Faith, Belief, and Fuckery

So. I often hear people who talk about their “Godphones” and that direct connection to the Divine. Seen this is so very very many paths and in different claims of strength of the communication from whispers to full on conversations as if Deity was sitting across the table. And that is grand for those people, I am happy for them! However, the truth is that most of us do not have that kind of gift, we have no Godphone. Maybe you have heard terms like “Head-blind” or “Heart-blind”, and yes there are so many people that are like this. Unable to hear, see, or perceive the Other and have to go off of pure Faith.

These are the people that despite having very little or no direct feeling to their Deities are still on their path. That is the nature of faith, they don’t need confirmation or proof as they KNOW in their hearts that the path is true for them. From Christian (yes I went there), to Wiccan, to Heathen, and all in between there are so many that have only that faith to go on.

I count myself lucky. While I don’t have a “Godphone” I get feelings and urgings that I have come to recognize as guiding from something other than my own subconscious (my subconscious is a complete ass) guiding me. On occasion during meditation or while dreaming I am granted a vision. It doesn’t make me feel better than anyone else, but I feel blessed in that moment because I was contacted. In my view it makes me neither special or any better than anyone else, just blessed. We are NOT going to get into my self image as that would be a HUGE and depressing bit of writing.

No, I do not have those constant feelings of the presence of Loki, but I choose to believe, deeply believe, that He know and walks with me in a way. As I believe the ancestors walk with me and watch over me. See that is the point of spiritual Paths isn’t it? Belief. Just knowing in your heart that your Divinity is real and with you makes your path as valid as any other, as anyone else’s path.

Which brings me to those just setting foot on their path. Now thanks to the internet and various resources finding not only information and books have become so much easier, finding like minded or other followers is also easier even if it only through a social media site. They don’t have to struggle with fighting to find information, learning through trial and error (as much), and fearing they are going crazy or they are evil, or a hundred different things that so many of us older Pagans went through. They are able to have their faith and beliefs validated and even guided. These new people are able to have a support network, again, even if it is only virtual.

Faith. Belief. These are beautiful things and easy to have when you are able, gifted, or blessed enough to have Godphones. Yet to have them without the access to such things? That is truly astounding to me. Others call it foolish, but I will ALWAYS respect those who don’t NEED the proof. Who know the truth of their hearts.

Onto the last part of the title, Fuckery. While as a Lokean my type of fuckery is part and parcel, the fuckery I am talking about is something I have not only heard about but witnessed first hand. I’m speaking of the fuckery of those who would claim the blessing above to manipulate and use others. I am talking about the fuckery that is the rampant existence of predators in the Pagan (umbrella term usage here) community. People that purposely mislead others, especially newcomers, into doing their will up to and including sexual favors.

Now I am Left Hand Path, Rökkatru, and Lokean. I follow a path that is darker and very primal, and my nature and personal identity is that of a Predator, but in a very different sense. I am speaking of the people who start groups of any path that require the members to give up money, sex, or free will to be a part of “Their” community, and I don’t care what it’s called. Circle, coven, kindred, or congregation. If the leaders demand anything like the above mentioned things, or show any kind of narcissistic tendencies, that is the Fuckery I mean.

These people are praying on the faith and belief of others to their own benefit and as Pagans that should be truly disgusting. Yet, it has happened for years with communities turning blind eyes to the actions of supposed elders. And this goes as far as drug (not the type for just spiritual purposes) use to child molestation.

Now? Awareness is higher, and speaking out has become a much more likely event due to that awareness that what these predators are doing is one of the basest and most foul forms of fuckery. “See something, say something” is the watch words and should have always been.

Consent and knowledge folks. In any spiritual path know that these are real things and for someone to demand you do something in order to be a part of the community that you are against or something inside you says you shouldn’t, NO is the proper response. If some High Priest/Priestess says the only way for you to advance in the community is for your mouth to meet their genitalia all of a sudden, then don’t buy it for a second.

