7/31/12

A message.

She asked for a person who could do channeling. Then there was nothing but silence. I question if it was a genuine request or not. Then Loki made it clear to me that there was a message. One that he'd been trying to express and she simply was not understanding it. So, in my efforts to be of assistance, I have offered him the format of my blog here to carry that message. Out of respect for the parties involved, I am not going to mention names. If you read this and you know it is meant for you, then the job has been done. Otherwise, it just is a few random electrons on the internet. And Loki is nothing if not random.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
You want me to give you signs. You need to open your eyes. You have received signs. Many of them. You act like a petulant child when they are not the ones you wished for. You claim that I am not showing you my love and then you blatantly reject what my people tell you. MY PEOPLE. Not Odin's, not Frigga's, not any one else's people. Not the random volva who you encountered. People who I have taken by the hand and I have claimed as MINE.

In your self absorbed claim of superiority, you want to reject them. They are as kinsmen to you. And you are too blind and too proud to see it. I am disappointed. I am not a man to be trifled with. I'm not a puppy to be lead about on a leash. I am not some love sotted fool to be lead about by the nose. I am LOKI. I am the World-breaker. I am A GOD!

Your half hearted selfish desperation disgusts and disappoints me. I expected more from you. I thought you were going to stand up for yourself. I thought you were going to walk confidantly at my side. Instead you scorn Sigyn, spit on Freyja, and cower away wailing that you are ignored. THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

Stand up. Treat yourself and the people around you with some measure of respect. This petulant whining child behavior is going to end. No woman of mine acts in this fashion. It is one thing if you are a child, but you are long past that point of your life. Now act like it.

7/30/12

Lughnasadh or First Harvest

Here's a lovely song from Omina to listen to as you think upon this high holiday. I celebrate the first of the harvest festivals with a new altar arrangement.






To the left, I have my god representative statue (Buddha) and a small jar of ears of wheat to represent the Greenman. I have an electric candle lit for Loki and a small glass heart that he gave me. Underneath the god statue is the washcloth that I knit for Loki. A candle jar filled partially with salt for holding inscence (which I was burning earlier) sits waiting for that offering.

In the center are the ears of wheat I cut from my garden just a short time ago. The antique silver bud vase was a thrift store find. The square mirrored candle plate, like the vase, are there for aesthetic value and to evoke the four elements. The round doilie was made by my great-great-great grandmother. It is placed to honor my ancestors and those who have come before me.  The pentacle at the forefront of the altar is from a late friend's altar. It is there to honor the Divine that is beyond and encompasses all forms.

At the right, I have my goddess representative statue (Kwan Yin) and a statuette of Mary (this incidentally is also how Sigyn has manifested for me). About the goddess statue, I have my small wrist distaff. I would have an athame on the left side of the altar but what I had been using as a kid friendly athame fell to pieces in my hands last week.   I have a soapstone oil burner that serves as my 'hearth' for my Brigid devotions. There is a small electric candle in there. A silver bowl for offerings sits waiting.

When the full moon comes this week, I will give a small offering of flour (or cornmeal, I haven't decided which yet) and wine. I will also put out a small offering for the Dead. It will soon be time to honor them as well. Between now and then, however, I am going to take the time to appreciate what I reap from my efforts over the growing season.

My harvest includes a bumper crop of oregano and basil. (I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with all of this.) I have my four ears of wheat (with the fifth left out for Freyja). I almost have tomatoes. The first of those will go on the altar. I am almost ready to harvest a few other vegetables too. To say the least, the first fruits of my harvest will be set upon the altar as a way to give back to the gods.

In my more spiritual harvest, I have a much closer relationship with my deities. I have grown stronger over this last year. I continually strive forward in my efforts to become healthy, learning more about how to appropriately treat myself. This may not sound like spiritual growth to some people, but it is for me.

7/21/12

Meditation: Trance Induction No. 1

Breathe deep. Feel the air filling your lungs slowly. Hold it in for a moment and then let it ease out. Exhale slowly, letting the tensions and worries go out of your body with your breath. Wait a moment, aware of your heart beating in your chest and the feeling of waiting in your lungs for air. Inhale slowly, savoring the cool air moving in through your nose, down your throat and into your chest. Feel your lungs filling like balloons, pleasantly stretching out to accommodate your breath.

Pause a moment, lungs full and a pleasant tension in your body. Exhale and feel all of the tension pass out of you, dissapating with your breath into the air. Now, as you inhale, the state of relaxation deepens. A feeling of serenity fills you eve as your lungs fill with air. When you exhale, all lingering anxiety and tension fades.

