Dwelling on the Threshold

Dwelling on the Threshold: Reflections of a Spirit-Worker and Devotional Polytheist by Sarah Kate Istra Winter.

Within the myriad traditions of modern polytheism, some are called to a deeper and more consuming level of engagement with the gods, spirits, and otherworlds. These mystics, devotees, shamans, god-spouses, seers, spirit-workers and others often must craft a unique path for themselves based on scraps of historical evidence, inspiration from colleagues and mentors, and guidance from the holy powers.

In a series of short essays and poems, the author explores this sacred terrain of spirit-work and devotional polytheism, drawing on her own personal experience, as well as placing these practices in the context of ancient traditions and overall modern paganism. Specific rites and relationships may vary widely between practitioners, but many of the struggles and epiphanies shared within these pages are universal. With a passionate, knowledgeable, and compelling voice, the author describes a spiritual vocation that can be harrowing and lonely at times, but also breathtakingly magical and profoundly fulfilling.

198 pages, 6×9″, paperback, published May 2012.

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CONTENTS

For Those Ones
Introduction
Invocation
An October Evening
Will Spirit-Work Destroy Your Life?
Spiritual Specialists
Mysticism as Vocation in Modern Paganism
Loners and Mystics
The Gods Are Real and Trance Isn’t Just Visualization
The Purpose of Taboos
Science and Spirit-Work
We Are What We Pretend To Be
Resistance and Inspiration
Do Something
A Worthy Offering
Note to Myself
Fallow Times
Lykeios
A Light in the Darkness
They Can Hear You
It’s Not About Us
Obligations Can Be Just What You Need
We Are So Lucky
Miles To Go Before I Sleep
Letting Go
Important Lessons
Longing To Get Back
Threshold
Sleep As Baseline Consciousness
Shaman Notes
Mysterious Bliss
Possession
One World Rides Another: Pathwalking and Horsing
Present In Both Worlds
Sacrifice Bridges the Worlds
As Above, So Below
The Tools At-Hand
Fairy Money
Limnades
Land Spirits
Personal Spirits
Spirit Lovers
The Dangers of Sharing Too Much
Committing…
…With Caution
Discernment
Discernment for Godspouses
When You Can’t See
Notes on the Use of Entheogens
Mind Control
Altered Minds Are Dangerous
Taking Responsibility
Mundane vs. Physical
Mainstreaming Paganism
Taking the Christmas Out of Solstice
Pagan Survivals
Yarilo
Mumming, Masking and Processionals
Outdoor Festivals
Anthesteria Is in the Details
Holy Days
Living by Moon and Sun
Plants and Lunar Rhythms
Experiencing the Gods
Hekate’s Deipnon
Things Left at the Gate
Thargelia: Glimpses from a Festival
Situational Syncretism
Evolving Patron Relationships
Two Decades with Dionysos
Lenaia
Varying Deity Relationships
Deepening Reconstructionism Locally
Delphi and Cascadia: My Oracular Practice
On the Tripod
Oracles FAQ
Modern Oracles
Consulting Trophonios
Hyperboreos
Ancient Greek Spirit-Workers
Love Your Library, and Other Research Tips
Recommended Resources
About the Author