Now that all being said, sex IS a part of some traditions and if this is the case that will be explained and spoken of from the first moments of introduction. Complete transparency and openness about what may be expected, and the requirement of consent of all involved. (Bacchanals are fun)

Faith, belief, and fuckery. Remember, your Truth is yours.

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Loss as a Lokean

In the past month my family has lost both of our fur babies, a wonderful cat and a impetuous ferret who were the best odd friends. Seven years ago we took them in and promised “fur”ever homes. Seven years of ups and downs, moving here and there as we needed. Finding a place of our own after the birth of my youngest. Those two were there. The grief is real and deep for my wife and I right now and I don’t know when I personally will get fully past it.

I still mourn for my late boxer that passed in 2010. I miss that floppy face every day, and while I had love for the Rosie (bestest pud-pud) and for Fizgig (Wonder Weasel), it wasn’t the connection I had to Gretchen. I’m not entirely sure if I will ever find a connection like that with a four legged family member again. I don’t know.

However the got me to thinking a lot about loss and grief. I mean honestly mourning is for the living, not the passed. We all have our own way to honor the memories of loved ones, two or four legged. Funerals come in hundreds of forms, simple to elaborate, with just as many customs. But it is the loss of the presence that hits us. Things unsaid, that which was unfinished or not even started.

I, as a Lokean and Rökkatru, look at death as natural and a part of the cycle which is the inevitable conclusion to life. Eventually the meat suit fails and all things go on to the next realm for the spirit that is eternal. And yes, that goes for our animal family as well. I know that when it is my time there will be a menagerie waiting for me, and my joy will be bursting.

Kinsmen, Tribe, Family, all die. Mortals die. That is a Truth, and as Lokean I cannot deny it or fight it. The question is after we are gone from Midgard, and the grief leaves, the mourning is over, what remains of us in this world? Our names will eventually be consigned to some bits of data or a document, and even those that knew us will pass. What is left?

Tales. Deeds. To some I have been a friend, to others an enemy. My own story will fade and I know it. I may never leave a lasting impression and I’m ok with this. Even if I were to start a revolution right now I would eventually be a footnote at best somewhere. However, I know for fact that I have left tales behind, good and ill. I have been called Monster and Angel, Demon and Brother, all these and more. And yes, I will most likely be forgotten, but the tales? The stories? Those will linger.

Just as our loved ones’ stories will linger. The tales that get passed from generation to generation. And if those tales are drunken antics or a secret recipe for a Roast, doesn’t matter. I believe that the changing of the tales, the recipes will grow and become organic, alive as much as any child.

Loki is a God far too familiar with loss. With loved ones taken before their time. I turn to my altar, not to beg or plead for relief, but to look to it and feel that I am not alone. To know that my Patron knows my heart and that gives me solace. To know that grief is fleeting and when it is right, the mourning will come to an end.

Yes, a part of you will always be a touch emptier or a new scar. It never really leaves us. But we choose how to remember, with bitterness or with a sad smile. Loki is many things to many others and even to me, but what He is truly is Resilience personified among all the rest. Perseverance in the face of even the bleakest dread, and finding a way, a reason to keep going. Yes, sometimes that reason is Spite, Anger, or even plain Stubborn and that is absolutely fine! If that is what lets you face another sunrise then do it! Don’t stay knocked down. Rise and Stand. Live. Use whatever tool you need to fight back the despair. Because that is the twin of loss isn’t it? I myself am fighting HARD against the depression right now because the despair and loss that comes with grieving. I will face it with my family and my Tribe. Just as Sigyn faces the screams of her husband, she still turns to offer him relief. So I will persevere, and I won’t do it alone.

For the sake of those who have passed, how can we do any less?

Black Moon A Risin’

So I know this is almost a week after the fact, and truth be told I’m writing this in order to honestly distract myself from another subject which will most likely be the next blog.

