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.

8 Days of Loki: Day 1

So. I lit my white candle and closed my eyes, picturing the color of magic, the ebb and flow of it around me. How it touched absolutely everything and was quite literally in the air. I opened my eyes and spoke aloud the prayer, incantation, whatever you choose to call it. And then went about my day with thoughts of fire constantly in the back of my mind.

The white candle of Day One

To think of it as our ancestors did. More than something to cook with or to fear, to them as to many today it is a living entity of its own. By scientific terms fire shows all the signs of what we consider life. It need to eat (fuel), it requires oxygen (breath), and it seeks to propagate. But beyond that it shows those who know how to look a personality that is both playful and destructive, an entity far removed from the concerns of humanity. The Hearthfire that kept our ancestors warm and shed light is no different than the fire that devours forest and flesh with equal abandon.

Fire is flowing, ever shifting and changing. I has no set shape or form. Put your hands into flame and there is nothing to hold (I do not recommend this by the way) yet it is completely real. In many ways it is quite like it’s opposite element, water.

And the sound of fire. The crackle and low rumble of a good campfire, there is something even now that is so very comforting. Over half the memes I see about being outdoors there’s a fire of some sort. The roar of a bonfire on Beltane, calling out to souls to dance and drum. Heat that can reach and touch every part of you like a lover, but a lover with a knife at your throat. It is hope and creation and destruction, life and light and survival and screaming death all at once. SO many thing is our friend fire.

Then there is divine “fire”. The spark of life, of passion. It is said that it was Lodur that graced us with the color of life. We each carry that fire inside, the metaphysical ember that some can stoke to a forge’s heat or a bonfire’s intensity. Without this spark, there is no life. No humanity. No passion or lust or love or creativity or desire. No anger or hate or violence. You can’t have one and not the other. We mortals need that spark and when it is gone, so are we. Our flame extinguished.

And it is that very passion, that spark that allows magic to be. Not just in humanity, but in the entirety of the world. From grass to Whales, all life carries that spark. It is the energy that connects us to each other, to the world and to the energy that we have named Magic. With our divine fire we are able to reach out and believe. We can have Faith. We can touch the Magic that flows around and through us if we take the time.

For the length of memory even the element of fire has been sacred. It is these properties that many in Pagan communities celebrate, sanctifying a fire for rituals, making it sacred and then throwing offering to various Deities into it. Fire as a sacred thing can even be found in non-pagan traditions in the form of cremation, releasing the spirit to freedom and where it is meant to go. It is used in so many belief systems across the world, on nearly every continent. Fire is sacred and divine, and knows nothing of hate or love or favor. It is an element, a spirit, an entity that we can barely begin to understand yet we still work with it.

The arrogance of humanity thinks that we have tamed fire. Fire can be contained yes, but tamed? No, never. And this is an observations from not only the work done on the first day of Loki, but as a fire performer with just a few years of experience. When I dance with flame there is no other feeling in the world and the roar of that flame is like a prayer of thanks and celebration to Loki. I don’t control the fire. It is my partner. I have savored it’s kiss, and I have also known it’s angry bite. And where does the magic come in? When you dance with the flame in front of others, you bring them with you into that sacred space. For a few moments their lives are nothing but the moment, the magic. They become enchanted. They know magic.

And Loki? Yes he is a fire God, just his is the sacred fire, the fires of life and magic. He is the fire that keeps us safe in winter and the fire that drives us forward.

May your fire burn long and bright.

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.

Observations (Or Rambling the Second)

It is just after 5 a.m. on the 23rd of December. I’ve been awake since 4:30 and have no real idea as to why. Lately this is the time I’ve been waking, just BOOM you’re awake, get your butt up. So I rise at this evil hour, and have actually been doing this often enough that I am beginning to like it. The world is quieter. My family is sound asleep, slumbering in peace. Local don’t start leaving for work until nearer to six a.m., and the sun still has yet to rise. I can see a few stars even due to the lights of the town I live in.

Also, it gives me time to write. I’m able to get words out without distraction or the wants/needs of others. Truly it is some “me” time. There a magic to this hour as my personal issues don’t happen due to the knowledge that most of the area is also sleeping (don’t ask, I’ll just sound crazier than I already am). I listen to various playlists with headphones and can actually enjoy music while I write. It’s… nice.

I know normally I post only ever couple of days, I don’t want to overwhelm people because for some reason this blog seems to be being enjoyed by more people than I ever thought and that makes me ecstatic and terrified. But over the next few days I will most likely be posting regularly.

See, later this morning I will be going with some one I trust to do the first Rite in following up the Breakening and continue the journey that it started. I foolishly thought that, “Ok, I’ll do this, let Papa break the chains, and I’ll be good”. Well, nope. Not so much. I have work to do and that ritual was only the gateway for me to step through. It unlocked not just a journey but a process for me to continue, with spiritual and personal work interspersed between smaller, personal rites to help refine me into someone closer to whom I am meant to be.

The rite I face later this morning, while no where close to the power of the Breakening, it will still be potent and painful. You see, these rites will be UPG, given to me through thoughts, dreams, and feelings from Flamehair. This one in particular scares the piss out of me due to the nature of the location and the memories associated with it.

Shall I tell you why? Sure, what the Hel. I’m going back to the home I was raised in, where I grew up. The rite is one of Severing due to the ties to that house. You see, my mother was abusive mentally, emotionally, and physically. From around the age of 3 to my 20’s I was beaten every day, berated for being an idiot and stupid. Told how I was an ugly worthless mistake. How I was just meant to do what I was told, treated more servant than child more often than not. Now, I know there was a reason for this. It was much later she had been suffering from early onset Dementia and it made her mean and violent, I just happened to be the easiest target. I don’t need to go into details, but it has made me terrified of that house ever since and the things I endured have been part of the things holding me back.

If I am to refine myself as Loki has asked I must be able to let go of these things, this part of my past, that house. There are spirits of a sort there that haunt me still, and have effects into the present. That still hold power over me. And it is long overdue that I cut the ties and leave it behind. The ritual that is planned will allow that process to be done.

Rituals are potent things as we call upon our Gods and various spirits to help us. The invocation of powers greater than ourselves to embolden and fortify ourselves to tasks that must be done. Now, I fully believe in the power and magic of such things. To me it’s so very much more than words and motions. Many of the Rites I perform now no longer come from books or from others. No, these are MY rituals and they work. They really work, at least for me. The magic is real, the effects are real, and they are lasting to me.

Through Ritual I commune with my Gods/Goddesses give them offerings and receive blessings and if I am REALLY lucky an occasional message (doesn’t mean I will understand it, sigh). But everytime we sit before an altar, everytime we speak aloud to our Patrons/Patronesses this to me is Ritual. Every thank you, every “you glorious bastard”, every time we acknowledge Them, it’s a touch of ritual a touch of magic. It connects us to the higher powers and gives us strength.

My friends, do not hesitate to say a simple thank you when something positive happens, or to ask for strength when needed. Our Norse path says essentially that we fend for ourselves, the Divine won’t do for us. But they will give us all the tools we need to do the task at hand.

Today I will ask my Patron, Loki, to walk with me. Will you ask yours?