A Return to My (Gaming) Roots

Once Upon a Time, in days both ancient and forgotten, a woman sought to drag her pop culture paganism into the light by writing about the gods of Tamriel for the period of a year.  That project was never finished.  

<cue ominous and tense music>

In reality, not so dramatic.  There were mitigating factors, not the least of which was my online religious community changing in a way that made me leave it and the subsequent fallout from that.  After all, the stroll through Tamriel was part of a blog project that started in that very community.  And those ancient and forgotten days were actually in 2015 and the writing stopped almost exactly a year ago (last post was on Peryite, on the 26th of August, 2015).

Lately, I’ve been spending more time in The Commonwealth than Tamriel, and it was during a brush with the Children of Atom that I started thinking (again!) about the influence of video games on pop culture paganism…and it made me want to start the project up again!

(or, at least, finish what I started.)

I’m planning to complete the Tamriel project by writing about it, off and on, for the remainder of the year.  I started with ALMSIVI in January 2015 – let’s see if I can make it to Zenithar in December 2016.

My Polytheism

I wasn’t going to write about this.

I wasn’t going to write about this, because so many have said it, and said it well: that polytheism is not a monolith; that there is no “culture of polytheism”; that those who put themselves up on some holier-than-thou plinth are likely to have it crumble beneath them.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but…

But.

But, if I remain silent, I subvert my own beliefs and practices.  But, if I subvert my own beliefs and practices, I am allowing others to hold sway.  But, if I allow others to hold sway, I may as well strip the mantle from myself and go back to stepping exactly where someone else steps, and…

And.

And, fitting myself into someone else’s skin is not my polytheism. And, applying concepts that do not fit and adhering to arbitrary bullshit determined by those who do not believe what I do is not my polytheism. And, letting others speak for me rather than speaking myself is not my polytheism.

So.

  • My polytheism is Action – I must do.  I must make active choices.
  • My polytheism is ma’at, but not always Ma’at – I am concept-centric rather than Deity-centric, but both are present.  I keep them close to me in different ways, and they fit together like pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
  • My polytheism is Malleable – I will not stagnate.  I will not do something unless it works, regardless of how often it is mentioned in “the lore”, or how many others do it.
  • My polytheism is Mystery – I will not always understand what is presented to me, but I will continue to try until it is complete.
  • My polytheism is Personal – I do not expect anyone to believe what I believe, or practice what I practice, and I respect what others do until it incorporates applying a Universal Standard.  I believe there is no Universal Standard.
  • My polytheism is Tangling and Untangling – I will connect and disconnect, anchor and sever, expand and contract.  I will in-know and out-know.  I will set boundaries.
  • My polytheism is Vocal – I must speak up because no one else can speak for me.  I must speak until I am heard, and then again until someone listens.
  • My polytheism is Work – Encompassing all of the above, limited and unlimited by my own choices.

It may not be complete or understandable, but it is mine.

Sharing: Access and Justice: Disabled Pagan Activism

I highly recommend that everyone who reads this blog go on over to http://stoneontosand.weebly.com/disability-equality-training.html and take a read and /ora listen.  This is topic that, in my opinion, is never discussed enough.

Alternatively, you can hear the talk by clicking the video link below:

 

Slide below posted with permission:4996347_orig

Cloverleaf and Roundabout

Like last year, this year I got to Paganicon via a road-trip, and while I didn’t happen to see The Rider on my journey, I did unravel a piece of the web that I’ve been staring at for what feels like ages but has probably been around six months.

But I should probably back up a bit, and explain a couple of things before diving down the hole in front of me and urging you to follow, shouldn’t I?

2015 was a horrible year for many people, and for me it was filled with family tensions, work tensions, and religious community tensions that eventually drove me to leave the place I considered my religious home for six years.  And, after all that, came the time of No Computers, and I was driven to seeking out those I wanted to stay close to via Google Hangouts from my work laptop in between doing the things that comprise my day job, which is heavy on pointless meetings with people I don’t want to hear, much less see.

(Okay – done with the self-pity now.  I swear.)

At the time of the upheaval (last October, or therabouts), I was staring at a problem I’d been tasked to address – the untangling of a particular set of threads in the Web in front of me.  Staring wasn’t getting me anywhere, and I couldn’t figure out where I need to start, and then things blew up and I put the task aside where it sat.

And sat.

And sat, until I was smacked in the head by a not-so-velvet paw and reminded that the tangle was still there.  And, that I hadn’t said “No” when I was asked to deal with it.  And that it was going to stay right there until I figured it out.

I like to put my gods in the category of “tough but fair”, but they don’t always like to stay in that category.  This time, though, everyone took on that label, and everyone reminded me that there was a THING that needed DOING, over and over again until I finally decided to get off my ass and look at it again.  Which, I did.  I looked at it.  I walked around it, and looked at it from a number of angles, and tugged on a few things, and pushed a few more, and then sat down and stared at it again.

And then, I took a 21 hour (round trip) road-trip with my sister, and we talked the whole way.  Sometimes it was serious, and sometimes it was silly, and sometimes it would have made no sense at all to anyone listening in, but it was in the talking on the way there, and in Paganicon itself, and in the further talking on the way home that I figured it out and the threads unwound themselves as prettily as anyone could hope to see…and now they’re connecting just as they should.

It took two things, really: the realization that I am very very good at asking questions, and that the sigil I created in Thorn’s workshop is meant to remind me to Speak Up.  And once I connected those two things everything else fell neatly into place.  I am not meant to be a Hammer – I am meant to be a Lever.  I am meant to move things from passive to active.  What once I called a cul-de-sac, a parking lot, where we stop and wait and try to figure out which way to go is now a cloverleaf, or a roundabout, with exits that are there.   We’re just waking up and wondering where we are, how we got here, and why we’re in a hand-basket.

This, then, is the Introduction.

Reblog: Do We Act Justly? Disability, Mental Illness and Vulnerability

“Disabled people are routinely treated as a ‘vulnerable’ group, rather than as a marginalized one. But what if we were included under a social justice banner instead?”

Read the read of the post.

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Naomi Jacobs (AKA Léithin Cluan) tackles a critical topic with the type of openness and clarity that, for me, have come to represent her writing style.  This is a must-read, and a must-think.

The End and the Beginning

I’ve not been writing much of late.

This is not because I don’t want to write; I do, very much.  It’s not because I don’t like the topics I’ve been choosing; I’ve been having a grand time with my pop culture paganism series, even if no one really reads it.  And it’s not because this blog doesn’t fit me anymore; now, more than ever, I find myself bumping into things along my religious path that I want to pick apart and examine here.

The actual reason behind my lack of posting here is complicated, but there is a teal deer version: I stopped posting for The Cauldron Blog Project while trying to sort out whether The Cauldron was still right for me, and after a few weeks and months of both introspection and conversation with some of the members of my religious community (and friends), I decided that it was no longer a good fit.  And so, I’ve resigned as part of the Staff at TC, and I have also left as a member.

The Cauldron has been a huge part of my religious life since early 2010: it was there that I feel I really came into my own as a Kemetic; it was there that I discovered and embraced FlameKeeping; it was there, among the other members, that I refined my own personal practice into something that nurtures and fulfills me.  For those things, not to mention the number of friends I made, I will always be grateful.  But, as people change and grow, their needs changes and mine no longer align with what The Cauldron can provide.

So, this is the end of the TC chapter of my life, but it is also a beginning.  It’s the beginning of a new re-examination period for me, looking at who I am and who I want to be.  It’s the beginning of a new section of road on my religious path.  It’s a chance to start anew and figure out new ways to put together all the bits and pieces, and new ways to poke at them, because the life un-examined is a stagnant life…and you all know how I feel about stagnation.

To those I met on TC, you are a part of who I am, and I will never forget you.  To those joining me with Beginnings of their own, I can’t think of any friends or companions I’d rather have.

Thank you, for everything.