Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Brísingamen

Freya Tears

So It was at the dawn of the world that the first war ended with the victory of the Aesir over the Vanir, and Njord went as hostage unto Asgard as Hoenir went to Vanaheim in return. So it was with the pride of Vanir warriors slain upon the field that Freya the Shining wept bitter tears for the loss of her people. She wept for Njord of the Sea, whose sons save Frey were now dead upon the field, and he away to Asgard as hostage. Where she wept her tears upon the sea, so did they turn to amber. She wept for Nerthus of the Earth, who turned her face from all the worlds now that the strong sons she bore were now wrapped in her embracing earth, not striding boldly upon it. Where her tears fell upon the land, they turned to gold.

Mighty was the magic of Freya, she called Gullveig Thrice-Burnt and unconquered, yet mighty too was the magic of Odin, and the might of Thor, Tyr and Heimdall were too much for any save mighty Frey to stand against, and so her folk, like her tears were fallen. As she wept she felt a magic tugging gently at her powers, weaving slowly and deeply in and beyond the worlds. Looking down she saw four dwarves, two called Dvalinn and Alfrik who searched the mountains and valleys, and two called Berling and Grer who searched the shore and the sea bottom, to gather her tears.

Deep in the bones of the worlds where Nerthus kept her silence sounded the hammers of dwarves four, each blow weaving in soil and stone, rock and tree, seed and stalk. Beneath the waves chimed the song of the anvil, from the hags of the mere, the selkies of the shore, the weed of the deep sea swayed to it, and the salmon in the streams leapt to its call. Freya heard the song echo in her father’s crashing waves and her mothers deepest silence, and in it was the ache of her own tears, the whisper of her own lusts, and the thunder of her own passions. Moved at last to curiosity, she cast her cloak about her, and on falcon’s wings followed the sound of the hammers down to the caves.

Casting off her cloak, as a witch wrapped in the shadows of the dark did she stalk the caves until upon the forge of the four did she come. Runes of power to bar even Loki from walking, or Heimdall from seeing barred her from walking unseen among them. Casting aside the darkness she had gathered, she walked before the four clad in the splendor of the Queen of the Van.

Dvalinn, Alfrik, Berling, and Grer raised high in triumph Brísingamen, a necklace forged of Freya’s tears, of the amber of her father’s realm, and the gold of her mother’s. Where the necklace joined shone a jewel as bright as Sunna. Power shone from it that called to her, fire of the sun, passions of the dark, fury of the blood, terror of the bone, secrets of the dead, and renewal of life. All that was sundered in the world by the war that was could be set right, all that had been overthrown might be reborn, and a need to own this Brísingamen burned in her as had passion for no man nor god.

“I will cover you four with gold beyond counting, each to hold the price of my brother’s sword, will you yield that necklace to my hands” Boasted Freya proudest queen in nine worlds.

Dvalinn sneered at her offer and his strong hand wrapped around the necklace like iron.

“No good did his smith get from it, nor your tribe, nor all the nine worlds. No weapon will we forge for your wars, not for all the gold that sleeps beneath the mountain. While I hold this necklace, I feel the sun upon the mountain glen, hear the cries of eagles, and know the whispers of every word carried upon the wind. I am cold and lonely beneath the earth, with naught but the song of the hammer to sing me to my rest, and naught but forged metal beneath my palm. Nay goddess. It is no gold of yours I covet”

Freya let fall her mantle and stood in the firelight crowned in the gold of her flowing hair, skin painted in the dancing firelight, raising her arms in invitation as she sang to him softly.

Goddess Freya true

“See the firelight dance upon my skin like a lover’s hungry hands, would you trade the hunting cry of eagle for the falcon’s scream of joy? Would you know the whispers of a hundred thousand secrets, or the tender whispers of a night of love”

So it was for a night Dvalinn danced in the embrace of the fire of life, heard the falcon cry of release, and wept burning brine tears as he it was who whispered love and devotion unasked and unreturned to she whose love burned all consuming. In the morning Dvalinn knelt to her and bade her hold the necklace for all his claim.

Alfrik shook his craggy brow, and tugged his iron beard, unmoved by her beauty. His words were the sound of millstones grinding.

“When I hold the necklace I feel every seed sleeping in the earth, every blossom yet to open do I scent, and each nut shows me the tree it dreams. While I hold it, though I walk the deepest snows, still will I see the fruit hanging on the branch, smell the apple blossom in the snow, while I hold it goddess, no darkness or hunger shall ever find me. What could you offer me more than freedom from want?”

Alfrik turned his back to Freya, that her sight not sway him, and she pressed her body to his hard and gnarled one like a the shroud upon a corpse. Whispering to his ears like wind in the summer branches, she let her soft hands run along the hard and bitter muscles of his arms and chest. Her belly she pressed against his back as her tongue flicked at his ear and she whispered hot and hungry like a fever in his ear.

“Want I offer you, endless and wanton. Hunger that can never be satiated, thirst that can never be quenched. Desire that will unmake and destroy you. No mead will touch your lips but you don’t think it bitter sea water compared to my kiss, no fire will warm your bones that you do not think it corpse cold compared to my sweet embrace, no gold will shine in your eyes like the sweat on my skin, nor any bower rest you save my once shared arms”

So it was the Alfrik gave himself knowing to her taking, and for every heartbeat between sundown and sunrise did he know the bliss few gods dare, and broken and weeping did he yield to her the necklace when she left him.

Berling shook his shaggy head as Freya stalked him at the forge. He held hard to Brísingamen and its bounty, denying Freya in her glory. He knew well the gifts it brought him and named them for her so she would know he could not be tempted.

“With this I know the name of every salmon leaping in the stream, I can bid the waters of the earth to burst forth from the stone bright and pure, or boiling and foul, bid the swamp to firm to farming field and the river to spill its banks in fury. What can your arms offer to that, bright goddess?”

Dancing around him, ribbon trailing from her fingers Freya chanted.

“I offer why the salmon leaps the raging river, why proud stags die for kingship, why the rabbits dance the spring and wolves dance death itself”

Turning around and around the dwarf of the deeps, Freya sang the song of the cycles of the earth, the dance of the Maypole and its Queen. Binding him with ribbons spun from her own shift, she danced him bound and her naked. Dancing the soft grace of summer’s plenty, the gentle turning of autumns glory, the rising need and hunger of the long dark, and at last the madness and ever renewing passion of the spring.

