My Mini Hiatus

I didn’t mean to be gone so long.

My computer was out of commission. And right after I sort of got it working–I had to get some time to myself. Because we were moving. So for the last month I’ve been packing, boxing, searching for apartments, and then moving and unpacking. So that’s why I haven’t  been on this blog in the last month.

I’ll try to get back blogging regularly again.

It’s just a matter of getting myself back into the swing of things.

But I will start writing blog entries again very soon, I promise.

I know I’m really late on blog entries. I’m going to have to go on a hiatus until my laptop gets fixed.

It’s been put out of commission.

So until I get my computer fixed, I won’t have anything new to post, sorry everyone.

L – Language

I’ve been busy, so I’m late again.

I like languages as part of my studying.

See, Slavic mythology is mostly studied in central and eastern Europe. So I need to learn at least 1 Slavic language to facilitate the studying. I’m thinking Czech, but Russian would be more useful to me. So it’s a dilemma, one that I’ll need to figure out eventually.

But languages, those are important.

Studying, and being the academic that I am…language studies are useful to me. For me to study Slavic paganism, I need to learn at least 1, if not more of the languages in the family of peoples that I have my interest in studying.

Right now though, I only speak English and German. German is helpful, there is some scholarship done on Slavic mythology in German. Also, from German kingdoms interacting with central European peoples…there are some historical records in German. It makes things easier for me knowing at least 1 other language, even if it is a bit outside the area of interest that I hold.

I know that languages are important for perception, for scholarship, and for understanding the people that one studies. So I would like to broaden my language repertoire to facilitate my studying. Language has always been important to me, for studying history, and now for studying my spiritual path.

K – Knot Magic

So – super late on this. (I’ve started a new job, and I was busy getting ready for that, oops)

Knot magic. I’m really interested in this. It’s something I’ve been looking at doing for quite a while. I’m always planning on doing it…and never actually follow through. I’ve written a bit about it before, back when I was in Germany. Because I crochet, and I thought that it would be a good segue into other practices of witchcraft.

I found a website while I was in Germany: Basic Macrame Knots. It has some basic knots, which would be a good introduction to start on some knots. I thought I could start off basically and make it more complex as I went along with it. I could make bracelets, or emblems out of it. But…this website gave me a good, basic foundation to start with.

However, the timing was really off. I was coming home in just a few days, and I didn’t have the time.

After I came home, I got wrapped up in studying and finishing my degrees for school.

And then…I just kind of forgot all about it.

So…I need to repost my interest in knot magic–so I have a new reminder to bring it back up. That way I can remind myself to keep looking into it all, and remind myself to try this again.

J – Journey

I see my path in paganism/polytheism as a journey. It’s not a destination, never has been. Sometimes I like signposts along the way (who doesn’t?), they help me figure out where I am. But for the most part, I enjoy having a long way to go. It gives me a long time to go down and research. Without all the things on my private “to research” list–I feel like I’m missing out on a lot.

But journeys are boring for me too. I’m one of those people who hates traveling. I love to travel and see new things. But the actual act of travel and journeying just drives me nuts.

Kind of ironic for me. I suppose. But really, it’s also somewhat expected. It’s part of my mental makeup in a matter, how I cannot stand the long times journeys take. So I don’t really pause too long to think on how I have so little patience for taking a journey.

The long journey of research is something a bit easier–but its still difficult for me to deal with. And recently, the journey has been rather difficult for me. I’m not handling things well lately, so the journey is hard for me to handle lately.

I’ll get back to writing longer posts for the Pagan Blog Project hopefully next week, sorry folks.

I’ve had a lot of changes in how I’ve identified myself over the years.

When I first started out, as a 12-13 year old, I swore I was “Wiccan”. The books all said I could self-initiate as one, so I figured, cool, I was now Wiccan. Of course, some years later, and I was learning from online forums that there was no such thing as a self-initiation, and you couldn’t be a Wiccan without joining a coven and earning the title. So then, about 15-16 I began calling myself “Neo-Wiccan”.

