Gudrun, Brynhildr and Thokk.

I’ve just read an article by Thomas D.Hill called Guðrún’s Healing Tears, discussing the idea that expressing grief leads to healing and that unexpressed grief can lead to death. It argues that everyone tried to get Guðrún to openly lament Sigurð’s death because they were afraid that she would die of grief if she did not – and it seems to have worked, since at the start of Guðrúnarkviða in Fyrsta she was set on death, but by the end she leaves for Denmark to grieve and Brynhildr, who does not weep or lament, dies instead.

I have read other explanations for encouraging Guðrún to express her feelings – were they empowering her to survive her grief, or disempowering her by encouraging her to behave ‘as a woman should’, and therefore lose her agency for vengeance? It’s interesting, but as her own sister was the one who eventually got her to cry, and since Brynhildr was massively pissed off about this, I’d argue for the former. I think Brynhildr would have liked it just fine if Guðrún had died of grief – as, indeed, Guðrún initially intended to do – and cursed Gullrönd because she had saved her sister’s life by forcing her to express her grief.

Near the end of his article, Hill mentions the way Þökk thwarts all attempts to retrieve Baldr from Helheim by refusing to cry. I’ve never really understood this part of Gylfaginning, but looking at tears as a route to healing and inability/refusal to express grief as a road to death gives me a possible insight on it. I’m not a scholar, so my idea may be full of holes as far as I know. But I’d be really interested to read your thoughts and criticism on it.

Loki killing Baldr has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Eventually I concluded it was all to do with death being really important – so important that even a God shouldn’t be immune from it. Loki is Hel’s Dad, after all, and it’s my belief that Loki Himself has chthonic aspects to His nature (though, apart from His obvious link to both Hel and Sleipnir, this is my own UPG. I mean, I think that if you look at His children then you can make an argument for it anyway, but that’s not the point of this post). But that doesn’t mean He has to be happy about Baldr’s death.

My own understanding is that being immune from death puts you outside the natural cycles of…well, everything. I believe in the immortality of souls, but also that souls must all die and be reborn in different ways (so maybe I believe in recycling more than actual death lol). There’s nothing anywhere that doesn’t grow, ‘die’, renew and transform over some time scale or other. What happens to someone – or Someone – who exits this cycle? I know many people would see this as leaving the cycle of suffering and all, but I’m not seeing it that way. To remain still is to stagnate – and that’s fine, if it’s part of a process of decay and eventual renewal, but what if absolute immortality cuts off the important next step? Rebirth and renewal comes *after* death, after all.  Maybe Loki was saving Baldr from becoming a Norse Tithonus (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tithonus-Greek-mythology).

Another theory is that Óðinn Himself wanted Baldr safely in Helheim as a kind of insurance policy against Ragnarök, and that He and Loki worked together to achieve this. Either way, we all know what effect Loki’s refusal to weep had on Baldr and the rest of the Æsir. What I hadn’t really thought about before is the effect it might have had on Loki. 

Initially, Everyone is so shocked and grieved that They are unable to speak or weep – like Guðrún. Eventually, however, They all mourn (except Loki?), and then of course Hermóðr comes back with the news that *everything* must weep before Hel will ‘free’ Baldr. Whatever the reason was that Baldr had to die, Loki is now the only one standing in the way of it all going wrong. He is like Brynhildr – the cause of the death Everyone else is mourning, but (outwardly, at least) completely unrepentant and definitely not about to shed any tears…And therefore, possibly, fully conscious that He’s walking down a road that leads to death and pain. Almost like grief is a toxin that will kill you if you don’t get it out. Brynhildr kills herself, and Loki doesn’t exactly live happily ever after. I don’t recall Hel putting a time limit on the ‘weeping Baldr out of Hel’ thing, leaving the depressing possibility that Loki can never mourn for Him, and therefore never heal (not until after Ragnarök, anyways).

Hit me with your thoughts 🙂

Marmalade Muffins.

