Patreon Song/Poem/Prayer 29 -For Cernnunos -Farewell

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 prayer was requested by Maleck Odinsson for Cernunnos.

You walked with me

Through the woods, the wild, the wonderful places

You showed me

The sacred places, prepared and protected me

You taught me

The holy ways, hallowing and healing

O Horned One, Torc-Bearer

Hoof and horn, claw and crushing jaw

Gentle-stepper, Silent Stalker

Hunter and Hunted, Predator and Prey

Thank You, always, for walking with me

Thank You, always, for showing me

Thank You, always, for teaching me

Cernnunos

Patreon Topic 21: Fylgja v Spirit Animals

If you want to submit a topic you would like me to write on for this blog or my Patreon, sign up for the Uruz or Thurisaz level or above here on my Patreon.

From Leslie comes this topic:

“”Fylgja v. ‘Spirit Animals’ and Why Fylgja is probably the word you mean.”

I’m going to break this up into two parts, the first covering what Fylgja and spirit animals are, and then “Why Fylgja is probably the word you mean.”

Fylgja translates as “to accompany”, “to follow” or “follower”. Fylgjur is its plural form. Huginn’s Heathen Hof has a good overview of what a fylgja in Part 1 and Part 2. A fylgja is a vaettr, a spirit, who follows. Boiled down to its essence, that is it. A lot of authors and scholars interpret the fylgja as a fetch or wraith, and while that interpretation has some merit, I think that is hardly the whole of it.

To start, as with anything regarding ancient Heathen sources for our religions, it has to be noted that most of our source material in the written works comes from a small spread of time. We also need to note that, generally, what we have is not from Heathens, is not in any way a religious text, and is transmitted by Christians. Archaeology has very little to say regarding fylgjur from what I have read and seen. However, it is clear from what we have that the ancient Heathens would have seen their world alive with Gods, their Ancestors, and vaettir.

It is also legitimate that our own perspectives may not line up exactly with what scholars purport the ancient Heathens believed. A lot of academic work with regard to ancient Heathen sources of knowledge, when it is not directly sourced in the materials themselves, is educated speculation. Again, given the sources we have are relatively few and widespread literacy is a relatively recent phenomenon historically, most information would have been given orally. As many of the everyday and religious items were fashioned from organic materials, namely wood, it is little wonder we have little to no evidence of cult objects.

All of this is to say that I follow a very expanded idea of fylgja that may be at odds with stricter interpretations of what they are. What some authors and scholars refer to in the role of fylgja, namely as fetch or wraith, I look more to the idea of vörðr, guardian. So, how do I understand fylgjur?

A fylgja is a vaettr that accompanies you, that has some kind of vested interest in you whether that be to teach you something, to guide you, to guard you for a time, or to observe you. They may or may not be attached to your familial line. This is where I make the distinction here of fylgja and kinfylgja. A fylgja or kinfylgja can take a variety of forms, human and non-human.

Why would a vaettr accompany you if not because it is part of, embodies, or is a member of your family? A given vaettr might be attached to a God or Goddess that you worship. It might be part of your family, eg a vaettr that adopted your family or has had dealings with them. It might be a vaettr interested in watching your potential in a given profession or work grow. It might be a vaettr who wants to make new ties not unlike the ones traditionally associated with fylgjur. It is important to keep in mind that you are likely the first person in a very long time to pay any attention at all to the Gods, Ancestors, and/or vaettir, so there’s any number of possible reasons for a given Being to come forward.

Contrast the view of what a fylgja is and does with that of a spirit animal. When folks use the term spirit animal they are usually saying something to effect of “That is my spirit animal.” I understand the term as it used today to mean that this is an animal that has claimed a person or has been assigned to them after a vision quest or some kind of deep spiritual work. I generally only see it seriously referenced regarding certain Native American tribes. This Metis-Anishinaabe breaks down why spirit animal is appropriative in non-Native contexts in this post. Given the connotations of Native American cultures and how one comes into relationship with a spirit animal I do not use the term and encourage others to not use the term.

Given that fylgja has its own cultural connections with Heathenry I would rather not see it become the next internet catch-all when what people are generally talking about is something completely unnatached to Heathenry. When folks use the term spirit animal in a spiritual context vs a meme one, they are usually talking about some kind of tutelary spirit, a spirit they have a deep affinity for, or a spirit they identify with/as on a soul level.

Instead of fylgja or spirit animal, I would far rather have folks who are not Heathen or Heathen-adjacent use tutelary spirit or spirit guide to mean a spirit that instructs or guides them. For those spirits they have a deep affinity for, perhaps a beloved spirit. For those who may identify with/as on a soul level to another spirit, perhaps the term kin spirit may work.

What I hope to do is clear up the waters of terminology rather than muddy them. I see part of that muddying is made when folks use terms that do not apply to them. To put it plainly, if you are not Native American then there are other words to use rather than spirit animal. If you are not Heathen there are other words to use in place of fylgja/fylgjur.

The #DoMagick Challenge Day 22

Ingwaz

Ingwaz (Wikimedia Commons)

Today I did galdr with Ingwaz.

Worked with earplugs again today.  They were fairly effective at helping me block out the outside world and concentrating fully on the work tonight.

A note: I know that the #DoMagick Challenge was to take place over the course of December, however, due to obligations to my family, Kindred, and getting hit for overtime at my job, I have been playing catch-up with my sleep.  So I will be finishing up the Challenge’s 30 days, just not on the same timetable as all the other folks.

In the first round of galdr I experienced sex.  The generations that grew from roots rooted in sex, then back, farther and farther back until it was no longer sex I was experiencing, but cell division.  It was going from what was familiar to the unfamiliar, from this generation and humanity on back through the lines until our beginning.  It was…odd.  Good, but odd.  I do not have words to adequately describe what going back in time and experiencing each stage of life was like, but suffice to say it was all-connective between ourselves and every thing once you go back far enough.

In the second round of galdr I was in a field.  Cows, or what were near to them, I think they could have been aurochs, were lazing in it.  This was just a feeling of utter peace.  No predators, no worry, no nothing but lazing in a field and relaxing.  When I began the next part of the galdr, they were being guided about the field.  They were being herded or moved around with.  Their waste fed the ground as they shredded the earth with their hooves, they ate the grasses, great big stalking things not like what we’re used to with these manicured lawns.  These were grasses.  They were wild.  As they were eaten many shed their seeds and spread, and the aurochs helped them along to propagate the next generation.  The last part of the galdr was  a huge shift.  Suddenly I was in a wholly different field, different grasses.  Smaller grasses, great furrows in the ground over which grew plants and grasses.  I saw a red flower with a black center, and heard from far off someone singing Flander’s Field.  The song and scene faded as I finished galdring.

In the last round of galdr I was in a special wood-roofed hut, the scent of blood all around.  The auroch’s neck was red, its body wedged into a pair of wooden beams formed into an X, tied tight to it.  My hand was covered in its blood, a long knife in my hand as I held it so it would not fall.  Then, the next galdr began and I and some others were butchering it in the hut, placing its parts onto wooden slats that were taken from us.  In the last galdr, there was a vessel of blood that had been beneath it taken, and its blood was sprinkled on a fire, on the people, on the Gods, which were present in the poles.  As I finished the galdr, it seemed to echo through me, and life was sprinkled on the field, the fire, the people, the Gods.  The land would be fertile.  I could see it.  The people would be too.  The Gods were pleased.  Then, I opened my eyes, and took deep breaths as I settled back into now-time.

I did my prayers of thanks to Rúnatýr and the Runevaettir.  I cleansed with the candle and prayed prayers of thanks to the Eldest Ancestor.

Link to the Daily Ritual for the Challenge.

#DoMagick

The Call

I can hear your paws grab the earth, your hooves strike the ground
I can smell your fur, your excitement as you all are bidden on
I can taste your fury, the adrenaline on the wind
I can feel your gait, your strides as you seek
I can see your numbers, your countless multitudes that gallop and run
I know your call, your howling, trumpeting, shrieking mass that calls me
The Wild Host calls!  Wuotas Heer calls!  The Wild Hunt calls!