the revered

Mama Gretchen’s Beginners’ Guide to Offering and Sacrifice

“Knowest how one shall write, knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint, knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask, knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send, knowest how one shall sacrifice?”

–The Havamol (Bellows)

One of the most common sources of frustration for people who are new to Heathenry or who are resuming active practice after a long break is the act of sacrifice.  What makes an appropriate offering?  Which gods prefer which observations?  How should the act be performed?  Why would a god want anything that I have?

Now, in my opinion, the most important thing to remember here is that an offering establishes a very personal sort of connection between the person or group giving the offering and whatever wight (god, nature spirit, ancestor, et cetera) it’s being given to.  As such, the wight is going to be the final authority on what is and isn’t appropriate.  If you don’t have that kind of relationship, or aren’t receiving any signals, here are my tips:

A great place to start is to read up on whatever wight you want to build communion with, what sorts of items and deeds they’re associated with, how they may have been honored historically, and how contemporary devotees are honoring them now.  Thor, as one good example, is strongly associated with drinking alcohol, both in the extant lore and in a lot of people’s modern conceptions of him, so a bowl or horn (or can, bottle, cup, etc.) of your favorite adult beverage is something you can’t go wrong with.  Likewise we’re told quite explicitly in the stories that Odin enjoys wine; and just as a general thing, the sharing of drink as a way to build relationships is a very common motif throughout modern Heathenry.

There are a lot of wights about whom we don’t have a lot of that direct information, so you’ll have to divine or contrive the associations based on stories about the things they’ve done–and that’s just fine!  Whatever you end up doing is only “wrong” if it doesn’t work.

And about that:  A lot of folks will ask why the gods “need” this or that thing in sacrifice.  Well, they don’t.  But that’s not the point.  The act of sacrifice is meant to express love, devotion, and respect for the target by demonstrating your willingness to give of yourself–as such, as long as whatever you’re giving is something of value to you (even if that value is entirely sentimental), the intent is far more important than the thing.  The idea here is to build community and establish relationships, not material enrichment.

You really can’t go wrong with consumables–food, drink, sweets, even cigarettes.  I’ve always had best results with offerings that seem in some way appropriate, but really, “appropriate” is a relative term; that’s up to the wight of the hour, so trust your intuition.  I’ve been told by devotees of Loki that he’s a fan of sponge cake.

But an offering doesn’t have to be something like that, or even a tangible item at all.  The target of your devotion will appreciate anything made by your hand or craft, or anything you hold dear yourself or that you think they’d like.  I’ve done well writing devotional poetry for Woden, for one thing.  Whatever you’re giving, you need only approach your focus, whatever that might be–an altar with a picture or statue, or a plain altar, or anyplace that feels sacred to you—with a sense of reverence and respect, and give up your sacrifice with appropriate words. Again, “appropriate” is a funny word; most of the time, just something along the lines of, “Here, this is for you, I thought you might like it” will be plenty.

Now, a point of order:  Whatever you’ve offered up in sacrifice belongs to the wight of the occasion, it’s no longer yours, and it must be got rid of.

That doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds, though; you certainly *can* ritually break something and throw it into a bog, if you *want* to, but you don’t have to.  There are a lot of ways to do that.

With offerings of food or drink, my favorite thing to do is return it to the earth in some way, by pouring out, burying, or exposing–If you like historical precedents, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan reported that the Kievan Rus would rejoice when dogs came to eat the food offered to the gods, because they saw it as a sign that the offering had been well received.

Burning is also a good option; not only is the offered thing got rid of, but also the act of burning can be seen as symbolizing a transmutation from the physical to the spiritual.

If none of these are an option, there’s nothing wrong with putting offerings in the trash or down the drain; that’s what you do with your own leftovers you aren’t going to finish, yeah?  Just make sure it’s done with the same respect and reverence as the act of offering was; try viewing it as a separation or disavowal rather than disposal.

And you *can* eat the food or drink the beverage yourself, but that’s a different sort of sacrifice; call that sharing a communal meal, rather than giving a gift.

For less tangible things, I consider my devotional poetry to be “got rid of” when I’ve posted and shared them, sending them out into the aether.  And a devotional deed is “gone” once you’re done doing it.

