Category: Uncategorized

Syncretism in medieval Iceland

A discussion of saints in medieval Iceland included the idea that possibly that the worship of saints replaced the worship of the Heathen Gods.

I’m sitting here and pondering the implications of this. I do have a decent knowledge base regarding saints and their syncretism with the lwa and orishas in African religions, but what I know of ATR is that it’s potentially easier to adopt this world-view. Catholicism, Vodou, and Yoruba-based faiths include the idea of God being immense and somehow removed from this world, and the saints/lwa/orishas act as intermediaries to God and more likely to be involved in the workings of this world. As far as we know with Heathens pre-conversion, there was never such an idea around the Aesir and Vanir.

We shall have to see how this develops.

(original link from Jordsvin, posted to the troth-members board/e-mail list. Thanks!)

Spam spam spam… BLOODY VIKINGS!

I’ve been actively involved in Asatru/Heathenry since 2002. If you have questions about the faith (and from here on in I will more likely use Heathenry as I prefer the term), check out the Wikipedia article above.

I’m very much an Odinswoman, with all the possible connotations: wanderer, constantly seeking out knowledge and wisdom, magical practitioner, rune worker, bawdy, and love my alcohol! Also note that He is very much a boundary god–both as an ecstatic and for His connections to death. I also have a strong connection with Frigga on a few fronts: we both know much but speak little, both concerned with keeping of the home, and again the boundary god (She is Keeper of the Keys). Plus, my family ancestry is Swedish, so some of my Heathenry is a way for me to connect with that background and also honor my genetic ancestry. But I do believe that even if I were not Swedish, I’d still have connections with the Aesir and Vanir.

I’m also very much an unconventional Heathen. Last year I became a member of Odhroerir Kindred, which is somewhat outside the normal of the usual kindred idea. We are more esoterically and magically focused, not all out members live in the same area, and we honor some of the Etins (most notably Gunnlod and Bestla). For more information, check out the site.

My current status with the Aesir and Vanir is that They have stepped back some for the time being. My connection to Them is certain and unwavering, but They and I both agree I need to focus more on some other traditions and practices. I still wear my valknut on Wednesdays (have it on right now) and when the need comes I will talk to them and also go to blots or sumbels (Heathen rituals) when I can.

Reiki renewal

I still have the background posts to do for this blog: my traditions, practices, and “why mystic?” My hope is that I will have these done during the week. In the meantime, consider this post part of the “practices” series.

I have recently taken to doing Reiki on myself again. I am a second degree Usui practitioner, having received the first degree in the fall of 1999 and receiving second in December of 2000. My hope is that I will receive the third and master symbols before the end of the year. In preparation for this, I am again giving myself Reiki, and at midsummer a friend and I (the one who would confer the final symbols) will be doing this virtual Reiki retreat.

It’s been a long time since I really used Reiki in any form, and there’s a certain comfort in doing so again. Healing and energy work are things I do enjoy greatly but rarely seem to have a chance to do. It’s also comforting to come back to a practice that used to be a regular part of my life. Plus, it reminds me just how potent these symbols are. This morning I used the emotional healing symbol for myself because yesterday was much more stressful for me than I could handle. Even a few minutes of running that energy through my body has calmed me down more than any amount of quiet, chocolate and Red Dwarf episodes have managed, and for that I am most thankful.

So now I am wondering, how many of you currently reading are Reiki practitioners? Do you use it regularly?

Why syncretic?

Originally I described myself as multi-trad, as it easily summed up the fact that I work in multiple (usually reconstructionist) traditions. A few months ago, some discussion involving terminology came to the front with other people who also work within multiple traditions. My friend Erynn posted some interesting thoughts on the subject of eclecticism vs, syncretism, and I found myself agreeing with how she was approaching the two words.
What usually happens with me is I will get “tapped” by a God or spirit. As I start to learn about T/them, inevitably I find myself looking at their culture. In order to understand a God fully, you have to understand the culture from whence they originate. To do anything less is disrespectful in my book.
I don’t seek to make some grand meta-tradition with my various Gods. When I honor Them, I honor them within cultural context as I can, as well as with my own personal rites when I feel so moved (or I don’t know enough of Their rites yet). I won’t be blotting to Wepwawet or talking to Bragi or Odin during Senut. They’d look at me funny, for one thing. As Erynn points out:
“Eclecticism and syncretism aren’t about cooking everything together in the same pot. They’re more like creating a satisfying, multicultural meal that includes favorites and harmonious dishes from many lands, with many ingredients. It takes great skill and a strong knowledge of ingredients to have it all come out right and be satisfying for everyone joining you.”

I know I am far from the only Pagan of any sort who’s involved in multiple traditions. I’m also sure there are a lot more of us than we know*. Hopefully the dialog will continue as more of us crawl out of the woodwork.
I am also still considering the use of the term syncretic and wondering how well it fits in my psyche. The jury may still be out, but I find part of me likes the idea of possibly reclaiming a term and potentially reshaping it.

*And I am not counting in ye generic neopagans who do perform the “one pot cooking” method and ignore much historical and mythological record. Sometimes it’s also a recipe for total disaster.

Let’s get going here…

I have a new fascination, as well as a new Deity in the “oh my various Gods” lineup. Last night I was able to combine both.

This past fall, I was going through something of an identity crisis. Not so much as I didn’t know who I was, but more that for a long time I only saw one narrow facet of myself. In the midst of trying to adjust to the larger whole of my personality, I was also sensing a Goddess at the edges of my consciousness with Whom I’d had absolutely no previous connection.

Hekate.

I’d never before had much affinity for Greek culture and mythology and I tend to feel more connected to Gods than Goddesses, so it felt a little odd. But I also knew the particular push well and wasn’t about to ignore it. One Wikipedia article later and I had the epiphany as to why She was visiting. She is the one who provided the proverbial smack upside the head about my connection to Boundary gods, as She is certainly the epitome of one. One I started to settle in with this knowledge, She faded.

Or so I thought.

Early in April I found my thoughts drifting to Her a great deal. At mid-month I was visiting with a friend of mine and among the conversation mentioned Hekate’s reappearance. She loaned me this book, which I then devoured in short time. (I hope to review it later, but let me just say that I want to see more devotionals like this–a mix of historical information, personal anecdotes, and various rituals for Hekate.) She and I also did some trance work for different ends, mine being to try to find out just what Hekate wants from me. The answer at that point was not as clear as it could have been.

On to the matter of my fascination, it is for pathworking. I’ve done a lot of shamanic trance work in the last several years but there’s a difference to me between venturing out in trance where you don’t always know where you’ll go and a pre-set path to walk.

Last night I used one of the pathworkings from the Hekate book to talk to Her. Between that and the trance journey last month, She is making it very clear that She is here for some time because She IS very suited to my personality and can potentially assist me a great deal. I have not yet made Her any promises for regular devotional work because I am still not sure of the nature of this relationship, but I do hope that it will be a good one.

On to the matter of the blog itself, I am hoping that in the coming days I can put up a lot of background material: basics on the traditions with which I am involved, some definitions of terms that will regularly come up, etc.

Welcome!

Em hotep and wassail!

it’s Beltane/Valborg, and I am celebrating by launching a blog. While shop is still being set up here, and it will take a while for things to really congeal, I want to at least start. So let’s get introductions out of the way.

Hi, I’m Soli, and I’m a syncretic mystic.

(Hi Soli!)

I practice multiple polytheistic faiths, often in a reconstructionist manner. I’m also a self-proclaimed mystic, ecstatic and visionary. I also am of the firm belief that I am far from the only person in the wide world of Pagandom who does such. In the coming days (and hopefully weeks and months), I hope to sort out exactly what some of these terms mean to me and discuss why I feel it important to share my Work with the world.

Before you ask, while I am starting to use the term syncretic, I am not using it in a way to indicate that I wish to bring my traditions together into some large meta-tradition. However, I have come to notice in the last several months that there is a definite theme to be found in the way I work.

My Gods are boundary gods. Esctatics, tricksters, guides standing at the crossroads, illuminating paths. My mysteries are not the mysteries of delving deep into one way, but knowing many ways and sometimes acting as a guide for others.

I hope this blog will both be educating and enlightening for all who read it.