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?

Support for Covered In Light

I just learned about this today:

Covered in Light -International Day.  Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.

I think that reclaiming power over oneself, the devotion expressed to our Gods and spirits, and the personal reasons people cover should not only be protected, but celebrated.  Many Pagan women are covering for themselves, reclaiming themselves from a society that, largely, objectifies them, judges them, and abuses them.  Many are covering for their Gods, such as a commenter on the main website for the event, who is doing so for Hestia.  Yet others are veiling and covering because “veiling helps me focus” and “it aided some of my spiritual practise, particularly shielding.”  Esoterikeia’s entire post is a great testament to why Pagan women are coming into veiling, as well as this post by Star Foster on Patheos from awhile back.  The Pagan voices are increasing on covering and veiling, for ourselves, and for our Gods, spirits, and Ancestors.

While I do not veil, per se, I do cover during night prayer, during Ancestor work, when the landvaettir ask/demand it, and when I feel I need another layer of protection while out and about.  I have bandannas for each occasion.

I wear a white bandanna for night prayers, so that I am mindful and pure before the Gods, Ancestors, Earth spirits, landvaettir, and Ancestors.  It is the only bandanna that I wear for these night prayers.  This bandanna never sees another use, and when I am not wearing it, remains on my altar.

I wear a red bandanna for Ancestors work because the red makes me mindful of my bloodlines, and of Odin, since He bled for the Runes.  When I do work with the Military Dead, or know I am going to an area where I would really like my Ancestors to guard me, especially my crown, I wear this bandanna.  It gives me that feeling of skin-closeness and of having Their hands over my head.

I wear a blue bandanna for the landvaettir, primarily because I could not find a green one when I went shopping for the bandannas I now use.  It is also helpful to remind me of water, given I live in Michigan.  I tend to wear this when I am doing work on my land/with my land, and I wear it when I am working with landvaettir of other areas that I am seeking alliance with or am allied to, such as the campus or local park landvaettir.

The last, the bandanna I wear for general wear, protection, shielding, and the like, is black.  I like the absorbing quality of the color, and that it does not show stains as readily as a white one would.  It is good as an all-purpose bandanna, and it serves nicely for protection, especially when I don’t want to be bothered, or when I am in an area I don’t know.  Otherwise, it is one I can throw on pretty quick, and not worry about my hair, or whatever else I’ll put on my head mussing up.

I am looking into men who veil, and I plan on participating on Covered in Light September 21st.  I stand in solidarity with all those who veil, Pagan or otherwise, who do so for their God(s), or for themselves.  If you have information on veiling and covering for men, I would be interested to read it.