Just a reminder that I am offering a 20% discount to you all for my Goblinesquerie Etsy shop, good through the spring equinox. Just enter the coupon code SPRING2014 at checkout.
Galina’s been running an interesting series of Devotional Polytheist questions, and while I don’t plan to answer them all, this one – and her answer – caught my eye.
“6. What does it feel like when one receives inspiration from the divinities?”
“It is like drinking fire…..It’s like being utterly swept away but at the same time it energizes, fires the mind, ignites the spirit, brings focus and clarity to one’s world…..It leaves a fierce joy in its wake to which nothing, absolutely nothing can compare.”
It’s not that I don’t know what she’s talking about – I’ve been there, for sure. But I thought I’d talk about a different sort of experience that I’ve started paying more attention to lately, especially in regards to artistic (in the broadest sense) inspiration. Yes, sometimes it’s a crazywonderful explosion of intensity, but other times it is more subtle – so subtle I find I sometimes don’t acknowledge it for what it is, or I only can recognize it in retrospect. It’s when things are simply, obviously, undeniably RIGHT. When you catch upon an idea, for instance, and it feels like you’ve always had it. When you could not possibly explain any rational motivation for the piece you’re making, you just know you have to make it, even if no one ever sees it. When you suddenly just know the solution to a problem, or the right way to construct something. It doesn’t feel like anything’s really happened, because it seems so natural. If anything, it is like remembering rather than creating.
I’ve noticed the same effect at work on the high seat. Sometimes I would hear or see the answer to a question, but often the oracles which proved to be the most powerful, the most on-target, were ones which I just suddenly knew. It would take me a moment to realize the oracle had been given, because it just seemed so familiar, not new information at all, and then I’d realize I didn’t know it a minute ago.
With a lot of time and experience under my belt at this point regarding both sacred art and oracular work, I can recognize that these are examples of extremely clear divine inspiration – so clear it’s invisible, so to speak. Having been able to judge the results in the long-term, I have noticed how often such experiences prove fruitful, on a level I am not capable of alone. Not to mention, they often happen after I pray to a god or spirit for assistance, even if they’re not the way I’d expected to be answered.
And that reminds me of another thing – a similar process seems to be at work during some of the most intimate moments of spirit contact. It doesn’t feel like reaching out across a great distance to communicate with an otherworldly being, as such things often do, it is instead like looking up to see Them right next to you, and realizing They’d been there the whole time. It was only your perception that changed. Not calling or invoking, or even praying, just opening your eyes.
I love the whirlwind of passionate divine contact as much as anyone – probably much more so – but for me, in a way, these other times are actually coming CLOSER to my gods and spirits. So close there is no barrier between my mind and Theirs, as if for a moment we inhabit the same exact place and time, not enough space separating us for me to even observe Them. Only after They are gone do I realize what has just happened.
“A colleague of mine….mentioned how serving the Gods, really entering into a devotional relationship with Them has given him a strong foundation from which to face any challenges that come his way, that he knows that his life ‘is being well-spent.’ I was quite taken with this and I think that this is something that it seldom occurs to us to articulate: the Gods instill in those who venerate Them a rock-solid sense of purpose. It will carry one through many a dark place if one’s courage and devotion holds. I think that this is something many of us take for granted: as a direct result of our devotional work, we have a sense of purpose and deep, deep meaning in our lives that underpins everything. It’s a grace and a gift and moves us to change the way we are in our world.” (Galina Krasskova)
I would have been lost many times over if it were not for the life’s work my spirits have set for me. Over and over again, I can come back to that as my center, my reason for being, no matter what else changes (and oh, so very much has changed). It is a gift that I have not given nearly enough thanks for.
