A Plea in Time of COVID-19

Hail Eir and Menglöð!

Lady of Ásgarðr

Lady of Lyfjaberg

Whose hands heal, whose wisdom remedies, whose medicines recover

Whose knowledge is peerless, whose expertise is matchless, whose experience is endless

Hail to You, O Holy Ones!

Healing Goddesses!

Help us to heal! Help us find remedy! Help us recover!

Bless us and those who care for us with care, compassion, and skill!

Bless us and those who care for us with worth, intelligence, and ability!

Bless us and those who care for us with grace, expertise, and victory!

As we shelter and save others, shelter and save us!

Ves vér heil!

Ves Þu heil!

Hail Eir and Menglöð!

The Hunt is On

I hear the hoofbeats hammer

I hear the howling on the wind

I hear the gait of sword, spear, and gun

The Hunt is on

I smell the slathering sweat

I smell the steel in the wound

I smell the breath of God, grave, and snow

The Hunt is on

I see the sky split

I see the spray of blood

I see the wend of Host, heroes, and Sleipnir

The Hunt is on

I taste the tears’ trail

I taste the take of the kill

I taste the marrow of the wicked, warlocks, and traitors

The Hunt is on

I feel the fury flow

I feel the frenzy of the Ride

I feel the call of the vaettir, Valkyries, and Fráriðr

The Hunt is on

The Hunt is on

The Hunt is on

A Heathen Prepping -Every Day Carry

The Basics of EDC

EDC is a term meaning Every Day Carry. It is what it says on the tin. This is what you carry on your person every day. Some folks read this and think we are only talking firearms. While personal protection equipment may be part of a given person’s EDC, there are a lot of preppers who do not include a firearm as part of theirs.

I am one of those people. The reason is terribly practical: my job does not allow weapons on our person. Since an EDC is meant to go everywhere we do, and I can spend up to 16 hours at my job, my personal EDC is going to be incredibly limited compared to most folks in the prepper communities. Were I able to, I would likely have at least one weapon among my EDC.

The way that I differentiate EDC from a Bug Out Bag, or BOB, is that a BOB is prepped and ready to go for emergencies. Bugging out is an extreme emergency that requires you to vacate immediately from wherever you are. An EDC is what we carry so we face each day prepared. There is no single one-size-fits-all EDC, and opinions on what should be in it vary. Luckily, City Prepping has a video for this where he goes into his, and I recommend folks watch it. Happy Preppers has their own here.

Everyone’s EDC is different. My ideal EDC is certainly different from what I have to carry to be work-compliant. This should be reassuring, though, because each piece of prep we can do is a work in progress. There is always somewhere we could improve, to tweak to make things function or flow better.

My main perspective on prep comes from hospitality and care for those in your family, Kindred, tribe, and communities. By prepping now, you take pressure off of all those you hold ties with and free up resources for them in the future. One more person with the training and experience to use those resources effectively is one less person who needs emergency intervention and can help others prepare effectively for a SHTF scenario. By honoring the various Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir of the resources and work with them, you build up good relationships with Them. By building up good relationships now you approach Them in respect, and They, in turn, can help you develop your skills, experiences, and wisdom in the use of resources now, rather than in a crisis.

When it comes to EDC many of these ideas are taken into the everyday. My spiritual EDC are what I carry with me as taufr, charms, as well as the spiritual prep that I do before I leave the house. The spiritual EDC are the necklaces I wear and the tattoos on my skin. The clothes I wear, prayer cards I carry, anything that I dedicate to carrying on my person becomes part of the EDC. Since I understand the lík or the body as sacred, physical prep is part of the spiritual prep, and the spiritual prep provide a strong core and focus to the physical prep. Likewise, the mental prep flows with the physical and spiritual prep. So too, the EDC prep and the home prep flow into and between each other. What I need for EDC will likely differ a lot given I will be away from home.

My Approach to EDC

So what is in my EDC? I will break this up into three main areas because of my job’s restrictions. The first will be what I carry on me most often, then what I carry in my bag, and finally, what I carry in my car.

My Personal EDC

My personal carry EDC are my clothes, my wallet which carries my IDs and prayer cards, my leather taufr bag, my phone, my Bluetooth earbuds and their charging case, and any keys I need for work. The charging case can double as a charger for my phone if needed. The earbuds hold a charge for about four hours of music each, and charge in about 30 minutes. My arms are each covered in the Elder Futhark, and I have a tattoo of a Valknut on my left breast and the Ægishjalmr on my right. Each tattoo carries meaning, a physical reflection and fulfillment of my relationships with each vaettr. Given my ongoing offerings to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir, not to mention the offerings of pain and blood just to get these tattoos, these are spiritual EDC that are consistently cared for. Likewise, these are each spiritual EDC that are consistently involved in my care.

The approach I have with my tattoos is also true of the taufr I carry in my bag: every one was built with the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir I carry active and ongoing relationships with, and none require special offerings on their own. So, if for some reason I lose or need to give away a taufr I do not lose something unique in the bag. That is, while I would lose that particular taufr’s carried power, I do not lose all the power of that relationship by losing or giving away the taufr. If I were to make a completely unique taufr with a vaettr I only every worked with in constructing that taufr then I could risk that relationship by losing or giving away the taufr. So, that is why I have the rule of thumb that I make taufr only with vaettir I hold active relationships with.

Clothes should be the first physical item you think about when you put yourself together in the day. I am the kind of guy who is pretty happy to wear shorts and a t-shirt most of the year. My choice of clothes are made with ease of movement and comfort in mind. However, those choices are couched in the comfort of having a comfortable, warm (or cool, as the seasons change) home to live in rather than being consistently exposed to the elements. If I know I will be out and about I will at least wear jeans and bring a coat. My physical items follow the form and function of my clothes: can I keep it comfortably on my person, and are the items easy to access? In a SHTF scenario if I am out and about in clothes ill-fitted to the situation, I am putting myself at risk. Since it is a good idea to have a backup set of clothes in the car and any BOBs, this is something I am working on putting together.

My Backpack and Lunchbag EDC

Since these bags have to go into work it cannot contain items restricted from the facility that I would like to include, so most of the essentials of EDCs you will find on the Internet, like firestarting kits and water purification systems, are out here too. My backpack is a laptop backpack, so the pouch that rests against my back has a bit of extra padding. This section holds my tablet, mobile keyboard, small mouse, book(s), and journal. The journal is a moddable Tūl notebook that my wife found for me in Office Max. You can swap pages in and out, and there are a variety of pages to choose from, including lined, blank, and graph. If I wanted to, say, design a sigil or bindrune and fire it off quick I can. I can also print materials off, use the special hole punch for it that I bought, and swap those materials in and out as I want. If nothing else, in a crisis where I need firemaking materials I will have plenty to hand.

The center section of the backpack has charging essentials for my devices, including lightning cables so I can pass off the cord to iPhone and Mac users. While I do not care for Mac products at all, it has come in handy for coworkers who forget their cables. In the middle of the center section is a nylon bag. It has three blocks for charging outlets and more cables than I have devices for so I, and others, can charge multiple devices at once. Finally, it has a charging brick in it with multiple cable access points. I carry OTC meds like acetomenaphine here, as well as a large bag of sugar free lozenges, hand salve, soap, and toiletries I may need if I get stuck at work or out on the road. This section is fairly big and deep, so the bottom holds a lot of PPE in plastic containers that I have accumulated since COVID-19 hit. I have at least two disposable hazard suits, nitrile disposable gloves, fitted masks, multiple disposable masks, and a mouth barrier for rescue breaths. It may seem like a lot of PPE, but it is all quite compact. My plan is to add a full medical kit in the bottom of this bag so I have it wherever the backpack goes.

