PictureMother figure from the bank of the river Somme in France, circa 4000 B.C.
Our Mothers, many long forgotten, will make us remember our ancestral memories once they have decided that the remembering is in order. E'en if we close our eyes and clamp our hands over our ears, they will pound, tease, and goad; they will not cease till we cave and open ourselves to their light, to their truth, for it is our light's truth also.

The poems, orikis, stories, and songs of one's lineage contains the very soul of the mothers and fathers. For this reason it is good to spend time with phrases, to create and pay homage to their essence allowing the air in our mouths to form substance to the word. Don't get me wrong, eclecticism is fine, but spend special time with the sounds of one's ancestors for only they will guide your consciousness into the remembering we all so sorely need.

We were all born with umbilical cords that link us to eternity. We merely need to access the universal texts that are utterly stamped into our blood, our bones, our flesh, for it is truly our spiritual DNA. It will draw in long forgotten family and ways. This recall may be joyous, it may be painful. It will cross boundaries of time, space, language, place, race, and culture. Reconnections will be made.

It is your Mothers who will do this. Reverence to the Mothers.

 
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Scent of cool mist on the air
as the winding river is tracked over the crunch of gravel.
Glints of yellow through the trees, the light
glancing off of moss covered branches.

Vulture circles overhead,
soft smell of rot carries on wind's current.
The Eater of Death alights under leavings of gleaming dew.

The vision's long fingers stream through the mind as the trail meanders to the bank.
Bits of copper, beads, a comb;
remnants of singing joy by the rock.

Water swirls composing art just as the clouds while the Mother cries in the cave dressed in rags, her tears feed the fruiting bushes overhanging waters edge.

Lady of Copper reaches forward, the berries are sweetness.

Laughter.



















Iba Osun sekese
Yeye opo
Osan rere o
Ase


(Praise to the Goddess of Mystery
Mother of Abundance
We sing your praises
So be it)
 
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Ancestors,
I call upon you.
Ancestors,
I give you my respect and remembrance.*

Ancestors of blood and bone and flesh, of lineage  and ase.
I stand before you, you stand behind me,
Raising me up on your strength and support

Ancestors, I give you respect and remembrance.
Give me good feet so I may follow my destiny,
Guide me with your wisdom to the right path,
Support me in my trials

Egungun in Ode Remo, Nigeria
For I do not know whether to pour oil or wine first.
For I do not know whether to lay offerings or pray first.
For I do not know whether to look east or west.
Teach me how to build the nest so the entrance faces down in a curve.

Lend me your wisdom and guidance.
I give you my respect and remembrance.

Ase.


Mojube to the Holy Odu Oturopon Meji for inspiration and words.
* this is a good spot to call upon specific names of ancestors, if you are a woman then begin with your maternal ancestors, if male then begin with your paternal line. "I call upon ___, ___, etc" and then go back to the prayer.
 
PictureFrom www.ubclafayetteville.org
This is a month of Loki so I ask you, what are you going to do? For many, it seems, this is a month of writing and reading blogs. That’s great and fine and dandy and all, but that is a passive form of devotion akin to researching genealogy and calling it ancestor veneration. In celebration of this month, I'm writing this one post on Loki. It’s really a challenge.

See, I’m challenging you to actually *do* something in devotion to Loki. There are a multitude of things that can be done. At its simplest, take the time you would be reading blogs and instead of sitting on your tush in front of a computer, go spend that time in prayer to him or in meditation on his aspects. 

There are plenty of other ideas. Anyone who works with Loki knows his fondness for children. Sign up and commit to a Big Brother/Big Sister program. Check out the Shriners hospitals. They are the 9th most popular ranked non-profit/charity and focus only on kids. Work a few extra hours and donate the funds to them here: Shriners.

A slightly different kiddo angle; Loki is acutely aware of the issues of childless children. If one thinks of his story, his surviving child was effectively left alone with his binding and Sigyn’s vigil. Find a good orphanage you admire and donate. If you don't know of one; I do. I adopted through this agency and have been to the orphanage in Ethiopia. Every darn dime goes to the kids, they have amazing service and they do a phenomenal job: AAI.

Every good deity is an environmentalist. Go out and spend this month of Loki cleaning up your surrounding neighborhood. Choose a street side, a trail, or a section of stream or shoreline and just pick up trash. It isn't hard. Some people prefer to donate to an environmental cause- that’s great also!!

