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 2- The Media Detox (Reclaiming Your Mind, Will and Relationship with the Gods), Pt. 1

(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 we began with looking at the Wyrd (Karma) of Used Things— examining the fate patterns attached to previously owned stuff.)

 You are your thoughts. Thoughts manifest your reality. But how many of those thoughts are really your own?

Pagans focus a lot on the outside environment through protecting nature and keeping it clean. But much less attention, it seems, is given to the psychological environment built up from our media diet. Why is this so important?

By now, we all seem to know the pop-psychology/Law of Attraction/New-Age mantra: You are what you think. Unfortunately, we are living in an era blighted by the sapping of the communal will, with conformity rather than legality restricting free thought. Unscrupulous people, corporations, and entities take ruthless advantage of the power of media to influence and feed off of you.

Meditation helps to still the mind and clear your energies, but by itself it’s not enough to stem the tide of programming inundating us. It takes other conscious efforts to reclaim your will.

Maintaining a healthy mental landscape is crucial for anyone who engages in visionary & spirit work.

The images we put into our minds through media, culture and experience are the shared vocabulary drawn upon by spirits to communicate with us. Our expectations and mental conditioning further color that. The cleaner and less cluttered we keep our minds, the easier it is for communication to flow through, revealing our highest wills and true intentions.

Too much negativity whether it’s loud sound, aggression, abusive words and imagery, a mad circus of violence, fear, greed, and sex without respect for both parties, or a depressive atmosphere absorbed through the media can energetically corrupt and drain us, weakening our nervous systems and poisoning our environment on the magical level. This, in turn, attracts beings who feed off of and perpetuate those energies and drives off the more beneficent ones (like house wights) we could have present in our lives. In the worst case, it helps parasitic beings to lodge into our consciousness and begin to subtly influence us, glamour us and eventually hijack our wills.

Where is all this will-draining coming from?

All around us, through TV, radio, internet and advertising of all kinds, we’re being bombarded with messages and pressure, some sly and some overt, about what we should think and feel. Which political views we should hold. How we should spend our money. Who we should admire, hate, vote for and envy. Go on, be terrified! Be angry! Bathe in lack! Go ahead and vote or buy more things to fix it rather than taking real action in your life. Attack those whose viewpoints differ from yours through empty words, endless Tweeting, and Facebook.There’s no reason to feel adequate, confident and secure! There’s no reason to unplug, stop and speak one-on-one with your fellow humans to get their actual experiences, thoughts and feelings through forming real-world connections. Otherwise, advertising, one of the biggest driving commercial factors of the modern age, wouldn’t work.

We’re not just blasted by other people’s wills: in the 21st century, we’re downright brainwashed.

How does this especially affect witches, magicians, pagans and polytheists?

Mainstream culture teaches us that, rather than being dynamic forces, ancestral beings, and people we have the right to respectfully call upon for aid, the Gods and spirits are all petty, whimsical and cruel or simply extensions of our own imagination and collective will. This idea unfortunately pervades modern paganism and magical circles to the point it’s become dogma. In my experience as a seidhkona, a Norse trance magician, nothing is further from the truth. (The other side of the coin is expecting Gods and Goddesses to be divine ‘fixers’: give an offering, ritual or prayer; duly receive aid regardless of the worthiness of the request or lack of sincerity to the relationship.)

Pagans should know better. Our faiths, practices and ancestors have been demonized, misunderstood and misrepresented on this planet for centuries, if not millennia. But it’s hard when you’re surrounded by this mindset. In the Anglosphere, we’re largely living within a Christianized cultural viewpoint or a reactionary one skeptical of all non-rational phenomena, which seems intent on cramming this disempowering idea down our throats. This poison bleeds into our very mystical landscape, disconnecting us from more meaningful interactions with the Gods, ancestors, and guiding spirits. So when we manage to make spiritual contact, especially on the solitary level, it also leaves the door wide open for ravenous parasites (who do indeed behave like those petty, demanding pop culture stereotypes)!

Hollywood whistles and bells also condition us that magic is less subtle than it actually is, making us overlook the mundanely apparent signs of a real contact, accepted offering, or a successfully conducted rite.

When we do make those connections despite the conditioning, we’re also left with a lot of psychic debris clogging them.

So let’s start taking back our wills (and our true power) by a media detox. Deprogram the conditioning, break compulsory buying habits, and clean off the psychic debris allowing your true thoughts and feelings to bubble up to the surface in silence.

Bonus? When you can hear yourself think, you just might be able to hear the Gods.

Will-Sapping Source #1- TV & Movies.

TV is the biggest constant bombardment of messages from other people’s wills in our society. Naked people and blood grab our attention by the neck in entertainment, literally turning heads. Unscrupulous entertainment producers rampantly take advantage of this, encouraging the idea that, a) everyone else is getting (casual) sex but you and if you aren’t, well, there’s something massively wrong with you, and b) violence surrounds us and is the norm. TV also tells us what we should feel and think and what the villains look like rather than examining our own responsibilities and agency.

Watch the next time a character, commentator, or comedian turns directly to camera. Listen to whether they express an opinion about a situation in the real world… or state something as outright fact. This is happening more and more blatantly, I’ve noticed.

Remember how in my last post I said that seemingly free things often aren’t and can contain subtle draws on your will?

Television runs on advertising. The background noise of advertising in our society is deafening, yelling from just about every surface and angle, it seems. (Even, sometimes, the pavement.) Advertising is not all bad. Businesses need some way to communicate what they provide to potential customers. But mass advertising, unfortunately, largely runs on insecurity and false empowerment: buy XYZ and you will finally make it. Be awesome. Fit in. This goes way beyond quietly informing someone that you have the skills and goods available which could help enrich their lives.

Even seemingly innocuous entertainment functions as a vehicle for advertising .Savvy parents have known for years that those cartoons you grew up on from the 80s onward were vehicles to sell certain toys and and junk food (Transformers, Gummi Bears and My Little Ponies, to name just a few).

Solution #1: Turn off the TV. That’s right, don’t leave TV on “in the background” as you go through routine tasks, eat, study or sleep. You’re feeding your subconscious mind and programming it. I know people who keep the TV on “for company”. Well, do you want a buffet of dead women on morgue slabs, brutally beaten and shot up men, fathers/men continually ridiculed as weak and asinine, inane laughter, and strangers’ opinions for company?

Call a friend. Make something. Read a book. Go outside. Practice a skill. Listen to uplifting music. Find an alternative way to fill the time or not feel so alone.

Silencing this psychic chatter increases your attention span, forms different neural connections, and makes it easier to meditate. This places you more squarely in the present, able to confront your own life rather than numbing yourself to it.

Solution #2: When you do watch programming, consider internet-based TV, free public broadcasting, and investing in a service that is ad-free or ad-minimal like Amazon Prime or Netflix. Even Hulu seems to have slightly less advertising than conventional TV. Youtube, depending on the channel, even less.

Solution #3: Borrow disks from the library for free.

Will-Sapping Source #2- The News.

Just as in television and movie entertainment, sociopathic news editors deliberately drum up trauma and insecurity through sensationalism. I worked in journalism. I know this firsthand. I was pressured by my boss to do it (and artfully declined by focusing on other stories. And soon looked for other work.) The news these days is hijacked by corporate sponsorship dictating what can and can’t be looked at and by political agendas on all sides. It’s also overwhelmingly negative, skewing our view of reality in the present and what happened in the past.

Even the weather reports are dogged by scare-tactics designed to drive up ratings and sales of gasoline, packaged food, medicines and other necessities. It takes time (I’m learning this), but start being observant of your own local weather patterns. Learn the sky. Learn the humidity. Learn the winds. Stephen Posch has mentioned this. Watch how the birds and animals behave. Listen for them. Use common sense and due caution, but also listen to your instincts. Every place has little micro-climates that don’t neatly fit the overall weather reports: patterns of precipitation, wind and sunlight.

This simple observation of the outside puts you far more closely in touch with your own environment and therefore, with yourself.

Solution #4: Stop consuming the news. Or at least go on a “diet”, limiting the consumption to something less than daily. Get your news from more than one source, go directly to the wire reports most national and international news is sourced from, and look at media outlets outside your own country to check against local bias in national and world news. Yes, foreign media has biases too but sometimes it’s easier to spot your own country’s slant once you’ve seen other takes on the same event.

Solution #5: Instead of railing about national politics, go ahead and look at what you can more immediately influence and change: town, county and city board meetings and legislation. Spend some time writing to elected officials about the issues you care about rather than posting about them on Facebook so Facebook can sell your data. Sign petitions. Check what’s on the agenda at local government and school board meetings.

Get out and participate.

 (continued in part 2, Music, Video Games, Social Media and Junk advertising.

With some useful solutions all-around.)

Image credit: Polyphemus, by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein,

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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.


  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah Wednesday, 15 February 2017

    Some great advice. I was please to see somethings I had already started doing (out of self defense!) on your list, and look forward to implementing those I hadn't thought of :)

  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski Friday, 17 February 2017

    Thanks! You're welcome.:)

  • Bjarni Böðvarr
    Bjarni Böðvarr Sunday, 19 March 2017

    Shirl, i am sorry to contact you this way, but please contact me ASAP it concerns SW Frithmoot 2 years ago.

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