Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I've been reading about the idea/construct/concept "godslave" recently.
I am a servant to my deities of choice.
However, my experience with them is that the terms of my service are negotiable.

In my experience, my lady Freyja influences/controls/cares for the aspects of life that deal with sex, transformation and death(if you are an astrologer, 8th house issues).

When I first started serving my lady Freyja, I was single, childless, young and attractive. Therefore to serve her by healing the hearts and esteem of others through sex and intimacy was appropriate and fun.

Then, I gave birth to my son. I no longer had the time or the inclination to practice sex magic or sexual healing. My lady Freyja was very loving about my choice and she asked me to work with transformational work, healing the hearts and esteem of others through helping them see other ways to approach their world and their problems. I spent much time counseling others, volunteering at suicide hotlines and tutoring.

Once my son reached kindergarten age, I felt I could again serve in a sexual way. My lady Freyja and I negotiated a different kind of dynamic, more intimacy and less sex, but she was happy and so was I.

Then, I met my second husband. Part of his wyrd was to be monogamous. I loved him, so after going to my lady Freyja, I agreed. She was very loving about my choice and she asked me to work with death, helping others deal with the the guilt, pain, despair and rage that comes with a personal or familial terminal illness. I worked in hospices, hospitals and at the last, I cared for my son's father for the last two years of his life.

And since I divorced my second husband, I'm practicing aspects of all three of the spheres that I've learned. And my lady Freyja and I are both very happy with that.

My experiences with Odin are similar.
When he first came to me, he picked me for my intellect, my writing ability. I wrote for him and about him. I studied comparative religions and taught others about the Nordic worldview.
There have been times when I got caught up in the mundane and didn't spend as much time as I had previously doing the work Odin asks of me. But he's very indulgent about it.

I'm still negotiating with Hel.
Her charge to me during my initiation was to learn and show an alternate view of her. Rather than only the fierce destructive side of death, with a strong emphasis on its physical horrors, but also the goddess that brings an end to pain, rage and despair. She is impatient with my progress, but understanding about my need to understand so that I may serve well.

Service is a sacred task. But I belong to me. And I am responsible for my own choices.
If I decided tomorrow to walk away from all of my deities of choice, I believe I could do it without penalty or sanction.

I'm using "in my experience" often in this entry. Because unlike people of the book(Christians, Jews, Muslims) or people of many books(Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist) we have a limited amount of lore and it all has questionable provenance.
UPG is filling in those blanks. But what if someone else's UPG doesn't grokk with yours?

Then you fall back on "in my experience" Your mileage will most certainly vary.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wights in the US

I've travelled in most of the US. I haven't been to the Deep South or Hawaii but I've been most everywhere else since I started practicing "whatever it is I practice".

Each region, each state in the US has a different feeling, a different combination of earth, air, fire and water that make it unique.

As American spiritworkers/mystic heathens/shamanistic practitioners with a European set of gods, worldview and priorities, do we work with the spirits/ancestors/wights that live here, or do we call something from somewhere else? Or neither? Or both?

"Wight” is a general term for sentient being, but it is widely used today with specific reference to the spiritual beings who are neither god nor human. Land Wights may be found in any feature of the landscape — a hill, a rock, a tree, a stream; sometimes they may be willing to communicate, but some wights are really not interested and are not at all welcoming."Yggdrasil Heathen Group(based in the UK)

I'm from Montana. From historical accounts, when settlers from Norway came to northwestern Montana in the 1800's (home of Glacier Park), they commented that they felt like they were home. I've never been to Norway, so I can't compare. Was it a case of wishful thinking/homesickness or is NW Montana really like Norway? Did they bring their wights with them or were the wights of Montana just similar in vibe?

My grandmother was German. She would leave little bits of food and drink out for "the land", not in an organized saucer at the back door sort of way, but in a she dropped it on the ground and then dedicated it to the land sort of way. And ALL of her neighbors did something similar, no matter where their ancestors came from originally.

I do some herbal work, not medicinal but more magically focused. I've found that where I live changes not only what I gather, but what I sacrifice to thank spirits of the place for the the plants, rocks and minerals that I take.

In 1999, I gathered salt from the Salt Flats in Utah under a full moon. Eerie, that bone white expanse glowing in the moonlight. And I sensed something there, something feminine, something HUGE. I had a bag full of a variety of possible offerings: pennies, bullets, milk and honey, tobacco, juniper, sage, cedar, sweetgrass, assorted flower petals, shells, obsidian, quartz crystals,etc. My method is to reach inside the bag and pull out the appropriate offering at random. I ended up leaving juniper. Only to find out juniper was used by the Paiutes as a ceremonial purifier.

In 2005, I gathered flowers from Aztalan State Park in Wisconsin, a Middle-Mississipian village and ceremonial site. Again, I sensed something feminine, something very large and yet very different from the Salt Flats, something softer. I left shells there. Only to find out from visiting the museum next to the site that thousands of shells were found at the Princess mound, believed to be offerings.

Those are just a few of many similar experiences. And most of the time, my feeling is that what I'm sensing is what lives there and has lived there for, well, forever. But is it a wight? As close as I've ever met.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Twenty years ago...

I have a group of students(they teach me as much as I teach them)/colleagues that I work with on a regular basis. One of them has introduced me to the new waves of thought in the "mystic Heathen" catagory.
When I started twenty years ago, resources were not as rich and varied as they are today.
Freya Aswinn's Leaves of Yggdrasil was my first guide to the Nine Worlds and my relationship to their residents, followed by Kvedulf Gundarrson's Teutonic Magic and Teutonic Religion. And of course I read all the Eddas and sagas as well as any source that vaguely touched upon Norse thought.
As I travelled the country( I move around alot) I met, practiced with and enjoyed talking with many in the Asatru community. I was introduced to Diana Paxson's writing on the Asatru and I am very impressed by her, but despite my respect for many of the people I met and my bone deep grounding in the Norse worldview, I wasn't Asatru.
Despite my training in magic, I wasn't Wiccan either.
I was doing healings, wardings, readings, lifting curses, cleansing houses, talking to dead people, leading rituals and teaching others, all the things my deities of choice trained me to do.
But I was stuck between sharing the worldview but not the work with Asatrur and the work but not the worldview with other solitary practitioners of things as varied as ceremonial magic to core shamanism.
So my colleague gives me a book by Raven Kaldera called A Pathwalker's Guide to the Nine Worlds. And I'm reading it and saying "Wow, so that's what I've been doing for twenty years! How wonderful someone came up with names for all of this!"
Now, not everything Kaldera discusses is part of my beliefs or my practice. But it's closer than anything else I've seen before. So I'm impressed by the work, even if I'm not influenced by it.
Then my colleague gave me a copy of Paxson's Trance-portation and I'm reading it and saying, "Wow, someone came up with a textbook to teach all the things I learned hit and miss! I can use this and my students' experience will be so much less painful!"
I've also been introduced to blogs and blogging. I'm stunned at how much easier it has become to share experiences and information across a wide spectrum of thought and belief. So I thought I'd add my voice.
Read in peace