Monthly Archives: January 2023
I don’t often talk about crossroads work, but in light of my post here, it’s relevant. In the case I discuss there, while I ended up burning the nasty stuff, I just as easily could have taken it all to a crossroads. (I did what divination showed best).
I was planning a long post on why crossroads are such potent places of power, how to incorporate them into uncrossing work, what to dispose there, what not to do there, etc. but then I found this site and it’s fantastic. Everything that I would have said about crossroads and more you can read here. I have no idea who this spirit worker is, but they know their conjure. I read through a couple of pages and their work looks solid. It’s certainly so on crossroads. I highly recommend taking a moment to read through the material found there on that topic.
Very Nice Etsy shop (not mine, btw, though mine is nice lol)
Horn and Hearth has a lovely little Etsy shop that you can check out here. I mention this because of my previous posts on working candles and one of the items H&H sells is hand forged iron candle carving tools. They’re really really nice and fit in the hand like a well made pen. I have two of them and absolutely love them. I highly recommend. Now, they are cold iron, which some people don’t like to work with, but if that’s not a problem, I suggest checking the shop out. I was impressed.
Movie Review: The Old Way
I don’t like Westerns in general, so I was dubious about this one but I’m really glad we decided to watch it last night. It’s a really good movie with an excellent cast. It’s a rather traditional vengeance tale handled in a rather clever way. I highly recommend it. Now I’m going to do a breakdown of some of my favorite parts, so there will be spoilers. On the surface, this has nothing to do with Heathenry, save that vengeance is sometimes a sacred obligation within our tradition. When you really examine it though, it goes well beyond just vengeance. It is a deeply Heathen story, and encapsulates our values and expresses them in the new world, in that idiom, and in ways that resonate with our experiences here.
I like the title, was initially put off that it was a Western, and then watched it and ended up pre-ordering the dvd.
Firstly, I really like that it was a Father-Daughter story. Had it been a Father-Son story, I think it would have lacked the charge. It would have been just another typical coming-of-age story. I often dislike stories where women or girls are shoehorned in because “muh feminism.” It usually makes for an irritating female character and a poorly written story. I much prefer that good stories be told, regardless of who is involved. Here, the story was written in minimalist strokes, but all the characters were fleshed out beautifully. We knew all we needed to know about the dynamics between them, and both the female characters were written very well. They weren’t shoved in to meet some requirement to have a woman in the story, but were integral characters.
The movie opens with a flash back to when the main character, Colton Briggs (Cage), was still a gunslinger. He kills a man in front of that man’s son. I immediately turned to my husband and said, “He needs to kill that kid.” I’ve read my sagas. I know that leaving someone alive like that leads to bad things happening years later. I was right. After this opening, we see the same gunslinger as a shopkeeper, with a wife and daughter and it’s clear that he’s besotted with his wife. His daughter is painted as neuro-divergent (that language isn’t used but given the jellybean scene, she reads as autistic or – we find out later – possibly borderline sociopathic. I’m not equating the two, but there’s something non-neurotypical with the girl, and the movie implies,with her father too and it’s unclear if it’s both conditions or just one. It’s not really relevant save that we see they don’t fit in. There’s a great scene where he tells her that she needs to learn to pretend and behave like others if she can’t feel it, or she’s going to be shunned–so learn to play the game. Then she has to distract a US Marshal by fake crying and it’s creepy as fuck).
Anyway, the girl Brooke and her father return from his store and find that the mother has been, at the very least, brutally murdered. The woman dies having laughed in the faces of her murderers, knowing she will be well and properly avenged. While the Marshals try to prevent the vengeance, Colton Briggs is mindful of his obligation and sets off with his daughter to track down the men who slaughtered his wife. He teaches his daughter how to shoot at her request, and tells her that until he met her mother, he never knew fear. She is her father’s daughter and handles every challenge with unemotional aplomb.
Things proceed as expected – it is a vengeance western after all. The plot line is pretty narrow and predictable but that’s ok. The power of this story is in how you get to that point and in the deepening dynamic between father and daughter. Her emotionless façade cracks at the end, and she is the one to avenge her mother…and her father. She’s smart, really smart, and observant throughout the movie and let’s just say, gets away with some serious loot.
I won’t say more than that. If you like Yellowstone and its iterations, you’ll like this story. If you think modern law is just, you probably won’t. If you have an issue with actual masculinity, you won’t like this at all because in the end, it’s about a father and daughter restoring frith, the old way.
Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentes
There are evil spirits that move so subtly we can barely sense their influence until it’s too late. Things and places hold the resonance of tragedy and pain that occurred in their orbit. Hungry ghosts – sad, miserable jealous people who have never accepted healing from their ancestors, occasionally refuse to let go of what was once their property or wish the living ill. Any and all of these can cause problems for those of us who like antiquing, flea-marketing, or even who might receive unexpected gifts from friends, frenemies, and/or colleagues. I was warned about this first by a Lukumi elder who has since passed (may you ever be hailed, Stuart), but it was something I had already experienced and figured out on my own. Cursed/haunted objects are a thing. None of this needs to stop one from enjoying antiquing or from accepting a gift out of the blue, but care has to be taken. Nine times out of ten, these things, if they come with something polluted, can be cleansed away. The tenth time might involve salt, exorcism, and a bonfire, but that is not usually the norm.
I was thinking about this recently because a friend sent me an unexpected gift for my shrine. It was fine, but I have a protocol that I follow with any incoming package that isn’t purchased new, so I was explaining this to my current assistant, and I realized that I’d never written about it here. I don’t like writing about magical practice on my blog. I prefer to focus on religious things, but I’m finding that young magicians coming up now aren’t getting proper training. One of my former students says that the biggest complaint she gets about her own work is that she’s old fashioned – because she teaches grounding, centering, shielding, cleansing, and training the will as matters of course. I was blown away but what I’ve seen with the last couple of rounds of students confirms what a lot of us have suspected: basic training and common sense is seriously lacking in far too many of today’s magical circles, lodges, etc. Hence, these posts.
Now, I love antiquing. I also have quite a few people who would happily try to harm me given half a chance. That might be the case even were I not an active theologian. In esoteric circles we tend to be a contentious bunch, and while I firmly believe that study of any esoteric art should require intelligence, temperance, psychological stability, and emotional maturity, that’s all too often seldom the case in reality. You’re going to get bitter or crazy people trying to throw shit at you at some point in your career. Usually, they don’t have the capacity to magic themselves out of a paper bag, but sometimes bottom feeding evil spirits can take what they throw, ride it, and enhance it to something more damaging. It pays to be prepared.
Here’s what I do when I buy something at an antique store or flea market (and firstly, I take a good *look* with the psi senses at the item, and possibly even reach out to my ancestors to make sure it’s ok to bring home. I’ve been known to divine right in a shop). It then sits on the porch surrounded by salt until I have a chance to divine on it, exorcise it with salt/aspersing, and bless and cleanse it. Sometimes, if it’s just energetically dusty, I can blow an ansuz into it and cleanse it that way. None of this takes long but sometimes I don’t have the time to do it right when I get home, hence it sits outside until I do. Additionally, I’ll often wear gloves when I shop at such places. Silk insulates from negative or polluted energies, and I always carry a set in my bag. I also carry a small vial of salt, and often a small bottle of FL water in case I need to cleanse myself while out and about. Recently I was gifted with a pair of wool gloves from this site. The gloves have “Thor Bless” on them in runes and damned if they don’t work just as well as any silk that I’ve ever used. They’re also really comfortable so I highly recommend.
I will note that if you have regular protections on your home and ongoing wards, and your devotional practice is consistent, you’ll have some protection if something slips through. So, awhile back, someone sent me a heavily embroidered shrine cloth and a little statue. It was lovely and, having known this person for awhile – though not considering him a close friend—I broke my rules and just opened the package. Immediately I was repulsed. I am gift oriented partly by nature and partly by religion. Gifting has a particular valence in Heathenry, and gifting is my love language – both giving and receiving—so for me to have a negative reaction to a present is almost unheard of (even if I don’t like the item, I usually appreciate the thought). This was different. I was actively repulsed and shoved the box into a corner of my living room to deal with later. I foolishly gave it no further thought that day.
