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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in thunder

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thunderstones

Truly, the Old Gods are everywhere. You can't escape them.

I had been listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations on the radio. “That was American pianist Simone Dinnerstein,” said the announcer.

 

Dinnerstein (rhymes with “seen”): a not uncommon Ashkenazic surname. But suddenly it was as if my ears had become unstopped.

 

It's Yiddish for “Thunder stone.” (German would be Donarstein.) There are men named Þórsteinn in Iceland, and Torsten and Torstein in Scandinavia, even today. English Thurston could be “Thunar's stone” (or tún: Thunder's enclosure). It's a name from the Danelaw—the area of England settled by Scandinavians—so it could bear the name of the Norse rather than the English Thunder. But they're both still Thunder.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pulling Down Lightning

We have it from the mothers and fathers that Thunder is a powerful Protector.

To call on His might, stand tall. With your strong hand, reach up into over-heaven. Seize the lightning, and grasp it in your hand. With arm extended, pull it down to heart-height. See the flash, hear the roar, smell the superheated air.

Having brought down lightning, you must give it a ground. With arm still extended, move your clutched fist horizontally beneath the down-stroke to form the shape of an inverted T. For obvious reasons, this is mostly done from left to right.

As you do this, intone:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pocket Gods

I've never much been one for religious jewelry, but that doesn't mean I haven't generally got a god or two tucked somewhere or other about my person. You could call them “pocket gods.”

The Norse called them hlutir and carried them in pouches. (Hlutr is the same as English lot, as in “drawing lots,” which gives one something of an idea of their cultural importance.) The witch-wife Heiðr once told Ingimund the Old, while he still lived in Norway, that he would settle in an undiscovered land west over sea, and that the sign of the truth of her seeing would be this: that the little silver hlutr of Frey that he always carried in his pouch would be lost, but that he would find it again buried in the ground when he dug to raise the pillars of his house in the new land. And so indeed it came to be when, years later, he settled in Iceland.

Which pocket-gods I carry depends on the season and the vagaries of my own thought and mood. Shown above are two that are frequently with me, both worked in Baltic amber: a Sun-disc and a Thunder-ax. Sun and Thunder are two of my best-loved gods, and I like to bear their main (power) with me as I go through my day.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Question of Theology

There were once three neighbors who lived side-by-side: a Dakota, a heathen, and a santero. Each had a fine large backyard garden.

One afternoon a beautiful thunderstorm rumbled through and watered all the gardens.

Grateful, the three gave thanks, respectively, to the Thunderbirds, Þórr, and Changó.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thunder Snow

Sleet chitters against the panes as I write this. Our all-too-brief Bridey's Spring is, it would seem, well and gone, alas. Cold air masses are sailing down from the north towards us (they call them “Alberta Clippers” here), driving snow before them, with deep cold in their wake. Today they're predicting Thundersnow.

Thunder-and-lightning snowstorms aren't something that we see here very often. To hear the very Voice of Summer in Winter's cold midst cannot fail to feel uncanny. Thunder and snow just don't keep company much.

We last heard Thunder's voice on October 6th. Perhaps, like other birds, the Thunderbirds fly south in the winter. The First Thunder of the year is always a sure sign of spring. In Russia they say that Perún is breaking up the ice with his hammer. Snorri, no doubt, would have it that þórr is smiting the Frost Giants.* According to our local folk wisdom, spring's First Thunder is a sure predictor of future weather: six months later comes First Frost. Apparently the climatological evidence (here in Minnesota, anyway) actually bears out this correlation. Today is February 10. Oh dear.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Anne, I'm honored. Around here the spiritual and the meteorological just naturally seem to go hand-in-hand.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Oi, indeed. What a great post -- I love your work!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thunder Cross

How do you purify a desecrated symbol?

Some friends of mine who own a Baltic imports store had just come back from a buying trip to Latvia. “Come see this,” said Sean, when I walked in the door. “It's very special.”

He was right. The Thunder brooch was beautiful, bronze, big and solid enough to heft in the palm of a hand. A Sun Wheel, but this was a Sun filled with lightnings: Sun and Thunder in union. “It's a wonderful piece,” he said, “but I can't put it out on the floor.” I was on the verge of asking why not when suddenly I saw why not.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Yeah, I wear sterling bracelets my great uncle made in the early 1900s for the Harvey house trade. Both have whirling logs all ove

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Amber Power

Some friends of mine own a Baltic imports store: best amber this side of the Mississippi. I was looking at a case of hand-carved wooden items, including some beautiful wooden spoons.

A woman came over and began looking at the spoons. “This one is labeled 'sacred spoon,' but it looks just like the rest of them,” she said. “What makes this one sacred and not the others?”

A reasonable question, certainly. As it happened, I knew the answer, because the owner of the store had told me about it a few days before. “It's sacred because it was carved out of wood from a tree that was struck by lightning,” I told her. In fact, the tree in question had been the oldest and most sacred oak in a grove sacred to Thunder; the oak, of course, is Thunder's tree. Oak struck by lightning in a grove sacred to Thunder: heap big juju.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Wow, Jason: talk about power. Thunder speed your negotiation.
  • Me
    Me says #
    Thanks, Steven. He's amenable so far. We're just waiting to see if the tree will have to be taken or if the arborist feels like it
  • Me
    Me says #
    I'm in negotiation with an old acquaintance, even as I type, with someone for a piece of this tree. By all the gods above and be

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