Laguz Merkstave and Cleaning Out the Pipes

This seems to be my current unofficial banner, Laguz merkstave, drawn not just by me but also during readings done by others for me. I had a Patreon session with Sarenth Odinsson (his Patreon , his blog ) today, and he mentioned cleaning out the pipes. It was with respect to a certain thing, but it is also applicable across my life. Today I am cleaning my altars for the first time in quite a while. Just looking at the incense residue that has accumulated on the altar cloths is embarrassing, but even more so when I realize that these are the spaces where I’m inviting in some of the most important beings in my life. Who wants to visit a dirty space that conveys a discombobulating energy? Who wants to invite beings they care about into such a space? Definitely not me, which might be one reason why I haven’t done much at my more active altars in a while.

Attempting to hide from and avoid pain has been a poor coping technique that I’ve employed for a long time. It is rather interesting given that people who know me the best would likely say that I inflict way more pain upon myself than anyone else ever could. Healing my own self-abuse will contribute to healing my ancestral wounds. I did a tarot spread last night, and the card that came up for what I am purposely ignoring was the equivalent of the Knight of Swords. I am very aware how destructive some of my current beliefs are, how limiting my mindset is, yet I want to look past it and focus on something else.

My session with Sarenth today was really helpful in cutting away some distractions so I can refocus on what I need to good. My ancestors are always around. I feel very blessed to come from such a loud and loving crowd. Loud as they are, however, I won’t be able to hear them or A/anyone else if I sequester myself amidst piles of dust, stagnate energy, and negative thoughts. I have thought a lot about the concept of purity in different ancient cultures and how it was approached. Partly because the spirits have conveyed the importance of it. I have bucked and resisted.

I just went outside to hang dry my second altar cloth and marveled at the crisp whiteness in the sunlight. Today, we clean. Today, we start clearing the pipes. And today, we start laying down the framework that will be necessary to maintain the flow. Thanks for reading.

A Journey with Hades

The bit below is based completely on upg. Take what you need, leave what you don’t.

Hades has showed up in my life in a big way during the last month or so, and I am slowly beginning to work with him. This morning we went on a rather serious journey. He took me down to look at myself.

I think I knew it was going to be intense because I rode Sleipnir to meet Hades. I started off in a safe place, connecting with a spirit who gives me so much connection and grounding. I was wearing a white, ancient Greek style dress with a flower crown. Hades was in his chariot, directing the four black horses who were pulling it. It was the second time that he has come to get me like this.

I hugged Sleipnir goodbye. I was saddened by the departure, but Sleipnir reminded me that They can go anywhere and will be available for support when needed. A separation does not necessitate a severing.

Hades wrapped me in a cloak, and we descended. The first layers that we passed were filled with people that I have recently or am currently hurting through my actions or inaction. This was not our destination, so we didn’t stop here. Much of the pain caused here is as a result to a lack of expressing boundaries, a lack of expressing needs, and withdrawing into myself without communication.

We proceeded down. We were going to look at me. I trust Hades quite a bit, but the fear in my stomach didn’t subside. I think I threw up (in the journey, not in real life) when we reached me. I looked at myself. I was so emaciated. Hades reminded me that wants and needs are two very different categories. I acknowledged that though I had been self-indulgent on the wants side, I had been miserly when addressing the needs. I mentioned that wants I could fulfill myself, but some of the needs require others, and that I was a bit afraid of being the flailing drowning man who pulls down his rescuer. Hades nodded, and then reminded me of the list of people (probably longer than I realize) who already want to help me. I just need to let them know how.

Learning to ask for and accept help is part of the path of healing some of my ancestral wounds. It is my turn to shift a history of self-denial and self-punishment and hopefully send healing to the future and the past in doing so. My ancestors are extremely loving and supportive. The work I do for myself will also be work I do for them.

Wednesday Tea

Normally, I have been making tea for my ancestors and myself on Wednesdays, setting aside time to connect with them. I have a rattle that I sometimes use as I chant. Sometimes I will pull out some of my divination decks. I always attempt some chatting to just fill them in on how things are going. My ancestors are very loud.

I started honoring my ancestors a few years ago when I first tried out Kemetic Orthodoxy. I know people have all kinds of relationships with their ancestors, but mine have always felt very loud and loving. There have been times where I dropped the practice altogether because they felt too forceful. I felt like they were sending the same messages and I just wasn’t getting it. I felt like a failure.

I have been trying to rebuild the connection because they have always tried to be supportive. I do have so much love for them, and I didn’t want to continue to shut them out just because I was disappointed in myself. Although avoidance has been a common tactic of mine, that is not the way to fix things.

I look forward to my Wednesdays now, to my time to connect with them. This has been a rough week for me though, and I didn’t get much if any sleep last night. I knew I had already scheduled to have a rune reading done by Sarenth from sarenth.wordpress.com, so I thought I would start it off by checking in with my ancestors. It turned out to be a good choice.

They want daily attention from me, but they also want me to ask them for their help. Asking anyone for help is a skill that I need to work on. Expressing my needs and asking for help. My roommate expressed the same exasperation last week. She asked me how I was doing, expressed that she was available to help me if I needed it, but said that I had to let her know what I needed. No one is a mind reader.

I have been looking for a daily practice to ground myself with since my daily devotionals to Sleipnir ended. Ancestor work sounds like a good transition, as long as I remember to express my needs. I have a lot of deep work to do with Hades. I also want to work on my relationship with Loki. He is as exasperated as is everyone else in my life that I still seem to reject or close off parts of myself. I know that community work is something I am called to, even though I have so much difficulty letting myself truly connect. But, feeling silly, under prepared, and extremely awkward doesn’t change any of it. I am hopeful that I will be able to do/get some healing that will help, but until then I will just have to carry my broken pieces with me and see what I can do.

Some Self-work, Some Lethargy, and an Unexpected Visitor

After attempting #DotheMagic with Sleipnir last month, what am I currently up to? Throwing a bit of a fit. An unexpected deity showed up in an unexpected way with some unexpected messages. I balked to the extent that I had two people do additional divination to verify and clarify. There is the potential for a long term connection with this particular god, but it is not a requirement. He has stepped forward and offered to assist me with my ancestor work.

I’m balking a bit because of how the approach was made and the fact that it necessitates starting with self-care, but I’m slowly coming around. This weekend I finally ordered new glasses and new athletic shoes, both of which I’ve needed for years. I got my eyes checked in 2018 after a few years of not having them checked, but I didn’t order new glasses. I am about at the duct tape stage with my current pair. I haven’t had a viable pair of athletic shoes in a while. The last pair I finally had to throw out due to too many holes. It isn’t that I haven’t had the funds or spent money on myself in other ways, but for some reason I’d kept delaying these items.

I also took a look at the reactions I was getting from the people I see face to face and realized that my actions needed to be reassessed. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ptsd, and though I feel they affect my life less than they used to, I’ve realized that I’ve been reacting a lot more than responding and projecting more than observing of late. So I’ve begun to dig into some books and and do some journaling. I mentioned it to my therapist, and she has provided some helpful recommendations and resources. I have to admit it’s been a bit painful in unexpected ways, but I know how necessary it is.

Although I’ve been putting off a lot of my more focused spiritual work, I still find myself doing little things. Saying a blessing over my morning glass of water. Pushing a bit of my dinner at work to the side of my plate as an offering of my ancestors. Refilling water glasses for different spirits. The occasional celery for Sleipnir. A bit of journey work just to check in. Some unplanned, intensive journey work on the day of the full moon. And, apparently, sleeping with my staff. Sleeping with one’s staff is not a spiritual practice as far as I know. However, at some point I brought it to bed for comfort and it has stayed. It is not ready for the next set of carvings, and I am not ready to set it back by the door. So, for now, it will continue to be my bedfellow, reminding me that I’m still connected.

I can feel myself coming around, getting ready to more formally start working with the unexpected god. It’s Hades, so I’m reacquainting myself with Hellenic information that I haven’t looked at in years. I started practicing as a Hellenic polytheist 8 years ago when I first started my practice. It didn’t quite work for me, and after a few months I was directed completely away from it, though retaining a very soft spot for Hestia and Hekate.

So here I am, beginning to the address the many issues in my daily life that I’ve been avoiding. Starting to accept the fact that if I don’t cultivate self-compassion, I won’t be able to show real compassion to others. I strongly disagree with the statement that you need to love yourself before you can be loved, but I have observed with respect to myself that a lack of self-compassion has led to less compassion and kindness towards others. Maybe it’s because my metaphorical cup is empty. Maybe it’s because I’ve forgotten what compassion is. Either way, that’s not the person I want to be, so Hades, welcome to the table.

