Posted by: naiadis | April 17, 2014

Season of the Seeker

For those of you not in the know, in December I began a course run by Ahneke Greystone called Season of the Seeker. I came across Anni via her YT channel back in October when I was laid up, and the timing was perfect. I’ve talked a bit before about how I discovered the course, how the timing was perfect, and how grateful I am for having stumbled across her work at the perfect time. We’re 35 lessons in now, in my particular group, and that hasn’t changed.

It’s interesting and challenging and wonderful, learning with people who are coming at this from different places. I love the Wiccan flavor Anni brings to the course. I need to wax poetic a bit about how valuable this has been for me, why and how, but for now, I want to plug her course.

She’s gathering up the last of her Season of the Seeker groups, for the foreseeable future. If you are interested in this at all, you need to move fast! Anni’s wonder and love for exploration is refreshing and encouraging; more, for me, it’s helped me to hold on the idea that we *can* love our path, our gods, our lives. It’s helped me to remember that we don’t have to be exhausted and worn out, that we can share of ourselves without being depleted, that not everyone who has been at this a long time is necessarily territorial, jealous, or feel threatened by others traveling a similar path.

Corresponding with Anni and the others in my group these last few months has helped me love my spiritual practice again, for its own sake. It’s been crucial in helping me put *myself* back into my relationship with my gods and spirits, sad as that is.

You do not need to be new, or Wiccan, or clearly defined, to gain from this course. I cannot, cannot recommend Season of the Seeker highly enough.

Posted by: naiadis | April 7, 2014

Slammed with a Migraine yesterday

Because that’s always fun! Today I’m shaky and fragile-feeling. The idea of leaving the house is terrifying, and happily, I don’t have to do it. I’ve got some plans for working on fiction, but that almost feels like too much motion, so I may sit, and be still, and not move, and be well.

Yesterday was a great reminder that I need not be doing anything, in order to have worth and value to those who love me. I was up early with the pain, and once I was able to lay back down again with making the pain worse, I tucked myself back to bed with a cold compress, a dark room, two wonderful cats, and the dog. A Lady came to check upon me once or twice, and Her Ladyship even used soft, gentle, dulcet tones when inquiring upon my health. My boys stayed with me. The dog was beside himself, getting to go back to bed. A cold compress upon the head, warm bodies nested around me, and nothing to do but be still, breath through the pain, and just be.

They don’t happen as often as they used to; I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the days when I need not work through them. I’m grateful for Beth. And, I’m grateful for the perspective.

Last week, I built myself into a frenzy. All the things that I keep not working on. Writing? Ha! A few submission deadlines have already passed me by (never mind that I’ve agreed with myself that this year is Not. About. Submitting), I didn’t not come *near* my writing goals last Monday, and I’ve apparently turned my “I have the freedom to write to my heart’s content on Monday” into a weapon. Because if I don’t write X amount of words, clearly I am a hack. Obviously.

I’m reminded to slow down. I’m reminded to focus on what truly matters.I’m reminded that I’m releasing guilt this year. I’m reminded that it’s not so bad. I’m reminded that if I’m a tizzy of motion, of go-go-GO, I’m generally miserable. I’m reminded to breathe.

I could be astounded at how easy it is to keep forgetting this stuff, but really, it just is. And I’m grateful for the reminders. I’m grateful for my family, for my gods, for Beth.

And I’m grateful to be in migraine recovery, rather than in migraine-coping.

Posted by: naiadis | March 24, 2014

Confessions: I don’t want to.

Garden, that is.

We’ve had a garden of some sort since we moved to Eugene. Last year our property manager and neighbor put in three beds in the back, and one was for us. Long, narrow beds, mounded up on the ground. We planted. Potatoes and leeks, onions and kale, lettuces, and basil. Everything but the leeks came out bitter. In the front lawn we planted tomato and pepper. We’ve got herbs in the front garden, too, and nettle, and other, inedible plants. And, because you need to tend your garden year long here and we haven’t, both gardens are totally taken over by clover.

