Report from a Windy Place

The winds are blowing hard. Last night they howled and moaned, things clattered and knocked about outside. A light rain falls. A storm is expected tomorrow. It seems to reflect things happening far away in the national ‘center’. I think of David Abram’s intuiting of the wind as spirit. This has been a difficult year on a personal level. When you have a local focus and animistic practice big moves, changes of geography and ecology are painful. At times I have been nearly overwhelmed with what the French call mal du pays (yes, the French have a much better word for what English makes do with homesickness; readers of Haruki Murakami, that animist novelist, will recognize this term, and know Lizt has a musical piece by this name). Local spirits left behind. Meeting new ones, but that takes time.

 

Things are shifting, realignments occurring on the macro-level. This is happening within our pagan/polytheist communities as well. Unpleasant things have come to light this year, things that weren’t exactly invisible before, but like seeing peoples’ masks slip, and seeing such ugliness revealed.

 

Rootedness is good for animism, good for learning ecological ways. But uprooting can be needed, so a god tells me. And there are much greater ones, much greater uprootings. I received rebuke (it hurt), my complaints getting in the way of doing the work. The storm warning says trees will be downed. Be prepared. Stock up on water, batteries…

 

A god shows me we must make otherworld sanctuaries, places not of this world. With our gods-given gift of imagination we co-create these places. They will be needed.

 

The winds blow harder. I am much more aware of the sky here. The stars. Much of my practice has long been deeply earth-focused (and still is) but the sky is becoming more prominent. There are times for flight. I receive lessons. I watch the birds, especially the white ones. At times it is necessary to fly high above the cloud layers, above the storms to high mountain summits, to the Cities of Knowledge, to the abodes that shine with the light of the Shining Ones.

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We need to unleash the imbas, the awen, the intuitive flows. I touch the odd vitreous substance of the castle walls. There are others here too, others heeding have flown here.

 

I went up on the mountain, almost to the summit. Iron-red and black cinder all about. I was light headed, this one was this-worldly but not really, it all intersects, the heavens and the earth. Some build bridges with science, some with poetry. I was oxygen deprived, I was drunk, the light was tangible. Poetry flit in the thin air, the god wanted me to go there for a long time, I could see for two hundred miles. It’s necessary at times to go high above the cloud layers above the storms to high summits.

 

 

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In Honor of a Sacred King

This post got delayed due to the horrific massacre in Orlando.

There’s been some discussion here and there this year of sacral kingship, including something on this blog awhile back https://finnchuillsmast.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/sacral-kings-traditions-defense/ …. Here in Hawai’i, Kamehameha the Great is such a king who maintains a kind of guardianship over the islands to this day. On Saturday, June 11th, I had the opportunity to celebrate the king’s birthday (a state holiday). In the little town of Kapa’au stands a statue of this sacral king who spent part of his childhood in the vicinity. On his day, huge leis (20 feet long) are offered up to him, among other offerings early in the morning, followed by a parade and other festivities, including traditional chanting. Quite inspiring.

http://www.kamehamehadaycelebration.org/statue-ceremonies.html

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The statue itself has an intriguing history, having been created in Paris in 1878, put ona ship that sank off the Falkland Islands and was eventually salvaged and placed in Kapa’au in 1912. Kamehameha, who was born around 1736, unified the archipelago and navigated the kingdom through the treacherous waters of international relations during the late 18th century and early years of the 19th. Kamehameha authored the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protected rights of non-combatants in war. He is very much the object of reverence in various sites associated with his life. In a story reminiscent of other sacred heroes as a boy/young man he was able to lift a stone that prophecy could only be lifted by the would be king. The stone stands in front of Hilo’s public library today and receives offerings.

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The stone in front is the stone the young to-be king lifted.

A Creek Wakes Up

There’s a tiny creek in a park near here that I only discovered last summer. It has experienced restoration and native plant planting (this was once a military base) and certain stretches felt very enspirited. But in my acquaintance so far it had been dry. There have been a number of showers since the end of the last month and a soaking rain the night before last and I wondered if this had already had an impact. So on the way home from work I drove through the park and walked down to the creek. Quick growing plants have cast a soft green cloak over the land, but at first I couldn’t see any flowing water. Then I walked carefully down to the channel and there it was, a ribbon of fast flowing water. A little thrill ran through me. I greeted the creek and introduced myself as formerly it has been in summer sleep. A small sign of a new cycle. A growing relationship.

