NTR

I requested one of Satsekhem’s oracular slots, since I’ve been hit or miss on communicating with Sekhmet. There was the whole showing up near the Fire Howling, using someone else’s dream in the early fall to communicate something to me, and leaving for a while before sort of coming back.

Depending on what gets tweaked when People fix and clean things (more on a spiritual / non-physical level), I’ve had patchy compatibility with Sekhmet among the Kemetic pantheon. Since the part of The Burning that’s been happening since 2016 started, I’m officially not compatible but Sekhmet can still stop by.

So, yeah, I asked for an oracular slot because I haven’t been able to tell if Sekhmet wants something from me or not. Answer (received 3.26):

She says that she has nothing specific that she needs at this time from you.

She does say that you need to take some time out for renewal? It sounded like she felt you were over reaching in a lot of areas, which is never in anyone’s best interest. So she said that you need to take a long bit to rejuvenate and relax for a bit. Have some fun!

Tech is hellish, so I am not surprised at the “over reaching in a lot of areas” comment. With the end of the semester noticeably in sight, I almost laughed at the “rejuvenate and relax” bit. I have to write two 10 page papers, memorize my part in a scene, and revise my playwriting thesis in time for the playreading date (already been picked – April 8th), among other projects and such for finals.

Sekhmet’s response (via positivedoodle):

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Ancestral Representatives

So, my bio dead stepped back into my Christian dead (and they eventually put on a more cohesively Catholic front) after I did elevations for everyone I knew of. After Hela and Jormundgand prodding me in the direction of honoring the trans dead, I stopped fighting that I was trans and paid some attention to them.

Up until winter 2015, these were my only two groups of dead I knew of and knew I was interacting with. Because there are a lot of people in each of these groups and I was getting contradictory divination readings, I asked if I could only communicate directly with a Representative of each group.

I eventually asked for some sort of name and desired pronouns for the Representatives. It felt a little more personal, in a way. David represents my Christian dead (he / him), and Adam represents my trans dead (they / their). One of the new groups of dead is represented by Memziri (meh-m  z-eerie) who uses he / his pronouns.

Memziri may also appear as Mimzy. He literally used Mimzy imagery to get the name across because those sounds don’t really exist in other words together. Y’know, the rabbit from The Last Mimzy. There’s something with rabbit imagery where my People just spam it occasionally, but I’m pretty sure Mimzy isn’t actually rabbit identified. He feels old, like before the Jotnar and Vanir split old.

Elevatin’ Lent

From Toxic Ancestors (links to full piece, not the WP post):

My paternal grandfather, F, was physically abusive to both his wife and son and had a few vices. While he was alive, alcohol was an influencing factor in his abuse, and he was particularly fond of using a belt on his son.

J, the father of my maternal grandmother, was sexually abusive to some of his daughters, who are all currently still alive. Alcohol was an influencing factor in his abuse as well. G, the mother of my maternal grandfather, was emotionally abusive.

Her abuse stemmed from her personality, so she will always have a certain amount of toxicity, though it is possible for me to reduce her amount. With enough time, it is possible for me to remove all of F and J’s toxicity.

Why I chose to interact with these toxic ancestors:

I chose to ignore F when dealing with my paternal line initially. He died before I was old enough to form memories, so I felt no desire to interact with him until I faced a situation in which I was reminded of my paternal grandmother. In her words, she “isn’t a spring chicken anymore”, and I had to contemplate the matter of her meeting F in whichever afterlife is applicable.

I decided that I would interact with him in order to reduce his toxicity and hopefully make it easier for his victims when they pass (if they run into him). I’ve taken this stance with each of the three toxic ancestors I know of, within the past few generations with living family members who talk about them, but that doesn’t mean that anyone else has to.

I also generally covered how I approached doing elevations for all three of them, and I’m certainly not saying that others have to use the same methods. I returned to the idea that working with ancestors is personalized in the piece, and this is one of those areas where it just depends on what will help the toxic ancestor the most [edited below for ease of reading from piece]:

All three of these ancestors were Christian with F specifically being Catholic. This meant that I needed to use a Christian framework – including Jesus and God in the requests for toxicity being removed, including a request to the Saint F was closest to, and not including any Deities outside of the Christian God.

I also needed to include the praying of the rosary. They each had a particular day of the week they wanted me to start on, and I prayed the Mysteries of the day for a week. At their request, all of the elevations were to take part during Lent with specifically tailored requests for helping them all to be said on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

I gave up desserts and also didn’t eat meat (other than certain fish / seafood dishes) on Fridays for the duration of Lent. In addition to having specific prayers for reducing these ancestors’ toxicity, I also did a general elevation for all of my other known ancestors during the rest of Lent.

Toxic Ancestors

Writing and Religion (Or I’m not an academic for a reason) – I tried to write an academic piece for Walking the Worlds (a biannual journal of polytheism and spirit-work), and I found out that it’s not easy. This portion looks at my take away from the experience, particularly that I haven’t actually been prepared for this style of writing (I’ve only ever once before had to write an abstract, and it was for a science paper).

Writing and Religion II (I tried) – I apologize in advance for my formatting mistakes. I wasn’t going to share my piece until Someone reminded me that journals are associated with exclusivity for a reason. For this journal, you have to be a contributor or pay money in order to acquire a copy, so in the interest of reaching a wider audience, I shared the piece.

Note: This was written in October of 2014, which was before I dropped the asterisk (*) from ‘trans’, so this will be seen in this (it was shared as it was submitted).

Abstract shared here, and the rest can be read here (it’s free; just behind a cut due to length).

Toxicity isn’t necessarily meant to judge the dead, but is used here to identify and describe qualities, behaviors, and/or energy from the dead that are negative. This negativity can influence whether a living descendant wishes to interact with the ancestor, so toxicity can be a block between someone wishing to interact with or honor their ancestors and their ancestors themselves. A breakdown of the types of toxicity will be proposed along with the responses that a descendant may choose from in response to the toxicity of their ancestor(s). In order to help clarify the choices of responses, a more in-depth example will be given at the end.

The Howls of Spring

Spring Equinox – the Howls of Spring. The Howls of Spring celebrates a tapering off of winter and the beginning of spring (the winds of spring blow in hard and strong, howling). It’s often very festive to celebrate surviving the winter.

The Wolf and Hare from the Bones of Prey (Angrboda and the Hare representative) meet at the Henge where a bonfire has been prepared and lit. The Hare gives thanks for Prey being able to survive the winter and asks for blessings of fruitful spring births. They often dance and request blessings for the land as well, as a nod to the Vanic celebration of Green Awakening. Angrboda gives thanks for Predators being able to survive the winter and burns a portion of jerky, asking for blessings in finding food and prey.

Angrboda, the Hare, and assistants present share a meal with the small crowd of attendees that may show up. The event is televised, so many Tribes prefer to watch that and proceed with their own feasts around bonfires. Vanir often gather in the Capital or travel to Vanaheim in order to celebrate Green Awakening. The observance in the Capital includes burning that which they don’t want to take into the new year in a bonfire, any Hares present dancing to bless the land, often some dancing by most in attendance (even if They’re not Hares), decorating eggs, and a feast.

Observing the Howls of Spring

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible. It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them.
  • Lighting a candle or otherwise giving an offering to Angrboda and the Hare Tribe of Vanaheim, as representatives of the Predator and Prey.
  • You could also attend the Green Awakening observance in the Capital, travel to Vanaheim to attend there, or otherwise observe here in Midgard.

Green Awakening (intro)

Date: Spring Equinox

Tuwenya-cuivië (from the [Tolkien] Elvish green wenya + spring, sprout tuia + awakening cuivië) [twhen-yuh cue-vee-ay].

Nornoriel describes the activities as there being a bonfire for burning away the year’s negativity the night before, fire dancing / spinning, and watching the Hare Tribe dance throughout the realm on the day of (their dancing helps flowers to bloom).

These basics are still true for my practice, and I’m honestly not getting very much beyond this. I keep getting indications of a dance party, basically.

. . .

Ways to observe in Midgard:

  • Burn away the past year’s negativity and grieve on the night before (whether a bonfire, candle, or something else is used).
  • Dancing and music to help with grieving are not discouraged, though it depends on your personal preferences.
  • An offering for the Hare Tribe on the day of – food / drink, dancing, noticing flowers in your area, etc.
  • Watching someone fire dance or spin fire, if you don’t have the training for it.
  • Dance. Listen to music. Attend a concert.

Weaving Memory (Review)

I bought the e-book of Weaving Memory: A Guide to Honoring the Ancestors by Laura Patsouris through Asphodel Press in late 2012 or early 2013. By opting for the pdf instead of the paperback, I didn’t have to wait for shipping and paid less than $10 ($5 + Tax).

. . .

The first section is The Dead. It covers why someone might want to do ancestor work, the basics of a shrine and the variety possible, honoring your maternal (Disir) and paternal ancestors (Alfar), communication, and toxic ancestors.

