When I hail the Warrior Dead, I do not hail just the Military Dead. Certainly, there are Military Dead who are part of Them. Certainly, all Military Dead should be honored for Their service. However, there are a lot of Warrior Dead whose stories are glossed over, and lost to time. These, and stories like these, should be well kept so we honor Their memory, and the causes They fought for. I thank Bragi and Ansuz for helping me to write this. Hail to You! I hail the Warrior Dead who came and spoke to me while I was writing this. Hail to You! May the stories of the Warrior Dead never be forgotten. In telling, may we live in Them. In the telling, They live forever.
When anyone asks about what unions did to get the rights all workers possess, tell them about this.
You have come a long way from home to settle in a place in the Blair Mountain Ridge. You went through hell just to get here. This place is 50 miles out from the capital, Charleston, in West Virginia. Trees are everywhere along the route to the mine you’ve come to work at, and what isn’t trees are rocks and boulders, and all of it is on slopes. The mine is dark beyond dark, and the candles are the only source of light. Every second or third miner might have one, if you’re lucky. The hours are long, and you’re a long ways off from any non-company anything. The little scraps you get so you can buy from the company store? You buy your equipment with it. You buy your food with it. Your lodging. What little there is. You work 12 hours at a shot, maybe more. You drop your candle somewhere, it goes out? You pay for it. If you died, you died, and if you were supporting a family, they better figure out quick how to support themselves without you.
What’s more is that even your soul isn’t safe from the company. They have approved preachers and pastors. They give them the messages to give to you and your fellow miners. The very people who should be appealing to God on your behalf, on your family’s behalf, fill your ears with sermons of how good the company is, and how happy you should be to get blisters on your hands and feet, to risk your life each day or eventually get black-lung for a company that gives you scraps of paper to pay for the scraps of food they deign to give you from their heaping plates. Yes, indeed, God bless America, and God bless the company.
You know that if you and your fellow miners, all of whom are in the same straits as you, organize, then the police will come with a signed martial law order in hand, and crack down. Literally. They do it whenever you and your folks get too rowdy, too angry from one more insult, one more death, one more trampling on your dignity. So you strike. The authorities and their posse of private enforcers come for you. You get your skull split, you get arrested? Goodbye, employment. Your rights end where the nightsticks and guns begin. After all, you’re working the specialty ore that nets your boss ungodly profits, and their pull is so thick they may as well have installed themselves as governor in Charleston.
Then, a day comes when you and your fellows won’t take it anymore. It wasn’t enough that martial law was called. Again. It wasn’t enough that they tried to pin murder on Sheriff Hatfield and twenty-two other people. No. Those fuckers just executed one of the few pro-union folks in the neighborhood. They killed Sheriff Sid Hatfield in cold blood. They lured him the courthouse on bullshit perjury charges, and him and Ed Chambers were killed by deputized ‘detectives’ from Baldwin-Felts. They put twelve fucking holes in each of them to make damn good and sure they and their ghosts weren’t coming back.
Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. The same pricks that were hired guards and ‘investigators’ for your boss. The same folks who are more than willing to crack skulls to get their employers’ way. Blood spatters the ground, it pools. You know it’s a matter of time before someone’s finger gets itchy, or someone moves the wrong way. So you march, because it is wrong. You march, because that life, and the life of all of those at risk from that martial law, bearing down like boots on all your necks, are worth it. Solidarity.
You are 10,000 strong. Some of you are armed with guns. Some of you carry whatever seemed handy as a weapon. Some of you have your hands, so that’s enough. You all march. You march, on foot. It is fifty long miles until you hit Logan. And people join you. It doesn’t matter the background, the creed, the color, everyone marches. Miners march with bookkeepers, march with doctors, march with lawyers, march with railroaders, march with ministers and pastors and priests. You march. You might be as many as 15,000 strong, now. Solidarity
Then you all run square into the Logan Defenders in Logan County. These bastards are armed to the teeth, headed by the anti-union Sheriff Don Chafin. There might be anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 men, all from Baldwin-Felts, local cops, deputies, and volunteers. You’re a ragtag bunch; maybe half of you have decent weapons if you’re lucky. They? They have pistols and rifles, Browning .50 machine guns, artillery, and planes. Oh, and those planes? They have chemical and explosive payloads. That’s right. They’ll drop bombs on you full of shrapnel and bleach for the profits your blood and sweat will make them. So you do the only thing you can do. You charge right at them. Solidarity.
It’s bullets and chaos, it’s hands clenched into fists, teeth bared, and dirt kicked up as you and those fuckers who want you down in the dirt come to it. Fists pound flesh, bullets meant for other armies tear into your friends and chew their bodies like some great monster come to feast. Crows and ravens wheel and scream overhead as the days drag on. Guns, smoke, and screams fill the air. You don’t stop fighting. Solidarity.
The reports will say only 20-100 people died in the week that followed. You know better. You helped load your dead friends into boxcars to carry them home. Archaeologists will say over a million rounds were fired. You’ve no idea how many were fired, only what they did to you. What they did to the land around you, pockmarking it. Like the Earth vomited up black bile soaked in blood. You pick up the dead, you say your prayers, and you get back to the fight. Solidarity.
The week ends, and the federal troops arrive. You and your fellows put down your weapons in the woods, hide them, and get the rest of the dead on their journey home. Too many of you are veterans; these were family of another kind. Besides, the Army wasn’t the ones trying to make you bleed just because you and your union folks wanted to be able to organize and bargain together for a decent wage, time off, a pension, or basic human dignity. You and your fellows give up, no one so much as fires a shot. It is over. You make the long journey home. You pray, and you bury your dead. Solidarity.
Nothing much changes. The company still takes advantage, except now it starts blacklisting union members and breaking contracts with the unions. It still makes you pay for your equipment, your food, your lodging. It still works you till you drop of black-lung or exhaustion. It still puts those Baldwin-Felts thugs around the place, still pays those pastors to keep the company prayers and sermons in your ears. It still takes you, body, mind and soul, for everything you’ve got. Those of you who remain do so as your union dies a horrible death, slow, like a twisted knife in the guts. The union won’t recover until 1935, when it comes to life in the New Deal. You and your fellows are there, and you triumph as the bosses finally start to pay up, finally start to bargain in good faith. The unions roar back to life, stronger than ever. You stand on the bones of the dead, and remember: Solidarity.
These are the sources I consulted for this post:
With articles such as this, it is even more clear to me why polytheists need to speak up within and without the Pagan Umbrella.
With respect to discerning John Beckett from John Halstead, I will use their last names.
‘John Beckett has recently written a post about his vision of the future of Polytheism- the future of the “polytheist revolution” -and the importance of “keeping the Gods at the front”. To me, this sounds disturbingly like the Christianity I left behind 15 years ago – with its rejection of this world or at least its relegation of the concerns of this world to a place of secondary importance. It sounds too much like the monotheistic condemnation of “idolatry” and the “gods of this world”.’
To start with, it is clear to me that Halstead does not understand, nor cares to understand the perspective of polytheism, or polytheists in general. The polytheist revolution is not world-denying; if anything, it embraces the world as it is, with warts and all. It sees this world, and all that it is, and is within it, as populated by Gods, our Ancestors, and spirits. I find it foolish that Halstead would find it too much like the monotheist condemnation of ‘idolatry’ when so many of us do exactly that, and worship Gods that are of this world, if not the Earth Itself.
“I would argue that if your religion doesn’t have a strong this-world component you’re doing it wrong.
“Our this-world concerns are enormous. They’re here, in front of us, right now. They demand our attention, they demand our time, they demand our effort. And they never end. If we are not mindful, if we are not -dare I say it- devout and pious, it is all too easy to let our this-world concerns becomes our gods and take Their place in our lives…
“When we don’t keep the Gods at the forefront of our practice, we put something else there. That something else may be helpful or it may be a distraction, but whatever it is weakens our relationships with the Gods…”
Quoting Halstead in response:
‘To me, this sounds disturbingly like the Christianity I left behind 15 years ago – with its rejection of this world or at least its relegation of concerns of this world to a place of secondary importance.’
Our polytheist religions have a this-world component. We’re not world-denying religions. There would not be talk of such things as regional cultus, and working with, revering, and worshiping the landvaettir were we doing so. There would be no talk of our duty to the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir to treat the Earth well, to care for our oceans, to consume less, and a million other things that we polytheists may factor in when it comes to how we live on this Earth, whether we have children, how to raise them if we do, how we die, and how our bodies are cared for after our death. Our Gods come first and foremost because we are polytheists. It’s not a polite suggestion to believe in the Gods and treat Them as real accordingly. It’s part and parcel of being a polytheist. If that is not at the forefront of being a polytheist, then the identification as a polytheist, and associated religions that identify with this word, become drained of meaning. Accordingly, our relationships with the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir suffer when the Holy Powers are not first in our considerations.
I wrote on this idea of placing the Gods first a while back, here.
‘When someone puts the Gods first, does that mean the needs of one’s family are ignored? Absolutely not. What it means is that my family recognizes the Gods at the center of our lives. It is not an either/or thing, here. I do not love the Gods and ignore my family. In loving and serving my Gods, I love and serve my family as well. In separating one from the other is where error comes from. If the Gods are in (or are) the Air, the Water, the Fire, the Ice, etc., then it is impossible to escape Them and foolish, if not hubris, to ignore Them. Far better to partner with Them in good Gebo than to pretend we are somehow separate from Them.’
Again, from Halstead:
‘It sounds too much like the monotheistic condemnation of “idolatry” and the “gods of this world”. It was because of its embrace of the “gods of this world” that I became Pagan.’
Considering Halstead has continuously denied the agency and Being of Gods in his writing, I find this very hard to believe. Halstead has gone out of his way to deny that Gods possess Being, and are Beings unto Themselves. Rather than embracing Gods, Halstead has made much of his writing about rejecting Them. That rejection of the Gods, his embrace and normalizing of the term ‘Pagan’ in an atheist mindset is why I considered dropping Pagan as an identifier altogether. If such a term is so open and wide to interpretation that a barebones belief in or respect of Holy Powers are no longer a requirement for identification with groups of Pagan religious communities, what, precisely, are we supposed to be huddled under this umbrella for?
‘For me, more than anything else, the word “Pagan” denotes a this-worldly view of life. I had spent far too much of my early religious life looking for another world and missing the point of this one. I was guilty of what Albert Camus called the sin of “hoping for another life and eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.” I found in Paganism a religion that embraced this world – with both arms.’
The problem I find with the word ‘Pagan’ primarily denoting a this-worldly life is not that it denotes a this-worldly life, per se, but that it is empty of any kind of religious meaning in doing so. It is not about the Gods, Mysteries, our relationships with the Holy Powers, each other, or indeed the world itself. It is solidly stuck in a this-worldly view, which implies that this is the only life that matters, that this is it. Many polytheist religions carry afterlives with them in their cosmologies. For some, reincarnating may be part of that, in addition to there being final destinations depending on how life was lived, what your occupation was, what if any Mysteries you were initiated into, and how you died. The other possible implication of ‘Pagan’ meaning ‘this-worldly view of life’ is that our Ancestors and Dead do not get or have input, and Their agencies are ignored. This is a mighty big problem in most polytheist religions, as the Ancestors and Dead have a lot of input in our individual lives, and active interest in how our religions are restored and lived.
‘While many Pagans do believe in reincarnation, most do not view the cycle of life as something to be escaped from. And most of those who believe in a “Summerland” view it as the place where souls rest between incarnations, not as a “heaven” where one would want to stay. Ultimate, for most Pagans, this world is all there is. But where this would cause some to despair, the Pagan shouts with joy!’
What I have not seen featured in polytheist writings, nor in an polytheist circles I run in, is a worry about these afterlives. There may be active cultivation of relationships with certain Gods (I think of Dionysian Mysteries and the Eleusinian Mysteries here), or certain Gods may lay a claim on a worshiper or group of worshipers, but in my experience, we generally leave the concern of where we go to our Gods of Death. I would not eve say for ‘most Pagans, this world is all there is’, especially coming on the heels of Halstead saying ‘many Pagans do believe in reincarnation’ and talk of belief in a Summerland. Not only is this assumptive of ‘most Pagans’, it also denies that many, if not potentially most Pagans have belief in some kind of Otherworld (i.e. the aforementioned Summerland) and afterlives. It subtly denies polytheism in Paganism.
‘So when John Beckett talks about placing the gods before the concerns of this world, this is not just another form of Paganism – it is the antithesis of everything Paganism is to me. For me, it’s this world or bust!’
This gets to the crux of the piece: Halstead is positing that the polytheism, and likewise the polytheists he is critiquing, what he calls ‘other-worldly polytheism’ is outside of the Circles of Paganism that Beckett, he, and others have used in their writing at Patheos. In writing ‘it is the antithesis of everything Paganism is to me. For me, it’s this world or bust!’ Halstead not only falsely places us polytheists who believe the Gods should come first on the opposite side of caring for this world, he is also placing us firmly on the outside of Paganism.
‘John goes on to argue that, in the absence of a belief in the gods, we will lack the motivation to care for the Earth and to build a fair and just society when the going gets hard. I simply cannot agree. How does putting the gods between us and our concern for the earth and its inhabitants strengthen that concern?’
Halstead would be asking an important question here, were he not completely missing the point. In putting the Gods first, we necessarily place our concern for the Earth and Its inhabitants in a high priority. It strengthens our resolve when it is weak, it gives us zeal when it is easier to ignore the problems we face, and it provides an undercurrent of relationships to why we care so deeply for our world, our local and global ecology, and all the Holy Powers who share in that relationship with us. Our relationships with the Holy Powers strengthens that concern by denying our concerns merely for self-preservation, which is frequently short-sighted and self-serving, and pushing us, if not directly telling us that we need to care not only for ourselves, but future generations as well. It’s not pushing enlightened self-service; rather, polytheism asks us to live for our Ancestors and our descendants/others’ descendants. We are Ancestors in the making, Their latest iteration, and it is on us to be good Ancestors to those who come after us, even if we never have children.
As I said in What It Means to Place the Gods First:
‘Placing the Gods first means, though, that we accept the Gods as the center of our lives, as the forces with which we ally to bring good to our lives and the lives of those we touch. As my family understands and lives this, it means that family is second to the Gods because without a good relationship with the Gods, we do not have good relationships within our family…It means that our Ancestors are never gone, but walk with us in this life. That when we work with people, we understand the work to not just be work, but Gebo and the building up of maegen and hamingja between us. It means that the religion we live carries weight in our lives, and ripples out into how we relate to one another, and to all things.’
‘In my own experience, the reverse has been true: care for this world is inversely proportionally to the belief in the importance of another one. This has been true in my own life and in the lives of many others I have seen – like those who response to ecocide is “It’s all going to burn anyway.”‘
Again, this would be a worthy concern were I seeing any polytheist putting forth such a rash, irresponsible, wrong-headed repsonse like ‘It’s all going to burn anyway.’ This attitude is predominant in the monotheist eschatology in which the Final Battle purges the world, and God makes everything alright. The corollary to this attitude in the atheist sphere is a nihilism that denies the usefulness of action. I do not find either of these attitudes in polytheism. Rather, I find that polytheist stories embrace the idea of facing steep odds, and are the kind of tests that make heroes. I find that polytheist stories are stories of hope, such as Yggdrasil rising from the flames of Surt’s destruction after Ragnarök.
