Ripples In The Water

TW/CW: Sex, Violence, Blood, Pain, Self Harm, and more

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The smallest stone. A touch. Anything really. Anything that can break that fragile surface tension can send the inevitable concentric ripples spreading outward. But the how far the do the ripples travel? I have been on the shore of a lake when quite a distance away a child was splashing in joy. Some moments later the water began to lick at my toes where it had been perfectly calm. And we see the ripples, can feel the effect even when the ripples fade.

Everyone knows that, so many are familiar with the “butterfly effect” idea. But I have begun to wonder, is it only on the surface? What if that displacement effect happens the entire way down into the darkness? What could it stir up in the depths? What does it find at the bottom? Stone or silt or mud and muck?

Some of us are liken to the surface, we feel the impact and the ripples which seem to fade over time. Yet there are MANY of us that just simply aren’t that shallow and every little stone raises the level of the depths, every touch can have unseen effects far far away.

Abuse is a stone thrown into our waters over and over and over, each time changing the underlying geography, the ripples affecting the surface of our lives for years. How many of us haven’t been struck in years, but will still flinch when a hand is raised? How many shut down with loved ones because someone we loved once used that to take what they wanted? How many are hypervigilant to the point of headaches from being constantly aware of your environment?

What has this got to do with your Blog, your Journey some of you might be asking. You see, it is part of my path to not only accept that certain things happened, but to face them directly. Allow myself to feel the hurt, pain, grief, fear, outrage. Often more than one at a time and there is no time limit. Time does NOT heal all wounds, only grows scars that hurt less. Like an arthritic knee when a thunderstorm is rolling in. And I look at those scars, touch them, feel the texture, accept the ugliness of them and the proof that they show I survived, and that is the beauty. Ugly and beautiful at once? Yes, very much so like so many things found in nature. Google “Corpse Flower” as an example.

The abuse that left the scar was but a stone, now settled and a part of who I am. A story to remember, the scar a thing to touch and remember. Our deepest parts are shaped by those stones, the touches causing ripples even down to the bottom. It is up to each of us to live our life as the geography of those sharpened, broken, heavy stones or as the depths themself, flowing and deep and rising above the jagged pain. It will always be there, a part of us, always felt. But our choice is to strive to live as the water surrounding the stones, not to try to be the stones themselves.

And some of those ripples and splashes? Amazing things which also raise up our surface! Beautiful moments that change us for our entire life and we are never the same after. Just as we are shaped by trauma, so to can we be shaped by wonder. Like when you hear the first calling of your spiritual path. For me that path has led me to both places so beautiful all I can do is silently weep and to places where I wanted to run screaming from in abject terror. Some of these vistas were within my own soul.

What do I mean? Well, for those of you who follow this blog and have been reading for awhile know about me, but in the event this is the first one you are reading… I am a 44 year old married while male. I have recently come to realize that I am Demisexual as my emotions can and will overwhelm all other things. I am Lokean/Rökkatru and have been for quite some time, walking the Nordic path most often solitary, on occasion with others. I am getting to the point of yelling at people to “Git off my lawn or I’ll set you on fire!” If you want to know what any of the above means, please feel free to go and look it up or look at past blogs.

Now onto the explanation. You see there were parts within myself that took me a rather long time to come to terms with, to accept. Hel, even to understand honestly. I was abused. Yes, that way. I have been used, been loved and hated. I have tricked and been tricked. I am not innocent. I have blood on my hands and know for a fact that I have an easier time taking a human life than I do an animal’s. I am a father and have been blessed to bear witness to the miracle of birth. I have saved lives both animal and human. I have slain the being of the woods for sustenance. I have been called “silver tongue” and “charismatic” yet my self image is nowhere near such things. I look into a mirror and see a monster reflected back. I have manipulated people, and probably will again. I refuse to judge others for their choices in their lives unless those choices endanger me or mine (hence, why I am all for punching Nazi’s and more). I have… hungers long unsated because of the choices I have made. I have side that has long been kept in check that is Primal and Predatory, but not as in sexual predator as consent is paramount to me (and no, drunk/stoned consent doesn’t count). My longings for the flesh in the way I desire may very well never be able to be met. That which I crave in body, may never be able to be. To run again, to feel free and breathless surrounded by old growth woods. The warmth of flesh and blood chased down and caught. I also long to be a spiritual being, to be close to my Patron God and to be worthy of the love of my wife and children. I have made very right and wrong choices, put trust in those that I shouldn’t have and found those that have earned it, I have paid my prices. And I will pay more still. I have and still on occasion think about stepping through the Veil. I won’t. But the thought is always there, and I choose not to listen.

Sex shouldn’t be feared. Nor should Death. Or Life. There is plenty to be afraid of, but none of these things. If you are lucky you find love in your life, and have it returned. Change is the nature of things folks, chaos IS the natural order and original source of creativity. So be true to yourselves, be who YOU are and don’t hide. Judgement by supposed family? Tell them fuck off. Either you are loved for you or you are being loved for a mask. Friend saying that you aren’t acting like yourself? Maybe you are for the first time in your life. The outside can change, even the inside because that is the greatest gift humanity has other than free will; the ability to change and adapt.

So on this journey I’m on I am slowly peeling away each of my masks. Getting closer to my Truth. I am both terrified and exhilarated by what I may find. Deeper and darker I go, new scars are made and blood is shed. Markings of devotion set to flesh and devotions made. And when I find the true core of my Who? Well, then I will know and I am going to make some ripples of my own. In this day and age a single voice can easily get lost in a crowd, but a whisper in the right ear? That, my lovies, that can change the face of a world. Couple that with those that have had enough and well I’ll have the popcorn ready for the show.

Does that sound bad? Wrong? Evil? Do I care? No. Because just like each of you I am a creature of duality. And it is past time to blow some shit up, shed some blood. The moment a car was driven into peaceful protestors and a young woman lost her life, “nice” no longer applies. When half way around the world twenty-two lives are taken simply because of what they believe? Nope, no more peaceful times. With fire and blood let the Tower crumble, those who would hide in it pulled out and shown the pain they have caused.

I know, I know. You’re just being emotional. Yup. I certainly am. But I am tired, like so very many of you are tired. Senseless death through every media outlet. Sorrow and poverty around the world. Our animal kin being sent into the after to the last, never to be seen on this side of the Veil again. Humans IN THIS AGE selling one another into slavery. Women being told that their bodies aren’t their own then shamed when unable to provide without help. Or die. People dying because they can’t AFFORD medicine or medical treatment. And people wonder why I say things like “Let it all burn”.

Let us become our truest selves, honest to our natures. Unless you asked for it, throw off your collars (don’t kink-shame). Snap your leashes. Break the chains. And let’s be bad guys.

Walking Along

Often blogs are all about huge and major topics. From pagan people especially as there is a LOT to be said, to be shared, to fight for and against. So very many people are just stepping onto their paths, fresh and new and so many questions. Full of hope and wonder that the potential for magic is real and there is more out there than they ever dreamed possible. The rituals they find to attend at the High Holidays are so very powerful and spiritual.

But what about the next day? That return to mundania as so many like to put it. Here is where so many become lost. The everyday, the work week, the chores at home. Where is the spirituality? Where the magic? And people begin to live for those Holidays, for Festival or their favorite event. In the case of yearly events, these are people that become near family that you see once a year. And leaving is a sorrow filled thing as you have to return to everyday life, interact with the normal world and regular people.

Many of us have altars in our homes, and that is grand if you do. I do. My wife does. These are wonderful focal points for the spirit in the home. Yet not everyone can have one. The soldier on the move. The single parent trying to make it in a one bedroom and living paycheck to paycheck. The homeless wanderer that carries their life on their back. What of them? What of the teenager that feels the call of Wicca in a Catholic home?

That’s the rub. All these things, from prayers to spells to altars are all just tools. Do they make things easier to do? Yes. But whose hands arrange the altar and imbue it with power? Whose lips speak the prayers that reach Divine ears, and what empowers those words? We do. Faith, belief, and will send these things into the universe and ties them as bridges between us and all else.

There is absolutely NO REASON you cannot have that everyday, even for a few moments. We decide our closeness to the divine everyday. We each decide our path and how to walk upon it. The real spiritual Truth? That is the greatest secret of all. Each person’s Truth is their own. And it can be malleable! It is capable of changing and growing as new information, new experiences are introduced into our lives. Your way may not be My way and that is perfectly fine.

We carry with us the divines in our hearts, in our actions, in our deeds. Everyday may not be a High Holiday, a Festival, or a Gathering and it doesn’t have to. Take a moment just for yourself and MAKE that moment sacred. Even if it is just a moment, it can be all it takes. Even if all you do is think of your path and say “Thank You”. And remember those times, those gatherings, in that moment and let those feelings wash over you.

We walk along our respective paths everyday. How we do it is up to us.

Observations and Ramblings VII

My O and R blogs tend to be a chance for me to vent about various things and if I am feeling like it, to let down the walls a bit.

That being said, usually it is about things or trends I have seen within myself and society in general. On occasion, I will go off on a tirade to just vent and to let some things out on you poor readers. Over sharing or simply just letting it out. In my writing, as in my life, do I rarely allow real anger or hurt or frustration out. The reason for this is part of my being non-neurotypical, I know very well all that I am capable of (read into that as you will, you most likely wouldn’t be wrong), and I must be vigilant.

Now that being said, I write these for my own needs and if you get offended I believe the term is sorry not sorry. Continue reading as you will, if you want, and be aware that this one is going to be broken down into various sections.

