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Musical Album "Chosen"

Musical Album "Chosen"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: Exploring the Northern Tradition by Galina Krasskova

Not only did Exploring the Northern Tradition provide me with a wealth of information on my target Goddesses, Freya and Hel, it also introduced me to the Goddess Saga, who immediately connected with me and provided me with a new mission for projects in my next cycle of my Women's Thealogical Institute, Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess, International program. I learned a great deal about the Goddesses functions, sacred objects and holy tides.

I also enjoyed learning about the ritual Symbels. This affirmed more of what I believe to be inherited (Viking) memory, as I have always had a notion of a time of honor where stories of successful deeds are told and the guest of honor is the one to give the gifts rather than receive them. I have been thinking of having a ritual on my 40th birthday, and I would love for it follow the format of a Symbel with the opening speech (the hallowing), the assigning of a female ealu bora to pass wine to the attendants but first to me as symbelgerefa so that I may toast the Goddesses, the Maegen (luck) of those gathered and then to speak of my accomplishments and state my upcoming goals. Then wine would be passed to the group so others may state their goals and/or take pride in their accomplishments. I might select a Thyle whose obligation is to challenge any goals they think unrealistic, and to keep all on track. Then I would love to honor those people who have had significance in my life with gifts. The Northern tradition relies heavily on hierarchy, and so it would certainly be appropriate for some gifts to be more extravagant than others.

As my heritage is Scandinavian and German I feel very drawn to the Northern Traditions. I feel it like a memory; I know it in my soul. However, Ms. Krasskova describes herself as a heathen and makes a point to draw a heavy line between the term Heathen and Pagan. Neo-Pagan is nearly put forth with disdain in the writing, and Ms. Krasskova warns that some orthodox heathen groups tip into racism. As a practicing priest of Heathenry for over 12 years, I think Ms. Krasskova would not make such a statement lightly. As one who has been called to serve Diana and Persephone, I know that I could never join a Heathen kindred where the requirement to join would be to ignore the summons of my Greek Goddesses. Saga though has plans for me.

I witnessed a bit of Saga's power during Milwaukee Ostara. One little girl and two young women in their teenage years were so taken in by my role as Persephone in Ruby Sara's and Johnny Rapture's ritual and then again when I sang, that they made a point to speak to me during the festival. They honored me by their words and again when the littlest of them gave me her painting from the children's area. She said that she had made it specifically for me. Music and poetry are in and of themselves, magic and sacred. I wish I could meet those lovely ladies again, for I would invite them to my 40th Symbel as honored guests. They were the very voice of Saga, and they helped me realize my path: I have more music to sing.

Upon seeing Saga's name written in Ms. Krasskova book I realized that I am Viking Skauld in my soul and my blood. Saga immediately whispered that my next project should not only honor her, but others like her. I believe that I have known Saga for ages; and she doesn’t care that I’m one of those annoying “neos.” She is calling me and the fact that I’m Viking, well, she considers that a bit of a bonus.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: By Land, Sky and Sea by Gede Parma

Mr. Parma is a witch of Balinese-Celtic ancestry raised from childhood in paganism. He is the co-founder of the WildWood Tadition of Witchcraft and is a devotee of the Goddesses, Persephone, Aphrodite and Hekate. His spiritual path incorporates elements of traditional shamanism, Balinese Hinduism, British-Celtic Witchrcraft, Stregheria, Greek Paganism, Feri, Reclaiming and WildWood Witchcraft. He has written award-winning books on pagan topics and witchcraft.

After visiting Ireland, Mr. Parma was inspired to write this guidebook to further develop shamanistic abilities with the intent to inspire those on a pagan path to infuse their craft with purpose. It is divided into three sections, utilizing his inspiration from his trip to Ireland, the home of his Celtic ancestors, the Celtic three-realm cosmology, though the book draws from other pagan traditions.

In the section, “Land” which acquaints to the physical plane of being, he strives to encourage the reader to become aware of their physical self. Mr. Parma provides detailed exercises on breath, including yogi breathing, huna breath and counted breath. The section continues with meditation exercises. One that I found to resonate personally was the “Tree of Life” mediation. In this mediation, one becomes the tree whose roots delve deep into the underworld (sea), the trunk grows proudly upward (land) and whose branches reach outward into the celestial sky.

Land further elaborates with physical spiritual manifestations such as dance and touch. I am often moved to dance, once a photographer took a picture of me, I was completely oblivious as I was in the thrall of dance and the picture always struck me.

Photograph courtesy of David Hails Digital Images

My eyes had a particularly ethereal look, and I am fairly certain that element of the photography had not been altered. After reading Mr. Parma’s notes on trance work, I can see that what the photographer captured was me experiencing and becoming one with what is divine. Learning this, I am now anxious to do more work on trance utilizing the dance that seems to come naturally to me. This illumination also made me keenly interested in the topics which followed; the magical practices of omen walking and divining labyrinths.

In “Sky” he explains that knowledge can be found in transcendence. He proposes that magic is a way to experience divinity and the connectivity of all things. Once again Mr. Parma outlines a series of magic working exercises. One that I was particularly drawn to was the creation of psyballs. In this exercise he outlines imagining a ball of energy which can be infused with a magical intention or wish. Mr. Parma believes that the force of creation is in essence a magical act. As we are all born of magic, it is our birthright to use magic and develop it. The sky chapter continues with steps to induce astral flight and outlines several steps to increase one’s spiritual awareness to develop the magical or psychic ability of clairvoyance.

In “Sea” Mr. Parma expounds on the concepts of clairvoyance and trance and encourages readers to vision quest to the underworld to experience death in the context of rebirth. It is only in death that we can see eternity evolving. This section also focuses on the concept of channeling or becoming the oracle through which the divine can speak. Mr. Parma wishes his readers to experience truth, but warns that truth is unique to the individual. I think it is important to note that an oracle must also embrace silence. Those that wish to hear will be open, but our individual truth may not be for the ears of all. In the “Sea” section, Mr. Parma uses the stories of myth to demonstrate the concept of rebirth. His accounting of the Goddess Persephone was particularly moving for me as I am also her devoted follower. He also accounts the journey of the Norse Goddess Freya and her necklace of Brisingamen. As she is another goddess that I am studying, this myth was of particular interest and I am eager to read the books on Nordic mythology cited in Mr. Parma’s bibliography.

I found Mr. Parma’s book filled with rituals, and interesting concepts and certainly his goal to enrich my spiritual path with purpose filled magic has come to fruition with me. I also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Parma in person. We had an impassioned conversation about our mutual goddess Persephone and the messages she has brought to our lives. In fact he signed my copy of his book, “blessed is she who hunts for flowers.” I believe he was referring to our beloved Persephone in that it is her hunt for the perfect flower that begins her decent into the abyss where she harnesses her fear, accepts her fate and becomes the awesome Goddess of death and rebirth. I saw that he took a moment to think of what to write to me, and so I think too that he also was referring directly to me; in that I have undertaken my own path and am willing to accept the truth that may unfold within my destiny. Mr. Parma is only in his early 20’s. I was stunned and a little intimidated that one half my age could impart such surpassing knowledge. I have already fluttered in the realm of astral flight with the techniques of this book and look forward to practicing more of the other concepts. I look forward to watching this young man’s career and I hope I will have the opportunity to meet him again.

To learn more about Gede Parma and his work, please visit his website.