Thursday, January 31, 2013

No more labels

I drew the two of wands today, which was a very timely card for me as I really struggle with choices and balance in my life.  Initially I wasn't going to discuss it here because of the way my path has meandered all over the universe but now I think I should.  After all, I did decide to put my journey out there, warts and all.

It occurred to me that trying to commit to a path hasn't been the problem.  The problem is thinking I needed to commit to a path at all.  I find elements in many paths that appeal to me but my problem has been in thinking I need to own that direction in order to incorporate those elements into my life.  I struggle between loving the Greek gods and feeling an attraction toward the Anglo Saxon gods.  Same with cultures.  I love the Celtic culture, the Anglo Saxon culture and even bits of the Greek culture.  No one direction satisfies all my needs, though. 

I still have the Greeks on my altar and there they will stay because I really do love them and feel a connection with them, but I also plan on having another altar, or more, that offers something different.  I intend to continue to walk my path through the lens of my heart and not my head.  And my heart does lean toward the Anglo Saxon gods as well, toward Nature and toward my ancestors' traditions.

I hope this is growth and not an indication of my inability to commit.  It feels right and it feels more wholesome spiritually.  And I certainly feel a huge weight off my shoulders.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Although the exhilaration has subsided a bit, the contentment seems to have increased.  I have been studying a lot more, focusing more on crafts and hope very soon to put more energy into housework.  The energy is returning but I still suffer from debilitating pain and fatigue.  With the weather changes here (50 degrees and rain today) the pain has been an issue, especially where sleep is concerned.

I'm sure I don't "do" things the way other Hellenic polytheists do things.  I know I don't adhere to the way the ancients practiced their religion because I'm not an ancient and I believe the gods evolve with the rest of the world.  Doesn't mean things from the past aren't valuable and a great way to do things.  It just means that I don't believe the gods expect us to stay stagnant, frozen in a particular time frame. Still, I study the ancient ways because it's beneficial to understanding the gods.  And the people who first worshiped them.

My daily rituals aren't particularly impressive.  Lighting a candle on the kitchen shrine to Hestia with some incense in the morning with a prayer or two to the goddess.  In the evening at my altar with prayers to the gods in general and specifically to whatever god I feel I should give my attention to.  I haven't, at this stage, brought forth many requests.  I feel differently about supplications now than I did as a Christian.  I just don't feel like the gods are there to get me out of the messes I made myself.  It's my responsibility to fix things.  I do ask for their guidance and whatever strength they might offer up but overcoming bad decisions or mistakes is my responsibility.

After lighting the candles and incense (I have two for the Olympians and one for the Chthonic gods) I like to read the Iliad out loud.  Just two pages a night.  And I pick up a book or two to study while in the afterglow of time spent with the gods.  I have a couple from the library, several on my Kindle that I got free,  Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica and Burkert's Greek Religions.  I don't read in every book every night but I do read something every night.

I'm definitely settling in comfortably and a lot of the things that bothered me before don't seem to bother me anymore.  I do avoid discussions that tend to denigrate my particularly liberal stance on things.  I realize that a lot of Hellenic polytheists are more conservative than I am, but again...not a reconstructionist.  I walk my own path with the gods.

But now it's time to get ready to go pick up my meds at the pharmacy and get the shopping done. And then more knitting tonight on socks I'm knitting for my aunt's granddaughter-in-law.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

My plans were a bit too ambitious today

I wasn't as bouncy today due to fending off a sinus infection today (I won, I think) but I'm still feeling pretty good about things spiritual.  I've noticed on some blogs and groups that their discussions are way over my head because they get into the philosophical, using big words and everything.  But that's okay.  That kind of thing exists in all religions, I'm sure.

I didn't get any reading done today.  I have another book in at the library by Walter Burkert about Mystery Religions.  Since there isn't a waiting  list on it, I can keep it checked out for around 3 months if I need to.  I love our library system. 

I did get a few things done around the house in the way of organizing but not enough.  In fact, my bed is overflowing with things I moved from the rack that is now in front of the south window.  That will be holding all my seedlings and such.  It also has my art supplies on it as well.  I need to reorganize it because I think I can come up with another free shelf for plants.  But I'm not sure what to do with the baby clothes I had knitted up for charity.  I want to wait until I have more to donate so I guess I'll bag them up and store them in my overflowing closet.

I lit a candle on the altar today for a friend who has a job interview tomorrow.  I wasn't sure who to appeal to so I left it up in the air generally with a nod to Hera since it's her month.  Plus I think we have a connection although not a close one yet. 

I still need to manage my time better and treat the computer like it's crack.  I spend way too much time on here.  I can't go off totally because I have things going on here that I need to keep up with but I could spend a lot less time keeping up with everything and everyone.  Politics took me over during the governor's race a couple of years ago and I haven't quit it yet.

I'm on the left/liberal side of things, which I'm glad to have found isn't an aberration within Hellenic polytheism.  There are those who are firmly on the right but they don't seem to be a huge majority.  Even among reconstructionists, which I'm not one of.  It's one of the things that kept me from committing to either Greek or Heathen polytheism.  The heathens, more than the Greeks, tend to sit on the right side of politics, both social and financial aspects.  It was very hard for me to stay on the heathen path with so many of them polar opposites to me.  Especially with all the macho bullshit and war-loving attitudes.  But enough of that.  I much prefer to talk about all things Greek.

Except supper is ready and I need to get the kitchen cleaned up afterward and then go to bed to read and knit a while.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not alone on my journey

Still riding the high that is my spiritual journey.  After living in a desert for the past several months, this is exhilarating.  And my son is experiencing his own spiritual excitement as well.  He, like me, has struggled since leaving Christianity and probably more than me has suffered from the bullying he experienced from his youth group and the leaders in it.  He has emotional and neurological conditions that don't help:  Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD.  And he suffers from depression.  A host of problems that are difficult to overcome.  So having problems on his spiritual journey has been overwhelming to him.

He decided to go back to his first love:  witchcraft.  Not Wicca or anything like that.  Just plain witchcraft.  I'm happy for him.  I think in our house we tend to over-think things way too much.  Sometimes the simplest answers are the most satisfying.

Fortunately I have several books that will aid him but if he needs anything else, we'll find it if we can.

As for me, I got my new book today.  It's Walter Burkert's Greek Religion.  I was a bit worried because a few people online had complained it was dry as dust, being a textbook and all, but so far I find it very readable.  But then again, I love textbooks about history so...

Before we left for the store today I prayed at the threshold shrine for a safe journey as it was snowing.  It was starting to get a bit slick on the way home but the minivan drives well in snow and I'm a pretty good winter driver myself.  It was safe enough to keep to the speed limit today but if it wasn't, I'm not stupid enough to push it.  My shrine is for both Zeus and Hermes but I prayed specifically to Hermes today.

I'm still getting to know the Greeks.  Or getting to know them again.  I used to know them in my youth although I didn't know you could still pray to or worship them.  In fact, Bullfinch's Mythology states categorically that no one has worshiped the gods in centuries.  So I'm sure I read that one as well when I was a child.  Edith Hamilton was my favorite though.  I've got both on Kindle that I got free (Bullfinch) and Edith Hamilton's was at Walmart.

So I have lots of reading to do and much housework as well.  The chaos in our home from me not being able to do a lot really contributes to the negativity that we live under.  Zach is going to help me get organized and I'm going to push myself as much as I can to get it done.  Which might not be as much as I would like.  Today at the store I had a major flare-up of my fibromyalgia that forced me to a bench to sit for a while.  I'm still hurting and am going to take a pain pill in just a few.  I've never had a flare up hit me that hard or that abruptly before but to be honest, lying in bed or just resting all the time causes as much pain because I need to move my muscles frequently or they really hurt a lot.

So...lots of changes on the horizon, I hope.  I can rest when I need to but I need to get some organization going.  The clutter is overwhelming me.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Feeling spiritual again

It's been a long time since I've had this feeling.  I'm excited again about spending time at the altar, talking with the gods, meditating and even reading again.  I hadn't realized how starved I was for this feeling.  I'm not sure if this is a honeymoon period and will wear off later but I do know that I didn't have this exhilaration while I was with the heathen gods.

I figured out that I had been trying to make this a logical decision instead of going with my heart.  My heart isn't the most trustworthy of resources so I left it completely out of the decision-making process.  Obviously I can't do that again.  Still, I'm not throwing myself at the gods like a giddy schoolgirl.  I hope I'm moving forward in a mature, thoughtful manner.

I broke down and bought a book I had thought about last time I was with the Greeks.  Since I've got a month free of Amazon Prime, I've got free 2-day shipping so I should get it Wednesday.  It's Walter Burkert's book on the history of the Greek religion.  The title is escaping me right now but it's one that most Hellenic polytheists use for reference.

When I was setting up my altar, I completely forgot about my black candles since I didn't have any use for them with the heathen gods.  So I got one out last night and had some really good times with the Chthonic gods, Hekate and Persephone in particular.  It was great to connect with them again.  I have a black rose in a vase to represent Persephone and a Chrysanthemum stone I use to represent her, too.  I have my raven pentacle to represent Hekate.  I also have some books on Kindle that I got free about Hekate and Artemis.  I haven't read them yet though.

