About Me

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I am a seeker of meaning, truth, and the Divine. I have been a practicing polytheist since 1997 and a lover of philosophy and theology since even before then. Most of this time I have been a Germanic Heathen, but I have also slowly taken to the practice of Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism. I am happily married, a hobbyist musician, a poet, pyrographer, sports fan, and pretty darn good cook. This blog will contain poems, rants, and musings relevant to my ever winding spiritual journey.

Friday, August 30, 2013

An Ancestral Experience...

In my Germanic Polytheistic faith, a major aspect of our worship surrounds the ancestors.  These ancestors may be physical, spiritual, inspirational, national, some of all or all of the above.  What is sought after in ancestor worship are three things.  The first is simply remembrance and giving honour to the memory of those who came before and have had an influence, direct or indirect, on our life.  The second is, if their soul is still in the afterlife(since many of us believe in some form of rebirth, reincarnation, or even transmigration of the soul), that we keep that connection strong even after death so that whatever relationship we had while alive does not pass away to the passage of time.  The third, like in life, is to gain their favor, advice, and luck in our daily struggles.

It is through worship of the beloved dead that we as Heathens and Asatruars connect to our heritage; cultural, spiritual, and physical.  It is through the ancestors that we learn important values, life lessons, cultural transmission, beliefs, and the like.  For these attributes, a debt is made in our orlog and living the lessons we learn in life is a part of this debt, the love we share with family is another aspect of this debt, and giving honour to the dead is also a part of this debt.  This ritual debt is much akin to the same debt we have for our Gods and the spirits of the land.  In our faith an important concept is that of a gift, ever seeking a gift in return.  For life, love, and learning we give the gift of remembrance and sacrifice.

I ponder on this now, especially so since I have connected with my older half sister, whom I have known about for quite some time but never sought out and who, in turn, never knew of me.  Circumstances played out, years in the making, and she found out and found me on Facebook.  We have been getting to know each other and it has been a wonderful experience doing so.  My point is that I think of this now, because before when I partook of any ancestral honouring, while the paternal line was also in my mind, I naturally thought more of my maternal line.  They are the ones who raised me, taught me my sense of ethics, sense of culture, my value system, etc.  My grandparents, who were more like parents were the best foundations in life anyone could ask for and both family lines are well represented by intelligent, jovial, down to earth folk.  I have had a good family experience so it is only natural to express a bias in that way.

However, that bias is also because until lately, my biological father's line was pretty much just a name...an idea...a matrix of genealogical and genetic information.  Now that line has a face, and a voice.  There is a subtle quality which makes it more...tangible.  I will be influenced by my sister's life and ideas in ways unknown to me, and her likewise.  The orlog which is being laid down will influence how I think and perceive any ancestral connections I have to my biological father's line.  It is an interesting theological soup to be sure.

So, what is the point of all this?  Nothing really.  Just throwing out ideas on my blog and trying to make sense of it all.  If anything, I guess the point is to not take your ancestors for granted.  Now, if your ancestors were horrible people, obviously no one wants you honouring assholes, but there are always other types of ancestors just as there are all kinds of families.  Above all, keep an eye out for the twists and turns of life for they may take you down roads you never thought you'd travel.  In fact, you might even come to realize that you rather enjoy the ride.  Hail the Ancestors!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Njordhr says Hi...again.

So I had a dream a couple nights ago in which Njordhr was present.  There was a lush, green valley surrounded by a mountainous terrain.  Near the top of the tallest mountain was a landing with a cave in which a waterfall was rushing over.  I was on this landing looking into the cave.  Behind the waterfall at the opening of the cave stood Njordhr, dressed in white linen pants and a white tunic and he was holding a glowing golden sphere.  In the dream it felt like it was a beckoning, like all the old tales where journeymen find treasure behind waterfalls.  Njordhr seemed very peaceful but stoic.  Still trying to wrap my head around it and if it even means anything or just my mind having a bit of fun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I suck at blogs

You know what...I suck at blogs.  I want to blame Facebook, and I'm sure that has something to do with it, but yeah, I suck at blogs.  It has been way too long since I put up a new post.  So let me give you the year's run down...life is good, spiritually I've backed down alot and have felt out of sorts, but otherwise ok.  Fiddled with ideas of incorporating Gaelic Polytheism into my practices again, but every dream, feeling, and omen I've had or read says "no, that is not your home", just like last time.  Which kinda blows since I have a pretty good chunk of Gaelic ancestry and I love everything "Celtic".  Oh well, the food and culture will have to be enough.  Summer was fun, Carrie and I's 10th anniversary was awesome and I keep falling more and more in love with her.  I couldn't have asked for a better companion to deal with my moods, spiritual meanderings, and intellectual pursuits.  Winter has been fun too, lots more snow than last year, which I totally dig.  The shrine in the corner of our bedroom has been given back to Freyr and Njord, so with Carrie's Freyja shrine in there it's like our little Vanaheim.  The library shrine, which I was considering as a Gaelic altar has been rededicated to Odhinn and the bottom shelf has a bunch of old family photos for that ancestral connection.  Work has been good aside from the random person who wants something for nothing or has no idea what they are doing when they go in a fabric store, and yet they want to do some huge project.  No new poetry to share, but I have been fiddling with a business idea which is partly good for other Heathens, but otherwise just a general service...pyrography.  Been batting back and forth setting up an Etsy account or just putting out my own domain for a wood-burning business focused on religious imagery and custom work.  We'll see how that comes around, still not sure about pricing and a few other issues(like taxes and what not).    Otherwise, it has been a normal year with normal ups and downs, moments of clarity and moments of mind numbing apathy, with bits of fun thrown in.  Oh, and Netflix...Netflix is great, especially on days off to watch odd documentaries or Doctor Who or catch up on old faves like Buffy and Star Trek.  Well that is all for today.  I'll put down some of my more serious thoughts about my Heathenry as of late on a later date.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A bede for Ing

Fire's garment paves a path true
Flowing out from within
Holy visage

Wayfarer's stead on harbor's shore
Your illumination shows the way
From whale's road to emerald pastures

Shadow's mirth fails its worth
In the dawning sway
... Of Gearde's wooer

Night's might loses the battle
Neorth's seed takes hold
A mighty oak with leaves of gold

Prosperity and a good year
Holy procession on lighted path
The worthing tests to take

A void of wonders strive to make
A stag of elven might
Lord Ing's vibrant maegen

Fire's garment paves a path true
Flowing out from within
Holy visage
By: Shawn Rowland

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dreaming the Dead...

I haven't written on this blog since last year, but I've been thinking about a few things lately that I want to write down. Early last year I had a dream about my mother, and in this dream she told me point blank how to find my father. When she was alive she told me his name and his daughter's name but nothing else. I found a few leads since I decided to study my ancestry back in 2004, but nothing concrete.
After my grandfather died in 2007 and I took over on the research he was doing for the Rowland-Horne side, and then my grandmother died the next year, I felt like trying to complete my ancestral picture wouldn't be an offense to them(though I know it wouldn't have anyways, but still). I found a bit, but very very little. Then I had the dream. Then I did what my mom told me to do, and voila! I found my half-sister, and through those records found my father, and grandparents, and great-grandparents. With Ancestry.com I have been able to trace back about half of my father's lineage. So while this is all very cool, the point in my writing this is the dream.
There are alot of people who believe dreams have meaning or that spirits, ancestors, etc. will speak to you through them. My religion sees this as nothing odd at all. While not everyone will have or even need experiences like this, dream omens and ancestral spirits are still "common" both today and in the tales from long ago. This experience for me is like picking up a phone calling a friend, no biggie. It should be like this for everyone else who shares that belief, but it isn't.
The vast majority of them are disconnected from the reality of these experiences and how normal they really are if you can understand them and heed them. I understand, even though it is a part of my religion, growing up in secular middle-class America places me somewhat in the position of "whoa! it happened...it's real...and it's mundane!" and not entirely in the "oh, it's no biggie" category, but it still makes me feel sad. Sad for the people who are in the "this is what I believe, but I don't really think it's real" category. It is a good feeling to know that the departed will help us out as they always did if we ever need them, and I just wished others could have that "good feeling".

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Njordhr says "hi"

Over a week ago I had an intense dream(vision more like) in which Carrie and I were staying up by either Lake Eerie or by the East Coast, not sure which. It was raining quite heavily but I felt unnaturally moved to go to the beach. I drove to the beach and got out of the car and walked on the beach. Njordhr arose the waters, mighty and gigantic. He was golden tan, deep blue eyes, wavy light brown hair, and longish but neat and styled beard. He was wearing a white toga-like cloth and some sort of brown beads around his wrists and neck(odd thought, but, meditation beads?). The feeling of might, presence, wisdom, and kindness was overwhelming. He spoke and said that he wanted to help me, but that my offerings should ideally not be of food. He didn't explain, but that was really enough. Since then I've been contemplating possible poetic inspiration, wood-burnings, stallis, and what-not. I have begun this new friendship by putting together a seashell bracelet with gold nautical charms as a reminder of Njordhr and of his extension of help and friendship to me. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I see a trip up to the lake in my future.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I walk this path alone

The dust on my boots

It tells me where to go

When trying to find some

Truth and piece of mind

Searching for a devil's pride

In an angels heart and mind

Still I walk this lonely path

Years of dust built up

Underneath these steps

This pain and sorrow

My smiles try to leave behind

Searching for a devil's pride

In an angel's heart and mind

Searching for a devil's pride

In an angel's heart and mind

Searching! Searching!

For a devil's pride

In an angel's heart and mind

This path it goes around

Under these boots

Flowers have been trampled down

I raise my eyes to the bright sun

My thoughts come to a grind!

Searching for a devil's pride

In an angel's heart and mind

By: Shawn Rowland 8/11/2009