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She is not the most beautiful woman at the court of the Aesir, nor the most glamorous, not the most vivacious and charming. Those roles are held by Freyja, said by some to be Her rival, by others to be another, earlier, side of Herself. (In mainland Germany, there was no Frigga and no Freyja—only Frija, apparently an amalgam of the two goddesses.) There is no contest: Freyja is the star who draws all eyes in Asgard....
I’ve been quiet this month, but I’ve had a lot of offline goings ons – I am teaching regularly at the Raven Faerie, and I have a class Saturday, August 31st from 10-12 on making your own rune set. We also have a psychic fair coming up on September 7th as well. Do ALL the physical work! during Pop’s month is not a huge surprise to me, given that the Vanir are about hard work leading to prosperity. The other pleasant surprise I got was that Mom came around – Gerda.
I have strong feelings about Gerda and Her lessons – she’s an Etin Woman among the Vanir, a stern Queen, and a keeper of healthy boundaries. She’s not a cuddly Mother, but She is fiercely protective of those She loves. I have more in common with Her than just Pop, and having an opportunity to reconnect with Her is a delight, like finding a long-lost relative. Truth be told, when I picked my nom de pagan, I considered the notion of using Heather Gerdasdottir, because not many use their mother's name for the surname *cough* Laufeyson *cough* and because I adore Her. Pop as a surname won out because He has pointed out, rightly, that I do much better with Disir ancestor work than I do with my Alfar....
(As readers of my Wytch of the North blog know, Queen Anne Boleyn is the most prominent member of a group of spirits I refer to as "The Queens"--since they literally are the spirits of dead queens--whom I have adopted as my Disir, and who have adopted me in turn and are kind enough to favor me with Their advice and support. I may cover the story of how Anne first came into my life in another post, but for now I would like to share the below thoughts that were inspired by my Work with Her. Probably this is more or less common knowledge, but for those who may not know, Anne Boleyn was beheaded by her husband, Henry VIII of England, on May 19th 1536, on false charges of adultery and incest. Thus, I have set aside May 19th each year as Queen Anne's Day, which I observe by processing to our local Owen Memorial Rose Garden here in Eugene, where I leave gifts and offer prayers for her, and then at home I prepare a Tudor-era inspired feast in her honor. This year, I will also be presenting prayers and poetry submitted as gifts for her by my readers. Anne's death was a great tragedy, but as I commented recently on my blog, I think it's important to remember how she lived--boldly, with style and aplomb--and not just how she died.)
This week, in my search for Anne Boleyn-themed viewing material that I had not yet seen, I ended up borrowing (from our amazing local library) a BBC production of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. (Which is also available on YouTube here.) Many of you are doubtless familiar with the Hollywood adaptation of this story, featuring Natalie Portman. (I watched this again recently too, and to my surprise found that the theatrical release doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense if you aren't already familiar with the novel; this must be due to bad editing and too many deleted scenes, as the plotline--which was fine in the book--just does not hang together well.) I have to admit, although I love Philippa Gregory, especially her books about the queens involved in the Wars of the Roses (aka "the Cousins' War"), I am not a fan of The Other Boleyn Girl. Gregory does seem to have a distinctly pro-Catholic bias in her novels, and when writing about the Reformation, that bias translates into an anti-Anne bias. In The Other Boleyn Girl, Mary is the good girl who compromises her purity for the sake of her family's ambition, then ends up falling in love with the king despite herself, only to be foisted from his bed by the heartless Anne, who coldly connives her way to the throne and stops just short of committing incest with her own brother in a last-ditch effort to conceive the male child that would have saved her life. (Gregory's treatment of Anne's daughter, Elizabeth the great Protestant Queen, in later books is not terribly flattering either.) In historical reality, on the other hand, Mary was more of a good-time girl than a "good" girl (the King of France, one of her many conquests prior to Henry, referred to her as his "English mare,") and Anne was very likely a virgin at the time of her marriage, although on the topic of whether or not she actually loved Henry there are as many opinions as there are writers to offer them. (The Lady herself says that she did, and does, which makes her story all the more tragic.)
As you may have noticed, I have changed the name of this blog! It is now “Threads: Musings from a godwife and heathen artisan,“ and the intro text is: “A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of godspousery, seership, hearth witchery, and the mysteries of traditional femininity.”
I made this change (with the kind approval of Anne Newkirk Niven) because I haven’t felt moved to write specifically about Frigga for quite some time now, so it has begun to feel misleading at best (and possibly disrespectful at worst) to have Her name up there in large text in the title line for the blog. At the same time, I have become increasingly comfortable, during the past six months or so, writing more directly about my path, including some of its more personal aspects that I had previously felt very awkward and/or inhibited about discussing. So all in all, this name change and refocusing will enable me to post more actively and less self-consciously here, since so much of what I end up posting has been about my path with Odin and/or being a godspouse, anyway. Also, it will give you a better idea what you're in for when you start reading....
On Walpurgisnacht, May Day Eve, the special ceremony I had been planning for nearly two months, and thinking about for years, took place: Odin and I renewed our Marriage vows.
I had been thinking about doing something like this for years because when I initially married Him in December 2002, it was more of an elopement than anything else. The ritual I had been planning at that time was supposed to (or so I thought) be a simple year-and-a-day dedication to a god Whom I had (or so I thought) only recently begun working with. But I thought wrongly. That's right, folks: as much as I've written here and elsewhere about the need for careful consideration and deliberation before entering into a god-marriage, as many times as I've stressed that it is an action to be taken only after years of devotion and not entered into on impulse, this is totally a case of “do as I say, not as I do” because my own Marriage was very sudden. Or, so it seemed to me at the time. It turns out, Odin had been hanging around me my entire life in various guises: there was the episode with the Wild Hunt when I was eight, my sense that I had an invisible dark companion all through my teens, and my marriage to an “underworld spirit”, a dark, shamanic warrior king who I now know fits Odin's description to a tee, in my early twenties. There was the unexpected playing of “Ride of the Valkyries” as I started down the aisle at my wedding to my mortal ex, and the time a Ouija board spelled out “Priya” (proto-Indo-European for “beloved,” and the root on which Frigga's name is based) when I asked for a “pagan name.” So many signs and clues I've enumerated in other blog posts in various places, and yet (since I can, frankly, be a bit thick when it comes to this kind of thing) I still thought it was sudden when I impulsively called on Him in my mid-thirties and He not only answered but almost immediately said, “Come be My wife.” But it was Him, so regardless of the things that seemed to stand in the way, how could I refuse?