Streuth Mate!

In reading the somewhat poignant commentary on Jonathan Woolley’s latest & greatest, I saw something quite intriguing; a benefit to being the bastard offspring of the worst sorts of the British Empire and the midday soap opera that is the U.S.A’s influence on the 21st Century.

Something that was very strongly highlighted by Woolley in his article and even more strongly present in the commentary was this difference between European and North American (read: U.S.A) attitudes regarding the pursuit of

Pagan, Heathen, Polytheist, &c. practices. For not a few people, the difference seemed to come across as a surprising (to me) source of tension, rather like that moment in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Willow has invitations to go to both the top American & European universities; le gasp, choices!? How does one choose between Harvard or Oxford, Princeton or Sorbonne? Ultimately Willow avoids the question by doing the best-friend thing and sticking by Buffy and the hometown, a sadly devoid option in the current scenario.

The differences between Europe and North America are so deeply entrenched in the latter’s psyche that jokes can be made about it in pop-culture (and the referencing thereof) – similarly so in the European perception of the United States as a haven of freedom et.al; again, there are many examples in popular culture of the European escaping to the pseudo-idyllic ‘America!!’.

There’s a number of very good and obvious reasons why there would exist these stark differences between this pair. The question that I have to ask however, is: why are these differences such a surprise to the Americans? and when will the Europeans stop getting thin lipped when America behaves uncouthly?  It is maybe easier to perceive, being an aforementioned bastard offspring, but let’s all be honest with each other:  after several centuries it shouldn’t take special circumstances of birth to see something like this.

Did you know? The source of the Australian accent (a.k.a The Drawl) stems from a bunch of prisoners, immigrants and local folks getting together and having no choice but to get along: Irish, English, Aboriginal, German, Chinese and countless more; alcohol may or may not have had a facilitating hand in this. Jury is still out on that one.

In the almost-year that Gods & Radicals has been running the sheer, raw provenance of the writers has been honestly awe inspiring; fearsome and wondrous. With so many people ‘in the stable’ as it were, one would think that eventually, inevitably, there would be someone having an off-day or simply too caught up in sudden happenstances to keep such a high standard going. Nevertheless the quality has remained the same, even increased over time.

At the same time however, the number of fractures in our wider cross-sections have also increased. The real tragedy is not so much the presence of those fractures, in an amalgam of people as diversely varied as we are there are always hairline fractures; rather it is the reasons these fractures are rapidly growing into adult fissures – You and I think We are ‘right’. Obviously, this personalization is a tad reductive… but it serves. Allegorically speaking:

I think that I’m right and that anytime you say something contradictory, everytime you so much as issue a single utterance without acknowledging all possibilities that ‘I’ represents, you are inherently disrespecting everything ‘I’ holds dear – the only two questions of import now are how badly have you ‘deliberately’ shown disrespect and how irate I shall be.

I sounds like more than a ‘bit’ of an asshole, don’t ‘I’ – let’s continue to be honest though, You is the same. ‘You’ does the same thing for much the same reason.

Speaking outside the example now, I find it hard to address this issue because of the irony which ultimately makes this a beautiful circumstance. Returning to Jonathan’s example of Europeans and Americans being the broad line along which he divided the biggest fissure-in-progress: this example highlights perhaps the most amazing, almost genuinely miraculous element in all of these events. We are, unintentionally perhaps, closer to that ever ill-defined ‘Paganism’ because of this difference–and that is a very good thing. It demonstrates that maybe the most precious aspect of our collective Pagan, Heathen, Polytheist etc. identity is finally developing into maturity.

Who we are and where we come from, what we speak and what is seen as appropriate are clearly starting to affect how we exist as Pagans, Heathens, Polytheists et.al. To wit: our culture, personal and national, has become a driving force behind our aforementioned sense of Identity. To show this, let’s look at the differences between Americans & Europeans once more vis a vis Woolley’s division of the two:

  • Americans. Famously known for their heart-on-the-sleeves patriotism and swaggering one-upmanship are desperately trying to collate and distill Pagan, Heathen, Polytheist etc. into a single word of equivalent weight, significance and use to ‘America’ and ‘American’;
  • Europeans. Long used to retaining individual identities privately as a coping mechanism for living while surrounded by people who are or have been friends, foes or both, are taking a more understated approach to living in a way, a lifestyle if you will, that allows for both developed practice and oft necessary European mores.

