Folks can check that out here:
That is all for now.
I just received work that a new Frigga shrine is up and running. :)
Folks can check that out here:
That is all for now.
I just received word that Asphodel Press has put out its first Hela devotional. This particular book has been in the works (as far as I know) for several years now and I am delighted that it's finally available. I had the privilege of reading a couple of the prayers and two of the articles for their respective authors a couple of years ago and if that's any indication by which to go, this devotional promises to be both powerful and beautiful. (I'm waiting for my copies to arrive in the mail!). Check it out, it's called "Wholly: A Devotional for Hella.":
(yes, I dislike the title, but this isn't my book so it wasn't my call. don't let it dissuade you from considering a purchase).
There is a new shrine to the Jotun Deity Hyndla now available. Check it out here:
(Some of you will already know about this since this one has been up for a week or so. I received notification of it then but this is the first chance I've had to post. The perils of grad school).
(My oath sister has been bugging me to post the following all week. Apparently Hreðe has been coming up in conversation on several different forums, which I think is lovely. I would love to see Her more commonly honored. Anyway, this is an excerpt from an as yet untitled “book of hours” that I’m working on, which was in turn excerpted from my now defunct Patheos column. Enjoy folks. The bit about Hreðe starts about half way down.)
As Charming of the Plough honors the tools that work the land, Ostara honors the fecundity of the land itself. Here we taste the beginning of that vibrant sexual energy that reaches its apex at Walpurgis or Beltane. I suspect that ritual methods of drawing on and channeling this energy was one of the mysteries of Eostre that we have lost. This is a time to honor the hunger of flesh for flesh, the urge to procreate, the draw of one body to another. This is part of Her mysteries and as the holiday of Ostara is about the reawakening of the land, so too it is about the reawakening of the body’s hungers: a celebration of carefully channeled spring fever!
We can also honor the moon God Mani and the Sun Goddess Sunna on Ostara because this is a day of balance, when night is equal to day. We’re only just seeing the restoration of the worship of these two Deities, though Their importance to our ancestors, who despite tales of Viking raids lived largely agrarian lifestyles was probably tremendous. Their blessings, after all, are necessary for any fecundity of the land.
The rabbit or hare has a long history as a sacred animal. The earliest known reference in British lore that comes to mind is Boudicca. Before going on her attacks against the Romans, she loosed a hare in honor of the Goddess Andraste. Further, the rabbit is a symbol of fecundity and fertility. The rabbit is also associated with the moon and was thought, in many folklores, to be a symbol of good luck. In a nice bit of synchronicity, we’ve just passed the Lunar New year and are now in the year of the rabbit, which makes it a particularly auspicious time to honor this animal spirit. Rabbit is all about tapping into one’s creativity, overcoming fear, and engaging in artistic expression – all good ways to herald in the spring!
We no longer live lives so intimately connected to the land as those of our ancestors yet we are still, in so many ways, dependent on those ancient rhythms for our health, state of mind, and yes, for sustenance. Though most of us aren’t farmers, we still have to eat and despite all the inventions and interventions of modernity, that food still comes from the blessings of the earth. It is right and proper to honor its rhythms and to celebrate the turning of the seasonal tides so that we may continue reclaiming our traditions.
In addition to Eostre, there is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess also associated with this time of year: Hreðe. This Goddess holds a very special place in my heart for no other reason than that I was born at the tail end of Her month, March. We don’t know very much about Her in fact, other than that March is Her month and was once called “Hreðe-monath” by our Anglo-Saxon forebears. Bede tells us this in his de Temporibus Ratione. Etymologically, Her name may mean “the Victorious One” or “the Famous One.” Beyond that, there’s nothing but our willingness to seek Her out. Now granted, that’s no small thing, however much we might wish for more concrete information. Still, many Heathens would give much to have a little more first-hand source material for Her worship.
Personally, I know this Goddess by feel, by the pressing momentum that for me so defines Her presence. When I sense Her, I sense also a tumble of rushing winds, a gaiety, and a fierceness. I associate Her with those brisk winds and I can’t help but think of the old saying about March “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” She is best personified by the chill weather heralding and preceding the coming of spring. Given the etymology of Her name, there is some indication that She might have been a battle Goddess. Certainly She is a Goddess Who can really shake things up – not a bad thing, especially after the enforced inertia of winter. Being an Aries myself, I like to think that perhaps She can be said to embody the best characteristics of the Arien personality: independence, forcefulness, fearlessness, immense creative drive, catalytic power, and a certain whimsical attractiveness. (Being an Aries, we won’t talk about the negative aspects of this sign!).
Scholar Rudolf Simek points to the world of folklorist Jakob Grimm and draws a connection between Hreðe and the Roman God Mars, which would reinforce both Her connection to battle, and Her connection to the land’s fertility (Mars was originally a God of agriculture and fecundity of the land) (Simek, p. 159).
I usually honor Her in early March, and again when the sun passes into Aries. Chilly, windy days where the scent of spring is in the air but its promise not yet realized are perfect days to call Her name, pour out offerings, and honor the feel of Her presence. So this March, consider setting up an altar to Her, perhaps holding a ritual in Her honor. We are never going to adequately restore the traditions of our ancestors if we are unwilling to engage with the Holy Powers directly. For every Deity Whose name and ways of worship we know, another has been lost to us. Let’s make sure that’s not the case with Hreðe. I encourage everyone reading this who might be so moved to honor Her, and to post about your experiences with Her, your prayers, your rituals here. Let this week be a celebration of Her blessings. Hail, Hreðe, in Your majesty, in Your power, for all Your mysteries yet to be reveal.
Prayer to Hreðe
I say hail to Hreðe, Mighty Goddess!
With explosive force, You banish winter.
With enervating drive, You push us into
the rejuvenating arms of Spring.
Cleanse me, Glorious Goddess,
of all those things that hold me back.
Unfetter my mind, heart, and will,
that I might set my feet unswervingly on the road
Hail, Hreðe, ever-victorious in every struggle!
(Krasskova, Exploring, p. 111)
Prayer to Hreðe from an Aries child
The lion winds of March herald Your passing,
Untamable, Fierce, and Proud:
You come, unstoppable, opening the way
for the gifts Eostre will soon bring.
You will not be bound.
You are as impossible to grasp
to hold, to contain
as the rushing winds
that so define this season.
When You come to me, oh Goddess,
it is with a pushing, driving momentum
that I can neither resist nor deny.
When Your presence fills my world,
it brings strength and laughter
and the whisper that something better
lies just around the corner,
if only I can run fast enough
to claim it, if only I don’t give up.
I, born in the month of the ram--
Aries child, with temper and wit to match
that mighty sign’s fearsome reputation,
I pay homage to You.
If it be not hubris, I like to think,
that perhaps You laughed,
on the day of my birth.
Please watch over me, Goddess,
of a month both raw and wild;
watch over this warrior child,
who strives always to be strong like You;
and I will praise Your name
Ways to Honor Hreðe
Colors: light yellow, light blue, white – all colors I associate with the wind.
Symbols and Altar Suggestions: streamers, lamb, ram, lion, pinwheels (like streamers, something that catches and plays in the wind), spring flowers, dandelions.
Food and Drink Offerings: good liquor, good wine, candy, cake and other sweets, spicy foods, mint juleps, mojitos (the common thread being mint).
Service Offerings: Make a donation to a charity like The Wind Works Project (http://thewindworksproject.com/) that is devoted to clean air, reducing carbon emissions, and saving the environment; if you have children, spend a day totally devoted to playing with them. Make it their day. There is an aspect of this Goddess that I personally have only barely glimpsed that delights in the play of children.
Contra-indications: littering, wasting energy or resources, squelching a child’s happiness or creativity.
May She be hailed!
