Archive for August, 2015

Taxonomy /”Good” Labels: How Denomination Expression Can Benefit Heathenry.

Posted in About me on August 28, 2015 by Tyrienne

THIS is what I think could make clarifying Heathen denominations and personal belief structures so much easier. Taxonomic structures can become exceedingly complicated (and even in our case- they do), but the simplest example is the classification of organisms used in Biology (since it is the one I am most familiar/have the easiest time explaining)

Tonight, I was doing my devotionals- nothing complicated- just sort of a running meditation on “What can I do to honor my Gods and the Gods of my family?”- and for once, I had these pleasant flashbacks.  Memories of hours of conversation about religious classifications of sects and denominations of every religion of the world.

To Academics- Heathenry (and ALMOST all religion) is classified as “Mythology” in an effort to make academic papers and lectures entirely objective and free of non-fact supported religious bias.  Christianity-based schools and Seminaries are exempt from this, of course.   However, it is still a great injustice that religions with literally millions of followers such as Hinduism are “Mythology” and all Abrahamic faiths are not classified as such “out of respect”.

On account of this biased classification- there is a great divide between benevolent scholarship on Heathenry and the day to day world of actual Heathens.

I fully encourage any and all Heathens to write as they please; but in addition to the fantastic writings of people who are inside of the community, I think we not only should be reading these works by “Mythology” scholars in Social Science programs- we should seriously consider incorporating their terminologies for the varieties of forms of Heathenry that exist- at this point in time, I do not even know if there IS a detailed classification system in place- and if it is, it is in lecture halls of random academic institutions unknown to me at this time.

The terms: “Folkish” or “Universalist” are no longer adequate. This was acknowledged with the addition of “Tribalist” several years ago- and now, people are rather “riffing” on names and making up some rather confusing classifications.  A more universal system would be for each individual to figure out where they “fit” in general terms- then having awareness of all other limited descriptors.  Even in biology, the line is cut at “Species”- when technically further divisions can be used such as sub-species, common mutation, and to which population/social group each individual animal can also be further identified.

So, allow me to propose some sample classifications in a way similar to the Taxonomy structure employed by biologist.
(Taxonomy (from Ancient Greek: τάξις taxis, “arrangement,” and -νομία -nomia, “method[1]) is the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank and thus create a taxonomic hierarchy-Wikipedia)

DISCLAIMER: None of these classification ideas are intended to suggest that any classification is superior or inferior to any other- these terms I made up with the best of my intentions, education, and intellect, can be used or discarded, and are meant to be descriptive, clear, encompassing, and vague enough in the larger classifications to hold all people within Heathenry.  If I have erred in some way and someone has “fallen through” the cracks.  I feel something like this is especially valuable for Lokeans to know where homage to Loki is/is not acceptable.

First Classification:

Reconstuctionist vs. Indigenous

Reconstructionist: A person not born into a specific Heathen tradition that converts to Heathenry, or belongs to a reconstructionist organization.

Indigenous: A person born into a polytheistic European-based ethnic group or groups and raised within that culture’s values, Gods, and traditions.

In population, Reconstructionism is an overwhelming majority- in the same way that Sunni Islam outnumbers Shi’i by millions and there are far more Catholics than there will ever be Lutherans in Christianity.  However, the populations of people living the “old way” near the arctic circle cannot be discounted for their existences in Northern Europe and Russia and in small mainland-European villages….and those who immigrated over without discarding their traditional polytheistic rituals, practices, and beliefs.  This classification is not a choice one can make; there are a very small amount of people who were raised with the Norse Gods, most were not.

Being born into a Heathen tradition is like being born a Samoan, Jewish, or Aboriginal.  It is both a cultural determination as well as religious- but to be religious in the framework of your ethnic ancestry is entirely your choice.

The very term Asatru is reconstructionist, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there needs to be a change in classification where it is known that Asatru is a Type of Heathenry, not that Heathenry is a type of Asatru.

Rather like a raven is a type of bird- not all birds are ravens.

However, sometimes indigenous folks oftentimes feel more like mudskippers among land creatures in modern conventional heathen events.  Self conscious, feeling less “cool”, and then there is always the inevitable “Wow. This is so much more fun that singing funeral dirges over tombstones for 4 hours or folk dancing in uncomfortable traditional costumery”.  I was never personally enthralled of the cemetary singing or folk dancing, so I envy Recons in their dirge-less childhoods.

I like to think we’re more like Coelacanth survivors, really.

(more people like Coelacanths than mudskippers… I think.)

Those who were raised “Indigenous” tend to worship the Aesir, the Vanir, and Jotunr and offer all three respect and offerings (in some cases, offerings to the Jotunr are for appeasement and not necessarily any sense of affection)- leading to STRONG amounts of confusion when they explore the greater community outside of their families.  Being pantheistic or having more dedication to land spirits (Wights/Vaetirr/Daevas) than most reconstuctionists. Some indigenous groups- such as one’s originating from the Baltic, are actually pan-polytheistic- meaning they believe in one universal, above-all, though all “Diev” or “God” but it is not seen as human, or necessarily something one can even communicate with- like the Gunningunap, this being is a Creator and utterly unfathomable, thus, the typical pantheons are used as intermediaries who are higher beings, ancestors who ascended to immortality to become higher beings through leaving a profound legacy (such as Bragi or the God-kings), and vaetirr and friendly spirits who find benefit for themselves in aiding humanity.

While there are other sects that are pantheistic or almost exclusively more Shamanic or Druidic:  Looking up “earth religion” on wikipedia shows extensive reference to Lithuanian sources; There is a pantheon of deities and demi-deities, but in this sort of tradition they are one of thousands believed to exist among Gods for each species of flora, fauna, seasons, life events and meteorology (and likely more).

Indigenous Heathens can claim their specific family background, but that does not necessarily entail they will continue in the specific family traditions in which they were raised.  For instance, someone born into the Saami ethnic group who is now living in Florida will likely not be a reindeer herder, however, still possesses valuable insights from their upbringing which can enrich all of our depth of understanding towards Heathenry if it actually KNOWN the Heathen was raised Saami rather than typical Christian-American and they are willing to speak on their religious/spiritual upbringing… Even if they discard the Saami-specific mystical aspects in favor of a more scholarly mindset.

There are many Heathens I know personally who are solitary on account of these misunderstandings and the resultant unpleasant experiences they suffer/ed on this account.   If there is understanding indigenous Heathenry exists, it can then be clearer where a member of this group would choose to worship.  Some choose to save their worship of lesser-known, unpopular, or misunderstood deities for their private practice and join Classical communities with no issues whatsoever out of having the advantage of understanding the “landscape” and making conscious decisions as to which community they feel the most comfortable….or if, like me, end up spending enough time in books and exploring world religions to feel that an Archetypalist philosophy has been adopted in the process.

However, these is no reason to assume an Indigenous Heathen is a “better” heathen.  I’m sure my uncle knows more about the Latvian Earth Religion than I do…but he’s an agnostic, he’s not even remotely interested in the topic- and like the children of many immigrants from last century, finds more happiness in his identity of being born in the United States and being a good citizen than anything religious.

I am religious- other people who read this likely are similar, but being non-religious is not a bad thing.
I would rather have a non-religious person who treats me kindly as a friend near me than a religious person who treats me with unkindness every time.

Second Classification:

Classical vs. Archetypalist

A Classical Heathen believes in the Gods as the Norse/Germanic form and lore only comparison of a God of the Norse pantheon to Gods that share some qualities of other pantheons is strongly discouraged. A good example would be comparing Tyr to Ares of the Greeks- that would be forbidden in a Classical ritual.

Archetypalist believes each God is seen differently by each culture in the world as part of a larger paradigm.  In an Archetypalist ritual, A Goddess like Freya can also be honored by the names Inanna or Ishtar for the similarities in spiritual domain and function/s.

This may be one of the most unspoken divisions in Heathenry, and I believe peace can be found between both schools of thought simply by accepting the label that fits for each individual. I feel it might serve even as replacement for the more nebulous terms “Folkish”, “Tribalist”, and the current “Universalist” labels- There are people who fit within these terms equally well  in comparison to one another whose religious beliefs seem to clash often.  By stating a ritual or function is “Classical” that would very clearly indicate hailing Gods of other pantheons would be frowned upon without needing an extensive lecture at the beginning of rituals or events.

Third classification:
“Academic” vs. “Mystic/Shamanic” vs. “Pantologist”

Academics= Do not regularly seek mystical experiences or divine intervention as part of their spirituality, preferring technical scholarship over unverified personal gnosis (UPG)

Mystics/Shamanics:  Rely extensively on seeking mystical experience and direct spiritual interaction with the Gods via UPG

Pantologist:  Uses both.  But hopefully examines all potential historical UPG against wishful thinking.   A common Tyrsperson UPG is of a creature associated with Tyr as an exceptionally large black eagle- This UPG has more support to it considering there was indeed a megafauna eagle that meets this description which was alive concurrently with the period of time Tyr worship began (which was around 6000 BC if you were curious). They lived until about 1000-1100 CE which is when it was believed they became extinct by human hunting.  Considering these eagles have been depicted in ancient art as eating human children… lack of conservation of the species for the time period is, at least, understandable.

My intellectual bias is UPG’s of this nature hold more substantive value to the community than “I had a dream [some deity] had sex with me and we made astral babies… [S/He/It] said it was because they liked my [body part].” (yes, I have seen blog posts like this.)

[I am very open in my skepticism of the commonality of true Godspousary indicated on the internet since most historical records of most religions indicate that it was either a vow of celibacy or such a sacred form of clergyhood that the details were not spoken; since to speak of it would indicate one cared for the admiration of people instead of focusing on the more important relationship to the deity or deities.From a “mythological” and not anthropological viewpoint- there are enough stories of demi-gods born to Godspouses I postulate to the “louder” and more excessively descriptive and imaginative modernists of the practice to show me their demigod babies of amazing power and I will gladly revise my personal belief on the matter immediately.  I mention this because the few Godspouses I give my respect to would be very clearly pantologists.]

Fourth Classification:

“New Universalist”, Vs. “Orthodox” Vs. “Non-Orthodox”
[Disclaimer:  Christians do not OWN the word “Orthodox”- it just means, well, Orthodox]

New Universalist= Accepts all/most expressions of Heathenry, bears no discrimination against any potential worshiper who comes in pacifism. The majority of group ritual is open to the public.

Orthodox= Those who choose only to pay homage to the Aesir/Vanir; allows for exclusions of people based on any criteria they choose. They may hold many open events, but rituals tend to be invite only.   Orthodox can also be used in the case of Indigenous heathen groups of Classical belief system that are very insular and mistrust outsiders.

Germanic Indigenous Heathens tend to me more “Orthodox”- however, the farther North one travels, that Orthodoxy is less profound.

Most Orthodox will not accept Jotunr worship. However, Loki-worship seems to be divided primarily along the lines of “Reconstructionist Orthodox” and “Indigenous Orthodox”- with the undetermined amounts of groups in the latter categorization either embracing the practice as “normal” or merely politely tolerant based on the teaching of Woten that “Each horn raised to me is too, raised to Loki.”

Non-Orthodox: Indigenous OR reconstructionist Heathens who realize their set of their Most Honored deities may not be accepted my the majority of other heathens. They can be exclusionary or non-exclusionary, but tend to be least likely (statistically!) to hold “Open” events of any sort.  Non- Orthodox Heathens would include the Danish Troll-worshipers, The Rokkr’s of Sweden, Jotunr, Rokkatru, Lokitru, and those who emphasize minor deities that may seem controversial simply for lack of sources outside of oral tradition.  (Such as a group dedicated primarily to the worship of Hodr, which COULD be seen as contradictive to the words of the Prose Edda:

 “One of the Aesir is named Hödr: he is blind. He is of sufficient strength, but the gods would desire that no occasion should rise of naming this god, for the work of his hands shall long be held in memory among gods and men.”

Fifth/Last Classification:

Personal Classification

And finally, if one has one or two particular patron Gods special to them Within their pantheon classification- once can disclose Them as the final descriptor. Such as “Odinskinder”, “Thorian”, “Lokean”, “For Freyr”, and all [Gods]men and women Etc…

As an example, This would be my classification under this system:
Indiginious [Vanic Lettish/Braucherei*]—> Archetypalist—> Pantologist—>Non-Orthodox—>Tyrian/Lokean

Knowing that I fall into “Indigenous” category….if this were a decade ago, I would have saved myself much personal grief if I knew that “meant” something that put me at odds with the beliefs of the larger population.  Being an Archetypalist means I need to be careful to keep my names straight of world pantheons and traditions and be especially careful around classical Heathens to avoid offending their beliefs.  I know three names for Thor, for example: Latvian: Perkuns, Norse: Thor, German: Donar/Donnar.  For Woten/Odin/Woden.  For Freyr/Janis, and Hel/Hela/Holle.  I am raised of two traditions, so all these names are the same as one friend calling me by first name only- and another by my surname.

As a Pantologist, I need to balance my spirituality and my scholarship without losing either to feel spiritually fulfilled, and use discernment when determining mystical experiences from wishful thinking, dreams, or meaningless hallucination.

A very good indicator for me, personally, is if in an experience I am asked to perform a task I know is ethically correct  but extraordinarily socially unpopular.  A Tyrian without Lokean influence has the greatest advantage in these scenarios since they would likely be seen as stolid, wise, disciplined, and well respected members of the community who speak seldom.  Lokeans….tend not to speak seldom, have much discipline nor have much respect from others if it is known they are Lokean. (either undeserved or deserved).

True, ethical Lokeans are also are exceptional truth-tellers- however, after truth is told, bridges are usually burnt since the Truths of Loki tend to be as caustic as Tyr’s but usually more personal than on a “Calling out Great injustice” level.

Examples:
A Tyrian action based on UPG would be taking a stand against some-sort of Oathbreaking or needless conflict to prevent an erosion of the community that can be stopped without further infighting.
A Lokean action based on UPG would be taking a stand against hypocrisy and may create needful conflict to precipitate change that is needed for a community.

All I can do is the best I can with the information and resources available to me at any given time- in life and in my writings.

The main point of this post is that there are even sections of Heathenry I do not relate to/care for- but I give them the respect to count them in my mind as “Just as Heathen as I am”.

I worked pretty hard at this to make this post as unbiased and sterile as possible-  basically turning this into the root of a college essay I could have written for class back in 2010…   However, I really feel too lazy to actually draw a diagram of what this post described, but I will give +10 Good Heathen Happy Loki Points to someone who will draw one and I will insert it here instead of the picture I used from google and fully credit your work.

In any case, perhaps, if we create a closer relationship with academia and read more textbooks we can close the gap….and those academics, in turn, can ask our more visible and knowledgeable Heathens about our sources and resources as well.

I would like to personally thank Wikipedia for its tireless work at remember terms I barely recall and by providing the accuracy of the academic parts of this post.

*** Footnote: My father’s maternal side had more practitioners of Hexerei than Braucherei, Braucherei are as often Christian as they are Heathen, and a “Braucher-raised” does not necessarily indicate an individual is actually a trained Braucher.   I was raised that “Hexerei”- meant “old Gods” and Braucherei meant “Christian”.  But with the negative connotation of the word “Hex”- Braucherei is now used for both Heathens and Christians.  Chances are- you will never meet a Christian Braucher since you are on a computer and the Christians are still very much Anabapist and tend toward “horse and buggy” communities.

“The Silberner Quorum”

Posted in About me on August 25, 2015 by Tyrienne

Ancestor worship– what does that mean?  Here is a short story loosely based on a dream I had months ago while just after I left the ER for my own minor, yet painful problems.

Names changed, but the coat of arms works.

Names changed, but the coat of arms works.

It was early morning when I found myself in a large, round room filled with wooden bleachers full of people in what appeared to be an old barn.  Most of which I had known who had passed on the one line of my family- and there was a disagreement.  Well, to be honest, many disagreements.

Ancient Aunts and Uncles were quarreling, My own line was there of grandmothers and grandfathers, and a long-haired woman with hair streaked of greys and silvers bid me to sit beside her wearing a beautiful dress of purples.

“This is not your first Quorum.” she stated approvingly as I took my seat a quietly as a could, not wanting to draw attention to myself

“No, it is not- but not called a Quorum…I had to petition the ancestors of a friend who was in a coma once to his ancestors of his tribe, and another time, I had to explain myself and my actions before a group of angry Scottish clans in a dream regarding a former lover who would have abused his children if I didn’t intervene to his family….but I did not know our family even had a council to go to.”

“We do, we just only allow one living clergy to attend….and before you object, there is no reason why you do not qualify to fill the position at present.”

Not knowing the proper address, I replied: “I suppose not, Grand Greatmother, Who was before me?”

“Your uncle Arnie, but his mind won’t clear until he joins us eventually, before him, it was myself.  Arnie’s dementia doesn’t clear from his spirit until he crosses, so you were next.”

Another voice interjected, “Someone in Dicky’s line was going to be a preacher…”
The woman beside me replied, “…And dropped out.  This one followed through and is close to the issues being discussed.”

“…She’s not even a Silberner anymore”- another old man groused.
“Born a Silberner, always a Silberner, the blood stays the same.”   Grand-Greatmother replied beside me calmly.

The old man replied, “What about those two kissing cousins?  They had some talent, did they get that marriage arranged?”
…to which people surrounding him shuffled uncomfortably.

“Mind Asa- he is very old and perceives time differently than most- he sees many potentials at once, exceptionally talented when he was alive 200 years ago.  He’s never missed a single Quorum.”

“I have been to Quorums that have never been!” Asa exclaimed, “It’s a family reunion without the food, speaking of which why is there no food?”

Great Uncle Benny scoffed: “Because we’re dead, you old fool.” turning to me “Present company excluded, niece.”

My attention turned to a young, blonde woman was in the center of the room crying- “Please, for the love of Jesus help my son, I’m begging you.  Please.  I wasn’t the best mother alive, but I am still a mother and my son is suffering.  Please help him.”

Pop stated: “He chose to drink, he chose to fuck-up, he chose to suffer- he leaves behind ungrown children, and he was raised Silberner, I raised him better and he failed.”

The mother replied: “Pop, he is not a Silberner- I married, he’s a Roslinya!  I ask for him to go before the Polish Roslinya council instead of the Silberner!”

“There is no Roslinya council- their family was not so strong, and if they had anyone who chose to watch their family, they would be welcome here to decide your son as well.” said the Grand Greatmother to my side who whispered “Now, you speak for the living…”

And I realized the beautiful young woman was my great aunt who had just passed on.

I spoke up. “He chose to drink because he suffered, without bad luck, my cousin would have no luck at all…  What decisions are being made here today?  What needs to be decided?”

“Punishment or mercy,” replied Asa, “He will pass and he is indecisive, some wish to punish him by forcing him to watch those he leaves behind and how his death will lead to lasting harm, some wish to free him when he passes to move onward and leave the world and family behind him, some want to give him the Choices freely: To Leave, to Watch, or to Reincarnate into his own grandson who is not yet here.”

“His death will divide the family inexorably.” said one.

“The family always divides” said another

Grandfather Charlie stood, “Anthony has suffered enough, my nephew has been through battles, he has been alone, and his own family has wronged him.”

“And been wronged by him! Your own line, Charlie!” exclaimed Asa.

True- we had not heard from Tony in nearly 20 years, but from what I could discern, it was more out of fear than spite.  My family fluctuates between over inflated pride and absolute despair depending on the individual.  Seeing my cousin in real life, however, showed no pride- fake or otherwise- a stubborn will to see his first grandchild, and sadness when he reunited with my father.

I replied “You mean my line?  I am Grandfather Charlie’s great-grandchild by blood-  Who else has he ever harmed- and even then, he did not seek to hurt anyone! He withdrew entirely.  Some people in my line treated him poorly, but if I am here representing my living line: He has done no harm that is not forgiven by those that count.”

“You speak for your living line?   Your uncle and cousins as well?”

“My uncle and cousins are agnostic and isolated from all Family issues, I am not.   My Uncle Keith doesn’t speak to anyone in the extended family, and my cousins Andre and Charles live in a vacuum completely ignorant and uninterested in the old way of things.  Of my line, all that remains is my grandfather and my father.  I can only speak for my father, Kenneth and I.  My brother, Matthew, also does not remember The Family even though he carries the name.   Keith, Matthew, Charles, and Andre have nothing to say on the matter and have no emotional investment.”

“He was Matthew’s Godfather.” Asa contended
I shot back: “My parents are still alive; and if they passed on, my grandparents would have had custody in accordance to law- his absence did not harm Matthew in anyway except for a missed opportunity to connect and strengthen the Family.”

“And what about your own Grandfather, still alive?”

“I do not speak for the thoughts and actions of my grandfather- his actions and thoughts are not my thoughts- either for positive or negative.  I am here, he is not.  I only speak for my own father because we are of one mind on this matter and discussed it at length.”

“You reconnected the family for this?”

“I did, I was raised knowing him as an uncle on account of our age difference- he was kind to me.

“Interesting, that. Arnie wanted Kenny to come after him in line, but we end up with Kenny’s daughter regardless!”

“Now now…back on topic!” shouted an old man in plain clothes in the corner, I had no idea who he was….and all people continued to divide and speak on a variety of topics like an aviary of small birds creating a cacophony through which no business could be conducted at all.

“You did very well, daughter- very well spoken.” Grand Greatmother spoke beside me in a whisper.

“What now?” I asked.

“This continues until the matter is settled.” she replied with frustration.

“…And that would be Death, wouldn’t it?”

“Nice to see your divinity school taught you so well- the Moravian Quorums are so much less interesting than the Lutheran.” At this point, I was remarkably confused- I felt like i was in a room surrounded by Heathens except for my aunt who still wept in the center of the room, her older brother had joined her and was speaking quietly with her words I could not hear.  My confusion must have shown, “Labels are what you make of them-  To the Catholic, all Lutherans are Heathens.”

“I’m not Lutheran, actually-  I went with the Old Religion of the rest of my family”

“All of your family” she corrected

“But you said…”

“Sometimes, i think you only hear what you think people are going to say instead of what words actually come out of their mouths, my dear.” she smiled.  “How did you Ever get through college…?”

“Intuition and bullshit, mostly.  I wrote papers and then found sources to back up what I already concluded on my own.  I studied religion years before I even set foot in University.”

She sighed…it was then I realized she wasn’t being literal.

“You have amazing luck in this entire ordeal,  if he’s bright, you even have a short window to help Tony transition more easily regardless, the Quorum doesn’t end…”

“…until he’s dead, got it. Then he’s judged.”

“No…” she looked at me as if speaking to a particularly dull child, “No. Then he speaks for himself, his mother called the Quorum- and if she was capable of doing so, there is much hope for her lines through her children and her children’s children.  You won’t be the only ‘Heathen’ about the Family, I can tell you that much- the lineage finds a way to continue through what lines it can- your line is infertile, but Tony-  Tony was always such a Kind child, and there is Kindness in his children and his niblings of his siblings”

The way she emphasized the word “Kindness” seemed to take on a heavier, deeper meaning to which I am still not certain-I was relieved I knew the word “Nibling” to mean “Nephew/Niece” rather than an allusion to cannibalism. Things remained strange.

I felt like I was trapped in that barn filled with a myriad of voices of angry and sympathetic relatives- and the amazing thing was the entire time I was there I forgot my own troubles for a time.

I imagine, somewhere between Earth and Beyond, they still argue- they have all the time that ever was from their perspective.  Tony still lives, but in hospice and is not expected to see Yuletime.

Coincidentally, I can’t help but wonder if he will live through the period of time while I remain highly dosed on many painkillers, through my own surgery, and through the time after of even greater painkillers where all lines of reality seem to blur entirely.  Is my surgery to coincide with the death of my cousin- in the same hospital in which he has spent so much time before my prayers for him to be in Hospice were granted.

