Saturday is weird. It's the one day wherein the name that's come down to us pulls not from Heathen traditions but from Rome. Saturday really means Saturn's Day and obviously Saturn was not a Norse Deity! To the Norse tribes, as far as I've been able to tell, Saturday was a day for cleaning. Specifically, it was a day to do your laundry and take a bath. This amuses me. It didn't amuse Viking age Christians though. Complaints have come down to us from Viking Age English chronicles of Christians whining that the Vikings got all the ladies---because they bathed once a week, combed their hair, and washed their clothes. Heaven forfend!
Rest assured, I bathe everyday not just on Saturday. LOL. Instead, I use Saturday partly to clean my altars and shrines. When you have a lot of them it's painfully easy to let them go a bit too long between cleanings. I make it a point to clean at least five or six of them each Saturday and then I just rotate out Saturday by Saturday until they're all clean. Then the cycle starts again.
I also use Saturday as a day specifically to honor Loki and Sigyn. Long ago when I started following this weekly cycle of offerings, I decided that since Saturday was a 'free' day insofar as offerings went, I was free to ascribe it to any Deity I wanted. It made sense to me, since I love Them dearly, to add Loki and Sigyn to my weekly rotation. Besides, the grace notes of domesticity are something that I very strongly associate with Sigyn. She knows how to maintain a space, how to keep it so clean that nothing negative or malignant can find any purchase at all. On a spiritual level, being clean in one's motivations and free of miasma are essential qualities.
So on Saturdays, I pour out offerings to Sigyn and Her Husband. I maintain several shrines to Them both in my home: the first is downstairs in my foyer, just as one enters my home and this is where I leave offerings to Them. This a shared shrine: both Loki and Sigyn have Their space there and there's a framed image of Them plus Their sons Narvi and Vali hanging right above -- an icon created by artist Grace Palmer that hung over my adopted mom's altar for several years. I leave glasses of wine, whiskey, and often milk and bread for Sigyn. If i have any chocolate or candy in the House, I'll usually give some of that as well. I put out offerings to these two Deities quite frequently, not just on Saturdays because I have an ongoing devotional practice to both of Them, but even so I make it a special point to put offerings out on Saturdays too, regardless of what I have given Them the rest of the week.
i like that there is a day worked into the Norse week devoted to cleansing. Of course we want to be clean physically but it's also fundamental on an energetic and spiritual level. it's important. It sets the stage for doing authentic work with integrity. That's no small thing.
Goddess of the Staying Power.
Goddess of small things
that in the end aren't so small.
Help me to love You
rightly and well.
Help me to be clean
in my work.
Husband of Sigyn.
Let me never lose sight
of the joy that can be found
in the intricacies
Hail Loki, Hail Sigyn.
There is some disagreement on which Deity governs Friday. I believe etymologically, the day belongs to Frigga, but some people claim Freya as well. In my household devotions, I tend to split the difference and honor Them both on this day. i also usually honor Sigyn on this day because I love Her and because I like to include Her as much as possible in my regular devotions. Again, as with the other Deities honored in this weekly cycle, my offerings aren't elaborate: a glass of wine, perhaps a bit of incense or flowers. That's all. I'll offer a respectful prayer when I make my offerings but the hallmark of this weekly cycle is its simplicity. It's a very, very easy thing to integrate into one's daily life. For people who are just coming into the tradition, who don't know very much about the Gods but who really want to get started developing a devotional practice, following the weekly cycle can be a very good and solid place to begin.
Of all the Deities that I honor, I am perhaps at my most formal with Frigga. There are those who have said to me, or insinuated that as a godspouse of Odin I am attempting to set myself up as Frigga's equal. To that, I can only respond: absolutely not! To do such a thing would be blasphemy. There are others who assume I must have a contentious relationship with Her but that is also not the case. I respect Frigga immensely. "Godspouse" is the best word that I have in the languages with which I'm familiar for the most intimate part of my relationship with Odin. It in no way comes close to anything He might have with another Deity. It is completely different thing, as the devotional experience between human and Deity must, by its very nature, be different. It does not even approximate what He has with Frigga and no godspouse that I know of would attempt to imply that it does.
