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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.

On Family

In a recent discussion on a previous post of mine here, the subject of “family” came up. I don’t often talk about family, but this is a blog in part about things relevant to contemporary polytheisms, to their restoration, and their longevity, and to the nurturing of devotion. As such, “family” is an important topic, one which, in my ham-fisted way, I’m going to touch on it here just a little. I spent most of my twenties hostile to the whole idea of “family.” My own experience with my birth family had been less than pleasant (1). It took having a deeply devout adopted mom to help me sort all of that out and learn to cherish this idea of “family” as something good and necessary to healthy communities. 

When I say family, I do not necessarily restrict that to father-mother-children. In fact, while I believe there should be male and female role models in the family to help guide and nourish the children, I think restricting that to just the parents is deeply divisive, stressful, and destructive. It puts a tremendous pressure on the parents while providing little to no resources or accountability. We need our extended family, our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and more; and on top of that, we need to situate all of this in an awareness of our ancestors – that there is that family going back as far as we could ever imagine, of which we too will be a part one day. The nuclear family is an aberration. If you look just throughout the world today, and most certainly throughout history, it was and is more common to have extended family living together and helping each other out, instilling intergenerational virtues and building up functional, healthy, pious adults (2). 

It’s become the vogue today, especially amongst those who consider themselves “woke,” who draw a good deal of their rhetoric and raison d’etre from Marxism, to dismiss the family as a wicked and patriarchal institution that serves no purpose but the abuse of those within its confines. What nonsense. Yet, this nonsense is gaining traction in our communities. Mind you, I’ve yet to see a workable alternative presented, because there isn’t one. Family is fundamental (especially when you expand the definition of family beyond the nuclear. (3)). Of course, “family” doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists within a culture, a society, a community that may or may not reinforce the values of one’s kin. In our modern world, family can be a fortress in which piety may be nourished and allowed to grow, a curative and medicine for the spiritual pollution infecting our world (4).

Personally, I’ve come to believe that family is an absolute essential building block of any sustainable tradition. It is the way that a proper …I’ll use a Roman term and if that hurts your brain, too bad …pax deorum begins: first in the individual, then the family, then the community, then the city and outward in ever larger circles. It is a sacred thing, something to be cherished and nurtured. “Mother” and “Father” are sacred titles and should carry with them an awareness of the power and responsibility of those roles. What is it that Swinburne wrote? “Mother is the name of God on every child’s tongue…” (5). Family is the best means of passing a religious tradition on to the next generation, and the best way of rooting it as a long-term societal presence. A healthy family is also the best way of correcting societal ills; it starts at home. 

I recommend the Tove’s article as well, as part of this discussion. Also, thank you, Guasón, for inspiring this piece. You are awesome. 

Notes:

  1. For a number of reasons, mostly having to do with intergenerational trauma; happily though, in my thirties I was able to heal some of those rifts and make peace with my biological family. 
  2. If you’re not pious I don’t think you’re actually healthy. That piety may look different in each person depending on tradition/gods/etc. but part of raising a healthy child is exercising their spiritual muscles and teaching them what it means to be in right relationship with the Gods, i.e. passing on your tradition.
  3. Sometimes we make our families. Envision it how you want and create it but understand it’s an essential building block for sustainable polytheistic communities or indeed any community. 
  4. No, I don’t think that we should keep children confined and away from any interaction with the world at large. What I think is that we should be providing them with protection – emotionally and spiritually- from the forces of uncreation. We should be nurturing them in ways that allow them to develop strength and courage, devotion, and goodness. We should be making space for them to bring their questions and to share what they are receiving from the world at large and how and why that may or may not accord with our values. 
  5. Which is why child abuse of any sort is absolutely anathema. Healthy communities, religious or otherwise, root that shit out assiduously. There is no room now or ever in our communities for someone who would sexually or physically assault a child or a spouse.  

A Brief Discussion of Spiritworker Taboos

In the comments section of my previous post, one of my readers asked a really good question about the taboos that spirit-workers often have, how they work, and why. It was such a good question that I decided to post it here separately, along with my response. 

