Into the Roil by Lovely Dark (Wild Hunt Music)

Jo found this amazing band after searching the internet virtually all day today for music to serve as a mental sound track for a new story she’s writing. (Shameless plug: you can be among those who get to read it first by signing up for her Story Subscription.) Anyway, this band immediately clicked with me too; they have a dark shamany-horror folk vibe, very haunting, and the lead female singer reminds me a lot of Amy Lee (of Evanescence) vocally.  Since Wild Hunt season is beginning, here’s some mood music to kick it off. (I love this video, too–very creepy and haunting.)

Call for Submissions: Masks of the High One — a Devotional Anthology for Odin

A little more than a year ago, I put out a call for submissions for Prayers to the Allfather, a book of prayers and rituals for Odin. Well, despite a number of people being kind enough to share my CFS across the internet, I received exactly three submissions. Due to various factors in my life at the time, I just wasn’t feeling equal to writing the bulk of a book of prayers on my own (since when I think prayers, I think poetry, and I am not primarily a poet), so I reluctantly shelved the project for a while.

Then I got to thinking: maybe a prayer book is too limiting. Maybe most other pagans, witches and polytheists out there also shy away from writing prayers for public consumption, either because they feel too personal, or because (like me) they associate them with poetry and feel unequal to the task. Maybe I pigeonholed my own project into the remainder bin.

And then it occurred to me: no one (to my knowledge) has yet to come forth with a devotional anthology for and about Odin. All of my initial foot-dragging on the notion of such a project aside, I finally had to ask myself whether I wanted to be the one to step up to the plate and do this, or whether I wanted to wait until someone else did it, and have to live with the regret.

And so, here we are. Today, on August 30th 2014, I am opening submissions for Masks of the High One: A Devotional Anthology for Odin. Submissions will close on May 1st, 2015.

As far as I am able, I want to make this book a true reflection of some of Odin’s countless masks (both historical and modern), His relationships with His devotees, and the myriad ways in which He inspires and changes people’s lives. To that end, I am interested in all of the following: personal anecdotes and gnosis/doxa, original retellings of myths, prayers, songs, scholarly articles, essays, hymns, poems, artwork (clear black and white images or black and white photographs, please!), spellwork, recipes (for food and drink offerings, incense, oils, baths, etc.), sacred fiction (no erotica, please; I don’t necessarily find this disrespectful as such, but it is one of the few boundaries I wish to maintain in this book), and rituals celebrating Odin and His Family. (Pieces touching on His relationships with Frigga, Balder, Loki, Gunnlod, Bragi, and Bestla are especially welcomed.)

The finished book will be published by Wild Hunt Press, and although I am not able to provide financial payment, contributors whose work appears in the published book will receive either a .pdf or mobi (Kindle) copy. (Please note that sending a contribution does not guarantee inclusion in the book.)

Please feel free to submit as often as you like; you will retain your original copyright for any and all work. Previously published work is welcome, provided you retain the original copyright. All work must be original, with sources (if applicable) properly cited in MLA style.

With your submission, please provide a small bio about yourself to be included within the anthology, in case your work is accepted. All contributors will be asked to sign a publication release prior to the publication date (which I am hoping will be in the fall of 2015); without this document, I won’t be able to include your work in the book.

I reserve the right to make minor changes to formatting, spelling, and grammar as necessary. Requests for modifications of submissions may be made as necessary. I reserve the right to reject submissions.

Please send all submissions as .doc, .rtf, .odt, or .jpg files attached to an email, to my email address: wodandis at gmail dot com. All artwork needs to be 300 dpi. Please make sure your subject header is: Odin Devotional. Again, the deadline for submissions is May 1st, 2015, and I will be posting periodic reminders—as well as any news or changes—here in the blog. Please feel free to spread the word!

I want to say one more thing, and this is very important: my sole objective with this project is to honor Odin, so I am hoping no one will let a problematic past history with me stand in the way of sending in a submission or spreading the word about the project. I will be evaluating all submissions solely on their own merits and in light of my vision for the book; personal issues either past or present will not enter into it. I am putting all of that behind me in the interest of turning out a book that will serve as a proper tribute to my Beloved God, and as a tool that will hopefully serve as a resource for His devotees far into the future.

Where’s the Support?

Beth:

Yet another signal boost. I really dislike attempts to shame people into giving money, but this is such an important issue.

Originally posted on Queen of the Waiting Ones:

So, I’m curious and have a question for all the super serious Pagans, Polytheists and other Alternative Religious folks out there who so often proclaim that they are all about founding new temples and other types of religious worship areas for those of our kind.  Where exactly, is your support for the Maetreum of Cybele?

I know most of you have read the recent Wild Hunt article detailing the Maetreum’s struggle against the Town of Catskill, NY, where government officials there have vowed to spend the Maetreum into bankruptcy, despite the Town’s losses in court.  Is it because you are tired of hearing about the priestesses’ plight?  If so, why haven’t you donated anything to help ease their burden?  This lawsuit has been going on for several years, and if you think you are tired and burnt out with it, just imagine if you were one of the priestesses.  Priestesses…

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Uninvited

Jo (who finds all of the best Relationship music for me) made me listen to this song last week. My first reaction was, “Meh.”

To which Odin was all, “……??!?”

The next day, I listened to it again, and then about six more times. If it isn’t Gunnlod singing about Her first meeting with Odin, then I don’t know what it could possibly be about.

(Now, rationally, I do understand how it could be about other things or other People, and it did have another meaning for Jo before she shared it with me.  I’ve also seen at least one other person relate it to their own Beloved–not Odin–since I shared it with them. But I still feel the need to enshrine it here, as a little glimpse into my world.)

 

Story Subscription, with a teeny announcement

Beth:

If you aren’t already in on this, believe me, you want to be! (That is, if you love pagan-flavored fantasy/sci-fi fiction that has been compared to the work of Charles DeLint and Catherynne M. Valente.) Igraine’s Flight (the novella Jo started her story subscription with) will come to its end soon and you don’t want to miss the amazing ending. And then a new story will be starting; Jo gives a teaser for it here, and you can be among the first to read it!

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

I keep saying I’m going to get better about keeping this blog moving forward, about writing more than just updates to promote my own material. I won’t apologize for promoting my own material here — that’s part of the point of this blog, after all — but I do keep intending to have more than just that, here. Spread too thin, of late. Spread too thin, all summer it seems.

For those of you who have been subscribing to the story installments, I’m able to say that there are three more installments on this particular story, and then we dive into a new story entirely. I’ll be transparent — I feel something like guilt, something like cheatypants, in springing a novella-length story upon you right out the gate. It was intentional, in that it has given me the freedom to get the finer details of this process figured out, and…

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Silence Maestas on Devotional Relationships and their parallels with bhakti sadhana

Beth:

Heather has published a guest post written by my friend Silence Maestas, offering another viewpoint on intense, apotheosis-like devotional relationships from a bhakti perspective. The post is broken up into three installments, and it is long but well worth reading!

Originally posted on Loki's Bruid:

Greetings, gentle readers. As promised, here is part one of a series of guest posts by Silence Maestas, author of Walking the Heartroad, and it’s about the parallels in devotional relationships and bhakti. When I wrote my latest post on apotheosis, he approached me and brought up some research he’s been doing about a particular type of bhakti, and while bhakti is most certainly a Hindu tradition, it is also the most documented, unbroken tradition of polytheism that we can compare our own devotional or immersive relationships to and gain some context for our experiences. I will add links to parts two and three once they are up, and I hope you enjoy reading about this as much as I did.

– H

When learning a new subject it is helpful to go to the experts. In the case of people developing a devotionally-oriented practice within a pagan or polytheistic…

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More plum mead! and some ruminations on UPG shaming and my spiritual practice

So, the day after I wrote this post, I got a call from Jo while I was at work.  She said she had access to 3-4 lbs of golden plums for free (someone had just dropped them off at her place of business–obviously fresh-picked from someone’s tree, not supermarket or even farmer’s market) and asked if I wanted them for meadmaking.

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I found the timing of this to be very, very interesting, and I’ll be frank in saying that I felt it to be a validation–not of the topic of the post (because I don’t need any validation of that; my own experiences, Odin’s word, and the many, many signs and omens–as well as impressions from other people–that I’ve already received are more than good enough for me), but of the fact that this was the right time to post about this, that it was needed. And the comments I’ve gotten, both publicly and privately, have reinforced that it has been helpful to people, something they needed to hear. I posted what I did for three reasons: 1) I owe it to Odin to trust Him on this, finally, 2) I think it’s past time for the UPG shaming to end, and 3) when Heather commented that she had realized she just didn’t care anymore what anyone thought, I realized I didn’t either.  I am going to be 49 in a few weeks; I have been on this path with Odin for almost 12 years now, have been practicing oracular seidhr for 7 years, and have been witchy/pagan since the age of about 13.  That’s more than enough time and experience for me to have gained enough discernment and “signal clarity” to satisfy myself, and whether or not anyone else thinks I’m just a crazy middle-aged woman is not my concern.

