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.

 

 

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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.

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.

From The Desk Of Cora Post

writing

The weather is… foggy! It’s that time of year in my neck of the woods where the fog settles in very much like a wet blanket and stays until Spring. It’s not so bad in the morning when I drop the boys off at school, but it’s down right scary when I drive at night.  The good news is: we’ve had a wet Winter thus far so maybe the drought will be at an end soon.

How my One Little Word Open is manifesting in my life … I’m continuing to  be open to the promptings and leadings of my Heathen studies. I’ve just begun a months long Introduction course with an online study group and I’m pretty excited!

I’ve also been open to the gentle pushings from Freya in the home decorating department: like, buying matching tablecloths for the three tables in my dining room and using my flower scent melting wax to make the house smell yummy. Seriously, the Woman is all about the flowers. And oh yes, it’s time to take down all of the Winter decorations and start thinking of how to decorate for Spring…

On a more personal note: I’ve been open to learning the difference between Justice and Being Avenged and even though sometimes they can be the same thing, sometimes they are not and it’s important to know the difference. I’ll write about this issue, but it might take a bit of time as it is still very raw and I’m trying very hard to process my feelings.

Good TV / Pop Culture Indulgence … Y’all, I am a Taylor Swift fan. I’ve bought every single one of her albums as soon as they are released. In the past couple of weeks I watched the Swiftmas video and read the story about her sending a check to a fan to help with her student loans.  And you know what? It makes me like her even more because it shows that this young woman really cares about her fans. I applaud that. (I’ve been wanting to write about this and I probably will later).

 I’m reading…

1) The Shack. Which is 100% Christian fiction (which, yes, makes it hard to get through I admit) about a man who meets the Trinity after his 6 year old daughter is murdered (another reason it’s hard to get through). A friend at work lent it to me because it’s one of her favourite books.

2) The Clockwork Princess: Book 3 in the Infernal Devices trilogy. Hands down, this universe is one of all my all time favourite YA to get lost in.

3) The books for my Heathen studies that include the Poetic and Prose Eddas and Our Troth.

My guilty pleasure is… say it with me: Fleece. Lined. Yoga. Pants.  Good gods! I am going to buy them in all colours and live in them whilst it’s cold outside! Heavenly comfort.

A highlight in my life … My darling husband surprised me with a rather large canvas print of Starry Night (one of my favourites). It is now hanging in my family room where I can enjoy it all the time.

 What I created/cooked that is worthy of a humblebrag … a “gold” coin made out of clay with a bindrune that I was given by Odin in a meditation. It now sits on our family shrine.

2014 Year In Review

Physically, the biggest difference since last December is my personal sense of style has finally been solidified that reflects my comfort in myself. I’ve found the perfect shade of red for my hair ( too many white hairs are showing up and I’m too vain mmmkay?) , I’m rocking the bangs like a boss, and my everyday outfit of a knit maxi skirt, shirt, and cardigan has earned me countless compliments. Yes, folks, 2014 saw me finally growing into my own. 

Psychologically, the biggest difference since last December is the increasing feeling of calm that has been slowly growing over the years. I am at times shocked how things don’t upset me like it used to and the things that do upset me are quickly dropped. This is the year that people have commented that I am so calm and peaceful to be around…and I actually feel that way too.

Emotionally, the biggest difference since last December is  that I am happier and more emotionally healthy than I have ever been. There’s something to say about life getting better the older you get. 

Spiritually, the biggest difference since last December is the newest twist in the often turning world of my spiritual journey: Heathenism. Yep, a few months ago I stopped running after nearly ten years and stood still long enough to begin learning about the Gods of my ancestors. I’ve nearly completed two translations of the Poetic Edda and will begin an Introduction to Heathenism with some friends in just a few days. This — welcoming the Vanir and Aesir Gods — is the biggest change for my life in 2014. The other change within my spiritual life is that I set up an official family shrine in the most lived in part of our home to which I have slowly been adding things to it. 