Another option is to contact your local community college and find out about people in transition programs. Loki is a good of dramatic change which, though rough, ultimately ends up for the best. See what you can do, how you can help volunteer, and help local folk take a step up to a better life. Put yourself out there!

Just want to do some personal work this month? That’s great also but make it active, not passive like reading blogs. Make a creative journal and blog privately just for yourself. Let Loki not only raise you up spiritually, but let him inspire you. Use colors, embed found objects, and cloths, ribbons, make pop-up cutouts; you're getting the idea! Pick topics like life goals, what you *really* want in a mate, the ideal job, your weaknesses, your strengths, the beauty inside you and the shadows you need to bind. This along with prayer and meditation can become a life changing tool.

This month of Loki is YOUR month. Make it count, make it something. DO – don’t just read! It's one monthOtherwise you may as well be talking to rocks.

Enjoy!


 
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So, I find the study of ifa interesting. We all know that heathenry lost it's oral tradition, archeology and the lore absolutely do not reveal the philosophy and theology behind the faith. Often, I come across bits that illuminate pieces we know of in heathenry. Here is something, it is small but interesting nonetheless. In ifa, when one dies your soul goes to the gates to be judged. Were you a good or evil person? Did you follow your destiny, your ori? Etc. Anyway, this verse caught my eye:

The dog is the gatekeeper of Iporo,
Agbo, the ram, is the gatekeeper of Momo.
Ewure, the goat, is the gatekeeper of those who cannot keep their mouth shut!

Momo is the gate between heaven and earth- this is the heaven of the ancestors and the orisa. So what I find interesting is of course the ram. Heimdallr is the sentry at the bridge, the crossing between earth and valhalla. Some people, myself included, see his post as more than just being a sentry to valhalla, he decides who gets to go to what is often considered a higher plane. In the verse above, the gatekeeper is the judge, here it is the ram, whose full name is Agbo Momo, who decides who gets to go to the heaven of Momo.

My own gnosis is that this is much of the reason behind Heimdallr's silence when it comes to many people, he isn't social. This allows for more impartiality. Just a thought and may not be correct. But yes, I do firmly feel he is the final decision maker as to if a human, at death, goes to a different plane. Even Odin and Freya, they may choose a soul, but Heimdallr has to put his stamp of approval on their ass! YMMV.

 
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Woke up feeling a bit sharp this morning to find more grumping and arguing on a private list sooooo.... this is going to be a bit of a rant post.

First, everybody needs to quit with rumor mill crap. All around. The rule about no rumor mill applies to everyone. Here's what has been getting me going.

Members of the Troth are all up in arms over one of 'our own' as it is phrased, due to his potential misconduct and the ensuing bad press. Check out this lovely article: Councilman busted in bribery probe...

Last year it was this guy: Prominent heathen charged with theft and More details emerge about cop...

Now, my goal here isn't really to dig up dirt and the Troth is only an example, this isn't confined to only the Troth as the issue is widespread. Just unfortunately, my current examples are Troth members (or were). With both of these cases, the 'good Troth heathen community' certainly had and has viable concerns about public image yet *also* debates the point that one is innocent till proven guilty.

Except that simple rule, that common sense application of justice and the elimination of school yard tongue-wagging, doesn't apply to people with differing views. 

One prominent Heathen elder has frequently made vicious accusations against Galina Krasskova. In the forums she posted in, no one really said, 'Wait, where is proof of guilt?' Other Northern Traditionalists such as anyone even remotely related to Cauldron Farms are repeatedly accused of crimes by  the mainstream heathen community up to and including rape, again I don't see anyone saying, 'Wait, where is the proof of guilt? They are innocent until proven guilty.' None of the horrid accusations has led to a viable law suit- no one has been convicted of anything.

Yet, these people and groups are often touted as bad for the 'public image' of heathenry, as bad people, bad religionists, and even just plain dangerous. Don't believe me? Go into almost any mainstream heathen forum like AsatruLore or Asatru & Heathenry on Facebook and ask about Cauldron Farm or Galina. You'll be able to read drama filled novelettes full of fictional suspense and intrigue till your eyes explode. 

I'm just finding it super interesting that the bad public press is coming from 'stand up' heathens. Maybe people need to start thinking before they accuse. Kinda like my Father used to tell me (greatest of reverence to him)- "When you point a finger, remember, there are three pointing back at you."



And just because I feel like it:
On Patheos.com: In a historic first yesterday, Galina Krasskova, a Heathen, gave the opening prayer at a conference on women and indigeny being held at the United Nations. The first Heathen to ever do so. You can find the text of her opening ancestor prayer,here. I could be wrong, but I believe this conference was part of the larger 11th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which I mentioned earlier. Congratulations to Galina on this achievement!
 
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There was a blog not long ago that caused a fair amount of distress among people, much of it dealing with spousery. Many viewed the blog as an 'elder vs newbie' type of deal.

So here's the scoop. Nothing wrong with being an elder. Nothing wrong with being new. What people have to understand though, is that even though a title may be granted or assumed, it takes time to be earned.

It's akin to priesthood. There are paths where the initial entitlement of priesthood is merely the beginning. Its one's babyhood, its a time to begin learning. The title is the earned through hard work. This isn't work such as counseling, preaching, leading, channeling, or divining. In the paths I am thinking of, that is actually frowned upon and the person doing so loses respect. The hard work entails study, devotion, introspection. It entails humility and the knowing of when to ask and actually engage in meaningful dialogue with those who have already been through the first five or ten years. It is the patience and fortitude to slowly gain ground, to add to one's skills and abilities and bit by bit begin using that strong repertoire of abilities to perform meaningful spiritual work.  

It is a time of learning and growth. We tell children, 'Don't be in such a hurry to grow up." Why would any spouse want to do that? That's really what it is with spousery. Making that commitment is just the beginning, it is not entitlement to teach or guide. You only have those first years once, enjoy them. Learn from them. Develop a connection deeper than you can even imagine. Take those years to mature like the finest of wines. Enjoy them, they will be gone soon enough.

Faith

3/22/2013

1 Comment

 
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Faith.

It’s a hard one. Having solid belief or trust in something for which there is often no proof. We have easy moments of rock solid faith but there are always those times where one’s thoughts get shaken and you just feel that quiver of shifting sands under your feet.

People always tell you, ‘Just have faith’ or ‘It’s a matter of faith’ or even worse, ‘You just don’t have enough faith.’ Ack. Makes me want to spit. Faith is a matter of standing on the precipice, looking down at the water crashing below, and deciding if you trust enough to jump. It’s all those people standing behind you telling you the water is fine but you sure as hell don’t see them diving in. It’s that voice of spirit whispering in your ear and to your heart, yet that softly silent voice is but a wisp that is there and gone. All the while you still stand on the edge, wind ruffling your hair and the sound of the water echoing in your bones. Jump… yeah.

That’s the thing with faith. You know that if you can just hang on and believe and act, well, things are going to be great. Miraculous even. But your stomach knots as you know you are in for a hurting if the whole damn thing is just wishful thinking, some kind of hypothetical little girl’s doll house built of lace and empty sugar.

Crap. So you stand there and look down, even getting a little dizzy from the height and the thought of the impact. The amazing thing about those people you know or hear about who have faith; not a single one of them always has surety. Every single one has moments of doubt, fear, and sweat. It’s the nature of that beast named Faith. It is what is absolutely amazing about faith and spirituality and religion and the gods and the powers. They are all so intangible that a noun is used to even describe the practice of their paths: faith. It’s belief, trust, confidence, a pledge. When you are there in the full grace of faith, you are there in this graceful sublimity that only the deepest of trust can open the way for, a glowing union of one’s own heart and mind that astounds.

But as all amazing things like love, passion, orgasm, and grace; faith is a variable creature. You have to consistently capture it, feed it, cultivate it’s growth, and even then realize there are just times it sleeps. Even then you have to realize there are times it shows it’s very elusivity that is so much a part of its nature that people often speak casually of losing faith like sand through their fingers.

Even with the knowing, maintaining faith is hard. But it has to be done. People with faith, people like you and I, we are the bravest of souls because even in those moments of doubt, even in those times of pain and isolation we continue on because we trust. It is the core of spirituality. Trust, faith, the courage to press on.

So all the while you stand there at the edge because sleeping elusive faith or not, there are things that just have to be done. So we do it again, we take that deep breath and…

Jump.




(Owner of picture unknown, please forward the information if you own or know the owner of the photo)


 
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The topic has come up before and has recently surfaced again. People in angst feeling as though they don't have contact with spirit. They read stories on the internet, they wander through tumblr sites, and peruse forums where they read of people telling tales or claiming to have 'god-phones'. In essence, the stories are of phenomenal experiences with spirit where the author claims they see, hear, and interact in profound ways with deity. I've been guilty of this also, I'll admit.

