The Face

I think I have found THE THING.

A couple weeks ago I spoke with my psychic counselor regarding feeling as if there was this THING that I was supposed to be figuring out, but I could not figure out what THE THING was.  I could only sense that it was there and that I was dancing all around it.

About that time I stopped my hyper-focused pagan study, I stopped obsessively checking the various online communities I was a part of, and I even pulled the plug on an empowerment spell of those online entities.

Something was telling me, “No.  Those are not where you will get your power.  You must see where your own power is coming from first.  You must know you.”

I began shortly after cutting away all the side things that were distracting me from remembering (and further discovering) who the hell I was.  This certainly included but was not limited to online community and study.  It, very literally, was setting explosives all around this wall-face I had made for myself and lighting them.

As the wall-face blew off and the real me that had been squeezed behind it for a decade or more came out, I started seeing very fully why I had built it in the first place.  It wasn’t entirely a defense mechanism like a lot of people’s walls are; it was the robot-me I’d built to interface properly with the world.

After doing some research, I am very sure that I fall into the autistic spectrum.  I’ve suspected it for years – hell, my parents suspected it when I was a child, but because I was more or less functional beyond being a little “weird” they never had me diagnosed.

Robot-me with the thick metal walls was necessary for a time.  It was necessary so that I could grow up, so that I could find a job, so that I could function well enough to make those friends (including a very supportive partner) who have been patient enough to deal with my quirks, and so that I could learn to process out those things that do interest me.

But robot-me couldn’t deal with a harsh side-effect which struck after years of its existence: depression.  To keep up the façade meant to live with depression almost constantly.

Until I blew all that shit up.

When it blew up, I really thought at first that it would cure my social awkwardness, that I would be like a new person, a “real” person.  But what it showed me was that I already am a real person, I just happen to be a kind of different real person.

At first it seems like an unhelpful realization.  Okay, so I’m on the autistic spectrum.  That doesn’t really change anything.

Except it really does.  It shows me that the ways I’m different aren’t something I need to feel are inherently wrong with me, and that makes me feel empowered.  It also makes me much more proud of the strengths I do have, many of which are characteristic to those with ASD (examples: hyper-focus on a project so long as it’s interesting to me, excruciating attention to detail, nearly-OCD organization both for items and numbers or words such as schedules and lists, strict adherence to a specific set of rules as well as a routine).

It can further change how I approach everything in my life, and when I feel like I can’t do something, I can step back and find what about it is making it so hard for me.  Being able to identify those factors can lead to ways to work around them.  Environmental issues  that are particularly problematic for me, such as sound over-stimulation, may have alternatives as well.

I’m pretty sure this is THE THING, or at least a necessary gateway to uncovering THE THING.  I feel like someone’s finally stuck that sewing needle and thread right through my core and pulled all the pieces tight together.

Before I start saying this in more formal spaces, I have a lot of research to do.  I also want to see if my health insurance will at least partially cover an assessment.  If they won’t, the assessments can be really expensive, so research will be my best friend for self-diagnosis until I can get the money or find another means.

This probably seems like a weird topic for this blog, but it isn’t.  THE THING has been hindering my ability to move forward for a very long time, especially in my pagan and magic studies.  I found that magic never worked for me as it seemed it should, and while that’s certainly just one of those things that happens when you deal with magic and possibly deities and spirits, it has also proven to me that understanding myself is extremely important.  In my personal magic theory, the body is a conduit for magic energy and the mind is its director.  If you do not know what’s going on in your body and mind, then that energy isn’t going to work quite as you planned if it works at all.

This also ties back to my post last week, “The Importance of the Unimportant”.  In it I talked about why it is necessary to know yourself and to be happy with who you are and the things you love to be able to work with gods.  It’s like my favorite quote from my favorite book, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis:

“I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer.  Till the word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean?  How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

The gods can help you find your true face, but often it’s going to require a level of sacrifice and realization on your part as well.  I hope this is bringing me a few steps closer to that.

 

Othala – Initial Rune Study

Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.

