Oski’s Day

You know it’s going to be a good day when that day starts off with an intense discussion with a theology colleague about child vs. adult baptism. Hah.

Anyway…today is Krampusnacht (and happy birthday, Ian!) but also the eve of St. Nicholas Day. In Switzerland, in my mom’s time at least, children would set out their shoes and tomorrow would receive small gifts. The house would be decorated with beeswax candles and traditional sweets like Lebkuechen, dates, mandarine oranges, and nuts would be shared. There’s a particular smell all of this creates in a home, one of comfort and joyful anticipation.

For the better part of twenty years, my mom and I have celebrated Dec. 6 as Oski’s Day. Oski is a particular heiti for Odin, one that hearkens to His generosity as gift giver. It’s a gentle prequel to the beginning of Yule, a chance for a little festivity, and a nice way of honoring Odin as we move toward one of our holiest times of year.

So in case I don’t have time to post tomorrow, happy Oski’s Day, everyone.

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 wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on December 5, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Living half of my live in Prague, I remember Santa Claus in company of angel and devil trio around every corner on this day. 🙂
    I didn’t know about Oski’s Day, may it be happy to you too!

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  2. I live in Argentina but all of my family is from Hungarian origin. Back in Hungary the “Krampus” is part of the seasonal festivities. As a little girl I was terrified of the krampus! A friend of my mother´s, also of hungarian ascendancy and with children of my same age, used to tell us the stories about the Gods and Godesses of the germanic and hungarian pantheon, and we even celebrated Beltrane and so many other “pagan” festivities… Interestingly enough the name of this friend of my mother was Dénes (Dionsysus in Hungarian) and his wife´s name was Hellena. They are both long dead. He never openly said if he believed in these Gods… but he passed on the stories and the traditions he knew to his children.

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  3. Intresting… There are hundreds upon hundreds of kennings or heiten för Odin, but Oski is new to me – where can I find it ?

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  4. Happy Oski Day, and Krumpas Day too!

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  5. I would actually be interested in hearing your thoughts on child vs. adult baptism. Happy Oski’s Day!

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    • maybe i’l write something. 🙂 it’s an interesting topic

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    • Ask and you shall receive… lol

      My thoughts on infant baptism…well, for us it’s not so great an issue. When I do this type of rite on a child – and I support a blessing rite for infants – it’s a presentation of that child to the Gods and ancestors and asking for blessings and protection as the child grows and a welcome to the child into the community. That’s a very, very different thing than what Christian baptism is supposed to effect.

      Baptism is a sacrament in Christianity, a promising of that person’s life to Christ, a washing away of all sin and an act of commitment to following Christ. (Various denominations may attach other or different meanings, but the idea of surrendering to Christ is nearly always present). In the early Church, it was a major initiation and new Christians would not even learn the prayers and the Creed until their baptism. It was a powerful threshold within that community. It was almost always performed on adults (1). Baptism is what created Christians essentially.

      My theology colleague who is also a Christian pastor, went so far as to call infant baptism (apparently common in his denomination) “spiritual rape.” I don’t disagree and it’s rather like I feel about the rite of a bris – you’re making a blood oath involving genital mutilation in order to pledge your child, before that child is of the age of reason, to your God. (I understand the power of such a rite and were I a devoutly Jewish parent of a son, I’d probably give my child a bris too but since I’m neither, I have no problem reflecting on what is going on there). Baptism is very similar, minus the cutting of bits. It’s not enfolding the child in the Gods’ protection, it’s very much induction (initiation) into and a binding to a religion, which brings up my other objection to it.

      Initiation implies that one is consciously able to be affected. Infants might be impacted in some way by a ritual, but they can’t consciously choose or object. They can’t understand what the rite is all about and what it’s designed to do. Early Christians would prepare assiduously for baptism and it was a major initiation for them into the community. There was a long period of preparation, a formation of the mind and spirit. In no way can that occur with an infant.

      I will admit that as a polytheist working to restore our communities, I can see the benefit of infant baptism. Get the children bound to a God before they can choose otherwise. An alternative faith shouldn’t even be a cognitive option…and yet one has to question whether that is faith at all, when it’s not been gnawed upon, considered, turned over and over tumbled in the twin furnaces of the mind and heart? I think we can and should raise our children in our respective polytheisms. In fact, I think that is an absolutely crucial obligation and a sacred one. I don’t think, however, that we should be dedicating them to specific Gods. That is an honor and a gift, a privilege that each person should embrace for him or herself. We can’t licitly give anyone else to the Gods. Each person needs to do that for him or herself. Each person needs to seek out the Gods, fan the fires of devotion in his or her individual heart. Attempting to take that away from someone is denying them something very precious and very important for a strong and resilient faith.

      So, I would argue – again, were this an issue in our communities – for a blessing ceremony for children but baptism for adults, and after preparation.

      Note:
      1. Scholars disagree on when or if infant baptism was practiced by early Christians. The earliest references to it is by Irenaeus in about 180c.e. his contemporary Origen also writes about it. Cyprian defends it as does Gregory Nazianzus. Tertullian argued against the practice (indicating that if it was occurring in places in the 2nd c., it was by no means a universal practice) but by the 5th century, we find Augustine defending it. Their reasons were many (though I believe it was Gregory who argued that one should never allow sin an opportunity with respect to the child, which fervent practicality amuses me).

      (G. Krasskova)

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      • Hello, really interesting!! I find I agree with blessing children and letting them “choose or be chosen” by their Deities, as they grow up. I was baptized when I was just 1 month old. I don´t consider myself a catholic anymore, for many years now. Many times I wonder whether to send the letter to the bishop asking to delete my name of the baptism book. They call that arrangement in a very dismissive way: “apostasy”. It´s the only method I know in which you can make official that you have left the catholic church. In my heart I know I don´t belong there anymore. What are your thoughts regarding this renunciation -apostasy- to the catholic church letter? Thank you

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  6. I know talking about her is a touchy subject but was your mother really Polytheist? You are so fortunate to have had that in your childhood.

    Much better than my experience… I’ll spare you the details but your position sounds enviable

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    • my adopted mother was a polytheist for at least 20 years before she adopted me. My childhood bio mother was Catholic.

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