  • 320g wholewheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100g sugar (I used coconut)
  • 200g coconut oil/vegan butter spread
  • 60g chia seeds
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water and left to sit for 10 minutes or so)
  • 200ml plant milk (I used soya)
  • 100g (ish) marmalade (fine cut would probably be best, but I only had thick cut and it turned out fine)

It’s all pretty simple – mix the baking powder and sugar into the flour so it’s all evenly distributed, then mash the flour mix into the coconut oil. You’ll end up with a very dry, sandy mix. Tip in all the other ingredients bar the marmalade and mix it all up into a dough. Scoop your dough into muffin cases – I ended up with 12 – and bake at Gas Mark 4/180C/350F for 20-25 minutes.

As they cool, warm up the marmalade (it doesn’t need to get crazy hot and boiling or anything like that, just warm so it’s more liquid and runny than usual) and brush it generously over the top of the muffins. Enjoy 🙂

Bless This Breadmaker.

Recently, after many years of faithful service, the breadmaker my family gave us as an engagement present died. We were saving for a new one, but then my family surprised us again by getting us one as an anniversary present! (My family are awesome.)

I kept getting the feeling that I should ask for some kind of blessing on the new breadmaker – in a way that makes me think it wasn’t my own idea, but something I was being encouraged to do. I guess I do use it once or twice every week, to create an important dietary staple. There’s all that symbolism attached to bread too, so although at first it seemed weird, asking for my breadmaker to be blessed makes sense.

I wasn’t really sure what to do, but in the end I washed the breadmaker, then loaded it up with ingredients ready to bake – nothing fancy, just a standard ‘wholesome food for the family’ type recipe. Before switching the breadmaker on, I put my hand onto the lid of the machine and said a small prayer I’d written (although the whole ‘ritual’, if you can call it that, was very informal, I’m so bad at making stuff up on the spot that I decided to write something down). Having asked for blessings, I turned the breadmaker on and waited for the loaf to bake. Once the loaf was ready, I gave some to everyone I’d asked for blessings from, to thank Them. I also ate some myself, and the rest is sliced up ready to take to Husband in hospital. It feels important to share it.

Here’s the prayer I said. It made sense to me to pray to Sigyn and Sif, but if you wanted to use the prayer then it would be easy to just swap Their names for W/whoever is appropriate for you. Later on, it also occurred to me that it would have been good to include our Ancestors in this prayer – maybe next time?

 

Lady Sigyn, Lady Sif, spirits of this home, I call on You and ask You to please put Your blessings on this breadmaker.

With this machine I create food for my family.

Please give Your blessings to it, and to the bread it makes, so that my family and I are provided with good health and nourishment.

Thank You all.

Fat Cookies.

I’m happy to report that the ward Husband’s staying on provides vegan meals! But not vegan desserts. Man cannot live on chickpea curry alone…my duty is clear.

  • 300g wholewheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 130g coconut oil (vegan spread would likely also work)
  • 90g sugar (I use coconut. Where would we be without the coconut?)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flax meal mixed with 3 tbs water and left to set for 10 minutes or so)
  • 75ml plant milk (I prefer oat, but I’m using soya lately because it’s affordable)
  • 150g mixed dried fruit
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon to taste

Mix the baking powder into the flour so it’s evenly distributed, and then mash the flour mix into the coconut oil. It should end up kinda like sand or breadcrumbs. Then add the sugar, flax egg and plant milk and mix into a thick batter. Stir through the dried fruit, almonds, zest and cinnamon, then roll into balls and squish into fat cookies. I ended up with twelve. Bake at Gas 6/200C/400F for about 20 minutes, or until they look done. Enjoy 🙂

The Holy Tides – Hlæfmæsse /Freyfaxi [Redux]

I’m sooooo happy I found this blog 😊

Wyrd Designs

wheat_plants-500x333

When it comes to religious, pagan celebrations most people are familiar with the eight holy days or sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, such as Lugnasadh. In the Northern Tradition, we do not call these celebrations sabbats. Instead, based on words (like the Old Norsehátíðir) used to describe the most holy of these celebrations (like Yule) as high tides, we tend to call the various religious celebrations we recognize today as holy tides (since not all of the holy tides are considered high tides).

