Let’s Play Name that Deity

Long black hair. Bold eyes that have a touch of madness sparkling in their depths. Feels like excitement and dread all rolled into one when he looks at me during a meditation. And he does look. Pale. Tall. Masculine. Prefers black. He stalks my dreams and his lessons are bitter tears I haven’t wept salting my tongue.

He lingers in the dark, dirty gray bricked room of a temple with a gray cement throne. He doesn’t like to sit on the throne.

He doesn’t want the throne.

Is that you Jor? The son of the Trickster radiates similar vibes to the father. I’m simply not sure.

Or is it someone else?

His love would be like fangs, sinking in deep, cutting on their way out. There’s something off about Him in the best way possible. I hate it when They don’t identify Themselves.

The Importance of Celebration Rituals

As a Lokean working within a framework of an amalgamation of several practices (Wicca/chaos magick/Heathen-ish magick/chanting/you name it) I suppose I can simply claim to be an Eclectic Lokean Practitioner working closely with a small group of Norse Trad deities. All of that is assuming you include Loki’s family in the Norse Tradition framework, which some do and some don’t, but I firmly do because of Loki’s blood bond with Odin, if for no other reason, which I see as then passed on to His Children (at the very least) though I digress. In working with Loki and His Family my love has grown for Them, and I’ve grown increasingly fond of tending my altar. Daily, I give offerings. What I give varies depending on my mood, Theirs, and my funds, but often includes sacred smoke in the form of incense, candles, beverages, alcohol, and specific foods when the request is made. I do all of this willingly and with a deep joy in my mind and heart. My love for Them, Their love for Me, this is the energy surrounding my altar.

One day recently I didn’t get to my altar in the morning as usual because life decided to get in the way. That evening when I finally stole some time to tend my altar my husband made the peculiar comment that it had seemed “dead” all day. He’s grown used to the blossom of energy overflowing into our home even if he wasn’t aware of exactly what he was sensing.

Tending my altar for Loki puts a fierce bolt of satisfaction in my chest and lights me with part of his Divine Fire.

However, as much as We Both benefit from Our small daily rituals, I still need do ritual for myself as well. In the last year I’ve celebrated Them, Those God/desses I’ve become close to alongside Loki, daily, but haven’t been marking the seasons or doing much work for myself. I’ve started doing ritual for me again, and the difference in my internal balance is phenomenal. Often times I convince myself doing a ritual will take too much time or planning, make it seem like a burden in my mind, but with very little bits of planning I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. After the most recent ritual I’ve done in my home for myself and my family, a small blessing for fall, I felt like I’d spent a day chanting or doing something else deeply restful on a mental level.

Celebration is self care. Take care of yourself and you will be better able to live your life for you and Them.

Loki is constantly asking me to unwind and I’m finally, finally figuring out the pieces to the puzzle.

Much of my blog seems to focus on the never ending conundrum of balancing the spiritual with Mundania. Maybe because I have small children demanding most of my attention during downtime connecting with myself sometimes seems like a monumental effort, when simply tending my altar and connecting to Loki isn’t so much of a problem. Everyone has something pulling at them, demanding they stay stuck in Mundania. Sometimes obligations are good, grounding, and sometimes they are a distraction from our spiritual health. It all depends on which way you tip-too much into the spiritual or the other, into Mundania, and you find yourself unhappy and don’t know why.

Daily ritual, the million small things I do with Them in mind up to and including tending the altar, helps open my mind to the Gods each day. I’ve found I want the daily connection. Seasonal ritual, on the other hand, actually seems to be a blend of grounding in “reality”, since we are marking our physical time, and the spiritual because we are often invoking the Gods or inviting Them into our midst, especially for the Holidays. I plan to set a place for My Sweetest Friend, Loki, at our Harvest Home celebrations (Mabon-Thanksgiving) this year.

There is a reason our ancestors chose to celebrate so much. Maybe it was to relieve the stress of the day to day, but it was to give us a time to Love as well. Ritual is usually a time for love, even if the love is not hearts and flowers. I cannot think of a single type of ritual with the Gods that would not involve our love for the Gods, Theirs for us, or Both. Even something historically harsh like asking the Gods for victory in battle would require the love of the God being petitioned for the petitioner because you don’t usually smite enemies for people you don’t like. Even the simple act of making offerings to the land spirits where my home is situated is still love from me because I don’t offer for any other reason.

