Always be wary when you get an email from your Dad with the subject line “TRIP THOUGHTS” and starts out with, “I bought a Road Atlas today at Walmart…” (capitalization in the original). My dad, the king of highlighted travel routes. He could give Mercury a run for his money. 🙂
Consider a cool autumn breeze blowing through dried sheaves of wheat, still on the stalk; there is beauty–gold, harvest, abundance, life for the winter, and also death–death of the plant, of the season, of the sun. Life and death. Beauty, no matter how to parse it.
It is the time to dig in, hole up, stand your ground; there is beauty in this, too. Beauty in the wrapping up of projects that you put your heart and soul into. Beauty in reaping the results of your hard effort. Beauty in the celebration of what once was and the promise of what more is to come. Revel in it. All things come to an end, but the beauty–that remains, and that will see you through all of the winters that come after. Love, Freya
(I’ve given away the statue of Freya that was my focal point for many of my Love Notes, so we’ll see how it goes minus that crutch.)
Listen to your mothers, the Ancestors. Walk where they have walked. Fight what hey have fought. Draw (tell) what they have written down. Let this manual, based on their combined experiences, guide you in the here and now and help mark the way for your future. For your future is theirs, also. Reap what they have sown. Love, Freya
I’m not sure if I’m getting so many ancestor worship notes recently because of where I am in life (moving back to my old hometown and living with my own mother, albeit temporarily). Or maybe we all just need to spend more time reconnecting to those who came before. They already did half of the work. No need to redo it constantly.
A good friend and fellow priestess explained the relevancy of connecting with our ancestors in this way: “They’re dead. Everyone in their family line, except those few of us who are alive today, are dead. Who else is going to advance their agenda in the living world? YOU! Therefore, you receive the full attention and energy of all of your ancestors, if for no other reasons than YOU’RE THE ONE WHO IS ALIVE NOW. No one else on their team is up to bat; just you. It’s your turn. They have power, knowledge, and many gifts to give; let them use this knowledge. Accept their gifts.”
Of course, I appear to be blessed in that my ancestors don’t appear to have major issues that I need to help them work through (yet). So, take it for what it’s worth. Still, Freya is the Vanadis–the main guiding female ancestor spirit of the Vanir–so maybe She does know what She’s talking about when it comes to ancestor work. Food for thought.
So, I’m smack-dab in the middle of packing, and watching what I’ve built for the last 2.5 years be slowly deconstructed. I’m very big about having each thing I own go to the right person, someone who needs it and will appreciate it. As I’m dedicated to Freya now, this also means I can’t just give things away like I used to. She expects me to actually get compensated for expensive things, like the lovely brown leather corset with embossed harvest-colored leaves on the front, or my fancy set of original Pavel kettlebells. Moving would go a lot faster if I just gave these things away, but I can see her point, especially as this move is primarily financially motivated.
The long and the short of this is that big sections of my life have already been packed up, given away, or sent off to my parents’ house–including parts of my altars. Their sense of presence and power have been disrupted, and I’m kind of unnerved by it.
However, maybe there is a silver lining. When I was Wiccan, way back in the day, I was always that Wiccan, the one who felt that I needed no wand or pentacle or what have you because those things were just symbols and tools for accessing what I already had inside me. So, why waste the money? Just visualize it. This worked out ok, actually, until the Wiccan love for fancy regalia and my own Taurus tendencies to own things took over. But I always remembered that attitude. That’s at least part of why became Heathen. We don’t need no stinking regalia! Heathenry works just fine without it. (Though, of course, that doesn’t stop me from having fancy regalia. I am a Freyaswoman after all.)
Now, with most of my altars broken and their components scattered or given away, I’m connecting more with the energy that was behind the altars. It’s great that my Freya altar had tons of amber, gold-ish things, hearts, sweet libations, love notes, and jewelry, but the altar can be just as powerful without them. In fact, it is.
