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Learning the Runes – A Few Tips to Those Starting Out

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One of the key mysteries of our tradition is that of the runes. The word itself, rúnrúnar (1) means just that: ‘secret’ or ‘mystery.’ Our high God Odin (Oðinn) hung on Yggdrasil for nine nights and nine days in agony, pierced by His own spear, a sacrifice to Himself. The result of this ordeal was acquisition of the runes and the knowledge and ability to wield them. There is much the story doesn’t tell us, starting with where the runes originate, what they are, and what their connection to the fabric of creation might be. 

I talk about all of these things in my book Living Runes, so I won’t focus on that too much in this post. In short, I think they originate in the Ginnungagap, are a family of living, sentient spirits, and are worked into the architecture of existence in numerous ways, creating loopholes through which the holy can seep (or work) again and again. When I think about this, they’re so often in motion, coursing through creation the way platelets, plasma, and blood cells course through our veins. They may rivet the more liminal parts of creation in place, or they may whirl and dance through the world working His will and their own. I think it varies and it’s something I’m still exploring in my own practice.  

What I wanted to discuss today is one of the techniques that I employed when I was first learning how to really engage with the runes. This is also something that I give to my apprentices when they are learning the runes for themselves. Usually, this is done after one has initially met the runes through offerings and galdr – a round 1 of ‘getting to know you,’ shall we say. Once a student has passing familiarity with the runes, knows what they are, has maybe galdred a bit, or meditated with them, once he or she has his or her own devotional relationships to Gods and ancestors securely established (2), when that student is ready for the second round of in-depth engagement, this is what I have each of my apprentices do (and no, this isn’t in my book). I do this myself every now and again myself. One never stop learning after all!

Before I describe this, I want to offer one caveat. If you are going to do this, begin with Odin. He is Master of the Runes (Rúnatýr – God of the runes) and they are first and foremost His mysteries. Afterwards, next approach the Deity or Deities in turn to whom you are dedicated, Whom you would consider your fulltrui, Who hold the most significant place in your personal devotions. This is simply a matter of both protocol, and courtesy and respect. 

Now, onto the exercise. 

A). Make a list of the various Deities that you venerate or Whose insight you might be interested in gaining with respect to the runes. For instance, Odin, Frigga, Freya, Loki, Sigyn, Thor, Sif, Heimdall, Mani, Sunna, Sinthgunt, Eir. (Make your own list, starting with Odin. This is just an example, though it’s close to the list one of my apprentices recently employed). 

B). Each night, meditate upon and galdr the same rune, first making offerings to one of these Deities, and then to the rune itself. So, start with Fehu. Set up a working altar or shrine, some place where you can make offerings to the rune of the night and to whatever Deity you’re approaching. If you have a personal household shrine (and if you’re doing this, you should (3)), you can go ahead and use that. The first night, make an offering to Odin. Offer prayers to Him and ask Him if He would be willing to teach you something about fehu. Make an offering to fehu itself, asking it if it would work with Odin and teach you something about itself. Then galdr the rune, meditate on it, write down your insights. Thank the two powers, Deity and rune invoked, and you are done for the night. Work through your list of Deities meditating on the *same* rune. When you’re done, move on to the next rune and go through the list again in the same order. 

What you’re essentially doing is building your own book of correspondences as you engage in this process. I would also repeat this, either approaching the same Deities or perhaps with a new list (though always begin with Odin. He is the doorway to the runes in many respects), every few months. Be polite when you approach both Powers. You are not after all, entitled to Their wisdom. As with anything, the more polite you are, the more productive this is likely to be. Even having worked with the runes for close to thirty years, I still keep this in mind every time I approach them. At the end of your list, or even somewhere in the middle of it, do one night where you do NOT approach a Deity, but work only through the rune itself. 

I stumbled on this process of approaching various Deities like this accidentally. I was having a bit of trouble with something and struggling to figure out how to work the rune I had decided to call upon. Completely unexpectedly, Sigyn sorted it out giving me an unexpected bit of insight. I thought, ‘wait. You know runes?’ Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised – She is a Deity after all –but when we have deeply personal devotional relationships with our individual Gods, it can be easy to forget that They are well, Gods. It can be easy to think that we know Them as we might know a friend down the way. We may indeed know a little given that relationships are mutual processes, but no matter how much experience we have in devotion to a Deity, THEY are always so much more. 

