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Waiting

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse
One day, my howling children will pluck the stars from the sky
They will consume their heavenly bodies
and shit stardust for Aftertimes.

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse
One day my erstwhile lover will captain a ship of the Dead to battle
They will fight the einherjar; dead will fight dead will fight dead
and my lover will kill, and be killed by his old foe.

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse,
One day, the sea will roil with rage, my serpentine child rearing up for Revenge
Their life will be lost,
but Thor will fall dead within Nine steps.

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse,
One day, the Chaos I bore will free himself, eyes blazing, jaws wide to catch up
the One Eyed One, swallowed whole
before he himself is torn asunder

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse
One day, my daughter will open the gates wide
She will welcome her siblings, and
the dead will march back down the Hel-road home again

I am a woman waiting for an apocalypse,
One day, the crowing of Fjalar will rouse my children to the final battle.
Then, all debts will be paid,
In full, and in Blood.

I am a woman, waiting for an apocalypse,
One day, all I have seen will come to pass.
I bide my time in the East, with my wild children,
honing the blade of my knife.

I am a Woman.
Waiting for the Apocalypse.

—-
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Waiting by Úlfdís is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Solidarity.

Patheos: The Lady’s Quill: Being Trans and Heathen

“One group I never had an issue with, period, was Heathens.  At the time most of the Heathen folk I knew I ran into primarily at festival space.  One year, I used a different set of pronouns and had a different presentation (I’ve been Laine in a lot of circles for a long time so the name thing wasn’t an issue; it’s a delightfully unisex name) and that was that.  Frankly, no one seemed to blink an eye or treat me any differently except in the ways that we socialize differently with people of different genders.

I was a little surprised there, and I realized that it did fit in well with some Heathen concepts and ethics.   I was my deeds.  I spoke, I told people who I was, and I acted on it.  Nothing I did contradicted that.  No one treated me like a man, or a psycho, or an idiot.  People gave me exactly as much respect as they gave me before, and in some cases a little more for having the guts to come out.”

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Road to Hel

 

They say “The road to Hel is paved with good intentions.”

(Yes)

(And Intestines, the restless writhing mess,
it is paved with the teeth of the dead
from mouths made sour by words unsaid

Its paved with the sharp shins,
the straight spines shattered,
the knee of those who remain unbending

The Road to Hel is paved with the skulls of your enemies
If thy enemies are Cowardice, Shame and Fear
for it is that conquered road which will bring peace.

Its paved with the hands of many
untold ages, lifting you up
guiding you to a long Remembered place.

The Road to Hel is caked with the mud
of ten hundred thousand times ten thousand journeys
and the strange prints of those who came before.

Its lit with the stories
of the walks to this door:

“Life is a slow march towards Death”

and

“You have gone nowhere Someone hasn’t walked before”

and that on this road, is comforting.)

Yes.

The Road to Hel is paved with good intentions.

—-
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The Road To Hel by Úlfdís is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Prayer to Heimdall

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In 2013, in the middle of a terrible depression, I painted one wall going up the stairs to my previous apartment in huge rainbow panels, with a blue banister. All the other walls were sky blue, and got lighter as you went inside. (It looked awesome, but the truth was that I started to run out of paint so I cut it with white and started to become clouds!)

At the time, I had my feet firmly on Heathen path but I was not aware of the Jotuny nature of my Gods and my Blood. I felt like the Rainbow needed a guardian, and it seemed natural to call on Heimdall, so I also painted a mural of a ram for Him. The paint was mixed with paper upon which I had written a prayer to Him to help protect our home.

I don’t really work much with Heimdall these days – not even so much back then, really.  I never really felt Him there, and that’s fair. However, I came across the prayer recently in an old sketch book, and wanted to share it here.

Hail Heimdall, Guardian of the Bifrost!
Rig, friend of humanity and father of Kings,
Bless my home with your protection and wisdom.

Keep us safe and alert to trouble, so that we may be aware
And act to keep our home safe and frithful.

Hail Heimdall, Watchman of Asgard!

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Prayer to Heimdal and photos by Úlfdís is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Gnosis, Wisdom, Knowledge

Ages ago, Odin set out to wander the Nine Worlds,
in search of knowledge, and he’s never stopped.
He hung from the Great Tree for Nine Nights,
to obtain the Runes.
When wise Mimir was beheaded,
Odin took the head, worked spells over it,
and kept it for counsel.
To He Who Guards the Well,
His eye he sacrificed to see all.
From the embrace of the daughter of Suttung,
he won back the stolen blood of Kvasir,
the gift of poets, of inspiration.
Against Vafthrdnir he wagered his life
that He knew, and Vafthrdnir is no more.
From her mound, Heith he raised
the wand wielding witch,
Volva brought forth to prophecy,
of the end, and the creation.
Queer things did Freya teach him,
when willingly He wove that wyrd,
seething and shaking in spā.
With Frigga he share his high seat,
and the fates of all men she leaves unspoken.
He who is frenzy wanders to this day,
Gangleri on the road, ever searching for more to know.

