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Strange Days, or Lack of Logic

Strange Days, or Lack of Logic

The lack of basic logic in people today confounds me. I used to think that human beings were generally intelligent, but now, I’m pretty much convinced they’re not. At least the majority of people lack basic intelligence.

Taking Two Steps Back for One Step Forward

While not all progress is good, I’m seeing a lot of regression when it comes to the United States. People are clearly ignorant when it comes to science. A lot of folks believe what their neighbors and friends tell them rather than objectively look at the facts and make a rational decision.

Death Cults and Culture

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I consider Christianity a death cult. Their reward happens after they die, and their reward or punishment is predicated by their behavior in this life. What’s more, their afterlife is believed to be far better than this life if they behave according to their doctrines.

This is an appealing doctrine, if you’ve been handed shit all your life. Although why worship a god you believe handed you shit from the moment you were born so that you could get a better lot is beyond me and goes against all logic. I’d think, “this god handed me shit, and now it wants me to worship it? Hel, no!”

While we have our own version of a death cult in Heathenry, i.e. warriors go to Folksvangr or Valhalla, I believe most Heathens are simply glad to go to a place of rest and peace. We focus not on where we go when we die, but how we live our lives. Our reward is our life right now. The challenges are just that–challenges. We must overcome them in the best way we know how to.

Holy Rollers and Misplaced Faith

I often visit the food bank because, well, I am not rich. Writers are generally not rich. One food bank I visit is one run by a Christian church that I have dubbed “the Holy Rollers.” These people are nice enough, even though they have weird views. Unfortunately, one of their views defies logic and is killing them.

You see, many of their congregation do not believe in getting vaccinate against COVID-19, with predicable results. One woman whom I know was in tears (without a mask, by the way) because a prominent member of her congregation died from COVID-19. I would think this would cause everyone to line up to get vaccinated, or at least wear masks and social distance, but no. They continue their behavior and mistrust the vaccines because of anecdotal evidence.

The woman told me she couldn’t have the vaccine because she had a latex allergy. Odd, because there is no latex in the vaccines, and the stoppers do not contain latex. (Yes, I looked this up.) She claims it caused the recurrence of breast cancer in a seventy-something year old (no, vaccines don’t do that), and congestive heart failure in someone else (incredibly rare, but maybe.) She claimed everyone she knew who was vaccinated was now sick.

Except Me

Except me. And my husband. And if I could point out, my sisters, their spouses, and their children are vaccinated. At least a half dozen other people we know are vaccinate and have had no issues. In fact, I had some of the side effects (swollen, hot arm for a week, and feeling tired and achy for a few days), but I would still line up and get a booster if the experts said I needed to do it. Why? Because I know the disease is worse than the vaccination.

This intense COVID-19 year has also encouraged me to get my flu and shingles shot this time around, because I had chicken pox as a kid. Twice. So, I’d rather have a ramped up immune system than being sick or dying. Go figure.

Correlation does not Equal Causation

I doubt that my story will figure into the Holy Roller’s list of people she counts when talking about the COVID-19 vaccination, because it doesn’t fit her narrative. I listened to her statement about people getting sick from the vaccines and stay silent because she won’t listen to me. If she did, I would tell her correlation does not equal causation. In other words, just because something happened around the same time doesn’t mean the two events have anything to do with each other.

Let me give you an example. You’re walking down the street, it’s going to rain, and you hear a Led Zeppelin song blasting out of a store. At the same time, a bolt of lightning strikes the light post near you and you get shocked. When you wake up in the hospital, are you likely to think that hearing the Led Zeppelin song caused the lightning? Maybe if it were the Immigrant Song, but for argument’s sake, we’ll say it was Black Dog. Or maybe it was Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Doesn’t matter. Are you likely to ascribe the music playing from a store the reason for the lightning? Of course not. You’re more likely to assume you underestimated the storm coming in.

See what I’m getting at? People can draw correlations all the time to different things when the truth lies someplace else. We trust science because of the scientific method and the review of other scientists so that the conclusion is deemed sound.

