The Pagan Experience Project Post-The Letter C

February 23, 2015

Baby, it’s cold outside. The cold is usually inspiring for me, rather than tiresome. I live in what I’ve been calling the Frozen Northlands for a few years, and I love it.

The cold does a few things for me. It allows complete attunement with my environment, which is a startling grounding experience. I tend to live in my head a lot (writer) and I’ve got an active spiritual life  that propels me to be more in tune with the unseen than the physical some days, so the cold is useful. It’s hard to ignore the cold, especially when it skates past mildly uncomfortable to something that could be deadly if you, a human, are out in it too long with your flesh exposed. Nothing slams you directly into your body like frigid air. It brings about a perfect mental clarity as well when I’m out in it, and the stars are never so clear as on a truly freezing night. The cold inspires wonder in me-wonder in the world and wonder at myself.

The cold is deadly. This time of year always has me spinning my wheels in introspective ways, which is sometimes useful, sometimes not, but I almost inevitably come around to the aspect of death. I start to think about what it means to me to die, how to square with the idea that death eventually comes for us all (I’m mostly okay with it, except when I’m not), and what it might mean to become an ancestor in my line/reincarnate/both? So, the cold has me thinking about time paradox.

Weird right? I am weird, so that’s okay.

For the record, I think you can both be a member of your ancestry line and reincarnate because time is a strange, fickle bitch. Also, the Multi-verse. It’s a thing.

Anyway, the cold.

When it is particularly frigid outside I am always inspired to Hail Lady Skadi, though I don’t often during most of the year. She’s Grandmother Winter to me, and her kenning, Grandmother, also make me think about ancestry. I think the coldest times of the year make it easy to continue the ancestor veneration that seems natural to start when the veil thins around Samhain. If I have a choice in the matter, and space, I leave the ancestor altar I construct at Samhain erected until Beltane, well after the last wisps of Winter have left us.

The cold is also a direct opposite to my Beloved Friend Loki’s core-though He may NOT be a fire god (I’ll leave that to lively debate) He is a God of Passion and giving 110%, and that’s a metaphorical fire burning high and bright. Even when He’s outwardly calm His mind is always churning over something and He’s always got his fingers in about ten thousand pies. (Oh, the horrible jokes I want to make.) So, Loki’s calm is a deceptive calm, more like the calm before the storm. The deep calm of Cold Winter is a restful quality that never seems to fully take Him, at least not that I’ve witnessed. The cold allows the Earth to regroup, nature to rest, as it were, and I find that to be not only another metaphor about life and death, and the period of calm before reincarnation, but a sweet thought as well, that the world is resting now to prepare for a hard burst toward blooming later. The blanket of snow allows me to appreciate the furtive bloom of spring all the more.

So, friends, today C is for Cold, and all that I see inside of it.

Lady Laufey

UPG heavy today folks. Ye be warned.

***

Today is a classic fall day for the Northeast, rainy, cold, gray, and most of all, perfect tea weather. It goes well with the autumn ritual I’ve been ruminating over while I wait for the trees to burst into fiery glory near the end of September. The ritual is for Lady Laufey, mother of My Beloved Loki, Sweetest Friend and Muse.

Her presence has been strong with me lately and I would genuinely love to thank Her with more than a few simple words. She and Lady Victory, Sigyn, have been the calm I’ve needed. Laufey is the Earth. Healing. The green growth and the tap root.

A ritual for Her will be best performed near the water in the trees overlooking the surf where the sand dunes mound around their mighty toes and the stringy long grass tickles their bark. The perfect day would be one full of sun when the bright dying leaves begin to waft one by one to the ground.

Her throaty laughter chases on breezes through those trees where She dances, long hair flying behind Her, skirts bunched up in Her hands to allow Her feet freedom. Her blackish green eyes are brighter than incandescent seashells when they catch the rays of the sun.

Her ritual should be performed during the day and should be one of motion, however you can incorporate it. She is never still. Trees are constantly growing, moving, dancing, vibrating with life, and so is She.

Her personal bouquet is musky like dark earth, laced with the tang of the sea, and touched with sweet fruit. Any fruit of the season wouldn’t go remiss as an offering for Her, as She prefers foods in their natural state. She’s especially fond of fish. Flowers are a delight for Her, but only if they are potted or harvested in such a way that benefits the plant or if you intend to use the plants for some other purpose after She has enjoyed them. She doesn’t like plucked plants for no other reason than looking at them.

Her colors are green and blends of orange and red-no solid colors in the drapery she chooses for her body. She is dynamic like Her Son.

