As such, when this blog was originally created, the Vanir were an important part of its focus. Hence why the notion of trail, a path walked on where you learn and meet other people, was coupled with the qualifier “golden” – for the gold that’s associated with the gods of Vanaheim – thereby resulting in the blog’s title Golden Trail. But after almost seven years since the original plan, with all the changes that happened in my religious life and all the shifts in cultural identity and focus, it was time for an update. And thus, as of 2017, this is a refurbished site with a strong mercurial and western Iberian emphasis.
Its title remains relevant. Mercury is a divine wayfarer, a guide, patron and companion of wanderers, travellers and hikers, as well as a god of movement. And what is a trail – or road or path – if not a route through which things move? He also has gold-like qualities, not just in His rod, wealth or joyful character, but also in His precocious nature and long list of skills. Furthermore, the words golden trail can convey the notion of a special path, one that’s blessed or successful, and not only does that fall well within the mercurial realm, it also serves to highlight that this is a blog where you can find glimpses, if not extensive information, on an Iberian cult to Mercury. A golden trail or a mercurial path, with the gold-like quality taking on a very literal sense from the equally golden scallops that mark old pilgrimage routes on the medieval streets of Santiago de Compostela. And the Lares Viales, which were greatly popular in Galicia, are a natural Iberian retinue of the son of Maia. So there’s different layers of meaning to the title of this blog, all summed up in its tagline: a wayfarer’s path – the everyday roads, the divine ways of Mercury, His western Iberian cult. And yes, there’s a dog in the header image for a reason.
This is not to say that I have forgotten Freyr or any of the gods who were the original focus of this site. They remain a part of my religious life, but have taken a back seat as the Fleet-Footed and those around Him assumed the leading role. Change is a natural part of life and I will not deny it, but nor will I also forget where I came from, and so, rather than erasing the original First Rites, I added to them. Because you cannot change the past, only build on it.
So, what’s this blog about? Mostly it’s on religion, particularly Roman polytheism, with a very strong emphasis on Mercury and His retinue. It is also an expression of who I am, nationally and culturally, a gay man who was born, raised and currently lives in Portugal, where my family has roots that go back at least four centuries. Expect therefore multiple manifestations of a strong western European, particularly Portuguese perspective in what I say, do and think. There will also be a zero-tolerance policy towards homophobia, transfobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny and overall religious extremism, including that which is voiced by fellow polytheists. And because Mercury stands at the centre of this refurbished blog, you can expect to find occasional posts on various non-religious aspects of the mercurial world: astronomy, History, languages, travelling, humour, even sports.