Reclaiming my ancestry…ALL of it.

I had thought that 2016 was going to be all about Odin, Loki and the other Northern teachings that I had to learn.    I knew some of those teachings were going to take me out of  my comfort zones, strip me bare and remold me into the shape of a person that was more true to my ancestry and more of a reflection of my spirit.

Little did I know that the focus was to include my ancestry as a native to Turtle Island as well.

Last year I was gifted an (unawakened) Native American Sacred Pipe.  It is meant to be a personal one, made with an elbow bowl.  I have been repeatedly told by a Native friend that the pipe needs to be awakened. Today I received another message that the pipe requires awakening, but this time it was in the form of a rune reading done by a Northern Tradition Shaman.  A rune reading….seriously?

Ok, I’ll take the hint before it becomes a clue-by-four to the forehead.

I was planning on waiting until I knew everything about that pipe I could know.   I wanted the ceremony for it to go like clockwork; everything spelled out and memorized, rehearsed and the moon to be in the right position.  And instead, I am putting things together on the fly to be ready the next new moon, when the pipe will be ready.

I just don’t know if I will be.

A personal pipe is a sacred and its care should not be taken lightly.  It is a responsibility you take on for life.  I know this, and I do not want to disrespect this in any shape or fashion.  But like the last post about Odin, I recognize now that I have let these responsibilities being offered to me scare me to the point of inaction.  It is time for me to trust the spirit within myself, the knowledge that I have gained over the years and my instinct.  My intention is good, and because of this I need to move on even though I might cause some disrespect from my ignorance.  If I do, I apologize and learn from it.

I believe now that Odin has a piece of this to play.  Maybe not in the ceremony for the pipe, but I believe him to be expecting me to pick up my responsibilities and move forward with them.  Perhaps this means that this year will be full of situations where I get to practice that which I had forgotten and learn new skills based upon those foundations.  I cannot say that I am not scared by this.  But if that is what I am to expect I will do my best to not run, nor to freeze with fear.  I am more than what I have become and it is time to take up that mantle, no matter how scary.  If this is truly the will of the Gods, So Shall it be.


2016, Moving Forward

On New Years Day, I have tendency to wake up with a feeling of dread.  It seems to me that years past have either been great, or horrible.  There is normally no in-between.  By February of the year I start to figure out what type of year it will be, so the month of January is one of anxiety and stress.

This year I am happy to say that I did not wake up with that dread.  And while I still have some apprehension, I am more optimistic.  2015 brought me the gift of starting to feel better in my own skin, of recognizing that I am worthy, strong and beautiful, and that I can handle things much better because I recognize my worth.  So with that in mind, I realize now that I am more in control of how my year goes.

This new thinking has also changed my opinion on New Years resolutions.  So many people think thoughts about fitness, diet and health around this time of year, but they do it for the wrong reasons.  They think that this will be the year that they become the person they want to be, instead of looking at becoming more of the person they truly are.  They don’t like themselves, have low self worth or just all around hate their body.  So the New Years resolution just becomes another vehicle to hate themselves with when they set themselves up for failure.  And boy have I been there.

So this year is going to be a little different.  This year I shall let the feeling of being enough, of being worthy, strong and beautiful settle deep into my bones, so that I do not lose this memory again.  I am also going to start structuring my practice around this, doing more things that feel authentic to me, and worry less about what the lore or common belief holds.  Yes those are things to take into consideration, but if I really wanted a book of ancient writings and someone to spoon feed my belief to me in order to tell me what specifically to do and not to do with my life I would have stayed a Christian.  To me, Paganism is more about finding what your own path truly is, becoming more authentic to yourself, becoming more active in worship and working to make this world better.

So with these things in mind, I want to present two altar spaces that I have created in my home over the past several months that I want to develop regular practices with.  First, my house vaettir altar.   This altar has been in the works for awhile, and now that I am figuring out more variations on my offerings I wanted a place to do that which is more permanent.  Currently the cauldron holds incense that was burnt last night to cleanse my home before the new year.

An altar to the house vaettir

Second, I have moved my ancestor altar to another area of the house where it is more visible, and thus I remember to utilize it more often.  Currently my altar holds a small pipe of tobacco for my Native Ancestors and jewelry from my Grandmothers who have both passed.   I also have mead as an offering right now on the altar.