I might even say that my altars may have gotten in the way of my connection to the Gods sometimes. Now, I just have the God-shaped energy hanging out in that general area, unattached to any specific item, and I can feel more of what that energy is and what it is doing. My Gods are bigger than my altars! Who knew? They also feel more mature; or, at least the energies that I’m connecting with seem to have a lot more depth and maturity to them than those that hid within my trinkets. (Of course, that could just as easily be because I’m doing a lot of owning up to past behaviors and making serious, grown-up changes in my life. Maybe it’s both. /shrug)
I’m just trying to find the gold beneath the trauma of moving (yet again), of experiencing the trauma of my lovely, hand-picked, highly valuable possessions being passed on (yet again)–to homes that will appreciate them, granted, but still–out of my life, and into the life of another. But as She says, if you want to have newer and better things of all types come into your life, you need to let the old ones go (preferably freely and without resentment). Sigh. Yes, ma’am.
A friend just passed me the link for an absolutely solid article describing the practice of seidh. (Let me point out that this is an article for a popular audience, not an academic one. Kind of a 101 overview of aspects of seidh.) Seidh is the magical practice that Freya specializes in, which She taught to Odin at his behest. It’s a specifically Vanic art that is only practiced only by women, or by men who are willing to take on the “ergi” role–that is, the “receptive” and feminine role. (Odin will do pretty much anything to obtain more knowledge.)
“Seidh” actually covers a variety of magical and divinatory practices, including, as Pollyanna says, the ability to “make prophecies, read omens, speak with the dead, and petition the powers behind wyrd or fortune to improve a person’s chances of increasing their wealth and reputation”. While the role of a seidhkona (or volva) is mentioned throughout the lore, we know very little of what these women actually did, and even less about the songs they sang, music they used, or rhythms that they pounded out to help get them into the trance-like state that was needed to perform these divinations or magics. Modern practitioners drawn on traditional folk music traditions from the Saami (indigenous tribes in Finland) and Norway, but we’re just taking an educated guess at best. This is why modern Heathens have also drawn so heavily from the Afro-Carribean traditions and other living magical traditions to fill in the gaps in our lore. (This is probably most notably seen in Diana Paxon’s work on recreating seidh–The way of the Oracle, Trance-Portation, and her upcoming book on trance possession.)
The article is a great introduction and overview of seidh and the challenges we’ve faced in bringing this lore-attested practice into the modern day. I’ll post a link to the article under my Online Resources section of the blog as well.)
You have your wings; unfurl them and soar. Let details fall away below while you set your eyes on those half-seen possibilities hovering over the horizon. Anything is possible from this vantage point.
Let me vent here a bit about moving. Moving is talking up a lot of my time, energy, and bandwidth. It’s also making me fit experiences, events, and conversations into an even shorter timeframe than before–which honestly is a feat in of itself, as I was scheduled down to the hour at some points over the last year. And I have a lot of spiritual and religious things I’d like to be posting about and processing through. So, here’s a list of blogging things I’d rather be doing instead of packing:
–talking about polytheism and the new polytheist.com (Polytheist.com: Honoring Many Gods) website (if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it). Because polytheism is a happening thing right now, and, well, talking about the Gods as actual entities and not archetypes or conglomerations of deities! That can only be a good thing, IMHO.
–Writing, finding, and posting more poetry, music, and art about Freya and her kin
–continuing Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme. It’s been three or four months, and I’m only up to question #3. I can guarantee you, this was not the plan.
–working more with my Gods, and then talking about it. Right now a lot of them are the equivalent of On Hold. Some more patiently than others.
–Writing my daily Love Notes. Also, been kind of hit or miss recently.
A lot of this stuff has been put on hold as I tie up loose ends in my relationship building and connections-making between the various groups, people, and Gods I’ve been working with this past year. Which is quite a few of loose ends, especially as this move is kind of sudden, and I do a lot of my version of interfaith work in person, one-to-one. (Ironic because I’m an introvert and would rather be at home veging, but it seems that this is the method which works best. And it’s more rewarding when I do it in person.) So… my calendar is more full than it had been, and this right after I did a big paring down of my activities. So much for that.
