Hag, desiccated and decaying.
Eternal Queen of the vast ninth world.
All that You are is more than I can know;
Not in this brief human span.
Goddesses hold mysteries that are not for mortal minds to grasp.
Beckon me to Your side.
Allow me to kneel in Your presence.
Death is not a Lady I flee from.
Open Your rotting arms to me;
Teach me whatever I am able to learn.
Teach me to love You better.
In my time on Miðgarðr I will keep on trying;
Remember me when that time comes to an end.
Revisiting the Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Heroic Legend is an anthology edited by Paul Acker (Professor of English at Saint Louis University) and Carolyne Larrington (Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Language and Literature at Oxford University). It’s published by Routledge as a part of Routledge Medieval Casebooks, and a new copy will set you back something like £35/$46 – unless you want a hardback copy, which will be more than twice that.
If you’re into researching the social context of the Norse legends and all that kind of thing, then this will totally be worth the money. However, it doesn’t look at any of the myths of Gods and Goddesses (I honestly dunno if Fenja and Menja are Goddesses or not; if T/they are, then there is a really interesting article on T/them entitled ‘Mythological Motivation in Eddic Poetry: Interpreting Grottasöngr’. But other Deities only get a passing mention, if at all, and aren’t the focus of the book). So if you were hoping for in-depth studies of the Gods and Their stories, this is not the book for you.
This book focuses on the legends of the Poetic Edda; Helgi and Sigurðr, Brynhilda and Guðrún, and all those dragons, valkyries, witches and warriors that we all kinda know and…kinda don’t. It definitely gave me a lot of new things to think about, even if it hasn’t impacted my devotional life all that much – though I think it has the potential to. If you’re a reconstructionist then it would probably have more effect on your spiritual understanding than it has on mine, given it’s ideas about homosociality and homophobia, the power and social roles of women, Kingship, and other concepts. All these things shape the ancient understanding of the Gods and Goddesses, after all.
The final two essays look at the way Richard Wagner, William Morris and Tolkien understood and re-wrote the Völsunga Saga. I found them worth reading, but obviously they deal with modern works rather than Medieval.
October is here, and September is over for another year.
Thank you, Archangel Uriel, for guiding us through the past month.
Now we greet you, Angel Barbiel, guardian of October.
Please help us to see the progress we have made, to be grateful for the generosity of the natural world, and to enjoy what we have.
Thank you, Angel Barbiel.
Sister recently had to move away for work, and Husband and I wanted to give her a good housewarming gift to get her off to a good start.
When it comes to traditional housewarming gifts, there’s a lot of ideas out there on the internet…but most of them are pretty vague. What I really wanted were English traditions, but all I could find were vague mish-mashes of Italian, German or completely unattributed ‘traditions’. Not to be put off, we decided to just make something up.
Bread seemed to be an important factor in most online line-ups, so we started with that. The idea of including bread is so that the recipient will never go hungry. Likewise, we added a coin so that Sister will never be poor. Salt is supposed to bring flavour and spice to the recipient’s life, but I always think of purity with salt. Also, I doubt Sister would appreciate the gift of a broom…So we used salt for purity (http://oryxdesertsalt.co.za/) and a spice mill filled with harissa spices for flavour and spice (http://www.ukuva-iafrica.com/prMASTER.html). Honey is traditional for bringing sweetness to life, but Sister doesn’t like it so we used jam instead (http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/c-37-organic-jam-and-fair-trade-spreads.aspx). We put in a candle (http://thejusticebrand.com/justice-candles/) for light in the darkness…and finally a key dish so she’ll never loose her keys (https://www.namaste-uk.com/product.php/9132/19058d94f4530eb7f1d7422b8db30557). That’s not massively traditional…I just happened to know she needed a key dish. Finally, we added an explanatory note (so it didn’t look like we’d just handed her a random pile of junk);
‘A loaf of bread so you will never go hungry, a coin so you will never be poor, a candle for light in dark times, salt to banish pollution and negativity, jam to bring sweetness to your life, spices to bring joy and excitement to your life…and a key dish so you’ll never lose your keys.’
Some other traditional gifts would be;
Finally, here’s the bread I made for Sister. It’s a simple recipe, but nice – especially for someone who doesn’t like ‘bits’.
