PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
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)....
I’ve decided to take part in The Pagan Experience, the community writing project that’s taking the place of the now-retired Pagan Blog Project, and am going to share selected posts here, as relevant. (ALL of them will be posted to my personal blog, if you're interested!) This is my post from the first week (edited somewhat for this blog, and because a couple of weeks have passed since I first wrote it). (Although I'm caught up now, I was late getting started with this because thus far in 2015, I’ve been so busy doing All of the Things that I haven’t had much of a chance to write about All of the Things.)
As I’ve seen others comment on this topic, I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions–not in the sense of promising or vowing to accomplish a list of goals for the year ahead. As a Witch, I am reluctant to put my word behind something unless I really mean to keep it, at any cost. Most of the goals I set don’t fall into this category because life happens, and as events unfold throughout the year some of the goals I had set at the beginning of it may become less important, while others I hadn’t even been aware of become vital. With this in mind, instead of putting my word behind most of the things on my list, I set intentions for what I would like to accomplish, what sort of year I intend to create (with the understanding that my gods may have something else in mind altogether).
The moon has not come up yet, and my neighborhood is dark and cold. It strikes me how very dark it is tonight, compared with just a few weeks ago. The holiday lights are gone. The hills behind my house are dark as pitch, but less than a month ago I could have easily made out street after street in sharp detail, because the stringed lights were so bright and covered so many houses and trees. Tonight is very dark, but clear so the stars are very bright. It is biting cold out, with a sharp breeze out of the North. Nothing is stirring out there. The trees are bare and hard as wire, there is no hint of a bud anywhere. It is Winter, deep and austere.
Once the glitter of the holiday season all gets put away, and we settle into Winter's deep freeze and stillness, we might feeled challenged or distracted. For many of us, Winter means increased expense, work and worry. Snow is beautiful indeed, til the fifteenth time you've had to shovel inches of it off your driveway, and then join a white-knuckled, treacherous commute. It's wearying, carrying extra layers, taking cautious steps. Everything seems to take longer. We feel less vital, cooped up, perhaps depressed by the cold weather and dark skies. While there can be so much beauty and revelry in Winter, it is for many people the hardest, least joyful time of the year....