Ritual is self love.

Self Love: Taking care of you because you love your own insurmountable spirit and would like to see it happy. Can include:

Mundane~ eating healthfully, shower, shave, tooth brushing, exercise, good friends, good wine, great entertainment, fantastic sex, loving Others and allowing Them to Love You.

Spiritual~ psychic cleansing, ritual, exploration of the senses, adoring Our Beloveds, respecting Our Own Power and energies, acknowledging the inscrutably singular essence of the Self, allowing Ourselves to be afraid but use the fear as a tool, working with our Beloveds, examining Our life lessons with an open mind, being playful and not taking every aspect of the spiritual seriously because play is special and rewarding.  

A Harvest Moon Esbat

Written on the night of the Full Moon, September 9, 2014:

I hope you’re all enjoying the Harvest Moon. Not only is it the Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox) it’s a “Super Moon” too. I’m more than a tad disappointed we’re having a rainy, overcast night in my neck of the woods. I wanted to see if the moon would actually be orange this year. I was excited to celebrate this Esbat, especially since it is such a unique one (Not that they aren’t all special in their own way, but half the time I forget what day of the week it is and, well…my track record for hitting an Esbat on the actual date of the moon is dismal, so I was excited for and proud of myself.), and I chose to do a Harvest Moon blessing to do so.

I wanted to use the Harvest Moon blessing I’d read in Seasons of Witchery by Ellen Dugan because it was pretty, not too long, and not overly flowery, but the blessing calls on “The Lord and Lady”. As I’ve become more comfortable with hard polytheism vs. the vagaries of Wicca/general paganism I see problems with this invocation I possibly wouldn’t have in previous years. If I call on “The Lord and Lady” Anyone can show up, which honestly, with a blessing, so be it. Whomever would like to drop some good stuff on my head this year, please do (No, really, PLEASE.); however, on the other hand it seems like calling Someone I work with often would be best to call upon.

BUT, if I call on someone I work with all of the time for a blessing I feel greedy too since, if I work with Them often, They’re already blessing my life. Asking Loki for more things seems like calling up my best friend and begging twenty bucks. (And then I get the Divine Head Slap because the Gods WANT to help with our Daily lives when They are Our Beloveds.) The last thought on this conundrum, the Divine Mystery of Who to Call for a Simple Freakin’ Autum Blessing, is this: Okay, if I shouldn’t call just Anyone, then I should call Someone specific, but if I call Someone, and say I even use a particular kenning, maybe They won’t want to show up or the area-the autumnal blessing-really isn’t their prevue, or maybe they’re just otherwise engaged.

In the end, I called on Angrboda and Loki (sort of-in a way-I still left it vague when I spoke the blessing/prayer, but I KNEW they where the ones on the line tonight, so it was kind of like calling Them mentally because They were the only Ones I could think about while I was saying the prayer). Calling on the Hagia of the Ironwood may seem strange, but I was getting the push from Her, so I didn’t question the decision.

In the end using the general Lord and Lady call for a blessing, allowing Whomever would enjoy blessing your life to come through, isn’t a bad call if you’d like to do a seasonal blessing, even though I chose not to. Sometimes specific calls for ritual and spell work may be limiting. I still work with general, universal energies for spell work and prayer of all sorts. (Prayer being spell work of a different variety in my estimation.)

My small ritual was lovely and involved a short blessing and lighting two taper candles, one orange and one white. I thought to perhaps include the blessing here, but if you could snag a copy of Dugan’s book you could easily find it for yourself or, better yet, write your own. The idea behind the blessing is that we are entering a time of thankfulness, prosperity, and abundance before winter sets in. I usually start my rituals with a Hail to Loki and they always include an offering to the gods these days, where in the past they perhaps wouldn’t have.

Bright Harvest Moon Blessings on You All! May you all find what you’re looking for as a season of introspection begins.

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!

Jormungandr-The World Snake or Loki’s Child

Jormungandr is one of Loki’s children that I actually seem to get a lot of input from here and there. Whenever I’m not paying attention, when I start ignoring the Otherness around me and slipping too far away from my center and I get back into a regular meditation practice I start getting striking snakes as a vision. It’s terrifying and not-I’ve never been bitten, but I’ve been struck at. I had a snake I dearly loved as a child, so I’m familiar with them. They do have personality, if you know how to look for it. They have likes and dislikes and I’m very convinced that mine loved me, so overall, I wasn’t freaked out by Jormungandr.