Can I be honest? Let’s be honest. I hate our back plot. It requires too much bending and stretching, too much reaching, and it doesn’t get enough light. Every garden I’ve had, I’ve had to “make do” and not have it exactly the way I want it. What do I want? Raised beds that are easy to weed and easy to water and easy to get to. Containers. But this year? This year, I don’t want any. This year, I don’t want to garden. Not even for foodstuffs.

We have a wonderful farmers market (that opens in weeks! WEEKS!!) here in Eugene. I love being able to go out into our yard and get food, but this year I don’t want to have to worry about it. This year, I want to write. I want to take walks. I want to put my time where I want it to go.

I don’t want to maintain a garden. And somehow, that feels terrible. Like, I’m an awful earth-conscious pagan. Like, I’d fail miserably at homesteading, so it’s a good thing I’m not trying to homestead. Like, I’m a horrible person, and there are people who would love to grow even some of their own food, so I really should just do it, since I can.

But I don’t want to. And so, I’m not going to.

Posted by: naiadis | March 12, 2014

Taking stock.

Spring is officially here: the magnolias are starting to bloom, dogwood, too, and forsythia. I can’t ever see forsythia, its cheerful riot of yellow, without thinking of my mother, and lately, of the sun. What a beautiful splash of color. I’m itching to get into the garden, even though I’m not touching our plot in the back this year for fear of straining my back. The front garden though; it’s small, it’s easier to maintain, various unintended plants need to be weeded out as they are choking my cinquefoil.

#

We held seidhr the other night. I love seidhr. I set up the space, and I ward, and I receive such a clear signal in that space, you think I’d be arsed to do it more often, outside of seidhr. I’ve dithered back and forth since delving a bit back into witchcraft about casting circles, because I love the idea of them, and because I think experimenting with new ways is a great way to keep yourself limber, but they still never really *click* with me. But whatever it is that I do for seidhr really, *really* clicks. My “antenna” gets much clearer, which is nice, and generally this is my time to sit with Pops and talk about things. Sometimes it’s just chatter, sometimes it’s Serious Business, usually it’s a mix of the two. This last time? Bragi poked in and we talked about writing as a spiritual calling. He chided me a bit, for my goals, and for the making my writing have to fit around all the other goals for the year, rather than working in the *other* goals around the writing.

One of the goals has been participation in the Pagan Blog Project. I’m undecided right now, if I’m setting it down entirely or just for the time being, until I get the WiP back on track. We’ll see. For now, the WiP, and then my class, and then my editing project are taking top priority, in that order. After the day job, alas.

Clarity came. It was good. The gods, They are good. I wish we didn’t have to sometimes hear what we already know in order for it to become valid, but there it is.

Posted by: naiadis | March 3, 2014

Earth Centered? (a pagan blog project post)

Poseidon Hippios

Poseidon Hippios 2013

I’m a few days behind, due to an infected index finger (try typing with that!) but I wanted to explore the dichotomy between earth-centric paganism and deity-centric paganism, primarily because a chance comment by another blogger got me to wondering. This dichotomy is not a new one; over a decade ago when I first began interacting with Reconstructionists (I think LunaFox and Randall over at TC where the first Recons I knew about) it was one of the differences put forward, to differentiate between Wiccan and Wiccan-inspired neo-paganism and Recons. More than once I’ve seen people struggling to explain paganism to non-pagans by including the dreaded “nature-based” religions, only to be lambasted by those practitioners and devotees who follow religious calendars based around historical urban calendars, or by those whose calendar has nothing in common with the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. This dichotomy has come up again, tangled up as it has to be in the pagan versus polytheist debate, but what really got me thinking about it was an exchange TPW and I had in the comments section to my Poseidon Domatites post.

