Back in a day.

Hello, gentle Reader,

I am currently struggling with a migraine. It’s been a thing all day. I will try to post something more tomorrow. Gods willing, this will end quickly.

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Thoughts and Ponderings.

Hello dear Reader,

I have been unwell. I’m actually going to be calling my physician in a little bit to make an appointment to deal with a possible sinus infection. Other aspects of my health are not very well at the moment either. It is making quite a few things challenging.

I woke up today with the hope that today would be the day things turned around. Instead, I found news reports about the massacre in Las Vegas and more details about transgender children being abused. Grief is a reasonable response to such things, especially when you do have a fundamental love for life. I am, however, numb. It is not a pleasant sense of ennui that has been romanticized by certain people.

It is the horrible numbness that comes when you are burned and for a brief moment you can’t tell if you feel as though you are freezing or on fire. It is the numbness that comes when you have learned that someone you dearly love is dying and you are helpless to do anything to even bring them comfort. Or the numbness as you witness a tragedy so great it alters the lives of even the people who come in passing contact with it.

Some would have us say that we have seen evil and it lies in the hearts of humanity (some would say men specifically, I refuse to because all genders have this capacity). The faith of Filianism and Déanism tells us that evil is the fruit of that which is not of Dea. It tells us of the Dark Queen and her servants who function in much of the mythos as the Satan figure does within modern Christianity. We are told that we are fundamentally good, though flawed in our existence in this world because we are at some distance from Dea – who is the source of and the one who sustains all good.

When I take these things into my mind and contemplate the deeds of myself and others, I find myself troubled. The fundamental question as to the nature of evil gets more challenging when we move out of the rarified realms of pure philosophical thought. We find ourselves asking if the person who steals a loaf of bread is wrong? And if they continue to be wrong because they are doing so to feed themselves or another. The list of conditional modifiers that can be hung upon just one simple question makes the question of evil murky and hard to resolve, even when the simplest answer is that it is from that which is not of Dea.

I look to Loki, a much maligned god of the Norse pantheon who many would treat as the Asatrur version of the ‘Devil’. His answer has always been that evil is only evil to they who are harmed by it. It is an answer that many would take great offense over. At one point, I did as well. Then I looked at the horrific things done for the sake of the equally nebulous concept of good. Murder is murder, regardless if it is done on the street over a pair of shoes or an imagined insult or upon the field of battle. When one kills another, it is murder. The value of the act comes from the context, which is more often than not defined by the mindset of the parties involved. (This is one of Loki’s favorite arguments by the way that our perception of good and evil are relative.)

Thus, I find myself drawn to the mysteries of physics. Einstein had some fairly definite things to say about frames of reference and how they influenced everything. Such things could be applied to philosophical or theological questions. But, at what point do we find that we must say that the value judgments are meaningless because they have no direction they move in at the speed of light? It is a question that keeps coming to mind of late.

Is there good or evil? Well, yes. But they are only recognizable in context. That which is good to me may prove evil to you and entirely valueless to someone else. Thus, I question, is there some absolute value that good and evil can be calculated against. Some manner of spiritual equivalent to lumniferous aether or something else that we can gauge good and evil against. In my years of struggling with this question, I have no answer. It only brings up greater questions. And the biggest of them is why people do these horrible things.

The only answer I have been able to come up with is because they think it good and right and proper. And when considered from my frame of reference, they are insane. And the question about why the gods permit such things are even more difficult. It is, however, something to discuss on another day.

May there be healing for all who have been harmed this day.

Originally Published: 10/2/2017

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Full Moon rite … wait a sec.

First, I must apologize for this post being a week late. Things have been quite busy with the start of school and I simply have not had the time to get this finished by the last full moon (Sept. 6, 2017). This rite is one that could be used for pretty much any full moon during the harvest season. What I am presenting here is a fairly generic ritual that can be applied with minimal modification for other deities and faith practices that fall outside of the cultural norm of the USA (mostly Christian).

Like most of the other rituals and spells I present, I use a lay out that is similar to a recipe. Spells have a more focused ‘ingredient’ list and the steps taken are going to be different but the methodology is actually pretty close to the same for these. It is because I believe the more consistency we have in our magical and spiritual lives, the much easier it becomes to access this part of our lives at any given point in time.

