A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of devotion, seership, hearth witchery, and the mysteries of traditional femininity.

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Beth Lynch

Beth Lynch

Beth is a priestess of Odin, writer, self-taught fiber artist, and urban shaman who lives and works amidst the wild wights of the Pacific Northwest. Her little cottage business, Fiberwytch on Etsy, offers her artisan handspun yarn, ritual cords spun from hand dyed fleece and charged and blessed using traditional methods, and other handcrafted goodies to enrich your practice and pamper your soul. She is the author of Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys, and Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin, both available on Amazon, and her work has also appeared in Idunna, Hex, and the now-defunct newWitch. She offers rune,Tarot and Lenormand readings by appointment.

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What Odin doesn't stand for

Odin is a god of many, many things: wisdom, inspiration, exploration, shamanism, prophecy, kingship, rune magic, language and expression, expanding and altering consciousness, creativity, death, blood magic, self-sacrifice, and yes, even warfare, savagery and bloodshed at times.  But do you know one thing He does not stand for?  Racial hate crimes.  Seriously people, I defy you to find anything–anything at all–in the northern lore that supports this kind of atrocity.  As my friend Heather Freysdottir posted today, hate is not a Heathen value–not in any way, shape or form, and I for one am thoroughly sick and tired of having my God’s name used as an excuse for racist violence.

You know why I don’t primarily identify as Heathen?  Know why I am not able to call myself an “Odinist witch” or “Odinic witch” (the way some of my friends will refer to themselves as “Lokean witches”)?  This.  This is why.  Because, thanks to assholes like this (and others like him in the past 100 years or so of history), my God’s name is now identified with racially motivated violence.  And from these maniacs, the poisonous notion that Odinism=white supremacy and racial hatred seeps into the community, until you can’t hold an “Asatru meet-up” without having one or two white-supremacist-leaning individuals show up. (Yes, this truly was my experience when I was still trying to organize meet-ups back east.)

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  • Soli
    Soli says #
    I have never called myself Odinist due to its association with this kind of poison. And I hate that honoring some of the Gods I do
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Thank you for posting this! I am also hesitant to describe myself as an Odinist or Odinic witch for these reasons.
Customer Care Etiquette 101 for the Pagan Artisan

(For anyone who might be wondering, yes, this is a rant. However, it is not aimed at any one specific person; it is more about a general trend I have been witnessing. Accordingly, the examples given below have all been either doctored or entirely made up, and I am not calling anyone out; names have been withheld to protect the guilty.) 

A couple of years back, overwhelmed by the depth and range of talent I saw around me in the pagan community, I made a resolution to myself: that I would support my fellow pagan artisans whenever possible by commissioning spiritual items directly from them, rather than going outside of the community or attempting to make everything myself. Yes, there are a number of different crafts and art forms I am passingly good at, and others I could probably learn, but why take time away from my fiber arts to produce something fair to middling for myself in oils, or clay, or metal (or herbal salves, for that matter) when I could pay someone with more skill to produce something amazing? After all, the only way any of us are going to make it in our respective highly competitive fields is if we support each other in some way, and the most immediately useful way we can do that is with our pocketbooks.

For the most part, this arrangement has worked out pretty well. But on those occasions when it fails, it seems to fail spectacularly, and to do so for reasons I would not even have believed possible if you had warned me about them beforehand. As a part-time customer service representative by day, in addition to being an artisan myself, customer care matters to me and I am seeing it ignored or shoved aside in favor of the artisan’s own urges in too many cases. This is not good business practice, because without your customers, you don’t have a business. Sadly, many artists (and pagan ones in particular, for some reason) tend to be self-centered and to consider their customers rarely, if at all; this is one reason why many artistic start-up businesses fail. And so, this brief list of integrity guidelines is designed not only as a public service announcement of sorts to my fellow artisans, but also as a list of reminders for myself to adhere to, and lastly as a courtesy for the general pagan consumer public: caveat emptor, as they say (let the buyer beware).

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Thanks for this article! I've been on both sides of this. I have learned that as an artist, I have to be brutally honest with my

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Draugadrottin

Continuing with my exploration of the Names of Odin in alphabetical order, He doesn’t have many heiti, or by-names, beginning with the letter D.  However, the one we'll be discussing today is among my favorites of all of His names anyway because it tells us so much about the essence of who and what He is.  It is generally translated as meaning “Lord of the Dead.”  Lets break it down, though, and see if we can learn more from it than that.