Pagan Community: As a whole and from the outside for those that are drawn to it, it is a chance at fellowship and freedom. A chance to connect on a spiritual level that calls to the soul in a way that no other way can. Be it Heathen, Wicca, Druid, or and of the myriad other paths, when you find the fit to your soul it resounds loud and clear. Yet what so many are unaware of is the predatory nature of some within the community, those hungry for power or recognition, attention or titles instead of the spirit and the teachings. They are out there and I personally have seen and been taken in by them. And let’s not even get started on the ones that claim a Pagan path in order to be sexual predators under the guise of spirituality. Yes, sex is part and parcel of some paths and there is nothing wrong with that. I am talking about those in positions of power using that to coerce and demand sexual favors from members/initiates of their various groups. Consent is given, yes, but consent under duress… that isn’t real consent folks. And the cliques! Holiest of craps! Paganism is supposed to be inclusive, but so often it seems like a “Good Old Boys Club” (pardon the masculine expression), that someone new will never feel truly a part of a group unless they form their own. Inclusiveness is given lip service and on the surface is really tried for, but you will see it in large gatherings. Eventually different groups will break off and be suspicious of any outsider, granted never outwardly hostile, but still a new person will be made to feel uncomfortable. All the leads me to BNP’s. Big Name Pagans (or Big Nosed Pagans as you are inclined). I have met some that are absolutely amazing and I would sit for hours with just to listen to their wisdom. I have also met others that are complete shams that have let the recognition go to their heads. What I am getting at is that the Pagan Community definitely has its shadow side and if you believe otherwise you are either willingly blind, new, or…. well, yeah. And no, I am NOT talking about Left Hand Path in all this though they are and can be included as part of the community in whole.

Heathens: Nine Noble Virtues. Ancestors and the Nine Realms. The pack mules and muscle in Paganism, or at least how many treat them from the outside. If you are a follower of the Norse Paths, you must be willing to labor all day long and have more muscle than brain. Oh you don’t need recognition for your work, the work well done is reward enough. Bullshit. Gratitude goes a long way, and when you decide to take your Heathens for granted you will find them suddenly nowhere to be found. Heathens, your Kindreds tend toward elitist for fear of mixing Wyrd and having it “tainted”. You tend to shun any that follow any but the Aesir, and when they are allowed in you keep them to the fringes at arms length. As a whole in the United States you have let our sacred symbols slip into the hands of white supremacists by not keeping an eye out to begin with over the years. You CANNOT tell me that before this circus of a presidential cycle empowering the hatred and fear mongers Heathens didn’t know. I call bullshit. There were plenty of Kindreds out there that were Folkish and they were ignored. Those that spoke against them were ignored. NOW everyone is getting mad that our sacred symbols and runes are being co-opted by hate groups. Some groups Like the Troth and Hugnin’s Heathenhof are being truly more inclusive and Declaration 127 was a wonderful thing. But where are the shield walls standing against the marching Proud Boys? Those standing up and saying “This Hammer Smashes Fascists?” I’m not saying they aren’t there, but the silence is deafening. Pissy memes aren’t going to work.

Lokeans and Rökkatru: Oh… Now this is my path. For so very long I was a solitary and am again except virtually. And what I have seen online is beyond upsetting. Those who claim to follow Loki yet demand there is a right and wrong way to follow Him. Instead of banding together and seeking understanding from fellow outcasts, people get angry and turn into online high school shouting matches. I personally don’t care who is fucking right or wrong, get your shit together! We follow a shapeshifter that can appear as he will and if you don’t think that a God that tied his balls to a goat just for a laugh isn’t a touch into kink, take your puritan ass and sew your lips shut. We follow the Twilight Deities of the Norse Tradition, the Left Hand Path of Heathenism, and a Trickster. If you cannot tolerate some differences than I suggest another, more structured path. I hear Christians are always recruiting. We walk a path where we have to read between the lines of all the lore and tales. We have to pay attention to what isn’t said, and UPG (gasp!) plays an important role in our fairly new tradition. Yes there are those that have written about the subject, but they aren’t many and not always easy to agree with. And when it comes to the white supremacists our path is a bit more lacking in those numbers, but we are just as guilt about not standing against them. Where are the Children of Fenrir who would stand against those that would see others in chains? Where are my Lokeans that would fight those that would silence the Truth? Where are the Followers of Surt, ready to burn away the prejudice? We are the followers of the Jotunar, those who came before, and yes we are outsiders. But we are gathering and growing in number, however unless we get our collective shit together we will always be a laughing stock. For those of you trying to change this, I salute you and give you my thanks.

Have I pissed anyone off yet? Good.

