Recently, I returned from vacation to Minnesota. My partner and I were visiting family up in the wet, wonderful north. This year has been especially busy as we have bounced from place to place.
We spent our days relaxing in the green landscape. It was stunningly different from my own homey Tucson. We spent an entire day on a lake, messing around without a care in the world. As I lay on an inner tube, with the birds singing around me, the sounds of friends laughing and talking, I felt wonderfully, entirely Dieric – like the Dierne.
It helped that I had booze in hand, a substance that I strongly associate with the Dierne and their spirits. While I tie tea and coffee to the Clarene and Laetha, the Dierne is all about cocktails and beer and wine coolers. In more dignified aspects, she sips mimosas or wine at ten in the morning. With the fun days and easy evenings in Minnesota, I was living quite the Dieric life.
Yet the Dierne is also the city, partying until dawn, and ‘club drugs’. She is tied to substance abuse and recovery. She is not so much tied to the fields and farmlands of Minnesota where we stayed. Even the cities we visited made me think more of the Laethelia than the Dierne. My own Tucson had Dieric pockets, though I can sense all of the gods here.
The gods I felt most strongly, even while avoiding most of my religious duties, were the Clarene and Laetha.
the Clarene is a god of farmlands and orchards, harvest and slaughter. Visiting the cows in the fields made me think of the Clarene, made me consider sacred animals, along with more practical considerations such as what I want to do with my life as I age. Time on the farms also made me consider Aeron (also called Aaron), a spirit that grew up in a farming town before coming to the West. Seeing farming towns, as well as mining towns, towns where their large populations would be a drop in the bucket where I live, put in perspective many ideas I had in relation to the gods but lacked experience with.
the Laetha is a multifaceted god (as all are, though the Laetha a bit more obviously), one I had associated with suburban areas and rather posh living. I was surprised to find her connected so strongly to ‘simple’ living, with a focus on the domestic art. I had previously considered my love of the domestic to fall under the Clarene. But the Laetha has strong connections to the rural landscape, likely from their tie to the Clarene.
It was not the first time I had visited Minnesota. There was one time before, but my religious life was different at that time, more fraught. Now, returning during a calmer tide, I was amazed at how receptive I was to the land’s energy. I was also, rather unfortunately, more sensitive than I would have wished. By the end of my trip my nerves were quite fried!
I have been back in Tucson for a week now. The monsoons have started and brought their heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Minnesota’s heat has nothing on Arizona, but even Arizona’s death sun is giving way to the rains and to what we call fall. Regardless of Minnesota or Arizona, the water and rains are dangerous. Rivers hide death traps. The rains flood mercilessly.
It has taken a week to feel ‘at home’ again, able to pray and settle into this house. And in a few months we will leave this beloved home for a new home. I will learn a new way of the gods and spirits, just as my two weeks in Minnesota revealed new forms and meanings. Though part of me wishes I could rush the process, understand and comprehend immediately, it is by its very nature a slow, contemplative one. The gods cannot be rushed. I too cannot rush.
I must take each step, and each day, thoughtfully and consciously, and in doing so will bring forward more knowledge of these holy ones.