Friday, August 31, 2012

Pagan Insights #2

It occurred to me that I could do these on the full moon. I've always wanted something to do on the full moon but never been able to find something I liked. I've never found a full moon ritual that really sat well with me and when I go to think of one myself I find myself at rather a loose end, not knowing what to do or what to say. So I haven't done anything. This isn't a ritual, but it's a way of taking stock and maybe doing that at the full moon isn't a bad thing. (Then again, maybe the new moon would be a better time for it. Maybe I'll give that a go next month.)

In Your Own Words
I feel like things have been difficult lately. I don't even know why I feel that way, because I've no reason to. I've skipped Idis-thing - I waited for the right day, and then when it came I delayed, and delayed some more... and now I wonder if it might not just be better to combine Idis-thing and Ostara and make a goddess-oriented day of it. I try to do it when I smell spring in the air but this year the day really fell when the tuis returned to the kowhai tree in the back garden. You know it's spring when you see them around. Maybe tomorrow I'll pick some flowers for the altar, or something. Or maybe I'll wait until the beginning of September, a little closer to the Equinox, and do something then. But at the same time, though things have been difficult and feel difficult - just to get momentum going, you know? - I'm also feeling renewed interest in shaking off cobwebs and maintaining regular practice of things like meditation. Must be a spring thing. It's past time to open all the windows.

Post a Pic

One of the said tuis. This picture is from a couple of years ago, but it more or less exemplifies this time of year for me. It's a nice treat to have them visit each year, as they sing very beautifully.
I also went and posted a whole heap of images of Odin on my tumblr the other day, and this one was one of my favourites. But hardly anyone else seemed to like it. I love the knowing half-smirk, the feather in his hat brim, the windswept trees behind him.

Musical Musings
This song isn't a Pagan one, or even Pagan influenced, but it struck a chord with me (and is also fucking awesome). It is The Killing Type, the newest AFP single with her band the Grand Theft Orchestra. She wrote in her blog about the verse that begins "I once stepped on a dying bird, it was a mercy killing" and how even though she relieved the creature's suffering, the act haunted her. She concludes she is not the killing type. And I feel much the same in many ways. I like to think that should it come to it, I could kill to eat. I like to think I could kill to defend my own. But I've never been put in that situation. I've been put in a couple of mercy-killing situations, animal-wise. In one I almost gave it a go, was going to smash a mouse with a brick and couldn't do it. In another I didn't even think of it, I put the wee mite in my pocket, took it home and kept it warm until it died. Honestly I'd rather be the woman passing around the mead in the mead-hall and tending warrior's wounds than out slaughtering anything. I mean, can't we just talk things through? But then, killing a person in battle seems much more do-able as an act than killing an animal to save it from suffering. Is it because battle is entered willingly, or maybe because humans are so much more aware of their own death? And nature is harsh and cruel. Still, no need to make it any crueller, I suppose. So much of Heathenry - no, that's wrong. So much of the Heathen community seems to be about being war-ready. I'm fine with being strong and fit, fine with being able to fight, fine with bleeding, fine with carting off the dead. But I'm not the killing type. But then again..... is that unusual? Sometimes I think people who go on about war would be scarred for life if they ever found themselves in one. That those posturing with swords and axes and being Big Tough Heathens would go to pieces if put in a situation of real violence. I don't think I'd go to pieces. I think put in a situation where I would have to kill someone, I'm not sure I could actually do it, and I might end up killed myself for hesitating, and to be honest it would be easier to run off and hide than to end up in that situation. I'm not sure if that counts as cowardly or canny. But I do sometimes feel less of a Heathen for it. That's the stress on the whole "warrior" deal, as if that was the only aspect of palaeo-Heathen culture.

Actually I had a dream once where I smashed someone repeatedly in the head with half a brick because I had no choice. It was super disturbing, because after the first rush of blood, and you have the upper hand, the fight goes out of you and you know you have to finish the job, and it's just this sort of awful thing, smashing this guy in the temple and hoping he dies soon. But that was a dream... I don't mean to imply I truly understand that experience. Still, I woke up feeling disturbed by my own actions.

My Great Grandfather killed a heap of men in WWI and never got over it. He wasn't at all keen on the whole malarkey but they dragged him off to the Somme in the end. I guess he wasn't the killing type either.

