Archive for March, 2016

The Reaper’s Handmaiden?

Posted in About me on March 29, 2016 by Tyrienne

 

Darkness and light

Artist unknown:  I will change this caption to properly credit them when they are identified.

I picked this title because it sounded beautiful when it passed through my train of thought like a beautiful woman who walks past you only once while you are on a journey.

I used to read everything written by Caleb Wilde (no relation) on his blog “Confessions of a Funeral Director”  I never met him personally, but he’s rather local and would correspond pretty well before he became incredibly internet-famous.  Honestly, I have learned more about death from him than I believe was ever covered in my entire religion and philosophy curriculum in college…and for that, I am grateful.

But at the same time, I must admit I feel very out of sorts and a bit awkward in this current place in my life.   I live on a road of elderly veterans, this street was created specifically for injured servicemen returning from World War II and the Korean War in the late 50’s to 60’s.   Ed and I get along very well with our neighbors and we have one of those very rare local-community network feeling of mutual kinship and respect.  I love that about Exeter.

However, with that- comes an entirely unusual scenerio that college never prepared me for.

What do you do if you are the only legal clergy person on your street, everyone knows you are clergy, you are trained in grief-counseling, but still feel nothing but anxious butterflies in the stomach each time another neighbor dies?  Like an automoton, I quickly finish whatever personal thing I am doing (in this case, walking Ziu), then I meet the family at the door.  They invite me in.  I make sure they called 911 and all blood family.

I wait for the police and more lucid family members to arrive while I stay with the bereaved.  I help them find lists of doctors, medications, as well as ask if they knew if there were funeral arrangements in place by the recently deceased, and with whom, have them write down the law offices in any mail from the return addresses to call when needed.

And yet, all of this sounds so formal and professional to type out- but in real life I had Ziu on my left arm and I was wearing Ed’s batman pajama pants.  The police didn’t even laugh at me as embarrassed as I felt…and yes, apparently, I realized I can experience embarrassment. (I am wearing black yoga pants now-just in case)

I always tell the family I will check on them-  I bring food (if they need it), and I give them my number if they want to talk.  In my neighborhood, they know where I live.

But it still feels so enormous of a responsibility.  Someone has just died- and the next 48 hours is when the very most seems to be expected out of the families of the dead:  And it feels to me like the expectations are overwhelming, confusing and difficult even to someone who is not the bereaved- to the grieving, it’s a mountain that takes months or years to cross.

I am proud that I was the first person who was there for my neighbors today- but at the same time, I feel a little ungainly, ungraceful, and incredibly unrefined when compared to those in their perfectly tailored suits who work in the funeral industry as their paid profession, and even in comparison to other Chaplains I know.

Very rarely I visit a hospital or hospice for someone, but it happens once in a while.  There, I do not have to worry if the person dies.  They are already in a facility that processes them through with factory precision.   If I am in a hospital I am wearing a black dress with either purple or blue: and all of my dresses can show at least one Heathen tattoo, even if I have to wear my hair up to show the rune on the back of my neck. (if the person asking for me is Christian I wear my hair down and long sleeves).

My family does not wear the Mjollnir, so I do not- but I have and will bring a mjollnir necklace as a gift for anyone in the hospital.  Depending on the situation I either wear a classy formal necklace of no particular religion or a fox necklace.

In the hospital- I look like every other chaplain.  Conservative, wearing mostly black with some color to not look too “reaperish”.

But I think I am pretty sure I am walking this strange path that should be so much more familiar to all Heathens than it is- death at home.

My neighbors are of all sorts of religions- the man who died today has many pagan friends- but was agnostic.  I was happy he had made funeral arrangements…because I barely know the local funeral homes and I feel my “strangerness” acutely to equal measure as I feel like a prodigal child from a family line that abandoned our homeland- welcomed back warmly, but out-of-sync still with all my second cousins and distant relatives as we get to know each other better.

The oddest things keep happening to me- my family has always had a chaplain, and before me it was my uncle who moved away… my second cousins out here seem to see it as a “natural thing”- like having a clergy member in family is a sort of return to a form of normalcy or something that used to be here, wasn’t, and now is again.

I don’t think a person can be truly a Heathen without feeling some sort responsibility and compassion for blood relatives.  Look, I hate my mother, there are people I do not respect or want in my life to whom I am related…but I do not feel that because some blood relations have harmed me means that all of them are malicious- usually quite the opposite, they tend to relate better since they share the same relatives I do in many cases and had similar experiences.