Who wants to talk to me?

About 17 years ago I had dealings with the first pagan outside the teachings of Wicca.  That particular gentleman was Heathen.  We started discussing our practices, and was very startled at his reaction when I told him about the drawing down of the Gods done in some rituals.

It seems he had a beyond healthy (at least in my mind) fear of his Gods, particularly Odin.  In his belief, if we were in a Wiccan circle to call down the Norse Gods like that, he pretty much figured there would be hell to pay.  I did dismiss his fears, because at that point as a first degree, I felt comfortable enough to respect what it was that happened in circle and that I knew what my own boundaries were.

However, I did make a note of his fear.  There had to be some reason for it.

Through the years I have heard similar tales of fear, and again, mostly about Odin.  More recently I have come to know about the term ‘Godslave’ and met a couple of them who felt they were enslaved by (you guessed it) Odin.  Moreover, I heard stories from these Godslaves about how they were chosen, and forced to do Odin’s will.  I also have been doing a lot of reading about him and the other Norse Gods, and can now understand some of where that fear comes from.

Now that I am foraging a new path forward for myself, I even have some of that same fear as well, especially because I am not as familiar with the magical framework of that pantheon as I am with others.

So with all of this in mind, I bet you can imagine my surprise (and fear) when doing a monthly journey to honor and talk to Loki that I end up crossing paths with Odin.

From what I could understand, it seems his interest in me was peaked when I started doing regular work and giving offerings under Loki, Eir and Sigyn’s guidance.

I don’t feel like I can go into a lot of specifics at this point about what he had said.  To be honest, with as much as I have heard about his manipulative ways I don’t truly know if I want to even deal with him.  But I will say that I am still pretty shocked that he came to see me.  I tried giving offerings to him when I started my Norse work awhile ago and never felt a thing from him.  So I think him visiting me is a pretty big thing.

So right now I am just trying to take it in.  I left an offering for him to thank him for his visit, and have left my hand made runes next to the offering.  Perhaps I will ask him for aid in understanding them, perhaps I will just leave a second offering and let it go.  I am not certain about the concept of a Godslave, but it is absolutely NOT a path I wish to even consider.

For now, I also have an oath to fulfill with Loki.  However something tells me that when that oath is fulfilled, I will be seeing some more significant change in my life.

One year later, a Story about reclaiming Strength

December 24, 2014 at roughly 3pm I was driving down a local highway to get to my family’s Christmas celebration.  It was raining, so I was going slower as I approached a blind curve in the highway.

On the other side of that blind curve was a Ford Escape, fully stopped, right in my lane.

I tried to stop.  I couldn’t.  My brakes locked up on the wet pavement.    I could have veered into the shoulder, but I would have killed the police officer standing there.  I could have gone into the other lane, but I would have hit the car right beside me and pushed them down a hill and into more oncoming traffic.

So I did the best I could do…told my husband we are going to hit, and continuously pumped the breaks to slow down the car.  I think I was able to get it to roughly 60 miles per hour before we crashed.

My Ford Fusion was totaled from the accident.  The cop standing on the shoulder of the highway saw the entire thing.  He told me it wasn’t my fault.  He said that probably four times.  Everyone walked away. But yet I held onto that accident for a number of months afterward.  I still find that I hold onto it, especially during rainstorms and bad driving weather, but the anxiety attacks I had right after and during last winter have decreased significantly.

This really was a ‘Shit Happens’ type of thing.  I was in the wrong lane at the wrong time.  It wasn’t my fault, yet the event weakened my personal power and how I felt about myself. Some people would argue that I let this event take my personal power away, I would argue back that it is the cost of being human.  We are meant to grow from things that happen to us.  We are meant to have things that happen that we don’t immediately know how to deal with, but learn to work our way through.  And even though it feels like it is unbearable at times,  the Gods don’t give you something to deal with that you are not ready for.

Our Gods are destructive at times.  They do what it is that needs to be done.  There are countless stories of them facing fears, diving into the darkness and experiencing pain.  Perhaps because of that, we honor them by how we deal with our strife.  Perhaps we honor them by dealing with our own personal issues, our anger, our anxiety and our pain.  We overcome and become stronger in their honor.