—-
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Gnosis, Wisdom, Knowledge by Úlfdís is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Decommissioning Altar Space

Or: when its time to let go, you gotta let go.

Today, 2/26, I finally took apart the majority of my altar for Odin. Its been time for a long time now.

It was Odin who brought me into Heathenry, and His was the first Northern Tradition altar I had in my home. I have a lovely Dryad Design’s statue; a scrying geode, feathers. All that remains is a greeting card with an image of a raven, which came with the statue, and a stick I brought back from Asgard, which sits between Loki’s space and Frigga’s, which is up,  but may also be modified.

Really, this should have happened ages ago, when I retired my Odin-hoop. (I make my own hoops. My first hoop had prayers and invocations to Odin written on it before being covered with tape.  The last time I used it was when I hooped for Him last summer, to end that chapter.) But I couldn’t bring myself around to it, despite the altar essentially being vacant at that point. I lit candles, made offerings, but…meh. Nothing.

My brother, an Odinsman, agreed with me that it was time for this altar to come down. What it comes down it is that essentially, Odin doesn’t want much to do with me, nor do I have much of anything to do with Him. Just because He’s the one who started me on this path doesn’t mean that He can or should be with me past that. Especially considering the turn my path has taken with Angrboda. (My brother also pointed out that as I do still have a shrine for Loki, that would be the perfect place to offer to Odin when I need to in the future. I’m also planning to keep my print of ‘Odin’s Secret’ hanging up!)

I find that, at least in my experience, its true that when you worship some of the Holy Powers, there are just some you can’t or shouldn’t work with when working with others; however I don’t feel this should carry over into Midgard! Angrboda and Odin are two you might not work with at the same time, but that certainly doesn’t mean Their people can’t, won’t or shouldn’t get along – my brother and I are a perfect example. As I’ve said, he’s Odin’s through and through – and I am Angrboda’s, mostly, and have little interaction with the Aesir. We get along like a house on fire. (That’s probably a terrible metaphor to use in this situation, but what the hell, why not.)

I have great respect for Odin. I am grateful that He put my feet on this path. (I sometimes I get the feeling I was a favour. At that time in my life, it took nothing less than *Odin Himself* showing up to get me to pay attention and get on the right track, else I might never have gotten to Her!)  I am grateful for every terrible lesson I learned from him – even the ones about how broken I could get and still be able to put it all back together. Odin taught me to be specific about how and what I ask, and about making sure I really, really want to know.

I am in no way saying that I will never hail or honor Odin – of course I will, I’m a bloody Heathen. I’m proud to count Odinspeople among my Kindred and community!

Hail to Odin!
Hail to Runatyr, seeker of wisdom!
Hail to the Wanderer, to the One-eyed one,
who seeks the wide world for wisdom.

Hail to the Burden of the Gallows, and of Gunnlod’s arms,
He who rests in Frigga’s embrace, Fulfiller of Desires,
Seducer, Wish-Bringer, Victory Giver!

Hail to the father of Baldur and Thor!
Hail to the Father of Hod and Hermod!
Hail to the Father of Vali and Vidar!
Hail to the Father of Bragi, Bringer of Poetry!

Hail to Sigtýr
Victory Bringer, and Father of Heros,
Hail to Spear Charger, Shield Shaker,
Hail to Glad in Battle, Lord of the Slain!
Hail to Odin!

—-
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Call to Odin by Úlfdís is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Odin's Secrets by samflegal
Odin’s Secrets by samflegal on DeviantArt

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Deity and the Divine – Angrboda and Hearts

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts on Angrboda in the Deity and the Divine series, one of the symbols that has been the primary focus of my iconography for Her has been the heart – primarily an anatomically correct human heart. The heart is also the primary connection between a variety of stories in the Northern Tradition.

Both the story of Gullveig and the story of Angrboda’s Children tell how each Goddess was speared and burned three times.

In the Voluspa (Bellows translation):

21. The war I remember, | the first in the world,
When the gods with spears | had smitten Gollveig,
And in the hall | of Hor had burned her,
Three times burned, | and three times born,
Oft and again, | yet ever she lives.

22. Heith they named her | who sought their home,
The wide-seeing witch, | in magic wise;
Minds she bewitched | that were moved by her magic,
To evil women | a joy she was.

The first war was instigated when the Van-allied Gullveig was speared and burned upon her visit to  Odin (Har)’s Hall in Asgard.She was reborn as the volva Heith, much beloved by ‘evil’ women/witches/troll women.

Later, in the poem Hyndluljoth (Bellows translation)

43. A heart ate Loki,– | in the embers it lay,
And half-cooked found he | the woman’s heart;–
With child from the woman | Lopt soon was,
And thence among men | came the monsters all.

After having consumed this heart, Loki then gave birth to monsters and witches – because of this the connection is made between the heart and Gullveig.

