Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Irish-ness In Me

I kind of like that this blog is under-used; that hardly anyone, except for you, reads it anymore. It kind of feels like having a quiet corner of the forest to myself. But I do enjoy visitors, so thank you for coming.

The Irish-ness in me would like to share more of what is currently happening with me.

12 Steps Toward Decolonizing Irish American Paganism is an article by Chris Godwin at From A Common Well on reclaiming Irish culture which I was deeply moved by this morning. I have not even had my second cup of coffee, yet here I am writing about it. Also, I am supposed to be putting together an article on Heathen ritual for the Intro To Heathenry series over on The Crow's Fjord. Getting side-tracked I am, as Yoda might say.

Manannan mac Lir
Manannan mac Lir
Just take this image for example, which was used as a cover photo for the article. It's of a statue of Manannan mac Lir, God of the sea and guardian of the afterlife in Irish Mythology. My heart soars looking at it. I am utterly captivated as I begin to understand the symbolism of who the statue represents.

The next design I am about to start for The Crow's Fjord is meant to be the Norse God Njord, God of the Sea, and chieftain of the Vanir. There are some similarities. There are also some differences. Njord does not have any affiliation with the afterlife, that I am aware of.

Not only this article and image, but continuing on the vein of being sidetracked, I've been staying awake at night thinking about my ancestors and finding my people. You know the people I'm talking about. The people who in historic times would have been your kin, your kindred, your village, clan or tribe; family and friends; those that you trust. I had this once, twice or a few more times than that, but most of it has fallen apart over time, distance and circumstance.

His 12 steps include admitting there is a problem, mourning the loss of one's indigenous culture, recovering a connection to one's land and food, not necessarily the historically ethnic land one's ancestors were connected with, but the one that is currently inhabited. Genius I say! A connection to the land needs to be tactile, breathed, shared, lived. It can't be honoured in the distance. For those whose ancestors left their native land and became colonizers of new worlds such as the Americas and Austrailia, as well as other continents, but are trying to find their place in the world, this kind of thinking can be very helpful.

Deconstructing the colonized worldview is the goal of Godwin's article. Oh my Gods, this is turning into a review of his article. Gasp, I am no good at structured English assignments like writing proper reviews, putting together bibliographies and the like, so please don't judge. You! Yes you, the sole reader of this blog post! This is my free space to be myself. I try hard at The Crow's Fjord to make sense and do things as professionally as is possible for me. But here, I just write what I think and feel.

A colonized worldview. What does that even mean? To have a colonized worldview means (I think) first of all to be part and parcel of a colonizing society and to likely have little awareness of said societies worldview, at least consciously. It is likely a worldview that views the land and possibly even the inhabitants, including people, livestock and wildlife as resources, rather than co-inhabitants sharing the place.

Step 5 in deconstructing the colonized worldview is especially insightful. The Heathen community could really benefit from understanding it. It (a colonized worldview) harbors a false sense of security which causes innumerable problems with defensiveness, righteousness and a need to control others.

I do have to run now and go write my 'scheduled' article. I have a feeling I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Internal Conflict

This is an update. I need to work out some things that are floating around in my head.

I've reached a lot of summits in the last few years. The climb was steep at times and there was a lot of waiting, but I've achieved a goal that was number two on my list. Number one is find the love of my life. Still hoping for that but I have The Wooly Crow Farm up and running, which was number two. I never had a name for this farm, or for the dream that I am living now, but it came when I found the place.

The dream was always to live closer to the land. To be in touch with it daily and to feel like a part of it. I remember as a child wanting to explore wild places on horseback, then later in my twenties wanting to be a shaman, a herbalist, and to walk silently through the forest barefoot, making no sound, as the native Americans did.

I tried a few times. I rented a farm in Ontario when my daughter was a baby. I lived in a mini multi-cultural mecca in a major city. I drove a motorcycle down the coast of California. I went to Mexico alone in my late twenties and did peyote. These were attempts to connect. Some succeeded, some did not.

It's hard to remember all the things I've wanted to do. I must be a certain kind of restless soul because it seems I have many interests, maybe too many. Which brings me to the reason for this update on a blog I haven't written on in a few years.

Among the things I want to focus on are this farm, it's sheep, chickens, guinea fowl, greenhouse and gardens; processing and spinning the wool from the sheep; reviving and sustaining The Crow's Fjord design business; and creating a regenerative recycling co-operative model for a worker owned business in my community.

Yes. You are right. That is a lot to do. In fact, each of the areas of focus is quite enough for one person to focus on per lifetime. Yet I am conflicted with all three. This is not to mention the other things that I have wanted, and still want to do such as finish the Tarot deck I started designing on this blog, open a Meadery, become a herbalist, write fiction, design Gothic stuffed animals and shoulder bags, sew myself a new wardrobe, swim in the ocean, spend time with friends and family, and travel the world.

Right now, today, this morning, I am very very tired. I feel sorrow. I can see that I am trying to do too much and I don't know how to resolve that I am only one person, not three. No I don't want to let go of anything. And therein lies the problem.

I am so happy that I have what I have, that I have done what I have done, and that I have dreams and goals for the future. It means my time is not over here. There is more to come. Yet, I don't want to feel conflicted and too tired. This makes me sad. I think I need to live more in the present and less in the future which means I likely have to give something up. WHAT!!!!?????

Ugh, just the thought gives me shivers. I DON'T WANT TO GIVE ANYTHING UP! But.... I guess I should get on with the task of imagining life in the present in a doable way and not treat myself like a machine that just goes on and on with a little refueling here and there. I think being compassionate to myself is also something that I need to focus on. Maybe I'll just take a break. Now. Right now. Waes Hael mates.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome 2018

A 'year ahead' forecast with one of my new decks The Ostara Tarot:

At first I was very excited by this deck. It is named after one of the Goddesses of Norse Mythology, the Goddess of spring. I ordered it a few weeks ago along with The Wild Unknown and the Mary El.

Today's reading with The Ostara Tarot Deck revealed a 'mixing' of cultural and/or spiritual influences in the imagery of the cards which is generally frowned upon in my heathen worldview. For example, that card up there in the far top right corner is number 20 in the major arcana, or Judgement, and is generally represented by an angel with spread wings and two people rising from coffins. In the Ostara deck, a Valkyrie descends (hovers?) above two warriors. Both the Valkyrie and the warriors are Norse mythological icons and could be good representations of the Judgement card as a liberating force, but The Ostara Tarot muffles the clarity of the card's meaning by sandwiching two mythologies together; a crown of Anubis sits atop her head, Anubis being the gatekeeper of the underworld in Egyptian mythology. In Norse mythology, Valkyries do visit dying warriors and are often glorified by those warriors. The Valkyries however represent a specific type of afterlife, that found in Odin's Hall in Asgard, Valhalla. It is specifically for warriors who die in glorious battle. Having a Valkyrie represented by Anubis is disturbing.

I still like the deck. The tarot has been transiting the globe for many years now and there is bound to be some 'crossing over' of influences. As for my 'year ahead' it looks to be without the struggle, and hence the glory, of other years. Last year was fabulous in that I started many new things. I finished renovating the first home I've ever owned. I got a fence put up around my new 1.6 acre property. I got a barn built. I started a new business with a partner. I made a best friend. I met many new people in the new village I now dwell in. I made changes and more changes.

The coming year looks like it will be about making decisions on a more permanent scale. Strength, Temperance, and The World are representing my foundations. There will be changes but there is also a sense of letting go and a sharper focus on what is good. There may still be much anxiety though. Much is still new.

After seeing this spread, I asked 'What will I keep and what will I let go of?' This is also a question that is in keeping with my new year's resolution to reduce the number of 'interests' I have been pursuing this past year. I got sheep, I started carding and spinning their fibres, I started growing microgreens and vegetables and herbs for market, I knitted hats and sold them, sewed bags and sold them, made quilts, took up the tarot again (bought new decks), I've been considering reading professionally for the public, I painted a little and drew a little, but ran out of time and I already had a mead making enterprise on the go, two websites in the process of being built, a tarot deck design started and two more in the works. I have yet to hand a picture in my house (although I have many scattered around) or finish unpacking my office and bedroom. My garage / workshop is in a state of chaos. And I also took up an exercise regime that involves riding my 'indoor' bike 30 minutes 3 times a week! This was the answer:
I see balance at the top. This is good. I very desperately need that. Working down from the top I see some juggling, so I will keep more than one focus. The Emperor suggests that my mini empire is steadfast. I'm liking that. Jumping down to the base of the pyramid I see the 8 of swords and the Hermit, along with some competition and conflict and some great balance of energy. Temperance makes another appearance and is between 7 coins and The Heirophant. I recall recently thinking that I needed intellectual stimulation. I think The Heirophant is telling me to take some free online university courses! I know this is not letting go exactly, but it is providing balance, so it stays. Conflict and struggle I had with family (hadn't even mentioned that) I can let go of that. The Hermit, I can likely let him go to. I have less need for privacy perhaps. I see the 7 coins as the 'farm', the planting of seeds, literally and the cultivation of the farm which doesn't show huge results. It is just something necessary and needed. The Queen of Wands is quite likely my artistic career. A keeper. There is still some emotional adjusting needed before I really 'get' this new life and the 3 of wands tells me that I am to keep at the planning of it. The Page of Coins suggests great physical and spiritual effort will be exerted. Still, perhaps I'll have to meditate on the rest. Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Dark Mountain Project

It's been so long yeah... I know. But I finally have something to say here. Deal with it.

My anxieties have always led me to believe there is something very wrong with everything we humans have been doing. My first memories of this anxiety were regarding religion. Why were we sinners? How could we be bad right from the start? At ten years of age, I couldn't make sense of this. So I set it aside. Later, in my teens, I did not understand why we were so separated from the rest of the world. We were animals too, or so I was taught in high school. What was so wrong with nature that we had to 'master' it? Why were we so separate from it? Why was 'dirt' so dirty? Why were weeds bad? They were just plants weren't they? In some circles they were just plants; not bad. Wasn't killing off all the buffalo a bad idea? There were no more carrier pigeons anywhere in the world. They were gone forever.
Then in my twenties while I was in college and beginning to have great philosophical conversations with my peers I wondered how society could believe that the 'economy' was more important than vanishing buffalo or the havoc we were wreaking on the environment.

So yeah, I was naive. Sure. I'm all grown up now. I have been for a while. I stepped back and let it go. But go it never has. It has always been there. This question; if we are part of nature, how come it doesn't feel like we are part of nature? Why do I feel that humans are going down the wrong path, that we are going to destroy ourselves and the planet along with us?

Deep. I decided to go organic. I decided to do my part. It's taken me years to acheive just a little bit of feeling like I'm doing the right thing.

I also chose to devote myself to dark art as a way to provide some balance. I think darkness is something to embrace, not avoid. What aren't we looking at? Why are those anxieties telling me? Where are they pointing? I really don't believe we (humans) are flawed, sinners out of the start gate. How does half the population of America vote for a man that represents the very anti-social qualities causing our mass anxiety? You see I know I'm not alone. I hear the murmurs, the restlessness, the shouts of women and scientists and suppressed peoples around the world. Yeah. So this preamble to rambling on a bit.

What I wanted to say here is that I think this Dark Mountain Project might be pointing a finger at the place I couldn't quite put a finger on for so many years. It's worth a look... The Manifesto