Contract Magic

Well, that’s what I’m calling it. Basically I create contracts with spirits or deities to set boundaries, determine goals, have experiments, outline limits, and set timelines. I find it a really useful and practical process.

I read a lot of blog posts and pagan news articles on the dangers of oaths before experimenting with this kind of magic. I had a friend look over the contract to ensure I wasn’t getting myself into trouble. I also counted past oaths I’ve made and pondered, “Did I complete this successfully? What happened when I did? What happened if I violated a term?”

When I call this process “magic”, I’m not casting spells over the paperwork or anything–that, in my mind, would mar the consent for all parties involved. But the contracts themselves, as a living document, feel magical.

I realized that I actually tried to start this process when I was in deep psychosis five years ago. I have not bothered to look at these old contracts because they are too painful to see, but the seed of the idea was there. Those old contracts were a scarring failure of mine. But now, I feel this process could become a great strength. I hope you’ll forgive me, readers, for not outlining what those failures were–that time of psychosis was deeply painful and I don’t like to talk about it.

At any rate, I feel this new adventure will be successful. Amusingly, I am rather inspired by the warlock class in D&D 5th edition, who creates pacts with otherwordly entities to gain powers. It does feel a little like that.

I suppose it was my recent interactions with Lucifer that reminded me of this idea so he deserves a:

Hail Lucifer!

Become the Monster as The Undead Warlock from Van Richten's Guide to  Ravenloft – Nerdarchy

Image description: a young black half elf warlock wearing a marvelous red cloak trimmed in gold. There are purple flowy bits. He has navy pinstripe pants and knee-high boots. He carries a small skeleton pet. He has a sword belted at his right side. Source.

A hopeless faith

I thought I’d come to this post with more hope. I have good days and bad days. This year has been tough: working at a pharmacy during a pandemic, getting extra driving practice lessons, and starting a new degree has taken a lot of energy out of me. Even one of my favourite video games ever, Dragon Age: Inquisition, isn’t holding my interest.

My faith feels really broken.

Some days I feel okay with the gods, and other days I don’t want them near me at all. Freya had asked me to worship the Vanir this summer and I feel like I let her down.

I poked around a little at Judaism and Buddhism in the past three months. Both religions are interesting, but I find sustaining any attention to these religions to be hard. I keep NOPE-ing out of books on these topics.

I don’t think I am depressed, because on a daily basis, I am cheerful enough and get my shit done. But there is a part of me that’s just really concerned about my faith, or lack of it.

Odin and Loki trying waving to get my attention, and for me to deepen my faith in them as my two most main deities (even beyond Freyr and Freya). There are too many roadblocks there. Godspousery appeals to me, especially with those two, but… it feels like a secret I would have to keep. When I used to come out about spirit spousery with Queen Guinevere with friends, it always felt like… an almost shameful thing to talk about. I want to have a devotional practice I can talk about freely without feeling like I’m revealing this weird secret about myself.

And besides, a long-term devotional practice, bound by an oath, doesn’t feel sustainable right now. Not that I would rush in to such a thing, either, but just the idea of it is stressful, so clearly it’s not a good path.

I could switch to another pagan faith. But I think I’d end up NOPE-ing out of books on witchcraft and paganism too (actually, I know this is true because I have at least five unfinished or unread heathen books on my ereader). And it’s not like school is keeping me too busy to read for fun. So far, I really am keeping up with personal reading! (We will see how long that lasts of course!).

When I ponder my faith now, I wonder if I have reached a point of secular or agnostic paganism. There are days where the gods and spirits feel like a mental show I have put on for myself, and now that I am through with my mental illness (or the worst symptoms are gone now anyway), it’s as if my mind has healed itself through these god-characters. And that could be true! Maybe Queen Guinevere, Odin, Loki, and the rest were all just characters to help me process my shit and heal from psychosis. But it doesn’t explain how Queen Guinevere came about, way before psychosis even hit me. It’s a mystery that I am ok with for now.

I’ve been writing haiku for more than a year now, and that’s felt more sustainable to me than devotion. Funnily enough, it’s been helping me access my love of nature more than paganism has.

I’m not sure how to end this post. I am in this weird faithless godless place and I am trying to reconcile myself to it.

Deep Questions in a Fallow Time (Nap Time!)