The third section is a bit smaller than the first two, and contains a good deal of spiritual items. It has two decks of playing cards that can serve as divination decks or playing cards, a few prayer cards, and a leather bag with a leather casting surface and wooden Runes. Finally, this section holds four plastic bottles, two of which contain salts, one pure water, and the last holds mugwort tea for internal and external cleansing, blessing, etc. This last is replaced as needed.

The fourth section is the front of the backpack. It is the smallest and is just big enough to hold the pens and comb that are in it.  The side pouch holds a small Rite in the Rain field book and the other side has space for a coffee cup -which I usually am carrying there. Nothing like having refreshment and an offering at your hip!

The lunchbag I have is a hard plastic shell in a thermal case to keep things cold. It can hold a good amount of food, which is good since I frequently have to work doubles. It works well for its purpose, since it also keeps my insulin cold and my daily pill box clean and clear. These are in the front pouch along with hand sanitizer, some packs of instant coffee, and utensils. There are two outer areas where I carry coffee cups. I like to carry extra sanitizer, a few sweets to keep up my energy/blood sugar, extra instant coffee packs, lozenges, and other small helpful items in this bag’s front pouch. Better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

My Car EDC

What I carry in my car on a regular basis differs from a BOB since my car is fitted for common road emergencies, including a small car battery starter, a small medkit, a small jack, and a spare tire. I am still working on putting together my BOBs. When finished it will be kitted out for an emergency where my family and I could survive for three days with what is in it whether we are in the car or on foot.

The middle of the car holds a small staff that works well as a walking stick and that I have worked with in various rituals. It also has a car plug-in here for charging USB-C devices, and there is one in the front as well. The front has two USB-C cords, and the middle of the car has one. This allows me to keep our devices, including the car starter, charged on long trips.

In addition to the car starter, car jack, and medkit, my car contains a Sacred Firemaking kit which lives in the trunk. This kit is contained in a leather bag that has belt loops and is lightweight. It comes complete with tinder, a flint and steel, ferro rod, lighter, and both conventional and waterproof matches. The car has a log or two in its trunk so if I need to make a decent fire quick I have the means to. A separate metal ammo crate holds extra firemaking and firekeeping supplies, including twine and wood shavings that could make good tinder, candles, various herb offerings, and a book or two of matches. With an axe in the trunk there would be no question that I could easily get a decent-sized fire going at a few moments’ notice.

The trunk holds a shoulder bag with a hardy survival guide, an orange bandana with various guides to using it in emergencies printed on it, a clip-on crank light and charger, its own separate small firekit, a change of socks, paracord, and a multitool. If, for some reason, I needed to get out of the car with one bag this would be like a mini-BOB for it. In such a case I might quickly toss my shoes off and put on the Muckboots I typically carry in the trunk for going to Crossing Hedgerows. They are quite warm, rated for about -40°F, and hardy. They are also quite waterproof, having waded through Crossing Hedgerow’s stream more than a few times in them without issue, and decent in a forest hike.

There are two water carriers in the trunk. One is a red and white insulated container which can hold at least two liters. The other is a Lifestraw water bottle. The Lifestraw water bottle can filter most contaminants and provide fresh water in most any source I could find. In a pinch I could transfer from one to the other without having to light a fire, and have good potable water in short order.

So far as food goes, I keep at least a pack of ramen in the car so if I or anyone else needs to grab a bite it is available. I will be restocking it with things like Clif bars, and other small items that store well and can be broken up into smaller packs or stuffed into pockets. It is a balance between what can fill us up in an emergency, what stores well, and what can easily be carried. Because of wild temperature fluctuations throughout the year packing canned foods is a bad idea. My objective with any food I store in the car is that it can survive in it long-term and I do not have to do much with it to prep it.

Spiritual EDC in the car includes at least one or two sacred pipes that I have used to smoke offerings and commune with vaettir. Tobacco, mugwort, and chamomile, among the sacred herbs I offer, are stored in a big leather bag in the trunk that holds my Wildwood Tarot, Soul Map, and a collection of taufr and other spiritual objects. This black leather bag holds offering mugs, sacred knives, and different stones I have worked with over the years. It also holds a variety of salts, dirts, and its own firemaking kit. Finally, it holds several representations of Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir.

Designing EDC in Community

Something not often remarked on is designing EDC in community with one another. If you are involved with community members who are interested in prep it can be well worth your while to talk on the subject. You may have a few fixed items, such as the clothes you wear and your wallet, and beyond that the beauty of approaching things with EDC in mind is how adaptable you can really be. Particularly if you are nesting partners or live in the same neighborhood, collaborating on EDC can help alleviate stress or provide new insights, especially since your fellow community members likely have different skillsets. While mindset behind designing an EDC is different from a BOB, both preps are still made with SHTF scenarios in mind. Designing an EDC with community members can help spread out the stress and make things easier if a SHTF scenario hits.

In my case, having another person able and willing to carry more can make SHTF scenarios easier to bear. Since I cannot carry firemaking or water purification supplies on my person or into work, if someone else can, that shores up the lack of supplies I have on me. I can give Gebo by carrying more long-term stable food and drink powders as part of my EDC so they do not have to carry as much of that. If they are skilled at sigils they could carry more paper/pens to make use of that, and I could carry more offerings. The work that can be done together is far more versatile and adaptable than going it alone and trying to plan for all scenarios. So, if you can, I highly recommend partering with community members no matter the prep at hand.

EDC Changes

Over the years, like a lot of folks who have different EDC for different reasons, my spiritual EDC has changed quite a bit. For one, things used to be a lot less organized. For another, I had only one firemaking kit and did not do much in the way of backups. It took me several years until I included a basic medkit and car starter in the car. My big black leather bag that lives in the trunk now used to be my primary spiritwork bag. Now, that bag is a smaller leather shoulder bag that contains the absolute essentials to my spiritwork. The big black leather bag is a kind of useful hold-all for anything I may need or want to have so all the spiritual EDC has a place to be that is safe, tough, and if needed, can be thrown over the shoulder and taken.

It may seem now that I have an overabundance of firemaking kits. I have owned a lot of lighters over the years, both disposable and refillable. I know how easy it is to forget that the lighter is out of fuel or the matchbook is empty. Far better to have a bunch of quick firemaking kits, whether it is flint and steel, ferro rods, or both, than to only rely on lighters or matches, and not be able to make a fire when needed. Given my years of Sacred Firetending and how quick the weather can turn, I appreciate having backups to tinder and logs. It is not fun getting wet materials to light.

That all said, an EDC is not meant to handle every scenario that comes at us, no more than a BOB or even a home is. Preps are meant to help us deal with situations that are most likely to happen. I am not actively prepping for an EMP strike because it is not likely to happen here. Tornadoes, winter storms, power outages, interruptions to supply chains, and civil unrest are far more likely where I live. So, my EDC reflects that.

The spiritual aspects of EDCs should be the same way: we may have fixed things that we need in our EDC to get us through the day, and beyond that having flexibility in what we carry with us allows us to better approach things. That flexibility leaves us in a better position to handle the challenges life throws at us. So, do not be afraid to change things up. Maybe today you need gentler energy, and carrying a small disk with Berkana woodburnt into it, and asking the Rune to help you, can help there. Maybe you need to connect less with certain Ancestors, so taking Their representations out of your pocket bag and placing it with the Ancestor stalli (indoor altar) is ideal. Something as simple as asking the local landvaettir to help you keep safe or ground and center, asking Them to help you find a stone to carry, and making an offering when you find it can be a great help.

