Author Archives: ganglerisgrove

Prayer: Cultivating Relationship with the Gods

I am currently working on a piece on the necessity of prayer and then I log on today and see this. worth a read. We should crave and cultivate prayer. It changes us, makes us more receptive to the Gods, allows Them windows through which to work, patterns us in the ways of devotion.

Heathen Field Guide

I crave prayer. It’s hard for me not to fall back into it as often as I can (not that I’ve ever tried to go without it once I’d discovered it). I have a pretty broad definition of prayer as more or less the mindful surrender to connection with the Gods or other numinous spirits that are greater than ourselves. There is a form of hierarchy among spiritual entities with the Gods on top and humans somewhere in the mid to low range. So prayer is conversation, connection, and communion with greater-than-human powers. We are connected with these powers constantly, so that’s why the definition of prayer to me includes the word “mindful”. We become actively aware of this connection and act in accordance with it.

I think a lot of pagans get hung up on prayer as this somehow monotheistic or (horror of horrors) Christian practice when prayer is…

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My exams are complete

I just received notification from my academic department chair that I passed my qualifying exams. I sat for the written exams last week and my orals were yesterday. I am so grateful to my department for their generosity and support.

The process was exhausting — really an initiation of sorts– but we are given a year to prepare and a great deal of feedback from our examiners throughout. I tested in medieval theology, patristics, ante nicene christianity and then my dissertation field (that exam was very theoretical). Now I can focus on teaching my summer courses before settling down to work on my dissertation proposal. I also have a little stack of books that I have been savoring and setting aside to read right after my exams were done (the reading lists for my exams were quite extensive, leaving little room for anything else). Today I plan to crack the first one open and settle down for fun—of course it’s a book on … medieval theology ha ha.

Several of you have been asking me privately how the whole process is going, so now you know: I PASSED!! WOO!!! ^___^.

Bookversary: Sigdrifa’s Prayer & Walking Toward Yggdrasil

Affiliate Advertising Disclosure

Today I have two book publication anniversaries, both books published 15 years ago today.

Bookcover for Sigdrifa's Prayer

“An investigation into the meaning of one of the few surviving prayers from pre-Christian Heathenry. Drawing on her experience as a Heathen priest, Ms. Krasskova delves into this prayer line-by-line offering her own unique insights. This monograph is as much an examination of prayer and its place in modern Heathenry as it is an analysis of Sigdrifa’s prayer itself. She raises many questions as to the nature of Heathen devotion and seeks, in her own inimitable style, to provide a few thought-provoking answers.”

Is Sigdrifa’s Prayer: An exploration & Exegesis in your library? You can grab it today on amazon.

Walking Toward Yggdrasil is a collection of devotional poetry dedicated to the Norse God Woden. These poems celebrate the intimacy, intensity, passion and the terror that He is capable of arousing in His devotees. It is a joyous offering to the All Father by a woman who has served Him for over a decade. The text of the book is given both in English and German.”

The book is now out of print, but you can find all the English language content presented with additional material in He is Frenzy available on amazon or you can purchase it on bookshop to support small, independent booksellers.

On Herbs and Contraception

Ok…I’ve seen a lot of people pushing herbal abortifacients lately and while I’m fully pro-choice, I’ve been horrified to see random lists of herbs given with no indication of how to use them, no mention that they can kill you if mis-used, or sometimes destroy kidney and liver function (and kill you) if even slightly overused, no contra-indications, etc. etc. 

People. Consult a skilled herbalist or you can die. Herbs are not harmless. Also, if you’re on any medications, there can be contraindications. There is actually a Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines (did you know, for instance, that taking St. John’s Wort can render certain types of birth control pills ineffective? Seems like this is info people might want to know, before taking a tincture). 

Today, I saw this list: tansy, rue, pennyroyal, queen Anne’s lace. All of these are contraceptives or abortifacients/emmenagogues but taken incorrectly, three of the four can kill you. Tansy depletes the body of vitamin C, can cause scurvy, and in one of the cases that I read when I studied herbalism in my twenties, in severe cases, fatally damage the organs. The dosage one has to take to rid the body of baby is very, very, very close to a lethal dose. Don’t use this. Rue is likewise an emmenagogue and I can’t speak to its use because I just don’t remember my class notes but I’d sure as hell consult a qualified practitioner before just taking it. 

