21 December 2007
17 December 2007
The Giant Rat of Sumatra, it has been found. I cannot be the only one who was wickedly amused by this.
14 December 2007
This came to me via a friend of mine who found it on GovTrack:
H. Res. 847: Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith
Full text of the bill is here.
How is this not a violation of the Establishment Clause? How is this not a slap in the face to every non-Christian living in this country—which was founded on religious pluralism and government non-involvement in religion?
Here is the text of my letter to my representative, who voted YEA on this resolution:
As somebody who has voted for and supported you during your Congressional career, I am more than a little dismayed by your support of HR 847, passed on 6 December of this year.
The Founding Fathers of this country have made clear through their writings that no one religion should be endorsed or promoted over any other religion in this country. They made it clear through a Constitutional prohibition of the establishment or endorsement of any religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Asatru, Wicca or Santeria.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut "…religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions…" (here is the link for your perusal: http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html) He wrote that while sitting in the White House as the 3rd President of the United States.
Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1796 clearly states "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." (again, here is a link: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/barbary/bar1796t.htm#art11) Given comments that have been made to the troops about God being on "our side" in the Iraq War, I find this passage rather darkly ironic.
More recently, recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in her opinion on "McCreary County vs. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky" that "When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship."
Religious freedom is what this nation is founded on. When one religion is favoured over another, whether via resolution expressing sentiment or via force of law, people who do not adhere to that belief system are made to feel insignificant or unwelcome. It's human nature. The wording of HR 847 differs markedly from HR 747 (recognizing Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs the world over) and HR 635 (recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan) in that it specifically promotes Christianity. Furthermore, the resolution's author, your honourable colleague Steve King of Iowa's 5th District, has gone on record as saying that "the foundation of this nation and this culture is Christian", and that the resolution was intended to assert this status in the wake of "an assault on Christianity."
Rep. Miller, I do not assault Christianity when I wish somebody a Joyous Yule during the winter holiday season. I do not assault Christianity when I wear a Mjolnir pendant (one of many symbols of my faith, Asatru) or use the heathen origins of the days of the week. I do not assault Christianity when I procure a small tree for my living room so that I can decorate it with garland and lights as my ancestors did centuries ago. Yet I am feeling assaulted when people like your colleague from Iowa use language in a resolution that sends the message that non-Christians are somehow unwelcome in this country.
I do not appreciate being made to feel unwelcome or unnecessary because of my religious beliefs, Rep, Miller, and I am certain that the other non-Christian constituents in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District feel the same way.
I think that about sums it up, don't you?
There are times when you don't know what to say or feel.
This is one of those times.
A friend of mine passed along to me that her sister died this morning after putting up a hell of a fight with cervical cancer. We all knew the end was coming, but still: what do you say at a time like this? "I'm sorry for your loss" doesn't cut it, it really doesn't.
I feel numb right now. Sad for my friend, but still numb. I also feel like an ass because I don't feel like I'm showing proper sadness because my friend is devastated. Sure, she had time to prepare, but she loved her sister and I know that this hits her like a punch in the gut.
Rest easy, Cary Anne. May your ancestors welcome you warmly.
10 December 2007
Now that that is out of the way: Yesterday the president of the Elder's Quorum showed up at our door with a metric assload of food--I am not kidding. Cereal, canned goods of various kinds, juices, and so forth. It was a lot, and it was a holiday gift to us.
Now, I am not an ungrateful person--I fully recognize that without their help we more than likely would not have made it through the last month, and I really am grateful. But I'm also a wary person, and I know that a gift given requires a gift in return. I keep wondering when the other shoe will drop and requests for the return gift go from "tithe and attend Sacrament" (which I make sure he does anyway, as a matter of course) to "oh yeah, and your wife's gotta come too" and thence "When's your wife going to join the Church?"
Of course I'm wary. I'm always wary, especially because for a while after my husband and I got married (we were living in another state at the time), members of his Church kept badgering him to either get me to convert or to leave me for some nice Mormon girl, and treated me with no small amount of disdain. He was offered a free ride to Ricks College, with the clear (yet unspoken) proviso that he would be given that if he was the only one who moved out to Idaho. Even after he moved down here, somebody kept putting him on the singles list for his local ward even though I kept telling the person who'd call (to let him know about singles events) that I was his wife, that we'd been married for some years already, and would they please remove his name from the list?
