How Ember Became A Polytheist (And Eventually, Vanatru) 2/5

(Read part one here.)

In early October of 2002, I went to a workshop by R.J. Stewart about Faerie Healing techniques. I most emphatically did NOT fit in. I got back feedback that I was basically not truly a beginner, but not progressed enough to help other beginners, and thus didn’t belong in workshops like this. I was so bright and loud and shiny, even if all I did was shut up and hold very still in the corner, that my very presence was disruptive no matter how respectful I tried to be.

The humans considered me welcome, if confusing, but the spirits pushed me out. I got responses that didn’t match the curriculum. They gave me gifts that were none of the options we were told to expect, and nobody knew how to interpret them. I’d get Them demanding my attention while the instructor was speaking, so I couldn’t pay attention to either one of them, and then when it was time to pay attention to the spirit world, They’d all go hiding away from me.

The Fae basically said “You’re shiny! We like you! GO AWAY!”

Ow. Just ow.

After the class session was over, and I was having what I know in retrospect was a dissociative panic attack, deliberately triggered by the Fae, I talked it over with RJ and the hostess. He was very gentle with me, and reassured me that I was welcome to return again the next day if I was up for it, but I was by no means obliged to do so. I hadn’t paid in advance for both days, so I wouldn’t lose anything if I didn’t return.

The workshop was in the same hills between my valley and the ocean that my Dad lives in, so I made my way across the skyline to his land to cry on his shoulder and ask his advice, and maybe a Tarot reading. He no longer does it all that often, but my Dad is still one of the best Tarot readers I know.

I talked to my Dad about what the Fae had said about using my breath and voice, and why I wasn’t clicking with the Heathens or the Hellenes. I told him how I’d wanted to believe in the Greek gods, so I could join with my ex’s practice, but I didn’t like the Battle of the Sexes aspect of Greek mythology. I liked many Heathen values, but Norse mythology seemed to be all about Us vs. Them politics and tribalism (in the anthropological sense). Why did polytheism seem so full of power struggles between groups of humans and human-like gods? I was looking for a sense of belonging, not more divisions and groups to leave me out.

My Dad pointed out that the two Pagan paths I’d mentioned sounded very 2nd and 3rd Chakra. The Christianity I was raised with, had been an acolyte for as a kid, was very 4th Chakra. The Fae had just told me to focus on my 5th Chakra, and then told me to go away. Maybe my job was to create my own tradition? I thought that sounded crazy, but maybe I could find more of what I needed with the whole 5th Chakra clue.

Later on, when I had a chance to discuss it with my friend Wendy, she pointed out that fae aren’t really reputed for stability or structure. Perhaps They didn’t intend for me to go away forever, so much as They simply knew They weren’t what I needed just then. That seemed sensible.

So I resumed my search for a congregation that wouldn’t turn me away, even if I didn’t really belong there, to bring some structure and fellowship to my spiritual life.


About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
This entry was posted in Gnosis, Personal, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, Ritual, ST4R, Vanatru and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How Ember Became A Polytheist (And Eventually, Vanatru) 2/5

  1. Pingback: DPM 23: The Call Knows Where I Live | EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

  2. I’m looking forward to reading the next installents. I don’t think I’ve heard all of this story in order

    Liked by 1 person

    • EmberVoices says:

      If you ever went back and read my old LJ, you’ve heard most of it, but not necessarily so cohesively, because that journal was written as it all was happening.



  3. caelesti says:

    Could you describe a little bit more how these various paths relate to Chakras? I’m familiar with the general idea of chakras, but it’s not a system I work with, nor have I seen people identify specific religions with any of them. Just found that to be an interesting approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EmberVoices says:

      I’ll try, but I do want to be clear that since it was A: a conversation between me and my Dad, which means there’s a certain amount of family shorthand going on, and B: a conversation that happened in 2003, I can’t promise this will actually make sense outside my head!

      1st Chakra – base of spine, red = Existence.
      2nd Chakra – pelvis & gonads, orange = Reproduction & Sexuality.
      3rd Chakra – solar plexis, yellow = Power.
      4th Chakra – heart, green = Love.
      5th Chakra – throat, cyan = Breath & Voice & Language.
      6th Chakra – third eye, blue = Intuition & Perception.
      7th Chakra – crown, violet/white = Divine Connection.

      It’s layered. I can already tell things are going missing here…

      1: Personal survival (hunger, fight-or-flight, etc.). Sense of Self – No connection. (Alone.)
      2: Survival of family. Sense of Self vs Other – Primary connections (Family. Lovers. Partners.)
      3: Survival of clan (i.e. all like me). Sense of Group. – Secondary connections. (Friends. Acquaintances.)
      4: Survival of species. Sense of Type – Categorical connections. (Strangers are like me too.)
      5: Survival of Living. Sense of Likeness – Abstract connections. (Plants and animals too.)
      6: Survival of Sentient. Sense of Presence – Universal connections. (Anything with a spirit.)
      7: Being. Sense of Unity – Connection is redundant. (Everything.)

      Does that make any sense?



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