I'll get a picture of my altar soon.  Apparently the batteries in the camera die out even if you don't have the camera on so I need new batteries.  I have them.  I just haven't put them in the camera yet.

Well, off to finish up my home made chicken noodle soup for supper and then off to bed to knit on the socks for my aunt's relative.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Going with the flow

Last night I changed my altar to reflect a Greek practice rather than heathen and it felt good to make the changes.  Still, I wasn't sure if this was the right choice to make but I did it anyway.  I put aside most of my heathen books, apart from the books on runes, and brought out some of my Greek books.  Some I still had in my headboard bookcase.  Although I wasn't absolutely sure this was right, I lit my candles, invoked the Greek gods and was literally gobsmacked with the energy I got in response.  I haven't felt that for months.  The feeling lasted a good hour during which time I sat watching the candles, smelling the incense and just thinking about it all.

There are some conclusions I came to which will probably not resemble rational thought at all since I just let the thought processes flow.  The big question I had to answer was, which pantheon gives me a better sense of myself?  The answer to that has always been the Greeks.  I like who I am when I worship them.  Not so much the heathen gods.  I feel very blah with the Norse, not motivated at all.  I considered that maybe I was just going through the depression that is a constant part of my life, but the answer is that I just didn't care about myself at all.

I began thinking about my reasons for not wanting to worship the Greeks.  I've admitted in the past that I have problems with all-or-nothing thinking.  It's like if I'm going to worship the heathen gods, then every aspect of my, literature, movies...all must be about that culture.  I'm not sure how to change that but I'd better figure out a way or my life is going to be miserable, no matter which path I'm on.

In keeping with that attitude, I've felt a certain unworthiness to worship the Greeks because they aren't in my ancestry.  Or at least not that I know of.  I pay way too much attention to people out there claiming ownership of certain cultures because of their ancestral rights and I try too hard to avoid any kind of conflict, even internal.  But the Greeks were my first love and I can't forget that.  I don't think I need to focus on my ancestry because it's obvious that much of my ancestry was Christian and I really don't want to go that route simply because it's a part of my heritage.  So why force a direction simply because some of my ancestors walked that path?

I also got a bit sidetracked by the rules and regs of the recons in Greek polytheism.  Part of that is the all-or-nothing-ness that plagues me.  It's like if I'm going to do something, I have to do it exactly the way it's "supposed" to be done.  I don't give myself freedom to walk my own path.  I say I do, but I don't.  I must learn to worship the gods instinctively instead of from a book or website.  And because of that I tend to categorize the paths into separate segments.  Such as, I think of the Greeks as being more urban (which they're really not) and the Celts and Saxons as being more nature-driven.  None of that is essentially true, but I box myself into these bizarre notions and can't seem to get out.

The bottom line for me, though, is...which gods do I feel more of a connection with and which gods call to me?  The answer to both seems to be the Greeks.  I have always devoured anything to do with Greek mythology, or history or fiction.  Or even movies.  I have never been able to get enough of them.  Not so much the heathen culture.  I can't even bring myself to read the Eddas or the books on mythology.  I got a fictional book from the library about a Saxon sorcerer and it bored me to tears.  I couldn't get past the first few chapters.  And even then I was forcing myself to get that far.

So I suppose my first love is still my love.  I do love them.  Maybe that will have to be enough because I'm still not in love with them.

But as with everything else on my path, I have no idea where my future lies.  I could end up someplace else completely.

But for now...I'm following this stream.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Testosterone overload

It's getting to me, the macho-heavy influence within heathenry.  I could live in isolation, not frequent any groups and keep myself from reading all the bullshit but I get lonely and want to be with people who share my interests.  The Norse women group is great but not very chatty and most of them are Vanir anyway.  I'm just tired of everything having to be manly and heroic.  I'm tired of the strutting.

I ignore it all up to a point and then I just get mad.  There are a lot of war-mongerers within heathenry and seem to think they are the rule and not the exception.  They probably are.  But I'm not.  I'm not a pacifist; war can be a necessary evil.  But evil it is.  And I really do hate the affiliation with people who seem to think that might makes right.  All the time.  It's sad because there are heathens out there I really do admire.  I just wonder if it's a lost cause for me to continue to pursue this path when I have to keep blinders on all the time to avoid the elements that I really detest along the way.

