The return

I’m back!

Not that I’ve really been anywhere, but I had taken a leave from blogging. There are couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, I have been concentrating hard on writing my book. I don’t want to blog too similarly to the content of the book- what works in a book doesn’t typically work as a blog post.

Secondly, I’ve been somewhat wrestling with myself as to what is suitable for ‘blogging’- given that I have abandoned any idea of aiding others. My theories and beliefs don’t align with anyone else that I know of- they are perhaps best described as being a mix of Nietzsche and Thorsson, but with my own elements interwoven. Certainly, those two minds are the only people I have ever read and felt as if they had written my thoughts. As a result, my views don’t fit with most pagan groups and certainly not with Heathen groups.

There are but two groups globally I have found that have a philosophy similar to my own, but one is too open to anyone joining and as a result makes a show of working towards goals- ultimately achieving very little for the majority. A group as open as this should be viewed as little more than an ‘alternative herd’ for the seeker and as such I must avoid. The other group is very closed and selective of its members. The philosophy is almost a perfect match to my own- yet I have a problem with their use of deity. They seem to be a mix of ‘theistic and non-theistic’ yet only use the deity as an archetype. My fealty to Odin does not align with this- their god may well be Odin in a form, but I cannot call the allfather by a name other than I am used to knowing him as. If I could reconcile this difficulty, then perhaps I can learn from them and accelerate my progress.

Having somewhat resolved the issue of what to blog here- I will guide, I will report on landmarks on my road and I will post my comment, but I will not give explicit instruction here. Find your own path. If you find the right path- well done. If you find the wrong path- you will try again. I believe I have the right path- as I should do so. If you do not trust in yourself, then what can you trust in?

 

 

Pagan misconceptions

There exist a number of misconceptions about Pagans as a whole that really bother me. Surprisingly, the general publics views are less bothersome to me than those of Pagans who should know better.

 

Some misconceptions held by the general public:

  • all Pagans are Wiccan
  • all Pagans are witches
  • all Pagans hold Gerald Gardner in high regard

Now, those are all forgivable as they are the result of misinformation, lack of knowledge etc. Now, the misconceptions that really annoy me as they are held by Pagans who really should know better:

  • we are all Wiccan
  • we all worship the Goddess
  • All Pagans hold Glastonbury to be the most sacred of sites
  • we are all witches
  • we all abide by the ‘harm none, do what you will’ rule
  • Pagans, by default, are animal rights activists
  • we are all vegetarian
  • no Pagan supports the badger cull
  • any Pagan thought is correct and should not be questioned
  • a lack of historic evidence does not mean yours is not an ancient religion
  • a recreated religion can be held up as historically accurate
  • the Tories are evil

I’m sorry but:

  • there are many more paths than Wicca
  • the gods of many Pagan beliefs are equally or more important than an indescript ‘goddess’
  • Glastonbury has a Tor and a well- so do many other towns in the British Isles. It is not that special, as can be said for Stonehenge- other stone circles are equally as magical.
  • I am not a pacifist and do not believe in the ‘harm none’ mentality. I will put my family first at all costs.
  • Animal cruelty is wrong. Animal testing is wrong. Inhumane hunting is wrong. Hunting what you need, killing it quickly and making full use of the animal is fine. I am not anti-hunting.
  • I love meat. Meat is a standard food used to honour my gods. Vegetables are what food eats.
  • I had a chance meeting with a farmer at a conference last week- they are sceptical about the badger cull, but they can’t afford to sit and do nothing whilst their cattle die and so they need the cull. I’m all for supporting the farmers on this. If they need to cull badgers, then let them so long as it is done humanely and with respect for the animals.
  • Why such an uproar over the shooting of badgers? Is it because they can be made into cute cuddly toys? Fox hunting was deemed cruel and everyone couldn’t see what the issue with foxes was until some urban foxes attacked children in their beds. Wild animals can be dangerous and diseased. You can make a cuddly toy gorilla, but you wouldn’t want 100 of them running wild on the street. I think cows are beautiful animals- yet they are also one of my favourite meats.
  • All thoughts and theories are their to be questioned. In some Pagan forums, the asking of tough questions is deemed as troll like behaviour. If your beliefs are so fragile that they cannot be questioned, then maybe this says something about them or you?
  • The modern druids have nothing to do with the ancient druids. Nobody has any ideas as to the full roles of the druids, their beliefs or practices. We know they held sacrifices, were scholary priests and healers. We do not know which gods they worshipped or what their rites were. The modern movement is an attempt to recreate this, but with a lot of unknowns, the modern druid movement is essentially a new age movement with little link to the past. It’s also unlikely that the druids built Stonehenge and other stone circles in Britain and it makes no sense that they are granted the special access to the stones as such.
  • I’m a 100% lifelong Tory. I’m a Heathen and a Tory. My politics have nothing to do with my religious beliefs- please don’t assume that because you hate the Conservative party and that you are a Pagan, that every other Pagan hates the Tories too.
  • Wicca is a 20th century religion. No matter what claim you make of it being handed down through the ages by word of mouth, Wicca is the creation of Gerald Gardner and is a syncretic Pagan belief. Wicca is not the original religion of these lands- that is more likely to have been the original and true Druid beliefs. There is no chance that Wicca survived the Roman invasion, the Anglo-Saxon invasion and the conversion to Christianity and that somehow the original religion survived by word of mouth regardless of 2000 years of replacement beliefs and the persecution of Pagan thoughts over the last 1000 years.

 

Now, that will probably upset a few people. Let me be clear- these are my views. I have no problem with Wiccans, animal rights protestors, Druids or those opposed to the badger cull- just don’t assume that every Pagan has the same beliefs.

 

Dedication

After much debate, I have purchased an iPad with a keyboard cover.

I never saw the benefit of these gadgets and viewed them as a fashion accessory for the most part. The change came as I sought a way to make use of some of my travel time to or from work- I wanted to carry my laptop with me to finish work on my book, but that would mean carrying two laptops. An iPad and keyboard was the light weight option- and syncing to iCloud means my book will always be up to date no matter which device I open it on and continue my work.

I have no idea when the book will be finished, or if it will ever be published. At 15,000 words right now and estimating around another 10,000 to add before I am complete- it would be fair to say the book will be opinionated, but useful whilst heavy going for anyone venturing upon the path to Heathen beliefs.

It would be fair to also say that you can expect more frequent blog updates as a result of the purchase too.

Damn technology making me spend money!

Still walking the path…

It’s been a while since I last posted- so I just thought I’d give you a quick update.

I’m still ‘walking the path’ and can see various steads on the horizon where I may feel welcome and find people I may call my kindred. Not only do I find myself feeling more and more at home in the groups of the ‘Kith of Yggdraasil’ and ‘the Troth’, but I have once more made contact with a local liberal heathen group- ‘the Urd’s Well Kindred’ with whom I’m seeking an audience.

I have many other projects I’m working on and some thoughts to post- so look out for more!

Wassail!

Assorted thoughts

Been a short while- so time for a quick update…

Added a couple more pictures (of Cannock Chase) to the Photos of Midgard section. Weather patterns are making it hard to get good pics as every time I get the chance the weather is not perfect!

Have odd feelings about this summer. I don’t know if something great or terrible is going to happen- just really nervous as we head towards Midsummer. I will have to ask the Runes I guess.

Interesting times we live in- the financial peril faced across the world was always likely when we have economies built around gold reserves that don’t physically exists (there are a lot of I.O.U. notes in gold reserves). I believe that the gods have left us more and more alone as we have matured as a people- maybe that will change with the difficulties we seem to have gotten ourselves into- fiscal, environmental, social, moral and religious… We are like the teenagers given dad’s credit card, car keys and told we have the house to ourselves for two weeks- mankind has run riot over the last few hundred years and there is a big hangover coming!

Planning some trips this weekend- will keep you posted.