The next day the problems started. A piece of scar tissue snapped in my ankle (kept me on a cane for days, extremely painful), a knife flew at me from my knife rack. I hadn’t touched it. Three or four cups and bowls flew from my hands or one time at my head and broke. I divined to see if I’d been hit by malocchio. Divination consistently said no. Everyone had pain and inflammation in the house out of the blue so much so there was one visit to the doctor to rule out medical issues. We divined when the doc said everything was fine and divination said it was partly physical – likely due to old injuries and damp weather–but partly something else. Ok. I do most of my main house div. on Sunday, so I had planned to ask about this at the end of the week. About the same time, our water heater, dryer, and a few smaller appliances all broke at the same time. Then the aggravation in relationships started. It was like something was whispering and twisting every interaction out of true, ensuring that we would misunderstand each other. It is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced this kind of oppression but it’s a primary technique of a certain class of evil spirits and theologians have written about it since ancient times. We were experiencing the effect of the presence of an evil spirit of disruption. I realized what it was because I saw it ever so slightly. I had a discussion with my husband about it and he concurred—I always check and double check because it’s easy to get paranoid.
That night, I skipped my protections and spent the night attacked in dreams. The next day, I fought it all day, sick and in pain. Eventually, my then-assistant asked a question –unrelated on the surface to this mess but perfectly timed—and divination opened up exactly what it was. The friend who sent me the altar items had received them from someone unclean, someone who dabbled in things not aligned with the Gods, someone who sought and seeks out people (especially women, I might add) who are devout and growing in spiritual power so he can derail and crush them, someone who had a deep jealousy and hatred for anyone solid in the Work. I’ve had my run-ins with this person more than once. I used to consider him a friend, until I learned how he butchers tradition, makes things up to cause harm and inflate his own ego, attacks and poisons the devout, and is ridden by addiction. He’s been known to plant really nasty shit in people’s homes, and to attack magically both men and women whom he perceives as rivals.
When I was getting up to get rid of the box, I heard the whisper, “Give it to X.” My guess is that my friend had the same thing happen and so was moved to send it to me. If one isn’t used to the whispers, it’s painfully easy to be influenced by spirits. They take on the sound of our own inner voices and if one doesn’t know the texture of one’s own mind, how can one tell the difference? I immediately took everything outside, my assistant doused it with blessed salt, we prayed and warded the space, the threshold, the door, cleansed the house, called on the Holy Powers and restored order. *Immediately* we all felt better. Later I burned the items. It was a huge lesson in maintaining protocols even when I think I don’t need to (perhaps especially then), and knowing my inner landscape so that I know precisely what is my own thought versus that of something malignant trying to influence me. Evil spirits try this all the time. It’s why cleansing, warding, meditation, and prayer is so important. It keeps one balanced and properly ordered.
Afterwards, it turned out my assistant had been having the thing whisper to her for days, and it had been trying to damage her relationship to one of her Gods. ALL of us had an aversion to the package, and none of us had wanted to touch it where it lay shoved into a corner. But because it came from a friend (who was appalled when I told him about what had happened, and who immediately got rid of everything the third party involved had given him) I’d neglected this. Have your cleansing protocols (and yes, I apply them to etsy and ebay packages too), and never, ever break them.
So, cleanse the things you receive or buy. Don’t take gifts from frenemies. If you find out someone is gross, get rid of everything they’ve given you and by which they might work nasty magic on you. Know the origin of secondhand gifts. Cleanse, cleanse, and cleanse. Also, keep up prayer and devotion because in the end these are more important than any of this and also our best guard and protection.
Here’s your PSA for the day.
Burn this. Clean it with fire. lol.
Stuff and Things for the Weekend
Just your weekly reminder that I offer a Setting of Lights each week. Orders must be received by 9pm EST on Saturday because I prep and light the candles right after midnight that evening. Email me at Krasskova at gmail.com if you’d like to order a candle. All info, including prices and the type of candles I offer may be found here. I’ve added memorial and blessing/well-being candles for pets (I found some cat shaped candles and decided to do a blessing candle for my own cat and decided to add it to the list).
