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One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens, Asatruar and Norse pagans is "Where do I start?" After fielding two such letters in one day from a divination client and a prospective student (who already summons spirits in a Ceremonial framework but wanted to connect with the Norse Gods), I began compiling a page of resources on my website-- and this series of blog posts.
Since Heathenry is a living faith of active practice, the best place is always with a good local group, a kindred of kindhearted people open to teaching you. To find a good kindred, ask around among your pagan community or attend a regional Heathen gathering, a moot. Go to a Pagan Pride Day in your area, stop in at the metaphysical shops and book stores, and look for websites and Facebook pages for nearby groups, especially those who offer teaching and community outreach or participate in larger events....
This post is for The Pagan Experience: "Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you."
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
While the subject of Jotun-worship still remains a controversial and polarizing issue within modern heathenry, there is some evidence of it being part of elder heathen practice. The most famous mention of Gerda is of course the account of her marriage to Frey as given in Skirnirsmal as well as the Prose Edda. I personally believe Gerda is one and the same as Thorgerdr Holgabrudr, sister of Irpa, a goddess mentioned in three different Sagas....
(For Week 3 for The Pagan Experience community blogging project, the theme is Deity and the Divine.)
For newer readers to my blog (and because I tend to forget to make occasional reintroductions like this one), hi, I’m Beth, and I’m a hard polytheist. What this means for me is that the gods have firm, distinct edges to Them, just like mortal people do, and they are no less individuals than mortal people are. Very occasionally these distinct edges may overlap, but as a rule, in my own doxa and practice, syncretism is not a thing that happens.
I’ve also begun in the past year to self-identify as a Witch (the Traditional or Sabbatic type, not Wiccan) more so than Heathen (I realize that the two need not be mutually exclusive), but more about that in another post. Regardless of what category I fall into, I am a mortal wife of Odin (for more than twelve years now); I married Him back before “godspousery” was even a word, before there were very many pagan blogs at all, let alone “godspouse” ones, and He is the center of my practice and my life. (He does overlap nicely with the “Man in Black” figure of British Traditional Witchcraft–but again, more on that later.)
I live with a mortal wife of Poseidon (Jo), who is my life partner (though not in a romantic way) and sister; she and I support each other in living a monastic lifestyle in which our gods are the focus of our lives. We both have outside jobs, though mine is only part-time due to the fact that my chronic pain issues (fibromyalgia and arthritis, among other things) limit the amount of time I am able to spend sitting and working at a desk. I also run a currently part-time business offering my own handcrafted magickal items (ritual cords, candles, bath soaks, prayer beads, and soon soap, oils and incense), which I hope to grow into a full-time business. We are both writers, and are currently collaborating on a book about sacred marriage/godspousery.
But enough about me; back to my gods. As everyone who has worked with Norse deities no doubt knows, They tend to travel in packs, and if you have one around, there are usually others hiding in the woodwork, waiting to emerge. My own experience is no exception, and so here is a (fairly) brief rundown of the deities who make up my personal pantheon.
PaganNewsBeagle MLK Day Special Edition: today the Beagle features stories of the intersection between Pagan communities of all kinds with the ongoing legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (Today is MLK Day in the U.S.)
Jason Pitzl-Waters, founder of the Wild Hunt blog, offered this editorial (in 2014) as to why Pagans should honor the civil rights leader....
In last month's blog, we learned about Celtic deities from the Iron Age in various parts of the European mainland. This month we will look at what can be known - or surmised - about gods and goddesses in Ireland, including how their names were pronounced and their primary powers or attributes. Like the Continental deities, the Irish deities may have more than one name, and are often multi-aspected. We should not expect them to conform to Greco-Roman archetypes or to match up with modern Neo-Pagan ideas about deities and the year wheel. The Irish gods are 'their own thing,' and should be approached and interpreted on their own terms.
There are a remarkable number of books and websites out there which profess to contain the names and attributes of the Irish gods, which for some reason are almost all wildly inaccurate. I'm not entirely sure why this should be, except that the study of Celtic Paganism and Deities is a relatively more recent field of serious study, especially when compared with the study of Greco-Roman and Egyptian deities. Not all of the Irish sources have been well translated, or compiled into one place (or are in sources that can be readily found). Suffice it to say, that one should stick to the following books when learning about the Irish gods and goddesses - for background information, and also for reading and interpreting the myths themselves. Always better to read a good translation of an Irish tale or legend that contains references to an Irish deity, than to take someone else's word for it (especially when they cannot tell you where that information comes from)....