Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Seidhr: Real Life Examples of Norse Oracular Trance Magic

There are many ways of performing seidhr-- Norse trance magic, mediumship and fate weaving. Here are two real-life examples of the results, drawn from several sessions I witnessed or participated in, illustrating the pitfalls, challenges, divine connection and deep lessons that come with this amazing work.

Seidhr For the Hel of It

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In much of ancient Indo-European times, deities of waters were worshipped.  Springs, rivers and seas all have gods and goddesses that were prayed to and honored in hopes the bodies of water would remain plentiful and yet at the same time, not flood.  Water was critically important to the life and well being of the village.  So much so that the person in charge of the tribe would be granted sovereignty only with permission of the local water (and surrounding land) deity.

 

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Minoan Cooking: A taste of the ancient world

One way we can connect with ancient cultures is by exploring their daily lives: how they cooked, dressed, worked, played, and so on. These are things we all do, things we in the modern world can relate to and that can help make ancient people more real to us. And this, in turn, can help us connect with their spirituality.

So how about the Minoans? Let's explore their food a little bit so we can get a taste (ahem) of what their life was like.

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Keeping It Together

It’s been a rough summer; honestly, it’s been a rough year.  Like many people, I suffer from depression.  My emotional and energetic state often reflects that of the people and world around me.  In the best of times it can be difficult for me think positively and move forward creatively.  In times like these it’s pretty much all I can do just to keep up the illusion of being a fully functional adult.  Thankfully, as a magickal person I have a whole host of spirits and allies to help me keep it together.

My personal practice is a unique amalgam of traditional and pop culture practices and when it comes to dealing with my depression it's pretty much all hands on deck.  I know there are a lot of people out there with strong reservations about mixing practices.  While I can understand seeing mixed practices and pantheons as potentially problematic, I believe it’s all a matter of execution.  In my view  a sincere practice done respectfully and with the full consent of all participating parties is pretty much always acceptable.  It’s not uncommon for me to call on Santa Muerte, Baron Samedi, and Tony Stark in the course of an evening.  Yes, I will call on a Mexican folk saint, a Loa, and an Avenger at the same time, but I do not do so lightly.  I have strong, long-standing working relationships with these metaphysical beings; we know each other very well.  I’ve worked with all of them on their own and have discussed and gotten permission from them to call on them in inter-pantheon situations.  The relationships that I have with my allies forge a connection between them, as they all care about me, and make mixing pantheons and practices a lot less incongruous than it would be otherwise.  It’s like asking your sibling, best friend, and favorite co-worker to help you move; they may not really know each other but because of their close relationship with you they can probably get along well enough to help you out.  I wouldn’t want to call on spirits I hadn’t worked with before in a mixed practice setting.  This is more like putting up a craigslist ad for help moving and expecting everyone that happens to show up to get along.  Not a great idea.  When needs are sincere and explicit permission from the beings involved has been acquired, then call on whatever and whomever will best aid the situation.

Depression is a gnarly and ever-changing beast that manifests differently for everyone.  For me, depression can morph its form at any time, requiring different energies moment to moment just to make it through the day.  The different entities that I work with on a regular basis all have different qualities that can help me in different ways.  This is why I will shamelessly mix practices and pantheons as needed.  Tony Stark is my go to ally when I’m depressed because his depression and emotional difficulties manifest similarly to mine.  He’s a character that tends to take the world on his shoulders and get beaten down by the big picture while putting up the facade of thriving.  That’s pretty much what my depression looks like.  I often call on him to help me feel less isolated and to feel understood.  I also have a big plushie Iron Man that functions as part talisman, part comfort object - a little juvenile sure, but it helps.  I’ll also almost always call on Santa Muerte when I’m not feeling my best.  You may not know this, but Santa Muerte gives awesome hugs.  No matter what’s going on she’s always there for me with real acceptance and without any kind of judgment.  She’s my go to particularly when I need to forgive myself.  When I need permission to take care of myself rather than helping everyone around me I call on Baron Samedi.  Strangely, or not, death deities and spirits are spectacular at reminding you what it means to be alive and the value thereof.  The Baron is amazing at helping me to see the beauty and joy around me and to actually take the time to engage with it; to live life rather than merely getting by. 