MAPLE OAT LOAF
- 275ml plant milk (I used soya)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil/vegan spread
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 450g strong white flour
- 50g rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
Simply put everything in the breadmaker in whatever order your model likes ingredients to be added, set it to whatever comes closest to a 750g white loaf, and press ‘start’.
Also on this blog I have dark beer bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/dark-beer-bread/), Divine tear ‘n’ share chocolate chip bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/i-made-something-divine/) and lazy hot cross-less loaf (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/lazy-hot-cross-less-loaf/)
If you’ve done something similar, or know of more traditions, I’d be really interested to hear from you 🙂
I did the sensible thing and made my scones today! And, to make sure they are of sufficient quality to be shared with Deities, Spirits, Ancestors and workmates tomorrow, Husband and I have selflessly taste-tested them. Good news – they turned out nice 🙂
- 500g wholewheat flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 100g coconut oil/vegan butter spread
- 60g sugar (I normally use coconut, but this time I’ve had to use regular white sugar. I sulked about it for at least half an hour lol. Same goes for coconut oil – usually I would use that, but I’ve had to change to an inexpensive vegan spread. The important thing is we still have food!)
- Cinnamon to taste
- 1 large cooking apple, chopped into small pieces
- 300ml plant milk
Mix the baking powder and soda into the flour so it’s all evenly distributed. Then rub in the coconut oil/spread until it’s like sand – using your hands is easiest. Once that’s done, mix in the sugar, cinnamon, apple and plant milk until you have dough.
Roll the dough out until it’s about two centimeters thick (I did this in two batches). Then use a small cookie-cutter to cut out your scones – I ended up with a total of 24. Then bake them at Gas Mark 6/200C/400F for 15 minutes.
These are really nice with jam, but the apple makes them sweet enough to eat plain – especially if they’re still warm 🙂 I made these scones mini because I want to share them out, but I’m sure they would make perfectly good normal-sized scones too. I’m not sure how long they’d take to cook, though.
So I *finally* have my head in gear enough to plan some holy day celebrations (we totally missed Midsummer even though I’d planned it, because…stuff…And then Lammas didn’t happen either – again, stuff).
Since it’s been a while, and since I have work tomorrow, I don’t wanna get too ambitious. I’m tired…and flat broke lol (we’ve ALREADY started Christmas shopping, so we can spread the cost as thin as possible and make it more manageable. It’s not even Hallowe’en yet *sobs pathetically*).
But in the morning my plan is to cleanse, put on some nice clothes (to kinda celebrate the prosperity I have, and remind myself to stop feeling so damn sorry for myself), and then decorate the altar and Ancestor shrine with copper beech leaves and dandelion flowers from the estate, as well as some apples and pears. Hopefully I can get some apple and cinnamon scones made before I go to work, so I can take them in to share.
Once I’m home from work I’ll put dinner on (stew made with seasonal vegetables), and whilst that cooks we can say our prayer. Hopefully I can also journey and research local wildlife and a charity called Action Homeless, but I have work on Saturday too so I’ll have to see how it goes. Some bits of my plan may happen a few days late lol.
I doubt I’ll actually be able to do this tomorrow, but I really want to be able to donate to a food bank for the Autumn Equinox. It will have to be a pretty modest donation, but even just a tin of baked beans and a carton of soya milk will be a help to somebody. I try to donate *something* for every holy day (not gonna lie – I don’t always remember), but sometimes I feel it’s especially important to make the effort, and the Autumn Equinox is one of those times.
We ask You to be with us, Gods, Goddesses, Spirits and Ancestors, so that together we can all celebrate the Autumn Equinox.
It is time to say goodbye to the Summer, the warm days and verdant growth. We thank You for Your gifts and will welcome You again in Your time.
Now it is time to welcome in the Autumn! We rejoice in the beauty and abundance of this time of year.
Thank You, kind Gods, Goddesses, Spirits and Ancestors, for the many gifts of Autumn.
Please bless the plants as they give up their seeds and begin to die back.
Please bless the animals as they prepare for the colder weather.
Please bless us here as we work to balance our needs with what we can give to others.
Please bless us all, so that we can learn to live with generous hearts.
Thank You all for hearing our prayer. May You in turn be blessed and joyful in Your lives (and accept these gifts of…)
We’re also including Jörð, Sif, Loki, Hel and the Angel Tariel in the prayer we’ll be saying.