New Year Expectations

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on November 6, 2017
Category: Personal, Tucson Reflections
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Happy November!

We are getting into moving properly now. Despite this, I have so much to bring you in terms of content and updates.

Wiki.wiki, the site that hosts our current wiki, will be shutting down on December 1. Because of this we will be going back to Wikia for our wiki-hosting needs for the foreseeable future. The good news is that Wikia is a bit more newbie friendly! I had been hoping to put a MediaWiki-like plugin here but I haven’t had luck with that. Wikia lets users create apps from their wikis, however, so that will become useful in the future.

I have already moved our sizable FAQs from Wikia over here. Not all the FAQs on Wikia were transferred, as some of them are answered elsewhere on the site or are no longer relevant. You can find all our current FAQs under our main page. We have a new FAQs page under Practice FAQs.

Life is going to become incredibly busy for me during the move. On top of the move is the post-move: settling in, settling down, setting up. I hope to bring updates on this new chapter of my life and how it impacts my practice, but actually living it comes before writing about it. All the same, I look forward to sharing my religious practice and developing the Otherfaith.

Mid-November into December will be the busiest time when it comes to moving. January and February will focus on my first impressions of my new living area, as well as sharing setting up shrine spaces and settling into a new religious grove with the spirits. I am hoping to spend these winter months honing info in the Otherfaith and writing up some much needed ritual practices that people have asked for.

March is the time I am looking forward to most. That will be the time we will have our household really swinging together, and I’ll have my dear sewing machine returned to me. Here in Arizona I’ve already begun working on sewing cloaks. Cloaks and capes in godly colors are items I associate strongly with the Other People’s spirits and a physical representation of, well, so many things! They can show godly favor or preference for a deity, or they may simply show that one honors a deity specifically. I am working on red ones currently (of course) and hope to make some nice, if simple, embroidered cloaks to give (and eventually sell) to Other People. I have also made my first fleece blanket and absolutely loved creating it. The one I worked on was for my spouse and themed after his favorite Pokemon. I would like to make more religious-oriented blankets and throws, though, and will naturally focus on the Four+ Gods.

I think it fitting that as winter settles into this town, and as I am about to embark to a place where winter is truly cold, there will be much of my life stripped away. It will leave time for contemplation and consideration and rebuilding my religious practice. And I must admit to a certain joy to escaping this desert land. I love Tucson for what she is, but she and I do not get along. This fall has been especially rough on my body, with the late season pollen absolutely devastating my sinuses. I may be allergic to the plants in my new home, but it will also be greener, and wetter, and cold, and an adventure. I’ve been melancholy about leaving Tucson, this city that has cultivated me, but by gods I am ready.

Ready for a new home and the many new years ahead.

Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on October 24, 2017
Category: Music
Tags: 

This week I’m focusing on the music of Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett. They are well-known for the music in the video games Bastion, Transistor, and the recent Pyre. I highly recommend the first two to any readers who enjoy gaming; I haven’t played Pyre so can’t recommend it myself. The reviews of it were glowing, however, and their other games have been amazing. They are beautiful, with lush art and colors, and the stories absolutely heartbreaking.

Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on October 18, 2017
Category: Music
Tags: 

Every day brings my partner and I closer to leaving Tucson. It’s thrilling and nerve wracking. A huge adventure awaits!

This week I’m bringing you another cover of an anime OP that has been featured here before (‘Re:Re’ by Asian Kung Fu Generation, from the anime Erased). Unlike the other two ‘Re:Re’ covers, this one has different lyrics that contribute a very different feeling to the song. Both the previous covers and this one, by Caleb Hyles, make me think of my relationship with the spirits.

‘You Don’t Own Me’ popped into my mind earlier last week for no good reason, but I adore the song. It gives me strong Dieric vibes. I’ve included the original and an interesting cover.

Similarly, ‘Lush Life’ has Dieric vibes but is included mainly because it enabled me to write some more Otherfaith stories. It was simply one of those songs that came into my life at the right time. I listened to it on repeat while I wrote a short story and am still returning to it for inspiration.

Finally, ‘The Fire’ is meant to be creepypasta/urban legend-esque and so fits into with the spooky aesthetic of October well. I know that there are some scary stories to be told by Other People this month!

Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on September 20, 2017
Category: Music
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This week, each song I bring you is from The Rescues. I’ve included a link to their Spotify page below the selected songs.

If I could, I would share music from the wonderful, Tucson-local Cadillac Mountain! Unfortunately they do not have songs on Spotify. I adore their music, amazing bluegrass with wonderful vocals. Last night I saw them, again, and will miss their music quite a bit once I’m in Germany.

Now, onto this week’s songs. The Rescue’s music that I’ve chosen fills me with a variety of religious concepts, ranging from generic ‘religious feelings’ to more specific arcs within the myths. Beyond that I have little to provide.

[Monday] Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on August 28, 2017
Category: Music
Tags: 

This Monday brings a change to our weekly songs. I’ll now be included some small commentary with them. If you’re uninterested in that, you can skip right along to the music. We’re back to Spotify now.

Kesha released her new album recently. I’ve chosen two songs from the album to highlight; I recommend it to people who have enjoyed Kesha’s other music, especially the unplugged versions.

‘The Dismemberment Song’ reminds me of the Laetha and the Aletheia Androids, specifically Aletheia 003 from the Red Room (original and remix). It’s quite catchy and upbeat for the content! ‘Praying’ similarly makes me think of Hell Month and the first Season of stories in the Otherfaith. ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls/I Put a Spell on You’ makes me think of generic witchy and spooky spirits in the faith, such as Cordelia and the Eighth God. ‘Finding You’ is more a general spirit-feels song. Finally, ‘My Way’ is included because all music by Frank Sinatra reminds me of certain spirits, including the giant Erann.

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.

[Tuesday] Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on June 20, 2017
Category: Music
Tags: 

This week’s songs are all gathered from YouTube. Though I listen to most of my music through Spotify, I do love finding unexpected artists on YouTube. Some of my restrictions for posting these include the song being legally available on YouTube (either original songs or covers) and linking directly to the artist (original or cover artist).

This week we have two electro swing remixes and three Vocaloid covers. ‘Mind Brand’ has a fair amount of cursing and sexual content; ‘Aishite’ has a lot of flashing and horror imagery.

Traditionally women have prepared their homes for summer by getting rid of anything that was hot or heavy-looking. Sarah Ban Breathnach

Prayers:

from Ceisiwr Serith’s A Book of Pagan Prayer (Amazon link)
(Alterations are noted with brackets)

As comings in and goings out,
my prayers bracket my day.

It is my privilege to perform my morning prayers.
It is my honor to do what should be done.
As I rise with the morning, fog lifting slowly from my mind,
I pray not to forget these truths.

My day begins again,
and again I dedicate myself to the service of the gods.
May it be their tasks I perform.
As the day wears on, keep before my eyes, [Hand Holder],
the path of the [Four Gods],
that I may not forget that it is to them that I have dedicated my life,
so that every action may be an offering to them.

In the morning, everything is new.
The day’s blank slate lies before me,
ready for my writing.
May it be words of beauty I write.
May it be deeds of grace I do.
May it be thoughts of joy I think.
[Holy Ones], listen:
This is what I pray.

 

from the Otherfaith prayer book:

‘The First Prayer’
Speak we now, the first prayer of the People.
Clarene Ophelia Laetha Dierne
We praise the Four Gods of Western Faery –
you who burn, you who bury, you who dance, you who drown;
We sing to you your praises,
We speak to you your words,
that we may know and love you.
This we pray.

‘Morning Prayer’
Clarene Ophelia Laetha Dierne –
I wake today to thoughts of you.
Laethelia Ophelene Darren Liathane –
I go through the day along with you.
This I pray.

Reading List:

Turning Point: Essays on a new Unitarian Universalism edited by Frediric Muir (Amazon link)

Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope (Amazon link)

Taking Sacred Back by Nels and Judy Linde (Amazon link)

By seven in the morning, the sun is heated the neighborhood with a vengeance. I was up with the dawn (as I was yesterday). Then the light was softer, not yet blistering. The greens were deeper. Now the leaves on the trees seem almost neon. The world is turning to shades of brown and grey.

When I woke yesterday – having finally passed out around the time I am writing this today) the sun had heated our busy city to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I had spent the blessed time as dawn set in walking around the neighborhood. The birds sang and chirped and crowed. My eyes ached when the sun illuminated them. The world felt so much slower.

This morning I went for my stroll later, having been occupied by some frustrating technology. The bunnies were well hidden in their bushes by then, and the birds taking flight from their nests. A woodpecker picked at a metal street post. The sun had a slight bite to it as it hit my back.

But before all that, my morning devotion begins. As the sun breaks the night, I light a candle and open the blinds to let in the natural light. The windows have already been opened, wide as they can get, since the evening when the temperature dropped. Once the light settles in further I return to my sewing-shrine room and kneel before my prayer books.

The simple brown Otherfaith prayer book sits under the smaller green Pagan Book of Prayer. I pick up the latter and read only one prayer from it before switching to the Otherfaith book.

I should be ringing a bell, but I don’t want to disturb my husband. Not to mention the bell sits in the other room, the hectic office I inhabit too many hours of the day.

I return to the green book and flick through the morning prayers. My eyes light on one I said during high school. The words flow from my lips, still familiar. Once, a long time ago, these prayers would fall from my lips as I woke. I intend to return to similar dedication.

Extinguishing the candle, I leave the house for my stroll. It’s intended to connect me with the natural landscape, to nature, to the world I walk upon. My mind is as hectic as one would expect. I’m re-learning how to be in the present moment.

I can’t spend too long on my walk, however. I consider my morning ritual a way of ‘opening the house’. With the summer heat in full swing I have to close it within the hour (perhaps more, if I were to rise early). The breeze fluttering the palm fronds and mesquites might be pleasant, but the sun is going to begin roasting our house. I return to the house – having made my way clockwise along the sidewalks – and squeak the windows shut after relighting the candle. I shutter the blinds.

I miss the natural light enough to keep one of the blinds open, but I’ll close it before the morning is properly done.

This is the morning ritual I’ve begun. I am unsure how long I can keep it. But going on the plodding walks, bowing my head as I light the candle, taking a moment to breathe as I make my coffee, all of this has caused a new bloom of religious ideas (perhaps even knowledge! perhaps even revelation!).

Unsurprising, nonetheless fulfilling.

[Monday] Songs of the Week

Posted by Aine Llewellyn on June 12, 2017
Category: Music
Tags: 

Every Monday Aine posts five songs which resonated with her, reminding her of the gods and spirits and their stories. Music is important to many people’s lives, and Aine hopes this can help illustrate her own conceptions of the spirits in ways that words cannot always convey. The songs are offered up by themselves so that individuals can make their own connections as they feel moved.