Some thoughts should only ever be thoughts

So I had an altercation with a family member.

The nasty verbally-violent “I hate your guts” type.

It wasn’t pretty.

Things were said that neither of us (I’m sure. I hope.) really meant or are particularly proud of. And it was bad enough that my subconscious actually dredged up some cathartic murder fantasies. About a family member that, fights aside, I love very much and want very much to remain alive. Yeah. The Id is an absolute bastard.

There’s a place for thoughts and fantasy. It’s in your head. Let the fantasy take you somewhere in your head that is cathartic and relieving — that’s why your subconscious brings them forward to the conscious mind in the first place, after all. But no matter how sweet the Id’s whispers, don’t ever bring a finger of harm to someone else unless they are already trying to hurt you.

If there’s one  thing that my time studying the myths and legends of the Norse has taught me, it’s that the price of blood is always steep, and that kinslayers never end up in a good way. Never-goddamn-ever.

There’s a place for these kinds of thoughts, and it’s in your head.

Exclusively.

Some thoughts should just be thoughts.

This has been a brief update and murky window into my life masquerading as a PSA.

Gods guide you.

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Drifting? No, Sailing.

A spiritual journey is a funny thing, rather like a roller coaster in that it is full of ups and downs and turns you often don’t see coming.

Sometimes, things that we expect will turn out great don’t turn out at all, great or otherwise. And so it was with my connection with the Norse gods. Academically, they’re still fascinating to me. The Eddas and Havamal are still terrific sources of wisdom. But for all my efforts, I know that I have drifted far from that direction, and I’m not likely to sail back now that I am presented with the choice to do so.

At least, not for a while yet.

The people are partially to blame. In the last several years I’ve had to come to the sobering realization that several close friends of mine who were Asatru were also agents of Hydra  white supremacist and anti-Semitic “folkish” heathens, and I’ll admit that this shook me heavily. That’s not a world I inhabit or wish to be vaguely near to. For obvious reasons, these former friends had to go, even though they’d done nothing to me personally. I’m a pretty open minded soul and I do my best to build friendships with many groups of people, but racial supremacists are right out. In the world which I seek to help build, there’s no place for monsters like that.

The other reason was the quietude of it all. Maybe I’m not the sort of person gods like to talk to long term, but after a few years of study and communion, contact just sort of… stopped. Like I was very suddenly speaking to a brick wall. While this happened before I cut the Hydra agents Nazis out of my life, if it turns out that the gods of my ancestors cut me off because I don’t believe a person’s skin color makes them superior or inferior to others, well, then fuck them. Any god that is so small minded is not worthy of me. But I don’t believe that’s the case. I think gods just need to do god things and there’s no room for me in that. At least, I sincerely hope that is the case.

As for why I’m not headed back anytime soon?

While it is the most easily researched part of my Northern European lineage and my voyage certainly began with them, the Norse are not the end of my quest to understand who I am. I have documented ancestry in Scotland, Ireland, and Gaul as well — a proud dual strain of Gaelic and Brythonic Celtic ancestry beats within my blood. If I am to seek my ancestors, I must seek ALL my ancestors, and it’s frankly easier to do that if I am not tied down anywhere spiritually. I don’t think that I’ll ever owe allegiance to one set of gods or another. Individuals, yes. I’m quite fond of Frey, Loki, and Skadi on my Norse side. I’m fond of Lilith on a personal side. Hopefully in the year or so to come, I can forge new bonds with gods from my Celt ancestors who are at the very least new to me. If this next leg of my journey is anything like the one I have just completed, I think I should stand to learn much and grow more.

Sometimes we are knocked off course, or becalmed in spiritual doldrums. Sometimes we lose track of where we are or where we’re going. We are each Odysseus, each of us navigating to get somewhere that strikes us as “home”. But just as each instance of those created a new chapter in Odysseus’ journey back home to Ithaca that made him a better leader, a better warrior, a better man, or simply reminded him of his ultimate goal and hardened his resolve. With that analogy in mind, I think that we should come to celebrate these drifts and off course moments. Unfamiliar seas mean new sights, and new sights are new opportunities to grow in one way or another. And sometimes, just sometimes, we find a place that’s worth staying for a spell before we get back in the boat and resume our voyage home.