Things got weird this weekend when I took a photograph of the rose bush I rescued from my great-grandmother’s house last year to show it was thriving.  I thought it would cheer people up that it was still alive, that, and I also rescued our grapevine which came over from Austria- I sent a text that said “It’s thriving well, you are all welcome to come take cuttings in the summer”….and six hours later I get a call from my second cousin that I depressed my grandfather-  apparently, the day I sent the picture was Nana Helen’s birthday and I had no way of knowing.

Some schools of thought believe synchronicity is the path to follow through a world of chaos- that in synchronicities we find messages from those we call Gods, Ancestors, and our higher selves- I do not know what or which it is, or even if I can even comprehend the strange coincidences that seem to ebb and flow in the stream of my life- but I welcome them like bread crumbs through the woods.

If “coincidences” happen of a significant nature- it gives me a feeling I am on a positive road and doing positive things.

Here’s to hoping I continue to experience profound coincidence and synchronicity consistently.  Ed is also clergy and an actual Helasman, but I am the person who is at home- I appreciate all the guidance I can get in these dark waters…

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The Last of the Granny Witches

Posted in About me on March 27, 2016 by Tyrienne

Another indiginious from another set of traditions shares her story.

Appalachian Ink ~ Home of Anna Wess (and Granny)

We are a peculiar breed. Our roots grow deeper than the cedars, and yet we don’t know precisely where or who it is that we grew from. We are a mystery as old as these hills themselves, and it doesn’t take much figuring to know that we are enigmas of intentional design and destiny.

gw1

God knows our names.

We are not Northerners — damn Yankees, the men folks’ Confederate influence called them — and this we know without a doubt. I myself was always preened into believing I was a Southern child, born out of notions of gallantry and romance, but the fact is, I ain’t a low country belle and I’ve never picked a shred of cotton or been to a debutante ball.

We are not peaches.

And these mountain women before us were not delicate flowers or distressed coquettes. In these old heirloom hills, the women are…

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The Loki Sleeve Tattoo

Posted in About me on March 16, 2016 by Tyrienne

My right arm is in-process of becoming a dedicated half-sleeve to Loki.  The inner arm was drawn and inked by Desiree Isphording and depicts  two tailed fox holding a rose-on-fire against a background of other meaningful symbols, fire, and blue roses.

Fox tat

Designed and Created by Desiree Isphording: Site currently down, but “Sphinxmuse” on Deviantart.  (I added this picture by fb request- yes, he’s a Kitsune.  Inari was a very significant figure to me and a related/aspect archetype in my view world.)

The outside of my arm that is currently being worked on  is based on this piece of art:

Loki

Artist: Wantstobelieve.tumblr (found initially on DeviantArt)

I contacted the artist of the original piece and when I see his/her work- try to add attribution where I see it- please do likewise.  I thought I found their real name- but with all the copycats out there I do not know for certain the true identity of the artist outside of tumblr.  Which I do not use.  A friend made me an account under “Tyrienne” as a joke and followed every possible porn site.  If you want porn, thank my friend Rich if you look up “Tyrienne.tumblr”.

After two postponements, I got the work begun by Jim Bentley at 309 Smooth Tattooz on Sunday, and he was truly wonderful.  Since the work is not finished yet (he did the blues first- clever man)  I will not show the work until it is complete- it’s watercolor style and mixed in with a Twin Peaks theme of “Fire… Walk with me”, fire walk

as well as the owl symbol for the White/Black lodge on my wrist.

owl awesome  I like how the symbol changes direction depending on how I hold my arm and how it is seen.  This picture was taken the day it was made, it’s already healed a bit…but I find trying to take a picture of my own arm well is futile.

My friend Desiree stopped by and brought me birthday gifts from her and her family, which was really cool, too.

Anyway, that night I got more presents from my brother and sister in law, free dinner, and even more gifts from random friends.  My birthday was a week prior and I expected nothing considering “34” isn’t exactly a magical number age-wise.

I was a little depressed that I had to tell Jim I might not be able to get it completed until June.  It took me 3 months to save up enough to start it… and without the convenience of tax return (we got ripped off, they did NOT renew the first time homebuyer credit for 2015), and the literal flame-jet shooting exploding oven we had to replace- it was tougher than expected to save.

But-  A very goodly portion of the base is complete- and as much as their seems to be an ever- raging battle both inside myself and outside myself in the community which argues “For!” or “Against!” UPG experience- I can say that during the process- I felt completely comfortable.   It didn’t hurt except when he would take breaks to wipe it off (that stung)- it was a pleasant, warm experience.

