Iron and Blood

Like the title? I do. To me it conjures images of ancient battles and the cries of war before it became corrupted even more.

Of people, men and women and dual spirited, who lived hard and rough lives. Surviving with skill and cooperation, laughing and loving, knowing that life was truly a fragile thing. Taking little for granted finding the joy and sorrow and fighting for every moment. These are the ancestors, not just the ones folks like to claim.

That famous person you can claim blood to or with? Awesome. But what about your great great great grandparents who farmed and fought and survived? Do you know their names? Do you think of them? Without those simple members who lived none of us would be here. And I often think of them, their strength to just simply carry on.

Now before this goes any further I suppose I should offer a TW/CW of some kind, but fuck it. Either stop reading now, or deal with it.

Because now let’s move to this age, this time. Humanity has become more parasite than symbiote living not for each other but for the individual. We are soon to be a dying species and most of the members are either too apathetic to care or too stupid to know better (flat-earthers I’m looking at you).

We let hate get out of hand, turning on the different. I could go on and on about all the possibilities of that, but I’m going to focus on a single thing. The overwhelming change in humanity that is the tsunami of depression that spreads over us like a plague. Such things have been around for years, but like a cancer it has grown and spread almost as if we are all drinking from the same poisoned water source that warped our genetic makeup and we spread it to the next generation. In the United States alone there are twelve year olds commiting suicide! Teens on such heavy drugs that they are being committed to mental institutions, adults who take their own lives and their own families saying, “We had no idea”.

Some of us are strong, led lives that were forged in trauma and abuse, been through hellscapes so many couldn’t fathom. At least that’s what is said. We stand and we face the day, few knowing the iron was forged in blood. That wisdom comes from experience yes, but madness as well. Pain is both the result and constant companion for those who led/lead such lives. And when you look now the signs are everywhere, “Get Help, Talk to Someone, We’re Here”. So many slogans, so many re-posting the meme’s, so many fucking promises. Yet those death numbers continue to rise.

Why doesn’t a person with thoughts speak up? Seek out help? Hmmmm… let’s ponder this for a moment. Could be a generation thing. Up to and including most of Gen X, you handled it on your own. Guys especially because showing that type of emotion was weakness so you learned to bury it deep, shut down emotionally. In some families they would beat you for such thoughts, to toughen you up. You suck it up and do what you have to. Gods forgive if it were found out by the students in school that a person was not only different but having problems, it became a mixture of blood,water, and sharks.

Now there’s this “No Tolerance” policy on bullying in many different schools, but guess what? It’s a joke to placate the parents and does absolutely nothing for the students except cause the bullies to escalate when they get their “punishment”. Which by the way is to apologize and write a paper on proper behaviour. I wish I was joking, as I have looked into multiple schools in multiple states, and this is the policy with little deviance.

Every day is a battle for these people folks. Every. FUCKING. Day. Yes, medications, therapy, and other techniques add weapons to the armory but in the long run it is the individual who has to keep fighting every day. So when you ask why don’t they just talk? Because a past of ridicule, being ignored, told that they were a being a burden or problem. I can hear so many now, “I would never…”, well guess what? Your body posture, tone, and everything else often say it for you.

Iron is our armor. Forged in blood. Blood that to often is our own. So is it any wonder that after battling for so long and so hard that so many fail? They fight on alone in their minds. Platitudes, hopes, prayers are nice and just fucking useless. Sometimes you have to actually do something and show that you are there for them.

Sometimes… it doesn’t matter. The demons win and the battle is lost. The pain can no longer be withstood. So, yes Karen, it was all about you when you didn’t even spend 3 minutes speaking to them, they did it just to hurt you or for attention. Fuck you.

Sometimes all you hear is goodbye. Sometimes you hear nothing at all. Sometimes? There’s another morning.

Fire, Smoke, and Steel

Photo by: Earthfirearts@gmail.com

The turning of the year and I found myself ill. Stomach and body angry and full of pain, cause unknown. Yet deep down I think that I knew.

