We Walked Among the Dead

We walked among the Dead today

We walked side by side

Before, beyond, behind, with broom in hand, we walked where They still lie

We came upon the Warrior Dead, those Who held the Line

We came upon the Straw-Death Dead, who peacefully reside

Yet came we upon the Head of Graves, of this great and powerful host

What gave us pause and tears to shed were the youngest that hurt her most

She could not say why she sobbed, only that she must go

And in her face, as I kept pace, I saw the place of fear and woe

It has been said that tears are gifts unto the Dead

Each drop acknowledges the life from the mortal coil it shed

We must each take our rest deep within the Earth

I can only hope I have been an Ancestor of worth

(I began writing this September 8, 2014 and finally found the words to finish it.)

ConVocation 2016

Hey folks, I have been asked to do several presentations at this year’s ConVocation.   When I know which rooms I will be presenting in, I will update this blog post.  I am really, really excited for this year’s offerings that were picked.

For those who do not know, ConVocation is:

…a convention of the many mystical spiritual paths and faiths and the people that follow them who desire to teach each other and promote fellowship among all esoteric traditions.
Since 1995, this 4-day event has brought together over 100 classes and rituals presented by local instructors, internationally renowned guest speakers and authors. Along with workshops, ConVocation offers over 35 tables of merchandise in our Merchant Room, an Art Show and the largest indoor Drum Circle in the Midwest.
This year I will be putting on three workshops:


Acts of Devotion –  Thursday 8:30pm – 90 minutes

Description:In this workshop and discussion we will explore ways to honor our Gods, Ancestors, and spirits. These ways can be small, such as daily prayer, offerings, everyday mindfulness, and keeping ourselves healthy and engaged in the world, to more intense ways such as learning crafts, writing books, engaging in activism, spiritual work, and making temples. Bring your own experiences to share.

Polytheism 101 –  Friday 4:00pm – 90 minutes

Description:This lecture/discussion will dig into the basics of what polytheism means, and how it is lived. We will be exploring how we can use literary and archaeological resources as springboards and foundations to polytheist traditions. We will also explore what the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits are, how we relate to Them as polytheists, and how to engage Them with respect.

Encountering the Runes –  Sunday 12:00pm – 90 minutes

Description:The Runes are often looked at as simply a divination tool. This workshop is about approaching the Runes as spirits in and of themselves. The workshop explores what the lore can tell us about Them, to how to interact with Them, to appropriate offerings and communication, and will delve into deeper aspects of Runework from a spirit-based approach.

Remembering the Military Dead

If anyone would like me to make a remembrance (such as reciting a favorite poem or prayer), prayers and/or offerings for Military Dead and Warrior Dead, please let me know so I can do that this today, Veterans’ Day. If you miss this Monday, don’t worry about it; I keep an active shrine to the Warrior Dead, which includes the Military Dead, and will be happy to do it another time.

Working with Christian Ancestors

When I last gave a workshop, and when I talk with others on the subject of Ancestor worship and veneration the topic of Christian Ancestors comes up.  I have had to confront it in my own work time and again.

So what do you do?  If your Ancestors were abusive and you cannot talk to them, whether religion was involved or not, work with someone older than They, or closer to you.  You do not have to work with abusive, or formerly abusive Dead.  After Odin, the first Ancestors who made Themselves known to me were ancient ones.  Then my much more recent Dead began turning Their heads to me.  For other people their most recent Dead might grab ahold of Them first and ask to talk with them.

1)  Establish Contact

Whether using an Ancestor altar, such as a white cloth with a candle and a glass of water, a rosary, a photograph, a picture of a coat of arms, or something else from your Ancestors, even just your breath, establish contact.  It can be as elaborate as a full ritual to honor and invite Them to share your life, or it can be as simple as a spoken prayer or a hello or a cup of coffee.  At least once a week make contact with the Ancestors, and take care during the week to especially contact the Ancestors that want your attention.

