“Homecoming”, by Seanan McGuire

Reposting because it’s that time of year, and because I now work with the Raven as well as the Falcon….

A few years ago, I came across this short story by Seanan McGuire. I had seen it around, and several people strongly suggested that I read it, but when I took a look at it, it seemed mostly to be about football. While I actually have a lot of fond memories of high school football games (I played in the marching band), what I didn’t get was the connection was to Freya. Luckily I made myself reread it, and it’s been one of my favorite short stories ever since.

If you work with a God whose realm includes death or battle, I recommend that you read it. If you work with the Norse gods or the Morrigan, in particular, I recommend that you read it. Who knew mythology had anything to do with football?

(You can find the entire short story here. I’m also posting the entire thing below the cut, because I never trust that links will last.)

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Not THAT Kind of Priest: or why I don’t proselytize for the Morrigan

Great piece on being a Morrigan priest, by Brennos.

I often go back and forth about how/if/why I should proselytize for Freya. She has no movies or books or art that has made Her famous–She’s never mentioned in the Thor movies, for example–and the general public, by and large, have never heard of Her. But as Her priestess, I know that She has the ability to heal and make whole on a lot of levels a lot of people who need it–myself included. But how will people even know to reach out to her if they’ve never heard about Her (or Heathenry, or paganism, for that matter)? It’s a conundrum, particularly as I agree with all of his points about proselytization, and have made them myself on several occasions. Granted, Freya, too, though eminently approachable, is by no means “safe”; but then, isn’t the love, healing, ecstasy, and transformation that She has to offer worth it? For better or worse, that’s not my call to make.

Strixian Woods

Putrification - Valerie Herron http://www.valerieherron.com/ Putrification – Valerie Herron

What causes a particular god or goddess to surge in popularity and how does that affect the community that is already in relationship with that deity?   In many cases of this phenomena the media has a role to play in popularizing the deity, and the public interest in said deity spikes after a particular movie, television show, or book appears on the market. In some cases the particular deity has an aspect that resonates with people because of the political or physical atmosphere that the individual exists in. Sometimes, there is a rare occurrence where it appears that the deity themselves are actively recruiting devotees into their worship. In the case of the Morrigan all of these factors seem to be in play to one degree or another. There have been a number of appearances of the Morrigan in popular media, all of them…

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PantheaCon Schedule, 2105

PantheaCon, an International pan-Pagan convention held in San Jose,  is coming up quickly. Here are the events I’m leading and/or participating in this year:

Friday, Feb. 15th:

I’ll likely be joining in River Devora‘s “Furious Revels” at 5pm. It’s a fun parade that, among other things, helps to cleanse the hotel space.

Saturday, Feb. 14th:

4:30-6:30 Devotional to Hera and Zeus (tutorial-style ritual)–Pandemos/Greek Hospitality Suite–I’m leading this event with Thenea Pantera (Magick from Scratch). (I’ll be a priestess of Zeus! This should be fascinating.)

9:00-10:30PM Dionysus Hestios ritual–San Martin/San Simeon. Put on by Pandemos, our Hellenic group in the Bay Area.

(There’s also a small possibility I’ll be helping ward Coru Cathubodua’s Morrigan ritual–“The Morrigan Speaks: Arise to Battle”–Saturday night, depending on whether they need more warders. We’ll see if they need me or not.)

Sunday, Feb. 15th:

11:00 AM Myth Embodiment, “The Lay of Thrym (aka That One Time When Thor Was a Drag Queen)”– Heathen Hospitality Suite, 2nd floor. I’m running this event

1:00 PM Blot for Freya–Heathen Hospitality Suite. I’m running this event.

11:00 PM “Facets of Freya Devotional Ritual”–San Juan/San Carlos (facing the parking lot). I’m leading this ritual along with a group of Freyaswomen that we’ve named Freyja’s Aett (including EmberVoices) I’ll be posting more about this one later on.

Keeping in mind that in the fourteen years I’ve attended PCon, only once have I ever made it to even most all of the events I’d hoped to attend. And knowing that some events will be canceled or moved; some will not live up to my expectations; some I won’t make because I’ll get pulled off to help somebody out at the last minute; and some I’ll just be too fricking tired to attend. That said, here are some of the events I’d like to attend:

Coru’s Morrigan ritual; Shauna Aura Knight’s “Designing Intensive Rituals”; Discordian.com’s “Lady Gaga Clothing Swap” (long story); Hrafn Skjoldr Kindred’s Blot; Rhyd Wildermuth and Alley Valkyrie‘s “Radical Gods” panel; T. Thorn Coyle (and many others)’s panel on “Nurturing Young Pagan Leaders”; “Warding and Ritual Safety” panel; Jeffrey Arbaugh’s “Archetypes of the Masculine”… which is unfortunately at the same time as the Coru event, sigh (Arbaugh is the presenter from whom I picked up the Myth Embodiment activity); Angela Carlson’s “Modern Heathenry” discussion panel (which, considering it’s at 9AM, is unlikely); Freyja’s Gift’s “A Different Kind of Seidh”; Soli Johnson’s “Juggling the Gods”; Silence Maestas‘ “Exploring Devotional Rituals”; and River’s “Essentials of Polytheism”. And hopefully one of the Pagans in Recovery events.

A week of Gods

Happy Lughnasadh, all! Here’s a friend’s Patheos article on this not-as-well-known Wiccan/Celtic holiday if you’re interested in learning more about it: The Smaller Sabbats

This week was one of those Godsweeks. Often I have Godsdays; this was an entire week. Or perhaps things are just ramping up again and I need to adjust my expectations accordingly, in which case this is just business as usual. Which is happening right as I’m about to pick up a part-time job, so I’m already swamped, but I need the money. *shrug* It is what it is.

(On a side note, once I get hired for this job and decide that it’s a good thing, I’ll write up the story of how I got it. It’s another on the list of “Yes, the Gods are working in my life” examples. But as it’s not yet a done deal, I’ll hold off. It’s pretty certain, though.)

I’m more exhausted than usual, and I couldn’t figure out why until I sat down and wrote out a list of everything priestess-ish that I did this week. So, my week went as follows. Keep in mind that I do actually work full time in the corporate world…

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“Homecoming”, by Seanan McGuire

Last year I came across this short story by Seanan McGuire. I had seen it around, and several people strongly suggested that I read it, but when I took a look at it, it seemed mostly to be about football. While I actually have a lot of fond memories  high school football games (I played in the playing in the marching band), what I didn’t get was the connection was to Freya. Luckily I made myself reread it, and it’s been one of my favorite short stories ever since.

If you work with a God whose realm includes death or battle, I recommend that you read it. If you work with the Norse gods or the Morrigan, in particular, I recommend that you read it. Who knew mythology had anything to do with football?

(You can find the entire short story here. I’m also posting the entire thing below the cut, because I never trust that links will last.)

Continue reading

TOO MUCH TO DO: The saga of an overworked polytheist

I had meant to do my “Why Freya makes me cry” post, but this is what came out instead (though they are not entirely mutually exclusive). I’m just one among many overworked people, I know. I’ll keep my bitching to a minimum.

Currently, my responsibilities, both real and perceived, are as follows (not necessarily in order of importance):

