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The #DoMagick Challenge Day 21

December 27, 2017 Leave a comment
Laguz

Laguz (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Laguz.

Unlike other days where I had to contend with mental chatter, today I put in earplugs.  They worked fairly effectively; all I could hear was my own breathing and speaking as I made the Fire Prayer and cleansed with Fire.

In the first round of galdr I was back at the shores of Lake Michigan and especially Lake Superior.  I was galdring Laguz over the waters as I had when our family took our vacation/pilgrimage two years ago.  I was placing my head in the waters once again, and I could feel the blessings and cleansings of the two Lakes wash over me again in that space.  I stood on the shore and sang to the waters.  Then, in the last part of the round, I saw the fish of the Great Lakes.  There was a fish in my hands, on my spear, on my line.  One after another, the great fish of this place looking up at me as I prayed over them, asking for their wisdom and thanking them for the gift of their bodies.

In the second round of galdr I was on a lighthouse and making sure the light could shine out to the ships out in the Lakes.  I believe I was on Lake Superior given the immensity of the waves.  It was not oceanfront, that I knew.  In the next part of the round I was on the dock as great ships put into harbor.  Here was an oceanfront, bustling with business.  As with the fish, I went through a few eras.  The dock of an ancient German town, the dock of Ellis Island as my Great Grandfather came off the boat from the Netherlands, the dock of what I believe is Detroit bringing in a ship to drop off cargo.

In the third round of galdr the waves crested and broke.  I was in them.  Was them.  Tide was coming in, going out, and the vastness of waters was in me and I was in them.  I sloshed on the waves as I made landfall.  I was suddenly in a procession, a wagon behind us being pulled by oxen, draped with a white sheet.  Then I was in a canoe, paddling in a small lake at an old family gathering.  We brought the canoe aground and Dad hoisted it back to where we rented it.  Then the ocean and the waves, mermaids and so many Beings filling its waters.  The Great Lakes and the mermaids and so many Beings filling Their waters.  The last of the connective galdr I remember was Lake Superior again, and the waves lapping around my feet as I knelt in Her Waters.

I did my prayers of thanks to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  I cleansed with the candle and prayed prayers of thanks to the Eldest Ancestor.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

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Limits of Language: Hooks and Fish

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

I am a hard polytheist and animist.  The Gods are real, individual beings.  The world is populated by spirits.  My Ancestors are as close as my blood relatives, reaching into the World itself, into Yggdrasil, the Elements and raw power of the Void, into the Gap Itself, if I look back far enough.  Many Gods are imminent, and some transcendent.  Some are local Gods, some with names and some with names we do not know, and more with names we may never speak.  The Gods can be our friends, our family, our lovers, distant acquaintances, terse partners, employers, and/or master/mistress, among roles and ways of being I am sure I have missed.  So can a great many spirits.  As for the spirits, They are part and parcel of everything around us.  We might call some spirits Gods , and some Gods might be called spirits, depending on how we view Them, and Their place in the world, universe, etc.  We may not even have terribly solid boundaries where one God ends and another begins, or on the other hand, may have very defined ones between Goddesses.

We all exist within the fabric of Wyrd, within Ma’at from the most infinitesimal piece of sand to the Gods, to the Universe Itself (which, in some religions is a God/dess/Being).

Is this monist?

Perhaps, at its core, I suppose it is.  The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Monist as:

a : a view that there is only one kind of ultimate substance and b : the view that reality is one unitary organic whole with no independent parts.

I much prefer the b definition.  This idea is not that we are somehow one mass, blob, etc., but that we are threads of a great tapestry, and each of us is but a thread.  That while being individual, we are not independent.  That we are organically whole, together.

Really, though, what am I capturing by saying things this way?

Language is tricky.  When it comes to describing the Gods, spirits, and Ancestors, They are much like a fish wriggling in your hands: even as you take out the hook from a well-fought catch, it struggles to go back in the water where you must find it yet again¹.  In many ways language is insufficient, even in the hands of a poet, a writer, a lyricist, or a bard, to describe in full or even in part what it is to experience the Gods.  Language is the hook that gives us one fish, and it may fill us awhile with good food, but while that hook is bare it is an unused tool, and there are far more times where the fish fights us off or fools us that it has been hooked, when it merely eats the bait and swims off.  Language alone, whether written on a page, sung in front of a crowd, or whispered before an altar will not sustain.  It is the fish, not the hook, that provides the nourishment.  After all, sometimes we lose the hook, and sometimes the whole line, and sometimes the whole damned pole!

I still feel as I did in August with A Useful Teacup.  Boundaries are useful and necessary.  A hook is not a fish, after all, and no matter how many hooks one eats they will not provide nourishment.  Yet I find that monism is not wholly opposed to polytheism, but rather, it is part and parcel of it.

Monism within polytheism is nothing new, nor is animism.  Recognizing we are all part of an interdependent whole does not deny our Gods, our spirits, or our Ancestors, but puts us into our proper place within the Worlds.  The Worlds hang on Yggdrasil, and Yggdrasil came from the Gap.  All at first came from Atum who came from Nun.  We all come from a source, and it is often represented by, referred to, and is the Void, Darkness, Nothing, etc.  If anything, monism within polytheism is a challenge for us to live more in tune with the Worlds around us.  If we are all interdependent, are we doing our part in Wyrd, in Ma’at?

Bringing this idea into the current discussion on Paganism, I do not want to find another boat when so many will do.  I may not board the good ship Reconstructionist but I count myself as a hard polytheist and animist, a Northern Tradition Pagan, a Heathen, and a worshiper of many Gods beyond the Norse and German.  So, I am also very eclectic.  Yet, I look at it this way: salmon has sure been good to me in filling my belly, and so has tilapia and tuna.  I fish in many waters, but with the proper pole and bait for each.  The fish still come.  Sometimes I come back with nothing, and sometimes I come back with a fish story, and an accompanying fish.

Boundaries are still useful and necessary; it is hard going trying to salmon fish with a leaky boat.  Likewise, it is impossible to fish without risking getting wet.

 

 

¹Small wonder that Loki is associated with a salmon: a hardy fish that is hard to catch and a powerful swimmer who often outsmarts or outright beats the fisherman.  As with language, the understanding of Loki is evolving inside and outside of academic circles.  He is one God among many who are being discovered, thought about, and reexamined, and yet, consistently escapes consensus.

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