Tree of Life is Worth Preserving and Defending

“The erosion of traditions everywhere harms everyone. ”  –Sannion

(Said in response to a conversation I was having about the watering down of Catholic traditions. I don’t have a horse in that race but I have opinions on it and this is why. Everyone has been entrusted with their traditions and that’s a small piece of the whole and when that becomes corrupt or broken, something vital is lost. Everyone plays a part in keeping those traditions whole: clergy, laity, specialists, et al.

This in particular reminds me of the situation faced by the Stellinga, polytheists warriors  who rose up in response to the felling of the Irminsul and other sacred trees. For them, the felling of those trees was the destruction of their world, values, and way of life and the worlds of the ancestors because in Germanic cosmology those trees are what hold up each of the worlds and those worlds need to be distinct and contained to be healthy. With the dissolution of boundaries and everything blurring and crashing together, the loss of tradition, the loss of meaning, everything dissolves into chaotic nothingness and that’s the Ragnarok that they faced. It’s also the Ragnarok we’re facing today. Don’t think of these as one time events but as the result of the corruption and destruction of our traditions. With every tradition lost a world collapses.

We need to fight all the harder for the restoration and preservation of our traditions or we’ll be swept into the chaos of the Void).

old apple tree

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A voice crying in the wilderness

My husband is raising money for an upcoming journey to the West coast to do land-healing work. Take a look at what he’s got going on and if you are interested in being part of this, consider donating. personally, i want to see the commentary he’s promising!

The House of Vines

proof

I think my time in the Cave of Visions is drawing to a close and I shall soon be returning to my people with sacred lore and rites of the Starry Bear to bestow.

I’ll also be starting a new poetic cycle, a stand-alone trilogy which will serve as πρόλογος to the Rising of the Black Sun. Or perhaps πρόδρομος would be more appropriate.

Which reminds me.

Over the Summer much of the Pacific Northwest was engulfed in apocalyptic flame. Wild fires ravaged the forest lands, approaching even the sacred territory of McKenzie where the Starry Bull tradition was born, and which has been frequent host of our revels. Moved by the plight of the Trees, Waters, Birds and Beasts, the Nymphs, Wights and Landvættir – and I suppose the humans too – I vowed to journey to Oregon and do a magical working towards Summer’s End to help…

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Piety, Modesty, and Covering My Hair – A Perspective

This is a good piece from someone whose Goddess told her to start covering her hair. The article brings up questions of piety, modesty, and sexuality. It’s a good piece and worth the read.

I know quite a few polytheists and pagans who cover their hair for religious reasons. I do sometimes as well, though not permanently (and deep respect to people who have migraine conditions who cover all the time. damn). Usually I cover for rituals, and anything having to do with my ancestors or the dead, always when approaching Apollon’s shrine, not so much with the Norse Gods (They don’t seem to care if i cover or not, except with the dead. Loki sometimes requires it for certain types of divination but that’s hardly burdensome) but I have never been tapped to cover on a regular, daily basis.

One of the issues that comes up almost always when people begin to cover or hear about other polytheists covering is the issue of perceived (usually incorrectly) repression of sexuality. I have never thought about head covering as repressive. It’s one choice out of many that a person can make out of piety and love for their Gods. It crosses all religious boundaries. I find it also helps tremendously with miasma. But I’ve never considered it repressive. I think instead, it’s an opportunity to define ourselves by those things which are not transient (as our beauty is, as our sexuality may be — anything corporeal is in the end transient), aspects of self which are not shallow, which are not tied in some way to the gaze of others (which in our culture sexuality for good or ill so often is). It’s a chance to focus on our personalities and character, our devotional life, our relationships, our integrity. When i do readings for people, I often won’t look at them. I see them better when I’m not distracted by the visual cues of expression, appearance, color (as in colors they’re wearing, light flickering around them, shadows, highlights, background, chiaroscuro), and all the visual stimuli that can bombard us. I read better when I’m looking at what’s inside. Maybe this is something similar (And while i don’t cover, I do keep my head shaved for my military dead — something they asked long ago and gave me the choice of whether or not to do).

