Monthly Archives: November 2021
The photo is of our shrine, the three small glasses are for our ancestors.
This is the prayer we used in our rite:
Hail to Sunna rising mighty in the rune Thurisaz. Hail to this Goddess Who wards off evil, Who banishes wickedness, Who purifies with light and fire and the resonance of Her glory. Hail to Sunna, heaven's warrior blazing across the sky banishing the ichor of the outer darkness, of ignorance, of fear- raising us up by Her very brightness. There is no foe we need fear, oh Goddess, With Your shield and sword at our backs. You, blazing daughter of Mundilfari, are the best protection against peril and we bow our heads before You, Glorious One. Hail to You, oh Goddess Sunna, on this third week of Sunwait, and hail the rune thurisaz.
In the spirit of the HAULiday season, if you are a pagan or polytheist that knows of, or runs, a small business (whether specifically selling polytheistic goods, or some other good or service) please drop links or relevant details in the comments of this FACEBOOK post found here. Then share that Facebook post (short link: https://bit.ly/3nVCBSH ) so we can help support the business owners in our midst, near and far!
I love portable altars. Horn and Hearth provides a glimpse into her own personal portable shrines here. They’re lovely and I really think we need more of this! I saw an ancient Roman portable shrine (or really a picture thereof) that got me thinking again about how spiritually invaluable these small things are.
I saw a post on Twitter from a friend saying we needed to see more portable and small altars. These are important for various reasons but for me, they were a life line when I didn’t have my own place to live and/or lived with people who were oppressive of my beliefs. I thought I would share a few of mine and how I made them to inspire those of you who need or want one.
This inspiration came at a good time. I needed to take down my altars in my kitchen for cleaning. The one above is for Frigga, the All-Mother. I created it from a $1 gift box, prayer cards, a bit of crochet I made inspired by the Othala rune, prayer beads, a necklace featuring Frigga and Baldr, a little crochet mat to place offerings on, a…
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There’s less than a week left to take advantage of 15% off at my etsy shop, Wyrd Curiosities. Long time followers know that every November I make it a priority to donate to a non-profit organization that supports our veterans. I will rotate through a number of worthy organizations, but this year I’ll be donating 100% of my etsy store proceeds in November to the American Legion. Plus to sweeten the deal, you can enjoy 15% off any item you purchase from the shop, so that means any of hundreds of prayer cards, plus bookmarks, and more that are available at my etsy store Wyrd Curiosities.
In addition to the American Legion donation that will come from November’s etsy proceeds, I will also personally match that same amount from my pocket but donate to another worthy non-profit, the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Use promocode VETS2021 at my etsy store Wyrd Curiosities upon checkout. This deal expires November 30, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern.
Last weekend I reread C.S. Lewis’ beautiful, poetic, and absolutely wrenching novel Till We Have Faces. It was the last novel Lewis wrote and I’m using it in an intro to theology class that I’m teaching. As it’s been nearly a decade since I had read it last, I’d forgotten how powerful a text this is. For those who may not have read it, Till We Have Faces is a retelling of the story of Psyche and Eros and no novel I have ever read better encompasses and explains the story of a soul’s journey to its God. By the time I got to the end of the book I was sobbing my eyes out. It happens every time I read it.
The story centers around three sisters: Oruel (the protagonist of the book), Redival (her second sister, a fairly minor character in the book), and Istra (whose name in the fictional world of the book means ‘soul,’ or Psyche in Greek). Oruel, whose physical ugliness is highlighted by the book, which in turn is written from her perspective, loves her youngest sister dearly and very, very possessively. Istra, in turn, is so incredibly beautiful and kind as a child that people begin to treat her like a Goddess. They begin to venerate her. Neither she nor Oruel encourage this in any way. Of course, those familiar with Greek myths will know immediately how spiritually dangerous this is, and the problems that may (and do) ensue.
Receiving praise due to a Deity is a form of hubris. It is violence against the proper order of the cosmos. It is a way of placing a human being and the human ego above the Gods in that cosmic order. Allowing this, even passively to occur, is tremendously disrespectful to the Gods in question. It’s a type of impiety that has the potential to spread like wildfire too. This is exactly what happens in the fictional city of Glome, where all the action of the story occurs. The people began to venerate Istra in place of the Goddess of Glome (a Goddess named Ungit, who, as the text tells us, is their Aphrodite). This leads to devastation in the land, with the result that Istra must be taken up to a sacred mountain and given to Ungit’s son. This spurs a painful, bitter, but ultimately enlightening journey for the book’s protagonist Oruel.
Oruel, for the first 2/3 of the book is deeply resentful and bitter toward the Gods. She spews vile, impious, and hateful things toward Them because They have “taken” Istra away from her. (Istra for her part, until Oruel intervened with bullying manipulation, was supremely happy and fulfilled). We see through the course of the book that Oruel doesn’t love. She covets. She is greedy, selfish, and deeply self-centered. Her idea of love is possession. Her complaint against the Gods was this, “I was my own, and Psyche was mine and no one else had any right to her.” This included Psyche’s right to herself. Like so many self-centered people, Oruel was fully prepared to destroy Psyche’s happiness because it wasn’t centered on her (Oruel). She was fully prepared to shit on anything holy, to pull those she purported to love down into the empty, shallow morass of her own mediocrity and misery rather than allow them to exist, whole and happy away from her control in loving relationships with their Gods.
The book is about the consequences of jealousy. Spiritual jealousy – that is jealousy over someone else’s spiritual gifts, is one of the most destructive things in the world. It twists, corrupts, and destroys everything good, clean, and holy. It destroys the jealous person most of all. Oruel spends 2/3 of the book complaining that the Gods never answer her accusations, that Their answers are confusing, misleading, impossible to understand. She is presented with mystery and refuses to see (even when she is granted a vision). It is easier for her to condemn it as madness and her sister as mad. Oruel eventually becomes Queen of Glome and sovereignty begins to heal her, forcing her to care for those in her kingdom. What really cements that process is writing her account of Istra’s being taken up by the God. Only in the end, when Oruel herself begins to realize how misguided she has been, how cruel and selfish, do we see the true nature of this manuscript.
Here’s the thing: every mystic, every devotee, everyone who loves his or her Gods and works diligently to center their lives around piety and devotion is Oruel as much as we have ever been Istra. Every one of us must, at some point and often more than once face the “holy darkness” that Oruel so pits herself against again and again in the text. Every one of us faces the choice over and over again, day after day in how we respond to the call of our Gods, the press of devotion, or the press of the world and what we have been taught is “rationality.” Every day we face the temptation to dismiss it all as “madness,” just as it was easier for Oruel to claim that Istra was “mad” rather than to accept that she was loved by a God. The book even has Oruel asking, “Was it madness or not? Which was true? Which would be worse? (142).” It’s so much easier to dismiss a life-changing (or challenging) theophany as madness than accept that it is real and have the safe, known pattern of your life fall away. It’s so much easier to call it madness than accept that someone else has received this and you may not be there yet. Jealousy is a terrible thing, especially spiritually, and it twists our souls all out of true. It’s a challenge I think we all face at some time or another (1).
It’s with part II that Oruel starts to heal and come to fruition spiritually. After writing the first part of her story, she has an epiphany, and a theophany that causes her to realize the horrible evil she has done in trying to tear Istra away from her God. Moreover, she comes to repent of it and, gaining both insight and humility, enters finally into right relationship with the Gods. It takes her entire life, as the story is at its core, the story of the soul’s journey. Toward the end of the book, she asks her teacher ‘are the Gods just?” His answer moves me to tears every time: “Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were? (p. 335). They are ever and always better than we deserve, even though it might take us our entire lifetimes to realize that. It is a touchstone, a thing to contemplate, a thing that urges one to cultivate virtue and piety *better* — whatever better means for each individual soul.
One of the other key questions, the question that gives the title is something Oruel asks after she’s had her epiphany: “How can They meet us face to face until we have faces? (p. 335)” and the novel asks the reader to contemplate exactly what that means. What does it mean to have a face? Why is it necessary before we can experience the Gods? I don’t have an answer to this save that the story of the soul is one of becoming, of growing, of peeling away layers of pain, jealousy, and misunderstanding until we see what Orual finally grasps in the last couple of paragraphs of the book: throughout she has been demanding answers from the Gods. In the end, she realizes that the God –in her case the “God of the Mountain”—IS the answer. In the end, our Gods are enough.
- I’m not saying that one should not engage in clear spiritual discernment. This is always necessary. Just because one is engaging in deep devotion to the point of having mystical experiences, doesn’t mean one should ignore one’s mental and physical health.
All page numbers are from this edition of the book.
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We had our ritual for the second week of Sunwait last night and it was beautiful. Here is a picture of the shrine and here is the prayer we used to call Sunna in all Her glory.
Prayer to Sunna in Uruz By Galina Krasskova The night after Your Brother’s magic, after His glory, His beauty shown forth in a magnificent eclipse You come. Sweeping graciously through our world, swathed in glory of Your own, You come. Bringing healing, strength, and restoration, You come, and our world is made new again. Oh Goddess of Glory, Brightest Power in the heavenly firmament, Smile down upon us and extend Your healing hands. Bless us in body and soul that we may stand rightly before our Gods. Oh Goddess of Glory, Whose power is enormous, unyielding, endlessly energizing, Whose power fills every vein of every leaf with vitality, Whose glance ensures life and bounty, Whose Mysteries are those of renewal and health, Fill our hearts with Your incandescence, we pray. Oh Goddess of Blazing Glory, Yours is the Strength of ordering the worlds, Always within their cosmic courses. Do not turn Your face away from us. Whether near or far You ride across Midgard, always shall we venerate You. Hail to You, Gracious Glory. Hail to You, Sunna.
