Freya the wanderer….

A local multi-trad group I’m a part of just put out a call for writings on “The Goddess in her guise as the Wanderer”. Being the hard polytheist that I am, my eyes start to roll a bit anytime I see the words “The Goddess in her guise/role as…” However, I know for some people this is a very valid path. And certainly, my Lady has many different sides. So, I chose to look at this as an opportunity to try to understand my own Goddess better.

My Goddess, too, wanders. The lore tells us that her husband, Odr, left her for reasons unknown, and she has been searching for him ever since, traveling across the world, weeping as She goes. When she travels over land, her tears fall and turn to gold; popular UPG says that when she travels over water, her tears turn to amber.

This all sounds lovely and romantic, but honestly it’s the hardest part of her story for me to stomach. Sex with dwarves? Sure. Laying with her brother? Well, when in Vanaheim…. Teaching seidh magic to Odin? Fine, why not? But chasing after some guy and weeping over him–the hell? That makes no sense to me given what I know of the rest of her character. She’s independent, strong-willed, makes her own rules, partners up with whoever she wants, whenever she wants, however she wants…how could She pine so dramatically over a husband who left her for no reason? We don’t know even anything about him; how interesting could he have been? (For people who want to moralize her story–there is no evidence in the Lore for her husband leaving her because of the nights She spent with the Dwarves, so keep it in your pants. Any deity who married her would have known the nature of her character and should have been able to deal with it, in any event.)

She is passionate, yes. Her smile can ignite the coldest of hearts and her sensuality can burn through any barrier. If She loved a being enough to marry him, She would love him completely, with her whole being, through all the Nine Worlds and beyond. She likely would be devastated if he left… but to then throw away her life searching for him, crying? Sorry, I’m not convinced. Still,  she does seem to me to be a restless deity, ever traveling, ever in search of new pleasures and experiences. Perhaps she searches and gives us bits of gold as she goes, rather than “weeping” the gold into being.

For me, I know, she is a Teacher. She constantly pushes my boundaries and inspires me to try new things (or at least serves up new options with a “Why not try it?” smirk). Maybe one of the things She teaches is how to love that much, and yet still survive it when the focus of that love is taken away.

The journey is going to happen no matter what I do. I’m blessed to have Her walk alongside me as I go. Maybe She can help me avoid a few of the mistakes that She made, on the way.

Random Priestessing

My priestess flag must be showing, and apparently non-Pagans can pick up on it as well. I got a call yesterday from a friend whom I hadn’t heard from in months. Still, when her sister found some abandoned baby kittens outside and they didn’t know what to do, she called me. Of course the animal shelters were all closed for the holiday, but we were able to get them taken care of until they could be brought in this morning.

It’s not like I have a lot of shelter experience, or that I am known as a “cat lady” in this group. My friend runs in a group completely and totally separate from any of my Pagan groups; she knows nothing about my religion, my Goddess, or my dedication. Still, of all the people she could call, she called me. It’s just one of those cute little “coincidences” that pop up on a regular basis, if you pay attention to them.

(Not seeing the connection? Freya’s cart is drawn by (wait for it) cats. Cats–all kinds, everywhere– are near and dear to her heart. When a person’s cat dies in this community, we often comfort him or her by saying that the cat is now being well-loved and well taken care of up in Freya’s Hall.)

Freya and Freyr--carts, riding

Trancing Freya: The Trance Class

Trance Possession is a big topic of conversation out here in my neck of the Asatru woods. It also tends to be one of the more controversial topics–what it is; how it’s done; who has the right to do it; who’s doing right. I’m almost finished up with a local Trance Class,  and we just had our ‘Final Exam”, the Trance Party, at which I tranced (big surprise) Freya. The class pulled from Diana Paxson’s book called Trance-portation, and she will be coming out soon with a companion book regarding Trance Possession. Continue reading

Why “The Gold Thread”?

So, why is this blog, which is about Freya, called “The Gold Thread”?

Good question.

I chose the title “The Gold Thread” for a number of reasons. First, Freya = valuable = gold. Gold has always been a strong symbol in Germanic literature, as practically an entity unto itself that both lures and destroys those who lust after it. Gullveig, a goddess of the Vanir whom many Asatru identity with Freya, has a name that literally means “gold-intoxication”. The myths list Freya right up there with the most important treasures of the universe: a jotun, having Asgard in his debt, will ask for “the Sun, the Moon, and Freya” in return. (Or, just Freya, depending on the myth.) One of her roles (and those of all of the Vanir) is to help create abundance–monetary wealth in particular, for her. So, gold is one of the major symbols/colors that I, and many others, use when when dealing with Freya. The color gold is on many of the items, statues, and fabrics on my altar for Her; much of my ritual regalia incorporates the color; and, when I can, I buy gold jewelry to wear and small gold filaments to use for offerings. People who know me know that if they get stuck deciding what to get for me for any occasion, gold or gold-colored *anything* will always be appreciated. Freya is, to me, all things gold.