I also think that it can curb vanity. I think that vanity is one of the things that can be extremely corrosive to character and to one’s spiritual life. This is for me a matter of personal discipline. it affects me and my relationship with the Gods. If I want to be in relationship with my Gods and ancestors from a place of integrity and authenticity then I need to develop in myself the attitude and character that leads to doing just that and that sometimes involves rooting out and curbing unhelpful character traits. I think our culture over sexualizes and diminishes women, reduces them to the sum total of appearance and sex appeal and if that is internalized it can be very unhealthy to the development of personal character. I think vanity is encouraged over authenticity, over humility and modesty and respect and devotion and insight and discernment and a thousand other things that make the spiritual life fruitful. Maybe that’s not an issue for the majority of women who cover, but allowing one’s character to speak first, learning to adorn for oneself rather than the gaze of unknown others (as opposed to love ones), learning to be comfortable with oneself, in one’s skin are good things. If head covering helps that, and helps serve as an ongoing reminder that we are, first and foremost devotional beings in relationship with the Holy Powers, than that’s a good thing.

At any rate, it is nice to read a post (you can see the link below to the article about which I’m writing) where someone is brave enough to wrestle with some of these questions in their own practice. It always makes me think about ways to deepen mine and it’s good to know when questions come up, that one is not the only person in the world struggling thusly.

Go. Read.

here is the link: Piety, Modesty, and Covering My Hair – A Perspective

Submission #2 to Nehalennia’s Agon

To Nehalennia
By V. Morelli

I do not know You, Lady of bogs and marshes,
Goddess of all the liminal places that are home,
sometimes, to those of us who fit nowhere else.
You were venerated by many nations.
You were loved and honored, given sacrifice,
remembered in stone,
remembered in the stories of Your people.
We do not have those stories now.
We have only sparing inscriptions,
an image roughly carved – erased by time –
though surely once beautiful,
Your name, and the knowledge that once, once
not so very long ago, You ruled the trade-ways of the North.
You guaranteed wealth to those that honored You,
wealth of land and sea, wealth of devotion in the hearts of Your people,
a wealth of hope and peace and protection.
You shepherded the lost dead to their places of sanctuary.
You kept pollution and corruption from those sacred pathways.
You were guard and guide to our fragile humanity, and to the fragile passages
that mark our journey from life into death. It is right that once bogs were bloodied for You.
It is right that stones and markers, monuments to Your glory once rose, that Your name was hailed, cried out in longing and need, celebration and joy, devotion and deepest veneration
by numerous tongues, numerous voices, numerous people whose common meeting point
was the place where You heard their prayers.
Be hailed again and anew, Great Goddess.
Bless us again, Nehalennia,
and may we always remember Your name.
Hail, oh Goddess.

Devotional Ritual to Sekhmet with Spellwork to Reverse the Evil Eye

awesome protective ritual to Sekhmet…reblogging because it is awesome. 🙂

amor et mortem

This past Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on ancient Egyptian magic at World Tree Healing bookstore and metaphysical resource center here in Chicago. Called “Hands-On Heka,” the workshop I devised featured an overview on the three types of magic, as I classify them, that we know that ancient Egyptians of all social strata practiced: funerary magic, ritual magic, and everyday (sometimes referred to as “crisis-mode”) magic. From this latter category, I devised a devotional ritual to the great goddess Sekhmet, Lady of Power, which featured a historically verified spell meant to reverse the Evil Eye. The spell involved the creation of a papyrus talisman, which we did together as a group based on a hieroglyphic prayer I created to evoke Sekhmet’s aid for spiritual protection. However, there was follow-up work for the ritual participants/workshop attendees to do once they returned to their homes: once…

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Evviva ‘il Coltello

for my castrati:

boneladyblog

hollow throated marvels
sharp as a keen knife’s edge

immortality bearing blade
washed in crimson sweetness
succulent
lush
with the promise of forever

exploding fire on the stage
each shard a voice
each voice a wonder
and I am caught
in this spider’s web
longing
to be burned.

my heart, knowing well the blade
I give to them
in praise
to sate a hunger
that binds us both.

Their voices a labyrinth
sharper than the knife that made them
sharper than this heart that bleeds
brighter than glory.

(by G. Krasskova)

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Honor the land, honor the dead

I found this while sorting through some older writing. I’m reposting it because it’s so incredibly relevant to some of the work I’m doing now. 

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Some friends were having a discussion with Sannion last night and as I was passing through (swamped with preparations for my upcoming trip), he mentioned one of the things they were discussing and it just blew me away. This is so spot on, so powerful, so incredibly profound that I, half way upstairs, stopped dead in my tracks and asked everyone’s permission to write about it here. (Obviously they graciously allowed me to do so, or I wouldn’t be posting this!).

The latest issue of Walking the Worlds discusses the importance of regional cultus to the restoration of our polytheisms. We talk about regional cultus a lot but I don’t think many of us (myself included) ever really stop to parse it out or to figure out how all of the various parts of our praxis are organically (no pun intended, I swear!) connected. Part of regional cultus is venerating the land spirits, what a Norse practitioner might call vaettir. Hand in hand with this goes a certain reverence for the land and the spaces in which we practice, which support our practice, be they cities or forests or anything in between. This is good. I think honoring the land is the third part of a very powerful trine of Gods, ancestors, and land that is foundational to polytheism as a whole. But I don’t think many of us take this any farther. My friends did and I’m still just blown away.

Essentially when you are honoring the land, over and above any individual spirits you may be engaging with, when we just talk about the soil itself, you’re honoring the dead. You cannot engage in regional cultus, you cannot really honor any piece of land, without also recognizing and honoring the dead. Why? This is basic to the way both geology and ancestor practice works. The dead are always with us, underpinning everything we are and everything we do. The Yoruba have a powerful maxim: “we stand on the shoulders of our dead,” or sometimes “we stand on the bones of our dead.” Well, we do. Literally.

What is soil but eons of dead matter? Many of us in the Northern Tradition praise the forces of decay because without decay and rot, without this process of transmutation what would our world be? With the grace of the gods and spirits of decay and rot, we have soil, soil made up of dead bodies, dead animals, dead plants, going all the way back to the beginning. We quite literally walk and live upon the remains of our dead and we are nourished by it physically just as ancestor work nourishes us spiritually. There is nowhere we can walk where the dead are not. There is nothing we can consume, that has not partaken of this blessing of death and decay (unless it is solely processed in a lab and then I don’t want to be consuming it!). All that grows in the soil and everything that devours that which grows in the soil, and all who devour those things…we are all physically nourished by our dead and in time our corporeal matter will fade into the blackness of the soil to nourish those who come after us in turn. I have said before that there is more life in a teaspoon of soil than in the greatest metropolis on earth and that is true, but in the soil itself, there is also more death. The two cannot be sifted apart.

We as polytheists and animists know that we are not apart from the natural world. We are in harmony with it (or strive to be). We are connected to all things that were and are and will be. The detritus of a small dead plant is as much part and parcel of our tapestry of being as those buried in a cemetery to whom we might be related by blood. We are literally made up of the dead. The soil is the stuff of our blood and bone. It’s all interconnected.

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Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

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Ideas for Offerings

While shopping for offerings the other day, I found a brand of vodka Veteran owned and made. Since I was looking for something specifically for Ares, this seemed perfect and I thought I would mention it here. I like supporting Veteran owned businesses, the vodka is pretty good, and it makes a great offering not just to Deities like Ares but to the military dead, and our military ancestors as well. There’s also a brand of red wine (it’s hiding to the left behind the vodka here) called “Purple Heart” that I also find my military dead like. I don’t think it’s veteran owned though. 

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Winner of Persephone’s Agon and First Submission to Nehalennia’s.

The Winner of the Persephone Agon, chose by div,  is Alexeigynaix. Congratulations. i’ll be in touch today about your prizes. 

Everyone else, thank you so much for submitting such lovely pieces to the Agon. May Persephone ever and always be hailed. 🙂 Please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com with your mailing addresses and also to let me know which prayer card you would like. 

Here is the first submission to Nehellenia’s Agon. 

Prayer to Nehalennia

Nehalennia,
May my life,
Be a boat under your guidance and protection,
Grant me strength,
To hold the rudder of my life,
And follow to the right direction.
Grant me wisdom,
To discern between the moment,
To anchorage or to start new voyages.
May the winds blow gently,
And no storms destroy the pleasure of living.
Grant me access to my inner treasures,
And to your deep mysteries.
Oh Lady, grant me prosperity and fullness!

Hail!

by Bela Síol, 06/11/2012. (This. prayer is part of The Oracle and Nehalennia author Bela Síol and the artist Igor Alexandre).

A beautiful poem to Hermod by All Their Voices

The road to Hel is long and hard; cold is the road to Helheim, the way rocky and long. When you ride to Hel’s hall, your fears ride with you, your ghosts ride with you. With Sleipnir beneath me I ride to Hel, and to Hel’s hall, and though swift are the steps of Loki’s […]

via Hermod’s Ride — All Their Voices