Stability versus Mutability

Our deities seem to be able to move with the times, change and learn, study us to see where we’re going so that they can relate to us.

I see it in the splinters of the deities who are attached to different persons. Each splinter seems to be crafted to suit the person’s maturity and concerns – a flighty person, a flighty splinter. A mature person, a mature splinter.

Wytch of the North calls hers ‘My Lord of Masks’, and talks about the deities swapping identities casually between themselves. Do they also swap offices? Realms of control? Has Ares ever swapped with Aphrodite, just for the education it would be?  Would Hermes and Apollon trade spheres of influence temporarily?

This kind of mutability is disturbing to most of us. We like stability. We like it so much that we’ll remain in a rut that’s harmful to us rather than risk changing. The idea that your god really isn’t your god, even when he IS your god, leaves us wondering about our terra really being firma.

I suspect this isn’t a problem with most because their contact with their deity isn’t on a basis where they’d really notice a difference. Most of us don’t have daily conversations with our deities. Most of us never hear their voice at all, and consider someone who has to be extremely fortunate, even if it was no more than a few words or a strong feeling. Most of us believe they are there, hope they are there, but we don’t KNOW that they are there. We don’t consciously work with our gods so we don’t notice.

But the few – ‘we few, we lucky few, we band of brothers’ – do notice and are often dismayed or confused by the sudden changes, whether it’s a change of name, a change of personality, or a change of any sort. Suddenly, we don’t know our own god, the god we’ve worked with for so long.  It’s got to be hard to accept. It’s got to make us question everything we knew.

And then there are those who never have to question because their deity never seems to change at all. Herne is always Herne. Loki is always Loki.  Ma’at is always Ma’at.  They work with the same face their entire lives.

One tries to understand, but perhaps understanding is beyond us. Perhaps we just have to accept, adapt, and overcome. Perhaps some of us have to learn to walk on earthquakes.

 

 

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Can Gods be held accountable for their Actions?

I only ask because I’ve run across more than one person who claims to have been abused or raped by a god. So I’m wondering, just what recourse do mortals have when gods break all civility and morals?

Is there a pecking order in a pantheon? If Odin rapes one of Loki’s people, can Loki demand weregild? Or is Loki SOL as much as the mortal?

What recourse, if any, does a mortal have?

Then others have spoken of times when the deity they had been working with simply bows out so that a different deity can enter, whether the mortal agrees to it or not. And the retreating deity won’t interfere, even when the new deity is abusive and the mortal is asking for help. Is there a hierarchy amongst the deities that says one outranks others, and that one can do as it wills until or unless one who outranks him shows up?

Can you refuse to work with a deity who abuses you? Can you banish a deity? Will wards and shields keep him out? If that doesn’t work, what does?

And how do you heal from abuse when your religion actively promotes and worships the deity who abused/raped you?

Are we pagans as bad as Christians in this respect? Yahweh did some horrible things to a lot of people but Christians ignore all of that and claim that he’s a ‘loving’ god. If Odin is a rapist, how do Odinists or Heathens or whatever reconcile that with their view of him? Do they simply ignore his bad side? Pretend it doesn’t exist, the way Christians pretend? Try to destroy the victim because she’s saying something they don’t want to face up to?

I suppose the idea that gods can do anything they want, because they’re gods, and what happens to us doesn’t matter, but I’ve never believed that crap. It makes the deities nothing but parasites. And it shows them to be petty, cruel, arbitrary, and unable to learn. Not what I’d call worship material.  Is the only recourse we have to stop being pagan entirely? Switch over to another pantheon in hopes that the deities there are more respectful of mortals and better behaved?

I’ve never been physically assaulted or raped by a deity, but if I were I’d want vengeance bigtime. I would cut my ties with that pantheon and those people, because they are aiding and abetting the behavior of the deity who did it.  If a group turns a blind eye to the cruelty of a deity, if a group excuses that behavior as ‘a test’ or ‘you deserve it’ or ‘shaman sickness’ or whatever other bullshit excuse they can come up with, then they’re enabling the actions of a deity who doesn’t deserve worship.

 

Gaia “Hold my beer”

This past month feels like the start of just about every young adult dystopian novel that I have read. Series of natural distastes  entangled with an incompetent or overly religious government waiting in the wings to swoop in and instill their “new and improved” form of government to save the people. The average person on the street oblivious or so afraid they don’t know what to do to make the train wreck stop.

