Category Archives: Heathenry

Midsommar – A Review

 

midsommar-rev4

It was with no small degree of both anticipation and trepidation that I went to see “Midsommar” this weekend. My gold standard for movies of this type is the original “Wicker Man” with Christopher Lee. I did not expect “Midsommar” to come near to this and happily I was wrong. It’s a beautiful, moving, brilliant movie about the emptiness and crass depredation of modernity coming face to face with deep, unshakeable piety.

This is the point that the Pagan reviewers having thus far written about this movie have aggressively missed. It’s a movie about tradition, values rooted in intergenerational piety, and the consequences of growing up in a culture bereft of community, and about the consequences of one’s choices good and bad. It’s not a perfect movie by any means (and I’ll be talking about the things that I particularly disliked below) but it comes close. It is not a horror movie nor, as so many reviewers on youtube have insisted, is it a break up movie. That happens yes, but it is the culmination of the main character’s spiritual and emotional journey, a natural conclusion to her transition out of polluted, disconnected existence and into tribe and family. (There is a powerful dream sequence where we see this visually depicted: Dani, the main character exhales and a huge billow of black smoke comes out of her mouth. I and my husband looked at each other and I whispered, “she’s expelling pollution” and from that point on, she begins integrating more and more fully into the community that eventually accepts her).

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
The movie begins with Dani and her boyfriend Christian on the verge of a break up. That is postponed when she suffers a terrible personal tragedy and Christian, out of his depth but not wanting to be a total dick, decides not to break up with her. From there, a Swedish friend Pelle invites Christian and some other doctoral students to his hometown for a special 9-day celebration that only takes place every 90 years. Dani eventually comes along with them. It is clear from the beginning of the flight that Dani is disconnected not just from Christian but from everyone and everything around her. That’s a recurrent theme: disconnection vs. connection. It’s particularly well expressed when you see her six months after her personal tragedy staring out at the bleak, isolated city scape. This is later contrasted with the healthy, bright, and vibrant Swedish landscape. On the plane, Pelle, their Swedish friend connects more to her by addressing her grief than Christian or any of her other peers do or try to do. He shows compassion and shared suffering. It is clear that, as so many people in the modern world are, she lives in emotional isolation.

That isolation begins to change when she and her friends arrive in Sweden. Pelle drives them to his village but they stop before they get there and he offers them mushrooms. This is their transport from mundane headspace to sacred, ceremonial states of being and its effect on Dani is remarkable. Immediately, we’re given a visual sign of the land accepting her (grass growing through her hand, uniting her with the earth). This also begins her journey from emotional brokenness to wholeness, healing, and strength.

Upon reaching the village, they’re immediately welcomed by the elders. On the way, they meet up with two other foreign guests, a rather obnoxious British couple. Things do not go well for the majority of the group. I’m not going to give a long breakdown of the entire film – I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t yet seen it; but I will offer a few highlights.

Dani tries from the beginning to understand and acclimate. Her friends do not. They behave with arrogance from the beginning. The most egregious example of this takes place after two elders have sacrificed themselves (in this community it is customary for elders to commit suicide ritually at 72, giving their life force back to the community). Not only does the British couple desecrate the ritual, possibly causing it to go somewhat awry with the elderly man, but afterwards, when the bodies have been cremated and the ashes spread about a sacred tree that serves as a communal ancestor shrine, one of the young men, after watching the spreading of the ashes, decides he has to take a piss on that tree. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. He was incapable of recognizing it as sacred, even when they attempted to explain it to him. (He gets exactly what he deserves and I cheered out loud when that happened). There are several instances of desecration and violation of sacred spaces by the group, each one bringing the appropriate penalty.

Dani, on the other hand, tries to make herself useful and while obviously out of her element, participates in tasks and even in the ritual, winning the role of “may queen,” a ceremonial role that involves blessing the fields and land. In the end, it is Dany who chooses the final sacrifice indicating her new role as a functioning member of this Pagan community, and that she has left her old, dysfunctional life behind. It’s powerful and moved me to tears more than once. At the end, she is robed in a glorious cape of flowers, bright and indicative of growth and new life.

