This past weekend saw another successful Etinmoot. We had an amazing group of people present and as always, it was tremendously nourishing to be in the presence of those who share such loving devotion to the Holy Powers, all coming together for the purpose of celebrating and expressing it. We had quite a multi-national group too, one person coming all the way from the UK to join us and of course, House Sankofa brought its own lively crew. (A huge thank you to you all. I know your presence and support made the work of the weekend go incredibly smoothly and allowed for me to better honor Mani and the other Gods I love. I couldn't have done it half so effectively without y'all. You guys rock).
The gathering really got started on Thursday with a ritual by the sea to Ran, Aegir, and Their Nine daughters. I didn't attend that, as I and the Sankofa crew didn't arrive until late Friday, but I am told it went very well. Friday Raven Kaldera of Asphodel and Linda D. of Lokabrenna Kindred in Canada ran several workshops culminating in a dumb supper to Hela and the dead. Saturday began with my workshop on honoring the ancestors (focusing on what to do when you have difficult ancestors) followed by a workshop co-taught by Sannion and me on "working with "savage" Gods." Both were very well attended and everyone brought such good questions to the table that I felt like I walked away having learned quite a few things myself!
Mani honored us with His presence, and Odin even put in an appearance, (largely to remind everyone that He was Jotun-born and one might want to remember that when slamming the Jotnar). I am told by the ground crew involved that the Mani possession was just lovely and many people came up to speak with Him. He also took the time to answer questions sent in and posed by one of His attendants. (I had decided beforehand, and confirmed that this was ok through divination, that since Mani would be present, it was a perfect time to "kill two birds with one stone" and discharge the Mani oracle too). I left right after the Mani possession as this is exhausting work and I needed to rest (and my ground crew was wonderful--they got me fed, watered, and ready to travel in less than half an hour); however, I'm told that the party for Loki later that evening was a blast.
Sunday culminated with a ritual to Narvi and Vali where we made offerings at Their shrine and L. led us in a chant of remembrance for Sigyn's lost children. Most of us were bawling our eyes out during, as people shared their experiences and insights with these two Deities and then joined in the reverence and chanting. Then Etinmoot 2013 closed with a rite honoring Farbauti.
It was a wonderful weekend and many of us went home feeling refreshed and nourished spiritually. I want to thank everyone who attended--this is part of building cultus. This is part of building community and growing our tradition and reweaving those threads that were so long ago damaged and lost. This is sacred work and you all took it up beautifully. Thank you.
(Andy B., our visitor from the UK brought the huge Viking shield, shown in the photo here, to me as a gift to House Sankofa. It shows the sun and the moon being chased by the wolves Skoll and Hati respectively. it's magnificent and will be housed right under Mani's House altar as you can see here. Thank you, Andy. It really just blew my mind. What a powerful gift).
The pre-EtinMoot faining for the Norse Sea Gods will take place at 3 pm at Salisbury Beach, Salisbury MA, this Thursday.
There is a $9 parking fee so people might want to carpool. I will be bringing my blue beach umbrella which is actually a portable altar for the Norse Sea Gods - it has little painted wooden figures of their symbols hanging all round it, and is fairly visible. We might also bring a flag or two. Meet us on the beach between 2 pm and 3:15, and set up your towels and chairs. We will actually be going into the water for the offerings, so bring something you can get wet in. (Yes, there are bathrooms at the beach.) If any of the Asphodel Choir member show up, we will be singing the Blessing The Sea song which was written for them.
See you there!
Schedule for EtinMoot: August 15th-18th
(Facilitators: Galina Krasskova, Raven Kaldera, Elizabeth Vongvisith, Del Tashlin, Laura Patsouris, Jess Kaldera. Etinmoot is sponsored by Ironwood Kindred).
3 pm: Nine Sisters faining, at a beach TBA. Facilitated by Raven.
2 pm: Ritual for Farbauti facilitated by Galina
3 pm: Workshop on honoring land spirits facilitated by Galina
4 pm: Ritual for Utgard-Loki: Organized by Raven.