Pennyroyal will act as an emmenagogue if taken as a tea, but you ingest the oil and that is lethal. In one case we studied, a woman began to miscarry after just rubbing the oil on her abdomen. Taken internally, it will kill you. 

Queen Anne’s Lace will not kill you but how do you take it? It functions as contraception, making the lining of the womb too slippery for a fertilized egg to implant. I was taught a teaspoon of the seeds daily, CHEWED thoroughly. Taking it as a tea does no good at all. 

One amusing (and useful, not deadly) means of contraception that I read about today (and have read about in my historical studies prior to this – Casanova mentions it in his memoirs for one) was used by courtesans: cut a lemon in half and insert half, with the cut end facing out. The lemon juice is a mild spermicidal and the lemon itself blocks the cervix. Hey, if it sounds weird, it’s an improvement on what ancient Egyptians did. They used little caps of crocodile dung, which I suppose WOULD have the desired effect. LOL. One way or another. 

These are not the only herbs that have emmagogic functions but one needs to know what one is doing. That takes study, certification, and common sense. Go to a professional herbalist. Better yet, find a OB/GYN who will tie your tubes. Then you don’t have to worry. 

You think herbal is safer? Well, belladonna, henbane, and fox glove are all 100% natural. 

Finally saw “the Northman”

​Ok. So I finally saw “the Northman” tonight, and I have to say I was seriously, disappointingly, underwhelmed. I really really wanted to like it but I found myself irritated all the way through. 

Here’s what I did like: 

1. Pretty much all of the female characters. This is unusual for me. Usually, I find most female characters unnecessarily shoehorned into​ stories, or irritating, foolish, or weak, etc. etc. I really don’t like the way women are written most of the time but in this movie, I liked all of the major female characters and Bjork’s performance was amazing (I’m not a fan of Bjork either, so for me to say this is something). 

2. the Odinic scenes — the rescue by the valkyrja, the Tree of life, etc. The valkyrja was amazing. 

3. the male shaman (and I seriously want the drum beater he was using).

4. the foxes. 🙂

5. That the seeresss of Freyr must have seen what was really happening when the first bodies showed up, but she said nothing, giving Freyr’s tacit consent to the just vengeance. 

6. Across the board the acting was excellent.

7. The rituals surrounding the funerals — I won’t say more as I don’t want to give spoilers.

8. Some of the fight choreography — not a lot of it, but every once in awhile, esp. with shield and sword, there was a really clever move.

9. At one point, Freyr is referred to as “the God of Erections” and frankly, that just delighted me. It’s a great by-name for Him. I know some Heathens have complained about this part of the movie, but it’s an accurate description of Freyr’s iconography and also His power. 

10. the clothing seemed historically accurate and one thing that struck me was the dim interiors. I don’t think we really “get” how dark indoor rooms would have been before gas light and then electric lighting. 

11. I’m assuming it was shot in Iceland. I’ve been there and it really is that beautiful. The scenery was stunning. 

12. The way the Christians were referenced throughout the movie made me smile. It was first to last a properly Heathen world. 

13. There was a female fighter, a shield maiden shown in one of the battles, in the aftermath, and that was really cool. There wasn’t more than one, which is far more accurate than showing a ton of them. We have historical references here and there to female fighters– women have always fought — but they were never the norm. 

Things I really disliked: 

1. the way berserkers were presented (were we dealing with berserker or ulfednar?).

2. Amleth was foolish and this is what irritated me the most. He fought stupidly. There was no cleverness save when he was working with Olga. Also, that he was a berserker, earlier established in the movie, doesn’t come into play in the later vengeance-taking battles. I didn’t think he was written as a smart character and that bothered me intensely and to my mind, goes against the saga this is based upon.

3. Skarsgard’s posture. Like dude, get some help for that neck issue. his head was constantly shoved so far forward it made my own neck hurt. stand up straight ffs. (I’m a former ballet dancer who had a ton of martial arts training too. Stand. Up. Straight). This drove me crazy throughout the film. 

4. Everyone was dirty. The Scandinavians were very clean. There’s a (7th c. I think?) bit of Christian writing from England where the Christians are complaining that the Vikings get all the girls because they bathe weekly, perfume themselves, comb their hair and braid their beards. 

5. The ritual at the beginning with the king and his son barking like dogs. WTF was that supposed to be? 

Overall, it just left me cold. It does have the same pacing and surreal atmosphere as “The Witch,” (which I liked — it captures something of the paranoia and isolation of Puritan New England). Across the board the acting is exceptional. The reveal with Nicole Kidman’s character — wow. I’m not saying anything about it, but it was very, very well done. But other than that, I was just like…meh. 

Opening Prayer Given at the May 12, 2012 UN Conference on Women and Indigeny

(Ten years ago today, I gave the opening prayer at a conference held at the “Breaking the Silence: Beginning the Healing” conference held under the auspices of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and which was a part of their year-long focus on the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery. I was likely the only Heathen there, and I was asked to open the gathering with a prayer to our collective dead. This is the prayer I gave, and while some of the language rings much differently today (to the point that were I writing this prayer today, I would rephrase certain elements to avoid association with the left), the core message stands).

Let us begin our work today by calling upon our ancestors.

Let us call upon the Algonquin, the Wappingers Confederacy, and all other Native peoples who walked this land and whom this land remembers.

Let us begin by calling upon the mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers of our lines, all the way back to the time our respective peoples began.

Let us begin by reaching into the past, to the strength and wisdom of our forebears, for guidance, as we seek to transform our present.

I call now to our collective ancestors, women and men who laid down their lives, who faced conquest, struggle, potential obliteration, who stood strong and proud so that each of their descendants might have a chance at survival, at life, at continuance. I call to those men and women whose joys and sacrifices, struggles and successes culminated in each one of us sitting here today. Hear us, oh honored dead.

Those of you who came before us, living lives rooted in your own ancestral ways, be with us here today. Be with us as we come together in dialogue and peace. Inspire us that from here, buoyed by the strength of our collective passion, our collective words, our collective insights, we might go forth and transform our oh-so-damaged world. Root us, oh Ancestors, in our respective indigeny. Root us in the knowledge that indigeny is about celebrating the dignity of every living being on the planet; indigeny is about recognizing that we are indisputably connected to the earth, the land, and most of all to each other. Oh ancestors, let our work today honor that awareness with grace.

Our mothers, our fathers, our foremothers, our forefathers all the way back to the time of the beginning are calling us to action. I know you all hear that call. May our warrior ancestors, who never, ever went gently into the good night of conquest, who fought and laid down their lives sometimes en masse for the survival of their traditions, our traditions, be with us, let us call upon them now. Defiant Ones, proud and enduring Ones, men and women both. Give us the strength to reject that which would poison and corrupt our connections to our ancestors, our Holy Powers, this land upon which we live, and each other. Give us the wisdom to know in our bones that sustainability does not come from disconnected governments and avaricious corporations but from the belly of our ancestors and the traditions they called their own, traditions that are our birthright, our inheritance.

Oh Ancestors, give us the courage to confront privilege – our own most of all – to actively engage with ideas and concepts that may be painful, to engage with mindfulness, respect, and authenticity.

Most of all, let us never give up, never surrender, never step back from this fight, no matter what hostility or pressure we might face. We too are warriors in a struggle that has spanned generations. Stand with us, oh our beloved dead. Grant us a measure of your strength. We carry the medicine of our ancestors. Oh Ancestors hear our vow: no one here will be legislated, educated, starved, murdered, shamed out of existence. We will not allow our traditions – whatever those ancestral traditions might be, for here we sit from all corners of the globe united by a common purpose – to be forgotten. We will not allow the land that cradles the bones of our foremothers and forefathers to be devasted. Many things can be lost or taken by the rushing press of dubious progress, or through the violent devastation of conquest, but indigeny is not one of them. It flourishes in each of us. It is in the soil upon which we walk. It is hidden in our skin and blood and bones, in the connection from parent to child to grandchild and beyond. Oh our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, help us stay consciously rooted in that knowledge.

May we hold strong. May our ancestors sustain us.

It will take both sides, living and dead, to right the balance of this world.

May we hold strong and never bow our heads in fear.

We are each our ancestral lines walking. The time is now and I call upon our ancestors: give us ears to hear and eyes to see and the courage to go fearlessly wherever we must go, to do whatever we must do, to protect and heal our broken world.

With the blessing of the ancestors – all of our collective and honored dead – may we be given strength and may we always remember: we do not do this work alone. We are our ancestral lines walking. We come with nations of our ancestors at our back. May they be honored. May they be hailed. May they be remembered. May they inspire us.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day

Our mothers are sacred. This our ancestors knew.
After all, the mightiest of our dead are our Disir.
A blessing on all our mothers living and dead.
May those who loved fiercely and well be honored.

May those who struggled and harmed their children,
find healing, in life or amongst their own ancestors – not every mother
knows how to mother. May there be healing of all concerned and reparation.
Most of all, may their children set down the weight of pain that should never, ever
have been theirs to bear. Let there be liberation.

A blessing on those mothers who did their best, even if they faltered or erred.
A blessing on those who sacrificed their dreams having no other choice –
may our daughters and granddaughters have more choices not less
in their families and under the law. Hear us, all you generations of women
locked in worlds you may never have willingly chosen, had you been given the choice.
Hear us and fight for us, as only the dead know how to fight.

A blessing on those moms who struggled, who worked hard, who loved fiercely.
A blessing on those moms who never gave birth, but who stepped in, stepped up,
became mothers and loved as ferociously as lions.
A blessing on those moms who had no husband or partner to help them – for whatever reason.
A blessing on those moms whose children died, whether through miscarriage, illness, accident,
or any other sadness.
A blessing on those moms who endured, who continue to endure
and a special blessing on Ukrainian mothers and all mothers facing the horrors of war.

I ask blessings from the hands of our ancestors, and I ask blessings from the hands of our Divine Mothers: Frigga, Freya, Sigyn, Sif, Sunna, Nerthus, Loki, et Al. May Your divine blessings flow on to mothers (and fathers too) and into each of our families, whatever they may look like, that love may flourish and their strength be sustained.

The Many Gods of Mercury

I love love love this opening image of Mercury! wow.

Neptune's Dolphins

Mercury (Mercurius) was not originally a Roman God. However, He was assimilated so early that He became one of the Di Consentes (The Twelve Great Gods). Mercury came to Rome via the grain trade with Sicily, which was then a part of the Magna Graecae (Greater Greece). The Romans first considered Hermes, the Greek God, to be the God of the Grain Trade. Later as Mercurius, He became the God of Trade and Merchants. However, Cicero wrote that one of Hermes’ aspects – the Messenger of the Gods – was carried over from the Greeks.

In 495 BCE, Mercury’s temple was built outside the Pomerium (Sacred Boundary of Rome). The Mercuralia, his major festival, held on the Ides of May, the day when his temple was dedicated. Since his temple is located halfway between the temples of the Capitoline Triad of the patricians and the Aventine Triad of…

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The Witch Hunt – SCOTUS, Justice Alito, Abortion, Sir Matthew Hale and the Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

This is an excellent piece by Wyrd Designs. I’m a little appalled that minors who are wards of the state in TX receive no pain management during labor, and even more appalled that a woman killing in clear self defense would warrant arrest, prosecution, and a guilty verdict (that is bullshit at the highest level). Anyway, read and learn. I’m particularly concerned that SCOTUS will take a run at Griswold vs CT next.

Wyrd Designs

70% of Americans support the rights of women to have a choice with her doctor regarding her own medical decisions. And yet many have been reeling since the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States that appears to be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court case that gave women the right to have an abortion.

It’s not just abortion that’s on the hatchet block. Roe v. Wade based it’s argument in part upon a case dealing with birth control as a precedence. If Roe v Wade is overturned then it also weakens the legal precedence for birth control too. And trust me, I’ve seen some crazies here in Texas who think birth control is worse of a sin than abortion. They think birth control kills more babies than abortion.

What happens next for the use of stem cells in medical and scientific advancements…

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THIS. (courtesy of a friend on fb)