Questions for Tess Dawson

Dear Tess Dawson:

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Quickie Follow Up and Response to Ageism Comments

It’s been a long busy holiday with my family so I haven’t gotten to replying to everyone’s comments on my previous post, May I have everyone’s attention please. Thank you to everyone who’s commented and been sharing that post all over the net! Some of the conversation isn’t even on the post itself but bouncing around tumblr and I’m seeing a lot of good things discussed there. Several people have also brought to my attention information that I have been able to verify regarding sides to the story that I was previously unaware of and I will be making a longer follow up post to address that.

For tonight though I would most like to thank Bianca Bradley for bringing up the subject of Ageism in relation to something I wrote which was “An experienced, older, well read and published polytheist shares an idea about devotional practice.” Bianca asked how I came to that generalization and examining how I did so I realized that yes, I jumped to a conclusion based on having seen a handful of ages reported on blogs that were in the twenties, most much younger than my own twenty-seven years. That quick handful doesn’t represent the whole and my phrasing also reflects my on subconscious wish that there were more experienced ‘elders’ for people to turn to. Bianca’s comment has also sparked a very thoughtful discussion in the comments on the topic of Pagan/Polytheist ‘elders’, what people may mean or hope when they use the term, and about Ageism as an issue among Polytheists in general, which I encourage everyone to take a minute to read through and consider.

In light of that discussion I have decided to edit that portion of my post to remove the generalization. The new phrasing will read: “Someone shares an idea about devotional practice,”.

Again I would like to thank everyone who’s taken part in the discussion so for and I encourage everyone reading this to go and see what people have been saying in the comments. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen comments this well written and thought out before. They’re like mini posts unto themselves! Especially take a look over Del Tashlin’s comments. He had some extremely insightful things to say about his experiences as a spiritual advisory, the standards he sets for himself in that work and the challenges he’s had to face down when his advice was not well received.

Good night and rest well when you can everyone!

– James Grimswolf

How I first heard about Odin.

I can’t have been a day over ten years old, maybe even younger. My family was one of those that actually made a point of having someone, usually Mom, read to my siblings and I every night. There was the usual mix of Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm and stories from the Bible, but mixed in with all that my mother used to love to read to us about ancient Gods and Hero’s.

At first it was mostly Greek, my earliest memories being learning about Hercules, Perseus, Theseus and Bellerophon. Later on though she picked up a book, Norse Gods & Giants by Ingri d’Aulaire and began to read to us from that as well. From there I first learned about the thundering God Thor who battled giants and monsters, Loki the trickster who was more often than not in the stories for making Thor’s life interesting. Those two, with their constant back and forth like a comedy duo and heroic quests, were the ones I most easily latched on to as a small boy.

One little snippet from there latched on at that time and never let me go though. In the descriptions of Odin the book talked about how sometimes He would disguise Himself and walk among men. Testing their hospitality and sharing wisdom with those He deemed worthy. That image is the one of the Old Man that has stuck with me the longest: The quiet stealthy God who doesn’t always warn you He’s coming. The one who leaves you always wondering if He might be the one outside the door, waiting with wisdom that might just be worth hearing.

Let me introduce the Old Man to you

In the land where the sun shines brightly down on fields of wheat that shimmer like gold where ever your eyes may pass, there is a hall. A great grand hall that towers above you, it’s roof gilded with gold and polished carvings of wolves and ravens stare imposingly down at you from above the entrance. The doors are open as more often than not they are. Two men, jovial and boisterous in contrast with the very business like points on their spears and battle worn mail they wear, bid you enter and be welcome within the hall.

Within the hall are many other warriors, most men but a few women as well, all feasting drinking and joyfully enjoying the company of the throng. High above you can see hundreds of shields bearing the crests of more clans than you can count hanging from the rafters and rows of swords, shields and spears rest ready for use along every free wall. Dogs and wolves play and wrestle on the floor, serving women and men move deftly among them carrying trays of hearty food and pitchers of strong drink for all.

