Virtue Mine Honor: A Personal Creed

In my last post I cited a poem by Rudyard Kipling from The Jungle Book. That poem embodied things that I am beginning to take hold of in my own life as I’m challenging myself to become less isolated and more involved in the community around me. Wolves are not meant to be solitary creatures.

I make it no secret that I am of a European heritage. Because of my Sami descent, I struggle with indigenous discourse because I do not fall into conventional ideas what makes someone of indigenous descent. This is something I will address eventually. But in due time, as it is difficult to discuss given the current race/heritage political climate and a bred-in cultural shame. I struggle with the appropriateness of my speaking out given that I most am, by all purposes: “white.” We’ll get there. It’s ultimately irrelevant to this blog post.

I grew up with my family mottos, creeds and blessings. I’ve known all of them since infancy and every member of my family has said them to me for my entire life. To that end, they have always held strongly with me. Because of this, I’ve generally disliked any kinds of “charges” that most modern pagan paths, as they exist today. The “Nine Noble Virtues” come to the top of this list given their origins with Oswald Mosley, the AFA, and the Odinic Rite. All those groups have overtly racist or questionable motivations with their religious beliefs that I find offensive, given the way I was raised and the heritage I was brought up to hold dear.

In the same way, I don’t love the modern iterations that are found in the ADF and many Celtic Recon practices. This is because I find them influenced by Wicca, either in rejection of Gerald Gardner’s creation or in embracing it because it was easier. And sometimes it’s just plain bad research.

For myself, I hold my family beliefs in high regard, but in these new days of my life, I have created my own singular mantra of sorts.

i-am-the-eyes-in-the-dark-1

In itself this comes to the way that I look at a full moon, which follows much more distinctively with pre-Reformation Gaelic Christian practices and how they viewed the world, given that the Irish conversion was a relatively peaceful one that ended up combining much of the cultural contexts from their pagan roots with the newer Christian beliefs. Granted, this is pre-Reformation, so bear with me on that. The “Carmina Gadelica” would be the text to read to begin understanding that, and I’ll be referencing it soon in some writing about morning devotionals.

Ultimately, I consider the “new moon,” to be a dangerous moon- rather than the full moon connotations of “lunacy,” “moonmadness,” and dare I even mention werewolves- this does link to the early Irish concepts of the day beginning at sundown and the new year falling at the end of a harvest- moving into the “dark” part of the year. The full moon illuminates the night, it is a time to get things done when the daylight runs out, the predators and things that go bump would have a harder time sneaking up on someone. In the dark of the waned moon; there are only the howls of the hungry wolves, the crack of a twig, a snarl in the shadows. The predators can always see better in the dark.
This isn’t to say that I walk around living my life like some kind of predator but more in the way that I pursue my knowledge, my life, and my faith. With a ravenous, starving diligence. Like the wolf in the dark hunting a prey that will never be able to escape, I have chosen to relentlessly pursue my identity- because it is integrally tied to my lineage, my heritage, my psyche, my religion and my lifestyle choices. To that end, I have tenants that I follow and believe, but this is the core of all things. I’ll be addressing those individual charges in the future as they become necessary.

Have you developed a personal crest or motto of sorts that singularly gives you a term to hold up to your practice or life?

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The Law of the Wilds

Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth over and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

-Rudyard Kipling; The Second Jungle Book

Some of my Tumblr followers saw a post that I wrote this morning about the past year that I’ve had. Some have born witness to it in more personal ways than others. In that, I came to a solid conviction about the nature of my spiritual practice- in that it wasn’t lacking for devotion of belief, but that it was strongly lacking in orthopraxy. Since a psychotic break and the subsequent damages and struggles, both from my mental health and personal life; I have become obsessed with the ritualization of my life. This is a survival tactic for myself and it keeps me settled and stable.

In that, I’ve been rereading some of my old favorite stories, which has included The Jungle Book and its brother. Something that stuck out at me so strongly was the “Law of the Jungle” poem. Obviously, I will align myself more with the wolves of mountain and plain, but that’s a semantic difference that doesn’t serve much of a purpose here.

Over the last few years as I pulled away from conventional pagan discourses and into my own private practice, I have been asked many many times what I believe and what I follow. My answers have been…ambiguous at best due to some concerns about the community at large de-contextualizing my beliefs, redirecting them or even claiming ownership of them. This kind of fear is not something I should be living with. I’m a storyteller and teacher by nature. And I am built for “packs.” And to me, that word has a thousand definitions, and none. So I’ll be exploring that, among other things.

This will be my exploration and explanation of how I built my practice and my faith. It’s a critical examination of myself and the things that I believe, in context to my Sami heritage and what I have learned by becoming more linked into that community and active practice; to my Norse belief system, which I was raised with; my old ties to Catholicism and Protestant Christianity, which influence me to this day in my research and worldview- though I no longer follow that path; and to the Irish cultural practices and sometimes beliefs that influence my day to day life.

There are some things that I will not be sharing, and I’ll be noting the pieces of those practices as they become relevant. This is because some of them are from a closed, indigenous culture, and some of them are from a heritage based practice that I learned from my great-grandmother, in which case it is “blood-based.” (A concept I will address at another time because it has nothing to to with heritage and more of directed lineage and tradition.)

The Law of the Wilds demands that I teach and coexist in the environments around me. Much as my wild brothers and sisters would. So here I am, with a bone to gnaw and a song to sing. This is my practice.