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.
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.