Monday morning in September

Early morning, 4 a.m.
The streets are empty,
Except for me and the birds.
A handful of sparrows are seaking treasures in a pile of vomit.
I wonder if my boss is already up at this hour.

At the tram stop, I look around carefully. I haven’t been robbed yet, but I also make sure to always wear my broken shoes.

Two more join me at the stop. First a middle-aged woman with a cane, then a man raging to himself. He screams and moves erratically, bites a lamp post with his already broken teeth. Is it the drugs in his blood or the voices in his head that are making him do it? I do not wonder further. I only feel a sadness for whoever he is beneath all the insanity.

Down on the tracks a rat is looking for a snack. He gnaws on some sunflower seed shells but finds them empty. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear my mother scream and I see her standing on the kitchen table and hitting down at the floor with a broom. How can you fear something so harmless? I’ve always wondered.

”Shoo!” I say and stomp my foot to scare the rodent away. ”The tram is coming.”

My mother’s nightmare beast retreats to the forest beyond the tracks and a crow rises from it. Before I step into the tram wagon, I wonder if the birds ever feel gratitude that the sky is theirs.

I travel through the city still grey and half asleep. All day I’ll be cooking for people who are scared to come where I live, to my home turf with the rats, the drugs, the gangs and the barf loving sparrows. To the place – beside the forest – where I feel the greatest calm.

I do not envy the rich folks in their big houses. My belly is full, my clothes keep me warm and I ask for not much else.

Well, there is one thing…

I envy the ones who get to live by the sea, 
Those people whose windows are turned towards the shores of Njördr’s Kingdom,
Those lucky few who get to be rocked to sleep by the song of the Daughters of Rán,
And who are greeted each new morning by the sight of Mardöll dancing on the waves.

Only those I envy a little bit, not much. Not more than I allow myself.

But if one day I have the gold to buy a house, I’ll buy one by the sea.

The Piripkura are safe – but only for 6 months

Good and bad news for the Piripkura tribe: the land protection order has been renewed – but only for 6 months ahead.

Survival Internation has more on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/19668531552/posts/10158557232456553/

^Survival International fights for the rights of indigenous people worldwide. Follow their important work if you can.

An article about the threat against the Piripkura

There are now only two days left before the fate of the Piripkura tribe is decided. If the government protection order isn’t renewed, they could face genocide.

A Journey With the Last Survivor of an Amazon Massacre

^There is a link to the petition at the bottom of the article. Sign it if you haven’t already.

URGENT: The Piripkura tribe could face complete genocide!

Unless a land protection order is renewed within 4 days, the Piripkura tribe in Brazil could face total destruction. They and many more tribes in the Amazon are at risk of genocide at the hand of greedy corporate interests and Bolsonaro’s racist hatred of Natives. To read more and help push for the renewal of the protective order, please follow this link.

Flow and silence: my spiritual practice

In a previous post, I wrote about the why of my spiritual practice. Today I’d like to write about the how and what I do day to day to keep my mind focused on the Goddess and on my personal role within the Wyrd.

When I first started out in Paganism, I tried to have a strict routine. I made up schedules for rituals and meditation and I spoke long and convoluted sentences at the altar. But it all felt forced and empty. I blamed myself, thinking maybe my devotion wasn’t enough. Eventually, I realised that it wasn’t my love for the Divine that was lacking but that I hadn’t yet found a way to express this love in a manner that came naturally. So, I gave up rituals for a while and then just went with what came of itself.

That is a point I would very much like to make clear: Spiritual practice is best when it flows naturally from one’s devotion. What that ends up looking like isn’t nearly as important. A ritual might look strange or even nonsensical to someone watching from the outside but what matters is the understanding between you and the Being you are worshipping or honoring.

Another point I’d like to make is that spiritual practice is not for the sake of connecting with the Divine. You don’t need to connect with something which is already there. You just need to focus your awareness on it.

So, what do I do personally to remember and serve the Divine? Mainly three things:

Offerings

Usually the first thing I do in the morning and one of the last things I do in the evening. My altar doesn’t have a lot on it yet but it is well used. The offerings are mostly drink or food, usually a share of whatever I’m having for breakfast or dinner. It is a way for me to show Freya I remember Her and that I am grateful for all the things the Earth gives.

Since I don’t believe in throwing away food, I only offer things I can give to another human or to one of my animals.

Oat milk is a common offering on my altar

Meditation

I got into meditation during what I call my lost years – the time between leaving Christianity and finding religion again – and at first it was solely for the sake of stress and anxiety management. It helped a great deal but my meditation practice did not reach its true depth until I found the Divine again.
I first got into Sanatana Dharma (in the West it is usually called Hinduism) and started doing mantra meditation beside the silent meditation I was already doing. This practice has given me probably more than any other and has helped me through some of my darkest times.
My devotion is now turned towards a Norse Goddess but I still use repeated phrases in meditation; or sometimes I’ll repeat one of Freya’s names. What it is depends on what sort of help or inspiration I am seeking from Her. For example: If I am seeking the courage to do something I need to do but dread having to, then I might say the prayer (silently or out loud): ”Valfreya, Warrior Woman, give me strength”.

When doing mantra meditation I will usually either count on my fingers or use prayer beads. I don’t have any fixed schedule but I will often meditate early in the morning, after leaving work and before bed.

My prayer beads

The weaving book

On Freya’s altar, I also keep a journal I call Vävarboken (English: The weaving book). In it I keep a daily record of my ”Wyrd work”, that is things I do that are related to my duty within the Wyrd. It can be family and work related stuff or updates about my writing. I also write down things I’m grateful for, upset or worried about. The weaving book is part diary, part to-do list. My notes are usually short but contain the most important things that happened or that I did that day. When I write in it, I will usually sit beneath the altar and I will say a short prayer once I close it.

The weaving book

So, that’s my personal spiritual practice. It’s not the only way to do things, just the one that works for me.

A little bit of writing

I didn’t do much writing today but it was enough to finish chapter 13. I had some ice cream to celebrate:

My goal is to finish chapter 14 before the end of the month. I might have a minor surgery sometimes soon so I’m setting the bar low since I don’t know how I’ll be feeling. But I’m always working on it and it feels good to make progress.

1500 years old gold treasure found in Denmark

And a depiction on one of the artefacts could very well be Odin:

https://www.thearchaeologist.org/blog/unique-golden-treasure-found-in-denmark-one-of-the-richest-treasures-in-danish-history

Do rewards work to motivate writing?

One of the most common writing tips is to give yourself small rewards for reaching goals. For example, having a piece of candy every 100 words. The thing with writing tips, though, is that they rarely work for everybody.

I’ve tried this and it didn’t work for me at all. I suspect it might be because of my ADHD but the promise of a dopamine kick is too distracting to motivate me to write. If I tell myself that I’ll get X reward for X amount of words, I won’t be able to think about anything except that reward and both the quality and quantity of my writing will suffer for it. But I’ve found a much better way to motivate myself to write: rewarding myself for starting.

Once I get those first words down, inspiration will often come and the rest will flow on its own. The trick is to get myself to begin. If I give myself a little reward for doing so, I’ll more easily find the motivation to write that I might not have had before.

This weekend, I used this trick because I was tired after a tough job week and didn’t much feel like working on the novel. So, shout out this weekend to pistachio helva and golden lattes for making any writing happen!

BTW, if you want to try a golden latte, they’re super easy to make. Just mix 2 tbsp grounded turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp coconut oil and 4 dl milk of your choice (but oat milk will give the best texture, in my opinion). Warm on low heat and then just pour into a cup to drink. The whole process takes 10 minutes at most. Enjoy!

A beautiful song about following Odin

Just three days ago, I wasn’t familiar with the Swedish Viking metal band Månegarm. I don’t know how I’ve never heard of them before but I’m so happy this song popped up on a Heathen play list I was listening to on Spotify:

It feels special to hear Heathenry themed music in my own native language and the lyrics about facing a tragic destiny without fear are very heart-touching.

An English translation of the lyrics can be found here.

Conservative Christians believe LGBTQ+ rights are a personal attack against them, study shows

Also: water is wet.

But seriously, don’t you think LGBTQ+ people have more important things to think about than make bigoted Christians felt butthurt? Conservative Jesus devotees don’t think so, apparently. As the study shows: ”They weren’t worried about a real-life threat to their livelihoods, rather a broader threat to ‘their ability to instil and enforce their notions of Christian values upon society’.”

In other words: they fear not being able to force everyone to submit to their belief system and they see freedom of religion as a personal insult.

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/08/29/conservative-christians-lgbt-rights/

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