Getting to Know the Powers: Earth

A basic introduction of the deity
Earth is the third of the Powers of the Three Realms – Land, Sea and Sky – and most like her mother, Night Earth has no co-ruler, but rules over all the world, from the heights to the depths, and her brothers realms are within her domain as well. But she is most fond of the things that move and dwell on the land – the animals, plants, humans, bacteria and all other members of the Tree of Life. Her grace and affections are fervently sought by both her brothers, as well as others in her generation, for she is the Power of fecundity, of life cycles, of growth and decay, reaping and sowing, and all of the Powers that come after her partake a little in her power. She is both caring and terrifying, simultaneously the Nourishing and the Devouring Mother, and no one will feel her touch and not be utterly changed by it for good or ill. She is the Power to which we all return in time, having spent our lives being nourished and supported in her arms and on her body. She is as vast as the globe and as approachable and unassuming as a blade of grass. You will find her as majestic as the mountain heights, as breathtaking as a sunset, as lovely as a flower, as mysterious as the dark caves and as implacable as the sea waves and the inexorable advance of a glacier.

Symbols and icons of this deity
Cows, the local landscape, veils, sickle, birch trees, groves, swamps/marshes, cattails, reeds, reed, rush or corn dolls, pottery, landscape art, images of cows and other animals, pigs and images of pigs (especially sows), sheaves of wheat, cornucopias, images of rivers/mountains/lakes/valleys/plains/hills, mother iconography

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
The Establishment of the Three Realms
When the Mother, the Twins and the Sisters set forth the bounds and the rules of existence, setting into motion the Great Pattern, the world was still formless and amorphous, potentiality still wrapped in chaos but enfolded within the Pattern. And so the Mother began to shape the next stage of the Pattern, forming the world tripartite. She took a lash from her eye and breathed upon it, and it became a man, full of sight and truth, far-seeing and able to control the powers of the heavens. She took a tear and mixed it with spittle, and held it to her heart, and it became another man, brother to the first, full of wisdom and compassion, deeply-knowing and able to control the powers of the deep. And finally, she took a hair from her groin, mixed it with her fluids and blood, and held it to her belly, and it became a woman, lovely and fertile, both nourishing and consuming, and able to control all the powers of the world. And she revealed these to her other children, and they rejoiced, and the divine twin of light took them to himself and named them his own.
And the man of sight took to the high places, and wed himself to the queen of heaven, the Sister of the seeing, and claimed all of the upper reaches as his kingdom, from the treetops to the mountains, from the dawn on the horizon to the very edge of night.
The man of wisdom took to the deep places, and gave himself to the queen of the waves, the lurker in the depths, and claimed all of the lower reaches as his kingdom, from the rivers to the ocean, from the waves on the shore to the bottom of the trenches.
And the woman surveyed all that remained, the hills and the valleys, the peaks and the caves, the forests and marshes and plains, high and low and in-between, and gave herself to herself, and named herself queen over all things, subject to no man or woman but Night and the Sisters and the Great Pattern itself, and she rules over all things that move and live upon this world, from the birds of the air, to the creatures of the deep, for her realm contains and touches the others. But over the creatures and beings of the land she rules alone.
And the brothers quarrel endlessly, desiring the woman for themselves, to woo her and gain her favor. And at times she chooses the first, at at other times she chooses the second, but she is bound to neither, for she is the Earth, and all things that live and move in this world are born of her, nourished by her, and shall be consumed by her in the end.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Father – none
Siblings – Divine Twins, Weird Sisters, Sky, Water
Consorts – Water, Sky, Fire, Abundance
Children – Passion,, Life, Wind, Death, Light, Sun, Moon

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Weird Sisters
Ocean
Water
Sky
Passion
Life
Death
Renewal
Healing
Fire
Forest

Names and epithets
Earth Mother, Holy Queen, Mother of Soil, Grain-Mother, White Cow, Lady of Valor, Mother of the Fields, Sacred Lady, Ancient Mother, Mother of Birches, Lady of the Marshes, Sacred Cow, Milk of Life, Sacred Lady, Lady of the Taboo, Faceless One,
Nerthus, Jörð, Hlödyn, Hertha, Fjorgynn, Ethniu, Tailtiu, Nantosuelta, Boann, Žemyna/Zemes-mãte, Nemetona, Demeter, Ceres, Cel, Tellus/Terra Mater, Gaia, Mara, Litavis, Rhea, Ops, and Cybele are all Euro-American deities and spirits that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
Non-Euro-American deities that work are Urash, Bhumi, Prithvi, Ninhursag, Ki/Kishar Asherah/Athirat, Yer Tanrıça, and Etügen Eke/Eje
Euro-American deities that work but should probably not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Maa-ema (Estonian/Finnish)
Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Mari and Lurbira (Basque), Mastor-ava (Mordvin), and Raedieahkka/Maderakka (Sámi)
Non-Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Pachamama (Inca/Peruvian), Ala (Igbo), Coatlicue/Toci/Tonantzin (Aztec/Nahuatl), Papa (Kanaka Maoli/Maori) and Asase Ya (Ashanti)

