Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Comfort Zones or Safe Spaces?

Time to call us our bullshit:

TMI (too much information!) is code for “Why don’t you have the grace to be ashamed enough to die in silence so we can share thoughts and prayers at your funeral?”

I am old enough come from the stoic back woods west bumfuck area of the world where we sucked it up in silence and put a good face on all the bad things. There was nothing wrong, everyone kept up a good face, a stiff upper lip, and makeup hides lots of things. Especially when you are trained to not notice, like you are trained to pretend not to hear.

Now we come to the internet age, the age of the overshare, the “oh my god don’t you have any boundaries” age. The Age of TMI, too much information.

While I have said it often enough, it really is possible to have a meal that doesn’t get its own Instagram account, it is possible to have bowel movement without giving a play by play, somewhere in all the OMG, TMI I started to spot something.

I am a veteran, I am a Heathen, I am parent to an LGBTQ+ child, so I see a lot of similar posts, different languages from the different subcultures, but the same sort of waves of very public group sing bullshit affrimations in general go out, followed by specific depictions of what not doing OK feels like today that are met with, OMG, TMI, and the very real sense of offense for ruining peoples comfortable world view.

We need more Not Okay, and this is how I am coping. We need more, not okay and settling for surviving because I can’t pretend to cope posts.

We do the suicide prevention dance every year. We set up hotlines for strangers, we tell you to check your buddies, especially the ones who stopped talking.

Here is the thing, how about we encourage them to talk when it isn’t okay, and listen to the things that make us feel uncomfortable when they need to talk.

Normalize uncomfortable conversations. Normalize conversations that end with you saying “Shit man, I’m sorry, I never knew.” The cost of your comfort zone is those who you want to help being taught that on days they are not good, they will upset you and hurt you by telling the truth.

I am not virtue signalling, It shouldn’t be a virtue. WHO THE FUCK DOESN”T HAVE BAD DAYS?

I don’t care how much your life is in order right now, your physical and mental health, your family situation, your employment, your feelings of personal safety, all of these can go from shiny happy invincible to flaming wreckage in a heartbeat.

At some point, that will be you. At that point, who can you really talk to? Who are you okay with being vulnerable in front of? Who isn’t going to make you feel ashamed because they always thought you had it together and when the whole of your life is shit, feeling them decide you really weren’t a strong person worth knowing but actually a loser who can’t deal with their own shit?

Ugly Truth, the reality of who you could talk to is larger than your fears paint it.

Second Ugly Truth, a lot of people who say all the right supportive things in general want nothing to do with any of your weakness because their image of you is more important to them than the reality of you. Your needs threaten them. That one will hurt when you hit it.

You know what does help?

Not the hotlines, sorry, but maybe one percent will ever bother, and more than half the time they get dumped in ER psych for another round of “ignore your history and diagnosis, take a pill, take a seat, and oh my god why are you still taking up my space, fuck off.” For the purely medical problems they get the pamphlet level have you tried (yes for six weeks until doctors told me it wasn’t working, no initial screenings said it would harm me, not applicable, not workable, directly contraindicated by my diagnosis, and holy shit idiot, I have been doing this for five fucking years, do you even read the chart?).

What helps is the TMI posts.

When you are in your good days, reading the TMI posts of people you respect lets you stick in your head, hey, they have bad days too. Hey, I really respect them, admire them, but they aren’t always Okay either. Hey, they went through a really bad patch, but they got through it.

Maybe you can help, maybe you can at least relate, but even if neither of those is true, you are aware of it. You are getting the idea that people you respect are not always OK. That being not always OK is not something to be ashamed about.

You read the TMI posts about people who had a handle on their issues, but their control regimen stopped working, or needed to be changed. You read TMI posts from people who inspired you who had that bad day when they just gave up and quit coping.

Then a few days later they post again, back on their feet (more or less) and ready to keep going.

You don’t just normalize the idea that sometimes strong people are not okay, but you get a sense for who among your own friends understands, and is willing to talk.

Those TMI posts establish that thing conservatives hate. Safe space.

Funny, conservatives love to mock it. The Veteran Community has two distinct faces on the subject, the suck it up buttercup, chest thumping bullshit crowd, and those who are actually dealing with their shit, and want to make sure their buddies reach out for help, rather than eating their fucking gun on the nights they just aren’t up to it anymore.

The difference is that phrase, safe space. A place, a community, a forum, a group of people that they feel they can say things they aren’t proud of, things they aren’t sure of, and not have to worry about either somebody telling them to man the fuck up and shut up, or sending the police to murder them on a “wellness check”. Honestly, if you ever think you need to, don’t. Don’t ever send the police to check on someone in crisis, you will be responsible for what follows. I shit you not.

Safe places are those where you can say not only you aren’t doing well, but what among your coping mechanisms isn’t working. What among your struggles you aren’t up to facing. It is a place where others who have been there and done that can share with you without shame.

Shame kills.

Shame kills kids struggling with gender and sexual identity, shame kills people struggling with chronic medical conditions or mental health issues. Shame kills people dealing with family breakdowns or grieving. Shame kills sexual trauma survivors and PTSD survivors.

Shame kills, so we can fake smile at each other and pretend its okay. You know what? Fuck that.

Comfort zones and safe spaces are mutually exclusive. Comfort zones use shame to keep you from sharing things that bother people to hear. Comfort zones convince you to stay silent, keep your problems to your self and die in the fucking corner quietly so we can all posture at your funeral about how we were all there for you; why didn’t you reach out?

Safe spaces are uncomfortable. Safe spaces leave you being told that some of what you have told them hurt a lot and some of your own defensive responses to your issues are making you lash out when they need to share something you don’t want to hear. Safe spaces are uncomfortable by nature, they are ugly.

We take off the bandages and look at the wounds. We stop pretending, and speak truth. Ugly, it won’t be okay, but I guess we can figure our something, kind of truth.

Safe spaces require courage to enter, because you won’t be clean or pain free when you leave. It isn’t Disney, you won’t solve problems by some My Little Pony power of friendship bullshit, but you can and sometimes do make it through the night, and share enough of the burden or find a resource or application of a tool you didn’t know about that might make you get through the night you might not otherwise have had the strength to get through.

Overshare. TMI, normalize not being OK because the 1950’s myth was powered by valium, alcohol and domestic abuse. It wasn’t a shiny happy time where everyone just coped, it was a time of suffering in silence and lying about cause of death.

We can’t afford comfort zones. So how about we get on with the overshares, and normalize having conversations where we aren’t ashamed to say “Not good” when someone asks how it is going?

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry

She was clad only in plot-armour, our Diana

I swore I would not let this be an obituary, that I would say the words while she lived, and while people understood this is how I think when all who know she whom I speak about are free to argue without more than the usual rancour. I would speak to you of Diana Paxson.

You know how common it is to complain about someone who thinks they are “holier than thou” or acts like they are somehow better than you, well every once in a while, or in this case, once in a lifetime you come to realize both that someone is holier than thou (or me in this case) but largely hasn’t a clue she is. Diana is that person.

A whole lot of years ago Christianity tried hard to wipe us out, root and branch as a faith. They stole what they wanted of our warrior ways to supply them with sword and later cannon fodder, but they destroyed almost all the lore of what we were and how we lived. Particular care was taken to first demonize and then destroy all traces of our magical arts, our sacred wisdom, and their importance and role in keeping our communities healthy and whole. It isn’t hidden, it isn’t one Rosetta stone away from known, it was destroyed and all who knew its secrets butchered long ago, even those who ordered it done long dust.
The need existed when our community began to reform for these arts to return, but they could not be taken up again, for they literally existed no more. They were gone. Odin is a thief of knowledge a seducer of women, a deceiver of men, a rat bastard of a boss, and really really good at his job. He saw the need so he stole what he needed, and set out to seduce a witch.

Enter Diana. She sees us as peers in a funny way as Odin found us not too far apart in time, having seduced her during the writing of Brisengamen, even though he waited to seal the deal until she was tempted to go looking for a guide between the worlds and lost an argument with a raven who could care less that ravens were dime a dozen in the pagan community, almost a trope, and she had her own guides thank you very much, now run along and let me use my own guides. The raven cared not, and she could go no further unless she followed said raven. Raven oddly enough led her to our mutual boss and Diana entered into a “one time only at festival” hookup that turned into an outright marriage with the Father of Magical Songs because he needed him some signing done and liked the look of her lungs. Perhaps indelicately phrased, but cut right to the heart of it.

What we had was gone forever beyond recovery. The ways between the worlds to the places our ancestors knew are dangerous, without the proper guides, mad is the best you could hope for and lost is far from the worst. For those who do not know the path it is suicide to venture deep, yet someone must chart the paths, someone must learn the ways to sing open the gates, to build the relationships with the guides upon the ways when centuries have gone between the covenants of our ancestors were broken, and those of our folk today had yet to be forged. Only a fool would dare those reaches without guidance, for to step too deeply along those paths is to encounter unknowing things that can destroy us, and things that we lacked the wisdom to treat with safely.

Enter our maiden of the plot armour. She thinks she is one of us, her intrepid Odin kids that she leads into our journeys upon the winds between the worlds down roads to Hel and back with cheerful unconcern and raven bright acquisitive curiosity. Where she walks she maps, stopping to look into a shadow and see it yield its truth that she will casually note to the rest of us as the path behind her firms to hard rock and firm root. Into the darkness she steps to find a bone bridge beneath her feet, and in front of the rest of us a yawning abyss over a river of serpent venom flowing over the weapons of all our wars….as Diana notes the signpost that falls naturally at her left hand, “Note the guide post, its important not to get lost” she notes casually unnoticing that the blinding darkness flies before her every step, and while those who follow her could see the path, we all stood one step from the abyss all unknowing.

She summons forth in ritual aspects of the god that should leave the walls dripping with the blood of others, as what I and those like me learn to spend every effort to suppress for fear we cannot contain or control it once Odin’s battle frenzy is unleashed, when she calls it in us in her presence we feel the transformation take hold and sweep us before it in the full storm of his fury, yet she stands before us rooted in his protection like literal plot armour, making safe simply by being there what we long lost the lore to dare to learn to control. She is like control rods in a nuclear reactor, what ought to run wild without its controls and threaten us all simply glows brightly while she looks at it from all sides with that raven curiosity and notes that you could grab it thus and so to direct it, and my favourite, “wouldn’t it be interesting to” as she proceeds to muse half a dozen ways to turn things you mastered for other purposes that turn out to neatly control what was ever and always beyond you.

She stands clad in plot armour, for Odin has willed all those things that he worked so hard to steal in the first place should be ours again, and he has seduced him the woman to do that work for him. Diana does not have the deal the rest of us know. I love her dearly, and she will never see it, but he is not so caring of the rest of us. I love Odin, but neither of us have any doubt he will expend me without thought, and will cheerfully leave me to the results of the choices I make. I am a soldier of the Feeder of Raven’s, and as far as he is concerned will serve him until I am bird food, then serve him as bird food, he’s OK either way. Diana……is different. She is tasked, fated and warded to bring back what was stolen.

We are not doing things the way our ancestors did, because that was stolen from us and lost. We are in fact cheerfully stealing from others, and collecting as ravens do, choice bits of loot from our lore, choice bits of loot gathered from travels beyond the worlds, and choice bits of inspiration to weave a new thing that comes to our hands as the old thing came to our ancestors. We didn’t have centuries of patient guidance to learn like the first time, so Odin, god of cheating because he that damned clever, wrapped her in plot armour and set her upon the course to replace all that was stolen, and map all the places we must send our wise ones upon the needs of the people.

Diana speaks of us as peers, noting that she wasn’t even Heathen when she wrote Brisengamen. It was her book Brisengamen that clued me in to who it was that had recruited me in basic training. He began with Diana, and recruited others of us in short order, placing us on paths to bring what was needed to her he had chosen to bring the full knowledge back to the folk. She calls us peers, but I am a soldier, and I know when I have been tasked as a spear carrier, as support column for the schwerpunkt, or as military strategists would put it, the main thrust or battle decision point. She is his banner woman, his chosen trail blazer, her trail has been the schwerpunkt of Odin’s returning to us the core of our Heathen tool chest. You don’t let on your schwerpunkt while your enemies have a chance to respond to the true threat in time to stop it, but its too late, she has won.

She walked clad in plot armour into trackless darkness where death and madness stood to all sides, but those who walk beside or behind her walk upon paths we can see, in worlds we have again the words to describe, the wisdom to judge, and her knowledge to guide. Those who come after will not need such protections, and will doubtless walk farther than we can dream, and unlock things we don’t even yet know we need, but they will do so because Diana was sent ahead, and walked with Odin’s spear above her in protection, as it simply hallows the rest of us as his chosen when our fool asses get killed doing what seemed wise at the time.

I am honoured to have known her, honoured to have been instructed by her, to have practiced with her, and to have brought such gifts as Odin has given me to her so that those who follow after us can skip the costly learning curve this generation had to go through. I am an arrogant man, and own no man my better, but I will say this without any doubt or shame. Diana is holier than any man or woman I have ever met, I look into her eyes and see my god blazing back at me, wrapped in protection around her in ways and for reasons it took me decades to understand.

We don’t do prophets, they are more trouble than they are worth, we don’t do scriptures, because quoting replaces thinking way too quickly. Having said that, sometimes the gods push hard enough their hands become visible, even if it takes someone else to point it out. I know Diana is no where near as arrogant as I am, and it would never occur to her that she is anything special, that any one of us who Odin likes to mess with are all members of the same odd little one eyed fraternity, but she may be the only one who doesn’t realize how very special her bargains with Odin are, how very differently he cherishes her, or how much her gifts to the community have restored what it took centuries to take from our ancestors.

Diana Paxson
Aesir, Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry

Rede of Choices

I rede thee, child
and hear well my rede.

Profit thou hast if thou heareth
Great gain you hast if thou learnest
Wisdom there is in my teachings
For the time and the place I offered
Victory fell to who followed
On the field and in the fight
that I spoke of.

I rede thee, child
Profit thou hast if thou heareth
Great gain you hast if thou learnest
Strike not one blow at my urging
Nor turn from thy duty to mine

Worth do I find in your struggle
Wisdom do I seek in your choices
Never my will on your weapons
For never my hand red with blood

Profit thou hast if thou heareth
Great gain you hast if thou learnest
Call to me to inspire
Call to me to bear witness

Choose of your own in your struggle
Choose of your own right and wrong
The price is yours, as the cost is
Surrender that choice not to me

—Thus were the words of Har, the whispers of the Wise Counsellor, the ravings of the Hanged One as I dangled upon his tree, and ravens took from me their fill, as he gave his words in payment.
Ours is not the path of blind faith, of obedience, of ignorance. Choose for yourself, and own it. To choose yourself and fail is better victory than to dance like a puppet to a prize unearned.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

When the gods go remodeling in your head.

There are definitely problems with my lifestyle. I have chronic back pain and left torso and leg spasm issues from some stuff back in 2009. I have traumatic brain injury and neck spinal issues from some stuff most of a decade later.

I work seven nights a week, sleep maybe three days in five and can keep food down about three days in five, but the footprint of the eat vs sleep days doesn’t match up very well. I get by on lots of coffee.

The chronic pain, spasm, nausea, dizziness, tinnitus are a pain in the ass and energy drain, but you can get used to anything. Well, as long as the balancing act works, and you can keep robbing Peter to pay Paul in the symptoms sweepstakes. A few months ago I lost some ground I won’t be getting back. My ego wrote a check my body failed to cash and my brain shut down all the coping mechanisms running in the background.

One out of five stars, do not recommend.

Post crash, I had a lot less energy to bring to the table and I recovered slower. I needed more down time by a lot, and got a lot less out of it. I was losing coping ability and my brain was honestly turning into a terrifying swamp I sometimes got lost in. I really did my best to hold it together until I ran out of the energy to do so.

Then I found out something interesting. Someone has been remodelling in here.

I love Odin dearly, but trust him far less than you would think I ought to. Fine, you do you; I will remain skeptical for reasons having to do with being played more often and more easily than I am comfortable with. His understanding my motivations better than I do and my having reservations about how much of what I think I know of his being deliberate disinformation makes for a fine little mental merry go round I no longer have the energy to waste on.

I had many bad experiences when I ran the batteries too low and could not run the coping mechanisms while I rested. It gets ugly. They physical is brutal, but throwing up gives you wicked abs, and the bleeding thing is totally sustainable as a three hundred pound carnivore. I can cover the blood loss without my liver really noticing. The bad part is the mental. I lose body position sensing, I lose control of memory, and basically fall into nightmare while my body is bracing for the fall it is sure I am in the middle of. I was expecting that was waiting for me as my new energy budget is way lower than it was, and my recovery got less efficient.

And yet, someone has been remodelling in here.

When the time came I lost my own control and I waited for the usual abyss, I found myself caught up as in a storm of thoughts and inspiration. Riding winds of vision and wonder, taken so far out of myself only the bond to the Tree, the awareness that on some level I am always and forever bound and hanging on it, kept me from concern I might not find my way back.

I am not driving, but someone is. I am not lost in my head, but carried on winds that blow from my mind and out beyond, following chains of reason and research I no longer have the bandwidth for as if I was still in my prime, only not the prime I actually had, but the one I always thought I should have had. Then I find myself diving deep inside to places where there is no thought, no reason, only primal frenzy; creative and destructive, ecstatic and bestial, both thoughtless and inspired. I know I am not driving but at that point, lost in the frenzy I don’t care. There is always this, my reason has cause to fear him, but my rage trusts him more than me.

I come back rested mentally, refreshed, calm, focused. My body is still a wreck, but somehow I stole recovery from wherever I was riding.

Here is where it gets weirder. I have echoes of that inspiration still tripping through my head like eight legged horses and butterflies chasing themselves through the scar tissue and “file not found” notifications in my brain. I write a lot. Odd stuff, not anything I could choose, it just bursts random and full flower into my head, retrieved or inspired from gods only knows where.

This too returns energy to me. Returns both mental and physical energy I can use to power the coping mechanisms that had previously been failing due to my worsening conditions lower energy budget.

Net effect? I am functionally almost where I was work wise, and emotionally a lot better off.

I look into the machinery running these functions in my brain and here is where things get murky.

A whole bunch of unrelated “magical” techniques. I say magical because they are learned from heathen disciplines, from the lore of Aesir, from the modern practice of seidr and galdr, from some things learned in journeys and ordeals that I won’t waste time asking anyone else to believe because you weren’t there, and secondly I don’t care. I got stuff, it works, and on a practical level if I’m wrong and it still works then how cool is that?

The thing is, they all had their little boxes in my head where they were kept. They all had their own pathways for me to access them and a structure I had to use to make them work. This stuff isn’t easy, and it consumes a fair amount of juice on its own, because nothing is free.

Someone has been remodelling while I wasn’t looking.

All these unrelated bits I picked up for good and specific reasons as part of my Heathenry, and some things picked up from the army, some from Wiccans and Hermetics I have practiced with over the years, have been woven into something I don’t recognize that works so much smoother than any of the bits I used on their own. It is also not using power from my depressingly low reserves, but feeding me a nice low key stream of energy I don’t have to direct. Well, honestly, I can’t seem to direct it, but I can’t argue with how it is being tasked so I won’t press the issue.

I got to the end of my rope, ready to hang and more or less accepting it, only to find someone wove wings out of my mental arms while I wasn’t looking. I keep reaching for outrage and the sense of violation for someone mucking about in my brain that way, and rewiring the place to a schematic and purpose I can’t grasp, but my plan was burning wreckage so I feel like more than a bit of a tool for wanting to object to the whole lack of consent thing.

Instead I find myself wondering. How long was I picking up the tools I needed for now, and how many more did I pick up for the changes ahead of me? Is this just really good use of the tools on hand, sort of a field expedient fix by a McGyver of a One Eyed madman, really good with the broken bits (scary, but reasonable)? Is this the product of deliberate grooming, as in “Hey look a shiny!” coupled with a seemingly reasonable reason to pick of the shiny magical tool that I won’t actually need for the true purpose for about twenty years (really scary, and opens the door to questions I am not drunk enough to ask).

Magic is problematic. On the one hand it is of limited utility in the real world when things are working.

When the real world has run you over, and the wreckage that is left cannot function, yet you still need to function, magic fills in the blanks in your body mind and soul with things that do not work the way your broken bits used to. They in fact don’t seem to work in any way that should help, yet somehow they do. I work. I shouldn’t, no where near this well, yet I do.

Magic is, well, magic. The old man is really good at it.

I want to ask him if it was him, or me, or both, but when I thought about that I “heard” him telling me it was all me and only me, of course it was. He said he could prove it, but I had the sudden and very specific half heard thought that he could probably prove I was a racoon if he wanted to and the futility of getting a straight answer out of the Wanderer was driven home again.

I am not a racoon, for the record. I am on every measurable level not doing well at all, and yet functionally I am doing okay. I am mentally and emotionally doing so much better it is pretty scary.

I can’t stand the whole “Jesus take the wheel” sentiment, and I will be the one making my choices and paying my prices. Having said that, he redecorated my brain while I was busy failing, and I love what he did to the place.

So, thanks I guess.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized, Yule

Song upon the Yuletide

Oh sun, oh sun, we turned from thee.
Steadfast hearth eternal bide,
Sweet Sunna, mother sun
Your children lost, so lost, returning.

Cold paints white the bone bare branch
Trolls and storms howl in the dark
Huddled in the cold
Hungry and afraid
We come together and feast
What little remains
We share with song and laughter
Remembering our mother
Sweet Sunna eternal.

Oh sun, oh sun, we turned from thee.
Steadfast hearth eternal bide,
Sweet Sunna, mother sun
Your children lost, so lost, returning.

Yuletide upon us, the wild one rides
Empty the purse, empty the shelves
Huddled in the cold
Remembering your embrace
Where the sun our mother ruled
Where the wind was fair and warm
Where the golden grain swayed
Where the orchard branches groaned
What little remains
We share with song and laughter
Remembering our mother
Sweet Sunna of bounty

Oh sun, oh sun, we turned from thee.
Steadfast hearth eternal bide,
Sweet Sunna, mother sun
Your children lost, so lost, returning.

Yuletide is blazing, the dead walk the land
The Wild Hunt rides the storm
That the Frost giants fear
Huddled in the cold
Warmed together this holy night
We raise our voice to Sunna
Remembering our mother
To whom we turn again.

Oh sun, oh sun, we turned from thee.

Steadfast hearth eternal bide,

Sweet Sunna, mother sun

Your children lost, so lost, returning.

Author’s note: –For those of a mind to quibble, we are not actually praying for the sun to return. Sunna is steadfast and eternal (for our time purposes as a species). She is the center of our little system, and it is we who turned and wandered away.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Yule

Mission Creep

Mission creep is the gradual or incremental expansion of an intervention, project or mission, beyond its original scope, focus or goals, a ratchet effect spawned by initial success. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to how each success breeds more ambitious interventions until a final failure happens, stopping the intervention entirely.


The first indication that something was wrong should have been that there were signs of roadwork.  The driver was not a newbie, so there was no excuse.  The odds of there being roadwork as opposed to something planted under the road were about the same as the mission statement being an accurate depiction of our goals and a realistic end state of the country when we were done.

The second indication that something was wrong was the silence.  Some of you know what I am talking about.  That moment where the sound is so profound, the shock is so intense that your body interprets this combination as silence.  In silence our armoured jeep twisted, rose into the air and spun.  Objects and people inside flowed and deformed like water.  Time slowed.

Objectively I knew this was an explosion, an IED, and a bad day at work.  Subjectively, I saw the arc of the water from my water bottle describe an arc as it turned in the air above my face, sparkling in the light like a rainbow, like a mini-Bifrost.  Asgard calling, will you accept the charges?

Then the impact.

Jeeps can fly, but they shouldn’t.  Armour kept us from being shredded, but when land battleships take to the air, it is like turkeys pushed out of the WKRP thanksgiving helicopter, they don’t fly well, and they don’t land happy.

Things broke inside me, bits of driver sprayed over me, which I realized meant we could skip “the talk” about situational awareness, and the signs of tampering to be reported to the convoy each and every time noted.

I found my personal weapon, trying to have coital relations with my ear.  In order to defend one of the few virginities I had left, I removed the flash suppressor from where it tried to enter my ear.  I noted figures moving outside, shooting at us.  That seemed about right.  I couldn’t move, but since I had my rifle I could probably shoot them.  I thought about shooting my driver for being an idiot, but both the fact he was dead, and the fact I didn’t have room to orient my rifle towards the forward compartment made me settle for the Timmies outside.  They had crap for movement discipline, no one seemed to have heard of cover so I shot a few of them.  I noticed they merged and separated as my eyes did weird things.  When you see someone doubled, and shoot them, they fall like synchronized swimmers dancing, and the Blue Danube waltz started to supply the sound track.

I went cold, and decided it was getting too hard to process it all.  I decided I was going to nap.  Besides, I can’t seem to open my pouches to get a new magazine.  My fingers are too slippery.  I was just about to nap when a woman in unfamiliar battle dress yanked me unceremoniously from my vehicle.  That was odd.  I was all kinds of trapped, and there was a bit of the frame that was actually in me, so her yanking me out was strange.

I guess she could have been a Kurd, they have female fighters.  They don’t have too many blondes with shit eating grins, laughing eyes and the ability to clean jerk an armoured door right off its hinges, so maybe not.

She tossed me like a rucksack in the back of a helicopter.  There was something wrong with the markings on it.  Not a red cross, but three black interlocking triangles on an olive drab.  The woman hopped in the pilots seat and spooled us up.  Fire pinged off the chopper, and I wondered if I was in for my second crash of the night, wondering how I survived the first, since I seemed to see someone’s corpse sprawled in the upside down jeep she pulled me out of.  In my seat.  Like, holding my rifle too.  Frigging odd that.

Things got odder as we rose through the air.  At some point the helicopter turned into a horse and the woman’s battle dress turned into shiny chain mail.  Not the Red Sonja sexy stuff either, it smelled of sweat oil and blood.  Her hands had the sort of scars you get from thousands of wounds never fully healed from hands used as tools in a line of work where the concerns of tomorrow were never going to matter.

I am pretty sure I didn’t make it.  Well.  Fuck.

I am yanked off the horse in a courtyard in front of a huge hall that is made of spears and shields.  There is a whole lot of logistics activity going on.  Not so much dead guys like me on horseback, mostly loading a ridiculous amount of brightly wrapped packages into a sleigh pulled by eight behemoths the size of steroidal moose crossed with dinosaur.  Like caribou as seen on acid.  Or reindeer if you are of the Finnic persuasion.

I got slapped on the back and goosed on the ass by the woman who yanked me off the horse, she slapped palms with the women loading up the huge sleigh being loaded.  The women in bright chainmail doing the loading reminded me of the human chains loading C130 or C17 on the tarmac ready for roll out.

I turned at the sulphurous swearing behind me and my vision which had stopped doing the double/single shifts after I got yanked out of the jeep having a bad moment.

I saw both/either/neither Odin the Victory Father/Santa Claus stalking down towards the sleigh.  In one hand he held a spear that reeked with killing hunger, or a large sack that should have required a fork lift to carry.  It shifted with him, both/either/neither.  The other hand was a long list, scrolling into infinity if I looked at it too long.

“Frigging Frig writes smaller every year.  Check it twice, how about use a printer not cursive, I invented runes so we could type set and be done with this chicken scratch bullshit!”  He roared, and while it made my blood run cold, the course of jeers from the women and cat calls let me know sympathy for this devil was in short supply.

“Suck it up fat boy, you have one delivery a year.  We don’t even get the night off.”  The woman were grinning with the uncomplicated joy of a wolf pack watching a three legged baby deer try to run away.  All the while tossing bulging sacks onto the sleigh that should have filled a C17 at this point let alone a glorified wagon on skis.

I honestly almost felt for him.

He bumped into me and I saluted reflexively.  “Sir!”

He saluted back, with the list which hit his helmet/fur cap like a waving banner.  “At ease, stand easy, your fugging dead so can the crap recruit.  Grab a pint, we’ll orient you in the morning.  I got,”  He waved a hand at the loading going on “stuff, to do.  He murmured.  Can’t even swear in this rig.  Fuggin censorship is what that is.”

The raven’s on his shoulders laughed as his transformation into Santa became full as he approached the sleigh.

I asked the question that was bubbling up in me, well I should have a few, but honestly the one was really working hard to get out.

“Odin, um, I mean Santa.  How, I mean when did you…….”  Okay give me a break, I had been on convoy duty an hour ago, not expecting to have theological discussions with my actual deity about cultural appropriation and it’s effects on multi cultural celebration of sacral feasts.

He stopped and looked at me.  Sometimes one eye and an eye patch, sometimes two blue merry ones twinkling behind the twee-est fugging (now I can’t even swear!) glasses you ever saw.  His smile was quick and infectious.

“Do you remember how you ended up in Pakistan in the first place?”  He asked. 

Then it hit me, my eyes widened.  The most dreaded of all phrases a military man on deployment could hear, could say, could even think filled my brain, and escaped out my lips.

We said it together, the god of slaughter and myself.  “Mission creep.”

A glorious blonde woman of imperious mien reached the top of the stairs above the courtyard, she tapped a wrist that had no watch, but conveyed the message “You are in danger of missing your timings, why is your fat ass still on the ground?”  without saying a word.

He got moving, and the sleigh took off like a VTOL powered by elephant sized caribou, or reindeer if you are of the Scandinavian persuasion.  Off to deliver presents to all the good girls and boys.  The Yule Father, the brightest face of the All Father.  Now Santa Claus because mission creep is a bitch, and when it sets in, even the most reasonable job becomes an epic impossibility.

I headed for the hall, where everyone else was enjoying a night off.  I was not going for milk and cookies either.  What the hell, I wasn’t driving tonight!  Good luck sir, Santa, whatever.

Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Deplatforming Sex Workers; Shame not Safety

The Oldest Profession, is generally a phrase used to describe prostitution, or sex work. In all honesty, there are two oldest professions, young women (and boys) could sell their body for sex as prostitutes, and young men could sell their bodies for combat as soldiers. Those rich old bastards with the political and economic power exploited those without for whatever their bodies were most useful for.

This managed to last from the stone age into our modern times with little changes save for the specifics of the transaction, and how much danger the exploited were exposed to. I was a soldier to pay my way through school. For a few years I dated a stripper who was using that summer job to put herself through school. I served the CF, and they pimped us out to the UN. Of the two of us, one left with a body less than intact, with anger issues relating to trauma, serious issues with how we were used. The other was her.

Funny, she was the one described as selling herself, yet she is the one whose hands, and conscience were clean. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the result of good marketing. Society teaches us to accept being the product, the expendable resource for those who find us economically and politically useful.

Now we come to the modern age. Prostitution, pornography, sex work in all forms has always turned women into commodities, and a great deal of money has been made off them. Now comes first Tumblr, and then OnlyFans. These platforms allowed women to shift from being simply the product, to being the content producers.

No one was angered that pornography existed, banning pornography and prostitution has always been about making sure sex workers were properly kept in their place, persecuted and poor. This has consistently exposed them to routine abuse, and made them the natural target of everyone looking to kill human beings who won’t be missed.

No, the conservatives lost their minds, and dropped their masks when the sex workers moved from being the exploited product, to being the content creators. The women were safe, financially secure, and generating content that was no longer message controlled by an industry with a very firm idea of the message they were to market. The LGBTQ+ community flourished in these spaces. An acceptance for different body types, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations flowered. The sex positive culture weakened the traditional mass market pornography selling a body image that agreed with the diet, makeup, fashion industries unnatural body stylings.

Sex positive women, sex workers, LGBTQ+ people and those of non traditional gender expressions built the communities and the economic success of Tumblr and OnlyFans. In return, the received a safe space, community, affirmation, and economic control of their own content.

Apple gave Tumblr the choice, remove porn or lose being supported on the Apple platforms. The banks gave OnlyFans a choice, remove porn or lose banking services.

Let’s be clear. NO ONE is looking to shut down Pornohub, or the thousands of industrial pornographic producers who are still selling young women as product, where big business reaps the profit and they workers just get fucked, literally and financially. The only ones being shut down are the sites where sex workers had agency, had physical safety, had financial security, and the full choices about what they would choose to do for money.

I hear a lot of “stop child trafficking” bullshit from the right wing. I call it bullshit because they are the ones creating the shadows, and driving sex work into those shadows, that allow, empower and protect the sex traffickers and expose the sex workers to nothing but abuses and predation.

Europe has looked at sex work and decided to reduce the harm. They brought sex workers into the light, into full protection as workers. Those nations chose to accept that prostitution or sex work was never going to go away, but the drugs, the diseases, the coercion, sex trafficking, physical abuses, could be eliminated.

Can you get rid of sex trafficking of minors, of the women kidnapped into the lifestyle when all sex work is driven into the shadows? Hundreds of years of law enforcement have given us the answer; no. Can you get rid of those same abuses when you bring the sex workers into the light? Yes. Take the haystack away and needles aren’t too hard to find. Keep the needles in the haystack and no, we can’t ever find enough to matter.

Corporate conservatives are not opposed to sex work, they are opposed and actively at war, with women being economically secure sex content producers, not economically oppressed carefully marketed product. The Conservative church, conservative politicians, and conservative big businesses have always supported keeping women and vulnerable underage boys, available for their use, without any protection or choice in their use, on the streets and in the shadows where they were aware they were always and only product to be consumed. The “scandals” of the abuses of these sectors with vulnerable sex workers, frequently underage have been so common for as long as I was alive they really have to be spectacular to even make the news. They don’t want to get rid of it, they want the sex workers to remain vulnerable, without physical or economic security.

You know what? No.

We are in an age when you do not need a movie studio, a printing press, a network of film distributors to get your product to market. Musicians, authors, and content creators of all kinds have taken advantage of this freedom from the mass market limitation to get messages corporate America doesn’t wish to sell us out there. Music that would never have been given radio play are now building support bases and fan bases that make a paying career possible. Authors telling stories that were not ever going to get funding for mass printing, or big budget film are building their own following, and economic support for telling the stories about characters that were not the same crap we have been offered for the last hundred years. Heroes and heroines of every body type, every racial background, gender expression and sexual orientation. No longer were we limited to the stories the Industry wanted to sell us, now we could find stories about our own communities, stories we could see ourselves reflected in.

At the same time, sex workers were given the same chance, the chance to step outside the exploitive industry that turned them into product, while denying them any creative control, or any chance of economic survival if they dared to express limits on what they would participate in. Sex workers became the content creators. Less exploitive porn, every body type, and every gender expression and sexual orientation were able to create sex positive spaces where they could explore their own joys.

Now Corporate America has spoken, they want to end this freedom. They want sex workers back in their place as product. They want shame, they want exploitation, they want physical risk, disease, and police harassment to again be the daily lot of the sex worker. They want the sex content, they just don’t want the women to profit, they want them only as product.

I am a Heathen. I don’t get the whole Christian hatred of sex workers. I read their book, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if Jesus Christ were to walk into any of the churches I have seen during a bible thumping speech drumming up hatred against sex workers that they would have the ever loving crap slapped out of them by their dear lord. He did once tell a man who tried to body shame a woman for arousing him that if he thought sinful thoughts looking at her to rip the eye out of his head. It was his issue, not hers. That was Jesus, so where his priests get their misogyny from is an interesting question, and not my problem.

Being Heathen, we have the example of Freya, a goddess with sexual agency she wields at her will and no others in defiance of any social convention in blissful unconcern. She was equal in power to Odin and had zero concern for other peoples reactions to her sexual freedoms. What are her thoughts on Tumblr and Onlyfans sex workers? I would have to say that she would bless their embracing their sexual nature, their power, and making a strong independent life on their own terms. Choosing to make a life they can be proud of, rather than accepting the will and judgement of others as to what they could or could not do with their body.

There is something so pathetic about the drive to deplatform sex workers in Tumblr and Onlyfans. It isn’t about stopping porn. It is about stopping sex workers from ever daring to see themselves as producers, as workers deserving of dignity, physical and economic security, rather than just product to be exploited for the profit of others.

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

Tears on the Flag

215 unidentified Aboriginal students found in mass grave in Kamloops BC Residential School

Forgive me if upon the day I cannot raise the cry
I cannot sing the shining praise
Nor raise my banner high
The mother of our land is weeping
Heavy are her tears
The dead are crying in their graves
Hidden all these years

To all of us who marched away
Made war under her name
Her tears demand to know
Who stood on guard
For my first born
When you stood on guard for me?

I love our nation best of all
I am her proudest son
Yet I hear her weeping for her first born
Those we stole and threw away
You cannot raise the banner high
When it flies on unmarked graves
Her tears will keep that banner furled
Until we give justice to their name

Our nation is a promised land
A land so strong and free
Yet we built it on the broken bones
Of little children we took away

Forgive me if I cannot sing
The anthem on the day
Not when so many bones are screaming
In their unmarked graves

The day will come we raise the flag
Salute again with pride
But first we must bring justice
For all the innocents who died

Our motherland weeps on the banner
For her firstborn cast aside
Until we make it right with them
We have no right to pride

An Aboriginal child taken into the Canadian Residential School program was more likely to die than a Canadian Armed Forces Soldier in WW2

I will not be celebrating Canada Day this July 1st. I will be pouring out my offerings to the hundreds of Aboriginal Canadians ripped from their families, murdered, and thrown away in mass unmarked graves in a program that ran into the 1990’s, under the auspices of the Canadian government, the Catholic and Anglican Churches.

We made a successful attempt to kill an entire group of cultures, languages, and ways of life. We set out to destroy family structures, community structures, traditional beliefs, and we didn’t care how many Aboriginal children had to suffer or die as long as whatever remained was only capable of speaking English or French, only capable of praying to Jesus.

We didn’t care if they got sick, got beaten, got raped. We didn’t care if they simply got taken away and forgotten. The forgotten are being found as today’s technology is capable of finding the sins of the past we buried in unmarked mass graves that we like to pretend belong to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. They are Canadian. We did this. We were doing this while most of us were alive, and the survivors of this are all around us, continuing to be treated far worse by our criminal justice system and social services.

We live in the richest society on earth, with a constitution and charter of rights and freedoms that calls upon us to fulfill the dream of a society in which all are treated equally and well, no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation. Yet not everyone gets to be part of this dream, those who were here first, those who welcomed our ancestors to this land now have communities that are so poor and bereft of the services that all of us take for granted they look like they should be on some other continent, not a short drive down the highway. We have the harsh statistics that show being born Aboriginal is to never be treated fairly by our social safety net or criminal justice system. We have mass graves of a cultural genocide that was willing to accept actual genocide as the cost of wiping out Aboriginal culture.

I love my country, but I will not celebrate it until we have made this right. We made a promise with our constitution, with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that whatever we may have been when we were founded, we came together to demand something better, something fair, just, and harmonious.

I won’t salute those colours again until I see us live up to that broken promise, until those mass graves have seen justice done, when the survivors who have had their culture, their family and community structure stolen away have received our aid in rebuilding.

When the motherland no longer weeps for her first born children lying forgotten in unmarked graves, I will salute the colours again. Until then, the flag hangs heavy with the tears of the motherland, and the dead lie awaiting justice in the cold earth that was the only homeland we left them.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry

My Father Told Me

I guess everyone has heard the song (My Mother Told Me) from the Vikings, but it got stuck in my head and I began to think about what my father actually told me (what my mother told me is neither printable nor useful).

My Father Told Me

My father told me
One day I would die
All that I had won
Left upon the dirt

When the challenge sounds
Be the one who stands
Give your all to the battle
Blood will wash you clean
Time will make you whole
It won’t make you forget

My father told me
One day I would fail
All that I had fought for
Would look on me with shame

When work is still to do
Be the one who stands
Give your all to the doing
No one has to cheer
Love is paid with duty
Rest is for the dead men

My father told me
One day he would die
All that he had won
Would live on in me

When I see my children
I see my father’s eyes
Boldly striding forth
Charging into the future
No fear will hold them
No fear will hold them

—The song got stuck in my head some time ago, and it is a good work song. Problem with good work songs with lyrics of meaning it you start working on the meaning in the part of your brain that is not busy working.

My father did teach me a lot about killing, but that was mostly about making sure I stayed alive to get to the important stuff he paid good coin to learn. The things he taught that mattered the most are these;

It costs you more to look in the mirror and wonder why you didn’t step up, than it costs to step up and get hurt, or even dead.

One day you will fail, when you can’t afford to. You will screw up the thing you would have given everything to protect. You STILL have work to do, if you aren’t dead, you don’t get to stop and feel sorry for yourself. Get back to work, and feel sorry for yourself while doing your duty.

No thing you earn, no title, no land you hold, no gold, no lover will matter after your last breath. What will is those you leave behind. What you give to them in time, in care, in protection, in power, in resources and in love are the only things death can’t take from you.

Remember that when you choose. You don’t get to fix it when they don’t need you anymore.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Echoes of Walpurg

The drum beat is a hearts last flutter
The hot splash of tears upon cold stone
Somewhere in the dying echo
Of the scream of heartbreak

The song haunts the silences
Where your desperate panting quiets
Where the last sob dies aborning
Where you cannot raise your cheek from the floor

Behind the silence I hear you
Behind the darkness I see
At the edge of nothingness you whisper
Messages of madness
The sickness of hope

Roaring in my anger
Laughing in my glory
Yet I pause as if stricken
By a whisper behind the thunder

Sobbing in the ashes
Eyes wept dry and sightless
Yet raised in wonder
As patterns write themselves in ashes

Behind the silence I hear you
Behind the darkness I see
At the edge of nothingness you whisper
Messages of madness
The sickness of hope

Catskin gloves in shadow
Fearsome in the firelight
Song old before man spoke first
Weaves between the darkness and the night

Her voice in rapture sounds
In the bones of the waking earth
More terrible than death
More merciful than life

–Hail Freya. Your voice sounds in the depth of the earth, and whispers in the song of our blood for those with the ears to hear, and the courage to be still to listen.