I’m not mad that the Norse gods aren’t speaking to me. I might be annoyed, but that’s harmless to both sides. During this time of quiet from one source, I have elected to sail on and explore uncharted waters, and I’m very fortunate that I live in a time and place that allows me to have this option when my ancestors by and large did not.

That’s my solution. What will yours be?

Gods guide you.

Sweet sugary corrosive goodness

I found this on Facebook today, and it honestly smacked me right in my complacency. I needed that.

I thought it only fitting that I pass it along.

You can’t domesticate a god.
As the pagan populace grows I see more of the same. Cutesy hearts and stick on stars. Purple ponies, pink ribbons and buckets of rainbow glitter.

Not long ago, our gods were wild and fearsome. Their hair tangled with lichen, their blood made of the fire in the hearts of ancient mountains. The seas would thrash and crush entire armies upon the jagged maws of old cliffs – just because they could, and the skies would unfurl white fire should one so much as disappoint them. They would just as soon rend you apart had you failed to appease them, as they would grant you favor for getting something right.

Today though.. today I see weakness. Folks think that our great and mighty goddesses can be honored by painted shadow boxes slathered in glitter and stick-on’s. Hello kitty adorns altar tops along side pink haired princesses and my little ponies. Quartz crystals are sung as cure-all’s when no actual effort is put forth to allay the syndrome. How can our gods not feel they’re being mocked with this absent minded approach that sparkles win everything?

Our gods, are not purity of light and all that is happy-go-lucky. They are not made of pure positivity who thinks your latest craft is just so spiffy! What is actually being done to honor them? What sacrifices are being given, when was the last time you gave them something that hurt to really let go of, that meant the world to you?

Hel, Hecate, Morrigan, Mab.. throw a stone and you will hit a goddess with a very dangerous dark side. All of them in fact. You worship the mother of the moon with the face of glinting white silver, yet neglect the fact that she has two, and the other is hidden in the blackness of space.

Do you think the gods who’ve had entire lands face a winters hunger to offer their gathered stores of food just for a hope to receive their blessing for a good harvest the next year, is impressed that you shared a cracker with cheese while your plate is fat and heavy with leftovers that you’ve ignored? Do you think they care about your plight when you do nothing to lift a finger to help yourself and you just dump it all in their lap?
Do you think they do not anger because you only believe in their light?
That’s like saying you’ll never hit a red light because only the green light will ever effect you.

Our gods are being ignored, dumbed down and taken for granted.
Rare are the few who devote themselves, who pray each day and are truly, whole heartedly thankful for the blessings they have each and every sunrise. Few are they who do the hard work and make the tough sacrifices, and so few are they who are respected by the gods they claim to worship. They don’t work for you because of your chirpy, cheerful little chant.
They want your pounding heart, your twisted guts, your rushing blood, your streaming tears, your torn screams and your salted sweat. They want your honor, your honesty and your pain induced effort.

You cannot placate the gods though trivial meaninglessness. They will never be your lap cat, to be held and cuddled.
They will not accept half-assery.
And they will never, ever be domesticated.

It’s true. Recently, I have felt like Lilith was not as… invested as I felt she has been in the past, and reading this, it’s become rather clear to me. I’ve been prioritizing how she makes me feel instead of doing her will.

Doing her will is admittedly extremely difficult as she rarely tells you anything, be it up front, clearly, or indeed at all. She seems to delight in leaving a trail of breadcrumbs around and watching me flail like a beached fish as I attempt to figure things out.

Small wonder then that I have almost completely stopped trying to figure things out. “It’s too tough” “It’s too complex” “Why don’t you just tell me what you want?!” I keep moaning. And in my frustration and anger, I stopped doing what she wanted. I stopped figuring things out.

I stopped working for her.

Yet I was still fixated on how she made me feel when I had accomplished something. I wanted a “lap cat” of a deity. Lilith is not that, nor will she ever be. Gods above and below, I don’t really ever want her to be that — how degrading it would be for such a strong and proud goddess!

