May your ancestors bless you in the year to come.
Also, as an admin note, be advised that I’m doing Nanowrimo this year, and so this blog will be less active than normal. Many blessings,
So, Ariadne, what do you want to do?
Ariadne: I want to create rites, initiations, rituals and teachings that will empower humans to stand as equals with the gods.
Thenea: Is that… I mean. How are you going to–? Can humans ever really be equal to the gods?
Ariadne: It depends on how you measure them. You can say, all you want, that you believe that gods are greater than you. In truth, some are. But in truth, some humans are greater than you, too. Do you measure a being, whether human or god, by their power? Their know-how? How famous they are? I measure them by the depth of their compassion for other creatures. I measure them by how easily they lose that compassion when they are faced with circumstances which exceed their power.
What I find is that many gods become cruel in the face of adversity. When resources are scarce, they lose their compassion. They excuse, based on their own sense of entitlement, their use and misuse of sentient beings whom they judge as being less — often not because of anything other than the circumstances of that being’s birth.
Beings who resort to threats, coercion, murder, rape, abrogation of will, and slavery when the going gets tough are at the bottom of the spiritual food chain, as near as I can reason. If a human has conquered that impulse in him or herself — the impulse to overlook empathy and compassion for personal gain — and a deity has not? Yes. In that case, the human is not only equal to the god. The human is greater. If a deity looks at a sentient creature and sees an insignificant spec, rather than a being that is capable of both delight and suffering? It has no empathy. It is less than a human. All other distinctions — of size, of fame, of influence, of power, of intelligence, of specific know-how — these are irrelevant. To me, at least.
I have been mortal, and goddess, and mortal, and goddess again. In all cases I was I. Did I become spiritually inferior because I acquired a physical body? Because I had a mother and a father? No. Rather, I have progressively become more as I have learned the importance of Freedom, of Compassion, of Empathy and Fairness. –Thenea and Ariadne, “Untangling the Golden Thread: Making Sense of Ariadne.”
You really should read all of Thenea’s entry at Magick from Scratch – there’s a LOT in here that Loki says to me, not in the exact same words or phrasing, but the upshot of it is that He is back (along with many Others) is because humans need to be reminded of what is Divine in themselves, and that in doing so, we gain compassion, freedom, love, and equality. I’ve heard this from Freyja and Freyr as well; hearing it from Ariadne doesn’t surprise me, but it does delight me, because I adore Her.
Ariadne’s statement about being mortal, goddess, and yet Herself always strikes a nerve with me – Loki has said that He’s been mortal, and yet He was still Loki, and still a God. I’ve discussed my own doxa about myself and Heiðr/Heith, and aside from saying that I have it, I haven’t told y’all what it means to me. Some of that is because I don’t know everything that it means to me yet – but I do know that it’s not meant to be aggrandizement; it’s meant to help me know what kind of work I’m doing, and that which Ariadne references here – the creation of new mysteries, the drive to help people improve their lives – these are the things that are of interest to me. I’m not interested in being worshiped; I am interested in helping people find the Divine within themselves.
Anything that I would call a Deity does not say “I can do whatever I want to you.” Not because They can’t, but because They wouldn’t. They know better. They can smack us on the ass when we need it in a parental way, but as Ariadne said, “If a deity looks at a sentient creature and sees an insignificant spec, rather than a being that is capable of both delight and suffering? It has no empathy. It is less than a human.”
So, gentle readers, I encourage you today to think about what is Divine in yourselves. Not in a new agey, navel gazing way, but in an active, what have I done to help myself or others? way. What helps you cultivate compassion? How do you balance justice and compassion? How do you deal with anger so that it fuels change without it consuming you?
Overall Grade: A
WBW alternates between autobiographical accounts of Nornoriel Lokason’s encounters with the Unseen and solid, practical advice for newer to intermediate spirit workers. Lokason’s voice is very distinctive, and one that readers will either adore or despise, depending on whether or not they like a more casual, relaxed approach. That’s not to say that Lokason is irreverent or unserious when the topic calls for it – he is candid in his experiences spirit side and their effects on his human life, without taking himself too seriously.
The chapter on psychic hygiene was one I found extremely informative, both in the number and variety of techniques, and also in explaining the underlying reasons why one ought to engage in practices such as grounding, centering, and shielding, regardless of the level of astral or magical work you perform. Lokason talks about the pros and cons of the varying approaches as well as listing a wide variety that a newer practitioner could try in order to determine what works well for their psychic health.
All of these concepts could be presented in a very dreary manner, but Lokason does good work making dense material and concepts accessible to the reader. Topics covered include discernment, warding, shielding, gifts, and reciprocal relationships with Deities.
Lokason also openly discusses how to spot manipulation, gaslighting, isolation, and other cult-like activity in a group or a spiritual leader. This, to my mind, is an incredibly important thing that anyone new to a spiritual community should be aware of, because while we would like to think that our communities are safe havens, there is always a bad apple, and because Paganism does not have a governing body, making our newcomers aware of potential dangers is an invaluable public service.
He talks about how to deal with drama in spiritual communities, and some attitudes that he finds bullying, damaging, or drama-inciting. Finally, Lokason discusses spiritual burnout and how it affected him personally. It’s done in an anecdotal manner, as much of the book is, because there is no one right way to engage with the spirits, and his journey is an interesting read – a variety of practitioners, from new to more experienced may find themselves nodding along at points, because many of his experiences are common in terms of adjusting to expectations from both humans and the Powers. Note: There is explicit discussion of sexual activity with Spirit – not in gory detail, but certainly in adult language. If the F word offends you, you may not want to read this book. However, if you enjoy Lokason’s blog and a relaxed, conversational style, you’ll enjoy this book.
Originally posted on The Serpent's LaBOOrinth:
So, as you might have figured out from me going by the pagan name Nornoriel Lokason, Loki is very important to me.
I talk about Loki far less than I talk about other entities. Really, with the exception of D and some facets of my relationship with Asmodai, I’m pretty reticent talking about my relationships with various gods and spirits, and even with those two there’s a lot I don’t discuss publicly. My reasons for not going into depth about my connection to Whoever will vary from entity to entity (and believe it or not, it’s not to be an elitist gatekeeper).
With Loki… the first and foremost is “it’s complicated”. Loki was the father of my elven past life incarnation (which btw, I am recognized in Vanaheim as presently being), our mother was Cat tribe. (There have been many, many jokes about how our mother should have been Horse…
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Good stuff on various theological terminology.
Originally posted on EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir:
Here are the definitions of the various Theisms and related technical terms as I understand them, with links to Dictionary.com for comparison, when available. Some of these refer to specific movements historically (or at least, they started there), whereas others refer to more general concepts that occur throughout the world. Some of them may be also used as identity labels. The definitions as I give them below describe the concepts themselves, rather than describing people, or experiences.
Theism – Belief in divinity, i.e. God.
Deism – a Rationalist belief in divinity exclusive of the supernatural. i.e. God as First Cause, that which prompted the Big Bang and defined the natural laws of the Universe, but does not intervene outside of those laws.
Atheism – Not believing in divinity, or, more strenuously, a belief that there is no divinity.
Nontheistic – Not involving belief in divinity one way or the other…
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Done in no small part for the amusement of Seren Lebannen and myself, enjoy some Trickster Bingo. Loki is the free space, of course. Collect one Trickster (or have Them collect you) as your winnings.