I want to apologize for any poor grammar and misplaced commas, but I feel it would be a weak apology as I’m likely to do it again. Late night writing does not encourage tenacious editing. I will instead thank you for tolerating my haphazard way of rambling and offer my sincere appreciation for following along on my spiritual trek.

The Proverbial Horse

With the month of June having ended, I find myself having fallen off the proverbial horse once again. No, not Sleipnir. The routine of a regular practice. Honestly, I was slipping a bit in some areas before the end of June. As long as I see a separation between my spiritual practice and the rest of my life, I think I will struggle with maintaining a routine.

Logically I know there isn’t a boundary between my spiritual self / life / practice and the rest of my life. In a lot of ways my spiritual self flows into the other aspects of my life. However, there are still some self-imposed boundaries and limitations. I still see my spiritual practice as something extra, something separate from my daily self-maintenance. I haven’t yet fully grasped that some of the energy I need to maintain a spiritual practice comes from doing the practice in the first place.

Regular taking time as I did in June for my Sleipnir devotions added a balance and stability to the day. It was not always easy, and it definitely was not always perfect. Some days the bare minimum was all I could muster, and that was the barest of bare. Even the most minimum of actions, however, contributed to my overall balance.

One’s spiritual life is a bit like one’s diet, what sustains and powers you might be very different from what sustains and powers someone else. You have to figure out what you need to keep yourself healthy and energized. You have to learn which are the best choices for you, often through trial and error. I am still learning. I tend to be a bit forgetful of the things that I have tried unsuccessfully.

Forgetful may be the wrong word. Sometimes I see practices working for others, things that I have tried unsuccessfully in the fast, and I think they should work for me. Everyone grows and changes, so it is possible that previously unhelpful stuff might work. However, we all have to acknowledge that bit of uniqueness in ourselves that requires tailoring the diet to what we need rather than trying to tailor ourselves to the diet.

#DotheMagic Day – Sleipnir – Autonomy and Support

I have missed blogging this journey. I’ve missed just journaling about it. I have tried to maintain doing something everyday, but some days the most I’ve been able to manage is the water offering and a brief time of connection. It is a learning process, how to manage a daily devotional practice. I am learning how maintaining proper self-care is a key part in having the energy and brain power to maintain the devotions. As always, a work in process. This post is about work I did in the wee Monday hours, after a Sunday evening nap. It still feels like part of Sunday though, and I am planning more sleep before officially starting my Monday. Delineating the days is a bit more challenging when you work evenings and your sleep schedule is a bit divergent.

I lit a green candle that I had inscribed with Ehwaz and Ansuz and offered some water. I invited Sleipnir in as usual, but instead of sitting on my bed for the whole thing, I decided to do some work on my staff. It was probably about 1:30am when I started because I had unintentionally fallen asleep for a 8pm-midnight nap. At least, I had not intended to sleep that long.

I added two things to my staff that I’ve been contemplating. A simple carving of a spider with a spiral inside and bite marks. The idea for the spiral had come from a friend and really seemed to complete the spider. I carved the spider near the top of the staff and blooded it. Then I added the bite marks between Ehwaz and the spider, a perfect space for them.

I had poured myself a glass of wine, but I set it on Sleipnir’s altar first, letting Them know that I would be drinking it but They were welcome to have some of it’s energy first.

I pulled two cards from the horse deck, 7) Lionheart and 26) Promise (New Beginnings). I had pulled two cards earlier in the day (before my nap) while chatting with a friend that were Chiron and Intuition. I thought I had already put them back into the deck, but when I opened the guidebook they were staring up at me. I decided to leave all four cards in a messy stack face up on the altar.

The Lionheart art is the straight on view of a lion running in front of a horse. When I drew it, I had to smile. The first two cards I had drawn Sunday morning at the start of my day (I consider myself to still be on the same day even though I had a 4hour nap that ended at midnight) were a lion card from an animal deck and a card with a woman and lion from another deck. I had also done some group ancestor trance work that afternoon which ended with me feeling a lot of lioness energy. I saw the Promise card as an affirmation that working on my staff is a part of me starting my next cycle.

I had to grin again when I drew 3 cards from the Mystical Shaman Oracle because the first of the 3 is title “The Staff” with a picture of an animal-headed staff. I also drew The Medicine Wheel reverse and The Serpent reversed, cards about stepping forth on self-healing and quietly releasing the past.

I drew a few runes as well. I’m still not skilled in reading them as a grouping even though I know their meanings, but I might start spending a little time getting to know the rune spirits better.

I sad on my bed with my purple cloth over me, ready to attempt a journey, when I decided to do it differently. I grabbed my staff and sat on the floor where I normally do my Hekate devotions. I leaned the staff against my forehead and wrapped the purple cloth around me again to help block out the light. I like to leave the light on if I’m going to be moving around afterwards to prevent me knocking into things and waking others up.

I had Wardrunna playing in through my earbuds. I had turned on the music when I started on my staff and let it continue, partly because it aids in journeying and partly because the playlist goes for a bit over 2 hours so I knew it wouldn’t cut off. I closed my eyes and went straight to Sleipnir.

We rode to Hel on my request. Once there I went to her gardens to do ancestor work, only this time Sleipnir came into the gardens with me. I watered some plants and then danced up energy for them with a little bit of singing as well, Sleipnir’s presence steady and felt, but not intrusive. I got to the point where my wings came out and I flew a little bit. I have to say that my wings have not come out in journeying very often recently, so it was a pleasant surprise. I think having the solidity of Sleipnir there helped me feel safe enough to take the freedom to fly.

I had seen Hel briefly when we entered, and I stopped for a few words when we left. She reminded me that I am no longer a beginner and that I know a lot of things that need to be done to cultivate my spirit relationships. I can’t use the excuse of not knowing at least the basics. I acknowledged the truth in that. I asked for and was granted a hug goodbye.

(Note: After I was done with everything, I added some fresh water and some apple whiskey to my ancestor altar. I decided that giving them caffeine as I was winding down might not be the best option, so I might add some tea after I’ve slept.)

On our way out, we passed by Mordgud and Garm again, and I paused to speak with Garm. He reiterated some pack-related stuff that had come up today. The concept of leadership, how a pack functions, and how one functions best within a pack. He reiterated that it is a place of safety and support for me if and when I need it. I thanked him and we headed off.

Sleipnir and I discussed a few things. Autonomy. How They cannot always be present but that doesn’t mean that I’m not supported. The need to do somethings alone and to have some time completely to oneself. They encouraged me to keep looking into how horses are individually and within a herd. The rest of the time is not for public consumption, but it ended well and with enough energy for me to write this post.

#DotheMagic – Sleipnir – Shifting Self

Today has been a bit odd. I woke up a few times, had a few dreams, but overall I slept a lot. It has been storming off and on all day with the temperature dropping into the low 60s down from the low 90s yesterday.

I offered carrots, water, incense, and the rest of yesterday’s candle. I drew Ehwaz as the rune. I had asked “What shall we look at today?” It brought a smile to my face simply because it is the rune I connect to Sleipnir. I drew the horse’s butt “Depression” card from the horse deck, which made me chuckle but also perplexed me a bit. The two cards I drew from the Mystical Shaman oracle were about being aware of what you consume as well as be aware of where you have gone against your self/values in an effort to please another. All around, the cards were about acting from the core of self and being swayed or misdirected by others.

The little bit of journey work involved shifting from human form into horse form. It felt like a slow going and painful process, but it seemed to have to do with recognizing all parts of myself. Sleipnir was with me, patiently watching and supporting. At one point, I felt a howl, and then felt pack magic related stuff. I was still a horse, but with the wolves. I asked Sleipnir if I could do some of the Pack Magic meditation and see what this was about, and S encouraged me to do so. I only ended up doing the first part of the meditation, but I did get some helpful information.

Maybe it is the storms lending their energy to the day. It is an odd one but a good one.

#DotheMagic Day 18 – Sleipnir – Horse Ancestors

I burnt my finger on a hot metal candle holder as I burned the rest of the last candle and attempted to replace it with a new one. I ended up using my other candle holder. I had already lit some incense and offered water and pizza. Now that the meditation is over, I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating some carrots later today. I don’t think the pizza was poorly received, but I still feel the need to consume some carrots.

I inscribed the new lavender candle with Ehwaz, Eihwaz, Ansuz, and Perthro. I had drawn Perthro reversed at the beginning, so I thought it might be helpful to try to upright it a bit through the candle and some song.

I drew the same candle from the horse deck that I drew yesterday (which I didn’t blog about), 31) Horse Ancestors. The picture is several horses walking up through the sky to a Mufasa-like horse head with a full moon in the backdrop. I read some of the guidebook yesterday, so today I thought I should focus on the card to try to glean whatever message was trying to get through.

Sleipnir appeared in front of me. It was not time for riding, they were there waiting for me to change. I somewhat clumsily shifted into horse form and followed them. I felt bigger, sturdier, and calmer. We ended up on a grassland where a number of other horses were hanging out. These were definitely ancestors, but I felt from Sleipnir that these were not the horses we were here to see. We were going to The Ancestor, aka The Horse. And then there were three of us.

The Horse Ancestor was a bigger energy than I could fully comprehend. I heard words, but we both knew that it was just my brain deciphering their transmissions. I saw running and space and felt the reiteration of the point that everyone has tried to hammer into my head. Working my body will give my mind and spirit the energy it needs to do the work that I have ahead of me. I saw a healthy, muscular horse and felt how healthy their mind was. Working the body with uplift the rest of me.

The second message of the day was about communication. I often feel very clumsy with words, especially when talking. I was told to be gentle with myself, feel what I wanted to say within my body, and then do my best to translate it. It will not always come out perfectly. It is like speaking a second language. The more I do it, the better I will become, but always start in the body. I was also told that focusing on others’ physical reactions will help, but that I need to remember that they are not mean, and assuming that we can fully understand each other without verifying the interaction with words is unhelpful. I don’t think it’s impossible at all, but those are relationships that you have first built up and verified.

Sleipner and I headed back. No words were ever spoken. I shifted back. I sat on Sleipnir briefly, but we didn’t ride. It was more just letting the energy flow between us, maintaining the connection. I wondered how many others shared this connection with Sleipnir. I was gently reminded that each connection and energy pattern is unique. That others connect in this way, but it is never the same. Not better, not worse, but always different.

I did draw two other cards which I didn’t look at until after the journey. Holy Mountain reversed, which is a card that encourages action when drawn reversed. It is a reminder that you have what you need and only apathy, laziness, or other unhelpful feelings can stop you. I had also drawn The Hunter, upright. This is about tracking Spirit with your own internal compass and not letting anyone else try to create your path for you.

#DotheMagic Day 16 – Sleipnir – Sowilo

Today I offered incense, water, a new yellow candle, and an orange to Sleipnir. I drew some runes and cards. I’m thinking about taking the Mystical Shaman Oracle off of the altar. I feel like it makes the experience more focused on me rather than my connection to us. I might replace it with another deck and/or only draw cards from there if I ask a specific question.

Today I drew 25) Attraction from Way of the horses, a grey and a brown horse nuzzling each other. The card discusses the dangers of projection and attraction based on comfort, as in what is most comfortable is not always what is healthiest. The taglines though are Love’s Potential, Relationship’s Challenge, and Emotional Resonance.

I asked what rune symbolized my relationship with Sleipnir and drew Sowilo upright. I am planning to start a deeper study of the runes soon, but off the top of my head I tend to associate it with the Sun card in tarot. I will probably pull out my reference books to reread the sections pertaining to it, but just pulling it makes me happy. It gives me hope that I’m not completely fucking it all up.

I made sure to sit up during the devotional today. I wanted to focus on being attentive. I didn’t do journey work, but that isn’t surprising. I’m really thankful for the 30 day tag to help me stick with it and put effort into building/reinforcing the base of the connection.

#DotheMagic Day 15 – Sleipnir – Grounding in Silence, Grounding in Movement

I think I slept a lot though I feel tired. I woke of with memories of an odd dream which I attempted to write down. I know I woke up a few times during the night, but I didn’t check the times. I reverted the water for S as usual upon getting up.

I offered the rest of the yellow candle, water, celery, and incense. It’s been at least a few days since I’ve included incense in this devotional, and I felt it was overdue. I invited Sleipnir into the space. I drew some runes and cards. I attempted to galdr a little, but it didn’t take.

The Way of the Horse card was 22) In a Silent Way. It is a close up of a mare’s face and talks of passive leadership and leading by example. It also speaks of being calm. I tried briefly sitting on my bed and facing my altar in attempt to do journey work, but I quickly slid between the covers, hugging a stuffed animal, while my roommate’s little dog nestled comfortably in the half circle of my legs.

There wasn’t a lot of vision work. It was mostly about practicing the art of connecting when riding. A lot about grounding and approaching life from a state of calm. Some of these were things that I felt rather than saw. Not a lot of words passed between us.

I invited Sleipnir to enjoy the celery through me at the end. As I was finishing my last bit, I heard (internally) “You find your balance in the dance, you find your stillness in the movement.”

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