Volume 1 Issue 1 Ostara 2009
A Message from the Editors
Greetings and well met! Welcome to our first issue of the Pagan Alliance News! We are very pleased with the results thus far, as well as with some of the changes that Sarah and I have been making over the last few months.
We have finally created a website. Check it out at PANetwork.webs.com. This is merely the working name and address for the site. Eventually it will move to a paid host. We welcome any content suggestions as well as contributions towards gaining the paid site.
As some of you may have noticed, the YahooGroup has changed names. We went from www.yahoogroups.com/PaganAllianceNE to www.yahoogroups.com/PANetwork. The reasons behind this are many, but the main reason is because we have come to the wonderful realization that PAN is very much becoming what we had hoped it would twelve years ago, a networking group that spans the nation. So far, our furthest member from Lincoln, NE resides in Florida. So, we wanted to change the name to reflect more of who and what PAN is now.
That brings to mind why we have started this little newsletter. Sarah and I, as well as many of you who have been with PAN for some years now, have dreamed of a newsletter to share with as many people as care to pick it up. We debated long and hard on how to set it up and what, if anything, we would charge our readers. What you hold in your hands now, or see before you on the website, is the result of that debate. We hope to make this newsletter YOUR newsletter. Submissions from PAN members and from the community as a whole are welcome. You can submit your articles, artwork, stories, etc to PANFounders@yahoo.com, through the YahooGroup, the website, or hand them to us personally at one of the many PAN hosted events on the Calendar.
We look forward to sharing and learning with you! Blessings to all,
Rev. Philipp J. Kessler and Rev. Sarah J. Buhrman, the editors
by Rev. Philipp J. Kessler
The Pagan Alliance Network was founded in June of 1997, by Rev. Sarah J. Buhrman and Rev. Philipp J. Kessler. The purpose behind the original organization was to bring the Lincoln and Lancaster County Pagans and like minded people together under one umbrella to do community awareness and outreach programs. That intent has not changed in the last decade, it has grown to encompass groups and individuals throughout the state of Nebraska and in the last year or two has spread to other parts of the country.
The first official event hosted by what was then called the Pagan Alliance of Nebraska, was not well received by the community as a whole. Sarah and Phil had managed to get over 20 of the Pagan/Wiccan/Heathen community leaders from the Lincoln and Lancaster County area to meet at the same table. For many this was the first time they had ever met. The over all feel of the group was one of curiosity and well meaning intent towards the youngsters that had called them together. Unfortunately, there was a lack of an agenda put together by Sarah and Phil and misconceptions and miscommunication between the majority of the gathered Elders. The meeting was not a roaring success. Many who were present then are still active in the community today and have watched PAN struggle through its growing pains and are now taking part in how PAN operates today.
Since that time, PAN has floated around in the back ground of the Lincoln and Omaha metro areas. Several discussion groups have been spawned by PAN over the years and served their times and purposes admirably, though only one has survived the test of time. The currently discussion group has been in process for two years and is currently hosted at the home of Julia and Jeff Kappenman in Lincoln.
Over the years, PAN has participated in or hosted open circles with Chalice of Our Lady (Lincoln, NE, now defunct), DolphinMoon Coven (Lincoln, NE) and StarMoon Coven (Denver, CO). We look forward to working with many other groups in the future as PAN grows and expands.
PAN held a table at the 2008 Mystic Fest in Omaha, NE, hosted by the Next Millennium and Magickal Omaha. Sarah and Phil were at the table the whole event, with assistance from Michele Lord. We were able to share information about PAN with people from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and many other states in the region. A gage of our success at this event is that Sarah and Phil had to make multiple runs to the hotel front desk to have additional copies made of our informational brochures. Our brochures covered topics such as Pagan Parenting, How Astrology Really Works, the Elder Futhark Runes, Learning to Laugh at Oneself, and a calendar of events for the remainder of 2008. We feel that we were well received at the event and look forward to taking part in the festivities at many future Mystic Fests as well as visiting similar events in other areas.
