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Wednesday for Woden

It goes without saying that I have something like seven household shrines to this God Who owns such a large part of my heart. I keep meaning to write meditations on each of His heiti or epithets, but while much meditation has happened, it hasn’t yet translated itself into my writing. Don’t worry though – several of you have emailed about this – I have a whole new year to work and eventually I’ll write some of it down here! In the meantime, Here is one of my favorite prayers from the small novena book The Ecstasy and the Fury. It’s the prayer for day three. Odin’s name – better spelled Oðinn in Old Norse (I probably left off an accent somewhere), literally means “THE Frenzied One” (or “The Furious One” – I’ve seen it translated both ways) and that Frenzy could be battle hunger, or the seething trance of a shaman, the ecstatic oracular state of a seer, or the frenzied inspiration of a poet. What of that He chooses to share with His devotees is beyond the power of words to capture. But, through poetry and devotion, I do try. 

For Odin

For Odin, He Who is Frenzy 
The raven has hooked his claws in my heart 
tethering me to the interstitial frenzy 
pouring out from gallows to God. 
Let us praise the furious One,
Who rendered Himself upon the Tree 
gore-blessed, ever-hungry,
victorious over Himself first of all.
Let us praise Gangleri,
Who wanders through
all the darkest corners
of our world,
spitting mouthfuls of glacial fire
into the heads and hearts
of fervent women.
Let us praise the One Whose spear
keen and sharp, ever finds its mark, 
Gerölnir, blistering across the field of battle 
ever ecstatic in His fury.
Let us praise the Burden of Yggdrasil, 
Corpse-God and eunuch, ever renewed 
through the agony of sacrifice.
He mounted the Tree 
and with a war cry like shrieking thunder 
swallowed the glory of the Gap – 
gasping, gripping, spewing runes, this sovereign Power.
Let us praise the Roaring Thruster, charmed and charming, 
Who scatters His seed inciting longing, 
carnal and cunning, clever and cruel, 
exquisitely adroit across all the worlds, 
Glory burning.
Let us praise this God in Whom
all opposites reside, compelling adoration, 
devouring opposition, like grist in His teeth, 
ground up and grinding, bale-eyed Beguiler, 
Who gnawed on fire, this Architect of Being,
throbbing, pounding, aching, wanting, 
implacable Force, unsparing Fever, 
unappeasable haunting Hunger,
to Whom Being itself surrendered
torn apart and structured anew.
Oh Glad of War, Galdr-Father,
Glad of Battle, God of Gain,
Blinder of Foes, sharp Wand-Wielder,
Gaunt God Splendor, World-willing Wonder, 
Incanting Hjarrandi, Herjan, Goðjaðarr,
Lord of Hosts and Valhalla’s hall,
Blazing Ravager, Renewing Ruler,
howling winds herald Your terror.
Odin we call You, vehement and lethal, 
vigorous valor, we hail You always. 
We ask that You fill us with Your thirst for knowing, 
so that our lives will ever be full of color. 
Hail to You, oh Frenzied Hunger.
Hail to You, Odin. 

(from The Ecstasy and the Fury: 9 Nights with Odin – a Novena, by Galina Krasskova, Sanngetall Press, 2020). 

“Odin” prayer card by W. McMillan

(from The Ecstasy and the Fury: 9 Nights with Odin – a Novenaby Galina Krasskova, Sanngetall Press, 2020). 

I’ve also written a compilation of all of my work on Odin up to the time of its publication (it does not include the novena work) that includes the full text of Whisperings of Woden, and the English text of Walking Toward Yggdrasil.

Of course on Woden’s day, I’ll be making offerings to Him but I’d also like to offer a rune pull for anyone interested- one rune, no questions.  Just shoot me an email at Krasskova at gmail.com by 9pm EST tonight. You can support my work at the Buymeacoffee link below if you are so moved. 

Have a happy Wednesday, folks. I’m still waiting for cold weather…this damp, chilly crap is killing my joints. When in my head, I think I’m 20, my body quickly reminds me that No, oh NO, I very much am not. I hope those of my readers who like me have chronic pain issues are doing well. Pain flares are terrible things, but they do not last forever no matter what it seems at the time. As an Odin’s woman, I learned to dedicate the pain to Him, to elevate it and give it purpose – may He feed on it and be nourished, or transmute it into something useful in His work of sustaining creation. It helps me to bear it, so I pass this on. Not every God may want such an offering (I’m not sure if Odin *wants* it so much as sometimes graciously accepts it from me) but if it clicks, if a God accepts it, it does make it easier to carry. Regardless, I wish you well and I wish all my readers health in this new year. 