It is a good thing to evaluate where we are now and again, and adjust things to our needs. It is a good thing to ask community members to look at our preps, and take their advice to heart. It is a good thing to ask the Ginnreginn for help and guidance, and adjusting ourselves and our EDC to match it. Being open to change, and willing to do it, is a powerful thing.

When we move into our new house we will be reevaluating all our various preps to align with our new living situation. I expect most of my EDCs will stay the same, but I have wanted to reorganize everything and put it together in a more coherent way where everything has a place. You might find over time you do this as well. It’s a kind of grounding and centering for your prep practice. After all, sometimes we forget we packed something away. Sometimes our needs for EDC change, or our mindset behind having a piece of gear is not relevant anymore. Sometimes we just get better gear or more efficient ways of stowing it. However we design them, EDCs should be adaptable, changing with us as we need them.

My mindset as a Heathen prepper is hospitality and service. Hospitality is practiced by both host and guest. So, prepping is not only to those who can find themselves at my door. By prepping, I am working as a guest to lift stress on a host in a SHTF scenario, just as I am working to help alleviate stress to those who find themselves as my guest. EDC, with the Ginnreginn and my Heathen values and spiritual work firmly in mind, allows me to face each day as prepared as I can be. By prepping in a wholistic way I serve the Ginnreginn, my family, my tribe, and my communities more efficiently, and in good Gebo.

A Heathen Prepping -Beginning

My thanks to my Brother, Jim Two Snakes, for inspiring this and the series of posts following it. Thank you for lighting the Fire.

What is Prepping?

Prepping, or preparing, is both a mindset and a way of organizing oneself, family, tribe, and/or community. To prep is to be engaged in active readiness for one or many SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario(s). Prepping is about gaining and using knowledge and resources so that the people, preppers, can encounter a SHTF scenario, and survive it, if not thrive after. Ideally, prepping is entered into out of hope, a desire to see oneself and others safe. Prepping is entered into so that one’s family, tribe, and/or community survives a SHTF scenario, stays safe during and after it, and thrives in post-crisis.

My Perspective on Prepping

A lot of things brought me into prepping. My upbringing, for one. My Dad was part of security both for the facility he worked at and for our region of the State. He wrote policy and what is more, carried it out. He passed on a sense of how to prepare for things, having to explain things to me since I was often his beta reader and proofreader when I became a teenager. In wanting to make sure anyone could follow directions in case of an emergency he often had to explain preparedness, and what things did and did not qualify in simple terms. Growing up in this environment helped me frame what I would run into when prepping communities started springing up sometime in the late 90s to early 2000s.

Prepping, for me, is part of my obligation to my family, tribe, and community. It is an obligation to prep as best as I am able to be hospitable and to take pressure off of my family, tribe, and communities. Think about it. In a SHTF situation, someone knocking on your door and asking for a bottle of water takes on even more of a direct and dire dimension than they would prior. I owe hospitality to those who come to my door, and without prep that is far harder to provide in a crisis. That is not to say I have to be a doormat to any Johnny-come-lately. Baselines of hospitality still apply regardless of whether we are in crisis or not. In keeping to them not only do we help to promote abundance in our communities, we also set up the basics for reciprocity between us. If you have a need I can fulfill I can then call on you for help in kind. Because I put in the time, energy, and effort, in a very realy well, I help to care for both of us.

Prepping also helps to stave off my anxiety and distress at clear warning signs I am seeing now, environmentally, politically, and logistically.  I have been seeing stress signs from the shipping and logistics industry for awhile now, and prepping helps to soothe the stress I feel at its collapse. Likewise, prepping helps me to get a handle on dealing with the anxiety I feel around the ongoing climate crisis. Part of long-term prep as I do it is taking care of longer-term projects. These are things like helping to build raised beds and plant vegetables, caring for the land, and learning to take care of animals. Learning how to cull, butcher, and process my own meat is part of that process just as putting away water, food, and emergency kits is. By building up my knowledge, supply, and ability to weather a variety of storms and SHTF scenarios, I reduce my overall stress and anxiety.

Let me be frank with you: we are seeing the grid’s collapse in real time. We have seen time and again the vaunted powerful in our countries again and again meet to ‘discuss how to address climate change’ and each and every time it has been a showcase of how much C02 we can dump into the atmosphere shuttling these rich, privileged fucks around. The spending bills which have majority support in this country, which would have gone to several initiatives that directly address climate change, pollution, and infrastructure spending, have been stalled to the point where they are gutted in part or in whole. We have no idea as of the time of this writing if we are even going to get a reconciliation bill. This, when Texas suffered one of the most widespread grid collapses in a time where it could ill afford it: the middle of fucking Winter. That grid is almost wholly separate from the rest with a smattering of lines connecting it to the others and is run by a company that has direct interests in making money off of people freezing to death.

Resources that could easily be turned to preparing us to live with the ongoing effects of climate change and to reverse it in our lifetimes are now being squandered so the rich get to drive up the numbers of imaginary fucking monopoly money. We are on our own. Regardless of political background, perspective, or viewpoint, our government has made it abundantly clear time and again we are on our own. It made that point during Hurricane Katrina, and has since every natural disaster. This is absolutely nothing new to Indigenous and BIPOC communities. All have lived through it for hundreds of years. It’s only now the rest of us are getting to experience just a taste of that abuse and neglect. The kicker is that this ongoing abuse and neglect of the system, and so, our communities, will hit them just as hard too, since they’re tied into the same system.

Our elected officials and those who fund them and otherwise hold their leashes have chosen, not failed but chosen not to act. We must turn to taking care of ourselves. Municipal water sources throughout this country face contamination from a variety of sources, including PFAS and dioxane. Michigan, one of the largest sources of freshwater in the world, is also some of the most polluted in the USA with DuPont, Wolverine, and Dow Chemical operating in our State. Our just-in-time delivery systems and absolutely backwards way of sourcing, producing, processing, and delivering food has had several failures which should be abundantly clear to anyone paying one whit of attention to the supply lines. Now is the time to prepare yourselves, your families, your tribes, and your communities for disruption from the top down and bottom up. It is a fucking shame because the rich have the ability, even now at the goddamned one minute stroke to midnight, to turn all of this around.

I could be wrong. I fully recognize that. I recognize in the middle of my anger, my frustration, and yes, my despair at anything useful getting done from either our political establishment or the companies that have bought and paid for them, that I could be wrong. I do not think so.

Let us assume I am wrong. Say this post inspires every Pagan, polytheist, witch, magician, and so on that has not yet prepped for a disaster of, say, two weeks, to prep. Mutual aid networks could form, communities that were divided or have never connected could start having serious conversations on how to take care of one another in a crisis. What is lost? Some time and money, perhaps. However, should a situation arise, such as a long-term power outtage from some weather event, more supply line disruptions like those we have seen this year, or if something dire comes our way, at the least some things will be taken care of to help us weather the hard times. At the very least we will have prepped to care for those we can. It is a damn sight better than most government officials can say

If you find it hard to approach prep without severe anxiety, or if you find yourself putting a lot of thought into prep to the detriment of your life or others, then you may want to only approach prep with a trusted friend, loved one, or better yet, a community. It may even be better in such a case to talk things out with these people and develop things together so that the anxiety that can be associated with prepping is a shared load. A lot of SHTF events and our reactions to them can be hard to think about, let alone actually prepare for. There is a definite difference in feeling when something is in the abstract vs you are gaining knowledge, skills, or buying or making things to address it. Experiencing some stress is a normal part of prepping. Be mindful of explosive emotion or ongoing, lingering feelings of distress, anxiety, or obsession around the topics of prepping. Addressing these things with loved ones and/or a therapist can be a huge help. It is far better to delay engaging with prep and similar subjects until and unless it safe for you and your loved ones to do so.