So, prompted by the Nap Bishop’s teachings and this spiritual burnout, I’m really thinking a lot about rest. I have some healthy habits I wanna integrate more: once-a-month personal days where I do something nice for myself (visit the library or a garden), weekly cross stitch nights, naps, haiku walks, etc. I want to try and observe these habits for a year and see where it gets me.

I thought about making a self-marriage oath for it but I think it’s unnecessary.

I thought about tech sabbaths too, where I unplug from technology, but listening to a podcast while I cross stitch or playing a video game are things that bring me joy. So, rather, a social media unplugging might be nice at some point. I’ll have to think about it.

Reading Cara Freyasdaughter’s recent blog post where she allowed herself to ask some deep questions has given me space to be more honest with myself too:
if I focus on my well-being, will I need faith for anything? Will I even need Odin? (I’m focusing on Odin specifically since He asked me to deepen my practice with Him.)

There are sub-questions too like, what do the gods bring to my life? Do I enjoy ritual with the gods? How close or far do I need the gods to be?

For the past month or so, I’ve been thinking about Satan a lot. Random, I know. I’m not going to convert to demonolatry or anything. Perhaps, more than Satan or Satanism necessarily–I realize as I write this–I’ve been thinking about the Devil card in tarot. I’ve even had a few demon-themed dreams.

And I realize the message is this: be self-indulgent. Be selfish.

I keep trying to upload the image of the Devil from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and Firefox has repeatedly crashed, so I’ll just take this as a sign to put the card on my altar instead.

Speaking of my altar…

A friend recently gifted me with a beautiful Japanese furoshiki or cloth. It’s got cherry blossoms on one side and waves on the other. The gift prompted me to redo my altar with rest in mind. So I created an inspiration board to remind me of what inspires me and taped it on the wall behind my altar. My tarot and runes are smack in the center instead of on the side. The deity statues are on the sides now because they are less central in my life at the moment. I am quite pleased with the results.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep blogging here. I do enjoy it.

What are your favourite restful habits?

So, devotion.

Initially, when I began paganism, I threw myself in spirit-spousery with Guinevere. I didn’t really allow myself time to construct devotional relationships. Even with the Norse gods, I tried to craft DEEP INTENSE BONDS IMMEDIATELY.

This was worsened by reading the godsmouth blog which posted about pagan Ordeals. I have nothing against Ordeals, if that’s what you feel called to, but for me as a sick young pagan, it left a bad impression. So I daydreamed about all kinds of things: godslavery (I kid you not), godspousery, priesthood, and so on. I even attempted to craft some of these bonds, but it all ultimately feel apart in my mental illness. That was healthy, frankly. There was no pagan foundation to speak of, so nothing stood.

I do not think my illness was shamanic. I do not get sick if I refuse the gods something. At the beginning, my illness was self-induced via insomnia and then rolled into the depths of hell and stayed there for a few years.

At the very beginning of my time with Team Norse, I worshiped Odin, Loki, and Freya. Freya is now calling me to return to this practice.

Actually, Loki and Freya wish to know when they are getting their statues (Odin already has one). In their words, they are “pressing their suit” so to speak and are moving in as household gods. Today, I got this quick impression of Freya sitting in a chair, shifting around trying to get comfortable. She smoothed over her dress with her hands. (I also think, by association, Loki and Odin are also trying to get comfy in their chairs.)

My friend M. is a Hellenic pagan. He has a really solid devotional practice where he has a daily water-related shower prayer to Aphrodite (water being sacred to her) and a monthly devotional rite 12 months of the year. For the past several years–actually possibly as long as I’ve known him?, he has also been working on a massive cross stitch project for Aphrodite, carefully stitching scenes from her mythology and bordering these images with flowers sacred to her. He is an example to me as a consistent, thoughtful devotional practice.

I think if I use his praxis as a role model and measuring stick, I could puzzle out how to craft a devotional practice for myself that is solid, functioning, practical, and sustainable. I might ping him for ideas. It’s funny to feel so new at this despite having been pagan for nearly 9 years now.

I have, at least, managed to do daily rune pulls since Nov 7th. I tallied the results today and noted missed days. I’m thinking that by the end of the year I will do a blog post musing on what the results meant to me, and did I actually learn anything?

