Tag Archive | pagan blog project

Bragi

You remain elusive to me, skald among skalds.
Preserver of history, knowledge, wisdom, myth.
Son of Odin and Gunnlod.
Get of Odhroerir.

I still remember how you came into my life. One night when I climbed into the branches of Yggdrasil to speak with Your Father. Whether you were waiting there or just popped up at the right moment I do not know. But the Old Man was insistent that I get to know you.

On that I have failed. It has taken me almost six years even to think about You long enough to write a post about You. And yet the influence is there. I write more. I’ve been published. I contribute regularly to a shared blog. My love for the past has grown.

I’ve even started to understand why You, Who helps to keep the past alive, are married to Idunna, Who helps the Gods to stay young.

Maybe one day soon I will even get a scan of the portrait of You and Your Lady which I had commissioned… and need to frame.

In some way You are with me every day. Let me remember and realize enough so that I may reach out to You more and we can finally build that relationship the Old Man seemed intent on us having.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

It is also my 200th post. Hail and nekhtet!

A is for air, aka owning your elements

Let me clear out all associations and baggage before I start. I am Kemetic Orthodox, where the earth, air, fire, and water elemental associations don’t really happen. I’m also Heathen and work as a hedge witch, from a culture in which the world was first made from fire and ice. Technically speaking, these four elements are not a part of my practice. But still I utilize them. I’m a Leo, and by nature a fiery person, and very grounded and practical, so I consider myself a fire and earth person. After becoming reacquainted with my emotions in 2009 (Thank you Hethert) I decided to take a long time focusing on water, and emotions and healing in my life.

In all this elemental style work, I’ve avoided air.


(image viked from Faerie Magazine’s Facebook page. No copyright infringement intended.)

The classic association of air is with the mind. Intelligence and wisdom. Yes, the old wise woman, she who is named as her Father’s wisdom, has denied her airy qualities for a lot of her life. The flip side of being airy is being an airhead, ungrounded, flighty, or too locked into your head.

Um yeah, that last one is my problem. If I were to actually write or speak everything which was in my head I’d not shut up and probably have multiple blogs FULL of material. The reasons why I do not come down to two major ones:

1. I’m hesitant about expressing myself. That’s a case of being unsure about speaking my mind, being wrong, or saying something which people do not agree with.

2. Letting a hundred things get in my way to putting these ideas out into a public format.

A few months ago I was reading Natural Witchery by Ellen Dugan. (Nice book, recommended.) One of her exercises was an elemental balancing exercise, involving a worksheet and writing down perceived strengths and weaknesses. Did I write them out? No, but I did start to think about them and what I would put in each section. And realized that I was more out of whack overall than I thought. For some things it was much easier to get aligned again. Just not with the mind.

For all of these years I have been reluctant to embrace my airy personality traits even though they play such a large role in my life. When I was young, I thought the only thing I had going for me was my intellect. Back then, I didn’t value my imagination, which let me daydream so hard I could project into the spirit world (no joke, I have several memories of vivid daydreams which ended with me falling back on to my bed). Trance work had played a big role in my spirituality and I am working to bring that back to my life. I love incense, scents, pondering, air.

And without air, fire would have no fuel.

Guess it’s time to continue with my work and not ignore this essential part of myself.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

A is for abundance

[FYI, I am still updating the blogroll list. Yes, it is long, and yes I read them all. I think this is why I feel like I have so little time for my own work. I spend a lot of time reading. These days, I need the inspiration and outside ideas.]

Maybe there is a reason why it’s taking me a little longer to get started on these posts. I had the idea to make this my first topic when the year turned over. Then I was meditating on the parallels and differences between abundance and prosperity, thinking about how one can have one of these things without the other along with how they can feed into each other. Some of it is also because I do have a lot of stuff, despite the fact that I have been working to cull my possessions.

Then I had one of THOSE days last Sunday, and what was supposed to be a quick tidy of a pile sitting in my bedroom became a big cull of books.

I had to admit to myself that while part of me does want to read these books a great deal, I have had them a long time but have made minimal effort to open them up. If I can, I’d rather not move them. If there is anything in this pile which would benefit me in the long run, I will trust that it will find its way back to me at the right time. And, to be fair, some of them I have read but I don’t anticipate rereading any.

