Patreon Topic 65: On Balancing Having Conversations vs Privacy

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From Maleck comes this topic:

“How do you personally balance the desire to have deeper conversations, 301 and above, with the need for both privacy and safety in these conversations? In a practical, “what do you do?” sense?”

Whether or not I choose to share something is based on a few factors. First among them are: is this something I feel safe in divulging? Second, am I cleared by oath, bond, obligation, and my own understanding of appropriateness if this is something I can speak with another person on? Third, is this a person I trust with my privacy and safety? Fourth, does this person have the depth to understand this subject on a 300+ level conversation?

If all of these are answered yes, I then ask more questions to determine whether or not a 300+ level conversation is warranted.

Does the person at hand understand what I am sharing? I mean this in a number of ways.

Intellectually. Do they understand the material(s) at hand? Do they have relevant backround to be informed in a discussion? If they do not, are they interested in learning or exchanging ideas? Will the conversation be stimulating to them?

Emotionally. Can they handle my emotions in sharing? Can they handle their own emotions that may arise in response to my sharing, the conversation, or ideas themselves being discussed? Are there triggers associated with the discussion topic that they cannot handle or will need time to work through? Will the conversation be satisfying for them to have?

Socially. Can they keep the conversation between us? Are they willing to suspend judgment/fixing/other responses unless asked? Do they understand the depth of meaning it holds? Would this person appreciate knowing this information? Is this information they have shown an interest in? Will the conversation deepen our relationship, add depth to it, or give us more areas to speak on?

Religiously. Do they understand the subject itself being discussed within the religion’s view? Are they part of the religion or adjacent to it, and if not, can they hold a respectful conversation on the topic? Do they understand the subject’s implications, and the ideas we are exchanging? Will the conversation be affirming, challenging, or both? Will the conversation add to their/my understanding of the religion(s), spiritual technique(s), etc?

Expertise. Do they or I have expertise and/or knowledge deep enough on the conversation topic to contribute, or is this a one-sided exchange? If it is a one-sided exchange is this one they wish to engage in? If one is teaching the other, does this exchange require Gebo? Is this an initate-only conversation? Does special care taken to avoid speaking on intiatory matters, or other considerations? Can the matter be talked about in enough depth for the conversation to be meaningful while avoiding initation-bound material, ideas, or experiences? Will the conversation deepen one or both of our expertise, or contribute to it in some way?

Gebo. Do you and they desire to have exchanges of ideas, techniques, opinions, experiences, and/or just to have comraderie in the exploration of a topic? Are you and they able to exchange well, in whatever capacity the conversation needs, whether it is 50/50, 10/90, etc? Is the conversation held respectfully, with care for the parties involved, and does it deepen understanding, appreciation, and/or lead to other experiences?

This might seem like a lot of consideration for conversations. Remember the points I raised in On The Need for Deeper Conversations:

This is an aspect of the deeper conversations seldom talked about: getting deeper into conversation and moving beyond the 101 requires a vulnerability that laying down the basic theology, praxis, and structures of Heathenry does not require. Even some 200-level conversations on subjects like the basics of how to do magic can be so dependent on one’s home culture, focus, and individual expression that it opens us up to scrutiny in ways merely talking about what magic is in Heathenry does not. For example, how one does útiseta might be a 200 or 300-level conversation. Depending on what comes out of the experiences you have with it, though, you might be having 400+-level conversations. In other words, the folks you hope to talk with about the subject at hand are going to need to have significant knowledge and experience with the topic, not merely a basic theoretical understanding, to have dialogue with you.

If the folks I am looking at having these deeper conversations with are those I feel safe with, trust, and have the relevant expertise/knoweledge/understanding to have the conversation with, generally I will have the conversation. The Heathen Spiritwork Discord I run, which is attached to my Patreon, is an ongoing example of this, especially with our biweekly meetings. We check in, talk about experiences and current projecs, and how things are going with spiritwork. These are folks I am in direct community with, and who have trusted me or trust me now to work with them in spiritual consultation, Rune readings, and the like. The Gebo goes both ways in terms of trust, vulnerability, and conversation.

There are some relationships with Ginnreginn I have that simply are not for public consumption. I have several relationships that I hold quite close to the chest, and have no need to explore with others beyond Them. Sometimes I am still working through the understanding I have of certain vaettir and I am not ready to share. Right now, I can say this about the Álfar. Here is a group of Beings I thought I would not hold much of a relationship with, and thanks to a patron and one of my partners, I am in far more deep with Them than I thought I would be. I am having ongoing interactions, and still experiencing things on my own and with my partner in this area that are still moving things around. Perhaps when things are more settled I will be ready to more publicly talk on them.