You are now in a state of deep peace and comfort, like when on the edge of sleep and yet aware. You breathe easily and comfortably. Inhale, exhale. Relaxation fills your body, starting at your toes. You curl them and feel the tension in your feet peak, then uncurl them and feel the relaxation replace it. Up the back of your calves, the tension peaks and then melts away. This wave moves upwards into your thighs and hips. Slowly, gently, it passes up through your abdomen and into your chest.

It spreads across your chest and down your arms. You can feel the tension melting out of you, like water running down and dripping off your fingertips into the earth. The relaxation moves through your neck and over your face. Your entire body is relaxed. You are at peace, rested and comfortable, yet alert.

Meditation: Places of Spirit - The Cave

There is a cavern with a hole at the ceiling of it, which allows light in. There is a lake with a river that feeds into it and an outlet. The light filters in and reflects off the water as it illuminates the mist. It is a blue-ish mist where the light doesn't touch, glowing on its own. Where the light does touch, the mist is a brilliant white/gold. There always is the form of a woman in the midst, though her apparent age always changes.

The entrance to that cave is a long, vaulted passage that snakes about. As a result, the light of the entrance doesn't reach the cave. It is pleasantly warm in the cave and the mist is refreshingly cool. The water of the lake and streams, however, is shocking cold. At the rear of the cave, there is a narrow tunnel which the water pours through as a roaring river. It is very dark there. Near the edge of this tunnel, there is a shallow, sandy bear with a shallow bottomed boat. There are no oars or other method of directing it, however.

To reach the small beach, one must swim across the water. On that small beach, it can be seen a small silver circle on the stone of the wall. Along the edge of the tunnel, there is an incredibly narrow path that is barely wide enough for one person to walk and the roof of the tunnel over the path is just high enough to allow one to stand upright.

A breeze blows up the tunnel and smells of the sea.

Hard theology and such...

If you are curious about where my tradition stands on various matters, I highly suggest you peek at my companion blog The Veiled Witch. It is a more formalized exploration of my tradition. I will be discussing a wide range of things from theology (which was my original intent to discuss here but then the blog grew) to ritual formats to the art and science of spell craft*.

* This will not be a publicly accessible spell book. I will be discussing things such as how to craft a spell and why they work. Look in this blog for occasional spells and tips on how to improve your magical efforts.

Covered in Light (drama)

In the span of twenty four hours, the group has exploded with drama. I recognize with rapid growth, the potential for drama multiplies exponentially. Put three people into a room and you have a small potential for drama. Put thirty people into the same room and you have a huge potential for drama. The sad thing about this is the fact that all of this drama threatens the very existence of a group that I think is much needed in the pagan community.

Some of the detractors of the growth explosion claims that it is currently a fad to be a pagan who covers. Some of the detractors have claimed that we are excluding people of ethnic background that are not 'white'. Some of the detractors have accused us of engaging in cultural appropriation and ideological theft.

Seriously, people?

Covered in Light began as a small group of like minded people supporting each other. There was no decision made to exclude people of ANY race or ethic background. We were all expressing support to people of any religious path. In the beginning, CiL included people of Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, and pagan backgrounds. We explored the question of cultural appropriation. As a group, we determined that being pagan and covering wasn't any sort of ideological theft. As one of the women so wisely pointed out, there are only so many ways you can manipulate a piece of fabric. The only restriction made in group membership, that I have EVER been aware of is that the group is for women - including transwomen.

I, for one, don't want to see Covered in Light go the way of Mysticwicks. Mysticwicks turned into a cesspool. People were actively attacking each other and  there was a lot of hankypanky going on with the administration of the forums. Covered in Light is on the verge of self destruct because of rapid growth and the associated difficulties. I think this would be a very bad thing because I think that the pagan community needs CiL.

Yes, you read that correctly. I think that the world wide pagan community needs Covered in Light, or something similar. I believe that the explosion of the groups numbers (we're currently at 200 as of last count) is not because of a fad or some people decided it would be fun. I think it is because there is genuinely a need for the pagans who cover their heads as part of their worship practices to have support. 200 people is but a drop in the ocean that is paganism. I believe that there are many women (and men) who would (or do currently) value the supportive network of others who cover.

Yes, there will be some silliness. There will even be a touch of drama. Large groups of people and a form of communication that is challenging (the interwebz) will always breed nonsense and drama. I sincerely hope that I can slap up another post on here in a few days happily announcing that CiL is continuing on, possibly under a different name.

