What It Means to Be Heathen

Things to consider:

  • Frith. Study and explore this concept. It is obviously foreign to people living in a modern, Western society, and it seems it’s necessary to adjust to suit such a society. I have been reading threads on /r/asatru about frith and it seems the closest comparable modern relationship to ancient frith is what parents usually feel for their children. Sure, they may get mad at their kids, but no matter what, a parent wants to support and care for their child. It’s selflessness to a unique degree.
  • Related to frith: inner yard. Anyone in the inner yard is a person with whom I keep frith. So… who is that? To whom do I feel that selflessly obligated?
    • Immediate family… so my parents (as much as they piss me off) and siblings.
    • Maybe like two other people?
    • Extended family to a certain extent?
  • Worth. We are our deeds, good and bad. Deeds don’t get erased. Amends are made to the harmed community through restitution. People from your outer yard don’t determine your worth, and you do not calculate your own worth — but you have control over your own worth, i.e. you decide your own actions. This is not the same “worth” as the value intrinsic to human beings, as human beings.
  • Orlog is “fate-potential” and wyrd is how our past actions and future actions shape the kind of person we are. More detailed explanation. Orlog is a predetermined, finite block of clay, and wyrd is what we shape it into.

Psychopomp Workshop – Group Journey Class

Today, I had the opportunity to attend Monika’s first advanced group journey class. The topic was psychopomp work, which, as a death worker, is something that naturally interests me. It’s something I have always wanted to include in my death work repertoire, and this was the perfect way to learn that skill under the guidance of a practiced shaman and healer.

We gathered in the basement of Monika’s house and went on three journeys, each with a specific goal in mind.

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The Human Filter

An important thought came to me yesterday morning as I drove to work: that our human minds, which can only comprehend so much, in so many ways, automatically filter new information through certain tropes and symbols based on how we, individually, perceive the world. In the case of malevolent spirits, for example, a Christian might experience them as demons with horns and barbed tails, but a Pagan might experience them as a nightmarish shadow (or anything specific to their individual path).

What if the same applies to experiences we have with gods and spirits? What if I experience Anubis as a father figure because He knows I respond well to compassionate authority? Perhaps Anubis knew, long before I realized it, that He had to establish that kind of relationship with me if He wanted me to serve Him. And what if a friend witnessed a god healing His devotee in a pool of water, like a parent tending to a child, because said friend will be a parent soon too, and she herself is a woman of healing waters? Perhaps that was the best way for that god to show my friend just how deeply He cares for His devotee.

Many different factors contribute to this phenomenon: personality, elemental composition, how one was raised, how one grew up, significant life experiences, preferred themes and tropes… Surely, the list goes on. In my case, I am a very literal person, a being of Earth and Fire. I respond best to directness, physicality, and action. Without a doubt, my gods take advantage of this. Not with any ill intentions, of course — but the gods operate on a much grander scale than any human does, and They see and know more than we are capable of comprehending. They will make demands of us, for both Their benefit and ours, and it behooves Them to know how to manipulate us in Their favor.

Despite how much of this sounds incredibly selfish of gods, it comforts me. What I experience with gods and spirits is valid because it’s just how my tiny, human brain is able to interpret interactions with them. And the fact that gods, especially, might purposefully choose certain themes, symbols, or tropes means that they care. They know what matters to us. They know what we consider important or meaningful.

Journeys to Meet My Reiki Guides

As I wrote in my last post, I have three reiki guides who can assist me with reiki healing and treatments. One of them is the goddess Persephone, but the other two were unknown at the time of the divination. So I underwent two journeys this morning to find them, introduce myself, and confirm our partnership.

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Reiki I & II Lessons / Attunement

Yesterday, I traveled to Virginia to participate in a Reiki I workshop led by two friends of mine. I came out of it attuned at the Reiki II level, which is simultaneously awesome and kind of intimidating. But they encouraged me to take it slowly, get through my cleanse period, and practice every day. I took copious notes during the lecture, and they gave me a manual for further reading. Unfortunately, I was unable to practice after my attunement because I had to run to a dinner date, but I can practice at home for now and with my friends when we can schedule it. I should also look into reiki shares, but probably after I’ve practiced a little.

Some key things of note:

  • I have three reiki guides. One of them is Persephone in Her role of Queen of the Underworld; She specifically volunteered to be one of my guides. The other two are a female ancestor and my fylgja, which is an animal spirit intimately tied with one’s soul according to Norse mythology. People might see their fylgja in dreams, but if they ever saw them while awake, it was a portent of death. The exception is for völva, which appears to be what I am now.
  • During my attunement I felt a blockage in my throat but didn’t bother to do anything about it until I scanned myself today. I believe I have successfully removed the blockage with reiki at this point! For now. I recall having throat issues during my last healing session.

