Watercolour pencil / pencil / ink / metallic and iridescent acrylic -> Crescent cold-pressed illustration board -> 18.5 x 20.5cm (or 7.4 x 8 in).
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I remember a horrible nightmare of an account that a Ritualist I knew in college shared with me, where an apprentice summoned something he did not correctly contain in his Master's absence and it is not a story about an overflowing spaghetti bowl or mops that won't stop fetching water. The Master was nearly killed upon his return home and there wasn't much left of the apprentice, who had died violently and messy over a week ago. That being said, I think you might be able to understand why I would find it a little unnerving when someone starts talking about getting innovative with the practice of magic of any kind.
I do not personally practice. I know that there is a difference between shamanism and high magick. I got the impression that shamanism was more about asking the spirits to do something for you versus demanding. Also, that certain spirits like certain things done certain ways.
Druidism can not be fully recreated as it was because Druids were the Judges and the Executioners of the law of the celtic people. They executed criminals. They were not just medicine men. Today, the only other law that the United Kingdom seems to want to recognize outside of their own is Shi'ite law...which is really scary for any woman married to a Shi'ite or raised in a Shi'ite family in Britain. What is really disturbing is that the idea that the UK may have allowed for Shi'ite law within their realm only out of fear of I.S.I.S., which would have been a horrible mistake. Anyways, I'm starting to get off on a tangent. I think there is something wrong when the UK will not allow celtic peoples like the Welsh, Scots and the Irish to have their law and their judges within their kingdom but Shi'ites can have theirs.
Someone you might consider contacting about Druidism is the author Stephen R. Lawhead. He has done a tremendous amount of research about Druidism and he is one of the reason that I like Druids. Also, if you do have an interest in Druids, then you might consider taking up playing a musical instrument. From what little I have been able to find on Druids, all of them seem to have been Bards before they were Druids- Taliesin, Myrddin (i.e. Merlin, not a Wizard but a Druid). King Arthur was a Celtic King and not an Anglo one.
There are tons of stories in Celtic mythology that teach that the beings from the Otherworld are not safe. These tales are suppose to be based off peoples' experience with Faerie and I do not believe that the experience of someone else should just be disregarded. Information isn't always lacking in value because it is old.
By the way, can you tell me some tales about Koschei, the deathless?
Stories are where memories go when they are forgotten.
Druidry doesn't actually have to involve magic as you've described it, which you may know already. Nor does animism - or at least, not the ones I've encountered so far, there's always exceptions. Since most animism is based in philosophy and not necessarily by everyone learning how to go to the otherworlds (thank goodness), a person can go their whole life practicing animism and never have to deal with say, invocation/evocation. I've read Stephen R. Lawhead. The Pendragon Cycle has brought so many people over to OBOD and ADF, heh. I play multiple musical instruments. I have taught on the otherworlds/spirits being dangerous for years, and was one of the first online (with the advent of the internet) to publicly state / write articles like a column with Axis Mundi etc. / run courses re: the subject matter, especially as there is a lack of knowledge or understanding how to work with vili (spirits), perevrjni (spirit helpers), czuciki, djajajyk (...impish spirits but that's not really the right translation) and more. I was way more active back in the 90s and early 00s, these days I don't really see as much of a point writing about it for others.
I think you'll find that there are tons of stories in *any* Indigenous or animistic culture that has otherworlds, that teaches that the otherworlds aren't safe. The only 'tradition' I know of that has stated that the otherworlds are safe is Core Shamanism, which I think says a lot more about Harner, homogenisation and money-making, than it does about the actual practice of different forms of shamanism or animism.
As for Koschei, he's not part of our tradition, as he's not a part of all Finno-Ugric or Finno-Permic traditions. There's not a *ton* of cross-over between Finno-Ugric and Slavic indigenous cultures / ethnic groups - indeed there have been some pretty major clashes; but people often assume they're strongly connected across the branches. I mean sometimes they can be because of cultural permeation and so on - we do have a 'Baba Yaga' like figure in Vavale, for example. But she's also not strictly a Baba Yaga. Then again there are hundreds of Baba Yagas that vary throughout different Slavic practices too, so /shrugs. I mean I *can* tell you tales about Koschei because I'm interested in folktales and fairytales in general, but it'd be no different to anyone else who has researched Slavic fairytales. Generally, Slavic practices are found on the steppes/forest-steppes towards the south of Europe / Russia (sort of, that's very generalised), and Finno-Ugric is more likely to be north and then as you go east you're more likely to encounter Tatar etc. If you want to know about L'yuvona'ma or Azah Pyitak or something that's an entirely different matter. But you possibly know about them already?
I have loved mythology, folklore and faerie tales for most of my life.
I do appreciate you writing such a well thought out answer. While I was online back in 1999 and 2000, I really wasn't writing a blog or anything similar. If you have some links to your material, then I would love to have a look.
As for L'yuvona'ma, oh, I adore her. There are so many different types of rain, but she is bitter and angry, and she will make anyone and anything yield to her and the way she thinks. The only person she loves is her brother, L'yuvotn'r, the gentler, nourishing rains, and he adores her. Born at the same time, side by side, as twins, everyone saw L'yuvotn'r and celebrated at his nourishing rains, and then heard the pounding of the squall and looked up in fear, to see L'yuvona'ma. Even as a baby she would create flooding, the earth not yet strong enough to soak up her passion and fury. L'yuvotn'r wanted his sister with him, but instead, people petitioned to the gods and they were sundered. For a long time, L'yuvotn'r only appeared on his own and was worshipped as a god himself, and L'yuvona'ma was seen as her own; some demonic thing come from somewhere else, to smash crops and destroy homes, to make the ways too treacherous for even reindeer as they pass.
But L'yuvona'ma's passion is so strong that she beat the land and the people into submission. Great floods followed, as she chased L'yuvotn'r around the world. First he would come with his gentler rains, and then she would follow on his heels, seeking him. He had to look forward, but he could feel her at his back, and for the first time was able to look away from the worship of others to the truest love he'd known at birth. It made him colder, harder to reach, but it was the way it needed to be.
Now, for the most part, L'yuvona'ma always appears with her brother, or just after. Sometimes they play together, and there will be soft rain followed by torrential downpour. But when there is both at the same time, even if the plants are destroyed and the ground becomes so sodden the houses flood, there is some joy that always remains in knowing that family is best united with these conditions, and not split apart.
Not as lengthily or descriptively told as it could be! But it gives you an idea. Tbh I love torrential rains as a result. It is like...people talk about the element of water and sort of forget about glaciers remoulding mountains, or hail destroying crops, or torrential rains killing people in floods. The high emotion of it is a kind of life, but a dangerous one. I love it, but I also prepare my house before a severe thunderstorm warning when I know she'll be visiting.
As to the Azah Pyitak, they are our firebirds. There's less specific stories about these, but they are both loved and feared. Unlike some Phoenix myths, the Azah Pyitak doesn't always live forever, and so it is very very careful about when it chooses to burn itself up. Once, they were ruled by rage, and they burned themselves up frequently and did great damage to the land. But with time they learned wisdom, and keep their fires banked back in their eyes. They can be very dangerous to encounter in the otherworlds, but often associated with great pilgrimages too; and this idea that wisdom can be hard won, and that we can literally end up burning many bridges before we discover other ways of doing things. Though the advice of an Azah Pyitak is almost always 'it's not worth it, take a step back' hahaha. There's a saying:
Azah Pyitak je turjataij r’da vilkani. Czorkyinah!
Which basically translates as 'the Azah Pyitak is going to tell you what you already know anyway, so go back / it's not worth it.' In other words, don't bother seeking spiritual advice in dangerous places, if you deep down already have your answers and are just seeking external validation. Like the idea of talking to 'firebirds' is cool and all, but why do it unless you know it's going to be safe? And a lot of journeying to the otherworlds revolves around this - a lot of people want to do it because it seems cool. That's...a nice reason, but it also seems cool to pat a very hungry shark, and most people will generally think 'yeahhhh...it's still a very hungry shark, I might just give it a miss today.' Lol. I mean people are still gonna do it, but after a while of writing about this stuff more publicly, I began to feel a bit like a shamanism troubleshooting service and felt like I'd strayed really far away from what I feel my personal service to my perevrjni is - which is mostly acting as an interface/mediary between people and non-people via art. So...yeah, shut a lot of stuff down. Articles still float around. I believe the column might still be up at Axis Mundi magazine. But these days Pia Ravenari pretty much brings up art results, which feels like the way it should be? I joined OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) mostly to get away from the isolation aorund what I practice in the day to day, and to find some more community, since I'm isolated from the people who initially taught me some of this stuff due to personal choice around abuse. It was kind of accidental that I actually really ended up enjoying the syncretic nature of a reconstructed practice that has been augmented with Jungian psychology and other belief systems; though I think it helps that my general 'pagan' grounding is...ahhh...not more serious, that's not the right word. Perhaps just more bedded down into fundamental rules of animism as I was taught them. I see legitimacy in it, even if it's not an unbroken lineage and has had to be augmented / added to
Perhaps, because I have also had to experience this bodily (I have a rare genetic disease that makes me grow rare tumours - I have two right now actually, and I've needed a vein graft in the past to deal with the removal of another one due to fundamentally broken genetics lol) - I am a lot more relaxed about syncretism and spiritual augmentation when it's done respectfully. Innovation has literally kept my body alive, and I see how it has stopped some traditions from dying. As for people who use it to be disrespectful and are only there for money/glorification; those people are gonna be in the faithful reconstructionist practices too. They'll be everywhere. Which sucks. I've lost count of the amount of pagan bigwigs that have made BIIIIIG bank off of paganism. That you can pay $12,000 for a weekend course on how to be a shaman is something I find kind of revolting, honestly. The only thing you'd learn from that experience is how to give away a great deal of money to someone very charismatic, lol.
Anyway, wishing you all the best! Hope I didn't bore you with all the rambling.
I'm from New Zealand and I sometimes have Tuis come round to get nectar from a flax bush!