You see, my mind and life had been occupied for over a month by the needs of the mundane world and of family. Daily devotional had slipped to every few days, to once a week. The spirit, my spirit was lacking the nourishment that it needed and that helps my body stay healthy. A lesson I should have learned long ago, but I am rather dumb at times and can get wrapped up in only what’s in front of me. Forgetting to care for the Self in process of caring for others even when it’s detrimental to health.

So it was that just days after the New Year I heard the calling from my altar, a pull that had nothing to do with the physical. It needs be said that when it comes to distractions my home is pretty good for it, especially of an evening. A four year old daughter, my wife, and a seven month old / fifty pound pupper and that isn’t even including all the electronics, the noise from living in an apartment complex, etc. and so on. So to feel the pull during that time while not unusual, was too strong to ignore.

My body was weakened to the point of taking all I had to just stand and walk from room to room. Yet the… prodding that was pushing me also gave me strength to stand and do what I felt was needed. I gathered candles for the altar, new incense, and tidied it up. I closed the door to the bedroom (where my altar is), lit the candles, the incense, and laid my hand upon the altar while bowing my head.

The sensation was immediate. It was as a starving man set before a banquet; a ravenous wolf finding a lone and wounded stag. A host of emotions flooded over me at once; shame, guilt, love, acceptance, and mild irritation to name a few. With it all came instructions to take up my personal blade (not my ceremonial) and to lay down in bed, the blade upon my chest, and let myself go.

I took up the steel, stripped down, and climbed into bed holding the blade on my chest over my heart. Beginning four-fold breathing, it wasn’t long before I was elsewhere. Where I do not know. It was a black void and felt as if my body was floating there, no pulling or urging, just floating. I let go of expectations, of hopes and fears, placing myself entirely in that moment with every ounce of will I had left. It was then that I realized a few things. First was that the Void wasn’t at all black, but it was all things, all colors swirling together constantly, blending and moving so that all that could be seen was the culmination of what we see as black. Second, I wasn’t alone in that place. There was a sentience there among and in all the colors and black and shadows. There was my beloved Patron, only hidden from view by a veil as thick as a silk sheet. It felt that if I but reached out and drew aside a curtain I could see anything, go anywhere.

The blade was still with me and glowed with it’s own inner light and had a warmth to it that had nothing to do with the fires with which I had made offering to Loki and the Rökkr. It was a light and warmth that comes from Tribe, of a gift given out of love, of a bond unbroken. It was a person symbol not only of protection, but of family as strange as it may sound for a blade. What makes it all the more “funny” is it was a gift from neither Rökkatru nor Heathen, but from perhaps the most peaceful man I have ever known that walks the Buddhist path and his son. The worth and meaning in this piece of worked steel is beyond words to me, and was reflected in that place.

There was a song there. Wordless and whispered that was felt more than heard, and I knew it to be Ancestors, entities not truly forgotten but lost to history and time. That song was beautiful and while a touch sad carried with it pride, the pride of defiance and survival. It echoed in and through me, I could feel the smile of my Patron even through that veil.

What that place was, where I found myself I do not know with any certainty. There was an echoing fear there that I did not know, couldn’t recognize except to know that it wasn’t my own.

That void was parted in front of me as a simple curtain pulled aside and an old woman stood there. Six foot tall and thin in her raggedy simple brown dress. I could smell the musk of both dogs and wolves (trust me, wolf musk is hard to forget) as she held the “curtain” open and yawned as if she just woke up. Hair unbound and white as snow, skin wrinkled with age, but golden eyes bright and crisp even though they were still drowsy. She looked to me, up and down, and only said “One: About time, but come back later. Takes old folks time to really wake up you ass. Two: You make some pretty babies.”

WTF? Ok…

Before I could respond, my four year old was shaking me asking me if I was asleep in a quiet little voice. My eyes opened to look into her bright blues.

I might have a very low self-image/opinion, but damn my littles are pretty cute. They can be absolute monsters, but they are cute.