I don’t necessarily agree that an ancestral practice is the foundation of or essential for a strong faith because there are people who have strong practices without interacting with their ancestors. Some people also do run into issues with trying to honor their dead in a different religious framework than the ancestor in question, but in terms of basics, I think it was helpful.

At the time of purchasing this book, I found the chapter on toxic ancestors and steps that can be taken most helpful. Ignoring them is a valid choice, but doing elevations is another option. The advice about having an intermediary in the chapter on communication has become more helpful as I’ve gone on. I may not be getting bombarded with emotional, auditory, or visual messages, but I did get conflicting divination readings for a while because everyone was trying to give their personal opinions.

The second section is The Working. It covers possible magical / spiritual assistance (varies on your dead, but assistance with protection and warding can be possible), the wide variety of offerings for your dead, tapping into your ancestors’ strength, how to ask for ancestral vengeance on someone, keeping your dead happy, an example ritual for starting out, dying family members (ancestors-to-be) and grieving, ancestral memories, the angry / restless dead, passing an ancestral practice on to children, and honoring community ancestors.

The final section is Other Voices, which features pieces from other people. This includes Raven Kaldera (honoring the trans dead), Galina Krasskova (Living and Dying and how honoring our ancestors is one step in rebuilding Pagan traditions) and Llyne Foy (her first encounter with her dead).

There was a moment or two where word choice was personally grating, but it came back to how I don’t think an ancestral practice is required for everyone. Sometimes, your bio dead aren’t interested, no one steps forward from past generations, religious differences do matter to some dead, or a community doesn’t want you to focus on them. Some people only experience parts of this, and it may be related to what S/someone tells them to do (or not to do). We aren’t all called to be ancestor workers and to do everything on the path of honoring ancestors.

Overall, I think there’s enough of a balance of beginner material and “201” material that you don’t have to be a complete beginner to get something useful out of this book. Some may not find the Heathen (or related Norse traditions) concepts and examples as helpful, but Patsouris did include examples taking into account her Afro-Cuban heritage, so it wasn’t entirely Heathen focused. Most of the book seems like it could be useful for anyone on any path, since an ancestral practice isn’t limited to one tradition.

Final Decision: A – Acceptable

First steps with my ancestors

I didn’t start off honoring my ancestors alongside my People, so I honestly have no problem with other people not wanting to do anything with an ancestral practice. It isn’t required for everyone. However, I couldn’t really keep avoiding Hela’s request to honor my dead when it was the only thing She wanted me to do in the beginning.

I started out with biological family members I knew of, and I purposely avoid contact with three of them (due to toxicity). Because I already had a set of prayer beads with a certain count, I came up with a prayer set to acknowledge my ancestors. I could name those I knew, touch on professions (teacher, farmer, coal miner, etc.), and include nods to heritage (German, Irish, Scottish, and English as far as I know).

It wasn’t all that bad to start off building a line of connection with them, but I eventually felt stuck in a rut. I got Weaving Memory: A Guide to Honoring the Ancestors by Laura Patsouris, mulled over my toxic ancestors, and did elevations for everyone. After that my bio dead stepped back into the throng of my Christian dead and haven’t really wanted to interact directly since.

Sleipnir

[Catching up on some Intro posts for People.]

When I was first introducing myself to People, I checked with Him, and He pretty much conveyed to come back later. (So, like 3 years have passed?) Anyway, m’Lady sent me to Him in August 2015. He acted as a guide to Helheim and back for a piece of shadow work.

Small bits and pieces of the session of shadow work are below. It’s unfortunately still relevant, but I have a feeling that No One is surprised. I haven’t interacted much with Sleipnir since August, but He pretty much conveyed that He’d be back later.

. . .

THERE —

If I isolate now and slowly cut myself off, it shouldn’t hurt them as much later. If I get sloppy and procrastinate and breakdown the image of being a good student, a good person, organized, and in control now, they won’t have to be concerned about the day I just don’t show up. I’ll be late again and it won’t cause worry.

HELHEIM

Before I can return, I have to make a sacrifice. I initially feared that this is shaman sickness, or that I’d have to become a spirit worker, but that is not what this is. I will need to live for, on behalf of, my Gods, Powers, Spirits, etc., but I will not be a shaman or spirit worker. My life and lived experiences will be the dedicated life of a lay person.

— AND BACK AGAIN

I want to mark the threads that connect me to other people and OU so thoroughly that I can’t just fade into a vague memory. [. . .] I want to experience things for my Deities, Powers, Spirits, etc. I want to share food and invite Them into my everyday life. [ . . ] I want to be a walking shrine, a living vessel through my life.