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
http://www.valerieherron.com/

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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Deep thoughts: Priest/ess version

So I get pinged now and again about what it is/would be like to have that component of your primarily deity actually present in your life. For example, to be a devotee of the Morrigan’s and to be  an active solider. Or to work for Zeus and be a CEO or politician. Or to follow Njord and be a tradesperson or a fisherman. Or to be a Freyaswoman… and to be in a relationship. As I’m currently not in any kind of romantic/sexual relationship (an unusual circumstance, but true nonetheless), I have to wonder–what part of Her stuff am I missing? I’ve only had the one relationship since my actual dedication (and it was powerful, but, for a variety of reasons, short), and I’m wondering what it is actually that I’m missing. (Aside from the usual benefits of a relationship 🙂 )

*shrug* Time will tell, but I wonder…. how much of our understanding of our primary entities can we truly “get” if we are not participating in their area of expertise?

Dedication Contract renewal, January 2015

I realized, while going through and organizing the Dedication process stuff I went through last year, that the reason I am doing all of that analysis work now is because She wants me to finish integrating it within myself as well. A new year, a new rendering of who I am and what it means to me to be a woman dedicated to a Goddess.

Dedication to Freya–Contract renewal, January 2015 (With a few minor updates and revisions)
Freya, I offer you my dedication. I stand here as your child, as your intermediary between Vanaheim and Midgard, the realms of the living and the realms of the dead.

I ask you to guide my way here in this world. You are aware of and understand so much more than I ever can, and from my many years of working with you, I know that you love me more fully and deeply than I can comprehend. You have given me gifts I would not have thought to ask for; you have fulfilled wishes I did not know I had. You continue to help me love myself and to see beauty in all things in the world. You have gifted me with many great experiences, and you have walked me through an initiation that has expanded and transformed the capacity of my heart.

I know that the gifts that you have given to me have been freely given. But I also know that I owe you in return.

I offer to help facilitate your voice and your presence here on earth. I will continue to spread word of your gifts and mysteries and to promote the Vanir, the Aesir, and Heathenry where I can. With your help and guidance, I will strive to be an example of a loving, compassionate priestess in a healthy God-relationship. I hope to become a living example that a relationship with you or any of the Gods can be one of the greatest blessings that we can receive.

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Letter to a New Spirit Worker

Tough love for a tough path, and becoming more true for me the further along this road I get.

The Road, the Walker, and What Comes Next

Dear you,

I can’t imagine what you are experiencing right now because your growth process is unlike any others. This is the first and greatest and perhaps most difficult lesson of all: You walk this path alone. You will have allies and companions and perhaps even friends along the way who will offer support and care but you will always ultimately be alone. This truth is difficult to manage but becoming comfortable with solitude will give you the mental space required to puzzle out the challenges that come ahead. Your longing for teachers and mentors is not just a desire for guidance or meaning or even instruction; it is a desire for validation and empirical support as well as the comfort of someone pointing out what you have done well and what you need to improve on. This will not happen. Whatever teachers and mentors this path makes available to…

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A Statement of Hospitality, and Frith

EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

With the recent widespread news of the murders of black men by police officers who are not even brought to trial, there has been a combination of outraged voices, tired and despairing voices, victim blaming, and silence. I wish I believed any of this is new, but I know it’s really not. It may be news to those of us with enough privilege to have wandered through a safer world until now, but I know from the discussions I have had with those who don’t share my advantages that the only thing that’s really new is our ability to spread awareness about it.

Awareness is good. Let the word continue to spread until nobody can conveniently ignore it anymore. But awareness is not enough by itself. We can’t just know, we have to do something.

Closer to home, it has been said in the community recently that pagans…

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Initiation–the fun just keeps coming

So, one of the things that I am learning–somewhat belatedly, I’d like to point out–is that intense initiations, regardless of the tradition, often have powerful, long-lasting, real-world side effects.

To wit: Almost exactly a year after my initiation by Freya, I am leaving NorCal (my home of the last 14 years); selling or otherwise discarding the vast majority of my belongings; and moving back to my hometown to live with my parents. As a good friend pointed out, I’m literally returning to the womb. (Or, as close to womb as you can get at age 38.) Talk about your cycles of death and rebirth. Sigh.

(Bear with me;  I seem to wander, but really, I do wrap back around to my main point.)

There are upsides and downsides to having your main religious/spiritual tradition be a reconstructed religion. On the upside, yay! working with ancient deities and adapting ancient worship patterns to life in the modern world! Exciting! I am working with a organic, coherent, time-tested, fully functional spiritual tradition, working with deities who are at least 1300 years old. Talk about being legit. (My inner hipster pagan/folklorist does a happy dance.)

On the other hand… while the deities and practices I work with/draw from were part of a coherent religious system at one point, we don’t actually know most of the details of that system. The Vikings wrote on gravestones and left some raunchy graffiti, but they were primarily an oral culture, and unfortunately, not much else got written down. Which means that Heathenry, my primary trad, doesn’t really have a strong foundation of experience to draw from to support those of us who go through initiations or dedications of some kind. So, we don’t know what those people need and what to tell them to expect pre- and post-initiation.

A lot of people in my area, being multi-trad of one kind or another (either with some form of Wiccan, or another recon group like the Kemetics, or part of a living trad like Santeria) all argue that, well, between the various trads currently being practiced, we have a good general idea of how this process works. And to a certain extent, I agree. Some spiritual experiences are universal; then again, some are specific to context of the culture that fostered them. I’m not going to argue that I know which ones are universal and which ones Heathen-specific, Vanir-specific, or even Freya-specific. (Not yet, at least. Hopefully my experiences and those of others–Embervoices’ experiences being a great example–can help to shed some light on this.)

So, back to my original point: my Freya initiation. Side effects, which may or may not be due to the initiation process, have been: a formal dedication to my Lady, witnessed by my community. A year of almost obsessive community building among various pagan groups. An accumulation of new spirit guides, protectors, etc. Random situations in which I get to do Freya priestessing (for example, a FB message I got out of the blue about how to properly honor a Heathen-identified warrior at his funeral). Paring down my belongings to the highly valuable, the emotionally memorable, and the bare essentials–an intense, visceral exercise in finding out specifically what it is that I value. Getting my finances in order, at pain of death. Finding out how far I am willing to go to do this priestess thing right (apparently, 2000 miles to the east, where current consensus says that a Freya priestess is needed.) Temporarily giving up one of my most treasured possessions–my adorable punk of a young male red Maine Coon cat–so that he can be somewhere where more of his needs can get met. Focusing more on family and my ancestors. Walking/blazing my own path. Being happy.

And more will be revealed. A recent conversation I had with a friend sums it up well:

Her: “I’m fascinated to see what you end up doing next!”

Me: “Me too!” 😉  Because, really, I have no idea where she’ll put me next.

USAF accepts/adds Asatru and Heathenry as choices

I think this finally went through a few months ago, but I hadn’t realized it was only accept in the Air Force. WTH?

facingthefireswithin

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