The View from the Well 7/11/13
by J. Lawrence
How odd, to realize
that as that fleshy orb sunk slowly down
through the sky-clear waters,
I could still see it:
depth was no bar to my perception, nor darkness.
Moreover, that detached organ
could still see--
as if, trailing that severed nerve,
those pale, gristly cords still reached out,
across the inches, feet, yards --
-- that separated us, to where I stood.
Atop my high seat in Valaskjálf
I can scry across nine worlds,
But my eye in the well
sees only into me, and all that I do:
claiming fallen warriors,
moving my game pieces--
all actions meant to delay the inevitable.
I am in this for the long haul,
and there are those who, behind closed doors,
(as if I cannot hear!)
about the dishonor my deeds bring upon me.
There is no dishonor in killing a foe,
seducing a woman,
weaving such a Wyrd-web
as even the Norns might envy.
All I do, I do for the greater good,
the final end,
and to that end I have sacrificed much:
Do you think, then, that I would quibble
at rearranging the lives of a few mortals?
If I could leave them untouched and still
achieve the same end, I might;
And then, I might not?
Even I cannot always see the outcome of my plans,
or the consequences of my acts:
After all, it is sometimes very hard
to see things from the bottom of a well.
(used with permission)
So my partner asked me to write something today for Odin and something for Loki. I threw in something for my Jotun kin just because. Every so often i think I should start a separate page for my poetry, but then there's sometimes a fine line between devotional pieces and pure poetry. anyway, there are three for today.
Tell Me Who Odin Is.
When they ask me Who my God is,
and what He's like,
I wonder if they truly wish my answer.
Or if they've read the Eddas
and think on a mighty king and warrior
feasting in a dead man's hall,
all bravado, and glittering weapons,
hearty laughter, and battle edged joy.
I suppose He is that.
When He wishes to be.
But never have I known a God
more adept at wearing masks.
Never have I known a God,
more disciplined in hiding
the ravaging gulf of His hungers,
and His true nature,
and His glacial spirit,
and the memory of howling forth
from the abyss
when He slaughtered the worlds into being.
If you see only the king of Asgard,
you have not seen Him
just HIs tamest mask.
I will tell you of what I have tasted,
when I lay bound in His arms
caught against the bloody Tree.
I will tell you of what I have seen
when He threw me screaming into the pit
where He Himself honed His power,
all the while whispering words
that lovers say
and watching with the coldest eyes
to see if I could survive the sear.
I will tell you of what I felt
when He murdered me nine times over
and once yet again, while fucking me into being.
and you will see me stretch myself out
hugging the earth, and crying out in thanks.
Oh He is a glorious brutality.
His touch is like a flensing knife
that would strip flesh to bone
with little more than a smirking sigh.
He is the bloody mouthed monster
born of storm and wind and shadow
summoned by steel
and the black hearts
of Jotun women
that will gnaw your spine from its casing
and He laughs and laughs,
casting lots from the bloody bones.
My Odin is a thing of vicious, murderous intent
and He will not be thwarted.
Oh this Old Man is a carrion eater
always searching for crumbs of power
finding them too
where others think not to look
(or lack the stomach to see).
He knows what ecstasy does
madness, pleasure, death-
it's all the same to Him.
He plays those games well
and His brutality allows Him
to hold His course
while in their siren sway.
Everything is His tool
He is a virus in the making
twisting warp and weft of what we see
to suit His needs,
the coldness of competence,
the ravening wolf
from whom the scent of power
cannot be hidden.
Oh this God will sink and connive
or thrust like a fist, a blade, a cock
into all those places one would hide away
He savors pain
He savors its power
and the truth at the end of its road.
All else is irrelevant but the crunch of that truth
between His teeth,
and the sweetness of our surrender
as we become vessels to be crushed
He will strip the humanity from you
and shake the tears from your bones
until you are a hollow dressing for Him.
He will gaze at the world
through the ivory backed kaleidoscope
of your skull, shoving Himself so deeply
into the meat of you
all you can do is arch and cry
and moan and beg
and plead for more,
because He makes you want
your own dissolution so.
Who is Odin?
He is the shrieking scream the Gap made
when it tore itself open to bring forth creation.
He is seduction -- Gunnlod taught Him that--
and His scars are more than a map of where He's been,
each one is a key and lock to power, an incantation,
a summoning, and devastation.
