I actually wrote this about 6 months ago. I knew what my choice was. It just took me too long to make the right one.
Must there always be a choice
Between sacred things and the safety and security this world offers?
I know I’m being called to make a sacrifice, but I fear what that sacrifice might be.
Is not love something to celebrate, a cause to rejoice?
No celibacy is required by Pagan Gods,
The union of two into one is holy sacrament instead.
The wrong mate can pull away the focus from holy things, I know
Must I choose between my heart and my soul?
Past lovers made the choice difficult enough, but with their ill treatment ultimately paid the price
And lost my love, for my own sanity’s sake.
He seems so nearly crafted to complement me, so kind, so strong, and forgiving of my many faults, willing to support me where I am weak ….
This one thing. This ONE thing.
He is faithless.
Not so cruel and mocking about my belief as my last love, no sneer upon his lips when he speaks of it, and for this I counted myself lucky.
Is lack-of-contempt enough?
It is easier to be of the same culture, to have shared rituals that bring you together and reinforce the holy bond you share with your spouse, but for him I was willing to do difficult-level relationship, even after my last disastrous one.
And more than “easier” I feel a powerful call to a path that many would not understand.
I fear to lose him, but I also fear to compromise my faith again.
Besides the impiety of such an act, of turning my back on what I know to be true,
The misery would seep from my pores
To slowly poison our love.
I would lose him anyway, just slower.
In a more cowardly way.
Perhaps I am a coward to not set him free now.
Can I not pursue the path my soul is called to take, and also have this person who makes my heart sing?
Can I not be both a priestess
And a wife?
Next I did Loki as the Fool (yes, the art got rearranged, there is frequent rearranging going on here)
Well, that isn’t all the art I’ve done this summer, but that’s all I feel like sharing here. I hope you enjoyed them. Keeping creating and keep worshiping the Gods!
On Friday the 30th, the day before Samhain/Halloween, I took a big step in my personal ancestor work.
I wrote in July that I have been feeling a draw to work with a particular great grandfather that I never met in life. I found his grave is not far from where I live at all – barely 10 minutes or so outside my town. I told myself I would go and visit his grave before Samhain. Me being me, I pushed that to literally THE day before, BUT I kept my promise!!
First, a little information.
This is not my own research. It was compiled by my paternal grandfather’s second wife, who I am not blood related to. My father is the result of his first marriage. Anyway, my step-grandmother (is that the right term?), did all this research after having 2 children with my grandfather, so they would know their family history. She made copies for all of the other grandchildren, and when I was younger, I didn’t appreciate this. Now I see it as a great labor of love. Just today, I noticed that the book has my mother’s and father’s name embossed on the cover. She put a lot of work into this, and my father was going to throw this book away before I claimed it from him. I have a LOT of issues with my father’s family, but she is still living and if I can get past some of my trauma and my shit, I’m seriously considering reaching out to her and not only thanking her, but seeing what else she might know. That situation is … extremely complicated, however, and I’m going to have to think long and hard about if I want to reopen that can of worms, especially with a lot of other stuff going on in my life.
In any case, when the dark and horrible truths about my father came to light, and my brother and I had to go through the long process of cutting him out, my brother wanted me to burn this book. I refused. I didn’t have the strength to look at it at the time, so I buried it in a box somewhere, but I couldn’t throw it out, and I am VERY glad that I kept it. When I recently brought this up with my brother, he is glad I kept it too. We were both in a lot of pain at the time, and our instincts were to cut out the EVERYTHING that was our father. Some of this is actually a little difficult to write and to share, still. But I know that I can’t be the only Polytheist in this situation, and I hope that sharing it can help someone. It’s a little ironic that I am getting into ancestor work after legally changing my name and severing ties, but in a way the ancestor work is the same act of magic that changing my name was: a different way of crafting my own identity. The blood in my veins isn’t going to change, but I *CAN* heal it.
