Monday, December 12, 2011

On The Porch in 2012

Besides the supposed "end of the world" in December, there are a few things we, at CFTP wanted to share with you - our crazy listeners:

As soon as possible, the CFTP online store will be operational (our projection, is by the end of January). Steins, shirts, and the infamous "recon calendarium" will be available for purchase.

We're slotted to attend the Florida Pagan Gathering for Beltane 2012... on a broadcast weekend. We will be contacting our sponsors at TEL Productions to see if we can schedule a Saturday night slot; this way we can broadcast live, directly from the FPG!

Upcoming Episodes...

2012's first broadcast is January 1st - on New Year's Day is the "Recon Calendarium". We will be discussing northern European time-keeping and lunar significance to holy observations.

February's second broadcast is our quarterly special, "Wyrd from the Web". We will be conversing with Ms. Victoria Clare from The Troth; as well as, another fine and famous heathen who shall remain nameless (so as to keep you all on the edges of your seats).

March ushers in some madness the Sunday after St. Patty's Day with the "Celtic Cluster Feck" episode. This show will feature some of the most established figures in Celtic Reconstructionist paganism and representing the various paths of CelticR.

April 1st - All Fool's Day - will be an "Open Porch" broadcast. All "Open Porches" are subject to our listeners' feedback; questions, comments and complaints. The phone lines are open, and you are encouraged to bring up anything you wish to address from previous shows, or, whatever other pagan / heathen things you'd like to!

Another agenda will be forthcoming.
Until then, keep tuning in for all the mayhem and action as we have various characters and icons stopping in for Conversations from the Porch!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

CFTP Episode: "Yule P.I.E. - The first slice of N. European Winter Celebration"

"Yule P.I.E. - The first slice of Northern European Winter Celebration" [Link above]
Guest caller, Helga Sagen, discussed some ancient proto-indo-european roots to our modern X-mas and Yule festivities. This is where Helga's site will be transferred to. (This is the old site: which still contains a majority of the PIE info.) "The Open Halls Project is a small organization, set up to connect military Heathens with civilian and military heathens throughout the world. Our goal is simple, no one should need to be without community simply because of their service to their country. Many military Heathens are just a stone’s throw away from others, but just don’t realize it. So we are trying our best to offer a link to those folks. " Yule Care-Package Link. ... be a STAR is an anti-bullying alliance co-founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE. Its mission is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Flavors of Good Conversation: Winter 2011

First off, we've got to scream out a hearty "thank you" to Warsteiner for putting out an Octoberfest brew! THANK YOU, GUYS! However, October is over and the winter descends. What to drink? What to drink?

Bold and rich, with a touch of holiday spice.
The first thing one notices about a Samuel Adams® Winter Lager is the deep ruby color. Then comes the magical aroma which promises something special on the tongue. The cinnamon, ginger, and hint of citrus from the orange peel blend with the roasty sweetness of the malts to deliver a warming, spicy flavor. On the palate Samuel Adams Winter Lager is rich and full bodied, robust and warming, a wonderful way to enjoy the cold evenings that come with the season.

Of Course, this is the traditional winter lager of The Ik, but, Sam Adams puts out a few lesser-known winter beverages that are worth mentioning:

 Tart and sweet, with complex fruit, maple, and vanilla notes.
Samuel Adams® Cranberry Lambic is a fruit beer that draws its flavor not just from the cranberries it’s brewed with, but also from the unique fermentation character imparted by the weissbier yeast in the primary fermentation. The result is a flavor rich in fruitiness and reminiscent of cranberries, bananas, cloves, and nutmeg. The yeast fermentation also creates a slight sourness on the sides of the palate, reminiscent of the original lambic style. That sourness, along with the astringency of the cranberries, is combined with a subtle cereal note from the malted wheat. It reminds its drinker that, as fruity a beer as this is, it’s still a beer.

You can check out more Winter Classics by clicking on the image, below:

 If you're not a big Sam Adams fan, there are some traditional Winter beverages worth making and drinking...

Wassail with Alcohol
Variant Alcoholic Wassail
Non-Alcoholic Wassail
Now, if you're not a big wassail fan, there's always Glögg [or, Swedish Mulled Wine] or Kvass!

THEN, there is the Winter beer to dominate all other winter beers; a beer-drinker's Shangri-La. According to The Brew Site (click to read entire review):
"Samichlaus—which is Swiss-German for "Santa Claus"—is a dark lager brewed once a year, on December 6, and then bottled the following year. Yep, that’s nearly a full year of aging/lagering, and the result is a vintage batch that bears the bottling year on the label" 

In order to get your hands on an authentic bottle of Samichlaus, click here. According to the brewer's site:
 "Samichlaus” beer is brewed once a year, in each case on December 6th, and stored and matured afterwards for over 10 months before it is bottled. Samichlaus” beer can mature for many years in the bottle; older vintages obtain a complexity and receive their creamy warm aftertaste. This beer can be served with heavy meals and desserts, particularly with chocolate - or as digestive and meditations drink. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the strongest lager beer in the world with 14 % alcohol and 32° original extract content. It is brewed exclusively of natural raw ingredients after the purity requirement of 1516. “Samichlaus” beer is filled in a 0.33 litre designer bottle embossed with Schloss Eggenberg and in barrels of 15 and 30 litres for export."
Until next season, people...
Enjoy the flavors of great conversation, and drink responsibly!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Story of Our Lives

The story of our lives are written by those who have come before, helping to etch our characters into the fabrics of time. All too swiftly, our brains turn to seasons of independence and freedom from the shackles we consider our childhoods to be; anticipating the growth and sproutings into mature adults.

Yet, our stories still remain unwritten by the time we flutter, awkwardly, away from those tiny nests we consider 'home'. We traipse the Earth, desperately trying to carve our niches into the stone faces of the world; always wondering back to simpler times... Seems only eons ago, really. There's no place like home.

Returning for meager gatherings of those scattered souls we once knew as safe-haven cocoons of oppressive love, nostalgia creeps into the shadows of the brain. Fleeting coincidences of Grandma's perfume reminds us that, once, we escorted her back and forth to Church... such a bother for teenagers... And, where is she, now? Ah, yes! The child-sized shoebox urn over on the shelf; her smiling face alights the front by way of an old photograph.

I miss her "dream toast" and "mushroom chicken" lunches.

Listening to a seldom-recited dinner prayer being uttered by my aging agnostic father, my heart suddenly wrenches around in my chest. My teary eyes glance over to my son, and realizations of mortality slam into my head: will my son care enough to paste a photo of me on anything, after I die? Will my great-grandchildren ever forget my physical interactions, but, remember a fleeting coincidental odor indicative of 'home'?

My parents' etched themselves into the fabric of my life; I am a reflection of my 'home'. Alas! They are not too far from the next world. I cannot help myself - I, truly, am a "softie". My dad looks over at me. Briefly, his serious gaze bores into my soul, acknowledging the bittersweet truths of mortality. Quickly, he *tsks* and cracks a terrible joke that we've all heard many, many, MANY times before... the entire family laughs, like, we've never heard it.

"Toss me a croissant," he bellows. "And, for Christ's sake - stop getting all sappy!"

Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter is Upon Us... Yule is in the Air!

The snow drifts down and blankets the earth in a shawl of feathery whiteness. The stark silence is noticeable; most of those noisy birds are too damn cold to sing. Unless, like us, you're in Florida. Not only do the snows force many birds into our area as they head south to migrate, but, other "birds" - very noisy ones - perform a yearly exodus from up north, and into the tropical climes of our humid state.

Alas! Not much complaining can be done. Without the annual migrations of the North American Blue Hairs (or their younger counterparts, the Part-Timers) our economy would suffer greater than our eardrums and auto insurance policies. What is a native to do?

Prepare for Yule, of course! This seasonal celebration is our largest yearly event; it keeps growing each year. And, with everyone else's desire for major life-changing events to take place during the cooler months, we are absolutely swamped with activities and travel throughout South Florida. It is difficult to stay on track when you're "that busy"! So, to help you all with your Yuletide season, here's a list of really great things to consider and/or use in your celebrations:

Celebrating Yule by Stacy Thompson-Geer

Celebrating Winter Solstice by Hayley Nichols

Yuletide Rituals and Sedes by Swain Wodening

Trimming a Spiritual Yule Tree by Lori Drake

Pagan Yule and XMas Plants by Jill Stefko

Homemade Pagan Yule Presents by Jill Stefko

Yule Log, an Ancient Tradition by Richard Mudhar

Pagan Nativity Scene by Lori Drake

Urban Pagan Yule by Jill Stefko

Songs for Winter Solstice by Tricia Edgar

Best Stories for Winter Solstice by Tricia Edgar

Mistletoe from Solstice to Christmas by Linda McDonnell

Holly - Pagan Symbolism and Tradition by Jill Stefko


Asatru / Heathen Yule Cards

Winter Solstice / Yule Cards

Enjoy your season - and, tune in for our December broadcasts!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Musings and Music

From Chaos is sparked the the breath of life. [Kiss of Life Song & Video] Are you breathing in the possibilities given up to you this day? The Gods gave you another day, how are you going to spend it... Remember, quality over quantity!

However, there are always going to be dog-days [Dog Days Are Over] and zeros in life. Life is what you make of it... [Zero Yeah]

There are lulls in your day; could be morning-time, could be evening. The time doesn't really matter because there is a serious lull and you're feeling as though there is truly no point to "anything". Your friends don't "get you", you refrain from sharing too much at work... you're simply dragging ass and experiencing a lull. [Parov Stelar Booty] You could always take a holiday in Vegas.

If only life was a non-stop festival! [Corvus Corax LIVE!]

For most polytheists, there are moments every day where we just aren't our faiths. We've become the employee, the chaperone, the maid, the authoritarian, and, forgotten our heathen souls, somewhere back in Realityville... You're standing alone [System Tribal]

Well, why don't you give this a read; it is inspiring and thought-provoking. (Don't forget to click the link to read the entire post.)

Broken Chains by Siegfried Goodfellow (The "Heathen Ranter") [Wardruna Bjarkan Song]

The chain is broken, the tie to the deep past lost. Heathenism is a path for which we strive, yet I, like so many of you, am a detribalized descendant of tribesmen thrown flotsam into the Roman world. It is those moments I seek, epiphanies where one can feel coherence pulling together a dissipated world into a sense of meaning that is present, that is now, that is ever and has been. Is that what a sym-bol once was, not a mere glyph, not just a sign, but a vision that threw together and glued in a knot of coherence what so much conspired to keep separated and fragmented? [READ MORE, HERE]
 .... And, remember to [DANCE]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Politics Never Looked SO Important ... Until Now.

Seems the Republican Party finally has something to offer "liberal" America. And, by "liberal America" I mean every single pagan and heathen living in this country! (C'mon, face it - if it weren't for "them damn liberals" you'd never have the right to be openly pagan, in the first place... So, suck it up you self-proclaimed "conservative" polytheist and amass your other pagan and heathen brothers and sisters together!) WE'RE GOING TO THE POLLS!

Gary Johnson - perhaps, one of the most controversial Republicans in history - is advocating for real American values: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. FOR EVERYONE! Here are some snippets from the news, regarding Mr. Johnson: "The former New Mexico governor spoke with members of the Pagan Newswire Collective, ModernWitch Podcast and, among others. He said it was important to reach out to voters that fall outside the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, and slammed his own party for being too beholden to the Christian right."

"Johnson also spoke on LGBT rights, drug policy, taxes, entitlement reform and even the teaching of Eastern practices, such as yoga and acupuncture, in American schools."
"Johnson’s position as a liberal Republican who supports abortion contrasts him with some of the other potential presidential candidates — like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee or Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour — who take strongly pro-life views and have lengthy pro-life records as governors themselves. "
"Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson is baffled that more politicians don't support legalizing marijuana... This may be the only issue on the national scene where half the American people support something, but zero percent, statistically speaking, of elected officials and politicians will publicly agree with them..."

... Mr. Johnson is also a Capricorn, born on January 1st. Happy New Year, Polytheists!!

While Mr. Johnson is the good news, there is also a lot of bad news, too. Especially, if you're a woman who has been misled by the US government to believe that you had certain unalienable rights as a real human being...  THE HEART BEAT BILL ...

1. It requires the abortionist to check to see if the unborn baby the pregnant woman is carrying has a heartbeat. Sec. 2919.19(C).

2. If the child has been found to have a heartbeat, it requires the abortionist to let the mother know this. Sec. 2919.19(D)

3. If the baby is found to have a detectable heartbeat, that child is protected from being killed by an elective abortion. Sec. 2919.19(E).

And, though, this seems only immenent in the State of Vatican... *cough cough* I mean, OHIO... the rest of American women have this to look forward to this crap (spoiler at the bottom of citations):
Protect Life Act: New Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Refuse To Perform Abortions ...

"The House is scheduled to vote this week on a new bill that would allow federally-funded hospitals that oppose abortions to refuse to perform the procedure, even in cases where a woman would die without it. "

"Under H.R. 358, dubbed the "Protect Life Act" and sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), hospitals that don't want to provide abortions could refuse to do so, even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complication that requires a doctor terminate her pregnancy."

"In addition to changing the rules for hospitals, H.R. 358 would deny federal funding to any health care plan that includes abortion coverage, something that might cause insurance providers to stop covering abortions. "

... The Protect Life Act is being called the "Let Them Die" policy: New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion  On Thursday, House Republicans passed a bill that gives medical professionals the right to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform an abortion to save her life.


Women, Unite:   ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conversations from the Porch Oct 2011 THE DEAD

Also referenced during the show:
Uruzz Rocks!  "Defender" by Man-O-War

Expect the Unexpected

The hosts and staff had a surprising shock while setting up for the October 16th broadcast; the CFTP show and link disappeared off the Third Eye Live [TEL] Productions line up and show listings page. An Oregon listener sent a private text at about 4:42 p.m., informing us they could not find the show, anywhere. We had already been working to re-establish the link since 4:39 p.m.

