AGF 112 – The Kami Bring Us Together

Also Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and more! Licensed Shinto Priestess of the Konko Faith, Olivia Kimoto, calls in from Japan to talk about religion, spirits, and Shinto practice. — Time Stamps 00:00:40 Introduction 00:01:25 Opening Prayer 00:03:00 Welcome 00:11:00 Interview 01:58:00 Closing — Send in a voice message: […]

AGF 112 – The Kami Bring Us Together

Reflecting on Social Media and Modern Pagan Religions

I started these musings on Twitter and Mastodon, and wanted to expand on them a bit here.

An important development, one that I think a lot of folks in especially Heathen and adjacent spheres should take note of, is how much more acceptable it is to be experimental with our approach to the Ginnreginn, magic, and forms of spiritwork.

I came at the end usenet’s popularity. 

I never used it myself. 

Most of my Pagan/occult social media experiences are from Livejournal, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, then Twitter and now, Mastodon. Overall, I have seen that social media has been a net positive for Pagan religions.

I would not have as many connections to coreligionists, to colleagues, or to those I that are part of my communities. It would certainly make it a lot harder to have the necessary conversations with folks on developments in our communities, and especially across them.

To the end of being in and staying in contact with community, Discord has been peerless. It allows for instant communication or as one can get to them, sharing of images and videos, and the use of both voice and video chat. Certainly there are issues, but Discord has made itself indispensible to the communities I am part of, both locally and across the world, for keeping in touch.

Rather than cursing social media’s influences here, I think that it has actually made our communities both more communicative and *accountable* not only to our own communities, but to one another. It is harder to bury things, harder to baffle with bullshit, and far easier to find true and accurate information than it was when I first became a Pagan.

I came out of the period where we were still beating the dead horse of Margaret Murray’s disinformation. Where we were still hearing ‘Never again the Burning Times’. Where a lot of folks were using 30-50 year outdated written and archaeological information (eg Budge for Kemetic folks was still being pushed in many of the circles I was in) because we simply did not have access to the latest information. So much of it was behind paywalls, like being hidden in academic journals or compendiums. Access to accurate, good scholarship has come leaps and bounds to our communities, and along with it, folks who are developing more thorough understanding of philosophy, religion, spiritwork, and experiences within and across our various religions.

It is easy to get caught up here and now, or with where we want to be, and not appreciate just how far our communities have come in the last 20 years. In the time I have been a Pagan the acceptance and celebration of trans and non-binary people alone has been downright revolutionary. Rather than forcing folks to fit into a man/woman model, energetically, ritually, and socially, many of these models have been modified to be inclusive or have been wholly set aside. That’s *not* a simple or an easy thing, and worth celebrating on its own.

Recognizing we have come a long way is certainly not saying we should merely congratulate ourselves on a job well done and consider things solved or ideal. There is always work of some kind to be done. There is more to do, whether that is the development of Mysteries, the exploration and engagement in various kinds of cultus, the development of communities and infrastructure, and/or each person’s personal walk with the Gods, Ancestors, and/or vættir.

Yes, the stupid Ishtar = Easter, the snakes that St. Patrick were said to have driven from Ireland are Pagans, and similar memes are irritating to post against every year. Grifters and charlatans proliferate through Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. Thing is, folks, is that grifters and charlatans have always been with us. Whether the memes are based on flawed understanding of etymology, scholarship, or are intentional trolling at this point does not deny that it is far easier now to debunk misinformation than it has in the past. Whether the grifts and charlatans sincerely believe their bullshit, quickers than ever we can identify them and excise them from among us.

With modern scholars not only willing but able to reach out and talk with our communities, whether they are in them or not, and more of us becoming part of the academic establishment each year, we are far better equipped year on year to educate, empower, and enliven our communities. We have seminaries that, while not yet accredited, are working towards these things. We have established religious groups, festivals, and projects that build up our members and communities. We have groups like Crossing Hedgerows Sanctuary and Farm that are bringing together community events and so folks can see what lived spiritual values on the land look like.

For all that we are facing swathes of challenges in the overculture, particularly from the right wing with regards to Evangelical Christianity, anti-theist fundamentalism, and white supremacists that are among our religions, we are better connected and better equipped to fight against these groups than we ever have before. Not only are we not socially alone, through the work we can do on and through social media we can coordinate, engage in mutual aid in a variety of ways, and help each other through the hard times while celebrating the good. We can build lists of allies, such as Pagan-friendly mental health and medical professionals. We can network and we can brings folks together for mutual aid work projects whether we are looking for help in the garden or to build a shrine, organizing a potluck or ritual, or developing infrastructure for our community gatherings. We can fund each others’ needs whether food, water, medicine, or transport. We can coordinate with each other dynamically, living the value of hospitality and reciprocity with one another in even better ways than we could without it.