It's been a rocky road between me and the LDS. When I accepted an invite from the Bishop to attend Thanksgiving at his house while my husband was out of town, I was quick to leave the room and go offer to help with the washing-up when the talk in the dining room turned to religion--because as the only non-Mormon in the house, it was only a matter of time before somebody said "So AQ, what's your religion?" Sure, I could have dropped the Creed of the North on them as my "testimony"--but that would have been very unwise, as I knew what would happen had I said something: all the "you need to leave her" crap would have started up again. Not from the Bishop (who knows I'm heathen), but definitely from some of the other members. So I took the advice of the Havamal, and kept my mouth shut.
And I'm still waiting for that damned shoe to drop.
04 December 2007
Anyway: I no longer work at the Stop-n-Rob, for reasons that I will not go into in this public forum. I now have my weekends and evenings back, so I can once again have a life.
What this means is that I'm actively getting ready for Yule this year and planning to spend time with my fellow heathens, rather than spending time in a convenience store in a rough neighbourhood wondering if this will be the day I get plugged by some wannabe who's upset that I carded him for a dollar blunt.
Yesterday evening I was at the SuperTarget near where I live. I heard a couple of middle-school age kids talking, and one of them said "What does 'yuletide' mean? Like, you hear it all the time--but what's it mean?" I was going to explain it to them, but they left before I got up the bollocks to turn around and tell them about Yule and the pagan origins of Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, and so forth. All those fun holiday traditions that the Christianists claim are under attack by us wicked pagans.
And speaking of holidays: this time of year is always rough for me, because I'm so used to spending it alone. Either I've had to work, or I've been by myself (because I was single or--after I got married--because the husband just sleeps all day). So it's always been very painful for me, especially when the alternative was always family drama.
This year, I'm trying to do different. Leave some porridge (well OK, some Malt-O-Meal) out for the wights, try to make some kind of gifts (read: baked goods and other comestibles) to give to local friends, try to clean the house (which is always hard when you have trashed joints and low energy)...I want to do something other than mope, knowhutimean?
And I'll have another craft update soon.
17 November 2007
My "art project" has progressed to the "oh crap, how does somebody with no drawing skills whatsoever draw a design?" stage. I see the design in my mind's eye, but I can't draw fer crap to put it on paper.
The design? Oh, nothing really complicated or anything--a boar done in white, on a red background. The circular border will be black, with the Elder Futhark embroidered in gold (well, yellow) in it. Maybe some extra little touches on the corners and sides, I dunno.
Total dimensions: 3' x 3'
Really, it's not that hard. And not that big either, really. But damned if I can draw it!
Needles -- 3
Embroidery floss in a rainbow of colours
Red cotton jersey fabric -- 3/4 bolt (yes, I have that much, and I've had it for years)
So, here you see an example of one of my practice runs. This is an attempt to make a white
I apologize for the wonky white balance--I forgot I'd had the aperture open a bit wide.
And here is the cloth itself--the quality of the photo is crap, but I chalk that up to the camera.
But you can see, roughly, how thin the fabric is. Perhaps I need some kind of backing or a double-layer thing? I dunno.
15 September 2007
Recently, I came to the decision that I wanted to make something. This amuses my family greatly, because (to be quite honest) I am woefully incompetent when it comes to artsy-craftsy stuff.
But do I let it stop me? Of course not. Like any good heathen would, I decided to make a valiant attempt to craft something. For personal betterment, just to say I could do it, and because I wanted to find some way to honour the Aesir and Asynjur. So I settled on the one thing that I am least qualified to do:
I'm going to try embroidering an altar-cloth for my harrow. For somebody whose last attempt at embroidery was several disastrous (not to mention injurious...for me) attempts to do cross-stitch when I was 14, this is quite an ambitious undertaking. After all, a 4x4 altar cloth is much different from a simple little "WELCOME TO OUR HUMBLE HOME" sampler done from a kit.
The cloth isn't going to be anything really super-elaborate. No petit-point, no latter-day Bayeux Tapestry, nothing like that. Just a simple red jersey altar-cloth with Mjolnir stitched in black on a circular gold background, with the Elder Futhark embroidered in black around it on a white ring. And a silver border, because I like silver. A friend of mine jokingly suggested I work a little Stanley Cup in there somewhere, but that is a project for another time.
In preparation for the task, I have been attempting to embroider various runes (on pieces of the cloth that I'll be using for the big project) with satin-stitched backgrounds. They, of course, look like ass.
I'm well aware that this post is useless without pictures, but please bear with me--the computer that my digital camera hooks up to is currently on the blink, so I can't upload anything yet. I'll do my best to keep you updated on the progress of the work.
