Blog Archives

Who Owns Your Head?

This morning on Facebook, I was in a brief comment thread about the AFA. They made a Mother’s Day post that got some people’s pussy hats in a twist (which of course, now one cannot read because FB has deleted their page). I don’t care about the AFA, but so much time and energy was being expended in whining about their praise of Aryan Mothers, that I interjected essentially asking “why? Why waste all this time bitching about a group that doesn’t care and isn’t going to change and was willing to boot out a major member, an honorable and devout man because he had a transgender child?” Do you think sending memes to them is going to change their minds? None of us hopefully are that deluded.

Someone fired back that many people assume Heathenry, in all its denominations, is racist because of groups like the AFA. So here are my thoughts on that. Firstly, so what? Are we to define ourselves by the uneducated assumptions of outsiders? Secondly, and more importantly  (and what I posted on fb):

It all comes down to how much space one wants to give them in our heads/minds and practice. They’re going to be doing their thing, but I’d like to see other branches of Heathenry being organized and louder, if that makes sense. what rituals are you doing? What are you reading? How are you living your faith, etc., writing about that, showing through practice that it’s not a racist religion, because in the end, if they take up too much space in our minds, then all we’re doing is giving them more power. I don’t want my practice to be a response to theirs. I want it to be a response to the Gods and my relationship with them. The AFA is irrelevant to that.

2b207cc88b1af70a0dc49530ee4aef0e

(Not the Aryan mother the AFA was looking for?)

Winner of the Nerthus Agon Is….

Congratulations to Dr. E. Kelly.  Your submission won the agon. I’ll email you shortly to sort out the prizes. 🙂 

Everyone who submits receives a prayer card of Nerthus (if you already have Nerthus’ card, you can get a different card ) as a thank you. Please shoot me an email with your mailing address. 

And remember, folks, May’s Agon is for Hermes’ Mother Maia. Let’s give Her some prayers and poems — you know She had her hands full with Him! lol. 

Polytheistic Voices: Interview with Kenaz Filan

kenaz portraitI’ve known Kenaz for years so it was a pleasure doing this interview recently for this series. Like me, Kenaz straddles the line between two polytheistic traditions: Voudoun and the Northern Tradition. The Gods do send us down some interesting roads. He’s written several books including “The Power of the Poppy,” and (with Raven Kaldera) “Dealing with Deities,” and “Drawing Down the Spirits.” Thank you, Kenaz for agreeing to participate in this interview.

GK: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to polytheism?

Kenaz: I was interested in magic and the occult for as long as I can remember. From my early 20s onward I was involved in Ceremonial Magic and Neopaganism. Because I have also long felt an affinity for darker Cthonic energies I became involved in Satanism and Goetia. Had I been born 30 years earlier I’d be what the kids today call an “Edgelord.” I found Chaos Magic thought-provoking at times and loved the intellectual aesthetic of Ceremonial Magic – but I never felt comfortable reducing the Gods to thought-forms, archetypes or things that only existed between my ears. I always knew there was Something Else there and that They were worthy of worship. I also never bought into the idea of a Golden Age when the Gods walked among us. I felt like They were as present now as They were 10,000 years ago and that They still had an interest in us: They did not cease to exist when we stopped worshipping them any more than a rock disappears when you turn your head.

While I have always felt compassion for the poor and disempowered I have never been particularly egalitarian. An important part of our American psyche is that all men are created equal before the law. There has been considerable debate about what that means. For me it means whatever your social class or lifestyle choices all citizens should be given a chance to achieve to the best of their abilities; that all accused of a crime deserved a fair trial before an impartial jury; that all should be treated with respect and courtesy until they prove undeserving of same. (I understand that we rarely live up to these tenets, but that reflects more poorly on us than them). But I also understood that people were not equal. Strength, intelligence, skill, passion, piety – these things were not evenly distributed among humanity. Neither did I have a problem that there were some people who were Called (had a Vocation in the language of my Roman Catholic youth) to the Priesthood while others served the Divine by living their lives honorably and doing your duty to your family, your community and your Gods.

