Blog Archives

20% Off Sale About to End

I am running a 20% OFF sale on all art, books, bookmarks, and prayer cards in my etsy shop Wyrd Curiosities through January 31, 2021. Use this code to redeem: TGI2021 (or click the link). There’s more than 300 prayer cards available for our Gods and Goddesses across a range of polytheistic traditions: Norse, Germanic, Celtic, Gaulic, Welsh, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and so much more.

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Greco-Roman Products

I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year by finding items that can help feed our devotions within our polytheistic traditions, but also to hopefully along the way lift up some of the artisans in our midst too. So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (MesoamericanEgyptianGreekNorthern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree. 

There were some artists and artisans who offered a range of product across pantheons, or whose work focuses on a tradition that I didn’t have enough items to spotlight on it’s own. So I highly recommend that you carefully peruse the spotlighted artists and artisans in my miscellaneous Part 1, & Part 2. You will find offerings encompassing a vast array of traditions: Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Polynesian, Mesoamerican, Minoan, Assyrian, Sumerian, Welsh, Asian, Native American/Inuit, and more!

Today I’ll be featuring items of interest for polytheists within Cultus Deorum (Roman Polytheism) and Hellenismos (Greek Polytheism).

ArxMercatura

ArxMercatura based in the Ukraine offers items for modern practitioners of Cultus Deorum with religious statues, libation bowls, shrines, Lares, clothes and more.


GoldenGlitterArt

GoldenGlitterArt offers a wide range of blinged out foil art prints, you’ll have to dig among all the offerings but there’s several Greek Gods and Goddesses offered (Hades, Poseidon, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Hephaestus, and Demeter).


Greekies

SummitCollection offers Greekies, which are hand painted cold cast resin figures of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Artistically, these might be cute statues for a children’s altar.


Miscellaneous

Not all products in the links are depicted in the above image.

Additional resources: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a mini replica of the Three Graces Statue  and a bust of Thalia. The British Museum has a range of Greek and Roman merchandise too. Be sure to peruse the previous entries in the Yuletide Shopping Guide as there is a range of items relevant to devotees worshipping under the Greco-Roman umbrella.

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Artists and Artisans Part 2

I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of both spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year, but also to hopefully lift up some of the artisans in our midst too. So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (Mesoamerican, Egyptian, Greek, Northern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree. Now I am spotlighting artists, artisans and the goods they make: Part 1, and Part 2 is today. Stay tuned, because there’s still more to come.


TrueCraftWorks

TrueCraftworks is run by a USA based leather-worker that offers in addition to jewelry and guitar straps, purses, boxes designed to hold cards (or if you wanted to runes), leather wallets/card holders, coasters and more.

Leather artisan goods from TrueCraftWorks

Emily Balivet

Emily Balivet is a talented artist whose brightly colored works encompass pagan and polytheistic themes ranging from tarot, to various Goddesses (Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Celtic, Hindu and more). Her shop features the prismatically vivid colors of both original paintings, and reproduction prints of her work.

Emily Balivet’s art depicting various deities.

KatLunoeArt

KatLunoeArt is the online shop for oil painter and illustrator Kat, whose work has graced book covers and other special projects. She currently has a small collection of various deity art available.  

Deity illustrations from KatLunoeArt

Anetteprs

Anetteprs is the etsy storefront for artist Anette Pirso. She focuses her artwork around various polytheistic traditions, including Gods and Goddesses (mainly Goddesses). Some of her artwork has been used in clothing designs offered at Valhyr. She has a large selection of both Norse and Greek Goddesses, and an expanding selection of other goddesses from around the world: African, Mesoamerican, Egyptian, Native American & Inuit, Slavic, Celtic, Asian, Polynesian, and Hindu. In addition to her artistic prints of these Goddesses, she also has a few artistic depictions of impactful women in history. She recently started offering waterproof stickers too (great for use on cars, water bottles, etc.). She has made the commitment that 5% of each purchase is donated to a The Estonian Women’s Shelters Union, which helps women who have been the victims of domestic violence.