When I do find there is something I want to share and the other person is cool with it, then we decide on how and where we want to talk. If the conversation needs to be completely private then face-to-face is best. If the person wants to be able to refer back to the conversation, an app like Zoom, Marco Polo, and the like can be excellent ways to connect. They are among my most common. If privacy isn’t as big a concern or connection is just easier over text, Discord tends to be my choice. Does the conversation need to be public? Then, my first choice tends to be here on WordPress, and more recently, the Pagan.plus Mastodon server.

I hope that answered the question how you were hoping, Maleck!

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 68: For Feasting

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This request was made by Emi For Feasting.

Thank You Gods and Goddesses

Thank You Auðumla*

Thank You Gulinkambi*

Thank You Gullinbursti*

Thank You Heiðrun*

Thank You vaettir

Thank You farmer and field

Thank You animals and plants

Thank You landvaettir

Thank You Ancestors

Thank You to those who gather here together

Thank You to those who have gathered, cooked, and share this meal

Thank You for your heart, your work, and your presence here

We gather here in frið today

We gather in respect for guest and host alike

We gather in sacred feast

May each of us be nourished

May each of us who wishes to be heard, seen, and known be so

May each of us leave in frið

The first of the meal is for the Ginnreginn

The first of the drink is for the Ginnreginn

The first of the good words is for the Ginnreginn:

May each of You be held in good Gebo, Ginnreginn

May each of You be respected and honored

May each of You be full of joy at this feast

Ves þu heil!

Let the feast begin!

*If the animal is present in the meal, whether the animal’s meat itself or products produced from the animal such as cheese, butter, or lard. Where a suitable animal name is not known from the sources, a close equivalent is used. When we eat turkey we tend to pray to Gullinkambi. If another animal were found, given, or revealed to us as more appropriate we would pray to Them.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 67: For Safe Travels

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 Emi for Safe Travels.

Blessed Earth and blessed ground

Walking beneath my feet

Rolling beneath my tires

Hold me up, hold me up

Bless my journey

Blessed vaettir all around

Walking with me

Journeying around me

Know me, oh know me

Blessing each others’ ways

Blessed Gods of traveling

Watching me

Guiding me

Help me, oh help me

Safely finding my way

Blessed Ancestors who wandered

Wandering with me

Protecting me

Guide me, oh guide me

Coming home in joy

Blessed walkers and road-wise

Crossing paths with me

Seeing me

Speak with me, oh speak with me

Sharing wisdom and stories

Blessed keepers and sentinels

Guarding the roads and passages

Watching me

Sheltering me

Bless me, oh bless me

Securing the journey I make

Patreon Topic 64: On The Pack Spirits

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From Maleck comes this topic:

“Now that you’ve finished the prayers to the Pack Spirits, what have you learned?”

I was honestly surprised when Maleck approached me to do the prayers for the Pack Spirits. I had been introduced to Them as spirits belonging to an initiatory tradition and had not ever thought they would be a group of spirits I would have interaction with, let alone be able to write prayers for Them. When I reached out to Them, not only did this group of spirits respond, They were eager for me to write prayers for each of Them.

The Pack Spirits are just that, and while the particular mysteries and training of the Pack Tradition are closed to initiates, the Pack Spirits Themselves are quite accessible. So, I have learned how these archetypal and yet communal/collective/individual spirits operate, and at least some of my own ‘placement’ with Them as an outsider. Sometimes you need an outsider, and while I connected very readily and well with these spirits, connecting with Them and writing prayers for Them just confirmed that remaining on the outside of this particular initiation is a good thing. It allows me to see aspects of Them others would not from the inside, and it allows a kind of fluidity in relationship with Them that I may not feel were I an initiate.

Writing for The Pack, The Pack Ancestors, Earth, Silence, Pack, Howl, Sky, Hunt, and Prey has allowed me to connect with these Míkilvaettir (Big/Power Spirits) and has given me insight into connections that They carry with many of my own Ginnreginn, and myself. It has allowed me to feel those connections, eg through the Earth, in new and dynamic ways that differs from connecting to Jörð. She is distinctly Her, and yet, through these different vaettir, a new understanding and connection with the Earth emerges. Likewise through each Míkilvaettir and the associated Beings I could name in conjunction with Them. It broadens and narrows the scope of Who I am interacting with, experiencing, and coming to know.

