When the Gods tell you to do the work, I’ve found it’s best not to ask why and just do the work. My dealings with Odin began with his guise of Runatyr and when he tells you to use the runes, use the runes. You learn by doing, by implementing, and if you are like me and reluctant to use magic on the regular, I found myself handed situations where Odin knew I’d use them, usually in darker circumstances. And you really don’t want to get to that point honestly. So I’ve been practicing galdr nearly everyday, its exhilarating and exhausting, but I’ve been told you either use it or lose it. It you want to know the runes, you have to absorb them into your being. You have to be able to draw upon them at will. It’s difficult work but worthwhile. If your Gods ask you to do the work, do the work, whatever it is, even if you don’t know the why of it at the moment. I have to agree with Byron Ballard on this right now, we are in the time of Towers. I’ve dreamed about the Tower crashing….now is the time to do the work and begin to prepare. For what and to what end….only the Gods know.
I added some additional artwork to my devotional space. Not explicitly characterized as Odin, but strongly how I see him. Thank the Gods for Etsy and the astounding artists there.
I loved you from my first breath
A gift you gave
And I shall love you when I take my last.
“Be discerning….and wise.”
This is the message I hear from the Allfather. I think it is necessary in these troubled times. Do not be so quick to vilify those who have a different opinion than you do, even if you find it loathsome, something is to be learned. Something may be gained. We may find strange allies in these difficult times, those we previously may have counted as allies and friends, may bear false witness against us.
“Be discerning…and wise.”
Open ourselves and ask why in all things. If it feels wrong or corrupt, it probably is. If the crowd tries to tell you blue is red do not agree, even if it makes you popular. Use your good judgement. Learn to thrive in troubled times. Take lessons from your surroundings. Nature can show us. Give us wisdom. Teach us to thrive in the most hostile environment.
I received the directive from the Old Man to learn all I could about the things that mattered most to me, so I’ve been reading a plenty. Mostly things on polytheism as a theology, but I’ve also dug into The Hebrew Goddess by Patai as well. I’d not heard anything from the Old Man since December but did hear this a few weeks ago:
“So I see you’re out making friends.”
I took that and the amused tone that went with it to mean that he approved of my learning about other deities, specifically female ones. For so long I’ve had difficulties connecting to the feminine Divine, and often if a goddess is reaching out, I have trouble seeing it. Patriarchal belief is hard to shake off despite its toxicity.
I’ll be honest some of his theories concerning the Shekinah I find a bit of a stretch, however the chapter on Asherah was brilliant, and I’m sure quite groundbreaking at the time. As a child I started questioning the idea of a male only god pretty early, and for monotheists who insist their god is sexless/genderless refer to Yahweh/Allah as She and watch their reaction. It will probably be one of disgust and anger. Because in the Judeo/Christian/Islamic mindset women are dirty. We are other and incapable of being a reflection of the Divine. Our only true value in the three faiths is that of child bearing mother. And even those children are not truly our own, but one more possession of the father.
There was a time in my life where I sought a monotheistic compromise and chose what I thought to be the lesser of three evils. Indeed, Islam does at least place an equal blame on Adam and Eve and regards women as spiritual equals. However, many other prohibitions on women still remain. We are unclean during our periods and for forty days after childbirth unable to approach god. Rendered unclean by the bugaboo of patriarchal men who say god made all things perfect- except women of course. By their logic we were deficient from the beginning. I’m not necessarily saying that if the cult of Asherah had persisted patriarchy wouldn’t have persisted, I think the toxic patriarchy present in polytheistic India disproves that, however at least women would have had something to revere in the sacred that was a reflection of themselves.
Ullr is a God that I have encountered a number of times, but one that I honor, as both a God of Winter and to some extent as a God for young men. I realize that second part is UPG, however my first powerful encounter with Him was after a particularly rough time with my adolescent son. Ullr was felt and blessed our family with comfort and a measure of patience I didn’t know I possessed.
God of the Yew Bow
Of the yew dales
Trusted of Odin
Lord of winter holly
And newly fallen snow
I hail thee in the cold
I hail thee in the crisp morning light
I hail thee in understanding
As you bring me guidance for angry boys
Who rage and grieve
At things they lost under the snow
I have a small outdoor alter under an apple tree on my property. I made an offering of wine there tonight and remember the words I spoke. I may use this again. Too often I forget these rather spontaneous words.
I offer to thee in the quiet
I offer to thee in the dark
I offer to thee in the light
I offer to thee from my heart
*Just a little something I wrote under inspiration a few weeks ago.
Long ago, at the beginning, when humankind was very young, and the days of their walking were a mere handful of twilights, the Great Bear roamed. She walked the Earth in great glory and strength and the People held her in reverence and awe. She taught them how to hunt and forage for bountiful food that her Earth yielded in every kindness, how to see far beyond their own noses.
To venture far into the unexplored forests, to tread over soil and stone, to see the bear as a noble beast of power, a comrade, or brother, one not so unlike themselves in all manner of things. For indeed, they were much alike, seeking warmth in the cave depths, searching for food among the roots and berries, and lusting for the sweet blood filled taste of meat. And like their fearsome forest comrade, they too, protected and defended their own cubs.
The Great Bear minded them, kept a watchful eye and a keen ear on them under sun and stars. Soon, they sensed her watching. They left her offerings of love and devotion. Small tokens of their appreciation. They carved her likeness into wood, painted her image on stone. Donned the skin of their forest comrade, so that maybe they would learn a bit of his ways.
After a great time had passed, The Great Bear watched her children from the mountaintop, and far off in the distance, beyond the horizon another Great Bear walked on the Earth. He was Mighty and Tall, Ferocious and Hungry, Father Bear, who came searching for the Great Bear. He came from far and he had hunted long for her, smelling her Essence on the Four Winds. He came from the North, the Relentless Winter Walker. When she came into view he was awestruck at her visage, and she, delighted in his Arrival. She had sensed his coming from the time he took his first step. Jubilant, she turned and fled, for the chase made the catch more thrilling, and she had waited long for the sound of his pursuing roar. He gave chase across the forest, breaking through the undergrowth, across streams, and mighty rivers, oceans of immensity, but neither of them tired of the pursuit. She propelled herself into the clouds, and climbed and climbed until the moon came into view, alabaster and bold, and to the Stars she took him, and steady he pushed on.
Much time passed, and while the night sky is beautiful, it is quite cold and she began to wonder what sweet warmth Father Bear could offer. So down out of the Darkness she came, leaving the cold behind. The Earth was wide awake. Blossoming across the land. She settled in a field of verdant green with tall swaying grass and endless wildflowers. And Father Bear joined her. Filled her with the Ecstasy of his being, as the two joined as One.