One of the things that I really like about this particular exercise also, is that it allows the one doing it the opportunity to approach Deities he or she may not have previously considered approaching. It allows for a potential devotional relationship to bloom. It gets one out of one’s comfort zone, away from the regular way of doing things and allows room for unexpected insights to occur. 

There are things to consider when you are engaging in this process: how does the rune feel? When you galdr, do you get any images running through your mind, any words popping up wanting to be worked into the galdr, any other sensory expressions of its presence (and that may include taste and smell too)? How do you feel before, during, and after? Has your impression of the rune changed at all? Do your best to keep a good record of this. It is helpful when you’re going back to check your progress. Be sure to stay hydrated and maybe eat a little protein after your nightly sessions. I would also be sure to center and ground well afterwards.

 Finally, the futhark tells a story. Each Aett (4) contains its own mysteries. It is normal that some runes will prove harder and more difficult to access than others. That’s ok, and the reverse is also true. Most will have one or two runes stepping forward as a guide through the futhark and through one’s work therein. When you encounter a rune that just won’t open, that’s ok. Be respectful, do your best, make your offerings and come back to it later. There are runes (for me, mostly in the third aett) that have taken years before they allowed me to so much as dip a toe into their mysteries. Again, as with so much spirit-work, you’re building a relationship. Part of the process of learning to work with runes is that they are learning your mental patterns, internal language, internal symbol set and you are learning something of theirs and the two of you are building this pidgin (is that the correct linguistic term?) by which you can communicate. You’re learning each other’s language and building a shared syllabary through which you can productively communicate. That’s going to take time. Some things cannot be rushed. 

Before I close, I want to take a moment’s focus on the first aett. As with our sacred texts, there are numerous ways that one can approach and interpret the narratives that we’re given. Since there are numerous patterns in the way the runes relate to each other, one can tell many stories. While these stories are not direct engagement with the runic powers, they are a means of conceptualizing and learning from them. They are doorways into each rune’s power. Here is a very brief way of reading through the first aett connectively. Fehu is the luck that flows through our blood (ancestral luck, hamingja), vitality, wealth, abundance, power. Like a sap through a tree or chlorophyll through a leaf, it flows through our veins and the veins of our soul body giving it life – just like Loður gave us sense-awareness and color, and the roaring pulse of our heart’s blood when the Gods created humanity. Uruz is raw power, maegen, the ability to tap into, access, and use one’s luck. It is initiation that awakens us to the Powers, challenge by which we earn the right to use what we have been given. Thurisaz is a challenge to focus, to discipline, to hone and temper our power. It’s the hard work we do to strengthen our spiritual and ethical muscles. It is the force that shatters our illusions,  clears us out, devours what no longer serves, frees one – sometimes violently – from constraints, burns like napalm in the soul until we order ourselves rightly and leave our bullshit behind. (Edited 3/7 to include ansuz, as I was writing with a migraine and accidentally left one of my favorite runes out). Ansuz is divine inspiration, ecstasy (in the classical religious sense), surety and confidence in the Work. It is the touch of the Gods, grace that allows us to persevere in our spiritual becoming even when it is hard. It is the opener of the way, that, if we are working to become rightly ordered, will show us the way forward. Raido is movement, momentum, overcoming of obstacles, the progress made when we accomplish the first three runic lessons and are rightly ordered with the Powers, and the power by which we may find our way through any obstacles in the way of that. Kenaz is the torch, the hearth fire, the offering fire, a candle on a shrine, the light of knowledge, piety, and devotion. It is that which we have been given to tend, to keep fed and bright and warm (our devotion, our traditions). Gebo is the process of exchange between us and the Holy powers, the law by which we are called to live our lives, the pious sensibility underlying every positively ordered engagement with the Powers, and with each other. Wunjo is the fulfillment of fehu, pleasure and ecstatic awareness of the powers, perfection and glory, joy and transformative power. It is the sum total of the other seven runes in this aett. One cannot access the fullness of wunjo, without first accessing and understanding these preceding runes. Wunjo is also the mead of inspiration, of frenzy, of magic, of inspiration on every possible level. How will you drink of it, how will it shape itself to your mind and talents? It will enliven you for the work to come with the next aett, which takes us down immediately into the place of the dead. This is the foundational work one must do in order to access the Mysteries, in order to be of use to our Gods, in order to become functionally realized human beings. It is ongoing work, and the runes can reflect that, though they are also so much more (5). I would also stress that this is only one way of lightly tapping into their insights. 

