The Pagan Experience – B is for Baldr – The Road So Far

Ha, I just realized my title is akin to the Supernatural season finale/premiere title. Now I will proceed to sing “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas for the rest of the day. You’re welcome if I got that awesome song stuck in your head too 😉

In the spirit of sharing about the Gods I work with, I will speak a bit of how things are developing with Baldr. I want to share because writing these posts are always good for self reflection. I know I could write for myself in a journal, which I do anyway, but writing for an audience always requires for decent explanations that bring not only understanding to the reader, but to me again as well. Not all the things can be kept fresh and poignant in one’s mind after time has passed.

So, I haven’t really talked about Him much to anyone. It is still pretty new, but It’s amazing I’m coming right out of the gate and putting this up, in public even! Bear with me as I deal with my shock at myself! :O
Now, forgive me for perhaps becoming shy about discussing it, like I said in last week’s The Pagan Experience post about Who I work with, sharing the Who is a bit difficult for me, especially here on the interwebs since this place is known to have many trolls and assholes in general.

I ended up having a few readings done (well, the first one is how I found out Who was hanging around). The readings have said that magick was coming for me this year, as well as Baldr. And so far, that has held very true, which is what I want to discuss with you today, dear gentle reader!

The first thing that has come from this is regular divining on my part. Baldr has come through very clearly with my tarot cards. Communicating with Him has been quite unlike any attempt at communication I’ve had before. I’ve also done readings for myself for some things, and again, what comes back has been unlike any attempt at reading for myself I’ve done before. The only thing that ever seemed to be truly accurate was my new year readings I’ve done for each month of the year for the past I don’t know how many years. Other than that, I would get myself in those silly read and reread, and get ridiculous cards that just don’t make sense to me. Reading for yourself is just, sometimes you’re simply too close to see the big picture clearly (and that’s not just in divination).
Needless to say, if ever I had doubts about how people can be in contact with their Gods and Spirits, they’ve been thrown out the window. Of a very tall tower. Atop a cliff that drops hundreds of feet to the ocean.

Right now, this is what w/We’ve got for communicating because, for lack of a better analogy, I’m not quite wired up right, yet. I also feel like w/We are both going slowly about this. While of course I sometimes become impatient, I usually quickly remind myself that I also kind of want to relish this. I don’t want it all to happen in the blink of an eye. I want to learn, to really grasp what I’m doing, I want a solid foundation in this, not only o/Our relationship, but what I’ve been learning, and what I have yet to learn. I want to really know Him, I want that to develop naturally. There isn’t a rush on either end of this thing.

What has also come about is some interesting dream things. Not dream work or dream travelling, yet. Those things are to come, but for now, He’s asked me to begin a simple practice every night. I light a candle in my dark room, and breath Him in for a few minutes. Very simple. Right up my alley. Part of this practice came about because I was experiencing some really nasty dreams (not nightmares, but non-consensual sex things). I was already breathing in cleansing breath before bed anyway to clear out all the day’s thoughts for me to be able to fall asleep better. He suggested adding His own energy as an element to this practice.
Well, guess what? No more icky dreams. However, my dreams are different since I began doing this. Very different indeed. The feel of them is, I don’t know, more immanent? I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, I remember dreams I’ve had as a child all the way through to now. I’ve also been able to control dreams when they became not so nice for a very long time (I even remember the first dream I did this in, I believe I was five; there was a mustard incident in-dream, and I wanted to clean it badly enough that I made myself do that in-dream).
But back to my dreams right now, I don’t know. They’re just different. They’ve even shown some things that I don’t feel are visions of the future, but like a path the future could take me on, I guess? What I do understand and undoubtedly feel to my very bones is that I’m protected. Even though the dreams have seemed to be in a twilight, and interesting dark things sometimes happen, I’m not ever in danger.

I’m sure I’ll find out what the dreamy time things are about in time, though. He’s let me know that they’re where I’ll be travelling with Him when the time comes. The wait now is for my nightly practice to establish itself firmly, and through that, letting Him in little by little. The course this is all taking seems planned out, which I can appreciate. I’m not a fan of not planning, I usually only like spontaneous things if I’m the instigator or if very few people are involved. It’s kind of nice that Someone else knows what the plan is, as adults, we rarely get led onto adventures, or have true surprises (a big reason why I hate knowing what people are gifting me beforehand), so I am enjoying everything as it comes, though I have a feeling that it won’t always be without stresses and tests.