Week 24: Othala

Basic meaning: ancestral property; inherited land

Further meanings:  Inherited property or possessions, a house, a home.  What is truly important to you.  Group order, group prosperity.  Land of birth, spiritual heritage, experience and fundamental values.  Source of safety, increase in abundance.  A tie to ancestors and hamingja.  Divine and earthly ancestry.  Connectedness with all human beings.

Divinatory meanings:  Points to something important to you.  Aid in physical or spiritual journeys.  Group identity.  Personal wealth and abundance already available to you.  Rune of material prosperity and well-being.

Reversed/Merkstave meanings:  Lack of customary order, totalitarianism, slavery, poverty, homelessness.  Prejudice, clannishness, provincialism.  Racism, xenophobia, greed.  What one is bound to.

Magical uses:  Maintaining order among peers.  Concentration on common interests in home and family.  Shift of focus from self to family/group.  Gathering power and knowledge from past generations.  Acquisition of wealth and prosperity.

Personal thoughts on and associations with Othala

For those of you just joining me for these, I’ve shifted my focus a lot from heathen things over the past couple of months.  But I still wanted to finish this rune study as using the runes has proven to be pretty effective.  Plus, I made a promise, and that means I have to fulfill it!

I bring this up right now because of a recent rune reading I did.  Nearing the end of this project is a really big deal to me, and I wanted guidance as to what I should do next (take a break, work on something personal, start a new study project related to my path, etc).  I asked a few different deities specifically, and got the repeated answer that I need to continue to work but start focusing on more of the community aspect rather than the personal.

Othala is an interesting rune because it seems very focused on the physical, but really can be taken far beyond that as well.  Certainly there is a very strong element of ancestral community, but to me it also seems to point to a supportive network.  This is often family, but can include organizations, religious groups, friends, anything with a solid community feel to it.

I’m in the process of shifting communities, which so far has not been as scary as I feared it would.  At the same time, I still have my own family as a core to who I am no matter where I flail to.  My partner for example deals with me no matter how my interests change or my moods.  My parents love me no matter what and support me to the best of their abilities.  So no matter how much I change, I know I have a firm, safe ground to stand on, and I am extremely grateful for it.

Also, I’m extremely grateful to all of you who have stuck it out this long for my rune writings!  You are amazing!  I know the Tumblr pagan et al communities get a lot of negativity, and certainly there are problems.  But I know I wouldn’t have been adventurous enough to get this far without some direction from perfect strangers on the internet.  So thanks to all of you, too.

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • Runelore by Edred Thorsson
  • Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
  • Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
  • Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn

Dagaz – Initial Rune Study

Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.

Week 23: Dagaz

Basic meaning: Day or Dawn

Further meanings: Breakthrough, awakening, awareness.  Daylight clarity as opposed to night time uncertainty.  The power of change directed by your own will, transformation.  Hope, happiness, the ideal.  Security and certainty.  Growth and release.  Balance point, the place where opposites meet.  Transforming consciousness.  Catalyst for change.

Divinatory meanings: A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise.  A time of fruitful change into a more secure situation.

Merkstave meanings: A completion, ending, limit, coming full circle.  Blindness, hopelessness.  Destructive impulsiveness.

Magical uses:  Can hide things from view.  Can aid in enlightenment and cosmic consciousness and awareness.  Attaining mystical moments by seeing into paradoxes.  Reception of mystical inspiration.

Personal thoughts on and associations with Dagaz

Some people choose to put Dagaz as the last rune of the Elder Futhark.  While I’m following the Dagaz-then-Othala ordering, I am currently connecting to Dagaz as a signal to the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.  Its transformative power is needed and wanted in my life right now.

Lately I’ve been taking stock of things in my life.  Mundane things like my job, my home, finances, how I spend my time; but also magic and religious things.  A lot of it is tying into my battle with depression.  I’m at a point where I’m fine most of the time but when one thing challenges my mental wellbeing the overall foundation crumbles very quickly.  Really minor things will trigger questioning my entire life.

Dagaz is a promise.  Right now I am hesitant to believe in it, but I’m striving for it nonetheless.

I did find a quote I really liked in Thorsson’s Rune Magic book:

“Dagaz is that time/place in which darkness and light, pleasure and pain, life and death, body and soul, matter and energy are synthesized into a common opposition.  In Dagaz, language fails.”

