Admin note: moderated comments and response time.

Because apparently this is necessary. For those of you who realize that people have responsibilities that often bump things like response time way down on the priority list, I apologize.

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Not too long ago, I set my WP to moderated comments. Why? Because it’s my blog, and I get to decide what gets published. I get to decide what I think other people who read my blog have to deal with or don’t have to deal with when reading my blog and/or the comments. I wrote about that when I made the change, because it was a change, and I thought transparency was important. I still do. So, in the interest of further transparency:

I work three jobs. One of them — the full time one — is in retail. It’s December, and I’m in America. This means that I am working 40s (plus) in a retail job a week before Christmas. That’s just one of my three jobs. That means I’m not online all that much, and I’m certainly not sitting on WordPress, either mine or other people’s blogs. Long comments — especially ones that I want to respond to while I’m approving them — sit in the queue, sometimes for days. If it’s more than a simple reblog or a one or two line comment, and especially it’s controversial, it’s going to wait. Doesn’t matter who you are.

Scheduling posts are a thing that happens. It is an awesome, awesome tool. Just because a post of mine goes live during the middle of the week does not mean that I’m writing it and posting it at that time.

If your tactic to get me to moderate faster is to try to scold me for playing ‘dirty pool’ — that is, if you’re deciding what you think my priorities ought to be, and are thus assuming what my priorities actually are — be assured that you are, then, helping me decide what my priorities are. So . . . thank you?

When I comment to people, and they don’t get back to me, or they don’t approve my comment right away, or even that week, I extend them the benefit of the doubt. If you comment to me and you don’t see your comment approved right away — or in days, or even that same week — I ask the same from you. If you decide that you’re going to try to bully me into letting your voice be heard on my blog, assume that it won’t be.

Problems with cultural pride — if you’re white.

As I write this, Beth’s daughter (again, my not-quite-step-daughter) is in NYC taking part of the protests going on there. I’ve got various news sites running in the background. I’ve touched base with her before the march began, and I’ve been up and down all night, sick to my stomach with worry. She’s with her boyfriend, whom we haven’t met, and whose skin color I do not know. I found myself torn between hoping she was with him — because the idea of her being with a man potentially provides her additional security that being with a bunch of girlfriends may not provide — and hoping she wasn’t — because what sort of attention may she receive if she’s with a black man? We are proud that she’s involving herself with these very important protests, but I still want to curl up and cry, I still want to vomit, I’m still running a constant plea to my gods and our ancestors that they watch over her, that they keep her safe, that all will be well. I still want to bundle her up and make her go home. At the least, I want to be with her, watching her back. Instead, I’m three thousand miles away, waiting on pins and needles until she texts me to update me, as I’ve made her promise to.

My privilege is not lost on me, in this instance. I catch my thoughts — wanting her to be with a man, but not wanting her to be with a man that might become a target — and I hold them as proof that things need to change. Things need to change, and there’s no amount of “white pride isn’t racism” bullshit that’s going to convince me otherwise.

Specifically within Heathenry, specifically from the more folkish groups, what others recognize as racism is defended with cries of cultural pride. Why is it okay, we’re asked, for African Americans to express cultural pride, but we are not? Why is it wrong for us to want to restrict membership to our group based on ethnicity, but not for these other people?

As I see it coming from a decidedly Heathen worldview, there are two reasons. The first is, we are not on a level playing field. All men are not equal, all people are not held to be equally important, and until that is corrected any case being built upon “it should be the same for everyone” does not apply.

The second reason? Orlog, wyrd, and how they work.

We talk big game about honoring our ancestors. We talk a great deal about honoring their accomplishments, about praising them, about building up upon the shoulders of those who have come before. Way back when I was new to the polytheistic realms, what I knew first about Heathenry, that stood out more than it stood out with the other groups I knew of, was ancestor veneration. (I know now that this is something many polytheistic groups have in common.) The ancestors were at least as important as the spirits and gods, and for some they were moreso. The thing that truly confuses me here is — of our ancestors did horrible things. In my family we’ve had abusive people as well as people who protected and nourished and cared for those in need. My ancestral line going back? That’s going to be like that, only writ large — and so is yours, because our ancestors were first and foremost human, and creatures of their times. Some of those times were brutal.

People are territorial. They’re brutal in war, and conquest and invasion is part of the human story. Thing is, that doesn’t make it okay. We don’t get to say, “Oh, well, yeah, so the Europeans came over and decimated whole cultures of people — and it’s still going on — but that’s okay, because the Romans did the same, and Gengis Khan did the same. It’s just what we do.” Just because we are able to name conquering leaders or cultures from history does not mean we get to excuse the behavior of our immediate ancestors.
To make this personally relevant to me and my life: I’m pretty damned white. Oh, there’s some African blood that has turned up that one family member discovered via DNA testing (some people have money to burn) and we know of some Native American blood in the background, but that aside? Oh so very white. My ancestors hailed from Scotland, from England, from Ireland, from Germany. I can’t trace my family back beyond four generations, but that puts many of them already here in America. I think my most recent arrivals hailed from Germany, and they were here by the turn of the previous century. (Unless you count my paternal grandfather, who immigrated from Canada, but I don’t, because, Canada. For this discussion it’s just a colder, less populated version of the US.)

If we’re making the argument that blood matters, then I can’t dismiss the fact that blood of my blood was on both sides of WWII. It’s theoretical at this point — I don’t know of family in Germany, and who knows exactly where they may have stood during Hiltler’s reign? But if we’re using blood mattering to make a case for having cultural pride — I can feel as connected to the Germanic culture as I want, but I cannot divorce that culture from the wretchedness that Hitlter and his campaign created.

I’m heathen. I have blood on both sides of that war — and immediate ancestors who were US veterans of that war. I’m a heathen who incorporates symbols into my work and worship. The swastika is one of my go-to symbols for warding, but because I’m not an asshole, I will never wear it about, and I will never pretend that it does not have the cultural association that it has. Through Beth I have Jewish ancestors in my family’s ancestral house. All sides, y’all. All sides. But the evil that is genocide and my responsibility towards those harmed by such actions outweighs my right to publicly display a symbol that is part of my practice. I mourn what was done to so many of our holy symbols — but I don’t pretend it wasn’t done, and I don’t expect others closer to that hate and pain to be okay because I want to use that symbol. Do other, non-Europeans get to use the swastika without having to be mindful of that taint? Yes, they do. Is that fair? No, but as we’ve established already, the playing field isn’t leveled, so I suck it up and move on because I don’t want to be an asshole.

Neither can I divorce myself from the slave trade that my ancestors were a part of. Nor can I divorce myself from the bloody past of the continent I live on. These things all belong to my ancestors, and thus, they belong to me. No, I personally have never owned another human being. No, I personally have not shoved people off their land and taken their resources out of their hands. But my ancestors have. Your ancestors have. These things effect orlog, and they go into the weaving of our wyrd. We are our deeds — and we are also the deeds of our ancestors, like it or not.

It’s not about being punished for the sins of our fathers. It’s about being responsible, about right action. My father was an abusive alcoholic. Part of my responsibility in this life has been to break the cycle of abuse. Part of that has been educating myself on addictive personalities, the history of alcoholism, how it can destroy families, what co-dependency looks like, etc. This isn’t punishment. This is mindfulness, duty, and knowing that my father’s past, his life, and the lives of his ancestors is not divorced from my existence. This is understanding — or striving to understand — the relationship between orlog and wyrd. Part of taking responsibility is breaking the cycle of abuse — this applies culturally as much as it applies personally, and culturally in America right now, abuse is happening. It’s been built up by our ancestors — whether they were heathen or not — and it is our responsibility to break that cycle.

The day when the our society truly, truly becomes so-called ‘colorblind’ is the day that white Americans can cry “cultural pride!”, and deny people membership without being labeled racist. (Maybe. Probably not, because, dude, history. It happened.) Until that day happens, though, this is where we’re at. We’re heathen. Wyrd is a thing. How are we not supposed to be responsibly for making the wrongs of the past right?

Lessons from NaNoWriMo, finding new authors, and a ‘duh’ moment . . .

Jolene Poseidonae:

Sometimes I’m a bit slow. Sometimes I stare the obvious in its face for a long time before seeing it. Sometimes I forget how excited writing makes me.

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

I haven’t written about it any real depth, but 2014’s NaNoWriMo.org provided me with a very valuable lesson, one that I (think I have) finished processing enough to get  some actual useful knowledge out of. What I have written about, since about week three into November, is that I utterly could not stand the way the pace makes me dread sitting down and writing.

At this point in my writing career I know a decent amount of information about how I am, as a writer. (Rule 1: Know Thyself). I know the types of stories I love to tell. I know what times of the day I write best in. I know that if I’m starting a new series that I need to be alone in the house while I’m starting, and that distraction utterly destroys me, but if the story is well along its way then commotion around me…

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Nine By Night — an awesome book bundle you need to have!

Jolene Poseidonae:

I am dithering back and forth about the writing blog — again. *sigh* So, for now (until I change my mind again) non-pagan/non-spiritual posts will be going up there . . . . but I’m thinking I’m going to reblog them here so readership can find them easily enough. I’m on the fence when it comes to making potential readers who are not necessarily interested in the religious stuff be hit over the head with Poseidon when they want to find out info about my fiction. Er. Babble. Anyway. Blog post reblog. Woot!

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

ninebynight

So, I had this sitting on my Kindle for ages. Months, even. I purchased it specifically for the Annie Bellet novel, but the problem I have with Kindle books is the lack of a physical TBR pile. I forget about books if I don’t jump on them right away. To celebrate finished (and finished) NaNoWriMo, I decided to reward myself with reading for December (and it says something that I’m two weeks in and plotting out the next series I’m writing, right?). I bought a bunch of books — and I’ll write about them, in the future, because I found some gems I wasn’t expecting. But I also rediscovered this bundle, and I decided to leap in.

Now, I’ll be honest — there are some books that I didn’t care for enough to continue, and that I might go back to. I’m not overly found of New Adult as…

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A Marriage of Land and Sea

Roern grew up knowing he was different – that was just part of being fated to become Groom to the Land. He loved his family, loved his place in the sea, but longed for the day when he could claim his Bride and settle in to the life destiny told him he would have. Thalia, the Bride to his Groom, was a kind, sweet daughter of the land, and being her husband was going to be no hardship at all.

Except, after their wed everything goes wrong. The magic their union was supposed to make – the magic that would heal Dying Lands and the Barren Sea – does nothing to stop the spreading blight. Worse, it soon becomes obvious that whatever this illness is has spread to the Bride. Desperate to give his wife her dying wish, Roern uses a spell to unite her with her parents one last time – and discovers that nothing is as it’s supposed to be.

Will there be enough time to make things right? Or does this discovery come at too late a date?

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Sneak peak coming soon!

Longest Night: Ritual Cords for Wild Jaeger (Odin as Wild Hunter)

Jolene Poseidonae:

Beth’s new cords — The Longest Night cords, celebrating Odin as the Wild Hunter — are in the store and ready to be purchased! There are only four of these beautiful babies, so if you’re interested you best move fast.

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

I know these are late, but if you order before Friday I can still get your cord to you before the holiday.  (Friday, December 12th is the last day I can guarantee Christmas/Yule delivery for new in-stock orders.  Any orders placed for this particular cord will ship on Monday December 15th and should reach you in the US within 2-4 business days.)

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The night is velvet black, lit only by stars and an odd streak of light through the sky, the ghostly glimmer of a mounted Hunter and His spectral retinue as they ride forth on their longest of nightly journeys.

This cord celebrates Wilde Jaeger–Odin as Wild Hunter–and His retinue of hunters both living and dead, human and otherworldly. A soft canopy of plush, luxurious black Merino forms a backdrop for hand dyed Cheviot wool and premium mulberry silk in shades of spectral silver, gray, navy and royal blue…

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Two years.

Today is my grandfather’s birthday (he would have been 98). Two years ago this past July we buried him. Today is also the two year mark of  my grandmother’s funeral. That means that yes, 2012 was a lovely, wonderful year for my family, and why bury one grandparent when you can bury two in one year? I find this especially bittersweet, both that we buried her on his birthday, when she so very much did not want to live once he’d died, and also that now, NOW, there’s no way in hell I’m going to ever forget his birthday again. For the entirety of my adult life with him in it I could never seem to remember: the 8th or the 10th of December? (Funny, Gippy — I see what you did there.)

I frequently see something of value in poking at the grief, grieving, and interacting with the dead process that I have, because I ?enjoy? rooting out the influences of society in what this looks like for me. I do not share this idea that once the dead have died that they are gone, that they necessarily move on and away and that’s it. My interactions with the dead, in the few times that validation has come my way regarding the messages I’ve passed on, has been such that between that and my own instinct, I’m rather firm on the idea that the veil between the living and the dead is not an iron curtain. The part of my path than entails service to the dead does not encompass — generally — passing on messages, and it has never happened outside of my extended tribe, and it’s generally Made Known that that’s not something I’m comfortable doing . . . but exceptions have been made.

The first year following their passing was bad. Not Angel died and I went a little crazy bad, but a constant, dark, black, hopeless, steady sort of bad. I’m still not entirely sure what changed, but I place that change at my grandmother’s hands. I never thought my ancestor house was out of order, but things are certainly tidier now, and there are a number of things I needed to let go of that became easy to release. I do not carry forward the same sense of joie de virve that I believe they each carried forward, but certainly I’ve gotten better.

And still, I miss being able to call them up on the phone, or writing to them and getting letters in response. I miss their physicality. I miss their being alive.

It feels like forever, and I can’t believe it’s been two years already since we buried my grandmother next to my grandfather on his birthday.