Of course, I sometimes want things to happen quicker, to get to where I’ve been hinted to w/We’re going, and then I ask if there’s anything else I should be doing. Nope. Just keep on with what’s happening now. Gotta build that strong foundation. Can’t have your house crumbling down at the slightest tremble of the earth.

Well, dear gentle reader, that’s kind of where it stands (well, not as of now, because when this is posted, I’d have already written this a week early, who knows, I could edit it in the interim with some amazeballs thing, though I don’t quite think so :P). Stay tuned for the continuing adventures!

Don’t Be A Dick

So Heather Freysdottir, Jolene Dawe, and Beth Lynch all wrote some pretty awesome stuff about community work assumptions concerning Godspouses, as well as Heather and Beth revealing something fantastic about themselves. I’m right on board with these ladies.

It’s not that our communities don’t need people willing to serve the actual community of humans, it’s that just because someone may be in close relationship with a God (especially Godspouses), does not automatically make them beholden to a human community’s spiritual needs on a personal level. Unless someone specifically says that they are doing certain things for the human community, don’t assume they’ll do something for you that isn’t already being offered, and don’t expect that they have to just because they are close with a God and you might be trying to seek out or get confirmation and you asked really nicely, pretty, pretty please?

Let me say this, and I am trying to say this in the most polite, frithful way that I can: some perfectly legitimate Godspouses/Beloveds/Consorts don’t do any spiritwork, aside from their relationship with their Beloved. In fact, the only thing that those persons can chat about with other Lokeans might well be their personal, intimate relationship with their Beloved. The fact that it isn’t easily apparent to someone on the Internet does not meant that the person does not serve the community in one respect or another. If I could namecheck the person (and I will not unless they give me permission to do so), their Great Work might well impact the whole damn world. If someone’s Work is say, environmental research, perhaps instead of thinking that said spouse doesn’t serve “the community” – which is a statement akin to “won’t someone think of the children!!11!!!” in the sense that usually when it comes out of someone’s mouth, they’re not really thinking of the children at all, but I digress –  maybe we should be considering that the Powers’ perspective of “the community” is the whole damn world.

Lesson to be learned: don’t be a dick. Just because some people speak about their experiences in one capacity or another doesn’t necessarily mean that they are open to serve you.

Also in these posts are things about accepting that the Gods wish to experience human lives with chosen people, and that some of us are not only ourselves, but smaller parts of Gods. I’m really happy Heather and Beth revealed these things about themselves, we need to be much more open to different experiences and realities. Whether or not you believe it to be true, doesn’t make something less true and valid for the person who experiences and believes it. The Gods are capable of things very much beyond what we humans can do, why not this? We need more information on the roles the Gods can play in our lives, not shaming, name calling, and general jerkiness when you hear something that seems way too out there from your perspective. We’ve lost too much knowledge our Ancestors had before the conversions.

We as humans constantly seek out new experiences, why would the immortal Gods not seek that out too? Why would the Ones we know have even bothered interacting with us in the first place if They weren’t curious, interested, seeking more knowledge and experience?

So as much as we don’t need to believe that everyone claiming they’re (insert deity or spirit here), it’s not up to us to validate them anyway. The same goes the other way, you don’t need others’ validation in what you do/are/experience spiritually, or any other way for that matter. Unless you’re murdering kittens. Don’t do that.
So if you don’t really think someone is the real deal, move on. What effect does their spiritual life have on you anyway? Especially when it’s someone you only know online and from a distance?

Lesson to be learned: don’t be a dick! Move along now.

Immersive Polytheism & Revivalism

The Household Gods - John William Waterhouse

The Household Gods – John William Waterhouse

After the past while of reading and watching things concerning these wonderful terms, I’d like to talk about some of the thoughts I’ve had about them. I’d really like to thank Camilla over at Foxglove & Firmitas for prompting all the wonderful discussion over the following terms she’s brought to light.

This is a long one, guys, so grab a cup of tea and get cozy 🙂

 

Revivalism

This is something that really clicked with me, and allowed me to stop fretting about choosing the either/or of Reconstructionism and Eclecticism. I gather that this is probably something that many people battle with because in Paganism, as much as we are influenced by the past, we live now, and our Ancestors had been disconnected from their Gods and religious practices for far too long. Not even mentioning the factions that like to break off and say their way is “best”. Yes, best for whoever chooses that path.

There is no unbroken line of authentic pre-Christian faiths and religions of the past, much that our Ancestors knew is lost. Much of what has been preserved has been so from a non-practitioner’s point of view, or even after the conversions had taken place.
We don’t know with 100% surety how people practiced or regarded their religions.

Let’s say that perhaps the conversions didn’t happen, that the people were able to continue practicing the religions of their Ancestors, do you think our practice today would look exactly the same? With all of this technology, with all of this science, with all of this access to information? I don’t think it would, which is why Reconstructionism doesn’t work for me.

I think that we wouldn’t be having to put in so much work at this point in building community, discovering the reality of the Gods and Spirits, and (especially coming from a Christian background), working through a lot of doubt. I think it would be just natural, and who knows where we could be if we had had all of this time to continue evolving practice, evolving the way people interact with all of Them?

Alas, we do not live in that world in our universe. Our ties have been cut, and there are remnants to give us clues. Now it’s up to us to pick up those ties, and start weaving with them again in the now and for the future.

I also think that even if we had been able to practice our ancestors’ faiths all this time, the Gods would not want or expect the same things as They did 2000 years ago, nor would They really be exactly the same personality as They were. They are living, They also evolve, and though I don’t believe They experience time linearly as we do, They are all They will become, They just have not revealed that to us yet because we are probably not ready for it. Everything in its time.

This also works itself into my idea that for each evolution of humankind’s culture, and general ease of simply living and surviving (in terms of being well nourished, free of disease, life-expectancy, and at peace with surrounding countries/city-states), the Gods change Their faces to be best understood by the people of whatever time they happen to live in. This doesn’t mean that Their other faces are irrelevant, but in a more general sense, more people will come to the Gods when Their personality that is currently being experienced by the masses appeals to the current attitudes, philosophies, and culture of the time.

As an example, human sacrifices aren’t necessarily what They want right now in the 21st century, seeing as there is not a huge amount of us in active relationships with Them (whatever that may look like). This requirement would simply be illogical for Them, as They need those of us who interact with Them to help others come to Them. There is also still a lot of work to be done in our world for polytheism (and all things that are not part of the monotheism-or-else culture) to be accepted, not treated as taboo, as sin, as evil, as other, so that those who are called to these paths can feel comfortable that they will not be discriminated against.

When we get to the point where everyone is free to choose, and we see masses returning to the roots of their Ancestors’ religion, who knows what the Gods will want from us then.

 

Until Camilla spoke about identifying as a Revivalist, unfortunately there was a bit of a back and forth argument happening in my head. As much as I know and really believe there is never an either/or to anything, sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to heed that idea. Let’s call that the unfortunate side effect of living in a culture highly influenced by Abrahamic faiths where even if something doesn’t involve any hint of religion, there is always only a right/wrong answer.

So for a while, though the internal struggle wasn’t overly terrible or causing me much turmoil, it was still there.

 

“Do I go whole hog and try to reconstruct?”

“No, Mia, just because They’ve connected with you, doesn’t mean that the culture They were worshiped within in history necessarily needs to be recreated here at this point in time. Besides, there isn’t enough information to do that completely.”

“But what if They don’t like anything I’m doing for Them? What if I offend Them?!”

“You can just ask Them, Mia. You know very well you can. They are not some distant God who can never be contacted by the likes of you. They chose you for a reason, and if They were not interested in helping and working with you, They wouldn’t have come in the first place.”

“Oh.”
Yep. When you work with the Gods and Spirits, They’ll let you know what They don’t like, what They do, and there are plenty of tools to use to divine what They do want. It’s not all about the interactions when you Journey, if that is what you can do.
So getting to extinguish this little nagging fire was nice for me. Another “coming home” moment.

 

So at the end of the day, for me, revivalism works as a term to describe who I am spiritually and how I practice. It is about finding out what you can about how our Ancestors practiced their religion, the way they viewed the Gods, but also realizing that we live in a very different world. That we have very different lives of abundance (at least here in North America) compared to our Ancestors. We also are not constantly fighting for our lives against other people who would take our land from us or whatever else they could want.
Why would the Gods show the same faces which appeals more to people of the past than to those who live now?

It also works for me because of the fact that the term “Revivalism” communicates that I am creating a living religion for myself and my future children. I am reviving my Ancestors’ religion, but allowing it to fit better with who I am and how I live my life today in the 21st century. The Gods and Spirits will show me what They want as proper protocol as They see fit to.

