Not in our Paganism? We’re not off the hook

Lupa Greenwolf already said everything I was thinking about why this is wrong, and more clearly than I can right now.

But I can’t say racism, gender essentialism, and homophobia are “Not in my Paganism” because they clearly still are, and still need to be cleaned out, corrected. I don’t believe I get to disown misguided and even hateful Heathens as being Not Really Heathen and thus not my problem. I don’t think that’s how Lupa intended it – I’m quite sure she’s disowning those values, which is a statement I entirely agree with. But it’s too easy to take it there, and all too often I see racism in Heathenry casually dismissed as “not really Heathenry”, as though that absolves us of responsibility for it.

It doesn’t.

I have to deal with the racist Heathens, at least in the jails. I must help redirect them to paths that valorize them for what they do, instead of their ancestry. I must help them find better connections with their fellows, more to have in common than the color of their skin. Yes, I could stop volunteering as a chaplain, but then were would they be?

As far as I’m concerned, Heathen values, Vanic values, are about what we do, the choices we make, and who we choose to be, and most especially, how we treat each other. By “we” I mean all sentient beings, not just those we call Kindred. Other people don’t cease to exist or be of concern just because they aren’t in my group.

There is one rule for who can be in the Vanatru groups I lead:

All that we ask, all we have ever asked, is that any who attend our meetings behave respectfully towards each other, and towards our purpose in pursuing frithful relationships with the Vanir. We have never had and never will have a requirement that our members have any particular ancestry, any particular culture, any particular gender identity, or sexual orientation, or the ability to consume any particular substance.

I will say, we’ve known for a long time that the AFA was racist and separatist in their “folkish” values, but their previous leadership put forth considerable effort to keep it hidden behind pretty words. In a way, it’s a relief to me that they’re finally openly admitting it. Now maybe when I point out yet again that the Asatru Folk Assembly is a racist organization, people who are ostensibly on my side of that debate won’t take up arms on their behalf anymore?

I can hope.

I’ve long said that the AFA is a bad organization, but not everyone IN the AFA is bad.  Right now I’m worried for those in the AFA who don’t actually share those values, who honestly believed the pretty words put forth and that the racist leanings were just an uninfluential fringe within a larger, generally positive organization. I have known folks in the AFA with Semitic backgrounds. I don’t know any QUILTBAG folks in the AFA off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are a few in the mix. There are bound to be some places where if you’re Heathen and want community, your only in-person choice is the AFA or worse, and I worry for those stuck in such places having no better options.

The Troth is better, but not always better enough. They, at least, are working on it.

Oh, and for the record, for all who spout that “protect the family” excuse for their militant separatism? My family by both blood and law, much less my kindred by choice, includes people whose ancestors span the world, queer folk, neurodiverse folk, and several different religions. Dismissing queer people, disrespecting brown and black people, or Semitic people, rejecting immigrants and foreigners, disparaging disabled people, dishonoring other faiths? You are threatening my family. What kind of Heathen would I be if I allowed that to continue?

–Ember–

Posted in Ancestors, Community, Folkism and Racism, Interfaith, Ministry, Personal, Politics, Praxis, RedWood Vanatru, ST4R, Vanatru | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Give Me All Your Books to Spare!

My friends often ask what they should do when they cull their Pagan bookshelves, and I almost always say “Give them to me!”

I’m not just being greedy, I swear! I do try to keep an extensive multicultural interfaith library both for my own studies and to lend to the community, and I give out duplicates to new folks regularly.

But most of my duplicate copies of books go to inmates, because 90% of what I do for jail ministry is figure out what kind of books will help them progress in their spiritual efforts while they’re stuck waiting for the next step of the judicial process. They are trapped, often confused, and always bored to tears. Giving them books helps everyone because it helps them continue to learn, and it helps them keep it together so that they don’t act out just because they’re restless.

I ALWAYS need more copies of Eddas and Sagas, decent (grounded in at least the actual rune poems, not racist) rune studies books. Books for solitaries in any kind of Pagan practice are helpful, especially if they’re actually geared towards practicing from inside a jail or prison. Introductory books to any Pagan path, but especially Heathenry and Wicca are always useful. Books about how to deal with spirits talking to you and basic spiritual skills are often useful. Books about the gods and/or basic myths for any given pantheon are often useful.

They love books of spells, but those are less useful because they rarely can have the components, and usually don’t have the education or insight required to understand how a book of traditional spells represents folklore research, and the ones who are far enough along their paths to appreciate that usually want something else anyway.

Spare books for other religions are still useful – I can hand them to the regular chaplains for them to give other inmates as appropriate. You might be surprised how often I actually recommend one of the Pagan inmates ask another religious group for literature, especially on things like Buddhist meditation, or Catholic spiritual exercises.

So yes, PLEASE, give me your spare religious books that don’t suck! They go to a good cause, I promise!

–Ember–

Posted in Ministry, Praxis | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

New Song! Seeking Odr

The other day while driving home, a new song for Freyja dropped into my head. When I got home, I holed up with my tablet to work out the verses, and a few hours later I had the whole thing done! I may still tweak a word or two here and there, maybe add one more verse for worlds missed, but this is pretty much it.

An MP3 of me singing it has been shared first with my Patreon subscribers, as promised.😉

Seeking Odr

Fire and tears, salt sea and memories
of golden years that sing to the stars.
Mardoll flies on wings of a falcon through
stormy skies, to find Her love.

Chorus:
You are lost, I am found
Well and Tree and Nornir cry
Love and reason, come unwound
And know not why.”

“You are free, I am bound
To a wand’ring spirit’s side
Grave or grieve, on holy ground
I abide.”

Well of Wyrd, He swung like a sailor
for nine long nights, entwined with the Tree.
Bleeding, bound, He sought as a Siedhmadhr
mysteries no other could see.

She returned to loose ropes and promises
broken by a fate unknown.
None could name the man left before Her,
and none could say where Odr had gone.

Chorus

Asgard rises, towering temples,
above the Tree, beyond the skies.
Frigga sighs, but says not a word to Her.
Heimdall frowns as Mardoll cries.

Vanaheim, the heart of Her people,
to Heide’s home the goddess goes.
How could he be lost to Ginnungagap?”
Long They speak but no one knows.

Chorus

Nifflheim the northern mountains,
on Skadhi’s hold as Horn She calls.
“Have you seen the man I call husband?”
but no such man had seen Her hall.

Jotunheim, the largest of lodgings,
by Giants made in eastern wilds.
Utgard Loki heard what had happened,
but knew no news for Hertha’s child.

Chorus

Ljosalfheim, to counsel with Alflord
The Lady goes, when wisdom fails.
“How shall I be merry without him?”
Her brother holds Her as She wails.

Svartalfheim, the mines of the Duergar,
Her crafty Dwarves may have what She needs.
“No device can measure your grieving
But Hella’s halls have heard your deeds.”

Chorus

Beneath the tree, the land of the Ancestors,
Mardoll seeks the Lady Hel,
Loki’s daughter, Queen of the underworld.
If Odr died, She’d know well.

Hella sympathized with the Vanadis,
“Golden tears you’ve cried so long.
You’ve the right to choose from the fallen,
But none can choose a spirit flown.”

“You are found, he is lost.
You must let the madness fall.
Pain abounds, and wisdom’s cost
Comes to us all.”

“He is bound, you are free,
though your tears may leave you blind.
Yet his name and legacy
are left behind.”

Fire and tears, salt sea and memories
of golden years that sing to the stars.
Mardoll flies on wings of a falcon through
stormy skies, to mourn Her love…

–Ember–

Posted in Crafts, Gnosis, Lore, Poetry, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, RedWood Vanatru, Ritual, ST4R, Trance Work, Vanatru | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seeress: Nan Edwards Boyster

This is my friend and sometimes-teacher Nan Edwards Boyster.

Nan Edwards Boyster

Nan Edwards Boyster – A good friend and diviner!

Nan is, simply put, Good People. She’s also one of the small handful of readers I go to  when I need outside divination, confirmation or clarification on my own work, or just plain help figuring my shit out.

More specifically, she’s one of the few readers I go to from whom you, too, can get a reading!

She’s both talented and well-trained in Welsh and Heathen traditions. She’s a Seidkona and a witch, and works with the Fae and the Vanir. Whereas I do readings in offline batches once a week, Nan can often schedule live phone readings within a day of the querent’s request!

The Seeress is IN

Nan preparing for Oracular Seidh

$50 (payments via PayPal) gets you a standard 45 minute reading. Her style is much like mine, with a combination of cartomancy and oracular seidh, depending on the needs of the question, any gods or spirits involved. She can deal with topics, open-ended queries, and specific yes/no questions.

If you’re interested, and want more information, you can email Nan at infidelcelt@gmail.com

–Ember–

Posted in Divination, Ministry, Praxis, Ritual, ST4R | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BRIGHID’S CALL: Reforge Hardened Hearts

My own version of the Morrigan’s spell to channel anger, banish fear and hate burned entirely cleanly in one solid interval. I’m very pleased, as my first attempt at this work got overwhelmed and the wick drowned. But that was clearly because I was over-reaching, trying to channel all that anger and fear into one candle, instead of caring for my own valley and letting others care for their lands.

With some aid from another friend, I was able to clarify Brighid’s portion of the spell, which is optional for those who feel up to it (again, paraphrased from memory):

“Heat not only burns fuel away, it also softens the hardest of metals, making them malleable. Use this fuel, this fire, to bring hardened hearts to my forge, that I may shape them, temper them, and heal them in the waters of my well.”

Simple Candle Spell

My version of the spell to channel anger, banish hate, and transform hardened hearts.

As before, the spell is two fires, and local water: Let one fire (red) channel the anger, fear, and hate, and the other (white) illuminate the truth, so that people are not so easily swayed by lies and doubt. Let both fires burn hot, to soften hardened hearts that Brighid may help them heal and learn. Let the waters connect the spell to the local land, to define the area of the water table, and to provide cooling healing to all.

One thing I realized as I was typing all this: Brighid is also allied with the Christians as a saint, and thus can reach many who might otherwise balk at the aid of a Pagan goddess.

If you are willing, I am still asking people to please share the original post, and/or this one – share the link, repost/reblog it, copy the text entirely, or even make your own version.

Again, the work is what matters.

–Ember–

Posted in Abuse, Community, Divination, Dreams, Gnosis, Interfaith, Land Spirit Work, Ministry, Personal, Politics, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, Ritual, ST4R | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A CALL: Channel Anger, Banish Fear and Hate

I have received an urgent message this afternoon, confirmed through another reader. It was from The Morrigan and Brighid for all who are able and willing, anywhere in the world. While the whole message has not yet been made clear, this much has (paraphrased, from memory):

“There are dangerous amounts of anger and hate running through the people across the lands. Channel them down and let them burn away. You do not have to channel the whole world, or all of it, just for your area, for what you are able. Spread the word as you can. Any hands that are available for this are needed now.”

There is no set time or day to do this. Whenever you are ready and able is fine. If you have some other method, that is fine too. This is my proposed method:

Simple Candle Spell

My version of the Morrigan’s spell to channel anger and banish hate.

  • Get one red jar candle, one white jar candle, and a glass of cool, clear local water.
  • The red candle is for gathering all the hatred and anger and fear, and transforming it into fuel to burn away.
  • The white candle is to provide illumination, so that all can see as clearly as possible what is really going on around them, that they see better than to hate, that they see better than to fear, that their anger be prompted only by injustice and suffering, not mere discomfort, confusion, shame, or spite.
  • The glass of water is to connect the spell to the local water table, and to allow cooler heads to prevail. All within the watershed are in range of the spell. [Edit: This should be fresh water! Tap water, rain collected locally, or water from a well, river, stream, lake, or reservoir are all fine. If you use salty lake, sea, or ocean water, then also use some fresh water, to be sure!]
  • When the candles have burned out, pour the glass of water out, preferably where it will feed an old tree or something.

Please understand, there is much to be angry about in the world. There always is, there always will be, and right now there is quite a bit. The Morrigan would never suggest otherwise, I’m sure. But if we do not exhibit self-control, we have the power to burn the whole world down, and certainly sufficient power to burn ourselves. This does no one any good. It solves no problems, and creates many more.

So if you can, if you hear this call, and are willing, do what you can to channel the anger, the hate, the fear in your area. Channel it into a bright light to shine across the area. Let people see truly what is before them.

And if you are willing, please share this – share the link, repost/reblog it, copy the text entirely, or even make your own version. The work is what matters.

–Ember–

Posted in Abuse, Community, Divination, Dreams, Gnosis, Interfaith, Land Spirit Work, Ministry, Personal, Politics, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, Ritual, ST4R | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

For Orlando: If You Want To Help

This is a link to a page listing many different funds that are being gathered to help people recover from the shooting in Orlando:

Posted in Abuse, Community, Politics, Praxis, ST4R | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment