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Canang sari- Balinese
I asked a group why we offer and sacrifice to the powers; the essentially unified answer was to establish relationships and honor the deities involved. This is true but there is more. 

The girl was joyful, beautiful, she shown bright as gold, but she was careless. In her tangled mess she played with the ball and one day, carelessly threw it through a window.

When she realized what she had done, her response was immediate. She ran to the owners and threw herself at their feet. She had such remorse, such purity of grief that she was immediately forgiven. She still has to pay for the window though.


Offerings can be made to offset debt or correct wrongs. Not necessarily even speaking of evil acts or karmic balance as some may think here, but those incorporating poor choices.

Sacrifice and offerings can also be done for others. This should be done with humility and selflessness and most importantly, quietly.

The man had little, but he had more than some others and so used what he had to help those beneath him. A few noticed and when they saw he needed help to continue his work, they gathered together. They collected items he needed and left them on his stoop in the dark of the night.

He found the items the next morning and rejoiced. He didn’t know who left them so the sun shone brightly over the whole world.


Do note that selflessness is vital here. The person may not need the blessings you think they need, their course may change in ways you don’t anticipate. The concept of Quiet is important in many cases. The prayers and offerings are not for you, they are not to gain acclaim or credit for having done so- this can remove the selflessness of the act.  Of course there will be times quietness isn't necessary such as prayer for a person who requests, etc.

Ultimately, sacrifice and offerings are about change. Change in self, relationships, and the world about you. Make offerings, but know why.

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Festivals are another great occasion for appeasing the gods, where woman bear huge, beautifully arranged, pyramids of food, fruit and flowers on their heads. There are traditional dances and music and the gods are invited to come down to join in the festivities.
Re the picture at top: Offerings play a significant role in Balinese life as they appease the spirits and thus bring prosperity and good health to the family. Everyday small offering trays (canang sari) containing symbolic food, flowers, cigarettes and money, are placed on shrines, in temples, outside houses and shops, and even at dangerous crossroads.
 
So very annoying. If an Odin's man or a Freya's woman says something off or inappropriate, no one blames Odin or Freya. But someone who ascribes to Loki? You'll be sure to find comments about how the person was 'led' or 'tricked' or 'turned' by Loki- the person is under his 'malevolent influence' or some such rubbish.

Come on people. Let's think this through. There are good and bad people who follow every deity from Loki to Set to Yahweh. We need to change the general pagan/indigenous culture to one of individual accountability, not deific culpability.
 
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Early morn before anything needed done I rose and left my home.
State route, county road, gravel, then leaf deep path.
Thirty three miles further into the mountains than I already live.


Past rivers strewn with the marbles of giants.
Mossed birch stands as mist's sentinels.
Path narrows, washed out becoming streams under reaching waterfall fingers.


Impromptu despacho of the found,
Earth gives to be honored.
Square within circle,
Singing is heard, "My name is Kporoye."







Praise to the ancestors.
Respect to the lands.
Reverence to the sweet waters.
I pray for determination.
 
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“We humans fear the beast within the wolves because we do not understand the beast within ourselves”
                                                               ~ Gerald Hausman


Bound deities

Mythology contains many bound deities. Our heathen stories contain two bound entities, Loki and his son Fenrir. I won’t write on Loki, much has been written regarding this perplexing God. I won’t write on bound Gods in general; that would encompass a book. This essay concerns Fenrir, a virtually overlooked being within the Nordic pantheon. Fenrir is a son of Loki and Angrboda. Typically known as Fenrir (Fen-dweller), he is also known as Fenrisúlfr (Fenris Wolf), Hróðvitnir (Fame-Wolf), or Vánagandr (The monster of the river Ván). He is the sire to the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson who chase the sun and moon around the earth until the time of Ragnarok when they will swallow the bodies respectively.

Fenrir’s story from the Prose Edda, in brief, is as follows. The Aesiric Gods had knowledge of prophecies concerning great trouble due to Fenrir. The day came that they went to Jotunheim and took him along with his sister Hela and sibling Jormungand. Hela and Jormungand were sent to other realms but Fenrir was kept locked away to be cared for by Tyr. 

