A Modern Fasti: May Through June

A painting of a Roman woman offering in a niche by Waterhouse.  Caption reading, I feel like I should start off saying that this will not be what I’m practicing next year.  I’m currently finding myself with my hands in the pots of various historical traditions while stuck firmly in my own development of another tradition.  This is not very well-reflected here. The majority of the days’ observances are Roman in nature.  Whether or not that will be the case next year is another story.  I may have to change my graphic to reflect this.  But until then…

May 6th – June 7th

7 – Oracle for Apollon

Observed until 2021.  This will be held on the 8th this year.  For more info see here.

7-14 – Making of Mola Salsa

According to Fowler, the Vestals made at least some mola salsa from the first grains of wheat to be used at the Vestalia, the Ides of September, and at the Lupercalia. We will be making corn-based mola salsa in our home during this time for the year, since I’m directing June’s Vestalia towards a home-purification focus in my tradition. I hope in the future that the making of mola salsa can be one of my daughter’s religious duties for the year, so I will start teaching her this year.

9, 11, 13 – Lemuria

An offering of black beans over the shoulder are given to the restless, unburied, and/or angry Dead on all 3 nights of the Lemuria in my household. I will be posting in the next week over at my PaganSquare blog more detail about Lemuria and how it’s being observed this year in my home. On the 11th, I plan to develop a nocturnal offering to Hecate-Mania as Mother of the Dead.

15 – Mercuralia

Offerings to Mercury? This is probably not on the table this year as a full festival. More looking into what this point in my fasti is meant to be is needed. There’s a point needing to be marked here, but it will likely have a changed name and purpose. This was a merchant’s festival in Rome.

15 – Ides

Standard offering dinner feast to Jupiter in my home. I’m working on teaching my daughter the basic building blocks of Ritus Romanus while offering to the Lares at this point in the month with offering bird seed and water into a bird bath.

21 – Offerings to Vejovis-Asclepius

Formal offerings and prayers for the continued health of my family.

25 – Memorial Day

Pilgrimage to the large concentration of my family’s burial plots to decorate the graves and honor my Beloved Dead/Manes. This is actually a tradition of my family, and is quite easily one of the most radically influential traditions shaping my interest in the Lares and Manes. Extra offerings will be given to soldiers unrelated to me.

30 – Monthly offerings to Hekate

Dinner time offering as a family for my Matron. When I start working with the dying, this will also likely be my day to really, really ritually purify my home and surroundings.

1 – Kalends of June

Offerings to Juno, the Lares, and the Penates as described here.

7 – Nones of June

The day I plan to publish the next round of religious days.

7 – Oracle for Apollon

7 – Vestalia Begins

Ritual cleaning and purification of home, honoring of Vesta with offerings.  Runs until the 15th.

Possible future festivals: Ambarvalia at the end of May to assure a successful crop if living in an agricultural religious community.

Stories the Gods Tell Me

I have dreams.  I’ve always had dreams that were intense and clearly not just dreams.  For a few years after a car accident, I stopped dreaming completely at night.  I’d only dream if I napped.  That went on for quite some time until one day Odin arrived in a dream I still don’t completely remember, and I slowly started to ease into the idea of working with Him.  I knew things would change.

I started dreaming again last summer, after the doctors got the pressure down in my skull.  It started again almost immediately.  Gods showing up and dropping breadcrumbs for me to follow.  I travel to places over and over again, places with names like Chicago, Memphis, Omaha, and Colorado, but they aren’t those places at all.  Sometimes I dream about places I’ve never been, and then later I find out they actually exist.

And then sometimes I experience things in my dreams that are so deeply symbolic that they leave me wondering exactly where the path ahead of me is going…  Even if I know, and I simply don’t want to admit it.

This started a dream.  I woke up with words in my mind that wouldn’t leave.  I could hear my God whispering, “This is a story I need to tell you.  This is a story you must write.”

I ignored it, because I’m too busy being serious and attempting to be a scholar (which, honestly, I am rather dubious about it being one of my talents).  I have spring cleaning to do.  I have tomato starts to water and even more essays to write…  I have mom stuff to do.  Um, I have to wash my hair…

And then I’ll feel a heavy sigh, and somewhere beyond the edge of the physical there’s an eye roll.  He’s patient with me.  I guess it’s worth the wait.