Sigh. Well, at least once i move I should have a lot of time to catch up on reading, devotional work, and blogging. And boy howdy, am I looking forward to it. Somebody please remind me of that when it’s the middle of winter when it’s 10 below out and I’m stuck in the Midwest far from all of my NorCal communities.
I keep meaning to post pics of my Freya altar, but I always get distracted (by moving or drawers, for example). So here’s the state of my altar currently. Note the large chunks of amber and the Henning statue of Freya. (Hennning is a famous traditional woodcarving brand from Norway. They also make great Thor and Odin statues.)
Cinderella’s (soon to be Sleeping Beauty’s) Prince: Yes, but even one prick–it’s my thing about blood–
Rapunzel’s (soon to be Snow White’s) Prince : Well, it’s sick!
CP: It’s no sicker than your thing with dwarfs!
RP: Dwarves are very upsetting….
Actually, they’re not that upsetting at all, just kind of surprising. And happy folk for Freyaspeople to come visit. So, let’s talk dwarves, shall we?
Modesty is the key to virtue and grace. Love, Freya
LET ME EXPLAIN. So when I got this message, I was, you may imagine, somewhat confused. So asked Her to elaborate, because I’m not sure we had the same definitions for these words. Here’s what I got:
Modesty: An attitude of humility; ie, knowing your correct place in regards to your Gods. You are not higher than them; you are not equal to them; but you are not so low as to not be worthy of their love and attention. Quite the opposite: YMMV with other Gods, but with my Lady, She loves you all. Therefore, you are worthy of Her love. It’s not complicated–not in Her mind, anyway. (Some of us She loves more intimately than others, granted; but that’d be the same with any of other Gods, I’d guess. They are just partial to those who are dedicated to Them.) So, understand that They love you, but don’t think that you are higher than Them and can rule the world. (Ceremonial magicians, I’m looking at you.)
Virtue: Your strength, ability, personal power, “luck”, in this world. Essentially, it’s your hamingja, a specifically Norse concept that doesn’t translate well into English. It’s kind of a combination of what your ancestors gave you (or burdened you with) and your own innate “luck” or power. Here’s a great description of hamingja, stolen (unabashedly) from Wandering Woman Wondering’s blog:
Luck, often called hamingja, is an important Heathen concept, one that encompasses ancestral aid, as well as a person’s ability to be in the right place at the right time, the whole constellation of a person’s skills and talents, and a person’s ability to rally the support and confidence of others.
But as she goes on to say, it’s not all sunshine and roses. (Check out her post for a full discussion the negative sides of it.) My understanding of how Freya uses this term here is that that attitude of humility can help us more fully access that positive legacy and internal abilities that we’ve been given. By not being humble, we cut ourselves us off from this amazing resource that is ours by right. Don’t commit self-sabotage. Honor and use what you’ve been given.
Grace: This one was the hardest for me to parse. It’s got so many explicitly Christian associations, I was afraid to touch it. Still, here’s what I got:
Grace is the ability to make space in your life for the Gods to come down and grant you their favors. I see this as having two parts: the awareness that they can come down and influence your life, and the willingness to let them do so. The key factors here are accepting that this is something that They can decide to do (you can’t force this to happen), and that the type of change that they make is not something you can control. Trying to control it–having very specific expectations of what should happen and how it should look– just get in the way, is you trying to be in control, not you letting grace happen. This is one of those faith things, and we can screw it up by not having any trust in Those with whom we work. If we think we’re in charge of the Gods, it not only makes it harder for them to come down and do their thing, it probably also makes them less inclined to do so.
(Confession: Personally, due the fact that I work with a Goddess of Love and Beauty [among other things] and due to my 12 Step work, I tend to see the influence of the Gods as being a good thing. In my experience, they want what’s best for me and do their darnedest to help get me there. I can’t really say if this is true for all deity-human relationships, but I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this from friends who have never even heard of a 12 Step program and who work with War deities.)
So that’s my take on today’s love note: Be humble, use what you’ve been given, and let the Gods do Their thing. Also, Freya sends LOVE LOVE LOVE out to all of you.