In 2007, a Yahoo!Group was founded with the help of Michele Lord to help with the networking aspect of PAN (www.yahoogroups.com/PANetwork). This group has provided members the opportunity to share their lives, experiences, thoughts, and imaginings with others between meetings. It serves to help continue discussions from our meetings as well as start others that may or may not ever make it to a meeting; as well as gives everyone who is on the group the opportunity to take an active role in designing and planning events. The group has provided access for our members who are not in Lincoln or Omaha, or even the state of Nebraska, to our discussion topics, calendar of events, and an outlet for expanding their informational bases of experience. In Janurary 2009, the group was expanded to better reflect the current format of PAN.
In the late summer of 2008, we also opened a MySpace page to continue to reach out to the community (www.members.myspace.com/PaganAlliance). Angie Wilson is in charge of the MySpace page. Through MySpace we have been able to network with Pagan owned and friendly businesses, authors, and musicians.
In conjunction with the Yahoo!Groups change, PAN launched its webpage through FreeWebs.com (PANetwork.webs.com). This web page shares our calendar of events, articles and essays written by our members, links to many of our networking contacts, and an on-line copy of our newsletter, Pagan Alliance News.
What PAN offers today:
PAN has a regular schedule of events hosted at various places in Lincoln.
Every Saturday evening at 7pm we get together at Julia's home to have either a discussion group, c(C)raft project or divination night. Each evening starts with a guided meditation to help get everyone focused for the task at hand.
1st Saturday, Discussion Group
2nd Saturday, c(C)raft & Game Night
3rd Saturday, Discussion Group
4th Saturday, Divination Night
5th Saturday, Movie Night.
PAN hosts a regular Meet & Greet Social at Here & Back Again, a store in Lincoln, NE. We began these socials in October 2008. The idea is for people within the community to be able to meet in a neutral environment and learn more about each other, PAN, and the community as a whole.
Meet & Greet Social Schedule for 2009 is as follows:
February 7, 5-7pm
March 28, 5-7pm
May 9, 5-7pm
June 27, 5-7pm
August 8, 5-7pm
September 26, 5-7pm
October 17, 5-7pm
November 7, 5-7pm
We do request a $2 fee for attending these socials to cover the cost of refreshments and to help pay rent on the space.
Instead of a Meet & Greet Social in December, we will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Yule Party at Here & Back Again on December 12. As some of you may remember, we had a wonderful turn out for the 2008 Party and hope to see an even better turn out this year. PAN hopes to work with several local groups, merchants, and artists to make the party even more enjoyable.
PAN works with several Covens/Groves/ Circles/etc throughout its membership area and in particular with the Order of the Red Grail, Church of Transformational Wicca, UNL's Pagan Life, StarMoon Coven and DolphinMoon Coven. We provide contact and scheduling information for these groups on our website and other Internet sources as well as in our newsletter.
Whenever PAN has an event at someone's home, a public park, or a place of business we help the host(s) to set up for the event and stay to help clean up afterwards. We want to leave with the site in better condition than when we arrived.
We also participate in an aluminum can recycling program. The proceeds from this are invested into PAN to help cover the costs of supplies and other expenses incurred. As with the event fees, no member of PAN profits.
The Pagan Alliance News is a quarterly newsletter, published the first of the month for Ostara, Midsummer, Mabon and Yule. Each issue contains our calendar of events, informational articles on a multitude of topics, short fiction by members, photography, and so much more. Currently, the issues are available on-line at our website and can be picked up at Here & Back Again and Next Millennium.
Current Contact Information:
Pagan Alliance Network
1025 E St., #104
Lincoln, NE 685-8
Rev. Sarah J. Burhman
Co-Founder and Facilitator, Secondary Contact Person for the Pagan Alliance Network
From the Treasury
As of the first of February, 2009, we have $57.00 in the Pagan Alliance Network coffers. Funds are gathered through multiple sources, Meet & Greet Socials, Annual PAN Yard Sale, recycling program, and donation from members. Currently, donations are not tax deductible, we are still looking into 501(c)(3) status. However, we do welcome donations from our members to help pay for future events and to keep projects afloat. No member of PAN profits from this program. Periodically, it will be brought to a vote if we are going to make any contribution to other organizations. Examples of those organizations would be KZUM Community Radio, Witches' Voice (www.witchvox.com), or local charities.
