Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Godspousery Notes: What am I doing again?

Here is a more personal post. I don't talk about this aspect of my life very much. There are two reasons for this. One is because I honestly don't know how to talk about it. The other is the fact that I worry that I am doing this all wrong and I am going to face horrific reprisals for doing so. I have some things I tend to get a bit timid about. One of them is my romantic life. Still, I have two deities looking at me expectantly and wondering why I haven't really written much of anything before now. So, I am composing this post.

It was about three in the afternoon today when Freyr said to me, "Why don't you write about me? Not about what I do. Not about who I am 'officially' but me, as you know me?" I felt some chagrin over the fact that I had been so quiet about this. The circle of friends who know about this relationship is fairly small. And here I am posting this for the whole world to read, what can go wrong, eh? I don't discuss this much with Beloved (this is my mortal husband who has been by my side for over 30 years as best friend and partner in crime) because he is very ... hands off when it comes to deities. He is of the opinion that they can do their thing so long as he is not involved and it doesn't create problems between him, myself, and my ability to keep up with my responsibilities.

Polyamory is a bit of work. Polyamory involving deities and an incarnate spouse gets weird at times. I tend to be a ball of anxiety half the time, thus I worry that I am offending someone or being an inconvenience on a regular basis. It happens pretty regularly that someone takes a hold of me and scrapes me off of the proverbial ceiling by talking me out of my panic. Some people say that Freyr is kindly and gentle. He is quite often. But, he is also stern and harsh when it is necessary. Of late, there has been more sternness. I, however, have also not been thinking very clearly and needed that sense of direction fairly often.

I've had a few people ask me is he around all the time. It is something like around 70% during the 'off' season and closer to 40% during the 'on' season when agriculture is going full bore around here. Some people have wondered if the gods stay in a specific area or something like that when they are here. That is not something that happens. My home is open to them. It is theirs as well. Beloved grumbles a bit about how Loki is around damn near all the time. At the same time, they're not always here. Loki's around a lot, but it is frequently around the time when my whole family is here. (He finds the kids charming and entertaining. And he enjoys the opportunity to needle my husband when it arises.)

Freyr is here in the mornings and in the evenings. Sometimes he is here during the day, but he often seems to be multitasking when he does so. The 'off' season has him here more often and I get the distinct impression that he is resting some after a great deal of hard work. Which only makes sense considering how much work agriculture is and then all of the other things he manages on top of it. We take walks together, when I am well and the weather cooperates. He is always walking at my right side. When I am walking, I've noticed that people tend to avoid walking on my right side when Freyr's presence is particularly strong.

He appears in different guises over the seasons, and when the mood strikes him. Freyr most often is presenting in rather casual clothes, looking as though he is ready to go out and work in the fields or cut wood. I'm pretty sure it is more than just something he does to make me smile. He is always encouraging me to be as honest with myself as I can be, including up to how I choose to present myself to the world. He expresses a preference for me to be comfortable and happy, occasionally getting a bit annoyed when I worry about if I am fashionable. He is amused with my minor bit of vanity about my hair.

I worry about people saying that I'm a bored housewife who has become lost in fantasy and has an invisible boyfriend. They look at me when I bring up that worry and ask me if I have really decided that I am crazy now. Or they will give me very ... direct signs. Like the day where I was panicking that I was never going to really write anything worthwhile again and seriously considering giving up, basically convinced that all of this and my dreams and aspirations were just pure fiction and delusions. Cue my running into someone who looked pretty much identical to how Freyr did when he showed up earlier in the day, wearing a black t-shirt with white bold print that read: Are you really going to give up on your dreams?

I have days where I get anxious and I have a lot of mental noise in the way for how I connect with them. They find a way to reach through all of that and get my attention. I am thankful for it. Sometimes it is a rather dramatic thing. Usually it is something relatively small, but deeply meaningful. I am slowly getting the message that there is no 'correct' way to do this. All that they ask is that I love them, which I do a great deal, and that I treat myself well, and love my family. All the rest that comes along is icing on the cake.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Godphone: Lesson Four - Dissonance & Mental Noise

Godphone is often considered to be a wonderful thing. When it works, there is this idea that we have complete confidence in it and that we will always know when it is correct. It is not so simple. If I have not made it clear before now, this form of divination requires a great deal of self examination and a very deep knowledge of oneself. Even with experience and a great deal of practice, there is a significant amount of time where time will be spent just looking at the information and questioning it.

It doesn't help much that Western society tells us that it is alright to talk to the Divine but when it answers back, we must be experiencing psychosis. The subtle narrative that is built up around us by society at large that tells us this 'truth' invades our thought processes. As much as we may wish to set it aside and sincerely believe that this 'truth' is not actually an absolute truth, there will be an echo of it. It leads to us questioning our experiences pretty hard. A measure of skepticism is always useful in magical studies, it helps keep us out of serious trouble, but at some point there needs to be an acceptance of the 'absurd' when Occam's Razor winnows it out as the only answer that makes sense.

