I swear this is as political as this blog will ever get

As usual, this is published a week after it premieres on my Tumblr (also titled The Ithildin Goddess), and includes some minor edits.

As I think on my ancestors, I don’t think they would have felt as strongly as I do today about “harm none” and “diversity”. My viking ancestors would have robbed immigrants blind at the border, and I have a strong feeling my Celtic ancestors would have killed them at the border just for the crime of being strangers at the border.

Thing is, I try to honor my ancestors as best I can, and that understandably creates a bit of a quandary for me. It can be difficult to honor past generations when they would tell you to do something you believe is wrong because they knew it to be right.

My ancestors were not nice people. Their gods were not nice gods. Their world was not a nice world. But they also made great things and shared in the same struggles I face today.

Every problem we face today were faced by our ancestors, and our ancestors overcame them — at least well enough long enough to clear the path for their children to do the same for theirs. We owe them literally EVERYTHING that we are, while still coming to grips with the fact that their world was hard and cruel, and they had to adapt by doing the same.

When is it time to abandon tradition? Can we abandon traditions and still claim to honor our past family generations? Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to either question for certain. I just know that sometimes, we must.

The world won’t get better until the people in it do.

There are monsters out there, and the worst hide in the shapes of men. But if we are to become better, we must not let our fear of the monsters stop us from uniting in compassion. It is when tribes strike up alliances that they become an unstoppable force.

If we can do that, the monsters will come to fear US.

With their long view from beyond, I hope my ancestors can see and at least appreciate that.

I actually kind of forgot about this

I suppose that’s only natural, what with me running this as both a Tumblr and a WordPress with virtually no traffic on either – doubly a shame as the WordPress at least had a small following at one point.

I suppose I’ve no one but myself to blame. Well, that and my uneventful life. My blogs have always tended towards responding to events. Something would happen, I’d think about it, and write down the resultant insight. And people seemed to like that. I liked it too.

But then things stopped happening. Not entirely, mind, but the stuff I would write about on blogs like this did.

And I sort of forgot this existed as a result.

My bad.

Mea culpa and all that.

So, this Yule, I’ll throw myself onto the Pagan side of Tumblr and try to find some juicy stuff to connect to, because on every day I don’t write something, I die a little on the inside.

I’ll see what I can come up with, and hopefully earn some followers as I do so.

May the gods bless your steps.

If your gods suddenly AREN’T hiding, you have an immediate and urgent problem

​Sometimes I get asked “if your Gods are real, why don’t they just show it?”

Sometimes I’m even the one asking myself this in a moment of doubt or frustration.
But then I remember that these phenomenal fantastic cosmic entities, whatever we might choose to call them, are so much bigger and older than us and our world. Our lifetimes are mere seconds on the clock next to those of Immortals.
The gods have a vast cosmic perspective, and usually as a result are not particularly concerned with the minutia of mortal existence and reveal themselves only as they will.
Gods like Odin frequently walk among us but only seldom reveal their nature to those around them. There are many reasons for such visits, including out of boredom with their halls. But often, I think it’s to remind themselves of the smaller worlds and beings they look out for and protect. Operating on a cosmic time scale leaves a lot of room for losing touch from your charge and becoming detached and apathetic.
When a god or goddess finds themselves wondering “What’s the point of looking out for these creatures that are as ants to us?”, they pay us a visit incognito. They travel about, interacting with us in disguise so that they remember that even ants are no more or less valid an existence than their own.
When they DO feel compelled to reveal themselves during a visit, those who have pushed them to that point often regret it as it means that the person the gods reveal themselves to has screwed up so royally there is no other recourse — and this is seldom the case as there are plenty of excellent recourses available to a god that don’t involve making a spectacle of themselves. Usually an effectively eternal being has the patience to just ignore and outlast such petty problems as mankind can conjure up. If our lives are seconds on the clock for them, then the worst wars and disasters we can drum up must not even have the lingering irritation of a mosquito bite.
Ergo, if Thor were to show up and just go “Hey. So, I’m Thor, and I’m not hiding this fact.”, I would start looking for the universe-guzzling black hole or imminent collision of two galaxies that demands a God’s direct and immediate attention and leaves them without the time to pussyfoot about with a disguise. I like to imagine such being have better foresight and planning skills than that.

Why don’t our gods reveal themselves?

Because I’m pretty damn sure that they day they do is gonna be the day the world is really no kidding ending and we should duck, cover, and kiss our bums goodbye as a result.

What evidence proves there is only one God?

As usual, this is published a week after it premieres on my Tumblr (also titled The Ithildin Goddess), and includes some minor edits and additions.

This was a question directed at my blog some time ago and I am finally getting around to answering it. Sorry about the delay.

In short?

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In fact, the very existence of the First Commandment outright nixes the idea that there is only one.

By saying “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” YHWH was indicating that for those of the lineage of Adam and Abraham, he was the only God worth their time and devotion, as he was also the only one who would protect them — and Biblical history definitely bore out the latter point at the very least. He wouldn’t need to make this demand at all unless there were other very real deities with similar powers who might wind up being worshiped by the Hebrews, even after accounting for the obvious poetry about “money” or “the nation” or “the law” being false gods as well.

However, if you walked up to YHWH and asked if there were other gods, the answer would be an undeniable “yes”.

He wasn’t claiming to be the only god (not in the Old Testament at least) but rather the only God for his chosen people, the Hebrews.

And other tribes and civilizations record having been visited by their own gods with impunity. Ur, Babylon, the Norse, Scottish Picts, Aztecs, Incas, etc; most civilizations have been visited at some point by their guardian/patron deities. The list goes on and on.

In addition to these fine points, atheists will (wisely) point to a lack of theoretical evidence (being, evidence that can be used to empirically test a theory) that supports the existence of any gods, be they one or several. In short, god is presently unable to graduate from the “shaky hypothesis” stage of the scientific method.

A lack of evidence for any is also a lack of evidence for one, and this gives us, as stated in my opening, exactly ZERO evidence that there is only one god.

Sadly this is all we can have evidence for

I suppose the next question you should be asking is “Does the lack of evidence matter to you, personally?”

Star Wars needs a Grey Jedi main character

WHOA. POP CULTURE ON THIS BLOG?

I guess it’s the end times!

Well not so fast! I haven’t seen any meteors, nobody but North Korea is threatening to launch nukes (and it’s not like they could if they really wanted to), and Heimdall and Gjallahorn are mighty silent. Ergo, it is NOT the end times, and you just have the good fortune of seeing me write a bit about Star Wars here on this blog.

As will be the usual routine from here on out, this blog publishes on a one week delay from my associated Tumblr act, so that’s the place to be if you want to get updates faster — with more numerous posts of varying media types as I find share-worthy material. The big stuff will always find its way here though, so if you are somehow Tumblr-averse, fret not. Reblogs of other people’s WordPress content will be exclusive to this site, however, and posts here will be prettier and more multimedia friendly, so there can and will be bonuses to following both sites.

Now. *claps hands* The main article today!

Star Wars desperately needs a Gray Jedi, and here’s how and why.

In the aftermath of the prequel trilogy, a lot of the luster that the Jedi used to have has been lost as we bore witness to what the order had deteriorated into by the time of Anakin Skywalker. We saw them overtaken by the very things they sought to oppose – they became a political and military order more than a spiritual one, which is a very real risk run by organized faith-based movements, such as Churches.

The idealized version of the Jedi that Obi-Wan Kenobi would later preach to Luke Skywalker is utterly nostalgic, and being such, reflects a reality that never really was. But Kenobi was correct – there was a defined period, in which his lifetime coincided with the end moments, wherein the order truly fell from grace and became little better than the Sith. I mean, Mace Windu and Yoda may have been correct that Palpatine was a traitor, but imagine the Pope saying “That Obama guy, he’s clearly a traitor to the American people. The Vatican must intercede and remove Obama from power until a new better leader can be elected.” This is essentially what the Jedi were proposing, which is seriously meddling with a nation’s politics in a very measurable and hardcore way, where the Jedi are meant to be politically neutral. That is a long way for the Jedi to have fallen, and quite a hard surface to have landed on from that height.