6-8 pm: Dinner on your own. Be back before 8 pm.
7:45 pm: Invocation and offering to Logi, as the fire is started.
8 pm: Hel Rite around the fire, facilitated by Del.
11 pm (for the night owls): Jormundgand Rite in the lake, in complete silence. Only if the weather is beautiful!
10-11 am: Dealing with difficult ancestors workshop, facilitated by Galina and Laura
11:15 am: working with the warrior dead, facilitated by Galina and Laura
12:15-1:45 pm: Lunch on your own. Be back promptly.
2:00 pm: Mani Ritual with Mani Possession.
4 pm (or whenever Mani is done): Skadi faining: facilitated by Jess.
6-7:30: Dinner on your own, be back before 7:30 pm.
7:30 pm: Loki party: Facilitated by Elizabeth, possible possession from Del. Elizabeth is in charge of everything from 7 pm onward on Saturday. Fireworks and all.
11 am: Ritual for Narvi and Vali: Galina as facilitator.
noon: Ritual for Rind, to finish everything up: Raven as facilitator.
Those wishing to attend must register in advance by contacting Galina at tamyris at earthlink.net. No one will be admitted at the door who has not pre-registered.
The cost of the gathering is $20 which can be paid at the door.
Upon arrival, attendees will be briefed on the proper protocol for rites involving Deity possession by E.Vongvisith.
Questions should be directed to Galina at tamyris at earthlink.net.
The dates for Etinmoot 2013 have been set. This year it's going to be held August 16-18.
I am taking submissions for workshops and rituals. Please contact me at tamyris at earthlink.net should you wish to present.
Right now, we have two things scheduled: A traditional Loki party Friday night and the annual Mani 'horsing' (i.e. Deity possession) Saturday afternoon. I will update folks as more things get scheduled.
Well, folks, this year’s Etinmoot might well have better been called Monsoon-moot. LOL. each day brought with it a most impressive deluge and my heart went out to those attendees who were camping in the back field at Cauldron Farm (where the event was held, though it’s not a Cauldron Farm event). I, being old and cranky, chose instead to stay at a nearby hotel. Hah.
The first night I arrived, I chose to skip the two rituals. I was scheduled to carry Mani via possession on Saturday and I arrived in MA Friday feeling a bit under the weather. I was just getting over the very tail end of a migraine that had side lined me for the better part of ten days (the perils of being in a grad program that requires heavy translation and thus many long hours pouring over dictionaries) and I wanted to rest Friday night in order that I might be in top shape for Mani the day following. That being the case, I can’t speak from direct experience about the events of Friday night. Having gotten a report from those attending, however, I can tell you that there was a lovely ritual to Gerda which took place in the gardens attached to the house. There is a huge herb garden and nestled amongst the lady’s mantle and other medicinal herbs is a carved god-pole to Gerda. So Etinmoot began with folks having gathered in the garden for a ritual to this Goddess.
After a break for dinner and to allow people to get settled (many were camping and needed to set up tents), there was a ritual to Angurboda. Originally it was planned that She would be carried via possession (what we call ‘horsing’) but the requisite horse was also ill and Angurboda chose not to come (I would have been more than willing to go over, recovering from a migraine or not, to horse Her, but the ritual facilitator did not know that I could carry Her). This was a blessing and a grace as horsing can be exhausting and is not the best health choice when one is ill. So instead, there was ritual honoring Her.
Saturday dawned grey and rainy. We began the day with a powerful ancestor ritual. First, [ancestor worker and author] L. Patsouris and I gave an hour and a half talk on honoring the ancestors, how one goes about it, why it’s important, and how it works all peppered with personal anecdotes. Then we led a group ancestor ritual. We spread a cloth on the ground and as we chanted and sang for our dead, people came forward and made offerings (food, drink, tobacco, etc.) to their individual ancestors. We honored our collective foremother, mitochondrial Eve, and many of our lineage ancestors. It was tremendously powerful (I drummed the ground with my ancestor staff until my hands were blistered and didn’t even realize it until the rite was over). Several people sent me names of their ancestors and honored dead, which I read off and for whom I made offerings before the rite was finished. (For those of you who want to learn more about honoring the ancestors, please check the ‘ancestors’ tags at the left. I also highly recommend “Weaving Memory” by Laura Patsouris, available at amazon.com).
