This is the last of the Questions I have in my queue; if you or anyone you know has a question just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thank you Dreaming in Smoke and Fire, James Two Snakes, and Lokisbruid for contributing questions!
How do you balance being priests of Gods of two widely different pantheons?
It is interesting at times how this works out. While I was Anubis’ priest first, Odin takes precedence. Anubis led me to Odin when I had my eyes and ears tight shut regarding the Norse/Germanic Gods. I was very happy being a priest of Anubis, a ceremonial magician, and helper to the Lost Dead. Worshiping the Norse really hadn’t come into my head until Anubis drug me over to Odin, said “You’re following Him and we will be in touch” and away He went. That was about four years ago.
This does not mean that Anubis has totally left my life, that His priesthood is unimportant, or that I have stopped worshiping Him. Quite the contrary. I do still work with the Dead, but much closer with Them than what I did while working under Anubis. When I was working with Him I kept the Dead as best I could at arms length. I cannot do that anymore. I am very connected to my Ancestors now, much more so than when I was Anubis’ priest full time, and my Work now includes not just the general Dead and the Lost Dead; it also includes the Military Dead.
Most of the way I balance working with these Gods is that I am careful in my ethics. Given I am Northern Tradition I tend towards those ethics and values, most of which in some way, shape, or form mesh with the Kemetic ones. I do my best to follow the Negative Confession, reading it every night and reflecting upon it whenever I am able. It has proven a good guide for me. An area I struggle with is “cursing another in thought, word, or deed” as I see this to mean magically cursing a person as well as saying things like
“I hope that person fucking crashes” when I get cut off in traffic because words take on power. To speak and write is to engage heka. So I make effort to avoid speaking ill, literally or figuratively, of people, places, and things. To speak is to engage my önd. Much of the ethics I approached Anubis with translated well into my Work with Odin.
Anubis has given me many blessings in the time I have been His priest, going on six years. I still pray and give offerings to Him, and He has a place of honor among the Gods on my Gods’ altar. I still carry a brass wand my former teachers helped me put together in service to Him, and it comes with me when I work with the Lost Dead, or to help direct the Dead where they need to go. Anubis has been the Opener of Ways not just in my Work with the Dead, but in my life in general. When things were hard He opened doors for me, though sometimes I refused to walk through them. Four years ago He opened the door to Odin, and in that alone He has given me no small measure of blessing. He has never left me, despite my intense Work with Odin and He remains a patient, powerful force in my life.
As far as balancing relationships between these two Gods go, as I wrote in my Question 5 post, being owned by Odin as I am, He is first and foremost above all others. My Work is with Odin, primarily, and as Anubis desires things, whether it is my attention, Work to be done, or certain offerings, He makes it known to me. He and Odin have an understanding in this regard. The balance in my life is inherently skewed toward Odin, but much of my Work with the Dead dovetails nicely with where my Work with Anubis has been, and is evolving. Anubis introduced me to Working with the Dead, setting boundaries, and giving me hard lessons in that sometimes there is nothing I can do for another as a priest, for the Dead or the Living. Odin took me into working with my Ancestors and the Military Dead.
In Their own ways Anubis and Odin keep me in Their balance. Being in that balance requires me to listen, above all else, to Them and those They point me to, and where I am called to act or speak, to do so. The Work I do with the Dead is Their Work. Sometimes it is to clean graves for the Dead, sometimes it is to speak prayers, and other times it is to sit while a long-Dead spirit talks about hir trouble in moving on. Other times it may be to speak to someone’s descendant or to deliver a message. Sometimes it requires I stop everything I am doing to help bury a forgotten pet. Whatever the Gods need of me, it is my job to be available for that work as a priest. The balance I find between these Gods is in the service I give to Them.
Hail Odin and Anubis!
How do you feel about / reconcile the acceptance of Odin in most major Heathen / pagan circles alongside the revulsion held for Loki?
- What are your thoughts and have you / how do you help others make the transition into acceptance?
This is probably one of the hardest questions I have had to encounter in the Pagan communities, especially the Heathen ones where He is greeted with deep vitriol.
I am going to be blunt about how I feel. I think that the revulsion held for Loki is despicable. It is blasphemous.