Deep beneath the earth where no sun rises or moon turns, where no season touched, nor age could bite she danced for him the cycles of the year, the cycles of birth and death, of hunger and plenty. She danced herself Queen of the May and bound him as her May consort, bound to the pole, bound to the earth, bound to the cycles, bound to the dance of life.

Like a rutting stag he took her, and laughing she urged him on, meeting passion with passion, Queen of the May binding the lord to the land, the renewal of life, and the foretaste of death. In the sunless lands where age cannot touch, did Berling dance the wheel of the year, and the cycle of life. She wove for him a crown of flowers drawn from the earth, and he bound the Brísingamen to her throat. Bound he was when she left him to she that he could never have again, and cycles no dwarf could ever join.

Ger waited in the cold of the forge. His eyes were stone no fire could melt, no beauty could turn. His blood was cold as glacial stream and no thing that lived could move him.

“Do not waste your breath you wanton goddess. I am not the fool of my brethren. With this necklace in my hand do I see the roots below the world and trace the roaring of the mother of waters to the trackless depths where Ran binds in silence all those she cast for upon her seas. I know the secrets of every world the waters touch from the Hvergelmir to the gates of Hel I know what any that lives may know, and nothing you have may tempt me”

Freya stalked now naked and proud, but her hands she turned, and gloves of fine catskin cloaked them. Throwing back her head, she laughed, and shadows lapped at her body like dark waves upon a midnight tide.

“Ger the far seeing, you are called, Ger the long living, are you named”

The darkness flowed from Freya’s eyes, and in them a hunger burned that was not sane, was not safe, was not survivable. Weaving her hands as she danced the wild dances of hunt and kill, of stalk and slaying, of butchery and blood. Wild and wanton she danced not the coupling of love but hunt, war, and red handed murder.

“Dwarf of the worlds forging I offer you death! You see from the first wave to Ran’s dark net, but not where she drags down her prey. You see the river’s lap upon Hel’s shore, but not her hall. You who were born at the worlds forging know no birth, and will know no death as man and god may know. You who are not tied to time may not know death, save through my arms, may feel no grave save through my bower, find nothingness only in me”

With a wordless cry Ger reached for the goddess of all dark passions, with a will he drank her kisses as she took him down into death a hundred times that night, a thousand by the morning. Broken and screaming, weeping, silent with wonder, laughing in joy the goddess of all the passions taught one who existed beyond life and death about the end of all things. When the morning came, he begged her to take Brísingamen from him, but would not raise his eyes to see her leave.

Laufey’s Son did see her stalk from the cavern with Brísingamen bound upon her breast, and Loki mocked her for the getting.

“Sold yourself to four crawlers of the earth, proud Gullveig thrice-burned now four-swived for a trollp’s treasure! How the Van-Dis is shamed, as broken as your tribe”

Loki’s charge should have driven her into a rage, yet beneath the sun did Freya stand.

Raising her arms, she called out a joyous cry, and was answered. The bones of every mountain rang like bells. Sleeping seeds gave whispers promising endless fields of heavy grain, great stags and shaggy wolves gave voice to summer’s song in the heart of winter, and the sleeping trees burst forth with blossom that no frost would touch.

Slow measured steps she danced around Loki’s snarling visage and stag and wolf danced death for her eyes, and sweet Sunna whose light barely touched the rim of the world shone now from Freya’s necklace like May Day’s promise of springtime.

Bowing to Loki gently, she trailed a hand across his shoulder as she passed him upon her way, saying simply.

“I have what I have, I paid what I paid, and I am what I am, all that I am, and all that I will be. Brísingamen’s mistress, the unbound, thrice burned, Van-Dis, and delight of dark witches.”

Freya and Dwarves

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Loki, Discord and Weak Lore

Loki II

 

There is a particular type of Heathen, call them Nokeans, who have deep philosophical objections to honouring Loki Laufeyson as part of Heathen ritual.  This is something that I discovered when I began having more dealings with American Heathenry, and it is almost purely an American issue.  I get how those who are part of American Heathenry can have trouble seeing that it exists beyond their shores and experiences, but for those of us far from their own journey, some of their communities deep and bitter battles are just hard to understand at all.  The Lokean/Nokean feud is one of the bitterest and strangest for outsiders to grasp.

 

Lets acknowledge the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room and admit that American Christianity is different that most of the rest of the worlds, and its baggage was not left at the door when conversion to Heathenism was embraced by many, and two bits of baggage that linger like a bad smell are the Loki as Lucifer, and the almost as irritating attempt to fit our goddesses into the poor submissive virginal Madonna.  I will deal with the Freya slut-shaming at another time and devote ourselves to the simple truth that Loki isn’t and never was a close cognate of Lucifer, not our devil.  We didn’t need a devil, our gods have deeds black with blood and infamy all on their own, of their own will and choosing; their lessons are important to us because their potentials are all within us, bright and terrible dark.

 

Our community has a terrible record with Loki in one sense.  Many of the loudest voices of the Nokean side are currently serving their sentences for the crimes that taint their names, and soil the legacy of the bright kindreds they gathered to their name.  From the pulpit they hammered all of those who followed Loki for their immorality and for the bringing of discord, even as they laid the foundation for the destruction of their own kindreds, communities, families and personal lives.  I have had the sad task of doing the Public Relations cleanup on some of these loud Loki-haters, and I have to say for all their talk of how destructive Loki is, it was the deeds of Tyrsmen, Odinsmen, and Thorsmen I have been tasked to clean up, and a strong Lokiswoman who for the better part of a decade has laboured without fail to do the same.  The deeds of the Nokeans and Lokeans certainly seem to imply the discord-sowers are more common among the Nokeans than Lokeans, but lets take a second to look at the lore so beloved by the Nokean camp.

It is a sad truth that no group save the Nokeans has such a terrible record of cherry picking the lore to the point that it is hard to credit they can be doing anything less than deliberate (or I grant you unconscious) misrepresentation of what the lore actually says.

 

Loki’s crimes are largely not his deeds, but his methods.  We love Odin for seduction, Thor for murder, but its hard to pound your chest and scratch your balls manfully when describing trickery and subterfuge as the heroes tools.  Loki is the one the gods turn to when you can’t fight or futter your way out of a problem.