I've pulled back from this. I'm wired one way, others are wired differently. We all, repeat we ALL, have mechanisms for spiritual experience. Every one of us. No one way is better, more thorough, or more accurate. It is how the experience and information is received and used that makes it more meaningful.

I want to briefly touch on an alternative method of spiritual experience for those who feel left out, for those who don't hear words or get flashy visuals. See, we live in a culture that emphasizes intellect and thought over emotion and intuition. It isn't what should be, we need to regain balance there.

Heart tradition is found within many indigenous cultures. It is a source of experience we all can and should look to. Rather than focusing on trying to attain an intellectual, hearing and seeing experience, why not focus on seeing with the heart? Examine the feelings, the intuition that comes from this practice. It is an experiential way of spiritual contact. The heart is holistic, it is more then just emotion but our perception of those emotions. Deep wisdom lies within and for those who have faced barriers in spiritual contact, this may be an alternative avenue.

What happens here is when one goes before spirit, rather than hearing words you feel the answer. Since many modern cultures have an ingrained distrust of feelings we often start by disregarding what is received. But stop, don't disregard, give it time to percolate. Mull those feelings over, court them gently. Over time their wisdom will be acknowledged. Over time, we'll more rapidly understand the holistic message. It can be a profoundly intimate contact, much more so than words or images.

A decent article written from an Andean paradigm by C. Michael Smith is found in the link below. If Spirit via the Heart is something that interests or may benefit you, I suggest you take a look: Andean Shamanic Vision: an archetypal psychology of the heart. 
(You will have to scroll down, the page has a blank area near the top.)

 
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Three Norns by Palentino at the entrance of the Ribe Viking Center in Denmark.

Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld. I've written of them on various pages but its time I mention them here. They are generally ascribed as weavers of fate- the sacred tales they spring from describe the creation of individual and community wyrd as a woven strand(s). 



Most of the time, these ladies are ascribed to concepts such as the past, present, and the future. It's a pretty simplistic approach but I find some errors in that particular line of thought. 

Urðr, and it's Germanic cognate wyrd, essentially means that which has come to passVerðandi is simply the present tense of the Old Norse Verða, 'to become'. It typically is interpreted as that which is in the making or becoming. Skuld is the trickier concept, this  word has a Germanic root of skul meaning 'to owe.' It can point to debt or guilt.

What we have here are some pretty deep concepts far beyond past, present, and future. Often we look at the concept of wyrd as what is to happen but wyrd itself requires all three Norns to fully activate as a theological premise.

I prefer a different approach to wyrd and the three Norns. We have 
Urðr, the past, the foundation, that which sets the stage for Verðandi. This Norn isn't the present, she isn't the now. You've already read those words, they are now the past. Verðandi is the becoming which is continually evolving and never remains still.

Here, as I noted, is the trickier aspect. Skuld. If you saw these three as a branch, it is at Skuld the branch would fork. We have two options, the will and the should be. We can ask ourselves at any given time in the becoming, 'What 'will be' in opposed to what 'should be'?' The 'will be' is the direction one is heading, it is where your feet and head are taking you. Are they aligned with the 'should be?' The goal of any human truly needs to be to align the will be with the should be.

How does this correlate with the meaning of the word Skuld 'to owe?' Simply put, we all have a path, a destiny, a fate. We chose it ourselves, it was placed upon us, it was in the cards, use whatever method of description works for you. We owe ourselves and others to align with the should be. The concept of debt or owing is often glossed over, individualistic and 
independent people don't feel comfortable with the idea of being born into this life with pre-destined duties or obligations. It messes with their concept of free will and choice which is a topic I'll discuss on a later date. For now, let's just focus on getting to the should be.

How do we get there? Sometimes it is common sense. Drink heavily? Doesn't matter the Urðr of the situation, right now there is too much alcohol happening. The will be is obvious to most; relational problems, employment issues, DUIs, liver cirrhosis, even alcoholic dementia if bad enough. Change the becoming and that will alter the will be to a should be of a healthier life.

Sometimes discerning the should be is more difficult. Should you marry this individual, should you take this job offer, should you buy this house, you get the point. What looks good in the becoming may not be the best ultimate course. Meditate, do the research, seek advice or counsel, divine; whatever works with your own construct. 

Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld, are far more than past, present, and future. Take the time to explore them and change your forked branch to a smooth, tightly wound strand.

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Three Norns by Timothy Schmalz. Click the picture to go to his site.