Please, friends--try to contain your giggles.
27 August 2007
Day before yesterday, he posts the following:
hope all had a great blot and plenty of mead. hail the 14 words and
The response he got from another listmember was rather..."forceful". Simply put, he was told where to go and what to do with his "fourteen words" when he got there--a sentiment that I agree with, to be honest.
(For those who don't know: "The Fourteen Words" refer to the white supremacist slogan "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children." It's often shortened to 14W, and is sometimes paired with "88", which is shorthand for "Heil Hitler"--H being the 8th letter of the alphabet.)
This has sparked a great uproar, with several people defending the racist and saying that those of us who flamed him aren't being hospitable. One of those people is a member of a group that has a very active prison ministry--which readers of this blog know is something that I am dead-set against--so of course his comments didn't exactly win me over.
So I find myself forced to wonder: when, pray tell, did it suddenly become okay to welcome outlaws into our midst? Outlawry certainly does still exist, folks; the only difference between outlawry today and outlawry 1000 years ago is that today's outlaws are sent to prison rather than left to the less-than-tender mercies of whoever happens to come across them.
Were I in prison, would I want access to a godhi/gydhja and ritual items? Of course--but I certainly wouldn't expect them, and I'd know full well that as an outlaw, the gods wouldn't want anything to do with me. I know my ancestors certainly wouldn't! Prison ministry is a fool's errand, in my opinion. I don't want to be associated with outlaws and dirtbags, and the responsible thing for any heathen to do (in my opinion, of course) is to stand up and tell these luckless pieces of garbage "Sorry, but you're on your own until you have paid your debt to society."
Just because Hospitality is a virtue of our folk, that doesn't mean that we have to be hospitable to outlaws.
20 July 2007
I made the point that a lot of Christians do speak out against charlatans like Benny Hinn, but nobody listens to them because it's apparently easier to laugh at the silly Christians as a whole than to say "not everyone is that way".
That should sound very familiar to us heathens, by the way--remember it the next time you see a Nazi with a valknut tattooed on his face plastered all over CNN.
Melly was telling me about how she went to a Catholic service when she was 12, and was creeped out by the ritualistic chanting and mass praying and so forth--it all smacked of brainwashing to her. I told her about how, when I was a born-again, I was quite neurotic because I was never able to give in to the mass hysteria--a whole church full of people would fall down shaking or speaking in strange tongues, and all I could do was stand there and wonder why I wasn't being "slain in the spirit". Did Yahweh forsake me?
The answer, of course, is no--I simply am one of the few people that is highly resistant to mass suggestion and hysteria. Were Benny Hinn to blow on me, I'd just stand there and tell him "Dude, Altoids--look into them."
But the whole thing gave me a neurosis. I used to kneel in my room at night and beg Jesus to save me, crying that I didn't want to go to Hell and begging for an answer about what I was doing wrong--the answer, of course, was that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was simply immune to fakery. That, and Yahweh in all his three forms wasn't my god to begin with--so of course he wasn't going to talk to me. Sure, he'd listen--but the response was pretty much "my dear, I have all the sympathy in the world for you but you're really barking up the wrong tree."
One common thread throughout my spiritual life is that the trappings of religion never appealed to me overmuch. Pouring out an offering to one of the Aesir or Vanir (or to the spirits of the land or ancestors or what have you) has never been a super-formal thing to me. I'm just sharing a drink or dinner with them--which is what an offering is.
"Thor, I brewed this fine Imperial Stout, and I'd like you to have the first drink."
That's such a beautiful thing, an offering like that. Such an uncomplicated and wonderful thing...and something that I think a lot of people lose sight of. Ritual is nice, sure--it helps to focus the mind. But I think that some lose sight of the why when they get caught up in the what.
Getting back to "faith versus religiosity". To me, faith is life and life is faith. They're inseparable. I try to do the right thing, always. I try to live by the virtues that many heathens hold dear: industry, loyalty, honor, truth, hospitality, discipline, perseverance, courage, and self-reliance. Sure, I'm not perfect--but I fully and freely admit that. I don't pretend to be better than I am or try to be something that I'm not. I am who I am: somebody who's trying to live a life that her descendants (in this case, my nephew) will be proud to look back on and be inspired by.
And hopefully making a little luck for the little bugger doesn't hurt, either.
I don't need church for that. I don't need a hof or formal blots or anything for that--they have their place and their time, and I like being involved with them whenever I can, but I don't see them as requirements to be heathen.