The caveats I feel obliged to put forward are thus: our household tradition is informed by and inspired by the past and our ancestral cultures, primarily the Germanic/Scandinavian ones, but also, on my part, there is a not a small amount of influence from Hellas. Beth and I do actually observe a Wheel of the Year that is similar, at least in name, to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. We’ve got Ewemolc, and Ostara, Beltane, Samhain, and Yule . . . but oh do those festivals look different, in their meat, in our tradition, than they might for others. Our Ostara certainly does not look like what I see others writing about, with their Ostara festivals, for example, and our Imbolc has nary a reference to Brigid to be seen – to the point that I was surprised this year when people were connecting Her to that festival. Beltane is all about the Wild Hunt for us, as is Samhain straight through to Yule, and Yuletide is not a single day, or even a collection of three or nine, but a whooping twelve day affair set aside to honor various gods, the Disir, and other spirits. The second caveat I feel obliged to put forward is: I am never not aware of the fact that we are mortal animals upon the physical world, and a part of it. There is a strong embracing of this fact that is a thread within the foundation of my relationship with Poseidon. Environmental awareness is a Thing with Him, and that certainly informs my view of everything I come into contact with.

Tisel at Poseidon of the Ponds site 2012

Teasel at Poseidon of the Ponds site 2012

When I am asked, “Would you consider your path as deity-centered or earth-centered?” my answer is, deity-centered. Thanks to TPW’s comment, I realized that from an outside perspective, that may not be obvious. Why? Well, even when I’m speaking specifically of my Poseidon festivals and devotions, what am I talking about? In early spring, I honor Poseidon Phytalmios, focusing upon the season of growth returning; in April I honor Poseidon Hippios, with a focus upon equines world-wide; in July there’s the Running of the Bulls with Poseidon Taureos firmly in mind, an exhausting, somber, heart-wrenching observance that is more vigil than festival; in August I honor Poseidon of the Ponds as the dry season claims my region; the honoring of Poseidon and the Rainmakers when the First Rain returns, which necessarily does not have a set date – these are my festivals, this is my religious calendar, these are what set the rhythm to my religious year. Between that and the focus I have upon environmental awareness, the opposition I have toward our disposable consumer habits, the disdain I have toward the idea that we are better/more important/more evolved/superior than our co-inhabitants, one could be forgiven in assuming that my path is earth-centered.

And that’s how I arrived at this question: is the dichotomy of earth-centered or deity-centered possibly a false dichotomy? Is it possible that it is, at the least, not as useful a dichotomy as we tend to think it is? If people look at my calendar and my festivals, at the focus of what I do, and are going to decide that I’m earth-centered (as if that’s a dirty word) when in fact absolutely every thing I do spiritually, ritually, is informed by my connection to Poseidon, is an outgrowth of o/Our relationship, His guidance, the things that are important to Him, it makes me wonder so many things. What do others mean when they say “earth-centered?” Where do people get off, looking at the bits people choose to share, and deciding for those people what they ought to be called or should not be called? Where does the dividing line between earth-centered and deity-centered fall for other people? For myself, I’m not sure the dichotomy is one that has no useful place in my practice – it’s all part of one tradition, all part of one path – my path. Keeping in mind my caveats, because I honestly cannot see how it could be any different for me, and obviously I cannot help but see things through my own particular lens. I suspect that the dichotomy here is not as useful across the broad as we might originally think, and it’s been interesting contemplating that. I’m interested in hearing others’ thoughts.PBP2014b

Posted by: naiadis | February 27, 2014

Asking for help is okay

I’m learning, the older I get, that asking for help is okay. It’s difficult to do, for any number of reasons, up to and including not wanting to ask for charity.

What is this stigma we have against asking for help in our society? And for giving it? Considering how greatly American society is supposedly influenced by Christian values, how the hell did things like helping those in need become so taboo?

I’m learning, too, that the guilt I feel when I cannot help those who are asking for financial help, is not only useless, it’s irrelevant. I know, from experience and I’m being reminded of it lately, that those who are asking for help are genuinely grateful, break down in tears of shock and gratitude and relief when any amount of help comes in. They are not by and large sitting around and wondering sullenly why people won’t help them. They know — or at least I know — that times are rough for *everyone*. The frustrating thing about our communities being so wide-spread these days is that it’s nearly impossible to help those we care about in any other way than prayer, energy work, and financial support. We can not pop on by to take care of chores, or give our time in other ways, and that’s frustrating.

