Sunday belongs to the Goddess of the Sun: Sol or Sunna (both names occur in our lore). She is a force, a Power and on a very frenetic and frustrating day, it occurs to me that one of Her lessons, one of Her gifts is that no matter how bad a day may be, the sun will alway rise again thereby giving us the chance to regroup, reconsider, re-prioritize, and begin again anew. No day, however poorly it has gone needs to be the determiner of all to follow unless we allow it to be so. That is a powerful lesson, one of resilience, perseverance, personal responsibility, and the cultivation of power.
Hail Sunna in Her glory. Hail Her in Her power. Most of all, hail Her in Her kindness and benevolence.
It is a privilege to praise Her.
Sunwait came hard this week. We’ve been shuttling between home, work, and physical therapy rehabilitation center where my husband is recovering from surgery (a place only a little less polluted spiritually than the hospital itself, and in some cases worse) and it’s a difficult thing to go daily into such a polluted place and then to return home without bringing pollution or worse along for the ride. Every time I leave, I hate leaving my husband in such a place, though he is strong and more than capable of handling the situations that arise – malignant bottom feeding spirits feed on pain ,confusion, and loss and they abound in this hellscape. I’m convinced that there are at least two demoniacs on the floor (got cornered by one of them the other day—I was rushing and not properly centered in my Gods and Their power. When I walk with the latter, such foulness cannot come near me. A blessing sufficed to drive it back but what must that be like for the poor soul at their mercy? I pray constantly as I walk through the ward, not for myself but for those who must live there, for those vulnerable to spiritual infestation and harm. I actually don’t know why there aren’t chaplains visiting frequently – It would help).
The upshot of this is that we’ve all been doing many more spiritual cleansings. I usually cleanse myself daily in some way, both with prayer and meditation, but also perhaps with sacred smoke, or khernips, a cleansing bath, etc. We’ve tripled that. One of the things that I have found particularly helpful, that leaves me feeling absolutely spiritually clean and refreshed, is a salt scrub. Now, the one that I do is specifically dedicated to Odin but I’ll give a generic here that y’all can adapt.
Nightly, I fill a tub of bathwater (and put Epsom salts, vinegar, sometimes Kolonia 1800, Florida water or some other scent used to cleanse people, places, and things; sometimes I make the bath khernips – the whole thing lol. Sometimes I add beer and/or milk. I pray to various Gods to bless it. Salt for instance, is sacred to the Roman Goddess Salis, Whose name means salt and who was honored along with Hygeia and Asklepius as a major healing Deity. I ask Freyr to bless the beer. I may ask Idunna to bless the whole thing. It varies based on my mood of the day). As the bath fills, I pray to Odin and read a set prayer to Him and usually make an offering. Once the bath fills, I stand in it and rub the salt all over, including top of my head (crown chakra) and all the way down. Then I sink into the bath and wash it off and get on with having a nice, relaxing bath as per the norm.
I will share my basic Odin – oriented recipe below. Feel free to use different oils. If there are specific scents you associate with your main Deity, go ahead and substitute those oils and focus it on that Deity. Use this as a guide and just adapt it for your own Gods. I don’t worry about exact drop amounts. I just add and mix until I like the smell.
Odin Salt Scrub
One pound of sea salt.
One cup baking soda
¼ cup vanilla powder (found in the baking aisle of your local supermarket)
Liberally sprinkle (at least two tablespoons, more if you want) sweet almond oil and mix it throughout the salt mixture (this helps moisturize the skin because salt, for all its cleansing properties can be very abrasive).
Ok. That’s your base.
To that add the following oils (remember, it’s easier to add than to remove. So, start by adding maybe twenty drops and mix. Then check the scent. You can always add more). Use food grade oils.
Rose otto, galangal, ylang-ylang, violet, anise (go lightly with this one), chamomile (a queen of flowers amongst the nine herbs), and Solomon seal oil (I like to buy it from Luckymojo shop. It’s the best I’ve found).
After adding each one, mix thoroughly with your hands. When you’ve added them all, adjust for your preference in smell. Put it in a jar and set it on your shrine for a night. Then for nine nights do the salt scrub, bracketing the whole thing with prayer.
I’ve been doing it every night after coming home from the rehabilitation center and it is one of the most cleansing practices I’ve found.
That is all for today. We are half way through Sunwait which means half way to Yule and that is a lovely thing.
What does it mean when Sunna comes in/with/through a particular rune? When She comes in fehu, or Uruz, etc. what does that mean about HOW She comes? What does this alliance imply. It’s different every time and contemplation on this has the potential to open up understanding of both the runes in question and this glorious Goddess.
