The Importance of Being Earnest

I’m behind in The Cauldron Blog Project again, and so I am trying to catch up by writing several posts at once.  This…is not an easy task, as I’ve been trying to stick to a theme of pop culture paganism this year focusing on The Elder Scrolls, and while the series itself is named with an E, there are no deities in any of the games that also begin with E.  And, did I mention that there are 87 total deities in that series?  Anyway, now I have to write two posts with the theme of E, and since Paganicon 2015 is winding down and I happen to be in a hotel in Minnesota after attending it, I started trying to think of things that came up during ‘Con that I could address.  Which led me to something I saw a lot of this weekend: earnestness.

It’s not easy to be earnest, especially when surrounded by others whose beliefs are different than yours, but the majority of people I met at Paganicon 2015 did it with aplomb.  They, as the definition goes, showed depth and sincerity of feeling for their path(s) and practices, and were happy to share what they thought without stomping on the toes of anyone else.  Or, if someone was mistakenly stomped, they were happy to apologize in a way that did not lay blame on the other person.

I find the earnest fascinating, mostly because my own inclination is to be, well, not-so-earnest in public.  That’s not to say that I hide my beliefs, exactly, or that I am not serious about anything, but I am more likely to hide myself from strangers.  I like to be camouflaged to a certain extent – to keep my counsel unless it’s asked for, to put on an outward face that resembles what people expect to see in a given situation.  In the case of Paganicon, I’ve been pretty successful so far – I wear what I consider to be ordinary clothing (usually jeans and t-shirts), wear simple devotional jewelry, keep my hair in a basic style, and offer opinions among those I don’t know only when it is appropriate.

I’m completely different among my friends, of course – I am outspoken and forthcoming about what I believe and what I don’t.  I don’t know if I’d call it being earnest, though.  I can be serious, and I certainly hold serious beliefs and do serious things, but the word earnest has connotations to it that I don’t think are characteristics of myself, and I also don’t think it is one of those words worth reclaiming or slapping with the Words Mean Things label.

(Wow – I never thought I’d say that.  Maybe I need to regroup.)

But, anyway, the earnest are fascinating to me because they neither hold anything back, nor try to laugh away their intensity.  They’re committed to their path and practices in ways that I admire, and have sometimes wished I could emulate…and it makes for interesting conversation.  I always learn something from the earnest, and since learning new things is one of my joys in life, I welcome spending time with those who have this trait even though I know it is likely I’ll never be quite like them.

After all, differences are what make the world go ’round, and that’s a good thing.

TT – Reading 7

I used the Tattooed Tarot with a random significator and three other cards to determine why the querent is having particular trouble removing someone from their life.

Significator is the Four of Chalices – Closure; interior block; resources not exploited.

Card to represent the other party is Death – Sudden separation; pitilessness; inexorability; physical illness; fear; skeletons in the closet; traumas.

Card representing what the querent should focus on for themselves is Knight of Wands – Voyage; change

Card representing what the querent should focus on regarding the other party is the Four of Swords – Detachment; marginalization; reflection.


Reading of the Cards

Don’t let yourself be held back by your shyness.  Forget past errors and give up your bad habits; rise from your own ashes.  Before you start out, study the best route to follow and the type of transportation to use.  Excessive isolation will lead to poverty and solitude.



In the case of this reading, I think “shyness” is actually trepidation, whether you’re aware of it or not.   Something is holding you back from fully removing the person from your life – you need to figure out what that is, and then you’ll find a way.  The person in question thinks they have changed and become better than they were and that they, for whatever reason, are good for you – you’ll need to do something to make them see that remaining in your life is detrimental for them.

Take a look at the things you’ve tried, and where they’ve failed – which pieces aren’t falling into place?  This person is actively trying to stay in your life, but there’s no divine intervention or magical help other than their own belief.  That needs to be dealt with and shattered before anything else will work.

Don’t be afraid to workshop the issue with other people who might be able to help.  Sometimes, others see what we miss.


Images of the Cards and the Spread

TT- Four of Chalices

TT- Four of Chalices

TT - Death

TT – Death

TT - Knight of Wands

TT – Knight of Wands

TT - Four of Swords

TT – Four of Swords

TT - Spread 7

TT – Spread 7

Fallow February

The shortest month is oft the longest;
I know this much is true.
When grey and black and white are all the colors not intentional,
When grey and wet combine with cold to make things slower,
This is when fallow falls.

Silence seems the letter of the day,
And spent is just the normal place and time;
Song and dance have faded far from mind,
And barely is, in turn, what is enough.

I will pick up the gauntlet thrown, one day.
I will unwrap my wrappings, stiff with ice,
And raise my voice, aloud, once more.
I’ll set the mantle on my brow, take up the yoke,
And find my footing.

Fallow comes to everyone,
Despite pains taken otherwise.
Best it be remembered thus –
Soonest ended, soonest mended,
Lest we forget, again, to rise.

“Identifies As…”


Timely and appropriate, given some of the things going on in and around my religious community.

Originally posted on Aedicula Antinoi: A Small Shrine of Antinous:

I was going to put this post off for at least a day, but circumstances have made it all the more important to discuss now, not only in general, but also in relation to some of our upcoming events.

Yesterday, I posted about the Sanctification of several trans* individuals, which will be taking place tomorrow. I also mentioned that there was one person who seemed to be gender-variant, who was killed by their father, whose name I gave as “Bri Golec.” It turns out Brian Golec was Wiccan, and while he may have been gender-variant of some variety, he identified as male at the time of his death, though he did experiment with female pronouns and presentation, going by “Bri” instead of “Brian,” did HRT, and was part of a trans* support group several years back. The misgendering of someone in their death is a really horrible thing…

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The Elder Scrolls – Dragon

I’ve mentioned, in a previous post, before the Nords were as they are today, during the rule of the Dragon Priests, the people of Atmora worshiped nine animal gods – six shown as male, and three as female.  Chief among these gods, and no surprise given the time period, was the Dragon.  The Dragon is thought to represent Alduin, the World-Eater, and God of Destruction, antithesis to the aspects represented by the Nine Divines.

Alduin proclaims himself to be firstborn of Akatosh, chief of the Nine Divines, and his peers agreed he was the pinnacle of Akatosh’s creations.  It was this praise that caused Alduin to forsake his role as World-Eater to conquer Mundus for himself and his fellow dragons.  So, if the Dragon is Alduin, then it is also the ravaging firestorm, herald of the Apocalypse, and that which will bring about the end of the world.   In my mind, though, the Dragon of the Ancient Nords is more than just a representation of Alduin because there are/were a number of notable dragons, each of whom is/was known for something different.

To me, the Dragon is change, either through destruction and rebirth, or through transformation, or through the simple flow of time.  Things are not meant to remain static, and the Dragon ensures they do not.

To me, the Dragon is strength, to take what is needed and defend the right to do so.  The Dragon knows what it needs, and what it is due, and little can divert it from its course once set.

To me, the Dragon is patience, to outlast those who rise against it, to watch and wait.  Not all things require immediate action; sometimes, the opposition simply gets tired and goes away.

What is the Dragon to you?  What could it be?

The Elder Scrolls – Dibella

“…And the Caress of warm blooded Dibella
Coaxed the Blossoms to wanton Display
So that Aelfendor became a Garden
Of all the Senses.”
– Song of Hrormir

Dibella, called Queen of Heaven, Goddess of Beauty, and Lady of Love, is one of the Nine (Eight) Divines, and is worshiped throughout the Empire; although her worship is most concentrated in Cyrodiil and Skyrim, there are temples dedicated to Dibella found in the other provinces, and even where she is not held in high regard, there are those who practice her arts in secret.

Dibella has a number of cults across Tamriel, and within Cyrodiil alone there are almost a dozen that focus on different aspects – some are dedicated to women, while others cater to artists and aesthetics, and still others to erotic instruction. One follower of Dibella explained her worship as follows:

At the House of Dibella, we seek truth through beauty and the worship of the embodiment of beauty, the Goddess Dibella. Dibella smiles on those who give generously to our House. She grants charm and grace to donors. In proportion to their generosity, of course. We are always interested in new initiates to the House of Dibella, though only those possessing skills in the promotion of harmony. To be honest, very few qualify.

The prudish see worshipers of Dibella as debauched, participating in acts called lewd or indecent, and her Houses are sometimes called cults of beauty and physical relations.  In addition, Dibella herself is sometimes called “too lusty” or described with the euphemism “warm-blooded”.  And yet, to limit Dibella’s associations to the physical is to miss the point entirely – sex, certainly, can be an act of love, but it is not the entirety of it, nor does recognizing that it falls within her bailiwick negate her other aspects.

Dibella’s decree to man and mer, as noted in Ten Commands of the Nine Divines is “Open your hearts to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love.”  I believe these things have merit; what’s more precious and rewarding than true friendship?  And yet, even though I see the benefit of living according to Dibella’s teachings, and even though I am greatly fond of the physical aspects that are sometimes included, I am not one of her worshipers, nor have I considered becoming one – there are other deities in my life that inhabit, for lack of a better term, these pieces of life for me.

Despite not being one of Dibella’s faithful, I have thought about how she could be worshiped so far from Tamriel.  The building of connections with others and the strengthening of community are hers, as is the cherishing of those we care for.  Those who care for others might look on Dibella as a patron; examples of this include health care, philanthropic/humanitarian causes, and sex work.

TT – Reading 6

I used the Tattooed Tarot with a random significator and a three-card Past-Present-Future spread to answer the following:

  • Is what the querent wants possible?
  • Is it likely to happen?
  • Is there anything that could/should be done differently?

Significator is the Four of Pentacles – Defeat of your enemies; Ambition.

Past Card – Nine of Wands – Prudence; a Difficult Victory; Healing with sacrifices

Present Card – Six of Chalices – Memories; Fragility

Future Card – Three of Swords – A stab in the back; Separation


Reading of the Cards

At times, it becomes necessary to resort to a weapon to achieve our aims.  Discipline and perseverance are the ingredients for your success.  You need advice or psychological help.  Don’t surrender to nostalgia.  A bolt from the blue will cause you great disappointment.



You are a strong person, with goals in mind, who knows what they want and does what they have to without compromising your own principles.  The fact that you brought things into the light of day when others wouldn’t is proof of that.  Rely on that strength in the weeks to come.

You’ve been in this place before, or one similar to it, or one that cut like this one does, and you came through.  You’re not without scars, though, but don’t be afraid to gain more.  Those scars are part of you and, although it is trite, what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger.  When you think of the past, remember both peace and war – one without the other is revisionist.

To look at where you are now and where you’re going may be difficult, but you will make it to the other side and, while you may not be glad about it, you’ll grow.  Keep your goals in mind; your foundation is strong, and this won’t make you crumble.

What you want is possible, but not without compromising who and what you are, and I don’t see you being willing to do that.  You’re on the right track – don’t stop and look back at what might’ve been.  Keep moving forward.


Images of the Cards and the Spread


TT - Four of Pentacles

TT – Four of Pentacles

TT - Nine of Wands

TT – Nine of Wands

TT - Five of Chalices

TT – Five of Chalices

Tattooed Tarot - Three of Swords

Tattooed Tarot – Three of Swords

Spread for Reading 6

Spread for Reading 6