Engaging with the Left-Hand Path (LHP)

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.

Much of my online posting–on forums, websites, YouTube–has been concerned with charting my spiritual path over the past four or five years. I have come a long way, recently formally distancing myself from Christian community as well as experimenting with practices of the Left-Hand Path (LHP). In this blog post, dedicated to the online coven that I have joined, I once again review where I have come from and what I am seeing now.

In the first two or three years, I began reading tarot, doing yoga, and practicing meditation. I gradually worked in chanting, even getting some meditation beads and trying guided meditations. These were baby steps away from exoteric religion as I started by “taking all things captive to Christ” (trying more and more of the “all things”) and moved to an inclusive, blended Christianity and finally to an all-inclusive mysticism, stepping back from the church entirely. In my desire to include all paths, I have begun engaging with the LHP.

My tarot birth date cards for the last three years correspond well with my encounters on the LHP, starting with the Temperance card for 2019, when I still often identified as an inclusive Christian mystic, but began some serious spiritual off-roading by receiving monthly tarot readings from a priestess and medium, who identified as a follower of the LHP. With this counsel and encouragement, I began working with dark deity such as Odin and Loki. I investigated a reiki group at a Unity Center in town, took courses at an Irish pagan school, and researched some other groups, but–along with my desire to be all-inclusive–I did not want to leave one camp just to join another. Some of the pagan groups seemed to be just as dogmatic as the Christian groups.

My birth date card for 2020 seems appropriate for the deeper dabbles I have made into esoteric practices. To my monthly readings from the medium, I joined an online coven and added monthly readings from the leader, Jessi Huntenburg. To my altar work, I added rituals and magickal workings. I overcame stigmas to the pentagram, to Crowley and the Thoth Tarot as well as to working with Lucifer and Lilith. Finally, having stepped back from the church formally, I began researching truly LHP groups such as the Temple of Set and–at the recommendation of a new but very close friend–began reading Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, which has dispelled some of the stereotypes and prejudices surrounding the LHP.

Over these past few years, each milestone seems to accompany a discussion with my wife Kristin, as well it should, and this Blue Moon falling on Halloween of 2020 has provided the most dramatic one yet. Kristin had seen my order for the Uncle Setnakt book on Amazon and had looked up the LHP on Wikipedia. She introduced the topic by saying she was very scared, as much as if I had come home with heroine. Her first question was whether the beliefs exalted self “to the exclusion of all else”; I was able to tell her only immature versions sunk to the level of teenage rebellion and harmful “self interest” that does not really serve the highest self. She was concerned about “occult practices,” which I evaded as she means things that still have a stigma, although we have progressively accepted Harry Potter, yoga, tarot, tattoos, and pentagrams, and I think her real concern is the associations with evil and decadence. I assured her that I am still me and love her and our children above all else.

My birth date card for 2021 is the Tower, and as Jessi Huntenburg commented at an online coven meeting, it seems I will be dismantling and building at the same time. I seem to have passed through the fear and stigma by gaining Temperance. This year I have been experiencing the thrill of new beginnings and the Devil-may-care excitement of personal liberty. As the old structures are coming down, however, I may find myself putting in place new principles and disciplines. I do want to establish a mindset that (1) is all-inclusive, (2) has a respect for the past and current group ethos, (3) seeks dissent and individual freedom, and (4) looks to progressive, continual enlightenment–not becoming a new dogma. In other words, the LHP has a piece of the puzzle but is not the new “salvation.”

In conclusion, what would really stick in the craw of some of us is if the mainstream religions turned out to be right about many things. Recently, Jessi Huntenburg produced a video on “Forbidden Fruit” that shamelessly discussed Lucifer and witchcraft together with Jesus as a radical, almost LHP prophet. She was able to discuss the story of Eden like any other myth–Norse, Greek, or Hindu–and avoid the toxicity of religion. It may take me through 2021 and beyond to do so myself, to get beyond my now reverse stigma, but I appreciate her good example. Rather than be RHP or LHP, perhaps I can be ambidextrous!

Engaging with Lucifer and Lilith

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.

The place to begin is with the prejudice to these archetypes that arose from over 20 years as a mainstream Christian. I have written elsewhere about overcoming the stigma of tarot cards about five years ago. Even after being led towards yoga and goddess worship by the book Sophia Rising, I had a hard time understanding how the author could later expand to accept Lilith. I saw the Devil card in tarot only from the traditional Christian perspective, and although I would watch all of Abbey Normal’s YouTube videos where she channels archetypes, I would never click on the ones that mentioned Lucifer.

Over time, I found myself taking small steps of acceptance. I finally did click on a Lucifer video and saw that Abbey remained just as sweet as she was with Kuan Yin, Venus, or Merlin. I found myself working with dark deities such as Loki, Hecate and the Morrigan. Some time later, “Goat Girl” subscribed to my own YouTube channel, but I had to overcome a mental block to subscribe to her in kind because I saw she had tarot readings from Father Lucifer.

My big breakthrough came recently as I had a reading done on the Devil card, which had shown up as my birth date card for 2020. I had already studied up and saw that the card can simply represent primal creative power or deities such as Pan, Dionysus, or the Green Man and had learned that most pagans do not interpret Lucifer as the malevolent monster of mainstream religion and popular culture. So when Lilith and Lucifer “came forward” as the priestess did the reading, I was open and accepting.

Soon after, in meditation, I had an intense mystical experience with Lucifer and Lilith, accompanied by adrenaline, bio-electricity, ASMR as well as waves of submission and sensuality. I heard crow caws in the middle distance, as though the Morrigan, who I had been focused on for many months, were stepping back and confirming all was well. I have felt led to several websites (such as Metaphysicality Inc.) and TV shows–for example, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina–dealing with Lucifer and Lilith: it seems to be a season to become saturated or at least familiar with this new deity.

There have been a few other developments recently. During both online readings for August that I received from two different priestesses, thunderstorms were raging in the background. In further breakthroughs during meditation, I felt a Tower-like fall of prejudice. I envisioned going to a crossroads where there were serpents and coming before a mountain where I saw a winged snail. I knew in my heart that the meaning was to be careful and go slow when flying in this new freedom. I have also had dreams of meeting and getting to know new people that seem symbolic of L & L. I saw a meaningful green light reflected from the bamboo plant on my altar, which also suggests for me the “go ahead” for flexible, steady growth.

At a ritual meeting with an online coven–to which this blog post is dedicated–I shared obliquely about my spiritual expansion, describing the serpents of the caduceus and ouroboros. So far two members have (probably unknowingly) confirmed my thoughts, one by immediately sharing about her serpent tattoo and the the other by later sharing with me the Hieroglyphical Monad image, which I may get as a tattoo. The latter symbol is an all encompassing image that gives me an understanding of how the All or Source can be reflected in diverse and misunderstood forms such as L & L.

In closing, if I do go to the crossroads to sell my soul, sign the book of the beast, join a deeper coven, or get a tattoo, I would want to have a contract in mind as a kind of protective measure, a prevention against giving away my power in an unhealthy way. I would ask L & L (1) to honor beliefs, paths, and agreements that have come before, (2) to consider my age and late stage in life, (3) to grant motivation, strength, gifting with continued intense, fruitful astral connection, (4) to be for the good of all, harming none, and (5) to be all-encompassing, inclusive, honoring of individual sovereignty, flexible, shifting, and ever-expanding. Such a covenant would grant freedom and ensure personal responsibility.

Meeting Hermes-Thoth-Mercury

After a five-month process of feeling called by and bonding with the Morrigan, I felt my first encounter with a new deity as I ordered the Thoth Tarot deck and Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette. Meditating on a few of the cards, beginning with the Magician and Lust (Strength) was an overpowering and sensual experience.

About the time the deck and book arrived, on YouTube, I came across Lon Milo DuQuette’s introduction to Rosicrucian alchemy and the Thoth tarot. The intense experiences came before, during, and after the full moon around May 7, 2020.

