Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 70: For Freyr Victorious

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This request was made by Maleck for Freyr, returning victorious from the Mound.

The roads of Hel are known to me

Over the Bridge and through forest and field

I walk with the knowledge of ancient paths

Tread by my blood-soaked feet

The ways between are trod in silence

Vitality in each step, and life springing forth

I walk and life returns in my steps from Death

Antler swaying on a cord at my side

Helheim’s lands roll up to the frozen ground

Ice stretches beyond the horizons and snow blankets all

I walk and little mosses grace my passing

Steam cleansing my warming corpse

Fire graces my bare chest and plants warm kisses

Nerves and sinew stretch and reach and sigh

I walk and ashes cling to my steps

My fingers grace dark wood that breathes new life

The noiseless yawn moves the air

Potential and nothing settle peace in my heart and mind

I walk between a roiling river and the liminal breath

My path winding about the current’s course

The deep dark earth welcomes my journey

Singing picks and voices accompany my torchlit steps

I walk by and see the forges and yards of mighty crafters

Passing, my gaze full of witness to glory and might

Forests line the mouth’s exit

Silvery voices welcome me home and bid me stay

I walk in silence, refusal spoken in my stride

My hof’s door left open for my return

Trackless woods and deep valleys invite me

Animals saunter and monsters track my way

I walk without fear among the Jötnar home

For my gifts bring peace and life to Them as well

Fields of wheat wave in greeting to me

Orchards and lakes and sagging bushes thank my passing

I walk in fertile places that I have renewed

My birthplace heralds my passage and bids me return

The peaks of homes kiss the clouds and the walls open their arms

Work and war clash around my ears, familiar calls ring out

I walk unbound in the halls and gaze upon the seeing seat

Memories follow me on the rainbow road

The expanse of Jörð invites me, finally

The blood-stained sickle gripped in my wet-eyed wife’s hand

I walk and lie in the mound She has made and breathe

Reborn and victorious I rise again

Patreon Topic 69: On Priesthood

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From Maleck comes this topic:

“Your experiences specifically with priesthood, what it means and how it has worked for you.”

Before I dig into this I think defining terms is a pretty necessary thing. Every time I have talked at length, even in polytheist, animist, and Pagan spaces, folks tend to mistake priesthood for clergyhood. I have spent time in previous posts on priesthood exploring this in depth. However, I think our recent in-person conversation illustrate the differences well, and briefly to boot: Priests face the Gods while clergy face the people. The needs and requirements of being a priest are different even if a person ends up having to wear both hats or more in service to their community.

Since I understand priesthood as facing the Gods and serving Them, my experience of being a priest for both Óðinn and Anpu reflect this.

What it means to be a polytheist priest is that you are a servant of a God or many Gods. In my case, I am an independent Heathen priest of Óðinn and an independent Kemetic priest of Anpu. I specify my independence for two reasons: one, most of my experiences of being called to and engaging in priesthood for these Gods is modern and two, disconnected from any mainstream polytheist religions that hold priesthood or clergy status with these Gods. Due to my background, my experiences and practices will likely differ from those who are in more mainstream religious practices. I was brought into these Gods’ service through direct experience and guidance by Their hands, and much of my journey in service with and to Them reflects this. While I have had Elders and such over the years, they have come and gone and much of the Work I engage in for my Gods remains regardless of this coming or going of the people in my life.

For me, this service to Óðinn as a priest has been to make cultus to Him, to teach others how to serve Him, and to engage with the mysteries He shares with me and the spiritual Work He assigns to me. It is working with and understanding the Runes as vaettir, and working with Them in magic. Much of my work over time of being a priest of His has merged with my work as a spiritworker. The bright line between my work as a priest and a spiritworker is that my work as a priest is, primarily, to and for Him. My work as a spiritworker, by contrast, tends to be connective between folks and the Ginnreginn, whether that is making prayers here on my blog, or doing Rune or spiritual consultation.

While the line between being a priest and being a spiritworker is fairly bright at times, there is also a lot of overlap between the two. Many of my acts of service beginning in my priestly service to Óðinn have brought me into spiritwork. Nowadays is there much of a difference?