 

Disarblot - August Malmström

Disarblot – August Malmström

Immersive Polytheist

This is the other term which I absolutely adore, and reflects my practice more than any other combination of words out there at this point.

Every minute of my day, everything that I do, however mundane it may seem on the outside, I am constantly meditating on my Gods and Ancestors, sometimes interacting with Them, pondering over Their lessons, how They affect my life. There really is not much that is not coloured by thoughts of Them.

When I am cleaning the house, I connect with my Ancestors who for so long performed the same duties in the household. When I am in the garden, I connect with those who tended their own land, toiling much harder than I currently need to for food. I also think on the Gods Whose domains are concerned with what I am doing. When I watch a television show, or a movie, I see lessons or elements of certain Gods’ stories. When I interact with my family and friends, I think on the hospitality of my Ancestors, and how They along with my Gods would want me to behave towards others.

I often make it a point to offer up whatever song I am singing around the house or in the garden to Whomever comes to mind for it, Whoever moves me in that moment.

There is nothing that the Gods and Spirits don’t touch in my life.

 

But let’s look at the grander idea of Immersive Polytheism, which also works with the Revivalism, because, well, aren’t we trying to revive the religions of our Ancestors?

I absolutely agree with Camilla in her latest vlog about wanting to immerse her child in Polytheism. This is, in fact, where she came up with the term. And I think, how wonderful will it be in the future to see my kids, and their kids, and perhaps their kids raised completely immersed in their spirituality as they are each called to it? I’m not saying that my descendants have to be Polytheists of any particular cultural background, or anything else for that matter. But I would like to see them be able to come to their own conclusions and not struggle with themselves over how to do things. It would be second nature, and they would know to simply ask the Gods and Ancestors and Spirits what They would all like instead of self-doubting and feeling not of worth.

Now I feel I have been lucky in that I knew for a while before I knew about Paganism and officially called myself Pagan at 13 that I was not Christian like my family and lots of my friends. I was really lucky in that I had no problem with this fact. It was not something that I struggled with in the slightest except for one blip early on of wanting to please a friend who was very Christian (not that they were adamant about me changing my heathen ways).

So for nearly the entirety of my Pagan life, I have been able to be immersed in my spirituality. Moreso in the past few years since there’s been quite a bit of initiation and transformation going on in my life.

But I do realize there are still too many people coming to Paganism/Polytheism having been raised in another religion, which means things just simply do not come naturally to them. This is especially true if they have problems with their previous religion, because the tools which were given in a previous religion can be tools that would work for them, but there can be the need for the complete rejection of it all. So people come without any tools, already with plenty of the self-doubt that our culture likes to propagate within each of us, and that makes for some difficult times in discovering how to do this ourselves without the constant worry of doing it right according to other people.

 

So as you can probably gather, I am definitely going to be teaching my kids to ask Them what They want when my children are unsure. It’s kind of basic relationship tending, communication is key. I also will be teaching them some common practices, but will emphasize that whatever moves them intuitively to do something they feel will be well received is also very important and so very valuable.

My practice/beliefs will not look exactly like yours, but if we both serve and please the Gods, Ancestors, and Spirits, who are we to judge each other?

And as we Polytheists/Pagans become more and more widely accepted and sought out as time moves forward, we will grow and learn how to tend to our communities in whatever ways we are called to. Keep in mind in order to keep us all moving forward, we need to be open for discussion, we need to share our insights, hard as that can be sometimes. We need to not attack each other, because aren’t we all working towards the same kind of future?

Again, my practice/beliefs won’t look like yours, nor does they need to. How can we be taken more seriously if we are constantly infighting over semantics? Over whose spiritual penis is bigger than whose?

As much as it is about immersing our own selves in our practices and religions, it is also about helping others who would do the same. Community immersion. And this requires that we have people who are called to perform certain roles for fellow Polytheists to begin learning and figuring out how to do that. We absolutely need a Polytheistic ministry to help those who are dealing with hard stuff, as well as provide local leadership. We need to come together and decide how this needs to work.

 

Words Count

Why even have these labels? Aren’t labels bad? Don’t they box us in?

As much as I am usually against labeling and tiny boxes, these labels are seeming so far to be much more inclusive than others. Sometimes this comes down to the exact meaning and origin of words, and sometimes this comes down to the people who shape the way something comes to mean in the greater community.

