Category Archives: devotional work
3 years ago today Honoring the Mothers made its initial debut.
“Honoring the Mothers” is a collection of novenas to ten holy women, mothers of heroes like Achilles and Perseus and Gods like Hermes and Dionysos. These mighty women received cultus in the ancient world. They were reverenced, honored, venerated. This novena booklet provides a starting point for those wishing to honor them today.
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2htKzyB
This is one of my lesser known devotionals, but the content is a solid foundation for exploration.
In the Northern Tradition, the Sun is represented by the Goddess Sunna, and the Moon by her divine brother Mani. They give their names to two of the days of the week, and their rays shine down upon us, giving life and inspiration. This devotional is dedicated to them, and to their family. They are more than mere personifications; they bring joy and peace to every day of our lives. We saw them first in the sky as children, and now we can understand and reverence them even more fully with the help of this book.
I’m not a devotee of Hades but I felt I had to write this prayer to Him after one of my classes today. We were discussing salvation and the afterlife and the teacher insisted that the less educated classes in the ancient world didn’t believe in anything but darkness and death, that they had no reverence for Hades and the ancestors. He acknowledged that more educated folks had a soteriology and sense of immortality of the soul but not the regular folk. Obviously, I disagree and while, just like today, there were people who believed in nothing after death, your average person was more pious than the average person today simply by virtue of living in a society in which acknowledgement of the Gods was the norm. It hurt to see Hades and His realm misrepresented and this is what I can do by way of remit.
I must pray to Hades,
Beloved of Persephone
Master of the land of the dead,
Master of the haven where souls go
for healing and restoration.
You are just and merciful, oh Lord.
It is not out of cruelty
that You ignore the pleas of the living
when they pray for their dead
to be returned to them.
Far from it. Rather You know
the balance of things, that death
is necessary, and that the dead need the gift
of Your healing sanctuary.
All things change and are renewed
and the worlds are ever sustained.
Your mysteries are writ into our flesh.
You call to us from the moment we are born
and You are patient.
You can bear the weight of our grief.
As Herakles died, so must we
and this tells us it is not a horror
but sweet release and reward.
Pluto, there is a wealth of treasure
in the land of the dead,
in their songs and their stories,
and these too, You secure, for eternity.
Hail to You, Lord of the Dead,
Silent Protector of our ancestors.
Hail to You, Hades.
(image of Hades and Persephone by Jodie Muir Art).
“Lovers find secret places
inside this violent world
where they make transactions
He is beautiful. All Gods when They come to stand before the eyes of the soul are beautiful. Hermes granted me that and it saved me. He came in a dream and I could not breathe. He came in a dream and it was just for a moment that I saw Him and it nourished me though a week that would otherwise have brought me to my knees. Such encounters, no matter how fleeting, change the shape of the soul. They bring our hearts into alignment with the holy just a little bit more. They not only sustain but they transform. I don’t know what I carry now as a result of that encounter but I am so grateful.
It is the work of our souls to fall in love with our Gods, to seek Them out fervently, fiercely, unceasingly. To love a God is a fire that turns our worlds inside out. It brings us back to the moment of creation, the moment the Gods breathed or burned, willed or wove the cosmos into being, the moment divine architecture was created. To love a God means we are woven into being again and again always renewing and renewed. Our souls become intimately bound up in the constant reiteration of divine order. We take part in a song that binds everything in our world to our Gods. We take part in nourishing the Tree that nourishes us in return.
(“Hermes” by Pierre et Gilles)
Tonight was a good night to honor Mani. It’s been a whole evening of ritual and offerings, divination, and prayer. Mani was present through it all and half way through I realized it was the Hunter’s moon, the traditional name (or one of them) for the full moon in October. It was a very good night to honor Him.
I’ve seen Mani once, been gifted with the vision, of Him in a berserker’s frenzy. It wasn’t like what I experience as Odin’s when I’m overtaken by that state. No, it was a dancing whirlwind of blades and lethal violence, all elegance and sinuous splendor. He was wielding scimitars and He was beautiful, His rage sheathed in a calm as pure as ice. His face was a marble mask and in his eyes burned black fire.
Sometimes I see Him lounging in an alabaster throne, one leg slung over its arm, hair a fall of silk just begging to be touched. The svartalfar call Him Lord of the Camellias and It is here that I see why. His beauty swallows up the heart and fills the belly with longing. It is such a casual thing and yet wherever He passes, His loveliness leaves that place transformed.
Sometimes too I see Him wreathed in rings and beads, adornments in his hair watching over the world, fingers clicking rhythms, counting rhymes, whispering secrets to Unn in the oceans below. He keeps the song of all the worlds in harmony and He knows every complicated counterpoint. He is Master of His craft and His joy in this working a great and holy thing.
Mostly He is just Mani and that is everything. I set out offerings (tonight it was whipped cream flavored vodka, something He has liked in the past) but it never seems like enough. I want to give Him so much more and yet He asks for nothing, receiving our adoration with a delighted laugh and a smile that sometimes makes me cry with longing. If He walked upon the earth, I would follow behind him, and wherever He tread, there I would lay my cheek and count myself blessed indeed.
Hail Mani in Your splendor.
Hail Mani in the abode of night.
Grounded and centered, having offered to the Gods my morning prayers, and having lit incense to the ancestors I sit comfortably and consider the following meditation.
I reach up with my consciousness, through endless boughs of an enormous Tree, and its leaves whisper with secrets. I am one of those secrets being whispered and sung up the gnarled knots of that ancient Tree. It exhales me up beyond the worlds.
We exist within the breath of a God. We ride that breath into being. We exhale that breath back into the mouth of the All Father at the moment of our death. We are tied to everything through His breath and it pulses around us, the steady hand of the storm. I breathe it in down into my crown. I am alive. I am Odin sitting atop Hliðkjalf and I wear the crown of sovereignty. Nothing can separate me from this God. He has knit Himself into my soul.
It is Mani to Whom I reach as I move to my third eye. He is an ancient God and all manner of folly He has seen and dismissed. He forgets nothing and yet He is luminous. I pray that my mind and my heart may be luminous too, that I may rest in the House of the Moon, and may my Sight be always true.
My throat is filled with Loki’s fire. It burns away deceit. It cleanses and renders and because of it I speak true. His is the crucible in which I am ever refined. He hones my courage.
My heart is Sigyn’s hall. She protects and tenderly nourishes all that falls within Her care. She keeps my heart steadfast and the gentle flame of devotion burning within it. I look to Her that my soul might be constant. In such things, She does not yield.
In my gut, the seat of my will, I think on Thor. Mighty Thor with His chariot and gleaming hammer, He fights off pollution. He girds the world against dissolution. He will never be overcome. With Him at my back, I know that I will always be able to align my will with the divine order. Thor will keep me clean, the Holiness He bears will keep me focused.
In my sex lies Freya’s gift, roaring, liquid heat connecting me to life and primal desire. She is Mistress of Sesrumnir and Her blessings are holy. She teaches us to find joy in living. I strive to remember this.
At my root, lie the mysteries of Frigga’s hall. She grounds me in piety and respect, reverence, and power. She is the All-Mother and Her touch makes everything sacred. She roots me deep in the purest iteration of myself and throuh Her all magic flows.
Beneath my feet breathe the bones of the dead. Thousands of generations of ancestors having passed through Hela’s hallowed halls. They walk with me and when necessary lift me up. There is no place I can go where they are not and in times of danger they are an honor guard. With each step I thank them. With each step I am grateful.
In my hands, I feel the echo worlds. In my right hand I hold fire, in my left hand I hold ice. There is the holy chasm in between. All of creation is within me and I see the moment the Gods willed the worlds into being. I stand with Them then, again and again. I am willed into being too with each and every prayer. I am sustained and my prayers fall like nourishing water from the well of memory upon the Tree. It is sustained too. It is enough.
I reach above me with my right hand drawing power up from the dead and from the living earth and down from the most secret powers of the heavens and it is right and good and I touch my brow and chant:
Til ykkar, Oðinn og Regin,
I touch my belly and intone: rikið.
I touch my right shoulder and intone: krafturinn
My left shoulder: dyrðin
I cross my arms over my heart: nú og að eilífu
I bow my head in reverence: Amen.
And it is done.
(my photo: “the World Tree”. Do not use without permission).
I had to wake an hour earlier today than is my norm. I’m rushing around, getting ready to head into what I like to term my “hell day” at school (a day where I am in classes or meetings from 11am until 7:45pm without a break) and thanking the Gods for the fact that coffee exists but I wanted to take a moment to write this. From the time I’ve been awake I’ve been thinking about the Gods and how to carry a sense of Them with me throughout the day.
I want to feel Mani around me today, to feel connected to Him from dawn to dusk. I want to feel Him at my throat, and surrounding me, His luminescent presence flowing around and through me. I opened my day with mumbled prayers (not a morning person!) to Him and I have continued to hold Him foremost in my mind as I get ready. The adornments and scent that I choose to wear today are both things that remind me of Him, the first a brooch from His shrine, a ritual piece (though no one else would know it in my working world) imbued with His presence. I made offerings, pinned the brooch to my throat and rushed out.
As we drove to work (I’m now sitting in my department waiting for my first meeting), part of my mind was always on Mani. In my heart where He has crept, He is a palpable force. In the quiet sanctuary of my mind, which He has shaped, He is a far-reaching power. In the world without, He is there, soft misty trace of His passing in the sky above, softening the razor sharp bite of its noise because how can I see or hear any of that when He is there?
I pray for His blessing today and His protection. It is already looking like a day full of physical pain and aggravation. Still, I will try to let Him guide me, to reach out again and again throughout my day readjusting myself to the loveliness that I sense when He is near. I will touch His grace and elegance wondering at it and that moment of contemplative contact will change me, center me, realign me in some small way with His presence.
When I have a moment between meetings and classes, I will go out and pour out a simple offering to Him, probably water but maybe tea since I keep a nice black tea in my box here. I will drink Him in within the secret fastness of my heart as much as He will permit, and pray that whatever battles I may face throughout the day, the ecstatic utterance of His name and the glorious Presence it evokes will ever surround my soul with its illumination.
Hail Mani of the thirteen turnings,
Mani Who governs the cycles of the world,
Mani of the honey-golden countenance,
ManI elder to creation,
Many, beautiful and ancient,
Please hear my prayer.
I love you, oh Sweetest of Gods,
remote though You may ever be,
and for all You have given us,
I am grateful.
Mani has been on my mind a great deal the past few days and I’ve been longing, so badly it hurts, to sit in devotional space that is filled with His presence. I ache for a God that I love beyond breath. It brings light and color to my world. It adds a vibrancy to my interior vision. He inspires me but sometimes the hunger hurts. I know that no matter how much I pray or how present He may be, there will always be the distance born of flesh and the cage of corporeality between us and I am Odin’s anyway. Mani’s gentle touch is for me only a moment’s grace, a blessed respite from the roaring raging storm that is my home.
He is ancient. Even among Gods He is ancient for all that He seems lithe and young. He has a cold fury that easily matches Odin, a viciousness and valor that one must look very hard to see. He keeps it well hidden under a graceful, alluring mask, but it is there, a thing of His past, and savage. This adds spice to the longing.
I wanted to do something for Him to day since it’s the new moon. I had intended offerings, instead I found myself moved to paint Him in His warlike glory (not a way in which I usually see Him). I think it came out well and I might turn it into a prayer card. I also cleaned His shrine and I will be making offerings later. One can never do enough for the Gods one loves. I wish it were within my power to give Him the world. That is all.
My Mani shrine
Today’s icon of Mani
Mani and Unn by V. Hardy (soon to be a prayer card).
🏺Today is the three year bookversary! 🏺
Hellenics especially might enjoy this devotional to the Greek God Hermes. ⚕️
“In Praise of Hermes” is a novena booklet to the Greek God Hermes. It provides an introduction about this God and nine days of prayers in His honor.
Available on Amazon
Today is the 3 year anniversary of my devotional book 📕 dedicated to the Norse Goddess Eir. 👩⚕️
By Scalpel and Herb, Blood and Healing Hands is a novena booklet to Eir, a Norse Goddess of Healing. It provides an introduction about this Goddess and nine days of prayers in Her honor.
Available on Amazon.
Who owns a copy?