From 2007-2010 I was one of the leaders of the Vanatru movement under the name Svartesol; in 2009 I put out a book called Visions of Vanaheim which was considered the essential Vanatru text (which has in 2014 re-released in a revised and expanded version, available in paperback and PDF). A rising star, I burned out pretty quickly, not having the interpersonal skills and boundaries that I have now… and when I burned out, I tried to walk away from the Vanir for awhile. One of the reasons why I call this blog Roads to Vanaheim isn't just because it's a catchy title within the limit of 18 characters, but because my own path with the Vanir has been a long and winding road – I've found myself lost a few times, I've been tired… but your heart knows where home is, and so it is that I keep crossing the ways into Vanaheim to know them, and invite them here into this world as well.
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There has been so much talk lately of peace. The world is not an easy place right now, and I see difficulties all around, from the level of geographical turmoil to communities in chaos, to quieter, more internal distress. And I see friends, well-intentioned and hard-working people, left bereft of direction, unsure of what to do in the face of it all.
We are all part of something. Family, tribe, online and in person, we have those we love and who love us in turn. We try to reach out, to help where we can, but it can be very difficult, as the connections become loose. Understanding can be lost as beliefs differ, opinions clash, cultures seem confusing. There is never just one side to a story.
I often say that I do my best, because that's all I (or any of us) can do. And I mean it, even if some days, my best doesn't seem like very much at all! But as a Druid and a Pagan, I feel the connection with those around - both human and non-human. My hilltop home, but also the pull of the lands of my childhood (varied though they were) and welcoming places that I've visited, both across the UK and overseas. So many lives, so many stories. How many do we touch, as we walk our paths? What effect do we have on the tides of this world?
It's Faithful Friday, and we have a cascade of articles on how faith — Pagan, Heathen, polytheist, or Christian, Muslim, Buddhist -- affects our lives, our planet, our societies. Theology of Ebola, What Would Krishna Do?, introverted Paganism, honoring our ancestors, and a Pagan Time Capsule fill this edition. Enjoy your weekend!
Is sickness an indication of divine wrath? It's not a trivial question, as demonstrated in this article from Slate on how the Ebola outbreak in Africa is influenced by belief in the omnipotence of the Almighty....
I think it was Judy Harrow that told me this story. If not, apologies to my actual informant, whoever you are. As my father is fond of saying, “Age spares us nothing.”
Dateline: Chicago, 1993: the World Parliament of Religions. (This was the event at which the archbishop of Chicago used his political muscle to get the pagans a permit to do a ritual in a public park. Now that's what I call ecumenism.) It's the main event: religious leaders from all over the world are lined up on stage. The place is packed so full that they have to set up TV screens outside to accommodate everyone that wants to see. The pagans are all outside, watching. (There are, of course, none on stage.)
Some grandee gets up to talk. “Let us all be as one,” he says. “After all, we all worship the same god.” Nods, smiles, and knowing applause from the entire line-up on stage, including (shame on them) the Hindus. The audience eats it up.
I had so many things to be angry about. So many people had wronged me, from my biological father who molested me, to my beloved grandmother who’d bailed him out of jail and brought him home to live with me after he shot my mother in the head, to my mother who taught me that I was worthless and unlovable, to the so-called friends who had used and betrayed me over and over.
They wronged me. They hurt me. They deserved to suffer for what they did to me. How could I possibly forgive them, especially if they were not even pretending to be sorry?...
It's Earthy Thursday, full of stories that emphasize our connection with Mama Gaia. We've got a giant volcano stirring, tiny altars, drawing strength from Nature, cleaning up after gatherings, fossilized forest fires, and indigenous farmers meeting to plan for climate change. Have a great Thursday!
What's an Earthy Thursday without a report of a huge volcano in Iceland threatening to erupt? Well, if you haven't heard of (Anglicized spelling) Bardarbunga yet, check out the story here. (Includes two great slideshows of previous Icelandic eruptions.)
Why we should have little altars everywhere. (Hint, its to connect with both inner peace and Mother Earth.)...
And I am a writer, writer of fictions / I am the heart that you call home / And I've written pages upon pages / Trying to rid you from my bones / My bones/ My bones / And if you don't love me let me go / And if you don't love me let me go...