In Thursatru tradition, the Heart of Gullveig is held to be the seed of chaos; black, rime-cold, glacier made from the primordial black ice. The Cosmic Fire of the Aesir could not burn a heart so cold, and merely half singed it. This heart is Her ultimate Thursian essence.

In the story of Angrboda’s Children, as told by Her to Raven Kaldera, Angrboda is lured out of the Ironwood by Odin, and comes to Him in Asgard.

“The Hag of the Iron Wood stepped carefully into the great banquet-hall, feeling very much the barbarian. A great feast was served, of which she ate little, waiting for Loki to be spoken of. Perhaps he is imprisoned, she thought. Finally she could wait no longer, and turned to Odin. “Where is my fool of a husband?” she asked. “Is that not why you have brought me here?”

“My business with you does indeed involve Loki,” Odin said. “Give me a moment, and I will have this business brought to you, that you might advise me on it.” And he stood, ready to leave the hall, and yet before he left he hesitated. He looked upon the tall, proud giantess in her cloak of furs, and he bowed before her respectfully, and Angrboda saw a sorrow in his demeanor. Then he left the hall, and she sat with furrowed brow, waiting.

He had been gone but a moment when she realized that with Odin’s departure, all others in the hall had also gone, and she was alone. Sensing danger, she started to her feet and drew her blade – she had wondered why Odin had not insisted that she give up her sword – but there was no one to fight. Then, in a split second, the entire hall burst into flames. Fire ran down the tables as if oil had been poured over them, and the roof was an inferno in moments. Angrboda’s long red hair was the first to catch, and she went up like a torch, screaming curses.

Odin and those trusted few who had come to the feast watched the hall burn, and heard Angrboda’s screams. The fire-spell was a dangerous one, and cost Odin dear, but he dared not let her get to the door of the hall to fight. As they watched, the roof fell in, and they saw her figure like a torch, stumbling through the debris. Slowly, slowly, she peeled the flame from her blackened body, and fell to her hands and knees on the earth. They heard her mumbling magics, and saw that her skin was beginning to grow back, her charred flesh to heal. Amazed and chagrined, Odin threw a second fire-spell, and the flames attacked her once more. A second time she burned, and a second time she struggled to her feet and began to use her magics to survive. A third time he hurled the spell, though it cost him so dear that he nearly collapsed, and had to be held on his feet. This time, the giantess did not rise from the flames; they consumed her until nothing was left but a heap of ashes, with her charred heart in the middle.”

Once consumed, Her children were stole away and banished – one to the ocean, one held hostage, and one to Hel. Later, when Loki arrives on the scene;

“For Loki had arrived at night, while Odin was looting his wife’s house, and some took joy in telling him of the death of the Hag of the Iron Wood. He rushed to the hall, which was still roaring in flames, but he had not learned nothing from his foster-father Surt the Black. Leaping through the flames unharmed, he found Angrboda’s burned body, which crumbled at his touch. All that was left was her ashen heart, still solid, so he placed it next to his and fled Asgard as fast as he could.

When he reached her hall, he found it plundered and burned, and her kinsmen dead, and his children gone. He screamed and raged, and the folk of the Iron Wood arose, and they all wept and raged with him. They would have marched on Asgard as they were, armed only with their fury and rude weapons, but Loki recovered himself enough to stop them. “There has been enough death for one night,” he said. “Now it is time to undo at least one of them.” And he placed Angrboda’s ashen heart on the hearth of the burned hall, and took a knife and let blood onto it from his arm, and every one of her kinsmen in the Wolf tribe came forward also and let their blood drip, so that the hearth ran with blood. As the sun rose and the word spread, Jotnar from the other tribes came as well, and may of them shed their blood for her life also, as Loki danced about the hearth and the Wolf tribe howled a strange song.

It is said that half the luck of the Iron Wood clans went into that spell, but that not a one of them ever regretted it. Even those who did not love the wolf-chieftess would rather have seen her alive than bear this insult from the Aesir, so even the trolls from the Hound-Beetle tribe came, and some of them shed blood for her – not for herself, they said, for the Wolf tribe had often fought with them, but because her daughter Hela was much beloved of them. And when the thunderstorm rose that night, Farbauti’s son called lightning down to strike that bloodsoaked hearth, and Loki’s spell came true. Angrboda rose again alive from the ashes of her heart.”

Clearly, these stories are different, but they also strongly echo the same themes, particularly that of renewed life from the remains of a heart.

It is my personal feeling that both of these stories are correct, and that Gullveig-Angrboda was burned and renewed at two separate occasions; at the dawn of the world, She was allied with the Van, and using the name Gullveig visited the Aesir, and Her poor treatment as Their ally sparked the First War.

Gullveig-Angrboda’s rebirth is another indication of Her connection to the Van. The Vanir are fertility and agricultural Powers, part of the Life-Death-Rebirth cycle; some hold the UPG that the Van’s strength in battle during the First War was the magic of Freya, bringing the fallen Van warriors back, so they could arise from death and fight again. Ultimately the First War ended in a standstill, and a peace was negotiated between the two tribes, and hostages exchanged.