Every spring, when March rolls around, I spend a couple of weeks focusing my devotions on the Goddess Hreðe. We don’t know very much about Her. We’ve only a couple of lines from Bede to guide us, but those lines are intriguing and Her presence is amazing. She’s an Anglo-Saxon Goddess. Etymologically, Her name may mean “Victorious One,” or “Famous One.” Beyond that, we only know that Bede associated Her with March. That’s it. Personally, as I wrote in a previous article about Her, I know this Goddess by feel, by the pressing momentum that for me defines Her presence. When I sense Her, I sense also a tumble of rushing winds, a gaiety, and a fierceness. Because I was born at the tail-end of March, it seems right and proper to honor Her at this time. I try to do something a little different for Her every year, so this year, I am beginning my month-long honoring of Her by creating a set of Adorations, which I shall now share with you. It’s not March quite yet, but we’ve only one more day to go.
31 Adorations to Hreðe
I adore You, Victorious One.
I adore You, Famous One.
I adore You, Goddess of the lion winds of March.
I adore You, Herald of Spring.
I adore You, Untamed.
I adore You, Proud.
I adore You, never forgotten.
I adore You, friend of Eostre.
I adore You, Who will not be bound.
I adore You, Who can never be captured.
I adore You, friend of the winds.
I adore You, Racer.
I adore You, Dancer.
I adore You, Laughing Whirlwind.
I adore You, Fierce One.
I adore You, Irresistible One.
I adore You, Warrior
I adore You, Friend of children.
I adore You, Friend of farmers.
I adore You, Who steals away the chill of the land.
I adore You, Who delights in wild places.
I adore You, Patron of those born in the sign of Aries.
I adore You, Who opens the way.
I adore You, Far-sighted One.
I adore You, Implacable One.
I adore You, Never Still.
I adore You, Goddess of gaiety.
I adore You, Goddess of raw, chilly places.
I adore You, Who delights in Her solitude.
I adore You, Who delights in freedom.
I adore You, Who delights in the seasons
and never-ending inevitability of change.
Hail to You, Hreðe. Hail Goddess of the whirlwind. Hail Goddess of March, Who prepares the way for Ostara’s blessings.
(I’ll be posting more about this Goddess as the month of March progresses. I was delighted to see Her name coming up for discussion on a couple of different mailing lists. It makes me happy to know that others are honoring Her too).
(I'm posting this a couple of days early thanks to a positively crazy school schedule:)
I do not expect this to be a particularly popular post. If you are greatly enamored of the concept of “The Divine Feminine,” you might want to skip this one, because I’ll say right up front, that I am not and this article, however brief, is going to explore the reasons why. Oh, I worship numerous Goddesses I simply don’t embrace the fuzzy thinking inherent in what I consider to be the incredibly dismissive idea of one great "Divine Feminine." After all, you don’t hear us talking about “the Divine Masculine” do you, even when we’re discussing various Gods? No, I didn’t think so—at least I haven’t and I hope I never do.
What prompted this particular article? Well, I teach at an interfaith seminary and to date, I am the only polytheistic faculty member. I’ve been surprised at the learning curve this often entails for some of my students (and I have a lovely bunch of students, deeply engaged, spiritual people who are going to make fantastic clergy) and even other faculty. I recently overheard a comment in the course of my teaching about honoring “many Gods and the Goddess.” …..so the Gods are individuals but the Goddesses are an undifferentiated, monolithic unit? “Divine Feminine,” “the Goddess”: the language itself –linguistically-implies less sentient beings and more an idea, a philosophy, a paradigm. No, I don’t think so. Moreover, I grow intensely weary of hearing otherwise sensible people talking about “the” Goddess. Which One? Which Goddess? To a hard polytheist steeped in his or her ancestral traditions, such comments are not only inaccurate but borderline disrespectful and possibly blasphemous. To a philologist, it’s just sloppy (in English we have definite and indefinite articles for a reason after all) and to a historian of religion, historically inaccurate.
Why is it so important for people, and it seems to be very important given the emotional hold this idea has on folks, that there be one unified female force? We are not monotheists. We can celebrate the glorious diversity of the Divine without the need for over-syncretization. Why is it so important to imagine that all our many Deities are One (or at best, Two)? Moreover, “feminine” in our culture, in the way we English speakers use language is not in fact synonymous with ‘female.’ Do we really want to consistently and consciously invest our many Goddesses with the issues inherent in the limited way we view “femininity”? ‘Feminine’ and ‘masculine’ are polarizing and highly charged words within our cultural matrix. Do we really want to reinforce artificial (and very binary) gender roles every single time we conceptualize Divinity?