At the head upon the dais a man sits, bearded and cloaked with the hood laid back across His shoulders. His hair somewhere between silver gray and bleach white hangs long about His face, hiding one side entirely. At His feet two wolves sit at attention, not playing or seeking scraps as the others in the hall, but rather considering your entry with a guarded air. Two ravens sit on His shoulders, their black eyes fixed upon you. The Old Man Himself sits quietly on a simple throne of dark wood, considering the goblet in His hand. No food is set on the table in front of Him and only a single female warrior stands by His side, a sword at her belt and a pitcher in her hands for when He desires more to drink.

You wait for some time in front of the dais, the Old Man not looking up at first. His brow is constantly furrowed, as if despite the boisterous nature of the crowded hall there are grave concerns that will not leave His mind. He does look up at last, the furrow gone from His brow and a welcoming smile on His face as He considers you at last. “Well then, you are a new face,” He says to you. “Come now… what do you call yourself and what brings you here to Valhalla?”

Being “Wolf”

Costel Hidlr of The Infinite Battle and I have been talking over the last few months about a shared experience we both have and we’re not sure how many, if any others might have similar experiences. So we decided we’d both write about it and at least then a few more people would know where we’re coming from.

Both of us identify to some degree as being “wolf” and find that animal aspect of ourselves is a strong component of how we interact with our Gods. Costel’s post went up earlier this afternoon and can be found here and here I’ll share my own personal journey and perspective on this. This will also explain a little of why I call this blog Grim’s Wolf.
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Hail to the Forgotton Gods

I have a list… a growing list of posts that I wish to get working on for this blog and have been meaning too for some time. Keep thinking that I’ll have more time and energy to work on them, but apparently moving into a new apartment without the assistance of movers and without taking time off from a full time job is a real pain in the neck. Yeah yeah, that should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me. First time trying it and it really seemed like a good idea at the time.

I also wasn’t going to write on the topic at hand at all at first, but I’m starting to feel there might be a need for some of the things I have to say. About this whole God Graveyard thing. Yeah. That thing. There’s a lot of posts about it floating around the Pagan/Polytheist blogsphere right now. So far my favorite is Costel Hidlr’s post which I re-blogged earlier today, for reminding us that hey, the people who did this are people too just like us and as angry as their actions might make everyone responding with more anger and hate isn’t getting anyone anywhere.

Looking over the original post I had my own set of reactions to the display. Some of which are a little off the wall, but one in particular I think is pretty important: There really are Forgotten Gods. Continue reading

The Crazy Old Man Outside The Bar

It’s been some considerable time since I’ve managed to write anything here (and finish it, I have a pile of drafts I’m uncertain about publishing). Life has been a little on the wild side, what with getting a new apartment for my wife and I among other needed business. Anyway, one of my friends was talking to me about how he’s encountered many people who seem to feel that Odin is all about being terrifying, gaining knowledge through pain and self mutilation and “the sexors”. Well… He is about all those things (though I’ve always known Him to be more about seduction than “You’re mine and I’m going to screw you now!” or… whatever it is *shrugs*), but that isn’t all He’s about. So in the interest of diversifying perspectives I thought I’d start sharing some of my own perceptions of the Old Man, starting with a short little piece that’s all fiction, but shares some of how I notice the Old Man making Himself manifest in the world. Continue reading

For Vali

Came across this while I was looking though the blogs of all the cool people that have liked or followed my own blog (which yes, I need to be posting something on). A poem that gives voice to Vali’s perspective after what happened to Him and His family. I’d say more about it… but I don’t think I need to. Give it a read and I’m sure you’ll see why I felt this was worth a share.

Seeking Mystery

Pain should howl across Winter snows
But there is only silence.
One step then another
Sinks into the cold with
The scent of pine
Clinging; cloying.
It’s full of life and
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
A whimper should drown it out
But silence is all there is.
There is no voice or laughter;
Not since then.
Not since Them.
Footsteps echo after mine,
Soft on stone and
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
I will never clean the taste of blood
From my teeth;
My tongue is thick with it.
I do not really want to.

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