Fenrir continued to grow till the Aesir feared him greatly. After several failed attempts,  they ultimately created a fetter named Gleipner  made of the sound of a cat’s footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird. He was tricked into the bind as Tyr promised no harm would come if he allowed them to put it on and as a show of good faith Fenrir asked that Tyr place his hand in his mouth. Of course, the binding worked and captured the wolf who then bit off Tyr’s hand for the deception.

The Aesir then took a string called Gelgja(fetter) and tied that to a rock called Gjöll (screaming or resounding).  They then took a rock called Thvti (hitter, batterer) and used this as an anchor to hold Gjöll even more firmly. Fenrir reacted and began trying to bite his captors who impaled his muzzle into the ground with a sword. The saliva that streams from his mouth has become the river Van (hope).

Interestingly, Gjöll is also the name for one of the eleven rivers that make up the Élivágar (ice flow) which originate from the wellspring of Hvergelmir. These rivers were in existence at the beginning of time and flow through the Ginnungagap into the rest of creation.

Wolves in folklore

Wolves appear in mythology and folklore around the world. These tales and symbologes have been passed down to modern man and resultantly our thoughts on Fenrir. Wolves have coexisted with man for thousands of years. Each culture reflected their views of this association into their own cultural paradigm. Today wolves are often viewed negatively but this has probably not always been the case.

The importance of the wolf likely began in Neolithic times as man began coordinating their ability to hunt. Wolves and their pack and hunting behaviors were something to be emulated, something to model themselves upon. As time went on wolves were invited into tribal units and became allies in hunting. They were positive symbols of loyalty, were revered, and considered brothers or guides. Mythos that reveres the wolf includes the Altaic mythology of the Turks and Mongols. Some of the Turkic legends, such as the legend of Asena, even postulate that their people are descended from wolves. Chechen lore about wolves is very positive; wolves are portrayed as either an embodiment of their own people or as a loving ‘Wolf Mother’. Several Native American Indian tribes such as the Nanamiut, the Naskapi, the Pawnee, and the Tanaina viewed wolves positively. 

The Romans noted the wolves loyalty to their pack and their ability to mother and celebrated this in their tale of Romulus and Remis. These were twins ordered to be killed by their uncle. The servant instead placed them on a riverbank; the river rose and took them downstream to where they were ultimately adopted by the female wolf known as Lupa. The twins survived and eventually became the founders of Rome. There is also an Irish legend of a king suckled by a wolf and of course, we all are familiar with Kipling’s tale of Mowgli.
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Romulus and Remis with Lupa, possibly from the 13th century.
We will now move to more agricultural societies. When looking at the agricultural societies point of view, suffering from livestock predation by wolves had a large impact on how wolves were viewed. Farmers had to contend with the wolf as a predator, not a fellow hunter, and so the view of the wolf was accordingly more sinister. Hunter-gatherer societies who transitioned to agricultural lifestyles often changed their views on wolves. They went from a mentor and fellow hunter to a menace to their way of life. Some cultures, however, continued to foster relationships with wolves even as they became more and more entrenched in farming. Some Japanese tribes laid out offerings for the wolves in the hopes that wolves would protect their crops and animals from other marauding beasts.. 

Cultures, such as the Finnish, viewed the wolf as destructive. Wolves are symbols of desolation and excessive, wasteful consumption. Their very name, susi, means useless while their byname hukka means punishment, damnation, and annihilation. The Tsilhqot'in Indians believed association with wolves would cause insanity while the Navaho believed witches called Mai-cob dressed in wolves clothing.

Christianity has probably had the most influence on wolves being considered in a negative light. The Bible has numerous references to wolves as greedy and destructive. They are an enemy of flocks and symbolic of evil men, power lust, and gain by dishonesty. The mythos and attitudes of this religion have had far ranging consequences. St. Francis of Assisi, however, does have a tale of befriending a murderous wolf by the power of the cross. He noted the wolf only committed evil out of hunger and so convinced the villagers to feed the wolf and no harm was further done.

