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?

Weekly Round-Up (9/27/15)

Time for my weekly round-up, in which I get to play “But why am I so tired?” This is why I am so tired:

Saturday: Day-long commitment for my 12-step program.
Sunday & Monday: Prepped first “Intro to Heathenry” class; started several Patheos posts
Tuesday: Co-led “Intro to Heathenry” class, with my Rokkatru BF. (Missed my weekly program meeting to do so. Bah, scheduling.)
Wednesday: Rehearsal for my ADF grove’s Mabon ritual
Thursday: Wrote and submitted entirely new Patheos column (revise, edit, add pics, etc.) Also, libated every single one of the gods, ancestors, and landvaettir that I work with. (This includes three altars, 5 different kinds of booze, several trees, and 10 or so shot glasses)
Friday: Was swept off my feet and taken to a lovely sushi dinner by the BF
Saturday: Slept a lot. Also spent some more time with the BF watching the newest Doctor Who episode (BF, yay!; Dr. Who, eh.)
Sunday: ADF ritual: Rehearsal, set up, long ritual, tear down, and chatting afterwards. Came home and crashed. Finally caught up on this week’s Project Runway. (neat leather corset and jacket!)

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An Old-Fashioned Blot for Freya

Despite the countless pages of modern Heathen rituals I have seen (and participated in) over the years, and despite the fact that I instigated and headed the extensive five-Freya-priestess “Facets of Freya” ritual, Heathen ritual was never meant to be a big, choreographed affair. Heathen rituals, as such, were usually done at home, for the inhabitants’ ancestors, local nature spirits, and occasionally the Gods (depending on the family). Luckily, old-fashioned Heathen ritual does, in fact, lend itself well to my preferred style of ritual.

When I am in charge of a ritual, almost all of it comes from the heart and off script, if I can at all manage it. My main goals in most ritual are to interact with people one-on-one and share with them the love I have for my Gods. It’s not fancy, but it works; and all is usually good. However, this means I don’t have a lot of ritual written down, ready to hand out when needed. Also, this sometimes means my rituals are shorter than planned, or I miss including an epithet or myth or really cool turn of phrase that I’d thought of. So, when a friend came to me asking for ideas for a blot for Freya, I decided it was finally time sit sit down and write Her one.

The format is pretty basic and can be used for any deity, and you can add in more info or pare down the flowery bits as needed:

Outline:

  1. Set space
  2. Welcome attendees
  3. Explain purpose of event
  4. Talk about Freya/Tell one of her myths/Wax poetic about Her
  5. Fill a horn with fruity alcoholic beverage and toast her
  6. Pass the horn around to group
  7. Hail her one last time, emptying the remaining liquid out for the landspirits

Here’s my version, for Freya.

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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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