Makes a cat down right nervous.

Fires in the Pacific West, four hurricanes  in the gulf, earthquakes in Mexico and its not just here in the Americas, the whole world is hurting.

Hope asked me earlier today if I was noticing that it was like all the elements are pissed. Earth, air, fire water all angry pissed and acting out.

I responded with a quick unthinking retort of “Awe hell no, it’s Gaia she’s PISSED”

Then to myself . “Oh”

She’s downright angry at us and its starting to manifest.

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Mom is telling us to clean up our mess.

While meditating this morning I had to ask her “Where to start, mom ”

“Sanctuary” that was the answer I got clear in my mind. “Build your own sanctuary and shrine to me”

Coyvere’s interpretation of Gaia is less angry than my own.  He says she simply is sweeping aside old broken structures to make way for the new growth that must emerge here at the beginning of the new age.  He is more calm about destruction than I am some days. He is more comfortable that I to soak in the chaos.

I am a creature of habit so change is struggle to me and not always welcome. I understand the necessity of change and work with deities to help uncover my own chains of illusion that bind me. Focus is not my strong point and daily practices, well I’m a cat for goddess sake, we like sunbeams, warm fires and a good book. Static is an art form for a cat.  As Coyvere reminded me often daily practice is the best place to start. Establishing daily habits of worship or even recognizing and thanks daily  for what we have.  These are the things that will help us to recognize Gaia’s growth and changing and to help carry us though these changes.

I have had a daily practice for years.  Starting each morning lighting our oil lamp for Hestia. Over the past couple of years I’ve added things a couple of salt lamp candles for cleaning out the house in the morning, lighting some incense to our ancestors inside the house and a stick outside for my more natural or nature based ancestors.  The last good drink of tea in the morning has always gone outside to the earth for Gaia.

Is  that enough? When I am mindful and present in such acts yes but when I do them out of rout habit, no it’s not. My gods do not want mindless sacrifice they want mindful sacrifice, if only for a second. That is more important that remembering to take cloth bags to the store.

It is going back to these basics that help me in these times of storms. Going back to the basic helps me ground and be present in the moment.

In this I will create sanctuary.

 

 

 

Joining A School, or How I went looking for Discipline and Ran Into Frustration.

A couple weeks ago I was nattering on with Glory, and we got to discussing the online Wiccan college she’s affiliated with and attending. I’m not Wiccan – I have some serious basic problems with some of the ideas Wicca claims – but I’ll go out of my way to garner knowledge. As they say, a muddy pool still reflects the sun. So I was wondering what such a school would help me with, and a Voice said ‘Discipline’.

Okay – I’ll be the first to admit that I am lacking in discipline. And without discipline, you really can’t get anywhere in magick, or in life for that matter.  Without discipline, Will and Focus and Intent are pretty much useless. So, taking the hint in the spirit of its intention, I signed up for the school, although not without misgivings.  But I resolved to give it an honest try.

My first concern was ‘are they going to force me to go back to basics I learned a half century ago?’. So far, not. I’ve done the Introductory Lesson, and Lesson 1, plus the Deity Focus.  It’s been mostly background and history, and basic tenets of the path. I’m not arguing with my poor teacher and mentor – just being careful about what I write. Well, mostly careful. When it came to wands I did point out that after a certain period one moves beyond the need for props.  And I’ve never seen anyone using a besom to sweep out negative energies. But, hey! If it works for you…

A couple things irk me about the school itself – the homework page doesn’t save, so unless you are ready to fill it out entirely and send it, you can’t use it. You have to make a separate page to save your work on and then copy/paste it to the lesson page. That’s annoying and a sign of not planning. But Glory assures me that they are working on fixing this problem with the platform.

And the insistence on forcing everyone, no matter their ability, to hold their pace to a year and a day, which means that lessons can’t be sent in faster than one per two weeks.  For someone actually just starting off this would be understandable.  For someone who’s done some work in other covens, this would be a hindrance. For me, it’s vastly irritating. But again, that’s how it’s set up and I suppose that discipline comes from learning to adapt to the circumstances around you.

Other than those niggling items, the college isn’t too bad so far.  Oh, wait – I forgot the damned journal they want you to keep. I dislike being told I have to open myself up to others on a regular basis. I write on this blog as the spirit moves me when I have something to say. Being told that I HAVE to write makes my ears go back and my spine stiffen.  I may end up writing garbage in the journal.  Especially since I’m writing here, and keeping a regular journal at home. One can have too many!