Our current treasury officer is Rev. Philipp J. Kessler with support from Fay Anderson. If you have questions about where the funds are being used or would like to make a donation, please contact us at PANFounders@yahoo.com.
with Rev. Sarah Wolfcat B.
Ares - This first sign is a Cardinal Fire sign. Since Cardinal signs are "primal" energies, this can make Ares quite the "hot-head." This sign will be spontaneous, impulsive, aggressive, willful, childish, fun, and ambitious. This is the "get 'er done" sign, determined and just stubborn enough to accomplish pretty much anything. Although fire signs have a reputation for temper, this isn't always true. Some can be hard to get upset, but in the end, any extreme emotion is just that, extreme. This sign has to watch out for a tendency towards immaturity, and should frequently check in while on a mission. It is easy for their goals to become the ends - that is they will pursue a goal even when it is no longer necessary or positive. Ares needs to make sure the goal is still the right track for their life path. Higher evolutions of Ares make this sign the go-to sign for accomplishing near-impossible tasks.
Taurus - The second sign is a Fixed Earth. Fixed signs tend to become entrenched in ideas and habits, but also can be the most immovable in terms of morals and honorable behavior. This sign may be stubborn, firm in ideals and values, lazy, relaxed, homey, agoraphobic, obese, artistic, and a true gourmand of foods, drink and entertainment. Taurus likes home and comfort, and can become too attached to "comforts." They make wonderful hosts for anything and everything, and are the most stable and loyal of friends. Taurus is the sign of creativity and art, particularly physical arts, such as sculpture, painting and clothing design. They frequently have a talent for acquiring and saving money. Taurus needs to watch out for the rut, as they can get stuck there easily. Higher evolutions of Taurus make this sign the best for creating and critiquing artistic works, and for hosting large groups of people in a variety of situations.
Gemini - This third sign is Mutable Air. This means mental chaos, pure and simple. Gemini are witty, flippant, casual, superficial, emotional unaware of others, detached, romantic, smooth, and multitaskers. This sign can outwit anyone, and tends to know a little something about every topic under the sun. They frequently forget to learn enough to add depth to their intelligence and can end up being little more than verbal con-men. They can also be players, as they have a high sexual factor, but can be emotionally superficial. They secretly desire the "soul-mate" but have trouble sticking to one person long enough to achieve that depth of emotion. Gemini hide behind their wit, covering any insecurities with humor and a sharp tongue. Gemini should work on staying the course, achieving enough stability to become true fonts of information rather than sources of trivia. The evolved Gemini is a jack-of-all-trades and an extremely wise individual who has allowed himself to gain significant experiences.
The following are the three major signs in a person's natal chart. These three are the main signs to learn about to discover compatibility for friendships and business. They are also good indicators of what kind of person they are, though the evolutionary level of each is also important:
Sun signs - the most well-known sign is the sun. This is the one that you check for your daily horoscope in the newspaper (though the actual horoscope is more relevant to your rising sign). This sign represents your ego, or your true inner, core self. This is you stripped of all the other stuff that you use to make yourself more acceptable to society, or to protect yourself from emotional/psychological injury. The sun sign represents your life path motivations and your deepest hopes and fears. It does not necessarily reflect your behavior patterns or the way you see the world.
Moon signs - the second of the "big three" signs, the moon rules your emotional life. This sign dictates how you feel, how you emotionally react and protect yourself, and how you deal with your emotions. One of the biggest misunderstandings in zodiac is that air signs (intellectual) in the moon means the person feels less. This is not true. Air-moon signs feel just as much, but have difficulty dealing with or expressing emotions, preferring to deal with the situations rather than the reactions. Fire-moon signs have difficulty controlling or appropriately suppressing emotions, but can learn to channel their passions quite effectively. Water-moon signs tend to be the most empathic and compassionate, though they can be overwhelmed by their emotions. Earth-moon signs frequently have very stable or even mellow emotional reactions, though they can express high emotions through physical problems, including psychosomatic diseases.
Rising signs - the third of the main three signs is the rising or ascendant sign. This sign tells what your mask or hat is. This sign is our face, what we show, what we do, how we present ourselves. This sign is what people see, which is why even experienced astrologers may not be able to discern a person's sign - they are seeing the rising sign! This sign is the most likely to predict short-term behavior patterns (rather than life path behaviors). This sign also shows what major personality tendencies are (such as talking too much [Gemini], and health consciousness [Virgo]).
Meet the God/Meet the Goddess
by Rev. Philipp J. Kessler
Most Pagans desire to build a personal relationship with the Divine, especially those Gods and Goddesses that have chosen them. Not everyone has a patron god or matron goddess, sometimes because they have not yet built that personal relationship. In this regular feature we are going to introduce you to some of the Gods and Goddesses that are out there. We in no way claim to have the corner on the market when it comes to information about them, or even to be able to cover all of the Gods and Goddesses that are extant. We will, however, do our best to convey accurate and useful information to the readers in the hopes that it will bring them a deeper understanding of the Divine and bring them closer to those who have chosen them.
Our first Goddess is Saule, the Batlic Sun Goddess. She is honored daily, but most especially at MidSummer and during the Spring at a festival roughly like that of the Celtic Beltaine. She is said to have created world from an egg-shaped mass after warming it for many years. Saule is central to the Balts understanding of the cosmos: the world is divided into two parts – vi saule, the ordinary world around us and vina saule, the unknown world. She was seen as being drawn across the heavens in a cart pulled by swans and later was said to ride a chariot drawn by horses. Both these legends are similar to that of the Greek sun God Apollo, but grew separately from his legends. Saule is said to have united the peoples of the Baltic region by marrying their chiefs. She and her daughter Auszurine govern the seasons. (Source material from The Sun Goddess: Myth, Legend and History by Sheena McGrath, Blandford Books, UK, 1997.)
Our first God is Hermes, the Greek messenger God. Many people are familiar with Hermes and his Roman counterpart, Mercury. But few are aware that he was not only the Messenger God, almost slave to the whims of the ruling Gods, he was also a bit of tempter or trickster God. He is often seen in myth as a youth that likes to distract the young damsel from her duties in the garden or at the hearth, leading to many entertaining (at least for him and some of the other Gods) antics. Unfortunately, some of his victims would fall into ill favor with their parents and face not so happy consequences for neglecting their duties. Perhaps this is where the cliché of “don't shoot the messenger” came from. Though why some of these damsels wouldn't want to shoot him is beyond me. And lest we forget, like many of the Greco-Roman Gods, Hermes was not one to pass up the chance to dally with a handsome lad. These events would sometimes lead to similar results for the lads as that which the lasses might face. (Source material from the many works of Bernard Evslin and my own personal experience with this God.)
Each issue we will include a selection of recipes. These are not limited to food. We are going to try to keep them tuned to the season of the year. We are always taking submissions for recipes. Eventually, we may piece together enough recipes to have a book put together for fund raisers.
Rotini with Cheesy Alfredo Sauce & Chicken – Phil Kessler
Prep and cooking time 20-25 minutes.
1 lb. Rotini
1 jar cheesy alfredo sauce
1 tbs. Light vegetable oil
10 oz. Canned white chicken, drained
½ large yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
½ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, in separate pan prepare the following: Saute the diced onion and garlic in a light vegetable oil, olive oil is preferred. Add the drained chicken (you may use fresh chicken if you prefer), and cook until the chicken has turned white (or is cooked through if fresh). Pour in alfredo sauce. Use the ½ cup milk to rinse the jar and pour into the pan. Add sour cream and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 servings
Beltaine Incense #1 – Phil Kessler
Fresh ground cinnamon
Fresh ground vanilla bean
Fresh ground ginger root
Caution, this is an aphrodisiac
This recipe is edible
Beltaine Incense #2 – Phil Kessler
Fresh ground cinnamon
Fresh ground vanilla bean
Fresh ground ginger root
Caution, this is an aphrodisiac
Substitute for fresh ground vanilla bean:
Mix benzoin powder with pure vanilla extract – should form a dense paste. Let dry. Break into small portions or grind into a powder again.
Both of these Beltaine recipes are very powerful. If you are using them in Circle or Ritual, be prepared for the possible outcome and woe to the person of the appropriate gender who is not prepared with you. I used both of these in 2007, one at a Beltaine celebration in Lincoln and the other in Denver. Both times the residual energies were put to good use.
by Swain Wodening
Republished with permission from the author.
Theodish Belief or Þéodisc Geléafa (as Theodish Belief is also called) means in Old English "tribal faith"; it is the "belief of the tribe." It is often called Theodism. Two thousand years ago had someone asked a Germanic tribesman what their faith was, they would have explained their religion as the belief of the folk or tribe. Tribes at that time were social units linked by a common cultural identity, common history, as well as shared customs, traditions, and religion. Often Germanic tribes traced descent from a common ancestor, usually a hero or even a deity. Tribes gave their folk very much a sense of community and identity. Social bonds within the elder tribes were usually one of blood (tracing back to the common forebear), adoption, or via hold oath (an oath similar to blood brotherhood in that it bound two people together), and were much stronger than the bonds of general society today.
The great sociologist Emile Durkheim, found that loss of social identity or cultural identity within a society generally lead to a decline in morale within the individuals of that society. Such a loss of morale could lead to depression and suicide, and therefore societies that over emphasize individualism, were prone to higher suicide rates than those that emphasized cultural identification while still maintaining individual rights. Societies with little to no regulation of individuals, and with no social structure according to Durkheim were also those that see a decline in morals, an increase in crime, as well as depression and suicide. Ideally, Durkheim thought that the only way to combat this was to reintegrate individuals into some form of social structure. In a similar vein, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius felt that social order came from respecting the custom and traditions of society, respecting humanity (or Jen), and proper behavior towards one’s ancestors and the living (or the concept of Li). Thus, Þéodisc Geléafa seeks to rebuild tribal societies in order to create a healthier society, one with social order and harmony.
Þéodisc Geléafa therefore holds that the natural place for Germanic Heathenry and the worship of the Germanic Gods and Goddesses is in a tribal society. The ancient Germanic peoples from time immemorial worshipped the deities as a community; either as families, clans, or tribes. They were social creatures and while individuals had many of the rights they do today, these were often secondary to the concerns of one’s tribe. While it would be difficult to form tribes now as they were in elder times, Theodish Belief seeks to reform them in such a way that at least some of the benefits of tribalism will be felt.
Theods generally hold certain beliefs in common (but not necessarily all of them). Amongst these social concepts are:
a) Sacral leadership, the idea of a sacral ruler that collectively holds the luckof the tribe.
b) A tribal assembly, a place where the folk can make law and discuss problems.
c) A structured society, one which has distinct social classes in which one has to learn their position; that all have freedom of conscience, and finally, that folks can be bond together by oaths and blood into a tribe.
There are other concepts Theodish groups hold in common. These are a belief in Wyrd, certain very generalized customs such as the use of wergild (though how this is handled will vary from group to group), the idea of giving to the Gods and getting gifts in return, frith and grith (peace within the tribe and between tribes respectively), and general thews concerning conduct of one’s self. This list is not all inclusive. There are many other things that all Theodish groups may have in common. However, often when dealing with Theodism it is better to be on the conservative side when trying to identify what theods may or may not have in common.
This begs the question, why try to reconstruct, revive, or reawaken (choose your term) ancient tribes? Why not just create new tribes? One could indeed make new tribes, with no doubt, a great deal of success. However, there are advantages to using an ancient tribe as a basis. The least of these is some consistency of belief, practice, and social norms. Anyone starting a new tribe will have to create a whole set of customs, laws, a social structure, and many other constructs in order to achieve the status of a tribe. This is not wrong, but just difficult. Those that are trying to do that deserve admiration. However, part of being a theod or tribe is holding many beliefs, customs, traditions in common. It means a common history and identity about which there is no to little doubt.
Reconstructing an ancient tribe provides these things much easier than creating a new one. If I say I am an Englisc Theodsman (in the sense I follow the ways of the ancient Angles), one has a reference point to what culture I may feel I am a part. They may know the history of the Angles, what few beliefs survived, and what names I may call on the Gods by. By using an ancient tribal sidu(Old English for custom or tradition), we provide ourselves with a starting point for a tribe to evolve from. Someone that creates a new tribe will also be providing a starting point, but that starting point will require much work to create. Ancient tribes, if any history remains about them, provide nearly everything one would need or want to lay a foundation for a modern tribe. Theodsmen do not think or feel they are the ancient tribe they are reconstructing, but that they are a part of a new tribe using an ancient tribe as a foundation.
The foundation provided by using an ancient tribe lays in its common identity. Many people living today can either trace themselves ancestrally or culturally back to an ancient Germanic tribe. If one is living in the English speaking world, they have a link of some form to an ancient Germanic tribe through ancestry, language, or culture. People in Canada, England, Australia, not to mention other places, start with a common identity to work from. An ancient tribe also gives a common history. Anyone that decides to join say, a theod dedicated to the ancient Frisians can sing the glories of the ancient Frisian king Radbod.
The history of an ancient tribe is its orlæg(Old English for a concept much like karma). And, it can be said that by adopting an ancient tribe’s name, the members of that theod are inheriting that tribe’s orlæg (much as amongst the Dark Age Norse children named for ancestors were thought to take on that ancestor’s orlæg). Finally, an ancient tribe provides a theod with common thew (archaic modern English for virtues, customs). Holding values in common is important for any group, be it the Lion’s Club or a nation such as the United States. Groups without common values are likely to fracture at the first sign of crisis (much like the United States is currently experiencing a decline). Theodsmen do not automatically take on the identity, history, and values of an ancient tribe though. It is a long process, which can take years to complete. This process can be broken down as follows:
a) Learning: In this stage, the Theodsman learns all they can about the culture of the tribe they are reconstructing. A culture’s belief system is hidden not just in its writings. Coded into the very words it uses, the structure of its language, the artwork it uses to depict the world, even its clothing are the beliefs and the world view of a culture. A Theodsmen therefore, may take on the study of the Old Tongues of the Germanic tribe they are reconstructing (for example, Old English, Old Norse, Gothic), take up a craft that requires they recreate the artwork of the ancient Heathens (albeit often with modern tools), they may even dress like the ancient Heathens for worship. Thus, the learning stage is much more than just reading and memorization. It is an attempt to synthesize what they are learning. It is a process of ridding one’s self of all they have known before, and taking on new beliefs, new values, even to a degree a new identity. In order to reconstruct authentically, a tribe, one must first get to know that tribe, become intimate with its identity, history, and values. A Theodsman in this stage is generally in a probationary membership status or apprenticeship. As such, in addition to book learning and the above, they may be required to serve the tribe in order to know how to place the tribe often above themselves.
b) Enacting: This is when the Theodsman begins applying what they have learned. They begin to apply the values of the ancient tribe in daily life (although often adapted to account for the differences between the theod’s values and that of the host culture), worship much as an ancient Heathen would, and believing as an ancient Heathen would. Enacting is not an easy process, and may take years. It is, as much a learning process as anything. One can read about riding a bike. One can study the physics of it, and work out mathematically how it works. They can look at what muscle groups one uses when riding. Even ride a tricycle to learn how to pedal. But, until one learns to ride a bike, they cannot say they have become a bike rider. The same is true of being a Theodsman. One can learn about an elder tribe, learn its language, values, its religion, but until one actually uses that knowledge, they cannot be called a Theodsman.