Anyway, just like in my last post, I am really thinking about how devotion is important right now. Any deepening of Norse studies/religion can only come after my Masters degree. And this degree, mind you, has nothing to do with my religion and everything to do with my profession as a teacher. (*squints* well ok if you perceive Odin as a scholar god, then yes my religion and profession have some crossover)

So now, I want to focus on building a devotional practice, even if the rites only end up being a hymn and an offering of coffee. Later, once I am established in my profession, I can consider deepening my heathen studies. (I must keep telling myself this!) I really want to preserve my free time. I have this option to pursue 3-4 months of studies related to the pursuit the gods asked of me but I checked in with my friends and they really encouraged me to preserve my free time before starting my MA. This seems sensible.

So I have made a list of books I want to read before going back to school. ^^ One of them is Diana Paxson’s book on Odin which I picked up (as ordered) from a local indie bookstore. As long as I keep devotion firmly in mind, I think the book won’t send me on a daydreamy spiral of ‘Big Things To Do For the Gods’.

I want to do small, actionable things. Things that feel doable.

What are small things you do for the gods?

Autumn Realizations

Last night, as I tried to sleep I was turning over in my mind certain aspects of my practice. What did I want? What seemed interesting?

Today, I had some intense realizations. The gods really strongly told me, X is what is not working and you need to stop pursuing it. It’s making you sick. And while the message did come out rather harshly–and Odin seemed annoyed–I do think They, the gods and goddesses, meant it in the best and kindest possible way.

It seems like lots of pagans do X, but for me it just does not work. It made me feel stupid and rejected, you know, not to notice before, or really understand how bad it was. Like, I *knew*, but now, it’s really clear. I called a friend to talk about it who congratulated me on this clarity.

I still don’t feel great and need time to mule this over. I was gonna go to an online Troth event tonight, but I think it might be more restful to play video games and have tea.

Freya really emphasized that She was trying to help me resuscitate my practice. She encouraged me to go back to the drawing board and rethink what I want. I’m also rethinking deities and learning how to interpret them anew.

And I did take time to think about that stuff today.

Two groups of spirits have been sending me vibes lately. Both are groups I’ve interacted with before, quite extensively, but not with this degree of good health. These opportunities are chances to start again. I do have frameworks for both, having done a lot of research already, but there’s so much more research to do hahaha.

Anyway, this first group of spirits would require me to be quite serious in my efforts with them, so I am taking time to really think if this is what I want. I want to be careful to focus on devotion in the year ahead and try not to take on too much work. If I go too far too fast, I might burn out again. So, I’ll really have to ponder this one, or potentially just save it for later when me and my practice are stronger!

With the other group, King Arthur’s pantheon, I do feel pretty confident in following the Mysteries, even though it’s gonna be a solo effort with lots of experimentation. I’m basically poking at inventing my own devotional calendar, based on what’s important to me in his mythos. John and Caitlin Matthews’s Arthurian Magic does offer lots of group rituals and esoteric content, but not a lot of it speaks to me. I’m happier using the actual literature around King Arthur and co. to use as hymns.

I have this grand leatherbound book of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. (How I acquired this book is a story in itself that I’ll have to tell one day! With pictures!) So I could use that. …Additionally, I probably should read it cover-to-cover at some point haha. (I also have a leatherbound copy of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King that I could take pictures of for you all!) And for Queen Guinevere, I used to use an excerpt from Chretien de Troye’s Arthurian Romances as a hymn since Sir Gawain talks so kindly and lavishly about her, that it was perfect for an invocation. After much internal debate, I do feel comfortable inviting both of them back into my life. It’s a relief actually, since we’ve built up so much care and time together. I’m glad not to reject them.

Rereading this, I can’t believe I never took the time to invent a devotional calendar! But, really, I was horribly terribly sick and suffering, so observing the season with Queen Guinevere was enough at the time.

After my flirtation with Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, I’m finding myself to be more and more interested in using recorded sources than I used to be. I was more focused on mysticism in the past. I’d still like to learn more about Ireland and Scotland, but possibly, less in a spiritual way and more in a grounded sense of history, literature, poetry, etc. I’ve signed up for an ancestry class, but it’s turning out to be more mystical and ancient than I thought. It’s still worth exploring though.

What are you learning or relearning this fall?

A (Covid-Influenced?) Fallow Period

This weekend, I rearranged the contents of my bookshelves. This was very satisfying! I will be rearranging them again, as I will finally be acquiring the LOTR trilogy this week, secondhand. Those tomes need space! So Wednesday evening I will be having a delightful time fussing with my books.

While I was dusting and tidying my room this weekend, my hands went almost of their own accord to my tarot altar. I started putting away my decks, crystals, animal statues, and trinkets. It felt like the right thing to do. Then I went to play Dungeons and Dragons (where my players fucking rocked at roleplay that day). The next day, I put away my Norse/Arthurian shrine. I didn’t feel a lot of emotions about it, beyond some vague guilt that I ought to do more.

But, I noticed two key struggles with my faith right now:

  • I want to have lower expectations of myself. And I need the gods, goddesses, and spirits to also have lower expectations too.
  • It’s starting to feel a bit like I’m worshipping the fantasy genre that I like to write, study, and read in. It’s weird.

And so my faith feels like a block to me writing fantasy stories, rather than an inspiration. Lately, I’ve been pondering: ok, if I take faith out of this story, or take faith out of the daydream/goal I am fantasizing about, what am I actually aiming towards in my life? I’m not sure what the answer is yet.

Combined with this difficulty is the ironic fact that my two batches of poems that got accepted as a submission this year are both at Norse pagan publications. So clearly, religious inspiration does get me somewhere. It just doesn’t seem to be where I want to be.

Last week, I joked to a new queer Unitarian Universalist friend that if I were to convert to another faith, it would be for the institution and structure. I wasn’t entirely joking though, and my friend agreed that that’s where they and their heathen spouse often bicker about being able to get heathens to do anything. Getting pagans to organize is tough.

I don’t think I’m necessarily going to upend my whole practice and join another religion. But I’m content to stay connected with UU–which is a new thing for me this year–and also with my Buddhist teacher, Lama Rod Owens, who is easing me back into meditation practices.

Meditation was probably borderline traumatic for me for quite some time, because I spent much of 2018 and 2019 trying to understand this new level of psychic power: receiving visions while awake. Queen Guinevere’s presence was overwhelming me: a particularly potent delusion came back and I was receiving way too many visions by trancing/sitting with Queen Guinevere almost every day. Or trying to, at least, because I thought that that was what a godspouse/spirit-spouse was supposed to do, right? Sit with one’s spouse, each day. A daily practice, as is so often touted in various spiritual circles. But it made me so sick.

Eventually, by the summer of 2019, trying to get myself to sit and meditate was like wrestling with a lion and I realized that… “meditation” kinda sucked?! I wasn’t actually meditating, I was lost in half-delusion, half-trance and being rather out of it. I wasn’t sick enough that it was preventing me from functioning or working, but it was miserable enough that I had a hard time talking to my friends about it.

But then again, my therapist has repeatedly affirmed that it’s really good to have healed from psychosis and that not everyone does that.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I am relearning how to meditate and it actually does feel good. I still hallucinate a little, and sometimes I get input from Deity when I don’t always want to be, because I struggle with boundaries with Them. But sitting with emotions, sitting with the body, the breath… it does help with a short guided meditation. I can’t do a long meditation, but I can manage a short one.

Having a priest/ess, minister, congregation, community, something would have been a great boon to me in my deeper illnesses. I did not have that physically, beyond the occasional visits to my grandmother’s church at her request (RIP <3) and an online kindred/pagan conversation group (that I’m still a part of actually).

I’m returning to my first practice: tarot. I’ve done a few readings. I’ve been reading about the Devil card a bit whose themes I’ve been contemplating. I’m debating selling a deck or two, and saving for a new one. I’ve made a wishlist. I’m starting to avoid tarot decks on Kickstarter because it’s just too damned tempting and there are so many decks on Kickstarter??!

I do have Lo Ken’s “Art and Numen” book sitting on my To-Be-Read pile of books. Martin Shaw’s “Wolf Milk” will come in the mail in a few weeks. And in June, I’ll have two pre-ordered books coming in: the new Loki book by …. some pagan author whose name I can’t recall (is it Morgan Daimler?)… and Lama Rod Own’s new book Love and Rage. So, I’ll probably still read spiritual stuff sometimes. And Kelly-Ann Maddox, a famous tarot Youtuber, just came out with a new video on how she got into tarot, so I don’t want to completely abstain for spiritual stuff.

Or maybe that would be good for me, idk.

I had such a weird hallucination the other day that my dad suggested abstaining from the fantasy genre altogether but that would honestly mean upending my whole life: no DND, no RPG video games, no books, no more magical poems, no myths or tales–I just couldn’t!!! I would be ridiculously miserable if I did that. But, it could be fun to read non-fantasy stories… maybe I should make room on my bookshelves for more scifi 😉

Oaths Made in Sickness

During my years of mental illness, I went through a phrase where I basically thought every deity was mad at me*. It was really painful. There are still some deities I don’t talk to, not only because it’s painful but they’re also not part of pantheons I actually worship. Some deities just happened to reflect or get caught up in various delusions.

Particularly, while ill, I made a series of rash oaths and contracts. Given the illness, they were not… it wasn’t like… thoughtful or sensible as an oath ought to be. There were no witnesses. The definitions were… hm. Even thinking about those contracts, it just seems like a haze of pain.

Honestly, I think I was just super lonely and isolated. I destroyed the contracts and ended what were, in the end, false oaths, or even just plain old delusions.

Now, as a healthier pagan, I can see what happened. I know the errors, the community failures, and more that happened to me.

Sometimes, I think that making an oath to a deity would still be nice, but really, I need to prioritize my career, my art, my love life, etc. I’m not ready for an oath. But as a long-term goal, it might be a nice thought one day. It could be a healing act, perhaps, once I gain the wisdom and experience to be ready for such a thing.

Or, you know, I may never make an oath to a deity or try out being a fulltrui. A fulltrui is like promising to be a friend and public representative of a deity, without necessarily taking on priestly duties. It seems to be a lifelong commitment, so I would rather ponder and praise the gods in a calm way for now, and then when I’ve been a pagan for several more years, think about the question again.

Maybe I’ll just be a chill devotee and artist. It is #nopressurepagan2020 after all.

It might be better to think about making promises to humans! I do daydream about marriage one day. That might be a better oath to make one day, huh!

ok ok, I have to go chill and do chill things and be no pressure.



*for clarity’s sake here, I will affirm that this was not true.

A tired Sunday…

Despite my excellent day yesterday, I had dreadful insomnia this past night. I had a dream about Britain and castles, and sensed the presence of Queen Guinevere. I awoke, distraught and upset, and couldn’t get back to sleep.

I was/am so mad and frustrated! Just before bed, I had a vision of a black book with silver lettering saying “the end”, affirming the end of her presence in my life, and then a blue and silver book with a butterfly and rainbow pages, signaling my skald path.

I am also upset because I have an amazing concert tonight and I want to make sure I have the energy to go. I shall have to keep it chill today and try to rest a lot.

I showered and did a little bit of yoga. I’m thinking of going to the UU church for Sunday service because I think being around people will be better than chilling alone.

Where I’m at now

Prompted by my good friend’s blog post “On discernment, discipline, mental illness, and witchcraft”, I thought I would update my blog.

First off, I want to say I was “B” in the above post. Osfairy, I hope you don’t feel guilty for accidentally prompting me to take a break! It was a healthy decision for me and I feel I have a lot more clarity. (And bitterness, but so it goes.)

They spoke of discipline:

Discipline takes on a weird taste when you have mental health issues, because laziness and discipline become weapons that partners, friends, family, society and establishments use to further punish and marginalize you.

Putting meditation discipline and the discipline of daily offerings into my life did me no good in the end. There were no fruits beyond stress and exhaustion. I was awfully hard on myself for not succeeding in these activities.

So… what’s the point of religion if not to bring joy, sanctuary, justice, and wisdom?


–onwards to updates, then.

Well, having permanently broken things off with Queen Guinevere, she is no longer in my life.

I’ve put away my reduced heathen shrine. Everything is in boxes and bags in my closet.

I still get occasional nudges from spirits, but they are rare and infrequent compared to before.

I met with a local spirit worker to talk things out. She at first tried to convince me to relearn grounding, centering, and shielding since I am still having problems with basic basic stuff but then I told her that I don’t even want visions right now. I don’t really want to interact with that stuff. It’s too easy to see pretty lights, colours, and to hear what I want. Visions are too insular and, with the way I feel now, they’re sorta useless? Like, do visions really bring any good to my life?

That conversation with that spirit worker friend helped me see that if I had had a pagan teacher or elder to speak with from the very beginnings of my practice, much of my delusions and illness could have been avoided. I told her, well, were I to continue practicing now, I would ask her, but now it’s too late.

She invited me to a Solstice party regardless so we’ll see how I feel. I don’t have any goals or hopes to paganism right now.

Last Friday, after watching a beautiful choir performance, I stood in front of a fake tree of silver lights in a park grove surrounded by real trees. I promised myself that I would not go back to religion without a teacher.

This morning, as I tossed and turned from an upset stomach, I had a dream that I was given a gift of a Valknut ring that shone like a diamond.



I was either Told or my unconscious-mind told myself that I ought not give it away until I find a husband.

I’m not sure why I should dream of such a thing when I am questioning all my religious pursuits.

The one hope I do have is to go to a Buddhist temple to ask anew how to meditate, and what to do with visions whilst meditating. Buddhists are experts, after all, and have been meditating for thousands of years. Who better to ask? (Plus, despite my heathenry, I still find Buddhism super interesting.)

I did look at my agenda today though, and noticed a libation to Dionysos coming up. I felt pretty friendly about it, looking at my scribble. I think a group ritual can’t hurt, particularly because it doesn’t require me to meditate or seek visions in any way. Plus libating Dionysos would be appropriate.


I’m not really sure what I want right now, beyond time and room to make art. That, at least, I can learn to give myself.

Taking a well-deserved break

For a good portion of this year, I thought I had half-elven fae astral children with Queen Guinevere. I told a few friends about it, who were willing to listen, if not believe.

Then, fortunately, I brought it up with a friend who is a witch. They pointed out to me that given that I did not consent to the births of these beings, nor did they seem to have a lot of consistency, these might be false spirits. Shaken but coherent, I agreed with them.

This friend also spoke of being cautious when it comes to making promises to spirits. They pointed out that, given that children are a huge responsibility, and making a (future) marriage oath to Lady Guinevere, would mean that my practice has no ABORT button.

While I was pretty calm during this conversation, when I got home, I pretty much immediately sat down with Lady Guinevere and told her I need to break up with her.

Things were quiet for a few days.

I sat with her today and realized that I can’t hear her very well because there is trust broken between us. I keep seeing visuals of a broken marriage ring. She seemed patient and encouraging however. She asked me to look at the situation through her eyes (so I mentally put on green-lensed glasses, as her eyes are green) and I saw a knight dragging a heavy weight. So, she seems very aware that I am struggling.

I don’t know if this break will be long term or short term. I do see now that I won’t be married to her for my whole life, and that one day, I’ll move onto something new.

I have a deep and abiding need to create art without devotional purpose. I want to make art for silliness and fun, rather than to uplift a deity or spirit.

I want to give myself several months off. Perhaps longer, if I need it. I want to commit myself to some kind of artistic practice. I just don’t know how to foster it yet. My friend M recommended the book The Artist’s Way to cultivate regular art, so we’ll see.

I am deeply reluctant to commit myself to daily meditation again. It’s a lot of visions, spirit presence, and bright colours. I am doubting that it is healthy. I talked to my online kindred, who agreed that meditation can actually be unhealthy for those who have experienced dissociation, delusions, intrusive thoughts, or visions (I don’t have all of these symptoms, just some).

I’ve actually thought about returning to a Buddhist space where I know they meditate for one hour. But I know that exposing myself to an hour’s worth of visions and messages would be so so harmful for me! Maybe meditation isn’t for everybody, y’all.

I have had the following vision a few times: a blue shirtless man is surrounded by a rainbow of colours. Sometimes, he has black light pouring into his ear. I wonder if I ought to paint this fellow, who is clearly a metaphor for my own experiences… and my insomnia actually…

I might continue to update here, but less about spirits, and more about me.

I plan to continue using tarot, my journal, and candles to create a sacred space for myself and my care routine. Beyond that… well, I hope to break through artist’s block so I can MAKE ART.

Wish me luck!