Monthly Archives: July 2018
Submission to Saga’s Agon
A History Teacher’s Prayer to Sága
by S. Stockton
Sága, Goddess of Ages, bless my endeavor to pass on the history of my land, my morals, my people.
Help them to listen, Record Keeper of the Æsir, so that perhaps they will not repeat the mistakes of ages past.
May they hold fast to the histories of their Ancestors.
May they hold fast to the histories of their heroes.
May they hold fast to the histories of our land.
Strengthen my resolve, oh story-seething Sága, so that I may honor You in my lessons day by day, year by year, generation by generation.
May they never forget how their blessings came to be, and may they remember who they must honor for those gifts.
May they never forget the shame that may cling to them, and may they seek restoration by righting the wrongs of the past.
Another Submission to Saga’s Agon
Hail, Saga of Sokkvabekk
by E. Blakely
Desolate, I wander across a peopled landscape of concrete and steel.
Parched, I tread the wooded trails littered with debris of those who tread this trail before me.
What value this Life, this Generation, this Tide in the History of Mankind?
I collapse – the burden is too great; the future too bleak; all fades in oblivion.
What wakes me first – the sound of the brook? – the hand upon my shoulder? – the cool cup offered by caring hands?
Saga of Sokkvabekk is beside me.
She supports my back as I drink deeply from the cup She holds.
I linger with the Lady of Sokkvabekk for a time.
I am refreshed. I am restored.
I take up the burden which is no longer too great; I look to the future which is no longer too bleak.
The way is clear and I step forward into the Tale of Me once more.
Submissions to Saga’s Agon
Let the cool waves flow over us
The glimmer of light reflecting on cave walls
The taste of honey and the decaying whispers of generations
It stings and it bites and it is languid like a summer night
A chord that strikes and you feel it vibrating not in air
But in the stuff your soul is made of
They say you are one of the protective goddesses
Oh, how you protect us, Lady!
What would life be without this gift of poetry?
Madness distilled until it is drinkable, flavored with the wisdom of ages
It changes us
Sweet as it goes down, sweet as song and thunder
You and the All-Father and the All-Seeing, All-Knowing, and The Beloved
We hail your gift with all we are, with desperate longing,
With satiety and peace beyond all understanding that you bring
Drunk on mysteries and gladness and story
When we hear your voice
For Saga, the Lady of Words
By Amanda Artemisia Forrester
I sing now to Saga of the Sunken Hall,
Whose home is beneath the cool waves of memory.
She is the Lady of Words that flow like ale,
The Rememberer of those who came before.
Laughing Goddess, Bearer of the golden cup,
Surely You are a Power to be reckoned with,
To be called a companion of Odin, the most powerful (and fearsome) of the Aesir!
It is You, Saga of Sokkvabekkr, Who keeps the memories of our ancestors alive;
The storyteller, the wise woman, the historian, the myth-maker.
Lend me Your inspiration, bless my pen as I spill this ink in Your name.
Lend me Your words, bless my tongue as I as raise my voice in Your name.
And I will provide endless tales for You to collect.
Another Submission to Saga’s Agon
What is the saga of Saga?
by Grant E. Hodel
Saga of Sokkvabek,
She who stores the stories,
The Genealogist of the Gods,
The Lady who records the Legends,
The Lady who IS the Teller of the Tales,
Scheherazade of the north who serenades Odin with tale and ale.
What is Your Story?
We have many tales from times long past,
Past down to this generation from our ancestors,
Divined by poets and prophets, skalds and seers,
Written down for all to see written,
Written down for all to hear spoken.
Of the Gods of the North, we have many stories from the ages past,
That legendary Age of Mythology.
But humanity made a grave error it appears, for your story is not amongst them.
What is Your Story?
I feel an ache in my chest,
And a pain in my soul,
When I realize I do not have the answer to that question.
So I scour all my books,
And I discover again who you are.
But not what your story is.
So I search the internet for answers,
As one does when the present offline materials are unable to provide such.
And I find a website with little miasma within it
– Quite a feat that –
And I find on that website, a story about how you came to be what you are.
The magic of the written word has granted me the power of knowledge.
I now know your story Saga.
Or do I?
This latest question comes forth to my mind,
In all likelihood, from another mind.
As I ponder the possible answers, it hits me,
In a flash of divine inspiration.
I have been thinking too literally and to narrow in scope,
And far too much as the monotheist I once was.
I have been asking the question “What is your story?” incorrectly.
I have been asking a time long past “Where is the saga of Saga?”
And have asked that question with the unconscious understanding that
It refers to a story that has long since concluded.
I should have been asking the Goddess Herself “What is the saga of Saga?”
With the understanding that She lived with the ancestors in the past,
Lives with us in the present, and shall live with the descendents in the future.
For this, I offer a sincere apology to you,
Goddess of genealogies,
Woman of wisdom,
Lady of Legend, Lore, and Learning.
Frigga’s handmaiden of folklore, history, and mythos.
Now I reconsider my distress from when I recognized an omission –
The stories of Saga the ancestors told each other have been lost.
And this is a massive tragedy, and I was right to feel sick from such painful truth.
Even Snorri Sturlson wrote down that
“The goddesses are no less sacred, nor are they less powerful.”
If a christian bishop can see plain as day that truth,
Then why did he not record the lost tales of you, sacred Saga,
Nor very many of your fellow Goddesses counted among Frigga’s handmaidens?
And I must meditate on that important question in the future,
If I am to be of any use to the Goddesses and the Gods,
In rebuilding the lost traditions of the ancestors – how they honored You all.
But I must always keep in mind this lesson I have learned
From seeking your story, Saga of Sokkvabek.
Your story never ended sacred Saga,
Nor did the stories of the other Goddesses end,
Nor did the stories of the Gods.
The stories of the divine are never ending,
And are as immortal as your kind are, Saga of all stories.
Hail Saga, the handmaiden of Frigga!
Hail Saga, the Goddess of the great hall Sokkvabek!
Hail Saga, the teacher of all who truly listen!
Another Submission to Saga’s Agon :)
We Hail Thee.
by E. Blakely
Joy and merriment fill the Hall.
Brimming beakers raised in salute.
We hail Thee, Dame Adventure.
Through our most courageous moments, we hail Thee.
Through our most grim moments, we hail Thee.
Through our most quiet and peaceful nights, we hail Thee.
Through our longest days under the Sun that extend into the dark of a Harvest Moon, we hail Thee.
Through the journey by sea and the return Home, we hail Thee.
Dame Adventure, we hail Thee.
Our lives were lived with passion and gusto.
Our lives were filled with meaning and purpose.
We provided for our Families.
We defended our Freedom.
We respected our neighbors.
We honored our Gods.
We taught our Traditions to the next generation.
We maintained our identity as a People.
Dame Adventure, we hail Thee.
Beloved Lady, we hail Thee
Our lives distilled to their most pure essence now flow through the Sinking Brook.
In the Hall of Our Ancestors, we hail Thee.
In the Hall of Our Ancestors, we welcome the newest arrival with a brimming beaker.
With eyes filled with awe and voice shaking with emotion, they say ‘I know you. Your life was Legendary. You inspired me. Thank you.’
With eyes filled with tears of joy and voice shaking with emotion, we say ‘Yes, and we watched you. Your life was Legendary. You took what we left behind and grew a greatness that made us proud. Thank you.’
Dame Adventure, we hail Thee.
Our lives preserved in Sokkvabekk.
Our lives served with meaning and purpose to the next generation.
Dame Adventure, Lady of Sokkvabekk, Mistress of the Shrine of the Sinking Brook,
We hail Thee.
A Really Good Question from a Reader
Owlet asks: “How do you make right after participating in a ritual or group that is disrespectful?”
This is a really good question and I’m glad you asked it here. It’s something that I’ve had to learn through a lot of trial and error, especially when I was much more open to participating in rituals outside my House, and when I was working in the interfaith world. My answer is two- fold.
Firstly, what you describe (which I quote further below) is the real danger of community involvement and I am so very sorry to learn that this happened to you. It hurts my heart to know that your own devotion was impacted by this. It can be very, very hard to come back from such a thing but I will say this: as we learn better, we do better. You’ve had a valuable experience about what is NOT proper community. That will serve as an incredibly useful lens through which to evaluate every other group with which you consider becoming involved in the future. That can be a great blessing. Hopefully, also, others can learn from your story as well.
Now, you ask what one can do. Firstly, ideally, don’t participate in those groups. It is far, far better to remain solitary than to pollute yourself. I think that the desperation to communicate and share with like-minded individuals sometimes pushes us into these situations and it’s so important, early on, to commit to not compromising where piety and respect for the Gods, ancestors, and land are concerned. In this, compromise is nota virtue. Evaluate their theology, their politics, their values, their lifestyles, the choices they make large and small. Separate your personal feelings from these things, because a person can be nice and friendly but in the end, poison ideology leads to poisoning of the tradition and our lives. Do the choices they’re making serve the Gods and the tradition or do they seek to elevate the people and ego-stroking, etc. etc. Is it all about the human condition?
It is absolutely lovely to find like-minded polytheists, and to build communities – and in truth, I don’t think our restoration can endure intergenerationally without lived community. The thing is, it’s important that those communities prioritize the Gods qua Gods and if they don’t, shun them like poison. I would add that we’re never really alone. We have our Gods, we have our ancestors and we can learn from Them and hopefully when we’re ready, They will guide us to working, solid traditions that will augment our relationships with the Gods, not shit on them.