There was an hour break after the ancestor ritual so folks could ground and also perhaps get some lunch. I chose not to eat very much because I knew that I’d be carrying Mani in a couple of hours. I wasn’t quite sure that He would come down….everything felt different than it usually does before He possesses. Having carried Him for several years now at Etinmoot (He is most beloved in our community), I had a set of expectations built up based on that experience, about how it would feel as He was opening my head up and preparing to possess. Mani tends to be subtle and to seep in, little by little, rather than drop like a thunderclap into the consciousness---and He also tends to be a gentle “ride.” He leaves the “horse” in the same condition in which HE found him or her, which is also not generally the case. Over and above that, however, there is a sense of His presence, a comforting recognition of Who and What He is that starts about an hour before He seats Himself fully in the head of the one carrying Him. Those overtones were definitely Mani but very, very different in feel from how He normally comes. They were darker, more somber, almost with an edge of restrained anger.
In fact, I got the distinct feeling that it was very nearly Sinthgunt Who came rather than Mani. Sometimes after a possession, whilst I don’t recall the possession itself, I can get traces of feeling, sensation of where the God has passed through the channels of my consciousness. In retrospect, I feel strongly as though Sinthgunt almost came through to spare Her brother and to spare the horse (me) having to deal with Mani’s pain because when He came this time, He came in anguish.
I had a great ground crew (these are the dedicated people who tend to the “horse” before and after and attend the God or Goddess during the possession) and that was really, really crucial during this particular possession. The crew helped get me into Mani’s regalia (having special regalia for the Deity isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice and very, very helpful in helping the horse come back to themselves when the possession is done. There’s often disorientation and stripping off the Deity’s regalia and reclothing in normal, human clothes is a ritual and grounding process in and of itself) and it was rapidly clear by that point that He was already about ¾ seated. I was struggling with the last little bit because for the first time, it hurt. The crew helped draw Him in and my last conscious memory is of agonizing pain in my heart…not physical pain, but emotional.
Everything from here on out, which I shall note in italics, was relayed to me by my ground crew after the possession was finished and when we were debriefing later that evening, Sunday, and today.. I have pieced this account together from their recollections.
It was pouring and began to pour harder as Mani seated Himself fully. He said that He was mourning for His son and it was His wish that the heavens weep as well. A young man, Jon N. who was greatly beloved of both Mani and Hela died a few months ago and it was this young man about whom Mani was speaking as evinced by the fact that upon existing the large tent where He had been robed, He immediately asked His ground crew to take Him to Jon’s memorial, which was set up in a small grove some ways up a rocky path, a distance away from the field. Accompanied by His team, He went to visit the grave, grieved and apparently left a bracelet. (Mani habitually wears many necklaces, bracelets, etc. …all things that jangle and by which He keeps time and He is not averse to giving them out). Then He came back into the field, again accompanied by His team, to greet the assembled people. I should note that before He was fully seated, He said to me that He would show a face that He customarily keeps veiled and indeed, He requested that His face be half veiled by a black scarf. He had never before worn anything on His head.
In previous years, Mani has requested that there be dancing and music and so this had been prepared for Him this year. I am told that upon coming back to the assembled folk, His first act was to open and take into His arms a small child, my friend’s baby A. He apparently held her for some time, and blessed her before handing her back to her parents.
