Archives For Arianrhod

What’s in a name? Or, for that matter, what’s in a thing?

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Gates to the Forests

October 22, 2014 — 1 Comment

Rain-soaked streets fill the streams of the forests. Updates on the book, the Pilgrimage, Gates, and gods.

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Apparently, I’m going to New Grange for Midwinter Solstice.

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The second in my series, “Where They May Be Found,” is posted on A Sense of Place.  Last week’s was on Brân; this one’s on Arianrhod:

You can see yourself, shadowy but there, an image I suspect closer to “truth” than the ones we see in polished surface. When I feel unwell, or lost in the world, I stare at myself like this and smile.

But I’m not the only vision in the water, and never the most interesting.

She’s on the surface, and I don’t know how this works. She’s what becomes of the sky in water, silver and blue like the kingfisher. The sky before storms, the sky after storms, so many blues that people just shrug and call it grey.

Stars are balls of flaming gas if animals are mere food and trees are mere fuel, humans mere workers and puddles mere bits of water.

I really, really liked writing this one, except I still feel no closer than I was after writing Arianrhod, The Crown of The North.  I feel like the mind breaks a bit when attempting to comprehend Her, some deeply speaking silence that can’t be described no matter how many words I try to throw at it.

A few days ago, I stood on a bridge and stared at the sky in the water, and then the water in the sky, and then rode off to pick flowers for an offering to her.  I wanted blues, but it seemed she wanted purples, and each one I picked led me closer to the one flower I know she always accepts–chamomile.  But the purples came to me last year–one of the other figures with her (I don’t know how this works), who is one of the beings who occasionally teaches me some spell or another (I also don’t know how this works–if you’re looking for profound wisdom, please go elsewhere) likes purple.

I offer her mead and chamomile on my altar.  There’s a bouquet of purple flowers (including grass-heads) and chamomile with a bit of mead in the water of the jar they sit in on my altar at the moment.

That’s all I know, though, thus far.  There are people who’ve done extensive work for Dionysos and The Morrigan and Brigid and Odin, but with the exception of some closed-off witch-cults, there’s almost no public writing about Arianrhod beyond an occasionally kinda awfully useless “get in touch with your inner goddess archetype” stuff.

Regarding Patheos

As a side note, several people have noted that a few other queer polytheists have left Patheos recently and have asked if I intend to do the same.  While I utterly support their decisions to leave, my emphatic answer is “no.”

If I ever do so, it’d be on account of my qualms over writing for free for a corporate religious site.  I guess many of the rest of you see advertisements when you view the site–I’ve been using an ad-blocker for years now, and I’d really suggest you do the same.  It’s absurdly simple.  There may also come a time when I can no longer “afford” to write for free for that site, but that will be awhile, I suspect.

As to other matters of concern–there are some awfully abusive bourgeois fucks in the Pagan “establishment,” who get away with some horribly misogynist and condescending things not just on that site, but pretty much everywhere they go on account of mixed contributions they made to American Paganism 20 years ago as well as apparent access to “essence” or “legacy” or whatever it is that they claim.

And I’m a fucking anarchist, so you know what I think of such things.  Letting them bully people around, dismissing everyone having “direct” experiences with the gods rather than going through their archetypalist (and old-white-man) traditions, belittling others’ embodied-gender experiences and effectively silencing them is precisely what I won’t be letting them do to me.

Could the editor of the Patheos Pagan site (who has also become my friend) do more to stop this? Possibly 

But she’d also have to figure out a way to change all of American Paganism, with its disgusting reverence and sniveling fear of distinguished white men and its insistence on having all the benefits of middle-class, bourgeois life while also wanting to be nature-y and goddess-y but not changing a fucking thing.

I don’t think that’s in her job description.  But I’m beginning to suspect that’s what’s in ours.


Shadow or Song?

March 26, 2014 — 5 Comments

You know you’re doing it right when random street graffiti starts making sense

Showing signs from the gods

Like distorted images in a mirror

From Strange Spirits , by Jeremiah Lewis


Photo by Alley Valkyrie

I don’t know what to make of this place.

I’ve been in Eugene a little over three weeks now. In that time I’ve glimpsed an Alder-spirit, felts ripples of wyrd off a bit of a stream surrounded by industrial waste, and have been caught up by what I can only describe as a whirlwind of synchronicity or a hurricane of meaning.

But my soul feels a bit small for this, my mind untrained, my heart a little weak.  Perhaps the only part of me which has had no trouble adapting is my flesh, which likes the feel of the ground below its feet, the smell of the air, the chill brushing of wind across my skin, the cold water of the Willamette as I crossed the other day to an island, the sharp sting of mending cuts from bramble and stone.

Sorting through old emails today I chanced upon one of the countless messages I compiled in preparation for my pilgrimage last year.  All of that seemed…easy.  Five weeks roaming around ancient paths, sleeping on druid hills and collecting stones and stories in a foreign but familiar land was a bit easier, or made more sense, then the last three weeks here in a very familiar yet utterly foreign place.

Something lingers in this land, and it is open, and it is not happy.  I recalled to a friend the other day how the spirits of Quimper would not let me leave without a vow, and oaths are really not to be made lightly.  I make few of them, and have learned to be more careful, because spirits mean it more than people do.

I’m drinking hot cocoa to warm my soul against the winds from the otherworld.  I feel a bit exposed.  I think a Jottan punched someone in the gut to get my attention, I suspect Arianrhod really meant it when she said I should learn magic.  I still think on how my 3 year old nephew saw me in a dream on Imbolc licked on the face by a great bear with her cubs.

I went to an island the other day thinking about Brân the Blessed.  We had to ford a bit of a river to get there (translate my name from Welsh if you’re interested, and then explain to me why it was given to me in a dream in a castle if you know, because I fucking don’t) and I’m grumpy because I can’t figure out why I thought Brân would have any interest in such a thing until we are about to cross over and I’ve got a walking stick and my friend doesn’t and then our nudist guide on the island suggests I give her the staff, or “just lay down in the river and the others can cross over you.”*

Hot cocoa doesn’t make sense of shit.

Why’d all these eco-anarchists come from here?  It ain’t the water, but it might be the spirits playing in the streams and hiding in the trees.  I’m particularly worried about several visions I got in ritual, “scrying” the gates of the year, and one in a very dark place where there could be no wind ever.  Down into the earth, the other earth, the shadows from whence springs the chthonic, and I’m at a gate and a man is explaining something before someone can pass through that gate.  And I told him, when he asked that I understood, but you know what?  Honestly I don’t.

No.  I do.  Just that part of me I don’t always listen to, that aspect who taught my friend to shapechange in his dreams and made him eat flowers, the aspect who said “hey–move to Eugene” and so I did.  He knows what’s up.  The other part of me, the one who can’t drink enough hot cocoa and shouldn’t drink tea this late has no fucking clue.  But the one who knows smiles at me pretty often, so it’s mostly okay.

The gods are everywhere.  The world is full of spirits, and I know very well why some wish to wall them out, as if disenchantment were a disinfectant spray to make pristine our beige-walled cages.

Eugene is Divine Trauma all over again, and I feel fucking fantastic.


*For those unfamiliar with Brân, he laid himself across the sea so that his armies could cross him in order to rescue Bronwyn.