Perhaps an Ancestor had a favorite prayer, or enjoyed a psalm or song.  Perhaps that is, for your work with Them, ‘Their’ song.  As with other Ancestors, learning a favorite dish They enjoyed, or other offering may be the key to hearing Them, or feeling Their Presence in your life.  Sometimes just getting a name from a relative, or doing your own genealogical research is the key you need to establishing contact.  For myself, I wear Ancestral prayer beads, among other necklaces, that I carry with me wherever I go, and I now carry a red New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs book at my Ancestors’ request.  Listen as best you can, do what research you are able, and give space in your life to hear Them, whatever road you come to Them by.

2) Ask for a Representative

When my Catholic Ancestors began to pipe up the first thing I asked for was a go-between, an Ancestor who would help to cut down on the ‘noise’.  This is very likely going to be a Disir, a powerful female Ancestor, or a Vater, a powerful male Ancestor.  Sometimes our Ancestors can give us contradictory requests or confusing divination answers because there are so many Ancestors clamoring for a spot to be heard.  A Disir or Vater can help get your Ancestral ‘House’ in order, and give some semblance of organization,  if not overt organization; some of my German Ancestors seem to like things “NEAT UND TIDY!”

Remember, many of our Ancestors have had silence rather than regular offerings for quite a while.  Even if you do not ‘hear’, ‘see’, etc. or are completely ‘headblind’, asking for a representative voice for the group(s) of your Ancestors can help divination sessions, mediumship work if you go that route, and give better signal clarity on what is desired overall from and for you.

3)  Determine Boundaries

What do you feel you can actually deliver on?  This is something to be mindful of with every Ancestor, but especially with those who may ask things of you, particularly if They were Christian.  In my case my Catholic Ancestors like it when I read from the Bible, or sing Psalms or church songs to Them.  Where do I draw the line?  Taking Communion for one, particularly because I no longer can say the Nicene Creed, and I would be lying to the Church, which dictates you must be a believer to receive Communion, and I imagine Christ and Yahweh in the bargain.  Given all that, I would have to refuse if an Ancestor wanted me to take Communion.  Would I step foot in a church again?  Certainly.  I still have Catholic family members who may well be married in a church, and I would be in attendance.  I also had a very, very good, gentle, and wise holy man for a priest, and it would be a real treat to meet the good Father again and see how he is doing.

4)  Gebo

Gift for a gift.  When I do my prayers for my Catholic Ancestors or read a passage I do it so They are happy, They are near, and as a gift to Them.  They give me the gift of Their Presence, Their happiness, and I can hear Them clearer.  I have also found the little New Testament They asked me to carry around with me to be a source of contact with Them; all I have to do is shut my eyes, let the pages flow along my fingertips till I feel the urge to stop on a page, then let my index finger find a word or passage.  The meaning so far has been pretty clear, especially since I read the Bible quite a lot as a child.

Not all of the requests our Ancestors make are easy; certainly, many of my Catholic Ancestors wished I attended Mass once again.  Some have fallen out of that, with Death having given Them a wider perspective.  While I will not meet all Their requests, my Catholic Ancestors seem to be pleased with things as They are, and more willing to lend Their hands to what needs doing in my life.  Doing this, for me, provides a bridge back to Ancestors I thought would have abandoned me, or at least would have remained largely hands-off.  While some still do, a great many express a renewed interest in working with me, in hearing me and answering.  How can I do less?

I may no longer worship my Catholic Ancestors’ God, but I can show respect to Them, honor Them in word and deed even if my lips never uttered another song or verse.  Perhaps your experiences with Christianity and/or its adherents were so abhorrent that they left deep scars.  My way of doing things would not be for you.  Perhaps in that case asking your Disir and Vater to calm or explain things to your Christian Ancestors, so that old wounds are not reopened is best.  These are, like all relationships with the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits, between Them and you.  Above all, give Them the time and space where you are wholly concentrated on Them, whether They raise Their voices or otherwise make Themselves known, or not.