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A New Series of Posts on Ritual Praxis

February 10, 2018 4 comments

I was inspired by a conversation with two Heathens I speak with to begin writing on ritual praxis. For me, this project will take place along similar lines as Lārhūs Fyrnsida, especially in regards to their Ritual Format page. Before we get into types of ritual praxis, it is my firm belief that explaining why we develop a ritual praxis is more important, so that will be the first post in the series. Then, we can dig into how we develop a ritual praxis.

The reason I decided to write a series of posts on ritual praxis is because I have seen a lack of understanding about what ritual praxis is and why it is important in my local Pagan and polytheist communities, especially from a general Heathen perspective. My aim is to provide context for our home and communal rites, giving people a place to reference or jump off of in developing their own.

A few things to note:

  1. While I do not take a single ancient Heathen perspective my references are primarily Norse and Icelandic with bits of German and Anglo-Saxon. My use of language and the specific words I use reflects this view. I see nothing wrong with being eclectic. I respect that, for a great many people they find more use in sticking to one culture as their worldview. For me and mine, our worldview is primarily based primarily in Norse and Icelandic culture with appreciation for crosscurrents between other ancient Heathen religions as we find them.
  2. This will be a series of posts describing why then how Heathens without a particular cultural focus should and can build a ritual praxis. It will focus first on hearth cultus, religious life and rituals centered in the home. We can move out from there.
  3. This series of posts is meant to spur people to not merely think about their religion and religious activities, duties, and so on, but actively to do them. What this means is that if you are doing rituals and you are doing divination to check on things like “Is this ritual correct for us? Are the Gods, Ancestors, and/or vaettir happy with this?” I fully expect you to act in accordance with your own results.
  4. The power and beauty of tribal Heathenry is that presumably the reader and I are not in the same tribe, and just because we may approach the very same Gods does not mean They will have the same responses to our offerings, rituals, and so on. I fully expect folks may get completely different responses from the Holy Powers, and the needs of a given community may differ such that ritual format, protocols, taboos, offerings, etc. may need to change. In other words, none of what I am writing should be taken to be set in stone. These posts are guidelines, not instructions.
  5. Down the road I may move these posts and future posts down the line into a format similar to the Lārhūs Fyrnsida because of ease of access and solid structure.
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Submissions to Odin’s Agon

December 31, 2017 Leave a comment

For Óðrerir’s Brewer

You kindled in me a love for brewing
Water, honey, yeast
Sacred magic, old magic

Kvasir’s brood, your spit

Relaxing and maddening

Teasing out the ties
Inspiration strikes
Fury froths

Growling forth from each sip, each gulp

May each brew be a worthy working

Each bottle a sacred vessel

Each glass a welcome offering

Alliterative Poem to Odin

Wind and wound

Scream and spell

Health and harm

Scar and sense

Wrath and release

Power and purpose

Grey and gold

Eye and iron

Hanged and hale



Making Midgard


When the Sons of Borr took up the spear

No ravens flew or wolves roamed

Nifelheim was far too cold

Muspelheim far too hot

They dreamed of more than ice and mist, fire and smoke

A World teaming with life, with warmth and with cold

A World full of flowing waters and rain

A World between the the Worlds

So when They slew Ymir

The Sons of Borr took up the best of all Worlds to make Midgard

Fire from Muspelheim gifted by Surtr

Ice from Nifelheim taken from Ymir

Fertility from Vanaheim gifted by Freya, Freyr, and Njordr

Wildness from Jotunheim made by the Jotnar

Riches from Svartalfheim dug deep by the Dvergar

Liminality from Alfaheim made by the Alfar

Death from Helheim overseen by Hela

Potential from the Ginnungagap woven by the Nornir

Within the Middle Yard each World was woven to the others

Crafted with care by the Sons of Borr

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 14

December 16, 2017 Leave a comment
Pertho

Perðro (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Perðro.

As yesterday, I cleansed with the Eldest Ancestor, Fire.   Today’s galdr was held before my altar to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  When I lit the candle, a white seven day candle, I made the Fire Prayer and thanked the Eldest Ancestor for cleansing me, purifying me for the work ahead.  I then sat the candle on the ground in front of me throughout the galdr.

In the first round of galdr I saw Perðro in its Rune form white on a field of black, then it reversed in color.  Then, it became a wooden cup out of which dice were rolled.  Then, it became a bag out of which chips were dropped.  Then, I saw a door into pitch darkness open, yawning.

In the second round of galdr I saw the cup again, being shook vigorously.  A few moments of breathing, of bated breath and then, the crash of the wooden cup on a wooden table.  I saw a great swirling darker than darkness yawning like a mouth, and it swirled round and round.  I saw a mouth open and words came, on what I do not know, but the mouth was open and speaking about what lay before it.