He sat for a time, watching, shared out some food and alcohol. He danced with His attendants but His mood was somber. At one point He wandered away from the people and went to sit in the middle of a labyrinth. His crew followed and He spoke with them a bit, noting that the Moon was not always mild and gentle and kind, that He was lord of the hungry scimitar, that there was a violence in Him that today He longed to unleash as He mourned His son. He said He wished He could show His harsher faces…to not have to put on a pleasant face…but that was not what the people gathered needed to see. he said, according to one attendant, that we all have our parts to play and so…He composed Himself and rose, going back to attend the people. (Mani has, as several Who have interacted with Him have noted, a deep and abiding sense of duty and responsibility).
To those Who had experienced Him before, He seemed harsher, darker, and anguished. To those who hadn’t, He seemed slightly more somber than usual but still the gentle, playful God.
He danced with His people and, from my perspective and given what was recounted to me later, went on a bit of a bender in my body. Apparently, after drinking half a bottle of sambuca, He shared the rest out to the group. He sipped a bit from a horn filled with marshmallow vodka and shared the horn around while drinking almost a full bottle Himself, straight *from* the bottle. He danced more violently and intensely than ever before and at one point, began to dance so violently that a voudoussaint present grabbed my body to stabilize Him (and prevent me from falling in seizure to the ground) because Mani was sliding out of me, but then Mani controlled Himself –and there was the sense of Him exerting a very conscious control—and repossessed.
I think, from the accounts that this was the point that Mani sat down and bade folks to come to Him if they wanted to speak and several did so, receiving His blessing. One of the crew said that while He was very gracious, there was a wryness about Him when He gave out the occasional moon-token. She said that Mani smiled and said “and now I shall give you a token because I’m told that’s what I do.” Once everyone who wanted to speak with Him had done so, Mani rose and departed, allowing His team to lead Him back into the tent.
At that point, I was more or less back and my team got me out of the regalia and into street clothes. He took most of the alcohol with Him, though not all…enough that I didn’t end up with alcohol poisoning and within an hour I was fine and sober and dandy. While my team drove me back to the hotel, Raven led a workshop and ritual to Jord, focusing on getting everyone properly grounded after the experience of Mani’s visit.
Later that night, they had a party for Loki, but I didn’t attend. I was tremendously sore from the Mani possession. My team told me that when He danced in my body, He swayed and bent and did things that my back, injured as it is, could not normally do. Also having Him walk across a sharp, rocky path to get to Jon’s memorial marker left my feet a sore, spasming mess. This is par for the course and after a soak in the hotel’s hot tub, a good dinner, and a muscle relaxant (I have prescription meds for my back for when it gets very sore or painful) I was fine, a little achy, but fine. That’s the thing with possession: a Being very large and powerful, immense, fits part of its consciousness into a very small human body. A bit of ache and cognitive discombobulation afterwards is normal.
Sunday morning was supposed to consist of two blots, one to Modgud and the final one to Loki but it was pouring so egregiously that we decided to close Etinmoot a little early. The two Deities in question will *not* be denied the promised sacrifices, however, they will be performed today by a colleague, and in far better weather. My concern yesterday was largely that with the poor weather, and how very sore my arms and hands were, I would not be able to insure technical proficiency for the sacrifices. One doesn’t just promise a Deity a thing and then not give it, however, so after making sure that the Gods in question were ok with postponing a day, we decided for very practical reasons to do so. Everyone bade each other goodbye and I and my crew headed back to NY, another successful Etinmoot under our belts.
I want to give a huge thank-you to my amazing ground crew: Jess, Laura, Elizabeth, and Matt. You guys did an amazing job in less than optimal conditions. I could not have had a better team. Bravi.
Iron Wood Kindred will be sponsoring our yearly gathering in honor of the Norse/Germanic Jotun Gods and spirits, EtinMoot, on the weekend of August 9-12. The cost will be $20 for the full event.
The first day, Thursday the 9th, is free, and will center around a blot to Aegir, Ran, and the Nine Sisters on Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, Maine. EtinMoot proper, from Friday the 10th to Sunday the 12th, will be at Cauldron Farm in Hubbardston MA, from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Anyone can come to either the Maine blot, the weekend event, or both, as they choose. If you want to come to the Maine blot, email Raven at cauldronfarm at hotmail.com and he will give you details of place and time.
