For the better part of twenty-five years now, I and many other devotees of Loki have celebrated April 1 as one of His feast-days. I always forget to write anything for Him on that day, so I wanted to be sure to do so well in advance this year. I don’t usually do much more than clean His shrine (in my house, Loki and Sigyn share a shrine) and make more copious offerings than usual, but still, I like to note the day.
Loki has many by-names (epithets or heiti). Many of them refer to His relationships like Verr Sigynjar (Sigyn’s husband) or Hoenis vinr (Hoenir’s friend). Some refer to His reputed cleverness like Bölvasmiðr (Mischief maker—this one reminds me of Bölverkr…Odin’s by name that means Bale-worker), Inn Slaegi Áss (The Sly God), or Laevisi Loki(Cunning Loki). Some have a strong connection to the sky…Loptr – Skytreader, Meinkráka (Harmful Crow), and one that I haven’t explored at all but that perplexes me every time I think of it: Gammleið (Vulture). Some names focus on His position as goad and even perceived adversary to the Gods like Goða dòlgr (Adversary of Gods). Then of course there is Inn bundni Áss (the bound God) and there are dozens more. I particularly like Farmr arma Sigynjar (Burden of Sigyn’s arms). Then there’s Dumezil who referred to Him (in his monograph titled ‘Loki’) as “the unquiet thought.” It’s a very fitting by-name for a God Who never ceased to challenge. There’s a very good article by Dagulfr L. elaborating on many of these names here. I highly recommend it. Of course those who honor Loki today have given Him new by-names too. The list is probably never-ending.
Heiti are important. They highlight unique aspects of a God, doorways into deeper devotion, some facet of the God’s power or kinship or nature. They are words of power. They tell us our Gods are multi-faceted, loving but also dangerous, as everything sacred is dangerous. Their mindful utterance draws us closer into Their sphere of Being and power. I meditate on them frequently.
I like the by-names of Loki that emphasize how dangerous He can be. It’s a register shift for me that demands my full attention, my full respect, and all the protocol due a Holy Power….which is a good reminder in a relationship that has been long and emotionally intimate, that Gods remain Gods, no matter how deeply we love Them and that is a good, joyous, and holy thing.
So for those of you who honor Loki, what are your favorites of His heiti?
Tonight was our Modranacht rite and it was beautiful. Every time we step into sacred space, every time we enter ritual we renew our commitment to restore the sacred covenants between us and the Holy Powers. Modranacht honors our Mother Goddesses, like Frigga, Sigyn, Sif, Freya, Hela (Mother of all the dead), Loki (Mother of Sleipnir), and many, many more. We also honor the Matronae, and our female ancestors and Disir. I wish the rite tonight had gone on forever. It was just beautiful.
Here is a picture of our altar to the night (it’s not complete — I took this as we were setting up. Our sacred images of Hela and Sif still need to be added. We did that shortly after I took this shot).
Here is a close up of one of my Frigga statues. It just arrived today (a good omen, I think, that it arrived on Mother-night). It’s not usually how I see Her, but represents Frigga as magician, as a shaman, in the process of shapeshifting.
For those of you who keep this holy night, I would love to hear how your rites and rituals went. Feel free t post in the comments.
We held our first Sunwait ritual for this coming Jul just a couple of hours ago. It was simple but fulfilling. I know that I will be meditating on Fehu and its blessings, Sunna and Her blessings and the way that She is able to work through the lens of fehu as I move throughout this coming week. As an aside, I spent the last several months trying to get my ancestor and ritual room in order. It took a long time and a lot of labor but I completely reworked the room and now we have a really beautiful ritual space. This was the first formal rite that we held in our new space. Anyway, here is a picture of our shrine (or part of it) and the prayer that I wrote for tonight’s rite.
Sunwait Fehu Week – Prayer to Sunna (By Galina Krasskova) Life giver, beloved of the earth, of Erda, beloved of all those who work the earth, and of all those spirits inhabiting it, who depend upon Your generosity, who look up to You in hope and pleasure: oh Sunna, we praise You. Your might brings healing, and You stand with Your mighty kin maintaining balance in the world, sustaining the Tree, its holy architecture, each of the nine worlds, bringing joy and growth and protection to all who gaze upon You. Your husband Glenr delights in Your glory, parting the clouds as You make Your daily transit across the sky, allowing all to see and feel the warm bounty of Your presence. You ride, unrestrained, fierce, exhilarated, counting the circuits of Your fiery horses, and counting the days of each man, woman, and child, blessing Them with Your light. You are brilliant, and the Aesir call You All-Shining, the Jotnar, Everglowing, the Alfar, Lovely Wheel, and the Duergar, Dvalinn’s deluder. None are able to match the fleetness of Your steeds, or the ferocious glee of Your passage. You are the fire that delights both sky and air. You keep us honest, Lady Sunna, and inspire us to excellence. When we heed Your counsel and accept Your blessings, our lives are filled with joy, health, and luck. You begin Your daily journey washed in the light of the grey-clad moon, Your brother Mani, the two of You so radiant even the other Gods can hardly look upon Your glory. Day Star, Fair-Wheel, Graceful Shining, Red hued Goddess, mighty warrior, fair in Your blessings, joyful One: by all of these names and more we praise You. Bless our farmers, Great Goddess, we pray, and the food that we eat, and the lives that we lead, looking always to You as the guard and guide of our luck, our world, and our blessings. Hail to You, Sunna, on this first night of Sunwait.
