It is time to Stand Against Hate!

Anyone that knows me will not expect many comments from me on political or social issues.  It isn’t that I do not care or that I do not keep up with what is going on.  I am just usually busy marketing community projects and my own business and keep my political views to myself.  This week I do not feel that I have the option to keep going with business as usual.  This week has shown us something more horrible than anything I could ever imagine happening in the United States.   This week something has happened that requires every American, every Human to stand up and say “NO!” to.

Last weekend, people calling themselves the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, Aryan Nation, etc. gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with their hate-filled chants, violence and horror.  One of those people decided to drive their car into a crowd of people with the intention of hurting as many as possible.  One young woman was killed and many more were injured.

You would think that would be the worst of it.  You would think that all our leaders would put aside  their differences and come together to assure the country that this is not acceptable.  Our leaders would stand together and assure us that the evil that showed up that day was not welcome here and all that is possible would be done to protect the country from this evil.  Assure the world that this is not representative of what is in America at its heart.   For the most part, that did happen.  Until we got to the President of the United States.

Our President, the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, stood in front of the cameras and told us that there was violence on both sides.  He told us that the counter-protesters brought clubs to the protest and implied that “they started it”.  He even went so far as to say that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.  ………..  Let that sink in for a moment.  Very fine people marching under swastikas and confederate flags.  Very fine people carrying torches and chanting hateful rhetoric.  Very fine?????!!

So here I am.  What can one person do? Many would say nothing.  I’ve been told by some that there isn’t anything you can do about it so just ignore it.  I just can’t.  Not this.

So here I am standing up and saying “NO!  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”

America was founded by immigrants.  America went through a long and bloody history to learn that equality has no color.

Perhaps the good people of America have become complacent.  Perhaps we have looked the other way too often when confronted with the ugliness of racism and hate.  We cannot do that anymore.

Stand Against Hate!  Do so in your own way but step outside the comfort zone and stand up.  I pledge to Stand Against Hate when I see it.  I pledge to show everyone that I will not participate or ignore hateful rhetoric.   Do not allow the hate to become comfortable.  Do not fight hate with hate.  But do not allow people to get away with posting or saying or doing hateful racist things.  Force them back into the shadows.

Click here to add Stand Against Hate to your profile picture on Twitter or Facebook.

There are many other ways to stand up against hate.  Consider donating to organizations that protect our liberties such as ACLU or organizations that work to identify hate groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center.  If you cannot afford to donate show your support on your social media.  Speak out when you see hate.  Contact your representatives in government and make it clear that you will only vote for people that stand firmly against hate.  Tell them you will not vote for people that do not call out those in power that support hate.

For quick reference here is a link to the directory of the House of Representatives with their phone numbers.   https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is a link to the directory of the Senate with phone numbers.  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Burgers and bigotry

This morning, as I was contemplating how to best core and store my apples for the freezer, I scrolled through my social media and was appalled. My cousin-in-law posted that she and her sisters were assaulted at McDonald’s last evening in the parking lot by racist neighbors. As is perfunctory with this ilk, they made sure to call them the pernicious word “N*****r”. One of the young women was only 17, an early age to begin to taste the sourness of life.

My family, on both sides, contain numerous living proofs of the power of love existing across color and creeds. The shades are as varied in any meadow garden planted by Gaia. So when I hear some reprehensible nugget of soiled humanity has taken to inciting his fellows into attacking anyone, especially family, I get heated.

I seem to stay heated, lately. It must be something in the weather that is agitating me, such as the putrid smell of hatred mixed with tiki torch oil. The kind carried by small people with large egos and strident voices. That smell is the kef that rises like steam from the killing fields during strangulation of spiritual truth. The hounds of chaos are calling.

 

Image: Kevin-Finneran public domain

But underneath, the call of Spirit calls louder.

 

If you deflesh humans, there is a distinct layer of red reality underneath. That red is blood. Blood is life. That blood is connected to the life forces that run through every living thing. It does not change when it is placed in a vessel with brown skin. It does not change when it courses through veins in alabaster skin. It does not alchemize to something else when it resides in yellow, tan, red, or ebony skin. Because it is deep within the living host.

Humanity is a living host of spirit and life. We must look deeper to get beyond the wrappers in which we live. Culture and classism, race, religion, or any other division is only an accident of placement … genetic or regional. As a society, this charnal pit of conflict is the last gasp of an unevolved era of backward reactionary fear based wickedness.

All the altars in the world cannot light the flames of righteousness in one person’s heart if they are not lit in compassion and with the hand of those who will not be cowed. For every screaming chant of the wicked, an equal chord of good and power must counter and overpower it. We are the hidden children in plain sight, you and I. Those who keep the vigils, the chants, the sacred secret ways and places that do not change with the cults of men. It is time to be hidden no longer.

The Divine is calling its firebrands. The human soul burns brighter than any torch of human making. Let us heed the call to witness the truth.

New Column: Ask a Pagan Parent

One question that seems to come up over and over again is, “How young is too young to teach my child my beliefs?”

My answer is always that there is no “too young.”

First, no one in any other religion asks this question. They may not teach everything; there may be mysteries reserved for adults or for specific rites of passage. But no other group of people avoids telling their children about religion starting from a very early age.

Keep in mind, this is not school we’re talking about here. This is telling stories, talking to the moon, hugging trees, playing with energy. It’s lighting candles and saying prayers. It’s absorbing all the things you’re already doing.

And lest you worry about “indoctrinating” them…it’s likely that your faith does not believe your deity is the one and only way to a happy life after death. Pagan faiths are generally pretty open about there being other gods and other ways of belief – and if your child finds one of those other options more fitting as they grow up, there’s nothing stopping them from following that path.

Hey, do you have a question about being a Pagan Parent that you’d like some input on? I’ve got answers – 20 years as a Pagan, and almost a decade as a parent. Post your question in a comment below and I’ll answer it on a future post!

Detroit Pagan Pride Day holds drum vigil for Dead at “Love Conquers Hate” Aug 19

Detroit is a unique place, and Detroit Pagan Pride Day is using the creative spirituality here to hold a drum vigil called “Love Conquers Hate”.  This Saturday, on August 19th at Green Acres Park in Hazel Park, MI they call on the community to join with them to bring in love and energy to strike a mighty beat. The rhythm of love and honor.

DPPD advertisement

They hold this event

…in remembrance of all those who have lost their lives due to crimes of hate. The focus will be to uplift and empower. We will be raising energy to bring greater love, respect and inclusion to our communities, the nation and the world. The DPPD festival runs from 11 am-8 pm. Drum circle vigil starts at 6. All are welcome! Please spread the word, bring your families, chairs, rattles, drums and energy for change and join us.

These are perilous times. In times such as these, a murderer can plow into a body of humans and snuff out the life force of an innocent woman in Charlottesville.   The call for action by the warriors of the light is strong. Prayer and energy are real and they make change. Accompanied with actions, they save worlds.

Pagans are always the hidden in plain sight. They are the gatekeepers and the watchpersons. They are the healers and the protectors. On Saturday, they will send their intentions, in time with the drums, to again signal that they are stepping into place. Won’t you join them?

 

The Seeds of Harvest

We are coming upon the Harvest festival time, along with many other types of festivals and festivities. For Pagans, the folks who are seasonal minded and our farmers , we know we are gearing up for the harvest and Autumn.

Yet why would I title this as Seeds of Harvest? Well if you were able to chat with a farmer, a gardener or country folk, you’d get to hear about the seeds that are gathered and saved for the next harvest. This is a vital practice that allows us to continue to grow food for ourselves and animals that may have a plant related diet, like cows.

Now you may be wondering what do seeds of harvests have to do with anything outside of food related things.

Well it has to do with the spiritual, mental and emotional work that goes on as we get to know ourselves and as we learn to heal ourselves. For many generations we humans have used aspects of our lives and nature to tell stories and teach lessons about life and how to live it or to teach a moral point and to help guide somebody along a path.

So today I want to share about the harvest of metaphorical seeds from the harvests of prosperity, healing, help or guidance and other such positive things that have been happening in our lives, and also the seeds of us getting to know the self and gaining our power.

I want us to take a look at seeds that have multiple uses and different stages of those uses. What comes to mind are our seeds that are edible at different stages and that they also are used for future crops.

Corn and beans are a couple of the sort of seeds that has different edible stages and can be used for future crops that will be harvested.

We love to harvest corn and beans before they are fully mature and they are tender still, so we can enjoy their freshness and juiciness. This would be a first harvest. When it comes to our personal work and magic, this would correlate to the first results of our work. It may be that first paycheck or fresh perspective on a long term challenge that helps you change direction or get answers you needed.