But I’d fallen into a path of laziness, of paying lip service to beings mightier and wiser than I could ever possibly be; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never equal ONE of these magnificent deities, even when the king’s men exceed the number of grains of sand of the Earth.

In that time of lipservice, I grew to be physically lazy as well. I overate. I stopped exercising. I became soft, squishy, and portly; easily tired and overcome. In truth, this isn’t really directly linked — you can be fat and lazy and absolutely pious. But how we treat our gods is often a metaphor for how we treat life, and things which cause us to be lazy in one will often spread to the other. An infection of the soul, if you will.

I had been infected, and it took this wonderful, sobering writing to smack me in the face and make me aware of this debaucherous revelry I’ve been engaging in for years. Lilith doesn’t mind a spot of debauchery here and there — she’d even tell you it can be good for you when practiced in measure. Odin would likely tell you the same. In truth, most of the Old Gods would. But when you let it overcome you, and take over your life, it becomes corrosive to everything good about you.

You know what else is corrosive?

Sugar.

Holy Hel below, sugar is corrosive.

And a lot of modern day pagans don’t want to acknowledge that half of what defines the old gods is fire, blood, and strife. They want to see Odin as a wise man (and he is) who always makes perfect decisions (he definitely and categorically doesn’t) and never goes back on his word (spoiler alert: he does that a LOT). They want glitterdust and love-will-cure-all and friendship-wins-the-day and sugary sweetness.

But guess what? The world ain’t like that honey. The gods are very much of the world, not above or beyond it, and so they reflect this reality. Odin is wise, but he screws up occasionally or emotions will get the better of him. Thor is strong and brave, but it can cause arrogant overconfidence. Freya is sexually empowered, but it can still cause scandal. Even the god of Jesus the Christ acknowledges this central truth.

And other deities? Like Kali or Lilith? They often don’t have a sugary side. Lilith reserves that for family and those she’s called into her service.

But she doesn’t give sugar all the time; sugar in abundance corrodes, and so she reserves it in measure for those who actually serve.

Because good feelings in faith are rather like candy: you only think you want a diet of nothing but that.

In truth, it’s horribly bad for you.

David Bowie has passed away and there will never be another like him

The New Moon is a time of change, often painful. It’s a threshold whereby things will never be the same once crossed over. I’ve described it in the past on this blog as being akin to like a snake shedding its skin.

The New Moon that met the newly born year of 2016 ended up being just such a one, for David Bowie passed from this world just as the New Moon ended. I’m at a loss to see how this change is like my usual analogy of a shedding snake. Yes, this is painful, but not more beautiful. If anything, the world feels like it’s an uglier place without David.

Passed away at 69, Bowie is a man who left his mark on music, leaving behind “27 studio albums, 9 live albums, 46 compilation albums, 5 extended plays (EPs), 111 singles, including 5 UK number one singles, and 3 soundtracks. Bowie also released 13 video albums and 51 music videos”, according to Wikipedia, which goes on to point out that “Bowie released his final album, Blackstar on 8 January 2016, his 69th birthday and two days before his death on 10 January”. This was a man who suffered through cancer and beat it.

“But he lost!” you might say, “It killed him!”

No, he beat it. Death will eventually take us all. Even the gods are not immune to it, so to think that we can try to escape it is laughable, a joke with not much humor behind it. David Bowie however was a man who gleefully drowned himself in the creative waters of the Human Race over and over again, stalwartly refusing to die young, as if to say “I can’t die yet. Not now, not here. I still have more ideas, and more music, and I won’t leave until it’s all out there.”

Artists dying young is the norm, bringing to mind Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and all the other members of the so-called “27 Club”: a collection of tragic losses of talent before the age of 30.

Bowie beat the odds. He beat the odds, after pushing boundaries and living fast and rough through the 60’s and 70’s – a time where pushing boundaries and living fast and rough was even faster and rougher than we think of today – eventually kicking the drugs, and hitting the straight and narrow again while never losing that “weird” edge that is so iconic to his legacy and so inspirational to so many of us today. He beat the odds, and he beat them while battling cancer.

