice is louder than a thousand men, does not encourage silence. His companions are Justice and the Furies, those who send abusers to their doom. Make no mistake, the modern artistic depiction of Justice is dead wrong; Justice sees everything, carries a sword in her right (read [traditionally] dominant) hand, and keeps Ares, Oath, and Furies in tow.


Lastly, I feel this myth creates a morally binding promise between society and the innocent victims of abuse to advocate and seek retribution upon those who commit violence against the innocent. It describes a natural law, higher than any statutory authority, wherein victims must be made whole through justice. We can worry about PR and image and community structures AFTER we have begun to care for the hurt.

So please, don’t leave Ares in chains. We as a community cannot afford to break Ares’ promises. So hail Ares, that he may be at our backs and led behind Dike to the betterment of all.


Dividends Part I

Some days it amazes me how a little effort gets one a long way–a spark creates a raging fire, a smile a date, or some whispered words a swelling wave of action. I have felt acutely aware in recent days just how the littlest things reverberate and cycle up like electricity in a capacitor, causing tiny currents to grow into palpable and powerful surges, enough to move entire groups of people. This is of course how reciprocity–a cornerstone of both Hellenic religion and human interaction–works.

I read a great article earlier today which, though vulgar, made me really think about the community as it is changing now. Some folks may not think it has changed much, but for me it has. I have changed in relation to it, too. I don’t want to jinx it, but it *almost* seems like the polytheist community is -gasp- growing up and into its own. How do I know? To take a leaf from John Cheese’s article:

#5. We’ve Become Embarrassed of Our Past Selves (And Then We Let It Go)

When I started in Hellenismos about five or six years ago, it was because I was tired of eclecticism in neopaganism, which seemed to be a common thread to many other Hellene’s conversion stories. At the time, I was definitely embarrassed about my roots; I was definitely a Silver Ravenwolf kid. A part of my still cringes writing that, but when I really reflect back on it, that woman did more to pique my curiosity in alternative religion than any other author I know. That’s me letting go. That’s not the end of the story, though. I was a very aggressive in my anti-eclecticism in my early days as a Hellene. I knew a lot of other youngish firebrands who were the same way. Eventually, however, I noticed a lot of people started to mellow out. At least in the circles I currently associate in, we’ve (mostly) moved past breaking things down into building things up.


#4. We’ve Started Double-Thinking Our Actions


From my contacts with polytheists, I know a lot goes unsaid and undone. I’m always cautious before committing words to the page; it’s tough to balance what I feel everyone should know about Ares and what I personally feel about things. We’ve begun to really acquire a self-awareness of how our actions affect others in the polytheist community. As Cheese’s article states, “You know you’ve made a huge step toward adulthood when you start regularly thinking about how your words and actions affect other people. Especially when dealing with anger.”  There was a huge upset over the summer regarding the effects pop-culture has on paganism/polytheism which led to the Silent July protest. The ripples caused by that protest are just now returning to the center from the edges of the blogoshpere. What amazes me is that, for the most part, the Silent July event did more to cement our small community’s values than talking to folks ever could. By writing letters instead of blogging–by writing letters in a physical medium rather than typing–I got to know other polytheists more than I could by reading. It’s that sort of intimacy that creates the environment necessary for building real relationships, which in turn creates real community. Sometimes that means caring even when you could care less (because there’s really only so many times you can read about how utterly awesome my chihuahua Chloe is).


#3. We’ve Stopped Following Through on the Desire to Break Shit

This one goes back to the whole pop-culture debacle, too. While Cheese is correct in saying it’s mostly a guy thing, it can occur with women, too. Remember a year or so ago when some polytheist women started veiling and were called regressive, damaging to women’s rights, and even racist for somehow marginalizing the plight of women forced to veil in the Muslim world? Because that happened. Yes, trolling still exists, but in my experience at least, things have died down or gone underground. Part of my struggle as a devotee of Ares is certainly about using a blanket “kill them all” solution to communal strife, because it’s not a practical (or even really desirable) solution. As I mentioned earlier, we’re beginning to move away from breaking things to building things, as evidenced by the Polytheism Without Borders project and Thessaly Temenos’ Hellenic Revival.


