Eihwaz

I am working primarily with Odin All-Father during this stage of my journey, and as part of that I am starting to learn the Elder Futhark. I’ve worked with tarot for decades and feel very comfortable with its rich imagery. The abstract glyphs of the runes are much more difficult for me to memorize and build relationships with.

The last few weeks have been difficult, and this morning I decided that I would figure out which rune embodied resilience, and then work with it. After looking through several books, I decided that Eihwaz was the best choice.

Like all the runes, Eihwaz does not have a single meaning. This morning I gravitated to its connection with the yew tree and Yggdrasil in particular, the World Tree of northern lore which supports and connects the Nine Worlds. Galina Krasskova’s discussion of Eihwaz* included a section about nurturing one’s reservoirs of energy, balancing work and rest. To me trees are the quintessence of resilience: both rooted and moving. Eihwaz is also one of the runes which comes up frequently for me when I do personal divination (“frequently” being a relative term, since I am still new to this work). It felt right.

I took out my bag of runes, intending to find Eihwaz, commune with it for a while, and then leave it on my altar. But then, on an impulse, I decided to simply reach into the bag and see if it would come to my hand, not actually expecting it to happen.

I ran the fingers of my left hand through the ceramic discs, trying to sense which one was *the* one to draw. I felt a connection with several, but then experienced a sudden urge to grab one in particular. I pulled it out.

Eihwaz.

I have never sought to pull a particular rune — or tarot card — and had it appear like that.

I stared at it for several moments, stunned, then gave thanks to Odin for the confirmation that this was the right rune for the work I wanted to do.

Keeping Eihwaz in my awareness throughout the workday wasn’t easy, but I managed to bring myself back to it several times. I visualized the rune, the tree, and the sense of flexible rootedness, and then tried to bring them all together within myself. The results were mixed, but I’ve realized that having a specific purpose for working with a rune is going to help me forge those elusive connections. The challenge will be to also remain open to the wider significance of each one, not limit it to the aspect I connect with in a particular circumstance.

* Runes: Theory and Practice, by Galina Krasskova, p. 89

Re-Orientation

It’s been more than a year since I created this site and made my first blog post, and aside from some minor tweaks I’ve done nothing with it since then. There have been a couple of reasons for this.

The first is that a little more than a month after I went live, my father, who had been living with a chronic disease for over a decade, passed away after a nine-night stay in the hospital. Although his own passage was relatively peaceful, it was very, very hard for my mother, sister, and I, who were with him throughout that final journey. I ended up going into therapy afterward to deal with the emotional ordeal, and then continued for another five months to work on some deeper issues which his death brought to the surface. I was focused on my inner work and my day job, wtih no energy or focus for connecting with others in this space.

The second reason came to light during those therapy sessions: I designed this site to conform with what I believed was “appropriate” for a spiritual director’s site, despite my embracing of the word “feral” as an identity (and, yes, a brand). It was pretty, but too bland. And it focused on selling services, not sharing myself, honoring my gods, or highlighting my true spiritual passions. I didn’t write any blog posts because I was afraid of being too raw, too edgy, too sexy, too filled with doubt and frustration. . .  Which, ironically, are the reasons I think some people would choose to work with me, people who share those feelings of being “too [whatever]” for mainstream (nice, traditional) spiritual direction.

So this site is going to experience some growing pains over the next days and weeks as I re-create it to be more authentic to my actual vision and path. Pages may appear and disappear. Images will go up and down as I search for the best expressions of who I am — and Who I worship, and what my path looks like.

The first change is going to be the URL. After years of embracing “Feral Holiness” as my brand (a name I still love), I am changing to “Feral Abbey,” which I believe better expresses the variety of information and services I want to offer. I don’t want to just offer paid services. I want to create a sanctuary and resource for people whose paths resonate with mine. I want to share and inspire and offer hospitality. If someone wants to retain my services for spiritual direction or ritual creation and celebration, or divination, I will be pleased and honored. But that can’t be the primary focus of this site.

So welcome to Feral Abbey. Please pardon the dust, the half-painted walls, and the incomplete rooms. . .  I’m working to better serve the gods — and you, sacred stranger.

Blessings to you. . . .

3 Threads of Spirituality

What is the purpose of religion and spirituality? Ask a dozen people and you may get a dozen different answers, but three major themes come up again and again: 1. To cultivate a right relationship with the Divine, 2. To become a better person on a deep level, 3. To become better able to serve in the world.

When I was growing up as a devout girl in a non-denominational Protestant church, these three aspects of spirituality were presented as interlocking parts of a complete system. Through cultivating a right relationship with God, I became a better person, and a result of that I was inspired to behave ethically in the world. But when I got older and found myself outside the church, I seldom found those three aspects presented in such a neat package. In fact, it was rare to find all three elements in one place, which confused and sometimes frustrated me. It has only been during the past few months that I have come to understand that they are in fact distinct areas of focus.

Each of these elements and the practices which support them are complex and rich enough to take a whole book to discuss them. I don’t want this post to be too long, so I’m going to provide some introductory thoughts for now and address each in more detail in future entries.