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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Amorous Herbs Love Charm
Many a witchy woman has enjoyed the fruits of long-lasting love by reciting the following charm while mixing rye and pimento into a dish shared with her object of affection. While stirring in these amorous herbs, declaim:
 
Rye of earth, pimento of fire
Eaten surely lights desire.
Serve to he whose love I crave,
And his heart I will enslave!
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Who is the patron god of matches?

While, on the face of it, this question may seem a frivolous one, it's actually asking something much deeper: What would a contemporary pagan society look like?

I recently learned the answer to both questions grâce à my longtime friend and colleague Prudence Priest, the newly-anointed official Ambasadress to the US of Romuva, the Lithuanian pagan movement.

Check out this box of matches that she brought back from a recent trip to the Baltics, which proudly sports the image of Perkunas, Lord of Lightning, the Lithuanian Thunderer. (Note the three leaves from the oak, His sacred tree; it is, of course, oak wood that feeds the ever-burning Fires in His sacred groves.) He drives His thunder-chariot drawn by a matched pair of horses, one black, one white.

This latter detail I find quite striking. Doubtless it refers to Thunder's ambivalent nature: Life-giving/Death-dealing, lord of both rain and lightning-blast. Thunder, after all, rides both by day and by night.

Now, you might think that the patron deity of matches might be whichever Fire god or Hearth goddess is worshiped locally. But, of course, these are the patrons of a fire already burning. It's the Lord of lightning who presides over the striking of Fire.

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The collective energy generated by any given religion should theoretically be fairly well balanced between masculine and feminine energy, but it can go off kilter if there is a serious gender imbalance in both the membership and the amount of worship given to gods, goddesses, and non-gendered beings. During the modern revival of heathenry, heathenry in general and Asatru in particular has attracted more men than women, and it hasn't always been a welcoming place for people who don't fit into modern culture's gender binary, although things have been getting better. The Troth's recent Loki Blot was a huge step forward in growing leadership by non-binary people and in providing space for LGBTQ+ voices.

There's still more work to do, though. Big organizations like the Troth have their own processes to move forward, but individuals can do things too, both in public work and private work. By public work I mean things like providing information on the net. By private work I mean things like doing small rituals at home. Here are a few ideas about things you can do to help out.

Public Work

One of the things I have tried to do with my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum, is make a safe, welcoming space for women and QUILTBAG folks. Getting rid of trolls and providing space for people to talk about their personal religious experiences and gnosis benefits everyone of all genders and gender expressions, but since in some online communities women and LGBT+ people have been targeted, it is especially important for them to have a safe place to express themselves. I encourage other forum owners and moderators to do the same.

If you're already participating in the Heathen Visibility Project, you can try to include more images of women, goddesses, and objects associated with them. Masculine and feminine are not the only energies, nor the only traditional roles in heathenry, so we can also include more traditional rituals and activities that include or highlight drag or ritual transvetism for religious or magical purposes, heathens engaging in activities that defy conventional gender roles or which show how traditional heathen gender roles differ from modern ones in the wider society in which we live, and people who are nonbinary, transgender, gender fluid, etc., especially when presented in strong roles and positions. Even just moving someone closer to the middle of a group photo rather than on the edge can psychologically make a difference to the viewer. For more info on the Heathen Visibility Project, read the text of my speech on the Project at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day 2019 here: https://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/speech-on-heathen-visibility-project-ppd-2019.html

A relatively easy thing to do which will have a tremendous impact is raising the profile of women and trans, nb, and gender fluid leaders, authors, musicians, artists, temple keepers, festival organizers, etc. to match the status and fame of men of similar achievements. Search engines and internal site search algorithms for sites like Amazon give prominence to products like books and art that have a lot of reviews and ratings. If you've read an book on Asatru or another relevant product, review it! It makes a huge difference.

Wikipedia is one of the first places people look for information about just about everything. To take a non-random example, I don't have a Wikipedia page, despite being the author of a famous book that is traditionally published (Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, an updated version of my out of print book Asatru For Beginners.) There need to be more Asatru authors on the site in general. If you go to Wikipedia and put in "Asatru authors" the list is only one page long and an unfortunately large number of the returns are of white supremacists such as David Lane. You can help fix this right now by going to this link and requesting an Erin Lale page and a page for other notable Asatruars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_creation

Articles on Asatru and heathenry both by heathen and pagan reporters in pagan venues and by non-heathen and non-pagan reporters in general interest publications tend to quote multiple men and ignore other voices. If you are a reporter, try to be conscious about balancing your interview subjects with regards to gender. If you are contacted by a reporter about Asatru, and you want to refer them to several Asatruars and other heathens, try to refer them to women and T/NB/GF people as well as men.