‘To me, it seems that a god-motivated concern for the earth – whether polytheist or monotheist – is more fragile than a concern that grows directly out of one’s relationship with the earth itself – for the same reason that stewardship models of environmentalism don’t go as deep as those that recognize our inherent interconnectedness.’
Again, Halstead seems to not understand that a Gods-motivated concern for the Earth is as much, if not more strong than a concern that grows directly our of one’s relationship with the Earth itself -because a polytheists our relationship with the land we live on is important, whether between the Gods and spirits of the local land, or of the Earth as a whole. A polytheist’s attitude towards the Earth grows out of our relationship with It. Stewardship models do not go deep enough, I grant, but even philosophies that recognize our inherent interconnectedness fail to go deep enough because they often remain philosophies, primarily of the mind, and are not lived. Our religions require us to live in relationship with the Holy Powers, the land we live on, and from that, the wider Earth included. In other words, recognizing we are interconnected is quite a different thing from living as interconnected beings.
‘What happens to our ecology when the gods are silent, as they sometimes are?’
We have free will, and it is well within our wheelhouse as living Beings to make our own choices. We are humans, animals, and part of this world. For us polytheists, we need not consult just the Gods. This is why I emphasized the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir together, as each provides us with ways to answer questions, find guidance, and move forward. If the Gods are silent we may need to consult the Ancestors or vaettir. If all are silent, perhaps it is time we made up our minds, and acted.
‘Or what happens when the will of the gods do not align with the needs of our planet?’
I have yet to find a situation where wills of the Gods do not align with the planet’s needs. Regardless, just because I know countless Gods exist does not mean that all are to be followed, nor that all have the world’s needs in mind. Treating the wills of the Gods as a singular is problematic because the Gods are many, and so too are Their wills.
‘John admits that “…we aren’t the primary concern of the Gods…” Well, if we are not, and if this planet is not, then I wonder what is their primary concern?’
We cannot be the primary concern of the Gods because not all Gods are concerned with us. The same goes for the planet. Again, treating the wills of the Gods as a singular is problematic because the Gods are many, and so too are Their wills. Their concerns no less so. Asking ‘What is Their primary concern?’ is fruitless. They don’t have a unified concern because the Gods are not One.
‘No doubt someone will tell me that the ways of the gods are mysterious or their ways are not our ways -but I’ve heard all that before, from my former religion. I’m left wondering, if the gods are not concerned with us, and with the other lifeforms on this earth, why we should worship them at all? The mere fact of their existence seems to be insufficient reason to justify placing them before everything else.’
If you need justification for worshiping Gods such as the Eldest Ancestor, the First Fire of the Universe that gave and gives light and heat out of the cold Void, or for worshiping the Gods that gave us life, form, and the ability to exist, if you need justification to be in good relationship, and give respect to the Gods, Ancestors and vaettir that allow us to live, gave rise to us, and live in relationship with us, then I have no idea how to convince you of that importance. If you utterly refuse to believe in, acknowledge the Holy Powers, and actively deny such Beings exist, and that such relationships are real and impactful, I have neither the idea nor the time to convince you otherwise. It is not merely Their existence, but that we exist that should be more than sufficient reason to place Them before all else, with an attitude of gratitude, if nothing else.
‘Of course, not all Polytheism is other-worldly. Not all polytheisms are equal.’
No polytheism I know of is strictly other-worldly. What Halstead is trying to say with ‘Not all polytheisms are equal’ is that there are some polytheisms that are better than others, polytheisms he is ‘happy to share the Pagan umbrella with – a this-worldly polytheism.’ Again, Halstead is placing those of us who put our Gods first, whom he calls ‘other-worldly polytheism’, on the outside of the Pagan umbrella.
‘Some forms of Polytheism find the gods in the manifest phenomena of this world – its rivers, its mountains, its flora, its other-than-human animals. For them, “We move through a world rife with gods and spirits, and a multitude of gods dwell within each of us…We rub up against the divine being with every turn in the sacred dance” (Alison Leigh Lily), from “Local spirits-of-place Gods, like the tiny endemic population of this-kind-of-poppy-with-the-spot-on-its-petals which has only ever been found on one mountain in one county in one land” to “Gods who are nothing but the endless omnipotent life force endlessly taking shape in all things” (Morpheus Ravenna).’
I have no experience with or understanding that there are polytheists who do not find many Gods manifest in the phenomena of this world. However, many of Them are found beyond it as well. Again, referring to the Gods as a whole is problematic. As the Gods are not all found in the manifest phenomena of this world, it denies Their multiplicity to exist from without the Earth. In denying the multiplicity of the Gods’ manifestations, those Gods’ existence is also denied, the same with Ancestors and vaettir whose existence comes from other places.
‘For some Polytheists, the suggestion that we should avoid placing this world before the gods is nonsensical, a non-sequitur, because for them there is no distinction between the gods and this world. That is a kind of Polytheism I am happy to share the Pagan umbrella with – a this-worldly polytheism. But if your gods aren’t going to help me save this world, then I don’t want your Polytheist revolution.’
The problem with referring to the Gods as though They are a unified whole, is that his point here is rather more panentheist than it is polytheist. There must be a distinction made between the Gods and the world, and the Gods who are the Gods of the Earth. Otherwise, the many Gods are being reduced to a singular whole, rather than the plural, individuated Beings the word ought to mean. In doing this, what was Many is reduced to a toothless, ineffectual One. This world’s ability to provide us with the means to live will not be made, cared for, or secured in a single way. We should not place such an expectation of sum-total unity upon the Gods, either.
If Halstead thinks that devotional polytheism is other-worldly polytheism, then he does not understand what he is attempting to critique, and needs to actually read what we write rather than read into our words what he wants to read. We are advocating for RADICAL acceptance of responsibility to leave this world better than we found it, to heal it where we can, and to teach the next generation better ways of living than we inherited.
We do this by following the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits’ examples, guidance, and direction.
I ask him this: What do you follow?
There’s a simple, beautiful connection in lighting a candle, some incense, and saying prayers. I’ve done it all my life. I did it when I was a Catholic, praying for the Intercession of the Saints, Mary, and Jesus. I do it when I light candles now, asking for my Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir to speak with me, to bless my family and I. Just sitting and talking with Them for ten, fifteen minutes, and despite a crush of harsh things coming down in the last week, I feel a sense of connection.
It’s not that I think anything is going to get resolved tomorrow, or even by my next paycheck. It’s walking forward knowing the Holy Powers are walking with me. Knowing that I can face the problems in my life with allies before, behind, and alongside me. It’s the feeling of connection I get when I smoke with the Holy Powers, sharing the pipe with each statue, and talking about the day, the week, what is on my mind, and thanking Them for being in my life, for the blessings They bring. That connection doesn’t always bring peace. Sometimes it brings anger, sometimes it brings weeping for the things They’ve gone through. Sometimes the connection brings frustration, as yet another thing gets added to my plate, or something I thought was key to me is taken away.
I think at times I give the impression that my conversations with the Gods are completely staid, or totally ceremonial affairs. However, a lot of my prayers go something like this:
- Hail or rote prayer.
- Whenever I light a Fire I always make a rote prayer that is made out of respect.
- Extemporaneous prayers, talk with the Holy Powers about the day, week, month, fears, thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc.
- Divination might be involved, especially if I’m asking questions I need confirmation on.
- Hail or rote prayer of thanks.
Offerings may be made before, after, or book-ending the prayers and dialogue. But how do I hear the Gods?