So why am I so formal with Her? Well, there is something about Her nature that evokes it from me. I tend to be sensitive to power dynamics and She is a Goddess of power. Frigga is a power-broker. She is like the CEO and COO of Asgard combined! She is a Goddess in complete control of everything around Her. She exudes power and in the presence of that, I revert automatically and instinctually to a very formal protocol. I am far more likely to cleanse myself, clean the area of Her altar, possibly even the entire room, and cover my head before approaching Her altar. These are things i usually do before major rituals.
Moreover, as a diviner, part of my ancestor shrine is given over to honoring my lineage ancestors (those who preceded me in the work of divination, those who were shamans before me, those who were priests of the Gods before me). I keep an image of Frigga there as patron of that shrine. She is a Goddess Who sees and knows all but keeps her silence. I petition Her to help me honor my lineage ancestors wisely and well, and to help me give clean, honorable service. What all this means is that with Frigga, I 'mind my Ps and Qs!"
With Freya, it's a different story. I have a shrine to Freya in my bedroom. i'm very informal in my offerings to Her--respectful always, but far less formal than the way in which I approach Frigga. Part of it is that it took me many years to develop a devotional relationship with Her. My impression from within that relationship now is that She wants me to be relaxed and not to stress about engaging with Her. There were times when it was a struggle after all. But someone else might have a completely different experience or may even find their response to these two magnificent Goddesses is precisely reversed. that's just how it works sometimes. Each relationship is different.
Freya is a Goddess of power too, of abundance and wealth, of sexuality, sex, attraction, and eroticism, and of witchcraft and magic. She defers to no one. She is also a Goddess of war. It's a toss up as to whether She or Frigga is our most loved Goddess but I think I can safely say that They are both very well revered within Heathenry.
Right now my Freya altar is a bit of a mess. I tend to collect non-edible offerings to Her (usually amber, jewelry, incenses, etc.) throughout the year and then at Beltane or Summer Solstice dispose of them in a sacred bonfire. By January and February of any given year, the altar can be a bit cluttered. I've never had the zen of keeping things sparse and balanced and neat! Still, every Friday, I bring Her a glass of wine, usually something sweet. Sometimes, I'll buy small bottles of goldschlager for Her. Sometimes a good Gewurtstraminer. Today, Her altar will get redone, starting with a new altar cloth. I don't like it when my altars get too cluttered--it seems disrespectful. Truth be told, I need to find a better space for Her shrine but as ever, space is at a premium in any home. I do what I can.
I have found in honoring Freya that She demands that respect be given to all the areas that She governs. That includes sex and sexuality. One may not scorn the beauty and power of the flesh and remain in Her good graces--at least that has been my observation. That's not always easy. I have found that for most of us it's easier to blame what makes us uncomfortable than to accept that the issues causing the discomfort are our own. For instance, Freya is a Goddess of sexual pleasure. period. That includes heterosexual, homosexual and everything in between. It includes monogamous and polyamorous, it includes self love. It may include BDSM; it may include the most vanilla of sexual pleasures. Somewhere in all of that there's something that will make someone freak the fuck out. That doesn't mean whatever that might be is wrong. It means we all have our issues and the adult thing to do is own them.
This is was a huge hurdle for me in honoring Freya for a very long time. But one cannot honor a Deity and scorn that Deity's gifts. I found that in my struggles, asking Freya for help was the best medicine I could possibly find. The Gods are not insensitive to our struggles and if it is not blocked by our own wyrd, if it is permitted, They are usually willing to help when and where They can. Even when something is blocked, there is an offering for everything. Many a door can be opened with the proper devotion.
One day, I shall write adorations for both Frigga and Freya, but for now, these brief prayers shall have to whet my readers' appetites.
I adore You, Frigga, Queen of Asgard.
I adore You, Frigga, Power Broker.