This is an incredibly beautiful thing in a world which has increasingly few beautiful things contained within it. There is however, a hitch, rather twisted in its cruel irony:

These two groups who, though different in execution, have strong foundations in diversity and incorporation of others without assimilation; in the pursuit of a shared developed and more mature Pagan, Heathen, Polytheist et.al practice – which itself is twice renowned for its inclusivity and variety – have combined together to create a resulting toxic atmosphere of biting accusations, vitriolic name calling, acerbic denunciations and absolutism towards what I’m fairly sure we all agreed had no so-called ‘right’ answer

If that’s not fucked up, someone please. Show me what is.

At this juncture though I must advise caution in jumping either too far or to conclusions. My subject is the differences in culture that are being translated via disparate practices and used as excuses to behave like spoiled children. I can best show this through a joking patronization of both groups, as most Australians are wont to do…

It’s an insecurity-based identity crisis thing. Don’t question it.

“Europe, honestly, I get it. I really do; America is loud, brash, occasionally unwashed and is the living embodiment of the adage ‘bull in a china shop’. Lets be fair though, you have a stick up your arse roughly the same size and shape of the offspring of a hedgehog and an agave cactus. Live. A. Little. Learn to relax once in a while – just because you’re getting older doesn’t make you less attractive. Plus a lot of us are into older people now.

America, we’re on the same page mate. Honestly. Europe is an old, stodgy, grumpy S.O.B who wouldn’t know fun if it slapped them in the face with a cold trout and there’s no denying that they tend to say ‘by Christmas’ and really mean ‘in a hundred years or so’. Let’s be real though, you still haven’t learned that its not polite to toss yourself off when there is someone in the room and your capacity with a broom and vacuum cleaner are not exactly up to scratch. You’re 240 next year, time to start acting your age.

Seriously though, its getting embarrassing. All my friends are acting weird around me now. Like, the other day Finland gave me this look and I swear! It was like they were saying ‘its ok, I’m here for you’. Fucking, JAPAN of all people actually said to me yesterday that it would be ok to stay with them till I can find a place of my own.

New Zealand came to my room this morning, balling their eyes out asking who they’d be living with after the divorce!

You two are the worst anthropomorphized continents-as-parents ever!”

There is a stupid, almost Biblical number of ways to say this: build a bridge, drink heavily, eat chocolate till you feel sick, spank your inner moppet, have a quickie with that cute guy or girl who’s almost certainly a drug runner, do a yoga retreat, take up glass blowing (again) or the ever popular “fucking get over it already” – literally anything else is more important for you associated Pagans, Heathens, Polytheists etc. to fight about than the differences between how and what an American and a European does it.

Don’t fight, you’re both pretty.

What really germinated all of this was a combination of genuine shock regarding what Woolley described and was subsequently exemplified in the commentary, the closing of the year, a Norse deity called Kvasir and the origins of my own country.

It struck me as practically obscene that the approaches, or rather the difference in approaches, to Paganism, Heathenry, Polytheism etc. between American and Europe had billowed out into such a big ticket debate when there are categorically more important things to be concerned with – much like Woolley himself mentions. Obviously, there will always be problems in any group and the history of Europe and America both individually and together throws a number of curve balls into the relationship.

Guess what, though? It is not and never will be required that the two of you get along perfectly – in fact no one expects that. The only expectation is that you not behave like children. In this respect, America and Europe are much like the Aesir and Vanir.

Two groups of similar but different ‘folks’ are fighting but unable to truly win out over the other. Eventually its decided everyone has better things to be doing, they exchange some token ‘hostage-prisoners’ and then everyone spits in a bucket. Odin waves his hand and Lo! We have the god Kvasir, made from the two halves of the Norse gods. Do they get along perfectly from then on? Fuck. No. They do not. They just don’t let the minutiae of their differences keep them from the important tasks at hand.

