Threads: Musings of a Wodenic Cunning Woman

A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of devotion, seership, hearth witchery, and spirit work.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Beth Wodandis

Beth Wodandis

Wife of Odin, sacred artist, cunning woman. I spin spells and visions amidst the wild wights of the Pacific Northwest, in a household shared with gods, spirits and animals both living and dead. My handcrafted business, Fiberwytch on Etsy, offers ritual cords spun from hand dyed fleece and charged and blessed using traditional methods, handspun yarn, and other arcane goodies to enrich your practice and pamper your soul. My books Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys, and Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin and both available in my Etsy shop in PDF format, as well as on Amazon, and my work has also appeared in Idunna, Hex, and the now-defunct newWitch. I offer rune, Tarot and Lenormand readings by appointment.
B is for Bestla (The Pagan Experience week 4)

Not so long ago, at the height of December’s retail busy season—which also happened to be the height of Wild Hunt season—I had a dream. Okay, let’s call it what it was: a nightmare. In it, I was asleep in our bedroom and thought I heard Jo talking in her sleep from her own bed. Then I realized it was actually my mother—who used to talk in her sleep a fair amount and who has been dead for twenty years (although that detail didn’t occur to me in the dream). I called out something about trying to sleep, but she kept talking.

And then I realized that it wasn’t my mother speaking at all; the voice was harder, unfamiliar, while still female. I realized she was telling a story, in a somewhat sing-song voice, a horrible story that I was certain I didn’t want to hear the end of. (No, I don’t remember what the story was—although in retrospect, I have my suspicions, of which I won’t speak.) As she neared the end of it, she rose from her bed and approached mine, not asleep at all. I wanted to move or scream but was utterly paralyzed. I tried to call for help—from Odin, from the Hunt—but no help appeared. The woman—a farm wife in dress and apron–smiled down at me with her hard face and glittering, hard eyes, smiling into my eyes as she spoke the final words of the story. And then she reached into my mouth and down my throat and into my chest—just rammed her entire hand and arm in.

I awoke. I rose and went to my shrine, lit a candle, not wanting to go back to sleep. I’m not sure I slept any more that night at all. I had an ache in the general area of my heart chakra for the next several days.

Only the next day did I being to realize who the dream-woman had been. The clues were simple: 1) she had been menacing, but had not actually harmed me (although she had done something—something that was Allowed, apparently; 2) neither Odin nor the Hunt had volunteered any help; thus, no matter how scary she had been, she didn’t actually intend any harm to me; 3) the warding Odin has placed on me and our house—which is quite thorough—did not keep her away, and 4) in the dream, I had at first identified her with my mother, then realized that was almost correct, but not quite. I struggled with what my intuition was telling me for hours before sheepishly asking Odin if I was right. He confirmed that I was.

My dream visitor was none other than my mother-in-law, the Queen Mother of Asgard: Bestla. And the next night when I saw Her in the Hunt, She flashed Her dream disguise at me briefly before transforming back into Her usual glamorous self, and winked.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Interesting...
My Personal Pantheon (The Pagan Experience)

(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.

Last modified on
Looking ahead to 2015 (The Pagan Experience)

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).

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it is Yuletide

And so it is Yule. Unlike Christmas (and even unlike the Winter Solstice itself), Yule is not a single day, and its arrival is not determined by a single calendar date. It is a dark tide of energy that arises, generally on or around the Solstice, and Yule proper lasts for twelve nights, ending in Twelfth Night (which usually falls on or around Christmas Eve).

Its coming is not always predictable; one can plan for Yule and then feel the tide of energy arrive a day early, or a day late. In this modern era, most people are so harried by the commercialism of the Christmas season that they barely even notice when the tide comes in, if they notice at all. I own an online shop and my day job is in customer service, so I certainly am not immune to the hectic atmosphere that prevails. In the midst of the flurry of shopping and making, it can be difficult to feel the moment when the land whispers to you: “It is now.”

Our ancestors (in the Germanic countries) referred to Yule as Rauhnacht, the “rough nights” or “raw nights.” The Yuletide energy is not a gentle one; it is harsh, glaring, strident, echoing the energies of the Wild Hunt that rules this season. It actually meshes pretty well with the frantic shopping and feelings of desperation and often despair that surround Christmas. It can manifest in irritation and snappishness (tempers have been short in my household all week long), or in a surge of energy that one does not know how to channel. Many people respond to it by feeling the need to retreat from the world, to nest with books or movies—which is actually a wise choice. Traditionally, Yule was a time for gathering a home with families and friends—not just to celebrate the return of the sun, but because it was considered a dangerous time. The roads, the wildness, all of the in-between places were particularly dangerous; there was too much chance of encountering the Hunt, or even being taken by it. Only witches, seidhr folk, sorcerers, and other societal vagrants would choose to be out and about on these nights.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thoughts on the Aesir