Prepping takes a lot of forms, the most visible being the various kits folks put together, such as BOBs (Bug Out Bags) or long-term freeze-dried foods in food-safe buckets. However, without the knowledge, experience, discipline, and wisdom on what to use in a kit, BOB, cache, etc all that becomes is a collection of things which may make you feel safe, but when a crisis hits you may not be able to use them effectively, if at all. Having a medkit is good so long as you know how to use the components in it. If you do not know how to make a fire or boil water, then freeze-dried food may not keep you fed if you are stranded.

This does not mean equipment is not important. Good quality equipment is necessary if you hope to prepare well. However, good quality and expensive are not the same thing. More on this as we dig into specific cases.

‘Good prep’ and ‘good equipment’ is dependent on what you are prepping for, your local situation including weather and the most probable SHTF scenarios, and how many other people you have prepping with you. The more folks who are prepping the better, as each person can gather knowledge and skills as available to them, and provide coverage for those in their family, tribe, and/or community.

How does a Heathen begin to prepare?

I treat prepping as a Heathen like I do most spiritual activities as a Heathen. Take some time to prepare spiritually when you are going to be engaging with prepping. Whether it is learning a new skill or sharpening an old one, making a list, putting together a kit or BOB, or checking supplies. Start with a simple cleansing, grounding, centering, and shielding exercise. This is the basis of a very simple and quick spiritual prep. Here are some examples of each:

To cleanse, take three even breaths in, three breaths out.

A simple grounding is drawing your hands up over your body and down your body.

A simple centering technique is to say out loud what work you will engage in at this time.

A simple shielding technique is to say ‘Shields Up!’ or to gesture around your body as though you are putting up a wall around you.

Each of these are low-maintenance and simple for a reason: you want your spiritual prep to be useful in a SHTF scenario. If you have to meditate for thirty minutes in order to be spiritually prepared, that is fine to start with. It may be too long in a SHTF situation, and while this may not be as thorough, it works. The goal with this kind of spiritual prep is to be able to consistently get to a place in body, mind, and spirit together that is clear, calm, centered, and ready to engage with the task at hand. I can tell you in my experience this low-maintenance spiritual prep works. I have done variations of it before heading into dangerous situations, including car accidents and altercations at work. It is well worth putting in the time to be able to achieve clarity and focus in a crisis.

With this done, pray for wisdom, care, and skill, and make offerings to the Ginnreginn for these things. If you are able to make an offering then a cup of water, a slice of bread, or a pinch of mugwort are good ones. If you have questions or concerns, ask Them for Their input on the prepping you will engage in. Ask for guidance when you feel stuck or frustrated. Engage in spiritual accounting to be sure you are receiving good guidance, and working with the guidance well. Doing this each and every time will help you to approach prepping in a clean, calm, and collected way centered in the Ginnreginn and doing the best for Them, your communities, and yourself.

I engage with prepping as a spiritual activity itself. I first got into it in various forms when Óðinn had me begin a devotional and working relationship with Skaði. I learned First Aid, Basic Life Support, and how to shoot a bow and gun because of these two Gods, and do each as a form of offering to Them. I also offer my learning and use of healing, stabilization, and the like as an offering to Eir and Menglöð. Considering how much of the skills we can learn that reach back to the Ancestors, including frontier medicine, firemaking, and food preservation, each of these could be an offering, connection point, and a place to invite Their blessings. All the materials we use in prep are made of various vaettir, as are the shelters, foods, and waters. Getting into and maintaining a good relationship with the vaettir through prep just makes sense.

When you put together items for prepping, such as putting a bandage into a medkit, make prayers over it. Enchant each item you bring into your prep space, and treat it as sacred. It is, after all! Each preparation you make, and so, each prayer, each offering, each bit of magic you work into that preparation will be helping keep you, your family, your tribe, and community members heilagr, a word that means whole, safe, healthy, and holy.

Begin to build your lists and work to prepare in the same way most preppers do.

What are the most probable SHTF scenarios?

What are the most probable SHTF scenarios in your area? Not what occupies you with worry, and not what is being blasted at you from the evening news or whatever social media you engage with. What is the likeliest thing to provide a threat, immediate and/or ongoing, to you and your family, tribe, and/or communities? What has happened in the past? What is most likely to occur in the future? What was done to address it? What systems were under strain then vs now, and have those strains been addressed?

Engage With the Basics

Wherever you are just starting out, I heartily second the recommendation City Prepper makes:

Make a list of what you and your family need to survive. Start with at least 1 gallon of water per person per day and 1200 calories of food per person per day. If you can start by expanding that to 3 gallons of water, and around 2000-2200 calories per person per day, that is an even better start to prep. Start with the goal of getting together enough supplies to make it two weeks where you are. You can then increase the goal to a month, three months, and then a year as things go on.

When you have the resources, put together supplies needed for three days if you need to leave where you are living. A 3 day prep kit that is ready at a moment’s notice to take with you when you leave, is known in prepper circles as a Bug Out Bag, or BOB for short. If you lose your home or you are under a mandatory evacuation order, having a BOB will help ease your mind, streamline the process, and make it so you can quickly react to a changing, potentially dangerous and stressful situation. BOBs tend to weigh about 15% at most of a person’s body weight so they stay mobile. Some folks put an extra BOB in their car in addition to having one per family member just in case. We can get into BOBs in a separate post.

My recommendation for spiritual prep at the start here is to get the simple exercises above down to where you can do them as needed without much forethought. Adding prayer cards, pictures, or tokens of various Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir to your prep kits can bring comfort and connection in a crisis. I highly recommend metal pill containers, such as these or these, which you can use to carry a fire kit, offerings, and, of course, pills. They’re lightweight, hardy, and I have had a variation of the first link’s pill cases for several years without any issue. I carry tobacco, mugwort, chamomile, and stinging nettle with me in this way on my keychain. I carry prayer cards in my wallet and a leather bag full of taufr, enchanted items, in my pocket. EDC or Every Day Carry includes the spiritual things we take with us wherever we go, and that we turn to in crisis. EDC is a separate post, though, so we will leave that for now.

Make Assessments Where You Are

What knowledge and skills do you possess already that you can work with in a crisis? What do you need to develop? What would you want to develop? Are your knowledge and skills contingent on having electricity available? If so, can you learn to work without them? If not, do you have the means to continue access to electricity?

Take a look at your local communities. If you do not know your next-door neighbors, now is the time to get to know them. Talk with your Heathen, Pagan, and similarly-aligned community members about mutual aid networks. Talk with them about what they are doing for their own prep work and what needs they have. As you go along you and your community members can encourage each other to keep up the prep work, working together in solidarity. The more folks in a community who have two or more weeks of supplies on hand to handle a crisis will be better able to mitigate the overall community response to them. As with the individual prep, expanding as you can to longer stretches of time will help everyone in a community get through SHTF scenarios safely.

Mutual Aid Networks

Mutual aid networks can help to shore up where family and community needs fall short, whether it is access to needed supplies for medication, food, water, etc. This is where the networks of relationships we intentionally foster as Heathens can really shine. It is not necessary for folks to live in the same neighborhood to be helpmeets to one another in a crisis. In fact, having folks clustered in the same neighborhood can be a detriment. If an entire neighborhood is hit by a natural disaster like a tornado or the power is down in a given region for longer than two weeks then everyone in the network will have to collectively deal with the same crisis all together. Mutual aid networks that have space between them can afford multiple locations for regrouping, care, bugging out, and developing networks of communication, trade, and solidarity-building between communities in a larger or longer SHTF situation.

Something not often thought about: A lot of homes and subdivisions, especially here in Michigan where homes are being built on former farmland or swamp, do not have even a Michigan basement. A Michigan basement is an unfinished basement that is essentially a root cellar. Having access to a clean, cool, and accessible storage option like a partially, fully finished, or a Michigan basement when you live in a neighborhood with few or none of them becomes a truly valuable thing. If you have one available to you it can hold water, food, medication, and vital documents in steady clean storage, be a place to brew and/or ferment, and be a staging area for folks in crisis. The more such places where supplies and space are available to you and your community, the easier you can handle a crisis.

Instead of just making suggestions of lists, I am going to explore how I approach prepping as a Heathen. You can use this as a jumping off point for exploring your own situation and your responses to the SHTF scenarios and other crises you may face. Because this is a post on beginning to prep it will only take a quick look at short-term SHTF scenarios and how I prep for them.

My Assessment and Approach for Short-term SHTF

I live in a suburban town in SE Michigan surrounded by farmland and just on the outside of major cities in my area. I will not have the same concerns as a person living in the city or in the country. In a way, suburbia has the potential of a lot of the benefits of both city and country living, provided you have a bit of land to work with. The most pressing SHTF scenarios for us here are power outages, tornadoes, and winter storms. A complete disaster scenario in this region would be if the old nuclear powerplant nearby melted down. In Summer the main factor for danger moreso than the heat itself is direct sunlight and humidity. Most have access to water and sewer through wells or city municipalities. In some areas solar power is not possible due to tree cover, and both solar and wind power are still prohibitively expensive for most to invest in. Power outages, then, affect access to running water, heating/cooling, cooking, and other necessities of life. Most folks who have the means to acquire generators, solar and/or wind power generation, and increasingly, homeowners who can afford it are investing in Generac and similar home power systems.

Some major positive factors going for lower SE Michigan are that we do not have earthquakes, volcanoes, or hurricanes as major threats to our wellbeing. While it is true much of our fertile farmland has been built on, there are networks of small-time farmers, backyard farmers, permaculturists, and emerging networks of mutual aid networks. Plenty of folks keep chickens, goats, and other small livestock.

Since our most likely SHTF scenarios for SE Lower Michigan are loss of power, winter storms, and tornadoes in that order, those are the first scenarios I will prep for. I will need two weeks of water, food, medicine, and toileting supplies. In a power loss or winter storm situation I will need to have ways to keep food from spoiling and ways to keep warm. I need to keep an eye on the weather, and have an area for the family to evacuate to in case of a tornado.

A lot of my advice here is going to echo other preppers such as City Prepper and some emergency advice from FEMA and other government organizations. Since this is at least some folks’ first exposure to prep, I want this information to be accessible here. So, when getting into prep you will want your first concerns to be oriented around the most probable short-term SHTF scenarios. You will want is access to safe water, enough food to last through the crisis, and ways to keep safe and warm until access is restored. Assume a two-week window where you will not have power, and make plans for taking care of your needs for water, food, and shelter accordingly. Once you have prepped for this, then you can expand your horizons.

Physically, prep for short-term SHTF will be the previous prep we have talked about in the Engage with the Basics. Make sure you have redundant forms of communication. Some examples would be a landline (especially since most folks just have cell phones), handheld walkie talkies, or even HAM radios, the latter of which generally requires a license to transmit over legally though you can listen without a license. Having ready sources of backup power that you check at least twice a year, such as a backup generator for a home, can help you and yours get through with what you need and some creature comforts if the generator can handle it. You are going to want ways of making heat and light not tied into the home’s power supply that are effective and safe. Any fires you work with should be in containers that someone, animal or kid, cannot knock over if you turn away your attention for a few moments. Bundling up with blankets, and making sure you have some Visqueen or other similar kind of quick weatherpoofing if insulation of the home is less ideal will help conserve heat in colder times. Working with open windows and air circulation, and if able doing less during the heat of the day will help mitigate the heat.

Mentally, prep is going you are going to include engaging in activities that keep your mind at ease. Whatever keeps you relaxed and ready to go. The physical preps help pave the way for this, since it is hard to think if you are worried about where you next meal is coming from, and hard to read or relax at night in a pitch-dark house. If you can keep a discipline that involves your mind, body, and spirit, such as regular meditation and/or exercise, it can help reduce stress and keep up morale. It can also give you a sense of rhythm to days and weeks that you could be stuck at home. That discipline will help keep you mentally well and better able to handle both the drudge, bordom, and/or the unexpected that come your way. In all likelihood with a two-week or less disaster most of us will still have to go in to work. In many cases that will mean having to put in a lot of overtime, so prepping can help ease anxiety and make things easier for family members who are going to be stuck inside for the duration of the crisis. Part of the beauty of having a two-week prep ready to go is that it can save you a lot of hassle in the moment when the power goes out or roads are closed. If you have the things you need ready at hand there is less anxiety or confusion about what to do -you just do it. You also will not have to deal with panic buying or struggle with lines at the places that are still open in a crisis. Having taken the time to prep, you and your loved ones will be in a good position to financially be better off too, since you won’t have to deal with price gouging or extra shipping costs if you find out you really need something.

Spiritually, prep is reaffirming and continuing the relationships with the Ginnreginn and loved ones you have already. It is also engaging in the spiritual disciplines such as those explored in Engaging the Basics, which will help keep you spiritually prepped. The mental and physical prep help pave the way for this, and the spiritual prep here reinforces them in turn. Rather than being separate preps, think of each as being part of one prep. Algiz, with its three branches coming from a single trunk and its meaning of protection, is an excellent Runevaettir to work with. Sowilo is also a good Runevaettir to work with, with its three segments and meaning of victory. Spiritual preps beyond this would be making taufr for keeping the home and family safe.

Where to Go From Here?

The beginning steps of prep are not the place to be prepping for climate change or political upheaval. This is the starting place where you look at your most likely SHTF short-term scenarios and prepare for them. As you go along the prep you do for one level of SHTF scenario will stack into the next.

As a Heathen, I approach prepping at times as a spiritual discipline, others times as service, and other times as solidarity with my loved ones. By engaging in prep I know what to do with my hands, heart, and soul in a SHTF scenario. In doing prep I better equip my loved ones, my family, my tribe, and my wider community to weather a crisis. By approaching prep as duty, service, and/or solidarity this places all my prep work into a pro-social perspective that seeks to honor the Ginnreginn.

One of the ethics we Heathens and polytheists in general reliably share is that of hospitality. Prep is a form of engaging in hospitality for those in our care, and those who may find themselves at our door. By working out of a desire to engage well in hospitality, I seek to do well for myself and others. By choosing to act and empowering others to do prep in the same spirit of hospitality, cooperation, and building up, rather than tearing down or competition, like a fire in darkness, I seek to light other fires.