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Nordic view of wolves and Fenrir

Fenrir plays a large role in some of the most important Nordic myths. I’ve outlined his tale from the Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda. The same book also discusses his role in the events of Ragnarök when his children will swallow the sun and the moon and the stars will disappear from the sky. All binds will snap and Fenriswolf will be free and will join the battle on the field of Vígríðr (battle-surge). There, the prophecy foretold long before will be borne out. Fenris will meet and devour Odin after which he himself will be killed by Odin’s son Víðarr. In this light, wolves would be considered an enemy of devouring, of destruction. 

Fenrir is also mentioned in the poem Völuspá, and in two stanzas of the poem Vafþrúðnismál. In the first his birth is recognized and his subsequent role in the killing of Odin. In the second it is Fenrir that is mentioned to swallow the sun but fortunately the sun has borne a daughter who will continue on in her stead. He is also mentioned in the Skáldskaparmál, the Heimskringla, and Háttatal in much the same light.

Modern thought 

Many people, in light of the lore, merely ascribe the symbol of Fenrir to be that of hate and destruction. It is considered good to bind these features that exist within all of us, to keep them under control. This fits into the Nordic and Christian mythos of the wolf well and to a point, I agree. 

However I believe there to be more, far more to Fenrir. This surface explanation of Fenrir being hate and destruction rings as incomplete, not true enough. To just apply hate, destruction, and their needed fettering to his symbolism is an easy way out of actually dealing with the issues – far too easy for our ever so complex mythos. We can’t forget that the river Van flows from his jaws. 

Wolves may feature in our myths, our history and our dreams, but they have their own future, their own loves, their own dreams to fulfill.   
                                                                                                                                          ~Anthony Miles
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Death of a star

I now begin to veer away from direct loric application of symbolism to the Fame-Wolf. To explain this last I need to relate a meditation I had. Fenrir had come, he took me to something similar to a stone tower. Within, it was simply but beautifully furnished with rough hewn woods, plenty of red velvet coverings, steel or silver trappings about. Set within the circular walls were many vicious looking iron spikes all pointing in. I looked at them, he shrugged and said, ‘Many don’t like me.’ 

We talked for a time and he suddenly looked up as though listening and then bounded up some stairs. He cried out, ‘Come, come quick!’ I ran up the stairs after him and he pointed me to a circular window that seemed as though a lens. Through this lens I saw two stars heading towards each other and they collided with a brilliant beauty I will never forget. I looked at Fenrir, he looked at me with such joy and wonder. I realized this scene was a gift. 

The meditation ended then. I often thought about that event, what I saw there. To Fenrir, death and destruction WAS beauty. It was a chilling thought, one I quickly wanted to set aside. At this time I am glad I didn’t turn away from this conceptual stream. 

The concept and the absolute beauty/horror of what I had seen continued to tick through my mind for several months. One day, I was driving home from work and my mind touched on this again. Suddenly everything crystallized.

Now, this may only make sense to someone like me who has in their career helped well over a hundred people pass on. I’m an RN who has worked AIDS units, oncology and transplant floors, high level ICUs. Death abounds. Death in and of itself isn’t to be feared, it is a part of the progress of life. I’m not talking of the cold existence of death; for me that is more Hela’s realm. I’m speaking of our conceptualization of death.

I realized that moment there is a singular beauty in death. We as a people need to acknowledge this. Death is a passage on, a change, a different sort of birth. Beauty can be found within its realm. My father died on hospice care. We didn’t hire nurses, my mother and I stood by his side for the year he was actively dying. My young children helped in his care. His death, though sad, was a good death. It was a death of beauty, surrounded by his wife of nearly 50 years, his children, and the sound of his grandchildren’s laughter.

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Let’s take a side look at wolf behavior. Wolves are inextricably bound to their family pack from the time of their birth to the time of their death. Wolves have been seen to mourn the death of pack mates, laying around the body for days. Mothers who lose pups have been observed in the wild to carry the pup around, showing it to other pack members in grief until another finally buries it.

This is the bittersweet beauty we can and should seek out. We should honor death, find a place of peace at its side. Modern man has removed death from our homes, relegated it to dark corners in nursing homes and hospitals, transferring the tending of death to nurses and other caretakers. We have separated ourselves from it and so shun and fear death and anything to do with the concept. Death needs to be brought back into the home, into that circle of love that only family can provide. Therein lies its beauty if we only look and accept. Therein lies hope for our own lives.

This applies to the death of our world at the time of Ragnarök. All living things come to an end and so will the Earth. As I believe mythology to be a symbolism, our end may be a meteor, the sun may burn out, or we may cause a nuclear holocaust. Somehow, our world will be destroyed. However, we can realize we aren’t alone. Beings like Fenrir are present that can help clean up the mess, swallow that burnt out sun providing room for the daughter of the sun to shine. Old Gods will go with dignity and heroism making way for new Gods and a new world wherein they can provide for the new bloom of humanity, a new age of innocence. Without all of the beings within the mythos playing their perspective roles this can’t happen. I am not eager for Ragnarök. But it will come and, just as a dying relative, I will not relegate the end of this cycle and the transition into new to a dark mental corner. I will find the beauty and grace in their death, I will play my role in their cycle which infringes upon mine. 

I’m not proffering that everyone should go out and begin worshipping Fenrir. I am suggesting that his role in the mythology be examined more closely.  All beings within the Northern mythos have multiple aspects and sides. Just as the Allfather encompasses not only war and death but inspiration and creation, just as Loki is not only a thief but a gift giver, Fenrir can provide wisdom and insights of beauty. Even just heavy meditation on his dichotomy against the Allfather will be of value. The meanings of Fenrir has been cast into the closet long enough. Every village should have at least one who has considered Fenrir and what he has to teach about rage, control, despair, and finding the beauty and hope in death. These concepts shouldn’t be avoided, they should be learned from as they impact all.

It is not the child who fears the darkness that should be feared, but rather the man who fears the light.
                                                                                                                                                  ~ unknown

 
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How can you help anyone if you don’t find the world to be an amazing place?

I think it is a valid question. One of those thoughts that strikes you in that numinous sweet spot between opposites. See, I have this thing, this ramble brain mode where these diametrically opposed trains of thought go sweeping through. I’m at once actively participating and idly watching them go round and ride, shooting past rapidly or creeping at a snail crawl. The tracks meander around but there is one spot, one special place I've found where they cross and if you work at it, if you are persistent and have that feather’s edge of luck, you can get those trains to collide. When that happens, oh when that happens, you get to slip into that space between the worlds, that numinous place where sight becomes the velvet touch and sound smells as rose peaches warming in the sun as you feel the rhythm and taste of honey.

So there I was, one train creaking by its smell of rust tainting the air. I look around and lingers on the past mistakes and ignored chances, I dread the becoming, and already regret the should be. The idling motor spews grey as a realization strikes that life just hasn't turned out as one planned or hoped. That can be Depression with a capitol D. 

But that is just one train. Another is meandering about. This thought looks at the world and wants to dance and laugh. There is humor in the air and joy is smelt near and afar. I idly watch this train realizing it is right, the world is a beautiful place. I avidly dive in and catch the fever of life whirling about on its mad mad wonderful ride. I’m stumbling around finding beauty everywhere.

And it happens. The impassive conductor of both stands calmly aside and throws the crook to pull the two trains together.

The trains collide and I step through. I laugh, life is amazing and you have to just look. It isn't place as much as perspective. I spontaneously say, ‘How can you help anyone if you don’t find the world an amazing place?’ I’m not particularly asking, I can feel the wonder of the question, I’m in awe of a sense of rightness in this numinous concussion. 

