You lurk in the marshlands, a pale and ghostly figure. It is Your treasured abode. The creatures there know You well. They heed Your will and do Your bidding, carrying Your messages far and wide. Once, before creation truly was, You stood with Your Brothers: Fury and Fire--Frenzied inspiration and Holy Power-- at the moment You all slaughtered Ymir, thus becoming Architects of creation, erecting the pristine structure of the worlds. You were the will that held it all together in those first crimson-encrusted moments. Before it was done, You saw it all unfold. Wyrd is a flicker of light on Your bone-slender hands, and You weave it as You will. You are the silent Watcher, often overlooked and under-estimated. That is fine. Nothing escapes Your notice and silence won You freedom once. You save your incantations for moon drenched nights in the fens. Then You willingly unleash Your power. You are a God of strange and liminal places, and the mind is the most liminal threshold of all. You gave us this gift, cognition, worlds unfolding within us, divine in their potentiality, imprinted the senses on our souls, when Loður gave us our physical sensorium. It is both a grace and blessing. Thanks to you, we may walk in many realms, tasting the savor of the liminal, and that is Your gift to us too. Everything is full of meaning. Three Gods made us. Three Gods loved us enough to carefully craft us into being. The persistence of Their regard holds us all together. May I ever see with the eye of my understanding, and hear with the ears of my soul, all the glories You and Your Brothers have wrought. Hail to You, Hoenir, Wili, Lord of the Marshlands. Hail Great God Who blesses the work of my mind. Ever and always will I praise You. (by G. Krasskova)
I live in a small religious community. We are a small House of four devotees at various stages of training and experience and we are setting down the seeds of what we hope will grow into a proper, sustainable temple and religious House complex. It may take us years to realize this dream, but we are well on our way. As such, we’re always looking for ways to improve and, if possible, streamline our regular cleansing and purification protocols, just as we’re always trying to find ways to deepen our prayer practices. I’ll write about prayer at another time (though I think it’s the single most crucial thing anyone lay or specialist can do) and today I want to add more to what I’ve previously touched on with regard to cleansing.
In addition to everything else we do, we have selected one night each week to do divination for the week, divination for other questions and issues that might arise, and more serious and more intense cleansing rituals. One important part of that is uncrossing. This is a conjure and hoodoo term (I got my start with conjure and I’ve studied and practiced it for years. I’d moved away from it for awhile, but lately I realize how foolish that was) for a cleansing that removes any curses, hexes, or other malefica thrown at one. So much of what rare fragments of conjure that I learned as a kid was about keeping the home free of negative spirits. Then as an adult when I really studied it (instead of just doing what my grandmother herself had done by rote – she hadn’t realized that her spiritualist aunt was also a conjure woman), I discovered how proactive in keeping spiritually clean and bringing luck and peace to a home some of these practices really allowed one to be. (Hoodoo itself is a blend of Afro-American, Native, Scotch-Irish, English, German, practices all smooshed together – it’s eminently practical and what I learned from my grandma has a PA Deutsch feel to it as opposed to what I learned later from active practitioners).
So, on that night, we take massive cleansing baths: varieties of salt, beer, milk, khernips, various herbs, flowers, honey powder, vinegars…in any combination thereof, depending what we feel needs to be cleansed and how we wish to fill the space that has been cleansed (nature abhors a vacuum. I always do a blessing after a cleansing). Usually I like beer, salt, and khernips OR milk, salt, and khernips. Those without tubs can pour the blend over their head and bodies while standing in the shower – this is actually a bit more traditional.
Then, we do a cleansing with stalks of specific herbs, partly as an uncrossing and partly as blessing. I’ve been quite taken with this blend for some time now: hyssop, basil, rue, and marjoram. One might also add mint. We grow all of them in the herb garden. One of us will pick the largest stalks of each we can find and collect them together like a bouquet. Then, we take turns, sweeping it over each other’s [clothed] bodies, slapping the plants over them like a babushka cleaning herself in a Russian bath house. This is done in a downward motion. At the end, the plants are burnt (or taken out into the trash immediately and outside the house. Burning is better).
Before the div, we make offerings and tend all the shrines, and then after all the cleansing work, we spend time in prayer. More and more, cultus to Askr and Embla has been growing as an essential part of recentering ourselves. Finally, at least once a week we have a full spectrum of protection, exorcism, purification, and blessing prayers that we do. The full rota takes about an hour, sometimes a little more.
Our weak spot is that our home is cluttered but little by little we’re addressing that as we can (bookshelves are at a premium!). I wrote this mainly to give readers some sense of how seriously we take cleansing protocols and also a glimpse of how they can be integrated, relatively easily, into one’s devotional life. I’ll close by sharing one prayer in that rota that I note above. Feel free to use it, but please do attribute it me.
Prayer of Purification
Hail to You, Oh great good immortal Gods, Mighty Brothers Odin, Hoenir, and Loður,
Sovereign Powers over all the Worlds, Unyielding Conquerors in the face of evil, You Who made all creation, setting into place the orbits of moon and sun, crafting and honing the bones of Ymir into the beauty of Midgard, Who wrought the Nine worlds by will alone, and sacral vision, You Who ward and protect Your children, hear my prayer.
Odin, Sig-Father, unafraid of sacrifice, Who blessed Ask and Embla, and every human after with breath and soul, Who brings healing when all other healers have failed, I beseech You now to stand as healer to my soul.
Hoenir, Who infused Ask and Embla and every human after with sense and intellect, bless my mind that it may remain free of the fury of the Unmaker. Turn my mind to You and the works the Holy Ones have made. Always.
Loður, Who blessed Ask and Embla and every human after with life and warmth and feeling, increase my love and devotion to the Gods a thousand-fold, until my prayers are a raging inferno burning away anything unholy. Fill me with the fire of devotion. Always.
I beseech You, oh Great Good and Glorious Gods, render powerless, banish, and expel every diabolical power, presence, and machination; every evil influence, malefica, or evil eye, and all actions aimed against Your faithful servant (NAME). Where there is envy, jealousy, hatred, and malice, grant us instead an abundance of victory, benevolent blessings, endurance, and piety. Oh dear Gods, Makers of all the Worlds, Who love us faltering human beings as fathers love their children, I pray that You extend Your wills, that You reach out Your powerful hands, and come with mighty arms and focused power to our aid.
Help us, weapons-wise Allfather, cunning and clever Skyfarer, and Mighty Marsh Lord, help us Whom You have so carefully crafted. Send angels and disir and good but fierce helping spirits to watch over us, and to protect us body and soul.
Keep at bay and vanquish every evil power, every servant of the Enemy, every poison, malice, or malefica invoked against us by corrupt, envious, and bitter people. Free us from oppression that we may serve You in gratitude and joy. You are our shield and buckler, invocation to You the weapon in our hand, Your blessing our preservation and salvation from harm. Whom should we fear? Who is as powerful as You? Under Your gaze, I shall ready myself for battle. Under Your gaze, and in the solace of Your protection, I shall gird my spirit as I prepare to engage the foe. Let my hands, my will, my words, and my soul never falter and let my mind ever be turned to You, and the works You have so carefully wrought. ALU.
I’ve been trying to deepen my prayer practice lately. I feel like somewhere in the rush of grad school, I fell away from some of my regular practices and that’s not where I’d like to be. I plan on writing more about how and when I pray, sharing prayers, quotes, and other ideas that have helped me and maybe might help my readers.
