Friday, July 27, 2012

Re-discovering an Old Friend

It's now been a month since I last went on FB and while it's frustrating in terms of organising thing with friends (I guess people really don't bother much with e-mail anymore), I've been getting other things done.

I'm now into week two of learning Mandarin and have decided to look for a course locally. Rediscovering my love of Chinese history and desire to learn the language has been quite interesting. The tones are hard, especially as someone that grew up with a non-tonal language in which tones generally confer emotion rather than meaning, but the characters and syntax are fascinating. Surprisingly, there are quite a few free apps on Droid to help figure out pinyin pronunciation that I've been using.

I'm about half way through reading Frederico Garcia Lorca's 'Bodas de Sangre', a tenth of the way through Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' (but in French because it was the only free version on Kindle) and have been listening to foreign language podcasts. It's beginning to feel like the passion I had for language and language learning that I had before going to university is coming back and I'm happy for it, it's like rediscovering an old friend. It also doesn't hurt that there are now websites like with lots of books in other languages and a handy dictionary widget so that you can click on any words you don't know and it tells you the meaning in English.

I've been so engrossed with the languages this past week that I actually forgot to spin on two days. I finished my spinning for the week and it's some of the best I've ever done, but I feel disappointed in myself that I actually forgot for those two days. The problem is that I never really agreed what the schild would be for forgetting, so other than feeling angry and disappointed with myself, I really don't know what else there is.

Tomorrow is an offering ritual of sorts for a few of us here and so the husband and I have been busy for the past hour or so making the bread for the offerings and pot luck. I'm rather nervous as there is one section of the ritual that I'm kind of leading and it's the first time I will ever have led before. I'm hoping it goes well.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Mighty Task

A Mighty Task

I stand before
my blessed Dead
Glowing they come
Yet grow ever dull
Their faces I see
Fade before me
Our Luck is the same
It should be better

A council we hold
All kin together
What shall we do
How *do* we better
My words are heard
The wisdom is seen
Faces of the dead
All focused on me

Work I must do
This world to change
Our Luck to mend
A labour for life
For those that come
And those that were
A mighty task
On Middle-Earth

I wrote this poem, not only because of a dream/vision I had, but because I think it reflects the lot of every mortal on this earth. Families have luck that is passed down from member to member, and as Heathens we need to know what kind of luck we have in our own families and try to change it if necessary in order to give greater to those that come and honour those that were. This is indeed a mighty task.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I am a vivid dreamer and I always have been. For me, dreams are full colour productions of the mind, in which I'm often an active player and for the most part I love that. It's always been like a movie in my mind, and even the scary ones  have, with only a few exceptions, been like horror movies. I like horror movies.

Last night I had a very vivid dream in which I was making offerings to my ancestors and to dead that were disturbing a place I'd been called in to help sort out. Josh and I also moved into a new house in this dream, larger than the one we have now and I had changed my job (thankfully).

This morning I woke up with the feeling that something had been resolved, that in a lot of ways, it was a message of hope and that something that was lost might be recovered again. As of yet, I'm not really sure what that lost might be, but maybe we'll see? I don't know.  I've had dreams of a precognitive nature, on one occasion, I described a place I'd seen in my dream, only to told that I'd just described a scene from a painting in someone's home that I'd never visited before. We'd sat apart and each drawn what we'd dreamed/had on a painting and they'd matched. Weird little details that I hadn't described when talking about my dream had matched too. Others that had been to that house also corroborated. So we'll see if this was anything precognitive or just an entertaining brainfart.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Family And Ancestors

In Heathenry, we often talk of 'the ancestors' as though they're a nebulous term of faceless people, and for the most part, the vast majority of them are. In some cases, we may know their names, we may have details of where they were recorded living at the time of whatever census in whatever place, but nothing more than that. In the case of more recent ancestors that we might not have known, we may have some anecdotes passed down from older family members, but a lot of the time, unless we grew up with them and they were unimpaired by senility, we still can't really say that we knew them well.

