I’ve put together a reflection journal of the first 95 stanzas of the Havamal that anyone who is interested can download and print to use. There are various colors available.
Monthly Archives: December 2015
What Sigyn Has Taught Me
Sigyn is perhaps the most understated Goddess in the Norse pantheon. In the Eddas, the only appearance She makes is in the story of Loki’s binding. She holds a bowl to catch the venom that drips from the snake above Him, doing Her best to ease His suffering.
I’ve read articles that describe Sigyn as a passive Goddess and as the embodiment of the traditional wife. I’ve seen Her discussed as someone worthy of disrespect because She stays with Loki despite all of His flaws, despite all of His cheating. That people are so quick to judge the relationship They share by the one mention of Her in the Eddas has always bothered me.
Sigyn isn’t passive, and I wouldn’t say She’s a traditional wife in any sense. She can’t be – look at who She’s married to. Loki would get bored very quickly if Sigyn fit the mold of the traditional wife, but Their relationship is still very solid.
I think what confuses people is the fact that Loki has a lot of godspouses – perhaps more than any other Norse God. People look at that fact and think that means that Sigyn is clueless, that He’s just cheating on her to have a good time.
But that’s because most people don’t approach Sigyn. They don’t try to get to know Her at all. She’s just a minor Goddess, so why does it matter? Even most of the Lokean godspouses I’ve met don’t seem to want to deal with Her – perhaps they are afraid that She would disapprove of them. I don’t know.
What I do know is what Sigyn is like. She’s fiercely loyal to Loki, but She isn’t unreasonably loyal. Though there are those who assume that, since She is the only one who comforted Loki when He was bound.
According to the stories, Loki was bound after His altercation with Baldur. If everyone loved Baldur, then why did Sigyn stay by Loki’s side after He helped orchestra the death of one of the most loved Gods of Asgard?
The most common answer I’ve seen to this question is that Sigyn stayed because She was duty bound to stay by Her husband’s side. And I hate that answer because it assumes that She took on the role of a mindless woman who was so in love with Her husband that She couldn’t see past His horrible act.
If there’s one thing Sigyn isn’t, it’s naive. She knows exactly where Loki goes when He leaves Her alone. She knows all about the godspouses He collects. So, instead of assuming She took on a passive role in the aftermath of Baldur’s death, perhaps the truth is that Sigyn knew exactly what Loki was planning on doing. She knew the reason for Loki’s actions, and She chose to stand by Him because She supported Him and the reasons He gave Her.
It gets under my skin, the way people assume that Sigyn is naive, and I suppose it makes sense that it does. She is the Goddess who understands me best, and the one who helps me understand Loki when His actions don’t make sense to me.
Sigyn is patient, kind, and loyal – but She’s not naive, stupid, or clueless. She has enough faith in the love that She shares with Loki to know that He will always come back to Her, no matter how many godspouses He collects. She knows that He needs His freedom, and, in Her love for Him, she gives Him the freedom to be exactly who He is.
Out of all the lessons Sigyn has ever taught me, that lesson is, perhaps, the most beautiful of them all. She has taught me that love can take on many forms, and that the relationship between lovers depends on their ability to grant one another the freedom to be completely and totally themselves.
So yes, Sigyn knows that Loki has many godspouses, and I’ve discussed it with Her many times – how She can handle knowing that He is out there, forming relationships with so many who aren’t Her. I think the best way that I can sum up what She has said is that while there may be many dalliances along the way, and many broken hearts, there’s only one person who can ever love Loki the way He needs to be loved – with complete and total acceptance of His inability to be tied down to anyone.
By refusing to restrict Him, Sigyn guarantees that Loki will always be loyal to Her – not in the ways of the flesh, perhaps, but in all the ways that matter most. There is no one that Loki trusts more deeply than Sigyn, and, for the trust Loki puts in Her, Sigyn returns that trust with deep loyalty to Him.
