I Ain’t Dead Yet!

As so very many of us know life can and does get insanely stupid at times, often when we’re far from prepared for it. Well dear readers, you guessed it. Happened to me. A Lokean of all people, right?

I’m not going to go into details as I don’t have all the information at this time, but let’s just say I could almost swear I heard even Hella head-desk. It has been certainly interesting, but on the up side this past weekend was a MUCH needed getaway for the wife and I. Nope, no pagan fest this time. We let our inner geek fly and went to Archon 43. We stayed in a… HOTEL! Gasp! For shame! What kind of Rokkatru are you? One that likes indoor plumbing and climate control, thank you very much.

So what does this have to do with a more or less spiritual blog? Because it fed my mundane joys. The people were also wonderful, so much less judgemental that people at festivals have been recently. Between you and I dearies, I am sick of the ever-loving Witch Wars that seem to constantly take place. It slides is like a shadow every where in the pagan community, everything from disagreements on UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) to sexual predation.

At the con, due to my mental issues, I was afraid I was not going to be able to do it. But on the first trek around the event, my wife was by my side, holding my hand and more than willing to step outside with me if I needed to.

Now I know at least a few of you know about cons. For me, I was able to enjoy, even going so far as to be alone because I was in costume. When in costume I was someone else, it wasn’t me, and for a little while I could be in a different skin and not my PTSD/Anxiety/(list goes here) self. I was a homeless undead, an Unseelie assassin, a steampunk captain, and a Lokean shamanist. And each had their own background, save the last, and I could be me again, touch that part of myself that was tucked away for so long.

At pagan events I couldn’t do that because I was either dealing with my issues or on staff. For years now I’ve had work-cations, volunteering my time and staying so busy that after it was done I was actually MORE exhausted than when I got there. Granted, I felt a great deal of pride and a certain type of fulfillment from the work yet it was still work. Before that is was years of fire performance. Lokean fire performer, big shock I know.

Anyway there is a point to this rambling. We are creatures that spend most of our lives in mundane ways and doing mundane things day in and out. Pagans, Heathens, Wiccans, Druids, Rokkatru, and all the others go to the Pagan gatherings and often save up all year to do so. Supporting fellow pagans in crafting, sharing and learning, stepping outside the mundane. It nourishes and replenishes the soul, reconnects that primal heart back to whatever is a part of your path. Then back to mundania we go, often with teary goodbyes as we drive away not wanting to leave.

Yet for the spiritual, events like a Sci Fi/Fantasy Convention can renew a different part of the soul for some of us. A part that is childlike and too often is buried under layers of embarrassment, shame, or because we have heard too often how mundane things we love are stupid. Fandoms, you know exactly what I mean. Attendance means you can be your other selves. Try on a new skin. I had forgotten that feeling. And if shapeshifting like that isn’t honoring Loki, well, let’s just say I think it does and leave it there.

Also without doubt, there is magic at such places/events. Magic of dreams and creativity abounds and is there to be touched, danced in, knowledge shared. Panels to speak on everything from “Is Star Trek Going Downhill” to “The Afterlife”. Go to a room party, but be aware of the theme trust me. Sit with a stranger and talk about the shared wonder of a common fandom.

It doesn’t even have to be a Con. It could be a SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) event, a cosplay contest, anime con, and so many more. Even concerts and carnivals, sideshows and circuses! I dare you to go to a burlesque show or a Vaudevillian theatre. When was the last time you saw an illusionist in person?

Yes, there is magic at such places without a doubt. Magic an old Lokean/Rokkatru has missed ever so much. Because these events evoke a truly powerful font for those willing to be open to it.

Wonder.

Black Moon A Risin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hail Loki! Hail the Rökkr!

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.

Changing Year, Changing Self

Well the dumpster fire that was 2018 is now gone. By the calendar that we hold to the year change for me at least approximately seven hours ago. Some people were out, celebrating, drinking, fucking, and just indulging over all. Freaking awesome! Me? I was asleep, warmly tucked in next to someone I love, with my child peacefully sleeping in her room.

Yet still, the new year is here and this is the first day of it. To Lokeans change is not only inevitable, but near a sacred thing. I believe it is why so many of us are pushed to constantly change and grow, whether it be internal or external. Change comes in many forms, from starting a family to quitting smoking. But without it Entropy comes along with its insatiable hunger, bringing Death with it.

Often, too often, Loki is tied to purely harsh deeds. But why did he do it? For change (and a giggle, let’s be honest) because without his mischief the Gods would have been content to stay forever the same. So with this New Year’s Day, perhaps take a moment to turn thoughts inward. Examine what we TRULY want to change in ourselves.

I don’t mean lose the weight or recycle more, but actual hard change. Do you tend to keep people at arms length? Why? Was it a hurt? Are you TRULY that much of an introvert or do you fear being hurt or disappointed. Seeking someone special? Get offline and go someplace instead. No, not a bar or a club, but go to the Library. The Zoo. A museum. You never know, you may not find someone but you might learn something you didn’t before. Scared of being the center of attention? Why? If it is fear, face it down. Hel, face down a fear this year anyway! Why would you do that? Doing so is a battle, a harsh and painful thing. Ah, but the victory is so very worth doing so. You feel an accomplishment unlike anything else. Perhaps, just perhaps a wise person can recognize something toxic in themselves and change that.

Resolutions to me have always been a joke. Life itself and human nature will always tend to get in the way, resolutions rarely ever happen by the year’s end. Why is this? To quote a very famous piece of wisdom, “Shit Happens”. So go ahead and make them, but don’t be hard on yourself if they aren’t met. Choosing change on the other-hand takes dedication. For any Heathens or Heathen-Flavored folks reading this, if you do decide to make a change I offer a challenge. Make of your change a Brag. Or if you are feeling brave, Oath it, in front of witnesses.

I personally am already on a path of Changing. That is what these recent blogs about the Rites have been about, a journal of the marker points of the journey. It started with the breaking ceremony, which I thought would be a one and done type of thing. Heh, oh such a naive thought when working with Loki. Oh no, it was the mark of the beginning, freeing my spirit for the real work to begin, unbinding all the boxes and releasing chains I didn’t even know where there to begin with. It even thus far has been painful both physically, spiritually, and mentally taking a toll on each in turn and at times all at once. But I will continue forward, not because of the goal. You see, I don’t even know what the end results are going to be other than I will be different. I will have changed. Right now I am facing down not just demons, but coming to terms with Truths and realizations about myself.

I write to share my experiences in hopes others may also find some sort of hope, maybe a laugh or two. Let’s face it, Lokean for two decades and Papa is still giggling at me because I’m stumbling around in the dark most of the time, and damn if a big rock doesn’t catch me in the shins now and again. The language used at that time is ancient and not PG-13.

I write to get it out. To set to words thoughts and feelings and observations. The sharing of life should be a sacred thing, and that is why this is a public blog. Hey, at least I haven’t overshared. Yet. Not saying that I will, but I make no promises.

So as we all head into a new and fresh year, remember today is the celebration not just of surviving another solar rotation without killing ourselves, it is also about change. Why do so very many stay up until midnight? To witness change, inevitable and certain. To hope and pray the coming months bring better fortune than the last. To feel wonder for just a moment. When that ball drops or that clock ticks down you can feel the building energy, released at midnight in waves of joy and happiness. And that, dear ones, is magic. I don’t care what anyone says or wants to argue. Once a year all peoples gather in peace and anticipation, watching clocks, and at the appointed time across the country a wave of cheers go up. Sounds like the gathering, focus, and release of energy to me.

So another cycle begins, and an old one ends. What surprises are in store I wonder? I feel though that this will be the year of the Outsider, the Misfit. When we find one another, stand together, and say NO MORE. It has been being yelled for years by soccer moms to college students. But now the outsiders are stepping up and we are hard to ignore.

The Jotun open their eyes.

Winter Solstice with Loki

It’s been chilly this year here in Missouri, with a single snowfall thus far. The trees are bare and skeletal, but we still have some patches of green grass. It has been rain more than anything else and mud. Rather dreary, truth be told. And yet… well, there’s been something in and about this year. I, like so many others, are usually facing S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) during this time and yet not so much this year. Is it my medications? My family? My friends? My beliefs? I’m not sure.

Let’s face it, I have every reason this year to be facing it. My body is breaking down and doctors have no idea why (though we know a great deal of what it is NOT). Finances are tight enough that while I can afford gifts for my children, my wife, friends, and family are going to have to deal with hand made IF I can get out and get materials from the local area. I spend most days in my apartment with a trapped three year old little girl who has an adventure streak a mile wide. So yeah, I should be face down in tears in my pillow, unable to function as is my normal.

Yet… I’m not. This year I have been more open spiritually than I have in a long time and feel Papa Flamehair’s presence with me. Despite physical failings and mobility issues I’m adapting the best I’m able. I got to have an early Jultide with my Kindred (which is rather unique and eclectic to say the least). I’m going to get to see my elder children at the end of the month. And my heart is strangely full. And while I did what I needed to get here, I thank Loki for the resilience and strength to persevere through it all. To keep moving forward even though I so often wanted to just lay down and let entropy do it’s thing.

Which brings me to the past few days. Past few very weird, very odd days. Now, if you don’t believe as much in the mystic, spiritual, magic side of things perhaps now is a good time to just hit like, re-blog and move along, because I just might begin to wax a bit on the weird side here, but it’s my blog and if you continue to read, deal with it. Because it is gonna be a bit of a strange ride.

Truly it started REALLY hitting on Mother’s Night, with long conversations and much counseling on my end as a Minister (kind of). While it may be an ordination through the ULC, I still take the responsibilities very seriously. I have gotten up at 2am for someone before because there was real need. I counsel as I can and when over my head make recommendations. Eh, enough, I’m side tracking myself.

