Monthly Archives: December 2019
So, for Christians, the Christmas season traditionally concludes on January 6 with Three Kings’ Day or epiphany. This is, I think, when the three magi, kings, or wise men (take your pick of epithet) brought gifts to the baby Jesus in the manger at Bethlehem, guided there by a star. Ok, so I’m a sucker for Christmas lights (my goal is for my house to be viewable from space one day lol though I have to admit, this year we didn’t do much decorating). They make me happy and they’re pretty. Please, my Christian friends, keep them up at least through epiphany. I’d be happy to see them up through Chinese New year to be honest. The more lights the better but I digress…
It occurred to me today that we Heathens should totally repurpose this holiday. Seriously, it was probably some polytheist celebration anyway originally (Sannion said, for instance, that there was a Dionysian feast about the same time) and we know that Christians adapted and incorporated many elements of Pagan/Heathen feast days (logical, not only to smooth over the rough edges of forcedconversions but also because religions influence each other by sheer proximity. It’s an ongoing cultural conversation) so why not reclaim, repurpose, re-appropriate?
Think about it, we begin Yule on Dec. 20 with Mothernight, honoring both our female ancestors and our major Goddesses (in our house, we give this night to the Mothers Frigga, Freya, and Sigyn, and also quite often Nerthus – there are many other Goddesses that we might honor, but these are major deities in our home cultusso we tend to focus on Them usually for this rite). There would be a certain balance to conclude Yule not with New Year’s but with Three Kings and for my household that would Odin, Frey, and – because we work in a blended tradition – Dionysos, Whom we syncretize with Freya’s husband Oðr (1). If my household weren’t blended, I’d be honoring Odin, Frey, and probably Thor. I might anyway, after all, there’s no rule that says there has to be only three Deities honored on this night and I do hate to leave any Deity out.
I actually start preparation for yule not long after the fall equinox, which we also celebrate as a harvest holiday (we honor Frey and Gerda, sometimes Thor and Sif). Then there is winternights in October for the ancestors – we do it over a span of days from about the 28thof October through Nov 2, November 11this for the military dead and Odin, December 6 is Oski’s day… then on each full and new moon we’re honoring Mani in some way. We will reclaim all that is lost and our own experience in doing so will birth more celebrations, more holy tides, more ways to honor the Gods Whom we love and that is good. That is exactly as it should be (2).
Meanwhile, come January 6, my household will be honoring the Kings of our tradition.
- There’s actually a surprising amount of lore to support this. If you’re interested in learning contact sannion.
- This year I just learned about a lovely tradition called Sunwait. I plan on incorporating this into my household’s yule preparations next year. Learn more here. I’ll probably light candles, make offerings, and do prayers on Sundays for Sunna at this time, but I”ve a year to figure it out.
Last night, I was reading a small book my mom gave me years and years ago. It was a collection of quotes from the Havamal with random historical notes inserted every few pages (the book is called “Ferocious Common Sense.” It’s a treasure to me because it has my mom’s hand written notes here and there throughout). One of the things I learned that made me laugh outloud was that upon marriage, a Viking age husband commonly turned the keys to his home, pantry, and stores of wealth over to his wife. That part I knew — it’s what is symbolized by the bundle of keys a married woman would wear at her waist. What I did not know, is that if the man did not do this, it was grounds for immediate divorce. ^_^
So…all y’all “brosatru” out there, I hope you are handing your pay checks over to your wives and living on the allowance they grant you. If not, I don’t really want to hear you spouting lore. I think it’s time instead for, as my husband said, “traditional Heathen values.” ha.
happy new year, y’all.
My friend December sent me a link to an awesome ancestor/genealogy site. The site is running a “52 ancestors in 52 weeks” project for 2020 and I think it’s a wonderful idea. I you’re interested, check out the site here. You can register for prompts for free and there is a facebook group too (I’m not associated with it in any way, fyi). I’m definitely going to do it. I’ve gotten lazy with my ancestor work this year.
Trip Advisor is gonna get one hell of a low rating lol.
I just got an email informing me that that there is a kindred not only with an atheist godhi but now an atheist volva (seeress). Really? What is she doing? Communicating with the mental sock puppets of those in her group? It’s really just quite obscene. It’s also impious as hell. If you’re an atheist, you have no business taking a leadership position in our religious community. None. You have no business serving as a religious specialist in any religious community. You may be welcome to share in the ritual and the socializing that occurs after, but no religious group of any integrity would allow more than that and I personally, wouldn’t even permit you at the ritual. This isn’t play acting after all and if you don’t actually believe in and more importantly venerate the Gods with a full heart, mind, and spirit, then you have no business in our sacred spaces.
That I have to say this is fucking appalling. It shows not only the tremendous lack of sense in some dark corners of our community but also the tremendous lack of piety. It is so offensive for these people to appropriate the term volva considering all the effort, pain, and sacrifice that goes into making one a competent seeress. If you don’t have relationships with spirits and Gods, you’re not a volva. You’re not a godhi. You’re nothing at all insofar as our communities go.(1)
It is well beyond the time when our community should stop accepting this. Better to worship alone than in such polluted spaces. Better still to drive such people out. Most atheists don’t behave like this. They’re decent people who work hard to live good, moral lives. They have zero interest in being involved in someone else’s religious traditions. They want to be left alone and since they don’t want to have religion forced on them, they usually don’t harass and force their atheism on others. People who do what we’re seeing describe above …there’s something wrong with them. It’s gross; it’s polluted; it’s impious; it’s obscene and we need to stand up strong and united against it.
- Go be a happy atheist in happy atheist spaces. Gods know, you have enough of them. Go participate, if you want the experience, in cultural things like the SCA or reenactment groups. All respect to that, but that’s not religion. If you have any integrity at all, you will not force your way in to religious communities demanding primacy of position.
Today is the start of Yule proper. We begin our holiest time of the year with the celebration of Modranacht (Mothernights) tonight. We honor the primary Goddesses of our tradition and in some households, our Disir too. It begins a cycle of sacred days running through January 1.
May you all have a blessed celebration. May your homes be filled with wonder, and as Yule proceeds, may you and your families find joy in honoring the Gods, honoring the ancestors, and in each other.
Here is another blog post talking about the necessity of prayer. I highly recommend checking it out.
Also, thinking about the lore, which we’ve been discussing on and off in the course of this discussion: we should use it when it increases our piety and dismiss it when it doesn’t. It’s a source, but not the only source. We also have art, archaeology, living traditions, etc. and the basic elements that constitute every religion on this planet. If there are deficiencies in the lore, we have to be willing to go beyond that.
Prayer is one of the most important pillars connecting us to the Holy Powers. If you can erode that, you can make these traditions irrelevant. Unlike sacrifice and mysticism, prayer is something anyone and everyone can do, so that’s why they fight so bitterly against it, because otherwise, why do the nay-sayers care.”
“If you want to pretend to be a Viking, there’s the SCA. If you want to enjoy Viking Metal, there’s tons of concerts and festivals for you. But if you’re going to say you are a member of the religion, then there is PRAYER, there is VENERATION, there is SACRIFICE, there are OFFERINGS, and yes Virginia, there are GODS, many of them in fact. Let us not forget that the Gods exist beyond the confines of the “lore” too. They’re not powers confined to the pages of a text.” —Wyrd Dottir