Yet as we know with personal work and such, there isn’t an end to the directions any of it can go or the continued work and help, we need to do and receive.

So back to our seed metaphor.  Hopefully you didn’t consume all of your first harvest. As an experienced farmer or gardener may be able to tell you, save some of your first harvest by canning and freezing the rest of it for future nourishing meal ideas. Your first results and answers and such can continue to help guide you and help you in your personal and magical workings. More so if you don’t just think you reached the final results just yet, and sometimes you don’t.  So the fuel is there so to speak to help continue the work.

We know though that things don’t stop at the first harvest/ first results of the person work of growth and healing.

We have further harvesting/work that needs to be done. This takes us to a second harvest that happens after we’ve allowed the remaining plants to finish maturing. At this point with corn and beans, we get to take part of this harvest and turn them into easier to store dry forms of food. The corn gets turned into grits, meal or flour and these forms can be used as hot cereal or baked goods.  Beans after soaking and cooking to soften them get turned into meals that are very different from the fresh green beans and such that you have in the freezer. You may use them in soups and stews or baking them into delicious meals.

What the second harvest can teach us when it comes to personal growth and magical workings, is that things will need to reach a certain level of maturity to ensure further growth, healing, help and answers.

We also gain a different level of understanding and realizations of goals being accomplished. The help and guidance becomes more self sustaining and we can at this level of things free up some of our time and efforts, so we are not overthinking and over working ourselves. In fact having that time to step back or away from things allows things to move more favorably in you favor.

               Then comes the last bit of the harvest.

Hopefully we’ve had forethought in saving seeds! Hopefully we didn’t consume all that corn and beans or storing all of them for food. For we will need seeds for future crops and they need to be stored properly, so they don’t rot or get eaten up by animals. For when the next growing season arrives we will need to plant those seeds for future sources of nourishing food.

This last harvest represents to us the need to use our power, thoughts and action in such a way that blessings of healing, growth, answers and guidance continues on into the future. For it isn’t really a natural thing to stay stationary or stagnant. Life is ever ebbing and flowing. Life is ever growing, maturing and ripening. And life is always somehow nourishing and caring for all living beings. So too is it good for us to follow the example of life.

I leave you with wishing you all a bounteous harvest in all your personal growth and magical workings!

Strange times and the riots’ new legacy of musical magic in Detroit

The magick is changing in Detroit. Some of it is good, and some of it is not very good at all.  The music of the times is changing and the melodies of protest new generations of practitioners making it are emerging in an era that sees the division of the different spiritual groups self segregating again. Their music may change some of that. The anniversary of the riots has only served to add body to the growing school of thought that the tone of the spiritual landscape is cycling back to a possibly dark place.

The tensions and divisions continue into every aspect of life, and the magickal landscape of practitioners is not different in many ways. The 8 Mile boundary, made famous by Eminem’s movie, is still a very real phenomenon. The reality of “White Flight” affected the families of many.

Pagans active  here today are mostly in outlying areas. The fellowships of the “Pagan” communities in Metro Detroit are often dotted around the city like random sprinkles on a donut. The poverty left in the wake of the rebellion, the loss of businesses and the homes of spiritual workers, a school system struggling (today, due to the constant redirection of funds by the powers that lobby for development instead of education), the vile myth of the unemployable nature of the population of minorities who are stake-holders in the community, all mixed together to create the playing field of a city that saw a rebellion five decades ago.

Those circumstances are repeating themselves today.

But so are the good things. The sound of music and melody made paths out of obscurity and manifested the dreams of hardworking groups from Motown and other independent companies. Artisans, barbers, beauticians, tailors, seamstresses, and other industries that supported our musicians rode this wave. The big factory workers let their hair down and lit their candles to the songs that told of life how it could be, despite constant harassment. Candle shops and readers in Eastern Market, off Grand Blvd, and on the West Side of McNichol’s served all races and creeds and the music tied them all together in the auric energy of the bardic craft.

Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved

But even the music of a generation could not stop reality from being right outside that door. Segregated places still existed. The legacy of Dr. Sweet, even now, is still in the minds of Detroit’s children. The families that were engaged in that battle never left the city, and their children’s children lived to see the rebellion as a city was on fire while the music played.

Many stayed, but many more left.

A great migration from the city took with it the young. It took away the chances for them to learn the names of the stores and the streets where spells were spoken and offerings left. Many never bought their first dream/number policy book, but had seen them in their parent’s dresser drawer. Some even may have seen some Anna Riva books, but not understood why those books were not on the shelves at the corporate bookstores …. and why that was the case. An entire cultural oral history stolen from a new generation due to systematic racism, class warfare, and the resulting explosive reaction left a disconnect from the historicity of the magick in the Motor City.

Every section of the city has some aspect of magickal community. No area is untouched and unaffected by the ripping apart of neighborhoods, societies, and businesses that lie embedded in the dust beneath the Trees of Paradise that mark their resting places on the landscape. Known as the City of Churches, Detroit also is known as a City of the Unseen, both in powers and peoples. The first spellcraft so many of us learned was how to sing a song to spark a spell. Those songs are part of who we are and they were passed along in oral tradition.

Right now, the biggest ambassador of popular media regarding the culture of mixed magicks here that is of the common person and not a BNP (Big Name Pagan) is our music. Again. Because music can reach beyond the visions of flesh that divide us by skin color. So we have again found the magick in the music.  From 7 Mile Road, we have anthems for our street practitioners of a new generation from the mic of BIG HOODOO,  an artist signed with iconic ICP’s Psychopathic Records.

WARNING EXPLICIT LYRICS

The spiritual spectrums are myriad. We have a new generation of artist magickians who are looking for ways to express themselves that can reach beyond the street names and the color lines. Day Oshee Maatin is one younger magickian who has ventured past the enclaves. She visited ConVocation, performed at the Ancient Faiths Alliance Harvest Festival, and will grace the stage at the Detroit Conjure and Folk Magic Festival. She saw a long time ago that these divisions are beneficial to no one.

WARNING EXPLICIT LYRICS

In the music, there is hope that a new generation will come forward to heal the divides in the groups. In the New Detroit, there is just enough of the GENUINE OLD DETROIT that can be resurrected for its magickal communities to once again transcend the burdens and biases that divide us. But to the new generation of gentrifiers, I have one thing to caution you about as you strive to change the city into your new BOHO.

Detroit is not Brooklyn. Detroit is not New York. Detroit is not Harlem.

Detroit is Detroit.

If you don’t learn that soon, you may need to deal with a certain Red Dwarf that will teach you the hard way. Your Blues are not like ours, and we have a lot more songs to sing that are not. Do not seek to bring back those bad times of division in magick and society here, the land has a memory. The spirits here have memories. And sometimes, they smell like saltpeter and sulfur.

 

 

 

Pagan Vendors have a Marketplace of their own

Hold onto your cash registers, vendors, a new player is in town and is set to change the way you do you Pagan business. Pagan Markets is not only joining the selling platform game. With an expansive network of sellers and buyers, the previous blocks and purges that vendors have faced on sites such as Ebay and Etsy can be a thing of the past.

Sadie Odinsdottir, woman of a multitude of talents, was able to share her insight.

We are super excited about this new marketplace and we are getting a lot of support. I think the Pagan and Metaphysical community has been needing this for a long time.

Pagan Markets site image

The platform is welcomes services and products that are currently targeted for deletion by major corporations. Magic centered items, ritual tools, and other services find a home here. This is an innovative solution to an ever growing problem of sellers being forced to lose their inventory accessibility for their customers.

“Many have told me their shops are being closed without so much as notice,” said Etsy-seller Ashley Coulton, who is petitioning Etsy to rethink the policy clarification. “I do worry about the effect this will have on my business … I do believe the actions of Etsy are in fact, discriminatory toward Wiccan and Pagan faiths.” –Inside the (literal) witch hunt that’s devouring Etsy

In response to inquiries regarding the complaints of this nature, Etsy issued this statement:

“Etsy strongly believes in freedom of thought, expression, and religion, and we will never institute a policy that discriminates against sellers for their religious beliefs or practices.”

This policy change comes along the crest of a wave of other assaults on the businesses of the magical and spiritual business sphere. While the selling platform is one front, the industry also took a hit when microtransaction processor Square began removing and rejecting the sales of occult merchandise.

