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.
February.

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…”

veggiewolf:

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.

 

Interpretation

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

Caffeine

Hail, Caffeina, Bringer of Good Things!
Through you, all is possible.

The deification of a molecule sounds, well, silly when said right out like that: “Hey!  I deified a molecule!”  But so many of us rely on the intervention of C8H10N4O2 to get us through the day that I’m surprised it isn’t worshiped more openly.  Surely the number of coffee- and tea-houses available across the world rival the number of temples built to other gods, and the number of people who pass through one must be close to the number who pass through the other.  In fact, I wonder which draws more on an average day?

Caffeine is a bitter alkaloid found in many of the things we eat and drink, including coffee, tea, and chocolate.  Those who are cutting down on their caffeine consumption should definitely read labels – your chocolate ice cream, or root beer, might contain caffeine without you realizing it!  It has measurable effects on human metabolism, and stimulates the central nervous system, causing alertness and feelings of energy in many people.

Many of us who ingest caffeine do do purposefully for these very things; I don’t consider myself fully awake until I’ve had at least two cups of coffee or tea (or another caffeinated beverage) in the morning, for example.  Some people use caffeine for other reasons, also – it can speed the effects of analgesics, for example, and there’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who self-medicate with caffeine see an improvement in their symptoms.  And, of course, most of us have heard the theory linking the rise of coffee house culture in Britain and the Age of Enlightenment.

(I’d appreciate links to any evidence of benefit for ADHD that is not anecdotal, incidentally.)

Caffeine’s benefits for humans can be witnessed across the world – it transcends the artificial boundaries that we humans erect to keep THEM away from US.  But it also has a “darker” side – ingesting more than a moderate amount each day can cause irritability, restlessness, jittery feelings, gastrointestinal issues (caffeine can have a laxative effect), insomnia, and (in some cases) cardiovascular events such as hypertension and arrhythmia.  And, yes, there have been deaths attributed to caffeine abuse.

Of course, as we know, too much of anything can kill you.  I  recommend, though, that people be aware of how much caffeine they’re consuming and keep track of any effects they experience, positive and negative.

Anyway, take the things I noted above about caffeine’s effects, add in its hype (we’ve got gum, soap, t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers!  Whee!), and we’ve got a pretty powerful force with a significant impact on mankind.  Hell, most of the time it is easier to measure the impact of my interactions with caffeine than with the gods I worship, so why not add it?  To me, deifying something to which I have such a powerful connection just makes sense, and when I add in the fact that I take time to honor it every day, even in longest darkest nights of my soul…

As I said in the beginning:

Hail, Caffeina, Bringer of Good Things!
Through you, all is possible.

The Elder Scrolls – Clavicus Vile

What’s not to love about a god of Power, Trickery, Wishes, and Bargains?

Clavicus Vile, strictly speaking, is a Daedric Prince, but I’ve always found the line between gods and Daedra to be fluid, and I also tend to default to the idea that it doesn’t hurt to treat something as a god if it is as powerful as a god…and Vile is certainly that powerful.

So, who is Clavicus Vile?  Well, he’s one of the seventeen most powerful Daedric Princes, and he reigns over a plane of Oblivion that is (as far as we know) unnamed.  He has a companion called Barbas who is a shape-shifting daedra, and Vile’s shrines always depict the two of them together: Vile as a man with two horns protruding from his head, and Barbas as a dog.  Despite the close connection, however, Vile often grows tired of Barbas and abandons or banishes him, causing Barbas to have to find a way back into Vile’s good graces.

Clavicus Vile is known for granting wishes when petitioned and those wishes usually turn out badly for the requester.  It’s a rare person who gets the better end when Vile is doing the bargaining, but rarity in this case doesn’t equate to impossibility – Clavicus Vile is also known for rewarding those who act to protect the welfare of the public.  Would-be bargainers would do well to pass their requests by Barbas first, especially if he’s away from Vile’s side, because he will sometimes assist and side with the petitioner instead of his master.

There are four artifacts in Tamriel that are famously associated with Clavicus Vile: the Bittercup, known for having the power to improve an attribute of the person who drinks from it while also diminishing another attribute; the Masque of Clavicus Vile, which improves the popularity of whoever wears it; the Umbra Sword, created by Naena Waerr to capture souls and send them to Vile; the Rueful Axe, created by Vile and given to a man who wanted a cure for his daughter’s lycanthropy.

(That last one is quite typical of Vile, by the way.)

For those looking to invoke, petition, or worship Clavicus Vile, it helps to know that the definition of trickster should really include his name.  He should be approached with this in mind and also with the knowledge that Vile always demands payment – sometimes up-front, and sometimes much later.  He is powerful and easily bored, which leads him to make things interesting for others; amusing for him, not so amusing (usually) for those whose lives are touched by this.

I have not yet asked Clavicus Vile for anything, yet I do think there’s benefit to keeping him in mind for assistance with “impossible” tasks, especially if they are of benefit to multiple people, as long as his true nature is never forgotten.