In 1994 I had a psychotic break that left me homeless on the streets of Manhattan for several months. During that time I made contact with a spirit that called Himself “Legba” and who told me, among other things, that I would become a Vodou initiate. At the time I thought this impossible: in March 2003 I was initiated as Houngan Coquille du Mer in Societe la Belle Venus #2 of Brooklyn, New York by Mambo Azan Taye (Edeline St-Amand) and Houngan Si Gan Temps (Hugue Pierre). Since then I have continued to serve the lwa and much of what I have learned in Vodou has influenced my way of dealing with my ancestral Gods. Then, in 2004 Loki showed up and, unsurprisingly, things got very … interesting.

One of the defining moments in the modern Polytheistic revival was Kenny Klein’s arrest on child pornography charges. The Pagan community’s response to that left me – and just about everybody else in the community who identified as a Polytheist – furious and disgusted. I realized then that contemporary Neopaganism’s atheism and relativism were fatal flaws which have real world consequences. I ceased to identify in any way as part of the Neopagan community and began calling myself a Polytheist – and many other Polytheists did the same thing. Today’s Polytheism shares very little with modern Neopaganism: we certainly don’t share our Gods. I’d say we have become a different religious tradition but it’s more accurate to say that we have become a religious tradition since what they are doing owes more to psychotherapy than theology.

GK: You’ve been a staunch defender of Loki over the years (something that I particularly appreciate). Can you tell me a little bit about your devotional relationship with HIm?

Kenaz: My first experience with Loki started as a meditation on Freyja as I attempted Seidhr: instead of finding myself in the presence of Freyja I found myself in the cave. Since that time Loki has been a constant presence in my life. I followed His instructions when he told me to live for several years as a woman. I believed Him when He told me that I would have a child even though the hormones should have rendered that impossible. And in return Loki has brought nothing but blessings into my life, including the greatest gift of all – my daughter, Annamaria Sigyn Estelle Filan. I am eternally in His debt: speaking up on His behalf when he is wronged is the least I can do to acknowledge all He has done for me.

Most Loki-detractors make several fundamental errors about the nature of pre-Christian practices in northern Europe. The idea of “Lore” owes more to Protestant sola scriptura than to tradition. It prioritizes the work of Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic Christian, over the disparate practices of a region which stretched from northern Scandinavia to the banks of the Volga River. It gives the Eddas a Scriptural authority which Sturluson never intended: it also anachronistically applies the Manichean “Good/Evil” axis to traditions which (unlike Christianity) were never touched by Manicheanism or by any other Gnostic tradition. There were certainly evil wights and evil men in the myths of northern Europe. The Gods could be benevolent, hostile or some combination thereof depending on the situation. But there was no idea of an elemental Evil or of an infernal Adversary eternally warring with the Divine and with humanity: Loki was never a “Nordic Satan” any more than Odin became a “Nordic Christ” because he hung on Yggdrasil.

I identify Loki with Lóður and with the force which makes the blood flow and which animates our world. I believe there may also be some cognate between “Lok” and the low German gelücke from whence our word “luck” derives. I don’t think it is a huge stretch to identify Loki with a generally benevolent but unpredictable bringer of blessings and good fortune. And given how Loki appears in almost every story preserved in the Eddas, I think He was a major God within the traditions of northern Europe. I also think His binding is one of the major myths of our Lokean tradition. His long agony on the rock and the eternal fidelity of His wife Sigyn are powerful if painful foci for meditation and contemplation. And while it sometimes seems that for every step forward we take a dozen steps back into Lokiswives of Tumblr, I am confident that we are seeing the birth of a Loki cultus which will survive and thrive long after we are gone.

GK: Late 2016 you started the rather controversial website polytheism uncucked. What prompted that? What is it’s focus? What do you intend /hope to accomplish here?