I adore You, Frigga, Beloved of Odin.
I adore You, Frigga, Mother of Baldr.
I adore You, Frigga, Who drives back disorder.
I adore You, Frigga, Mighty Seer.
I adore You, Frigga, more cunning than Your Husband.
Hail Frigga, now and always.
I adore You, Freya, Mighty Lady of the Vanir.
I adore You, Freya, bold in battle.
I adore You Freya, Who defers to no one.
I adore You, Freya, Desire of the Worlds.
I adore You, Freya, Secure in Your Power.
I adore You, Freya, Goddess of Passion.
I adore You, Freya, Giver of Gifts.
Hail Freya, ever Magnificent.
Hail Freya, always.
Well, since I wrote about Loki and Odin already, I thought that for this particular PBP post, I’d also write about Sigyn. She is one of my favorite Goddesses and I consider it one of the most blessed gifts of my life that I have been able not just to develop a devotional relationship to Her, but that I had as an adopted mother someone who was damn near the living
incarnation of Her. Perhaps that is hyperbole but I shall let it stand and trust that the Gods know that I mean no disrespect or impiety. My adopted mom was one of the most devout people that
I have ever met and probably will ever meet. She was devoted to Sigyn and every day this Goddess’s blessings and
presence shone forth through her every action. I learned more about honoring the Gods and being a decent human being from this Sigyn’s woman that I ever thought possible, and I learned more about Sigyn’s mysteries—yes, She has them.
Sigyn all too often gets ‘bum deal’ in the community. Whether this is because A) there’s not much written about Her in the lore, B) She is Loki’s wife and remained loyal to Him even in the cave, or C) Her domain is the unexciting one of quiet things, of hearth and home and tending space I’m not sure. I do know that I’ve seen Her dismissed as ‘the epitome of the abused wife’ by Heathens who ought to know better and I’ve ever heard Her called a nithling because of Her very loyalty and steadfastness that in any other case would be lauded as virtues.
Fortunately, this is not always the case. I taught a workshop on Sigyn last Sunday and I was delighted by the number of attendees. It’s odd to feel so protective of one of our Holy Powers – They’re Powers for Heaven’s sake!—yet I do where Sigyn is concerned. I admit this with some self-deprecating amusement. She is such an amazing Goddess: gentle yet fierce in defense of those She loves, compassionate, loving, tremendously gracious. I wish everyone could experience Her blessings. Anyway, obviously I’m digressing so I’ll try to rein myself in here.
Years ago when I was discussing religion with a Christian friend, she asked me –not in challenge but honestly perplexed—where is love in your religion. I don’t’recall what I responded at the time, but were I to be asked that question now, I would point to Sigyn. There, there is a Goddess Whose overwhelming nature is rooted in love, fidelity, integrity, and honor. There is our Goddess of compassion.
I’ll tell you something else that I learned from my adopted mom about Her too: that compassion, that loving nature, that gentleness is a choice. It’s a choice Sigyn makes and makes again every single moment. It’s not that Sigyn lacks the ferocity of our more well known Goddesses; She is every bit as powerful as They. She makes a choice about when and how to express it. She is defined not by Her nature, not by Her power, but by Her choices and thus by Her integrity. That, my friends, is the epitome not of the abused wife, but of a woman in full control and ownership of Her personal agency.
Many of us who honor Her have had, independently of each other, similar UPG: that She was a foundling taking in by Njord, that Her earliest years until the Vanir
Father found her, were filled with neglect and possibly abuse. Yet She does not allow this to define Her. She defines Herself. That, to me, is tremendously powerful and a tremendously empowering gift to give to those who seek Her out. She is the Goddess Who very quietly does what needs to be done, without fanfare, without bragging. She looks at the necessities that need to be endured and does so. There is no question of “I can’t do this.” She will make the choice and do so. She teaches first and foremost not just that duty is sacred (there are many Gods and Goddesses who hold that lesson dear) but that duty is a choice and it’s a choice that every single person has the potential and power to make for themselves. Perhaps that’s why I, so drawn to warrior Gods and warriorcraft, who speaks for the warrior dead, feel such a compelling devotional connection to Her. She has a strength many warriors would envy. (there I go again, speaking about Her as though She were a human
being---again, I mean no disrespect but am only trying with the paltry power of words to describe something of what I have gleaned from years of honoring Her).
As a Goddess, Her presence can be so quiet and unassuming that one may not immediately realize how profound Her mysteries are. (This is not to say that She can’t throw down and be as blazingly commanding a presence as Freya – She can—but I’m talking general, regular, customary interaction). I find that Sigyn tends to show Herself to people in one of two ways –and I will qualify this by saying this is *my* experience and observation, not the be all and end all of any exploration of this Being—either as a child or as a mature wife. As a childlike presence, I’ve often referred to Her as the Goddess of the inner child and I think that one of Her gifts here is the ability to teach a person to accept and appreciate joy, to heal, to learn to laugh and love and play again. As a mature wife, Her mystery is two fold.
Firstly, in the Northern Tradition we have two Goddesses Who know what it is to lose a child, Who have experienced that grief and Who can be called upon by parents in this horrible, wrenching situation: Frigga (Who lost Her son Baldr) and Sigyn (Who lost Narvi and, in a way, Vali too). I ‘m not blind to the irony of this pairing either. Sigyn had one son enchanted (Vali) and forced to slaughter the other (Narvi), an act
which drove Him mad. This, She endured. Then, Her second mystery is Loki’s ordeal in the cave. Slipping for a moment into ordeal master headspace, I’m going to say that Sigyn doesn’t have ordeals Herself –not like Odin who sought out Yggdrasil—no, Her ordeal is far worse. Her ordeal is standing witness to the ordeals of those She loves. Her ordeal was watching Her children die and remaining with Loki in the cave. Her ordeal was watching His anguish day after day, eon after eon and not turning away, not taking the easy way out but staying there and doing what She could do in order to alleviate His pain, even at cost to Herself. (1) Moreover, She did all of this and still chose, consciously chose not to let it embitter Her. That is valor and this is a Goddess of valor and as I write this I wonder if that perhaps isn’t the true meaning of Her name: Victory Woman.
I could see Her being a powerful Presence for a parent dealing with a child’s death or a parent dealing with a child’s mental illness. I could see Her being a powerful guide for a spouse dealing with their partner’s terminal illness. I could see Her being a powerful guide for anyone faced with a situation of necessity and commitment and doubting their own ability to endure. Hers is the quiet voice in the depths of the heart that reminds us endurance is a choice and it’s a choice that can be made from many
places: anger, vengeance (and there’s nothing wrong with choosing from these places in our tradition), but also fidelity and most of all love. Sigyn chooses
endurance out of love. She will build something greater than the pain that She
This is why so many of us call Her the Goddess of the staying power, a Goddess of endurance, a Goddess of strength. When Sigyn has made a decision, all of Asgard could not move Her from it.
People often ask me how to best honor Sigyn and I have found that first and foremost over the years, She likes to have Her family honored. If you love Sigyn, do not speak badly of Loki. If you love Sigyn, make offerings to Her boys. If you love Sigyn, respect Her friends (many of us have the UPG that She and Nanna are particularly good friends). If you want to honor Sigyn, mourn for Her children. There is a lovely shrine here:
where folks can go to learn more about Her and there are suggestions for places to which one might donate as an offering to Her.
On a purely mundane level, I often put old keys on Her altar…I see them as symbols of Her. I often associate ladybugs with Her child aspect and in that particular aspect She gets many offerings of dolls, toys, beads, flowers, and pretty things. As an adult wife, I give Her food and drink. I ‘ve known many a Sigyn’s woman who swears She likes macaroni and cheese, bread and butter—staples that fill the belly and nourish. It’s funny but I always have trouble giving Her wine. She first came to me as in Her child aspect and I’m afraid that’s stuck. I actually feel guilty giving a Goddess wine! I do it, mind you, but there’s an internal battle (and yes, y’all can laugh at me for this). I often give milk and cookies, candies, pastries for Her to share with Her children and sometimes I will bring toys for Them to Her altar. If you want to honor Sigyn, honor Her boys.