There were things I did not like. Firstly, until a certain age, all members of the tribe live communally. I thought this was ghastly. Of course, I also find the idea of being out in nature ghastly. Lol Thank you, no. I’ll take a hut on the edge of town, if you please. They also have a particularly bred line of deformed, mentally challenged children, ostensibly one per generation that serve as a type of oracle. My husband wasn’t bothered by this, but I was. I found it inappropriate.  At least the elders made it clear he wasn’t the only oracle and he is given an important and functional role in the community, which was good. There were no “throw away” people like we have so often in our culture. I did think he was creepy-cool too. Finally, the Gods weren’t really mentioned. Their symbols were everywhere and if you knew how to read them Their presence was clear as letters on the page of a book but They weren’t actively mentioned save two times very vaguely. They should have been front and center.

On a positive note, the imagery is consistently beautiful. The community is assigned work as adults based on traits they show as children and there are several instances of boys and girls being shown apprenticing to adults. That was lovely. Pay attention to the illustrations on the walls and wall hangings. They tell you exactly what is going to occur. There is one tapestry hanging outside that shows the entire progress of a love spell…a very traditional spell involving pubic hair and/or menstrual blood found in more cultures than I can count and literally one can read it like an open book. (My second outcry in the theatre was to Christian when the girl working the spell makes him a little pie… LOL “Don’t eat that pie!” because I know that spell. Also, in the same scene, his drink is slightly darker than everyone else’s which indicates that the girl probably added her own special ingredient to the drink too!).

The runes were quite correct in every instance of their use. They could, as I said, also be read like an open book to tell you what was going to occur. At the beginning, for their opening communal meal, they have the tables set up in a huge othala, the symbol for home, inheritance, and a healthy community, which is then later changed to gebo as the time of sacrifice approaches. In one instance, Christian (and I don’t think his name was accidental, though the main focus of the movie is the grossness of modernity versus the beauty of tradition and community rather than explicitly Christianity vs. Polytheism) is about to have ritual sex with one of the village girls (approved by the elders because as a small community they need new breeding stock. I thought this qualified as cheating on Dani because he’d never had the courage to actually break up with her, but at the same time, they’d not visibly been behaving like a couple so it’s possible the young girl didn’t know. Then again, there’s always one in every community…). He comes in wearing a shirt with two inguz runes on his chest. In one is the rune tiewaz, which has a secondary meaning of masculine potency and in the other, a reversed algiz, which tells me he’s not living out the end of the movie. Lol. Inguz itself is indicative of fertility and Freyr – which tells you everything you need to know about how that scene is going to play out. Dani at one point wore a dress with a reversed raido and a dagaz on its side. I would have interpreted that as her journey ending in this place but how it ends and what that means as lying within her own power to determine. When Dani finds out what Christian has been up to, she breaks down but unlike her modern world where she would have been left to deal with this grief alone, the other women surround her, hold her, breath with her, mourn with her, and guide her through the pain. It was one of the most beautifully moving moments in the entire film.

 The numbers mentioned in every instance add up to nine, (18, 36, 54, 72 – numerologically they add up to nine) which is very Odinic. The sacrifices made were also Odinic, particularly with the bear being such a potent image during the final ones; however, the holiday itself was the summer solstice and one would have expected it to center around Freyr far more. It was very cool that the Deity imagery was there but I kept finding myself confused because where I expected Vanic things, I got instead Odinic and vice versa. The was a nod to Nerthus in the role of the “May” Queen (ostensibly a May queen in June because it was still too cold to crown a May queen in actual May?): she’s put in a carriage and escorted around the perimeter of the village and fields and gets to bless everything. The names of the Gods were never, ever used though, as I’ve already noted, which was off-putting.  I did like that offerings were buried in the earth: seeds, eggs, raw meat, etc. It reminded me of the Acerbot rite.

Finally, there are two willing sacrifices from the community and while they are given a drug to ease their way at the end before being burned, I think they should have had their throats cut to ensure they died cleanly and did not suffer. Still, the ending was beautiful and powerful and culminates with Dani ostensibly becoming a member of the community.

The biggest things that stood out for me were the examples of modern impiety in the face of what is obviously sacred. With the exception of Dani, every single one of her companions behaved in a way that was self-centered, rude, and just horrible when simple respect and hospitality of the guest would have carried them through had they thought of it (Christian also steals his friend’s dissertation idea, which shows his general lack of character. That’s a killable offense to an academic, or should be lol). They had no respect for the fact they were being welcomed into a sacred space for a very, very special series of rituals. Now that brings up a question that the movie leaves unanswered: namely, did Pelle select the group because he knew they would behave badly and thus render themselves lawful prey to be sacrificed, or could it have gone either way dependent on their behavior? (Dani was an unexpected addition so she was a wild card from the beginning). I like to think the latter.

Overall, the message of the movie was one of the value of piety and tradition against the way that modernity isolates us from all that is wholesome. It was the story of one woman’s journey into health and healing, into sacred consciousness, and joy culminating in her turning away from destructive modern attitudes and the pollution they so often bring and finding acceptance in a family rooted in caring for the land, honoring the Gods, remember the ancestors (and not pissing on their shrine >_<), and celebrating each other. It is every bit as powerful as the “Wicker Man” (though I still prefer Wicker Man for reasons of pace and some stylistic elements. Also, in the “Wicker Man,” the Gods are named, which adds to it immensely).

I highly recommend this movie and give five out of five hallucinogenic mushrooms. 🙂

maxresdefault

Advertisements

Seven-Day Prayer Cycle to Odin

Day 1: for Odin, Who Ever Seeks Wisdom.

To You, gaunt wanderer,
Who sought the counsel of the luminous God,
alone, in a stark landscape
of ice and dying trees,
whispering
secrets of unseen things,
this prayer is given.

He does His war dance,
scimitars flashing, rivaling fire as He moves,
alabaster white and shining,
eyes showing the sowing of worlds,
keen-footed steps their destruction.

The Warlord learned,
and bowed His head down
to the glory and the beauty.

May we too be open to such wonder,
now and always.
Hail to You, Gangleri.

 

Day 2: to He Who is Glad of War

War is Your delight, Oh Tester of Men.
It is Your sacrament, a sacred sieve,
where fire and ice meet anew.
Our ancestors knew Your voice,
howling, terrible, a thousand winds,
raging and fighting in Your song,
runes spat forth, ferocious,
wiping generations clean.
Raw and raging like a bear,
with the viscera of prey
between its jaws, You come.
Visage rust-red, bright and bloody,
adorned with scars of victory,
You come.
Ash spear hungry, gleaming razor bright
in the oozing mire of war, Oh You come.
Shield-shaker, Attacking rider,
thighs grip fast the gallows horse
as You ride, and there is no prey
You cannot find. No place
for Your enemies to run.
Bring the world to heel,
with the maelstrom of Your battle cry,
and may Your Valkyries feast.
May we too feast fast in the knowledge,
that there is nothing greater than You,
and nothing we need ever fear,
with You at our backs.
Hail, Haptabeiðir, Roaring God,
Hail the Father of Hosts.

 

Day 3 – for Odin, He Who is Frenzy

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
gore-blessed, ever-hungry,
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.

 

Day 4 – For Odin, He Who Comes

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 lightening’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.

 

Day 5 – For Odin, He Who Seduces

You come, lean and pale, fingers just stroking the edges of our consciousness.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize it’s You when we shiver,
only that the hunt has begun.
You, Lord of the spear, are master of the battlefield.
You terrify, terrorize, obliterate Your foes with grit and glee.
Your battle-bright howl of victory brings even those who love You
to their knees. That works for You. You have use for them there.
Wand-Bearer the poets call You; they do not know. It has nothing to do with magic.
You need no charms for Your seductions, it’s a different type of wand You bear,
and it is mighty.
Your scent, that hunter’s gaze, and most of all the hunger echoing from the core of You,
seeping out in every move, every whispering breath, boiling beneath that glacial sear
of Your presence…Oh, it makes You the most wished for of Gods,
even when we know better.
Hnikarr, they call You, Thruster, and Njótr, He Who uses and enjoys.
Your conquests enjoy it too, even when it leaves them rendered.
You are the most welcome God of all, loved by men and women alike,
and like the best of prey when we flee, it is with the hope that You will follow,
that You will hunt us down, like a hawk snatching up
the small creatures that flee its talons. It is our purpose to be lost in You,
and found.
In You, however we are not small. In You we taste of glory.
In You, exploding through our burning synapses,
we taste the tang of creation,
beneath the iron-sweet bite of Your spear,
we become fire in Your mouth,
spat out, renewed and renewing.
Hail to You, Uðr, Olgr, Göndlir, Þuðr.
May we always be up to the chase.