No one should die alone in a hospital….but here we both are, in the town settled by our ancestors and not even a mile apart.  My surgery seems like an entirely random thing to be necessary with no true warning beyond “I’m in pain- fix it.”- which started the same week as my cousin decided to defy all logic in favor of stubbornness- to live without functional organs almost daring death to take him in a battle of wills rather than giving in-exhausted.

Tony always was a stubborn sonofabitch.

I wonder about the dissolution of my Greater family, the matriarchs and patriarchs of centuries will fade after myself and the last of my generation remember those who once lived and remembered when there was a family not just in the in-between, but here on Earth-equally strong and opinionated about what was best for the Family.

Will they move on or keep guard of their descendants’ descendants for as long as it suits them?

Even if you are confused, directionless, and alone for a time in your experiences; no one else but the self can feel the strands of probabilities and possibilities trail through their fingers like plants in a fast stream moved only by their Will through the reeds and nature herself.

In analogy, one sees people as threads and with subtle will can move them like chess pieces towards and away one another- with nothing more than a few words.  The great magicians can do it without words- just weaving threads of lifelines and energies into something beautiful- if there are not knots and snarls in need of greater attentions.

I wonder if this period of life will change me, if my cousin dying will actually have any effect on my mortal life beyond a possible funeral, if this is a test/initiation, or if it means nothing at all.

What I do know- is that side of my family prays to their dead loved one’s for help, always have- more than Jesus or Woten or even some great universal God, that like Shiva, mostly ignores us mayfly humans and our short, quick lives of little comment in comparison to immortality.

The Lokean Creed

Posted in About me on August 18, 2015 by Tyrienne

The Lokean Creed

In speaking truth,
we know we lose much
for the Truth is black and white.
With facts, we become condemned
We trade in secrets
since we have none of our own
We admit to fallibility
And we acknowledge our own Genius
For the God of cleverness
Has chosen our lives
as under His care.

We will polarize you
while giving gifts
make you laugh
and make you cringe.
In secret you will seek our council
And we will revel in our correct advice.

Say Loki’s name in secret,
You know He can hear Woten’s.
Those outside, you whisper the prayers
We say proudly aloud

We do no accept
the terms of Silence
We care more for our Gods
Than we do for you.
We are the scions of intellect,
cleverness, and sacrifice.

And as your sand castles
crumble and rebuilt by
Tides and time.
The mad are learned
to be the Maestros
who survive both.

[I wrote this as one of the admins for “Lokitru” on facebook after feeling frustration about seeing someone I respected slight Loki in public, when I know in private Loki is honored- and I realized that insulting my God in such a personal way feels like a rejection of who I am in Heathen community still.   I could be the St. Francis of Asatru and people will still hate Loki.  Regardless, in times of upset- it’s usually a good time to write a devotional.]

Heathens and Abortion

Posted in About me on August 5, 2015 by Tyrienne

Yes…and abuse can lead to criminal behavior in adulthood. There are studies. Or, just ask anyone you know who either works in law enforcement or anyone who has spent significant time in jail.

As long as humans have existed, so have forms of birth control, from sheepskin condoms to crocodile dung mixed with honey- people knew how NOT to have babies.

Further, up until this recent age that will likely be dubbed “The Age of Youth” since our society places so much more value on transient youth and beauty than the aged and wise, we will be seen throughout history as the most reckless and irresponsible age of humankind by what we do to the planet and to ourselves.

As it stands now- there are people going hungry, not just in distant countries you will likely never visit, but in the USA.  We have successfully shamed the poor so well that they would rather their children starve than ask for “assistance” (now called “hand outs”)- and remain impoverished as we venerate the rich and many strive for the vapid, self absorbed lifestyle of profound excesses and the ability to look down on those who have less.

Well, fuck the rich…or eat them, whichever you decide is more satisfying to your personal ethic.

Abortions were also pretty simple, women have thrown themselves down steps and pulled the “I want you hit me as hard as you can” in the stomach bit, well, pretty much forever.  This is not urban legend, either-  These two particular forms of abortion were practiced as recently by classmates of mine at late as the year 2000. When “Falcon Punch” doesn’t work, then- I used to walk young girls (some of them raped) to the clinic to “unruin their lives”

Yes, unplanned pregnancy ruins lives.  It keeps people (male and female) from achieving higher education since the motivation is to feed the family instead of accruing student loan debt, it contributes to overpopulation, and the children are resented for basically being the death of the dreams of the parents and grandparents, ending up in many cases as the target of frustration borne abuses… I know, I was on the receiving end of those abuses, and it was not pleasant.

Life was different when Europeans lived in small villages, saw the same 50 people the entirety of their lives, and were married off by age 14.  Then, there was community to raise all children- but our modern society is so fractured and distant from one another that the family member you are close to today can move to an entirely different country tomorrow.

Stability is a myth, and the way our society is currently set up- we can’t even artificially impose social group stability.   There are just too many damned people.  In the process we’ve lost our ability to mediate conflict (now called “Drama”) because it’s easier to just walk away (…which I do, if “running away” was against the law, I’d be hung considering my 20’s were spent chasing employment in over 12 moves)   But in this freedom to “escape” negative forces in our lives- we also lose the net of relations, traditions, and customs that keep everyone together- very few families still have patriarchs or matriarchs anymore.  Mine did, she passed when I was 12- and from there, my extended family fractured like a hammer to stained glass.  The pieces that stayed together were the ones already closely blood related, but the more distant cousins and great uncles faded away from us and from each other.

So, Heathenry is a religion- what do we think about abortion?   I would look down the noble virtues for that one- if having a child will add to the community and you are quite certain you will love it and raise it honorably,  by all means, please have children.

But if even the slightest doubt creeps into your mind about resenting your choice to procreate in the early stages of pregnancy- please do the community and world a favor and terminate.  You can give birth later (in most cases) when you are ready for it….because your family and society itself has no real net to “catch” the unwanted and abused.

Child services is an overworked and understaffed organization in every state of the United States.   The most horrific finds you see on the internet and television of children living in sub-human conditions only makes the news after years of pleading and begging by neighbors, social workers, educators, and police who would love to take those kids away.

…but then the question is, where to?

Foster care seems to be almost institutionalized as a haven for greedy foster parents to “foster” as many children as possible in crowded conditions in many cases- sexual abuse runs rampant, and it is easier for an American to adopt a child from any other country than it is from here, not to mention, most adopted children are adopted in infancy to avoid the attachment disorders found in older neglected and abused children.

So, as Heathens, do we care about the fetus, or do we care about the community?  Do we as heathens have a mechanism in place to take care of unwanted heathen children?  Are there Asatru orphanages and loving Odinist foster parents?

None that I know of.

So, with that in mind- why are so many people in our faith getting up in arms over the abortion debate?  Have you ever SEEN what childbirth does to most women’s bodies?  It’s like our society secret what women look like AFTER pregnancy without plastic surgery.   It is enough that in a society based on looks=intrinsic value, that many women are not emotionally strong enough to endure the physical stresses of motherhood on the psyche’s if they had already programmed into their identity that “Pretty all over” is part of their core value set.  (Which is hard to ignore when every commercial and program features perfectly photoshopped women…  Only men can be themselves, women need 5 hours of make-up if life reflected media stereotypes.)

Our Gods have killed children of other Gods and tortured others- do you REALLY think Woten cares about the abortion debate?

This is the Hail Loki blog- how many of you know the trivia fact that Loki was alleged to have been tied to a rock with the intestines of his own child, not even a grown adult?

So, my fellow Heathens….I ask you, what stake do you have in this “race”?   Women aren’t any more or less intelligent creatures then men.   If abortion is less safe an accessible, then desperate women will choose whatever method necessary to abort- Please trust women to know when the time is right (if ever) to have children.

Otherwise, we just end up with severely emotionally disordered children who grow to be dysfunctional adults.

Why would anyone want that?  Does anyone think beyond the fetus that if a woman DOES NOT WANT TO HAVE A CHILD why would ANYONE possibly believe she would make a good mother?

It’s like me telling you I hate cooking just before you order me to be in charge of Thanksgiving-  if you don’t want it ruined, pass it off to someone who finds joy in the work.

I have no desire to have children- and I really do not care what the “official” Organizational stance on Abortion is- I don’t pay dues to any national organizations at this point.

I am saying this- as a Heathen-  Why are we getting ourselves tangles in what is traditionally a Christian debate?

Why do we care about fetuses when, traditionally, in many parts of Europe it was considered “unlucky” to give a child a real name until a certain amount of time had passed to see if it would live long enough to reach adulthood?

We should be applauding our brave women who choose when to and when not to procreate- I believe it shows sound decision making skills in being able to recognize when a responsibility is too large at that time to handle.

We do not pressure newly-come Heathens to become folkbuilders….would you pressure a teenager to be a parent?

Loki isn’t Omnipotent.

Posted in About me on August 5, 2015 by Tyrienne

I am currently in my third apprenticeship in my life— if this were Ye Olde Deitschland, I would basically be considered a lackwit for not succeeding the first time, since to “apprentice” is usually meant to lead to a lifestyle, including profession.

I attended college late with the desire to become a chaplain;  I was admitted and accepted to, what (at that time) was the the most historic college program for religion in the country.  But don’t worry about an ego-  I entirely forgot my entire reason for attending within a month to the day when a professor requested I meet him in his office after class.

“I believe your brilliance would be wasted in chaplaincy, but if you wish to be a Scholar, I will teach you.”

To go against the grain of everything I have ever written in this blog- I will write about a UPG where a God lead me to a path to where I was hurt in such a deep, profound way I am forever changed emotionally and mentally I feel like the self I used to be is a stranger to me.

My kindred was suffering another bout of “Nazi Fever” which occasionally rolls through and passes without incident (usually). Other kindreds and the local community welcomed me at the time, even though it was rather like jumping into the pool on the opposite end than you should.  (and I still can’t tell which “side” is the shallow one, even now.)

I had a dream about a God-  In this dream, my Judaism professor informed me there was an Asatru English professor who asked to meet with me and he handed me the room number, in that room was a slender man dressed in the same jacket as I (I wore a German military moleskin jacket most of the time back then) and matching pants.  He had curly red hair and a patchy beard equally red and he pointed out the window,

“See that man out the window?  He is very wise and you could learn much from him.  Protect him.”   I think it was at this point I realized the man in green was not mortal.

I shared the dream with my Heathen friends and we were all in concordance that it was likely Bragi…  Who would make a better English teacher than the Poet of the Gods?

The professor was a diplomat, but oddly, my course of study didn’t change so much as it was supplemented with almost the entire weight of two equal, but more separate than I realized, educations.

On one hand, I was still a religions student, on the other, all my free time was spent with tutors learning an entirely new codex of language.   The German professor had already tested me in anticipation of placing me in German III, but to our mutual disappointment, it didn’t fit in my schedule, they allowed Farsi to count as my language credit on the bright side.

So, I protected the professor.  He published a paper regarding a controversial humanitarian issue that pissed off his home country and he was just so damned naive he believed the same people who sent him death threats could be trusted to throw parties… he was asked to attend a conference as a keynote speaker for his field- a field in which he had only had two years of experience- and none of his superiors were invited.

I believe it was the first, of many, times I called this man who valued intellect above all else “a complete idiot”.  If not for my promise to Loki, I would have just shrugged and let him go and get himself killed.

I remember I felt like some sort of avenging Valkyrie, I said to him. “If you go to that country for that conference- you will be morally responsible for every person I need to murder to avenge you.”

He later disclosed that between the threats of myself and his own mother- he did not go, he did as I requested and contacted the proper authorities, and he was gone a week, returning drawn and wane.

He seemed fragile- and at first felt like some sort of sheild maiden barbarian fighter to protect the exhausted, froggy scholar from accidentally stabbing himself in the eye with his own pencil.

But then, things changed-  My personal religion was to tell no lies.  But I was being asked to lie constantly by this overburdened man who was trapped between his job in academia as well as demands placed by our own government upon him in exchange for protection of his life.   He was embarrassed or frightened- I do not know which; but he didn’t want the faculty to know when he was in DC.

I was already used to this, my father works as a contracted engineer as-needed and has for most of my life.   Yes, people in a black car DO show up and pick people up when they have a need for them.   My file was unsearchable by my own father- leading to estrangement for a few years until later it became clear I was never going to be a diplomat and he was finally allowed to see it.

My Gods were quiet at this time in my life- no red-haired God-professors, and I found myself more with the Baha’i and Sufi than the Heathens.

Unwittingly, in all the confusion and attempting to navigate the blind maze of the convergence of so many confusing responsibilities, loyalties, and risks piled on the back of a single human being (myself), I began to lose my mind.

Despite a GPA that stayed pretty consistently cum laude throughout my academic career- I felt trapped, insignificant,and suicidal.   My Mentor asked a great deal of me in terms of writing, in exchange for his guidance at first there was no  arguing with his opinion.   It was supposed to be assumed he was wise and honorable enough that he could be trusted implicitly.

Until it was discovered he was plagiarizing me the entire time, I learned prior to becoming a teacher his body work consisted of nothing but pure translations.   He wasn’t a teacher; he was a parrot…and instead of parroting the works of the great European masters of Philosophy, now he was parroting the work of a 30 year old nobody and presenting it as his own.

For this reason, everything I write is free and anonymous.   Especially with all things religion.  It’s almost like a realization that “knowledge should be free” to all people, and also, that money corrupts.   The very worst corruption comes from the most spiritual of people.  Hell, I was corrupted-  I could have saved a long-known friend from high school from overdosing on a cocktail of pills, but I was too wrapped up in my own issues to think clearly to help him.

There were over 400 letters exchanged between myself and my former mentor, much of it in poetry discussing his book.

Then, once upon a time, I was good enough at Farsi to understand the language to a significant enough degree to identify my own turns of phrase spoken in an entirely different language without a common root between them.

At the end of this- (which is usually where I start the stories of Loki on this blog) Loki apologized, and still is compensating for what even HE admits was terrible advice since the outcome was so bizarre in so many details that it could not have been predicted by a Discordian with a degree in Theoretical Physics. (or Philosophy of Sciences).

So, here I am-  I actually make the “cut” per most states/counties as being fully qualified to be a Chaplain-  a sort of mini-clergy…and I am apprenticed again.

But now I have learned how to be a better student.
A good student assists, rather than deferring.
Education does not need to be abusive…there is no reason for abuse in any human activity
The teacher is as fallible as the student; forgive both.
No matter what happens- if best effort is put forth the Gods will reward even if there is no reward from society.

Loki kept his promises to me so far- but He also caused the problems that broke me- without being asked to protect my former mentor I would not have trusted him at all.  However, if the Gods wanted to test my loyalty, (which was unintentional), I passed, and I have been blessed…. and no, I don’t mean as in I have a magic foxtail or a sword forged by elves… I mean I have a great husband, a beautiful home, and although life isn’t great medically, I also made it through the SSDI process.

Some people don’t like that I am on SSDI-  But think of it this way, look at the dates I post, I am unreliable in functionality from day to day.  However, being on SSDI DOES allow me time to dedicate to our religion, to write, to comment, and to influence the religion in (what I hope is)  benevolent ways it also means I have the freedom of no deadlines since I do what I do for free.

I don’t trust people who don’t look up to other’s now-  Teaching is a ladder, the longer you stand on the top step as any sort of “authority”, the greater the chance of falling.   There are warnings on those for a reason. “Do not stand on this step.”

Of course, because you will end up with your ass on the asphalt and depending on the height- up to severely broken.

I like that the person I am learning from right now is, in turn, reaching out to the old elders to learn all he can from them.   It keeps him humble.

It’s rather funny in a way- the Sufi turned out to be a barbarian, and the Heathen is just a font of peace and pacifism.
(Prior to 2012, Sufism was considered one of the world’s least violent religions.  I have no clue where it stands now)

Now then, the last time I had a vision of Loki was my second ER visit in June.  He stood in the doorway and all he said was “I’m so sorry for this.”- and now I know why, I’ve had to jump through more flaming hoops to get surgery than I did to get into college….but unwillingly.

“You need blood tests A to Z” is not something I can just say “No” to.   If I want to lose the pain, I have to keep going through the battery of tests- which is literally like walking down an aisle and getting beaten up in a new way by each doctor you meet on the way.  Is there such a thing as a test that does not cause discomfort in some way?

Where is Loki now?  I have no idea- but reading other blogs it seems he has a thing for banging incredibly lonely human women…  I wondered what the other Gods must think of that seeing as Midgardians are about as important as livestock, then I recall Loki also fucked a horse, too.

Jack Harkness wins over Tom Hiddleston as “Most Lokean Actor” if we take the median UPG description from the internet at this time.

I don’t personally have a Godspouse experience- and to be honest, I wouldn’t want one and find the entire idea about as perplexing as the furry or juggalo subcultures.   But, seeing the history of Gods around the world (especially Zeus)- apparently banging humans is commonplace.

Just let me know when one of you gives birth to a demigod, okay?   You Godspouse girls have been letting me down in that one regard- where are your Loki-babies?! (IN THIS DIMENSION, please….if Zeus could impregnate Leto and Io, then why not Loki and [insert fake “vikings” sounding name here]? 🙂

P.S. My second apprenticeship lasted two months in glass blowing, I quit not because I did not love it- I did, I quit because my mentor had a methamphetamine addiction and was becoming incredibly unpredictable at that time.   That’s pretty much all there is to say about it.

“Just Ask The Gods…” But which ones?

Posted in About me on August 3, 2015 by Tyrienne
Also- do not mess with those who worship

Also- do not mess with those who worship “meaner” Gods than you! 🙂

“What is considered catastrophe to the fly is victory for the spider.” -Unknown

So, you’re reading this- you are likely some-sort of Heathen or friend or family member of one looking for more information.  Sadly, I cannot give you more than opinion since all religion is honestly based on series after series of generations of UPG’s written down and retold- some recent, some over several thousands of years.

What is driving me to write today is the issue of worship and who is “worthy” verses “unworthy” of our attentions.

Actually, let me dissect that…. since when are humans, us fallible, mortal humans suddenly so confident that IF we believe in higher powers (or a higher power for my monotheistic friends) that WE can decide which super-powerful omni-powerful beings we associate with?  Why do we have the hubris to think we have a choice?

So, in almost every tribe, kindred, grove, hall, and coven there seem to be “rules” against who can/cannot be worshipped in a polytheistic context.  I understand that sometimes we want to concentrate on a certain pantheon or region of the world…but is it not understood that polytheism the world over works in archetypes?

If the Gods do not exist, then it makes no difference who we choose or dismiss…but if they do, and these are real, extant, beings of greater power and immortality, why do we run the risk of INTENTIONALLY offending them by listing their names on lists of Gods “Not to be Worshipped”?

If I were a God, I would intentionally intervene on those who would insult me in such a way.  Commonly, this is a problem that Lokeans THOUGHT we had cornered, but as more people from Northern/Eastern Europe are entering the community more vocally, I am seeing a great many people who worship not just the Rokkr, but the Jotunr as well- I see nothing wrong with this.  Others believe it “invites chaos”.

The funny thing about “chaos”…. it’s rather like an untamed horse, the more you attempt to confine it, the more destructive and adversarial it becomes to those who attempt to control it.

Life is messy, it is not orderly, it does not follow our rules, and “things turning out perfectly” is so rare that every one of us celebrates the few times that things go “just as we planned”.

We cannot “contain chaos”- all we can do is learn how to navigate its storms the best we can- that’s why the most primordial Gods the world over all seem to share a focus on Chaos in some manner- either controlling, restraining, or navigating it.  We all live in chaos, and no amount of wishing otherwise will make it less true.

Despite all precautions, there nothing that can protect you for all contingencies.   The only relief I know from Chaos is Death, and even Hel doesn’t guarentee peace considering there are so many different “after-life” options in Heathenry, some requiring more work than others. The options I know of are: staying in Helheim, dying in battle an going to Valhalla (not likely for most of us), being reincarnated into our own family line, becoming immortal ourselves by leaving a legacy, joining the household of a specific God (if invited to do so), staying as a “watchful ancestor” on Earth to keep an eye on our families, or becoming simply one with the Earth from which we came….there are likely countless other afterlives as well.

The greater problem in understanding is that we, as a species, overestimate our power to exert control over the universe… we pray to Gods and hope They will help us make sense of the world.  But how can we make sense of the world if we intentionally shut our eyes and our hearts to that which frightens us?  What if when we impose strict rules on worship, even in our Heathen pantheon that intentionally excludes certain Gods- that we invite their wrath for not being invited to the table?

Woten Himself is a dangerous and sly man, He has broken oaths, speaks in riddles, and has bewitched and beguiled in all stories but remains beloved, because, well, He’s a pretty lovable guy.

However, I also know a few people who worship Surtr as their patron which is even more verboten than Loki in almost every circle of American Heathenry unless you happen to be a biker.  Now, I see how the Jotunatru and Rokkatru are the “New Lokeans”.

As for me, I do not discriminate.  I am respectful at all gatherings I can attend and grateful for the invitations I receive, but sometimes, I worry for the “rules” that we make up.

Gods laugh when men make plans…  Why do we believe we can decide who is “good” or “evil” when both of those are simply value judgments based on our upbringing and current ideals?

As for me, I worry for the community- much more than people give me credit for, I think.  I worry that we are becoming dogmatic to the point of mirroring the existing religious organizational structures that have held human minds in captivity.

To some of us, all things have Gods- the God/desses of each type of flora and fauna don’t come in dualities.  The deity of the poison ivy plant is not more or less good than the God/dess of the English Ivy (actually, English ivy is more destructive to human-made structures).

If a God/dess comes into my life- I am thankful for being noticed, first of all- and I put trust in the fact that any immortal being would automatically possess enough wisdom to be above the notions of “good” and “evil”- since it is all subjective to the perspective of each individual observer.

The fact of the matter is- if the Gods exist, even the “worst” and most maligned are better than even the best of us.  By reinforcing dogma we are in fact closing doors to the knowledge that many heathens bring to the table.  A born-Jotunr from Sweden is about as reliably “evil” as a newly-converted American who worships Freyr for instance.

I have met kind and honorable Rokkrs and Jotunrs, I have met unkind and dishonorable Aesir worshipers.  Our Gods have their flaws, but even in their flaws, their perfection still is not rivaled by even the most  devout mortal…and luckily for us, our religion has caveats for the occasional mortal who DOES meet Godly standards by the example of Bragi or the Valkyrie.

I am sad to say writing has been and will likely continue to be difficult for me the next few months.  I am in and out of the fog of painkillers for a non-fatal condition which required surgery months ago.  Through kilometers of red tape I pass it seems almost daily- and THEN I get to take my painkillers at 5:30pm, after I know all offices are closed and there will be no more questions I need to answer, appointments I need to arrange, or people I need to speak intelligibly to.

But what I do know from my own research and UPG is this: Mengloth and Surtr are healing Gods with as much history as Eir (Mengloth taught Eir, if I am not mistaken).  My condition is simply just overgrown scar tissue from a prior surgery- it’s only steadily increasing pain I contend with, not a looming threat of early demise.

And what I can say about this experience is, when you are stranded in an ocean of hurt- beggers can’t be choosers when it comes to accepting help from whomever will offer it… and from this, I am asking kindly for people to reconsider, for their own sakes, how they decide to react to the Gods.

No one would dare insult Frigg or Freyja…. but to the Jotunr Gods who are even older and have several thousand years more of history it seems the USA has no problem saying “Don’t worship THEM”.

In closing, keep in mind that Tyr Himself is full Jotun, as are many of the Aes.   Not giving them their due is rather like telling Woten insults about his mother; you might not only offend the Jotunr, but the Gods you DO like might become offended as well unless you are really excellent at European Deity Genealogy!