Looking back; looking ahead

Early last January, shortly after I decided I was going to write more often about environmental things even if it didn’t have any direct, obvious tie-in to my spiritual stuff, one of my gods asked me to commit to writing one such post a week, and, since I figured it was a reasonably good idea, I agreed. (I made the commitment very quickly and then spent much of last year grumping at myself for having done so, because as much as I liked reading all that stuff, and would have been reading it regardless, I hated having a weekly writing deadline, and also felt I never spent the time on it to do the topics justice.)

Last weekend’s post was the last one under those terms. I’m not likely to stop posting about those topics altogether, because it’s something of major importance in my life, but my posting “schedule” is now back to whatever it was before: sporadic and impulsive.

I have really valued the comments from people who were glad to see those posts – as much as I know, intellectually, there are A LOT of people who care about all manner of ecological concerns, getting that direct communication makes it feel more real, and I have been particularly grateful when it comes from other pagans/polytheists, since so much of the surrounding community doesn’t seem to have much, if any, focus on that topic, other than general concern for climate change, bees, etc. If you started reading this blog for those posts, well . . . I’m sorry the future here isn’t going to be like the past year was.

You may be interested in any/all of the following blogs; they are some of my favorites:

  • Biophilia Hypothesis, on Tumblr. This blog is a treasure; he reads many of the same sources I have been, plus a lot of others, shares lots of links with commentary AND ALSO posts some great landscape photos.
  • The Druid’s Garden. Permaculture, environmentalism, ecology, working with the land physically and spiritually. Great writing, great topics; my favorite blog that combines ecological concerns with spiritual practices. Wish I could find more like it.
  • A Heathen Naturalist also writes on blending religious/spiritual practices with the land.
  • Sarenth Odinsson also writes often about how these two topics work together, as well as more straight-up polytheism. He recently did several posts on “A Polytheist Reflection and Response to Convenience, Consumption, and Peak Oil .
  • Animist Jottings, “a space for reflection on animism in theory and practice.”
  • And there are several other writers at Gods&Radicals who write about environmental concerns.

So! That’s that.

Last year . . . when I start reflecting on what last year was like in terms of my spiritual practices, mentally starting to write it all out, I find myself going “Oh . . . that was kind of a lot, wasn’t it? ha.”

Much of the first half of the year was really quietly awful: Loki (and Others, but mostly Loki) was working, more/again, on some crap I need to deal with wrt some previous trauma, and while no instance of that was as simply horrible as past “work” has been, it just didn’t end. It was always there – or the threat of it was always there, the threat that this time, when I reached out to Him, or He reached out to me, there it would be, that would be there instead of anything else, including just the comfort of contact, and so of course that made it hard to reach out to Him (He was there, but it was hard to make the effort, because I was always afraid of what might happen). I often wondered if things would have been less awful, emotionally, if He’d simply up and vanished for several months. I’d have felt alone, but it would have been easier than being able to reach out and afraid, for good reason, to do so. When some of the Others started the same behavior He was using, it was even worse, because I was used to turning to Him for some level of comfort (I talk to Him about everything, right?), and now, there was always the possibility that instead of comfort, I’d just get more of the awful.

Finally in late June He said it was over. Well, it was (mercifully) and it wasn’t. He – and the Others – are still doing the same button-pushing thing, but somehow it doesn’t have the same impact as it did earlier. It’s less of a slow horrible slog. I suppose some of these issues take a long, long time to untangle, deactivate, whatever. A lot of my frustration and upsetness has been that I cannot figure out how to react or think about the situation in order to help work it out, and They have not been clear about it when I’ve asked.

The summer also brought some really major wonderful changes in other ways: I went to Many Gods West, and through that and my writing at G&R, I’ve met a whole bunch of really amazing people, many of whom live right here!!! IN PORTLAND. OH MY GODS. (And their gods. I think a lot of gods had Their fingers in the mix.) I have people here. (And then?? I found out via Tumblr there are like at least half a dozen Lokeans in Portland. AND THEN???? I went to one of the local ADF protogrove‘s rituals and found EVEN MORE LOKEANS. And then???!!!!!!!? Their Yule ritual honored Norse gods, and included hailing Loki as part of it. Best. Yule.

So last year brought many extremely awesome human-community things. I feel stunned, in a happy way, and I am looking forward to getting to know all those people better. I am not sure how much I want to do group ritual or worship – “occasionally” is nice, but beyond that, I enjoy sitting down and talking about what’s going on personally more than I like group ritual/worship.

