Sometimes Ravens Fly

I have left Hrafnar. It feels a lot like moving the last of my stuff out of my parent’s house. I haven’t lived there in a long time, but I never stopped thinking of it as home. Until I did.

I was first introduced to Hrafnar when a dear friend invited me to his handfasting at a Heathen campout. I discovered that many people I already knew and liked were regular attendees. So when I found myself working in the Oakland hills, I started attending Hrafnar, thinking of myself purely as a curious, hopefully welcome guest.

When I started hearing the gods, I was unprepared, and ran away for a while.

I joined Hrafnar again in earnest the January of 2003, at the encouragement of several friends, including the couple I have come to consider my Pagan Godparents. Alas, they had to move away shortly after I returned. But that was okay, because Diana Paxson and Lorrie Wood immediately took me under their wings. I joined the Rune Class Diana was teaching, and Diana had Lorrie take me on as a personal student to come up to speed in Heathen lore and trance ritual techniques.

Over the course of the next couple years I spent much of my spare time with Lorrie, often with Diana, learning everything I could about Hrafnar’s ways, joining Seidhjallr, helping Lorrie with email admin duties where I could, and even joining the American Magic Umbanda House, of which they were also both members at the time. Diana also mentored me through the Clergy training program with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, although I did not ultimately choose to be ordained by them.

It was with Lorrie and Diana’s support that I and fellow members of Hrafnar and the Hammer Oak kindred founded the Vanic Conspiracy in 2004. As the Vanic Conspiracy became my focus, I continued on with Hrafnar, my role shifting from Lorrie’s student and Diana’s mentee to Hrafnar’s default Vanic Priestess. I took my ordination vows to the Vanir in Diana’s home, Greyhaven. As my attention became more divided, Hrafnar, which I knew was well in hand, tended to get dropped in favor of commitments that needed me more.

Even though I have always lived in the South Bay, I still spent most of my spare time in Berkeley after I stopped training with Lorrie full time, because I was dating Hobbit, who lived in North Oakland – a man I met again through the Hrafnar community. It was with the support of that Berkeley-centered community that I was able to finish my degrees first in Network Programming, and then in Religious Studies.

After I graduated, though, my focus became increasingly centered within my own Santa Clara Valley. My clergy time was spent on building RedWood Vanatru with the Vanic Conspiracy, and on helping my new boyfriend, Lon Sarver, build Thiasos Bakkheios. I was no longer training with Lorrie or Diana. I was no longer dating Hobbit in Oakland. I had hived off of Seidhjallr with other members who lived in the South Bay. I was no longer involved in the American Magic Umbanda House. My connections to Hrafnar were increasingly vestigial.

But I do not let go easily. Since committing to my involvement with the Vanir and Ostara, I had diligently attended Hrafnar’s Ostara ritual and Vanir Party each year. Whenever possible I also attended Yule, and the Odin party as well. The only time I did miss Ostara, I was dismayed.

Last year, Lorrie let me know that her husband had gotten a job in another state. She was moving away from the area, and was preparing to transfer all her email services. As I had remained a backup admin for Hrafnar the whole time, I agreed to take on more of those duties for her so that her and Hrafnar’s transition could go more smoothly. It was painful to watch Lorrie go, but I have been able to visit her in her new hometown, and maintain my connection to my dear friend and former teacher.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, though, that it was this year I found myself unable to attend Hrafnar’s spring Vanir Party for the first time. Another clergy commitment had been scheduled first, and I couldn’t keep the same dates open that Diana ended up needing. This was after I had already accidentally scheduled myself to be out of town for Ostara the previous month. For the first time since I joined and trained with Hrafnar, I haven’t been able to attend Hrafnar in over a year. I missed it, and yet, I found it was a relief to put those remaining commitments down, even temporarily. That should have told me more than it did then.

Over the summer, Hrafnar has been dealing with a lot of policy concerns and challenges. I won’t get into the details here because contrary to how it may seem to those involved, it’s only peripherally relevant to my departure. I have watched from afar as they struggle to deal with what is before them. I have given them what support, information, and wisdom I had it within my power to give. And in the process, I realized that somewhere along the line Hrafnar stopped being “Us” to me, and started being “Them”.

No living organization is static. Hrafnar is very much alive. Diana is a stable presence at the helm, but the membership is always shifting. Much of the current core are people I am barely acquainted with. Diana and Lorrie, and many others I was once close to will always be family to me, but clearly Hrafnar is no longer home.

I know that Hrafnar has a lot of important changes coming over the next few years. I do not have the ability to help them make those changes from within. I heard once in a song:

“The old road is rapidly aging.
Please get out of the new one
if you can’t lend a hand…”

I’ll always be a raven, but sometimes, ravens have to fly.

–Ember–

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THIS FRIDAY: Support Trans Rights by Supporting Pagan Musicians!

I see exactly no downside to this opportunity:

“[Bandcamp] will be donating 100% of our share of every sale on Friday, August 4th (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time) to the Transgender Law Center

Source: https://daily.bandcamp.com/2017/07/31/this-friday-stand-with-bandcamp-in-support-of-trans-rights/

Trans Rights are Human Rights!

Trans Rights are Human Rights!

Need some ideas of Pagan and Pagan-Friendly musicians who have great music on Bandcamp? Here’s a few of my personal favorites:

Got more favorites on Bandcamp? Share them in the comments for others to enjoy, and buy this Friday!

–Ember–

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Tech Issues Resolved! Sale Extended! News!

Heyla folks!

So, I’ve been quiet the last 6 weeks or so due to technical difficulties, just in time to totally miss keeping you all aware of how my Summer Sale was going! The difficulties have finally been resolved (well, mostly – I still have a shattered iPad screen, but I have plans for an even better replacement!).

To make up for my radio silence, and to make sure everyone who wanted a shot at the Summer Sale still has a chance, I’m extending my “Until Midsommer” sale for another week!

I’d extend it even longer, but I will be going to Ireland for a week and a half with my mother later in the month, and thus all orders will be temporarily suspended at that point. But who knows, maybe I’ll have NEW shinies to show you by then?

😀

–Ember–

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Devotional Jewelry Summer Clearance Sale!

Hello folks!

UPDATE: I’m extending the sale until July 10th!

I have this treasure box full of shinies that I really need to clear out so that I can fill it up with new shinies. Help me find good homes for the current residents? I think I’ll keep these reduced prices up until Midsommer, or they sell out, whichever comes first!

To that end, I’m taking $10 OFF each item or matched set!

Summer Sale

Shinies on sale!

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Coming Home Again

The last year or so I’ve been working with Paul Schneider (and others) on the Oasis Project, which is a plug-and-play service for conventions to provide safer space for people who are overwhelmed, in need of some down time, self-care, or a bit of help. I’ve wanted to do something like this for years now. It’s been wonderfully successful so far! -E-

The Oasis Project

I have a Sensory Processing Disorder of the hypersensitive type. I am
easily overwhelmed by loud sounds, flashing lights, rough textures,
etc. Many years ago, at the last BayCon in the San Jose DoubleTree
hotel, I realized that we had so overgrown the space we were in that
all the quiet corners were occupied. There was no longer any safer,
calm space where I could decompress when I was overwhelmed. That year
was very, very difficult for me.

Then BayCon moved to a bigger space. Unfortunately, that bigger space
was also much, much louder, and I was totally overwhelmed within half
an hour of arrival. I could no longer be staff for the con, and
indeed, couldn’t functionally attend for more than a couple hours in a
day. It was, for me, like being exiled from home. I had been attending
BayCon  since I was 11 years old, and it…

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My First Pagan Bloggers Post!

It hasn’t reached the front page yet, but my first post at PaganBloggers.com is up today!

What Does It Mean To Be Clergy?

Here’s a snippet for you:

I’m well aware that other people consider me an authority figure, and in certain contexts, I have to accept and work with that. I wield authority, whether I ever wanted to or not, especially when interpersonal and ethical conflicts arise within the groups I organize. Still, I mostly consider myself an expert, not an authority.

What’s the difference?

  • An Authority tells you what to do, and can inflict consequences if you don’t obey.
  • An Expert gives you informed advice so you can make your own choices, and while it might be foolish to ignore their experience, it’s not their place to inflict consequences.

I believe that clergy serve best when we serve mostly as experts, rather than authorities. Some traditions argue that clergy aren’t needed at all, because everyone can connect directly with the Divine without an intercessor. Even so, they have those who step up to serve the rest of the group, or those outside their immediate group, when the need arises. Even Wicca, which designates all practitioners priests, has individuals who step up to serve as chaplains and hospice ministers where needed.

While I agree that intercessors are not absolutely necessary, I don’t agree that this means we shouldn’t have any. Every community needs a variety of experts and specialists. Clergy are simply one category of service people, whose job is to provide spiritual aid to those who need it. Everyone needs to eat and use lights and follow the law, but few are moved to become a chef, or an electrician, or a lawyer. Similarly, everyone needs their own spiritual relationships, but not everyone will feel called to ordination.

Read the whole post at PaganBloggers.com!

–Ember–

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An Era of Failed Leadership

“We are the children of the Rebel Alliance, the Fellowship of the Ring, and the Browncoats. We are the inheritors of the Civil Rights Movement, the Indigenous Solidarity Movement, and of Stonewall Our sense of justice comes from these modern myths and current struggles and encompasses rooting for the underdog, fighting the good fight, and doing the right damn thing. As things get worse in the world around us we will come together despite our differences to fight to protect our communities. We will stand side by side and do the work that must be done to create and maintain a safe and just world for everyone.”

YES!

-E-

Strixian Woods

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I was reminded the other day that it has been a year since I’ve written a blog post.  When I started writing this blog I had planned on at least writing a post once a month. I saw a great value in engaging with the community and with the larger world around me through this medium, a place to exchange ideas and information with a broad audience, and a modern community meeting hall.  And then 2016 happened.

By 2016 I had seen a trend in the pagan blogging community that I was having a difficult time accepting.  To those of us paying attention to the larger world, there was a shift occurring in the general global rhetoric and politics towards a true ugliness, a type of fear and hate mongering that inevitably leads to violence and bloodshed.  We saw the consolidation of power of far-right  hate groups and watched in…

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