Archive for March, 2015

Who Will Defend the Village?

Posted in Justice, Uncategorized on March 31, 2015 by Tyrienne

Enemies had been spotted at sea and young Sven ran as quick as his legs would carry him to the village to rally all the people together to defend themselves.

There, he saw Olaf, dipping his genitals into paint and pressing them up against every house he could.

“Quick, Olaf! We need your spear- the village is going to be attacked!” exclaimed Sven.

“Sven….can’t you see that I am making a statement here?  Without my genitals pressed against these walls, people will not know my displeasure at the thought of the village being invaded!”

Sven shook his head and ran further into the village where he met Ilse, the swordsmith.

“Oh, Sven… I would love to help defend the village- but you see, I need to lose an ENTIRE boulder’s worth of weight before I am fit to be seen outside the village by invaders!”

“But….you make swords…”

“Yeah, I make swords….but what is the point of holding a sword if I can’t look AMAZING doing it?”

Sven shook his head, and ran further in where he ran into Eske-

“ESKE!!!! You are the strongest man here! Please! Help me defend the village!”

“Stongest?  No….you mean FATTEST!  The invaders would laugh at me, I’ve seen their paintings and they don’t look as I do.   Sorry, but I am too embarrassed by my size to help you- try someone better looking.”

So, frustrated, Sven went to Axel, the most beautiful man in the village….he was painting a picture of himself on a rock.

“Save the village?  SAVE THE VILLAGE?  Can’t you see that I’m busy?  I’ve worked SO HARD to be this perfect that it is of utmost importance that I paint a picture of myself for the ages for other people to admire my physical perfection…besides, if I were to fight, I might get disfigured- then who would the people look to for inspiration?”

Time and time again, Sven went to each villager and begged them for their assistance in saving their home- and each time, he was met with superficial excuses regarding trivialities which each villager thought was more personally important.  Whether it be debating other villagers on the finer points of village-defense (without lifting a single weapon), working to be better looking or strong-enough looking to be worthy of defending the village, or simply telling Sven “They didn’t feel like it”- Every adult had a reason why they could not defend the village, but some were kind enough to offer their sympathies.

“YOU FUCKING IDIOTS- CAN NOT YOU SEE THAT OUR VILLAGE IS ABOUT TO BE DESTROYED?!” Sven exclaimed in the center of the town.

An old man in the village replied “Oh, Sven…. your problem is that you aren’t focusing on the present moment!  I don’t see any invaders… In my wisdom I have learned to live just for this moment, for there might not be another.  Invaders might come, they might not…. you don’t know….”

“LOOK, YOU CAN SEE THEIR MASTS ON THE HORIZ-”

“Yeah, but they ain’t here yet!” said another , “I am busy making necklaces…. if I don’t finish them tonight they won’t be done in time for the next feast!”

“THERE WON’T BE ANYMORE FEASTING IF-”

“Well, I think that would be a great idea to not have feasts anymore,” replied Ilse, “Then, I wouldn’t gain anymore weight.  How will I ever be fit to be seen enough to hold a sword unless I lose more weight?”

“JUST PICK UP YOUR DAMNED SWORDS YOU-”

“You just don’t understand what’s important, Sven… I am improving MYSELF… you are simply just trying to upset EVERYONE with your constant yelling.  It’s really irritating.” said Axel.  “There is nothing more noble than Self Improvement and the admiration of others!”

Defeated, Sven went to the woods where he saw the children playing with their wooden swords, and he asked them, “Would you like to be REAL warriors, children?”

All the children, boys and girls from youngest to almost teenager screamed in unison:

“YES!  OH GODS YES!”

“Then follow me.”

So, Sven lead the children to the shore and inspected their weapons, encouraged them to fight on the beaches to their hearts content as he waited for the invaders. Fat or slender, beautiful or ugly, tall or small, all the children had a marvelous time waiting for the invaders.

When the leader of the hostile ships came to shore, Sven cried out to them in several languages until he found one to which the leader of the ships replied… “What is it you want, little man?”