This got me to thinking, thinking about many things. About how I was blessed with essentially a large family though not all are blood. About how my own bloodlines and ancestory have an influence on who I am, who my children are. About the trials that I have faced and my eldest child is now beginning to face. It may me look at my parents and the lineages that I come from, wondering how many of my ancestors faced the same trials. Were they thought mad? How did they make it through? Now, we have drugs to help provide what the brain cannot however even 60 years ago between the cultures, ideals, and lack of understanding so many went untreated.

How many who are schizophrenic or bipolar are not only that way because of the way they are wired, but because of a connection to the “Other”? In the United States hearing voices gets you locked up and drugged into zombie oblivion. Yet in tribal communities you are cared for and even respected as hearing the ancestors or the spirits of the land. You don’t get “treatment”, you get training. Medicine Men, Wise Women, Shamans, Herb Women, Oracles, Seers, and so many more names.

My family line, my blood, is strong with this gift and curse. I remembered the stories my own Mother would tell of the family. Saw and read the journals of others long gone. Letters. Mementos. It sometimes takes me a while to get to a conclusion, but I tend to get there eventually and I think I am close to something. Just not sure what.

I do know that I have been not just ignoring a part of myself. I’ve been outright neglecting those needs. Just as the body needs nourishment, so too does the heart, mind, and soul. Some of those aspects inside me where being starved and the rest react to it. When one walks the Rökkr path you can only go so long before they take notice, and at least for me risk of offense. Worse, they start “checking on” you, see what you haven’t been doing and remind you of what your obligations are. For some of us. So I will be going back to my devotions. If even just a moment before I go to bed in order to say thank you for the gifts I’ve been given, the blessings I have received, and those strengths I have found on this path.

I know, so damn esoteric right? That’s a different post, sorry.

Life, Hope, Loki, and Other Four-Letter Words

Well. Been a bit. Life has been busy and hectic here, to the point that some parts have been getting put on the back burner and really shouldn’t.

Life happens. Shit happens. It happens to each and every one of us at different times and in different ways, but it happens. We take the hits as they come and we do our best to roll with it. Hey, part of being Heathen right? Standing and showing our strength to keep going? It’s certainly sounds noble and Heathenish. Yet I’m not Heathen, not really. I’m Lokean and I am Rokkatru. I am also mortal and as such am prone to the entire spectrum of emotions with faces for each mood and thus reflecting the shape-shifter that I kneel before.

You want me to bury my pain? Fuck off. Swim the river of tears or drown in it. I shouldn’t give voice to my anger? Suck it. I will howl my rage to the moon if I so choose. The love and hope I feel should be kept down? I will laugh as I dance over your bones.

For months now I personally have been riding waves of emotion, setting my spirituality aside for personal reason. And that is as unhealthy for me as if I were to stop eating. But I REFUSE to think any of my Gods or Goddesses would want me to suppress any emotion that I have, that burn within my breast. Emotion is the primal in each of us trying to be free. Deny it and you deny all those who came before, so be stoic and unfeeling to the world outside your circle. You say being a Heathen, I say being afraid of yourself.

I can already hear the cries across the interwebs of “I feel! I’m not afraid to show emotion!”, and that’s fine. Everyone is different. However, let me tell you this so listen close, you just might learn something. That random person you see, silently weeping in public? Yeah the one who so many would think of as weak or a loser? I see a soul in pain that is so strong that they aren’t scared to be perceived as weak.

What does any of this have to do with Loki? A great deal, for just imagine if He were to be ashamed to be thought of as weak. Can you? The gifts he has given not only to the Aesir but to mankind as well. To show his pain if front of others, including beloved Lady Sigyn. To be laughed at, ridiculed, used as the scapegoat and still he returns. Glutton for punishment? Not really, but the one that sees the need and does it. The one that stands and says, yes I did it and I will fix it. The one to fix it even when He wasn’t the one to fuck it up.

Life. Hope. Loki. Emotions. All tied together in a beautiful knot with so many other things that it is almost painful to contemplate. So the next time you meet the Laughing Lokean, join their laughter. Next time you see someone in tears, join them quietly. When someone is so angry, howl with them. If you are brave enough.

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.

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?

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.

A Norse Psychopomp

It seems my last post about grief sparked a bit of a discussion of the Other Side and boundaries so to speak. I would like to state my take on it, and as always bear in mind this is MY view through years of experience, UPG, USPG, and research.

Let me start with the thought of a Psychopomp. An entity with the capacity to cross borders and boundaries, unlimited by the normal gateways and walls. Every belief system has at least one, and others have many. From the idea of the Grim Reaper to Angels to Anubis and Papa Legba there are those that help and facilitate spirits cross over. But for this I will be focusing (mostly, because I can get sidetracked) on the Norse pantheon and leaning towards the Rökkr.

Loki is one of the most obvious able to cross realms freely almost at will, and not just Asgard to Midgard and back, but ALL of them. Perhaps it is just an Archetype, but many tricksters are red-heads. Look at Set who is often pictured or described as pale skinned, green eyed, with hair of flame. Sound familiar? I have seen this in too many places for it not to have an effect on my UPG, and believe that not only is Loki able to cross the Realms, but Pantheons as well. I won’t even go into modern media with this.

Hel, Goddess and Lady Queen of the Underworld, Ruler of Helheim. It only makes sense that she has the capacity of a psychopomp whether She utilizes this or not. Why would she not be able to?

Sleipnir is known to carry old One-Eye across borders as easily as stepping through a doorway. As Loki’s child and progeny it only makes sense. (Insert song about Spider Horse here) In truth one border wouldn’t be that much different than the next, so crossing between them for those able to do so would not be very difficult at all.

And why would different afterlives not be connected in someway? The question that was asked was would someone of one belief go to their afterlife still be able to see loved ones in other afterlives that went with their own path? Unless you were an absolutely wicked shit in this life and earned punishment or torment, what would be the reason to keep you from them? Who is to say that a Norse Pagan in Helheim couldn’t visit a loved one in the field of reeds? A Rökkatru in Jotunheim wouldn’t be able to visit Grandma in the Christian Heaven? No, we may not be able to stay with them but to never see them again is an idea that I personally cannot even begin to see as that would be a punishment for being true and loyal.

And in truth for all I know there might be an amazing specific place like Grand Central Station were all can meet on a neutral ground, but never know them again? From the Norse standpoint this idea verges on sacrilege as much honor as we place on ancestors. Let’s face it, in this point of history how many of our ancestors will be waiting in one of the great Halls? No, I believe we will be able to see and hold those loved ones once more, to laugh and cry and know them again.

On personal note, I also plan on visiting the Christian Hell and borrowing a spear for a few certain individuals, but I’m kinda odd like that. In all seriousness though, to be kept from our ancestors would be like being kept from where parts of our soul came from. I do not see any path forbidding that. When my time is up and I go to Loki, I know I will be busy for a century or two just exploring, tied to Him of course, but to wander and wonder and visit and laugh and cry.

So for those of you who fear the loss of family on the eternal basis, I truly believe those fears to be unfounded. Every belief says our loved ones will be waiting and so I believe it to be so. We will see the ancestors again. Hail the Rökkr!

Another View

Yes, I know it’s been a long while since my last post. Life happens and especially for Lokeans it seems to happen all at once.

Today, I am not here to write about myself, my path, or the way I do things. No I am going to speak on observations that I have had. I may reiterate things from past posts, but memory is “iffy” at times so just hang in there. There is a point to be made. I think.

Controversy. NOT an unfamiliar topic for those who walk with the Left Hand whatever faith. Yet I find it interesting that the very same souls that would willingly go about breaking convention and mundane outlooks, the ones that challenge the societal norms and accept their place as the outsiders, would so quickly judge others. Oh, stop it. We all do it, just whether it is with intent or not. Often it is based entirely on instinct that we judge others. It is when that judgement is thought through and based on not instinct but personal biases and hurts. This is what I see rippling through my beloved community of “Others”. I see it hitting the Lokean and Rökkatru circles, all over the fact that someone sees things or interprets things differently and in their own way. This is the first thing I am witnessing. UPG being used against people to accuse them of everything from mental health issues to manipulation and grooming.