In my life I have known loss, failure, pain, betrayal, love, joy, and much much more. I have spent some days away from social media and even personal messages. Short of texting or phone calls, I’ve limited my contact back to a less digital way. My life has been exceedingly busy on the mundane side of things and I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like. And that makes me wonder just how many will make it to this point in the blog. You see, our biggest enemy isn’t the proud boys or the predators or the fears of the outside world. This medium is grand for the spread of information (or misinformation), but in real life the everyday apathy I see is disheartening to a degree that is shameful. The “Not My Problem” syndrome this nation has developed is disgusting.

How do you fight for the better world? As a Pagan, how do you make sure you are being truly inclusive? Heathens, how many of you actually follow the Nine and have read the Havamal? Lokeans, how the fuck can you be judgemental when we have been judged for years just for the God we chose to follow?

I am a (mostly) straight white cis male, 44 years old, married, children. I have followed my path for over two decades. That’s over 20 years people. You think that I don’t know about discrimination? Not for my skin or sexual preference, but because I am not quiet about my beliefs I have lost jobs, lost out on opportunities, been turned away for VOLUNTEER WORK, refused entry into establishments, been harassed by neighbors and communities, been called satanist by police, even refused promotion and recognition in the military. I’ve been on the receiving end of violence. At this time I am disabled for various problems, and don’t want or expect pity.

No, there is no way I can understand the discrimination faced daily by other humans considered People Of Color, Women, or those of a different sexual preference. I am not trying to belittle or lessen their discrimination in any way. I have a SMALL understanding of it, and will do all I can to fight against it.

If you are a Leader, set the example and walk your talk. Show people the way and live what you speak, be there for them and if you claim Priest or Priestess in any form in any path, apathy should not be a part of you. If it is, drop the title and turn solitary, make way for someone that actually cares. Everyone is screaming for a better world, a better place in it.

But so few are willing to get their hands in the soil and get dirty.

A Non-Neurotypical Lokean

Tricksters. Often seen as fools, jesters, clowns. Or thieves, manipulators, villains. Scapegoats, teachers, guides, meat-shields. The mad genius. The lucky idiot. The wise fool. Comic relief. Tricksters.

Rarely are they seen for the what they are save by those who follow and/or study and/or work with them regularly. They are figures not to be pitied but respected. Too often I see followers of Trickster disrespected and laughed at for the patron that called to their heart and the fire inside me surges at this form of isolating. Ignored because they are the funny one, the one that is just there to get people to laugh. Modern life tells that the Trickster has taken the roll of clown, to teach lessons only by foolishly showing what NOT to do. And yes, there are times when that is true.

It has been forgotten the roll of a jester among a court. The place of the fool. You see, in royal courts these were the only ones allowed to openly mock the Gentry and the Crown. To remind them of their humanity. Often the Jester was one of the MOST trusted advisors. And was also who was turned to when a problem needed to disappear.

By now I’m pretty sure you are asking what this has to do with non-neurotypicals and Loki. Well the Loki connection should be obvious and as for the other? Let’s face it folks, those who are truly “right in the head” are very unlikely to hear the call of the Trickster.

I am beginning a down slide and I know that is ok. My Patron isn’t going to demand me to get it together. He will be there as I fall into the shadowed valley, in my heart. It is partly faith that will see me through along with loved ones and modern medicine. But He is there because Flamehair knows the dark places well. To dwell in madness is to see the world through a fractured lens, one that shows different angles. One that can pierce illusions, not only about others but about ourselves.

I hear all this talk of how Loki appears to people, how he is seen. So very similar descriptions that the form has become accepted, and that in itself makes me laugh as Loki is a shapeshifter. For me he appears as he needs, not as I want. Yes, often it is an older male to me, scarred lips, deep red hair, palish skin. He wears more modern clothing, but is most often partially shadowed with a cheshire grin, at least when he shows in good times. When I am seeking certain things I see and deal with other aspects. Modern Loki is, to me, who I just described. When He comes to me as the Bound One, there is an aura of pain and rage and madness. When I see the Father, He is calmer, radiates Power and Fire, has a beard neatly trimmed. The presence of the World Breaker is both terrifying and exhilarating to me. All are seen for a reason, a purpose. And my cracked, non-neurotypical brain connects to each of them, allows me to see/feel/speak with these different aspects. Yes, they are all Loki but each a different form.

I have encountered him as a great black wolf, and a shining carapaced spider that was much larger than it needed to be. He has come to me as a woman of middle-eastern descent, but still had the red hair (that encounter is a story of its own). Cat, hound, human, and more.

Even in my deepest depressions, when I find I have a plan to finally cross the veil and the will to enact it, I stop. A whisper, a memory, or serendipity happens. Suddenly and with no reason, just enough to pull me away from that edge.

In moments of panic and anxiety, I feel warmth and in my mind hear the crackle of fire. Just that little thing allows me to reach out for help or to let out the tears to cleanse my spirit.