Plus my political leanings are definitely liberal and I don't seem to fit in with the pro-gun crowd.  There was a leftist heathen group offered on Facecrack but when I got there they didn't consider liberals leftists so I got out of there.  They seemed more like anarchists, which is not my thing at all.  And while I do realize that many Hellenic polytheists tend to be conservative, they don't seem to be as radically so.

And yes, the Greeks are whispering in my ear again, seducing me with their more peaceful and serene practices.  No drunken brawls for me.  No chest-pounding.  No glorification of war.  Just peaceful streams and green groves.

I just don't know.  I'm not making any decisions right now, especially while I'm aching for a relationship with the gods. I know I'm vulnerable in this way.  Still, paying a shitload of money for books isn't a reason to stay the course, which is a huge motivator for me to keep pursuing the heathen path.  I already own much more in the way of Hellenic and Roman materials because I have collected that stuff all my life but haven't spent any money in the past year or so on them.

I do have a small altar set aside for the Greeks because I have always loved them in a way.  I just don't know that I'm in love with them.  But I'm definitely not in love with the Anglo Saxon gods either.  Not even sure if I love them at all yet.

I'm really tired of this indecision.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm not in love

The past couple of weeks have been some of the most stressful I've had lately.  And when you consider the amount of stress I live under daily, that's saying a lot.  We were holding our breaths to see if my husband was either going to lose his job altogether or just get a reduction in pay.  As it turned out, he still has the responsibilities although no longer has the title, has had a new job tacked onto it and still got a reduction in pay.  And now he's hourly so the hours count even more.  I fucking hate corporate America.

I won't get political here because here is where I talk through my spirituality but the stress I've endured lately has brought some spiritual questions to my mind.  The first being, why do I look to the Greeks when I'm under this kind of stress?  My first instincts were to set up altars and pray to them to get us through this instead of going to my heathen altar and talking to my heathen gods.  I think it might be because I've known them from my youth even if I never worshiped them until recently so I do know them better. 

It has got me to thinking though.  I'm not in love with any of them to be honest.  I've had my moments of deep affection for the gods from time to time but no lasting love and no real commitment.  When I was a Christian I did have a great deal of love for the gods there (and in my mind they are gods...not God.)  When I left that behind in bitterness and feelings of betrayal, I seem to have shut down my heart as well.  I can count on one hand the number of gods I've felt affection for since then, but I seem to shut down as soon as I realize that.
I'm not giving up on my heathen gods at all.  I think I just don't know them well enough yet.  And that it totally my fault.  I haven't allowed myself to move in that direction so far.  When the stress becomes overwhelming I shut down altogether and don't reach out to anyone, human or divine.  It stays inside me.

I do want to be in love.  I don't think I knew that until very recently.  Maybe I didn't even want to be in love until recently.  So now it's time to start building relationships with the gods.  The heathen gods.  It's not that I don't like the Greeks; I still have a great deal of fondness for them, but I still don't think we're a good fit.  And I do think the heathen gods are. But I won't know that for sure until I get to know them. 

Right now, getting to know them is my priority...not worrying about proper rituals, tools or language.  Just getting to know them.  And letting them get to know me.  I'll worry about the rest of it later.  It's time I focused on opening up instead of shutting down.  I'll let you know how it goes from there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I continue

Finally went to see The Hobbit yesterday.  I hadn't watched much in the way of trailers and such because I wanted the experience to be completely fresh and I was rewarded with an amazing experience.  Plus the theater now has a new sound system that is surround sound.  I kept hearing birds behind me and trolls to the left of me.

It doesn't hurt that Tolkien loved Anglo Saxon history and used a lot of the Northern religions in his books.  It really cheered me up in the midst of some terrible financial news that includes the very distinct probability that my husband's pay is going to go down.  On a paycheck that is already too small and smaller by a significant amount due to our taxes going up.

Amidst that panic the old patterns reared their ugly heads...the questions about what we have done to warrant such bad fortune all the time (including having to pick Tom up in the wee hours this morning because the truck died...and will cost us $500 to fix) and who can I pray to in order to fix it all?  I've calmed down a bit from that and have moved beyond that panic.  And still remain on my path, which amazes me. 

I don't have many answers.  I just keep at it.  I did some reading today, the first since the holidays.  It always helps to get my head inside the knowledge of the gods and runes and magic.  I didn't read as much as I had hoped as I fell asleep after a while.  I hadn't gotten much sleep the past two nights because of the worry and stress (and having gotten woken up to go out in the cold to pick up my husband on a dark country road.)

I just continue.  That's the only way I can think of it.  I continue.  Walking my path, honoring the gods, working harder to be more frugal and making do with what we have.