Reflections on Sand Talk

Following the recommendation of Rune Hjarnø Rasmussen I picked up Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World ny Tyson Yunkaporta a while back. These are my immediate reflections and thoughts on finishing it.

It took me some time to work through. Part of that was the material is dense in what it brought up for me to think and reflect on. Another is that I was consistently making notes because Yunkaporta’s style brings those thoughts up and trying to catch them can be hard. I may go back through the book sometime down the road and not take notes and just experience the book. However, each time I engaged with it I felt like a dozen little threads of thought erupt with each chapter so I wanted to wrangle at least some of those thoughts.

Something I really appreciate about the book is that its yarns are not simple, straightforward, or easily able to be bullet pointed -except when they are. I kept coming back with every story thinking on the stories that infuse my own life -that of the Nordic Gods, my Ancestors, and the vaettir. The stories of the place I live, and the names and stories of the Beings who lived here long before my Ancestors. Like the stories that infuse his life and understanding I found relating to his stories and yarns through my own.

Yunkaporta asks us to take some heavy, deep, and equally light-hearded and amused looks at ourselves. In doing this, in embracing his way of speaking/writing, and reflecting as I yarned through the book with him, I found a lot of affirmation in my own path as a Heathen, from the way I understand how it unfolds in worldview and the direction it goes. It was also cool to see different cross-currents in thought and direction between our worldviews.

For starters just the concept of yarning as a way of co-creating, co-weaving, if you will, knowledge and understanding, has so many implications for a path where weaving and carving is an active and ongoing co-creative process with the Ginnreginn. Urðr is definitely reflected in yarning. What Yunkaporta calls a yarn between people we might also call a saga or even þing. Yarning and sharing a saga or sitting down to a þing is a co-creative and collaborative working that has certainly changed through time and yet has remained similar enough that we can recognize it today.

The process of encoding meaning through carving, umpan, we call rísta. It is to carve. Umpan is also used to mean writing, now, and rísta easily fits this as well. Much as with umpan, rísta brings the symbolic language to bear to bring and communicate meaning, and to change the carver and who observes and interacts with the carving.

Like the symbols he and the us-twos have brought forward, the Runes are living symbols, because, as with the Aboriginal symbols, the Runes are vaettir.

Much like our own experiences as Heathens, the Aboriginals do not just bring in new ways of understanding or doing things without vetting them. For them, as noted in p62 regarding the ceremony to “open” that first headstone, shaped by multiple Elders and family members, incorporating older elements of the traditional mourning process that had fallen into disuse. The demotic is not a sudden acceptance or made on a whim, arbitrarily. Likewise, we do not just change how we do things. We weigh it against established lore, divination, and what makes sense for us to do with where and when we are, and what obligations and needs we have.

Something that Yunkaporta and the various folks who have contributed to the yarns in the book come to again and again is that we need to move into societies of transition. Our communities do need to share knowledge while maintaining their own unique systems grounded in the diverse landscapes they care for. That is what I and others in my Kindred and tribe are working to do. It is what we are doing at Crossing Hedgerows Sanctuary and Farm. We US Pagans and polytheists are in development of these societies now.

He hits this especially hard here:

“I have previously talked about civilized cultures losing collective memory and having to struggle for thousands of years to gain full maturity and knowledge again, unless they have assistance. But that assistance does not take the form of somebody passing on cultural content and ecological wisdom. The assistance I’m talking about comes from sharing patterns of knowledge and ways of thinking that will help trigger the ancestral knowledge hidden inside. The assistance people need is not in learning about Aboriginal Knowledge but in remembering their own.” pp 144

Yes, absolutely this. I consider Runework, seiðr, spá, taufr, and other such things to be part of it as much as hearth cultus, Ancestral veneration, worship of and communication with with the Ginnreginn, and spiritwork. This is ongoing work: relationship-building, knowledge-building, spirit-building we are doing with the Ginnreginn, and part of doing that is building good relationships with the lands we live on and in.

Heathens here in the US once operated primarily from the locus of ‘if it is not written down it did not exist’, and it is a blessing this is changing. More, Heathens are taking inspiration and understanding of the lore as a jumping off point and perhaps a map, but we, we Heathens and the Ginnreginn, are the arbiters of our relationship together. This includes the world around us. We are coming out of the supremacy of the pen and printer and into the full appreciation of all our faculties.

He says “Kinship-mind is a way of improving and preserving memory in relationships with others. If you learn something with or from another person, this knowledge now sits in the relationship between you. You can access the memory of it best if you are together, but if you are separated you can recall the knowledge by picturing the other person or calling out their name. This way of thinking and remembering is not limited to relationships with people.” pp148-149

This immediately reminds me of Odin’s interactions with and ongoing relationship with Mimir, Saga, Loki, and other Gods. He maintains ongoing relationships with each, drawing wisdom and being the way through which inspiration reaches us through His interaction with Them. If Odin is the Utterer and Inspirer, then it is through Wisdom (Mimir), Stories (Saga), Creativity (Loki), Knowledge (Vafþrúðnir; His Name means “Mighty Weaver”) and so on.

“In Aboriginal worldviews, relationships are paramount in knowledge transmission. There can be no exchange or dialogue until the protocols of establishing relationships have taken place. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going? What is your true purpose here? Where does the knowledge you carry come from, and who shared it with you? What are the applications and potential impacts of this knowledge on this place? What impacts has it had on other places? What other knolwedge is it related to? Who are you to be saying these things?” pp149

It is worth pointing out that most of those Odin meets with regularly are relatives or closely related to Him in some way. Mimir is His Uncle, Saga His Wife’s Handmaiden, Lok His Blood-Brother, and Vafþrúðnir while not directly related is one He seeks to test His knowledge and mettle against.

“In our world nothing can be known or even exist unless it is in relation to other things. Critically, those things that are connected are less important than the forces of connection between them. We exist to form these relationships, which make up the energy that holds creation together. When knowledge is patterned within these forces of connection, it is sustainable over deep time.” p149-150.

Yes, and this is true of the Ginnreginn, the Runevaettir, and Urðr Itself. It is true of ourselves and our relationships with one another. It is true of ourselves and our relationship to this world.

There are five different ways in the Aboriginal way of thinking in his yarn (pp 150-152):

Kinship-mind.

Story-mind.

Dreaming-mind.

Ancestor-mind.

Pattern-mind.

He advises in pp 173 to come up with our own words for these.

“They are not capitalized because I don’t want them to become buzzwords absorbed into the marketplace. There are no trademarks in this knowledge. It is not specific to any single cultural group; instead, it belongs to everyone. You should come up with your own words for these ways of thinking if you decide to use them. You should alter them to match your own local environment and culture. This is all open-source knowledge, so use it like Linux software to build what you need to build for a sustainable life. If you want to do this you can use the symbol and your hand now to work through a logic sequence that will help you understand holism and enable you to come to Turtle story later on.

He goes on to yarn at length about how we can develop ways of knowing, understanding, co-creating. The entire book is this exploration. It encourages the reviving, embracing, and developing of our worldview. It encourages us to embrace old and new ways of understanding and knowledge. It encourages us to bring our relationship to the Ginnreginn and so, the World we inhabit and the Worlds around us, to the fore. In living in this way, he puts forward, we can save the World.

I found Sand Talk hopeful, insightful, and utterly useful for anyone willing to sit and yarn with Tyson Yunkaporta for a while. It is well worth the time. It is my hope that more Heathens, Nordic Pagans, and Nordic animists embrace this more holistic, and integrated way of being.