Since we practitioners of the Northern Tradition are dealing with a general umbrella culture that existed in vast plurality we look to ancient Germanic, Scandinavian (Norse, Icelandic, Sweden) and Anglo-Saxon sources. It is important to understand that these ancient cultures reckoned time in different ways in comparison to one another or to the modern world. They existed in different latitudes, lived amongst…

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Psych Ward Prayer.

Well, I’m here again.

Sigyn, Loki, I pray to You both; help me to survive this stint in the psych ward.

Loki, please help me to laugh at myself and my situation, and so ease the weight of my circumstances.

Sigyn, please help me to be sincere and honest with my doctors, however condescending and aggravating they may be.

Loki, please help me to articulate my problems in a way the doctors and nurses can actually comprehend.

Sigyn, please help me to reach out for extra help when I need it – and if all the nurses are busy, remind me that I can pray to You (or call (whoever it is that you can phone up, if you have anyone)).

Loki, please help me to find the right words to tick whatever freaking boxes I’m supposed to tick to actually get some help around here.

Sigyn, please help me to remember that everyone here is ill and not to loose my rag with that one person who just glares at me all day for no apparent reason (there’s always one).

Loki, please help me to remember that punching my doctor in the face, whilst initially satisfying, will only make things worse.

Sigyn, please help me to find the strength to get through this, if not for myself then for the ones I love and the ones who depend on me.

And both of You, with the love and support that You give to One another, please help me to hold on to the knowledge that there are people out there who love me, no matter how unwell I get, and no matter how many times I wind up in here.

Hospital Prayer.

My Guardian Angel, you who has watched over me since the day I was born, please help me now as I am in hospital, away from my home and the people I love. Please help me to know that you are with me and I am not alone.

Archangel Raphael, you who healed Jacob and those who came to the pool at Bethesda, please help me to truly heal – to get well and to stay well, so that I may make the most of the life I have been given.

My Lord Jesus Christ, You Who healed so many during Your time incarnate, please be with me and help me now. Help me to be strong and to know that I will soon be home with the one/s I love.

Thank You all for hearing my prayer. Amen.

August Angel Prayer.

August is here, and July is over for another year.

Thank you, Angel Verchiel, for guiding us through the past month.

Now we greet you, Angel Hamaliel, guardian of August.

Please help us to keep working for the things that we want and need, to have the strength to keep going when life get difficult, and to fully appreciate the things we already have.

Thank you, Angel Hamaliel.

D.I.Y. Mythology.

Recently, Husband and I took a day to celebrate one of his spirit allies, Bear (who has also helped me a fair bit!). We did all the regular things – made special food, played some music, said a prayer, did a little research.

The other thing we usually do, when we take a day to celebrate a Deity, is read out a myth concerning Them. When I celebrate one of my own spirit allies, I’ll get out my journals and re-read some of the journeys we’ve taken together. I wanted to do something similar to honor Bear, but include Husband in it (Bear is, after all, his spirit ally!) But Husband’s dyslexia makes my hand-written notes pretty much indecipherable for him, even with his yellow ruler thing. So I took my notes and wrote them up into something I could read out to him, like when we celebrate a Deity and I read out a myth.

It turned out kind of like a fairytale (the old-fashioned kind, I mean, not like Disney!) Given the theory that at least some fairytales are ancient and garbled accounts of otherwise lost myths, or journeys taken by shamans long ago, I guess that makes sense.

What do you guys think to this idea? Have any of you done anything similar? The particular ‘fairytale’ I ended up writing in this instance is too personal for me to share, but I was wondering about sharing others if I write more. Would you be interested in reading them?

Poem for Loki

Northern Tamarisk

Sharing the end of a poem I wrote early this morning, dedicated to Himself. In some ways Loki reminds me of elements of Shiva, with His divine dance of destruction that leads to renewal, the fire that burns away and leads to new, stronger growth.

Sometimes all
Must fall apart
To reach the truest
Depth of heart,

And there He’ll stand,
Dancer, Singer,
Trickster, Sage,
Loki: Light Bringer.

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