One-Eyed Cat: Norse Paganism & Northern European Witchcraft

This is the magic of Freyja and I am her völva: a seer, priestess and oracle.

Sharing wisdom taught directly by the Norse Gods over twenty years of practice, I teach safer seiðr / seidr / seidhr (Norse trance work and fate-magic), reverent animism, and deeper workings with the Gods and land spirits through respect for all life and peoples. We'll also explore the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion.

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Heathen Ancestral Wisdom to Cope With Quarantine

From mundane to woo, here’s some simple advice on what to do.

#1: Honor Your Ancestors

We’re all here because our ancestors pulled through much worse times than this.Their strength, pragmatism and a good deal of mystical knowledge are all still available to us. At this time, it’s a good idea to thank them and ask for their support. Honoring the ancestors is a core part of many polytheist paths, but it may be new to you. It doesn’t take much: raise a glass to them, say a prayer, talk to an old family photo. Keep them in your thoughts. b2ap3_thumbnail_othala_20200318-204744_1.jpg

The rune Othala (pictured at left) can really help with this,
through meditation or burning a candle inscribed with it, dedicated to the ancestors. Family is important right now. Even if you haven’t always seen eye to eye, rise above it: these aren’t ordinary times, and you need each other, but don’t tolerate—or inadvertently cause— abuse. Check in with your relatives, especially more vulnerable older folk you may not have seen for awhile. It’s also a good time to sit down and listen to those oft-ignored elders, learning the family stories, and hearing how they learned to cope.

Do this now, because you may not get another chance. While this is always true, current events just underscore this.


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#2: The isolation of self-imposed or mandated quarantine can be lonely, but it also offers a strong advantage: the opportunity to pull back from outside demands, connect with loved ones, devote time to neglected past-times and recharge. Cocoon yourself in a calm place now, doing the things you enjoy and spending time with loved ones.

This isn’t selfish!

Taking care of yourself in this way will lighten the societal burden of anxiety and panic, helping to provide a ballast for more vulnerable people and emotional support to those who are suffering. Include those closest to you in this nurturing space and let them choose what they need to cope. Norse folk, traditionally, know a lot about this: they spent long and punishing winters cooped up inside, and survived each others’ company! So cherish these quiet moments at home.


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#3: As pagans, you also have the perfect opportunity now to celebrate the onset of Spring Equinox Friday night and Saturday— and request its potent energies of renewal to surge through your life at this fearful time, just as your ancestors once did. You don’t need to buy chocolate bunnies and decorations to do this: have some fun making decorations yourself from natural objects, order some supplies for a little family bonding and crafting, learn some ancestral recipes, and re-purpose those spring-like things that you have on hand.


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#4 It's almost Spring. Go outside.

Have you noticed any changes in the weather? I have. The sunlight is a gentler, yellow color again. The colors in the landscape are deeper and more varied-- and it's not just the flowers blooming or the greening up with the season. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Breathe the fresher air, now that factory production, air and road travel-- and therefore pollution-- are all down. The dolphins and schools of fish have apparently returned to the canals of Venice. I've noticed that the sunrise and sunset seem to last significantly longer, with a much more varied palette rather than quick, intense splashes of color. What else have you seen?

Enjoy this.


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#5 Try out some everyday food medicine and herbal prevention to help boost immunity, before you get sick. Our ancestors knew quite a lot about nourishing themselves properly to resist illness— and which herbs helped to boost immunity. Luckily, we moderns have access to many more foods than they do. Some of the most effective ones, like fresh ginger and lemons, are widely available to us, while others may be greening up in your garden right now. medium.com/ev0ke/everyday-food-medicine-herbal-prevention-to-boost-immunity-630b680f186a


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#6 Breathing Exercise and Energetic Detox to Strengthen the Lungs:

Breath is strongly associated with the Norse God Odhin. Try this style of breathing meditation and simple visualization for at LEAST a week: as promised, it strengthens you both energetically and physically. For those new to meditation, it’s a perfect start: you don’t even have to blank your mind or focus on anything other than your breath.

For me, personally, it seems to nicely assist with spring allergies, too. Be gentle when you do this, or your lungs may ache a bit later as your body gets used to it. It’s a bit like muscle exercise, only it’s your air bags. 32ndchillout.com/breathing-exercise-and-lung-detox/


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#7Meditate

3 Easy Meditations:

Sun Cleansing Meditation to Reduce Anxiety-- I highly recommend this simple, effective, road-tested practice from the Chinese tradition of Qi Gong to help purify your chi and de-stress. A Taoist monk friend gave it to me and urged me to share it. I have been doing this all winter, and it works! medium.com/ev0ke/sun-cleansing-meditation-to-lower-anxiety-ad043f47ea27

They say the sun's cleansing power is incredibly effective for fighting Corona Virus, so here is an even easier daily meditation to connect with Her. medium.com/ev0ke/simple-solar-meditation-to-clear-your-energy-b4674d380caa

This Relaxing World Tree Meditation is a very good start for connecting with Norse deities (and it’s also how they taught me). You can also focus on each of the runes to learn their meanings intuitively. medium.com/ev0ke/world-tree-meditation-cccab9931f

You can find some more great 30-second meditations, seasonal forecasts and timing advice about weathering the storms ahead, posted to Facebook and at the 32ndchillout.com.


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#8 Learn Something!

Take advantage of the time off to learn mystical practices, like divination, or to study the runes.

If you’d like a handcrafted rune or ogham set to help with your studies, and would like to support your pagan community, I can recommend an excellent craftswoman, The Spider’s Masque. She also makes potent alchemical candles, iron völva wands, jewelry and custom prayer beads. thespidersmasque.com


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#9 Shut in and aching to read a good story?


Well, we've got you covered there, too! Over at Ev0ke magazine on Medium, we have an entire pagan fiction section from award-winning authors, with new stories posted every two weeks.

My favorites include several new creation myths by Rebecca Buchanan, such as The Dragon and the Four Sisters and a deliciously crisp tale about Idunna. Folks also seem to love my tale about Fenris, and a modern barkeeper who meets the subject of her childhood fairy tale, The Hand That Feeds the Wolf.


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#10 Need to nest, as well as rest?

We've got a great blessing prayer and some magical spring cleaning advice, including several methods to energetically clear out and purify your space.

I sincerely hope that you and yours weather the times ahead, coming out of this stronger and using this opportunity to enjoy your free time together.


Photos, courtesy of Unsplash:
Priscilla DuPreez,Craig Sybert, Zalman Pollek, Meric Dagli, Nadine Primeuax, Tim Goedhart, Madison Lavern, Kayla Maurais, Alexey Alabuzhin, Patrick Carr

Othala rune photo by me.

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Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained directly by Frey, Odin, Loki and Freyja. She is passionately committed to healing the rift between us and the ancestors and strengthening our friendship with the Gods, the land and the spirits sharing our world.

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.

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