So many in my circle of close friends and many members of the Kindred could feel the energy climbing this year. I asked and would speak with them separately and it was always along the same description. A heaviness pressing on them, not one to keep them from going about life but the type that makes it difficult to just get moving out of bed or stand from a chair. Similar to a physical weight. And the other thing with this was a tingling energy just under the skin almost like it was trying to get out. In a few of us it manifested as something more primal, more akin to an animal pacing in a cage, a raw need to get out. Not really feeling like being trapped, just unable to run like we wanted for whatever reason we had. And not one, but three people approached me seeking help in dealing with their shadow over the past two days. Normally, I get this request maybe once a year.

And then there were the personal things. I had equal parts intense bad and mind-blowing good, neither of which I’m not discussing here because, well it is rather personal. Allow me say however both went beyond the pale in the extreme to me anyway. I received word from my representative within the VA about some benefits I am trying to receive and was told that while I may have some time to wait yet, the news was more than enough to keep me going. A doctor finally actually listened to me and has some ordered some tests that should help us more with what is going on. Been keeping in touch with loved ones and have been able to enjoy conversation, and I despise talking on the phone. If a telephonic conversation lasts longer than five minutes, it’s too long.

Now some of you might be wondering what all this has to do with that glorious bastard Loki. Well ask and ye shall receive. Two of the three for the shadow work were guided to me by communing and meditating with Him. The mind exploding good was directly connected to him. There was even a hand in the bad, which has uncovered truths concerning myself and others. And the dreams… damn. I don’t often remember dreams but lately they have been very vivid, so real that I could smell and remember touches. No, not all of them were good, but none the less intelligent.

To wrap up this particular entry, I have a van full of people of heading to visit, and should be here this evening. One of them and my self are going out to do the next bit of spirit work as I continue my own development and repair, to heal from the breaking I went through. Much time and work to be done.

I suppose that is all for now all you wonderful people.

Heathens Hydrate!

Hail Loki , He Who Brings Change!

Day of Thanks, Day of Memory

On this day many will sit at large tables surrounded by those related by blood. When you do, you will gorge on tasty food (hopefully the host has some talent for cooking) and most will laugh and cheer. But stop for a moment. Look around the room, the house. Almost certainly you will find that one relative, off alone, looking mildly miserable and/or out of place.

You know the one. The guy that has no interest in sports or cars, the woman that hates gossip and parenting talk. On their phone or their book they simply try to find a quiet place to spend the appropriate amount of time before they can escape. Perhaps you, dear reader, are that person.

If by odd chance that you are reading this and are NOT that person, ask yourself “Why are they apart?”, “Why don’t the join in?”.  The answer is that they are a vastly different person from everyone else in the family and other than blood feel no deep connection to the others that are there. Probably even mocked at worst, or at best met with passive aggressiveness about their look, demeanor, beliefs, life-style or a number of other things. Every. Year. And yet, they are still there. A quiet steady presence that none seem to acknowledge other than the initial hello and whispered ridicule. Yet there they are. Every. Year.

Until they aren’t. Finally driven away by so many factors that relative could simply have chosen not to come this year. Perhaps they are sick and can’t get out, but no one seems to know for sure. Maybe it is the worst case scenario and they are gone permanently and hardly anyone really noticed. And deep inside you wonder, who were they, really? What happened that they are gone?

If YOU are that person, the one who feels like you’re on the outside looking in, that there’s no place for you, that you don’t belong for whatever reason, STOP. PLEASE STOP. Don’t go. That whole idea of blood is thicker than water? Most people do not know the full saying and thinks it mean blood family is more important than anything and if you say wrong there is something wrong with you. That is incorrect. The original saying is “The blood of the covenant is stronger than the water of the womb”.  Meaning that your CHOSEN family those you choose to give your heart and trust and respect to, those who freely give all that in return, those are your real family.

Those of you with no where to go? Create one! Host a place for those you know alone like yourself. A simple meal with 2 or 3 friends can be a wonderful holiday. If money is an issue, everybody bring something to share, have stone soup (google it), it doesn’t matter. Companionship matters.

For those of us of the Nordic traditions today is one of the days of memory. Remembering those who came before, their deeds, their names. I will set a place for my ancestors for dinner tonight and have a quiet dinner with just my wife and daughter.

Later today I will call my older children, my Dad, and my Sister. Because I choose to. Because they are my literally part of my family legacy. I have other family, yes, but they for the most part don’t even really know me as a person. I would love to have a huge feast and the food coma and the laughter! The clink of glasses toasting loved ones gone before and silly stories of their shenanigans. But not this year.

No, this year is going to be quiet for many and multiple reasons that I don’t care to dwell on at the moment. We are going to have an early dinner of Steak and Potatoes, and then my wife and daughter are going to her family gathering so our little bug can see/meet her cousins (and the wife wants to see the new baby).

I will stay home, by myself. I will have a moment of quiet to reflect on those who came before. I will light a candle and set it at the place saved at the table and ask any ancestor that wishes to come and join for the evening that they are welcome, even the blacksheep. Especially the blacksheep. I will speak with them of deeds done and ones yet to accomplish. I will talk to them about hopes and dreams and fears. Because they will listen. They will judge only my heart.

So remember, dear reader, blood-family or not, there are those that love you and would welcome you to their table. If you already have a table, perhaps you may have room for one more.

Such a simple thing could potentially save a life during the holiday season.