Kenaz: Polytheism Uncucked started out with tongue firmly in cheek. After Rhyd Wildemuth declared that Paganism was under attack from the shadowy forces of the Alternative Right, I figured I might as well be the devil they claimed me to be. But as I continued studying I began to understand that I am the product of European culture and a child of the European Diaspora. I realized that to honor the Gods of Europe I needed to protect my ancestral European homeland and my European brothers and sisters. And so I began talking about impolite topics like the Islamization of Europe and the plight of poor White America. I began speaking out against AntiFa thuggery and pointing out the deleterious effects of Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism on our art, culture and interpersonal relationships. Which means, at least to some people, that I became the worst sort of racist. (Insert pearl-clutching here).

Parenthood also played a major role in my “Dark Enlightenment,” “Redpilling,” or political development as you prefer. We live in a working -class area of Newark where we are an ethnic minority. We have never experienced any problems and our Black and Latino neighbors have never been anything but kind and helpful. But when they look at us they see White people: our roots and our culture share many commonalities, but there are also many differences. And so I began wondering what it meant to be White for us and for Annamaria, and realized White was something more than an absence of Color.

Necessity and desire drove our ancestors from their homes: history transformed them into White Americans. We are the European diaspora; we are Europa’s children; we are part of a process that was ancient when the first English settlers landed on Plymouth Rock and part of a people who are committing demographic and literal suicide. Those who came before us may have done great evil but they also did great good. We have lessons to learn from their triumphs as well as from their mistakes. And in any event we have a responsibility to honor our ancestors not because they were good or because they were triumphant but because they are our ancestors.

Vodou, Lukumi and other African Diaspora traditions preserved African religious traditions through the horrors of the Middle Passage and slavery. I believe folkish Heathenry is one means by which we can honor our European Gods and work to preserve our European identity and our European culture. This has nothing to do with disparaging the ancestry of others: it is, rather, about honoring our own. “Woke” Black people and White people have a great deal in common. Both wish to preserve their culture; both place enormous importance in the family and community; both know their people face enormous challenges like poverty, unemployment, violence and despair; both believe the solution to their communities’ problems will only be found within their communities; both believe a spiritual awakening is a necessary precedent to any material improvements. The answers to our problems lie not in eternal conflict and hatred but in mutual respect. “Different” does not have to mean hostile.

GK: Now how do you balance working in two traditions (I do as well): Norse and Voudou?

Kenaz: Vodou is the central pillar of my practice: I use so much of what I learned about approaching the Lwa in my service to Europa’s Gods. My wife (also a Mambo) and I have both had the maryaj lwa: we abstain from sex on Tuesday through Thursday in honor of our divine Spouses (Ezili Freda and Danto for me: Ogou, Damballah and Zaka for her). We have shrines for the Rada, Petwo and Ghede in our home: we have Legba standing at the door to protect us from evil and bring in blessings. I have refrained from writing publicly about Vodou for some time, but that is only because I wanted to make space for Haitians to document their own faith. Right now there are several open Haitian houses were people can be initiated and learn how to serve their lwa: Haitian and Haitian-American artists and academics like Hersza Barjon, Claudine Michel and Patrick Bellegarde-Smith are writing books on the subject. I have 15 years as a Houngan: these people were raised in the culture and have far more to teach than I do. My services in that arena are no longer required: there are better people out there for the task.

By contrast, the contemporary Polytheist movement is in its infancy. We are still building that community and defining what it means to be a Polytheist. (See the ongoing flap about “archetypal Polytheists,” otherwise known as “Neopagans who want to call themselves Polytheists”). I am focusing my attention there for now as I feel that is where it is most needed. There is an enormous hunger for the Gods in our culture, a burning desire for something more meaningful than hollow materialism and blind nihilism. We are a society riddled with impietas: our relationships with our Gods, our communities, our families and ourselves have all gone off the true. The center no longer holds and things are falling apart.

Our only chance is to establish islands of piety amidst the spiritual pollution and to work to right those imbalances – to re-establish what the Romans called pietas. I believe that when we do that we will discover there are many others who are seeking desperately for what only the Gods can give them. Make a fitting place for the Gods and fitting priests who serve Them properly and They will do the rest. That is the public task to which I have set myself: to lead Europa’s children back to Europa’s Gods.

GK: what advice would you give newcomers to polytheism?

Kenaz: The Gods are many, the Gods are real, the Gods are here. Everything else flows from that.

Many people will tell you that you are crazy, that you are delusional, that you are taking this too seriously. This includes many people who claim to be serving the Gods but who are really engaging in psychodrama or in an elaborate live-action roleplaying game. Real piety terrifies them: it implies the Gods they use for window dressing might be real, and might make real demands of them. Their input is less than useless and should be ignored.

This is not a contest. Ordeal workers, horses and Godspouses are neither better Polytheists nor better people simply by their office. The most important task facing every Polytheist is to honor the Gods and to live a life befitting Their worshippers. A sincere prayer offered in gratitude is a greater gift to Them than an agonizing Ordeal performed only to impress the crowd. Ask what the Gods want you to do, then do it. Sigyn assuages Loki’s pain with a battered bowl: your simple life and your humble tools may do greater service for the Gods than you could ever imagine. Live for the Gods and you will live a Godly life.

I have heard many variants of the question “so what does a Spirit-Worker get out of this?” The answer is simple: you get to live your life in the constant and knowing presence of the Gods. There is no greater reward.

GK: What do you consider the most important elements of praxis?

Kenaz: Repetition is very important. The ancient world set its calender by seasons of worship. When you establish a regular cycle of service for your Gods, you create an axis around which your world can revolve. Your “mundane” tasks – I put that in quotes because in Polytheism there are no mundane tasks: every word, deed and thing is infused with the Gods – become part of your ongoing encounter with the Divine. Serve the Gods even when you don’t feel like it, even when you don’t see the point, even when you doubt Their very existence. In time you will internalize this service and it will become second nature to you: you will know Their presence in your heart and in your bones.

GK: There’s an old Russian saying that “repetition is the mother of learning” and I have certainly found that true, most especially in spiritual work.

Kenaz: Cleansing is vital. We live in a society that is full of miasma, where piety is conflated with fanaticism and delusion, where blasphemy is lauded and reverence is scorned. If we don’t cleanse ourselves from that spiritual sewage we will inevitably choke on it. I start and end my day by washing my head, breast, solar plexus, genitals and feet and praying that the Gods may take away that which pollutes me: I would recommend that every Polytheist do something similar. When you start doing this you will become increasingly aware of miasma and be able to either avoid or deal with it as the situation warrants.

Understand that your life is an ongoing prayer. The Christians who ask”What Would Jesus Do?” are onto something. When you live in the constant presence of the Gods you find yourself asking how They might feel about a particular course of action. This is not the “super friends” relationship you see in too much Tumblr spirituality – the kind where Loki is a whacky neighbor and Odin trades off with Dr. Who in telling you about your Important Cosmic Destiny. Rather it is the knowledge that you stand before the Creators and Shapers of Being and the deep understanding of how you should carry yourself before Them. Colored by this understanding, your life and your spiritual practice cannot help but move toward greater piety and balance.

GK: What projects do you currently have in the works?

Kenaz: I continue to work on Polytheism Uncucked and am toying with the idea of writing Europa’s Children: Toward a White American Polytheism. I would like to create a framework whereby Europa’s children can honor Europa’s Gods and recognize their role and responsibility as members of the European Diaspora. I would also like to see an American cultus which would allow Americans of all faiths, ethnicities and political leanings to honor the American spirit and America’s gods in the same way citizens of the Roman Empire venerated the Gods of Rome and the Roman government. And I continue in the most important project of all – raising Annamaria to be a happy and healthy child and teaching her to serve and honor our Gods.

GK: thank you, Kenaz. Folks interested in reading more of Kenaz’s work can check out his two blogs here and here.

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Why Odin/Christ and Not Baldr/Christ?

