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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

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see also - Elemental Spirits and Lore: The Thunderbird

 

 The first time the spirit of the Thunderbird visited me was, as described in the above article, in the spring of 2019. Again over the past week or so I’ve been having visitations and visions, in both waking and dreaming life, of hawks and eagles and I feel their powerful return.

Spring is the season of the Thunderbird. In the fall they take their storms away and in the bright, renewing springtime they soar in with their beating wings and bring the rains and thunder back.

The Thunderbird is one of the few ubiquitous characters across Native American lore. While they have some variations from one tradition to another, there are many attributes that remain consistent, one of the most significant being their dual and contrary natures. As they are essentially allegories of natural forces, i.e. rain and storms, this makes perfect sense. Rain brings life and cleansing to the land and all that grows, but storms can be incredibly destructive too.

We humans are a part of nature and a reflection of the dualities in nature. We are comprised of all the elements, just as the Thunderbirds are, and we are often in conflict with ourselves and with other people. Some tribes believe that there are benevolent and malevolent Thunderbirds that are constantly at war with each other. Other tribes believe that the Thunderbird may be, at different times, either “good”, happy and bestowing blessings and protection, or “bad”, angry and snatching up children and livestock to feed upon.

We have emerged from a very dark and challenging year, in which perhaps we may feel like Thunderbird has been angry and vicious, and sending only storms and destruction into our lives. Though it hurts and may be hard to see, sometimes that destruction is for our own good, as it makes room for better things to grow and it forces us to question the necessity or value of what was destroyed or changed to begin with. Sometimes though there is also unnecessary and wicked destruction. There have been and still are people who are in power and who have great influence, unfortunately for darkness, injustice and chaos, and that is not the purifying destruction enacted by nature.

The chaos has not yet passed, and we don’t know if times just as hard or even harder may still be ahead. Some cities and whole states are relaxing their safety measures against the pandemic prematurely and countless individuals all over the country are still not taking the care they need to. While some things undoubtedly seem much better now than they did for much of last year, on both national and personal scales, we simply aren’t out of the woods yet.

This spring is an important time to reevaluate, to take stock and slow down. Too many people have been over-reactive, impulsive and are much to quick to judge and try to control others and usually very hypocritically so. There is far too much that is out of our control and the wild, primeval nature and power of Thunderbird reminds us of this. We all have our place in the world but we cannot impose our personal beliefs or limited viewpoints on the rest of the world.

This is also a great time to ask ourselves just why we believe what we do, and if perhaps it is time to change or altogether release some of those beliefs. We have to dig up and throw away the old, the dated and decaying if we are to make room for new shoots to come in and new buds to bloom. This is a cleansing and renewing time.

Trance and shape-shifting are very powerful and appropriate rituals for this spring. If you are fortunate enough to have a drum, spend some time sitting either in nature or in a comfortable corner of your home and beating the drum (or simply play a shamanic drum track, many can be found on Youtube) as you imagine the beating wings of the Thunderbird. Fall into a trance state to calm, cleanse and renew yourself, and let the resonating vibrations crumble and shake away any beliefs, fears, thoughts or doubts that are holding you back. Imagine yourself shifting into a mighty hawk or eagle, or even an owl if you prefer, and soar high in the sky and look down on all the vast land below. Try to gain a new perspective and balance your own inner gentle rains and roaring storms.

If you try this, or even if you don’t, try to bring simple awareness to the energy of the Thunderbird, to constant change and to the dualities of nature and yourself. See if perhaps hawks and eagles start to appear more and heed their call to become your own medicine woman or man and seek to destroy that which needs to be destroyed, and heal that which needs to be healed.  

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Doing the Work

As Atheopagans, we’re about being healthier, wiser, happier humans, and through action to contribute to a better world.

Some of that is about values. Ours are articulated in the 4 Sacred Pillars and the 13 Atheopagan Principles, and in this area particularly Principle 4: humility; Principle 5: perspective and humor; Principle 8: legacy; Principle 9: social responsibility, and especially Principle 13: kindness and compassion.