I’ll wrap this up for now. As all rune work begins with Odin, so too should it end with praises to this God Who had the will to win them. 

Hail to the God of the gallows,
Terrible and unrelenting.

Hail to the Wyrd-riven Wonder-worker,
Who leaves ecstasy in His wake.

Hail to the Bale-eyed Beguiler,
with His whispered charms
and savage conjurings.

Hail to the Lord of Asgard,
Architect of the Worlds
Who breathed us into Being,

Eternally let us praise Him.

Notes: 

  1. These are the nominative and genitive singular forms respectively. 
  2. It goes without saying that the runes are a specialty, as well as being a Mystery all their own, and not only does one not have to work with the runes to be a good Heathen, but those who don’t already have their spiritual houses, i.e. their devotional world, in some semblance of order, should not work with them. They are tools of magic and divination and it becomes very complicated, very quickly. 
  3. Really, if you don’t have the most basic devotional space set up and active in your home, you’re not ready to work with the runes no matter how far along you think you are. 
  4. This word just refers to a set of eight. There are three sets of eight that make up the elder futhark. 
  5. They are sentient, amoral, non-human spirits. They have their own agendas and are allied to the All-Father Who also has His agenda. It’s healthy to never forget that. 
AM 28 8vo, Codex runicus

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Northern Europe Products – Part 5

I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year by finding items that can help feed our devotions within our polytheistic traditions, but also to hopefully along the way lift up some of the artisans in our midst too.

So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (MesoamericanEgyptianGreekNorthern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree. 

Check out the Greco-Roman themed products relevant to devotees of Cultus Deorum and Hellenismos, the Egyptian themed products ( Part 1 & Part 2 ) relevant to devotees of Kemetism, and Northern Europe themed products ( Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 ) relevant to Northern Tradition polytheists. Primarily these items are Norse-centric, but there’s a small scattering of Celtic and Slavic goods too in the mix.

There were some artists and artisans who offered a range of product across pantheons, or whose work focuses on a tradition that I didn’t have enough items to spotlight on its own. So I highly recommend that you carefully peruse the spotlighted artists and artisans in my miscellaneous ( Part 1 & Part 2 ). You will find offerings encompassing a vast array of traditions: Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Polynesian, Mesoamerican, Minoan, Assyrian, Sumerian, Welsh, Asian, Native American/Inuit, and more!

Today is the fifth installment of Northern Europe themed products relevant for fellow Northern Tradition polytheists.

PantheonSkulptur

PantheonSkulptur based in Sweden, features the artistic gold or silver gilded statues of Norse or Celtic Gods and Goddesses by Stina Jarenskog. Since ever piece is handmade, sometimes there’s nothing in the shop as she’s sold out. Just be sure to bookmark the shop and revisit.


FatefulSigns

FatefulSigns is the online storefront for illustrator Sam Flegal, who has done work for gaming companies and concept art for movies. He has some truly stunning images of our Gods and Goddesses, and offers the original for sale, as well as prints. He’s also decided to do his own illustrations for sections of the lore, which you can find in his two books: the Illustrated Havamal, and the Illustrated Voluspa.


Grimfrost

Grimfrost is a Swedish based company that specializes in items inspired by and related to Viking Age culture. They have some replica statuary and jewelry, but also some truly unique things based on the familiar. Some highlighted items are the Sleipnir Post Earrings, a Freya Drum, a replica of a ritual procession, and replicas from the archaeological record of our Gods.


Norsies

SummitCollection’s Norsies features painted cold cast resin figures of Norse Gods & Goddesses.


Miscellaneous

Not every item listed below is depicted in this image.
  • Poster of Travis Bowman’s prayer to Odin 
  • Norhalla’s Sleipnir Plush Toy
  • ArcanicaArt painted Frigg
  • MailoniKat’s Fox Cloth
  • DeBaunFineCeramics Valknut Pendant
  • HeathenTreeCreations – Vanic Deities Statues
  • Dharmalus – Valknut wall shelves
  • SevenOaksGrove Rune Cloth
  • ShirePost Ullr and vegvisir zipper pull
  • The National Museum of Denmark’s Gift Shop has a wide range of products too!

We’re almost done! Just one more post to go.