Looking at even what is so far completed fills me with comfort, I feel more confident and proud.  I do feel closer to Loki- and to me, Loki feels like a very protective and sheltering presence in my life.

Then, this happened last night:

Husband: “Take {comment} off the internet right now.  You will get in trouble.”
Me: “No,  because it’s true.”
Husband: “What will it take for you to take it down?”
Me: “For it not to be true…which it is.”
Husband: “You will be sued, I won’t help you.”
Me: “You have no faith in our Gods.  I am not removing what I said, it helped people… and the truth of the statement is proven clearly- there is no trouble to be had.”
Husband: “I do have faith…I just don’t-”
Me: “Pull a rune on it- if it comes up upright, I will remove it. If not,  It won’t”
Husband: “You want to use “magic rocks” like a coin flip?”
Me: “The fact you call them ‘magic rocks’ is insulting- just do it.”
(He pulls a sideways Jera)
Me: “It has no reversal”.
Husband: “I want to pull again.”
Me: “No. That was your pull.”

We bickered back and forth for a few minutes…

Husband: “Your comment has been up for several hours. You’ve made your point.”
Me: “You mean…’Still making;”
Husband: “Please, anything- what can I offer you to take it down? Everyone has seen it already who is going to see it.”

*I look at my arm*

Me: “I want my Loki tattoo finished ASAP.”
Husband: “Deal.  April.”
Me: “Put it on the calendar”
(puts it on calendar…our calendar is like a holy book of bills-  what goes on the calendar is non-negotiable)

So, as part of my agreement, I go to the computer to take down my comment-  I find via my secondary profile the comment was already removed by the creator of the post and I was blocked.

I didn’t have to remove the comment- the tattoo is still getting finished in April.

That’s how Loki works in my life.  How about you?

Weight Loss is NOT An Achievement.

Posted in About me on March 12, 2016 by Tyrienne

 

stupid

If this picture means more to you than your personal ethic- we have NOTHING in common.

I do not even own a scale in my home- and I refuse to allow my husband to buy one.

During my 20’s I experienced a condition by the name of PCOS.  My Nana (who has never been “thin” by any means in my lifetime) as well as countless meaningless acquaintances seemed to find it necessary to comment on my weight losses and gains as if it were somehow more significant than my career, college achievements, or general happiness.

I was skinny when I was despondent because I would lose my appetite.
I gained weight on certain medications or on account of uncontrolled hormone fluctuations.
On my wedding day- I was recovering from an allergic reaction to a medication that made me swell up like a goddamned parade balloon.

I noticed that over the years I would get the most compliments when I was at my absolute least-healthiest.

During my last semester of college, I was so stressed that I couldn’t keep anything down outside of coffee. I was losing hair by the handful and in and out of psychiatric wards for suicidal idealization…. people close to me congratulated me on my weight loss ignoring the fact that I was basically praying to die.

Now, I finally had my last fucking ovary removed in September, I’m menopausal, and know what?  I’ve dropped a great deal of weight from that alone. With absolutely no change to my diet whatsoever.

What is my secret?   Not having my hormones absolutely FUCKED.

My brother has a thyroid disorder… is it his fault?  No… that would be a different set of shitty activated genetics in our inbred bloodline.

And yet- weight loss seems to be the absolute be-all, end-all goal of most first world people who surround us.

Honestly, it annoys the FUCK out of me.  My husband has body dysmorphia from years of being a professional athlete- every single day, I am asked “Do I look bloated?”

The real question he should be asking is “How can I find true meaning and leave a lasting legacy in life”.

But, no… alas, no one really gives a fuck about legacies, education, accomplishments, or any other skill or talents of significance….well, not any accomplishment unless it is ALSO accompanied with “being thin”.

I have FANTASTIC news for all you first world people starving yourselves into stupidity…

Eventually, we will all die…and whether we are cremated, buried, or left in a ditch somewhere, I can assure ALL of you that you will lose all the weight you desperately obsessed over in life.

How about instead of starving your bodies (and your brains in the process), you eat a fucking sandwich, read some classic literature and care more about gaining wisdom than losing pounds?

How about we stop complimenting our women on keeping figures like 18 year old’s and compliment them instead on having the integrity and strength of our most noble ancestors?

But, alas…. nothing will change.   I might get a couple of “likes” on this post and despite all Odinist/Heathens loudly proclaiming how “Different” and “Superior” our ethic is to the modern pathos- inevitably, the physical appearance of our people, just as any other people in first world countries, will be seen as the primary indicator of desirability of association and regard.

