Oath Taker, World Breaker

It’s been a long time and several created blogs (and deleted blogs) since I last wrote here. I’ve been unsettled, restless, unnerved.

In September 2015, between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I took a deep breath and threw my lot in with Odin and the Norse Gods. And my life hasn’t been the same since. See, Odin, in His infinite wisdom and extreme tough love believes in ripping toxic people out of my life, root and stem. And He does this around the same time in “celebration” of my lot throwing in.

It ain’t easy.

This past year has been soul shattering: I have had to confront the reality that those who claimed to be part of my tribe never considered me part of theirs: layers upon layers of betrayal. Of lies. Of manipulation.

However, it was so very necessary: it was unhealthy for me to have those toxic people in my life. As pa;nful as it has been, I would never want to go back before it all happened. I’d rather have no tribe than be amongst people who carry concealed knives.

Moving forward to the upcoming Autumn, I hope that I get a reprieve from the Cutting Out Project to allow me to focus on the High Holidays. For you see, I’ve found solace in Reform Judaism with the full blessing and backing of my Gods. I have head cannon of how it all fits together, and I’ll share more later.

For now, I have some projects in the wings. One of them is to start writing again and with that, I hope I will be writing again here.

Things will be changing on the blog, but changes are good.

 

 

Making A Home For Our Cofgods

codgods4

The Gnome (or Tomte) is the representative of our cofgods ( Family Gods / Penates ). I found this little guy at a local nursery needing a new home. He had been damaged (broken feet, drum stick, and tip of hat) but I just to bring him home with us.  Today I “planted” him under one of the eucalyptus trees next to the granite outdoor altar I set up a few Summers back.

When Gods Show They Care Part Two

I miss head covering. I miss the mindfulness of it, the modesty of it, the feel of it.  I often find myself bitterly jealous of women who post pictures of their beautifully covered heads and lament over the unfairness of not being “allowed” to do so myself.

I covered for about a year while working with Hestia, but it became very apparent that Hermes was none too pleased with it and barely tolerated a scarf on my head for more than a few hours at a time. I finally gave up fighting Him and put away all the scarves, only to pull out a snood once in a while as long the crown of my head remained uncovered. He’d tell me, “Dye your hair, where it in a bun, curl it, learn intricate hair styles as a form of covering, but if you are going to put a physical cover on, your crown must stay uncovered.”

How the hell am I to do that?!

Time goes by and I hear that He wants or allows others to cover their heads with no qualms and I was like, “What the actual fuck, Dude?! Seriously?!” and He would simply rely, “They are not you.” which is infinitely aggravating to say the least.

Two weeks ago I went in for my annual physical exam, and as a part of getting older, blood work was part of the deal. I got the results back stating that I am vitamin D deficient and need to take a 2000 supplement daily. Of course, sitting out in the ever-present-California-sunshine should remedy any deficiency I may have, but I am white white: the type of white that if I stay in direct sunlight for more than 15 minutes my skin starts burning; the type of white that requires SPF 50 be a part of my Spring/Summer wardrobe. When I am outside, I instinctively seek the shade which defeats the purpose of attempting to absorb Vitamin D, so I get the small amount that I do get when I am out running from one shaded area to the next.

When I read the lab results Mr. Hermes said, “Now you understand why there’s no covering for you. Imagine how bad it would be if you did.”

So from now on, I’ll look at pictures of women in all of their head covered glory with less bitter jealousy and more acceptance of why it’s not a good idea for me, while being comforted that He’s got my best interest at heart, even when I’m not fully aware of it.

When Gods Show They Care Part One

When I started on my journey with the Northern Gods (what I refer to myself as “From Sea to Skye” from the Outlander theme song) I was given two things in meditation: a bindrune from Odin and rose quartz from Thor. The bindrune I have made into a gold coin made of clay that sits on my family shrine and through the very pointed urging of Odin saying, “Remember Thor’s gift? You need to get it physically to hold. Like, NOW, woman!” I bought a small heart of rose quartz.

Three weeks ago I started getting very sharp pains on the left side of my abdomen but chalked it up to menses stuff. Two weeks later I was in the ER in a stupid amount of pain on my right side with a slightly raised temperature.

Now, there are two things that need to be said:

1) I compartmentalized my life and emotions with extreme prejudice. It’s something to do with being an INTJ personality or maybe it’s my natal chart. Either way, it’s how I naturally function in life: there’s not a single person in my life that ever gets the full story of what’s going on in my life. I’m not going to lie: it’s pretty lonely at times and I am often baffled by how seemingly easy people share so much of themselves on social media and in person.

2) For example: some family members know that I’ve lived with chronic pain since the age of twelve and have suffered from migraines since the age of eight, however, most friends (both in real life and Internet) have no clue. I think it’s because I’ve lived with it for so long that it’s become a part of me and is now a non-issue.  One physical therapist told me that my concept of what is “pain” is so skewed that by the time I register something as being painful, normal people would have fled to the ER long before then.

So, when I told my husband that my abdomen hurts a lot, he didn’t hesitate in taking me to the ER. Turns out it was a ruptured ovarian cyst and probably good-sized one. A couple of days later I again experienced mind numbing stabbing pain on my left side that leads me to believe it was a second ruptured cyst.

When I was sitting in my ER room, requesting more pain meds 4 times in as many hours and not getting any, I thought about my friends who talk about having to go to the ER because of their chronic pain and the nurses and doctors mistaking them for abusing narcotics  and/or being told that they are over exaggerating their pain level for attention and I grimly shook my head. What utter bullshit people are forced to go through just to get relief. What is ironic in my case is, I’m allergic to all of the “good stuff”: Morphine, Percocet, Vicodin, and Dilaudid (so far that I know of). The only pain med I can take is glorified ibuprofen.

In fact, when I went back to the Urgent Care a few days after the ER (when I think I had the second rupture), the doctor on call kept telling me that after a rupture it should feel better and I shouldn’t have any pain. I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I’m still having a ridiculous amount of pain. In fact, I’m allergic to Percocet but the pain was still so bad last night I took half a pill with two Benadryl and called it a night.”

For some reason, that got her to listen to me.

And through all of this was the ever constant “Get your rose quartz.” and “Hold your rose quartz.” I even had dreams of it, ya’ll. Odin and Thor aren’t messing around, and of course, there’s a whisper about how great it would be to have Odin’s bindrune put on Thor’s rose quartz. But I don’t know how to do that.

Recovery has been slow. Today is three weeks to the day that the pain began and it’s the first day that I didn’t wake up with pain. I’m taking it easy and reminding myself not to over do it. In the meantime, I have a rose quartz heart to comfort me and Gods who truly care.

A Leaf On The Current

While I’ve been quiet on this blog, my life has been a riotous kaleidoscope of activity because having kids will do that to you.  The older Thadd gets, the busier I get: Scouts, Soccer, Track, various Science team competitions, and Finn isn’t too far behind with Scouts and Soccer coming up. They also have kept me busy with playing nurse to their flu/upper respiratory infected / allergy and asthma suffering selves. And somehow, through it all, I still manage to teach part-time, volunteer in PTA, be a Scout and Den Leader, keep up an active social life, and continue to be OPEN to new opportunities that come my way.

Spiritually I’ve been on a whirlwind ride of ecstatic discoveries about the Norse Gods, Anglo-Saxon paganism, my ancestry, and things that organically fit so well in my household cult. When I took those first tentative steps towards Odin’s outstretched offered hand, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect. Odin has a well deserved reputation for rocking your world down to the foundation if that what it takes to make you heed His words, and so I took the advice of others and made a contract with Him: a safety net of sorts to protect my family from any harm. He in turn promised me that I would learn about who I am and my ancestors and why it’s important for me to be at least familiar with the Norse Gods.

Making these sort of contractual agreements with Gods is a very alien idea to me. In Hellenismos and Religio-Romana there’s not a need to have such a binding agreement in place before working with the Gods because, as a general rule, The Gods don’t get involved in every aspect of your personal life and try to muck it up on an epic apocalyptic scale if you don’t do as your told.

The Norse will.

I’ve been doing my part: learning, studying, researching, and trusting when He nudges me to look deeper into a subject. One of the biggest things I’ve been wanting to know is about my ancestors before they came to America, more specifically, I wanted to know what ethnicities make up my family tree. After all, Odin did say it was because of my ancestors that it’s important that I am at least familiar with Northern European traditions. About two months ago I submitted my DNA to 23andMe, and all though the results are not at all shocking, I did have a good laugh.

dnac

So, yeah… it might be important for me to learn about Northern European polytheism/paganism if I want to learn more about my ancestors and where I belong.

Right now I’m in a Heathen women’s study group and we are doing The Troth’s Introduction to Heathenism and we have gotten into the Wights, Disir, Alfs section.  I’ve had two moments of “OMG!” already in this section that went with a click in my head of things falling into place and making sense.

1) One of the wights mentioned is the “house ghost” (Harry Potter fans will be familiar with it being a House Elf). The Norwegian the nisse  and the Swedish  tomte are gnomes; they are entities that are attached to the family who help keep things running smoothly. In Anglo-Saxon paganism they are called the cofgodas – the house gods – and are equivalent to the Roman Penates.  I have a small collection of gnomes in the house and garden. I love them completely and to find out that this whole time my dear little gnomes are our house spirits thrills me (and the cross reference of Roman stuff doesn’t hurt either).

2) I’ve heard people speak about their personal Disir, but nothing was clicking for me: I don’t have past Queens or Goddesses in my posse, but I do have a great-great grandmother. From my reading, I learning more about the familial Matronae cult which I have a stronger pull towards since my personal practice revolves around my home and family. There’s a passage that says the Disir were represented by three women holding specific items and I’m thinking of trying my hand at a clay sculpture of my interpretation of it.

To be honest, I still feel like a leaf that fell into a fast moving current. I no longer have a firm answer to what culture my Polytheism belongs in: there’s bits of Hellenismos, Romana, and Heathenism. I’m not going to stress over it too much, after all my Romano-Britain ancestors did a great job merging differing cultures and practices to create a new vibrate religious life.

I think that’s where I’m headed.

Frau Holle’s Gift

There’s a difference between

1) Meeting a Deity, learning about Them, wanting to gain Their favour by molding yourself into what you think would please Them…

and

2) Meeting a Deity, learning about Them, and wanting to give them a fist bump of solidarity because what They find pleasing is what you already feel is right.

You don’t have to change a thing about yourself. You get to keep on rocking your awesome self while knowing that said Deity has been rocking the same awesomeness for ages.

This has been my experience with Frau Holle. She isn’t asking me to change who I am to fall in line with what She is about and I don’t feel compelled to so. I don’t have to learn divination, spell work, or any craft. I just have to do what I’ve always done naturally: help when I can.

For all these things, Holda wants only one gift. Find a mother or homemaker who is overworked and exhausted, and do something to help them. Watch the children for a day, so that she can relax. Cook a meal for their family, so that she can take a break. Do her laundry. Wash her dishes. Clean her house. Be the hand that rocks the cradle when she cannot go one step further. This, above everything else, will endear you to Holda. Even an hour of work that she does not have to do will be a blessing.  ~Holda’s Shrine: Holda’s Gift 

I am finding it really great having this Goddess whom shares the same ideals that I have had on my own for years.

Who is Frau Holle?

I wanted to write a bit about Frau Hulda (Mother Hulda/Holle/etc) so I’m going to do it in list form with linkage love.

1)  Who is Frau Hulda?

2) Her many names and faces.

3) Her gifts 

“For all these things, Holda wants only one gift. Find a mother or homemaker who is overworked and exhausted, and do something to help them. Watch the children for a day, so that she can relax. Cook a meal for their family, so that she can take a break. Do her laundry. Wash her dishes. Clean her house. Be the hand that rocks the cradle when she cannot go one step further. This, above everything else, will endear you to Holda. Even an hour of work that she does not have to do will be a blessing.”

This is what speaks to me so strongly: to help other mothers when they are in need. That community service is an act of devotion to our Gods.  Reading that paragraph reminded me of this wonderful article that articulates beautifully how I dream of building a community.

Mother Holle

crane_hulda2 frau holle FrauHolda- holda1 holda-ksenia-kareva holle-illumination_2 Pietsch12

(Click on the images to be taken the their respective pages)

In my Norse studies I have recently discovered the wonderful Frau Holle/ Holda/Hulda/Holde and I am utterly smitten. I feel more of a connection with Her than I have ever felt with Hestia and feel utterly giddy over learning more about Her.

What Being Syncretized Looks Like

This is what life as a sycretist looks like. This is the often-times personal flails that we have to process on our own, have to sort on our own because most people don’t understand.  Most people spend too much judging how another’s relationship with a God ought to look like.

manyfaces

These are the many (primary source) documented faces of Himself. He is many things to many people and yet He is The Same One.

Beyond these, there are the Ones that have no name, ones that He appears to me that are not in the primary sources, and yet they are still The Same One.

I asked Him,”Why do I need to know all of these names and faces?” and He said that it was time I knew HIM and not just one tiny bit of Him; that with so many facets to Himself it was silly to hold any jealousy for another person dear to Him; that it was time I moved beyond my comfort zone.

 Living a syncretized religious life is confusing, brain breaking, flail inducing. But it also adds a deeper, richer understanding of the Gods.

Pillars and Maxims

There’s been a mixed review on the proposed Pillars: some are enthusiastic and find them inspiring while others say that it is unusable for specifically Roman Polytheists.

When I wrote the Pillars, I fully braced myself for objections to calling them Pillars (too close to their Islamic cousin), perhaps there would be a disagreement with a word choice (Faith or belief for instance).  What I didn’t brace myself for was the “do you know anything about Roman history or religion?” and “You are not a Roman Polytheist” attacks. Which is really disappointing.

Other criticisms did include the term Faith and that the Pillars are too generalized for it to work within Roman Polytheism. As it stands, anybody could use it and that weakens their meaning.  Each Pillar ought to be very specific: Daily prayer to a specific God must be done, worship a specific God must be preformed, etc.

Forget that I wrote this for all people who identify with Revival, not just the Romans.

The last criticism is that the Pillars are simply stripped down from Islam with a slapping of Polytheist veneer (my interpretive words).

After giving it some thought, I thought it would be a good exercise to line up the Pillars with another very generalized list of things that “one ought to do” that is readily embraced by Hellenes and Romans: The Delphic Maxims.  After all, they tell us to Follow God and Worship the Gods, but they never explicitly name  which Gods. As it stands, the list is so general and Universal in language that anybody could apply them to their lives, and I would argue that in no way weakens their importance.

What follows is my thoughts on each Pillar with the Maxims that I think best fit for myself. Each person will be different and that is okay.

Faith or belief in the pantheon of Gods as separate individuals and acceptance of Their influence in our lives.

faith:
  1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
    If a person objects to having faith in the Gods, I’ve got nothing for rebuttal. We are on two different levels and never shall the twain shall meet.
    I chose this one as there is a lot of talk of what differentiates between a Pagan and a Polytheist: Pagans (for the whole) see the Gods as archetypes while Polytheists see Them as fully realized individuals. I hardly see how this Pillar can be adopted by anyone?
  1. Follow God (Επου θεω) 3. Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου

Establishment of daily prayers.

This is a hard one for me which is why I included it. Each person will have their own idea of what daily prayer looks like and how many times a day it should be done. We are informal in this home when it comes to prayers. Thadd has his shrine in his room that he gives Poseidon and Hephaestus gifts/offerings but he doesn’t formally kneel in front of it every day to pray. At least I don’t think he does.

I tried, hard, to do the daily morning prayer. Even had a lovely prayer picked out and candles and the whole thing, but I just cannot seem to keep the discipline (which is why I chose that Maxim for myself). This, honestly, will be the greatest amount of purposeful work for me.

 

 21. Cling to discipline (Παιδειας αντεχου) 76. Pray for happiness (Ευτυχιαν ευχου

Concern and involvement in community service and social justice.

Initially I was inspired by how some people are celebrating Hekate’s Depinon by donating to their local food pantry in Her honour and I thought “Yes, this can be done”. Since then I have surrounded myself with amazing people who are passionate about community outreach and social justice and find myself wanting to do more.

This is yet another one that will not be easy for me as I am a classic case of an introverted shy person, but that is why it is even more important that I step out of my comfort zone to help. I believe in community, in leaving things better than I found it. I believe in kindness, compassion, understanding.

 5. Be overcome by justice (Ηττω υπο δικαιου)  6. Know what you have learned (Γνωθι μαθων)  7. Perceive what you have heard (Ακουσας νοει)  15. Help your friends (Φιλοις βοηθει  135. Share the load of the unfortunate (Ατυχουντι συναχθου)

  • Building a strong Hearth and Home.

It is no secret that my sole focus of private practice is on my Hearth and Home. The most important thing to me is raising my sons who will be the next generation of Polytheist men. That’s a lot of pressure, ya’ll.  Family and home are the most sacred things to me because I understand how I raise my boys will affect generations to come.

Bringing the boys up being taught the Maxims, the Pillars, the Gods, is my sacred duty and I take it very seriously.

 11. Honor the hearth/Hestia (Εστιαν τιμα) 107. Pursue harmony (Ομονοιαν διωκε)  124. Love whom you rear (Ους τρεφεις αγαπα)  127. Teach a youngster (Νεωτερον διδασκε)  131. Crown your ancestors (Προγονους στεφανου)

  • Pilgrimage to holy sites.

Holy sites for myself include the graves of my ancestors and visiting our family land. Holy sites are different for everyone and will be different for each culture (Greek, Celtic, Roman, Egyptian, etc). It’s not for me to say what is holy for another person.

I do think that it’s important to visit places that are holy to you. Maybe it’s in your back yard or maybe it’s on the other side of the world. Where ever it is, go there and be filled with its holiness.

  3. Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου) 131. Crown your ancestors (Προγονους στεφανου)