Trust Doctors Not Talk Show Wankers (or your next door neighbor)

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but the bullshit being spread via social media and talk shows shouldn’t be trusted. I don’t care how entertained, livid, or interested you are when you listen to these sources. I don’t care what quack guy with an MD after his name they got to testify about their latest miracle cure for COVID-19. The reality is if that so-called cure REALLY worked, the mainstream hospitals and doctors would be using it. Use logic, people!

Ivermectin doesn’t cure COVID-19. It’s made to kill parasites, not viruses. I’ve given my dogs Ivermectin over the years to prevent heartworm. It kills roundworms, hookworms, and other types of worms in livestock. A horse dosage of Ivermectin can kill you. Case in point: my husband talked to a hospital worker who mentioned the hospital he works at has someone who has gone blind and is paralyzed because he used horse or cattle ivermectin.

Yeah, it’s serious. And no, dog vaccines won’t prevent you from getting coronavirus. Why do this shit, which isn’t effective at all? Get the damn jab, wear a mask, and social distance. Really.

If Not for You, for Your Community

One of the basic tenets to being a Heathen is being a member of a community. I am all for rugged individualism and choices, but not in this case. When something causes you to harm others directly or indirectly, it is time to think about how your actions affect others. You can give COVID-19 to other non-vaccinated or even vaccinated people. You can be a host for a mutant strain that could cause more deaths. And you can become so sick that you and your like-minded pals fill up the hospitals to the point that they have no room or resources for other emergencies, like heart attacks or accident injuries. In other words, your irresponsibility has caused someone else to die, who could have been saved.

Now obviously, I’m not speaking to you if you have worn masks, practiced social distancing, and gotten vaccinated. If you hadn’t, here is your wake-up call. Quit being selfish and start acting like a Heathen instead of like a spoiled child. Grow up and adult.

Wake Up Calls from the Gods

Wake Up Calls from the Gods

For the past few years, humans have gotten wake up calls, but few are answering them. For the most part, we humans wander around kind of clueless, and yet, the gods are constantly telling us when we’re doing it wrong. Only, we don’t listen.

The Wake Up Calls, or Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

If you’ve felt like your life is in complete turmoil all the time, join the club. Between the pandemic, the bizarre weather, and the social problems, you might be feeling just a tiny bit stressed out. No, it’s not just you. These are the times we live in.

The gods have been sending us messages or wake up calls — and a good portion of our population has decided not to heed them. So, we’re dealing with the fall out from the problems.

What Wake Up Calls?

At this point, you may be wondering, “What messages? What wake up calls?” No, chances are Thor didn’t hit you with a bolt of lightning. But you might have been under that nasty heat dome or are dealing with wildfires and smoke right now. It’s unlikely Eir whispered in your ear when you got sick, but you’ve heard the CDC announcements to get your COVID-19 vaccine. Or maybe you thought that Tyr might grace you with his wisdom, only to hear the news on how some people are still complaining about the inequality they’re dealing with.

The Gods Talk to Us in Many Ways

While some of us are fortunate (or crazy enough) to hear our gods actually speak; our gods constantly interact with us daily through our environment. They speak through Nature a lot, and if you pay attention, you get it. Problem is, there are a lot of people who hear the messages and don’t care, disagree, or think their own opinions are more valuable than what the gods say. This is stupid and foolhardy.

Does human ignorance and arrogance frustrate and anger the gods? Of course it does, but Humans aren’t their only concern. They don’t intercede for us because, quite frankly, they have other business to attend to. What business? Shit, I don’t know. This is a big universe, and the gods speak in ways they want to.

The messages are clear, and ignoring those messages are at our own peril, because the consequences are severe.

Dealing with the Pandemic

We don’t really know much about how the pandemic started. Sure, there are a bunch of conspiracy theories out there, but most scientists believe that SARS-CoV-19 was a bat disease that was spread through an intermediary host such as a pangolin to humans, and mutated enough to become a pandemic.

Pandemics get their power from people in crowded conditions, such as cities. Usually the pathogen is highly contagious and mutates at an astonishing rate to infect as many people as they can. That’s why crowds are a really bad idea. And without protecting yourself and others some way, you can quickly spread the disease.

With our crowded planet, it’s easy to see disease spread. That’s why vaccinations are important–to help build immunity against the pathogen. Otherwise, you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life and your family’s lives.