The drottin part of the name means chieftain, or lord, and has a cognate in the Anglo-Saxon drihten. The particular connotation here is that of a military lord, the leader of a war band (from Proto-Germanic *druti). This implies the sort of kingship portrayed in Beowulf, for example; not necessarily a hereditary role, but one decreed by merit and ability, the man who is elevated to kingship because other men look to him and trust in his abilities, the ring giver and keeper of the web of oaths that tie a war band, a tribe, or a people together.

The other half of the name, drauga, means the dead, but here again a particular type of dead person is implied.  In Germanic belief, the “ordinary” dead go to Helheim, where they are perhaps reunited with their loved ones and have a period of rest and rejuvenation prior to being reborn or going on about whatever work lies before them between lifetimes.  Some dead, in my belief, go to the abodes of the gods they have served during life if those connections are strong enough and if the god desires their continued service and companionship.  The Poetic Edda and Snorri’s Edda alike tell us that the battlefield dead are divided between Odin and Freyja, with Frejya getting first pick.  (Ladies first, after all.)

But the draugr (singular) is in a category all his own.  As depicted again and again in the Icelandic sagas, the draugar (plural) are “walkers” or “those who walk again after death.” 

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Spring, interrupted

Here in Eugene, we are in a valley surrounded by the Cascade mountains, which means we ordinarily get milder weather than the rest of Oregon.  By the first week of February, we have usually left winter behind us and are embarking on early springtime.  The plants never completely die back during the winter (the summer is our dead season instead, when the bright west coast sun sears everything brown) and we get so much rain that not only the ground but also the tree branches are covered by a layer of bright emerald moss.  (Hence Eugene’s moniker “the Emerald City”–a nickname that brings me no end of joy, considering my love for The Wizard of Oz.)  The rains come daily, the sky is always overcast, and when it is not actually raining the air is filled with a gentle mist.

This year, however, the winter was a lot drier than usual, and the moss was a dull brownish green. We got hit with an uncharacteristic snowstorm in December (about ten inches!), and then in January sparse amounts of rain, punctuated by bright, cold days, the sun shining in a clear blue sky, interspersed with days captured in a grey, freezing fog that turned your lungs to ice.  But at the beginning of February springtime seemed as sure as ever; the smell of the air itself had changed and there was now a green note, a whiff of damp earth and ozone. Last week, I found a patch of wild violets that I began harvesting—a handful at a time–to make a syrup.

And then came the snow. 

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Be safe and warm; up here in Portland-environs we've had hundreds of car accidents in this weather. At our house, we have been nei
Contemplation and Creativity (Pagan Blog Project)

I’m going to take a short break from my series of posts on Odin’s heiti to ramble on about a few topics that are a little more personal, both because I haven’t done so for a while and because I haven’t been able to find any heiti for Him that begin with C.  (Chieftain and Creator, maybe, but the actual names that incorporate those concepts don’t begin with C in Old Norse, because Old Norse does not contain the letter C.  Maybe that post will come to me next week.)

As regular readers may have noticed, I haven’t been doing as much posting as usual, and that’s been for a few reasons.  One is that this is turning out to be a year heavy on study, training and contemplation for me, and a lot of the latter is difficult to get into words at times.  January was not a good month for me, energy-wise, and I haven’t posted a new oracular seidhr schedule yet because I spent much of the first month of the year recovering from Yule.  (Schedule is coming soon, I promise!)  The month began well enough, with the usual hopes and plans for the new year, and ended with the revelation that our dog, Corbie J., is indeed in the beginning stages of congestive heart failure.  So.  He is on maintenance meds for that, and it looks like we may have caught it early enough to be able to extend his life, hopefully for a few years.

