The last few days have been rather busy, and not just in the mundane aspect of my life. I have been meeting with other Pagans in the community, from very unexpected places, and I have been making offers to and dealing with certain spirits very often over the last 3-5 days. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I should mention, if any of it. I’m still not sure.

There is a part of me that still dwells in the old practice of, “To know, to do, to keep silent.” It’s a common practice in Ceremonial Magic and certain aspects of Wicca, and it’s how I was trained; it is something I fight against every time I post something on this journal. Do I know what to speak of, and what to remain silent on? Why should I not speak upon it? To those who work Ceremonial Magic, yes, I know the answer to that last question, but I work much more from the religious end than the magical end of things. More importantly, the less people speak of these things, the less those who might otherwise be called to such work will even know of its existence; in many ways, this leads directly to the cultural appropriation of whatever is available and cobbling it together from mush, which does not often go well, in my experience. If it’s all you’ve got, though, it’s what you do, if you’re being true to the call.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately because it’s been the primary topic of conversation: “doing your own thing,” and finding out there’s a Pagan culture that either does it similarly or does it better. One example has been the practices in Asatru and Germanic reconstructions, where the older ways are tried and end up showing themselves more powerful ritually and religiously than the modern ways of doing the same thing. Another example is the experience of animism, and learning of cultures that once practiced that animism in a similar vein that one has experienced in personal gnosis. Peer-corroborated gnosis has also been a major aspect of these discussions, and where lore and peer-corroborated gnosis have coincided, and where they’ve clashed.

Mostly writing all this down because the topics are great for future posts, though I would like to check with the other participants of these discussions before I go full-bore into them.

Tonight, however, I performed my third offering ritual to the Deiwos. I went with one change at a time: this change was calling Dyeus Pter before the libations offering. The change seemed satisfactory, and so I shall keep it. Good to know.

In preparing for the Yule ritual, one of the things I have done is worked on a paper copy of the ritual, making necessary changes for the ritual space, the time allotted, and assigning parts to those who will be filling the roles. One of the things I noticed about the basic sacrifice ritual in Serith’s book while transcribing it and making these changes is the amount of repetition in the ritual.

Repetition can be a useful tool. Keeping on the same subject and repeating information can help someone commit that information to memory. In ritual, repetition can remind the mind of the sacredness of ritual, of the focus on certain symbolism, and of the attributes of the spirits. Repetition can also cement things magically, such as performing the same act three times, or saying three similar phrases. Three is a common number for repetition in ritual, especially for Indo-European rites.

Is this repetition always necessary, though? That is the conundrum I find myself asking. In transcribing the ritual, I first noticed the length of the ritual. Most of my rituals have been between three and four pages in length, and ADF rituals I have run or written can span between three and six. Right now, I’m at eight for the transcription, and that’s after cutting down some significant portions. Not too bad, but pretty wordy, and a lot of that wordiness is repetition. This isn’t a complaint, simply an observation as I write things down.

On the upside, I have volunteers for Fire Tender and Ner. That should make the transcription easier, and allow for things to work out more as they are expected to do so.

So, today’s readings and preparations were all about sacred space: not just the altar, but the entire ritual space. There is a world of difference in the way Deep Ancestors recommends sacred space be created and my own rituals; while one can see the ADF influence in the reconstruction, there are other aspects that make the recommended ritual more like Wiccan practice, or favor historical accuracy to functional practicality.

One of the primary aspects of the sacred space ritual is the idea that sacred space is not permanent. I get that the Proto-Indo-Europeans were a semi-nomadic society, and that temples eventually developed as they continued to roam and settle. This, of course, means that sacred space must be created when a ritual needs to be performed. However, PIE rituals are also apparently supposed to be done under an open sky; while I prefer doing outdoor rituals, I can think of at least a few times when such rites are neither practical nor preferable. This coming Yule ritual, and the plans already made for it, are one example. The health of small children who might be brought to rite are another.

This is not to say we cannot perform the rite, even as written, though traditionally, there has only been the one officiant, which is the second issue. Serith’s rites have a Reks, a Gheuter, a Xadbhertor, a Ner, and a Fire Tender, five separate duties, and some of which are gender-specific. Already, due to my own practice and the practice of my worship group, there’s going to be changes needed to that. While the rite can be performed, those performing will probably need to double- or triple-up on jobs. It might be preferable to slightly alter the wording, as well.

I do love how the ritual tries to include as many people as possible. It’s very much about community, which is part of building sacred space. Sacred space is as much about the community worshiping as it is about the Gods and Spirits being venerated; that is part of the necessary equitable exchange. This is worth a little messing with the traditions so far performed in the household, and why I am willing to give the changes a try. I am especially willing after a second run-through of the basic offering rite, and seeing how it worked.

I will be separating the Wikpotes’ offerings from the altar, which is something different than done before. That is definitely becoming a part of the ritual, regardless of other changes to the ritual text I may make for practicality. This seems to be a major aspect of PIE practice: the dead are separated from the living, even in ritual, and offerings to the Gods of the Dead are not shared. This becomes very important in properly adhering to culture.

On the positive end, I have most everything I need, minus the clarified butter, the bread sacrifice, and an axe. I may make do with a knife for the first couple of rituals, but eventually, an axe or similar implement will be needed. For now, I will need one knife to mark out ritual space, and one for the cutting of the bread/sacrifice.

Sukʷṛtóm.
Sudhṛtóm.
Susətóm.

These three words interest me. They feel final and strong. Just a thought. They represent, “Well-built, well-supported,” and “well-established.” They should feel strong. However, for me, it is something deeper than just the meaning.

