My personal spiritual journey started, when I was 12 years old.
There are people who were raised in religion, and the idea that God exists is therefore very natural for them.
But I was raised in soviet-style secular atheism. I had read a lot of things about religions, but the default mindset ingrained from childhood, was that “religion is a human invention, and an instrument of oppression and control. Gods are just mythology.”
When I was 15, I joined Russian Orthodox Church (mostly because I was baptized there when I was a kid and it seemed like a natural decision), but left it in 2005 to become Roman Catholic. However, the existence of the Gods of Egypt (Netjeru) was shown to me in obvious experience - and now I’m trying to live with it.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.
My personal spiritual journey started, when I was 12 years old.
In Vanaheim, the Summer Solstice is the peak of "tourist season", and it is also an extremely popular day for people to get married in Vanaheim, both citizens of the realm and tourists from elsewhere. From a Vanic perspective, the longest day of the year is an ideal time to make a lasting ceremonial bond of love - a fire ever-burning, "carrying the fire" and keeping it lit even as the year wanes; a love that stays gold and full of life.
The following is a wedding rite for a couple in a Vanic context, performed by a priest of any gender, for a couple of any gender combination. (If you have a poly union such as a triad where more than two people are getting married, feel free to modify this ritual for three or more people.) This rite calls upon the blessings of Frey and Gerda on the union. Adam of Bremen reports that Frey was called at weddings, and the main myth we have of Frey in the Eddas is of His lovesickness for Gerda, culminating in marriage. As Frey is Vanir and Gerda is Jotun, they are very sympathetic to couples and other unions between consenting adults where it falls outside societal norms and is opposed or challenged by mainstream society in some way. The marriage of Frey and Gerda is also an auspicious one to call upon for blessings because their marriage survived the challenges of culture clash, societal disapproval, war, and many other problems - their love has endured through the ages....
This weekend my coven will be celebrating our first "outdoor" sabbat. I know that a lot of groups exclusively meet outside but that's never really been an option for us. While my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a house, there's another person living in our backyard. He's not a living in a tent or anything like that, but he does occupy a studio-like living space attached to the garage. I doubt he wants to listen to us chant in the backyard while he's trying to sleep.
While I do share a backyard the garden spots are all mine and with the corn already over six feet it feels pretty magical. It may not be with the coven, but every time I water my garden (with grey water from the shower) I feel like I'm at least performing a private ritual. I talk to my sunflowers, implore my pumpkins to grow, and stop to bow at Aphrodite-Chicago of the Lemon Tree. My garden is ia magical place, but it's a magical place for mostly "just me" (and sometimes my wife when she checks on things)....
Mystery plays were a big part of life in the ancient world, when people’s seasonal work was punctuated throughout the year by sacred festivals of all sorts. What on earth is a mystery play? It’s not a whodunit, like a modern murder mystery. In the case of mystery plays, the word takes on an older meaning. My dictionary defines it as ‘a religious truth that man can know by revelation alone,’ in other words, something you have to experience yourself rather than just being told about it. And that’s what mystery plays are all about: letting you have the experience of the gods, the myths, the sacred, right there in your own life. A mystery isn’t just something you experience; it changes you from the inside out.
The modern world still has mystery plays of a sort. The ‘living nativity scene’ that some Christian churches put on around Christmas is a snapshot or tidbit of a mystery play and those huge Passion of Christ productions are the full-scale deal, a mystery play about the Christian festival of Easter.. But for most people these days, I suspect the movies largely take the place of the old mystery plays, allowing us to roll ourselves up emotionally in the stories that make up the mythology of the modern world: superheroes, science fiction, fantasy....
For the past 2 years, I've been circulating a Dropbox link to a collection of files containing Jung's Collected Works, which someone had scanned. Unfortunately, the text recognition feature on the scanner was imperfect, which made searching and reading frustrating.
But I have good news Jung-o-philes!...
Some people in the heathen community seem to approve of piracy, what with the whole Vikings rah-rah. Successful pirate societies don't pirate from their own. Today's Somali pirates don't pirate Somali ships. That's how it worked in the Viking Age, too; Vikings raided across the sea, not across the street.
This is an account of a ritual I performed asking Tyr for justice. My book Asatru For Beginners had been pirated shortly after the print edition came out. I was originally going to tell the entire story of what happened, and how chasing pirated versions of my book all over the net eventually led me to the file sharing section of a site engaged in immoral activities, but at that point the story really becomes about non-religious matters, so I'm just going to blog about the ritual I performed once I had done all I could do by regular means.
The type of ritual I performed is the most common of heathen rituals, the sumbel. Sumbel is a toasting ritual. It is often performed in a group, for a holiday, but it can also be performed alone. It is very simple, with a Germanic efficiency that I see as elegant like something perfectly engineered, a type of beauty completely different from flowery excess.
I assembled the things I needed for the ritual, which were my portable altar, which was necessary to hold the other things, my drinking horn, and a bottle of something to put in the horn. I chose to offer him Eau de Vie de Bourgeons de Sapin, a drink made from evergreen tree needles. The reasons I chose that drink are: 1. because it is a traditional drink from Alsace, where some of my ancestors are from, thus it has a personal connection with me, 2. because evergreen has a clean, strong flavor which seems masculine to me, and I think of Tyr as manly; 3. evergreen is also symbolic of the eternal life of the gods and of nature, so it seemed appropriate as something to offer a god, and 4. because it is a rare and special drink.
I wept as I summarized the situation briefly and asked him for justice. I ended the toast with "hail Tyr," and drank to him. What was left in the horn after the toast I poured out on the ground.
Back when I was new to heathenry, some other Asatruars said that heathens don't pray, but I realize now that they were reacting against Christianity, not following the example of historical heathens. There are numerous examples in the lore of people asking the gods for various things. We might not pray in the way that Christians do, but we do communicate with the gods in our own ways, and we do ask them for help when we need to. When I had done everything I could do myself, I asked Tyr for justice, and he delivered it.