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Archive for August, 2015

I am only becoming more and more certain that the spot we call our shrine, that I have mentioned and described in this blog several times already, really is a powerful spot. Even my atheist husband feels it, and strongly. The four big rocks, almost as tall as I am, cradling a fifth “altar” stone, about half the size. And underneath the altar stone, a natural cavity.

That cavity under there. It feels like a gateway. A portal. I still haven’t explored it fully but I just know what it is, what it means.

Offerings I normally place on the altar stone. I bring food, mead, beer. I light candles. I meditate, pray and just listen. The gateway underneath is not for offerings. Not normal ones, anyway, I think. Without anyone telling me, I just know, that I should leave an item in there to infuse it with power. I just know that if I need communicate with the other side, that gateway can carry a message. This I just know.

There is something twirling around the back of my head, this feeling I can’t shake. I think I shouldn’t be hogging this for my own use only. Not all have the luxuary of an open portal in their back yard. I have a hard time writing this because I do not wish to sound arrogant or self aggrandising but

I can’t even finish that sentence. It still isn’t clear.

Ancestors, embrace me.

Spirits, guide me.

Gods, be with me.

You who listen, help me find my voice. 

You who speak, help me understand.

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Change

Today has been a day of both sadness and strength. I have been closing one chapter, left an era of my life behind, and opened up for a new one. There have been tears, many tears, but they have felt good because I knew it was the right decision.

It was right on time. My darling husband cracked, tonight. All the stress got to him, all the exhaustion. He cried, and he fell. I am so glad I was here to hold him and pick him up. It’s time for me to be the strong one now.

When he was broken, crying and drunk, we sat outside and talked. For a long while, just talked. Remembered and felt. Talked about our home. Our connection to the land. And let me tell you, no one listening would ever think him a “cold” atheist. He spoke with such passion about the land, this piece of land, how we belong here, how it is a part of us. It was deeply spiritual in nature.

Before we went inside we went by our little shrine, and offered some beer for the ancestors. Husband poured it onto the altar stone and asked for help.

And then let’s not talk about how he started talking about the four chaos gods from 40k. *cough* I literally had to stop him from calling on Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle and Tzeentch. >.> Let’s blame the beer, alright?

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A Nighttime Offering

There are no words to speak. None that needs writing. They are here. Here, is now. Here is then. I see a sliver of truth. A sliver of existence. Almost close enough to touch. We do touch. Here is now is then. I can almost grasp it.

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Whipped cream. A bowl of whipped cream, with something in it. I eat some. I eat some more. 

What’s in the whipped cream? I look closer. Ticks. Still living, wiggling, blood filled ticks. 

I stop eating, feeling sick. 

An unusually disgusting nightmare. I can still feel the ticks wiggling around in my mouth before popping. Absolutely distusting. How would I interpret it? Ahah, that’s a fun one. The meaning is quite clear to me, actually. It’s not something profound and solemn, it’s not grand and spiritual. This is not prophecy, this is communication.

“Think of this when you see whipped cream. It’s disgusting, you don’t want to eat it.”

I love whipped cream. I could seriously eat bowl fulls of it. But with this dream fresh in memory the idea of eating whipped cream makes my stomach turn. Disgusting but very practical for me who needs to NOT eat such. Yuck. Uuäääh. No whipped cream, please.

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Time

I was on my way to the university one day, some ten years ago. Not knowing what the lecture would be about – other than guessing that it would be archaeology related since I was in fact studying archaeology.

As I shoved my bike up the long, arduous hill that I had to pass in order to get through town, a thought popped into my head. A question, out of nowhere.

What is time?

The unexpected question gripped me completely, and I was completely lost in thoughts about time until I got to where I was going. It felt as though I got the tiniest insight, a little fragment of the puzzle that is truth, and it amazed me.

I walked into the classroom, and on the whiteboard it was written, in large letters:

WHAT IS TIME?

Turned out the lecture was about how time has been viewed by different schools of thought, from traditional folk lore to esteemed philosophers to very current physics theory. Me already being in the philosophic head-space and focused entirely on the question of time, had perhaps one of the most rewarding lectures during my years at uni, that day.

The fragment I stumbled upon is  hard to understand. Its apparent simplicity is deceiving.

All times exist simultaneously. Yesterday was always existing yesterday, and that never changes. Today is today no matter how many more days pass afterwards. 

Part of the problem is that we can not discuss something as existing simultaneously with another without including time as an aspect. But what we must try to do here is see time from the outside.

Imagine time as a line. Yes, that is an immense simplification and perhaps not at all accurate, but for the sake of the explanation just do it. Time as a line. Tomorrow is one point on the line. Yesterday was another. One cold evening a thousand years ago is another point on the line and sunrise 2 million years ago is another. Step out of the line, see it from the outside. The line exists. The past does not go away, it will always be there – if you imagine the word “always” as not being locked solely to the concept of time.

A simplification would be to speak of it as layers, like pages in a book, each one existing on top of the other. Each time, a different page. But that simplification is also difficult to deal with, it helps in one way but messes up in another, since it gives the impression of separation. That the person existing on one page is somehow separated from the version of himself on the next page, or the one before. And that is simply not the case. Just as yesterday’s me will always me in the now yesterday, and today’s me will always be in the now today, and tomorrow’s me will always be in the now tomorrow, it is still the same me.

A person, or an item for that matter, if seen from outside of time, consists not of separate little instances, but the sum of all. If I could step out of time and look at myself, each fraction of myself, existing in each moment, are all just pieces of a whole.

And when I hold an ancient object in my hand, I know that if seen from outside of time, that item is not only in my hand, but in a countless number of other nows as well. Somewhere another hand is holding it too. Somewhere it is created. Somewhere it falls to pieces. Not one moment of the item’s lifetime is ever gone. It all exists in the same time.