We will be caught up with digging out from the surprisingly high vet bill (and yet, not nearly as high as it could have been, I realize!) in the next month or so. We’ll no longer be behind on those things that we let slide because, hey, vet! And, as of this morning, it got one bottle of medicine easier, because I swallowed my pride and asked for help. (I won’t embarrass you publicly, but you know who you are and you have our gratitude!)

Ask for help when you need it. Don’t waste time feeling poorly when you cannot help. Help when you can. It need not be any more complex than that.

Posted by: naiadis | February 24, 2014

Humbled — keeping it real.

I’m better, today. I’m shaky, I’m fragile-feeling, but I’m on the mend. The voices that love to tell me how worthless I am gained a whole lot of ground in the previous two weeks. I believed them. Of course, they’re full of shit, and they are largely to blame for why I was so unwell in the first place — they started talking and I believed them. “If you were better/less pathetic/more dedicated you wouldn’t need boundaries/your down time/decompression time. If you just applied yourself/weren’t so stupid/really wanted X, it wouldn’t be so hard. Obviously you are lying/stupid/lazy/pathetic.” Which, sounds reasonable . . . right?

I’ve been reading along to some of the “Wiccan Privilege” discussions — not all, not nearly, I don’t have time for that and really ultimately it is only a peripheral interest because I’m pretty reclusive, I do my own thing. I’m interested in it because I’m interested in interacting with people successful, because language fascinates me, because reading about experiences people have fascinates me, because I’m not a little bit of a voyeur, but there’s so much, and people better qualified than I to tackle the topics. And maybe I really shouldn’t have been reading along, because the enormity of the topic, the enormity of the “pagan/polytheism” debate daunts me.

I keep reading because, if nothing else, it’s a great way to keep ‘compassion’ in the foreground of my mind. Those with whom I ought to theologically have common ground with and patience for, those I ought to sympathize with, lose my compassion when they become hostile, when they espouse a my way or the high way attitude. They lose sympathy or understanding when they (to me) seemingly fixate on a word and insist it’s meaning narrow/change — not because I’m judging but because I don’t see language working that way, and because I don’t understand being in a place where you would not like to explore the stories of who we are and why we are here and how we came to be here.

I realized a few things in my reading, quite suddenly, which helped me a lot. The first: I have no real experience to speak from. Oh, I have experience. I’ve been pagan for long enough. I know my gods and their histories, and of the cultures they’re couched in. I’ve lead public ritual, I’ve been a part of organizing Pagan Pride Days. I’ve been to gatherings.

Except, the Pagan Pride Days I’ve been a part of or have gone to were extremely Heathen-friendly, or Heathen-run. The public rituals were sumbels, not circles. The gatherings I’ve been to were Trothmoot and East Coast Thing. Not pan-pagan gatherings. I’ve been involved with specifically Wiccan gatherings too, during our brief year with the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel . . . again, not pan-pagan. Tradition specific. I’ve ever been to FSG. I’ve never been to Pcon. The big, pan-pagan events are big draws, and for that reason alone I’m not likely to attend. So: no experience to compare with those polytheists and pagans who are not drawing from Wicca at all in their practices and being frustrated at being under represented in larger groups.

I realized that, for as much as I want to distance myself from those who are writing in ways I wish they ought not write, at the end of the day, no matter what else I want to call myself, I am a deity-centered polytheist. If you ask me what I am, the first thing that comes to mind? It’s not heathen. It’s not pagan or polytheist or Hellenic. It’s Poseidon’s, and then it’s Odin’s. Poseidon first, always Poseidon first, being His is so much a part of my identity. Everything else comes after. For all that environmental concerns are a part of my path, for all that my festivals and rituals are seasonally based, it is not an earth-centered path that I walk. The line between deity-centric and self-centric is less clear to me — if I’m struggling to put myself more and more in alignment with Him, there is as much self-work as there is devotional work for/to Him, so I don’t understand the distinction some make between the two/it isn’t there for me.

I also realized that I was exhausted and overwhelmed, and that was eating up at my compassion and patience and willingness to learn or contemplate. Which had nothing specifically to do with the conversations going on. It was a separate thing, but it did mean I needed to step back from such a heavy topic until I was less overwhelmed.

