Dver is offering some amazing incense!

•February 9, 2015 • 4 Comments

Dver:

Galina just posted a quick but very good review of my new incense powder. I’m glad to hear that it didn’t set off any problematic reactions – being rather sensitive myself, that was one of my goals in making chemical-free incenses!

Originally posted on Gangleri's Grove:

I recently ordered some incense from Dver — you can check it out here. I’m particular about my incense, but i’d used hers before and it didn’t set off headaches or make me otherwise miserable so I decided to order some of her new blend

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Oh. My. Gods. I used it this past week in ritual and it was lush and magical and just marvelous to use. I used it in offering to my dead, but it would make a lovely ritual incense as well. Anyway, I’m picky and I like it, so I’m recommending it here. ^_^.

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Amanita Research

•February 4, 2015 • 5 Comments

This month, I’m beginning the very first stage of my Amanita muscaria book adventure: RESEARCH. Yes, I’ve been reading about the mushroom for years, but this will be a systematic approach to pretty much all the information out there. (Which will mean a lot of reading about crazy theories on how Jesus was a mushroom, but that should be fun too.) I’ve collected copies of all the books that discuss it as a primary subject:

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And, possibly more fruitful when it comes down to it, amassing copies of every single journal article or brief book chapter on any aspect of the mushroom:

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It’s finally time to dig into this stack of knowledge! I’ll probably be reading a lot of this several times over as I take notes and organize my thoughts. And then begin the writing process! Which YOU can help me with, by contributing to my laptop fundraiser – where you can get perks like incense, books, divination readings, etc. I’m currently at 76% of my goal at IndieGoGo, and thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far! While I’ve received a few off-site donations as well, I’ve also had to pay for the perks, and the fees, so getting to my goal (or even past it) is still really important – not to mention that if I reach the full amount on the site, I get a partial refund of their fees! Anything I raise above the cost of the laptop will go to that aforementioned dental bill, which would also be extremely helpful. You can check out my fundraiser here.

Candlemas

•February 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It can be an interesting exercise, combining varying polytheist traditions into a single observance. It’s not always appropriate to do so, of course, and many of my Hellenic festivals, for instance, are done solo and in a purely Hellenic fashion. However – yesterday was Candlemas, and since I do something small for this day, and my Heathen partner wanted to do something small for Charming of the Plough (usually done at this time), we decided to join forces. It ended up a collection of many different little offerings and observances, but I think it all fit nicely into the broader theme of the seasonal shift that’s occurring.

So, first I made a nice meal featuring curried lamb (because it’s lambing time!), and these kind of crepes made of chickpea flour (because my partner can’t eat grain). Then we took a bottle of mead, a drinking horn, and one of the crepes (which would function as a sacred “cake” in this case) outside to the garden. We had a sumbel, standing in the dark by my raised garden bed, under a stunning full moon, toasting our various gods and spirits, and poured the last bit out as a libation. Then he blessed my trowel, standing in for the plough, and made a furrow in the dirt, and we buried the “cake” as an offering. Back inside, I set out an offering for Bear (because Candlemas marks the end of hibernation), and then set a bunch of herbs burning and smudged all the spirits of dead animals that reside in my home (who are all under the protection of Bear) while giving them my breath and energy through song. I also poured out beer for Veles (also associated with the bear) and for my spirits, whose holy day it happened to be as well.

The whole thing was fairly simple and informal, but nonetheless felt very right. We marked the seasonal change in ways that were significant to our different traditions, and made the proper offerings to the proper gods and spirits. I know some people still get uncomfortable mixing Recon traditions with other things, but it really can work out quite well.

[A reminder that my fundraiser to get a new laptop and write my next book will be going on throughout February!]

Some videos for Lenaia, looking ahead to Anthesteria…

•January 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Tomorrow morning I climb to the reservoir up the hill, pop open some fizzy white wine, and sing Dionysos up with the sun. Tonight, these are some of the things I’m feeling in the air.

 

I wonder if we could get some atheists to come over to polytheism

•January 30, 2015 • 4 Comments

Here’s the inimitable Stephen Fry talking about why he wouldn’t want to get into heaven even if it (and God) turned out to be real:

Naturally, I agree with his points there, and this is why a single, omnipotent creator deity makes no sense, and especially wouldn’t be someone I would worship. But, note how he specifically brings up the Greek gods as making more sense. I’ve seen a number of atheists say this. I doubt any of them are aware of modern polytheists, or would consider polytheism a viable alternative, but I have to wonder if they might be swayed if they did. Would love to send him A World Full of Gods or something of the sort.

