The message is simple: "Stop poisoning the Earth."
How I received this message is also fairly simple, although it took me 28 years from when I decided the heathen path was my path until I heard this message. What to do about the message is a little more complicated.
I've been telling the story of my personal journey on my heathen path, and I'll resume the story in my next post. Since there is so much story to tell, and this message needs to get out to humankind, I'm pausing the story in order to post this message. The reason I decided to write this blog was so that I could get the gods' messages out to humanity.
The short version of how I received this message is this: I've always been a writer, since I was a little kid. I started writing poetry, songs, and fiction very early. I was already "hearing" characters talking in my head as a child, as many authors do. Last year, I started writing a novel based on heathen mythology. I "heard" characters talking to each other, or saw them in my mind's eye, and sometimes just sat down at the computer to write and scenes just flowed out my hands. This is the normal way I write. When I started "hearing" the gods this way while writing Some Say Fire, I did not think they were really the gods at first. I thought I was just writing a novel. When I reach that part of my personal story, I'll share all the ways I found out that sometimes it was really them talking. Most of the time it's my subconscious talking when I write. But sometimes, perhaps a few minutes of gnosis experiences out of thousands of hours of writing time, I've received what I believe to be messages from the gods to humanity. I need to get these messages out to my fellow humans, not leave them locked in an unpublished and possibly unpublishable novel.
The summer monsoon came to the Mojave Desert a couple of months ago, and a huge thunderstorm cracked the night over my house. I asked if Thor had a message for humanity. He did. "Stop poisoning the Earth." It was the same message Sif had given me the previous fall, when I first started writing Some Say Fire. In the first post I made in this blog, I quoted the scene I was given in the novel, and then interpreted it as a message against the GMO grain crops that are designed to be resistant to herbicides so that more herbicides can be used. Sif's message was specific, but Thor's was more general. That leaves it open to personal interpretation.
It makes sense that Thor cares about the Earth. Not only is he the god who gives rain to us so we can grow crops, including the kind of grain crops that are the major sphere of power of his wife Sif, he is also the son of the Earth Mother. Jord means Earth. Jord is also known as Fjorgynn, a name linguistically relating to names of Indo-European rain and thunder gods like Thor. Thor's father Odin is a sky god, so in terms of the archetypal story of the union of the Sky Father and the Earth Mother, Thor and Sif are one such pair and so are Thor's parents. Poisoning the Earth is hurting his mother. His literal mother.
What exactly does "stop poisoning the Earth" mean?
Does it mean buy organic food, so as to vote with my wallet for less pesticides and herbicides on plants, and less antibiotics and hormones given to animals? Buy certified Non GMO Project foods when they're available? I've become convinced that is one of the things I must do, even though it's difficult with a tight budget. Before, if the organic version of a producet was unaffordable, I would buy the non organic choice. Now I just don't buy the item at all. I'm losing weight, because I can't afford as much food. So, that's a plus, because that's good for my beauty and social acceptability, and not eating poison must surely be good for my health.
I grew close to Thor in the first place because in this desert ecosystem, rain is such a rare blessing, and of course I can't grow my garden without it, I'm always utterly delighted when his storm arrives and it starts raining. It's my habit to raise a joyful toast in thanks each time.
I grow organic food in my garden, but I still have to buy food too. I don't have a farm, just a normal sized yard. I grow traditional crops of the desert southwest adapted to desert conditions, supplied by Native Seed Search. I compost my yard waste and kitchen scraps, which I have ritualized as Presents for the Gnome, making a sacrifice of kitchen scraps to the garden gnome. The gnome is a total vegan and a freetarian. The more I give to the gnome, the more the gnome gives back to me, in the form of rich black compost soil to add to the garden beds. Although he is represented by a garden gnome statue, the landwight is actually a being of vast power. The gnomic blessing of the compost soil grows healthy and delicious foods, and beautiful and lusciously scented flowers to attract the bees and the hummingbirds.
I save rainwater to water my garden. I'm thankful that's not illegal here like it is some other places in the USA. I have a bucket positioned under the drip from the air conditioner, which only condenses water when the air is humid. Condensed water is the purest I have access to, so that goes on food crops. I also manually save household greywater from the kitchen and bathrooms to water my garden. There is a bucket or pitcher next to every faucet and shower nozzle. The water I use to wash herbs doesn't go down the drain, it goes back into the herb beds. My yard has an automated watering system, but most of the year it's only legal to use it on certain days, plus, that water both costs money and is drawn from Lake Mead, which is also where our local power comes from (Hoover Dam.) Municipal drinking water has all kinds of additives that are not good for plants, like flouride and chlorine; rainwater is superior for gardening. Vegetables such as tomatoes have to have even water every day. So I hand-water a lot with buckets. In the summer, I hook up the "redneck shower" outside -- a sun-heated garden hose with a shower nozzle -- and my greywater falls directly on the yard.
So, I buy and grow organic food, and I save water. That's not enough, though. What else does "stop poisoning the Earth" mean, and what can I do about it? Drive less? I already combine trips and plan my route to save gas, because it's expensive. In fact, I do so many things to save money my friends urged me to write a book about it, which is why I wrote Skinflint Hints. Frugal living and green living have a lot of overlap. Money is a pretty good measure of how much of the Earth's resources one is using. So what else does the message mean? Buy fewer things? I already buy very few luxuries; if anything is really not necessarily I usually wait to be given it as a gift. If I have to buy something at all, buy the quality one so it won't wear out as fast and fewer things will end up in the landfill? Check. I do that already, too, when I can. Buy used instead of new? Check. Use less plastic packaging? Buy less plastic in general -- get the natural thing instead of the petroleum-based thing? Don't buy anything with plastic microbeads in it? Be careful what I throw away? Think about how easy something will be to recycle before I buy it? Think of how a thing or its packaging could be re-used into something else before I buy it? I do that anyway; it's just part of the country ways in which I was raised. Try to buy old stocks of old-fashioned, illegal non-mercury lightbulbs so as not to add more poison mercury to the trash? Use hand tools instead of power tools? Repair instead of replace? I was doing that already. I was doing most of these things already, because most ways to save resources also save money. The only thing I wasn't doing was buying more expensive organic food and looking for the rare and expensive certified non-GMO foods. Altering my behavior as a consumer is a good start, but is it enough?
What else should I be doing? Vote for less poisoning? Volunteer for a cause? Sign internet petitions? I'm not sure that even does anything except give away my email. March in the streets against corporations that poison the Earth?
Yes. All of it. Everything. That's only the beginning.
Get this message out to others? Yes. What I can do as an individual that could have the most impact is to do what I'm doing right now: pass this message to mankind on to other people. As one person, my choices as a consumer and in daily living may have a small impact, but when many people choose to help end the poisoning of the earth, there may be a much larger impact. Sharing the message is the single most important thing I can do.
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Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.
The message is simple: "Stop poisoning the Earth."
Bangkok, Thailand. I stood viewing the sunset’s stream of pastel colors from the deck of my hotel after sitting in an airplane all day. I had departed from Vancouver, B.C. and my bottom was sore. My energy field was depleted because of tight seating arrangements and stifling conditions on the aircraft. I fell into a soft bed and asleep straight away thereupon though and when I awakened rubbing my sleepy eyes the next morning it was still dark out. I dressed, repacked my bags and grabbed a coffee at the hotel kiosk on my way to the waiting cab. I got in and in a few minutes I was at the airport once more and aboard Asian Airlines flight 399 to Kathmandu, Nepal, a place that my neighbour loved to visit and often talked about. I was going to Nepal to find my spiritual connection in an exotic place. The questing torch that I have held high for many decades burned brightly and I was excited to explore another powerful place on planet Earth. It was 1996 and I had just healed my ovarian cancer with the potato, Reiki and other dietary measures and was feeling robust. My husband was with me, he liked to tag along with his globetrotting wife. It was mid January, and our return tickets were for the end of March....
The first six months of its existence my ritual group mostly floundered. We had a good circle of people around us and did some nice rituals, but we didn't really have any sort of structure. To find a solidity for ourselves we had to do a ritual for someone else.
When my wife and I put our ritual group together we did so with low expectations. We were basically just looking for a group to ritualize with, we weren't necessarily seeking anything formal. During those early months our rituals were continually different. We never used the same quarter calls twice or called to the same gods and goddesses for that matter! The circle was scripted but eclectic, details constantly in flux....
While the Vanir are always present in the world around us, I personally tend to feel Them the most strongly in that liminal space when the seasons change: Nerthus when fall becomes winter, Freya when winter becomes spring, Frey when spring becomes summer... and Njord when summer becomes fall.
This is the time of year when depending on where you live, it's still warm enough to be comfortable, but the oppressive heat of summer starts to fade, and the rains come or will be coming soon. As the land mellows, I feel Njord's gift of serenity, water after fire, which will later wash color into the world....
I love rituals. I mean, I really love rituals. I'm enchanted by the very act of drawing a temenos line between this moment and that moment. Time itself seems to stand still or speed up or shift in some way that doesn't seem quite congruent with the way I understand the universe to usually work on an otherwise ordinary Monday afternoon. I find there's a fluidity of speech and movement. The words and actions take on a life of their own as if they themselves are animated for the sole purpose of co-creating this exact moment of devotion.
I've found that effective ritual practices don't have to be elaborate or on a grand scale. Although, let me just say that I'm partial to a thrumming mass of Pagan-type folk all gathered together for the expressed purpose of being in consensual ritual practice together. I've had the pleasure to attend and help create the magic for the annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance in San Francisco, which is now in its 35th year. There's a variety of rituals from every imaginable Pagan tradition at events like Pantheacon. I thoroughly enjoy being a little thrown off by rituals that use a different lexicon than my own tradition; rituals that have their own distinct meter and rhythm.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Dionysos, one of the major gods within the Minoan pantheon. Today I’m going to explore the character of Zagreus. He is sometimes considered an aspect of Dionysos and sometimes viewed as a separate deity. The tapestry of Minoan spirituality is a complicated thing, and it’s often difficult to tease out the individual threads, but I’ll give it a go and see what we can discover about this interesting, and ancient, deity.
In his seminal work Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Karl Kerenyi identified Zagreus with the ecstatic Dionysiac festivals in which wild animals were torn limb from limb by crazed worshipers. Kerenyi connected Zagreus’ name with the Greek term for a trapper – a hunter who catches live animals rather than killing them. But the etymology of the name can also be traced back to a root meaning torn or dismembered, another thread connecting this intriguing god with those Dionysiac rites. Just to be clear: Zagreus is not the same as the Hellenic god Zeus, even though their names look somewhat alike. In their effort to create an ancient ancestry for their deities, the Greeks made Zeus the son of the Minoan goddess Rhea and said he was born on Crete, but he is a later deity and not the same as Zagreus....