So. I know, I know a great number of people argued over the actual new moon, yada yada yada. I don’t care. You have your opinion, awesome. Now the way I chose to see it, it was the second Full Dark moon of the month and thereby a Black Moon. And to me, at least, this would be a sacred time for anyone on the LHP so I decided that I would honor my Patron and the Rökkr that night.

To be honest it didn’t quite go as planned. I am married to a Freya’s Woman and adore her. So when I realized that she wanted to come along and bring the child with, my plans had to change. I was still able to bless my altar sword and sanctify it to Loki and the Rökkr, but due to the change of logistics other things will have to wait until another day when I feel particularly connected to the Rökkr and LHP.

Now, you may be asking at this point why the fuck am I even posting about this experience or lack thereof? You see folks one thing I have learned about the Rökkr and being Lokean is how important Tribe is, and Tribe starts with the family you choose. No, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do. In return I watched my wife dance with lights at the edge of a spring, my daughter laughing and chasing her all under a gentle summer rain.

Pitch black night, storms overhead, and the sounds of pure laughter ringing off stone walls. As a follower of a Trickster and Primal Deities what could have been better than pure raw REAL emotion, all in the moment and unplanned. I thought about the aspects after and while I was thinking of blood and flesh and fire, there was the other side of the primal side as well. The infectious pure joy of a child. The ability of an adult to truly let go and be in the moment outside of their comfort zone. After the dedication of the sword, and the blessings upon it, I gathered my things, put them away, and joined in the laughter.

The Black Moon gave us the shadows we needed to let go, to truly be in the now if only for a moment for my wife. There were many blessings that night, in many forms. So what if my plans went sideways? It was an amazing evening of spirit and adventure where the three of us connected. People forget that there are positive things to be found in the dark as well as the light.

In the dark we are free to let go. Free to be who/what our truest natures are without judgement. You are hidden, shrouded from prying eyes and uniformed judgements. Solitary seekers can find great knowledge of both the self and the worlds there, but take with you those in your heart. There in that ever present black you will get to know the truth of them.

I have seen the largest masculine men break from fear in the complete dark of a forest. And this Black Moon I saw a toddler so brave she would have taken the hand of the Fey and brought them to meet us. I have seen darkness and silence cleanse a soul like no amount of light ever could. I’ve witnessed it break minds and souls.

And for us that night? The eldritch energies abounded around us in so many ways. In that absolute dark was joy and beauty and power. So take what you will from this writing. If you were expecting some grand revelation of wisdom, or sharing of esoteric secrets; well sorry, not sorry. This is what I was blessed with. And it was wonderful.

Hail Loki! Hail the Rökkr!

The Triple Soul in Ancient Scandinavia Part 1: The Hamr

A really thought inspiring series of blogs dealing with the “Triple Soul” concept. Granted, that is a very over-simplified explanation, but I believe to be effective.

LOKI CVLT

One of the foundational teachings of Feri that is probably also one of the most recognizable is the concept of the Triple Soul. The average understanding of the soul in post-Christian America seems to be that the soul is the animating principle within each of us, and is our central “us-ness” that leaves our body after we die. In this model, our body is essentially a tool or machine that our soul drives around in until it abandons the physical body at death: presumably to go on to some form of afterlife.

Though that has become the popular idea of what a soul is, in most pre-Christian cultures the spiritual makeup of a person was often more complicated than this, and it was often believed that our soul was more of a complex of different parts that perform different functions than a single entity. Though traditions vary, my own research…

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Modern Rökkatru Warriors

20 per day. That was the number of military suicides in 2018 (both veteran and active duty). Not friendly fire. Not enemy attack. Suicide. Does the word make you uncomfortable? Suicide. By the modern warrior. That’s 18% of suicides everyday in the US. And yes, I will be making citations at the end of this piece.

