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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.
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.
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
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,
As I walked to the theater.
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.
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.
Ritual done last night, today I write down what I noticed of how life continues, possible changes, interesting coincidences, and so forth.
If you know anything about me, you know that while I support reconstruction of pre-Christian religions, such as Celtic Reconstruction, Heathenry, Hellenic Reconstruction, and yes, even PIE Reconstruction, I don’t participate in them. There are a few reasons for this. The first and simplest reason is that this is not that time period. I find it fallacious that people assume they can reconstruct a religion from a thousand or more years ago and still have it be completely relevant to the modern era. Now, I’m not just talking ritual and pantheon reconstruction, I’m also talking about beliefs and practices, which sometimes includes prejudices and problems which do not match modern sensibilities. I’ve talked about ergi before, and how this aspect of Germanic society has impacted American society, but this is only one of many problems with trying to reconstruct an ancient religion in a modern society. What do you keep in? What do you leave out? What do you push for in the legal system, and what makes sense to leave behind?
I began this blog to keep a journal of my musings as a member of a Neopagan religion, as a Celtoi-Norse Polytheist and Animist. The phrase has always been misleading. Sometimes I call myself a Heathen. Sometimes I call myself Vanatru. Sometimes I call myself a Neopagan Animist. All of these are true, and all of these are somewhat misleading. I am not just a Heathen, I am also Druidic. I am not just Vanatru, I am Celtoi-Norse. I am not just Celtoi-Norse, I believe in multiple pantheons, each their own set of spirits, each with their own personalities, desires, and agendas. I have worked with Apollo, with Zeus, with Veles, with Thor, with Nit, with Wepwawet, with Djehuti. I have worked with other Pagans who worked with Kuan Yin, Tsukuyomi, and Astarte. While I have, up to this point, considered myself primarily a Northern Germanic practitioner with Celtic leanings, I have done things and helped out in ways that I could probably be considered a member of any of a number of religions within the Pagan umbrella, as well as Gnosticism.
I’m not good with keeping a journal, and a year’s hiatus from a blog that was supposed to chronicle my on-going journey shows that flaw in my practice. I love to write, but some days, the words to put to pen seem to escape me. Like anyone, I have work and projects that attract and even demand my attention. So allow me to start by stating that while the changes chronicled in this post may seem sudden, they are the product of a year of confusion, research, practice, and change.
The practices of Paganism are wide, diverse, even contradictory. Neopagan Animism is nothing like Wicca, which bears little resemblance to Hellenic Paganism, which is in turn very different from Dianic Wicca or Feri or Reclaiming. Anyone not saying, “Duh!” to this statement really hasn’t spent a lot of time in the community, or outside their own tradition.
The number of times I have heard the statement, “You’re Pagan? I didn’t think you were into Goddess Spirituality…” has exceeded the number of fingers on my hands and toes on my feet. Most of these times occurred back in Columbus, but there have been enough times in Denver and in Colorado Springs for me to think that this is by no means isolated to one area. It’s unfortunate. In the ranks of the Pagan community, we can count Jungian archetypists and “soft” polytheists, hard polytheists, animists, nature-focused materialists, duotheists, feminine-focused monotheists, atheists, philosophers, speculators, and (who can forget?) various flavors of magicians, as well as several combinations of any of the above. Being Pagan does not mean exclusively following any particular dogma or set of beliefs or practices.
Neopagan Animism was born from this fact as much as from any particular tradition. I was introduced to a number of religious practices and beliefs under one umbrella term when I was introduced to Paganism, from Wicca to Heathenry to Druidry, and many of the magical practices found within these traditions. Furthermore, we all practiced our religious beliefs together, several belief systems coming to one focal point and one practice in our rituals. Since then, I have heard hundreds – if not thousands – of times that this was the highest form of blasphemy to the Gods and Spirits. I heard this not only from elders in various local Reconstructionist and Traditional communities, but also from lovers, friends, and energy work partners. For a time, I even partially believed it. The development of a tradition which emphasized the animistic aspects of Pagan practice was an ultimate rejection of this attitude.