Wanting More

The last couple of weeks have been difficult as my mundane life seems to be crumbling under my feet. I fear the next step will be the weak spot that will make everything collapse, yet moving forward is the only way out, for staying in one spot will surely bring my downfall.

Because of this my spirituality has begun to take a backseat. I still do my daily prayers but have done nothing more to reach out. Although my room is in the middle of some serious cleaning to make room for the ancestors and forgotten dead shrines. But I want more. Something’s missing. What else can I do besides prayer and meditation? This question has been on my mind even prior to shit hitting the fan in my mundane life. I feel like the answer is so simple yet just out of my grasp.

I’ve been working on divination techniques, seeing if that is what is missing. Divination has always interested me and it’d be nice to have another way to communicate with the Divine. Recently I’ve tried my hand at pendulum divination. And it has not gone well. Maybe I’m not doing it correctly but the damn thing refuses to cooperate. I’m thinking of moving on but I don’t know what to. I have no desire to do Tarot. The urge has never been there, even in my fluffier days and everybody was doing it. Tarot just holds no interest for me. Runes… I’m going to mainly glaze over right now because they will be getting their own post later. There’s like a million different divination techniques out there but I can’t seem to find any that either A) interest me, or B) are actually plausible for me to do. Or maybe divination isn’t what I’m looking for right now. We’ll see.

I apologize that this post is a little lacking. I spent like an hour staring at the screen thinking “What the hell am I trying to say?” Hopefully the next post will be a bit more fleshed out.

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Celebrating the “Wrong” Holidays

A long time ago when I was in middle school I overhead these two girls next to me talking about some Atheist they knew. One of them mentioned “But they celebrate Christmas, you can’t be an Atheist and celebrate Christian holidays!” and had a good laugh.

And to be honest it really pissed me off.

And for a quite few years I didn’t know why. I wasn’t Pagan, or an Atheist or a Christian, or anything really back then. Religion wasn’t discussed in my family. My two older sisters went to church with their father every Sunday* and I was always thankful I never had to go. That was about the extent of talk of religion in my family. So I didn’t know why that comment by my classmate annoyed me so much.

Then it began to fall together when I began to study and get into Paganism. I celebrated Christmas and Easter with my family and still do today. But back then I was much more new and insecure and confused about what it was I believed in. I fretted that celebrating these Christian holidays people would think I wasn’t a “real” Pagan. And that’s absolutely ridiculous. As mentioned above my family isn’t religious, however I believe my parents fall into the lapsed Christian category. Either way, here is an example to demonstrate my pitiful lack of knowledge on religion when I was a child: during Christmas most of our decorations were of Santa Claus and snowmen and the typical commercial images of Christmas. There were the few excepts, the main religious decoration was a statue set of the Nativity of Jesus. When I looked at it as a child I always thought “What does this have to do with Christmas?”.

…Oops.

My family doesn’t celebrate holidays in a religious context. There might be religious symbolism in certain actions or items, but these things are simply tradition. For me these days are family holidays. They’re rare moments my family can get together and have a good time.** My family celebrates the commercialized holidays. So since religious beliefs aren’t really included I see no reason to separate myself from them. And even if there were what am I going to do? Lock myself in my room and be like “Sorry, that’s not my religion. I’m just going to not be a part of this family for today.” Seriously? Besides I see open Pagan circles all the time where Pagans of all strips can come join in the ritual or feast or whatever, and nobody blinks twice at those! I mean if you personally don’t feel comfortable being a part of your family’s celebration on the holidays and wish no part of it, than that’s fine. But excluding oneself is no more right or wrong than joining in the celebrations. So I strongly believe that celebrating Christmas or Easter with family doesn’t suddenly make you any less of a Pagan/Atheist/Whatever.

*My two older sisters are half-sisters, they have a different father.

**I know most people dislike the holidays because of relatives but I love it for that reason. My family gets along, we have fun together. It probably helps by the fact that my family is pretty small.

An excellent post by Dver on continuing devotional work.

I’d like to add my own thoughts on the subject. There are times the passion for one’s path and spirituality wanes. And that’s okay. Spirituality can sometimes go on the back burner as mundane life takes over. Dver is right that one shouldn’t stop devotional work completely, but if one is not as involved as they once were it’s not the end of the world. Eventually the tables will turn and mundane life can end up on the back burner as the focus turns to one’s spirituality. Cycles like this are completely normal. After all are you always 100% involved in every single interest you have? Most likely not.
I’m going to use an example one of my sculpture professors used when working on a project. During class he would always demand that we step away from what we were working on. Giving us a break would help give us a new perspective on the piece when we returned to it. We could see it with new eyes so to say. The same could be said for one’s spiritual path. If one is so involved in what they are doing for an extensive amount of time the reasoning why may become lost or things may become stagnant, one may end up just going through the motions. Taking a step back and a moment to breath can help generate new ideas and renew passion. Continuing one’s devotions even if they’re small gestures can keep one from feeling completely disconnected during these waning phases. However these “calmer” periods can be used to further one’s spiritual path if one takes the opportunity to use it beneficially.

A Forest Door

Over and over again, I see the same pattern being described on the blogs of various pagans – something bad (or even something good!) happens in their lives, and they let go of most or all of their spiritual practices. They lose a job, get married, fall sick, or just get busy, and the first things to suffer are their devotional relationships and religious obligations. They even see this happening, but often as not they excuse it (rather than trying to fight it) – after all, who could blame them if these big life changes kept them distracted?