Action, Action
Last time I talked about how I'd sucked at keeping up with weekly blótar. Not much has changed, but I'm more aware of the tasks I've set before myself and better at remembering to do them. I didn't hold blót this week but I did burn a candle for Hel, and sat before it and honoured Her. It's good, because honouring Hel more often is one thing I always mean to do and fail to do by the time the next Hel-honouring blót rolls around and apologise for. It will be nice if I can keep checking in and don't have to apologise next time. And I can do more than one a week if I like.

This one is hard. I'm not sure I have many Eureka moments, and when I do they're not always things I like to share. I mean, I had an interesting prayer experience a couple of weeks ago, but it's not something I'm going to write about on here. I had difficulty even putting it in words to record it in my spiritual journal. Oh, here's one: I often ponder on Tyr's parentage, and I was reading the Lay of Hymir or whathaveyou the other day. Snorri I think notes Odin is His father once, but that's not noted anywhere else and in the Poetic Edda the Jotun Hymir is named as His father. We don't know His mother. Interesting that Tyr is Jotun-kin and no one questions that He is Aesir or suggests He should not be worshipped. Tyr is beyond reproach. Yet Loki's parentage is pointed out again and again, and He is named Jotun and not of the Aesir on His parentage alone. If Tyr is beyond reproach it is because He is steadfast and honourable and so on; I mean I love Tyr and hold Him in very high regard. But if one is going to criticise Loki it should be on His actions and not His family because otherwise it's a bit fucking inconsistent isn't it.


  1. I've never quite gotten that either (and I totally need to finish up that other post about it), but many of the Aesir are at least half Jotun, or married to Jotun - so it doesn't make any sense at all to keep going on about it in Loki's case. Though I think too it has to do with the fact that they don't understand completely, or haven't bothered to look past the misconceptions, and thus want to try to distance themselves as much as possible.

    1. I've always thought that some people are just afraid of Him (for various reasons) so they try to ignore Him or refuse to acknowledge Him and you know what? fine, do what you like. If you avoid Him because you find His actions dishonourable, at least I can understand that, you know? But at least be honest about it. Don't say it's because He's a Jotun and Jotnar are bad. That's a bad argument because of however many other Aesir it would apply to. But yeah.... I think some people are afraid, and so they don't want to read about Him at all. Which is ridiculous seeing as He's a major player in so many of the myths and often on the right side.

      I mean how do people wear a Hammer around their necks and just ignore where it came from? It's almost humorous.

  2. I've had to carry out a few merciful killings while growing up. I saw them though as part of being a pet owner. One incident was killing a mouse after one of my cats beat and chewed it up senselessly as she never really ate them. It was in the middle of the living room barely alive and obvious it was going to die so I laid a handkerchief over it, grabbed a hammer and tapped it on the skull enough to kill it but not just grossly crush the little thing. I also had to put down a couple pets; a rabbit (my brothers rabbit actually), a dog that had been hit by a car and was suffering badly, and couple chickens here and there. They always seemed to be getting themselves in the worst kind of trouble; sticking their heads in the dog's pen (our ducks were even worse about this), getting tangled up and cut up to the point of bleeding out in fencing while trying to escape, ect.

    Such things were just part of life though. Not to sound callous of course or to say that I don't care because I do it just doesn't shake me up too terribly. Although, I did have a little bit of a rough time this Spring. There's a bird around our apartments I call 'Dick Bird' He's a bully of little thing (can't blame him for his nature of course) anyway Dick Bird pushed 3 baby birds out of their nest which was just above our neighbors back door on their patio. The hubby and I were out smoking when it happened. The first two died just from the fall. The third one though I'm sure had to have broke some bones as it couldn't move much but was still alive for the time being.

    I'd thought about calling the nearby conservation department or just anywhere I could think of but instead did nothing and let nature take its course. Which honestly, part of me feels guilty but then part of me does not. I remember our previous neighbors last year saying that the same thing happened. One would think that mommy and daddy bird would eventually wise up at some point when they keep losing their babies, that maybe that is not a good location as long as Dick Bird is around. Perhaps though if they keep trying to set up shop in the same spot to no end, then I'd say it's natural selection at work.