Australia is much the same: Great Britain’s most despicable bastards and hellions, mixed with a combination of brutalized Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, migrants of opportunity and war, got drunk and made a country. Again, it’s not perfect. We definitely have our share of bad days and cold blooded lizard people for Prime Minister, but at the end of the day we band together and drop those contextually petty contrivances when the chips are down and the important shit that keeps us together is imperiled.

The ease with which modern telecommunications and transport allows us and information to move around means that the analogy isn’t exact; some Americans are more European in their mores while some Europeans are more American; add that to the reality that folks are moving where they feel most at ease or at home even more regularly than in the past.

All this creates a certain murkiness around the edges and often times (I myself included) the sort of people that are drawn to areas like Gods & Radicals forget that the way We experience our culture is very different to the way others within it experience it and dramatically different to how it presents to other cultures; liberal minded Americans forgetting that for most other people, American and non, the U.S.A regularly adopts US vs. THEM mentalities which becomes WITH or AGAINST modes of thought, for example. Yes, it is easier to pick on the Americans. I’m sure you’ll survive.

This is important to keep sight of because when you lose sight of this, when you lose sight of the fact that you are all going to have culturally-based approaches that are different, when you don’t see how beautiful that is and the victory it represents you consummately lose sight of the people who are living examples of how you can at the very least, reconcile your differences in a way that lets the important shit be the first priority.

No, you shouldn’t find someone and spit on them.

Instead, just get over it.

Die Verbotenehexerei

My mind likes to jump around when I am thinking, which makes beginnings somewhat difficult and this is certainly no exception to that particular foible. Predominently,  I intended this to be included in “Salt in the Unguent” as a commentary fresh on ‘the day of’ however not only have my attempts to do so grown far beyond a reasonable size for that particular purpose, the commentary no long strictly discusses the original topic because in following some advice I was given post-“Olives of Asperity” the scope of the topic has broadened more than slightly. Originally I had intended to comment on why it was important (and radical) to be so open about enacting a curse, then my mind changed and I considered commenting on the responsibilty we have to do more to safeguard places like Palmyra using all of our talents, together, not just the ones we like to brag about to each other. It is there that the real question I wanted to ask came to mind: how have we come to share, within our own spaces, the taboos imposed upon us by a society that we are, in essence, trying to unmake?

While it is never a brilliant thing, it is occasionally pragmatic to generalise and say things such as: ‘The Community’ loosely defined as Pagans, Heathens and Polytheists are people who, in the pursuit of their religious and spiritual practices, also seek to improve the societies within which they live by opposing certain longstanding practices and carrying a broad, but constant, femminist and ecological sustainable, predominently left-wing political stance”. Generalising or not, the large majority of that statement is true whether looking at a true cross section of that ‘Community’ or taking it as de facto true simply because it is the position from which many of our internal arguments commence. However, is it possible that we have done as Dr. Who potrayed by Matt Smith did: “I got too big Dorium, too noisy…” and now exist in a space that is of our own fashioning yet privy to discernment of others?

Such questions are purely, rhetorically, hypothetical because ‘The Community’ functions in the manner of a dysfunctional Brady Family whereby when an external catalyst allows, we come togehter and in some case literally become stronger than the sum of our parts but at all other times would to outward appearances want nothing more than to violently extricate ourselves of, or otherwise do away with, the other members of the family. For someone with too much time on their hands, the similarities between the loosely described families of the deities we worship and ourselves has become quite intriguing (and at times excellent entertainment) – have John H and John B become unto Zeus and Poseidon with Jason M as their Hades or is it a stronger argument to say that Rhyd and Sam are our own Loki and Thor? To say nothing of Gwion and Phoenix who could pass for either Freyr and Freyja or Ba’al and Asherah with Sannion perfectly positioned to be a reclusive Dionysius, PSVL as Thoth and Galina worthily made Hel and Morpheus unquestionably The Morrigan.

Theoretically, one could re-assign every ‘inside voiced’ (to say nothing of the ‘loud’) commentor from ‘The Community’ and make them a deity but ultimately I would likely have to dip into our stock of ‘whispering’ commentors in order to make sure no deity was left behind, as one invariably must these days.

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There is a point however, to all of this; that being there is an unfortunate irony in that we collectively resemble any and all of the clans or families or tribes or, for lack of a better word, pantheons that we worship but only in so far as emulating their less admirable qualities – save for those rare moments of external stimuli of course: when faced with our very own Titanomachy or Fimbulwinter et. al, we have set a good precedent for banding together as a whole to guard against those things which are (more often than not) justifiably worse than our own conflicts. However. Unlike the petty, argumentative and often puerile seeming deities to whom I would equate us, we fail to measure up when it comes to living up to the rest of deal. Oðin might spend his time wandering the world, drinking mead made from the blood of other gods and hanging from trees but he remains King and still has an obligation to fulfill the responsibilities therein; more to the point though, he like all the other deities Earth can lay claim to don’t hesitate even slightly to use every skill, trick and wile to get what needs doing done. For them, that typically means messing with the dirty peasant monkey-people (better known as you and me) and often simply, sometimes quite literally, waving their hand and making it happen.

We, and often times Them as well, call this ‘Magic’ – although being the freckled, glasses wearing, red headed step-child of ‘The Community’ we don’t really call it magic so much these days. Nevertheless it continues to be a hotter topic of debate than the Australian bush after a dry spring and extreme bushfire season; opinions vary wildly from place to place and person to person as to what exactly ‘It’ is, whether there is enough focus on it or too much emphasis placed on it and virtually every other concievable facet. Most problematically of all, there are often times very good arguments in every corner which is good in terms of lively debate but detracts from the larger issue at hand – where does magic stand within ‘The Community’? It seems an almost ironic question given how prominent a role magic, and its various alternatives, has played in the lives of many of humanity’s greatest thinkers and inventors and pioneers and so forth – even to the extent where the person’s religion became unequivocally extricated from their mystic or esoteric pursuits – contrast to ourselves where the two are not so extricable. Scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, inventors, explorers; even some of the mostly truly foul and reprehensible human beings to exist have found a way of reconciling their way of life with what would otherwise appear to be irreconcilable differences, namely the mystical or esoteric. Rather ironically, it seems that we ‘The Community’ are the only ones who have trouble reconciling who we are, our faith and the mystic or esoteric. Problematically though, we are the ones who, if all of our dischordant bellowing is to be taken seriously, are supposed to be reconciling those aspects better than most.

While a genuine generalisation, it is worth noting that of the many, many religions in the world it is the collection that our community practices which should be the last place one finds the eponymous attitude or idea ‘the forbidden witchcraft’ (loosely termed to allow for more evocative German) and yet we have such a tempestuous crossing of opinions on the matter. There is a unique absurdity in hearing or reading somebody tell someone else that, in the simplest meaning, cursing is bad or that magic isn’t real or that magic is only real if we explain it with science or that you can only do magic if its actually a prayer to a deity or… The list quickly becomes prohibitive to functionally list.

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Magic is still something which many of us, myself included, find troublesome to handle in the world beyond the boundaries of these places where we are supposed to be able to ‘talk shop’ without having to stop and check every few sentences – for whatever reason. Its not for me to say whether or not that will ever change; other religions have had the time and chance to explore their mystic and esoteric elements and each has come to its own conclusion for how to come to terms with that and determine what form or forms it will take within themselves. We’re the ones who say we are a witch or a bard or a sorcerer or a shaman or priest or a wiccan.

What is the point in being those things if that which essentially defines those, the mystical and esoteric, are not a large part of ourselves – a part that we can’t even be proud of amongst ourselves much less everyone else.


Alan Evans

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A silver tongued seductee of language, consumately un-settled and mortally afflicted with fernweh, Alan Evans learns for the sake of learning and the strangers-become-companions met along the way. He pines for the gods, teaches English, learns languages, plays drums, understands people, makes love in four languages, writes and fights like only Australian grandson of an Irishwoman can and will salaciously flirt to death any ‘Wizard of Oz’ quips. Main site: Trees in the Train Station. Also contributes to The Elemental Witch.

Olives of Asperity & A.N.

A.N: Apologies to all; this was intended to go up a few weeks back but I wasn’t attentive enough to the time differences between myself and the G&R website, so today you get a two-fer.

