Thursday, 26 February 2009

Nodens

I NEED to do something with or for Nodens, I cannot begin to describe the feeling of knowing I should be doing something but not knowing what to do in order to fulfill that sensation.

I think it is akin to being thrown into a sweet shop and being transfixed, wanting to go in all mammner of directions at once and eat everything in one porcine moment of gluttony. In my case though i have that same feeling but i cant see the sweets and I dont even know what it is I am hankering after.


At the bare minimum I must look into the cormorant conection, it is probably something entirely personal though a little reaearch might proove fruitfull. All I can 'do' at the moment is to go up to Ludgate Hill, walk down to the river and cast something in then spend some time at the river's edge perhaps. The words I know I need for that time will come.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

DEVO NODENTI

Nodens has been for a couple of years a ticking alarm clock in the background; largely a ticking in the background and something not really noticed and at other times an insistent noise that cannot be ignored. Currently, there is a ticking in my head that wont go away. So, here is the beginning of an attempt to placate it.


There is plenty out there on the net that talks about him and tells us a little about where his name came from etc. it also talks about the temple located at Lydney; a spur of land overlooking the river Severn where a healing shrine was placed for this watery god. He was associated with hunting too it seems.


I live a fair way from the Severn, though not too far from the Thames, I cross it twice a day on the bus to work and every look out over it to see what it's tides are doing, to see whether it is flowing inland or out to sea (it does both strangely) and to see what it alive on the river. Gulls, ducks, grey herons, the occasional and unfortunate whale (now de-fleshed and the bones safely stored away in the Natural history Museum stores, the dorsal fin sits in a jar of alcohol alongside a macabre selection of pickled animals. A true brutes condiment cupboard.) and most notably for me; cormorants. This morning an armada of them were out on the river, I saw at least a dozen in close formation feeding and dicing and cruising. I say a dozen, there might have been more hidden beneath the surface and counting them was like some impossible task as they rose, paddled then dived again only to emerge somewhere else within the flotilla. These to me are the embodiment of the river – more than just bound within the water, more than what hides beneath it, more even than what rides the tides to the sea. They represent all that is under, in, on and around the river. The Thames is the pulsing artery of London.


On a hill overlooking the great River is a place named after King Lud. King Lud or Lludd? Probably Lludd originally, and this Lludd, he was known as Nudd before that and as Nudd he is known by his son Gwyn. That king of the underworld, that man who holds back the demons of hell and that man who fights for eternity for the hand of a woman he wants. But back further and Nudd was known by another name; Nodens.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Living with Fiction/Non-Fiction/Fantasy/Horseshit

So I have ERO's 'Living with Honour: a pagan ethics'.

I am on chapter 3 at the moment ans a few things have struck me:

1: it isnt that bad so far. some points I agree with, others i disagree with.
2: she is rather bitchy about America
3: this bloody woman keeps interspersing her text with what I can only describe as tangents of total irrelevance. She will be talking about the roots of paganism or how pagans are not inherently unethical and the she goes off on a jape about some woman pissing about in the rain. She does this in her other books and I can’t work out of it is supposed to be a recollection of her own memories, some sort of trance experience or something she does in her spare time between Druidry books (knocking out weird prose fiction aimed at no discernable audience). In her other books it was most annoying because she would tell of skipping over hills at midnight, chatting with gods and animals etc and I know for a she is in a wheelchair so this cannot be a present reality. This lack of separation and distinction between what she is talking about, describing or making up is thoroughly fucking annoying. I might be over-reacting of course.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A Moment of Madness

I have just gone and bought this.

Shame on me for feeding more momey into 'that' machine.

It does mean I can provide critiques of what I come across in it and will have an idea of what kinds of things I should be considering when talking about pagan/brythonic ethics and morals. having seen a review or two out there I know there is going to be a lot about I dont like, so prepare for some incredibly bitchy posts on my part.

**Wed 18th: less than 24 hours later it has arrived. Well done Amazon. Now to read it and begin dicussing it.**

Friday, 13 February 2009

Divine Intercession

In an earlier blog-splurge I mentioned I see the physical and spiritual as two parts of a whole; the stream and stream bed. Whilst I see these as parts of a whole I also see them as being distinct – whilst also at the same time they are not. Paradox? Yes. For now and to explain this thought.

If we separate these two realms of existence out – the realm of the gods and the realm of the physical world – and place between them a thin sheet of rubber, a sheet that is incredibly thin yet flexible. This is to me the barrier between us and the gods that we have in place because of our ability or lack of ability to perceive and comprehend the gods. Much like humans cannot see UV light but insects can, we don’t have invisible spectacles on stopping us seeing UV light it is just that we cannot perceive it. The rubber sheet isn’t the invisible specs, its our own physical and mental limitation.

There are occasions when we can approach the gods through various means – trance, prayer, meditation – and can begin to push that bendy sheet of rubber into their realm. We can begin to feel it closer, feel is pushing back and feel its presence, though we still cannot become immersed in it or feel it envelop us and becomes part of us, flowing in and around us. We are still limited; we have just pushed the boundaries of those limits. Likewise, I believe the gods can do their own bit of pushing too and begin to intrude on our realm – anyone can think of innumerable incidences of when gods got involved in their life whether requested or not.

I believe this is largely how things play out in the relationship we have with the gods; moments of touching each others existence but still with that barrier there.

Then there are the rare moments, the ones where for a fleeting moment those barriers are gone or are so thin to be imperceptible. I can recall one of those off the top of my head, a moment when a goddess was stood in front of me and I KNEW it, I grasped this and understood it’s implications for a brief moment. I can’t really describe what those moments are like other than to say it is a full body orgasm combined with a full body sucker-punch.

I believe that a fundamental part of religion is working towards removing those barriers and embracing those orgasm-mugging moments and seeking them out. Finding those moments in life where you can truly comprehend the gods and also truly comprehend yourself too.

Brythonic Ethics

This really follows on from the ramble I just deposited on the internet. If this is my view on ethics, how does it relate to Brythonic spirituality? Like I said, ethics are human constructs. We must live in a modern world and as such live in a manner which considers other people with whom we share our landscape, we also have to bear in mind modern ethical and moral ‘norms’ and of course the law of the land as it stands at this point in time. I don’t believe there is anything we could Brythonic ethics, there are human ethics and certainly human ethics influenced by a Brythonic heritage and history. We can look at the Brythonic past, look at ethical and moral codes that prevailed and start to apply – where possible within the restraints in a modern world (no taking the heads of the person you beat in this weeks sales figures) – some of those to ourselves. As I mentioned, the Gods are a product of their society and as such will recognise if not adhere to the ethical and moral standards of that time, whilst we can replicate that today we can do so with some of it and as such I think we can foster a greater familiarity between them and us whilst also fostering a bond between those of us forming a loose clan with a shared ethical code.

Ethics - a superficial treatment

Ethics: I think these are human constructs that bind us together and allow us to live and get along together.

As I have mentioned, some deities are human ancestors and as such will act in a similarly ethical fashion to the society they arose from. One needs only to look at the more ‘human’ gods to see this. Other gods – the wilder non human ones such as spirits of place or those who have come to personify primal or elemental forces – earthquakes, volcanoes, weather phenomenon – don’t really confirm to an ethical code as such. They will kill, destroy and act in a manner some might consider cruel and evil. What this doesn’t take into account is that people are then laying their own human ethical code upon something that isn’t human, it is no more human that an orca playing football with a baby seal. We don’t refer to animals murderers or call for the Lions to be hanged when they kill infant antelopes, why not? Because they are not humans, they are animals, they are different from us and ultimately the same ethical and moral codes we have constructed do not apply to them because there never has been an absolute ethical way of life. It varies; it changes and does so only in human societies.

The gods can be cruel, they can be bastards – but they are like Orca or Lion; not human and not subject to human ethics. Even those gods who are more personable and anthropomorphic can have a sting in the tail. I think probably because they no longer need be bound human ethics and as such have a whole new perspective on existence, as such, by being such a twat to one of us they are doing what is needed, the right thing perhaps. It is just to us at that time we cannot see that, we cannot perceive what is happening and what the outcome will be. The gods may know these things and as such realise that egg shells need breaking in order to bake us a cake.

I am so out of my depth here it is unreal.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

What I Believe

I had a go at explaining what I believe on the Caer Feddwyd forum earlier and feel it looks a total mess. So, I am going to have another go at it and do so in the form of an analogy (I do a lot of analogizing).



I see all existence as a stream, a slowly moving smooth surfaced ribbon of water in which the physical is the stream bed and the spiritual the water flowing over and with it. The surface of this stream is calm. No movement.

A living thing – a human in this instance – is a small pebble in that stream, rising just above the surface and causing ripples and eddies all around it. It is a meeting of the physical and spiritual, a lynchpin that pulls them both together for a short time. I think that this conjoining is the product of life itself, not necessarily conciousness. This I think largely because I think/feel that all living things are able to make this meeting of the two happen. Take the human out of the stream – they die – and the ripples fade out and the water resumes its stillness. I hope this is clear and makes a degree of sense so far.

On to spirits of place, wights and the like; I dont know if they exist as they are without humans getting involved. However, I see them as points in that stream where there are ripples and waves not caused by humans as such, perhaps points where the ripples from living things conjoin and are amplified and grow. Lots of people being drawn to them add their own ripples if only for a short time and as such perpetuate these points in the stream. These points are wights, spirits of place, genius locii and they too have sentience though if that is their own or the product of lots of human interaction I don't yet know.

Again, I hope I haven't lost you.

The Gods. I am sure that many are merely 'popular' spirits of place, beings that have become strong and powerful after a lot of human interaction – a tsunami in the stream if you like. The other gods I am sure are ancestors, humans who were very real and very alive many 1000's of year ago. Roll back to the neolithic when ancestor worship was the norm (see the many current traditions in various parts of the world which have retained this element to their religion), somehow and by a mechanism I wont even begin to fathom, the ripples and patterns caused by those individuals are perpetuated and continue beyond their death until they become like wight or god in the sense described above – they exist independent of the physical aspect.

The gods I think exist regardless of humans and their activities. However, they become – more – with our interaction, they are shaped by us and evolve as we do and our needs change, indeed, their influence in the stream is also shaped and fed by our own.

It is getting a little late now, so tomorrow I will carry on with this line of thought and have a muse on ritual, celebration etc

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day

This is not going to fall within the 'remit' of this blog at all, but I don't have a standard blog and don't really think it wise to have one which ties my 'religious' life with my 'professional' one considering my field etc.

it has been snowing like a beast in London. Around 9 inches of the stuff. Work is closed and I am under instructions from the Keeper of Palaeontology NOT to go in today – I have email proof if you doubt me – and to work from home. This I have been doing (collection level descriptions of the Permian Glass Mountain brachiopod collection) though I did go out for an hour or two around lunchtime to play in the local park; snowball fights, snowmen and virgin snow to savour trudging in. I have come to the conclusion that one of the greatest pleasures in life is just that: fresh virgin snow waiting to be trodden on, that feeling of endeavour and exploration into new territory made all the better by the smothered crunching underfoot. The saddest thing that of course follows in tandem is grey slush on roads; grit and grime and ice and water; the death of snow.

Here is the pictorial evidence of today's work:




February 1st

Today is – or was – the first of February. The festival of Imbolc or Gwyl Ffraed. It doesn't, I think, mark the beginning of spring, that is still a little way off. It does however mark the real tangible evidence that spring is on its way, that winter has loosened it's grip and that warmth and the life it stirs will soon be back. Over the past week or two the weather has been noticeably milder, warmer and less like mittens and scarves weather. There are daffodil shoots running riot in the grounds of the museum and in the front gardens of houses and council estate lawns. There is a definite “feel” of change in the air.

That is of course until this afternoon. In typical fashion, the weather has turned to bitter, biting cold and snow. At this moment there is about 4 inches of snow here in south London and still it falls. Fat, fluffy flakes of it lining the roads and cars and turning the rather bleak view out of my bedroom window into something that might – for one night only- pass as beautiful. Winter in the UK is lazy. It comes along slothfully, allowing autumnal rains to keep falling on it's watch and not really batting an eyelid. It ponders along in a half arsed fashion until it's time is almost up and it is almost as if it realises it has nearly missed it's chance in its slothfulness and so dumps it true calling as late as possible and trespasses cold and snow into spring. Snow in march is not uncommon, I have heard of snowdrifts in the Scottish borders in may.



I was up at dawn today, just after half seven in the morning. I got up to light the white candle in the window next to the superbly timed flowering daffodilesque flowers in a small pot (the lady in the shop called them tĂȘte a tĂȘte, I say daffs), and say a few silent words to the Lady of today. Just after lunch I went to St Bride's church in Fleet Street – 7thC church, possibly oldest in London, maybe possibly site of an older Brigantia like spot/temple/shrine – to light a candle again and say a few words whilst sitting in a nice old building. As it was, it was locked. On a Sunday. Oh well.

I wandered back down to Blackfriar's bridge and threw an engraved copper disc into the Thames as an offering to her. This evening a toast of milk – appropriate – to three causes, whilst gazing past the daffs-in-a-pot at the snow piling up on the brick wall outside, on the black twigs of the scabby tree and on next door's washing on the line.

It does look beautiful.