Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Warrior

The warrior mentality.

Some people  think that the only ones that can claim the title of warrior is someone who actually fights in war. For example: soldiers.

I think this is a flawed mentality because we live in modern times where wars are less rampant. (I am speaking as an American here. I realize there are still backwards countries out there where this is not the case. However, I feel that the world in general is moving towards the idea that conflict is best resolved with words. In either case, I am speaking here for my own country and way of living.)

We can have a warrior in peace time and still be a warrior, even if that peace time lasts all of a lifetime. You don't physically have to be fighting regularly in order to be considered a warrior. A martial artist can be considered a warrior. A person who fights for causes they believe in is a warrior. Someone who protects other people. 

This is just one of those topics that pushes people's buttons. Some feel that this warrior mentality is over-saturated in Heathenry.  Suddenly everybody's a warrior. This idea that most Vikings were considered warriors whether they were the farmers, or the ones going out to fight. That is of couse some revisionist hogwash but i think we can see how anyone in the village needed to be ready to defend their homestead at a moments notice. 

In our first world little countries, this is not needed. (Thank the gods). But does this mean that warriors are not needed? Or can we update the definition?

I'm a woman and I still consider myself a warrior. I am a martial artist. Currently working on my 2nd Degree Black belt in Taekwondo. Once upon a time I was a Top Ten Competitor. Just because I enjoy a good fight, doesn't mean that's where my personality stops. I also knit. I also cook for my children. I grow food. I have livestock. All these things make me a caretaker too but they don't detract from the fact that I am a warrior. 

Now granted the only real fight I've ever been in was to defend my husband once when we were attacked by a group of teenagers. They were harassing the elderly drivers along the street we lived on and as we passed by them, they hit the back of our car. My husband got out to check to make sure he didn't hit anybody. They attacked him and the two of us fought off five of these "kids" between ages 18 and 21. 

That is probably the only time I've ever thrown a punch at anybody intending harm. I've never thrown the first punch but I always finish it. 

My definition of a Warrior is someone who at a moments notice can and will use a weapon, whether it be via written word, a gun, a sword, or their fists, and use it in defense of others and their community and family. 

That is a warrior. 

I'd like to differentiate this word with another overused and ridiculously euphemized word: hero 

A hero is a warrior. A warrior is not necessarily a hero.  A Hero is someone, who despite the fact that it might kill them, still manages to go and defend the helpless regularly. Not just for themselves, their family and their community, but anyone who who needs them. 

I would consider most police officers and firefighters heroes. (It can be argued that it's their job... but really who would chose this job, if they didn't want to protect people?)

All soldiers are warriors, but not all soldiers could be considered heroes. 

A football player might be a role model but not a hero. A famous person, again role model but not necessarily a hero. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

I'd like to think I could be a hero given the opportunity. We will see how that goes. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Death and the Warm Can of Dr Pepper

It's officially Fall. By the calendar standard of course as Florida is still hot and humid. But as soon as the Pumpkin Spice Everything comes out, we consider it Fall. 

It's my favorite time of the year. Time when our ancestors would focus on family. 

My mom is coming to visit soon and I can't be happier. It's been 2 years since I've seen her. 

October is always busy. I have 2 Samhain rituals to prep for, a Tea Party for the Dead for my kids, and the Annual Witches Ball. 

I've already sewn costumes for the kids. A Rainbow Dash and Spike the Dragon. I still have to sew mine. Mom and I are going as the Wicked Witches of East and West. I'm trying my hand at making a hard leather corset. (I also love Comics and Anime so this will be re-painted for my comic-con cosplay costume). 

This is my time of year for crafting. I don't have much to harvest as here it is now time to plant the seeds.  

This is also the time of year that I tell stories. The way I honor my family and ancestors is through telling their stories. And every year I make a special meal, usually chicken paprika as remembrance.  I also buy a single can of Dr Pepper. I hate Dr Pepper. But it's not for me. It's for my grandpa. It's my way of remembering him. He was such a funny man and I'm sorry I didn't understand his humor when I was a kid. 

His favorite was a warm Dr Pepper. He'd have me stick it out in the sun for him. He'd ask me to shut off the hurricane. (The fan). He'd ask me silly nonsensical questions. 