Something that emerged through the prayers as I wrote them was personal connection. Many of them are written in “I” format, as I experienced many of the prayers directly before I wrote them down. Sometimes it was being taken in my hamr, my second skin, to another place and made to experience Them. Sometimes it was a personal revelation that They brought forward in me, whether through an inborn experience of something that They hit in me or something that really struck me in experiencing it in my hamr. Sometimes it was the feeling of wildness that I reveled in and had to somehow bring that experience forward in the poem, prayer, and/or song. Sometimes it was the conflicting emotions, or even the various vaettir I experienced within the experience of the individual Míkilvaettr. Each brought something forward in me, each called in to me as it were, and brought something out of me to put into the poems, prayers, and songs that I wrote. Though each is a powerful initiatory Being unto Itself each gave a non-initiate powerful insight into Them in dynamic ways.

Through the experience of each of these vaettir, and the experience of having to translate each of those experiences into poems, prayers, and songs, I have learned new understanding of and appreciation for these Beings, and the connections that each brings forward. The connections each brings with/to us is dynamic, and if we let it build, can be quite powerful whether the connection is found within us personally, through the old Ancestors like the first ones to have domesticated wolves, or in new ways with Gods we have worshipped for a long time. They bring a kind of ancient yet fresh wisdom, power, and ferality I think could be a source of profound experience for folks, whether or not they initiate into Pack Tradition or Pack Magic.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 62: For Hunter, Will Made Manifest

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 Hunter, Will Made Manifest.

I am the keen nose that tracks the scent of My Prey

I am the paws that range over the smooth snow and sucking mud

I am the heaving chest that powers the pursuit

I am the tireless legs that carry the Hunt

I am the rippling jaw that makes the kill

I am the teeth that tear the skin and rend the flesh from bone

I am the tongue that laps the blood and cleans the carcass

I am the mind that sets the Hunt in motion

I am the heart that sees the Hunt finished

I am the Spirit Who Wills the Hunt to be

I am Will Made Manifest

I am the Hunter

I am the Prey’s End and Beginning

I am the Hunt Itself

The cycles will continue

Patreon Topic 62: On Writing Prayers for the Pack Spirits

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From Maleck comes this topic:

“What has it been like, writing these prayers for the Pack Spirits?”

It has been interesting, that is for sure. It is like….touching something, Beings, who are so close and yet are far away. It is being invited into Them and They into me. When I do sacred poetry I do cleansing, grounding, centering, and shielding. Sometimes I am guided to certain songs by Whoever I am writing for, and sometimes I write in silence. Sometimes I get imagery and visual experiences that makes it into the poetry, sometimes I get feelings, sometimes I get full-body experiences, sometimes I get words, smells, sensations, and other times just a fierce, bone-deep knowing that this, this is what I have to write.

The Pack Spirits are quite close in terms of proximity but far away because I am not initiated, nor do I think that is in my wheelhouse for this lifetime. Yet there is…something there. There is connection and power, a fierce connection that I make every time I interact with one of the great Pack Spirits. There is a depth of feeling that goes into my soul and yet there is something held back. I am touching the periphery and yet I am delving deep, and that thing holding me back from fully grasping Them that also makes doing this poetry so fascinating and powerful for me is that lack of initiation.

My most recent experience with Hunter, Will Made Manifest was a full-spirit experience. He took me with Him on a Hunt, on a Hunt where we were separate and one. I was the Pack and the Wolves, I was the Hunter, and I was the Prey. Now, the line “I am the Prey’s End and Beginning” originally read “I am the Prey” but it was not right and I had to look back to my experience of Hunter to realize why. Prey is something Else and Other, part of the sacred cycle but not Hunter Itself. Mainfestly needed but also necessarily not Hunter. I felt the loping as the Hunt began, felt my lungs expand, the snarl of excitement, felt felt felt. I was. In a very real sense my sacred poem, prayers, and songs invite me into union with Gods, Ancestors, and/or vaettir I may not otherwise have the call to, and with these Spirits Who are present but to whom I am not initiated They have a powerful pull.

It has been…experiences…writing for the Pack Spirits. It has been interesting, insightful, powerful, beautiful, and familiar while also being distant. The contrast between familiarity and distance has been fascinating. In a very real sense the Mysteries of these Spirits keeps Themselves because without that inititation there are things that I cannot reach, and yet because I do not have that initiation there are thins I can reach to, express, understand, and share that initiates just…cannot. It is fascinating. It is a privelege. It is good.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 61: For the Honeybees

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 Emi for the Honeybees.

Flowers reach out to you in a riot of color

Asking you to dance and roll

Asking you to rest in petals

Returning laden, home

The buzz and dance

Droning rhythm

of Home

Home

Where honey ages

The caps full and fermenting

The children grow and shift and spring forth

Their movements and wings filling the air with song

Growing in the mothers’ patient care, the generations rise

Some to guard, some to forage, some to breed, and some to rule

How good it would be if we humbled ourselves

Knowing, by your work we live and eat

That your labor brings sweetness

To all you bless with bearing

Flower and orchard blooms

Life breathes deep

Our Home

Home

A million living miracles

Brought forth by your multitudes

Life in all its striking colors and shapes

Honey and mead, apples and cider, grape and wine

Blessed by your ever-blessed dance, your ever-blessed work

May you ever be thanked, ever-hailed, ever-honored, ever-loved

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 59: For The Queer Ancestors

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This request was made by Emi for The Queer Ancestors.