He is the warrior ruthless enough
to hold His own agains that thing
that would destroy our world.
He is the warrior Who never flinched
when faced with the yawning nothingness
of its form.
He is the general who knows well
how to win a war of attrition,
how to hold the enemy off
until forces can be mustered
to drive it to its own destruction.
He is the soldier who will handpick His crew
and Who is ruthless enough to send HIs best
He is glorious
and His brilliance and cunning
a thing of joy
to one who loves Him so.
If in His use of me,
I am worn through
metal scraped from a favored knife
each time it is sharpened and honed
until nothing at all is left,
well, what can I do but laugh?
and open myself up, sprawling
into the maw of HIs hungers
He will make a distillation of me
He's the God that likes me fierce.
I love savage Gods
and a savage man too.
There is that in me,
in being Their prey,
in being torn asunder
through the sputtering chant
of ecstasy and my own obliteration.
what more might i ask?
for what else might i hunger?
only that i am rent more deeply
to let the burning out.
Holding such fire inside is agony.
What use am I to the gentle Ones?
I am not gentle.
There would be little ground
upon which we could meet.
Those I look upon wistfully
saluting as They pass…
and then I bare my throat
to the one to whom i have been given.
When my human carapace cracked
and firm, strong hands pried me free,
my people found me,
holding my own
in an alien land:
scarred, and marked, and burnt inside
but clawing my way into continued survival.
Some things hold true in the blood.
and I am a warrior.
My kin are fierce
like the leavings of mountains
that withstand the glacier's pass.
they are implacable
like hunger and death
and everything in between.
They never yield,
save to those who have earned
the gift of submission.
Is it any wonder then
that I am savage too,
noosed in the skin
though I may sometimes be.
My bones crack.
My muscles twist,
and the rhythms
of that brutal nation
sing sure and true
in my blood.
It does not matter
how many eons passed
since last my own song
echoed in their high, cliff-carven homes.
We know our own.
Scent such as this
is a perfume in the blood.
i must pick my way through the tangled tear of words again
they bite when I least expect it, and my world is a fragile thing,
newly wrought, so much of me has crumbled.
My kin tell me to stand still and let the world around crumble.
I will remain
and the hunt is like that.
Every good thing in my life came from you.
I say that and people think it hyperbole.
they do not know how you sustained me.
They do not know how your quiet presence in my life
drove back the noxious threads of my wyrd
long enough for me to learn to breath
to pick myself up
and see in color again.
They don't know how you prepared me for Odin
and cradled me when I sobbed and sobbed
knowing I was His.
You have always been good to me,
and I see You now,
stretched out along the river
that winds its way to Hel
lean and pale
and the world where you lie
glitters with power.
I think you taught the Old Man
a little something about seduction too.
and He bared His throat to You
and spread HIs legs as well.
You're as savage as Your kin,
Jotun born for all You set the halls of Asgard ablaze.
You laughed when I first realized
I was savage too.
and then we danced.
and from a distance
I watched the my world
and it was beautiful.
I have eaten
from Your heart,
devoured the fire
raw and ravening
at the core of You.
I have hidden myself
in Your heart.
It seemed a grace
when You tore me apart.
It seemed a grace,
when that fire
took root and burned.
It seemed a grace
when all I could see
was the passing
of Your storm.
I carry the scars
where You have gone.
I have been riven a thousand times
by the passing of You
through the crucible of my world.
now i am your madwoman dancing.
I am the warrior who spits your fire
out upon the masses
I am she who vomits up bits of You
strewing Your wisdom like burning embers
across a desiccated and dying world.
I do this even as You
pluck at the remnants of my viscera
devouring me in return.
It is good.
I call Him 'God of my Longing' and many other names and those Who love Him sing His praises and adorations. He is a complex and terrifying God and throughout the lands and peoples by which He was worshipped, He was given many epithets. Below is as complete a list as I could manage today, having scoured the web and various books, of the heiti, or 'praise-names/by names' of Odin. While I have loved and served Him for many years, over the next few months, my goal is to meditate on each of these names, one by one, to go deeper into Him.
For those who might be interested, here is the list. Please comment should you now of other heiti, or have names for Him (keep it clean, folks) that you are willing to share.
