Watching

odin

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Ancestors: Buddy

In Heathenry, ancestor work is important. Or at least this is what I’m told. I have researched my ancestors, I can trace my maternal relatives back several generations, I’ve looked into genealogy and can tell you that I’m a mix of several places across the pond. In years past I’ve even set up ancestor altars complete with pictures of people I could actually name, and might even be able to tell you a little about. But, aside from that, I haven’t done a lot of ancestor “work”. I don’t communicate with them regularly. I don’t have an altar erected year round for them.

I can’t say that I have major plans to change that going forward. It’s something I would like to do, in theory. But I also recognize that I feel very…awkward trying to communicate with them.

All of this is on my mind today because this would have been my grandfather’s 89th birthday. Last year I wrote a thing on Facebook about it, and thought I’d reshare it here (with a few edits) for several reasons. Enjoy~

~*~

Today was my late grandfather’s birthday. He would have been 89 today, but he passed on unexpectedly when I was 13. I’ll never forget that night, how my mom asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital in the middle of the night (I barely registered what she said, answered no, and turned over and went back to sleep), the call the next day (I was home alone and so upset it took everything in me not to grab the plate beside me and throw it as hard as I could at the wall before I crumbled into a sobbing ball on the floor), or the ride with a family friend to the hospital that soon followed. I’ll never forget the utter pain and heartbreak that came over me. He was my special Buddy, and more of a dad to me than my biological dad ever was.

I can’t even articulate how much I miss him or wish I could talk to him. He had a deep baritone voice when he sang. His favorite fish was salmon. His favorite color was red. He loved to play tennis, and when he needed a moment to himself he’d go down by the airport and watch the planes take off and land. He was an excellent business man, forever patient with my grandmother, a wonderful father to his kids, and the best grandpa a girl could ever wish for. He used to draw me pictures whenever I asked him to. I distinctly remember asking him to draw me a rabbit several times. He made amazing wood carvings that I hope my mom still has somewhere back in Indiana. I wanted to bring them to New Jersey with me when I moved here, but was so afraid they’d break, and I’d be absolutely crushed if something happened to them. They are some of the last remaining pieces of him that I have aside from memories. Whatever artistic talent I have I know came from him (unfortunately I also inherited his migraines).

The first birthday after he passed was my Freshman year of High school. My mom drove me to school that morning as she always did, but I couldn’t go in. I couldn’t face people. I couldn’t stop crying. All day long I just cried and cried. I can’t say I haven’t shed a few tears today as I do every year on this day.

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Please pardon the photo quality. It’s a picture taken on a cell phone camera of a picture~

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Consulting

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On Neo-Nazis Stealing Heathen Symbols

So, this is a thing that has been on my mind recently, and I wanted to speak on it. Because it affects me and the rest of the Heathen community a lot.

Neo Nazis have been using the symbols of our faith to denote White Supremacy. They’ll take a picture of Odin or the Valknut symbol, attach it to a flag, and march down the street yelling Blue Lives Matter.

I hate this. It’s bastardizing what my faith is and what my symbols mean. Odin is/was not a White Supremacist. There is nothing in the Eddas that says ” only White people are good or can follow these gods”. Furthermore, a lot of these people don’t even understand what these symbols actually mean. They’ve given them their own meaning, but don’t bother to find out where they originated from or what they mean to the people they originally belonged to.

I’ve always been outspoken about my belief in Equality, that Black Lives Matter, and that we don’t need a god damn wall. I’ve also always been ‘that Pagan in the room’ (as Ceallaigh calls it) who is willing to explain what Paganism is, and especially who Odin and the other deities I follow are. I’ve never shied away from this. Being that Pagan in the room that has to explain why Blue Lives Matter is wrong and offensive doesn’t bother me. It’s the fact that I have to be, that White Supremacists have put me in that position.

Everyday I wear a Valknut and a Thor’s Hammer. Sometimes I draw my daily Rune on my wrist as a reminder of it’s message (today I have Nauthiz drawn there). The very fact that I wear this stuff, that Neo Nazis have taken it and used it for their own purposes, means that now I run the risk of being label a White Supremacist for wearing a religious symbol that has nothing to do with race. I honestly can’t even articulate how angry that makes me.