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How I'm Making a Decision About a Convention part 2

I'm deciding a moral dilemma. I have an opportunity to make money while bringing my message to a new and possibly broader audience. On the other hand, there is a risk that instead of bringing my message to more people, association with the convention's sponsor could damage my reputation and thus diminish the reach of my message.

As I mentioned in part 1, my next step was to seek divination from 3 different diviners. I'm not looking for a 2/3 majority on the yes or no question of whether to go any further with the pursuit of this opportunity; divination isn't democracy. I'm looking for what all 3 agree about. The first person I asked is not doing divination at this time, but I know many diviners. I have not seriously sought any other diviner's advice before, so this is new for me. I already know that I can't read for myself, though. Every time I do that, what I see is my own death.

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I'm facing a moral decision, and since I'm using signs, godphone, and divination in my decision making process along with the more usual method of asking my friends and fans for advice, I'm blogging about my decision making process here on Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen. The processes I'm using are relevant to the topic of this blog. Whatever decision I reach will also be relevant because it's about an opportunity to talk about Asatru and heathenry.

I received 3 money related things (one actual money, two possible opportunities to make money) all in a clump: 1. my first royalty check for my new book arrived! yay! 2. I got a couple of nibbles on getting a housemate, even though the suite isn't actually ready right now (the attic workers are arriving again in about an hour or so actually, as I write this), 3. there's an opportunity to be a paid speaker at an online pagan event. At first I thought I was being formally invited by the convention organizers, but it turned out to be just informal feelers via a presenter. An actual invitation would come later if I decide to fill out an application form to be hired as a presenter.

I need to decide whether to pursue (and eventually, to accept) opportunity #3. I want to promote my book, of course, and I'm always out for heathen visibility. This opportunity arriving in association with the other things seems to indicate a sign that it's a good opportunity for me. Three is a special and sacred number in heathenry. Not incidentally, this is the first time I've ever been offered an opportunity to pursue a PAID speaking engagement in a major pagan or heathen related event. Although I've done paid speaking at science fiction events, at pagan events I usually just get free tickets and maybe free content like books. The reason I'm hesitating is that the event is associated with Christian Day. Not as a speaker, just behind the scenes, and I would not have to deal with him personally at all.

I started my decision making process on this by making a friends-only post on my Facebook page asking for advice. I got conflicting advice. The advice generally fell into these categories: A. My voice is needed in the community, not in spite voices like Day's but because of them, to give people someone else to listen to; B. Working with Day would mean I would be someone the commenter could no longer support; C. Who? Who cares? Take the money and do my thing. D. The 3s mean this is something Odin wants me to do. E. What would Loki do? What would Odin do? What do they say? F. Seek divination from a diviner I trust. G. Aside from money, what would I gain by being a presenter at this convention?

Response D. is where I started, of course. The 3s are the reason I asked my friends for advice instead of just dismissing the idea out of hand. I take signs seriously.

Well, but I have a godphone, and response type E gave me a logical next step to take. What would Loki do? I easily heard that answer in my head: Loki would say "f them, haha, I'll do my own thing."

On the other hand, Odin would do almost anything for knowledge. So what does Odin say? I asked him, in my mind. His reply: "Do what you want, but if you don't pursue this opportunity, I will know that what you want isn't really money."

My immediate  mental response to that was of course, "No, I want it. I do want money." We're talking about $150 for a one hour to one and a half hour class. Not a life-changing amount of money, except for two things: A. I've never made $150 an hour before and that would catapult me into a position to demand more money for my labor later, and B. this is an opportunity provided by Odin and I have to go on to a next step to show him that I appreciate the opportunities he is showing me and that I do in fact want to make an actual living and have money and would like to continue to be provided opportunities to earn money.

So, I have to go on to a next step, and I have to do it now. The next step does not have to be applying for the job, though, and in fact, I actually can't do that right now, because the application forms won't even be available until July. So that is NOT the next step that I have to take now. It has to be something else.

Another step I could take is to ask about the convention's safety policy. I asked the person who messaged me about this opportunity and was told they don't have one. But, their site isn't set up for this yet, and won't be until this summer. So, I'm thinking, if I could influence this online convention to have a safety policy, that's a positive outcome I could achieve. That would be worth doing. But, I would really need to wait and see if they come up with one on their own first, which I would not see until they have their site set up for this. Or would I? Maybe I could relay my desire for a safety policy through the person who put out the informal feelers. OK yes, I literally thought of doing that while I was typing this out, so just preparing this blog has helped me work through my decision process.

But I also can't wait on further decision making to see if they do it or not. I'd have to wait til their have their website up next summer to see if they really do it, regardless of what they might tell me next. So, I still need to take another next step right now. My next step is to seek more advice. Divination advice, as per Response F.

I messaged the person who initially contacted me about this, "My next steps are: 1. I am relaying through you to the organizers that I would desire a safety policy on the website, and 2. I'm pursuing divination and will get back to you when I have the results."

Response G. isn't really advice exactly, but it did get me to clarify to myself what I am trying to achieve. This is not ONLY about money but the money is important because I wanted it and Odin is trying to provide it. Aside from the money, though: A big, popular online platform from which to speak would allow me to reach more people with my message. My message consists of: buy my book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path; participate in / promote the Heathen Visibility Project, which is simultaneously a pride project like Pagan Pride, a project meant to be useful to journalists and bloggers, and an anti-Nazi project, which is really important to the whole culture not just specifically to Asatru; for more info besides in my book you can read my blog (this one! ) and apply to join the Asatru Facebook Forum. More generally, my message is about how Asatru is done and how it got that way. I also have messages from the gods to humanity to communicate, including: respect and protect the Earth. These messages, especially the anti-Nazi and pro-environmental messages, may be more important than anything about Day. If I did a presentation, it would be specifically an anti-Nazi presentation. I'd talk about the Heathen Visibility Project and about how to counter Nazi magic.

Back to: what is my next step?

Response F. suggested divination, and that's my next step. I asked Odin if that was an acceptable next step and he said yes. He said he is only asking me to take a next step right now. Because 3 is such an important number in this decision making process, I'm going to ask 3 different diviners. Probably people who each use a different method or system. The first person I asked was not doing divination at this time. I'm about to ask some other people. I'll blog about my divination results in future posts in this series.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks for the replies! I've had one of my 3 divinations so far, with the advice being to not work with Day. and the other 2 divin
  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees says #
    Tough stuff, and thank you for sharing it. On the one hand, we (Pagans) are lucky in that our community is small enough that when
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Day is an abuser and a bully. Do as you wish, but I wouldn't touch anything he is involved with--or can profit from--with a thirt

 

One of my favorite books on the subject of my favorite element, water, is perfect reading for not only the upcoming new moon on the 13th, but for the whole long month of mystical Pisces which has just begun and lasts until April 20th. To clarify, in case any of you astrology enthusiasts are confused or getting geared up to tell me I’m mistaken, I follow sidereal astrology, not tropical. 

Sidereal astrology, unlike tropical, is based on the actual, physical constellations and accounts for the important precession of the equinoxes, which is continually shifting over time. The spring equinox has not actually occurred in the actual sign of Aries for quite a while, and now (as you may be noticing depending on where you live) occurs in Pisces. Each constellation is a different size, not an even 30º each as assigned in the dated tropical system. Pisces is one of the larger signs (more than twice the size of Aries) and therefore the sun is actually, literally in Pisces for much longer than tropical astrology has it. 

That being said, as you maybe seek to tune in to your intuition and deepen your spiritual practice with this watery new moon, I’d love to recommend the book “Sacred Water: The Spiritual Source of Life” by Nathaniel Altman.

