Monthly Archives: October 2015
This is one of the prayer cards that has been in progress for this fall. Hail Bel, mighty God, even though Your temple has been destroyed in Palmyra, still will you be hailed and venerated.
This card can still use partial sponsoring
and a prayer. Contact me if interested (firstname.lastname@example.org). (the prayer was donated as of this morning).
Sometimes pain is a goad.
When the mind wanders,
round and round,
lost in the ichorous morass
of unraveling, of a heart stuck
pierced like a pig, writhing and bloody
beneath the hunter’s blade,
sometimes pain is a goad.
Murkiness in the mind
the weight of a heart
heavy as the grave
pain’s sharp clarity brings purchase,
puts the tools of regeneration
back into charred and aching hands.
It is a gift, though not, I’d warrant,
for those small of courage.
Fuck those with no courage.
They surely try to do the same to us.
My world is a careful construct
Two parts courage, one part grit,
and a bitter helping of ‘fuck you’
to serve as clay and mortar.
It is brittle but rooted
and sometimes hard.
When the acid weariness becomes too much,
and my head transforms
into a sea of black, scorching fire,
cracking open like a nut,
vomiting up the residue of Gods
and the passing remnants of spirits,
and I am unable to allow myself,
to hear Odin’s voice,
because all language then is foreign,
then, the Raven Master allows Another
into that sticky, brutal abyss.
Then, it’s Dionysos Who walks
far and proud into those desolate acres
to take my hand,
to cradle my soul,
to drive off the beasts in my mind,
(and sometimes those without)
and lead me up again
up onto higher ground.
He taught me a thing,
as I clawed through the shadows
shadows fleeting grey and fair:
whispered it, looking off in the distance,
hair flowing to his ass,
rippling like frenzied serpents,
glittering like the skin of dragons,
and hiding monsters.
Looking out over the landscape of my mind,
I saw it then as a vast and dangerous sea,
I knelt at His feet and He said :
peace does not protect.
And He laughed, a glorious sound
I laughed too as He continued:
There is no time to be fragile. There is only time to dance,
to break the earth apart with stomping frenzy,
to break yourself apart too,
and compel all who catch your scent to join in.
Cast off your human skin,
and let your beast run free.
What does it matter if others are afraid?
The world is nowhere nearly as small as they seek to make it.
Fear will always be there. Fuck it.
Let fear have its prey.
There are better things upon which
for you to feast.
Dance until only the rhythms remain.
And in His presence I heard a savage howling roar
And laughter, such joyous devastation
And I realized the roaring was me.
While I wish Rhyd had left the Marxist rhetoric out of his review, his review is worth reading. Alex Mar’s book was a piece of entitled, condescending, and at times immoral (given how she deceives her Pagan and Wiccan correspondents) trash.
In fact, I’m surprised the woman isn’t facing a police inquiry given that she claims knowledge of grave robbing (apparently she found it easier and more spiritually fulfilling to consort with necromancers who perform foul experiments with the dead instead of honoring her own ancestors properly. Speaks volumes right there).
It’s not just spiritual tourism, but spiritual colonialism. The level of disrespect for her “subjects” is truly remarkable.
(there is a second review, also worth reading, here.)
Reviewed in this Essay: Witches Of America, by Alex Mar
It is for us to build an alternative through our present actions, our explorations, our play: all done without any spectators. This is more powerful than uploading a picture of your engorged genitalia. Love one another. Resistance and knowledge begins in your body. Secrecy remains an essential power of the sphinx.
–Peter Grey, Beneath The Rose
In the early part of the last decade, just after the destruction of two buildings in New York City’s financial center, a witch-hunt began. Armed with the power of law and absurd injections of fear-appropriated money, many Capitalist governments began searching for an elusive group of people known as terrorists.
Of course, like many other state-sponsored pogroms, ‘terrorist’ was an empty category, easily filled with whichever group of people threatened some aspect of Authority. For most, terrorist meant a brown-skinned, bearded man…
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a powerful and evocative piece from Sarenth.
I remember the words of my Elder:
Each telling you are creating the World anew.