While others see Sigyn as a tragic figure – a lonely wife forced to spend a lifetime by the side of Her criminal husband, in lieu of living Her own life – that isn’t how She ever comes across. She has nothing but pride in Her husband, but She doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that Loki’s personality can be hard to handle. The truth is, Sigyn doesn’t love Loki despite His flaws – She loves Him because of His flaws. And that is why, to me, the relationship They share with one another is a beautiful one.
And, even today, when I was making sugar cookies for Her (I don’t know why She wanted sugar cookies, but She did), Loki was hovering and messing around with things, so it ended up taking thirty minutes to bake a ten minute batch of cookies. But Sigyn didn’t get upset or exasperated – and She didn’t seem resigned, either. Her mood was more along the lines of “Yes, husband, I know you like to play with fire, and I like to watch you, so mess around for a bit and get enough of it out of your system for me to have my cookies, then you can play some more and I’ll watch you with cookies in hand.”
That kind of freedom in a relationship is almost impossible to find, and it comes so naturally to the two of Them. I’ve mentioned that I worldwalk before, and I spend a lot of time visiting with Sigyn. Watching Her interact with Loki when He’s there (and it’s not all that often) is incredible. I don’t even have the words to explain how flawlessly synchronized the two of Them are. Some nights, They don’t even speak to each other, but They are never, ever, out of step.
The Etymology of the word God
One of the strongest beliefs I hold is that the original form and meaning of a word contains the most accurate depiction of that word. I believe that the spark humanity contains of divinity is seen most clearly in our unique ability to use language. While animals can communicate with each other, language is unique to humans. For that reason, I believe that the original form of a word contains the purest meaning. In a word’s original form, no dilution has taken place. As a species, we have a tendency to redefine words to suit our purposes, and the meaning of a word can morph.
While I’ve done research on the etymology of the names of a handful of the Norse Gods, I have never researched the etymology of the term “God.” Perhaps because it seemed to me like the meaning should be clear – a God is a deity, and a deity is a divine being. In retrospect, those are concepts that I intuitively understand, but what a God actually is has always been open to interpretation.
So I decided to look into the etymology of “God” and I found a few interesting articles.
The following excerpt comes from https://wahiduddin.net/words/name_god.htm
Oddly, the exact history of the word God is unknown.
All that we know for certain is that the word God is a relatively new European invention, which was never used in any of the ancient Judeo-Christian scripture manuscripts which were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin.
This situation is quite remarkable, since there is a long history of people arguing and fighting over the name of God, yet we don’t even know where the word came from!
According to the best efforts of linguists and researchers, the most common theory is that the root of the present word God is the Sanskrit word hu which means to call upon, invoke, implore.
Nonetheless, it is also interesting to note the strong similarity to the ancient Persian word for God which is Khoda (or Khuda).
I find it fascinating to learn that the word God was never used in any of the original Judeo-Christian scriptures. That implies that the word God isn’t Judeo-Christian in origin, which is intriguing (and ironic), considering how synonymous the term God has become with the Judeo-Christian theology.
Seeing that the most common theory about the etymology of God being the Sanskrit word hu, meaning “to call upon, invoke, or implore,” is interesting because it’s verbal in nature. If a God can be defined as a process, that makes exploring the nature of a God much more complex.
The other theory mentioned was that the word God is very similar to the Persian Khoda/Khuda.
The etymology of Khuda is as follows:
The term derives from Middle Iranian xvatay, xwadag meaning “lord”, “ruler”, “master” (written as Parthian kwdy, Middle Persian kwdy, Sogdian kwdy, etc.). It is the Middle Iranian reflex of Avestan xva-dhata- “self-defined; autocrat”, an epithet of Ahura Mazda. The Pashto term Xwdāi (خدای) is a New Iranian cognate.
There isn’t enough evidence in support of this theory for me to view it as being the best one to invest in – from what I could gather, the term Khuda is synonymous with the word God as it is used today, but research into its etymology shows no direct link between the word khuda and the word God.
Turning back to the potential etymology for the word God, I went to the Etymology Online Dictionary, which is a great place to begin any research into the etymology of a word.
Old English god “supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person,” from Proto-Germanic *guthan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- “that which is invoked” (cognates: Old Church Slavonic zovo “to call,” Sanskrit huta- “invoked,” an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- “to call, invoke.”
But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- “poured,” from root *gheu- “to pour, pour a libation” (source of Greek khein “to pour,” also in the phrase khute gaia “poured earth,” referring to a burial mound; see found (v.2)). “Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound” [Watkins]. See also Zeus. In either case, not related to good.
Popular etymology has long derived God from good; but a comparison of the forms … shows this to be an error. Moreover, the notion of goodness is not conspicuous in the heathen conception of deity, and in good itself the ethical sense is comparatively late. [Century Dictionary, 1902]
Originally a neuter noun in Germanic, the gender shifted to masculine after the coming of Christianity. Old English god probably was closer in sense to Latin numen. A better word to translate deus might have been Proto-Germanic *ansuz, but this was used only of the highest deities in the Germanic religion, and not of foreign gods, and it was never used of the Christian God. It survives in English mainly in the personal names beginning in Os-.
I have to admit that I have a fondness for etymological dictionaries, as they are much more reliable sources than common dictionaries due to how much research must go into every term.
Since the Sanskrit word huta has been mentioned before, let’s start by taking a look at the fact that the word huta is an epithet of Indra.
Indra is the supreme God of the Vedic Gods. He is a war God born to a sky God and an earth Goddess. According to this article, Indra is a Hammer God, which closely relates Him to Thor.
What I am seeing through the lens of etymology is that the term God comes from the Sanskrit huta, (as it is the most supported theory via research from what I have been able to gather), and that the term huta refers to Indra, one of the first Gods of the Vedic religion – a polytheistic religion that predates Hinduism.
In essence, the word God can be traced directly back to one of the oldest Gods of one of the oldest polytheistic religions in the world. That, to me, is a fascinating truth.
I’ve created a page to house links to the various articles I read on other blogs that are thought-provoking or intriguing. Some deal with the debates within the Pagan community, while others deal with the way different people walk their own paths.
If there is an article / blog post that you think I should take a look at and/or respond to, let me know.
In Heathenry, there’s only two forms of “accepted” magical practice – Rune magic (Galdr) and trance magic (Seidr).
Trance magic sounds like it should encompass multiple types of trancing, but seidr refers to a specific type of trance that requires a staff and usually people around to protect the body of the person who trances. It’s almost always done by women, which is why practicing it causes certain Gods to be called “unmanly.”
I honestly don’t know too much about Seidr – it’s hard to find good sources on the subject. But that’s not really what I want to talk about today.
Magic is varied, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to practice it. And, as a Heathen, there are hundreds of people who will tell me that my magic isn’t Heathen in nature, that I’m stepping outside the bounds of my faith. I’m not just saying that – I’ve had it happen.
According to some Heathens, elemental magic has no place within this faith. Yet I can feel the power in the earth, in the wind, in water, and in fire, and those powers are all different from each other – yet all interconnected. Perhaps it’s because I came to Heathenry 10 years after I came to Paganism – I had ten years to develop my magic without worrying about whether or not I “fit” within any group. After all, during the first ten years I was Pagan, I was eclectic.
I could lie and say that it doesn’t bother me that other people in my faith will never accept the way I practice as valid – I have been told by many people over the years that I’m not allowed to call myself Asatru or Heathen, but that I have to use the label of Norse Pagan. But you know what?
The people who have said those things to me aren’t part of my kindred – to find the right kindred for me, I would have to create it. There’s a reason Odin is the patron God of both outcasts and rulers. It is possible to have the disposition for both.
I learned a long time ago, in my mundane life, that if I wanted to fit into a group, I had to create the group myself. I end up leading organizations because it’s the only niche where I fit. Every time I try to follow someone else’s lead, just my presence leads to friction and problems. Yet none of that friction occurs when I take charge.
It’s a weird contradiction in my nature. A contradiction, by the way, which is literally written in the stars. My birth chart shows the conflict clearly, and it’s a difficult way to live. Because to get close to people, I have to take charge of situations. And I don’t always want to. Most of the time, I feel like it would be better for someone else to lead, for someone else to take the reigns, and I try my best to do what everyone else seems to do so naturally – I suck at ducking my head and not making waves.
So, of course, that spills over into my faith. I don’t need to take charge in a faith where the path is individually determined. But because of the conflict within my person, I can’t belong to a kindred. At least, not if I don’t create one. I’m not confident enough about my path to create my own kindred – it somehow feels like too big of a dream, too big of a goal, and it makes me feel like I’m being arrogant to even want to try.
A large part of that, however, is that so many Heathens over the years have ridiculed the way I walk my own path. I don’t adhere to strict reconstructionist values, and I venture outside the two “acceptable” forms of magic on a consistent basis.
I use multiple divination tools – the runes, astrology, numerology, and I’ve even messed around a little with the I Ching (which I haven’t learned, but seems pretty coool).
I’m a natural born empath, which is really the same thing as a shaman, but I’m not supposed to use that label either. Ironic, isn’t it, how the labels we would apply to ourselves are the labels others insist we can’t use?
The reason I work with Freyja when it comes to magic is because the strength of my empathic gift is one only She can help me with. I have days when a single word in a commercial can trigger an overwhelming response – is it really any wonder I hate watching the news?
I don’t talk a lot about my emotions here or anywhere else because they run too deep. That’s the price I pay for the gift I was born with. That’s why I cultivate as much patience as I can. I can get irritated over stupid things just like anyone else, but I can count on one hand the few times I’ve allowed myself to get truly angry. Imagine having to control your emotions that tightly – 28 years, and less than five times of true anger. And that anger,when roused, is always in defense of another. The first time was in defense of my sister, and the others in defense of friends.
I also don’t talk much about my empathy because (really, is there anything I do the “right” way?”) is different than how other empaths experience the gift. Yes, I can get emotional. But a lot of empaths, especially those who are natural born and don’t understand their gift or how to control it, end up being victims because they feel like they can’t say no to people who have a problem. Because an empath’s primary need is to help heal other people’s souls. That’s what empathy really is – soul healing.
And, personality wise, I’m aggressive. I don’t take shit from people, and I never have. I don’t shy away from hurting people’s feelings, so I am as honest as I can be, even if it hurts them, and, in turn, hurts me.
There are many disadvantages to being empathic – always being aware of other people’s emotions can be draining, especially because there are moments when another person’s awareness can bleed into mine. That’s why so many empaths typically have trouble figuring out their emotions – they don’t know how to separate their emotions from the emotions of the people around them. That’s dangerous, and it can drive a person crazy. There is no such thing as a safe gift.
Of course, there are advantages to the gift as well. I can always tell if someone’s lying to me. I can tell if someone’s anxious or angry. I can diffuse potentially violent situations by soothing emotions (which should never be done except if a life is in danger; manipulating the emotions of others is unethical). I can also see through the masks people wear. And, when I need to, I can read people down to their souls.
When that happens, it’s either a request or a compulsion. I don’t try to do soul readings on everyone I meet – they are exhausting. But sometimes they happen because their soul hits mine and needs the reading – even if the conscious mind doesn’t realize it yet. I’ve freaked people out with that – no one likes having the deepest part of themselves exposed. And when I see someone’s soul, what I see is the original wound – the first fracture that occurred due to an intense emotional trauma of some sort. Not everyone has these wounds, but many people do. Far more people have an original soul wound than those who don’t.
Ironically, with as steeped as I am in magic, I distrust a great deal of other practitioners. Not because I don’t believe in magic – I obviously wouldn’t practice it if I didn’t believe in it. No, the reason I distrust a lot of other practitioners is because so few of them are as strong as they think they are. Even with things as simple as divination.
I’ll use divination as an example, as it is probably the most accessible form of magic that there is. Everyone, to some degree, can perform some type of divination. I’ve had multiple people do readings for me, and I’ve opened myself up completely to those readings (I always start with the assumption that the practitioner is skilled in their art). In the myriad readings I’ve had done for me, only two have ever been accurate.
I feel, sometimes, that magic is a lonely art. But it isn’t always. I’ve only had a couple occasions to practice magic in group settings. The first time was disappointing, but the second time was amazing, and it was fairly recent. Perhaps it was because I took charge of it, but the synergy between me and the two people I was working with was insane, and neither of them had a background similar to mine in terms of magic. Perhaps it was because we were all so different that the energy flowed better – maybe that’s how my magic works in groups. I don’t know – like I said, I’ve only had a chance to do magic in a group twice in my life.
I guess, if I had to put it in perspective… and I’ll still use divination as the example here, as, like I said, it’s the most easily accessed type. Most people who do readings for others need time to recuperate after doing a single reading. That time varies, but it’s usually around ten to fifteen minutes. Because of my constant connection to the people around me (due to the empathic gift), I can do back-to-back readings for half a dozen people before I need to rest, and, even then, I don’t need to rest for more than a couple minutes before I can do another round of the back-to-back readings.
I have, in essence, what amounts to too much magic within me, and it terrifies me more than anything, despite knowing that there are others who would envy me for the gift. It isn’t something I would recommend envying – yes, the Gods communicate with me more frequently than others, but that also means I am more beholden to Them than others. I have to deal with not only my problems here, in this world, but also help with problems in the other worlds. There is a ton of responsibility that comes with bearing this type of gift, and it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed by it sometimes.
I sometimes try to do guided meditations, but they always go wrong. I always get tripped into world-walking, even when that’s not my intent. There was one that I did awhile ago concerning the elements. It was supposed to show you which elements you had an affinity for.
The first part of the meditation was to picture myself on beside a lake with a bonfire and to approach the bonfire and feel the warmth in an attempt to discover how well fire suited me. To be fair, I already knew my affinities before I started this meditation, but I wanted to see how things played out.
That part went fine, then I had to go into the lake and see how wide it was – that was supposed to tell me how deep my magical reserves ran, as well as how much affinity I had for water. Before I even hit the water, the shore I was on turned into a beach and the lake became an ocean. While I have an affinity for water, the fact that the lake turned into an ocean told me that my magical reserves are far greater than even I realized, and the truth of that terrified me (and honestly, still does).
Then I was supposed to go into the woods, but by this time Loki had made his appearance and was being very distracting in the way only Loki can be (which, while always fun, made it rather difficult to focus on the meditation). Which meant that as soon as I was in the woods, I was world-walking. Into a forest in Svartalfheim, which, trust me, is not a place anyone wants to go. Before I went into the woods, by the way, Loki gave me a sword to use, so that was pretty awesome. Still, the woods in Svartalfheim are terrifying. Without my magic, I wouldn’t have survived – I have absolutely no doubt in that. I can’t talk about what I was called there to do, as I swore an oath, but suffice it to say I was called there to help someone.
I suppose what I’m trying to say in this post, which seems to have wandered in multiple directions, is that magic is dangerous, and it shouldn’t be played with. Even Loki, who has an incredibly playful personality, treats magic with respect.
Yet, I see many people who think magic is little more than a game. People don’t realize how much weight every word uttered in prayer has or how much a spell wrongly spoken can cost. There are those out there who have told me that I take magic too seriously, that it’s not as dangerous as I suggest, and those words, to me, are a mark of someone who doesn’t have much power. Because those of us who do have strong magical reserves are aware of how powerful the forces are that we’re manipulating, and it’s impossible to be too careful when using magic.
I’m excited. I finished the introductory Heathen course for the school. I’m actually rather surprised by how well it turned out in terms of appearance. RCampus is an interesting portal, that’s for certain.
Please follow these instructions to join [Heathenry 101]:
- Go to http://www.RCampus.com
- If you are already a member of RCampus.com, please login and go to step 2
- If not a member, select sign up on top
- Create login information, and press [continue]
- Complete your profile, and press [save]
- From top menu select classroom, and from side menu select join class
- Enter the following codes:
- class ID : 139692
- Access Code : HN101
The course is self-paced, but it’s not self-study. There are no due dates on the assignments, but the course is set up where I will end up awarding points for each assignment.
Whether you’re interested in taking the course or just on seeing how I have things arranged and giving feedback, I’d be honored to have some of my readers sign up.
Also, if you’re not interested but know of someone who is, feel free to provide them with the information above.
The course is free, and it will always be free.
I’ve talked before about the fact that I do a lot of dreamwalking. That process isn’t always within my control – sometimes one of the Gods seizes control of my dreams and sends me to weird places. When that happens, I often have trouble interpreting what message it is that the deity in question is trying to get across to me.
The Norse Gods are like raging storms of power, no matter which deity we’re talking about, so having my dreams seized by one of Them always leaves me exhausted and pretty much worthless the next day. I’ve mentioned before that the Norse Gods found me rather than the other way around when I started on this path.
I may not have been 100% clear on how that happened. I’ve mentioned the dream I had that featured the Valknut (thus, Odin taking control of the dream), but I’ve never discussed how violent that dream actually was. In the dream, I was me but a past reincarnation of myself (Odin’s dreams with me almost always deal with my past lives). In the dream, I was a male, a father of three boys, and I was in a Viking-style longboat. My sons were with me. A violent wave crashed over the boat, and one of my kids fell into the water. Even though I couldn’t swim and was terrified of drowning, I immediately jumped into the water and managed somehow to save my son – at the expense of my own life. When I looked up from the water (I didn’t experience the sensation of actual drowning in the dream), there were three longboats above the water somehow (impossibly, but still somehow) positioned in the shape of the Valknut.
The last dream I had where Odin took control was also another dream dealing with a past live – in this one, I was also a man. I was an ancient Sumerian warrior, a leader of one of the armies. In this one, Odin was actually physically present, although I have to say that his outfit was one of the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen. He was on Sleipnir the whole time, but he was wearing a red and white checkered bandanna over his blind eye. In the dream, my army had just captured an enemy city, and we were standing on the top of a fortress wall. I gave orders to kill everyone in the enemy army, and then civilians were brought up and asked a series of questions that determined whether or not they were allowed to live. It was brutal, and I had no mercy in me.
Now, as violent as these dreams are, I can process them and understand them because Odin’s messages are almost always about my past lives. When they aren’t, then the dream consists of both Odin and Loki, and Loki communicates with me without any trouble. There’s no interpretation to be done – He’s very straightforward. So, in those dreams, Loki essentially acts as a translator of sorts. Or I will hear a conversation between Odin and Loki that is in actuality a message intended for me.
When Freyja wants to communicate with me, She does so from deep within my psyche. She directly connects to that, and She uses the empathic language I understand (being a natural born empath) to communicate Her message through feelings. I can then interpret those feelings into words and understand what She needs me to know.
Lately, though, I’ve been having dreams that involve Hela. While I have a great deal of respect for Her, as I do all of Loki’s children, I don’t follow Her path, and I don’t make regular offerings to Her. Despite that, my dreams recently have been plagued with Her presence in subtle ways that I can’t quite seem to grasp. I don’t know if that She’s just too different from me, or what, but it is supremely frustrating to know that She is trying to communicate with me and not being able to comprehend the message She is trying to send.
There are little hints of death in a great deal of my dreams lately, but there are two dreams that stick out to me because they are the ones where I felt Her most clearly. In the first, I witnessed the head of a female woman with black hair and ivory pale skin roll down a pile of bones – the head wasn’t attached to a body. That’s all that dream was.
In the second dream, I was standing in the middle of a city covered in an ashen winter – it was cold, but the snow on the ground was volcanic ash. Hela stood in front of me. The reason I knew it was Her was because I could only make out half of Her body – the other half distorted every time I tried to bring it into focus. And I couldn’t help trying to bring it into focus – the dead half of Hela seems to both attract and repel at the same time, and I found that rather intriguing. Anyway, before She could talk to me and tell me what it is that she needed from me, grotesque grey creatures with very slinky limbs (able to contort in disturbing ways) with greedy eyes and mouths full of terrifyingly sharp fangs started to swarm up from the sides of the street, and the connection was lost.
I’ve never felt so frustrated about being unable to communicate properly with a deity before – even the deities whose paths I don’t walk, like Thor, sometimes communicate to me in my dreams. Although Thor only does so begrudgingly, to be fair.
If anyone has insight into this, that would be awesome, but I mostly wanted to share this because I feel like it’s important that those people who aren’t Gods-touched know that those of us who are Gods-touched can have difficulty communicating with the Gods. That’s mostly because we’re human, and the Gods are divine beings.
While every human has a spark of the divine in them, lights can be bright and lights can be dim. I’d say that being Gods-touched is being like a bright light, allowing the Gods to find the connection with more ease. The problem, however, is that the Gods aren’t the only non-human entity that divine sparks can draw. That’s why a lot of those who are Gods-touched end up drawing away from any/all spiritual paths – for fear of being driven crazy by hostile entities.
Update on the Heathen School
I was really excited about the adaptiveU platform for hosting a school, but it’s incredibly difficult to work with. I’m good with software (not with hardware, though – don’t ask me to build you a computer) and can generally figure out how a program works within 10 – 20 minutes.
Working with the platform was really frustrating – not because it was hard to navigate. No, the platform is really easy to navigate. The problem is that it doesn’t save anything properly, so there are obviously glitches in the programming that need to be sussed out.
I am still creating a school – I’m just using a different platform – rcampus. It has an incredibly old school internet feel, which I absolutely love. I thought I’d hate it, but I actually find myself enjoying seeing the internet the way it used to look way back in the 90s. A bit of retro with the modern age is pretty cool.
Anyway, this platform works differently because I have to fully create a course before I can publish it. Once I finish writing this course (I’m maybe halfway through it – it’s an introductory course), I’ll share the link and the access code.
I’m either overly ambitious or completely crazy, but I found a way to create an online school. Since it has always bothered me that there has never been a truly free platform for Heathen learning, I decided to create one myself.
I have named the school “Diverse Heathens University” because I follow an eclectic path, and the main purpose of the school will be to teach people enough about Heathenry to create their own unique style of Heathenry.
I only have one “Challenge” up so far – the way that the platform is set up, a class is considered a group of challenges, and a lesson is a challenge – but I wanted to go ahead and announce this because one of the really cool things about the platform I’m using is that it allows me to have an unlimited number of instructors.
I can’t access premium features without paying to use the platform, but the free package comes with space for an unlimited number of teachers and 250 students (called peers on the platform). There is also space for 750 total lessons on the basic (free) plan.
The reason that the lessons are set up as challenges is because students can earn points towards any items placed in the school store. I’m not personally planning on selling any items, but I know I have a few people who read my blog who do sell items of their own.
If you’re reading this and you’re a craftsy type who sells your own art, then I ask you to consider joining the school as an instructor. You would be able to choose to sell it for real world money or for points earned via the lessons you decide to teach. That invitation also applies to anyone who reads this and would simply like to teach, not just those with crafts to sell.
Also, if you are interested but afraid that you don’t know enough to contribute as an instructor, I’ll tell you right now that you’re not giving yourself enough credit. It would be nice to see a school of Heathenry that is centered around celebrating the independence and diversity we each bring to the path – for that reason, I believe everyone has something to offer.
If this sounds like an interesting concept to you, at least check out the website, which I linked above and you can also access here. Sign up for an account and review the first challenge/lesson I’ve posted.
If you decide you are interested, send me an email or leave your email in the comments so that I can give you admin status on the site. I don’t know where this particular path will lead, but I think it’s worth finding out!
I’ve added a few pages to this blog to make things easier to navigate. For a quick run-down:
Edda Page – links to direct English translations of both the Poetic and Prose Edda, as well as links to Old Norse versions
Runes Page – currently only has a diagram of the runes, linked directly to the site where I found it. I plan to add meanings for each of the runes.
