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My Personal Religious Calendar (The Pagan Experience)

(This post was written as part of The Pagan Experience, a community blogging project. You can find more information on the project and how to join in yourself here.)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for two or three weeks now, but unfortunately, the letter “C” came up in the posting prompts around the same time as my doctor changed my pain maintenance meds, which put me in withdrawal for two weeks. In that state, I ranged between low-grade fevers with chills, periods of complete exhaustion, and extreme mood swings, and while making stuff was okay, writing an actual content post was probably ill-advised, if even possible.

I wonder what my doctor would say if she knew that it was a Norse god who had mandated the change. My memory and critical thinking skills had been getting progressively worse over the past several years while taking Gabapentin, during the past year especially. I had become incredibly accident prone; I concussed myself pretty badly once, and overdosed the dog on his heart pills twice, but it wasn’t until I forgot that Pyrex gets hot in the microwave and ended up with first degree burns over a good portion of my right hand that Odin finally said “Enough, I want you OFF of that already, before you do irreparable damage to yourself.” My new doctor had already been saying that she didn’t know how I was even walking around with the dosage my old doctor had put me on. Going down from three pills a day to one came with pain and withdrawal as a trade-off, which a low-dose Prozac in the morning has helped to counter, and two weeks later I’m finally starting to feel better—more like myself, actually, than I have in years. (There is still some fibro fog, but the Gabapentin was making it much, much worse than it needed to be.)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Godspouse? Say What?

(February Week 1 prompt for The Pagan Experience - Humanity)

What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

Hi, I'm Beth, and I'm a godspouse! I live in the (urban) wilds of Oregon with another godpouse, in what can best be described as a DIY nunnery situation; we both work outside the home, and I work on my business AT home in addition to that. (As I am disabled, I'm trying very hard to morph my business into being my primary, or even only, job.) But other than that, we lead a semi-secluded, more-or-less monastic lifestyle with our respective gods and a houseful of animals (both living and dead).

Now, you can sneer at the “godspouse phenomenon” all you want—and plenty of people do—but it's not a fad, or at the very least not a new one; it's been going on for at least the twelve years I've been married to Odin. And although I am an old-timer at this particular gig, I think there were a handful of people doing it even before me. So, what is a “godpouse”? Basically, it is one the most common terms used to describe a person who self-identifies as the mortal consort of a god. (There are also spirit spouses—people married to spirits who may lack “official deity” status.)

One of the first things the skeptical ask when they learn that I'm a godspouse is “Why would the gods even want human spouses? They already have divine ones, don't they?” Yes, They do, and we are not a replacement for Them. But the notion that a god would not want a human woman for a wife when He already has a goddess-wife makes the assumption that the gods see humanity in the same way we do—as inherently lesser than They are—and I don't think that's true. Yes, without question They are bigger, and They have more power—and, of course, there's that fringe benefit of not being mortal. (Although, some of the gods do manage to die even despite this; witness Balder, as one example.) But my experiences and interactions with Odin, as well as His teachings, have led me to see all of u/Us—humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, and other races of beings such as Alfar, Duergar, Jotnar, etc.--simply as spirits in different stages of our own personal journeys towards self-actualization (or, towards our own personal “Great Work,” if you prefer). Clearly, some of us are further along in that journey than others; Odin, for example, is much further along than I am, but He recognizes in me a kindred spirit who, rather than being inherently inferior to Him, simply has different challenges to deal with in this current phase of my existence. It has become something of a cliché to say “I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that has a body”--however, that's more or less it, in a nutshell. In my own philosophy (which—with a nod to my friend Nornoriel Lokason—is decidedly a Left Handed one), some of us began our soul's journeys with incarnations as beings other-than-human (as giants or elves, for example, or even as what we would now call “gods”), and some of us will end them as other-than-human.

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  • m
    m says #
    “Why would the gods even want human spouses? Well....... the Fallen Angels wanted them too.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
the Pagan Experience: Voice
Although they are only breath, words which I command are immortal --Sappho

When I was a younger woman, I wanted to be a Writer; I wanted to be an Author, and I wanted to write literary fiction and poetry. In 2002, that changed dramatically, because my Muse sidled up to me and suggested a romance story. I'd never done that sort of thing before, and while I wasn't morally against it, I wasn't sure if I could do a good job of it. And it didn't particularly match my mental map of myself - I dabbled in romance reading, mostly well-written historical romances, but the genre blending of speculative romance was in its infancy then.

But I jumped in and found that I loved writing romance. There are people who think that writing to that genre is easy and formulaic; I think they should try it themselves and see how "easy" it is to write to the guidelines while making the characters and situations fresh, fun, and invigorating. There's also more than a little whiff of sexism about those who are dismissive of romance entirely; romance is a genre that concerns itself with women's desires and inner lives.

...
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ansuz

Mouth is the chieftain / of all speech, / the mainstay of wisdom / and a comfort to the wise ones, / for every noble warrior / hope and happiness.- Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem

This is not going to be a rune primer, but it is relevant to what I want to talk about today, which is speech and silence. Once upon a time, when I was studying runes, Odin went out of His way to tell me that Ansuz was a signifier rune for me, much in the way that a court card can be in the Tarot. At the time that He said this to me, I assumed it was because I’m a writer, or perhaps because Loki wants me to talk about Him publicly. And some of that is true; some of it is tied up in apotheosis, and some in personal work. Trigger Warning: Frank Discussion of Rape

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B is for Bestla (The Pagan Experience week 4)

Not so long ago, at the height of December’s retail busy season—which also happened to be the height of Wild Hunt season—I had a dream. Okay, let’s call it what it was: a nightmare. In it, I was asleep in our bedroom and thought I heard Jo talking in her sleep from her own bed. Then I realized it was actually my mother—who used to talk in her sleep a fair amount and who has been dead for twenty years (although that detail didn’t occur to me in the dream). I called out something about trying to sleep, but she kept talking.

And then I realized that it wasn’t my mother speaking at all; the voice was harder, unfamiliar, while still female. I realized she was telling a story, in a somewhat sing-song voice, a horrible story that I was certain I didn’t want to hear the end of. (No, I don’t remember what the story was—although in retrospect, I have my suspicions, of which I won’t speak.) As she neared the end of it, she rose from her bed and approached mine, not asleep at all. I wanted to move or scream but was utterly paralyzed. I tried to call for help—from Odin, from the Hunt—but no help appeared. The woman—a farm wife in dress and apron–smiled down at me with her hard face and glittering, hard eyes, smiling into my eyes as she spoke the final words of the story. And then she reached into my mouth and down my throat and into my chest—just rammed her entire hand and arm in.

I awoke. I rose and went to my shrine, lit a candle, not wanting to go back to sleep. I’m not sure I slept any more that night at all. I had an ache in the general area of my heart chakra for the next several days.

Only the next day did I being to realize who the dream-woman had been. The clues were simple: 1) she had been menacing, but had not actually harmed me (although she had done something—something that was Allowed, apparently; 2) neither Odin nor the Hunt had volunteered any help; thus, no matter how scary she had been, she didn’t actually intend any harm to me; 3) the warding Odin has placed on me and our house—which is quite thorough—did not keep her away, and 4) in the dream, I had at first identified her with my mother, then realized that was almost correct, but not quite. I struggled with what my intuition was telling me for hours before sheepishly asking Odin if I was right. He confirmed that I was.

My dream visitor was none other than my mother-in-law, the Queen Mother of Asgard: Bestla. And the next night when I saw Her in the Hunt, She flashed Her dream disguise at me briefly before transforming back into Her usual glamorous self, and winked.

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  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Interesting...
The Pagan Experience: Personal Practice

After some prodding by Himself and some encouragement from friends, I'm taking a stab at the Pagan Experience Project. I'm not necessarily going to do every prompt all the time, but if the prompt elicits good thinky thoughts, I'll share them. I've decided to start with week two's prompt on personal practices.

Loki's not a terribly formal Deity, and and so many of my practices are not either; I share morning coffee with Him every day; I meditate once a day; ideally I do yoga, but that practice is a work in progress.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    I do love your writing
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    Thank you! I enjoy your work as well!
The Pagan Experience: Deity - Loki

(Image of Loki by Astral Eventide, commissioned by me in 2011)

The prompt for Week 3 of the Pagan Experience is to blog about Deity - Those Who guide you. Considering the fact that this blog is pretty much The Loki Show, it's probably redundant to introduce Him here; if you read my blog, you're familiar with His work.

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