That’s no loss. If anything, it’s one of the greatest victories any man can strive for. He died doing what he lived for: getting one last album, one last song, out for the world to enjoy.

I know people who aren’t fond of Bowie’s music; none of his 52 years of music will do for them. But to call him any less than a music legend is a disservice to the art he has produced, the people he has inspired, and the lives he has changed.

And all the art, all the music, films, voiceovers, tv shows, and collaborations he has produced will stay with us, continuing to inspire and change forever.

David Bowie will be a hero to many, including myself, forever and ever.

And that is the beauty beyond the pain of his passing.

Between Bowie and Freddie Mercury, the halls of the gods are filled with music. May such legends NEVER stop or falter.

Technical Difficulties Do Happen

As we approach Yule faster and faster, tonight I am reminded by (in as hipster a fashion as can be conceived) my regular evening visit to Starbucks that technical difficulties strike the best of us at the worst of times.

It wasn’t a horrid malfunction– one of the credit card sliders had stopped working inside the cafe and they had to check me out via the drive through register’s, which was working. It added about two minutes of awkwardness and harmless chaos to my typical order as jobs  and tasks which did not normally overlap or clash suddenly found themselves reaching over and across each other in a manner which they had clearly trained for, but were not used to dealing with.

The staff were superb as always, and apologized several times while I patiently smiled and assured them that it wasn’t anything to get worked up about.

“It’s no trouble at all,” I said back understandingly. “These things do happen.”

And they do. Not just with high technology like smartphones and laptops, or even dull as dirt low technology like wheels or levers.

The three weeks leading up to Christmas/Yule/whatever you identify it as, is one of the most hectic times of the season, and indeed the year. Stress climbs, both on us and the things and people around us, as we dash about to make preperations for the big day around the Solstice that seem to invariably come together at the last minute as they do every year.

In such a hectic and chaotic time, things are bound to break down. It may be a cash register, a car that has finally been pushed too hard, a store employee dealing with constant demands from rushed customers, or even us as we crack under the pressure of our own best laid plans (mothers and fathers are more likely than most to fall under this category).

In a rushed, chaotic environment, something will break. It seems like it must. It won’t feel good when it happens, and no matter who you are, it will happen.

Because technical difficulties hit the best of us at the worst times.

Maybe some day, a gifted poet, priest, or priestess will uncover the reasons that compel fate to operate that way.

Until then, the best we can do is not let the many difficulties of the season get to us. This is a time of celebration for countless peoples around the world, and it’d be a shame to let misery find the company it so loves at this joyous time of year.

The Personal Proof

Wow. I can’t remember the last time I actually felt inspired to write something here. Usually I have a loose routine of “about once a month I’ll post something”, but today I actually feel so affected by Lilith (in a good way!) that it’s as if She’s flat out telling me “This thing? You need to address it.”

So here goes.

I, being a poor, sheltered Alaskan, was finally gifted the opportunity to see Eddie Izzard live a few days ago. For those who don’t know who Ediie Izzard is (Izz?), he’s a comedian from the UK noted for his crass but very conversational style of humor. He’s FU. CKING. HILAAARIOUS (say that in a cockney accent to better understand him).

Izzard is also a noted athiest of the “Militant Nay-Theist” persuasion.

I generally try not to let Athiests get under my skin– it’s their belief and they are welcome to it. Izzard however, hammered it throughout his routine “It was like an act of God –WHO DOES NOT EXIST– that this thing happened so hilariously” he would say repeatedly. Eventually, you strike that nail into flesh enough, and you’ll draw blood.

Atheists label the non-existence of God (or ANY gods) as proven fact, but all of their arguments ultimately hinge on an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy; the Appeal to Ignorance (meaning a lack of evidence). This logical fallacy is often best described as “a lack of proof proves nothing”. Just because no empirical evidence of God exists does not prove that God does not exist. God is, in fact, unprovable one way or the other, neither provable nor disprovable, because the Divine simply exists too far beyond the current scope of the scientific method’s ability to reliably test. Whether that will ever cease to remain so is a matter for the future to sort out, but I contend that it will remain unlikely at best.