Throughout both the known recorded lore, and the UPG and PCPG of spirit workers, the has been a noted good relationship between the Vanir and the the Jotunfolk, including intermarriage (both Frey, and his father Njord, married Jotunwomen, to varying degrees of success.)

One more historical saga has a tale about hearts has ties to Angrboda; the Volsung Saga has the story of Sigurd slaying the dragon Fafnir. (see my previous posts above which further explain how I came to connect Angrboda with the Volsungs) After having slain the dragon, Regin asked Sigurd to give him Fafnir’s heart to eat. Sigurd had consumed some of the dragon’s blood, and thus learned the language of the birds, who told him how Regin was planning to betray him and advise him to kill Regin first. . Sigurd beheads Regin, roasts Fafnir’s heart and consumes part of it. This gives him the gift of “wisdom” (prophecy). As previously discussed, Angrboda is a volva and a seeress, connected both to the Volsung line via the maternal line, and with hearts through her own mysteries.

Outside of ‘the lore’ my own experience, my own personal practice (both magical/spiritual/personal) and my UPG related to Angrboda/Gullveig have heavily featured hearts.

First and foremost, the heart, both stylized and anatomical, has been known as a symbol of love for a long, long time. From Wikipedia:

The first known depiction of a heart as a symbol of romantic love dates to the 1250s. It occurs in a miniature decorating a capital S in a manuscript of the French Roman de la poire (National Library FR MS. 2086, plate 12). In the miniature, a kneeling lover (or more precisely, an allegory of the lover’s “sweet gaze” or douz regart) offers his heart to a damsel.

In this case, they are specifically discussing the <3, the stylized heart symbol.

 She-who-brings-sorrow is also full of love. She is a Divine Mother, giving birth to Gods, and She loves Her children. She loves Loki, her consort. She loves her tribe. She loves those who are Hers. She loves fiercely, She loves honestly. If She loves you, She loves all of you, even the ugly, monstrous bits.

Her body is speared and burnt, but Her loving Heart always survives, allowing her to be brought back. She gave birth to Gods, and to Herself, from Herself. When Loki consumes Gullveig’s heart, and it causes him to become pregnant and birth witches and troll women. When She was burnt again, Angrboda’s heart remained and Love called her back; Her love for Her Children, torn from her, the love of Her people, who’s blood powered Loki’s magic.

As well, the heart serves as a symbol off Gullveig-Angrboda’s status as a prophetess and volva. As we see from the Volsung saga, the heart is also a symbol of wisdom and prophecy in Norse tradition. In chapter 3 of the Saga of Erik the Red, we meet the Volva Thorbjorg, who performs Seidr for the people, to prophecy the future for them. Her entire visit is described in great detail, including the meal she is served:

During the evening the tables were set; and now I must tell you what food was made ready for the spae-queen. There was prepared for her porridge of kid’s milk, and hearts of all kinds of living creatures there found were cooked for her. She had a brazen spoon, and a knife with a handle of walrus-tusk, which was mounted with two rings of brass, and the point of it was broken off.

 One of my personal kennings for Angrboda is Heart of Jarnvidr (this is also the name of my devotional blog located on tumblr) As the Chief of Chiefs of the Ironwood Clans, Angrboda their war leader, and as Chieftess acts as Gythia to Her people. As the Hagia of the Ironwood, She is their Wisewoman. And when She was dead, the Ironwood came together over Her heart, to bring back The Heart of the Ironwood.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Help Repair the Jotunmobile!

Help! On Saturday, 2/14 (the day before my birthday!) I was driving home from work, and lost control of my car in the snow, going down a hill which I hadn’t planned to be on (It was really nasty snow).

I lost control of my car, winged someone who had pulled over, and then stopped when my minivan hit the curb. The other car is fine, we were both fine (I hit my head but not badly), however my car…the alignment, headlight, some sort of belt, its all messed up, and there is nothing I can ignore and still have a functioning car.

Its going to be 1100$ to fix my car, and I certainly dont have that. I’m also in the process of planning to move this summer, and of course, dealing with the usual debt of someone my age.

The things I do have – good friends, runes, and  have two hands and a degree in massage therapy from the Swedish Institute.

If you want to help me, AND get a massage, my rate is $85 an hour/session for Swedish, Shiatsu, moxabustion treatments, and Guasha. Clearly, as I have no car, in call only. (I live in Philadelphia!)

However, if you would still like to be awesome and help, I am more than happy to offer gift certificates with no expiration date.

If you are interested in more than one massage, we can arrange a discount.

Gift certificates can be used both locally, or if we happen to wind up in the same place/same time, such as conventions (FSG folks: I will bring my mat or table with me if you’d like to claim your certificate there!)

I am also offering divination for donations (if you would like a donation, you can paypal me directly at Ulfdis.Jarnvidar@gmail.com, or use the gofundme account, and forward me your donation confirmation.)

