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And when the shoe is on the other foot?

August 29, 2016 21 comments

I saw this post on Galina Krasskova’s blog that she linked to from her blog. Note, she did not write this and is, in fact quite appalled by it which is why she shared it to begin with. 

It reads like a declaration of war. Nothing quite so put together as the WWI German declaration of war on Russia, nor of France or England’s on Germany. This is what a fatwa from a radical Islamic cleric looks like dressed up in leftist clothing. This is what a Joel’s Army or a New Apostolic Reformation missive looks like dressed up in leftist clothing.

Saying “I’m not advocating starting fights, but I am telling you to be prepared to finish them.” is bullshit. If you are advocating going to someone’s space and disrupting their rituals, their communities, and/or their lives, you are advocating for starting a fight. If you are laying down a call on people, saying “But if you like to talk the talk of the warrior path, you better start walking the walk as well.” you’re asking for a fight. You do not call on warriors for a reason other than conflict. Keep in mind, though, that if you are calling on warriors you are giving your opponents equal reason to. Adding “Are you gonna stand by and let these assholes commit atrocities and spew hate in the name of your gods?” is a religious call to war. Advocating that folks “don’t play nice” when they do this is a call to guerrilla warfare in the name of the Gods.

1. Speak up. Is there a guy in your local coven, order, lodge, temple, etc. that is openly bigoted? Call him out on it. Put him on the spot. Humiliate him in front of his superiors. Collect receipts, send screenshots and videos of his bullshit to his superiors…send it to those superiors’ superiors. If they do nothing call the whole organization out. Blast it all over the internet. The occult world is small, the backlash will be swift.

When I first read this, the first point actually seemed fairly benign until I really considered it. Let’s say that the bigot you want to target isn’t a guy, not that the gender should matter here. Let’s make this person a woman. Now, you’re advocating for humiliating her in front of her superiors. Collecting receipts, sending screenshots and videos to her superiors. Gosh. This sounds positively threatening. That is because it is. This is advocating for stalking, harassment, theft, and bullying.

2. Trap them. Catch them doing or saying something illegal and record it. Anonymously notify the correct authorities. If he’s racist he’s probably also a raging misogynist, here is a pretty high percent chance he beats women. Bust him for that.

The second point is advocating for people to do the job of the police as well as illegally record another person in violation of their rights.

3. Sabotage. Sabotage everything. Their protests, their social events, their rituals…their relationships. Sabotage them physically, sabotage them magically. Block them at protests. Blast distractingly loud noises in the vicinity of their rituals. Curse them liberally.

If the first two points were advocating for stalking, harassment, and bullying, this is certainly asking for war. It says it right there in black and white: “Sabotage them physically, sabotage them magically.” To sabotage is to “Deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage”.

Religious warfare is being openly called for. It is being called for physically and it is being called for magically. Calling for the physical and magical sabotage of people is an act of war.

4. Vote with your dollar. When people pulled their financial support from the Atlanta LHP conference via vowing not to go and through speakers dropping out, they were eventually forced to drop Augustus Invictus. That’s the power of peer pressure…and money. Pressure conferences. Pressure publishers. Let them know that they are condoning hate groups. Tell publishers and conferences that you want to see more diversity. Openly support and promote occultists and witches of color.

Boycotting is an old tactic that does not directly threaten the rights or well-being of a person, and can effectively make change. However, rather than simply going right to pressure, I would inform. A festival may have no notion the person they signed up is a widely-known racist, or that the band whose page seemed so cool and edgy and will attract a good crowd are actually a band well-known for its racism. If they refuse to act on the information I would then take the next step and inform others that, yes, you informed the festival or people in question and they are doing nothing with it. That said, negativity is relatively easy. Being positive and openly supporting and promoting folks is not.

If you are voting with your dollar and want more diversity, putting your dollars towards that and encouraging others to do the same would be the way I go for it. Hell, look at how successful GoFundMe and similar campaigns work. Do they shit on other folks, venues, etc. for donation? No, they put forward what they are about, encourage folks to spread the word, and do whatever it is they promised when the call was put out. If you are going to call for diversity follow through on it.