For example, all of my grandparents except one passed before I was born, and the last one passed when I was seven. My memories of that grandfather, my last living link to that older generation are of going for walks with him, and people coming into the supermarket to find us because he'd wandered off, decided he was a lollypop* man and had taken to directing traffic on a busy road. You see, for the years I'd known him, he'd had Alzheimers disease, but years of travelling with my father in his truck and hearing stories about his youth and parents had told me of a very different man. One with a very strong work ethic who would work every hour he could for his family, and such love and devotion for his ailing wife who'd given birth to my father while sick with tuberculosis. My grandmother, his wife had suffered from health problems all her life and like my granddad had just kept on pushing through and trying to do her best by her family.

There was another streak in my father's family, and that was Spiritualism. Needless to say, I grew up with some very strange experiences.

My mother was one of nine children and grew up in an area that is now notorious for being rough in my hometown. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her mother with so many kids to care for, especially kids that ran amok to the extent I know my mother and her siblings did. One of my uncles used to steal/catch rabbits and chickens and they had them at their house, well... until the local council confiscated the chickens. My grandfather was a huge Popeye fan and worked on the buses. Both he and his wife passed within months of each other and their children banded together and raised each other until adulthood. My mum was raised by an older sister and she in her turn raised a younger sister. I can't imagine how hard things must have been for them. Until recently, my mum didn't really talk about her parents much. I think she has always been too sad about their passing to really volunteer information about them for years (like my father has with his) and so the qualities they had, I've kind of deduced from what I know and see in my own mother.

That they were hardworking is without question; you can't bring up nine kids well without being hardworking. My mother has always put fresh home-cooked food on the table and so I can guess that's what she grew up with. My mother has always taken a pride in having a clean house and clean curtains lest the neighbours think the family is scum. Being poor isn't synonymous with a lack of pride. So they must have also had a sense of pride in being clean and decent people. And that my grandparents died within such a short time of each other tells me that they were also very much in love and devoted to each other. My mum and her family, a resilient bunch, still very much miss their parents so it's without question that they are loved and missed. Last but not least, I think they must have also had a cracking sense of humour...well, with nine kids, I think you'd need to!

You probably wonder why I'm rabbiting on the way I am here. In all honesty, I didn't plan on going into as much detail about my family and how I admire the qualities they had/have. They may not have been famous or necessarily did anything that people tend to think of as being special, but they were good, hardworking, resilient, loving, proud, persistent (some might say 'stubborn') people. Needless to say, I really hope I make them proud with how I live my life and that I'm not a disgrace to them.

Often in Heathenry though, we tend overlook the more immediate ancestors in favour of those that were actually Heathen, and I'm not saying that they don't watch over us, just that our more immediate kin (not just blood kin here because family isn't always just a matter of blood, sometimes the most real family we can have has nothing to do with blood) have more of a vested interest in our well-being. And it is our parents that are the link to them. They are often the keepers of that family knowledge, those oral histories that keep the memories of the deceased alive. Unless our parents are complete...pardon my language, but fuckheads, we should respect them, love them, be thankful for the sacrifices they made in their lives so that we might thrive and not go whining to some shrink because they said no to us a few times back in the 90s when we wanted some extortionately priced trainers or jacket. That's all too common nowadays.

Our parents are just as much of a link in the ancestral chain as anyone else, they are the ancestors that still live, and when they're gone, we'll wish with everything that they're not.

So it's important to respect and love now.

Which is why I am really shocked by the most recent piece of news to come out of the Heathen community about a leader that allegedly embezzled $75,000 from his elderly mother, which led to her being evicted from her care home. Now, I'm going to insert the caveat here that a person *is* innocent until proven guilty and that I'm not saying this individual is guilty, but IF he is, I feel shocked and saddened by the thought. I know people treat their parents badly and do such awful things to them every day, but even so. From someone that is supposed to honour their ancestors, that kind of behaviour would be...dare I say it, but a sin? I can't think of a better word really here to express my feelings on that and yes, before people comment and say that 'sin is a Christian term', what on earth else would you call it?

As someone that lives over 3000 miles away from her family, I couldn't ever imagine such behaviour. Maybe it's because my time with my parents isn't an all the time thing? Maybe it's because the distance makes me appreciate the time I get to spend and chat with them all the more?