I’ll think I’ve gotten passed the pressure of it.  I’ll sit down to start writing a promised write-up for a student on Ritus Romanus, because she wants to learn the proper way of going about things.  All I find myself able to type is the story He’s been trying to tell me.

By the time I’m done, I’ve written 3 pages and feel exhausted.  All I can do is laugh, and I feel thankful those who know me tend to put up with my eccentricities and tendency to get distracted by these moments.

Then He tells me to share it, and all I can do is hide my face and hit publish.  So, here we go…

New myths for old nameless Gods…


In the beginning there was little. She would dip her fingers into the running water, whispering, “Mother, I want more. I see the potential. I see the spiraling of the stars in each breath of the wind, and I feel, Mother. I feel it all. There is more. There must be more.”

And she desired, though she did not know what it was she desired. She only knew that there was an ache. A calling of some tiny voices singing a cacophony of rioting chaos, which was her song but more. Beyond that there was something greater than the Mother stretched underneath her, ripped and pulled to give the World to the world. There was more. If only she could grasp what this more was.

She would lie with the trees, and they would fall. She would kiss the creatures, and they too would fall to the ground. Their flesh would melt from their bones into the ground. Slowly, slowly, the seconds would pass into eternity, and from their embrace she would birth the mushrooms.

In the beginning there was little and need for more, twirling in the chaos that threatened to burst from the seams of the air. Everywhere she went there was moistness of snow falling under her bare feet as she walked and walked, searching for something she could not grasp.

It was so dark. It was so cold.

She needed warmth.

She needed softness that wasn’t threatened by the crackling of leaves when her body truly settled to the ground. She cursed the mud that stuck to her skin and caked around her ankles as she tried to move freely, to dance in the world around her.

She was alone in the darkness.

So she called to the Waves. She eased into the Ocean and she said, “Come into me, and be my love. We shall embrace. We shall find something beyond this world of nothing and dark.”

And though the Ocean embraced her as she asked, she was not satisfied.

Her belly swelled, fat with potential, but out came the mushrooms and rot. She could sense the secrets she had learned within their smooth flesh, and there was longing there. The longing for something more. Something else. Potential in the chaos of the dark, trembling just beyond her reach.

So she went to the Storm. She laid on a hill one day when it rolled through the sky, marveling in the lightning that licked the plains. The grass blazed. She felt at home, thinking perhaps finally she had found where she could claim completeness.

She called to the Storm, spreading wide for it in offering. The grass crackled in the heat; it moved at first faintly green, then yellow, brown, and finally it was black. Her bare shoulder brushed against a long blade, causing it to crumble into powder on the ground.

She looked about at the destruction as the rain fell, lost to the moment of release as the darkness returned. She was not satisfied.

Around her there were mushrooms crying to her that she was their mother. She gathered them in her skirts and ran. She ran back to the forest that she called home. Her face was wet and hot with tears, which turned cold against the wind. There she stayed, tending to her children, though she longed for them to have arms to wrap about her and lips to kiss her cheeks.

They called her the Mother of Mushrooms.

They called her the Mother of Rot.

She wove those names into a crown. She placed it upon her own head. It was who she became.

And though she loved her children, she still felt swept away by the current of desire for more. Whatever it was clinging to the edges of her reality that she could not touch with her fingers.

There was so little. She simply wanted more.

Her mushroom children were well behaved. They asked for little more than the snow, the rot, and air around them. But she was sure that even they could be more somehow.

She knew there had to be more. Now there was grief, for she was certain she would never find the answer to this undying need. This longing. This anxiety as thin as a knife’s edge that seemed to sit close to her skin but never cut.

Thinking she could take no more, she bound herself. Too tired to wander, wishing to keep herself where she could keep an eye on her children, but compelled to continue in her search, she looped vines about her wrists to hold herself in place. She imprisoned herself, so that she would not roam.

She took a thousand lovers, any who passed by and wished to end their own loneliness. And though they tried, she was not satisfied.

The days and nights were not yet settled. There was only eternity. It stretched out like her Mother’s skin underneath her. She cried as her Mother once did, because perhaps that was what all women were meant to do – Weep and grind down their teeth in longing for something more than what was around them.

She tucked her hope away.

She would not yield to her own desires.

One day a bright light came filtering through the trees. It grew so bright, she was forced to shut her eyes to it. Her curiosity grew, and soon she cracked open one eye to see what this light was.

