One day at a time

My latest post for Patheos, One day at a time, on recovery.  Trigger warning for frank discussion of self-injury.

Call for submissions: a devotional to Njord

Of all of the devotionals on the market for different gods and goddesses of the Northern tradition, I have yet to see one specifically dedicated exclusively to Njord, the sea god of the Vanir… a god particularly close to my heart, who has long been dear to me.  His serenity and his wisdom, his generosity, kindness, and gentle humor, have blessed my life over the years.  He has given me and my family gifts of cleansing, renewal, and hope this past year at the Oregon coast, where his presence is powerful; in gratitude, I am stepping up to the plate to put out a devotional book in his honor, a gift of praise, and a way for others to know him and love him.

For this book I am soliciting prayers, poetry, essays on Njord (especially personal experiences with him), and rituals for Njord.  You may make more than one submission – please feel free to submit as much material as you like. This book – The Giving God: a devotional for Njord – will be going out via Ravens Hall Press (Nicanthiel Hrafnhild’s imprint, which released Visions of Vanaheim and will be taking the other three books in my Vanaheim series), with an estimated release date of July/August 2015.  The deadline for submissions is May 1st, 2015.  With your submission I will need:

-the name which you wish to be known under for the book (for example, if you’re writing under a pseudonym)

-a contributor bio

-an address where I can mail a contributor copy when the book is ready for release (see below)

-I will need you to sign a release form, which I will e-mail to you and which can be scanned/photographed and sent to me as an image attachment, or signed via Adobe’s latest release for PDFs, or in lieu of signing a release form, you can in your e-mail (with your submission and info) include a statement of “I hereby authorize Nornoriel Lokason to use this material for his book The Giving God, with credit to (name I have given to use), and fully understand I will not be financially compensated for this material.” signed with your legal name (I will not abuse the info of your legal name, no worries).  For legality purposes I cannot use material of yours if you do not provide me with a release form or a statement in your e-mail authorizing use of your work.

I will provide one contributor copy to each person whose material I use in the book.  Please note that contributing material does not guarantee that it will be included in the book.

You may send your submissions to nornoriel.lokason AT gmail dot com. Please put NJORD DEVOTIONAL in the subject of your e-mail so I know what I’m looking at.

Feel free to spread the word about this book.  Also note that my attitude with this project is that honoring Njord is important, so if you and I have had unfortunate personal history, please don’t feel like you can’t spread the word or contribute something, your work is still welcome, it’s about Njord, not about whatever issue I might have had with you in the past.  (I’m pretty done with any old grudges, anyway.  A life without drama is good.)

Remember that submissions are due no later than May 1st, 2015.  I will periodically post reminders about this project.

Thanks!

Questioning

I’ve had haters call me a special snowflake, and this is just with the shit I talk about.

I also get a lot of people saying they admire my openness, my confidence, etc, and I want to tell you that I’m not as confident as I seem.

I am my own worst critic and skeptic. I am prone to self-doubt and questioning and overanalyzing and nitpicking to death. The doubt/faith struggle has gone on my entire life, because why would an elf incarnate as a PTSD-addled abuse victim with various health problems who lives below the poverty line on a fixed income, their life in full-time service to a religion nobody’s heard of. I shoved my spirit companion under the rug for nine years because I didn’t want to be crazy, and I fought the path I’m currently on and the work that I do (such as the PR job giving information on Vanatru) because I didn’t want to be crazy.

I have been snarked on public forums.  And even without that guess what?  I am keenly aware of how nuts my shit sounds.  I really don’t need anyone else to point that out to me.

So if it sounds like crazy shit, why do I do it?

Since I became pagan in 1995, I have drawn comfort and strength from my walk with the Powers over the years, it hasn’t all been hardship and sacrifice… I am periodically reminded that the Work I do pays for itself.

And beyond that, I’ve had a lot of “spooky” shit happen from childhood on… and more dramatically over the last three years and 2013-2014 most particularly.

Last year, after I was going to take my own life, I was put in a situation where I literally can no longer doubt that my spirit companions exist and that Vanaheim and the Otherworlds are a real place.  But don’t envy me for that. You don’t want to be in the place I was in where that situation happened, where I reached rock bottom.

When I died on the astral in 2013, for the last time (I’ve died astrally before, three times, last year was the last time, the final “break” as it were), my eyes changed color bio-side, from blue to green, which also matched my astral form’s eyes changing color from blue to green.  I have before and after pictures.  It’s pretty unnerving.