I looked at my liturgical calendar today and to my shock, realized that the first week of Sunwait is … next week. It seems like it is so incredibly early this year, but there it is. What strikes me is that for those of us who celebrate it on Fridays, it falls on Veteran’s Day (Remembrance Day). For many Heathens this is also a feast day for Odin. That’s a hell of a confluence of powers.
I personally plan to approach this with several days of prayer and ritual purifications, starting on November 7. Then this is what we typically do:
- Cleanse and ward the space, the latter with fire.
- Call upon Thor to protect and Heimdallr to hallow the space. (I always personally contemplate what Sunna’s relationship with Them is like, and how these specific Powers interact, and what that means for sustaining and restoring the order of the worlds).
- Offer a prayer to Sunna.
- Light the first week’s candle.
- Galdr that week’s rune (for week 1, it’s fehu).
- Attendees make any personal prayers to Sunna
- Pass the horn making prayers as in a regular faining.
- Close with Sigdrifa’s Prayer and thanks given to the Powers.
We also usually incorporate a fair amount of drumming and ecstatic work after or sometimes during the galdr and offerings are poured out to the Powers, including the runes, throughout.
This year, before we open up the rite for personal prayers, we’ll be making copious offerings to the military dead and also a prayer to Odin as it is also His feastday.
It still seems very odd to me that Sunwait is beginning so quickly after our Winternights. May the weather be cold, the mornings filled with frost, and may Sunna’s blessings welcome us into Yule.
I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought, since yesterday was the anniversary of my Mani devotional, that I would look at one of the few references that we have in the lore pertaining to Mani. There really aren’t many and in some respects, that’s an incredible freedom in figuring out how to venerate Him. On the other side of that, I do wish we had just a bit more, a prayer, a hymn, something for Him because given how important agriculture and farming were to our ancestors, the House of Mundilfari must have had Their share of devotion, and more so than They receive today. We forget in our urban lives how important seasonal cycles – governed by Mani and Sunna – are to a farmer.
Of course, that’s not how I personally connect to Mani (through farming or agricultural cycles) but it’s something I’ve come to recognize and respect over the years of my devotion to Him. Now, onto the reading.
The passage I chose for today is from the Vafþrúðnismál stanza 23:
"Mundilfari heitir, hann er mána faðir ok svá Sólar it sama; himin hverfa þau skulu hverjan dag öldum at ártali." (1) He is called Turner of Time, He is Moon’s father and also thusly of Sun (2); They (dutifully) journey round the canopy of heaven every day to determine for people the liturgical year (3).
I do augury in the mornings and today’s message was that today is ok, but it’s one that will require patience in many little things, especially the early part of the day. That being said, I hope y’all will be patient with me as I pick my way through this verse. Also, I’m reading devotionally and to some degree theologically, not as a literature major. Do keep that in mind too! So, once I sat and translated this passage to the best of my ability, I noticed a few things.
Firstly, the word “it” may at times imply a dual form, which means it refers to two of something. Some languages have special forms for a pair. Ancient Greek is like that, for instance. If you’re referring to a pair of something, the verb takes a special form. Modern English doesn’t have a form like this. We would just use second- or third-person plural depending on the grammatical case required. If I’ve interpreted this correctly, then it stands out for me. When I read this, that use of the dual, while absolutely grammatically correct also creates a unique connection linking Mani and Sunna. They are a pair; They work together; and devotionally, I have to say this is true. When I think of One, the Other is not usually far behind in my thoughts. When I engage devotionally with One of Them, I often sense in my soul, echoes of the Other far more so than with any of the Other Powers Whom I venerate. While the lore doesn’t say anything about it, I’ve often assumed that They are twins. Regardless, They work hand in hand and the holiness, goodness, and journey of One reinforces the same in the Other (4).
The word himin or ‘heaven’ may actually be translated as “canopy of heaven” which immediately brings to mind, not the heaven of Christian religion but the dome of Ymir’s skull, the gleaming circlet that formed the space-making division between sky and land. When the three creator Gods Oðinn, Hoenir, and Loður slew Their primordial ancestor Ymir, They skillfully formed the scaffolding, the framework of creation with his blood, bones, and viscera. From Ymir’s skull these Gods created the vault of heaven, the sky, the galaxy, the cosmos – all that is above us. The verb skulu denotes obligation and duty (it’s where the third Norn Skuld gets Her name. In the case of skulu though, Cleasby/Vigfusson notes that it carries a relatively positive connotation), so here one might read it that “they must journey everyday around the canopy of heaven.” The word “at” when connected to a verb of motion carries a sense of traveling around the borders of a space or thing (5). So, Mani and Sunna each day have the duty of traversing or circumnavigating the great vault of heaven, the canopy of Ymir’s skull. In doing so, They are reinforcing creation, reifying the moment the three Creator Gods brought the whole structure into being and set it in motion. That means that Mani and Sunna, and by extension the House of Mundilfari, are absolutely essential cosmologically to creation, the ongoing sustenance of that creation, and the fabric of being.
Moreover, the text reads that they are doing this to determine for the people —öldum (6), that is humanity, ártali, not “fate” as I have seen several translations render this passage, but the cycle of the year. I would go so far as to say the liturgical year. This word can be used poetically as a gloss for the Moon, specifically because the Heathen year was partly lunar (7). This makes sense agriculturally– and we have a lot of folklore in Germany, England, Appalachia, and amongst the PA Deutsch about planting according to the phase and/or sign of the moon. Likewise, there are names are given to each month’s moon that often tie into the month’s agricultural happenings, and while the winter and summer solstice are important liturgically, so are the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. Here is an interesting article that mentions why so many calendars are “luni-solar”. Basically, both Mani and Sunna play Their part.
Despite being something of a misanthrope, I think it’s important to note that humanity is mentioned in this cosmological equation too. It is for the good of humanity that the cosmic cycles are thus delineated. We were created, carefully crafted. Our place in the architecture of the worlds was not an accident. Of course, neither are we at the apex of that architecture and piety demands that we know our place to be one of reverence for the Powers, but we matter to our Gods. We matter to our Gods, and They continually bless us in ways large and small and have from the beginning.
The next question I ask myself when reading something like this, after looking at the words in both English and ON is this: what do I do with this? What impact will I allow this knowledge to have on my devotional practice. Every word in this passage has opened up a world and we have so little written on our Gods, especially those in the House of Mundilfari, that each word is a treasure.
- I snagged the Old Norse text from this site. The English translations are mine unless otherwise noted.
- My translation. Dutifully is implied in the use of the it. My Old Norse is pretty basic, but I have to disagree with many of the translations I have read. The translation is usually given “flaming sun” and to the best I can determine, there is just nothing in this sentence to indicate that there is any attribute of Sunna mentioned, other than that of being Mundilfari’s daughter.
- “Sol” is another name for Sunna. Sunna seems to be the more poetic form of Her name. I personally prefer “Sunna”. See entry here. There’s a very interesting note in the Cleasby/Vifusson definition that in Iceland children would greet the sun every morning. If this is a hold-over from Heathen times, which it reads as though it is, then it further reinforces the cosmological importance of the House of Mundilfari in our tradition.
- I never connected Sunna to holiness in quite the way that I do now until I watched an historical special with historian Ruth Goodman. I think it was either her Tudor Farm series or Edwardian Farm series. I can’t recall. What I do recall is that she was showing how a traditional dairy worked and noted that the wife or dairy maids would not only scrub out the churns and other vessels but would let them dry in the sun because it sanitized them. The sun brings wholeness and healing, but also purification. It opened up an entire avenue of exploration for me in how I honor Her, in meditations, and even offerings.
- See Cleasby/Vigfusson here.
- From the noun alda, which in poetry can mean “people.”
- See Cleasby/Vigfusson here.
My husband sent me this song by the group Wolcensmen. It makes for a beautiful holiday song. I could totally see incorporating it into Sunwait.
Do any of you have particular songs that you like to play or sing for Yule? (Technically Yule goes through the New Year).
I realized today that I had forgotten to post about week five of Sunwait. It’s gone quickly this year — I can hardly believe we’re less than two weeks away from Modranacht. So, before I let this go any longer, here is the prayer we used in Friday night’s ritual. We spent a great deal of time sitting in the ritual space during this rite, sharing a horn, and praising our Gods and ancestors and reaped the fruit of that, I think, in the beautiful Lussanatr rite in which we participated last night. Truly our Gods are so incredibly good to us and never cease bestowing Their blessings.
Prayer to Sunna coming in Raido (By G. Krasskova) Hail to You, Glorious Goddess of the Sun, Coming with fiery momentum, Driving back darkness Driving back entropy Driving back fear. We praise You, And Your shining retinue. Hail to You, Sunna, A mighty force, Against which no malefic power may stand. You are our pace setter, And under Your guidance, we shall not falter. You sustain us, Great One, When all hope seems lost. You open the way for us, When we cannot move forward. In love and praise we bow our heads before You, For You sustained our people age after age. May Your blessings fall upon all right minded people, Blessings of protection, ferocious love, abundance, and health. May we never doubt that we live nestled in Your protection, For Your skills are mighty, and the equal of many a battle god. Hail to Sunna, riding and unstoppable, in raido. Hai Goddess of the Sun.
The photo is of our shrine, the three small glasses are for our ancestors.
This is the prayer we used in our rite:
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.
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.