For this ritual, it is best if it can be performed outdoors to take advantage of the last of the warm season’s weather. Inclement weather will always demand safety of the participants (and comfort can be a big part of safety so don’t count that out). If you are doing your rite indoors because it is cold and rainy, this is not a problem. (And may actually be an excellent time to acquire some rainwater for future ritual and spellcraft use.) The ritual has a central space for focus, this is the altar space. It can be a table dedicated for this use specifically. It can also be as simple as a coffee table in the living room. A cloth that evokes autumnal qualities is pleasant, but not vital. The rite can be performed with out an altar cloth of any sort or a table. As long as the altar space is visually designated as separate from the rest of the ritual space, that is all you really need here.

Candles are popular. In some cases, the old fashioned flame burning candles are not a good choice. I have found equal success with electric candles as I have with wax. (I do my best to use rechargable batteries with my electric candles to minimize the environmental impact of disposing of batteries. If I must throw my batteries away, I collect them in a safe container and then bring them to places where they are disposed of properly. If you ask your local electronics store or automotive store, they can usually tell you where they are collected for disposal.) At least one candle is dedicated to the deity(s) you are invoking.

In addition to candles on the altar, ritual tools for cleansing and purification are there. As are offerings and some manner of nourishment to be shared with the deity(s) and participants in the ritual. Breaking bread together has long been a blessed sacrament in countless faiths into antiquity as it is an expression of trust and community. If you can not make your own food stuffs for this rite, don’t be troubled. Store bought is just as good (as a certain famous chef has said).

The Pre-Ritual Rites

Prior to this ritual, please make sure that the area is clean and easy to move through. This helps the ritual to proceed easily.

With the altar space clean and ready, place all tools, candles, icons, and food stuffs for the feasting portion of the rite. With the first tool for cleansing the space (I prefer to use incense of a floral nature with pine resin added in.), walk the perimeter of your ritual space. (If you are working in an established, permanent ritual space, the cleansing of the space via spirit is not a necessary step, though it may assist you in entering proper ritual mind set.) As you walk the perimeter, declare the intention that the space be cleansed of harmful and contrary energy to your goals. The first pass around the ritual area complete, place the first tool of cleansing on the altar and then repeat the process with the second tool (I asperge the space with blessed salt water.).

Ritual space established, if a candle is being used to signify the presence of spiritual allies, guardians, and guests, light said candle at this time. As you do so, make your invocation of these beings, making your invitation as specific as possible. This is an excellent time to request your spiritual allies and guardians to ward the ritual space and participant(s) from harm by way of malevolent and contrary spiritual beings that seek to disrupt or otherwise influence the ritual.

Invitations made to those upon the spiritual realms that you desire to have present or witness your ritual, it is now time to invoke your household and personal deities. (In my case, I would be requesting the presence of Ingvi-Freyr; Anna, the Priestess of the World; Mother Marya; and Deam Mysterium.) At the time of requesting the presence of the deities, it is good to state what the purpose of your ritual is and ask their blessing upon it.

The Ritual

The Full Moon rites of Wicca, and related faith traditions, are generally ones of thanksgiving when they are not focused upon magical work. The ritual I present to you today is based in the Wiccan ritual format, as this is how I was trained initially in ritual practices. The Full Corn Moon / Full Barley Moon is the harvest celebration that is closest to the Autumnal Equinox and when the harvest celebration of Mabon (one of the major celebrations of Wicca and related faiths) happens.

[…]

Alright folks, I need some help here.

I’m looking this post over and I feel like I am just going on and on. I’m going to take another swing at this, but before I do, I would love some feedback.

Where do you think the strengths of this style of post are? What do you feel is missing? (Other than the other half of how to do this ritual.) I don’t want to be boring you. I worry that this post’s high level of verbage is taking away from the really purpose and goals of this post – to be informative and making knowledge accessible to pretty much anyone.

So, please, take a look at this draft. I’ve been trying to fix it because I have the distinct feeling something is wrong with it. I just can’t place what it could be.

Please post your comments, suggestions, and recommendations in the comments below. Thank you so much for your time and your help. I want to make this the best little blog I can. I need a bit of help to do so.

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Thursday Stuff

It has been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in stuff. Including getting caught up in research I had been doing for posts here, getting the kids ready for school (which started yesterday, praise the gods!), and celebrating my wedding anniversary with Beloved (14 years of marriage, ~ 20 as a couple).

I plan to get back to video posts for you. I have decided to take a more organized approach and come up with scripts so that you’re not dependent upon the video and my comments on the post for what I’m saying. I don’t want people who are hard of hearing to have to struggle to hear me (because I’ll admit, I mumble when I am nervous). I am also going to start doing really badly drawn, simple comics about my experiences in godspousery. This week, it is an illustration of an exchange that happened between Loki and I.  I sat up after tying my shoe and hit my head on the table. Swore and then this happened. I was good, I didn’t flip him off, this time. (When he drops bad puns, I tend to do that as he howls with laughter. There’ve also been a few times where he says that means I’m obligated to engage in ‘aggressive cuddling’. It’s kinda like any other intimate relationship I have had, we sass each other back and sometimes mild vulgarity gets thrown around all as a sign of affection.)