A year on this path…

A year ago I started this journey. After much time searching for the higher power in the universe, some books on Wicca opened up some different thought processes and rekindled a bond with the Gods of Asgard that I had such affinity for in pre- teen years. I finally feel at peace with the world and like I am part of something bigger with my fylgja at my side.

My tattoo reflects this perfectly- the commonly used pentacle representing the Wiccan knowledge that reawakened my mind to the pagan world marked upon the tree of Yggdrasil- with the raven representing my fylgja atop the tree and the corpse sucker Nidhogg at the roots of the tree- representing the destiny that may have awaited me come judgement by the gods in my death. Whilst avoidance of Nidhogg and the vaettir of punishment cannot be guaranteed, it is something I strive to do so by way of serving the gods during my remaining time in Midgard. I would hope that my actions now please them and that I can be judged favourably.

Sigurd’s day it is- a day to remember a great warrior who tamed the dragon Fafnir. To me, I don’t ask that anyone agrees, but it is easy to see how the christianisation of England formed st. George from Sigurd= Si is St and Gurd is George. Pronounce it- Se Geord and you will see what I mean.

All in all, I have never felt so alive, free and comfortable with my role in the world. Thanks to Odin and all that I have prayed to or sought guidance from during the last year.

One thing I have found is that my faith relies less on magick now and more on prayers and devotional ritual. Whilst I believe in magick, I know mainly focus on the use of the runes and some use of crystals. The major sticking point for me with Wiccan books was the focus on spell work and nothing on prayer etc. Spell structure replaced prayer as a way to form structure in the minds of those opposed to anything resembling the religions they were brought up into.

To those about to flame me in a comment about those views- know your facts about BTW as formed by Gerald Gardner before claiming it is the true old religion etc. and that half of those calling themselves Wiccan are not actually part of BTW initiated covens an so are not Wiccan as per that definition but are more a type of neo-ecclesiastical Wicca/pagan practice- and that is ok! Even the major religions in the world today have their different sects and views- heck, the Abrahamic based religions are split around their god, Jesus and Mohammed…

All I will say is that Odin is very clever, a traveler, a master of disguise and that he can appear as whatever he wishes to achieve his goal. Maybe there is more than just assimilation of old practices to explain the similarity between some aspects of the old ways an these Abrahamic religions?

Heathen music

Now, I’m a little surprised that I find the following music very much pleasing to listen to- after all, I wouldn’t usually find music themed around a particular subject of interest as I like a variety in my musical tastes…

It began with a quest to find some music non-intrusive, yet suitable for use in the background when preparing blots etc or to raise energies for magickal deeds. What I found was a group named Wardruna and their album Gap var Ginnunga. The album employs traditional instruments native to Norway and the rest of Scandinavia and the music is steeped in the lore of the 9 worlds. As a Heathen or Asator- this album is nothing short of a delight to listen to.

Well, being so impressed I decided to see what other Heathen music was out there…

Sig:Ar:Tyr is a great mix of folk/metal.

Tyr are an amazing band from the Faroe Isles whose albums are steeped in the Lore of the Asa-gods and the Edda’s. They make good use of their heritage within the songs which are classic metal in style with harmonies that sit between Iron Maiden and Rush.

Amon Amarth are a Swedish Death Metal band whose albums and lyrics all revolve around the tales of the Edda’s, the Asa-gods, persecution at the hands of the Christians and the life that a viking would have had 1000 years ago. An amazing band, fantastic lyrical content, brilliant melodies (yes- they are so melodic that they are frequently called a melo-death metal band!). Worth a listen and their are multiple videos on YouTube.

If anyone knows any more music that is rock/metal/folk based I would love to hear your suggestions. Led Zeppelin always leant towards this, but there are so many brilliant musicians taking heathen music to the forefront with their brilliant work. Always the obvious ones like Wagner which I admit form the base of a lot of my music for rituals.