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Earth has three main aspects: the Giver of Sustenance, the Mother of All, and the Holy One
The Giver of Sustenance is the first of Earth’s (not entirely) benevolent faces. In this form and with this name, she is the provider of food, of water, of air, of all the materials and substances we require to live. She is nurturing and comforting, though she does not only favor humans. But she can also be terrible in that if she withholds her gifts, whether in the form of poor harvests, lack of shelter, or storms and other natural disasters, we will not long survive.
The Mother of All is the second of Earth’s (not entirely) benevolent faces. This aspect is closely tied to the first, in that she is seen as a sustaining and providing parent, but also extends to birth and death. She is the mother of every living and non-living being that dwells in or on the earth, and all her children are in her care. This face can also be discomfiting, in that humanity is not her favorite or most important child, but merely one of millions, and so if we expect special treatment or a bending of the rules of nature because of some vaunted self-important status, we will be sorely disappointed when the reckoning comes.
The Holy One is the non-benevolent face of Earth, though not necessarily hostile unless transgressed against. This is the veiled, masked, untouchable, sacred mystery that can be found in all the holy and taboo places of the world. She is aloof, showing herself to only the worthy, and bringing retribution on those who defile her holiness. The ley lines are kept by her, and their joinings are her most sacred halls.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
All times, days and feasts are sacred to her

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Anything involving the earth, soil, landscape or motherhood

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Ruler/Provider/Sustainer

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
Earth is herself almost exclusively female and feminine, though she welcomes all as her children, and in some places was specially served by those without or between genders.
She is predominately heterosexual in her mythic pairings (Sky, Water, Fire, and Abundance), though there is an extremely bonding and intimate connection between all the female or female-oriented Powers that can be sexual as well as not.

Art that reminds you of this deity

























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Music that makes you think of this deity
Earth Mother, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Mother of All That Is Alive, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Mother of All Things, Ani Williams & Lisa Thiel
Isle of the Mystic Lake, Adiemus
This Sacred Land, Ah Nee Mah
Tower of Stone, Ah Nee Mah
The Bard’s Exhortation to the Salaryman, Annwn
Sumer is Y-cumen In, Annwn
Earth, Brian Crain
Meadowland, Amethystium
Genesis Hibernia, Dagda
Grace Cathedral Hill, The Decemberists
Behold the Passionate Ways of Nature, Hagalaz’ Runedance
Heartbeat of the Earth, Inkubus Sukkubus
Sanctuary, Inkubus Sukkubus
The Earth is Our Mother, Libana
Ancient Mother, Libana
Corn Mother, Lisa Thiel
Mother Earth, Within Temptation
Kodamas, Joe Hisaishi
Emerald Island, Leaves’ Eyes
Come by the Hills, Loreena McKennitt
Standing Stones, Loreena McKennitt
The Mystic’s Dream, Loreena McKennitt
Shenandoah, Sissel
This Moment, Fiona Joyce,
Trees, Fiona Joyce
The Rolling of the Stones, The Hare and The Moon

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” – Wendell Berry
“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” – Wendell Berry
“Reclaiming the sacred in our lives naturally brings us close once more to the wellsprings of poetry.” -Robert Bly
“In this moment, everything is sacred.” – Ariel Books
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” – Herman Hesse
“To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.” – N. Scott Momeday
“…the Sierra, a region so quiet and pristine that we have the sense of being the first human beings ever to set foot in it. We fall silent ourselves in its midst, as if conversation in a place of such primeval solitude would be like talking in church.” – Jim Fergus
“If you have been in the vicinity of the sacred – ever brushed against the holy – you retain it more in your bones than in your head; and if you haven’t, no description of the experience will ever be satisfactory.” – Daniel Taylor
“The secret and the sacred are sisters. When the secret is not respected, the sacred vanishes. Consequently, reflection should not shine too severe or aggressive a light on the world of the soul.” – John O’Donohue
“Earth’s crammed with heaven…
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” – John Muir
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” – Kahlil Gibran
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” – Kahlil Gibran
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculite patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.” – Cormac McCarthy
“What you take from the earth, you must give back. That’s nature’s way.” – Chris d’Lacey
“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” – John Paul II
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson
“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ” – Rachel Carson
“Earth, my dearest, oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over…Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the flush.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.” – Edward Abbey
“How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was, and always will be stronger than us. We can’t destroy it; if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from its surface and carry on existing. Why don’t they start talking about not letting the planet destroy us?” – Paulo Coelho
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” – Gary Snyder
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.” – Chief Luther Standing Bear
“We are the children of the earth and removed from her our spirit withers.” – George Macaulay Trevelyan

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Clean up a natural place, set up a shrine/altar outdoors, donate to environmental causes, become a “nature” activist, protect the weak/less fortunate, protect a sacred place, make a sacred place, learn about your bioregion, reintegrate into your local rhythms, spend time outside getting to know the animals and plants that live near you, walk barefoot (safely)

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Getting to Know the Powers: Water

 