Most any thing that has aided the Aesir or Vanir came through Loki’s hands. The weapon that the Jotun were said to fear, Mjolnir, came from Loki’s work. If He comes to you at all it is a blessing even if you cannot see it then.
Wiccan Issues With Loki
I used to hear and say “Hail Loki” tongue-in-cheek when I was a Wiccan, frequently, when something in ritual went screwy. When words garbled or something fell off the altar, a “Hail Loki” often followed. To a certain extent I look at this humorously now; obviously it was not Loki holding my tongue and saying sing-song “What’s-a-matter? Can’t talk?” as I tried to speak. However, it was not reverent. He was spoken of in tones of ‘not welcome’, yet we were calling His Name. All I knew at the time was that He was Trickster, a God of Chaos and Fire. I did not know much back then.
Much of the revulsion, at least from the Wiccan angle, came from a place of wanting everything “NEAT UND TIDY!” Rituals have a certain flow, a certain way they are supposed to go, and accidents, interruptions, and garbled words screw with that. So too, our relationships with the Gods. There is comfort in such rituals, and comfort in The God and The Goddess encountered in Wicca, but Loki is a God Who often pushes past the comfy, the familiar, and the planned. He can bare you to all your flaws in a moment, or give you that push with a giggle that, as you stumble to get back to your feet, you find yourself exactly where you need to be.
Heathen Issues With Loki
Where some Pagans, especially Heathens are in agreement, is that they would rather not worship a God who heads the Jotun armies at Ragnarok. Leaving aside that Ragnarok may entirely be Christian invention or revision, it is said that the Dead who live in Helheim rise up to fight. Which, if you think about, includes a good chunk of our Ancestors, as most died a ‘straw death’, death by disease, old age, etc. Essentially anything but fighting. When you think about it that number will probably include most anyone. I digress.
Many Heathens take issue with the fluidity of Loki. He changes sexes, shape, specie; He is a Father and a Mother. He turned into a female horse and brought back Sleipnir, which He gave to Odin for His steed. He is wed to two Goddesses, and has had children with both. Fenris, the Wolf Who Devours Odin at Ragnarok, Jormungandr the World Serpent Who keeps Midgard’s borders, and Hel the Goddess of Death are His and Angrboda’s children. His two sons with Sigyn are Narvi and Vali, both of Whom come to a tragic end at the hands of the Aesir.
Loki is outside and within the binaries of modern life. He is within and without the innangarð. He is Jotun and counted among the Aesir, He causes trouble and resolves conflict. He is a victim of abuse, and a wrathful avenger.
There are those Heathens who simply see all Jotun as enemies. In this black and white understanding of the Gods, the Aesir and Vanir are the forces of good, and the Jotun the forces of evil. Or order and chaos. Or whatever binary is handy at the time.
The reason I list all of this, well known to most of Loki’s worshipers, is for some of these people there is reconciliation with their understanding of Loki. I used to really not be a fan of Him, until He came into my life through Odin. Slowly I started to work with Him, and then, worship Him.
For those who say “None of the Jotun are due worship”, how can that be reconciled by me? All I can do is provide an example of what a life touched by Loki looks like, and if the person wishes to change their mind, they will. Odin Himself came from Jotun stock, as did Thor, Heimdall…many, if not most of the Aesir are, in some way, shape, or form related to Jotun or are Jotun Themselves, i.e. Loki and Skaði. The Vanir are actually the odds one out in this. They are, so far as I can tell from lore and personal experience, unrelated blood-wise to the Aesir and Jotun. Even so, Freyr, a Vanir hostage to the Aesir, takes Gerda, a Jotnar Goddess (Gýgr, giantess) for His bride.
The Transition to Acceptance
So how do I help others make the transition into acceptance? I am a responsible worshiper, to start with. I do not blame my mistakes on Him, and do not allow abuse to be heaped upon Him. I speak out when I need to, especially when His, or His brethren’s Names are being thrown in the mud. I show people that a follower of Loki need not be an irresponsible person, or a person who uses the Gods as an excuse to get their kicks.
When people come to me, worried they may be getting the tap on the shoulder by Loki, I give the same advice I do to anyone worried about a God or Goddess coming their way: set up an altar, give Them offerings and time, and see where They lead you. Ultimately any reconciliation is going to happen between the Gods and them. I’m just a person who might help them in the journey. Sometimes it is small words of encouragement, storytelling of my experiences with Him, or exegesis of the lore we have available to us.
The number one thing I have found that has served me best as a Pagan, whether it was as a layperson, a priest or a shaman, is shutting my mouth and listening. Listening to peoples’ fears, concerns, worries, and listening to them, not just hearing their words. It is no different here with reconciling worries and conflicts with the Gods.
I have no illusions that those who love Odin but hate Loki or His Kin will somehow ‘come to see the Light’ (or Fire, as the case may be) and give up that hate in a moment no matter how much I listen to them. If they are to do something as radical as give up hate that has to come after a time of letting go of that. If I help to be a catalyst for that change, I consider that holy Work. My focus is more on those who are being bothered by Him or are just scared of Him. He can evoke fear in people; He certainly did for me, and sometimes still does.
Where to Start
I start by listening, and seeing where the person is at. If they are open to a deeper understanding of Loki beyond “He’s not just some monster” or “He’s not out to make your life hell” then we can go on. If not, I do my best to correct misconceptions, and provide my own understanding of Loki. I usually will talk about the sources of lore for Loki, if we have time/ability to do so. If not, I recommend the person read the sources of lore for Loki, and keep up dialogue while they are doing so, especially where they find issues or questions popping up. I’m no loremaster, and I cannot read the old tongues the works are originally recorded in, but I talk to people and can recommend sources I have read or have been recommended to me. From there, as I mentioned before, I usually will recommend they set up an altar if they do not have one, and if they can, find a symbol of Loki. From there, I recommend they give offerings, prayers, and time to Loki in whatever ways they feel called to so long as it is reverent. After that it is really just being there for the person as I can be and as they need.
Almost all of the work is on the person in the end. At best all I can do is help to facilitate a better relationship between themselves and Loki. I can bring two or more people together in a space and say “Let’s try to be friends!” and after that point I really have little control over whether or not that ends up being the case. So, to a good extent, letting go of the situation after I have done my part is one of the best things, aside from keeping my ears open, that I can do. Their relationship with Loki is, in the end, theirs. Loki never laid claim to Mjolnir once He gave it to Thor; indeed, He never laid claim to the Hammer in the first place.
How can I lay claim to something so powerful as another’s relationship with a God?
I pray that more people open their minds, hearts, and souls to the beautiful touch of this incredible God, and experience Him for Who and What He is. May His Name come with the same love so many give to His fellows Gods and Goddesses. May those who worship Him never take Him for granted. May He always be hailed.
From Loki’s Bruid:
I’d like to hear your perspective on Odin Himself actually, perhaps on some of His lesser known aspects. Lots of people get the Allfather or the Asa King, but what about some of His lesser known or called on heiti?
Truth be told, with anywhere between 188-200 heiti, (and I have seen the number bumped up to 300 in some sources) there’s no way I know Him through any more than a few of His lesser-known heiti. Keep in mind that as I write this I am just starting to find heiti that might fit or fit best for my experiences of Him. It may be that heiti are simply a hindrance for one person and a door to deeper understanding for another, and I leave that between the worshiper and Odin. For me, the heiti are helpful in that they provide a door or window to understanding Him, to at least put a name or title to this part of Him that I have experienced.
In terms of Odin’s heiti I look at it very much as experiencing different aspects of the same God; Yggr (The Terrible) still is Odin, at the end of the experience, but He is a ‘face’ of Odin that I do not, mercifully, experience very often. I could see Hóvi (The High) may have come to me while I was writing the November posts to Him in the Hávamál style. When I experience the Alföðr (Allfather) it is, for me, Odin Who is primarily concerned with humanity and getting us where we, perhaps personally but more collectively, where we need to go. Then there is Odin as my Father and Leash-holder, the heiti which sticks out to me that is most apt for this being Haptaguð (Fetter God). These latter two are the aspects of Odin I see the most.
Yet, underneath all of these heiti is Odin, and all of these heiti are also not just descriptors, in my understanding. Much as I am Sarenth Odinsson I am also the name given to me by my birth parents. I am also ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ and ‘Dad’. I am in a different role when I meet others as Sarenth, generally speaking, just as Odin-as-Yggr came to me when I was hanging on Yggdrasil a few years ago. That is an aspect in which He has truly earned that heiti. He is the Hanged God, and there was a sense of terror of Him in me that I can only describe as holy terror.
I will never truly know all of my best friends’ personalities. I do not know my friends’ as child or mother, for instance, and there are personality dynamics that will never be ours, ways of seeing one another that will not be ours, at the least, in this lifetime. Even as a friend I will never fully know them. Our Gods will never fully reveal Themselves to us in Their totality. I think to the tale of how Zeus revealed Himself to His lover and she burnt to ash at the power of His Presence. I do not think we can handle the full-tilt power of the Gods revealed, at the least, not Gods like Odin. Perhaps local Gods, i.e. of rivers or forests may be different, but in this too I have doubt. Heiti, from my perspective, give us ways of understanding our Gods in different forms, functions, and relationships that They have to share with us, and that They take on. With all that said, I’ll write about some of Odin’s heiti I have encountered, and my experiences with Odin in context of those heiti.
Karl: The Old Man
There are times where Odin comes to me and He is angry or grumpy with me about a misstep I have taken or a project I am lagging on. There are times where I call Him, and I say this with all due respect to Him, jokingly, the Old Man. Sometimes this is said in a more joking tone, others, a more serious, but there underneath it all is reverence. I figure if I am getting scolded I am getting off easy. It turns out that one of heiti translated to Old Man is Karl. This is, for me, one of His less severe forms, and one He frequently shows to myself and others. It is the Grandfather or Father Who, while annoyed with you and wanting to bat you about the head and legs, takes patience in stride and guides you along the right way. Sometimes He gets you where you need to go by grabbing your ear and dragging you there (or tugging my leash in this case), if you make yourself a nuisance. I find this most often shows up with those who are just coming to know Him or have a familiar relationship with Him. This is not to say that the Old Man cannot or will not be severe, but it is not the kind of severity and fear I have found with Yggr, for instance.
Yggr: The Terrible
The only time I have really encountered Odin in this form that I can remember is when I was hanging on Yggdrasil to take in the Runes as few years ago. It was under His guidance that I do this, and that I fast for nine days, drinking only what would keep my body going and alive without sleeping into issues with my diabetes. When I hung, especially long hours with the rope wrapped around my leg, there He was. He stank to high hell, He was half-Dead, it seemed to me at the time. His voice was as cold as His body, both as the grave. To get an idea of the fear I felt I feel I have to resort to poetic or expressive language because there is no real communicating the sheer fear He imbued in me, even as I was facing my own potential physical Death. He is The Terrible, the Terrible sacrifice that must be made for power, for the Worlds to go on, that sacrifice of Self-to-Himself that is recounted in the Hávamál. He is Dead and Living, has seen and experienced the Ginnungagap, and come back through, and yet, He is always there, Hanging eternally. It makes me shiver just remembering.
Hóvi: The High
When I am writing poetry about Him, especially Hávamál-style verse, this is the heiti of Odin I tend to experience. Sometimes it is the mere brush of His hand or cloak, sometimes it is Him standing over top of me like a master scribe to an apprentice doing dictation. I do not tend to get as much sensory information, for lack of better terms/more descriptive language, than I have with Yggr or Karl. It is more a feeling of Him standing behind me, or His hands or breath pouring into the crown of my head as I write, down onto the keyboard or onto the page.
Haptaguð: The Fetter God
This is a part of Odin that will probably never leave me. Odin holds my leash, as I am His godatheow, and sometimes that hold is slack, and sometimes it is quite tight. As with Hóvi, I do not experience this heiti of Odin’s so much with all of my senses, but as more of a Presence, and a tugging around my neck, particularly around my apple or at times along my crown. There are times when I feel the Presence of this heiti stronger than others, such as when I may be wandering into danger and there is a sudden ‘jerk’ along my neck. There are other times where His Presence in this heiti manifests as a word or a command, sharp and attention grabbing and I find myself following it before I ask “What?” or “Why?” When this latter experience happens it is unmistakably Him, and I find myself compelled to obey.
This, for me, is probably the hardest to write about because it is the most personal. This is Odin at His most personable with me. There are many ways where He shows me affection, some overt and some not. Words of encouragement have come from Him when I have been at my lowest, from a much-needed “You can do this, son; this would not be in front of you if it were impossible” to just a feeling of His Presence that is nothing short of comforting and loving. While Odin is, very often, a stern, rough, demanding God, just as Freya has Her aspects of Warrior, there are aspects of Odin that are less commented on or written about. His sternness does not just ‘go away’ in His Father aspect with me, but it is not as severe as, say Haptaguð tugs my leash. It is not the kind of holy terror I experience with Him as Yggr, or the master/pupil relationship of Him as Hóvi. Just as Yggr contains this part of Him, so too does Odin-as-Father contain Yggr, and it is there, if I look hard enough or if He cares to show me it for one reason or another. Regardless, I feel a love there of father for son. There are times I wonder if this is even a taste of the depth of His fierce, powerful love for His Godly Children.
I find Him His most patient with me personally in this aspect of our relationship. That is not to say the leash slackens or the demands do not grow; not at all. There are times where words fail in the joy that I feel at the knowing I am one of His, not despite the challenges He puts before me, but because He feels I can handle them. Or that particular lesson needs to knock me on my ass enough times for me to get that it is not for me. Odin can be, and may well be in our personal relationship calculating, everything being pushed towards one goal or another.
There are times that His Presence as Father is just that: a Presence, one letting me know I am in His thoughts or that He is near. Sometimes it is a vision of Him, sitting or standing with me, at times with a hat. At times He wears His long white hair down, and at others it is braided in a tight style. His mode of dress when He arrives sometimes seems to do with the whole message He is conveying, whether it is excitement, warmth, disappointment, anger. Others times when He comes to me in one guise or another, it is there as a kind of convenience so I get the message and pay attention to it.
These words only touch what I experience. I can no more give an accurate understanding of Yggr than I can of Hóvi. The experience is, in the end, that of each and every one of us who experiences Odin, in His many heiti, or simply as He, Odin, presents Himself to us. What I have written here may serve you, or someone you know no better than a signpost, or worse, a roadblock. My hope is that the writing I’ve done here will help deepen others’ relationships with Him, provide signposts, show where there may be similarities in experience, or at the least provide comfort in that each and every day, every interaction, I am getting to know my God.
From James Two Snakes:
Tell me more about the rituals and prayers you do with your son.
When I first became a Dad I determined one thing I really wanted for my son was the gift my parents gave to me: an active, living religious tradition. A good part of this was prayers for meals, and especially bedtime prayers. Before he could do prayers, before he could speak I would pray with him. In the last three we’ve really come together and now, they’re a daily part of our life.
The first prayer is usually the morning breakfast prayer. Our meal prayers are all the same at this point, and rote, so that he connects on a regular basis with all the Gods, and is mindful of Them, the Ancestors, and the spirits. From what he has told me, he says this prayer at school, and it makes me very proud. All the prayers used to be call and response, but as he has learned them, my son has grown into saying them alongside his Mom and I on occasion. Sometimes, when he is in the mood, he will ask to lead the call and response. This latest development has happened recently, and I find it a good thing to lead as it is not just a prayer, but a time for him to take charge and do without having to follow his Mom or I. He tends to have this huge smile on his face when he does it, and sometimes it is good to hang back and let someone else take the lead. After all, I want him to have a relationship with the Gods, not just to do it because Mom and Dad are.
The Mealtime Prayer
Thank You Odin
Thank You Frigga
Thank You Freya
Thank You Freyr
Thank You Gerda
Thank You Loki
Thank You Angrboda
Thank You Sigyn
Thank You Brighid
Thank You Bres
Thank You Lycrous
Thank You Lupa
Thank You Bast
Thank You Anubis
Thank You Spirits
Thank You Farmer and Field
Thank You Animals and Plants
Thank You Landvaettir
Thank You Ancestors
Blessed Be, and Ves Heil!
At first it was just the Norse and Germanic Gods, but then slowly included all the Gods we worship. Once he started memorizing the Norse and Germanic Gods They slowly had Themselves included. At first he struggled remembering, but now, two years or so from when we started to say prayers together, he likes to lead prayers sometimes.
Before my girlfriend and I came back together, around the same time we started formulating the meal prayer, we made a bedtime prayer. We lived in separate homes then, so around his bedtime they would call or I would call, and we would say the prayer together over the phone. Back then this was call and response because of delays in the phone. It was hard, at first, because sometimes our son did not want to say the prayer either because of shyness with the phone, or he had a rough day. Still, it was good for her and I to pray, and it was a way for us not just to connect, but to share in prayer to the Gods.
Now that we live together the night prayers are huge. Our son loves them, and asks as he is getting ready for bed what kind of prayers we’ll be doing. There are three kinds of prayers we do at night: The longest we call Full Altar Prayers, the next is Sigdrifa’s Prayer, and the last, Night Prayers. Before I go further I need to explain the altar situation in our home.
My son and I live in a room together on the upper floor of my folks’ home, and his Mom lives across from us upstairs. All of the altars are in our room, as, until recently, the cats were not allowed in. We were afraid they would knock the altars about, knock statues down, etc. The one casualty we’ve had so far was an older wolf statue that I had too near an edge that was knocked over when one of the cats went exploring. Aside from that, the altars themselves were undisturbed despite being left completely alone for four to six hours.
Our son helped to set up all the altars except the Earth, House Spirit, and Military Dead altars which are too high for him to reach. That alone is powerful, connective Work, and a good experience for me too. Between learning to just hang back and let the Gods tell him where to place Their representations (and leave Them there!) to gently guiding him on why we put things like the Brighid crosses together, we get to learn and teach hand in hand, at times he guiding us, and vice versa.
The Gods’ Altar: An altar to all of our Gods that sits before a window, behind which are growing two plants from a ritual with the Church we circle with. There are things like a statue for Odin, Anubis and Freya, keys big and small for Frigga, a Sun disk for Sunna and a Moon disk for Mani, two Brighid’s crosses for Brighid and Bres with bottles of healing water blessed by Her behind them, and a Green Man for Freyr. If I have forgotten anyone/anything I’ll update it.
The Ancestor Altar: An altar to all of our Ancestors, including the Elements. There is a bottle of rainwater and Florida Water for Water, a glazed clay bowl of stones and willow leaves for Earth, a harmonic from my Great-Grandpa and an incense holder for Air, a granite square with a pillar candle and a bowl of matches, lighters, and a sparking fire-starter for Fire, and for the Ancestors in the center is a four-person circle crafted out of clay holding one another, with a stone in the center in the offering bowl, and behind it on either side are tree-shaped candle holder for Ask and Embla. When I am not wearing them I place my Ancestor necklaces on either side of the altar for the Disir and Vatter (Alfar), and my Ancestor prayer bead necklace before the four-person Ancestor circle statue.
The Earth Altar: An altar to the spirits of Earth, with three stones representing Gebo, the Earth, and the Landvaettir (with a stone from the property we live on), a representation of the Earth Dragon made out of ceramic, a Gnome similarly made out of ceramic, the moneyvaettir with a plate of money from different places and times and a large jar in the middle of the play containing spare change and change we felt should go in it. On this altar is a tied off bunch of wheat that forms the bed for a representation of Ramses II, who, when I was a bit younger and mainly working with Anubis as His priest, after I saw his place had been desecrated, knowing what it meant that his bones lay out in the open and his rest disturbed, wrapped up a doll into muslin and did rituals, and invoked spells from the Book of the Dead. He now has a place on the Earth altar, and it is my goal to eventually get him a gold-leaved box to put him in.
The House Spirit Altar: A simple altar with what was a wooden birdhouse, and an incense holder on a granite square.
The Military Dead Altar: An altar that sits on a filing cabinet for now, with an incense holder, a large vase-shaped candle holder, an earthenware pot of graveyard dirt, taken with Their permission, from Veterans’ graves.
