Blogging- Why?

I think it’s good to remind myself why I do this blogging thing, especially after a long break in blogging. A friend pointed out to me that I was spending increased amounts of time reading & commenting on other people’s blogs & other social media, and that the blog posts I’d written (if at all) had gotten worse in quality over time. I’m not sure if that’s true overall, but my style and quality  of writing is certainly uneven across different posts over time, partly because different posts are written for different reasons and audiences.

I blog for myself- to pull together ideas I’m developing, bits of research. I’m also a compulsive explainer and like writing my more in-depth explanations of various concepts here, so I theoretically have a more in-depth place for people to go if they want to learn more. Usually though, they just want the short-attention span version.  I used to use Deli.cio.us to keep track of my vast link collection, then never really replaced it after the website became defunct. I’ve developed instead the habit of making resource pages for this blog which contain the many links.

I blog to share ideas & engage in conversation with other folks interested in the same subjects. I also think the role of it changes when I have an in-person religious community to participate in. The opinions of various e-quaintances matter less when you have actual in-person people to meet with! We can either overplay or underplay the importance of online communities, they are often either an easy cure-all or the cause of many of our social problems. I’d much rather see them as tools and supplements for building in person communities while understanding that at the same time, for many folks online is the best option for reasons of geographic isolation, health problems etc.

At times this sharing on this blog has brought me more confidence in myself as a writer. Sometimes the comments & hits and links feel good when I otherwise am not feeling so great about myself.

I also need to figure out what the purpose/focus of this blog is, when it’s often been all over the place, and I have the additional blog on Witches & Pagans that I’ve been neglecting, as well as couple others. I’ve also been thinking about further developing some of the posts into articles or essays for magazines and anthologies.

 

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April 16, 2018 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

Personal Updates

  • I actually have a full-time job for the first time in my life- I’ve had it since late October though there have been some ups & downs in keeping my anxiety under control enough to keep the job! It’s at a call center, believe it or not.
  • I’m still trying to figure out work/life balance, particularly with cooking and housekeeping, as well as spiritual practice.
  • I’ve been trying to focus less on political activities and more on religious and cultural activities, especially with Northern Roots Grove, the pan-Druid grove I’ve been part of for the past several years. I’ve also felt pushed out of some of my political involvement.
  • Considering re-joining ADF & attending the Upper Midwest Retreat again. I had a great time a few years ago and would like to join them again, along with some of my grovemates. I’m having some mixed feelings about the leadership of ADF, however.
  • Need to get back into blogging on Witches & Pagans as well as writing reviews for Moon Books- I agreed to do both of those things some time ago, and haven’t been very good about follow-up. That’s an all around habit I need to work on!

April 10, 2018 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

Neat Polytheistic Projects

Signal-boosting some cool stuff I see other folks doing on social media- it’s not all strictly polytheistic content, but at least of interest/relevance. Let me know if there’s anything you’re working on that you’d like to share, and if I like it I will add it to my next link round-up.

Rev. Jan Avende’s Daily Shrine Challenge The idea is to post a picture of your shrine, with a list of suggested themes. This runs from Feb 1- March 21

Polemical Topics in Polytheism Series– this topics are all too big for me to fit into mere comments, so I may make my own posts on them!

Sarenth’s Ritual Praxis Series -this is from an intentionally pan-Germanic perspective

Podcasts-

Bespoken Bones Podcast – this podcast interviews folks from a variety of spiritual viewpoints about ancestor veneration practices.

Brute Norse– Scandinavian archeology, history and culture

 

February 20, 2018 at 4:14 am 4 comments

Intuition

August Gaelic Roundtable Topic- Gnosis

How important is Personal Gnosis to your practice? What emphasis do you place on it when reconstructing, reviving, or generally creating your faith? Do you enjoy hearing others’ Personal Gnosis, or tend not to seek it out? How does hearing others’ Personal Gnosis hinder or help your faith? And finally (if you are willing to share), what is some Personal Gnosis that you hold that is considered “unconventional” to the greater Gaelic Polytheist community?

imbas (Old Irish) iomas (modern Irish) intuition

aisling – daydream, hope / ambition

What I’ve gotten is intuitive feelings and associations I’ve made rather than a profound dream or visionary experience.   I do enjoy learning other people’s insights, some of them sound “right” to me, others I’m not sure about. I try to not let it totally bias me in any particular direction, especially when it comes to the personality or visualization of deities and spirits. There are certain stories of experiences people have had that I find powerful enough to be convincing especially if the person’s anecdotes have an even tone to them, as in not every story they have is amazing.

My main way of cultivating this is through looking for art, music and writing that feels spiritually inspiring to me and creating my own. I’ll make a list of such items, both general and specific to particular holidays, myths, deities and spirits.

August 29, 2017 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Lore, Lit and Canon

July’s Gaelic Roundtable topic is Lore. Before I tackle that, I need to figure out what the heck even to me counts as “lore”.

