Monday, July 20, 2009

Basics of My Path

Hail everyone!
I decided to explain my path a little more clearly so you could understand where I am spiritually. One of my friends, Obscurevisions, made this outline a couple of months ago when she was forging her own path. All credit to her for making this awesome outline! Without further delay, here is my path outline!

Polytheism: My view of deity is both Pantheist and Soft Polytheist. Pantheism is viewing Nature and Deity as being equal. Soft Polytheism is the belief that all Gods are an aspect of One God and all Goddesses are aspects of One Goddess. When combined, I view the different deities as aspects of Nature. Each Deity has their own personality, but they are still of Nature. The concepts of Patron and Matron are also integral to my path, as the search for them is a major spiritual journey.

Deity: I worship the Gods of the ancient Norse, choosing generally to work with the Icelandic names for them. I revere both the Aesir and Vanir equally, and give no God preference over the other. Ancestor worship (of the Alfar and Disir), which was integral to the Norse, is also a heavy part of my path. Additionally, I recognize and give offering to various spirits of nature (landvaettir).

Mythology: Mythology is allegorical. Mythology primarily functions to explain the natural world and the phenomenon within it. We can learn about the Gods through specific myths, as well as the epithets given to them.

Study and Gnosis: When discussing deity with others, I largely depend on the accepted view of each specific deity. However, I do assign value to my personal experiences/gnosis with each specific deity which can affect my worship of that god. I realize that my view of each deity may not be the same as others, which is fine.

The Afterlife: I believe in reincarnation. Scientifically, it is the only view of the afterlife which makes sense, because on chemical level, we are constantly cycling through the system of the Earth. Like in Buddhism, I believe we are trying to learn all lessons that we can in each lifetime, so eventually we reach a state of enlightenment. When this happens, I believe we become one of the landvaettir, and watch over the lands. I have not given much thought to the ideas of Valhalla, Folkvangar, Hel, and so on as of yet.

Ethics: As a Norse Wiccan, I abide by the Wiccan Rede. I see it as expressed in the Lycian tradition (an it harm none, do what thou will; an it cause harm, do as ye must) because there are obvious times when we cannot be singularly peaceful and passive. The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru are my other code of ethics, and I strive to adhere to each one of them.

Offerings: In terms of offerings, this is mainly done in the ritual form of a blöt/forn offering. I offer [soft] mead and fruit juices to the gods as I am currently under the legal age to drink. However, after I turn 21, these will shift to offering more traditional alcoholic drinks. In addition, offerings of meat, grain, and other food items are offered. In many cases, these are ingested, though on specific holidays it is appropriate to leave these offerings outside.

Altar Style: My altar is laid out loosely corresponding to the classical elements, with Earth in the North, Air in the East, Fire in the South, and Water in the West. This system, while attributed to the Greeks, has some basis in the Eddic myths (ie- Surt, leader of the fire giants, comes from the South, Niflheim is correlated to the North in Voluspa, etc). I am not suggesting, of course, that the Norse followed this, merely stating how it jives with mythology.

I use a mainly Traditional Wiccan altar layout, with a few cultural changes. The God and Goddess candles are specifically blue and red to echo creation on multiple levels (red for Muspelheim, the projective masculine energy of creation, and blue for Niflheim and the receptive feminine energy of creation). The drinking horn replaces the chalice, and the blot bowl is in the center of the altar. Culturally, there are 4 projective tools which may be used in the same fashion as the athame/wand. Thor is represented by the hammer Mjolnir, which is used to hallow areas and objects. Freyr is often represented by the antler, because he fights with it at Ragnorak after giving up his sword for Gerd. Odin is represented by the spear Gungnir. Tyr is represented by the sword, the double sided blade of justice. Any/all of these may be used as the athame or wand in ritual.

Ritual: Ritual is performed on the traditional Neopagan quarter and cross-quarter days. All of these have an equivalent in Norse times, except Samhain [an explanation of my holidays follows]. Each of the 13 Full Moon Esbats are related to a different deity, based on correspondence to the energy of the moon.
A semi-traditional Wiccan ritual structure is upheld, with a few modifications. Circle is cast, then a slightly modified Hammer Rite is used to set the area as a sacred space, and to call the quarters. Deity is invoked and then a blot/forn offering is performed, unless there is magic (rune magic, seidh, etc.) being performed in which case the blot is performed afterwords. A normal closing is used.


Wolf Moon (January)- Odin [The Wolf Moon is the time of kinship and clans, so Odin is the foremost Aesir and he is ironically thwarted by the Fenriswolf at Ragnarök]
Storm Moon (February)- Thor [this really is a no brainer]
Chaste Moon (March)- Idunna [this is generally seen as the Moon of youth and joy, and Idunna keeps the Gods young with the golden apples]
Seed Moon (April)- Freyr [This is the moon marking the beginning fertility of the Earth, so Freyr being a Vanir god of fertility fits perfectly]
Hare Moon (May)- Freyja [This is the moon of love, and of continued fertility so Freyja is a perfect fit again]
Dyad Moon (June)- Frigg [Frigg is seen as a Goddess of Matrimony, and this moon is focused on that concept]
Mead Moon (July)- Heimdall [This moon marks the transition between the growing season and harvest time, so putting the guard of Bifrost in this transitional time seemed to be a good idea]
Wort Moon (August)- Nerthus [This moon marks the beginning of the harvest, so a deity called “Terra Mater” by Tacitus seems to fit nicely]
Barley Moon (September)- Sif [This is moon marks the reaping of the grain fields, and Sif’s golden hair is associated with ripe grain]
Blood Moon (October)- Tyr [This moon marks honoring sacrifices, and the sacrifice of Tyr’s hand to Fenrir qualifies him for this moon]
Snow Moon (November)- Hel [This moon marks the transition into the darker time of year, and the Earth begins to sleep , so Hel as an embodiment of Death seems to be a fabulous match]
Oak Moon (December)- Baldr [This moon represents the return of new light, and is also associated with mistletoe which makes Baldr a God of light who was killed by mistletoe seems to fit this well]
Blue Moon (Variable)- Loki [This randomly occurring moon is perfect for the Trickster Loki]

Sabbats: The 8 Sabbats of Wicca are derived from Ancient Celtic and Norse sources. As such, I follow the cycle through the year, using the corresponding Norse mythos. Samhain, however, was not explicitly celebrated in Norse culture. As such, I decided to celebrate it with a blot and feast for my ancestors (Alfar and Disir). The festivals go in this order: Samhain, Yule, Idis-thing [Imbolc], Ostara, May Day [Beltane], Midsummer, Freyfaxi [Lammas], Winterfinding [Mabon].
Finally, I also celebrate the Feast of the Einherjar on Veteran's Day, feeling this is an important way to honor those who preserve our freedom.

That wraps it up. As my spirituality evolves, I will certainly be making modifications to the information present. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to post them.

Until next time,

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