Something’s Burning and I Think It’s My Mind!

There is a very shy man who occasionally comes into the gallery. He is interested in learning more about art but is very self-deprecating of his own experience and interests. He’ll hover in the background until it is only him and either me or my colleague in the shop and then ask all his questions and share his ideas and opinions on art, literature, music, film, etc. The conversations are always delightful and I do my best to be encouraging because it seems as though this is an entirely new world to him, so I do my best to encourage his bravery as he begins (and continues) to explore it. He is thoughtful and often quite insightful in his engagement with art. I enjoy our conversations.

Today I dropped by the shop and ran into him. He was just coming out and he mentioned that he’d bought a copy of my cento book. We talked about that for a bit and he had picked up some of the references to Greek epic in the poems, and he compared me to William Blake and Ezra Pound (which made me smile. I am a fan of both of these poets and that was quite a comparison) and then he said something that quite frankly made my week.

He had been assuring me that he was only scratching the surface, that he knew he wasn’t getting out of my centos what someone stepped in poetry would (and I was quick to say, that people respond to poetry based on their own experiences, that it speaks to each person differently). He finally paused and said, “I can only read a few lines and then I have to put it down and I carry those lines with me for days. It’s like…something’s burning and I think it’s my mind!”

I looked him right in the eye and said, “You understand my poetry perfectly.”

He told me that if he’d encountered my work in his twenties it would have destroyed his world, or set him on a totally different life path. He talked about books he’d read then: Hemingway, Joyce, Pound, etc. and how their work was like looking into a completely unique world, so incredibly different from his own and my work was like that too, that he’d read about people having these incredibly searing and intense experiences but it was like staring into a completely different universe from his own and then it struck me:

This is why purity is so important. This is why it’s so vitally crucial that we carefully choose what we read, what we watch, to what we expose ourselves (and it’s a choice we each have to make for ourselves, not one that should be dictated by any external authority). When we feed ourselves with words and art saturated with the Gods, it builds worlds in our minds. If we’re not careful, we can let in anything at all indiscriminately and that also builds worlds within our minds, polluted ones, rather than the worlds hospitable to our Gods and dead. These things matter and it’s an area that we alone control. What are we going to nourish in ourselves? What kind of landscape are we going to create within ourselves – one that nourishes the holy or one diametrically opposed to it? That is what religious purity is: creating worlds within ourselves hospitable to our Gods and spirits, and it’s important. 

 

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About ganglerisgrove

Free-range tribalist Heathen, Galina Krasskova, has been a priest of Odin and Loki since the early nineties. Originally ordained in the Fellowship of Isis in 1995, Ms. Krasskova also attended the oldest interfaith seminary in the U.S.- the New Seminary where she was ordained in 2000 and where she later worked as Dean of Second Year Students for the Academic year of 2011-2012. She has even given the opening prayer at the United Nations Conference “Women and Indigeny”. Beyond this, she took vows as a Heathen gythia in 1996 and again in 2004, She is the head of Comitatus pilae cruentae and a member of the Starry Bull tradition. She has been a member of numerous groups through the years including the American Academy of Religion. She has also served previously as a state government contracted expert on the Asatru faith, and been a regular contributor to various print and online publications geared towards modern pagans and polytheists, and for a time had her own radio program: Wyrd Ways Radio Live. Ms. Krasskova holds diplomas from The New Seminary (2000), a B.A. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Religious Studies from Empire State College (2007), and an M.A. in Religious Studies from New York University (2009). She has completed extensive graduate coursework in Classics (2010-2016) and is pursuing a Masters in Medieval Studies at Fordham University (expected graduation 2019) with the intention of eventually doing a PhD in theology. She has also been teaching University classes in Greek and Latin. As part of her academic career Ms. Krasskova has written a number of academic articles, and also presented at various academic conferences including Harvard University, Claremont University, Fordham University, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, Villanova University, and the City University of New York. An experienced diviner and ordeal master, her primary interest is in devotional work and the reconstruction of Northern Tradition shamanism. Her very first book, The Whisperings of Woden was the landmark first devotional text to be written in modern Heathenry. Ms. Krasskova has a variety of published books available running the gamut from introductory texts on the Northern Tradition, as well as books on shamanism, runes, prayer, and devotional practices. She is also the managing editor of “Walking the Worlds,” a peer-reviewed academic style journal focusing on contemporary polytheism and spirit work and the first journal of polytheology. While very busy with teaching and school, she does also occasionally lecture around the country on topics of interest to contemporary Heathenry and polytheisms. A passionate supporter of the arts Ms. Krasskova enjoys going to the opera, theater, and ballet. Her affection for the arts began early as she discovered dance, which she pursued professionally becoming a ballet dancer: first with a regional company in Maryland, then in New York City. After suffering career ending injuries, she would find new forms of expression in the visual arts. For a few years Ms. Krasskova co-owned an art gallery in the Hudson River Valley of New York, and over a course of numerous years she has studied a multitude of art mediums: glassblowing, watercolor, acrylic, photography and more! She is now an avid collage artist, acrylic painter and watercolorist and has even enjoyed placement in international artist-in-residencies programs in New York, New Mexico, and Poland. Her work has been exhibited globally from New York to Paris. She has taken her passion for the arts and polytheistic devotion, to create the Prayer Card Project. Since so much religious iconography has been destroyed, or defaced in the course of human history, she is actively making new religious prayers and iconography available to the various modern polytheistic communities to support those who are building their religious communities, building their devotional practices, and hungering for art that represents their religious faith. All while also supporting the artists within these burgeoning communities.

Posted on July 3, 2016, in Poetry, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Edward P. Butler

    That’s awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

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