Wisdom

“Be discerning….and wise.”

This is the message I hear from the Allfather. I think it is necessary in these troubled times. Do not be so quick to vilify those who have a different opinion than you do, even if you find it loathsome, something is to be learned. Something may be gained. We may find strange allies in these difficult times, those we previously may have counted as allies and friends, may bear false witness against us.

“Be discerning…and wise.”

Open ourselves and ask why in all things. If it feels wrong or corrupt, it probably is. If the crowd tries to tell you blue is red do not agree, even if it makes you popular. Use your good judgement. Learn to thrive in troubled times. Take lessons from your surroundings. Nature can show us. Give us wisdom. Teach us to thrive in the most hostile environment.

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So I’ve got around to learning

I received the directive from the Old Man to learn all I could about the things that mattered most to me, so I’ve been reading a plenty. Mostly things on polytheism as a theology, but I’ve also dug into The Hebrew Goddess by Patai as well. I’d not heard anything from the Old Man since December but did hear this a few weeks ago:

“So I see you’re out making friends.”

I took that and the amused tone that went with it to mean that he approved of my learning about other deities, specifically female ones. For so long I’ve had difficulties connecting to the feminine Divine, and often if a goddess is reaching out, I have trouble seeing it. Patriarchal belief is hard to shake off despite its toxicity.

I’ll be honest some of his theories concerning the Shekinah I find a bit of a stretch, however the chapter on Asherah was brilliant, and I’m sure quite groundbreaking at the time. As a child I started questioning the idea of a male only god pretty early, and for monotheists who insist their god is sexless/genderless refer to Yahweh/Allah as She and watch their reaction. It will probably be one of disgust and anger. Because in the Judeo/Christian/Islamic mindset women are dirty. We are other and incapable of being a reflection of the Divine. Our only true value in the three faiths is that of child bearing mother. And even those children are not truly our own, but one more possession of the father.

There was a time in my life where I sought a monotheistic compromise and chose what I thought to be the lesser of three evils. Indeed, Islam does at least place an equal blame on Adam and Eve and regards women as spiritual equals. However, many other prohibitions on women still remain. We are unclean during our periods and for forty days after childbirth unable to approach god. Rendered unclean by the bugaboo of patriarchal men who say god made all things perfect- except women of course. By their logic we were deficient from the beginning. I’m not necessarily saying that if the cult of Asherah had persisted patriarchy wouldn’t have persisted, I think the toxic patriarchy present in polytheistic India disproves that, however at least women would have had something to revere in the sacred that was a reflection of themselves.

Walking with Runatyr

I haven’t blogged anything for ages, mostly because of laziness, or lack of anything meaningful to say.  Or maybe too much to say and most of it political.  I’ve finally burned out watching the political chaos of America, and have decided, while still very important, I need to return to my devotional practice and magical work.  When I encountered Odin in 2014, it was as Runatyr, the God of Runes, and he set me on a path of self discovery and betterment.  I am grateful, and humbled. Loving and honoring Odin these past few years has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my life, and saw a maturation of my personality.  No longer am I the weak little girl seeking the constant approval of others, now I feel fully a woman, devoted to my children and family, strong in my convictions, joyful in being alive.

The past year has seen me neglect my Runic studies and I have returned to  near daily meditation (due to some external coaxing), with the knowledge given that I can’t effectively use the runes unless I know their meanings and depth inside and out.  It’s exhausting.  I have no idea why his call has suddenly grown so strong within me after a relatively quiet year, or where this seeking of knowledge will take me, I only comply, eager to learn, even if I do not know the reasoning behind this sudden push to immerse myself into the runes.  Who am I to question the urgings of a God?

Devotionals

In all the current chaos we pagans must not let our devotional practices suffer.   We give praise to our Gods in various ways, I write poetry and song, muse on the traits of the Wise Ones…..may a grain of such wisdom be imparted on me.  I was going through many various google docs and came across some poetry I am pleased with.  I may be sharing some over the coming days.  We need our Gods presence in the world.  We need an alternative to the current order.  We need a better way.