My first deity focus was for Danu. I did my ferreting on the net and found enough info to put into the correspondences they asked for, but the mediation brought nothing so I had nothing to write when they asked for a description of the ritual. I can’t be explicit when nothing happened.  Well, okay, I can say that, but it’s not what they want. I talked to Glory about it and she said I should try to do it again in the shower (running water being one of Danu’s things) or to sit outside with an offering of honey and talk to her. I took Door #2 and took my coffee and a dab of honey on a dish outside this morning. After setting the dish on the picnic table I sat down and drank my coffee, planted my bare feet on the ground, and talked to Danu.

I asked for a sign of her hearing me, of her accepting me as a student. I asked for a few bees to come for the honey. After sitting outside a good half hour, I got zilch. I mean, I didn’t even get a frickin’ fly! As Glory points out – sometimes silence is the answer. I think I got good and snubbed!

 

Ah Hope

Ah my dear Hope

We must agree to disagree

I know that you and I have had this argument for years – this idea that we are in an adversarial relationship with our gods (guides, guardians and/or higher self). That some members of my tribe see the relationship we have with them is unbalanced and that they enjoy our feeling of pain, suffering and embarrassment. Even to the point that they will set us up to fail or to look foolish. I also know that this makes you angry. In that anger, you search for proof of this belief. I see this in you and I see it in others.

It breaks my heart because my experiences are so much the opposite of yours.

Let me remind you of my truths that I always work with:

1) Separation of self from divinity (this is a myth a lie)
We are all one in the same. My guardians, guides, ancestors and/or gods. I would love to separate out the three in to neat categories but they are not separate. At some point in the vast cosmic expansion they are all linked as one. I know I approach spirituality, faith and religion with a more eastern mind set. I AM NOT SPERATE FROM MY DIVINITY OR MY GODS. If we are one why would they want me to fail why would they find humor in my mistakes. When I am soul hurt my gods weep with me. When I am ego hurt they offer comfort but with that edge and that reminder of free will sucks.

2) Trust
It’s a horrible 5 letter word that eats at the consciousness and ego us all. To trust is to embrace weakness and worst of all faith that others are there to help. Yet without trust starting with ourselves we can never find balance with gods. Without trust, there is always that struggle. Without trust, there is fear. We all know fear is the mind killer.

3) We view the world though our human existence and mask
We look at the world around us through a mask of our own perceptions, a filter built of our experiences and teachings. The foundations of this are built in out childhood by our families. Some of us grow up learning to trust the world and view all people as good in their base nature and willing to help others. Some of us grow up viewing the world as adversarial always a struggle for rare praise and resources. This creates an adversarial relationship with others from the start. The latter is where this break between or own self and being a peace with our own divinity and connections comes into play.

Imagine if you will your own body, your heart wanting our stomach to digest food quickly and efficiently leaving no fat behind to travel to our thighs. The stomach doing its best to give us the energy we need to live and move though are day piss that the heart is trying to tell it what to do. In this model, the heart is always at war with the stomach because the stomach is failing to do what the heart wants the stomach is at war with the heart because the stomach is just trying to do its job. Creating this imbalance and fight constantly. Then our brain gets involved and wants to use facts or logic to tell the heart and the stomach to stop fighting but rather than listen to the brain the heart and stomach start fighting with the brain. In this system, the body s always at war with itself. It has forgotten its true mission which is to be whole.

The reality is of course that the body is a single system that, when in balance, works harmoniously so that all of its parts benefit. We and the gods and spirits native to our universe are all part of one body. The more we understand how each part works, the more we can simply trust those parts to do their job. When we believe that a part should work differently and demand that it acts in some manner that is alien to it, it seems as if that part is defiant. The defiant part is telling us our beliefs are wrong, which can feel like an attack when our beliefs are deeply held.

4) Deities are a limited resource…
We live in a world that requires is to kill to eat so right from the start our perceptions are that life is a battle be it with a tomato worm or a tiger. We are all fighting for resources we need to live. Day to day there is struggle to get enough food, clean drinking water, enough money to pay bills, to get the medicine we need to survive. This struggle is real it is part of being human. What is not real is this idea that the attention paid to us by deity, the love given to us by deity is also limited. Worse that we need someone else to tell us what it is our gods are wishing and hoping for us. This is a myth and a HUGE one. There is no limit to the love a deity can give us, there is no limit to the attention bestowed upon us by our deities, gods, guardians and ancestors. Their desire for us to succeed is unlimited as is their affection, love and energy they bestow upon us to see us reach our highest potential. Their only desire is to see us freed from any Karmic debt and to move upward embracing all of this human experience.