Now, what in the name of Hel does that have to do with the Rökkatru? Over the years I’ve been looking into spirituality and the Modern Warrior, for personal reasons at first and growing into more as sad and worrisome numbers came to light. As a ordained minister, a role I do take seriously, I got very curious as to where spirituality fit into this equation for the human state. So I have been looking into that and what did I find? Sadly very very little.

So I question others, talk to people, both BNP’s (Big Nose Pagans) and the solitary practitioners. I have and will still attempt to get my own information, but here and now with the state of the country I feel that something does need to be said on this. Why? Because at least a quarter of the Pagans I know are either directly military (active or veteran) or come from military families. In the Northern Traditions this number is higher by more than a little. So these are people I care about, and they are at risk. I know for a fact that I am. Later for that though.

Add in the LGBTQ+ and Non-binary factors and numbers climb. I was surprised to see the crossover of these factors but they were plain to see. Worrisome is a pale way to describe the sheer chance at suicide among lone and outed Modern Warriors, not just the actual successes but the sheer number of attempts. All the while the modern climate in the US is regressing faster than a Senator with a Diaper and Mommy Fetish (no kink-shaming intended).

What does it all have to do with the Rökkatru? We ARE the outcast, the shunned, the lost, the Other. We alone are at staggering risk of losing the battle in ourselves. Add to that factors mentioned above and others like POC, and the risk becomes staggering. Waves of hopelessness crashing down on a spirit, crushing despair. Even the strongest can only stand for so long. “What can I do to help this?” I asked. What can WE do?

Here is what I have found. Faith and spirituality, belief can be a rather important factor because it makes us feel less outcast. To find a Path for the heart and soul that we feel called to and belong on is a huge thing in and of itself. To walk that path and KNOW it is the right one for you can be a shield certainly against those horrible waves, holding you upright for longer. And you still slip and slide because you are fighting your own mind that is actively tearing you down from within.

So the Modern Warrior of the Pagan paths have a touch more of an advantage because for many, they walk with and/or among their Divine. But the battle can still be lost for many reasons. From family disowning you to your friends and community turning their backs on you

, to just a streak of misfortune. Financial, divorce, mental health, all factors in the battle.

What then is the answer, especially for those who are even different from the “normal” societal outcasts? Oh I wondered that for a very long time myself but the answer was always there, around me. Community, but community of YOUR choosing. Accept absolutely nothing less than acceptance and know it is ok not to immediately trust. Even if it is a virtual community, it can still be YOURS.

And for the Rökkatru, there are no covens or circles or kindreds. There is only Tribe. A Tribe that measures you by deed and soul. A Tribe where you are safe to be your amazingly Wyrd and wondrous self! Where the supposed “monsters” gather, where the laughter of giant and troll and Völva ring together around the fires. When one of the Tribe begins to slide, the Tribe is there. Some to hold them up. Others to stand beside and deflect. And more still to stand in front, ready to help fight any demons lurking in the waves and storm. Is it perfect? Hel no. But it is community, and that alone will keep us going sometimes.

“Who would mourn me, miss me? They would be better without me being a chain around them, holding them back. I have no TRUE worth, it’s all smoke and lies. I deserve to be forgotten and left to rot away. I’m a monster for what I think and feel deep inside, I shouldn’t be allowed to live. That thing in the mirror, it’s so disgusting how could any want it? Love is a lie just being used against me by those that want something. I will never be or amount to being truly anything. I am a joke at best and a failure if I’m lucky, for that’s the kindest words for me. Soon they will scream IMPOSTOR and drag me even further down and I will deserve it. I don’t deserve the gift of life with the things that I have done.” Words, each a cut. A blow to the body. A stab in the heart. Words that haunt and tear each of us who fight. How do I know what it is that goes through the mind of Warriors and Modern Warriors alike? Because these are just a few of the thoughts I face everyday.

You see dear readers I face a multitude of mental issues and I fight them. With my Doctor and medication, with my family, with my Faith, and with my TRIBE. The Rökkatru. For I Believe, I believe my Deities walk with me. My ancestors walk with me. Everyday. I have ideations, and I know they aren’t going to go away. So I fight, and when my Will is strained I have Family and Tribe.

