Be a Rebel, Blow Out Your Candles

candles

Never blow out a candle or you blow away the magick. This was something all little, new baby witches were taught when I was coming up as a youngster. Growing up there were countless frustrations as I imagined I’d ruined a ritual completely by blowing out my candles at the end. Blowing out candles has such joyful, childlike association for me that I couldn’t stop myself from doing it. Then I’d have a meltdown after I did and remembered I wasn’t supposed to. Who doesn’t like blowing out birthday candles? Who doesn’t like controlling something with only the invisible force of their breath? At the time I didn’t question the instruction, but little by little over the years I’ve come at that from a completely different angle.

Breath is life.

Breath, divine breath, wakes up life.

When you’re making a gris-gris bag you breathe life into it, wake up the spirit of the bag, depending on how you make one, of course. They’re not as strong if you don’t.

Your breath is magic. When I blow out a candle I don’t see it as blowing away the magick, but rather using my breath to spread my intention into the universe. I’m adding to the magick. In my mind’s eye I’m spreading the gossamer strands of my intention far and wide with my breath, especially with ritual magick. Of course, there are times I don’t blow out candles. When I don’t want to sacrifice any of my life energy to an endeavor I don’t, but normally if something is worth doing on the magickal front it’s worth me putting any energy I can into it.

Like all magick though, if you just can’t get the idea that you’re blowing away the magick out of yoru head when you blow out candles you’re using in a ritual or for devotional purposes you probably shouldn’t do it. You program your intentions with your thoughts. That’s why mental control is such an integral part of witchcraft in general.

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Satanists are Pagans Too

SatanistsandLokeans

This meme was fueled by a discussion on a widely used pagan forum about whether or not to give a booth to Satanists …because they’re Satanists and “not pagan”. Excuse me? When did that happen?

And Satanists are generally no more disruptive than other Pagans at events. I’ve seen many a drunken, naked participant, especially at week long camping circles.

I mean, I know it might not be a popular idea, but I can’t think of anything so opposed to Christianity, as Satanists are. If they are squarely in the Abrahamic paradigm, which many Satanists are not, even then shouldn’t we welcome them? They’re worshipping a different god than the Christians, and that, really, is all it seems to take to shelter under the umbrella of Paganism. That’s not even getting into the discussion of Luciferianism and the Satanists that don’t accept the Abrahamic paradigm. The ones who go, NOPE, these gods existed before the bible and the bible got it wrong. (I’m kind of in that camp, since genesis talks about a council of gods making the world if you read it in Hebrew and understand the different nuances of the word forms.)

Where does all this self righteous Paganism come from? It reminds me far too much of the Heathens who cower from Loki because he’s “evil”. Loki’s not evil, He’s just got shit to do and He gets it done. I suspect Lucifer is the same way. I’m sure His people Adore Him, He has His Loves, and does His good deeds and bad deeds in the world just like every other entity.

Lokeans probably share a special empathy with, or would that be sympathy for, Satanists. Both of our deities get single sided stories told about them, are feared and constantly maligned, and then people are surprised when They get shitty with the occasional irreverent mortal who doesn’t expect anything better from them and calls them up anyway. That’s assuming folks even get the real Lucifer or Loki on the line. I’ll always defend Satanists because I would hope someone would take up the cause of Loki’s people in our absence.

I Don’t Have to Believe You-You Have to Believe You

Everyone once in a while I talk to someone about Them and I don’t believe what they say.

I’m not saying their UPG is invalid or that maybe Loki didn’t do what they said He did or any other thing, but sometimes, I don’t believe them, and I suspect sometimes people don’t believe me.

And that’s okay. My experience is for me and yours is for you.

BUT, I don’t like to be lied to either and I don’t like the phenomena I’ve encountered where some people seem to think I’m LARPing (that’s gamer geek speak for Live Action Role Playing). It kind of cheapens my religious experience and is disrespectful.

Not that it changes my religious experience if others are disrespectful of it, but I try to respect others, so I’d like to hope they would respect me.

But there’s no rule saying they must. I’ve been laughed at before for being pagan. I’ve had eyebrow raises that I work with Loki. I’ve been told I’m going to hell. I don’t believe Jesus is going to rain fire down on my head either, so other people’s UPG? Yeah, no big.

I guess what this wraps back around to is that UPG is personal and we all need to embrace our own UPG and have it makes sense for us. Shared UPG is cool, but not overwhelmingly important to personal practice. I try to approach each conversation I’m involved in with an open mind though, give each person my full attention. I like being an open member of the pagan community for the most part.

So, I guess I’m going to continue being polite at all times, because that’s what others deserve, but I don’t feel compelled to believe every word of every person I speak with, and I think it would be a fool’s errand to do so.

Carving

Once again my personal practice has come back to the issue of time, namely, carving out adequate time at appropriate points in my day.

They need my time. I need Them to have it. It’s a circular thing.

The hours before I fall asleep, perhaps the last hour or so in particular, seems to be something They are telling me should be Theirs, so tonight I’m going to put my work or book down and give it to Them, and see what we shall see.

Trying Not to Waste My Breath

I was going to get into a lengthy diatribe about “good Heathens” who don’t want to worship “the enemies of the gods” today, because I read something exceptionally close minded this morning, but rather than do that, which would only enrage me further, I thought I might talk about the reasons I do keep company with Loki and his family.

Loki is the change, the chaos in the system, that makes the entire system function. He’s playful, intelligent, forthright, loyal, relentless, and someone you should always want at your back. He’s good at seeing where things meet-the physical world, mental boundaries, community ties. He’s potentially the breath of Divine spark in all of us.

Sigyn is an amazing example of steadfast love. She’s also a Goddess who has faced grief and continues on, fulfilling Her duties.

Angrboda is an amazing leader, wise witch, and equal consort of Loki. She’s given Him and the world not only Her wisdom, but Her Children.

Laufey-I can’t say enough good things about Her. She’s healing light.

Hel- She takes care of the dead. We’re all going to die someday. Best not to be disrespectful for no reason.

Fenris-I think He gets a bum wrap. I’m not as sure about Him, as I’ve spent less time with him, but He’s got something going on.

Jormungandr literally holds the world together. Literally.

Odin. Let us not forget that the Allfather is Loki’s blood brother and chosen family.

There is dark in light and light in dark and claiming any one of the Gods is “unworthy” simply means to me that the person making the statement isn’t meant to work with those Gods or hasn’t spent enough time working with Them. There are more lessons to be learned in the gray areas than anywhere else.

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.