The Tempest

 Pyres of Palmyra

Gather hence: tinder fashioned to hearken those ancestors of thine, a seed of some great longevity, the wings of a dragon’s miniscule kin, a raptor’s plume and deadened leaves posessing many teeth; offerings through which to curse whose substance will feed the pyre; libation most fitting, two tokens for two tasks and a great storm’s waters.

Set as the heart, the seed long living embraced by all the fanged leaves. Raise above the tinder well, to allow its long drawing breath. Set within those ruddy bones ev’ry flame amidst the flesh. Feed the growing offspring of yours a raptors plume for its surest hunting sight and dragons wings for all great raging flight. Feed it further cursed offerings at all proper pause whilst intoning thusly:

“To know your heart will not be done, all Time shall not permit,

To know your creed there is a Name, thought it’s tasting is most foul,

A Name too dark and baned, a-swell with ev’ry tainted weight,

Direly incandescent, doth shine thy every blighted monument.

Nine Moons convoked to wane your deeds and lo,

upon the flesh of Nine, well the flames shall feed;

A name a moon a moon a rune,

Nine curses to make thee cease:

Wretches have no joy to hold; thine Wunjo mold as rotted meat.

Trespassers fear the glinting blade; thine Tiwaz dull to deadened blunting.

Marauders take to show their strength; thine Mannaz run to fat.

Scourges herald all malevolent purging ; thine Sowilo blaze your eyes to burning

Betrayers smile with full toxined heart; thine Berkano be all emptied shell.

Kanves carry truest all dishonest face; thine Kenaz twist ‘gainst all bearing.

Perfiders warp all to suit their need; thine Perthro give all pox and bile.

Descrators enervate with boundless totality; thine Dagaz fall drowned midst the sea.

Apostates reject till all unto oblivion succumbs; thine Ansuz also be so nulled.”

With the flames of the final offering fading into embers, further feed the flames and rouse at once all Ancestors of thine. Offer unto them libation worth of giving to the gods then two tokens for their next two tasks:

“Ancestors of mine; waken to this growing flame and dance along its wooded bones. Carry far and farther still one spark a-tip each finger. Take these fledging hearts with all due care to old-temple all a yonder, place hand upon that desert land and whisper: ‘Djinn of Old, abide no longer amidst great, deep slumber. Rally fast and stand, as your Palmyra demands.’

Linger yet a while, with half still to plant, nary permit even one Transgressor spilled drop of blood go bare. Once more place they hand upon the stain and entice: ‘Ifreet of Old, be patient no more, let loose thy raging roar. Reach forth and stand, as their forced blood demands’.

Only whence all Djinn rise to halt the violate advance; only when all Ifreet rise to stay the tide; only when eld spirits stand in Palmyra’s last defence; when all old sanctum’s board lit, by flaming guards are done; when only pyres to mark the line are set. Only then have rest, return to sleep and know thy task be done.”

Douse the flames with waters of a great storm and permit what remains to smoulder.


I am a teacher, at a high school ordinary as any other, and one of the irrefutable realities of being a teacher is that every single moment that you are in that role is one in which you are constantly being watched; not watched, per se so much as observed. Every moment you stand in front of students is a moment in which you are Teacher, is a moment in which they are looking at you and watching how you are within the world. You and I both know that the standard high school environment is rather artifical and that ones job does not necessarily define who you are nor your actions; school children do not know that however. They see how I behave as their teacher and they internalise that and whether I want them to or not, whether I think its a good idea or not, they use that as a template for how they should be.

Often times this means that there are things I tolerate because, in all honesty, I have no choice – whether it is something petty like disagreeing that the clothes teachers are required to wear are appropriate, sometimes it is something important such as wanting to teach classes differently because the current approach is detrimental and hating that I have to suppress the urge to just teach differently regardless. Honestly, you do get used to the reality that your actions are constantly being studied, learned and then displayed back to you. It isn’t always good, but there is no real choice in the matter because you are setting an example whether you want to or not.

The last week or so has been interesting for me, keeping abreast of things here at Gods & Radicals, reading what folks have to say elsewhere, following the news. Doing so all the while trying to find just the right way to do what I said I would do has proven to be very intriguing, not in the least because there have been times when I have had to try very hard to not let those events affect me. Gargarean suggested that I should talk to Galina about her intended use for the design he created; I chose not to do so before now partly because she has been on holiday and partly because if it does turn out that Galina herself intends to curse (Gargarean himself said that he made the design with the intention of a curse) then I am more than capable of admitting that I was, at least partly, wrong. Its something I do all the time; being mistaken is part of how we learn so I feel no shame in it. An article I read lamented the lack of philosophising within the greater Pagan, Heathen and Polytheist community; I worked hard not to abandon my idea for one that seemed better. A good friend was quite emphatic that they thought (specifically) me cursing anyone or thing was a bad idea; unwise though it may be I have chosen to ignore them. I even wondered if there was anything remotely connected to the core idea of Gods&Radicals in what I had written then and now; I ignored myself.

Much like being a teacher, anyone who writes here is being studied. People are looking at what we do to know what is and isn’t ‘okay’ to do – we don’t have a choice in the matter anymore because we made that choice when we said “I want to do this”. I wont soften the fact that its a sometimes bleak position, I certainly won’t apologise for my admittedly hardline way of expressing it because we all decided for ourselves that a line needed to be drawn and that it would be where we stand and say “No; no more”.

So wise or unwise here we all are, our fingers in the sand.

Line in the Sand

Images are of actor Helen Mirren as Prospero in The Tempest, directed by Julie Taymor adapted from The Tempest by William Shakespeare.


Alan Evans

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A silver tongued seductee of language, consumately un-settled and mortally afflicted with fernweh, Alan Evans learns for the sake of learning and the strangers-become-companions met along the way. He pines for the gods, teaches English, learns languages, plays drums, understands people, makes love in four languages, writes and fights like only Australian grandson of an Irishwoman can and will salaciously flirt to death any ‘Wizard of Oz’ quips. Main site: Trees in the Train Station. Also contributes to The Elemental Witch.

Olives of Asperity

This morning I watered the three plants I have managed to wedge onto my balcony beside the washing machine and propped up by a makeshift shelf so the rosemary and holly could get enough sunlight and I noticed something that I was assured couldn’t happen by reason of only having a single olive tree in a part of the world distinctly not known for them:         I noticed olives on a tree that shouldn’t have had any.

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Time; it is something that humanity may never understand to our lasting satisfaction, we all must answer to its inevitable weight and everyone collectively or un- has a different relationship with it. Every philosophy, society, way of life – you name it; all have a different relationship to Time.

Pagans & Heathens et al have what can only be described as an interesting relationship to Time. For the most part there is less of an overt fear of our own mortality, we profess to a better and or more intimate appreciation of certain cycles than our contemporaries; we in effect have one foot in the past while we step forward into the future. This relationship however, has one prominent flaw: we’re often too damned slow to act. At barely some few days into 25, in comparison to many I certainly speak with youthful prerogative. Everything often seems to occur too slowly for one’s liking – which is a thought founded on the idea that there is a sufficiency, nay excess, of time with which to achieve one’s purpose. If I may be so bold as to say: the hour has long past the moment when we had even just enough time.

On the 26th of June, Tess Dawson at Polytheist published an article entitled “The Horror of Palmyra” which goes into an exposition about the current and past condition and use of the city of Palmyra which is both historically speaking of insurmountable archaeological value and religiously speaking one of a great many such sites which the arguably named Daesh (Da’ish/Da’eesh/ISIL/etc) have either destroyed or quasi taken hostage. Her distaste for the actions of the group is clear, her recounting of the various uses of the sacred site and the gods that have been worshipped there is rich and engaging. However by the end of the article Tess concludes the piece thusly:

“We need to nourish, hold, and maintain our polytheist spaces, our holy places, our sacred discourses, our necessary conversations, our holidays, our rites, our offerings, our blessed gatherings. We need to nourish, hold, and maintain these things on behalf of our deities, our ancestors, and each other. And we need to do this far more than any curse or call for vengeance. Indeed, these very acts themselves are revolutionary and the very things that Daesh and others would try to blot out. Do these things first, and then, only then, contemplate curses because vengeance is nothing when there is nothing left to avenge.”
-Tess Dawson, The Horror of Palymra

Tess is not the only person to have written about Palmyra at Polytheist either. Galina Krasskova is someone I openly respect and hold no small amount of admiration for; so it is a strange position for me to be in to use her as a way of demonstrating I find serious fault with.