“I want to tell you there is a village full of idiots over that hill, and the children and I would like to help you, join you in showing you where they keep all their food, since you are likely starving from your journey,  and in exchange become real warriors by joining you rather than staying here surrounded by these boring people…. People might call you ‘invaders’, however, this village would never have the guts and initiative your people have shown by even reaching here.  I think our children deserve better than what this village can offer them.”

The leader of the invaders looked confused, then remembered his children at home… and shrugged.  Why not?  Seemed like a fair exchange all things considered, and together, the invaders, Sven and all the children pillaged their entire village leaving the idiots homeless as they sailed off and had great adventures for the rest of their lives- Learning that living in cooperation with other people was so much more satisfying, educational, and fulfilling than all the silly “self-improvement” that the other villagers were so singularly focused on.  The children had never had such kind adult attention before since all the adults of their old village were always “too busy” for them as well.  They were much happier with their new people- and from those children, legends were made.

As for the village?  No one ever heard of them again except for countless paintings of genitals  found in the wreckage and a rock that bore some resemblance to some random guy.

The end.

/Check your priorities, stop taking selfies, and contribute something meaningful to humanity, damnit.

Respecting our Magical Legacy: Eastern Pennsylvania

Posted in About me, Justice, On the Gods with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2015 by Tyrienne
Card from

Card from “The Wild Unknown” tarot deck… (which I only wish I owned…soon?)

One of the many ideas I agree with put forth by Anton LaVey is “Do not deny that which grants you power.”  Today, I attended a large Metaphysical expo in Reading, Pennsylvania and a small event is a inspiration for this post.   I was sitting in on the gallery being held by my very first teacher in metaphysics, when at the end of the presentation my husband “caught” a well-known reader I have known for over 20 years staring at my husband’s tattoo of the sigil of Saint Cyprion- generally considered to be “Dark” by New-Ager standards.   The gentleman, as soon as he was noticed, averted his eyes and looked away quickly, seemingly unnerved. However, in knowing this man as long as I have, I knew he was not unfamiliar with personal spiritual practices which are entirely NOT “New-Ager Approved”.

….What bothered me is this:  the fact that I know this man so well, but yet he did not want to be “caught” in recognizing that tattoo (and likely others) my husband wears even though he, himself has likely utilized many equally “dark” practices in his own life.  (I do not believe in the dichotomy of “light=good”/”dark=bad”.)

Instead of a great opportunity to share, ask questions, and share ideas: he turned away- and it dawned on me that this same action was endemic but in reverse with many well-known spiritualist in our local and national Heathen community of people who see themselves as “born again” into Heathenry… and do not pay enough respect to the people and traditions that brought them the wisdom and skills they apply to their personal religious practice as well as how they present themselves to Heathenry at large.

Heathenry out-in-the-open is new in Pennsylvania in comparison to other “out” pagan/metaphysical traditions in Pennsylvania.  I know this because I was actually around when Der Heidevolkstam, Hawkafel, and other kindreds rose and fell.  I knew ABOUT them, but I did not interact with them when I first became open about my Heathen background.  Instead, I joined the kindred run by a very close friend of mine I had known since I was 15 or 16 and we all decided it was best to not be involved with the larger community.  (My family wasn’t even truly comfortable with the amount I did expose of my family traditions even at that time, and with the exception of Grandma, still feel “cagey” about sharing.)

I was born in Eastern Pennsylvania- and if you look closely at the modern Heathen community in the United States, you will find that many of the most well known of our magical practitioners are either also from this general region if not from New England/other Mid-Atlantic states.  The reason for this, simply from my observation, is the very strong communities both in modern Wicca and/or Witchcraft as well as the prevalence of the New-Age movement in this area which is well-established and worked tirelessly for acceptance.  Just in the city of Reading alone, there is a plethora of shops where to buy candles, sage, Florida water, and other necessities.  (I personally prefer visiting the shop Celtic Myth and Moonlight and Bodega’s for such things locally- living in Spain for a semester helped immensely with the latter!)

Not to say that people who do not claim to have any spiritual gifts are any less gifted/necessary/important to the community- they are.  However, one problem I have never yet addressed is the lineage of teachings from which many of us truly owe our reputations, wisdom, and insights.

