Category Archives: Uncategorized

possible explanations — The House of Vines

I was talking about this with my students yesterday with re. to prophets. Discernment is crucial, as is being aligned properly with one’s Gods and if one wants to be a mantike, then one works assiduously at these things. This is a very good post by Sannion — GK

We’ve all encountered people in the community who get divination results or channeled oracles that perfectly line up with the views they normally express on social media via memes; here are some possible explanations for why that might happen. The closer we get to a divinity the more our values and choices come to reflect […]

possible explanations — The House of Vines

Art is Important

Yesterday, my assistant Tove showed me this article and to that, I add a second English article here. There is a great deal of controversy over a painting by Swiss artist Miriam Cahn. The painting is her response to the war crimes being perpetrated by Russian soldiers on the populace in Bucha, and many other places, in Ukraine. The painting is searing. You can see it in the first article. It is also powerful and foregrounds the horror of war. I’m very glad that it hasn’t been taken down to date, either by the museum in question or the French government—though there have been ongoing challenges, including in court. Reading about the controversy made me think about art and its purpose on a large scale. Tove and I talked about this for awhile and I wanted to share what I think is the ultimate purpose of art. 

Firstly, I think art is absolutely crucial to us as a species. It is the highest expression of who we are as a people. Beyond that, I personally think its purpose is two-fold. A) The beauty of art elevates our souls to the Gods. Period. End of story. This is its primary purpose. This is its power. It is on this its sacrality rests. It is a conduit through which the Gods can transform us and our world. B). if it isn’t beautiful, it should force us to confront our humanity in all its goodness and horror. It should force us to confront the worst of who we are as a species and the best. It should provoke examination and conversation. It’s a powerful tool, and a sacred one. That’s all I have to say. Go make art – you don’t have to be a professional to do this. Bring something beautiful or challenging into the world and let it loose for the Gods to use. Go make art!(1)


  1. And by art, I include textile work, poetry, pottery, glassblowing, metal work…all of it. 

Virtue Ethics Conversation: Humility

One of the virtues that we’ve been discussing in my virtue ethics class (which sadly finishes today), is that of humility. I can think of no more necessary virtue for cultivating a devout life than this. It’s a difficult one for many of us, raised as we are in a rather egotistical and shallow social media driven culture, to truly grasp not only how vital humility is to the engaged life, but even *what* it is. So, let’s start there. What is humility? 

I’ll tell you what it’s not first. It’s not self-abasement or lack of confidence. It’s not a denial of one’s own worth. The word comes from the Latin humus, meaning ‘soil’ or ‘ground.’ Grounding oneself is one of the first and most important exercises we learn. Soil, dirt, is not bad. It’s the fundamental starting point for a good harvest. Good soil plus solid maintenance and hard work equals a voluptuous harvest. Yes, Romans liked their farming metaphors. Yes, that language found its way into theological conversations both amongst antique Roman polytheists and early Jews and Christians. One just has to roll with it. One surprising meaning of the Latin term is “region,” “land,” “country.” It’s the place where you begin, from which you grow, where ultimately you belong. It’s almost poetic. 

Humility is knowing your place in the cosmic order, knowing your place before the Gods, and cultivating it diligently. It’s always that recognition of oneself in relation to one’s Gods and it goes hand in hand with gratitude. It is an acknowledgement that we are from Them, carefully crafted by Their will and hands; and that we are, as a client to a patron, eternally enmeshed in a cycle of grace and service. That is a beautiful thing, an empowering thing, a holy thing. It’s also damned difficult when the priorities of one’s God or Gods differs from what we’ve been taught in our secular culture to be correct – a conversation for another time. C.S. Lewis, said in his lecture that “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less,” which is a nice, pithy way of summing up this virtue in its active manifestation. Practices like prayer, meditation, shrine work, even ascetic practices if one is called that way serve as spiritual calisthenics to aid in the development of personal virtue, including humility, and devotion. Really opening one’s heart up to the Gods and the transformation They bring – as any contact with the Holy changes us on an ontological level. It affects our souls – doesn’t just happen. Becoming devout doesn’t just happen. We have to do our part and put in the consistent, mindful work. 

I would go even further and say that the core of humility is a life, mind, and being centered first and foremost on one’s Gods and the willingness to shape or form oneself accordingly. That connection to and gratitude to the Holy Powers is the key. Humility is a mind, heart, and soul filled with the Gods’ wonder and splendor. So, it’s not about outward behaviors but about inward cultivation and ordering of the soul toward its God. 

With that said, I want to share my answer to at least one of the questions I’ve had to ponder during this course, my answers, and then open up the comments section here for further discussion. The course that I took, and many others, are available here. I highly recommend it. 