5. Learn a martial art/self-defence. Neo-Nazis are violent, if you are able-bodied consider learning how to defend yourself and your friends. Offer to work security for #BlackLivesMatter and other activist events. Use your power of privilege for good.

Alone, this would be solid advice. In this context? Whether or not Neo-Nazis are violent is not the issue here. The people advocating for these actions are advocating for physical and spiritual sabotage, for war.

6. Get a weapon. Are you mentally stable enough to own a weapon? Do you live in an open-carry state? If so get a weapon. I don’t care if it’s a knife, a bat, a gun, or fucking nunchucks…as long as it’s legal in your state, carry it. Know how to use it. Your enemy does. Neo-Nazis love their guns. I hate guns, but I like not getting shot or raped. If you stand up for what is right it is likely that you will get death threats.

If you stalk, threaten, harass, and steal from people you are more likely to get attacked. If you physically or magically attack people you are likely to get attacked in kind. If you are advocating for people to learn martial arts and/or learn to wield a weapon, you are advocating for people to learn and be prepared to do violence. If you are telling warriors to step up, you are telling people to go to war. Your opposition would be within rights to do the same.

7. Educate the young ones. Kids raised in conservative, fundamentalist households don’t know any better. A teen raised in Asatru is like a teen raised in Christianity, they know no other way…show them. Lead by example. An 18 to 21 year old can still change their worldview. Young minds are malleable and they are the future, change that future for the better if you can.

This point is assuming a lack of education and exposure to other ideas. Assuming that people in conservative, fundamentalist households do not know any better (any better than what?) and assuming a superior stance on the part of one’s self, cause, etc. insults these peoples’ intelligence and ability to reason. If you are starting from the standpoint that your opposition is lacking in intellect or is ignorant of other ways, you have already shut down conversation. They may well know of other ways and actively reject them. This assumption is no different than a conservative fundamentalist person assuming liberals are without morals. This point dismisses all of Asatru as racist.

The assumption that the teenage Asatruar needs to be shown another way, that they need to be led out of their religion and/or their religious community, is poisonous to Asatru and potentially any religious or philosophical movement the would-be leader believes is wrong. It is convert-seeking rather than providing another viewpoint.

It is true that young minds are malleable and that they are the future. There is no guarantee that these would-be leaders from the left can do any better than those on the right. Those who lead poorly can do irreparable harm, especially at a time when young people are already having to deal with a lot of change.

If leftist Pagan and polytheists are advocating or are engaging in harassment, stalking, assaulting, and otherwise attacking the families and/or friends of these teens, how could they possibly appeal to these teens at the same time?

8. Radical organization. Do you have other occulty, witchy, pagany friends who want to help change this mess we’re in? Start a group! Practice all seven of the previously mentioned suggestions that you can, and practice them together. Be secretive, don’t use Facebook to connect. Speak in code. Write notes and burn them. Discuss your plans at secret rendezvous. Form a wolf pack and root out the fascist insects.

I noted above how other points read like guerrilla warfare. So does this.

Let’s put the other shoe on, shall we? When the right posts things like this the general reaction I read from the left is some variation of “See? They’re so afraid of being discovered that they’re going to talk in code and burn notes, meet in secret!” or sarcastic, insulting language. The “form a wolf pack” language would likely be denigrated, as would the “root out the fascist insects” language. It would be called dehumanizing because that is exactly what it is and what it does: it dehumanizes your opponents. When your opposition is no longer human, but now are insects, it is no loss to crush them. When you cast yourselves as wolves and your opponents as vermin or prey, you are just fulfilling the work of being a wolf pack. One of the things that the right gets picked on for a lot is code-switching and code-language or dog whistle tactics. It seems that, so long as you are going after people you have identified as racists, bigots, and fascists, all bets are off.

Keep in mind that you’re supposed to somehow do point 7 while being secretive. Secret means “Not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others” and secretive means “(Of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information”. They are advocating educating kids by being examples while also being secretive. To seek to change their worldview in secret. “Young minds are malleable and they are the future, change that future for the better if you can.” followed by “Speak in code. Write notes and burn them. Discuss your plans at secret rendezvous.”

Those notes I made above about guerrilla warfare? Also applicable here. Read those points again:

“2. Trap them.”