Not everyone is as blessed in their fight. Many are lost and alone. Many, too many lose the fight. The LGBTQ+ teen that comes out to their parents expecting love and is thrown to the street. The Soldier who comes home and just can’t stop seeing what they had to do to survive. The non-binary individual that just can’t be accepted for their choice by their church. What is the commonality between them? They are alone. Feel abandoned. How many of us know that feeling too well? Suicide. It’s inviting to just quit, to lay down arms and let it take you when you are so very tired of the fight. Peace. Why fight? Because those voices? Those thoughts? ARE LIES!

You will fight and MAKE a place! My Tribe, the Rökkatru, we have made a place and found each other! Make YOUR place! Whether it is 3 people or 3000 does NOT matter! Gather your Tribe/Pack/Congregation/Circle/Coven what-the-fuck-ever it is that YOU need! Why? Because just maybe they need it too.

Hail the Rökkr! Hail the Rökkatru! Hail the Tribe!

References:

Jaimie Lusk, Steven K. Dobscha, Marek Kopacz, Mary Frances Ritchie & Sarah Ono (2018) Spirituality, Religion, and Suicidality Among Veterans: A Qualitative Study, Archives of Suicide Research, 22:2, 311-326,DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2017.1340856

Amato, J., Kayman, D., Lombardo, M., & Goldstein, M. (2017). Spirituality and Religion: Neglected Factors in Preventing Veteran Suicide? Pastoral Psychology66(2), 191–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-016-0747-8

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/06/21/va-reveals-its-veteran-suicide-statistic-included-active-duty-troops.html

Being Rökkatru Today

Before I really get going, if you have any questions about what Rökkatru is or who the Rökkr are I completely recommend that you check out the blog Divine Multiplicity. Specifically Tahni Nikitins’ contributions which can be found here.

The reason that I suggest the above is that I am going to be speaking from more opinion/observation (when don’t I) than from any academic position and may even throw in some (ready the outrage and horrified shock) UPG. It will also be centered geologically from the point of view from within the United States, because that is where I am located.

From an individual point, I am Lokean, 44, disabled vet (not you don’t get the list), and stay at home Dad. My writing and work on various projects will always take a back seat to the need of the Adorable Overlord, my little threenager. So there are times when a blog will take me literal hours to write as I stop to care for my little Jotun-child. She is my primary care and concern, along with my two teenagers. No, I will not go into detail about them in this setting other than to say that this particular blog was inspired in part by worry for them. I am also married to an amazing and beautiful Freya’s-woman, my soulmate and an amazing Mother.

I am currently walking the Path of Ordeals, an outline of which can be found by following the link. Yes the writer of this is Raven Kaldera, a figure that brings a LOT of mixed feelings in various groups. Not long ago I was tasked to do and complete certain things during a meditation, an actual “Honey-Do” list passed to me I fully believe by my Patron. The purpose of all of it was apparently not on the need-to-know list (grumble).

If you have made it this far (because a great deal of the above has been gone over in previous blogs), then get ready. Here is where it is going to get bumpy and more than slightly uncomfortable for some people.

I am White. I am Straight. I am Male. I am Privileged just because of the prior. I am also Pagan, Lokean, Rökkatru, an Ally, and believe that all hearts beat with life. I don’t care what you look like, how you identify, or the path you follow. I will give you respect and I will expect it in return. If I make an error and cause unintended insult or offense, PLEASE take a moment, call my ignorance and educate me!

Rökkatru are by their very nature are outsiders anyway. We should be learning from one another, not fighting with each other. Our fight here in the U.S. is with a much more dangerous threat. Today, RIGHT NOW, in my own home country there are concentration camps where children are dying after being separated from their parents who don’t even have the basic things given to actual US prisoners! Everyone talks (well thanks to digital attention spans not so much now) about how Flint, Michigan has poison water, when a UN investigator came and found worse than 3rd world conditions in the Southern U.S. such as open sewage and tainted water. The number of veterans that are homeless or commit suicide is staggering, along with LGBTQ+ youth. And what do we see on the news? Crap. Ten seconds to tell you that someone got shot and then fifteen minutes on sports where the players make more money in one season than most residents of the U.S. will see in their life.

And so very much more disgusting things. Thanks to so much media picking and choosing it has finally happened. They have managed to put polish on a turd and call it pretty. Convince so many it’s fine when the truth is that no matter how shiny they make it, it is still a piece of shit! And this is where how many live? Bigots and others like them screaming “Send the immigrants home!” and I say, “YES PLEASE! Send me back to Scotland(Mother’s side) or Denmark (Father’s side)!” Get me out of here.

Then I stop. I think. No, I was born HERE. THIS is my home. I am Lokean. I am Rökkatru. And while we are all still figuring out precisely what that means, I am fairly certain that running and quitting is NOT a part of that path. My children deserve to be safe and happy. My wife should NOT have to fear for her health because of corrupt politicians deciding what is best for HER body. No, no running. No hiding my Faith and Path. I’m done with all of that. My Deities are Primal and fierce and frightening for a reason. They accepted me for a reason. Loki accepted me for a reason those many years ago. So fuck them.

Rapists are getting six months in jail, while a teen from the inner city gets sixteen years for having some weed? Farmers crops fail and instead of Federal aid they are bought out by corporations, the government makes deals for the same crops elsewhere and banks get multi-billion dollar bail outs? Fuck that.

We as Rökkatru NEED to figure out who we are, what our Deities would ask of us, and how do we go about bringing the needed CHANGES to this nation? To this world? Yes, world. Why not think big? My own ways are bit… on the dirty fighting side. Hey I am Left Hand Path. The black and shadows don’t scare me. The spirits and entities don’t frighten me. I’ll throw a Hex/Curse with no hesitation if I believe it is deserved. Yes, I believe in more than most realize. But none of that matters as it is personal.

If you are Rökkatru, what does that mean to YOU precious reader? And what are you willing to do to follow that path? I know my answer. I know what I am willing to give and what I’m not. Imagine if the Rökkr had the united front the Aesir have. What could be accomplished? Because for us here in the United States it is only a matter of time. Before the outsiders and the different are the hunted. ICE is already raiding suburban neighborhoods to take natural born citizens into custody and forcing them to prove they are citizens. How long before it is illegal to worship in any way that doesn’t involve the cross here?

I hold a great deal back for my family. If something happens to me, it would send them into a tailspin and would lose too much. I can’t allow that to happen, but I still do what I am able. I protest until my body and mind force me away from the crowds. I write and call government bodies and representatives and demand to be heard. I do what I am able. If I could do what I want… well that is a completely different tale.

So at the end of the day, what does it mean to you to follow the Rökkr, the Deities of Twilight? What does your heart and soul demand of you? We have no need of circles or kindreds. We have Tribe.

Who are the Rökkr?

Again, please read this. Tahni does amazing research and really does quite a bit of work for these articles.

Divine Multiplicity

The easiest answer to the question “Who are the Rökkr?” is that they are a subgroup of jötnar that have been highlighted by devotees and practitioners as occupying a special or important role, particularly roles associated with the darker sides of the natural order (decay, death, chaos, etc.) So let’s start with the jötnar (singular: jötunn).

The jötnar are a class or delineation of entity in the Norse pantheon. They are often, though not always, described in strange and fantastical ways—sometimes monstrous and sometimes beautiful, but almost always primal. They are so frequently associated with primal energies and natural forces that many, including myself, believe they are a remnant of an older, animistic hunter-gatherer religion which arose in a pre-agricultural Scandinavia, much as the Titans of the Greek pantheon have been viewed.

There is some debate about whether or not the jötnar can be considered gods. A few are listed…

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