Over the last almost six months that I’ve been with D, I have also had… too many experiences I can’t explain by coincidence.  He is, as I’ve noted before, the most immanent entity I’ve ever dealt with.  He is wonderfully and terrifyingly real.  He is the reason why I use “spoop” as a verb (“spooping”, “spooped”).  But there are trade-offs to that.  D complicates my life more than any other spirit I’ve dealt with (and again, this is not a complaint, much as it might sound like one, this is just stating a basic fact).  He proves his existence to me in little ways and sometimes big ways… but I pay for that with all that I am, being his.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world… but there are a lot of people I know who think they might want something like that in theory, but it doesn’t work in practise.  I am a fucking weirdo, I am wired to need something different – I prefer astral companionship to human companionship. I have known a lot of other people over the years who are intensely involved with one or more non-corporeals who have gotten lonely without a human partner and can’t hack the astrals-only thing.

And the thing with struggling less with the doubt/faith cycle than I used to is… the Powers have agency in this world and the Otherworld affects things here, and it isn’t like a sim where you have a reasonably good idea of how the game is going to play even if there are a few variables.  Real shit happens, unpredictable shit, shit that you don’t necessarily want or sign up for. People you get attached to Over There can die or get seriously injured, sick, traumatized, etc. You can die (which doesn’t necessarily mean dying physically, though it can affect you energetically), or at the very least get fucked-up mentally and physically. You can be given responsibilities that you never really wanted to have, and what the “you always get a choice” crowd doesn’t understand is the choice is very much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books where it’s rigged coming out the gate.  And “as above, so below” is a thing.  Vanaheim went through dramatic political upheaval in summer 2012 and again in summer 2013 and every. Single. Person. That I knew who was at the time connected to the Vanir by journeying to Vanaheim and working with the Vanic tribes/individual Vanic elves… had a pretty severe craptasm in their lives at the same time.  As things have calmed down and gotten better in Vanaheim… they have for us, too.

My life has gotten a very big reboot, and it is clear that the hand of wyrd is upon it. My move to Portland was very, very Planned by Lucifer, much as he did not like the circumstances that booted me up here.  I don’t doubt to the degree that I used to.  But I still struggle with fear of the unknown, worrying about fucking things up… because the game is still playing.  I don’t question so much anymore if this shit is really real (which isn’t to say I don’t question ever), but I do still question why, why me, why this, why everything; as I’ve mentioned before I struggle with impostor syndrome.  I don’t think I’m anything or anyone special, I’m just this dude.

If I hadn’t had the big cataclysmic craptasm of 2013, I would still be questioning whether any of this is real, all the time.  I have said before that were it not for the “spooky” experiences I had from childhood on, I would likely be agnostic.  (I am a lot more science-oriented than I let on with this blog.  I am a fanboy of Neil Degrasse Tyson, I find science FASCINATING.)  Speaking as a hard polytheist myself, I see a lot of “woo” oriented people put down atheists and agnostics as well as soft polytheists/pantheists/whatever and the thing is it’s easy to look down your nose at someone for being an “unbeliever” (per hard polytheist standards)… when you have a life shaped by the Unseen and you just know.  Not everybody gets that.  Some people are able to have belief based on faith alone, they never get any moments of speaking directly with the gods, but they still trust that They’re out there… and that’s admirable.  But I’m not going to fault someone who, if never touched by the Unseen, has a difference of perception.  (I do fault people for being dicks.  You can be an atheist without being a dick to people who believe in Whatever.  Likewise, you can be a hard polytheist without being a dick to people who don’t share your belief.)  I know for a fact that my “woo” experiences are the reason why I believe in anything at all.   I’ve struggled with doubt enough even with the doxa I’ve had, I would struggle a lot more with doubt without it.

This post does not have any happy endings, any easy answers. What I am going to tell you is it’s OK to have questions. It’s OK to be afraid. You are not a bad devotee/spirit-worker/etc if you do. I know a lot of people like to say “trust Them” and will act like you’re a big asshole if you are still afraid. But I think it’s natural to be afraid, and to have questions. In fact, the people I’ve known over the years who *never* questioned themselves and their weirdshit, were unsurprisingly the ones to have the biggest ego issues and a sort of fundamentalist hardassery about it, and be dicks to everyone.

I think overquestioning is not good. I overquestioned myself right into “treatment” many years ago that made things worse, that created physical health problems and piled trauma on top of trauma with psychological manipulation and abuse of power dynamics. I overquestioned myself into spiritual abuse and manipulation from others over the years, as well. When you question too much, and you rely on others to validate you and tell you what you are, that is in some ways worse than being overconfident. You set yourself up for being controlled by others, and speaking from experience of some years back, the worst damage is done by the people who mean well, who genuinely think they’re doing a good thing by you and want to help you, but they wind up taking things away from you that you should be doing for yourself… including testing your own gnosis and doxa.  If someone tells you that you have “signal clarity” problems and here let them speak for the gods on their behalf, especially if it’s unsolicited… this is almost always a red flag in my direct experience.

