Martin Shaw on Old Gods

“But the hour is getting late now. And when the stories we tell only have a human directive peering back at us we start to get very lost. We hypnotise ourselves with our own gaze. In such a moment it is quite possible to bury your heart under a rock and forget where you put it.But I mean what I say: the rough gods are still amongst us – and not just the porcelain ones that look a little like us on a good day, but the big bad bunch – the raggle-taggle, rhino tusked menagerie of the Original Ensemble, the Other Folk, the Gentry, the Benji. I know you’ve glimpsed them, once or twice. They’re about.

They are gnawing on the edge of these sentences.

The Otherworld is also this one, when it chooses.

It’s a convenience to believe that the Old Gods are leaving. Gives us permission for all kinds of nonsense.

That they are squatting in the departure lounge of Heathrow and LAX with hurt feelings, waving old bones about and shaking their heads. Clambering into some metaphysical elevator that’s going to deposit them in a nursing home for Abandoned Primordials on the other side of Pluto.

We have to stop saying that they die if we stop thinking about them.

That’s a degraded idea. Yet that’s what so many claim mythology is – us thinking these beings up.

But what if they were allowing us to think them? What if we were getting thought?

Not as manikin puppets, but as part of a profound conversation we can barely remember the moves for anymore.”

— Martin Shaw, writer, teacher, mythologist
(Via Serpent And Stang)

Sing

Press your face to the earth,
Dig with bared hands, claw the soil,
Let dirt stain your fingers,
Let hard earth bruise tender flesh.

Sing to the spirits of wild places,
Share with them your breath,
Learn their songs,
Sing them back.

Sing to the city,
Hear it’s mighty cacophony,
Hear the sighs in brief silences,
Dance to it’s beats.

It ebbs.

It flows.

(I am fully aware that my poetry is awful, shut up, no one is forcing you to read this it)

Profane – Ashe Vernon

The first time he calls you holy,
you laugh it back so hard your sides hurt.
The second time,
you moan gospel around his fingers
between your teeth.
He has always surprised
you into surprising yourself.
Because he’s an angel hiding his halo
behind his back and
nothing has ever felt so filthy
as plucking the wings from his shoulders—
undressing his softness
one feather at a time.
God, if you’re out there,
if you’re listening,

he fucks like a seraphim,
and there’s no part of scripture
that ever prepared you for his hands.
Hands that map a communion
in the cradle of your hips.
Hands that kiss hymns up your sides.
He confesses how long he’s looked
for a place to worship and,
oh,
you put him on his knees.
When he sinks to the floor and moans
like he can’t help himself,
you wonder if the other angels
fell so sweet.
He says his prayers between your thighs
and you dig your heels into the base of his spine
until he blushes the color of your filthy tongue.
You will ruin him and he will thank you;
he will say please.

No damnation ever looked as cozy as this,
but you fit over his hips like they
were made for you.
You fit, you fit, you fit.
On top of him, you are an ancient god
that only he remembers and he
offers up his skin.
And you take it.
Who knew sacrifice was so profane?
And once you’ve taught him how to hold
your throat in one hand
and your heart in the other,
you will have forgotten every other word,
except his name.

– Profane by Ashe Vernon

Q is for Question Everything

Seriously question fucking EVERYTHING!!!!

Question the status quo, because it’s not ‘just how it’s done’, because the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every time but you need to understand what you’re doing before you can change it..

Question authors, relentlessly, because their bias isn’t the be all and end all thought they’ll certainly paint it that way, look up their sources, demand their sources if they don’t offer them and burn their books if they’re trash because you deserve better on your shelves.

Question the gods, before you agree make sure you know what you’re getting into, before you decide to worship them make sure you know what they want from you.

Question the spirits, they will lie to you without second thought, they will omit anything they can from information and send you stumbling down the wrong track, they will bind you into agreements that will fuck you over if you’re not careful.

Question yourself, poke at your brain and you beliefs and your innermost workings over and over and over till you know what makes you tick, till you’ve distilled that vague belief into something concrete in your mind.

Question everything, it keeps you out of trouble and gets you into trouble.

It’s the only way to grow.

Question, and then think critically about the answers.

LEARN!

 

F is for Fuck Off!

No, seriously, it is.

Someone telling you your practice is invalid because it doesn’t fit some arbitrary criteria?

Answer: Fuck off. 

Spirits in your house causing mischief?

Answer: Fuck off. 

People in your community being made of creepy and inappropriate?

Answer: Fuck off. 

Magic being directed at you from out there and you don’t want to play ball?

Answer: Fuck off. 

 

Fuck off can be flip, and teasing and light and laughing, but it can also be venom and rage and anger. It can be turned into a two word spell able to be thrown out on an instant’s notice. Throw your voice behind, growl it, snarl it, let anger reach it and fill it and direct it’s venom straight at the recipient. Flip it off, make it snide, dismissive, snarky and let it fob the recipient off as unworthy of your time and attention.

Magic doesn’t have to be complicated or tool laden, it doesn’t have to have spirit’s and deities intercepting on your behalf. You’ve got plenty enough power alone. You can cast with a word or a gesture on a heartbeats notice, or you should be able to. You won’t always have the luxury of time or privacy. A snarled word, a hand gesture or an ice cube pushed about with the tip of a finger should be enough at a press.

And for the love of all that is merciful fuck being nice about it. To HELL with this harm none love and light shit. If you’re threatened fight, and if your loved ones a threatened fight harder again. Don’t live in a bubble of light and fail to protect yourself and your people. Don’t be a damned victim because someone said asserting yourself and fighting for yourself and others were only things bad people do.