Rather than treating it as an enemy or necessary evil, I would treat social media as a tool in our communities’ toolchest. We ignore it at our danger. It will not replace the necessary on-the-ground efforts that go into making a local Pagan Pride, a Kindred, a tribe, grove, coven, or other group, but it can damn make sure it is easier to form and maintain them. Social media may not be an appropriate tool for every need we have, but it is a flexible and powerful tool nonetheless. We have the ability to take hold of it and build useful, lasting things with it for ourselves.

AGF 111 – Theism, Cults, and Journey Work

Also Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and more! Let’s talk about where Jim is on his path, and also answer some questions from listeners! – Send in a voice message: Suggest a topic or a guest: Our Patreon Our Buy Me A Coffee — Copyright 2023 — […]

AGF 111 – Theism, Cults, and Journey Work

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 76: For Máni

If you 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 Cunnian for Máni.

Oh blessed, beautiful, dancing God

Whose gray shirt gleams in the night

Hands that caress the shores and waters

Coursing the wax and wane of magic and megin

Hard-rider from Hati’s maw

Whose trails trace the path of reckoning

Graces the sky with His cargo

Crossing the clouds with the burden of His horses

Oh God Who is desired

Whose Face is sought with passion

By mortal and mána bjarnar

Shine and show love to those who are longing

Pale prophecy-shower

Whose wandering reveals wealth and wisdoms’ ways

Through the course of Your crossing

We schedule when to sew, strike, and seek

Oh dark and shining God

Son of Mundilfari and Brother of Sól

We seek You in moonlight and myrkr

To honor in sacrifice and song

Holy Máni

AGF 110 – Answering Hard Questions

Also Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and more! Trigger warning on this episode. Dealing with your family, both the current family and the Ancestors, can be very challenging. We answer two listener questions about these topics. Family who are fully aware of pagan beliefs but get offended if something is ever […]

AGF 110 – Answering Hard Questions

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 75: For the Nornir

If you 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 Cunian for The Nornir.

Urðr Who arranged the loom

Verðandi Who moves the sword

Skuld Who tightens the weave

Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir!

Urðr Who arranged the pattern

Verðandi Who brings in the rows

Skuld Who leaves thread at the end

Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir!

Urðr Who fastened the warp

Verðandi Who keeps an even tension

Skuld Who ties up the loose ends

Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir!

Urðr Who prepared the weft

Verðandi Who forms the patterns

Skuld Who trims the edges

Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir! Hail Nornir!


Oh, do not mistake

The bitten tongue for a silenced voice

The grit teeth for acceptance

I hear your words and see your works

They are dripping with gore you will not see

Your mouth is full of twisted vættir

There are many ways to break

The body, the mind, the spirit

For civility’s sake I spare your ears, but these are mine

If only courtesy had been your gift

Barring that, then blessed silence

With your fool’s mouth you have called wrath

Thurisaz, the thorns split skin and tongue

Kenaz, the mind is full of fire and fetters

Ansuz, the mouth of God shuts and shuns your spirit

Until your hugr knows the pain you have caused

This is your doom

Set by your own mouth, hand, and heart

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 74: For Chamomile

If you 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 Maleck for Chamomile.

Hail Chamomile

Whose scent is warm and sweet

Whose taste is cozy and inviting

Whose touch is tender and kind

Hail Chamomile

Who eases nerves

Who brings peace

Who brings sleep

Hail Chamomile

Whose name is Baldsbrá and earth apple

Whose flowers bloom white and yellow

Whose body is green and soft

Hail Chamomile

Who soothes spirits

Who smoothes conversation

Who relaxes the mind

Hail Chamomile

Who opens the ways of communication

Who eases the souls for travel

Who heals and helps the spirits’ recovery

Blessed Chamomile, help me to know peace

Blessed Chamomile, help me to listen and be heard

Blessed Chamomile, thank You for Your every gift

May good Gebo always be between us!

Ves Þú heil!

Patreon Topic 71: On Connecting With Wolf Parts

“What is it like connecting with a wolf pelt or other wolf parts?”

If you want to submit a topic you would like me to write on for this blog or my Patreon, sign up for the Ansuz level or above here on my Patreon. From Maleck comes this topic:

“What is it like connecting with a wolf pelt or other wolf parts?”

When I first bought my wolf pelt from Lupa, whose stores are on Etsy and Storenvy, I had to let it air out. I had to give it time to breathe I would be able to don it. When I finally did, it was like slipping on my own skin and fur. When I was able to ritually connect with it, it felt like a completion, a marriage of what was inside and outside. It felt like coming home. Home to myself, home to us.

A tintype photograph of the author at Ann Arbor Pagan Pride. Credit to Stephen Boyce.

I still get that feeling when I handle my wolf skin. I carry that feeling of connection whether it is on me, lying on my partner, or in my room. There is a feeling of weight in handing it to another person because they are handling a one of my souls.

The feeling of connecting with my wolf pelt in ritual is generally a full sensory one. The feeling of the skins contacting each other, of skin on skin and a kind of overlapping feeling in my souls. I would frequently pull the head down over my eyes so I would be looking through the wolf eyes, and there was that feeling of us that would come over me much stronger than if I left his head atop mine. Smells and sounds would strengthen sometimes, and sometimes they would muffle. Tastes might be sharper or duller depending on what it is I’m munching on. Sometimes, particularly if engaging in something involving hamfara (faring forth in hamr) I might feel myself go forth as a large wolf. Otherwise, I might feel like I am going forth as a werewolf, or úlfheðinn.

Connecting with a wolf pelt can be quite a powerful experience for other folks as well. Particularly if a person has never seen a wolf up close, it can be shocking just how big a wolf can be. My wolf is about 6′ from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. When folks have asked permission in places like Ann Arbor Pagan Pride, ConVocation, or Michigan Paganfest, them touching and being able to pet the pelt can be a powerful experience. When folks touch, paw at, or pet my pelt without my permission (particularly if I am wearing it) it feels like a violation, often uncomfortable and invasive.

Because I do not wear the pelt for only aesthetic purposes, I do not relate to it as a mere costume. It is a soul, one of my own, and its own as well. It is the skin of a living being and that living being connected with me in a deep manner, becoming part of my (to borrow a term from Winifred Hodge Rose) my ‘soullar system’ or Soul Matrix. It also acts as a kind of connection point, doorway, or den, from which contact wolf and wolf-aligned Ginnreginn, that is Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir, may work through. When folks have held the pelt it has produced powerful connections. I have seen some folks brought to tears in this, because the connection was profound, visceral, and needed.

With the number of rituals, gatherings, and such I have brought the pelt to, and the nature of our connection, the connection I have with it is powerful and profound. My connection with wolf parts in general is not as well-developed nor intimate, as there is not the body-on/with-body and hamr-to/with-hamr connection I carry with the wolf pelt. However, there is still quite powerful and profound connections to be found here. Sometimes I work with teeth as connection to wolf Ginnreginn, and others as taufr (physical objects that are enchanted) in their own right. A lot of wolf parts, such as the phalanges and teeth, tend to be small and easy to carry, making it easier to pass on to others. I am slowly assembling a wolf bone divination kit, and having different parts is key to producing useful answers. So far, the items that are going into this divination system have obvious meaning, such as a tooth being something used to rip, tear, shred, destroy, and to eat, carrying a lot of this meaning into the divination work. I am sure as time goes on more meanings will make themselves apparent, particularly if I collect more kinds of teeth, or the need for various parts comes forward.

Whether a single tooth, a phalange, or a whole pelt, these parts of wolves provide points of connection to Wolf Ginreginn, the Wolf Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir. They provide connection to úlfheðnar, and various folks who were seen or understood as being and/or existing between human and wolf. They serve as connection points that I carry with me for personal spiritwork and for connections with others, and for connecting others to Them in kind. Sometimes, connecting with wolf parts provides connections between all of us. For me, all these ways hit me in my souls that provides a kind of feeling most often of family, pack, tribe, of being and belonging. When I work with them in spellwork and spiritwork, there is a feeling of being wholly involved.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 73: For Eir

If you 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 Precious Fire for Eir. I felt called to make two prayers when I wrote this.

For the Teacher of Healers

The joining of bone to bone and flesh to flesh

The joining of herb and water

The joining of fire and words

You have taught healers Their Craft

The separation of flesh from flesh and body from body

The separation of splinter and skin

The separation of aches and sores

You have taught healers Their Craft

The creation of compound from compound and skin from skin

The creation of medicine and poison

The creation of healing and power

You have taught healers Their Craft

The teaching of health from health and sickness from sickness

The teaching of recovery and wholeness

The teaching of care and hope

You have taught healers Their Craft

Hail Eir, Holy Healer!

Prayer 2: For the Healers, Doctors, and Staff

Because You learned from Menglöð

You have taught how to learn

Because You have studied from Menglöð

You have taught how to study

Because You have apprenticed from Menglöð

You have taught how to apprentice

May the Healer, the Doctor, the Staff who work to heal

Be Blessed by Your example

With cunning and craft, skill and studiousness, wit and wisdom

May They do well by Your worthy example

Hail Eir!