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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gods and Monsters

Ye gods.

Nazi infiltrators, anarchy in the streets, a city on fire.

And I'm going out to mow the lawn.

Absurd, or profound? Wisdom, or folly?

Oh well. My city is on fire. The head of state is a blustering incompetent. My country is tearing out its own heart. Right now, those are things that I can't do anything about.

But at least the yard will look good.

 

The stories going round here at Riot Central would have it that the worst of the mayhem that has dogged the heels of justified protests like a fell shadow—the arson, in particular—is the orchestrated work of out-of-town...well, I'm just going to say Nazis.

(You can go all polysyllabic here if you want to. For the purposes of this post, I'm just going to call a Nazi a Nazi.)

There would seem to be a certain amount of evidence to back up such stories. I've seen the trucks with the gun racks and the out-of-state license plates—or no license plates at all (talk about cowardly)—in my own neighborhood.

Since the police didn't have to waste their time and energy on protesters Saturday night (take heed, O ye self-righteous), they actually managed to nab a lot of these f*ckers by closing the freeways and, in particular, barricading the main drags.

This latter move is very clever. Locals who needed to, could still get around because we know the back ways, but the out-of-towners were stuck like roaches in a roach motel. A lot of those trucks, I hear, had lots and lots of weapons in them.

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So You've Angered the Fairies...Now What?

One question I am often asked is what to do if you’ve angered the fairies. There’s a variety of ways this can happen from trespassing in there places, causing damage to those same places, taking something you shouldn’t from them, destroying a fairy ring, tossing water out when they are passing by, or even speaking badly of them where they happen to hear it. The Fair Folk are not subtle in their anger and if you have annoyed them you will generally know it. On the milder end you may experience sudden terrible luck, on the medium end bruising, muscle cramps, or feeling like you are being pinched, on the more severe end blindness, or serious permanent physical harm (and of course any physical symptoms you should have checked by a medical professional).

So, then, if you think you have done something that you know annoys the fairies or feel like you are on the receiving end of their anger for any reason what do you do? Here is a list of suggestions, although I’ll say up front that you may need to try a couple things until you find one that works to appease them.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Novel Gnosis part 10: Freyr and Gerda

In the Lore, Freyr the twin of Freya sends his servant/ avatar to woo Gerda in a story widely interpreted as a metaphor of the warmth of spring bringing fertile green growth to the earth. In that story, Freyr gives up his sword for marriage. This is interpreted to mean he becomes a god of peace when he marries, which is why his temples forbade weapons inside. The Asatru wedding ceremony includes the transfer of the groom's sword to the bride, which may be an echo of this tale. In Voluspa, the Prophecy of the Seeress, Freyr is foretold to wield antlers instead of a sword at Ragnarok. Because of his, he is sometimes depicted as an antlered god.

In the Fireverse, Freyr and Loki don’t really get along that well after Freyr’s marriage. Fireverse-Gerda was an important witch in Jotunheim and had been being considered to take over the spot that Hel had originally been expected to fill before becoming queen of the world of the dead. (At first Angrbodha didn’t know if Hel was going to survive birth, since she sloughed half her skin almost immediately, but after it became clear she was going to live it was thought she might become the priestess of the hot well of the Iron Woods, the keeper of the source of the river that powered Jotunheim’s thermosynthetic ecosystem.) So Gerda becoming part of Asgard society kind of messed up some of Loki’s relatives plans, and Loki wasn’t convinced Gerda really wanted to be there and that ticked him off. That is plot-driven story stuff, though, so I don’t know if any of it applies outside the Fireverse.

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Folk Dance: Creative Power and Connecting to the Land

 

I'm learning how to flatfoot.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Language of Birds

These quarantine times give us medievalists plenty of parallels to draw: times of plague and difficulties of travel -- but the effects are the same on us. Normally I would be with my family in Scotland by this time. There I would be hearing the screams of the gulls, the occasional melodic outburst of a blackbird and the friendly croaks of my beloved magpies.

Now I lie awake in the (earlier every day) dawn light listening to a very different set of birds: sparrows galore, North American robins -- enormous athletic birds so different from the jolly European kind -- finches, wrens, catbirds, four kinds of woodpeckers including the giant pileated woodpecker whose laugh echoes often. The crows come by to eat the corn. The bluejays tend to come in a pack and chatter loudly to one another. In the morning and at dusk you can hear the turkeys gobble.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Broom and Shovel

The one thing that I never expected to become was a war correspondent.

During the last five days, I've watched the neighborhood that I've worked to help build for the past 35 years be systematically destroyed around me. In some places, the fires are still burning.

But let me tell you what I'll remember most about these days following the murder of George Floyd—let us speak and remember his name—and their fiery aftermath.

People with brooms and shovels on their shoulders.

They began appearing on the morning after the first looting and burning.

(A curse on the burners, but not of us. May the work of their hands, and hearts, come back on their own heads a hundred-fold, and let us all say: So mote it be.)

By yesterday, four days into the crisis, I'd seen hundreds of them.

Hundreds of people, all colors, all ages, wondering the streets with brooms and snow shovels—everyone in Minnesota has a snow shovel—slung over their shoulders, looking for someone, anyone, who needed help with clean-up. When they found them, they'd help until they'd done what they could. Then they'd head off again, looking for another stranger to help.

It's been, thank Goddess, a quiet night in Minneapolis.

(Those too froward to go home and stay there after repeated warnings, get no pity from me. When you insist on poking your finger into someone's eye, you don't get to complain when he clobbers you with a board.)

Let us make no mistake: this is not the end.

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The Healing and Magical Wizard Solomon’s Seal

The Israelite King Solomon was said to have great wisdom, and to possess a special signet or seal ring that aided him in his magic work. By medieval times, he was regarded as a great wizard. According to herbal lore, he was said to have placed his seal upon this plant when he realized its value. It is still used in herbal medicine for a range of treatments and regarded as a powerhouse. The circular scars on the rootstock, which are said to be the mark of Solomon’s seal, are actually left by the stems that die back after the growing season. During the Middle Ages, the design of the seal ring was regarded as a powerful amulet.

 

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