You are viewing 366_days

Why I Haven't Been Posting...

I feel really bad for having not posted near as much as I promised.  But I've just been having a couple of weeks of semi-hell, essentially.


I guess I feel a little better posting here.  My other journal, which has many of my friends on it, I just don't feel as comfortable as I used to about posting this there.  I've been praying a bit more than I used to and I think I'm going to start praying even more.  I used to, and it's just such a calming thing for me.  I've forgotten how much it helps when you're down.

Though, my biggest concern right now IS money.  I've never prayed or done magic work for money, but part of me is wondering if I should.

Today's sun god will be Freyr.  He's a Norse god of the sun and the rain.  He is also the patron god of harvests.  While some of the articles I found claim that Freyr is only "closely linked" with the sun, other articles seem to claim that he IS the sun god.  Occasionally, his name is made out to be Frey.  In southern Sweden, his name is Fricco.

Freyr is the son of the sea god Njoror, and is the brother of the love and war goddess Freyja.  (Love and war… I think these two are errantly linked throughout history!)  Freyr also rides a boar that shines and is called Gullinbursti.  The boar was made by a dwarf.  Some sources say he rode the boar, other’s say the boar pulled a chariot.  Along with the boar he rides, he also has a ship called Skioblaoir which always has favorable breezes (possibly linking to his father?).  The coolest part about the boat, I think, is how it can be folded together and carried in a pouch when not being used.  His servants are also Skirnir, Byggyir, and Beyla.

Skirnir is Freyr’s messenger and his name means “the shining one.”  Byggyir and Beyla were husband and wife, and are most likely elven, according to the information I found.  

Strangely, Freyr is also a god of peace while still being a brave warrior.  Considering the old Norse culture, I guess I can understand this.  I also found on Encyclopedia Mythica that he is the ruler of elves.  (I do have an interest in the fey and the elves, so this might be something I'd want to look into some more.)  Apparently, the gods gave him Alfheimer, the very realm of the elves, as a teething present.

He is also the most prominent and most beautiful of the male members of the Vanir (I could see this going along with the elf thing and with the sun and rain thing.)  He is also called the "God of the World."

The Vanir are typically a group of wild nature and fertility gods and goddesses.  They are the bringers of health, youth, fertility, luck, and wealth.  They are also masters of magic and live in Vanaheim.

Anyway, Feryr was also commonly called upon to grant a fertile marriage.  I can see how the harvest thing would go with this.  That and the Vanir were fertility deities.  Essentially, he is a phallic fertility god.  (I almost want to say, “What pagan deity isn’t?”)

One of the most famous myths about Freyr is the one about how he falls in love with the giantess Gerd and eventually makes her his bride.

Essentially, once, on a journey to the underworld, he saw and fell in love with Gerd.  His servant and messenger, Skirnir, was sent on a journey to convince Gerd to marry Freyr.  The magic sword that Freyr possessed (which was able to leap from the sheath of it’s own and create a field of carnage) was given to Skirnir to use.  Skirnir, though, couldn’t do anything to convince Gerd to marry Freyr.  Essentially, he ended up threatening her with the magic sword, and Gerd agreed to meet Freyr in a grove of trees to become his bride.

According to one site I found, Skirnir’s journey to the underworld is symbolic of the winter months in the Norse lands, in which there are long periods of darkness.  This isn’t unlike the story of Persephone and how her months in the underworld are representative of winter.

I also found that on the day of Ragnarok, which is the end of the world, Freyr will battle without weapons and be the first to be killed by the fire giant Surt.  He won’t have weapons because he gave the magic sword to Skirnir.

I feel this pretty much sums up Freyr for today.  Here are some of the pictures I found of him.


 


 


 

 

 

 

The Legend Of Amaterasu

I was doodling around and just found this legend of Amaterasu.  I really like the way it's told, so I figured I'd post it!

 

 


Well, between being sick, helping my mother move 220 miles, and work, this last week/weekend has been quite exciting.  I'm going to be doing updates for last Friday through today.

I'm going to put the dates as the dates for last week, even though this entry is actually being posted on June 28th, which is a Thursday.  (Wow, almost a week later!  O_O)

Anyway, I'm going to be working on entries about sun gods and goddesses from around the world.  I found a site that listed 13 of them, and I'm going to start with those.  From there, I think I will possibly look into sun mythology.  I'll probably also work on finding even more dieties of the sun.  I'll be starting with Amaterasu from Japan today.

Amaterasu

First off, Amaterasu or Amateras is female.  Amateras was born from the left eye of one of the eldest gods in Japan called Izanagi.  She is considered one of the greatest Japanese gods and is also ruler of the Plain of Heaven.  She is a diety from the Shinto belifs.