A Prayer for Laufey

Lady Laufey, whirling in your bright skirts

May we dance with You at the edge of the Earth

where sand meets sea?  

My gratitude for Your kindness

Is a drop in the tide.

You sway and dip with the shrieking winds

Smiling, always smiling.

You’ve learned to flex instead of break.

Healing dances from your fingers

Faster than your feet race.

You are a current rather than a task master, even when you are a rip tide,

Guiding never dragging.

You teach. You sooth. You heal.

Your Bright Eyes are a balm.

I shall always faithfully welcome you into my home.  

Truth of Form or Gender on the Astral

Very rarely am I a woman on the astral plane. It happens. Sometimes I am, and when I am a woman in the astral I almost always have heightened secondary sexual characteristics-in other words I’m never really the me I can check out in the mirror. The difference could simply be my mind filtering the energies I’m interacting with-I tend to think the way some people draw comics and anime. Bold colors and strong lines. My mind could be getting my soul body’s energetically feminine energies and it decides to attribute an energetically feminine physicality to it, or possibly my mental pictures could be colorations from past lives, but either way…I am not the body I see in the mirror on the astral. Ever.

My gender on the astral speaks to a general disconnect I sometimes feel with my physical body on the mundane plane. A lot of people don’t realize from the way I write and the subjects I choose to write about that I am a woman unless I describe body parts or something that gives it away (such as the fact that I’ve birthed two children). There are days when I feel like a CIS woman, and I’m very earth mother and in touch with the world, but this was far more frequent for me when I was pregnant. These days I tend to be grumpy with my body. I don’t dislike it per se, it is what it is and so far it’s served me pretty well in all the aspects I could want a body to serve me, but sometimes it just doesn’t jive with what I think I should be seeing. I have narrowed down my disconnect from being more or less happy with my body to an increase in astral activity where I am far more often wandering around in a male body. I dream as a male, usually, as well.

There’s something to this for me-something that runs deep. I have a lot of “masculine” energy in my make up. I’ve been mulling astral gender identity over for a while because a few months ago I was having a lot of “dude” days, and the deities seem to be drawing my attention to this. During a meditation recently I was having a dude time, like I tend to, and basically got the-“Are you comfortable? Good.” vibes from Loki, kind of a …”give yourself permission to be comfortable, at the very least here” idea. Then, guess what, I got the impression that it doesn’t matter to Him either way. It’s my soul energy he’s attached to, and man/woman/or other He’s going to be there. Then He kissed me. It’s not the first time He’s kissed me on the astral as a man, and probably won’t be the last. It wasn’t particularly sexual, more of a confirmation of His intent.

My gender discomfort/confusion keeps getting tossed at me as something to at the very least think about, and it makes sense. How can I do deep work if I can’t be comfortable with myself? On the astral I’ve been starting to allow myself to be that masculine energy more and more because there is no way to do serious work if I’m in a fabricated shell there, and I certainly CAN create a feminine mask for my energy if I choose to do so. I can’t work with true universal energy if I’m not allowing my true form through, and for me it seems to actually shift. Sometimes it is a feminine energy and sometimes not, and the basic building blocks of the universe, I suspect are the same way, containing both the feminine and the masculine.

Beach Meditations: Jormungandr

I woke up this morning with the idea of going to the beach to meditate thrumming in my head, and that was quickly followed by the thought-“and leave an offering for Jormungandr”. So, I woke up and went through my morning routine quickly-I woke up a full half hour before my alarm went off as well-and that’s what I did. The sun was glinting on tossing water and the sand was dimpled and soft from the rains last night. The air was so clean my nose twitched and the energy of the lake washed over me the second my foot hit the ground.

Walking out, I lit my incense and found a spot for it, and then I walked, looking out over the water and slipped into a small meditation. The first thing I realized as I walked is why Loki and Jormungandr’s energies sing so much alike to me, or at least part of why. They both hold sway over “in between places”. I grounded on the shoreline, letting my energy stretch out and around the shore, and with Lake Erie that is a vast, vast area, and felt that special kinship with Loki that grounding to in between places brings for me. While I did that the image of the World Serpent, curled lovingly around our realm hit me. Jormungandr is also a deity of in between places. He is an in between place if you follow the lore. I believe he has an intrinsic understanding of the boundaries between the realms and boundaries between time and place. He has a very, thorough understanding of the basic building blocks of the universe as a result and I believe has the ability to understand and possibly effect most of what reality is built on.

