Archive for the ‘Handmaidens’ Category

Dancing in the Woods

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Chapter 2 – Power –

 

Blood thudded in her throat, loud enough to hear her heartbeat, and sweat greased her palms. Joy was marred with a nauseous dizziness, fearing she might ruin her chances with foolish words.

A date, she thought, a real date!

They sat at the same tree, facing the sounds of the ongoing celebration.

“Better,” he said, with a finger to her lower neckline.

“You like? I thought it would be… better. That you would… like it… more.”

“Stop,” he said with a hand to his forehead, “you are dazzling me with your vocabulary. I will have to seek a sage to understand your poetic elocution.”

“Hmmph,” she responded, blushing furiously as she crossed her arms. “See if I go making efforts for you again.”

“No, no, I appreciate, and have brought you a gift too. See?” He held up a bottle. Not a common clay amphora but an actual glass bottle, green with ornamentation etched into it.

“What, ale? There is plenty of that at the party.”

He shook his head. “No, this is a potion.”

She leaned forward onto her hands, eyes alight. “A p-potion? A potion for what?” (more…)

Valkyries Riding

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Chapter 1 – Purity –

Battle raged all around, the screams of men, the splatter of blood from a battle axe plunged into a neck. And always, the howl of the wind. No, not the wind. The howl of women keening.

The men that fought were gray shadows of themselves, their shouts muted. Only the blood was bright, red, colorful. So much blood, everywhere. She walked in a daze between them, seeing other women in gleaming armor wandering with her. Here, one would pierce a man with her spear, watch him fall with a smirk, then reach into his gut like a carrion crow gorging on innards. The women‘s coloration looked more normal, but their hands and arms became shiny with blood when they reached into a corpse . And there, from deep inside the wounds, they would pull out their prize with an ululating shout of joy, holding it aloft. She couldn’t quite make out what they had in their hands, only that it was dazzling, like staring at the sun, and she had to look down.

Her own arms, she realized, were also covered in glinting metal, and in her hand was a weapon. Curved like a sickle, it was sharp on both sides, to hook and to slash, to trap and to tear.

Looking up, she saw her own target, a bear of a man who fought and slashed with the fearless ferocity of a boar. His blade circled with slashes all around, and wherever he struck, men fell.

Odin will be pleased,” she heard herself say as a smile formed on her face. Raising the sickle blade as she advanced on her prey, she blocked one of his slashes and trapped the sword. Perplexed as to why his blade had stopped in mid-air for no apparent reason, he looked around warily, pausing his carnage. That was enough distraction for a spear point to bloom through his gut, and she laughed at the surprised look on his face as he glanced down. The spear was pulled back, and he roared, freeing his blade and whipping around to decapitate his slayer. Which he did, but then the rapid blood loss caught up to him and he fell to his knees.

Don’t like to kill them, do you?” a female voice said beside her.

No need,” she answered.” A distraction suffices, and I have enough blood on my hands. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a core to claim…” (more…)

Birthing Rope

Prologue – Nations At War

(Story index) – Next Chapter

Odin’s daughter cried out when she was born – a wail worthy of any Valkyrie announcing the death and sorrows to come. It made him proud, showing her battle spirit was strong. Even the chanting crescendo of seven midwives was not as loud as the scream of his newborn shield-maiden. Strips of red cloth hung from all rafters in the birthing hall, and blessings rained down from these like the blood of her ancestors, drop by drop in the dim light of clay oil lamps. None sat on the benches lining the side walls, and green fresh-cut grasses carpeted the ground of the birchwood longhouse. Three log pillars supported the roof. The women, clustered near the one at the front, used the door flap to let in more air as needed. He was at the opposite end, where breathing was more challenging. Burning pine sap vapors filled his nostrils with a cleansing scent, made cloying by the stifling heat. His blue tunic was soaked, clinging to his skin, sweat dripping from his brow onto the thundering drum he held.

The youngest midwife poured one last ladle of reddish water upon hot stones in the pit at the center of the hall, raising a scalding cloud of steam. Until now, that hiss had been the grandmothers and grandfathers breathing life into this new spark. The last pouring though, that was for the first breath of the babe, and the warming steam all around saved her from the cold shock of separation. It eased the transition from the womb to the world.

He had lost so many good people during the war, it was good to see new life from his loins. When her end came, as it comes to all, seven mourners would raise wails within these walls to ease her passage from the world into the mists beyond. To the Vanir, death and birth were journeys that mirrored each other, Odin reflected as he pounded the last birthing beats on his oiled drum. For now though, his heart swelled with joy and a large grin split his face. It was time to approach his newest daughter! (more…)

Asgard’s Holy Symbol of the Asynjur

Counsel me now, Frigga,” said Odin, “as I would fare forth, to wise Vafthruthnir.” -Vafthruthnismal

Sigil inscribed brass mirror held over snow

Read here how to use the Goddess Mirror in devotional practice and spiritwork. For the why, history and design, consult the previous post (linked here).

  • Introduction — Devotional Tools for Goddesses

  • Using The Mirror — Prayer and Consecration

  • Frigga’s Eye — Core Symbolism

  • Frigga’s Court — Line 1

  • Devotional Calendar — Line 2

  • Heavenly Harmony — Lines 3,4,5

  • Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall — Using the Shiny Side

  • Toli, The Shaman’s Mirror

  • Thoughts on Sacred Tool Design

This article explores how to use custom devotional tools in building relationships with deities, the benefits of a devotional calendar, debugging tips for those having trouble with getting a connection, and a detailed user’s guide to sacred mirrors from a Northern Tradition Pagan point of view. It’s certainly also applicable to Heathen practices.

I believe the advice here will be of general interest when making your own sacred tools. I’ll first give suggest how to consecrate the mirror and use it in daily prayer. Then we’ll explore its symbolism, what the inscriptions mean, and how they can be used for spiritual work. Regular prayer with any holy symbol is how you make it holy.

Making the Second Mirror

It took me six months to design and a week to make my goddess mirror prototype, which I’ve been using for a year and a half. The brass disk I used was a one shot find, and I didn’t expect others would want their own. I was wrong. I got asked earlier this year to make another one

The request came from a Pagan Facebook friend who wanted to offer it as a birthday gift to his daughter. Well, she was assigned male at birth, and he wanted a gift that showed his love and acceptance of her womanhood. That’s beautiful! How could I say no to that? I have many trans women and trans men friends. Symbols of affirmation are important, I had to do it. Plus, more people honoring my Ladies is why I made this blog. When queers like myself look to the gods, we want to find those like us as inspiration, and a number of these Ladies are queer themselves. So I act as bard and spiritual matchmaker in my service. (more…)

Rune engraved brass mirror on snow

 

An amazing spiritual discovery at the L’Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement, the “Goddess Mirror” was remarkably well preserved. Made of rune-inscribed brass, it shows the name of twelve Asgardian goddesses who form the court of Queen Frigga in Norse mythology — as listed by Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda. Archaeologists have questioned the absence of Frigga’s name on its surface, but have come to the conclusion that the central design of a diamond with four equal arms in a circle is actually the long sought-after symbol for the All-Mother. Dubbed “Frigga’s Eye,” it is believed to stand for her all-seeing gaze that “knows all fate but speaks it not”, as well as representing a double set of arms to embrace all her children. The other side is smooth and seems to have been polished to act as a mirror.

Even more astonishing is that the artifact doubles as a religious calendar, assigning each divinity rulership of a month. This informs us that the worship of goddesses had far more importance in ancient times than was reported by Snorri with his meager two pages as the sum of their lore.

Anthropologists argue for the similarity of this item with so-called “shaman’s mirrors” found in Siberia, and may be the result of cultural exchanges between the Tungus people and Rus-Vikings. If that is so, then this mirror would likely have been used by priestesses to perform blessings as well as to repel evil spirits, using its smooth side to reflect “Sunna’s light” onto devotees. (more…)

Knowledge out of Darkness
Name means “aware”

“The tenth is Vör: she is wise and of searching spirit, so that none can conceal anything from her; it is a saying, that a woman becomes ‘aware’ of that of which she is informed.” Her name is roughly pronounced “Ver” in Icelandic, ö sounds like the French “eu.” (1)

Vor’s Story

In the beginning, there were few giants after the flood that drowned Ymir’s kin. Vor a was daughter of Bolthorn, sister to Mimir and Bestla and aunt of Odin’s. Far from the refreshing ice of Niflheim, there was need of fresh water on the rocky shores of newly formed Jotunheim. It was Vor’s task as a girl to find it. Bolthorn made it a game, saying “I’ve hidden the water underground. Close your eyes and find it.” She put her small hands over her eyes and looked underneath the rocky surface to find the water, directing her father’s great footsteps as she rode on his shoulder. It was her brother Mimir’s talent to bring the water up through rock and soil, but it was hers to find where it lay hidden. (more…)

No mother is perfect, that’s just a fact.

We had a spirit supper to All-Mother Frigga during the blue moon of 2012, and I was her horse (medium if you will). I remember feeling, well, motherly. Not in a judgmental way. Rather in a “these children are struggling. How can I help them?” Even she wasn’t sure how best to do that.

Our human parents often fall far short of perfection. So if you need a little extra mothering… consider praying to Frigga. Sadly we have little of her stories surviving to give us comfort, but I would suggest this website to fill in the void. Perhaps you can make the reading of these letters part of the answer you get from the All-Mother.

Your Holiday Mom is a site for LGBTQ youth

You can find it here: http://www.yourholidaymom.com/

“Welcome to Your Holiday Mom – an online space where supportive moms gather to post a holiday message to all LGBTQ children, teens and adults who are without family support and who would like a “stand-in” holiday family. We know that not every mom is ready to accept her own LGBTQ child exactly as-is (as hard as this is for us moms here to imagine), so we have written to extend our love beyond that of our own family.

Who are these moms? We are everyday friends and family from everyday homes. Many, but not all, have LGBTQ  children of our own. Many, but not all, are straight. Each mom speaks to the holiday/s she observes, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. In other words, even our writers here represent diversity.

The vast majority of us came together because they heard about the project, yet most have never met me or each other. The common bond we share is that we are so full of love and pride for our own children – LGBTQ and straight – we wanted to extend ourselves beyond our own families and do something more.

We wish you a happy, love-filled Holiday Season!

With Love, Shamama & Lisa”

Sexual Content. Fertility Rites.

 

A flash of color settled among the leafy ash trees above. “Wheep-wheep-wheep! Tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh, rrrrrrrrr.” I smiled at the black-faced redbird, shaking his tail feathers as he sang.

Awee awee awee awee awee,” rang the female’s answer. I turned my head, spotting her grayish-white plumage in the nearby linden tree – red in the beak, wing-tips, tail and crest. That’s what I liked about cardinals; the ladies also spoke up when they wanted sex.

Lavender-colored musk-mallow flowers crowded the tree-line along the cobblestone path, a warm breeze faintly carrying their lusty scent.
(more…)

Trigger Warning. Sexual Content. Fertility rites.

 

I was so young, barely a woman, on the day everything changed.

Those descended from the royal line of Nerthus are gods among my people. I never wanted to be a goddess, but that choice was not mine to make. By order of our Queen, I was sent to the remote plains of Northern Vanaheim with a single servant – to be the local goddess among common folk who had not seen me grow up.

My temple was a large hollow mound, with standing stones all around. Within it I reclined on my couch, sipping smoke from the long stem of a white clay pipe, and awaited my supplicants. A dim orange light infused my hall from the wind-eyes[1] all around; holes covered with thin vellum leather, stretched and oiled.

Beaten gold coins hung as jingles from my breast-band and belt. Below those, a blue string-skirt hid what little modesty I had left.

My dark-haired handmaiden led the couple in, all of them wearing only breechcloths[2]. The pair clutched each other, nervous as they peered through the misty hall. He was a bare-cheeked lad and she a young woman, recently married no doubt. They showed identical braids of light-brown hair down the middle of their backs, as they approached the tripod brazier on the left side of the room.

“An offering,” he said, taking herbs from the bowl beside the burning coals. “To please the goddess we honor, that she may bring us fullness.” The fumes rose as he cast them, with tentacles of smoke spreading their heady scent through the room. He inhaled and stepped back.
(more…)

Women of the Armored Combat League

Chapter 19 – Torn Between

(Click here to read from the beginning)

Once more, twelve dead Asgardians in their finest armor made around us the circle of law. Shining Balder stood out in his pale tunic, one of the few men among many fallen shield-maidens. It was odd seeing the exuberant god of peace being so quiet.

Mordgud waited on my left, both of us wearing black. Hlin was across with white tabard over mail. Syn beside her had shrouded herself in the brown hood of her cloak, hiding eyes in shadow once more.

Will siding with Syn make things better, I wondered, biting my lip, or am I gambling away the last few friends who will have me? I clenched my jaw, glancing at Garm. No, these two watched me fail, without warning me to my fate, all for political gain. They are jailers and puppeteers, not friends.

Mordgud gave me a pat on the back, with a smile I refused to return.

“Cheer up,” she whispered, “you passed your initiation test with flying colors. Once we settle this affair, you can go visit your son William.”

What? I… she… (more…)