Taking Time

I have spoken here, on my Patreon, on Around Grandfather Fire, and in a lot of other places how taking your time to rest, recover, and relax are important and can be as much a part of spiritwork as doing things like divining and spiritual consultation.

Between the American overculture’s inane drive that everything be ‘productive’, even hobbies and pleasures, and my upbringing, I have found that engaging in rest and relaxation, especially ‘non-productive’ things, to be quite hard. I do not lay this at my parents’ feet, either. The same system that insists I need to be ‘doing something’ is the same one that ground them down during the time they both worked. We live in a toxic culture, one that, given my neurodivergence, seems tailor-made to fuck with my anxiety and my ADHD.

Up until recently my bull-headed response to all this was to put my head down and keep on pushing through. This works for a while. Hell, for years. For years I have had loved ones, family, friends, and tribe alike, pushing me to put things down and actually take a break.

It is a common joke in my family that we go back to work to relax. The vacation I last took from work had me doing yard work prepping raised gardens and a tiered system for growing strawberries for most of it, working with my family from sunup to sundown. We are reaping the rewards of that now, with an amazing crop of tomatoes. Not all work is bad, draining, or harsh. Hell, not all rest or relaxation is necessarily stopping doing everything. I find it relaxing and refreshing to do work outside. A lot of folks do.

What is different here is that I have been doing spiritwork without a vacation or rest for years. My daily routine would start with a 10-20 minute preparation session of cleansing, grounding, centering, and shielding, then prayers to start my day. If I had spiritwork to do I would repeat this routine with refreshes throughout the day. This in and of itself was not an issue. My routine has become a lot smaller and compact, and over time I expect it will expand again as changes are needed. What was at issue was the amount of spiritwork I was piling on top of it most every day.

I was doing what, in retrospect, is a good bit of spiritwork for other people. This includes writing on this blog and for my Patreon, answering questions as they came by email or Discord, making prayers not for my Patreon as they came through my email, scheduling then doing divination and consultatation sessions, and ongoing spiritual support work through various Discord servers. When I had time in between work and Work I was writing multiple books.

Consider all of this with being a father, huband, partner, and working anywhere from 40-80 hours a week for my job, depending on how bad mandatory overtime gets, and I was hitting burnout. Only I did not want to see it, and was powering through it.

Unlike times past, however, I am listening to my loved ones.

So, I am taking a break for a month from all spiritwork for others. Likely for myself, too. I know it is necessary to take time on occasion. My hope is by the time November comes around I will be refreshed and ready to go. If not, I will take another month. If I need to I will take time until the New Year. I hope it does not come to that. However, my Ginnreginn, my loved ones, and the communities I serve need me to be at my best. So do I.

Musings on Spiritwork

Sometimes, spiritwork is hard. It can be hard to want to do the daily work, to want to do the daily prayers, to want to do the work that is ours to do. It can be hard to find the motivation, let alone the energy to do all that can be asked of us.

A lot of us spiritworkers are hard on ourselves. Trying to do more with less. Less sleep, time to ourselves, self-care. We want to do more of the thing that pushes us to wake up and (eventually) go to bed. The spiritwork itself is hard enough. What makes it harder, or at least puts barriers in front of the motivation, is all the stuff I have to do in front of and behind the spiritwork that makes sitting down to it that much harder.

There is also no denying that many spiritworkers are burning not only their own candle at both ends, they’re sometimes switching tea lights to keep the fire going. I have had times like that. Some of it is the absolutely toxic work ethic in the United States. Some of it is my upbringing. I have written on this blog before on what a hamstringing effect feeling like you have to be ‘productive’ all the time can be.

So how to get beyond that? To a certain extent I recognize that getting ‘beyond’ the United States’ obsession with burying its working class is not going to happen anytime soon, at least on a societal scale. To a certain degree, it’s the climax of Wargame: the only way to win is not to play. Sometimes I lack the willpower to do that. So, I work with the impulse. I reframe rest as offering or work itself so that when I am called to work, I can do it. Sometimes this works, and sometimes I stare at the ceiling because anxious brain weasels are assholes.

To this end binaural beats, rain sounds, crackling fires, and other such videos and sound makes up my YouTube Meditation and Relaxation playlist. Sometimes this works. Sometimes I am staring at the ceiling as my ears are full of sound. There are going to be times when, no matter how much deep breathing after cleansing, grounding, centering, shielding, and other work you do, you are just not going to sleep. When I am like this I take the time to rest anyway, just so my body is not moving, my brain is not spinning on projects or anxiety.

It is very easy to write these words and far harder to do them. Pushing yourself to rest is a kind of discipline, and it is one I am still learning how to do. Sometimes video games in bed, eg my Switch or my phone, helps this. Sometimes it gets right in the way. So, I need to be adaptable. More often than not if I start to read I will want to stay up to finish the book, so I tend not to read. It usually does not put me to sleep; it stimulates.

There is no small amount of self-control, self-awareness, and self-discipline that a spiritworker needs to cultivate. The thing, though, is not to fool ourselves that there is ‘an end’ to this. There will be setbacks, times where, no matter how much effort I put forward the thing at hand will not be done. I also need to not excuse this, just to acknowledge I have failed to do it, that it this does not make me a terrible spiritworker or anything else, and to get back on the proverbial horse the next day.

Ginnreginn all know this far easier to write than it is to put into practice. It still needs to be done.

There will always be Work to do. There will always be things that need doing, whether the chores or the obligations, the little things or the big things. The best I can do is all I can do, and from there on, as best as I can, I have patience with myself.

Spiritwork is hard and gratifying. It is a real blessing to be able to do. It is a beautiful thing to watch as someone develops their practice, or asks for help in building a new relationship with their Gods, Ancestors, spirits, or all three. It is a powerful experience to feel Them so close, to experience Their Presence, and to facilitate Work that will bring others to that. It is wonderful to partner with the Ginnreginn to do the Work.

Seiðr Song

Rocking, rocking

It begins small

In the seed, in the seiðr

It erupts from below

The power unleashed

In the seed, in the seiðr

It builds up through the middle

The being grows

From the seed, from the seiðr

It extends to the Worlds

The hamr is strong

From the seed, from the seiðr

It bears fruit to the Worlds

The megin is mighty

From the seed, from the seiðr

Its fruit leaves seeds

The cycle renews

From the seed, from the seiðr

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 52: For the Vanir Tribe

If want to submit a request for a prayer, poem, or song to be written to you privately or to be posted on this blog or my Patreon for a God, Ancestor, or spirit, sign up for the Ansuz and above level here on my Patreon.

This request was made by Emi for the Vanir Tribe.


Seership and sacrifice

Seed and strength

Salve and sea

The Vanir bless the Worlds with megin

War and wound

Weal and word

Wonder and will

The Vanir shape the Worlds with megin

Art and Álfar

Arrangement and awe

Ardor and affection

The Vanir seed the Worlds with megin

Strength and softness

Supple and stalwart

Steel and stone

The Vanir guard the Worlds with megin

Burned and born

Breath and bonds

Blood and beauty

The Vanir enliven the Worlds with megin

Patron Topic 54: The Calling of Many Paths

If you want to submit a topic you would like me to write on for this blog or my Patreon, sign up for the Uruz or Thurisaz level or above here on my Patreon.

From Maleck comes this topic:

“How to handle the calling of different paths at once, especially initiated or mystery traditions. It’s often the case that people will be called to initiate into/carry more than one tradition or path at once.”

