1. Past Present

Today is the 9th anniversary of setting up my first altar and making my first attempt to talk to a god, and I’ve been thinking about nodal oppositions recently, because of the eclipses.

It takes about 18 and a half years for the eclipses to move all the way around the zodiac, so if you’re paying attention to this from an astrological perspective, and want to know what kinds of things in your life might be affected by the eclipse, the standard advice is to look back about 19 years and see what was going on then. Of course, what zodiac sign, and house in your chart is affected, is also important (and, too, that the event or change may not be a Big Obvious Thing the exact day of the eclipse; the change may play out more slowly over the next 6 months).

And halfway through that cycle is about 9 years, when the north node will be where the south node was 9 years previously, and vice versa.

It’s been on my mind because 9 years was when I stepped onto this path of . . . whatever it is . . . though as of yet I’m not sure what any of the eclipses might have had to do with things back then (the current cycle is in Gemini and Sagittarius, which are my 6th and 12th houses – it is true that 19 years ago, I was having some things going on that were 6th and 12 house topics and BOY IS THAT ACTIVE AGAIN NOW, but 9 years ago, it’s not so clearcut).

I’ve also been thinking about current astrological transits because a year ago there were a few that were significant, including some action in Gemini.

Venus went retrograde in Gemini, which it had done 8 years previous. What stuck out to me when listening to astrology podcasts was that when Venus goes retrograde, and you want to know what that might mean for you, think about Venus sorts of things that were happening 8 years ago, because you’ll probably be revisiting that during the current retrograde. So, topics related to whatever house Venus is transiting, or just Venus things in general, like relationships.

And there were some eclipses last June. Notably, there was a solar eclipse on June 21st, in Cancer, which is also my seventh house (relationships of the “very close partner” kind).

In the weeks leading up to those events, I looked at their placements in my chart, and my life, and what had been going on 8 years earlier, and said “Oh no, oh no you don’t!” because what major relationship did I still have going that had also been going 8 years before? Just one. And I did not want any kind of major shake-up there!

I told myself, “You are probably worrying over nothing,” because often I do! I see potential for worst-case scenarios, and worry! And then nothing happens. Or something happens, but it’s pretty minor.

To the best of my recollection, nothing major happened last June 21st, or during Venus’ retrograde period.

I was studying astrology pretty heavily, and also working pretty intensely on the Quareia course. I was reading ahead in the books, because I was extremely curious about the whole process (as much as one can learn from simply reading it …) and I felt a little weirdly obsessed and “pushed” to keep on with it, like some of the Powers That Be were gently encouraging me to do that.

I finished up one evening in early July, and felt like I’d just finished something very potent, and was even more excited to keep going with it.

The instant I woke up the next morning, I knew where it is taking me, in the long run. Not in details, just one thing. One thing, awful and immense, but also, something I never knew I wanted so much until I had time to let it sink in. It was (is) a pretty heavy thing. It’s good, something to look forward to, and bittersweet, and I’ll probably be wrestling with it for the rest of my life.

I was also aware of Loki’s presence – somewhat unusual, he’d become pretty absent for the previous 18 months – and he said something to me about how heavy a thing this was. Yes, yes it is, and I got up and tried to get on with my day as normally as possible, though I immediately started wondering how was this going to affect, or intersect with, the vows I’d made to Loki? Or, really, just one long-term sort of bit in particular.

See, at least one place in the Quareia books, it states that magicians do not make oaths to gods, unless it’s for a very specific, limited sort of service or a very limited time. “What if a magician has made an, um, not-limited sort of oath before getting here,” I wondered, uncomfortably. “Oh well, if it ever becomes a problem, I’m sure I’ll know!” And I worried about it from time to time, but it didn’t seem like something I should bother asking about, and I wasn’t sure I wanted an answer anyway.

After breakfast I sat down to do my usual morning meditation and as usual my mind was full of wandering thoughts.

“How is this long-term trajectory going to work out with my vows,” for example.

And Loki very quietly said he was releasing me from my oath.

I tried to keep my focus, and tell myself I didn’t really hear that, I was just talking to myself, focus on the meditation, he didn’t, oh yes he did, oh no, no, not really? . . . and then I figured I ought to really confront the whole awful message and gave up on trying to meditate.

He said it was necessary, and I needed to be “free,” and some other things about changes in the relationship. Find a new way of doing things, something like that. I was reminded of a vision he’d shown me in 2013, a depiction of his expectation/plans for how the relationship was going to go. At the time, I had thought it was relevant to the changes going on in the relationship at that time, and sure enough, in the next couple weeks, things went along the lines shown in that sequence. Funny thing: the end part of that vision – chains fallen away, then standing side by side, hand in hand – also seemed entirely relevant to this whole oath-releasing, “change in how we relate,” conversation.

It was extremely upsetting, to say the least, though if the relationship hadn’t gotten much more chill and quiet over the previous 18 months, it would have been much harder, which makes me pretty fucking certain that the “stop doing devotional work” thing was not solely about me needing to turn my time and attention towards C., who was newly arrived in my life.

So my “bad feeling” about the astrology, it was right, there was something coming. A worst-case scenario, in fact, but also – not.

He didn’t leave. Things haven’t changed much from where they were before. He’s still around as much (as little) as he had been since the “no more devotions!!” deal.

I’m still pissed off about it. Cranky, anyway. It’s done my head in a bit when I think “Ok but what does this make this relationship, then?!?!?!” despite the fact that I have relationships with other entities that feel right being called “marriage” and there were never any oaths with those even to start.

I miss him – and I don’t. I’ve been “alone” in my head more in the last year than I had been since this whole thing got started (C. has also stepped back almost entirely at this point; when I actually need/want to talk, I get a response, but).

It’s fine. It’s ok. It’s good, I guess? (I hate to say it’s good.) I miss them, but it is good that I don’t need that near-constant contact any more.

Anyway, I’m watching the transits in Gemini, especially the damn eclipses, and wondering if/when there’s going to be another well-timed upset carrying on this theme.

2. Future

Of course I knew things wouldn’t stay the same forever. Relationships don’t, period, and every post I’d ever read from people with 5, 10, 20 years devoted to a god (including lots of other godspouses) talked about how their relationships had been through at least one major upheaval, often as the deity in question decided it was time for that. And people’s needs change, and if part of the god’s intentions are to support you, then as your needs change, the relationship may, too. And, of course, it’s silly to expect a deity like Loki to leave things the samey-same, comfortable and routine, forever.

Most of the big upsets I’d heard about others going through were the kind that comes when the god pushes you into a very different devotional routine, or shows up in an aspect they haven’t used much before and says “This is the me you get now,” or even “Ah, sorry honey, but I’m actually Other God from Completely Other Pantheon.”

I’ve known of one or two instances of someone having a marriage ended faster than expected, and then realizing their experiences really never had quite “fit the mold,” but I haven’t heard any mention of anything like what I got.

For years I’d also felt like – hmm, how to put this – I really wasn’t cut out for the devotional life, even in that relationship, and there were ways in which it seemed like I really was not being directed into the kind of mystical focus on one god that so many have written about. I loved doing it – and sometimes I still look at some of the things that are no longer to be used, and get quite mad about it. It was comforting, I was happy to do it, I loved the regular contact, and it took weeks for him (patiently) to get me to (angrily) stop it all. But for years, I also felt like something about that wasn’t me – like, I simply cannot be focused like that on someone else, no matter how intensely I love them or enjoy it and don’t consider it a burden, and then I’d feel like I was hopelessly selfish and unfit for any kind of relationship at all, which I knew was an entirely ridiculous conclusion but it was always there. (I guess it’s similar to seeing how I just don’t fit into polytheist monastic groups, despite being solitary and hermit-like; that kind of lifestyle is very much not mine.)

I don’t know where I’m going with this; I had some excellent thoughts but they escaped before I could get them down in print. Which seems appropriate, actually, because I don’t know where I’m going with this, either.

I suppose I never quite did, since I have been very surprised by the changes over the last couple years, but it’s quite ironic to feel even more “IDK WTF” now than I did the first several years.

I believe he’ll be there when I need him, and sometimes just because, but other than that?

¯\_ (ツ)_/¯

I suppose that’s (rudely) appropriate, though, considering.

Posted in Loki, Spirit marriage | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Time

Stars and stone

I figured a few things out in January. “Finally got the message” might be another way to put it.

I decided I was finally going to try and properly learn astrology, because I was tired of reading really lengthy write-ups on transits and so on and not understanding what it all meant, and also the notion of learning horary astrology is really intriguing, and who doesn’t want another divinatory skill?? I also decided that I was going to get a year-ahead reading done by an astrologer, instead of going for tarot or something like most years.