It saddens me that we (Rökkatru), who follow such Primal deities, do not understand when emotions run high, when to step back, when to stop. Those emotions and our willingness to feel them on such a deep and primal level honors the Rökkr, but it beginning to be channeled against each other instead of deserving enemies. Why? Why are we doing this? It is a question that burns through my mind and my heart. Elders are to respected, yes, but when they show themselves unworthy of respect through action, word, and/or deed well that is on them isn’t it? We CHOOSE who we wish to follow when it comes to mortal leaders in our own communities or if we choose to lead ourselves. NONE of us have the immediate right of authority over another simply because of age or learning.

Let’s face the fact that establishing some sort of dominance is a given no matter where you go, who you are with, or how it is done. And oh the dominance challenges I have seen… powerful and wonderful when done right. But the petty he said she said, the rumor mongering, the slander of character is some grade school level shit and absolutely below any who would claim this path. Oh don’t misunderstand me, these things can be amazing tools for those who have earned it. Yet we use it on each other.

Now onto the second part, these absolutely laughable arguments that have been flying around about Loki. Remember folks, this is my blog and based on personal experience and observation, so if what follows pisses you off oh well. Loki is a fucking GOD for the first thing. Yes some of us may receive messages or information, but claiming to speak directly for him is asking for chaos to stop by and give you a bit of anal drilling. I know what I KNOW for me. MY truth. And I walk with Loki in my life, can feel His presence with me, everyday. Also, I wouldn’t dare to claim to know His mind or heart. We are ants to Him and all divines. Yet He cares for his followers, and I have no doubt watches over us, sometimes even pointing and laughing when we faceplant.

Here’s where we start to step into the controversy though. Rökkr, Jötun, or however you wish to address Them, and within nearly every Pagan path, you have those whose belief runs truly deep. Godspousing is a REAL practice, and who are we to say how the spouses interact? Whether deeply sexual, spiritual, BDSM, or cutesy-lovey would you say anything unless the relationship was with a mortal and abusive? And dearies, if you think that a Divine being is incapable of taking care of even a mildly abusive mortal spouse, what is the address of your rock cause it sounds rather comfortable under there.

That said, let’s address the folks who talk about and claim things that so many find “impossible” or “outlandish”. Jötun-blooded, carrying the lineage of the Rökkr in their mortal blood or being granted a piece of a Divine to carry within themselves. Where is the problem with this? Delusion you say? Are you sure? We wake everyday and walk in a world of miracles. We travel through time because we perceive it as we do, we interact with what we know to be reality, but what if a strong enough belief were able to change that even a little? Ah, I hear cries of “Absurd!” and “You’re Nuts!” from somewhere. Allow me to point out that the ones crying such things, many of them believe that the magic they work has effect in the form of changing reality to their need or desire. Personally, I believe. What? That anything is possible. Magik, the blood of Gods in mortals, and so very very much more. Why? Because I do and while I have nothing to prove to anyone, I will say that I have seen and experienced far too much in my life not to believe.

So through this rambling, through it all, can you see it? The pattern in the Chaos? So long as we are tearing at each other we are not a danger or a threat to anything else. Could you imagine, could you dream big enough of the possibilities if we all got our collective Rökkatru shit together? First our Deities would probably stop face-palming. We are growing in number and new ones see nothing but arguments and in-fighting? Many out there are working painstakingly to bring us together, but there are just as many that would see us left on our own, to walk alone and solitary.

This is where my personal opinions come in and in this particular writing do not have a place. Just remember that this is no longer the easy times. The Tower is crumbling and striking so very many. Women, immigrants, asylum seekers, POC, LGBTQ+, and on and on. How long do you think it will be before that Pentacle or Hammer you wear with pride will mark YOU as a target? I stand with my Tribe. Do you?