A basic introduction of the deity

Water is the second of the Powers of the Three Realms – Land, Sea and Sky – and most like his adoptive brother-uncle, Wildness. Together with his wife Ocean, he rules over the Underworld, and thus is king of all things that swim, move through or touch the waters – rivers, lakes, rain, oceans, beaches/shores, harbors and ships. But he is also connected to the worlds above, ever competing with his brother Sky for the affections and love of their sister Earth. He is wise, caring, disposed to compassion and benevolence, a gentle protector and comforting father, but who has a bit of a mischievous and wild side. He directs the currents and waves, and keeps the order of the cosmos intact through his deep insight and sense of mercy, as well as a willingness to aid those in need. Of all things that swim, he loves dolphins the best, and of those earthly animals he loves, several are associated with water (otters and waterfowl), or wisdom and the depths (snakes). He is a lover of music, magic and good jokes. While he is less prone to violence than either his brother or his wife, he is as terrifying as them when angered, sending great waves and storms and shaking the earth itself, destroying cities and ships alike.

Symbols and icons of this deity
Seaweed, driftwood, sand dunes, rain, fishing net, boathooks, miniature/model boats, starfish, serpents, shells, sea glass, stones smoothed by the sea, salmon, boats/ships, trident/harpoon, anchors, swords, fishing tools, aquatic animals, dogs, otters, seagulls and other ocean or wading birds, waterfalls, rivers/streams, fountains and wells, musical instruments.

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
The Establishment of the Three Realms
When the Mother, the Twins and the Sisters set forth the bounds and the rules of existence, setting into motion the Great Pattern, the world was still formless and amorphous, potentiality still wrapped in chaos but enfolded within the Pattern. And so the Mother began to shape the next stage of the Pattern, forming the world tripartite. She took a lash from her eye and breathed upon it, and it became a man, full of sight and truth, far-seeing and able to control the powers of the heavens. She took a tear and mixed it with spittle, and held it to her heart, and it became another man, brother to the first, full of wisdom and compassion, deeply-knowing and able to control the powers of the deep. And finally, she took a hair from her groin, mixed it with her fluids and blood, and held it to her belly, and it became a woman, lovely and fertile, both nourishing and consuming, and able to control all the powers of the world. And she revealed these to her other children, and they rejoiced, and the divine twin of light took them to himself and named them his own.
And the man of sight took to the high places, and wed himself to the queen of heaven, the Sister of the seeing, and claimed all of the upper reaches as his kingdom, from the treetops to the mountains, from the dawn on the horizon to the very edge of night.
The man of wisdom took to the deep places, and gave himself to the queen of the waves, the lurker in the depths, and claimed all of the lower reaches as his kingdom, from the rivers to the ocean, from the waves on the shore to the bottom of the trenches.
And the woman surveyed all that remained, the hills and the valleys, the peaks and the caves, the forests and marshes and plains, high and low and in-between, and gave herself to herself, and named herself queen over all things, subject to no man or woman but Night and the Sisters and the Great Pattern itself, and she rules over all things that move and live upon this world, from the birds of the air, to the creatures of the deep, for her realm contains and touches the others. But over the creatures and beings of the land she rules alone.
And the brothers quarrel endlessly, desiring the woman for themselves, to woo her and gain her favor. And at times she chooses the first, at at other times she chooses the second, but she is bound to neither, for she is the Earth, and all things that live and move in this world are born of her, nourished by her, and shall be consumed by her in the end.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Father – Abundance (adoptive)
Siblings – Divine Twins, Weird Sisters, Earth, Sky
Consorts – Ocean, Earth
Children – Passion, Peace, Death

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Weird Sisters
Ocean
Earth
Sky
Peace
Passion
Death

Names and epithets
Catcher, Silver-Hand, Well-Keeper, Lord of Oceans, Great Serpent, King of Darkness, Calmer of Storms, Lord of the Shining Sword, Lord of Mystery, Giver of Riches, Friend of Sailors, Pure One, Lord of Taboo, Lord of Wisdom, Lord of Safe Harbor, Shelterer, Feast-Giver
Njörðr, Nuada, Nudd/Llud Llaw Eraint, Nechtan, Nodens, Nethuns, Ægir, Veles, Arawn, Velnias, Manannán mac Lir/Manawyddan fab Llyr, Lir/Llyr, Poseidon, Neptune, Pontus/Oceanus, Duberdicus, Nereus/Proteus, and Portunus are all Euro-American deities and spirits that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
Non-Euro-American deities that work are Yam, Enki, Apām Napāt/Apąm Napāt, Varuna, and Wadj-wer
Euro-American (Finnish) deities that work but should probably not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Ahti
Euro-American deities that work but should not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Sugaar (Basque) and Tjaetsieålmaj (Sámi)
Non-Euro-American deities that work but should not be used oppression/appropriation issues are Agwé (Yoruba/Vodou), Chalchiuhtlatonal (Aztec) Kumugwe/Qaniqilak (Salish/Wakashan Pacific NW), Tangaroa (Maori), and Kanaloa (Hawai’ian)