Aldaföðr: Father of Men
Aldagautr: God of Men
Aldingautr:the Ancient God
Alfaðir, Alföðr: All-Father
Angan Friggjar: Delight of Frigg
Arnhöfði: Eagle-headed One
Asagrim: Grim Lord
Ascaric: Spear-King (Frankish)
Atriði, Atriðr: Attacking Rider
Auðun: Wealth Friend
Bági gulfs: Enemy of the Wolf
Baldrsfaðir: Father of Balder
Báleygr: Blazing Eye
Biflindi: Shield Shaker
Bileygr: Feeble Eye (possibly One Eye)
Blindi, Blindr: Blind One
Böðgæðir: Battle Enhancer
Bruni, Brunn: Brown One
Burr Bors: Son of Bor
Darraðr, Dorruðr: Spearman
Draugadróttin: Lord of the dead
Ein sköpuðr galdra: Sole Creator of Magical Songs
Ennibrattr: One with a Straight Forehead
Faðmbyggvir Friggjar: Dweller in Frigga's Embrace
Frumverr Friggjar.: First Husband of Frigga
Faðir glades:Father of Magical Songs
Farmaguð, Farmatýr: Cargo God
Farmr arma Gunnlaðar: Burden of Gunnlöð's Arms
Farmr galga: Gallows' Burden
Fimbultýr: Mighty God
Fimbulþulr: Mighty Poet
Fjölnir: Very-Wise or One Who Conceals
Fjölsviðr, Fjölsvinnr.: Much Wise
Foldardróttinn: Lord of the Earth
Forni: Ancient One
Fornölvir: Ancient Oelvir
Frariðr: One Who Fares Forth
Fundinn: The Found
Gagnráðr: God of Gainful Counsel
Galdraföðr: Father of Galdr
Gangráðr: Journey Advisor
Gapthrosnir: One in a Gaping Frenzy
Gauti, Gautr: God
Gausus: God (Langobardic)
Geirloðnir: Spear Inviter
Geirtýr: Spear God
Geirvaldr: Spear Master
Geirölnir: Spear Charger
Gestumblindi: The Blind Guest
Goði hrafnblóts: Goði (priest) of the Raven-offering
Godjaðarr: God- Protector
Göllnir, Gollor, Gollungr: Yeller
Göndlir: Wand Bearer
Gramr Hliðskjalfar: King of Hliðskjalf
Grímnir, Grímr: The Masked One or The Hooded One
Grímr: Masked or Grim
Gunnblindi: Battle Blinder
Guodan: Master of Fury (Langobardic)
Guodan, Gudan: Master of Fury (Westphalian)
Hagvirkr: Skillful Worker
Hangaguð: Hanged God
Hangi: Hanged One
Haptabeiðir: Ruler of Gods
Haptaguð: Fetter God
Haptasnytrir: Teacher of Gods
Haptsönir: Fetter Loosener
Hár: High One
Hárbarðr: Grey Beard
Hárr.: One Eyed
Hávi: High One
Helblindi: Host Blinder
Hengikeptr: Hang Jaw
Herföðr, Herjaföðr: Host Father
Hergautr: Host Gautr
Herjan, Herran: Lord
Herteitr: Glad in Battle, possibly also Gladness of soldiers
Hertyr: Host God
Hildolfr: Battle Wolf
Hjaldrgoð: God of battle
Hjaldrgegnir: Engager of Battle
Hjálmberi: Helm Bearer
Hlefreyr: Famous Lord or Mound Lord
Hild's Noise Maker (hild = battle)
Hnikarr, Hnikuð: Thruster
Hoarr: One Eyed
Honger - Hunger
Hovi: High One
Hrafnáss: Raven God
Hrammi: Fetterer or Ripper
Hroptatýr: Lord of Gods, God of Gods, or Tumult God
Hroptr: The Maligned One or The Hidden One, or Tumult
Hrossharsgrani: Horse-hair Mustache
Hvatmoðr: Whet Courage
Itreker: Splendid Ruler
Jafnhár: Just As High
Jalfaðr: Yellow-brown Back
Jálg, Jálkr: Gelding
Jarngrimr: Iron Grim
Jolfr: Horse-wolf or Bear
Jölnir: Yule Father
Jormundr: Mighty One
Karl: Old Man
Langbarðr: Long Beard
Loðungr: Shaggy Cloak Wearer
Lord of the Wild Hunt , Wilde Jaeger
Niðr Bors: Son of Borr
Njotr: User or Enjoyer
Óðinn: Frenzied One
Óðr: Frenzy, Inspiration, Breath
Olgir: Protector or Hawk
Ómi: One Whose Voice Resounds
Óski: Wish Bringer or Fulfiller of Desire
Ouvin: Master of Fury (Faroese)
Rauðgrani: Red Moustache
Reiðartyr: Wagon God
Runatyr: God of Runes
Runni vagina: Mover of Constellations
Sanngetall: Truth Getter or He Who Guesses Right
Sannr, Saðr, Sath: Truth or The Truthful
Siðgrani: drooping mustache
Siðhottr: Broad Brim, Deep Hood, or Slouch Hat
Siðskeggr: Long Beard or Broad Beard
Sigðir: Victory Bringer
Sigföðr: Father of Victory
Siggautr: Victory God
Sigmundr: Victory Protection
Sigrhofundr: Victory Author
Sigrúnnr: Victory Tree
Sigthror: Victory Successful
Sigtryggr: Victory Sure
Sigtýr: Victory God
Skilving, Skilfing: Trembler (a reference to seidhr or to battle fury?)
Skollvaldr: Treachery Ruler
Sonr Bestlu: Son of Bestla
Spjalli Gauta: Friend of the Goths
Sváfnir: Luller to Sleep (or Dreams), or Closer
Sveigðir: Reed Bringer
Svipall: Fleeting or Changeable
Sviðrir: Wise One
Sviðurr: Wise One
Thekkr: Welcome One
Thrasarr: Quarreler or Raging, Furious
Thrór: Burgeoning or Inciter to Strife
Thrundr, Þund : Sweller
Thunnr, Þuðr: Lean or Pale
Tviblindi: Twice Blind
Unnr, Uðr: Beloved, Lover
Váði vitnis: Foe of the Wolf
Váfoðr, Vafuðr: Dangler
Váfuðr Gungnis: Swinger of Gungnir
Valdr gala: Ruler of Gallows
Valdr vagnbrautar: Ruler of Heaven (I'm not 100% convinced of this translation)
Valföðr: Father of the Slain
Valgautr: God of the Slain"
Valkjosandi: Chooser of the Slain
Valtamr, Valtam: Slain Tamer or Warrior
Valtýr: Slain God
Valthognir: Slain Receiver
Veratýr: God of Being
Viðrimnir: Contrary Screamer
Vinr Lopts: Friend of Loptr
Vinr Lóðurs: Friend of Lóðurr
Vinr Míms: Friend of Mímir
Vinr stalla: Friend of Altars
Vodans: Master of Fury (Gothic)
Völsi: Ever Ready Phallus
Völundr rómu: Smith of Battle
Vut: Master of Fury (Allemanic, Burgundian)
Weda: Master of Fury (Frisian)
Wild Huntsman, Wilde Jaeger (German)
Wôdan: Master of Fury (Old High German)
Woden: Master of Fury (Anglo-Saxon)
*Wôðanaz: Master of Fury (proto-Germanic)
Wolf: Wolf (German)
Wuotan/Wuodan: Master of Fury (Langobardic, Old High German)
Wunsch: Wish (German)
Yggr: Terrible One
Because I serve a God Who can be very grim, and very ruthless....
No Safe Words Here.
There is no mercy in Him,
My God, My Lord, Valfather,
Runatyr, Grimnir, Yggr
Sigtyr, Biflindi, Odin
and a thousand other Names
cowards whisper in the dark
and devotees sing aloud in ecstasy.
There is no mercy in Him at all.
I will grant you,
He can be kind.
I will grant,
at times gentle.
These things may
serve His will
serve His needs
hone His people.
But do not go to Him
Even in His seductions,
He is not merciful.
Ask the God Who hung on the Tree
Ask the God who rose up out of time
slaughtered His ancestors,
destroyed a world to build one,
what part mercy played.
Ask the God who drank in the runes,
Who gave Them His blood, His hunger,
His anguish, His death
where HIs mercy lies.
