Pre-Iceland – A Few Stems and Pieces

I am about to head out for Iceland this next week with Land Sea Sky Travel. I’ll be gone about ten days from home, and likely not blogging while I am there. That does not mean I will not be writing blog posts, merely not posting them. And to be honest, I have nothing in reserve. My mundane job has been a level of insanity and intensity I do not normally see, and I have spent most of my time running from point A to point B with no real spare time between. What that means, is that starting Saturday 9/15 to Wednesday 9/26, the blog will be silent. My hope is that I can get plenty of writing time in during the trip, and have a large group of blog posts ready to line up for folks.

In the meantime, I have nothing.  LOL Except for some smaller things that I just can’t wrap a thousand words or more around. I usually call this “stems and pieces” for a lack of a better descriptive…maybe I will come up with a better moniker for this.

Q: Do you know what God or Goddess is a good, direct comparison for Crow or Coyote?

Well, you might be asking the wrong person this question. See, I don’t see a direct comparison between any of the Gods and Goddesses. To me, that implies that every Goddess of Love is the same Goddess of Love, just in a different guise to a different culture. That really does not wash with how I see the Gods and Goddesses. Each of Them is a distinct being, very real, very unique, very distinct from one another. Yes, They do address some of the same aspects of things to various cultures, but to me, They are individual and unique. If I was looking for Gods or Goddesses that address similar perspectives to Crow or Coyote, I would start with Tricksters. Dare I say, Crow is not Coyote, nor are either of Them Loki or Dolos or even Bluetongue Lizard. All of Them are unique, distinct beings that are a part of their respective cultures and mythologies. I know that likely does not answer your question, but it is as close as I will dare venture towards that line.

Q:  You work with Native American Gods. Do you consider yourself to be a Shaman?

I answered this one on Facebook a few days ago, but I wanted to add it here and enhance my perspective a little more. My original response follows:

Nine Hells, no. I work with a pair of First Nations Gods: Crow and Coyote. I have a vow of service to Crow. But my rites, rituals, magick-working, spell working, what-have-you are not those of the First Nations’ peoples. Most of what I do follows closer to that of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids’ ritual formats with a lot of it improvised on my own part with what feels “right” at that moment. I am not trying to be like any aspect of First Nations’ peoples or of European Celtic culture or anything else. I’m just trying to be authentic to me. So why Crow and Coyote? I don’t know. I have theories, but those are only theories. I could have wound up having the influence of Thor and Tyr, Lugh and Demeter, or any other combination of the Gods that could be thought of. It turned out to be Coyote and Crow. As I am continually reminded by others, the Gods call who They call. But “Shaman”?? Not my bag, man. I have no training in that arena, and it would be inappropriate to claim myself to be that, just as it would be for me to claim a title of “Medicine Man”. My service to Crow is a measure of Priesthood, and I have referred to myself as a Priest of Crow…but in thinking on that title…that’s not a true measure of the relationship Crow and I have. So it would be much more appropriate for me to say that I am in service to Crow. What title does that provide me? Honestly, I don’t know. And trying not to be rude about it, whatever title might be appropriate for me, holds no meaning or relevance to who I am and what Path I am on.

Now, to add a little more: As I noted, I have theories as to why Crow and Coyote decided to work with me and through me. But these are just theories. Why? Because I cannot know the mind of the Gods (much less human beings I see on a daily basis who are far more erratic in their own behaviors and decisions). I live in an area that is the southern edge of what used to be the central plains of what was termed “Indian country”. Three different bands of First Nations peoples lived in or near the area I live in. Perhaps that proximity means something. Maybe not. All I know is that my life is lived in relationship with two First Nations’ Trickster Gods. If They ever decided to divulge Their reasonings with me, I will have a better understanding of the “why” but my focus is narrowed more to the “how” aspects.

Q:  See you at Pantheacon 2019?

Ah, no. Sorry, but this Iceland trip will zap all of my vacation days for the rest of the college’s year (we start on September 1 so I will be massively in the hole throughout the year). I have two days of vacation left over when everything will be done, and I have those earmarked for travel to Gulf Coast Gathering in March of next year. Besides, I have been three years in a row to Pantheacon, the first and third year traveling with John Beckett, and the second year on my own. Its an expensive trip on my own, and just barely on a degree of inexpensive when keeping costs down by rooming with John. I wish I could make it back, as there are folks there who go every year (they are in the “local area” – or as local as it can get in California), who I consider as family. I adore seeing them every year…but I gotta watch the pocketbook too.

Well, folks, I gotta bring it to a close. There is packing to get done. I want to hop on the Peloton bike for my nightly ride. Looking forward to meeting new people on this trip, seeing a country I have only seen out of the windows of a B52 cockpit, and relaxing away (and out of touch) from work. And yes, there will be pictures. Lots of them. I just have to figure out where to store them all, and yes, I will point you towards them when I give them a landing spot. Stay safe, stay well, and remember to find some enjoyment out of life…even if its just five minutes.

–Tommy /|\

Stems and Pieces – Celtic Research and More…

Mushroom
Mushroom

I know there’s not been a lot posted — I have a few topics rolling around in my head, but nothing that really merits a full-fledged blog post. So, it sounds like a good day to cut up some stems and pieces…

Celtic Research — so, I keep getting poked in the chest on doing more in-depth research on Lugh and on Taliesin. And it boils back to that little concept of synchronicity.  Every time I turn around, there’s something there that reminds me that this is the next Path I have been set in front of. About the deepest understanding of Celtic mythology I have is through the wonderful podcast The Celtic Myth Podshow. Gary and Ruthie have been doing the show for a long time, and I treasure every episode I have from them. Sadly, its the closest I have come to the Celtic myths – aside from Morgan Llywelyn‘s fiction books. So I am being prompted to dig even deeper. A good thing I live in a college town – access to research platforms is very good here.

POW Swap — there’s been a little talk of the POW swap that happened a short while back. I have been slightly interested in the entire debacle, but merely from a spectator’s point of view. I have heard and read many positions that Sgt. Bergdahl is a deserter and a traitor and should be hanged after a trail here in the US courts system. Only one small problem with that – the US courts system does not and will not apply here. Sgt. Bergdahl is a member of the United States military, and will be dealt with under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (USMJ). Apparently, the American public is slightly ignorant of the fact that US service members actually waive their Constitutional rights when they join, and agree to be held responsible to the UCMJ. What this implies is that if there is a question of whether the military member would be tried under penalties in relation to the Constitution or the UCMJ – the UCMJ will trump the Constitution every single time. US service members swear to uphold and defend the Constitution against all aggressors – but they also agree to be held to the laws and penalties of the UCMJ instead of that very Constitution. Once Sgt. Bergdahl is deemed to be capable of re-integration into the military, he will be investigated by the military and if any wrong-doing is determined, will be prosecuted under the UCMJ. When I read and hear people making comments about hanging or shooting Bergdahl for desertion, I can only smile and shake my head. Debate is not anything to engage in with these folks…

Debate v. Discussion — which brings me to an interesting area of thought. Yesterday, John Beckett put up a blog post on “A Reasoned Defense of Paganism“. Now, John’s post is actually some good reading and makes some really relevant points. But I noted that a lot of the material was based off of the idea of debating and defending one’s perspective. Now, I know there are a lot of people who thrive on the back-and-forth adversarial style of debates. I am not one of those people though. My preference is for quite, calm discussion. Honestly, I learn a lot more when I talk with someone about their beliefs. Nothing turns me off more than to hear someone say something like,,,”You’re wrong. The fact that Jesus died on the cross is proof that my beliefs are right and yours are wrong.” For me, that’s adversarial debating – point, counter-point – or if you prefer Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate. A secondary bone of contention that I have is that in a debate – there are “winners” and “losers” – and I see no benefit in that. I want to have a discussion, where I can learn new information or see new perspectives. A debate, in my mind, is an attempt to convince someone – an audience member, your opponent, yourself – that your point is correct or false. For me, that’s stuff best left to a court-room, where you are trying to convince a jury of your peers or a panel of judges of your innocence and/or your opponent’s guilt. But that’s really a small issue that I have with John’s blog post — what he presents is some very good reasoning of his perspective. And the post is well worth your read – please click on the link above and give it a read.

Futbol World Cup — I have not seen much of the World Cup so far. I did not watch the opening ceremonies, and none of the first day matches interested me. I am watching, however. Just certain teams. My beloved Mannschaft (the German National team) is a must watch for me. I am also watching England, Mexico, Italy and Brazil. I would watch the US team, but Jurgen Klinsmann seemed to be more interested in growing younger talent, rather than bringing some of the more seasoned players to the Cup. I am not sure I really want to watch that potential train wreck.  Over the many years, I have repeated this statement often:  Futbol is not a game.  Its a world-wide religion. I’m not a fervent adherent to the belief, but I am a member of the religion. I am just not about to head outside and overturn cars and light trash cans on fire when my team wins or unexpectedly loses. I might throw a plastic water bottle out the door and into the backyard. But rest assured, I will immediately go out right behind it and retrieve it for the recycling bin.

Well, that should be enough stuff for the stew.  Time to put the lid on the slow cooker and let it get to cooking.  –Tommy /|\