One-Eyed Cat: Norse Paganism & Northern European Witchcraft

This is the magic of Freyja and I am her völva: a seer, priestess and oracle.

Sharing wisdom taught directly by the Norse Gods over twenty years of practice, I teach safer seiðr / seidr / seidhr (Norse trance work and fate-magic), reverent animism, and deeper workings with the Gods and land spirits through respect for all life and peoples.

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Detox Your Entertainment & News Feed: Reclaim Your Mind & Will

Are you watching the media… or does it watch you? Matthew T. Rader/Unsplash

You are your thoughts. But how many of those thoughts are your own?

What goes in our eyes and ears may seem ephemeral, but it deeply affects our minds. The more it’s repeated, the deeper it sticks. All around us, through podcasts, videos, social media, TV, radio, articles and advertising of all kinds, we’re being bombarded with messages and pressure, some sly and some overt, about what we should think and feel. What to buy. Who to vote for. Who we should admire, hate and envy. Even our ethics are dictated by others — determining what it is acceptable to question, say or think.


Rather than a deep and nuanced consideration of firsthand, eye witness experiences (our own or listening deeply when shared with us), a strange and divisive mob consensus reigns based on highly edited narratives of us vs them. We’re not just blasted by other people’s wills: in the 21st century, we’re downright brainwashed.

Pick your “us”, it does not matter and it will change: the “other” has become the enemy.

Want to consciously reclaim your will by a media diet? Here are several simple solutions I have successfully practiced for years, increasing my ability to relate to others very unlike myself.

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Disentangling yourself from a constant sea of social conditioning is an uphill battle. It starts by examining what you watch. Daniel Jensen/Unsplash

Will-Sapping Source #1- TV & Movies

TV is the biggest constant bombardment of messages from our society. Naked skin and gratuitous blood grab our attention by the neck in entertainment, literally turning heads, even when a story like Game of Thrones could stand on its own through sheer political intrigue and a compelling web of relationships.

TV also tells us what we should feel and think– and what the villains look like– rather than examining our own responsibilities and agency.

Watch the next time a character, commentator, or comedian turns directly to camera. Listen to whether they express an opinion about a situation in the real world… or state something that is clearly subjective as an outright fact it’s taken for granted that you blanket agree with.

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What are you absorbing, spending more time looking at altered images than reality? Joshua Earle/Unsplash

Television runs on advertising. We all know this. But it’s even more pervasive than you think. Ever noticed that evening talk show hosts mostly interview celebrities featured in products the parent companies own? That no one ever seems to push indie shows or books? Now, extend that thought to other programs. The background noise of advertising in our society is deafening, yelling from just about every surface and angle. (Even, sometimes, the pavement.) Our cities are a visual, mental and auditory cacophony of it.

Even seemingly innocuous entertainment functions as a vehicle for advertising. I’m sorry to possibly burst your bubble, but those iconic cartoons we grew up on from the 80’s onward? Lots of them were vehicles to sell certain toys and junk food (Transformers, Gummi Bears and My Little Ponies, to name just a few).

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Turn the electric eye off sometimes and use your own. LHC Coutinho/Pixabay

Solution #1: Turn off the TV! That’s right, don’t leave the TV on “in the background” as you go through routine tasks, eat, study or sleep. You’re feeding your subconscious mind and programming it. I know people who keep the TV on “for company”. Well, do you want a buffet of dead women on morgue slabs, brutally beaten and shot up men, gory hospital procedures, objectified women, men and old people continually ridiculed as weak and asinine, inane laughter, and strangers’ shallow opinions for company?

Call a friend. Make something. Cook. Read a book. Go outside. Practice a skill. Listen to uplifting music. Find an alternative way to fill the time or not feel so alone.

Silencing this psychic chatter increases your attention span, forms different neural connections, and makes it easier for you to think deep or meditate. This places you more squarely in the present, able to confront your own life’s issues.

Solution #2: When you do watch programming, consider ad-free options. Pay the subscription fee to support a service you enjoy. Your brain is worth it. (It’s one reason I like Medium.)

Solution #3: Money’s tight? Borrow shows from your local library for free. It may even get you talking to friendly strangers in real life at a brick-and-mortar building. Your communal tax money already paid for it, so you might as well use it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_elijah-o-donnell-t8T_yUgCKSM-unsplash.jpgAnxious? Take a break from the news sometimes when you and your loved ones are not in the middle of the fray! Elijah O Donnell /Unsplash

ill-Sapping Source #2- The News.

News editors deliberately drum up trauma and insecurity through sensationalism to grab eyeballs. I worked in journalism. I know this firsthand. It’s well known that the news these days is hijacked by corporate sponsorship and blatant political agendas on all sides. It’s also overwhelmingly negative, skewing our view of reality both in the present — and of what happened in the past.

Solution #4: Stop consuming the news for a bit. Or at least go on a “diet”, limiting yourself to something less than daily. Get your news from more than one source, go directly to the wire reports most news is sourced from, and look at media outlets outside your own country to check against local bias.

Solution #5: Instead of railing about politics, go ahead and look at what you can immediately influence and change: attend town, county, city and school board meetings and vote on legislation, not just candidates. Write to your elected officials about the issues you care about rather than posting about them on social media. Get out into the community and sign petitions that are delivered by hand. Talk to your neighbors and the person holding that petition clipboard.

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Just because it’s storming out doesn’t mean you’re in any danger, so long as you exercise good sense. Lee Junda/Unsplash

Even the weather reports are dogged by scare-tactics designed to grab you by the collar and drive up ratings and sales of gasoline, packaged food, medicines and other necessities featured right there in the commercials. I experienced this with two New Jersey hurricanes. Never have I seen a worse mess at a grocery store! People practically punching each other over the last loaf of ordinary white bread and a jar of peanut butter. No one there was in danger of starving, and evacuations warnings were given well in advance.

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Learn how to sky watch — and get some common-sense cues from the local clouds and wind patterns. Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay

Solution #6: It takes time (I’m still learning this), but start being observant of your own local weather patterns. Learn the sky. Learn the humidity. Learn the winds. Stop, breathe the air and pay attention. How does incoming snow smell before it falls, for instance? How do the birds and animals behave when it’s windy, or about to storm? Listen for them. Use common sense and due caution, (please, don’t ignore warnings!) but also listen to your instincts. Every place has little micro-climates that don’t neatly fit the overall weather reports: patterns of precipitation, wind and sunlight. In other words, you don’t have to awfulize every incoming storm, just respect Mother Nature.

This simple observation of the outdoors puts you far more closely in touch with your own environment– and therefore, with yourself. You will also get a sense of when the weather can go south, despite favorable predictions, an instinct that can save your life in dangerous situations.

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Is your music envigorating, soothing or a total downer? Elice Moore/Unsplash

Will-Sapping Source #3: Popular Music

Music can induce trance, improve concentration, or set the stage for an emotionally charged performance. Use music well and it’s a wonderful gift.

But sometimes music can bring us down. We’ve all played music when we were sad or angry, getting it out of our system… but how much do you pay attention to the messages directly repeated through song lyrics? Yeah, that beat might be catchy… but what is that singer telling you?

Are you absorbing messages designed, not to express or protest a bad place in life, but to actually disempower you?

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Don’t just zone out to the music while shopping and make mindless purchases out of sheer exhaustion or being hyped up. Jeremy Smith/Pixabay

Stores deliberately play certain music to increase sales. Pay attention to the difference in music the next time you’re grocery shopping or at a big box store and you’ll not only pick up on the expected customer base but find out what kind of emotion the store is trying to generate with its products. Corporations spend big money figuring these things out.

Easy listening at grocery stores zones you out into numb auto-pilot buying. You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re shopping after work, you’ve got to get home to make dinner. What’s easy? Oh, that packaged thing over there, just leaping out at eye level. Is it nutritious? No, but it’s the first filling thing you saw, and an ad subconsciously primed you to notice it.

Solution #7: Be at home with silence. You’ll soon find your mind busy with thoughts — or become totally engrossed in the environment. If you need music to function, consider what it’s doing for you — and what else in your life you could possibly change. Is there some other, healthy way to express and share your feelings? Are you over-stimulated, and using music to drown that out?

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Sometimes, you just need to chill out in nature to let your own thoughts surface. Yuliya Ginzberg/Unsplash

Let’s all start taking back our wills (and our true power) by a media detox. Deprogram the conditioning, break compulsory buying habits, and clean off the psychic debris– allowing your true thoughts and feelings to bubble up to the surface in silence.

Bonus? When you can hear yourself think, you just might be able to find out what it is you truly want in life — and stop pursuing what other people have told you to want.

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Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained directly by Frey, Odin, Loki and Freyja. She is passionately committed to healing the rift between us and the ancestors and strengthening our friendship with the Gods, the land and the spirits sharing our world.
Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media.

Comments

  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah Wednesday, 15 February 2017

    Some great advice. I was please to see somethings I had already started doing (out of self defense!) on your list, and look forward to implementing those I hadn't thought of :)

  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski Friday, 17 February 2017

    Thanks! You're welcome.:)

  • Bjarni Böðvarr
    Bjarni Böðvarr Sunday, 19 March 2017

    Shirl, i am sorry to contact you this way, but please contact me ASAP it concerns SW Frithmoot 2 years ago.

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