Jor is very much an aquatic deity to me-loving and living in the water for a lot of His existence and a lot of His life-depending on how literally one wants to take the lore. I believe the lore is both literal and figurative. Jor certainly isn’t anchored in one place like the tales of Atlas, at least not in spirit. I’ve spoken before about my astral temple, and how it is an island in a/the Primordial Ocean. Usually there are starry skies over my temple, never changing, but I’ve been forced into daylight often enough when Jormungandr is near, and seen him in the distance, massive body curling out of the ocean while seagulls call. So, if I had to say of which element does Jor most associate I would have to say Water, but that is just from me, and something I would choose to use as a magical association for purposes of spell work. I don’t know what the other “authorities” on the subject might think.

In contrast to my certainty that Jor isn’t tied to His body holding the boundary between the realms I’ve had some insight into why He is the way He is as far as the way He feels about life. He’s very focused on reality and dealing with problems expediently and not, as I said before, what I would term overly romantic. He’s a realist on almost every level. His body, massive, larger than the oldest tree, protects and encircles some area of the realms-whether it is exactly as we have been told in lore or not I hesitate to guess-and it is under constant assault, from beings who would like to get through to roam, and even just from animals and such. He’s gnawed at and constantly healing. He’s battered and constantly repairing. He’s constantly in pain, and He’s learned to throw it off and ignore it. Pain is a part of life and we move on in spite of it. He’s not one for lingering and wallowing in pain because pain is His constant companion in His serpentine body. Is or was. I can’t tell if He’s still performing this duty, though He might be on one level, but obviously isn’t tied to that body any longer.
Time and reality are shifty things to pin down sometimes, especially when dealing with the spirit realm and deities.

After my ruminations this morning, as I was walking along the beach before I left to go to work, I found three pieces of clear and white beach glass. I’ve never found any before, in spite of searching for many years, and so, I thank you Jormungandr for the gifts.

Hail to the World Serpent!

Angrboda vs. Sigyn as the Mother of the Dark Siders Club

Everyone looks to Angrboda as the Mother aspect of the Shadow side of the Norse Pantheon. There is a good argument there for it, seeing as how She birthed three very wonderful children-Fenris, Jormundgandr, and Hela. Maybe it’s just my relationship with Her, but I see her more as the fierce clan leader, The Hagia, and get less of Her maternal side.

I’ve never had a Mother myself, so maybe I don’t call that aspect out in Her, since I have no expectation of it? Maybe those aren’t the lessons She needs to teach me? She’s always been more of a mentor with the hard lessons, the fear lessons, the ones that keep you alive. And perhaps, in that regard She really is showing She is a Mother goddess because what are parents here for other than to keep their children alive?  

And then my heart breaks a little transitioning from that thought to Lady Sigyn. I do see Her as more of a Mother goddess than Angrboda in some ways. She is gentle and kind and understands heart sadness, though she doesn’t seem to tolerate wallowing in grief. She’s the kind to let you acknowledge your grief has power and move you along to something more positive because after all one of her kennings is Victory. She acknowledges the use of Catharsis. In my personal experience, I see her as a protector of the unborn and new born as well. She’s a protector of the vulnerable.

She’s possibly the first solid experience I ever had with the Norse Pantheon in this life time, Loki following to the scene afterwards. I just didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s a different story.  

I think I find it easier to identify with Sigyn, myself, because w/We’ve both experienced the grief of the loss of a child, but on the other hand I’m a Witch and I feel a great pull to work with Angrboda. In the end, they are both Mothers, and I think in any discussion of the “Mother” of those who count themselves Rokkatru They should be equally considered. In every way that counts Sigyn is as much a Mother as Angrboda with her three children, and I think more of Sigyn’s work with Her mortals centers on mothers, motherhood, and children. In some ways I think Sigyn is slighted out of the discussion of Motherhood, or at least seems to be in much of what I’ve read, because hers are dead. I can’t find much of another explanation. And because She was a child bride. No matter what form she takes She is an ancient well of power.

I’m not sure why it bothers me so much when I read about Sigyn and she isn’t really considered a Mother.

Jotnar Blood

I’ve been reading Raven Kaldera’s Jotunbok. It’s well worth tracking down the book to read it. The bulk of the book is Kaldera’s UPG and the UPG of others working with the Jotunar, so as always when reading about the work of others with the spirits it is necessary to digest everything with a grain of salt and-for me at least- slowly so I can evaluate it all. The biggest danger in reading a book that is heavily UPG is that the information just becomes THE information you have on the subject, but it strikes me as well thought out and well researched in most of the ways that count. I wish I had a better background in the lore before I’d started reading it because I’m finding myself wanting to research about a million different things because I’m not sure if some of it is UPG or actual lore.

I will admit I haven’t been reading the book through properly. Like any book that includes a chapter about Himself I started there and then jumped around. I will probably make more than one post about the book because there is a lot to think about there. The most intriguing idea I’ve come across so far is one that Kaldera puts forth about the reason the Gods and Loki and His family in particular have been contacting what seems to be a large amount of unprecedented people is because there is more “Jotnar blood” in the world and they’re seeking out those with it. Now, hang with me, because when I first read the words “Jotnar bloodline” the words SCIENCE flashed across my brain in neon letters. Yeah, this isn’t necessarily something that is disregarding science. The whole idea is that at the human’s conception a spirit-in this case a Jotnar spirit- is possessing one of the humans involved either with their knowledge or not to varying degrees and their energy changes the energy of the new life being formed at the conception. It squicks me a bit if a person doesn’t know it is happening, mostly because it seems a bit too close to rape, but it seems like something that could happen.

Kaldera talks about this new, resulting energy infusion or influx or change as “the jotnar bloodline”, but to me it really seems more like being soul touched or soul kissed with new and more energy, and like anything else it isn’t always a good thing. It can imbue the person it happens to with all of the good and bad sides of the Jotnar energy and depending on how involved the spirit was at the conception (full possession or just riding one of the parents a bit) that is how much of the spirit energy mixes into the new human. I found this wildly intriguing and not at all outside the bounds of possibility with what I know from energy work. So many things can effect a life when they’re crossing over to be reborn that believing this could happen is barely even a tiny hurdle for me. Many people claim to be soul touched or have had their soul transformed in a variety of ways with many different energies. I’ve heard of people who believe they have angelic energies and people who’ve had their souls modified in various ways during astral travels. The soul, our spirit selves, are all energy, and energy can be transformed and manipulated far more easily than our physical bodies-at least into a new state. It is far easier to destroy the physical body than transform it.

Of course, I have this tendency, the one that makes it completely impossible for me to be a doctor of any variety, that had me looking for the Jotnar traits in myself and my family that Kaldera went on to list after this discussion about bloodlines. Hot blooded? Yes. My Mother, Grandfather, Brother and I all share major rage issues. My Grandfather, Brother and I are all magically inclined, my Grandfather having been the local dowser in our small backwater town. The list went on and I could find other similarities, so immediately my mind grappled with, “DO I HAVE JOTNAR BLOOD?”. Then I slowed down and laughed at myself. Whatever I am, and I don’t believe my soul to be human, really, I’m not a Jotun. It just doesn’t feel right for me. When I think about it all it isn’t something that rings true even though, yes my family is “weird”. I ran through the list of things that can make someone part of “the bloodline” of etins and there were some huge similarities, but in the end …I don’t know.

Part of the reason I put so much thought into it is because so much of what some of the people had to say about Himself in this book made sense with my own UPG. I know for quite some while I travelled with Loki while he was doing “errands”, often something ambassador like, outside of Asgard, most likely at Odin’s behest. I travelled with him for a great while and very, very occasionally we stayed in Asgard on return trips, but usually not. That begs the question of where we DID stay, but I don’t have many memories of that. Most of my memories are of the fun “on the road” variety. A lot of people talked about how Loki didn’t spend much time inside of Asgard for various reasons, so this jived for me. My husband and I share UPG of meeting in Asgard on one of these rare occasions, and then I left Loki’s party and stayed with my Husband, going with him and his kindred when they left after our first meeting. With my own UPG it actually makes sense that I could have a Jotun spirit-why would I have been travelling with him otherwise?-but, again, it doesn’t feel right. I feel like my soul is more non-sentient universal building block material and considering my ability to mold most energies that makes more sense, but that means that sometime in antiquity my soul sprang up out of the ether?

Not having soul parents would make sense for me, I suppose.

In any event, the idea of Jotun bloodlines lead me down the primrose path of OTHER spirits soul touching the unborn for various reasons (’cause if ONE type of spirit can do it why can’t another?) and I was all…OH, snap. Maybe that is the what is behind some of the upsurge in the numbers of the pagan community at large? People who are soul touched and don’t feel at home in the various monotheistic, established religions, or in their own skins are going out and trying to find themselves.

Essentially, given any amount of truth in this idea of Jotun bloodlines  (which I believe there is) a lot of people are constantly searching for a home they may not find on this plane, place and time. The eternal wanderer imagery is sad, but hopefully in meeting others of the same tendency people can build a home here that they love and feel safe in and allows them to care for and be cared about. Our family is our home, and maybe too that is what the Jotnar were hoping to build for themselves. A home amongst the humans of Midgard.  

Family of Choice or The Blood Brothers

“Do you remember, Odin, when in bygone days
we mixed our blood together?
You said you would never drink ale
unless it were brought to both of us.”
-Larrington (1998:86) courtesy of Wikkipedia

Once upon a time, Odin saw Loki in all of His shinning Glory and The Allfather (who probably wasn’t referred to as such yet because Loki came on scene before His wives) decided He needed some of That in His predictable life. We don’t have a reliable timeline, as far as I know, for when Odin lost his eye to gain His all seeingness-and honestly time is a finicky, fickle Bitch anyway-however, I believe it goes something like this: “Wow, I’d like to know everything.” Odin finds a way to know everything (the whole creepy eye loss thing). Knowing everything is boring, and even The Allfather can’t accurately predict what Loki Himself will do next, and what a great relief for Odin some freakin’ spontaneity is.

So, Odin sets out to woo Loki, or in fact, prove that He is worth Loki’s time. He does this not with gifts or promises of power or anything mundane. Odin woos Loki with His solidness and rationality and His great desire to join the divine spark of Leadership and War with Loki’s own spark, and maybe He just Wanted Loki too in a very Personal way. And Loki likes being wanted for Himself. The essence of Himself is very attractive (must we mitigate Love and Longing to speak of the Divine? It would be limiting to do so and no represent reality very well.) Odin has Passion for Loki, and Loki returns the sentiment.

Define Passion:

Sexual passion is about satisfying both mental desires, deep and often unknown until they are painstakingly and sometimes painfully uncovered, while having leg shaking, mind numbing, breath stealing, pleasure zap through your naughty bits. Mental passion is about having someone satisfy and fulfill a need  located primarily in the mind or spirit with joy. For instance, mental passion can be satisfied with a great conversation, someone who enjoys the same hobbies, someone who makes your brain twitch with their wit and spark of personality. One can exist without the other, but the most holistic passion is a duality of both, which the passion for Loki truly was for Odin.

Because Odin has passion for Loki He makes Him the offer (something like this), “Please, join My bloodline. Be my blood brother. I choose you as a member of my family. I will protect you as my own, love you as my own, and keep you always in my thoughts as my own, and I trust you shall do the same.”

And Sweet Wild Loki, in his youthful exuberance, for He and the world we know is was still young, agreed and threw Himself into the offered Kinship. Through the blood bond he drew His Loyalty to Odin. And most of us know Loki will Love even until and through Hate- until He is loved again with His Mortals- so this is no small agreement for Himself. Loki loving Odin was for keeps.

Loki keeps His word.

After their union, Odin and Loki do much scheming for the good of a/All behind closed doors. Loki sweeps away stagnation and the ordinary and together they plan. Odin respects and considers every silvered word dripping from Loki’s tongue, even if in the end He makes a different decision than Loki would prefer. Odin is good with the long game.

In Their love and bond I see the beauty of family of choice. I see the thrill of building a life you truly want to live, but using a support more solid than even a marriage. They joined blood. They chose to become rooted family, or a family linked by something more tolerant and less tenuous than a marriage bond. Due to their joining their energy literally grows in each other and with one another, a mimic of the Great World Tree extending out and into one another. Their blood is the nourishing Water from The Well for one another. Their souls are enmeshed completely by their purposeful act and Will. All of Their wives and loves connecting to One of Them invariably connects in some small way to the energy of the Other.

When I mediate I light a candle for Odin and his Blood Brother Loki. I Hail Them and the energy of Their Bond and respect Their family of choice and Their Love.

In many ways, a family of choice can be more meaningful and tighter knit than birth families. I’m not saying this in any way to diminish our ties to our ancestors, but families can splinter from lack of compatibility and care. When people choose family that choice is based on need and compatibility and a joyful reflection and balance of our best and worst traits. More energy goes into maintaining the bond and therefore the relationship. The fires of passion and friendship forge something entirely unique from that of ancestry. Ancestry is a tide and choice is a tidal wave.

Notes: It is part of my UPG that Loki and Odin do get down from time to time with one another. They’re not human and I believe any version of human morality restricting sexuality to hetero- or homo- or other is kind of a null value with Them.