Reveiw of Girls Underground Oracle Deck

I’ve been meaning to do this review for a while and simply haven’t gotten to it.

Kate Winter has created an Oracle deck based on an archetype she identified decades ago which she calls the Girls Underground. In her own words: “ [these themes] are often from novels and films, but the idea is so old it can be found in ancient mythology, and later in popular fairy tales. They involve initiatory journeys – often literally underground – in which a girl or woman explores a perilous Otherworld with several companions, confronts an Adversary, and learns the lessons necessary to reach her goal, ending up transformed.
The original inspiration for the idea was the classic 80’s fantasy movie Labyrinth (and to a lesser degree, Alice in Wonderland) and fans will recognize many of the elements of Sarah’s journey in these cards.” (from the Etsy shop, here)

The earliest mythological version of the Girl Underground archetype could be considered to be Persephone, but with Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland a whole new type of story came into being. As a teenager I was obsessed with Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. I’ve watched Sarah defeat David Bowie’s Goblin King more times than I care to count. Mirrormask, written by Neil Gaiman and produced by Dave McKenna and the Jim Hensen Company, was another Girl Underground movie that played at my house practically on repeat.

Kate Winter has been researching this archetype for years, and I have ardently followed her other works and writings. So when she announced last year on Kickstarter her intention to make a divination deck based on her experiences with the archetype, I was happy to contribute. I am proud to have been part of bringing this Oracle into the world, even if only by a small part.

If you’re wondering how it works as divination tool, it’s excellent. I received it around the winter solstice, and I have already used it so much I have begun to wear out the book. But that may also be because I spilled red Gatorade on it at one point …. Oh well, let’s pretend it’s blood, it fits the Otherworld theme much more.

I’ve found the advice to be practical and applicable to both real-world situations and my spiritual Journey. This is an incredible tool and, to my knowledge, completely unique. I think that it would be useful for anyone, but if, like me, you’ve ever identified with Sarah in the Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, or any of the other numerous Girls Underground, then it will probably be especially so for you.


Picture: This deck uses storytelling and plot points instead of art and imagery, so its a bit unusual, but that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting. As a writer I appreciate the power of the naked word and just the storyline itself. It works extremely well, more than you might imagine.

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Heathen Author and Priest doxxed by Antifa group


I was planning to write about the Ostara ritual I attended on Saturday, and a review of the amazing Pagan and witch shop it was held at. Sadly, their thunder has been stolen by something that happened to a dear friend of mine yesterday. The article I had intended to spend today writing will still be coming, hopefully in the next couple of days. But unfortunately, as the picture says, my ancestors, Gods, and spirits will not allow me to be quiet in this matter. Not to mention common human decency, even above my friendship with the person in question.

Galina Krasskova has been doxxed on Twitter.

Her work address and home phone number has been made public. Worse, at the time of this article’s writing, Twitter is refusing to take it down because it “doesn’t qualify” as abusive speech under their rules, even though it meets all their points. I suspect that the real problem is that the doxxer is an Antifa liberal and Galina is politically conservative and famously pro-free speech, anti-censorship, anti-Marxist, and anti-communist. Which is somehow a bad thing, in today’s political climate.

Folks, this is a terrifying precedent. It’s been said before, but this is clearly McCarthy-era Red Scare tactics updated for the modern age. How many of our grandparents dreaded hearing this question: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?” Only the pendulum has (perhaps inevitably) swung the other way. Those of us in the Pagan community who are too young to remember the horrors of the McCarthy era should stop talking for a few moments, pretend we actually value the input of our elders (because a great number of us clearly don’t), and listen. Maybe pick up a history book or two. It didn’t turn out so well the first time, did it?

Whatever your politics, whatever your opinion of Galina, doxxing someone is clearly wrong. I wouldn’t doxx the TridentAntifa people, although a small, dark part of me thinks that maybe they’d think twice about doing it to someone if it happened to them.