Now, I will admit that despite my disgust for the UPG police, I myself don’t always “buy” all of the doxa I encounter online from other people (“newbies” or otherwise).  And you know what? There’s no need for me to do so; no one needs my validation or acceptance of their personal doxa, anymore than I need their acceptance of mine. The difference is that I am not on public forums snarking about other people’s doxa, making scathing remarks about them in my posts, or in general being a dick. I believe people have the right to discuss their experiences and perceptions without being ridiculed, if they so choose, and I have the right to either engage them in discussion about it–if I’m interested, and they’re open to that–or ignore their post and go my merry way, back to the very long to-do list waiting for me. What I don’t have the right to do is shame other people publicly about their spiritual life or practice–and no one else has that right, either.

But back to the point of this post: the mead. I thought I had made plum mead (with locally harvested plums) in 2013, but upon checking my blog archives I found it was actually 2012.  And this was, as far as I can remember, the last time I made mead for Odin.  Given the context of my spiritual life and practice, this is absolutely deplorable.  But it also wasn’t surprising because–and this is a big admission here, one it isn’t easy for me to make–my outward spiritual observances (apart from seidhr, crafting, and readings for other people–have been very spotty for the past few years.  A lot of this has had to do with wrestling with the Gunnlod doxa. I have had a pattern in the last few years of becoming terrified and backing away from my practice, and/or doing anything possible to sabotage my forward progress. It’s cyclical, because Odin always steps in and pulls me back again, and then I keep going for a while, and then I back away again.

What started to pull me out of the cycle was that I suddenly realized I was working endlessly–like a hamster on a wheel, I guess–towards having a mundane business that completely did not fit into my life, and never would. Much as I love spinning, it can’t be the center of my life because that spot is already taken (by Odin). So I’ve had to backpedal from my yarn business and reconsider, and will be putting more emphasis in the future on the cords, and other witchy accoutrements that have more to do with my spiritual life, than on the handspun yarn per se. (The whole notion of having a business started even before the spinning, because I wanted to find something I could do to get myself out of having to work a day job, because having one is so hard on my body.) Odin encourages the spinning because I love it, and because it can be used to teach me things about working Wyrd, but, as He put it at one point, I can’t just spin all day long as if I were a farm wife; I have other obligations. Besides, all or most of the women who actually make a business out of spinning are SAHMS or WAHMS, which I will never be.

The fear comes from the realization of what Odin wants from me, the fact that my Job has entirely to do with spirits and other worlds and really nothing at all to do with this one. It’s something I asked for, but as soon as He gave it to me I began finding ways to retreat from it, other things to distract myself and to throw up in my own way. All of the stuff I do that involves people–the oracles and divinations, and the cords and whatever else I might make–are because I chose to do them. And those things are spirit work. But none of the spirit work He has directly assigned to me has to do with people or even with this world, at all. And that’s what terrifies me, because it is so completely isolating and because it can too easily seem like something I’ve just making up in my own head, even though I know (deep down, even if no one else does) that that’s bullshit.

So now I’m faced with the task of picking up many of the pieces of my practice I’ve managed to drop in the interim. It’s a big task. Apparently, meadmaking is one of the first steps, and Odin obligingly supplied the plums for the occasion.  (Apparently He really liked that plum mead.)

Himself: “You have a magic touch, and I want it.” (And He wasn’t talking about sex, here, or at least I don’t think so; sometimes the distinction between sex and mead can be a blurry one for me.) “Do I not deserve it? Have I not done My part?” (*indicating the box of plums*) He made it very clear to me that I had been avoiding this particular devotional act because of its implications; so naturally, this was the first thing that had to be picked up again.

So I bought a brand new mead pot on my way home from work today, halved and pitted the plums into it (you don’t have to peel them; the peels add tannin), added some lemon juice, bee pollen (yeast nutrient), water, and about 4 1/2 lbs of local orange flower honey, and heated and stirred over low heat until everything was well blended.  (Do not boil your honey, people. Do not.  Unless you enjoy flavorless mead.) Now it’s cooling on the stove, and in the morning I’ll pitch the yeast, after which time it will live on the stovetop like a witch’s cauldron for about the next week, the yeast bubbling, until it’s time to strain everything into a carboy.

I wish I could send you all some of it; my last plum mead was killer, if I do say so myself (and I’m not the only one who does).  But the important thing here is that I’m doing it, I’m making mead. I’m not running away or dancing in circles anymore. So there. My post may have helped other people–and I’m glad of that–but they’re not the only ones.