Square’s user agreement states that by creating Square accounts, businesses won’t accept payments in connection with a host of prohibited activities or items, including illegal activity, drug paraphernalia, “hate products”, escort services, and “occult materials.” – Witches Are Being Kicked Off of Square For Selling ‘Occult Items’

Businesses need the ability to process monetary transactions to survive. That is a simple fact. In order to thrive, they need consistent, impartial, and fair services that facilitate this. The growing movement toward classifying magical and Pagan spiritual services created a demand.

The Pagan Markets platform provides those services. Sellers are able to embed their shops into the site, have shipping fees calculated by the site, and utilize other features tailored to their needs. This could be argued to be a natural progression from the Pagan Business Network’s visions. Veterans to the cause of enhancing the success of Pagan business, Charissa Iskiwitch ,and her staff of makers and shakers, have a plan. They have the knowledge, networks, and contacts that give a depth and dimension to their experience that is uniquely suited to the task.

What sets u s apart is the fact that we have, Charissa, myself, and other, to help with the legalities of what can and cannot be sold in this kind of marketplace. As well as, the mentoring and assistance for new business owners. –  Sadie Odinsdottir

Easy to use instructions help even the novice internet seller set up their accounts. The embedding feature also allows for greater exposure of brands. In addition to these advantages, the site also has a support group on Facebook that allows for valuable tips and advice that make this a wraparound service.

Money is good. Manifesting money is better. Finding folks who can help you do that is priceless

But do not take my word for all of this. See if for yourself. Visit Pagan Markets today, and tell them Kenya Coviak sent you. That is always good for a smile.

 

 

How to Eat Well At Festivals Without Breaking the Bank

Ah, festival season. A time of making new friends, spending time with old friends, and hitting a few workshops for entertainment, enlightenment, and education on the side.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my body is not always happy with the old standby of no sleep, with extra caffeine and sugar on the side during these sorts of events – eating well and sleeping have become important factors in getting the most out of events.

The trouble with this, of course, is that “eating well” in the hospitality suite of most indoor events is not likely to happen, and most outdoor events don’t even have a hospitality suite. And if you’re in a hotel, the hotel restaurant is always an option….but that gets expensive. So do food vendors at outdoor events.

So, what’s a Pagan who is looking to eat real food to do?

First, you have to plan ahead. Will your residence for the next few days have a refrigerator? Microwave? Electricity? How many meals will you need? (Does that include meals on the road, which are more likely to be fast food because you’re traveling?) How much space is in your luggage?

Let’s start with breakfast. We’ve successfully taken frozen breakfast sandwiches in a cooler, and let them thaw over the course of a couple of days, which is great if you have a microwave. For those times without a microwave, I usually stick with muffins or oatmeal – coffee pots can make water hot enough for instant oats, and campfires boil water pretty quickly as well.  On more ambitious outdoor weeks, we often do eggs and biscuits (using a “Bakepacker” or similar steam cooking device).

Much of my daily lunch and dinner suggestions for these sorts of things are based on dried foods and lightweight backpacking experiences, because the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking when you could be having fun. Besides, not only do dried foods store well and cook quickly with just boiling water, but they’re a good thing to have on hand in emergencies where you can’t get to the store.

 

A package of
The ubiquitous Mountain House freeze dried meal – usually edible, but high on sodium

While there are commercially available freeze dried meals, and the ubiquitous military surplus MRE, you’ll likely eat better making your own meals – and at a better cost too.  Interestingly, the Mormons and their penchant for keeping a year’s worth of food on hand are a great source for this sort of thing, including portioning them out into canning jars for use over the next few months. Backpacking websites are good for this sort of thing too, usually planning single-serve meals (which is not a bad thing – have a whole box of them, and let people grab their own, on their own time!)

Package of Thrive Life's Snackies - freeze dried peach slices
“Snackies” from Thrive Life are snackable dried foods, but Thrive Life has a ton of different foods, and make good pantry supplies that make a good dinner any night, even if you’re not on the road

We have a list at home, from the days when my children were often in the hospital. When someone would ask what they could do, we’d send them grocery shopping for a specific list of sandwich fixings and healthy (portable) snacks – and we’d eat that way for days in the hospital. If you’re careful not to squish your bread, you can do this for festivals too.  Pick 1-2 condiments, 1-2 lunch meats, 1-2 cheeses, and bread. Apples, oranges, and grapes don’t need a lot of handling. Pre-washed salads, single serve snacks, and cans or bottles of beverages may need a fridge or cooler, but don’t require fancy prep work.