Second, the “gold thread” is a recurring image in my journeys with her. My most vivid memory of this showed up in the final stages of my initiation with Her. She had slowly and completely cocooned me in gold thread, which She then connected to Herself. Then She showed me all of the other gold threads that connected back to her, from Her chosen people (however they are defined).* This brought on an overwhelming sense of solidarity, peace, joyfulness, and wholeness; it gives me chills just to describe it, even now. By writing this blog/website, I hope to continue to send out her “gold threads” further into the world, and create even more connections and pathways for her Love to flow through.

*(If you’ve seen any of the X-Men movies–remember what it looked like when Professor X put on his mind helmet? Turn all of the connections gold, and you’ll get some approximation of what I was seeing.)

Love Notes from Freya

Freya is a complex goddess with many different aspects. She is a goddess of wealth and riches (gold!); magic (seidh); sex; those slain in battle; love (usually the ecstatic romantic love, not the comfortable, content relationship love); and beauty. The aspects of her that I get the strongest are her Love and Beauty aspects. (Truth be told, I had hoped for something a bit more bad-ass, but Love and Beauty is what I got. Suits my temperament better, anyhow.)

As PantheaCon (a yearly international pagan convention held in San Jose, CA) always falls on President’s Day weekend, it often includes Valentine’s Day. This year, Valentine’s Day fell on the Friday (Freya’s Day) of the Con. This also happened to be the day that I was leading a blot for Freya. Surely, I thought, this was the perfect opportunity to honor my goddess and share my love for her with new people.

And, falling on the Love/Beauty end of the Freya spectrum as I do, one of the many services I decided to do for my Goddess at Con this year (2014) was a new project I called “Love Notes from Freya”.

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Dedication Feast

This past weekend I finally threw my Dedication to Freya feast. I had dedicated to her privately about a month or so earlier; so this, like a wedding reception, was primarily for the guests–my community. It was held at a gorgeous private picnic site at a local park, and we were blessed with perfect mid-70s sunny weather. Almost 20 people attended; while this is no means my entire community, it was a good chunk of the people who I will either be working with as fellow priests or the people whom I will be serving. At my goddess’ mandate, I had far too much food: mustard & five spice pulled pork; chicken apple sausages; egg frittata; guac, spinach dip, crackers (GF and regular), chips, roasted nuts, salad; cheesecake, white cake, candied fruits, chocolate; apple cider, sparkling fruit juice, beer, Coke; and, for our blot, community-brewed pomegranate melomel. Yes, it was a tad too much food, but I had invited over 25 people and I was a tad paranoid about not having enough to feed everyone. (Luckily, most of the leftovers will keep for a while, and I will have enough food to bring to potlucks for months.)

Also at my Goddess’ request, I let guests know that gifts would be appropriate (but not expected) as with a graduation ceremony, and that they should expect to donate $5-10 to help cover the cost of the food and the space. I was overwhelmed on both counts. I honestly hadn’t thought that many people would bring gifts, but pretty much everyone did, and I got some pretty nifty things, if I do say so myself. Even my parents, who are nominally Christians and are still considering this whole Heathenism thing a phase (a fifteen+ year phase, at this point; but still a phase), sent me a gift. I guess I was not the only one who was taking this life change seriously. It was both a pleasant surprise and a relief.

In many Heathen groups, there’s no standardized hierarchy to climb, no degrees to earn (unless you consider academic degrees), no standardized initiations to participate in, no official path to follow. That’s one of the many things that separates us from Wiccan groups. Which leaves the question of “Who is qualified to be a priest/ess (gothi/gythia)?” kind of up in the air. Who is qualified to be a priest/ess? The joke when I first started hanging out with Heathens in the late 90s was that, if you stood up in front of your community and said that you were a priestess, and no one told to sit back down, well, then, you were a priestess! My Dedication ceremony wasn’t that simple, but essentially, that’s what I did. I gathered as much of my pagan community as I could on a Sunday afternoon, fed them well, told them I was a priestess, shared my vows, and hoped they accepted it.

(Don’t worry–they did.)

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