One-Eyed Cat: Northern European (Germanic, Celtic and Slavic) Paganism

Teaching safer seidhr (Norse trance work) practice, working with the Gods and spirits. We'll also explore the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion, including Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Siberian, Mediterranean and ancient Indo-European beliefs and discuss how to apply them to contemporary practice.

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Shirl Sazynski

Shirl Sazynski

Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained by Frey, Odin and Freyja and has been practicing the Norse magical and priestly art of seidhr (trance journeying/fate weaving) for fifteen years. Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media. She teaches workshops and was a popular presenter at PantheaCon.
Yule King Prayer to Ingvi-Freyr for the Winter Solstice

A Prayer to Ingvi

I.
Because I could not kiss your lips
I kissed my lover instead;
Because he never danced with me
I dance with you instead,
here on the far side of midnight
where sun hides
and moon cannot be jealous.

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Love & vulnerability in Norse myth: Freyr and the wooing of Gerda in Skirnismal

We stereotype the peoples of Northern Europe as aggressive, looting, sea-faring warriors, hauling back pillaged booty or trade goods from abroad. We stereotype Odin (blame Wagner and his Victorian romanticism for this) as the stern, grim king: father of war. Thor as big-hearted, lustily drinking smiter of evil. While attitudes have recently begun changing, portraying the Vikings' "softer side", that aggressive image sticks-- both inside and outside of Heathenry.

It ignores that there is a third strong image of masculinity, from a triad of Gods honored at the ancient temple of Upsala, Sweden: Odin, Thor and Freyr.

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  • David Carron
    David Carron says #
    But it's not peace it's Frith. Folks assure that it's the same, but it's more like détente.

Americans still haven't celebrated our secular harvest holiday yet (Thanksgiving)-- which marks the unofficial change from autumn to winter, even if the official shift falls on the Solstice. So I think it's still appropriate to honor Freyr, especially at lower latitudes.


b2ap3_thumbnail_freyr-altar-with-offerings.jpg

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Autumn Hymn to Freyr & some similarities between Slavic & Norse Myth

I wrote this hymn around the autumn equinox, for a ritual to Freyr at a far northern latitude where the leaves had already turned and the lake was skinning with ice, as farmers were pulling in the last harvests. It's meant to welcome the Norse God Freyr (Baltic & Slavic "Yarilo/Jarilo"; also called "St. John/Ian" and "Caloian") as the harvest Lord, and say farewell to him with the change in seasons.


Autumn Hymn to Freyr

Hail Freyr, golden King
Lord of green and growing things!

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Heathen Gods and Sacrifice (and Transformation)

Norse Gods bear famous wounds: an eye traded for wisdom, an ear given to hear the approach of danger, a hand to bind and slow the dire wolf of ultimate destruction. Each sacrifice is an emblem of their power: mighty Odin, who sees all in his high seat, is half-blinded; Heimdall the guardian of Asgard, the Gods' realm, left half-deaf; Tyr the God of justice unable, forevermore, to swear by his severed right hand in court.

While humans certainly benefit, the scars that Heathen Gods and Goddesses bear are not necessarily made for humans, but for the Gods to become more themselves. They excel or prove themselves worthy of their Godhood in the act of sacrifice, inexorably transforming in the act of giving of themselves. They are what they are because they've toiled and suffered and earned it, becoming more holy in the process.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alfar
    Alfar says #
    Thank you.... I know the ladies will enjoy this... the fellas as well... but the ladies especially. They love when another female
  • Alfar
    Alfar says #
    Great work. I am an Asatru Gothi and work with prison ministry / education. There are a great number of fine heathen men and women
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you, Alfar. I am happy that my writings can make a difference in other peoples' lives, including those who are trying to mak
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you both, Jessica and Rebecca. Pogany is amazing. I am also fond of Ivan Bilibin and there are hordes of unknown Slavic arti
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Terrific essay. It is very timely, at least in my case. Also, thanks for the image credits. It can be hard to find good images o
Why is Bullying Allowed in Heathenry?

One day I realized that I'd started becoming a jerk. It crept up on me like a cat stalking a bird, the way it does with kids in school: I started hanging out with a group and I wanted to fit in. And I totally didn't want to be the kid who was being picked on. Even if I (shhhhhhhh!) had some things in common with that 'kid'. So I started saying nasty things about her— and I kept my mouth shut when the nasty things said by other people could apply equally to my own beliefs.

It's ironic, because I was the kid who was picked on in grade school. I totally knew better. I thought I'd never do this. And when I realized how I'd begun to behave, I nearly choked. A lot of Heathens take great pride in not being "fluffy". Oh, we never make shit up. Nuh-uh. We do scholarship. We research historical stuff. We, um, re-create stuff. According to the traditions of our ancestors. We read source material like Ragnarok is coming down on us tomorrow complete with a horde of evil, undead Viking zombies and giants spewing searing, fiery destruction while some screaming Norse guy thrashes chords on an electric guitar… erm, no.

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  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    Joseph seems to use a typical bully attack, attack person first off. Shirl got my respect the moment she admitted doing it herse
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you, sir.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I think part of the reason for internet bullying in anonymity. Bullying and trolling both often come from fake names. Also there i
  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    We all know bullying when we see it, whatever the bully might claim. But it is not so much a religious problem as it is a human pr
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    I have seen it on the internet - the bullying. I wonder if the old bugaboos of Paganism - orthodoxy and or UPG have something to d

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I love the Norse Gods, and I love stories. Whether you think they are people or think they are characters in stories, I'd like to share that sense of wonder with you, exploring the thorny places where beauty and brutality interweave to speak eloquently about the human condition in all its flaws and grandeur.

As an artist and writer, my work is steeped in mythology and ancient literature which I find surprisingly relevant to modern life. Human nature does not change much, but the way we explain it— through stories and the shifting values of our cultures— does.

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  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    It's an intriguing way to raise awareness for a deity, and a lovely thought. Thank you for the compliment about my writing. He (an
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    I don't know if this is of interest to you, but there's a Freyr spouse proposing a month for Him: http://shannonkotono.wordpress.c

Additional information