Loki1

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Slow going, but progress.

Gentle Reader,

I am fairly sure that my improved mood today is due to a combination of factors, not the least of which is the good wishes, kind thoughts, and prayers from yourself and the wonders of modern medicine. This combination is clearly an indication of the blessings that are in the world when everything seems to be falling apart, there is still reason for hope.

You may have noticed, last week I got the Southern Hemisphere edition of A Year with Dea to press. Copies are available through all major websites. However, if you go through my links on the Books and Goods page, you will get a 10% discount. This is a printing with moderately large text. I am in the process of determining what exactly a ‘pocket’ edition would require. It is an idle thought, but one that might be helpful to someone at some point down the road.

I have hit the editing stage with my other major project right now, Drowning in Light. I am working to make this as concise and clear as possible. One may see some influence from some of the writings of Christian mystics in how the text is organized. I found that the way Dame Julian of Norwich’s writings were organized and the way the works of Hildegarde von Bingen were structured made a lot of sense. So, I applied it to my piles of notes. I am fairly sure that there is additional notes somewhere in a box that didn’t get unpacked when we moved into this apartment eight years ago. And I will probably find them sometime next year when I am looking for something entirely different, because that’s always how it works. If I do find more material, a new revision will come out with that material added.

I am in the organizing my notes stage on workbooks. I didn’t realize the sheer volume of notes and pre-writing I had done on these topics. If things are a little delayed in getting through the actual process of writing workbooks, it is because I have a stack of paper that fills one of those three inch wide binders, with a small pile of notebooks along side. I feel like I’m slowly going to be consumed by papers and they will accept me as one of their people and never let me return to humanity. (And the kids are not in school right now, so autumn will have even more paper!)

My magical work has been limited right now. This is something that I am working on resolving. The first stages of this process, honestly, is getting things like my health under control. It is a whole heap of baby steps right now. (Like cutting my carbohydrate intake by about half and replacing it with lots of vegetables. It’s a good thing I like salads!) My biggest challenge in both the magical working front and improving my health has been my depression. I am optimistic that there are going to be big, positive changes over the next few months. The fact that I have that optimism is a big change.

So, my dear Reader, thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I am working my way back to health and producing more work for you. Thank you so much for your patience.

Warmest regards!

Originally Published: 6/29/17

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Divination Notes: Runes – Ansuz

AnsuzThe runes are a challenging divination practice. They are one one hand fairly easy to pick up and the base meanings associated with them are simple, single words. At the same time, however, there is a subtle quality to them that makes the runes highly subjective. They are the foundation of the English alphabet (combined with the Latin alphabet) and most of the runes are still in use somewhere in the world, even if it is in some later generation rendering of the glyph.

While many people think of the runes as a shorthand for magical practice, they are actually a full alphabet and it is better to understand them as an alphabet, with the shorthand being treated as acronyms, much like how the individual letters of NASA are associated with separate words (and separate, discrete1 concepts). Many people start their study of the runes with the rune Fehu. I am beginning with the rune Ansuz. This choice is because it corresponds with the letter ‘A’ of the modern English alphabet and will be easier to remember if we follow the alphabetical order we are familiar with in studying this ancient system of letters.

Ansuz is written in a few different ways, depending upon which runic system you are looking at. The glyph is considered by many to be derived from the neo-Etruscian character that later became ‘A’ in the Roman alphabet, which is in turn believed to be derived from the Phonecian aleph. There is some debate as to the meaning of this rune. Different rune poems and different cultural perspectives gave rise to a series of different ways to interpret this rune, even though is most cases it was for the same letter in the alphabets of these peoples. The Norwegian rune poems indicate that Ansuz means estuary. The Anglo-Saxon rune poems indicate that it means either mouth, oak, or ash (presumably the tree) depending upon which particular variation of the Ansuz rune is used. Interestingly, in one of the Icelandic rune poems, Ansuz indicates one of the Aesir, more specifically Oðin.

Various ‘experts’ on runic divination have indicated that Ansuz can be a rune interpreted as signals from the gods, communication, or as an indication of the presence of the gods. In my personal experience, Ansuz can indicate communication on its own. When it comes up in a reading with Gebo, it suggests positive or beneficial communication for the querant. If it comes up with Haglaz, it suggests muddled communication at best, at worst arguments. If Ansuz shows up in a reading with the rune Isa, it is showing failed communication or a lack of communication.