7/20/12

Pagan Blog Project: O - Odin

Odin, also known affectionately as 'Old One Eye' and 'Old Crow' by my patron deity, is a very wise deity. He is also very, very much like his blood-brother. Some people who are coming to this blog may be expecting me to expound upon this with a great deal of UPG thrown in. Others may expect me to be drawing off of the lore and the verified PG that is flying around the internet. I'm not going to do either, actually.

Instead, I am going to humbly submit a poem for this week's PBP post. I don't write poetry as often as I did in the past. I am attempting to fix that. I hope that Odin finds this offering acceptable. I hope that my readers enjoy it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Old One Eye, He calls you
That looming presence
The One who watches me as I cast spells
The One who waits in the raven upon the tree
Watching, watching as I water my plants

You hung upon the World-Tree
You gained the wisdom of the Worlds
How clumsy my stumbling must look to You
Handling the Runes with a child's hands
Struggling to read, to see what is there

Patiently, You watch me
Brooding like a storm on the horizon
You wait and watch
Soon, Your voice will roll like thunder
I pray that I will have learned enough
To hear You by then

7/15/12

Pagan Blog Project: N - Narfi & Vali

**UNVERIFIED PERSONAL GNOSIS WARNING**

Loki's sons by Sigyn are Narfi and Vali. In the old stories, as part of Loki's punishment (either for insulting the Aesir at Ageir's feast or for his role in Baldur's death, the lore is unclear on this) Vali is turned into a wolf that tears out the throat of Narfi. Loki is then bound with the entrails of his slain son in a cave with a snake placed over his head to drip venom into his eyes until Ragnarok. He is attended by his wife Sigyn.

Context setting with respect to the lore, let's launch off onto a tangent. Many people envision Narfi and Vali as young men. Some even depicting them as children. What is forgotten is that Vali was a grown man with a wife and a child of his own. And that his child was grown when this took place. It stands to reason that Narfi was also grown. I propose that what people are being shown is not how the attack happened but how it was viewed by Loki.

As a parent myself, I know that I will always look at my children and in some respect continue to see them as small, fragile little babes. I know that I will still have that maternal feeling of protectiveness long after they have grown and have families of their own. I believe that Loki looked at his sons and saw them again as children. It is also my belief that Vali's transformation into a wolf was akin to a death as well. Imagine, if you would, the intelligence of a man trapped in something that could not communicate or act as a man.

Loki's told me that their deaths was weirgeld for his role in Baldur's death. He speaks of the events (the death of Baldur, the death of Hod, and his own punishment by the Aesir) with great sorrow. At times, he expresses anger. At times he is quiet and simply mournful, almost withdrawn even. It is a tragedy that Loki has expressed deep, deep sorrow that it was necessary for the fate of the nine worlds.

It is my hope that Narfi and Vali can come to be known in their own rights. The beauty of the world is that the past, present, and future are all interwoven. It is something that has, is, and will happen all at the same time.

Hail Narfi and Vali, Loki's youngest sons.

Covered in Light

 I am part of a group called Covered in Light... it consists of women who cover/veil for whatever reason and encompasses all religions and beliefs. Recently, some of our Sisters have been treated horribly in public... so.... we are organizing the First Annual Covered in Light International Awareness Day to promote understanding and tolerance.

The date is Friday, September 21, 2012.

A facebook page detailing the event will be coming soon, but I would like all my friends to consider wearing a covering of their choice to stand in solidarity.

You are all such a supporters of Tolerance for all that we were hoping to have you mention us on your pages to help this go viral. Thank you in advance.

http://coveredinlight.org/2012/07/14/first-annual-international-covered-in-light-day/

7/8/12

Hail Loki.

You remind me to be courageous.
You encourage me to laugh at the absurdities of this life.
You press me to speak the uncomfortable truths that no one else can tell.
You drive me to distraction.
You confuse and befuddle me.
You exhort me to continue forward despite my fears.
You laugh at my foolishness.
You inspire my children to confuse and amuse me.
You show me that I can live with mental illness.
You remind me that I am stronger then I think.
You tell me old stories and lies, mixing fact and fiction into a potent but heady brew.
You tolerate my prating with a smile and then promptly remind me how it doesn't matter.
You drive change forward with aggressiveness that reminds me how necessary it is to grow.
You pull me forward when I balk or stumble in fear.
You pick me up when I fall into despair.