Galina’s article “A Polytheistic Day of Protest and Remembrance”, is very much what I have come to expect from her: wise voice, powerful spirit and a refined passion resting beneath the surface. Truth be told, she reminds me of my mother in no small way in that she seems very mild mannered, brilliantly intelligent and sagacious but utterly fearsome when given to being impassioned. Her contribution is a prayer and offering for anyone and everyone to follow on the 31st of July, her proposed day of protest and remembrance – the prayer she includes with the article:

“May the holy places of the Many Gods remain inviolate for all time.
“May the hands of the enemies of the Many Gods be smashed and their efforts come to naught.
May the worship of the Many Gods flourish in many lands again.”
– Galina Krasskova, A Polytheistic Day of Protest and Remembrance

It isn’t hard to say why I think both these people are wrong in their proposed courses, because it is something that is seen regularly in the Pagan, Heathen and Polytheist et al population, substantially more than anything else. The somewhat recent Pagan Community Statement on the Environment demonstrates it again. Most articles written by Insert A. Name for as long as I can recall have shared attributes with the two I single out and the Statement; the conveyance of a belief that we still have time left. A persisting belief that there is still ‘enough time’ to solve the problem or defeat the bad guy or fix the planet – that there is time for solidarity alone to have an effect.

Tess and Galina both, fall back to a palisade oft compared to the creed “love thy neighbor” of predominantly Christian renown. While it is an agreeable thing to say ‘love conquers all’ there is an indisputable, imminent reality which quite violently says otherwise; and while I will wholeheartedly step up to the lectern to espouse just how humanity (and ostensibly by extension the universe around us) has changed in the intervening years, I would like to remind the audience that the Deity of the Old Testament is radically different to the one who practiced the aforementioned creed. Moreover it is well worth reminding that for all that we and those gods with which we align ourselves may have grown, developed or otherwise changed along with us, it is very clear that the changes have not been all too profound and what is possibility for us must surely be certainty for the gods.

There are no easy answers here: practically no white or black, very little red, green and blue and tumultuous amounts of grey yet that which transcends the issue is that the temporal component to much of what we do simply doesn’t exist. Whether it is because we ourselves are too hesitant or taken with sloth to act or the unpredictable nature of something like Daesh or the reality that nourishment and healing and solidarity are things that require time which neither we nor anyone else has anymore. Discourse won’t slow the slaughter of men or women or children; proper nourishment is chancy in the right conditions and a problem for another day in conditions such as these; the true inviolability of someone or something only comes about through a few avenues: respect for someone or something, fear of repercussion, a sense of awe, and expressions of power… Apropos Palmyra its worth remembering that the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians and their contemporaries protected such sites with curses and not with prayers.

Perhaps it is because even We fear a reality where we can set ourselves to this kind purpose and experience the results, that we do not raise our hand honestly to the task set to us. Even the most simple of curses, bad luck, still holds such a powerful sway over the modern world and so perhaps it is because the fear of even this most childish of curses persists that we outright refuse to gird ourselves and issue forth greater maledictions.

I will. Not out of spite for the words of Tess or Galina, not for any conceiting belief in my power over the world, not to prove myself as some chosen vassal of a god or gods, not because I want a fight, not for any hatred of Daesh nor love of any one nation or more, certainly not because I think it will have some sudden and cataclysmic effect on them.

I’ll curse instead of praying, I’ll do it because as sure as there’ll be some lambasting comment about my character as a human being that results from this article I will be able to feel slightly less sick to my core when I read in the news that Palmyra is in rubbles and that humanity has irrecoverably lost yet another memory to Daesh and that I did everything I could have done to try and stop them; that I used everything I had to try and prevent them from demolishing Palmyra as though it were nothing but stones.

Moreover I’ll do it because without priests and guardians of its own to do this in its defense, someone has to do it on their behalf; their duties and responsibilities are now ours.


