A Strange Rebellion

A lot of times when an adolescent rebels against their parents, they may start dabbling with pagany stuff like Wicca and witchcraft, tarot cards, and the like. Me? I dabbled in Christianity when I reached my “I’m going to be my own person and make my own decisions” phase. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, so when I was exposed to it, I was fascinated by the ritual of it all. Very little about it made the slightest bit of sense to me, and parts of it were downright terrifying and badass and prime pickings for a revolt against parental influence. Transubstantiation? Fuck yeah, I’m down for cannibalism! Angsty little thirteen-year-old goth me was stoked.

I was raised heathen-lite. Father was first generation Norwegian, and my grandfather didn’t want his children baptized, even though his mother insisted lest people think they were damn dirty heathens. “But we are!” was his response as it was told to me. My father loathed Christianity and didn’t actively practice any religion, but he believed in Valhalla and wore a valknut. He told me that when Mom and I left, he started wearing Mjolnir instead, and the last time I saw him, back in 2004, he showed me his valknut and hammer pendants. My mom isn’t Scandinavian, but she loves mythology and made sure I was educated in Nordic lore. Our barracks were decorated with a lot of things we got during our trips to my grandfather’s homeland, a lot of animal pelts and troll stuff. I played with antique Viking swords that were bigger than my little bitty self. I grew up knowing the gods, even if I was too young to really understand the scope of their presence and influence.

When my mom and I came back to the States, she sent me to Catholic school for 2 reasons: the quality of the education was better than what the local public school district offered, and she wanted me to learn about Christianity and Judaism and major religions since they influenced so much of society and she knew I needed to be able to understand other people. I was 10 years old, and I had NO IDEA what Christianity was – I honestly, genuinely thought “Jesus Christ” was a swear word because my parents would utter that when they were angry or frustrated, and I’d get yelled at if I said it. So just imagine how fucking weird my first day of Catholic school was for me, sitting in homeroom staring at an excruciatingly detailed, bloody crucifix while the principal cursed at us over the loudspeaker during morning prayer. That was neat. I ended up in the monsignor’s office that morning to get a crash course in Christianity so I wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown by the time we said prayer before lunch.

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Don’t Say I Didn’t Try to Warn Them

Even though I’ve been heathen for most of my life (save a few years when I dabbled in Christianity as a preteen – that’s a story that deserves its own writeup), I’ve always been a fairly solitary practitioner. I’m friends with a lot of heathens and kindreds, and get invites to events and holidays by different kindreds, but I’ve been close friends with members of a local kindred for about 8 or 9 years now. I’ve attended most of this kindred’s holiday celebrations and blots and sumbels for many years, except for a bit of a hiatus when I was full time for a busy-but-understaffed funeral home. I was their guest for ECT and got to stay in their cabin, and they volunteered me to help represent them at the Main Ritual that weekend. I’ve been very active with them ever since, and tonight I was invited to their Friendsgiving dinner.

It was a wonderful evening, and I love these folks dearly. They have been great friends for many years, and they were so glad to welcome my return to events when I started my medical break from the mortuary business. I was really incredibly touched by how happy they were to see me again after 2 years of missing out on bonfires and potlucks and sumbels. Tonight, they asked me to join their kindred as an official member.

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One Day to Give Thanks Isn’t Enough

I’ll just be up front and say I’m greedy as all get. The holiday of Thanksgiving just doesn’t mean that much to me. Having just one day set aside for gratitude and family isn’t enough – for me, it’s an everyday event. It has to be. I’m just so in awe of the blessings I have to take anything for granted. Nothing is mundane, glossed over. With the life I’ve had, everything I’ve survived, everything I’ve seen others go through… I just have to be so thankful for everything, no matter how little, how silly.

Take toilet paper, for instance. Do you have any idea how blissful it is to have tp at the ready whenever you need it? I didn’t, until I went to BCT. The Army issued ONE ROLL per recruit PER MONTH. The guys were fine with that, more or less. Us women? Things would get pretty damn stressful and nerve-wracking halfway through the month. We’d steal napkins from the D-FAC when possible and pray that if there was a Porta John at some distant range that it would be stocked, but that was rarer than a happy drill sergeant. It’s been 14 years since I returned from BCT, but I had vowed to never again take tp for granted, and I fucking kept that promise. There’s no freedom like knowing how easy it is to walk to the corner store and drop a few bucks for a jumbo mega pack of toilet paper when I’m down to my last roll. Toilet paper, coffee, and the chance to sleep in every so often: little things that make all the difference, trivialities that should never be taken for granted.

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My Family Just Got Loki’d

A wonderful, marvelous thing happened today: a second cousin from my father’s side found me on Facebook and reached out to me. I’ve been very estranged from my father’s family for years, and I only knew my grandparents and an uncle. One aunt passed before I was born, and the other aunt disowned everyone when I was an infant, so that side of the family has always been very small to me and very detached. So much so, that even though I was the only grandchild, I was never informed of my grandparents’ passing. I learned of their deaths years later when I Googled myself to make sure nothing questionable came up when I was looking for my mortuary internship. My full name appeared in both obituaries, and it was a very unnerving, upsetting discovery. But hey, we’re a family that redefines estrangement, so what could I do? It’s just how things go.

So it was thrilling to hear from a family member, my father’s cousin, the daughter of his namesake (which surprised me because I didn’t realize my grandfather had another brother, much less one he’d named his first born son after!). She’d found me because she’d just learned of my father’s death, and she saw my name in his obituary. She verified my parents’ names and family connections, and sure enough, we’re second cousins. Neat!

This is where it gets weird. Because of course it does.

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I Think, Therefore I Am…Neurotic

“What, so I haven’t been direct enough? You’re going to be tweaked out by a comment from a stranger? You really think I wouldn’t tell you myself what you can and can’t call me? Pah!”

A lovely weekend was spent with old friends, newish friends, and new people, and despite the hilarity and feasting, a random comment from someone I’d just met nagged at me more than it should have. It was a random reaction to a random mention I’d made, but good grief, did it fuck with me. Like so many, I sometimes wrestle with imposter syndrome, even though I’ve no reason to feel like an imposter. I work hard and put a lot of time, energy, and effort into the things that are important to me. My spiritual life is indescribably crucial to me, and I approach it with expectations of blunt honesty and hard truth. Delusions don’t do anyone any good, vague relationships aren’t going to help anyone involved, and the whole point of spirituality is to grow and be a better person and connect with someone or something that will help you be a better person and help the community around you. The effort I put into my relationships with my gods and my community doesn’t go unnoticed – I get regular feedback from the deities and my fellow heathens, and I’m able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

As with anything, when a close relationship is cultivated with a god/s, I suppose that hideous imposter syndrome can rear up; am I actually close with said deity, are things going well because they actually are, or because I’m just wishing they are? One of my fellow Lokeans had mentioned a few months ago that she was surprised to hear that Loki nudged me to approach her and introduce myself (“Her. She’s the one you need to talk to!”) because she said she sometimes feels like a fraud. She’s not, there’s never been anything about her, nothing she’s said or shared that pings as untrue, delusional, or just not quite right. I relate to so much she says about her dealings with Himself, and it’s lovely to chat with her because we’re bonding over a mutual friend. We get each other, because we get that twerp (or he gets us, however you choose to see it). We’re both devoted and fond of our rapscallion, and we have good relationships with him. He’s active and chatty and annoying and a great companion for us, and we’re both on solid ground, even if we sometimes feel like imposters because we over analyze and doubt ourselves on occasion. But why should we? We’re putting in the work, of course there’s going to be something to show for it! Neither of us is galavanting around paying lip service without doing anything to back it up. A gift for a gift: we share our energy and time and get back what we put into it. Loki’s sly, but he’s not coy. He’s very capable and very vocal (as it were) about expressing what he wants or what he doesn’t want.

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Group Chat

“Not everyone dies in a battle. Someone has to survive to care for the dead.”

“We’ve fucked with him long enough. He’s yours, and he’s been waiting for you. Go to him.”

“FINALLY! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG I’VE WAITED?! ANY CLUE HOW HARD I’VE WORKED? GAAHHHHH! . . . Oh, and Hi.”

“To help you fly.”

I’ve quoted Odhinn and Loki a few times in my writing. Many, many times I’ve referenced conversations with them and have described huffs, smirks, reactions, expressions. And as I’ve mentioned, I understand exactly how crazy this sounds to someone who hasn’t had direct communication with a deity. So I figured I’d try to explain how I talk with the gods. How do I know what they want? How do I know what they’re saying? How do I know who’s there, who’s saying what? HOW DO I KNOW I’M NOT CRAZY?

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AMA

So this blog is only a few weeks old, but I’ve already unloaded a lot here, most of it pretty heavy stuff. So, I’ll open up the floor, as it were, to answer questions that may have tickled your mind when reading. There’s some weird stuff here, and I’m very much aware of how crazy a lot of it sounds. I know how crazy I sound. I wouldn’t write and share any of it if it wasn’t able to be corroborated by people in my life, friends and family who have witnessed or experienced or noticed a lot of the things I’ve discussed. Nor would I write and share if it was anything less than the truth, or at least not truth as I understand it. Integrity has always been the foundation for everything I do, and I don’t want to misrepresent anything or anyone.

And because I’m sure someone will ask: my drugs of choice are caffeine and nicotine with the occasional social imbibing of liquor. I don’t get drunk, I don’t get high, I don’t use hallucinogens – if this is my normal, everyday sober self, could you fucking imagine the shit I’d experience if I used? I’m terrified of things that alter my mental state more than coffee, cigarettes and a couple of cocktails because I don’t think I really want to let my brain go off leash. Might just find out I really am just 3 foxes in a trench coat!

Anyway, if there are any questions – general or specific – about anything I’ve written, about heathenry, the gods, my background, mortuary stuff, whatever, then ask away. Comment here, email me at vanitas1918@gmail.com, tie a note to a fox and let it find me, whatever. Even if it’s just to ask, “What the fuck?!,” in which case I’ll just shrug and say, “Motto.” Because honestly, that’s a question I myself ask at least once an hour.

Point is, I know I’ve published a lot of weird shit in a short period of time. It’s been an odd life, and the last several months have been pretty intense. Writing helps me to make sense of things, if there’s sense to be made. There’s going to be quite a lot of weird shit in future posts, I’m sure. So go ahead and ask for clarification on something, my opinions on something, share your thoughts and experiences, laugh at me, whatever you want.

Ask me anything.

The Ring(s) to Bind Them

My personal life, as rich as it is with friends and loved ones, is best described as “terminally single.” I used to wonder why I couldn’t get a date to save my life, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m not lacking companionship or love, and I’m independent to a fault. I joke that if I ever were to have a serious relationship again, my boy’d better be okay keeping his own place because I’m not sharing my house with anyone. It’s packed to the beams with books, art, coffee cups, cats, ghosts, gods, and wights. There’s not even room on my (tiny) bathroom sink for another toothbrush. There’s barely room for me here, sometimes. We’re a very happy, harmonious household, and I’d hate to disrupt the energy of my home. It’s just the way I like it (even if the carpets and tub need a good deep cleaning). I also have no intention of moving out of this house. I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’m ridiculously in love with the house and the neighborhood. It was a once in a lifetime find and deal, and I’m too attatched to the very bones of this house to ever leave.

Now, I’m smart enough to never say never. But seriously, this house is mine. If I ever date again, he’d better be okay with separate living arrangements. Visiting hours are limited. Don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

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Tricky Ink

For someone who was utterly oblivious to Loki’s claim on me, I sure have collected a lot of tattoos with him in mind over the years. As I’ve written before, my very first tattoo, a design I’d wanted since I was 6 years old, is what I’ve always called my Loki-fox. And the other foxes I’ve had inked on my flesh are all nods to Loki, always have been. Even the placement of my valknut tattoo is always described as having been selected thanks to a dark streak of Lokian humor. I may not have given him credit for being my main man all these years, but I’ve certainly dedicated a lot of skin to permanent tributes to Himself.

Let’s delve into a topic my mom isn’t too thrilled about: my collection of ink.

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