Words from the Vanir: In times of trouble…

I’ve been appalled and horrified, but not necessarily surprised, by the events this past weekend in Charlottesville. It’s as if the general public is waking up to the insidious destructive nature of white supremacy here in the US. I feel like it’s a drum I’ve been beating for several years now, and many other Heathens have been beating it much longer–they’re here! they’re destroying our culture and our religion! they’re destroying US, Americans, as a people, Heathens and Christians and Jews and Muslims alike! And it’s a tiny bit of a relief to finally hear from public figures that they see this too, and that they, too, are horrified. Or at least most of them are. (Our president the laughingstock is another matter entirely.)

I’ve been reading FB and news sources and other people’s blogs to the point that I’m actually getting physically nauseous most of the day, every day. And I get some hope from some of the responses of public figures, but I still feel so much fear. What is going wrong where that this even had the possibility of happening? Why aren’t the police cracking down on this at least as harshly as they would on BLM groups or any other group of protestors? Who fucked up where and why haven’t they rectified it already?? That in itself makes me more sick than any single action or post by some jackass neo-Nazi ever could.

So I’ve sat and stressed about it for four days now. Today I actually came down with a head cold and said enough was enough. I can’t handle the stress anymore by myself. So I turned to my Gods. That’s what They are there for, for me, anyway–strength in times of trouble. “How do I get through this?” I ask. “I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel any more.”

And They answered.

Unsurprisingly, Their answer was a call to arms of its own.

From Freya,

Love! Love them like they’ve never been loved before! Hunt them down and make them feel. Make them realize we are connected. That the hurt they do to others hurts themselves as well. Remind them–forcefully if necessary–that they are not alone. Break their hate with love.

From Freyr,

<gestures to the field of wheat behind him> We reap what we sow. Everything that grows here is something that we have planted, and did not weed out. Americans planted this crop, and now we gain its harvest.

When asked, What should we do? He answers,

Call to Them. You have planted Them, as well, in your fears and your hope. The Deep Ones, the Old Ones, the Many. You have reached out to Them, and They are ready. Call to the ones you need. They are all around–not just here. Not just one place; not just one group.

This is what you have called us to do, to help you in this world of yours, in the plans that you are making and the lives that you are living RIGHT NOW.  The Dark Ones are awake. Pull from their strength. Be guided by their wisdom. Attack with the power of their arms, the fire in their hearts, the beauty of their countenances.  You have asked, and They have come. Connect with them now!

And from Gerd, His jotun wife–ever-practical as always,

Build gardens that are walled, but that connect. Protected, yet connected. A web of connected places, people, groups. Don’t give your enemies a single point to focus on. If they tear down one component in a web, the web itself yet is unhurt and strong. Stand your ground. Make sure your light is on that others can see it. Make sure to meet and talk–to form new connections and make old ones stronger. Also, don’t trust that those in power will do anything with your best interest in mind. Find strength in connections between others, not in the hierarchy of the wealthy and powerful.

And from Njord the peacemaker, the least warlike of the Vanir, who takes care of us without us realizing it.

When you need to escape the battle, accept that there is time needed to heal yourself, and allow yourself to take a break from it all.

Well have I asked, and well have I been answered. Hail the Gods!

Odin musings

So, I started out putting together my handout on the runes, and ended up listening to an hour-long recent interview with Freya Aswynn on a British talk radio podcast. (It turns out she is still really on the ball, though not as actively involved in Heathen things as she had been for, oh, the last 30 years. Also, Freya Aswynn = the first modern Heathen devotional polytheist, eh?) All of which I only did because I was waiting for the WoW client to install on my Windows laptop, but hey–Odin moves in mysterious ways. Such is life of a Heathen on teh Interwebs.

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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 returns, for a bit

And then there’s that moment when She appears out of nowhere, as if She never left, and She blesses me with inspiration and compassion, opportunities and respect. And when I come back home, the house smells of fresh, fragrant roses (not dinner, or burnt popcorn).

Good to have you back, my Lady, if only for a moment. 😉

Freya gold collar

A note on this pic: The gold collar Freya is wearing here is an exact replica of the Färjestad collar I saw when I was in Stockholm at the Historiska Museet (Swedish History Museum).

Regarding Changes In My Higher Power

One of the big changes that I haven’t really touched on much yet is how Freya’s absence has affected my 12-step program. She was my strong foundation in every aspect of my life. Literally. As the 12-step program is at its heart a spiritual program that relies so heavily on an individual’s strong connection with a Higher Power, losing Her feels like it has undercut all of the trust and intimacy work that I’ve done to regain sanity through my program. Ironically, due to my move, I have a new sponsor who has asked me to work the Steps again, and I find myself now on Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to care of God as we understood Him. The is the lynch pin of any 12-step program. The question is, which God is my Higher Power now?

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Who is Queen here, anyway?

Also known as, everything looks better the day after.

Ever have that experience where the Gods put you in situations just to get a reaction out of you? (Granted, the reaction they are going for may be “growth”, but still. Poke the bear until they finally do what you want them to.)

Since posting about the “irreconcilable differences” between Freya, Loki, myself, and my guy, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback. It’s been great to hear other peoples’ stories of having gone through something similar with their gods, or who have seen similar issues between Freya and Loki in the past. It was kind of unusual, actually, that I posted about the drama on the blog. Normally I would have bitched about it to a few close friends and left it at that. But I gut checked before I posted, and got a green light, so… I posted. And like I said, I got quite a bit out of support and knowledge in doing so. (The Gods work in a multiplicity of ways; I can’t say for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this reaction was one of their side goals from this incident.)

In any event, I can now say with some certainly that I know what Freya’s goal was for me out of all of this. I had to accept my role as Queen.

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