Goblinesquerie coupon

•May 26, 2016 • 2 Comments

Another quick note – I have set up a coupon for my Goblinesquerie Etsy shop valid now through the summer solstice. 20% off on any purchase. Use the code SUMMERBEGINS16 at checkout.

I still have quite a few necklaces featuring animal bones, as well as some incense, smaller pendants and earrings, and my bone-working booklet.

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Quick cartomancy note

•May 25, 2016 • 2 Comments

I had previously said that I’d be starting my new weekly cartomancy sessions today. However, due to some extreme, nearly incapacitating allergies I’m experiencing, I do not feel it would be a good idea to go ahead with that plan, as I feel under a state of miasma and also not functional mentally or spiritually. Hopefully all will be resolved soon, and things will begin next Wednesday, June 1.

Great article on discernment

•May 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Exploring Pagan Discernment by Lauren Neuman

“This is not easy stuff. This is mental and emotional heavy lifting, and you should not feel the slightest bit bad if you need help from friends or other mentors as you begin the discernment process about your spiritual experiences.

Whether they be deities or ancestors, nature spirits or animal guides, the “otherworldly” things that often get our attention can be confusing and difficult to square with. But we’re not floundering in the dark – the elders and teachers in our traditions have years of experience (and other traditions may have millennia of experience) at figuring out what these things mean.”

New Approach for Cartomancy Sessions

•May 5, 2016 • 3 Comments

wildwoodDue to some intensified Work I am doing with/for my spirits, I have decided to slightly alter the way I perform cartomancy readings. From now until May 2017, I will be doing cartomancy sessions every Wednesday night (and only then), rather than by request. If there are no clients for a session, I will be doing a reading for myself, in order to keep sharpening my skills through frequent practice. Because I may be doing multiple readings in a session with this new system, and to keep this truly affordable, I am reducing my normal rate during this period to only $20 per question. Please note that is the price for a single question; if you have more than one, I require the same amount for each additional question.

More information, including what exactly I do and instructions for requesting a reading, can be found on my Cartomancy page.

Please note that I will not be doing readings during several intercalary periods in my personal religious calendar, one of which I am currently in the middle of. So the first regular Wednesday session will be May 25. After that, they will be each week unless otherwise noted here on the blog. Any questions received by noon PST on Wednesdays will be included in that week’s session.

I will be posting a reminder here again closer to the date of the first new session, and occasionally afterwards.

Why we worship

•May 3, 2016 • Comments Off on Why we worship

I remember back in the early days of Hellenic Recon-based mailing lists, we used to have a frequent argument over whether or not one could have personal relationships with the gods at all (I’m sure this argument is still happening in some corners of the internet). Some would argue that this was mere fantasy or hubris, and others of us would counter with examples from history and myth, along with our own experiences. But it appears that our calls for people to open their minds have caused some polytheists to open theirs so wide that, as the saying goes, their brains fell out.

Because now I’m seeing a sort of “everything goes” attitude in some circles that accepts any and every experience as automatically legitimate, whether or not there is any confirmation that the gods are even involved anymore. Fuzzy feelings and, frankly, sexual fantasies seem to be taking the place of life-altering encounters with divine forces, and no one can even tell the difference. Now, will this necessarily hurt the people involved? Probably not – I mean, if you stay in the shallow end of the pool all the time, and your experiences are safely contained within your own imagination, there’s not too much room for actual gods to come and shake things up – and it’s when actual gods are involved that things can get perilous (and amazing). But I fear we have lost track of the whole *point* of polytheism in the first place.

When our ancestors made offerings, and sacrifices, they were responding to the very real presence of the gods in their lives, even if they never (or very rarely) encountered Them on a personal level. They knew that the gods controlled, or could at least influence, the forces that directly affected their lives. How well the crops grew, whether the neighboring tribe won the next skirmish between them, the health of their children, even their personal luck. They felt an obligation to the gods in return for all the gifts They had bestowed. And they, quite understandably, felt a holy awe when they witnessed the manifestation of those gods. They were engaged with the Powers on a daily level because They are Powers, not because they thought Zeus (or a statue of Zeus) was cute, or because it was fun to imagine what witty quip Hermes might come up with if He was having a drink with them.

When you worship gods for this reason, it DOES matter whether or not the entity you are contacting is actually the god whose name you’re using. It *definitely* matters whether or not you’re just talking to a mental sock puppet or something that has an independent existence. A mental sock puppet is not going to help you with your village’s drought. A minor spirit or thought-form or egregore erroneously addressed as a specific god may not mind the comparison, but it isn’t going to have the might of that god, or the close relationships with the other gods in the pantheon, or the complex and ancient web of connections and obligations binding it to humanity.

I think we’re also losing track of the point of mysticism, within polytheism. It used to be understood that one of the primary goals of bhakti-type devotion is to know one’s god as deeply as possible. If you encountered, for instance, a character in a story that reminded you of the god, it would provoke you to meditate on why that god could be seen in that mask, what that mask revealed about the god, and ultimately, a desire to get to know all the masks, or even what is behind the masks. But now I see people stopping at the most superficial point. They take some perceived similarity between their god and, say, a television character, and fetishize it to the point where they only see the actor’s face when they think of the god… and eventually, they appear to only be interacting with the idea of a person – not even the idea of a god, and certainly not a Holy Power itself.

And so then you get people questioning the ability of anyone (priest, oracle, etc.) to be able to guide you in your relationship with the god, because of course, they don’t know YOUR god, and YOUR god is so different and idiosyncratic and might only share a name with the god everyone else is worshipping. See now, that used to be a sign I would tell people to watch for, that they might be veering too far – past UPG, into just “making it up” territory (or at the very least, mistaking another deity or spirit for the god in question). Because while you might certainly develop little symbols and cues that are unique to your personal relationship with a deity, once They stop resembling the historical deity known by others in any significant way, it’s much more likely that you are in error than that everyone else through all time has been.

Now if you just want to feel the love and acceptance of a disembodied personality, and you get that from thinking fondly of your favorite character and using a name from mythology while you’re doing it, then I guess it doesn’t really matter to anyone else. But you’re probably not getting even close to an actual deity, the kind of deity who sends earthquakes or guides dead souls or is the raw power of love itself. And more importantly, the gods are not getting Their due that way. The right relationship our ancestors maintained between humanity and the Powers is not being fed. And if not by so-called polytheists, then who will take up that challenge? Certainly not the predominant type of humanistic or monotheistic people in our current culture, that’s for sure.

Of course, I’m not advocating against personal relationships with gods and spirits! Anyone who knows me and my spiritual life knows that would be pretty hypocritical. I just think we should be striving for authentic experiences, and wary of experiences that always match our expectations or desires. (I mean, ever notice that people are always seeing their gods as very attractive and popular actors? That alone should be a warning sign.) And that we should always remember why it is that humanity engages with the gods in the first place. There are things more important than having someone to share your morning coffee with, or make snarky jokes with. If the experiences you are seeking are no different than those you could have with a person (or an imaginary friend), if your devotions are indistinguishable from fandom, then it’s really not about a religious practice anymore. And we *need* religious practice – as a species. We need to be actually connecting with the real and powerful gods.

I sincerely hope that we do not lose potential future devotees, ones who would have carried on traditions and maintained that crucial right relationship with the Powers, because they come to modern polytheism looking for meaningful spiritual connection and find only swoony odes to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Self-Published Book Design

•April 6, 2016 • 8 Comments

wAs I’m staring at a relatively small but still significant-to-me tax bill and wondering how to pay it, I thought I might take a moment to mention again that I offer book design services to self-published authors.

I know there are a lot of polytheists and other pagans writing books and using print-on-demand companies to get their work out there, but who need some help formatting the interior, designing the cover, etc. I have extremely reasonable rates (especially in comparison to the competition) and specialize in books with a pagan focus (although I am happy to work on any kind of project). I provide professional results in a very timely manner. I even do copyediting if you need help with the manuscript itself. I have done all of the Nysa Press books by Sannion, the Sanngetall Press books by Galina, the Walking the Worlds journal, and a variety of others.

Visit the Winged Words website and check out my Portfolio as well as the Testimonials. And please, if you happen to know anyone else who might need my services, pass it on!

None of this really matters (a quick reality check)

•March 30, 2016 • 13 Comments

I made a comment along these lines to a private group recently but felt it bore repeating and expanding upon here.

Sometimes it feels very overwhelming when the pagan blogosphere explodes with the latest brouhaha and everyone is arguing and it seems like the community might fracture yet again into even smaller sectors, or that the future of all polytheism is doomed.

I find it helpful to remind myself that, if I were not online at all, or didn’t read these particular blogs, I would have no idea about any of this going on. I’d just be happily going about my own spiritual practices, and not worrying about what people I don’t even know said about stuff. And then it would all blow over, or move on to the next debacle, and I’d still be doing my thing. And it wouldn’t actually matter at all. ​Because it doesn’t.

You can still worship the gods, however you feel like (yes, even if someone insists you are wrong). You can still go down to the nearest nymph-haunted tree and say hello. You can still celebrate the seasonal changes, or make your magical herbal concoctions, or going on long astral journeys to the otherworld, or whatever else fulfills you. No words on a screen can stop you. The opinions of strangers may occasionally be a good source of fodder for reflection, but they don’t control you. And even if somehow things move off the screen and into your real-world religious life (as they did for the Bakcheion crew recently, which is the only reason I even entered the fray this time), you can still meet your obligations to your gods, even if you have to get creative. (Think Dionysos will be losing a ritual in His honor because we had to withdraw from a silly conference? No! He’ll be getting a much better one, privately, because we are still devotees first and foremost. Big public events can be fun but they should not be the bread and meat of our traditions or our personal religious lives.)

Remember that there are tons of polytheists out there just living day to day, honoring their gods and spirits, even devoting their whole lives to it, who have no awareness of or interest in the online “communities” and are totally unaffected by this stuff. Even if you don’t want to be one of them, you can remember to keep some perspective.

 
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