Paths Page – I’ve separated out the paths I follow and linked directly to the articles I’ve written that discuss each path.
Perspectives Page – Here is where you can find the articles I’ve written about the more controversial topics in Paganism and Heathenry, as well as the articles on my more general outlook.
Sagas Page – links to direct English translations (Icelandic versions when I couldn’t find an English translation). Bear in mind that there are more Sagas than the ones listed.
Virtues Page – links to articles I’ve written pertaining to the Nine Noble Virtues.
I’ll probably end up going back through some of these pages and adding links to articles written by other bloggers that fit within the categories. If there is anything that you would like to see me add or you have a particular article you wish to have linked on one of the pages, just let me know. You can do that in the comments or you can use the email address listed on the contact page.
Hearing the Gods
I see a lot of posts from people who desperately struggle to make contact with the Gods, and I’ve seen people completely turn away from Pagan paths out of frustration.
I understand that frustration because I spent ten years unable to properly connect with a pantheon. When the Norse Gods came into my life, it was a disruptive storm. Which makes sense, considering the Norse pantheon is pretty violent overall.
I think that a lot of people have been contacted by the Gods, but that those people don’t realize that the Gods are communicating with them.
A lot of people will dismiss dreams where the Gods are featured, assuming that it’s just their imagination or extreme desire to connect with the Gods creating those dreams.
To be fair, sometimes, that may be true. In my experience, dreams are where the Gods can communicate most clearly. And a dream featuring a true connection with a deity tends to leave me exhausted upon waking.
The dreams from the Gods almost never make sense. I have witnessed Odin and Loki communicating with each other as birds. Most of the dreams where Odin is featured tend to be Him revealing past lives to me. I once witnessed Thor nearly break down Loki’s door to drag Him giant hunting.
While the dreams are interesting, they aren’t the only way the Gods communicate. Each God embodies a certain type of energy. Loki is the easiest example – His energy is fiery, mischievous, and fun. He tends to delight in throwing signs of His presence out at people.
As an example, I was doodling in my notebook during class, and I was writing Loki’s name in word art, and I looked up at my teacher’s hat and the hat had the joker on the bill.
Now, it could be easy to write that off as coincidence, but the Gods love to communicate in subtle, unmistakable ways. Words are too easy to wrongly attribute.
A problem I see people have is that they attempt to approach a God thinking He or She is the one they need to work with. There are tons of people who approach Odin who are unsuited to His path due to temperament incompatibility.
It’s better to approach a God that you can easily see parts of yourself within, as They will be the easiest for you to hear. And you may be surprised at who you end up being most compatible with.
Part of the problem is that there is this desire to be patroned by the most powerful Gods, and some people aren’t suited to those paths.
Nearly every Heathen works with Thor to some degree, but the most interaction I have really had with Him is the conversation where we agreed to respect each other. I’m not suited to His path, and it would be disrespectful for me to force my way onto His path.
The thing that people forget is that a God is a God, and even the most minor Gods are far more powerful than we tend to assume. Look at Ullr, an ancient God of winter that kept Himself relevant by becoming the patron of skiers. Most people would consider Him a minor God, as there is next to no lore about Him, but He is one of the eldest Gods of the Norse pantheon.
A person doesn’t need a patron God, but most Pagans desire one and eventually end up with one. I’m in a unique situation where Odin is my patron, but He doesn’t spend much time talking to me. When He does communicate with me, it’s always important. I’m sworn to Odin, but I’m not close to Him. That’s the role He requires of me.
That’s the other mistake people make. Patrons aren’t necessarily going to be your friend – They choose you because you can fulfill a role They need filled. It’s more like a business partnership.
Now, I have relationships with other Gods, but none of Them are patrons. Loki and Sigyn take on more of a familial role, while Tyr is the one who gives me advice from time to time. Freyja helps me learn magic, and Ullr acts as a guide between worlds.
Each of the Gods I mentioned communicate with me in different ways, but I have to be willing to be open to those communications. Since there is a spark of divinity within humanity, the Gods can communicate with us, but like any spark, that connection must be nursed to life.