I think the big difference is that my service as a priest and the focus of that role belongs to Óðinn alone. My work as a spiritworker may involve Him, and involve cultus to/with Him, but it is not solely for Him. Much of my spiritwork is connective for/to others, and much of my work as a spiritworker is in service to building connection, relationship, and/or spiritual consultation and spiritual troubleshooting with a variety of Ginnreginn. Some of these Ginnreginn, that is, Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir, may not be part of my regular cultus at all. Many of the Ginnreginn I have made prayers for are not part of my hearth cultus or any of the specialized cultus I personally hold, yet that is part of my service as a spiritworker.

My priesthood with both Óðinn and Anpu may have spiritual skills that include spiritwork components, such as divination, hamfara (faring forth in my hamr or second skin), and/or the construction taufr or amulets, but these are not solely spiritworker skills. The skills certainly stack with each other quite well, even having similar if not the same utility to the user. In many ways being a priest it is far less demanding in its requirements than being a spiritworker. While the time I have devoted to studying the Runes has been involved, and likewise developing spiritual skills such as hamfara, there are less demands on my time by Him in my priest role than there is when I serve others as a a spiritworker. The focus of the skills and their provenance differ, though, from priest to spiritworker. Even if I worked with no physical human beings and only had a community of vaettir, spirits, to work with/for, I still understand the difference is my service as a priest and that of a spiritworker is my priest role’s focus belongs to Óðinn alone.

Much of my work as a priest to Anpu has dropped away over the years. When Óðinn hit my life Anpu intentionally backed away. Much of the intense Work I did with Anpu, including tending His shrine weekly, traveling in spirit to with Him and doing Work He assigned me, and ongoing work with the Dead either stopped or changed forms in my more primary Heathen path and relationship with Óðinn that had come to the fore. My aesthetics changed along with it. I traded in white muslin cloth ritual robes for linen, wool, and fur ritual clothes. I traded in mostly copper and bronze ritual tools for iron and steel ritual tools. Whereas I had few ritual weapons in my priesthood to Anpu, I have many with Óðinn, some of which are shared with my spiritwork. Another large difference is in how my priesthoods are expressed. Anpu’s priesthood was highly regimented and often I encountered it in a strict ritual space, including ritual cleanliness requirements. While I do encounter Óðinn in regimented ritual space, and do keep myself ritually clean, it is not as exacting as Anpu’s, and much of Óðinn’s priesthood is like an ongoing experience where He walks beside me. While both Gods have emphasized ritual protocol of varying kinds over the year, the way They have done so is very different to one another.

In my experience being an independent priest of Óðinn is fulfilling work in and of itself. What I do regularly in service to Him is relatively straightforward: namely I perform cultus, which includes making offerings and prayers to Him. I keep oaths and obligations to Him. I perform other spiritual work as He brings it to me to be done. Sometimes this overlaps with my spiritworker role, and sometimes it does not. The work of a priest is service to and for Him.

Patreon Poem/Prayer Song 72: For Jörmungandr

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This request was made by Emi for Jörmungandr.

The waves lap around me

Over me

Under me

Encircle, encircle, encircle

The enchantment drives my paths

Horses small as plankton gallop

Over me

To me

Running, running, running

Desperation nips their feet

Rán and Her Daughters play with me

Over me

With me

Surging, surging, surging

Laughter shared between us

Icy waters soothes me

Over me

In me

Caressing, caressing, caressing

Fiery pain quenches in the cool

Warm waters invigorate me

Over me

Around me

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Tension melts in the heat

Oceans flow about me

Against me

From me

Rocking, rocking, rocking

Waves roll across the waters by my might

Your waters flow from me

Along me

Beyond me

Flowing, flowing, flowing

Waters cross from ocean to river to tap

I flow across the waters

Along them

Throug them

Swimming, swimming, swimming

Miðarðr’s living protection at the oceans’ crossing

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 71: For Freyja Seiðkona

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This request was made by Maleck for Freyja Seiðkona.

Freyja! Freyja! Freyja!

Seiðkona! Seiðkona! Seiðkona!

Varðlokkur-bearer! Seið-teacher! Gandr-wielder!

Teach me what I must do

To sing the varðlokkur songs that bring and ward

To work good and powerful seiðr

To take up and use gandr wisely

Teach me the ways to do

To call vaettir and make magic

To break and lay curses and boons

To bear power and use it with wisdom

Teach me the tools I must have

To wield megin well

To find and fetter my foes

To bless and empower my allies

Teach me the ways You will

To make taufr crafted with skill and megin

To make my Soul Parts strong and resilient

To make me Fjólkyngismaðr

Please, teach me Your Ways, Freyja Seiðkona!

Please, teach me the varðlokkur!

Please, teach me seiðr!

Please, teach me to work and wield gandr!

Hail! Hail! Hail!

Freyja Seiðkona!

Patreon Topic 68: Jörmangandr

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From Emi comes this topic:

“Could you do a discussion topic on Jörmungandr?”

Sure thing.

Like many of our Gods there is precious little on Jörmungandr, the Miðgarðsormr (Midgard/World Serpent), in our sources. Völuspá, Hymiskviða, and Húsdrapa are among them. Their Wikipedia page is not bad as summations go. There is also the The World History Encyclopedia entry for Them, but I think a good chunk of its commentary is reaching beyond the boundaries of what is in the myths, especially as Jörmungandr is the boundaries of the seas.

I find that, like a great many things he touches, Lecouteux actually has some interesting information that he goes over in two of his books. These are The Tradition of Household Spirits, and Demons and Spirits of the Land. To sum up the most relevant parts to my thoughts here on Jörmungandr: serpents have been found buried in the threshold or in the walls, and understood, as with other animals and people buried in such a way, to be part of the spirit of the home and/or a guardian. Given Óðinn enchanted Them to encircle the seas and essentially become a great barrier unto Themselves, it would seem to me that Jörmungandr serves this function on a larger cosmological scale for us here in Miðgarðr. So, I think it is a good and honorable thing to worship Them and wear/bear iconography in honor of Them.

Jörmungandr is a child of Loki and Angrboða, sibling to Hel, Fenrir, Narvi, and Vali. They have presented to me as male, female, neither, both, and beyond. In respect, I default to They as the pronoun I refer to Them as until and unless They make it clear which pronoun is appropriate.

In demeanor I find Them generally patient with humans. They are utterly aware of how great They are, both in terms of size and power. I do not think it is coincidence that Their name has a number of translations with deep meaning. The first part, Jörmun-, including great/vast/huge. The second part is -gandr, and among the interpretations of it are spirit, magic snake, fjord, and staff. It is worth pointing out that gandr, as explored in The Viking Way by Price, “forms yet another distinct category here, with origins that go back much earlier than the Viking Age. The basic sense of the word is often argued to mean simply ‘magic’, and deVries has suggested that it can be related to the concept of Ginnungagap. This is important, as it suggests gandr to be one of the primal forces from which the worlds are formed, and thus implies that this form of sorcerous power was of considerable dignity.” (Price, 35-36) He then goes on to relate how gandr was also referred to in conjunction with seiðr (Price, 36), another source of and use of magical power.

So, whatever way we undstand the gandr in Their Name, Jörmungandr is a being of great power, and due Their respect. In that regard I consider supporting reptile sanctuaries, rescues, and the like to be ways of making offerings to Them. I also consider prayers, offerings of food and drink, and offerings of herbs, incense, and the like, much as we might make to any of our Gods, good offerings to make.

Patreon Topic 66: On Odin and the Wild Hunt

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From Cynnian comes this topic:

“Seasonally, maybe elucidate particulars with Odin and the Wild Hunt.”

It’s funny that I got this question when I did. I am currently reading Phantom Armies of the Night by Claude Lecouteux which goes over things like the Wild Hunt, the Furious Host, and other such phenomena. Lecouteux’s books are just awesome, and I highly recommend this for background on origins and theories around it.

Without quoting large swathes of the book, much of the work that he has uncovered tends to cover ideas that the Wild Hunt are, in part, made up of the Dead. In Christian sources these tend to be the unbaptized or especially sinful, and recounts of them tend to diverge into sermons against sin at varying points. However, Odin’s Wild Hunt tends to be composed of other beings as well. At times, valkyries seem to be implied to be part of it, masked folks who have joined it, folks whose hamr (Double as Lecouteux calls it) have joined the Hunt, as well as many other Beings.

Some useful quotes to this by Lecouteux:

“In Denmark, Odin sets out in pursuit of a supernatural being.” (69).

“One of the principal arguments made by scholars in favor of Odin as leader of the Wild Hunt is the motify of the storm.” (209). 

“The most solid argument in Odin’s favor is undoubtedly the fact that the Infernal Throng sometimes consists of warriors and horsemen. As the god of war annd the owner of the horse Sleipnir, Odin is at home in this context. He also finds a place as master of Jöl (Jölnir), through his knowledge of necromancy and other magical practices that make him the god-shaman who has mastered the trance journey, and by his Einherjar, the dead warriors that make up the army with whom he will confront the powers of chaos during Ragnarök.” (214)

Another interesting quote is “Nicholas Gryse (1543-1614) cites a Mecklenburg custom intended to appearse Odin, he relays the words of a peasant song:

Wode, take now fodder for your horse

‘Tis now thistles and brambles

Next year it shall be most excellent grain.” (219)

This theme ties in themes of fecundity and fertility that Lecouteux goes on to explore in other contexts.

Lecouteux dedicates an entire chapter to Odin and the Wild Hunt and how it differs from things like the Furious Army, Odin’s Army, and related phenomena. What seems to me to be the biggest difference is the function or purpose of it. The Wild Hunt seems to me to be more restorative in its function than the Furious Army, the Diabolical Hunstman, and other motifs. Whether it is hunting a supernatural being such as an álf, or if it is passing over-through places as a host, it seems to be more of a restorative force or a balancing one, which also seems to have ties to fertility and fecundity, than merely dragging the Dead to hell or to the underworld. Many of the members of the Hunt are Dead, but they also can be other beings as well, and many are masked depending on the recounting.

Lecouteux sums this up pretty well, saying:

“What is most striking in the history of the Wild Hunt is its variability, its ability to meld with other beliefs, to draw elements from them and to combine them. The narratives we have read here allow us to see two large vectors. First is the ancestor worship that encourages the merger of the theme and the table of souls, the fairy repast. Next is the cult rituals culminate in masquerades and Carnival-like processions. Grafted upon this trunk are motifs taken from the legend of the wild huntsman and, when the clerics had taken possession of the Wild Hunt and adopted it in accordance with Christian dogm and other elements of medieval creation, the legend of a cursed hunter, which nothing but a miniature version of the Inernal Hunt that has been reduced to its simplest expression.” (237)

To sum up an excellent book and reams of folklore, Odin and the Wild Hunt tends to be a seasonal occurence (though it may also occur nightly depending on one’s understanding/time period) that brings fecundity, fertility, restoration, and balance back to the land and its people. Getting swept up in it is particularly dangerous whether in body or one’s hamr, but it can also be rewarding if you are prepared and able to handle it. This is where modern Wild Hunt cultus and esoteric work, such as I have experienced with Maleck Odinsson, comes into play.

In my experiences of it, the Wild Hunt does carry these ideas of fecundity, fertility, restoration, and balancing in my own experience of it. Our rituals tend to be oriented around the New Moon, and involve meeting the Wild Hunt in our hamr as it makes its nightly rounds. My experience of the Wild Hunt is that Odin is not is only leader, and that role does get passed around with other noted leaders of the Wild Hunt such as Frau Perchta, and I have seen Frigg lead the Hunt as well.

For preparation, I tend to mask up in my lyke (physical body) with my wolf pelt for the duration of the rite, keeping my taufr bag full of taufr to various Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir in my pocket or nearby. Often, I will wear protective taufr and taufr tied to Odin, wolves, Fenrisúlfr, and other Gods, including my valknut, Mjölnir, wolf, and bracelet with úlfheðnar bracteates on them. During the rite my hamr will generally take the form of a werewolf, wolf, or some other similar being, though I have kept a human-like form for the Hunt before. In joining the Hunt, I have found it to often already be in progress. Sometimes I am allowed to hunt certain beings who have caused harm to the community, and other times I am told to stick with the Hunt and hunt who They do. Sometimes it is both.

So what now? You’re in the Wild Hunt. Maybe you’re following it in its round, or maybe you’re being told to go handle something. So you do. Sometimes it is being in the noise of the storm, being the storm. Others, it is a predator on the hunt with your packmates, tearing apart something that has done another wrong. Sometimes it is taking up a spear or a sword and driving it into a vaettr, whether human or not, and letting the blood soak. Sometimes it is merely riding with the Hunt and experiencing it from within. Sometimes the Hunt takes you over and you are a snarling thing, an extension of something, someone else, no longer your own. Whatever it is, the Wild Hunt lives up to its namesake. It is wild, it is chaotic, it is powerful, and it is raw.

Then you come back into a body that feels hungry and tired, and sometimes also so full of energy you feel you could run a marathon. Then the energy crash hits after some food, or a good drink of coffee or tea. The Wild Hunt takes and it blesses. It ravages and rights. It is the use of power to do, and cultivating power to use in the Hunt is, in my experience, part and parcel of doing that Work.

What I find quite interesting is how many of my experiences of the Wild Hunt comport with the writings that are left to us on it. I find it striking in the similarity it carries to other nightly/seasonal spirit flight and spiritwork recountings, such as the benedanti and Thiess of Kaltenbrun’s experiences as a werewolf.

These are my insights into Odin and the Wild Hunt.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 69: For Angrboða

If you want to submit a request for a prayer, poem, or song to be written to you privately or to be posted on this blog or my Patreon for a God, Ancestor, or spirit, sign up for the Ansuz and above level here on my Patreon.

This request was made by Maleck for Angrboða.

Great Wolf, I hail You

Ferocious and mauling-mouthed Mother

Who leads the Ironwood with care

Taufr-strong, I hail You

Calculating and megin-mighty Magician

Who keeps Her loved ones safe

Bloodhand, I hail You

Sacrificer and woe-wielding Witch

Who knows the secret Ways

Motherwort, I hail You

Leader and hale-whole Healer

Who mends Her peoples’ wounds

Gyðja, I hail You

Leader and hamingja-holding Host

Who guides Her peoples well

Angrbóða, I hail You

Angrbóða, I hail You

Angrbóða, I hail You

Ves þu heil

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 68: For Feasting

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This request was made by Emi For Feasting.

Thank You Gods and Goddesses

Thank You Auðumla*

Thank You Gulinkambi*

Thank You Gullinbursti*

Thank You Heiðrun*

Thank You vaettir

Thank You farmer and field

Thank You animals and plants

Thank You landvaettir

Thank You Ancestors

Thank You to those who gather here together

Thank You to those who have gathered, cooked, and share this meal

Thank You for your heart, your work, and your presence here

We gather here in frið today

We gather in respect for guest and host alike

We gather in sacred feast

May each of us be nourished

May each of us who wishes to be heard, seen, and known be so

May each of us leave in frið

The first of the meal is for the Ginnreginn

The first of the drink is for the Ginnreginn

The first of the good words is for the Ginnreginn:

May each of You be held in good Gebo, Ginnreginn

May each of You be respected and honored

May each of You be full of joy at this feast

Ves þu heil!

Let the feast begin!

*If the animal is present in the meal, whether the animal’s meat itself or products produced from the animal such as cheese, butter, or lard. Where a suitable animal name is not known from the sources, a close equivalent is used. When we eat turkey we tend to pray to Gullinkambi. If another animal were found, given, or revealed to us as more appropriate we would pray to Them.

Patreon Poem/Prayer/Song 67: For Safe Travels

If you want to submit a request for a prayer, poem, or song to be written to you privately or to be posted on this blog or my Patreon for a God, Ancestor, or spirit, sign up for the Ansuz and above level here on my Patreon.

This request was made by Emi for Safe Travels.

Blessed Earth and blessed ground

Walking beneath my feet

Rolling beneath my tires

Hold me up, hold me up

Bless my journey

Blessed vaettir all around

Walking with me

Journeying around me

Know me, oh know me

Blessing each others’ ways

Blessed Gods of traveling

Watching me

Guiding me

Help me, oh help me

Safely finding my way

Blessed Ancestors who wandered

Wandering with me

Protecting me

Guide me, oh guide me

Coming home in joy

Blessed walkers and road-wise

Crossing paths with me

Seeing me

Speak with me, oh speak with me

Sharing wisdom and stories

Blessed keepers and sentinels

Guarding the roads and passages

Watching me

Sheltering me

Bless me, oh bless me

Securing the journey I make

A Lay for the Wild Hunt

The horde roaves roads of forests,
Roaming the wild of the world
Across field and fen, frost and flame
The host fairs forth

Gods and great Dead are the vanguard,
Wolves and wild things follow and watch the ways
Above come ravens and crows in the wake
Between are those borne and brought into stride

The sunsets are stained dark with blood
Shadows teem and swallow the night
The sound of their sumons are hooves and howls
Carrying the calls of the Wild Hunt’s host

Offer, lest the door be darkened
Good beer, bread, or blade freely given
For many are the mouths of the might Hunt
And satisfaction ever They seek

Join, if you are of a mind to journey
To scout and slaughter, by blade, bow, or bite
Among man and monster one may find their kin
Blessed by the ways of the Wild