Sometimes I have impressions of, or spiritually hear words. Sometimes impressions of or spiritually get smells, an emotion, music, the feeling of a hand on my shoulder, or lips on my forehead. Sometimes I get a combination of these. Sometimes I get abject silence. My conversations with the Holy Powers can go in a number of directions, and part of that is natural intuition on my part, and what They are able or willing to use on Theirs. What also plays into this is what ritual tools I am using, and where I am. Outside in the garden, I feel a kind of flowing connection with the Gods of our garden with the Earth beneath my feet, the Ancestors, and the landvaettir as we pray to Them, whether planting, plucking, harvesting, or otherwise working with Them. Inside in the dark at the altars with the candles lit, the energy tends to be much more focused, intense, and personal. Again, it depends on how the Holy Powers respond. There have been times in the garden, particularly when I take out the compost and hail Hela and Niðogg, when the connection was focused, intense, and personal, equally as much as inside. That reminds me: I need to get some devotional items for Them inside.
What I find powerful with regular devotional work is that such conversations, dialogue, impressions, and so on, can become part of, to borrow a phrase from John Beckett, ‘our ordinary times’. I say ‘can’, because not everyone has such connections, nor are they required to be a polytheist. That said, that awe, that connection, that intuition can be cultivated by devotional work. It can be, and is invited each time we kneel in respect, prostrate in honor, give thanks, gift our offerings, open our mouths to pray, and share our lives with Them. We invite that connection to suffuse our lives each time we make space for Them. Each time that our religions twine with the whole of our lives, becoming lived rather than just identifiers. Each time we put our religions forth in our lives as matters of consequence, and not merely matters of belief.
The simplest connections have made for some of the most powerful interactions with the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir I have had. The simple little connections are what have sustained me in the hardest times, and keep me righted in the easier ones. Regular devotional work does require discipline, but it does not require a lot of ‘stuff’, especially if that would get in the way between us and the Holy Powers. Heck, even the rituals I put on with the church I serve require relatively little tools. What matters is that the connections between us are made, Gebo is made, and respect is kept.
So even in the hard times, keep up the devotional work. Especially then. Having that ground of discipline and connection has gotten me through, and keeps getting me through the challenges I face in life. As the polytheist religions continue to grow and thrive, putting down these roots will build up each member in strength and resilience, and do the same for their respective communities.
Kvasir’s blood builds | within the poet’s mouth
Bursts forth with praise | to sky, soil, and sea
Gushes forth with foam | a font of Mimir’s well
Poured out upon the Tree
Surt’s Gift builds warm | within the stone heart
Blesses lodge with smoke | to sky, soil, and sea
Carries the recels | as Muspel’s hearth
Pours smoke out upon the Tree
The wolf-priest comes | a wineskin in hand
Whose words travel far | over sky, soil, and sea
Let all heed their cup | Kvasir’s blood travels long
To be poured upon the Tree
I seek inside myself
a place that was
carved from earth
scraped from stone
I seek behind myself
those that knew
life from death
power from tribe
I seek before myself
a place that is
sought from earth
sanctified from sacrifice
I seek beyond myself
a tribe that knows
strength from striving
bonds from trust
My thanks to Ryan on Galina’s post, A Bit of a Prayer-Card Conundrum. You inspired me to write these.
Landvaettir Prayer 1
Hail to the land beneath me
The soil, insects, and Dead
Hail to the land around me
The ground, the plants, the animals
Hail to the land sustaining me
The food, water, and home
Landvaettir Prayer 2
Praise to the vaettir of stone and soil
of bird and insect
of animal and tree
Praise to the vaettir of the foundation and house
of concrete and wood
of metal and glass
Praise to the vaettir of field and farm
of cattle and crop
of food and fertilizer
Praise to the landvaettir
of home and hearth
of roads and rails
Landvaettir Prayer 3
Sweet land that cradles the Dead
That gifts the food and carries the water
Sweet land that offers us home
That gifts the comfort and keeps the warmth
Sweet land that ties us together
That gifts the connection and clasps the Wyrd
Sweet land that builds the home
That gifts the ground and crafts the wells
Sweet land that blesses us all
That gifts the life and consumes the worn
We thank you
We thank you
We thank you
This last line can also be used as a refrain in between each verse.