Most of us are coming from monotheism, which is inherently binary (if there is one true way after all, then its opposite must also exist). It takes time to shed that conditioning. None of us come into our new religions completely clean of monotheistic influence. How could we? We all grew up in an adamantly monotheistic culture and I think this is very important to remember. One step between polytheism and monotheism is that of pantheism (Deity in everything, not necessarily differentiated) and panentheism (Deity in everything and also independent of everything but also largely undifferentiated). It is into this undifferentiated mass that it seems many people coming into our communities fall. Sadly, it is a step not that far removed from monotheism itself.
Historically, the Goddess spirituality movement was perhaps a necessary corrective to two thousand years of male-centric monotheism and its abuses. However, I question even the use of the term “sacred feminine,” since its origins lay in a western glorification of Hindu religious culture (a good place to start one’s own research is “Drawing Down the Moon” by M. Adler if one doubts my historiography). Instead of turning our eyes to reclaiming our own ancestral traditions, we first took a roundabout tour through Eastern religious traditions during the hippie years. Tack on second wave feminism and you have this fixation with “The Divine Feminine” along with a certain politicizing of the idea of Goddesses in general. How we engage with the Holy Powers should not be an expression of our political and social agendas. The Gods and Goddesses are not there to fix everything for us nor are They manifestations of our social angst. They’re certainly not manifestations of our own unconscious. Engagement should exist on its own, cleanly, with the goal of adoration and respect, honoring and offering, of maintaining these very ancient contracts between our world, each and every one of us, and the world of the sacred.
In fact, one of the main reasons that I am so adamantly against this idea of “Divine feminine” is where in practice it leads. Does it really matter, after all, if you pay attention to specific culturally developed rites and rituals, traditions and taboos by which individual Goddesses have been honored for generations if indeed They are all one Goddess? It’s tremendously self-serving.
I was discussing just this topic with my colleague and friend Kenaz Filan (you can find hir blog at http://kenazfilanblogspot.com) who weighed in with the following:
"I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I'm not at all sure that "the God and the Goddess" are a major improvement over "the God." Hell, in some ways I prefer the Catholic approach of turning Gods into "saints" and "angels." Saints and angels are venerated, honored and respected in their own right. I'm not sure a theology that turns Hathor, Freda, Erzulie Freda, Aphrodite, Athena, the Morrigan, Brigitte, Isis, and Lakshmi into one big bland mushy ill-defined "Goddess" does that at all. The Catholics reduce the Gods to saints: the "Divine Masculine/Feminine" folks reduce them to mere symbols which exist only as "facets" of a greater whole. And those symbols can then be co-opted for the political agenda du jour, used as "tools for personal understanding" and what have you. Instead of the seeker serving the Gods, the Gods are used to serve the seeker."
And that, my friends, is the definition of impiety, arrogance, hubris, and several other equally ill-considered things. A theology that keeps the Holy Powers safely distant from human affairs, a theology that is unlikely to impact or interfere with one's life in any way, a theology that gives the devotee nothing to fear and nothing to which to aspire, and most of all, nothing to obey is, (to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, who hit the nail on the head with this one), the absolute antithesis of what any spiritual or religious experience should be. (Thank you, again, Kenaz, for bringing the original quote by C.S. Lewis to my attention).
I'm again paraphrasing part of our conversation when I note that the idea of "The Divine Feminine" and "the Divine Masculine" do precisely that. They're overly-broad, extremely nebulous spiritual cop-outs for people who can't see their way toward actually engaging with the personification of the Powers. They turn the Deities into (again quoting Kenaz here) "spiritual clay which worshippers can fashion in their own image." Again, that is the last thing authentically engaged spiritually should be. Spiritual engagement, after all, is not about us, nor is it something that should fall under the rubric of some fuzzy self-help movement.
Now are there Deities that fall very clearly into distinct gender roles and categories? Of course. There are even those Who behave in ways that our culture views as more stereotypically "feminine" or "masculine." One of the points that Kenaz noted, however, was that 'if you look back at the myths, you'll also see that there was a great deal of gender bending. You have Odin wearing women's clothing to learn seidhr; you have the bearded Aphrodite, you have a recognition not that the Gods are constructs, but that gender roles are constructs and there is great power to be had for those who are willing to challenge them. I find that far more empowering and liberating than a Z Budapest/fratboy theology which reduces men, women, and Gods to their genitalia."
I don't think I can put it any better than that.
(thank you, Kenaz, for your willingness, while doing diaper duty with your baby girl, to hash these ideas around with me).
My friend Sophie wrote some adorations to Bast. check them out: http://sreicher.weebly.com/1/post/2012/02/68-adorations-to-bast.html
I am love, love, loving these. If any of you write Adorations for your Gods, please let me know and I will post the link to your page here.
I do not have a devotion to Brigid, but long ago I was trained by a priestess who did (she was a silversmith by profession); and I have felt the enormity of Her blessings once. So, with this being Imbolc, Brigid’s feast day and with all the Adorations going around, I though that Brigid should have a set too. So this is for Her, and for all my Pagan and Celtic polytheist friends who honor Her.
72 Adorations to Brigid
I adore You, Exalted One.
I adore You, Mistress of the Forge.
I adore You, Mistress of Healing.
I adore You, Goddess of the sacred waters.
I adore You, Midwife.
I adore You, Goddess of fire.
I adore You, Hammer of the Heavens.
I adore You, daughter of the Dagda.
I adore You, wife of Bres.
I adore You, Mother of Ruadan.
I adore You, Triple-Aspected.
I adore You, Goddess of Poets.
I adore You, Who brings incantation’s fire.
I adore You, Sister of Aengus.
I adore You, mighty Teacher.
I adore You, loving Mother.
I adore You, wise in lamentations.
I adore You, Adoration of poets.
I adore You, Mother of Bards.
I adore You, Wise in words.
I adore You, mighty in song.
I adore You, who invented the whistle.
I adore You, Mighty Blacksmith.
I adore You, Fiery Arrow.
I adore You, Most Wise.
I adore You, Who would not be conquered.
I adore You, Who never abandoned Your people.
I adore You, Goddess of high places.
I adore You, Unsurpassed in Eloquence.
I adore You, Goddess of unequaled Craftsmanship.
I adore You, Goddess of Brilliance.
I adore You, Quick of Mind.
I adore You, Joyous One.
I adore You, Much skilled in the crafts of war.
I adore You, Goddess of the hearth.
I adore You, Beloved by women.
I adore You, of the perpetual flame.
I adore You, Goddess of Kildare.
I adore You, Who protects Her priestesses.
I adore You, Goddess of sacred knowledge.
I adore You, Who bridged traditions.
I adore You, Who was made a saint.
I adore You, Who gives fertility.
I adore You, Who unlocks creativity.
I adore You, of the Tuatha de Danaan.
I adore You, Goddess of writers.
I adore You, Divine Herbalist.
I adore You, Keeper of many wells.
I adore You, Most Beloved.
I adore You, Brigantia.
I adore You, Protector of Your people.
I adore You, Victory Goddess.
I adore You, Nympha Brigantia.
I adore You, Heavenly Brigid.
I adore You, Brightest Sage.
I adore You, Goddess of Kingship.
I adore You, Who nourishes the land.
I adore You, Who nourishes the waters.
I adore You, Who blesses by fire.
I adore You, Who possesses the gifts of air.
I adore You, Warrior.
I adore You, of the White Boar.
I adore You, Goddess of the Sun.
I adore You, Who blesses with Your staff.
I adore You, Protector of animals.
I adore You, Ancient Mediator.
I adore You, Who brings peace.
I adore You, Holiest of the Powers.
I adore You, Goddess of the Gael.
I adore You, Brigid,
I adore You, In all Your names.
I adore You, Goddess of the living flame.
Ever and always.
This is the last call for those who might want to contribute to my forthcoming devotional to Idunna and Bragi. I'm nearly finished preparing the manuscript for submission and I hope to be ready to submit by February 15.
If anyone wants to contribute anything, please contact me at tamyris at earthlink dot net ASAP.
(hint: i'm especially looking for a couple more apple-related recipes).
What Should the Devotional Be Called?
In the meantime, I have not yet decided upon a title. I am taking suggestions. Please post here if you would like to weigh in.
If i choose your title, I will give you a free copy of the finished devotional and a mention in the acknowledgements section.
My friend Setep wrote this series of Adorations as an offering to Sekhmet. He has been Her devotee and Her priest since before I was born. Needless to say, he adores Her, and serves Her both in His working life (he’s a physician) and in His daily devotions. This piece wasn’t finished in time to make it into my devotional to Sekhmet, but it will be going into the second edition. In the meantime, I have my friend’s permission to share it here. --GK
77 Adorations for Sekhmet
Adoration unto You, Beloved Sekhmet.
Adoration be upon the gleaming eye of Ra.
Adoration onto You, Source of all Power.
Beautiful is the Terror You evoke.
I adore You, Mistress of Hekau.
I adore You, Roamer of the Desert.
I adore you Lady of Fetters,
Who binds the evildoer.
I adore You, Who guards the path to Amenti.
I adore You, Mother of the Dead.
I adore You, Bringer of Judgment
I adore You, Lady of the Tomb.
I adore You, Lady of the House of Life.
I adore You, Surgeon of Surgeons.
I adore You, Mistress of Plagues.
I adore You, Destroyer of Rebellions.
I adore You, Ever-Victorious One.
I adore You, Fierce Warrior.
I adore You, Goddess of Battle.
I adore You, Who destroys by Fire.
I adore You, Who Protects Her Children.
I adore You, Lady of Intoxication.
I adore You, Who Devours.
I adore You, all encompassing fire.
I adore You, all encompassing force.
I adore You, Who rouses the body.
I adore You, Conqueror of the heart.
I adore You, Unrivaled in Power.
I adore You, Most Ancient of the Gods.
I adore You, Who brings ecstasy.
I adore You, Who opens the way.
I adore You, Beloved of Ptah.
I adore You, ancient Guardian.
I adore You, Destroyer of obstacles.
I adore You, Protector of Her people.
I adore You, Against Whom No Opponent may stand.
I adore You, Who does not allow Her children to fall.
I adore You, Who cannot be defeated.
I adore You, Who cannot be tamed.
I adore You, Who causes the evil doer to tremble.
I adore You, Who causes the devout to rejoice.
I adore You, Who drives men to their knees.
I adore You, Bestower of the blazing kiss.
I adore You, Lady of Flame.
I adore You, Light of the Desert.
I adore You, Implacable One.
I adore You, Whose right hand is Ma’at.
I adore You, Upholder of Order.
I adore You, Who purifies the World.
I adore You, Bestower of the Waters of Life.
I adore You, Mistress of death.
I adore You, Vanquisher
I adore You, Lady of Passion.
I adore You, Who delights in courage.
I adore You, for Whom strength is an adornment.
I adore You, Beautiful of Countenance.
I adore You, Whose heart is fire.
I adore You, Who challenges Her people.
I adore You, Who tempers Her chosen.
I adore You, Giver of blessings.
I adore You, Who makes the heart ache.
I adore You, Who inspires longing.
I adore You, Who grants no quarter.
I adore You, Who requires commitment.
I adore You, Who requires excellence.
I adore You, Lady of Discipline.
I adore You, Cunning Strategist.
I adore You, Lady of the bloodbath.
I adore You, Who orders the cosmos.
I adore You, Mighty Lioness.
I adore You, Who guards the darkness.
I adore You, Who guards the light.
I adore You, Mother of Power.
I adore You, Sweetest Source.
I adore You, Great One of Healing.
I adore You, Great One of Magic.
Adoration be unto You, Who gives life to the land.
Adoration unto You, Who inspires my heart.
Adoration unto You, Lady of the Scarlet-Colored Garment,
Unknowable Desire. Beloved Sekhmet.