I also have an ongoing prayer list (free!) and when I pray, I pray for well-being and blessings for those on my list. This isn’t something I charge for, but if you want to be added, if you’re having a rough time and want extra prayers, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll add you to my list. If you have special requests (i.e. my mom is going into surgery in a week, please pray for her.), just let me know. Usually, I pray nightly, and I keep my list on my shrine at that time and make the relevant requests.
Finally, I am offering to do a very simple rune and card reading for folks again and I’ll probably be doing so each month. For this, I’m not taking specific questions. For those interested, I will pull a card/draw a rune, maybe include another system too and interpret and send you the results. I’m charging $15. You may paypal me at Krasskova at gmail.com but please also email me letting me know that you want a reading so I both know (sometimes paypal is really slow about sending notifications) and know where to email you.
If you don’t feel in need of a reading but would like to support my work, here is a new thing that I am trying (I’ve seen some authors whom I very much respect using it): Kofi – Buy me a Coffee, which you can do here if you’re so inclined. Either way, I enjoy my work, think delving back into spiritual work like this is a very good way to start the year, and your support is always greatly appreciated.
Happy Vietnamese New Year
I love this because it is the year of the cat. 🙂
Prayer to Odin
(begin by lighting a candle and pouring out an offering if you’re able – water is ok. It’s always a good and acceptable offering).
Hail to You, Odin: Wizard, Shaman, and King. You breathed into us the gift of our souls and You fill Your followers with burning frenzy. You create; You destroy; You hunger. You took the raw matter of primordial Being and with the help of Your Brothers, forged it into nine mighty worlds. Yours is ever the keenness of a forward thinking, knife-like mind. Yours is ever the restless fury of a heart never sated in its quest for more. Knowledge and the power it bestows to weave one’s will, to shape one’s world, to sustain one’s creative endeavors, to endure is Your ambrosia. From You, devotees learn to hone their minds, to hunt for knowledge and experiences fearlessly, to know that learning (and teaching!) are sacred endeavors and through them, we imitate You. Through learning and exploring our world, we engage in something sacred, and we bring ourselves that much closer to our Gods when we allow ourselves the privilege. This then, is my prayer for today: may my thought-world never be small. May I never curb the hungry curiosity of my mind. May I never fear experience, may I never fear failure. Grant me courage, oh God of war, that in the war to tame and hone myself, I might be victorious. Hail to You, Odin, God of many names. For everything, I thank You.
“Odin” by W. McMillan
Quote of the Day
“Power is not revealed by striking hard or striking often, but by striking true.
–Honore de Balzac
“The World Tree,” my photo.
Why do we have all these heiti for our Gods? Each of our Holy Powers has numerous epithets or by-names. Many of these are contradictory. Some are relational or regional. Some are iterations of that Power’s primary areas of interest, Their particular skills, expressions of Their unique and very individual power. When a particular by-name is used, it provides a window through which the God may act. It becomes one way out of oh so many that the God can reveal Him or Herself. Sometimes, when we feel blocked devotionally praying to one of our Gods under a well-known or well-loved epithet, switching it up and meditating upon a different by-name can be productive. Moreover, I think sometimes our normal, well-trod devotional paths to our Gods have to be blocked specifically to force us down different, more obscure paths. Why? Because each heiti is a way to know a God differently, more deeply. Every by-name, every epithet is a mystery. It’s a word of power. It’s a doorway into a very specific face of a God. It’s multi-faceted and complex, and each and every one has a life of its own. Consider your favorite names for Odin. Where do they take you? What do they bring to mind? How do they tie into our cosmology? How did you first come to know this God? What by-names would you like to explore? Which ones scare you? Which ones intrigue you? Consider diving deeply into a new heiti and seeing where it leads.
Neil Price, The Viking Way. This book is an exploration of Old Norse magic, shamanism, and sorcery of the late Viking Age through the lens of archaeology and history. It touches on so many things: Sami influence on Norse magical practices, the use of battle magic, women’s magic – and sorcery specifically as women’s magic, Gods, ancestors, gender expectations, transgression and more. If I could choose one academic book on this particular topic, this would be the book and it’s written by a very generous scholar who was kind enough to answer a few philological questions from this Heathen on terminology for our modern tools, and to do so at finals time no less! This is one of four academic texts that I strongly suggest to my students that they own. It’s really quite invaluable.
