How Ember Became A Polytheist (And Eventually, Vanatru) 3/5

(Read part one here, and part two here.)

By Samhain of 2002, I was ready to try again on finding my proper spiritual path. My friend and then-teacher Wendy was in a NROOGD coven that was presenting a public Samhain ritual. I got all ready to do that, but got the date wrong! I went home, dejected, and performed as much of a Samhain ritual as I could muster with my limited knowledge and whatever I had around the house. I set out a glass of water and some cereal with a candle on the kitchen table and tried not to cry too much. In retrospect, I did just fine, but at the time it seemed wholly inadequate.

So I was depressed again, but for once my dismay and confusion was visible on social media – namely LiveJournal. So Lorrie (of Hrafnar) invited me to Fellowship of the Spiral Path’s Samhain ritual, which was all about the Ancestors.

I hesitantly attended, and was comforted when I saw several people I’d known from Hrafnar and related groups participating. I felt more welcome, but still an outsider. The ritual was simple, and beautiful, and easy to participate in. They sang a song I remembered from camping as a kid.

We come from the mountain,
living in the mountain,
go back to the mountain,
turn the world around!

Singing is always both calming and euphoric for me. Really, I should always sing before doing trance work. Preferably at full breath, and with a room full of people singing with me! (Although I admit, I prefer quiet for the trance work itself.)

Then they passed around the cakes and ale. When I tasted the red wine and ginger snaps, the wine took me right back to Episcopalian Communion, “Take, drink, this is my blood…”

“Oh NO!” I thought, apparently loudly, “No no no! Not Christianity! The others will be offended if I bring that into the circle!”

And I heard, “What? I’m a dead guy too, aren’t I?”
To say I was startled would be an understatement.
“…. Jesus?!?!” I replied, dumbfounded. “You never talked to me when I was an acolyte!”
“You never listened when you were an acolyte!”
To be honest, the way I conceptualized God when I was going to church, listening as-such made no sense.
“Fair enough.”

We were supposed to be naming our Beloved Dead, but I didn’t have any at that time, so I just waited.

Then, eyes still closed, still tasting red wine and ginger snaps…
“MAOW!” My sister’s very dearly beloved cat had a very distinct voice while she was alive, so I recognized her immediately.
“Tell HER. Stop crying! I’m RIGHT HERE!”
I had the image of the black and white kitty sitting, as a phantom, right next to my sister as she cried, dismayed at her inability to comfort her devoted human.
“I will tell her, I promise!”
And that was that.

That was the last ritual I went to with Laurel and Andy before they moved away to Baltimore. After the ritual, we gathered with several other people, including Lorrie and Diana, to have a farewell dinner for them. They all asked how I had been, and when I explained why I’d been gone, and running about in confusion, they collectively ordered me back to Hrafnar. In particular, Lorrie asked Diana if I might be allowed to attend that year’s Odin devotional trance ritual, and Diana agreed that I seemed ritually competent, and would be welcome.


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 Ancestors, Animal Spirit Work, Gnosis, Personal, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, Ritual, ST4R, Vanatru and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How Ember Became A Polytheist (And Eventually, Vanatru) 3/5

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

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