Reviving Spring

Once in a while I get to a purging point in my practice – a realization that certain avenues of study, experimentation, or work may not be productive, may be unnecessary, or even detrimental.  This usually happens to me over a period of weeks or days, and once in awhile I get hit while in the midst of a working that it is completely wrong and not where I want to travel.

This purging doesn’t only happen with practices but also with the accoutrements of practice.  I’m not a pagan that likes to get attached to objects and items.  Since I place very little importance on ritual items or altar pieces I know that when I begin to acquire too many “things” it’s time for a purge.  I tend to think of my practice as very subtle and simple – when it becomes overly complicated it is also time to reflect and modify.

I’m also incredibly aware of the synchronicities in my life.  I don’t ignore slight pushes toward certain practice that the cosmos (the gods or ancestors) wants me to explore.  I’ve been developing more of an internal practice these days, a push backward into my past – a past that was focused more on meditative reflection.  Books, media, studies, and my daily occurrences have been easing me back into this…not necessarily away from the robust and physical practices that I have been utilizing, but into a more intimate practice that regards silence and reflection as necessary components to my spiritual movements.

There is a tenuous balance between the internal experience of religion and the external one.   One can move too far in either direction and forget the importance of the other.  The purge is a step toward critically acknowledging what I have forgotten and maybe what I have chosen to ignore.

Spring is an excellent time to slough off the extraneous stuff that I have accumulated.  Most of the stuff is stuff, but some of it is technique or practices or mental obstructions that just don’t fit with where I’m headed.

 

Developing ritual

Getting a group off the ground is difficult.

One challenge has been to develop a ritual that is honest to what the group focus will be.  One thing I hope to avoid is an overtly Wiccanized form of ritual – that is a ritual with four corners (watchtowers) and other western occult forms.  Also limitations of organizational liturgy are to have little place in the group.  In other words the group is not being formed in order to adhere to already established forms of ritual.  Specifically here, I didn’t want my practice and experience with ADF to color my ritual format for the group.  Also the vision for the group is to allow members to worship and develop a ritual format of their own that comes from their own studies.  Eventually, the hope is not to have an established form of ritual but merely one that conforms to the point of the group, that point being to honor and worship in the Heathen way.

To be more specific: The group may not be limited to one ritual form.  The ritual form will grow as members work and study.  A ritual created by me will have a form different than one created by another member.  The goal is not liturgy but the development of a practical and personal way to enliven the self within the sphere of Heathenry.

The ritual form I’ve been playing with so far is:

Hallowing of the area (both within and without) Vertical axis – Niflheim, Midgard, Asgard primarily done via visualization of Yggdrasil with offerings to the Well(Niflheim), Tree (yggdrasil), and Fire (Asgard) (similar to ADF form).

Hallowing cont. – Rune-singing which is meant to establish the mythic realm upon Midgard and further develop the parting of worlds. Runes are sung in a clockwise manner.  This is not to setup a boundary but to set apart the area from the mundane surroundings.

Hallowing cont. – Hammer hallowing;  mighty Mjollnir is called upon to hallow the land.  The hammer may be swung in each direction, or its head simply placed upon the ritual center, then returned to the altar.

Offerings and gifts – Gods, ancestors, wights of the rite will be given offering and magic(k), siedr, galdr done.

Blessings returned – A portion of the libation given to the being or beings will be given to the people to share refreshment with the gods/beings called, and to receive blessing in return.

Rite closing – Beings thanked, Runes internalized, blessing given to Thor for Mjollnirs hallowing.

So that’s where I’m at with the ritual.

Other things to think about are:

Location for rituals

Monthly meetings

Discussion times that relate to the groups focus, lessons, and lore.

Membership

 

 Havamal 47.
Young and alone on a long road,
Once I lost my way:
Rich I felt when I found another;
Man rejoices in man

Southern Sorcery

Early in my days of inner exploration I was fascinated with the writings of Carlos Castenada.

Why am I bringing this up?  I noticed a friend of mine had the first novel The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge in e-book form and he was planning on reading the series.  I mentioned that I had read the Castenada books and that was that. But of course there was more I wanted to say…

My opinion of the books is that they’re an interesting read.  As a Heathen/Pagan/Druish leaning and practicing fellow I can see how detrimental they are, how manipulative it’s author was with it’s content and how quite possibly the practices presented are not only culturally absurd but harmful to the individual.

"A Seperate Reality" Cover Art by Roger Hane

Carlos’ books present, according to him, Yaqui Sorcery not a generic New Age Shamanism.  They present a way to question reality, to alter perception, to “see”.  But what your really getting is a way to escape reality, see the world as a collage of lies, and view reality as meaningless.  As you can tell I’m not to hip on these books.

Read as fiction these tales of Sorcery can be pretty good, though maybe a little boring, and perhaps that’s why they were sold as truth – because no one would read them strictly for their literary content.

So why do I even care about Carlos Castenada and his books and fame.  Carlos created an entire mythology around his principles, he developed a culture that in turn has developed more cultures.  Go on YouTube and search Carlos Castenada and you’ll find a wealth of material.  Go to your local book store, used or new, and you’ll find his books, at least one our two.  The cult of the Toltec Shaman developed by Castenada fascinates me, simply because it so readily exemplifies how one man can change the world HE lives in, and how people will gravitate towards that new definition.

The book series is worth a read, and some of it’s fictional techniques will work for you.  But as a Pagan it flies in the face of everything I practice and hold sacred – We do not need to hide away from society, Our reality is not a false sheen of lazy perception (the systems we create perhaps are, but not Reality as a whole), and we do not need to escape from our own desires and passions.

I find it funny how Castenada was always preaching, and I use that word with purpose, how it was important to be your own person, and as a Sorcerer or Warrior it was important to not allow society and others to define us, or to be manipulated by the perceptions of others – And it is one of the reasons he never allowed pictures to be taken of himself, or even his voice to be recorded…Yet now, because of the internet, everyone can hear his voice and see his image…Ironic? or just sad, I’m not sure.

A decent exploration of Castenada’s work can be seen in this documentary, though I don’t think it addresses enough of the negatives that grew from his philosophy: Enigma of a Sorcerer