Goddess illustrations by Anette Pirso

OlivosArtStudio

OlivosArtStudio is the online shop for painter Claudia Olivos whose depictions of Goddesses range from all over the globe: Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Minoan, Norse, Mesoamerican (various traditions), Polynesian, and so much more.

Goddess illustrations from Claudia Olivos

SilvaTamayo

SilvaTamayo is the online storefront for paper artist Mary Carmen Silva Tamayo specializing in Mesoamerican and Mexican art, including depictions of Aztec deities.

Paper artwork creations from Mary Carmen Silva Tamayo

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Artists & Artisans – Part 1

Yule is one of my favorite times of year, and to help spread some holiday cheer I decided to create the Yuletide Shopping Guide to help people find goods for their homes, and gifts. Hopefully in the process, helping to steer some business towards some very talented artisans, including some within our religious community. So far I’ve spotlighted resources for crafters, resources to trim the tree & deck the halls for the holiday, highlighted Krampus goods, and now I’m moving onto artists and artisans.

VisaVisJewelryLA

VisaVisJewelryLA specializes in jewelry made with bronze and gold, sometimes with a cloisonné technique too. There’s a range of polytheistic traditions represented across the bling worthy offerings: Assyrian, Sumerian, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hindu, and more.


Making Magick

Making Magick features a husband and wife artisan team from our religious community based in North Carolina creating goods in ceramics, wood, metal, fabric and more. They are currently specializing in scroll saw wooden puzzles for children. They can make any animal or object into an age appropriate puzzle. They can also make other items in wood too, from decorative bowls and decor for the home, or memorial items for use outdoors. As we all know, 2020 has been a challenging year, and that’s included unemployment for one of the members of this artisan team. If you have an idea, they’d love to talk to you.  


RareEarthWoodworks

RareEarthWoodworks features a variety of artisan crafts in wood, featuring divination tools such as ogham staves or runes, and an expansive array of portable travel altars or altar icons across a range of polytheistic traditions: Welsh, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and more. There’s also other items too!



SacredPathArt

The United Kingdom based artist Amanda Lindupp offers up her range of art prints and cards through her store SacredPathArt. Her illustrations of Gods and Goddesses encompass Kemetic, Norse, Celtic, Greek and Roman deities.


CorazonMexica

CorazonMexica features chicano created works depicting Mexican spirituality and pride, with a focus on Mesoamerican deities from the Aztecs, as well as Aztec inspired tarot, queer art, and regalia.  

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Deck the Halls

After spotlighting resources for the DIYers, crafters and makers, and a highlighting themed goods for Krampus, I’m now moving onto decking the halls in the Yuletide Shopping Guide. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of both spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year, but also to hopefully lift up some of the artisans in our midst too.

National Museum of Denmark

Years ago, my oath sister and I were able to visit the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and promptly cleaned out the gift shop. Seriously, that place is dangerous to the wallets of those with devotions in the Northern Tradition. With a wide variety of artifacts housed within the museum’s collection, there’s some really great replicas at hand: statuary, jewelry, scarves, and a range of other items. But for today we’re spotlighting items you can use to help trim your trees (I own a few myself!). You can navigate the site in English, and they will ship internationally.

Ornaments from the National Museum of Denmark

They have a variety of glass ornaments available: Variant 1 of the Gallehus Horns, Variant 2 of the Gallehus Horns, Gold Mjollnir, and Silver Mjollnir. In addition to the glass ornaments, they also have some fabric and sequins accented ornaments depicting the Gallehus Horns, and the Trundholm Sun Chariot.


Frigga’s Finery

Frigga’s Finery specializes in products for Northern Tradition polytheists including stockings, ornaments, table/altar cloths, wreaths, etc. In addition to holiday decor they also offer garb, ritual blot bowls, purses, drinking horns, and more. 