The reading was horrible, emotionally; the reader did quite a good job – I got advice for dealing with several problems that are shown in my chart, things I have been aware of in my life for years, as well as advice for the specific career/work-related concerns I specifically wanted answered during the reading. Plus a lot of info about things I’ve been aware of but also avoidant of for various reasons, which, okay, guess I can’t do that any more, dammit, but that’s probably just as well.

However, I also got the reader bluntly saying that the career direction I just fucking switched to late last fall isn’t going to be a long-term thing, followed up by “I’m not sure there even is A Thing you’re going to be when you grow up,” or words to that effect. This was the opposite of what I hoped and wanted to hear. I mean, okay, sure, if the current freelancing goals don’t last the rest of my life, ok?? I’m not, like, super emotionally attached to the work, but fuck! HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DO I HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLANS. Why the fuck can’t I have more stability????????????????????????????

So, like, I dropped one very dearly-held long-worked-for career goal because the gods said “Yeah, sorry, you need to stop trying that” and then They gave me a LOT of help changing to something else, and I worked towards that for years and got about 2 years of actual work in that field and then . . . then that got terminated while I redirected (with LOTS of spiritual prompting and aid) to something that should be financially good but isn’t borne of passion like Attempts 1 and 2 were. And now I’m hearing that Attempt 3 – spiritually guided and supported!! – isn’t going to last either?????? Excuse me if I am very angry and distressed by this, along with the big helping of “This is just how your life IS.”

I got angrier and angrier after the reading, blamed some of the planets more than others, and then decided that perhaps I ought to do some divination to find out Who is responsible for this state of my life, why, and is this bullshit going to continue, because my career trajectories have been various kinds of fucked and futile and short-lived since 2008.

I set out several divination decks, plus my runes, with each tool representing a different pantheon or group of spirits – with one deck left for any other spirits/Powers/etc. I’m not already aware of, because I really wasn’t sure Who I need to have some words with. (I realized afterwards this was peak “I want to speak with the manager” and yes I may be a middle-aged white woman (more or less) but even moreso I have a life-long hatred of authority figures pulling shit coupled with a life-long desire to question and challenge and demand answers and change from said authorities.)

The answers came via that deck, from a spirit I didn’t (at first) recognize. And They basically backed up, in much harder terms, what the reading of my chart told me, which was one of the worst things any spirit’s ever told me. So much for my hopes for my life! Crushed. Devastated. (I knew that once I recovered from this I would probably see that card in a better light, and I do, but.) After I recovered enough from the first, most terrible card, I asked some more questions, made some very pointed comments about how I thought the way my adult life has unfolded due to the planets has been cruel, and got a bit more information and reassurances that if I go the direction They think is where I am most needed, I’ll have success. During that conversation I realized that this spirit was the same as the Mystery Guest who showed up last fall when I finished writing up a big wish-list for the next big move in my career/work-life, and was the one who basically accepted that wish-list/petition/accidental demands of The Management. So, there it is: they have my terms, but did I want what They indicate is/was laid out for me? Fuck no. There could hardly have been a worse card to indicate the shape of things.

I had a very bad couple of weeks. I’ve read The Wicked + The Divine and during this time I kept thinking about that one issue where the phrase “Persephone is in hell” came to mind repeatedly.

I also discovered during that time that Pluto, which is in the 10th house in my natal chart (career/vocation matters), has been transiting my first house (self) since 2008, and Pluto is connected with, er. Death. During 2012, when my agnosticism took a fatal hit and I revamped a huge amount of myself and my life overall, Pluto transited over the exact degree of my ascendant multiple times. And since 2008, my ideas of self-and-career, which have always been connected, they have taken several fatal hits and restarts, and here we are again.

I also learned, much to my delight (ha), that Uranus and Neptune also do some fun transits during one’s midlife period!! Also connected with Big Life Upheavals!!

I love astrology!! It answers so many things, in so many cheery and delightful ways!!! And Pluto won’t be out of my first house until 2024 what the fuck am I going to do send help.

Personal angst aside, and pretty well past at this point, I have been enjoying myself like I haven’t in years. The intellectual challenge is wonderful, there’s so much to learn, I’m beginning to understand how various pieces fit together to make bigger pictures, it’s just really amazing and I’m so glad I got into this after putting it aside since my early 20s.

In addition, while I was still mourning my dreams, I got a strong nudge to start studying planetary and astrological magic, and in the process of inhaling podcasts and reading related materials I found some things that finally, finally, cleared up some long-standing questions.

Questions like:

— So, none of the gods want me “worshiping” them and that’s been the case for years – am I even doing religion any more, should I still call myself a polytheist? If not, then, wtf?

— I keep meeting more and more pantheons and groups of spirits, this isn’t anything like normal, what does it all mean, why this, what am I supposed to be doing?? And why am I getting prompted to learn so many kinds of divination?

— I’m doing things kind of like this group of people, and kind of like that group, and a bit like them over there, but none of them seem to be my people, where the fuck do I belong?

— I’m kind of like a witch, I guess; people I know who do things like I do call themselves witches, but that doesn’t feel like the right term, but none of the others do either, so I’m sticking with “spirit worker” but seriously, come on People, what the fuck am I???

What I found by hopping from astrological podcast to astrological podcast to magician-on-podcast was, first of all, a podcast featuring Josephine McCarthy, which was interesting because she talked about working with/for the land, and from there I looked up Quareia to learn more about her, a site I’d seen a time or two years ago, skimmed through, said “not for me,” and forgot about. But since I had time to kill I skimmed through it again, appreciated the writing on land Powers, all the while thinking “I don’t know if I want to start this, it’s fucking huge . . . ” and then I binge-read the entire study guide.

I had to pause several times reading the first couple sections of it because fuck my life, there it is, that’s what I’ve been fucking living with. I hadn’t read anything else that felt so familiar since reading Emma Wilby’s Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits. Well; except that time I read a bunch of posts on some OTO magician’s blog and was like “That! That’s the talk about dealing with spirits I’ve been missing in polytheist land!” and then forgot about it again for a couple years because I’m not a ceremonial magician nor wish to be.

This wasn’t the only clue I’ve had, but it was like finally getting the picture on the puzzle box and seeing how all the god damned pieces snap together.

So: I have not been on a religious path like I thought I was. It’s been a magically-oriented path, and that pretty much has to be individualistic (unless one is drawn to one of the formal paths/temples/whatever like OTO, which I very much am not). So I don’t need to worry any more about fitting in right with the other polytheists, cause I’m really not doing polytheism.

Huge. Fucking. Relief.

So that’s where I am.

Funny thing: even when I was an ardent young atheist, I wanted magic, and I could never quite let go of that even when I tried to be consistent in not believing in gods or spirits or magic or astrology.

I have friends who are really great with the scholarly aspects of religion, and I appreciate what they talk about, but that isn’t my thing, and it’s left me feeling awkward and not-quite-belonging. I have other friends who have intense, well-developed, deep mystical devotional practices, but that, to my sorrow, is also not my thing. As much as I adore Loki and want more and deeper time with Him, He made me quit my regular devotional practice related to Him; even before then I spent years wondering on and off if maybe I just wasn’t trying hard enough, while envying the people who are oriented to that kind of life, or towards the more academic way of doing things. It has felt like I haven’t been deepening anything, or developing anything, just moving from one thing to another to another and . . . I like learning lots of different things but I also hate feeling like just a fucking dilettante, whether in this area of my life or the whole fucking work/career clusterfuck of changes.

But finally, finally, I know what it is I am oriented towards, and that actually I have gained a hell of a lot in the last several years, and by being told where I belong I’ve also been freed of needing to belong anywhere, because it’s clear that even if I have a lot in common with other magicians – it’s got to be done my own way.

I started the Quareia practice a few weeks ago. I’m aiming, but not aiming, to finish it. You know, whenever. Not having “finishing” as a goal means I am not putting internal pressure on myself. I’ve already got lots of practice with many things it covers (which has also been really reassuring to see! These years have definitely taught me a lot already!), but I haven’t done them the way they are in the curriculum, and there are lots of techniques in there that will be new to me, whenever it is I get to them. So it’ll be fun, and a challenge, and fuck yeah, more skills, more tools!

As for the career stuff . . . gods. I’m kind of not looking at that because I’m still sore over the whole thing, and the joy and hope I had when I did all the work to setup the freelancing thing has been hard to get back, while also learning astrology better so I can understand that part of my chart better, while also trying to give up on the idea of “career” entirely. Vocation, well – I have some ideas about what it is I’m supposed to do there though I’m holding that at arm’s length as long as I can, but I think that’s going to have to be separate from how I get my income. Work is not career, see.

This is a long way of saying the subject matter covered here is probably going to be a lot different than it used to be.


January had multiple planetary conjunctions and transits that lined up all too neatly with my personal bullshit. When the month ended, I saw several posts on social media along the lines of “The decade that was January is finally over and WE SURVIVED” and I know some of them were referring to how there was not, in fact, any nuclear war, but each time I saw one of those posts I thought, “. . . I’m not so sure that I did, honestly.” I think Pluto (conjuncting Saturn – which rules my ascendant – which then went through its own death-rebirth process by way of conjuncting the Sun) had its parting shot at sending me into death and the underworld, and it’s true that I’m no longer there, and where I am now I am very happy and excited, and having a good time with the Powers I’m getting to know – but discovering a new life doesn’t mean you survived the blow, either.

Posted in Astrology, General Religious Stuff, Magical Etc, Miscellaneous crap, Quareia | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Winter growth

Everyone knows that in the winter – in fact, from sometime in fall through winter – trees and shrubs and perennials are dormant. Their leaves die and fall off; perennials have all their above-ground growth die back.

And there they sit, not growing, until sometime in late winter or early spring, when the snow melts and the sun gets more intense, and then BOOM green leaves and new blossoms and stems and all that.

So winter is a great metaphor for being restful, right, because look, look at all those plants that aren’t growing.


They grow most of their new root mass during fall and winter.

They need that to support next spring’s growth of leaves and new stems and all that obvious-to-big-mammals stuff.

On a practical level what this means is that if you have trees or shrubs or perennials to care for, you may need to water them during the winter if there isn’t much snow or rain, or you live somewhere that’s really windy. If they dry out over the winter, they not only won’t be able to grow lots of new roots, they may have a lot of their roots die off, and then when the spring leafing-out comes, they’ll still go for it, and quite possibly die in the process because they haven’t got the root system to provide enough water and nutrients.

On a metaphorical level – as below so above.

This is on my mind right now because I struggle with “rest” periods, the times when there is little I can act on to change things, and I have little choice but to wait for outcomes from what I’ve already done. It’s nicer to think of these not as “rest” time, not as “time of inaction,” but instead a time where the root growth – the support structure! the supplier of water and nitrogen and other good things! – is happening where I can’t see it, and eventually it will lead to an unfurling of new leaves and flowers and fruit.

Posted in General Religious Stuff, Plant Things | Tagged | Comments Off on Winter growth

Outsider nonsense

I’ve been mentally composing a post for several weeks now, which means that by now the first drafts contain outdated information, and the whole thing has probably gotten stupidly longer, so I don’t even know what it is I want to write about at this point. “What I’m up to” I guess, because I haven’t made a lot of updates here for a long while, plus the usual complaining about the same old stuff. I love blogging, it’s my natural environment.

One of the threads joining all the stuff, though, is this “outsider” status bullshit I keep banging into. I mean, it’s kind of been a lifelong constant one way or the other – even times when I’ve had a solid social group of people I saw in person, I’ve always ended up kinda sorta on the edge of things. Even when I find myself in the company of other people who are on/past some kind of fringe, because I too am out there for the same reasons . . . well look at all the things they have in common that leave me going “???? should I even be here? I mean yes, but also: can’t relate.” (The example that I am currently most indignant about? Me and vast amounts of discussion about being autistic. Love that! A real good time. My people, very much, and yet. (Am I glad I had this realization about my neurology? Mostly no . . . and this is one of the reasons I feel I don’t fit in there, either.))

So of course some of Them have been all “embrace who you are, those are your strengths!” and I know They have a point which is “don’t beat yourself up over it” and I try but it’s hard. It would be easier if I felt like I was benefiting from it, instead of having to be on guard literally everywhere – most people want others to conform, even if they say otherwise.

They’ve also been using similar phrasing/concepts recently when I’ve been asking for advice in finding a job, and . . . I’m having a hard time figuring out what that means in practical terms. Partially I know it has to do with looking for work that I -know- I am interested in, but it isn’t just that, so . . . what is it. Not knowing makes me anxious that They see something coming that I would throw things at to keep away from me if I knew. Adding to my concerns are that I have asked, very specifically, for Them to explain, specifically, what I’m likely to end up doing, and They’ve been quite clear that They are NOT going to tell me, because there’d be repercussions that would be bad.

Like I need more anxieties about finding work.

I quit my job in June. I’d been job-hunting for a while and hoped I’d leave when I found something new but. I’d been having horrid, awful on-going anxiety about being there for weeks. Partly I was pushed past my mental limits by retail work during the busy season, but also, and worst, and not going to go away, was the ongoing fact that my now-ex-boss is a horrible person to work for, and I could not stand it any more. I wouldn’t have bailed like that if not for months of support/encouragement from Them, but I’m rather alarmed that after all Their “you’ll find something soon!” comments uhhhh well. I’m STILL LOOKING. If They’re trying to just keep my mood up so I don’t go crazy with the sense of being trapped, could They maybe find some other words/concepts than “soon”?

So I’ve been having a summer that has been pretty mellow and relaxed other than the low- to moderate-grade concerns about where the fuck I’m going to get an income. I was actually getting bored for a while, but then I got some new spiritual stuff to look into, which has been interesting.

A friend referred to Benebell Wen’s work, and I went to take a look, and read over her Spirit Keeper’s Tarot stuff because I always have to know if I “need” another tarot deck or will I be safe this time. I fairly quickly found myself hoping that I did need this deck, which is always a good sign . . . though this time it wasn’t mostly about the artwork (though I do love the artwork a LOT!), it was also very much about the ritual work associated with it. She created the deck to be both a way to contact a whole roster of spirits, plus there’s a ritual coloring process you can do to connect with your HGA.

I’ve never been really intrigued by that idea before – I’m not inclined towards ceremonial magic, which is the only context I’ve seen people write about the HGA in – but this time was different. Perhaps because the method is different. She also has a workbook for 22 weeks of focused study of the deck, which adds several other spiritual practices to the mix. And apparently I was in the mood to decide that taking on several months of that sort of thing sounded like fun. Some elements of it do not look like fun at all, but then “fun” isn’t really the point. A good challenge, then, and hopefully an observable increase in some skills, that’s the attraction.

I recently finished up the first bit, the ritual coloring. The few readings I did with the deck before doing that were very direct, in the sense that I could very easily get the message. The readings I’ve done since finishing are no less clear, and the times I’ve specifically been asking my HGA for input have been quite potent. I don’t always immediately understand what the message from a given card is, but the information -flow- has been pretty intense, and the connection with the spirit is DEFINITELY there.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this deck/associated spirits end up fitting into the others I have. I’ve been kind of annoyed recently with the fact that the deck that I end up using most is the Transparent Tarot. It’s a fine deck, but I have several others I also like quite a lot! How come it jumps out first when I have questions! Why don’t the others ever want to talk to me!! (I’m particularly sad that a couple of decks in particular have been silent for ages; they were commonly used when I needed to talk with various land/nature spirits. … Guess who hasn’t been around much trying to talk to me. :|)

And then another deity I hadn’t exactly met before got my attention, to pass on some messages and aid re:the whole job thing. I already kind of knew this pantheon was likely to drop in again at some point, but after this, I think I’ve really accepted that. I find it kind of awkward; They’ve all been completely disinterested in me setting up any kind of altar or anything, as in “don’t. Really, don’t.” My most recent visitor did finally put it into terms that shut me up on that account, so, okay. I guess now I really understand where I stand with all Y’all.

I’m not sure what I’m doing counts as “religion” any more. I don’t think I can properly say I’m a “devotional” polytheist at this point. I’ve got a bunch of altars for the Norse deities and a few Others, but with 1 exception, They all turn down offers to give Them offerings (and I don’t know if the exception “wants” it or if this is being permitted for -my- comfort and reassurance). Loki’s still in “no, don’t do that!” mode and so I’m still occasionally enraged when I see the coffee grinder. The very dusty, no longer used bar the vary rare times I want coffee myself, coffee grinder.

I keep trying on terms other than “spirit worker” and finding them a bad fit. “Witch?” Well, on the one hand, one of Them called me “little witch” several years ago, and it’s true, a lot of what I do overlaps with activities that many witches engage in. But. What I do fails to overlap with a whole lot of things many witches engage in. NEXT. “Magician?” I pretty much assume this means “ceremonial” and that is soooooooo not me. (Related: I adapted some of the workings in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot to my own paradigm and – no one should be shocked – ended up with a very much less complex ritual method where such were called for.)

Other terms seem even less useful and all of them, even “spirit worker,” have the same failure mode which is “too much of an umbrella term to really know wtf the user means,” and when I look at any those terms to try and find other people doing similar things as me, or even experiencing similar things, I’m continually frustrated. (Recently found a ceremonial magician’s blog and read a LOT of posts b/c while that paradigm is not mine, a lot of the author’s experiences with spirits and perspective on them overlaps with mine, and there were things written that were kinda helpful, if for no other reason than seeing someone write out what I’ve experienced. So maybe I’ve been wrong to ignore the ceremonialists for years, ’cause if this person is anything like the rest of them, they have more useful things to say about dealing with spirits than far too many polytheists I’ve read. Not that I’m bitter about yet-another realization that I don’t-quite-fit with yet-another group I have a lot in common with. Never that.)