Someone commented in a facebook discussion that a friend of mine was inaccurate for stating in his recent piece that Christ was associated with Odin historically, assuming that Baldr would make a more logical syncretism and so my friend must be wrong. He’s not wrong, however and the comparison of Odin to Christ was one of the tools used to further the spread of Christianity in Northern Europe. We had a brief discussion on it and I thought, this is really interesting.

When finals are over, I’ll come back and flesh this out with sources, but for now, the key one that we should be looking at is the Saxon translation of the Gospels, “The Heliand.” (which is a hilarious text, omg, it really is). If you want to find a more muscular Christianity go no further than Christ sitting with his warrior thegns in the mead hall. Yes, you read that rightly. You see, apparently Jesus as he was presented in the Mediterranean world wasn’t all that appealing in the far north. (Our ancestors should have stuck with that idea, folks. Seriously). In order to attract people, following the dictum of Gregory the Great to Augustine (not Augustine of Hippo, the other one, from Cantubury, I believe), missionaries adapted things, just a little, to better fit the climate and culture. In other words, they took some liberties.

One of those liberties was syncretizing Odin with Christ. I agree that on the surface one has to look at that and go ‘huh?’ I mean it’s not the most logical choice, except it was. On the surface the comparison hinges on Odin hanging on Yggdrasil and Christ hanging on the Cross. In reality though, I think it goes deeper. Odin was (and is) a God of kings. It was a common part of the Christian missionary program to first convert the monarch or ruler of a particular community and then have him demand and execute conversion of his people. I think the focus on Odin is directly related to His associations with rulers. If He was the patron of the king then of course that is Who you’d want to mis-appropriate when trying to ease your own god in. It was part and parcel of the Christian agenda.

Now it may be that Baldr didn’t have the cultus during the conversation of northern Europe that Odin had, but I think the connection that was drawn between Odin and Christ had far, far more to do with kings and rulers and the desire of Christians to destroy the indigenous polytheism as quickly as possible.

One interesting book, before I sign off to get back to work on my papers for finals, is “The Germanization of Early Christianity” by J. Russell and when you read the “Heliand,” be sure to picture everyone in gold lame with too much hair like some strange made for tv movie 1970s style. It makes it so much more interesting and really emphasizes how ridiculous the usurping faith was.

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Submission to Nerthus Agon

For Nerthus
by Susan Epstein

I offer Thanks to the Earth for all Her ways
During days of darkness, days of sunshine,
and all the seasons of the year.

Great Earth, to you I am a child
You are my home and place of belonging.

As Great Nerthus You go veiled
A fearsome goddess,
for those who see your face must die.

I await to see your face
only at the end of my life fully lived.

Until then, I imagine your face veiled

In the time of Spring by the verdant greens of earth
In the time of Winter, blanketed by snow
In the time of Autumn, colored by rich hues
Your ears delighted by the joyful noise
In the time of Summer by the shouting of children,
The gladness of wind in the trees,
and the cheerful talking of birds.

Oh, Nerthus, Earth is our paradise, our home.
You bless the fields with your fertile prayers
Drunk on the blood of men, a replenishment of your energy.

Grant us in these times a memory of the joy of the Great Trees,
And the rising of human consciousness toward conscious Being.

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Guest Piece by Raven Kaldera

I have loved Njord since I first had the intense UPG (shared by others too) that He adopted Sigyn and raised Her with love and care. Understanding that about Her was the key to developing a relationship with Him for me. When Raven shared this piece with me this last week, I wept like a child and then went and made offerings to Njord and asked permission from Raven to share this piece here. fortunately, he was willing. –GK

Learning from Goodfather Njord
by Raven Kaldera

Many years ago I took an intensive astrology course that gave me a number of really good tools for introspection. During some of the classes, we did long guided meditations in which we were encouraged to personify ten planets and five asteroids in our astrological chart. For those who don’t know or care about astrology, think of it as a meditation where you are encouraged to imagine, meet, and talk to fifteen different aspects of yourself, sorted by titles like “the part that does romantic relationships”, “the disciplinarian”, “the wounded part”, and so forth. As I went through the meditation, each aspect of myself congealed into a face, a body, and an environment. (Astrologically, their “home” was reflected in the “house” where that planet was located in the chart.) Some were male, some female, some shifted back and forth. Some were strong and powerful, others weak and hurting. I journaled heavily about this system of self-discovery, and over the years I found myself revisiting it again and again, checking in on my various aspects. It allowed me to figure out what parts of myself were complaining and in need of attention.