The Walls of Asgard: In this myth we see the gods attempt to cheat a craftsman into rebuilding the fallen walls of Asgard in return for the sun, the moon, and the goddess Freya.  They “know” the job cannot be completed in time, and have zero intention of honouring their pledge.  The craftsman is equally deceptive, and his horse is actually a dragon in disguise, dragging stones the size of houses as swiftly as a common horse could drag a hay bale.  In order to get out of their bargain, the gods send Loki to distract the horse, which he does by transforming into a mare and luring the stallion off for some sweet recreation rather than completing the job.  The walls are left almost done, the bill unpaid, the craftsman loses his mind and then skull as he unmasks as an angry giant to rage at the gods, who then have Thor execute him.  Loki comes back some time later with the fruit of this labour, his son Sleipnir.  That is right, Odin’s faithful steed is Loki’s son.
Loki’s monstrous children are numbered four.  Like his presence in the lore, they net out to zero on the friend/foe good/evil spectrum.  Fenris and Jörmungandr are monstrous foes of the Aesir and man, yet Hel is the guardian of our dead, and Sleipnir is Odin’s world striding steed.  Two foe, two friend, net zero.

Hellenic lore also boasts such a net zero figure, the demigod Hercules.  For each of the bright deeds he is remembered for are atonement for great misdeeds on his part.  In a fit of rage he killed his first wife, and was forced to do his twelve labours as atonement.  For violations of hospitality and outright insult to his noble host in mourning for the death of his own wife, Hercules went into the underworld and brought her back from the dead.  Like Loki, he does a bad thing, then a heroic thing to balance it, and in the process brings change into being.  Hercules did so using brute force and violence, and is remembered fondly and selectively (Disney and most pagans tend to gloss over his misdeeds) while Loki used less masculine methods, and is demonized for it in modern heathenry.

 

Loki in the kidnapping of Idunna, well Loki gets caught by Thiazi and in return for his life bargains to exchange for Idunna and her apples of immortality.  When the gods demand he get her back, he not only rescues her, but lead Thiazi into a trap which destroys this great foe of the gods.  When Skadhi Thiazidottir comes to claim her suffering price, Loki it is who makes her laugh and secures for mankind the end of winter which she would have punished us with for the loss of her father.  Skadhi now stands among the Aesir as the White Huntress a strong power to our defense and guide to the high wild places.  It is hard to see this as a net zero, for in fact Loki’s actions leave both the Aesir and mankind far stronger than before his crime.

Loki shamed Sif by cutting her hair and stealing it.  To make up for this crime Loki had hair of living gold fashioned by the dwarves to replace what he stole, and as part of that suffering price gained for Odin his never missing spear Gungnir, Frey’s land/sky/sea faring ship Skíðblaðnir.  Not content to let that rest, Loki makes a bad bet with another dwarf and before it is done has won for Frey his boar-of-battle Gullinbursti, and Odin’s ever replicating ring Draupnir.  It is hard to see this as a net zero either, as when Loki’s actions are tallied, the gods end up far stronger than before.

 

Theft of Thor’s hammer, the hammer was not stolen by Loki, yet when force alone will not return this dread weapon to the defender of Asgard, it is Loki who the gods turn to for its restoration.  The methods chosen were not traditionally masculine and heroic, they were indeed the opposite!  Loki helped Thor to dress as Freya and wed the giant who stole the hammer, and when the hammer was laid in the blushing brides lap to bless her with fertility “she” repaid this blessing by painting the hall in the blood guts and brains of “her” new husband.  Thor had his hammer back, and was dealing with his widowhood well.  This nets zero, but Loki acted to right a wrong that wasn’t his, so Loki’s actions in this while not “manly” are totally in the service of the gods and mankind.

Lokessana paints the bleakest picture of Loki, for in it Loki goes to Agier’s hall with the intention of repaying every slight the gods have offered to his name with matching insult, or better.  He mocks every god and goddess by name with misdeeds that honestly, we don’t retain enough of the lore to know the whole story behind half of them.  His behaviour is poor guesting, rude and boorish beyond doubt.  For this Loki is bound.

Lets be really clear about this, Loki is bound for his insults, not for the role that later lore ascribes to him as Baldur’s doom (for which Hod was killed).  How was he bound?

Loki had four monstrous children, three by Angrboda (Hel, Fenris, and Jörmungandr) one he bore himself (Sleipnir).  He also had an Aesir wife Sigyn, and two sons born into the holy tribe, Vali and Narvi.  How did our holy gods, the shining Aesir defend these blameless children of their tribe?  To bind Loki they transformed Loki’s son Vali into a wolf and caused him to tear Vali’s own brother Narvi apart limb from limb.  Transformed into a mindless monster and forced to be kinslayer, Vali is then no longer of interest to the lore and not spoken of again. Narvi’s corpse is used to supply the entrails that bound him to the rock, where his monstrous son Jörmungandr is likewise bound to drip burning venom on him until Ragnarok, with only his long suffering wife Sigyn to use her cup to catch the venom as it falls, only letting it burn him when she must turn to empty the cup.

 

Loki was a bad dinner guest, for this our gods have him tortured by his son until the end of days, binding him with the corpse of his murdered godly son to be tortured by the venom of his monstrous son, while his blameless wife stands in eternal prison simply to reduce his suffering.  Its hard to imagine why at Ragnarok he rode against the Aesir who murdered his two blameless Aesir sons and tortured him for centuries on end.

It shouldn’t surprise any student of the lore that such methods were used by the Aesir.  Do we not honour Wayland/Volund whose tales of vengeance we tell so well and boldly, who fashioned the teeth and bones of his captor-king’s children into gifts to him and his queen, who bragged to him of murdering his boy children, and impregnating his daughter as part of his revenge.  Such deeds were accepted, being black and foul as they are, they are acts of naked force, not subterfuge which is Loki’s true crime.

 

On the subject of subterfuge and black deeds, those who will not stand in Sumbel where Loki is honoured will lift the horn to Odin with both pride and joy.  I share this, I do.  I am Odin’s man in this life and beyond, but I know his crimes as I know the dark corners of my own soul.

 

The Rape of Rind is not Odin’s brightest deed, he required Vali to be sired to get the revenge of the gods, and for this he needed to sire a son on Rind.  She refused him twice, so he drove her mad with his magics, then convinced her family to bind her to the bed for treatment. He then raped her as she lay bound to the bed.  Odin, not Loki.  It worked of course and Vali is born to do the Aesir’s killing where their own vows would prevent it.

In Baldur’s tale alone do we see Loki acting directly against the gods, bringing about the death of Baldur, and preventing his return.  This is an ugly and brutal act, yet one of necessity too, for after Ragnarok, Baldur returns from Hel to rule where once his father did.  Without Loki’s actions with Hod and mistletoe, Baldur would have taken the field and been lost at Ragnarok, rather than abiding in the netherworld awaiting his return in the world to come.