  1. Do Freya stuff. Subcategories: blog about Her. Blog about Heathen/interfaith topics associated with Her. Continue to collect resources about Her. Touch base with Her daily and post Her Love Notes. Journey to Her, ideally 2x a month. Continue to research Her, both on an academic level and on a UPG level. Continue to practice trancing Her. Do misc. priestessing on Her behalf, as necessary.
  2. Help run the VC (a group dedicated to the Vanir, which I helped found lo! those many years ago). Subcategories: organize and run of 2-3 events a year, including publicizing events and bring in newbies. Shake hands/kiss babies. Get trained up in the various Vanatru practices that EmberVoices puts together.
  3. Help run SB Heathens (Norse focused group). Subcategories: plan, publicize, and run 1-3 events a year; contact newbies. (Not as much of the shaking hands/kissing babies involved here, thank Gods.)
  4. PantheaCon 2015. Subcategories: Plan “Facets of Freya” rit/panel for PCon 2015 (Contact all of the Freya-type people I know; nail a few of the interested parties down to a commitment (heh, nailing!); help them all get along and communicate clearly; put together a blurb to submit; research, write, and practice to actually make it happen). Decide if and how the Love Notes should happen and mobilize people for it. Decide if and how a Freya Blot will happen. Help plan and run a Hellenic ritual, topic TBD. Finish period Viking outfit. Deal with various and sundry other things that will pop up between now and then. Also, start to worry about the nebulous “connections” and “messages” that Zeus wants me to handle for him at the Con.
  5. Do other Zeus stuff. Subcategories: Check in with Zeus 1x a month; pass on various messages to people in our Greek group. Help publicize Greek events. Do a lot of hand shaking/baby kissing; search out and chat up possible new Hellenes. Help plan, publicize, and run the Symposium in Sept.. Research and memorize a good, easy to remember yet powerful invocation for Zeus. Continue my Ancient Greek academic research. Start planning Poseidon campout and ritual. Did I mention doing a bunch of meet ‘n greet work with possible Hellenes? I don’t think I mentioned that one enough. Attend any new, Hellenic-focused events I come across. Shake hands, kiss babies.
  6. Blogs. Subcategories: Keep up with Heathen blogs. Keep up with Hellenic blogs. Keep up with various polytheist blogs. Seek out new ones to read.
  7. Odin stuff. Subcategories: Avoid talking shit about Odin. Review runes. Plot up rune reviewing plan, likely a year in length. Contact  man formerly known as Hobbit to continue Freya/Odin info swap. Continue to discuss runes with the bevy of Odinpeople I’m surrounded with. Make a new rune set because the ones I have not perfect for my purposes. Avoid avoiding Odin. I should also probably set up a journeying schedule for Him, as well.
  8. Refine my journeying practice.
  9. Continue to honor the Vanir.
  10. Ancestors. Subcategories: Continue to honor and deepen my relationship with my Ancestors. Journey to my Hall and learn from them. Probably need to schedule that as well. Refine daiy worship practices.
  11. Interfaith work. Subcategories: Keep attending Berkeley-based interfaith events with my Morrigan priestess co-conspirator. Help plan, publicize, make contacts, and shake hands/kiss babies for Polytheist discussion group, which ideally will be starting in September. Continue to build relationships with various non-Heathen groups in the area:
  12. CAYA. Subcategories: continue with Aspirants class, reading and homework. Attend holidays and full moon events. Continue forming connections and friendships and learning.
  13. SBC. Continue to attend events.
  14. Coru Cathuboda. Continue to attend events and build relationships.
  15. Hrafnar. Subcategories: Attend events. Help do Freya stuff or Vanir stuff as needed. Other stuff TBD.
  16. SF Heathens. Actually attend one or two of their events.
  17. EB Heathens (?). Attend events.
  18. The Troth. Subcategories: Renew subscription. See if there are any topics I can write about and submit articles for. Get on the mailing list again?
  19. Continue to follow and contribute to online Polytheist discussion.
  20. Read Patheos blogs more often or I will catch yet more flak about it from the PanMan.
  21. Catch up on the care and feeding of my warder/girlfriend.
  22. Reach out to the (neglected) Aesir Gods as well.
  23. Attend weekly meetings for my Other Spiritual Practice so that I can do all of this and keep humble about it and not go crazy.

So yeah, I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment; a great and exhausting balancing act. No wonder Hermes loves me so much (or so I’ve been told).

Socializing and “Gods Days”

Every week or so I get a day that ends up being dedicated to the Gods. Sometimes these are planned; most of the time they aren’t. (In the months between my initiation and my dedication, I was having 2-4 days a week turn out to be Gods Days; it was insane.) Today was supposed to be a drinking-cider-and-watching-the-World-Cup kind of day; it turned into a Gods Day.

Today’s God Day started with me cutting out of work early to catch a World Cup game with a friend. This friend happens to be a British Trad Wiccan and a priest of Pan, so after a couple of ciders (and after England was soundly schooled by Uruguay), we argued the pros and cons of practicing Hellenic Recon. I left him as the Japan vs. Greece game was starting (Greece was already being taken to task by Japan) to meet up with another friend.

This friend is a priestess of the Morrigan who has been recently tapped by Odin and Freya, and the only thing she knew about Norse mythology was that we have a Really Big Tree involved somehow, and that Odin has a spear and Freya’s sexy. (‘m simplifying here, but essentially she has no context for dealing with our pantheon.) I’m to be her Freya tutor (yay!); and, as with all of the other Morrigan and Odin types I’ve dealt with recently, the first thing I need to do is to convince her that Freya is actually not that scary. For reals. Personally, my reaction is, “How can anyone not love my Goddess? Love, beauty, sex, money, magic, hunky dead warriors… what’s not to love here?” but there’s always this subsect of people whom I come across who treat Freya like she’s a suspicious package in an airport. So, of course, “somehow” they end up paired up with a Freyasperson so they have the opportunity to work on their phobia. (Not that I have too much room to talk here; I have a similar Odinphobia I’m working through.)

Next up was another friend who’s a multi-trad priestess, though I know her primarily in the Norse context. It turns out that she’s now being visited by the Greeks as well (they’ve been awfully busy recently!), so we discussed that situation and various other projects that she’s working on. While I was there, yet another friend (another Odin/Morrigan girl) showed up and joined us for Thai food.

On the way back home, I got reminded by Zeus that I was due for our monthly check-in, so I did that–while driving, as usual. (I don’t know why it always has to happen on the highway, but outside, watching a cloud-streaked sunset, really is the perfect time to give Zeus a call.) When I got home, for the first hour or so I was writing up that conversation and various ideas from the day, which meant that I didn’t get a chance to do any Freya stuff until 11pm or so. It was all worth it–these days usually are really satisfying. And when there’s actual socializing involved (and cider!) it helps balance things out enormously. Tomorrow’s not a Gods Day (afaik), but this weekend looks to be packed. Ah, well. It’s what I signed up to do, and it really does given me a good excuse to hang out with some really cool people 🙂 I can’t complain.

Morrigan devotion: “The Book of the Great Queen” project

Some days I complain about how crazy busy my life has been since deciding to become more active in my community, and then things like Morpheus’ “The Book of the Great Queen” happens and I remember that I’m exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m embedded in a rich spiritual community of active, devoted priests and priestesses of the Gods, and through my luck, the will of my Goddess, and my hard work, I’m surrounded by cool people working just as hard (or probably harder) in service to their God as I am. It’s a huge blessing, though some days I have a hard time seeing it as one.

Morpheus’s book project, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a way for her, as a priest of the Morrigan, to bridge the gap in resources between the Llewellyn 101-type books on the Morrigan and the academic work currently being done on her and pre-Christian Ireland. She wanted to create the book that she wished had existed each time someone asked her for recommendations on higher level material on the Morrigan. She’d been working on the book on and off for some time,  but this past Spring, the Morrigan finally put her foot down and gave Morpheus a firm deadline. You can find all of the details on her IndieGogo campaign here: The Book of the Great Queen.

Currently, she’s already made her initial goal in her campaign (freeing up the time and buying the materials to finish the book) and her first stretch goal (commissioning some new artwork for the book), and she is working on her second stretch goal: creating a professional studio recording of the poems of the Morrigan, spoken aloud as an vocal incantation–as they would have been spoken, likely to aid in trancework–in both Old Irish and English translations.

The whole project is exactly the kind of thing that I think people who are devoted to their Gods should be doing. I was happy to donate what I could towards it, and I can’t wait see how it all turns out. Morpheus is an active, experienced, and passionate priest of the Morrigan, and the book should be amazing.