Category Archives: Heathenry

Protective Instincts

I have never considered myself to be a violent man, but watching a recently aired television episode (Glee, Season 3, Episode 6) really got me to thinking. How would I react if I was the father who’s child got dragged into something just to further political ambitions? Let’s just say that the “it’s nothing personal” line would mean nothing to me, and I would be extremely prone to illustrating just how personal it can be.

I have always known that the protective urges of a parent could be strong, but I had no idea that it could be this strong. It is one thing to contemplate protecting your child from physical danger, but social and psychological danger? Yeah, I don’t think that social niceties would stop me from doing whatever I felt I needed to do to protect my children. Nobody gets away with using my family or my children for political gains. Nobody!

That said, and since I seem to see a large volume of traffic driven here by a couple of sites who’s creators seem intent upon doing just that, consider this a wake up call for personal responsibility. I don’t deal well with Trolls, but if being a Heathen has taught me anything, trolls can only be effectively deal with by bashing them in the head with a hammer. Thor is a great example of using effective troll management techniques. Granted, these days we are talking figurative rather than literal hammers. Even so, remember that while it might seem that one can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, there are ways of peeking behind that curtain. It might take some detective work. It might take some time. Regardless, eventually I intend to speak to these people face-to-face and question their intentions. No more anonymity. Talk to me as a human, face-t0-face, or fade into the background never to be heard from again.

I think I have made my point clear. Engage in conversation if you so desire. Me, I am done ignoring the trolls. You want to use my family you go through me to do it!

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Filed under Baby Stuff, Children, Family, Fatherhood, Goals, Heathenry, Religion, waterbirth

We Are Our Deeds

I originally wrote this as a private note toward the end of January, and kept it private to a few people who really needed to know. However, recently I have been hearing disturbing things that have prompted me to take this public. At the request of my wife I have kept names out of this. Please respect this if you choose to comment on the post.

If you have read the original post please skip to the bottom as I have added further information and commentary below the original post.

As Heathens we use this phrase all the time. The phrase represents a way of living that we try to live by. Sometimes we forget that others don’t always live by the same philosophy.

This weekend I learned that people that I had thought were trustworthy and worthy of friendship were in reality full of hypocrisy and a willingness to lie rather than tell a simple truth. They may see these actions as simply doing what is necessary to ensure the well being of their family. I could understand that were it presented to me. Instead we were told blatant lies, that while there is a possibility of truth to them due to the situation, are clearly false when faced with the truth that I can see with my own eyes.

Rather than simply talking to us about the problem they made a decision to do something that actively works to prevent our being able to move on, to find work, or anything else to try to make things better while we are under this roof.

We started the weekend with accusations of public bashing, receiving an eviction notice, and now an intentional limiting of resources agreed to as part of the rental agreement has happened. I had hoped that when faced with reality the accusations of public bashing would be proved groundless, but instead it appears that things have deteriorated even further.

Specifics? We lost our Internet connection, which was provided as part of the rental agreement. Me, being the computer and networking geek that I am, I looked into the problem to see if it was simply something on my end that needed correcting. What I discovered was that the original router (named “linksys”) was no longer showing up, but a new router (named “NETGEAR”) was showing up and asking for a security key. Since there had been stability problems with the old router we simply assumed that they had decided to replace the router and hadn’t given us the new security key. We called to ask about it and were advised that nothing had happened to the router but that they were having problems with the network connection from the service provider. Later we were told a semi-elaborate, rather believable story about the service being temporarily disconnected due to financial problems. Given the circumstances that story would certainly be believable except for one little detail: the router change. I can see the new router clearly, and can see other details about it that have convinced me that they have changed out the router and are intentionally not granting us access to it.

Had they simply come out and told us that because of other problems they were cutting off our access I could live with it and understand the decision. Instead they have chosen to lie to us about it and think that we would just accept the story. Yes, I need Internet access for homework, to take my final exam, to do job searches, and to file my unemployment claims. Would it be more convenient for me to do that from the comfort of my home? Without a doubt. Do I have other options available to me? Yes, I can go into town and use the library access. Are any of these really a problem? No, not really, other than the seeming inability to just talk to us about the problem rather than trying to lie to us about it instead.

I had hoped that we would be able to stay here for at least a few more weeks while trying to iron out the problems with the unemployment office, but it appears that this will be a very uncomfortable and difficult option. I have never been so happy to have family who is willing to take us in during this time of trouble. The removal of the passive-aggressive, guilt-ridden, emotional stress will be a tremendous weight to be lifted from my shoulders.

As to contacting us, obviously we aren’t likely to be online all that much for the foreseeable future. If you need to reach us please call us.

When I wrote this I left out a few key details. The most important of these is that we were paid up and current on our rent at the time we received the eviction notice. We didn’t argue with it since we were already exploring options for leaving, but the notice was unfounded and without any legal standing. Had we so chosen we could have disputed the eviction, and likely would have won the dispute. However, at the time we were trying to minimize “bad blood” between us and keep things from getting worse.

Things got worse though. When we were in the process of moving out we discovered that we were expected to move out much sooner than originally planned, and in the end what was going to be an easy, moderately paced move turned into a race against the clock to try to get all of our belongings out. We had planned for a couple of days at the end for cleaning, but we lost that time as well.

I have done some checking since that time and have learned that there were a great many violations of laws that protect renters during all of this. The eviction and shortening of the eviction period are just two examples of some rather gross violations of our rights. There were more violations, including actual safety violations with the electrical wiring. We brought up our concerns but never saw any move to resolve the problems.

Strangely, the one that irks me the most was the denial of services. In the dead of winter the furnace was rarely active, and we were forced to rely upon wood heat and space heaters to keep our apartment warm. At a time when we needed access to the Internet the most we were cut off and lied to about it. Really, did they truly think that a computer geek who has a degree in computer networking wasn’t going to see the truth? I could have regained access at any time, but instead I chose to stand by my values and work with what I was given instead. I chose the high road, and while it made things more difficult for us we survived.

Now, months later, having moved on with our lives, we are on the path of recovery. The kids are all happy and growing, and we have a great environment for them. I had thought that we were past this point. Apparently such is not the case. Now I am hearing disturbing reports about our names and reputations being brought into question, and even being dragged through the mud by the very people who accused us of doing the same to them. This is not something I will abide, and I refuse to stand quietly and allow it to happen. I believe that my actions, my deeds, represent who I am, and I believe the same of others. The deeds of these others speaks quite clearly of them, and it is not a positive image.

I am not a strong believer in karma, but I do believe in Wyrd. The concept is remarkably similar to karma, and I truly believe that what is earned is what will be received. I am working very hard to make my wyrd positive, and I believe that all the strife and turmoil that my family has endured through this experience will have a positive impact upon our personal wyrd. Similarly, I believe that the same will be true for those who put us through this and continue to attempt to degrade our reputations. Their reward will be richly deserved.

I don’t know that we can truly counter the negativity, but we can let our actions speak for themselves. We can also choose to no longer remain silent about this, instead bringing it out into the light so that others who may not be so closely tied to the events can see what happened to us and make choices of their own about how they choose to interact with these people. Perhaps my coming forward will help others feel safe coming forward and speaking up.

I am a Heathen, and I will not stand idly by while somebody attempts to destroy what I have worked hard to create. I will not back down, and if necessary I will champion others who may need championing.

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Swain Wodening’s Blog » The Germanic Origins of Halloween

As the topic of the various origins and cultural outlooks on Halloween has come up recently I thought that this would be a good post to share. BTW, Swain is one of the most respected Heathen scholars around so I tend to trust what he posts even if he doesn’t cite sources to original reference material.

Swain Wodening’s Blog » The Germanic Origins of Halloween

via Swain Wodening’s Blog » The Germanic Origins of Halloween.

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Heathen Times

Alter TableMy life as a Heathen sure has undergone a lot of growth in the last couple of months. Strange to see it all happen, but so very happy to see it happening. Having Sarah open herself to the possibility that she might find a home in being Heathen has done so much for us. I really can’t believe just how much has opened up because of that one simple act. As a result she was standing by my side yesterday when we participated in the Midwinter Blot with the folk of Sturm-Hrafn. I wish that I had the words to truly express the feelings that I had yesterday, and still have today when thinking about it. My children love the folk that are part of this, and the twins fell asleep in the arms of people that were complete strangers to us two months ago last night. My heart just melts when I think about seeing Jeff Peck with one of them (I think it was Caulla) asleep on his shoulder as we sat around the fire finishing the evening with an informal symbel.

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Filed under Ancestors, Children, Family, Fatherhood, Goals, Heathenry, Holidays

My First Sumbel

Things have really opened up for me in just the last week. Not when it comes to employment, but rather in the path that I have chosen to walk as a Heathen. Ironically, it seems that the use of a cosmic hint brick on my wife was what opened the doors that I had been unable to even find, much less try to open myself.

You see, ever since I made the choice to walk the path of a Heathen, and to worship the gods of my ancestors, I have been trying to find other heathens to associate with. For years, while I might make contact with local heathens, those contacts never got anywhere after the initial introduction. I have gone so far as to consider moving back to the mid-west just to find a Heathen community to associate with, and have received offers of open arms from some that I know through online contact. But this has not been the preferred choice for me for several reasons, not least of which is that it would mean moving us and the kids away from all of our family.

Last week Sarah struck up a conversation with a heathen in a comment thread on Facebook, and things started to happen. One thing led to another, and suddenly she was communicating with a local heathen that I had tried to reach out to before without success, and we were invited over for coffee and socialization. This was Friday (9/3/10), and we spent several hours just talking about tons of topics, and finding out just how much we had in common. Talk led to meeting with other heathens, and later that night an informal get together for Monday (9/6/10) was put together where we could get a chance to meet other heathens in a less formal environment.

Monday rolled around faster than I had thought possible, but started as less than auspicious. Sarah woke up with a pinched nerve in her neck making it virtually impossible for her to use one of her arms or to turn her head. Even so, she managed to make hamburger buns and tortillas for the BBQ. The kids were obnoxious monsters all morning so we decided that it was best if we made sure they got a nap before we headed over, even if that meant showing up to the event later than we had wanted. The nap helped, but they were still…difficult, but we finally got on the road by late afternoon.

The entire drive over I was nervous and frustrated. I hate being late to something, especially if I am meeting somebody for the first time, and while we had not specified a time for everyone to get together I had hoped to be there by early afternoon, so in my own mind I was running late. The greeting we received made all of that vanish though, as from the dark depths of the house arms were waved in welcome as we came in the door. Once the children cleared the doorway, and the enthusiastic greetings from the other children led them away to play, we were able to make our way back to where the adults were gathered. There I was finally able to meet heathens that I had only encountered online, some only for a couple of days, others for several months. Greetings and introductions were made, and we were quickly drawn into the conversation of the others. Mike Burke and I gravitated to the coffee pot, and spent time just chatting about gatherings and such over coffee in the kitchen. Bert had noticed Sarah’s pain and had begun to work on her to try to relieve some of the pain. Before long progress Bert discovered the buns that Sarah had baked, and from there the cooking began.

The adults went out in the back yard to continue to socialize, eventually coming back with plates loaded with food. Throughout all of this we were drawn into conversation, and were made to feel welcome by all present. I can’t tell you all that was talked about as the details are not all that sharp this morning, but I can tell you that I felt like I was part of something, and was accepted by the folk who were present.

Eventually Bert broke out a bottle of mead, and a horn was filled. She asked if anyone was opposed to having an informal sumbel. Nobody was opposed to the idea, and I was very glad that I had sought out advice from Rod earlier in the morning on proper etiquette should this happen as I had hoped that it might. You see, while I have been walking this path for a few years now, I have not had the pleasure of participating in any religious rites with other heathens, so this was a first for me. Bert started out by giving us a little instruction as this was our first time being part of a sumbel, even going so far as to provide us with instruction on how to use the horn so that we didn’t get drowned by it as it was a monster. Apparently she only does this for people that she likes, otherwise letting people do what they want and enjoying the result when they get a face full of mead or ale. Here’s for making a good impression and getting a lesson in how to avoid being doused in mead!

Violet, Jeff’s daughter was the valkyrie for the event, something that I think is a new honor for her. I was nervous when the horn came to me, lessened in no part by the fact that I was the first to receive it after Bert. I followed Rod’s advice and played it safe by simply hailing the gods on that first round. The second round I was feeling more comfortable, and I hailed my ancestors who had passed along their values through the generations. The final round I hailed the hosts for welcoming us in so warmly.

What was special for me during all of this was that the kids were welcomed into the circle. At one point, when Caulla first came into the circle, Bert blessed her with a rune of mead stroked onto her forehead while Bert uttered a blessing over her. I don’t think Bert caught the look that I saw, but Caulla got something special from this. She looked over to me with a look of wonder, joy, and minor puzzlement. She wasn’t puzzled over what had happened, and I think that she really understood what was happening. I think that the puzzlement was something deeper, and I know that she felt touched by something very special in that moment. Something touched her on a spirit level. I can’t really explain how I know this, only that I felt it through the bond that the two of us share. I don’t know what the blessing was as I was unable to make it out when Bert was speaking, but it was a powerful moment for Caulla. Bert did the same for Tiernan when he finally joined us later, but he just kind of shrugged and went on with the business of being a boy.

Eventually we went inside for a group photo shoot, in part because it had gotten dark. Conversation went to photos, and galleries were pulled up on the computers, leading to more talk about this or that. The hours flew by, and before we knew it the kids were going into their tired windup, so we knew that it was time for us to hit the road and take them home to bed.

The day was a very special day, and I can’t begin to describe how welcomed I felt during the whole gathering. That missing element in my life was momentarily filled, and I hope that the bonds that started to grow yesterday continue to grow for years to come. This was a great group of folk that gathered, and I see some real potential in befriending them and hopefully being welcomed into their kinship. Perhaps we have found a spiritual home. Time alone will answer that hope, but things seem to be pointed toward our being part of this fine group of folk.

As to the results of that cosmic hint brick for Sarah that I mentioned early on…well, that is her tale to tell, not mine.

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