A year-ish later, I was an eclectic.  That was my senior year of high school. But for purposes at school, I just would still call myself “Wiccan”, because it freaked out classmates, and that was funny to me (I did have a bit of a nasty streak to me). But to people on forums, or to my family, I was an eclectic pagan at that time. It was about that same time I also began to identify as a witch. So I was an eclectic pagan and witch, when my family asked me.

From 20-22 I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to call myself. It isn’t easy. After all…there are a million names in paganism (or so it seems to me). And I don’t follow any of the large or well-known pantheons that have names. I’m not a reconstructionist, nor do I follow a pantheon such as being a Kemetic, or a Hellenic pagan…among others. I’ve also had a long time in figuring out exactly what it is that I really am.

I’ve finally come to realize that I don’t really identify as “pagan” anymore. There are just elements within the overarching pagan community that I don’t agree with. I realized that above all, I’m a hard polytheist who believes in and follows the Slavic pantheon. So the name “polytheist” suits me. And “witch” is just as apt as it was back in my senior year of high school. So I have a dual-barrel label of sorts that I can use to identify what I am, when pressed to identify myself.

Labels do not mean a whole lot to me. I’m not nearly as concerned with labeling myself as I used to be. As long as I understand what I am, and what I do, I’m pleased. A name for what I am…so I can fit in with others, while nice to interact, is not nearly as important to me as it used to be. I’m more interested in studying what I need to know and learn.

Identity is important. It has its place. But I’ve also realized that for me identification of what I am is not nearly as important as being secure in who I know I am.

New Saints

When I was in Germany, I got to see Pope Benedict XVI in person. I got to hear him speak to a large crowd of Freiburg Catholics…and those who came from the surrounding areas. For Freiburg im Breisgau (the city I was living in), it was a huge deal to have  German Pope visiting their city. I went to hear him speak, to listen to him address the people. It was an amazing atmosphere, with all the people there, a teeming throng of people from all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and beyond. It was a unique experience that I don’t think I’ll ever get to experience again. I got to be less than 100 yards from a sitting pope and hear him speak without it having been recorded for a television show.

Crowds early on in the evening of Pope Benedict XVI's visit.

Crowds early in the evening of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit (approximately 2 hours before he arrived).

A lot of people in my program for study abroad asked me why I would go to see the pope. After all, I was openly not Christian…and definitely not Catholic. But, as I had to tell them…who would turn down the chance to see and hear a religious leader speak in person? I would just as willingly, given the chance, see the Dalai Llama. I’ve been to a mosque and learned about Islam from an imam as well. For me, I would greatly love to learn from the definitive leaders of a religious group. And that meant, given a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the pope, I was going to go and listen to him speak. Continue Reading »

Unusual Pantheon

Sometimes I remember that I’ve got an unusual pantheon that I follow. And it tells me that I don’t have that many people to discuss my religious practice with. After all…there are hundreds of pagans/polytheists that follow Greek, Celtic or Norse deities. Just to name 3 major pantheons off the top of my head. Then there’s the generic “Lord” and “Lady” that people will name off. There are soft polytheists that say all are manifestations of a single god and goddess.

None of those really speak to me.

Finding myself drawn to Slavic mythology, I do find that it has benefits. After all, I don’t have to see the fluffy artwork and nonsense that a lot of others have to see. And there aren’t rampant cartoons being bandied about the internet of my deities.

On the other hand–there is comparatively no one to talk to about what I believe. And the issue in finding resources is an ongoing one. I’ve found that speaking German helps me find some more resources than I could find, if I just spoke English. But, speaking at least one Slavic-language would benefit me (that’s on my list of things to learn). Still, with so few people that believe in my pantheon…there are very few people that I can chat with about how things work. What connections there are, etc.