We live in a culture which has made certain types of abundance easy to acquire. Cheap goods, ease of purchase, “keeping up with the Jonses,” and easy credit can add up to a whole lot of stuff around! Books, clothes, food, ritual tools, magical supplies, music, downloaded files, movies, collectibles. Our culture does place a certain status on having stuff. The more you have, the more you must be worth, right?

Then how much of that stuff is eaten, used, worn, read, heard, seen, enjoyed? Maybe it’s not a problem for you. If so, awesome! I wish I could do that. But I admit I do enjoy the high of buying stuff. Not so much that I go into massive levels of debt, though over the years I have had some issues with paying off my purchases. And I don’t even remember where some of that money went.

These days my stuff is just more to be sorted, organized, track, not forget about. It’s a hindrance. It’s also not helping me. If you saw the amount of ritual and spell materials I’ve hung on to over the years, you might either be shocked or see something of yourself in them.

Thinking some more about this, I realize it may sound like I am against abundance. I’m not. Abundances do need to be managed though. For food, it has to be prepared for meals and storage. For money, it needs to be tracked. For possessions, put in its place. There is a certain level of responsibility associated with abundance.

Abundance, to me, should be about having enough so that I do not have to worry about lacking. Not filling in every space in my home. And not getting in the way of my prosperity. If I have a lot of stuff, but spend a large amount of money paying off the debts from that short term thrill, it’s not worth it to me.

This is my prayer for abundance for this year:
May I have enough. May I be able to plan for days ahead without worry. May I be able to support myself. May I be able to recognize needs and wants, and be able to balance them in an appropriate way. May I use and utilize that which I already have.

This post is a part of the Pagan Blog Project.

On my non-relationship with Loki

I have given myself a challenge: to do at least three posts for this blog before Friday. There are still many things I want to fill in. Plus posting might be the kick in the pants my spirit needs to get to DOING more.

So on to that…

While I don’t feel like I have spoken of it much in a while, Odin and His family plays a big role in my spiritual life. In fact, my active devotion to him has been happening for much longer than with the Jackal. Odin, Frigga, Freyja… and when I became part of (the currently dormant) Odhroerir Fellowship, gained Bragi (Who gave me the push to join), Idunna, Gunnlod, and Bestla.

Notice who is not in there though.

Loki.

Yeah that guy. The mischievous one. Trickster. He Who stirs up trouble, and then aids in the rectification. Even with the apparent clause in the lore that if one toasts to Odin, they should also drink to His blood-brother. Generally I don’t do this.

Because I did it once.

It was about ten years ago, in a small blot with some friends. I was feeling rather elated that day for a few reasons, and felt that I HAD to toast Mr. L. along with Himself of the One Eye.

And then during dinner a little while later, I had a MAJOR initiatory experience. No, I am not going to share the story publicly. Some of you who have known me for a long time know it. Those who don’t… let me say that it was major, intense, and ended up forcibly shoving me toward some heathens on the west coast. Most notably, Diana Paxson. And I wound up in the beta class of her trance class, the material which ended up published in her book Trance-portation.

In hindsight, yes it needed to happen. It led to some very needed learning, skills, and connections. But going through it at the time is the type of situation I’d rather not repeat deliberately.

Dare I say I got
?

(Okay, I could not resist the gif, and do admit that over the past month I’ve become part of (Marvel) Loki’s Fangirl Army. That kind of discussion is more of a pop culture magic/mythology thing, maybe I’ll come back to it at a later date.)

I’m not looking for any Loki apologists here or what have you. It’s just the state of my personal practice. I know He’s out there, I acknowledge His existence, and I know full well that giving Him a foothold in my life would not be a help to me.

And all that said, I don’t agree with the complete shunning of Loki by modern mainstream Heathenry. I believe that to do so is to bring peril, because He will find a way in. And over that, there is even less control than I had during that initiation. Trust me, you don’t want to be in that boat.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

I is for Initiation

There is a reason I wanted to get The Invisibles post up first for Pagan Blog Project. It’s a great lead-in for talking about initiation.