Immersive Revivalist Polytheist encompasses anyone from any particular tradition. It doesn’t matter Who you worship, or how you perform your rituals.

Words drive so much of how we learn today, on our computers, on our phones, on our e-readers, books, everything. There’s much more reading than there is actual physical talking and sharing of information. The written word can be more clear as we can spend more time ensuring we are using the correct words and the correct tones. This isn’t to say that it is better than speaking and sharing aurally, each have their merits, but it is how we generally seek, learn, and work today.

So we have these words people can search for on the internet, and as more people continue to use these terms and normalize the lingo, the information becomes easier to access. The community grows and the ideas and real world implications grow. Those who are new to it or even new to Paganism/Polytheism can find it, and expand their own understanding of the different paths one may take, whether or not they apply it to themselves.

 

Words are how we communicate, and that means our interactions with the community at large. When we have the information needed to easily be circulated (and hopefully continuously improved upon as we learn more), we can create basic rites easily recognized all around the world. This doesn’t negate our own personal festivals, rites, and observances we create for ourselves, no, but it allows us all to be connected to each other no matter the background we come from.

If that means we all know handfasting/parting, funerary, birth, and life milestone rituals from a few different traditions (Celtic, Northern, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, African, etc), then you can count me in. I want to be able to support fellow Polytheists, and be part of a larger community which can pull together to begin the changes that desperately need to happen in the world concerning the general view of religions that are “other” compared to what is the current cultural norm.

We shouldn’t be fracturing ourselves just because I don’t worship Who you worship, or because my tradition and practices look different than yours. Again, open discussion, and a willingness to hear others out without becoming offended is very much needed. We need our words, we need some labels so that in the future, they don’t have to be so necessary, where everyone is comfortable just being who they are and doing what they do because we relaid the groundwork down.

 

Where to Find the Discussions

As of August 11, 2014

Camilla‘s Posts
Intro To Revivalism

Why I Don’t Call Myself a Devotional Polytheist

Asklepieion: My Big Dream
She discusses a dream for a community building project.

Some Thoughts on Immersive Polytheism

 

Beth‘s Posts
VR to Camilla Laurentine – Revivalism and Immersive Polytheism

The Gods as Individuals

Immersive Polytheism: A Few More Thoughts

 

Jolene‘s Posts
Immersive Polytheist Revivalism – A VR to Camilla Laurentine

 

Columbine‘s Posts
Discussion of Immersive Polytheism and Other Fun Things

 

Silence‘s Posts
Response to Camilla Laurentine – Terminology

Characteristics of Devotion

 

Cora‘s Posts
Open Forum Discussion
Where people got together to discuss how our current practices in community (also involving the discussion on Immersive Revivalist Polytheism) in dealing with one another can be destructive.

Thoughts on Community

PBP – Longing for the Divine

The Soul of the Rose - John William Waterhouse 1908

The Soul of the Rose – John William Waterhouse 1908

This is why we search, why we struggle, why we (sometimes) leave what others have told us is the right way, to sometimes push those people away. There is a longing, and it brings us to a journey that not many will understand. We need to connect with the divine, to know the Gods, however we see them, to know the spirits of all the things that surround us.

I’m writing this because I recognize after all this time on my path, I still long, I still yearn for a life ever more so entwined with the divine, to live an enchanted life. It hasn’t waned at all over the years, in fact, each day it grows stronger. This burning desire pushes me forward, has kept my mind day in and day out ever on the fact that all of this life I am living is touched and woven with magic, with love, with Gods and Spirits; nothing is devoid of the spiritual, though we try really hard to drown it out with constant visual and audio distraction.

Each day I try to think of all the ways in which I could be strengthening this or that connection, and yet… and yet I keep being told that it all lies within my voice, within music for me.

Perhaps it is this terrible consumer culture I’ve grown up in that keeps leading me to want to have all the tools (more on the spiritual side than the physical, tangible tools), but I’ve spent basically my whole life honing this voice. That is my tool. I understand sometimes we need to step back, and for the last while, I really needed to. Now, there’s such a push, and each time I sing, each time I create a song or a chant, I am brought closer to Them. It reignites my longing over and over for the Divine.

PBP – Journeying & Validation

Peggy's Cove - Miaerowyn © 2014

Peggy’s Cove – Miaerowyn © 2014

Lately a lot of what’s been on my mind has been the peculiar need for validation, especially when it comes to the experience of communicating with Gods and Spirits of all sorts. As an aside, communicating can take any form, it’s not all about just words or visions.

Journeying has become a big part of my own practice, even though I know I’ve barely scratched the surface. At first, like anything, I was unsure of what I was experiencing, if it was just the sock puppets I have created in my own mind when it came to encountering entities. As time goes by, I recognize more easily when I am playing with those mental sock puppets, and when I am actually communicating with an entity. I recognize as well when I am creating something that I ‘see’, and when I am actually encountering a landscape and entity that is a genuine communication.

Discerning between the two can be very difficult, and I admit sometimes to over-thinking it and disbelieving that it was ‘real’. However, I have been Told that whether it is ‘real’ or is not ‘real’ doesn’t really matter, as long as it nourishes me in the way that I seek. I stick to that idea, because just meandering around in my own inner landscape is beneficial, I do self work in there, and that’s a wonderful thing. A lot of the time, it is relaxing, and inspiring, it recharges my batteries. But when Something outside of myself presents something to me, it nourishes in another way, not greater or lesser than doing my own inner work. It is simply a communication from Someone that spurs me towards something They wish me to pursue, with the added benefit of confirming my path and rendering me in awe.

From the past few posts I’ve written, you can see I’m not one for relying on others and their opinions much. I do find myself sometimes very much in need some sort of validation (just like everyone) of if the things I am doing are right, or if the things I am experiencing are real. As far as experiences go, no one else can tell me that they are real. I have learned not to put stock into ‘realness’, but to place it in the value I find, the lessons, the knowledge, the wisdom, the comfort, and even the discomfort. Nothing else matters, and the more I continue to hone my skills, the more I know I will get from it, as I hope to find focus in what I need to be giving in return for the wonder and fulfillment that is having relationships, or even just brief moments of contact with Them. I understand seeking advice and validation from other humans, however, no other human can verify that where your path is leading you is correct in any which way, or that Who you might end up meeting and interacting with is ‘real’ or correct to their vision of said Being.

To elaborate on the Who bit, in terms of the Gods, especially ones who are known for donning many masks, another human who interacts with the same God cannot possibly tell you that the mask you see isn’t valid. I would question someone who seems to just want to say “well my God communication penis is bigger than yours,” and generally just wants to show off about how much more magical and pagan and witchy and amazing they are, otherwise, I believe the Gods appear to us as we need Them to be. The way in which Odin has come to me is not in a way I have ever seen depicted anywhere, and yet, I know it is Him. He has even appeared in a few different guises, yet in each one, He is Odin.

While I am so lucky and happy to be able to communicate now (I think Odin had a hand in opening my head up), it wasn’t always so. I’ve been on this path for 14 years now, and have only in the last year been able to connect. I know if things were different and I was still unable, my faith and belief in Deities and Spirits would be there yet. It’s a comforting thought that shows me my spirituality does not rely on any one other than myself, and that seems right to me as each individual person’s experience of spirituality is quite different from the next.

So seek out the techniques and the advice on how to perform them, as many of them are ancient and have worked for thousands of years; seek community with those who are on similar paths, but know that at the end of the day, we are experiencing different things from one person to the next.

PBP – It’s Been Four Years

I got a little popup on my blog’s dashboard today that said it has been four years since I started this blog. Wow. I’ve looked back through my posts a couple times over the years, to see where I’ve been and where I am now… I can see the transitions between the research loop that can happen when really starting out, I remember the books I was reading back then (struggling to get out of the 101, yet also reading some essential books that I’d never read before). I see where I began to focus my attentions, where I’ve been Guided.
I also see where I’ve lost interest in what others are doing and saying at the moment, instead being more interested in what’s happening for me, my Gods and Spirits. It seems that sentiment also ripples out into my everyday life that isn’t much concerned with the spiritual. I wouldn’t have it any other way because I do the things that I want without a thought of what countless other people think (who ultimately have no idea what would work for me, what nourishes my spirituality).

These past four years have seen much change in the way I practice, believe, and have focused most of my life around my spirituality. I have been fortunate in the past two years to have experienced some less pleasant things that have helped me to also keep one foot here and one foot Elsewhere. As much as being depressed and floundering for over a year sucked, it was incredibly transformative, and I have begun to see where my road could be leading for future endeavours.

I thank my Gods and Spirits for sticking with me through it, and helping to show me things along the way so that when I look back at it now, I see the grander picture, where it was all leading me towards.

PBP – In The Broom Closet

The Crystal Ball - John William Waterhouse

The Crystal Ball – John William Waterhouse

Moving back to a rural farming town in Ontario, where most people are some form of Christian, or at the very least, haven’t had much exposure to other non-monotheistic religions (not even mentioning anything that lies under the pagan umbrella), I’ve had a while to think about how being of a completely different, non-mainstream religion will affect me and the people I am in contact with.

As much as I find so much joy in my path, so much spiritual nourishment, it’s not something I will likely be shouting out to anyone in earshot. That’s not to say no one knows, that people who are not in any way pagan don’t know, they do. I am in the closet, but the door is wide open. In fact, there’s a window in here, and actually, I wouldn’t call it a closet, more like a huge room brightly lit and full of talismans, herbs, trinkets and many a witchy thing. It comes down to being very selective of who gets to really know about it. As much as I am a performer (hello, wanted to be an opera lady), I am such an introvert and non-people person. In fact, I would say I generally don’t like most people, and that’s fine with me as it takes way too much time away from things I’d rather be doing than if I were trying to be friends with everyone I meet. I am a lady who just wants to go outside and do things quietly, well, I may be singing while I do it, but very much alone. That’s kind of how it’s always been for me. I was a kid who would spend most daylight hours out in the woods alone, apart from when my sister would want to come and play, exploring, finding things to collect, climbing trees, getting sap in my hair. And that just suits me fine.

I have loved being part of a group, and I suspect I will be doing that again when opportunity and time to devote to it arises. But I doubt you’ll find me leading a local ritual open to the public. I’m a person who does not like to bother others as I wish not to be bothered. I also like the idea of people going by my house maybe seeing me do something “weird” (possibly could be referring to wyrd) in the garden, and wonder what that’s about… I like that mystery. Mystery is good. Mystery is part of my path. To outsiders, why shouldn’t I be mysterious? Those who know what to look for will spot the clues.

Writing here, although it hasn’t been incredibly revealing of even my specific beliefs or practices, is my little soap box, I guess. But really, it’s more about documenting things that pique my interest, or a revelation I’ve had (albeit in vague ways). I am not really about human validation of my spirituality. I listen to my Gods, my Ancestors, and Others Who I continue to build relationships with; I ask Them for guidance, for Their insights, for Their needs to direct my actions. Basically, I’m just going about my own business, I know what I’m doing, and when I swerve a little, They help to put me aright, even if I’m oblivious that I’m walking the wrong way. And who’s to say that there is a wrong way? But I digress.

 

Thankfully, in the end, I’m not keeping myself out of sight in that capacity because I fear for myself or loved ones should people find out about it. Generally, those who find out have been quite blaze really about it. People my age (and younger I’ll assume)  tend to be more of a “whatever” attitude when it comes to those things because it doesn’t affect them. It’s kind of an interesting thing when you get a lot of people who are generally super self-absorbed that they just don’t really care what others are doing around them. I’m cool with that.

As for older than me folk (especially old enough to be my parent and beyond), it’s not something I bring up. Especially when I know they’re pretty into their own faith (which is most likely the one that thinks all others are misguided).

I suppose you could say it’s sad that they are allowed to be passionate and speak about their faith, but that someone like me who doesn’t follow that mainstream spirituality has to be on the quiet side if they don’t want any trouble from others about it. I could be loud and out there about it, sure. But I don’t believe that’s my spiritual work. Sure I get upset at the ignorance people more often than not show, but I am not a confrontational person. You can’t teach someone about things grander than their own narrow world view when what they’ve been taught is to be unaccepting, or intolerant at the very least, of views that are so different from their own. It’s my way or the highway.

Unfortunately the whole two sided, good vs evil, black vs white, right vs wrong  is still too dominant in the mindset that’s been brewing, at least here in North America. I’d rather just putter away in my garden, making magick, offering to the Gods, Ancestors, and Spirits, perform my rituals and nourish my spirituality and spiritual relationships than worry about other humans who should be figuring things out for themselves rather than making it all about everyone other than themselves by judging everyone else and seeking constant validation.

Pagan Blog Project – K is for Kin

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I’ve been Told recently that I need to connect with my ancestors, which is very fitting as I’ve been dealing with death related things this past winter. Ancestor veneration has never really been a part of my practice as as a younger person, I’ve been interested in all the shiny things that a witch does, not the hard things, not the really important things. Not the things that aren’t as pretty on the outside. Don’t misunderstand that I’m saying that focus on the shiny pretty things as a witch are not honourable pursuits, that they aren’t important either, it’s just I’ve been basically practicing 101 things for far too long. I have been a bit stagnant, at least up until the past few years with being in the community and part of a coven. Those shiny things tend to be on the surface because they attract the eye, but when the shine wears off, there are amazing things to be found beneath, the well of our spirituality is as deep as you’re willing to swim.

After receiving my Message, I set up a little ancestor altar, a glass of water, a candle, and flowers that I’ve been receiving either from nature or as gifts from family (very fitting, those gifts). It’s funny how lately since I’ve been knitting so much, I’ve watched quite a few episodes of Xena, and in them, there have been quite a few mentions of how those who are in the Elysian Fields can feel and hear the thoughts of them made by the living. All things are so very connected, and the messages are there if you can decipher them, although they usually tend to be pretty clear.

Although when I first put up the altar, I thought of my recently dead, the ones whom I actually knew in my life in my family, someone has been making herself known, who I did not know living. I feel like she’s from my mother’s side, and along with the communications I have with my Deity, she seems to be making her opinions very clear as well.

In practice though, how can we know where to go if we don’t know where we’ve been? A revelation I’ve had recently since starting on this journey is that we are our ancestors, they are us. I believe in reincarnation, that our souls choose lives and situations to live in and learn from. So with that in mind, my thought is that our ancestors are previous incarnations of us, that they are the remnants of what our soul was at that time, but that they are all connected by our living self, the active soul in us right now while we live. This also goes for our descendants, as I don’t believe time is actually linear. Time is linear for us, because in living bodies, we experience our bodies to grow, produce, die, and decay. Not that every single one of my ancestor is a previous incarnation of just my own soul, as there are obviously many souls, and my soul definitely does not inhabit all 7 billion people on this earth at this moment, or even a majority.

So while I’m tending my relationships with my ancestors, I’ve realized I need to tend my relationships with my living kin as well. Especially those like my grandparents, who are much closer to being part of the ancestors, so why not tend those relationships, that the links will be strong when they pass, and the spirit part of ancestral work with them can begin? I’m not saying that anyone should work with all ancestors though, or work for relationships with living kin who have not exactly been kind to you. That just seems quite counter-intuitive. Generally the ancestors want to work with us to be remembered, to help us in this lifetime to be the best incarnation with what we’ve been given as they didn’t live their lives for naught but us to be ignorant to the bricks they’ve laid down in our ancestral path.

Connections

I recently had one of those long talks with my love that inevitably come up when things come to boiling point. Don’t worry, we’re generally not a yelly couple, things just need to be understood, and explanations for actions actually discussed.

So in this conversation, I had said to him that with my spirituality, all things are touched by it in my life. All thoughts generally go back to what the Gods are trying to teach me through whatever I am experiencing at the moment and how that ties in with all the things leading up to that point that have the same sort of lesson attached to it. Then that gets used after the lesson is learned in how I view the world and my actions. All things are very connected for me, and all things affect the smallest actions to the largest.

However, my love said to me that for him, he feels he knows there are connections, he can see how one thing can be connected to another, but he can’t actually see them for what they are, that he knows he is missing something.
Is this the thing that separates spiritual people from the non-spiritual?

I know I’ve read that there is some chemical or link in the brain that’s thought of as what makes the difference between those who believe and those who don’t… could the thought pattern of that brain anomaly be just the ability to see the connections between all things, the microcosm and the macrocosm?

There is always a lesson to be learned, always something to be pondered.

Another Turn Around the Sun

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Well, it’s been another year of my life… and what a year it’s been! I am so thankful for the sun and warm weather after the past winter. And while I didn’t necessarily enjoy the winter very much, I am thankful for the experience and the being forced to deal with, well, shit. Not to say that it’s over because I think now I am to look at it from a bit of a distance, as a whole, and delve into the spiritual Work that needs doing. There’s a reason why these things hit us hard, and I have a feeling it’s ultimately going to shape my path.

Look at me, all serious! Well, honestly, things are getting serious. I feel as though I’ve only been standing close to the fence after jumping over it into paganism as a fresh teenager; never daring to really walk in the shaded forest beyond. It’s definitely scary, sometimes shockingly so. But I am glad for it.
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These beautiful flowers came in today from my lovely parents 🙂