One-Eyed Cat: Northern European (Germanic, Celtic and Slavic) Paganism

This is the magic of Freyja and I am her völva: a seer, priestess and oracle.

Sharing wisdom taught by the Norse Gods over twenty years of practice, I teach safer seiðr / seidhr (Norse trance work and fate-magic), reverent animism, and deeper workings with the Gods and land spirits through respect for all life and peoples. We'll also explore the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion, including Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Siberian, Mediterranean and ancient Indo-European beliefs and discuss how to apply them to contemporary practice.

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Energy Clearing: Week 3- The Media Detox (Reclaiming Your Mind, Will and Relationship with the Gods), Pt. 2

For the next few weeks through Eostre, in preparation for Spring Equinox’s energies of renewal, I’m focusing this blog on energetically clearing our lives. Last week focused on the magical, energetic and religious repercussions of conditioning we receive through television and news media and how this is especially damaging to pagans and polytheists.

This week we continue the media detox with music, video games, social media and junk advertising.

Will-Sapping Source #3- Music & Radio

Songs have power. As one old God told me, Every song is eternal. Once played, music persists across the eons. Sound is vibration. So the music you’re playing literally changes “the vibe”. It’s why music is historically so important to worship, military parades and festivals. Music can induce trance, raise energy in a room, and set the stage for an emotionally charged performance. Use music well and it’s a wonderful gift.  Add spoken word to this, built in power by repetition, and layer it with intent, and you have the Norse song-magic,galdr.

Now you see how music can be used actively by magicians, witches and pagans. But sometimes music can bring us down. We’ve all played music when we were sad or angry, getting it out of our system… but how much do you pay attention to the messages directly repeated through song lyrics? Yeah, that beat might be catchy… but is that singer telling you you’re nothing without a lover, a loser without some status symbol, and that you need a heap of cash, drugs or wanton sex? Is it telling you that women are hos and boys arejerks who will break your heart, or glorifying narcissism, greed, violence, addiction and despair?

Are you absorbing black magic designed to disempower you? Are you hexing yourself by repeatedly playing it? (Go back and look at what I said about galdr.)

Stores deliberately play certain music to increase sales. This can be simple ambiance or incredibly draining and parasitic. If you don’t think this is a form of magic, you haven’t been actively listening! Pay attention to the difference in music the next time you’re grocery shopping or at the mall and you’ll not only pick up on the expected customer base but what kind of emotion the store is trying to generate with its products. Corporations spend big money figuring these things out.

Hint: classical music generally equates itself with quality and good taste. Sadly, in a lot of instances, all it means is that you’re paying more. Easy listening at grocery stores zones you out into numb auto-pilot buying. You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re shopping after work, you’ve got to get home to make dinner. What’s easy? Oh, that packaged thing over there, just leaping out at eye level. Is it nutritious? No, but it’s the first filling thing you saw and an ad subconsciously primed you to notice it.

Radio, like TV, is also hijacked by advertising, political narratives and DJ opinions as color commentary. You’re driving or working: your mind is not at full steam to concentrate and analyze the narrative, but your emotions are certainly more easily swayed.

Solution #6: Pay for an ads-free radio service, and shop at local stores. Or learn to play an instrument, sing your own songs, and consciously pick the music you’re actually listening to. Tune out of talk/news radio after a few minutes, giving your subconscious mind a break, rather than non-stop listening as you work or drive.

If you really want to use the subconscious energy of music to your advantage, you can play healing music, such as medieval plain chants, mantras you understand the translated meaning and purpose of, the occasional Tibetan singing bowls, nature sounds, and soft, classical instrumentals while you sleep. You can find plenty of pagan chants, used for centuries if not thousands of years, and actively tied to the Gods in this era through Hinduism. I suggest playing them on your own sound system or device with a definite time limit rather than over Youtube to both give your brain a rest and to lessen exposure to the energy draining positive ions generated by electronics. Pay attention to how you feel while listening and afterwards, as different chants have very different effects on the surrounding area and spirits.

The Gods and certain spirits also love it when you play skillful music or sing to them. It makes a wonderful, heartfelt offering.

Will-Sapping Source #4: Video & Computer Games.

Even video games are not free of compulsory conditioning. Don’t get me wrong: video games provided a welcome goal-driven distraction as a kid. They also gave me early access to polytheist Japanese culture, which at the time was providing more models of female heroism than American media. Anime and manga, spawning from a living tradition of animist Shinto, also exposed me to many concepts that are at the core of Heathenry!

But the caveat? Games sell because they’re so addictive and many games these days, particularly multi-player socially-driven ones, are specifically designed to drive more sales of ad-ins, expansions, et cetera. It’s why modern game consoles became plugged into the internet and your social network – instead of the old days where kids got together and team-played at each others’ houses.

I worked in games as a scriptwriter. I know this. Most of us just wanted to produce a really fun product we could be proud of. Something of artistic merit, maybe with some thought-provoking ideas when we could slip them in. But games are still a business largely funded (for indies) by investors or corporate mega-star publishers who dictate more predictable content.

Solution #7: Set your gaming on a timer – and invite your friends over to hang out in the real world instead of just meeting them online. Watch the app games, too– try starting a conversation with the person next to you on the train or in line or at the waiting room.

Will-Sapping Source #5- Social Media

You must be on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! You must. Obey the call. Otherwise, your creative career and your business aspirations will fail! Fail! Fail! if fans can’t instantly connect to you. Be available 24/7. Let all acquaintances become “friends”. Don’t ever let those energetic cords die. Go ahead, be distracted. Let other people’s drama sap your will…

Okay, seriously, social media is really over-touted these days. Sure, Facebook is great to get in touch with a bunch of friends and family quickly to coordinate an event, get pressing news out, or get some swift response from your network of loved ones in an emergency. Facebook is also awesome to learn some things about a newly met acquaintance, pass some time while home convalescing from an illness, and occasionally check in about what friends are up to. But it’s made to be addictive, it shortens the attention span, and gives a LOT of free personal information away to advertisers and whoever else gets access to it. Your words, which you may not want archived forever, are stored somewhere. For however long that server exists. Long after your thoughts on a subject have changed or arguments have blown over.

Why should you care about this as a magician, witch or pagan? Words have magical power. You may not want them persisting for so long, especially when you’ve gotten over being mad at your significant other, parent, boss, whoever. Addictive behavior also saps the will. Shortening the attention span critically compromises the focus required for meditation and magic (like seidhr). This is exponentially worse with Twitter. And having all those connections available constantly does have an energetic correlation which slowly leeches energy out. You are literally giving your power away through information someone else is monetizing at your expense.

Add to this that Facebook actively promotes some ideas and attempts to limit others by tweaking what it shows more frequently in your friends feed. Do you want a corporation not so subtly influencing what you think through the perception of peer pressure? And there are also people paid to influence broker through Facebook by bragging about products, services and places. It's sub-rosa advertising! I don’t know as much about what Instagram and Twitter are up to, but they’re businesses. The same rules of caution apply.

Solution #8: Meet in person or talk over the phone to have longer, meaningful conversations. Show people things you’ve done in person. Start e-mailing again to have deeper interactions through the medium of words. Shut off messenger when you’re on Facebook. Best yet: take it off your phone. If nothing is pressing, don’t check it more than once a day. Go social media free some days.

And think about limiting what’s put on there, even when the access is private.

Think before you type. Is it worth saying? Is it what you want out in the world? Is it what you want anyone to remember you by?

Will-Sapping Source #6- Junk Advertising

Avoid the dangled, will-sapping promise of coupons in the newspaper and on mailing lists. Or just be highly selective about it. Coupons of any kinds are ads. They’re not meant to increase sales or cement customer loyalty by incentive but to give marketers feedback on which advertising venues are the most effective and keep milking it through voluntary response. In this way, they’re even cheaper than spending the money on additional ad space! If you’re on a points system sign up or e-mail list… how much time are you investing for a few dollars or cents off versus what you actually earn or enjoy doing? (How do I know this? Guess what? I took a marketing class, like every artist should.)

Honestly, healthy organic body and cleaning products and fresh food rarely have coupons, anyway. You can also make your own body products free of synthetic chemicals for cheaper at home.

Solution #8: Get rid of junk advertising by putting pop-up blockers on your web browser, borrowing DVDS from the library if available rather than watching them on a service that still has ads, and making sure you uncheck the automatic‘opt-in’ boxes every time you sign up online for a product, registration or service.

I’m sure you can come up with another list of more media, but this covers the basics.

So how can you otherwise limit and detox your media consumption?

  •  Alternative #1: Books. Books are more point-of-sale driven, and therefore much scarcer on the ads which fund free (and not so free) TV. Books actively engage the mind– and therefore the imagination – one of the core skills of deep, visionary magic like seidhr trance.
  •  Alternative #2: As mentioned before, start conversations in person. Get to know your next door neighbor. Invite a friend or relative over for dinner or coffee and dessert. Go walking, join a club, or get out to free meet-up events and talk to people.
  • Alternative #4: Join a healthy kindred, grove, circle or coven and participate in polytheist rituals. It’ll help spiritually ground you and get you around other (hopefully) likeminded people you can bond with.
  • Alternative #5: Go to a yoga class, Tai Chi session, or meditation group and get that chattering junk out of your head for an hour. You might also make some new friends. It’ll open whole new vistas of energy work, too, by aligning your physical and subtle bodies.
  • Alternative #6: Cook from scratch (trust me, that’s a hobby in its own right), or
  • Alternative #7: Take up a hobby and make something. Witches and pagans are traditionally crafty people. Eh, eh?

Image Credit: Gustave Moreau, Polyphemus sees Galatea


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Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained directly by Frey, Odin and Freyja. She is passionately committed to returning the Gods' magical and spiritual wisdom to our awareness, healing the rift between us and our ancestors and strengthening our friendship with the Gods, the land and the spirits sharing our world.

Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine and she also writes as /@Modern_Volva on Medium. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media.


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