If you’re giving an object that you’re hesitant to break or throw away, that’s okay, too; you can “get rid of it” by considering it a sacred object that you’re now borrowing, and so shouldn’t be used for mundane purposes.  A statue or some other kind of focus is a good offering; it can sit right on your altar, and depending on your spiritual tradition you might’ve just given your wight a nice place to live when they’re visiting.  Knives make good athames.  Tarot decks, kitchen implements, anything else “witchy”; it’s a great way to build spiritual relationships and consecrate your tools at the same time.  And you can come up with a special new purpose for just about any item, if you think about it.

You can generally expect to get some benefit from your offering, but you shouldn’t expect anything specific unless you have a very, very close relationship with the target of your offering, and you should never treat it as a quid-pro-quo relationship.  The idea here is to build a mutual relationship, and whether that means a friendship or the relationship of client and patron, demanding one thing in exchange for another like a financial transaction is pretty friggin rude.

Ultimately, gift-giving and sacrifice are fundamentally personal things; in individual practice, it’s between the wight and the practitioner; in communal practice, it’s between the wight and whatever in-group.  So, what you should or shouldn’t do depends on a lot of things–the particulars of your spiritual path or tradition, the nature of whichever wight you’re offering to, the relationship you may or may not have with them, your living situation, and so on.  All I have to offer are tips and suggestions; at the end of the day, the best advice I can give you is to trust your instincts.  If it feels right, it probably is.

Sammy’s snores, Dean can deal with. He has had enough time to learn to ignore them over the years the brothers have had to share shabby motel rooms. Somewhere along the way, Dean even started to appreciate them, seeing them as a constant reminder that his little brother is alive and (awfully loud, though still) breathing.

Dean’s currently wrapped in a thin, scratchy blanket and tries his best to finally fall asleep after an exhausting day of hunting. He’s sharing a motel room with Sam and Cas, and it’s the first time they are doing that since Cas fell and became human. Both brothers had their fair share of awkward moments trying to teach Castiel basic human actions and proceedings. Sam tends to let Dean take over, arguing that he and the former angel have always had a better relationship and it would be less awkward for both himself and Castiel if Dean would handle those situations.

He taught him how to shave, how to properly wash himself, how to deal with pain, sickness and wounds. But until this very moment, trying to fall asleep in a room with Cas, it never even occurred to Dean that Castiel, who is eons old, could have difficulties falling asleep.

He’s been human for almost two weeks now, surely he would have told Dean if he had had troubles falling asleep all this time?

Dean has had to listen to Castiel rolling and tossing around in his bed for about 30 minutes (though it certainly felt more like two hours) when he finally decides that he has had enough of this.

Yes, Dean might be grumpy and tired and a little out of his mind when he gets out of bed to do what he has been considering doing for the last 30 minutes, but he still shuffles over to Cas’ bed. He doesn’t turn on the lights, just quickly scans the bed in the sparse light that is coming through the motel room’s window to make out Castiel’s form underneath his blanket.

The thing is, Dean has been thinking about this exact situation for years. He knows exactly what he’s doing and what impact it might have on his relationship with his best friend, but at this point, he simply doesn’t care anymore.

The hunter climbs into Cas’ bed, lifts the blanket, moves underneath it and shuffles closer to the body next to him. He hears the gasp that leaves Castiel’s lips as soon as he registers what is happening, feels the minty breath brush over his face, but he ignores it in favor of enveloping his best friend in a hug and gently brushing his hands over his back.

“This okay, Cas?” Dean murmurs against his face, closing his eyes and praying to whoever is listening that he didn’t misinterpret all the signs he thought to have seen over their time together. That he isn’t overstepping Cas’ boundaries right now. That he won’t be thrown out of the bed in the next few seconds.

There is no immediate response, though Cas snuggles into his open arms and presses his face in the hollow between Dean’s neck and his shoulder, inhaling deeply. Dean doesn’t need more confirmation than that, so he tightens his hug and brushes his cheek against Castiel’s soft hair.

They don’t really need any words to settle things between them after that, they never did.