This week (especially today, tomorrow, and Nov. 1) are holy days in my tradition and my House. We honor our dead of both blood and spirit. I’m not going to be writing much, because I still have to finish cleaning the ancestor shrine room for tonight’s ritual, but I wanted to wish everyone a blessed time of the ancestors. There are a number of holy tides that fall at this time, including Samhain and Dias de los muertos. Honor your dead as your culture and tradition suggest. May you be blessed in your devotions at this time.
I did want to share one cool thing pertaining to a group of the dead that I regularly honor: the castrati. My friend E. went to Sienna, Italy and brought me dirt from the grave of Senesino (1686-1758), a contralto and one of the favorite voices of Handel. His birthday is Oct 31 and the dirt arrived just a few days ago — just in time. Now granted, his actual grave was bombed in WWII so that was that, but my friend got as close as she could to where it would have been located. I’m delighted and he’s getting extra offerings tomorrow.
A friend of mine is currently working in Beirut and had the opportunity to visit Baalbeck, which is home to a temple complex in stunning condition. The city was known as Heliopolis in ancient times (a quick look at wiki confirmed this) and the temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has a Temple to Bacchus and a Temple to Jupiter. My friend was kind enough to allow me to share his photographs with you, though he wishes to remain anonymous. These are just breathtaking (esp. the plaque with the image of Bacchus).
I promised that after the Solstice, I’d share a picture of our household shrine to Ask and Embla. Here it is. It’s small — we have numerous household shrines and we’re running out of room!–but potent. We started seriously paying cultus to them during this past year’s Sunwait and realized what a powerful thing it was, and how it added a foundation to our practice hitherto lacking. I had initially thought to put their shrine with the rest of our ancestors, but that didn’t seem right. They are the first and thus special. So, they have their own place as you see. It will grow as our understanding of and devotion to them also grows.
One of the things we did in my household this Yule was set up a shrine to Idunna. I’ve never really had any type of devotional relationship with Her before, but this autumn, we all began finding ourselves deeply drawn to Her veneration. I wanted to share a picture of the shrine. I’m very pleased with the way it’s coming along. It is a wall shrine, though I”m not sure that comes through in the photo. We have it hanging at the top of our stairs and every time we pass by, we pray to Her.
Tonight was our last formal Yule ritual. We had Modranacht on the 20th, a proper Yule rite on the 21st, and tonight we did a rather informal rite for the House of Mundilfari. Our next rite will be on the 31st to usher in the New Year. Happy Yule, folks.
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 (Mesoamerican, Egyptian, Greek, Northern 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.
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 it’s 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 I’ll be featuring items of interest for polytheists within Cultus Deorum (Roman Polytheism) and Hellenismos (Greek Polytheism).
ArxMercatura based in the Ukraine offers items for modern practitioners of Cultus Deorum with religious statues, libation bowls, shrines, Lares, clothes and more.
GoldenGlitterArt offers a wide range of blinged out foil art prints, you’ll have to dig among all the offerings but there’s several Greek Gods and Goddesses offered (Hades, Poseidon, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Hephaestus, and Demeter).
SummitCollection offers Greekies, which are hand painted cold cast resin figures of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Artistically, these might be cute statues for a children’s altar.
- TheRavensMyre Hermes offering plate
- Philip Crow’s Hermes linocut print
- ArcanicaArt has wooden statues of Pan and Eros
- Cronus felt doll
- Craftspring has felt versions of Zeus, Hermes, and Neptune
- For the kids, Greek Mythology building blocks (Affiliate Disclosure)
Additional resources: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a mini replica of the Three Graces Statue and a bust of Thalia. The British Museum has a range of Greek and Roman merchandise too. Be sure to peruse the previous entries in the Yuletide Shopping Guide as there is a range of items relevant to devotees worshipping under the Greco-Roman umbrella.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so. I bumped into my shrine for Sigyn and Loki and knocked over an offering of red wine. I was pissssed at myself, because it made quite the mess, but then I figured it was a good opportunity to clean and refresh the shrine, which I’d been meaning to do for some time. I have a lot of shrines in my home and I will admit that it’s difficult to keep them all pristine. I make offerings regularly so I usually use that time to dust them and make sure that everything is in order, but at least quarterly, I like to take everything off the shrine, clean it, change the shrine cloth, and rearrange the sacred images and icons. (I have to do this for my ancestor shrine before Yule and I’m dreading it — that sucker is so big it takes me two to three days to do it properly). When I spilled the wine on Sigyn and Loki’s shrine, I took that as a sign that it was time to roll up my sleeves and give it a proper cleaning, which I did. So, I wanted to share a close up of the newly restored shrine: