Follow up to Why The Wolf Howls Alone

So my last post was not the best example of comprehensible writing I have ever produced. It left a lot to be desired in terms of editing for grammar and over all clarity of message. Kinda what happens when I write from a bit of an emotional place.

All that poor writing threw at least one person off and provoked the conclusion that I had in someway turned on Polytheism in general, abandoned the Gods who’ve been looking out for me, and become a Christian again. So I looked back and… yeah that last post was that poorly written. It is entirely possible for someone to have gathered that conclusion, so this post is to help clear some of that up.

The last post was written largely for my own benefit as a means of breaking away from elements I had begun to identify as hindering my relationship with Odin and the other Gods I’m gradually growing closer too. People who believe that somehow their service to the Gods makes them ‘elite‘, would go so far as to suggest those who disagree as to the specifics of practice might be suicidal in passive aggressive terms, etc. etc. (I could seriously dig up stuff like this all night, but who has the time), are not people I need to be associating with if I’m going to dedicate myself to Odin the way He wants me too. Partly because as one friend of mine put it: such behavior is only needed by those insecure in their beliefs. If I truly am secure in my choose path, then it should not matter to me so much that the paths of others differ. Nor should I wish to lash out at them for it.

Several years ago when I was a brash young teenager looking to take and give offense at every little slight that’s exactly what I did. All the time. Odin was the one who stopped me and said “No. This bs you’re spewing? I won’t stand for it. It isn’t useful to Me, to you, or anyone else, and you really ought to know better by now.” So as part of staying on that path, I’ve decided to make my break with those are so quick to give and take offense where none is called for.

Which is really sad all things considered. Both Galina and Sannion were people that early on reached out to me with hands of encouragement on my path and both have done a great deal of work, writing and otherwise, towards bringing the Gods of the Norse and Greek traditions to people that otherwise might never have thought to look. However wonderful all that may be though, I can’t let it cause me to turn a blind eye to matters of basic decency and consideration for other people of Faith as I have done up till now.

Also, more on how I meant about “The Wolf Howling Alone” that I feel like right now: previously it was my desire for a group that led me to censor some of my own ideas and be more forgiving of issues that I feel I ought not to have been. Being who and what I am, I don’t have a place in much of any religious gathering and had I continued to turn a deaf ear to thoughts in my head as simple as “this is not how He wants me to treat others,” I may very well have had a place. But I never would have been true to myself, much less to Him. So now for now, I’ll wander on my own again, for the very same reason that wolves of the four footed variety occasionally strike out alone from the pack: to find or build a new pack.

Ok… that’s quite enough of semi drama ish posts for now. Now to get to work on something I’ve been meaning to do for sometime, and start writing about the Old Man and the things I see in Him that others don’t as often see. Starting with a post about the Grimnirsol, and a discussion about just how patient a God Odin can be. Hopefully later on tonight or tomorrow.


42 responses to “Follow up to Why The Wolf Howls Alone

  1. Gods have different uses and purposes for everyone. I can’t say that someone else’s behavior isn’t serving the purpose of a God since I am not privy to how They inform each of us. While I too can relate to a Power telling me to knock off a certain behavior, it doesn’t mean that what I perceive someone else to be doing as falling in line with my stuff is something that they have not been directed to do by their Powers or the same Power. A Power telling me to knock something off is about me, my relationship to Them, and how I interact with the world…and that’s it. I can’t say what someone doing/not doing isn’t useful to a Power or isn’t something they haven’t been directly instructed to do. My favorite example that someone shared with me as an illustration once was Artemis instructing one devotee that She would like chocolate as an offering and instructing another devotee that chocolate was taboo. Both are right, but neither can be assured of the other’s right-ness, since Artemis tells each of them what they need to know and very little, if anything, about another person’s practice.

    • If I’m reading what you’ve written correctly… that seems to be what I was writing about in my previous post. This whole business of calling out others on their ‘lack of piety’, when really no one can say what the Gods ask of any one of us. Which is why I’ve just gotten to a point I’d rather not have much to do with people who waste time in that way.

      • Whose to say that the Gods haven’t told them that’s what they’re to do?

        The whole thing became a mystery to me rather quickly because I don’t understand why people get involved at all–people are fine with their individual stuff, so why does it matter what anyone says?

        • Possible, and I have half a concept as to why the Gods might do such a thing, but it doesn’t change that it’s for me to decide how I feel about it and act accordingly.

          My Gods aren’t perfect, perhaps Odin the least so of all. He’s committed… damn it’s a long list but… kin slaying, rape, murder and child slaying are a good start to the list. All of those are things I’ve had to come to terms with through ongoing discussions with Him, to find that I still loved Him despite all those things He did. Doesn’t change that I’m against taking such actions.

          As for why people involve themselves with others, life would be pretty lonely otherwise.

          • it’s not about remaining an island, but perhaps realizing that another person’s experience or opinion really has no bearing so having the argument isn’t fruitful. Absolutely nothing has come out of the latest kerfluffle because minds are already made up and were already made up from the beginning. one of the reasons that I and a few other bloggers didn’t weigh in is because it has no bearing on my/our lives if I don’t give it the space to. Everyone seemed to get really miserable really fast, which sucks. I wonder what would have happened if folks didn’t jump in and instead chose to further their writing on other topics.

            oh, I don’t think you should change what you do or feel–you have to do what’s right for you. What I was getting at maybe in a way that wasn’t clear was that it sounded kinda like ‘Odin told me not to do this thing because He doesn’t want me to as it is unproductive, so all you folks who are doing what I perceive to fall in line with that are unproductive and not doing what Odin wants’. It came off as subtly judge-y, which is why I wanted to say that none of us can know what the Powers instruct others to do or why they do that. Odin in particular is notorious for laying things out that are at odds with each other and breed discord. I have no idea why, but it serves whatever His purposes are as He does nothing by mistake. It doesn’t mean He’s not worth reverence, worship, or love, as it’s just the way things are.

    • Going to yeah butt you….

      Sure, I get the whole don’t judge what another God tells another person to do. On an individual level, that’s great. I can see why the Gods would find Galina and Sannion useful. They have Charisma and the ability to spread the Gods stuff(waves arm around )

      However… Lets apply some critical thinking here. It’s pretty easy to say(and we’ve seen it in various religions) that God told me to do x. Was it God or was it for power? Not challenging people who are clearly trying to tell other Polytheists how things should be done(there is a shit ton of thou shalt and thou shalt not going on) is it the Gods or a more likely in my opinion a power and dogma grab.

      Lets take a look at Christianity. Was the 1st Nicean Creed what Jehova wanted, or want Cosntantine and the other bishops wanted. Because shortly thereafter, yes Christianity became more organized but you lost the Gnostics and other denominations that didn’t comply with the Nicean Creed. Many of whom ended up being put to death.

      Do we want to allow that to happen in Polytheism? Not that it’s going to happen like that(Even Polytheists are difficult to herd), but do we really want to allow a few to dictate dogma?

      • I don’t worry about ‘allowing’ people to do things–they are not under my control, nor is it my place to jump in and say that they are doing things in a damaging way that will hurt polytheism in the long run. I don’t know that to be true and me going out and saying that leaves me in a place of being a policeman, which is exactly what people are accusing prominent voices of.

        No one can dictate dogma to a group of people who aren’t willing to go along with it. I don’t agree with a lot of what has been said, so it doesn’t have a place in my life. I am not affected by people who say things I disagree with because my practice is not built on the opinions of others–they are welcome to their opinions and practices and I am glad they have found a meaningful way to engage with their Powers. Just because someone initiates a skirmish does not mean I have to ride into battle.

        As to judging what other people are doing as ‘is it the Gods or is it a power grab?’ Is, to me, kind of a fruitless process. No one will ever truly know because the Gods do not speak to us in the same ways or about the same things. Some Gods DO push for a power grab and that’s a wll-documented ooccurrence. I prefer not to go down the path of saying that the Gods will only ask for things in this realm and not in the realm of what we mortals think of as problematic–the Gods do not carry our morals.

        there really is no ‘we’–there is no unified polytheist community and no agreed upon ideals or prescribed behaviors. There are people and opinions that one can align themselves with, but no cohesive community. In that vein, there is no one answer and instead is only opinion and, in the face of someone else’s practice or behavior, my opinion carries only as much weight as they give it because it is more than likely that the Gods are their focus rather than opinions.

        in the end, the Gods sweep up and everyone will answer for their stuff to their individual Powers. I’m not banking on my opinion carrying weight there, nor do I think the Gods judge outcome the way we do. So, for me, devoting time and energy to what other people do and say is only taking away time and energy from the Gods. That is, of course, only my opinion and experience. I wonder, though, what the general tenor of conversation would be like if it was shared by others.

        • Not speaking up, in regards to people who are trying to tell you what to do, in the name of the Gods(whether power or God approved) equals to agreement. That then becomes dogma. See why the letters of Paul are in the Bible. There needs to be people who step up and say no. So that informed decision making can occur.

          • That is certainly one viewpoint, however I maintain that informed decisions do not rest on what other people say or do and that abstention is simply abstention. Personal motives and thoughts are unable to be determined unless one asks directly. Assuming otherwise has long been a manipulation tactic to try and force a stance on an issue–not saying you are doing that, but that’s where it has been used most.

            • What other people say, effects a great deal of Paganism. If it wouldn’t then blogs, books and other methods that people have of finding that niche that matches their inner intuition(if they find it) wouldn’t be so important.

              Why else would Elizabeth and others write that in order to be a Lokean one does not need to be a God spouse to Loki? Peer pressure exists in Paganism and yes what other people say does matter. It may not matter to you, but to others it does.

              WE do not exist in a vacumn or a bubble. The ideas of others permeate our religious practices.

              Personal motives and thoughts can be determined by critically examining what others are writing. How they write, what words they choose etc etc. Communication teaches you that. Profilers will use that ability(and they aren’t always working for the police, there are other industries that utilize them) to figure out hidden motives. It is not manipulation to do so. It is critical thinking and speaking up about stuff that is wrong.

              • we can certainly agree to disagree–like opinions, there is no one answer, nor are either of us profilers who openly admit that they never know for sure if they have the truth. It IS a form of manipulation to use a ‘you’re either speaking up or silently agreeing’ tactic in conversations and debates, which has nothing to do with profiling and everything to do with trying to bolster positions.

                paganism and polytheism has existed for quite awhile before blogs and even before many books were written. People were able to discern for themselves what is correct for them and where their moral compass has laid without input from others. There are many, many polytheists who don’t deal in online stuff or withe blogs who do perfectly well on their own–how do you suppose many of us who were polytheists before blogs etc got along? if someone’s beliefs are so dependent on input from others, then they might be happier if they dug deeper on their own and found their own truth before consulting with others.

                • I have several credits under my belt in Communication.(78, I’m actually going to get a Bachelor in science in legal studies at some point) I have done photojouranlism(mostly human interest stories and all freelance). My communications training, experience in customer service, and light journalism experience, gives me the ability to say yes, you can see what is behind peoples motivations in what they write.

                  I’m really curious as to how you define manipulation. Because frankly saying if you are silent, you are giving assent to other people, I don’t see it. On the other hand, saying someones Gods aren’t real to them, because they don’t’ agree with your point of view, or you aren’t pious enough, because you don’t give libations like I do, that goes beyond manipulation. So why is ok for them to do that, but not for me to say, if you are silent, youa re agreeing with those statements?

                  I get it, if you are coming from the pov of can’t we all get along. The drama is tiring. The fighting is wearing thin. However, no we can’t all get along. Some people have different boundaries and values and certain things are going to cause them to stand up and say enough is enough(objective pov). My boundaries are not your boundaries.

                  Do or don’t speak up, that is your right. However, don’t try to tell me I shoudln’t call people out on their bullshit. Your points of view on it, will not sway me. I don’t find them to be compelling.

                  There is some wisdom in it, but it needs more work(thats the person in me who finds cracks in peoples work). However it’s a Utopian ideology to think that peace will always reign.

                  Now on to the history of Paganism. and Sacred texts and Patheos Pagan(Christine I believe) has pointed out that these arguments are not new. They were just as virulent then as they are now. OH and people while using snail mail did do what we are doing now, it just took longer. Still doesn’t’ exist in a vacuum.

                  While we are discussing ye olden days. We had the heroin addicted founder of the OTO, who ended up dying, broke and alone. How much bs did he do again? Wait was he Jesus, or the beast, I can never remember anymore? Hmmm did he help Pagans and others by tweaking victorian noses? Or was Israel Regardie a better message person, who actually managed to not tick anyone off?

                  Ahhh the witch cult of Margaret Murray that led to ye bad histories of Wicca and Witchcraft going back to the dawn of feminization time. Yeah Hutton kinda threw the bullshit flag down on that one. Yeah we really wer able to discern for ourselves on those bad histories. The bad history is still being repeated. Would have been helpful if we had more people knocking heads together and stopping the self inflated delusions of ye golden days that never existed. Try googling Why Wicca sucks sometime.

                  There are plenty of other, omg why didn’t anyone say anything instances. What was the plus side of keeping silent, whilst all this bullshit went on? Oh you want something outside of Witchery and occult. Ok fine, lets look at the the 90’s in autism. Apparently it was a valid psychological pov that autistic people were acting that way due to frigid moms and needed to be rebirthed and the moms needed to ask their kids why they were being this way. Read let me hear your voice sometime.