“3. Sabotage.”

“5. Learn a martial art/self-defence.”

“6. Get a weapon.”

In point 8: “Form a wolf pack and root out the fascist insects.”

These are calls for war. Be secretive about who you harass, stalk, or assault.

The left has lost the right to bitch about people getting CPLs or taking other steps for protection for “imagined fears” for them. This list of actions being advocated is a reason for anyone who might or does come into the cross-hairs of the Pagan or polytheist left and/or anti-fascists to be prepared to defend themselves physically and magically.

9. Take back the Punk and Metal scene. White supremacists have taken over folk metal and bastardized punk. Make music. Wonderful, witchy, aggressive, anti-fascist music. Be like Doro Pesch and use your music and your heritage to speak out against those committing atrocities in the name of your ancestors. If you don’t make music, support and promote anti-fascist and anti-racist music. Also, use the “anything goes” of the moshpit to get a few punches and kicks into your local skinheads at local shows.

I have no problem with folks making music. Please make music. Speak up and for the things you believe in, and the changes you want to see. Speak out against atrocities, speak out against hate and genocide. Support the music you enjoy if you cannot make it.

A person being a bigot or a racist does not give you license to hit them. I should not have to write that. If you’re going to a local show these people are probably your neighbors. Violence will not show them the error of their ways. Engaging them in dialogue might. Besides, you are also giving license to these guys to beat the hell out of you too using just as underhanded tactics. It puts to lie the author’s assertion “”I’m not advocating starting fights, but I am telling you to be prepared to finish them.” The people you target no longer have a reason to hold back; you’re clearly threatening to hurt them and those in their communities.

10. Take care of yourself. Fighting the good fight is emotionally and physically exhausting, and can even put you in physical danger. Do what you need to to keep yourself healthy and safe.

If you do these things you are putting yourself and anyone who joins you in danger. If you do these things you are intentionally instigating conflict, and enacting religious war upon other people. If you really mean what you say, then you are not just a danger to the racists and the bigots. You are a danger to anyone you label an enemy.

Let me be thoroughly clear to anyone who supports these things: what you want and what you are prepared to do is advocate for and fight in a religious war. You are calling for you and yours to engage in religious warfare. You are putting an absolute line in the sand with blood and souls.

Be sure this is a war you want. Be sure this is a war you are willing to do what you must to win. Be sure this is a war you can win.

Hail to the Warrior Dead This Labor Day

September 7, 2015 3 comments

Hail to the Warrior Dead who bled and died so that children no longer had to work in factories and mines, so that safety for all those They left behind became a priority, so that the death-march drudge of factory and industry conditions stopped churning out as steady a line of corpses as products.  Hail to the Warrior Dead of Blair Mountain Ridge, of the Haymarket Riots, of the Black Patch Wars, of the Flint Sit-Down Strike known to the workers as “The Battle of the Bulls Run”, and so many other times where You All marched in solidarity, power, strength, and ferocity.

Hail to You All!  Thank You for your blood and body!  Thank You for your loved ones’ missed time with You!  Thank You for Your heart that inspired countless millions, whose stance, work, and sacrifice we still benefit from!  Thank you for Your sacrifices!  Hail to You!

Hail to Mary Harris Jones, known to millions as Mother Jones, tireless in her fight!  Hail to You Black-Dressed, Storyteller, Inspirer, Keeper of Protest’s Flame!  Hail to You, Whose tongue cut Oily John and Crystal Peter!

Hail to all Those Who marched, bled, and died!  Hail to Those Who sat down and were unmoved!  Hail to Those Who were struck and maimed!  Hail to Those Who were mocked and ridiculed!  Hail to Those Who were reviled, and dismissed!  Hail to Those Who were crushed in the gears!  Hail to Those Who were mauled by the dogs!  Hail to Those Who were killed by police!  Hail to Those Who were killed by the National Guard!  Hail to Those Who were killed by the companies’ employees!  Hail to Those Who were killed by the hired thugs and gunmen of the companies They worked for!  Hail to all These, Who still were unbent in Their righteous anger, and unabated until They achieved victory!

Hail to the Unknown Warriors, the hundreds and thousands who gave their life so their fellow people could have a better life!