One for Odin

Old man

The one who whispers

With bold tenderness into a woman’s heart

Who finds you laid bare

Skin and bones

And applies the healing balm

Knowledge and fury

Breath and calm

Loving  life with newfound might

A determination  never known

He waits for you on the mountaintop

The Wanderer

The rune master

Sit beside him and hear his words

Let his breath fill your spirit

Let your souls be cleansed and bared.

Three years since my return

So it’s  been three years since Odin made himself known to me again. I say again, because many years ago when my interest in paganism was first sparked, long before my conversion to Islam, Odin was the first of the old Gods that intrigued me.   At eighteen, long before the Internet was widespread, I scoured the shelves of my local library for information on various mythologies.  Looking back, it’s hard to believe that just a few years after that I would take my shahadah and become a Muslim for the next 15 years.  I was certainly not devout the entire length of time, and would probably gauge the beginning of my discontent at about two years in, doggedly however, I hung on and persisted in the delusion.

In 2012, I left my abusive marriage and struck out on my own.  It was both liberating, terrible, and terrifying.  And disillusioning. Everything I believed in was called into question, and the Tower came crashing down.  I almost immediately went back to practicing magic like I had in my youth, I began celebrating the cycle of the seasons and they greeted me like old friends. I did not however believe in a god.  I felt very much like an atheistic pagan. 

I was searching.  Yearning.  My life was in a place of terrible stagnation and I felt hamstrung by years of hurts and oppression.  I was scared, unemployed and felt still very much under the thumb of my ex-husband.  In 2014 I lost my father.  It was expected with a long term illness, but devastating nonetheless.  My mother continued on for almost a year before she joined him, a shadow living out her days, wishing often for the end to come soon.  It was with this backdrop that Odin came back into my life.  I remember that spring being so beautiful, so at odds with the reality of my father’s passing, not realizing at the time that despite the pain my life was entering a new phase. 

One night in early summer I crossed the hedge, and was giving a vision of Odin on Sleipnir and the Great Tree, lit up and almost luminescent in the night.  Then the rune Othala appeared to me, and with that rune I begin to learn what really mattered in my life.  Family and strength were pushed to the forefront  and I was no longer content to live in sorrow.  I grew stronger, fearless, and with hard work, moved my life in a more positive direction.  

And my connection to the Allfather grew.  I gained wisdom, insight into myself and others and experienced a true transition into womanhood. I was finally my own person, free, and standing on my own two feet. 

I don’t know where my path will lead me anymore, especially in these uncertain times, however I feel I’ve been headed here my whole life. 

I don’t draw much on pop culture in my practice, but as a pagan we often lack good spiritual music.  Sometimes the most unlikely songs or bands will remind you of the gods.  So the other day  I was listening to Jethro Tull’s Sweet Dream.  So much of it reminds me of my journey back then. 

You’ll hear me calling in your sweet dream,

Can’t hear your daddy’s warning cry.

You’re going back to be all the things you want to be

While in sweet dreams you softly sigh.
You hear my voice is calling to be mine again,

Live the rest of your life in a day.

That’s a bit what it has been like, living my life in a day.  The Odinic experience can be intense.  A yearning for your whole soul  to be set on fire, that no matter how much you drink of knowledge, you will still thirst.  It’s a wild hunger you hope never ends.  

This time of year

Autumn and winter is the most moving time of the year for me as a pagan.  The beauty of death and rebirth, the eternal spinning of life and renewal.  The honoring of the Disir, our great ancestral mothers, makes me think of my own mother’s passing and my own inevitable one that lies ahead.  The Wild Hunt where the Allfather lead his furious host through the world, and winter of course reminds me of great Mother Holle, ancient Goddess of my ancestors, who despite the Christian’s best attempts, her memory lives on.  These are holy times for me.  Great and vast.