You are my friend.
You are my confidant.
You are loved by me.

Hail, Loptr.
Hail, Flamehair.
Hail, God of Inappropriate Laughter.

Thank you for encouraging me to be the best I can.

7/5/12

Substitutions

One can substitute Mandrake root with any other root of the nightshade family. Failing this, Poison Hemlock root or others from the carrot family.

DO NOT CONSUME POISONOUS PLANTS!

7/4/12

Pagan Blog Project: N - Names

Names have power. This is a very old belief that is present in many, many cultures since antiquity. Bynames (also known as epithets or kennings) are some times used in ritual purposes as a means of avoiding invocations of certain deities or beings. (Not that it's terribly successful.) The time in our lives where names are usually considered the most is at our birth, when our parents name us.

Our birth names are argued by numerologists (and a few others) to shape our fledgling personalities and a measure of how our life unfurls. Names that are considered to be old fashioned are reputed to belong to people who are of a 'stuffy' nature. Names that are considered to be glamorous are reputed to lend the possessor a measure of that good fortune. Similar other folk beliefs abound.

In Wicca, many people have a public name (much like my various pseudonyms) which are used for networking and such. They have their magical name that is their call name from the gods. Some people use their magical name as their public name. I was taught not to do so because one's magical name is something sacred and not to be shared except with people whom you trust implicitly.

It was believed in the 'old days' that one's magical name could be used against them. Thus, it was taboo to speak it out loud. Also, in the 'old days' nicknames or something else of the sort were used to make it a little harder to have the names of coven members tortured out of them. Thus, if a coven comprised of people from three different villages only knew each other by these nicknames, this ensures the safety of the coven. This, however, is lore that is on shaky ground anthropologically. But that is a topic for another day.

Pagan Blog Project: M - Meditation

Some people find meditation difficult. I believe this is because they take the wrong approach to it. They see the images of people sitting in full lotus with their eyes closed and no apparent connection with the rest of the world. They read of extremely practiced people who meditate managing to accomplish impressive mental feats. The most impressive, I think, was the level of discipline and control exhibited by the Buddhist monk who lit himself on fire in protest of the mistreatment of the Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government in 1963. These are exceptional people who have accomplished exceptional feats of the mind.

A novice should not expect themselves to accomplish this. They will be quickly frustrated and disappointed. Quite possibly enough so to never attempt meditation again. Meditation, however, is a simple practice that serves to help sharpen the mind and quiet the spirit. It is something that can be done with out any emphasis upon belief in any 'higher' entity. It is simply a mental exercise that can be beneficial for most anyone who endeavors to engage in it. There has been serious scientific study that has verified this claim to be accurate.

A quick search about the internet shows that much has been written for the lay person about how to engage in meditation. I will not rehash that material, because it has been more then sufficiently covered by others. Instead, I wish to share with you my experience with meditation.

One of my favorite forms of meditation is walking meditation. I focus upon the physical sensations of walking and on my environment. It is not as 'deep' of a form of meditation as others, but I find it quite enjoyable and an excellent form of stress reduction. I combine the positive endorphins from light exercise with mindful attentiveness to my environment. More often then not, I find myself noticing things like small flowers along the sidewalk, the pleasant way light slants through the trees, or the smiles of people having a pleasant conversation as they are waiting in their cars for the light to change.

Another active form of meditation that I enjoy is spinning. I'm not referring to the popular exercise but rather the craft of making thread from raw fiber. Part of the reason why I enjoy it, I admit, is the fact that it is a simple, repetitive task that I find relaxing. I am sure that other people find knitting to be soothing for the same reason. I find myself able to go into a 'deeper' meditative state whilst spinning because my attention is more focused upon a single act. At times, I may combine spinning with walking, and then it is just as if I am doing my usual walking meditation.

I also have a more restive form of meditation that I find highly pleasurable. That, quite simply, is prayer. Sitting in quiet, contemplative prayer is more like the image of meditation that people expect. I don't sit in a special posture. (My arthritic knees don't let me get into full lotus and at times make it hard to sit with my legs crossed on the floor, sadly.) I close my eyes to help cut distractions. Sometimes, I have a set of prayer beads on hand. I will use them to count my prayers to help me stick to a certain time frame for meditation.

Any action done with mindful attention can be meditation. If you are mindful and attentive while washing the dishes, this is a meditative act. If you are mindful and attentive while reading a book, this is a meditative act. The beautiful thing about meditation is how it can be anything you need it to be.