Relationships with the Divine

Brooke and I spoke earlier today about the feelings that our various gods evoke within us. I expressed confusion and inner conflict regarding my relationships with Anubis and Tyr. The reason is because I feel strongly about both gods, yet Anubis has felt more distant of late, while I feel I’ve grown closer and closer to Tyr. But I made an oath to Anubis almost five years ago that I would serve Him first and carry out His will in the world. That’s why it feels wrong to be so enraptured by another god.

But Brooke and I spoke, and I came to the understanding that I’m going to have fundamentally different relationships with these two gods. Anubis is, in the sense, my master, and I am His tool. A better metaphor would be that He is my boss, and as long as I’m doing His work, He will not be displeased. And as is the case in mundane matters, I can have a very separate personal life unaffected by my “job” as a death worker. That’s where my hearth culture and home pantheon — and Tyr — enter the picture.

This is a huge relief for me. I feared Tyr was encroaching into Anubis’ territory, but perhaps not. Perhaps it’s possible to love Them equally, in different ways, for different reasons.

Journey 2/2

Randomly went on a healing journey last night while sleeping. I can’t remember what happened before or after, only what happened during the journey part itself.

I guess I was attacked. I started out with this anxious, desperate determination to reach my healing place, my hot spring under the barrow. But instead of going down the stairs into it from the outside, I just flew through the ground, underneath the spring itself. As soon as I entered the spring from below, it became the same white void, and my body became energy again. I felt weak. Heavy clumps of black gunk dissolved quickly from my arms in the hot spring/void.

Afterward, I pulled myself out of the spring with this urgent need to find Gienah. He appeared in normal crow form, and he seemed deeply concerned. I got out of the spring and saw a body on the dais, but I didn’t look closely at it. I felt unnerved by it because I somehow knew it was my body. At one point, though, I did look at the dais again and the body was gone.

Journey 1/23

Bullets, because my brain.

  • Started out in a white room. It was like… all those movie depictions of a virtual world. White, made of tiles/blocks. Some faded in and out, impermanent.
  • I stood in the center of the room and when I put my foot down it transformed from the center outward. A huge bearskin rug. A four-poster bed, some couches in front of a roaring fireplace, double doors leading out to a balcony, some other doors leading elsewhere, and a long table. Stone walls. Some narrow windows. Above, a large skylight? Showing the full moon.
  • I moved to the table. Wooden, unadorned. I thought, “Oh, I can put stuff here.” Nope. It’s my command center console. Holographic panels materialized into existence, at least seven of them, one long one over the tabletop and six in a grid in front of me. The six panels show views of the castle and forest, as if cameras were placed at strategic locations. I know I wanted this setup.
  • I trace the protective/shielding bindrune I made before journeying into a holo-panel on the console. Then I press my palm against it and the camera panels flash, like I had applied the rune to the entire territory.
  • I can hear the wolves howling outside.
  • To my left is a door. It’s wrong. I tear it down and there’s a mirror instead. I can see my reflection in my armor. I reach out and touch the surface with a finger; it ripples like water. I think about visiting the forge, then step into the mirror.
  • Blackness. I’m floating. I see a light way down below me. I think about being there, and in a blink I emerge into a blacksmith’s forge. Details are hazy. I draw a line along the length of a table with my finger and a sword materializes – first made of fire, then cooling to obsidian, then shedding to reveal steel. I swing it a few times.
  • Something laughs at me, a man that transforms into something like a zombie. It wasn’t in the forge before. It approaches with an awkward gait. I frown at it, flick my wrist, and it vanishes. I realize I should have said something to it instead. I feel uneasy.
  • I slam my fist against the same table’s top. The basic frame of a pistol jumps out from the surface of it, but I feel exhausted. I realize I should go back, leaving my next project unfinished. I struggle to get back to my new staging area, that room with the bed and the fireplace.
  • I never got to talk with the wolves.
  • I put the sword on the empty wall by the bed. I think about the pistol, but decide it’s better in the forge, unfinished. I take off my helm. I come out of trance.

Journey 1/22

I started out in my castle, walking down a corridor that led outside. I was wearing my armor. Before exiting to the parapet, I thought to myself that I really ought to finish claiming the castle as mine. A hologram panel, like in science fiction movies, materialized in front of me and I pressed a button on it. I have no idea what that was about.

I moved onto the parapet. The castle and its surrounding forest were snow-covered; the landscape seems to exist in a perpetual winter. How ironic.

I called for Gienah and he flew in, a massive crow, larger than a draft horse. He landed on the parapet in front of me, and I could see the golden eye between his two black ones. I asked him to take me on a healing journey (suggested by Scott), so he told me to climb onto his back. He lowered his wing so I could step on it and haul myself up.

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