Fire and Fluff

There is something I am noticing within our little Lokean community, and it is a trend that is more than slightly distressing. A growing tendency towards the “Us vs. Them” mentality in our own community! I mean truthfully as Lokeans we have always been on the fringe of Heathenry at large for a multitude of reasons. But we are so very prejudiced against in enough areas because of who we choose to follow, we are going to turn on each other? Over what?

What it comes down to is on one hand you have those that deal and see the aspects of Loki that are kind, loving, and caring due to the fact He was/is the scapegoat, the outsider, the abused. That Loki is a Father/Mother figure and a Deity that will welcome anyone, no matter how strange, or broken, or “other” you are. And these are the traits these people will pick up and try to emulate along with the trickster nature and, BOOM! The Flame Haired Trickster that is up to mischief and has a hand to hold, a story to tell as you drift off to sleep, loves all things cute and shiny and uses change to bring about the positive.

On the other hand, you have those followers that walk with the darker Loki, the one bound and screaming. The Deity driven to madness from grief over the loss of almost everything He loved except for ever faithful Sigyn. The shapeshifting World-Breaker that will bring about the twilight of everything and the end times. The cunning one who is the Chaos Bringer, who destroys without a second thought. A very Dark being that would bring fire and blood, free his children to devour it all.

I would like to point out that one, these two points of view are called extremes. And that is when we start walking in dangerous territory for our faith, as it will cause us to go after each other and all those prejudices will hold true as we all go down in flames of our own making. Two, we are discussing an ancient and Primal being that depending on where you look could have very well been one of the first beings to exist. The penultimate shapeshifter who is all and more. If you begin to even think there are only those two aspects not only are you wrong, you are beyond foolish.

To dare to speak on behalf or for a Deity is folly at best. With Loki? Well it is downright dumb. Because to speak on their behalf, you claim to know their mind and will. With the Father/Mother of Monsters, you may know AN aspect, or even a few. But none of us could truly begin to fathom such immense knowledge, and if you think otherwise that’s ok. That is the arrogance of humanity coming to the surface.

I walk with the darker aspects. They are what called to me. The Loki I follow can be both kind and cruel in equal measure. He is the One that will do what is needed, not what is honorable, not what is pretty, or always ugly, but what is needed. He is a Teacher, who guides me forward and a reason to do so. I don’t have a God-phone. I am not a spouse. I am a devotee. I am no different at the bottom of it all than any of you reading this. I am Lokean. We are Lokean. And we are here, together despite the aspect we follow.

Academia, Lore, and UPG all aside we fight amongst ourselves because we are human and petty creatures. We are small and long for the briefest touch or glimpse of the greater things, and for whatever the reason Loki called to us and we answered. I couldn’t care less if your first encounter was through Tom Hiddleston and the MCU, you read the lore. You read the stories and have begun to develop UPG. You have accepted Loki’s offer and have willingly shared of your Wyrd with Him and through him his children.

I can say this with certainty. Ego has no place on the Trickster’s path unless you are willing to be the lesson for others. (Loki’s lips are just one example of this) So if you cannot accept that He can be different things to different people than you don’t accept his capacity as the shapeshifter. Just sayin’ maybe what YOU think is Loki isn’t. And yes there are exceptions. There will always be those to use Loki and His tales as a reason to be an ass. To act out and use the excuse “Loki made me do it!” which personally disgusts me.

We, together, need to get past our egos and get it together folks. Especially now with what is looming in the united states. Lokeans are coming forward like never before in my life along with Jotunar/Rokkatru (I personally like the term Rokkatru, those True to the Rokkr, the Gods of the Twilight which just happens to be where I see my path FYI). Why? I can only guess. But we have to get our collective shit together.

Some are scared of the darker aspects. Good, you should be. But acknowledge them as part of the whole. Some scoff at the lighter aspects. Don’t, for without them there would be no laughter or passions. So acknowledge the whole. Not even going to touch on the whole Chaos/Entropy thing right now, personal rant type of thing.

We are Lokean. We are different. We are the agents of change. We are the “other”. And to have an us vs them mentality is like siblings fighting, so don’t be surprised when you get put in a corner. Or set on fire.

HAIL LOKI, IN ALL FORMS!