When my PTSD flares, be it night-terrors or flashbacks or whatever, I hear in my heart, “Ride the storm, it will end. You survived. You will survive.”

For me Loki and my being non-neurotypical make that connection of faith stronger. Yes, here in Midgard it just serves to segregate me further from the “norm” and place me in boxes with many many people and agencies. I don’t care anymore. I look around at the world and ask myself, “This is normal? I want no part.”

So Loki does all this for me, what does He get? Devotion, loyalty, and faith to start. He has set me on a journey (and it is a strange one) to learn who I am. I don’t paint it in some sugary light, I know it is so that I can serve him better, to become what I am meant to be. My mental conditions are more types than mentioned here. I have my own UPG from listening, reading between the lines, thinking for myself, believing the lore should evolve with the times, speaking with spirits and wight and Disir and what I hear on spirit walks.

And let me tell you this; the Trickster will bring you laughter and lessons, but there is always a blade at the ready somewhere. Papa Flamehair has shown me terrifying vistas during walks and talks, spoke of horrible things. He asks for steep prices at times in His patronage. I will always pay willingly, though not always without question. I am no sheep and I will not be led blindly to a slaughter, not even by a God. Nor is the God whom is my patron.

So even in my darkest hours, my faith is there. I know I will walk with my ancestors and that I will never walk in Valhalla, even if I die in battle. One day the depression and other odd brain wiring may win. But not today. Today I choose my family, my friends, and my faith. And the pain will be endured.

Even when the demon Depression is on me, I will remember the beauty of the shadow, the twilight, and the fire. And I will journey on.

Oh My Loki…

Well, I know that I am just observing a VERY small cross section of the community that I have access to and even then due to hatred (not disagreements) I avoid most of the “Heathen” groups on various social media. But DAMN people. What the testiscle-tying Hel? Don’t Lokean and Rökkartu face enough from outside that we are attacking each other? Wait. Don’t answer that. We’re mortals, and therefore prone to going after anything different. Hmmm. As a Lokean, that just doesn’t seem quite right to me.

Now I mean obvious hatred, sexism, misongny, prejudice, bigotry, even disrespect should met with a wall of shields and spears ready. But the factor of people disagreeing over how Papa Flamehair appears to individuals is just beyond laughable for a bunch whose patron is a SHAPESHIFTER. Am I the only one that notices this? There a actual fucking Nazis walking in the streets and Christian Extremists demanding unification of church and state because the orange man-baby in the oval office is an agent of their God. Yet sure let’s go after each other.

Treat ANYONE with above mentioned things and I will treat you as a target. So let me tell you of the Loki I follow. Most of the time, He’s a voice in my heart, a truth-speaker and an asshole but a tactful one. He’s the Gremlin disguised as a mechanic. The madman in a business suit, and that is most of the time how he appears to me. BUT. There are times when I will deal with his other faces, his darker aspects. The face that is half melted and emaciated from being stuck on the rock is a form of absolute pain and madness and to me is an aspect that should be feared. Same with the Worldbreaker aspect, the one who sounds the horn of Ragnarok and is filled with Rage and Anger. But there, to me, is an absolute freedom working with either of these aspects because then I am called on to cut loose. To quote Mr Nancy via American Gods, “Angry gets shit done!”

For some He can/does appear in more the Jester mask, the jokester, the fool. And everyone seems to forget that there is Wisdom in each of those. The Trickster is a teacher and will do what it takes to teach a lesson. Loki just happens to be willing to kill a bitch to get a point across in my experience. When I am being bull-headed in learning, by life gets progressively more difficult and have suffered my share of losses, but not all because of Loki.

Now for months now I have seen arguments over things from pet names to God Spouses to “cuteness”. OK, if you think any Trickster is above pulling out cute factor to get what they want, what rock have you been under? No, not all the time but it happens. I could give examples, but honestly I am tired and am more than a little cranky so if you can’t be bothered to look into it, fine.

Names. Names have power and when you call a God/desses’ name traditional belief holds that you will draw that being’s attention. Ours is called the God of Mischief people. Throughout history people have give nicknames to various deities and spirits so they could be spoken about without drawing unwanted attention. Why I often refer to my patron as Papa Flamehair. Others call Him Firecrotch. Who cares so long as you know who is being spoken of. Don’t like something someone refers to Him as? So long as there is no disrespect meant allow me to offer a band-aid for the butthurt. I mean I will refer to him directly as “You Glorious Bastard” or the “Jotun Asshole” (Asgardian Asshole is Odin) and I say it in absolute love. I dare anyone question my love and faith for my Patron. I have no doubts at all that in Iraq, Flamehair was riding shotgun with me.