On the spiritual community side of things, well, it got to be “more” as well. Early in the year, a “Council of Greenwights” showed up, spoke to me intensely and at length, and I have since then v e r y  s l o w l y, and with lots of advice from my gods, been working on getting to know some of Them better. I don’t know what-all Their goals are (though I know some of the outcomes the gods intend); They’ve pretty much refused to answer.

Plant Powers have, on the whole, made me far more nervous than any other kind of spirit I’ve met yet, and a lot of it is this not-answering thing. They also have an alienness to them that most of the gods rarely display; the plant Powers (who I think are gods in their own right, just, perhaps, not our gods) sometimes use humanoid forms, but They don’t wear the “humanlike” masks as easily as the more classic gods seem inclined to. They feel a little more emotionally distant, even while being emotionally supportive, even compared to some of the Norse gods Who I barely know. Maybe this is what it’s like to deal with aliens, for all that humans and plants literally come from the same stuff.

At the end of the year, I started to get spirit-bothered regarding house plants, too. (Is nothing in my life safe from this?) “You really ought to go to that store yes go do it, you need to get that kind of plant. Go on you know you wanna.” R U SRS. I already had a few dozen house plants – I like house plants, I don’t need encouragement to get more, why do spirits care about this???? Runes say: Yes. Go do the thing.

Some of the gods also started throwing in encouragement about what I’m doing with my plants, too. All I’ve gotten from the plant spirits is that a) this isn’t “required,” but it might be a nice thing to do and b) They aren’t plant spirits I’ve had a previous relationship with. I think. (Whoever has been speaking to me feels different than Anyone else, but. Doubts remain.) I’ve read vast amounts of information on keeping various kinds of house plants, and I am amazingly well-educated now . . . at least compared to 6 months ago. The ways in which I’ve killed too many plants in the last year should have been easily avoided, had I better knowledge at the time.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this ties in with other care-of-land/landscape/land spirit work, but I have more than a slight suspicion that They – ALL of the Them – are encouraging the house plant thing in no small part because I simply like plants, and keeping them, and tending to them, makes me happy and satisfies a need to have things to nurture. The gods have had a long-standing habit of reminding me to enjoy life, and focus on the things I have that make me happy, so why would They not be all “Yeah! Do more of that thing that makes you happy!” (and bring in other spirits to amplify the message).

Yesterday, when I verified that I had, in fact, completed the terms of my oath re:writing, I then got a long er, talking-to, of sorts, the main point of which was “You must stop finding things to be gloomy about, focus on the positive. Please.” It was very intense, and supportive, not an angry “you’re totally fucking up” talking-to; there was a strong sense of pleading to it. Like: They definitely want to help me, and They will if/when I ask, and They think my life is in good shape and my future looks good – but my automatic fear-reactions (imagined future-fears/worries: “if something good seems to be happening, there must be something awful built into it”) are getting in the way of things.

Not that I’ve been ignorant of this tendency; not that They’ve never brought it up before; not that I expect this is the last “conversation” to be had about it.

SO. Speaking of my glorious future! I expect to be changing jobs this winter; Loki started dropping major hints last summer (and did that improve my mood at work? DID IT. I THOUGHT I MIGHT BURST) and things have ramped up some since then. He/They have been somewhat short on details, but it seems like it will be something much more aligned with what I want to be doing with my life. (Have I allowed myself to fully trust this? hahaha.)

I’m also still looking for a house; I’ve been looking since last March. The market here is rough, especially in the price-range and location combination I want. I am trying to remain optimistic, since They keep encouraging it (and I had quite an interesting “dream” about it a few months ago), but that’s been getting challenging lately.

On the whole, I’ve been expecting some kind of major life upheaval, or two, this season for several months now – positive ones, desired ones, for sure.

The timing echoes the past: Three years ago I was just starting to pack for a major life-upheaval; I was leaving Boston to come back to Oregon. It’s a little hard to wrap my head around it having been only 3 years. When I first got here, I was so eager to get a move on with finding satisfying work, and so disappointed when that did not go how I had expected/hoped it to go: first I was Told to stop looking for work as an intern architect; then all my looking for jobs that were land-oriented (the new “assignment”) came to nothing, and I got my current job – which was clearly one They wanted me to have. It’s been supportive in many ways, but not on a deep emotional, values-matching level, and it has certain inherent frustrations that I struggle with, constantly. I knew when I got it that it was meant to be “temporary,” but the indications that I would be there for years were upsetting, even though I knew I had things I needed to learn before I could move on. In retrospect, the 2.5 years in the position haven’t been so very awful, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been an extremely long time before moving on, but I am so eager to move on to something better.