Words have power, raw magic, refined magic
However they slide up the throat along
the shuddering chords
They seize ahold of us through the ears, the eyes
hold us because through them
we hold You, us, Worlds, Ancestors, vaettir
The whole body hears and feels
The cold pit in the stomach, the sweat on the brow, the widened eyes, fear,
The heat, creased forehead, gritted teeth, rage
Words crush the soul
Revive a religion
Join us to one another
The telling creates the Worlds anew.
Son of Hel weighs in on my calling out of Halstead and his response.
Well, I’m back, with another Halstead article. And Gods help me, it looks like I might be defending him, slightly. I’m sure by the end of it though we’ll run into Halsteads usual logic fails and I’ll be driven to something. But hey…it’s not pedos, and frankly I couldn’t be happier. That being said, Halstead has gotten himself in some trouble, and I am probably going to laugh a little bit, because it has to do with “cultural appropriation.
I swore I was not going to get involved in the Cultural Appropriation Controversy here at Patheos Pagan. But yesterday, I got dragged into it when I was accused of cultural appropriation myself. Specifically, I was accused by Galina Krasskova of “appropriating” the images of gods for the banner for this blog (above). (The image in question is of Egyptian-Canaanite gods.) Now, I had…
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Another example of Christian persecution of polytheists.
“After this experience, Schoenfeld said that she now has a different view of religious freedom in the US. “I believe it’s only free for certain of the religions. Polytheists are looked down upon by many faiths, although there are many of us. I do hope that one day the Christian church will realize some of us are really just happy just the way we are.””
She is far kinder to the Christian Church than they have any right to expect. I’d like to see the polytheists in the world rise up against this bastion of white privilege, colonialism, and destruction and bring it down stone by stone, or head by head if that’s what it takes to break the back of the Christian right in this country. There are many good, devout Christians fighting against this sort of religious intolerance and hate that infects their faith, I won’t deny that and it’s sad that the fundamentalists have come to define Christianity in this country to the degree that they do. What is particularly problematic imo with this article is that this poor woman works…for the US GOVERNMENT. It’s one thing for this type of horse shit to occur in the private sector, but quite another for it to occur under the aegis of the government.
there’s also this (wild hunt did a really good job of covering this bit of asshattery first discovered by Markos Gage). I’m not sure if this falls under discrimination or just generally obliviousness and erasure but it’s sickening.
Someone asked me once
if i could sense by scent
when You are near.
They wanted to know,
what the musk and aroma of a God
I had to stop.
How to put these things into words?
The vocabulary has not been invented yet.
You are so many things:
the smell of a place where many have died
the darkness of mystery – dank and bloodwarm,
the tang of the sky at the peak of a storm
and the howling of its winds if such sound
could carry with it keen-sharp scent.
You are steel in the cold,
the silent winter’s night
when not even the fiercest of beasts
but all watch
with glittering eyes from their lairs:
They too are wary of Your passing.
Yours is the smell of savagery
cunning, and an ecstasy
worlds were born
in the wake of its devastation.
I cannot hold it,
not even to craft a drop of its essence
You are the presence
on the battlefield
a century after the last man fell,
the savor of remembrance
the shattering laughter,
a roar in the void,
and the echo of its silence.
You are fury,
oh that monk was right:
you indeed are fury
the glorious, joyous savagery
at the moment two armies meet in battle
at the moment you penetrate hidden power
at the moment you seize the trail of your prey
at the moment, every moment
when that which is in you bubbles over
and burns into those who raise their lips
in adoration to You
and we drink
You are Master of the Hunt
and we are all Your prey
if we are fool enough
to stumble in the path
of Your desires.
As to scent,
forget what I have written here.
You will know when He comes
how poorly the senses translate
the vast joy-terror of His passing.
You will know
when you too
are marked with His scent.
You will know
when it is far, far too late
I like this quote (someone sent it to me via Facebook). It’s a gentle reminder that our ancestors are with us, supporting and guiding if we let them. One of the things that so many polytheisms (and paganisms too) have in common is respect for the dead. It’s an important thing. Likewise many of our traditions (though not all) have holidays, holy-tides, around this time that focus on honoring the dead. There’s Samhain, Winternights, Dia de los Muertos for example. I think as the earth starts shedding its excess, crisping into brazen color, readying itself for the cold and frost of winter, it’s easy to think of things past, to focus on the ancestors, and all the people we have lost. There’s something contemplative about this time, but there’s also a synergy that makes it easier, I think, to connect, and to tap into some sense of continuity with our ancestors.
I love this time of year. Even though the shift in seasons makes my bones ache, I really look forward to autumn, particularly late October-early November. Summer can’t pass quickly enough for me! I like the religious holidays that fall around this time and hell, I even like Halloween. The whole thing makes me happy. Today, while waiting for house guests to arrive from the airport, a friend and I decorated my porch. I only have minimal decorations but a couple of people in my town have gone all out.
I cannot tell you how much i adore these decorations. This is a house near the gallery I co-own. I almost drove off the side of the road when I first saw it. I want to do this next year. (of course, knowing me, I’d never take them down!)
I like the idea of being festive about the dead. Ok, maybe that’s not what secular Halloween is about now, but I still enjoy it. There is a time for intense grief, and a time to be somber in our reflections but sometimes it’s ok to celebrate them with joy too. There can be such tremendous joy in devotion, both to the Gods and one’s ancestors. I’ve had rituals for Winternights and/or Samhain that went to both extremes: a communal sharing of grief for our beloved dead, and at other times a raucous celebration of their lives. Sometimes I don’t know what it’s going to be, which way it’s going to go, until the rituals are about to begin. So much depends on the hearts of those participating, their losses, their griefs, where they are with their ancestors and their ancestors with them, and what they’re willing to share. In a way that’s the true magic of ritual work: you can (and should) prep and plan but then when you’re in sacred space and the ritual unfolds so much depends on what everyone brings to it. It’s beautiful, often unexpected, an act of weaving and cobbling together so many threads of experience into a shared and powerful whole. Then that all is given to the Gods or the dead. Good rituals are warmth and light to the spirit. They enchant and sustain and help us not only to honor the Holy Powers well, but to remember ourselves somewhere along in the bargain.
I have no idea what i’m doing for my dead this year. Some years I go all out and set up a full shrine: I take the breakfast nook in my house and lay out a huge offrenda for them. I’m not feeling pulled to do that this year. One year, I had a party for them, but that doesn’t feel right either this time around. Ditto with elaborate rituals. This year, I’m feeling that the days set aside to honor the dead in a special way are going to be deeply introspective, quiet, and very, very personal. I’m ok with that, so long as they are content that I am giving them their due. I often feel as though I do not go deeply enough in my work with them and I’ve been struggling the past few months to overcome whatever blockages are there. It’s been a wild ride.
I want to explore new ways of honoring my dead this year and, inspired by a colleague’s work, I want to write new prayers and a litany of remembrance for them. I want my practices to always be fresh and vibrant. I don’t ever want to fall into a rut – not with my Gods and not with my dead. (I see the words that I am using “want” and I realize how much this time teases my longing to the surface, longing to connect to the Gods and the dead, longing to honor Them well, longing to strip myself back to the bone until there is nothing that separates me from the Gods, until nothing impedes my clarity with the dead. This time of year is about longing for me, and it may be joyous or it may be terrifyingly painful but it is at the core of everything I do from now until the brighter holidays come, maybe always. This time of year is about a sacred longing and re-connection. This time of year, as I prepare for Samhain (I always tend to celebrate Winternights on Samhain—old habit from FOI days), I’m always reminded of that, the need for renewal, the need to reinvigorate my practices again and again and again. This year is particularly special — I’ll talk about that in later posts— but there are many things in my relationship with Odin that I want to lay out metaphorically at my shrine, examine, remember, and restore in the deepest places within my heart. There is much to celebrate and never a better time than now to take a running, laughing leap into the labyrinthine abyss of Their mysteries.
I would love to hear what everyone is doing for Samhain or Winternights or whatever holiday you and your traditions celebrate. I’ll be writing more on this over the next two weeks.