But, lying here in the silent gloominess of this dirty hotel room, they do exchange a few words.

Cas breathes a choked “thanks” against Dean’s neck, who in turn answers with a gentle “whenever you need me”. They settle it with an almost reverent, careful kiss and it doesn’t take more than two minutes for Castiel to fall asleep in Dean’s warm, safe embrace. 

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9

group shots

anonymous asked:

Tell me some weird shit™ that the founding fathers did

FOUNDING FATHERS SPECIFIC:

• Alexander Hamilton spelled Pennsylvania wrong on the constitution.
• Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be the Turkey.
• James Monroe, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson all died on July 4th- James Madison died seven days before July 4th.
• George Washington and Lafayette took a nap underneath a tree after The Battle of Monmouth.
• Two days before signing the Declaration of Independence all the delegates got super drunk.
• Benjamin Franklin basically was man whore in France.
• Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay on farting.
• Benjamin Franklin wasn’t allowed to write The Declaration of Independence because they thought he’d put a joke in it.
• Benjamin Franklin took “air baths” which involved sitting in a bathtub fully nude and writing.
• Benjamin Franklin purposely spelt Pennsylvania wrong on the US currency to defer from counterfeits.
• John Adams had a dog named Satan.
• Alexander Hamilton founded the New York Post coincidently he was involved in the first major political sex scandal
• While in England bromance Thomas Jefferson and John Adams visited Shakespeare’s house and vandalized a chair he used to sit in by chipping piece out of it.
• During the election of 1800 while bromance Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were broken up; Thomas Jefferson told everyone that John Adams was a hermaphrodite and John Adams countered telling everyone Thomas Jefferson was dead.
• Benjamin Franklin brought tofu to America.
• Thomas Jefferson brought Ice Cream and macaroni and cheese.
• Thomas Jefferson told Lewis and Clark to watch out for giant sloths.
• George Washington currently has $300,000 worth of overdue library books.
• George Washington didn’t know that Chinese people were white.
• During the battle of Germantown, George Washington found a lost dog and stopped everything just to return to dog safely to the British side.
• George Washington was deathly afraid of being burnt alive and asked in his will to be buried three days after his death.
• It’s actually Paul Revere on the Sam Adams.
• John Jay didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence, he is famed for framing it.
• Gouvernour Morris got a blockage in his dick and tried to cure it by sticking a piece of Whale Bone down his fucking penis hole. He got an infection and died.
• Thomas Jefferson having such bad social anxiety that he used to fake sick to get out of public interactions.
• Thomas Jefferson broke his wrist trying to inpress a girl.
• Benjamin Franklin volunteered in the fire department.
• Thomas Jefferson had about 7,000 books and when a Virginian Library burnt down he donated about 1,640 books to the library.
• George Washington was an amazing dancer.
• James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested for riding a horse carriage on a Sunday in Vermont. Which was illegal!
• Thomas Jefferson had a mockingbird named dick who ate from his mouth and shit.
• Alexander Hamilton’s son and his dying in the same spot just four years apart in the same way.
• Alexander Hamilton talking and talking after he was shot even thought he was fucking bleeding out.
• John Jay quitting politics and becoming a farmer.
• John Adams and Thomas Jefferson holding such a grudge against one another that Johnny didn’t even show up to his presidential inauguration.
• Thomas Jefferson only made two speeches during his presidencies. Both were his inauguration speeches.
• Lafayette giving John Quincy Adams a baby alligator as a gift.
• Andrew Jackson got kicked out of a funeral because his mocking bird kept saying fuck.
• James Madison “accidentally” shipping into US a ton of prostitutes. • Andrew Jackson beat the shit out of a guy trying to assassinate him with a cane.

• James Monroe and Alexander Hamilton almost getting into a duel which was stopped by Aaron Burr. • James Monroe served as both Treasury of secretary and Secretary of State.

(This list is getting too long- so I’ll stop there!)

here’s to Sybil Ludington, a 16 year old girl who rode 40 miles alone, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, 9pm until dawn on horseback while using a stick to knock on doors so she could wake up 400 men to fight at the Battle of Ridgefield. Her amazing accomplishment and help to the Revolutionary War will not be forgotten just because the education system likes to forget that women were an amazing force throughout history.

