“The magician swims in the same waters where the psychotic drowns.” – Joseph Campbell
I spent time plucking mushrooms under the moss mausoleums of the Pacific Northwest, and I slept just under the surface of the water in Virginia bald-cypress marshes, beneath the veil of death. I danced till dawn where the jazz brass-thump tunnels down cobblestone streets painted wild vibrant colors, where Cajun spices stirred by the hands of Voodoo queens waft through the sticky heat, where the dead never sleep: in New Orleans. Now I am back in the damp, earthy PNW, planting fresh seeds. Here my maenad days have given way to motherhood.
I am Laurel, a polytheist, animist, and mystic working primarily within the context of and serving the gods and spirits of Germanic (specifically Swedish) polytheism, with some syncretized Gaelic elements and deities. I am a Capricorn Sun, Scorpio Moon, and Leo Rising. I am a homemaker, home/unschooler, and mixed-family mother of two children and two fur-babies living in the PNW. My family and I will soon be transitioning to homesteading, a lifelong dream of mine.
My spirituality and philosophy has largely been influenced by the mythological stories I grew up reading and believing must be true, folklore, grimoires and esoteric texts, European folk-magic and shamanism, Gaia theory, and the Celtic, Germanic, and Afro-Caribbean traditions of my recent ancestors. In what few free moments I have during the day, I enjoy studying all of the above, as well as cultural anthropology and religious history, knitting, and dabbling in other fiber arts.
I am a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin, a Druid Fellowship, and a Friend of my local ADF Grove, Columbia Grove. I am presently focused on delving into Swedish and broadly Scandinavian historical paganism and folklore, and am working through the Dedicant Path of ADF.
I worship many gods, talk to the trees, receive visions, perform divination, and work with roots and spirits like the wise-folk of old. I’m part witch and part Druid, part hemlock and part hawthorn.
“Friendly of mind are many men,
Till feasting they mock at their friends;
To mankind a bane must it ever be
When guests together strive.” – Hávamál, trans. Henry Adam Bellows
I hate having to stipulate this, but as someone who was scared off by the Heathen community and therefore missed many meaningful opportunities to connect with my gods and spirits for years, I feel it’s necessary to communicate: This is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folk, people of color, and people of all abilities and spoon quantities. I give no quarter to intolerance. (Cf. Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance.) As a person of very mixed heritage (broadly South Asian, Caribbean, African, and very broadly European, with African-American and Native American adoptive grandparents), whose adoptive great-great-grandparents passed down stories from having been enslaved and whose mother was forcefully put up for adoption by her bio-maternal-grandfather who didn’t want people of color in the family, even those of his own blood, tolerance and coexistence are extremely important to me, and I know how much richer our lives, how much more vast our knowledge, and how much deeper our Mysteries are for having one another’s cultures and experiences woven into the fabric of our shared existence. I encourage anyone here who feels otherwise to thoroughly examine the roots of those beliefs (and study more history). In turn, I hope that visitors to this site will point out to me when my ideas or verbiage could warrant deeper evaluation.
This space is also friendly to discussions on personal gnosis. I don’t believe that personal experiences can be extricated from the subject of one’s own spirituality. It can also be very reassuring, after thoroughly evaluating your own spiritual experiences, to find them to be peer-corroborated and/or verified by what little fragments of information we have about our gods from their past worshippers and how they were honored in days gone by. I certainly don’t, for example, place all my eggs into the baskets of the Eddas, works written by those with a Scandinavian but nonetheless Judeo-Christian and monotheistic worldview; and we know by sheer virtue of how many references are made to other unrecorded works and otherwise-unmentioned gods that an immense amount of “lore” was lost, and very little of what we do get a sense of from the Eddas and other such works is very descriptive of how people worshipped and served their gods. To deepen our relationships and service and develop a thoroughly polytheistic and animistic worldview, I believe that it is necessary to learn from the paganisms of areas neighboring our areas of focus (or from as much of the Indo-European world as you’re willing to study, in the case of those breathing life into IE practices), from folklore and unbroken traditions, and from one another. The broader our lens, the greater receptivity we have for all the ways our gods and spirits may wish to present themselves to us, and the more tools we have available to utilize in their service and in developing new traditions.