Environmentally, the biggest difference since last December is  the home decor improvements: we got new and antique furniture, painted walls, actually made a proper guest room, painted the bathroom cabinets. In other words, this was the year of making my home prettiful. 

Socially, the biggest difference since last December is all of the friends! It’s taken me a bit of time to get comfortable in this town, but I am now proud to say that I have local friends. Local friends, people! It’s fantastic! 

I stopped worrying so much about what other’s opinion are about how I live my life: it’s good enough for me. Also? I’ve dropped the Drama Llama Mamas.

I started becoming heavily involved in my community: I am the Committee Chair in Thadd’s  Troop and I am the President of his school’s PTA, and accepting more teaching opportunities, but I have also started to embrace my limitations by knowing when I have had enough stimulation and need a break from people. Because, introvert yo.

I created cute little statues out of clay of Poseidon and Hephaestus  for Thadd’s personal shrine that was a lot of fun. I also participated in NaNoWriMo this year in which the creation of a particular story happened. I didn’t finish it, but I am satisfied with what I have so far. 

I loved Doctor Who, Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Meghan Trainor, Taylor Swift, The Immortal Instruments, and the Infernal Devices. 

I went back to my family’s land this summer that re-energized my connection to my ancestors. I love visiting the land, seeing the old photographs, reading the old letters. There’s something very magical about the place, and every time we put food out in the woods to feed the “critters” I can feel the local spirits around me. 

I relaxed when ever I got a chance with good books, TV shows, and music. 

I felt gratitude when I thought about all that I have been blessed with: my family with an amazing husband and two of the very best kids in the history of the world; amazing friends that encompass those that I know online and those that I know in person. I am also very grateful that our finances are stable after our struggling early years of marriage. 

I was fulfilled by counting all of my blessings mentioned above.

The one thing I learned this year is there is a season for everything and nothing will last forever. The important thing is to carry in your heart the good memories and let go of any hurt or anger. Be like Elsa and “Let It Go”. 

From The Desk Of Cora Post

The weather is… a long and scary drought. I have given up on having a garden for two years because of it which makes me very sad.  The fruit trees have made it through fairly well minus the Asian pear which I think might be a lost cause.

However! At this very moment of typing! It is RAINING!!  Glorious fat drops of water coming down out of a gray sky. It is truly a marvel to behold.  After we came back from NY I swore I’d never live in another place that wet stuff fell in large quantities from a cold gray sky and yet, as I get older, I think about how nice it would be to move up north.

How my One Little Word Discipline is manifesting in my life … Oh! My One Little Word for 2014. Truth be told I forgot what it was and had to look it up, so that might give you a hint as to how that’s been going.  Well, that might be too hard on myself. There has been Discipline featured throughout my life (Committee Chair for Thadd’s Scout Troop, PTA President at Thadd’s school, learning about Norse Things), but I just don’t get militant about it all.

Speaking of One Little Word: have you picked yours for 2015? I have mine ready to go and I am pretty excited about it! It’s going to be different from years past and I am looking forward to what it brings in the coming year.

Good TV / Pop Culture Indulgence … Let’s see: On Grimm, Nick got his Grimm-fu back so that was awesome, The Walking Dead was devastating (BETH!! NOOOO!!!), and Doctor Who reruns are always a nice reminder how much I love #10 and #11.

I’m reading… The Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices Trilogy) which is the prequel to the The Immortal Instruments series (I read them already).  I love this world because it merges my love of vampires and werewolves with my fascination with angels and demons. Plus, there’s a few love stories for this hopeless romantic.

I’m also reading two translations of the Poetic Edda. I figured if I’m going to learn The Lore, I better do it right.  It’s funny, when I started this journey I thought that I’d stick to the Anglo-Saxon stuff since that is what my ancestors were, but I keep getting firmly pushed onto the Continent (Hello, Frau Holle!) and I keep going, “but this has nothing to do with my ancestors. We aren’t German!” and then I had an “I’m such an idiot” moment because my mother’s side IS German! Her grandfather’s last name became an Anglicized form of Koch and one of our cousins has all the information on the family who came from Germany and built a church in Pennsylvania.