We are still organizing which Gods and spirits will be honored at this year’s main event; if there is someone whom you want honored, please email Galina at tamyris at earthlink.net. So far people have asked to do the Mani ritual yet again, and Angrboda will be honored Friday night, with the obligatory fun Loki party Saturday night.
This is a camping event, so please bring tent, bedding, food, sunscreen and bug repellent. If you have questions about camping facilities, please email Raven. Galina and some others will be staying at a hotel and commuting; if you’d like to join their group, email Galina. We’ll see you there!
The schedule for Etinmoot is as follows:
Sea Etins faining (see above)
4-5pm There will be a Gerda workshop and ritual.
Location: Raven's garden in front of the house.
6-7pm: dinner/networking/free time to get settled
7pm: Angurboda ritual.
Angurboda will be horsed during this ritual. People may bring offerings (and should bring offerings) for Her if they so desire.
10:30 am-noon: Ancestor workshop run by Galina Krasskova and Laura Patsouris
Location: Raven’s field.
This will be an in depth workshop on the how and why we honor our dead. Attendees will learn how to begin developing a devoted ancestor practice and specific techniques and caveats will be discussed. We will also talk about the importance of honoring our common lineage through the blessings and unifying wisdom of mitochondrial Eve and those ancient matriarchs whom science refers to as ‘the Daughters of Eve.” At the end of the workshop, there will be a brief ritual to honor the ancestors and the Goddess Hyndla will also be hailed.
Noon – 1pm
Break for lunch
1-2pm: workshop and ritual to the Goddess Jord by Raven Kaldera
Location: Raven’s field.
2-3:30: Ritual to Mani
This will be an open ritual to the moon God Mani. As He has done for the past several years, Mani will be horsed (carried via divine possession) for this ritual. Attendees are invited to bring offerings, prayers, and should feel free to ask His blessings. He likes sambuca and marshmallows. Just sayin’.
4-5:30: Workshop: TBA
5:30-7pm: break for dinner
7pm: Loki party! (bring food, drink, sparklers, offerings and plan on having a good time).
Location: around the firepit in Raven’s field
11-12:30: workshop on Modgud by Raven Kaldera
Location: Raven’s field
12:30-1: Loki blot
Location: Raven’s field before the Loki and Sigyn god-poles
This will be a closing ritual to the God Loki to ask His blessings for our journeys homeward. Please note, this ritual will involve actual sacrifice.
People should feel free to bring food, drink, object offerings and any prayers you wish to make.
Please be on time for all workshops and rituals.
For anyone who would like to do so but simply cannot attend this year, if you would like prayers or offerings made to Mani, Angurboda, and/or Loki, please contact Galina Krasskova at tamyris at earthlink.net. If you send or email whatever you would like given to her in advance of the ritual, she will make sure that the offerings and prayers are properly made.
I have just returned home from another Etinmoot, the yearly gathering hosted by Ironwood Kindred in honor of our Jotun Deities. This year’s moot was amazing, exhausting, and incredibly productive.
The moot lasted for three days, beginning late in the day on Friday. I dropped off my crew and several bags of fireworks so they could enjoy the annual “Loki party,” a celebration in honor of Loki usually including a ritual to Him. This year it included a very colorful piñata for the guests. Heh. It’s always a lot of fun. I didn’t attend this year, because I had a lot of work ahead of me Saturday and wanted to get a good night’s sleep.
The next day began bright and way too early with a class on honoring the ancestors. I taught this class and, with the help of Laura Patsouris and E. Laufeyson, talked in depth about how to begin honoring one’s dead and the importance of making this vital connection. Then we held an ancestor rite that I think was a far more powerful right than any of us, myself included, expected. I drummed so hard for the rite though that my hands still hurt! It was a joy however, to see people getting down on the ground and calling to their dead, making offerings, and most of all making that connection of heart and spirit so essential to proper ancestor work.
Afterwards, there were some preparations and mid-day six glorious god-poles were raised to the House of Mundilfari: Mundilfari Himself, Nott, Dagr, Sinthgunt, Sunna and Mani. We were preparing for a Mani ‘horsing’ (deity possession in which a person with the requisite training and gift makes him or herself available to be possessed by the God or Goddess in question) but, not unexpectedly He came down early. Apparently, He wanted to be part of honoring His father and family. It was very sweet actually. He inspected all the accoutrements that were to be hung on the poles, helped carry the poles (lifting one of them by himself), sink them, and decorate them. With very little time in between, the ground crew managed to get the human ‘horse,’ now mostly possessed by Mani into ritual garb and people gathered to celebrate His presence.
Mani always seems so fascinated by our sensorium, by incarnation and physical sensation and takes delight in the feel of things we take for granted: the feel of water poured over the hands, moss under the feet, light glistening off beads that formed part of His regalia. He danced this year, more than any other year. He gathered His attendants and many of those waiting to meet Him and danced before speaking with each person in turn. As always, many came away besotted with this glorious God, and He left much comfort and healing in His wake.
This year, we were graced with Sunna’s presence too. A devotee new to horsing had offered to carry Sunna (should Sunna agree) and to our great delight we were able to celebrate Sunna and Mani together. It was a particular grace not only experiencing the feel of Sunna’s presence through the medium of Her horse, but seeing the interaction between Her and Her brother. It was very clear They have a close and joyous relationship.
After this ritual, the respective ‘horses’ were given time to recover and the day’s public events concluded for the day.
Sunday morning began with a workshop on fire work, the “medicine” if you will, of this element, our eldest ancestor. I taught that one too, and spoke about the importance of fire to our Ancestors, its role in the creation of the worlds, our various Deities associated with fire, and the proper way to engage with it ritually. This workshop was well attended and several of those gathered brought up many good points. It was a nice sharing of knowledge and though it was the first time I spoke about fire work, and though I found myself having to navigate around my own ritual taboos with fire, I think this workshop went very well indeed. I learned a lot myself just from the interactions and questions of those gathered.
After this, there was a lovely, truly lovely faining to Sleipnir. Of all of Loki’s children, my adopted mom used to say that Sleipnir alone as a colt contained joy. I so rarely see Him honored. It was a particular pleasure when Jalkr facilitated this rite and we were all given a chance to hail Him in ritual, and lay out offerings to this most magical of Beings.
Finally, there was a very moving memorial to my adopted mom. We set up a memorial stone for her and held a ritual that I think would have pleased her very much. She never wanted any type of service, but I think even she would have been ok with this one. People talked about how much her friendship had meant to them, how knowing her transformed their lives for the better. I spoke about the tremendous impact she had on me personally and how much I love and miss her. We told stories and shared funny little anecdotes. People talked about how even in death, her example continues to inspire them to more mindful devotion, lifting them up when all they want to do is curl up and stop. Then a beautiful stone with the words in runes: “We Remember Fuensanta” and carved by Bella Kaldera was raised right near the shrine to Narvi and Vali. This was particularly fitting since my adopted mom loved those children dearly and wanted nothing more than to see Them honored. We laughed and cried and my adopted mom was rightly honored.
That concluded Etinmoot and amidst many goodbyes and much laughter we all parted, heading for our respective homes late that afternoon.
A big thank you to the gythia of Ironwood Kindred, Elizabeth Vongvisith, for making all of this possible and for hosting yet another successful and joyous gathering. Well done, Elizabeth!
(The photo above shows the six God poles. In order from left to right, you can see Mani, Nott, Mundilfari, Sinthgunt, Dagr, and Sunna. I'm told Mani delighted in opening all the little pouches and handling the windchimes that are now hanging from His pole. This photo is courtesy of the lovely Linda D. Thank you so much, Linda!)