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.

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!