I just wish more people would understand this.
Regardless of what one thinks of Christianity (or how broadly one wishes to paint her tarbrush over those who claim that belief system), this video is quite funny. Charlatans like Benny Hinn have been exposed repeatedly by other Christians who don't care for hucksterism and fakery by those who choose to abuse their faith to make a buck or advance a particular agenda.
Gee, guess heathens aren't the only one that don't care for fruits, nuts, and flakes.
Let The Bodies Hit The Floor
04 July 2007
Forseti, so the Eddas tell us, was the arbiter of the Gods. The other Gods could go before Him with their disputes, and he heard both sides and reached a decision that all sides agreed was fair. The Great Mediator, Stiller of Strife. He was the wisest and most eloquent of the Gods, and it's said by some that he was a god of truth just as much as he was concerned with justice--for without truth, one cannot have justice.
The truth, however, is rarely gentle or free from pain. The search for truth is something that I hold dear--whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth (to steal a quote from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"). Sometimes, I wonder if I don't wield the hard truth of what I see like a woodsman's axe, hacking through things willy-nilly in an attempt to get people to understand the truth that I see.
I'm far from eloquent, and not as wise as I wish I was--but I try to live an honest life.
And sometimes, truth and its brother honesty are a little hard for some to take.
30 May 2007
In other news:
Hrafnkell makes a most excellent post in his blog about the need for we heathens to defend ourselves from attack by the Christian Right--who, in case you haven't noticed, have been engaged in a Jihad against the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for the last few dozen years. You know the one: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion Yeah, that one.
So. I made a comment that, in hindsight, came across more as "let's lie low" than "I agree: rather than just call names and sling mud, let's engage the Christians and fight their attempts to outlaw other religions."
And so here we are: The Evangelical Right holds that anything that doesn't favor their belief system is "an attack on Christianity", while the rest of us look at them and say "all y'all are out of your minds."
And really, they are all out of their minds. I could say that Christianity is a plague on society--but that makes me no better than a preacher who uses his pulpit to bludgeon people over the head with the idea that government exists to help Christianity stamp out other faiths and the born-again who steadfastly refuses to accept that the Founding Fathers were Deists who did not intend for this country to be Christian-only. Do I think that Christianity is a plague on society? No. But some of its followers--the Christofascists--are not much better than the Islamofascists over in the Middle East...except that the Christofascists aren't forcing their religious point of view on anyone by force of arms or sending martyrs to blow themselves up in crowded markets.
But then, what's the difference between force of arms and force of law? Either way, blood will wind up being shed if the Christofascists have their way.
Odin help us all.
03 April 2007
So then she asked me "Then why are you so antagonistic towards Christians?"
And the more I thought about it, the more I understood her point; why go out of my way to antagonize those whose faith is so antipathetic to my own, if I'm secure in my belief system?
Does that mean that I can't or won't defend myself if I come under attack? Of course not. Several times I've come under attack, and several times I've replied the way my ancestors would have: "You've got your religion and I've got mine--you go worship your god and just leave me be."
Mind you, this doesn't always work and I have to get more politely forceful with those who refuse to take the hint and continue babbling at me about their desert god...but I no longer feel the need to go on the offensive.
Of course, this makes me wonder why the worshippers of YHVH-1 are so adamant about aggressively spreading their faith like a virus throughout all of creation. Are they that insecure in their beliefs that they feel the need to aggressively attempt to stamp out and oppress other faiths?
They've got their religion and I've got mine--as long as they stay away from me and my kin, we won't have a problem.
15 March 2007
I still haven't set up my harrow, because I am not willing to find it suddenly cleared off one day (with the cup and bowl sitting in the sink with bacon grease and whatever else dumped all over them from other dirty dishes) because my husband suddenly decided to "get rid of clutter"--this is the same man who will put on pants that one of the cats has piddled on without bothering to wash them, because he feels the need to go to the all-night CVS to get a refill of his Primatene RIGHT THE HEL NOW.
I don't bother inviting him to come with me to the monthly public blots here in Raleigh, because I don't want to be embarrassed by hearing him say whatever bullshit comes to mind--and especially because I don't want to hear the whole ZOMG UR NOT SPOSED 2 DRNIK speech whenever I get the horn (Disclosure: I was a teetotaller for 14 years specifically because I had/have a drinking problem--the full story is more involved).