He taught me that sometimes it's best to let things go if you are not invested in the outcome. He was never angered easily. He was always calm and patient. And he always had a smile. 

He had a stroke 3 years ago. He waited 2 weeks for his son to fly home so he could say good bye. And then he died a few hours after he left. I miss him.

 As an adult, we would have been two peas in a pod. 

I plan to go home next year to visit my homeland, my family. I will visit his grave and leave him a can of Dr Pepper. I can just image people walking by and seeing the can. It puts a big smile on my face already. 

I'll also visit my other 2 grandparents graves. The ones I don't remember anymore. All I have is their stories. 

My maternal grandmother died before i was born. My mother, when she came to the U.S. in the 80's had a premonition that she'd never visit her mom again. She told me how many nights she dreamed she walked up her mom's steps and knocked on her door. Always someone else answered, never her. Mom says that if she had been alive today, we'd be 4 generations of witches. 

I say probably 5 because she also told me of her mom's father, who knew the day he was going to die. He bid goodbye to everyone one fine winter's night and walked out into the snow fall. 

My maternal grandfather was a gardener. He always sent us pressed roses and flowers from his garden. 

Mom woke up one night crying for no  discernible   reason, certain that something was wrong. She spent 2 weeks upset about some unknown thing before she got the call that her father had passed 2 weeks ago. (Yea, 2 weeks later. Nice. It's like why tell his only child he died? And oh yea, he left you nothing... Riiiiight. Oh but can you pay for the funeral?)

It is the time to talk about death. I don't mind talking about death. It's healthy. 

And just so you know, I don't want a stinking dirge-like funeral with wailing women when I die.  Unless your doing it as a joke, Shatner-esk style. 

But seriously, throw a party. Tell people about that time some poor sap handed me 1000 fliers to put up in my college dorm and how I papered the place. Flyer curtains down the stairwells and upside down in places no sane person would dare. 

Tell them about the time I played Little Red Riding Hood at the Ren Faire and punched the man that would become my husband squarely in the nose. (He was the big bad wolf)

Tell them about the time I made you laugh. 

Tell stories. Laugh. Drink. 

And offer my spirit up some Skittles or Twizzlers. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Freyablot (June's post)

The Freyablot went well and all is happy in the stead.

We took a look at my lovely organic garden, my micro-water system, and rain-water barrels. We discussed what can be used as replacements for chemicals like pestasides and weedkillers.

Being in Florida pretty much means that our growing seasons are reversed. Summer is the time to keep things fallow. The summer heat bakes almost any vegetable you want to grow. At this time of year, I really only grow herbs and tend my fruit trees.

Growing fruits: Apple, Peach, 2 kinds of orange, fig, lychee, dragon fruit, avocado, cherry, pomagrant, muscodine grape, bread fuit, jackfuit, passionfruit, papaya and mango.

Next, I borrowed a blot to Freya (see below)

And lastly, we ate some foods prepared from my garden. A tomato tarte tatine (aka tomato pie) and babaganush (eggplant spread) and kuozot (Hungarian goatcheese spread).

And let me not forget the most important part, we played with my chickens and the goats.

Freya Blot
 (for the May Day)
By Lisa and Steve Wilson
(Adapted from RITUALS OF ASATRU; Volume One--Major Blots, by Stephen A. McNallen; published by World Tree Publications, copyright 1990.)

Harrow should be set up with gandr, drekkjarhorn, vessel of ale, blessing bowl, and evergreen tine. There should also be a small number of seeds which are intended for planting in a garden at the time of the blot. Harrow may also be decorated with flowers of the season, and should face west.

HALLOWING: Godi raises gandr and makes salutation to the quarters, sunwise, beginning in the west:

Godi returns to harrow, faces west, and holds gandr high overhead:
"I hallow and make holy to the service of Freya this harrow and stead, banishing all influences unholy or impure. May our minds, in this hallowed place, likewise be hallowed, as is our will, to the just service of Freya. As the god Heimdall guards the bifrost bride, may this place be warded against all foces unharmonious to our work here today."

INVOCATION: Godi places gandr back onto harrow, stands in Elhaz-Stodhur.
"Lady Freya, Goddess of sensual delights, of love and fertility, of earthly joy in all ots richness!  We know you in the new life filling the world, in the fecund beasts in the fields, and in the quickened wombs of womankind. Goddess of the joyful embrace, we give praise to you for the many pleasures of our lives, and for the gentle, yet strong, ways of love. We sing your praises, as do the newborn babe, those bonded on love and the  mothers whose lives you touch – and even as fo the fallen heros whom you gather to the haven of your bosom. Hearken, fair goddess, as we call to you, and come to us in your cat-drawn wain.”

As the Godi proclaims each kenning, the gathered folk will reply:
Godi: "WIFE OF OD!"

The godi then continues:
"Come to us, Vanadis, to receive the sacrifice prepared for you. Withhold not your gifts form us but continue to pour, them forth, that the world may not merely be, but that it may be in prosperity and in the full joy of all things sensual. Let us, by our celebration and sacrifice, attempt to dry the golden tears you weep. Most beautiful of goddesses, we invoke you –“

OFFERING: The gydia takes up the drekkjarhorn and holds it as the godi fills it from the vessel of ale:
"And we offer you sacrifice! Not of blood, but the free giving of our human efforts, our struggle, and our devotion. May it aid us, gods and humankind alike.

Godi takes filled horn from gydia and holds it aloft in offering:
"Freya, accept our gifts, not as from slaves, for we have no master, nor as an appeasement, for we stand in good,  stead with you; but as a sign of our kinship and fellowship.

When godi feels offering has been accepted, he will pour a small libation on the ground in front of (to the west) the harrow. then hand horn back to gydia.

LOADING: Godi holds his hands over the horn:
"Freya, you have received our sacrifice, as symbolized by the ale in this horn. Pour now into it your power and blessings, making it for us a true draught of might and main, that we may grow closer to you and to each other by sharing it among us

BLESSING: When godi feels ale is charged, he picks up blessing bowl and places tine into it. Gydia pours a small amount of ale over the tine into bowl. Godi sprinkles harrow, then turns and sprinkles the folk:
"I Give you the blessings of Freya.”

Godi will then sprinkle the seeds placed on the harrow:
"Freya, bless these seeds that they may grow and give pleasure to us and glory to your name.”

DRINKING: Godi sets bowl back on harrow. He takes horn from gydia, and drinks a small sip. Then, moving sunwise, he offers
As each person takes a sip from the horn, they may, if they wish, offer a toast to Freya, or simply say, "HAIL FREYA!" After all have taken a drink, godi will return to the harrow, and offer the horn to the gydia. After she drinks, she may pour the remaining ale onto the ground.

CLOSING: After a brief moment of silence and reflection, the godi speaks:
"This sacrifice is done. May it strengthen us in our devotion to the goddesses of our ancestors, and renew in our hearts our determination to live as worthy sisters (and brothers) of Freya. May we go forth from here today with all the greater resolve to live free and true—with courage, with trust in our strength, and honoring the bonds of kinship, until we be gathered to the gods.”

Godi will then face west, standing in Elhaz-Stodhur (Jordsvin's note: standing straight up, legs together, arms uplifted. You look like an upside-down peace symbol without the circle).
"Freya, lovely lady, we thank you for your presence here today. As you wend to Asgard, bear with you the thoughts, and prayers of your brothers and sisters who dwell in Midgard. Praise to you, Freya, and farewell."

Godi will pick up gandr and salute each of the quarters:

Afterwards, the blessed seeds should be planted in their intended place, and the folk should celebrate with food, frolic, and fellowship.
Created by Chandonn and Jordsvin
all works used by permission of the authors
last modified 12/30/2003

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beltane, the dancing sun

Samhain is my favorite holiday. Beltane my second favorite. But a close second.

The Summer festival is wonderful time of year, it makes me feel energized and not much different than the Energizer Bunny. I want to CLEAN things! and organize things! And let's not forget friends and May Pole dancing and the ritual around the roaring fire. Woohoo!

My manic side is showing through, I'd apologize, but I'm not really sorry. Try to keep up. :-)

Last weekend, I spent a whole day surrounded by pagans, young and old and everything in between. My 6 year old dancing and running around being a free spirit, shouting So Be It!

There was much laughter and good humor and venders with their wares.

The May Queen and her Consort, the men bringing in the May Pole "thrusting" it into the hole suggestively. The innuendos abounded. lol!

We had about 50 dancing with ribbons around the May Pole. Faces of friends whirling past, a smile on every face.

This. This is what being a pagan means to me.

Beltane is a re-newal of life. Winter is behind us and the Summer ahead.

The next day, I was still full of energy and after cleaning the house, I also weeded the garden and prepared the beds for a few plantings. The kids playing in the grass and the warm air blowing against my skin. It felt like such a magical weekend.

Made me forget how crazy the Friday before had been. I had a million errands to run and my car died just as I was finishing. It was rather perfect timing though... I had finished all the errands and was in line to pick up some chicken for dinner and was ready to go pick up the kids. I get handed my food. Car dies.

I can't get it started. Thankfully, several people came and helped me push the vehicle into a parking spot. I try to call me hubby at work. I only have 45 minutes before the kid's daycare closes. My phone is turned off for some reason. It's not working. I had to borrow a phone, call hubby about 4 times in a row to get him to answer this odd number coming up on his caller ID.

He happens to be on break and comes to get me and the kids (just in the nick of time).

This week I am working on re-formatting a Freyablot ritual I found online. I recieve assignments from my Temple regularly and this year I was asked to create a presentation on something. It could be anything, but I decided to show my Farm and talk about using sustainable resources, no pesticides and earth-friendly practices. The assignment was to include a ritual and it seemed a land blessing ritual would work well in this instance. I asked for help directing me towards a Norse Ritual because that is what I am studying now. Someone suggested an Acerblot and other land-taking rites. I found the Freyablot while researching.

Freya is definately my kind of Goddess. And the blot (ritual) is usually celebrated in May.

I am going to finish the details and talk about Freya and the Freyablot in my next update.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Theism versus Non-theism in Pagandom

I like to read. I read a great deal. Sometimes multiple things at the same time. I read books and blogs and web articles. I am always reading.

And there is this thing that is being discussed all over the place. It is basically asking whether only hardcore polytheists are 'real' pagans.

What's a hard polytheist, you ask?
Well, apparently there are people out there who feel that god/goddess (gods, goddesses) are real personified actual 'living' entities. Ones that you can talk to and will respond to you. That each and every deity in all pantheons exist as independent entities.

This is in opposition to the beliefs of someone like me who sees gods/goddesses as faces we humans give the universal energy around us as a way to make sense of the incomprehensiblness of divinity. Gods are not real persons (for myself, I mean.)

I think that everyone has a right to believe in exactly what they want to believe in and I would never poke fun at their beliefs. It is, however, difficult to discuss this topic without hurting anyone's feelings. So I'll apologize in advance and let you know that I am not telling anyone what to believe or what not to believe. My goal here is to explain my perspective on  this topic.

The truth is that I do not have the capacity to understand polytheism because in my base structure, my core, I cannot prove the existence of deity. I have never been able to do so. I have never talked to any deity and I certainly have never heard any deity speak. And trust me, I have listened and I have searched with an open heart and open mind. I'd love to prove that they exist. But for me, they just don't.

And I think this lack of capacity to understand is the same issue for polytheists, that they perhaps cannot comprehend how non-theists can be spiritual or religious if they don't believe in god/gods/goddess/goddesses that are so apparent to them.

It is a fundamental difference. A big one. It's one where we typically agree to disagree, but secretly feel sorry for the other person who just doesn't understand.

But to say that a non-theist cannot therefore be pagan is ludicrous.

This idea I think stems perhaps from the re-constructionist pagans (those reconstructing the 'old ways' from historical sources) who are under the assumption that our ancestors worshiped real/actual deities in a particular way. That the ancestors believed in deities actually existed upon the earth and that therefore this is the way to worship them currently in the modern world.

I think this is in error for two reasons.

One, we have no way to know or understand how our ancestors believed or what their thoughts were. We may know some of their actions and some of their rituals, but these do not necessarily correlate with their thoughts. For example, I have an altar to the Goddess. If my altar was found 100 years from now by another pagan, they may assume I prayed to a specific goddess and left offerings on this altar for her... as that is what altars are for in their opinion. They would be in error. My altar is to invoke within me the Goddess mindset. I place upon it the things that trigger or remind me what the Goddess represents as an avatar of divinity.

And two, the only constant is change. As we grew into more and more knowledge about our natural world, it became obvious that it was not gods that caused things to happen. For example, lightning is definitely not created by Zeus or Thor. (I have this on good authority.)

And not to mention that in any number of pantheons, deities would become entangled and/or change with the politics of the time. A great example are the Egyptian deities. I just read an article the other day about Set. If you read about Set from the early dynasties, he was a Sun God, a beneficial deity much loved. Then if you read about Set in the later eras, he was the bad guy who slew Osiris to get the throne. This change possibly occurred due to the changing political clime during the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Amun and Ra were also once separate entities, that at some point merged into one.

I think it is safe to say that while these 2 factions will never agree, we cannot and should not tell someone they are not a pagan unless they believe or do xyz... This is as silly an argument as asking which one of these is pagan: the priestess that calls to the watchtowers of the 4 elements or the one that only calls on the  God and Goddess? What if she only calls the Goddess? What about one who does not use an athame? (I have been known as the Twizzler Witch for a reason. Yes, the candy. I was just trying to prove a point thank you very much.)

The fact is, these old religions have been gone for so long that we are all merely re-creating what we perceive to be right. And belief is a widespread and ever changing thing. None of us have the right to tell another human being what to believe and how to worship.

Pagan is an umbrella term for a reason.

We can all fit under it. I promise, she's big enough for us all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bad luck comes in threes?

This is one of those old wives tales as they call them. The idea that luck (good or bad) usually comes in bursts of three.

I get hit with  a good dose of bad luck every once in a while. However, I also get a good bit of good luck, usually more than the bad. So all's good.

I was thinking about Trickster again, I mean when am I not? right?

And I thought I would share with the inter-webz how he helps me sometimes.

There are people out there who see tricksters as bad guys. evil. pranksters.
Many of these people blame all the world's misfortunes on Trickster.

But, you see, misfortune in the world just happens. The same way good fortune just happens. This is life. It is the way it is. The only choices we have are how we react to those things that just happen.

To give you an idea of my bad-luck spree.... here is a short list of the big things gone wrong in the last 2 months:

Hubby lost his job. again.

Hubby bought me a pygmy goat. ($12 and box of girl scout cookies... now that's a deal)
A freaking adorable and awesome goat. Stinky. But awesome. I named him Pan. (As befits the naming scheme for my household: Dogs are : Zeus, Thor and Hermes; Cats: Morgana, Merlin, Gwen and Georgie; Chickens are named for the Muses and Graces.)

My youngest child called him Moo.

Then one Friday, a neighbor's Pitbull got loose, pushed open my gate and killed Pan. My dogs attacked the Pit and chased it out of the yard. It went over to the farm across the street, killed 2 chickens, a goat and was in the process of trying to get a horse, when the farmer shot it.

I feel bad all around here. I blame the owners (who claim 'it's not my dog') and not the poor animal. Thankfully, none of my kids were home when this happened.

My 3 dogs formed a wall around the goat until we got home. They actually laid in a circle around the dying goat like some kind of funeral guard.

On the following Tuesday, my house got broken into. Several broken windows, a few things were stolen and everything not stolen was spray painted blue. A big FU on my front door, a b-ch on my bedroom wall. You get the picture.

I am struggling not to burst out laughing here. Obviously someone was trying to get us upset. I'm not. I'm not up for this game. I think it must be time to paint my house. Oh and I needed to replace those bad windows anyway.

Granted, I'm a little annoyed at a few things that were painted that are irreplaceable (Lovely white Hungarian embroidered apron) and my sewing machine and serger are toast having paint in the gears,  but mostly things can be cleaned off. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser by the way... it gets spray paint off anything but wood and wall.

It's obvious that this was the work of some kids. I also know that they will be paying for it in some way. They may not be caught now, but they will one day pay for it. Call it Karma, Rebounding Energies or Trickster paying them a visit, or what have you, one day it'll come back on them.