A man stood there in front of her. His hair was golden, falling in tangles about his ears and moving over his chin. It reminded her of the grass of the plains, dried but not yet burnt away. His blue eyes were peering at her thoughtfully. She felt the warmth radiating from him, felt the snow under her cold feet melt away. She looked down to see grass springing from the dark earth where nothing had ever grown before.

“Who are you?” she whispered, struck suddenly with a longing so great that it scared her.

With gentle hands he reached behind her, untangling her wrists from the vines and pulling her free. He smiled, and she knew warmth. Not the exhausting blaze of fire, but something comforting and lingering. His voice was soothing to the rawness she hadn’t realized she felt as he simply said, “I am the Sun. I am Freedom. I am the Prince who shall be King.”

She did not invite him to take her. Instead she sought out his lips to press against hers. Her arms wrapped about him to pull his body against hers, closing the gap of infinity that awareness had brought about. They became a tangle of limbs as they fell to the forest floor.

She felt pleasure. With each movement she knew that her destiny was spiraling forth. She cried out against the fading chaos as he spilled into her. She was satisfied as they slumped into the soft moss that had grown in their shadows. Their hearts beating in time together, their breath one as they both tried to catch it.

She looked at the world around her, suddenly green and vibrant. Her children safe in the shadows, but hiding amongst plants and blooming flowers that she had never seen before.

She blinked, sitting up to look more, as she asked, “But how did this happen? Who created this?”

His laugh was delighted, that lingering warmth raising goosebumps on her flesh only to be pressed down by his fingertips against it. He kissed her shoulder, whispering, “You did, my Love.”

And she was satisfied.

A Perfect April Day

DSC01421

The Kalends isn’t over, but we’re taking a moment to rest in our day.  For me that means I get to do what seems to be becoming a job, but is still basically a hobby (This is my justification for it today, since I have always tried to not “work” on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides).

Yesterday over at my blog on Witches & Pagans’ PaganSquare, I wrote about my plans to observe the Kalends with my 3-year-old daughter for the first time.  The day is only half-way over, but I’ve been so moved by how the day has unfolded that I couldn’t wait to post.

My daughter had breakfast, and I had coffee with a few peanuts.  I fast for the Kalends, Nones, and Ides from sunset the night before, but my health issues require I don’t do a full fast these days.  I don’t feel that 3 is old enough to fast, but I explained why it was I wasn’t having my normal breakfast to her.

After breakfast we went out to find a stick to make our windchimes with.  We put it together while I explained that it was to bring good fortune and help protect us.

We went out to our front step.  I gave her the little broom she has, and together we swept off the step, making sure it was clean for where we were going to set up our offering.  We sat down the offering bowl.  Then we carried the tray off offerings out.

I showed her how to cover her head with a veil, and offered her a silk scarf I had picked out for this moment.  It’s a smaller one I bought years ago, and it was the perfect size for her.  She was so excited to have a veil to wear like mine that she kept it around her shoulders for quite some time afterwards.

I showed her how to hold her hands while praying, upturned to the sky.  She didn’t keep them that way, but I’ll be sure to demonstrate this position each time I pray in front of her to reinforce it.

And then came the offerings and prays.  I poured a little water into her special pitcher for her to put into the bowl, and she had picked tortilla chips (one of her favorite foods) to give to Janus, Juno, and the Lares today.  I offered the prayer and then directed her to pour and place chips into the offering bowl for each.

I admit that I am rarely moved to tears during rituals.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever cried during a formal ritual.  But as I sat there watching her pour and offer, her sweet face peaking out under her veil, I felt my heart grow 10 sizes with joy and pride.  My eyes welled up with tears.

We hung up our windchimes.

Afterwards we sat on the front step, watching the birds.  She asked me while looking around, “Where are the Gods?”

I chuckled.  I couldn’t help it.  She was clearly disappointed They’d not manifested in a way she could clearly see.  So I quietly explained that the Gods show themselves as birds, as the feel of the wind, that They are everywhere.  They are in the plants and the flowers.  They are inside of us, and They are the love we have for each other.

As I explained this, my arm wrapped around her little body, I understood this on a whole different level than I had before.

I thanked her for teaching me that lesson.

Crossing the River Update

I have gotten some absolutely amazing submissions to the devotional I’m working on for the Beloved Dead.  However, I hope to get some more!  There just aren’t enough yet to publish a robust anthology.  I believe we can get there.