Hoo boy, so the most recent red-button item lately seems to be and the God Spouse thing. Folks, there have been God Spouses for as long as there have been Gods across all pantheons, even Christian. Religious ecstasy is a very real and documented thing that can and does bring orgasm. No, not always and not for everyone, but it happens. So if you are judging someone’s personal relationship with their deity, back up and ask yourself why. If it bothers you that much, TALK to the person in PRIVATE. Better yet, ignore it and focus on your own relationship. We are marginalized more than enough, why the fuck are we doing it to each other? Let God Spouses have their relationship, it is NONE of your business. Now, that being said; God Spouses I personally enjoy hearing about your experiences, but TMI is TMI and not everyone in a public forum will want details about a passionate evening. PLEASE have some tact and forethought. There’s a difference between being sexually open and paperback porn. While it happened, great, not everyone wants to hear about how you and your Deity broke the headboard.

Yes, we are Lokeans and are truth speakers. But it does NOT mean we have to be assholes all the time. Part of the Trickster path beyond Chaos is charm. Tact. A silver tongue. Some of y’all Lokeans need some practice in that regard. Yes, I can be as subtle as Mjollnir. But I know I can also be the scalpel in the shadows, the spark that will start the inferno. We are Lokeans, primal followers of a very old a primal Deity, and as such things such as sex, violence, anger, pure love, and blunt truth are not taboo to us. And while Honor is awesome, that is more the purview of the Asatru in my opinion. At least for me, it’s Respect and Loyalty.

Loki & Relationships: The Godspouse Conundrum

A Polytheistic Life

As I was browsing through my Facebook feed, one friend’s post caught my eye. In it, I saw a discussion of how the Lokean community has become so inundated with godspousery that it has become difficult to discuss relationships of a different nature. Some of the comments left on the thread told me that there are individuals out there who currently feel ostracized by the sheer number of godspouses in the Lokean community. Some feel left out and alienated because they don’t have that type of relationship with Loki. Others are distinctly uncomfortable because of traumatic sexual histories.

I find this both frustrating and fascinating. I find it frustrating because I feel that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. No one should feel like they are being drowned out. People should not feel like they cannot start a conversation because they are afraid that someone is going to take what…

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Loss

Sorry, couldn’t really think of a snappy title for this entry. But TW/CW: Depression, Greif, Loss, Abuse

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Ok, so because of the way these preview I will start this by saying what led me to this subject has been a few thing over the past week or so, some realizations I came to while seeking answers from within. Now the chances that any of the following realizations apply to another is slim, but who knows. Might be similar enough that someone else will know they aren’t alone.

Death is the first type of Loss I want to talk about. Not just the physical death of a loved one (though that is where I am going to start), but of situations and relationships.

Losing a family member or a person you are close to can devastate a soul. I was in Iraq when my Mom passed away and I wasn’t allowed to come stateside to say goodbye. I NEEDED to be there. I NEEDED to see her laid in state. I NEEDED to be sure she was gone. I loved her yes, but this was also the woman that made me childhood a nightmare and a part of me HAD to see that she was gone. Seeing a chunk of stone isn’t the same. And that loss of opportunity broke the mask I wore overseas that kept me sane and safe. More factor played in, but yes that was the real beginning of the end of many things.

Over the next years I got divorced, lost easy access to my children due to lack of reliable vehicle. My life had hit a low that I can’t even begin to put into words. I had one saving grace, an anchor that was always right by my side and that was my pupper Gretchen. She was a Fawn Boxer and I loved that silly beast. She was family, and she was more. If ever I could say I had an animal companion close to a true familiar it was that drool factory. Gretch was with me through it all. Sitting alone in tears, big head on my knee. Lost in thought too deeply and a slobbering tackle. Locked in too long, a demand to go outside. I swear she took care of me as much as I took care of her. Don’t get me wrong, I had loved ones of the human type, but that boxer; she was always right there everyday.

A summer weekend I went camping taking a small group of young children out to just have some fun. I couldn’t bring Gretchen, there was no room in the car because of all the kids, so I trust her care to someone I thought would watch over her. She didn’t make it the weekend. The person refused to let her in the house and wasn’t making sure she had shade and water outside. She had a heat stroke. A part of me died that day and still hasn’t recovered I recently realized.

Since Gretchen I haven’t been able to connect to another animal like that, that deeply or at all really. It has colored my relationships just as much as my divorce and the loss of access to my children. I was told recently during a tearing apart of toxic relationships that I didn’t know what love was. I don’t think that is is at all. I know exactly what it is, the depth and level of it, and I think that I have become subconsciously very very walled off to how deep people actual get. My wife and children are there, my Dad, but anyone else? Not that deeply. No where close.