Finding a heathen or Asatru group in England

Time after time I search, I contact, I correspond and then I despair…

The challenge- find a heathen/Asatru group in England that has no racial discrimination inherent to the group…

Yes, walk into a Church of England church one Sunday afternoon and you can find a racist- racists are not defined by religion and so all religions have them. Unfortunately, due to the use of Norse god’s, runes and mythology by the Nazi’s- Asatru and Heathenism are unfortunately tainted in the eyes of the uneducated. Realisitically, every religion is tainted by one war or actions of some- the Roman Catholic church has had millions killed in it’s name, tortured, pillaged and crushed rebellions. So some unfortunate use of heathen symbolism by the Nazi’s has essentially not only tainted use of Runes, Sun-wheels etc. but also make the mythology open to abuse by those seeking to hide their racism under the guise of a ‘religion’…hence, you can easily find many racists within the wrong heathen group.

Everytime I think I have found a group where any hint of racism may not be tolerated…I seem to rapidly find too many comments suggesting otherwise- or a too liberal and stringent application of the term ‘folk’. It seems that the stronger the identification with the ‘folk’, then it may be the more subverted the racism towards those not of the ‘northern-european folk’.

I have found groups with promise…but these seem to have disbanded or no longer exist.

If anyone knows of the answer to my prayers- a non-racist heathen or Asatru group within the UK and preferably the West Midlands…please let me know.

This is my battle as someone on the path of a Vitki within the Heathen/Asatru way…I know I am not alone in being a liberal minded heathen and am open to forming a group should that be the path I find myself on.

Defining my own path…

This journey keeps surprising me more and more.

Recently started chatting to other Pagans on various websites about beliefs and I guess some of them pointed out something I pretty much knew anyway- my beliefs are more Asatru than Wicca.

Do I worship the Moon as Goddess and Sun as God?- No.

Do I worship Odin & Frigga as my primary God and Goddess? Yes

Do I also call other Gods of the Aesir and Vanir as needed? Yes

Do I have an unexplained attraction to the ‘Norse Gods’ since childhood? Yes

Do I place faith in the Runes and what they divine? Yes

MMMmmmm….Yes, I may well be more Asatru than Wiccan.

I wasn’t sure what this meant- most of the Asatru groups I have seen are about group worship and little inclusion of magick. Spellcraft forms a central tenet of my relationship with my Gods and Goddesses. Where did this leave me?

And then I picked up a book I had purchased and has been on my pile to read for a short while…Northern Magic- Rune Mysteries and Shamanism by Edred Thorrson. Yes, this book knows me! It’s like it was sat there waiting to answer my questions!

So as I embrace the Troth and learn from my ancestors, I know now that I am on the path of a vitki (wise one) which actually isn’t too far from the original meaning of the word ‘Wicca’.

I now feel able to continue, without label, on my own path as a vitki who is exploring my Troth and what magick I find along the way. I belong to no group as such and seek no companion on my journey as it is mine and mine alone as I endeavour to be closer to Odin.

Blessings.

Storing out of sight…

When you embark on a Wiccan or any Pagan path, have a family that understand but your house is open to many visitors that maybe would not understand and be suceptible to the typical Hollywood and Christian church influenced bias against you- then you have to tidy your altar and tools away…

Doing this can be easier said than done! I need storage I feel is suitably special, blessed and protective without drawing undue attention to the contents.

Why can’t you find boxes long enough to hold 50 or 60 assorted incense sticks? Why can’t you find wooden boxes large enough for an athame or wand to be secure within? There’s a niche market their for someone to produce such items. Wand bags? I had to go and make my own wand and as such…it doesn’t fit bags made for off the shelf wands.

I currently have my items stored in 3 large wooden rectangular boxes of various design plus one large domed wine casket for the incense and larger altar items.

Books, candles etc are hidden in plain sight within a glazed cabinet so people see them but they don’t notice them. At least- if anyone does notice, then nobody has the front to ask my wife or I what they are for!

How I would love to have a spare room, attic or cellar to dedicate as my sacred space and permanently erect my altar!

Any ingenious storage ideas are welcomed please!

Blessings…