And so, here we are again

I don’t normally put a whole lot of stock in standard newspaper horoscopes, because astrology is a lot more complicated than that. But a couple of weeks back I got a Rob Brezsny horoscope for Virgo that included the following words:

“Consider returning to an old fork in the road where you made a wrong turn and and then making the correct turn this time. But if you do, be motivated by bright hope for a different future rather than by sludgy remorse for your error.”

Especially given the dark spirit of the times, that gave me food for thought.

Most of you probably know me from my old blog, Wytch of the North, but for those who may be happening on this new blog for the first time, hi, I’m Beth! Sometime in 2009 I began blogging publicly about being a longtime devotee (since 2002) of Odin. I think I started writing at a different blog, then moved over to Wytch of the North in the next year or so; Wytch of the North had all the good stuff, though. I shared pretty extensively over there about my daily life as a godspouse, my approach to Odin and His lore, my thoughts on polytheism in general, and the development of my oracular seidhr practice. At the height of my blogging career, I had a pretty large and interactive readership, and even had a blog over at Pagan Square for a couple of years. I was also, in my free time (which also means free of charge) fielding a fair number of questions from other Odin devotees and prospective godspouses.

And then, the burnout began. I’m not sure at what point it went from mere annoyance to full-out “I just can’t anymore,” but my blogging was the first casualty, becoming increasingly sporadic. (It was hard to maintain both an active blog and an active Etsy shop at the same time, anyway, but whenever I allowed myself to take a break from blogging it became more and more difficult to go back.)

In the summer of 2016, I had just had enough. I’m not blaming my readership or customers for this, not at all–but talking about my spiritual life so publicly for so long brought up a continual stream of issues that I did not have the head space or privacy to deal with. So I set most of my non-shop-related posts to private, gave out publicly that I was done with Odin and that I’d never really been involved with Him in the first place, and took a huge step back from the online polytheist community.

This was an overreaction, and I realize that now. I’m not apologizing for it–it was necessary for me at the time, and He certainly understood–but it could have been done differently. I’m realizing that I have a nasty habit of making huge public announcements–both spiritual and business related–that I later have to go back on because they were premature or just plain wrongheaded. (This is one tendency I’m trying to relentlessly prune this year.)

Now, don’t get me wrong: I still maintain that each of us experiences our gods differently, even if They’re the exact same god. I still maintain that, with the more than 200 ancient names Odin has, it’s not only possible but likely that, as a living deity, He continues to acquire still more names and identities (and I’m not alone in considering Doctor Who potentially among those). I still maintain that, where He is concerned, trying to cling desperately to one face or one name is probably a mistake–or at the very least, may eventually have a stunting effect on your relationship with Him.

And as I said, the time off was necessary for me; I needed a break from the polytheist community. I wasn’t taking a break from Odin, but I needed a break from “Odin,” if that makes any sense.

But I will own it: the way I went about it–the “I’m taking my toys and going home” reaction–was childish, and I regret it. I’m not sorry I took a step back, but I’m sorry I did it that way. Granted, the material was mine to make private, and some of it will remain so–especially some of the writings that, looking back on them now with a more level head, are frankly an embarrassment. But some of the pieces people told me they found the most valuable will be making their way over here, and will be available again.

That being the case, why this new blog? Why not just make selected posts at the old blog public again, and go from there? I was tempted to, especially since the name of the other blog matched that of my business. But guys, going through those posts would involve a LOT of editing time (even more so than just copy-pasting some of them over here), and that’s time I’d rather spend writing new things or working on my store. I also made an absolute mess of categories and tags over there, and want a chance to do it more professionally from the beginning. The blog is choking on images that would also need to be deleted (and I’m near my space limit for images there, so that would need to become a priority pretty soon).

But even more than that, I want to set a different tone from the beginning this time. When I first started blogging about Odin, I kind of let just about anything I was feeling or thinking spew onto the page. (Some of these posts are the ones you won’t be seeing again.) I was also very concerned about a number of issues that mean exactly nothing to me now, including jealousy, legitimacy (in the eyes of whom, exactly?), and heathenry. (I no longer consider myself heathen, for a number of reasons, not least of all the times we now live in; unfortunately–and despite the praiseworthy efforts of groups such as Heathens United Against Racism–US heathenry and white supremacy are too intimate to be easily separated.)

Taking a step back gave me some needed perspective on a number of things. It made me realize where my boundaries are and what I need to do to maintain them. It also brought about a shift in how I want to present myself, going forward: as a devotee, a Witch who is also a longtime follower of Odin, rather than as a member of the “godspouse community.” Nothing has changed in our relationship, but I’ve finally matured enough (yes, at the age of 51!) that it can move from being centered on emotions (and hence, driven by emotional reactions) to being centered on Work (and hence, driven by need). He has been angling for this shift for years, of course. Now that it’s happened, both the tone and the topics of my posting will change. I won’t be discussing active workings, but I will likely be discussing methods. There will probably be a good bit of spiritual DIY, as I am a maker. There will also be content dealing with public events–specifically, activism and resistance regarding public events–and how, in my own practice, polytheism and witchcraft fit into that. If that isn’t your cup of tea–if you like your spirituality to stay separated from current events and you prefer for things to not “get too political”–then this blog is likely not for you.

But to the rest of you who’ve either discovered this or followed me over here, welcome! I’m not going to get much more specific than the above about what I’m intending to write about because I’m trying to cure myself of making declarative statements before the fact. But my hopes for this blog go beyond a simple list of post categories, regardless. I’m hoping to inspire, to give hope, to help others find purpose, courage, and determination as I find my own. I’m hoping to do my own bit in the resistance, from the spiritual side of things; not to be too Tolkein-y but I’m hoping to be a light in the darkness–because all the gods know we need those, and plenty of them.

Thanks for coming along on the journey.

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