But still, there is a weight there before that had not been there previously, a shadow on my heart.  The promise of future loss.  We have to pretend that shadow isn’t there to avoid upsetting the dog, since that would obviously not be good under the circumstances, but you have probably noticed—and will continue to—me scrambling to get yarn spun and ritual cords made, and to work on other long-delayed projects for my store such as art batts for spinning, bags of loose hand dyed locks and add-ins for carding, cords for knot spells, witches’ ladders, jarred beeswax candles, oils and incenses, prayer beads, perhaps video tutorials, anything and everything I can do towards continuing my process of pursuing disability and leaving my office job while at the same time being able to help pay for our household needs and afford the dog’s expensive medicines and my own.  (Not to mention our one cat, Berzerker, who is on expensive meds of his own, for severe allergies that cause him to break out with pustules if his steroids are stopped.)  My first thought, when new unavoidable expenses such as this come up (besides the meds, Corbie will need more frequent doctor visits, and the one from last week was over $300 with all the tests) is always “I’ll go back to working full time.”  But Jo actually gets angry when I propose this, because we both know I can’t; I am on 25 hours per week now, and sometimes too sick to get to work even with those reduced hours, so we both know that it’s only with extreme effort and will that I keep on working the hours I’ve got now.

...
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Blindi (Pagan Blog Project)

(This one is a week late; I posted it on time over at my own blog, but forgot to share it here!)

Since I’ve already written at length about Odin in His guise of Bolverk (the face He wears in the Mead of Poetry myth cycle), and have at least touched on Bruni and Bjorn (both referring to His bear persona), for this post I decided to focus on a different B name: Blindi.  This name quite obviously means “blind,” and in fact there are several of His names which have to do with His eyesight, such as Tviblindi (“twice blind”), Bileygr (“feeble-eyed.” or possibly “one-eyed”), and Baleygr (“blazing eye”)–although the latter may have more to do with His gimlet gaze than with the loss of eyesight.

Odin’s sacrifice of an eye to Mimir’s Well is one of His most famous myths, second in familiarity only to His ordeal on the Tree.  In Snorri’s version of the tale, as well as in the Havamal section of the Poetic Edda, the transaction is a literal one: Odin wanted to drink from the Well guarded by Mimir in Jotunheim (twin to the Well of Wyrd in Asgard, and according to some views, the very same Well, which is so real and so fundamental to reality that a version of it appears in all worlds, just as with the World Tree itself) and the price named by the Well’s guardian was one of His eyes.  Not to be deterred, Odin obligingly, and without flinching, ripped an eye from His own head (no one can say which one, and last time I checked He wasn’t telling)  and handed it over.  In return, He received His prize: a deep draught from the Well of Memory (Mimir)–basically, the accumulated consciousness and wisdom of all People, from all races—divine and mortal—throughout all time.  What is more, Mimir then cast the severed eye into the Well, where it—according to some—continues to see, and somehow continues to transmit information back to the One who once wore it.

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A is for All-Father (Pagan Blog Project)

I've decided to participate in the Pagan Blog Project again this year, but in a more focused way than in my previous attempt at it in 2012.  (Actually, I'm not sure if I kept with it for that whole year or not, and I skipped 2013.)  This year, the focus is going to be entirely on Odin, specifically on His heiti, the epithets or by-names used to refer to Him throughout the surviving northern literature (known to heathens as “the lore”). Odin has so many names in these sources that I could count only about 5 letters of the alphabet for which there are no established heiti, and for those letters—assuming I can't come up with a suitable modern epithet to fill the gap—I will discuss some other aspect of His historical or modern worship.  It remains to be seen whether I'll write something for each week, or just one post for each letter. I've been seeing online a tendency to stereotype Odin into just one or two roles: as the aged patriarch of the northern pantheon, perhaps, or as a remote patron of mystics and kings.  In my many years of living and working closely with Him, I have seen many of His faces, some of which I hope to share here, at the same time as I hope, though delving into His many names, to reach an even deeper understanding of Him myself.

We'll start off with one of the most well-known and frequently used names for Him: All-father.  I don't gravitate towards this name much myself in my own practice, because I don't have a father-daughter relationship with Him, but the name itself doesn't refer to personal relationships so much as to His overall status as the father of gods and men.  In Snorri Sturluson's Edda (often called “the prose Edda,” the primary source text that's probably best known to the vast majority of heathens), Alfodr is used more or less interchangeably with Odin in referring to Him.

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How did you know?