One of the most profound meditations that I was ever given came from my adopted mom and since she first wrote about it (in “Feeding the Flame”), many other Sigyn devotees have begun doing this. Hold the bowl. What do I mean by that? Well, one of Her primary mysteries is that She remained in the cave with Loki holding a bowl over His face to protect Him and capture the poison dripping from a virulent snake that Skadhi had positioned above Him. Think about that. Think about how heavy that bowl would become and how quickly. Think about the pain of having the venom splash onto one’s hands. Think about how hungry one might be or thirsty and yet be unable to take a break without bringing agony to a loved one. Think about the need to endure with no end in sight. It’s one thing for an ordeal worker to go into a planned ordeal. We know that no matter how difficult or challenging or painful the ordeal might be, it has an end. It’s going to end and we’ll be taken up and fed and warmed up and cared for and brought back to normal head and heart space. Sigyn had no such surety in the cave. This was an ordeal with no end in sight. This was an ordeal with two choices: give up and leave or endure. She chose not to abandon Her family. She endured.
So, many devotees do a meditation in which they symbolically hold Her bowl. One chooses a regular bowl—I use a wooden salad bowl because it’s got a good size to it. My adopted mom used a hand fired ceramic bowl.—and goes before one’s altar, lights a candle, prayers to Sigyn offering to exchange places with Her for five or ten minutes. Then the devotee takes up the bowl and while meditating on Sigyn holding the bowl over Loki in the cave, he or she holds that bowl up. I would recommend setting a timer actually because that bowl becomes very heavy very quickly. The idea is that for however long one is able to hold the bowl, Sigyn is given relief. It is an offering of time, heart, and physical endurance. This, as simple as it sounds, is one of the most profound, profoundly moving and profoundly difficult meditations I have ever done.
Beyond that, Sigyn has the grace of making the everyday sacred. She tends space and maintains a hallowed home. She often teaches Her devotees to do the same. My adopted mom would clean her house twice a day and found it a meditative act which she strongly connected to Sigyn. As a magus, a vitki, I shield my home. My adopted mom once said to me: I don’t shield. My home is so clean that nothing impure, nothing malignant, nothing nefascan find purchase.(2) THAT is Sigyn’s magic. Sigyn is about feeling the anguish of those She loves, about being acutely aware of the pain of the world and then rolling up Her sleeves and getting to work to make a difference, in whatever way She can. Honor Her.
1. Many of us have gotten images of Sigyn starving in the cave, of Her
hands burned by splash-back from the poison.
2.‘nefas’is a Latin term for something that is so absolutely wrong,
criminal, spiritually awful, polluted, and full of miasma that it is
unspeakable. There’s no direct English equivalent.
The image of Sigyn here is by artist Grace Palmer. It was my adopted mom’s absolute favorite image of Sigyn and one that stood on her altar for many years. Thank you, Grace!
I'm really excited about this news. There's a Freya shrine available and it's beautiful! I've been slowly being pushed to honor this Goddess a bit more, so this particular shrine is dear to my heart. I'm really overjoyed to see it go live. Check it out here
: http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/freya/welcome.html and hail, Freya!
Today's post is a guest contribution by Heathen Liam Henrie. This brief poetic evocation centers less around Loki than around His Mother Laufey, but the image it provides of our beloved flame-haired God is priceless. Thank you, Liam.
by Liam Henrie
Men mislike fir-forested hills and dark woods—they prefer shaved pine planks and open plains.
But some few, wandering in the wind, know that low needles shield gloom-guarded halls, watched by the woman who raised that most irascible son, who’ll surely give succor, if you brave the prickles.
In the grey-green shadow there is shelter from storms, and kindling and cones crackling underfoot, enough for a little fire.
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).