Firstly, a word on terminology. When I use the term “taboo” in this context, I am referring to proscriptions (either positive or negative) upon some aspect of behavior that spirit-workers often experience from their Gods, spirits, or sometimes as a result of particular rules within a lineage. This may include things that cannot be done, worn, eaten, etc. or conversely, things that must be done, and even protocols that must be followed over and above what would fall on regular laity. (I’ve been known to refer to this latter category with the Irish term geasa, singular: geas, but that’s my personal usage having been exposed to the Irish terminology early on. Most of us just refer to them as “taboos”). That is not to say that specific Deities won’t have particular protocols that one must follow when approaching that Deity’s shrine (for instance, washing hands and anointing with khernips before approaching Apollo’s shrine, or women covering their heads when going to traditional Catholic mass – as random examples), but those protocols are universal to anyone approaching that Deity or that sacred space. They’re not a matter of X restriction or obligation being laid on Y person because that person is a spirit worker in service to Z Deity. Lay people do not usually have to worry about this type of thing, not in the compulsory way that spirit-workers will often experience, ALTHOUGH in many traditions a goodly portion of what a spiritworker does is sort out taboos for laity, so your mileage may vary—initiatory traditions, for instance, often have taboos for individual initiates as a matter of course. From here on out, I’m going to write from the perspective of a spiritworker who has mostly divined on the question of taboo for other spiritworkers. I hope that makes sense because this is actually the first time I’ve ever written about this in any depth, so I’ve never really had to parse it out like this before.  

I’ll also add, don’t be a stupid jackass and go looking for taboos. The Gods are ever more willing to give than we are to receive, and spirit workers who are just so certain that to be real, live spirit workers, they MUST have taboos are likely to find that the Gods listen and give rather unpleasant, or at least inconvenient ones. You’ve done it to yourselves, people. Just let the work teach you and lead you where you need to go and listen to the advice of your elders. 

So, in my previous post, David asked: “I guess I’m asking- if one has them, what type of taboos are they? What governs the practice- by what gnosis? Lineage? I guess I’d just like an overview of how that works. Thank you.”

All good questions but difficult to answer because there’s no set way this happens. It’s not formulaic. Every real spirit worker that I know has a passel of taboos, some large, some small but there’s no rhyme or reason to it that we ourselves know even amongst those owned by the same Deity (though, of course, I am fully convinced that the Gods have a plan there and it makes perfect sense to Them–we just can’t see it). In fact, two people owned by the same Deity can have precisely opposite taboos. There’s no telling when or if one will get them either. Someone may end up getting hit within their first few months of service, others only after years, and some lucky devils not at all. 

I want to emphasize again that with certain practices, or certain Deities, or certain shrines, traditions may teach that there is a protocol to be followed by everyone. That is not a taboo. That is just part of pious respect. 

Now, with taboos, often a spirit worker can sort of feel them coming on. One will start to have an adverse reaction to certain fabrics or foods, for instance, when no medical allergy exists. Sometimes something will just start to feel really, really wrong. That’s usually the point at which the spirit worker will consult one of her tradition’s diviners to find out what’s going on (or more likely avoid it as long as possible in the hopes you are wrong. This does not work by the way. Lol). Often taboos will be given to a spirit worker to help sort out a problem that the spirit worker is having. Maybe a spirit worker is having problems with his Gods, and this is a means of rectifying that. In the negative, perhaps a spiritworker has abused a privilege and the taboo is the corrective. More usually, it’s a neutral thing that happens as a result of the various changes and modifications that spiritwork brings about in a person. Sannion noted in a conversation we had, that it’s not always a negative response to something that is the first sign a taboo is coming on; sometimes one can have a deep attraction to things that end up then becoming taboos. He’s right, and I’ve certainly experienced that myself. 

I do think that taboos are meant to strengthen the spirit worker in some way, or his/her connection to his/her cadre of Holy Powers. We always end up having to discourage “baby” (new) spirit workers from seeking out taboos or pretending, in their enthusiasm, that they have them, or copying another spirit worker. Just stop. Having them doesn’t make you a better spiritworker. It doesn’t make you more legitimate. It’s just a byproduct sometimes of the Work. It’s certainly not something to seek. They’ll come if they come and if you pretend, you might get hit with one hard and fast that you don’t like. It’s not like we get to choose them after all and often they’re damned inconvenient. 

Food and clothing taboos seem, as far as I can tell, to be the most common. I also think there’s some aspect of “othering” to certain taboos – that the spirit worker is meant to stand out as a carrier of the holy and we see this in anthropological accounts of “shamans” quite a bit. It’s interesting but I haven’t made a study of it. I just cuss when I realize I’ve had a new taboo dropped on my head. Often, quite often, taboos can be about protection too and ritual purity — an awful lot of mine have to do with avoiding miasma. 

 Some taboos come with lineage. So, if one is initiated to a particular Deity, and certain patterns occur during the divination thereafter, then xyz taboos are laid as a matter of course. Sometimes, a spirit worker will receive a taboo via theophany or more often personal gnosis. (A spirit worker will be told directly by one’s Gods and/or spirits). I even actually inherited one from my late mom. It’s funny, when I’m divining for someone, and that person is a spirit worker who asks about whether or not he or she has a taboo, unless that person is starting to experience the aforementioned dis/comfort, I’ll caution them NOT to ask. (Better to ask forgiveness than permission…once it comes up on the mat, one is obligated). Taboos can change over the course of one’s life and Work. For many years, I had a specific taboo, but then about fifteen years ago, after a major initiatory cycle, that completely changed. I freaked, but a ton of divination and also prayer and discernment confirmed that the original was no longer needed. 

 I want to emphasize that there’s no virtue in having a religious taboo. There’s no virtue in being free of taboo. It’s just a thing that sometimes happens in our formation as spirit workers that, in some way, helps us. My colleague Tove just said that “sometimes, it illuminates a path that we’re on as spirit worker with more clarity than we otherwise would have had.” I have found that to absolutely be true. She also added, “they [taboos] can also be an expression of the voice of our Deities too, especially our primary Deity.”  

I can’t think of anything else to say on the matter. If y’all have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments. 

Hermes with Infant Bacchus

I saw this on twitter (courtesy of Astro Museum). It’s a medallion with Hermes (Mercury) holding the infant Bacchus. It’s electrotype by E. Hannaux, French. c. 1895-1905. I just love this image so much, the strength and tenderness in Hermes comes through so palpably.

Medallion with Hermes holding baby Bacchus

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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The Fourth Week of Sunwait: Sunna in Ansuz

We had a lovely Sunwait rite tonight. I can already feel the momentum building as we move one week closer to Yule and it evokes such anticipation in me to submit myself to the dark and velvety magic of my God, the feel of His presence and those other Holy Powers we will invoke that I can barely hold it in. I want to garb myself in bells and a savage mask and run riot through the all too civilized and calm streets of my town, beating on doors and whirling as I chase the dark fire of my God. Instead, I’m here, writing this, holding these things in my heart, and contemplating the Yule cycle. 

This year, we are adding Lussinatt to our Yule celebrations. Christians may hold this night sacred to St. Lucy, and that’s cool, but it’s also an older holiday, honoring a much older Power. Incorporating this into our preparations for Yule is one more way of restoring and reclaiming our ritual cycle. I have promised myself (and my Vanic oriented assistant) that I will spend the winter hunting up hints at smaller holy days between the spring equinox and summer solstice so that we might balance our rites to the Gods of the holy days of winter, with equal attention given to those in summer. Back to tonight’s Sunwait though. 

We did a very simple symbel, passing the horn in rounds: the first honoring our Gods, the second, our ancestors, and the third an open round (we mostly honored other spirits, like the house and land vaettir that we regularly include in our venerations). Ansuz was galdred, Sunna was hailed (not in that order!) and it was a quiet and lovely ritual. 

Here is a close up of our altar. This Sunna statue was a gift from my husband last year. I absolutely love it. 

Close up of December 3, 2021 Sunwait altar

Here’s along view of the altar – my ancestor room is our ritual room, so that’s a line of ancestors and other ancestral spirits that we honor (the two main ancestor shrines are on other side of the table that you see here with the Sunwait altar). The cloth is one that I made just for this Sunwait (I still have to put edging on one side – the lace I wanted to use was late coming in!).

longer view of our week 4 Sunwait altar (with the line of ancestors at the bottom)

This is the prayer we offered tonight: 

Sunwait Prayer to Sunna in Ansuz


Hail to the glorious warrior Who rushes across the sky, 
magnificent, fierce, unstoppable in Her joy. 

Hail to She Who restores, Whose very presence
Banishes evil and malignancy. 

Hail to the Goddess Who emblazons the night, 
Filling the worlds with color and life.

