Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seasons come and go, and so do we.

I was at a used bookstore today, looking for any interesting occult or pagan books to add to my collection.  I came across one called “A Pagan Christmas” or something like that.  It was the usual sort of thing, with descriptions of what pagan traditions and symbols are still present in the modern-day North American Christmas.  I didn’t buy it, but it reminded me of something that has been bothering me: Sven and I aren’t celebrating holidays enough.

We did Jul right, but we were in the middle of moving and we didn’t put up a tree or any decorations.   December 25 doesn’t have any real meaning to us, but we kind of neglected the 12 days of Jul.  I celebrated the Spring Equinox alone, libating the Old Man and the grove of trees with a bottle of local Arizona wine.  This isn’t enough.  Granted it’s only been two holidays, but I feel like I’m being one of these joyless Christians who decides that most holidays are “too pagan” for them and don’t celebrate, failing to replace them with anything else.

Resolved: To do Summer Solstice in a big way. 

In sad news, Cal Cotton the Hornsmythe, aka The Moor, died of brain cancer today.  He was only in his early 60s.  We knew Cal from the Viking Fest at Vista, where he was always there in his Moorish costume, selling horns, skins, utensils, antlers, and anything made of same.  He was friendly and funny and talented.  We have a number of fox tails we bought from him because the cats love them, and our drinking horns were from his shop too.  He will be missed.  What is remembered, lives.

Also, thoughts and positive energies for Morning Glory Zell.  The Church of All Worlds will be holding a celebration of her life while she is still with us.  The event, called The Party Of Her Life will take place at their home in northern California this Friday. 

The sun rises, the sun sets, the seasons turn.  All else is transitory.  Blessed be.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy spring!

Things are going really well for us.  Our raised-bed gardening is behind schedule, but we hope to get more work done this weekend.  The best-laid plans and all that, but I'm hoping/envisioning us laying down more weed-paper (a fabric that suppresses weed growth; we're not rolling blunts here) and raising up the potato box some.

I continue to be amazed by the Old Man.

This is the 30 foot saguaro on our property.  See those holes?  They've been hollowed out over the years by generations of birds, and lined with mud and twigs.  When a saguaro falls, the resulting cup is referred to as a "saguaro shoe".  I saw a woodpecker flying out of one of the holes, and found myself exclaiming a mantra from the Ekklesia Antinoi, "This is where life comes from!"  The desert is teeming with life, and I can't for a second understand why anyone would consider it a dead or unmoving ecosystem.



This is our potato box.  Our potatoes are growing in well, and we need to add more boards for height.  The theory is that as the potato plant grows (you start them from potato eyes), you keep raising the level of soil.  By the time the plants are tall, you'll have 50-100 lbs of potatoes.  So far so good.

I've also started an herb garden in our Arizona room (an enclosed porch).  I planted my cilantro and basil from seeds, which I now regret as they are coming in so slowly while my rosemary, which started as a plant, is going gangbusters.  I'll pot my chocolate mint and kitchen sage today.

Yesterday was the spring equinox, so as usual I changed the altar cloth, gave little glasses of wine to both the ancestors and the Norse gods, then went outside with my bottle of wine to pour out libations to the Old Man and the spirits in our grove of trees.  

The weather here is beautiful in southern Arizona.  I'm enjoying it before it turns into the great outdoor barbecue by May.  But that is of course part of the cycle, and overall the heat isn't that bad, not compared to the steambath that is the east coast every summer.  

May your spring be full of promise!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lazy as heck

Holy moley.  Another 2 months.  However at this point I have a lot to post about.

1. My grandmother, my last remaining grandparent, died at the age of 95.  This is story enough on its own, but it also pulled me away a day early from....

2. Pantheacon, which was memorable enough on its own.  I've now been away for 10 days so far from....

3. The homestead, where herbs and potatoes are now planted, the raised gardening beds are marked out, and the M. family is ready to give me a few of my first chickens.

Inhale, exhale, and I'll get back to this soon.  No, really.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So much water under the bridge

It's been TWO MONTHS since I last posted.  I'll admit, part of it was my being busy and part was a case of the yucks.  I had quite the argument with a member of the San Diego kindred, then one with someone here in the village, and it kind of killed my motivation. 

Nonetheless, I'm here in Arizona now, with cats, so my residence is almost official. 

We had our first Jul here already.  Sven, D and I had our blot on top of one of the outbuildings, watching the sun set over Picacho Peak.  After that we had a Jul dinner that couldn't be beat, with a magnificent goose, red cabbage, cucumber salad, a pressed salmon that IMHO was the best thing on the table, followed by cookies and rice pudding.  We forgot we had raspberries for the "red berries with custard" used as a shibboleth in WW2 to tell if someone was a German or a Dane.  Because only Danes can pronounce it.

Also, I'm sitting back and watching people fighting about polytheism on Tumblr.  Seriously?  I go there to look at giant robot models and pictures of Warhammer 40k fluff.  If you pursue your causes on Tumblr, you have more problems than I do, sunshine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ancestress

 
Someone pointed out (on Tumblr of all places) that the anatomy of the various Mother Goddess statuettes make perfect sense if you are a woman looking down at her own body and using it as a model.
 
When I lived in Mexico, I saw unknown amounts of anonymous ecclesial art that was known to have been created by nuns.
 
Now it also may be that the cave paintings of Lascaux were done by women, because the shape of the handprints are indicative of female hands.
 
 
Our ancestresses silently, deliberately, emerge, and they were artists.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

So you refuse to honour your ancestors.....

"I can't worship my ancestors!  I won't EVER worship my ancestors because my family is abusive!"

I'm sorry to hear that, but that's all the more reason to do so.  The "ancestors" are way more than this guy and his family:


You see, THIS guy's ancestors came from Ireland 300 years ago.  You probably never thought of that.  His family is a bunch of drunken, spousebeating types who call themselves Christian with no knowledge of the Bible (their preacher discourages it). 

What you don't realize is that 1,000 years ago, this was their foremother:

 

But if you don't venerate your ancestors, you'll never meet her.  She's appalled at what her family has become, and her heart breaks for what they've put you through.  She would love to meet you in your dreams and assure you that she knows your name and wants to teach you things that the other members of the family would laugh off, at best.

Oh well.  Your loss.  I hope the hissy fit comforts you as much as she could.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reading lists

So, you want to get into heathenry, but aren't sure where to start.  I thought I'd recommend some of my favourite go-to sources for the benefit of the newbie.

Obviously, you should start with the Eddas.  What translation you use is up to you; I refer to quite a number of them.  Bear in mind that they are all sources written down long after Christianity, and the amount of impact this has on the telling of the stories is a matter of debate, doctoral dissertations and angry online forum discussions. 

L. Winifred Faraday has a two-part analysis of the Eddas that is available for free off Gutenberg Project.  I've only read some of it, but what I've seen is all right and it's popular. 

The Eddas are only a jumping off point, though.  After that it's time to hit the library and read anything by Hilda Ellis Davidson.  She has spent her entire academic career writing about northern religion, although she herself is an Anglican.  Start with her famous Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, then Roles of the Northern Goddess.  Roles in particular has become what I look for in books about Norse religion, tying together mythology and archaeology.  It's through archaeology that we get much of our confirmation of how the Norse viewed and worshiped the gods.

An older source that is fascinating to read is Benjamin Thorpe's Northern Mythology.  What happens with this book is that he recounts the legends as found in the Eddas, which by this point in your reading might be feeling a bit repetitive.  What makes this book neat, though, is that the rest of the book is a survey of folk practices, stories and proverbs that show how Norse lore carried through into beliefs in Scandinavia and northern Germany.  Trolls, elves, nissemen and other nature beings never left popular consciousness, which I find significant since the gods largely did.

If you just want to look up everything about a deity or figure from the lore, the encyclopedic resource I turn to is Norse Mythology by John Lindow.  He features not only gods and heroes but objects (weapons, animals and household items are often given names in the lore).  There is also a massive bibliography, which is where you can start taking notes on other books and journal articles to track down and read.

You should also bookmark The Norse Mythology Blog at http://www.norsemyth.org.  The author is a university professor, writer and teacher whose whole life is dedicated to promoting Norse myth and correct information about the Norse people.

I'm a little hesitant to promote the Temple of our Heathen Gods website (http://www.heathengods.com).  Their founder and lead godhi recently was arrested, tried and made to pay reparations to his elderly mother after embezzling from her for some years.  This isn't libel because it's true.  The page, however, has a library of 100 useful books in PDF format and information on beginning a heathen life.

Finally, there are accounts of Norse religion as observed by others.  Ibn Fadlan, the Arab trader immortalized in "The 13th Warrior" is a necessary read.  Tacitus has some things to say, as do all the Christian missionaries horrified by heathen religious practices.  Whenever you come across a reference to the Vikings battling named historical figures such as Charlemagne, make a note to start reading about Charlemagne, why he wanted to conquer the Norse and what his peers thought about them and their practices.

If this seems like a lot of work, which it is, remember that this is the form of paganism referred to as "the religion with homework".  Learn to research, because it's through careful study and writing about the Norse and the lore that we keep advancing as a religion.