At the time, it was unconfirmed whether, or not, CFTP had been cancelled due to “questionable” subject matter, dialogue… you name it. So, for the last 20 minutes before The Dead broadcast, The “Ik” had to break into the Blog Talk account and re-add the Conversations show without any prior experience. With the Evil Sock Monkey looming overhead and dictating additional information, we were able to get everything embedded and live – with 2 minutes to spare! Kudos to the production crew!

Later, the CFTP hosts discovered that we had only been scheduled on a “trial” basis; and, had already been approved to remain a permanent fixture on TEL Productions. Unfortunately, due to the hectic schedule of the TEL crew that whole week, the slotting process got overlooked. [Oops!] Thankfully, we were able to broadcast in time, and we all hope that everyone enjoyed The Dead broadcast for what it was (we, later, figured we could talk about the subject for the next 2 or 3 months).

This filters through to our upcoming November broadcast: Curses, Hexes & “Left-hand” Magicks. For truth, you cannot speak of the dead and how certain funerary rites must be performed in order to avoid cursing the living – or, the dead. I can say, without preamble, the CFTP crew hopes to continue discussing “taboo” topics, inserting the hosts’ twisted humors; we think it is one of the best ways to learn.

There may be some of you who are just thrilled with the topics, as of late; finally, listening to others who are unafraid to “go there”, or else, just validating the conclusions you have already come to within your own studies and / or research. However, there is an underlying current to this next broadcast that should – nay, requires explanation.

Northern European reconstructionists have only just begun to delve into these subjects; re-constructing the processes and such, from archaeological discoveries. The formulary (recipes and prescriptions) can be found in relics and old texts, but, the methodology (system and manner) is what seems to be missing from “restored” polytheistic practices. We are forewarning you, our listeners, that what you will hear for the Curses, Hexes & “Left-hand” Magicks broadcast may go against everything you’ve ever learned. It is also possible that you may hear some things that might come across as insulting to your specific heathen / pagan practices.

I would like to remind you, the listener that CFTP presents information to the public based on the hosts’ interpretations, and experimental processes. In saying this, I must (for all intent and purpose) make one thing abundantly clear: You cannot heal, if you cannot hex. Do not attempt any ‘retribution magick’ or, ‘negative magick’ unless you are confident in your ability to reverse it. The upcoming Curses, Hexes & “Left-hand” Magicks broadcast is not intended as a means to justify anyone performing such magicks, or, to make claims to the actuality of any discussed magicks being effective.

The first November program is to discuss the methodology of Curses, Hexes & “Left-hand” Magicks… it is intended as more scientific process, than an ingredients-listing. For more information about the “formularies” accepted by the HHC (the host-body of CFTP), please consider:

OFFENSIVE GESTURES by Ikinde Skreja Ominnsaer

This “dark side” companion to Ward In My Pocket is for the mischievous-at-heart. It is an all-in-one collection of otherworldly “no-no’s”. Stop wondering how to instigate ghostly encounters or provoke eerie experiences and start considering what your next conversation with the dead might be.                                           

WARD IN MY POCKET by Ikinde Skreja Ominnsaer

This little book is one, convenient reach for tips and tricks to getting rid of the heebie-jeebies. It is a direct address to “things” that follow you home. Un-people, cling-on’s and walk-in’s can disrupt your life, emotions, and sleep patterns. No searching through chapters to find the right solution to your situation – simply flip open to any page! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CFTP Gets a Mascot

Many moons ago, on a social network close-by...

Our newly-appointed (and, more permanent) production-girl was accused of being an "alter ego" (aka: 'sock puppet') for The "Ik". It should come as no surprise that the hosts of CFTP have embraced the wackiness and come up with a truly obnoxious idea:

"We need a mascot!"

Starting as soon as possible, our new mascot will have its own fan-page on Facebook, and as soon as we can solidify the designs, CFTP paraphenalia will be available on Cafe Press. Hail the day, my friends. Hail the day!

"Sparky" - the evil sock monkey

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wyrds from WPB

Sometimes, things just don't work out the way one expects them to. In our case, we had anticipated traveling down south [apx. 2-1/2 hours] to meet up with long-time friends, owners of The Spiderweb; the same wonderful people who suggested we begin broadcasting - and, set us up with Third Eye Live Productions on Blog Talk.

Although, it is unfortunate we were unable to visit with them, we do know that Sam's birthday (and, his son's) was something they just couldn't put off. There were just too many happy surprises awaiting them - and, the Conversations from the Porch crew just refused to compete with that... So, happy birthday - again - dear friend(s)!

Listening back on the first-ever "Wyrd" broadcast, I [Ik] was able to clearly identify my anxiousness. Perhaps, we were all anxious because we were counting down the hours and subsequent minutes until our interviewees called. How cool was it that Reverend Alicia Lyon Folberth of the Panthean Temple, author, artist - trendsetter - had agreed to speak with us, live?

Get to know the good Reverend at Witchvox:

I know what you're thinking: "Just about as awesome as hearing Aedh Rua's poem *in transalpine Gaulish*!" Now, THAT was exciting! (You should've seen Uruzz and Morlog smiling like dorks, knuckle-bumping and silently mimicking the kid from 'Home Alone'.)

"Celtic Flame: An Insider's Guide to Irish Pagan Tradition" by Aedh Rua

Celtic Scholar's final thoughts about the book:

  •  It is one practitioner’s interpretation of Irish polytheism and he freely admits that at the very beginning.

  •  The author show a high level of research in his book whether one agrees with his conclusions or not.

  •  He tackles subjects that are hard and for the most part does them justice.

  •  He puts a lot of effort in the specifics of what he sees as the Irish practice of polytheism. Discusses the components of religion, which are belief, sacred writings and oral traditions, rituals and ceremonies, and ethics.

  •  I very much enjoyed this book

  • All of us want to extend our appreciation to both our guests for taking the time away from their lives to sit in, and share themselves on the CFTP's special "Wyrd" broadcast. Our next "Wyrd" will be in February, 2012; and, our next CFTP broadcast will discuss northern European death and ghost traditions. Catch ya'll later!

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    We're Looking for a Few Good Things

    The hosts of Conversations from the Porch want to help promote pagan / heathen artisans by getting your work "out there". One of the ideas is to hold a raffle contest through the broadcast, and offer some of our listeners a chance to win a distinctive 'thing'.

    Of course, the first thing we are looking for, is an artisan who is willing to part with an item - free of charge (donated). Not only does this 'donated thing' make someone very happy, but, it allows your work to 'get out there' and circulate in a new environment with more potential customers...

    The second thing we are looking for, is something appropriate for a Yule gift. We are interested in having one lucky listener win a beautiful pagan / heathen 'thing' just in time for Yule. Yule is the perfect time of year when family and friends gather around and marvel at the beauty of the season (and, anything else that might be new - like, your one-of-a-kind 'thing' that was happily won by drawn-lot on the Conversations from the Porch broadcast).

    The third thing we are looking for, is a professional package. Not only would we request a photograph of your donated 'thing' to share with our listeners on our websites, but, a little biography about the artist / business so we can promote you, also.

    If you're an artisan with a few 'good things' lying around - and, you'd like to have an opportunity to share your art / business in new areas, please write to the hosts of Conversations from the Porch at:
    subject line: Yule Give-Away

    Please understand that your art / craft / 'work' is donated for give-away, and we would not expect anything of great expense to be donated.
    The hosts would like to know how much shipping and handling would be for your item, as we would pay all shipping costs from you to the contest winner. Please provide this amount along with the photo & bio. Photos & bios arriving without a shipping and handling fee will not be considered for the give-away, nor subject to promotions on air.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Wyrd from the Web

    According to Wikipedia: Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm.

    Obviously, we're not normal. No. Not "us" (as in, the "hosts"). Rather, "we" (as in, the polytheist community that our hosts represent). Well, okay; maybe ...we're... not normal, either.

    "Vaarshteiner !!!"

    However, there are so many individuals working behind-the-scenes who rarely get the credit for the hard work they put in. We - as consumers - can identify the mainstream titles and names that circulate within polytheisms; names that are synonymous with "normal paganism". Then again, there are so many 'unsung heros' that get lost amidst the shuffle of book-signing events, radio interviews, journalist write-ups and photo ops in high-end "New Age" shops. People, we never hear of, or from. Normally.

    What about those people who really make a "big difference"? Why doesn't anyone go looking for these 'unsung heros'? So. Here. We. Are. (Or, will be... on October 2nd) Just having a nice little conversation from the porch, with our close friends at The Spider Web.

    (Because I just know that Sam and Deb are gonna love this!) Our "Wyrd from the Web" special broadcasts will introduce our listeners to avante-garde personalities and people who work behind the scenes of mainstream polytheism.

    And, while Sam and Deb are loving that.... I (little ole me) will be loving the banter back-and-forth with a kindred Celtic soul. Ah... kindred souls.

    Wyrd broadcasts will occur once every three months. So tune in this Sunday, October 2nd (at 5pm); make sure you've got some great autumn brews and sit a while! Listen to the Wyrd from the Web while we have another Conversation from the Porch.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Fire in the Head - Fire in the Heart: Drinking for Inspiration


    Dan O’Halloran wrote in his essay Fire in the Head: A Tradition of Ritualized Drinking: “While our modern culture descends from our Celto- Germanic forbearers, and this European backdrop pervades our present, neither folklorists, historians, nor anthropologists have systematically combed through the available historical and archaeological records to truly understand the phenomenon of Indo-European "drinking."