But just having questions and doubts and fears is not bad in and of itself. It’s normal. I will, even as the veil has been lifted hard in my own life, always have fears and doubts. I have had a lifetime of just plain suck and while it’s gotten better in a big, dramatic “what the fuck even happened” kind of way since the big trauma nuke of summer 2013, I will always live in fear of the other shoe dropping. And I think it’s honestly better to err on the side of caution and make contingency plans and keep your expectations low, than not and find yourself in above your head.

It’s a tough balance to be able to trust Them enough to keep going, keep doing, and yet keep a healthy sense of skepticism and reality checks. I don’t claim to have that balance perfected, but I believe there is one, and I believe that balance is necessary.

Quick admin note

I now have a Frequently Asked Questions page which I’d encourage my blog readers to take a poke at, especially if you’re planning on asking me a question about something, your question may probably be answered there.

Tears of a clown

My latest post for Patheos, Tears of a clown, is up.  Trigger warning for Robin Williams, talk of suicide and depression.

I hate that I even have to make this post.

I’m gonna take a moment away from my usual blogging about… my mixed bag of shit, and make a little public service announcement that I really shouldn’t have to make.

There are a couple behaviors that crossed into “creepy and weird” territory and contributed to me burning out on Tumblr and not really using the site much beyond cross-posting my WordPress there, two games I call the “Guess Who Visited Me/Pinged Me Game” and “UPG Chicken Game”.

Super long-ass wall of text post behind the cut (3600+ words), needs the fuck to be said.

(more…)

UPG, apotheosis, and what does community work mean, anyway?

Nornoriel Lokason:

I FUCKING HATE THE “GODSPOUSE IS SUPPOSED TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY” SHIT.

Like, D (He Who Shall Not Be Named, but is a Lore Demon) is the most important entity in my life… and he encourages my writing career? But my relationship with me and D is… about me and D. It’s not about *~service to the pagan community~*. I _am_ a servant in the sense that I do this scribe thing for the Vanir, and like I said, D champions that… but really, there is SO much of my relationship with D that is just… me and him. I kind of resent the idea that I’m supposed to be out there promoting D’s cultus and encouraging people to follow him (he doesn’t fucking _want_ that – this is a BIG reason why he doesn’t want me outing his identity on my blog, because I’m popular/influential and the last thing he wants is an influx of people trying to work with him, he’s very “get off my lawn” with all of that). The most important job of a godspouse/consort/whateverthefuck? (I would identify as D’s consort, specifically.) is the relationship between you and that entity. This is true even if that entity actually wants you to be some sort of public utility – and not all entities want that – the relationship comes first. I really, REALLY, _REALLY_ wish I had this post sent back in time to me in 2008 because it would have saved me SO MUCH FUCKING GRIEF in my relationship with Frey. It wouldn’t have saved the marriage – I was meant for another – but at least it would have cut down on all of the really, really painful bullshit and ensuing burnout. This post needs to be out there, and. Yeah.

I will also say this re UPG chicken – I have gotten a few people privately playing UPG chicken with me where they have guessed if I do/am $THING because I said $SOMETHING and it looks like $THING, and I evade this question because…. it’s not relevant what I am/am not beyond a scribe? Some of it is because people are really, really, really fucking shitty and if you claim to have any sort of Important Work, they think you’re full of hubris; if you claim that you’re not a spirit-worker and you’re just married to a god/boinking them and that’s it, they think you’re full of hubris… you can’t fucking win. But some of it is because, people think if you are public about your woo-stuff that means you have to be public about all of it, or you’re being “elitist” or whatever, and it’s like… I reserve the right to draw up personal boundaries around my private practise, for any reason. Whether that’s because “They told me to” or “I really don’t think it’s anyone’s goddamn business” or “because no that’s why”.

ANYWAY READ THE POST, IS GOOD.

Originally posted on Loki's Bruid:

Today’s post is going to be brought to you by the letters F as in frithful, G as in Gullveig, and H as in Heiðr. And maybe also by UPG chicken, which is the unspoken game people play when they want to discuss gnosis that is personally important to them, but don’t want to be seen as crazy, egotistical, or whatever other slur the UPG police are using.

I’ve stated publicly before that since I left my former mortal spouse, Loki has been telling me that I’m His goddess. And He used the word “Lokadis,” which is one of my tats for Him. And at some point, He began to drop hints. Lots of hearts. Hearts on fire. Spears. And then one day, He pointed to two (that’s right, two) of my tattoos for Him that have hearts on fire.

wpid-IMG_20121017_180307.jpgI’ve been given housewarmings gifts of artwork of hearts on…

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