#2. We Learned Ways to Make Responsibility Suck Less

This is really more of a mish-mash of individual achievements lately. A lot of folks are stopping talking about creating community and are doing it. While the two projects above certainly are the largest and ambitious so far, there’s a lot of little stuff going on, too. Community building is a long, tedious process, one which we are all responsible for. Silent July really helped this when everyone decided to write letters. Yes, we created a new responsibility/chore for ourselves; writing a letter means taking time out of a busy day, buying paper, pens, envelopes, and stamps. That’s right, we had to spend money–a book of stamps costs around $20 right now, pens can be up to $5, and a ream of paper or box of envelopes are about $2. If you’re like me and like to write everyone at once, that means sacrificing about an hour or two of your day. But you know what? That shit is worth it. There’s no better feeling than opening up the mailbox at the end of the day and finding something other than a bill, a fistful of ads, or some stupid notice from the VA telling you something you already know. It makes the effort and the expense worth it. The mutual obligation and responsibility also create shared experiences and esprit de corps, two very necessary elements in molding a group of very different people into one cohesive whole.


#1. You Realize That if Something Happens to You, Other People Are Fucked

A lot of people don’t know they’re important to other people. Part of the reason we  as a species record and pass on information is that we’re mortal, and any day can be our last. Even in cases not involving mortality, things still change or come to an end. Some people stop blogging, and if you’re the only one who’s got the info on a particular subject, everyone loses out if you somehow go missing. I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but for one reason or another, the voices of Apollon’s worshipers have gone pretty quiet lately, at least for the blogs I follow. I’ve been contacted by folks as far afield as Brazil and France saying they thought they were the only ones who worshiped Ares. I’m glad there are more Areisian voices out there, but I feel bad when I don’t post enough, because there is a desire out there to learn about my god. For those of you that were members of the forum, it was pretty disappointing when it was shut down for (silly) political reasons involving its creator (thankfully a few folks there created the Olympianismos forum instead). Its nice to see that a lot of polytheists are noticing this and are doing more to spread the knowledge and experience around, as well as mentoring and supporting each other.



Don’t think that because you aren’t writing a blog, starting an event, or creating artwork that you aren’t integral to the community. There are plenty of polytheists I interact with on Facebook or other places that don’t write, but they do support me and I in turn support them. Just because it was religion that brought us together doesn’t mean we don’t have other things to talk about. Plenty of you are parents, which I’m not. Some are artists, some are cooks, others are students. You want to know what Lady Imbrium I talk about most? Goats. I really look forward to her letters because I love hearing about her goats and the rest of the farm. She’s doing some pretty awesome stuff, and supporting her outside of the religious sphere is my duty and privilege as a friends. In the end, no matter what you do, that’s what community building is all about: support. Keep doing good work folks.

S**t I Wish I had Known

Going back to the theme of beginning a devotional practice, I wanted to go over some things that I’ve learned during my few years in the Hellenic Polytheist community and beginning my devotional practice. These are some things I wish I had known going in and don’t necessarily get written down anywhere, so I wanted to get them down in print. I hope they help you as much as reflecting upon them helps me.


1: Devote yourself to the gods, and also to people.

Being in a minority religion, even if you’re just dabbling, can be intimidating, especially in reconstructionist groups (you know, homework and all that). The gods make great leaders, but because of their transcendent, often aloof nature, they don’t always make the best of companions. The gods aren’t friends after all (imo anyway); who has the time when there are wars to start, a million newborns to watch over, etc.? My advice? Find some friends, even if you only talk online. If you can converse via letters, the phone, or (good gravy) even in person, all the better. You don’t necessarily have to be good friends or agree on everything; a simple study buddy can be a great help. Getting through the Iliad is tough, even for a hardcore student. But imagine if you could read it book by book with a partner and discuss the themes, anecdotes, and minor myths contained therein; it could even be fun. In a religion with homework, a study partner is almost essential.

2: Keep a diary and record your experiences and offerings you give.

I’ve always found diaries a tedious undertaking, because writing without an audience just bites at the practical side of myself. However, if your goal is to become pious and more aware of the ineffable, a diary can be a powerful tool. The ancients used to keep ledgers containing lists of offerings they gave to the gods, both to organize the gods’ property, and to keep track of the gifts passed back and forth. If your ledger was in the red (the gods gave you more than you gave), maybe you could try pushing it toward black again with a libation or other offering. My advice: keep track of your blessings. It’s a great way to keep humble and put meaning into the offerings you give back.

3: Start slow.

If you try to offer to all twelve Olympians, the other gods, the titans, and other spirits, ancestors,heroes, and perhaps foreign deities, you’re going to go crazy. And broke. If you’re like most folks, you probably aren’t super wealthy anyway, so don’t worry about commissioning statues or building temples just yet. Pick one or two gods and start there. Students often give to Athene, and many folks follow Dionysos or Hekate. Also, don’t worry about being a full-fledged scholar. Yes, the recon groups are a bunch of stuck-up know-it-alls sometimes, but you will pick things up pretty quick if you pay attention. Besides, scholarship will come; you’ll read or hear some epithet or reference in conversation and want to know more. If you feel guilty about not offering to one god or another, be assured that some kind priestly person is offering on everyone’s behalf. Once you get into a comfortable routine, then add to it. A great way to start is to follow the simple monthly regimen given at HMEPA, which follows the ancient Athenian calendar (add Ares to day five!). Add to it as needed, and remember to keep your notebook handy!

4: Be patient and persevere.

Remember above how I wrote a lot of people are into Dionysos or Hekate? Well, I’m not really into either. At all. I feel called to Ares, who isn’t exactly the most popular god, either in antiquity or today. Most books have only a tiny section devoted to the god, and will rarely fill a chapter in even the most exhaustive books. It took me about four years and almost $100 to find an obscure dissertation about Ares’ cult. And Ares was an Olympian. Feel called to Nyx, Haides, or Harmonia? Good luck finding sources. They exist, but they are few. Don’t let that get you down. Information, both historic and nuministic (in the form of UPG and oracular announcements) can come to light at any time. Don’t be afraid to ask around and dig deep into whatever you find.

5: Pack your big-kid underpants.

The Hellenic community is filled with a lot of very smart people with very strong opinions that are often backed up by heaps of evidence, which can be great for a lively debate, but not for making friends. Between passionate reverence and cold, analytical study, little room can be left for empathy or sympathy. I’m a hardass and I know it. It’s important to remember that often times, a sharp jab at an idea or comment isn’t a jab against you personally. Most recons, in practice, often act too coldly to really be personal. If you make it personal though, do bring the Greek fire, because you can bet someone else will. Eris and Ares love the infighting, or as I like to call it, the crucible of awesomeness.  If you are the sensitive type, you may have trouble, but if you stick with the like-minded, stick up for yourself, and refuse to succumb to trolls, you’ll be just fine.

6: Don’t forget the gods.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in debates about the validity of magic, which edition of whatever book is best, and exactly how much UPG is too much. Sometimes, you get so wrapped up in the academics and debates you get burnt out and forget the central focus of Hellenismos: revering the gods. They are the most important part. If you have to deviate from the books because your god told you to, everyone can bitch, but they can’t stop you. I disagree with the practice of magic, but there are plenty of people that do it and I can’t do jack squat about it. Does it interfere with my worship? No. Should it? Never. The gods are most important, and if they find anything particularly offensive, they’ll probably let the offender know before you. Seriously, don’t forget the gods.




5 & 6 Metageitnion

So I missed yesterday’s libation in the frenzy of cleaning that hit my home for today’s city inspection, therefore I preformed both Ares’ and Artemis’ today. However, it did give me the opportunity to move some things around, clean out some miasma, and hang a few pictures above my shrine. Aphrodite even got her own offering dish. I need to glaze/paint a few more I have waiting in the ceramics lab over the next couple days, but I should be doing okay.

Finally over my cold for the most part. I have to blow my nose once or twice, and I get a tickle in my throat here or there, but it’s all good. In fact, I think they’re more symptoms of the cold outside than the lingering effects of the one inside me. Seriously though, it’s August, when MI is supposed to be in the 90s, and here we are at low 70s with the possibility of dipping into the 40s over night. At the very least there’s no drought this year; we’re already 5″ above average for the year, and fall isn’t even technically here, let alone winter and her snows.

Now, it’s only been a week of doing these libations, and I tell you what, I haven’t had a week this good in a while. There’s been flirting, an offer for a free suit (and expensive one, too, and boy do I love suits), an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa, and I even found a dollar under my bed yesterday. Tell you what kids, forget pot, forget swag and YOLO and all that crap-get religion, That’s the stuff right there. There’s a reason science routinely tells us that religious people are happier. The secularists can argue any community affiliation can help raise happiness levels, but none do so consistently as religion, especially the really, really involved folks like the Amish or Mormons. This is also important in a country where there is a lot of hostility towards and among religions, both from the government and society at large. You can even see it in our community, especially against monotheism. I digress, this supposed to be a happy post.

Any way you want to look at it, giving to the gods is good. To paraphrase Pascal, reciprocity pays serious dividends. Go invest something, and hail Ares!

My Response to “Polytheism without borders”

If you haven’t read “Polytheism without borders” over at the House of Vines yet, I encourage you to do so. If you’re really feeling lazy (and it’s okay, I get like that), the jist of the post is about starting a time bank, wherein people pay each other for different services using a “time dollar”, which is essentially an hour of your time. Neat, eh? Now, it’s not really necessary to quantify things into time dollars or how much one service is worth over another; the point is to create those reciprocal bond between people that we already try to create with the gods. Sannion ends his post with two questions: “What do you need and what can you give?” There were some great responses. A lot of people have writing experience, another has convention organization skills, etc. A Lot of people were simply looking for people to be there. I figure it would be most appropriate to create a post instead of a comment on the post, mostly because I hate super large comments, and because it would give me an opportunity to explain in detail what I can offer.


What I need: Honestly, there isn’t much I need except for someone (or multiple someones) to keep me on track with projects, keep me inspired, keep me moving forward, etc. Basically, I need a wife minus the romantic/sexual overtones (a real wife is nice, but I’m not a very romantic/sexual person, so yeah). I’ve tried doing commissions and things in the past, or sitting down to write, and then I flounder, mostly because I get lazy and/or bored. I’d be happy with people who call or text every once in a while to make sure I’m working, giving me ideas for projects, or just keeping me company while I work. Part of what I hate about doing art is that I don’t have people to do it with. Just having someone talk at me whilst carving or sketching is extremely beneficial.

Another thing I would like would be some rural knowledge. I would totally do the whole farm thing if I were able. Homesteading is something I’m very interested in, and I’ve talked to quite a few folks via snail mail about the subject lately.


What I can offer: There’s a lot I can offer, really. I guess this would be best displayed as a list.

1: Organizational skills

Being in the military and being used at all three levels of warfare (strategic, operational, and tactical) has given me a pretty good understanding of what makes a good organization, what makes one bad, etc. I’ve been a squad leader, a quality controller, a funeral detail member, a combat readiness instructor, as well as the vice president, public relations officer, point-of-contact for pagan students, and sergeant-at-arms for the largest student chapel program in the Air Force. I’ve been a leader and a follower. I’ve got extensive experience in public speaking both from my time in the Air Force and my current job as a tutor, where I give lectures about research and writing. Having worked at both the federal and state level, I’m a whiz with forms and paperwork.

2: Research skills

As an analyst and now a student, I have a knack for finding things out. I have a damn good memory for things and can usually find an answer to just about anything. Being a student at my college comes with lifetime access to their subscription of databases and journals, which is awesome. It doesn’t cover every journal (alas, no Pomegranate for me), but I can look a lot of things up. It was through my school library that I was able to find my most valuable Ares resource. As a former analyst, I’m very good at finding what is important in a given dataset, and how to organize said data into graphs, charts, etc.

3: Writing & Language skills

I’m a former Arabic linguist and English tutor; I literally get paid to be a grammar nazi. I am good at breaking down sentences and other constructs. I also can teach. Most of the focus of my tutoring is directed towards ESL students. I’m good at recognizing whether a mistake is a result of ignorance to the rule or a superposition of differing grammars (as English has a few of its own, even native speakers do this).

4: Sculpting, etc

While I currently don’t do commissions like Lykeia, I do have experience in the art and am willing to guide others in making their own creations. Small-scale metal casting in pewter is relatively inexpensive (you can get started at around $100 and make a few pieces) and can be done on a stove-top (I suggest outside on a camp stove  for safety).

5: Pugnaciousness

I’m good at being a jerk. This might not seem like a skill, or if it is, it’s one that many people thing is overabundant. I’d say the difference is that my dickishness is cold. It can make me seem cruel, but sometimes you need someone to slap you when you get all hysterical–I’m that guy. Other times, you just need someone to make a cold-hearted decision, like those thought experiments about choosing one group of people to die over another; I’ve had to make those kinds of calls before. I’m good at being a bad guy, I guess, even if it’s just part of posturing. I guess that’s why Ares is my god of choice.


A Mite on Fear

When I first started in paganism when I was little (and even before then in the pseudo-churches my dad went to for a while), I was always told you should never fear the gods. They always want the best for you. They can’t do any evil, they’re gods, and they love you so very much. I even believe this to an extent. There’s even an old story/movie trope that sets love in opposition to fear: is it better to be feared or loved?

I love my mother. I tell you what though, she often scares the pants off me. I also love my gods, and they scare me more than anything, even worse than needles (which I can’t look at without getting the heebie-jeebies). Should we fear that which we love? Can we?

My answer is yes, absolutely. That’s right FDR: you are f**king wrong you godless SOB! (personal vendetta, please excuse me)

Fear is both a process an a symptom. It is a system that alerts you to threats in your environment. It is also a symptom, one of attachment. Without attachment–to one’s environment, one’s being, to others–we could not survive as sapient beings. Think about it: what makes you seek a steady, well-paying job? Fear of hunger, of instability. What makes us seek companionship? The fear of trying to make it alone is strong in mankind. We can say other drives are at play, and I won’t deny they are. Ambition, love, anger–all these surface programs, our emotions, play significant and visible roles. But they are all just bullets without powder; fear is what adds the force to all of these. That’s not a bad thing, either.

Imagine how little you’d feel if you had no fear. Fear makes life precious. You needn’t fear your own death, but everyone has someone they do not want to lose. If there is no fear, there is no loss; without loss there is no risk; without risk, nary there be reward, no anticipation, no value. There’s an important lesson to be learned in observing that Phobos and Deimos are the sons of Ares and Aphrodite. Aphrodite gives us love and her children bring the fear of loss; Ares gives us strength to fight by keeping the fear of death in the form of his two closest sons by his side. She is the mother of smiles and he the father of tears, but we cannot even appreciate or even comprehend either if not for their sons. In the center of it all stands Harmonia, the culmination of all her family, the calm center in a storm of passion.

So please, appreciate your fears. Relish in the trepidation that you may displease the gods, if only to truly enjoy their blessings. Grab on to the fluttering of your heart as you approach that certain someone with an invitation for coffee. Drink in the fear of your own mortality, because you will die; take that fear and make something of it. Hail Ares, the father of your fears and mine!

Moving into the Realms of other Gods

There is a surreal quality in being devoted to certain gods, one that often separates them from other devotees and general worshippers. Apollonians are very artsy while Dionysians are very mystical. Artemesian women are very strong-willed and the devotees of Aphrodite tend to be emotive, warm people. Being a devotee means immersing yourself in the influences of your god, often with such intensity as to make even the voices of other gods seem a little distant.

For the last few years, I have been so immersed in the Aresian lifestyle of conflict, war, and law that one might wonder if I’d ever be anything but harsh and disagreeable. Indeed, even after leaving the military, I set down the road to being a lawyer—a very contrarian and testosterone-fueled career path that while women can and do excel in, is still (at least in the US) a good ole’ boys’ club. I have always loved war and justice and naturalism in society; my Facebook friends often see me sharing military and conflict-related articles.

Recently though, I have been given a break in my schedule, one enough to pursue a second associate’s degree (to be fair, I only need 15 new credits). I decided, therefore, to pursue a fine art’s degree. Some of you have already seen the new artwork that’s popped up on my Facebook page, and I plan on posting much of it here as well. It’s amazing what a change in environment can do to modify one’s perspective, especially in a sacred sense.

Now, I’ve never spent much effort on appreciating the arts. Sure, some paintings are nice, and creating statuary and other votives is an important aspect of my worship, but in all, I’ve always viewed art as more of a way to waste time. Besides, most professional artists are the wispy, out-there types that deeply annoy my need for everything to do something, to have a practical use. An aesthetically beautiful shield is nice unless it can’t do what it’s meant to do.

I should note that art and the world of war aren’t incompatible; after all, some of the best ballads, paintings, statues, etc. are all about some good old-fashioned ass kicking between nations. Warrior-poet traditions abound in many cultures, and as mentioned above, armor and armament can be considered works of art in and of themselves. Except in ancient Sparta and Rome, there were no professional soldiers; everyone from the generals to the lowly peltasts (poorer soldiers who were recruited as skirmishers and scouts armed with javelins) was an artisan, baker, doctor, or other common worker first and a soldier only when needed. Even the ephebes of Athens only served a few years before moving on.

And so, being out of my element  of professional conflict (or learning therefore), I’m experiencing a whole new spiritual paradigm, one dominated by Apollon, the Mousai, Aphrodite and her Graces, and all the fun-loving, less serious gods (or should I say less grim and grave?). I’ll admit it’s uncomfortable. Right now I’m taking music, drawing, and ceramics. All three classes are already stretching my patience, both with the respective mediums and with me (perfectionism is a curse). While the professors can say I’m good, I still get frustrated with the process it takes to get to a finished product. Clay is especially difficult because of its pliability; I’m more accustomed to metal, which must be beaten and abused to find its shape, whereas clay must be caressed and goaded into even the crudest forms (and even then, it has the tendency to do whatever it wants anyway).

The worst part, in my opinion, is how draining it is on my personality. Art and creating art are simultaneously intense and incredibly droll. You can’t argue with art—there’s no dynamism in it. When I’m not diving into the process, I find myself incredibly bored and apathetic. It’s very annoying at times. While I don’t find it hard to be stimulated by this new environment, I do find it hard to stay engaged.

I really do find it amazing how the personalities of different gods are exposed in their realms and in their devotees. The passions evoked by the Muses are much different from the Passions Ares or Aphrodite give. Needless to say, this is all going to take some getting used to. For now, Hail Ares (and the other gods).