Del Tashlin is neither Asatru, nor heathen, nor any of the known organizations that practice with Norse deities. He calls himself a Northern Tradition Shaman, explaining, “They are interested in reconstruction and I am not. I am interested in what’s here today.” Along that vein, he doesn’t use traditional Norse words, like Godhi or Seithman to describe himself; he uses the words “Shaman” and “Spirit Worker” because they are more familiar to people and more immediately descriptive of what he does.
He works with a variety of spirits, including Loki and Baphomet. His online profile tells us, “I’m about as un-heteronormative as you come.” He describes himself as a disabled, poly, kinky, pagan, transgender shaman.
As a shaman, Del works with a variety of clients who need help with different issues. Around 80% of the problems involve sexuality in some way or another, even if the clients aren’t aware of this at first. He says, “I feel very called to this work because I am not conventionally attractive… I find people who don’t feel worthy of sex or pleasure, letting people engage with their insecurity or their inner monster and come out feeling better.”
Del combines his experiences from teaching sexuality to various groups, his many years as part of the BDSM community, and his knowledge of the human body’s physiology and how it can be manipulated to create emotional and physical catharsis. He holds the title of “Ordeal Master,” given to him from the community he serves to let others know that he is very experienced in what he does.
Often, Del’s clients come to him with some sort of link to a spirit or Deity, even if they aren’t aware which one it is. Communication between the Holy Ones and humanity is an inborn talent, and it is not something just anyone can learn. But by opening up their vulnerabilities (which are usually linked to sexuality, or love) it makes it a little easier to trust their intuitions when it comes to Deity. About 70% of his clients walk in with some sort of deity/spirit problem, while the other 30% is a personal/body problem. Describing his practice, he says, “I go in and work with their energy… sometimes it takes one session and sometimes twelve.”
As an example of the kind of ritual he performs to help others, Del tells us about one in which he worked about 2 years ago. Someone was ready to make a lifelong commitment to their patron, but had to be torn open before they could do that. Two people stood in as two aspects of the patron, one as the tormentor and one as the lover. Del took the role of the tormentor, noting that the one weapon the god had been very clear about was the sjambok. After Del did his work, it was the turn of the lover. He says it was the “…first ordeal I’d ever done where we had to provide aftercare for the witnesses.”
In another ritual, surrounding the story of Persephone, Del played Demeter, who introduced the characters, and led participants to the ritual space. Each character in the story had a different station, discussing something, making an object, asking questions, etc. Once in place, Demeter had hooks put into her chest over her heart to show how she felt about losing Persephone. Some of the participants pulled on the hooks, helping to release sadness in Del’s heart as well as Demeter’s.
The work takes its toll on Del both emotionally and physically, so much that he cannot personally do aftercare. He says, “I’m usually very tired after a session, go off by myself, ground and center, watch something that has nothing to do with spirituality – also have a magical tool that I use. Rave [his girl] does aftercare. I am really lucky that I have a really well trained, really competent assistant. She cleans up the scene, then comes to me and helps me ground and center.”
He notes that he’s been doing leading and doing more seconding – writing rituals, preparing space, etc. but not doing the ritual itself. Del is dedicated to making sure his head is clear, and his body is clear as it can be. Del’s main focus this year has been the creating of Wardenheart Kindred (which is like a coven but Norse), a group that reflects his work to make the Gods accessible to anyone who wishes to be in fellowship with them. While some Norse groups are known Neo-Nazi and/or homophobic, Wardenheart is the opposite of that. He’s training his successor, Volsung, in preparation for the future.
Learn more about Del at Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars.
- Broken Toys: Submissives with Mental Illness and Neurological Dysfunction
- Mastering Mind: Dominants with Mental Illness and Neurological Dysfunction
- Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM & the Ordeal Path