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Water has three main aspects – the Shelterer, the Wisdom-Keeper, and the King Below
The Shelterer is the face of Water that is beloved by sailors and those who live near the oceans. He is the lord of safe harbor, of protection at sea, calming the rages of his wife and helping to guide sailors and their ships safely home again. Master of the beaches and shores, he creates safe and secure places to moor even among the rocky cliffs, and sends his servants, the dolphins, to protect, guide and rescue those who travel across his realm.
The Wisdom-Keeper is the lord of the freshwater – springs, wells, lakes, and rivers. He is the keeper of the wells of wisdom, granting a drink from them only to the worthy. As such, he is distinctly connected to the Weird Sisters, particularly Winter, who is also a ruler over the Underworld and the wells of wisdom. He is a powerful magician, with magical clothing and in several instances, body parts that are either magical themselves or can live apart from his body.
The King Below is the wealthy ruler of the deeps, with all the riches of the oceans, caves, and mines at his disposal. Silver and gold pour from fountains in his halls, and gems adorn every object. He has countless herds of cattle and other livestock, and there is always music and merriment in his halls, even though they are inhabited by the dead.
To me, he most often appears as an older man, sometimes bearded, sometimes not, with the weathered and wrinkled features of a life-long sailor. He usually comes walking along the sand of a beach, or striding through the shallower waters which rise up to meet him.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
Festival of the Dead
Festival of the Sun
Dog Moon
Dusk to dawn

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Sailing
Brewing
Swimming
Playing at the beach
Collecting seashells
Visiting rivers and waterfalls
Playing music
Magic tricks/illusions

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Ruler/Granter of Wisdom

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
Water is masculine. He is a warm and comforting father-figure, a wise teacher, a generous host and a caring friend.
Sexually, as with all of the other Powers, Water falls into a multisexual spectrum. He is married to Ocean, is one of the consorts of Earth, and intimate with many humans and spirits of all genders and sexes. He also has a passionate love-hate relationship with his brother, Sky, and many storms are the result of their affair.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
I admire his care and concern, his gentleness, his friendliness, his safekeeping of wisdom and tempering justice with mercy.

Art that reminds you of this deity





















Music that makes you think of this deity
Mare Undarum (Sea of Waves), Karl Jenkins
Lacus Lenitatis (Lake of Tenderness), Karl Jenkins
The Call of the Sea, Ocean Dreams
Beach Walk, Ocean Dreams
Hermit of the Sea Rock, Adiemus
Isle of the Mystic Lake, Adiemus
Seahaven, Annwn
Vessel of Mercy, Annwn
Scottish Fisherman’s Song for Attracting Seals, Aryeh Frankfurter
Nymphs of the Sea-God Nereus, Daemonia Nymphe
The Sea-Angler, Faith and the Muse
Annwyn, Beneath the Waves, Faith and the Muse
The Minnow and the Trout, A Fine Frenzy
Neptune the Mystic, Gustav Holst
Moewe (Seagull) – Joe Hisaishi
A Town with an Ocean View, Joe Hisaishi
Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea), Joe Hisaishi
Day of the River, Joe Hisaishi
Immrama, Stellamara
By The Sea, Sweeney Todd OST
Moonlit Beach, Anna and the King OST
The Grey Havens, Howard Shore
Into the West, Annie Lennox/Howard Shore
Moorlough Shore, Emm Gryner
Under Neptune’s Cape, Clannad
Precious Waters, Ah Nee Mah
Song of the River, Ah Nee Mah
Water, Brian Crain
Watermark, Enya
Orinoco Flow, Enya
Over the Waterfalls, Helen Trevillion
As the Water, Memoirs of a Geisha OST
Kellswater, Loreena McKennitt
Sailing By, Dagda
I Saw a Ship A-Sailing, Natalie Merchant
River, Natalie Merchant
River, Joni Mitchell
River, Susan McKeown
El Río, Javier Navarrete
Njord, Leaves’ Eyes

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” – L.M. Montgomery

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.” – Holly Black

“That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.
No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea” – W.B. Yeats

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…” – Van Morrison

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. cummings

“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” – Izak Dinesen

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” – Norman MacLean

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” – Margaret Atwood

“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.” – William Shakespeare

“We clear the harbor and the wind catches her sails and my beautiful ship leans over ever so gracefully, and her elegant bow cuts cleanly into the increasing chop of the waves. I take a deep breath and my chest expands and my heart starts thumping so strongly I fear the others might see it beat through the cloth of my jacket. I face the wind and my lips peel back from my teeth in a grin of pure joy.” – L.A. Meyer

“What she really loved was to hang over the edge and watch the bow of the ship slice through the waves. She loved it especially when the waves were high and the ship rose and fell, or when it was snowing and the flakes stung her face.” – Kristin Cashore

“She watched the gap between ship and shore grow to a huge gulf. Perhaps this was a little like dying, the departed no longer visible to the others, yet both still existed, only in different worlds.” – Susan Wiggs

“The river is everywhere.” – Herman Hesse

“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.” – Herman Hesse

“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers- the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and he Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees-must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.
Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering wit hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppp pianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionato, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso. Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” – Aiden Chambers

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” – David Brower

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” – Kahlil Gibran

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.” – Santosh Kalwar

“The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.” -Raymond Carver

“I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.” – Haruki Murakami

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Help clean up the beach, play with dolphins, go fishing, teach a child about the ocean, study the hydrological cycle, work with your emotions, care for a local river or stream, swim in the ocean, a lake or a river, visit the shore and walk along the sand, help care for and protect sand dunes and shore habitats.

Getting to Know the Powers: Sky

 

A basic introduction of the deity
Sky is the first of the Powers of the three Realms – Land, Sea and Sky – and most like his adoptive father Abundance. Together with his wife, Rain, he rules over the Upperworld, and thus is king of all things that fly, move through, or touch the sky – clouds, storms, rain, lightning, mountains and cliffs. But he is also connected to the worlds below, ever competing with his brother Water for the affections and love of their sister Earth. He is rambunctious, lascivious, prone to long and loud laughter and shouting, a fierce defender and generous ruler with a vastly expansive appetite for all good pleasures. He directs the weather patterns and keeps the order of the cosmos intact through his wisdom and sense of justice, as well as a willingness to strike those who would disrupt it with his mighty weapons. Of all things that fly, he loves prey-birds the best (particularly eagles), and of those earthly animals he loves, one is the child of the winds itself, and thus intimately connected with the sky (horse), and the others are stubborn and fierce noble protectors with mighty horns (bulls and goats).

Symbols and icons of this deity
Thunderstorms, lightning bolts, oak trees, horses, hammer/club, mountains, birds of prey, wheels, clouds, bulls, goats, cauldrons, iron objects, brewing vats and storage kegs/barrels (particularly those made out of oak)

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
The Establishment of the Three Realms
When the Mother, the Twins and the Sisters set forth the bounds and the rules of existence, setting into motion the Great Pattern, the world was still formless and amorphous, potentiality still wrapped in chaos but enfolded within the Pattern. And so the Mother began to shape the next stage of the Pattern, forming the world tripartite. She took a lash from her eye and breathed upon it, and it became a man, full of sight and truth, far-seeing and able to control the powers of the heavens. She took a tear and mixed it with spittle, and held it to her heart, and it became another man, brother to the first, full of wisdom and compassion, deeply-knowing and able to control the powers of the deep. And finally, she took a hair from her groin, mixed it with her fluids and blood, and held it to her belly, and it became a woman, lovely and fertile, both nourishing and consuming, and able to control all the powers of the world. And she revealed these to her other children, and they rejoiced, and the divine twin of light took them to himself and named them his own.
And the man of sight took to the high places, and wed himself to the queen of heaven, the Sister of the seeing, and claimed all of the upper reaches as his kingdom, from the treetops to the mountains, from the dawn on the horizon to the very edge of night.
The man of wisdom took to the deep places, and gave himself to the queen of the waves, the lurker in the depths, and claimed all of the lower reaches as his kingdom, from the rivers to the ocean, from the waves on the shore to the bottom of the trenches.
And the woman surveyed all that remained, the hills and the valleys, the peaks and the caves, the forests and marshes and plains, high and low and in-between, and gave herself to herself, and named herself queen over all things, subject to no man or woman but Night and the Sisters and the Great Pattern itself, and she rules over all things that move and live upon this world, from the birds of the air, to the creatures of the deep, for her realm contains and touches the others. But over the creatures and beings of the land she rules alone.
And the brothers quarrel endlessly, desiring the woman for themselves, to woo her and gain her favor. And at times she chooses the first, at at other times she chooses the second, but she is bound to neither, for she is the Earth, and all things that live and move in this world are born of her, nourished by her, and shall be consumed by her in the end.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Father – Abundance (adoptive)
Siblings – Divine Twins, Weird Sisters, Earth, Water
Consorts – Rain, Blood, Earth, Water
Children – Life, Wind

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Rain
Earth
Water
Life
Wind
Maker

Names and epithets
Lord of Thunder, Old Man, Grandfather, Lord of Clouds, Lord of Birds, Good God, Lord of Horses, Striker, Slayer, Lord of Heaven, Storm-Lord, Thunderer, Luck-Giver, God of Fortune, Bringer of Rain, God of the Wheel, High God, King of Eagles, Father-God, Giver of Blessings, Oak-King,
Thor, Thunor, Donner, Perkons, Perkunas, Perun, Taara, Fárbauti, An Dagda/Eochaid Ollathair, Taranis, Sucellos, Zeus Pater, Jupiter, Perëndi, Zibelthiurdos, Tuireann, Eacus, Sabazios, and Tinia are all Euro-American deities and spirits that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
Non-Euro-American deities that work are Indra, Teshub, Dyauṣ Pitrā, and Adad/Hadad/Ba’al
Euro-American (Finnish) deities that work but should probably not be used due to oppression/appropriation issues are Tuuri and Ukko/Jumala.
Euro-American deities that work but should not be used oppression/appropriation issues are Tiermes/Horagalles and Pajonn (Sámi), and Urtzi*/Orko (Basque)
*Note: Urtzi has not been definitively proven as a Basque deity other than as the word for sky, however many related words and concepts are similar to those of such figures as Thor and Zeus, which may indicate actual deification.