I’ll begin: I was raised on the Main Line for my elementary years; a block away one of the greatest witches I know had two children about my age and she and I enjoyed a pleasant relationship.  I lived in the same house as my Latvian grandma, and my Pennsylania Dutch grandparents were only five minutes away.  My mother was abusive, however, my neighbors were kind and my family was close enough nearby that I was fairly safe from being killed, except for being pushed down a staircase and a few times where my father would pull my mother off of my young body as she tried to choke me….but then, thankfully, would send me to Nana’s to recover.  My great-grandparents were also still alive- my Nana’s mother was a bit of a Braucher, and I enjoyed nearly monthly visits to see my extended family in Mount Penn, near Reading Pa.  It wasn’t ideal, but looking back- I was so incredibly fortunate to have that time of relative safety.  I was intuitive because I had to be; I read my mother’s Llewellyn books for protection (but often got punished for that as well)…and my grandma’s Latvian friends had taught me how to read cards, how to read the shaped of molten metal poured into cold water every New Year’s eve, as well as countless folktales about Latvia and the “Old Religion”.   We went to Lutheran churches, however, at home- the house I was raised in was a convoluted mess of strange traditions/customs, medicinal plants, candles, and what I was convinced was a haunted attic that terrified the shit out of me.

I was twelve years old when we moved, and the abuse increased…however, I was then “old enough” (according to my father) that I could “survive my mother”.

Again, I was fortunate… one of my neighbors, Linda,  was a New-Ager and she looked after me a great deal and allowed me to tag along to my very first experience of a  New Age Faire run by Rosemarie Moyer.  From the Latvian side of my family, I has learned how to read playing cards in a wheel pattern, so for fun, I was allowed to set up a small table.  From that table of only charging somewhere around the insane sum of somewhere between $5-$10 a reading, I gained the attention of the coordinator of the fair and the owner of the land: Rose.  Rose honestly took me under her wing- taught me the tarot and lent me countless books throughout my teenage years in addition to allowing me to come with her to almost every fair she attended and Rose was even able to talk my mother into submission at times.   I was a novelty: I read in faires from Rockville to Reading, Pa and I even developed close friendships that exist to this day among most of the other vendors….and learned about Bey’s rock shop, which I suppose I could call “The Vatican of all Rock Shops”.   If you ever bought a crystal or unusual stone from any Metaphysical type store- it either came from Bey’s or was ordered online.

From Linda’s best friend (also named Linda), I learned some Reiki before she passed on.  At each faire, I had no shortage of people to learn all sorts of interesting things from Geology (I always loved rocks- my mom couldn’t break them!) to every kind of divination one can imagine- I loved to barter the most of all!   I read card professionally from age 12 to about age 16, even going so far as to get certified by the American Tarot association (likely long expired) and procuring a cheap business license to allow me to read in even more places.  Despite the fact I did not drive, I either found rides from other local vendors, and later, from friends who were exploring Wicca.

In my late teens, I joined the AmeriCorps Vista program and was assigned to work for the Cherokee Heritage center in Tahlequah, OK.  I have been accused by native’s of “the ‘Quah'” That I tend to idealize this town more than it’s fair share…. however, in this place I was surrounded by so many differing forms of metaphysical spirituality, both Native American as well as any other type imaginable, that my six months in that town solidified the importance of the metaphysical as a necessary and fundamental part of my life, so much so, that to ignore it is actually harmful to my mental health.  Even those who claimed “not to be into all that woo-woo stuff”- were still more magical than “muggle” . (Thank you, J.k. Rowling, before you- the terminology for those who were non-intuitive was far more derogatory!)

In my twenties, I leveraged my reputation as an established member of the metaphysical community to score a job working in a “Witch Store” in New Hope, Pennsylvania- the spiritual nexus of Wicca for Eastern Pennsylvania work- while spending as much time as I possibly could learning as much as Ed and Eric down at Mystical Tymes a few doors down from where I worked.  I still converse with Eric frequently and endevour to make the long, complicated trek at least once a year from Reading to New Hope still.  There is no better source for homemade incense blends I can recommend commercially- in addition to them having every known sort of pendant for every kind of pagan religious practice without any form of discrimination.

