The mead brews
Little bubbles flow up
The honey-water froths
A month and Yuletide
A gift to loved ones
A raised glass
A raised horn
Cheer and warmth in Winter
(What set this post off was eating a salmon patty and taking a moment out not only to really enjoy it, but contemplate where it came from, how it got to my table, and for whom I had to thank for the meal.)
Hail to the Nine Undine Goddesses!
Thank you for the bounty of the sea, of life that swims and strains
Thank you for the sweat of fishermen, the strong meat of the oceans
That raise up from the depths and nourish us
Thank you Holy Ones.
Hail to the Gods of the Seas, the Oceans, the Rivers, the Lakes, and the Streams!
Hail to the Gods of the Waters, great and small, known and unknown!
May They ever be hailed!
Hail to the throngs of the ocean!
Hail to the fish, the eel, the shark, the whale, the shrimp, the crab, the lobster
All you who we eat;
All of you who are threatened by our fishing;
All of your who are threatened by our pollution and trash:
Thank you for your lives.
I ask not for your patience; we owe you debts no one human could return.
Perhaps not even a generation can.
Yet we try. We will continue to try.
To do more than simply hail you; to stop the polluting and destruction
Wherever we can.
Hail to our cousins in the Waters; hail to the Watervaettir!
Hail to the fishers
Who risk life and limb to feed us and their families
Or who do the hard work of fisheries
Bless you who brave the waters
Who work the long hours
Who help to feed us
Hail to you!
I sat in the dark with my son after night prayers, and a question came to me.
I asked him: “Do you have any questions about the Gods?”
His answer: “Who is Sif?”
It kind of surprised me; his question was not “What are the Gods?” or “Why is such-and-such this way?”. He wanted to get to know the Gods we prayed to.
It has been awhile since we had read the stories or talked deeply about the Gods. So, when he asked the question I did something that came naturally: I told a story. I told him She is a Goddess, the wife of Thor, and we call to Her, thanking Her for Her generosity in the night prayer. He asked why She was a Goddess of generosity, and I slipped into the story of how She kept Her composure when Loki burst into the hall, and still offered Him mead, as told in the Lokasenna. He asked me why she would have been angry at Loki. I told my son of how Loki had slain the doorman and insulted the Gods in Aegir’s hall, something one was not supposed to do. He then asked why She would be angry with Loki. So, I told him of how Sif’s hair had been cut by Loki before this, and still, She offered Loki to calm Himself and join the Gods in Aegir’s Hall. He smiled, and he understood. We worship Her, as well as Loki because They are our Gods. They are not perfect; They are powerful, beautiful, mischievous, and so much more. I saw my son’s face light up and crack into a grin as he asked what happened when Thor found out Loki had cut His wife’s hair. He asked me smaller questions as the story went on, and it changed how I told the story.
He asked “Did Thor want to hurt Him? What did Loki do?” So I told of how Loki went down to the Dvergar and asked them to make Him a head of golden hair for Sif, hair that lived as Her had, and yet was made of gold. His eyes lit up, still smiling, and he asked if Loki had been punished by the Aesir for what He did to Sif. No, son, Loki made amends with Sif, giving Her that golden hair. Thor may have wanted to, but Loki was not hurt; He had done as He promised, and made amends.
He came to know many Gods better tonight, not just Sif. Did I tell him the whole story, of how Loki also convinced the sons of Ivaldi to make Skiðblaðnir and Gungnir? No, it was not important at the moment. He has heard the full story before, we’ve read it together. I did emphasize how important the gifts Loki won were, how His mouth was sewn shut because Loki had wagered His head and lost. That is the power of storytelling: we have to decide what to emphasize, what to put aside when we tell it, so it speaks to our listeners. It does not make these two holy items, or their gifting to the Gods any less important. It does not make Loki wagering His head less. The telling of this part of the story would have lessened the impact of the story between Loki and Sif in this moment, and gotten before the point I wanted to make to my son: Loki made amends. That when one makes amends one should not be punished further.
Our stories have to live from our lips and hearts to the ears and hearts of others. If our stories do not live in us, what worth is there in telling them?