May all of Them be with us again.  The struggles of Your  times have returned, and we need You All.

I shall do, and call upon anyone who reads these words to do, as Mother Jones called: “Pray for the Dead and fight like hell for the living.”  Hail to You All!  Remember the Dead, for They are still with us!

Opening Prayer for Episode 43 of The Jaguar and the Owl

August 20, 2015 1 comment

I wrote this prayer for the opening of Episode 43 for The Jaguar and the Owl.  For PSVL’s recap of the episode, look here.
The Jaguar and the Owl can be found here.
Episode 43 can be found here.

Kvasir’s blood builds | within the poet’s mouth
Bursts forth with praise | to sky, soil, and sea
Gushes forth with foam | a font of Mimir’s well
Poured out upon the Tree

Surt’s Gift builds warm | within the stone heart
Blesses lodge with smoke | to sky, soil, and sea
Carries the recels | as Muspel’s hearth
Pours smoke out upon the Tree

The wolf-priest comes | a wineskin in hand
Whose words travel far | over sky, soil, and sea
Let all heed their cup | Kvasir’s blood travels long
To be poured upon the Tree

Calling to Our Ancestors

January 11, 2015 7 comments

Calling to Our Ancestors SplashCalling to Our Ancestors is finally in print and ebook forms, and here in Kindle form. Finally, after four long years.  Hail to the Ancestors, it is finished!

This devotional is dedicated to giving a voice to those roads that honor the Ancestors, and to those who seek the Ancestors. I want to give deep thanks to all of the contributors. You made this possible.

“The Ancestors can be found by many roads: by blood, adoption, the Gods we worship, and the Elements that sustain us. They can be found in the newly or ancient Dead, in the old forests or the candle flame. The devotional is dedicated to giving a voice to those roads, and to those who seek the Ancestors.”

UPDATE: The contributors to this volume are, with links to their blogs and projects:

Ceilidh Chaos

Kenn Day

Bona Dea Lyonesse

Patrick Dunn

Geordie Ingerson

Raven Kaldera

Shauna Aura Knight

Galina Krasskova

Michaela Macha

Robert David Michael

Sarenth Odinsson

Lillith Threefeathers

Joy Wedmedyk

Question 11: Life Skills and Being a Shaman Part 1

July 10, 2014 4 comments

From Andrew:

I know in my own practice that increasingly my work has turned to mastering skills of various sorts: I’ve been building pop-up books and working on my sewing machine, practicing calligraphy and geometry, and doing a fair bit of graphic design; the carpentry/cabinetmaking is rarer, but it’s there. And lately I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. Sometimes the work is phenomenally dull, other times it’s deeply interesting — but then the artwork and the mental acuity that comes from artisanship kicks in when I’m working for someone else. I find I solve problems better, sort out potential solutions more quickly, and settle on one faster. So, the topic I’d suggest is… write a series of posts about how your shamanic practice informs other specific parts or your life, or how skills like cooking or driving inform your experience as a shaman?

First off, thank you Andrew.  This is a great question.

There are skills I have connected back to and brought into my religious life, like cooking, woodworking, leatherworking, pyrography, and drawing.  There are others which were part of it to begin with, such as raising my son, teaching, listening, and divining.  Where I saw raising my son as part of my duties not only as a parent, but especially as a Northern Tradition Pagan, shaman, and priest, I had to work a little bit to bring cooking into my religious life.

I am not a great cook.  When I first went off to college and lived in a dorm I managed to burn ramen quite well.  I have learned a bit since then.  I at least don’t set food on fire much anymore, and can make something halfway decent when I have good instructions and stay on target.  I was looking around at one point last year for recipes to connect with my Ancestors.  I had not made a full-on meal on Their behalf, and wanted to have a go at a recipe from on the places my blood relatives came from.

So I looked around online for traditional German recipes.  That was when I found a potato leek soup with mushroom recipe.  I wanted to pair it with something else, but by the time I got around to cooking it, it seemed it would be enough on its own.