A beautiful post on cooking for the dead (and anyone who thinks that cooking ancestral foods or feeding your dead is appropriation can, quite frankly, go fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw. Convincing people to stop honoring their dead because of some bullshit misguided idea of what constitutes appropriation or for any other reason is a bloody EVIL act. cook your ancestral foods. Cook foods you like. cook for your dead. cook and remember the faces of your ancestors, now and always. pass their stories on and pass on the taste of their wisdom).
Blessed Sunwait for those who celebrate this season of refocusing on the Gods and the home in preparation for Yule. In the US some of us celebrate Thanksgiving. While I do have issues with the mythology around the holiday, it is one of the few nonreligious holidays that my family can come together and be in communion without the issue of which came first, the Julfather or the Son lol (we all know the answer). This all means that there’s a lot of baking going on in our families. Pies, cookies, candy, etc. Damon requested one thing from me this year (rare for him who is the master of “Don’t care. Make what you like. Make nothing, don’t stress yourself on my account.”). Kuglehopf.
I wanted to take this time to babble a little bit about what this cake means to me as a Polytheist, ancestor venerating, animist, spirit worker…
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We held our first Sunwait ritual for this coming Jul just a couple of hours ago. It was simple but fulfilling. I know that I will be meditating on Fehu and its blessings, Sunna and Her blessings and the way that She is able to work through the lens of fehu as I move throughout this coming week. As an aside, I spent the last several months trying to get my ancestor and ritual room in order. It took a long time and a lot of labor but I completely reworked the room and now we have a really beautiful ritual space. This was the first formal rite that we held in our new space. Anyway, here is a picture of our shrine (or part of it) and the prayer that I wrote for tonight’s rite.
Sunwait Fehu Week – Prayer to Sunna (By Galina Krasskova) Life giver, beloved of the earth, of Erda, beloved of all those who work the earth, and of all those spirits inhabiting it, who depend upon Your generosity, who look up to You in hope and pleasure: oh Sunna, we praise You. Your might brings healing, and You stand with Your mighty kin maintaining balance in the world, sustaining the Tree, its holy architecture, each of the nine worlds, bringing joy and growth and protection to all who gaze upon You. Your husband Glenr delights in Your glory, parting the clouds as You make Your daily transit across the sky, allowing all to see and feel the warm bounty of Your presence. You ride, unrestrained, fierce, exhilarated, counting the circuits of Your fiery horses, and counting the days of each man, woman, and child, blessing Them with Your light. You are brilliant, and the Aesir call You All-Shining, the Jotnar, Everglowing, the Alfar, Lovely Wheel, and the Duergar, Dvalinn’s deluder. None are able to match the fleetness of Your steeds, or the ferocious glee of Your passage. You are the fire that delights both sky and air. You keep us honest, Lady Sunna, and inspire us to excellence. When we heed Your counsel and accept Your blessings, our lives are filled with joy, health, and luck. You begin Your daily journey washed in the light of the grey-clad moon, Your brother Mani, the two of You so radiant even the other Gods can hardly look upon Your glory. Day Star, Fair-Wheel, Graceful Shining, Red hued Goddess, mighty warrior, fair in Your blessings, joyful One: by all of these names and more we praise You. Bless our farmers, Great Goddess, we pray, and the food that we eat, and the lives that we lead, looking always to You as the guard and guide of our luck, our world, and our blessings. Hail to You, Sunna, on this first night of Sunwait.
One final thing before I turn in for the night. Head over to Wyrd Dottir’s page if you are active, reserve, or veteran. she’s offering free Sigdrifa’s Prayer book marks (they’re lovely). Thank you, Wyrd Dottir!
In honor of Veteran’s Day, I am giving away for free Sigdrifa’s Prayer Bookmarks to any US veteran or active duty pagan or polytheist (though you must have a US address, military APO/FPO addresses count), while this year’s supplies last. I also have the bookmarks for sale, the proceeds are used to help me make the bookmarks available for free to the veterans. I’ve been doing this since 2010!
Sigdrifa’s Prayer is a rare remnant and surviving prayer for those within the Northern Tradition umbrella, found within the Sigdrifumal. A microcosm of the macrocosm of our cosmology. For all the details, including learning about the prayer itself, how to request for those who qualify, or to purchase one to support my effort (entering it’s 11th year), jump to the link: