I read an awesome post by The Scarlet Imprint, of which I’ve spent some time thinking on. I have felt out of place, a bear in a china shop as it were, when meeting other Pagans. My little tradition has received sneers, raised eyebrows, and cold shoulders because it is so different from their own. My tradition is not apologetic, hard to describe, and primal. Even my own Daughter of the Bear and Her consort (She being a smithy, and hearth goddess; Her consort is the Sacred Ploughman) in their domestic atmosphere are not anywhere near the tame rituals of many practitioners I’ve met in person lately.

There is no counted ritual measures, no formal set up or take-down. Working magic with me is accepting blurred lines, of mundane life and ritual, the use of everyday objects in ritual and ritual objects in everyday life. The local spirits are still angry, and I have been working for years to at least have a relationship of sorts with Them. There have been ups, and downs. Many Pagans do not like my bones, they think the idea is something heretical (Really? Seriously?), and the fact that I do not have categorized mythology, or strict lines anywhere frustrates many. It has been difficult to word my practice coherently, and it’s even more difficult to introduce others to my Gods and Spirits – I have been called a bad influence so many times I just expect it sometimes. Yes, alcohol, flying ointments (Thank you Ms. Lawless), and home-made herbal smokes appear in my practice. You have to let yourself go, become a blurred line yourself – to cross the veil.

When I have tanned skins hanging in my bathtub, skulls being macerated in water in my kitchen, dead animals in my fridge, herbs steeping in rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka… Hearing my violin at 3am, chanting until dawn, seeing a dark-haired woman donning a black bear skin – her pupils lost to this world and her breathing deep and long, covered in ash and her body painted – speaking to Those that she sees clearly yet looks at you confused… Yea, it has been a challenge to meet people. I leave offerings often to the local spirits when I feel them close, even if it is a bit of my own lunch and a cigarette, an offering is an offering. Taking my hat off and escorting the toads out of the shop to prevent injury (toads are an animal protected by one local spirit) has earned me quite a bit of jest, and at the same time I’m given my own space.

My tradition is based on the wilds, I do not live by an agricultural calendar, nor pastoral one. I live on the fringes of it, and I have blessed animals and fields. I offer whiskey to the crossroads that are so dark the stars are a form of light. I watch as the sun wanders the earth as the Antlered Weaver’s deer wander, I listen in the midnight hours to the whispers of the Avian One’s moon; I work my rituals by my Bear Mother. The next morning, I wake up, go through my morning rituals to prepare for work – and off I go.

I felt so odd for being on the fringe, as if I was missing something. Turns out, probably not – I’m right where I need to be. I really hope this post made sense. And, I hope I wasn’t too much of an asshole.




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9 thoughts on “Re-Wilding

  1. I dont know why anyone would think your a bad influence, I have read your blog for sometime now and I have found noting but inspiration and even the courage to go along to the beat of my own drum from the words you write I have found myself giving little care or thought to what anyone else will think of me and what I do.

  2. >>Many Pagans do not like my bones, they think the idea is something heretical (Really? Seriously?)

    I’m going to add a “WTF?” here, because I find it as unbelievable as you — not just that someone would dare to judge another pagan’s beliefs (well, I demur cynically, I can’t find it unbelievable, not with what I’ve seen online in the last few years), but that they would find bones, hides, and dead things all that heretical. Given how many so enthusiastically proclaim their spirit animals or totems, I have to wonder why the non-physical forms of those are so much more acceptable than the physical ones. Maybe it’s the widespread liberal view (disclaimer: I consider myself liberal, for the most part, although not completely) against hunting (and a slightly less widespread tendency — but not MUCH less widespread — toward vegetarianism and veganism?)

    I guess I’m partly in the heretical camp, then. Although my beliefs encompass several given semi-reconstructionist pre-Christian religions (Hellenic, Irish, Norse), there’s also a really really strong chunk of animism in my beliefs. This involves finding, cleaning, and keeping bones (and skinning hides myself, when they’re worth saving — I collect a lot of roadkill, although not all of my bones and skulls were found rather than bought). I’ve benefitted from Ms. Lawless’ salves and incenses, I grow and wild-gather my own herbs, I leave offerings in the wilds (and the slightly-less-wild…I’ve been cleaning up garbage at a local park and leaving out offerings there since 2009), and I have plenty of dead things in my kitchen (although I prefer to keep mine in the freezer rather than the fridge…but that’s a very small difference).

    You’re not an asshole. Anyone who would judge you because your beliefs don’t mesh with theirs is worthy of that title.

    • You are awesome. I’ve been fighting the odd feeling, because deeper down I didn’t feel so out of place, but on the surface I did. I do keep things in my freezer, but the fridge is for ash-making. True, a tiny detail, and it doesn’t change much. It’s nice to know I’m not as odd as I thought I was, and tonight I feel more at home than I ever did. Thank you.

  3. Your post made all kinds of sense, and I thank you for writing it. I collect and process roadkill, I grow and talk to poisonous plants, I’m not someone who fits in with the general pagan populace, and I’m ok with that. Most of the time 😀 Sometimes I get attacked by the what-if-I’m-doing-it-wrong or why-am-I-the-only-one? anxieties, but then if I didn’t feel that way at times, I wouldn’t be human.

    In short, thank you for being your awesome self!

    • Thank you. I too collect roadkill (I’ve gotten calls from locals to pick them up), and I am still working on working with plants. Being in an arid climate, it’s a challenge. But, I live here, bleed here, sweat here, and have my roots here.

      Yes! I fight the feeling all the time! Thank you for that!

  4. Yes, this makes sense. That linked article, when I read it a while back was – it hit me in some spots. I’m just stepping out onto a much-less-traveled path than I’d been on previously, and I have no idea where it’s really going, but something wilder and more primal seems highly likely. It’s good to know there are other people who’ve been on similar sorts of paths for a while, that no matter what differences there are, there are similar core concerns, similar conceptual things going on, that I’m not quite as alone in these matters as it feels at times. I’ve felt a strong lack of having other animists to read/talk to – people who write about the /land/ and these ecological kinds of connections. “Bad influence,” ha. That sounds like “too challenging to our nice comfortable ‘civilized’ worldview.”

  5. It can be challenging following a path or tradition that is extremely small (perhaps only your own) and conflicts in many ways with the rest of paganism or polytheism. I’m right there with you in my own way! But it is so clear from what I’ve seen that you are exactly where you need to be, doing what you need to be doing, that is more important by far than “fitting in”.

    • That’s very true, fitting in doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being yourself. It really is a comfort to know I’m not the only one out there.

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