Here is what it looked like step-by-step:

Step 1 Potato Leek Soup with MushroomStep 2 Potato Leek Soup with MushroomStep 3 Potato Leek Soup with MushroomStep 4 Potato Leek Soup

When it was finished I took some of the soup out to the tree outside to share with the Ancestors.  Doing this not only put a good recipe into my hands and a good offering before the Ancestors.  Cooking pushed me to connect to my Ancestors in a very straightforward and simple way.  This process of cooking for my Ancestors also taught me something else: don’t forget one group of Ancestors or favor Them so strongly above one another.  I had done so much research looking for a recipe for my German Ancestors that I neglected my French Ancestors. They got my attention and let me know in no uncertain terms They were not pleased with this.  Mercifully, They were pleased and much happier when I made Them an omelette using the same kind of mushrooms as I had for the leek soup above.  I thought perhaps I needed to make a more complex dish, like on the order of the leek soup, but sometimes the Ancestors just want a simple staple that They would have had in life.

This life skill is a powerful way of connecting to our Ancestors, and the Dead in general.  Family cookbooks and recipes are, to me, precious heirlooms we pass on to our loved ones whether we have children or not.  It is one more link in the chain between one’s family members and its descendants, and can be as strong as family stories, genealogy, and history.  Above and beyond being a necessary life skill, one which I am grateful my Ancestors have pushed me to cultivate, cooking is a powerful way of keeping the connections with Them alive for all of those who come to our table.

To be continued in part 2.

To My Ancestors

April 22, 2014 Leave a comment

I can hear your songs in my bones
Shaking through the centuries

You rattle around my neck
The ox-bone bouncing on my breast

You slide through my fingers
I softly whisper words

You answer my prayers
I live, love, and learn

You shape me each day
Your sure hands, stern hands, skilled hands

Ancestors who shape the Ancestors to come
With wit and will, wisdom and worth

Praise to You Who dwell deep
In blood and bone, spirit, song, and soul

Cleansing and Changing the Altars and Shrines for Yule

December 20, 2013 2 comments

Continuing the series of posts on altars and shrines, we come to how our shrines look like now, just before Yule.  The altars and shrines are more than just a place to leave offerings; these are places where we can devote ourselves wholly and fully to worship, to good relationships.  In my own case I am doing my best to make sure I spend at least 10 minutes a day with my Ancestors.  Much of the family’s altar and shrine times are when we pray.  Our lives are hectic, and our schedules are up and down.  In my own case I work midnight shifts and Sylverleaf morning and evening shifts, and our son goes to school.  These altars and shrines give us places, even for a few moments, to slow down, remember our blessings, pray, and give offerings for all we have.

These altars and shrines, as I have mentioned, change throughout the year.  Much of the decorations, and the altars and shrines themselves were gifts or bought from thrift stores and garage sales.  The cloths come from our local JoAnn Fabrics when we cannot find the right colors/patterns in thrift stores.  There’s nothing saying you cannot buy good/expensive things for your altars or shrines any more than cheap.  We take care in selecting what goes on our altars and shrines, regardless of where it comes from.  We listen to the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits for what They want on our altars and shrines, what offerings They want, and so on.  What matters, in the end, is the care you put into crafting your altars and shrines.

Cleaning and Preparing Altars and Shrines

What also matters is the prep work done before making an altar or shrine, and/or when transitioning between set up and take down.  When we make a new shrine we first clean the area, vacuuming, dusting, the works.  We then will clean the shrine inside (if there is an inside) and out physically with water and soap, if needed.  We will then cleanse the altar or shrine with blessed water and/or Florida Water, and may use this water in lieu of soap and water, using fresh towels when needed.  Whenever we transition the altars and shrines, we clean all their cloths.  We also clean any new cloths prior to their use.  While those are in the washer and then dryer, we will clean every piece of the altars and shrines that we can, bathing the statues, if we can, and scrubbing everything that can be scrubbed clean with fresh towels.  We then dry with fresh towels, and they usually wait on my bed until the cloths are ready.

When the cloths are ready and we have all the items we need for the shrine, we will take some time and ask the Gods, Ancestors, and/or spirits for whom the altar/shrine will be made, what color altar cloth They would like.  We usually do this well ahead of time for new shrines, but with transitions between seasons and/or cleanings, we will not know until we the cloths are clean.  When we have an answer, or if we are left by Them to suss that out, we will lay the selected cloth on the surface and adjust until it looks/feels right.  Then we decorate the altar, first with the direct representations of the altar or shrine itself, such as the Gods for the Gods’ altar, the Ancestor for Their shrine, and so on.  We generally start in the middle and work our way out, so the main Gods with whom we work are in the center of the altar and those who we give honor to are on the outside.  This does not always follow, though, as sometimes Gods we have had long relationships with, such as Sunna and Mani below, end up outside of the granite tile and on one of the sides of the Gods’ altar.

The Gods’ Altar

At this time of year since our families are coming together we put our Gods together on the Gods’ altar by families wherever we could.  So Odin and Frigga are together, Brigid and Bres, Mani and Sunna, Freyr, and Freya, and so on.  The green altar cloth was laid down in reflection of the evergreens.  The Gods our family actively worships are in the center, with many Gods whom we have connections to have prayer cards, such as Sekhmet and Hermes below the two paintings of the Valkyries.  On the opposite side is a sword I received at this last year’s Renfaire from a Michigan-based blacksmith.  The glass crystal chalice was a gift from a dear friend, someone I count as a Sister. In the corner are my journey staff, a sword I’ve had for about 7 years I used in evocation work, and a spear I received as a gift from a dear, old friend for work I did with him.

The Gods' Altar Yule 2013 Pre-decoratiion

The Gods’ Altar Yule 2013 Pre-decoratiion

The Prayer Pillow for the Gods' Altar Yule 2013.

The Prayer Pillow for the Gods’ Altar Yule 2013.

The Gods' Altar for Yule 2013.

The Gods’ Altar for Yule 2013.

The left side of the Gods' Altar Yule 2013.  On top are the two Valkyries.  To Their left are Odin with His offering bowl.  To His Right are Frigga's Keys.  Below the Keys are two Brigid's Crosses representing Brigid and Bres.  To Their right is Mjolnir, Thor's Hammer.  Two of the four prayer cards are Sekhmet's,  Mani and Hermes prayer cards are to the right beside Them.  Sunna's symbols, a golden coin surrounded by four metal suns, are placed next to Her Brother Mani.

The left side of the Gods’ Altar Yule 2013. On top are the two Valkyries. To Their left are Odin with His offering bowl. To His Right are Frigga’s Keys. Below the Keys are two Brigid’s Crosses representing Brigid and Bres. To Their right is Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer. Two of the four prayer cards are Sekhmet’s, Mani and Hermes prayer cards are to the right beside Them. Sunna’s symbols, a golden coin surrounded by four metal suns, are placed next to Her Brother Mani.

Right side of the Gods' Altar Yule 2013.  A sword, whose study I dedicate to Odin, is waiting for its scabbard.  To its left is the drinking horn.  Behind the offering chalice is the Negative Confession.  To the left is Freya.  Left of Her is Bast and Anubis.  Before Them is Freyr as the Green Man.  The Earth Goddess represent Nerthus and Jord on this altar.

Right side of the Gods’ Altar Yule 2013. A sword, whose use and study I dedicate to Odin, is waiting for its scabbard. To its left is the drinking horn. Behind the offering chalice is the Negative Confession. To the left is Freya. Left of Her is Bast and Anubis. Before Them is Freyr as the Green Man. The Earth Goddess represent Nerthus and Jord on this altar.

The Disir’s and Väter’s Shrine

This shrine is relatively new.  This was made in the Fall after we picked up the table at a garage sale, and the batik patterned cloths at JoAnn Fabrics.  The batik patterns struck us as being perfect for each set of powerful Ancestors.  The two ceramic pieces we picked up at our local thrift store.  The left part of the shrine is for the Disir, and the right, for the Väter.   The plastic container has my necklace for the Disir, bought from an excellent craftsperson at ConVocation, which broken recently.  The necklace on the left was made by a good friend of mine, made while she meditated on all the men who had an impact on her spirituality.

Disir's and Väter's Yule 2013 shrine pre-decoration.

Disir’s and Väter’s Yule 2013 shrine pre-decoration.

Disir's and Väter's Yule 2013 shrine.