I begin the day with a walk to the winter farmer’s market downtown, and use the opportunity to do a bit of walking between the worlds. I find that heading to the market is usually a good time for this, I’ve wondered if it has something to do with Hermes. As often happens, time stretches strangely, and I find myself having experiences too lengthy to fit in the time that it should be taking to get there. At the stalls, I buy dried pears, strawberry jam, apples, then head home again to rest briefly before the next outing. (Pathwalking – since it requires intense spiritual connection while physically acting in the world – always takes a lot out of me.)
Once my partner arrives, we head out to the wetlands. I find the same spot Sannion and I used last year, near a little stream, and set up offerings for the limnades, the nymphs of the marshes: huckleberry honey, kumquats, handmade incense, beeswax candles. I read the Orphic hymn to the nymphs and we stay a short while in their presence.
Then we walk further to the place I call The Road of Animal Death. I have been there many times now since a friend first brought me to see a roadkill deer she had found years ago, and I have always found dead animals there. And not just the usual roadkill either – in addition to deer, I have found goats, cats, a box of baby possums, cow parts, sheep. There are no farms nearby. I have often wondered what’s happening on this 1/4 mile stretch of road – is it somehow known by word of mouth as a good place to dump your dead farm animals, pets or pests? Is there some strange spirit that calls people there to do so, or calls animals there to die? I have no idea. This time, we find two deer (one whole, and perfect since I had just been needing deer leg bones, and one partial), and a disturbing pile of animal parts: a skinned, headless nutria, the head of a raccoon or small dog (bashed in), and a large eyeball that might be a deer or cow or something. Why these parts all together, but missing the rest? A fur trapper’s refuse perhaps? The Road of Animal Death continues to mystify.
We head home on the bus, hoping no one can smell the dead deer parts I have in a garbage bag at my feet.
I’ve decided (in my current attempt to add some alternate income streams, and in reaction to some of the poorly-designed self-published books out there) to start offering my book design services on a case-by-case basis. Have you written a book and want to self-publish, but don’t know the first thing about getting it ready for publication? Need someone to format your interior, take care of layout, create the necessary files, and design a cover? I can help. I will handle things like:
- trim size and margins
- table of contents
- page numbering
- chapter headings
- front matter
- block quotes
- consistency in formatting
- basic check for spelling, grammar and punctuation
- conversion to PDF
- finding images for the cover
- cover design, including spine
- assistance with uploading to Createspace
In some limited cases, I may agree to also proofread and edit your book thoroughly, but that will obviously cost more.
I work only on physical books (not e-books at this time) and am most familiar with Createspace (which is directly linked to Amazon.com), although I may be able to accommodate other print-on-demand companies’ requirements. Books do not have to be pagan in content.
I am taking assignments selectively due to limited time. If you’re interested, simply email me (doorunderground at gmail dot com) and describe your project, and I will give you a firm quote. My prices depend on several factors, but many will fall in the $150-$200 range.
Examples of my work (you can check out the covers, and select the Look Inside feature on most of these to browse the interior layout):
my own books (most recently Dwelling on the Threshold)
Sannion’s books (most recently Strange Spirits and Ecstatic)
Wayland’s books (Heathenry and Odin’s Way in the Modern World)
Bibliotheca Alexandrina devotionals from 2008-2012 (including Queen of the Sacred Way, Anointed, Out of Arcadia, From Cave to Sky, among others)
Creeping into my heart all day, the miasma, a heaviness. I spend a large amount of my life serving and calling to spirits that others would run from, and yet somehow this festival always hits me hard, the presence of the keres palpable. I can barely wait to cook the beans and barley (steeped in wine) for the offering to Hermes Khthonios, and when it’s ready I waste no time. I leave by the front door with the buckthorn satchel hung to repel the dead, and make my way – for the third evening in a row – to the sacred precinct. The porridge steams on the cool, wet earth at the edge of the ash grove where I once buried an effigy of Yarilo-Dionysos in the hollow root of a tree.
“Θύραζε Κῆρες, οὐκ ἔτ’ Ἀνθεστήρια”
I turn towards home and do not look back.