The best way to describe the effect of the cultural attitudes that serve to make it difficult to engage in pretty much any form of magical study, in my experience, is that it is mental noise. It is that background hum which we generally ignore but when we are put in a situation where ignoring it is not an option it turns into an overwhelming cacophony. Mental noise sometimes presents as your first reflexive thought upon something. Other times, it is a persistent sense of doubt that leads you to question what your senses and intelligence is telling you to be the case.

There is a meditative exercise that helps reestablish the ability to put aside the background noise of the attitudes which were steeped into our education. It consists of visualizing some sort of device making noise with an adjustable dial or other control. As you turn the control to a quieter setting, envision the mental noise decreasing to a more tolerable state. It sounds like a silly exercise. It is, however, surprisingly effective with some practice.[1]

The other major challenge that isn't really talked about with mentally based magical disciplines is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is something of a thorny problem. Everyone has it for some reason. It is generally fairly hard to overcome. It is a case of one's thinking conflicting with evidence presented to them, resulting in the evidence being rejected somehow in favor of preserving the initial idea (which is usually fairly heavily entrenched).

A good example of cognitive dissonance in action is politics. (Now, this is not going to be a political post, but this is probably the most accessible example I can think of right now.) Imagine, if you will, a person who habitually votes for a given political party. They strongly identify with said party to the point where they have memorabilia and actively work to encourage others to associate with this party. This is something that is a part of the way they view themselves and they are quite happy and proud of this. Now, a person running for office in their region is supporting legislation that runs directly against this individual's personal interests.

How do they handle this challenge to their idea that this party promotes their welfare? They will reject the idea that the legislation even exists, in some cases. In other cases, they will deny that it is actually harmful to themselves personally (including people like themselves as being immune from harmful said effect). They will try to excuse said harmful legislation as a minor component of a larger, more beneficial action. The list of ways they try to justify their continued support of the politician supporting the harmful legislation is long and varied.

All of those methods, however, fit the same pattern of behavior. When presented with information that threatens their identity or their belief, they deny said information and reject it. This is often followed by some sort of assertion that their belief is valid. Unfortunately, the only way to address cognitive dissonance is by continually challenging it. It is difficult and in many cases, it leads to very uncomfortable situations.

In handling cognitive dissonance, we must remember that we are manipulating something of a protective function of the brain. It serves to help us cope with difficult situations until we can process them or disregard them. Thus, when you encounter it, seriously question what it is working to 'protect' you from. Also, remember that mental noise and cognitive dissonance is not an inherently a bad thing. They can present some challenges to building your skills and make it difficult to godphone, but they can serve useful functions as well.

Filianic Calendar Notes - Astraea 3336

The Filianic Calendar denotes the beginning of the season of Winter with the first day of the month of Astraea (11/28). In many households, this is when the Yule tree is put up. There are also those who will set up an Advent wreath at this time.

Each Rayadi/Sunna's Day/Sunday, a candle is lit with prayers of anticipation of the birth of the Daughter. This happens until the week of Nativity. Different color candles are associated with different themes for each week. More will be discussed about this as the season of Advent progresses.

The holidays observed this month are the following:

Advent begins: Astraea 1 (11/28)

Feast of Conception: Astraea 11 (12/8)

Winter Solstice, Mother's Night: Astraea 24 (12/21)*

Nativity Eve: Astraea 27 (12/24)*

Nativity Day: Astraea 28 (12/25)

Yule is reckoned as beginning with Mother's Night and lasting for thirteen nights and twelve days in the Germanic/Nordic faith traditions. The celebration of Nativity is thirteen nights and twelve days, beginning on Nativity Day.


Mother's Night is celebrated by some on the evening of the Winter Solstice. It is argued to have historically fallen around Nativity Eve and there is many historical signs to indicate that this was a shift of the traditional date to coincide with newly adopted Christian practices.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Calling on Winter's Allies.

Winter can be a harsh and biting season. It is the time of year where the weather itself is a threat to life and limb for the unprepared. After the largess of harvest, we enter into a season defined by diminished resources and threat. There is, however, advantages to this season. The ice and snow works to keep other dangers at bay. It can be a powerful ally. Consider the ill fate of people who attempted to invade Russia in winter, for example. Snow is also known as the poor man's fertilizer with how it replenishes the nitrates in the soil even as it brings the water table up to what is needed when it melts in spring.

Ice, snow, and storm magic is not something that is generally undertaken lightly. This season is obviously exceptionally well suited towards it. Calling upon the spirits of winter and the storms can be a very arduous thing. They are known as harsh and demanding beings. When the host of the Unseelie are abroad, people even in modern times will adhere to the old wisdom of refraining from joining them when they call 1. The Wild Hunt rides in the winter with a reputation as harsh as that of the fairies 2. Similar caution is called in dealing with them. Indeed, some may argue more caution because where the fairies may be satisfied with mischief at your expense, the Wild Hunt is far more violently inclined. This only makes sense, as they are lead by Oðin himself in many instances. (Some speculate in all and that the All Father travels in disguise, as is his wont.)