Learning that Hermes is a friend of humans, trickster of the gods, messenger and magician, and carrier of the caduceus–among many other energies–I asked the Morrigan for three cards telling of my fellowship or relationship with Hermes-Thoth-Mercury. I received the Devil, the King of Cups, and Death. The cards speak to me of the lower chakras and dark, primal, creative force–sensual strength as divine longing or lust, of the maturity and spiritual authority to manage the experiences, and of an initiation through the Nigredo or black stage of dissolution in the alchemical process.

I asked Hermes for three cards depicting my relationship or fellowship with the Morrigan and received three court cards, highlighting the personification of deity: King of Disks, Princess of Cups, and Queen of Cups. He did not seem to object to bringing a message.

The Knight of Disks takes the place of the King in the Thoth system and is active earth or fire incarnate. The horse seems more interested in the crops than other kinds of quests or battles, and the sun and energy here is being drawn into the ground. This expression shows how I feel in the presence of the Morrigan, as though she is calling me to live out my spiritual expansion in the real world, to communicate what is in my heart, to practice and come before her daily. The Knight/King faces two court cards of the utmost feminine kind–reflecting the powerful divine feminine influence on the man.

The Princess of Cups in this system is earth of water or incarnate fluidity. The dolphin may be a physical form of Venus, and the turtle in its shell is a creature that lives in mud, a liminal mixture of earth and water. The flowing dress of the Princess is adorned with ice crystals, another solid form of water. The flight of the bird and lotus flower may likewise show the manifest energy of heart, the joy of grasping the divine feminine in this sprouting springtime of fulfillment.

At first I was perplexed by the appearance of the Queen of Cups–water of water–doubling and tripling down on the feminine aspects in the spread. Doesn’t the Morrigan contain air and fire power, the battle queen with a sword and the wise crone who carries crows?  Yet she also appears as a goddess of sovereignty, marrying the King to the land–not so much a love goddess as a divine partner. In my case, the land may not be literal real estate so much as a cause, hope, or “promised land” of milk and honey for all faiths.  She is also a prophetess, sorceress, poetess, and shape-shifting goddess–so the Queen of Cups as an almost personal High Priestess may be pertinent to the question. Water of water is like mirror of mirror, so the image is reflective, liminal, shape shifting.

In another spread from the Thoth tarot, in which I inquired about my experiences, I received the 5 of Cups, Lust, and the Ace of Cups. The 5 empty cups suggest the letting go of instant gratification for inner power and the flow of the grail. An online search turned up some words from tarotX.net: “water represents the heart’s love by the water ‘surging into eternity’. The cup is an affectionately open image rising from the white lotus, which looks like a fountain of the abyss and a cup of water filled with the water of life from within.

“In the opposite direction, the rays that are shining straight down from above symbolize the spirit of creativity when it passes through the ‘source of love’ and then binds to emerging water balls to create energy forward (background), rooted in collective unconsciousness and represents the desire for love to dedicate and to be in harmony with God.”

In meditation, I think I heard the words, “I am you.”

Engaging with the Morrigan

Last fall, after Hecate and the Morrigan came forward during a tarot reading, according to the priestess working with me, I had my first personal encounters with the Morrigan. The experiences were prefigured by ones with Hecate over Samhain, but through the full moon on 12-12-2019, the solstice and Yule, and by the first new moon of 2020, the Morrigan was dominating my spiritual life.

I had a series of synchronicities with stars: first on the back of a truck with the Morgan logo, then rediscoveries of stars on chimes at home and desk at work, both left by previous occupants. Other star signs are documented on my website’s Morrigan space here: https://ablendedpath.weebly.com/morrigan-space.html . The latest stars were seen on the day my ring dedicated to the Morrigan arrived in the mail, when I attended a reiki and sound-healing circle at the Unity Spiritual Center in town and saw two large stars on the stage.

She distinctly called me and still seems to be leading me step by step through phases of relationship. I try to respond appropriately at each step. Trance journeys and visions have become easier, some of which are documented on this Oracle journal to the Dark Goddess at the Cartomancy Forum, where guests must register to read: http://cartomancy.forumotion.com/t14094-oracles-of-the-dark-goddess

I have been doing daily chanting with prayer beads, altar work, making a few offerings, and dedicating YouTube videos and posts to her. I follow some Irish YouTube creators who post about the Morrigan–a pantheist, an eclectic, and a more traditional pagan. If I am being taught and trained for battle, the battle is one of love as I am having to find courage to build bridges and blend paths rather than polarize or take a side.

So far my encounters with the Morrigan have had great variety: personal gnosis through signs, trance visions as well as more verbalized channeling, and images of people on screen. Encounters with people sometimes seem to include the Morrigan, some being simply a picture, some bringing a message, and some seeming to be actual interaction.

I will close by saying that the Morrigan seems to come in waves, to engage me intensely and step back, come in strongly for some hours or even a few days and then let the emotional fireworks settle. My recent breakthroughs include putting on the oak-leaf pentacle ring in her honor and reading the Book of the Great Queen.

Meeting Hecate

In a post which I hope will be continued later, I want to document here my first intimations intimacy with the deity I believe to be Hecate.

A few days ago I had an encounter that I believe now was her. I had watched some episodes of The Kominsky Method, in which Lisa Edelstein appears in a recurring role. Her beautiful image came to mind during meditation, accompanied by surges of energy and strong vibrations. My heart rose as it usually only does in prayer.

I thought maybe this was Isis making an appearance to me as a kind of media incarnation; however, after a professional tarot reader and priestess mentioned Hecate during a reading, I did a few internet searches to discover this Greek dark goddess of magic and the moon can see into the underworld and has liminal qualites. She is pictured carrying two torches, standing at the crossroads, and often holding a key. It is said that we ask her for direction, but she unlocks a portal for us to create our own path.

Looking through many images, a model displaying a Hecate moon necklace seemed to emanate more waves of energy:

As I meditated, I felt waves of encouragement to seek further, and I drew a rune and three tarot cards asking about my relationship with Hecate.

Ansuz spoke to me immediately that Hecate may be willing to assist me as a seer, helping me receive messages in dreams and signs even as I had been feeling the touches of shamanic trance that I associate with Odin and Freya.

The 8 of Wands seems to also speak of energy of spirit and in communication, even as Ansuz is sometimes described as “hearing in the wind.” The 4 of Wands, which also appeared in the professional reading on my spiritual life, may affirm there is a possible relationship with Hecate.

The King of Swords, possibly associated with Ansuz and Odin, might indicate that Hecate could provide strength for mental clarity, finding power in strategy and tactics. The fire and air of the cards feels like masculine energy, as if Hecate is willing to empower me as I come to a crossroads and walk through a new portal. Hecate could be a source of wisdom, particularly in her crone aspect, but the card might signify spirit communication and magical power, which swords can also indicate.

As I wrote earlier, I hope this encounter develops and I will have more to report later.

Atonement

Surfing the internet to learn about deity and polytheism, I often come across pagan postings that make snide remarks about Christians. One I saw earlier today seemed pretty clever as D. Jason cooper commented in an interview about “ossified Christian Churches who demand moral obedience and then molest your children.”

Vitriol aside, it seems to me that everyone has a moral system and that the very act of calling out hypocrisy reveals a code of righteousness. It seems to me everyone has experienced character flaws, shortcomings, and moral failures. What do we do with guilt or shame, depending on our various cultures? Some go to confession and some do shadow work, but at least from a psychological perspective, many people may need a process for dealing with regret and for moving on.

As I think about dealing with wrongdoings, I see a range of possibilities. On one side of the spectrum, I see despair. We can give up on ourselves, and the apocalyptic caricature is of the gate of hell with the sign “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” On the other side of the spectrum, I see fluffy bunnies and rainbows with the naive idea that all is light in the best of all possible worlds. In the center seems the more healthy concept that although we can behave in shadow, we also have a way out, a way of escape.

The way out may be to pay for our crime ourselves, but the old idea of atonement suggests deity can aid in the process, perhaps through ritual like blood sacrifice or communion. Art and literature abound with stories of redemption and deliverance, so there is plenty of food for thought. I will stop here and see if my thoughts can be guided further by a rune and tarot reading.

[Someone please tell me how to post images side by side!]

Perhaps the rune Isa suggests the cooling of anger brought about by propitiation. Peace offerings, whether given to people or to the gods, have traditionally brought reconciliation, and I suppose sharing the peace pipe is a similar ritual. The rune may depict a volatile relationship being made stable and secure once again.

The 10 of Swords suggests there must be a death of something as forgiveness costs something to someone. The behavior or guilt or shame cannot go on, and a process of transformation begins with the dying of the old. Being the 10, this card shows the end of the cycle of swords, whether representing thoughts or troubles. More mundane than the Death card, this 10 focuses on criticisms, judgments, and thoughts of guilt or shame that can utterly lay us low.

The Empress will always remind me of the divine feminine and mother earth, who recycles all things. The old plant dies, seeds fall to the ground, and new life manifests.

The 5 of Cups pictures sorrow, perhaps the regret I just wrote about. Better than complete despair, on the one hand, and having no sorrow on the other hand–better than both extremes–is a divine sorrow that brings not only apology but also change. The three spilled cups in front of the figure suggest to me (in this context) that fellowship has been broken, but the two cups behind suggests that a relationship remains, a relationship which can be restored.

Confucius reportedly said that whoever discovered the secret of the lamb sacrifice at the Temple of Heaven could rule China with an iron hand. I am not sure I have discovered the secret, but the atonement that may be represented by that sacrifice resonates with my heart.

Connecting with Isis

The Goddess Isis flew over the earth and gathered the dismembered pieces of her husband Osiris, becoming an image of restoration and resurrection. She is a goddess of healing and abundance, but has a dark side–I believe–associated with obsidian stone. Isis is also associated with magic.

She made a deal with Ra to know his true name, and so gained the powers and personality of the sun as well.  Besides fire, she also contains the other elements as Earth Mother, with wings of the Air, and Water of the Nile. Like the Nile, she is a source of life.

Seeking to connect with her, I pulled a card from the Mystical Shaman Oracle:

From the guidebook: “The Drum invites you to take the next bold step in your journey. The forces of heaven and earth are aligned behind you, supporting effortless action. This is not a time to push against the river—the current will take you exactly where you want to go, once you jump in! Collect your power tools and summon your courage, because it is going to be a wild and glorious journey. Allow yourself to be carried by the rhythm of what is really essential in your life.”

I listened to shamanic drums, burned incense, and drew three runes of Mannaz, Gebo, and Uruz:

In meditation, I felt that fellowship and identity represented by the first rune brings spiritual gifts and physical power, represented by the other two. I could see how the X of Gebo and the horn-shape of Uruz are both contained in the rune Mannaz.

Psalm 63 :
5  My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6  when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7  for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8  My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

I asked the kind of question I have only asked of Odin in the past as Odin has given me at least 9 answers of theological wisdom (as buried on the sources page of my Blended Path website). This morning, however, I felt the strong and feminine vibrations I associate with Isis. At the same time I felt the somewhat piercing vibe in my forehead that usually indicates Odin’s pesence; however, I sensed this was also the presence of Isis.  Perhaps this Anja (thrid-eye) chakra vibe tells me Isis is my Matron or perhaps that she has wisdom similar to Odin’s. ???

The question was this: how can I reconcile or synthesize the jealousy of YHWH in the Old Testament (who would not tolerate foreign gods) with pluralism and polytheism?

I pulled two rune stones and three RWS tarot cards, Hagalaz (Hail) and Raidho (Wheel):

The meaning I see here is that all gods and religions entail a narrow, challenging path. Just as each jewel on Indra’s Net reflects all other jewels, each eye of polycentric polytheism reflects the infinite net of spirituality–and perhaps as such can demand devotion, faithfulness, and right worship. Individual freedom and pluralism are not excluded, but perhaps neither are the rigors of following a given path.

Justice may show that jealousy and anger can be a part of love. The red robes of the figures on both the left and right of this spread may highlight the fiery sun energy of Isis herself.

The 7 of Cups may show that we see imperfectly as our imagination fills in the blank spaces and as we form patterns, connecting the dots. We may be searching for the golden cup and the holy grail, but may fall short. We may need to be thinking critically and responding to conscience amid the dreams and visions of spirituality.

The Emperor may underscore one energy reflected in the jewels of Indra’s Net, the jealousy and fire depicted in the YHWH of  the tetragrammaton.

Experiencing Loki

Drawing a card from the Mystical Shaman Oracle Deck with incense lit for Loki. I believe I had also placed on the altar an offering of chocolate or coffee for Loki.  I had done some reading about the experiences of one of his priests on A Polytheistic Life website.

The crow, like Loki, can bring hard messages. The guidebook warns, “Look deeply into your heart and remain alert, lest you convince yourself of something that isn’t deeply true for you, or perhaps is not the highest truth.”

Loki from Google Images

One of the many images of Loki on the internet includes this transgender symbol, suggesting that Loki as a shapeshifter inhabits the liminal spaces. Kyaza explains this concept much better than I can:

“Balder’s dreams prophesy his own death – his fate is foretold, his death is ascertained. Frigga takes it into her own hands to try and prevent that fate. She attempts to cheat death; she attempts to prevent change from happening.Loki, as the agent of change, the god who relies on accidents, happenstance, and chance in order to continue existing himself (as he could not exist outside the realm of change, being the embodiment of change), cannot let Frigga’s actions stand. So, he investigates and finds a way to re-introduce change.

“This is the first interpretation of Loki’s role in the Balder story that has made perfect sense to me because it highlights two opposite forces, and Loki tends to walk the boundaries that fall between opposites. He’s a troublemaker, yet a problem solver. A god, yet a giant. An adult, yet a child. A man, yet a woman. He is the personification of the in-between. He is the rebel that fits into society just enough to not get thrown out, but he is also the god who introduces change into that society.” –Kyaza


As I have been approached by or as I have approached Loki recently, I have noticed some synchronicities:  (1) a professional reader mentioned Loki when the Devil of Tarot of Vampyres came up in a spread…

(2) a science fiction show I was watching (I hate to mention it because it’s so bad, probably B quality, and I can’t believe I watched through the finale–but it was “Another Life”) brought in all kinds of romantic relationships–gay, trans, threesome, A.I. with human, A.I. with illusion of human…I don’t think the writer’s brought in the aliens yet…

(3) new vibes in meditation and an almost drug-like experience last night listening to Tibetan singing bowls and burning a special incense for Loki

And at the same time, I have experienced anti-synchronicities, as though a trickster were near: (1) coffee spilling, even some that was an offering, (2) a rune symbol on an index card set up for Freya strangely marred, (3) minor glitches and miscommunications at poignant moments..and even technical difficulty that quickly fixed itself as soon as my heart threatened to turn bitter–as if these incidents were meant to be friendly pranks and reminders, like a tickle or a tease.

I will draw three runes and a RWS card as a reflection on my recent experiences with Loki:

The rune Mannaz
The rune Isaz
The rune Ansuz
The Sun tarot card

I may need to sit with these symbols longer but off the top of my head they say that real fellowship and identity is possible, that Loki is both fire and ice (the last two runes represented by the English letters of his name) so that some stability and stasis is possible. (It comes to mind that in the polycentric concept of polytheism, all the gods reflect all the others, like Indra’s net.) The rune Ansuz may suggest he is speaking, sending messages, or that I am in tune with him at this time. Perhaps the Sun card shows he is a part of my healing as much as Odin and Freya, a bright friendship, too, and not only a dark deity of the underworld. He is liminal and includes light and shadow, ultimately bringing truth as much as any god.

I am having a hard time thinking of tarot cards that express this Loki energy. Maybe:

Universal Waite Tarot 7 of Swords: mental preparation, clever deception
The 0 in between the World card 21 and the Magician card 1. (Deviant Moon Tarot)
The wild dreaming and imagination, at edge of the underworld. (Tarot of Vampyres)

Tarot Reading on My Worship

Asking about my current worship of deity, I recently drew three tarot cards and was surprised by the aptness of the spread:

rider - Eight of Cups
rider - The High Priestess

rider - The Hermit

The 8 of Cups typically speaks of a journey that leaves old feelings, a disillusionment and movement away from the watery mists of the marsh and the moonshine that may seem eclipsed.  I sometimes wonder—when the inspirational feelings don’t come during meditation whether I have done something wrong. I know from the experience of the Christian mystics that feelings come and go and are part of the cycles of devotion, but in my new experiences I may have been expecting warm fuzzy feelings or vibrations of connection to come in continuous, unabating waves. At these times, I may need to seek deity in faith. The red cloak and walking boots may speak of a strong motivation that has been stirred up and that surpasses the passing fancies and feelings of worship.

The High Priestess speaks, of course, of esoteric knowledge and inner truth.  I must test the new ideas and practices with the heart to see which ring true to me and not to follow every wind and breeze of what others say.

The walking stick of the Hermit echoes the walking stick of the figure in the 8 of Cups.  This is a solitary journey, but it involves careful study of the light of others, research into what has been tried and found true as well as a sharing of light when I have tried things and found them true.  The Hermit may be my favorite card, and a friend who I did not know had any involvement with tarot recently posted a picture on Facebook of a piece of jewelry she has made:

Encountering Odin

I recently added a blog post and a few YouTube videos to my website called “A Blended Path.” The additions summarized a few UPG experiences I have had with Odin, waking up feeling vibrations, seeing some signs, and receiving a message through a priestess. (I just recently learned that the acronym UPG stands for “Unverified Personal Gnosis.”) The culminating experience was when I drew the following runes and tarot cards in answer to the question “What does Odin want with me?” I had paraphrased this question from what I thought might be an overly Christianized version about what his will or calling for me might be. I thought I might be imposing too much of my previous religious experience on the present asking in that way!

Here are the runes and cards that I pulled:

Sowilo: the sun
Thuisaz: Thorn or barrier

The runes of Sowilo and Thurisaz had special significance as after months of trying various medications and having extreme flare ups of gout, the pain has finally been clearing up. The images seemed to me a breakthrough of health and brightness through a long barrier of thorns. I feel it may also speak of the spiritual encounter itself as reaching a mountaintop of brightness after a thorny journey.

The Hanged Man reminds me of Odin hanging on the World Tree 9 days and 9 nights before receiving the rune but also an attitude of suspension and sacrifice to come to him. The Chariot seems to confirm the image of the sun as breakthrough and victory, and the 9 of Wands–echoing the 9 of Odin–is sometimes interpreted as a sacred warrior, standing firm and strong.

After some meditation and reading some bogs about the encounters of others, I decided to order a Valknut necklace, the open version pictured in the recent post on “Soft Polytheism,” and to put it on under the statue of Athena in my hometown. I felt I needed a mountaintop experience and this was the only nearby sacred space I could think of that relates to Odin and Freya. Athena seemed to capture some characteristics of both of them, and according to the polycentric polytheism theory, all the gods reflect the other gods anyway–like the jewels in Indra’s Net.

Athena statue

Finally, I had the same sign appear to me twice in to different places–once coming to work and once driving home–that may explain a further answer to my question of what Odin wants. I believe the answer is still developing and dawning on me, but this seems to be a piece to the puzzle.

As I was driving I saw an eighteen wheeler with completely white panels, and just as I remarked to myself that there was no logo, brand, or company name, I looked up to see a completely blank billboard. The same thing happened the second time in a different location–different truck and different billboard. At first I thought it might be a sign that I have not yet seen my calling or vision, but now I am thinking that there is no calling or vision other than the basic work of life–basic integrity, basic service, basic love and learning.

I am using beads to chant Odin’s name 108 times, meditating, and reading the myths. I will continue watching and waiting…

[Edit] Not many days after I made this post–yesterday–I learned that Athena is the mascot of the college where I teach rather than the owl. As I was driving into work today, I saw in a field by the highway a trailer without the semi-tractor cab. It was completely white, and on one side there was a billboard-shaped rectangle of brighter white. As far as I know, the symbol communicates resting in green fields, being made to lie down like a sheep, with the same generic communion as the nameless calling of the white billboards and trucks. ODIN could be written on the side–or YHWH, perhaps speaking of freedom from politics and polarization.

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