Sunwait Week 5: Sunna and Raido

We always begin our rites with a fire blessing that ends with the words Thunor weoh three times. Thor hallow. He is the one to Whom we turn, along with fire itself, to protect, cleanse, and gird our sacred space, and tonight He, along with Sunna, was so very present. Our ritual was humbling and it left me in tears. I have never before had a particular devotional relationship with either Thor or Sunna…until this year, and with Sunna, that didn’t really happen until this Sunwait. Suddenly, I have a sense of Them, Their Presence, and the mysteries They bring. I never expected this, and it is a blessing. Sitting in ritual Their presence – Sunna, Thor, and even raido– was so soothing and peaceful, so very there. It has completely transformed the room, something we all felt, and I think from here on out, it may well have likewise transformed my devotional relationship with these Powers. I am so very, very grateful for even the barest sense of Them, and the way I felt Them tonight, it really underscored what a tremendously holy time Yule is, and certainly why our ancestors honored both Thor and Sunna so fervently (1)!

It also occurred to me during the ritual that there is a very potent relationship between Sunna and Thor (as colleagues), particularly when it comes to hallowing. It was the last thing I expected to sense. I think in part, there is a genealogical connection between Them too. In the tradition I follow, Nott is Sunna’s aunt, but She is also Thor’s grandmother through Her daughter Jorð, the Goddess of the earth. That makes Thor and Sunna some type of cousins, I think first cousins once-removed (it also means that Dagr is Thor’s uncle, since Dagr is also a child of Nott – though with a different father than Jorð. Nott had three husbands and She had a child with each) (2).

Raido surprised me too. At first it was difficult to capture its rhythm in the galdr, but then that rune came showing itself as a gauntlet worn by Sunna, as a power that opens the way, as a force that barrels right over any obstacles, brooking no resistance, and also as a rune whose power has been knit into the very fabric of the cosmic architecture (3). 

For the ritual tonight, my housemate Tatyana and I co-wrote the following prayer. Instead of our regular prayers last night, we meditated on Sunna for a time, and then I wrote the first line of each couplet, and she wrote the second. We each tapped into different aspects of Sunna, which was really powerful. I think I want to take some serious devotional time this year to really explore Sunna and all the ways She may manifest. 

Prayer to Sunna with Raido
(by G. Krasskova and T. Vitta)


Hail to Sunna, Who roars across the sky, 
skipping in a half circle through the clouds. 

Hail to Sunna, Whom no force can stop, 
a rolling, roaring fire, unfolding, expanding, and glorious. 

Hail to Sunna, wielding the magic of fire, 
burning away all darkness, ensuring survival. 

Hail to Sunna, mighty Magus,
driving out all pollution, wickedness, and harm 
with Her unstoppable force. 

Hail to Sunna, Whose presence brings healing,
destroying all infection, all that hinders 
the relentless progression of life. 

Hail to Sunna, Who orders the calculated roar of time, 
from summer to fall, fall to winter, to spring, to summer again, 
Inexorable Power. 

Hail to Sunna, Shamaness of the spheres, 
wielding raido in joyous synergy. 

Hail to Sunna, mighty Mother, 
Who opens the way, showering light and blessings
on all the Worlds. 

Hail to Sunna, Who paves the way for Nott, 
welcoming darkness in its rightful time, 
and bringing us to well-earned rest. 


Hail to Sunna, now and forever. 
Hail to Sunna, Glorious Power. 

There is now one more week of Sunwait,  a little over a week until Yule. The rune for next week’s Sunwait is kenaz, and that seems a very fitting way to encapsulate the blessings and holiness of Yule (4). 

Notes: 

  1. Of course, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that our polytheistic ancestors were pious, but in tonight’s ritual, I felt like I glimpsed some small measure of how fervently they must have felt about the importance of venerating these particular Holy Powers and why. 
  2. There is nothing in the Eddas about the relationship between Sunna and Nott, but some traditions accept, via shared personal gnosis, that Nott is Sunna’s aunt. Nott’s connection to Thor, however, is attested to in the Gylfaginning. It all really demonstrates though, how deeply interconnected the various families of our Gods are. 
  3. A huge part of that architecture is the cosmic cycles, the shifting of seasons, the turning of day to night to day again, the rhythm of tides and torrents all inexorable, all built into creation by our Gods. 
  4. The runes for Sunwait are really quite perfect a preparation for Yule. Fehu sets us on the right course with luck and blessings, uruz strengthens us for the journey, thurisaz challenges and cleans out any stagnation or corruption, ansuz opens everything up, clearing out the road ahead, raido increases the momentum until we reach kenaz, which encapsulates the holy fire of Yule. It’s a truly beautiful preparation. 

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Northern Europe Products – Part 3

I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year by finding items that can help feed our devotions within our polytheistic traditions, but also to hopefully along the way lift up some of the artisans in our midst too.

So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (MesoamericanEgyptianGreekNorthern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree. 

Check out the Greco-Roman themed products relevant to devotees of Cultus Deorum and Hellenismos, the Egyptian themed products ( Part 1 & Part 2 ) relevant to devotees of Kemetism, and Northern Europe themed products ( Part 1, Part 2 ) relevant to Northern Tradition polytheists. Primarily these items are Norse-centric, but there’s a small scattering of Celtic and Slavic goods too in the mix.

There were some artists and artisans who offered a range of product across pantheons, or whose work focuses on a tradition that I didn’t have enough items to spotlight on its own. So I highly recommend that you carefully peruse the spotlighted artists and artisans in my miscellaneous Part 1, & Part 2. You will find offerings encompassing a vast array of traditions: Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Polynesian, Mesoamerican, Minoan, Assyrian, Sumerian, Welsh, Asian, Native American/Inuit, and more!

Today will be the third installment of Northern Europe themed products relevant for fellow Northern Tradition polytheists.

Gungnir Godposts

GungnirGodposts doesn’t have a traditional storefront, they have a facebook page, where they will post brief openings in their schedule for commissions. It’s a bit of a first come, first served feeding frenzy of a free for all to get a spot in his queue, but the hand carved godposts are worth the wait. You can also support him on patreon which gets you opportunities to commission work from him as well.


VBHandcraft

Ukraine based VBhandcraft sells Scandinavian, Norse, Viking and Celtic influenced jewelry and statues.


DebsBurntOfferings

I already mentioned Michigan based DebsBurntOfferings in resources for Decking the Halls and Trimming the Tree because of her ornaments, but she also offers more Norse focused wood pyrography goods too.


BluePaganShop

BluePaganShop features Norse and Celtic designs across a wide range of items, but certain of their designs showcase best as wall hangings. 


FehuCrafts

FehuCrafts is based in Poland, and creates products in wood for Northern Tradition polytheists.


There’s more to come tomorrow!

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Northern Europe Products – Part 2

I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year by finding items that can help feed our devotions within our polytheistic traditions, but also to hopefully along the way lift up some of the artisans in our midst too.

So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (MesoamericanEgyptianGreekNorthern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree. 

Check out the Greco-Roman themed products relevant to devotees of Cultus Deorum and Hellenismos, the Egyptian themed products ( Part 1 & Part 2 ) relevant to devotees of Kemetism, and Northern Europe themed products ( Part 1 ) relevant to Northern Tradition polytheists. Primarily these items are Norse-centric, but there’s a small scattering of Celtic and Slavic goods too in the mix.

There were some artists and artisans who offered a range of product across pantheons, or whose work focuses on a tradition that I didn’t have enough items to spotlight on its own. So I highly recommend that you carefully peruse the spotlighted artists and artisans in my miscellaneous Part 1, & Part 2. You will find offerings encompassing a vast array of traditions: Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Polynesian, Mesoamerican, Minoan, Assyrian, Sumerian, Welsh, Asian, Native American/Inuit, and more!

Today will be the second installment of Northern Europe themed products relevant for fellow Northern Tradition polytheists.

HellesTeeth

HellesTeeth offers something for the little Heathens in your life: teething rings. Let mjolnir protect your ears from the fussy screams of an unhappy child as their first teeth emerge.


LadyBuckThorn

Jessica Trainham’s shop LadyBuckThorn offers stunning Heathen works in wood encompassing ornaments, altar icons, plaques, and decorative boxes. I’ve learned the hard way, never open a package with goodies from her when others are present, if you hope to keep it.


AricJorn

Michigan based AricJorn is a talented sculptor focusing on Norse mythology and culture.


RuyaN

The Russian based Ruyan workshop specializes in Norse themed jewelry creations to shop gold and silver work visit their RuyaN storefront and you can find their more affordable bronze and silver plated work at their RuyaNBronzE storefront.


ArtFays

ArtFays features hand painted wooden peg figurines of the Norse Gods and Goddesses, as well as figures from other traditions and folklore.


Stay tuned for more installments! I am not done yet.

30% Off Sale (US Only)

If you haven’t picked up my books “A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations, and Mysteries of the Northern Traditions” or “Living Runes: Theory and Practice” you can currently enjoy 30% OFF through December 31, 2020 using discount code FORT at checkout direct from the publisher’s website: redwheelweiser.com. Please note that this deal only applies for orders being shipped for delivery to the United States.

As a reminder, my book A Modern Guide to Heathenry (2019) takes what I created in Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites, and Celebrations from the Norse, German, and Anglo-Saxon Traditions (2005) as a foundation and significantly expands upon it with more than 70,000 words of new material especially on devotional work, honoring the ancestors, and theological exegesis. It’s basically twice the word heft of its predecessor! Living Runes: Theory & Practice, however is a re-publication under a new title of my earlier work Runes: Theory and Practice book.

Sunwait Week 4: Sunna and Ansuz

With this week, we move into the week of Ansuz, thank every God that is. The week of thurisaz was rough, even though it brought many productive and fruitful epiphanies. It was really, really rough though and while I work very well with the rune thurisaz, and consider him one of my primary runic allies, I must admit with all respect, that I am breathing a sigh of significant relief as we move into ansuz. I will say though, with thurisaz at the helm, I got quite a lot of work done! He really helps to focus one’s energy and intellectual might. I’m grateful for that. 

We began our rite as we always do, with an Anglo-Saxon fire cleansing, then offered the following prayer (which I wrote –Tatyana and I have been trading off, but thurisaz and ansuz were my weeks). 

Prayer to Sunna
 
Havamal verse 148.
A fourth I know: if men make fast
in chains the joints of my limbs, 
when I sing that song which shall set me free,
spring the fetters from hands and feet.
 
And so it is.
You Sunna, come with ansuz. 
You wield it like a mighty spear, 
a battle cry, a flight of ravens in Your brilliant light. 
It is the incantation with which You open all roads before You. 
 
This then, is my prayer:
Come with the power to loosen the fetters that bind us. 
Come with the power to open the way before us.
Come with the power that causes all roads yield to Your command. 
Obliterate all obstacles that keep us from clean devotion. 
Your words have power. Speak the runes that restore creation,
and teach us the prayers to support You in this work. 
 
Hail to You, Sunna, Shining Glory of the sky,
Blessed Power of the House of Mundilfari. 

After the prayer, I galdred ansuz, and while this is a rune that I consider a particular ally, it was difficult to find the rhythm appropriate to ansuz and Sunna. It came through – I asked the rune to show me – and the galdr was very productive. We shared a horn of a lovely grapefruit flavored rose (I usually have much more high brow taste in wine but damn the rose was good! I’ve never seen the horn empty quite so quickly lol), offered more prayers and finally concluded with pouring out offerings and Sigdrifa’s Prayer. Yule is one more week closer! 

Yuletide Shopping Guide – Artists & Artisans – Part 1

Yule is one of my favorite times of year, and to help spread some holiday cheer I decided to create the Yuletide Shopping Guide to help people find goods for their homes, and gifts. Hopefully in the process, helping to steer some business towards some very talented artisans, including some within our religious community. So far I’ve spotlighted resources for crafters, resources to trim the tree & deck the halls for the holiday, highlighted Krampus goods, and now I’m moving onto artists and artisans.

VisaVisJewelryLA

VisaVisJewelryLA specializes in jewelry made with bronze and gold, sometimes with a cloisonné technique too. There’s a range of polytheistic traditions represented across the bling worthy offerings: Assyrian, Sumerian, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hindu, and more.


Making Magick

Making Magick features a husband and wife artisan team from our religious community based in North Carolina creating goods in ceramics, wood, metal, fabric and more. They are currently specializing in scroll saw wooden puzzles for children. They can make any animal or object into an age appropriate puzzle. They can also make other items in wood too, from decorative bowls and decor for the home, or memorial items for use outdoors. As we all know, 2020 has been a challenging year, and that’s included unemployment for one of the members of this artisan team. If you have an idea, they’d love to talk to you.  


RareEarthWoodworks

RareEarthWoodworks features a variety of artisan crafts in wood, featuring divination tools such as ogham staves or runes, and an expansive array of portable travel altars or altar icons across a range of polytheistic traditions: Welsh, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and more. There’s also other items too!