So, yeah, maybe I should just let Odin led me where He sees fit.

My guilty pleasure is… watching  My Five Wives. I am so intrigued by the show and the situations that arise.  How would I handle four sister wives?  I then take that further by designing a more efficient way of ordering things: like, having one large central kitchen and dining area that would fit 6 adults and 25 children and since Brady rotates every night with a wife and he wants some “me time” I think it would make sense to do a Monday-Friday set schedule with the wives and then he has Saturday and Sunday night to himself in his “man cave”. That way each wife knows exactly which day she has and it’s easier to switch nights for birthdays or anniversaries.

And then my brain starts with “what if there’s only 2 sisterwives?” and how silly it would be for the guy to bounce back and forth every other night, that it would make since to stay with each wife for a month…but that the wives really ought to be working together as a family unit and not solely relying on the man to meet all of their emotional needs.

I probably have pondered all of this a bit too much.

A highlight in my life … There’s an official teenager living in our house! I’m not sure how that happened, but one night I still had a tween and the next morning there was a teen standing in my kitchen.  I am so proud of the young man he is and am very excited to see the man he will grow up to be.

What I created/cooked that is worthy of a humblebrag … I am going to make persimmon cookies today for the first time and I am will be using my press cookie thingy so I’ll have to wait to see if they pass the test. I also have a few ideas of things to make out of clay that I’m pretty excited about. I’ll post pictures if they turn out well!

What Am I?

  1. Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. It is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God.
    I believe in and worship the Greco-Roman pantheon and am raising my boys to do the same. I’ve had a belief of the Gods since I was 9 years old, began praying to Them at the age of 12, and have worshiped Them actively since I was 19. In all of that time never did They tell me I had to have altars, shrines, participate in rituals, give offerings or libations. Never was I told that I am wrong.
    Around the age of 22 I went from general Pagan to Wiccan simply because of the ease of finding information and people. I joined a Coven and began having altars, shrines, participating in rituals, and giving offerings and libations.
    I never felt “it”.  Rituals — private and public — felt empty and hollow. I felt silly making theatrical overtures to something that is sacred. I simply don’t like making huge gestures like that. During my time in the Coven I felt wrong, that I didn’t belong because of this. This feeling didn’t come from the Gods, but from humans making me believe that if I didn’t worship the way they did then I’m not “good enough”.
    Leaving the Coven while studying for my third degree was a freeing experience. No longer did I have to force myself to worship in a manner that made me feel like a fraud. I vowed I’d never to that to myself again.
    When I started this blog I had been a generic Pagan once again for not quite a decade. I had shunned all ritual work with people while growing my private home practice with my eldest son, Thadd.  This blog has been a person journal of sorts documenting the navigation of trying to figure out where I belong.
     A few years ago I began to self identify as Polytheist to signify that I believe in and worship a pantheon of Gods while not participating in magick, Esbats, Sabbats, or other Pagan type rituals. Slowly I started seeing other people self identifying in the same way and felt like I finally found where I belong.
    No one demanded that I worship like they do. No one said I am wrong.
     Interest in dipping my toes back into the ritualistic aspects of religion began to grow and I explored the idea of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy, however, with my years of experiencing the Gods without ritual I knew that such an approach wasn’t necessary, it simply is one way of doing things that works for some folks and not for others. Eventually I found Eupraxis and have been very happy ever since as an Euprax Polytheist.
    What I didn’t know was that I am not allowed to call myself Polytheist because I don’t have altars, shrines (which I do incidentally), don’t participate in rituals, and I don’t give libations or offerings (I do in my own way).
    In other words, I cannot call myself Polytheist because my private home practice with my two sons doesn’t look like another person’s. This stranger’s opinion should trump my personal convictions.
     When will the policing stop?  Why can’t people just leave others alone and let them do what feels right to them? If the Gods don’t have a problem with it, then shouldn’t humans just let it be?
    I know I’m not Pagan and now I am not allowed to be Polytheist…so what am I?

My New Theme Song

I love the new Taylor Swift single and video Shake It Off.

Firstly, it’s a great theme song to have when haters are being haters: just shake it off.

Secondly, I can totally relate to the level of her dorkiness in the video.

So, from now on when I’m getting bogged down with the haters I’m going to play this song and shake if off Eleventh Doctor style:

dancing docRule #27 Never knowingly be serious.

My Interview on Pagan Musings Podcast

Well, it happened.

After creating the first online group for Pagan women who head cover (Covered in Light) and written something like 46 entries in here about the subject of head covering and modesty dress for Pagan women, I was asked to be part of a discussion panel on this very topic.

I don’t pop on until the 5 or 10 minute mark and then stay quiet for some time there after, but I do get ranty when the discussion turns to how society believes a woman’s hair/body is common property and every one has a right to see as much as they wish.

And then I get quiet again.

Keep in mind when listening that this is the very first time I have ever been interviewed for anything, the very first time I’ve ever been on Skype, and as I am a classic study of an introverted shy person, this was both a neat and intimidating experience.

Be gentle, Dear Readers.

CORA’S INTERVIEW ON PAGAN MUSINGS PODCAST

Writing Like Joss

When I set out to write my very first post here at The Iconoclastic Domina it was with very grandiose visions of becoming an affluent voice amongst the online Pagan Community which would lead to books and a visit from Oprah enthusiastically reading portions of my writing while exclaiming “A-ha! I get it!”. Hey, if you’re gonna dream, dream big.

Over the last six months I got a teeny taste of what it would be like for this one small fish to be transported from this tiny pond of a blog and thrust into the large shark infested ocean of “being known”. And you know what? I hated it with a passion. The excitement of seeing my name written on Big Name Pagan Blogs quickly cooled which then turned into a panic attack when I realized I was out there in the big interwebz. Ya’ll, the interwebz is huge ocean of vastness and depths and I’m just a little guppy minding her own business. So I did what any rational, sane, grown-up would do: I symbolically crawled into my sinfully comfortable bed, pulled the quilt up to my chin, sunk down into a pile of pillows, turned on my laptop to watch soul comforting Buffy (or maybe Angel) and stuck out my tongue to the world. “Take that! I’m not coming out until you all have chilled the hell out.”

I don’t want to write for the masses. I thought I did when I started writing here. I thought I needed to find my niche, a hook to get readers, a theme to my writing. But that’s just not who I am.  Writing has always been a part of who I am, what I am. I cannot function properly without it. Much like coffee. And Joss Whedon. And my sinfully comfortable bed.

Wanna know who I really write for? My blog stalkers. The ones that love what I write, the ones that may never leave a comment (although comments are love…so give me love!) but read every single thing I write, and more importantly, find meaning in what I  write in their lives. Joss Whedon once said “I’d rather make a show 100 people need to see, than a show that 1000 people want to see.”  That’s my philosophy too. I’d rather write on this blog for 100 people who need to read it, rather than for 1,000 people who want to read it.

There won’t ever be book deals or a chat with Oprah because of the profoundness of this blog. I’ll probably never hit the “big numbers” of followers, and that’s okay. As long as I have “the 100” it’s as life affirming as my morning coffee. And Joss Whedon. And my sinfully comfortable bed.

(Blog Trivia: Looking back on things, there’s only one thing I regret in creating this blog, and that is the naming of the boys. Had I thought it out better, I would have given Finn a name that starts with an “A” so that I could inject some nerdy-humour.  Instead of a page entitled “The Cast of Characters” it could have been “The Post Family DNA”.)