Unfortunately, the Jedi were never as removed from politics as Kenobi liked to imagine in his older age. But we, as audiences, today still live with his basic notion that “Jedi Good, Sith Bad”.

Alas that the world is not that simplistic. Wouldn’t it be great if it was though? It would make some key life decisions much easier.

But I digress.

I am very much a child of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, despite the clear nosedive in quality it took close to the end (much like the Jedi). The SWEU made clear that the Force wasn’t neatly divided into Light and Dark sides – that was always just the Sunday School version of it. Quoth Han Solo: “THAT’S NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS.”

And here we get to the centerpiece of this thought article: we need a Gray Jedi in the hero spot. And I think Rey has it in her to reject the duality of “with us or against us” preached by the Jedi and Sith.

Ask any real life witch: magic is a tool, and possesses little capability to influence you morally one way or the other. The spell caster is in fact the one doing the influencing of the magic, whether they know it or not (it generally helps to be aware of this though).

Rey has no real connection to the Jedi or the Sith at the outset. She’s heard stories about them, but her outsider’s view would be ideal  in an examination of both parties and what they do well and what failures plague each side. From that, the Outsider has everything needed to build a new philosophy from the remains of Jedi and Sith that acknowledges the truth about people: no being can survive with a divided nature (just ask Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde how that turns out). It’s only by meeting in the middle of two extremes that balance (the arc word of the prequel trilogy) can be found.

Rey could be our first New Canon Gray Jedi. The passion and power of the Dark Side married to the discipline and self control of the Light. Either extreme left to themselves will destroy you, but together, they make us whole.

It’s like salt: the constituent elements are pretty damn effective poisons, but when brought together take a form that is necessary to our well being.

The presence of a Gray Jedi in the center spotlight  could be a superb role model to kids, especially in the early days of that path where Rey stumbles. Maybe she gets carried away with how good using the dark side can feel, or she becomes too detached from her friends and allies to the point of apathy while she struggles to free herself of want in the Jedi manner. Maybe both. Preferably both.

Kids need to see someone like Rey get that balance right. After all, that sort of struggle is an important part of growing up, and Disney owes it to kids and young adults to show a role model who is going through that struggle and emerges better and “cooler” for it – give them the take away that we all stumble and fall as we reach for our completion as people: we might do too much of this or not enough of that, but that the end result is every bit as empowering and fulfilling not just to the self but also to others around us that it really is.

We need a Gray.

And Rey has it in her character to be that hero.

Besides, look at her outfit in the last movie.

Gray.

Not light, not dark.

Somewhere in between.

Testation and Divine Plans

I’m not a big fan of the saying “the Gods are testing us”.
Mostly because I don’t think they really do.
I think the gods are wise enough to know that life in itself is test enough. Sure, Loki will play his tricks, and sure, Thor will sometimes call a storm right on top of us at the worst possible moment, but that’s the gods doing what they do in accordance with their own perogative. I don’t really believe they turn their gaze to us at any given moment and go “That one. Let’s screw with THAT ONE, make their lives horrible for a bit, and see how they take it.” Other people’s gods might do that, but I don’t really believe that my gods do. Well, I mean, obviously sometimes they do — if I tried to count the number of stories that depict Odin directly picking someone and testing their character and limits, we’d be here all week. But that’s not a really great example. Odin’s methods tend to be subtler than “your life sucks for an extended period of time.” He will come to you, he’ll question you, dialog with you, and yes, occasionally he’ll challenge you in an area he knows you to be weak at. But Odin’s usual manner is to approach us and give us a very slight and vague heads up that hard times are ahead, and then withdraw to observe — he does not take an active role in the testing or the hardship.
Because Odin knows better than anyone that life is a test. If you’ve ever been in school and just finished a really hard exam and gone “Whew! Glad finals are over! I’m so sick of tests!” well, I’ve got bad news for you. The tests never ended, and they never will.
Sometimes life sucks. We tell ourselves that something bigger than us is picking on us; it can be a very helpful psychological tool to focus our displeasure on some nebulous outside force that we can’t really confront directly.
But the simple fact is that nine times out of ten, you’ve just hit a rough patch. The real test is in how we handle it. And yeah, the gods are watching (when aren’t they?). The good news is that no one is picking on you. Nope, not even Loki. The bad news is that this means that yes, there are in fact trials we may face that present us with a no-win scenario, or the only way through is to cut something we would rather not from ourselves and our lives. This idea that “the gods don’t give us any challenges we cannot overcome” is actually crap. I know, I myself have said it on this very blog. And on a species wide basis, it is true. We’ve never faced a challenge that we couldn’t overcome as a species. However, on an individual level, the assertion loses its power. Individuals are frequently overcome by trials and tribulations that they have no power to succeed against — at least not on their own abilities alone. In those moments, when we are backed into a no-win scenario, we must not lose our composure. Why? Because this too is a test: how we behave in defeat is no less important than how we behave in victory, and someone is always watching your performance.
In a similar vein, people try to console each other in times of tragedy with “God has a plan for us.” I can’t speak for the BIg G, but my gods don’t have any such ridiculously overcomplicated plans. Their plans for us are “watch us be born”, “watch us live” and “watch us die”, while taking notes the whole time. When tragedy strikes, it’s because tragedy struck. It’s nobody’s fault. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s the opposite of a miracle: a sudden influx of general horribleness into your life for any reason or no reason. Nobody’s gods made that happen — it’s just another one of life’s endless tests. Or at least, we can be sure that’s usually not the case; every god has their capricious qualities, but barring a personal assault on them, they’re often pretty thick-skinned.
With practice, we can ace the tests of life and acquire similar endurance and fortitude.
I think that’s something any reasonable god should want for their people.
Life is a test, and the gods have no plan for us but to see if you face the next trial and then make it to the finish line.
It’s beautifully but tragically simple.

Back from a lengthy hiatus/The Great and Bountiful Relaunch!

Seriously, if we discount the entry where I announced I wasn’t closing the blog, then this is the lengthiest hiatus I’ve ever taken.

Glad it’s over then.

Back to work.

I want to take this opportunity to relaunch with a new name and focus on being less personal and being more of a useful resource for people who may be new to the pagan path.

So, welcome to The Ithildin Goddess, a site for one and all. And yes, you can also find me on Tumblr.

The focus will be reshifted back to an emphasis on the Norse deities, although it will be impossible to ignore Lilith as She is so central to my life. However, unless I specifically cite a source on Lilith, one should simply accept it as an Unverified Personal Gnosis, or UPG. Anything I being up about the Norse gods will be rooted in my readings of Eddas and Sagas, with additional references as appropriate.

This is not meant to be a scholarly website, but more a laypersons sort of guide by the people for the people.

Again, welcome to The Ithildin Goddess, and enjoy your visit.

Yeah, I know what I said

Indefinite hiatus my ass.
Nope. Got a nagging feeling to reopen this blog post-haste, and so I have.
Not yet sure what there is to say, but I’ve learned to trust these sorts of feelings.
That being said, I’ve opened up a new Tumblr and will be running this blog through the wash accordingly for a new relaunch. Fresh coat of paint, new name, etc.

Just need to invest a bit more effort in it, I’m sure.

That’s totally how this works.

Indefinite Hiatus

I will be effectively shutting this blog down by doing so, but I have seemingly run out of things to say here, and as a result will be putting this blog on indefinite hiatus.

This doesn’t have to mean forever — I will obviously return to write something if I have a sudden epiphany that I feel might be helpful to an audience. However, I must consider that by and large, this blog doesn’t really have that many readers and even so, the entries I used to love doing have started to feel like work. Furthermore, most of my spiritual experiences in the span of this year are of the deeply personal sort that I don’t wish to share with strangers on the internet.