So anyway, after Mr “Have We Met Before” came by and I mulled over the likelihood of a repeat visit from that quarter, I sat down to ask what each pantheon/group was up to where I’m concerned and in the process concluded I have something like 8 “pantheons”/groups of spirits invested in my life in one way or another. (I’m not including the very short-lived at this point connections I’ve had with a few deities from other pantheons entirely.)

I don’t know how to divvy up all the plant/land related spirits and powers. They are not all part of the same “pantheon,” for lack of better terminology. But if I count all of those Powers as one group, then that still leaves me with 5. FIVE! WHO DOES THAT. (We’re not even going to look at the real number, it’ll make my mind bluescreen a little.) I know dual-trad is a thing but. (And I don’t even have the legitimacy/comfort of being dual-trad ’cause They. Don’t. Want. Me. Doing. That. And even as much as I’m Norse influenced, I’m not sure I can honestly claim even 1 Real Tradition, unless “spirit-guided” is one. I mean I know it IS a way a lot of people operate and always have, but it’s not got the “legitimacy” that other paradigms do. Cause I’m the only human “authority” involved, that’s why*. … And that’s probably one of the reasons I don’t get to play with the other kids; they’re doing human things and I have a different life trajectory while still stuck in more human-defined structures than I want. That and chronic misanthropy, I probably should not be allowed to play with the other kids. *I get sick of how people endlessly repeat “Trust yourself! Be who YOU are! Don’t look to others for validation!” and then are all too willing to knife people, often very politely and indirectly, when the advice is actually followed.)

Should I be concerned that so many Powers are 1) interested in what I’m doing and 2) interested in helping? Because I -am- concerned. This seems a bit excessive but what do I know, my insight into the wider pagan/spirit-touched “community” is actually not that broad. Not that They’ve all got the same motives: some are not here to help me; some of them, a minority, are spirits I need to do things *for*, which I like to believe is the major goal of all this. It’s certainly MY goal, and it sometimes seems to be a reason given for why some of the Others show up to help me.

Speaking of doing things for spirits, I also finally got a big go ahead from some of Them to start working on an oracle system again. One of Them gave me a few pieces of it about 5 years ago and then – nothing more. They still don’t seem in much of a hurry; I’ve only gotten a very small amount since the go-ahead, and I don’t know when They expect it to be completed, or how many elements there will be, or anything, really. I’m positive it is meant to be shared, so whenever I have it done to Their satisfaction, that’ll happen. (I really want the whole thing in my hands. I want to see what They think is important! And I want to USE IT.) The other great thing about the go-ahead for the oracle was that the message said that I was finally ready to work on it more, and getting that acknowledgement that I had (somehow) made some significant progress (of some kind) felt like more than just commentary on that specific project.

I complain a lot, and I am unhappy about really not having “community,” only a handful of people I can comfortably talk to in-depth, but nonetheless I feel really quite good about things, spiritually speaking: I’ve somehow ended up confident in where I am, what I am doing, and even Who is ~around~ even if I don’t fully understand it. Would like to have a similar level of confidence in the job-getting process, to say nothing of results; having ample time to do the spiritual things is nice but I don’t need this much.

Posted in General Religious Stuff, Miscellaneous crap, Spirit Work | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Outsider nonsense

Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend’s back

So a few nights ago, I had a dream – maybe a couple dreams, run together, I mean where does one dream end and another start? – and all day after, I had this bit of a song banging around in my head. Flippant it might be, and way too light in tone for most of this post, but I needed a title and uh. There it is!

SO. A couple weeks ago, Loki showed up again, after being extremely quiet and not-Present since, I forget, last October? September?? It’s been a long time, and I didn’t like it. He wasn’t /gone/ gone, I wasn’t cut off from the connection, but as He was making it clear I was to stop alllllllllllllllllllllllll my old normal devotional routine related to Him, He was also basically going quiet.

I’ve known for a long time that most, if not all, of the devotional activities were more for my benefit than his, but I didn’t realize how much I needed/wanted them until I had to stop. It hurt. I was angry, and kind of confused, and felt rejected and etc., even though I knew He wasn’t rejecting me, and I -did- need to focus on C. for a while, and other life bullshit, and etc. Even now, looking at the altar, at various other things, remembering “Oh, right, I don’t do that thing anymore,” it kind of hurts.

I miss the routine, I miss His more active presence in my life – He’s still not back like He used to be, I have no idea if He will be, but recently He’s been around a few times, and we’ve had some real conversations.

And then there was the dream, or maybe two.

It is worth noting that I didn’t feel any particularly strong emotions during any of these scenes.

The first bit worth remembering was a fairly short conversation between us. All I remember is someone mentioning that it has been seven years. As in, seven years since I started talking to Loki (consciously).

The setting for this conversation was something sort of like a convention – lots of tables and things set up. After that conversation, we were kind of tidying up and packing things away.

There was some stuff I was taking care of, and some other things I knew had supposedly been claimed by some other people, so I wasn’t going to do anything with it. Things were pretty well done with, and Loki kinda off-handedly says I can leave if I want. Something to that effect. I didn’t have to leave, or stay, whatev.

I didn’t have any particularly strong inclination, but, eh, I had a little curiosity or something, so I turned to watch the waves come in.

I knew they were going to wash away everything left there, including the various stuff that no one had actually come to pick up yet. And they came in BIG and FAST and POWERFUL, much much more than I was expecting and I thought – without any fear, mind – that looked pretty dangerous and I should probably move a little farther away, but they came in too fast to move away from, and I watched them sweep past me and they didn’t touch me.

Then I saw, from a distance, two cities that were just. Inundated. The water was calm, but so deep, stories deep.

There was a third city, also flooded, but not as deeply. I was right on the edge of this one, maybe in it a little. I saw human-like figures kind of floating over the water, moving down the street. They were not human, and I felt a little uneasy about them, but I got distracted by a manhole cover in the ground – the water was quite shallow – and knew that opening it would let the water drain away. So I lifted it up and water started pouring down the hole.

So I woke up from all that and knew that the conversation about 7 years was not Just a Dream, that was some level of real conversation with Loki, and that was nice! Because it’s been a longass damn time, gods dammit, how dare You just go away like that! I know, but.

I wasn’t sure about the . . . other part though.

I felt like the floaty not-human Things may have been influenced by a fantasy novel I’d been reading and the whole “drowned cities” things, well. I mean. Why wouldn’t a person be dreaming shit like that these days, amiright. I mean I never have before, but.

Then a friend on Facebook posted a link to a post about how The Storm Is Here and yeah, I know, I’ve known, it is pretty fucking obvious, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.

I guess that sequence wasn’t Just a Dream, either.

I’m pretty sure it was meant to be metaphorical, probably something about how I’m not going to be hit directly by the goings-on, and will have something useful to do about some of it, but fuck, it was hard to write it down in my paper journal because putting those scenes to paper hurt so much.

I don’t know what to do with this. I’m kinda hoping it is connected with a job change I really really really want to happen, am expecting will finally happen, in the next month or two, and it would be super great if that future job is more obviously connected with helping fix some shit than my current (and previous) jobs have been.

It’s been kind of a downer of a week! I’m exhausted, honestly burnt out, from my bullshit job, and then this “Hey yeah shit is Fucked Up” dream which I think has been weighing on me a bit.

So I’ll take my flippant song and enjoy its inappropriateness and upbeat vibe. He’s not my boyfriend but at least trouble is in His wheelhouse, the causing and more importantly, the navigating of it.

Posted in Communication with Spirits, General Religious Stuff, Loki, Miscellaneous crap, Spirit Work | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Famous last words

I concluded my last post with this (poorly edited bit of drivel):

I don’t know think this counts as a “fallow time” but instead this kind of plateau just means I’ve found a nice steady pace, that the overall relationship I have with whatever-the-fuck-this-is that is my spiritual life is in something like an “old married couple” stage.

I am not sure what the fuck I was thinking because first of all, a new god had shown up a day or two before I wrote that, though things were relatively quiet – and secondly . . .

Secondly, a day or two after I published it, I remembered how often I’d read articles by much more experienced polytheists and spirit workers, who recounted how they’d hit a “steady state” of some kind or other, a regular practice, they knew how things were, etc., and then the Powers heaved everything upside down. And that this wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened. Well, I thought, One of these days I’m probably bound for something similar, seems to happen to everyone sooner or later. Perhaps writing what I wrote is tempting fate.

Perhaps They appreciate comedic timing.

On the one hand, not much has changed. Yet.