The Founders, Explained With Gifs

George Washington: 

John Adams:

Alexander Hamilton:

Thomas Jefferson:

James Madison:

Thomas Paine:

John Hancock:

John Jay:

Paul Revere

Patrick Henry

Abigail Adams:

Aaron Burr:

Richard Henry Lee:

Albert Gallatin


Sam Adams:

Benjamin Franklin:

another big component about online friendships that i don’t really know how to put into words without sounding pretentious is the balance of status. im not saying ‘only befriend people of your internet status’, im saying that a lot of times when trying to get to know any ‘’’’popular’’’’ person, people treat them as some some sort of celebrity and revere them.

good friendships are based on equality, nobody considers the other to be superior. good friends feel comfortable speaking up, calling the other out, and should not feel like they are walking on eggshells. this is why its so awkward when people try to befriend a ‘sempai’ and keep reiterating and worshipping this perceived superiority, its not a balanced relationship that allows for natural discussion.

6

This tale of our shared past is entrusted to the King of Kings.

The Six have safeguarded this star since time immemorial - each of a different mind, but united by this common purpose.

The gods’ protection extends to all creatures here below - even to the mortals created in their image. They are feeble creatures leading fragile lives and clinging to foolish fancies. The Frostbearer scorns these visions of ‘hope’ which melt like snow in the sun’s light.

Yet the Pyreburner admires their strength of will. For their reverence, he grants unto them his flame, and the world of man flourishes. His benevolence warms the frozen heart of the Frostbearer. The mortals have earned her respect; he, her love and admiration.

It is not long, however, before some among those men ascend to new heights of hubris. The people of Solheim spurn the gods who blessed them - the gods they once worshipped. The ungrateful mortals incur the wrath of the Pyreburner. He seeks to raze the very civilization his flames once helped build.

But the Six are sworn to defend this star and all of her inhabitants from harm - and, at times, from one another. The flames of war surge as Solheim fends off the Pyreburner’s fire. The gods’ pleas for peace fall on deaf ears and the battle rages on.

When the smoke clears, the world of man is in ruins, their star left scarred for time eternal. Wearied from war, the Six seek solace in slumber.

In my first year of Costume at Elsewhere University, I learned how to sew. Not that I hadn’t ever done it before, on the contrary I’d been handsewing for myself for years, but the first year was the same whether you were a Fashion or Costume major. So I learned how to sew by machine, how to draft a pattern to fit an average. How to deeply hate the word ‘standard’ because no-one is.

In my second year of Costume at Elsewhere University, I learned how to handsew again, better, and how to fit the people who weren’t the fashion’s idea of standard. I loved it, loved it so much the teachers, two weeks before I got my diploma, offered to take me on for a third year. There were courses, they explained, that were more historical, more detailed, more interesting.

In my third year of Costuming at Elsewhere University, I was taught by a teacher I’d never seen before. He didn’t flinch at my salt, and used iron pins, but he was different. He was also brilliant.
I spent most of that year drafting and sewing to impossible proportions. Sometimes one of my other teachers would look in, and then leave, quickly, eyes wide and face pale. There were waistcoats that looked like swiss cheese, so many armholes, and dresses that tapered into waists only a couple centimeters around.

I graduated, technically, but I missed walking the stage due to a fitting my teacher couldn’t do on his own. I could have moved, then. Left, if I’d wanted to. But there was work here, a list of contacts as long as my arm that would not help me. (Part ½)

(Part 2/2)
I stayed, though, getting my teachers help moving into a place one of my clients found for me. It’s nice, lots of space for fabric and pins, but my machine won’t work, there.

So, now, every so often, I have to come back. To find an empty machine and sew something that is all edges and shapes that people don’t like looking at. My teachers won’t meet my eyes anymore, but I’m not bothered by the students in the classrooms. Perhaps it’s because of what I’m sewing, perhaps it’s because I’m never in class, perhaps it’s because three or four of the crows always seem to be keeping an eye on me.
Either way, in my fourth year at Elsewhere University, I became the Queens Tailor, and nothing much bothered me after that.