It does foster independence for myself, which cannot necessarily be a bad thing. At times though, I do miss being able to just pop into a group online and being able to go, “Yo, all other ____-believers, what do you think about X?” and getting answers. Others are able to do that. They can bounce myth, UPG and folklore off of each other. That is something that is harder to do in a small community that isn’t as well developed.

There are a lot of things that are strange for me to remember at times. But this one is a dual-edged sword. It’s good and also somewhat sad. I enjoy the independence. But I also sometimes wish I had more people to discuss what I’m doing…just to see how others are handing their beliefs.

Slavic Deity Posts

I’m going to be doing more Slavic deity/spirit/entity posts.

I’ll try and do pictures where I can find them. But when I can’t, I’ll put as much details as I’ve found, up till now in my research. I’m going to start specifying where in the spectrum of Slavic peoples the deities were worshiped.

For example:

Mokosh is noted in The Primary Chronicle – a Russian document. (See: G – Goddess in the Historical Record)

Hors is noted in that same document. Also in the Tale of Igor’s Campaign – another Russian document. (See: H – Hors)

Other spirits/entities/deities are more wide-spread in their historic presence.

The domovoi was known from the Eastern Slavs to Western and Southern Slavs. (See: D – Domovoi)

I’m vastly over-simplifying this sweep here. Just to give a kind of overview into what little bits of information I’m going to be adding from this point onward into my posts on these topics. Because it helps me categorize the information that I’ve learned…and I know that it’s got to interest someone out there besides me. I’ll still write what I’ve learned in my broader research, but I think telling where their influence was, so to put it, is kind of helpful to get a feel for the records of the time, and what the people needed or thought was important. It’s useful as a historical tool…so it should serve useful to note it all down as a religious and spiritual tool as well.

Modern Slavic Language Nations

Modern Slavic Language Nations

This is a map of nations (today) with a Slavic-language as a national language. However, it shows a distribution of what are considered the “Slavic” people. Dark green are the Eastern Slavs (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian). Light green are the Western Slavs (Czech, Slovak, [Moravian], Polish). The dark blue-green are the South Slavs (Croat, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Slovene). There are smaller groups located within these nations…but those are the large groups. There are also groups of Western Slavs located within Germany, which is not colored on this map.

Still, this is a good visual to help at least give an idea of where I’m talking about, when I mention an area in future articles.

Note to self: I’ll find a map of a time closer to contemporary to also use. Because this one uses the whole of Russia…which of course was beyond the control of the Russians in the 8th or 9th Century.

H – Hors

So now to talk about a Slavic god that there isn’t a whole lot known of.

Hors.

He was one of 7 mentioned in The Primary Chronicle as having statues destroyed by Vladimir the Great in Kiev when he converted to Christianity. I think it’s in the Tale of Igor’s Campaign that they call him “Hors the Great” (but I don’t remember which story that was in…so I may have that detail wrong).

There isn’t any information in the Chronicle about what his function was. And the Tale doesn’t really tell too much…not that I remember. But the consensus is that he is a solar/sun god. So he moved across the sky as the sun-disk during the day…and under the earth during the night time. Pretty standard mythology type stuff for the times, I think.

There isn’t a whole lot of information though. But, since he is the second deity mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, directly after Perun, he must have been very important. That is admittedly my own interpretation of the reading of the Chronicle…there isn’t any way to prove my suspicion to that fact. I may think that, but I’ve no way to prove or disprove it.

Hors is a tricky character for me, since there’s so little known about him. He’s one of the deities without any real information. So he’s a puzzle. Which is really interesting. I suppose that’s why he’s interesting to study. But he’s not one of my favorites, I can admit. I’ve never really been too interested in sun deities, they’re just never quite what I seem to be drawn to. But in this case…there’s a challenge to knowledge, with so little present to know.

(For my Slavic posts…when I can find photos to correspond, I will add them. I like showing photos of these topics, they’re really unique.)

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