Tomorrow is that one year anniversary.  I plan on going to my family’s home to celebrate Christmas.  For me, I think that will be the ultimate test of overcoming.  I might just take a different road, even though it would be a much longer drive, or I take that highway.  I will figure that part out later.

May the blessings of this holiday season be many for all.

A place for mundanity

Recently I got a request from a Facebook page that I like to follow for the positive memes.  The request was from the owner of the page.  She was asking for prayers to give her strength to deal with the dark forces that were invading her life.  Those dark forces were stopping her from making an income and she needed all the white light and magics she could muster to get them out of her life.

I don’t know all of the specifics of the request, but it reminded me of another one I had years ago as a Wiccan priestess.  I was contacted by a couple who were trying to get the demon that had attached itself to them to leave.  Their theory was that the demon didn’t want them to be together because even though they loved each other, they would yell and bicker about everything and just couldn’t get along.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is a place for magic and spell work to help things move along, but there is also a need to do everything that is physically possible to make things work for yourself too.  Praying to the Gods and the spells are only a piece of the puzzle to get through the rough spots in your life.

I have a great example that I thought of while driving home last evening.  Here in the Midwest, the darkness falls quickly.  That darkness, along with the time of year, means a great amount of deer in my neighborhood.  Deer getting hit by vehicles is an unfortunate, yet frequent event.  To prevent this, I have some spell work on my vehicle and created a reiki shield to help keep deer and any other animals out of my way.  Now I could just rely on that, but I don’t.  Instead I also drive slower at night, don’t tailgate, and choose roads where I haven’t seen as many deer moving.  So far I have been very thankful that I haven’t hit anything.  All three of these things I believe have had a hand in that.

Recognizing that there is mundane work to do in my book is a must for any magic practitioner.  It’s described as a foot in both worlds.  We are in the world, but not fully a part of the world.  This is a hard thing to remember at times, but it is a critical thing to keep in mind.

Magic in the Workplace

A simple charm in the workplace can be very powerful

I am a huge advocate of doing empowerment magic, especially in the work environment.  Anything you can to make your work life the best it can be in my book is worth it.  Let’s face it, very few of us are in positions that we love and enjoy.  Instead, most of us work because we need to make a living to support ourselves and our families.  So why not do everything in your power to ensure that the time that you spend at work is smooth and beneficial to you and to your company?

Let me be clear here – I’m not saying going out and bending wills so that your company stays afloat, attacking coworkers or pushing them away from you so you have alone time.  Instead, I’m talking about specific things that you can do to not only make yourself comfortable, but also productive and efficient.  At least in my industry, the more productive and efficient you are, the better chance you have for promotions and raises.  And while I’m not too keen on being promoted anytime soon, the more projects and things that I work on, the better I look to my supervisors come review time.

One of the biggest things I do is makeup and jewelry.  Guys might not have as much luck with makeup as women, however I find it is a huge benefit.  One of the biggest reasons I use makeup is because it helps me not look so tired.  I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, so any help I can get to look refreshed and relaxed is a huge benefit.

Another positive with makeup is that you can vary what you do based on your needs.  If you need to go into a meeting where you know you will need to be assertive, perhaps the light pastel eye color that you normally wear should be saved for another day.  A business-like face with a slightly darker lip color and liquid eyeliner to make your eyes stand out gives a subtle hint that you aren’t going to be a wall flower in that meeting.  On the other hand, neutrals work very well when you are trying to blend into the walls.

Sometimes I will also allow some of my fatigue to show through by not fully covering up dark circles under my eyes, especially if I am working on a project that has taken some overtime.  The reason being that once some of the fatigue is communicated to coworkers, they have a tendency to leave you alone to focus on what it is you need to.

As I am putting on my makeup each morning, I focus on the intent, along with any incantations I want to add for potency.  Makeup is expected in some workplaces, why not work with it so that you get the most benefit you can?

Jewelry in my workplace is kept to a minimum.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t add charms to what it is I wear to aid me throughout the day.   I got quite a few of my necklaces from a company called Uncommon Adornments, a shop that opens at the local renaissance festival every year (they also have a website – and the picture associated with this post is a charm they have for sale).  Their charms are small in size, and can easily be used in a spell to create magical items.  I have one I created for strength, one for kindness, and one to remember peace.  I also use an amber stone for clarity, or when I need to “cut through the bullshit.”  Another option is to make your own jewelry.