If I have something worth sharing, I will return to share it, but as I’ve no idea when that might be, I think that suits the very meaning of “indefinite”.

It’s been a fun several years, and hopefully inspiration will strike sooner rather than later as I really miss the old days of this site.

Nuclear Option

I’ve long struggled with my weight issues. When I looked at the scale and saw “274 lbs” flash across the screen, I determined something had to be done. Finally, I would take decisive action and turn this thing around.

Except there was a slight problem.

I’d been saying this since I hit 245.

But, this time was a little different. I was aware that each previous promise to reverse my weight gains had met with an early death. Clearly, promising myself I’d change things wasn’t accomplishing anything.

So, I did something I try not to do with frequency.

I made a solemn oath to Lilith that I would  turn things around. Not for myself (though I admitted I would also benefit from it), but for Her. To add additional gravity to the oath, and make it even more binding, I appealed to Tyr to witness and enforce the oath should I lose the trail.

I tend to call oaths to deities “the nuclear option”, as they are serious matters. One should never make these lightly. I have only ever made one oath that had been properly witnessed and bound, and that was many years ago to Lilith. These are powerful things that can easily bind us in this world and the next, and so they should be made with care and caution. You would do well to consider the gods as sort of assholeish lawyers who will screw you over if you leave a loophole that might enable that, particularly with chaos deities like Loki, Raven, or Coyote. This isn’t to say they would move to screw you over if given the opportunity, but it’s generally good strategic thinking to not even leave that opening in the first place.

Making oaths should be approached in the same manner as safe sex and the risk of STDs. Only swear oaths to those you absolutely trust, take every preventative measure you possibly can, and make sure that damn agreement is airtight. Of course, the best way to not get screwed over by a capricious deity via a loophole is to not swear the oath in the first place, kind of like the best way to avoid AIDS or unwanted parenthood is to not have sex at all.

It’s worth noting that even the Christian deity occasionally screws over people who have airtight pacts with him, as seen in the story of Job. Job, who had done literally nothing wrong was subjected to suffering and torture by a satan, a class of accusing angel, because the satan had simply argued that humans are only pious when the weather is fair, as it were. God essentially said “that’s a reasonable theory. Go beat the shit out of Job and see if it’s correct.” And so Job, the nice guy, pillar of the community, the man who followed all of God’s laws to a tee with nary an imperfection, was still screwed over as if he’d done everything wrong. Granted, God would later reveal that he knew in advance that Job wouldn’t break, but I doubt that felt particularly justifying to Job at the time. Furthermore, Job’s family, who were similarly pious, did break and forswore God in the face of their supernaturally extraordinary suffering. Dick move, God.

This isn’t unique to the Christian deity. It’s just a good illustration of how capricious deities can be. If I listed every example of the Greek gods ruining the lives of people sworn to them, we’d be here for years. Even the gods of Asgard, for all their emphasis on honor, are not always immune to this sort of behavior.

Now, this might end up sounding like a huge advertisment for agnosticism or atheism, and in the end, that’s your choice. I and many others have found that having a deity or few in their lives improves things tremendously. If you choose a different path, then that’s your decision, and bravo for making an informed choice. But, for those who choose to worship a deity or several, it behooves us to exercise discipline whilst making promises. Don’t promise something you don’t think you can deliver on, be careful who you promise it to, watch your wording, and once bound by an oath, don’t back out unless you absolutely must, as that will reflect badly on you in the future unless both parties agree to it. In the face of a well reasoned explanation or extraordinary circumstances that you couldn’t have been expected to anticipate, most gods will amicably agree to annul the oath.

In general, just be really careful and don’t promise what you can’t keep.

I made this oath to turn around my weight gains because I knew I had to for my own health — I knew in advance how inviolate an oath would be. In fact, I was counting on it.

But that’s not going to be the case for everybody.

Make your oaths with caution and care, and only when you must.

Gods guide you.