Probably the most pathetic one of all was the face that appeared when the meditation took me to “visit” the asteroid Ceres in my chart. For the non-astrologers, think “the part of yourself that nurtures others”. Mine is in Cancer, unaspected, retrograde, and in the twelfth house; think “hard to access, and hidden most of the time.” She appeared as a young woman, not even out of her teens, half-starved with dark circles around her eyes, living her life in a dark basement. I fled from the image, and besides writing about it in my journal, didn’t look at it for a long time. Nurturing had never come easily or naturally to me, even when I was co-parenting a child. I did my best to be a kind and reasonable parent, and to remember to be affectionate even when it felt forced, but I constantly felt like I was moving blindly through a role I didn’t feel, even as I loved my kid. My partners all knew that I’d willingly do things for them if asked, but caregiving just wasn’t my thing.

I should backtrack and recount that I come from an extremely dysfunctional childhood with ill and violently physically abusive parents. As the oldest child, I was expected to take on adult duties at a very young age, including caring for my younger sibling and sometimes even my parents themselves, and I hated it. I was forced to take over the cleaning of the house, even before I reached puberty; I deliberately screwed up and burned all attempts to force me to cook anything more complicated than toast, so that I couldn’t be made to take that on as well. When I failed in my adult duties, which was often, I was brutally beaten. Caretaking, to me, was a painful prison. It was no surprise that my Ceres, my nurturing part, was hungry and shut up in the dark. I just didn’t know what to do about it, because I couldn’t seem to break those associations.

Nothing changed for decades until this year, when suddenly Njord showed up. I’d had visionary encounters with Him before, but I’d always been the one who approached respectfully and asked for advice or aid. This time He showed up while I was lying in bed, just barely awoken in the morning. “So,” He said cheerfully. “It’s time to do something about that poor abused Ceres of yours.”

Earlier in the week, I’d been checking in on my various astrological “self-aspects” (with the exception of Ceres whom I’d ceased to visit because it was too depressing), and it had occurred to me that I’m a polytheist; were my different aspects drawn to my different Gods? Might they each be sort of henotheistic with one of the various deities in my personal Peanut Gallery? I visualized each aspect and asked the question. Some did, some didn’t. My Saturn has always belonged to Hela; my Pluto was enamored of Shiva; my Neptune is devoted to Fenrir; my Venus reacts to Frey like a schoolgirl with a rock star; my Uranus tends to prefer elemental or plant or animals spirits. Some didn’t have a deity-of-choice at all. But now here was Njord, speaking up for the imprisoned and least loved part. “I know all about astrology, you know,” He said. “We sailors spend a lot of time staring at the sky. It was one of the few things Skadi and I bonded over – she stared at a lot of stars out on those frozen fields. Give me your Ceres,” He said, “and I’ll do some healing on those old wounds. Let him make me his God and I’ll do right by him.”

“Him?” I said. “I thought she was a girl.”

“At the moment,” He said, “but you notice that she’s not a grown woman, some Earth Mother-type with huge tits who pushes out babies? The sort of woman you’d expect a nurturer to be? No, she was pushed into the job too young, without adequate feeding herself, which is why she’s so ineffective. I think she’d do better as a man. He’d have more confidence. And we have to get him out of that dark basement.”

“The twelfth house symbolizes places of confinement,” I said. “I’m just going with the symbolism here.”

Njord rolled His blue eyes. “Yes, it’s confinement, and dark basements, and hospitals, and prisons … but it’s also dream, and fantasy, and the wellspring of poetry. You came up with that image, in your pain. I’ve got a better one. How about a ship, for example? You can’t exactly leave a ship without drowning, once it’s at sea, but it’s a lot more comfortable than being locked in the basement. At least my ship is. There are stars, and sunset over the ocean, and camaraderie. Let me have him for my crew. He can sail off when you’re not enacting that part of you, and come back to dock when someone in your life needs him.” He paused. “And if he stays with me, I’ll teach him how to be a good father, in a way you never got to understand.”

I remembered how Njord is, in spite of His wanderings, very much a family man. He loves and is proud of His twin children, He dandles Freya’s daughters on His knee, He cares about His wife at home and is honestly glad She has other consorts to keep Her company while He is away. He is the Goodfather in a very real sense, with experience in frith-making that is honed on a ship, where people can’t leave and have to learn how to get along. Very much like a family, in its own way. What else could I do but agree? I needed some breakfast, because my blood sugar was falling, but I resolved to visit my poor incarcerated Ceres later in the day, and get her opinion of the matter.

It’s funny how parts of one’s self respond dramatically to the presence of Gods in ways that one’s own personal efforts can’t achieve. When I went down into that basement, my nurturing aspect had already shifted shape and was waiting expectantly. He was a bearded man in a knitted sweater and rubber boots, no longer young, but still thin and hollow-eyed. “I’m going to be the ship’s cook,” he told me. “Njord says if I work in the kitchen I’ll never go hungry.”

“Um, I don’t really know how to cook,” I said.

“You don’t,” he said. “Did you ever ask me about it?”

Later that week, I went into trance and formally brought this personified aspect of myself to Njord. I envisioned that the dark basement was in a shack within walking distance of the beach, and I brought him out and walked him to where Njord’s ship was anchored – not a Viking ship, but a full-rigged Victorian number with mast after mast of billowing sails. He got into the rowboat and was brought to the ship, where Njord pierced his ear with a gold ring and showed him to the kitchen cauldrons. The surge of joy from deep inside me was so intense it made me cry. It still does, when I picture him standing on the deck of the ship, hair blowing, well-fed, handing out bowls of food to a laughing crew with a twinkle in his eye that he’s recently learned from a certain old blue-eyed sailor.

The external-world manifestation of this internal shift was that I suddenly started cooking. Like, seriously cooking. OK, some of what I made wasn’t exactly great, but you have to start somewhere, right? I’ve always been lucky to have partners who were decent-to-good cooks, so I never really had to learn how to do more than a few token dishes, but now the Goodfather had that part of me working the pots and cauldrons. I eventually surprised myself by making more elaborate dishes like chicken korma – I wonder what port they pulled into in order to inspire that? – including grinding all the spices for it. And, just today, baba ganoush! My partners were told about Njord’s rescuing of my hesitant and newly-fledged nurturing self, and when I made a special snack for one of them and he said, “My compliments to the ship’s chef,” I got the feeling that he blushed and scuffed the deck with his boot.

Njord’s rescue is just in time. My adult daughter is working on having a baby, and I’ll be Grandpa. Maybe, the second generation around, I’ll feel something besides confusion and resentment. Maybe Goodfather Njord will show me the way. After all, His children are the most beautiful ones in the Nine Worlds. With a resumé like that, how could we lose?

(excerpted with permission of the author from a forthcoming devotional to Njord. Folks, i believe there are still a few days left to submit pieces –end of april if i’m not wrong. If you have something for Njord, please consider sending it as a submission to the devotional to cauldronfarm at hotmail.com).

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Submission to the Nerthus Agon

For Nerthus
by C. Keller

Lady of the Veil,
She Who is too holy to look upon,
Terrifying in Her majesty.

You for Whom violence is abhorrent,
And for Whom peace is the price of Your visit,
I await the coming of Your chariot.

Let us rejoice in Your holy presence,
Your gifts of plenty to be celebrated,
Your tenderness of Your children a blessing.

No more the sounds of battle,
But only the soft splash of the willing supplicant,
Last breaths given gladly in Your honour.

Only death begets life spent with You,
My life force the named offering,
To behold Your wondrous face.

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Submission to the Nerthus Agon

The Cart (For Nerthus)
by P.S.V.L.

The entire village came out that day
when The Goddess’ Holy Cart wheeled near
and the passing of awe in solid form
took place amongst our people.

Once, I was the swiftest of runners…
but in my excitement at The Cart
I came too close to it, wanted to touch…
only to find its heavy wheels crushing my toes.

I cried, bled, fell, screamed out,
and in tripping down to the trodden earth
for only a moment I saw beneath the cloth,
the veil before the eyes of all in the village…

The Priest said that I must come with Them,
that now I belong to The Goddess,
that I may see beneath the cloth when I wash it—
and then go beneath another veil in turn.

Happy are We Who Are Called to serve Her
(though crushing of feet was no “calling”);
Happy are We Who Are Washed in the waters
in which the Goddess Herself is washed by the Washers.

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Submission to the Nerthus Agon

A Runeprayer to Nerthus
by An Anonymous Vanatruar

Hail to Nerthus Vanamóðir. Dwined (1) now my struggles, I shall dwell in Your strength, a rightful one’s riddle your roun (2).

I mind the Goddess of Dirt. In lowliness, Your holiness, I shall seek out Your seel (3).
Jera, Jera, Jera, Jera

I mind the Elstavana (4). To the Wise-Woman of Vanaheim, I shall make true my troth.
Othila, Othila, Othila, Othila

I mind the Frithbringer. In the wake of Your wain, I shall ne’er bear a blade.
Mannaz, Mannaz, Mannaz, Mannaz

I mind She Who Dwells Apart. In the still of Your grove, I shall stay my thought-grasping.
Nauthiz, Nauthiz, Nauthiz, Nauthiz

Hail to Nerthus Vanamóðir. Dwined now my struggles, I shall dwell in Your strength, a rightful one’s riddle your roun.

I mind the Vanamóðir. In the bield (5) of Your breast, I yield up my heart.
Berkana, Berkana, Berkana, Berkana

I mind the Shrouded Lady. Stripped of my striving, I shall rest in Your roun.
Pertho, Pertho, Pertho, Pertho

I mind the Knifebearer. For the sake of the swiving (6), I bow to the bloodflow.
Ingwaz, Ingwaz, Ingwaz, Ingwaz

I mind the Lifegiver. You are the Wight of the Wombswarmth, and for that I can only give thanks.
Gebo, Gebo, Gebo, Gebo

Hail to Nerthus Vanamóðir. Dwined now my struggles, I shall dwell in Your strength, a rightful one’s riddle your roun.

 

Notes:

  1. to dwine: from Old English dwīnan, from Proto-Germanic *dwīnaną — “to wither, dwindle away”
  2. roun: from Old English rūn, from Proto-Germanic *rūnō — “a secret, a mystery; a whisper”
  3. seel: from Old English sǣle (“good, fortunate, happy”), from Proto-Germanic *sēliz (“good, happy”) — “happiness, bliss”
  4. Elstavana — an attempted Icelandic / Old Norse construction, elsta Vana: “eldest Van-woman”
  5. bield: from Old English byldo, bieldo (“courage, boldness”), from Proto-Germanic *balþį̄ (“boldness”) — “confidence, assurance; relief, help; refuge”
  6. to swive: from Old English swīfan (“to move, sweep, wend, revolve”), from Proto-Germanic *swībaną (“to wipe, sweep”) — “to reap, to cut for harvest”

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.

Fourth Submission to Nerthus’ Agon

For Nerthus
by Sarenth Odinsson

They sank down into the waters
Held down by iron grips
A sacrifice for seeing Your holy Face

They sank down into the bog
Their blood reddening the waters
A sacrifice for keeping the community clean

They were offered to You
O Holy Nerthus
That the ways between us
May be kept well

*************

Be sure to check out my other sites:

Wyrd Curiosities at Etsy

My academia.edu page

My amazon author page.

Walking the Worlds Journal

My art blog at Krasskova Creations

My blog about all things strange, weird and medieval.

And if you like what you see, consider becoming a sponsor at Patreon.