On the other hand –

Several years ago, after reading a lot about pop culture paganism, I thought about what fictional characters I might possibly consider setting up altars to. What characters I found particularly inspirational. There was one who came to mind pretty quickly, and then another, and then I figured out a third. Three seemed like a good number, and they had some common qualities, and the whole idea was pretty pleasing in a way.

I never did it, though. I was afraid that if I actually set up real altars and, you know, prayed to them for guidance – someone might answer. And I found it unnerving enough when “real” (historically attested) gods talked to me. I figured it would be too much of a mindfuck if Someone answered when I addressed a supposedly-fictional figure. Anyway I didn’t need an altar to think of them – especially the first one – and draw some strength from their stories. It’s all safer that way. (I know, I know; you don’t have to pray out loud, or to a picture in a frame, for it to “count.” I don’t know if that didn’t occur to me then or if I just more or less went LA LA LA there’s no altar, I’m not directing my thoughts towards anyone it Can’t Mean Anything.)

I’ve also read plenty of books with really interesting characters, really interesting various-kinds-of-divine characters, and wondered – and always pulled back from even trying to see if I could get Someone answering that name on the line, because 1) I’ve already got enough Powers around and 2) I really don’t want that kind of mindfuck. “Are They really that character brought to life? Did they exist before the book was written, or is Someone just taking on that name/mask/etc. because . . . who knows why?????”

I did not want to open any doors, you know? And I was good, I maintained discipline, I restrained my curiosity.


I reread some books recently. They’d made a huge impression on me the first time I read them, pre-pagan stuff. I reread the series immediately upon finishing them all those years ago and then put them away for years because I wasn’t emotionally prepared to go through all that again. (I don’t feel this way about most books.)

Earlier this summer, after catching up on all the Foreigner novels, I thought of this series again, because it’s really big and I’ve been intending another reread at some point, and – wow, I didn’t feel the “nope, can’t handle it” reaction! Cool, a nice big reading project!

Though for some reason, it felt like a tiny little red flag of some sort. Like, “Oh . . . that’s funny, feeling ready for that.” Mostly I discounted that “that’s funny” feeling, even though it did feel suspicious in some way, like Someone was giving me the tiniest nudge, the tiniest premonitiony sort of heads-up. I figured perhaps I might get some spiritual pings of one kind or another, because fantasy novels often do that, but it also seemed unlikely given what I recalled of them.

So I (re)read them all, and it was a good(ish) time but it wasn’t nearly the emotional ordeal it was 7 years ago! Also, I did not think they were quite as amazing as when I threw myself into them with wild abandon several years ago! And there were no big ol’ “spooky” moments! Hurray! Minefields navigated!! Other than that one time when Loki was like, “Yeah that” about some specific thing in the text and I growled about it but agreed it kinda sorta looked like some things I’m already looking at, so, okay, another angle on that, I guess? Food for thought, okay okay. Otherwise, like before, they did really get into my head and under my skin again, and I started rereading the fan forums and stuff, and that was kind of awesome!

And then! Out of fucking nowhere!! A god shows up!!!! Using the name and imagery of one of the gods from these damn books!!!!!! And I was just like, “Oh, it’s [that name] . . . oh my god wait what the fuck oh no surely I misunderstand something????”

When I pulled some cards to try and understand, the cards did not ease my mind! In fact I have rarely looked at my cards and felt sick to my stomach about what they were saying!!

And you know? I was right all those years ago! It has been a really big mindfuck!!

On the plus side, Mr. New God #1 (C.) has been an incredibly comfortable presence. Most gods are just not comfortable like that, even when They want to be, even when I love Them very deeply and trust They’re probably not going to do anything particularly harsh. Most gods are fine IF They only stick around for a few minutes at a time, otherwise I start to feel really awkward and ill at ease because in addition to the very Weirdness of Their nature, in truth there are very few people, incorporeal or otherwise, who I really feel comfortable around for extended periods of time and so I was not expecting this but it’s really nice.

On the ?!??!?!?!?!??!? what are You all up to side, Loki and various other members of the Norse side of things have been very encouraging and reassuring, albeit in some ominous ways. When you cast runes and the runes say, in part, “This was fated. Go in peace,” I mean I don’t know, that’s. Actually kind of terrifying! Thanks, runes!! That’s good to know I guess! I’ll try to not freak out too much!! Or at least not fight whatever the fuck is going on. Much.

But despite all that, it would have been easy if it was just the one (comfortable) god.

But I had to ask, because I am a hopeless fangirl, and fuck it, the door’s been opened and now I want to know, if there were Others out there, from His same errrrrr origins/world. (Look, I can either keep saying, “You can’t really be Who you claim to be,” which seems a poor way to handle a relationship you want to enjoy and keep going, or just – go with it. Because whether or not They really ARE escapees from some once-fictional world or not, They’re using the names/imagery/etc. for some reason, so, it seems sensible to work within the same set of context.)

And I got responses! I kind of did not want that!!!!!!! They were brief but it still felt like yes, I did have some brief conversations with IDK, 3 or 4 or 5 other gods/spirits/whatever who are friends/allies/whatever of NG#1, so, you tell me how much I made up out of familiarity with the characters and how much was a Genuine Spiritual Contact! (I know: being unnerved is an indication there’s a there there.)

I especially did not want one of Them to say “Be brave” and leave it at that because first of all that’s a Power I’m not sure I want to try to talk to anyway because holy shit and secondly, fuck me, in retrospect having that one say such a thing is the sort of thing that inspires deep concern. Why are You telling me that? What do I have to be brave about right now?? Wait wait oh no – is something going to happen?????????????????? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. Maybe it’s just a general commentary on getting through the mundane frustrations and not-so-mundane anxiety I have about my job. Okay. I can be brave there, I got little choice, thank You.

But after the first few days, mostly things were pretty chill and pleasant. Their primary representative, C., – well. Other than the one character who I almost made an altar for, there were just a couple others who I felt some affection for, and. So that’s. What it is. It’s nice. Mostly. I mean, all gods are right bastards when They feel it’s necessary and this one is clearly on board with some of the things the Norse, etc., have been beating me over the head with for years and I’m kind of disappointed (it would be great if I could have some spiritual relationship where that topic never got mentioned) because I hate that subject so much but mostly things have just been nice.

And then another one of Them showed up, and right off indicated that He had some ideas about our future relationship that involved terminology that is about 90% certain to send me into fight/flight/Get Out of My House Good DAY mood. Plus, also, His was not a “comfortable” presence, His was a holy fucking shit kind of Presence.

But I also felt some affection and kindness towards Him, and despite the Presence terror – there was something else there that I could tell was pulling me towards wanting to agree. I just like Him for no explicable reason. So I shoved the terror aside well enough and said I’d be willing to consider His requests, and I’d be willing to get to know Him better and all that and – I’ve had close encounters with several gods that have left me in tears because of the emotional intensity of it. I’ve had other encounters that pretty much knocked me ass over teakettle and left me feeling weird for days (weeks. months.).

But I’ve only had 1 other close encounter where I felt like I was this close > < to stepping past a certain threshold that would fry all my synapses, or something, and I wasn’t even as close to Her as I’ve gotten with several other Powers.

I don’t really know what this god’s areas of expertise/affiliation/etc. are. The source texts don’t say much. (How much do fictional origins count? How much do They gain if/when They gain independence from Their origins? Because one of these gods feels “safe” and the other feels like . . . not that. How much has the “safe” one simply dialed things down so I don’t run shrieking? How much did Mr. Holy Terror decide to come on in near-full god mode because I said, “Yes I’d like to know more” and so I got More.)

The divination I’ve done myself, and had done by others, pretty clearly indicates Major Upheavals if I go play with New God #2 (K.). Also a great potential for beneficial changes in my material life! Which I am in favor of! (I do not like my boss, among other reasons.) But multiple readings that bring in cards like Death and the Tower should probably be taken somewhat seriously, right?

The Norse bunch have only been encouraging, though I didn’t need much encouragement for C. I do appreciate it that Loki has been very clear that K. is “safe”, though part of me says “well what does ‘safe’ mean here, anyway.” One of Them has essentially taken blame/credit for opening this door, and They are all but shoving me towards these Others. It’s kind of awesome but it’s also just a lot more to handle than if another historically attested pantheon set up camp on my doorstep.

I do not know at this point if this IS heralding much of a major change in my spiritual life – other than the likelihood that C. will stick around, a lot – or if this is another one of those episodes where there’s a LOT of activity and then the Responsible Parties disappear for months, maybe years.


I drafted most of this up a few days ago. Since then I’ve gone ahead with at least starting whatever it is K. is up to, because I was always going to, I just had to work myself up to the precipice. At any rate we are getting closer and I’m not in full avoidance mode any more.

So I had a day or so of relatively peace of mind, and then C. asked (again) about some kind of commitment, and then moved on to “Now it’s time to meet some more of the gang, because They’re also here to help.”

I am doing the best I can but I really don’t know how to handle all of this. None of Them seem interested in any of the traditional practical aspects of religious practices – altars, offerings, etc., what I think of as the easy stuff – and me, I just don’t do well meeting new people especially when I am not certain how “real” the conversations are.

Posted in General Religious Stuff, Spirit Work | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Slowly, slowly, the egg will walk

A friend of mine passed on that proverb to me years ago and it’s really stuck with me.

I was griping (again; but when do I stop) recently to Loki about still not being quite where I want to be, and He reminded me that “Starting over takes time,” which, yeah. Necessary reminder.

And it’s not nearly as frustrating a not-quite-right as where I used to be.

My current job (new since this spring) pays me significantly less than I’m used to, there are 0 (zero) benefits, the boss can be a real jerk sometimes, which has been bad for trauma-related anxiety, and some of my job duties are things I have always always hated to do.

On the other hand, the hated duties are a pretty small part of my job, and I also spend a lot of time with plants, working with people who are freaks about plants, and helping customers find plants or get information they need. About plants.

And I’m living in the high desert now.

I have barely seen it outside the city, because I don’t have a car and my finances have me uneasy about spending money on rentals for day trips, but I’m here, and it feels relaxing in a way I’m not used to. It’s good to be in the right place, even if it’s still not-quite-right by some very small amount.

I don’t like some of the responsibilities I have at work, mostly related to the most-hated duties, but also, I think I am still not fully recovered from my last job (which I quit 18 months ago, and felt mostly recovered from after a year away). The pleasant job duties are soothing, they don’t require the same kind of focus/energy/something. Mostly I am not accountable to anyone for getting them done! Fill out the watering log, that’s it, but there’s no risk of conflict in getting the watering done, or organizing a table of plants, and there’s no stupid deadlines to deal with, either.

Other than that, I am in much better shape than I have been in many years. I’ve got a 3.5 mile bike ride to work – which nearly killed me the first couple days, because I was horribly out of shape – and a job with a good balance of sitting down and active work, and despite the problems with the job, I enjoy so much about it (mostly: plants plants plants and did I mention – plants?!) that I feel mostly pretty good. It’s astonishing. I’ve baked things again! Several times!! I lost the wherewithal to manage baking, even simple things, maybe a year into my last job.

I am looking for other work already. I want more. Even if the boss was wonderful and the compensation amazing, it is still too limited in certain ways, too small-scale – and, also, a couple months ago, not long after I started, They pretty clearly told me I wasn’t going to be in this position for very long, and now feels like a good time to start looking for better opportunities.

Of course I’ve been eager to move on already for at least a month now, because, look, if that’s how it is, let’s GO so I can get away from the crappy bits! (I hate making decisions and then having to wait to start implementing them.)

It’s been a bit of a struggle to keep myself from getting anxious over the “when” and “where” and etc. and keep my attention on the nice things instead, so the reminder that “starting over takes time” was a good one.

I realized today that if I think about where I am now as something like “first job out of college” that makes it feel more tolerable, since the last 4-5 years were pretty much clearing up the rubble from wiping out my previous life and building up some new foundational knowledge. (Technically, I “started over” about 5 years ago, but I’ve spent 5 years gnashing my teeth over that and I don’t think I’ll benefit from screaming about it much any more.)

One of my biggest disappointments has been the lack of time I’ve had outside of the city. I moved here for the land, not the city, where I have to live because transportation.

I drove across the state early this summer to visit family, and squeezed in a few short hikes/visits in a couple favorite spots along the way, but that’s been it for my “outside with the land” time. Those allowed for a few, too-brief, visits with some of the Powers out here Who’ve been part of the reason I’m here now, and an introduction to some others. Briefly, too briefly.

It never feels like enough. Almost all my visits with Them have been while passing through to another place, all like stolen moments, and one of Them is quite tied to a particular place, so time with Him is only when I can be there and it’s always hard when you can’t be with those you love.

I’ve had some spooky close encounters in the city, though, through some of the wonderful insects and arachnids that inhabit this place. I see a LOT of insects at work, and there’ve been some cool critters at home, too. I’ve missed living in a place with the kind of rich invertebrate life there is here. (There is also larger wildlife here in the city: deer, and they’re lovely – but they’ve browsed some of my plants, sigh, though at least not very much.) Feeling like there’s Presence around with/through the wasps and solifugids and others was very unexpected but really wonderful. A welcome gift.

Another of the reasons I am really eager to get a better-paying job is so that I can buy a vehicle and gtfo of the city way more often and spend quality time with the land, especially in some more remote places where the roads are poor, and get more time with the Them I know and miss and all the many other Thems I haven’t met yet.

My overall spiritual practice pretty much went away after I quit my last job (other than my regular schedule with Loki and Skadi), and I haven’t really picked it up again. I’m not studying anything new. The tarot decks are all dusty. It’s a little odd for things to be like this, but I don’t miss the daily divination routine, and I definitely don’t miss being upset enough all the time to be bugging Them for help. I’ve had a fair few questions about spiritual things, and life things, since I moved here, but mostly I’ve been relaxed enough that it’s been okay to let that all be quiet, and the new spirits and gods and so on aren’t so up in my face that I’ve got to spend lots of time with the cards figuring out What the fuck is going on this time, Where are You taking me, WHY.

I don’t know think this counts as a “fallow time” but instead this kind of plateau just means I’ve found a nice steady pace, that the overall relationship I have with whatever-the-fuck-this-is that is my spiritual life is in something like an “old married couple” stage.

Posted in Land and Land Spirits | Tagged , | Comments Off on Slowly, slowly, the egg will walk


That was the rune that came up when I asked, “How bad did I fuck up?” late Sunday afternoon. Wynn.

Usually, that rune comes up and means something about joy. Sometimes it refers to clarity, but most of the time, it is about joy being present (or, sometimes, not present). And that was more-or-less what it felt like that time. The rune was upright and it felt gently encouraging and hopeful, and I teared up a little, because I really needed something like that, though it was also a little difficult for me to see where the “joy” was in the moment.

I was sitting near a roadside cafe, closed for the day, in a relatively remote place that does not even count as “tiny village,” waiting for someone to drive out from the closest actual city to pick me up. The vehicle I had been driving was stuck in a rut about a 2-hour drive, or a 2-hour hike, from the cafe (it was 6+ miles as I walked, my GPS tracked it for me), along some often-terrible dirt roads.

I had at least an hour to wait, I didn’t have a book to read, so why not spend some time asking wretched self-pitying questions of the runes?

Saturday hadn’t been very pleasant, either. It started out nicely, but I spent most of the day driving along some really terrible roads, and most of that driving made me very nervous, because I have very little experience driving on such roads, and while I believed the vehicle was the right kind for the job, I do not know where the cut-off between “doable” and “Absolutely Do Not” is. Very rocky roads, tossing the truck back and forth. Places with one deep rut and one shallow rut, and so one side of the truck rises higher than the other and oh god oh god it’s going to tip the fuck on its side fuck fuck fuck (it did not). Places with slick wet mud and ruts and gravity and etc. pulling the vehicle inexorably into a rut I did NOT want to end up in, oh shit, it’s sliding, fuck, ohmygod. Whew, managed to get away from that one. Many stops to have the shakes for a while (after the tippy places, mostly). Constant reaching out to Loki for reassurances and also constantly telling myself “these roads are navigable, you got through that last patch, just take it r e a l l y slowly, it’s okay, the pitch is not THAT steep, really, it’s NOT going to roll.” Many reminders to try and RELAX, stop tensing up constantly. Relaxing makes the bouncing easier to handle, too.

The landscape was fucking gorgeous.

Snowy Saturday morning. A nice spot to the left for lunch, under a juniper.

View from a ridge.

I wanted to get out and do some hiking, but I also wanted to get off all the bad roads well before dark, and get back to the city before total darkness. As beautiful as it was, it was hard to truly appreciate it when I had to pay so much attention to driving. I did manage a few times, and oh, some of the hills just took my breath away, made me glad to be there at that moment.

I was out there doing volunteer work: checking on the presence and condition of the roads, as well as a few other things, for an organization that monitors such things. If the nights had not been so cold, I would have been camping, but as it was, I was sleeping in a nice warm place in the city, thus adding at least 2 hours of driving to every day.

I was exhausted at the end of Saturday, and also felt pretty terrible about myself. I had no business out there doing that, did I? I have very little prior experience on bad roads.  I mean, I know, how else will I learn other than by doing it? (Well, perhaps by going on group expeditions, or maybe having a coach, somehow.) But what the fuck kind of foolishness or reckless “confidence” was this, anyway?

When I went to bed, I spent some time sobbing to Skadi about it all, and about how some of the fear was related to reaching out for reassurance – which I was getting – and having a layer of fear about how trustworthy that reassurance was. What are the odds Loki might reassure me to the point I do get into trouble, because He wants me to learn (again) to trust my judgment, not His? How much trouble would He actually let me get into? . . . Was it even Loki, or was I giving myself that extra boost in His voice? Etc.

At some point Loki showed up – or maybe Skadi was all “Dude, this is Your problem, You deal with her” – and I angsted at Him about it all.

One of Them told me there was no shame in quitting. I didn’t have to go out again on Sunday.

I knew that; the organization I was doing the work for would be fine with that.

But. But. I also didn’t want to let myself totally be ruled by fear, right? I knew some of my terror was absolutely related to inexperience, and you know, I had navigated those roads. I didn’t get into terrible situations. I controlled some vehicular sliding! (A first for me!) I did NOT get pulled into that one super-nasty rut!!

I knew I would feel deep regret if I called it off and went somewhere safer and more relaxing on Sunday.

Sunday I had two options: drive in the way I had on Saturday, or drive in along the place I exited on Saturday. The “in” road was kind of awful: it included several very steep slopes, and I wasn’t eager to revisit them. The “out” road was much flatter, and I knew going in that way would definitely get me to specific place I wanted to go explore – I had left it alone Saturday because of time left in the day, but I knew the organization would like to know more about it. However, if I went in the steep route, I’d also have to drive along another stretch I hadn’t visited yet, and getting info on that road would be useful, too. And it was a pretty level stretch of road, and my contact out there had said it ought to be pretty reasonable (he’d warned me about the steep slopes), but no one else had been this year to report on it. So it would be good to get current info.

When I felt out for hints from Them about which option to take, They nudged me towards revisiting the steep route.

When I drove in on Saturday, there were a couple inches of snow covering the ground; it was mostly gone Sunday. The drive in was much more anxiety-inducing than it had been on Saturday, which kind of perplexed me: I’d driven it before, why was I so bugged by the bouncing and shit??

I could see the ground better, and thus had an “oh shit” moment when I realized the lovely red ground that set in on one of the steep slopes was a lovely sticky red ground. But I got down all those roads fine, if nervously, and soon got to the turn to the “new” road. Lots of it was pretty bumpy, but there were several relatively smooth flat stretches, too.

Then there were some places with a single deep rut running down it. I got past a section like that, the vehicle straddling the rut. Then another section. Then there was a side “road” that went around a short section of that crap, so up I went on the side.

Ahead of me was more deeply rutted ground. Not just another 10 feet, either. More like 70 or 80 feet. And I didn’t know how much more of this fucking road would be like that. And my nerves were shot. Okay. This is a nice flat clear area, I will back up and turn around and GTFO.

I backed up and bumped the rear tires into another rut and immediately knew I was fucked.

I’d noticed it as I drove into that “clear” area, but it was far enough off to my side I’d put it into “not a real threat” category. Plus, for most of its length, it was very shallow.

Then I forgot to check behind me thoroughly when I backed up, because the area was so clear of shrubs and big rocks . . .

I backed right into the 10-foot stretch of the rut that was actually deep enough to perfectly cup the tires, just deep enough I couldn’t drive out again.

I don’t think I can overemphasize how amazing that was.

I found literally the only spot in 50 feet of “rut” that could trap the vehicle. I spent a bunch of time picking up juniper and sagebrush branches to make areas of traction in front of each tire, but right in front of the back tires there were small woody plants growing, so I couldn’t jam any branches down in between the tires and the ground to be most effective, the little plants were in the way and were too tough to work past. Of course I didn’t have a shovel, or even anything I could use as a reasonable make-shift shovel.

I tried again to drive out, hoping the rear tires would grab onto the branches, but no luck, and I wasn’t about to keep trying and trying and end up digging the wheels in even deeper.

So I put my sandwich and water and most of my extra clothes into my backpack (I left my heavy winter coat; it wasn’t going to be cold enough I’d miss it), put a note on the dashboard that I was walking out in such-and-such direction, and walked out. I knew it was only about 6 miles, and it was pretty level going along the road. Much nicer walking the roads than driving them!

I hoped someone else might drive out there; I’d seen a vehicle leaving the area in the morning. It was unlikely, but . . .

If not, there were some ranch buildings once I got close to the highway. I might have cell reception? Worst case, I could surely flag someone down on the highway.

Eventually I was out of the hills enough that I had some cell reception. After trying to get help at the first house I found – no one was home – I was able to leave a message with my local contact and let him know I was stuck. He called back soon, said he had a vehicle capable of towing stuck trucks (!!), and we made plans for him to come rescue me. We decided that it was too late in the day to go haul my truck out – I figured it would be dark by the time we reached it, and I was NOT up for driving out in the dark.

So when the runes gave me Wynn, I thought okay, it was true, there was something positive here: I had help on the way, I was not hurt, the truck was not damaged, there was a likely solution at hand. Not all was lost, right?? Challenging, sure, but there’s hopefulness here! Maybe something else, too.

So back to the city that night, then an early start Monday. My rescuer said he’d had to help other people get out before in other situations, there’d even been other calls from even more remote places (though those other folks had eventually extricated themselves fast enough he didn’t have go out and get them). It’s kind of a fact of life out there, for people who drive out on those roads. He said it had taken him a while to get used to driving this stuff, too.

I knew that, intellectually. I know that even people with LOTS of experience sometimes get themselves stuck. It was still really good to hear these things from someone else. (Later he said it was a good reminder for him, too: even the experienced folks don’t always remember to take the time to toss a shovel into the vehicles before heading out.)

It had taken me 3 hours to get from the city to where I found the perfect truck-catching rut. So I figured the best-case scenario for Monday was that I might get back to the highway by early afternoon.

I had to contact my mom and let her know I wouldn’t be back in Portland until rather later than originally planned – she was driving through town and supposed to stay with me Monday night. She wanted to be by my place before dark, so she would plan to just wait outside my apartment until I got there. Monday morning I also contacted the rental place to find out what time I actually had to have the vehicle back: “Technically, you just have to have it back by 8:30 Tuesday morning.” RELIEF. Okay!!

I had a hard time sleeping Sunday night; too many anxious thoughts. I did not get much sleep, and I had to get up well earlier than works well for me. And I was sore from the previous days of driving and from the hike.

And then – we got to the truck and got it out about an hour before I expected we would even reach it, and I was on the highway less than an hour later. Then I had a long drive back to Portland, got there about when my pre-disaster plans had expected, found my mom had been waiting at my place for only 15 minutes, and then got the truck back to the rental place before it closed.

When we got to the vehicle an hour sooner than I expected, my relief was great: that was extra time, now. And then it came out so easy. I still had bouts of terror and nerves driving back out, because the fucking tipping. But overall I was so relieved, and felt fairly confident about getting through it, that my previous two days of saying “. . . I don’t think I should ever try this again” kind of evaporated, and turned into “hell yeah, I do want to come out to places like this again.”

I drove back home in an exhausted state of joy, thinking about what good old doom-and-gloom runes had told me Sunday.

If I had avoided that fucking hole in the ground, or even had a fucking shovel like a wise and smart person would have and dug myself out, and gotten back to the city on my own on Sunday, I would have felt defeated.

I can’t forget the amazing string of small oversights that lead to perfectly planting the truck into that perfectly tired-sized section of rut.

. . .

There are questions I’m not sure I want to ask, you know?

It could have all been entirely “shit just happens,” especially if you forget to pay the fuck attention to potential troubles.

It could have been “shit just happens” and then “strings were pulled by Powers to get me out super-easy.” Loki is good for finding solutions to sticky situations. Perhaps the land spirits helped, because They want me to be safe out there. Perhaps other gods or spirits Who watch out for me pitched in.

It could have been “shit just happens” and “good things just happen.”

It could have been . . . other options, too: I know some of the “trouble” I’ve been in before has been caused.

I know what I was worrying over Saturday night.

Knowing Who I know, any of the above are plausible . . .

I don’t know if I want to ask.

But fuck, no matter how it happened, that was amazing luck, putting the truck right there.

Coda 1

My mom left after lunch today with a group of her friends. I spent some time talking to them about my adventure over the weekend – one of them told me she’d once had a job that had her out on terrible roads, and she’d had to change a tire, 40 miles from where she lost cell reception, in cougar territory – and the danger with cougars is that they see a crouching person as prey-like.

When I told her about how I so amazingly planted the truck in the one deep section of that damn rut, she said something about how she thinks that when things like that happen, “it’s just meant to.”

I’m not going to ask.

Coda 2

After they all left, I went to a local cafe and had a nice cappuccino and a pastry. Caffeine helps with muscle aches, right? And oh gods I am in so much pain. I think a lot of it is from all the driving, but some of it is probably from the hike, which was a lot more walking than I’ve done in many months (and more than I have been capable of for most of the year).