Hail to the Felicitous One, Who elevates our souls, 
freeing us from the fetters of our enemies. 

Hail to the Companion of Mani, Beloved of Glenr, 
She Who stands as a shield against turpitude.

Hail to the Fiery Grace-Giver, 
She Who ever upholds the Worlds. 

Hail to the Laughing Brightness of the Heavens, 
Who with a gesture frees us from duress.

Hail to Sol, Gleaming Splendor, 
opening the way between the worlds. 

Hail to Sunna, ever triumphant, 
Ever generous with Her blessings. 

Hail to You Sunna as you ride in ansuz, 
Hail to You, on this fourth week of Sunwait. 

(by Galina Krasskova)

And finally, here’s another close up. 

Another Close up of tonight’s altar. All photos by G. Krasskova.

(Sannion wrote about tonight’s right over at House of Vines).

Third Week of Sunwait

The photo is of our shrine, the three small glasses are for our ancestors.

This is the prayer we used in our rite:

Sunwait Shrine, photo by G. Krasskova
Hail to Sunna
rising mighty in the rune Thurisaz. 
Hail to this Goddess Who wards off evil, 
Who banishes wickedness, 
Who purifies with light and fire
and the resonance of Her glory. 

Hail to Sunna, heaven's warrior
blazing across the sky
banishing the ichor of the outer darkness, 
of ignorance, of fear-
raising us up by Her very brightness. 

There is no foe we need fear, oh Goddess,
With Your shield and sword at our backs. 
You, blazing daughter of Mundilfari, 
are the best protection against peril
and we bow our heads before You, 
Glorious One. 

Hail to You, oh Goddess Sunna, on this third week of Sunwait, 
and hail the rune thurisaz. 

Let’s Help Our Small Business Owners have a FAB-YULE-OUS End Of Year!

In the spirit of the HAULiday season, if you are a pagan or polytheist that knows of, or runs, a small business (whether specifically selling polytheistic goods, or some other good or service) please drop links or relevant details in the comments of this FACEBOOK post found here. Then share that Facebook post (short link: https://bit.ly/3nVCBSH ) so we can help support the business owners in our midst, near and far!

Shop Now, Enjoy 15% Off & Help Veterans Too!

There’s less than a week left to take advantage of 15% off at my etsy shop, Wyrd Curiosities. Long time followers know that every November I make it a priority to donate to a non-profit organization that supports our veterans. I will rotate through a number of worthy organizations, but this year I’ll be donating 100% of my etsy store proceeds in November to the American Legion. Plus to sweeten the deal, you can enjoy 15% off any item you purchase from the shop, so that means any of hundreds of prayer cards, plus bookmarks, and more that are available at my etsy store Wyrd Curiosities

In addition to the American Legion donation that will come from November’s etsy proceeds, I will also personally match that same amount from my pocket but donate to another worthy non-profit, the Paralyzed Veterans of America

Use promocode VETS2021 at  my etsy store Wyrd Curiosities upon checkout. This deal expires November 30, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern. 

Second Week of Sunwait

We had our ritual for the second week of Sunwait last night and it was beautiful. Here is a picture of the shrine and here is the prayer we used to call Sunna in all Her glory. 

Prayer to Sunna in Uruz
By Galina Krasskova


The night after Your Brother’s magic, after His glory, His beauty shown forth in a magnificent eclipse You come. 

Sweeping graciously through our world, swathed in glory of Your own, You come. 

Bringing healing, strength, and restoration, You come, and our world is made new again. 

Oh Goddess of Glory, Brightest Power in the heavenly firmament, 
Smile down upon us and extend Your healing hands. 
Bless us in body and soul that we may stand rightly before our Gods. 

Oh Goddess of Glory, Whose power is enormous, unyielding, endlessly energizing, 
Whose power fills every vein of every leaf with vitality,
Whose glance ensures life and bounty,
Whose Mysteries are those of renewal and health,
Fill our hearts with Your incandescence, we pray. 

Oh Goddess of Blazing Glory, Yours is the Strength of ordering the worlds, 
Always within their cosmic courses. Do not turn Your face away from us. 
Whether near or far You ride across Midgard, always shall we venerate You. 

Hail to You, Gracious Glory. Hail to You, Sunna. 

Sunwait shrine with blessing bowl full of liquor, Sunwait candles, and Sunna image. photo by G. Krasskova