Threads: Musings of a Wodenic Cunning Woman

A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of devotion, seership, hearth witchery, and spirit work.

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Beth Lynch

Beth Lynch

Wife of Odin, sacred artist, cunning woman. I spin spells and visions amidst the wild wights of the Pacific Northwest, in a household shared with gods, spirits and animals both living and dead. My handcrafted business, Fiberwytch on Etsy, offers ritual cords spun from hand dyed fleece and charged and blessed using traditional methods, handspun yarn, and other arcane goodies to enrich your practice and pamper your soul. My books Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys, and Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin and both available in my Etsy shop in PDF format, as well as on Amazon, and my work has also appeared in Idunna, Hex, and the now-defunct newWitch. I offer rune, Tarot and Lenormand readings by appointment.
Yule Advent Calendar (and a belated Michaelmas outing)

Taking a look back into the archives of my personal blog, I found that I first began putting together what I referred to as my “Yule Advent Calendar” in September 2010. (The same year I took my service oath to the Wild Hunt.) Admittedly, advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”) is a Christian concept, a series of festival dates that mark the progression of the Christmas season. I am not claiming that this custom was borrowed from paganism, but since so many other trappings of the Christian festival year clearly were, I felt no qualms about adopting the advent calendar for my own purposes in marking the series of festivals I observe leading up to Yule. 

This custom of adopting some of the festivals of the medieval Christian Church for my own purposes has since spread into other parts of the year, no doubt under the influence of my adoptive Disir, the group of women I've referred to as the Queens (most of whom were actual Queens in medieval Egnland). Shortly after discovering Michaelmas and Martinmas, I adopted Candlemas and began adding more traditional elements into my celebration of All Hallow's Eve, May Day and Lammas, and I wouldn't be surprised if that trend continues, since the customs and pageantry of medieval England (pre-Reformation) call to me quite powerfully. In most of the festivals I can feel an echo that harkens back to pagan times, as well as to the pagan customs that were slow to die away in the countryside. Whether or not this echo reflects the actual survival of a pagan practice, it enriches the experience of the festival for me and gives me that feeling I so love of being linked to the past and helping to carry the essence of lost traditions into the future.

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  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    I wish I could have been with you this morning -- I love the cemetery tours that we do this time of year. Sounds like it was a gre
On Trust and Shadow Work (or, what happens when your gods say no)

My friend Nornoriel's posts Trust part 1 and 2 over at Patheos helped inspire this post—mostly by kicking my ass.

I almost decided not to post about this, because it's another one of those vulnerable-feeling areas (like His decision to change His face for a while). But recently I've been discovering that sharing these vulnerable places with others makes me feel less vulnerable about them (and maybe helps other people out with their own vulnerable spots in the process), so here goes.

During the past few years, it seems like I always fight with my Husband during Wild Hunt Season, sometimes spectacularly. (We always make up just as passionately afterwards, but I would rather just skip the fights and jump straight to that part.) Although the specifics vary, the theme is always the same: trust.

Now, most people wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the thought of not trusting Odin, of all People, and He would be the very first to point out that most people should not trust Him; they have no reason to do so, and would be far wiser not to. But I do—most of the time, anyway. After all, He is my Husband--bound to me by oaths, blood, and love.  Even more, He is my partner, my mate. We are building a life together.

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Your order, by the way, purchased a new camera! Little by little, the pieces are coming together...
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Awesome!
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    A lesson I need to keep learning myself. (See my last blog post for a small window on that one) Also let me say I am SO glad some
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Thank you! And yes, it is a difficult lesson, but the best parts of yourself only emerge once you stop trying to be someone else.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I love this post so hard I want to turn cartwheels. ...Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into. I've fallen in

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On Fibromyalgia and Spiritual Emergency
Having an illness is not a weakness. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Seeking out help is a show of strength. And there’s a certain grace to the person who finds themselves having to do this over and over again in an attempt to find the key that will unlock relief for them.

 

Let’s stop romanticizing the dangers of things like shaman sickness sending a person out into the wild to freeze to death. Or, at the very least, if we’re going to pretend that we’d be better off in tribal society, let’s look at how our society, our little religious community, treats those who are sick… We still send them out into the cold to freeze to death. Only we do it with shame and perpetuating the myths that modern medicine is never the answer. We do it with turning our eyes away and not speaking up when we’re worried about a friend who seems to be having a particularly hard time…

 

On Spiritual Emergency, Shamanism, Mental Illness, Therapy, and Anti-Psychiatry Sentiment in the General Pagan/Polytheist Community | Foxglove and Firmitas

 

I wanted to share this quote (and the entire post) because it’s important for the pagan/polytheist community as a whole to read.  But I’m coming at this from a somewhat different perspective, that of someone whose shaman sickness/spiritual emergency took the form of a chronic physical illness (fibromyalgia) instead of a mental one.  Except, I don’t know if I can even properly make that distinction, since many doctors refuse to see fibro as a physical illness, even with its primarily physical symptoms; many of them see it as a mental illness, a case of wires being crossed in the brain so that a person experiences pain where there shouldn’t be any.  I understand their reasoning for this: they don’t understand fibro because although there are parameters for identifying it, it doesn’t show up in blood tests or any other sot of laboratory-provable way.  Therefore, they shove it into that great abyss wherein resides all other things that they do not understand: the brain. (This begs the question of whether or not it even matters if fibro actually resides in the brain or in the myofascial tissues, since both are still part of the body.)

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  • MoonWillow
    MoonWillow says #
    well said...
  • Jeanine Byers
    Jeanine Byers says #
    As a spiritual person with chronic fatigue syndrome, I greatly appreciate this post!
Call for Submissions: Masks of the High One - a Devotional Anthology for Odin

A little more than a year ago, I put out a call for submissions for Prayers to the Allfather, a book of prayers and rituals for Odin. Well, despite a number of people being kind enough to share my CFS across the internet, I received exactly three submissions. Due to various factors in my life at the time, I just wasn’t feeling equal to writing the bulk of a book of prayers on my own (since when I think prayers, I think poetry, and I am not primarily a poet), so I reluctantly shelved the project for a while.

Then I got to thinking: maybe a prayer book is too limiting. Maybe most other pagans, witches and polytheists out there also shy away from writing prayers for public consumption, either because they feel too personal, or because (like me) they associate them with poetry and feel unequal to the task. Maybe I pigeonholed my own project into the remainder bin.

And then it occurred to me: no one (to my knowledge) has yet to come forth with a devotional anthology for and about Odin. All of my initial foot-dragging on the notion of such a project aside, I finally had to ask myself whether I wanted to be the one to step up to the plate and do this, or whether I wanted to wait until someone else did it, and have to live with the regret.

And so, here we are. Today, on August 30th 2014, I am opening submissions for Masks of the High One: A Devotional Anthology for Odin. Submissions will close on May 1st, 2015.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I don't usually work with Odin but your blog inspired me this morning and I couldn't stop thinking about it during lunch so I wro

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On Frigga

 

She is not the most beautiful woman at the court of the Aesir, nor the most glamorous, not the most vivacious and charming. Those roles are held by Freyja, said by some to be Her rival, by others to be another, earlier, side of Herself. (In mainland Germany, there was no Frigga and no Freyja—only Frija, apparently an amalgam of the two goddesses.) There is no contest: Freyja is the star who draws all eyes in Asgard.

...
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I had an interesting personal lesson this week that I thought I would share with you all.  (I had a couple, actually, but I’m only going to share one in this post…the second one later on, perhaps.)

One of Odin’s overarching and ongoing themes in our relationship (going on 12 years now) has been “Take care of My wife.” (With “I will provide for your needs, and even some of your wants, if you but let Me” being a close second.)

The reason this is a constant theme with Him is that I don’t take care of myself, really. And I ask quite a lot of myself, and especially of my physical being, considering that I am a person with physical challenges.  I go to an outside job (25 hours per week), I help take care of our household of animals, I keep up a devotional and spirit work practice, and I run a growing business, FiberWytch.  Do I make sure I fit in the activities–such as yoga and meditation–that I KNOW help my physical condition, on a daily basis? Not really. Do I make sure I provide work breaks and days off for myself? Um…maybe.  I do take work breaks (and stretching breaks whenever I need them) but I don’t make sure they’re 15 minutes long, as they have to be according to law at my day job, and I certainly don’t allow myself days when I am freed from any activities whatsoever regarding FiberWytch.  Why not? Because I can only run my business part time (at the most; how much time I can devote to it depends on how I’m feeling that particular day, or week), so I figure my time spent at my day job IS my time off. I guess that makes my day job a better boss of me than I am of myself.

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What Odin doesn't stand for

Odin is a god of many, many things: wisdom, inspiration, exploration, shamanism, prophecy, kingship, rune magic, language and expression, expanding and altering consciousness, creativity, death, blood magic, self-sacrifice, and yes, even warfare, savagery and bloodshed at times.  But do you know one thing He does not stand for?  Racial hate crimes.  Seriously people, I defy you to find anything–anything at all–in the northern lore that supports this kind of atrocity.  As my friend Heather Freysdottir posted today, hate is not a Heathen value–not in any way, shape or form, and I for one am thoroughly sick and tired of having my God’s name used as an excuse for racist violence.

You know why I don’t primarily identify as Heathen?  Know why I am not able to call myself an “Odinist witch” or “Odinic witch” (the way some of my friends will refer to themselves as “Lokean witches”)?  This.  This is why.  Because, thanks to assholes like this (and others like him in the past 100 years or so of history), my God’s name is now identified with racially motivated violence.  And from these maniacs, the poisonous notion that Odinism=white supremacy and racial hatred seeps into the community, until you can’t hold an “Asatru meet-up” without having one or two white-supremacist-leaning individuals show up. (Yes, this truly was my experience when I was still trying to organize meet-ups back east.)

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  • wayne bates
    wayne bates says #
    i was told i was not a heathen because i choose to worship the British celtic deities as well as the Anglosaxon/Norse and i truly
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    I should add that (as it says in the title of this blog) I usually do loosely self-identify as Heathen when I am among a more gene
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Mike, this was meant to be more a response to the shootings than about what I call myself, or don't. But since you asked about th
  • Mike C.
    Mike C. says #
    I have a lot of feelings about people honouring Germanic gods, but declining the label. How will perceptions change, unless people
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    I have never called myself Odinist due to its association with this kind of poison. And I hate that honoring some of the Gods I do

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