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Sky has three main aspects – the Good Giver, the Striker, and the King on High
The Good Giver is the most personal and benevolent aspect of Sky. He is beloved because he is free with his gifts, loving to all who come to him, and never turning away from need. He loves food and drink, music and games, and, above, all sex with any and all who desire it. His stores are never-ending, his cups never empty, his hall never silent. He can bring the dead to life again with a touch, and he shares good fortune with all who ask for it.
The Striker is the most commonly called to aspect of Sky. He is the defender of the people, the mighty warrior whose weapon of choice (hammer, club, axe, or bolt) resounds through the sky during the storm. He wields lightning and thunder, and protects the balance of the cosmos from tipping too much into chaos. He is in eternal conflict with his brother, Water, often immortalized as a contest between an eagle and a serpent, for the affection and love of Earth.
The King on High is the aspect of Sky who rules over the Upperworld, and thus (in most tripartite cosmologies) the cosmos itself. He is the Ruler of Heaven, whose very presence is the embodiment of Law and who carries out justice. He rules and lives high above the world in the mountains of the clouds, where he can see all that happens below, and his eagles carry messages and information to and from his throne.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
Festival of Winter (Feast of High Winter/Yule)
Festival of the Sun
Oak Moon
Tribe Moon
Dawn to dusk

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Law enforcement
Jurisprudence
Horse-riding
Flying
Bird-keeping
Falconry
Beer brewing
Storm-chasing
Feasting
Mountain climbing

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Ruler/Lawkeeper

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
Sky is highly masculine, both in the boisterous, rowdy sense, and in the regal, kingly sense. He is a warm and comforting father-figure, a stern king, a wise judge, a polite guest and a magnanimous host.
Sexually, as with all of the other Powers, Sky falls into a multisexual spectrum. He is married to Rain, one of the consorts of Earth, and intimate with many humans and spirits of all genders and sexes. He also has a passionate love-hate relationship with his brother, Water, and many storms are the result of their affair.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
I admire his dedication to justice, to joy, to good things and good living, to peace and stability. But I find that his vision can become stagnant, black and white, vision without compassion or wisdom, all of the negative qualities of Lawful run rampant, unless balanced out with the depth of his brother. Those who are drawn to him can also lose sight of reality in their quest for unity, for perfection, for ascension, for truth without regard to the effect of those things on actual persons and the Pattern.

Art that reminds you of this deity




















Music that makes you think of this deity
Thor the Thunder God, Hildr Valkyrie
Riding with Thunder, Native Flute Ensemble
Ride of the Thunder Gods, Averil White
Bold Asa Thor, Verdandi
Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity, Gustav Holst
Sky Stroll, Joe Hisaishi
Porcelain Sky, Rajna
Dagda, Adiemus
Harp of Dagda, Dagda
Storm, Inkubus Sukkubus
Highland Storm, Nox Arcana
Storm, Nox Arcana
Far Beyond Yon Mountain, Aine Minogue
Mountain Chant, Krys Mach
Vuolgge Mu Mielde Bassiv Arrai (Come with me to the Sacred Mountain), Mari Boine
Higher, Libana
Fly, Fly, Fly, Libana
High mountains flowing water, Luo Tian Ping
Sailor of the Skies, Kelli Rabke (Children of Eden OST)
Endless Skies, VNV Nation
July Skies, Sharron Kraus
Finding Heaven, Helen Trevillion
Eagle’s Path, Ah*Nee*Mah
Ascent, Meredith Monk and Chorus
Let’s Go Fly a Kite, Dick Van Dyke
In Flight, Clannad