The terms “light” and “dark” lost their biased meanings to me somewhere between Oklahoma and New Hope- I learned that some of the foulest people claim to perform acts “only in the name of light”- while some of the most thoughtful and caring claim to be “dark magicians”.   Truly, I do not believe anyone can be fully rounded as a sensitive without a basic understanding that both selflessness (typically seen as a “light” trait) can lead to martyrdom and “pity me” syndrome- the self-interest and introspection that is considered the foundation of the “dark” side of metaphysics is necessary to retain balance.

For a few years in my 20’s, like many others… attempted to be “normal”.  I blocked out almost everyone except for a select few people.  I was in a neglectful relationship at best and my contact with the “magic” world was minimal as I worked in dead-end retail jobs and I intentionally blocked out the synaestesia that helped me survive my abusive childhood.   Magic was my refuge from abuse-  by being able to help others with their problems and relying on my own intuition in that helping, I was distracted from my own troubles in my teenage life enough to function rather normally.  The times in my life I have strived for “typical” normalcy (i.e. financial success, material possessions, or base achievements) are the very same times in my life that I have been at my very lowest mental-health wise as well.
I felt like the fire in my heart had gone out from the difficulty of living on my own without a true safety net-  I had random roommates I met on Craigslist, and I struggled often to make ends meet by holding down up to three jobs at a time concurrently.  A “main” job in retail as well as  delivering pizzas- then a 2 week bartending class allowed for me to become a bartender as well.  Bartending brought back a small amount of spirituality to my life seeing my clientele at the VFW and local bars I tended were mostly veterans. At this time, I also discovered that Heathenry existed outside of my family and I became the Gythia of a small kindred in Pennsylvania- this was before I knew of the existence of any “national” organizations, prior to me meeting any Heathen leaders or any such thing.  The kindred was (and still is) self-sufficient as much as we are able to be.

At age 27, after a few years of living my life on emotional autopilot, I met a young man online, fell in love and moved in with him to Canada.  He and his family were UUC’s- a very liberal branch of Christianity that was rather Gnostic and very metaphysical in their beliefs- although the relationship failed, through the difficulties presented in a new country and adapting to the difficulty of living with and loving someone who relied on his spirituality so strongly but at the same time was so incredibly difficult to live with on account of his newly-diagnosed DID (multiple personalities).

I found myself forced to acknowledge everything I had ever learned spiritually to survive the experience…. including the synaestesia which I believes was “seeing auras”, was actually sound-based crossing of the senses.  I was tested by a Canadian doctor and my ability to see weird colors (which I blocked out out of fear of my family history of schizophrenia) was actually a very important tool that I simply attempted to “throw away” which allowed for me to not only survive my childhood, but thrive as a member of several communities when I was younger.  With my synaestesia, my inabilities to understand normal human interactions were more than compensated for with colors, and with those colors, I could perceive healthy from unhealthy situations to an extent which I could not when I intentionally ignored that trait.

I also suffered from a great deal of resentment, I was unable to attend University of Colorado (on full scholarship) at the age of 20 on account of my parents falsely claiming me on my taxes… which in the eyes of FAFSA, voided my legal emancipation at age 17- and brought my parent’s income into account.

When I was in the process of leaving Canada I was already 27 years of age (beyond the point where my parent’s income was a factor), my ex made me promise him I would at least TRY to attend the best college I could find for religious studies and apply to become a multi-faith chaplain.   I felt strongly this was the correct course of action, and there was only one school outside of Harvard that I knew of that held such a lofty reputation….which just so happened to be BACK in Eastern Pennsylvania, yet again: Moravian College.  The third oldest university in the USA as well as attached to a seminary with an exceptional reputation.   I promised myself I would breeze through undergraduate studies without any thought to the present and focus entirely on my goal of reaching graduate school.