Here’s the link to Buymeacoffee. I like coffee, and tea too and this is a lovely site that allows readers to participate in the work of those writers, artists, et al. whom they follow. It is very much appreciated and I thank all of you who have contributed to my work either at this site, or via PayPal, or by your prayers to the Gods on behalf of my house — particularly when my husband was sick. THANK YOU. You do matter and I firmly believe you are seen in the eyes of your Gods. May They ever hold you kindly in favor.

Nine for Odin by thehouseofvines

Sannion wrote these when he was first courting me and I absolutely love them. They capture aspects of Odin that I don’t often engage with … or rather ways of finding Him, of seeking Him out that I hadn’t prioritized before he gave me these prayer-poems years and years ago. Hail the grey God. Hail Gangleri. You can read Sannin’s nine prayers here.

Odin by W. McMillan (original in my private collection. )

This Makes Me Happy

You can donate to help Ukraine and have whatever you want inscribed on a shell here. It’s very important to follow payment instructions precisely.

@signmyrocket

Slava Ukraini. Geroim Slava.

Bookversary: He is Frenzy

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Today is the 9 year anniversary of the publication of my devotional book to Odin, He is Frenzy.

He is Frenzy collects all of the essays and poetry that Northern Tradition author Galina Krasskova has written to honor the God Odin since 1995. Providing a survey of His ancient and modern cultus, it is also a deeply personal exploration of devotion, ordeal work and what it takes to walk the Odinic path.” This includes my work also previously published in Whisperings of Woden, and Walking Toward Yggdrasil.

You can grab your copy at amazon, or support independent booksellers through bookshop.

Bookversary: The Whisperings of Woden

Affiliate Advertising Disclosure

This book, first published in 2004 and the first devotional written in modern Heathenry, is a collection of devotional meditations designed to help one draw closer to Woden.

“The Norse God Odin, also known as Woden, is both honored and feared within modern Heathenry and Norse Paganism. He has many names, many faces and stands as a formidable figure in the annals of Heathen lore. Yet, by some, He is also loved.”

“This is a book of interior prayer, designed to provide the first steps in creating a mindful, passionate, contemplative practice. Be it as All-Father, Wish-Father, Master of the Runes, Wandering God or God of Warriors, the reader will find numerous ways to honor the complex and powerful Lord of Asgard and hopefully, to deepen their own spiritual practices at the same time.”

While the book is now out of print, you can find the content along with additional material in my book, He is Frenzy. available on amazon or through bookshop in support of independent booksellers.

Bookversary: The Ecstasy and the Fury

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Today is the two year bookversary of The Ecstasy and the Fury: 9 Nights with Odin – A Novena.

ODIN. God of kings, warriors, shamans, poets and priests. God of raw, unmitigated hunger that can never be sated. God whose name is Fury and Frenzy. This is the God that devotee Galina Krasskova honors and celebrates with nine days of prayer in this small but potent book. Also included within are a new system of divination dedicated to Odin, and a long list of His praise-names which reveal the myriad aspects of this complex and powerful God, inviting both old and new worshippers to a deeper understanding of His nature.

Is it in your book hoard yet? You can find it at amazon and through other booksellers.

Bookversary: Living Runes

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Today is the three year anniversary of the release of Living Runes: Theory & Practice of Norse Divination.

Living Runes provides a thorough examination of the Norse runes that will challenge the experienced rune worker to deepen his or her understanding of these mysteries.

The book begins with an explication of the story of Odin, the Norse god who won the runes by sacrificing himself on the World Tree. It continues by examining each of the individual runes in turn, both the Elder Futhark and the lesser-known Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. Each rune is studied not only from a historical viewpoint but also from the perspective of a modern practitioner. You will be introduced to the practice of galdr as well as the magical use of the runes and the proper way to sacrifice to them and read them for divination.

Most importantly, the book specifically addresses the runes as living spirits and provides guidance on developing a working relationship with these otherworldly allies.