The Problem of Temples

•January 29, 2015 • 5 Comments

There’s an article up on The Wild Hunt today about Building Pagan Temples. As appealing (both spiritually and aesthetically) as the idea of modern temples is, I have generally always taken the stance that you really need an active community first, before trying to build something so big – which is affirmed by the examples given in the article of successful projects; they all had a vibrant, dedicated community, even if it’s a small one, supporting them. But even if you have that, there is always the problem of money and resources, and I wonder if we polytheists might, in a way, be in an even less advantageous position regarding potential temple-building than other types of pagan (if you even consider us pagan, but that’s another topic).

In most types of polytheist tradition, a temple functions as the home of the god(s). You might congregate there for rituals, offerings, sacrifices, initiations, oracles, etc., but a temple is generally not *required* for those things, and it is not used as simply a social gathering space, the way many churches, synagogues, and even the Hindu temple mentioned in the article, are. So that causes the first obstacle, in that most people (not me of course, but most) are social creatures, and tend to put a higher value on projects that include a social aspect. They would rather support a place that could also function as a community center, classroom, library, meeting space – not, for instance, something like an ancient Greek temple where you didn’t even go inside to sacrifice.

Secondly, whereas in many forms of neo-paganism, one might need a few special ritual tools but otherwise not be required to purchase anything (even if there are a lot of tempting tchotchkes out there), engaged polytheism usually demands a constant stream of offerings to keep up relationships with the gods and spirits. Sure, these don’t have to be extremely expensive (they don’t all necessarily cost money at all), but the general tendency is to give what one is able – so if I have paid all my bills and have food and shelter and still have some money left over, I’m going to buy that nice bottle of wine for Dionysos, because I can, and I want to show Him my gratitude for His blessings. Multiply that by several times, since most polytheists are involved with several deities and spirits at once, and it can account for a lot of one’s resources. Plus, since we tend to have our own home-based shrines (mini-temples of sorts), not only do we need to spend some of our money on their upkeep, but we aren’t in dire need of a place to make our offerings and commune with our gods.

Simply put, there are few polytheists who are going to have enough disposable income to both keep up with their usual offerings and festivals (and possibly more expensive religious duties such as an occasional pilgrimage) AND make the kind of regular, significant donations required to pool enough money for something as large as a temple. Not to mention – a temple to which god? In which tradition? Since polytheists all practice a variety of paths with different pantheons, and even within the same path have different primary deities, it would be unlikely for enough people to agree on just one (or even a small group) to devote that much money and work to.

Which isn’t to say it’s impossible – I tend to think that if a god wants this done, They might inspire Their worshippers to go above and beyond, and/or prioritize building such a temple above other offerings for a number of years – and there have been some examples of this. But in general, I think we need to stop worrying so much about having grand temples “like the old days” and start appreciating what we are able to give our gods today. Who is even to say that any particular deity truly favors having one large, impressive structure over having dozens of much smaller, individual, but passionately tended, shrines around the world? Seems to me that we have created homes for Them in hundreds of different places already.

[A reminder that my fundraiser to get a new laptop and write my next book will be going on through February!]

New Incense!

•January 28, 2015 • 2 Comments

I have just added two new sets of incense to my Goblinesquerie shop.

IMG_3779bThe first is my popular Darkwood incense cones, which were snapped up in a single day last time I offered them. Same blend, featuring vetiver, sandalwood, red cedar and patchouli, only this time the cones are a little smaller (which burn better) and therefore they are sold in sets of 12. Strong, woodsy scent which has been described as “strange and wonderful.” They are my personal favorite, and I use them all the time. I note that these incense cones are also one of the perks of my laptop fundraiser, if you want them but would also like to contribute something towards my goal.

IMG_3785The second is a new incense powder blend, called Midnight. It features dragonsblood, benzoin and African myrrh resins, patchouli, cinnamon bark, cloves and licorice root. It produces a dark, sweet, heady scent when burned on charcoal tablets. A little pinch goes a long way! This is a fairly similar blend to my Orphic Incense Powder, so if you liked that one and want more, you’ll probably like this too. Comes in a half-ounce cobalt blue glass bottle, without any labels or logos so that it might blend in well when set on a shrine or altar (this is something I prefer myself, and thought other people might appreciate if they’re using it for ritual).

 
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