Every place in the world has a name for the ones who come in winter. Those names are spoken with caution. Many of them are referred to with by-names in the hope of avoiding the direct attention of these beings. Still, it is possible to negotiate arrangements with most any of them. It must be done with great caution. Some beings, like the Wendigo 3, are best left alone because they have a long history of hostility towards humanity. Others, like the jotun maiden Skaði, will be stern and demanding, but if you observe proper manners will give you the time of day and even help you.

One may look at all of this and question why I am posting something so foreboding today. If we look at the atrocities happening in the world, we can see why we have need of allies that are as hard as the people who are seeking to destroy that which is good in the world. The season of winter is a time of hardship and the spirits that move in it are renown for their ferocity. Appealing to them as allies may be a wise decision. Moving with the essence of the storm at your side makes it easier to resist the people arrayed against you. Remember, however, a sword has two edges and can cut both ways if it is not used wisely.


1. Fairies are known in many cultures. The Unseelie are reputed as the 'dark' court of fairies who hold sway in the autumn and winter. They are quick to anger, capricious, and possess an established reputation for casual cruelty, if not malevolence. It is my understanding, however, that their seeming 'evil' nature is simply due to a disregard for humanity. If they are moved to anger, though, the unpleasantness of their attention is well known. They are also strongly associated with the dead, death, and decay. It only makes sense considering the nature of the seasons that their reign in the realm of the fair folk.

2. The Wild Hunt is, as per my understanding, a hunting party of spirits, demigods, and the dead, along with whom ever Oðin chooses to invite to come with them. They go through the world hunting that which is harmful to Midgard and bring about a measure of ... retributive justice to those whom are deemed in need of such harsh lessons. Envision the wrath of your ancestors against someone who has murdered a relative of yours. Now think of how they and a numberless horde of friends are going to mess up that person's luck. That is the Wild Hunt in avenging mode. It's rather terrifying.

3. The Wendigo is on my list of beings to never trifle with. If you are trying to be 'edgy and cool' don't try to dance with this spirit. They will actively destroy your life - at the minimum. Go listen to some 'dark music' and ring up Alistair Crowley with your Ouija board to tell him how cool he is instead. (Don't be surprised if he laughs at you and messes with you. He's a bit of a dick.)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Silence and Snow.

It is November. The first snow of the season has fallen and it was enough to shut down schools in my neighborhood. The image typically associated with snow is of a silent landscape that is eerie and serene with a blanket of white and such. Today, the wind screamed around the eves. My children were loud and argumentative. And myself, I spent a good portion of my day laying on the couch trying not to start crying or otherwise making noises of discomfort, so I did not distress the boys overly much. I was not as successful as I would like to have been.

It is November. National Novel Writing Month is upon us and I, like the last eight years, have taken up the effort. I have been plagued with problems writing at every turn. The first week of the month has interruptions every time I turned around. Most of them were in some form of minor crisis that had to be handled. Having young children can be challenging, especially when they're having difficulty at school. On top of this, my health has been progressively getting worse over the last month and a half on the physical side of things, which has resulted in my simply feeling unwell with no motivation to write and the act of sitting at the desk to write being painful for me.

It is November. The presidential election has come and gone. I am still reeling with horror. I see the tendrils of hate growing stronger in my area. When I step out of the house wearing my scarves, people have begun to slow down when they drive past. Most everyone stares when they go by. Many of the expressions are suspicious and unkind. Some of them have been outright hostile. I think that my fair skin is the only thing that has kept there from being an incident... yet. I am angry but I am also afraid. I have begun to carry my aluminum cane with me even when my knees are not troubling me. Just in case I need a defensive weapon. I am avoiding family members because of their political inclinations and increasingly vocal expressions of xenophobia and such. My anxiety has been somewhat problematic. I try to ignore it, but the rising tide of bad news is making this hard.

If I had the ability, I would make the world more just with a sweeping gesture. If I had the capacity, I would be out in the streets, marching against the hatred that is spewed forth and actively taking a stance to physically defend the rights of they who can not do so. My heart breaks right now. I struggle with fear and then I feel guilt because by many standards, I am sheltered by my seeming to be 'normal' in many eyes and I can be 'safe.' I desperately want to be courageous. I desperately want to go and fight the good fight in the most literal of senses. I want to make things right.

But, right now, I am in pain and sick. Right now, I am at a loss for words beyond what I have said this evening. I am so horrified and frightened by what I see that I fear for my loved ones and all others who are in harms way. I am disgusted and repulsed by what I see from people who I had thought were so much more, so much better than what they have unfortunately proven to be.

Snow is still falling but it seems to be easing up. The highway department seems to have a better handle on road conditions. I'm fairly sure that school will be happening tomorrow. Life goes on. I try to treat my fears and horror as the scream of the wind - a warning but not an immanent danger from where I am right now. I'll also take some time to light candles and say prayers to all the gods. Because we need all the help we can get right now. Maybe the Giver of Strange Gifts will drop something of a sword to cut the Gordian knot that this mess is down the chimney when the Old Man is out doing his Yule run.