Pathogens in the Past

Before vaccines, people either got sick and died, or they had enough natural immunity to combat the pathogen, or they practiced their own form of social distancing and rode out the pandemic. The problem, of course, was that a lot of people died. The Black Death is a prime example. It’s estimated that the Black Death wiped out anywhere from one third to one half of Europe. Whole villages became ghost towns within weeks, if not days, because everyone became sick and died.

Back then, people always assumed it was because their Christian god was displeased with them. In reality, it was a dangerous bacteria that mutated that spread easily either through coughing, flea bites, or contact with contaminated bodily fluids.

Like today, conspiracy theories were common back then. People blamed the Jewish population for poisoning the wells or bringing on the disease, when they did not. People thought it was pagans or witches casting spells on them. So, it wasn’t uncommon for Jewish and pagan persecution back then, due largely to ignorance.

Now the Gods Speak with the Pandemic

Some people think their god will save them from this disease. That is hubris, and they’re fucking wrong. People have been either ignorant of, or ignoring the science behind the pandemic and vaccinations. Time and time again, doctors have proven vaccinations save lives. Did you live in fear of smallpox while growing up? Did you worry about getting measles or mumps? How about polio? All these diseases are relegated to the history books (or are outbreaks in unvaccinated communities) because of vaccines. Rabies is a small concern unless you get bitten by a wild animal (bat, skunk, or raccoon, for example), largely because we vaccinate our pets against rabies. And what do they give you to save your life? A course of vaccines to amp up your immune system to fight the disease.

But now, people refuse to be vaccinated. And yeah, the disease is still around, and more powerful with the Delta variant. So, when the CDC said it’s okay to go without masks if you’re vaccinated, people read the first part of the statement without the last part. (How stupid can they be?) The gods do not suffer fools, and those who decided it is their god given right to infect themselves and spread it to others are tempting a big smack down. And now, we have rising cases.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. Get a vaccination. You can get COVID-19 Vaccination Information HERE.

What About the Fires? Mega-drought? Excessive Heat?

I know you’ve probably heard politicians and scientists talk about climate change. In fact, I was a big climate change denier, but the more I look at the data, the more I think that spewing greenhouse gases into our atmosphere isn’t a good idea. Furthermore, we need to reduce pollution. The US is a contributor, but China is easily the worst. And yeah, when people buy the newest gizmo instead of using the old one until it breaks or is incompatible with modern technology, they fuel even more pollution. We’re seeing it as fires, heat domes, and droughts. Not to mention disappearing coast lines and melting glaciers.

What You Can Do About It

Get vaccinated. Wear masks and practice social distancing because the pandemic isn’t over by a long shot. With those who are unvaccinated, they’re causing SARS-CoV-2 to mutated into variants. Already some people are getting breakthrough COVID-19 which can still spread, even if the vaccine makes it less dangerous, if you catch it.

I’m not saying go live in a yurt and forgo your computers, smartphones, and latest gizmos. (Unless you really want to. But those Mongolians in the picture even have solar energy.) I’m not saying ditch your car. What I am saying is be smart about what you buy, where you go, and what you do. If you can, invest in renewable energy for your home such as solar, wind, or geothermal energy. If that can’t happen, then consider purchasing the best energy saving devices when your old ones need to be replaced. Go LED bulbs because the twisty bulbs (mini-fluorescent types) still have mercury, plus they’re brighter and a lot more energy efficient. Switch to power companies that don’t use fossil fuels, if you can.

Buy from local farms that use organic and bio-sensitive methods of producing food, whether it’s produce, meat, or dairy. Hunt and fish if you live in an area that supports that. (Learn how to do it right, seriously.) You can get several months of excellent meat that doesn’t impact the environment. And send a message to your legislators. Tell them you want the town, city, county, state, and country to use non-polluting, renewable energy. Yeah, you can’t fix what’s going on alone. But you will have an impact.

My point is that these are wake up calls for humanity. Listen to the gods.