Sunwyn’s Sundries

Sunwyn’s Sundries offers a range of goods, but features several ornament stuffies of Huginn & Muninn, Krampus, Brigid’s Cross


Miscellaneous

An Unexpected Message from Frigga

My household sits down together each Sunday night and does divination for the week. It gives us a guide, shows us where potential spiritual weaknesses are, where we can better focus on the Gods, where we might fall flat –which provides the opportunity to take reparative steps beforehand—and often brings up other issues that are good to know in advance. It helps us prepare and to be more functional and effective during our week. Usually, we just use a lithomancy system and then move on to various sacred sortilege systems as needed but this week, for the bulk of the divination, we were using a system devoted to Frigga. As always, we ask the God’s permission – whichever Deity Whose system we’re using –before closing out the session for the night, and we were told She had more to say. What She said, which was crystal clear through the lines that came up, was unexpectedly all about modesty. 

Without going into any specific detail, we had been reading about an issue that might involve greater purity/purification taboos. So, the person in question was facing a potential uptick in their obligations and, since these can be difficult and inconvenient to navigate sometimes, there was concern (1). Frigga answered this by a discourse on modesty. I’ll recap key points here.

Like many of us, my housemate had an automatic connection in her mind between modesty, purity, and sex. I think this is part of the paucity of our language, and also the inheritance from two thousand years of Christianity that positions both modesty and purity specifically (and pretty much only) in the body and sexuality, and particularly in women’s bodies and sexual expression (2). This makes it difficult for us to discuss these things without that shadow impinging on our understanding. The first hurdle was putting aside those presumptions. 

In the divination, were told that modesty and purity are essential to proper living. It’s not about sex. One could work as a prostitute and still have massive purity taboos (3). Modesty is about integrity, about reflecting our devotion to the Gods in a way that impacts everything we do in our world. To make sex alone the locus of purity or modesty puts a terrible pressure on these things, unfairly, and colors them in ways that are more damaging than not. Our job is to expand those categories again. 

In ancient Rome, there was a Goddess Pudicitia, Who goes hand in hand with the Goddess Pietas. Both of these Holy Powers were so important that Their temples were central to Rome. Their names mean “Modesty” and “Piety” respectively.  From Them we learn that purity is integrity of action and behavior. It may include the body, but it’s not about the body alone. Integrity is how we follow our Gods, allowing Their guidance to seep into our lives. Tying purity to the body, to sex alone renders any other outlet for it illicit. It is then granted no purchase in any other sphere. By putting too much weight on sexual purity alone, we go to one extreme or the other because we’re overburdening this one thing. Because of Christianity, purity weighs everything towards reifying sex and then denigrating it. That is not correct, certainly not for us. 

Now, of course our body, our dress, our conduct will likely be impacted by our awareness of proper modesty (which will be different for everyone based on their sacred work, their Gods, their tradition, etc.), because it is through the body that we engage with our world. It’s the most obvious and apparent marker of our individuality, our physical presence, our agency. We’re corporeal beings, so of course our corporeality will come into play as we contemplate modesty and purity. It’s important, however, to remember that just because our sense of modesty may be demonstrated through the body, that the body is one of many ways this can be enacted, it’s not solely about the body nor even primarily so. The body is just one physical marker of many in which this virtue might play out. It deserves no more weight than any of the others.

In fact, putting too much emphasis on appearance and dress as markers of modesty or purity is problematic in another way too. It can lead to one appearing to be modest but not actually being so. When we focus on trifles, as a friend of mine once said, we become trifling. It is far better to actually be virtuous (however one defines that) than to seem to be so. Authenticity is crucial in our spiritual endeavors. 