Find, in His glacial, hungry heart
in this Warrior of warriors,
this Predator to Whom
*everyone* is prey,
that quality of which
the bards sing so highly.
and i will laugh.
His desires always carry with them
a brutal, dangerous edge.
If "mercy" He shows,
know it a trap,
sweet deceit for which you will pay,
and oh the prices He exacts make even old Thokk
go ahead, court His mercy,
I would rather be ravaged raw
by the passing of His storm.
i would rather rise up to meet
the knife of His hunger
thrust for tearing thrust
and know as parts of me
are torn away and scattered in His storm,
the many things ever so much sweeter
than mercy that are His to bestow.
and being loved by Him
is not for those
who would ever beg
there are reasons
we are His.
Learning the Runes
This is what they tell us
those that came before us to the Tree:
Keep HIs visage before You
when your time comes to hang
in the dying place.
Remember that you may leave it's
Remember as the terror takes you,
as the pain searing and harsh
breaks you open,
as you hear yourself screaming
until your voice is a broken bloody thing,
when the runes come for you, remember,
that there will come an end to this ordeal for you.
It will end;
and when you leave the Tree, however broken,
however much of you is left,
you will not have to do this thing again.
you will have seized power, been seized by it,
you will have made
alliance with the eldest of spirits our kind
can ever hope to meet. It will have been done.
Know that He came here first
and paved the way.
Know that He hangs here still,
part of Him always bound to the Tree.
It does not end for Him.
If you listen carefully as you die upon its boughs
you may hear Him screaming.
The Naming of the Things
if you are caught up in definitions
of pain and pleasure
You will never be able to give yourself fully
He is beyond all of that.
He will break your definitions apart
and then, if you are very lucky,
He will break you.
He lies at the place where pain and pleasure become one
and shatter into a thousand other realities.
He feasts there, on the small ecstasies and fears we bring,
small casualties of loving a God.
He likes to see how we are honed, how we will facet,
how we will bear up,
in the wake of of the force of His wod.
I will give you a secret:
the only acceptable choice is to bear up.
there is no other way than through His ravening maw.
Simply allow yourself no other choice
and you will be aligning your world with His.
It's always better that way.
(Reposted from my main blog page).
It's such a joy to hail Him, like coming home. When it comes to make my daily offerings on Wednesday, which is Woden's Day, something deep and unspoken within my being relaxes. I can't explain it save that the heart knows its own.
People ask me all the time what type of rituals I do for Him. They're curious, I guess, about the specificities of my practice. The problem is, i don't have any. I rarely approach the Old Man with formalized rituals. In fact, unless I am facilitating a rite for someone else (which happens rarely) I feel somewhat silly being suddenly so formal with the God that knows me more intimately than any Other. I'll catch myself when I start the formal invocations thinking "why the hell am I being so formal?" Of course, that does not mean I am disrespectful. I don't want to give that impression. I hope that my work, my devotional practices, my life are all grounded in respect, love, and piety. I work toward that as a consistent goal. It's just hard to be formal with a God I love so much.
Some of my devotions to Him are almost unconscious. I do a lot of different things on Wednesday but it wasn't until I sat and thought about them as I was writing this, that I realized how instinctual some of them have become. For instance, I tend to wear Woden's colors (blue, black, or grey) on Wednesdays --usually blue. It's a simple thing, a silly thing perhaps, but it calls Him to the forefront of my mind. It helps me feel connected as I go about my day. I often find myself sitting down to meditate on Him before I even realize it's His day. Of course this is not uncommon on other days too. Mostly i just cultivate a sense of His presence on Wednesdays, a sense that the very fabric of the day itself is permeated through and through with the essence of Him.
Of course, there's the regular offering of whiskey or aquavit, sometimes wine and quite often a bit of dark chocolate to go along with it. Often I will invoke Him before dinner and share a meal in His presence. In all ways, large and small, Wednesdays belong to Him. I find ways, even when I'm not thinking about it, to bring my awareness of HIs presence to the fore. Today, I'll be giving Him a glass of a good Spanish rioja, a dark, fiery wine, with a complex rasping after-tone that somehow reminds me of Him and the sardonic glide of HIs presence across the veil of one's consciousness.
For now, praise Him.
Praise the passage of His storm.
Praise that which He tears away,
and that which He brings to fruition.
Praise His hunger.
Praise the terror He evokes.
Praise the ecstasy He may bring,
and the breath of His inspiration.
In all ways that can be spoken,
and even more those ways that can not
by Galina Krasskova
To be wed to a God
It is a mauling,
a joyous evisceration.
It is the agony of knowing
that human flesh is weak:
one can never be fully filled
completely with one’s God.
We claw our way forward anyway,
addicts aching for our next fix;
and the merest breath of His presence
strengthens us, makes us whole,
sates that terrible hunger for a time.
But only for a time.
We are all virgins here,
no matter from whence we come.
There is no experience like that of being claimed,
no penetration quite so deep,
as being taken up by the Gallows God;
taken, from the inside out, and outside in.
But I don’t think anyone claimed by Him was ever innocent.
He devoured that before we even knew it was there and found it sweet.
How does one wed a God you ask?
Vows are whispered in urgency and need,
hunger, desire, and the urgency of separation.
“I will love You and serve You always,
in each and every way You ask.
I will be whatever it is You need me to be
all for the barest taste of You;”
and then You delight and pour Yourself into me.
I lose myself in the restrictive fabric of being for a time.
The joy is too great.
If only it were that simple.
Here’s how it went:
I brought a dowry of courage and raw, ruthless pain,
of hunger, and an uncompromising will to serve.
I brought passion and promise,
and a thousand possibilities
all marked and tumbled with a warrior’s pride.
I brought stubborn commitment
and a terrified love.
It was enough.
My courting gifts were many, too many to easily count.
I did not know how lavish my Bridegroom had been
until seeing His paltry gifts to another.
It awes and frightens me even now.
We pay in service for every gift. That is wyrd and
He was generous, this God Who loves the storm,
and hungers always to devour knowledge.
I did what any besotted bride would do:
I opened my arms in welcome,
to His hunger for devouring me too.
Love like this is the slim, sweet shaft of a blade
pressed deeply between the ribs in the dark.
Love like this is the iron-jawed maw of a hunter’s snare
from which the predator has no escape.
Love like this gnaws belly to bone,
shredding the heart like ravaged meat on the butcher’s slab.
You might think this is a terrible thing.
It is not.
It is beauty beyond comprehension
but the cage of my words
is too frail and weak a thing
to contain the reality of this intoxication,
to capture the richness of my ensnarement,
to convey the holiness of this bliss.
I must use those words that strip away the trite,
that penetrate beyond our human shallowness;
even if those words are ugly and harsh.
He is like that too sometimes: obliteration.
If this is madness, then I shall be mad.
If this is delusion I shall count myself lucky to be so deluded.
Maybe instead I shall laugh, and dance and whirl and spit--
because my body is not strong enough
to contain the depth of the joy my Husband brings;
and because those who would demand I “come to my senses”
have not had their senses kissed by the cold fire of this God.
And then let me tell you how it is.
I am His bride and His whore,
His servant and His valkyrie,
the meat He grinds between His teeth,
the wine with which He salts His palate.
I am whatever He needs me to be.
I’ll kiss that knife that slides into my heart gleefully,
cavort and caper wantonly
in whatever way brings Him satisfaction.
My joy at being His bride is as vast and great
as the Gap from which His ancestors sprung.
If that be called madness, that is a small enough price to pay
to take within me His storm.
(Originally published in the Midsummer 2011 issue of “Huginn: A Journal of Alternative Heathen Viewpoints.” P. 31-34, accessible here: http://huginnjournal.com/issues/v1i2/).
Here is another guest contribution from Rebecca Buchanan. I really, really like this one. there's an elegance to the way she captures the choosing of the slain and i love the way she works in the raven connection. Her poem was untitled. I took the liberty of attaching a title.
by Rebecca Buchanan
you wander the world
gathering shining souls
beneath your cloak
of black feathers:
for the end of time.
by Rebecca Buchanan
for the eagle who stole
the mead, this
offering: a holy
Honors to Odin
by Amanda Sioux Blake
God of Being
I pray for life
Seeker of Truth
Who hung on Yggdrasil
For sake of the Runes
I pray for knowledge
Bringer of Fury
Glad of War
I pray for strength
I honor You
As the Source
Of everything that I hold dear.
(Ms. Blake maintains a website here: templeofathena.wordpress.com. I encourage folks to check it out.).