Vanadis, by Heather Freysdottir

Snagged from Heather’s blog.

Vanadis

I am the Witch and the Warrior.
I am the Mother of the Matronae.
I am Love and Lust, but
I am more than your fantasies.

My hall is home to your mothers, sisters, friends.
My beauty is renowned throughout the Nine Worlds
My wrath is to be feared.
I was not given jewels, for I am the Jewel.

I have made my own way.
I am owned by no Man or Woman save for Myself.
Would you know Me?
Would you step into the fire of the Jewel?

Then know Yourself. For I would have
You know Yourself in all Your beauty and Your passions.
That You may rule them instead of them ruling you.
I want you to seethe and see Yourself.

Come to Me in love and trust.
Come to Me in anger and rage.
Come to Me as you are, as you may be,
as You will be, because
I am the Queen of Wild Things, and
I would not see you be tame.

–by Heather Freysdottir

The falcon has landed…and found her flock

(Yes, I know–falcons don’t “flock”. But it was too great of an alliteration to pass up.)

I’m back in the Bay after 3+ months away. The first day I’m back? It rains! I drove by the Oakland hills yesterday, and they were green–several shades of soft, lush green! It’s been ages since I’ve seen that. I think the plane ride was actually a portal to an alternate reality in which there are actual raindrops falling from the sky in CA. 🙂

One of the first things (and probably the most blog-relevant) I’ve done since landing has been to rehearse the Facts of Freya ritual with the Freyja’s Aett gang–five Freyaswomen, each representing a different Facet of Freya, held in check by a lone Freyrsperson (and a really big antler, covered in bells). Much discussion was had as well as much showing off of the amber hoards and of costuming/priestess-wear bits.

It was fascinating to see how our facets stood apart from the others in some ways and overlapped in others. One of the ways each facet overlapped was the theme of “love”–self-love, being the focus of others’ love, how love is not “safe”, love for one’s people and respecting one’s self, love that inspires warriors into battle and takes them back home again. I think the facet that each one of us chose to portray was reflective of which “path” of Freya that we work with, and which sides of Her we connect with strongest within ourselves. I get to portray the Freya of Self-Love; though this is not ned essay a historical or lore-based aspect, it is one of the most common sides of Freya for us modern worshippers to come into contact with. Freya LOVES US ALL AND THINKS WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING. I’m not necessarily as secure in my lovability factor as Freya seems to think I should be, but hey, maybe that’s why I get this aspect of her so strongly. /shrug But it’s interesting to see who we are and which one we portray. For example, the Freyaswoman who is portraying the “Chooser of the Slain” will be sending her own son off to boot camp today; talk about interesting timing. And the Freyaswoman who is portraying “Freya as Vanadis” is in the process of creating her own Heathen tradition. So I like to think that this whole ritual was not just me getting my rocks off, but has been a pertinent and valuable experience for the other Freyaswomen involved as well 🙂

The rehearsal was also a great example of how in Heathenry (and other religions as well, for that matter) our understanding of Freya, and the lore itself, is very idiosyncratic. There are commonalities, definitely, or else we’d end up being in different spiritual traditions entirely; but we each have our own spin, or experiences and bits of understanding that Freya has gifted to us. No one’s understanding of any given deity or spiritual entity will ever exactly match another person’s, not even in those religions that have the One Book with all of the guidelines in it. And in a recovering tradition, one that is being reanimated and re-fleshed and otherwise pieced back together in the modern world, well–it’s likely to be even more varied than we’ll expect. Who knows which Facet of Freya will show up next?

Love notes from Freya, 9/25/14

(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.

Love notes from Freya, 8/10/14

When trouble lurks, turn toward Me for help. I and your disir, of spirit and blood, will aid you. Call on us, your ancestresses, for power and support. A gift begets a gift. Love, Freya

This is one of those times, like when She conveys messages in runes and/or rune poems, when I remember that Freya is a Nordic goddess. Not that I could ever forget, mind you, but a much of what She does and says is similar to many other love Goddesses. Today, however, is apparently a lesson on the importance of Disir. Dis (plural: disir) are, in the most general sense, female ancestor spirits.

The Old Norse/Germanic cultures had an extremely rich and complex understanding of the various non-corporeal entities present in their world. Unfortunately for us Recon-ish types, the lines between the different types of entities were blurry and highly mutable. Even the most experienced academics have a hard time laying down clean, compartmentalized categories and definitions–see Kveldulf Gundarsson’s work on Elves, Wights, and Trolls, for example. Human culture, both then and now, is just messy.

Disir are one of most commonly referenced spirits in the surviving literature. One of Freya’s roles is as the Vanadis–the main Dis of the Vanir, Her tribe of Gods. These ancestor spirits are often seen as being protective entities  (unlike draugr or other “unstable dead”). They act as protectors in several ways. One, they could just generally be around for you to call on for luck or guidance, as in, “Let’s ask/pray to our disir for help”. Two, they could morph into something along the lines of a Valkyrie, helping to send battlefetters against their family’s enemies or appearing right before the family member dies (think Celtic banshee/”washer at the well” type) . Three, they would become something along the lines of a flygia (a complex entity I’ll discuss at some point later on). In this case, she is an ancestor spirit that manifests itself visually (and sometimes physically) as human female and attaches herself to one of the living family members, usually a hero of some kind. In this last case, apparently a hero needs to officially accept Her as his dis, otherwise she goes back into the spirit realm and waits for the next generation of heroes to come along. There are a coupe of examples of this version of a dis becoming the hero’s lover, and one example of this kind of relationship happening over the course of three different lifespans–who are essentially the same two people, just reincarnated.

(So yes, Norse culture has some REALLY COOL, MULTILAYERED STUFF going on, people! One of the many reasons I’m interested in Norse recon and not Wicca. Just sayin’.)

In any event, to sum up this lesson on the Disir: Freya says to go talk to them and rely on them. Personally, I have found working with my ancestors (both the disir and alfar) to be a huge source of power and comfort. Despite Asatru’s huge emphasis on honoring our ancestors, I didn’t really start to build that into my spiritual practice until this past year, and man–I am really wishing I did so much earlier. As a fellow priestess says, we (those of us alive today) are the sole focus of our ancestor’s attention. We are the ones who are still alive and can do things, and generally, our ancestors want us to win and will gladly throw any help they can our way. It’s a shame to ignore help so freely offered.