If you want to eat like a True Heathen… Kill and grow your own damned food.  Be grateful for the strength, not the size, of your damned bodies…and strive for health rather than than attempting to fit the ever-changing (and ever thinning) mold of modern culture.

Food is important, eat it.

Someone who is thin is no more accomplished than one who is thick.

I don’t judge you on your weight.  I judge you by your intelligence and wisdom.

If the greatest “wisdom” you have to offer is “how to shed/gain those pounds”- then your depth is that of a puddle and neither of us will come away from our conversations with any gain of insight.

Complimenting a person on something so entirely arbitrary  as their poundage or spending one’s time obsessing endlessly about “weight loss goals” is time taken away from more meaningful pursuits and demeaning the absolute entirety of the human experience down to meaningless numbers.

YES.  I lost weight.  NO, it was not intentional.

YES, it pisses me off if that is the first thing said to me after you haven’t seen me in a while.

“Wow! You lost weight! What is your secret!”

“A horrendous genetic defect that caused me to gain it in the first place and several surgeries to remove defective internal organs!  Thank you for asking you boorish ass!”

You know what else is a fucking pain in the ass?   Have all your pants fall off your ass.  Clothes are fucking expensive and I am currently wearing a pair of sweatpants held up with a fucking safety pin that randomly decides to stab me at random.

Compliment me on my weight loss, and I will deride your intelligence and observational skills…as well as your lack of true caring for my person since I am posting this here today, right now.

If you do not care enough me personally to care about the thoughts I hold dear to me but care about how much space my body does or does not displace in space I cannot help but lose respect for you and what you stand for as your personal ethic.

Folkish and Universalist: Reach Accord.

Posted in About me on March 2, 2016 by Tyrienne
Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman,_1886_(Odin,_the_Wanderer)

“Odin the Wanderer” by Georg Von Rosen

Now, for the newest disturbing trend in our fractured religious community:  People leaving Odinism/Heathenry/Asatru on account of the actions of others.

So, let me understand this correctly:  humans claim to believe in Gods of power greater than our own, the ability to be self reliant, honorable, truthful, industrious, hospitable,  COURAGEOUS, POSSESS FIDELITY AND PERSEVERE…

But they just give up. The Odin Brotherhood, as written in the book by Mark Mirabello states repeatedly that those who are not “meant” to be with us will always fall away- so why do we even give these people our attentions and try to accommodate them?

My entire local community DESPISES me as far as I can tell.  I am too candid and hold people accountable for their actions which is HUGELY verboten in Pennsylvania where both communities are represented equally- and both, equally drop the ball on actually attempting to resolve interpersonal disputes other than silencing the whistle blower  –  but never once has it made me question my relationship with my Gods.  No matter what injustice I endure or witness in the community, it doesn’t make me doubt the Gods.

it makes me doubt the Fidelity of humanity.

Even when I left this path for a short time- I never stopped believing in the Gods- I simply viewed their existence from a different perspective.  I suppose since this is my “default” religion it makes it more natural for me to return to the Norse.

Some would say my greatest mistake would be going public.  Well, I can not take that back- so I have to deal with being public…and in being public, I feel I have responsibility to the community.

If I did not feel this way, why would I bother writing you 5000 word essays?  Wouldn’t it be easier for me to just hide away and keep everything I think and feel private..?

It would, except it’s fucking cowardly….and against what I stand for, what the Gods stand for, and our ancestors.

If you can leave, you never truly belonged.  That’s it.   Now…after we let all the fakers out and stop chasing them down….we should really all turn our attentions to TRUE Heathens….Those that stay- and you all seem to have nicely organized yourselves into two distinct Odinist political parties: Folkish vs. Universalism.

Our community is like a true family:  Everyone hates everyone but a few close brothers and sisters- and everyone is convinced that the people they hate are deplorable examples of humanity from their perspective, not realizing that our Honesty as a members of this community is not to disown those who think differently than we do in our personal practice.

…That would be almost like bigotry, would it not?  Universalism is big on anti-bigotry except when it comes to those they denounce…and those they denounce are the people who, to outsiders, are most closely related to them ideologically than any outsider.  It would be fine if it was truly only limited to words, but I am learning it is leading to violence.

All are refusing to listen to the other points of view that do not harm us personally- most will not even entertain the ideas of an entire HALF of our religion…and both self-proclaimed sides point fingers at the other.