 

Day 6 – for Odin, Lord of Hosts

You tore out Your Own eye,
greedy fingers fast as the bite of a serpent,
shoved your own fist into Your brain,
plucked that ocular wonder free and tossed it down.
There is nothing You will not do.

When the worlds were made,
old Ymir’s corpse repurposed,
You and Your Brothers didn’t sit back
awash in self-congratulation,
cooing to each other
about how good it was. No.
The three of You stood around and sighed.
‘It’s all so meta,’ Loður drawled.
“Yeah, meta boring” You responded,
Hoenir rolling His eyes.
Then the three of You took up some driftwood
gnarled, ugly, a little bent, but it had some promise—
pretty much like we’ve remained—
and created humans.
That spiced shit up, didn’t it?

People think creation ended
when the worlds were made.
They have no idea.
Infrastructure doesn’t sustain itself.
What do they think that incident,
the one with Rind was all about?
You were battling fire and ice again,
like an artist with rather violent media.
The worlds need ever renewing,
by Gods and humans alike after all.
No time to rest. Renewal purifies
drives back Your enemies for a time,
and Yggdrasil grows.
That end justifies any means.

Oh, frenzied God,
You are ever laser-focused,
beautifully vicious,
a formidable Power.

Let no one think Your wanderings
are without purpose.
You are the Architect of Creation
and if it takes a little more blood,
gore, and guts to make that creation last,
that’s just fine with You.
It will continue as it was begun,
and You will too.

You fill the head of Your devotees
with ice and fire, flickering in a desolate wasteland,
with glimpses of creation, and that which is to come.
May we ever be smart enough,
devout enough, and sensible enough,
to aid Your work or get out of Your way.
May we never oppose You,
but nourish Your fury
with venerative fire of our own.

Hail to You, Odin,
Runatyr, Gangleri.
Hail to You, Atriði, Eternal Enemy of the Wolf.
You are the whirlwind that does its own reaping,
the whispering terror on every field of battle,
walking will and brutal splendor.
We are Your grateful retainers.
Hail to You, Odin.

 

Day 7 – for Odin, a Song of Nine

We praise You, All Father, Architect of the Worlds, Who breathed us into being.
We praise You, Runatyr, World-maker, Whose keen far-seeing intellect wove the fabric of reality.
We praise You, Bolverk, for by cunning negotiation You brought us poetry and ecstasy.
We praise You, Oski, ever generous Giver of gifts, for You pour Your favors out upon Your people.
We praise You, Sigfather, for teaching us to ever strive for victory, for inspiring us with Your might.
We praise You, Woden, for sharing healing charms and the wisdom of driving out corruption.
We praise You, Galdrfather, for giving us the gift of enchantment, the continual re-sacralization of our world.
We praise You, Yggr, for Your sacrifice upon the Tree. by which You instructed us in wisdom.
We praise You, Odin, that You have elevated us by means of your nobility, driven us forward by means of Your attentions.
Oh Burning Brand.
Oh Self-Chosen Sacrifice.
Oh Sweet Wine of Ecstasy.
Oh Bottomless Well of Wisdom.
Oh unscalable, soaring Height.
Oh Fierceness without Measure.
Oh Might without Opposition.
Oh Treasure-House of every Honor.
Oh Hunger without Restraint.
Ever and always do Your people praise You.
May we always praise You too.

 

36679822_10217353951430844_9101066095707553792_n.jpg

(prayers by G. Krasskova; image a shrine statue carved for me by S. Ravenswing)

Complete Seven-Day Prayer Cycle for Loki

Day I – for Loki, Creator of Worlds

You rose up from the primordial grime
hand in hand with Your brothers,
savage yet determined fury
under the light of a cold-bladed moon.
You destroyed Your ancestor,
ruined Him, the indolent breeder,
clotted up his gaping maw
silenced his screeching snores and groans
that ever rattled the wyrm-like field.
You swept it all away and from His bones
built anew, a web of worlds-
bleak in their youth, rich in their promise,
rising and shining in the boughs of the Tree.
You made of his screams a symphony,
bone beautiful and clean.
There was no remorse in You
but elation, satisfaction.
Let there be no remorse in me either,
for the things that I must do
in devotion.
Hail to You, Loður,
Whose blood stained fingers
painted our flesh a lively hue.

