Friday, January 31, 2014

Return of the PBP: C is for Cernunnos

Today was going to be B for Baphomet but pretty much just read the wikipedia page. It was a name for Mohammed as interpreted by the Europeans, and then Levi attached it to his idea about some Sabbatic god he thought Pagans worshipped and then Crowley got into the idea. So like if you're a Thelemite, I getcha, Thelema's got its own thing going on, but if you're a witch being all "I worship Baphomet" then idk man. Like unless you're a Muslim as well then idk. 

So instead, C is for Cernunnos.

Cernunnos is a Gallic god worshipped by the ancient Gauls. We have only one recorded instance of his name. It is assumed that the name applies to the familiar cross-legged figure with the torc and the snake, as well as various other representations of horned deities across the Celtic world. Assumed, mark you, not certain; we don't really know for sure, we can only guess, as there is no written information about this god. Only that one name, in that one place.

We know bugger all about this god. We can guess that he is associated with fertility because he is often presented with animals. That's about it. Gallic reconstructionists and other worshippers of Cernunnos thus have to utilise a tonne of UPG in their worship. Having to utilise a lot of UPG is hard; it's like walking on a tightrope without a net underneath you. And in a way that's particularly fascinating, although my Gallic friends, I do not envy you. I have enough difficulty as it is with Sigyn.

Cernyunnos is not the god of Wicca. We know that, because the god of Wicca is described as "the God of the Isles" and Cernunnos is Continental, not British. There are attempts to link him to Irish heroes but they're not all that successful. To be honest, I'm not sure why people have adopted this name for their own horned gods to this degree. I mean I know it means "horned", but really, surely it only confuses matters? It makes no more sense to call one's non-Gallic god Cernunnos than it does to call one's non-Greek god Pan. I don't really understand why people do it. I mean, in Heathenry you have a couple of entities that share the same name and it's confusing enough as it is. I can't imagine if, like, people worshipping an entirely different pantheon came in and called one of their gods Helblindi or something. I'm not saying "don't do this", not at all, I'm just saying "I don't really get why people do this, it's confusing".

You know me, I worship a Horned God. I am fairly certain He is not Cernunnos. I am also fairly sure He is not the God of Wicca. I do not think He has a name. Maybe it's something you can't express in speech, like the growth of a plant or the stirring of the wind.

So here's a shoutout to Cernunnos, god of the Gauls and perhaps some others like that lot in Denmark. Hail, Cernunnos!


Thursday, January 23, 2014


Hello all. Today's post is just a flargle of things, to make me feel like I'm a productive human being. I'll post something re: PBP later in the week, so I'm caught up on my letters. B. ....Blessed Be, and why I don't say it? Baphomet, and why he's not in any way related to Paganism? (Fucking seriously, people. All you have to do is read the wikipedia page.)

Anyway! So here I am sitting on my bed. I did some dumbbell exercises last night and I'm exhausted; fatigue sucks, because I like to run and I've been feeling much too tired lately. My puppy is lying on the end of my bed. The weather today is cooler than it has been lately, which is nice. It's been windy this week. I like the wind. 

This week, I did some work on Laguz, which is one of the easier runes to get a handle on. I feel like the further the Futhark moves away from the BIG concepts, the easier things get, but I don't know... Pertho was a hard one for me. I felt like I was missing a big part of the Mystery there, and to me all the stuff about childbirth was a red herring. Ah well. I'll give it another go the next time I sort through the Futhark.

I am excited, because I splurged on a couple of oracle decks I've been wanting for a while, Oracle of Shadows and Light and Oracle of the Shapeshifters. I love love LOVE Jasmine Becket-Griffith's art. I had this idea originally of combining the decks - they're only 30 cards each so I figure, you know, it'll give more variety and depth to have more cards to draw from. But I'll have to see how that works when they get here. Their energies might not combine well. Suuuuper pretty, though! I saw another deck from these two somewhere that's listed as "upcoming", one about vampires, which reminded me that I wanted to snag these so I looked 'em up and the prices are pretty good at the moment. I still feel a bit naughty!

I'm trying to pray in the mornings. I never did get around to that "pray five times a day" thing. My issue is that my sleeping patterns are really skewed compared to the usual, and it isn't helped by my fibromyalgia when sometimes I sleep really poorly and other times I sleep 12 hours. So matching the times with the prayers is a bit awkward. Nevertheless I sketched out a little prayer for myself and I'm trying it upon rising. It's interesting praying before my morning coffee! My mind is full of cotton wool and I don't feel as able to connect to the Gods, but that's interesting in itself and I think the experience of that will benefit me. 

Anyway, now I've thought of it, I'm going to flip through a prayer book for an afternoon prayer, and then maybe meditate - another thing I always put off and then forget to do! Almost 14 years a Pagan and still awful at remembering to do things. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Return of the PBP: A is for Athame

Long time readers may remember I gave the Pagan Blog Project a go in 2012, and gave up somewhere around L when I fell increasingly far behind. I had some frustrations with it, but I did also get a few great essays out of the project. Looking back now, I'm surprised how much I wrote. That, of course, would be part of the reason I stopped; I was putting a heap of effort into each post and it was tiring. I started to avoid doing it. I skipped the PBP last year; I'd been hoping for a different theme. I figured this year they'd have to change it, because I mean surely people have run out of things to write for X by this point. But a friend on a forum mentioned he was doing it sort of the other way around: picking something to write about, and explaining why he doesn't use this tool or subscribe to this belief. I might give that a go. And this time around, I'll only do it once every two weeks, or maybe even only when I can't think of something to write but i want to update.

