Updating

Time to catch up 🙂 A few things:

The Strong Roots and Wide Branches Indiegogo campaign was fully funded! We even hit our stretch goal. Yay! Almost time to fly back to Cali. It will be weird not leading an main program rituals, but I’m looking forward to finally having a polytheist shrine at PantheaCon!

There have been some changes at Patheos.com. The site was bought by a larger company and recently they laid down a new contract on all of the bloggers on the site that included being able to take bloggers’ content and change its format (for example, into a quiz).  A lot of bloggers have been up in arms about it; a few have left. I will likely be leaving soon as well. I have been needing to cut down a bit on my public blogging regardless 😦 I will still be blogging at Huginn’s Heathen Hof either way.

Also, I think I will officially lay my “30Days of Njord” to rest. I did my best; time to move on.

 

Polytheist Hospitality Suite at PantheaCon

Sorry for the lack of writing this year, everybody. I’m in a fallow year, and I’ve been cutting back on various spiritual community responsibilities and focusing on personal spiritual ones, instead.

In any event, I do have one community event that I’m extremely excited about. I’ve been wanting to host a public shrine hospitality suite at PantheaCon for years, and this year it’ll finally be happening! (Because of this, and of it being my fallow year, though, I won’t be presenting anything on the main schedule at PCon this year.) Our Suite’s main focus is creating public shrine space for several different pantheons for con-goers to attend. It’s very loosely based on what the Coru Cathubodua have been doing with their Temple of the Morrigan suite. We’ll also be running a few rituals and classes as well.

Because renting and running a Suite is expensive, however, we’ve started an Indiegogo  fundraiser campaign. We have a ton of perks, from hand-crafted goods to ways to be involved in the suite even if you can’t attend.

Here are some of our perks:

1. Opening Ceremony: Have your name be included in our opening ritual; be listed in the suite as a donor; and receive a SRWB badge ribbon. (Minus the badge, granted, but it’s cool to have.) ($10 donation)

2. Opening Ceremony with Video: Same as #1, but you’ll also receive a video file of the entire Opening Ceremony. ($25 donation)

3. Libation Offering: This is my favorite perk, and really in the spirit of polytheist practice. It’s also a great way to do priest/ess work remotely and actively be a part of the work we’re doing at PCon. For this perk, you will get to choose a bottle of alcohol to be placed on the altar of your deity or pantheon IN YOUR NAME, so that visitors can offer to YOUR gods in your name. You’ll also get the video, mention,and badge ribbon. You’ll get to specify vodka, rum, whiskey, mead, or red wine. The alcohol will be a popular mid-level brand. You can even specify which brand, if you want.) ($50 donation)

There are also hand-carved antler runes, handmade leather crowns, and felted skulls. Please check our our page and donate if you can!

Strong Roots and Wide Branches Polytheist Hospitality Suite at PantheaCon 2017

PantheaCon 2016

Here’s my PantheaCon schedule this year:

Things I am in (note the “all late night, all trancey” theme, for the most part)

  • Friday 11PM “All Acts of Love and Pleasure”, Cedar/Pine
  • Saturday 11am “Njord Blot”, Heathen Hospitality Suite, 2nd floor 
  • Saturday 11pm “Facets of Freya”, San Jose/Santa Clara
  • Sunday 9pm: “Matronae Oracular Devotional”, Oak

The All Acts of Love and Pleasure ritual, run by Yeshe Rabbit Matthews’ CAYA group, is meant as a substitute for the usual Friday night Pomba Gira ritual. The structure is “person presents her or his goddess, followed by a danceable song”. There’s about 7 or 8 of us presenting various love and sex deities (Ishtar, Oshun, Venus, etc.). I’m presenting Freya, and, knowing Her, I will most likely be carrying Her throughout the ritual. I didn’t realize at the time that I was asked that this was supposed to be the replacement for Pomba, else I might have been a bit more hesitant to accept a part. Still, when I asked Freya about it, She was pleased. “I shall come down glowing and golden!” She said–or something to that effect, anyway. So the facet of Freya which will show up here will probably be along the lines of Brisingamen Freya or Self-Love Freya.