    Sterling Publishing Company made a compilation of Irish Inspirations: Toasts, Wit & Blessings, wherein, many traditional sayings compiled from four different materials appears…

    “Drunkenness and anger speak truth.”

    “The inebriated heart will not lie.”

    A truthful, honest heart is one that feels the most intensely. It moves us into action whether by drunkenness, or by anger – the inebriated heart is one that is relaxed and open to truth. No matter where you live, this old adage has been spoken many times: “the truth hurts”. But, the truth can heal, as well.

    In a speech by an Irish member of the European Parliament named Nuala Ahern, this phrase appears:

    “It is in bringing the rage of what hurts you personally into the world

    that you have the power to bring néart, this active spirituality, out into the world.”

    The word “néart” has no English translation. It is a type of sacred, life-force energy of might – a power that seems to connect all movements within, and around the universe. To lose one’s néart is to be powerless in the world, victimized and unmotivated. The only way to regain one’s néart is to embrace rage and to channel it into a positive motivation for reconnecting with the primal powers of the universal life force.

    neart / nèirt (m): energy / force / might / strength [Freelang Dictionary; Scottish Gaelic translation].

    As we’ve learned from Druidic ritual accounts, the mysteries lay in the “between” states: “thresholds” neither in, nor out of one single place or time. The most significant thresholds for the Celtic human experience lay on the verges of spiritual / ritual occurrences. Where soul met deity, the spark of creativity could flourish – if properly nurtured by one’s néart.

    H.R. Ellis Davidson writes in Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe [1998], “There are references in early Irish literature to the inexhaustible cauldron of mead in the Other World. [p.45]” In most ritual Celtic feasts, the mead vat [cauldron] was just one of several set up for guests. She then adds, “The mead was often referred to in early poetry, representing as it did the gift of poetic inspiration and skill in words…[p.176]”

    According to Alistair Moffat in his book, Before Scotland [2005], he refers to “a Celtic fondness for strong drink and drunkenness, but for warriors it was used to induce what contemporary Irish sources called the rage-fit, a battle frenzy which could produce acts of superhuman courage. Men became what the Vikings later called berserkers.”

    I refer back to O’Halloran, here: “The word beer, also of Celto-Germanic ancestry… is frequently referred to in Celtic songs as the "bolsterer of courage" and "fortifier of man". [The Celtic Song "Canu y Cwrwf" is the "Tale of Ale"].” His reference: Matthews, J. A Celtic Reader, Aquarian Press, London:1992

    Strong drink, therefore, begets two states common to layman Celts. The first is inspirational poetry that stems from the threshold one stands upon when getting drunk – a “fire in the head”.

    The second, is the spark of néart one needs in order to channel his powerful life force into the battle fray – a “fire in the heart”. Warriors fought for what they believed to be true. Their truths could have been their perceived right to lands, property or even holding strong against an invading force.

    It is not coincidental that large cauldrons of beer and mead were present at ritual feasts. Without néart warriors wouldn’t go bravely into battle, nor compete for the finest cut of meat at banquet. Without inspiration, poets would not compose their lays. Without the socially accepted practice of drinking for “inspiration”, Celtic poetry would not be as beautiful and distinctive as it is; nor Celtic warriors as fierce, admirable and worthy of mention as they were.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    As if, On Que...

    After Sunday's (September 19th) airing of "Conversations from the Porch" an old, familiar stench wafted through the cosmos as if, on que and in sync with the broadcast about universalism, folkishness, and tribalism. It was the most awful of odors - alternative religions in political parties supporting racial purity.

    In light of the innumerable pages of fodder handed into the polytheist arena, we will give a brief run-down. (The following information is cut, pasted, copied, linked, etc., and posted, here, as a means to provide a synopsis.) *Gagging sound*  Enjoy...

    The National Policy Institute is an American white nationalist think tank based in Whitefish, Montana. It describes itself as the right's answer to the Southern Poverty Law Center... recently held their 2011 national conference, and Brian Powell from Media Matters was there to cover it.
    The Supremacy Cause: Inside The White Nationalist Movement
    National Policy Institute
    [The artwork on the NPI Conference Name tags]

    According to the conference's panel of scholars, a culture that doesn't recognize the preeminence of the white race is literally doomed to fail... One's race is one's family -- a group of people that have survived and evolved over thousands of years because of their reliance on and recognition of people that look like themselves...The white race, which they know to be genetically superior to non-white lineages, is threatened by massive non-white immigration movements and widespread political liberalism promoting a universal egalitarian moral code that shuns conversations about race.

    From a political standpoint, the speakers believe that affirmative action, social welfare programs, lax immigration laws and an activist judiciary hell-bent on undermining federalism have stacked the deck in favor of non-whites in America.

    "Why aren't there more females in this room?" asked one incredulous [NPI] attendee.

    Why, indeed? After figuring out the NPI agenda and, stepping out for a much-needed lunch break, Mr. Powell gets four unwelcome guests at his table... pro-white males (who coincidentally belong to the AFA). He describes them, thusly:

    I was exposed to a strange, almost primordial vein of white tribalism running through the network of conference attendees...four well-groomed white males smiled politely...I noticed that a couple of the guys wore unusual T-shaped metal brooches on their jackets and ties that they later referred to as the "Hammer of Thor."

    They talked about runes, and were offered a place to stay by a man they didn't seem to know. If you have a hammer, he said to them, you always have a place to stay...

    My curiosity got the better of me, and after some coaxing and snooping (e.g., craning my neck to watch them writing down information on their group for another young attendee), I discovered to my surprise that they were part of something called the Asatrú Folk Assembly.

    There are a few issues with this "coincidentalness"; as the Wild Hunt seems to sum up, perfectly:

    ...Why were so many AFA members attending a blatantly racist conference...and will the AFA condemn the views displayed at NPI as against their stated values? Will these members be ejected for going against its own boundaries in matters of race? If not, what does that mean for the future of the AFA? Will the wider Pagan movement, including other Asatru organizations, have to reconsider its relationship with them?

    Goodness gracious, what questions! Well, someone had to address them - so, Steve McNallen from the AFA decided to do just that:

    At no time was there any attempt to speak for the AFA or to identify the ideals of the AFA with the subject matter of the conference... The AFA will not dictate to its members which meetings they are permitted to attend as private individuals.

    Let me very clearly state these two points: 1. The AFA will never advocate, condone, or excuse illegal or dishonorable acts directed at any person because of their race. 2. That said, men and women of European descent have exactly the same right to meet and to promote their collective interests as do any other group. To demonize them for doing this, when every other group is encouraged to do so, is to indulge in a vicious double standard.

    Another well-known heathen (who is not a member of the AFA) has been addressing the issues ever since the Wild Hunt's post...

    I’ve been fielding a lot of questions regarding Heathenry, Ancestor Veneration, and Racism. Let me start out by pointing out that these are three very different things.

    Heathenry is the umbrella term for a body of religions that focus on restoring the pre-Christian practices and beliefs of Northern –the Germanic and Scandinavian parts of—Europe.

    Ancestor veneration is a fundamental spiritual practice of nearly every engaged, indigenous faith including Heathenry. It involves honoring those who came before us and who paved the way for our lives today.

    Racism is a vile belief that one race is better than another, that peoples’ capacities and talents are determined by their race, and that some races are more deserving of rights than others. Racism is total, unadulterated bullshit.

    Could I be any clearer?  There is nothing within Heathen cosmology and lore to encourage any type of racism or white power crap. Our ancestors intermarried, traveled, traded, and were remarkably uncaring when it came to a person’s race.

    And, that is 100% correct... So, why all the hubbub? Because while Mr. Powell was shocked by his first-ever meeting with "modern-day Vikings", his questioning 'how' they are affiliated with an obviously racist entity as the NPI was insufficiently answered. No. I take that back - no one at the NPI conference seemed to clarify that white-supremacists can wear the guises of many different people and religions - not just Asatru.

    The other questions brought up by the Wild Hunt are merely speculative, and pose a sensationalist concern that ushers in additional subscribers. I am quite sure that all the Heathen authors writing for the Wild Hunt have put in their two cents, but, have gone unheeded.

    Why were so many AFA members attending a blatantly racist conference? To answer this, I can only point out the obvious: There weren't "so many" AFA members attending this conference"! The AFA has over 300 memberships. Four men and one "ruddy Englishman" do not constitute a lot when you compare the numbers of the organization.

    This is like running into four schoolmates at church, and then claiming that your school is Methodist! How come people miss out on this sort of information? Tsk. Tsk... Perhaps some of that political dribble being discussed at the NPI conference is true! ...a dilution of the current white prominence, would "result in a serious reduction of national IQ," ... Oops! Too late!

    No one clarified for the ignorant Mr. Powell that there are absolutely no political ambitions of the AFA beyond religious recognition in society; although, there are coincidental memberships of politicians within Asatru kindreds. Just as there are attendees at an NPI conference that coincidentally hold memberships within the AFA. Coincidences are everywhere!

    Mr. Powell even pointed out that a stranger to these "four" approached them, saying: "If you have a hammer, you always have a place to stay." Mr. Powell cannot even clarify at this moment whether, or not this stranger was an attendee of the NPI conference. Even more ironic is the fact that Mr. Powell assumes the stranger to be a member of the AFA, themselves!

    He seems to have assessed a lot of people attending this conference in his article. I am quite sure he would have clarified for his readers IF this "stranger" was "another person at the NPI conference" or not. I am quite certain that had another faction of Asatru been in attendance at the conference he would have mentioned that, too! However, he didn't.

    Perhaps, Mr. Powell is unfamiliar with hospitality in heathen circles? Or, more likely, Mr. Powell is unfamiliar with Asatru. Period. As a liberal journalist, perhaps, Mr. Powell should do more research into religions and factions that defy the right-wing conservative Republican party before speculating in public posts about religious organizations whose memberships are constructed from Americans who have a consistutional right to their own, individual opinions... autonomous from their religious institutions.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Autumn Descends on South Florida

    Visitors to Florida rarely notice the seasonal shifts because they are very subtle. However, natives and long-time ‘transplants’ know that a few weeks into the hurricane season, the atmosphere begins to show signs of softer days.

    Florida’s Autumn – in fact – begins at the same time “hurricane season” does. It is the slight variations in humidity and water temperature that ushers in this season. And, though, hurricane season “officially” begins around May or June (in the Caribbean), the majority of Florida doesn’t get it until around September or October.

    Florida is a tropical environment – similar to the rain forests of South America. Visitors may feel the heat and humidity because they are not as adjusted to the environment, down here. The state is continually blanketed with a thick covering of dense, wet air (humidity) which tends to ‘thin a smidge’ the farther north you go.

    In the summer months, this blanket is extreme; you cannot step outside without immediately perspiring. However, when autumn falls, this blanket is no longer there, at least it seems that way to native Floridians and long-time ‘transplants’.

    These cooler and milder days also usher in the beginnings of tourist season in November. This period is toward the end of hurricane season, but, before the harsh winters descends in the northern states. Yet, no matter how far north one travels, you are still surrounded by large bodies of water.

    Tourists come, mainly, for our beaches; our ‘moody’ beaches. In autumn, the days are coming out of summer (when it’s excruciatingly hot) and cooling off; the underlying firmament isn’t, though. This makes the waters off our shores extra warm. So, in autumn the air in the days cools, significantly; but, the waters are still extra warm.

    However, in the spring, it is quite the opposite. The firmament has been significantly cooled, emitting a chill into the waters off our shores, while the air in the days is significantly warming. The winter and springtime waters are too freezing cold for Native Floridians.

    For example, in autumn a daytime temperature of 77° has little humidity and 83° water; whereas a springtime day may have a temperature of 77° severe humidity (making the day feel like 85°), but, the water is only 73°.

    The typical “norm” for acceptable water-temps to a Native Floridian is about 80° – 90° F. Anything below 80° is too cold!

    Personally, I have a saying that I like sharing with trans-plants; it does not apply to tourists, though:

    You know you've become a Floridian when you can, actually, see the seasons change.

    How Different Floridians Are! [A Short, but True Story]

    A Native Floridian visits Washington State in the late spring and stays with a family friend who is a Native of Washington. The Floridian fixes the pool out back, noticing the day is gloomy, grey and very chilly.

    The next day, however, the sun is out and the temperature is somewhere in the 70’s. The Floridian goes outside and sees the Native Washingtonian floating in the pool with sunglasses and a beverage. “Come on in,” she says. “The water is so warm!”

    The Floridian goes to the edge of the pool and pulls the thermometer out to read it. The temperature reads 56° F. “Oh, my god,” the Floridian shouts! “I’ll get hypothermia.”

    The pool-floater asks what would be an acceptable temperature to go swimming. The Floridian replies, “I’d go in if the temperature was closer to 77° - 80°.”

    “That’s bathwater,” Shouted the lady in the pool, disbelievingly! To which, the Floridian replied, “No... Bathwater is 110°.”

    *Old mariner's poem about Caribbean hurricanes:

    June- too soon.
    July-- stand by!
    August-- look out you must.
    September-- remember.
    October, all over.

    By Teresa Plowright, Guide

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    The Flavors of Good Conversation: Autumn


    A gift from God to his mortal champions can only describe this wonderful tasting golden wine. Made naturally with the highest quality honey and no sulfites added, this makes it one of the most exquisite dessert wines in the world. Samuel Adams OCTOBERFEST ... Brewed with five varieties of malted barley for a big, rich flavor.

    The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep reddish amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams Octoberfest masterfully blends together five roasts of malt to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The malt is complimented by the elegant bitterness imparted by the Bavarian Noble hops. Samuel Adams Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the heartier brews of winter. Blue Moon Brewing Company's HARVEST PUMPKIN ALE ... Available September through Novemeber.

    Is an amber-colored ale brewed with a bounty of fall flavors like vine-ripened pumpkin, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Together with a touch of wheat, Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale has a smooth, lightly spiced finish.

    Pairs well with beef dishes and seasonal soups... The taste will remind you of pumpkin pie!

    And, everyone's favorite "stand-by" ... WARSTEINER!

    THE SURGEON GENERAL WARNS: (1) women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!