The same goes for assembling panels on heathenry at conventions, and inviting presenters, ritual leaders, and panelist for pagan festivals. When organizing a festival, convention, or other gathering in which there will be various presenters and leaders, try for a gender balance of the presenters and leaders, and consider LGBTQ+ presenters even if they are less famous than your other presenters.

When participating in sumbel or other rituals in which participants are allowed to choose whom to honor, try to include the goddesses as well as the gods. When designing a ritual, shrine, gathering, etc., try to achieve a balance between gods, goddesses, and other beings of various genders or of no gender.

Private Work

I have a small shrine dedicated to Embla and to the female ancestors generally, especially those who have become powerful spirits connected with their descendants, which we in Asatru call the Disir. I always have some food or drink on it for them. It's a corner of the top of the hutch of my writing desk. I encourage other heathens to honor them as well, in whichever way seems best to them. Asatru has an official holiday for the Disir called Disirblot. Whether on a holiday, in home shrine keeping, toasting during a general gatherings, or in some other way, remember the female ancestors.

If you have a personal practice that includes lots of gods but not many goddesses, or lots of masculine powers but fewer powers who are feminine, non-gendered, gender fluid, etc., consider adding some of those to your personal altars etc. and communicating with them more. If you don't know any of the feminine or nonbinary powers as well as you know the masculine ones, considering learning more about one or more of them. There's a handy list of the gods and goddesses and another handy list of the other powers in my book. Or if reading names on a list doesn't work for you to find one that strikes your fancy, try looking at either classical or contemporary heathen art or reading contemporary poetry in a pagan magazine, and see if you are intrigued by anyone new.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

We have come from beyond the garden,b2ap3_thumbnail_ooak-meditation-goddess-in-the-surprise-lily.jpg
stories both old and new in our hands.
Our breasts are bare our hips are heavy,
and we are willing to show  our incisors.
Centuries of silencing and suppression
have been unable to stick to our skins,
our lapis beads rest easy across our throats,
and red crescent moons shine upon our brows.
No longer willing to settle for giving birth
to demons or destroyers,
we bleed all over the pages  of history,
eat all the apples we please,
carve stone into shapes that tell our hearts
to remember,
and sing of the forgotten things,
untamed, unbound.
Our most reliable sacred text
is the one we write each day,
shard by shard,
step by step,
bone by bone,
breath by breath,
side by side. 

Priestessing during a pandemic has not been easy! The past nearly two years have forced a serious assessment of where I currently am in my work and my willingness to offer what I can offer and to withdraw from what I cannot.

After careful consideration, I have been working in person with a very small group this summer every week, using the Lilith Circle Guide that accompanies the anthology Original Resistance. While I do not feel ready to branch back out into larger, more public group work again, it has been a really nourishing and rewarding experience to gather in a very small group. I encourage you to consider ways in which you might set your feet to the spiral once more and to reach back out to your own community in face-to-face connection with a circle that feels nurturing, safe, and enriching to you.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Beyond-the-Garden-Card.png
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Creating Space for Love in Your Home: A Relationship Corner

As you walk into your bedroom, the relationship corner will be the back right corner. Your love and sex energy have to be nurtured there, so you might as well consider placing your altar there to serve as your personal erotic wellspring.

Look at this area with a fresh eyewhat is cluttering your love corner with dead energy? Half-empty perfume bottles or near- empty cosmetic bottles could be impairing your relationship energy. You must clear unhappiness out of this space and clear the area of any clutter by getting rid of all unnecessary objects and tidying up.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Some Showers Overnight

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My daily life as a gythia includes both surprise duties and surprise rewards, as well as the more usual planned variety of each. Within the past few weeks I've found myself staying up late to help someone get rid of or get closer to entities she brought with her. I've helped a lost spirit that had attached himself to a living person to finally cross, for which he was thankful. I've sent a being that didn't belong in this world where he belonged. I've confirmed that a god was with someone, via my own connection with Odin and Loki, although they would say no more about it, firstly because if they interfered then the person would not have a chance to form the kind of connection the other god desired, and secondly because my gods did not want to encourage me to form any accidental connections with a pantheon outside the Asatru one. I'm glad to help, and helping people like this is one of the reasons I have these abilities. But sometimes the surprise is a present just for me.

The local landwight has been eating well this month, as my household generated an unusual amount of vegetable matter to compost. And there has been a lot of rain, a blessing from Thor. One day I was looking at my lovely mimosa tree and I remembered that out of the two decades I've lived here, the tree dropped live seeds that sprouted only once. They had been growing in inappropriate places-- the lawn, namely, and I had tried to transplant them, but they didn't survive. I suppose I made a silent wish in that moment-- I wished to grow a seedling of my mimosa tree. A few days later, when I went out to check on the area near the garden gnome statue, which is my icon of the landwight, I saw it: a tiny, tiny seedling, with tiny little mimosa leaves. Right behind the statue.

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