This post has been percolating in my head for a few weeks now. Ever since I read Ceallaigh’s blog post “I Forbid Neo-Nazis From Using the Symbols of My Faith”. I agree with everything she says in her post so much that I had to share a link here and hope that you will all give it a read. Especially if you are a Neo-Nazi. Educate yourself on the symbols you’re misusing and stop using them.

(Cross-posted to Life of a Raven~)

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Watching

odinfeat11

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An Important Message 

The other day my partner and I were discussing Odin. Or rather we were discussing Loki and how He’s been coming up in different ways in our lives, and tangentially got to talking about Odin. I have a million thoughts on Loki, but I’ll share those another time. The things we were discussing about Odin are what I want to touch on now. 

Small warning: political talk. I think this will be the first time I’ve talked about politics here as I usually try to just keep that to Facebook and Twitter. But this needs discussing. 

My partner told me is one of his issues with Odin is the way His image has been adopted by Men’s Rights Activists (MRA’s). First, let’s acknowledge that isn’t an issue with ODIN Himself. Or it shouldn’t be. He didn’t ride over from Asgard and afix His image to those flags. The MRA’s took His image and put it there. So it should be an issue with them, not Him. However, it’s because this group uses His image that we come to the point of this post. 

I DO NOT SUPPORT MRA’s. 

My partner’s claim was that by giving anything to Odin in directly gave energy to MRA’s. Simply because they use His image. Now, I’m not Odin’s keeper (I highly doubt such a thing actually exists as I can’t see Odin allowing such a thing), so I don’t know what all He does or doesn’t do. I would LIKE to believe He doesn’t support these people, though I admit you really can’t find a more hypermasculine god (except maybe Thor), or culture. But given that Odin has dressed up as a woman, and has respected a woman enough to learn from Her makes me believe He’s not misogynistic. Or at the very least would not support such people. 

I wanted to address this issue as I know there are a lot of people in the Heathen community that ARE MRA’s and don’t support women’s rights. I know there are several white supremacists in our community. I know there are people who say that if you aren’t of Norwegian (or other Nordic) descent that you can’t worship the Nordic deities. 

I AM NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. 

I 100% believe Black Lives Matter, women are equal to men (and should be treated as such), transwomen are women and transmen are men, anyone can worship any god that calls to them, and no one is better than anyone else. 

Rest assured this blog and all my other social media sites are Safe Spaces. I don’t care what flavor of whatever you are. You’re awesome and you have every right to be who you are. 

This ends the political talk, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled posts about Runes, awesome pics, and Odin lore. 

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He Sees You

jackdonovan

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With My Wolves By My Side

runelegend

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Lessons from the Runes, Lessons on the Runes

Monday night I went into New York City and met up with NYC Heathens for a lore chat on the Runes. I’ve been a student of the Runes since shortly after Odin found me…so roughly 7 years now? Though I went through a spiritual drought where I didn’t do anything for about two years, so I’m going to say around 5 years. I’m still a total beginner I feel like. The Runes have so much to teach that I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a master or to know all there is know about them. There’s just too much. Saying you KNOW each Rune after only working with them for a handful of years is like saying you know everything there is to know about Odin after working with Him for a week. Sorry, but no. There’s just too much to ever learn in that short amount of time. And this Rune chat proved my point. In all honesty I wish I had taken more notes than I did, but I was trying to pay attention to what all was being said and also trying to participate in conversation as opposed to just being my normal quiet self. Regardless, I wanted to type up everything that was mentioned that hadn’t occurred to me yet so that I could look back, research, and/or meditate upon these different interpretations.

I didn’t take notes on all 24 Runes, just the ones that gave me a different interpretation than what I’d previously known. In no particular order:

Raidho – I’d never heard of this as “ride though”, but that was definitely something talked about Monday night. Typically I associate Raidho with communication, not necessarily of movement, but I can’t unhear “ride though” and all of it’s implications.

Ansuz – during the chat it was mentioned that this was the Rune most associated with Odin. That’s not necessarily the case for me (I more strongly associate Eiwaz with Odin), but this is definitely thought provoking. I can see how that would be as Ansuz does have close ties with words and the ways they can effect people, and Odin is a god of poetry after all.

Perthro – this is a Rune that has actually been coming up a lot for me recently, and that I personally feel has some sort of message for me. Though I’ve been mistakenly referring to it as Othala. Normally I think of things being revealed, or truths and mysteries coming to light when this Rune comes up. But a few other people in the group mentioned that if you have the opening of Perthro facing down it represents a woman’s womb and vagina. Which I thought was a very interesting way to see this Rune. It brings to mind childbirth, time to gestate in the dark, and other such things like that. More work is most definitely needed with this Rune on my part. Oh, an association with Urd’s Well was also mentioned.

Berkano – have the points pointing down and it looks like a woman’s breasts. This is not a thing I’d ever thought about, but once pointed out I can’t unsee it. It with Perthro could be a depiction of a mother goddess type figure, and I may use them together in that context in my own journals and writings.

Inguz – I can’t say anything “new” really came to light for me when it comes to this Rune, but I did find it interesting to note that I am more familiar with the Anglo-Saxon depiction of this Rune than the typical Elder Futhark depiction.

Isa – the overwhelming association with this Rune seems to be “ice”, as in glacial ice. But when discussing it another meaning came to my own mind. That of go forward on the path you are on, don’t deviate. Go slow, don’t rush, but keep moving down the path you are. This is another Rune that I could stand to work with more and learn more about.

Hagalaz – I don’t usually think of the Runes in terms of tarot associations, but it was mentioned that Hagalaz was probably most closely related to the Tower in the tarot. When I stop and think about the meaning of Hagalaz I can totally see that association.

I had stepped out for a bathroom break when Laguz was discussed, and I really wish I hadn’t missed that one as it’s the one Rune I struggle with a bit. Flow and water come to mind when I think of Laguz, but that’s about it. So I have my work cut out with it, but that’s okay. A little bit of work never hurt me.

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Thurisaz: Rune of Thor, Strength, and Jotuns

Thurisaz is a rune that comes up from time to time, but that I found I’ve never written about. I always associate it with a thorn just from the looks of it, and therefore with things that may not feel the best, things that may poke and sting. Turns out my research on this Rune tells me I’m not the only one who associates it with a thorn. But there are many more things to associate with this rune.

thornisaz

For example, Thor. Thurisaz is apparently the rune of Thor. According to Thorsson, this rune “represents pure action, potency, raw power, and strength on the physical plane” (from Taking Up The Runes by Diana L Paxson). All of those are things also associated with Thor. However, my personal associations with “prickly things” isn’t off base. This is in fact a rune that can signal conflict, especially those involving aggression. It warns you not charge head first into anything, and instead to procede with caution.

It can also be a great source of protection, wrapping the runecaster up in a thicket of thorns that tear enemies to shreds when they try to barrel through.

Not only is Thurisaz associated with Thor, but also with the Jotuns that He battled. Jotuns, like Thurisaz, are raw power ready to rend and tear into anything in their path…save for those they deem worthy of their friendship and aid. If you’ve been reading runes for more than five minutes, then you’ve probably heard about “blooding the runes”–basically offering the runes a few drops of your blood. Most of the runes you can get away with not doing this, but Thurisaz is one that will demand it of you if you want it to respond best.

Don’t invoke Thurisaz likely, especially if you’re asking it to tell someone (or something) to “back off”. It will do it’s job, and if you change your mind you will find yourself not having much luck taking it off the trail. It is a fierce rune, one of great force and dedication. It is not a rune to be played with or toyed with. In a way “proceed with caution” is a good phrase for working with this rune as well, though it does prefer when you aren’t weak and instead gather your own strength and focus it, just as Thurisaz does with it’s strength.

thorisaz

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