Maynard Ewert was born in Wisconsin in 1910. Both his parents were immigrants from Germany, who came over in the 1880s. His mother, a Dankemayer (I couldn’t read the first name from the faded copies of handwritten papers) was three when she left the province of Saxony, Germany with her parents in 1888. His father, Carl Ewert Jr, was born in America in 1883 to immigrants from Grim, Germany. His older sister Emma was born in Germany and was one year old when they came over. They married in 1909 and Maynard was born a year later. In 1917, when Maynard was seven, my great great grandfather died in a saw mill accident. In Maynard’s own words “With the help of an uncle and my mother’s hard work, we managed until 1930 when she lost the farm due to the depression.” At some point he moved from Wisconsin, to southern Michigan, where I still reside. When he first opened his store, he sold kitchen appliances, and happened to add a few fish tanks. And the slowly the appliances went away and it became all about the pets.
As I wrote in this post, I never met Maynard while he was alive. My first experience with him was after he was dead and my family attended his funeral. My family was living in Arizona and had to travel to Michigan to do so. Although I was born up here, it was also the first time I remember meeting my grandmother. My brother was born in Arizona. My whole life has been a yo-yo between my father’s family in Indiana and Michigan, and my mother’s in Arizona, and a few years in what to her was the Promised Land, Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah.
In any case, when I became a teenager, I went to work at the family business, which he had started. A few years ago I briefly worked at PetsMart (yuk), but most of my experience with animals came from here. I was raised around animals. Nothing really bothers me. I love snakes and tarantulas, giant birds, rats, all of them. Sometimes I forget that there are people out there who don’t have any experience with anything besides cats and dogs. I have a healthy respect for alligators and crocodilians. YES, we have had those. We never needed to order them, but we DID sort of serve as an unofficial animal rescue. Even the local cops would bring us animals who had been abused or found in strange situations, that no one knew what to do with. Cats and dogs went to the local shelter – reptiles came to us. It’s unfortunate that the store and that resource is now gone. See my essay on Neos Alexandria Who is Sobek? if you’re interested in some of my experiences with Zookie, an American Alligator we ended up taking care of for a while.
All of these fantastic experiences, that truly shaped my personality and who I am, I can thank my great grandfather for. I have heard stories about Maynard all my life. I know he was hard to please, no-nonsense, a fantastic businessman. Ewert’s Pet’s endured for over 40 years, and I was the 4th generation to work there, of which I was very, very proud. Before the 2008 recession put us out of business …. Also, years after the fact, I found out it was highly likely that my nithling father had been embezzling, but I didn’t know that at the time. (No wonder it never seemed like my aunts and uncles liked my family! I hate who I was born to, but I can’t do anything about that. I am trying to heal my line, heal our wyrd, by going back to before everything started.)
So. I have been praying to my ancestors in a very general sense for a couple of years. I’ve used some of Galina’s ancestor prayers on the prayer cards, or in the little prayer books, or I’ve come up with my own. BUT … I always said “My Pagan dead”. I always went sooo far back that I didn’t know their names, or their faces, or their stories. There is a power in this, as I am working on restoring a Polytheist tradition in a Monotheist world. We DO need the love and support of our Pagan dead and we SHOULD be making offerings to them! They can be of soooo much help to us. But slowly I started to get a draw to do more specific ancestor work.
When I started praying to my ancestors specifically before I went to do my divination work once a month at a local metaphysical shop (pre-Covid), the energetic “hangover” I got was drastically reduced. I won’t say it went away completely, because it can be very draining Work, but I noticed A HUGE difference, right away. I had always been working on cleansing and had very specific rituals before divination, but just a few little tweaks made a massive difference. We really do, each of us, have an army of allies at our backs, if we are willing to access it.
Now. To my experience on the 30th. The day before Samhain, before the blue moon, I finally made the trip to visit my great grandfather Maynard Ewert’s grave. I took a cleansing shower, with khernips (y’all, IT’S COLD to pour that on you in the middle of a hot shower!!!), I dressed in a white dress, and covered my hair. It was cold so the white dress had a long coat over it, but I don’t think our ancestors want us to be stupid with our health. I was going to stop at a store to get FRESH flowers, but I literally forgot my wallet and couldn’t. I only had my spiritwork kit, phone and a few offerings I had already prepared. A busy store probably would have fucked up my energy and spiritual concentration, anyway. Maybe next time, I’ll get the flowers the day before, to have them ready.