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
“That’s a misconception, Lennie. The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” – Jandy Nelson
“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” – Ishmael Beah
“I let my head fall back, and I gazed into the Eternal Blue Sky. It was morning. Some of the sky was yellow, some the softest blue. One small cloud scuttled along. Strange how everything below can be such death and chaos and pain while above the sky is peace, sweet blue gentleness. I heard a shaman say once, the Ancestors want our souls to be like the blue sky.” – Shannon Hale
“I took the dog out for a walk tonight, and together we wandered across the meadow next door. It was a warm summer’s night, dark, and moonless. There were a handful of fireflies flickering intermittently, some so close to me I could see they were burning green as they flew, and some further away, who seemed to be flashing white.
And in the sky above them a continual roil of distant summer lightning (the storm distant enough that it was silent) burned and flashed and illuminated the clouds. It seemed as if the lightning bugs were talking to the lightning, in a perfect call and response of flash and counterflash. I watched the sky and the meadow flash and flash while the dog walked ahead of me, and realised that I was perfectly happy…” – Neil Gaiman
“At that instant a dazzling claw of lightning streaked down the length of the sky. The hedge and the distant trees seemed to leap forward in the brilliance of the flash. Immediately upon it came the thunder: a high, tearing noise, as though some huge thing were being ripped to pieces close above, which deepened and turned to enormous blows of dissolution. Then the rain fell like a waterfall. In a few seconds the ground was covered with water and over it, to a height of inches, rose a haze formed of a myriad minute splashes. Stupefied with the shock, unable even to move, the sodden rabbits crouched inert, almost pinned to the earth by the rain.” – Richard Adams
“…and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.” – Herman Melville
“The eyesight for an eagle is what thought is to a man.” – Dejan Stojanovic
“There are times when a man has need of the open heavens to compass his thoughts.” – Kathryn Worth
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” – Pema Chödron
“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. ” – Kahlil Gibran
“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.” – Kobayashi Issa
“Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it is shared.” – Jesse Browner
“All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost …” – G. K. Chesterton
“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.” – Robert MacFarlane
“I’m a person of the mountains and the open paddocks and the big empty sky, that’s me, and I knew if I spent too long away from all that I’d die; I don’t know what of, I just knew I’d die.” – John Marsden
“Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.” – John Muir
“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.” – G.R.R. Martin
“[…]YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THENSHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY.” – Terry Pratchett
“For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked.” – Cicero
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.” – Ernesto Guevara
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“But men often mistake killing and revenge for justice. They seldom have the stomach for justice.” – Robert Jordan
“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” – William Penn
“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.” – William Penn
“A unjust law, is no law at all.” – Martin Luther

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Dance in a thunderstorm, learn weather magic, learn your local weather patterns, protect eagles and other endangered birds, set up a bird feeder, be a generous host/guest, learn a wide number of practical skills, watch the clouds and make up stories about them, meditate in a high open place, learn about justice and law enforcement.

Waincraft and Concepts of Time

So, those who have been following along with the Getting to Know the Powers series may have noticed references in the past four essays to time. There are six Powers who are associated with time as a concept in Waincraft – Abundance, Winter, Blood, Rain, Sun, and Moon. But these deal with different types of time and related concepts.

Abundance deals with time in the greater arc, the time of space-time and the fundamental quality that we experience as progression, age, change and ordered passage. This is clock time, science time, abstract time, philosophical time, counted in minutes and hours and centuries and aeons.

The Weird Sisters as a whole represent time as the three-fold spiraling progression of before, during and after. This is life time, social time, measured in breaths and events, years and decades and generations, families and cultures.

Winter is the first part of this spiral, and deals with the has been, the was, the already happened. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with everything that lies under the surface, the unseen, the bones and worms and strange sea creatures and pale blind fish in dark underground pools. The past cannot be reached or seen or felt, but only imagined, remembered, told about, because anytime you try to get below the surface, you only create more surface

Blood is the second part of this spiral, and deals with the now, the is, the happening. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with everything that can be seen, felt, reached, or touched – the surface as a sensate half sphere whose boundaries are formed by the past (under the surface) and the future (beyond the horizon) This is, in a sense, the only time we ever truly know, because we live in an ever-changing, never-moving moment of Now that a millisecond ago was To come, and a millisecond from now will be Then.

Rain is the third part of this spiral, and deals with the to come, the will be, the maybe. In the cosmology, this portion of life time is associated with beyond the horizon – that which cannot be seen in the now, and thus cannot ever be pinned down and definitively described. It is everything that lies beyond our reach and our knowledge. Tomorrow truly never comes, because by its very nature, it is unobtainable, just as no matter how long you travel or how high or low you climb, the horizon remains always out of reach, and what lies beyond out of sight and knowing until that beyond becomes here and now.

Sun and Moon, being children of Abundance, are markers of cyclical time, time in the lesser arc, the time of measurements and repetitions. This is calendar time, measured in days and weeks and months and seasons, the time of planting and harvesting, of building and repairing, of sailing and fishing and gathering. There are roughly 3.09 moon cycles per solar quarter (solstice to equinox, or equinox to solstice, or in the four-season year), or 4.12 cycles per solar third (for those who prefer three-season years) This yields, when rounded, twelve 30 day lunar months with 5 excess solar days (6 in leap years), or twelve 29 day lunar months with 17 excess solar days (18 in leap years). Waincraft does not have a set religious calendar, but one could be created based on lunar, solar and seasonal cycles for each person’s bioregion.

The Nature of the Powers

“Do you view the Powers of Waincraft as distinct beings, or simply as “ideas” or archetypes. For example, is the Lord of the Green literally a god sovereign over growing things, or is he just the personification of growings things?”

Short answer is both.

Literally, the Lord of the Green is the Power of life in all its forms, but most particularly cyclical life, of which vegetation is the most abundant. Symbolically, he personifies the cycle of life that grows and falls and rises again.

The Powers of Waincraft are fully immanent and integrated with the physical realm. Thus they are both spiritual beings that control and direct natural and cultural forces, and the impetus behind and manifestation of those very natural and cultural forces. Orthopsychy applies to all of existence, the Powers included.

A true archetype can exist in its own distinction as well as echo itself in other distinct beings. There is nothing simple about either an idea or an archetype – they are both powerful, complex, and utterly fascinating creatures.

Is a Mother not a distinct being from all other Mothers, while still sharing an essential commonality that differs only in its particulars? A Teacher can teach history or common sense or magic, and the style of that teaching can and will differ depending on subject and personality, but they are still a Teacher.

It is a poor tribute to Jung that one of his finest achievements has been so twisted by pop psychology as to completely change its meaning.

Local Orthopsychy and Manifestation of the Powers

In the summer of 2013 I blogged some about Waincraft as I understood it and one thing I wrote about was bioregion and orthopsychy in relation to the Powers. For example, in the desert, The Lord of the Green might be seen as a little more harsh than in New England. The Lady of the Forest would possibly be the Lady of the Desert. Would this be a proper assumption to make?”

Yes, exactly. Some of the Powers are unlikely to be vastly different across different bioregions (such as Night, which is pretty equal across the board), but ones tied to forces that specifically differ between biomes will definitely manifest differently.

The Lord of the Green in the desert would likely be a harsh, dry-witted, prickly, eminently practical and thrifty personality (though given to occasional exuberant displays of fierce joy and wonder), whereas a rainforest Lord of the Green would be lush and potentially overwhelming in his exuberance and largesse. A wood and fields-land Lord of the Green would likely be very similar to most European manifestations of him, regardless of what continent his worshipers inhabit.

I would probably say that there would be no Maiden of the Woods in a desert, savannah or similarly low-tree or treeless biome. Likely, another predatory and protecting Power (such as your Lady of the Desert) would make itself known, perhaps in the form of a lioness as an example (such as in Egypt, which has few trees and without forests, and gave us several protecting lionesses – Bast, Sekhmet, Mehit and Pakhet).

Thoughts on Orthopsychy

“Could you share your thoughts/opinions on the concept of “UPG,” and especially how it relates to orthopsychy? Do you see these ideas as similar, overlapping, very different?”

Let’s start with some definitions, since clear communication is always important.

I personally define UPG as unverifiable personal gnosis. To me, UPG is that you know or have experienced that is simply not verifiable by its very nature. I consider it similar (perhaps even synonymous) to one of the religious concepts of Mystery – those things we know or see or experience that are virtually or completely ineffable in human words and to human reasoning. I am well aware that this definition of UPG is vastly different from the several standard ones, but you asked my opinions, and these are them.

To define orthopsychy is a bit harder. It’s a term that doesn’t exist in any dictionary, or in any common religious parlance (though it should and I very strongly advocate for it becoming so). The literal definition is “right-spirited”, “right-souled”, or “right-lived”, and I use it in a couple of ways. The first is to describe the concept of the great pattern of existence, where everything is interconnected and every being, human or not, living or not, animate or not, has a unique and vital place in that pattern. This is similar, though a little different*, from what PIE religion terms Xártus.

The second is to describe what that place actually is, what some (such as Plotkin) have termed a person’s “soul-image” – an image or story or idea or symbol that fully encapsulates and defines each individual’s concept of wholeness, of connection, of being fully integrated into the wider cosmos, of their unique gifts that they have to bring to others. Mine is the image of Raven spinning tales in a twilight glen. Someone else might be a woman singing the true songs of her soul, or a serpent with iridescent scales remaking the world, or any other of the innumerable soul-images that make up the pattern from beginning to end.

These could be classified as “unified orthopsychy” and “individual orthopsychy,” or outer and inner, or however you want to call it.

There is a third type of orthopsychy, and that is “local” or “communal” orthopsychy. Given Waincraft’s intense focus on bioregional animism and diversity, this local orthopsychy serves as an intermediary between the other two forms, shaping each person’s experiences, metaphors, images and gnoses with the patterns that are unique to each geographic bioregion. Thus, at the level of local orthopsychy, the greater pattern takes on the attributes, flavor, history, etc. of the local landscape and ecosystems. This is the level at which experiences begin to differ between practitioners, and the Powers take on the attributes and personalities that a hard polytheist would define as individual distinct beings.

Now, to answer the question – How do I think UPG relates to orthopsychy?

My definition of UPG is fairly similar to both the first and second types of orthopsychy, in that it is extremely symbolic and relevant to the greater pattern as well as the individual person.

The standard definition would probably fall between the second and third kinds, in that it is knowledge gained by an individual that is not shared by others’ experiences. The reasons for that can be because it is only relevant to that person’s soul and needs, or because the nature of their local landscape is necessarily different from that of someone living in a different biome, and thus their experiences and gnoses will also necessarily differ, because they’re using different symbol sets.

For the end, though, I think UPG as a term is only as useful as an agreed upon qualifier that is used by someone to classify their own paradigms. I am firmly against the practice of labeling someone else’s practices, experiences, etc. as UPG in a derogatory, belittling or diminishing sense.

—-

*For example, there is no distinction in orthopsychy between creation and destruction and the Powers and beings that embody those forces. There is no such thing as an Outsider in the Waincraft cosmology, because it is all a part of the pattern, and the powers of destruction and chaos are as vital and inherent to the cosmos as those of creation and order, represented in the figures of Wildness and Abundance, who are twins, and thus share one soul.