And, as always, remember to consider bringing plates, silverware, and glasses that you’re going to wash, rather than disposables, because it’s generally better for the environment!

Pop Culture Paganism: Part 1 Loona’s Story

There seems to be a theme of people who have issues with the idea and the concepts of Pop Culture Paganism.  Many of these people have issues claiming that it makes pagans look bad, is full of fakes, and playgans.  Often those who cry out against pop culture paganism claim that those who would use Pop culture symbols in their worship and practice are lazy, have a lack of knowledge of the ancient traditions, and they often claim that there is an inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

For people like me this is often highly insulting.  Many of us are educated in our paths and practices.  We simply like to use the modern images from pop culture to connect to the Gods and spirits of our path.  These modern images are powerful tools for reaching the various spiritual forces out there.  These modern images can be useful in relating to beings that many people may never have heard of without the use of pop culture.

I do not identify as a Pop culture pagan.  However I have used popular culture in my path and my practice.  I see the dangers and I see the benefits of working with Pop Culture images.  This is the first in a series of posts talking about the subject.  I figured before I got into the meat of the issues around pop culture paganism it would be a good idea to start with my own experience with the use of Pop culture symbolism.

I started my path with Pop culture Paganism. It was a combination of the Disney Hercules series and Sailor Moon combined with reading the Greek and Roman Myths and books on Wicca. Now keep in mind that I was about 9-10 when this started but I still feel that this is an important thing to share.

As a child and teen these images resonated with me and helped me relate to an connect to the various Gods and spirits in the world. These images to me were gateways to the power within the Gods. Before starting what i thought was Wicca I often spoke to the Muses of Greek Myth. Originally I thought of them as angels to God, but that changed when I read the myths and realized that people believed them to be Gods originally. (I saw the movie Hercules first, then I saw the cartoon Hercules series and then the live action Xena and Hercules series). Still those images provided me a tool to connect to the power of the Gods.

I didn;’t quite understand Polytheism at the time. So for me they were “Gods” but under the main God who was the father of Jesus. You could say I was exploring my understandings within the religious framework I had been exposed to. Still to talk to an communicate with those Gods I was drawing on the image found within the Disney Movie Hercules and the Hercules Cartoon series I watched every Saturday Morning. When I spoke to Zeus or Hera or even Hades I used the images of those Gods from the source I most recognized.

When I started to explore Wicca and Paganism I understood they were not servants of one Larger God but were Gods in their own right. So I dropped the frame of Christianity and continued to speak to those Gods and work with them. I still used the images from Disney. I was now 14 and questioning religion and spirituality.

At the same time I was starting to watch the anime Sailor Moon. As the story progressed and I looked at the Sailor Senshi I saw the properties of the Roman Gods within the Senshi and I was able to find a way to focus and connect with a Moon Goddess. I knew that the image wasn’t the Goddess but it was a tool to help me focus and connect.

I used the images of Queen Serenity from Sailor Moon to connect to the moon Goddess Selene. I knew that the image I was using to connect to Selene wasn’t actually Selene, but it helped me connect to and focus on that divine presence. I had no other image or idea to connect with, so the image of Queen Serenity helped me relate to her.

17 years later and I still can find images in pop culture useful in connecting to Gods and spirits.Today when I call on Thor I occasionally use the image from the Marvel movies to connect to that energy. Again I know it is not Thor but it helps me focus and reach the actual Thor. The same goes for Loki and Odin. I use my knowledge of the lore to connect to the Gods I am trying to connect to. The image I use just happens to come from Modern Popular culture. I still use Norse Rituals to honor those Gods. I simply have a modern image of the Gods I use to connect with.

Today when working with the Moon Goddess Diana I still occasionally use the image of Queen Serenity. Most often I use that as the gateway to get to the other images I have of a Moon Goddess. These images are tools to help connect to the divine forces and nothing more or less.  They are just like the tools used in various spells or rituals.  They are props to help get into the right mind frame and connect with the energy you are working with.

In essence there is nothing wrong with using the images from popular culture in your work. If they help you connect with spirit and the universe than they are a tool for you. The danger comes when you start to claim that these pop culture figures and images are the same as the ancient Gods. Anyone who truly respects Gods as individuals would never say that. They would however more than likely admit that the images can be powerful tool to connect to the Gods they represent.