So. Here we go.

A is for Athame. I don't use one.

I tried to, in the beginning. I've always liked daggers, ever since I was a child, so the idea of using one in ritual sounded like a bonus point for this religion i had discovered. A dagger is a good tool for channelling energy; it's metal and therefore a good conductor, and it's pointed at the end. It worked, sure. The problem was that it was... superfluous. I didn't need it. It felt good to use, and for many people that would be enough, but for me, after a while it just seemed unnecessary and irrelevant. It was one of those aspects of Wicca-derived ritual that didn't resonate with me; I didn't really grok all the symbolism (and how could I without initiation?) and the symbolism provided by the 101 books I was reading did not satisfy for long. And again, for many people the symbolism works. For me, it just.... fell flat. It didn't seem like enough. Purely as a tool, the athame worked for what I used it for, but I only used it for one thing: circle-casting.

It wasn't long after I dropped a few tools from my practice that I stopped struggling with circles, too. Again circles had always worked all right for me, but had seemed a bit pointless. I always felt awkward about them. Always felt unsatisfied. I think they would work a lot better in a coven setting, but being alone, it always felt... well, awkward is the only word I can really use to describe it. It was a poor fit.

So after a while circles went from my practice, and I started fooling around with new ideas for ritual. That has been good for me, as a whole. Not hemming myself in with a circle has given me more room to work both physically and energy-wise. (Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Some people can do more within a circle than they can out of one.) I incorporate more dance. I play more with smoke and light. I don't worry about accidentally exceeding the limits of my circle. I use hardly any tools, just candles and an incense holder (or a Hammer if I'm doing a Heathen blót), and in a way I wish I had more tools to use. Of course, not having them means ritual is a lot simpler to set up and perform, and I can do it elsewhere without lugging a bunch of stuff with me.

I like tools, or at least the idea of them. I've been gifted a wand and I like it, I like it as a thing just for having. I just.... have no use for it. I'm a person who likes things, who likes to collect, and it would be nice to have a ritual use for tools, even ones which are very unusual. And I'm always on the lookout for interesting things to do or use in ritual. (So, y'know, have ideas? Share 'em!) And so it was with the athame: I liked it as far as it went, but it didn't fit in with my practice. I still have my old athame, and I'm fond of it because now what it represents to me is those early days in which I explored Paganism and witchcraft. 

So, any knives in my rituals will be used for blood-letting. It's not something I've done in ritual before, but the option is always there, and getting a sharp seax for blooding runes might be interesting.

......I have to say, looking down this year's As on the PBP website, I'm very impressed at the range of subjects being blogged. I have to guess that some people have done the PBP before and are stretching further afield for topics, or perhaps more people are joining in. Whatever the reason, there's more variety, and a lot of intelligent looking posts. That's awesome. I can't wait to jump in.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Happy new year, all! 

Many of you will associate the new year with Midwinter, or the beginning of winter in the form of Samhain or a similar holiday. For me, the secular new year begins in the middle of summer, and the spiritual one in the middle of winter. But there's a spiritual sense of newness to this time of year, so I often begin new projects at this time whether I think about it that way or not. Maybe it's just the familiarity of secular new year and how it's a part of my subconscious, or the way everyone's on holiday and so relaxed, or the way everything is growing and joyful. 

Personally I'm not a summer person, as long-time readers will know. I don't like the heat or the brightness, and I get very anxious about sunburn and skin cancer. I find the height of summer very oppressive and spend a lot of time indoors, only venturing outside late in the evening. However, I do very much like the general feeling of the new year: the, well, newness of it. I like the re-orienting of everything to a new number on the calendar, the general feeling from everyone of "what will this year bring?", especially now when everything in technology and science is moving so fast and discovering and creating so much. Culture casts off the dusty old year and there's such anticipation and positivity and wonder. Love love LOVE that. And I love to incorporate that into my life on a personal level as well. I make resolutions and start new projects, create blogs, and get inspired to try new things.

I'm starting a new planner this year, one that helps you focus on your goals. It's called Passion Planner and you can download the weekly layout to give it a try yourself. It's already been really useful for me, especially as an anxious person. In a way I feel I'm putting pressure on myself short-term which freaks me out, but long-term it lays out - or rather, you lay out - your goals and steps to get there, so in that sense, the ability to plan ahead but still leave things flexible reduces anxiety as well. It's kind of exciting to me. The goal for this month is to look for a literary agent. I'm terrified! haha.

I haven't made any new year's resolutions, as such. Last year was a bit of a "down-time" year for me, where I didn't do much except work towards wellness and discover some of the things I wanted out of life. Throughout the year I sort of laid out things I wanted to get done on a weekly or daily basis: write every day, journal every day, exercise every day, meditate every day; read eddas every week, study Heathenry and witchcraft every week, blog at least once a week. I started doing those things when I decided I wanted to do them, with degrees of success. Now I have a really good planner, I can record when I do them, remind myself to do them, and plan my time better than I have done before. It's good. I feel productive - or at least, in a better position to be productive! ;)

One thing I may do at some point is migrate all my feminism-focused posts onto a more appropriate blog. I love Hagstone heaps but I hardly ever talk feminism here any more unless it's spiritually focused. But we'll see how lazy I'm feeling! ;)

Another thing about the new year is going through and marking all the dates for Sabbats and full moons. And I haven't even held my Midsummer blót yet!