As I’m sitting here looking at my olive tree and thinking about the bee that probably found its way up here the other month, I consider what I did when I first planted the tree. I wanted to give it the best chance I could, I took the lungs and heart of a chicken, buried them on a painted bindrune at the bottom of the pot and sang a little charm I learned somewhere to make plants grow well. I did so fairly sure that it would do something, after all, my mother’s garden seemed to respond well to similar treatment. I look at these olives and I remember the quiet moment I had when I first thought that I had caused them to happen, that I had done something so small and ordinary but ultimately what should have been impossible. I think perhaps many of us, me included, are too ready to crush that little grain of faith in favor of certain skepticism.

So I turn myself to a new task at hand. I’ve resolved myself through word and now that resolve must be turned to deed and I consider the how of it, the phrasing of it, and the moment of it. I consider that my 31st of July will be the 30th for many who have read Galina and Tess’s words. I consider how they are the grandparents of this and that part of them should be in how it will be done. I consider the importance of Galina’s design that it be done nine times, the weight of Nine; nine months of pregnancy, nine days Odin hung from the Tree taking up the runes; nine times on one day, nine times on nine days perhaps; Tess’s words about vengeance and nourishment and necessary conversations and our rites; what makes Daesh seem powerful to us; what makes Palmyra so important; the powers of names… All these things come to mind and so too does Medea, a memory of an essay written in university. I wrote about her and Prospero and their magic; more figures come to mind be they legendary, mythological, fable or fact, historical or living; so many come to mind. I can’t consider myself their equal, not in ten lifetimes but thinking on them does help. With them in mind I put pen to paper and begin to make ready.

Design by Markos Gage, a.k.a The Gargarean, for Galina Krasskova’s undertaking.

finalvectorbymarkosgage


Alan Evans

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A silver tongued seductee of language, consumately un-settled and mortally afflicted with fernweh, Alan Evans learns for the sake of learning and the strangers-become-companions met along the way. He pines for the gods, teaches
English, learns languages, plays drums, understands people, makes love in four languages, writes and fights like only Australian grandson of an Irishwoman can and will salaciously flirt to death any ‘Wizard of Oz’ quips. Main site: Trees in the Train Station. Also contributes to The Elemental Witch.

Innominate

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Raise to Rise; the Niðstang’s cries
shed the Mountains’ fears
Raise to Rise; the Draíochta render betwixt the loam and skies
Enriched by blood, the sacrifice o’ thousand years

Stain withal malignance, vitriol and bile
Imprecations to enact ev’thing most vile

Affix thine Eyes o’Niðstang, upon the foe a yonder
By our Blood, our Breath and Bone! Unleash thy great thunder!
Draíochta bounden unto Niðstang
Niðstang bounden unto Draíochta

Raise to Rise the Niðstang, skein of Bane and Dooming
Rise to Raise the Draíochta, tempest of Wrath and Fuming

Dagda sing with Óðinn – Kin! Weave this mighty thing!
Þór hew with Goibnur – Kin! Craft this fearsome thing!
Airgetlam take up the Sword and Týr take up the Shield;
Valkyrie stand with Morrigan, at once! Most dire, your Warband.

Rise! Niðstang; Raise! Draíochta.
Raise so we all shall Rise.

Rise to Raise; the Geis eyes
Exhume the Forests’ roars.
Rise to Raise, the Galdrar sound betwixt the loam and skies.
Suffused by breath, this ‘herited immanent cause.

Afflict withal asperity, momentousness and retribution
Imperatives to beget all most potent abjuration.

Direct thine Voice o’Geis, upon arbiters who nigh anticipate
By our Breath, our Bone and Blood, vivify thy ‘venging sovereignty venerate!
Galdrar bounden unto Geis
Geis bounden unto Galdrar

Ogma charm with Bragi – Kin! Enchant this potent thing!
Skaði frenzy with Nemain – Kin! Whet this sanguine thing!
Heimdall hold the line and Sámhildánach drive the way,
Fianna charge with Freyja, tarry not ‘midst tumultuous raid!

Raise! Geis, Rise! Galdrar
Rise so we all shall Raise!

Now,
Flushed with blood, the Niðstang raised;
Roused with breath the Geis risen;
Only one of three remain.

From ‘Vate and the Völva;
By seiðr sung and druid drawn;
To every world, through every bridge, in every fashion known:

This: Our Oath,
Burned into Our Bone.

~ Alan Evans, 23rd – 28th February 2015