Initiations are a big theme throughout the comic. Several stories are told of the major tranformations in the characters lives to bring them to the point we find them in the series. We watch Jack Frost’s as it unfolds. Fanny’s is told through flashback, but she quickly learns that it’s still happening many years later. King Mob has quite an initiation himself, and far from the first one. Boy’s was also traumatic. Robin’s led to some of the major plot points happening. And we even see what led our main adversary, Sir Miles, to the Outer Church.

But that is neither here nor there. I started writing those words and it came to me. Even further understanding unfolds.

Anyway, on to the actual subject and not more dithering about my favorite comic.

I’ve been through initiations on both sides, as the unknowing entrant undergoing the rite of Weshem-Ib in the House of Netjer, and as an assista in he mysteries of the Ekklesia Antinoou. Both experiences taught me so much about initiations and mysteries. Things you could read in books, to be sure, but you you don’t really understand them until you experience them.

First, there is a good reason why these mysteries remain mysteries and why the actual events taking place within them do not get discussed among non-initiates. Part of the awe and overall experience comes from not knowing what is about to happen to you. For weshem ib my first time, I was so nervous. The biggest reason why I did not bolt was knowing that others had been through the rite and come out of it on the other side. Had I known in advance what would have happened would also have led to my imagining what the experience could be, before it happened. Inevitably I am sure I would have felt some degree of disappointment.

Secondly, and I may be disappointing some of you with this, I strongly believe it is impossible for one to “self-initiate.” You cannot lead yourself through something you do not know but would also simultaneously need to act as a director. It just can’t happen.

Third, I feel that the Ones who truly initiate us are the Gods and unseen spirits. Mysteries and initiations occur in a place/space outside out of normal space and time.

But thanks to number three, sometimes you can work your way around number two a little bit. You can give the Gods a little nudge.

Originally, I had hoped my order from the Witch of Forest Grove would arrive by today, complete with ointment, oleum, and herbal blends, but that was not to be. Thankfully, there seems to be something in the air today which I can ride out when I cross over today, and it only needs a little something extra. At first I had thought to ask friend mugwort to aid my crossing, but when I noticed half a glass of commercial mead was having quite an effect on my perception, I knew where to turn for aid.

Already as I type these words I can feel that ecstatic altered state starting. Earlier this afternoon while finishing up a book, I could feel that wooziness. It’s been many years since I have felt that particular state, and it returns so fast, an old friend ready to know me again. I will finish these words, share them with all of you, do my final mundane preparations, then start the rite to cross the hedge.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

The Invisibles and inspiration

“I have gift wrapped a moment, for the timeless time to come.”

There is never a clear, straight line which can be followed to trace the evolution of a person and their beliefs. There are always bends, forks in the road, foggy areas… you get the idea.


The cover to The Invisibles 3.8, which sums up most every topic covered in the comic.

One of the biggest influences and inspirations on my life is a “little” comic called The Invisibles. I was introduced to the series around 1996 or 1997 while I was gaming regularly, and was told it was “more Mage than Mage.” Given how much I loved the game (especially playing Cult of Ecstasy characters) I knew I had to read this. Picked up the first collection, Say You Want a Revolution, was sucked in hard, and then had to wait far too long for another one. Who knows why, but Vertigo skipped releasing the rest of volume one and jumped right to volume 2 in graphic novels. That didn’t stop me. Even without a good portion of the story (and not quite having the drive to get individual issues) I continued to read and reread the books I could get. Finally around 2000 I was able to get the rest of volume one along with the concluding volume 3.

The Invisibles messes with your mind and reality, and it’s quite a deliberate thing. In addition to becoming one of the most visionary comic book writers around, Grant Morrison is also rather well known for being a practitioner of chaos magick. Usually I have no use for chaos workings but I have a great deal of respect for how he handles it. The man knows how to make his magic work!

The Invisibles was the source where I learned about sigils (hey, this is an extension of bind runes!). Long before I knew of heka and the power of words (a topic for another “catch up” PBP post), I watched Ragged Robin writer herself into a wild story and time traveling… oh but I might be saying too much already.

Nonduality, Manichaeism and gnosticism, language reshaping reality, Conspirary to make Philip K. Dick envious, quantum mechanics, poetry, initiations, sex, drugs, rock and roll and magick, it’s ALL in these pages.

