Archive for the ‘Handmaidens’ Category

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…)

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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…)

Chapter 18 – The Price of Murder

(Click here to read from the beginning)

I couldn’t move. I could barely feel my body as I lay there on my back, but there were voices.

“I’m sorry, all right?” a voice said. “I didn’t mean to kill her. She was my friend too.” Syn, that had to be Syn.

Silence. I could imagine Hlin’s disapproving look. Mothers have mighty power when it comes to making people feel guilty. Good! Let her feel shame, I thought.

“I was so angry,” she continued. “She wouldn’t yield, and after she used that hellish magic I… lost control. My old habits kicked in.”

I heard a deep sigh. “That may be, but we now have a corpse rather than a captive, and that friend is lost to us forever. So close to Helheim, we may not even be able to bring back the body for a proper mourning and funeral,” Hlin said.

“I’ll carry her back myself,” Syn answered softly, her voice cracking. “I owe her that much.” (more…)

Chapter 17 – Bridge of Blades –

(Click here to read from the beginning)

I was floating on fluffy clouds, eyes closed, enjoying how they gently rocked me back and forth. But as the winds rose, their motion shook me with rising violence.

“Stop shaking me,” I commanded, but they did not obey. I opened my eyes.

A giant face filled my entire view of the sky, that of a man more wrinkled and ancient than time itself. What manner of wind god is this? (more…)

Chapter 16 – Dance of the Munin –

(Click here to read from the beginning)

Grisella’s fish were long dead by the time we reached the front of the castle, and my wife was shivering in shock. The lower half of her green dress remained soaked, and despite my warming arms around her, I kept hearing the rattling of teeth.

Ganglati stood solemn before the great doors, barring our way. No torches burned in welcome, and only the moon illuminated her wrinkled face. All was quiet around the castle, the dead resting in their mounds no doubt.

“I’ll be taking those fish, miladies,” she said with unusual gentleness. “They need to be prepared for the feast. May I ?”

Reluctantly, Grisella’s hands parted from her chest. Still clutching the hem of her skirt as a basket, she left an opening for Grisella to reach in.

“Thank you, Milady,” said the maid with a smile, “I’ll be taking good care of them.”

My wife nodded, and we watched Ganglati head for the kitchen entrance to the left.

Mordgud stepped around us to grasp the door handles. “Now that this is settled,” she said grimly, looking down, “we have a funeral feast to attend.”

I nodded, bracing myself for hours of wailing. Surely there would be professional mourners, veiled in black, pulling at their hair and crying out the loss of those three who were sacrificed. Hlin would love to see how they do it here, I thought. It was likely around three in the morning and I was less than enthused at the prospect of staying up all night for this.

When Mordgud pulled open the fresh pine door and its rotting wood companion however, the sounds of a great of a celebration poured out. She gave a crooked smile and winked as she waved us in. (more…)