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”. 

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One Little Word 2015

This year I am going to be braver than in the past by picking a One Little Word that will push me out of my comfort zone which might result in me taking risks I would not normally take.

For 2015 I am going to be more OPEN to new experiences that I would normally shy away from and as a by product I am embracing the word OPENNESS defined as ” the free expression of one’s true feelings and opinions” because one thing I learned in 2014 is that I am done toning down my feelings and opinions for the sake of others.

That doesn’t mean that I am going to turn into a raging bitch, but it does mean that if you say something that hurts my feelings I am going to stick up for myself.

I hope 2015 will be the year of new experiences and memories:  New piercing? haircut? hair color? tattoo?  Who knows? But I’m OPEN to the possibilities!

And now I leave you with inspirational memes found on Google.

What’s your One Little Word for 2015? I’d love to read about it!

condoleeza-rice-quotes_5967-4

open open-your-mind-to-the-wonders-of-life oprah-quote-image

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!

A Time For Everything

Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
    and what will be has been before;
    and God will call the past to account.[b]

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:11 Or also placed ignorance in the human heart, so that
  2. Ecclesiastes 3:15 Or God calls back the past
  3. Ecclesiastes 3:19 Or spirit

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)  

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.