Sacred Marks

I want to give a shout out to all those who bear sacred marks on their flesh: the ordeal masters and ordeal dancers, those who’ve scarified, tattooed, and shed their skin, undergone rights of pain and rites of passage in homage and devotion to their Gods.

It’s not something that everyone or even the majority are called to do, but for those who are, there is something tremendously powerful and profound in literally giving back to the Gods the physical territory of our skin. We undergo these rites of transformation and initiation, or tear ourselves open in order to experience the barest shadow and microcosm of our Gods’ ordeals. It is a way of paying homage in flesh to where we have been, where we’ve walked, and where our Gods have walked too. It is a way of laying ourselves out in devotion to Them, and of carrying Them literally wrought into our skin and… it is so much more.

This is something our ancestors understood too. There are mummies that have been found with tattoo marks dating back five and six thousand years. Those of us who walk the path of ordeal are part of a legacy and lineage as old as humankind itself.

So for those of you reading this who incorporate ordeal or sacred marks into your spiritual work, who praise your Gods by what is writ in your flesh, know that you’re following in the footsteps of our ancestors and know that you are touching something very, very holy. That is all. 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at

Posted on June 19, 2016, in Misc., Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. rainmaidenblog

    thank you for writing about this. I find sometimes exploring my pain with my Goddess is the only thing that keeps me safe.


    • ganglerisgrove

      that is something going not into ordeal (which tends to be fairly impersonal in terms of one’s own emotional pain) but into sacred wounding. there is a difference and bearing sacred wounds, or working in this paradigm can be tremendously powerful and sustaining. It is not something to which I can speak, but I have deepest respect for those who walk with this. It takes tremendous courage, endurance, and committment to one’s Gods.


      • rainmaidenblog

        thank you for explaining that more to me. I think, that what I do is more dedicating past or present pain to the goddess in moments where it cant be escaped. And at times i have tried a more intentional dedication of physical pain of myself but it has been more in imagining my doing it in stories than in my physically doing it. I have always carried a lot of pain and sadness and never quite known what to do with it and I often look for release. it feels different then the sacred wounding you speak of, but I can very much imagine how there is tremendous power there. I think it also reminds one of ones own fragileness and then how the Gods are more powerful


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