I was surprised I was accepted, and with my acceptance to this (at the time rather selective) school, I found myself recovering from a traumatic break-up of a relationship and back in the abusive relationship I left prior.  At the same time I began my time at Moravian it was the same time Moravian was “trying out” a new professor: a self-proclaimed Sufi of the Khorasani school of Iran who also was suffering from the same form of PTSD I was.  We became close- from him, I developed a strong renewed interest in the works of Molavi (Rumi) as well as Muhammad Iqbal.   I became at odds with my kindred as I was rather diverted from my initial intentions of becoming “legally official” clergy into somehow now finding myself in diplomacy and language training in hopes that the Iranian Green Revolution would be successful and I imagined myself as playing a minor (but delusionally optimistic) role in helping to heal the rift between the USA and Iran.

Bethlehem, Pa is yet another stronghold for the pagan community-  I spent some time away from the Heathen community for two or three years and believed it held “nothing more” for me at that time. I became deeply involved with the local Baha’i, attended all open ceremony held by the Cabot-Butler tradition which dominated the town, and even found a niche with a very random group of Discordian chaos magicians who were only “passingly friendly” with one another.   Further, I spent some time devoting my energies to the Unitarian Church of Bethlehem, and following that, just as much time in the local Mosque and studying the esoteric aspects of the Qu’ran for my thesis on the connection between the Physics of Time Theory and the perception of Time as seen by Sufi mystics- which were eerily similar to me.

In a way, in college, I was a bit of a Heirophant (hence the card at the top)… I learned overwhelming amounts of knowledge in seemingly infinite directions.  Living in Bethlehem allowed me to reconnect with the New-Age movement friends I had been out of touch with since the MUM Expo was in nearby Allentown where I shared a table with other vendors in my teenage years (but did not return to reading professionally), I had a positive reputation among the local Wiccans/Witches on account of my time in New Hope, and everything else was just a sea of endless information- in which, frankly, I was drowning by my inability to recognize boundaries and respect my own emotional, spiritual, and intellectual limitations.  Through this, I ended up plagarized in college and deeply abused from my lack of center and mistaken focus on the goal of achievement for achievement’s sake- however, I also ended up secretly homeless my last year of college and lived mostly off of charity from lack of funds outside of my increasing student loan debt.  However, I did manage to graduate cum laude with two degrees and a published thesis: World Religions (with a concentration in Islamic studies), and Philosophy- under which I wrote my thesis on the relation between mystical experience and time theory as posited by quantum mechanics.  Despite all my work on Iranian Diplomacy (and classes taken outside of Moravian on the subject). I only ended up with a minor in “International Studies”- despite the fact that the majority of my work in college seemed to be focused in that direction above and beyond my two earned degrees.

To put it simply:  I drove myself into insanity with all of this.   I desired too much.  I became a perfectionist to the point of emotional overload and for the life of me could not meet a single deadline.   My other professors were overwhelmingly forgiving, and I graduated with two degrees, cum laude, honors, and all sorts of other (mostly meaningless) academic accolades.  I was accepted into an intensive language program with the University of Maryland for Farsi, but mentally/emotionally?  I deteriorated.

With the sacking of the Canadian embassy after the failure of the Green revolution, the program which accepted me lost funding, closed, shortly thereafter, I was arrested and interrogated for 5 hours without any cause given- forced to perform demeaning physical exorcises for over 5 hours as I was insulted and threatened- and denied legal council.

Some friends of mine at the time encouraged in the months preceding to spend time back in Heathenry- and it was through the help of one of the main clergy of the AFA that I sought help at Horsham clinic- entirely broken emotionally, and religiously spent.   Thanks to the Heathen community, (coming full circle), I was able to re-integrate into Heathenry…and also, because of Heathenry, ending up in the clinic for that last time was what was able to get me into SSDI (disability) for my out-of-control flashbacks and C-PTSD nightmares which would have likely ended me in suicide without extensive psychological help and later, medical help when it turned out part of the severity of my mental illness was complicated with a serious heart condition which went unnoticed for years until AFTER I was on SSDI.  (…as of this moment,  I have been accepted into a local program which gives me some hope of being able to contribute more than the occasional blog post or random appearance at events with the help of more appropriate therapies for my conditions and live a life OFF of disability in a few years after much healing.)