Parked across the street was a big Ford, the kind that was the first big truck I drove on terrible roads (and I had a pretty great time, that time, but in retrospect those roads were BEAUTIFUL compared to the shit I saw this weekend).

I noticed a really amazing number of other big beefy trucks driving up and down the street. I know; trucks are on my mind now, I’m attuned to them, but still. So many in 20 minutes! In Portland!!

I’ve been thinking for months and months that when I move out there, I’m probably going to need to buy a car. Not just “a car,” it will have to be a truck. How else can I reasonably get out to the lovely remote places??

My truck will always have a shovel in it.

Prelude (Motivation)

Saturday morning, I drove to a supermarket to buy a sandwich for lunch, and when I turned onto the main street, I was confronted with a staggering view of some of the nearby mountain peaks. The sky was cloudless brilliant blue, the morning sun illuminated them beautifully: it had snowed recently, and they were shining white, and I choked up.

If I weren’t already so in love with the area . . .

About an hour out of the city, there was snow on the ground, and snow and frost dusting all the rabbitbrush (low, shrubby plants) and other vegetation. It was exquisitely beautiful, and there was soft welcoming Presence. I wanted to pull over and cry, but there’s no shoulder out there.

Then there was a fog bank, and – it was – even more.

That place has my heart, so much.

Then the first stretch of drive up into the hills was exciting!

I was alone. I was surrounded by my beloved sagebrush and juniper and the hills were so beautiful, and it was gorgeous in the way that wintery landscapes so often are, and I was so happy to be out there.

Near the end of the day on Saturday, finally on “gentler” roads, I could really take in and appreciate the land again.


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“When They come courting” post-con post

As promised, here is the text of my presentation on spirit marriage and etc. at Many Gods West: “When They come courting.” It includes the sources I used as well as a bigger “resources” section with things I couldn’t fit in at all. I’ve also included an Acknowledgements section, because I got a lot of help, both from friends and from years of reading what people on this path long before me have said.

The presentation was received well, and I’m pleased that a number of people told me afterwards that it was useful and interesting! I also know there were several other people who were interested in being there, but had other conflicts. (The number who did show up – 14 or 15 – was just about right for my comfort level. I had two fears going in about audience size: that only a couple people would show up, or there’d be, like, 50.)

I had slides prepared which I wasn’t able to show, and I think things went fine without them. However, I’d found a bunch of images that I found evocative of different aspects of the pagan experience that I still want to share, and collecting them online means I can add a few more than I had in the slides, so here, follow this link.

The time restriction was also tough: there were a lot of things I wanted to say more about and I had to really simplify the historical and non-pagan examples. There is a huge amount of complexity and richness in all of that, and for anyone interested in this subject, I strongly recommend reading more about it! My top general recommendations are Emma Wilby’s Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits and the dissertation “Marrying Jesus: Brides and the bridegroom in medieval women’s religious literature;” of all the non-pagan reading I’ve done, those have been the most meaningful for me, and not just for marriage-related reasons.

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing an expanded and revised version of the document so I can put in more on some of those examples, and include a few other examples that I couldn’t work in AT ALL. There were also several parts of the pagan section I wanted to say more about. I didn’t really get into the sexual aspect that can exist in such relationships, like what purposes sexual connection serves (there can be many, including “some spirits really like that energy”). We’ll see if that happens . . .

However, and this is very exciting, I spent some time over the weekend talking with someone who has experience with faery lovers in the context of traditional witchcraft, who said they’d been thinking about doing an anthology on that subject. I have also been thinking for a while that a book on spirit marriage, godspousery, etc., would be great, but I do NOT want to write it (it would take years to do the research, and I do not want to do years of research!), so I was thinking anthology thoughts. So we’re talking about putting something like this together, to cover a broad range of experiences, which would be really awesome. I’ll post updates when there’s something to update about it.

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MGW summary

I write “summary” but let’s be real, it’s not going to be all that brief.

I had a really, really great weekend. Some of it I am sure I am going to be processing, and continuing to benefit from, for a very long time. I got some things I wanted from it, and some things I really needed; some of it I hadn’t dared hope for and other things I really could not anticipate (but the nature of such events is such that I do anticipate that unanticipated surprises will happen).

There were a lot of great-sounding presentations that I opted not to go to because the alternative was to spend time with people whose company I really enjoyed. Even with that, there were several people I wish I could have talked with more. I know that is the nature of these events, and I go into them expecting it (as well as the inevitable “these two presentations both sound amazing and they are scheduled at the same time!!”) but I feel obligated to complain about insufficient time for all the things regardless.

One of the first presentations I went to was “Embodied Practice and Devotion.” A part of that was experiential; we got comfortable in a still position of our choice and then tuned into how our bodies wanted to move or adjust. Then we were instructed to tune into whatever spirits were around us who wanted to engage with us, to feel how our bodies reacted to their presence, and to then move into a position that we felt would bring us into a closer connection with Them. The first deity I was aware of was Loki, no surprise, but there was Someone else with Him, and then Loki kind of disappeared. The other deity is one I’ve had a relationship with for years, and it’s often been a very uncomfortable relationship; some aspects of it have been incredibly distressing. Anyway, when I figured out how to get my body configured right, She said something to me and I had an immediate response to that, to Her, from what felt like something deeper than my heart, from my very core, to Her, that left me in tears. It was still . . . positive. I’m going to have to revisit it, probably a lot; I think there’s a lot of stuff to unpack there.

I’ve read about how different trance positions can open a person up to very specific experiences, but I’ve never tried any of the recorded positions, or tried to find any specific to Powers I know myself, so it was really interesting to experience something like that. I’ve mentally filed this away as something that would be interesting to explore with Others, but also as something I am nervous to explore with Others.

I also have homework after a fashion from the presentation/workshop on “Apotheosis: An Exploration of Your Mortal and Immortal Personae.” I’ve read Thenea’s blog posts on the topic in the past, but actually going through some of her suggested practices was useful, and having started, I think I want to try and get even more out of it. It also feels like something I need to do, given both some long-standing trends in my practice as well as some more recent realizations. I am really uneasy about it, but. It may be better to throw myself off those cliffs rather than wait to be thrown, you know?

I went to the “Advancing Devotional Practice” discussion; I went to it at Pantheacon, too, but since it was a discussion I figured it wouldn’t end up a repeat experience, and it wasn’t. It was interesting, though I don’t know that I personally got a lot out of it, but it was very well attended (I’m pretty sure there more people than at Pcon) and the discussion went very well.

I also went to another presentation I’ve seen before, “Three Tales of Devotion,” about the mystics/poets Sri Andal, Akka Mahadevi, and Mirabai. It was mid-afternoon on Sunday, and I was very, very tired, and the stories about these women are really lovely, and that was just the right speed for where I was Sunday afternoon.

The summaries given from the opening session sounded good – I went off with the neurodivergent group, but I got the impression that all of the groups had really good discussions. It is now too far in the past for me to be able to summarize any of it. (I was pretty well-rested on Friday, but that did not last long, and I’m not fully put back together yet.)

I was sad the Mni Wiconi presentation had a relatively small group of attendees. The work the presenters were there to discuss is so important, to me personally as well as, well, globally. But the presentations and discussion were good, and I came away from it with some ideas about other ways to get more involved.

I was also sad that the public altar I set up was not interacted with more, but what I did see there from other people was very moving. And, when I visited it at one point on Sunday, I saw that someone had placed a paper crane on it. There’d been a workshop that morning, “Senbazuru: One Thousand Cranes for Peace,” and then there were cranes left on each of the public altars. My feelings are really too big for words, but I’m tearing up over it again.

After I took the altar down, and was changing back into normal clothes, the Power who had guided the setup of the altar come forward with a few words about what I had done. (They may have been the first words I’ve ever gotten from that Power, in fact; the previous communications were more like gentle ‘yes’ or ‘no’ nudges in various directions.) And. Um. I find myself repeatedly floored by how what seems like very much “not enough” to me, wholly inadequate to the immensity of what I perceive is still meaningful to Them.

My presentation on spirit marriage went very well!! But I’m going to do a separate post on all that. I’ve given myself a deadline of Wednesday of this week.

Also, the conference, or wyrd, or the Powers, or whatever, conspired to pitch a significant curveball at me. I had not even expected baseball to be on the agenda!! But it was fine. It was actually good. I lost some sleep thinking over it but I knew how I wanted to handle it, and I did, and it was fucking amazing. Apparently I have learned how to baseball without knowing that learning was happening.

Finally, my Spouses were an incredible source of support at times leading up to the con. They have told me repeatedly They are here for me, and I admit I am very good at not asking for help, but when I do, They are amazing, and I am really, really grateful for how They help. Even when I don’t ask for things, They are amazing. I know Loki in particular had something to do with some of the good things that happened this weekend, and I am overwhelmed by how loved I feel.

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