~*~*~*~*~

I don’t have taboos. Well, there’s the headscarf thing, but beyond that, the adoption of religious “laws” into my practice is choice-based. And, my choices over the last few weeks have not been the best. Some wasn’t avoidable: financial worries, worries over the animals, errands that had to be taken care of, going to work, not having any down time, migraines. Some was: bad food choices, not dropping the things that could wait, getting rest without giving in to those voices.

There are many reasons why Poseidon urges me to eat whole foods. We may not be able to focus as much on the local as I would like. We may not be able to focus on eating seasonally as much as I would like. We may not even be able to focus so much on eating organically as I would like. But there are some rules that are to be flouted at our peril. Worn down, unwell, and bad nutrition that looks like good nutrition on top of it? Disaster.

I’m proud that, on my utterly worst day, I started the day with yoga practice. I’m sort of awed, really, that as the blackness covered my head and filled my lungs, my ass was on the mat and I was reaching for Him in our most tested-and-true way. That day the difference wasn’t quite there, and I was so over-wrought by the time I got home that night that I couldn’t eat anything other than saltines. (Everthing else had too much flavor/too much texture/was overwhelming). I was a sobbing, shaking mess.

The next morning? Back on the mat, only this time when the cats flanked me, it was wonderful, not enraging. There was laughter and joy, and a steady, steady calm.

Posted by: naiadis | February 21, 2014

[Poseidon] Domatites – a pagan blog project post

Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet,–where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last . . .” (Homeric Hymn to Hestia, Hugh G. Evelyn-White trans.)

PBP2014bFor many pagans on or influenced by a Hellenic path, Hestia as the hearth is a given. Considering the dependency that we had upon the flame before the advent of electricity, this is only fitting. We needed that fire, for heat, for fuel, for transforming raw food stuffs to materials that we can eat, for making so very many things. We still need that fire, but many of us get that fire these days at the flip of a dial. (whether this is a good thing or a bad thing largely depends upon where you are – a recent uncharacteristic for our area ice storm drove that home; we do not have any heat source other than electricity. Thousands of people in our city were without power for days, some as long as five days. We were not among them, thankfully, but what if we had been?)

It’s not surprising that many modern day Hellenic pagans follow the advice set forth in this Homeric Hymn. Sacrifices and libations are given first and last to Hestia, and Her central place in the home is honored, as it had been in the past.

I don’t do this. I never have. From the beginning, before I reached out and began to explore Hellenic paganism, Poseidon was the center of my worship. I had no desire for Him to move from that place. Others would speak of Hestia being the center, the hearth, and while I could understand that metaphor, when I thought of my center, of my hearth that the rest of my spirituality was built around, it was Poseidon. The biggest reason early on that I decided I was not and could not be a Hellenic pagan was because Hestia would not be my hearth; Poseidon was. Poseidon would remain so.

Fast forward years later. Just last April I was reading through Pausanias’s Guides To Greece, as one does, and I stumbled upon a reference to Poseidon Domatites – Poseidon of the house, or, more specifically, of the rooms. (δωματί). Rereading is a good thing, revisiting where we’ve been already can be beneficial. (Interestingly enough, it was with this discovery that I was able to better gain an understanding of the role that Hestia fulfills when it comes to sacred ties of family. Funny, that.) This was an exciting discovery. It resulted in a poem. I don’t write poems often; they are all of them about Poseidon. And instead of going on and on about how exciting this was for me, I’m going to just share the poem. Enjoy!

~*~*~

You are the Foundation,
cellar dug deep for stores to be laid up, to see us through our lean times,
stone ringed ’round, thick and strong, to carry the weight of our dwelling.

You are the framework.
Timber hewn and set in place, the bones of this structure that is my life,
solidly braced throughout, giving shape to so much raw material.

You are the openings.
Windows and doors placed in just the right locations to let in light, air, breath,
and easily shuttered when the outside elements threaten to overwhelm this sanctuary.

You are the walls.
Plaster and paint, the flesh of this space, gently partitioning off the rooms of my soul,
providing layer upon layer of solitude and privacy, yet welcoming enough for company, as needed.