You were known by countless names

Spoken with awe and reverence

Respect and beloved in your places

You were and are divine

You ranged the world in multitudes

Blessing the peoples

Guiding the peoples

You were and are divine

You were feared and famed

Kings and concubines

Magicians and mystery-keepers

You were and are divine

Loving, leading, following, and fighting

Healing and helping

Sending and striking

You were and are divine

The peoples lost their ways

Denigrated and despised

Abused and abandoned

You were and are divine

In desperate times You triumphed

In death and destitution You remained

Steadfast and strong You worked

You were and are divine

We have found one another

Holding each other close and weeping

Loving boundless and raging

You were and are divine

You are known by many names

We know You, Queer Ancestors

We call You, Queer Ancestors

You were and are divine

All you have been and all that will be

Bless us and be with us, Queer Ancestors

Show us Your Working and Ways again!

You were and are divine

Ever offered and honored

We keep You, Queer Ancestors

We love You, Queer Ancestors

You were and are divine

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 58: For Howl, the Breath, Spark of Life

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 Howl, the Breath, Spark of Life.

Draw Me in

Your lungs, your diaphram expand

Let Me out, slowly

Bring Me in

Deep as you can

Then out, just as swift

Gather Me in

Hold me there

Release, and I course through you

Feel the pounding of your veins

Hear the rush of inner wind

Taste the copper of blood

Smell the ozone around you

See the breathing Worlds

I breathe and burn in you

Sing with me

There are no wrong notes

I swell and move through you

Howl with me

Let your kýn hear

I am the first and last breath

Breathe with me

I will journey with you into Silence

Patreon Topic 59: On Vanaheim

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From Emi comes this topic:

“Do a discussion on Vanaheim.”

When we look to the usual sources, Vanaheimr is about as attested as Álfheimr is. It is explored in Vafþrúnismál, Chapter 23 of the Gylfanginning, and in the Heimskringla in the Ynglinga Saga. That’s it.

The folklore, unfortunately, tells us nothing. I have yet to find any folklore directly relevant to Vanaheimr. I also have found nothing on the denizens of Vanaheim Themselves, only the main Gods of Freyja, Freyr, Njorðr, and for those who count Her among the Vanir, Nerðus. If anyone has folklore related to Vanaheimr or the Vanir Themselves I would definitely be interested in seeing it.

As an aside, I find it rather interesting that the Nine Worlds often find themselves remarked as being, in some ways, laying in one direction or another in relation to Miðgarðr. Miðgarðr, of course, being the Middle Enclosure, is in the middle of this cosmological map. Niflheimr and Helheimr are in the North, Jötunheim in the East, Muspelheimr and Vanaheimr in the South, Álfheimr is South and perhaps above Miðgarðr, Svartalfheimr in the North and/or below, and finally, Asgarðr which is either above Miðgarðr or perhaps West. If you are setting up a stalli specifically for Beings of one of the Nine Worlds you may want to set that up in a place that corresponds to the World’s direction. There are also many beautiful artist renditions of Yggdrasil, including this one by Sam Flegal.

Sam Flegal’s Illustration of Yggdrasil

So, from here on out we are talking personal experiences.

I have only visited Vanaheimr a handful of times going on heimgang (World/Realm walking) or as it is often better known, journeying. My impression of the World is that of growing cycles. Some of the places I have gone within Vanaheim have been akin to old forests, plains stretching with animals like buffalo or aurochs and an even wider variety of animal and plant life I am sure I have only just scratched the surface on. There are places in Vanaheim that look like they have come right out of an early medieval book on the ideal farmstead, only….there is something more right about them. The wild places seem both more wild and yet also just…more. I get the sense in this World that things grow, die, and consume each other until they balance one another.

Something is just…good about the place. There is a sense of being lived-in and also that everything is going as it should, in the right season and pace. The landvaettir and various watervaettir felt extremely contented. If there are more industrial areas I have not visited them yet, and it would not surprise me if there are given Njorðr’s connection with the sea, commerce, and fishing. What I felt during my most recent visit, on invitation, was a sense of deep peace. While I am sure this World holds its dangers, I never felt under threat while I was there.

It is a World I do not have much experience with, and I will be visiting more in the future. I would be interested in readings others’ experiences with these Worlds!