 

As a Celtic practitioner, I feel watersheds are so important, we need both knowledge of our local watersheds and to make relationships with them. From the ancient cultures we can know that rivers, streams, lakes, springs and wells were goddesses and spirits; this is certainly a key to seeing how the land should be viewed as sacred, the very water that gives it life alive and worthy of worship. Living in a dry land perhaps I am especially reverent around water. But I believe this is an important foundation in Celtic land ethics. And for those of us in the diaspora one that might take some effort.

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Hail To The Spirits of Storm

As many of you know, California has been suffering from a horrible drought. The last couple days have been very wet, but we’re still only a little over half of average rainfall in San Francisco. To the south, like in San Jose, there’s been even less rain. Here’s my gratitude for the rain:

 

Hail to the spirits of storm

To the pounding ones

To the loud ones

The thunder and lightning wielders

The sonorous and the soaking

(May you visit more often)

And to the wide drinking earth

To the moist soil and the land yearning!

We give thanks to the storm powers

To the life giving rains

May we drink deeply!

Talking About Reconstruction

I promised this a while back, but have been so busy and now realize nearly a month has passed. So…

 I talked about exploring some Celtic practices upon North American land, like encountering the local land goddess in whichever land we live on, working with river and creek deities/spirits, springs and other local spirits; ways of offering to them, based on years of my own experience and experiments. I also talking about what reconstructionist methodology is and what some of the very serious pitfalls are such as the reenactment mindset, being unaware how deeply different we are from ancient peoples, being incognizant of scholarly perspectives and inevitable historiographical interpretations, as well as reading the lore like it was gospel…and discussed the experimental approach as one way to avoid such, and to simply get things going: try something out and see if there is result and what kind of result. Then I opened it up to discussion and sharing. A strong takeaway is that there are religions that have sufficient common ground so it is easy to talk together, and without any apparent misunderstandings, or anything major at any rate. That actual polytheist religions, and not only reconstructed ones of European and Near Eastern origins, but those generated in many parts of the world share so much. Often these are sacrificial and liturgical in orientation, and have profound local affinities; offerings important to all of the ones I have encountered.

 

Although the presentation was scheduled rather late into a Friday night (recon/devotional polytheist events are often scheduled early in the morning or late in the evening or at opening or closing spots when many have not arrived or many have already left), when many convention goers were partying or attending concerts, we staked out a space for serious discussion and interactions that I found encouraging. It was great to hear the experiences of a woman reconstructing Indo-Iranian practices, and the perspectives of heathenchinese (check out his blog at heathenchinese.wordpress.com/), as well as from those with a Celtic focus, and also some heathens. PSV Lupus was there and had plenty of good things to share too (unsurprisingly) Again, the ability to share language and not having terrible times understanding one another’s words is so different an experience from the debates in the ‘umbrella pagan’ sphere (or for that matter at the Wiccanate Privilege session). I find that people involved in various reconstructions (and those who are more engaged in restoration of existing traditions) are able to converse fruitfully.

 

There were people also who attended to simply get some idea of reconstruction. One asked a question that kind of surprised me: Why do reconstructionists want to revive these old traditions? I didn’t actually answer the following, but I thought because old things are really cool! (well, not everything, but you know). I did say a lot of us want something that is different than the dominant culture and its values. Perhaps this is a conceptual divide that is very hard to cross and is one of the difficulties in communicating with eclectic Wiccanate neopagans who want something that easily fits into the superficial instant of the consumer culture.

 

The Wyrd Ways

October and November riches:

October and the start of November held such an overflowing of ritual goodness. Mid-month I celebrated the local wine grape harvest for Dionysos, and the Hermaia Propylaia for Hermes, a modern festival developed by Sannion and Dver, which I’ve done for the several years now. Late at night I wal out with a food offering to a nearby park/golf course, which was once a cemetery (and where the dead can still be felt) Originally, I had UPG that this site had associations with the dead, and then later research verified that this was indeed a former cemetery. I love those confirmations of gnosis! Then came the Sacred Nights of Antinous, followed almost immediately by Samhain. This year I broke it up into components, so to speak. Secular Halloween and the laying out of the ancestor altar on Thursday, a private ritual to one of my gods on Friday, and a Samhain salmon feast and full ritual for the gods and spirits on Saturday.

 

And this Wednesday night (Nov.6) 10PM East Coast time I will be on Wyrd Ways Radio for an interview with the inimitable Sannion, who says “Prepare to have your mind blown by the power of poetry.” Yes, From The Prow of Myth will be talked about.

So tune in at 10:00pm EST / 7:00pm PST on Wednesday, November 6th to listen to the show live.


You can call in at 347-308-8222.

Hope to hear from some of my readers.