Today, or in the coming week, please do something nice for your parents (be they blood, adopted or those that have become your parents in life). Buy your mum flowers, go visit more than usual, call them, send them a gift, just let them know you love them. They're your family and greater than any treasure on earth for it.

My mother's family on my aunt's wedding day.

My maternal grandfather (in the middle).

My uncle Ronnie trying to stop me from being a sulky puss at a family wedding. I really wasn't happy with having to wear a bridesmaid's dress and all the photos that came with that. I was such a cheeky little cow with the photographer.

My dad's family. From left to right, my paternal grandfather, my grandmother and my dad.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Unnatural Husfreyja and Haelu

It's been almost a week since I deactivated my FB account and while I was expecting it to be hard at first, it really wasn't. If anything, it's been so...peaceful. Not to mention productive. Over the course of this past almost-week, I've actually started reading a book ('Under the Cloak' by Jon Hnefill Adalsteinsson), finished knitting a cardigan, started what is perhaps THE most complex shawl I'll ever knit (Estonian lace! *drool*) , made an appointment and put down a deposit for my next tattoo, and spun a skein of wool. I've also hung out more with my husband and played more with my pets. My house has largely remained clean too.

All of this sounds pretty domestic, doesn't it? And it is. If you had told me ten years ago that ten years in the future I'd be married, living in the States and actually enjoying things like lace knitting and spinning, I would have laughed in your face; but I do. For one thing, I'd never planned to move to the States, ever. For another, my mother couldn't ever get me interested in knitting or sewing, or anything else house/home related. I was always that kid that was out in the yard helping her dad to mix up concrete, building walls, re-roofing sheds, fixing cars (I can't drive them, but I can do some jobs!) etc.

But life changes, people connect, the chips fall where they may, and jobs are allocated as they need to be done. At the moment, my husband works more than I do, so it's only fair that I try to keep on top of the cooking and cleaning.

 I'm still no fan of housekeeping, it really doesn't come naturally to me and I think women that say they love it are probably mostly lying.

 I guess my biggest pet peeve with keeping a house clean is that it never ends. There is always something to clean, tidy, or sort out and it bugs the hell out of me! If there was an end in sight, I wouldn't care so much, it'd just be one more job to do and tick off my list, but as soon as you live in a space, you're creating cleaning work for yourself.  It's not a big deal though, my husband knew he wasn't marrying a Martha Stewart when we got together...I don't really think you find the kind of wives that like that kind of thing living out in Korea, getting drunk and going on mad adventures every weekend.

But still, I feel a push to try and keep on top of the cleaning to some degree, especially since becoming more of a Frija worshipper. In some ways, trying to keep on top of the cleaning has now become as much an act of devotion (I know we don't really do that kind of thing in Heathenry, but I'm not really sure what else to call it) as the offerings we make to our ancestors or the landwights, or the spinning I do every week night.

 For me, doing these things have also become a large part of fighting to keep the place where we live hael. You see I don't like the land where we live, not America itself, but the area. There's something really off about this place. It's fine for animals and plants, but I've never lived in a place with as many people with bowel issues (although to be fair, this could be largely down to the American diet), or with as many funeral homes. The people here are strange too, known locally in the area as being so and we're looking at moving somewhere else when the lease on this place is up. You might be wondering why we moved here, but it's really not easy to find places to live when you're on another continent, and often, it tends to come down to a massive leap of faith that the place you're going to won't be full of crackheads. But in all honesty, I can't change the land here, whatever made it like this isn't something that can be healed by one foreign girl with good intentions, living here on a year lease. We're not taking land here, we're temporary, and really, how much of an effect could *we* have? I've considered adapting the Aecerbot for the land around our apartment, just to try and help things along a little in our little corner, but I'm not entirely sure yet. I guess I'll have to see. In the meantime though,

I'll wish you well and leave you with some photos of my creations this week. 
 This is the cardigan I finished. The pattern is available over at and can be found under the name 'Hey Teach!' 
 Estonian Lace knitting, *squee*! This pattern is 'Laminaria', from a marvellous designer at

 For some reason, when I take photos up close of the shawl, it looks bright yellow, but further away, it's green. Either way, I included the yellow version because it's easier to see the lovely star stitch pattern.
 Last week's skein setting.