Folklore is stories, customs, shared among a group of people- rather than attributable to any one person. It is generally shared orally, but especially with the Internet there is now a lot of written and pictorial folklore, such as conspiracy theories and memes. There are several kinds of folklore that I see as relevant. One is folklore that is so old that it is intermixed with literature, the next category. Another is folklore collected into books or recorded. It’s important to considered selection bias on the part of which people were available and willing to be interviewed, what stories, sayings and songs were included by folklorists and archivists, and what has or hasn’t been changed. Sometimes there were social and political motivations for collecting the folklore and that impacts what is included. Some of this folklore is in the home countries themselves, others can be found in various parts of the Irish and Scottish diaspora.

Literature– many of the texts such as the Book of Invasions, the Book of Leinster and so forth, I think are more accurately described as medieval literature rather than folklore or mythology per se. However some of the texts draw on folklore as well as history and it is often hard to tell what is what. Other literature that we might not see as being religious per se, but has cultural importance and influence such as works by W.B. Yeats  can also be part of this category. Since our mythologies are very fragmented, finding inspiration in modern fantasy novels can serve as a sort of midrash.

Canon is the collection of texts considered authoritative by a religion- or a fandom! The primary example of course, being the Bible. Though Gaelic polytheism is not really a text-based religion, there are some texts that are seen by most as more valid than others. Some of us might include more Celtic Christian or Celtic Twilight era texts. And since we (quite rightly!) have no central authority there is no Irish, Scottish, Manx or pan-Gaelic canon. But I think an individual or group could have a personal canon. These distinctions could be useful in our discussions of comparative practices.

July 8, 2017 at 12:24 am 3 comments

Wanderings of a would-be Gael

Gaelic Roundtable for the March 2017 topic of Journeys (summer catch-up!)

I have been a Pagan of some sort for about 20 years now, which sounds more impressive than it actually is! I’ve had a tendency to be more of an armchair philosophical Pagan than much of an active practitioner, but I’d like to change that. I’d like to weave my spiritual practice into my everyday life, so it does not just feel like something walled off in a corner. I have primarily been focused on Irish culture, but am also branching into Scottish traditions as well. I am especially interested in learning more about how customs and cultures have evolved in both diasporas in Minnesota and other parts of North America and adapted to a modern urban working-class setting, rather than an pastoral aristocratic or peasant setting that tends to be the bias of medieval Irish literature and later folk customs.

During my college years I studied with two different Irish Reconstructionist groups- Tuath Choilraighe, led by Aedh Rua (who now goes by the name Segomaros Widugeni) and Temple of the River, led by Andrew Jacob (who now goes by the name Andre Solo) I have also been an on and off member of Ar nDraiocht Fein, and also studied and practiced with the Mists of Stone Forest, a druid grove that branched off of the Henge of Keltria, in turn a branch of ADF.

I am now a part of Northern Roots Grove, which is an independent syncretic Druid grove, with members of RDNA, ADF and OBOD involved. And of course, I’ve done lots of studies on my own, and gained a lot of knowledge along the way.  I have also been studying the Irish language with Gaeltacht Minnesota.  I am also a member of Clann Bhride, a gender-inclusive Brighidine online devotional group with a focus on social justice.

Druid ABC soup:

RDNA– Reformed Druids of North America

ADF– Ar nDraiocht Fein

OBOD– Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

For a good comparison of these different druid groups see Susan Reed’s summaries here.

 

 

July 1, 2017 at 8:23 am 1 comment

Why Bi? (Organizing, Activism etc.)

So Bisexual Health Awareness Month is here again, the Bisexual Resource Center even has specific themes for each week and day. However I feel as if my friends, family and other followers will be less interested than if I just write from the heart so hear goes. Why this Bi stuff? folks ask me sometimes. It’s my third year of being on the Bisexual Organizing Project board. In my personal life, being openly bisexual hasn’t seemed like much of a big deal since I came out back at age 16 and I’m 35 now! For the most part I was pretty fortunate in having a supportive family and living in an accepting liberal metro area- the Twin Cities. So while I’ve gone on to mention it and there, it seemed to not really matter that much and I didn’t think about it much after being involved in groups in college.

Then a couple years ago I went to the Celebrate Bisexuality Day event held by BOP and learned about new research that had come out showing health disparities between bisexuals and gays and lesbians. Up til this point, bisexuals had simply been lumped in with lesbians and gay men, or heterosexuals, or every statistician’s least favorite category of “Other”. Now most people are bored to death by statistics but I’m a political science major so my ears perked up. We finally had data to show what many bisexual activists and scholars had long suspected- that there were hidden costs to being bisexual that were different from being exclusively gay or lesbian. These were for both women and men (more gender options not on the table at the time) both single, partnered or married to same or different genders. Especially disturbing were the rates of intimate partner violence, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and so forth.

So that is why I insist on That Pesky Unnecessary Label. If you have reached a beautiful social nirvana, in which you have no need of any labels, congratulations! We down on planet Earth still find them handy to find like-minded people and information.

 

March 3, 2017 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

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