travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
I had a thought pop into my head this morning as I was walking through the wetlands to work. It's been over a month of my presence being a daily occurrence through that area now and I notice the wildlife (particularly the moorhens and the birds I can't identify that look like GIANT moorhens) are getting very used to my presence. I'm a little weary around the giant moorhens, they look like they could do a lot of damage if they chose too. But they seem quite relaxed around me now and don't even bother moving away from the path when I walk through.

But as I cautiously walked past this giant moorhen who was cautiously watching me I had this realization. I've always been of the opinion that this world is not our (humans) and we are just tenants (albeit, poor ones...) on this Earth. But today that really hit home. We are so disconnected from Nature in our urbanized cities and towns that we really are just tourists in this world and should be humbled that we are able to be here. This worlds could go on living, probably thriving really without us humans if we were all to vanish. But without the world, there is no us. And even though I have always believed this, today I actually KNOW this. It hit me quite unexpectedly and I feel quite humbled.
travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)

I sat here sitting at my monitor or so damn long, not knowing where to even start. Birth seems the obvious, right?  But I have this personality trait where I tend to over-think and analyze and re-analyze these kinds of thing and it leaves my brain going in circles. So I'm just going to start typing rather than thinking and see where this goes...

I am pro-choice, all the way - I think I woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy if she chooses to. I really love the way that [personal profile] flameinbloom  put it in her post, "why should a woman's uterus be allowed to kill a fetus but not a woman?. It's not that I don't think life is a sacred gift (it most certainly is), it's more that I see so many people bring children into the world without being equipped to teach them adequately. Now be have generation after generation of... well, morons. There, I said it. Part of this is that we are influenced by our family's orlog, which is directly noticeable - we are a product of our upbringing, as are our parents and our parents parents and so on. But we have the ability to change our orlog by our choices, albeit is is more difficult that floating along the trail left by your parents. I used to get so angry at the amount of people I would see verbally/physically abusing their children, being completely irresponsible or putting their own selfish needs (or in some cases, addictions...) before the basic needs of their own children. What is the world coming to when children need protecting from their own parents? I half-joking suggested to my mother once in my late teens that the government should implant us at birth with a chip that effectively made men and women sterile until they had the physical and mental needs required to give a child a fare life. My mother laughed at me and said it was a interesting theory, but she feared if it was reality that the human race may be facing near extinction. In my late teen angsty aversion to the human race kind of way half-jokingly suggested that maybe that was the solution to saving the world. I'm a little less hardcore about it, but the core issues I have with the imbalance of birth and death in this day and age still remain with me.

Right alongside birth comes one of my favorite things in life... sex! You can't give birth without the good stuff. I think that Christianity's huge taboo with sex being sinful and something to be ashamed of is something that has really screwed with the human psyche... on one hand we have clergy who are so prudish that they are unable to even enjoy sex after marriage, or sex is such a taboo subject that no one is teaching people how to do it responsibly and there are sexual transmitted diseases running as rampantly around as the common cold. Then we have the other side of the spectrum... the western media is a perfect example of sex-obsessed imagery and talk that in any other situation would be considered completely crossing a line. I see 10 years old wearing heels, painted in more make up than even I wear at the best of times strutting about singing songs about getting hot and heavy and giving blowjobs. I'm sorry, but doesn't anyone else find that inappropriate?

Sex should not be a hush-hush topic, I believe that children should knows it exist, that babies can comes from having sex and it should be done responsibly and at the very least, perhaps you will have taught them to partake in sex safely.

Death is another taboo topic that is often not spoken about and often not viewed in a healthy way, causing far too much damage to the living left behind. It is a a out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of topic and I can understand that - death is a little scary. No one really knows what happens when you die, we have our theories, but we're not going to be able to prove them, even after we die and find out the big secret to it all! The unknown is scary, but just as ignoring other instabilities is not health, ignoring death is unhealthy. It happens. It's a part of life that we should respect, try to accept and not sweep under the rug or try to run from it - it is a vital part of life and without it we could not appreciate life.

The afterlife is a little redundant for me to worry about, since I believe the focus of life is to live it, not worry about if you're going to be sent to hell or live your next life as a cancer victim or a dung beetle. Sure, I have a few ideas that seem to appeal to my senses, but in the scheme of things it's not really all that important to way of living. I think that generally when you die you body returns to the earth and your spirit has a few options. If you are a devotee of a certain deity, I believe your soul may be absorbed by them, adding to their own spirit. Perhaps you will stay behind as an Ancestral guide, or if you are too emotionally tied to something in the 'living' world, perhaps you stick around as a ghost. Perhaps you return to the Source to be injected back into the swirling pool of other souls where your spirit will be transformed into something new such as a tree, or an animal of some kind. I don't believe that the spirit stays intact every time it is 'reborn'. When you go back into the Source to get recycled, you are combine together with the entire energy of the source - billions upon billions of other spirits. So part of your soul might help make up a tree, or a bird or a spider or a rock, but it won't be ALL of you, and as such I don't think we retain memory of it. I do think that some people are reincarnated into human life again, especially those who have unfinished goals to accomplish, oaths to fulfill or something to learn before bringing it back to the Source. But like I said, I live my life fully because it could be the only life I get. I am here now, and this is what I know, so what reason do I have not to make the very best of it?
travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
Firstly, I am an animist and a polytheist.

Animists believe that everything – humans, animals, rocks, plants, the weather – everything has a spirit or a soul. I view this as a spark of the energy from the Source that I spoke about in my Cosmology post before this. It is an energy and certain kinds of ‘intelligence’ that we can sense and communicate with because we too are a spark of the Source and everything is connected.

Polytheists are people who believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses and view as individual entities with their own personalities and their own agendas and not just archetypes for a male and a female energy/deity such as The God and The Goddess in Wicca. There are varying degrees of Polytheism spanning from Hard Polytheists believing that gods are distinct, separate real divine beings not psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces to Soft Polytheism, which holds that Gods may be aspects of only one God, or a God and a Goddess, psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces.

Up until recently I considered myself a hard polytheist, I certainly do believe the Gods are separate beings and not archetypes, but I also leave some wiggle room in that theory to leave space for migration and cultural intermarrying. I don’t believe that Odin, Wotan and Wodan are all different Gods, I believe they are all the same, but with a different name and slight variances in perception that change from culture to culture. That being said, though they have some similarities to them, I would not go so far as to say Freyja is also Aphrodite or that Njord and Poseidon are one. Of course, I may be wrong… I have never met Poseidon or Venus. It is purely on a prominent instinctual prompt that I draw those lines. When I think about the possibility of Freyja being Aphrodite I feel a strong tug in my gut and a firm “No” impression that is outside my own thoughts.

The way I view it the Jotun are spiritual beings which are linked to primal elements of the Universe, the most obvious being the Fire and the Frost Giants spoken about in Norse Mythology. I believe these to be the first spirits in existence, which is backed up by lore speaking of Ymir, the first Frost Giant. As the worlds evolved I believe the next tribe of spirits to emerge were the Vanir. The Jotun and the Vanir are what I believe the pre-Indo-Europeans worshiped before the Aesir moved into town. The Jotun and Vanir are both heavily rooted in nature, whereas the Aesir seem to be more about human society, which is where I base my assumption. The way I kind of think of it in my head is as follows:
The Source

The Jotun/Etins/Primal Forces

The Vanir and The Aseir

Elves, Dwarves, Wights, Ancestors


The way I see it is that the Source is just way to vast and complex for us to understand in a practical manner. The Gods are a bit closer to us and easier (though, still plenty complex!) for us to communicate with.

I dont believe the Gods are omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient. They have more power that humankind, but the only one running the Universe is the Source itself, which even the Gods are bound by.
travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
As a modern Pagan I inclined to believe the Universe was physically brought into existence by the Big Bang followed by cosmic inflation some 13-odd-billion years ago.

Metaphysical cosmology isn’t something I have delved into too deeply, but I have a idea that works for me currently (which is always subject to change, of course).

I believe there is a source of energy from which all the universe is born and will return. Some people call it the All or the Great Spirit. I just call it the Source. I view the Big Bang as a physical result of the Source willing itself into existence. I don’t believe the Source is necessarily a ‘sentient’ force, but to completely honest I don’t believe that it is not, either. It just is. It is not good or evil, it is nature in it’s purest force. It is creation, destruction and rebirth and all cycles of life adhere to this force of the Universe.

For now I ascribe to the theory of three realms; The Underworld/Sea, The Upperworld/Sky and Middleworld/Land. Within these worlds I see the seven worlds of the Anglo-Saxon’s cosmology* arranged as follows:

The Upperworld holds the worlds of the Gods (‘Asgard’ and ‘Vanaheim’)

Between the Upper and Middle realms lies the world of the elves (‘Alfheim’)

The Middleworld holds the world of humans and our flora and fauna. (‘Midgard’)

Between the Middle and Under worlds lies the world of the dwarves (‘Svartálfaheim’) and the world of the Giants (‘Jotunheim’)

The Underworld holds the world of the dead (‘Helheim’)

At the center of the cosmos is the World Tree, or the axis-mundi that balances the worlds and provides transportation between.

As you can see, my ideas of cosmology are bare-boned, but as my practice is leaning more and more towards shamanistic practices I am finding metaphysical cosmology a more important topic to explore.

*Note: Currently my theory on why the Anglo-Saxon’s seemed to believe in 7 worlds rather than 9 like the Norse is that Muspelheim and Niflheim collided to produce the Big Bang and were deconstructed in the creation of the universe.
travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
I was raised in an agnostic household by parents who flirted with the Spiritualist/New Age movement in the 70′s. Religion wasn’t a prominent part of my growing up, but my parents taught me that being a compassionate, honest person with integrity is important and my grandmother taught me to be kind to the earth. I have many memories of visiting her at her apartment near the beach and her explaining to me how literally hugging trees was good for both the health of the tree and myself and how I should try not to kill harmless bugs because of the natural order of things and their place in the eco-system.

My grandmother was a very liberal Catholic woman, and though she believes in God, she isn’t particular a Church goer. After all, this is a woman who divorced my Grandfather because he was an abusive alcoholic to protect her five children. The Church may not have supported her in that decision, but I think God would have accepted her choice to leave for the safety of herself and her children.

Since I was a toddler I remember having an intense love for animals and nature and protecting those things were really important to me. I felt like I was apart of nature and I remember running around when I was a child pretending I was a faery and I was a friend and protector of the plants and animals. I used to tell my mother I could speak to them.

Nature has always been sacred to me and it has been until I came back to it that I have realized that I have been Pagan all of my life. I’ve tried formalized religion such as Wicca, but I felt the God and the Goddess to be as unreachable as I found the Christian God to be when I was younger. I spent a long time trying to find Deity of some kind and it wasn’t until I stopped looking and started to focus on the things around me more that I actually found Deity in a place I had never thought of looking – within the Germanic Gods.

My beliefs to this day are still heavily focused in being close to and caring for the land and by extension, honoring relationships with the spirits of the land also. I also have begun deepening my relationships with the Gods and trying to live true to their wisdom. I believe that the 9 virtues that the ADF hold to are incredibly valuable to living a good life and I try my best to strive for wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation and fertility of body, mind and soul.

The Pagan mindset and philosophy resonates with me because it is what has been always true to my spirit, is free of dogma and guilt (or should be, ideally) and it has a focus on keeping nature sacred and healthy, which is what we all need to focus on if this planet of ours is to have a chance to survive the damage our race has caused it. It reminds us that we are a part of nature and we should respect that, not remove ourselves from it. We should develop a symbiotic relationship with all life, not try to dominate it. We humans tend to think the word revolves around us, but the philosophy of paganism reminds us that we are nothing without the natural world in balance. I think more people should remember this and I think that this mindset is what is drawing more and more people out of the Churches and off of their couches and into nature. We want to get back to nature and back to the way of the people who really knew the world around them.
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