…sounds like a lack of Hospitality

I am no exception, but my example is not so polarizing:  Even in being a judgmental Tyrsperson who also gives Loki his due has not made me popular- but I also do not approve of the Marvel interpretation of Loki, either.  However, those Marveltru Lokeans make up most of the population of current Lokeans… with a wonderfully high rate of attrition! 🙂

Instead of trying to “win them back”- let’s just Let. Them. Go.  and work on trying to acknowledge our weaknesses and address them.

I am pretty sure both sides of the larger issue on which I speak have been guilty of trying to win back the unworthy and denouncing those they do not make an effort to understand.

In sarcasm… it is not as if someone who worships Loki would have a unique, insightful perspective on that, is it?

In Universalism:  Stop trying to appease those who do great injustices among your ranks in the name of “keeping the peace” and stop attacking the Folkish who are your family.

The Folkish cannot eliminate the universalist, either-  There are numbers of great people in both ranks who are not extremist-

It is extremist to attack other people who have not directly harmed you on account of their beliefs, melanin, OR perceived racism.

Both sides of the Heathen coin in the United States are exhibiting violent extremes.

Do you not realize this is a religion we all share- and in attacking each other, we cannibalize ourselves?

Folkish is often replaced with “racists” and Universalist are often called, well, usually “weinies”…or other things along that line.  Both are fair observations, actually.

Would you believe that there are other positions other than two?  That each individual perspective on their lives is valid to their experience and that instead of shunning those who are expressing their live’s truth and condemning them for it- how about we attempt a little bit of understanding?

The girls with the swaztika tattoos can share a horn with a SJW so long as both hold the understanding that we ascribe to higher virtues than infighting at sumbel.

However, what sumbels exist where both sides of Heathenry who disavow each other can exist?

But how else can one reconcile that there are people who are trying to live their lives and raise their families in what they believe is honorable?  Whether that honor comes from a pride in being open to all things or to standing fast to the ways of the past… do we not worship the same Gods?

Do you not realize that in Heathen extremism of both sides indicates that both are more similar than they are different?

In that the Universalist hates the Nationalist for being “bigoted”- the Universalist is a bigot.  (which is apparently their 10th unwritten noble virtue “Don’t be a bigot”…well, that also applies to you quote unquote “unbigoted” Asatru who are attacking Folkish-identifying Heathens)

In that the Folkish  will disown the Universalist as being “Not a True Odinist”- they are disowning their own brothers and sisters- a thing that is abhorrent to Heathen homesteading and those whose faith is based on ancestral pride.

The problem with being raised Pa Deitsch is that we are neither.  We honor that without our ancestry, there would be no reason to honor the Gods that we do and the instinct is to isolate and be around our own families to the exclusion of all others (which is why it’s so difficult to get older polytheistic Deitsch to talk about their beliefs- generations of hiding make one wary),  that sort of insular thinking is contrary to what is healthy to the community.

We have no current system in place throughout all of Heathenry to resolve internal disputes…so, to outsiders, we are an oroborous of drama, violence, and confusion.

We owe our ancestors better than that.  Even if one’s family by blood is dishonorable, that is no excuse to live a life of hatred of “the other”.

For a while- it seemed the only thing that united both sides of you was hating Jotun-worship… although that was upsetting to me; it ultimately didn’t affect the larger communities all that much.

To spell it out: All Heathens/Asatru/Odinists are seen as the same by those who are outside of us.   Understand this well, and adjust your actions.

People You Like Will Always Leave Odinism…. Let Them Go.

People You DO NOT Like Will Remain Odinist Until the Day They Die-  Learn to find what it is about them that keeps them so grounded on the path.

For indigenous heathens to refrain from having a voice regarding both sides of reconstructionism, we do not preserve ourselves=we do not have the numbers.  The only reason Heathenry is respected at all and recognized is on account of the Combined numbers of every self-identifying Odin worshiper across every access of human experience-  and raw data is not inclusive or exclusive if taken by third parties who honestly do not care in the slightest how we feel about the actions of one another..

I do not have an answer to this issue… but what I can do it point it out clearly and then field it to all of you to react and come up with solutions.

Declaring each other “invalid” is awfully ignorant… and yet, this divide has increased rather than decreased over the past few years.

Even I have to admit that some close friends began as Marveltru…but they stood the test of time.

If you find yourself in a disagreement with another Woten-worshipper…consider this:

If the Universalist fears the Folkish….that is not Courageous.
If the Folkish will not make room at the table for the Univeralist… That is not Hospitality.

If both of you hate Lokeans… not much I can help you with there.  If Loki is the God of intellect, I suppose that makes you idiots… especially if it is clearly indicated “Every horn raised to Woten, so to is raised to his brother Loki…”