I use the term ‘experts’ rather loosely here because the number of people who speak and use the ancient dialect is exceptionally small. And that number does not include anyone who learned it directly, as all is a careful reconstruction done with their best guesses. Thus, I have taken the liberty of going with what I can establish based on prevailing theories. My interpretations present above, however, are based upon my experience reading them for the better part of two decades. As the popular saying goes, your mileage may vary.

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1. My use of the word ‘discrete’ here is in the sense of individual defined units, similar to how it is used in mathematics.

Originally Published: 6/13/17

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Godspousery Notes: Everything Goes Sideways.

It has been a little while since I updated on this topic. Part of the reason is because I wasn’t quite sure what to say and part of the reason is because life has been hectic. I was sitting here wondering why everything was in such turmoil of late. And then Loki cleared it up. At which point I felt completely foolish.

We have an agreement, him and I. There is a small list of things that I have to do, which is aimed towards improving my health and my relationships with people close to me. I had been failing to make the effort towards these things. After a week of not doing these things, my luck started to go off kilter. And the chaos field around me, for lack of a better word, activated. I wasn’t putting the cause together with the effects, and getting frustrated with it all.

Loki sat me down Saturday evening and had a conversation with me. He pointed out where my failings were and where I was actually struggling. He noted that my struggles counted towards doing what I agreed to because I was making the effort. The others, I had basically given up when it got hard As a result, I started having problems that were not so bad as to actually be injurious to anyone but significant enough to catch my attention.

I was oblivious as to just how out of synch things had gotten until my slow cooker decided to try to light itself on fire. And then, later in the day, chaos happened around me when I was out grocery shopping. Things like wheels falling off of shopping carts as I passed by, items falling off of pallet jacks and landing at my feet each time I walked by one, or the biggest thing, every single cash register that was open crashing all at the same time when I walked up to check out. Synchronicity was really hard to brush off at that point.

So, after that conversation between Loki and I, I apologized for my failure to hold up my end of the agreement. I was firmly told not to apologize, just fix my behavior. I said I would. A little bit later, after the conversation had been done for a little while, I started to habitually do something that was not very good for me. Cue Loki’s reminder.

A bat just appeared in the apartment. I have no idea how the little thing got in here. But I spent about an hour freaking out and trying to get it out. It kept swooping me. When I initially realized it was there, it tried to land on me. (No biting or scratches.) I managed to herd it out into the entryway and I shut the front door of the apartment, thinking the matter resolved. Go use the bathroom, come back into the kitchen to find, lo and behold, the bat had crawled UNDER my shut door. It flew around in circles for a bit. I had a minor panic attack. Then managed to get it out the backdoor.

Sometimes Loki’s reminders are subtle. Other times, it is literally a bat flying at your head.

Originally Published: 6/12/17

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Recommendations: Alcohol for Summer Rituals

A pretty large number of modern pagan rituals include some manner of feasting. And an equally large number of them speak of having alcohol as both an offering and for imbibing. There is a plethora of options for including alcohol. The choices could theoretically become less diverse as you focused upon individual spiritual paths, but with the sheer amount of variety within those paths, it doesn’t really change.

That said, there are some really nice things you can have as part of your libations that are also super tasty and within an inexpensive budget. That said, I would like to note that my experience with alcohol is a bit limited because I don’t drink recreationally. So, if you have suggestions, please post them in the comments. Share what you think is tasty and delightful.

Wine
There is a really wide range of wines on the market. For my part, I have a couple of guilty pleasures that I must confess. I love Arbor Mist, pretty much anything from their product line is fantastic. The Blackberry Merlot is perfect for a summer ritual, in my opinion. I also really enjoy Riunite’s Lambrusco. They’re both inexpensive but they also both taste delicious.

Spirits
The list of alcoholic spirits that can be given as offerings or had as part of a celebration is easily as long as my arm. I am a little particular about my choices. I enjoy whiskey. If you’re looking for a fairly inexpensive whiskey that tastes nice, I like Crown Royale. Their apple flavor is a big hit around my place. Fireball whiskey is a thing between Loki and I. It is possible, however, to infuse flavor into a bottle of whiskey. If you are infusing cinnamon, don’t let it sit too long and put your cinnamon stick into a cheesecloth bag to catch the wee bits that will come off as it soaks into the alcohol.

Beer
There are countless different kinds of beer you can have. Some are flavored, some are not. If you are looking for an IPA that is not too hoppy, look into something from Southerntier Brewing company (if you are in Western NY). They actually have a range of IPA beers, so if you want something with a lot of hops, they’ve got one for you too. Of the flavored beers out there, I think that the best is the Peche Lambic from Lindemans. I find it at Wegmans in the beer aisle. It is delicious warm or cold, but chilled really is best.

Mead
Now, I put mead into its own category because it straddles the line between wine and beer. Honeyrun Mead’s Ragnar’s Dry Mead is pretty nice. Pair it with some fresh bread and cheese, and you are going to have a wonderful time. Chaucer’s Cellars’ Chaucer’s Mead is also very good. It is a bit sweeter than Ragnar’s Dry Mead, but it is like drinking pure sunshine.

But, there’s some ideas for you as you get ready for your Midsummer celebrations.

(Sorry this is a few days late, thinks have been super busy here.)

Originally Published: 6/12/17

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Video Message: Mindfulness

Hi there, everybody!

In this week’s video, I discuss mindfulness. It is a term that is thrown around quite a bit by people who practice meditation (among other things). It is a practice and a skill that actually does more than make your meditation session better.

Mindfulness is focused attention on what you are doing as you are doing it. Thus, if you are paying close attention to your meditation session and staying aware of what thoughts go through your mind, how you are feeling, and what you are doing; you are being mindful in your meditation practice. The same skill of paying attention to what you are doing and how you are doing it can make for being better at washing your dishes in the same way it makes you better at meditating.

Additionally, the awesome thing about mindfulness is that the more you use it, the easier it gets to use it in other areas. So, your practicing mindfulness when you meditate may lead to you being more mindful when you wash those dishes and more mindful when you are driving your vehicle – thus making you a safe driver.

It is a little hard in the beginning, but once you figure it out, it is really easy to apply in other areas. And, in my opinion, makes your life much easier.

I hope everyone has a great day!

~*~*~*~*~*~
I forget what was playing on the radio. I think it was something from Karl Jenkins. I’m not wearing a scarf today, but, you might be able to see that I dyed my hair. It is my current ‘stealth’ covering, which makes things easier on a few different levels right now. I’ll talk a bit more about that on Saturday.

Originally Published: 6/8/17

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Prayer with Intent

I previously discussed the intersection of prayer and our deeds. Looking back over my notes on that entry, I realized, I didn’t do a very good job of explaining the role intention played in prayer, hence this evening’s post.

Now, many people come to prayer and think of it as a time to as the Divine for things, to praise the Divine, or possibly confess their shortcomings. These modes of prayer are indeed all forms of prayer but they all come to the session with different forms of intention. In prayer, intent plays a much larger role than your words.[1]

When one sits down to pray, the come to the session with an objective in mind. That objective is the intention behind their prayer session. Perhaps the most common intention behind prayer is asking the Divine for help realizing things and making changes to situations. Sometimes the prayers come out when we don’t consciously intend them to, but that deeper intention behind the sudden prayers is what moves it forward. (Anyone who has been stuck in a highway that resembled a parking lot more than a roadway has at least once or twice asked the Divine to move traffic along so we can get to where we’re going. It may not be a conscious or a formalized prayer, but “Gods, please, just move will you?” is just as much of a prayer for Divine assistance as a long, stylized prayer intoned in the fashion of the ancestors. I suspect that it is also a lot more like what the ancestors prayed too.)

The act of prayer when it is done with thoughtlessness is something of a mixed bag of results. If the prayer being said is just something done off the cuff out of some sense of ‘oh, I must do this and then dust the television.’ is not going to have quite the same punch as one that is said with focused intent on the act of praying and what is the goal for the prayer session. This is because there is less mental focus behind it and less intention. When that unfocused prayer is given, it is much like a roulette wheel of results, left entirely up to the whim of the Divine.

Sometimes, however, a prayer said habitually has a strong effect. This is because the prayer moves from being a focused single unit of intention to being a vehicle for a larger focus of intention. An excellent example of this is the Rosary. The individual prayers are ones that can be said habitually with not a great deal of mental or emotional effort behind the respective prayers. Collected together, they become a tool where by one focuses their intent, their mental and emotional effort towards the larger goal of that prayer session. Thus, the individual prayers become like building blocks for the larger focus. It is the ritual of the collection of prayers said in that fashion that moves the magical/spiritual energy towards the Divine.

Prayer can be a very powerful thing. All that limits you is yourself and how much effort you put behind it. Also, remember, that the Divine is highly inclined to help those who help themselves and do some leg work to help manifest the prayer’s results.

Originally Published: 6/7/17

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