He asks, ‘You think I am not amazed?’ I look and stop. My stomach sinks and with a looming heaviness I say, ‘If you aren't, I would be sad.’ I linger on this, I feel the sorrow of the truth of this. I think of others I know who bury themselves in helping others yet it is only a ruse, they are trying to find joy through others about them. They run that hamster wheel never realizing that until they find amazement, until they feel that awe and open themselves to life around them, they will never feel that joy. Someone who is not amazed is a sorrowful thing.

The worlds are wondrous places. Never stop feeling amazed.


 
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I can only read so much of Malidoma P Some's writing at one time. I find a line or concept that niggles at my brain and I have to set the book down and move, do something, let the activity and my thoughts help percolate what I read.

Earlier today I started reading Of Water and the Spirit. I've had the book for ages, just hadn't gotten around to reading it. Within pages I found a line, a question really, that got to me. 

The question is simple, "Why is it that the modern world can't deal with its ancestors and endure its past?" What a blazing query. This touches on more than just the glaring spiritual vacancy Turtle Island endures as its denizens turn their collective backs on their own indigeny and ancestral heritage. This is more than just forgetting or avoiding our ancestors and our ancient rites of veneration.

This is about the West's habit of revisionist history. Not only as a political nation but as individuals. We carry some kind of dysfunctional shame and rather than looking this monster in the face we ignore it, stuffing it under the pillow and allowing the bad dreams and guilt to rise. We choose to pretend each day is a bright new day but that just doesn't work. Each day is built upon the foundation created by the last and so we continue on, ignoring the voices of our heritage, turning our backs on the mistakes of the past, and desperately try to balance on the shifting sands of hypocrisy.

I have no answers here. This is an individual issue. Each of us has an imperative to face our own past, face our own ancestry. We can't ever fully reclaim our indigeny, the world is different now. But as whole individuals and then as sound communities we can initiate healing. 

 
You know how it is, you wake up one morning and realize things went awry of what you had intended. Maybe you’ve known for a while, maybe you just noticed it with a start, but it happens. You look around and life has taken a left turn despite your best plans and intentions.

It’s hard, changes like that. It is hard to let go of the grief, the grief over unrealized dreams, desires, and plans. We do this, us humans, we set up our lives and emotions for a certain path we’ve designed within our own psyche. Simply put, we plan on the house with the white picket fence and the dog. Unbeknownst to us, wyrd or the Gods or the powers or fate or whatever you want to call it, it has a different plan. We don’t get the house with the little fence, we get a hut out in the desert or that apartment overlooking a run down neighborhood park.

It’s hard.

A person mentioned not long ago that they wished someone would talk about the rougher impacts of oaths to deities. I’m only going to touch on this here because it tangentially applies, this really isn’t a commentary on oaths. But, to satisfy a few folk I’ll add a thought. The deity may have a different plan in mind than you do for your life. I understand many out there believe deities pretty much only work to make our lives better. Eh… to a point. Deities work to make things better, yes, but it may not be better for us. At least in our limited view. You want to live and work in Seattle? Got that great job there? Maybe it isn’t the deities plan. Hel, maybe that deity has another person who needs to hear one little thing you’ll say because that person will repeat it and five degrees of separation later it will have the effect needed. You’ll never know. 

Catch-22 of the whole damn thing? You need to be in Utah to do this. So, you ignore the travel brochure, you ignore when someone tells you about some little startup company that needs employees. Then bang! Your spouse decides they want a divorce. Next thing you know you are laid off and in foreclosure. Huh, may as well move to Utah even though you hate the damn desert anyway.

So, you’ve been moved like a chess piece, life turned upside down and none of it really for you. Now, I do fully have faith the Gods will bless you for this, but this blessing may also not be what you wanted (or thought you wanted). Just the way it works folks.

Anyway, back to this rambling topic. It’s cruelly hard at times to realize and then accept the changes that one may be asked. The diversion from one’s dreams, plans, goals in life. Unexpected changes as such deserve a time of grief, they and you deserve that time to acknowledge the separation of current and future reality from the current and future wishes. 

We can’t judge these events, these twists and turns of wyrd. We also can’t judge those whose lives are impacted as such. We don’t know the details, we humans just can’t see the bigger picture and the potential effects the changes will make. We may never understand. It Just Is.