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When You Don’t Hear from the Gods

When You Don’t Hear from the Gods

Lately, I’ve been dealing with not hearing from the gods. It’s not like they abandoned me; it’s more like they seldom chime in. You’d think with all this time at home during the pandemic, I’d hear more from them. Instead, I’m hearing less. Part of it may have to do with the chaos and weirdness in the world. Let me explain.

The Gods are Not Our Bitches

You’ve heard me say it over and over, the gods are not our bitches. Unlike the Christian god who promises to be your very own personal Jesus, our gods don’t coddle us. Sure, if a god takes an interest in what you’re doing, you might get some help. But in many cases, they let us live our lives and figure out our own problems. They’re not vending machines where we put in a quarter—can you get anything from a vending machine for a quarter nowadays?—and get a favor to pop out. Sure, there’s the whole gifting thing, but really, when it comes down to it, the gods do what they want.

I’ve come to this conclusion as I’ve seen People Behaving Badly™ in the news and in real life. Part of me wants to run to Tyr and demand him to reinstate justice in this world, only I realize that our current situation is clearly human caused. Tyr didn’t put idiots in charge—we did. And if they blatantly violate the rule of law, then that’s our mess. Tyr is many things, but he isn’t a white knight coming to save the day. If that were true, Nazism wouldn’t be on the rise. Hel’s Bells, Hitler would’ve never risen to power.

You Want a God to Bail You Out? Not Our Gods

If you’re expecting a god to come bail you out when things get rough, you probably shouldn’t be in Heathenry. The Christian god promises to do just that, only expect to be disappointed when shit goes south. I’ve noticed that the Christian god takes a lot of credit for other people’s hard work. People give thanks to the Christian god when someone improves after an operation or treatment when it was clearly the surgeon and modern medicine that cured them. A sister of mine who is a Christian claims Jesus won’t let her fall, when it is clearly the work of my other sibling who bails her out, or her church friends who help her when she is down.

Our gods expect us to take responsibility for our actions. Sure, we have the concept of luck or orlog—the ancient Heathens recognized that sometimes, no matter how much you try, shit happens. Some folks seem to have rotten luck that is tied to their wyrd or fate. But I would point out that many people make their own luck.  Sure, it’s not your fault you were born in the circumstances you’re in. And sometimes, no matter how careful or clever you are, shit just happens. But often the choices people make affects their orlog. I mean, take drinking and driving. You might get away with drunk driving for a while, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you got into a traffic accident and got killed or killed someone. Or you might luck out and get arrested for DUI. Of course, luck is relative when it comes to that.

My point is that with some notable exceptions, we make our own wyrd. Our choices define our wyrd. Our gods understand this and they allow us to make our choices. In fact, they delight in seeing us succeed on our own, because it makes us stronger as individuals.

So, What Should You Do if You Don’t Hear from the Gods?

Your first step should be to remain patient. I know it’s ridiculously hard, but remember that what seems like a long time for us is incredibly short for gods who are billions of years older than us. We may find ourselves adrift and without guidance for quite some time. But, that’s what the runes are for. The runes are able to give us guidance when we don’t hear from the gods. So, my recommendations are as follows:

  • Continue making offerings to the gods as you normally do.
  • Practice Meditation. Yes, meditation. It will help quiet your mind and enable you to hear the gods better.
  • Establish a relationship with one of the wights in your area. If you’re agnostic, like I am, go ahead and at least make offerings to them.
  • Talk to your ancestors. If you were on bad terms with parents or grandparents who are dead, look to talk to ancestors from generations farther back. Not all of them were complete asshats. And yeah, they do listen. They may not offer much to say, but perhaps they can offer you comfort.
  • Use your runes for advice and guidance. Often, they can bring insight you didn’t have before.
  • Be patient and wait. The gods are not your bitches.

Looking for Answers from the Gods About the Pandemic

Looking for Answers from the Gods About the Pandemic

As I sit and work day-to-day, I remember when I first heard about COVID-19 pandemic, Tyr told me that my job was now to stay safe and alive. So far, I’ve managed to do so. But it got me thinking about others who do not hear the gods, and I’d imagine they wonder the gods have to say when it comes to this already brutal year.

We Now Continue Our Year From Hell…

I intentionally used the Christian Hell, because I doubt strongly Lady Hel would treat humans this badly. 2021 is shaping up to be as awful as 2020 in a lot of respects. Sure it’s a new year, and we have the vaccine, but it’s going to take a shitload of inoculations before we can truly think this pandemic nightmare is finally over. Assuming the vaccine does what it’s supposed to do.

Our ancestors dealt with diseases all the time, and unfortunately they did not live long. You had a one in three chance of dying before you turned 21. If you were a woman back then, the chance of dying in childbirth was huge. Most people didn’t make it to 50. True. If you did, you were very old. It took courage and strength to survive in the Viking Era. Despite all the hardship, people did live their lives and lived as Heathens.

What the Gods Might Say to Us About the Pandemic

When it suits the gods, I sometimes hear from them. Despite my connection to them, I try very hard not to put words in their mouths. Different gods have different agendas. Even so, I do get impressions and feeling from them. And the message I get is to survive. Yes. Survive. You, me, …everyone. Use our brains to understand what is happening and listen to those who know more about it than we do. That means, listen to medical and health professionals who have more knowledge than your neighbor, your favorite politician, or your favorite conspiracy website. Even I don’t have the answers to everything, but I will tell you how I see it. Too many people are quick to go back to “normal” living when most of the population isn’t vaccinated, and we really don’t know how long the vaccine is effective.

As Heathens, we need to understand that the gods are not our bitches. They don’t run to us when we call. They don’t coddle us. They expect us to behave like the adults we are and face our problems head on. That may mean to show enough courage to wear a mask to protect the more susceptible people. To give up our parties and socializing for a while. And even to act like an adult when others aren’t.

Not Our First Pandemic: Our Ancestors had it Rough

I get it. It’s been a tough year sheltering in place. But guys, we have it easy comparatively speaking, to our ancestors. Our medical professionals tell us to wear masks, stay at home when not doing anything that is vitally essential, and social distance when we’re in places with other people. Yeah, the virus has screwed with our jobs and our livelihoods; I get that. Kids can’t socialize and play with others. Yeah, I get that too. Suddenly parents have had to become parents again and deal with their family on the full-time basis. Not always easy.

I look at how our ancestors had to cope with disease and hardship, and look at us today. Despite almost a half million dead in the United States alone—and yeah, I do know people who have had this terrible disease, or who work with patients who have it—we humans are better prepared than we have ever been to combat this disease. And what’s more, simple measures such as wearing a mask, handwashing, and maintaining a distance from others who are not in your immediate household can help prevent you from getting the virus and spreading it to others. When compared to what our ancestors had to deal with, our sacrifices for not spreading the disease seem minor.

Humanity hasn’t Changed, Much to My Chagrin

All that being said, I’ve been horrified that our behavior as a species hasn’t changed since the last pandemic. And how we haven’t changed that much since diseases such as the plague have ravaged our populations. Different accounts have shown that people’s behavior is still pretty much the same in a crisis. Despite all the progress in science we’ve made, people are still quick to trust in their god or gods that they will be spared despite our knowledge and education. Or they go about blaming conspiracies by certain mistrusted groups. Or they make shit up and try that to protect themselves.

In short, most people have never learned critical thinking. And honestly, that will be the downfall of humanity. Our own stupidity and ignorance will kill us faster than anything else because most are unwilling to understand the logic behind health professionals’ recommendations. You know, the guys with the fifty-pound heads who study diseases for a living? Who make recommendations from the current data they have? No, they’re not infallible. And no, they may change their recommendations as new data comes to light, but honestly, would you rather trust your neighbor who believes in chemtrails, or a seasoned medical professional with enough training and degrees, who has studied this disease, and has the latest information?

The Gods are Not Your Bitches

Look, if you’re looking for Odin, Thor, or whomever to keep yourself and your family safe from this pandemic, I’ve got news for you. The gods are not your bitches. They don’t come when we call them like some well-trained dog looking for a biscuit. Look, I’m on good relations with about a half-dozen gods and goddesses, and they don’t pop in most of the time when I talk to them. Sure, they listen. But whether they decide to talk with me is their decision; not mine. I get that.