Probably not though. They’d see it as more proof of oppression in their righteous struggle against “The Man” or something. In Jungian terms, I think they have failed to integrate their shadow and to realize their own capacity for evil. This lack of shadow work leads to their rage and anger coming out in dangerous ways that are damaging to other people and themselves. I can acknowledge that a part of myself wants to do the same to them and NOT act on that impulse, because it’s wrong and evil and hurtful. But I digress.

For those of you who don’t know, although if you are reading my blog I suspect you will, Antifa is a title for a loose collection of grassroots anarchist anti-fascist groups that have been officially labeled domestic terrorists by the FBI and Dept of Homeland Security. Here is an article saying just that. Everything they do is anonymous, they cover their faces during their riots so they have no accountability, yet in their “unmasking” of people they deem to be racist they are revealing personal information and encouraging violence. This is not only cowardly in the worst sense, it is terrorism, plain and simple, and needs to be called out for what it is.

In a civilized society, we can have discourse that upsets us, have conversations that make us uncomfortable, and we can have friends we disagree with! I’d call all those things *necessary* to personal growth.

So, I spent some time reading the thread in question this morning, which was at points rage-inducing, absurd to the point of hilarity, and ridiculously sad. It was so upsetting I frequently had to take breaks. Throughout the entirety of the thread, Galina’s words were purposely taken out of context, to the point where I wondered about the author’s reading comprehension skills. Throughout she is accused of supporting violence (but Marxists and Antifa equate free speech with violence, that’s all this means) yet say things like, “she really doesn’t like it when Nazis get punched in the face” – uh yeah that’s called not creating a culture of violence, which is something you JUST ACCUSED HER OF TWO SECONDS AGO. If you have to resort to violence to win an argument, you just lost the argument. No matter how righteous your position. Not to mention Antifa calls anyone who disagrees with them a Nazi these days.

Particularly upsetting, not to mention factually wrong, was when they said that she doesn’t care about poor people and doesn’t want them to be able to pursue higher education. Yet since 2010 Galina has funded a scholarship for improverished women WITH HER OWN MONEY. I think that shows that she does care, in fact they are assuming that they know everything about her from her current financial state and that she has never struggled, which is not true. Antifa (and Marxists in general) are so quick to spend other people’s money, to prove they “care”. I wonder how often they donate their own earnings to charity, or if they become miserly when dollar signs suddenly enter their own bank account. Perhaps they think the government needs to force people to share their wealth because Galina’s inherent generosity is antithetical to their natures and they assume everyone is as selfish as they are. This is an example, I think, of our culture’s deeply, deeply unhealthy ideas about money, but that is an entire different tangent.

You might assume from these statements that I am politically conservative. I am not. I am left-leaning, a “classical liberal” if you will, although I am staunchly pro-free speech and pro-2nd Amendment, which I suppose for the modern Pagan community makes me “alt right-adjacent” or some other nonsense. (Now watch that sentence get taken out of context!!!!) Not that I should have to prove that I am “liberal enough” to defend Galina, or anyone’s, right to privacy. For the love of everything that is holy, when did it become normal for private information like addresses and phone numbers to be published as the price for having a unpopular opinion, political or otherwise? We either believe in freedom, or we don’t. It is that simple.

Not content to attack just Galina, they go after her friends as well. Another Pagan whose work I closely follow, Kenaz Filan, was similarly smeared and called a white supremacist, and all manner of vile and hateful screeds was attributed to him, taken, as usual, out of context or flatly made up. Although he has been accused of it before, Kenaz is the FURTHEST thing from a white supremacist. He is actually initiated into Haitian Vodou and has authored several books on the African Dispora and the worship of the Orishas. (I hear the cries of cultural appropriation already).

Why the race-baiting, then? He simply refuses to be ashamed of being white. He acknowledges that no race is better or worse than another, but each has it’s own beautiful culture and tradition.Those cultures and traditions are worth preserving. Ancestors are worth venerating. OF ALL PEOPLES, ALL RACES, AND ALL TRIBES. That is somehow controversial these days. Because venerating your white ancestors is “problematic”, you are supposed to be ashamed of them. Karl Seigfried, writing at the Wild Hunt (the same author who caused a massive backlash among Heathens when he compared Trump to Loki) recently suggested we deal with white supremacy (and there ARE racists stealing our symbols, and we DO need to deal with them) by gutting our traditions. One of his vile suggestions was not honoring ancestors anymore. What the ever-loving FUCK? Ancestor veneration is at the heart of ALL paganisms and polytheisms, including African religions if you’re really going to be so low as to drag race into this. I don’t know how someone can be Pagan and abhor their ancestors so much. It just doesn’t compute. Why are you even here? Muslims aren’t asked to throw away the hijab or the Qu’ran wholesale because of violent Jihadists (and they shouldn’t be), so why are we expected to “adapt” our traditions to “modern values”? Modern values like consumerism, secularism, politics before everything, SJWs, and whatever it is that causes the 24/7 news cycle are the problem. Or at least part of it. We are trying to reconstruct old religions that were/are more in touch with nature and the Gods, and we can’t do that by throwing out everything that makes us different from modern Western secularism.

Lastly, bringing another of Galina’s friends into this, they attacked Pagan author Raven Kaldera as transphobic, which I find beyond hilarious because Raven IS a ftm transgendered and intersex person (he was born with an intersex condition, raised female, and eventually transitioned to male). They seemed particularly offended by Raven’s use of the term “Third Gender Issues”, but hey, let’s censor the very language and expression of the people YOU CLAIM TO WANT TO PROTECT. Guess you only wanna help out the trans people that toe your party line. They also fail to point out that he is talking about himself and only himself, and that many of the statements they reference in their condemnation he had made 20 years ago, before the current accepted PC language changed and evolved. Guess it’s his fault for not having a time machine. The lunacy is simply stunning. This is somebody who is everything you guys should *like*, since you’re all about identity politics and only identity politics. But he’s friends with someone you hate (for some reason), he believes in freedom, and worst of all, he’s white too …. Gotta throw the trans baby out with the white bathwater, I guess. I really do not know what goes through these people’s minds sometimes.

You might not believe this, but I am *TIRED* of doing political posts. I don’t *WANT* to be political, I don’t want to cause conflict or division. I want to focus more on theology. Good Gods, I want to focus on worshipping my Gods and building our communities. But this is wrong. It turns my stomach, it’s just disgusting. And sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. Or a terrorist a terrorist.

One day they might come for me, but I’m not going to be silent up until the point that they do. This Heathen bitch will go kicking and screaming.

Odin help me. I can’t believe that with my anxiety issues I am putting this out there. But fuck it.

Come and get me.

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And the Stupidity Begins…

Gangleri's Grove

Following on the heels of his disgusting article equating Loki with Trump, would be Heathen “scholar” Karl Siegfried (PhD in double bass) has written this article for the wild hunt. A bigger load of horse shit I could not have imagined, even from them. According to Siegfried, we should abandon our traditions of ancestor veneration, beliefs about the afterlife, and our sacred symbols. We should gut our traditions because vile groups have begun to appropriate our symbols. We should do this, rather than standing up and fighting such disgusting appropriation.  Way to go, Karl.

