Catfish

When I started this blog I anticipated it being all theology all the time.

Turns out I’ve got to revise my expectations. That kind of stuff wears me out (at least at this point in my practice)

Today I’m working on a big Catfish mask/body puppet for a Procession of the Species at a local Solstice festival. It will be right next to the Great Catfish River, and I would be really upset if Catfish was forgotten because it is not a particularly sexy animal.

Ideally I will be puppeteering the head with my arms, and its dorsal fin will be on my head (I will be wrapped in a sheet) and I’ll have to walk a bit bent over to get the “long” look. Not sure if I can figure out some way to create a tail without dragooning an assistant to carry it like a banner behind me.

(Due date: June 22. SPEED COSTUMING)

There will be pictures! Finally! Pictures on this blog!

I am literally the worst blogger

But I think that’s okay. I write a lot over here in drafts, and notebooks I take to coffee shops and parks, and random text files open in wordpad.

Usually I start on a topic that’s bothering me, write to the end of my thoughts, get up and walk around, realize something I didn’t understand the first time around, delete most of what I wrote, and start again.

I end the day with a better understanding of that thing for myself, but really not much to post.

So here’s a happy update on what life is like for me:

I went on the spur of the moment and visited my family. I got a ride from my aunt** who lives near me because she was buying fabric at a specialty shop near my mom’s place and bringing her a several-months-late birthday present (they grew up together). I wound up outing myself as a member of an unusual religion in the middle of brunch conversation, and the reception was unexpectedly positive! Mom thinks that my loss of a crappy job is a lucky opportunity to focus on religious stuff. (I really have to apologize for how much I pooped all over her ideas of synchronicity, during my atheist days) I managed to listen to what exactly their assumptions about word meanings (pagan, polytheist, faith) were, and I think I managed to describe what I do pretty well, and also let the conversation flow around and to other things like the way it is absolutely criminal that you can’t get decent beer or cheese in Florida.

After a little bit of badgering on my best friend’s part, I finally invited her to a holiday ritual I’m hosting, and she got Exploring the Northern Tradition from our childhood library — where we sneaked our first peeks into books on tarot and astrology as pre-teens — so she could learn what I’m doing these days. (She’s my sister from another mister, her approval/involvement probably means the most to me)

I got to drop off a package of tea at that friend’s house, shoot a half-dozen hoops with her and her girlfriend, and then went to dinner with my mom and dad at a restaurant owned by other cousins (Grandma’s brother’s daughter and son-in-law). My mom’s been doing a lot of work there – on art and design and advertising – for no money, and that’s been bothering me because the restaurant-owners are more well off than she is. But I clearly need to trust my family because they’re fantastic hard workers who don’t let her pay when she’s there. Also my cousin who is a chef can cook like a motherfucker.

Thank the fucking ancestors, thank the gods of Norwegian immigrants. Things are going well.

** in my family these titles are mushy. This aunt is really a third cousin

Essays For The Troth 1.4 The Nine Worlds

This is a response to a question from The Troth’s 101 course, prerequisite to the Lore program! Here is my masterpost of Troth 101 essays.

What are the nine worlds? Where are they located, and what are their aspects? Who lives where?

I don’t like this question. I get it’s important to help become conversant with the myths, but I don’t like list/catalog questions.  I feel like I can either write a purely folklorist literary analysis, or else I can get all spacey. I wish I could find a third door! Oh well, I will default to spacy. Maybe I will find a productive way to organize a list/catalog later.

The nine worlds could be the planets of the solar system, which is a nice bit of synchronicity, seeing as the ancient world could only observe the inner planets. I’m pulling these correspondences out of my butt, but:

Mercury: Muspelheim – The hot one!
Venus: Vanaheim – The one with Roman fertility associations.
Earth: Midgard – simple enough!
Mars: Jotunheim – based, frankly, on the Mars Trilogy, and the animism that springs up among Mars colonists. Everything is larger and more hostile. The forces that sculpt the Martian landscape can beat up the forces that sculpt the Terran landscape!
Jupiter: Asgard – Jupiter, king of the gods, home of the kings of the gods.
Saturn: Svartalfheim – associated archetypally with wealth!
Uranus: Helheim – The far away one that isn’t the cold one!
Neptune: Alfheim – Frey rules Alfheim! Frey’s dad likes boats! Alfs are sometimes considered ancestral spirits – Neptune and Uranus sometimes switch!
Pluto: Nifhelheim – The cold one!

I believe the details of “who lives where” could be mined for mystical understandings, and the places, the halls, and the gods all sit in a web of symbolic interrelationship but I am so not at that level, and I don’t know if I want to treat a collection of traditions cataloged by an outsider like a wisdom text. (I so do, but not today)

I think for practical purposes of “where”, Helheim (and maybe Alfheim, and maybe Muspelheim) exist under the ground – a place that the ever-inspiring David Abram associates with the inaccessibility of the past.

The rest (barring Asgard, where an argument could be made for “in the sky” – associated with the immanence of the present; and Midgard, which is Midgard) exist over the horizon (associated with the infinite possibilities of the future). That is, perpetually over the horizon, just off the edge of the map, out of the reach of any normal human travel. Perhaps they could be associated with directions (Vanaheim in the east, Nifhelheim in the north, etc) or landmarks (beyond the ocean, beyond the mountains) but humans have so few impassible landmarks these days, I think that is not the most productive speculation. I don’t like a Heathenry that insists I pretend I am stupid.

 

Link!

Black Mountain Waincraft has a good post, (about archetypes) about which I will say no more, because I want the negative and defensive blogotrends to die and for everyone to focus on productive topics instead

“once again, I put forth the understanding that an archeypte is “a Matrix or key Image which gives shape and direction to energies arising out of the Primal Source of all being.”  This is where the archetype originates, not in the human mind but in the depths of the primal source (which, I put forth, is most certainly transhuman).  Even good old C.G. Jung wrote, “One cannot invent symbols; wherever they occur, they have not been devised by conscious intention and willful selection, because, if such a procedure had been used, they would have been nothing but signs and abbreviations of conscious thoughts.”

Thus, the archetype is very real, very much beyond the human mind and very integral to the emergence of deity form.  No, it’s not, “All One”.  The archetype is a function…a form…a Power.  That power takes on symbolic forms and shapes in relation to its function.”

I like this. This seems to be moving forward and away from the way discourse is conducted and positions are encamped right now.

I am fairly engaged in figuring out and meeting “the Njord of my ancestors” right now, if only because I have to come to terms with a lot of cultural things that are all tied up in ideas of self and ownership and heritage and inevitability. I think ‘hard polytheism’ is good as a target goal, and an assumption to fall back on, but I pair it in my head with a kind of spiritual iconoclasm. Whatever you think you know about [deity], they are actually larger, stranger, more.

I think pagan reconstruction needs to, and is going to transform into something very different than it is right now, in order to take root and flourish.