Greetings traveller, I hope you're ready to come and join me in the circle of the firelight, and get comfortable. The weather has well and truly changed - back to cold (but admittedly dry), and it's forced me back inside to the relative comfort (and chaos) of my bedroom. However before that I've been working in my little garden space - and in general working on making the elements balanced. What can I say, there's something very tranquil and peaceful about the soft subtle chimes of a wind chime just being caught by the breeze. I've also gained a brand new set of runes, that I'm excited to share with you - in one of my dream stones. I've now got a Labradorite Rune Stone set!
But enough about me - lets talk about what the episode will be covering! First of all we'll be talking about Bragi, a deity who's rather... disputed as to if he even actually existed or not. Second we'll be talking a bit about dismantling Ableism within the craft, before finally we talk about the rune Gebo.
This week's tale is really only a short tale, but the figure is one of great interest, if only because of the fact that their is a dispute as to if he even existed. Despite what the text says there is no actual proof of any of the ritual feasts - though it is rather feasible. The name Bragi has also been linked to a bard king called Bragi Boddason.
As a deity figure he's been linked to one of a Winter Gods, focusing on leisure and entertainment, which makes sense given that this was the perfect time to enjoy music and merriment. That said, although Bragi is considered a deity by some circles, and a deity firmly tied to the Skalds, it is still Kvasir (and his blood) who for others has the stronger tie.
Dismantling Ableism in the Craft
The first question that you're likely asking is 'how can the craft be ableist', and I agree, as a solitary practitioner at least I have a lot of freedom to do things my way. That said the wider community expectations, and a tendency towards gate keeping can make, even a solitary path, be very focused on inadvertantly becoming a community that holds everyone to the standards of an able bodied and minded individual. What do I mean by this?
The focus on daily devotions, lasting a set time, or an idea of time
Focus on the need for large complex rituals
Lack of focus on disabled Gods, or the outright erasure of their disability
Focus on resources garnered towards communal practice, without offering ways that they could be inclusive (large rituals in a group involving movement for example may be more difficult for a wheelchair user)
Now I'm a firm believer that you can't dismantle ableism in the wider community without working on making your own craft as accessible to other people should they wish to partake in it first. So I want to share some of the steps I've made to make my craft accessible, not just for myself as someone with Aspergers Syndrome, but also to guide other people to make steps for how they can think of the wider picture.
I allow myself to do worship at any time, in any place. I'm not limiting myself to only giving worship in a place, in a way, but instead I'm following my own path, and following what feels right. Now I admit that it's hard to get that level of intuition at first, but just giving myself a breather and removing the expectation to do x thing every day has allowed me to develop the sense when I feel 'right' to worship.
A lack of focus on doing big impressive rituals - indeed on key days (and for me it's currently Yule and Midsummer) - my ritual is simply to light candles, and to maybe spend time just being still, I tend to sit, but equally I could adapt it to allow myself to lie down. In other words I give myself that permission to be still. I'll also maybe draw a bath, add salts in it, as just a starting point. I really make a point of pampering myself on the days I view as important.
The other thing I've done is started to develop my own spaces in areas I go to frequently, again facilitating my ability to worship as I feel I can.
But what about you - what ways are you going to be working on making your craft, and your path accessible?
Gebo - The Gift
This rune is always read as positive rune, as it's seen solely as gifts are coming to you. This is what I tend to read it as in most cases, but also I use it as a reminder to utilise your own gifts. It can also act as a reminder to be aware of how you give your gifts out, a reminder to stop giving yourself too freely to those who may not fully appreciate it.
But what are the gifts Gebo speaks of? Well they come in many forms - including a sense of stability if life has been a bit topsy turvy/upside down. Or maybe you find a gift of a new passion, or an unexpected monetary gift!
If reversed this rune should be a warning. that you're burning through your own gifts too quickly, or that you're giving yourself too freely. Now? This moment? It's the moment to pull back, to put yourself first and establish that boundary.