Another type of Loss I have realized is the loss of joy. Real and true happiness. Yes, fleeting moments, but real Joy? Not for a very long time. I was teased and degraded for the things that brought me joy and it was by those I loved and respected. The things I found joy in, sought solace in were made to become reasons for shame especially after I came home from war. “An adult shouldn’t be worried about such things.” “There are better ways to spend your money instead of that crap.” “A grown man wouldn’t have an interest in things like that, what’s wrong with you.” All these and more I heard. Still hear. And the mental state I was in (before I even realized that I had developed mental issues) believed every word. So I gave up that which brought joy into my life and now am scared to try to reclaim it. To even find something new.

Lastly, the final Loss I will speak on right now is the loss of dreams. Setting aside your dreams for another, for a job, for your situation. Letting others dictate which dreams even hold worth or not. Dreams of being an artist? You can’t make a living at that. Dreams of helping others? How is that going to put food on the table? We tend to grow up and set aside the dreams of youth, including dreams of making a difference. We are beat down by those around us, by the world itself. From an early age we are taught that we have to conform and fit in. So in order to be “normal” we leave dreams behind, like the toys of childhood. Lately I have come to ask myself, “Why?” I mean what harm do dreams really do? We all dream of winning the Lotto, of meeting someone, of landing that dream job. We don’t let go of those because those are ok for adults, but what is wrong with the other dreams? Dreams of being an artist or author? Dreams of doing what you love?

Due to Loss, somewhere I have lost Me. Who I am. Those things that brought me more than momentary joy. The things that would fire my passions. And it feels like I have taken another step on the journey as I reflect on the losses. Some were beyond my control and that is where the grief sets in, but there has been losses that were needed, necessary even for me to move forward and those happened sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

I still have my wife. I have my children. I have friends. And I have my Faith. I hold Frith with my God/desseses and will continue to do so. Now that I can see these things, I can come to know them no matter the pain it will bring. The only question is will this pain be too much or will I weather it? So I stand before my altar and ask for Resilience to see it through. I will walk with Loki and the Jotun. I will not hide or bury this anymore. I am Rökkatru, and I will meet these issues and face them.

I am no longer the abused child.

I am no longer the used lover.

I am no longer just a broken veteran.

I will find me and I will accept Loss.

I will burn again.

The Journey Continues

So as time goes forward and I have continued to move forward. I went through the breaking so that I could be freed, so that I could spiritually and emotionally be rid of that which held me back, held me down. That which chained the Dragon to the ground.

Part of the journey does involve divine inspired rituals, such as the next being what I’m calling the Ritual of Clarity. I must seek out three oracles (diviners, god speakers, horses, etc.) and hear the wisdom from the other side in an overall general life/path guidance type of thing. The rub? None can be of the same pantheon I follow. I must seek the knowledge of elsewhere.

When the weather is better (and my physical state hopefully improves) I will Walk the Nine Worlds, a ritual which spiritually sends me to the Nine Realms one at a time. Yes, I got the idea from Raven Kaldera save that I am going to add a tenth, one that is ignored and forgotten or feared by many and that is Ginnungagap, the Void that surrounds the Nine Realms. Each Realm will be a ritual in itself, and I am realizing that this path is leading me in a shamanic direction. I find it… interesting.

Right now though, it is a ridding and facing of fears. A bared upper body picture posted on Instagram and Facebook, because I HATE my body. I think my reflection hideous and I am ashamed of my flesh on the deepest levels of my being. And I FEAR being seen. Fear the potential for ridicule. Fear being laughed at. Fear being seen as I see myself. So yes, when I post photos of myself, they are my fight.

Some fears I may never ever be rid of due to what I have been through, but I will still face them. Crowds of unknown people, Agoraphobia. I get overwhelmed. Panicked that I will be singled out for something, that I will be targeted. Driving, because in the back of my mind every bit of trash, every fresh patch of asphalt is a potential bomb. Areas too open because, as irrational as it might be, snipers. Threats lurking everywhere, unknown potential for triggers and flashbacks everytime I walk out my door. Hel, even in my own home. But I face them, with help of various kinds.

I fear putting myself out there. I mean REALLY putting MYSELF out there. Not the mask that writes this, or the mask I put on when I would take the stage and dance with the fire. Facing that involves writing this blog. Writing my stories. Letting others read them. I just recently faced that fear by submitting a story for publication, where “IF” accepted not only would I get paid, but I would become an officially published author. A fear of success, conquered by achieving a lifelong dream.

But this is all part of my journey, my steps, all leading to an unknown conclusion. A conclusion that I’m not even sure exists, but I am moving and I am learning and I am growing stronger. I think… I BELIEVE there will come a time when I will only wear a mask when I consciously choose to do so, not on some very screwed up survival instinct.

Fear of judgement is being faced by keep an oath to Loki, by getting his serpents on my forearm, thus making it much more difficult and nearly impossible to hide who I am, the path I walk, the God I love and revere.

