I can hardly believe that today is the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. I remember that day all too well. At the time, I worked in finance at a bank with offices in Jersey City. I had to take the train from the World Trade Center every morning. On 9/11/2001 I was running really late so I didn’t dawdle. Usually, I’d make a bathroom stop, grab breakfast, maybe peruse magazines and generally kill time before heading off to a job I really didn’t like. Thank the Gods – and I do all the time – I didn’t do any of that on that particular day. I ran to catch the train in order to get to work on time. Mine was the last train out. The first plane hit as our train was leaving. Five minutes later, we pulled into Jersey City and came out of the station to see the smoke rising from the first tower.
I had maybe a block walk to my office and several co-workers were with me – we all took the same train. We noted the smoke but had no idea what it was. I remember we were puzzled but didn’t think much of it at first. It was only when we got into work and saw all the brokers gathered around the television sets (there were televisions mounted on the wall of the brokerage floor and also in human resources). I don’t remember if we watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center on tv. I remember one of my bosses saying that there was a terrorist attack on the Center and on the Pentagon. My aunt worked at the Pentagon.
I’m an ancestor worker. I reached out to the dead and did not find her there, so I knew she was ok. Turns out, it was her office that got hit but she was coming back from having delivered a package. She saw the plane through the window and thought, “that’s way too low” and turned, trusting her gut, and ran out of the building. She was fine. A holy picture she kept at her desk was fine. The rest was rubble.
I tried to call my mother but could not get through. I did manage to call my best friend to let her know I was ok. My poor mom spent most of the day thinking her daughter and sister were dead. The phone lines had gone down or were so busy we could not get any calls out after the first half hour or so. I wasn’t able to speak to my mother until late that night.
Our office evacuated, fearing another, larger attack. We were told to go to an evac center by the pier. I had a member of my religious House who was legally blind working in the brokerage area. I retrieved her and we went together. Once there, I did my best to minister to those who were frightened, passing out water, offering on the spot counseling. I sat with an EMT who was shaking as she told me what ground zero looked like and saw her panic as airplanes (thankfully our military planes) suddenly flew overhead.
At some point, we decided to donate blood and went to the hospital, but they didn’t need more so my friend and I were left with no way to get home. A lovely Hindu family took us home with them and kept us safe until the trains were running again. We brought water and provisions to the local fire department and then this family, whose name I never learned, walked us to the train station and we went home. The next day, I came into the city to work at the Red Cross center (and this is why I will never support the Red Cross again). They refused to allow me (as a polytheist and priest) or a female episcopalian minister with 18 years’ experience, to work with any of the shocked, hurting people filing in for help. This was the case even though the head of the seminary I had attended was there and vouched for my competence as a chaplain. We were only allowed to pick up garbage. The Red Cross can go fuck itself. They only allowed a couple of Catholic priests and a Rabbi to actually do chaplaincy work. I did witness probably the best example of chaplaincy in action in a young priest who was tending those hurting. His humility and compassion were inspiring.
Later, I went to the hospital where I was one of the chaplains and our supervisors wouldn’t let us minister to patients until we sat in a circle and shared our own shock and horror. I remember one other chaplain, a woman sobbing as she recounted that she had been doing dishes when her five-year-old son called her to the tv. News channels broadcast the attack on the World Trade over and over again (to a degree that I actually find potentially traumatizing to viewers) and her child was watching images of people throwing themselves out of the burning Trade Center. He wanted to know why the people were falling out of the windows. At his mother’s honest answer, he hugged her and said, “Don’t worry, mommy, God will catch them.” That night, for the first time, the Gods hauled me out of my sleep, and I found myself guiding confused, agitated, angry souls across the divide from living to dead. I remember arguing with one woman that she had to cross over. She didn’t or couldn’t realize she was dead. It had all happened so fast, so unexpectedly.
For days we went to the Red Cross to help however we could. The city was a ghost town. People walked around but silently, in a stunned daze. When work started up again the next week, we brought in counselors to help everyone. I worked in HR at the time and one of my jobs was to sit in on the counseling sessions. I saw a Vietnam veteran break down in tears, sobbing that he was afraid his son would be called up into a war like the one he himself had fought. His fears were not without warrant and this man resigned shortly thereafter.
I now teach students who were born after 9/11 but for my generation, this is our defining moment. There is before 9/11 and after. The world that existed before is gone. We have inherited a country willing to sacrifice freedom for security. It’s a bad and dangerous trade off. We’ve inherited a country that has been at war for twenty years. I mourn for the dead. Most of all though, on this day, I remember not only those who died in the attacks: World Trade Center, Pentagon, Flight 93, but also their families; and I remember those who worked tirelessly to retrieve the bodies of the fallen. I remember particularly Father Mychal Judge, chaplain and member of the NY Fire Dept and first recorded victim because he ran toward the horror and not away. I remember the search dogs who suffered depression because they could not find survivors in the rubble. Let us remember all those who have died. Each and every name. They are our dead. Let us remember them.