My hope for you is maybe someday we can come to a balance between our understandings of how the universe works. Maybe one day convince you that you are amazing and wonderful and that the gods do love you.

Much love

Nettle

PS Coyvere sends his love as well

Cold Comfort

Today I got on Pantheos and read an article (which I should have written down the author and the title but didn’t, damn it) that said the following:

“Spirit mentors, like other mentors, lie and cajole and oversimplify to get you to do what needs to be done. They’ll tell you it’s the end of the world, that only you can save it. They’ll tell you that you’re special, and important, and necessary.

They’ll do it because it’s the only way to motivate the average person.

Remember, when a spirit tells you you’re special, it’s proof you aren’t! Spirits don’t offer money. Ideology is a human thing and they couldn’t care less. They’re not interested in compromise or negotiation. But hell do spirits ever know how to play an ego when they need someone to act!”

Okay, I admit it – I’m average. I know damn good and well that I’m not saving the bloody world. I know damn good and well that I can’t mend the rifts between planes (which don’t exist in the first place) and restore Dragonkind (if it ever needed restoring, which I don’t know).  But because Nammu stroked my ego with this farrago of nonsense she got me to do a few things that were inconsequential in my eyes (rescue a stuffed toy dragon for one).  I was a sucker. No two ways about it. And you know what bothers me the most? That she assumed that if she didn’t feed me this line of bullshit I wouldn’t do those things for her.

None of the things she asked for were or are onerous. Climbing down to another rv space to pick up a bedraggled stuffed toy didn’t cost me anything but the effort and a few minutes. Ditto the other things. None of them were things that at which the average helpful person would balk. Even writing this blog, which can sometimes be frantic because my life is so humdrum that I have nothing to write about, isn’t something onerous. Well, I don’t like having to nag my fellow bloggers to write, because unlike me they actually have lives filled with all sorts of activities. But you see my point.

I owed Nammu and I would have been happy to repay some of my debt by doing the things she sent me to do. The line of ‘you’re the only one who can do this!’ wasn’t necessary and was, frankly, insulting.  Most of my hesitation came from wanting confirmation of my feelings/impulses. Since none of our interaction was verbal, I wanted to be sure to differentiate between what I wanted to do and what she wanted me to do. Occasionally I got this, but often I didn’t.  Occasionally I got more than I wanted. But I would have done these things (albeit not without a bit of kicking and screaming about the blog)  just as readily if not more so had she just told me the truth.

‘See that purple and green thing down there? It’s a stuffed dragon that I want you to pick up and give to someone later. Please go get it.”

“I’m sending you this compulsion so that you’ll be able to recognize it later, should it happen to you.”

But because I’m average, I get lied to. Oh, underneath the stroking I had my doubts about what she said, but hey! I didn’t think she’d lie to me. There was no need. I already owed her and offered to her daily.

So if you are being told this line of bullshit from a spirit, take a step back and realize that you’re being lied to. Yes, it’s insulting. Yes, it shows that the spirit doesn’t respect you. Maybe it comes from millennia of dealing with people who had to be manipulated to do something that needed doing. I don’t know the reasons. You might want to have a talk with that spirit and gently tell it that it doesn’t need to do that.  I’m a pretty honest type of person, and I want honesty from those I deal with. I prefer to be a partner, not a puppet. I think that those of us who choose this path – or are chosen for it – prefer the same.

Oily update

Today I strained my herbal oils that I started back at Sumner Solstice, it was messy

I got oil all over my hands, the table, the chair the kitchen sink, my hair even the floor. It was a glorious mess!

The oils are fabulous looking and smelling – sweet green earthy no moldy rotten smell to them. 0726171318d

from left to right we have Arnica, Plantain, Calendula and Yarrow – this is why labels are important – at least in the making of herbal oils and future salves.

0726171317a Also important is remember to check to see if you have all the ingredients you need in large enough proportions to finish your project. Now begins my search for beeswax.

Happy almost Lammas/Lughnasadh!