The Atrabilious Nihilarian

Archive for the ‘Life with The Gods’ Category


In the last 2 years I have been struggling, or just outright ignoring in some cases, anything related to my spiritual life.  I had, by action and circumstance, been separated for quite some time from what I considered to be my spiritual leadership – those whom I was spending time with, learning from – by spending time with them if not actually in student/teacher relationships with.  It became difficult to try to focus on my own spiritual growth and connections with the gods that I felt had called me without some form of group practice, however irregular and sporadic.  That sporadic connection was enough to keep  me motivated between visits.

In the last couple of months, this spring, as the world around me thawed out and sprang to life, I started feeling pushed to reconnect.  Dust off the altars, pay attention.  It started with a reading from Raven K… and I’m slowly but surely finding my way.

Inspiration yesterday came from needing to work on a craft exchange for a witchcrafting group I belong to.  Today, a different group got to talking about Appalachian folk magic and practices – a region I am descended from, where my immediate ancestors hailed from – vs my far more ancient Norse by way of England by way of the American colonization…. One of the problems I’ve had, while I do feel connected to my Norse ancestors, it is a weak connection at best, I don’t feel their presence all that strongly and I have had much difficulty in trying to establish a closer relationship with them.   I still pay them homage, as they deserve, but a relationship with them eludes me still.

But, upon thinking of my immediate ancestors – those from Appalachia – I already *have* a relationship with them.  I *knew* them, in this life, and so, it seemed like a lightbulb went on – “aha! why not start by kindling the relationships that already existed”… my great-great grandmother was a Christian to be certain, as were my great-great-great aunts and uncles…but they were Appalachian Christians – and what’s more – they were only 1 generation from their roots as Muncee-Lennape Indians.

When the Walking Purchase forced many of the Muncee peoples west, some stayed behind.  My great-great-grandfather was born in Cape May Courthouse New Jersey.  My great-grandfather was born in Cape May Courthouse…. My grandfather was born there as well… And when he was a child, the family moved to Appalachia – specifically into westernmost North Carolina.  And there they lived, and married, and passed on stories and “superstitions”.

It is funny, that in paganism, the association with wolves as totems or spirit animals is so overdone as to be a sarcastic cliche… No matter how truly I felt that affinity – no matter that it was that particular affinity that helped form my relationship with Odin, and foster my connection, however tenuous, with my Norse ancestors… it was still a cliche – one I occasionally questioned or occasionally felt bouts of secret guilt about… was I just being a cliched poser? was that why my connections felt so tenuous?

But you know, in spite of having, years before becoming pagan, an interest in my family history – of spending hours in and libraries, creating our family trees… there was much about my family I didn’t know.  My great aunts and uncles had already done that side of our family tree – I had all of the dates and family connections and knew who are kin were (and where they all scattered to)… so I never looked very deeply at my Lenape family.

My surname, had my family continued the Lenape matrilineal tradition, would be Muncey (a variant of Muncee that was changed when my great grandfather moved from New Jersey to North Carolina)…. because we were originally of the Muncee clan of the Munsee tribe.  1/3 of the original Lenni Lenape tribe.  The totem of the Munsee Tribe…. the wolf.

And now, I must be off… the next generation needs my attention… things to ponder… and perhaps tonight I shall sit with the Muncey’s and see what happens.

Raising a child to my path

She loves the moon.  She loves to be outdoors.  She loves to dance barefoot in the grass and play with sticks and dig in the dirt bare handed.

She is, for now, making it a bit easier to introduce her to the life of loving at least the dirt worshiping part.

Putting her to bed tonight this was the refrain in my head:

Good night, Moon.

Good night, Stars.

Good night, Ancestors, near and far.

Watch over me tonight and let me rest,

So I can try again tomorrow, to be and do my very best.

It only took me 4 months

I am finally putting the altar(s) back up.  What was originally one altar with a side space for storage of necessities is now 2 altar cabinets…

Where the original altar was all one cohesive, albeit generic, altar – whose original point was to have something of both of us melded together into one, the secondary altar, the one on the dresser, is coming together as 1 place, but altars to multiple deities/figures.  I don’t know why, I haven’t examined it in too much detail.  I’ve simply been unpacking boxes and putting things where they seemed to need to go.  Rebuilding the altars at this point is an exercise for my mind…a way of starting to reconnect with the gods that I thought had given up on me since my detour into places they didn’t want me to go.

I need to go out and get journals soon.  During a rather impromptu meditation session last night, letters and thoughts slipped through my mind, things that are clamoring inside of me that need to be written – but that aren’t necessarily for public consumption.  In part inspired, I’m assuming, by a podcast I listened to on Loki yesterday, one of the thoughts was a need to compose my thoughts on him, to finally address why every time he has shown up in my life I have shown him the door.  I think it is time to address that fear/anxiety.


The altar as it was originally set up.  I had once asked my partner, in a fit of insecurity about the status of our relationship, to marry me. He promptly said no.  My response, since he still insisted that his home was my home regardless of the status of our relationship and what we called it, was to create this altar – some of his life, some of mine, all blended together.  He added his own touches to it as well.  That was almost 3 years ago.  It is now time for the altar to morph into something new, it is time to honor the gods the way I should be.


“When the Gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers” – Oscar Wilde (via Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars)

I always dislike starting a new blog.  It isn’t nearly like the excitement of starting a new journal, in fact, I find it much more akin to those awful awkward first days of school, where no one knows anyone so the instructor helpfully makes everyone stand up one at a time and try to blurt out enough of an introduction about themselves to “get to know” everyone.

In a way, I suppose, that an introduction/explanation post isn’t really necessary – I mean, there *is* an “About” page, right?  Oh well, lets get on with this…

For those of you who *don’t* like to use a dictionary, allow me to explain:

The Pyrrhic Mother – Pyrrhic: adjective: success with heavy loss

(I assume, “the” and “mother” don’t really need explanation).

I admit here to using the word Pyrrhic just a wee bit inappropriately.  Generally speaking, when one uses the term, they are speaking of victory in battle despite having incurred huge losses in order to obtain the victory. Suffering the death of a child is indeed a heavy loss, but this is about more than just that loss.  I believe that I have a job to do.  I have a relationship that is owed to the Gods.  I made promises to certain deities and I have not been fulfilling those promises.  I let day to day life get in the way, and so, slowly, and rather painfully, they have been removing the obstacles in my life that would continue to keep me from fulfilling those promises.

The death of my younger child in 2002 is what led me to the Gods, it was the catalyst for leaving an apathetic relationship with the God of Christianity, which had long been a one-sided, and to my perspective, a very unloving and distant relationship.  I never felt as though I belonged to Him.  I found Odin, and he found me (which is a story unto itself, that I will not go into now), and promises were made.  A teacher, a shaman, was practically handed to me on a silver platter by Him, and being relatively young in the relationship, and still very naive about the whole situation, I thought I could continue to have a normal life *and* do whatever it was that Odin seemed to think I should be doing.  I was wrong, and I have been paying the price for my arrogance at that assumption ever since.

I will give all of the gory backstory in other posts, it isn’t relevant right now.  What is relevant right now is that over the course of 3 EVENTS, I was told, in no uncertain terms the following things:

1, that I had to give up living in continuous mourning for my lost child.  I have had no contact with her since she died and found her way to Hel.  But my Shaman has developed a relationship with her so in some small way, when I am emotionally able to hear it, I occasionally will get messages from her – either from my Shaman or from others who have relationships with Hel, who has passed on messages from her. But I had no choice, in order to do what They wanted me to do, I NEEDED to return to the land of the living.  And that, I actually did.


2, that I would never, Ever, have another child, despite the best medical interventions health insurance could buy. First the vasectomy reversal didn’t work (fertility specialist verified), and then I developed Endometriosis, was discovered to be allergic to my husband’s sperm, *and* my uterus was hostile and killing off sperm as well.  Then my husband and I (who are poly) both became involved with partners who were adamant they wanted nothing to do with continuing our romantic relationships if husband and I went through with fertility treatments to have a child.  And then just to make certain I wouldn’t want to physically, an incident occurred that blew 2 of my lumbar disks, pinched both sciatic nerves, and damn near crippled me for almost a year.

Then about a year later, when I could finally walk again, I started getting heavily involved in my “meat life” and allowed my spiritual life to start sliding back to the realms of “if I have time”… and I never quite seemed to have the time.  My relationships suffered – my relationship with my husband became strained.  My relationship with my “second husband” became long distance, and then even LONGER distance, and then it too, became strained.  Somewhere in all of this (again, posts for another day) my business took over my life – and that was when things started to crash for me, because I then ignored Everything to do with Them, and They were no longer willing to be patient with me.

In the summer of 2010, I walked the labyrinth and walked between the worlds for the very first time.   I don’t remember exactly what the contents of those conversations were, but when I stepped out of the labyrinth and walked back into this world, all I could do was cry out “why do I have to lose so much? how much are they going to make me give up?”  And the resounding answer – as much as it takes to get my attention.  First, the third relationship I had started had to go.  Then over the course of the next month, I almost lost my second relationship, and then my husband’s girlfriend delivered an ultimatum – her or me – and he actually thought about it for several days. Then I had to close my business because I was too depressed to function, let alone work 18 hours a day.  I spent the rest of that summer in bed, curled up in a ball, trying to figure out (and ignoring the obvious) just why my life was suddenly collapsing around me, and being terrified I was losing everything.  What I should have realized, was that the God’s, in their wisdom, were giving me an easy way out.  And I, stupid meat sack that I am, chose not to take it.

And just to drive the point home, I think, all of the protections that had kept me from getting pregnant, failed – and at the end of that summer, I got pregnant with “the miracle baby”.  You see, I couldn’t balance full time mother-hood *and* whatever it was the God’s needed me to do.  But my oldest child will be 18 this year.  I was *thisclose* to being done with my obligations to my children and then I would pretty much have been a free agent for time to dedicate to whatever God/dess walked into my life and thwapped me on the head.  I was *told* not to have any more children.  I was told by my second husband he wanted nothing to do with raising any more children – he was miserable about the whole idea.  My first husband’s first suggestion was abortion – but I cut him off before he could finish the word. I still thought about it, but I couldn’t voice it.  Then he did something that prevented me from having one, and that was all she wrote.

And once again, here I sit, wondering how I’m going to get myself out of this mess.  You see, at the end of it all… I lost all of the essential parts of my marriage to my husband after the baby was born.  Then I lost my uterus. I lost the scar I sheltered on my body as a reminder of the terrifyingly short life of my second child.  I lost my connection to the Gods, however tentative and tenuous it was.  3 years down the line from their offer of an easy way out, I am struggling with how to disentangle my life so that I can get back to being where I need to be.

And now I have this child, this renewed contract for 16 more years of motherhood.  16 more years that I cannot dedicate my life fully to my Gods.  16 years that I promised Them, that I will now be incapable of following through on.  18 years when you add in the 2 that I have completely ignored them in favor of trying to save something that should have died a long time ago, ignored in favor of being a more attached and more attentive parent.  Now I have this beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed, genetic throwback to my Nordic ancestry (her father and I both have families full of, brown hair, brown eyed eastern europeans and native americans in more recent family history).  Her name means “gift of the goddess”.  But was she a gift after so many years?  Or was she a means to an end, a way to get me out and back on the path I belong on?

She is both.  And that is the biggest struggle of all of this.  She is both a gift, I believe, of my ancestors (thus the genetic throwback), and she is the Gods’ means to an end.  I will only be able to give them part time service and dedication for the next 16 years, after ignoring them wholly for almost 3 years now.  So she will eventually be responsible for the 18 years I will dedicate to her, she will have to pay that debt for me out of her lifetime.  How that will be paid back, I don’t know, and it isn’t for me to say.  That will be between her and the God’s when the time comes and the Haminga must be done, and the weregild will be paid.  But, in her coming, she paved the way for much of my other life to be freed – the loss of the business, and then the loss of what was essential to my marriage – at this point we are married in name and finances only – any emotional or spiritual connection has been lost.  So what energy I would normally have spent on the business and the marriage – that is what I now will be giving to the God’s.  And then in 16 years when my contractual obligation to full time motherhood is up and the next “easy way out” comes, then I will be able to dedicate the rest of the energy to them that I will have to divert to her in the meantime.

Let’s just hope that this blog, among other daily/weekly/monthly practices, will keep me from having to pay the ultimate price again.  If the God’s need me whole, I won’t no matter what I do.  If they can use me broken, then both my child and my relationship with my second spouse are also a price I may have to pay in the future.  I will be doing everything I can in the meantime to make sure I never have to pay that price.

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