Disir’s and Väter’s Yule 2013 shrine.

The Ancestors’ Shrine

The Elemental Ancestors have spaced out a bit since the last time I took photos.  They now are part of the four pillars of the shrine.  Sometimes the Elements switch places entirely.  At one point Earth and Air were in the front of the altar, and now They are in the back.  This is reflective of the relationships we have with the Elements as with the seasons we are in.  Earth and Air were in the front through the Summer, if memory serves, and come Fall we transitioned to the layout we have now.  This new layout brought with it important additions to the shrine.  The first that was placed on the shrine is the glass insulator my Brother gave to me.  It belonged to his grandmother, and now sits prominently on the shrine.  As with adoption, when I call someone Brother or Sister, and am called a Brother in return, our Ancestors mingle and become part of one another’s lives, part of our family as surely as we are.  With my adoption into the Thunderbird People I placed the Native American bust in the back, given to me a long while ago by my Mom, on the shrine.  Given my own tribemates have similar statuary, one on their own Ancestor shrine, I felt it was about time I did so too.

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013 Top-down view.

Ancestor Shrine Yule 2013 Top-down view.

The Earthvaettir Shrine

The Earthvaettir Shrine has changed quite a bit.  Ramses II is now on the Warrior Dead shrine, per His request.  The shrine has new offering bowls, part of a set we bought from the local thrift store to replace the bronze ones.  While the bronze bowls would work for dry offerings, they got weird and green with liquid offerings, so we have switched them out for the time being.  The shrine to the Roadside Dead, which has been part of the Earthvaettir shrine for a while now, has a more prominent place.  A moonstone sits at the feet of its incense holder, which our son made.  At its top sits the offering bowl.  Behind it is the cairn, which, as mentioned in the last post, changes position and structure each time the Earthvaettir shrine is cleaned and remade.  In the center of the shrine behind the ceramic offering bowl is the Gebo stone on the left, the Earthvaettir stone on the right, and the large stone in the back is the Landvaettir’s stone.  On the right the Gnome and Dragon of Earth have more prominence, and before Them are the stone we have used in magical work and healing over the years.  At each of the four corners are stones, which change between them and other stones when the shrine is remade, symbolizing the four directions and the Four Dwarves who hold up the sky.

The Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013 Pre-decoration.

The Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013 Pre-decoration.

Long shot of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

Long shot of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

Left side of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

Left side of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

Right side of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

Right side of the Earthvaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

The Watervaettir Shrine

This is the newest shrine.  The table is a temporary one, given it is a wooden TV table and likes to wobble.  It sits between the two bookshelves on which the Earthvaettir, Housevaettir, and Moneyvaettir shrines sit.  This was almost exclusively made by our son; he insisted we make it one day, and all we did was buy the cloth and gave him a choice of containers for offerings.  The paper image he made at school, and while he has not explained to us what it is, he made it with a friend and told us “It is for the water spirits.”  While he is involved almost every time we clean and set up altars and shrines, this is the first he has made by himself.  We are very proud of him.

The Watervaettir Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

The Watervaettir Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

The Watervaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

The Watervaettir Shrine Yule 2013.

The Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Shrines

These two shrines have not changed much at all.  The Housevaettir now rests atop a woodburnt Ægishjálmur that I made here at home.  The Moneyvaettir Shrine has more shell and coins added to it, and some taken from it.  The coin jar has sheaves of coin holders in it, with the idea of ‘we hope to fill these’ and ‘we have a place for you’ in mind.  There was a point in the Fall where we emptied the coin jar of a good deal of coins to help pay for things.  That adding and taking from the coins is part of a good relationship with Moneyvaettir; sometimes you have a lot and sometimes you do not.  Every time we’ve needed coins on hand They have been there for us.

Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

Long view of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

Long view of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

Left side of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

Left side of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

Right side of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

Right side of the Housevaettir and Moneyvaettir Yule 2013.