Dagaz symbolizes a strong feeling I can’t put words to that comes about from being caught in the waters of strongly different tides.  That makes sense to me because I feel it every single day.

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • Runelore by Edred Thorsson
  • Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
  • Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
  • Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn

Ingwaz – Initial Rune Study

Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.

Week 22: Ingwaz

Basic meaning: Ing, the earth god

Further meanings:  Associations with Freyr.  Male fertility, gestation, internal growth. Common virtues, common sense, simple strengths, famiy love, caring, human warmth, the home.  Can be seen as a progression of Kenaz and Jera.

Divinatory meanings:  A rest stage, a time of relief with no anxiety.  A time when all loose strings are tied and you are free to move in a new direction.  Listen to yourself.  Becoming whole.

Merkstave meanings: Impotence, movement without change.  Production, toil, labor, work.

Magical uses: Storage and transformation of power for ritual use.  Fertility rights.  Passive meditation and centering of energy and thought.  Sudden release of energy.

Personal thoughts on and associations with Ingwaz

Nearing the end of this rune study, I very much look forward to being free to move in a new direction.  It has been a very worthwhile study, and I am really looking forward to putting this knowledge to further use in divination, magic, and historical and cultural studies.

I’ve always considered myself a very earthy person, so this rune was of particular interest to me as a result.  The simplicity and warmth described through it is something I value and always try to reattain when I’m slipping from it.

Overall I see it as a representation of where I am at in my path as well.  I’m taking time to stop analyzing everything and trying to just feel things again.  It’s hard to remember that you don’t always have to reason why you like to do something or why it’s okay to do something.  Sometimes the pleasure of just going through the motions of something you like can be reward enough.

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • Runelore by Edred Thorsson
  • Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
  • Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
  • Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn

The Importance of the Unimportant

“You’re no good to me broken.”

This is the clearest message I’ve ever gotten in my attempts to work with deities and spirits.  And it came about very recently.

For about the past year now I’ve spent most of my free time studying paganism and religion, going through devotions, participating in online pagan communities, branching out into local communities, and trying on different pantheons and deities like a bride-to-be desperately trying to find that perfect wedding dress.  Before this year, my life focus was on work, responsibility, and basically being a good grown-up.  It was like completely cutting ties to young, idealistic, creative me for this paper cut-out who is functional-ish in the world be reaching for something she no longer understands.

And somehow it was hard for me to understand why I had been in a recurring depressive state over the past five years.

I have a tendency to feel guilty taking time to read a book for pleasure or “wasting” a weekend on a video game.  Don’t even get me started on my anxieties over starting a television series, or even taking a few hours for a movie.  Sometimes I feel so guilty about these things that I won’t do them for weeks on end, because whenever I try to take that time I feel a really tense ball of anxiety in my chest like I should be doing something else.  You know, something important.

Over the past few weeks I have said screw it to that tendency, set my studies aside, and started a journey self-rediscovery.  This sounds very fancy and complicated, but it isn’t.  It’s very literally letting myself remember the things that make me happy and telling myself it’s okay to find happiness in those things.  As a result I’ve been reading, I’ve been crafting, I even learned how to crochet randomly because hey why not.  I’ve played video games when I felt like it, and occasionally spend time watching a movie.  Most surprisingly, I started writing again, specifically fanfiction after a 10-year hiatus.

And that me from ten or more years ago that had been getting buried under the rubble of every-day life is suddenly breathing again.  She’s happy and pointing me in places I haven’t looked for years even though they used to be my favorite haunts.

The other night I had a dream that my entire house caved in on itself, but in the dream my reaction was one of relief, not fear.  When I woke up I felt light.  I hadn’t given offerings for awhile, I hadn’t even really prayed or thought about the deities which seem so distant all the time, but I felt energy for the first time in a very long time and it was as if something was telling me I was finally going in the right direction.

For those of us who lack the ability (or even interest) to work in the astral or communicate directly with our deities, stifling your natural joy and creativity is one of the worst things you can do.  You are blocking an entire mode of communication when you do that, and you will inevitably hurt yourself as a result.  I know this because I lived it, and while I know everyone’s experience won’t be exactly the same as mine, I don’t want to see someone else hurt in the same way when it is avoidable.