So first and foremost, I would say, avoid these senseless or impious groups. That means making conscious devotional choices about what to prioritize, and about your religious life, and with whom you share that. It means doing some research, asking uncomfortable questions before participating. It means being willing to walk away from groups and people that do not nourish one’s piety. That means weighing everything and most of all being absolutely unwilling to compromise on the key fundamentals of polytheistic practice. I think with the influence of pseudo-progressivism in our communities, we’ve been indoctrinated to think of ‘compromise’ as a virtue across the board. It’s not. If I’m in a ship and the hull is compromised, that’s not a good thing. That is in fact, life threatening. It’s the same with the type of pollution that we can all too often find in certain places.
Owlet’s post continued: “I spent many years as a solitary pagan and polytheist, because I lived in an area where the culture was unusually hostile to such things. When I moved to a large urban center and university town, I immediately got involved in pagan events and groups. I was desperate to be a part of a community. To one group , in particular, I donated hundreds (or more) volunteer hours, a great deal of money, handcrafted ritual items…everything I could give. As I learned over the years, the people running and organizing these events and rituals often did not believe in the gods as anything more than thoughtforms or maybe archetypes, or were at the core monotheists or Christians with a thin overlay of pagan dress. Their disrespect spread from their relationship with the gods, to their relationship with the land, to the ancestors, and to other people, and I played along and became complicit. Now that I’ve left and can stand back, I feel heartsick at the compromises I made to please these groups. The service I gave to these communities distracted from and damaged my relationships with the holy powers instead of strengthening them.”
Again, it hurts to read this and my heart goes out to you, but look at it as a learning experience. It’s often difficult, especially when we’re all hungry for community and companionship, to recognize when something or someone is problematic. We learn, often from harsh experience. I would encourage you to not carry guilt over this. Go before your Gods and ask Their forgiveness if you feel the need, and do a ritual cleansing and then commit to doing better. Sometimes, it’s really, really important to have these bad experiences so we have a baseline from which to clearly and accurately evaluate practices. The most important thing in what you’ve sadly experienced is that now you can look on these things clearly and make better, informed choices. There’s no need for shame about any of that. You contributed to a community that you thought shared your piety. That’s a good thing to do. It’s not your fault that the community was not what you thought. Please don’t carry the guilt from this. Sometimes we appreciate devotion and piety and right relationship all the more when we’ve had an experience of its opposite and the effects of that.
What I would suggest is prayer – we cannot pray too much—and regular cleansings. Whenever I find that I’ve been exposed or have inadvertently exposed myself (and sometimes my spiritual Work requires this) to pollution, I will pray and cleanse myself, sometimes using divination to figure out what type of cleansing is needed. I always suggest going to the Gods, going to the ancestors, going to the land and reconnecting. Ask Them for help and cleansing, ask Them for guidance and don’t be afraid to set boundaries with would-be communities.
Every culture is worth preserving because every culture has a different way of relating to the Gods, of honoring them and singing their names. Every culture has a different language, different words for beauty and love and anger and sun and rain; and, therefore, different ways of seeing and understanding and relating to the world and all those who inhabit it. Every culture should be preserved because it has inherent value in and of itself, and the world becomes a less vibrant, less artful, less musical, less beautiful place when we lose one.
In an ideal world, cultures (and people) would meet as equals, and the resulting exchange of food, words, art, and ideas would enrich everyone.
For Saga’s Agon
by Emily Kelly
Saga keeps a tidy house.
Spare and harmonious is Sunken Benches Hall
Saga has a set of cups
Each as different as her many houseguests.
Snotra enjoys her visits there, sipping from cool Sokkvabekk’s source
She places her drinking glass back carefully with the others.
The fine bone-china teacup is for Hela
She comes bubbling up in the frosty streamers Hvergelmir sends here.
Here is a silver bowl beaten into fine filigree
Mani’s lips have touched the rim many times
Shapely and pale is Urd’s mug of fired clay
Made of the loam by Urdbrunnr
All of gold is Odin’s cup
Unmarked and runeless
Odin’s eye can read this cup’s designs
Mimir’s well fills it continually
Frigga and Saga drink together
Their cup is kept elsewhere
Saga keeps a holy house
Home to every kind of wisdom seeker
“Sometimes I am amazed at how difficult it is for humans to understand worship and faith and participate in it. My dog, Gods keep him, acknowledged the presence of the Gods and acted appropriately when rituals where conducted around him. I don’t understand why humans are having a harder time with this then he did, and can be so disrespectful and dismissive of it.” –Tatyana V.