 

 

Day 2 for Loki, Friend of Odin

He Who battles alongside His friends
maintains the strength of Asgard,
using His gifts to challenge the giants,
using His body to subvert Svaðilfari’s Master.
He pours treasure down upon His allies,
He rains wrath down upon His foes.
His victory lies in the longest game,
and of all the Gods, not even He
knows its end.
Bright as fire, slippery as a fish,
drenched in the well-bright, whispered warnings,
this God comes. He challenges everything,
laughing around a bonfire encompassing even
His own destruction.
He knows that with chaos
comes opportunity,
to turn the final battle on its end,
to grab victory out of the maws of the wolf,
a celebration of blood and steel,
and those who think He lacks courage
know not what His courage has cost.
Hail to You, Loki, friend of Thor,
Who works Your wiles in Odin’s shadow
so the Old Man may shine all the more.
Hail to the fighter Whose wit is a wound
deadlier than poison in the heart of Their enemies.
May we always honor You, oh God Who finds the loops
in every loophole. Show us too how to be slippery
and hard to catch in the maze of things that would bind us
away from our Gods, stifle our devotion, and burden our hearts
with pollution.

 

 

Day 3 – for Loki, Clever and Cunning

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.

 

Day 4 – for Loki, Friend of Thor

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.

 

 

Day 5 – For Loki, Best of Husbands, Beloved of Sigyn

You, Loki, are the most tender-hearted of Gods.
No one knows this save Sigyn. You keep it well hidden,
preferring to present to the world a mask of careless abandon,
and to Your family a façade of unbreakable strength.
Sigyn is onto You though, this wife Whom You love beyond all others.
She knows You well and She has seen Your eyes, bright and shining
as You cradled Your sons in Your arms. She has seen You,
when all masks fall away as You play and wrestle with Your children,
those You have with Her, and those shapeshifting wildlings: serpent, wolf,
and Lady of grace and death. You are laughing, loving clay in Their little,
sometimes grubby, hands.

She has seen, Oh Wildfire God, the joy with which You scoop Them up,
sweet and clumsy little toddlers with their delightful cries of “Papa.”
She has seen, She knows what a balm They are to Your bruised heart.
She knows how They are Your reason for being,
and how deep Your love for Them and for Her as well flows.
They are Your bedrock, and that for which You would burn a thousand worlds,
or build a thousand up again.

You love Your family, Loki, and They are the greatest sanctuary You will ever know.
The home You have built with Them is a haven flourishing and happy.
There is such joy there and when Your friend Thor comes to visit,
Narvi and Vali raise holy hell racing and playing with Magni, Modi, and Thrudr,
and it leaks out into the worlds bringing laughter and lightness of heart
to all mortals– and Gods too –lucky enough to taste its flavor.

Sigyn knows these things and is satisfied.
A good father and good husband are gifts beyond price.
The worlds are sustained by Their hope and hard work.

Hail to You, Beloved of Sigyn,
Tender flame of Her hearth
Teach us to nourish the loves given into our care
And take joy in the process.

Hail to You, Loki.

 