I do believe study and discipline is important, but I also believe that sacrificing your creativity and enjoyment in life for them is completely pointless.  We are here to live our lives.  Yes, some people live lives that involve a great deal of service to their deities, but tying yourself up so completely in them will eventually kill that spirit that is uniquely you.  Some people may be able to live with that, but I certainly can’t.  If I lose myself, I don’t have anything else to offer.

Laguz – Initial Rune Study

Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.

Week 21: Laguz

Basic meaning:  Water, lake, or sea; a leek

Further meanings:  Flow, water, sea, a fertility source, the healing power of renewal.  Life energy and organic growth.  Imagination and psychic matters.  Dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld.  Waters of life as well as death.  Rune of healing and initiation.

Divinatory meanings:  Success in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility of loss.  A period of growth, healing, or initiation.

Reversed/Merkstave meanings:  An indication of a period of confusion in your life.  You may be making wrong decisions and poor judgments.  Lack of creativity and feelings of being in a rut.  Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering.  Madness, obsession, despair, perversity, sickness, suicide.

Magical uses:  Guidance through difficult initiatory tests.  Increase in vitality and life force.  Gathering of magical power for formation into willed result.  Increase in magnetism.  Development of second sight.

Personal thoughts on and associations with Laguz

This rune has hit me in a strange but relevant time in my life.  I’ve been healing from my own mental problems, but at the same time been confronted with a lot of thoughts and considerations involving my spiritual and religious beliefs.  The difference is that, in the past when confronted with the same doubts, it would start a depressive or anxiety cycle.  Now it’s like a world of opportunities.

This is also a magically significant rune for me.  The way I do magic is as much about the flow leading up to the needed change as it is about the change itself.  Laguz teaches how to better get into that flow to manipulate it and ready it for change.

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • Runelore by Edred Thorsson
  • Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
  • Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
  • Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn

Mannaz – Initial Rune Study

Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.

 Week 20: Mannaz

Basic meaning:  Man, Mankind

Further meanings:  The Self; the individual or the human race.  Your attitude towards others and their attitudes towards you.  Friends and enemies, social order.  Intelligence, forethought, creation, skill, ability.  Divine structure, intelligence, awareness.  The stave of the perfection human being.

Divinatory meanings:  References a person or group of people (family, organization, city, etc).  May indicate some kind of aid or cooperation coming your way.

Reversed/Merkstave meanings:  Depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion.  Cunning, slyness, manipulation, craftiness, calculation.  Intellectual arrogance, bigotry.  Expect no help.

Magical uses:  This is the rune of the rational mind, of the perfected intellect melding reason with intuition.  Can be used to attract support in one’s peer group.  Combines well with Ansuz to win intellectual arguments or to pass an exam.  Use to understand the divine structure within humans.  Increases in intelligence, memory, and mental powers generally.  Balancing the poles of personality.  Unlocks the mind’s eye.

Personal thoughts on and associations with Mannaz

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve really been losing steam on this study.  I guess that’s to be expected after five months of it.

It’s coinciding this time with yet another spiritual crossroads.  They happen to me more often than I’d like, but still to be expected considering my path is still in the very early phases of development.

This rune has helped me face my own humanity again and acknowledge, even embrace, the limitations which go along with that.  I struggle with depression, so sometimes small faults or failings become extremely big in my mind and trigger a downward spiral of social anxiety and eventually deep anger and self-loathing.

Sometimes it’s really difficult to be a part of the Tumblr pagan community, especially starting a path and trying to find your own way.  Besides the daily drama of people regularly pissing other people off, there’s also the constant reminder that there are so many people out there who have much greater abilities.  I’m headblind and earthbound and filled with more than a healthy dose of skepticism in all things, so you can imagine what a perfectionist like me goes through when browsing pagan-related tags and blogs.

But Mannaz reminds you that all of these aspects are a part of being human.  The same people who will put you down one day will often lift you up the next.  It’s like that in any group where you have intelligent strong-willed people, whether it’s work, a club, school, your own circle of friends… you name it.  Mannaz helps me see through my own emotions which will flare up very often in social situations and help me see the useful parts of human relationships.

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • Runelore by Edred Thorsson
  • Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
  • Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
  • Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn