RSS

Tag Archives: PCPG

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!

—-
Creative Commons License
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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Deity and the Divine – Introduction to Angrboda

I think I shall be using the third week of each month’s Pagan Experience to talk about Angrboda, based solely on my own experiences with Her, and my research. This week I’ll talk a little bit about how I met Her and who she is.

I have been some sort of pagan or another most of my life – for the most part, after my initial dabblings in Wicca, I settled for the generic ‘eclectic pagan’. Nothing seemed to fit well.

About five years ago, after months of asking the Universe for guidance…Odin showed up on 6th Avenue. Cream coloured suit, nice hat. Big beard.  It was terrifying. I basically ran away screaming (not in that moment. He showed up three weeks in a row. On Wednesday. Dude. Be less subtle.) and asked him to come back later, when I was in a better position in my life. Eventually, He did.

That was the start of me as a Heathen – Odin showing up like “Y U Mad bro, you said come back later?” and since I’m a woman of my word, I started to figure out what He was doing there. I was bumbling along well enough for the first few months, figuring things out. Then, I asked Him to help me find the knowledge I needed.

I got exactly what I asked for, which was not fun. My entire life was shattered. I had already been teetering at the edge of a nasty depression (I had seen the signs coming, and found a therapist in Philly, finally, several months before this all happened), and He very kindly tipped me over the edge. By the time the dust settled, I’d lost both my partners, fell into the worst depression of my life, and had no idea what to do.

I joked, later on, that it was the tag team of Odin and Loki that got me where I needed to be – Odin took a giant hammer and shattered me, and Loki helped me painfully pull it back together. I mean, it involved throwing salt on it and shoving it in my face, but I am dense and it worked. I started in earnest doing all the shit I thought I’d been doing in my 20s. I made my first set of runes.  I studied. I prayed. I wasn’t, however, moving fast enough for my Lady – in fact, she wasn’t even in my field of view.

To be blunt, She pretty much showed up, grabbed me by the throat, and fucked me into submission.

It was one of those things that’s funny in hindsight – all the missed messages. There was a recurrent theme during some of my meditations the previous year – “The wolf is at the door.” I thought it referred to my partner at the time, who is rather lupine. I’d been getting woo by four smacked with signs like that, but it took a while to piece it together.

Our relationship started by me promising to set up altar space for her by a certain time, and I damn well did. I’ve kept every promise I’ve made to Her. Wolf-mamma is like that. You make a promise, you keep it. It’s not even ‘or else’. Or else what? If you can’t keep a promise to Her, you’re not worth Her time.  She has absolutely no patience for bullshit.

That was two years ago. I have been Hers ever since.

So. Who is She?

Angrboda, whose name means “She who brings sorrow”, “She who offers sorrow”, “She who brings grief” (which always makes me think of Ayesha, She who Must be Obeyed!) is known as the first wife, or mistress, of Loki.

She is attested to in Gylfaginning:

XXXIV. Yet more children had Loki. Angrboda was the name of a certain giantess in Jötunheim, with whom Loki gat three children: one was Fenris-Wolf, the second Jörmungandr–that is the Midgard Serpent,–the third is Hel. But when the gods learned that this kindred was nourished in Jötunheim, and when the gods perceived by prophecy that from this kindred great misfortune should befall them; and since it seemed to all that there was great prospect of ill–(first from the mother’s blood, and yet worse from the father’s)-then Allfather sent gods thither to take the children and bring them to him. When they came to him, straightway he cast the serpent into the deep sea, where he lies about all the land; and this serpent grew so greatly that he lies in the midst of the ocean encompassing all the land, and bites upon his own tail. Hel he cast into Niflheim, and gave to her power over nine worlds, to apportion all abodes among those that were sent to her: that is, men dead of sickness or of old age. She has great possessions there; her walls are exceeding high and her gates great. Her hall is called Sleet-Cold; her dish, Hunger; Famine is her knife; Idler, her thrall; Sloven, her maidservant; Pit of Stumbling, her threshold, by which one enters; Disease, her bed; Gleaming Bale, her bed-hangings. She is half blue-black and half flesh-color (by which she is easily recognized), and very lowering and fierce.

 

This is one of the very few mentions of Her by name. From here, we get very little, but very important information about Her: namely that she bore three monstrous children to Loki: Hel, Fenrir the Wolf, and Jormungandr. Based on this, we are able to pull further information from other sources to identify Angrboda in the lore.

In the Völuspá(The Prophecy of the Vǫlva), a volva is plying her craft, and sharing her memories of the start and end of the world. The identity of this woman is debated – from the first line of the poem, we can assume that she is a Jotun, or at least was raised by them (stz 2, line 1 I remember yet | the giants of yore, Who gave me bread | in the days gone by).  The prophetess ‘remembers’ many things; the creation of the world, the first war (Caused when the Aesir speared and burned the vǫlva Gullveig who was visiting them), and recounts the day of Ragnarok the doom of the gods and destruction of the world, as well as the eventual rebirth, including the fact that Baldur, who at this time will be dead, will return from Hel to lead the remaining children of the Gods in rebuilding the word.

The vǫlva in the Völuspá is generally considered the same as the one in Baldurs Draumer, where the story is very similar – Odin is consulting a wise woman to see whats going on with Baldur’s dreams.  Odin has gone to seek out the help of a dead vǫlva to interpret the disturbing dreams Baldur has been having (Baldurs Draumer).  He raises her from the dead, and she unwillingly prophecies for him. At the end of the poem, we have this exchange:

Othin spake:
12. “Wise-woman, cease not! | I seek from thee
All to know | that I fain would ask:
What maidens are they | who then shall weep,
And toss to the sky | the yards of the sails?”

The Wise-Woman spake:
13. “Vegtam thou art not, | as erstwhile I thought;
Othin thou art, | the enchanter old.”

Othin spake:
“No wise-woman art thou, | nor wisdom hast;
Of giants three | the mother art thou.”

The Wise-Woman spake:
14. “Home ride, Othin, | be ever proud;
For no one of men | shall seek me more

Till Loki wanders | loose from his bonds,
And to the last strife | the destroyers come.”

I believe that when referring to the vǫlva as the mother of three giants, Odin is indicating that the vǫlva who has been raised is Angrboda, the only person in the lore thoroughly identified as the mother of three great monsters – it would be assumed the listener of the poem would make this conjecture (in my opinion, this identification of the vǫlva in Baldur’s Draumer as Angrboda; that along with the fact that the vǫlva in the Völuspá is generally considered the same as the one in Baldurs Draumer, where the story is very similarly told. There isn’t anything confirming or denying this aside from the text itself. That the Völuspá prophetess is often identified as Gullveig informs my UPG that Angrboda IS Gullveig – but more on that in another post!)

As well, tying her fate (“For no one of men | shall seek me more”) to the freedom of Loki, who by the end of the world is bound much like His son, Fenrir (“till Loki wanders | loose from his bonds”) also provide a link from the speaker to Loki…the father of the three monsters.

Tangentially, Odin is said to go to the east to raise this dead vǫlva in Baldur’s Draumer:

“Then Othin rode | to the eastern door,
There, he knew well, | was the wise-woman’s grave;
Magic he spoke | and mighty charms,
Till spell-bound she rose, | and in death she spoke:”

If it follows that he is raising Angrboda, dead in the well known grave in the east, placed Her grave in the east, where one would assume she dwelled as well. In the Völuspá, there is made mention of another location in the east

40. The giantess old | in Ironwood sat,
In the east, and bore | the brood of Fenrir;

It is generally accepted this refers to Angrboda – the brood of Fenrir either referring to a brood gotten with Fenrir which is the common assumption; I’ve also thought it could refer to the brood that Fenrir was part of – that is, himself, Hel and Jormungandr.

There is also an interpolation in the Hyndluljóð (The Lay of Hyndla) of a completely different poem called the “short Voluspo” which echos the Völuspá in telling the creation and destruction of the world and listing the Gods and their history. There are some fascinating bits of information in there (such as a single surviving line at stanza 34 “34. Heith and Hrossthjof, | the children of Hrimnir.” – which forms a crucial role in my Angrboda UPG, linking Her as Heith (Heidr, the name of Gullveig after she was burned) to Hrimnir as Her father…which ultimately links her to the Volsung line. But again. Another post.)

The short Voluspo makes some mention of Angrboda as well:

42. The wolf did Loki | with Angrbotha win,
And Sleipnir bore he | to Svathilfari;
The worst of marvels | seemed the one
That sprang from the brother | of Byleist then.

This stanza again refers to the children of Loki – the Wolf, Fenrir, born to Angrboda. Sleipnir was born of Loki’s body to the stallion Svathilfari.  The ‘worst of marvels’ is sometimes interpreted as Jormungandr, the World Serpent.

Another interesting stanza follows:

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.

It is generally assumed this heart belongs to Gullveig – whom as I have mentioned I connect with Angrboda.

—-

So from the lore sources, we know that Angrboda lived in the East, that she had three monstrous children with Loki (Hence the by name “Mother of Monsters” and “Mother of Wolves”) whom were stolen from Her by Odin (Hel banished to the Underworld, where She has power of all 9 Realms, as Death, Jormungandr thrown into the sea and ensorcelled to circle and Midgard, and Fenrir as hostage in Asgard, until he was bound. We know she is from Jotun stock. We can assume she was a volva, as well as infer that her home was in Jarnvidr – the Ironwood.  Some can infer that She is the same as Gullveig, which is harder to infer, but there are some that have UPG that confirm this, or can point to that, as well.

Now as for UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) and PCPG (Peer Corroborated Personal Gnosis) there have been some popular theories on this. The best known are those shared by Raven Kaldera on his site (see the link of his name) and in his published work on the Northern Tradition. He has a shrine to Angrboda which shares some of the stories he’s gleaned (many from the Jotunbok).  Along with UPG stories/new myths, the shrine contains quite a bit about Angrboda. It is from Kaldera that we know Her as the Chief of Chiefs the 9 Clans of the Ironwood. Personally, I find many of the tales he shares to ring true. Occasionally I disagree (see: my Gullveig-Angrboda feels), but overall its well worth your time to investigate the information he has gleaned as well.

Two other sources of UPG discuss Angrboda in-depth, and both are rather controversial for a variety of reasons.

The first is a grimoire called the Rokkrbok, which I believe was put out by folks in New Zealand. This book is not in print so far as I can find it, but you are able to obtain a PDF via nautical redistribution (pirating) on the internet, if that your thing. This book takes a rather dark approach, and promote the use of some rather dangerous entheogens, along with a ‘self dísablót’ rite that is essentially ritualistic suicide. I tracked down a copy of this book for my own personal interests, because I track down EVERYTHING related to Angrboda, but its not without its issues. There was some rather unpleasant racial stuff in there as well. (Racial issues as many of you know, being the constant battle in Heathenry. This is a good spot to point out that I am NOT FOLKISH nor do I tolerate racist fuckheads) The one thing I did notice – these are the folks who coined the Rokkr as a name, and the Rokkr system of worship. It is VASTLY different from what American practitioners, particularly on tumblr, call Rokkatru.

The other book that has a bit more popularity is a grimoire called the Gullveigarbok (this one is also out of print – I have not yet located a copy for sale for less than $200 on auction sites. This one is available via nautical redistribution as well. This is another I read cover to cover, because the author (Ekortu, formerly known as Vexior) shares some of the same UPG as me  – he too feels that Gullveig and Angrboda were one and the same, and shares some of the other names I feel she goes by, but in my opinion he goes too far. My personal gnosis equates Angrboda with Gullveig, Hyrokkin, Heidr and Thokk.  Ekortu also feels that Angrboda equates with Hyndla and Aurboda, points which I disagree. Ekortu also practices a system he calls Thursatru; it is essentially a Satanic/Luciferian/Anti-cosmic system wherein Gullveig and Loki are similar to Lilith and Lucifer – working against the demiurge (in this system, Odin) to bring about true freedom to their followers. However, surprisingly, we do share quite a bit of similar UPG and there is a lot of worthwhile material in this book. I recently purchased, but do not yet have in hand, Ekortu’s new Thursian grimoire, which I will discuss later on.

I would strongly, STRONGLY suggest holding off on reading Gullveigarbok and Rokkrbok and even the Jotunbok by Kaldera until one has spent some time enmeshed in the lore themselves – at least one solid reading of a good translation of the Eddas or at the bare minimum  Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Norse Myths.  Kaldera’s UPG is wonderful, but he is notoriously bad at indicating what is UPG and what is lore based/supported. Rokkrbok doesn’t cite much lore, and is largely UPG, and the Gullveigarbok is heavily based on the Ekortu’s research into the lore, and frankly all these books are what I would consider 200 level works – you need to have a firm grasp of the basics before jumping into the UPG pool.

Damn. So my short introduction to Angrboda turned into 3000 words! Over the next year, I will be posting at least once a month during this project regarding different parts of my experiences and perceptions of Mrs A. Next week when our topic is “A” I will follow up with some ‘How to’ Mrs A, along with correspondences, offerings, etc.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,