You are the chamber in the heart of the house,
Replete with all the lush comfort any bedroom could offer, rich in textiles,
and an intimacy that goes deeper than blood, than life, than something so simple as love.

You are my Hearth,
at the center of it all, my life an offering poured into the flame of Your divine glory,
All that is nourishing and warm and life-giving within me comes from Your shelter, Your blessings,
Your generosity.

You are the Foundation.

Posted by: naiadis | February 20, 2014

Devotion — Evening

Maybe you saw this coming? My evening devotions are much like my morning, sans tea. In the interest of being honest, my evening devotion, the “closing of the shrine for the night” is the most challenging one for me to tend to on a regular basis. Part of the reason for this is, I will not “close the shrine” for the night until I’m really about to go to bed. Hrm. No, actually that’s the entire reason. Often, by the time I’m ready to go to bed, I’ve used up all my ability to do things and think beyond “bed. darkness. quiet. solitude. NOW!” and that tunnel vision does not allow for things like, ‘pour out tea libation’ when the tea offering will be there to pour out in the morning, in preparation for the libation of that day, or for the reading of my evening prayer at the shrine, when I can very well say goodnight and praise Poseidon and thank Him for His presence in my day once I’m under the covers and drifting off to sleep. Perhaps, if I had a different view of what my shrine for Poseidon was, this would all be different.

My shrine is not ‘ensouled’ with Poseidon; if it has any spirit, it has its own spirit, and egregore, a creation of the shrine being a long standing focal point for our relationship. It is, for me, a touchstone, a physical manifestation of my devotion to Him, His prominence in my life. I’ll even be so daring as to say: it is a touchstone for Him, as well. It is a place that goes beyond the mere physical, and we maintain it together. My evening prayer is ultimately for me, for a roundness, a symmetry to the day that helps me feel centered and balanced, that pleases my aesthetics. How important is that in my worship? I’d say it’s moderately important, at most. I manage to get physically get ready for bed in a way that honors my body (taking time to moisturize and brush my hair, to do anything more than simply brush my teeth) eh, maybe four times a week, sometimes as much as five or six times, some times as few as once a week. Closing the shrine happens less often generally, because honoring the body that is His tool (dare I say spell?) upon the earth is as important to Him and thus to my devotion as my honoring of our touchstone. (We don’t agree — honoring my body and seeing to my health is more important to Him than my honoring of our touchstone, since the touchstone is a thing and is not our relationship itself; honoring my body and seeing to my health is less important to me, because, meh, it’s just me. What do I care if I do more than run a brush through my hair, or oil my skin so that it’s not itchy? His wishes win out over my own, even when or especially when I don’t understand or agree.)

What does my “formal” evening prayer look like? I tidy up the shrine. I’ll dust things if they need dusting. I used to do a monthly cleaning, at the dark moon, but that does not work for me, so I just tidy up as the space needs to be tended. I pour out the libation from the day. I recite a prayer. Even my pouring of the libation isn’t fancy. Why? Because it goes down the kitchen sink.

shocking!

shocking!

For fancy rituals, for communal rituals, our libations get poured out onto the earth. We recite the old “from the gods, to the earth, to us; from us to the earth to the gods,” chant, and we include the spirits of the earth in our libations. For my personal libations to Poseidon? Right into water, do not pass go. There is many stages of disconnect between us, in how we live, and our environment. The disconnect from our water source, the steps it takes to reach us, and what happens as our waste-water is taken away, is one of those disconnects I do ot support. One of my ways of bringing that awareness (ha, see?) into my life, in to make that cycle a part of my day in a spiritual way. (Columbine wrote a great essay a bit ago about the spirits that we often over look that also touches upon this.)

My formal prayer looks like this:
Hail Poseidon, Keeper of my heart
Hail Husband, Beloved God
Blessed in the path you set before me
Blessed is Your touch upon this world
Blessed are all who carry you in their hearts
Blessed are those who know You.
For Your presence this day, my thanks.
For Your compassion and love, my gratitude.
I pray, dear Poseidon, that You always keep me.