This is where divination is hugely important. Perhaps more than any other time, when it comes to whether or not a person should initiate into a given mystery, practice, Etc divination provides the way forward. It is the way by which we commune with the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir. It is how we have an active conversation, not only between the Ginnreginn of a given mystery, practice Etc, but with those we already hold. It is also how we have an active conversation between these Ginnreginn.

If you are being called to multiple paths at once you’ll likely have to negotiate at least some territory, such as how to handle obligations, holidays, what were things you can do with in a given system, what taboos you might hold, what things you may or may not be able to do in terms of things that you want to do. There’s really no way across the board to determine this. It is deeply dependent on each initiate and the particular requirements of each path. Especially if you’re coming into a tradition or practice, a mystery or a pathway that has been established, the expectation is on you to be able to hold to them and the obligations, requirements, and responsibilities within that way. The long story short is whether or not you’re establishing a new tradition, mystery, etc or not, generally you are bending to the requirements of that tradition, mystery, Etc, and not the other way around.

You need to figure out whether or not the various mystery Traditions are going to conflict with the current relationships you have. If you’re interested in a mystery where the god in question has an active ongoing conflict, which is something you as a follower engage in alongside them once you initiate, you need to weigh your current initiations and obligations against it. It may be with divination you can figure out ways to work with, or to avoid conflict with where you are, but it is worth understanding that there are certain relationships that might close or be diminished in the face of an initiation.

You need to determine, if you can early on, whether or not you can handle the requirements and responsibilities of the given mystery tradition, let alone walking multiple problems at once. It might be that your desire to walk multiple paths will bring conflict with one or other. You have to determine whether or not you can meet the requirements, and that you can hold to the particular path obligations within a given mystery or initiation. Far better to determine that a path is not for you then to get years into a teaching, mystery, path, etc, and find out that you cannot do this anymore, and that you have set yourself up for heartache, loss, or more than you/your loved ones can handle.

To that point, it is hugely important that if you have loved ones, whether family or close friends, community and so on, that you talk with them about these things. Your initiation and your ongoing work before, during, and after it, can bring you into serious conflict depending on what the requirements are and how they end up shaking out. This is why figuring out as much as you can in pre-initiation negotiation and conversation is vital. You need to go into the situation with your eyes fully open and rose-colored glasses completely off. It may be that if you follow a given path or tradition long enough you may have to give up things that your family needs from you in order to live well, let alone live comfortably. If you were the sole breadwinner and your path requires you at some point to engage in intentional poverty that will be a big problem. So, part of figuring out if you’re going to initiate or enter into a mystery or path is whether or not your loved ones can afford for you to engage in it, and if what you would be giving up or doing would be worth it to them as well. Now, at the end of the day you have to weigh this and what you are called to, so your obligations, and the way you feel are going to be different depending on your circumstances. In my case, I have a wife and children that depend on my primary source of income and its benefits. If, for some reason, I was called into a path where I had to give up my day job that would be a problem, and I would be far less likely to initiate or follow it. We simply cannot afford that.

Unless you’re being called into a mystery, tradition, practice, or path where refusal is a threat to your ongoing physical, mental, and/or spiritual well-being, and I would call this particular calling rare, then you have the ability to refuse. Even if refusal threatens your well-being in some fashion, you still retain the right to refuse. You just have to deal with the consequences. For some of us we are called to service, and whatever else we wanted to do is nice, but there is work to be done and it’s ours to do. Even so, some folks still refuse to call the service, and accept the consequences of that refusal. It is an option.

Once you figure out that you can meet the obligations of the given mystery, tradition, Etc and you engage in them, then you need to buckle down and do the work. Whatever the work is, depending on the particular requirements to meet the initiation, to engage in the practice, whatever is required you need to actually do it. If you’re going to engage in multiple paths at once you need to do the work of them. I would say in a way you need to take more care than a person engaging in just one path, because you need to be aware whether or not what do you do for one path translates to the other. Perhaps you can do your cleansing work of two paths together in the same rite, perhaps you have to do them separate. Maybe you can do your prayers all together at once, or maybe you have to do them at separate times, and really schedule out your life from there.

Speaking of scheduling, you may need to develop ways of interfacing between your paths so that you can get all of your work done. To that end I highly recommend getting familiar with the Google Calendar and similar apps. Between Google Calendar and Google Keep these have been life-saving and transforming tools for me. The spirit work I do tends to be scheduled well in advance, so that both I and my family know what kind of time I have coming up. This is why I release my monthly reminders a few days before the new month: so folks can get topics, Q&As, and spiritwork requests to me.

I am very lucky in that the initiation work that I have done as a Heathen spiritworker and as an initiate of the Toys of Dionysos have not conflicted with each other. If I had to choose between one or the other, I already know it would be the Heathen spiritwork. Knowing this, I have a clear hierarchy of obligations between various Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir, and a clear distinction between what paths and requirements are non-negotiable to my life, and will have the greatest bearing on it. Rather than taking time away from one another, both paths have built on the experiences of one another. Sometimes folks will have that happen, and it is my fervent hope this happens with more folks than it does not. These can make our experiences more rich because we can apply lessons we’ve already learned, deepening our understanding and experiences from them.

Walk into a given initiation, path, mystery, etc with as much information as you can possibly get. Do as much preliminary divination as you are capable of, ask folks who are already in the path as much as you can if possible, and talk with your Gods, Ancestors, vaettir, and community members. Especially if you were initiating into many paths do as much research as you can, and be sure of what you do and do not want to sign up for. Be sure of what you were willing and are not willing to give up in order to follow a single path, let alone many. Negotiate within the bounds of what is yours to negotiate if you are going to follow a path. Be very clear on what obligations, responsibilities, and work is yours, and be very clear on what is other people’s.

Be very clear if you are initiating into a path with spiritual specialists like priests, spiritworkers, or any other hierarchy, what your role is, and what their role is. Is the spiritual specialist a container of the mystery or merely a transmitter? Is the spiritual specialist expected to take on certain roles within your training, or up to a certain point are they to provide guidance of a kind? If so what are their obligations to you, and what are your obligations to them? Are you willing to accept these agreed upon upfront? If the spiritual specialist is at all vague about this I would reconsider that spiritual specialist, and perhaps any teachings, initiation, etc they purport to have. They should be able to tell you in clear language what their role is, what they do, and what their obligations are to you and vice versa.

If you are initiating on your own, you need to be especially careful that you are not crossing boundaries by trying to initiate it with system you are unqualified to enter. This is, of course, part of doing your own research and due diligence, but it’s worth repeating here. If initiating on your own, then divination and checking in with peers, colleagues, spiritual specialist, and trusted members of your communities is vital. If you are doing all your own divination, all your own preparation work, you could end up hurting yourself, or overextending yourself unnecessarily. Having a spiritual support network, especially for new initiations and paths is needed. Far better for you to be over cautious than not, especially because you might be the first person to see different mysteries and traditions interacting in this brand-new way. Walking carefully can be a huge bonus for anybody following after you because you have blazed this trail successfully and avoided enough pitfalls to spare people coming after you a lot of hurt.

Whatever your calling, take yourself and your paths seriously enough to fully consider the implications of walking them together. Think hard about what obligations and complications can come out of each. Be careful and considerate to the paths, your communities, your loved ones, and yourself. Do the as much as research, divination, and negotiation as you can. If you accept multiple paths, then do your best to walk them well. Good luck and blessings to you.