c) Becoming or Worthing: Becoming is just that, becoming. One becomes a Theodsman. The easiest way to define this final stage is that it is the point one reaches when they are wholly Heathen. They have Heathen ideas about the world, Heathen virtues, and Heathen beliefs. They are as close as one can come to an ancient Heathen living in the modern world. This stage never truly ends. As soon as one thinks, they know all there is about the rites, the Gods and Goddesses, Wyrd; some event may happen that changes it all. Unlike learning and enacting, becoming is not based in rational, objective observation or action, although that plays a part. It is a very subjective process, and as one changes and the world changes about them, so will their ideas change. For a few, this leads them out of Theodism. For others it leads them out of Heathenry altogether. But, for still others, it means going deeper into what it means to be a Heathen. Theodsmen often call this stage, worthing. Worth, is not to be confused with the word of the same spelling meaning "value." This term is related to the elder word Wyrd, and is the process of laying deeds both good and ill in the Well of Wyrd. Deeds laid down in the well determine one’s orlæg. One can think of orlæg as one’s personal law of causality. It is the sum of all one has done, and therefore, it is what determines what results one gets in the present. If one fails to study for a test, they may fail if not prepared, and in the future, they may also fail tests as this is the orlæg one has laid down.
Thus, this threefold process is all about laying deeds down to make one’s self Heathen. One may go through this process many times in their life as they constantly reevaluate their beliefs and ideas. The way we were raised (and for most that means in a Christian, Judaic, or other non-Heathen religious setting), old ideas, society at large all combat the process of becoming a Heathen and eventually a Theodsman (they are a part of our orlægwe must overcome). Many of the values of modern society are drawn from Christianity, Humanism, Managerialism, and half a dozen other institutions or belief systems that are sometimes at odds with a Heathen, much less Theodish world view. In many ways, even the most learned, wizened, and experienced of modern Heathens knows less about Heathenry than a ten-year-old Heathen child 2000 years ago. Unlearning much of what we came into Heathenry with, therefore is a difficult process. We have to unlearn as much as we learn, and this requires constantly asking, "is this the Heathen thing to do, or am I just acting on something I learned that is not Heathen?" Worse is the question, "Am I doing this because I am Heathen, or because society at large tells me to?"
Thankfully, for Theodsmen, they do not have to go through this process alone. Within Theodish Belief, there is the support network of the tribe. Every member of a theod serves as mutual support for the other members. They help reinforce one’s Heathen world view. Further, the common values of the tribe serve as a checklist as to what one should be doing as a Heathen. Theodish Belief provides consistency in behavior through mutual support, as well as common identity, history and customs.
This process is very similar to the one put forth by Edred Thorsson in his article “How to be Heathen.” Thorsson’s process went as follows: 1) Rational discovery 2) Subjective synthesis 3) Enactment (Thorsson, "How to be Heathen" Idunna> vol. 4 issue 4). The only problem with Thorsson’s process is that for many it is difficult to achieve subjective synthesis without first "going through the motions." Otherwise, it could apply just as well to the process of becoming a Theodsman. In some cases, Thorsson’s process may better apply.
Finally, once one has undergone the process of becoming a Theodsman, they will reap the benefits of belonging. Part of being a Theodsman is belonging to a tribe, not in the sense of being owned, but in the sense of being a member of something greater than one’s self. Modern American culture truly is no culture at all. It has a common history, a common identity, but there are no shared customs, traditions, and religion. This leaves members of the society at large often confused as to how to handle themselves. Even when one does have a group such as a church where there are shared common values, the family is secondary to all else. Modern Managerialism has contributed to the destruction of the extended family by requiring people move away in order to work, thus eliminating the support given by one’s extended family. Meanwhile, Christianity has actively sought to make the family secondary to the Church for ages. Without this support, the nuclear family also often falls apart due to divorce, further complicating the issue.
Within Theodism, both the extended family, and the nuclear family are very important. The nuclear family or mægð , is central to Þéodisc Geléafa. It forms the basis of the sibb , the extended family or clan (in the sense of the McCoy or Hatfield clans). The sibb consists of more than just the living members (counted out in some Germanic cultures to the fifth degree) but also all the ancestors. The ancient Germanic law codes rarely addressed individuals as concerns punishment. The smallest unit of these law codes was the sibb . If an individual did wrong, the living sibb had to pay wergild (a fine for murder), not the individual. In addition, the individual potentially offended the ancestors of the sibb as well. In any ancient Germanic tribe, it was the sibb that formed its core (not, contrary to popular belief, the dryht or warband). As late as one hundred and fifty years ago, families took care of their sick, elderly, and children, and this is how it was in ancient times. While it is rare that entire families will be Heathen, much less, Theodish, the sibb and mægð are very important, and with time, there will be entire families that will be Theodish. They are what provide an identity to an individual, and provide the most support. Beyond this, all the members of the theod also provide support to its members. A theod is very much a support group for its folk. It is a culture, or subculture, or an attempt at one in the very least.
As can be seen, even explaining, much less, defining Þéodisc Geléafa is a difficult task. Never the less, the reasons for being Theodish are much the same amongst all the theods. A need for a group identity is a very real need for most, if not all, human beings. Modern culture, and consequently its institutions do not always provide that.
PAN has a large and ever growing lending library. The library is taken care of by DolphinMoon Coven and is housed at the home of their high priest, Dorian Dolphyne Dragcruingra. At this time we would like to thank several members for their contributions in the last year. Ghost Wolf of DMC and Dorian put together the initial library, and since then Angie W., Michele L., Sarah B., and Cheri J. have been major contributors to the library. As of February 19, 2009, the library contains 150 books, six videos, and 4 CD's.
The library has been a roaring success! Many members have taken advantage of the system, as well as made contributions. Local PAN members can make arrangements through DMC or Phil to check out items from the library. If you wish to make a donation to the library, either of items or money, please contact PANFounders@yahoo.com to make arrangements.
-Lord Dorian Dolphyne Dragruingra
Simplified Qabala Magic by Ted Andrews
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2002
ISBN 0-7387-0394-X $9.95
Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, Animal Wise, and Sacred Sounds, has produced another easy to understand beginner's guide. This volume, though disappointing in some respects, presents several understandable and basic applications of Qabala. If you want to have an introduction to the sephiroth of the Qabala and some of the meditation techniques used by modern Qabalists, here is your chance. But if you want to delve beyond the surface of this most ancient of Western magical traditions, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.
Andrews has an easy to understand writing style and provides several illustrations of his meditation techniques. This short volume will give many basics into Qabala, but will leave the more serious seeker with more questions than answers.
For only $9.95, this paperback is worth at least one read. I did find it to be somewhat inspirational for me, but those musings have little to with the system of Qabala and more to do with the psychology of the modern mind and hot it applies to the use of magic and the realm of Pagan religions.
Runes for Transformation: Using Ancient
Symbols to Change Your Life by Kaedrich Olsen
Weiser Books, 2008
ISBN (978-1) 57863-425-5 $16.95
In his debut book, Kaedrich Olsen presents a modern psychological look at the Runes. Giving history, lore, and magical applications as well as practical applications of this ancient system. Olsen presents the Runes in a manner that most anyone can understand.
Want to bring about personal change – quit a bad habit, make a shift in your career, or have a better understand of your mate? Then this book is one for you. Olsen gives you step by step instructions on how to create a bind rune that can help you do just that. Olsen doesn't claim to be able to change your life through Runes alone. He combines this use of Runes with psychology, meditation, and the power of self-esteem.
Runes for Transformation will give you a basic understanding of the history and lore behind the Elder Futhark. If you want a more in depth study, he suggests Diana L. Paxson's Taking Up the Runes.
In this volume you will be taken through the concepts of how the Runes work ion your from a psychological point of view. Olsen will also show you a way to understand the world inside you and around you by Runic interpretation. By combing the written word with verbal and hands-on exercises, the reader will finish the book with a personal understanding of how the Runes can for them.
Our submissions guidelines are pretty simple at this point.
If writing an article, please refrain from the use of profanity; if writing fiction, please refrain from the use of gratuitous profanity and sexual descriptions; if submitting art or photography, please refrain from indecent portrayals of any kind; if submitting a recipe, please specify if it may be taken internally as well as any potential allergy information.
Our next issue's submissions deadline is April 1, 2009. It will go to print and be available by May 1, 2009. The editors desire to have enough time to go over all submissions and determine what submissions will be in the first issue. Just because a submissions does not appear in the next issue does not mean the editors have decided to nix the submission, it may appear in a future issue.
There is no payment for submissions as this is a community based newsletter. We do not currently charge for this newsletter in any format, so there is no means of paying our writers.
Please send all submissions to PANFounders@yahoo.com.