~*~*~

He doesn’t like the last line. He hasn’t, from the beginning, because He has assured me time and again that He isn’t going to abandon me. I may not see it as abandonment — He is allowed to do as He pleases — but I will not take His presence, guidance, affection, love, nor the blessings He bestows upon my life, for granted. And, if I have to take time to brush my hair and moisturize my skin, He can just put up with one line in one prayer that I more often than not don’t even recite.

What I adore about these formal prayers, what I adore about having a liturgy started, is the ease. On those days when I need a short cut, something to take my heart and plug it in, when I’m too tired to go the “long way” so to speak, the tool is there. On the days when my heart isn’t even close to being in it, and won’t be in it, but when I know that skipping a devotion will only cause me harm in the long run, it’s something I can pick up and recite and be able to say, at least I did this. There are days when I skip things altogether, and that’s also completely acceptable. There are times when my heart is not there, often when I’m caught up in a migraine or I’m very, very overwhelmed. The trick is to know — and you can only know through experience and self-awareness — which moments are the ones that you ought to give yourself a pass, when tending to your devotions will only make things worse, for your relationship with your spirits, and which moments are the ones that, no, really, you should tend to your devotions even if your heart isn’t 100% or even 50% there. Those answers are going to be different for everyone. Half the time, from the outside, where I am, what my limitations may be, look the same, and it’s only through experience and knowing myself, and knowing u/Us, that I can know, “You know, I’m just going to bed/am just going zone out with this trashy novel.”

Posted by: naiadis | February 18, 2014

Devotion — Midday

IMG_20140218_121346

My devotions at midday are *always* informal, and if you were to look at me, you might not see that I’m doing anything special. My prayers for thanks for the meal, aimed at the gods and at the spirits of the land, are silent. Most of the time, I bring reading material that is more “study” than “fun” (it’s all fun for me, mind you; “study” generally means more words to look up, and hey, are smartphones not the coolest tool for that?).

I eat. I take time to reflect upon the day thus far, my actions, my mood, my thoughts, and if need be, I haul those wayward thoughts back into focus. During the days that are not miserable, I venture outside to eat. My place of employment does not provide much in the way of break-taking space that allows getting away from the job, but our neighbors have an outside eating area. When I really need to be away from my jobsite, I’ll spend the money, buy a tea, and eat lunch in their cafe. Lately that hasn’t been much of an option.

Or, I’ll journal, instead of reading. Or I’ll bring knitting. The important part here is that I make sure to mentally disengage from the workplace, because I need that barrier, and that I tap back into my path, I realign myself with my gods and spirits.

Maybe someday I’ll have the sort of job where that’s not necessary, but retail is an ugly beast and it’s too easy to get caught up in the drama, to get invested in the stupidity of some of the people we run into, etc.

The above looks an awful lot like self-therapy, right? How is any of that about Poseidon, about Odin, about my life as Their devotee? Fostering compassion within myself is one of Poseidon’s three rules (dare I say Rules?) for my path. The above is how I keep my mind focused on that compassion, how I remember to keep coming at life from that place of compassion.

And I fail at it. All the time. But I keep going back to it, because what else can I do?

It’s possible that the gods and spirits you’re working with want things, physical, tangible things. With me, with Poseidon? He wants — demands even — that I be coming at life with the lenses of compassion, healing, and awareness firmly on. Catching ourselves, bringing ourselves back into alignment with our path is a hugely important step in maintaining any sort of a devotional practice. Before any things being given, for me this has to be in place, it has to be where I’m coming from, or it’s all just going through the motions, and I’ve learned the hard way that Poseidon is not interested in that. Drop the motions, bring the heart.

So, I sit, and I eat, and I read or knit or write, and I try very hard to be patient and compassionate when people stop to talk to me, when all I want is peace and quiet and solitude. It looks like any other person eating and reading or knitting or writing. But living with the gods isn’t always about bells and whistles, and it makes me wonder — how many of the people I’m seeing, eating and reading or writing or knitting, are also communing with the spiritual world in the middle of the cafe?

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