The aid received from my various allies can manifest in many different ways.  Simple conversation is the most common form of aid I request while dealing with negative emotions.  Just because you’re calling on a magickal being for aid doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get them to do magickal work.  Metaphysical beings have entirely different wells of wisdom and past experiences to draw from in giving advice as well as offering comfort or support.  Witnessing of sorrows and an energetic hug can be as powerful a catalyst for emotional healing as any spell or working.  That being said, I often call on my allies to help hold my shields when I’m emotionally compromised.  Depression is hell on your aura and can make you a lot more vulnerable to external negative energies as well as sapping the energies you’d normally have to respond to trouble.  I’ve called on Buffy Summers a time or two to watch my back when I didn’t have the energy to do it myself.  The other main magick I’ll ask for help with while depressed is divination.  Depression is a dirty, rotten liar.  Depression clouds judgment like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, making clear divination a must when having to make critical decisions under its influence.  I’ve called on everyone from Cerridwen to Yoda to guide important divinations to help mitigate the incredible pessimism and negativity that depression brings.  Everyone has different needs while dealing with negative emotions, but we must remember that our metaphysical allies care about us and are willing to help.

When times are tough the wise practitioner calls for help.  We spend years cultivating relationships with a diverse host of deities, spirits, and other metaphysical beings so that we can call on them when we need them.  We must remember that our own mental and emotional health is as valid a reason to call for help as any other.  Our allies care about us, want us to thrive, and are willing to help us to do so - particularly when we are unable to help ourselves.  Regardless of what entities you have relationships with, take the time to discuss how they would be willing to help you.  If you’re prone to depression consider cultivating a few relationships just for aid with it.  Then, when the time comes actually utilize those relationships and ask for help.  A practitioner is never truly alone, there is always something listening.  Ask for help from beloved allies and you will keep it together.

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Review of Horn of the Kraken

Set in the Fate of the Norns universe originated by Andrew Valkauskas, Horn of the Kraken by Stephen B. Pearl is the first in a new series within that universe. This is a universe full of magic and fantastical beasts, where the Norns choose human champions. Based on historical conversion-era Europe, featuring some historical figures such as Eric Blood-Axe, Horn of the Kraken is also set during Fimbulwinter, the prelude to Ragnarok. Fimbulwinter is the breakdown in the cycle of the seasons in which the sun never rises again and winter lasts until the end of the world. The world’s central problem is the mass failure of agriculture, and the world’s politics centers on the impact that would have if it occurred during the Viking Age. The villains, who are Christians out to convert the heathen and control the world’s economy and political structures, are using a mysterious new superweapon, the Horn of the Kraken.

Into this come five chosen heroes. Fjorn is a nobleman and a fighter/bard. Politics stalks him because of his bloodlines. Sigurlina is a seidhkona, a type of heathen witch with powers of necromancy and healing. She serves Freya and is sworn to avenge her family against Christian ruler Hakon. Audun is a rune master who has a near-death experience at the hands of the Christian enemy that echoes the story of Odin’s runic initiation on the Tree. Ragna is a thief. She tags along to get out of town ahead of trouble. Vidurr is a werewolf who serves Surtr, the king of the fiery underworld who is prophesied to fight against the gods at Ragnarok and destroy the world. Vidurr’s sole desire in life is to avenge his family against the Christian “crusaders.” Although those who serve Odin and those who serve Surtr are theological enemies within heathenry, they join forces against the outside threat of the Christians. Pearl knows enough about heathenry to portray both the Odin’s man and the Surtr’s man as having no god-based conflict with the Freya’s woman.

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Seidhr: Dispelling Misconceptions about Norse Trance Magic

Misconceptions about seidhr (pronounced “seethe” or “sayth”), Norse trance journeying, abound in both the lore and Heathenrymuch of it hinging on modern fantasies or medieval corruptions and loaded with sexual politics that have no real place in approaching our elder kin. This creates fear, distrust and distance from the Gods and ancestors where there should be real affection, truth and learning instead.

It’s time to change that.

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Starry Night: Minoan Astronomy

Like many other ancient cultures, the Minoans were accomplished astronomers. Their mythology, their artifacts, and their architecture reflect their fascination with the lights that moved through the night sky as well as the brightest sky-light of all, the Sun. As so many other societies around the world have done, they incorporated this astronomical knowledge into their mythology and thus their spiritual practice.

With the Great American Eclipse just a couple of days ago, I began thinking about the Minoans' ability to predict eclipses. There is some contention that this stone die found near Palaikastro is an eclipse calculator:

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