This year has been increasingly strange.
After a crisis caused by an entity that I had a close relationship with (you’ll note that the material describing him has been removed; I’d be willing to share it with someone who has a Good Reason but otherwise it’s for the best) I’m in a place where things are falling away.
Over the years, my path has gotten more focused. The coincidences leading to this increase in focus have been deliberate, and eventually obvious. Trying to attend rites or engage in practices that weren’t associated with the Northern path has had lukewarm results. There are curious exceptions, but not many. I used to be a very eclectic person in both religious and magical practice. That’s not where I am right now.
Rites get cancelled, or I get sick, or the charm busts that way it does when you know it was missing something vital, and the other practices just kind of crumble in my hands. Old associations pull away, leaving quietly, new ones become more prominent and take their places.
Somewhere in the back of my head, while all of this spirit theatre is occurring, a voice says, Hey, how is all this stuff going to affect your chance of getting employed? ‘Cause it’s weird and… and I stuff a sock back in that voice because it’s rarely helpful. I’m a practical person in some ways, and as such I recognize that I won’t always be able to be myself and be happy with life and have an easy ride. I recognized that when I came out as trans; my other eccentricities are probably less damaging to my ability to enter agreement to receive money in exchange for pushing pieces of paper around. I’ll find work; somewhere will be cool enough to hire me eventually. It’s not like I come into interviews shaking magick sticks at people and chanting, I’m just not going to lie if asked, either.
So, Heathenry, after objecting this past spring that after decades of flirting with it, I couldn’t actually embrace it? After being admittedly pretty callow publicly in my estimation of some things and people? After all of this time of moving around it and honoring Freyja and Odhinn and the others in different ways, I find that the religious construct that troubled me the most in relation to them is the place that I feel the most at home. It’s a massive comfort but an odd spot to be in. Despite what I see online, the people that I meet in person are warm and welcoming. I’ve met jerky (and bigoted) Heathens in real life but they’ve been the exception. Usually we don’t pick on each other in public get-togethers.
This afternoon I sat stripping bark from a tree branch I saved from being tossed into the fire at the local ADF Yule rite. I left my staves for seidh back east and they would be bastards to transport; I’m thinking of leaving them to people. So I was doing something I’ve never done before (really any sort of woodwork) and stripping the bark from this dried, unidentified piece of wood, and lovely patterns began to emerge. Orange, white, and dark spots in patches emerged like calico markings on one part. An area surrounging two knots is very head-like. It has intense eye sockets that could either be those of a cat skull or a cephalopod; the first is more appropriate; the second more suggested by the shape. Runes have showed up, like they will, part of everything once you know their shapes. I’ve already done some spiritual work with this stick so it’s more than just a stick but its still revealing itself to me as I strip away the rotting layers and finding something beautiful and more complex than I realized underneath.
I think that that’s an apt metaphor for my winter winnowing.