Well this is what happens when we bow our heads to popular culture. Instead of protesting the misuse of our Gods and Their symbols, and the erasure of our traditions early on, our communities bitch and whine and moan because they like their popular culture (probably more than their traditions) and can’t draw the line from…

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Pagans and Polytheists as People of Prayer

Absolutely agree with the points of this post! I actually was one of those who entered Paganism which an intense hatred of the religion I was raised with …. I grew up in an extremely abusive home and it took me years to realize that most Christians are good, decent people who are just trying to live life the way they think is best and connect with the Deity they revere. It took a lot of self-work for me to acknowledge the disrespect I was throwing YHWH and Jesus’s way, and to realize that as a Polytheist, I should not be doing that. They are Gods. They are not MY Gods, They are not my path, but that doesn’t mean They don’t deserve respect and worship. I’ve been Pagan for nearly 18 years now (wooooww……) and my opinions have evolved as I have grown as a person. Hopefully our communities will as well. Christians do not have the monopoly on words like “prayer”, “bless”, or “worship”. We are about so much more than casting spells!!!!

amor et mortem

As long-time readers of this blog will know by now, I did not enter into Polytheistic Paganism with a seething hatred for the Christian denomination (Eastern Orthodoxy) in which I’d been raised.

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🐍🐉🐍 The Snakes in the Grass – Saint Patrick, the Pagans, & the God Crom Cruach  🐍🐉🐍 — Wyrd Designs

It is my personal opinion that despite it being a largely secular cultural holiday these days, no Pagan or Polytheist should participate in Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. It explicitly celebrates the destruction of paganism in Ireland. Why would any Pagan celebrate that?

I do not celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, which is a day of holy obligation for Catholics in Ireland (as well as revered by a few other Christian denominations). Why would I, a heathen, celebrate a 5th Century Saint whose mission in life was to turn pagans from their Gods and ancestral ways? If he lived […]

via 🐍🐉🐍 The Snakes in the Grass – Saint Patrick, the Pagans, & the God Crom Cruach  🐍🐉🐍 — Wyrd Designs

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Odin and Anxiety

I have been thinking about why someone like me would worship Odin. Or more rather, why a God like Odin would be interested in worship from someone like me. I suffer from a rather severe anxiety disorder. Sometimes it’s mostly under control and I can function close to normally. Sometimes … not so much. This question has occurred to me before, but it’s been quite prominent lately. This last month has been a BAD anxiety month for me. So I have been mulling this question around for about 3 weeks.


My anxiety is so bad that until last spring, I didn’t drive. I had a valid licence, and had driven off and on when I was in an mood upswing and my anxiety was not spiking. I paid 500 dollars of my own money last year to go back to driving school for a refresher, to get the confidence to begin driving again. It was a tremendous help and I am glad I did it. But driving is still something that makes me very nervous, and I try to plan my trips to avoid the worst traffic. Some days by the time I arrive home, my hands actually hurt a little from gripping the steering wheel so hard.


This is not the image typically conjured up when you think of a worshiper of Odin. One might think instead of the berserkers, the frenzied and fearless bare-chested warriors of old, so out of their mind with battle-rage that they cut their own bodies or chewed on their wooden shields as they waited for the order to attack the enemy. Even their fellow Vikings feared them; when battle came, it was wise to give them a wide berth, for they may not be able to tell friend from foe in their frenzy. It was best to let the berserkers loose, get out of the way, and let them go to work. They were the Viking shock troops, the first wave, and were believed to have performed shamanic rituals in Odin’s honor which whipped into their frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy.


I have very little in common with those heathens of old. Fear, in a very primal way, defines my life. I am learning to cope with it, I have strategies that reduce its effects somewhat, but it is a constant balancing act. My lizard brain is essentially always amped up, always on the lookout for a threat, ready to spring into fight-or-flight mode at the drop of a hat. My rational mind may be completely aware that I am not in danger and there is no need to respond like this, but it doesn’t matter. My nervous system is simply more sensitive than the average person’s, and even as I observe it happening, my anxiety builds, I start to get jumpy and distracted, my chest feels tighter and my heart starts to pound and it seems as if the walls are closing in on me and I just have to GET OUT of the situation, before I have a big, ugly-crying, hyperventilating meltdown. It is, to be completely frank, exhausting.


Odin is a God Who inspires terror, on a deep, primal level. And when Odin first began to make overtures towards me, I had a healthy respect – and also a healthy fear- of Him. I told Him no, at first. I told Him that I respected Him and His power, but that I had enough Gods in my personal pantheon. I didn’t want new religious duties. I didn’t want to have to learn an entirely new system or cosmology. And I had heard so much about what a difficult God He is to serve, how He will rip your life apart to test you, how like a drill sergeant He will tear you down in order to build you back up.


But, He refused to go away. And He was surprisingly gentle with me. I think the crucial difference was that I had already been broken down, utterly and completely. Life had destroyed me so totally that I (and my brother) had literally run away from society to live in a shack in the woods 3 states away from my home.


When I say Life had destroyed us, I’m referring to a complex sequence of events where I lost my job, the house we were sharing, my brother was struggling with rapidly onsetting panic attacks (usually 3 or 4 PER DAY at that time) as well as declining physical health which left me in the position of caregiver, and, oh yes, having to completely excise our father and only parent from our lives when it was discovered that he was a disgusting pedophile. Despite my trying I could not do anything about it legally. The cops were apologetic, but it essentially boiled down to his word vs ours, and he was respected in town. Yes, “life” broke me utterly, and at that point I never saw myself rejoining society.


I had big dreams about what to do with the 5 acres we managed to buy (land contract, and completely undeveloped). I wanted to make it a self-sustaining homestead, and to hold classes on everything from farming and permaculture to Paganism. I even dreamt of building extra cabins and of making it a shelter for homeless Pagans, who are often given an impossible choice – forced not to practice their spirituality in exchange for a roof over their head, as most homeless shelters in this country are run by churches. You might say this is unconstitutional, and it is, but what recourse does a homeless person have? None. You might wonder how often this happens, and I have no statistics, but I know of many personal stories of non-Christian homeless people being discriminated against in my local shelter.


Sadly, none of these dreams came to pass, for many reasons, including my brother’s steadily worsening health. (If you are wondering, he is doing MUCH better today, but if we had tried to stay the course at that time, he might be dead now.) I have mixed feelings about this time in my life. But I see now that the entire endeavor was necessary for our healing.


We had been torn completely apart. In Dionysian terms I had already been torn apart by the Titans and consumed, and was just awaiting rebirth through the body of Semele. I’ve come to accept that my grand plans, which I was so attached to for so long, was in part a justification to myself for my “failure” to be able to make it in society like a “normal” person, to hold down a fulltime job and support myself and my brother. I was desperate to find meaning in my situation, and because I have always had a strong desire to serve the Pagan community, this was the meaning I tried to craft out of that tragedy.


So, what does it mean to be a worshiper of Odin who also suffers from anxiety? Like all Norse Gods, He values courage. You might think that for someone like me, who is typically filled with fear, courage is something of a foreign notion.


I disagree. I’ve heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear – courage is to be afraid, but to do what you have to anyway. It’s not letting that fear control you. I am not a warrior. I think there is a sad tendency in modern Pagan communities to dilute the meaning of the word Warrior, to make it something milder, less primal and dangerous, as if it symbolizes merely the  struggles of a normal life. This is a modern affectation, and I think, entirely wrong.

I am a worshiper of Odin, but I am not going to Valhalla. That’s okay. Valhalla isn’t heaven. Valhalla isn’t a reward for being a good little Viking. It serves a very specific theological purpose: that of collecting the best warriors to fight when Ragnarok comes, for Odin battles against the forces of un-Creation, as I think Galina Krasskova once put it.

A warrior is someone who has mastered their fear and chooses to return to the hell of battle again and again because their country needs them, because their buddies need them, because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think us civilians can truly comprehend what war is like. I have been a victim of violent crime and I have been in scary situations where I had to draw on Warrior energy in order to survive. But that’s not the same thing as being a true, full-time warrior. The warrior makes a very conscious CHOICE to go back into dangerous situation. I have a great draw to Warrior Energies and I think a warrior ethos can do a lot to improve the lives of many, many people. It certainly has for me. But that doesn’t make me a warrior. 

I do have my own battles, which are mostly with the demons in my mind. As I’ve said, I suffer from severe anxiety. I have PTSD and panic disorder. It would be easy to give up. It would be easy to lock myself in my home and never leave. Bills can be paid over the phone and online. Amazon delivers boxes of food now: I wouldn’t even have to go to the grocery store, ever. I can completely live from my home and never have to put myself in an uncomfortable position. I have been this person before. I have had agoraphobia so severe that a quick trip to the store put me into a panic attack. It’s strange to think now that this neurotic messed up person is worshiping the same God as those fearless and terrifying warriors.


Odin understands fear, I think, and I think that is valuable to a person like me. Despite how gentle He has been with me, I can sense the howling storm underneath. And He does frighten me at times. In a way that occasional fear is a comfort, because I think it means I am dealing with the real Odin, an actual GOD, instead of just a sock puppet in my head. I think I’m allowed this side of Him because He never had to break me down Himself, by the time he came into my life I was already broken by life, by everything. Maybe He was already interested in me before, and He just sit back and let life do its work, let my wyrd play out the way it was going. Maybe that way I wouldn’t have to work through the resentment to Him that some of His worshipers seem to. I don’t know. I simply don’t. And there are times that I wonder what it is He wants from  me.

I would never compare my battles with those of a true Soldier. I am not a warrior. But I do find great strength in a warrior ethos. Every morning when I get up, I push myself into situations that often cause me severe anxiety. At times I have broken down, crying intensely, hyperventilating so I was not able to breathe. It’s not fun in those moments. It’s absolutely terrifying. And embarrassing as well, if I’m in public. I’m a Leo, I can’t help it – I care about my image. But weirdly enough, I continue to fight, even though in many ways it would be easier to give up. Sometimes it gets better. Some things that used to be nearly impossible are barely a blip on the radar screen these days. Certain things still cause a great deal of anxiety, although less than they used to. But I still make my myself do them, as they are necessary to have a life and be useful to society, to myself, and most importantly to my Gods. There’s a saying in Heathenry, more of a joke but I think it’s extremely appropriate: “Jesus loves you, but Odin demands that you grow the fuck up.” Maybe it’s not so strange for someone like me to worship Odin after all. I can tell you that the last three years since He has come into my life and I have seriously pursued a relationship with Him everything in my life has been altered drastically. I am undergoing so much change sometimes it makes my head spin and I wish it would just stop. But it’s better for me. I can barely recognize the woman I was one year ago, let alone three years.

So I may not be a warrior, but I AM a fighter. It seems that even fear so extreme that it forces you onto your bed in the fetal position for hours doesn’t have to get in the way of developing a relationship with Odin. In fact, sometimes I wonder if my tendency towards extreme anxiety may actually be the reason He came to me. It wasn’t until Odin came into my life that I truly began to heal, to put the fragmented pieces of my life back together. I don’t know if that’s the truth. I only know that I have long way to go both in working on controlling my anxiety, and deepening my relationship to Odin.

I hope it’s not arrogant to say this, but I feel like Odin has a purpose for me to fulfill, and that’s why He seems to be working so hard on fixing me. I get a distinct feeling that He is tempering me, like a sword in a forge. What is in the Allfather’s mind, however, I haven’t the faintest idea. I only hope that I may prove worthy of all the attention He has given me.

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Be Specific. Use Their Names. — Wyrd Designs

One of my biggest pet peeves, in the interfaith community and some parts of the pagan community, is this tendency to use vague terms in prayers and offerings: Oh Spirit, Great Lady, Oh Goddess… 🤦‍♂️ Which one? Be specific. Not only could you inadvertently be giving offerings and prayers to some entity you didn’t intend […]

via Be Specific. Use Their Names. — Wyrd Designs

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