Asking a god or goddess to protect you from COVID-19 while you’re still going to bars, not wearing masks, and not social distancing is insulting to our gods. They expect for us to use our brains and show foresight. They expect us to take the measures we can to protect ourselves from a pandemic. To expect them to keep you safe is ludicrous.

So, yeah, trust in the gods, but prepare yourselves. And don’t treat our gods like the Christians treat theirs.

Why Bad Things Happen — a Heathen’s Perspective

Why Bad Things Happen — a Heathen’s Perspective

If you’ve followed my blog for more than a couple of years, you know I’ve written about why bad things happen before. But sometimes pieces need updating, and quite honestly, there’s enough turnover in readership to warrant another look at why bad things happen.

The Year of Hell

This year, 2020, will officially be known at my house as the Year of Hell. It started with a close relative dying and went down from there. You already know about the pandemic and economic down turn, as well as the civil unrest.

If there’s any consolation with this pandemic, I may have already gotten COVID-19 and the proverbial Angel of Death has passed by my door. This time. Another positive side, I don’t live in an area with lots of protests. We have also (so far) escaped having a really awful fire season around here, even though we’ve had to deal with unhealthy air from the Washington/Oregon/California fires. I’m not getting as many work assignments, which cuts the money back, but my spouse hasn’t been laid off, and I’m still capable of writing. So, that’s what I’m doing. But, I’ve been watching the news in total disbelief at people’s behavior.

I want to slap everyone’s face and shout, “What is wrong with you people?”

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen, so I am holed up in my little home, hoping the moron who sneezed nearby me at a grocery store didn’t have COVID-19.

Yeah, it’s that kind of year.

No, the Gods Are Not Punishing Us

Bad things happen all the time. Because we’re raised in a Christian society, we’re tempted to draw the conclusion that the gods are punishing us. After all, the Judaeo-Christian god is great at punishing mortals, if you believe the Old Testament. And our Heathen gods and goddesses can be vengeful, but this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to humans. Unless you really piss off Old One Eye, (Hi, Odin!), chances are you’re just a victim of random events. I mean, seriously, what can one mortal do to garner the wrath of a god or goddess? Certainly not enough to warrant a pandemic, race riots, violent protests and responses, epic wildfires, a global depression, and a very contentious presidential election.

Let me put this in perspective: humans are nothing compared to the universe. The gods take interest in us because we are their children. But they don’t take interest in everyday affairs unless they want to. When the forests become kindling because of a shift in the weather patterns, it’s unlikely Loki threw a match in to start the fires. Rather, he might enjoy the chaos of the outcome, but that is his darker nature. But the wildfire that ensues is either because of lightning, or it is manmade in some way.

Bad Things Happen Randomly

It’s more likely that bad things occur randomly, or may have been set in motion due to poor choices people made. The gods didn’t cause COVID-19 to jump from a bat to a human by way of pangolin or some other animal; viruses are quite handy at doing it by themselves. Chances are, it was the folly of a vendor who trafficked the infected animal, the person who ate the infected animal, or (if you believe the story about the Wuhan laboratory) the lab that isolated the virus. In other words, we have no one to blame–or at least no one to blame but ourselves, as humans.

Why We Look to the Gods when Bad Things Happen

As humans, we often look to higher beings when bad things happen. It’s part of feeling helpless. We ask the gods to help us, or we blame the gods for something that happened to us. But the gods are not our bitches. They don’t run when we call; they often don’t cause calamities either. The tornado that touches down does not know or care that people are in its way. It simply behaves according to its nature as defined by physics.

Likewise, viruses don’t care if you’re the president of the United States or if you’re a child in a third world country. It will infect you if you don’t take precautions against it, and the random luck of your genome and your health may be the only thing that might protect you if you somehow contract the disease.

It’s human nature to look to a higher power when something bad happens. Questions run through our minds such as “Why didn’t Eir stop this?” “Why is Odin punishing me?” “Will Thor protect me?” Our gods generally don’t take sides when it comes to our lives, although we may try to please them with offerings and ask for help, but there are no guarantees. Even Frigg and Odin couldn’t stop the death of their son, Baldr.

Our Wyrd is our Wyrd. It’s how we respond to it that can change it. Not our prayers or offerings.

Why Bad Things Happen

Bad things happen. Good things happen. Sometimes things happen for no reason. Sometimes things happen because humans set things in motion without knowledge of the consequences. And sometimes there are bad people who do bad things. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes Murphy is in control.

I can look at this year and wish it were gone already. It doesn’t mean that next year will be better, but there is always hope that things will improve.

What Can We Do When Bad Things Happen?

Believe it or not, you aren’t totally at the mercy of fate. There are things you can do to prevent further calamity—at least to yourself.  Just like people who wear seatbelts in a rollover crash and somehow survive, you can make everyday choices that will put the odds in your favor if something bad does happen. I mean, some of it is a no-brainer, like wearing seatbelts, wearing a mask when you’re in public, washing your hands, and getting your flu shot. Some things take a little more planning, like when you go on vacation, or choose to live in an area where natural disasters occur.  We evolved with a pretty big brain and enough foresight to conceive of possibilities. Use your brain and think it through. Maybe driving while intoxicated isn’t safe, and you should get a cab instead? Maybe driving with your headlamps off at night isn’t clever?

Occasionally, you’re going to have bad shit happen that you can’t work around. Trust me, I know. I’ve lost people to bad things that I had no control over, although, in retrospect, they did when it came to matters regarding their health. Still, there are things you can’t always account for, and with the exception of Odin and the Norns, we pretty much don’t have a clear picture of everything in our future.  But just remember, the gods aren’t out to get you, unless they’ve told you they are.

And even then, don’t believe everything you hear. Seriously. We can’t control everything, so control what you can and move on.

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

Okay, by now you’re all probably sick and tired of the quarantines and stay-at-home directives. It’s no big thing for me because I’m a writer, and more importantly, an introvert. (Gosh, a writer with a scientific degree? An introvert? Unheard of!) Anyhow, while the Christians are bemoaning they can’t go to mass for Easter, we Heathens can still celebrate the month of Eostre. Even if you’re the sole Heathen among people of other faiths in your household, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself during this time. Here are five ways you can celebrate the Feast of Eostre (whether or not you believe she is a goddess):

1. Dye Eostre Eggs with Your Own Natural Dyes

This one takes a little bit of work and some ingredients, but the colors are spectacular and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it at least once. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your refrigerator or pantry. Here are some links to recipes for dyeing your eggs with natural ingredients that are completely safe (unless you have an allergy to particular food ingredients):

  • Kitchn has some eggcellent recipes for dyeing your eggs colors such as blue, pink, lavender, yellow, and orange. They tell you what your eggs will look like if you use white eggs or brown eggs. (Hint: use both and have a host of cool colors!)
  • Good Housekeeping has similar recipes, but includes a way to make your eggs dark blue. I like their suggestions.

Dyeing eggs with your own colors is more fun than using tablets out of a package. And you’ll probably like the results better.

2. Eostre Egg Hunts for the Kids (and Pets)

This one doesn’t have to be for kids only, but if you’re alone or staying home with your significant other and no one else, this isn’t probably as fun as it could be. Naturally if you have a yard, hiding eggs becomes easier, but you can also hide eggs in a specific room. If you hide eggs inside, be sure to have an egg count, otherwise you may be in for a nasty surprise (and smell) in a couple of weeks. And while you’re at it, if you have a pet, you might want to hide some treats for them and show them the first few treats, so they might get the idea of searching for treats. Dogs can usually figure this out, but I’m not discounting cats.

3. Have a Feast in Honor of the Gods and Goddesses of Spring

Whether or not you believe that Eostre was the Anglo Saxon goddess (or Ostara, a Germanic goddess) of spring and fertility, we can always hold a feast in honor of the gods and goddesses of spring. Roast a pig or ham in honor of Freyr, and dedicate the feast in honor of him, Freyja, Thor, Gerdr, Sif, and Idunn, among any other gods and goddesses you’d like to include. Even if you’re a solitary Heathen, you can make yourself some pork and make an offering or blot to the gods.

