Words from the Vanir: In times of trouble…

I’ve been appalled and horrified, but not necessarily surprised, by the events this past weekend in Charlottesville. It’s as if the general public is waking up to the insidious destructive nature of white supremacy here in the US. I feel like it’s a drum I’ve been beating for several years now, and many other Heathens have been beating it much longer–they’re here! they’re destroying our culture and our religion! they’re destroying US, Americans, as a people, Heathens and Christians and Jews and Muslims alike! And it’s a tiny bit of a relief to finally hear from public figures that they see this too, and that they, too, are horrified. Or at least most of them are. (Our president the laughingstock is another matter entirely.)

I’ve been reading FB and news sources and other people’s blogs to the point that I’m actually getting physically nauseous most of the day, every day. And I get some hope from some of the responses of public figures, but I still feel so much fear. What is going wrong where that this even had the possibility of happening? Why aren’t the police cracking down on this at least as harshly as they would on BLM groups or any other group of protestors? Who fucked up where and why haven’t they rectified it already?? That in itself makes me more sick than any single action or post by some jackass neo-Nazi ever could.

So I’ve sat and stressed about it for four days now. Today I actually came down with a head cold and said enough was enough. I can’t handle the stress anymore by myself. So I turned to my Gods. That’s what They are there for, for me, anyway–strength in times of trouble. “How do I get through this?” I ask. “I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel any more.”

And They answered.

Unsurprisingly, Their answer was a call to arms of its own.

From Freya,

Love! Love them like they’ve never been loved before! Hunt them down and make them feel. Make them realize we are connected. That the hurt they do to others hurts themselves as well. Remind them–forcefully if necessary–that they are not alone. Break their hate with love.

From Freyr,

<gestures to the field of wheat behind him> We reap what we sow. Everything that grows here is something that we have planted, and did not weed out. Americans planted this crop, and now we gain its harvest.

When asked, What should we do? He answers,

Call to Them. You have planted Them, as well, in your fears and your hope. The Deep Ones, the Old Ones, the Many. You have reached out to Them, and They are ready. Call to the ones you need. They are all around–not just here. Not just one place; not just one group.

This is what you have called us to do, to help you in this world of yours, in the plans that you are making and the lives that you are living RIGHT NOW.  The Dark Ones are awake. Pull from their strength. Be guided by their wisdom. Attack with the power of their arms, the fire in their hearts, the beauty of their countenances.  You have asked, and They have come. Connect with them now!

And from Gerd, His jotun wife–ever-practical as always,

Build gardens that are walled, but that connect. Protected, yet connected. A web of connected places, people, groups. Don’t give your enemies a single point to focus on. If they tear down one component in a web, the web itself yet is unhurt and strong. Stand your ground. Make sure your light is on that others can see it. Make sure to meet and talk–to form new connections and make old ones stronger. Also, don’t trust that those in power will do anything with your best interest in mind. Find strength in connections between others, not in the hierarchy of the wealthy and powerful.

And from Njord the peacemaker, the least warlike of the Vanir, who takes care of us without us realizing it.

When you need to escape the battle, accept that there is time needed to heal yourself, and allow yourself to take a break from it all.

Well have I asked, and well have I been answered. Hail the Gods!

Freyr Stamp

Thoughts from my work with Freyr this evening:

  • Freyr is generous.
  • Freyr understands sacrifice–whether to do it; what kind is needed; how to prepare for it; how to do it; how to gracefully accept that which has been sacrificed; and how to heal up and live without it.
  • Freyr does not care about how much a thing costs. He does not appreciate an extravagant meal any more than he appreciates a simple one, as long as it has been offered to him with intent. (So different from Freya! Freya will appreciate any gift, true–but she does notice and encourage high quality and poshness whenever possible. Goddess of gold, after all.)
  • Freyr has absolute confidence in his ownership of a given thing. Complete and utter confidence. Unshakeable. Like, the thought that he would ever lose stewardship of something or someone once he has staked is claim does not appear to occur to him, possibly ever. (Maybe because he is a god of kingship??)
  • Freyr is at one with the cycles of nature, and as such can be either calm and patient or dramatic and forceful, according to the land’s needs. (Unlike me, who, with my SAD and general  dislike of change, has been at odds with the seasons for decades now.)
  • And Freyr is not so much with the verbal, which once I got used to it, is totally fine by me. He’s possibly the least likely deity to try to trick someone by catching them in a terminology trap of some kind (unlike, say, Hermes or Odin). And that’s a relief. I’ve always been more of a “big concept” kind of girl.
  • He’s also really earthy, which again is cool. And He feels very much like most of the Freyrspeople I’ve ever run into, young or old, male or female–just moreso.
  • Oh, yeah, and I’m claimed by Him–like, eons ago, apparently. As if I was supposed to know this.

And I’ve been given the rough draft of a tattoo, likely for dedication purposes. I’m pretty sure it’s already been applied on spiritual body, though (long story). And given the location on my body that it got applied, I’ve taken to calling it my Freyr Stamp.

*sigh* Fertility gods. Whatcha gonna do? GO TEAM VANIR.

Love notes from Freya, 3/20/15

Now is the time for all good things to have sex. Be as the bee and the flower, and get it on! Love, Freya.

And, also, an undercurrent of LOVELOVELOVE. As underlies most everything I get from Her.

Not a bad deal, sometimes. 🙂

(I know I’m not the only flower you see/but what can I do, you are a good looking bee….)

Oh, and also–Happy Ostara!

Freya and Fertility, my experiences with

boar piglets 4

Let’s talk about fertility, shall we?

Freya has a bunch of facets. One of the ones that has always been hardest for me to grasp, spiritually, has been the fertility aspect. I know it’s there–one of her symbols is the sow, which apparently in the day symbolized fertility for humans and animals (not plants–that’s Freyr). But whenever this was pointed out, I hemmed and hawed, because that just does not fit into my view of Her. I mean, She’s not a goddess of marriage or domesticity or children, for crying out loud. She’s just not the Mother Goddess type. There’s nothing in the myths or the sagas about her interacting with children, or being motherly in any way. In theory, depending on the sources, you can argue that she two daughters, but both of their names (Hnoss and Gersemi) are kennings for “treasure”, so in my mind, that’s still suspect. She is called on in a few bits of folklore here and there to help with ease in childbirth, but then again, what major goddess in any pantheon isn’t?

She’s a goddess of sex and power and money and essentially doing whatever the Hel She wants to, whenever She wants to do it. (Okay, so the sex thing can sometimes lead to fertility–true. But I’m pretty sure that’s not why Freya does it.)

This is all mainly to say that I just wasn’t buying the fertility connection. I’ve had this opinion for years–pretty much since I became a Heathen and started paying attention to things like Who was the Goddess of What in Norse mythology. And not much could change my mind on it.

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Folkvangr: quotes from the Lore

I was feeling the need for some lore. I realized that I hadn’t shared much (if any) of the Lore itself. And, though I can’t read Old Norse, I find the words themselves to be beautiful. (Sweden! Norway! I shall see you soon!)

This bit, which describes Freya, Freyr, and Njord, is from the Gylfaginning, in the Prose Edda. The translation is below.

XXIV. Njörðr í Nóatúnum gat síðan tvau börn. Hét annat Freyr, en dóttir Freyja. Þau váru fögr álitum ok máttug. Freyr er inn ágætasti af ásum. Hann ræðr fyrir regni ok skini sólar ok þar með ávexti jarðar, ok á hann er gott at heita til árs ok friðar. Hann ræðr ok fésælu manna. En Freyja er ágætust af ásynjum. Hon á þann bæ á himni, er Fólkvangr heitir. Ok hvar sem hon ríðr til vígs, þá á hon hálfan val, en hálfan Óðinn, svá sem hér segir:

Folkvangr heitir,
en þar Freyja ræðr
sessa kostum í sal;
halfan val
hon kýss hverjan dag,
en halfan Óðinn á.

Salr hennar Sessrúmnir, hann er mikill ok fagr. En er hon ferr, þá ekr hon köttum tveim ok sitr í reið. Hon er nákvæmust mönnum til á at heita, ok af hennar nafni er þat tignarnafn, er ríkiskonur eru kallaðar fróvur. Henni líkaði vel mansöngr. Á hana er gott at heita til ásta.”

“Njördr in Nóatún begot afterward two children: the son was called Freyr, and the daughter Freyja; they were fair of face and mighty. Freyr is the most renowned of the Æsir; he rules over the rain and the shining of the sun, and therewithal the fruit of the earth; and it is good to call on him for fruitful seasons and peace. He governs also the prosperity of men. But Freyja is the most renowned of the goddesses; she has in heaven the dwelling called Fólkvangr (“Folk-plain, Host-plain”), and wheresoever she rides to the strife, she has one-half of the kill, and Odin half, as is here said:

Fólkvangr ’tis called,
where Freyja rules
degrees of seats in the hall;
Half the kill
she keepeth each day,
and half Odin hath.

“Her hall Sessrúmnir (“Seat-roomy”) is great and fair. When she goes forth, she drives her cats and sits in a chariot; she is most conformable to man’s prayers, and from her name comes the name of honor, Frú, by which noblewomen are called. Songs of love are well-pleasing to her; it is good to call on her for furtherance in love.”

And from the Grímnismál (Poetic Edda) we get the same information. (The translation is cheesy, but I like the way it flows.)

“Falcvanger’s towers claim my song,
These to Freya’s right belong;
Who chief presiding at each feast,
Appoints his place to ev’ry guest:
Half of the slain by her’s possest,
But Odin daily claims the rest.”

(Grímnismál; trans. Amos Simon Cottle, 1797)

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?