                  So what is the plus side of keeping silent again? Why should we not judge? Because there is one thing to be open minded and it’s quite another that your mind is so open that stuff falls out. What you are advocating, to me falls under that last one.

  2. I don’t usually comment, especially to drama-mongers such as yourself (for someone who claims to be a “bridge-builder” why is everything you post an attack on people – you never share your practice or your vision for the community or anything like that; I honestly expected better of you) but some context might help.

    Conor Warren contacted me about an initiative he had to get bloggers to share information about suicide prevention during the holidays, but he didn’t want people to simply link or repost his initial post on the topic because of a silly personal reason. (He was afraid people would see it as a kind of self-promotion.) At the time the bruhahaha over libations was going on with the rhetoric on both sides being pretty high. So I figured I’d share his suicide prevention information and provide some critique on the absurdity of the whole dispute at one go. In other words, it was a joke – and if you want to hold that against me, be my guest, just be aware that that is what you are doing.

    • 1. It’s only the last two posts that I’ve written that even come close to drama, there are previous posts where I have shared my practice. I did also make one large effort towards calming down the rhetoric over the libations thing, but you and Galina were too busy calling out others for being impious and waving the flag of your own piety to notice.

      2. The joke was in poor taste, and does serve as a pretty fair example of the attitude of any number of things you’ve written taking it upon yourself to tear down others for not having a practice or a concept of religion that mirrors your own. So yes, I do hold it against you. You could have simply shared the information, including the context of it being a greater issue during the holiday period of the year, but instead you used it as a chance to snipe at people.

      3. At this point… I don’t really care if you had high hopes for me at one point or not Sannion. I really believed at one point you might have been someone who could have been beneficial to me. Sadly, over the past few months I’ve learned that you seem to be more concerned with how others differ from you and how nasty you can be about that, then you do with looking for similarities. So, thanking you kindly for supper, I’m going to search for those who care enough about my Gods not to be so venomous against those who’s manner of caring just happens to be a little different from mine.

      • Bianca, the difference is I’ve never pretended to be anything other than a controversialist. James has said multiple times that he sees himself as a “bridge builder” and yet his actions are very far from that. So either he needs to accept he’s no different from what he’s criticizing or else change his hypocritical behavior.

        • Actually… I’ve mostly just given up building bridges to you, and Galina. I tried more than once, privately and gently even. You didn’t get it, Galina got very dismissive and aggressive… not that I expect either of you to recall. Though, you and Galina have both publicly stated that you don’t care about what others think, how what you say makes them feel, etc. So… there really isn’t a bridge for me to build there, or any reason for me to have great concern for anything you say, as you’ve already made it clear you don’t care what anyone says.

          Also, not everything I’ve been up to has been on the public blog. Most of the conversations, even in response to things I’ve written here have been private… somehow people have the impression they can come to me privately but they can’t speak openly. Something about preferring not to deal with the drama elsewhere. That and likely, as Bianca can tell you from when she rightly called me out for comments I made that were rather ageist in nature without meaning to, people have noticed that I can be flexible and look back on a position, allowing room for it to evolve.

          • All most people can see is what is visible here at your blog. If you want them to take away a different impression, write accordingly. If you enjoy ranting about others, do that – just be conscious that’s what you’re doing. That’s all I’m saying. And now that I’ve said that, I’m bowing out of the discussion.

        • Dude two posts where he basically says, Nope, this aint for me and i aint gonna condone it isn’t being controvertial. IT’s standing up for his ethics. You need to get over yourself. I mean go you on admitting your an ass. I fully admit I’m a bitch, but that doesn’t mean that Grim isn’t being an ass. Calling you on your shit, isn’t a bad thing, maybe instead of being petulant, you should take a minute or two and actually I dunno listen. Maybe he has a point and maybe your just being an ass who needs a wakeup call.

            • I’ve been reading his blog since the Tess thing. I’ve read back further, from what I can publicly see, it’s 2 posts. And seriously you are getting butthurt about those two?

              I’ve also talked to him privately and have friended him on facebook. Most of the shit he posts about, has more to do with his personal life. That and funny memes.

              This is him clarifying one post, and the other was him being frustrated, and writing it out. OMG, he’s dramma llamaing. OH please even his bitchy post was fucking tactful and diplomatic.