I don’t think there’s anything more important than prayer. It’s one of *the* most basic, most foundational practices we have in building a solid, personally sustainable spiritual life. It can be difficult to know where to begin, especially if one wasn’t raised in a devout household (I realize more and more that I was so incredibly lucky to have good devotional models growing up). There are formal, “set” prayers, extempore praying, and quiet contemplation, the type of daily engagement that roots one deeply in awareness that we are surrounded by Gods and spirits and this is good and holy. We move through a world graced with the sacred. Having grown up praying (which doesn’t mean I have a good prayer practice. I don’t think I do.), I never thought of this as a potential problem, but more and more, folks have been asking me about prayer, how to do it, and what is right or wrong in the process. I’m happy to answer questions to the best of my ability to send your questions along and I’ll do my best. In the meantime, I’m going to talk about my Thursday routine.
Firstly, the moment I open my eyes, I usually try to mutter out Sigdrifa’s prayer (from the Sigdrifumal, the translation I use reads: Hail to the Day, and Day’s sons; Hail to Night and Her daughters. With loving eyes look upon us here and bring victory. Hail to the Gods! Hail to the Goddesses! Hail to the mighty fecund earth! Eloquence and native wit bestow upon us here, and healing hands while we live.). Because this prayer really sort of reifies our entire cosmology (I read “Hail to the mighty fecund earth” as including our ancestors, whose bones rest in the earth. Also, we are formed in part from the minerals our parents and their parents, and so forth back generation by generation have eaten courtesy of the food and water taken from the land) I usually say it multiple times a day as the mood strikes.
I’m not a morning person, but once I’m mobile, I start the Mundilfari adorations, which you can find here. These are brief prayers for waking, noon, sundown, midnight. I usually manage them all and what I miss, my assistant catches.
I have a huge set of prayer beads that I use and I often find myself going through these when I exercise. I don’t use the beads themselves at the gym, but keep count in my head – I try to get to the gym a couple times a week. Often I will dedicate the workout to Hermes, Thor, or one of our Healing Deities.
I try to pray before meals. This is the one I forget quite often because with my work schedule, I tend to graze rather than have sit-down meals at a set time. I’m working on this one though, to be more mindful. I think it’s important and I’ve gotten into a bad habit of not being mindful about this here that’s proving harder than I’d like to break.
I also offer a prayer to various Gods (usually Odin, Mani, Loki, et Al) before I begin my work. Sometimes I’ll pray to other Deities (Hermes, Apollo) if I’m feeling more pulled to the Roman part of m practice that day. It depends on what I’m doing, what I’m teaching, etc. I also read quite a bit of early Christian material for (academic) work and there is quite a bit of good information there, so I parse that out when I find it and tuck it away. Why reinvent the wheel? So I’ll try to also read something polytheistic to cleanse my mind just in case, and center myself in our Gods. When I find a good piece of Christian writing though, I will add it to the florilegia I typically keep. Likewise any other writing including secular. If it helps, it helps. I try to read or meditate on something like this a little each day. I ask myself what this can teach me about my own practice. What can I learn? How will this deepen my relationship devotionally to my Gods? Lately, also, I’ve been spending a great deal of time contemplating our [Norse] creation story. I think this is maybe the most important part of our lore and every time I meditate on it, I go more deeply into it and come up with greater insight. It refreshes my practice and it’s this that taught me that when we do ritual or prayer, we’re reifying the moment the Gods came together and set the architecture of the worlds in motion. It taught me the deep need to align our wills and our hearts and our souls with our Gods too in every possible way (even if we have to keep plugging away at it for the rest of our lives to get it right).
Sometimes in the morning there is a small ritual I do as a spirit worker, but that is a simple greeting to all the Powers with some minor offerings. I also tend our household Lararium and make offerings (usually candles, water, coffee, or liquor) to our ancestors.
In the evening, on most days (we miss here and there), we gather as a household and pray. There’s no set time for this: we pray as long as we feel like praying and often conclude with prayers for those in our families and household who are sick or struggling, or the well-being of those we love. There are also certain prayers of protection we do regularly.
Lately, and I’ve just gone back to this after a fairly long absence, I’ve been trying to make special offerings and prayers to whatever Deity rules the day. For Heathens, Monday is Mani’s Day, Tuesday Tyr’s, Wednesday Woden’s, Thursday Thor’s, Friday Freya or Frigga’s (we honor Them both), Saturday a day for cleansing. Originally in Latin it was Saturn’s day. Personally, I tend to give special offerings to Loki and Sigyn on this day, and then Sunday of course, is Sunna’s.
Thor is just amazing. I’ve written about Him before here here.
Because today is His day, I intend to pay special focus to Him all day, turning my mind to His stories, His nature, the feel of His presence when He is invoked, and the incredible way that He cleanses away pollution and evil as though it were nothing at all. He truly is the great Protector of humankind. I want to center my day, each day, around gratitude to the Powers remembering always how deeply blessed I have been in my life. It changes the way we move in the world to think of these things, to consciously choose devotion, faith, and gratitude, to choose to cultivate that which most benefits our devotion to cultivate. I pray to this God of strength and fortitude, that I shall always have the strength to make the appropriate choices in these things, especially when it is most difficult. Here is a prayer that I have written for Him today:
Today, I want to call You by Your English Name: Thunor, God of Thunder, Mighty Hammer Wielder, Friend of Humanity, and Protector of all the worlds. You protect our sacred places, our groves and sanctuaries and most of all the shrines and holy spaces of our hearts that we may lay ourselves down before our Gods in adoration, in love, in deepest gratitude without fear, without hesitation knowing that You, Great-Hearted Husband of Sif, Generous beyond measure, will always guard our comings and goings. You are a loving Father to three joyful children and just as You would no more allow Them to come to harm, so we too may rest securely in Your watchful care. Oh God of the oak, God of holy places, God of the mound, I shall never for sake You. Please, I pray, watch over my ancestors, those of blood and those of spirit. Grant that our dead may rest in peace, strengthened by Your care, the vitality only You, son of Odin bring. That is my prayer for today. I am so grateful for the chance to honor You, so grateful for the chance to pay You homage. Hail Thunor, Thor, Thunder-riding God of Asgard.
From my household prayer book, a prayer for those who feel the strain of the times, who feel the weight of spiritual pollution, or who feel themselves under spiritual attack.
Prayer against Malefica
Odin, You Who are known as Bolverk, Galdrfaðr, Runatyr, and many other names; You Who are expert at working every type of woe and weal, every type of sorcery or magic, Whose whispered will alone can shatter any malefica launched into the worlds, I call to You now. I petition You, Mighty One, Sigtyr, Whose ferocious and unyielding will created the very architecture of the worlds within which we live, Who hung for power, sacrificed to Himself on the boughs of the Ancient Tree, to win the power of creation, hear my plea I pray.
You are the best of healers, the best of magicians, and the best preservation of our souls. You are the restoration of all those devotees who turn to You in prayer, devotion, and ecstatic adoration. I beseech You now, Goðjaðarr, (God-Protector), to render powerless the evil arrayed against me. Banish and drive out every diabolic power, presence, and machination. Crush and dismiss every evil influence, every servant of the enemy – whether they realize their infernal alliance or not. Oh, Ítreker (Splendid Ruler), drive back and destroy all malefica, all envy, and all evil aimed against me and those of my household. Where there is envy, malefica, and degeneracy, grant that my soul may be sustained and infused by an abundance of Your oðr, Your blessings, Your ferocious joy. Grant me victory in the face of my enemies. Grant me victory in the face of infernal assault. May Your cloak and spear shield me and mine, Your hungry, ravening wolves rend and tear that which assaults us, Your ravens show us the way forward in faith, piety, and devotion. Oh Sigmundr (Victory-Protection), Sigrhöfundr (Victory-author), Siggautr (Victory-Lord), from the glorious heights of Asgard, reach out Your powerful will, extend over me, Your unyielding beneficence, and come, Great God, to my aid.
Send Your wolves, send Your ravens, send Your valiant and vicious Valkyries to protect my body and soul. May they vanquish every evil power, every poison or malice invoked against me by wicked, degenerate, shallow, corrupt, and envious people.
Oh Vakr, Ever Vigilant, I place myself under Your authority and Your protection, confident in Your power, and ever shall I proclaim, gratefully that YOU are my protection, YOU my restoration. Odin, whom should I fear? My God is mighty, Hagvirkr, Hangaguð, more powerful than any wickedness that dares to stand against me. You are more powerful than any opponent. I have zero cause for fear. Ever shall I praise You, Aldaföðr, my strength, every hour in every age. ALU.
Grant H. recently sent me some lovely prayers to our Moon God and I’m delighted to share them with you today (with Grant’s permission). Mani has been so incredibly lovely of late and such a gracious and protective presence in our lives. It is right and fit to honor Him always and I love hearing from people who do. 🙂
Mani, still shining The lesser lights of man have stolen the Stars from the sky; That is what it appears to be, at least. In truth, the Star spirits are still there, simply hidden away by modern light pollution. (Modern Life pollution?) And I weep for the Star spirits I can no longer see. But I still see Mani shining bright in the night sky. And that does put a smile upon my face. So I smile and wave to Mani, And - though I cannot see it with my two mortal eyes - I do see that he smiles back. To Mani Mighty Mani, shining bright; Only celestial body I see tonight. I give you this offering in honor of your sacred light. The tides flow because of you, and I am grateful for that. Life is possible on this planet because of you, and I thank you for that. I thank you Mani I thank you Mani, shining bright; Only celestial body I see tonight. I give you an offering, as is my duty and your right; Only celestial body I see tonight. I thank you for the tides, Mani shining bright; Only celestial body I see tonight. I thank you for the glowing tides, that grant the planet flowing life; Mani shining bright; Only celestial body I see tonight. White gold moon I see Mani in the sky, shining bright; Only celestial body I see tonight. He is the white gold moon Golden and bright, shining in his fullness with the moon’s blessed light. Hail the white-gold moon! (All prayers/poems copyright Grant Hodel 2021).
I’m posting this to share a prayer to the Kemetic God of the moon, Khonsu, that C.C. recently commissioned from me.
Prayer to Khonsu By Galina Krasskova (if possible, begin by lighting a bit of incense) I praise the God of the Moon, Keeper of Night, Khonsu (dua!*). I praise the God of the Moon, most Holy Traveler, Who marks the passage of time, blessing each moment of our lives. We dream under Your blessed gaze, and Your hands brought us into being, with craft, care, and magic. Dua! You Who are our Pathfinder, You have filled us with magic too. Be our Defender, oh sweet God of night. Keep us safe as we sleep and dream. Illuminate the darkness and protect us, Oh great Healer, as only You can. Protect us against malefica, against sickness, against evil spirits, evil tongues, and evil thoughts. Protect us please, against vicious animals, against injury, and the peril of sudden death. Make our sleep restful and relief giving, that we may rise refreshed to praise You again. You, Khonsu, are the wise serpent Who fertilized the egg of the world, setting creation in motion. Let us dream for ourselves a better fate than that with which we were born. Teach us the power of transformation, the trick of the serpent shedding his skin, that we too may be born anew, each day upon awaking. Son of Mut, Son of Amun Friend and Companion of Thoth, You protect the order the Gods have decreed. May my tongue ever praise You. May my heart ever find joy in Your service. Dua! Most Holy God May I ever find favor in Your sight. Hail to You, Lord Khonsu. *This Kemetic word is an expression of both gratitude and praise. Copyright 2021 G. Krasskova
In addition to Ostara (Eostre), there is another Goddess once honored at the beginning of spring: Hreðe. She is mentioned once by the chronicler Bede and Her name likely means “fierce.” There’s also an Old English adverb hraðe that means quickly. Because of this, I tend to think of Her as ‘fast and furious!’ After all, of those who honor Her, many see Her as a warrior Goddess and I certainly don’t dispute that. She has a Presence at once joyful and ferocious. For me, She really is the quintessential March Goddess – Her nature that of an Aries all the way. The Anglo-Saxon Hreðmonath – basically March/April—was named after Her.
I wish we knew more than that, but having so very little yet tantalizing information allows us the freedom to build Her cultus anew. Just this year, devotion to Her is really starting to become part of my personal practice. I look forward to deepening that practice as we move into Spring.
Here are three prayers that I’ve written to Her over the years. I’m sure more shall come.
I say hail to Hreðe, Mighty Goddess!
With explosive force, You banish winter.
With enervating drive, You push us
into the rejuvenating arms of Spring.
Cleanse me, Glorious Goddess,
of all those things that hold me back.
Unfetter my mind, heart, and will,
that I might set my feet unswervingly
on the road to victory.
Hail, Hreðe, ever-victorious in every struggle!
You come feral and joyous,
laughing and dancing with the winds,
playing tag with Mani
under the sweetness of a sugar moon.
Herald of Eostre, unfettered, unbound,
You roar across our world,
with the lion winds of march.
Our flags and chimes whip and sound
with the force of Your passing.
You surround us as we move,
our offerings in hand,
across our rightful land.
Make the fields flourish.
Make the earth fertile,
The delight of Your voice
urges us on;
and we cry Your name
driven forward by the irresistible gusts
of Your whirling exhilaration.
Hail, Hrethe, now and always,
ebullient, fierce, unmatched in exuberance.
(By G. Krasskova)
My Adorations to Hreðe may be found here.
I offer this prayer to Thor and to the Goddess Sif.
Hail to You, Holy Ones.
Hail to You, Protectors of Midgard,
Hail to You, Son of Odin and Hail to You,
His gleaming Bride.
You hallow and drive out all pollution.
You are mighty. There is no malignant force
that You cannot banish. There is no threat,
You cannot overcome.
You are magnificent and Your grace
protects me in the face of evil.
Mighty Thor, wise, compassionate Friend of humanity,
look upon us and wield Your hammer for our protection.
Gracious Sif, You Whose gentle touch causes the grain to grow,
please nourish us, restore us, and grant us the fortitude
to walk in alignment with the Holy Powers always.
Through Your blessings, may we grow strong in faith.
through Your blessings may we grow strong in devotion.
Through Your blessings, may we always resist impiety,
may we be nourished as the grain is nourished
under Your caring hands.
In times of peril, come to our aid, I pray.
In times of desperation, I place myself under Your care.
Hail Thor, Son of Odin.
Hail Sif, His Gracious Bride.
Christians call him the apostate. We – many polytheists across traditions—consider him a saint, and some, a martyr. Julian (331-363) was Roman emperor from 362-363. While raised a Christian, he returned to some type of Hellenic polytheism (one deeply steeped in Platonism) very early on, and during his all too brief reign, attempted to drive back the encroaching dominance of Christianity. (1). My particular favorite bit of legislation, which he did not live long enough to really see play out, was forbidding Christians from teaching classical texts. This would, had it been allowed to come to fruition, have barred them from the corridors of power, and more importantly from evangelizing and instantiating Christianity in those corridors of power (2).
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Julian today and it occurred to me that I have a prayer card for him. To honor him, through Monday 9pm, I will give a free prayer card for Julian to anyone who emails me at Krasskova at gmail.com asking for one. Include your name and a mailing address. One per person.
May our sancti, sanctae, and martyrs ever and always be remembered.
What is remembered, lives.
- For Christians, this was not a good thing, but I would point out that whereas Christianity can exist, practice, and for the most part be left alone in polytheistic theology, the opposite has never been true.
- Christians understood this well. I think it’s rather comparable on a certain level to the way so many theology departments (I exclude Fordham, which has consistently been wonderful and welcoming) won’t even consider polytheists for their grad programs, often instead pushing them into religious studies (if they’re mentored at all).
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