A lot of my interactions with Jormungandr have been with a large, exceptionally large, snake or with striking snake visions, but, and here my experience differs from many others I have read, Jormungandr almost always comes through for me as very, potently, male. I’ve had dreams with Jormungandr and some deeper meditations and usually I am presented with a male-late 20’s to early 30’s-black hair, pale skin, dark or green eyes. Very dark on light coloring. He’s flirty and reminds me A LOT of Loki, but He’s very much not. Jormundganr’s energy pattern almost confuses me because at times it is very close to Loki’s. Jormungandr’s energy usually comes across to me as almost darker, as if everything that He (I’m going to go ahead and use He here because this is the way that Jormungander has been presenting to me, so really I feel silly dancing around it because most everyone else gets a more neutral version of the World Serpent) does or says is tinged with taboo-that feeling of treading close to be doing something uncomfortable.

Now, some people might ask me if maybe the antenna on my godphone needs adjusting. Am I discerning correctly? Am I sure that this isn’t Loki I’m interacting with? The answer to that would be: I am 100% sure. Loki is tricky sometimes, and uses many masks, but His energy is always the same. He always feels the same to me. I know when I’m interacting with Loki. I’ve earned that knowledge the hard way. Okay, nothing is fool proof, but if I had to lay money on it I would.

I was completely fine with this, and still am really, but the more I read and try to expand my knowledge and understanding the more I realize other people don’t have this experience of Jormungandr as sexed. Most of what I have read, especially the UPG heavy stuff, says sexless or both sexed. Kaldera even calls into question whether or not anyone who has an experience with Jormungandr where He’s communicating with anything like human type consciousness is actually speaking to Him. I will admit when I first read that I was a little put out, and I did sit down and do some thinking, but when all was said and done I was still sure I’ve been getting communication from The World Serpent, and sometimes I do get the striking snake and nothing else, something that is set to bring my attention running quickly.

The reason I’m blogging about this is because one, my experience seems to have drastically differentiated from that of a lot of others, and two because I like to let my experiences guide me. There is a big tendency to read things written by others and immediately start calling our own experiences into question, which to some degree is okay. It’s not a bad thing to pick at an experience and learn something about ourselves, but there’s also a time to simply trust our own discernment and not fall into the trap of allowing others-simply because they have taken the time to write about it-to steal away our certainty. I believe that as spirit workers we all need to be able to trust in our own abilities or work on them. Everyone has their own filter and their own lessons to learn, so my experiences may not be the same as yours and yours may not be the same as mine, and that doesn’t delegitimize either. Then why do I blog about stuff like this? Because it’s still pretty freakin’ neat when I do find someone who has a shared UPG experience, and also there may be people out there that this info might help. I’d hate for someone to read Kaldera or others and say, “Oh, I’m not really talking to Jormungandr because of XYZ” and not be able to find anything else because everyone who isn’t having that experience is keeping it to themselves.

So, that’s my 2 cents on Jormungandr. I interact with a very male, very dry humored, very down to earth child of Loki, who chooses to present to me as male, though I’ve never seen the clothes come off in the human form interactions. I feel it would be a bit rude of me to call that presentation into question because it doesn’t fit the generally accepted mold. Maybe Jor has dude days and chick days and a-sexual days. I can dig it.

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.

Tiwaz and Angrboda…Still Contemplating

So, I got a reminder today about the many levels of the meanings of each rune. About a year ago Angrboda drew the rune Tiwaz on my naked abdomen in blood during a meditation session. Her son Fenris was there in his wolf form, smaller than usual, but there. I’m not sure if Himself was around or not, but it didn’t seem so at the time. She came with a warning as well, that everything I do is NOT, in fact, about Himself. Of anyone, this is a Goddess who could speak to me about not getting lost in His flame, keeping myself for ME as well as for Him and the world. This is an idea that has only come to me recently, that perhaps in a way she was protecting me from getting lost in His flame and the other world to the detriment of my life here and now.  

I’ve spent a lot of time considering what this might mean, but I think this was the beginning of my dedication to reaching toward being a more in tune person. In tune with myself and the spirit world and I think that she was sealing the goal, of rising to a higher level of being, into my spirit.

There are so many meanings to the rune. I don’t know that I will ever fully understand what she was doing that night.