When something extremely good happens to me as the direct result of the intervention/intercession of a spirit, my policy is to publicly praise that spirit. Hence this blog post expressing my absolute gratitude and humility for the profound healing gift given to me by the spirit of the late Leonard Charging Crow and, through him, his totem of the mighty Black Buffalo Spirit.Continue reading
Serbian Folk Customs and Sympathetic Magic for Christmas Eve, 6 January: “Welcome, Cousin Oak, to Our House”
Holiday traditions take on an even greater importance for me now than they did years ago: as nearly the last member of my family to carry them on, it’s vital for me to participate in them. Cultural traditions impart to us a sense of belonging and continuity. No matter where today’s Serbian Diaspora lives around the world, today’s date, 6 January, is that of Christmas Eve (Badnje Veče, literally “The Eve of the Oak”—pro tip: Christ has nothing to do with these customs) and it brings with it a unique set of cultural customs and traditions that are anchored in Winter festivals meant to placate the Ancestors first and the Old Slavic Powers such as the protective God, Perun, Whose cult is tied to the oak tree, widely venerated across the Slavic world for centuries.Continue reading
This painful year is book-ended by horrific losses to me: my father’s sudden death in January, and on this last day of the year, my beloved animal companion of the last 15 years and 3 months, Lord Beowulf, is dead.Continue reading
From Oak & Aconite Coven to all of you, have a blessed Mothers’ Night and a bright and joyful Winter Solstice!Continue reading
The older I get, the more I do believe that time as a construct has less to do with linear development and more to do with a cyclic or spiraling unfoldment: our spiraling life journeys may bring our ever-evolving consciousness once again into contact with influences we thought we had moved “past,” only to discover we’re at a higher octave of the “present” moment meant to present us with a new awareness, one that could not have been possible at the previous turn of the spiral. Make sense?
As a contemporary multi-trad or -Pantheon Polytheist, I find that my relationships with various Deities echo that pattern. Case in point: The Morrighan first soared into my life quite unexpectedly when I was living in Hawaii in 2004. My spiral dance with Her regained new levels of intensity in 2010 and especially in 2014, when my co-ritualist and I were leading a women’s-only 13-moon initiatory experience into cultic worship of various “Dark” Goddesses. After a peak of devotional activity lasting about a year, I perceived The Morrighan’s obsidian wings to be loosening their grip on my selfhood…until this past Samhain, when She ascended on a higher curve of our spiral dance and She has become quite the Omnipresent Divinity for me lately. She’s vocal/eager to communicate, too, as are the frequent sightings of murders of crows on my property, a welcome and astonishing sight all of a sudden after heartbreaking years of a drastic decrease in their population due to West Nile virus.
I’ve been thinking about how the Morrighan’s energy spectrum or whatever inadequate words one can use here appear to be on a parallel wavelength, if you will, with One of the Other Dark Goddesses Whom I have had a longstanding and steady devotional relationship with, One of the Main Powers I pledged lifelong service to at my Fellowship of Isis Priestess Ordination ceremony exactly 10 years ago: Hekate.Continue reading
Friends with Sun, Moon, or Rising Sign in Taurus, I really feel for you. This total lunar eclipse in your sign (it is also, incidentally, the Sign of the Moon’s exaltation) is already intense for you because it’s occurring in the zodiacal First House of your very Self, calling so much of your very identity and how you show up in the world into question/reevaluation.
Yet the intensity is ratcheted to an even greater degree for you more than any other sign (Aquarius claims a close 2nd place in the eclipse intensity factor) because of the “wild card planet” Uranus’ conjunction with the Moon (at 16° Taurus, and trust me, the degrees matter!) and the Dharma-Bearing North Node (at 13°) while opposing no less than a stellium of four planets in Scorpio (the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Karma-Clearing South Node) AND squaring dour Saturn, the Inflexible Lord of Karma, Who currently transits 18° Aquarius at the time of the eclipse. Phew!
It’s a lot to take in, not just for you patient (and stubborn/resistant to change) Taurus folks, but for us all, every person aboard Spaceship Earth, as the very structures of our societies and how we envision the concept of “good governance” are up for a complete overhaul, which has many people in power (whether they deserve to be in positions of authority or not) completely scared out of their wits (and for good reason!). For those of us in the United States, this Taurus Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse just happens to be taking place on our day dedicated to the 2022 Midterm Elections, which are fraught with all kinds of apprehensions, expectations, and deep-seated fears. There’s much here to unpack, so let’s dive right in!
Án Mórrígan: My Praise Poem/Ritual Invocation to the Great Irish Goddess of War and Prophecy, Samhain 2022
This is the most spiritually significant time of the year for me, Samhaintide. For many weeks I’ve been pondering the overlap in calendrical calculations of seasonal shifts as well as cultural customs between the ancient Celts and the Slavs. Any Celtic linguist as well as any modern Witch will tell you that the Gaelic Samhain denotes “Summer’s End,” and the time to honor the dead and prepare for the trying season of Winter occurs in early November.Continue reading
We’re nearly three hours into the Autumnal Equinox from my Northern Hemisphere vantage point in Chicagoland. Fall Equinox, or Second Harvest, is one of my favorite Sabbats to celebrate. I honor my Holy Powers in this gilded season and watch the foliage of my local treescape transform from green to gold. The dying year is prepared for its final resting place in Winter’s embrace. With every falling leaf, I submit to Divine Mystery and ask for the guidance of my Goddesses and Gods to see me through the season of lengthening shadows, while I remember with thankfulness all the forms of abundance my Holy Powers have bestowed upon me.Continue reading
This is one of my favorite times of the year! I cheerfully wish those celebrating May Day / Beltane tomorrow in the Northern Hemisphere and All Hallow’s / Samhain in the lands Down Under wonderful festivals! May your Gods and Spirits gladden your hearts and guide you at this powerfully liminal turning o’ the tides (made all the more potent by a Taurus New Moon eclipse!). For me and for my Slavic forebears, early May marks the beginning of Summer (in the Serbian calendar, it’s the fixed date of St. George’s Day, May 6).
It’s a time of honoring the fructifying powers at work in the land; in particular, it’s a time of cultivating right relationship with the Fair Folk / the Fae / the Vile (pronounced VEE-lay) and demonstrating through your ritual actions that you know how to be a courteous and hospitable neighbor to Them. I’m looking forward to doing my solitary Walpurgis Night ritual tonight, where I honor the Lady of Elphame, and I’m giddily looking forward to celebrating May Day tomorrow with my coven that my dear friend Adam and I formed late last summer. After a winter gestational period of figuring out what to call ourselves and detailing our coven’s brand (yes, I have a background in marketing!), the name came quite suddenly last month while meditating on our Divine Patrons, Hekate and Pan: Oak & Aconite Coven!Continue reading
Film Review: In Praise of Robert Eggers’ Bold Old Norse Religion-Saturated Spectacle, “The Northman” (2022)
You know that a newly released film has made quite an impact on you when, hours after you’ve left the theater, you obsessively muse upon its indelible imagery and the effect of the moviegoing experience is all you seem capable of discussing with family and friends. In fact, you’re filled with missionary-level zeal in urging people you care about to go see the film as a matter of vital importance.
I had the immense pleasure of seeing Robert Eggers’ The Northman (Focus Features, 2022) yesterday and I’m still very much enthralled by it. I greatly encourage anyone with even the slightest interest in Old Norse Religion–whether that interest is based in academia or in a lived personal spiritual tradition or both–to see this film at once. Let it transport you to 9th century Northern Europe, from the desolate coasts of the Orkney Islands to the lushness of the Dnieper River in Kievan Rus to the majestic valleys of Iceland. Indeed, the overall effect of the film on me was equivalent to an intense 2-hour-plus shamanic journey to a sensational Otherworld brimming with wonder and terror. There are thoughtful and deliberate evocations of Old Norse Deities, chiefly Odin and Freyr, that are sustained in the film and add to the feeling that, if you honor these Gods, you’re partaking of something akin to religious communion just from the very act of watching this movie. But make no mistake, as a member in the audience, viewing this film is not a passive experience. If you’re a Heathen or a Witch or a Pagan, this film will call you to participate at a Soul Level. You will, frankly, be shook.Continue reading