Now I extend an invitation. Join me. On the journey, but make it your own. What are you waiting for? Face the fears. Find your strength. Who cares if we find an end or a goal at the end, if there will even be an end? I know not all of you seek the spirit to the depths I do or am going to be going to, but know that I do this to gain knowledge and wisdom to share. I walk this path alone and of my own choosing. But if you journey as well, perhaps, one day, our paths will cross for a moment, a breath, a heartbeat. And I will treasure that passing.

Perhaps I will see you soon.

Rökkatru and the Nine Worlds

Norse shadow walkers. Lokeans and Jotunkin. Most think us limited to one or two of the Nine Worlds, but is not the Agent of Discord free to roam the entirety of Yggdrasil? And if that fluffy-tailed creature isn’t Rökkr, I am not sure what you would consider him to be. We would be limited to only certain realms, forbidden from other planes by the beliefs of others. But in truth we have every right to walk where ever our Gods and Ancestors do.

Yes, realms like Jotunheim and Helheim are where you are more likely to find the Rökkatru spirit because those are the type of places we are drawn to, where we find solace and comfort. The fires of Musplheim or the frozen plains of Niflheim call to others as they are what offers peace to their souls and beauty to their eyes. The old and primal places, where dark twilight is eternal and beautiful, dark that soothes away the self doubts and where a misfit need not hide away.

But think about this. All the realms bear their shadows because there IS light. A realm of pure light? How could you know anything but blindness and pain? We are in all the Realms, even Asgard. There is Rökkr even in Valhalla. No? Then what would you consider Odin’s face as Lord of the Dead, Necromancer, Bringer of the Wild Hunt? Is that not a dark aspect, a shadow side?

We, the Rökkatru will be where we wish to be. None shall bar our path or our choice. We, as the Norse Left Hand Path, have the right to be where we desire. Just because others fear what we revere and seek to understand should not bar you from exploring the places our curiosity take us. Nor should we have to be made to feel shame for living in out truth, following our path.

I for one see the way we are treated on this plane, here on Midgard. Too often I see at festivals that are “Path Inclusive” the Heathen element are often regulated to manual labor when they want to help, rarely thanked, and when they have something to say many don’t want to listen because of their path. They are looked at as brainless muscled work mules. Those that do get heard are often put in a position that if something goes wrong, fault finds it’s way to Heathen hands. And other paths wonder why Heathens are a bit stand-offish. Personally I have witnessed Heathens walk completely away from festivals dear to them because they could no longer allow themselves to be treated as work horses and pack mules.

And within Heathenry the Rökkatru and Lokeans are often treated as the “bastard children” until they are needed. They/We are called on to “fix it”. Even if we weren’t the ones to cause the issue in the first place, others don’t want to get their hands “dirty”. Blood and Death are a needed part of Life, and while healing and light work is amazing and needed the opposite is true as well. Mercy is often a gentle thing, quiet and quick.

Safety and protection. Defenses and shield are effective. But it doesn’t stop the attacks. Violence is part of the cycle as much as love. Wisdom is only a step and a half away from Madness.

So for those reading this, remember that Heathen or no; the misfits have a place. The outsiders of your circle? Look at them closely and see how many wounds they have taken to keep you safe that you never knew of the threat. Open your eyes to the Left Hand for it is of the same body. To the Heathens that see this; we on the outside see you. We hear you speak of Honor and Ancestors. We watch from outside the sacred space as you call to the Divine of the Asatru and Vanatru and do your rites. We bow our heads and give our respect even from without. We hear your whispers degrading and belittling our Patrons and Patronesses, our Gods and Goddesses. We know that you don’t even see them as Divine. Yet we remain among you, silent and either unseen or kept at arms length. There must be a balance.

And I have seen that the truth is the fact that many think because of our path we will come howling for blood at Ragnarok. And we will, as we sail with the Rökkr proudly, but we will choose those of arrogance and willful ignorance. We will know the truth of what lies behind the shine of “Honor” and the palaces built on the backs of others. Use the Gods to justify Hate and we will know. Use the Goddesses to be exclusive, we will see. Use the Ancestors as an excuse for racism and we will hear. And we will howl as we hunt.

The drums are beginning. They call the Others from all of the Nine Realms. We are beginning to gather. We are the Jotunkin and the Lokeans, Children of Fenris and of Jormungadr. Voices for Ginnungagap. Those who dance with the wights and witches, sing with the trolls and giants. Those who remember that not all the ancestors names survive, but they did. Daughter of Hella, those not afraid to speak to Nidhogg. Drums whose beat reach Svartlheim and those who sit with the Dakkalfar, into the reaches of Niflheim calling back the spirits of those seeking the forgotten wisdom buried in ice. That beat that is drawing together souls to each other in Midgard.

We no longer walk alone. We have found each other. And we continue to find more. We walk the Nine Realms because we can.