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 (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.
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 its 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 will be the first installment of Northern Europe themed products relevant for fellow Northern Tradition polytheists.
WhereTheGodsLive features work made from horn, antlers, and occasionally bone.
UK based artist Samantha Chilton’s online store front SJChilton presents religious statues of deities in sculpted plaster. Their work primarily focuses on the Norse Gods and Goddesses, but occasionally they’ll have items for other polytheists too. Check out her depiction of the Disir.
NorsemanArts offers handmade Norse pagan crafts in horn, born and wood.
KykvendiByK is the online store front for a a talent French based artist whose chosen medium is bronze. Focusing primarily on Norse themes, they do have a small scattering of other traditions represented too.
AgaBlochArt is an Ireland based artist making handmade linocut prints and cards. While she tackles a few different subject matter, she has several prints of the Norse Gods and Goddesses.
Ukraine based Artrada offers hand carved wooden statues (and the occasional box) of the Gods and Goddesses. Most of their work is of Northern Tradition deities, but you’ll find a small scattering of Slavic and Celtic representations too.
Stay tuned for more installments!
The Yuletide Shopping Guide was created to spotlight items that support our religious devotions and practices, help artists who are struggling in this pandemic year, and to help some of the artisans in our religious communities too. I’ve started early to share resources for cookie cutters, craft molds, and fabric related to Mesoamerica, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece. In hopes this early start will allow the makers time to get ahold of materials if they intend to make something for this holiday season.
To our Northern Tradition polytheists, get ready to vike yourselves some fabric for your projects this yuletide. There’s a plethora of mjolnir (Thor’s Hammers), lots of runes too, Odin makes some appearances, a rune card pattern great for kids, and so much more. I have bought so much fabric.
Arts_and_Herbs Has a small fabric collection with varying sizes of a Valkyrie pattern based on archaeological finds, in addition to a mjolnir pattern, a sun wheel pattern, and a runes pattern.
Viking fairy offers two patterns both use a combination of runes and symbols connected to the Norse Gods, one looks like it could be a good option for the kids.
This is less religious, and more just cute. This Viking ship voyager pattern seems perfect for projects for the little heathens in our midst. Presented in a fabric collection with a variety of coordinating fabrics.
Even more fabric possibilities
- Yggdrasil and Our Gods – This pattern is so complex it’s hard to see it fully online. We see the world tree Yggdrasil and its connection to the worlds. In Asgard we see Odin riding his horse Sleipnir, Thor raising his hammer high, Freya with a cat drawn carriage accompanied by her boar Hlidsvini. While Loki is airborne with the giant Thiassi who has just stolen Idunna’s apples. We have bifrost with valkyries, Fenrir, frost giants, and more. You’ll need 48 inches to get the full repeat pattern, 42 inches gives you all the mythic elements but you’ll lose part of the rainbow sky. There is a smaller version of the print too.
- Odin, Freya, Freyr, Thor, Heimdall (color variations)
- Odin as a teapot, at a teaparty for his ravens
- Rune pattern in various colors
- Viking longboat pattern in various sizes and colors
- Odin and his ravens pattern (various colors)
- Runes pattern (in various sizes and colors)
- Midwinter pattern with the Sun, trees and deer
- Slavic Geometric Patterns
Please let me know if there are any errors, with all the copy/pasting it is easy to make a mistake. If there’s something you think I should spotlight in the yuletide shopping guide, please contact me and let me know. So concludes our fabric resources, but there will be more resources to come! Stay tuned.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been historic, and simultaneously the proverbial dumpster fire. But the year is winding down (thank the Gods), and we have the Yuletide only a few short weeks away.
I know artists are particularly struggling this year with the economic repercussions of the pandemic. As much as we crave arts in a time of difficulty, the arts are the first things we cut from our budget–understandably so, when you’re trying to make sure you have a roof over your head and food in your pantry.
I wanted to put together a sort of shopping list filled with an assortment of things: such as polytheistic themed materials that DIYers could use to make their own projects, items (jewelry, accessories, religious items, music, books, etc.) that would be appreciated in polytheistic households, or just items and works created by members of the polytheistic community (whether their work is religious or not).
I’ll be curating the list, but I wanted to give all of you a chance to tell me about stuff you’ve found, or made, or know of too. Drop me a line. The goal, is for those who can afford it to try to either help an artisan member of the community, or feed the devotion of members in our community.
I want to get the first post out next week, for base materials and resources than can help the DIY’ers. So they have time to not only order materials, but then to make their creation in time for the solstice.
A few years ago when visiting Denmark, I was able to spend part of a day with Mathias Nordvig, who showed my oath-sister and I a lovely time around the Moesgard Museum, and then lunch afterwards. At the time he was still deep in his student studies in pursuit of his Nordic Mythology PhD from Aarhus University in Denmark, but since then he has earned the degree and now teaches Viking studies, Norse mythology, Scandinavian folklore, etc. at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His work tends to combine deeply thoughtful academic research, with an immense enthusiasm for the subject matter. Later this month his new work: Norse Mythology for Kids: Tales of Gods, Creatures, and Quests (Affiliate Disclosure) will be releasing on June 23.
The concept of the book evokes to me fond memories of the classic D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths which I enjoyed as a child. While I’ve not had a chance to check out this new book yet by Dr. Nordvig, I do know that in addition to the 20 selectively chosen stories from the myths, and stunningly beautiful illustrations by Meel Tamphanon, the book also comes with language lessons with a glossary and pronunciation guide, and a bit of a spotlight on some of the familial connections between the featured gods. Even sight-unseen I’m going to recommend that those of you with children should definitely check this book out. Keep in mind this is not a religious text, but looks to be shaping up to be a lovely introduction to some of the most well known myths and stories.
Affiliate Advertising Disclosure
I have several book titles that have now been retired, this means they are officially out of print, and any product at retailers is being sold from any remaining inventory they have, or they are re-selling used product. If you want these books, and do not have them, you better pick them up them sooner, rather than later.
OUT OF PRINT
- Day Star and Whirling Wheel: Honoring the Sun and the Moon in the Northern Tradition
- Essays in Modern Heathenry
- Full Fathom Five:Honoring the Norse Gods and Goddesses of the Sea
- Into the Great Below: A devotional to Inanna and Ereshkigal
- Root, Stone and Bone: Honoring Andvari and the Vaettir of Money
- Sekhmet: When the Lion Roars
- Sigdrifa’s Prayer: An Explanation and Exegesis
- Sigyn: Lady of the Staying Power
- Skalded Apples: A Devotional Anthology for Idunna and Bragi
- Walking Toward Yggdrasil
- Whisperings of Woden: Nine Nights of Devotional Practice
In the case of both Whisperings of Woden and Walking Toward Yggdrasil, this content is also included with additional material in my book He is Frenzy: Collected Writings on Odin, however the German language content of Walking Toward Yggdrasil is not present in any other form.
Root, Stone and Bone, as well as Sigdrifa’s Prayer will be re-printed in a new edition.
[Updated for clarity] Excerpts of content from the other retired books may eventually be seen in other works, but if you want to enjoy the retired works’ complete content, these out of print books will be the only way to grab them.
I recently signed a petition, and urge you to do the same. The issue: trademark protection of the word “Heathen”. I’ve seen how luxury brand Hermès has used their trademark to go after religious items for Hellenics and their God Hermes. We have a chance to try to save the Heathen term.
“Dave Lancaster owns a company called Heathen Productions which produces a t-shirt line known as Heathen Nation, who holds a Trademark on the word Heathen. His company has been serving vendors, crafters and merchants who even so much as use the word Heathen in their description box for their product with take down orders and threatening legal action if they do not comply. He is not a Heathen himself but he is affecting the livelihood of many Heathens just trying to support their families and or kindreds.”
You can sign the petition here: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/heathens-vs-heathen-nation
It’s the 5 year bookversary of my devotional to the Norse God of the Moon, Mani. 🌛 Son of Mundilfari, brother of Sunna and Sinthgunt, this particular God is one that is greatly beloved by me. I keep an active altar to him in my house, and I couldn’t resist having multiple prayer cards and icons for him in the Prayer Card Project either.
“Dancing in the House of the Moon” is a celebration and adoration of the Norse Moon God Mani. It is a collection of essays, prayers and poems word-pictures that summon a sense of His presence: ineffable, incandescent, and beautiful. This is a devotional for anyone wishing to know this God better, anyone who has tasted of the splendor of Mani, anyone wishing to throw themselves into His devotion. It is the expression of a cultus renewed and restored for the modern world.
So who has a copy? And if so, what’s your favorite part?
An accessible yet in-depth guide to this increasingly popular pre-Christian religious tradition of Northern Europe
Heathenry, is one of the fastest growing polytheistic religious movements in the United States today. This book explores the cosmology, values, ethics, and rituals practiced by modern heathens.
In A Modern Guide to Heathenry readers will have the opportunity to explore the sacred stories of the various heathen gods like Odin, Frigga, Freya, and Thor and will be granted a look into the devotional practices of modern votaries. Blóts, the most common devotional rites, are examined in rich detail with examples given for personal use. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of wyrd, or fate, so integral to the heathen worldview.
Unlike many books on heathenry, this one is not denomination-specific, nor does it seek to overwhelm the reader with unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon or Norse terminology. For Pagans who wish to learn more about the Norse deities or those who are new to heathenry or who are simply interested in learning about this unique religion, A Modern Guide to Heathenry is the perfect introduction. Those who wish to deepen their own devotional practice will find this book helpful in their own work as well.