Pledging: One Year In (or Just About)

On March 20th of 2018 I swore a pledge in which I guaranteed 5 more years of service to Loki.

Within even just the first six months (i.e., from spring to fall equinox) my practice underwent some massive and overwhelmingly positive changes. Which is awesome, because part of my motivation for doing this was to light a fire under my ass.

So here’s my progress report, I suppose.

The terms of my pledge (which I think I might be publishing for the first time, actually) are as follows:

  • Oath ring must be worn during waking hours,
  • Religious jewelry should also be worn under similar circumstances.
  • Altars must be cleaned properly at least once per month.
  • Celebrate all major heathen holidays with a proven historical basis, plus Lokabrenna.
  • I must make a concerted effort to pursue ordination.
  • I must participate in and contribute to my local Heathen community, to the best of my ability.
  • I must continue studying the lore and language, and do any further research that will improve my service to my gods and my religious community.
  • No cutting hair until ordination. (This was added later.)

Wearing the oath ring and my two primary religious necklaces during waking hours with reasonable exceptions (they’re written down and sworn to, just cut here for brevity) was, and is, pretty easy. I basically only take them off to shower, especially to protect the copper oath ring, and then put them back on immediately. Passing this with flying colors.

Altar cleaning has been a little tricky because my OCD gives me very weird priorities as to what needs cleaning in the house. I am downstairs obsessively scrubbing dishes while my own bedroom is neglected. But I think I’ve only ever run afoul of this purely on a technicality by cleaning around midnight. Nothing bad has happened, so it looks like that was politely overlooked.

And anyway, time is arbitrary and ridiculous, which is what I learned when I decided to be all recon about my holiday timekeeping.

I yell at a calendar now. I yell at the moon. Because I decided to calculate my holidays with the Lunisolar method and that is a mess. This is what I get for being vaguely recon. This is what I deserve.

Anyway. I’ve kept up with Jól, Vetrnætr, Sigrblót and Lokabrenna, so I’ve also kept that promise. Urglaawe has added a truckload of holidays to keep up with, but Entschtanning and Erntfescht serve as Disablót and Alfablót oservances, so it’s all worked out very well in the end.

(So many holidays, though. Like, a jazillion.)

As far as ordination goes, I could just as easily have gone through the Universal Life Church. But I didn’t. Because I have a weird distrust about things being easy, but also, I live in Pennsylvania and we have a rather annoying case law that involves ULC ministers. I wanted to play it safe.

I originally was going to go through The Asatru Community’s direct ordination option. Had my PowerPoint finished and an outline for my essay all prepped…and then…a multitude of things happened which made the idea of being professionally associated with them profoundly embarrassing.

So I turned towards the Troth. I am currently fulfilling the year-and-day requirement, and there’s not too, too much I can do at this current stage to move the process further. Waiting is the first step.

It would behoove me to do the Heathen Essentials course and get that taken care of to speed up the process, though. It’s a prerequisite for the Lore program, which is a prerequisite for the Clergy program. At this rate, I’m guessing this requirement is going to take about 3 years to fulfill.

As far as community participation, I have been doing way better than I expected, at least in part because the community rose up to meet me in my efforts to be helpful. There is a shortage of hands on deck, and therefore no shortage of work to be done.

Which kind of explains the “more to be done” dream, I guess. Because, boy howdy, there’s always a gap that needs filling. Joined the Pagan Pride response team to help handle picketers, started doing captions for Heathens Against Hate and note-taking for the local Frith Works! discussions, I’m heading to Witchfest to lead a ritual with a friend in April, and still trying to find other things to do.

Even captions and some video editing can be…tedious? I guess? But I like the work. I feel proud of what I’m doing. Which is not something I was often able to say for myself before.

Lore and language study has kinda pivoted weirdly into Urglaawe. It was implied (or at least assumed) at the time of making the pledge that this would mean Old Norse language and Norse mythology, and I ended up sharply veering Deitsch. Old Norse (which you can learn here) got put on hold because I was already juggling English and Deutsch as spoken languages, and I was crossing enough wires between Deutsch and Deitsch as it is. Which are both German, but with slightly different rules.

Point being, I was saying things like “Gleðileg Frjaudaag.” And if I’m already being a big old Deutschbag by mispronouncing Deitsch words…

I have to get back into it and learn to juggle things better, basically.

Lore study has kind of lapsed in general, and I think this is a matter of competing requirements. When you have executive dysfunction and there’s only so much time in a day, you have to prioritize. Until your fultrui shows up on his son-horse in a dream in wildly unrealistic weather conditions to put you back on track, apparently. I still cannot, for the life of me, get through a saga. I am developing a study method for it. It’s not done. It will probably require…actually getting through a saga to properly develop it.

So, uh, wish me luck.

Refusing to cut my hair doesn’t offer much to talk about. My split ends are wilding out. I’m just going to have to deal.

So, room for improvement. And plenty of reason to do it, since the whole point was getting revving and right now the engine is stalling.

I’m finishing this post right under the wire, which has to be my second-biggest instance of procrastination so far, the impromptu Yuul “hiatus” (…it was not a hiatus) being the biggest one. That’s…probably a cue to reevaluate my posting schedule yet again, which would definitely free up more time in between posts to get more aligned with the responsibilities I currently have in relation to my pledge, and let me build a buffer of posts so I stop doing that.

…We’ll see.

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