There is the fraction of an existence, which is in the now – whichever now we speak of – and there is the entire existence.

Time is but another dimension. And just as my town doesn’t mysteriously vanish just because I have left it and gone to visit another one, the past doesn’t vanish just because the fragment of myself that is now can no longer see it.

Fragments of existence are mere fragments. Live in the now, they say. And yes, we should. But we are also more than that. I am today, yesterday, the day I was born, the day I will die, and everything in between. The true self is not each fragment, but the whole.

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Personal Developments

Words spoken in jest by my husband have made me realize it may be time for me to change professional path. I don’t want to say too much too soon, it is still very uncertain if such would be possible in a practical sense. It would mean going back to uni for five years. It would mean being even more reliant on my husband’s salary to see us through. It would mean starting over, seeking an entirely new profession.

It feels strangely right.

But as said, it might not be practically possible. There is the financial aspect (the husband did NOT get happy about the idea of me going five years or so without an income…) and as always the child aspect. We are still waiting, hoping to get IVF treatment and planning is difficult with that constantly hovering over everything.

And now for something completely different.

I am growing more confident in my faith. Coming to realize that while I am a seeker, a journeymaid, a pathfinder, I am also, in a sense, a leader.

I think I need to start expressing myself more confidently here. No, wrong. I need to express myself with more confidence.

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It is something I come across so very often in the online polytheistic “community”. Blog posts describing chit chat with the this or that God, in which the God is portrayed as well, the writer’s best buddy. Where the God is said to chat in a very human way, and one pretty much gets the impression that the writer has a direct casual chat line with the Divine, and the Divine speaks to them just like how a human buddy would.

I try very hard not to judge. It is not my place, and it is not like I can judge what is true, what is false, what is imagination, what is spot on exact and what is creative interpretations anyway. There is no way I can tell anyone that their experiences are wrong. I can only look to myself, to my beliefs and my experiences.

Part of me thinks I shouldn’t even write this, since I know that some might take offense. But it is a recurring thought that I finally decided to be worth a little blog post. So first, let me apologize if this ruffles any feathers. Know that I am speaking in rather general terms, and I know very well that I can not say anything about your experiences specifically, and I do not claim that you are wrong.

But this is what I think.

The Gods are not like us. They are not our incorporeal buddies hanging out with us, ready whenever for casual chit chat. They are powers beyond our comprehension and we should be careful about humanizing them to the degree that we lose touch of reality.

Humans have an amazing ability to interpret input in ways that are familiar to us. We make sense of what we see, hear and feel by subconsciously translating it into words and sights that are compatible with our expectations and comprehension. This is not limited to spiritual life, this is very much present in our mundane and physical existence too. We see with out eyes, but only really see some – while the rest is filled in by our brains in our interpretation of the input. We are bombarded with input, signals from the world around us, which our minds make sense of. We work constantly at interpreting and translating the signals into something understandable, whether or not we are talking about what we see, hear, smell, taste or feel.

It is the same with our spiritual experiences, whether we are talking about divination, communication with spirits, communication with the Divine, and so on. There is input, and there is our interpretation of the signal. Never forget that last bit, our interpretation of the signal.

To make up a completely fictive example of a conversation between a human (let’s call her Anna) and a God (pick a God, any God)….

Anna: Are you there?

God: Hey! Yeah I’m here, just keeping an eye on you. 

Anna: I’m trying to figure out what kind of offering to bring you. Would you like meat or fruit? Or flowers maybe?

God: I’m in the mood for meat. A rare steak, please!

Reading polytheists blogs, these kinds of conversations with the Divine is actually relatively common. Some experience actually hearing the words of the God, some feel them. For some the signal seems clear, for some it is more fuzzy. Either way, we can’t forget that our perception of the experience is filtered through our minds, and while a person may perceive actual words being spoken by the God, it is entirely possible that the word never was spoken by the God in the first place, that the God doesn’t speak in words at all but that the words are our interpretation of the Divine signal.

So look at that example above. What did the God actually say? It’s pretty much impossible for an outsider to judge. But potentially it really went something like this:

Anna: Are you there?

The God doesn’t speak, but is present and Anna is able to pick up on His energy. 

Anna: I’m trying to figure out what kind of offering to bring you. Would you like meat or fruit? Or flowers maybe?

The God again doesn’t speak, but there is a slight signal indicating meat. Anna’s linguistic sense, combined with her perception of the God’s personality, combined with her skill (or lack of skill) in interpreting a non-physical signal, translates this into the dinner order: rare steak.

So what do I see, when someone retells a conversation they have had with a God, is this. At the core there may be an actual signal, but it is filtered and reshaped through the human’s mind. I personally am not too fond of interpretations of the signal that humanizes the God too much, because while it still may be true, it is also very coloured by the human picking up the signal. Anna may be completely right in her interpretation of her conversation with the Divine even though the words are her own. And while I respect Anna, I am more interested in the signal she is picking up on, than her human interpretations/additions of that signal.

I see how this has a very practical function. The Gods can be hard to understand, even if you do manage to pick up the signal. Translating the signal to our human way of communicating is probably a coping mechanism we need to even be able to understand them. But there is also a risk in it. It can easily lead us to humanize the Gods, to forget that they are not in fact like us only more powerful and without physical bodies, which in turn can lead to false expectations and heart break when reality doesn’t match what our perception – since the perception is so very connected to our interpretation.

I am not claiming that anyone’s experiences are false. But I do claim that us humans interpret the signal in ways that make sense to us, and the way we interpret it can cause a true message to be warped. Or misunderstood. Or perhaps picked up picked up spot on. But the more of the human I see in the words of the Gods, the more layers of humanity I expect to have to peel away in order to get to the true core.

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