One of the things I do is ancestral work. Or try to, most often rather than my trying to repair my ancestral lines, the ancestors end up repairing me. Sigh, it’s a give and take I guess, and for that I feel greatly blessed. 

Anyway, a while back I had just needed some support and had given reverence to my ancestors. I had suddenly felt a hug, my impression was a hard working farmer. Queerer than a three dollar bill, nothing better than a hug from a gay grandpa who has sincere love for you; nothing better. My initial impression then had been not only of the support, but that his life certainly hadn’t turned out as expected. Guess not, I could sense he’d married a woman and buried that essence of his own sexuality, his own self.

So here we can touch on judging our ancestors. This comes up occasionally so I’ll lend some thoughts. We all have ancestors who have done things we don’t agree with. Heck, some of our ancestors have probably committed heinous crimes. Can we hold them accountable? Sure. Can we judge? I get a bit hesitant about that. We weren’t there. We don’t know motives. So I’ll talk about the morning when I met my queer ‘grandpa’ for the second time. He’s a softer case, easier to mentally digest rather than discussing genocide or rape.

This man, he was gay. Always had been, knew it from childhood. Knew he was different. He came to speak to me of some unforeseen, unplanned changes to my own life. He used his life as an example. Now a days there are many who would judge him for cowardice, for not standing up and being himself. To paraphrase his story, 

I had to live differently than what I would have chosen. I loved another man and wanted to be with him but I couldn’t. He didn’t see me, didn’t recognize me. I didn’t live in a place or time that I could live with another man anyway. It was dangerous. I wasn’t interested in expressing myself.  I was interested in survival.

I wanted companionship though. So I found a good woman and even though she wasn’t what I desired or had wanted for my life I married her. (He reached over and with a grin gave me a teasing poke) We had children, obviously. It was a good life, she was a good friend. You see, even though she wasn’t what I had ever dreamt of or wanted, she became the love of my life.


I won’t judge him as cowardly. I can see the bravery in his actions, I can understand his reasons. He took what he was dealt and did with it the best he could. Is this similar to an ancestor who may have committed genocide? Maybe, maybe not. If you are drafted into an army and told to kill or you and your family would die, what would you do? It’s hard to say unless put in that situation. What of the ancestor raised in a barbaric environment, taught to hate and kill from infancy?

So I choose to look at accountability rather than judge. 

The bigger lesson here though is his love song. He took that diverging path of his life, a path he didn’t want to walk and made the best of it he could. He built a home of it and found joy and the deepest of loves. He shared this love with others and let it blossom and flow into something bigger, a one plus one equals three kind of thing. Love built out of acceptance of its fallibility, out of its imperfection rather than what it could do for us or how sparkly it seemed. This is probably a better way of being when solidly faced with a reality that doesn’t coincide with our dreams. We are so big into the concept of ‘if you don’t like your life, change it’ that sometimes we forget there are things we can’t change. Our culture would have us unhappy, miserable, consistently banging our heads against the wall ultimately to end up on some kind of medication or with insomnia or addictions. 

No. Sometimes we have to just look for the love of our lives on the new course. If we can’t find that big thing, sometimes we have to just look for those little things that can mount and build into joy in a new way, a new realm. It’s wyrd, its holding off on judging for a while, its love.

 
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Why do so many people go into working with the dead, even to the point of making businesses out of helping them pass over, yet have no strong habit of ancestor veneration themselves? How can they claim to respect someone else's dead when they don't respect their own?

This just continually boggles me. Just honoring one's dead on Samhain isn't enough. When it comes down to it, that's virtually an insult. 'Here Grandpa, I'll give you this day. But the rest of the year I'm going to focus on spooks and shades and unrested dead of everyone else 'cause hey, I did my feel good moment with you already.' It's like one's own ancestors aren't sexy or interesting or exciting enough.

Yeah, and we wonder why our American culture lacks any depth and has a horrific sense of loss regarding our roots.

*Pic of Camilla Jane Smith (infant), daughter of Alexander Smith and Mary Jane Martin. Camilla (1861-1936), my great great grandmother in my mother's mothers line.

 
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"It's not that I don't have faith in the Gods, its that I don't always have faith in myself."


This is something to think on. We all have times of trial, times of bleak despair. We want to stand tall and rail our fists in the air, screaming at the Gods for all that has happened. We bemoan our loss of faith to friends, we tell them we feel distant from our spirituality. 

We run around in circles dealing with our heartache and simultaneously hating and grieving the vacant hole in our religious hearts we so casually claim is left by deity. We ask ourselves and each other, "Why would the Gods do this? Why would they leave us to fend for ourselves in such times of trial?" We suffer and blame; we complain of losing faith.

But more likely the problem is ourselves. We don't have the faith in our own strength and perseverance to get through the adversities of life. We don't have faith that the Gods are actually there. When these times happen, when life throws us a curve ball, we want things to be fixed, we want strength and support, and sometimes that is just something we have to do ourselves. The powers, in all their wisdom, know there are sufferings we must have to grow, they know there are trials we have to bear. 

So maybe, just maybe, the loss of faith is within our own self, its a lack of faith in our own ability to carry the burden, to persevere. Maybe we need to look within.


 
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Respect.
Silence.
Research.

These are ideals anyone who wants deific involvement needs to cultivate. If you don’t have them, don’t even bother. You’ll ultimately be hit hard for hubris, you’ll only fill your head with inane sock puppetry, and you will make mistakes in what you feel is your study or work. Let’s briefly discuss each one.

Respect means to show deference and regard for another. I’m not positive there is enough respect in heathenry. Respect towards deity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to worship every power, but it does mean you need to show deference and regard. It doesn’t mean honoring one God and then insulting another- lack of respect for any deity is lack of respect for all.

I kneel, I eagerly get on my knees before my powers. It is one way I show respect, it is one way I give esteem to my deities. A simple physical act that means so much. I have been scoffed at over this and I fail to fathom why. I’ve heard, ‘I’ll never get on my knees to a deity, I’m a proud and tall heathen.’ Proud yes- to the point of hubris in my mind. These are deities, these are Gods. Kneeling before them is a privilege and a way of sharing joy.

I also strongly feel this lack of respect encompasses the, ‘I respect the Gods because they are my kin but I will not go to them ‘cause heck, they are busy’ mantra one hears so often. That isn’t respect, that is avoidance. That is only going to see Grandma when you need to borrow money, and then possibly not paying her back. Respect is visiting frequently, taking your shoes and hat off when you go through the door.  Respect is bending down to help her pick something up as needed. Respect is getting on our knees.

Silence. Why do I even need to define this? Because it is more than just being quiet. It is actively listening, it requires a stilling of the mind to allow one to hear what They are saying. It requires what I coin a ‘willful vulnerability’ to actually hear. You see, what deities will impress on one isn’t always what we want to hear. It isn’t always backpats and pink joy joy bubbles. We need to be silently vulnerable and open to actually learn not only the good about us and our surroundings, but also the shadows, the parts of pain. If gibberish is eternally spewing from our mouths then nothing of import can ever be taken within. Silence entails, for once, a point at which we stop talking or explaining or rationalizing or yammering on and just focus on being, focus on listening. 

Research. This is not only actively putting oneself into a position of learning, but it is work. That is Work with a capitol as many like to put it. What direction do the powers point us in? What is our role in this life? What do we need to do now, what next? We won’t understand this without first having the respect and silence that allows us to understand how to do the job. Once we do we need to actively pursue this role, we need to grab it by the shaft with a firm diligence that provides the greatest of esteem to our powers.

Put simply, we need to get on our knees, stop talking, and do the job before us. They want to savor our desire, they want to see aggressive application to the work, they want to see determination and staying power. When the job is done with passion and fervor, they will reward with an explosion of joy that one can practically taste as sweet as honey’d dew and with that blessing bestowed one can rise and welcome them in again and again. The lesson has been learned; respect, silence, and research.