My life is extremely good right now, dramatically so compared to where I was 3 years ago, but there is plenty of room to make it even better, and to start seeing the spiritual piece (with the land), and the mundane piece (. . . also the land), drawn closer together.

Some aspects of what my Work is with the land/land spirits also became much clearer (though not “clear enough” to explain it all), a relationship I have with one particular land spirit got more intense and serious and lovely, and I got some hints that there are other land Powers that I need to do things for (“the trees,” or “some” trees? I don’t exactly know. Trees. Trees is definite). I expect more of that this year – more surprise “this is what We want! :D” messages, that is, along with a few more clarifications. Business as usual. Confusing as things are with the land work, I love Them/the land so much I . . . kind of don’t have the words for it, but I very much want more of it.

… That’s hardly everything, or even every major thing, but I think that is enough writing for now.

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About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
This entry was posted in General Religious Stuff, Land and Land Spirits and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Looking back; looking ahead

  1. Heather Awen says:

    Since the personal is political, I bet your blog won’t stop that focus. Maybe the weekly “write about environment” thing ended, which is the most pagan topic I think there is, but anything you write is political, like the courage to talk about houseplants and Deities wanting you to be happy. Maybe the weekly exercise was to get you to study and write reports for the Deities showing your comprehension. Now you know it, you’ll live it, otherwise all the books wete a waste of time. Youcan live the sequels. You can’t unknow what you know and there’s lots of places people can learn about the problems. I think anything you write will be colored by what you studied. Otherwise it was pointless. Writing about your personal experience is revolutionary because no one else can! So I think your blog will stit rock. : )

    • Thanks :) Environmental concerns have been a major interest in my life for a long time, so it’s difficult to separate them entirely from anything else about my life (though there isn’t always a super-direct linkage between all the pieces). I’ve thought of several reasons why They may have wanted me to do the writing exercise, but I may never know what it was “really” for. I know I’ve learned/retained more than I probably would have if I’d just stuck to reading all the news sources, but I’d be surprised if that was the only purpose for it. I suspect it was about helping me get prepared for next steps (and probably -several- “next steps”), but I haven’t tried to ask Them if that’s the/a correct guess.

  2. Amanda says:

    House plant spirits? I love it!

    Pagans usually talk about the spirits of magical or medicinal or psychoactive herbs, so it’s nice to hear about some more “mundane” plant spirits getting some attention. It seems to me like house plant spirits should be especially friendly, given that they’ve adapted to living in such close quarters with us.

    This reminds me that I’ve been intending to write more about plant spirits myself, though I was going to write about the spirits of common garden vegetables like tomatoes first. If anyone is going to grow veggies, they always start with tomatoes, so it seems like getting to know the Tomato Spirit would be important.

    Good luck with your goals ahead, and thanks for the link to my blog. (Great, now I’m going to have to start writing things that are actually good.)

    • I don’t know if the spirits who were nudging me to buy a couple more plants are house plant spirits, or what. When I asked for some kind of identification, part of what I got was “the green and growing ones,” but that seems to speak more to kinds of action they are interested in than kinds of plants. If they keep talking to me, it may become more clear. If I -ask-; that’s another thing about plant spirits – the “green and growing ones” and this one other plant Power I met last fall weren’t upfront with any identifier, They were just /talking/ to me and it wasn’t until I requested some kind of name/title/something that I got anything.

      While I’ve gotten numerous nudges/communications from a few of my individual plants, I have not tried to reach out to any of the Grandparent spirits for any of the house plants, and I am not so sure They’d necessarily be any friendlier towards us than other plant spirits. I know a LOT of common houseplants are hybrids that aren’t found in the wild, but whether they have a separate Grandparent from a species, I don’t know. And given what I now understand about care of house plants, it doesn’t look so good for us, in terms of understanding plant needs and truly giving them good care, as opposed to “just good enough they don’t die and might grow some,” regardless of whether they’re species plants or hybrids/cultivars we’ve made. (And I’ve become so horrified by general care instructions, and how plants get treated so often as disposable decorations . . . augh, a lot of things about the nursery industry . . . it’s just awful. To say nothing of overcollection of wild populations.)

      I would definitely be interested in hearing about Tomato and similar plant spirits! I’ve seen maybe one other person mention humanity having some sort of “alliance” with some of our main food plants/Grandparents, but little in the way of details.

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