This book approaches the element of water from a spiritual perspective and examines all the different traditions that have unanimously held water to be sacred. Altman gathers information from various sciences and sources including anthropology and astronomy, myths and legends and more to demonstrate the different roles and influences water has had in spirituality and lore throughout human history. 

Water becomes sacred when we recognize its powers: as a sustainer of humans, animals and plants; as a means of transportation, as a vehicle for cleansing, initiation or gaining wisdom; and as a source of inspiration and enchantment. Water is perhaps humanity’s oldest symbol of life, sustenance, abundance, fertility, movement, generosity, permanence and strength. Sacred water is all around us: from the tiny drops of morning dew on a spider’s web to the thundering cascade of a tropical waterfall, in the salty tears that we shed, and in the summer rain that we embrace." 
                                                                                       - excerpt from the introduction

 

In the chapter “Enchantment”, Mr. Altman writes about the beauty and connective and restorative powers of ritual baths and meditating with or near water. One can just as easily do a ritual shower though, and I personally find great comfort and communion in ritualizing my shower every day, it’s not something I only do occasionally. In fact my entire morning ritual focuses on a few steps, only one of which is my actual shower. 

Making a shower more of a ritual can be as simple as saying a short prayer or singing the same watery song each time, or as complicated as making moon water with specific intentions and pouring it over your head and/or body. You could also invite in more Pisces energy by placing relevant (and water-safe) crystals in your shower such as amethyst and moonstone, and use essential oils like rose absolute (my all-time favorite, roses being filled with spirituality, healing, health and enchantment), geranium (a good alternative to rose if you aren’t prepared to spend up to $50) and lavender. 

If you love water and work it into your spiritual and/or magical practice as much as I do, I can’t recommend “Sacred Water” enough, and I think you’ll refer back to it frequently and find lots of great inspiration and ideas to enhance your practice and your whole life which, after all, depends entirely on water! 


read more about the Pisces new moon here 


© 2021 Meredith Everwhite - All Rights Reserved

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Marker with Thorshammer

The marker for my companion Tom is up at the Veterans' Cemetery in Boulder City, Nevada. Tom wore the Thorshammer in life and it means a lot that he can have that symbol on his columbarium marker. Many heathens worked for many years to get the hammer symbol approved for Veteran graves. I am grateful for their efforts.

When it came time to have a marker made for Tom the cremation package from the mortuary company included getting the veterans' cemetery approval to have a military funeral and have his remains placed at the veterans' cemetery. I just had to tell them what I wanted and they took care of it, but they did show me the form to review for accuracy, and it had an option for the Thorshammer symbol preprinted on it, along with other faith symbols. It was a number and a checkmark. It was easy, and that part was done last fall, and yet, it didn't seem completely real that the hammer would be there until I went out today (in March) and there it was. It was easy for me because the people who came before made sure the option would be available. It took them a lot of effort. Somewhere in this same cemetery there is already a gravestone with the Thorshammer on it.

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This is a story about how I manifested something I truly desired. It's a model of how I manifest things, which you may or may not want to try. It's so simple it sounds like it's not even magic, but it's definitely magical.

Back in the 90s, I had bought myself a set of silverware. Yes, I know, lol, "the sort of person who buys their own silver" haha, not very classy, but I was moving into an apartment in Las Vegas and needed my own things. (I had the money to buy things and and move to Vegas to start a business because my dad had died.) So anyway-- my own things that were better than what I'd had in my college apartment, that is. Now, there was a time when it was assumed that a woman in her 20s starting her household would not need to buy major housewares because she would get them as wedding gifts. For those who still move into their first place when they get married, fine, "you do you" as the young people say these days, but that wasn't me lol. So anyway, I picked out a really beautiful pattern and I loved it and then a few years later, after I had gotten so sick with PCOS that I had had to close my bookstore and was unable to work, I ended up having to sell the silver. I got better eventually, and gradually put my life back together, and went on to have success at other things, but from time to time, I still missed my silver. Silly, I know. What with everything else, what's a few spoons? But I did miss it. For decades. Occasionally.

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