One of the things we discussed in class specifically in the section on humility, was asceticism and monastic practices, which in many faiths go hand in hand with an emphasis on virtue ethics. While these practices and vocations aren’t for everyone, I am happy to see a growing interest in monasticism within various polytheisms. I think having a dedicated house of prayer feeding the power of that prayer into our communities for our wellbeing, growth, and protection is a powerful thing. Having groups of dedicated people living in a way where one can devote oneself fully to ritual and prayer is so important for a healthy community. We need to support that and the people doing monasticism where we can. True support means financial support and free standing monasteries, and hopefully one day we’ll be there, within small, independent, in person communities. It is something toward which to work at any rate. 

One of the questions on this that I chose to address in the class was this: “Regarding the mystical and/or monastic traditions, do you think their respective practices or approaches might be beneficial in everyday life for the average person?”

I very much think that we should aim in our devotions to open ourselves up to the experience of our Gods as much as possible. There are techniques that aid in this (prayer, meditation, fasting, various other ascetic and/or monastic technologies), but no technique works for everyone (with the possible exception of prayer. I really do think that prayer is so fundamental to any devotional relationship that it is the necessary ground and scaffolding accessible to everyone and indeed necessary to all). I’ve often argued with one of my co-religionists, also an elder in his denomination, about whether people are primed in some way for mystical engagement naturally, as a result of mental wiring, genetics, or whatever other reason; or whether it is possible to develop the necessary receptivity and trust through carefully curated and consistent devotional practices. I hold to the latter. I don’t think that mysticism — if we are describing mysticism as direct encounter with the splendor, the presence, the holy power of one’s God (to which definition I hold)–is or should be restricted to only a few. I think it’s a goal toward which we work: cultivating within ourselves the receptivity to and awareness of the Gods in a way that prepares us for engagement, should that grace occur. Like anything else, practice is the key. Yes, I think the Gods can overwhelm and reveal Themselves in direct theophany, but how much more likely are we to taste of the divine fire if we take the time to consistently prepare ourselves. I don’t hold mystical engagement as something unique in religious traditions but as the most treasured core thereof. 

Then I chose to address the final question in our module on humility, because it allowed me to consider how this virtue is positioned (or not, mostly not to our detriment) in Heathenry. Here’s the question: “Regarding the means by which one acquires and applies wisdom—How would you compare your own belief (whether a faith tradition or more materialistic viewpoint) to one of the faith traditions that is discussed in this lesson (we discussed Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). 

Personally, I believe that both courage and humility are the necessary starting points for the cultivation of any relationship with the Gods. I believe it is essential that we accept our place in the divine order (not trying to salve our egos by attempting to center creation around ourselves but rather understanding ourselves as children of the Gods and part of Their creation) and also recognize that this is a joyful thing. 

I will admit that within my particular religious tradition, there are huge anxieties and even hostility toward the idea that the Gods are able (and moreover willing) to engage, that there can be spiritual specialists or mystics or those who have the capacity — for whatever reason- to experience the Gods directly. There’s even hostility in some quarters toward devotion. Part of this is due to a conflict, I think, between the values of modernity (by which I mean a way of looking at the world and one’s place in it, not technology per se) and the values of our faith. It’s difficult especially for those who convert to Heathenry, who sometimes carry grievous spiritual wounds, to recognize that devotion is a good and sacred thing, a necessary thing for which our souls hunger. (There is still, unfortunately, a dearth of good spiritual directors in our community, yet another thing I hope will change as we grow). Devotion really is the thing that nourishes the soul, that enriches us, that elevates us as human beings. newcomers often don’t receive adequate spiritual direction and it creates problems – not insurmountable but complicated ones. the devotional and/or ascetic tools that can help are often dismissed as belonging only to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam though they were used throughout history and across religious traditions. Without a willingness to cultivate these things, and in the face of what often amounts to a dearth of spiritual direction, newcomers often flounder.

As I said before, good soil is necessary for a good harvest. Whatever we do, the soil of the soul must be tilled, prepared in order for us to flourish. So, I do think that humility involves a decentering of the self and a focus instead on God. Within Heathenry, there ARE powerful ascetic techniques, rituals, prayer, etc. that aid and sustain the devotee in the pursuit of both connection to the Gods and personal character and virtue, but they are often contested across denominations. Unfortunately, there are too many people who come into my body of traditions (Heathenry) excessively enamored of Viking era culture and its presumed (but not actually historically accurate) emphasis on machismo and braggadocio, but who are effectively atheist or worse, anti-theist. (Nothing wrong with being an atheist, but there is quite a bit wrong with being an atheist and coming into religious spaces attempting to take leadership roles and thereby purge actual devotion or acknowledgment of the Gods qua Gods from public practices, which is what, in unmindful kindreds — what we call our groups — sometimes occurs). It leads to those of us who are clergy being forced to play gatekeeper solely for the preservation of our tradition and its integrity qua religious tradition. 

Part of the problem is lack of good spiritual direction for newcomers (only a handful of us even recognize the need) and part the influence of popular culture like “The Vikings” tv show and those terrible, terrible, and for me, terribly impious Marvel movies. Sharing one’s accomplishments with the community is also part of one of our religious rites, called symbel. In reality, this is an offering of those accomplishments to the Gods, an expression of gratitude, and a commitment to the common good but in practice this often isn’t communicated to newcomers well and the whole thing can devolve into something less than humble. At the core of all of this is a fear (at least I believe this to be the cause) of the vulnerability devotional work entails but also of the messiness inherent in having Gods who are Gods and not just characters in a book. Too many people coming into my community like the idea of the Gods but not the reality of the complications living Powers bring. We are, as ever, works in progress.  

There are my thoughts on the virtue of humility, a bit rambling, I will admit. What do you, my readers, think?

Pubmoot this Saturday

Kindred of the Well and Tree will be holding its first pub moot this Saturday in Fishkill, NY at 4pm EST. If any of you are in the area and interested in attending, please contact me at krasskova at

My Art Site is Now Live

My art site is now live and y’all can see it here. I’m still uploading my portfolio, so that is a slow process but some of my recent still life work, among other things, is there. I”m quite happy with it. Check it out. 🙂

I currently am in a show that opens next week in Pawling, NY. Here is an image of one of the few landscapes that I have painted (it sold at my last show). I NEVER paint landscape as I have no particular feel for it, but this one all but painted itself. It is titled “Descending.”

A Spiritual Protection Warning for Spirit-Workers and Other Specialists

We had an incident with a client recently and after a long conversation with the client, my House, and one of my former apprentices who does similar work, I decided to write a very brief post to give other spirit-workers, who may not have the experience yet to know better (no criticism. We learn. By Gods, we learn) a head’s up. I will explain. 

I had a client come to me last night who was being harassed (the technical term I learned is “oppressed”) by an evil spirit. This was not possession and did not require exorcism. This was harassment and constant bombardment. It was causing deep emotional, mental, and spiritual pain and would have caused long term damage had it been allowed to continue.  We assessed, determined that it was a fairly minor spirit – I termed it a spirit of anhedonia and anxiety—and set about preparing to do the requisite banishing and cleansing (some traditions term this “deliverance” but the term sticks in my craw, though it is accurate for the most part). 

I have had bad experiences in the past with cutting corners with this type of thing. I learned the hard way that when one thinks the most that one can ignore or omit protocol and preparation, one really, really needs to do every bit of that prep. That was the case last night. It seemed a minor spirit. Instinctively, I still cleansed, prayed, prepared myself; I garbed, cleaned the room, and made offerings. When we began, I did every single bit of my protocols and then some *before* I began the banishing and thank the Gods I did. 

I will preface this by assuring readers that our work i.e. the banishing was successful. What we encountered though, made us very glad we’d taken all precautions (including not doing this work alone. For this particular type of work, I always have at least one other person assisting). The malignant bottom feeder attached to my client was in fact trifling, but behind it was something much larger, much stronger and that second evil spirit stepped forward trying to attack us and/or strengthen the spirit we were expelling. Fortunately, we were prepared precisely because we had omitted nothing from our preparations; BUT had we cut corners, I believe we would have or could have been very, very hurt. 

We cleansed afterwards, but I should note, today, I am still reeking of pollution (not uncommon after such a rite – I am heading toward some serious cleansing work right after I post this, and already did quite a bit this morning) and have weathered some negative spirit interference while doing so (nothing significant, and my wards easily deflected it thanks to protection from my spiritual Cadre). 

The forces with which we engage are real. Not all of those forces are holy and good. If you are a specialist and your job includes – as I think it is inevitable that it will—banishings and cleanings, or driving away evil spirits then take note. Don’t ever, EVER cut corners on your protocols and that is all the more the case when you think you can. Sometimes evil spirits are stronger than they seem, and sometimes they attempt to deceive to do greater harm. Sometimes, they come with backup.  Always prep for the worst. Think of your protocols like a lawyer or a condom: better to have one and not need one than the opposite. Be safe, folks. 

Excellent Article!: Cultic Worship to Loki – Revised & Expanded — Wyrd Designs

Did you know we have possible evidence of cultic worship to the Norse God Loki from antiquity?

Cultic Worship to Loki – Revised & Expanded — Wyrd Designs

Cerridwen Prayer Card Available Friday

On Friday, I’ll be dropping the next prayer card. I have had more requests for this Goddess in the last year than any other Deity. The wonderful artwork is by D. Lopez-Melville. Check my Etsy shop on Friday for availability (they’ve been printed, I just have to actually pick them up).

re. Apocalypticism

You either have revelation from the Gods or you don’t and if you don’t, if all you have are “feelings,” (or worse politics), why should we consider anything you have to say?

NZ Should Be Ashamed – We all should for letting it get this bad