I undertook a bit of primary research last semester on the topic of unverified personal gnosis among Heathen women. The results of that research became the underpinning of a PhD term paper I've uploaded to my Academia.edu account. Here's the abstract:
Contemporary Northern European-inspired Neo-Paganism (also called Heathenry) is a vernacular religion practiced by individuals and small groups which thrives, in part, on gnostic experiences mediated by the individuals who have them. This gnosticism, sometimes labeled "unverified personal gnosis," is a nuanced supernatural transmission of knowledge rooted in a substratum of supernatural beliefs and practices which are part of Heathen religion for many adherents.
During Yuletide, I made a set of runes using birch wood I brought back from Iceland in April of last year. Because I'm a folklorist, I thought it might be interesting to document the process in pictures and share them with you. The tools and the burning/soldering kit (not shown) were gifts from my husband (I've needed proper electric tools for a while now), the cutting board oil is made of coconut oil and essential oils that smell faintly of lemongrass, and the velvet comes from my grandmother's quilting stash, which I inherited in the late nineties before she passed away.
I usually allow a set of runes to germinate for at least four seasons; two to cure the wood, one to make the runes, and one to let them rest before blessing them. I prefer to make runes at Yuletide, and I'll bless this set on May 1st when I return from Newfoundland. Meanwhile, it sits on the altar in my studio at home in Nova Scotia, sleeping as the snow falls outside.
There’s a reason I use the word “fuck.” I was raised without the word and several others like it by conservative, religious parents and a grandmother who said “h-e-double-hockey-sticks” when she meant “hell.” But as an adult who valued the full richness of not just my own mother tongue but that of all languages, I came to resent limitations placed on my use of certain words for the sake of other people’s (real or feigned) linguistic fragility (I don’t worship your god, and mine don’t care which words I use).
To some extent, that fire has mellowed, though I do still actively defend my right and that of others to use the entirety of whatever language we’re speaking. I also believe minority language preservation and propagation is crucial to understanding the full range of human expression, past and present. That’s at least part of the reason for my interest in Gàidhlig and Gaeilge.
Went for a drive on this blue and gold autumn day with a bag of Sugar Mama's cookies in the car. Passed a flock of about a hundred crows and stopped beneath them on my way back. I got out of the truck and tossed cookie bits on the ground under the electrical line some of them were sitting on. They watched...and watched...and watched. I ran out of patience, turned around, walked to the truck, and looked over my shoulder to find about fifteen flapping their black wings and fighting over my offering.
You are the Kintsugi of our fragments,
Golden Joiner, come and mend what has broken.
To the liberal transgender woman and the blue collar conservative, come.
To the factory farmer and the cow, come.
To me and to those for whom I have enmity, come.
To all who do not want to heal, who cannot find the way, come.
Oh Lady, please, I beg you.
In this hour when I am small and in the middle of my life,
in this place where my two hands can only do so many things,
paint gold between the broken pieces of the whole that was severed.
Reunite us with the rest of ourself, remind us that we are but one vase -
meant to hold this Earth, this life, together.
One flawed and shining union of souls.
Sean took this gorgeous photo here in Cape Breton a couple of days ago, and I thought it would make a good visual image for a post about the end of summer.
It's been a busy one. A sick and recovering kitty, a return trip to Iceland, the writing of my first peer-reviewed publication, the writing of my first space opera short story, writing conferences, funding proposals, household repairs, and other important and sometimes stressful (but less public) issues.
First and foremost, I want to make something clear. As a person of Western and Northern European descent, I condemn and repudiate Neo-Nazism, Neo-Nazi ideology, and President Donald Trump's support of them both. Neo-Nazis and other racists aren't saving the world for me, and I never want to benefit from what they're creating.
After the US presidential election last fall, a conversation circulated among my writing colleagues about the kinds of stories we ought to be writing and reading in the face of that terrible moment in history. The conversation wore a number of faces. "Writing as activism" was an important one, where artists were encouraged to make art that reflected their perspectives on world events. Another pointed to the recent spate of post-apocalyptic novels, which were no longer so far-fetched. Still another presented a more practical question: What do readers want to read now, and what do writers want to write?