Now, the first problem with this is that it is evidence of a certain internal prioritization that I find sadly common amongst even supposedly super-committed pagans – religion is separated from “life” and not valued as highly as “life stuff” like relationships, career, etc. Of course, when “life stuff” gets in the…

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Dreams

I have a horrible time remembering dreams, and there’s a pattern to it that I’ve taken note of. Which I’ve broken down into different types.

Type A: Moments that go from sleeping to an awake state immediately, such as when noticing I’m late for work or class, I jump out of bed frantically. This makes me unable to remember a dream at all. It’s gone immediately, usually not even able to recall what the dream was about.

Type B: This is the usual, where I wake up by an alarm and I drag myself out of bed more slowly but still tired. These moments I can usually grasp moments of the dream, emotions and sensations are usually what stick around the longest. But still, these fade after a few minutes. However this type can be similar to Type A, I don’t always remember dreaming at all.

Type C: Days I can sleep in, gradually moving from sleep mode to fully conscious. As I move from one stage to the next, leaves me time to mull over what happened. It starts while I’m dreaming. Right before I wake up my dream self will suddenly start observing what’s going on rather then being a part of it. It’s kind of weird. But either way, dreams stick with me for much longer.

The advice I get to help remember is to write everything down. But in most cases it does no good, since more often than not I don’t remember anything. Even in Type B when there’s bits and pieces still in my memory it’s not something that can be put into words. Like mentioned above they’re emotions and sensations that can’t be cataloged. So that’s my never ending dream dilemma.

Interesting note, the last few weeks there have been dreams with Loki or Tyr in them. I remember nothing about the dream except that Loki or Tyr* were in it in some form or another. However I never took much stock in these dreams, as if either deity is trying to communicate with me (which would suck, since I can’t remember the dreams). I played it off as just my brain doing what it does when I sleep.

However about a week ago I did have a dream that might have meant something. I only remember the last bit, but it was about a sweater that everyone received. Everyone was excited for it and put it on, however we soon realized all the sweaters were infested with these tiny little red spiders that bit. They weren’t lethal, they’d just leave a red itchy bump, similar to a mosquito bite. However I was barely bitten, whereas everyone else was covered in bites. Then me and my cousin were thinking on ways to disinfect the sweaters. The two ideas I can recall were bleaching the sweaters or soaking them in pesticides. Which would either be lethal or destroy the sweaters. Now I know what you’re thinking “Just don’t wear the sweaters.” Well that wasn’t an option. No idea why, it just wasn’t. I reached an fully awake state after that**.

There was this moment while I was still semi sleeping and a revelation hit me that the dream was metaphorically about Loki. My heart skipped a beat with the hit of this revelation. There was something in the dream that made me come to this revelation that left no doubt in my mind. Ironically I don’t remember what that compelling information was. So I tried looking at what I did remember to tie it to Loki and this is what I have so far:

The easy and straight forward signs first.

1. Loki is often associated with spiders***.

2. He’s associated with the color red.

Now the more in-depth signs.

3. Loki causes mischief and and discomfort which was symbolized through the bites and the itchiness.

4. The fact that if you ignore Him or disrespect Him, He will often cause more mischief in your life. Symbolic of everyone else getting bitten more then me. Also as a note, when the spiders were found everyone started freaking out and I just shrugged and was nonchalant about it****.

5. The fact that we were unable to find a way to rid ourselves of the spiders without destroying something we cared for or risk to our health. You can’t really rid yourself of a god unless They decide to move on. If you push to hard the above consequences are possible.

And that’s all I got so far.

*Never both in the same dream.

**I had this dream during a Type C morning.

***I don’t know if it’s a certain type of spider or just all spiders.

****Which is weird since I hate spiders and bugs in general. I have an undying fear off them that just gets worse as I grow older.

Researching to Practising

Throughout most resources I’ve seen they all mention how researching will only get someone so far till the person needs to do whatever they’re researching, be it devotional work, spirit work, magic, etc. That should be fairly obvious, no matter how many art books one reads, they won’t become a great artist till they practise doing art themselves. However I always felt like the more information I knew on an intellectual level I would be that much further along when I started on a spiritual level. This is not so. Or at least not to the degree I once thought. An experience I have with a deity might not be anything like what I’ve read. So all that information I’ve read on won’t really help tell me directly how to deal with this experience. However it can help give me ideas on what questions I should ask myself to clarify the event myself. (But not necessarily) But even then, hearing about an experience and experiencing firsthand are two totally different beasts. And you’ll find yourself looking at certain things you thought you knew well and finding out you don’t know it all that well after all.

Along the same lines, look at what one actually does, be it during prayer, ritual, holiday, etc. What sounds awesome and perfect in your head or on paper can be disastrous or unfulfilling when actually done. But you won’t know till you try.

All in all, from the short time I’ve moved from just researching to practising has given me this revelation: Researching will help me know my path, practising will help me understand my path.

Introductory

The dreaded and awkward first post. They’re almost as bad as the “About me” sections on various social medias. What to say without throwing random facts about myself that are completely irrelevent, or telling everyone my life story, or telling them nothing making the post itself irrelevent.

Thankfully this time I can use this moment to simply state the purpose of this blog. The purpose is to share my spiritual and religious journey as I grow. I’m a Heathen, which means I follow the Northern European Gods. I’ve studied and researched this path for roughly two or three years but only recently started practicing. There’s this horrible habit I have where I don’t write things down, then regret it later. (You’d think I’d learn, but nope, then bitch about it later.) I’m hoping that starting this blog will help with that issue.