Moving Time

Vaul:

We’ve decided on a new start rather than a continuation, so these posts won’t be transferred over right now and may not be transferred at all. We’re still watching for new comments on these entries, though.

The new blog is Elf Improvement, title possibly subject to change. Please come join us over there.

Uncoolness, and a likely upcoming move.

Kearil:

We’ve known of Raven Kaldera and the Northern Tradition folks he usually hangs with for quite a while – how could we not? – but we hadn’t done much poking around the Northern Paganism site before today. Another site linked me to one of NorthernPaganism.org’s virtual shrines and it was about as dangerous to our prior plans for the afternoon as TVTropes or Wikipedia. But more holy, so I don’t really feel guilty about that. ^_-

Of course I had to look for the god/desses we’ve interacted with more than a few times, and of course I had to see what others were saying about Niorun considering that there’s next to no information out there for her. And of course, when I found a copy of Shaynin’s personal account of our experiences with Niorun attributed to another author, it was pretty damn obvious.

The misattributed version is still live on NT.org at the time of this writing but Raven un-linked it from the parent page within minutes of sending him an e-mail about it – he assumed on good faith that it was written by the person who sent it to him. I think it’s reasonable to keep the page around “just in case”…I really wish we’d kept our e-mail correspondence with the supposed author, Bethany, “just in case”.

Yup, she contacted us several months after Shaynin’s Niorun piece went live and asked some questions; I originally thought that the oh-so-familiar text must have come from one of those e-mails, not realizing it was lifted from this blog.

This public blog. Yeah.

Granted, WordPress can alter timestamps so they’re not necessarily proof Shaynin wrote it before Bethany submitted it, but the use of plural pronouns to describe things that may not be true for other devotees of Niorun is either a smoking gun or an indication of assuming one’s personal experiences with a deity are the same as anyone else’s personal experiences with that deity. Either way, not cool. On this blog, it’s pretty clear from context that we’re talking about our own experiences and not necessarily what others will experience; over there, not so much.

I offered to write something that made it clearer which parts are likely subjective, Raven said that would be nice, I sent him something, and hopefully it’ll be up there soon, credited to Clan Nautilus. We’ve had too much social anxiety to go mix with the NT community but this makes me think there are some really good reasons for mustering up the spoons and the courage. Like making sure people can tell what’s our work and not someone else’s. Like seeing people link to, or ask us to rehost, things we write that they think are helpful rather than seeing someone else submit it to a site without acknowledging or telling us.

We never approved Bethany’s comment when she made contact with us and we’re not planning to, because it contains her e-mail address – in a form that could easily be eaten up by spambots, no less. But we’re keeping it in our pending comments, “just in case”. And if you see an e-mail address beginning with bethany6996, or another address coming from a Bethany H., be alert. It could be a prelude to your content winding up on someone else’s site, under her name.

And while I’m posting…we have discovered how easy it is to install WordPress on the hosting provider we plan to use for our Web 1.0-style site, if and when we get off our ass long enough to make said site, so it’s likely that at some point we’ll move this blog again. The copy here will probably be left as-is, “just in case”, but we’ll also copy everything over to the new location. I’m not sure when we’ll be in the swing of writing again, but we’re getting into the swing of spiritual exploration again and it would be nice to also resume writing here regularly. The focus may change, as we warned in the last entry, but the skepticism we felt is largely gone and we’ll probably still be getting mystical on a regular basis.

Until then, may others be excellent to you, and for the love of the gods please cite your sources.

Rebooting…

Shaynin:

Things have changed quite a bit for us and we’re planning to change the blog accordingly. As you may notice, I’ve already changed the tagline.
About a year, year and a half ago, our woo sense faded away. Since then, we’ve become more agnostic. The fading of the woo sense seeded doubt, then we happened to read a novel called Blindsight that deals with complicated hallucinations as part of the plot and were reminded just how unreliable the brain is in general. We no longer trust our past woo experiences, and without that our faith is pretty shaky. We have, however, also been exploring Buddhism and plan to post about that a bit.

Art-wise, we’ve taken the summer off of knitting but plan to go back to class soon. We’re also starting cross stitch again – haven’t done it since high school – and while we haven’t done any creative writing really (our imagination for that faded at about the same time as the woo), we’re knocking around the idea of doing a series of character profiles for our MMORPG characters since our creativity in that area has held steady.
Some of this may involve finally making a website on our Nearly Free Speech account (currently just used as image hosting) depending on how intimidated we get by learning some more modern web design things like CSS…we’ll see.

Altering a Ritual

Vaul:

Some time in the coming months, we plan to undergo a ritual modified from the Kheprian Rite of Seven Gates. One version of the Rite can be found in The Vampire Ritual Book by Michelle Belanger; it is itself based on the death and rebirth lore of several cultures. The basic idea is that one descends through a series of gates corresponding to the chakras, giving up the outer trappings of the self until all but the inner nature is shed and then facing something akin to the Kemetic afterlife judgment.

However, we’re going for a different purpose than death and rebirth. Our goal is to go into the realms of Faery – specifically to the source of our elvan nature – for rededication to our sacred craft. With that difference in mind, there are a few things that need to change. We’re also planning to run the ritual with only one other person to help, so that calls for some modifications as well.

Rather than Kheprian/Kherete Warriors to hold the space, we are calling upon the color Guardians described in the prior two posts.

Instead of mummification, we are going under a blanket as the Icelandic seers did. Instead of being pronounced dead, we are drinking a Faery drink of a particular tea with a woodsy taste to it, in homage to the idea that faery food and drink will cause a person to stay in Faery. Instead of Phoenix blend incense, we’re using an amber scent.

We are also using our own list of chakras, including a lower center below the feet akin to an Underworld double of the Crown, a center for ties to community at the knee, and hand centers subordinate to the heart that take in and give out energy.

At each chakra, the original rite calls for something to be given up and a small amount of energy from the chakra to be sacrificed. In our rite, we will commit ourselves to a purpose symbolically tied to the meaning of that chakra and project a small amount of energy into a crystal; on the return through the chakras, those crystals will be energetically tied to our chakras to create a two-way bonding, preparing them for use as a ritual tool – likely components of a wand to be made in the future as a symbol of our bond with the powers of Faery.

The timing is uncertain so far; our assistant needs to be brought up to speed first. We will be sure to post about the results, though.

Discovering the Colors

Shaynin:

Because we don’t use the Temple of the Twelve framework, we had to discover for ourselves what each color was like.

That process is going to be different for everyone, but for us it began with the five elements. Yellow is Air, Red is Fire, Blue is Water, Green is Earth. Those are simple. From there we expanded our view to a Nine Worlds model that we use for divination as well; it was roughly based on the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil but we’re not so confident the correspondences match up to that anymore, to be honest. Orange and Purple balance each other out in Seed (Earth combined with Air) and Venom (Fire combined with Water), and White and Black balance each other in Lightning (Fire combined with Air) and Clay (Earth combined with Water). Silver and Gold are interchangeable as the colors of the Center, the synthesis of all. Mapping this to the chakra system, we found general agreement as well as the addition of three other colors – Pink, Turquoise, and Brown – that we’re still exploring on an initial basis.

Thus, here are our color meanings, and the location for those that don’t line up with major chakras:

Silver (below feet) – Lower Self (Vivi)
Black (feet) – Connection to the Lower Self, shadow work, therioside work, instinct, self-regard
Brown (knees) – Community ties
Red – Fire, Will, the body
Orange – Sexuality, beauty
Yellow – Air, intellect, ego
Pink (receptive hand) – Receiving
Green – Middle Self (Emi), Earth, stability, stillness/silence
Turquoise (projective hand) – Giving
Blue – Water, emotion, communication
Purple – Psychic ability, seeing beyond the surface
White – Connection to Higher Self, “knowledge and conversation” work, teaching, harmony
Gold (above head) – Higher Self (Ori)

This is definitely not meant to be reused without question; colors bring up different feelings and associations for different people. For example, our association of Orange with beauty and the world of Ljossalfheim has to do with the fact that most amber, a stone associated with the Northern Tradition and with Freyja, is orange. This is just one example of what can come out of the reflective process.

Colorwork outside the Temple

Shaynin and Kearil:

We got involved in colorwork through the influence of friends who are working on it in the context of the Temple of the Twelve novels. In these novels, each color is personified with specific traits and a novice works through lessons symbolic of each, getting a feather as a token of completion, then moving on to adepthood with one or more colors as specific patrons.

We haven’t read the books but we know without doing so that this set approach doesn’t fit us. Our ideas of what the colors mean are different (having at least read a Witchvox article by the author of the books) and we didn’t foresee adjusting our color-view to fit someone else’s. We also haven’t felt called to the idea of taking one or more colors as patrons; some are more prominent in our work than others, but we see that as a reason to remember to seek balance, not a reason to specialize more. As we worked through our first round with the colors, it also became clear that this was an orientation to be followed by deeper work with all of them.

Oh, and we don’t have twelve colors. 🙂

We do associate the colors with directions, elements and elemental Guardians, as well as chakras. We work with more than the typical seven chakras and they just happen to play nicely with the number of colors we’ve got. All of this is important in the ritual we’re currently planning, about which we plan to write in future posts.

Angles within the Runes

Shaynin:

This is something we’ve been puzzling over for a while now, and only partially figured out. We may be seeing meaning where there is none. Constructive feedback is appreciated.

Building on the talk of angles in our last rune post, we envision either three or five horizontal strata within each individual rune:

If there are five, the borders between colors are the fourth and fifth strata. Three is more appropriate to the numerology of the culture and fits with the widespread idea of three “worlds” in shamanistic practice, but we also observe some things happening on the boundary lines between red and yellow or blue and yellow – more on that shortly.

Vertical lines are the backbones of the runes and don’t seem to contribute much to the energy-moving. Horizontal or near-horizontal, as with the center line in Nauthiz, trap energy where it is. The difference between Hagalaz and Nauthiz, however, suggests vertical lines do play a small part.

It’s the diagonal lines that have the most dynamic effect, though:

Fehu’s diagonals go from the middle to the top, lifting a mundane product (wheat or cattle) into the realm of an energy exchange.

Ansuz’s lines go in the opposite direction, bringing divine inspiration down into the mundane world. Laguz has a similar effect; like the Nauthiz-Hagalaz pair, this seems to suggest a relationship between one line and two parallel lines of the same orientation, but what is it?

Thurisaz takes energy from both the upper and lower realms, blending and concentrating them, showing that the flow of energy doesn’t have to be one-directional.

Gebo is a more dramatic version, in which energies from the upper and lower cross in the middle and then go to the opposite side in perfect balance. What stands in the middle is affected by this exchange.

And Pertho? It seems that the energy dips into the middle realm and then returns. Similarly, Uruz cycles energy from the lower realm, through the upper realm before returning to the lower.

Berkana is an example of those complicating runes that hit on the lines between realms. I want to say that it affects the balance between them somehow but I’m not sure why or how to put it into more specific words. The only other thing I can say is that it’s evidence the boundaries can’t be ignored if this hypothesis is to go anywhere.