4. Get Your Garden Planted

Whether you live on a farm, in the suburbs, or in the city, you can have your own garden, even if it is only a container garden. In most parts of America, it’s warm enough to start seedlings outdoors, and for those of us who live in the colder climates, we can start them indoors. Not sure what to plant? Start with herbs. Most are easy enough to grow, and you can dry them and use them in a number of recipes and in rituals. Container gardens are great for apartment dwellers because they take up very little room and they are portable.

5. Meditate Outdoors

It’s springtime, which means that you should probably enjoy the outdoors. But with the quarantine, you may be pressed to find a spot where you can enjoy yourself. With meditation, you don’t need a big place to get away: your balcony or backyard will do. Or, if you’re not under a strict stay-at-home order, find a quiet place in a park or forest where you can be away from people and simply meditate. Never meditated before? Check out Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. Meditate on the season and the world around you. It will help ground you as a Heathen plus put you more in touch with the gods and goddesses of Heathenry.

Okay, so now you have some things to do for celebrating the Feast of Eostre. Go, and have fun. And stuff yourself with chocolate bunnies, because I said so. Next post, I’ll give you ideas for keeping yourself and the kids busy while indoors.

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Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere (finally), even though in many parts of the world, we still have winter weather. During this time, our thoughts normally turn to the more pleasant weather and outdoor activities. This year may be a bit different, though. I’ve promised myself to not make every post about the 800-pound gorilla in the room (Coronavirus/ COVID-19), but talking about celebrating spring is going to be tempered with what we’re dealing with. So, if you’re looking for great things to do while still being mindful of the pandemic, I’ve got your ideas right here.

Enjoy the Weather

Just because everyone is distancing doesn’t mean you can’t do things. Just don’t plan on crowd activities or activities with anyone other than those who live with you. Instead, try getting out to wild places like National Forests and Wilderness areas. Try to go places where you know you won’t have to deal with other people. Can’t get away or too far to avoid other people? Have a picnic in your backyard or on your balcony.

Get Out and Hunt or Fish

If you hunt or fish, check out what season it is for hunting certain game, or fishing. You might want to try your hand at other types of hunting that you haven’t done in the past, largely because of other commitments. Who knows? You might find a new type of hunting you enjoy?

While you’re at it, offer blots to Skadi and Ullr, because they are the goddess and god of hunting. And if you’re into fishing, a blot to Ran and Njord might work well.

Offer Blots to the Gods and the Local Wights

Eir is the goddess of healing, and a Valkyrie. Making offerings for healing both humans and the world is not a bad idea at this time. Give offerings to the gods and goddesses of spring. Include Freyja, Freyr, Eostre, Sif, Gerdr, and Thor in your blots for a prosperous and healthy spring. Be sure to include animals and new plantings so that there are good harvests in the fall. I talk about making an outdoor altar HERE.

Don’t forget the local wights. Although I am agnostic when it comes to them, I admit that I offer the local landvaettir something to ensure they are happy. They can make a difference between positive experiences and negative ones.

Get Your (Container) Garden Planted

I’ve talked a lot about getting closer to your Heathen roots by planting gardens, even if it’s a container garden. Now is the time to do it, if you have good weather. Even apartment dwellers can plant container gardens and enjoy them. I recommend planting seeds for vegetables and herbs because they’re useful and you can use them in cooking, but you can choose whatever you’d like. Maybe some flowers that will make your place look beautiful?

Read Those Books You’ve Been Meaning To

If you’re like me, you have a gazillion books on the shelves that you haven’t read. Time to dust them off and start reading them. Or if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber like I am, you can read as many books as you care to for $9.99 a month with Kindle Unlimited.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Frigga and Frau Holle will be delighted if you decide to do some spring cleaning. Anyway, you should be disinfecting things because of the virus, but this gives you an excuse to finally get all those dirty dishes out of your sink.

 

Just Have a of Coffee or Tea, and Enjoy the Weather

Okay, if you can’t get to your favorite coffee shop, brew up some coffee or tea and sit on the porch or on the balcony and just enjoy the weather. Don’t get too enamored with the Internet, because yes, it will rot your brain. Okay, I don’t have any proof of that, but seriously staying online all the time isn’t good for you. Sit and enjoy the weather and the coffee (or tea). Meditate. Thank the gods you’re not sick, or if you are, do what you can for a speedy recovery.

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