Those who wish to point to the Lore and say Loki is evil and must not be honoured for we would be shamed or tainted by his name and deeds must not be reading our lore at all.  Odin Sigfather, Volund the Smith are honoured by us.  Look at how Skirnir gained Gerd for Frey and ask me if that is other than kidnapping and rape?  Yet Loki is evil, Loki must not be honoured.

It is time to be honest, Loki is important to the community as it exists in this generation.  His followers, his children, our brothers and sisters must accept the scorn we heap upon their brightest guide as the price of standing in our community and that is a practice that shames us all.

The lore is like our ancestors, bright, dark, savage, terrible and beautiful in turn.  Full of lessons and prices, and warnings, yet let us own that bright and dark are woven in us all, and none of our gods or goddesses are without dark and terrible places.  As we honour them, and stand in sumbel with our community and raise a horn to praise those of the holy tribe who have stood beside us in our lives and guided us through our own dark times, how can we deny this same right to those whose greatest guide has been Loki Laufeyson.

The ban on Loki needs to end, or we are failures as Heathens, for we have not returned a gift for a gift, we have not judged by deeds but by fears and prejudice.  It is time to tell the Nokeas to wake up, and the Lokeans to be welcome among us as equals.  I am Odin’s man, let the cup not be brought to me that is not brought to Loki’s children in turn.

 

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Aesir, Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Gender, society and sacred

Gender

When I was growing up, there were only two genders.  I have said this a thousand times, and yet it is neither a complete nor accurate statement.  I have had a lot of time to process since Parliament of World Religions in Toronto this year, and a whole lot of streams that were part of the discussions within my own faith community (Heathen) and other faith communities all came together in the realizations that I am going to try to put together in this piece.  I am going to piss off a lot of people, more than likely the bulk of the people from my own generation who fit neatly into the classical gender role they were raise to believe was natural.  Close to fifty years of dealing with my generation has lead me to the inescapable conclusion that we were largely blind to how much we bought into the system that made it impossible to love and accept all of ourselves.

Modern western thought is bound in a lot of Christian assumptions, one set of subtle corruptions is that of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. One right way to believe and one right way to act.  This is not limited to the sacred, for this idea seeps into all thought with a fundamental acceptance of duality as the only possibility.  This is not a part of any of the ancestral pre-Christian traditions of Northern and Western Europe, and yet those who turn their back on Christianity itself either to embrace a secular existence, or to take up ancestral faiths like Heathenry, or modern ones like Wicca cannot truly divorce themselves from the fundamental assumptions of orthodoxy and orthopraxy that seeped from their religious foundation into the understanding of almost every facet of human behavior and interaction.  Most destructively in the case of gender and sexuality.

We inherited a toxic mythology from the Christian era of both masculinity and femininity.  There was literally one ideal way to be a man and one ideal way to be a woman; the closer you adhered to these, the more accepted and socially successful you would be.  This gave us a society that recognized two genders only, a very narrow definition of those two genders, and left a large portion of humanity understanding they are flawed, defective, or simply failures for not meeting those standards, not desiring those standards, or finding them of so little relevance to their understanding of themselves they didn’t even understand the standards.

We had two genders only!  We had two genders, and a whole lot of people who hated themselves, and had lots of help from the rest of us telling them how badly they failed to be a real man or real woman.

Among those who succeeded in being real men and real women, as defined by our generations orthodoxy and orthopraxy on gender identity and roles, we had the hidden costs of those roles.  Men could not express tender emotions, love, care, support, without being unmanly or weak.  We could not show pain, nor discuss fear without forfeiting the respect our deeds had earned as men, and threatening our social standing or relationship.  A man was expected to place work before family, to sacrifice his own relationship with them to fulfill his duties to the external world.   If a man were to place his time with his family as important, he would be mocked for it, and it would threaten his standing with employers, friends, and honestly even his relationships.

Women suffered the same, where attempts to assert direct authority or power, attempts to stand up for themselves or those they care about threatened to make them “unwomanly”, either called a bitch or “mannish”.  Women were as prohibited from stepping outside their gender role as men were.   A woman who sought to pursue carer as equal or more importance to building a family was seen as unnatural, even as the desire to establish her own name and reputation rather than simply marrying well was seen almost as a failure of womanhood.

Classical Heathenry is not a good place to find justification for one true manhood or womanhood.  Will you say a woman is primarily wife and mother, matriarch of her family? Certainly Frigg will be your guide to such a role right well.  You will have a hard time if you desire to paint such a role as submissive, for her role is that of queen, that of the weaver of the bloodlines, of wyrd or fate, not that of concubine and domestic.  Will you say a woman is passion, wild hunger for knowledge, experience, and life?  Then Freya is a good guide for you.  “An it harm none do as thou wilt” is a popular modern creed among witches, well Freya is not that kind of witch.  Described as the delight of dark witches, she is Odin’s peer in power and wields her magic like she wields her sexuality, to do her will as she chooses, accepting no limits but that of her own will and judgement.  Will you instead say that you seek to stalk the world in hunt after your dream, daring the high and wild, betting your skills and abilities to win for yourself the place you would claim?  Skadi, the White Huntress is a good model for you, for hearth and home did not call to her, rather the hunt of her own choosing.  Are you a nurturer? One who seeks to bring peace and renewal, healing to the world?  Blessed Idunna of the Apples, Easter goddess of the Spring or Eir the lady of healing may be more suited to you.  No one way to be a woman, no matter what your core essence called for, you were free to develop it to the limit of your potential without being seen as less than a woman.

Our generation was not offered this, we were offered attempt to fit yourself in the mold of  orthodox cis-hetero submissive wife and mother or be a failure as a woman.  We had a lot of self hating women, and more we shamed as slut, bitch, frigid, or unnatural for the crimes of desiring too much, not enough, not finding their fulfillment as primarily mothers, or desiring to prove themselves in other fields.  Honestly we probably failed as many as we served.  Oddly, the next generation didn’t accept that.  Good on them!  Honestly, we weren’t a screaming success.  There was screaming, but it wasn’t about success.

Classical Heathenry offers men as many different faces, Ingwaz Frey, the peace lord, the life giving lord of the herds, of the land offers a strong but gentle model of manhood that is not possible to fit inside the nearly toxic model of masculinity that we inherited that defines cis-hetero dominant career focused male as the only right and worthy model of man.  Not even Thor, the hammer wielding laughing god of the farmer and working man fits this model, for while he is the strong defender, he does not need to make another submit to know he is strong, nor require supremacy to feel whole.  Able to laugh at himself, his tales tell us of a manhood that embraces its mistakes and failures as steps on the road to success, that can indeed laugh at the retelling of the tales where he was tricked, because his worth and strength are not threatened by laughter.  This is not part of the manhood model I was taught in my generation at all.  Odin is the one most often invoked by those who would hold to the toxic masculine model we were given, the god of war, the hard cold bastard who did what had to be done.  Partially true, and leaving enough out to be almost entirely wrong.  Odin crossed so many gender lines he was flyted for it by Loki himself, and when a god who transformed into a female to bear a child mocks your manhood, you know you crossed a line or two.  Tyr comes closest to the healthy model of manhood our stereotype strives for, but the lord of law and honour is decidedly non-toxic, who gave up his sword arm to show that responsibility not power or prestige was most important.

To be a man as we were taught to be one meant you had to shut off your feelings and subordinate yourself to your ambition.  Honestly, we were told to give up half our humanity in the service of a dream that not everyone saw any value in.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against money, but given the choice between making more money and spending more time with my children, I know which one I value.  I have faced enough fire, faced life or death under so very many circumstances that the bullshit myths of my childhood have failed utterly upon the one test that matters; at no point was the dreams of avarice enough to sustain me or worth my sacrifice.  It was the desire to protect and provide for those I love, and the opportunity to be a meaningful part of their lives that made it all worth while.  The myth that men should leave the family to the women while they sought gold and glory makes us less than men, less than whole, and leaves few indeed valuing what they won, compared to what they gave up to get there.

We inherited one model of manhood, and those who could not conform to it were failures.  We were told to cut ourselves off from almost everything that made us functionally human, or at least pretend we did, and hide the parts of ourselves that were creative, nurturing, or who saw sex as an act of shared joy rather than conquest.  The next generation honestly took a look at what we accepted and told us to pound sand.  Good on them.

We spent at least four generations I have seen pretending we fit into one true manhood and womanhood, choosing to be less than whole, or accepting we were failures.  We accepted the false dualism, and spent our time looking into the mirror and knowing that we had to hide half of what we were, or lose what we had won.

The generation of today is honestly smarter than we were and more honest.  They took the labels we gave them of man and woman and they accepted our definition of them just as we did in our turn.

Looking at the definition, and then into a mirror, many of them said with all honesty and great wisdom, “That is not me.  I am not that”

Holy shit.  Why didn’t we?  I mean through the guidance of the holy gods and ancestors I learned to step back from the myths and become whole.  I don’t just mean the safely dead and ancient ones, I mean the ancestors whose age and wisdom taught me that there was a lot more to the reality of being a man or woman than fit in what we pretended were the only ways to do things, or the reality about how people actually lived.

Many kids today when they were growing into their sexual and gender identity took a look at the two restrictive boxes we offered and went, that can’t ever be me.  They chose to be a whole person, and not the bit that would fit in the box they knew would never be theirs, and instead chose to make new boxes.

For all those who are saying this is modern bullshit we never needed….well yes and no.  It is modern, because through the Christian centuries we lost any other way than the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the two gender roles derived from someone else’s book.  We don’t remember how to be men and women when those terms expressed the whole and healthy range, so in this generation, rather than accept being half or less of what little we left of those traditional genders, they admitted they were indeed something else.

We call ourselves Heathen, and the old name of Asatru still holds a lot of truth in it.  We are not just true to the Aesir, and the Vanir, we strive to be true to ourselves.  How can we esteem someone for pretending to be something that will never truly be them?  We esteem someone for living true.  True to themselves, true to their beliefs, true to the oaths and loyalties they have sworn and undertaken.

A trans man or trans woman, a gender fluid or gender non-binary is choosing to live true to themselves, rather than imitating something they will never fully be, and will leave them less than fully what they could have become.  I am a cis hetero male because that is who I am.  My expression of that is far different than my father accepted for himself, but the regrets he wept about on his deathbed will never be mine, for I embraced more of the role of father and husband than the definition he accepted of his manhood would let him embrace.  If I was bisexual, gay, or my gender was truly expressed in some other fashion, I hope I would be strong enough in myself to live TRUE to who I am, rather than be less than whole, less than honest, and trying to pretend I fit in, or valued, a gender role that others defined for me.

We grew up in a world of two genders, and many, many failures.  We grew up to inherit a definition of man and woman that was brutally stripped of most of what our ancestors understood it could be, to the point that what we inherited as the one possible manhood and womanhood could only contain functionally a small portion of our people.

We don’t remember how it once was.  We do know that what we inherit is not enough, is not whole, is not sufficient.  The generation that rises now chooses to accept this, and to find for themselves boxes that they fit in, and live true to the people they know themselves either to be, or to be capable of becoming.

I am Heathen, I value those that live true to themselves, and who strive to accept their challenges without fear or deceit.  To those who identify as any one of the genders, either classical or modern, if you live your truth, and do so honestly, joyfully and without condemning others for choosing to follow their own understanding, then I give you my respect.

We grew up with two genders that had lost so much of what they had once contained that they were broken, or broke those who tried to limit themselves to fit.  Our children demanded more, and strove to fix what we accepted and let harm us, and later them.

Good on them. We failed, let them do better.

 

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Pronouns, Access, and Hospitality

2018 Parliament Website banner2

I had the honour to represent The Troth as part of our Alliance For Inclusive Heathenry and Heathens Against Hate at the Parliament of World Religions.  There is a whole lot of good things that came out of this years Parliament, but before we can begin the gushing of the good, I would not be honest if I did not start with the caveats, the warnings about the things that I saw that a whole lot of people either were oblivious to, or comfortable ignoring.

“The Promise of Inclusion , the Power of Love” is the theme of the day, and one of the multi-faith panels that had a heathen on it was the panel on oaths and vows in the modern world.  Let us use that as a segue into analyzing what is promised by this years Parliament and what was delivered.

Promised are inclusion and love.  I admit, I am happy on some level to be home from the land of “Peace, Love, and Brown Rice” as we laughingly referred to it, as the theme of Agape love, or love of everyone in general (subtext; no one in particular in specific) is big in a lot of other people’s faiths.  We don’t really do that.  Perhaps that is why our own cultural lens of seeking ever to see the deeds that echoes the words causes me to brand part of this Parliament a failure.