SacredPathArt

The United Kingdom based artist Amanda Lindupp offers up her range of art prints and cards through her store SacredPathArt. Her illustrations of Gods and Goddesses encompass Kemetic, Norse, Celtic, Greek and Roman deities.


CorazonMexica

CorazonMexica features chicano created works depicting Mexican spirituality and pride, with a focus on Mesoamerican deities from the Aztecs, as well as Aztec inspired tarot, queer art, and regalia.  

Sunwait – Week 3: Sunna and Thurisaz

I feel like we’re getting into a nice rhythm with our Sunwait rituals. I’m really loving this gentle and ritualized progression toward Yule, and as I said the other night to a friend, I’m really, really glad that we decided to incorporate Sunwait into our hearth cultus this year. Since we decided to do our rites on Fridays, it’s also a lovely way to cap off the week (a particularly significant transition since we tend to immerse ourselves in ritual and devotional work over the weekends). 

So, last night, as is our norm, we began by bearing fire around our space, chanting the fire cleansing song that I learned more than twenty years ago, and asking Thor to cleanse, purify, and bless our space. I wrote about Thor before here. He may specifically be invoked as “Guardian of the Shrine” before rituals to consecrate the space and rite. Thor is awesome. Then, I explained the purpose of the ritual – we all knew, as we’d agreed as a household to do this, but stating that intention was one more way to center our minds and allow for a smooth transition into the appropriate headspace for reverent veneration. After that, I offered the following prayer to Sunna and lit the three candles (the candles for weeks one and two are only about half way burned down):  

Prayer to Sunna
 
Force and fire, that is what You are, 
Swift precision as You plough across the sky, 
Driving back pollution, and cleansing the path
that Day must tread.  Force and fire,
bringing the light that restores our souls,
bringing Your glorious brightness to our world. 
You are force and fire, gleaming and fierce.
Battle ready, You are indomitable. 
There is no obstacle You cannot surmount, 
No enemy You cannot conquer. 
You drive forward the rhythms of the world. 
You smite malefica, wickedness, evil, 
and all that stands against the order created by our Gods. 
These things You obliterate with the force and fire 
of Your passing. That order is Your order, 
blessed and structured by Your holy hands,
and always will You defend it. 
Teach us, oh Sunna, to stand courageously
no matter how afraid we might be,
in defense of that order too. 
Hail to You, Glorious Goddess of the Sun,
May You grant us bravery in our devotions,
as You move across our world 
leading us to Yule. 
 

After this, I galdred thurisaz which came so joyously (there’s really no other word for it). It was like the force of a storm wind hitting the house. That’s how it felt to galdr this rune. He came immediately and with such a tremendous kinetic energy that it left me wired for hours afterwards. We passed a horn filled with sparkling apple cider and hailed Sunna, Her family, Thor, Odin and the runes, our ancestors, and more. After this, we sat down in sacred space, in holy space, and brought out our divination materials. We had been talking earlier about the small asteroid orbiting the moon, and had wondered if it was a physical representation that Mani had had a child. We meant no impiety by divining, but if He had, we wanted to know how or even if we should include that child in our veneration of the House of Mundilfari. We stumbled into epiphany and mystery and I am still shaken by it. 

Sunna wanted this story told or I would not speak it. 
The holy order of the heavens will not fall. 
She and Mani were joyous and the rune that fell was wunjo:
Joy, perfection, a blessed gift. 
They had a child, star of heaven, Himinstjarna,* 
A glorious daughter (fehu tells us how to honor Her:
Song and beauty, art that elevates the soul, 
Land and life and glory, freeing the world of its disorder). 
I thought it lovely and we were moved to tears,
Then I realized what a terrible omen it was, 
but what a powerful hope too. 
The sun and moon will not fall:
Their continuity is ensured by Their child. 
She will bring Them back from the darkness.
A magical gift, hope for our world. 
Mani prepares to go to war. 
Taking up His scimitars again, 
For He was a warrior in days of old. 
But the holy order of the Gods will endure. 
Himinstjarna: praise Her.
 

We closed the div session and then sang Sigdrifa’s Prayer, which is our way of closing almost every ritual. After that, we staggered off to get food, because after the spiritual work that was done, we were ravenous. So, that’s where we are and I think the House of Mundilfari will play a far larger role in our devotions from here on out. 

Mani by V. Hardy

*this is Her name to the best that we could translate with divination, and an ON grammar. 

Sunwait – Week 2

Last night, we held our second Sunwait ritual. I like this practice. I wasn’t sure how it would be, incorporating something so obviously modern into our household practice, but it’s making us so much more mindful of the coming yule and what that means, and how we can best prepare. It’s also making us far, far more aware of the important role the House of Mundilfari plays in our liturgical calendar (and seasons, days, planting, harvesting, all of it). They literally hold the architecture of the worlds together.

For our Sunwait wreath I bought an advent wreath from Lithuania. My dad’s side is all Lithuanian so I liked that it was coming from the same place half my ancestors did, and the one I chose was quite pretty. Of course, that only covers four candles so I was two short. For that, I found a smaller two-candle holder on etsy that had Jormungand biting his own tail in the center and runes about the base (I think, it hasn’t arrived yet – I’m making due with a small cast iron holder that I already had for now, but I think it has runes on it. If not, I’ll put them there lol). Last night we lit the Uruz candle. 

I have a bag of candles of various sizes that I keep in a closet upstairs, and a huge, huge box of tealights that I picked up last year so we didn’t need to buy candles for our Sunwait. I just chose six of roughly the same size at random. When I was prepping the candle for last night ( carving the rune on it, putting oil on it – I used solomon’s seal oil because I like it—and then rolling it in a blessing incense) part of the bottom broke, so I just cut it off making it was even again. It was a large candle and I didn’t want to waste it. Were I using it for some sort of conjure charm, I would probably not have used a broken candle, but once I doctored it, it was just fine to burn for ritual. 

I prepped a horn (my husband cracked up when I was preparing. I held up a young but lovely bottle of Puilly Fume and said, “We’re drinking this tonight. It’s too good for the horn but what the hell.” I was joking, but his response was priceless. For the record, nothing is too good for a horn that is to be used in ritual for the Gods. We tend to use various meads but not tonight. I set out an offering of the wine for the Gods, ancestors, and spirits of our household, and a separate offering for Sunna and Her family. I consecrated the start of the rite with fire and blessing chant. Our housemate Tatyana gave the prayer for Sunna (which I’ll include below), I galdred uruz and oh boy, did the rune click. It came as the horn that connects to the well of the dead, the well of memory, of Urda and the Tree. It came with a sense of pounding vitality and life. It came as mystery and initiation, the transition of young to adult, of boy to man, girl to woman, child to fully functioning member of a tribe. We hadn’t intended to do a full symbel as part of the night’s rite, but given how strong the connection between the horn carried in ritual and uruz was during the galdr, we ended up including it. So, after the galdr, we passed a horn, hailing Gods and ancestors. We closed with Sigdrifa’s prayer and then poured the offerings outside. 

Next week, the rune is thurisaz and I am curious to see what insights Sunna will bring, working through this rune and what it will teach us about Yule and the coming holy time. 

Prayer to Sunna for Week 2 of Sunwait
(by T. Vitta)
 
Great Sunna, the Lovely Wheel,
Rides the sky,
Echoing herds of aurochs 
Riding down the ancient planes of Eurasia.
 
Heat and warmth,
Some of many mysteries of Your unyielding will,
Locked into the soil,
Germinating ceaselessly.
 
A steadfast journey,
Rooted
In its sacred task,
As one by one
You wake all creatures of the flesh.
 
Every living thing
Learns from this strength, 
Rooting itself in turn
Into the earth,
Gaining its strength and wealth
From the soil.
 
There is nothing that you fear, Goddess,
No darkness,
No cold,
No sadness
Too dark or dreary for you to waive away.
 
A fiery circle,
You bring raw vitality to all that you touch,
Reminding the very earth itself
Of its waking power.
 
We are fed through the basic fibers of life,
We grow from these,
But embedded in all 
Is the All-Shining,
Warmth that will without fail come back again and again
And cajole life to beckon.
 
Teach us Sunna
To likewise have the courage and the endurance to be free.
Just as you move through the sky
You teach us of Your will and your stamina,
So we ask that you teach us to be strong, willful and courageous
In the face of all our challenges,
How to manifest our will
Even when life 
Is drained of beauty and hope.  
 
You are the fierce contender,
Interminable will
Manifesting,
As you ride through the sky,
Raw vital power 
That will ride to face all that stands in its way.
 
Teach us to likewise ride 
Without flinching and cut through those who stand in our way,
How to manifest the best parts of us 
And how to never lose our shine,
Even in the darkest of times.
 
Hail Sunna!
 
 
 
Sunna in Her glory