                • My math skills aren’t great, oh well, that’s what calculators are for. I have only seen TWO POSTS, that reference this shit. Ok maybe 3 if we count the post about saying someones gods aren’t real to them.

                  The fact that you are saying my idea of criticism is lacking is laughable.

                  Unless you think someone always has to approve of you, never find fault in order to stay in your circle. If you do, that shit is unhealthy.

                  Saying someone’s Gods aren’t real to them, your being a jerk. It does nothing theologically. It makes you look fairly insecure.

                  Trashing people because they don’t do what you do in the manner you do, makes you quite frankly a jerk as well. It makes you a drama monger. Is that all you got Sannion? Being a jerk? Attacking people on their private devotions? It’s not even decent theology. It’s a fucking power trip. It’s also a sign of a cult. Giant Red flag and cue for people to not walk but run.

                • There is a saying. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. I mean really man, you can dish it, but you sure as heck cry when it’s dished back to you.

                  Not that Grim did a lot of dishing. Damnit Grim your even tactful in your gibsmacking. mutters at you.

            • Sorry Sannion… but I just read back on the same blog you’re looking at, and I only have two posts where I specifically name people who’s behavior I can’t condone any more… also that I’m not exactly proud of myself for how long it took to say that, which I’m still not.

              Previous two posts were… lets see… personal perceptions and principles for Divine/Human interactions, preluded by personal story of my own spiritual journey… well the one before that was specifically addressed at a behavior I saw as particularly hurtful, but I also very carefully at that time did not name names, which was part of a small cluster of posts where I attempted, somewhat successfully, to bring many people together to discuss the offerings issue with a minimum of drama. One of those was specifically a post thanking someone for pointing out an over generalization I had made and correcting the original issue.

              And… most of the posts before that are similarly personal journey type stuff… so… yeah. Sorry, no dice.

              • James – I’m sorry, but ‘not naming names’ doesn’t mean much in our communities. Most people who blog or read blogs would know who’s being talked about. And people in the know? Would already know that you’re writing in-contrast-to. Not naming names doesn’t work effectively in our community.

                • Ummm You did it yourself Aine. I remember arguing with you about it. Ironic that your doing it to Grim.

                  Though in his case, at the time he was writing, he was trying not to be confrontational. He was being dipolmatic and tactful. Unlike me, I’m just a big ole bitch:)

                  • Bianca, you know I have no interest in dialoging with you. You don’t like me (don’t know why). Funnily enough, I never said that I was ‘better’ than James, just pointed out that what he said had some problems. I’m not surprised that in your eagerness to insult me you missed that.

                    • Where did I say you thought you were better than James? I did not insult you, I pointed out you did the same thing you are critiquing james of. If I said your hair looked like a drunk peacock that is an insult.

                      I don’t know you to not like you. You don’t handle conflict well. You read into stuff. It makes talking to you like walking on eggshells and thus irritates me. It is not about dislike.

                    • Easy both of you… you’re both trying to speak for things you see as worth while, I can see that. Bianca’s being defensive of a friend, and Aine’s got a point, leaving out the names was a vain hope… I tend to do a lot of things based on vain hopes, so it’s fair enough to point that out.

                • I’d say that’s fair. I did figure that most people reading it would have an idea, but not all. The hope by not naming names, at least in the one post I wrote about “Their Gods Must Not Be Real To Them”, was that by not directly stating who I had observed delivering that particular insult, is that it might give an opportunity for those who were doing that to examine their actions without feeling directly confronted. It… didn’t exactly work for more than the people who had already identified why that was an act of disrespect towards another person of Faith, but I still felt it was important to give as much of a chance for that to happen as I could.

                  • It is a valid mediating tactic. If you had named names, it would have made people defensive, because you would have been confrontational. However it would not work in the way you did it, because they aren’t interested in looking at themselves. They are right, everyone else is wrong, why haven’t we gotten the memo and accepted their holyness yet?

                    Prolly cause we don’t need em.

        • He isn’t acting as a mediator in this capacity. He did with Tess. You know it is possible to hold your own positions in opinions and not always have to be the frith maker. You know sometimes the frith makers get tired of the bullshit, throw down the bullshit flag and or beat people over the head with cast iron skillets.

          There is a time for mediation and frith building and then there is a time to stand up and do what you feel is right. Bitching because he’s calling you out on shit, doesn’t make him hypocritcal. It makes you insecure and incapable of taking opposing points of view. It’s unhealthy as fuck. Maybe you should take a gander at Issac Bonewits cult paradigm sometime. Your ego is not the end all be all of shit.

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