Inclusion.  Honestly, this is the spot where you would expect a member of a minority religion, and that is what we are, to commence talking about being marginalized when the big number religions get together.  You won’t here that rant because Parliament got that part right.  Details could use work, but honestly at no time did I feel that we, nor the Native traditions were given any less than equal dignity (if not space and time) for the demographically more common faiths.  My problem is not with the inclusion when it comes to faith, it is about people.

Heathens as a rule don’t do Agape love.  We don’t unconditionally love everyone.  Some say its a failure on our part, but I have always viewed it as the honest unwillingness to say what you won’t back up with deeds.  If we say we love and accept you, you have a place at our table, behind our shields, and in our home.  If we don’t, you don’t.  We don’t say we love when we don’t plan on backing it up, and don’t say you are welcome if we do not extend the full extent of the laws of hospitality between us.  Parliament pretty much did not back up their words with deeds for many individuals.

Lisa was a member of our party who had come to Parliament with a torn meniscus in her knee.  Heathen’s are expected to suck it up and solider on, and she did so, not without complaint, but bitching about it in the approved manner of a Heathen woman not letting other people’s failures of hospitality get in the way of her doing her duty.  She came in a mobility scooter that would have been enough here in Vancouver BC, or where she came from in California, but was, in Metro Toronto and the Toronto Trade and Convention Centre not actually enough to help you get around.  Few elevators worked and could accommodate the scooter, it was almost impossible to do doors as the handicapped button required you to leap like a ninja out of the way once you pressed them, which is not often an ability of those requiring handicapped access.  The staff at the overpriced executive fleecing industries that run the core of metro Toronto and its centre were more than willing to leap to my every need, as they were to Lisa’s able husband.  They were oddly unwilling to even notice she was there, and would often answer her questions, those few times that they did, to her husband instead of her.

Including the handicapped?  Fail.

Jade is one of the reasons that I was really excited to go to Parliament.  I am a Canadian Heathen leader, but our nation is vast beyond the scale of most peoples imagination, and while I have enjoyed corresponding with fine Heathen leaders from all over this country, there are a number of amazing ones I have never had the chance to meet with, nor raise a horn with.  I finally got the chance to meet with Jade, and raise that horn together to the gods at Parliament.  This is the plus part, the minus part came in our discussions.  Now Jade was not complaining, she was accepting that these things happen, which is something that wounds me deeply, because she shouldn’t have to.

Jade made a comment, “Do you know how hard it is to find a bathroom here?” and it struck me.  I actually didn’t until she brought it up, but now I have to say its quietly alarming.  Jade is a whole bunch of things, the parts that are relevant to me are a dedicated Heathen gythia (priestess), master’s educated human resources professional specializing in employment inclusive issues, active community volunteer; but the part that was a problem here and now was the last descriptive, Jade is a transwoman.

At a gathering of the religious dedicated to the avowed purpose of celebrating inclusion, you would think that going to the bathroom is not difficult.  The problem comes in the gap between our speech about inclusion, and our actual actions.  Where does a transperson, an intersex person, non-binary person go to the bathroom surrounded by ten thousand plus deeply religious people, many of whom are really good at dressing up some pretty decent prejudice sets under cultural/religious trappings to make them look prettier than the reality of attacking strangers for attempting to use a bathroom that their particular understanding of gender identities does not think you have a right to.

A lot of places have big men’s, big women’s and several gender neutral/accessible washrooms for all manner of people, and family combinations (try having small children of opposite gender sometime and see how accessible things are).  The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is set up for only two genders, and perhaps one person who has different needs per building, if you can find it.

I opened my eyes a little further to look at the programming when some of our women, like my friend Lorrie told me that the coding on a lot of the women’s track had more in common with Z Budapest, the AFA, and Evangelical Christianity’s definition of cis-hetero gender normative woman than it did the rather broader spectrum of woman the Heathen community accepts as standard.  Reading a little closer, seeing things a whole lot of little words here and there that made it clear that the definition for woman in sacred spaces seemed to have a whole lot more filters than you would accept in an event about inclusion.

The bulk of the people at Parliament of World Religions left me with positive experiences, especially Allah’s little ray of sunshine who did more with her cheerful babbling and magpie curiosity than any hundred paid ambassadors could in a hundred years to advance the cause of acceptance for moderate Islam, but there were whispers around the edges that not everyone qualified for Agape love as practiced by the Abrahamatic faiths, and a bewildering corner of faiths including Pagan that really ought to know and do better.

On the plus side, a lot of people, including LGBTQ+, people of colour, people of smaller religious traditions without large community present and even people of the mainstream Abrahamatic faiths took to coming to our booths when they needed safe space to just regroup until they were ready to face the Parliament again.  On the minus side, a lot of them needed it.

Parliament did a lot to work on inclusion and acceptance.  It did as much to tell me that WE ALL need to do more.  Language matters, specific language that says we expect to be held to our explicit promise to be inclusive and welcoming to all our people.  I will honestly cop to not knowing how to use the pronouns to address the genders that were not accepted when I was growing up.  I absolutely now admit I see the real need to have them, to use them, because if we do not, there is NO REASON for anyone to assume we are not quietly and cheerfully deliberately excluding them, because a lot of the community really is.  Hear me now, I oath before my gods to learn to do better.  Hear these words and hold me to them.

Inclusive must be active and explicit, because hate driven exclusion happens in the silence and the quiet subtle coding between high sounding words of all embracing love.
Alliance II

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Current events

Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting: Latest cost of empowering hate

Tree of Life Shooting

It was to have been among the most joyous of occasions, a baby naming ceremony. This was not how it would end.  At 954 AM the peaceful worship of the Tree of Life Synagogue was shattered when a lone gunman entered with the intent of committing a hate crime, choosing to target the Jewish congregation during their worship services for brutal murder to further his own racist agenda.

Robert Bowers entered the Synagogue with hate in his heart, rifle and pistols in hand. Eleven dead and two wounded later, he attempted to exit, and exchanged fire with the first responding police officer, wounding them in the exchange.

Two uniformed officers and two SWAT members were injured, three from gunshots as they engaged the assailant. Full credit to the brave officers of the Pittsburgh police who did not hesitate in the face of an active shooter, and took all necessary measures, at the risk of their own lives, to secure the safety of the public. The shooter is in custody, wounded but stable, awaiting charges for his crimes.

The reasons for this shooting are sadly not unfamiliar to those of us watching the changing face of our society, the greater open advocacy of hatred against minorities. In the suspects social media posts he subscribed to the right wing conspiracy theory that “the Jews” were behind the migrant caravans fleeing failed states in Central and South America, calling them “Invaders”

“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” Bowers wrote. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

https://www.cnn.com/…/pittsburgh-synagogue-activ…/index.html

It is becoming more common to hear the language of war being used to describe economic migrants, the term migrant being either equated or replaced with invaders, with the matching call to treat them as enemies of war, responding not with law enforcement or border patrol tactics, but with artillery and machine gun fire. While the border issues are complex and there are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, this rhetoric is becoming common in the calls to send the army to deal with the migrants, and you cannot call for war from the pulpit, from the assembly floor, from the television studio without expecting that someone will listen, will take up arms, and seek out those you have described as invaders, as enemies, and murder them under the delusion they are somehow defending something other than blind hatred.

The shooter was a fool. His arguments are utter nonsense, and most likely deliberate falsehoods uttered for the simple reason that Antisemitism is a traditional outlet for European oligarchies in the face of rising internal strife. The European cultures that settled North America brought with them some of that same baggage and habits, and when a scapegoat is needed to blame internal problems on, the cry to blame the Jew for the troubles of the day is one of the most shameful tactics of a morally bankrupt elite afraid of the anger against their own excesses. It is shameful because it tends to work.

Hatred and acts of hate inspired vandalism and violence are on the rise against the Jewish, the LBGT+ community, those who dress in cultural clothes from outside mainstream European and English speaking North America, and of course, those that dare to speak any language other than English in public.

There is a war being waged on our streets and in our hearts. It is not being waged by immigrants, or Jews, or LGBTQ+. It is being waged by the most privileged class, straight white men, against anyone who has committed the crime of being born not the same as them, or for the crime of being the same as them but not supporting their hate filled causes.

The Troth is preparing right now to send its members along with Heathens Against Hate, and the Alliance For Inclusive Heathenry to the Parliament of World Religions to join with those of other faiths and cultures to build greater understanding and respect between all peoples of faith.

There are two choices that lie before our peoples in North America today. The first choice is to look at the differences between us and know fear, answering it with hate. This choice leads to riots, vandalism, assaults and acts of cowardly murder like today’s Synagogue shooting. The second choice is to look at the differences between us and seek to understand, to celebrate what each of us brings to this wonderful diverse culture that makes North America the great experiment and leading light of freedom.

We have chosen the second. We stand with the people of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue congregation as they struggle to deal with the shameful acts of this misguided and hate filled murderer. We choose to celebrate each other’s differences, choosing understanding, not fear, choose to build community not foster hatred. We ask all people of faith, indeed, all people of integrity of all faiths and none to stand with us in condemning the empowering of hatred, and the cowardly actions of today’s Synagogue shooter.

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Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Dark Times, Dark choices.

 

Children tell each other there are monsters under the bed, and they lie.  We tell our children there are no monsters in the darkness, and we lie too.  There are monsters.  Winternights have passed, and the long decline towards Yule allows the darkness to ascend.  The Hulderfolk, trolls, draugr and other baleful wights no longer fear the sun, and stretch forth their grasping hands from the shadows.

Oldest and strongest of magics are those of hospitality, greatest of all is the simple magic of the hearth.  What is warmed by a hearth, what is touched by its fire, whose boundaries have been marked by it, is warded by that hearth.  House wights chuckle in the firelight and dance in the shadows.  Petty mischiefs are theirs, yet also great wardings and healings are worked by their tiny hands, grown strong from a thousand offerings of mirth and laughter, stolen socks and offered treats.  In the center stands the hearth, the heart of the home, the flame that calls to Frigg, the smoke that carries every whisper to the Disir, and the ashes that hold the answers to a thousand questions never asked.

Against the wardings of the hearth come the claws of the Hulderfolk, but they cannot pass, for although the long night is theirs, and the moonlight their dawn, the hearthfire will bar them as strongly as Sunna’s own sun.  Any save the monsters we make ourselves.

Clara was crying again.  She was a fine strong girl, proud, bright, but the last years before the divorce were hard and ugly.  Her father had been a smart, laughing proud man.  Everyone loved him; mostly because he wanted them to.  He was always good at getting what he wanted, and even better at making sure those who didn’t give him what he wanted regretted doing so.  The worst monsters Clara met wore the smiling faces of family.

Chelsea was not crying, because Mother’s didn’t get to cry when their children were.  Mother’s had to be strong, even when they had nothing left.  Chelsea had gotten them out, her daughter and two sons had been won free from her husband and his controlling cruelty.  When Dominic could no longer control her, he tried to take them away.  When that failed, he chose to make sure he had the last laugh.  He killed himself, and left a note detailing that she had driven him to it.

 

That wasn’t the end.  He began to haunt Clara’s dreams first, then the boys.  The boys became sullen and distant, Clara became addicted to coffee and energy drinks, trying anything to avoid having to go to sleep, because at night, he came.
The hearth will protect you from anything save what you invite in.  Clara and the boys loved their father, for all that Dominic could be cruel when he wanted to be, when he wanted you to love him, you did.  Even when he was cruel, you wanted so much to please him, to make him be happy with you again, so that he would smile at you again.  Chelsea remembered that well from when he was alive.  She struggled so hard to protect her family from Dominic when he was alive, how was she to protect them from him now that he was dead.

Sitting sipping her wine she looked at her tarot cards and remembered Dominic laughing at her, telling her that there were no answers there.  Nothing on a piece of paper that wasn’t money could make a real difference, and gods knows he proved himself right when her restraining orders proved to be worth more as toilet paper than protection.  She spread the cards and winced.

Reversed King of Swords

King of Swords reversed.  Dominic.  Cruelty and manipulation.  Fine.  She knew it was him already.  What was she supposed to do about it?  She spread three cards

 

Nine of Wands, High Priestess, Death.

 

Nine of wands, last stands.  High Priestess, that was as much her card as the King of Swords was Dominic’s.  It was supposed to be her call to her magical self, her intuition, her maternal ancestors and magic.  Now it just reminded her of her inability to protect her children.  She looked at the last card.  Death.  Death didn’t stop Dominic.  He came for them in the night dead, even worse than he did when he was alive.

 

Slamming her deck to the table she went to reach for her wine glass when two cards spilled face up unasked.

 

Ten of cups reversed, broken family, broken dreams.  That she knew already.  Ten of Swords reversed, can’t get any worse.  Trembling, she reached out to turn one last card over.  What she had was losing her family, and it could not get worse.  What could she get if she dared?

Six of Wands

Six of wands stared back at her.  Victory.  If she dared.

Around the beds of her sleeping children she poured the sea salt.  Ringed round with Ran’s salt, she knew no dead would dare cross those lines, for Ran is a jealous goddess, and those she drags down into the dark are hers forever.  No thing not living may touch the salt of her sea blood and not be bound forever to her lightless depths.

Dominic would react badly to being denied. Living or dead, he was not a man it was safe to say no to.  She sipped her wine.  Tonight there would be an ending.  She prepared for their last night together similar to how she prepared for her first night as his wife.  Showering and doing her makeup, she turned her right cheek to the mirror, and made sure she showed him exactly the beauty he loved to possess almost as much as he loved to show off.  Turning her left cheek, she nodded and moved to the hearth.

Before the fire she stripped, for what was to come was a thing of naked truths, and naked power.  Love, hate, desire, life and death were too pure to be masked by clothes or lies.  Tonight, was about final truths.

 

To the hearth she stalked, and knelt before the flickering firelight.  With her fingers she traced in the ash and worked carefully to mark left side as her instinct told her she must.  Turning to  place her right side in the firelight, she drew the last salt circle around herself.  Magnificent as any temple statue, she stood in bronze lit perfection awaiting the shadow that would come for her children.

Opening herself to the other world, letting her mind drift into magical awareness, she felt the cold power, the mocking cruelty of Dominic as he came.  The ashes of her desire stirred, as ten thousand inner wounds also shrieked as all he was and once had been to her answered the feel of him.  She raised her head, and posed, right side painted bronze perfection in the firelight as his darkness took form and crept to the children’s bedrooms.  First the boys, then Clara he sought, and she felt his rage, heard his hissing and the vile threats he whispered as he stalked to her.

Dark hunger shone in his coal black eyes, and the lewd slash of his lips moistened under a pale and lifeless tongue as he traced them in visible desire as he stalked slowly towards her.  His voice was ghost cold, it made her flesh tremble in the cold horror of its malice.

“You can’t hide them forever, you can’t keep them safe.  No one can.  I can come in whenever I want, and I will never stop coming for what is mine.  Them first to punish you, and then you when they are broken, because only then will you understand why you shouldn’t have angered me.”

Right side lit in firelight, she gave him the yielding smile he knew so well.  She always let him get his way, it was safer.  With a toe, she carefully broke the salt circle protecting her, and let him surge inside to take what he was owed.

As he surged into the ring of salt, his cold white hands reaching out, and black eyes drinking in the naked perfection of his perfect conquest, his perfect trophy, the woman he loved only so long as she submitted, he froze in confusion.

Turning to face him boldly not submissively, while her right half was bronze perfection, black ash marked off naked ribs on her chest, and fine powder rendered her left side corpse pale, her lips the dead blue of the dead.

Half maiden fair, half corpse foul, she did not shy from his reaching claws, but reached out and folded him in her embrace.  Her hands wrapping in the tendrils of darkness that replaced the hair on his shadowed form as her lips sought his with a whisper of her own words and cold hunger of her need.

Hel veiled

 

“I could never keep them safe so long as you could walk.  I could never keep you out so long as any love for you remained.  You used our love to destroy our home and our lives, so now I use that love to end you.  Take the kiss of Hel, feel now the embrace of the keeper of the dead.  One last kiss, dearest Dominic, to send you forever into the dark.”

There was too much hunger for him to resist her light, and there was too much darkness in him to resist the gateway she had made of her flesh to Hel.  The kiss tasted of salt, tears for what was perhaps, tears for what should have been.  He didn’t scream as she devoured him with that kiss, his final surrender was too complete for that.

Standing between the firelight and shadow, her maiden’s face wept tears of loss and regret.  She was a healer who had killed, a lover who had destroyed.  Her corpse face bore a cold smile of completion.  She was a mother whose children will no longer fear the night.  She was a priestess who had balanced unjust scales.

Crossing to the altar plate, she poured out a splash of wine.

“Frigg, great mother, thank you for your wisdom and strength.  Ran, dark mistress of the sea, I thank you for your protection.  Hel, keeper of the dead, I thank you for your power, your grace, and your aid in this night.”

When she left the showers for her bed, none but the goddesses could tell if tears had joined the water with which she washed away the last touch of her husband, and they keep their secrets.

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

To the dregs

Old Giantess
Broken in my prime
They gave me drugs to take away the pain
Fenris fetters broke
Ran wild inside my skin
Ran red on my fists
I cast away the drugs
Bound the beast in howling need
.
Sought beyond the worlds
A way to live with the pain I could not treat
Old woman found at the wheel
Steel screaming upon her stone
Vast as giant
To me she gave a gift
Bound my pain like howling Fenris
.
Grinding wheel
Years of shining life
Battles, glories, mistakes and pain
Wine women and song
Daughters grown to strong glory
Proud and potent
Wyrd weaves doom again
Hanged man swing from the tree
.
Wandering between the worlds
Flesh bound to the tree
Old woman at the crossroads
Horn heavy in her hands
Wickedness glittering
In eyes blacker than hate
.
Fenris Horn
Laughing she presses
Heavy horn to my thirsting lips
Bitter brew chokes me
Blood and bile, pain and fear
Bitter ashes of defeat
Potent rage like ice and fire bound
Wode awful and naked
My body bends back like hunting bow
.
Giant crone ring hand locks behind my head
Not permitted to refuse this cup
Both hands lock around her horn hand
Eyes wild and fey
Beard running red with clotted blood
Bitter ashes of defeat
Bright burning rage fills my soul
.
Giant witch hissing
Strives to pull from me the horn
Snarling I gulp it down
Sea deep the bitter brew
Horrors born of my memory
Pain written in my bones
Death written in the oaths I spoke
Mine to the dregs
.
From her she hurls me
Unbroken I snarl
Bitter brew like blood from my muzzle drips
Cold eyes blacker than hate
Cold truths older than time
Meet mad eyes broken and risen
Stronger for the brew of endings
Not unmade but reborn
.
Howling I rise
Snarling she slams me back
Upon the tree
Hanging tree where I will ever be bound
Breaking One eyes children
Cannot stop us
Ever rising bound to the price of our path
Drink the cost of our choosing
To the dregs
.
–You never named yourself. Years ago you gave me a gift I cannot repay, one that freed me from the drugs that made me unsafe to be around those I cared for. I see the end of our path, although I cannot know when it will come, know I will not shy from it. I knew the price at the first sip, and I will drink this horn to the dregs.
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