Daily passage for Meditation and Lectio Divina: Gylfaginning 20-21 passim
Hann heitir ok Hangaguð ok Haftaguð, Farmaguð, ok enn hefir hann nefnzt á fleiri vega, þá er hann var kominn til Geirröðar konungs: Hétumk Grímr ok Gangleri, Herjann, Hjalmberi, Þekkr, Þriði, Þuðr, Uðr, Helblindi, Hárr, Saðr, Svipall, Sanngetall, Herteitr, Hnikarr, Bileygr, Báleygr, Bölverkr, Fjölnir, Grímnir, Glapsviðr, Fjölsviðr, Síðhöttr, Síðskeggr, Sigföðr, Hnikuðr, Alföðr, Atríðr, Farmatýr, Óski, Ómi, Jafnhárr, Biflindi, Göndlir, Hárbarðr, Sviðurr, Sviðrir, Jalkr, Kjalarr, Viðurr, Þrór, Yggr, Þundr, Vakr, Skilfingr, Váfuðr, Hroftatýr, Gautr, Veratýr." He is also called God of the Hanged, God of Gods, God of Cargoes; and he has also been named in many more ways, after he had come to King Geirrödr: We were called the Masked One | and Wanderer, Warrior, Helm-bearer; Welcome One, Third, | Lean (or Pale) One, Beloved, Hel Blinder, High. Truthful, Changing One, | Finder of Truth, Glad of War, Thruster; Flashing Eye, Flaming Eye, | Bale-Worker, Concealer, Hooded One, Swift in Deceit (or Wise in Magical spells, or Maddener), Very Wise. Broad Hat, Long Beard, | Victory Father, Overthrower, All Father, Attacking Rider, God of Burdens; God of Wishes, Resounding One, | Just as High, Spear (or Shield) Shaker, Wand-Wielder, Grey Beard. Wise One, Calmer, | Gelded One, Nourisher, Killer, Burgeoning One, Terrible One, Thunderer; Wakeful One (or Awakener), Shaking One(1), | Swinger of Gungnir, Sage, Ancestral Power (2), God of Being (or God of humanity)." (text and translation from this site, though the actual translation of the individual names is mine)
Hero or Heroine of the Day:
I thought long and hard about this, because very little of my hero cultus is given to Saga heroes. Driving home from an appointment today, however, I found myself thinking about Starkadr. There were actually two of them. The first is the Starkadr who kidnapped a woman while she was performing religious sacrifice. He’s hardly a model of piety and eventually, at the bequest of the woman’s father, Thor kills him. The second is his grandson. Gautreks Saga tells how he was a great warrior, favored by Odin.
In this Saga, Starkadr aligned himself with a King named Vikar and went about engaging in battle and raiding for this king. All debts eventually have to come due though and so it was with Starkadr and the King. While traveling with his warband and King Vikar, it was revealed through divination (done by Odin in disguise) that Odin required a sacrifice to ensure their survival and fortune. As was the custom, the warband drew lots to determine whom the sacrifice might be. Every time the band drew lots, however, Vikar came up as the chosen sacrifice. This makes sense, since Odin is a God of kings and also had allowed Starkardr to serve Vikar as a great warrior AND had given Starkadr many, many blessings, which were put in service to the king. TANSTAAFL. Of course, while Odin may have favored Starkadr, Thor didn’t due to his ancestry. Throughout multiple lifetimes, Thor prevented Starkadr from having children, and in every lifetime the warrior carried a particular blood-line curse courtesy of Thor: he would commit a crime, he would never be satisfied with the amount of property and wealth accrued, he’d always take terrible wounds in battle, he’d be hated by the common folk, etc. For every curse Thor laid on this man, Odin countered with a blessing.
So, once Odin tells the warband that a sacrifice must be given, and repeated drawing of lots show that Vikar is intended to be that sacrifice, things get a bit strange. Starkadr encourages Vikar to perform a mock sacrifice, setting things up so that the king won’t really die. The plan is that they’ll go through all the symbolic motions, but the king will walk away alive. It will all be a performance. Odin is not fooled, and some of the sources indicate that Odin arranged things with Starkadr, to ensure that Vikar would put himself in the proper place and position for sacrifice. The God gave Starkadr a spear that appeared to everyone else to be a simple reed-stalk. The king was hung with calf guts, which should not have born his weight. When the moment of death came, which everyone expected to be fake, the guts turned into real rope and the reed into a mighty spear and Vikar was sacrificed for real in the Odinic manner. (I vaguely remember reading at least one source where Starkadr did not know the reed was a spear and honestly intended to spare the king by cheating Odin. So, either Odin arranged the trickery of the king with Starkadr, or Starkadr tried to trick Odin on his own…the results were the same). After this event, Starkadr has to flee to the protection of a neighboring king.
The story is told in several sagas, and it gets chronologically complicated, but this is your basic story. I think there’s a lot about not trying to cheat the Gods, about meeting one’s fate with integrity and valor, about not pissing off Gods by committing hubris, and about the sometimes heavy negotiations required in being chosen or favored by a God. We can take Starkadr as a negative example rather than a hero (if he tried to trick Odin) or a hero but a tragic one (if he worked with Odin to trick Vikar). Either way, it’s complicated as devotional things usually are. Also, Starkadr is working with very problematic ancestral curses and it’s important to note that Thor has the lawful right to curse Odin’s favorite and while Odin blesses in equal measure, neither God undoes the curse or blessing of the Other. That’s important.
All these things and more are good food for contemplation.
Affiliate advertising Disclosure
- I wonder if this refers to the frenzy of Seiðr.
- My translation/interpretation.
Praying into the Unknown
THIS. Every F*cking word. Spot on.
Yesterday I read a post on Twitter that pointed out a major difference between Monotheism and Polytheism is that in Polytheism the human is no longer the main character of the story. The Gods are or, for animist Pagans, nature and all the spirits (not just humans) are. This is strongly the case in devotional Polytheism and why the phrase, “Its not about you!” crops up a lot. This seeded in my head and this morning, I woke up remembering way back in my early devotional Polytheism bloggery days, before this site, I came across a post I think on Tumblr saying (paraphrasing here) “if the gods are still real then why aren’t there more of them. why haven’t their offspring reached out and created new cultus?”
Well, as far as I’m concerned and my experience
- They are real
- Not all Gods deal with humans.
I mean even in the…
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Repeating Cycles of Violence in the Lore
This morning Sannion wrote a beautiful and powerful breakdown of some of the devotional prayers he’s been writing of late. One of those prayers was to our God of sacred vengeance Váli. I’ll share my comment about all of that here. I’ve written before about Odin and Rindr, but I”d never really considered how Their son fits into things. As I said on his blog, I love his breakdown of the prayers he’s written. wow. Re. Váli’s hymn…I am glad it exists. I think it is an incredibly potent and powerful piece and…I cannot ever honor this God. I want to see Him honored absolutely, but I myself stand with Sigyn and Loki and the slaughter of Their children was something beyond the pale for me. There’s a particular brutality there (though going back to our creation narrative, (I firmly believe that moment of creation is reified again and throughout out mythic cycle.) I can’t help but consider that again, on a theological level, as with Odin and Rindr, there is a reification of the violence and brutality of two opposing forces grinding together to create something new) and…I think this will be one God where I nod in respect …from a distance. Some people see both Váli’s as the same God, but I don’t think that is supported in any extant lore.
Brutality and Violence serve a creative purpose in our tradition. The act of creating is an act of destruction, of transformation and maybe that’s why Váli’s story also involves a God, Loki, Whom we sometimes call the World Breaker. Making and Breaking and Making again is embedded in our sacred stories. What can we learn from this?
Six Prayers to Nantosuelta
Kaye Boesme has written a lovely series of prayers to the Gaulish Goddess Nantosuelta. I didn’t know about this Goddess until reading these prayers -thank you, Kaye! I love our Gods and I want to see Them all honored by those so called, so I’m sharing these here with permission. They’re just beautiful.
Here is the link.