I feel uncomfortable whenever the Elders or my husband's Home Teacher come around, because I just KNOW that I'll have to deal with stuff like "Oh, she's decided she's Norse this week" or "I guess she decided she didn't like Wicca" (Disclosure: I have a Scott Cunningham book, which I bought because it looked interesting and because I wanted to see if I could get some ideas for some modern fantasy stories I was writing).
When I go to blot I pray that my boss won't call for me, because I just know that the first words out of my husband's mouth will be some variation of "Oh, she's off playing viking."
It seems that no matter how much I try to protest or explain, he never gets it. What was that I said? He's getting better? I must not have been well that day.
It's not easy, especially when you're effectively solitary. I'd hoped to avoid mindless ranting and what I see as self-pity in this blog, but it seems unavoidable doesn't it?
I feel trapped in this relationship--my paychecks go into a bank account that I am not allowed to access (if I want to make a deposit or use my husband's ATM card to cash a check, I have to do it at an ATM--otherwise the bank won't allow me to do it because of specific instructions given to them by my husband). I don't make enough to be able to "strike out" on my own, and I just flatly refuse to take shelter with friends because they don't have room for all four cats...and because I don't want to (in my opinion) freeload off of them. My faith gets belittled every time I bring it up, my friends get the third degree every time they call (if they're male), and heaven forfend I get any postcards or letters from somebody that isn't a known relative.
Now I know why he had seven fiancees before he met me.
And so I find myself just waiting for him to die or hoping that I'll win the lottery, so I can just leave like I probably should have done years ago. I'm sick of this garbage, sick of this misery, sick of this life. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
25 February 2007
Because my place of work is owned by people who are pretty strongly Christian, and though they don't seem to have a problem with Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists working for them (to name some of the religions that have been represented at the company), it's been made clear to me by others in the company that it's not wise at all to advertise that I'm a heathen--especially since several of our customers are pretty stolidly funformentalist Christian and have been known to try tracting employees who they know aren't Christian.
I've been able to hide behind company policy ("Thanks, but company policy doesn't allow the distribution of literature on the property. I appreciate the thought, but I'll have to decline"), but that only takes one so far, really. The closest I've ever come to putting up the big flashing neon hammer over my head was when I smilingly told one chap "And may Odin bless you, too" after he replied with "Well, may Jesus bless you then" after I politely told him that I couldn't allow him to leave tracts in our place of business and that "I have my own beliefs, thanks."
I find myself forced to ask how long I can go on perpetrating what I feel is a charade. I mean, it's not like I'll get strung on a rack and have a bowl of burning coals placed on my gut until they burn right through or anything, if I advertise that I'm heathen. But at the same time, I don't want to borrow trouble.
21 February 2007
But he's getting better.
...not by much, but he's getting better.
I'm sitting in the computer room, listening to "Odin Lives", and Mike walks into the room.
"What are you listening to?"
"Odin Lives" -- it's a weekly radiocast that gets posted up on the web. Since I have to work when it's on live, I listen to the archived broadcasts.
"You're still doing that Norse thing?"
Michael, I said as I turned to face him, I started on this journey when I was 11--after twenty-plus years of spiritual wandering, I finally came back to where I started; with the gods of our* Germanic ancestors. It's more than a "thing" with me. I'm cool with you not sharing it, but please don't belittle it.
"Well, you belittle the Church."
In the past I have, yes. But I have long since gotten off that bus--when was the last time I said anything snarktastic towards the LDS Church?
He says nothing.
"Is this (he waves in the general direction of the latest two copies of Idunna) why you want to start homebrewing?"
I'd like to be able to be able to offer something that's not store-bought to the Aesir and Vanir, yes. Well that and I'd like to give some mead or beer to friends as gifts.
"Oh." His tone was one that indicated that the penny's finally beginning its long, slow drop.
19 February 2007
I personally don't know what's more sad: the lawsuit, the bulk of the items being asked for in the lawsuit, Asatru "prison outreach" to begin with, or the steady stream of effluvium issuing forth from the keyboards of the Christianists and other assorted ignorami in their haste to bash us.
It's hard to refrain from giving in to my baser instincts and leaping headlong into the fray, but really what is there to say? Nothing. I even agree with those comments that point out that the guy is a murderer who really doesn't deserve the time of day, much less "dragon's blood incense", "abalone shells", and "a wooden wand". I mean, did we read "Rites of Odin" a few too many times? Seriously, I'd like to know.
In any event: the sad hilarity of the article and its complete and total ignorance of what Asatru even is gets totally overshadowed by the complete and total idiocy of the commenters who do their level best to show off their gross ignorance by spraying such wonderful things as this:
"What color do you have to be to be included in this "religion?" I have been "inside" and have seen these Asatru followers, and they were all white. But then again, so were the Klu Klux Klan. Go figure?"
Because of course, Nidhoggr-fodder like Michael Lenz and various members of white supremacist organizations is such a representative sample right?
I don't see the point of "prison outreach", in any event. Very few and very far between are those inmates who aren't violent offenders, murderers, wife-beaters, robbers and all-round thugs. Why are we tru folks "reaching out" to them? Why are we going against everything that the ancestors believed in by "ministering" to those who would have been bog-fertilizer a few centuries ago?
Why? Why can't we just let the Christianists have them?
Somebody explain this to me, please.
09 February 2007
I toned down a lot of the talk, because I know that not everyone who visits the Virtual 'Cue Shack cares for meta-religious discussion. But I think I got the point across pretty well. ;)
A couple friends of mine asked why I went up on the mountaintop a while back, why I left when all kinds of juicy stuff started coming down the pike and people were surely hanging on my every word about such things as Vote For Rory and Sid Crosby getting chucked from a Dallas nightclub after the ASG cos he’s underage.
I didn’t care much about any of that. I was more concerned with my complete and total inability to get upset over the Hurricanes’ performance so far this season–performance that is decidedly less than stellar.
Had the Cup win somehow made me less of a fan? Had I lost my desire to see my team win? Was I still in shock?
And then it hit me: What had happened wasn’t the win itself. It was the Cup. Specifically, it was my finally getting to lay hands on the Cup.
As I said on HLOG:
You cannot touch that thing after your team has won it, can’t dip your hand in the pool of history and emotion that the thing is bathed in, and come away unaffected by it in some way. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or dead inside.
There’s a a word for that pool in Old English: mægen. Main. It’s a spiritual energy that every living thing has. To relate it to hockey: it’s what makes a playoff game so electric. It’s what spurs a team on to great deeds. Objects absorb mægen from people that use them, that touch them–ask any craftsman who uses the tools that his (or her) parents and grandparents used if they feel like their ancestor who used those tools are watching over them and guiding their hands, and I guarantee you that the answer will be “yes”.
I keep coming back to the image of Mike Keenan sitting in his living room with the Cup, staring silently at it all night and letting its spirits quietly tell their stories to him until the sun rose and he was finally moved to tears. It’s such a powerful image, seeing somebody so moved like he had looked upon the face of God and touched the stars.
When I silently ran my fingers over the upper rings and bowl of the Cup back in September of ‘06, I plunged my hands into that deep pool of mægen like so many others have done before. In those few moments, I reached back through the years and shook hands with Howie Morenz and Bill Barilko and Maurice Richard and Georges Vezina and Sid Abel and all the other einherjar that have won the Cup and since moved on to play in the Eternal Game, and I came away forever changed by it.
The moment was epiphanic, an amazing moment of revelation where I finally felt like everything really was going to be OK–like an explorer cresting a rise and seeing the Seven Cities of Cibola laid out in front of him with the Fountain of Youth in the middle. I can honestly say that I wish every fan could experience it.
I still feel like I’m not properly articulating how it felt to be quite honest, but hopefully all of you will one day get to experience the wonder for yourselves.
22 January 2007
I just....I am so irritated right now.
Actually, that's not the right word. Discomfited would probably be better.
There's a mailing list thread going on right now about Loki--the conversation turned, briefly, to whether or not he should actually be worshipped....and it made me wicked uncomfortable.
In a nutshell (for those not up on the Eddas): Loki is a Jotun. He's also Odin's blood-brother and he hangs with the Aesir. He's commonly referred to as a "trickster", he's very chaotic, and not only was he directly responsible for the death of Baldr but he's also going to turn on the Gods come Ragnarok. Basically he's an outlaw at worst and a celestial con-artist at best. I mean, he walked into Aegir's mead-hall, killed one of his servants, and then proceeded to insult everyone in the place and fucking BRAG about his part in Baldr's death.
"Oh, but what about all the gifts he gave to the gods? What about Sif's golden hair and Frey's ship and Thor's hammer and Sleipnir and blahblahblahblah..."
What about them? They're schilder--they were given to keep the other gods from kicking the crap out of him. This isn't a Hermes we're dealing with here. This is a liar and a cheat and a general no-goodnik....and people worship the guy?
I'm with the Theodsmen on this one. Loki doesn't deserve worship. I acknowledge his place in the Lore, I acknowledge his power, but no way will I make a faining to him--especially because every time I even so much as talk about him at length, bad shit happens to me.
If I wind up in the hospital tonight, you know why.
I just don't get why there are people that insist on worshipping Loki. I just can't wrap my brain around it, unless I come to the conclusion that it's just some sort of knee-jerk reaction to perceived "Christianization" of Loki as the Devil. Then I can understand why people do it--but that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for me. I just...yarrgh. Why would you want to embrace something that's brought more pain and sadness than anything else?
At the same time, I can see how he would be seductive, how one would be tempted to hail him as a balancing force--order balanced with chaos and keeping the wheel turning.
But he's not for me. I seek my balance in other more constructive ways, thanks.
13 January 2007
I'm sure some of you have found your way here from one of the hockey blogs I post/comment to: HLOG and Sweet Tea, Barbecue, and Bodychecks. Welcome to those folks.
For those who have found their way here from other locales (and who haven't noticed yet), I am indeed a hockey fan. For some reason, I always find it hard to articulate in print how my faith and my hockey-fandom are intertwined--which is very odd, because I'm usually much better at expressing myself in print than I am at expressing myself verbally. Don't ask me why, I just am.
For me, hockey is a strong expression of my faith. I've touched on it very briefly in my hockey blog, and I've never been shy about my being a heathen, but I've always been a little reticent about discussing it anywhere other than here and in my personal LJ for reasons that I can't fully articulate. I'm not afraid of getting deluged in flames--there was really only one toolbox that got upset about me not being Christian, and he's the one who has to deal with his own insecurity in his faith. The rest of the fandom really doesn't give a shit, from what I've seen (and the three or four Caniacs that would get bent outta shape about my religious beliefs know better than to tangle with me over it).
It's an amazing feeling, being at a hockey game and feeling the presence of the Gods. I wish I could better articulate what it's like when the building is full and the energy is intense and the boundary between the ice surface and plain of Ida is at its thinnest. It's almost epiphanic, when I can see the Gods watching on the sidelines and, occasionally, Thor taking a turn on the ice while cleverly disguised as one of the defensemen (I'm totally convinced that he likes to cleverly impersonate Mike Commodore from time to time).
There are sticks, there are pucks, there is ice....and there are the Gods.
11 January 2007
So a couple Saturdays ago after I got off work, I went to Crate and Barrel (because we don't have an SLT here in Raleigh...yet) and got this bowl and a "Tux" glass (the picture is no longer up on C&B's website). Total cost: $10. Nice and cheap and they get the job done.
Now I need to decide what I want to do for it next. I have an endtable that my friend Hayley gave me for Yule '05, and that will work fine for the "base". Would it be appropriate to put hockey-related stuff on it? Mebbe a picture of playoff-mode Mike Commodore, as a proxy for an idol of Thor? Suggestions from the audience are welcome.
I don't really give a damn what the hubby thinks of me doing this either--I'm doing this for me and my personal spiritual growth. And if it wigs the Elders when they come over to visit with him, that's a bonus. ;)
06 January 2007
But sometimes, it's really hard to do that when I get confronted with the...er....we'll call them intemperate (not that I'm blameless on this matter, as those who read my hockey blog well know).
I refer the reader to this post on another blog (and not a bad blog, either). The second-to-last comment made me beat my head on the table in mental agony, because--though well-intentioned--it was pretty poorly-phrased and didn't come across very well (to me anyway).
I do know who Al Billings is, and I know of his issue with Steve McNallen and the AFA. I am also aware that McNallen was in the past intemperate with his folkishness--and that what I have seen from him lately is a great deal more moderate. But honestly, trying to make Billings out to be a non-entity who isn't worthy of being listened to isn't exactly going to make friends or influence people if you know what I mean.
Know what I mean?
As for Folkishness, I've made my thoughts on the matter known in this space before--the Gods call whom they call, regardless of that person's outward appearance or parentage. In that same vein, I offer a quote from a mailing-list post about the subject of the Billings/McNallen fight:
Frankly, if a[n] Ethiopian baby is adopted by a Swedish couple and grows up to run a restaurant promoting modern Swedish cuisine, he probably has a stronger claim on having a nip off the old folksoul than *I* do (and, besides, I hear the food is quite good). There is often an unwillingness among US heathens to factor the value of a land, and its spirits, in one's spiritual makeup, which I argue is a significant oversight on our part.
