Sunday is for Holle

In addition to studying the runes, I have established a regular devotional practice for Frau Holle.  I may honor her through remembrance and song on various days of the week, but Sunday is special.  Sunday has become Her day at my home and I honor her through hard work and time set aside for my family.  Sunday has always been the day I set aside to get things organized and ready for the coming work week.  Grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, I’ve typically done on Sunday.  It works for me.  So as I associate Frau Holle with the home and the hard work of women, this was the day I chose to honor her most.

What I Do:

  1. Organize and tidy/clean.  Not something I normally relish, but now when I do it, it’s with the knowledge that such necessary work is pleasing to the Goddess.  She blesses those who work hard without complaint.
  2. Bake something.  Usually some kind of bread, for my home and in honor of her.  I am not a baker, but today, I finally pulled off two loaves of edible bread.  This is the third week I’ve been doing this, I’m pleased my efforts have finally paid off.


3.  At the end of the day, I light the candle at the shrine I have set aside for her and offer words of thanks or a devotional song.


This is the first time I have set aside a specific day for a deity, and I have to say I find it incredibly fulfilling.  Frau Holle can certainly fill your spirit with warmth and mirth, and allows you to experience joy in the what would normally be considered drudgery by many.  She brings such a sense of contentment in my life.

 

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Walking with Runatyr

I haven’t blogged anything for ages, mostly because of laziness, or lack of anything meaningful to say.  Or maybe too much to say and most of it political.  I’ve finally burned out watching the political chaos of America, and have decided, while still very important, I need to return to my devotional practice and magical work.  When I encountered Odin in 2014, it was as Runatyr, the God of Runes, and he set me on a path of self discovery and betterment.  I am grateful, and humbled. Loving and honoring Odin these past few years has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my life, and saw a maturation of my personality.  No longer am I the weak little girl seeking the constant approval of others, now I feel fully a woman, devoted to my children and family, strong in my convictions, joyful in being alive.

The past year has seen me neglect my Runic studies and I have returned to  near daily meditation (due to some external coaxing), with the knowledge given that I can’t effectively use the runes unless I know their meanings and depth inside and out.  It’s exhausting.  I have no idea why his call has suddenly grown so strong within me after a relatively quiet year, or where this seeking of knowledge will take me, I only comply, eager to learn, even if I do not know the reasoning behind this sudden push to immerse myself into the runes.  Who am I to question the urgings of a God?

Still around and mucking about

I’ve been busy and there’s much I need to write and very much want to write, but have been doing other things. 

Namely, studying and reading and using this time during the summer when I’m not working to explore what’s next, as I feel the time for change is coming. I’ve been reading Bonewits and his Druidry book, just wanting to explore my options. Most of my Gods are Norse/Germanic but I feel I have very little in common with Asatru.  It’s an interesting place for me to be in spiritually. 

Every couple of years I feel it the spark in me to just get things done….Now it’s in regards to my job and any long term career goals I hope to achieve this late in the game.  I’m not ancient (I’m 40), but I’m not getting any younger either.  

Stay tuned and wish me luck. 

Artio

I’ve been constructing a sacred place on my property.  It’s not much and it’s outdoors, but it is an expression of the female divine.  Artio has come into my life like a slow moving summer storm, and I’ve no idea what this goddess desires from me.  Maybe it is merely the gift of awareness. I do not know.  

I do know that knowing Her is knowing life.  Feeling it in the very fiber of one’s being. Every heartbeat from the deer racing through the forest, to the worm crawling along the forest floor, with Her you can feel it when you experience her Divine presence.  It can make you weep.  So why not build a shrine/space for this goddess? The great bear goddess who guided our ancestors thousands of years ago across Europe, who led us to food and warmth inside her caves?  In fact, I think such devotion is long overdue. 

Devotionals

My journey to Holle was gradual and unexpected.  She is an ancient and wise Goddess who understands my fears, hopes, and dreams.  She is a keeper of the keys to every home.  Caretaker of weary mothers, children and lost waifs.  She simply is……..

For the Weary Mother Looking for Answers

Will I ever find comfort

Where can I find a friend?

She journeyed world weary upon the barren landscape, no tree to be seen on the horizon,  nothing to cut through the gloom.

She came upon a well, water to the brim, humming with the creation of galaxies

And wondered at the depths within

The whisper of knowledge released

Of fearful abandon

And what is communication with the gods but a type of madness

A giving in

A yielding to bravery and strength

She takes the plunge

The bone cold depths

And discovers the secrets of the past

To eternity and all that is

Devotionals

You, Odin

The wise and the strong

You destroy me and remake me

A Colossus

Firm footed and large

I stand at my destiny and accept my path

Resigned

I flee from you no more

I am yours

And the fear I bring now is one of ecstasy, love and devotion

The fury of spring

Living in North Carolina, you soon realize that Spring is the absolutely best thing.  Living here since 2011, and even a few years before that, Spring has become my favorite season. You start seeing signs of Spring as early as February if you know where to look.  On warmer days I’ll see ants venture out, by March I can see buds on the trees and by early April flower buds erupt and nature’s most beautiful shade of green, spreads herself across the landscape. Even weeds look lovely. I curse the allergies that sometimes come with it, but anyone who lives in the American South knows if you are wise you appreciate the Spring.  This is the time to rejoice in the outdoors. To languish on decks and porches past sunset, for soon summer will be upon us and the increasingly warmer sun.  May we heal our great Earth…..

Bears

So something happened to me a long while back that I wish to share with the world. When I hedge ride/journey or whatever noun you want to use, I usually write down what I’ve seen or learned and that’s the end of it. It’s a very personal thing. I never feel the need to share my experiences with spirits or gods that I may encounter. I do not seek the validation of others, or wish to be hip into some kind of UPG sharing of every little thing that seems to be rampant on the interwebs.
As a general rule I honor the Norse/Germanic gods, Odin, Holle, Ullr, and Thor primarily, though if one would ask, I hail all of them. The most intense experience I’ve had with a representation of the divine however occurred with what would be considered a Celtic goddess. At the time I did not even know her name. This will be the first and last time I recount such an experience, if only to see if anyone out there has experienced this goddess in a similar manner. This happened in July of 2015, I lost my father in May of 2014 and my mother in February of 2015. At the time I thought I handled it all very well, though despite our troubles, I felt close to them both. I had long made peace with my father’s passing. Despite the physical miles between us, I knew the moment his spirit left his physical body. His illness was long and tortuous, and his death did not come as a surprise. I never felt like I had that kind of closure with my mother. She succumbed to sepsis, and my last conversation with her was long distance, as I screamed into the phone, trying to elicit a coherent response from her on the line. She was so far gone she could barely articulate words, I remember a feeble hello and then a series of unintelligible guttural sounds, while with my landline phone I called my sister frantic, imploring her to call 911. She was too far gone, she hung on a little under a week, and I was there for a bitter conversation with the doctor who informed us that even if she woke up she would never be the mother we knew before. I saw her one last time, my great mother, who had shaped the woman I would become in so many ways, a shriveled thing, not yet out of her sixties. I talked to her, but I could no longer feel her spirit. What made her an individual, my dear mother, had long left. Left without a goodbye, and what lie before me that day was a mere husk of what she had once been. I did not get to properly say goodbye.

So fast forward to July of 2015. I decide to ride the hedge. It was an urge that came upon me suddenly and unexplained.  So I laid down upon my bed with my staff and some chosen runes and I entered a world unfamiliar to me.  It was a place of mild summer warmth and starlight.  A great female bear approached and spoke to me. She took me to the edge of the hill looking down and as I did I saw many women. Ancient ancestors, engaging in village life.  She told me to go down and walk among them. I descended alone and as I mingled among the group they did not acknowledge me outright, but I felt a surge of recognition as I realized that I was the product of all these extraordinary women that came before me. Without them I would not exist. 
I walked past them, and came to a lake. I looked down and saw crabs rising out of the murky depths, and the spirits of the water briefly appeared to me below. Stepping stones emerged out of the water and compelled me to walk across until I came to a beautiful waterfall.  I paused and watched the water flow and suddenly I felt the presence of my father near me.  A butterfly flew past me, bright in the moonlight, and in it I felt my mother.  I wept.  Without any words conveyed I felt their love and guidance from beyond. I felt the assurance in the waterfall that life continues, in the butterfly that they had changed and moved on. I stayed there until their essence faded and made my way across the lake again. The women were gone and when I made my way back up the hill I found the bear again. I laid beside Her in the cool grass, wept a moment, then rested. I was spent. Then she told me that I should be free with my words. To live my life fully. 

After much thought and many signs, I came to the conclusion that the bear was Artio, a goddess I had never heard of before.  I do not know where she will take me, but I’ve felt her power and it is great. Awe-inspiring. 

 
 

Dreams

About two weeks ago I had a dream that I just can’t get out of my head. I dreamt that I was at my parent’s home. (Both are deceased)  They seemed to be in their 50’s, and I was my actual age now, which is 40. Every time I dream of them, they are the same as in life, but yet slightly different.  I can’t explain it or put it into words. Just different.

In the dream my father beckoned me to come outside.  It was dusk and the sky was rapidly growing dark.  He pointed to the sky and said look.  Above us I saw several silver spirals swirling. 

What’s that?

See it he said. Those are portals opening.

Then my mother directed me to look at another portion of the sky. There I saw a massive tower, much like that in the Tarot, and it was crumbling. 

See the tower my mother said.

Then I woke up. It was around 2 am.  I automatically reach for my phone to see if something in the news pointed to our world falling apart. Nothing more than usual. But I wonder.  I wonder, I fear, and I seethe with anger. 

My religion

If somebody asked, I would loosely say Norse Pagan, or maybe even Asatru. It would depend on my mood.  If anyone asked,  are you a witch, I’d say yes to that too. 

Lately I’ve felt that being a witch, or one who practices the craft can look a lot of different ways.  

Many years ago, I was in Lebanon visiting in laws.   I was still young, but had been married for six years and still childless.  My ex husband’s family assumed I had fertility problems.  Of course that wasn’t so, I had put off having children because of the volatile nature of our relationship.  

A great aunt in the family, a brave pillar of strength, took me aside before I left to come home, and grasping my face in her gnarled hands she smiled and spoke words to me in Arabic I only half understood.  I nodded along. Then she opened her Quran and began to read a myriad of verses to me.   I knew most of them, being standard fare one would use for daily prayer. She produced from her pocket a piece of narrow white cloth. After each verse she would pause and smile, and tie a knot in the length of cloth and gently blow onto it.  She repeated this until a myriad of small knots adorned the tattered length.  Then she finished by grasping my face into her hands, giving me instructions about the now made cord, and asking me again and again, do you understand? I nodded that I understood and maybe on some level I did, because I felt such a sweet energy pass between us, a feeling of pure goodness, of an old woman who was humbly offering her services to aid me.  I carried the cord length with me for many months after that.  I did become pregnant later that year as well.  Partly because I stopped my birth control pills, but I also like to think that the old hajji had taken some of the fear of motherhood out of me that special day. 

Looking back now, I see her actions for what they were, Muslim white magic.  Funny enough, that specific form of magic is expressly forbidden in the Quran, indeed in one of the very verses that she read over me. 4: وَمِن شَرِّ ٱلنَّفَّٰثَٰتِ فِى ٱلْعُقَدِ /Wa min sharrin-naffaa-saati fil ‘uqad/From the mischief of those who practise secret arts.   I might be wrong, but I’ve seen different translations that read from those who blow on knots…..

At the end of the day men and women who practice magic, from the simple to the ceremonially complex are essentially the same.  We have been around since the dawn of time, we donned the animal skins in the caves at the beginning, we married people, we raised children, we sent them off to the land of shadows, and we helped those who felt that they had no help left.  

We adapted our message to different times and spaces, whether pagan, Christian, Muslim or otherwise.  Practices that had been with us since the beginning were made over with bible or Quran verses, prayers to saints instead of to the old gods. . But we persisted and remained.  

That is my religion.