Day 6 – Loki, Purifier and Liberator

People don’t understand what You do.
They don’t want to understand
because You are the least likely God
to allow Himself to be contained neatly
in the pages of a book, to be pushed aside,
explained away, or made palatable
to minds unwilling for all the grace and blessings the Gods can bring.
You are never small and You push Your people
beyond the confines, safe spaces and choking boundaries
that we all would sometimes lock around ourselves,
to keep anxieties at bay. You counsel us to fuck our anxieties,
to do what needs to be done anyway, knowing the price,
spitting upon it, and paying it willingly.
You roar out across the worlds, tease Your way into our minds
set our hearts on holy fire, and beckon us to come to You
and oh, we do and the world is never the same again.
You Loki are our liberator.
You tear our limitations apart.
You, Skytreader, raise us up,
shaking us loose of the pollution that clouds our senses,
You, unstoppable heat and scorching fire,
demand discernment and goad us into courage,
as You are made of courage,
and glee at being the whirlwind
across the worlds, through the worlds, between the worlds,
and in every nook and hidden cranny challenging entropy.
You run riotous rough-shod over them – and us as well-
Cleaning out, tearing up, and dancing, sometimes maniacally,
on the scraps and confetti of our assumptions,
until we arrive, sweating and laughing, sobbing, and quaking,
filled with reverence, opened by awe, at the feet of the Gods
Whom we love. Then, and only then,
when we have been properly prepared,
can we fully take up the task of supporting Them
in the ongoing work of creation.
May we do this fiercely, formidably, and without hesitation.
May we throw ourselves into all that You offer,
So that we may offer all to our Gods in turn,
through the laughing, seething grace,
We have been gifted by You.
Hail to You, Loki, in all ways,
by every name You may ever be called.
We ask Your blessings and thank you –
in advance because we’ll be too busy
trying to keep our footing during—
for the grace of Your attentions.
Hail to You, Balance-Breaker,
Hail to You, most-challenging God.

 

Day 7 – for Loki,

In the blistering furnace of our hearts,
may You be hailed.
In the fierce rantings of mind and memory,
may You be hailed.
In the tumultuous storm of our senses,
may we gasp, and chant, and sing Your praises.
May our lips burn with whispered adorations to You.
May our bodies shake in the onslaught of Your presence.
Where You are honored, there be in all of Your glory.
Where You are reviled, there also be,
and work Your cunning wiles.
May You ever be the unquiet thought,
the unruly impulse, the unwary stirring
of holy cravings, the longing for internal revolution,
the descant-mad, dervish-driven
prophetic-spewing roar that drives us
ever and always, unceasingly, unmercifully
into the arms of our own liberation.
Hail Loki, Liberator,
cunning, wild, and wise.
May You ever be hailed.

Loki_final

 

(Loki prayer cycle by G. Krasskova)

Note:
*One of his lesser known by-names is Hveðrungr (Roarer).

(image by W. McMillan, available as a prayer card here.)

Day 6 – for Odin

You tore out Your Own eye,
greedy fingers fast as the bite of a serpent,
shoved your own fist into Your brain,
plucked that ocular wonder free and tossed it down.
There is nothing You will not do.

When the worlds were made,
old Ymir’s corpse repurposed,
You and Your Brothers didn’t sit back
awash in self-congratulation,
cooing to each other
about how good it was. No.
The three of You stood around and sighed.
‘It’s all so meta,’ Loður drawled.
“Yeah, meta boring” You responded,
Hoenir rolling His eyes.
Then the three of You took up some driftwood
gnarled, ugly, a little bent, but it had some promise—
pretty much like we’ve remained—
and created humans.
That spiced shit up, didn’t it?

People think creation ended
when the worlds were made.
They have no idea.
Infrastructure doesn’t sustain itself.
What do they think that incident,
the one with Rind was all about?
You were battling fire and ice again,
like an artist with rather violent media.
The worlds need ever renewing,
by Gods and humans alike after all.
No time to rest. Renewal purifies
drives back Your enemies for a time,
and Yggdrasil grows.
That end justifies any means.

Oh, frenzied God,
You are ever laser-focused,
beautifully vicious,
a formidable Power.

Let no one think Your wanderings
are without purpose.
You are the Architect of Creation
and if it takes a little more blood,
gore, and guts to make that creation last,
that’s just fine with You.
It will continue as it was begun,
and You will too.

You fill the head of Your devotees
with ice and fire, flickering in a desolate wasteland,
with glimpses of creation, and that which is to come.
May we ever be smart enough,
devout enough, and sensible,
to aid Your work or get out of Your way.
May we never oppose You,
but nourish Your fury
with venerative fire of our own.

Hail to You, Odin,
Runatyr, Gangleri.
Hail to You, Atriði, Eternal Enemy of the Wolf.
You are the whirlwind that does its own reaping,
the whispering terror on every field of battle,
walking will and brutal splendor.
We are Your grateful retainers.
Hail to You, Odin.

(by G. Krasskova)

On the Holiness of the Powers

On fb scholar and Heathen Mathias Nordvig posted the following and graciously gave me permission to share it as well. It’s a very, very important point. We distract ourselves with trying to categorize and compartmentalize the Powers and that can lead us down very fruitless paths. What is important is Their holiness.

Dr. Edward Butler, in response to this (we’re conversing about it on fb) said rightly, “Any name which has been preserved is precious. We have no way of knowing what sort of cultus They may have had. Chances are, if a name was preserved at all, it’s because it was important to somebody.”  So much was lost to Christian conquest, all the more reason to treasure what we have and to devote ourselves to veneration. Religion, in the polytheistic world, is about right relationship to the Holy, and the ongoing cultivation of those relationships. Through that cultivation and devotion we continually participate in the ongoing process of creation. We sustain the work the Gods have done and continue to do. We do our part. 

mathias nordvig kami post

Day 7 – For Frigga

Holy One, Great One of Heaven,
let all right-thinking people
bow their heads before You.
Your Presence purifies.
It restores divine order.
It radiates glory
and fills the soul with joy.
You, Graced and Gracious,
are the ever-renewing Source
of the holy power that
sustains the scaffolding
of the cosmos.
You, Sweet and Glorious Goddess,
Restore rightness to the world.
Weaver of Clouds, lift us up.
Teach us, gently, to turn our minds
to holy things, to indulge the longing
of our hearts for devotion,
and to live our lives
reaching ever toward You.
Holy Mother, Giver of good things,
Bestow Your blessings upon us,
That we may truly see the rightness
of reverence.
Hail to You, Frigga.
Hail to You, Holy One.

(by G. Krasskova)

Day 6 – for Frigga

You are the Mighty Witch Queen,
Oracle and Seer of the Gods.
The threads of Fate are at Your fingertips
and the Nornir alone equal Your skill
in reading those sometimes-twisted skeins.
It is from Them that You learned
to lay those mighty threads
and You have honed that power well
nurturing it deep within
the ferocious fastness of Your breast.

You work Your will, Weaver of charms,
through conjure and cunning.
Often Your techniques are hidden
behind the modest ways of the well-run home:
spinning and thread-craft, cooking and care,
the management of Fensalir,
the overseeing of servants,
and most of all the keen-edged-threat
of Your ever-so-gracious hospitality.
Your ways preserve the Aesir
and by Your power order is sustained
across the architecture of the cosmos,
the rainbow bridge little more
than another thread
through the needle of Your will.

Eleven Mighty women stand proudly in Your service.
Every Queen needs loyal retainers
and They are the lynch-pins of Your court.
They are Your eyes across the winding paths of Bifrost,
Your ears wherever human or alf,
dwarf or God or errant wight might wander.
Let me list Them. They work Your will.
and Their names are power:

First among Them stands Your sister,
golden-tressed and stately Fulla.
She is Keeper of all Your secrets,
nearly as wise as You,
and there is none more trustworthy in any court.
Her counsel is precious, her judgment unerring,
and She is Your loyal,
(sometimes red) right hand.

Then there is Gna and Her steed:
shiny-hooved Hofvarpnir,
second only to Sleipnir
in endurance and speed.
She carries Your messages
across all the Worlds,
and carries information back to You in turn.
Few think to watch their words in Her presence.
They underestimate Her at Their peril.
Like Heimdall, She hears all.
Thus, like Heimdall, do You as well.

A Queen requires a ferocious guard.
Doubly powerful and weapons-wise
stand Hlin and Syn in Your service.
They guard Your door from usurpation,
battling malicious wights,
driving back enemies and pollution
from Your holy spaces.
They bear the cost of this well and firmly,
for They allow nothing malignant
to impugn Your holiness.

Also within Your Hall,
the heartbeat of Your court,
maintaining harmony
amongst Your many
potentially fractious guests,
sits Snotra, elegant and wise.
Nothing escapes Her notice
and there is no plot She cannot untangle
(and no treachery She cannot engender,
should You desire it, kind and sweet
though She may seem).

Lofn and Sjofn do Their part too,
moving amongst Gods and mortals both.
They foster affection and love,
sometimes lust and longing—
whatever pleases You or furthers Your plans.
These gifts They bear are sacred
but also powerful distractions.
This is often convenient.
Your Husband knows this too.