"How did you know Odin wanted to marry you?" is a question I get quite a lot.  Often it's asked because people are trying to figure out what a particular god they're involved with wants from them; other times it's simple curiosity--which is understandable, even these days when every other blog I look at seems to have a godspouse behind it.  (I sometimes fool myself into thinking that means there are a lot of us, but in actuality we are still a rarity within the whole pagan demographic. What it really means, perhaps, is that I need to branch out and read a more diverse selection of blogs. )

I was 35 years old.  My daughter was a teenager and I was in a marriage that was okay at times but felt emotionally abusive at times too.  I had been more or less a Wiccanesque pagan since the age of thirteen, but hadn't really had close relationships with any particular gods, except that for my entire life, for as long as I could remember, I'd had the sense that someone was watching over me, that some unseen Person was walking along with me and shaping my path and my life's experiences.  I first encountered Him consciously at the age of eight when I met the Wild Hunter—the ancient, raw, savage Power that I discovered hiding behind the mask of Santa Claus that Christmas—and from that moment I knew He was there and had always been there with me.

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  • Christy Dodd
    Christy Dodd says #
    Thank you for taking the time to explain. Blessed be.
  • Alisa Brewer
    Alisa Brewer says #
    This makes sense to me. I need to seek this out. Also, Eugine is a lovely place! My ex in-laws live in Joseph, outside of Enterpr
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Thank you, Candi! I am an artist too, and I think the line between art and shamanism is a much thinner one than most people prefe

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Did Odin inspire the Santa Claus legend?

I've been meaning to get back to the "Ask Me About Odin" questions, since I have a few of them saved up. I spent most of November writing a book (which I am now about 40,000 words into--probably about halfway through the first draft) at the same time as I was trying to keep my little Etsy business going. Sadly, this didn't leave a lot of time for blogging. Things are still crazy-busy around here (now, after really awesome sales throughout the month of November, I need to work on getting some inventory back in my shop again, plus I am taking two online courses--more about that in another post, perhaps). But this landed in my inbox this morning and I figured, why not write a little something seasonal today?

“I keep hearing from different sources that Odin is the inspiration for Santa Claus, but I hear the same thing about Thor too. Which, if either, is it?”

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The Work of a Godspouse

I'm sick (the normal cold/flu type of sickness everyone gets, in addition to my chronic stuff) so I'm not sure what a good idea it is for me to expect coherent writing of myself, but this topic keeps coming up and every time it does I have the urge to pick at it a little, because it touches on some underlying issues of my own. So, since it's Hunt season and thus the ideal time of year for cleaning out dark corners and hunting down internal demons (as well as external ones), here we go.

If you haven't already read this, as well as the post my partner, Jolene Dawe, wrote in response to it here, go do so now--I'll wait. The original article is, by and large, a fairly well-reasoned exploration of the divisiveness among Lokeans as a “community” (if you could apply that term to such a diverse group-within-a-group), and for the most part I have no quibbles with it. For one thing, I'm not a Lokean, and for another, I too have witnessed the issues the author writes about and I don't disagree with many of his/her (forgive me, I'm not sure which) conclusions. However, the section of the post dealing with the Lokean sister-wife culture made me squirm for two reasons: 1) as has happened in previous posts by other people, here is yet another non-godspouse telling godspouses what their proper conduct as well as their work in the world “ought” to be, and 2) the assumption that being a godspouse is about “work,” per se, in the first place. 

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On spinning and magic

Why do I spin? The question comes often enough from non-crafty people—which probably includes most people out there--who don't really even understand that there's a difference between spinning and weaving, and who just can't see the point of knitting a sweater or scarf (much less spinning the yarn in order to knit one) when you can buy one a lot cheaper at Walmart or the local mall. But I'm sure there are also a lot of spiritual types out there who read my blog and wonder why I—a spirit worker, and married to Odin for crying out loud—spend so much of my time spinning and prepping wool for spinning.

Not that I am equating myself with Her, but the question sort of begs me to invoke Frigga's name. Because, after all, She is married to Odin, and She spins—and actually, it was partly Her influence that prompted my obsession with the fiber arts in the first place. So, why does She do it? The reason She is so closely associated with spinning (and the Norns and Valkyries with weaving) has to be partly a mundane and culturally influenced one: in the past, as the majority of Walmart shoppers probably don't realize, spinning was not just an odd pastime for middle aged women, it was a necessity of life. There were no stores in which to buy clothing, but there were sheep, and flax, and nettles, and other sources of fiber, and one day people discovered that this fiber could to be twisted to form a strong thread that could then be woven into cloth to make garments and other useful items. (Knitting came much, much later.) But you needed a lot of thread to weave enough cloth for even a single garment, so spinners spent virtually every spare moment of their lives spinning, and because spinning is something that can be easily set down in order to tend a baby, and is not a dangerous activity to practice around children, spinning (and to a lesser extent, weaving) naturally fell into the domain of women.

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  • Eric Crouse
    Eric Crouse says #
    I've been spinning since 2010. It calls to me like no other. I have started to be more on the look out for stories regarding spi
  • Cathleen M. Collett
    Cathleen M. Collett says #
    I have been diagnosed (at sixty-five!) with the entity formerly know as Asperger's Syndrome. One characteristic of this is "stimm
  • Julia Glassman
    Julia Glassman says #
    Thanks for this wonderful article! I'm a passionate knitter and aspiring spinner, and I love learning about the connections betwee

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Spirits of Ice and Fire

A few weekends ago, my partner and I had the rare gift of being able to visit Crater Lake, thanks to a visiting friend who was willing to make the long drive.  As the car climbed into the ever-higher elevations approaching the lake, ponderosa pine forests gave way to lodgepole pines and finally gnarled, twisted whitebark pine, trees which can tolerate the more severe weather (nearly ten months of winter) immediately surrounding the lake.  The fallen trees made the woodlands we passed through resemble, at times, a blasted landscape studded with the skeletons of fallen giants.

About 7,000 years ago, Mount Mazama (a volcano in the Cascade Range) erupted, and much of its mass collapsed into its center to form a caldera. The resulting 1,900-foot deep pit then gradually filled with water from snowfall (there are no underground streams feeding this lake), and Crater Lake–the deepest lake in the United States–was formed. It is an ice-cold, perfectly clear, pristine and pure lake of the most intense blue, ringed with jagged, glassy cliffs that rise to 7,000 feet above the water's edge, the water broken by only two islands, the wooded Wizard (formed by a cinder cone) and the eerie, barren Phantom Ship. It is a place inhabited not only by water wights but also by snow wights–a melding of water and sky. And yet, the fire etins are still very much present here as well, for the volcano is not extinct, only sleeping.

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Spirits of the Oregon Coast

This past Sunday we had a rare treat: a visiting friend of my partner's drove us to the coast, to one of our favorite spot: Hobbit Beach.  I packed my spindle and a braid of hand dyed Portuguese Merino, a libation for the ocean spirits, The White Princess on our Kindle, and a tin of Forest Spirit Salve from Sarah Anne Lawless.  Unfortunately, I forgot one essential thing about the Oregon coast: it is COLD (at least 30 degrees colder than inland), even in the summer.  So I did not take enough warm things with me (no hoodie, no wool socks, and only one long-sleeves shirt) and ended up having a Raynaud’s episode, which made it less fun.  I did, thanks to the fact that I’m not Allowed to remove them from my backpack, ever, have hand knitted wool hand warmers with me, and I ended up tightly encasing my hands in those as if they were mittens until the circulation came back (which didn’t happen until after we had left the beach).

However, I wanted to commune with the wild ocean spirits as we stand on the threshold of Hunt season, and I can say that I did accomplish that. 

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"Summer is over"

"Summer is over," Odin said to me, a couple of weeks back.  I think it may have been on one of the 95+ degree days of our recent heat wave.

I blinked at Him.

He repeated it: "As I said, summer is over.  The Hunt is on the move."

"Well, They should fix the weather, then," I quipped.

"Oh, They are working on it," He assured me.

I tried to laugh this off, or blame it on a moment of poor signal clarity, but that very same day, or the next, when I repeated His words to a dear friend, she offered that the leaves on her dogwood tree were changing color and that He had called her attention to that.  We both agreed we could hear hoof beats in the still, heavy summer air: the Host is gearing up earlier than usual this year. 

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  • aought
    aought says #
    My Forsythia bloomed twice last year, and twice again this year. Not the usual course of events. A year ago when I was hiking in t
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    And then there's this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/alaska-summer-weather-2013_n_3495850.html
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    And saw this today as well. Thought it was interesting, given your post: http://www.climatedepot.com/2013/08/03/unprecedented-jul

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Spinning all of the Things

Summer has reached full boil here in Eugene, with temperatures climbing into the mid to high nineties—and it's only July 2nd! Our animals are miserable in the heat, and my partner and myself only slightly less so. I know you east coast denizens out there are rolling your eyes at me, and I do understand; I am from Pennsylvania originally and I realize that one month of sweltering, killing sun beats eights months of stagnant humidity. But the heat kicks some of my health issues into high gear (while somewhat alleviating others, and then in the cool weather this situation reverses itself; I can't win!) so while I am not intending for any of my blogs to be on strike this month, the heat has me feeling somewhat more introspective and less verbal than usual.

That said, I'm very pleased that the first installment of my “Baby Heathen/Odinist” series has garnered so much positive attention, and I will be continuing the series very soon--never fear—but in the meantime I wanted to share an anecdote. This blog is called Threads for a reason: because although many of the posts seem to wander off in their own direction they are all part of the central fabric that forms my life, and the other day I was struck by how cohesive that weaving is, even when I am occasionally tempted to think otherwise.

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Well, as Jolene and I were saying just this morning, neither of us feel we need to have ALL OF THE THINGS in common with a person
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Exactly!
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Here's the thing about our culture, which I am sure you realize. We're raised to believe that only a certain type of people are "a
Baby Polytheist: the Heathen/Odinist sequel

A few days ago, my friend Lykeia posted a brief guide to setting up a Hellenic altar for the fledgeling polytheist, demonstrating how easy it can be to start practicing even for the brand new devotee on a budget. For the new heathen, whether devoted to Odin or another god in the pantheon, it's even easier: because of the simplicity of heathen ritual, we have even less essential paraphernalia for you to collect. (Which leaves more money for tattoos, valknut and Thor's hammer jewelry, and homebrewed mead!) Because people often ask me how they should start out with worshiping Odin, what offerings they should make, and what the structure of heathen ritual is, I thought it might be useful to post this beginner's guide.  This will consist of a series of three posts, the first one dealing with the basic assumptions and underpinnings of Heathen ritual. More advanced readers, please keep in mind that this is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment, but a very simple and accessible starting place for beginners.

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    A few of the Norse gods like coffee, too! (Odin will definitely take coffee, but only if it is black; He prefers bitter flavors t
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    I am going to cover that in the next two posts, but fruit juice, or milk, or tea, depending on the deity, are all possible substit
  • Angela Kurkiewicz
    Angela Kurkiewicz says #
    Thank you so much! It's great to have a "how to" type article. I've been struggling a bit on where to start. What would one use to
Call for Submissions: Prayers to the Allfather

I am posting about this here because I would genuinely love to receive submissions from across the entire spectrum of paganism for this, so please don't hesitate to send something just because your approach or path may differ from mine; my only requirement (in addition to the specifics below) is that you love Odin, and/or want to honor Him or reach out to Him through imagery, ritual, song, or prayer.

I am currently accepting submissions for Prayers to the Allfather, a collection of prayers, rituals, chants, invocations and artwork for Odin.  This book is not going to be a traditional devotional anthology and I do not want to receive any articles, personal essays, or literary devotional poetry.  This will be strictly a book of liturgy for Him which I hope can serve as a resource for His devotees (meaning, everyone who loves and reveres Him) regardless of their specific belief system or approach to Him.  Please see below for more details of the type of content desired.

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An ordinary girl: what godspouses can learn from Anne Boleyn

(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.)

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Very interesting! There is also a novel that I quite enjoyed reading, called Threads: the Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn, about her
  • Schreiber
    Schreiber says #
    You might be interested in knowing that there is a radio play, "In the Real World" currently in the works. It centers on a man wh
  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    As you already know, the Tudor time period is basically a time period that is a bit more recent than I'm generally interested in.

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Questions from readers?

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. 

Along similar lines, a while back when I mentioned over on my own blog that I would be taking a short break from writing new posts in order to prepare for my renewal of vows ritual (which took place this past Tuesday, on May Day Eve), I also mentioned that when I returned to active blogging I’d be opening myself up to questions from my readers, as many other bloggers have done.  I’ve been encouraging readers to Ask Me About Odin for several months now (and you are still welcome to send in your questions about Him specifically to me via wodandis@gmail.com), but now I would like to widen that a bit and invite you to send ask me anything you’d like to know about myself, my practice, etc.

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  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    I love the new blog subtitle, it fits you a lot better. I know there's a decent amount of Frigga stuff in your practice, but I als
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Thanks! *g* Unfortunately, a lot of my Frigga stuff does tend to be hard to translate into words; just like a lot of my fiber work

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On vows, fierce love, and trust

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?

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