I am fairly new to public divination. I use a set of wolfs bone Anglo-Saxon Futhorc to do rune readings. I also offer tarot readings with the Transparent Tarot  as well; but I have a stronger connection to the runes.

There is also a go fund me set up, where if you feel so inclined, you can donate any amount, or you can PayPal me as Ulfdis.Jarnvidar@gmail.com.

My father cannot help me pay for these car repairs, as he’s just finished divorcing my horrible mother and has been more than supportive of me during my divorce as well.

I would only need to give 12 massages to be able to pay for these repairs; any I have set the gofundme at 1200, 100 more than the anticipated cost of the repairs, to offset the percentage the website takes. If I happen to raise more than 1200, it will go to defraying the other expenses I will incur not having my car.

I need this car both to get to and from work (the train is not an ideal solution, as i work in the burbs and live in the city) and to make sure I can get to and from my Kindred work, as I am our assistant Gythia. I do also have help with that right now, but would prefer not to strain my good relationship with my blood brother, much as he loves driving.

I’ve always believed in small acts of kindness making a huge difference in someone’s life, and do my best to pay kindness forward and help those who need, so hopefully, I’m right and there are folks who are kind enough to help me as well.

You may PM me here on Tumblr or email me directly for any futher details or questions.

The link for the Go Fund Me is here: http://www.gofundme.com/mru87g

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Earth

Hello folks – I’m sorry I’m so late posting today, and I promise, I will get back on track for this project and write about humanity later this  week – sadly the last two weeks of I’ve been rather ill. I’d been feeling sad the end of January, than physically wonky, and then had a flare up of a chronic health condition I get that kicked my ass. I’m thankful I have a job that lets me take the time off with pay! Anyway, on to Earth!

As a Heathen, and Northern Tradition Pagan, the earth is actually manifested for us in a variety of ways.

Unlike some of the other pagan religions, Heathenry is not a tradition that is generally ‘earth-centric’. With the exception of a few sects, the wheel of the year is not celebrated, nor is the holiday calendar cyclical, but rather the focus is more towards honoring the Gods rather than on seasonal festivals/turning the wheel. (The exceptions would be traditions such as Norse Wicca, Vanatru (which is focused on the Vanir, who are agricultural Gods) and Northern Tradition Paganism) Though personal practice may vary. As a Northern Tradition Pagan, my Kindred and I come together to honor our Gods on or near the 8 Wheel Holidays, but not quite the way a Wiccan Coven (or even a Norse Wiccan coven!) would do so.)

This does not mean, however, that we have no love for the Earth! Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, my religion and spiritually have definitely change, improved and deepened my relationship with the earth around me!

I understand that everything in Midgard has a spirit of its own, has sentience, and has a will, and nothing here exists in a vacuum. This world is delicate ecosystem, an interdependent web.  You pluck one thread here, two vibrate over there, and another thread breaks. You know the deal – a butterfly flaps its wings in China, and now its raining in New York.

This is why it is important to get to know the spirits in the world around us – the better we know them, the better we know how to work with them, rather than simply use and consume them. It allows us to be in right relationship with them, to be respectful, and shows us how to maintain balance. Asking a tree permission and giving it a gift when you cut a branch from it; taking what you need rather than clear cutting, and making it an equitable exchange as best you can. Gebo is everything.

In my day-to-day life, this means I’m more likely to take a picture than pick a flower, and either way, I usually tell the flower itself how beautiful it is. I talk to my car. I don’t kick rocks.  I pick up litter.

As well as the animistic spirits in the world, in my practice I recognize and honor a variety of Spirits (Wights) that live in and around me as part of this world as well. My house has its own spirit He’s got a nice little pot of coins that he really likes, a funny little toy, a candle and he gets honey and I do my best to keep things nice in here. He really did not like people when I first moved in, as some of the tenants in the house in the apartment below us weren’t so nice to it, and the guy who lived in my place was disgusting. Once he realized my house mate and I were going to be awesome to him, he warmed up to us.  I rarely lose things now, unless I’ve been lax in offerings, and I’ve seen the wight be a dick to the fellow downstairs who he dislikes.

The land I live on in Philadelphia has a spirit – several, actually. I get the idea there is an over arching ‘Philadelphia’ spirit, but there are also smaller local spirits. West Philly definitely has its own (It lives in Clark Park.).

Some natural features will have their own spirits – be they called wights or etins or just spirits. Mountains, rivers.

The Earth itself has a spirit, personified as the Jotun woman, Jord; (also known as Hlóðyn, Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn). She is related to many other natural spirits, and was a lover of Odin. To him, She bore His son Thor, who is probably the most well-known, and to this day most widely worshiped of all the Norse gods. (Tacitus identified Thor with Hercules, and writes of His widespread worship among the Germanic people back in the Roman period!)

While Jord is the very personification of the earth herself, and literally a mother (of Thor!), there is another Goddess in the Northern Tradition who is also identified as an Earth Mother.

Nerthus, called ‘Terra Mater’ by Tacitus in his accounts of her worship, is a mysterious, Vanic Goddess associated with Njord linguistically. Much like accounts of Frey’s worship, a statue of Nerthus would be carried around the countryside in a wagon as part of a procession with Her priests, to visit and bless the people.  No one was permitted to see Her statue’s face except Her priests – after the procession, the slaves who helped bath Her in a sacred spring were then drowned in said spring.

Nerthus is identified with Njord, as her name is linguistically connected to his as the feminine form. Some scholars have theorized they were perhaps once a hermaphroditic deity, but those who honor Nerthus generally identify her as a sister-wife to Njord, in a dynamic not unlike that of Freya and Frey.

Clearly, the earth is a complex ecosystem, with a nearly unimaginable web of spirits!

Often you hear people talk about ‘right relationship’ in regards to different aspects of polytheism (and paganism). It’s a broad idea, and unique to each area of focus. But I’d like to at least try to put my idea of right relationship with the earth into words:

Right relationship with the earth is first recognizing the other spirits which we share this space with. Once we recognize these spirits exist and have, to some extent, their own sentience, right relationship is respecting the power of these spirits and learning to treat them with respect. Right relationship is the offering given when you cut a branch; it is using respectfully, and with awareness of the sacrifice of the spirit. Its taking what you need, and not more, and not wasting what you do take. It’s the reciprocal relationship, a give and take, and ultimately, our bodies return back to the earth itself, thus engaging us anyway.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Honoring Angrboda

As promised in my previous Deity and the Divine post, here are associations suggestions for honoring Angrboda. The majority of these are pulled from my own personal practice. Some has been corroborated with UPG shared by friends and fellow devotees.

Symbols and Icons:

The heart, the anatomical human heart, has become one of the symbols I most closely associate with Angrboda. Raven Kaldera re-tells the story here of how Angrboda, was burned three times and reborn, her heart stolen by Loki to bring her back to life.

This, of course, bears strong similarities to the story of Gullveig, who was speared, burned alive three times and reborn, and who’s heart was also consumed by Loki.

There is debate regarding the identity of Gullveig/Heidr in modern Heathenry – some see her as an aspect or another name of Frejya, some see her as a unique Goddess in her own right, and some see her as an aspect of or another name for Angrboda. Clearly, I fall in the latter camp, and as such, the heart and the eating of the heart in order to revive her/give birth is a significant symbol of her mysteries.

As you see in the photos below of Her shrine, the heart is a constant presence. The very first part of my altar to Angrboda was the painting on black wood of the anatomically correct heart. I had been trying to search for a visual representation of Her to have as a focus on my shrine, and nothing I found or created was suitable until I made this painting.

Sigurd’s eating of Fafnir’s heart in the Volsung saga is also a significant event in that saga, allowing the hero to gain knowledge he otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have found some ties between Angrboda and the Volsung line.

In The Lay of Hyndla, as mentioned in my previous post, there is a fragment at line 34:

Heith and Hrossthjof, | the children of Hrimnir

Heith (Heidr) being the reborn Gullveig’s name.

Hrimnir was also the father of Hljod, the giantess who brings Renir and his Queen the apple that impregnates her, and who later on weds the first Volsung

From the Volsung Saga, Ch II

“Much wealth won in war gat Rerir to himself, and wedded a wife withal, such as he deemed meet for him, and long they lived together, but had no child to take the heritage after them; and ill-content they both were with that, and prayed the Gods with heart and soul that they might get them a child. And so it is said that Odin hears their prayer, and Freyia no less hearkens wherewith they prayed unto her: so she, never lacking for all good counsel, calls to her her casket-bearing may, [1] the daughter of Hrimnir the giant, and sets an apple in her hand, and bids her bring it to the king. She took the apple, and did on her the gear of a crow, and went flying till she came whereas the king sat on a mound, and there she let the apple fall into the lap of the king; but he took the apple and deemed he knew whereto it would avail; so he goes home from the mound to his own folk, and came to the queen, and some deal of that apple she ate.
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Now when he was fully come to man’s estate, Hrimnir the giant sends to him Ljod his daughter; she of whom the tale told, that she brought the apple to Rerir, Volsung’s father. So Volsung weds her withal; and long they abode together with good hap and great love. They had ten sons and one daughter, and their eldest son was hight Sigmund, and their daughter Signy; and these two were twins, and in all wise the foremost and the fairest of the children of Volsung the king, and mighty, as all his seed was; even as has been long told from ancient days, and in tales of long ago, with the greatest fame of all men, how that the Volsungs have been great men and high-minded and far above the most of men both in cunning and in prowess and all things high and mighty.”

The Rokkrbok identifies this giantess as Angrboda, and other sources/readings identify them as sisters. Either way, it should be noted that the Volsung line is decended in part from a Giantess (there are echos of this as a reflection of a Sacred Marriage between a king and and the land, as personified by a woman/Goddess/priestess.  We see echos of this in the marriage of Gerd and Frey, and the relationship between Odin and Jord (the Earth) to give birth to Thor. Both Gerd and Jord are Jotun women)

Another motif you will see on my altar are acorn and oak leaves. Angrboda is associated with the red oak trees – those with pointed leaves, whereas Thor, who is also associated with oaks, is associated with the white oak, those with rounded leaves.

Oak, as a hard wood, is also sometimes known as Ironwood. There are other woods that are popularly known as Ironwood as well, which I consider an acceptable connection to her.

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The rune Ac is also associated with Angrboda. Ac is the rune of the Oak Tree, and its pictograph is a person holding a stick: (Imagine and quote from Northern Shamanism.org)

The figure of Angrboda is that of a female Jotun, or giant; she is seen as tall, immensely strong, and very assertive. She also brings forth powerful children – Fenris, the great wolf who nearly ate the world; the Midgard Serpent that surrounds it, and Hel, the Goddess of Death. Unfortunately, she was secretly killed by Odin, who feared that she and Loki would populate the entire world with such creatures and thus overthrow his regime. It is said that all Loki found of her was her ashen heart, burnt like the heartwood of an oak tree.

To draw the rune Ac is to be the lightning rod for the fears and anger of others, whether or not it is deserved. You will have to stand as strong as the oak tree, and endure the blows and flames. If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger. Ac’s keyword is Endurance, as opposed to the other “strength” rune, Uruz/Ur. Ac is the rooted tree and the high mountain. Indeed, there is something very “masculine” about Ur’s strength, that of the wild charging buffalo, while there something more feminine (but not passive) about Ac’s strength. Consider one the irresistible force and the other the immovable object.

As well, Endurance is concept I strongly associate with Angrboda.

Family

As I touched on Angrboda’s father and potential sister above, reference should be made to the rest of her family, as the Jotuns are clannish to the extreme – I have representations of all Her children on her altar, and as folks who work with Jotuns soon learn, the family of their Fulltrui is part of the package.

It has been said before that while some of the nine worlds see Angrboda as Loki’s wife (or, gag, mistress), but that in the pecking order of the Ironwood, Loki is Angrboda’s husband/consort. Loki is the father of three of her most famous children, Hela, Fenrir and Jormungandr. These were not her only children, as she is believed to be the mother of Hati and Skoll, the solar wolves, whose father is likely Her own son, Fenrir.

Both the Rokkrbok and Gullveigarbok cite Aurboda as an aspect of Angrboda/Gullveig, and as such cite Gymir as one of her husbands and Gerda as a daughter. As well, some who hold to this also cite Gymir as being Ægir, and as such connecting Ran to Angrboda/Gullveig. I point this out not because I agree, as I do  not share this UPG, but for the point of sharing all the information I’ve collected.

Kaldera and other practitioners of Northern Tradition Paganism also cite Glut as both a wife of Loki and a (possibly adopted) sister of Angrboda. Again, this is a view I do not personally hold, but share for the sake of completion.

Other Beings associated with Angrboda

Angrboda does not generally seem to spend much time outside of the Ironwood or outside of Jotunheim.

Sigyn

Through Their relationship with Loki. As well some hold UPG that after Vali was transformed into a wolf, Angrboda took him in (Weregild),

Some folks feel very strongly that those that work with Angrboda don’t usually speak with Sigyn, and those that work with Sigyn don’t generally speak with Angrboda; I’ve heard this is a matter of respect between the two Ladies. I’ve never been told one way or another by Them.

Personally, I feel they must have got on fairly well if they ever did meet. I don’t experience Angrboda as particularly jealous and I doubt she was unaware that she married a fellow with flying shoes that liked to travel from bed to bed, nor was she particularly monogamous herself.

Odin and Freya

My own experience has led me to feel that She is connected to both Odin and Freya. All three know seidhr; all three are well versed in magic and martial skills; all three have associations with sex magic, and it could be argued that the three of them are each the respective ‘leaders’ (all were war leaders, and all could be considered religious leaders of their folks) of their tribes.

Odin

Obviously there are nuances to these relationship. The connection between Angrboda and Odin exists – they do not seem to be actively at war at this time, though They do seem to keep a wary eye on each other. As she is the mother of wolves, and Odin keeps wolves, I would not be surprised if this was not some sort of exchange of hostages, much like Frey and Njord’s presence in Asgard.

Freya

The connection to Freya is through Seidhr magic. It is my belief that much as Freya taught Odin, She also taught Angrboda this magic, As well, it was the Aesir’s treatment of Gullveig (Angrboda) which set off the first war. I feel that there was a strong relationship at that point between the Van and the Jotuns (who even in the lore seem to have gotten on rather well; Giant women were not uncommon brides. Both Njord and Frey married etinwomen.)

Tyr

When Fenrir was taken from Her and held hostage in Asgard, it was only Tyr who was brave enough to feed him, and play with him, and care for him in his gruff warrior way.  And it was Tyr who did what was necessary and scarified his hand to the Wolf when it was time for him to be bound. Tyr was of the Aesir, but like Loki, his parentage was Jotun.

Animals

Animals associated with Angrboda are the wolf (both through her connection as the mother of Fenrir and as Chieftess of the Wolf Clan (per UPG shared in the Jotunbok) as well as other canines, the snake (again through her connection to the World Serpent as their mother. As well, the giantess Hyrrokin was noted to ride a wolf using a snake as reins) and cats (as jotnar have been associated with cats, as were volva. Other personal aspects of my practice inform this as well.)

Correspondences and other associations
Colour: Red, particularly blood red, oranges/yellows, firey autumnal colours. Bronze and Copper. In Her aspect as Gullveig, gold and green. In her aspect as Hyrrokkin, black.

Metals and Minerals: copper, bronze, gold. Flint, jet. Dark red stones.

Herbs and Plants: red oak trees, mugwort, agrimony, henbane.

Items: images/representations of hearts, wolves, oak leaves and acorns, nine stones (for the nine Clans). Flint or copper knives.A staff or wand. Angrboda is often described as a seven-foot tall woman with waist length hair the colour of dried blood, tattooed, wearing men’s clothing.

Offerings

Incense: I have found that offers of strong almost ‘masculine’ incense have been well received. My personal ‘go-to’ is piñon incense, as well as dragon’s blood and mugwort.  I sometimes mix my own incense of oak leave, mugwort, and other herbs and items I gather. The Jotunbok cites agrimonny as sacred to her, and there is also a set of directions for an Angrboda incense located here which I have not yet tried.

Food and Drink: Whisky and other hard alcohol. I’ve given Her rum, vodka, beer.  My go-to is usually Jack Daniels. I once got Her a bottle of hard alcohol made of strawberry mash called “Sweet Revenge”; sometimes something strikes my fancy like that. I once found a local beer company that made a wolf themed beer where some profits went to a wolf sanctuary, so I brought her that as well. Water (everyone like a cool glass of water).  Meat (raw is better. Sometimes I offer it raw and then prepare it to share.). I find I like to try to bring her things I think She might not be able to get in Jotunheim or the Ironwood all the time – fresh bread and cheese, sweets, coffee. Chocolate, though sometimes I feel silly because of the canine connection. I have also found She enjoys Sriracha.

Service Offerings: its an awkward way to say it, but “Doing the Thing”, that is, the task put before you to do, unflinchingly. Learn a martial art or some kind of fighting skill (I often thing She feels very strongly about stick-fighting).  Support causes such as wolf and other wildlife protection, those that work with at risk women and children. Blood, sweat and tears (of all kinds – from fighting to fucking to agony).

Names and epithets

Angrboda – “Distress Bringer” “She Who Brings Sorrow” “Bringer of Woe” “Foreboding””the one who brings grief” or “she-who-offers-sorrow” as Angrboda, she is the Chief of the Ironwood Clans; Chief of Chiefs, Iárnvidia: ‘She of Iron-wood’; Mother of Monsters, Mother of Wolves, Mother of Death Hag of the Ironwood, Hagia, Hag of the Ironwood, Wolf Lady, She who Endures.

Hyrrokkin – “Fire Smoked”

Thokk – “Thanks” (Thokk is the Giantess who refused to weep for Baldur, thus denying his return)

Heidr –  adjective meaning “bright” or “clear”  or the noun meaning “honour” or “fame”

Gullveig – The current popular translation is ‘gold power’ ‘gold lust’ ‘gold intoxication’. Ekortu has a rather interesting breakdown of the name in Gullveigarbok, which is worth looking at, though I can’t speak to the scholarship behind it, not speaking any of the languages involved nor being much of a translator myself.

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Below are some photos of my current shrine/altar for Angrboda. The two paintings are “The Unlucky Family” By Hellanim and “I’m an Animal” by Jensine Eckwall

The first two images are close ups of the wall shelf and dresser top portion of the altar.

The altar started initially as just this shelf, and it kind of took up the whole area eventually. I’m an altar maker by nature. I like the way they look, and I love helping create them!

Up here you will see wolves, acorns, hearts. A pretty pine cone I found, the image of a tree.  There are a few cats.

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I keep some of my devotional jewelry on this altar as well. In the back right you see three little paintings I did of Her children. I hung them by putting command brand velcro strips on the back of the canvass and attaching them to the wall that way!

They are just the perfect size to fit in a little box, like the gold one below, which is my travel altar. I don’t actually carry those images in that box , but I plan to make a one just for Her in the future.

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Here are close up photos of the travel altar. I cut strips of water colour paper and folded them together to write prayers on, and I also found a tiny wolf figure recently that fits just right.  I sometimes take an electric tea light with me, as I generally take this with me traveling, and usually can’t light candles. The box was one dollar from a craft store. The pictures were from old Fables comics that had been damaged and salvaged for later use. The rhinestones were also random findings I happened to have around. I lined the inside and bottom of the box with felt, which had one side pre-glued.

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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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