And that's about how I feel, too.
Know what I mean?
05 January 2007
My mother never raised me or my sister to follow any particular religion. She always told missionaries or other evangelistic types that "we have our own beliefs"--sometimes rudely, sometimes politely. I was never told what church to go to, and my own family background is rather religiously muddled; My mother was baptized Presbyterian. My father was RLDS. My maternal grandparents were Catholic and Baptist, respectively--and my Baptist grandfather's family was Catholic up until the parish priest told my great-great-grandfather Cardinal that he was living in sin and all his family was doomed to Hell because he wasn't married in an RC ceremony (they were kinda in the back woods of Quebec, so there was no local priest there for many years--just a travelling parson).
I grew up in a small town in North Dakota that was heavily Lutheran and Catholic, with smatterings of Pentecostal and Church of God. It was through the Pentecostals that I wound up finding my way to Christianity when I was 19--and I spent several years being completely and totally insufferable about it. To this day, my sister--who is very aggressively atheist--loves to give me grief about it even though it's a part of my past that I want to leave where it belongs...in the past.
I identified as Jewish for many years, for reasons that I couldn't even articulate--I think, in looking back, that I saw it more as a cause to fight for than as something I really actually believed. I sense that all the rabbis I spoke to about converting figured it too--because they kept telling me "If you don't know the reason why you want to convert, then perhaps this is not the faith for you."
The Aesir and the Vanir, however, I had kept drifting back to ever since I was first introduced to them as a child (when I discovered "D'aulaire's Illustrated Norse Myths" in our elementary school's library). Why? I don't know--or I didn't know at the time, anyway. In about 92ish, I started delving into learning about them and I discovered that there was an actual religion around them called "Asatru", but at the time the WWW was still in its infancy and there was precious little information about heathenry out there. So after a little while I moved on to other things. I eventually rekindled my love of hockey, and through it I found my way to a heavily UPG-ized personal belief system that was largely shamanic and had liberal dashes of various pagan faiths cobbled together with nails of Buddhism and a thin veneer of Wicca.
All the while, though, I kept identifying myself as being of a faith that I didn't really follow much. Judaism became a label for me, a blue blankie that was my armor from the wierdly curious, rather than something I really believed in. Why stick with a faith that you yourself don't believe? So I gave up calling myself that.
Soanyway. About midway through 2005, I felt the pull of the Aesir and Vanir again. This time, I listened. It was like...well, it just felt right. I had looked into my Italian heritage, but the Religio Romana didn't really appeal to me. Iuppiter et al. kept telling me "We understand why you're coming to see us, my dear, but your destiny lies elsewhere." I turned to my paternal ancestors, and that's where I found a home (spiritually speaking). The Shining Ones welcomed me with open arms and said "We've been waiting for you--welcome home!"
My husband (who is LDS), clueless and inattentive as he is, apparently didn't get the memo when I told him on the third Saturday of every month "I'm going down to the UU Fellowship for the monthly blot." He still says "You told me you were Jewish!" whenever I bring up anything even remotely related to Asatru...and this is the guy who told the Elders and damn near everyone else that I'm Wiccan. I can't eat anything pork without hearing "I thought you can't eat that!" and "treyf!" and whatever else. The other night when I asked him a direct question about the LDS Church and he couldn't answer me, I said "I don't want to hear you saying another word about my gods and goddesses, since you can't be bothered to learn anything about your own damn religion." His response? "When did you go Norse?! You always tell me that you're Jewish!"
I give up.
04 January 2007
I had left this blog lie fallow during the playoffs, because I'd been getting spammed with garbage comments from a Buffalo fan that apparently felt that his Desert God was calling him to be as assy as possible toward the dirty heathen Caniac.
*sigh* Shame on me for running and hiding rather than standing up to that shitbag like I should have.
Anyway. Ever since 19 June I've been...I don't want to say "uncaring" about hockey--but I've been a lot more contemplative about it. Everything I see is taken in a far more spiritual context now. I just don't have the anger that I used to have, I don't have the combative streak that I once did. I've tasted the miraculous wonderment that is winning a championship, and now I just wonder what there is to do now that it's done.
In a way, it's like I'm in shock. My wyrd, everything that I've seen and known was coming, has led me to 19 June 2006--and now I'm trying to decide if I'm free of that orlog cycle, or if I'm just not being allowed to see what's coming down the pike like I used to be. It's like something died in me that night, and I can't figure out if it was something bad or something good.
We'll see, I guess.