But just who is Izanagi?  Well, I found this information that explains who he is and how he created Amaterasu:

The gods Izanagi (means "the male who invites") and Izanami ("the female who invites") were given the task of creating the world.  Izanami was Izanagi's wife and sister.  Standing upon Ama-no-ukihashi ("the floating bridge of the heavens"), the two plunged a jewel crested spear into the ocean.  When it was pulled free, the water dripped from the spear and became the first island of Japan.  On this first island, all the first gods and humans were born.

Later, Izanami died giving birth, and Izanagi went to the underworld to retrieve her.  She refused to return, and they parted forever.  Iganami returned from the underworld and began the first cleaning rites.  He washed his left eye and created the sun goddess Amaterasu.  He then washed his right eye, and created the moon goddess Tsuki-yomi, Amaterasu's counterpart.  He cleansed his nose, and createed Susanowa, the god of sea and storms.

Just looking online shows that there's a lot more about Izanami and Izanagi, though I might do more on them later.  They seem like they have some interesting myths.  I found a picture of them, actually, creating the first islands of Japan.


Anyway, more about Amaterasu.  As said before, she is considered one of the most, if not THE most important Shinto diety.  Her name literally means "that which illuminates Heaven."  She became the ruler of The Higher Celestial Plane and is the beginning of the line for the Japanese Emperors.  In the Kojiki (the book recording all the "Records of Ancient Matters" and the oldest surviving book in Japan), Amaterasu is considered the source from which all light emanates.  She is considered to be warm and compassionate.  She is a diety of "light" and "heat" and "passion" and/or "purity." 

Her being the source of all light is not just a metaphor, due to the fact that in one myth, she was embarassed by the actions of her brother and fled to a cave called Ama-no-Iwato.  When she fled, her light was hidden and literally plunged the world into darkness.  Some stories also say that Amaterasu fled from her brother because she feared his power.  (He can use lightning and storms to manipulate the earth.)  Her brother had also recently gone to meet his mother in the underworld, which honestly, was a disturbing place.  Some felt that Amaterasu was nervous that her brother would return jaded and/or changed.  Because of her fear of her brother, Amaterasu kept a bow and quiver at her side.

After she fled, the other gods begged her to come out.  Finally, Ama-no-Uzume (the Shinto goddess of dawn and revelery) hung a mirror on a nearby tree, organized a celebration, and performed an erotic dance before the cave.  It was apparently so funny, that all the other gods began to laugh so loud that Amaterasu became curious and decided to peek out.  When she saw her own reflection in the mirror, she was so startled by her own radiance that the other gods were able to pull her out and convince her to return to the sky.

Amaterasu also sent her grandson to pacify Japan.  Even later, her great-grandson became the first emperor, Emperor Jimmu.  He had a sacred sword, a sacred jewel, and a sacred mirror which have become the Japanese imperial regalia.

Amaterasu is credited with inventing the cultivation of rice and wheat, the use of silkworms to make silk, and of creating weaving with a loom.

She has an important shrine, the Grand Shrine of Ise, which is in Ise in western Honshu.  Now, here's something I'haven't seen before.  Every 20 years, they tear down the shrine and rebuild it as a metaphor for life and death.  In the shrine is the sacred mirror, which repersents Amaterasu.  The shrine isn't open to the public, though.

Every July 17th, Amaterasu is celebrated with street processions all over the country.  December 21st, which is the winter solstice, celebrate her coming out of the cave.  I find this interesting, because if you look at Western mythology and Wiccan mythology, this is a time for the sun to return, etc.

And now, a picture!  After this, that will be all for today!


In Other News...

Also, in other news, I will not be able to update this weekend.  I will be helping my mother move, so things are going to be tight for time and for finding-of-computers.  Because of this, I will be "making up" my days when I get back.  I may take a book by Green that I never finished and read some of it.  Then post about it.

But essentially, I will make up "missed days."

It's sad that I'm already missing working on this blog!  ^_^

Tags:

Last Night

So, yesterday, I ended up doing a simple ritual.

I found a large orangy candle (though, strangly, it smelled like cake), and lit it, dedicating it to the sun.  I did the dedication through carvings on the candle, the way I've always done.  For some reason, etching symbols onto candles just seems right for me.  Hm.

But I also found some jasmine smelling epsom (is that how it's spelled?) salts, and ran a hot bath.  The smell of the salts was wonderful.  It was strong and seemed very... Well, bright.  As I used my hand through the water to help the salts disolve, I could just feel that the bath would be perfect for clensing myself.  It was like something was building up in the water.

It's strange.  Water has always always always been a wonderful clensing tool for me, no matter what main element I'm working with.  Yesterday was more of a fire themed kind of work, obviously, as it was a day for Sol more than anything else (at least in my view).  But it's like the other elements I'm working with don't "mind" when I work with water to, well, essentially, strip myself clean.

Anyway, so I relaxed in the bath, calming my mind, letting myself relax and simply just imagining the waters to be pulling the day's everything off me.  When I finally got out, I felt so clean in just everyway.  It was really nice.

I didn't do too full of a ritual.  I simply lit incense, dedicated it to wind, and light the candle I have on my alter, and dedicated it to Sol for today (well, yesterday).  I meditated, and allowed myself to just clear my mind.  With all the crap going on in my life right now (crap being bad stuff and crap being just everyday stuff like work, school, etc.), I don't every get to do this.

I didn't end up writing the negative things in my life on paper and burning them away with a fire to clean them.  There's really no where I can do this currently.  (I think my roommate would mind, and I think the guys at R-Bar outside behind my place would be a liiiiitle annoyed at the smell of burning paper.)  Instead I took a fire opal that I have.  Fire opals are netorious for bad luck.  Drawing it to people.  It hasn't done that to me, because, one it's a weaker one, and two I've taken precautions.  Oh, and three, opals and I get along a bit better than most people.

Instead I listed all the things that I have in my life that are negative, that I want out of my life, and imagined myself pushing all of it into the opal.  I told the opal to draw THAT into it's self instead of bad luck.  I blessed it in water, earth, and wind.  Then I blessed it three times in fire, telling the opal that because it is the day of Sol, fire would, essentially, make it so.

(Three has always been one of the numbers to me in magic work.  Sealings always work with me when I use three.)

After, I placed it in a worked box I have, and "closed" it, to leave it in there for at least 24 hours.  (It'll be there for a little longer, though.)  The box will keep any changes from occuring, I am sure of that, and then, hopefully, the opal will become a drawing point for negative things (as in away from me).

I'm not sure what I'll do after this, when the work is done.  Maybe I will bury the opal somewhere far away.  Maybe.  I'll have to think about that.

After, I danced around in my room to Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Don't laugh, RHCP is a strangly spiritual music for me.  I actually listen to them a lot when I do magic work and when I meditate.  Some of my more recent spiritual moments where when RHCP was playing.  They appeal to my Aries side, and just... Something about them makes me happy.  If you didn't notice, the title of my blog is from Animal Bar by RHCP.

Actually, one of the most amazing spiritual moments of my life happened to Road Trippin' by them.  That'll be a post for another day.

Anyway, later, I ended up getting together with friends, and we just, essentially, "shot the shit" as my boyfriend likes to put it, drank a few beers (also tradition on midsummer! ^_^), and just had a good time.

And that, my friends was midsummer for me!

Happy (Official) Summer!

Today is the first official day of summer.  Of course, up here in Denton, I still think it is the middle of the "monsoon" season.  (Seriously, since when does Texas have a monsoon season?  As of 2007, we do, I guess.)  Due to this, I figure it'll be a great topic to start with.  The summer solstice!  (Being interested in celestial objects seems to fit right in with this.)

(Apologies in advance for how my writing may be.  I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to be writing this stuff up!)

Scientifically, the summer solstice is the longest day (most daylight hours) of the year, in the northern hemisphere.  Ignoring the fun of daylight savings time, today will have the most daylight out of any other day of the year.  This can mean 15 hours of sunlight, even.  (That was how much Chicago got in 1999.  That's a lot of sun.)  Essentially, the northern axis of the sun is pointing towards the sun the most it will the whole year.  Of course, if you drop down to Australia, you'll be having the winter solstice, which is a whole other ball game.

The summer solstice is also called midsummer in many places and seems to fit.  It really feels to me more like the middle of summer than the beginning.  The summer solstice is celebrated all over the world in many different cultures.  Many of the traditional celebrations of midsummer are actually non-Christian in origin (aka pagan).  Even so, many have now been changed to be under the label of St. John's Day celebrations, which I'll talk more about later.

Midsummer is also referred to as Litha, which is the common name among Wiccans, I know.  Apparently, this name came from Bede who named the Anglo-Saxon months, and the period between June and July was "se Ærra Liþa."

Midsummer is apparently also the birth of St. John, Jesus's cousin.  It's ranking in the Catholic Church is one of "Solemnity", which is the highest degree a holiday can have.  (Essentially, it's important.)  From what I've been reading, it sounds like over the past, well, 2000 years, St. John's day has just been slapped over "summer solstice" and has been celebrated in many simliar ways.

In ancient times, people believed that plants on this day would have very amazing healing powers.  Thus, those plants would be picked on this night.  The tradition of the bonfire would be lit to protect against evil spirits that would come out during sunset.  Later, in a more Christian era, evil witches were believed to be at a height of power this day, and thus would have important devil-witchy meetings.

In Sweden, before Christ, this day was a day to sacrifice for fertility.  I'm guessing more in the ways of "everything in life" than children.  Or with crops.  Even today, in northern Europe and Swedish areas, the midsummer celebration is one of the biggest and is actually comparable to Christmas and New Year's.


Honestly, I think I'm going to stop here.  Essentially, most of the places in the world celebrate with the following or around: bonfires, leaping over of bonfires, occasionally fireworks, noise makers (banging on conch shells, loud objects, yelling), occasionally maypoles, celebrating origin, harvest, a time to bring about good luck/fertility.  Oh, and weddings.  A lot of countries have a wedding or at least a lustful-get-together theme going on.

Funnily, there is actually a solstice celebration today in Seattle that involves a lot of nudity.  How pagan.  XD

Today, on midsummer, chamomile, rose, oak, thyme, and daisys are all plants that are good to use in rituals.  I found on some sites, that a good thing to do today is find a physical representation of something that is troublesome in your past or something that is negative to you, and to burn it.  One site suggests writing about it on a piece of paper and burning it.  Along with it, it's suggested to speak some kind of banishment of this negativity from your world.

Warm smells such as vanilla are recommend for ritual work, and warm colors such as golds, yellow, and oranges are also recommended.  Summer flowers are also recommended for either decoration or for ritual work.

Honestly, I have the feeling today would be a good day to celebrate the gods and goddesses of the Sun.

Hm, I think I have topics for the next few days.  I think I'll focus on some of the dieties of the Sun and then maybe on Finnish mythology.

Also, I don't really know exactly what I'm going to be doing today for the solstice.  I think I'll try and plan it out and then from there go with the flow.  I will try and post later about what I did in detail.  I hope this was an okay start to my blog!  Sorry it's so technical!

Until next time!

Introduction

Essentially, I'm going to recap what I wrote in my user info.  Apologies for the sub-par writing.  I'm tired.  Work was "fun."

Here it is:

The name of my journal, 366_days is in reference to the term of "A Year And A Day" of study that is common among some pagan circles.  Essentially, this means that for a year and a day, one will learn about paganism (or interests within), before reaching a decision, spiritually, of where one would want to go. 

The name 366_days is a little misleading.  Including the day I am starting with, this journal will be in effect for at least 368 days, since 2008 is going to be a leap year.  I will be using this journal to complete my "year and a day".  I will be posting information I learn online, in books, and from other sources.  I will also be posting personal entries about my thoughts, ideas, and views as I study belifs, history, etc. about paganism.

About myself:

I am a 21-year-old Aries female located in the DFW area, attending UNT (senior).  I am majoring in Literature (and Creative Writing to a degree), and have a minor in music.  I decided paganism was the way I wanted to go when I was 14, after about a year of experience and learning.  I started out with a strong Wiccan background, but soon left that, realizing 1. the BS that goes on in many Wiccan communities, and 2. because the views didn't completly fit my views.  Even so, I am fairly well versed in Wicca in general.  I moved towards Zen-Buddhism later, though, once again, found bits to fit and others not at all.  I've always had an interest in Athena and explored Hellenic Reconstructionism for a good while, though, recently realized that it and and it's sometime counterpart, Asatru/Heathenism (Norse)were not for me, due to "community" reasons more than actual belifs.  I still have a strong tie with the Pallas Athena that I wish to strengthen over this next year.

Because of all of this, I have developed a very strongly ecclectic style of paganism.  Even so, I've always felt that I needed to find a much stronger path than being a Kiester-of-pagans (Kiester = people who go to church on Christmas/Easter).  Recently, after completing some magic work (By the way, I don't spell magic "majick."  Spelling doesn't make it any different to me.) that I should have completed a long time ago, I recieved a sign that I need to start working for this path.  The path wouldn't come to me.

I belive that I'm going to be drawn to a form of celestial worship.  I have always had an obsession with the moon, sky, sun, stars, and sky in general.  I also have a strong tie with the ocean and areas with water.  Many times, I have found that these dieties and worship forms combine celestial and aquatic.  I'm not saying I'm 100% sure this is will I will end up, but I know this is where I'm going to start.

Also, I have a strong Bahai influence from when I was young and from when I was a preteen that only pushes this year-and-a-day learning style.

I also read tarot cards, and have hoped/hope to develop my skills at palm reading.  I read with the Rider-Waite deck currently.  It was my first deck when I was 13, and while I've tried, literally, 6 other decks, this one is the one that I have always come back to, the one that is always the most accurate, and the one that has always felt "right" to me.  I also have a strong liking of Dischordisnism, with it's satire of religion and with it's strangly serious undertones.

I was also the co-founder of UNT's A Circle of Three Trees, (UNT's pagan association) 3 years ago.  I was the VP for the first two years and the President this last year.  Sadly, the group disbanded at the end of this last year due to me stepping down and others not wanting to take my place.

As for now, I shall leave end at this.  Over the next year and a day, which, appropriatly, will be ending on next year's Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, I will probably fill up this journal with more than enough about my spiritual belifs!

Blessings!  ^_^