4. The kidnapping scam. Suffice it to say, I do not want to give out all the details here, but let's just say that there is this scam where a stranger calls one of your family members that there's been an accident and they need to come help. Then you get a call that your family member has been kidnapped and that you need to send $3,000 to get them back.(or that your nephew is in jail and needs bail money wired right away).  You may be smart enough to realize this is a scam and call 911. It still stresses you out and blows your day though, right? Especially if you can't get a hold of the 'kidnapped/jailed' person.

Lots of bad luck as you can see. However I still have a smile on my face. I am laughing and giggling along as I write that list. Because it IS funny! I mean seriously, how many things can go wrong in a span of 2 months? Holy Hel. 

Things turned out fine, by the way. Hubby has a new and much higher paying job. I now have a mommy goat and her 3 babies. (We bought a preggo goat and she had triplets! omg!) Insurance is paying to re-paint my house and replace my kitchen cabinets. I also got to buy a new sewing machine. It has 80 stitches! Much more than the old one.

Things always have a way of working themselves out. And I know that I just have to move through the hard stuff to get to the other side. There is always an other side.

There are always going to be multiple ways of looking at a situation.
Trickster did not cause the bad luck, but he helps me to see the humor in the situation.
I always say, Find the Humor.

Please do not get me wrong here, I am not saying that there aren't serious situations or that there aren't times where you need to be serious. All I am trying to get at is that you get to choose those times. You get to choose how to react. And if you can find the humor, you can get through anything.

Oh and about that bail money? Can you wire that to my Kaman Island account by tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Holiday Wrap Up and Looking Ahead

Happy Holidays to everyone.

I have been working on a post about Cultural Appropriation but with the holiday times, I just couldn't finish it yet.

I love holiday time and I hate holiday time.

I live for making my kids happy and we do the traditional things like set up our Yule/Christmas tree, decorate the house with lights. Make cookies and of course pumpkin/gingerbread lattes. yummo.

The down side is too many things and not enough energy to go around. During the year, I occasionally get into short little funks. I get holiday funk too, But when the regular funk meets holiday funk, they make messy little FUNKY babies and make me terribly irritable and I don't feel like doing anything at all. I still DO things because I am reliable and always do what is necessary. But boy am I glad it is all done now.

I don't typically make New Years Resolutions per say. BUT, I do like to make a list of things I want to do or look forward to.  Prioritize if you will.

So, what am doing this year?

Let's see.

For the Moonpath CUUPS
1. I am going to promise to teach another 2 Topics, I have not picked them yet, so if anyone wants to throw one or 2 my way, please do. I am thinking of a crafting day perhaps? a dance around the fire day? Or a story day (everyone brings a 3 minute story?)

2. I will join the inner circle of leadership... hopefully. You guys in charge vote for me so I can do more helpful things. You know you love me. I'm awesome.  :-D

For my Sisterhood
1. I am going to lead a workshop of some sort and I know that the sorting jar will pick me and I'll will facilitate a monthly ritual too.
2. Get the Green Temple out there with a Quarterly Event and Monthly Blog post (Go check us out here)
3. Continue THIS blog as my journal. My next few topics will be Cultural Appropriation, Ogam Sticks and Runes and then about all the various Spring Festivals such as MardiGra,  Busójárás, the Hungarian Easter Watering of the Virgins, Ostara and more.

:insert picture of girl getting watered when Blogger lets me do it:

For My Kids:
1. Girl Scouting events - 1 every other month and 1 meeting biweekly (AM I going to be a troop leader? we shall see.......)
2. Goddess & Me/PeeWee Pagans - 1 meeting every month and Earth Day Clean Up Day

For Me
1. Archery - every other week practice, go to 2 SCA events
2. Sew myself a pair of Hun pants and an overcoat
3. Learn Card Weaving
4. Read a book a month

:insert picture of female archer when Blogger quits acting like a baby because I want to upload a picture:

There. That should keep me busy. Busy=Happy.

I swear if anyone knew how much stuff I do a week including working full-time, keeping my kids fed, clean and homeworked-up, you'd wonder if there were 2 of me. There isn't. I SWEAR. You can come out of your Armageddon-Shelter now.

I'm off to study for my Civics Test for Citizenship now. I'm being tested and interviewed tomorrow! Which means I'm going to officially be an American after living here for almost 30 years. Wish me luck.