We had a lively discussion about these things after the divination concluded, the results of which you see here in this post. One thing I haven’t done here is clearly define either ‘modesty’ or ‘purity.’ This is, in part, because those things will always be shaded by our Gods and traditions and those devotional worlds are different for each of us. For instance, the very things that help me to maintain spiritual purity within my devotions to Odin pollute my friend who is a Freya’s woman. Likewise, the very things that help her to maintain purity, pollute me. This is one of the main reasons why it’s so important – at least I think it is—to understand these concepts broadly, leaving room for the Gods to move, act upon, and inspire us in our understanding.

If I had to define it, I’d say that modesty is right conduct, living in a way that best reflects our commitments to the Gods and ancestors. Dictionary definitions often define this as ‘decency of behavior’ and I think that is correct. For us as polytheists, what is ‘decent’ is shaped by our tradition and its values, and the Gods we venerate (4).  Purity is remaining free of miasma and keeping ourselves properly receptive to the Holy Powers and Their inspiration. Dictionary definitions include “careful correctness,” “freedom from evil,” and “freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes” (5). Maintaining these things, modesty and purity, means keeping ourselves as closely aligned as possible with the architecture of creation our Gods have crafted and of which we are a part, and as cleanly and closely entrained as is possible for a human to be, in devotion to our Holy Powers. 

I really like the idea of “careful correctness,” in part because there is nothing nebulous about that. It puts the locus of agency on the individual both for determining what is correct and then doing it. I think there’s also something about ‘modesty’ that speaks to one’s interior life, interiority of practice but I haven’t yet parsed that out fully. I do know that it starts not with external seeming but with deep, internal compunction to do and be that which is most pleasing to our Gods – whatever that is – and that within our traditions, we have remnants of ways in which to figure that out. 

This to the best of my ability, was what we received from Frigga, Sunday evening, October 25, 2020. 

Notes:

  1. Taboos happen naturally sometimes. One is told by a Deity or simply gets a powerfully strong sense that is later confirmed via divination that an action should be done or not done from here on out. These things are given by the Gods and spirits and I think part of the reason is to help us to cultivate specific aspects of our practice, or as a logical outgrowth of such cultivation. They’re not things to seek out or obsess over. When they happen, they happen. If they don’t, great. 
  2. To be fair, at least as far as the sixth century where I tend to live academically, men are also exhorted to be modest and sexually chaste almost as much as women are. I think problems arose in places where Christian identity came into conflict with Roman identity, the latter of which put a great deal of emphasis on the generative and procreative power of the man. It’s a complicated issue beyond the scope of this brief post, and it got significantly more complicated once Christianity achieved political power with the Edict of Milan.
  3. I would point out that prostitution can be considered sacred and healing work and in a proper society it would be openly positioned and respected as such. 
  4. It is likely also impacted by whether we are laity or called to specific specialist jobs like priest, diviner, or spirit-worker, etc. 
  5. These are based on definitions proffered by each entry here

Ritual Modesty: A Response

A professor at my university posted this piece on twitter (he’s orthodox and this is a thought-provoking piece of relevance to modern orthodoxy) and it raised for me a number of thoughts concerning our own traditions too. First, go read the original article because much of this post was prompted by it or is in response to it and it’s nice to be on the same page for any discussion.

I work in a tradition that encourages head covering (of both men and women) during religious rites. I want to emphasize that it is encouraged, not required. Working in a blended tradition as I do, I find that in cultus deorumpractices, we almost always cover, and within Heathenry, generally only for ancestor stuff but this may vary depending on the way in which one is devoted to one’s Gods. I’ve known Heathen women who covered once they married, and Heathen men who do so out of respect for particular Gods but within Heathenry it’s not a common thing. In cultus deorumit was tradition for both men and women to cover their heads during offerings and religious rites, and that is one that at least within my branch of the tradition, we maintain. There are also times in which one might cover for purification purposes in general.

This piece piqued my interest, however, because over the past ten years I’ve come across a growing number of polytheists across traditions who are choosing to cover their heads, not just during religious rituals but out of modesty and piety, all the time (and kudos to any woman who can do this with a migraine. I’ve always wondered what those who veil or cover do when they get a migraine because I sure as hell can’t stand anything on my head then!). I think we should be encouraging modesty in our people (which does not mean that one need to cover one’s head to be modest) as a general rule, whatever that might mean.

One of the things that I very much appreciated in the article, which I otherwise found rather vexing, is the comment that modesty wasn’t about how long one’s skirts are or whether or not one covers one’s head, it’s a “line in the heart.” Some time ago, I read a Christian article on modesty by a mother of a young child. She said that her child had put on a new dress and was standing in front of the mirror commenting that she could not wait until her friends saw her and how nice she looked and the mother despaired. She despaired because she realized that no matter how modest the dress might be, the child wasn’t: her heart wasn’t modest. She wanted to show off for others and receive attention that way. It was one of the more nuanced discussions of modesty that followed, one that wasn’t about clothing, that I’ve read in a long time).  Our ancestors had a deep sense of morality and propriety. Unlike so much of modern Paganism, it wasn’t an ‘anything goes’ culture where every manner of sexual impropriety was encouraged. Multiple partners, promiscuity, immorality, molestation – all of which seems way too rampant in modern Paganism (Kenny Klein anyone? Or better yet, find me outspoken monogamists within the community—please. We need more of them.) were not held up as licit in the ancient world. Of course, all of these things may have occurred (we are a terrible species), but they did not represent the accepted norm. Instead, decorum, gravitas, piety, and modesty (for both men and women) were encouraged. What the hell happened to us? We have a culture in which women are proud to be called “sluts” and marriage is considered outmoded, young people are ‘hooking up’, a culture in which devotion is ridiculed, but reality TV a cultural pastime and we call this progress. I’m not going to rant too much on this – I think y’all know my feelings on these matters and I want to get to the article in question – but suffice it to say that I think in restoring our traditions we have a seriously uphill battle and not just because of monotheism, but because of the utter lack of focus on character building in our culture. We’re starting so far behind the starting line that I wouldn’t be surprised if our ancestors were  appalled.

To get back to the article, it discusses head-covering in Orthodoxy, past and present, between converts and cradle practitioners and the politics thereof. My initial reading of the piece is that the author elides what should be a nuanced and complex topic into something more black and white. She accuses converts who choose to express their piety by actually obeying the customs of their religion, as dismissing the experiences of grandmothers and older generations of women within the faith. In doing so, I think she dismisses the religious experience and devotion of the converts to which she is referring. Covering one’s head is not just a political act. It’s not about feminism or assimilation. First and foremost, in the context in which she’s talking it is about an expression of piety and submission to one’s Church/church doctrine. By presenting it in one light alone, she’s not only attacking converts, but eliding the deep complexity of this practice, turning it into a social or political action rather than a licit expression of devotion. She is asking (or rather demanding) that converts place political considerations and submission to the experience of other women, above the dictates of their conscience and faith. I find that…misguided to say the least. And, as one commenter on twitter noted, she’s turning this practice into a fashion statement (if others around you wear the scarf, wear it, but if they don’t, then you don’t either or you’re self-aggrandizing – my paraphrase) rather than an expression of religious piety.  Her own experience of wearing a headscarf (in Egypt) was one of convenience that she quickly abandoned when Egyptian women pointed out the struggles they and their mothers had endured in fighting against growing fundamentalism is not, in my mind, analogous to covering in Orthodoxy. She was covering in Egypt to avoid harassment, not as a religious mandate for herself.

To abandon a religious practice like covering one’s head in church because it is not popular, because it marks you out as religious, because it is not feminist-approved, or for any other reason, is ceding sacred space to modernity. It is saying that devotion and our Gods are not important enough that one is willing to be a bit uncomfortable. Devotion is always an embodied practice: through song, dance, ritual gestures, clothing choices, bowing our heads in prayer, prostration, and so forth. The act of putting on a head covering for some women can be a significant indicator that they’re shifting into sacred space and I wonder if some of the objection to that isn’t some of the author’s discomfort with drawing boundaries and elevating personal piety as a priority.

It always comes back to what takes precedence: the Gods or our own human bullshit. The author of this piece cannot even seem to conceive of a motive in the converts to which she is referring beyond wanting to draw attention to themselves and she focuses on them as a way to delegitimize the practice, a practice she herself apparently finds personally offensive. I do think that when we do those things that mark us out as pious we have to be careful that they are actually done for the Gods and out of devotion and not to draw attention to ourselves. She has a point there. One shouldn’t cover because it’s popular, not cover because it’s unpopular, but one should do what brings one closer to the Gods and what is mandated by one’s tradition. Next, she’ll be suggesting we engage in sacred dance by twerking in the aisles before the monstrance.

As to women who cover all the time, quite often it’s a desire to maintain some sense not just of appropriate modesty, but of connection to the sacred. It reminds them to privilege that, it brings their bodies into a space of accommodation with their devotion. Yes, we must charge ourselves to avoid immodesty, to avoid spectacle, to avoid showing off, (I’m all in favor of these things in devotion, when it’s for the Gods, but not ever when they are for the glorification of the person). but that doesn’t mean abandoning practices that have served since antiquity. Finally, if women are to have self-determination of practice and being-ness, which they should!—then we have to accept that sometimes they’re going to make choices with which other women may not agree. It’s never as easy as this author wants to make it.

Close up of my Hermes shrine

My friend Carlton was visiting recently (we go to school together) and, not being a polytheist, he was fascinated by my various shrines. Since he’s teaching a theology class this semester, he asked if he could take photos to use in his class (and i’m ok with that). This is the photo he took of my Hermes shrine. I love the angle of the close up, and the drama of the black and white,  so I got his ok to share it here. 

Hermes shrine aug. 31 Carlton

(Photo by C. Chase. Used with permission).

The Next Prayer Card from the Mothers Series is Done

Grace Palmer just finished the next card in the Mothers Prayer Card series: Leda, with Zeus in Swan form. 

leda-painting-2x4

So far, about half the cards are finished: Semele, Maia, Leto, Metis, Thetis, and now Leda. We still have Penelopeia, Danae, Alcmene, and Pasiphae (i think I listed Them all) to go. 

Healing Prayers, Healing Gods

So many people seem to be getting ill lately. I half jokingly said to a friend that June was a really shitty month for people’s health! But no joke, my husband just got out of surgery last week, and I’m hearing of at least three people in my social circle who are either going in for quadruple bypass surgeries or have serious heart issues that were recently diagnosed and the friends I have with chronic pain are beyond number (and I myself live with it every day and it’s been bad of late). I think sometimes that our world is so out of whack that our bodies and psyches absorb it. We wade all the time in poison and pollution and while our bodies do their best, eventually there’s a cost to that, and not just for the patients themselves. The stress and exhaustion visited on their families is immeasurable. So if you’re struggling right now with recent or chronic illness, in yourself or a family member, my heart and prayers go out to you. I want to encourage you to reach out to friends, to your community for support. None of us should have to go through such things alone.

Likewise, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support during my husband’s recent illness. It really meant a lot to know how many people were there and holding him in prayer. Thank you.

You know, we have lots of healing deities and in the ancient world many of Them had extensive cultus. I’m surprised that isn’t the case today (though granted, They tend to not be the sexy Deities. Lol. They’re more about hard work and wading into sickness to find a way through). I’d love to hear from people who venerate Healing Deities specifically.

In my home, while I’m Heathen, my husband isn’t so we have a religiously blended household. The Greek and Roman Deities (especially the Roman in my case) get Their share of veneration. But I also honor the Norse healing Deities, and have sporadically for many years. Of course Odin does have “aspects” if you will that venture into healing – the Merseburg Charm for instance names Woden as a powerful healer—but overall that is in no way His primary area of expertise. (1) Or rather, I should say that it is not the way that He has come to me. I hope one day to be able to explore a relationship with Him as Healer, but generally, when one speaks of Norse Healing Deities, Odin is not amongst Those that immediately come to mind.