Therefore I’m extending the deadline until September 28th, 2015.

I have more information available here for those interested in submitting.

If you email me in the next few weeks, I may take a very long time to reply, but I will get to it.  I’m currently in the middle of a jaw and tooth infection that has landed me in both the ER and urgent care this week along with the dentist.  I’m on my 2nd round of stronger antibiotics as the 1st didn’t do much good despite the IV administration of a second type.  Because of this I’m on heavy duty pain pills, while having learned that morphine apparently does nothing for me.  I’m dealing with high blood pressure and tachycardia attacks triggered by the stress and pain.  Meanwhile it will be 2 weeks until I have surgery, and I’m terrified that I will be one of the people with Ehlers-Danlos who feels and hears everything but can’t tell the doctor due to anesthesia; Novocaine, Lidocaine, and epidurals decidedly don’t work for me.  I’m having 6 teeth removed, because I have 2 wisdom teeth, a baby tooth, and 3 teeth that have fallen apart due to my faulty collagen.  At this point, we fortunately have the costs covered, which I’m thankful for, so at least there’s that.  If I’m quiet, though, you know why.

Truth.

Georg Wissowa’s classifications of indigenous and foreign cults gives the best illustration of the obsessive search for the “true” religion of the Romans, of the illusory project of studying their religion in the purest state possible. Now like any culture or language, a religion is never and never can be pure, uncontaminated. It is always the result of mixture, even at the earliest stages we are able to identify. So the sorting out of Roman and non-Roman elements, or for later periods a concept like syncretism as opposed to a “pure” religion, are nonsense.

Graeco Ritu: A Typically Roman Way of Honoring the Gods, John Scheid, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. Vol 97, Greek in Rome: Influence, Integration, Resistance (1995), pp. 15-31

I have about a billion emails I am trying to get responded to.  My head has been off in, well…  The Norse Nine Worlds, actually.  Not just in the clouds.  Those waiting for me will be getting responses by tomorrow afternoon.

When Heathen Gods Crash Your Roman Holiday

Or: A Spirit-Worker’s Year in Review

I haven’t written much about the way Odin has really turned my world upside down in the last year. Not a lot, at least. I think partially, because I’m not really sure where it’s going in regards to where I fall within a religious practice. I think, perhaps, in my private practice I’m coming to terms with simply being a Pagan and Polytheist without a cultural descriptor ahead of it. But I’m not there yet. It’s funny to me that I’ve spent so many years debating the usage of Roman in my label that shortly after finally accepting it, I would be clinging to it and uncomfortable leaving it behind while Gods scream in my ear “Go Heathen, go Gaul, go somewhere else…”

December 17th was the beginning of Saturnalia, which was the first Roman festival I ever celebrated. But last year at around 1 in the morning on that day, I was up too late reading in bed. Suddenly I heard howls coming down the large stoney cliff and over the creek in my back yard. Then I felt a Presence standing outside of my window, which due to the split level is directly above my head. I got the very distinct message that I wasn’t supposed to peek out the window, and honestly I was too terrified to look anyway. In my mind’s eye I saw a pair of brown work boots and dark blue jeans.

My first thought beyond staying as still as possible, like a deer locked in the gaze of a predator was, Holy shit. It’s the Wild Hunt.

Slowly the howls traveled up my drive way, out into the street, and further down it.

The next day, I set about trying to figure out what had happened, because surely I had been in the presence of a God. But it wasn’t Hekate. It wasn’t Apollon.

By the time morning came around, I’d decided to not go with my original instinct, because at the time I was obsessing over Romanizing the local world around me. I quickly talked myself out of the Wild Hunt theory.  That was not my thing.

I asked Facebook. Coyote was brought up. Local Gods. Silvanus. I decided Silvanus was a good enough God for me, so I ran with it despite feeling like I’d gotten something wrong.

The following day, I caught sight of Someone standing on the hill, watching me. I felt Them in my home despite drawing the very specific line of You shall not come into my house. Mr Foxglove reminded me that he’d watched a man walk up the incredibly steep almost cliff-like limestone hill only to duck behind a tree and disappear. I’d rolled my eyes at the time, telling him that there must have been a small hill the man had gone behind.

What scared me the most about the situation, though, was that I had local apples that earlier in the day had been absolutely fine. Suddenly there was one that was so rotten that it was nearly seeping through the hanging basket it was sat in. I threw it out.

About an hour later I turned around and the apple was back again. Along with the Man on the Hill.

So I proceeded to flip out. It had been years since I’ve particularly terrified of things like this happening, because in my life these things happen far too often not only to me, but those who are have contact with me. Non-believers. People who have to believe on some level, because shit happens and Gods arrive. Gods come into my loved ones’ lives like ghost stories. Sometimes They stay. Sometimes They were just there for a fleeting moment. Hekate on a street in Los Angeles, letting an internet friend at the time know that She was watching; Her presence clearly giving me warning that I ignored at the time that another point on my spiritual path was about to be unlocked. The Man with a Hat, now understood to be Odin, chasing off boyfriends in high school as a ghost… Even Mr Foxglove saw Him in the house in Iowa the first time he came to visit me there; I told him it was simply an angry, drunken ghost who lived in the house.

Gods arrive in my life like a knife in the ribs; none of them particularly gentle in Their handling on first contact. I suppose my stubbornness is a strong bolt on the doors They walk through, and when They discover a gentle shake isn’t going to be enough to get my attention, They get out the battering ram…

They stand outside my bedroom window with howling creatures and cause me to panic. That is how you get my attention. I’m almost ashamed to admit it.

The following day, I grabbed up the remaining apples in my home, some pork I’d made the night before, and a jar of milk. I made the trek up and around the block to the hill at the back of my yard. I’ve discovered the logistics of living on the edge of the Ozark Bluffs makes even a small hill one you have to walk around the block to get to the top of. It screws with your spacial understanding… There’s a magic to it, though. Almost like the Tardis, a world bigger on the inside than it seems from the outside.

From the top of the hill, it is another world. It’s a place completely ignored by man, save for people occasionally making a jaunt up the steep almost cliff-like hill to cut across it. It’s surrounded by urban expansion such as a school, golf course, and homes, but for the most part it’s simply an abandoned .6 acres that was possibly meant for constructing houses upon before someone thought better of it. It’s filled with discarded street cement. It’s wasteland. And, amusingly, due to that fact it’s filled with native plants such as horsenettle, which I would have never learned about had I not gone on that walk. In fact, any time I wander up there, I find myself learning something new about the land. I notice a plant or a certain quality of stillness. Coyote droppings. A deer herd. This is the magic world of the liminal, and I understand that is why I love it the way I do.

At the top of that hill, my home looks a million miles away.

And now, randomly during meditation, I will find myself dropped into the middle of that space again and again. I’m a gray squirrel running up the hill towards it. I am laying in the weeds naked. And the Spirit of the Hill, who is wild and far too interested in me now that He’s aware that I’m aware of Him, regularly comes to show me something new.

On the day I left my first offering, I didn’t know any of this was coming. I wanted to be left alone. I asked politely to please stay out of my house. I promised to compost in offering, which has only manifested recently in a place I was shown would be where to take dying plants… A place my husband picked out one day after yardwork, and my mother followed suit. The neighbors, before they moved or died, put their own yard scraps in that place as well.

That day, the first day I was up There, I walked home with my eyes to the ground. These were the days where rocks were appearing as I found myself becoming more and more in tune with the land of my blood. I plunged my hand into the Missouri River 2 months before when It called me to the point where I could no longer ignore visiting it, and pulled out rocks to take home. While getting family pictures taken on a day the winds were ridiculously strong, a rock fell from the sky to my feet. The adults with me looked at it with confusion, wondering aloud where it had come from. When no one was looking I made sure to calmly tuck it into my pocket and carry it home. The golden limestone I brought home from the hill is large… Nearly the size of a baseball. That was the rock I was given that day.

It wouldn’t be until February that I woke up one afternoon from a nap, having dreamed that Odin came to me. We talked of obligation, the blood of my people, and other things I could no longer remember upon waking. He gave me a golden, jeweled cup to drink from that was filled with blood. We both drank from it. I woke up wondering what it all meant. I had spent my time avoiding the Norse pantheon, because I had no interest in it at the time… Or perhaps I was a little scared of it.

Slowly it started to occur to me that Odin has always been in my life. On looking over His Wikipedia page, a picture of Him peering from under His hat made my blood run cold. In my teenage years, I was haunted by a shadowy figure that was the shadow man in a wide-brimmed hat. At times I would catch glimpses of Him about the house, watching me in mirrors for instance. But most of the time I would smell beer or whiskey, feel Him around me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to Him standing over me and talking in a mumbled language I could never understand. Others started having run-ins with this ghost.

The day it really hit me this was a possible reality, I remembered that shortly after my daughter was born, my mother hand put a letter into my hands from a psychic in the United Kingdom I’d written to in 2001. She said, “I thought you might want to see this.” I remembered it spoke of the Man in the Hat, as I called him. I hadn’t actually re-read it at the time, but I scrambled to find it when it came to mind.

It read:

I do pick up spirit activity around you – You are especially susceptible – he needs to touch your hair he tells me. “You have such beautiful hair.” I know that he means you no harm and is simply there to watch. If you desperately want rid of him, tell him loudly and firmly to “Get lost.” It may take a few goes to get through to him, but he’ll get the message eventually. If you’re okay with him, let him stay. He’s harmless enough.

The other one is not like this. He’s dark and not so happy. He’s old and has beer around for a long time. He says his name is “an old family name in the village.” Sounds like Edward or Edwin. He has clean hands, so he’s never done hard work, but he says “All of this was our farm.” And if you go to the bottom of your land, you’ll see a boundary or a wall, which was a bit of the farm yard. (I would like to see this myself. Nice little bit of history.)

He speaks with an accent, which seems to be broken. Like Swedish or Norway by the sound of his “S” like “Ssss.” Take care, because he’s bossy and used to having his own way.

As a note, the house I was living in was a farm house, but the letter had always been a mystery to me. She was correct about the beer and the darkness. However, I’d spent a good amount of time researching. There were never any Edwards or Edwins that owned the land my house was built on in the town. There were no Scandinavian people. There was no boundary wall. And yet, I didn’t write off the letter; I just brushed it off at the time I was researching. Psychics are rarely 100% right.

Edwin, however, is one of Odin’s names. Reading it now with what little education I’ve gathered of Odin is an exercise in understanding His sense of humor. Finding the letter somehow confirmed momentarily that I wasn’t completely losing my mind, which honestly is something a person who is God-touched likely fears even more than the average person.

Things have gotten stranger and stranger… This last year has been nothing but an exhausting, wild ride as my physical health has turned from bad to worse to tolerably terrible yet hopeful. I feel like it’s just about time for me to start trying to piece it together into a chronological timeline… Like all the things I’ve been experiencing, things I don’t even have the energy most days to talk about let alone write about. Dreams I only have fragments of… The Gods who come to talk to me… Gods I’m not even sure I know who They actually are… An insanely complicated and convoluted language of symbols that I’ve yet to fully figure out what they all mean.

All this year has gotten me is the absolute deconstruction of the very core of my beliefs, friendships, and my body. And yet I have faith. Some argue that faith isn’t a Pagan value… That we don’t intrinsically hold faith as a polytheist value… But I do. Some days I’m not even fully sure that I exist, because more and more my life seems like some novel I should have read in my early teens.

But the Gods exist. The Gods are real. They are here. With us. Meddling. Forcing us to grow.

The Gods are here. That’s my message through all of it. They are real.

Two nights ago, a bomb was dropped that left me uncomfortable and alone. It ripped out my heart and caused me wonder exactly what the end game to this journey actually is. I’ve been told over and over again that the reward will be great, but sometimes I have to wonder if perhaps the reward will be great for someone other than me… And then I’m disturbed by my own internal urge to keep walking the path I am without actually knowing where I’ll end up.

I was told my time with Apollon is over, and I understood that the love is still there. Part of this journey is attempting to find this God’s light in the darkness again, but He is no longer Apollon…

I don’t know who the God I’ve loved all these years is anymore. My mortal mind finds this a hard concept to adjust to. Syncretism is painful, my friends, as much as it is joyous and beautiful. The same could be said about spirit work and mysticism… The Gods are not always beauty and joy. We carry this truth in the pit of our bellies, and despite our attempts to step away from the concept of appeasing the Gods we still seek Their hand in our life with each offering laid out to Them.

I can almost remember the point where I realized that I was to spend my life seeking to make each moment a prayer to Them. Each action a direct connection, an example of how They work through others. People may not know that I am a Pagan, but I try to live my life in a way that gives honor to the label and the Gods we carry in our hearts as if they did should they ever find out.

I said at one point that we shouldn’t seek to be martyrs of our religions, but I’ll openly admit that I sometimes wonder if that’s exactly what some of us are destined to become. Because if we touch the Gods, if we find ourselves woven into the fabric of the World where the Gods truly are, then we run the risk of being wounded by the truths w/We make with each other. We may not be made in the likeness of our Gods, but we are made of the same emotions… I would argue that, truly, our emotions are part of what makes a spark in each of us reach towards the possibility of our own divinity within us.

There is a path taken. The choice must be made on some deep soul-level to walk it. But walk it we must, because sometimes the only other option is to die. So perhaps it’s not a road but a river… Swim with the current or die. Or, in my case, give up and let the current take you where it will.

I don’t know where I’m going. But I know that, even if I wanted this all to stop, They wouldn’t let that happen. The Gods don’t always take no for an answer. There’s no point in being upset about it, because that’s not something that’s going to change. And that, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Why would I honor Gods who didn’t know better than I do?

Yet I can see why Odin would give His eye these days. I understand that desire to see everything, know how it all will end.

Hail, Apollon. Thank You for Your lessons. I’ll forever love You.

Hold on tight, y’all… I’m heartbroken, but I get the feeling this has just turned into a very interesting ride…

(Hail Florence, patron saint of godspouses everywhere…)

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times

It’s not very often that I simply put up an article on my blog, but I am still sitting here with a bit of shock about me on this one.  I mentioned elsewhere that my hope is by next year to start a foundation for those in our religious community to help cover funerals and final rites for our people…

This may not seem like a terribly important thing to everyone, but to me this is a silent epidemic in our American society.  It’s something I don’t want to see happen to our people.

I felt like I should share.

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times.

Deathwork Training Update

Slowly but surely, I am getting further along in my death midwife and home funeral certification.  However, my health is still incredibly unstable, and I’m finding myself at an average of 3 doctor appointments a week.  I’m seeing 8 specialists in various disciplines along with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, because who wouldn’t need a therapist when suddenly medical care has become a full-time job?  Yesterday I got the news that brain surgery to place a shunt in was onthe table if medication didn’t keep my symptoms stable.  And that, if I don’t go into remission, I may end up with a shunt anyway. Meanwhile, despite every doctor I’ve seen telling me what a good attitude I have about the fact I have 2 rare diseases and basically the body of a 60-year-old in my 30s,  along with my therapist saying she wished I could go to her group sessions in order to be an example of managing things in a healthy manner, I keep getting told to remain hopeful and positive I will get better by others.  One of my diseases is progressive and will actually get worse as I age.  The brain disease, idiopathic intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri, has no medication, no treatment, and very little research done specifically for it.  The word idiopathic means they have no idea why my brain is producing too much spinal fluid.  I am pretty resigned to dealing with this my entire life; it’s a better place to be really surprised and happy when things get radically better than to expect the best and have none of it go that way.  When you are 1 in 100,000 people to get a rare disease with no cure, it really is best to go with realistic but willing to do whatever it takes than to be seriously depressed and angry with the universe when suddenly you find yourself headed towards the option of debilitating pain and blindness or brain surgery that doesn’t always fix a problem.  I smile.  I laugh.  I do my best to find fulfilling things to replace my old passions I can no longer do (large-scale gardening, for instance).

I get into this here, because a lot of people donated to me and in turn allowing me to do this training.  None of this current brain-related health issue was in my life when I signed up for the educational program I’m taking, and I’m still dreadfully behind on things promised as rewards for those who donated generously to my education because of it.  There’s a lot of guilt there, because I hate not being able to carry through with it at this point.  I feel like those who donated should be made aware of where I am with all of it…  Which is not as far as I hoped to be.

However, I am pushing through with what I am capable of doing…  Reading, writing, taking the class modules I have to get through, and researching.

After NaNoWriMo in November, I will be setting out to really dig into writing a book on postmortem and funeral rites for the Polytheist community.  I plan on trying to give a summary of historical practices in various civilizations, covering body care and resources for those wishing to embark on a complete home funeral, helping the reader create a funeral that meets both their religious and secular needs inside or outside of a larger community…  Along with an idea for inter-faith help within our local communities and resources for legal questions or further help outside of a religious community.

I am hoping to have it fully ready for publication by the end of next year, though depending on how things go in my own life that’s really a pretty ambitious deadline.  It’s where I am right now.