The Dead Shrine

This is a shrine that I set up this year as a priest of Anpu.  My work with the Dead as His priest had a long break, about 4 years.  When I started to do prayers for the Ancestors of my House, House Sankofa, I also felt called back to offerings prayers for the Dead, especially the lost Dead.  I was pushed by Anpu to go back to the work of helping lost Dead and whoever comes to the shrine cross to where They need to go, with His help.  The shrine has four candle holders around a censer in the middle.  The four fires are there to cast light and warmth to the four directions, inviting the Dead, and the censer as a gathering place where They can smell the sweet fragrances and be comforted by the frankincense, myrrh, and other offerings left there.  Anpu’s image is above His wand, which I use for Opening and Closing the Door every Sunday in the work.  There is a bowl of water below the censer to quench the Dead’s thirst, and a place for more incense and other offerings to the left.  On the right is a bell that I use in the weekly work to soothe the Dead, and call to those who wander.

The Dead Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

The Dead Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

Long view of The Dead Altar Yule 2013.

Long view of The Dead Altar Yule 2013.

Top-down view of The Dead Altar Yule 2013.

Top-down view of The Dead Altar Yule 2013.

The Warrior Dead Shrine

The Warrior Dead Shrine now has Ramses II on it in the back of the shrine with a stone star above His head.  The altar cloth is now white, and the placement of its items have been switched around a bit.  The last of the Ezra Brook is now in the flask, and the offering liquor is now Lauder’s Blended Scotch Whiskey.  The formerly white ceramic offering bowl now is stained with the offerings I have given despite my best attempts to get it back to white.  Given the candle-pot was both unwieldy and I could not light a candle in it, it was moved off of the altar.  The Warrior Dead did not seem all that attached to it, as it was.  The shrine is closer together and simpler, but feels better overall, and Ramses II has settled in well here.

The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013 pre-decoration.

The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013.

The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013.

Side view of The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013.

Side view of The Warrior Shrine Yule 2013.

Animal Spirits Shrine

Only the placement of things has changed on this shrine, but I thought it would be good for people to see how things can change even on altars that don’t change all that much throughout the year.  Aside from dusting on occasion, and cleaning Them as needed, the animal spirits prefer I not change out the altar cloth.

Long view of the Animal Spirits' Altar Yule 2013.

Long view of the Animal Spirits’ Altar Yule 2013.

Left view of Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013.  The left bone on the far right and the horns are a male buffalo nose bone.  To the right of the nose bone is a deer leg bone.  The black stone has a seal in it.  To its left is Turtle, Dragon, and Snake stone sculptures.  The snake skin in the jar is a gift from good friends.  The eagle bone ring and feathers both were gifts from good friends.

Left view of Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013. The left bone on the far right and the horns are a male buffalo nose bone. To the right of the nose bone is a deer leg bone. The black stone has a seal in it. To its left is Turtle, Dragon, and Snake stone sculptures. The snake skin in the jar is a gift from good friends. The eagle bone ring and feathers both were gifts from good friends.

Center of the Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013.  All of the statuary were gifts from my Mom, the wolf fur and bones from Shin Cynikos, and the mushroom from a former girlfriend.  The Raven stone I bought from Earthlore in Plymouth, MI.
Center of the Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013. All of the statuary were gifts from my Mom, the wolf fur and bones from Shin Cynikos, and the mushroom from a former girlfriend. The Raven stone I bought from Earthlore in Plymouth, MI.

Right side of the Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013.  The rightmost bones are male buffalo bones from the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve.  The two stone animals are a cat and pig, sacred animals to our Gods, and as spirits Themselves.

Right side of the Animal Spirits Shrine Yule 2013. The rightmost bones and fur are from male buffalo from the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve. The two stone animals are a cat and pig, sacred animals to our Gods, and as spirits Themselves.

Runevaettir Altar

The Runevaettir altar has not changed all that much.  It now has many Rune mandalas made with ink on paper, and holds the communion talisman, one of two I made for the 30 Days of Magic Talisman Challenge put on by Andrieh Vitimus.  The offering bowl now is in the back left corner where it can sit without blocking the mandalas when I use them or make another.

Runevaettir Altar Yule 2013.

Runevaettir Altar Yule 2013.

Come the Spring I will need to take photos and write about shrines we keep outside, since at least one of them cannot be seen well right now.  These shrines include the shrine to Hela and Niðhogg, the Landvaettir’s outdoor shrine, and the Air spirits.

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