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.

 

 

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.

A Lesson In Epic Failing: Sometimes It Really Is All About You

clean house good lifeFor a few years now I’ve turned myself into knots thinking about how I am supposed to show service to the Gods. I’ve read blog posts, Facebook posts, websites that speak about how we humans need to be in service to the Gods and what that is supposed to look like.

I devoted myself to the household domestic duties set down by Hestia. I tried. I really really tried to turn toilet bowl cleaning into a workable offering to the Gods. I tried really really hard to see how folding laundry is an act of service to Them.

At the end of it all, the only thing I accomplished was feeling guilty and very frustrated with myself.  Feeling defeated with the whole thing I threw the proverbial towel in and announced my epic failing.

HERMES: What is all this fuss?

ME: I just cannot make housecleaning a sacred act of devotion to You. I’ve failed in epic proportions.

HERMES: Who said that I wanted you to do with this? What do I care if you vacuum the carpets?

ME: But…but… that’s what I supposed to do.

HERMES: Says who?

ME: Says all these people.

HERMES: Who cares what they say. It’s not what I’ve said to you. It’s just a bunch of other people’s opinion.

ME: So if I don’t have the house sparkling clean then I’m not letting You down?

HERMES: Nope. If you don’t want to clean, don’t clean.

ME: looking around the house, frowning.  I need to have a clean house. I need a clutter free environment, I like admiring a freshly cleaned floor.

HERMES: Then do it for you. Do it in honour of yourself and to make yourself happy.

ME: I can do that? It can just be about me and my happiness?

HERMES: Of course! Why would I have it any other way?

My Year With Hera

My year with Hera began and ended on the April Full Moon. During the year, I was pretty well-and-good blocked with the writing which wasn’t what I had expected.

What I expected was perhaps days filled meditating on Her myths and the like, what I got was so much more.

I’m really not sure how well I’ll be able to articulate what I learned. The focus wasn’t on “good wifey” things (like I thought) like suddenly becoming a house cleaner extraordinaire, sewing, crafting, and all of that…but, rather, it was about me being a truer version of myself.

I’m very much a cis-gendered feminine female. However, I grew up being a rough and tumble tomboy who didn’t start wear skirts until her 20s. During my time with Hera, she opened my eyes to the fact that embracing the “girly things” won’t make me any less. Pink, flowers, noticeable makeup, and jewelry are okay to embrace because the important thing is to embrace the things that bring joy in our lives.

That, I think, was the biggest lesson: bring into my life that which gives me joy. In turn, I’ve become a happier person which in turn has made me a better wife and mother.

Hail, Hera! The Queen of Heaven, Protectress of women.