At Your counsel table sits Gefion,
regal, great, and mighty,
She too a Sovereign Power.
She fosters alliances between Gods,
land-wights and kings.
In politics and cunning,
amongst Your retinue,
only You are greater.

In like fashion keen-eyed Var,
mind as sharp as steel,
stands unswerving witness
to all negotiations and contracts,
be they small or large,
pertinent to Your interests.
Woe betide any foolish enough
to break their given word.
She does not forgive
and vengeance is also sacred.

Eir is Your court’s physician,
the mightiest Healer amongst the Reginn.
She is Your hand in battle
and Her mercy is as unyielding as the dead.
Like Fulla, She keeps silent counsel.
Like Fulla Her hand too is sometimes red.

Saga brings to Your use the magic of Story.
She sits often in Your hall,
when not working in Her own,
listening and crafting Her word-spells,
teaching the ways of holiness and valor,
of honoring the dead,
of nourishing tradition
to those wise enough to listen.
She whispers glory in Her word-art,
and She is the memory of all the worlds.
In Her youth, She apprenticed at Urda’s well,
drinking deeply of its bounty.

Finally, Vor, Your most gifted Seer,
stands at the threshold of all the worlds.
She serves as Your assistant
when You spae upon the threads.
Every volva should have a singer of charms
an invoker of chants to open doors,
call the spirits, ward the space,
and bring the volva back to Herself again.

Long and lengthy, this list of Your allies;
through Them Your reach is lengthy too.
You have no need of endless wandering,
You have Power come to You.
This is one of Your greatest secrets.
This is one of Your greatest spells.
Through Your inspiration,
and through the example of Your Holy Women,
may we learn well the ways of reverence.
May we be efficient and ruthless
in supporting the sacred order of the Gods
through devotion, piety, and right action.
May we nurture what ought to be nurtured.
May we prune what ought to be pruned,
in our minds and hearts most of all.
Teach us to be gently unyielding
in our commitment to veneration.
Let nothing deter us from walking
the royal road of reverence,
that our faith and our communities
might flourish for generations.
Hail to You Frigga, mighty Queen,
Preserver of the Heavenly Court,
and Hail Your holy retinue.

(by G. Krasskova)

Day 5 – for Frigga

You are His Best-beloved and Partner in crime.
No One knows Old One-eye as well as You,
and No One else can match Him as easily
in wit and ruthless cunning (No One else would dare).
It is a game You play, Husband to Wife,
and as in chess, it is You, the Queen,
Who reigns most powerful on the board.
He delights in it, especially when
Your wit and cunning triumphs over His.
You are ever gracious in Your victories after all,
and He so loves that You are formidable and not afraid.
Who else could possibly know Him as well?
With what other Goddess could He be more Himself,
unmasked and unmasking, unburdened by the need
for complications and deceit?
Who else could bear the glacial fire of His affections
on equal and occasionally terrifying footing?
What a pair You make and together nothing and no one,
mortal or immortal, may thwart Your designs.
Let them try and it is Your twin laughter
that will follow them to their very permanent doom.
You only thwart each other’s plans,
and that has the rich delight and savor,
of an ongoing seduction
that will outlast the cosmos.
Hail to You, Frigga,
Whom Odin in His wisdom
never under-estimates.
May we contemplate this well
and grow wiser in our own relationships –
both our human ones and our devotional ones too—
so that we never need ask our partners to become small
in order to make ourselves feel competent enough.
Let us instead relish the dance of differences
and the challenge of ever-deepening respect.
Hail to You, Holy Goddess.

frigga painting2x4

 

(prayer by G. Krasskova, image by G. Palmer)

Deadline is Approaching to Enter the Giveaway

Don’t miss your chance to enter the giveaway and have a chance at an awesome set of Norse deity Prayer Cards. Deadline, end of day Sunday, June 30, 2019 by 11:59pm EST (New York local time). Details at the link: https://krasskova.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/giveaway-time/livingrunes_krasskova_01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: Being Viking

I have a book review of J. Calico’s “Being Viking” in the latest edition of Pomegranate. Folks can read it here