Monthly Archives: May 2020
Updating Mani’s Shrine
This week we had to completely take down Mani’s shrine. We were having repairmen over to replace our heating/ac unit and they needed unimpeded access to the attic, and hence via the landing where Mani’s shrine is situated. It’s been really disorienting and unpleasant to have this blank space where the shrine to one of our most beloved Deities is usually situated but it’s also an opportunity.
(Here is the shrine as it stands now: bare, empty, and sad).
The workers finished their work yesterday (and they were amazing. It was fascinating watching them work. They really knew what they were doing and were eminently professional). Today, I’m going to start a nine-day Novena to Mani. Each day, I will slowly reconstitute His shrine. Today, I will clean and ask His blessings upon it. This will not only ensure that His shrine is put back together better and cleaner than it was before (it really needed a cleaning), but it will give me and my household and opportunity to show a period of focused devotion to Mani. That’s a win-win. I’ll post pictures here as we go.
Gardening Updates as of May 18, 2020
Gardening is so weird. It’s awesome and wonderful and back-breaking and frustrating and just weird. We’ve had some ups and downs this past month, with unusually cold weather about two weeks ago killing our basil plants. That was shocking – not that they died, but that they turned totally black having been frozen to death. I’ve read accounts about farming and trying to save crops from an unexpected frost, about how they could turn black and be lost but I’d never seen it happen and it was really shocking to see. We’ve replaced the basil but our intense respect for the elemental powers grows daily (and for farmers, and all of our ancestors who were farmers who depended on the land and elements for not only their livelihood but for the survival of their families). I’m also deeply envious of my friend Sarenth’s rotary tiller lol. I have told him this too. Now, mind you, we don’t have that much land that we would ever *need* a rotary tiller, but that is not the point. I saw pictures he was posting on facebook of a beautifully ploughed field bed and now I have rotary tiller envy. Ha ha.
Our greens have grown lol. I’ve been harvesting and freezing romaine, lettuce, chard, spearmint (I like to add a little to salads to give it a zing), and just as of today, spinach. I’ve also been making salads and clipping our chives to use in omelets and it’s wonderful. The food grown by our own hands tastes so much cleaner and fresher than what we buy at the store. We’re waiting with bated breath for our tomatoes to decide what they’re going to do.
I’m currently waiting on two raised gardening beds for the other side of the house where we’re going to put our root vegetables. I was worried we’d be late planting, but everything we want to put there will work in late summer/early autumn so that is perfect. I just wish the beds would arrive already!
I planted a bunch of seedlings, the first time I’ve worked from seed, and they’re growing! I looked today and radishes and marjoram had sprouted. I hope the parsnips and carrots follow suit. In the interim, we planted a bunch of flowers (many of which are either edible or medicinal and all of which are beautiful), another rose bush (I love roses and have a couple more on order), and I set out some potted herbs: marjoram, basil, rue, peppermint, lemon verbena, lavender, and chamomile.
I also bought a tiny savory plant. I’ve read about this plant but have never used it in cooking. I’m looking forward to experimenting. First though, I need to make woodruff syrup so I can enjoy a nice Berliner Weise when the weather turns hot again. ^___^.
So that’s where we’re at now: waiting for things to arrive and letting the land do it’s work. We’re going to be setting up two shrines in the garden, most likely as part of our solstice celebrations: one to Ceres and one to Freyr. Working the land in this way, for me at least (I can’t speak for my housemates) has given me a far, far greater respect for my ancestors but also a deep sense of conscious connection to my Lithuanian ancestors particularly. I’d always felt somewhat disengaged from them, chalking it up to having been raised by my mother’s side of the family but since we started gardening, my Lithuanian ancestors have been so tremendously present. Farming was a way of life for them, whatever other professions they may have had. Several times they’ve actually given us suggestions to help with our planting. They know the land and what it takes to work it.
Next week, the local CSA should be open and possibly our local farmers’ market too. I’m looking forward to that and soon in addition to adventures in gardening, it will be adventures in canning and pickling. I shall keep you all up to date on how it goes.
Dancing with the Little Red Man
I don’t do drugs. Mind you, I think they should all be legal, but I’m too old, too creaky, and have too many health issues. I don’t need to complicate my life, even as a spirit-worker. Perhaps if I weren’t taking certain medications for my migraine condition, I might occasionally walk the Plant Road, but right now, that’s just not in the cards, and it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple techniques and roads by which a spirit-worker can get to where they need to be. The Plant Road has never really been one of mine (1). That being said, it’s a powerful road and one for which I have the deepest respect. Depending on the plant allies with whom one is engaging, it can be potentially fatal. (This is why protocol and preparation are so important). Last night, without ever ingesting anything, I got a powerful taste of a particular spirit’s medicine and got taken on a rather unexpected (and initially non-consensual) journey.
My husband belongs to Dionysos and part of his sacred work is guiding people on plant journeys safely (2). Last night, after several weeks of preparation, one of our housemates had arranged to meet Amanita Muscaria, Little Red Man (3). He’s called “Little Red Man” partly in a nod to the vibrant color of the amanita and partly because the spirit of this mushroom often appears as a fierce little man with either reddish skin or a red cap or both. Sannion was all set to be guide and guard. Not being involved in this work, I was planning instead on working on my final paper for the school semester (which I did, for a couple of hours, at least). They went to do their thing in part of the house, and I went to my studio/office in another part in order to get to work. Ne’er should the twain have met lol.
About an hour into it all, I started to get massively nauseous (one of the symptoms of having ingested amanita – which I repeat, I had not at any point done). It took me awhile longer to realize what was happening, during which interim, I had several significant epiphanies about my paper topic, which I credit to the inspiration of Amanita). Finally, I gave up working, understanding that I was linking in way too much to the power of the Red Man, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water with rehydration salts (important on plant road journeys – and yes I realize a mushroom is a fungus not a plant but consider “plant” shorthand for the whole breadth of spirits with whom one might work on this road—to stay hydrated before, during, and after) and sat down in the living room to wait for my husband to finish up his work. About an hour later, he came out, by which time I had the beginnings of a bad headache (which is why I don’t do plant path).
We chatted for a bit and realized that because amanita is one of Odin’s plants, because it is associated specifically with berserkers, which gift I have, and because I tend to be very open to the Gods and spirits that are within our household retinue, I had tapped right into the experience our housemate was having, though we each went very, very different places—or, more likely, amanita had tapped right into me. This is what I learned and what I share now about the power of this being:
- I always knew that despite various scholars’ meanderings, amanita ingestion does not cause the berserkergang. Only someone who was not a berserker and who had never tried amanita would think it did (4). Being a berserker is knit into one’s soul. It’s an inherent part of a person, not something learned or acquired; HOWEVER, when used by someone who is a berserk, the spirit of amanita grants speed, incredible speed (everyone and everything else seems to be moving and thinking and existing incredibly slowly), one hell of an advantage in battle.
- It renders one impervious to pain. The Berserkergang does this anyway, but it’s different with amanita. One sees the injury or pain, is aware of it, but is above it, unimpacted. The berserkergang itself has a healing capacity and can ensure some measure of healing to these things so perhaps this would have been useful in knowing where to direct that healing?
- I was several rooms away, working on an academic paper. I hadn’t ingested anything other than a cup of Darjeeling tea. Because of the factors outlined above, I linked unexpectedly right into the Red Man. Parsing this out later, we had a major insight. One person takes amanita and while the Red Man is affecting him/her, that spirit’s influence is beginning to affect the person next to that first, even before that latter person ingests anything. One person taking it augments the next, who augments the next and this would lead to tremendous power and cohesion in a battle situation. I can well see why Odin would suggest use of this mushroom to His warriors. I also suspect that a vitki or spirit worker or shaman offering to the spirit of the mushroom, engaging with it could ensure that the berserkers didn’t mistake their own people for the enemy in the haze of the battle fury. Such a person could direct, along with the cooperation of the spirit of the mushroom itself, the ride.
Ironically, Sannion had suggested before he and our friend began their work that I micro-dose (take a miniscule portion of the mushroom so that I would be inside its influence). I declined because A) I don’t do plant path and B) I had academic work to accomplish. I wish, in retrospect, that I had done as he suggested. I think it would have been an easier journey (I would have known I was taking a journey for one thing!). Today was rough. Because I hadn’t prepared (though I had divined and helped our friend in that friend’s preparations, including talking to Red Man which, of course, had me primed and open for his later influence), coming back to mundane time/space/head-space hurt and of course with me, that often means migraines. But it was worth it. I received information that transformed my research in exciting ways, learned something about one of Odin’s allies, and learned that the ancient contracts and alliances between Gods, spirits, and particular groups of our ancestors (in this case berserks) don’t just disappear. The groove is there and under the right conditions, can easily be activated again. This is a hopeful thing, because it means that we *can* restore the broken lineages and covenants our ancestors threw down when they converted (and even if conversion was forced – a horrendous and horrible thing, a violation on both sides in many ways—the broken covenants with the Holy Powers still exist). Our place in taking up and repairing those threads will be recognized by those Gods and Their constituent allies. That is a good thing, a useful thing, a blessed thing.
- Though it must be noted, that Plant Road work can be very powerfully done without ever engaging with entheogens.
- It’s always good to have an experienced guide the first several times one meets and engages with a plant ally, especially if that ally is an entheogen. It’s also always good to have a spotter, someone to hold the space soberly to make sure that one comes through safe and sound, or to call for help if something goes awry. I think the Gods like courage, not stupidity after all.
- CAVEAT: if you eat this without proper preparation, it will kill you horribly. If you eat too much of this, with proper preparation, it can still kill you horribly. Do not play around with this. Unless you are working under experienced supervision AND are called to the Plant road, it’s best to leave this mushroom and spirit alone. In our state, he is legal, btw. It varies state to state.
- There’s a trend in scholarship to ascribe any mystical, visionary, or magical experience to drugs.
My first carnivorous little plant
Today my friend Tatyana gave me a present, something I’ve wanted for a very long time. We’ve been working on our garden together and she got me a carnivorous little Venus fly trap. I’m so excited about it. It’s a marvelous little plant! It’s so tiny too. Each of its mouths is only about the size of a nickel. I repotted it as soon as she gave it to me and right now it’s getting fat and happy on my porch. Already three of its mouths have captured bugs.
Apparently, it only grows naturally in the Carolinas and its habitat is in danger. Here is a page all about these plants.
And here is my plant:
That is all. 🙂
For Authors Using Lulu
This is a courtesy email to authors out there who use Lulu. Check your accounts.
A reader just informed me yesterday that Lulu was offering — without my consent or knowledge — ebooks of my works there for free. (I have since fixed this manually and later this summer will be retiring some of my titles, updating others, and moving the updated ones to a different platform).
I’m not sure if this was an unintentional consequence of their recent site update or sheer incompetence but y’all need to know this is happening and that you’re potentially losing revenue. I offer quite a lot for free, but I won’t have it done without my consent.
So if you use this platform, go now and check the status of your works. You might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
For those interested, by midsummer, I shall be retiring the following titles:
*Full Fathom Five
*Skalded Apples (I’ll be coming out with a small chapbook of prayers to Bragi and Idunna though)
*Walking Toward Yggdrasil (the poetry is included in “He is Frenzy”)
*Whisperings of Woden (yes, it was the first devotional to Woden in modern Heathenry, but the text is included in “He is Frenzy”)
*Essays in Modern Heathenry
*Into the Great Below
*Sekhmet: When the Lion Roars
I haven’t yet decided about “Day Star and Whirling Wheel”.
I will be publishing second editions of the following works, after moving them off Lulu:
*Sigyn: Our Lady of the Staying Power
*Root, Stone, and Bone
*Sigdrifa’s Prayer: An Exploration and Exegesis
so if you want these in their original forms, or if you wish to own copies of the first set of texts at all, now is the time to get them.
OMG Etsy Why? LOL
A friend emailed me today. She had ordered a bunch of prayer cards from my shop recently, including the most recent ‘Antinous the Lover’ card. Some time after receiving her order, etsy sent her a follow up, reminding her that it was time to rate her purchase. The follow up email included a thumbnail image of one of the cards she had purchased, in this case the Antinous card. It zeroed in on the naked phallus so…etsy sent my friend an Antinoan dick pick. *face palm*. Good job, etsy. Good job.
As I noted in my newsletter, my latest book is now available. It’s a collection of devotional poetry, material I’ve written over the last two years and y’all can buy it here. It includes “9 for Odin,” the limited run chapbook that I’ve had available on my Etsy site for maybe two years now.
I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. In fact, I am really pleased with the last two works that I’ve done, the aforementioned “Walking the Rainbow Bridge” and my devotional to a tribe of spirits that I adore, the castrati:
This book is also available on amazon.
I have other projects to work on and right now, I’m finishing up papers and a translation project for school, and Gods know it’s rare that I am happy with the work that I do, but these two volumes make me happy. They are exactly as I intended them to be.
Now I’m off to finish up a presentation for my class on Thursday.
Happy Birthday, Mutti!
Today is the anniversary of my adopted mom’s birth. She was such a Taurus – stubborn, oh my Gods, and fierce, and protective, and moved deeply by suffering. She was refined, elegant…and could curse like a sailor. She was a pianist, having graduated from the conservatory in Basel and taught music for twenty years yet she hated playing the piano in front of anyone. She could cook and garden and found peace away from people; and when she saw someone struggling, she looked to see how she could make it better. She spoke seven languages fluently and could read at least two more (English, Spanish, French, German, Basel Deutsch, Italian, Latin, ancient Greek, Armenian…and could understand a few more). She had an amazing facility for languages but never considered herself particularly educated. She was acerbic and kind and singularly one of the most devout people I have ever had the gift of knowing. I am grateful, more grateful than I can ever say for having her in my life. She was and is my mother in every way that counts. Her passage through this world transformed my life. I owe her everything. Alles gut zum Geburtstag. Ich habe dich unendlich gern auf Zeit und Ewigkeit, Mutti.
(She would never let herself eat pizza, or very, very rarely when alive. She always worried it would make her butt big lol. She wasn’t vain but she said that as she got older, she needed to stay in better shape to avoid aches and pains that would get worse until they turned into a chronic injury, and extra weight hurt her back. She loved pizza though and the one time I saw her eat it, we were in Naples. The pizzas were delicious and huge. I turned my head to chat with our guide for a couple of minutes, turned back and her plate was bare. She’d scarfed it down and was eyeing mine. lol.
Anyway, tonight, in offering, she got the biggest pizza I could find, meatlovers with added olives, spinach, and mushrooms, garlic bread, tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, dulce de leche cake, fruit tarts, chocolate mousse cake and a lovely bottle of Italian red wine. There’s also a candle burning happily on her shrine. I also made offerings to Sigyn, because Sigyn and Loki were the Deities my mom honored and served. Tonight, was a good night).