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Sunne

My husband sent me this song by the group Wolcensmen. It makes for a beautiful holiday song. I could totally see incorporating it into Sunwait.

Do any of you have particular songs that you like to play or sing for Yule? (Technically Yule goes through the New Year).

Pagan Author, Musician Andrea Haugen murdered in Kongsberg Attack

Among the victims murdered in the bow and arrow Kongsberg Attack on October 13 near Oslo, Norway was a member of the pagan community, Andréa Haugen (also known as Andréa Meyer, Andréa Nebel, and Nebelhexë). She was the author of The Ancient Fires of Midgard, which explored Northern Tradition spirituality and religion. She was probably most famous among the Pagan and Heathen communities specifically though for her impact in the music world as the creative force behind Hagalaz Runedance, which released six albums. While her last album under Hagalaz Runedance released in 2002, she would continue to work on musical projects afterwards rebranding herself as she explored new sounds and varying career interests. For many Northern Tradition followers at the turn of the millennium her music was something latched onto as not only fans of the sound, but as something that spoke to our religious pathway. My favorite song of hers was ‘Volven’.



Her life was one defined by creativity: she was a poet, scriptwriter, model, artist, and musician. Music is a common thread found throughout her life. She used to go clubbing with Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, as well as Ringo Star’s daughter Lee. Eventually she found herself starting to work on a number of musical projects, some under her own auspices and some in conjunction with others. She was a vocalist, played various instruments, and even ended up owning a club at one point too.

She is survived by her daughter, Alva (the subject for the song of the same name released on Hagalaz Runedance‘s Volven album).

I think in memoriam I’ll leave you with her song to ‘Hel, Goddess of the Underworld’ and from the lyrics this seems appropriate: “Hail, to the queen of death. Her shadow walks with you.”

New Song by Wardruna

In collaboration with Frikar. The song is titled “Andvevarljod.”

A Fantastic Find and I’m Going to Brag

I don’t usually share things like this, but I am so excited about a recent acquisition that I cannot help myself. Y’all know that I venerate the castrati as a family of ancestral spirits (yes, I know, but it doesn’t matter that they’re not technically my blood ancestors; I love them and they are spiritual ancestors for me). Well, being the tactile person that I am, when I am learning how to honor and engage with a new family of spirits, it often helps to have physical objects. If I am learning proper veneration to a new Deity, I’ll set up a shrine for the same purpose(1). If I’m engaging with an animal spirit as a spirit worker, I want a tooth, claw, or bit of fur, and likewise with my ancestors whenever possible, I like to have a photo or some item that belonged to them. Is this a bit reductionist? Yes. Is it absolutely necessary? Not at all, and in fact, I’ve been honoring the castrati both as a group and as individuals for close to a decade now without having anything approximating a physical object, unless one counts the music they once sang. 

Well, today I can happily say that I now own a scrap of music handwritten and signed by one of the last of the great vocal castrati: Girolamo Crescentini (1762-1846) (2). He was equally regarded as a singer, teacher, and composer and what I acquired today was a bit of music written by him for a correspondent or friend (It is unclear from the provenance for whom he originally wrote the piece). Crescentini was a favorite of Napoleon, (who otherwise despised castrati) who knighted him in 1809. 

What is pictured here is an autographed six bar musical quotation of an arietta, in Crescentini’s own hand. Since he signed it ‘cav. (cavalier) Crescentini,’ we know it must have been written after 1809. There is a little note: Due note sol da mi fibra mi! Assai di piu assai di pire tene do no (You wish to receive just two notes from me, I give you more and more of them). Signed: carattere, e compisizione del Cav. Crescentini (Character and composition of Cavalier Crescentini). 

 I never expected to find something like this and in fact, last year I had an antique dealer who specialized in autographs and musical scores tell me it was nearly impossible to find anything written or signed by the castrati (a Meissen teapot owned by Senesino (1686-1758) came up for auction last year, I believe, but it was way, way, WAY out of my price league omg). I do have a couple medieval manuscript leaves. I pick up inexpensive ones here and there, usually at the medieval conference at Kalamazoo – their book room is heaven and the MSS dealers always have at least a bit priced low for grad students–because they are helpful when I teach. I find students become really engaged when they can actually touch a piece of history and hold it in their hands. It brings it alive like nothing else. None of leaves approach this 5.24×6 inch scrap of music. This is a personal connection to a family of spirits, to one particular spirit that I never, ever, ever expected to find and I am grateful to the Gods and ancestors that I happened to stumble across it (and that it was both relatively inexpensive – it’s small—and within my budget). 

Look. Look at the pretty thing. ^___^. (I’ve very inexpertly blurred my address bc I liked the photo and didn’t want to pull everything out to take it a second time when I realized my home addy showed).

musical notation, inscription, and signature of G. Crescentini. Personal collection of G. Krasskova

  1. At least, that is part of the purpose. The other part, of course, is that this is a space for veneration and a visual sign of welcome for that Deity into one’s home and life. 
  2. The very last of the great operatic castrati was Giovanni Velluti (1780-1861), a younger contemporary of Crescentini. 

Days 2-4: A Week of Honoring the Dead

This will be short, because today is a very full day of rituals. We honor the Aventine Triad every full moon, various vaettirand the fair folk receive offerings, and we’re also going to be going our ancestor ritual tonight AND making special offerings to Mani (separately). Today will be hopping and I’m just starting to get myself ready to go out to make the first of the offerings. 

To give a quick recap, on Thursday, we did a rite to honor our Disir, our female dead. That was unexpectedly moving. It’s funny, because I always find the Disir to be somewhat more protocol heavy than male ancestors, yet despite wanting us to “dot our I’s and cross our t’s,” as the saying goes, they always seem to dig deeply down into our hearts and wrench out raw emotion. Also, there are things the male dead wanted, certain prayers, in which the women had almost no interest. It was interesting to note the flow of things. Yesterday, we made offerings outside to the wandering dead, those who have no one to honor them, and also to our Gods of the dead and the Underworld. Tonight, we’re doing a ritual to honor our collective dead. Tomorrow, we honor our sanctiand martyrs, and then the day after, we visit cemeteries and then that marks the end of our ancestor days. Tuesday after I go vote, I’ll be taking down the offrenda. (As an aside, this year I decided to use a ton of battery operated candles and I love it. While it doesn’t do anything for cleansing and purifying a space – for that one needs actual fire – it does allow me to keep memorial light going throughout this entire week and that has been lovely. I may keep one on my ancestor shrine always lit from here on out). 

One of the ways that I often prepare before ancestor rites is to listen to certain songs that have the ancestor rhythms. Certain rhythms call the dead like nothing else and that music will take me down into an altered state very, very quickly. It makes for a particularly nice transition out of mundane headspace and into ritual space for me. Here are two of my favorite. It’s nearly the same rhythm, but the second is harder, more driving and gives one a much harder drop into altered headspace. Anyway, I’m off to prep for rituals. See y’all on the other side. 

Very Odinic Song

Loki of the West (as inWestern US) – Playlist

Music is a powerful means for me to connection to my Deities and since my work with the castrati, it’s become even more so. I have no skill though for creating play lists (except for the castrati. They have something like a 100+ play list lol) so I routinely beg my husband (who is great at it) to do so. Awhile back, I posted a playlist for Odin of the West (as in country and western) that I just adore. It captures the energy of this aspect of Odin so perfectly and today he (Sannion not Odin lol) surprised me with a similar play list for Loki. It’s totally awesome and I share it with you here.

rackham loki with mermaids

 

 (image by Rackham)

Amazing Healing Song

Odin of the West

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the interaction of our Gods with the land. Regional cultus is a thing, and the way that a particular Deity manifests Him or Herself in a small village in Norway maybe completely different from how that same Deity manifests in an Appalachian hollow and different again from the open, eerie spaces of the old American West. I never really thought about this with Odin until today when my husband put on the Gambler, by Kenny Rogers (may he rest in peace). I listened to the song and commented that there was something very Odinic about it, which prompted a whole discussion about Odin’s affinity for the old West. I think it’s a unique path of the Old Man, one that is clever, lucky, and brutal.

This of course got us musing on Country and Western and Bluegrass music. The heroes of each, the harmonics, the tonal cadences are completely different. You’d never find a character like the Gambler being lauded in a Bluegrass piece, for instance. That music is connected to land and kin in a way that the Western part of country and Western simply is not. I think the luck working, the wanderlust, and all that the West represented to the people that settled it, many from German and English heritage, with His presence embedded in their songs and folktales, a shadow, a haint, a haunt, a glory, opened the door for this God to come through in an unique way. It’s one with which I’m just starting to connect.

To help, Sannion made me a play list of music and I share that with y’all now. Click here to listen.

 

Odin_final

(image by W. McMillan)

For Loki