The Njord Blot is a last-minute addition to the Heathen Hospitality Hall schedule, as He has been poking at me quite strongly recently and I thought He should have a blot. It’ll be informal and, depending on how many people show up, short.

The Facets of Freya ritual is our follow-up to last year’s Facets ritual, which I have saved on the blog (tagline facets of freya). It will follow essentially the same format as the one from last year, but the facets which will be presented are different this year. This year’s facets will draw from the darker sides of Freya–the seidhkona (“witch”); the blot gythia (“leader of the sacrifices”); the survivor (Gullveig, and Freya post-Ragnarok); Mardoll (“She who weeps for Her lover”); and the ever-popular Chooser of the Slain (valkyrie Freya!). Our tagline is, as ever: “Five Freyas, no waiting”.

The last one I’m officially in this year is River Devora and Rynn Fox’s Matronae Oracular Devotional. I’m only on the warding staff, so I’m not as familiar with how this will be set up this year. However, I was on River’s test crew when she was originally hammering out this bit of ritual tech, so I have some idea what to expect. As a side note, I think “the Matronae” as such are making a comeback, as it seems like many European goddesses (Germanic and Celtic ones, in particular) may have gone through a phase in which they were worshipped as part of the Matronae (or maybe an earlier version of the goddesses were part of the Matronae) and so, in a sense, parts of the Matronae have been worshipped more and more frequently over the last 30 years or so. Perhaps the “collective” Matronae entity is finally waking up now. It’s fun stuff to experience/ponder, though I’m happy I’m not trancing in this ritual!)

Things I would like to attend (but let’s be honest, I usually end up wherever the Gods throw me):
Too numerous to list, honestly. Ideally (in no particular order): anything about Heathenry; anything about the Greeks; anything about trance; anything about folklore; anything about horned gods; anything about love goddesses; anything by Shauna Aura Knight, John Beckett, Hrafnar (Diana Paxon’s kindred), the Vanic Conspiracy, Pandemos, or ADF; and anything else put on by anybody I know. (If the event is before 11AM, it’s unlikely I’ll make it; see the aforementioned all late-night trance rituals this year.) Every year, I spend so much time plotting out all of the rituals and workshops I’d like to attend, but I rarely end up at a quarter of them. I try to let it go and not stress about it. C’est la vie.

Nov 2015 misc

(Grabbing the rare opportunity to do some personal blogging.)

A Miscellany:

–One of the best things about having a Hela-dedicated boyfriend is that he is very tolerant of my whims. For example, while we were perusing the post-Halloween sale the other day, I found a random Nerf Thor’s Hammer. I carried it around with me through the store and occasionally smote him with it, yelling “Jotun!” While neither he nor Loki were amused, he tolerated it. I did get a lot of eye rolls, though. (I thought it was hilarious. Yay Heathen humor!)

–Speaking of my guy, he’s started a #30DaysofHela project on his blog, here.

–I”f you build it, they will come.” It’s been almost a year since I landed here, but now I finally have Heathens coming out of the woodwork. Here’s hoping they decide to stay and help form a local Heathen community.

–I had a nice short chat with my Lady this evening at a local park. I usually stop and sit by the river, but tonight I felt drawn to go into the extensive rose garden, which, like the rest of the park, is open 24/7. I don’t know why I was surprised to find Her there–it is a very popular location, with thousands of beautiful rose bushes of all different varieties, surrounding a picturesque wedding location–but there She was. She was in full Garden mode, a side to Her that I hadn’t seen previously but which makes perfect sense. (I get the feeling that the Midwest is really not Her natural habitat, not the way that it is Thor’s, for example. It kind of feels like She’s “just visiting”, or only loosely anchored here. I have no problems finding Her in California, though.)