The most well known of our Healing Deities is probably the Goddess Eir. Many of us associate Her with combat medicine and surgery and She is referenced in the Poetic Edda as the “Best of Physicians.” If we plumb the lore well enough, it becomes apparent that She has many other colleagues in Healing and They’ve gathered a small cultus today. There’s Mengloth, the healer of Lyfjaberg, and an entire retinue of other healing deities with specialties ranging from respiratory care to pharmacy. Goddesses like Hlif, Hlifthrasa, Thjodvara, Bjort, Bleik, Blith, Frith, and Aurboda all have Their areas of expertise. Likewise the Goddess Sunna, governing as She does the healing power of the sun, may also be invoked as a healer. (2) I have also known many to go to the Vanir for such things, which makes sense since They are Deities of life, abundance, and vitality. I myself have two shrines to Freya: a personal one, and then Her image is also included in my shrine to the Healing Deities honored in my home.

I keep wanting to take a month with each of our Norse healing Deities and do intensive meditation, prayer, and devotional exploration with Them but I never seem to manage it, at least I haven’t successfully yet. I hope to do better in the future (I feel the same way about Frigga’s retinue – of which Eir is also a part).

Since I do live in a blended household (and I practice a bit of cultus deorum myself), my healing shrine also has a section devoted to Apollo and Asklepius. The statue of Asklepius came to me on a trip to London. I walked into this store and saw it and got hit with “I need that.” It was so strong a feeling that even though I didn’t have cultus to Him, I bought it and eventually incorporated Him into my shrine. I have great respect for Him. In the ancient world He had a tremendously popular cultus. Apollo, while a Greek Deity, had cultus in Etruria by at least the 6th Century B.C.E. and in Rome by around 431 B.C.E, the latter specifically as ‘Medicus’ or ‘Healer’. Asklepius is the son of Apollo who achieved that rare honor, one shared with Herakles: He was a mortal son of a God who was elevated to godhood, taking His place amongst the denizens of Olympos.(3) I also honor Dionysos on my healing shrine (plus He has His own shrine elsewhere in my home) since He heals issues of the mind, heart, and spirit.

It’s funny: neither Dionysos nor most of the Norse Deities seem to care overmuch for protocols of cleansing before one approaches Their shrines. I mean, one should be clean and of course I wash my hands but They don’t seem to want extensive protocol. Apollo and to some extent Asklepius (though by far especially Apollo here) do seem to require more in the way of cleansing before approaching Them. It’s a completely different mindset when I go to Their shrines and with Apollo at least, there’s much, much more formality.

Someone reminded me that one of the traditional offerings to Asklepius was a black rooster, noting that even as he went to his death, Sokrates’ main concern was that such a debt to this God be properly paid. This time, in exchange for His help I promised not a rooster (I have given Him such in the past), but cultus. I think I’ll use it as an opportunity to do the same for Eir and Her retinue.

Anyway, if you have ongoing cultus to one of our Healing Deities, or would like to share insights or prayers, please feel free to do so here. It’d be a grace and a blessing all around to see Their cultus grow.

 

Notes:

  1. The structure of this charm is strikingly similar to Appalachian healing charms. Likewise Odin (Woden) is referenced in the Nine Herbs Galdr, as a Healer driving out illness and pollution. It seems that He cleanses the situations that cause ill health, but again, while I discuss this briefly in my book “He is Frenzy,” I don’t generally relate to Him as Healer. 
  2. She is likewise noted in the Merseburg Charm along with Her sister.
  3. I’m more familiar with the Roman material than the Greek and Ovid in his “Metamorphoses” tells the story of Asklepius’ fateful birth and later transformation/ elevation into a God. See also the entry on Asklepius here