In the third round of galdr I saw the dice being interpreted.  The chips were being read.  There were strands coming off the cup, off the bag, off the hands that went into them, the mouth that spoke.  I saw threads come undone and attach, saw as things took shape in the doorway shape of the Rune.  I saw the disgorging of a spell after a long wait, the rumination on things until it was time to make a final choice.  I saw the door opened to some possibilities and shut to others.  I saw choice and consequence come to bear.  I saw the Ginnungagap and Mystery interplay but how I cannot say.

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 10

December 10, 2017 Leave a comment
Naudhiz

Nauðiz (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Nauðiz.

Today I cleansed with the Eldest Ancestor, Fire.   Today’s galdr was held before my altar to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  When I lit the candle, a white seven day candle, I made the Fire Prayer and thanked the Eldest Ancestor for cleansing me, purifying me for the work ahead.  I then sat the candle on the ground in front of me throughout the galdr.

In the first galdr in the round I was shown flint and steel coming together, sparks showering over collected tinder.  My voice was croaking and throaty.  I was in a snowy forest, and had dried tinder, and then larger pieces in the small circle of stones I had collected.  I had larger pieces waiting beside the fireplace.  The next galdr I was shown a firebow, the bow spinning in the board and a little coal smoking, being set to tinder, and fire coming up to eat the tinder, lapping against small sticks.  The last galdr of the first round I was shown a small hand lighter lighting a cooking fire, a grill from the looks of it.

I passed the candle around myself and thanked Fire for cleansing me, and breathed deeply to prepare for the next round of galdr.  The first galdr of this round my voice was warm.  I saw fire in an ancient style tent, in a longhouse, and in a fireplace.  The second galdr of the second round, I saw food cooking in different places: a campfire, a hearthfire, and a modern grill.  The third galdr of this round I saw various things being preserved in smoke such as meat and vegetables and fish, and then it moved into a good-sized pipe, not too long but certainly not small, being smoked.

Again, I passed the candle around myself and thanked Fire for cleansing me.  I breathed in and prepared for the last round of galdr.  This time my voice was croaking and low, almost hissing.  I could feel that this was the ways to deprive someone of what they needed, and each part of this round I saw different things denied to people.  The fire in the hearth was cold and would not light.  The fire was dead in the campfire and the food could not cook.  The people gathered around a fire and another person was left in the cold, backs turned to him.  Another vision and a door was shut and bolted against someone.  The sparks would not light, the tinder would not catch.  Hunger and cold, and freezing water.  Disease in water.  Then, as I finished the last part of the final galdr, I felt warmth again, and the candle before me seemed to glow a bit brighter.  It was Nauðiz was reassuring me.

I cleansed with the candle as before, thanking it for cleansing me.  I then did my usual prayers to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir, asking the Eldest Ancestor to help me come back to normal space as I blew out the candle, thanking the Eldest Ancestor.  Next time I will snuff the candle; it is more respectful.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 9

December 9, 2017 Leave a comment
Hagalaz

Hagalaz (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Hagalaz.

As before, I smoked Großmutter Una to cleanse and prepare myself.  As before, I did the prayers to prepare and flowed into a good, clean whole self when I did.  Today’s galdr work was done entirely outside.

Today’s galdr was very straightforward.  The images came immediately to me, the sensations.  They were crisp, clear, and while there was detail, I sat with the sensations and images for quite awhile as they were.  Unlike previous galdr work where I would be shown different things, each galdr round went one particular way.

The first round of galdr I was shown a field, and it was being absolutely pummeled by hail.  That was it.  I got to see crops beaten and shredded by hailstones.

The next round of galdr was snow falling.  Quiet, serene, snow fall.  Now, for us in Michigan this means that our waters will rise, so this is a good thing.  Yes, it sucks to drive through, but we absolutely need it for our waters to do well.  This was just me being in the middle of a good, steady snowstorm.  No howling wind or anything like that.  Just sitting the middle of a beautiful, slow snowfall.  It is worth pointing out that when I went outside to do galdr work it was not snowing at all, and the sensations and imagery I got were towards darkening of the day, as opposed to the dead of night when I did this work tonight.

The final round of galdr I was pushed to chant in a croaking manner, rhythmic.  This was Hagalaz the cursing Rune, the Rune of ruination, the one that brings your enemies to their knees.  This is the one that crashes down a person or crushes their hopes.  It is a wrathful Rune, not unlike Thurisaz.  Where Thurisaz is “hot”, Hagalaz is “cold”.  Not that cold cannot move swift, but the feel of it was ice, of methodical shredding or unwinding or cutting.  The Runes carved on a scorning pole came to mind when I came out of the galdr.

As before, I made prayers of thanks to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  As before, I cleansed and then cleaned my pipe to come back to normal headspace.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 8

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment
Wunjo

Wunjo (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Wunjo.

As before, I smoked Großmutter Una to cleanse and prepare myself.  As before, I did the prayers to prepare and flowed into a good, clean whole self when I did.  However, today was spent entirely in the garage doing the work.

Breathing during the first round of galdr was different.  There’s a different scent to the air inside the garage versus outside of it.  Not bad, but inside there’s definitely more of a homely feel to the air and less of a wilder scent.  All the various pieces of metal on the shelves, the tractor and the rototiller give off their own little scents too, so the whole feel of the garage is more home, more human.

The first round of galdr brought with it different images.  The first round my voice was very bass, and the garage seemed to echo out like I was on a plain.  The first galdr of the first round brought with it an image of the Rune in white against a black background.  The image then began to flutter, taking on shape, like a flag or pennant.  Like the mast of a ship.  The second galdr of the first round saw that flag in someone’s hand across a battlefield, yells.  A cacophony of noise.  The third galdr of the first round saw it run up over a fort on a long stick, then a flag run over a castle, and raised over a battlefield.

The second round of galdr my voice was far lighter than the first.  As I galdred the first thing I experienced was a family in their home, a warm fire lit, and sitting around a table talking, drinking, enjoying themselves.  There was laughter, I remember that very clearly.  The next galdr and the family was sitting around the fire and sharing something, I think dessert of some kind, and there was a person talking.  There were guests, and they were smiling, listening to the speaker.  The third galdr, and it was quite high and I had the sensation of the Gods being there, the images shifting to a person before an altar with their family, and thanks being given.  I had the sensation of the Gods being happy, that happiness radiating all around.  It was like…wrapped in warmth and joy.

The third round of galdr my voice came rough, croaking.  In the first galdr, Wunjo swung before me, an axe or a mace in the field of white on black.  It was wielded by a hand covered in blood.  The next galdr Wunjo was a hammer and it was nailing in a nail to the wall, repairing it.  The last galdr was a chant, alternating between long and short galdr of Wunjo.  I felt happiness, I felt surety of purpose.  That idea of measure twice and cut once, of the family being united and good, of the Gods being pleased.  That striving, and the fierce joy of having done well by it.

As before, I made prayers of thanks to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  As before, I cleansed and then cleaned my pipe to come back to normal headspace.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 7

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment
Gebo

Gebo (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Gebo.

As before, I smoked Großmutter Una to cleanse and prepare myself.  As before, I did the prayers to prepare and flowed into a good, clean whole self when I did.  Given it had snowed I had some concern I would not be able to handle the cold with the wind for very long, but I felt urged to go outside.

Breathing before the first round of galdr was sharp, but the wind had a kind of cleansing feeling to it as cold as it was.  The cold bit the tips of my fingers and my ears.  For a few moments all I could feel was that cold.  As I breathed through, long and slow, I concentrated on Gebo, and galdred It in a long, warm tone.  I felt like I was put before a hearth fire, someone welcoming me in.  The exchange of greetings, a handshake, a seat offered.  I spoke with the host, about what escapes me.  The point, I think, was the exchange of hospitality for news and companionship.  The proper respect between guest and host.

It was then I felt I had to go inside.  My fingers were aching, and so were my ears.  The wind was picking up.  I went into the garage, my right hand tight around my pipe, taking long, slow, cleansing drags as I entered.  I breathed and I was already warmer despite the garage not being heated.  Thankfulness for shelter washed over me.

The next round of galdr was more deep, animal almost.  The things we needed gained through trade, work, sacrifice.  The warmth of my trenchcoat an animal’s skin, the pipe a tree’s body.  The give and take of predator and prey, of farmer and field, of animal and slaughterer.  Right relationship.  That affirmation of right relationship sang to me throughout the galdr.

After I took several moments to cleanse and breathe, the third round of galdr began.  The first of the three galdr was high in pitch, singing to the top of the Tree and the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir, the Holy Powers, there.  The next was milder, singing to the middle of the Tree and the Holy Powers there.  The third was deep, bass, singing to the bottom of the tree and the Holy Powers there.  Each world brought with it a flood of images, many I am still trying to sort out.  What I do remember is a cup of mead, the blood of a blót, a bottle of beer poured on a field, water on a tree.  Standing, kneeling, prostrating before different Holy Powers.  Offering a blood sacrifice, a blót, to the Runes was the last thing I was left with as I finished the last galdr of Gebo.

As before, I made prayers of thanks to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  As before, I cleansed and then cleaned my pipe to come back to normal headspace.  I am grateful for the cup of coffee my wife made me.  Gebo between us.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

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