I asked for permission to enter the cemetery, took a moment to be silent and feel the energy before I did. It was quiet and peaceful, but my heart was pounding anyway. There was a palpable sensation of stepping over a threshold. I knew I was taking an important step.
This is where things got strange. This particular cemetery is NOT large. I had a picture of my great grandfather’s grave from the internet; I knew what I was looking for. It should not have been difficult to find him. But …. It was. I walked the entire cemetery, looking for him, and I didn’t find him. Okay, clearly I missed him. So I did it again, trying to look more closely. Again, I wandered in a circle, looking at each tombstone, especially the ones that were the right size and color to be my grandfather’s, and ….. I didn’t find it.
After the second time of walking the entire cemetery, I started to doubt if I had the right place. Or worse… would someone have MOVED the headstones?? He had only died in 1994, it wasn’t very long ago. The picture on the internet was taken in 2011, even more recently. Now I started to wander in a more random, confused way, peering around me and starting to get a bit apprehensive. Some of the the tombstones were off kilter or at odd angles, looking shoe-horned in, like their graves couldn’t REALLY had fit in there.
I actually started to think that if I didn’t find my great grandfather, I could leave my offerings at the oldest grave that I could find, which I think was 1865. But finally, frustrated, I sat down at the center of the cemetery, and I prayed. I prayed to Odin, Who I know is the One Who has been pushing me to do ancestor work and to work with the dead in the first place. (A flock of black birds that I’m pretty sure were ravens lifted off from a distant tree as I did so!) I prayed to the spirits of the cemetery, to please let me pass and help me to find my grandfather. I also prayed to my grandfather, asking him to let me see him, to stop hiding from me. I mediated and found my center. When I felt more peaceful I stood up and walked away purposefully ….
Y’all. I walked RIGHT by my grandfather’s grave three times! But I finally found him, lol. I knelt down, and I immediately introduced myself and talked to him, unpacking my offerings. He had quite an imposing spirit. The very first thing I felt was offense that I didn’t bring offerings for his wife, my great grandmother (I don’t know anything about her, she died before I was born, almost 20 years before he did). When I put one of the offerings onto her grave, he was placated. This was a powerful experience. I was near tears at one point. I don’t even know how to describe all the feelings that welled up in me. I am definitely feeling a strong call to work with the dead and to do more intense ancestor work.
There was this HUGE ancient, gnarled tree at the center of the cemetery. There were other trees, but this one was the largest, the oldest, and in almost the exact center of the cemetery. On my way out, I stopped to talk to this tree, placing my hand on his bark, and I addressed him as the guardian of the cemetery. I asked him to guard the cemetery and to keep the spirits of those resting there safe.
It was a wonderful experience overall, and I had almost a feeling of being almost “high” for hours afterwards, a jittery kind of excitement that just filled the rest of the day.
May this be the first of many visits.
Hail to Maynard Ewert. Hail to Dorothy Ewert.
Hail to Carl Ewert Jr. Hail to Ms Dankemeyer.
Hail to Carl Ewert Sr. Hail to Caroline Siegart.
Hail to the grandfathers and grandmothers who went before me.
May they assist me in my work to clean our line and rebuild our wyrd into something beautiful and pure.
I will remember you.
Below are more pictures from the cemetery.
Most basic part of religious devotion. Important to remember.
JKE recently asked,
“Here’s a question, if you have time. What is the most fundamental part of your devotional work? If all else had to be eliminated in a crisis, what would you keep doing?
This year, I have had multiple hospital stays, been temporarily displaced from my home, etc. I find myself asking this question a lot, trying to figure out what forms the bedrock of my spiritual practice. I find myself saying evening prayers every day, before sleep, and it keeps me anchored. At its most basic, it is just listing the names of the gods, and a few words of gratitude to each. I also offer song and fresh water, because those are available and possible just about anywhere. It makes me wonder what other polytheists do to stay focused on the Gods in chaotic times, or when stripped of resources.”
You hit on the answer to this…
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One of the many things that tridentantifa – btw, thanks, guys, for all the traffic to my site. It really helps get my work out there — complains about in my work is my support of dowries and marriage contracts. Since I’ve already written about the importance of a dowry and/or a trousseau elsewhere (1), this article is going to tackle, very much in brief, marriage contracts. It came up today in a conversation within my household after we saw an interview in which the subject of a pre-nup arose.
There is so little available beyond 101 material that discusses how to build a functioning, sustainable community (2). The key building block of a community is the household, which ideally in a traditional community begins with the married couple (3). A marriage contract is a legally binding document, signed by all parties prior to the actual marriage, that protects the…
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I’m sorry I forgot to post this last month when I filmed it. I’m hoping there will be less chaos in my life going forward. Please forgive me if I seem more distracted than usual in this video, but this was the first time I filmed outside and I should have picked a less crowded park! 😀
So, I’m single again. It sucks. I still love my ex, but we weren’t well matched. Many of our values did not match up. He is a good person, but I don’t believe we could build a life together. I made the hard choice. Perhaps one day we could even be friends, but not right now. This was also the last time I date a nonPagan man. It’s not worth it. He didn’t understand my calling. He wasn’t downright viciously mean about it, like others I’ve dated (I know, stupid!), he was supportive. But he didn’t understand. I think I opened up his mind a little, he is starting to notice things in the world and around him more and maybe that was why we were together. He was also healing to me after I’ve been through some personal shit. But it’s not enough. I want a partner who can understand me spiritually. And we weren’t in the same place about valuing marriage. I swore I would never live with another man without AT LEAST being engaged and having a timetable for marriage, and I had already moved that boundary for him. He was “not fond of” marriage and just kind of hoping he would change his mind one day. But let’s be honest. That doesn’t happen.
The funny thing is, I’ve spent A LOT of time in the last few months crying and in emotional turmoil, and now that it’s over, I’m sad, but mostly at peace. It wasn’t meant to be. It’s okay. I choose my Gods. I choose my Work. I know in my heart what my calling is. I am here to help bring people back into Right Relationship with the Gods and the Land, perhaps to be a full fledged shaman one day. I am not a full moon pagan. I am not a layperson. My path is intensive. It’s hard. It sucks some days. The way that I get in relationships, the obcessiveness, the codependency that that comes from my childhood trauma, I have wondered if I can even have a partner and do my Job. Maybe I can’t. I want a husband, I want a partner, but maybe I can’t have one in the physical for a while. Our society is out of balance and soaked in miasma and tilting towards chaos, and my job is going to be a big one. It’s going to take a lot of work and training.
I’m still sad. The emotions are still coming in waves sometimes. But I feel so much better now, after I ended it. That’s how I know I made the right decision.
Thank you Allfather for giving me the strength, and that it didn’t take me 8 years this time.
I am the heartbeat within the storm.
I am the prickle on your skin when you realize you are not alone.
I am the shapeshifter, the skin of man and bear and wolf.
I am the howl that brings the wild out of the civilized.
I am the dancing flame, and the blackness beyond it.
I am the breath in your lungs, filling them to bursting with something purer than your society has ever known.
I am the spike of adrenaline as you rush towards danger.
I am He Who you meet in the Space between Life and Death.
One day I will crush you between my jaws, rip the meat from your fragile bones, and you will thank me for it.
I am Odin.
Oh Holy Muses Who dwell on Helikon Mount
Today I make this plea to You,
Not for inspiration for my creative endeavors, no,
The Nine Holy Sisters have already blessed me with that
I have drunk from the waters with sprang from the hoof of Pegasus
Which drove the poet to holy madness,
And I need only to organize the visions dancing in my head.
No, now I beg for strength, discipline and clarity within myself.
I pray for silence in a noisy world,
For strength to turn away from the temptation of procrastination
For the clarity to lay my vision out in words or in paint,
And, most importantly of all,
The discipline to actually FUCKING EDIT.
THUNK of head hitting keyboard.