While interfaith discussion with neo-pagans is valuable, I'd personally like to see more discussion of our own traditions and religious praxis. So, I came up with a bunch of questions to get the ball rolling. I'm going to answer these over the course of this month via a series of posts here and anyone else who likes them is also free to participate.
It's been a crazy couple of weeks, folks, with lots of ritual work to be done as we move into fall. While we always honor our ancestors at the beginning of our rituals, autumn tends to be a a time when we focus even more strongly on our dead and that means a lot more rituals. I love it, but boy have I been busy! Autumn really is, for me, the best season. It's so vibrant and finally after an entire summer of positively aching for fall, i've started smelling the teasing promise of crispness in the air, the faint sense of crisping decay as the leaves ever so slightly show the first signs of their inevitable decay. I love it. Of course, I also love that questions on ritual and praxis keep rolling in. I've gotten quite a bit of good feedback on this series and I'm enjoying it greatly. Y'all have been sending in some really thoughtful questions and I find crafting my answers makes me look at my own practice in new ways too. I thank you, my readers for that gift. For today's Q&A, I have a series of questions on how to handle offerings from reader Lenore.
Today I was chatting with my colleague Ochani Lele (who will be appearing on Wyrd Ways Radio on June 5), author of "Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santeria: A Complete Guide to the Rituals and Practices," "Diloggun Tales of the Natural World," and several other books. We were discussing our respective Holy Powers when he asked me a question that made me stop and, after answering it, ask him if he'd mind me using it as a question here. During the course of our conversation, he said to me:
"You know . . . having Jewish blood, I've always been a bit afraid of Norse religion. Just out of curiosity, how do you think your gods would react to someone with Jewish blood taking up their worship? Would they respond? Would they accept? What about an African, or an African American? How would the Norse gods respond to such a person? Are they beyond racial boundaries, like the Orishas? I'm assuming they would be . . . but assumptions often get me in trouble. What are your thoughts on that?"
Well, the school term is finally, officially over, I've submitted my last essay exam, and now I am free and clear as a bird, almost. I'm at least free and clear enough that I can catch up on some of the Odin and/or Deity questions that have accrued while i've been battling through finals the last two weeks. As I know i've noted before, I'm really enjoying the questions that are coming in. I think these are conversations we need to be having. Moreover, I"m forced to really engage with my own practice, and think and analyze what I do and how i approach my practice much more consciously and I think that's a good thing. Nothing in devotion should ever become so rote that we forget why we're doing it!
People seem to be enjoying the Odin questions that I"ve been answering here. I'm happy to keep this Q&A series going as long as folks have questions. Many of these things, while I've thought about them and internalized them, I've never actually broken down and analyzed for anyone else, so this is making me look at my experience and my practices and the way i interact with the Gods in new ways too and that's useful to praxis.
I''m so glad readers are taking the time to post or email me their questions. I enjoy writing about Odin, and each question that i've received has given me a great deal of food for thought. I like that; I like engaging with anything that makes me think. Perhaps it's an Odinic trait, hmmm?
Over on my personal blog, http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog.html, Visons from Afar recently asked a question that caused me to sit back and really think for quite awhile before sitting down to type this out. Visons asks about pride, and how to differentiate between good and bad pride in one's engagement with the Holy Powers and this is a good question, not only because Heathenry puts a tremendous cachet on expressing pride for one's worthy deeds, but also because this is something that I'm willing to bet most of us have wrestled with at some point or another. I'm going to take a stab at answering it here and I encourage my readers to offer your own advice and insights here as well.