Full Altar Prayers
Full Altar Prayers are usually done on the weekends, as it takes anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes start to finish. We start by kneeling at the Gods’ altar, taking the selenite and cleansing our energy bodies with it, doing the front of our bodies starting with the crown, then handing off the crystal to someone near and allowing them to get the back of our energy body. Then, our son and I cover our heads with bandanas, he with a black one and I a white one. He’s asked to get his own set, so when we get the opportunity next we’ll do some shopping for him so he can have his own white bandana rather than borrowing my black, all-purpose one. The white bandana is specifically saved for night prayers, the red for Ancestor Work, the blue for Landvaettir, and black is, as mentioned, all-purpose.
After we cover we do the Negative Confession. While this is not the version we use, it gets the point across. We read the Confession in the call-and-response style. After this, we perform Sigdrifa’s Prayer. Again, this is not exactly the prayer we use, but these are excellent sources, and for song music and the prayer in both the English and Old Norse available, they are available here.
When we say “Hail Day! Hail Day’s Sons!” we open our hands and upraise our arms to Daeg, God of Day. When we say “Look with love upon us here and bring victory to those sitting here” we bow to the window, to Nott, the Goddess of Night. When we speak “Hail to the Gods!” and “Hail to the Goddesses!” we bow to each of Them in turn. When we stand to hail the Earth, we go to the Earth altar, and say “Hail to the mighty, fecund Earth!” and then, turn to the Ancestor Altar which is next to it, and say “Eloquence and native wit bestow on us”, and return to the Gods’ altar, saying “And healing hands while we last!” We end with “Blessed be, and Ves Heil!” At the end of all this, we go to each of the altars, bowing, and say “Ves Heil!” to each, hailing all of the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits that work with us.
These are a lot like the Full Altar Prayers in that we do all the ritual actions for Sigdrifa’s Prayer described above, and we may or may not do the selenite cleansing, and we may or may not cover. It’s a hard and fast thing that our son and I cover, though his Mom does not, for Full Altar Prayers. Sometimes we do, and sometimes we do not for Sigdrifa’s Prayer. The biggest change between these is that we do not do the Negative Confession.
This is a prayer his mother and I made together. At first it was a lot like the Mealtime Prayer and it branched out from there. In it, we address each of the Gods, Goddesses, Ancestors, and spirits we worship, thanking Them for Their blessings on us, and our lives.
The Bedtime Prayer
Thank You Odin and Frigga for the World around us
Thank You Freya for the Love in our lives
Thank You Freyr and Gerda for the wonderful Food
Thank You Loki, Angrboda, and Sigyn for Laughter, Protection, and Perseverance
Thank You Brighid and Bres for Inspiration and Truth
Thank You Lycrous and Lupa for Ferocity and Kindness
Thank You Bast and Anubis for Pleasure and Opening of the Ways
Thank You Spirits for Your Friendship
Thank You Landvaettir for our Home
Thank You Ancestors for our Lives
Be with us when we sleep,
Be with us when we wake
Blessed be, and Ves Heil!
Other Prayers and Rituals
Prayers and rituals otherwise are rather spontaneous, things like taking out offerings to oak tree, and hailing the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits tend to happen about once a week. If it is too cold we pour water offerings down the drain, and if they’ll go in the compost, that is where we put food offerings. If we have nothing else we can afford to get for offerings we at least leave water on the altars and light incense. Little prayers, like “Thank you Odin for wisdom” or “Thank You Freyr for this food” and similar prayers are said when the occasion hits us. When we walk around the local parks, or we go to a new place, we hail the Landvaettir with a small prayer, such as “Hail Landvaettir; thank you for letting us walk on You and with You.” We might walk up to a nearby tree, one that sticks out or is an oak or ash, bow, and give an offering of some kind. Even if we have no offering to give right then, or if we’ve already given one, we’ll pick up trash as an offering to the landvaettir and the local spirits.