Living Runes: Theory and Practice of Norse Divination is a re-release of Runes: Theory and Practice. Please note there is NO new content.

Not in your library yet? Increase your book hoard by purchasing it from amazon, via bookshop in support of independent booksellers, or direct from the publisher RedWheelWeiser.

Bookversary: Sigdrifa’s Prayer & Walking Toward Yggdrasil

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Today I have two book publication anniversaries, both books published 15 years ago today.

Bookcover for Sigdrifa's Prayer

“An investigation into the meaning of one of the few surviving prayers from pre-Christian Heathenry. Drawing on her experience as a Heathen priest, Ms. Krasskova delves into this prayer line-by-line offering her own unique insights. This monograph is as much an examination of prayer and its place in modern Heathenry as it is an analysis of Sigdrifa’s prayer itself. She raises many questions as to the nature of Heathen devotion and seeks, in her own inimitable style, to provide a few thought-provoking answers.”

Is Sigdrifa’s Prayer: An exploration & Exegesis in your library? You can grab it today on amazon.

Walking Toward Yggdrasil is a collection of devotional poetry dedicated to the Norse God Woden. These poems celebrate the intimacy, intensity, passion and the terror that He is capable of arousing in His devotees. It is a joyous offering to the All Father by a woman who has served Him for over a decade. The text of the book is given both in English and German.”

The book is now out of print, but you can find all the English language content presented with additional material in He is Frenzy available on amazon or you can purchase it on bookshop to support small, independent booksellers.

Miscellaneous Roundup of Questions and a Couple of Interesting Links

I’ve had a few questions coming in the last four days, so I figured I’d handle them here all at once. I have also been reading a couple of interesting articles so I’m sharing those too. Questions two and three were from the same person. 

  1. What is your favorite of Odin’s heiti? – J. 

J, that is a hard question. I probably resonate the most devotionally with Odin as Gangleri or Runatyr but it really varies depending on where I’m at devotionally at any given time. Eventually, I want to explore Him through the lens of as many of His by-names as possible devotionally. Each one is a mystery and each heiti an opportunity to get to know Him better, to go deeper into devotion, and more importantly to push oneself outside of one’s comfort zone in devotion. Right now, with Oski’s day just past, I realized that while I’ve honored Him as Oski before, I don’t think I’ve written any prayers to Him in that capacity. I was shocked! Lol. So, that’s the heiti I’m most focused on but is it a “favorite?” I would say no, which is not to say that I have any personal issues honoring Him that way, it’s just not the primary way that I’ve encountered Him in my devotions and I tend to only address Him in this way in December. Mostly, there are so many heiti from which to choose that I find it really hard to say, “this one is a favorite.” There’s also liking a by-name and connecting most strongly with Him through that by-name. Those two aren’t always the same thing. So, it’s complicated. 

In the New Year, I plan to start my series here discussing Odin’s various heiti. Many of you had great suggestions for which heiti to examine first when I first mentioned this a month or so ago, and I’m looking forward to delving in. I didn’t want y’all to think I’d forgotten!

woodland winter Santa

2. How do you justify being folkish? Why do you support the AFA? 

(I’ll leave this and question three anonymous)

I’m not folkish and I don’t support the AFA. I’ve never been a member and I have significant problems theologically with their positions. They are however, entitled to have those positions just as I am entitled to disagree with them. That is their first amendment rights granted to them by our Constitution. I can disagree with them and they with me, but I won’t abridge their right to practice as they wish. I’ll simply not engage with them or join their organization. I will vote with my feet!

Here’s where I stand.  I believe that anyone of any race or ethnicity can practice any tradition including mine and I would not allow discrimination against anyone in any of the religious spaces that are mine to tend, whether that discrimination is based on ethnicity, language, gender, sexuality, or any other personal characteristic. My job as a priest is to nurture devotion and faith, to teach the tradition, the right relationships between people and their Gods, ancestors, and other Holy Powers, and to work to the best of my ability to serve my Gods well.   

Now ancestor veneration is an important part of my practice, of Heathenry, and of most polytheisms in general. We know that all those alive in the world today are here today because there is a line of ancestors who fought and struggled through hardships to keep living. We respect and love and venerate them for this and the sacrifices they have made. That doesn’t mean we don’t venerate or respect other dead, or that we think only ours should be venerated – everyone has ancestors. Honor them. It’s a simple equation. People call me folkish because I tell them not to forget those sacrifices and to respect their ancestors, remember them, learn from them. We all stand on the shoulders of our dead. Every last one of us.   

3. What do you think about Hindutva? 

(Several links that I won’t share here were included in this email, many of them accusing former acquaintances of mine of being fascists because they have in some way worked for organizations that have ties to Hindutva). 

What I really think you’re asking, is what I think of Western polytheistic attempts to make alliances with Hinduism, and also, Western polytheistic attempts to visibly support larger, extant indigenous polytheisms. 

I think for the most part, those attempts are foolish—until we build up our own communities how can we be a credible help to any other polytheistic tradition that is under attack or in danger? Yes, we should absolutely stay informed and speak out when we see other polytheistic and indigenous traditions under attack – especially when those traditions are under attack by monotheistic attempts at proselytizing and erasure. However, until we get our own house in order, we’re not useful to ourselves or anyone else. 

I think right now, we are better served spending the bulk of our energy building up our own traditions. With all due respect to my Hindu colleagues, and my colleagues in any other indigenous tradition, these traditions have nothing to gain by any alliance with any Western polytheistic group. While I do think that it is good when polytheists can stand together as a block, and it may be emotionally satisfying to sidestep the difficult work of building our own traditions by friendly alliances with Hinduism, or Ifa, for example – lineages that haven’t been sundered, in the end, I don’t think it’s beneficial to either side right now. Maybe on paper. Maybe as a public relations stunt, but what is really accomplished in actual, concrete actuality? Not a damned thing. Our energy would be better spent focusing on our communities. 

When we can enter into these alliances as equal partners then I would be all for it. Right now, at very best, we are the ones likely to be changed or absorbed by any such work because we have not taken the time to develop a backbone, a cohesive sense of identity as religious communities, or any clear sense of piety. We have no ethics because too many of our people mistake politics (usually progressive but not always) for religion. We need to start and really commit to the process of building solid, in person communities, religious houses, temples with the attendant infrastructure to think and act like the communities we can be. We need to be raising children in the faith and looking to restore the framework for intergenerational transmission of our traditions. Then, maybe we can step up and enter into larger alliances with something to offer other than pretty words. In other words, we actually have to HAVE communities before we can have any type of productive alliance. 

free standing Pagan temple

Now onto some interesting links that I read this week and think some of you may find interesting:

An article about how birds perceive time. Read here.

Vikings got here before the eleventh century. Read that here.

Finally, I just saw a new book came not too long ago on Heathen concepts of the Soul. I have not read it yet, but it looks promising. The book is called ‘Heathen Soul Lore Foundations: Ancient and Modern Germanic Pagan Concepts of the Souls” by Winifred Rose. You can find it here. (and … half way through the first chapter I disagree with the definition of “soul” offered so strongly I may have to write a review. This is theological work but it’s not approached theologically and I find this frustrating. That being said, I am looking forward to seeing how Rose develops her ideas historically and philologically).

Finally, over at House of Vines, a commenter (Xenophon) gave the perfect response to those that are constantly nattering on about how everyone who practices actual religion instead of politics or who disagrees with the political position du jour is a fascist: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of my prayers to the Gods.” That’s it, folks, the best advice of the week: ignore the haters and get on with devotion. 

Here is an apotropaic phallus. 

Roman carving of a winged phallus with wings, tail, and little legs

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Happy Oski’s Day

Today is Oski’s Day — the way we Heathens reclaim St. Nicholas Day ;). It is one of the small days of delight and gifting that precede the intensity and sacral power of Yule. It’s not a difficult day to keep: my family exchanges small gifts, pours out libations to Odin as Oski, and indulges in certain foods that are traditional at this time. I’ve written about that latter here and my friend Wyrd Dottir has written in much more detail about Oski’s Day and Krampusnacht here (I snagged this image below from her site too). It’s small days like this that help us rebuild and reclaim our traditions fully…through the medium of hearth cultus, household rites, and attention to the smaller aspects of devotion, the celebrations and practices that fell through the cracks or maybe even were worked into the fabric of the folk Christianity that followed conversion. My research on that latter continues but in the meantime, I wish you all a very happy Oski’s Day! If you too keep this little holy day, feel free to post what you do and how you do it in the comments.