Category Archives: Heathenry
Sovereign Power of Asgard
Beloved of the All-father,
Beloved of Your people,
You fill every corner of Asgard with wealth,
and You make of it all well-ordered space.
You are the holiest of Mothers,
a Mighty Power, whispering Your wisdom
to wit-full women wise enough to hail You.
Your fair fen-hall bustles with the work
of Your sacred retinue, bringing You knowledge
from all the worlds, sending forth Your luck gifts,
carrying Your missives, working Your will,
Your network of wondrous women,
Powers allied only to You.
Your hall is a glorious place;
always it is filled with gracious hospitality.
Magic Woman, wise in the ways of wyrd,
Queen and Bearer of all the keys of Odin’s hall,
You manage well the ordering of all His matters.
Of Your own, He knows not
and You order them best of all.
The sacred waters of Your hall bring restoration
and hearts there are lightened
of the grievous wounds they bear,
especially the warriors broken by combat
and all the horrors it holds.
You restore harmony and wholeness
and every good-hearted woman
is welcome in Your hall.
Hail Frigga, may we fashion our own hearts
Always in ways that are pleasing to You.
(by G. Krasskova)
A theology colleague (Greek Orthodox) asked me recently if as a polytheist, I believed in some ultimate single force behind all the Gods and creation. My answer surprised him and I’ve been thinking about it and parsing it out ever since. No. I don’t. I think at best, any idea of “the One” is a philosophical concept, perhaps a place holder for the activities of the individual Gods in individual instances governing creation and being. (1)
The Gods maybe yoked together in purpose: collaborating in the act of creation (all creation stories being true μύθους) but that is a different thing from there being a single unity overseeing it all (2). I think that once the collective act of creation was set into being, once materiality and temporality were created and thus wyrd activated, the process itself took on an unfolding life of its own.
In talking about this with my housemates, one of them brought up Wyrd as perhaps that force beyond the Gods but I had to disagree. Wyrd is inherently yoked to temporality and materiality. It is inter-generational by its very construction (we can inherit wyrd –ancestral debt –from our ancestors and even in the best of situations are not separate from the wyrd of our family lines). I posited that the Gods are yoked to wyrd only insofar as they choose to remain yoked to temporality, to our world, to the world that They Themselves created. Do They need to be bound in this manner? No, I don’t think so. Yet we have in Greek, the story of Zeus sacrificing His son Sarpedon, Whom He loved on the field of battle because if He did not, it would be a breach of the very divine order He created. We have Baldr being forced to Helheim, so that part of the generative order of Asgard would remain protected and safe in the haven of the dead should Ragnarok occur, in other words, should any external breach of that order spiral out of control. I don’t think They need to remain connected to our material and temporal world. I think They choose to do so. (3)
All creation stories are true if we accept that in collaborating to create, the Gods tied Themselves to specific languages, peoples, lands through which They could express Themselves most clearly. No, I am not saying that Mercury is Odin or Thor Herakles or any such thing. (4) I’m saying that specific Gods chose to order a specific piece of the cosmic tapestry They All collectively chose to create. (5) A more intriguing question than that of an a priori “One” is how the Holy chasm, Holy nothingness that is full of all potentiality, Ginnungagap is related to the Gods prior to creation. That, however is beyond the scope of this particular piece. The collaboration of creation is itself a powerful Mystery, to know that the tapestry of the order of the worlds is sustained and support by so many individual Gods working together, each in Their own sphere of Power. Perhaps if we must speak of a “one” it is the result of that collaboration: the process being born of that collective will, a thing that comes from our Gods rather that precedes Them and which has no independent being or consciousness or capacity to act without Them. (6)
- There are instances that point to the Gods praying, or at least making offerings. Freya for instance, is called the Blótere– sacrificial priest – of the Gods. To Whom are They offering? I think that perhaps They are sustaining individually and collectively each other in maintaining right and holy order, sustaining the process itself and directing Their collective maegen toward its continued unfolding.
- I use the Greek word μύθους because it is far richer and more inclusively complex than its English equivalent. It may refer to something worth retelling or recalling. It implies sacred stories that are true in the way that sacred things can be, outside of temporal reality or rationality.
- I reject categorically any notion that the Gods are dependent in some way on us. That is a violation of natural order. The Gods as living immortals may choose – and what a grace that They do – to have contact with us, relationships, etc., but that is different from being dependent. It is our privilege to honor Them and participate in cultusand we are bettered by it. They too may receive something from it, but I don’t think it is something without which They are unable to function. To say that They require us is the same as saying that we are equal to Them, or that They are dependent on us and such a thing with Gods cannot be. It elevates us far beyond our natural and wholesome station.
- I would also argue that this isn’t want interpretatio romanaor graeca was doing either.
- As an artist, I know that there is a satisfaction, a deep joy in creating, in architecture, Art, bringing Beauty to life. I often wonder if that sense of wonder and delight was experienced by the Gods at the moment They not only created materiality and temporality, but also crafted humanity, the Idea taking shape in Their collective minds before being shaped into reality and seeing that reality coming to life — and what grief there must be when we betray Them and our divine patrimony through the destruction of Beauty and our world. I’m not talking about war, which I think is also an expression of parts of Their power, but conscious, degenerate destruction of that which ennobles and elevates, conscious turning away from the creation of the Beautiful. I sometimes wonder if the Gods regret Their choice to breathe life into two chunks of driftwood…
- I do think there is an inherent reciprocity between us and the Gods. They have given this to us and it is for us to maintain. That is what I often refer to as one of the most ancient of covenants, using that word to imply the sacred nature of this compact. Again, however, it does not imply in any way that They are dependent upon us. Quite the opposite, actually.
You are the best and most loyal of friends, Oh Loki,
You Who tangle and untangle the toughest of fates.
You walk through every terror, every challenge
At the side of Your allies and friends,
And the trouble You cause ever works in Your favor.
You, Lopt, bend every error to Your will
And there is no lock You cannot open.
Like a green eyed glittering spider
Sitting in a massive web,
There is no secret of Gods or men
You do not know, and You keep them
Secreted away keen weapons easily summoned
To Your witty lips and hands.
You pour treasure into the hands of your companions,
From You, Thor gained His mighty hammer,
Odin His spear, Frey His magical ship,
And many other glorious gifts.
You ever gift us as well, most often
When we are reluctant, recalcitrant
And resistant to Your mercy.
Never cease, Fiery Hearted Sky-treader
To open us up to all the potentialities
The Gods can provide,
especially when we beg you not to.
Hail to You, Loki, the best of friends
In our time of need, always and ever after.
(by. G. Krasskova; image below by Rackham)
(a prayer to be said on Wednesdays)
You are the fire that burns in Odin’s shadow
The stitch holding the worlds together,
The whisper ever unquiet igniting dissatisfaction.
You keep us from succumbing.
You make memory blaze and sear
Driving us inevitably back to the Gods
Our ancestors forgot.
Bright flickering fire
To Grimnir’s icey dark
The two of You brought the worlds to life
(Hoenir granting order and sense)
and You will bring it back to life again:
restoring what must be restored
even if it must be done in blood and fire.
May we work with the Gods always,
Grant us that, oh clever Roarer*,
And never, ever against,
No matter how rough and challenging
The road may grow.
Hail to You, Loki,
On this, Woden’s Day.
(by G. Krasskova)
*One of his lesser known by-names is Hveðrungr (Roarer).
You come like thunder roaring,
shattering, crashing, and pounding into the heart.
Howling God, breathing fury, Your frenzied shrieking
giving life to the runes, sacred synaptic power,
the Tree runs red with Your blood.
It was freely given. Your blessings strike,
like the hammer of Your Son,
like lightning’s fire, inescapable,
ecstatic terror, dancing, burning,
igniting worlds in the heads of those You favor.
A sharp-eyed eagle soaring over Hlidskjalf,
there is no secret You cannot know,
no world You will not plunder.
You and Your mighty Son,
hold up the scaffolding of the Worlds,
girding the elegance of its geometry
against entropy and destruction:
He with His might, You with Your hunger,
Your seeking, Your desire, as once You taunted Him
sardonically flyting in ferryman’s guise.
There is no world capable of containing Your frenzy,
Oh God grey of beard and ravenous of heart.
May Your favor fall upon us always,
until we are as hungry for the holy
as You are for power.
(by G. Krasskova, image by Sam Flegel)
You are unyielding
You will not be moved.
Let others rant and rave and curse.
Where love has rooted itself in Your heart
even the might of the mountain is weak.
You are fierce: a she wolf defending Her own.
No one expects it of You, Sweet Sigyn.
Because You do not wear Your might
as others might wear gleaming jewels,
no one thinks You strong,
a force with which to reckon.
Yours however is the power
that grants no acknowledgment
to that which would turn You from Your course.
You are His North Star, forever constant,
a gleaming beacon, His only comfort
a whisper of half forgotten joy
in the abyssal eternity of the cave.
Your eyes are on Your task,
Asgard truly should fear,
and then pour out offerings
to whatever Powers the Powers honor
lest You turn Your heart to justified vengeance,
on the day You and Your Husband
rise from the pit.
Vengeance is rarely Your way, however,
it is often too great a luxury to nurture in Your heart
in light of the work You must do.
Some sacrifices after all must be made
and You are pragmatic.
Vengeance will not return a murdered son.
Vengeance will not remake a shattered God.
Your way is simply to endure,
which is not so simple at all;
to endure and hold in Your burning heart
the knowledge that nothing lasts for ever.
There is only the wyrd woven
strand by black and bloody strand,
in the crucible of necessary choice.
There is only a strength beyond courage
and the heart and character of valor
plucked from amidst the weaving.
To You, Lady, I bow my head.
Lady of Enduring Grace,
Lady of Valor,
Lady of Victory.
(by G. Krasskova)
The raven has hooked his claws in my heart
tethering me to the interstitial frenzy
pouring out from gallows to God.
Let us praise the furious One,
Who rendered Himself upon the Tree
victorious over Himself first of all.
Let us praise Gangleri,
Who wanders through
all the darkest corners
of our world,
spitting mouthfuls of glacial fire
into the heads and hearts
of fervent women.
Let us praise the One Whose spear
keen and sharp, ever finds its mark,
Gerölnir, blistering across the field of battle
ever ecstatic in His fury.
Let us praise the Burden of Yggdrasil,
Corpse-God and eunuch, ever renewed
through the agony of sacrifice.
He mounted the Tree and with a war cry
like shrieking thunder swallowed the
glory of the Gap – gasping, gripping,
spewing runes, this sovereign Power.
Let us praise the Roaring Thruster,
charmed and charming,
Who scatters His seed inciting longing,
carnal and cunning, clever and cruel,
exquisitely adroit across all the worlds, Glory burning.
Let us praise this God in Whom
all opposites reside, compelling adoration,
devouring opposition, like grist in His teeth,
ground up and grinding, bale-eyed Beguiler,
Who gnawed on fire, this Architect of Being.
throbbing, pounding, aching, wanting,
implacable Force, unsparing Fever,
unappeasable haunting Hunger,
to Whom Being itself surrendered
torn apart and structured anew.
Oh Glad of War, Galdr-Father,
Glad of Battle, God of Gain,
Blinder of Foes, sharp Wand-Wielder,
Gaunt God Splendor, World-willing Wonder,
Incanting Hjarrandi, Herjan, Goðjaðarr,
Lord of Hosts and Valhalla’s hall,
Blazing Ravager, Renewing Ruler,
howling winds herald Your terror.
Odin we call You, vehement and lethal,
vigorous valor, we hail You always.
We ask that You fill us with Your thirst for knowing,
so that our lives will ever be full of color.
Hail to You, oh Frenzied Hunger.
Hail to You, Odin.
(by G. Krasskova; image by W. McMillan)
You come feral and joyous,
laughing and dancing with the winds,
playing tag with Mani
under the sweetness of a sugar moon.
Herald of Eostre, unfettered, unbound,
You roar across our world,
with the lion winds of march.
Our flags and chimes whip and sound
with the force of Your passing.
You surround us as we move,
our offerings in hand,
across our rightful land.
Make the fields flourish.
Make the earth fertile,
The delight of Your voice
urges us on;
and we cry Your name
driven forward by the irresistible gusts
of Your whirling exhilaration.
Hail, Hrethe, now and always,
ebullient, fierce, unmatched in exuberance.
(By G. Krasskova)
One of the things that my tradition does of late is, at the start of each season, honoring a specific Goddess. That is not the only Deity that will be honored during this time – month to month, on holy tides, in personal devotions we honor many others, for instance, November belongs to Odin for me—but this is specifically for the seasonal shift. There is something in the power or what the Greeks would call the timai of the Goddesses that we’ve chosen that echoes the energy of the season.
At the start of the Autumn we honor Idunna. This is purely instinctive in our household – there’s something about the magic of Autumn that really calls Her to mind for us. And even though it’s a time when the earth is getting ready for its winter sleep, it’s that very sleep that brings about renewal in the spring. Usually in early September, we do a rite to honor Her for the quarter.
Winter was more difficult. In early December this year we did our rite to Frau Holle. This was a time when we were all focusing on internal household preparations for Winter and so, this seemed appropriate. I could also see honoring Skadhi at this time as well, particularly if one were outdoors a great deal. Our focus on this, however, is the preparation of the household throughout the seasons and attuning it appropriately so we went for this quarterly rite, with Frau Holle.
In early March, we honor Hrethe as a matter of course as a Goddess of March, but the Goddess that seems to dominate Spring as a whole for us is Ostara (or Eostre—same Deity, one name is Old Norse, the other Old English). It is to Her that our quarterly venerations go and we usually do that on the holy tide that bears Her name.
Then in Summer, in early June, we honor Sif and look to Her to govern the cyclical aspects of the season. Much of the household preparation we do throughout the season is dedicated to this Goddess, particularly things like maintaining a sustainable garden and pantry. This has made us overall, far, far more mindful of necessary household rhythms and of ways to connect the work we do in fulfillment of those rhythms to veneration of our Gods.