I offer this prayer to Thor and to the Goddess Sif.
Hail to You, Holy Ones.
Hail to You, Protectors of Midgard,
Hail to You, Son of Odin and Hail to You,
His gleaming Bride.
You hallow and drive out all pollution.
You are mighty. There is no malignant force
that You cannot banish. There is no threat,
You cannot overcome.
You are magnificent and Your grace
protects me in the face of evil.
Mighty Thor, wise, compassionate Friend of humanity,
look upon us and wield Your hammer for our protection.
Gracious Sif, You Whose gentle touch causes the grain to grow,
please nourish us, restore us, and grant us the fortitude
to walk in alignment with the Holy Powers always.
Through Your blessings, may we grow strong in faith.
through Your blessings may we grow strong in devotion.
Through Your blessings, may we always resist impiety,
may we be nourished as the grain is nourished
under Your caring hands.
In times of peril, come to our aid, I pray.
In times of desperation, I place myself under Your care.
Hail Thor, Son of Odin.
Hail Sif, His Gracious Bride.
Yule is over and the chilly expanse of January spreads before us with nary a holy day in sight. Well, there may be a very minor feast day here and there depending upon one’s denomination, but there’s nothing approaching the festivity of Yule. Everything feels different now that we’ve exited the ember time into a new (though sadly, equally tumultuous) year. At first I was melancholy as usual at the inevitable shift in seasonal energy but then, given how full the Yule time is, part me went “thank the Gods. We can rest and recoup!” That has its benefits too.
We were discussing it the other day in my home and my housemate was asking me what the next big holiday was and I had to think for a moment, because it’s not one that I’ve ever really kept with any commitment. Our next serious holy tide occurs sometime in February: charming of the Plough. This confused her because in no way, shape, or form, is the land ready to be worked in February. We *might* be getting seed starters ready in the greenhouse but there isn’t any ploughing going on, nor working the soil or anything else. (Hell, Acerbot doesn’t even happen until the spring equinox!) I started to respond, “Yeah, I know…” when the whole purpose of the ritual opened up in my mind, a moment of divinely inspired insight.
Charming of the Plough is a ritual wherein our tools are blessed and readied for the work that awaits them in the spring. Usually that is the plough, the outdoor, gardening or farming tools, etc. We often expand that today to include laptops, pens, writing tools, sewing tools, our sacred tools and divination tools, hell, I might even bless the kitchen and its tools. It could easily turn into or at least encompass an entire house blessing. When I thought about including sacred and divinatory tools, well, that’s when the light really went on. I realized there’s a real beauty to the ritual cycle. Yule is terrifying and beautiful and powerful and often toward its end, frenetic. January is calm, then there is a moment’s breath, a moment of preparation for the spring madness (trust me, planting and gardening, farming, and tending the land alone turns spring into a terribly busy time), a time where we make sure all our tools are in good working order, wherein we consecrate those tools to the Gods so that all the work done with them is likewise rendered holy. It’s a gentle way of turning our mind to the Gods and spirits, cycles and seasonal shifts, and requirements of the spring liturgical season. It’s a rite and ritual of transition. I think that’s just lovely.
For our Charming of the Plough, we usually aim for mid-February. There’s no real set date. For Celtic polytheists, there’s a festival of Brigid on the 2nd. In my tradition, there’s the feast day of a sancta on the 3rd, and Sigyn has a feast day mid-month too. We always offer to Mani on the full moon. So, I usually aim for about the 20th for Charming of the Plough. This is a holy tide wherein we usually honor Thor and Sif and ask the Friend of Midgard and His wife to bless our work. This year, we may also be honoring Andvari and other duergar, since They’ve been showing up in dreams.
This has never been a holy tide with which I’ve particularly connected, but after a springtime and summer of working the land, that has completely changed.