The Invisibles is designed to be a story read multiple times. You learn more with each read, concepts, pop culture, about yourself. If you’ve read other titles by Grant, you find that he continues a lot of the themes he presented in these pages.

Because of the Invisibles, I wound up rethinking a lot of how I present myself to the world and how I interact with it. At the least, there IS something to be said for shaping yourself into someone “cool.” Plus, when my life is going really well, it does feel like I am living in the pages of a comic book. Quite a wild ride.

I also highly recommend the documentary about Grant, Talking With Gods. Whenever I need a reminder that life isn’t all about repetitive tasks and being surrounded by banality, I watch it again.

And if you want some unfiltered (yet younger) Grant, you MUST watch his speech from Disinfocon in 2000.

Yes, he might be crazy. And I know that on some level I’m crazy too. Doesn’t mean we’re not on to something in our craziness.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

F is for Found ritual objects

I found the seed for this post the day after I wrote up the Frustration post. Along my usual walk to the bus stop in the morning, I did what I usually do which is to scan the sidewalk in front of me for anything I might trip over. Having knee problems from the age of ten leads you to being adept at this. Recent storms and wind had left a litter of broken branches in my path, and among them I found one of a notable shape.

When I picked it up, I KNEW it had to be my stang. Granted, it was not until I read Sarah’s article that my mind finally made a connection with how to START using one. There is some good information out there (like de Vries Hedgerider) but it always seemed like too much for me to start with what had been presented to me before.

Now the little stang sits on my Heathen shrine. I don’t even know what kind of tree it came from. But finding it has been an interesting sort of confirmation that I am on the right path and things will come together soon.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

Herbs, the hedge, and getting unstuck

First, I want to clarify some language here. When I speak of hedge witchery, I refer to the material presented in Juniper’s essay. Hedge witchery, in my world, is not a synonym for a kitchen/green/herbal witch. I sometimes think of it as the “scary” witchcraft of fairy tales. If you’re not familiar with it, definitely read the essay.

See these herbs? I’ve had them for years. They still have smell, despite being in bags. They live in my closet. On very rare occasion, I might get inspired to make up an herbal charm but that’s it. Even taking out this bin to take the photo, and taking a minute or two to remind myself of what is in here, gives me that psychic itch to work with them. But they’ve gone back in the closet and who knows when I might work with them again.

For me, herbs are a symbol of my frustration. Why am I so reluctant to move forward with witchcraft? When it comes to something like working with runes, or heka influencing my speech and how I make verbal requests, there is no trouble of it becoming a part of me repertoire. Somehow, if it’s something I associate with witchcraft, I can’t get myself to move forward in that direction.

Some of this I’ve already addressed in that frustration post. Writing that out has helped, mostly in identifying the issue. But I still haven’t been able to figure out how to move forward. There have even been moments where I’ve questioned if this is what I should be doing. Soon after, though, I remembered all the outer confirmation I’ve had that this IS where I should be going.

Further, I got a reading over the weekend (the reader waited for the dark moon) which did indeed confirm that this is definitely the direction I need to go, and when I do there will be a lot of success.

The only problem is I have no idea where to set my foot next.

Interestingly, another very interesting bit of synchronicity came when I got the notes for the reading, and she picked up on the stuff I had been thinking about that very day. I was wishing for (or perhaps lamenting the lack of) a mentor or teacher who is experienced in either traditional witchcraft or hedge work. There are books which cover the reality of the subject, but they are also highly individualized paths. So what works for one may never come up for another.

Where am I going to go from here? Once she gets them in, I will be ordering some flying ointment from Stang and Cauldron, and taking a trip on the Valborg/Beltane full moon. From there… well, would it be cliche to say that the sky’s the limit?

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

H is for Head Covering

The topic of veiling among polytheist/pagan women has been coming up a lot lately. It even hit the Pantheon blog at Patheos. You can read that post to get more of a general sense of why some of the women cover their head. It’s a fascinating area for me, especially since I’ve been doing this for over a year now. Some months ago I did join the community Star referenced in her post, and in the recent weeks it has exploded with membership.

So why do I cover? It started with Pantheacon 2011. The chronic stress and anxiety I had developed in the months previous led up to me feeling in a very fragile state by the time I got to the con. Things turned in to an odd mix of mental state. While I had been feeling very “cement head” for a while, I simultaneously felt like I was also a little too open and aware psychically. Warding and personal protection only did so much to help. So I took some of the dreadfalls I had with me (lengths of velvet cut to appear as if I am wearing a wide headband and had funky falls) and wore them for a lot of the con. Upon returning home to Connecticut, I decided to go shopping for a scarf to cover my head regularly. This helped a lot with helping me to feel calmer and more centered. It also helped me to deal with big crowds of people. I’ve never been too fond of huge crowds (but not quite agoraphobic), but with my head covered it became much more tolerable to be out and about. I was picking up less impressions from people and overall felt more calm and present in my body.

The kicker was going to New York City not long after I returned to the east coast. I attended the Pompeii exhibit at the Discovery Times Center, head all wrapped, and picking up impressions right and left from the objects in the exhibit. The portion with the casts of people who had died in the eruption of 79 AD was both heart-breaking and illuminating. The former because I felt such empathy for what had happened to these people. The latter was because I felt like I was picking up stories from the people who had died. I do still remember one, but my current knowledge of Roman history would have to be buffed up a little before I could do it justice with my own words.


Me with my head wrapped, taken a few weeks ago.

To achieve the look I have in the above picture:
1. Get a long rectangular scarf. You can find them easily in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.
2. Fold the scarf in half lengthwise.
3. Wrap around the top of your head and knot at the base of your hairline.
4. Take the tails and wrap them around the front of your head, tucking in the ends. I highly recommend doing this if you’re going to wrap your head like this. I find having the scarf hanging down affects my center of gravity.

Currently there is only one time when I cover my head, and that is for work. It turns out to be the place where I find it most needed. It keeps out all the stuff I don’t want around me and acts as an additional shield. Wrapping the scarf around my head has also become its own morning ritual. The scarf acts as a boundary (a theme I am going to work with more when I go back to my B posts). It is a tangible reminder that while I walk in this world, I am different from the people around me. With this, I am less likely to forget that there is more to life than just the annoyances which seem poised to take over my reality on a daily basis.

I would like to get some new scarfs, and perhaps some alternative head coverings like snoods. The time may be coming when I want to come more often.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

F is for frustration

I haven’t done a “real” post of my own, with some depth and meat, for over a month now. There was a vacation, a Pantheacon (and even with the release of guidelines for inclusion I still have some things I want to say about it), and a relapse of last fall’s (presumed adrenal) fatigue. In that time I have periodically been seized by the Muse and managed to get some writing done. None of it has shown up here though. It’s been either on Livejournal, or on social media, or the rare personal journaling.

That is the first source of my frustration.

The second source of my frustration is the feeling of floundering. (Hey, another F!) While I was in the midst of pursuing my master’s degree, magical work dropped off considerably. Between lack of time, stress, and brain filled with school thoughts almost non-stop, I could not give over the energy to doing much more than devotional practices. Thank the gods above and below for that work, though, because had it not been for regular time in shrine and sitting before icons, I would likely have lost all my spiritual connections.

Over the last few years, I have also felt my focus shifting. For several years I did work more with trance work and inner worlds. That was definitely a necessity and how I could best function. Not only did I do a lot to fix myself, I was periodically able to assist others through these techniques. That sort of self-work is not likely to ever end for me, since I feel it’s tied in with growing up, getting older, life changes, etc. But now I find my interest shifting more toward outer work. Toward ritual and more spellwork. This has never been one of my strong area. My wiring is not particularly geared toward creating ritual. This was actually one of the big draws I felt to join the House of Netjer: coming in to a tradition which already had established rituals.

But go without regularly using any skill for a few years, and it’s going to be very difficult to pick up again.

So now here I am, wanting to do rituals and develop new spells, as well as resume trance work, and feeling like I lack all ability to even come up with ideas. This is not a case of me wanting them prefab, I want to be able to make things of meaning myself. This is one of those times when I wish I had more of a formal mentor. It would be nice to have some more direction than just trying to cobble things together on my own.

……..

Somehow synchronicity always comes up in these moments. Dver pointed out a post about fallow spiritual times which I will be reading in the coming days. Having that kind of outside confirmation somehow makes it better.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project. Check out the link for other posts in this year-long series.