Years ago, when my friend Nornoriel's writings on the Vanir as a tribe were first starting to become popular (he was Svartesol at the time; make sure to give him credit if you quote his older work!), I felt a pull towards attempting to write about the Aesir as a people, as a collective, and was urged to do so by Odin (as doing PR for Asgard in general, and not just for Him personally, is supposed to be part of my Job). But I ran into a few challenges, the first one being one of an assumed entitlement: why do the Aesir need PR in the first place, when all of the myths are supposedly written from our/Their perspective, and when the most well-known modern religion established for the gods of the north (Asatru) is literally named for Them?

And yet, Asatru is not specifically about the Aesir per se, as a tribe or a culture (a culture that encompasses more than just the known Aesic deities); it is a religion that also takes in the Vanir-- basically a catch-all for the worship of the northern gods in general. So clearly, the fact that Asatru exists is not a substitute for what I was being asked to do. Also, regarding the myths being from an Aesic perspective, I don't think that's necessarily the case either; they were written from a human perspective, and to a large extent the people who recorded them (the skalds of the Viking era) were not interested in differentiating between the tribes of the gods, so much as in telling a good story. And as much as I find Nornoriel's explorations of the Vanir to be important, engrossing, and long-overdue, they do leave something of a gap. In celebrating the Vanir as the gods of nature, agriculture, passion, and creativity, the Aesir become relegated, in contrast, to what I personally consider the “boring” categories: civilization, laws and their enforcement, teaching—in other words, strictly human concerns. (Both tribes have an equal claim on warfare though, it seems.)

Last modified on
Yule Advent Calendar (and a belated Michaelmas outing)

Taking a look back into the archives of my personal blog, I found that I first began putting together what I referred to as my “Yule Advent Calendar” in September 2010. (The same year I took my service oath to the Wild Hunt.) Admittedly, advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”) is a Christian concept, a series of festival dates that mark the progression of the Christmas season. I am not claiming that this custom was borrowed from paganism, but since so many other trappings of the Christian festival year clearly were, I felt no qualms about adopting the advent calendar for my own purposes in marking the series of festivals I observe leading up to Yule. 

This custom of adopting some of the festivals of the medieval Christian Church for my own purposes has since spread into other parts of the year, no doubt under the influence of my adoptive Disir, the group of women I've referred to as the Queens (most of whom were actual Queens in medieval Egnland). Shortly after discovering Michaelmas and Martinmas, I adopted Candlemas and began adding more traditional elements into my celebration of All Hallow's Eve, May Day and Lammas, and I wouldn't be surprised if that trend continues, since the customs and pageantry of medieval England (pre-Reformation) call to me quite powerfully. In most of the festivals I can feel an echo that harkens back to pagan times, as well as to the pagan customs that were slow to die away in the countryside. Whether or not this echo reflects the actual survival of a pagan practice, it enriches the experience of the festival for me and gives me that feeling I so love of being linked to the past and helping to carry the essence of lost traditions into the future.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    I wish I could have been with you this morning -- I love the cemetery tours that we do this time of year. Sounds like it was a gre
On Trust and Shadow Work (or, what happens when your gods say no)

My friend Nornoriel's posts Trust part 1 and 2 over at Patheos helped inspire this post—mostly by kicking my ass.

I almost decided not to post about this, because it's another one of those vulnerable-feeling areas (like His decision to change His face for a while). But recently I've been discovering that sharing these vulnerable places with others makes me feel less vulnerable about them (and maybe helps other people out with their own vulnerable spots in the process), so here goes.

During the past few years, it seems like I always fight with my Husband during Wild Hunt Season, sometimes spectacularly. (We always make up just as passionately afterwards, but I would rather just skip the fights and jump straight to that part.) Although the specifics vary, the theme is always the same: trust.

Now, most people wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the thought of not trusting Odin, of all People, and He would be the very first to point out that most people should not trust Him; they have no reason to do so, and would be far wiser not to. But I do—most of the time, anyway. After all, He is my Husband--bound to me by oaths, blood, and love.  Even more, He is my partner, my mate. We are building a life together.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Your order, by the way, purchased a new camera! Little by little, the pieces are coming together...
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Awesome!
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    A lesson I need to keep learning myself. (See my last blog post for a small window on that one) Also let me say I am SO glad some
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Thank you! And yes, it is a difficult lesson, but the best parts of yourself only emerge once you stop trying to be someone else.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I love this post so hard I want to turn cartwheels. ...Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into. I've fallen in

Additional information