Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Honor the Bull part 1

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Recently a news story crossed my social media feed saying New York just removed a blockage against the prosperity of the nation and the world. The economy has been bad since the blockage appeared, but hopefully the bull will charge ahead now and everything will be better for everyone.

When I searched for the story later I could not find any recent news confirming this. The story turned out to be a little more complicated, but more on that later. First, let’s talk about the Bull and Bear symbols.

Wall Street’s Bull and Bear are potent symbols. Historically, bear goddesses were honored by Ice Age peoples across Eurasia. The gradual replacement of bear goddesses with cow goddesses marked the shift from hunter gatherer societies to agricultural societies.

In Asatru and other Heathen religions, the cosmic mother is the cow goddess Audhumla. Several of the sacred Runes are associated with cattle, including the first two runes of the Futhark (runic alphabet), Fehu associating cattle with money as mobile property, and Uruz associated the Ur-ox or Aurochs, an ancient species of cattle, with the horns and strength of a bull. Ancient civilizations used oxen to plow and to pull carts. The Bull as a provider of strength was as important to historical agricultural civilizations as the Cow as provider of milk. The two go together in one concept of prosperity.

Bulls are not specifically associated with any individual god in Asatru, but in the gnosis I received while rewriting the fairy tale of the girl with the Wooden Cloak, an early Scandinavian version of what later became the Cinderella story, the Bull-Man is a hypostasis of Freyr, god of peace and prosperity. So I think that if one wanted to include a god in the honoring of the Bull, the most appropriate one for Asatruers* and other Heathens would be Freyr. Other traditions have their own associations with the Bull and can honor the Bull in their own way.

This is the middle of my year for honoring Freya, as detailed in my post Freya Glamor, so I will honor Freyr and Freya together as well as the Bull. As an Asatru gythia I will be raising a toast to them with mead. Both as an honoring of the Vanir twins and also as an American who associates money with the color green, I will be incorporating the color green into my honoring of the Bull. Freya is mainly associated with gold and amber, but as a Vana (a member of the Vanir species of gods) Freya and Freyr are also associated with green as the color of plants.

For Wiccans and other Pagans who usually use candle color symbolism, I suggest honoring the Bull by lighting a green candle. Green and gold are both appropriate colors. If one has an actual Bull icon, of course incorporate that into your Bull honoring.

I have many, many Cow images because that was my mom’s favorite animal. But for the Bull honoring I want to use something else, because although Bull and Cow are of course complementary powers, I want to use an image that was not already assigned to the Cow Goddess. I happen to already have the perfect image. Years ago I made a sunprint of a Bull with a Horn of Plenty and various flowers and fruits coming from the Horn. I originally made it for mom as part of her Cow things but she didn’t want Bull, only Cow, so I donated it to the Pagan Pride Day raffle and it was won by my companion Tom. It stayed in his house until I inherited it and brought it back to my house. It’s a few feet from me as I type this in the Canyon Room (my office and craft room.) It was clearly meant to be here with me for a specific purpose, and this is the purpose and now is the time. Today I will bring it out to the main house altar to do my Bull honoring.

So, please join me in honoring the Bull and asking for prosperity for us all. Honor the Bull in whichever way you usually do in your practice and tradition. Or if you don’t have a usual way, find an image of Bull and honor it with drink or food or light. Incorporate the colors gold or green if that seems appropriate to you. Follow your intuition.

Image: my Bull and Horn of Plenty sunprint art and a small, green, glass drinking vessel. Photo by Erin Lale. 


*Asatruers is my regularized English language spelling of this plural form which I began using after I realized that English speaking members of the Asatru religion were already saying it that way out loud, treating the Icelandic word Asatruar as if it were Asatru- er, one who does Asatru, with the English language -er form, and adding an English language plural s. See my post on that subject.

Part 2 of this 3 part series will deal with the Bear symbol and part 3 will deal with what I learned trying to research the ephemeral news story that started this train of thought. 

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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