Final note for tonight, the processional. A procession into the ritual space will likely be unnecessary, but at the same time, elements of the procession need to be included, specifically, the claiming of the “cattle.” In my mind, this also represents the wealth of the wiks, their bounty and their power. I will be altering things so that such can be done as a personal rite before the ritual begins, on behalf of the wiks.

For reference, this is the ritual from Ceisiwr Serith’s website, which is very similar to the one found in the book.

Brief reflection of Friday’s rite.

Ritual went well. Performed it just as prescribed in Deep Ancestors, as I anticipated myself doing. That was a good choice, I think; the second time through the ritual went much smoother than the first.

I still have major issues with how the rite ends, so I will be adding an official “end of ritual” section to my future performances of this rite.

I also get the impression that the Deiwos wish me to honor Wikpotes (ancestors) and Xansus (land spirits) before calling them. Also, personal gnosis indicates Dyeus Pter wishes to be called before the offering, not after. I will make these necessary changes, as well, and see how they perform for the next ritual, which will probably be this coming Friday.

They are known as “Man” and “Twin.” They are the first priest and first sacrifice. They represent the beginning and end of all things, starting with themselves, and yet they are as eternal as the Gods. They are Mannus and Yemos.

Yet, of the two, Yemos (or Yama) is more often spoken of. In Proto-Indo-European myth, it is his body which constitutes the Earth and the Sky and encompasses all physical forms. Now Gods, venerated among the Deiwos, these entities were the original two before all humankind. Life continued endlessly for them until Yemos, in his wisdom, had his brother Mannus kill him, and thus create death. Yemos now rules the land of the dead and acts as a psychopomp from the land of the living to his home.

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As I walked to the theater
I thought a thought, I
Thought first of Gods in lofty halls,
Speaking as I walked to Gods above,
Gods walking with me through the dark.
I thought then of the dark,
The cars rushing past along the road
Wond’ring when (not if) I was going to be hit
And thrown to the side like a rabbit.
As I walked to the theater,
I counted the cars driving by,
One, two, ten, twenty,
All speeding past, headlights and taillights,
All that marked the shadow
Of soulless steel that passed.
I walked by dogs barking,
Calling out their refrain,
“Mine! My territory!”
Their barks certainly say.
Darkness again, then
Headlight! sha-Taillight!
Headlight! sha-Taillight!
Shadows of steel bending on wheels
Up and down the darkened road.
As I walked to the theater,
Parks were closed, and trails
Were gated, locked with padlocks,
The keys jingling in some
Pocket miles away from here.
I stood for a minute at the gate,
Before taking the trek around
The edge of the darkened woods.
The roads were cold, and
The roads were damp, and
The barrels were sickly orange.
I strode along, passing one house,
Then two, three, then ten,
Staring at decorations of Holiday cheer,
Keeping an eye to the windows bright,
Families gathering, happy and
Oblivious to what was outside.
And the roads were cold,
Ice formed on whiskers,
Coughs rattled the cage
As it lumbered forward,
Stubbornly onward,
Stubbornly forward,
As I walked to the theater.

Purification: my least favorite topic. As a Pagan, I can understand the need for ritual purification, and the ideas surrounding it. I used to study Ceremonial Magick, and purification was a primary way for the mind to set aside the mundane and continue in the sacred world. In Paganism, purification is a necessity to come before the purity of divinity. It is the practice of removing the energy sticking to you that is antithetical to the performance of and participation in the coming rite. It is separating yourself not only from the mundane, but also from negative thoughts and emotions, such as hatred, anger, suspicion, fear, and worry, which do much to hinder most ritual.

As an animist, however, I’ve always seen purification as a futile exercise. The spirits are always around us. They live here, too. They already know you delve in the muck and mud to earn your daily bread, they already know that you travel through the mire to get to the ritual space, and if they are paying attention, they’re already aware of whom you have helped, whom you’ve wronged, whom you’ve had sex with, whom you have upset. If the Gods and Spirits want your attention, they tend to make themselves known, whether you’re “pure” or not. As much as I understand the purpose of purification, there’s always that part of me that rebels against the need to do so.

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First, a prayer to Dyeus Pter, that came to me last night:

I call to you, Sky Father, Dyeu Pter,
Xartupoti, lord speaking to your people,
Let your blessings shine, let them fall from Heaven,
Speak forth the Laws of Land, Sea, and Tree.
Rain down your blessings on the Earth,
In Summer, to grow, and in Winter, to dream.

Second, a note on the lack of a Day 10: Thursdays, I am nowhere near a computer, so Thursdays will likely not have a post listed.

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Unfortunately, there is no getting around the current trend in the United States against Islam. This has been growing in spurts since 9/11; I remember a Pakistani friend of mine in Columbus, OH, having to replace the sign in front of his restaurant after 9/11 first occurred, because someone took it on him- or herself to break the sign in a show against Islam and Pakistan. Just recently, a bookstore I used to frequent, Isis Bookstore in Denver, CO, had its sign violated in a similar way after the attacks in France. In this latter case, the folks inside are Pagan, not Muslim, but the identification of ISIS for the Islamic State terrorists has culminated in a painful backlash for those following the Egyptian Goddess or associating with her. (I’ll probably say something about that tomorrow, though it’s not really PIE related.)

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It’s been said before, it will be said again. The Proto-Indo-European Religion is cobbled together from the similarities between descendant religions and languages. From my point of gnosis, the Deiwos are real, and just as present as Thor or Zeus, but that does not change the fact that the beliefs and practices of PIE religion are a “best guess” based on what information we have currently. Some things have been lost. Some things have been altered to fit the sensibilities, morals, and laws of the time. It is possible that some things are along the same vein as 3000 years ago, but because it’s the only surviving example among all of the cultures we have to pull from, it has been overlooked or ignored.

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Quote of the Day

"The Lord tells me He can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure you're f***ed".
-Stephen, Braveheart
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