When I was first trying to communicate to my son why we hailed the Landvaettir, I had taken him to a park. I did not know at the time that he had come out for our day (well before his Mom and I came back together) after watching My Neighbor Totoro. So when I asked him if he knew why we hailed the Landvaettir, why we bowed, and prayed, he suddenly piped up “Because every tree has a spirit! Just like Totoro!” I damned near cried on him. ”Yes, son, that’s right, every tree, every rock, every thing has a spirit.” He grinned ear to ear, and we bowed low to the large tree in front of us, and he, in his little voice called out and said “Hail Tree SPIRIT!” So if you are having a hard time communicating a concept to your kids or to someone else’s, look at kids’ media. My Neighbor Totoro, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and several amazing movies and shows communicate our concepts in a way that I have struggled at times to teach.
Every small prayer, every ritual, especially those done day after day, night after night, build up the foundation our children have in their religion to carry this special relationship into their lives. Each and every day, each and every moment, I have found, is teachable if you let the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits in. Giving this gift was the best thing my folks did for me, and I pray, fervently, it is the same for my son.
You stand atop | Yggdrasil’s branches
The great, all-seeing throne
No thing is hidden | beneath the gaze
Of the One-Eyed God
I look to the news and my heart breaks
Another slaughter, another tragedy
I look to the websites and my heart breaks
Another mountain strip-mined, another forest cut
I look to the feeds and my heart breaks
Another spill, another tragedy, another wrong
My heart is full of sadness, and I look to my Gods
I ask Them for comfort, and the One Eye looks to me
What hope would I give you? That, you must make.
Take that burn, that grief.
Do whatever is in you to do.
Words alone will not console, words alone will not heal this.
Do until you can do no more.
Speak where you can speak, until you have no more words.
With Anubis coming back into my life in a big way, the Pagan Blog Project has given me some inspiration to write here. I am coming late to this, so I am playing a bit at catch-up!
Anubis’ effect on my life has been profound. He came into my life in a time where I was uncertain of myself and my path, and helped set me straight. When He entered my life again some years later, calling me to His Priesthood, He pushed me to change. His Presence in my life is a constant blessing. I am learning something from Him, even when He is silent, sometimes especially so. For a recap of how where we’ve come from, look here.
He has largely been quiet these last four years since I began my Work with Odin, but now He is back in the fore of my life, and Odin is moving more to the side par the moment. My Work with my Ancestors has picked up, with prayers being made every day to Them, and offerings as often as I can. He seems pleased by this. My work with Him at the moment is largely about small prayers, and making offerings to Him. In my experience, He is not as in-your-face as Odin tends to be, and His lessons with me have been more subtle. He seems to have a kind of infinite patience as you paddle about in circles, waiting for you to get it.
A small statue of Anubis in His half-human form stands on my altar right next to my statue of Odin. He is about half a pen in height, is made from cold-cast resin, and is well-detailed with little bits of gold flecking His black face. When I give offerings of food and water to my Gods, as best as I can, I feed Him and water Him as the ancient priests would have done. While I cannot do this every day in the morning, due to my school schedule, it is powerfully connective to me. Feeding and giving my God, through this statue something to drink. Does He need to be fed, watered, or bathed as a God? No, but, it is such a connective work. I used to think it was a small thing until He asked me a question: “When someone gives you food, water, or bathes you, is that a small thing?”
I think that is a great lesson from Him: the seemingly small things belie great things. The small, everyday gestures of love, devotion, and worship are more important than the large pieces of work. The small things make the big things possible. In reorienting my life around these smaller things I’m better able to do His Work, and life comes at me in a way I can handle a lot better. I’m not scrambling around for help, or wondering what I should do. There is a foundation of Work already there, to rely on and to call on. I am just beginning to find the benefits of this slower path as Anubis has come back to the fore in my religious life. The far slower pace I have with Him this time is letting me hear His Voice much deeper, and clearer than I used to. It is a work in progress, but His patience with me and my Work taking on a more slow pace gives me room to stretch and breathe, like the difference between stretching with Yoga and speed bag training.
He is a guide, but He does not shove you through the door. He has waited, with His incredible patience, to get to the point I am at. I am just beginning to relearn about Him. To regain that deep familiarity with His Voice that I had when I was His priest full-time. To deepen my devotion work with Him. I look forward to my journey, and pray for patience.