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.