Someone told me once that I had to lead my tribe. At the time I thought my tribe consisted of several nerds – Mutt was still around at that time – and a couple of people I knew online. I thought, “You realize I don’t really have a tribe, right? Tribes are generally made up of people and I know like… six?” So I started trying to look for a tribe. Somewhere I fit in, somewhere that people could find me. I ended up trying to be someone I’m not, really. I tried all sorts of things, and going back through some of my old posts the other day really served not only to remind me of this thing I was told to do but also how far afield I stretched myself in an effort to do it.
Weird. For a few months a while back I distinctly remember saying that I felt I’d spread myself too thin. At the time I thought it was because I had so much stuff going on, so many things I wanted to do, too many projects. Looking at it sideways, from the perspective of, “I was trying to find a way to be something I wasn’t,” makes it look more like I was trying to be too many things, rather than do too many things. Oddly enough, that’s not what I expected this post to be about but here it is anyway. Hopefully someone finds it helpful!
So then the whole thing with Mutt happened and “lead my tribe” turned into, “hold everyone together at all costs, including yourself.” Which got upsetting real fast as one of my friends – Tentacles – turned to a person we all know to be a manipulator and a sleaze, presumably to fill the talking-space that Mutt used to. Obviously, I didn’t take too kindly to that, and let Tentacles know what I thought about it. “Hold everyone together” became “I have Bran and that’s good enough.” The nerds are usually nice and all, and we do still talk – I would feel guilty leaving Pup blowing in the wind, so to speak – but they aren’t my number one priority.
My tribe – at least, those I could connect to in person – went from five to just me and Bran in the space of a year and a half. I kinda forgot about the whole “Lead your tribe” thing until a few days ago, scrolling back through old posts. It’s taken me about two and a half years to figure out what Oðinn meant when he said that. Two years and a lot of wandering, as I am wont to do.
I am a hermit. I am my tribe. In order to lead anything outside of myself, I must first lead myself. I must first have responsibility; the ability to respond. In leading myself I can find where others like me are. If that means a bunch of Skyrim roleplayers, it means a bunch of Skyrim roleplayers. If it means an entire writing convention – which I did go to one, and I am a changed man holy crap – it means an entire writing convention. If it means the Weirdfolk, it means the Weirdfolk. The key thing in all of that is that I am leading my tribe. I am leading my self.
Oddly enough I first made this connection reading a short book on money magic in which the author suggested looking at each chakra as a different gateway, and a corresponding guardian. She likened it to a regent ruling a kingdom. I likened it to a captain commanding a ship. Or a chieftain leading a tribe.
Moral of the story: sometimes it takes two whole freking years to figure out what People mean when they say things. Especially when it’s Oðinn.
My path has been winding around all sorts of different ways lately. Which is part of the reason I don’t talk much about it anymore. That, and I’ve also stepped onto a path that many people would find distasteful if the term that fits it best was self-applied by a stark-white sonofa witch such as myself, though I’m not convinced the people who would be offended necessarily know what the word means or what the job entails. I’m not gonna say it anyway. Not until I’m ready to have a good ol’ rant about it. I’m starting to get to the point where I don’t care about explaining myself anymore, but that’s one can of worms, among many, that probably need to get opened eventually. But not today.
Anyway. My being a hundred percent done with needless drama in the witchy community is not what this post is about. It’s about Pop Culture Magic. Sorta. Archetypes, anyway.
Molly Roberts has inspired me once again, and I really wasn’t expecting it this time. She was in the middle of a 30 Days of Beauty meditation/challenge/thing and mentioned something like, “What’s one thing you could try on letting go of for a moon cycle?” My brain being the slightly wonky piece of hardware that it is, took that and went, “Well, I don’t really have something I can try letting go of, maybe some crappy programming, but I know something I’d love to try on for that time!” So I’m trying on a Witcher skin, for lack of a better term. One could say I’m mantling Geralt of Rivia for a while. It’s an experiment in seeing just how far I can fling my self-doubt into the void, so to speak.
This has been going on for four days now, and I’ve already come to some really interesting findings. First and foremost: I actually do qualify to be a Witcher, save for the literal cat eyes and monsters to fight. (Though I just thought of a wee ritual for the first one involving tiger’s eye and some trance music. Hm.) Witchers are itinerant monster hunters who are well-versed not just in combat, but also herb lore and symbol-based magic. I am all three of those things. Arguably I could stand to learn more herb-lore, but couldn’t we all?
So I’m trying on the aspect of Witcher for a while. My brain has the capacity to fixate on things and I’m gonna see how far that takes me. Weird things are already happening. For instance, I don’t find it a coincidence as much as divine timing that I managed to get sick within four days of deciding to commit to this. Oh well!
Side note: I’m feeling a real urge to go through and scratch any mention of my name off this blog and pick a new one to go by in these parts. Simply because I’m making connections elsewhere and I don’t really want someone who shouldn’t be here to accidentally stumble upon this little corner of the internet. The trick’ll be finding a name that means Me but isn’t terribly obvious or something someone could use to hex me. 😀 I’m paranoid, okay?
And now, for something completely different. I promise this has a weird and witchy twist.
So I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately. I’ve got a story running on my book blog involving an Imperial rune-mage, which is why. He’s also an archaeologist, so in order to do the vast lore of the Elder Scrolls justice I’ve been absorbing every bit of theory, knowledge, text, and Top 10 Hidden Details lists I can get my wee hands on. That’s the backstory, short and sweet.
Early this morning I was scrolling through Tumblr – yeah, I know, don’t judge me – looking for anything related to Kynareth, one of the Nine Divines in the Elder Scrolls games. Mostly shrine screenshots and theories and whatnot. Well, a post came up of someone asking if they could use Kynareth in a pop culture pantheon. My brain goes, “Hm. I wonder what would happen if someone dedicated themselves to Kynareth for a month. Or to Talos, or Zenithar. Hmm.”
One leap of logic and a phone call from Brandon later, and I jokingly mentioned to him the idea of making an offering to or asking Dibella – goddess of beauty – for inspiration and help with art. Hung up the phone at the end of the conversation, thought little of it. Until about five minutes later when…
Suddenly so many inspiration!
Pop-culture Deity Devotion challenge! Using shrines in-game to leave offerings to the Nine Divines! Calling upon the Daedra for shadow work or bindings! Divination challenges! Tarot Spreads! And the CHEEESE!!!
So I do believe I just got trolled/helped by a video game goddess. Sounds like madness, might be madness, but it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless. I may or may not be distilling some of those ideas down into a workable format and posting them around. I particularly like the idea of Tamriellic pantheon tarot spreads. And putting a more helpful spin on some of the creepy/disturbing/unsettling Daedra. (Namiria, Mehrunes Dagon, and Molag Bal, I’m looking at you.) Part of me doesn’t want to touch the Daedra with a ten foot pole, part of me thinks it’ll be fun and enlightening, and part of me is still going, “these are from a video game! WTF?!”
If I ever see someone abusing our symbols for hate I will find a way to flag them, report them, or otherwise be a little shit a la Loki. I don’t have the strength or power of Thor, but I do know how to use what I can.
I do not stand for hate. I will never stand for hate. I will protect those who cannot protect themselves by whatever means I am able. I want people to see our names and our hammers and know that they are safe. After all, that’s what His hammer used to stand for: protection and safety. And that is what it will continue to stand for while I’m here.
This is a safe space. I will not further ostracize those who already feel cast out. I will not harm anyone who has already been hurt. I may not have much reach or be able to protect people physically, but I can keep my virtual spaces a safe haven for those who need it. This extends not just to those who call on the Aesir, Vanir, or Rökkr but to those of other traditions and other faiths as well. This safe space is open to any and all who need it, regardless of gender or lack thereof, sexuality or lack thereof, nationality, skin color, creed, faith, or belief system. With one major exception:
White-supremacists are not welcome here. Especially those who use our symbols for hate.
Algir, Laukr, Thurisaz, Bjarkan.
May those who need it find peace here.
May those who wish to harm them fuck right the hell off.
Pardon my french.
It’s what started this blog, and it’s back again.
Some of my oldest readers (readers? friends? who/what are you anyway?) will remember an attempt I made when I first started this blog to make a tarot deck based on characters from my novels. It… was alright-ish? But it didn’t pan out. The symbolism was wonky and forced and the sheer amount of time it took to do watercolor cards – I hate painting, as it turns out – made it, in the end, not really worth it to me.
And then I did the Five Realms Oracle.
More than anything, that proved to me that I do have a better handle on symbolism than I think I do, and that I have the patience and persistence necessary to complete a long-term, involved project like that. The tricky bit with that deck now is trying to put together a guidebook for it, and for that I’ve been testing it all over the place in different types of readings… but it’s hard to make an oracle deck from scratch. I can use the runes as a guide, obviously, but my views on the runes are changing a bit, and don’t really fit the cards anymore. I might take them off on the final versions. Still, trying to figure out how the symbolism fits into situations is a lot more difficult than I imagined starting out, even with a basic knowledge of the meanings already in place.
Tarot is different. Tarot is familiar. Tarot isn’t easy, per se, but it interacts and weaves into itself in known and predictable ways. The specific imagery can be twisted and shaped but the archetypal meanings stay roughly the same. Death is always change and rebirth. Strength is always endurance and boundaries. The Fool, as it turns out, was what I was missing the meaning of when I first tried to create the Five Realms Tarot (or the Revenant Tarot, I can’t remember which) a few years ago. I didn’t have a good enough scope of the whole story and the players in it. Who was powerful, who was learning. And part of what made the original set of symbolism so off was that I picked the wrong Fool.
Esper is the Fool. He’s the protagonist. He’s the one who goes on an epic journey, and whose journey gets reflected and faceted over and over again throughout his five and a half hundred years, and even after that. He is both catalyst and solution. He is the Fool that walks through the twenty-one doors, being changed by and in turn changing the people that he meets behind them. He’s walked through doors nobody was ever meant to come back through and done it anyway.
The other cards I lacked a decent understanding of? Death, Temperance, Judgement, and the Lovers. Which ties directly into what happened last April. I think I’ve finally walked through enough doors myself to do the Tarot justice. (Heh. Justice.) Watch me change my mind at the end of the Major Arcana. 😛
So… I think I might have another go at the Five Realms Tarot, now that I know who the Fool was. Funny enough, I wrote his Tales in first person. Read into that what you will.
Hello again! This has been a long time coming.
A piece I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but finally had the oomph to complete for reasons. (I owed her a favor.) Another experiment in lineless art, much gloomier than the other one I did.
Hyndla is rather an obscure figure in the Eddas. She shows up in one short story and reads Ottar’s ancestry, before disappearing again. She’s a jotunn, albeit small and a bit fragile. She walks with a walking stick and has a pack of hounds and wolves at her call. Hyndla is a witch to some, a goddess to others; a goddess of bloodlines, curses, past-life exploration, and genetic weirdness of all kinds. She tends to be a bit grumpy and cold to outsiders, but can be warm and even motherly to those in her good graces.
She’s also my “matron,” though I kinda dislike the word. I haven’t found a better one yet. From my understanding of her she might as well be Frey’s opposite, which makes the fact that she’s the only goddess so far to claim me as one of her own rather amusing to me. I can see myself being something like her if I live past sixty. I already have to use a cane in the winter, sometimes.
Again, I’ll make an update post or a video at some point. Things have been wonky and I need to figure out how I want to say things.
See you soon, probably