But even then, Izzard is wrong.

There is evidence for the gods. You see it all over the place. You just need to keep your expectations realistic.

A good example of this happened over the last week.

I was struck down by a flu-like virus three days ago, to the point of being bedridden all day and physically unable to remain awake for more than 5 minutes at a time. Breathing was painful, moving was painful. Anything besides sleep was painful. I had no ability to feel my own body temperature, and I was, in kinder words, being reacquainted with my meals shortly after I ate them. It was terrible.

This isn’t some bit where I claim a MIRACLE PRAIYZE JEEZUS HALLALEWYAAAAAAH, because that frankly doesn’t happen to me. I’m not even sure I’d want it to. Also, using divine power to just up and cure an unpleasant, but non-life-threatening virus in someone just seems like a petty waste of power when there are people who’d need that far more than I.

Instead, I slept through the worst of my sufferings (which was a blessing in itself, believe me), and the next day I was able to get out of bed and I was active for roughly 12 hours out of the day. Not a bad recovery. It still hurt to move, bend over, or breathe anything more than shallow, inefficient breaths. As I prepared for bed that evening, I said my usual nightly devotions to Lilith and made an offhanded comment about how it would be great to breathe without pain in the morning.

After I laid down in bed, I felt a presence that I can only describe as “definitely a person, but definitely not human” (which is how Lilith has always felt when visiting) next to me, holding me, and saying “Just breathe deep.”

To steal one of Eddie Izzard’s punchlines, “Et Voila.”

I could tell my lungs were still afflicted with the virus, and that wasn’t going to heal overnight even with help, but the pain was gone for the most part, and my usual cough (VERY painful with the forcibly reduced lung capacity) was immediately much less frequent, and it didn’t hurt when I actually did cough.

So I did what She told me, and practiced deep breathing while She alleviated the pain.

By morning, the pain was gone entirely.

I’m not claiming a miracle here. I’m just claiming my Goddess cared enough about me to visit and help out when I needed it. That’s some pretty fulfilling evidence right there.

It falls under Unverified Personal Gnosis, of course, but that is what practically 99% of modern day paganism is made of. UPG is the bread and butter of the neopagan path as we have collectively so little remaining of what came before.

And sorry Eddie, I’m not gonna let you joke this evidence away. You claimed that “No gods, in the history of ever, have bothered to show up and help.”

I just got visited, and helped, by my Goddess this week.

Maybe you’re simply too bitter and blind to feel it because you’re tired of trying to see it.

Pagans have a uniquely personal relationship with our gods and goddesses, whoever those Divines might be. We do not require middle-men, or centralized church authorities, to guide us or dictate our dogmas. We begin as almost blind children, feeling our way along, and eventually getting the hang of the path. Our stumbles are our own, our mistakes our own. But if the gods we’ve chosen are in any way worthy of our praise and worship, they will help us back up without carrying us. And if they AREN’T willing to do that, then we simply keep looking until we find the ones we are meant for, and who are meant for us.

People can’t experience the Divine through someone else’s filter– the filter can only work on a one to one basis. It’s like a fingerprint– shaped by our personal identity, past, present, environment, etc. It may be very similar to someone else’s, even close enough to be mistaken for someone else’s, but in the end, it belongs to you and can only ever fully benefit you.

Your proof, your personal proof of the Divine, is only really meant for you (though it can help others). It’s also the only proof you should ever really need, which is handy, because science is, at a conservative estimate, about 2,000 years away from even scratching the surface of what the Divine is.

Or you can just ignore all of it and call the blanket you threw OVER the poof “proof of the non-existence of God” and use it to insult a whole lot of people who otherwise like you.

Some people are real jerks like that.

She doesn’t care about them

This is going to be something of a short blog entry because I am typing it out on an 8 inch tablet but…

It’s a very freeing notion to finally understand how very little Lilith actually cares for those outside her family. She neither loves or hates Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. She really just couldn’t care less about them. She has a supreme indifference towards those whom she does not consider her children.

Unless they move to actively insult her in a very personal manner, she just. doesn’t. care.

She can’t be bothered to.

It’s something I strive to emulate in this age of constant offense and walking on eggshells to avoid offending the sensitivities of others. I often fail, but that’s no reason to stop trying.

Be more like Lilith: look out for you and yours, and fuck what everyone else thinks unless they go out of THEIR way to make it YOUR problem what they think.

Dearth

No, this blog isn’t dead.

Yes, I update my other blog a lot more often.

The simple fact behind the dearth of posting things here is that, at least recently, I don’t have all that much to say.

It used to be that I found something profound in every dream, now I rarely dream at all. It used to be that I was overturning stones and finding wise words or spiritual treasures. Now I don’t have as much time for overturning stones, and when I do, there isn’t much there at all.

I’m at something of a dead space here in my spiritual path, and a lot is barren around me right now.

I try to at least update once a month, and so far I think I’ve been doing… well, okay at it.

This is just gonna have to fill that spot for this month.

I wish I had more for you guys– I really do. But I don’t.

So, here. Have a Haiku, for free, on me.

Floating through the grey
From cloud to cloud, I seek them;
Those vital colors!

Not using magic

Raise your hand (so to speak) if magic is either not desired in your spiritual life, or just something you avoid because you’re terrible at getting results that benefit ANYONE.

Yes to both in my case.

There have been times where I have considered trying magic again, but there’s a nagging feeling that it’s not something I am meant to do, and that bad things will happen if I did. So I avoid it. I politely refuse it, but I am concerned because there’s a very low key sense of peer pressure I have observed in the neopagan community at large that wants everyone to practice some form of it.

Bad vibes aside, there’s nothing in my life that magic can or would do for me or others that I don’t have more reliable means of accomplishing, so why bother?

I don’t want to come across as sounding like I’m anti-magic, though. If it works for you, and helps you to put goodness back in the world, more power to you, I suppose.

But then there are people like me, who… honestly shouldn’t be trusted with magic, regardless of our intent.

As the pithy saying goes, “Last night I played Poker with Tarot cards, and five people died.”

I’m pretty sure that’d be my case with almost any magic– it’s a terrible feeling in my bones.

I hate that feeling, but there it is.

Anyone else not involve magic in their lives for any reason?

It doesn’t matter

Very little that I held to be important did, actually.

None of the scraping for “the right path”.

None of my searching for names and identities.

None of my theorizing or raking my brains to try to put together the puzzle pieces or connect the dots.

None of it matters, and it never did.

It doesn’t matter because it’s too big for me. SHE is too big for me.

The only stuff I can precisely nail down is: she is definitely a feminine presence, she is my spiritually literal mother, she has answered as Lilith in the past, that name is most assuredly not her real name, the popular legends and myths associated with the name Lilith have almost NOTHING in common with her, she looks out for me and teaches me, and she’s willing to put up with crazy amounts of dream cuddles from me (bravo).

The bits I am fairly sure of, but can’t back up with lore or straight answers: she is (very probably) Gulveig, Freyja, or Frigg. Possibly all three at once. At any rate, I worship said Triplicate-of-Goddesses-As-One. She is also very young, and ancient at once.

On the rest of everything else — her origin, true nature, her full sphere of influence, etc. — she remains a true enigma.

I’ve decided to stop prying so hard for answers. I think it bugs me more than her, but answers in this are meaningless. My life is not better served for having concrete answers, and even if she answered point blank, Gods can lie as well. Sometimes for maliciousness as Tricksters might. Sometimes to shield us. And sometimes because they really can’t be bothered to give a straight truthful answer and what can you do about it, huh?

Sometimes, we work for years and years chasing a thing, only to one day be forced into the ugly, sobering, but beautiful realization that it doesn’t matter either way. It’s freeing, and we feel lighter when it happens. Whether you greet it with a howl of frustration, a nihilistic laugh, or a relieved sigh is entirely up to you.

That part DOES matter.