Monthly Archives: January 2016
The Frey prayer card will be available soon.
We still need to raise $50 for printing costs. If anyone is interested in donating, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com. You will receive six of the cards. as of this morning, Frey is fully funded!
Sannion’s newest book is available now. Check it out. It’s a powerful collection of poetic invocations…
Those of you, like me, on the Northeast coast of the US, please stay inside, stay warm, stay safe. This blizzard is supposed to continue through Sunday. Some places farther south than I are potentially gearing up for forty inches and it already looks bad outside. Please stay off the roads, enjoy the downtime, and try not to eat your young.
Within Heathenry we have a whole family of ice and snow spirits, holy Powers, caretakers of the North. There is our God of the North wind, Kari (Brother to the ocean God Aegir and the God of fire Logi. He has numerous sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters like Father Frost, Jokul (ice), and Snaer (snow). I always take the opportunity of the first frost to pour out offerings to Father Frost, and the first big snowstorm to pour them out to the Others of His family.
I think it’s easy for those of us living in places that may get only one or two really big snowstorms a year to forget what a major role ice and snow and biting wind played in the lives of our northern ancestors, especially those really far north. It wasn’t just two or three months of cold weather and the occasional snowdrift but upwards of six months of darkness, cold, and isolation. I imagine that the experiences of our ancestors’ ancestors, those who, with the blessing of fire, carved out the first building blocks of civilization in the brutal landscape of the North must have stirred with uneasy grimness in the collective memories of those early Heathens when the dark cold of winter descended.
Ice and cold formed one of the primal elements, the first building blocks (along with heat and fire) of creation. It was through the grinding interplay of these oppositional forces that creation — materiality, the raw building blocks of being–came into existence. Ice and cold are deeply rooted in the spiritual worldview of our Heathen ancestors, the creeping dread of entropy, the knowledge that death waits just around the corner the moment one stops fighting.
A colleague of mine once got a powerful lesson from Angurboda wherein She told him: “don’t let life take you down until it takes you down” and i think that is a maxim deeply ingrained in the Heathen worldview. There is resolution in ice, lessons in self-mastery, vicious challenge and the expectation that we *will* endure and I think those are powerful lessons to apply not only to life but also to our spiritual work, especially when the fallow times, or periods of acedia occur.
It’s important in those times to remember that an icy, snow encased landscape looks silent and still but it isn’t. It is a covering blanket over the earth, protecting it, allowing it to rest, and allowing the synergetic processes of future creation to prepare themselves, the rhythms of decay and growth to dance in harmony with each other hidden away from our eyes. The land needs this period of respite and I think, in our busy, often overly-frenetic modern lives, sometimes we do too. A lot can be happening under the seeming impassivity of a white, cold landscape.
Now i’m going out to pour out some libations to the snow.
Today on the way back from school, I stopped by the printer and picked up the Hades prayer cards (they’re available here). The printer always sends me a proof via email of the card with a colored border on it. Usually they offer two or three options and I pick one. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t and today it definitely didn’t.
The other day when I approved the proof online, I selected two different borders: a gold one (which looks awesome) and what I thought would be a deep, dark grey-green. We have had problems before with colors looking one way at the printer and another when I open the files on my laptop and that cropped up again today. When I picked up the cards, the gold border was fabulous. It works really well with the image of Hades. The green border was a pastel mint green. It was rather jarring and I let them know that it looked significantly different from what I’d seen on my screen and we discussed options for next time (I’m probably going to bring my laptop in and work with them awhile to sort this out). The cards were printed though and there was nothing else wrong with them except that the color didn’t quite sit right with me. So I brought them home.
After opening up my mail and getting some tea I laughed and said to Sannion, “well, the Hades prayer cards came in…they’re not quite what I expected.” I pulled out the two sets, “the gold looks wonderful but this one” showing him the mint green and he put his hands to his mouth in horrified shock and blurted out “you have to burn those!”
I sort of stared at him and before I could say anything he continued, ‘I’m not pissing Persephone off!”
At this point I was horrified and I asked him, with some urgency, “is there a taboo against this color and Hades? I don’t think it works well but I didn’t know about any taboo.”
He told me that there was a huge taboo against Hades and any kind of mint, including the color. Why? Because Hades had an affair with a nymph Mintha and this so offended Persephone that She turned the nymph into the mint plant and yes, it’s probably best not to have it around Hades in any way, shape, or form.
[Edit: J. Agathokles provided the full story: “To my knowledge the Host of Many had a relationship with Minthe before he married with Persephone, so it wasn’t an affair per se. However, Minthe did brag that this marriage with Persephone was just a fad and he’d come back to her once the novelty of his bride wore off. Demeter and Persephone then ripped Minthe to shreds in vengeance over this insult, until nothing but the plant bearing her name was left.”]
I immediately apologized to Persephone and moved the mint-green bordered Hades cards to the fire bucket. (I keep an iron cauldron in one corner of my breakfast nook. Anything that needs to be ritually burned goes in there and at the next fire-oriented holy tide, I kindle a sacred fire and burn it all up). Then, after pacing for a few moments, I asked Sannion, “You don’t think I owe reparation to Persephone, do you?” His response was exactly what I would have counseled someone in the same situation, “Probably not, but don’t assume. Do divination and find out.” So I did, invoking both Hermes and my ancestors.
The result: no, I don’t owe any reparation (it was an honest mistake), but I need to be far more careful about such things in the future.
It’s been a good reminder tonight of the need to take care in every detail of one’s practice, not to rush or let the little things slide. They matter and sometimes, as the saying goes, the devil really is in the details.
[And speaking of prayer cards, we still need $60 to finish up the fundraising on the Frey card. If anyone is interested in donating toward this project, contact me at Krasskova at gmail.com).
A friend sent me the link to this story and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I’m sharing it with you here. It’s a good short about desert magic, animism, trains, and the places in between.
We are almost there with the Frey card. thanks to a donation today, only $67 is needed to completely fund this card.
If you would like to help, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com and thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has so generously donated!
The Frey card is nearly there. We’ve raised $293. Thank you all for that! 🙂 We are almost there. Only $107 (if my math is correct) to go.
If anyone is interested in donating toward this prayer card, first check out the small perks offered here, and if you’re game, paypal me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then email me to claim your perk. 🙂
Finally, look what you all did. The Hades card is finished and will be heading toward the printers as soon as I return from MD. The artwork is by Grace Palmer and also features in the Greek Gods coloring book featured on my etsy site here.
If anyone has a prayer for Him that you’re willing to allow me to use on the back of the card, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com. It should be about 25 lines long. (you’ll get credit on the back of the card and also six copies of the card for yourself).
I’ve made an update on my Patreon account, a post talking about some rather personal and difficult ancestor things that have recently arisen.
I’ve also written about a some recent discoveries about my genealogy here.
Check them out, folks and consider becoming one of my monthly supporters through patreon. Become a significant part of the work that I do.
Meanwhile, my brother is awesome. I”m visiting him now and he passed on something that he recently found stashed away in a box in the furnace room of our late parents’ home: a brooch (though the pin part of the backing is missing) with a picture of my maternal great grandparents: Hugh Clay Shoff and Lucinda Alice Heffner. He was kind enough to pass it onto me for my ancestor shrine. (Best line of the day: my second eldest niece, upon being shown a photo which my brother and I identified as our father, “But I thought grandpa was on the wall?” meaning the urn with his ashes was on a shelf on the wall. She looked dismissively put out when we identified the pic. I thought her mom was about to die laughing lol). That is all.
death is as much as journey as life (one of the reasons we should be making those offerings to our dead consistently). Sannion brings up some crucial points here. please read.
Folks on saturday Sannion and I are making a trip to NYC to the growing shrine in front of Bowie’s residence. Let me know if you want any offerings to be made. I know many Polytheists of all stripes have contacted me deeply impacted by his death. I’m more than happy to deliver offerings.