Through my college blog which detailed my religious and emotional difficulties, I attracted the attention of my now-husband through Heathenry….and with him, we joined both national organizations.  One of which I burned bridges with for their disrespect for some of the Gods my biological family worshiped (Loki and Hel/Holle in particular) and the other (although we do not pay dues) I still respect and attend what events we can.

What I am trying to say by this post is this:   To most of you, I am just “The Lokean”…. I’m some stranger on the internet writing one blog out of thousands on Heathenry.  However, before Heathenry was as open and understood as it is today, family tradition Heathens all over the world found education, support, and help via many other avenues.  The Wiccans/Witches know me, the New-Ager’s know me, the Baha’i know me, as do others- but all in different ways.   Not bad for an agoraphobic- as much as I am buoyed by seeing my friends on occasion in each of these different communities, I also feel rather like a failure for not being mentally able to do “more”.

Heathenry does NOT exist in a vacuum, and those same Goethe’s and Gythias (particularly one’s older than thirty) are ALSO as equally well known in other pagan communities as well. As much as we may put up the facade of “Being 100% Heathen” that is simply untrue- Heathenry may be “home base”, especially for many of us with Northern European or Pa Dietsch backgrounds….but also, many Heathens seem to be ashamed if they came first from explorations into Wicca, Thelemics, New-Age, Unitarians, Baha’i’, Theistic Satanism, or any other metaphysical faith.

Under the umbrella of both or either metaphysics or paganism, the leaders of other communities know well the leaders of our Heathen community, and seem to care more for OUR welfare than we do theirs in many cases. (Not all, of course…. as always, Robert and Michelle do an excellent job in Philadelphia running Pagan Pride!)  Their histories and travels throughout the world of metaphysics is still followed by the communities they abandoned, and it seems to be almost embarrassed about starting out as a “Wiccan” or as a “New Age Psychic Reader”.

The actual leaders of the Wiccans and New-Agers still remember you, though….The longest running Expo being the MUM Expo in Allentown, Pa- by far the largest and most well-known of this region as far as I am aware….and yet, each year I have attended (even though I am no longer a vendor) I do not see any table for Heathenry, but I do try my best when I notice certain tattoos of Valknuts and clearly identifiable runes/Gods to give them contact information to both The Troth as well as the AFA.

Ideally, the point of this post is to maybe give a hand-up and bring forth the suggestion that in every faire, expo, and event of that nature, there SHOULD be a table manned by Heathens who will help shorten the long process of people who either were raised Heathen as I was or have found themselves drawn to our Gods and Runes and do not know of our existence.   I would like to see certain people pay homage to those who came before “open” Heathen worship existed in this region, to admit that they learned from The Witches, Wiccans, New-Agers, Satanists, Unitarians, and/or any other number of metaphysical paths prior to finding their home in Heathenry, and I would like to see the false pedestal dismantled that many Heathens hold our faith upon.

I am personally an archetypalist, I call myself “Heathen” as a designation of my ancestry as well as to the Gods that I feel most comfortable- however, we do everyone a disservice by being ignorant of other spiritual paths while their leaders still follow us, watch us with amusement, and shake their heads at our collective forgetfulness of how very much we owe those who were brave and strong enough to carve this niche in society of legitimacy we now enjoy.

In conclusion, I want to state VERY CLEARLY this DOES NOT apply to ALL OF HEATHENRY.   Those to whom it DOES apply to…. you know who you are- and *I* know who you are because the Witches Eastern Pennsylvania remember you when you were still taking your first steps to who you are today.

Thank your local Pagan/New-Age elders…. sociologically speaking, if you live in Eastern Pennsylvania- they are ALSO your elders in addition to any Heathen person of note. 🙂

(Note: As of this entry, I am equally invested into both the Heathen community as well as the Discordian/Chaos Magic community and try to maintain my positive ties from those I learned from in Witchcraft, New-Age, and other assorted spiritualists.  Hailing Eris goes well with Hailing Loki 😉 )