For for people who cannot wear specific metals to work or work on a production floor, maybe a symbol drawn on the skin with an eyeliner, ink or a body paint is an option.  The symbol could be close to your heart, or up higher on the arm so that it is easily concealed by clothing, in case you don’t want questions.  Or, if you do want questions, perhaps putting it on the inside of your wrist will be enough to intrigue your coworkers, as they would only get glimpses of it as you are working.

For clothing, I never wear anything at work that I do not find is comfortable.  While this is also for the fibromyalgia, I also don’t want to spend any energy on fighting my clothing while I am at work.  The energy is better spent getting through the day than fighting your clothing.  I keep my heels to a minimum, unless I am in one of those meetings or trainings where I have to be presentable.  Then, a very small Mary Jane-style heel works well.  And because it is the type of world we live in here in the United States, I never wear a shoe into work that I cannot run or throw a martial arts kick in.

I also am the type of person to hide crystals around my main work area.  In one job I had I was able to use scotch tape to tape small crystals to the walls of the cubicle that I worked in.  They were small enough that they were very inconspicuous.  I worked there 2 years and no one in the area ever knew about them.  Another option for symbol magic could be to draw something on paper with a symbol hidden inside and put near your workstation.  If anyone asks, a drawing given to you from a niece or nephew or a child that is close to you is a great cover.

These are only some suggestions for ideas.  With some thought, I am certain that other inconspicuous magickal item ideas can also be identified and used.  Since my corporation is very conservative, my magical items are as low key as possible, but they serve me very well (and I am very grateful for them).

Moving Forward, maybe.

The next few weeks are going to see some big changes.  I can already feel the energy starting to build.  Normally, I am not one for making New Year resolutions, but I think this year I might.  If there is already energy building, why not take advantage of it?

That is, if I can figure out how.

Above is the reading I decided to do to try to get some idea of where and how to do some changes.  I did it with my most relaxed deck, the Paulina Tarot (US Game Systems, author Paulina Cassidy).  I just wanted a snapshot, so I used a Celtic Coss spread.  The cards are as follows:

  1. Eight of swords, usually the significator position.  I don’t use the significator much because I feel this position talks to the energy of the client at this very moment.  All I got out of this card is that I am stuck, not by my own choosing, but at the same time it is.  What’s funny is that I am reminded of Skye/Daisy’s transformation on Agents of Shield.  The organic growth that this card is showing the woman stuck in.  Perhaps that is the transformation starting?
  2. Crossing me, the Hermit.  I am bidding on a position at work that would put me into a position of sort of a consultant.  There is only one person for an entire side of our development process, and that would be this role.  So I see work and the bid is crossing me right now.
  3. The past, the Tower.  I feel like this goes back two years, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  My whole life came crashing down.  But perhaps that was part of this entire plan.
  4. The future, six of wands.  To be honest, I have no idea what to make of this card being there.  Ideas taking flight, images of plans moving forward? I don’t know.
  5. My fears, the seven of pentacles reversed.  I don’t normally read reversed, but this time it feels like I should.  I have done a significant amount of work to get me where I am, and I am afraid of it all wilting quickly.
  6. My hopes and dreams, three of swords.  This one I have no idea again.  It showed up reversed, but it doesn’t feel right.
  7. How others see me, Queen of Wands.  This is a big thing, as my normal identified significator is the Queen of Pentacles.  Perhaps this is a sign of a significant change in my identity?
  8. How I see myself, four of swords.  This is definitely different than the Queen in the previous card.  Perhaps I still have self image and perception work to do.
  9. Environment, six of swords.  Again, I have no idea what to make of this card.
  10. Final outcome, Death.  Well, I guess no matter what is going on and what changes are going to be coming, they are inevitable.

This reading bugs me.  First, because I can read cards so much better than this, and second, because I hate not knowing where it is I am moving toward.  I like plans, I like processes that are spelled out.  I don’t like  unknowns.  But perhaps that is what I am supposed to get used to, the unknown.  How do you prepare for that?  I know that is the point, you don’t prepare, but how do you prepare for that again?

Can’t tell I am a Taurus, can you?