She said:

Look for me in the roses.
Look for me in the thorn
and the prick;
In blood spilt and tears wept.
Look for me in the dark desires
seething in your soul
Which will never see the light of day.

Look for me in the garden.

I also asked Her about Her and Freyr’s obsession with pork, and She answered that pigs/boars were the most fertile and fruitful of animals, hence the connection. (She didn’t mention the tastiness factor, but I think that was assumed.)

–PantheaCon: The Facets of Freya ritual has been accepted again for next year’s Con. We’ll be late Saturday night, opposite a host of other sex- or death- related rituals and workshops, unfortunately. We’ll likely have a slight shake up in the specific Facets being presented and in the people in the ritual. Also, on one of the other nights at Con, I’ll be in EmberVoices’ Thrones of Vanaheim ritual, part TBD. I’m not yet sure how similar/different the Thrones ritual is going to be from the Facets ritual, aside from focusing on the four main Vanir instead of just Freya, but Freyr’s been heavy on my mind lately and I’ve been wanting to participate in a ritual for Him.

–SPOILER ALERT: I finally read the first Rick Riordan book in his Magnus Chase (Norse Mythology) series. I like it! He portrays the Norse gods with less superficiality than he did the Greeks. Granted, the age of the title character is much older than Percy was when the first Percy Jackson series started. And OMG was I excited when I found out who Magnus’ deific father was!!! Not a hard choice, I tell you. 😉 Given Riordan’s general dislike of the popular jock/warrior types, though, I guess it’s not too surprising. Also, he portrayed Freya in a much more positive light than he did Aphrodite (which honestly, I had been a tad worried about). And Loki is his complex, fabulous self throughout the whole book, doing classic Loki things. (Though how Riordan could ever have passed up a chance to utilize Loki to his fullest extent, I’ll never know–it’s like Loki was tailor-made for Riordan’s writing style. I guess this isn’t too surprising given that Riordan has stated that his original love was Norse mythology, not Greek mythology, and that he’s been wanting to write a Norse series for years.) My only real complaints so far are that this series is only set up to be a trilogy, like his Egypt series, and he’s sticking to his usual hero-plus-two-sidekicks vs a righteous-yet-misguided-compatriot formula. I’d have liked to have seen him use a larger central group with more deities represented. Ah, well. And the family connection to the Greek books via Annabeth Chase was really unnecessary and seems a bit forced. Every single thing that Riordan writes does not need to be tied so closely to the Percy Jackson universe. Also, Ratatosk will forevermore be known as The Squirrel, 🙂 It’s eerie, in many places Riordan describes a given god or other entity using pretty much exactly the same words as I would: for example, Ratatosk is “that shit-talking squirrel”, whom Riordan uses to great effect.

October 2015 update–Public stuff *all day* up in this joint

It’s been a month of all public things, all of the time. This is what happens when I put my head down and just keep doing what’s put in front of me to do.

Started the month with a Patheos post that unexpectedly went viral. Who knew that an article about the pros and cons of dedicating to a deity would be so popular? I honestly don’t think I said much that was completely new or novel. (Would that it were also one of my better written ones. C’est la vie.)

I followed this with my first public Heathen ritual in the area, Winternights. Winternights went well, even though the boyfriend was only able to attend the last round of the sumbel. It was a great small crowd with plenty of food and a lot of people trying out a heathen ritual for the first time.

Then I did my second Patheos column of the month, on ancestor veneration. (Which as not nearly as popular. Maybe people are just ancestor-ed out by now; I totally understand.)

Then I finally fixed the settings on my email from The Troth and was able to do an intro post there, and got some great suggestions and connections for my area. Heathens! Near me! Woot!

And I found out that not only did my Facets of Freya panel get accepted for PCon 2016, I’m also going to be in another Vanic-based ritual run by EmberVoices. And Jason, editor of the Pagan column at Patheos, wants me to be part of a Patheos authors panel at Convocation 2016 (which I’ve never even attended).

And then Sunday night I got an email from the organizer of our CUUPs group that a local reporter wanted to interview some of us for an article for the local paper. One thing led to another, and somehow I (or my altar stuff) ended up being in all of the pics. Good-sized article. For my hometown newspaper. Where many of my very Lutheran relatives live.

I hadn’t realized when this all started that newspapers need to use my given name and not my pagan name.

So now I’m outed to anyone who actually reads our local newspaper (which, considering the age of my relatives in town, will be all of my relatives.) So while part of me is like, woot! I’m in the paper!, the other part of me is like, Well, no more broom closet for you….  At least my very Christian grandfather is dead. I can deal with “religious disappointment face” from anyone but him. 😦 At this point he is a beloved ancestor and I don’t think he cares much one way or the other what I get up to, religion-wise, as long as I remember him. Funny how things work out. When I left home to go to college 20 years ago, I never dreamed I be back here now, staying with my parents, and appearing face-first in an article on local pagans. It boggles the mind.

I’ve been handed so many opportunities since I moved–as if given to me on a silver platter. So much less stressful than if I had tried to orchestrate it all.

A year and a half ago I couldn’t imagine actually blogging for a real blog. Or starting my own Heathen group. Or leading Heathen events solo. Or organizing a ritual for PCon. Or being willing to be interviewed by the media for anything pagan that also included my given name. Or moving back home and dating a Hellboy. 😉 (I couldn’t imagine moving back to my hometown, period.) But here I am.

In program, we say that we need to change our reaction to what the Gods give us from “No, but…” to “Yes, thanks.” i.e., be open to what’s given to us and not have a hissy fit trying to force what we think should be happening instead. At this point, all I’m doing ischecking my fear-based reactions and just saying “yes” and trying not to have any expectations of what will happen afterwards. I’m completely serious when I say that I have no idea what will happen next. And that’s okay. I just hope whatever happens nexts involves more contact with my Gods/ancestor/landwights, my boyfriend, my friends and my growing community out here, and my family.

So far, so good?

Freya and Fertility, my experiences with

boar piglets 4

Let’s talk about fertility, shall we?

Freya has a bunch of facets. One of the ones that has always been hardest for me to grasp, spiritually, has been the fertility aspect. I know it’s there–one of her symbols is the sow, which apparently in the day symbolized fertility for humans and animals (not plants–that’s Freyr). But whenever this was pointed out, I hemmed and hawed, because that just does not fit into my view of Her. I mean, She’s not a goddess of marriage or domesticity or children, for crying out loud. She’s just not the Mother Goddess type. There’s nothing in the myths or the sagas about her interacting with children, or being motherly in any way. In theory, depending on the sources, you can argue that she two daughters, but both of their names (Hnoss and Gersemi) are kennings for “treasure”, so in my mind, that’s still suspect. She is called on in a few bits of folklore here and there to help with ease in childbirth, but then again, what major goddess in any pantheon isn’t?

She’s a goddess of sex and power and money and essentially doing whatever the Hel She wants to, whenever She wants to do it. (Okay, so the sex thing can sometimes lead to fertility–true. But I’m pretty sure that’s not why Freya does it.)

This is all mainly to say that I just wasn’t buying the fertility connection. I’ve had this opinion for years–pretty much since I became a Heathen and started paying attention to things like Who was the Goddess of What in Norse mythology. And not much could change my mind on it.

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My (somewhat long) analysis of the Facets ritual and how it went

The ritual was fabulous. Did you know that the whole audience (fifty-four people; almost a full house at 11pm on Sunday) applauded when we finished? I’ve seen that happen a few times, but not very often. Mainly, I see it in rituals in which the audience felt that they were an active part of the ritual and felt like they got out of the ritual all that they had hoped. (Or rather, that’s why I clap at the end of rituals. Who knows why anyone else does, so YMMV.) Also, many people cried–which, if you read the blog, you know is a big sign that Freya Was In.

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